5 Bali Family Cruise Reviews

I have added another cruise to my personal challenge of cruising all the cruise lines/ships available around the world. This time, I kept it local with our group of six (family members), on CMV Vasco De Gama Departing from Bali for ... Read More
I have added another cruise to my personal challenge of cruising all the cruise lines/ships available around the world. This time, I kept it local with our group of six (family members), on CMV Vasco De Gama Departing from Bali for six-night heading to Perth. First, we must keep in mind that this a 3-3.5-star level and not a new ship and was quite bouncy, so if you suffer from sea sickness and there are a few sea days, maybe avoid this ship. Correspondence with CMV pre-trip was excellent and I was always answered within a few hours. First time for us. The first thing I will mention, is that we were saddened by the disappointing behaviour from some of the passengers, many were just constantly whinging and complaining and extremely rude to the staff at times. Maybe if passengers want luxury, and a vast choice of menu items, then choose the appropriate cruise for you needs and preferences, not the cheaper end of the market ones, this cruise was very reasonably priced No one deserves to be shouted at and spoken to with such aggression, the poor staff, they took it well and did their best with what they had, I think some were very new to the ship. Positives first, the ship décor is pretty good, and has a real luxurious feel, the lounges are stunning and decorated in their own style, they were probably some of the nicest I have seen. Embarkation was on time, a little confusing, but it was their first port. Overall, I think they suffered a crew shortage which did impact the enjoyment of the cruise. Once onboard, we headed for a snack, and was greeted by some grumpy staff, who obviously didn’t want to be there, luckily, they were replaced with the regular wait staff. Their main show theatre, Hollywood, was a fabulous two-tiered show lounge, was impressive and comfortable with some great shows and felt luxurious. The Dome Observatory with its panoramic view, was a favourite and hosted many day and night events, again, decorated beautifully. This was a great venue to relax or chat with other passengers, and at night, it turned into a disco with entertainment Blue Room, just one of the five bars on-board, again, luxurious appointments as well as the other four bars. The ship overall, never seemed busy, as it offered many spaces to venture. The back pool on level 10 was great, adults only, but this needs to be enforced by the crew to avoid dis-harmony. The Vasco offers a varied choice of three Restaurants – Waterfront Restaurant, Waterfront Mediterranean and Waterfront Eurasia, all included in your fare, and more importantly, unlike other cruise lines, it has a policy of “DINE WHEN YOU LIKE” which is just perfect, no stress, no lines, no waiting around for specific sittings. The main buffet restaurant, Bistro, was also available for meals, but towards the end of the cruise, it was getting less and sad for variety. The is also the grill, which we didn’t try. Fully booked. The food is ok/nice, many were disappointed with no ice-cream, but you could get that in the main restaurant. The chefs were also happy to cater to your needs, you just had to ask. Please do not expect fine dining, you will be disappointed. But I must say, I had the best fish and chips at sea! I was at a loss when I witnessed a passenger yelling at one of the managers, saying that they were starving as there was only seafood on board?? All food groups were served each day, again, whinging for no real reason. Vegetarians and Vegans have their own menu each day, but there was so much confusing around this, and often, the meals were mixed up. Perhaps a section of the buffet can be labelled, Vegan, which will avoid the hunting around all the stations checking the food labels that had the Vegan box ticked. The three-decked atrium housed the shopping galleria, which was totally boring, as it run out of nearly everything, like lanyards for e.g., when I enquired if they had any, I was told sternly, “Run Out”, there were rude passengers, but there were also some rude grumpy crew The photo gallery, at last some nice pictures at reasonable prices!! Cinema was great and, on this occasion, I will agree with the passengers, “where was the popcorn”, its cheap and would make the evening more enjoyable. The casino was a little small, so I didn’t have a play, but love the quiz’s and bingo on sea days. Unfortunately, even though coffee was available at some bars, it was not good, except, the machine in the Bistro which served the best coffee I have ever had at a buffet restaurant. The bar system is excellent, each time you order a drink, you need to sign for it, so you instantly know if you are being charged for a drink, or it reads 0 as you had a drinks package. The only cruise line (exclude the all-inclusive ones) I never had to fix my bill! but the invoicing was brilliant, not once were we overcharged, meaning I didn’t have to visit reception and obtain a refund. The cabins were comfortable, well laid out and super comfy beds. The not so good and can easily be fixed. The bars, all the bars are well stocked, BUT, it is only waiter service, you cannot simply walk up to the bar and order a drink and take it away with you, you need to sit down and wait for the waiter, which on a fully crewed ship, this would be great, but with only one (on average) behind the bar making the drinks, it was disastrous, two drinks would take 45mins. They even run out of glasses and had no one to fetch any!! CMV, why not have both, walk up to get your drink, or sit at a table and be waited on. Have two bar staff, not just one, this complaint was justified. In the end, you had to order two drinks at the same time not to wait nearly an hour. This did not make any sense. As VDG is an older ship, of course there will be issues, but the toilets blocking regularly, with sewage smell along some corridors and the awful smell of damp carpet due to leaks around the place, this really should be fixed, as this really does ruin your experience. Also, maybe clean the windows, some were bad, you couldn’t even see out of them. Disembarkation, this was a little disorganised, as those who chose the independent exit (off-load your own luggage) was a mess, everyone crowded the area which was not pleasant. But the HUGE let down, was the lack of staff, resulting in the Kids Club being shut!! And, the swimming pool., on a few days. CMV, you need the kids club, this would of saved the gym equipment being used to entertain them! And it was a well-equipped gym. Would I sail again, yes, absolutely, it has many positives and for the price and pretty good. I hope this helps any future travellers My next adventure – Regent Seven Seas Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
To see Australia. Ship and staff were wonderful. Food in all restaurants was exceptional. Loved all the cities we visited. Wish the cruise had been longer. The weather was hot in some areas but was always comfortable aboard the ship. ... Read More
