My winter holiday 2015/6 - review
Wed 24 Feb 2016 14:22
Guest services 👎
I booked my holiday over two years ago and had been really looking forward to it. The brochure said that it would be a once in a lifetime experience. The brochure also made a number of other promises! I feel that not all of these have been met and will take some of these up with the tour operator when I get back to England.
The brochure eloquently describes a 'get away from it all' experience. Well, that is certainly true. I have now been away for more than nine (count them) weeks and this experience is like no other. It is difficult to express the truth in words. I will try.
My accommodation - this is very basic. I do not get to sleep in the same bedroom every night. Sometimes I have my own room which is my preference. On a few memorable occasions I have had to share a single room with one of the other guests. The rooms are not spacious and everything gets mixed up. One of the other guests, a kind lady called Janette, keeps moving my things and forgetting to tell me where she's put them. Usually I find any missing items in a special cupboard in one of the bedrooms called 'the rudder compartment'. It's always worth a look in here as Janette keeps a supply of Mars bars in there too. We also found a chocolate orange in here one stormy night - I'm not certain whose it was but we ate it anyway.
I am able only to sleep for an hour and a half at a time and then another guest knocks on the door to politely ask me to leave so that she can also have a sleep. There is no choice given but to agree to this request - even if it's raining. I have just ten minutes each time to vacate.
The catering - the brochure describes the catering as a self-service buffet. Something of a misrepresentation I feel. There are no staff so the other guests and I have to prepare everything from scratch including our drinking water. The food is stored in waterlogged lockers and is of variable taste. Mostly, we have to boil water and make up meals ourselves. A daily pack- up is provided and some of the items in here are great. Others are disgusting and I cannot eat them. On special occasions - when the weather is very poor - I am offered cold baked beans and sausages. This is not always to my liking.
Entertainment - the brochure, which sold the holiday as a sort of retreat, said that there would be an opportunity to join in some light exercise. This is false - at least 12 hours hard rowing is a mandatory part of the trip. Latterly, this has increased to 15 hours a day - refusal is not an option - that kind lady Janette can be quite persuasive. Janette also encouraged me to partake in a little wild swimming - but once I was in the water she handed me some cleaning equipment and told me to get to work.
We have been treated to some amazing first hand wildlife experiences - whales, dolphins, a turtle and a shark. Sometimes fish jump out of the water to see us more closely too - they usually regret that decision! Twice, a yacht has come to visit us and that has been wonderful - just to see other humans here has been very uplifting.
Guest services - are non-existent. Early on in the holiday there was a skeletal laundry service. I was able to select one item a week to be washed in a bucket. This service is no longer available.
The other guests are lovely and I feel sure that we will stay in touch afterwards. As well as Janette there is Niki and Helen. Niki is very communicative and has lots of stories to tell which helps the time to pass and Helen is very obliging. For fun, we take it in turns to pop into her bedroom when she's asleep to make telephone calls and she hardly ever complains. Helen and I have also worked out a good bartering system and we now share my iPod and her coat. Two pieces of kit we cannot mange without!
The weather - this has not been the solid sunshine which I thought was guaranteed. We had a bad storm early on, a distant memory now. Quite often we are treated to very strong winds and squalls so we get totally soaked almost daily. And when it isn't raining it is very very hot indeed.
As the holiday draws to a close, we are all very excited. Despite the lack of comfort we seem to be close to tears when we think about the adventure coming to an end.
Would I recommend this holiday to a friend ?
Yes, but it would depend on the friend. This holiday is not for everyone!
Will I be booking again for next year as soon as I get home?
No, I will not.
Sent from my iPad