3 Dover Fitness Cruise Reviews

Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of ... Read More
Some background before I write this review - we have taken numerous cruises on all levels of ships around the world (small, medium, large, riverboats, etc.) so we have a lot of reference points on what we like and expect as a function of the price point and the specifics of what the cruise line advertises and offers as compared to their competitors. Having recently traveled on Viking (river cruise in China which we absolutely loved!), we wanted to try another ship with a small number of passengers. After a thorough search, we decided to give Windstar (and the Star Legend) our business - per their advertisement - "fully refurbished boat, approximately 200 passengers, gourmet food and wine, world class gym, elegant staterooms and unique and memorable shore excursions'. So let's discuss what was accurate and what was off the mark - the pro's - very spacious stateroom, cabin attendant was excellent, on-board entertainment was very enjoyable, Candles dinning was great, majority of crew worked very hard to make the trip memorable, and select staff management (Elena and Bianca) worked very hard to listen to our concerns and to the extent practical within their control make our travels and pleasant as possible, and the people were so much fun to meet. The cons - (1) for a refurbished ship, the interior was in dire need of a fresh paint and varnish (age of the ship was not well hidden), the bathroom was not updated - pealing paint and wall tiles in shower were old and separating), (2) wine - not paired with dinner or the countries visited, wine tastings were poorly planned and executed (rushed so the room could be turned over for dinner, no wait staff to serve additional portions to the customers, and wine selections ran out during dinner, "wine expert" was not organized and could not keep the attention of the customers) - we stopped going after day four, quality of wines served were average to below average at best and had low Wine Spectator ratings, (3) on-board dinning service - very dis-jointed for the first three days - meals were late (i.e. not everyone was served at the same time), side dished were missing or wrong, and if you ordered fish it was guaranteed to arrive overcooked and dry, (4) food quality - got better as the days went by but serving three shrimps on top of rice is not gourmet, (5) bar service - with the exception of a few bar staff, very inconsistent service for mixed drinks - long wait (10 minutes), wrong order, glass half-filled - deferred to wine and beer to avoid the the hassle which was not our preference, (6) broken water system during seal day - no showers or running water - things happen at sea so my issue is not that this happened but how the ship handled the situation - the captain made an announcement at approximately 9 am and mentioned that the water system broke and we would make a stop at Brest for repairs - not apologetic in any form and tried to make a joke about it - not funny for the guests who were stuck on board without a bathroom or shower - in terms of compensation - NONE...we asked them to open the bar and provide free drinks and were denied....the system was repaired and then broke again around 10 pm (no notice from the captain) - I called the front desk and the staffer did not understand why I was mad as he did not get a chance to shower (paying customer versus employee....where is the training...), (7) off-board dinner in Bordeaux - very elegant, classical music, wine in the courtyard and then dinner - only one selection - a meat dish that was served raw to myself and three others at our table - after 15 minutes and sending it back twice I decided not to eat the dried out mass in front of me. Two wines were served of which one was a beautiful 2001 Margaux - we each had one glass and asked for another bottle - they "ran out" even then we observed other tables actively getting additional bottles, (8) world class gym - broken equipment and missing weights - need I say more, (9) excursions - unlike Viking or other high end cruise lines, Windstar only includes two free shore excursions and the guests have to pay for any other trips so desired - the selections were marginal at best with the most notable being a wine tour of a local vineyard in the Medoc region of Bordeaux - expected elegant wines and encountered less than marginal samples - would have expected a higher quality vineyard to be made available. We did email Hans (CEO) a note summarizing our experiences and have not received any reply as of this review - not terribly surprised since he already has our money and from the experiences listed above, apparently does not have a keen focus on customer service. Some final thoughts and impressions - we probably wont use this cruise line again unless Han's contacts us and don't recommend anyone else using them unless you do a full due-diligence on all high end cruise and read the review, the ship management fell flat on attention to details and building/maintaining a strong and consistent team to perform and execute their respective duties flawlessly every time, and if you are going to offer a marginal experience then charge a marginal price so expectations can be tempered with reality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Princess Cruise line is in a state of marked decline. I have taken more than 20 cruises on their ships, and the quality of their current service and product is noticeably worse than that of Cruise Lines like NCL and RCL whom Princess has ... Read More
