This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to ... Read More
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to get back to Avonmouth for the Monday morning embarkation. Instead it was sailing from Plymouth and coaches would be available to transfer customers from Avonmouth to Plymouth. I decided that this was not for me so I paid for a taxi to transfer me from the hotel I was staying at in Clevedon, to Plymouth at a cost of £160.00.This turned out to be a good move as the coaching operation was fraught with errors and problems resulting in some passengers not getting their luggage until 11pm.The ship had if fact been in Plymouth since the early hours of Sunday morning , so why it could not make Avonmouth for Monday morning was a mystery.
On boarding the vessel it was apparent that not much money had been spent on the restoration with the only visible refurbishment being crockery in the Acores motif and a coat of paint on the outside in its new livery, of which much was missing by the time we arrived in the Caribbean.
The air conditioning did not work resulting in unacceptably hot cabins. We asked for an engineer to check our cabin and he came and removed the air filter from the system and turned it up full manually and that is how it was left. In the public rooms, the dining room was far too hot ranging to cold in the auditorium where you need a blanket.
Many cabin safes were either not lockable or once set up and locked you could not open them again. When questioned we were told that the safe engineer was not on board and they were trying to contact him in Spain for the security codes.
The Wi Fi did not work on the outward journey and was switched off on the Wednesday we were supposed to be home.
The next fiasco was our first tender port where five lifeboats broke down, resulting in myself and my wife having fifteen minutes ashore before we had to get the last lifeboat back to the ship so we could keep up with the schedule. This was the ship that had just rock and rolled (and I mean Rocked and rolled) across the Atlantic ocean with over 400 passengers aboard and only three serviceable lifeboats out of eight! The captain came over the tannoy to apologise for the situation and the following day we had another tender port and lifeboat No 5 again broke down for one and a half hours, resulting in us having just one hour ashore before having to return to the ship. Two Islands missed, the only two we had been to before!
The whole ship seemed to be poorly maintained with officers speaking to staff appallingly in front of passengers resulting in poor staff moral.
We sailed on regardless, making the most of the situation and then we received a letter on the 20th of February 2015 the contents of which is below. I would point out that at that time we had not had any bad weather and we were on course and did arrive on schedule at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on the 21st of February 2015.
The letter read;
To Whom it may concern.
Please be advised that passengers in possession of this letter were aboard cruise ship Azores operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Due to severe sea conditions experienced over the last few days the ship docked later than originally planned at Bristol Avonmouth Cruise terminal on Wednesday 25th of February at 11.30 hrs, thus causing a delay to our passengers onward travel arrangements.
As passengers on the vessel had very restricted communication access they were unable to make changes to their travel arrangements in person, as insisted upon by most travel insurance providers.
We would therefore kindly request you amend their booking, free of charge, to enable them to travel to their destination on an alternative train or coach.
Thanks you for your assistance with regard to this matter.
Signed T.J Jerrard
Shortly after leaving the Azores the Captain announced further changes to or arrival date as he was taking us to Lisbon to avoid a storm. This resulted in another letter detailing our arrival would now be 2.30pm on Saturday 28th February 2015 in Avonmouth. We finally arrived in Portland Dorset on Friday 27th at noon, with more coaches arranged to get people back to Avonmouth. Once more I got a taxi at £160.00 to take me to Clevedon where our car was parked .
However to their credit the show team were excellent with lively shows each evening , and particular credit to Jordan who was a last minute addition to the cruise and at just 21 was breath of fresh air around the ship.
Lectures were disappointing with two of them repeating lectures they had given on the way out, on the way back, and the ship relying on passengers for four lectures on the cruise.
Food was at best average with much pre-prepared produce used and no fresh food and fruit appearing to be taken on in the Caribbean.
Wines in particular were very expensive at an average of £23.00 per bottle for very mediocre wines.
The overall feeling I have for Cruise and Maritime is that they have no consideration for customers and use their reception staff as a barrier to avoid you speaking to senior officers who could and should have given clearer and more accurate information as to the delays and the changes of port.
We will not be sailing with Cruise and Maritime again. Read Less