6 Cruise & Maritime Voyages Columbus Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise ... Read More
I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise is a floating care home. The average age of a guest is well into their 70’s and the oldest passenger I came across was an astonishing 98! I have never seen so many strollers, walking frames, walking sticks, mobility scooters and wheel chairs in all my life! At age 62 I must be in the 5% of guests under the age of 65. I have nothing whatsoever against this passenger profile, except that I really do not want to be a part of it! Spending 8 nights having to battle through the maze of associated mobility aids and having to suffer the significant inconvenience to more able-bodied passengers which this presents, is not a holiday for me – it’s just a hassle. If you fit with this profile I am sure you will enjoy yourself. The ship itself holds 1400 passengers, and has been rebranded several times in its history as it moved between owners and refits. The overall quality of finish is average to good, and the style of décor reflects its niche in the market for elderly Brits wanting to be away from home but in familiar surroundings. Although a shame that CMV has decided for some reason that plastic and silk imitation plants and trees are more pleasing than real ones, resulting in a rather tacky funeral feel to the Taverner’s bar and a tired wilting appearance to the potted trees in Connexions. Cabins are nice and well maintained, if not a little dated in furnishings. The rest of the ship flows around deck 7 with its British bar (traditional London style) and the more modern Connexions bar (which appears to have been modelled on a conservatory). You will also find the main Waterfront restaurant on this deck. The other eatery is a self-service buffet style and is on deck 12. The best outdoor bar is the Oasis bar, which was surprisingly pleasant with its panoramic view and comfy sunbeds. As far as the food is concerned, the evening dinner on the Waterfront restaurant is good (but not great) in terms of selection and quality. I would recommend the 2nd sitting, as this allows more time before having to change, a 1st sitting in the theatre and plenty of time afterwards to relax in the bars. The self-service restaurant is to be avoided at all costs. The food is dismal, the atmosphere chaotic and the seating arrangements far too limited and uncomfortable for the number of guests (and walking aids!) trying to occupy them. In short it is a cattle market of stress inducing trauma. Think about your blood pressure and avoid this place like the plague. Far better to spend your time enjoying a great coffee in the coffee shop by the pool area. The best coffee I have ever tasted. Drinks prices on board are very reasonable indeed. £3.30 for a pint of Fosters, a 4cl Gordon’s gin at £3.60 and alcoholic cocktails around £4.80. Having said that CMV offer a range of pre-paid inclusive drink packages and these offer exceptional value in my view. Dress on board is casual and informal, with appropriate minimum standards in the indoor bars and lounges in the evening. There were 2 formal nights during the cruise. It’s always a good measure of your fellow passengers to observe their interpretation of “formal”. I would estimate that 40% were traditional “black tie” enthusiasts, and a further 30% made some sort of effort (however marginal) to smarten themselves up. The remaining 30%? – well I think the less said, the better! The staff on board vary considerably. Our cabin steward was fantastic, friendly, personal and did a really good job at keeping the cabin clean and tidy. The restaurant staff were generally efficient and on the whole appeared to enjoy their jobs. With a couple of exceptions, all of the bar staff were as miserable as sin, without a smile for anyone, and with the ability only to communicate in grunts (if at all). Not once in a whole week were we approached at our table in the bars and asked if we wanted to order a drink. We had to attract someone’s attention (which on occasion would be successful, but more usually resulted in total avoidance) or queue at the bar and get our own drink (eventually, and after having to endure surly and indifferent “service”) Shore excisions were, as usual, overpriced, but reasonable well organised. Check before you book to see if you can make your own arrangements to see the “ attractions” – we did and saved ourself at least 30% on the CMV cost. The evening entertainment was disappointing. For starters the Palladium theatre is small with awful sight lines of the stage. Unless you bag a seat at least 30 minutes prior to showtime you can forget seeing at least half of the stage. The resident entertainment dancers/singers, can’t. That is to say they try hard, but there is only one guy and one girl who came even remotely close to being able to sing in tune. The rest would get immediate “red crosses and a loud buzzer” from Simon Cowell. Dancing was slightly better, but production values and variety were very poor. This was a major let-down as we have been used to very professional and talented entertainers on other cruises. From the 7 nights we had a comedian (the same one) for 2 nights, a magician (the ships entertainment director) for 1 night and the dancers/singers for the remainder. The comedian was not bad, although should really have retired his act some time ago. The magician was just plain embarrassing. So overall an exceptionally average cruise, not helped by the clientele, the ships facilities and the crew. If a British “flavoured” floating care home is your thing, with a heady mix of cheap drinks, bingo, quizzes, and “end of the pier” entertainment - then you should definitely go for it. If not – you should save your money for an alternative cruise. You may need to pay a little more, but it will be money well spent. It was good to try CMV, but once is enough. At least until I am 80! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Embarked at Tilbury (was a bit chaotic but this was due to the ship being late in due to weather conditions which cant be helped) Once on the ship we went to our cabin on deck 5 this was a lovely spacious (inside) cabin which had a ... Read More