Princess Cruise line is in a state of marked decline. I have taken more than 20 cruises on their ships, and the quality of their current service and product is noticeably worse than that of Cruise Lines like NCL and RCL whom Princess has traditionally seen themselves as being a cut above. The problems take 2 primary forms. The personnel are increasingly poorly trained, and the corporation has decided to nickle and dime passengers at every opportunity. I am sure the problems would not be noticeable to relatively new cruisers because they have no standard for comparison. They would not realize that they could have gotten more for less at another cruise line. First, the issue of poor training. On each of the Princess ships I have been on recently there are certainly a number of high quality personnel who are trying to do the best they can. But cabin stewards now for example are required to take care of many more cabins than they can effectively service. One of the most important services for cruisers new to a particular part of the world is the qualuity of the port advice. On all 3 Princess ships I was on this last year, the person giving advice was well-meaning enough, but flat out did not know as much about the ports as would be known by a casual reader of Fodors. I once asked one of them for port information about the next port. The answer: "Oh, I wouldn't know. I don't have my notes with me." We would often find that the information we had been given was flat out wrong. Had the person giving the advice simply walked off the boat and looked around for a couple of hours she could have avoided the kind of misrepresentations she was providing. Another area of poor training is the front desk staff. They are persistently arrogant and unfamiliar with what is going on in the ship. The dining staff is also noticeably less trained than a couple of years ago. So, for example when I ordered cream puffs for my room, they brought strawberries. I politely asked "why?" The answer: "Oh, they just ran out of what you ordered. Maybe tomorrow!" Now to the nickle and diming: 1. The fitness instructor was taking huge fees for giving information that could be gleaned from reading any of the popular magazines in the ship library. 2. We were in a suite. Now the firm does not use sheets on the beds. 3. They charge $3.99 to activate your Internet account. This charge is bizarre and new. 4. There are no fresh berries in the dining areas. BUT they have them for those passengers who realize they must ask. 5. Several of the amenities to which we were entitled as top-level members of their club were not provided. The reason "we did not have a large enough inventory to provide them." 6. There is no customer service between midnight and 7 AM. 7. There was no skim milk in the buffet, but they did have some again for those who were aggressive enough to ask. 8. The firm just recently decided to no longer provide free access ever for their top customers to teh 2 special restaurants. 9. The entertainment was embarrassingly low quality. Entertainers were billed as Las Vegas entertainers, but I had seen them in 3rd level bars in the casinos where they claimed to have been headliners. All in all Princess is putting out a disappointing product. I would urge everyone to look elsewhere. The one exception would be that they go to someplace the other lines do not visit. They DO have great itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Norwegian Jewel was very good. Beauiful ship but miss the big beautiful atiums of other lines. Dining-Good alternative dining, though we never pay for extra dining. We prefer to travel more often and economize. Loved the Blue Lagoon (never ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel was very good. Beauiful ship but miss the big beautiful atiums of other lines. Dining-Good alternative dining, though we never pay for extra dining. We prefer to travel more often and economize. Loved the Blue Lagoon (never crowded), especially while leaving a port. Comfort food great there. Dining room good but SLOW service. Waiters terribly rushed. Not enough staff. Started eating at buffet to hurry it along to get somewhere else . Crepes there terrific Entertainment-Some old and tired, some very good,. Violins show and Cirque show terrific. No fun piano bar like RCCL and HOLLAND. Boring guitar player in lounges. Bored looking audience, but nowhere else to go. Piano player very accomplished, but sometimes frantic jazz type style hard to listen to very long. Cabins-Adequate but bad lighting. Could not read well without portable light. Bedding and mattress wonderful. Enrichment-Destination speaker excellent but not enough other good enrichment. Acupuncture speaker a joke. Just selling with little authority of subject. Heard many complaints of nothing to do on sea days. Many things geared to selling to passenger's. Needs more arts, crafts, computer or hands on stuff. Embarkation: Excellent on and off. Shore Excursions-Expensive like all ships. Didn't take any Read Less
Sail Date August 2009

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click