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8 Dover to Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This trip called on ports where larger ships would only attempted by tender. Other cruise companies would not be interested in calling to these places. The theme was Wine Tapas ans Walking in Western France and Northern Spain in the Bay of ... Read More
This trip called on ports where larger ships would only attempted by tender. Other cruise companies would not be interested in calling to these places. The theme was Wine Tapas ans Walking in Western France and Northern Spain in the Bay of Biscay area. Saga produce may be costly but in return they give you a 5 star service. We were picked from our home in Southampton to Dover, but it took double the time because of the traffic on the motorways, also the approach to Dover due the Channel Tunnel and Cross Chanel ferry problems which was due to industrial action in France. We got there in the end and sailing was delayed. The service on board was brilliant. The meals were of good meal choice and generous portions with free wine wine with your meals. The waiting staff made there extra mile for any extras or problems. If you want to compare with P&O they were miles ahead! I think the accountants are in charge and reducing the portions and using the quantity controlled to make more profit for the punters. Saga beats the others on all fronts. Saga give a very personal service. Most days the Captain came down most for a cup of coffee and cruises could ask question about the cruise. Wines with your meal are free so is coffee during the day and ice cream which you help you self. If you want to buy at the bar you have to pay. This particular them cruise was brilliant, we had excellent lectures about wine appreciation, Spanish tapas cooking demos and the cruise goer's were good compamy. We have book again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
All in all an excellent first ever cruise for us. That is apart from an irresponsible passenger who decided to abandon the Barcelona tour and make his own way back to the ship without telling anyone. He caused a 40 minute delay whilst a ... Read More
All in all an excellent first ever cruise for us. That is apart from an irresponsible passenger who decided to abandon the Barcelona tour and make his own way back to the ship without telling anyone. He caused a 40 minute delay whilst a search for him was conducted which in turn caused the abandonment of the highlight stop on the tour. Not Fred's fault I know, but very very annoying. Boarding at Dover was a breeze, we were aboard before we knew it. Our suite, 5015 on the Main Deck was very comfortable and well serviced as was the rest of the ship. No sign of the dreaded Noravirus. There were sanitisers everywhere. All the passengers appeared to use them as a matter of course which was good to see. The food was excellent. Somehow I managed to maintain my weight. Goodness knows how. Disembarkation was pretty quick although there was a slight delay due to fork lift activity around the dock. We enjoyed the experience so much we re-booked on board for the Amalfi Coast Cruise aboard Boudicca in April 2017 Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We cruised on the ‘Around Iberia’ itinerary at short notice and bagged a fantastic last minute deal. Having said that, the overall experience was poor and we would not recommend Costa to anyone interested in a cruise holiday. We ... Read More
We cruised on the ‘Around Iberia’ itinerary at short notice and bagged a fantastic last minute deal. Having said that, the overall experience was poor and we would not recommend Costa to anyone interested in a cruise holiday. We joined the ship at Dover, the day after it sailed from Amsterdam, and, as per previous experience at the Dover port, check in was a complete dream, with no queues, friendly port staff and easy access via the high speed rail link from London. The passenger contingent based on our non-scientific analysis during the 8 days on board was (in descending order) Italian, French, Dutch, German, Rest of the World, including English speakers from various parts of the globe. If I have to summarise the negative points of the cruise into a simple statement, it is: Incredibly bad management. The Italian management in particular swagger around the ship with an arrogance that belies the poor levels of service, staff and crew motivation and customer experience on offer. By way of example, we dined in the paid-for pizza restaurant one evening. A group of about a dozen Costa staff arrived to eat, then complained about the pizza and the service aloud, leading to the Food and Beverage director summoning the chef to the table to be chastised in front of everyone, with additional guidance provided on how to prepare a pizza properly. It was mortifying and all the passengers present watched aghast. We regularly had a particular member of staff using the upper sun lounge deck as a venue to make loud telephone calls back home of an afternoon. Queueing for anything on board is a nightmare. I know we have special ‘queueing IQ’ in the UK, but the mismanagement of passengers waiting their turn for anything was an embarrassment. A request for a towel to use by the poolside on debarkation day – we had to vacate our stateroom by 9:30 but wouldn't disembark until 16:00 on a gloriously sunny day – was simply met with “That is not possible”. The receptionist explained, as we had already understood and complied with, that towels are assigned to staterooms and that once you've vacated your stateroom and left your towel there, you’re without one. It beggars belief that Costa have yet to adopt the ‘sign out, sign in’ towel process of other large lines. The NeoRomantica is a beautiful ship, the cabins are modern with excellent storage, and the bar, restaurant and stateroom staff are all wonderful. We loved all of the interesting and varied ports of call on our itinerary. The food offering is mixed – it was nice to have daily pasta choices, the soups were uniformly excellent, but mains were variable. I don’t mean for this review to sound like a giant moan, but rather as an honest appraisal of our experience on board. Caveat Emptor! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