Embarked at Tilbury (was a bit chaotic but this was due to the ship being late in due to weather conditions which cant be helped) Once on the ship we went to our cabin on deck 5 this was a lovely spacious (inside) cabin which had a really good separate wardrobe area and with a lot of extra draws also. The ship is very nicely decorated and easy to find your way around (as not a very big ship) The Dining in the buffet (lunch) was fairly good the food was always hot and very tasty my only comment would be that it doesn't have that much choice, But I could always find something to eat. The afternoon tea was extremely good the scones where delicious and also the shortbread biscuits. The Burgers and hot dogs served from the grill on the pool deck outside the buffet where also very good and fresh (sometimes the burgers were a little pink and needed to be cooked a little more) The Fusion Indian restaurant is (based in the back area of the buffet but this is separated of in the evening, the food and the staff where brilliant. The starters and the naan breads where cooked freshly in the outside clay oven and were absolutely delicious. I would definitely recommend eating in here as the pricing is really reasonable for 3 courses it is around £15 and the food was really lovely. The main waterfront restaurant we used for Breakfast and evening meal and the staff and food was brilliant. The breakfast could sometimes be a little slow in busy periods but this is to be expected and beats the buffet rush and hassle trying to find a seat to eat once you have you breakfast. Our evening waiters were fantastic and very attentive and made it very personal by knowing all our names (6 of us in total) and they know what we like and what we didn't by the end of the first few days. Entertainment this is where I was not very impressed, we went to the theatre on 3 occasions to watch shows/comedian first of all if you did not turn up a hour before the show was due to start then you would not get a seat or if you did manage to get one it would be a very bad view as there are a lot of pillars to try and see around and people think its acceptable to put children's buggies right at the front of the row so anyone behind these rows could not see anything at all. (these could of been left at the end of the isle as the children were on there laps anyway) Once the show finally started I have to say that the entertainment team singers/dancers where of a very poor standard there was one girl and one lad who could sing a little but the others were not very good at all. the comedian that they had on was ok but more aimed at the older generation of people. The seats in the theatre are also very un comfy (the single seat chairs) after a while your bottom would go to sleep. The connections bar this is quite a nice bar area however again the seats are very un comfy and the band that plays in here was pretty good however was far to load and when the singer started to sing (she was ok but nothing special) she would only sing a couple of lines of the song over and over again then it was mostly the band playing the rest of the song. The Tavern Pub was also a nice area to sit in again comfort was not great. The raffles bar on desk 6 above the atrium was a nice bar and you can hear the music from the atrium from here but it was not so loud you could not have a conversation so found this a nice place to have a drink and a chat with everyone. The music played in the Atrium was very good this was a pianist and sometimes a violinist would join her together they were very good. Hemmingway's on deck5 supplied premium coffee and cakes the cakes were chargeable but very delicious and worth the money. Swimming Pools are a big disappointment there are 2 both are 6ft 3 deep and getting in and out of them is very difficult the steps are very steep ( on the pool bar side there is a nice bit at the top with bar stools in it however you cannot get in or near this area as the kids were always in it and jumping off the bar stools and soaking everywhere including the bar area and staff??? The pool next to this also had a better set of steps that led into the pool but again was also full of kids jumping of them and then just constantly jumping in and out of the pool so if you did manage to get into it then you would get a child jump on you. - If this is going to continue to be a multigeneration cruise then they need to make a children's pool area and make some rules for them. Spa - I had a happy feet treatment which was very lovely and the staff in the spa were very nice, the atmosphere in there was very relaxing, The Ports we visiting were all pretty good and quite close to everything if it wasn't then a shuttle bus was on offer which was very helpful if you are not able to walk very far. We didn't do any organised excursions as we like to just get of and do our own thing. We did a couple of the hop on hop off bus tours in Gran Canaria, Lisbon and Madeira I would definitely these as you get to see so much more of the area around you. Madeira is absolutely stunning and one of the best places I have visited, If you get the chance then definitely do the Toboggan ride in Monte.