My Husband and I decided to get away from it all for a short break and also to celebrate my birthday, August 2012 we chose one of my favourite ships the Super Star Virgo.
Our last cruise on her prior to this one was in Jan 2009 and was one of the best cruises I had ever had, everything was perfect just as it had been on our two previous cruises.
This cruise I was so looking forward too, normally we would board the ship and talk freely with the other Balcony and Suite guests while sipping our wine in the foyer before heading down to the Bella Vista for a gourmet lunch, everything used to run like clock work but this time it was so different. we where put into a holding pen before boarding the ship each category in their own little holding pen, Inside in one area Balcony/Suite in another so if you happen to be traveling with teenage children or friends/family members and you are in a different class you will be separated, One chap who was in our holding pen was traveling with friends who happened to be in another, I felt a little like cattle, we where constantly asked to move every 5-10 minutes it was hot stuffy and no one offered refreshments.
Finally we managed to get on board and walked directly to the foyer for our welcome drinks which we received then was asked to sit down outside of the cordoned area, the girl who gave us the drinks then proceeded to sell packages of alcoholic beverages and she carried our hand baggage to the Noble house restaurant and proceeded a hard sell, as where the others, we had no time to mingle or relax.
Our next shock the Bella Vista restaurant was closed the only venue open was the buffet from past experience this is not a good place to eat as it mainly caters to an Asian or Indian clientele and some of the clientele that frequent the Buffet have a different perspective on not touching food with ones hands and also as the crush of people pushing and shoving,It was worse than anyone could imagine the amount of people in there was terrible there is no order at all it was a scene from horror movie people everywhere no tables to eat at dirty tables full of Indians all pushing and shoving as though it was their last meal. Never Again! I like to eat in a proper restaurant and have a meal be prepared as to what I order, not be treated again like cattle to herded and pushed shoved and pay good money to eat cafeteria food.
Our next shock to discover was that some entertaining areas have had changes made to them the Galaxy of the stars was a venue my Husband and I like to go to and listen to bands have a dance and watch the shows, even when no shows where on we would sometimes wander up and sit in the quiet area right on the front of the showroom and as this is at the front of the ship and has glass around it we would watch storms out to sea, not any more with all of the slot machines around the edge of the showroom and in the quiet area. Also noticed to the left of reception that the old Karaoke bar where we used to have some fun has also been turned into a gambling area full of slot machines.It seems there is less and less to do on board unless you gamble, which we don't the ship is spending less and less time in ports so gambling time is maximised we noticed was that areas of the ship and again venues where out of bounds to us as there where party's on board, we had never encountered this before, there where around 200 westerners on the ship not many will be sailing on her again after their treatment I spoke to quite a lot of them they felt left out and pushed out an example of this was the gala dinner, if you have balcony class you are supposed to be given the pick of the dinner and also shows you want to book for, this was not the case one chap queued for his ticket the afternoon he got on board again you will notice you have to Que in line for tickets instead of relaxing, anyway he then had to wait in the showroom to be called his number was 87 so he had a bit of a wait when he was shouted up and asked for the Bella Vista western menu to be told it is fully booked both first and second sitting, how can this be you might ask! I for one did not go to book my Gala Dinner till the next morning when I waited again in a Que for 20mins for the dinner bookings to be open there was a great number of people on board also in the Que I was told I would go on a wait list to see if anyone cancelled I told them If they did not get me in for the gala dinner then they would be serving the dinner in my Cabin lets face it what did we pay for! it had been a constant upheaval no relaxation, no service an augument to get anything, terrible the only time I have thought to ask for a total refund what a sham. We did get into the Gala Dinner and guess what there where several empty tables, the other westerners yes you guessed it had to eat in the Buffet.
It sounds like a whinge but believe me this was the 4Th and last time on board the Virgo I want to be honest, what experience you may want, if it is to Gamble then fine this is the cruise for you, if you want relaxation, great fun and entertainment go elsewhere this will leave you drained and fed up.
There seems to be a shift of the entertainment on board as well, striptease shows seem very prominent with the new group on board at $50.00 a show you can also ask for a front row experience sorry I don't know how much that is or what you get with it. This cruise is not for the Western Market and as such should not be advertised In the West it caters mainly Indian and Chinese/Asian Market they have very different customs to us and this being said it was not for us, I travel around the globe and have done lots of cruises on average I holiday several times per year once every two months so I am used to others and their ways this was like a holiday on the Ganges River India, there's nothing wrong with that if that is what you wanted and booked, that being said I booked out of Singapore on the Virgo, was expecting a mixed bag as in the past. Has it changed for the better I will let you be the Judge but there is a saying BUYER BEWARE!