After having booked our cruise via a travel agent and requested first sitting, we were told that a £2.00 per person per night would apply to the booking to get 1st sitting on Braemar .We were also told that we would have to pay extra ... Read More
After having booked our cruise via a travel agent and requested first sitting, we were told that a £2.00 per person per night would apply to the booking to get 1st sitting on Braemar .We were also told that we would have to pay extra monies if our luggage was over a certain weight,which I thought was rather odd for a Dover to Dover Embarkation and Disembarkation. We are seasonal cruisers and have used this line and this ship on several occassions.We were also asked whether we wanted a drinks package of £10 per person per day only on certain brands which we turned down as we thought in the past Fred Olsen prices were always reasonable.( We discovered to our horror on the ship that nasty rough bottles of wine were being served at the tables for the all inclusives .Even some of the most expensive wines were much to be desired ) ! We then asked to have our car booked into the old railway shed near to the ship at Terminal one with the Dover Port Authority.This was confirmed by our agent and no mention that the shed was under repair at the time of booking and our car would be left on the dock side exposed to the elements at Terminal 2 on our arrival. As we entered our cabin on arrival it dawned on us that there was not enough space to put our clothes for the 22 night voyage as Braemar is normally only used for a maximum of two weeks duration.This caused some upset from the passengers as clothes had to be left under the beds in suitcases for the duraton of the voyage. The weather turned out to be fine as the journey progressed until some nasty bug started going around the ship causing a chesty cough requiring antibiotics we so later discovered.The only form of antibiotic at the time was Amoxycillin at 500 mg given to severe cases.One had to deal with a rather curt Afrikaans nurse and a rather abrupt and rude Austrain Doctor later in the Cruise. The meal on the first night was much to be desired and the drinks rather hefty in price since we had last been with the shipping line. The food now and then improved ,but on the whole the Swiss Chief on Board quite frankly was serving up mudane food.Gone were the lovely fish dishes and displays at Luncheon time we remembered so well when the father of Fred Olsen Line was in charge of the helm.Since the son had taken over we noticed a vast change for the worst and were warned about this from other seasonal cruisers. We had been told that certain members of staff including the Captain had to vocate the decks if any of the passengers on board happened to be nearby.This never seemed to happen in port and the Captain was seen along with the Cruise Director sun tanning themselves and their singers and didn't seem to care about the passengers around them. The only place that seemed to serve a better quality of food was the free for all sitting at breakfast and lunch in The Grampain Restaurant. At this time we had no knowledge of the remains of hurricane Jude were about to hit Southern England and destroy approx 118 cars belonging to the passengers as they were not left under cover at the railway shed as we had been informed would be the case.She eventually struck and the last week on board was a ruined holiday of anguish and upset due to the lack of communication between the The Dover Port Authority and the Shipping Company. We eventually got some news and adverse weather conditions seemed to have been blamed for the carnage that occurred.( Unknown to the Cruise Company and The Dover Port Authority were a few passengers on board who mentioned that cars get damaged from the waves on the dock side throughout the year as they could see it happen from their homes in a block of flats on the sea front ).This made the ones who lost their cars blood boil as The Dover Port Authority clearly knew this happened and should have taken action ages ago instead of letting folks pay £170 up front for the priviledge of leaving your car on their private land to be damaged by salt sea water.We also heard that the damage news was not on National TV either ,only in the local news to clearly keep the news to a minimum. Why is Fred Olsen Line I ask myself advertising that you can leave your car with The Dover Port Authority in their brochure when they must know this goes on and two The Dover Port Authority are doing their utmost to avoid excepting liability for the damage and making our Insurance Companies cushion the blow. When we arrived back into Dover on our return the walk way broke down and we had to stumble across a walk way on Deck 2 to be ushered in the rain to the arrivals hall to see our appropriate Insurance companies.By that time most of the cars had been cleared to a holding site to avoid detection by passengers family and friends.I feel both parties are to blame for the said anguish and upset and The Dover Port of Authority should cough up for new cars for the passengers that had lost their cars due to their alleged negligence.As before they used to take the keys from you in the railway shed and move them around whilst you were away.If they had done this before the cruise the said cars could have all been put into a safe place before Jude struck to ruin them and The Black Watch passengers cars alongside ours.They will have the same nonsense we had to put up with when they return to the port on 16th November 2003. We returned by taxi late on Nov 5th and now have no car in which to drive thanks to the said companies.I wish to state that anyone who is asked to leave their cars at The Dover Port Authorities Facilities should not do so because of the said carnage above. From one of the very many unhappy passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We enjoyed the cruise - especially the sail-in to Venice - which was the highlight with the stunning views from our balcony. We've cruised many times with Fred, Olsen but were disappointed that this time - The savings that all lines ... Read More