(if you use the hop on hop off bus then you can buy an extra blue route ticket and this takes you to the top of Monte and will pick you up again at the bottom of the Toboggan run) Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Ship broken down in Dover so not in dock in Tilbury, so we had to be bused to Dover, given a bottle of water apple & crisps for lunch. After a two hour drive we arrived in Dover getting on the ship went well, we were told that the ... Read More
Ship broken down in Dover so not in dock in Tilbury, so we had to be bused to Dover, given a bottle of water apple & crisps for lunch. After a two hour drive we arrived in Dover getting on the ship went well, we were told that the self service was closed ( but found out later it was open) there should have been a kettle in our cabin that was missing so no warm cuppa. First evening meal in the restaurant was not very good, also we ask for a table for 6/8 given one for 4. Then found out the ship had not been repaired so had to miss Gibraltar so that meant 5 day's at sea with not a lot to do. Ship repaired in Tenerife. 31/12 arrived in Madeira> My husband went on a excursion I didn't because it was a tender. I am disabled (having a bad day) so I stayed on board. He left me at 8.45 I next saw him at 7.15 because they stopped the tenders for safety reasons, leaving hundreds on shore either sat on the tenders or stood out in the rain, last people got back around 11.30 all missing their Grand New Years Eve meal as we did. A lot of people missed the fireworks at midnight as they were either too ill or too tired to stay up. We did see the fireworks were spectacular, they were what nearly all the passages had gone to see. The disembarkation was a joke we had crew members with cases or large bags pushing passed paying passengers to get of the ship, maybe like a lot of the passengers they too couldn't wait to get off. After showing our sea passes there were new staff walking towards us to get on the same way as everyone was getting off. They were so rude bearing in mind their ages compared to the passengers, who were mainly OAP's or disabled like myself. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this ship as we sailed in her 18 months previously and apart from very average food in the Waterfront Restaurant we had a good time. We were in need of some serious R&R after a very difficult year and the children were ... Read More
We chose this ship as we sailed in her 18 months previously and apart from very average food in the Waterfront Restaurant we had a good time. We were in need of some serious R&R after a very difficult year and the children were happy to go elsewhere. We therefore booked the courier service through SAGA to take us to Tilbury & back. The day before we left the embarkation was changed to Dover where extra repairs had to be made apparently although why was never mentioned by the captain or the crew. Embarkation was fast and efficient but from there it all went downhill. The excursion to Amsterdam canals was organised during the daylight hours and the famous lights were not evident. A waste of time & money. As soon as we left there we were informed that the scheduled stop in Gibraltar had been cancelled as the repairs had not been effected in Dover. So after 5.5 days at sea suffering with very mediocre food in the main restaurant and indifferent entertainment in the Palladium we arrived in Tenerife earlier than stated. The excursion booked was thoroughly dangerous on roads unsuitable for big coaches and little or no safety barriers on bends with 400' or more drops. So decided to cancel rest of excursions but no refund given and money taken to cancel! Best was New Years' firework display but some 600 or so very bruised and battered passengers may not agree after suffering appalling conditions tendering to the mainland in rough seas when no other cruise liners were offering this and then being left for hours to fend for themselves when the weather worsened. All in all we felt that there was a lack of care for the passengers exhibited by the officers and heads of departments, although the staff on the ground so to speak were friendly and helpful. The wine cellar choice was little short of abysmal. If you drink dry wine only you will be ok as that is all they have and the spirit measures are extremely small. Luckily we took out a VIP package and came out on top. The best drinks were definitely the cocktails and the lovely coffees. Food was poor except for the buffet on the top but not easy to get drinks up there. The whole ethos of Christmas was missing. Embarkation was a total shambles and as there was a DOA in one of the cabins even more delay ensued with a free for all at the exit to the dock building. Would we go again.....answer no as it appears the shipping line is more interested in making money at all costs than looking after the comfort of it's passengers and our experience was worse than the previous trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have done about 10 cruises altogether with Royal Caribbean, P & O and Thomson. This particular one seemed to be interesting, we choose first by Ports of Call then by cruise ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have done about 10 cruises altogether with Royal Caribbean, P & O and Thomson. This particular one seemed to be interesting, we choose first by Ports of Call then by cruise ship. Firstly I should say we were blessed with super weather everywhere except Dublin. The three Tender ports were easily accessed and Prince Charles was in one place and Princess Anne in another! Some thought this a plus, others not! The evening food offering in the main restaurant was we thought the best we have experienced on any cruise. Good choice on each course, served promptly by pleasant staff. The quick meal option was like all the others we've had, bit crowded...