Horizon Cruise Review by bazbaz: transatlantic brazil to palma
Overall Member Rating
transatlantic brazil to palma
Embarkation: Santos (Sao Paulo)
Just returned transatlantic trip 1mar to 21mar 2008, first time with island cruises, on island star
We travelled via Milan, (others from Glasgow direct, Manchester direct, hrow to Frankfurt, hrow to paris) with our flight from Newcastle we were travelling for 28 hours, it was chaotic at port, we got there 8am (1st flight in) & could not check in till passengers had all disembarked, by 10 30 there was nearly a riot as new passengers arriving were trying to check in first, however we were allowed to check in then but were warned that cabin may not be ready which it wasn't but at least the surroundings were more pleasant & food & drink were available, people who booked late had to stay in Rio for 1-2-3 or 4 days as there were no scheduled flights available
Cabin coral deck 5021 twin inside (booked before went for £30) at front in a quiet cul de sac, near customer services, a good size, lots of wardrobe space (not many hangars) 18 drawers, 1 chair, 1 More table, dressing table, hairdryer, soap, shower gel, towels changed when you want, pool towels also, mini bar (to pay for) duvet torn at bottom, blanket had seen better days was from when the ship was the horizon I think
The lounges on board were in the main comfortable except part of the pub, the theatre was spacious 2 levels, most lounges & the pool area were ½ non smoking with no smoking in any restaurants including the outdoor area the grill
There were plenty daytime activities especially at sea, evening shows + other guests ie comedian, singer, comic magician who we never saw (BA lost his props) & another comedian, the show team were professional & the costumes were vg, there were singers etc in pub & some karaoke, pianists in captains table & harbor cafe & tv game shows, bingo, a 5 piece resident band etc in the bounty bar, the only one of the entertainment team who created havoc where ever he went was Josh although a likable enough lad (age 18) he wasn't really experienced, however he had a 30 min singing slot which we quite enjoyed
Food & drink - we only once went to the island restaurant because there were always queues & the food was same as beachcomber the only difference was that beachcomber had no table covers & u had to collect your own cutlery, the staff wore disposable gloves & there were material napkins for the 1st few days then paper napkins (because of all the sickness & diarrhea on board), there were hand sanitation machines but a lot of people ignored them, island tables were set, both were buffet with same food, 2 other restaurants to pay steakhouse £35 for 2 inc bottle wine & oasis £30 for 2 inc bottle wine. 12 to 6pm the grill(outside) was open with burgers etc Food was not very varied, similar salads most of the time, very predictable, very few veg usually only 1, 1 meat on carvery, pasta available to be made but very slow, food usually not very warm, cold desserts & every evening there was crumble & custard. Would only give food 2 & a half star rating
Dress code - I know that it is an informal ship but when people come to the evening meal in what they have been wearing all day it's not good, I have no objections to men & women wearing smart shorts & tops but some people I think just like to see how far they can go
Drinks - similar to uk beer on tap only for 1 day then onto cans then bottles all same price £2.40 Bars had 2 for 1 but were smaller & weaker-all bars different offers pays to ask at each, brazilian beer small can £2.40 often on offer 2 for 1. bottle wine £8.50 changes daily, 150 ml wine £2.40, carafe 250ml £3.15, water litre & half £2.15 cans coke etc £1.40
Trips - we went on Rio extravaganza which was so disappointing we were up sugar loaf for 75mins & only at top of Christ redeemed for only 10 mins we did complain but were just fobbed off, we wish now we had got a taxi & done it ourselves but rio is a place you need to take care, other people went on a different trip with shopping, the shopping was cancelled for some reason, also did Casablanca trip where we were rushed round, some were left in kasbar, just so guide (who was very difficult to understand) could take us to a shop where he obviously had 'an arrangement', the las Palmas trip to volcano was good, the Valencia trip was very good, (except when we came to board ship, we had to stand in this hugh queue with people boarding ferry & once again there was nearly a riot), other ports of call we got off & explored by ourselves, the only gripe with that was, there was a lack of information as to how far out of town we were, some ports had free shuttle buses to port gates or to town, but we weren't told of this
Island chat - daily newsletter, did give a lot of information but could have been more precise & included when docking, when sailing what to expect in ports ie how near or far, shuttle buses etc
Days at sea - plenty sunbeds if u want to lie on stretched canvas ones in the sun deck 12, most uncomfortable definitely need replacing, some people would reserve a chair & a sunbed & hop between the 2, not good for other people, so selfish, I used to ask if chair or sunbed wasn't being used if I could sit on it till it was required, plenty of comfy lounges if weather inclement
Weather - 31% in brazil, becoming slightly cooler as we sailed, showers & cloud 2 days out of 4 days to cape verde, it rained very heavily the day we crossed equator everyone got wet watching Neptune ceremony. Palma, Casablanca & Gibraltar hot, Valencia cloud & cold, Palma sun & cloud but very cold, we booked a night here (good Friday) & were fortunate to see the easter religious parade which was fantastic
Cashless system - a credit or debit card is swiped on check in & all you spend is put on this card, I used to get a statement regularly fromcustomer relations,because if you don't you don't have time to do much about any mistakes as you don't get final statement till 2am on departure day (there were a couple of minor mistakes )
Medical costs - I tripped going up the stairs on the 7th night & split my shin, so had to see doctor on a 1 or 2 daily basis, the cost is £466 hopefully I will claim most back from insurance, 1 lady had a heart attack & had to be flown home, apparently 4 people died so goodness knows what their costs would be (there were a lot of really old people on board, plenty sticks wheelchairs etc
Gripes - hovering round the lift area at 8pm, part of beachcomber, yellow dustbins wheeled through on a very regular basis, rubbish bags carried through while eating, not good, lots of noise from kitchen area, staff very noisy, lifts, at busy times ie trips or disembarking lifts were used for transporting allsorts, which should have been done in the less busy periods, daily quiz, entertainment team couldn't pronounce a lot of the words it could be hilarious, theatre, clearing glasses away during finale of shows, 1 lift out of action all 3 weeks, show times not adhered to, in fact we think this is the most disorganized cruise we have ever been on.
We think the basic fact was that island cruises are penny pinching as much as they can. Although we reckon we got value for money we don't think we will ever travel with them again, maybe try ocean village, seemingly similar price & 100% better in all aspects Less
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