Evenings on board...
Previously I talked about activities on the ship and how to spend your day. Now I'm going to focus on the evening entertainment.
Usually the ship disembarks late afternoon onwards, so passengers have a evenings activities to look forward to.
Every afternoon the ships daily paper is delivered to the cabin. It contains lots of information about the next day, giving passengers plenty of time to make plans. One of the first things we look at is the evening entertainment and the dress code.
So, some daytime options are still available in the evenings, for example there may be a dance class or a quiz. The cinema will be open, and the casino will be fully operational. There may be a sporting event being shown in one of the bars. Once the ship is out on open water, the duty free shops can reopen, and most evenings there is a shopping event, sale or promotion.
However, our evenings tended to revolve around the shows. Every night there is a different act in the main theatre, eg a comedian, singers or the ships own theatre company who are just brilliant at all round entertainment, comparable to anything that you would see in the West End. The shows are repeated 2 or 3 times during the evening so everyone gets a chance to go. There is also the ships own group in another venue, they sing all genres and are great. The audience love them and the dance floor is always busy, between sets, the DJ keeps them going.
If you like ballroom dancing there is a venue for that as well. Some evenings there are outdoor events, with singing and dancing. The bars are all open, so passengers can drift around as they please.
Most nights,we favoured a bar at the front of the ship, at the top. A cocktail pianist played there every night and it was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The dress code is smart casual in the evenings, and twice a week is formal night. The men wear their suits and ties, or bow ties and the ladies wear posh frocks. It’s really is nice to see people glammed up, as it's not something you see very often normally.
Of course if dressing up is not your thing, you can wear smart casual in the buffet restaurant and a few of the bars. I would estimate that 99.9% of passengers do don their best togs though.
As you may be able to tell, some of our hardest decisions was “where shall we go tonight?” !
Food glorious food...
Before we went on our first cruise, the first thing many people mentioned was the food, buffet breakfasts, afternoon teas, BBQ's…. We thought they were exaggerating! Let me tell you that they weren't at all.
The price of the holiday includes your food, and I would defy even the most faddy eater not to find plenty to enjoy. The self-service buffet restaurant is open to all passengers, for 20 hours a day, catering for all your meals or just some, it's your choice. The breakfast menu offers fruit to pancakes to sausages to cereal and everything in between. Lunch choices include dinner, curry, pasta, salad, cheese and biscuits, jacket potato, hot puddings or gateaux. Afternoon tea next, scones, sandwiches and cake. Dinnertime is again a very wide choice.
About 10pm the hot chocolate, cheese and biscuits and more cakes come out…. Grab and Go operates in the pool area from mid-morning: burgers, hot dogs, pizza and chips are cooked continuously and there are also sandwiches, wraps and puddings available in the fridges. The cruise company cater for special diets / allergies, and from what I could see there were still wide choices. There are also several resteraunts, including a cabaret club which offer fine dining for a supplement. We went to the Indian fusion restaurant and had a fantastic meal.
The company we cruise with have 2 different dining options, passengers can go to a specific restaurant for table service at set times for their breakfast and dinner. Many people like this option as they can plan their day and dine with the same group of people (if they opt to join other passengers). We always choose freedom dining, so go to the buffet diner for our breakfast, then a specific restaurant for dinner when it suits us, for table service.
There are two main reasons why we go the resteraunt at dinner time, the quality of food is great because it’s cooked and served to you, and most importantly we eat sensible portions instead of just piling huge amounts onto our plate which would happen in the buffet. We both struggle with our weight (a whole new subject!) and didn't want to be waddling down the gangplank after 2 weeks of unbridled eating!