Boarded Adelaide. Embarkation took about 30 Minutes. Reasonably well organised. Met on board and taken to cabin by steward. Luggage promptly delivered. Cabin 220 admidships 2nd deck Junior Suite. Diesel engines were noticable but not too bad. Bed far too hard as were pillows, Carpet a bit tatty. Good cupboard space and safe. European bath/shower fittings took bit of figuring out but otherwise no complaints. Ship drill as soon as left port and unlike other companies they take their drills very seriously which I found comforting. First day crossing Tasman sea very rough despite stabilisers. Lots of seasick people including me. Pursers office issued FREE seasick pills, no charge, nice touch. Apparently caught tail end of cyclone. Rest of voyage reasonably calm. Lots of older passengers. Some with walking frames and even portable oxygen units, good luck to them for not vegetating at home. usually a queue for lifts so we walked. Ship cleanliness very good except portholes show signs of rust, something they should look at. No complaints with food, always good and most importantly, HOT. Morning and after Tea bit of a scramble as only one tea urn available and staff member filled your cup. Good cakes though. Staff were hit and miss affair. Restaurant staff usually good, especially asian staff. European staff could be somewhat surely but they at least always said hello and are effecient.They do work very long hours so you have to make allowances. Pursers office staff were always helpful. Noise factor in restaurant reasonable, not too noisey. Virtually never saw an officer walking around deck which would be a nice touch. Entertainment quite reasonable. This is a small ship of only just over 16 thousand tons, But it has the classic style I love. It is an intimate ship and your always seeing the same people.It is not a ship for young families or kids. No problem with billing. Its all automatic useing your boarding card and you get a detailed bill at the end. Ship is virtually smoke free, No smoking at all inside ship. Smokers restricted to port side promenarde deck only. The piped music around the pool could be irritating. If you like a laid back, not too hectic, free of drunk yobos and noisey kids, this is for you. I did enjoy my 7 days cruise and would recommend it for people over 50.If you want disco, rock roll, drugs, boozing, rampant sex, dont even think of this ship.
Travel operator: Flight centre
SHIPS CLEANLINESS: Outstanding, spotless the whole time.
SHIPS FOOD: We chose the buffet breakfast and lunch each day, which was well presented, tasty, with enough variety to suit everyones needs. The restaurant dinning (second sitting) at night was of top quality and standard. Seeing as though there were five of us we had a table to ourselves. Our waiter for the cruise ARI was just wonderful, I wish there was a waiter of the year award, he was marvelous, there is nothing, that I would have changed in the service he gave us, just outstanding. He addressed the 5 us by name the whole time, which makes you feel special. Our drinks waiter Antoni was terrific as well, remembering what each individual person was drinking each night. The portions of the food were perfect seeing as though there was at least 4 courses to get through. We never felt hungry once. The only down side of the food and drink on board was the lack of coffee, it would be so nice to be able to access a cup any time day or night..this has been a criticism stated on many cruise review sites, but it doesnt seem to change, hence the 4/5 scoring.
SHIPS STAFF: Outstanding, from our cabin stewards through to the officers. Just so friendly, and couldnt do enough for us. They certainly appeared to want everyone on board to have a great time. A couple of people said they found the officers abit unapproachable but I did not find that at all. I have to mention Ari and Antoni again...fabulous.
ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT: I am now comparing our 2009 trip to this one. We were very disappointed that there was no day time activities at all this year. In 2009 there were so many activities that sometimes you missed some because they over lapped. We had nothing, not one thing during the day. CCI advertise daily activities, so I really feel there should have been some. Granted at night, there were a couple of dance games, and off loading ballons on Australia day night, but apart from that nothing. The cabaret over the 3 nights were entertaining, with alot of hard work put in by the animators and entertainment crew. Well done guys, especially to Pedro the chief animator, as in 2009 he didnt let the passengers down, he is just fabulous.
Our only regret is that it is over, and we have to wait another year before we have the privilege of sailing on the Athena again....well done crew!!!
Travel operator: King William Travel
Travel operator: Classic Int Cruises
From the little things - unable to get tea or coffee in the cabin, to being forced to have a formal meal every night (the buffet was for lunch only), and one night, being told to wear black tie to the restaurant. So much for a relaxed cruise.
The entertainment was below Red Faces level, with one night the "entertainers" miming from the movie "Mama Mia", the same movie that had been on the night before.
We'd been given the late dinner, and by the time we'd finished - we were the first to leave the restaurant, we got "told off" by the Entertainment Director for being late to the show, and he made us go around to the back of the showroom instead of the normal entrance.
One evening, the same Entertainment Director spat the dummy because two older guys were unable to pickup the dance steps he was trying to teach (I thought it was supposed to be fun!). He got all the passengers to sit down (there weren't many) and then he and one of the dancers enjoyed themselves, dancing around the stage. Most of us ended up leaving.
You get the feeling that the TV channels (all European) are there for the crew, not the passengers, (just like they won't open the buffet at night) and whilst on about the crew, The Asian crew were always smiling and happy, and ready to help. The European crew gave the impression that you were lucky to be on their ship - and get out of their way whilst they are walking to and fro.
Talking about walking, whilst in the middle of the Australian Bight, both lifts broke down for the day! These two small lifts were the only way a lot of the elderly passengers could get to the restaurant and other areas of the ship, so I guess room service must have boomed during this time.
The room clinked and clanked with the slightest movement of the ship and was so noisy.
