Stella Cruise Review by europe9191: Disappointed
I think it is very tricky to try to add Americans to what was once a mainly German cruise line. The announcements were in English and German and all the printed materials were in English and German.
We did get an all-English newsletter every day and an all-English “Daily Calendar”
The staff was pretty much bi-lingual, but their first language was German, so they spoke to one another in German.
In spite of all that, this could be a good cruise for people who are looking for a middle of the road cruise. The pricing is lower than AMA or Avalon and the inclusion of all alcoholic beverages could be a plus for some travelers.
In speaking with another agent on board, she said that her experience on the newer ship on the Rhine was much better. The food was far superior and cabins were nicer.
The lounge and bar area seems to be quite small. It was always well used. At times there was nowhere to go to More find a quiet space to check emails. In the front of the boat, the lounge looks over a lot of equipment, disrupting the view.
The dining room:
The dining room was attractive and set up for people to interact. After any meal they did ask you to leave so they could set up for the next meal. This happened several times, and we moved to the lounge where it was difficult to have a quiet conversation.
This space has a large seating area and a pool with lounge chairs. The weather was cool and rainy, so no one used the pool. On good days people sat and visited. Since smoking is allowed on the sun deck and there were numerous smokers,we opted to stay in the lounge most of the time.
Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style, with no ordering off the menu. There was an option for egg dishes like omelets and scrambled eggs made on the spot to your specs. Breads, cold cuts, cereals and fruits were available. Regular coffee, hot chocolate and tea were available. Generally no pastries were offered in the morning, only muffin halves.
Dinner was buffet on three nights and on the other nights there was a set menu with three choices: meat, fish or vegetarian.
I was quite disappointed in the food. The cereals offered for breakfast were: mueseli, corn flakes and cocoa puffs. There was a pot of porridge available. We thought it tasted like gummy oatmeal. The yogurt was put in a large bowl to ladle out by ourselves and was poorly labeled.
Many times the food was cold by the time I got it to our table as there were many people trying to get at the buffet.
Since this is a German company, there were foods offered that were not usually part of the American diet, such as herring for breakfast and rabbit for dinner.
Dessert mainly consisted of cakes and puddings.
There was a mid-afternoon coffee and tea service that included cakes and desserts.
Excursions were set up so that the English-speaking people were on one bus with one tour guide and the German speakers were on another bus. The German bus had about 12 people and the English speaking bus had about 33 people. There was no differentiation in the large group by abilities. (no gentle walker or active walker groups) so we kept to the pace of the slow walkers, some of whom used crutches. This made the tours tedious for people who wanted to see more. In Arles, we decided to just walk the town on our own.
Americans were treated to lunch at Paul Boucuse Restaurant in Lyon. Paul Bocuse is a 3-star Michelin chef, so lunch was a fabulous treat. I would say that it was one of the highlights of the cruise. The other guests were not invited, nor were aware of this excursion until the Americans returned and were gushing over the wonderful food.
The excursion to the Ardeche, which included a visit to the Lavender museum and lavender fields was well worth it, although we spent a lot of time on the bus. Less
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