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10 Marseille to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We are just back from our week on MSC Splendida. In spite of being winter, we loved it and had a lovely time. The ship is huge and its beautiful and it shines from its cleanliness, we’ve been already in Poesia and Fantasia. Loving ... Read More
We are just back from our week on MSC Splendida. In spite of being winter, we loved it and had a lovely time. The ship is huge and its beautiful and it shines from its cleanliness, we’ve been already in Poesia and Fantasia. Loving the food, we don’t eat that much and we manage to “stay fit” just walking around the ship. We had our breakfasts on the buffet and went twice to breakfast in the MDR, we prefer the calmer MDR to the bustling buffet, but be aware that you can’t have proper cappuccino in the MDR (!!!) – I know… amazing, right? The truth is we bought online the coffee cuddle coupons and enjoyed our cappuccinos throughout the bars and even on the buffet, but on our first MDR breakfast I thought that the cappuccino alike thing they brought us wasn’t the real thing, on our second one, we made our order and after tasting I manage to ask the waiter about it and he told us that in the MDR they don’t have the proper machine to make them, only at bars and buffet… Ok, I accept, but why not warning us when we make our order and spend our coupons?... Let me tell you that the coffee cuddle package is really worth it if you love your expresso, cappuccino and so on, we can even use the coupons in the coffee frozen delights they serve (this you can’t have with your allegrissimo package), and they are truly worth it. The other package we bought was the wine and water, also worth it and I believe we’ll be getting these two packages every time we cruise with MSC. (Note that the packages bought online don’t pay the 15% service charge.) Our diners in the MDR were very nice and the food was proper, with just one or two “falls”. Our waiters were very nice and our 5 year old was with us all the time (except one diner) and he always ate from our menu, not the kids one – he was a hero for our head waiter. The breakfasts and lunches at the buffet were basically the same with everything that is expectable. Now let me tell you something new, that I don’t know from how long MSC has been doing it, maybe some of you have seen it, but for me it was a first: Breakfast and lunch at the MDR is now complemented with buffet… (!) for us this was not good… I don’t know about you, but if I want buffet I go to the buffet main area on the 14th floor; Here you can also have your breakfast and lunch on the menu like before, but now you get this extra possibility and when you arrive at your table instead of giving you the menu the waiter asks if you want to go to the buffet or order from the menu. Many people might like this little extra, but it is very awkward to see people coming from the buffet with their plates full, like the buffet upstairs and so on… We went one time to lunch and two times to breakfast on the MDR and we always ordered from the menu. I asked our diner waiter about this novelty, and I believe he wasn’t very thrilled about it either. Another thing that is worth to buy on the first day is the €35 package to use non-stop the F1 simulator, the 4d cinema (which is the least appealing of all, it isn’t very worth it…) and the bowling at the sports bar, my son had a blast at the bowling! My son went a few times to the kid’s club, but he’s not very fond of it, because obviously no one speaks his language. But he loves “DoReMi” the MSC child mascot. We used the indoor pool on the sea day. We manage to have some rest, that was our main purpose by doing this winter cruise, and we enjoyed very much, my son is already a cruise fan. Now the ports: Marseille: It was our embarkation port, we arrived two days prior and manage to go to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica, and stroll through the vieux port and the streets with Christmas decorations. We also visited the Marseille Cathedral on Place de la Major and another lovely church that is a little bit of the touristic path, that is the Église Saint Vicent de Paul – amazing stained glass. We also had our anniversary dinner at La Table du Fort restaurant and the food was very good. We have already been to Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, and done a half-day cruise to the Calanques but these places are also worth a visit. (From the airport we used the free shuttle bus from the airport to Vitrolles train station and from there to Saint Charles station, then metro to the vieux port where was our hotel, on embarkation day we used uber to get to port (€21,25), nice and easy) Genoa: We have already been to Genoa city center on a past cruise and decided to go to Portofino: We catch a train on Genoa-Principe station (walkable from port) to Santa Marguerita Ligure, went down by the sea for some pictures and then waited outside the train station we catch the bus (82) straight to Portofino (€5 return), which is very lovely, it was a beautiful sunny day, lots of nice pictures here. Civitavechia: We’ve been to Rome before and didn’t do the trip there. We went to Civitavechia to some souvenir shopping and then back to the ship. Palermo: