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On Iona now 28th Sept


Technoman2
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From arriving at port by taxi we dropped off our big bags and kept our cabin bags with supplies of soft drinks to put in fridge on board. It took 1 hour to get to testing point then 20 mins to wait for test result then a further 40 mins to get booked in and on board. Ship is great lots of restaurants there are 2 formal nights on this 14 day cruise. Shame the cakes are not free in Costa now but the waistline is happy. Just got to Vigo. Did walking tour not worth money, do your own exploring. The current situation is that we can get off at all Spanish ports unaccompanied but not Portugal but that may change. 

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44 minutes ago, Technoman2 said:

From arriving at port by taxi we dropped off our big bags and kept our cabin bags with supplies of soft drinks to put in fridge on board. It took 1 hour to get to testing point then 20 mins to wait for test result then a further 40 mins to get booked in and on board. Ship is great lots of restaurants there are 2 formal nights on this 14 day cruise. Shame the cakes are not free in Costa now but the waistline is happy. Just got to Vigo. Did walking tour not worth money, do your own exploring. The current situation is that we can get off at all Spanish ports unaccompanied but not Portugal but that may change. 

I take it that the Costa cakes are free when you purchase a drink? 
 

 

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Temperature tests being carried out daily before dinner and when getting off ship at Vigo. No drinks in theatre. Masks to be kept on in theatre but in other entertainment venues can be removed once seated. Have to be worn when moving around ship but not outside. 

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17 minutes ago, Technoman2 said:

No locator form for port. Just get off with cruise card. IMG_20210928_162919.thumb.jpg.e7d0cf5c332d1dafdd47f132ee489b5d.jpgIMG_20210928_162919.thumb.jpg.e7d0cf5c332d1dafdd47f132ee489b5d.jpg

IMG_20210928_162912.jpg

Looks as though they have moved Lanlard's patisserie sales from Britannia's atrium to Costa on Iona, maybe you could ask someone where the free cakes are now dispensed?😉

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My thoughts so far. 
 

Embarkation  - it works. I had parking with CPS so you had to drive to the Mayflower terminal first where the cars were all set out in lines in the car park (memories of P&O ferries) and then line by line the tickets, vaccination certs, etc. were checked, before line by line being asked to drive to the testing tent where you were tested, given a wristband, and told to drive to the berth at the other end of the dock Iona was at. It worked, but some moaning from the ‘Buckets’ in other cars that they had to wait too long, they weren’t being told what was happening, etc. Arrived at Iona’s berth, car handed over to CPS (and had to drag own luggage to the hole in the wall) and then up to the departure lounge (avoiding the lengthy queue of people to be tested who were not using CPS), by which time the ‘you  are not infected’ text had come through and we could go straight to the check in desk, and then onto the ship. Probably an hour or so waiting in the car at Mayflower, so nothing horrendous.

 

Ship - it’s big, damn big. And even it’s mother would struggle to say it’s a good looker. Lifts - well the ‘4 to a lift’ was abandoned by everyone immediately.

 

Covid - most people wearing masks, but a few who ‘forgot’ and a few letting their noses hang out. Staff rarely say anything seeming to prefer to look the other way.

 

Cabins - nice but narrow. Plenty of room in the bathroom. Bed very comfy. Just about sufficient storage space (some are cupboards 4” deep). Big smart tv on the wall with a few tv shows but an awful lot of free films on demand. But narrow. Very narrow.

 

Balconies - the deck 8 balconies have been well discussed and are ‘not great’. But in addition, if you have a cabin on deck 15 behind mid ships then there is a *huge* overhang from deck 16 which will mean you might catch the sun at dawn and dusk, but the rest of the time - no chance. You will be in shade. And the balconies which protrude at mid ships mean that everything alongside and below is overlooked.

 

Bars - Crows nest is ‘fine’ but not as nice as on some other ships. Anderson’s is deserted most evenings, apart from Black Tie night. Brodies (the pub) seemed alway full of people as I passed by. Glass House and the Keel and Cow ‘gastropub’ are in the central atrium and both have the ambience of an airport terminal. And the various outdoor bars.
 

