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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
As an avid Cruiser, I had not been on river cruise and Croisi offered a combo Cruise where we'd stay 5 nights on the Symphonie, cruising the Rhine, then transfer to the Van Gogh to Cruise the Rhone- ( Read the second half of this ... Read More
As an avid Cruiser, I had not been on river cruise and Croisi offered a combo Cruise where we'd stay 5 nights on the Symphonie, cruising the Rhine, then transfer to the Van Gogh to Cruise the Rhone- ( Read the second half of this review on the Van Gogh pages). Upon arrival we were met by the purser who was pleasant and gave us a very warm greeting. I knew we might be in for somewhat of a budget vacation when we received our table assignment on a yellow sticky note but that aside the initial arrival was great. A staff member escorted us to our cabin. The Cabins. I feel I need to add some color here. The Symphonie is an older ship. The cabins are small and the bathroom even smaller. Very basic in design, reminded me of ships from the 80's and 90's. The big note here is the beds do not make up together on this vessel as the rooms air conditioning vent, is located inside the cabinet between the two beds and thus is set and unmovable. We saw a much newer Croisi ship in a port and looked into their windows and saw that this was not the case so BE SURE to check bed configurations with your travel agent. As we sailed in late June/July it was warm outside but the cabin could always be kept at a cool temperature. There is ample storage both under the twin beds as well as in a wardrobe closet. The Bathroom is tiny and note there are no washcloths on the ship. That may be a common thing in Europe, but we missed having them). No bar soap ( Again, is that a euro thing?) but shampoo and conditioner was provided ( so if you are a "bar of soap" kind of person bring some!). The Public spaces-Again with an older ship comes challenges, there are two reasons why I didn't rate the ship higher- One was the Public spaces and I'll get to the other later. Both the Dining Room and the Lounge once filled for presentations or meals were hot as heck. Staff were sweating, guests were sweating, it was unbearable at times and we had to leave a couple of times to go outside to actually cool down. The biggest issue I had however was the fact that the ship is 100% nonsmoking (Inside) which I thought was great, but in the forward section of the main lounge is a stairwell that leads to both Crew and Guest areas on the lower deck. Obviously the Crew is allowed to smoke inside their cabins on this ship and that cigarette odor traveled and permeated throughout the main lounge. This is obviously a policy issue that Croisi needs to deal with this right away, as many guests commented on how smoky the lounge smelled. Dining-The food was excellent - Top notch - I'll admit I was a little scared about not having any choices for dining. It was like eating in someone's home every evening. You ate what they served. Our table asked one night if we could pass on the cod in Lobster sauce an get something else instead and it was done without a fuss from the staff. The breakfast is a buffet - Similar to what you'd see in small European hotel- Meats cheeses - very different from what we normally see. Fruit was limited in choice but fresh and good - One thing- Powdered eggs on the buffet- Big miss! So easy to keep real scrambled eggs coming to the buffet. Lunch was like a dinner at mid day- Multiple courses and again very good. Desserts were amazing. I wouldn't call this 5 star cuisine but a solid 4 star for sure. Crew- On this ship versus the Van Gogh - English was a distant language and we often were met with stares when speaking with the crew. For example, I asked for a plate, the waited just stared and repeated the word plate ( The plates on the buffet had all been used and needed to be replenished.) I went over to a table which had dirty dishes on it and pointed at the plate, It was frustrating but in the end together we managed to get more plates onto the buffet. there is very little "interaction" with the crew as they serve and that's it. Dining staff simply drop plates pick them up and don't engage with the guest ( any language) much at all. the crew on board was mainly from Hungary. We saw lots of eye rolling from crew members when they were asked this or that and there were just so many misses in terms of crew performance this is the other reason I can't give the ship better marks. On our voyage we had open bar and that was great but a huge amount of time we were sailing on the river thus everyone was up on the top of the ships, lounge staff never came up to the top deck and often we'd collect empty glasses and bring them down to the bar. In a way the cruise felt like a cruise from 20 years ago and while I love nostalgia, the newer Croisi ships I'm sure provide a different experience of a higher caliber. We found this to be a great "value" for the money but be aware of limitations based on the ships age. Read Less
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