COST-AN-ARM-AND-A-LEG-RA!!! (Renamed by Trevor and Gordon, from the UK)
We boarded the Allegra on 13 June 2009 and were immediately shown to our cabin. The Cabin Steward asked if we would like the Mini Bar to be unlocked - what a question! She unlocked the fridge and took out a large bottle of mineral water and placed it on the shelf above the fridge and left.
Around the neck of the bottle a notice read:
We are sure that you will appreciate the bottle of water we have left in your cabin.
We would like to inform you that if the bottle is opened it will be billed to your account at the price shown on the Bar List. (AU$5.00)
That was our welcome aboard and the theme for the whole 14 day cruise.
Were small (2.4 metres) and a number of them had wet carpets - one cabin that we know of suffered a burst water pipe in the middle of the night. The walls of the cabins were paper thin and you could hear everything being said in the next cabins, the toilets being flushed and the cups and saucers being rattled.
Whilst we appreciated the cabin stewards working from early morning to clean the cabins, we had a service trolley permanently outside our cabin, sometimes until after 10.30pm.
Outrageous prices for this part of the world, with the only saving grace being the recently introduced Happy Hour from 5.30pm to 7.00pm in the Murano and Flamingo Bars and on the pool deck from 11.00 to 12.00 - two drinks for the price of one. But then expect to wait up to 25 minutes for drinks and the second round beers served in plastic tumblers.
Otherwise, one draft beer, one Brandy and a can of coke cost Euro 14.98, which includes 15% service charge.
A packet of cigarettes purchased at the bar cost Euro 3.20, plus 15% service charge - and the wrapper of the packet proclaimed "Duty Free" all around it.
One email cost Euro 9.50. The connection was painfully slow and the email consisted of five or six short paragraphs.
Bingo is in at least four languages and a card cost Euro 5.
Costa charges Euro 3 Fixed Commission. You wouldn't want to change AU$5.00 as you would have to pay them money.
Exhorbitant Trousers, Slacks and skirts Euro 5.20. Shirts, Blouses, Nightgowns and Pyjamas Euro 3.00. Jackets and long skirts Euro 5.70. A pair of socks Euro 1.30. A child's dress Euro 9.80.
The photographer and his assistant were absolute pests, even going round the tables in the Montmartre restaurant and the price of the photos over AU$25.00 each.
Euro 10 to participate
Minimum bets of Euro 3 on Roulette and Black Jack.
Outrageous again. And they don't tell you until the night before that they have also organised a shuttlebus into the city centres, ranging in price from Euro 6,7 and 31 (Brunei) each for a return trip, as opposed to the tours which generally cost over Euro 100 per person.
Brunei visas for Australians cost Euro 10 each and although we didn't go ashore, we were charged regardless. Apparently, when they asked for the Visa application forms to be completed, signed and handed in before 21 June, we should have gone down to the Service Desk and told them that we did not want to go ashore.
The Yacht Club Buffet served the same boring (cooked) breakfast each day - overcooked rashers of bacon that could not be separated. Here they only served orange and grapefruit juice and only at breakfast time. And for some reason, Lipton tea was kept in a cupboard and you had to ask for it.
Lunch and dinner was a selection of tasteless cooked meats, sometimes fish, pasta dishes, cooked vegetables and salads. No one could believe the unimaginative and bland dishes being served up, especially the pasta.
And no one could believe that only plastic plates and mugs were available for use in the Yacht Club.
The Montmartre Restaurant
Fine dining, where several small size courses were served at dinner and usually what was served in this restaurant was also served in the Yacht Club. No plastic.
Pizza (Free) was served from 5.00pm to 7.00pm and from 10.00pm to 1.00pm.
Then of course there was the morning and afternoon teas and the late buffet.
The choice of games was disappointing, especially considering the size of the Costa decks and deck games were virtually non existent. (Cards, Scrabble, Pictionary and Chess) There would probably be about 15 books on the window sill of the Internet Room. The Entertainment Team and the Shows were pathetically amateurish to say the least.