Restaurants - Two ‘traditional’ MDRs at the back of the ship, Coral and Pearl, with a linking sweeping staircase - similar to the design on Cunard QV and QE. These are supplemented by two other smaller MDRs, Aqua and Opal, set on the side and in the middle of the ship and these two almost seem as if the ship was never designed for this layout with those two smaller restaurants being more suited to some type of specialty dining. 
 

Food in the MDRs is the same as it always was - pretty good, but not generally outstanding. Wine waiters are a distant memory though, and the waiters are worked hard and are being supported by ‘grey shirts’ who are taking guests to the table and resetting tables. The booking system with the app - nice in theory but not so great in practice, but the staff are working around it to keep people happy.

 

Horizons - the usual hell on earth and best avoided at peak times - although with the staff serving you rather than people serving themselves it looks a bit more hygienic.

 

For the other restaurants, the food in Sindu was OK, although to be honest not as good as I remember and now seems to be grilled meat with some curried side dishes and accompanying items. Service was good though. Epicurean the food was again OK but again not as good as I remember. Service in Epicurean was a bit hit and miss though. For both I took advantage of the embarkation 50% off on day one and two. 
 

Up to no the best food by far has been in the Olive Grove which is part included and part pay (seemingly randomly by dish). The pizzas are proper Italian thin pizzas and are by far the best I have had on any ship anywhere.

 

The food in The Quays looks ok, but not eaten there yet.

 

Entertainment - well the 710 Club looks nice from peering through the door past the ‘go away we are full’ sign which is permanently outside. Club House is full because you can take your mask off to drink, which you can’t do in the theatre - I am sure there is some logic there but I can’t understand it. Virtually no day time activities, and there doesn’t seem to be much live music in the bars.

 

Gym - really nicely equipped with plenty of good quality machines and a free weights section. Health Spa, as with other more recent ships there is no free sauna with only the expensive pay option.

 

Port day at Vigo - the only additional thing was a member of staff scanning the temperature of everyone disembarking (and you didn’t have to do escorted tours), otherwise getting off and on was just as in the past.

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46 minutes ago, picsa said:

My thoughts so far. 
 

Embarkation  - it works. I had parking with CPS so you had to drive to the Mayflower terminal first where the cars were all set out in lines in the car park (memories of P&O ferries) and then line by line the tickets, vaccination certs, etc. were checked, before line by line being asked to drive to the testing tent where you were tested, given a wristband, and told to drive to the berth at the other end of the dock Iona was at. It worked, but some moaning from the ‘Buckets’ in other cars that they had to wait too long, they weren’t being told what was happening, etc. Arrived at Iona’s berth, car handed over to CPS (and had to drag own luggage to the hole in the wall) and then up to the departure lounge (avoiding the lengthy queue of people to be tested who were not using CPS), by which time the ‘you  are not infected’ text had come through and we could go straight to the check in desk, and then onto the ship. Probably an hour or so waiting in the car at Mayflower, so nothing horrendous.

 

Ship - it’s big, damn big. And even it’s mother would struggle to say it’s a good looker. Lifts - well the ‘4 to a lift’ was abandoned by everyone immediately.

 

Covid - most people wearing masks, but a few who ‘forgot’ and a few letting their noses hang out. Staff rarely say anything seeming to prefer to look the other way.

 

Cabins - nice but narrow. Plenty of room in the bathroom. Bed very comfy. Just about sufficient storage space (some are cupboards 4” deep). Big smart tv on the wall with a few tv shows but an awful lot of free films on demand. But narrow. Very narrow.

 

Balconies - the deck 8 balconies have been well discussed and are ‘not great’. But in addition, if you have a cabin on deck 15 behind mid ships then there is a *huge* overhang from deck 16 which will mean you might catch the sun at dawn and dusk, but the rest of the time - no chance. You will be in shade. And the balconies which protrude at mid ships mean that everything alongside and below is overlooked.

 

Bars - Crows nest is ‘fine’ but not as nice as on some other ships. Anderson’s is deserted most evenings, apart from Black Tie night. Brodies (the pub) seemed alway full of people as I passed by. Glass House and the Keel and Cow ‘gastropub’ are in the central atrium and both have the ambience of an airport terminal. And the various outdoor bars.
 