First time on this port (I wasn’t very excited about this one…). We went walking to the center and see the Cathedral, then we found a free shuttle to the city center and came back using it. Valletta: Very nice, our first time on this one as well. It was a bit rainy, but we went and see the city center and its charming. Barcelona: Sunny day. We’ve been to Barcelona before. We didn’t take the shuttle provided from MSC (€22,50 for the 3 of us) and used the one from Port (€4 round trip - €12 for the 3 of us) This time we went on the Ramblas and saw the Barcelona Cathedral (not the Sagrada Família) and went to La Boqueria market (where my son lost his second tooth – the tooth fairy went that night aboard the ship…) and also went to Barceloneta. Marseille: Disembarkation day. Used uber again (€19,45) to Saint Charles Train Station. We saw lots of people walking on port and then we realized that there were shuttle buses on the end of the port. One odd thing was that we never once saw our cabin steward… we saw his name on the card on our cabin and we realized he went several times a day to our cabin to “work his magic”, and I even let him a note with some things we needed, he provided… but we never saw him… this was a first for us… We loved this 10 days’ vacation and it was a very nice deal we got from MSC, that has always nice prices for traveling with children. The staff on board was the nicest from our 3 times with MSC. Will definitely travel with MSC again! Can’t wait to book another cruise (whatever the company)… I miss my countdown clock… Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise because we were told the food was French and gourmet. Well, the food ok but not great. Also the destinations were very good: Sicily, Crete, Greece and Corsica. Ship is a bit old, but the crew were very nice and always ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were told the food was French and gourmet. Well, the food ok but not great. Also the destinations were very good: Sicily, Crete, Greece and Corsica. Ship is a bit old, but the crew were very nice and always helpful and polite. We started to return to Marseille, FR from Greek Katakolon GR with a full day at sea on 18th of October 2016. We were schdeuled to stop and visit Adjaccia, Corsica on 19th. After that we were to proceed to Marseille, FR arriving the monring of the 20th. Events changed things. About 22:30 PM on the 18th a public announcemnet indicated that we were changing course for Naples, Italy becuase one of the passengers was very ill and need to be hospitized as soon as possible.We were to arrive in Naples about 3:00 AM on the19th to drop off this passenger and then proceed non-stop to Marseille, FR. The stop at Adjaccio, Corsica was cancelled for 1700 passengers. with no mention of compensation. We and many other passengers were very dissapointed. We discovered that the ship was to disembark all of us and immediately pick up 1700 new passengers to embark at 17:00 PM. It seemd to us that we were now just some cargo. We would not have taken this cruise if we had known that over 80% of the passengers were over 80 years old. There were many people in wheelchairs. On Wednesday, the 19th, mid afternoon the Italian Air force had to send a rescue team in a helicopter to airlift a 93 year old man to Livorno, Italy. We later discovered that 4 other people had been disembarked in ports along the way because of health issues. Smoking was permitted in some areas. This is not good Excellent captain - very precise movement and control of a large ship. This ship has good stabilizers. Nice music in bars in evening, but sets were always too short, no more than 45 minutes. Internet was poor by satellite MTN out of Miami, Florida. Various payment plans - Example 100 minutes for 39 Euros.The software design for Internet was very bad. Some kinds of alcoholic drinks were free, but we had to pay for mineral water. Some of the outside restrooms awere dirty and smelled bad. - others were ok. Carpets in the hallways were dirty, stained and worn as was the carpeting on the stairways. We had 5 days of problems with the front desk re our credit. It was actually a problem in their databases and information management. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and ... Read More
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and service to the furniture. Although some of dining serving staff were helpful, most of bartenders were grumpy and somewhat careless. During seven days at least three of the bartenders were angry over little things. In Zenith ship, the 11 th floor is the general dining area where one can have all his or her emails, if wished. The entry area is closed to the kitchen where a strong smell first stops you. Then you have to walk toward the back to get over with it. Finally, one must never ever share his or her credit card with accounting, because they overcharged us. Although the night before I confirmed everything. I realized that every single day they charged for things we did not even authorize. So they almost tripled shared us. Unfortunately we cannot reach to any accounting or customer service team of Pullmantur Zenith. As a summary, only one with absolutely no expectation of service and quality may go with Zenith ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The ports visited were ideal for our smaller size vessel enabling us to dock when larger ships couldn't. The island stops were so interesting and the lectures prior to each stop were excellent. Other topical lectures were ... Read More
