It’s now just over a week since we got back from our cruise on Azura. In that time I’ve been taking a rest from the blog, apart from doing my usual ‘summary + review‘ page. On that page I made some comments about the meals and service in the MDR that various people have responded to. I also made some comments about Britannia (balcony size and lack of promenade) that got picked up on Cruise Critic, and again there have been responses. Many of these responses have expressed views different from the ones I expressed. The comments seem to be from sensible people, so I’ve been having a little re-think of what I expressed.
First, of course, is my wife Val, who is my most important critic. She has asked me to say that while she agrees that a number of the meat dishes weren’t very exciting, she is much more positive about all the fish dishes she had in the MDR than perhaps I had indicated. They weren’t just ‘less objectionable alternatives’, they were genuinely good meals, and she was perfectly happy with them. She’s also asked me to say that the best meal she had in the MDR was a chicken biryani which was offered as a ‘regional speciality’; that was tasty and well cooked, and being plated meant that she wasn’t offered unsuitable vegetables to go with it.
Other people have also responded to the effect that they are perfectly happy with the plated service, and that has made me stop and wonder why I was less happy. I had better be truthful and say that perhaps a significant factor was that it took a number of days before we really got to know our table companions. We booked a table for eight as we do enjoy the conversation offered by a large group. On this occasion there were at most six of us, made up of ourselves, a family of two parents and a child, and an older single gentleman. Not only were we a very disparate group, but on a number of nights there were just four of us, as the child sometimes went to the children’s club and the single gentleman used room service. It’s also only fair to say that we were absent on four nights as well – three nights in speciality restaurants and one night due to exhaustion – so we weren’t regular attenders either. So what with one thing and another the conversation didn’t really flow until nearly the end of the cruise. In that situation, perhaps I was being over-observant of the niceties. Thinking back, I can remember some cruises when the conversation was so good that I hardly noticed my food arriving at all, let alone the manner in which it did so. So perhaps I was missing that convivial experience.
Turning to Britannia, a number of people have commented in the relevant Cruise Critic thread that Britannia looks to be a great ship, and having any balcony at all will satisfy their requirements. Maybe we have been spoiled by our repeated C-deck balconies on Ventura and Azura – it is nice to be able to stretch out on the balcony. But perhaps the other commentators are right: what’s important is to have a balcony at all, and it can be enjoyable to sit out on no matter the size.