I just returned from a 25 day cruise aboard the newly "refurbished" MV Discovery, formally the Island Princess. It was my first cruise and probably my last. It was such a dissapointing experience.
To begin with the food was only mediocre, with limited amounts of fresh fruit, bony overcooked fish, altogether not good and extremely repetetive. I was not expecting lobster, but I also did not expect powdered eggs every morning at the breakfast buffet!
The ship was under construction the first part of the trip with two of the three dining areas closed, the Yacht Club and the Lido deck. The water in the cabins had a funny smell and was light brown in color.
We only had CNN for the first week or so and then it was gone. There was an internet center, but the cost was 50 p. per minute and it cost 7.00 (brit. sterling) just to GET to my email, forget about what it cost to actually read and send.
But the worst was the complete lack of entertainment. We had a three piece orchastra who was good and there was the Discovery Orcestra who played a lot of Big Band. There was a guy who played the harmonica very well, but please, who really wants to listen to the harmonica night after night?
Basically, everyone was complaining, Brits, Americans, Portuguese and all age groups from 40 to 80+. There were quite a few of the 60+ age group on board and evidently whoever planned the on board itinerary thought they were all be too senile to notice the absence of activities.
I was traveling with my father and unfortunatly we had booked through a company called Vantage. On our last day we were in Rio de Janeiro. With our flight not leaving till 8:50 pm I thought we'd have one more day to take in the sights, (be off the boat!!)but I was wrong. The loaded us a tour bus and drove about a hour out of Rio to a city called Patropolis. Now this is fine if you want to go--we were not given an option, so we got to see (another!!) church. They dropped us at the airport at 4:30 so we had to wait till 6:00 when the airline counters opened to check in.
The good things about the trip? The Filipino crew was wonderful and provided some of the best entertainment. The waiters had a class on napkin folding that was one of the highlights of the trip.
There also was a man who was the former consulate general to Brasil (Steven Dailt, I think was his name) who gave 4 extemely interesting talks on Brasil, Carnivale, Joseph Mengele (he helped positively identify his remains) and Saddam Hussain. His lectures were brilliant. The other passengers made it fun. Some of us are planning an "I survived the Discovery" reunion next year, but it will not be on that ship.