To see Australia. Ship and staff were wonderful. Food in all restaurants was exceptional. Loved all the cities we visited. Wish the cruise had been longer. The weather was hot in some areas but was always comfortable aboard the ship. Met many wonderful people and made many friends. Lots of entertainment and activities to keep us busy while out to sea. Very informative information was given before each excursion. Cabins were always clean and well stocked. The ship was handled very well by the crew. We often did not even feel us leave or arrive in ports. Loved that the cruise was all adults. We are already looking for another cruise. Would like to do another ocean cruise but would also like to do a river cruise in Europe. We stayed in Sydney for two days after leaving the ship and feel Sydney is a beautiful city. Would love to visit there again sometime. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was a lovely cruise experience overall. We were fortunate to have sailed on the Encore last year and so can offer a comparison. Briefly, we found that while still very good, there were a couple of areas where things were not quite as ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise experience overall. We were fortunate to have sailed on the Encore last year and so can offer a comparison. Briefly, we found that while still very good, there were a couple of areas where things were not quite as good as on our previous cruise. There seemed to be a greater number of new staff who clearly were getting up to speed with their jobs. They were doing there best but sometimes made mistakes with orders and didn't quite have the warmth of engagement which comes with confidence of your responsibilities. For instance, in the Observation Lounge, the resourcing seemed stretched compared with last year and the standard of the cocktails variable. Also, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the house champagne had been 'downgraded' to a different and lesser brand from the "Nicolas" label which the company had used for several years. I don't believe that was a sensible move, although I recognise it must have been driven by cost cutting demands. As for food, the quality remains first class in all outlets; but I personally found the menus more pretentious than last year--perhaps due to the ideas of the Chef, who was different from last year. Also it's disappointing to see foie gras still heavily featured when many companies are following a more ethical policy of withdrawing this cruelly produced food from regular menus. The internet service remains patchy. I fully understand and accept the technical issues that make internet provision difficult at sea. But then to charge hefty fees for its use is somewhat exploitative. This policy and pricing should be reviewed. Finally, lest the above comments come across as too critical, let me stress that they are written from a baseline of everything being highly satisfactory or better. None of what I have said would stop me recommending the Encore to others looking for a top quality cruise experience. And despite the loss of some experienced staff for whatever reason, temporary or otherwise, there are still "stars" on board who go above and beyond the call of duty. People who Seabourn can be very proud of like for example Inna and Mihaela in housekeeping; Bernard, Amil and Helena in the Colonnade Restaurant; Eunice in the main Restaurant; and Dragana and Nicola in the Square Coffee Shop. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Joy
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you ... Read More
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you differently. Because of our age we thought this would be a good way to see Australia. Flight arrangements were terrible, sent us north to go west,long layovers. Food was very good and service excellent. Food in dining room was very good, specialty dining was excellent, World Café could have been better. Excursions could have been better, on some you spent more time on the bus than being able to enjoy the sight you were visiting. We've taken Viking River Cruises and I think the excursions and value for our money was much better. Also I think the crew was more attentive to all. We didn't have as many dining options but were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Just returned for Indonesia / Australia cruise on the Quest. We have been on Azamara several times and have previously been very satisfied. However, it was very noticeable on this cruise that the standards had dropped. The staff ... Read More
Just returned for Indonesia / Australia cruise on the Quest. We have been on Azamara several times and have previously been very satisfied. However, it was very noticeable on this cruise that the standards had dropped. The staff are still absolutely first class but they are being denied the tools to work with. As with other contributors, we noticed that the standard of the food had certainly diminished. Never before have we seen so many repeated dishes. The beverage packages have been trimmed and it was clear that these were being sold without any mention that many items were and would be unavailable. Some of the places visited left a little to be desired but as this was the first trip to Australia, some allowance can be made for this. However, I think that I should mention some of the trips. Komodo Island was just a total rip off. Rumors abounded that you could not do the trip by yourselves and subsequently many passengers paid the totally exorbitant price from the ship. Passengers ended up in very large groups having paid anything from $130 upwards each. We decided to see what would happen and went on the same tender. We then paid $35 each and went round in a group of 9 with a terrific guide. I would also make mention of the "Azamazing Evening". Nothing could be further from the truth. This was dreadful. Totally unsuitable, totally unorganized. Obviously someone had not done their homework on this. The only people to benefit from this were the local taxi drivers as passengers left the venue and made their own way back to the ship. Spoke to many fellow passengers and staff and the general opinion seemed to be that Azamara should drop this function altogether. We certainly agree. The entertainment was generally poor and certainly not up to the standard of the Journey. Cruise Director Tony comes over a little over the top and would do well to spend some time with Erik de Gray to see how it should be done. All in all, we still enjoyed the cruise and our time pre cruise in Bali and post cruise in Cairns and Sydney. However, I would agree with previous contributors that there have been some very obvious cutbacks and these are beginning to damage the brand. Come on Azamara, bring back the old standards and don't let your customers and staff down any more. Must add that we were given 2 nights free drinks package upgrade to make up for the non availability of drinks on the menu. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015

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