We enjoyed the cruise - especially the sail-in to Venice - which was the highlight with the stunning views from our balcony. We've cruised many times with Fred, Olsen but were disappointed that this time - The savings that all lines are having to make are beginning to show on this Cruise, initially the lack of toiletry bag in the cabin was an indicator of savings yet it was just the start of more to come. The food is now acceptable, rarely excellent and only occasionally good. - There was no 'Orchestra' on the Cruise - a big saving - we understand they will be back!!!! - We had a car written off whilst in the care of Port of Dover, one of MANY to be written off, and many more badly damaged. We will never park at Port of Dover again and would advise all our friends that your car is at risk of weather damage when parked there too. Remember YOU pay the Insurance excess and lose YOUR No-Claims, YOU have to source and pay the extra for a replacement car when your car is written off.....when in the care of Dover Port. The positives - The Show Team, - The waiters and cabin staff, - The 'hidden' staff All of them were were, as always, exceptional Dover - when we arrived late to survey the scene of many cars severely damaged we couldn't get off the ship for ages. Dover seemed unable to connect the Ship to land - the air-bridge didn't work - electrical failures we were told. We finally 'escaped' along a jury-rigged gangplank from Deck 2. A fellow Cruiser remarked that we'd been to some of the poorest European Countries on our Cruise and at none of them was the facility as poor as at Dover. We agree.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Having enjoyed more than 350 days at sea on various SAGA vessels and thus being a long standing and very satisfied customer it is sad to report the gradual and irritating continuing reduction in standards (not reflected in the continuing ... Read More
Having enjoyed more than 350 days at sea on various SAGA vessels and thus being a long standing and very satisfied customer it is sad to report the gradual and irritating continuing reduction in standards (not reflected in the continuing high prices). Without exception the crew are magnificent and the cleanliness and appointment of the public rooms and my cabin could not be faulted. However:- Although we enjoy priority embarkation it was over 5 hours before our baggage was delivered to our cabin - almost 2 hour after sailing. A formal complaint on board and later to the Chief Executive produced the same lame excuse - such a lot of passengers!!! Presumably the vessel has been loaded before! After 7 days our chosen wine ran out, 7 days later our second and third choices also ran out. (Same experience on Quest for Adventure in June). Also, unbelievably, ran our of cheese biscuits after 14 days. Table steward unable to bring the cheese trolley to our table "because of the step/ramp" but this did not prevent the Sommelier wheeling his drinks trolley around the tables. Apart from the classical quartet the professional entertainment was very second rate. Port visits were too short on most occasions and excursions expensive for what they were. Chauffeur car arrangements excellent but an untraceable and seemingly unnecessary Answerphone message 24 hours before departure advising an unacceptable timing change did cause concern and necessitate several telephone calls to confirm the original agreement. The inclusive Travel Insurance is ridiculously restrictive and inflexible with no exclusions allowed. Judging by the age and physical/medical state of many of the passengers there must be a lot of undisclosed pre-exisiting conditions. Why oh why must we endure the same mixture of vegetables and almost every meal. Despite these criticisms we have two cruises booked for 2014 and two advanced reservations for 2015 so SAGA must be doing something right!!!!! We love the convenience of UK departures and the friendliness of the crew, many of whom we have known for several years Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
For our first ever cruise and after much research using Cruise Critic my wife and I decided to on Crystal and the Crystal Serenity. But as many had told us - after Crystal it would be all downhill - yes we were spoilt!!! The Crystal ... Read More
For our first ever cruise and after much research using Cruise Critic my wife and I decided to on Crystal and the Crystal Serenity. But as many had told us - after Crystal it would be all downhill - yes we were spoilt!!! The Crystal Forum on Cruise Critic was a great help - many of our questions were quickly answered as were our ones directed to the Crystal website. As first time cruisers the sponsorship system worked very well and our credit helped with our excursions, As avid golfers and having never toured the British Isles together we booked the back to back Dover to Dublin - Dublin to Dover(the golf themed cruise) - Dover to Barcelona cruise from August to September. Everything we had read about Crystal was correct and everything fell into place without any problems. The golf theme section of the itinerary with Billy Casper as the featured guest was a great highlight. Such a gentleman who at 82 years old gave his time to everybody - even non-golfers. His lectures in the main auditorium were always full and he gave such a fascinating talk interspersed with a range of questions and answers that kept everyone in their seats until the end. On every golf excursion he was there with encouraging words and tips and the dinners with his wife and family towards the end of the cruise were another highlight. With a great deal of pre-cruise planning our son and his wife came on board for dinner to surprise my wife after we arrived at Barcelona and the staff could not have been more accommodating - the deck security and concierge had every angle covered in case there was a hiccup in the plans but it went off flawlessly. Truly a great experience for our first ever cruise and as a result we have already booked our next Crystal cruise. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2013

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