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2 Barbados to Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

Check-in in Barbados was an indication of what was to come. there was just on member of staff on the quay side. No champagne or cold towels and certainly not the line of staff used in the advertising and this was 15 minutes after check in ... Read More
Check-in in Barbados was an indication of what was to come. there was just on member of staff on the quay side. No champagne or cold towels and certainly not the line of staff used in the advertising and this was 15 minutes after check in opened. I carried my hand luggage round to the ship and up the gangplank. I was not offered a glass of champagne until after I'd had my photo taken and handed over credit card details. Booked a gty balcony cabin and was allocated 650. This is mid ships and fine, although it had an adjoining door I never heard the people next door and they said they'd never heard me. I was offered lunch after boarding although only at the Patio grill which didn't have any menu and when I asked the chef went to list all that was available and the weeks specials. I settled on a burger and discovered I had to do it all myself, so then had to ask for the bun to be toasted and a special order of fries. A waiter then appeared and took over so that I could get a table in the shade. he also got me a drink so avoiding another queue. After the emergency drill I went to the Sky bar for the sail away party.....the poor individual there was only assisted by an equally overworked girl who could.t keep up with the demand for ice and more glasses. They were totally overwhelmed. It was as if this event had come as a surprise. The helpfully located clock told me I waited 10 minutes to be served. The cabin set up didn't have the alcohol requested as part of the on line check in and that took over 24 hrs to arrive. I went to the Solo travellers get together which wasn't hosted an neither was the LGBT one, no canapés, just a sign at the door to the bar. I had a reservation for R2 on the 4th night and had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and managed to get another booking which was equally enjoyable along with the wine pairing for which you do pay extra. I learnt that sadly R2 was to be removed in place of Thomas Keller. Some of his dishes were available on the main restaurant menu but for me they weren't a patch on R2. This will be a sad loss. Dinner in the main restaurant was a bit hit and miss. I have unsalted butter and on the first couple of nights I waited twenty minutes and then it didn't arrive at all and neither did any bread. Only when I let the soup go cold did someone enquire what was wrong. Needless to say I arranged to see the Hotel Manager and things did improve. I never went to any of the entertainment/ shows so cannot comment on them. Ship décor is good and well maintained. Due to weather conditions we didn't call at Marseille but Toulon instead. If you've never been here it's worth a stroll ashore. Disembarkation was quite a long drawn out affair. Sadly not the line of officers on the quayside to wish you well and safe onward travel although the captain and hotel manager were there, the latter by now knowing my name. Did I expect too much? Only if doing what you advertise is too much. I'd rather they under promise and over deliver. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
In the early stages of our cruise, we had a significant change of port time ashore in both Stornoway and Torshavn. The full day in each of Stornoway and Torshavn was reduced to just half a day and that was done without any on-board ... Read More
In the early stages of our cruise, we had a significant change of port time ashore in both Stornoway and Torshavn. The full day in each of Stornoway and Torshavn was reduced to just half a day and that was done without any on-board communication or more importantly, any explanation being offered. Whilst we understand that CMV need to get paying tour guests ashore quickly when at anchor (Stornoway), we think that the maximum number of tenders should be deployed in the early stages, until all passengers who want to go ashore are landed - then the number of tenders can be dropped back later on. We lost over an hour of our reduced time in Stornoway (seeing only 2 of 4 tenders in operation and that from a distant anchorage) and then we were asked back early too, which frankly rankled and made us feel "2nd Class". The lack of awareness and communication on-board by the cruise management team exacerbated the frustration felt widely on board. On a bridge visit, the Captain confirmed that he had not altered the port times in both Stornoway and Torshavn for any on-board operational or weather reasons. We lost confidence and our sense of relaxation early in the cruise about the rest of the itinerary being the one that was sold to us. It took time before that sense of being on a carefree holiday returned. Fantastic front line staff; excellent, courteous and friendly service. We liked the smaller ship and the friendly atmosphere on board and the itinerary proposed and sold to us. Conditions allowing MV Azores to get into Heimaey in the Westman Islands and docking in the tiny port, was the highlight of the cruise for us and an impressive bit of pilotage and ship handling, to squeeze in and come out again (unusually stern first all the way). I have posted a link below to the photos for the day at Heimaey: https://plus.google.com/photos/109375469948758953851/albums/6159112519882751617 The "middle management" on board was, regrettably, not of the standard set by the front line staff. We had to enquire and chase up several times, the Arctic Circle "crossing the line" certificates. In the end, we had to take a certificate out of a cardboard box and fill it in ourselves on the last day of the cruise! The Arctic Circle crossing was never announced or made anything of - a missed opportunity. The food standard was generally very high and we certainly ate our fill! A small matter of running out of butter and orange juice before the cruise ended, but we survived! The organisation of the hot and cold drinks together in the Lotus Grill needs re-engineering, as the existing poor layout caused constant "traffic jams", especially at breakfast on arrival days. We found 7 days of port arrivals in a row, pretty tiring. We would have paid more for a cruise where the ship stayed two days at both Akureyri (Capital of the North of Iceland) and Reykjavik (the actual capital). There is so much to do in both places, that one day wasn't enough and it would have been nice to have two days where a return to the ship had no pressure of missing a sailing time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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