This cruise was booked to celebrate my husband's big birthday and was a once in a lifetime event for us. We picked it mainly because the advertising stated we would be visiting the orangutangs in Borneo but it just happened to be ... Read More
This cruise was booked to celebrate my husband's big birthday and was a once in a lifetime event for us. We picked it mainly because the advertising stated we would be visiting the orangutangs in Borneo but it just happened to be part of a cruise holiday. We have a bigger complaint against the tour operator which have nothing to do with the cruise but we also have a lot to say about the actual cruise, our expectations and what we got.
As far as the cruise is concerned here are my views. We were led to believe that this was a 4 star ship (and is still being advertised as such). In my opinion it was 2 / 3* and very poor. In all the decor was good and we were well looked after by our cabin girl (cleaning, making beds etc). However, we paid extra for a sea view cabin which was just big enough for a double bed with 9" on each side to get in, there was a small dressing table and a corner unit with shelves holding a TV. The porthole was above the bed and you have to stand on the bed to see out. The shower was smaller than those on Brittany Ferries which do overnight crossings, and we were provided with one miniature bar of soap between two of us for the whole voyage. There was a soap dispenser inside the shower stall which contained some harsh soap product. Because we had a long plane journey we were advised not to take too much by way of shampoo, conditioners etc (by firends) as these would be provided. We were sadly disappointed. We stayed in Travel Lodge a couple of nights after this cruise and we paid £33 for a double room and all toileteries were included, which I would have expected on a 4* cruise.
Our first main impression was the food. The menu was impressive and everything looked amazing - until it arrived on your plate. They served courses out of order, food was cold or undercooked or just not what was ordered and in general mealtimes were a shambles and the food inedible. We complained to the waiters many times asking them to change dishes to what we had actually ordered or to re-cook something and, although none of this was their fault, they soon became annoyed and rude. May I state that on our table of 8 people 6 people had to send their meals back on the first night and it continued throughout the cruise. This is to say, it was not that we were over fussy but everyone was complaining. I can understand the staff becoming surly but when I asked to speak to the manager or the chef, nothing happened, no-one would speak to us. We also tried the self-service restaurant and found the food to be placed around the area in a very haphazard way, in old-fashioned serving dishes, which were often left open, making the food cold. We also found the same thing in the dishes day after day. We were assured that it was fresh food every time but who wants mashed courgettes for lunch, then dinner and then breakfast. I expected a buffet to be laid out with beautiful salads and fruits and choices of meats etc but it was just meat and 2 veg like a school canteen.
We were expecting 24 / 24 hour food availability but when we had to miss lunch one day (again, due to a mess up by the staff) we found that there was no food available until 6pm and that was in the burger bar, then later and into the early hours you could get a pizza. Not quite fine dining.
We did not chose to have the pre-paid drinks package as neither of us drink much alcohol so £28 a per each seemed a bit steep for a couple of glasses of wine. We could not buy the pre-paid soft drinks package as it was for under 17 year olds. That left us paying for everything. You got juice and tea/coffee a breakfast but at other meals everything was extra. So you got your meal then had to pay for a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Water was charged at US$ 4.98 per bottle. When we bought a bottle of wine with dinner we only had one glass and they would not allow us to take it into one of the lounges to finish at our leisure, or to our cabin to enjoy later. Not allowed. If you wanted anything for your cabin you had to pay for the drink (of course) but then pay US$ 9 to have it delivered, plus, lets not forget the 15% surcharge on everything, delivery and the drink or food.
Next we had a problem with the excursions. We didn't book in advance as we were travelling between our home, our stopover in the UK and the airport when the information arrived. However, we did make all our bookings on the 2nd evening of the cruise and were happy with our choices. However, they lost our bookings and could not offer us any alternative or squeeze us in somewhere as everything was fully booked. They have since said it was our fault for not booking in advance but what difference would that have made if they had lost them too. It was not that we didn't book. THEY LOST OUR BOOKINGS. That mean't we had to find our own way about when the ship docked, and, unfortunately, the staff had no information about where to do, what to do independently and the ship did not even provided currency exchange as we were landing in ports with unknown currencies (such as Borneo, Brunei, Boracay etc). They didn't even know (we found out for ourselves) that the welcoming committes from each country were providing all the services the ship should have, and free of charge (i.e. no charge for changing money back and forth, free hat, bottles of water etc).
As for the entertainment. We had to eat out meal at a set time and were not allowed to change that. At the end of each meal we were herded into an auditorium and were 'entertained' by what was no better than amateurish singers. One chap was quite good but I could have heard him at a local kareoke night. The shows lasted 40 minutes when the lights went up you were herded out where you had a choice of sitting in a bar or going to the casino. I expected music and dancing. Again, I was disappointed.
When we did get off the ship to go ashore it could take up to 2 hours to wait your turn - this being because we were not booked on organised tours (reasons above) and spent only about 2 or 3 hours on shore, walking around the dock side and port area. To then wait up to 2 hours to get back on board, which was started early therefore cutting your time ashore even shorter.
Just one final thing. Having found that there were no toiletries in the cabin we then discovered there was no shop on board to buy such things. Yes, you could buy expensive, designer watches and jewellery, you could pay US$80 for a massage or go to the salon to get your hair done. But you couldnt buy a bottle of shampoo or conditioner.
To add insult to injury, no matter how much you complain, they are still happy to take a further 10% in a tipping charge, so no idea what the 15% surcharge was.
I just hope that if someone is thinking of booking this cruise that you think twice. We have telephoned them to ask about the ship and according to them it is a 4* luxury cruise. When we asked for details of the ship, food, entertainment etc they said - you can read about it on the Costa website. Please .... don't go. We wasted £3,900 on this trip. But more than that, we didnt get to see any of the places we docked at and there was no trip to an orangutang reserve, just a zoo, but that is another story. Read Less