This one-night stay was always going to be different from being in a conventional hotel. But it turned out to be a great experience.
We had a Deluxe Room which was spacious and comfortable, and whose styling was (as promised) evocatively retro. It was clean and everything was in good condition although the style meant that it didn't have all of the "luxurious" trimmings that a shoreside hotel of this standard would have offered. Importantly, the hotel accommodation areas are quiet and secure.
The rest of the day was spent on the aft pool deck, enjoying the sunshine together with many families and others relaxing on a late Friday afternoon.
We were staying on a dinner, bed and breakfast package. This included a four-course surprise dinner in the Club Room, which is the more formal of the two restaurants on board. The menu was interesting and reasonably well executed, although the quality of the ingredients did not quite match the ambition and skill of the chefs.
Breakfast in the Lido restaurant is pretty standard hotel buffet breakfast fare (with pretty standard hotel buffet service), although plentiful in choice and quantity.
Hotel guests get a discount on tours of the ship. There are two parts, which can be done separately or together: the engine room and other workings, which is guided; and the upper decks and public rooms, which is a self-guided walk although there are plenty of volunteers at each point in the tour. An included audio guide explains a great deal more. There is so much to see - and it has been so lovingly restored - that we simply ran out of time and had to rush at the end.
We were not the only people who'd decided to do this on the night before setting sail on this ship's successor, the ms Rotterdam (VI). It's a great way to start a cruise holiday! And this successful venture deserves everyone's support.
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