The La Demence cruise 2011 is over and the 2012 cruise is taking bookings. Prices are pretty much the same this year, except they say there will be no last minute discounts. Click the headline for the 2011 review by team damaged and watch the video for an idea of what the ship, the rooms, the parties, the restaurant and the shows were like.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS 10/10
Imagine a full on club with almost no security and being free to do what you like, when you like to who you like. It's brilliant. There was no warm-up, the party started immediately and so much so departure was delayed due to our one and only g casualty. He survived, nobody noticed we hadn't actually left the harbour?! The staff didn't know what hit them and the first three days were quite frankly mental:) The partying didn't stop until our arrival in Malta where we arrived early as we needed an ambulance for a guy who'd injected his cock with something and had a hard on for 16 hours and it was turning blue - as soon we docked, it went down and the ambulance was sent away.
THE PARTIES 10/10
And the parties went on for 16 hours every day starting with a poolside T-dance at 18:00, a show in the cinema around 20:00, a themed party (white, underwear, ladies, leather etc) at 23:00 again around the pool, and then from 04:00 below decks in club Zoom until breakfast time at 08:00. And that's not to mention the parties in the toilets and various private cabins which maintained an open door policy. Are you exhausted yet?
THE DARKROOMS 4/10
There was a cruising area every night at the back of the boat in the open air, where they had the daily exercise session as seen in the video. It got a bit windy sometimes - the ship travels at 20 mph (30 kph) - but fucking naked on the deck while the Mediterranean sun rises must be done. Apart from one unfortunate incident where they turned flood lights on for five minutes, the staff kept well clear.
Thierry, the organiser "I haven't had a moment to rest", tells us that he'll try to create a proper indoor darkroom next year down in that Zoom bar (deck 8). There was plenty of room and he should, to satisfy that La Demence spirit.
THE CREW 10/10
There was about one crew for every two guests and first impressions were correct. Like true Brits they 'kept calm and carried on'. They were sweet and helpful even when you didn't share a common language. Below decks, there was one cabin boy (or girl) for about every ten cabins and they were your personal slave. Mine, Wilmer, had lived in Miami, and spoke fluent English. He was most accommodating and turned a blind eye to the guilty evidence strewn about. One member of our party struck up a relationship with another matelot and had regular assignations in a laundry cupboard. Lucky he wasn't mad to walk the plank.
THE ITINERARY 5/10
The ship left Malaga and stopped at Malta, Mykonos and Santorini, final destination Athens and a refit yard. They had guided tours at each stop, which we did not sample, and we did not talk to anybody who did. Malta was interesting with its huge walls and forts. Mykonos we had been to many times before. It now has a reputation of being a dull Athens suburb, pretty staight and even more expensive. We just walked the harbour and reminisced on old adventures. At Santorini it was so after party, we could not get off the ship. The view when you are moored in the old volcano crater is all you really need to see.
Next year's route Marseilles, Naples, Sicily, Ibiza (with a night long stop over) and back looks much more interesting and convenient.
THE CABINS 8/10
The video shows my cabin on deck 6. Price: 1150€ per person and 1299€ next year if you get the early bird or 1443€ after 1 Oct. To begin with I was a bit disappointed about the sealed windows, but it was not really a problem and the rest was surprisingly spacious for a ship and perfect. Every day the "Ship News" was slipped under your door by your personal slave, it told you what was on that day and always reminded you that smoking was forbidden in the cabin. My slave Wilmer was very tolerant, cleaned the ash tray which I had borrowed from an upper deck and tidied the bottles of Jack Daniels which were strewn about the place.
If you get de Luxe you have a balcony and sliding doors! But there one older chap, who was a regular cruiser (ship cruiser that is), and who I visited late at night complained about the noise. "It was too close to the dance floors." Next year these have been priced down. C* Exterior superior *NOISE at 999€ might be quite a bargain, especially if your hearing is already discodamaged. And then take earplugs - problem solved!
ALCOHOL ON BOARD 0/10
The only really bad thing about the cruise was that you were not allowed to take alcohol on board to your cabin. They check your hand luggage as you arrive and confiscate it! You get it back at the end of your time. That's what they do in prisons isn't it? Thierry says "This is a rule that applies on all cruise ships around the world, and is out of my control. Next year we will inform our guests that there is a search of the hand luggage to look for bottles of alcohol." [my italics - hint hint: They don't search your big bags which board separately.].
My bottle of Jack Daniels, which I had bought in the shop just before boarding, was duly confiscated and, before we arrived in Malta, we devised several plans to remedy the situation including throwing string over the front of the ship well away from security, tying it to a bottle, hoisting rapidly and doing a runner. It turned out that ribbon suspenders holding bottles in baggy trousers did the job. Jack minced through security while another queen was screaming, "I want to speak to Thierry now" as the security chap who was holding his vodka and looking at him with amused contempt.
There was a full service restaurant on deck 7. The service was erratic and the food was from mediocre to bland. The French contingent must have freaked out. But it was agood atmosphere, we had fun and went several times as you can see in the video with DJ Sandy pretending it was his birthday, GMF Bob all blurred and DJ Chris Bekker loving being molested by a cheeky Italian. The cinema with the comedy drag show or whatever was just across the way, so dinner then show was quite a regular.
Upstairs, there was a self service restaurant, which was better. Much more choice, more quantity but not such a riot. And that's where the comedy pig was. It was not typical or appetising to simple tastes, but it all got eaten by some folk. Animals may have suffered to make that photo.
There was something, always free, to eat 24 hours and often you needed it.
TOWER OF BABEL 9/10
Probably most had French as their mother tongue and many of them were Belgian friends of La Demence. Then Spanish and Brazilian - club Weekend of Sao Paulo was a sponsor as was Berlin's GMF. I fell in with some Germans, but they seemed few and far between and the lingua franca was English, of whom there were less. There were many other nationalities including a Greek man in the cabin opposite me, who I only met on the last day, when he dragged me into his room for a swift 'get to know you'. Ship communications were in French, Spanish and English 'the most important languages' they said. Funny that: Most people in Europe have German as their mother tongue. More German please: Die Menschen und die Sprache!
LAST IMPRESSIONS 10/10
It costa lotta, but for a quality hotel with free good food, as much as you want, over 30€ worth of parties every night and visiting some lovely Mediterranean islands it's good value. One new German friend said it was worth it, just to visit all those places, and Germans don't throw their money around.
For a boat of 1200 partying gays, and a handful of ladies, there was very little drama - superb. We're very tempted to go back and the 2012 route looks better than 2011. If you live in London you can finance the whole trip by renting out your home - it's mid-Olympic time!
More info here: http://www.lademence.com/ including official photos of 2011 and 2012 booking.
First person singular has been used throughout this report solely for literary effect. It was not any member of team damaged who smoked in their cabin, fucked naked on deck or smuggled alcohol. It was a very naughty friend of ours and Discodamaged completely disassociate themselves from his antics. Apologies to the Captain etc etc.