Booked the Xmas cruise a long time ago but were horrified to read the reviews of the ship after its recent acquisition by CMV. Looking at the reviews, it was clear that some writers thought they were with another cruise line & many ... Read More
Booked the Xmas cruise a long time ago but were horrified to read the reviews of the ship after its recent acquisition by CMV. Looking at the reviews, it was clear that some writers thought they were with another cruise line & many clearly misunderstood that it was new to CMV, not NEW. The ship is 28 years old which has both good & bad points. We were relieved after our first day or two to realise that either a) there are a lot of whingers about or b) CMV had responded well to the criticisms.
Being older, there was plenty of space & little waiting for lifts.Public spaces were beautifully decorated & indoor & outdoor furniture were superior to many ships.
Overall the staff were friendly & helpful
Bar prices were no more than normal Adelaide pub prices & carried no service surchage.
Food in the main restaurant was varied & well cooked. We have been on cruises with more varied & more exotic options but we usually ended up hoping that something we hadn't chosen came up again. It never did.
In addition there are both Asian & Mediterranean restaurants, included at no extra charge. Because of my wife's inability to eat either spicy or tomato-laden foods we didn't go in but the menus looked pretty good.
Breakfast in the restaurant was good but strangely offered no simple cereal option.
Waiters there were only too happy to customise meals wherever possible or replace courses that the diner decided against on presentation.
Wine prices were also quite reasonable (Take note Princess)
The Lido buffet offered a more limited choice than most cruises we have been on but still offered a reasonable choice. Inevitably, in a buffet, the food is sitting and consequently, to us, never quite as good as in a restaurant. Perversely, the breakfast menu offered a slightly greater choice. We only ate there at breakfast & lunch so cannot comment on dinner.
There is also another inclusive burger bar on the deck plus a "pay extra" grill.
Our cabin was very conentional & uninspiring but clean. Being an old ship, unfortunately the shower is over the bath; tricky for the aged & infirm or for use in rough seas. There was plenty of storage & hanging space with lots of hangers provided.
One of the real highlights was the quality of the shows in the Hollywood Lounge (theatre). No guest artists, all of the shows which differed every night were performed by the ship's resident 5 singers & 6 dancers. The singers were always in tune, the dancers were magnificent & the productions & costumes were truly professional. The only downside of this was the need to get in early to get seats.
Other entertainments in the lounges were adequate, depending on your taste.
No outdoor cinema on the pool deck blasting out action movies all afternoon, which was good for us, looking for a relaxing cruise, but there is a cinema showing fairly current movies.
The entertainments staff did provide water aerobics, dance classes, fun entertainments & singers for half an hour or so at a time on deck.
We thought Xmas Day was exceptional. Good entertainment on deck throughout the day, a marvellous 5-course dinner with free wine & regular refills as well as all the usual party goodies, a wonderful show & presents waiting for us in our cabin ( Fru-Chocs & a pen set). Apart from the gifts, this was repeated on NYE (but see below )
Having planned a relaxing cruise around southern Australia, we didn't bother going on any excursions so cannot comment on them. The first ten days were certainly relaxing, most of the passengers being of advanced years, disturbed only by the occasional kids jumping (banned) in the pool or a waiter asking if you wanted another drink. This changed dramatically for the last two days which were a separate cruise over New Year.
Gratuities were $12 per day, charged to your account, but there was no problem in varying or removing them.
Bad Points Which stop us giving 5 stars)
Like other cruise lines, CMV seem to have cut down on staff, making them work harder. This creates two problems. Long waits for service at busy times & unhappy staff who show their resentment. Most of the time our dining room waiters gave good service but had little time to talk with the guests which we like to do. New Year's Eve however pushed the system over the limit. We heard many guests complaining that many of the bars were closed & the open ones couldn't cope. In fairness, we had a deluge of party animals hit the ship on NYE. Apparently there were also very long queues for later sittings in the dining rooms and the free wine offered ran out preventing any refills.
Again, waiting staff fell into two camps. The dining room was run mainly by Asian staff who were always cheerful. The buffet & pool deck waiters, however, were mainly Eastern European, spoke poor English & seldom smiled, some even appearing surly. That was a real shame for what was otherwise a really friendly boat & we hope CMV pay some attention to this.
Most, but not all, of the reception staff also appeared unfriendly & at times unhelpful.
In summary, this was a really good cruise on a pretty well run ship but could be improved by increasing & training the staff & by deciding either not to run party cruises or learning how to do it properly Read Less