(and not a chip in sight) .breakfast in main restaurant was not all that well organised... We found evening shows in the main, wonderful entertainment..Some folk seem to expect "exactly to their taste" every evening....That's never going to happen. The only poor performer was the Tenor...the Magician was brilliant, he is also Entertainment Manager...best we've experienced... In the Atrium 3x nightly were a wonderful musical duo pianist and violinist, their performances were superb. The cabin on Deck 10 was large and kept clean. Bit dated I suppose as was the bathroom. But shower was easy to adjust and large enough. My critical comments relate not to the ship but to the cruiseline. We understood we had booked 1st Sitting. We had this in writing. It transpired that dining room has space for 700+ & CMV had told 850 or so they had 1st Sitting so the poor Restaurant Manager was dealing with VERY irate passengers for at least 2 or 3 nights. It was said no sittings were guaranteed! That is totally unacceptable, some folk were diabetic and needed their food and why should they have to eat upstairs. We accepted it, as the irritation could have spoiled things, and as a result on 2nd sitting shared a table with a delightful Swedish couple with whom we got on the with especially well and plan to keep in touch with. But CMV should definitely address this thorny and totally unnecessary issue. The other matter of contention is the thorny one of gratuities ..there is absolutely no reason on earth why these cannot be incorporated into the cruise fare. To adjust the £7 per person per day you go to Reception once you've received interim account, collect a form, and say what you are happy to pay per day which we did. Folk had come from Russia, Sweden, New Zealand, America, and Croatia that we know about to do this cruise which was an interesting fact too .. Finally then a wonderful holiday friendly people lovely ports and the strange thing is far more folk of our acquaintance have asked about it with interest than they ever have about the ones on 'posher ' ships and more exotic locations.... Ps Some folk can moan about ANYTHING - one lady was outraged that her egg was too soft one morning, and another rather nice couple were "very disappointed " there was no choir on board as there had been on their last ship Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise was chosen as it included 2 days in St Petersburg. The Church on the Spilled blood has been on my bucket list for a long time. Embarkation was a little disorganised, but everyone was very nice, disembarkation was swift ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as it included 2 days in St Petersburg. The Church on the Spilled blood has been on my bucket list for a long time. Embarkation was a little disorganised, but everyone was very nice, disembarkation was swift and easy, full marks there. The ship was looking very good and had had the refurbishment it said. It is now CMV's flag ship, but it will need constant TLC to keep looking good. Expect constant attention to the ship while on board, please don't moan The medical services were very good and older people are treated with respect. What a shame that the shore excursions did not match up to the rest of ship, the staff, the food and very nice people on board. I would not go on the ships excursions again, but I would be happy to travel with CMV again.. in general, it was minimal time to see the sites, but 30 minutes plus in the souvenir shops, as a lady said...' I am fed up with being herded about like sheep'...and one guide rushed us about Tivoli Gardens at such a pace, the older ones of us only got to him as he moved off to the next item! The Columbus has had lots of bad reviews during it's first few sailings, and as I expected, these problems had mostly been resolved. The trip was very good generally, but it would have been so much easier if the people manning reception actually spoke english, rather than just knowing a few words of the language. Evening Dining in the restaurant was mostly very good,breakfast was better in the buffet, but the buffet let it's self down with the hot food , just not hot, even at the start of service. As people said, 3 star prices, 3 star food... but it was good with plenty of choices The entertainment had mixed reviews, Sorry, the singing..... it was a bit ordinary and the comedian was just rude. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Columbus Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.5
Public Rooms 3.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 1.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 2.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.7

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