The ports visited were ideal for our smaller size vessel enabling us to dock when larger ships couldn't. The island stops were so interesting and the lectures prior to each stop were excellent. Other topical lectures were entertaining and interesting. Shore excursions were disappointing, but these were provided by local people who seemed more like history statisticians and could be quite boring. They were quite expensive and better value was available from the taxi drivers waiting at the end of the docks! All the crew and staff were absolutely wonderful. Food better than expected. My wife and I didn't attend any of the shows. With all the exploring ashore each day, which is why we chose this cruise, we were not needing night entertainment. It was a great success and the voyage on Voyager will be very fondly remembered. Actually, we would do it again ! but organise our own shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
A most disappointing cruise. We have cruised 10 times but this was the worst ever.It can only be described as a rip off.Every thing bought on the ship has a 15% service charge added everything ! In addition to the daily service charge ... Read More
A most disappointing cruise. We have cruised 10 times but this was the worst ever.It can only be described as a rip off.Every thing bought on the ship has a 15% service charge added everything ! In addition to the daily service charge which is compulsory. Another thing which irritated was that the only way you can have tea in the cabin is by room service along with the added service charge.Even all but the worst hotels have tea making facilities in the room these days. There was a coffee machine in the cabin but there was a charge of 1.50euros per cup (plus the service charge15%) To top it all there is a 15euros a day charge to sunbathe on the so called solarium which is just an enclosed deck. On the plus side the food is good although the service in the restaurant left a lot to be desired .It depended which waiter you got.Talking to other passengers it seemed most of them agreed with me. Most complaints were about the service charges put on the already very high prices. No more Costa cruises for us.they ought to all themselves Costa Fortune Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We booked very much last minute, and didn't pay a lot, so didn't expect much...how wrong we were!The connections from the airport to the ship was easy, embarkation stress-free, and on arrival in our cabin, we were pleased with ... Read More
We booked very much last minute, and didn't pay a lot, so didn't expect much...how wrong we were!The connections from the airport to the ship was easy, embarkation stress-free, and on arrival in our cabin, we were pleased with the space allocated, as well as the standard of the room and its furnishings. As good as any other we have been on. The food in the buffet restaurants was fresh, varied and tasty, with something to suit everyone. Staff are always on hand to offer assistance, and to get drinks, as well as clearing away empty plates efficiently. The restaurant, New York, New York, served food as good as any quality restaurant in London, and we said every night that we would have willingly paid a lot of money for food and drink of that standard. The service was on the same level, and all staff very helpful, friendly & cheerful. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone, and it seemed that their only wish was to please us, and they succeeded, so much so, that we are already looking at booking another Costa cruise. Before we left home, we were the butt of many jokes from family & friends because we were travelling "Costa" but the joke really was on them as we had such a great time!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Costa Magica Cruise: Ten Days on the MediterInian Overview ... Having been on more than ten cruises, my wife and I knew pretty much what to expect. This is not a company that deals in expensive and highly rated cruises, so we ... Read More
Costa Magica Cruise: Ten Days on the MediterInian Overview ... Having been on more than ten cruises, my wife and I knew pretty much what to expect. This is not a company that deals in expensive and highly rated cruises, so we boarded not expecting much. After all, you usually get what you pay for. This was a last minute decision because it was cheap and took us to a cruise location where we had not been before. The cruise makes seven ports of call in ten days, ending back at its starting point in Marseille, France. Cabin ... Our first surprise was our room. Located on the bottom-most passenger floor, deck number one, we thought when we booked it that it would be tiny, cramped, noisy and uncomfortable. It turned out to be large , roomy with a bed that connected two twins with a single mattress cover making it as big as our California King at home. The room also contained a couch, an occasional chair and table making it comfortable to take room service meals. The lighting was super bright when wanted or could be adjusted downward to just