On arrival at Adelaide, we felt "dumped". There was no arrangement for us to get to the city, no buses, and people had to phone and wait half an hour for taxis to arrive. We ended up joining the throng and carrying all our cases to the train station. Disgusting.
We then got on the Indian Pacific Train to come back to Perth, and were amazed at the high level of service - something we expected on the cruise.
We had cruised on the SuperStar Virgo a few years earlier, so maybe our standards were set too high?
SHIP:Small and antique,a welcome alternative.The lines of her lovely cruiser stern have been destroyed by the addition of hideous skirting,which causes jarring and pounding in a sea.
CABIN:Balcony suites are immense,great value;but ours reeked of diesel often.
FOOD:Mediocre at best.Ingredients often old or stale,bland sugary and over salted.
STAFF:Some stand out as the best I have come across anywhere,but there are rogues among them and I refer to thefts and cabin invasions.
ENTERTAINMENT:Never attended so unable to comment.Movies not to my taste,most TV channels not in English.Quite a good collection of books in the library,no doubt thanks to generosity of passengers.
DRINKS:Reasonably priced,some excellent Belgian beer and German lager and beer amongst the brands.
FELLOW PASSENGERS:I was astounded by the high percentage of truly impressive,interesting and pleasant people who quite outnumbered a boorish element.
OTHER:Cannot agree with Mr GOOSSENS who in his highly informative online review praises the coffee.A wine and cheese party was great fun and excellent value.
Travel operator: direct booking
Luv'd everyminute. The happiest 14 days ever. We are not cruisers but have done river trips and sea yatchs.
*The Ship was clean. Decor in most main rooms attractive in a modern art decor style. Beautiful in parts. Attention to cleanliness to minimise travellers tummywhich is prevalent and then rampant on ships. Thus Brass cleaned , hand gel available, clean decks, painting in progress. There was no tummy probs at all.
*Our cabin - twin outside was size of a hotel room with plenty of hanging space. Bathroom ample with good light and mirror for make up on formal night celebrations. Our cabin host was polite and friendly if we made conversation. Sorted any problem we experienced and changed the bed to double in one eve. He Dressed the bed each eve.
I enjoyed the food. Breakfast was formal in smart restaurant or relaxed in the Lotus room or on open deck. We chose the latter each day. Eating as the sun rises round the little pool was stunning. Plenty of choice for continental or cooked breakfast. Big or small.
Lunch as for breakfast. Staff assist with those on unstaedy legs. And yes some senior staff/entertainers eat occasionally on deck. We liked that.
*Evenings were delightful. The Restaurant is attractive. the food varied. We enjoyed the small potions but with 6 courses.Staff trained or in supervised training. A waistcoat colour showed which was which. The maitre d' made our cruise by putting us with a similar group of 5 from UK. We chatted laughed joked and made friends everynite. The 2 formal eves are very smart. The Brits probably dressed up more than the other nationalities!
The late suppers had a different feel each night. splendidly arranged.
We found the ship staff courteous, polite, trained and multinational. The ambience is polite distant distance becoming friendly if wished.
We ended up without a rep so Reception had to meet our queries. This was a little problematic depending on who you spoke to.
*Entertainment at night was good , piano, classics or live or some dancing. A top rate opera singer, first rate dance troupe was great. We did not want daytime pleasures as reading,sun bathing,bathing puzzles and chat were what we required. Some people expected lots of stuff. With no rep there was some but not a lot whilst sea cruising.
The promenade deck is large enough to walk all round for as long as you wish or whale watch etc. The pool is small and has sea water (healthy). We swam most days. We live by the sea so that was fine for us.
This boat was great for us.
One needs to work out in advance whether a small boat suits you, whether you like to feel the sea, whether you require a lot of daytime on board activities or whether you prefer a large floating hotel where the 'ship' part is less obvious. If you have sea sickness the motion on really open sea may not suit you at first.
There isnt a huge separation between higher paying and last min deal passengers. We liked that.
I would use this shp again . I would be unlikely to travel with Page &Moy/Travelsphere again. There were some odd anomolies inc -misleading info, no rep and no advice that there would be only 20 English speaking passengers onboard. This probably gave the cruise an unjoined up feel.
But for us it was great. The weather in the Azores was damp which was a shame but it is Atlantic, volcanic and it was Sept,
Travel operator: Travelshere / Page & Moy
This is a very old ship. There were water leaks through the ceiling with towels put on the floor to soak up the leaks. The promenade deck had rotten teak planks, that squirted water when you stepped on the rotten parts. The hull was all rusty. when the ship arrived in Dover we saw the rusty portholes and said to each other "oh my god she looks bad". The food in the MDR was not of a high standard. How Jenny comes to 6 courses is a mistery to me (perhaps if you count all the possible combinations on the menu you get to 6 : starter, soup, main course, salad, cheese and dessert, and maybe a coffee, that's even 7!). The ship was not very steady , despite the fat "buttocks" welded to her stern, she was rocking and rolling on 16 sept and the sea wasn't even wild, just a mild swell. Soot was also a problem , we had to carefully inspect the chairs on the pool deck before using them.
Price wise it was not the cheapest cruise on our record list. For a few bucks more we sailed on a HAL ship to the Baltics in july this year with better food and also a better service and a steadier ship.
Travel operator: AllWays
Travel operator: CIC
Travel operator: Athena
Travel operator: flight centre
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