What You May Want to Know
Joe and I really enjoyed our Scotland Slowly trip with Adventure Canada. Like any vacation it wasn't perfect, but we would do it again.
If you've stumbled upon this blog, thinking about traveling with Adventure Canada or booking Scotland Slowly (an itinerary that they offer once a year), we've put together a few thoughts that we would have found helpful as we were exploring our options for exploring the islands off of Scotland.
1. Quick and efficient transfers, especially when using Zodiacs. This was one of the most impressive aspects of our voyage. We were extremely impressed with the job the staff did to get passengers from the Ocean Endeavor onto Zodiacs and then to the site.
2. Realistic Itinerary. Adventure Canada is very clear that the itinerary is not set in stone. Weather and other issues can require alterations. We were impressed that our trip was able to visit all but one or two of the stops listed in the itinerary. Along the way, there was one switch of days because of the weather, but this wasn't a problem for us.
3. Communication. Once onboard, communications are excellent. The daily evening briefing was really helpful. During the briefing, details were shared and any changes to the itinerary were explained in detail.
Not exactly "cons," but miscellaneous pieces of information:
1. In looking closely at the materials prior to booking the cruise, the phrase "reasonably good health" is used. We paused for a moment before booking, worrying that, though we are in good health, were we in "reasonably good heath"? We had been told that Adventure Canada cruises cater to an older crowd, but we wondered if the cruise would be full of 60-year-old marathon runners. It was not. In fact, there were quite a few people who were not in what we would describe as "reasonably good health." For the most part, though, this didn't interfere with our enjoyment. This situation made #1 above even more impressive.
2. Definition of "casual." The cruise lists the dress code as "casual." At best, the dress was casual (even at dinner). There were moments when I would say that the general attire of the many passengers bordered on sloppy. If I had known, I would have packed a little differently.
3. Average age-- as mentioned in #1 in this section, the average age was probably around 70 and retired. We were among just a small group of still employed people.
4. Lots of singles. I was surprised by the number of solo travelers-- both women and men. Some were traveling with a friend or a small group. But quite a few were completely on their own. If you are too shy or believe you are too old to travel on your own and you are looking for more adventurous travel, Adventure Canada may be a good fit.
The Ocean Endeavor:
This is the ship that Adventure Canada essentially charters for the season. AC does not own the ship. The Ocean Endeavor is an older vessel, built in the 1980s. Though it has been refurbished a number of times, it still seemed rather worn in some areas.
The OC is also in charge of hotel and dining services onboard. We rarely saw our cabin steward, but she kept our space tidy. The food was fine-- not great, but not terrible. The selections at each meal were very good, and the cookie station always seemed well stocked. The dining staff was, overall, very good. We noticed that the wait staff covered the same stations throughout the entire 10-day cruise. I would suggest experimenting over the first couple of days, sitting in different parts of the dining room, until you find a wait person you like, and then to try to sit in that section for each meal. Many thanks to Tomas who was so quick with the coffee each morning!
I think that's it for now.
Susan and Joe