two night stand lamps. The rooms have individual thermostats, so we were comfortable at all times. We had three clothes closets, two large pull out storage drawers under the couch, brightly lit make-up table, mini bar and a safe which could be locked and unlocked with a credit card swipe. The bathroom had the first shower that I have ever liked on a ship. Shut the water on and off without readjusting the temperature each time and the shower curtain stayed out of the way without sticking to my wet body. Did I mention the window? We were expecting little more than a port hole on the first floor, but it turned out to be a nice size window (about 4 X 5 feet) that was deep enought to sit in and watch the entry and exits to the ports and to watch the islands and the Mediterainian glide by. Crew ... The crew, as it is on most cruise lines, is made up mostly of workers from third - world countries. The ones we had most contact with were mainly from South America with a few from middle and far eastern countries. They were some of the most courteous, well mannered and pleasant crew we have encountered on any cruise. This is in stark difference to the passengers that I'll mention later on. Meals ... I can be picky about my food, so I'll say up front that I may not be totally objective here. The only meals we took in the main dining room were at dinner time. The quality was good as was the service. We always had a good choice. The only critical thing I have to say -and it really isn't a criticism- is that meat products do not have the same flavor as American meat products. It is not bad, it is just different. On the other hand, food choice in the buffet areas of the ship leaves something to be desired. The breakfast buffets are adequate, comparable to truck-stops in the U.S. Any other time, you have you choice of pizza and salad or salad and pizza ... that's it! Even in the late night selection the only variation is that you get to order your choice of three pizzas from a menu instead of taking it by the slice from the buffet. Entertainment ... As with the meals, something is left to be desired here. On other cruise lines we have been entertained by Hollywood performers, quality acts by well known musicians, comedians, and TV performers. On this cruise, we saw performances by no-name entertainers, a singer, a pianist, an acrobatic troup with dancers and a talent show by crew members themselves. On other lines, there were always two shows per night and the theaters were packed. On this line only one show was performed each night, and then, only to a partially filled theater. Excursions ... All the ports of call were places we were most interested in because of their historical significance. These are places we have only read about and this was the chance of a lifetime to see so many on one trip. Although a little pricey, we were not disappointed in any of them. We are still in awe at being able to tie time and place together with the history we were taught in earlier years. And the beauty of each place just left us breathless. Nickels and dimes One of the most irritating things we encountered on the cruise was prices charged for little things. Tap water on the ship is not potable, so you end up buying water for your room. The price per small bottle, about 12 to 13 ounces, will cost you €3.22, currently $4.25 U.S. currency per bottle. Consume two bottles each for you and your spouse or companion and you are talking about $17.00 U.S. per day ... Just for water. Take a ten day cruise and you will pay $170 for water alone. Want an eight ounce glass of draft beer? Be prepared to pay $6.45 U.S. How about Internet WIFI service? It will cost you $13.20 per hour. And, the instructions for use are so vague, they do not prominently show that you must return to the Costa web site to log off, otherwise your WIFI will continue running, costing you money although you may have turned your wireless connector off. So, don't think that the cost of your ticket is going to be the price of your cruise. You are going to be in for sticker shock. Passengers ... I guess I really should not complain here ... It is what I get for doing this cruise on the cheap. But, I have to say it. These passengers, as a group, were some of the most rude, uncouth, ill-mannered, people I have ever met. They never said "pardon me", "may I", "excuse me" or "thank you". And heaven forbid, don't get in their way at the breakfast buffet. They will literally (not figuratively) run over you to get there first. They reminded me of a stampeding herd of cattle. This is not to say we didn't meet nice people - we did. But they were a very select few. To sum up ... So, is it worth it? Yeah, I would have to say so. We saw some places and things we will never see again. And despite the type of passengers encountered and the petty pricing scheme, we are left with some good memories and a newfound perspective on history, maybe the most significant experience of all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I have always wanted to go cruising, and this was my first time. Overall, it was lovely experience. My only issue were the 15% service charge, and the 7 euros a day per person tip/gratuity. On our arrival on the ship (MSC Lirica) we ... Read More