Restaurants - Two ‘traditional’ MDRs at the back of the ship, Coral and Pearl, with a linking sweeping staircase - similar to the design on Cunard QV and QE. These are supplemented by two other smaller MDRs, Aqua and Opal, set on the side and in the middle of the ship and these two almost seem as if the ship was never designed for this layout with those two smaller restaurants being more suited to some type of specialty dining. 
 

Food in the MDRs is the same as it always was - pretty good, but not generally outstanding. Wine waiters are a distant memory though, and the waiters are worked hard and are being supported by ‘grey shirts’ who are taking guests to the table and resetting tables. The booking system with the app - nice in theory but not so great in practice, but the staff are working around it to keep people happy.

 

Horizons - the usual hell on earth and best avoided at peak times - although with the staff serving you rather than people serving themselves it looks a bit more hygienic.

 

For the other restaurants, the food in Sindu was OK, although to be honest not as good as I remember and now seems to be grilled meat with some curried side dishes and accompanying items. Service was good though. Epicurean the food was again OK but again not as good as I remember. Service in Epicurean was a bit hit and miss though. For both I took advantage of the embarkation 50% off on day one and two. 
 

Up to no the best food by far has been in the Olive Grove which is part included and part pay (seemingly randomly by dish). The pizzas are proper Italian thin pizzas and are by far the best I have had on any ship anywhere.

 

The food in The Quays looks ok, but not eaten there yet.

 

Entertainment - well the 710 Club looks nice from peering through the door past the ‘go away we are full’ sign which is permanently outside. Club House is full because you can take your mask off to drink, which you can’t do in the theatre - I am sure there is some logic there but I can’t understand it. Virtually no day time activities, and there doesn’t seem to be much live music in the bars.

 

Gym - really nicely equipped with plenty of good quality machines and a free weights section. Health Spa, as with other more recent ships there is no free sauna with only the expensive pay option.

 

Port day at Vigo - the only additional thing was a member of staff scanning the temperature of everyone disembarking (and you didn’t have to do escorted tours), otherwise getting off and on was just as in the past.

Thanks for the update. Always nice to experience a cruise vicariously.

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5 minutes ago, picsa said:

And now to depart Vigo after the marching band with bagpipes, to a ‘salute’ from the port’s fire tenders to acknowledge her maiden visit.

Of course.  And all ports on this cruise will be presumably also maiden visits.  Have fun!

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19 minutes ago, Son of Anarchy said:

Of course.  And all ports on this cruise will be presumably also maiden visits.  Have fun!


“Have fun” - certainly am sat on the balcony in the late afternoon sun enjoying a drink.

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19 hours ago, picsa said:

My thoughts so far. 

Goodness I could have written that myself!

 

We had a great time, but have decided it was a bit big for us, and we don't think we would like it at full capacity, but we did have a good time and a much needed break.

 

The 14" between the bed and the wardrobe amused us.  We had to go  between them, open the door on the right then move to the right to open the lefthand door.  If that makes sense.

 

I would say that on our cruise, last week, I think everyone adhered to the 4 in a lift rule.

 

Conservatory cabin was lovely, but because of the extra room it could make the actual cabin dark at certain times of the day.

 

But really glad we went, it was much needed.

 

Lastly, to anyone on that cruise last week, your kindness to me  was great.( first time on scooter) 

Edited by indiana123
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Just docked in Malaga. We cancelled two tours yesterday to Spanish ports and no 10% penalty charge which we expected. But still saying Lisbon you need to book a tour to get off ship. Queued outside 710 club at 7.10pm doors open at 7.30 for show that starts at 8pm. Full by 7.31. Only about 60 seats in the place but we watched the busker one man show and that was fun. Headliners first show yesterday was fabulous and the Frozen part will blow you away. There are more than 4 in the lifts maybe 8 or 9 sometimes. But after being in a packed out club house last night with no masks seems irrelevant. Pic of salute out of Vigo. Just one other thing. They no longer are giving out the port information sheets which were useful. We found a useful website is whatsinport (all one word in Google search) IMG_20210928_180900.thumb.jpg.f09b2b92185b30640eb6ebccae76ce79.jpg

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Yes 4 in a lift completely abandoned - I haven’t seen or heard anything official, so don’t know if it is just passengers deciding for themselves or not, but there are no signs on the lifts stating any restriction to 4 people. 
 

