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Vince Rutter

Age: 56


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Sun Cruises

Ship: Carousel

Sailing Date: January 20th, 2003

Itinerary: Canary Island Cruise

This was probably the best value-for-money holiday we have ever had. The organization was first class with luggage booked in at the departure airport, and the next time you see it is outside your cabin on board ship. Registration was also pretty slick - done on the dockside via laptop computers linked back to the ship. Identity cards which are used to record when you leave and return to the ship, and your drink and other onboard purchases were issued at this time - i.e. before boarding. At this stage you are also offered the chance to purchase an "all inclusive" drinks package for an extra £100+ per person. Unless you drink a lot, this is probably not worth it. Another drawback was that the included drinks were the local rather than proprietary brands, and this included the wine. We tried this once with our evening meal, and it wasn't nice. Quite reasonable French, Chilean, Australian wines were available in the restaurant for £10-12 a bottle.

The on board cabin, bar and restaurant staff were very cheerful and helpful, the food was excellent, and the entertainment - a mix of home grown and guest artists - was very good. They really seemed to take a pride in their ship and tried very hard to ensure that you had a good time. We tended to have our evening meals in the restaurant, with a buffet style self service breakfast and lunch by the pool. There were two formal evenings during the weeks, and two midnight buffets.

We had a cabin on B deck towards the front - quite big enough, with ample storage space, and probably one of the better places to be as some engine noise and vibration was apparent towards the stern, and higher decks tended to be thoroughfares for people going to the restaurant, theatre, bars or whatever.

Given the relatively low cost of the holiday I spent some time looking for the drawbacks - and they were very few and very minor. The ship is relatively old - built in the 70s - and is showing its age, both in its old fashioned design and in the creaks from the hull when at sea - a slight nuisance when trying to get to sleep. Another deterrent to sleep was evident on our first night at sea - the roughest of the week. Something was banging, and we eventually traced this to the drawers of the drawer unit in the cabin. The sliders were very free, so that when the ship pitched forward the drawers came open, when it pitched backwards the drawers slammed shut. A few socks stuffed down the side cured this problem. And it is also a smallish ship by today's standards, so on board recreational facilities are a bit limited - for example there is only one, relatively small, swimming pool. But these were only a few negatives amongst the many positives.

Disembarking was as efficient as embarking. Airline tickets were issued on the dockside, and luggage was taken away, appearing next on the luggage carousel at the destination airport.

In summary, a happy and efficient ship, remarkable value for money, and wholeheartedly recommended.


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