We paid for a cruise on Vantage, a line we have had good experiences on previously. Instead of the Vantage ship we expected, we were greeted with the Variety Voyager on arrival in Poole, our departure point. The ship appeared to be older and was in need of some repairs, some of which were obvious to passengers.
The reservation agent offered a cabin on the port side so we would have a good view of the landscape as we cruised. We later learned learned that international shipping law requires vessels to sail 15 miles from the coastline.
Within a couple days of sailing, some passengers reported they had brown water in their sinks, toilets and showers. As time on the ship continued, the condition reached most, if not all the cabins. This condition was never fixed in spite of the ship being docked in Ferrol for 3 full days after only 2 days at sea.
Passengers were bused to and from destinations that were not included in the itinerary, destinations we specifically wanted to see. Instead we spent about 7 of the 13 days on the bus with nights spent in some very nice hotels. We did get to see some of the scheduled sights but the tour directors had to scramble to find activities for the passengers since we were not in the designated ports of call. Because the bus time was so lengthy we were deprived of the pleasure of the company of fellow passengers stuck in our bus seats. We often arrived at a hotel very close to dinner time (in one case dinner at 8:30) so by the time we finished our meal, it was very close to bedtime. Once again, no time to mingle.
While the food on the ship was generally good, breakfast left a great deal to be desired. Lunches were buffet style and offered several options that were acceptable.
Entertainment was a disappointment. One song group came in but were busy pedaling (selling) their CDs to the passengers. We found that offensive. The other two nights with entertainment were somewhat enjoyable..
Most land tours were well done but again, with the exception of two days, there was no time to explore on our own.
The cabin was comfortable but had limited storage space but had much wasted space with what passed for a desk area.
Staff was courteous and willing to help when called on. As time went on, tour directors, having had to struggle to find substitute venues, became a bit short with passenger inquiries. Somehow this was almost acceptable as they had to scramble for alternates due to the bus ride.
Yes, there were weather conditions out to sea but not for 5-6 days off and on. We were told the ship would be sailing in an effort to keep up with the bus but that did not seem to happen.
Apparently this was a repositioning cruise which are somewhat less expensive but we were never advised of this.
All in all, the cruise was largely a bus ride. Had we wanted a bus tour, probably at about half the price, we would have bought that. Again, had there been any indication much of it would be a bus tour, we never would have signed on. We expect some sort of remuneration by Vantage, the cruise company with which we contracted.
Comfortable bed and pillows, minimal storage, plenty of wasted space under what passed as a desk area.