Generally people are self limiting to 8 per lift which is quite comfortable, and not the 17 people each lift claims to hold. 
 

Masks - As the cruise goes on more people ‘forgetting’ and I have yet to hear a staff member remind them. Lots of masks in the theatre seem to ‘slip down’ accidentally. 

 

But back to Iona - my conclusion of the entertainment is there are insufficient entertainment locations, with only the Club House, theatre, 710 club, and the occasional use of the Sky Dome and atrium. 

 

Whether it is people avoiding the cinema because of the ‘no drinks & must wear masks’ rule - yesterday’s show I attended it would be generous to say 20% of seats were occupied for the new Headliners show - it meant the Club House was full and standing (with no social distancing or mask wearing as drinks are allowed). And there is then no live entertainment elsewhere (other than a random busker in Brodies, and unadvertised ‘pop up’ short taster shows in the atrium.
 

The theatre has a new design of led display panels as the ‘backdrop’ and surrounding either side and above the stage, and they are making full use of it for effects, but in my view distracting from the performance of the dancers. 
 

By luck I got into the 710 club - what an awful design. A square room with a stage as a triangle in one corner, but as the doorway protrudes in then all those sitting down that wall can’t see. The bar (which has no stools) is three times larger than it needs to be in this small room so cuts down seating. 
 

Rather amusing yesterday as we ‘turned the corner’ to head for Gibraltar as the sun shifted so the sunbathing herd ran from one side to the other to grab their spot. At full capacity finding an outside space will be a challenge.

 

The MDR kitchens seem to be at full stretch causing food to go out not as it should - from the surrounding tables I saw three ‘medium rare’ steaks get sent back as they had been left under the hot lamps so they resembled the sole of a shoe. All replaced quickly and efficiently, but as it was obvious from looking that they were not correct without needing to cut them, then you wonder if the staff have just been told to ‘get it out and get the customers through’ because an experienced waiter would know it was wrong. 

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19 hours ago, indiana123 said:

The 14" between the bed and the wardrobe amused us.  We had to go  between them, open the door on the right then move to the right to open the lefthand door.  If that makes sense.


Some cabins the beds are arranged differently so the bed is next to the balcony door so the narrow gap is between the settee and the wardrobe. However that gap is the only place to store the (useless) coffee table that you will keep stubbing your toes on. 

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Thanks for the update. The 4 to a lift when we were on was obvious, 4 large circles in the corners of the lift and notices, these are obviously gone. It will be interesting what other changes will happen before we are next onboard on 19th February 22.

 

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On 9/28/2021 at 3:56 PM, picsa said:

My thoughts so far. 
 

Embarkation  - it works. I had parking with CPS so you had to drive to the Mayflower terminal first where the cars were all set out in lines in the car park (memories of P&O ferries) and then line by line the tickets, vaccination certs, etc. were checked, before line by line being asked to drive to the testing tent where you were tested, given a wristband, and told to drive to the berth at the other end of the dock Iona was at. It worked, but some moaning from the ‘Buckets’ in other cars that they had to wait too long, they weren’t being told what was happening, etc. Arrived at Iona’s berth, car handed over to CPS (and had to drag own luggage to the hole in the wall) and then up to the departure lounge (avoiding the lengthy queue of people to be tested who were not using CPS), by which time the ‘you  are not infected’ text had come through and we could go straight to the check in desk, and then onto the ship. Probably an hour or so waiting in the car at Mayflower, so nothing horrendous.

 

Ship - it’s big, damn big. And even it’s mother would struggle to say it’s a good looker. Lifts - well the ‘4 to a lift’ was abandoned by everyone immediately.

 

Covid - most people wearing masks, but a few who ‘forgot’ and a few letting their noses hang out. Staff rarely say anything seeming to prefer to look the other way.