I have always wanted to go cruising, and this was my first time. Overall, it was lovely experience. My only issue were the 15% service charge, and the 7 euros a day per person tip/gratuity. On our arrival on the ship (MSC Lirica) we headed straight for the Reception, as we were advised by our tour operator that we could query the the tip with the Guest Relation Manager (GRM). We had an appointment 2 days later to see her, and during this time we made a note of the things we were unhappy with. On one occassion, a waitress hadn't asked for our drinks voucher, and refused to void the transaction when we showed them to her, until we asked to see the manager. On the first day, our dinner was cold, and on another a waiter left 2 of our party waiting over 15 minutes to take a drinks order. Generally, we wouldn't have made an issue of this things, but as we had little option in paying the tip, we made sure we scrutinised every aspect of our trip. The GRM listened to our concerns, and in the end the tip charge was halved. I think it's worth buying the vouchers for drinks, as you do make a small saving having only to pay 15% on the whole vouchers, rather than 15% per drink. The food was lovely, nothing spectacular, but as I've put on over half-a-stone, it wasn't all bad! The majority of the staff were pleasant, especially the Housekeepers, who were always ready with a "Good Morning/evening, how was your day, and have a lovely evening" whenever we saw them in the corridors. Most of the staff were very pleasant, and were attentive in clearing tables, and general maintenance of the boat. The entertainment wasn't to my taste, and even though a lot of it was translated into 4 languages, I still wouldn't have enjoyed it, even it were totally in English!! The showers are TINY, and I spent most of my time fighting with the shower curtain! If you do nothing else, please get vouchers for the cocktails. It was nice to relax with a post-dinner cocktail. Please note that 1st sitting for dinner is at 7/7.30pm, and 2nd sitting is 9.30pm/9.45pm. We made the mistake of thinking that dinner sittings would be earlier, and having opted for 2nd sitting, we didn't finish eating until well after 10.30pm. Dinners are usually 5 courses, and we had 2 Gala nights where formal dress was suggested. I would also recommend taking the excursion to Rome offered by MSC. We did out own thing when ashore, but it was a rush getting around Rome in the 3 hours we had allocated, also be aware of the haggling taxi drivers in Tunis! All in all, I very much enjoyed my first ever cruise trip, and I would definitely do it again :-) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Most of Louis Cruises ships sail out of Marseille. For us this was a bonus because to fly into Marseille was a simple and straightforward option. We were flying from Faro in the Algarve and their options on destinations is fairly limited. ... Read More
Most of Louis Cruises ships sail out of Marseille. For us this was a bonus because to fly into Marseille was a simple and straightforward option. We were flying from Faro in the Algarve and their options on destinations is fairly limited. The downside is although Marseille is quite a pleasant place to explore, it is full of undesirable people and therefore not very safe. We arrived at the port by taxi and was dropped at the terminal, something resembling a very large warehouse. Inside a Que formed leading up to two scanning machines which is where we dropped the luggage. From here we were taken upstairs where we started the booking in procedure with staff from the ship. This was quick and straight forward. We were issued with security cards and boarded the ship. We were taken to our cabin an outside junior suite. It was quite a large room with double bed, sofa, armchair, table, wardrobe and bathroom with bath and shower. Within 30 minutes our luggage arrived and the two guys looking after us in the cabin introduced themselves. They did an excellent job throughout the cruise and were always eager to please. We had a good look around the ship and it certainly had all the basics. A la carte restaurant, further restaurant al fresco out on deck, lounge with bar where you could also get snacks, entertainment lounge, library, casino ( afew slot machines and a couple of tables, hardly Las Vegas) two swimming pools (plunge pools) and a duty free shop. There is a capacity of less than 900 passengers and about 350 crew. A typical day started with breakfast we were shown to a table in the a la carte where we were given tea or coffee and orange juice. The food was the norm, cooked being sausage, bacon eggs mushrooms etc or continental pastries, fruit toast. I believe the other restaurant did more or less the same with the option of omelettes. Lunch was in either restaurant again. We opted for the deck which had 4or 5 hot dishes, an excellent selection of salads and cold cuts or burgers. Tea and coffee was also available. About 4 O'clock was afternoon tea, obviously tea, coffee biscuits and cakes. Evening meal was served at 6.45 and 9 p.m.We elected to take the later sitting and was shown to a round table seating 8 people, this we were to keep for the duration of the cruise. We were joined by other English speaking people with whom we formed good friends. Dinner started with appetizers, starters, main, sweet and tea or coffee. Some