Cruise L1917 Isles of Scotland 1.8.2019
This was our first ever cruise and we had expected much better considering the cost. The M.S. Balmoral had its last refit some 10/11 years ago and it is looking very tired. Our cabin was showing the signs of wear and tear with the bathroom being particularly poor - cracked tiles in the shower and not very clean. Soundproofing between cabins was below acceptable levels.
The food was of a good standard but nothing exceptional. Waiting staff were very efficient albeit there was a sense of being rushed.
Entertainment was mediocre. I overheard two different people refer to the cruise as "Butlins at Sea".
Considering the cost of the cruise it was disappointing to learn that one would have to pay an additional £26 per hour for internet access! We waited until we went ashore to catch up on emails etc!
The last straw for us was the disembarkation which took 1.75 hours (and we weren't the last off!). Had we not been asked to vacate our cabins then we could have had some comfort before leaving. As it was the aisles and stairways were filled with people (many elderly) sitting on the floor. An appalling way to end the holiday.
However to finish on a positive note, we were able to visit The Orkneys and Shetland which was a delight.
Tired in appearance and the bathroom was in need of repair - cracked and loose tiles in shower. Inadequate soundproofing between cabins - our neighbours were in the habit of operating their TV at high volume until after midnight!
Kirkwall is a lovely city and we enjoyed wandering around the shops and museums. Our Orkney Highlights tour included one hour in Stromness - nothing much to see or do there so a bit of a waste of time.
Unfortunately we docked on a Sunday so very few shops were open. However our excursion to Jarlshof and Sumburgh was very good - especially being able to see the puffins