 

Cabins - nice but narrow. Plenty of room in the bathroom. Bed very comfy. Just about sufficient storage space (some are cupboards 4” deep). Big smart tv on the wall with a few tv shows but an awful lot of free films on demand. But narrow. Very narrow.

 

Balconies - the deck 8 balconies have been well discussed and are ‘not great’. But in addition, if you have a cabin on deck 15 behind mid ships then there is a *huge* overhang from deck 16 which will mean you might catch the sun at dawn and dusk, but the rest of the time - no chance. You will be in shade. And the balconies which protrude at mid ships mean that everything alongside and below is overlooked.

 

Bars - Crows nest is ‘fine’ but not as nice as on some other ships. Anderson’s is deserted most evenings, apart from Black Tie night. Brodies (the pub) seemed alway full of people as I passed by. Glass House and the Keel and Cow ‘gastropub’ are in the central atrium and both have the ambience of an airport terminal. And the various outdoor bars.
 

Restaurants - Two ‘traditional’ MDRs at the back of the ship, Coral and Pearl, with a linking sweeping staircase - similar to the design on Cunard QV and QE. These are supplemented by two other smaller MDRs, Aqua and Opal, set on the side and in the middle of the ship and these two almost seem as if the ship was never designed for this layout with those two smaller restaurants being more suited to some type of specialty dining. 
 

Food in the MDRs is the same as it always was - pretty good, but not generally outstanding. Wine waiters are a distant memory though, and the waiters are worked hard and are being supported by ‘grey shirts’ who are taking guests to the table and resetting tables. The booking system with the app - nice in theory but not so great in practice, but the staff are working around it to keep people happy.

 

Horizons - the usual hell on earth and best avoided at peak times - although with the staff serving you rather than people serving themselves it looks a bit more hygienic.

 

For the other restaurants, the food in Sindu was OK, although to be honest not as good as I remember and now seems to be grilled meat with some curried side dishes and accompanying items. Service was good though. Epicurean the food was again OK but again not as good as I remember. Service in Epicurean was a bit hit and miss though. For both I took advantage of the embarkation 50% off on day one and two. 
 

Up to no the best food by far has been in the Olive Grove which is part included and part pay (seemingly randomly by dish). The pizzas are proper Italian thin pizzas and are by far the best I have had on any ship anywhere.

 

The food in The Quays looks ok, but not eaten there yet.

 

Entertainment - well the 710 Club looks nice from peering through the door past the ‘go away we are full’ sign which is permanently outside. Club House is full because you can take your mask off to drink, which you can’t do in the theatre - I am sure there is some logic there but I can’t understand it. Virtually no day time activities, and there doesn’t seem to be much live music in the bars.

 

Gym - really nicely equipped with plenty of good quality machines and a free weights section. Health Spa, as with other more recent ships there is no free sauna with only the expensive pay option.

 

Port day at Vigo - the only additional thing was a member of staff scanning the temperature of everyone disembarking (and you didn’t have to do escorted tours), otherwise getting off and on was just as in the past.

 

Great report, everyone has different opinions but it feels like you see a lot of things in the same way that I would. Thank you for taking the trouble to post it & happy cruising.

 

Damian

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1 hour ago, DamianG said:

 

Great report, everyone has different opinions but it feels like you see a lot of things in the same way that I would. Thank you for taking the trouble to post it & happy cruising.

 

Damian

My thoughts as well. Just reinforced my opinion of the ship that I have gleaned from other reviews.

I wonder who "signed off" the design of the cabins. Whoever did, obviously never slept in one of them!

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1 hour ago, Billish said:

I wonder who "signed off" the design of the cabins. Whoever did, obviously never slept in one of them!


To be fair the cabins are not bad, and for example the bathrooms are far far better than those on (say) Ventura - lots of room and a shower door not a clingy curtain. Also a decent (42” I guess) TV with decent video on demand, not a pokey 14” shoved away in a corner. 
 

It is just that they have squeezed in as many cabins as possible, hence them being narrow which doesn’t come across in the room photos on the website - they are effectively the length of a bed plus 18” wide. 
 

So for sleeping they are fine, for swinging a cat, less so. 

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