had wine or drinks. You could buy a drinks package but it seemed to have quite a few exclusions, so we opted out and just bought as and when. Tea and coffee was included in every meal. The staff again were always eager to please and did an excellent job in serving us. From here you could have a drink in the lounge or go and see entertainment in the "Stars lounge" which appeared to be of low quality and a lot of audience participation. Except for the fist day when we were at sea there were stops every day at various ports. The excursions office seemed very busy but we thought they were on the expensive side. e also like to do our own thing and not herded around. We did take the Rome trip because of the distance involved and the short time in which to see an awful lot. Two days before the trips end we were asked to complete a tip form. They suggested 8 euros a day per person but you could put anything you wanted. We put 0 and opted to tip the cabin staff and waiters at our table personally. We were told that tips left through the official route are retained by the cruise line and not passed on to the staff. For us a first timers we were extremely happy with the comfort of our room the food and the attitude of just about all the staff on board. We were told by several "professional cruisers" that in their opinion the ship was of low standard and the only way is up. I have done a blog which includes the ports we visited and a basic summary, this can be seen at www.louiscruises.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Ours was a Fly UK to Marseille option. You may also go via rail/French TGV to the port. Those using the second option had a more enjoyable journey. I should say at the outset that cruising is never cheap and usually the more you pay, the ... Read More
Ours was a Fly UK to Marseille option. You may also go via rail/French TGV to the port. Those using the second option had a more enjoyable journey. I should say at the outset that cruising is never cheap and usually the more you pay, the better the deal. What you must be aware of, however, are the add-ons. Louis Lines are probably no better or worse than other cruises in this respect. "Drinks unlimited". If you opt for this, ALL passengers in your cabin over 18 must aso sign up. Pretty obvious really, as one passenger could keep on getting ALL the drinks for the others! The cost is a whopping Euros 279 per person. For this you get 'house brand' spirits + mixers, beers, tea/coffee, soft drinks, glasses of wine, certain cocktails. You may also have TWO scoops of ice cream! You may also BUY bottles of mineral water and wine at a DISCOUNTED price! So, if there are two of you you pay Euros 558 for some "Free" drinks, Discounted mineral water and bottles of wine. You're going to have to drink a lot of booze to show a profit! I've been on a few cruises and I have never seen so many passengers carrying litre bottles of water in the restaurant and bars. This speaks for itself. Bar prices are what you'd expect in a hotel but some of the pricey cocktails were very watery. Food was of ordinary hotel standard. Excursions should be looked at carefully to ensure value. This applies to all cruises. The opinions of ourselves and other passengers were as follows but I do accept that some people may have a special reason for wanting to visit certain places. The prices are for TWO people. Genoa Euros 92 (Not highly rated) Portofino Euros 112 (V. Good) Naples Euros Euros 88 (Not highly rated) Pompeii Euros 106 (Must see) Athens & Acropolis Euros 124 (Must see) Athens and Plaka Euros 104 (Not as good as above) Ephasus Euros 120 (You haven't missed much) Ephasus Ancient Euros 114 (Ditto) Patmos Euros 98 (OK) Patmos Tour Euros 68 (OK) Mykonos tours at Euros 98, 78 and 66 (50-50 reports) Santorini Euros 106 (Very scenic) Katalon Euros 112 (Expensive) Messina Euros 106 (Quite missable) Mount Etna Euros 104 (A long drive to see Etna from a distance!) Marseille Euros 94 (Not as good as below) Aix-en-Provence Euros 98 (Good) If you went on every excursion, you'd spend a fortune. Do some guide book research before you go! TIPPING Like all cruises, you are expected to tip. In other words, pay the crew's wages so that the Cruise Line may lower their brochure prices. Their advice is Euros 8 per person per day. Children, 6-15 years, pay (or more exactly their parents pay - how many 6 year olds do you know who are of independant means?) Euros 4 per day each. A bit of maths: You are a family of Mum, Dad and two kids. That totals Euros 24 per day. A 12 day cruise = 24x12=288 Euros in tips, assuming the kids don't chip in with their holiday money! The 'small print' says you can obtain a form to opt-out of this extortion which is otherwise automatically deducted from you credit card. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE QUEUE TO GET THE FORM! We tipped our cabin stewards and table waiter ourselves, in cash, and no-one else. We enjoyed the cruise and the places we visited. The criticisms: Average quality food, rip-off "free drinks" (pay-as-you-go is better) and rip-off tipping. And just in case you wonder: No, like most cruises, you can't 'smuggle' in booze you've bought ashore! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009

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