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21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
CroisiEurope Riverboat Michelangelo, Venice Everyone we talked to told us how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we ... Read More
CroisiEurope Riverboat Michelangelo, Venice Everyone we talked to told us how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we said. We had no idea that the amount of time traveling on buses would exceed the time spent cruising on the river. With the exception of Venice, itself, we would spend a couple of hours to get to the site, about 2 hours on a tour and another couple of hours returning to the ship. Would we have paid $600 a day to spent 3 to 5 hours on a bus every day? If you count the time spent waiting for the bus we can stretch that out to 6 hours or more. Sitting on a cement curb breathing diesel fuel in a bus parking lot for 45 minutes wasn’t wasn't a solitary event. I guess we should have looked at a map. At two junctures everyone had to get off the boat and onto a bus while the boat traversed the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic is too rough and the Michelangelo is too small to allow passengers. We got on and off a bus so much I started to think I was back at Girl Scout camp. Very little time was spent actually cruising. Most of the time we were tied up to a pier. The Food In a word, terrible. At breakfast the steam table eggs and sausage were cold, as was the coffee. After a few days I got up early so I could be in the dining room when it opened. But at 7:15 in the morning it was all as cold as it had been at 8:30 in the morning. Don’t think you’re going to dine on filet or lobster on Croisi. Veal shoulder and fish couscous is what you’ll get—the cheapest cuts of meat, fatty, stringy, tough or all of the above. After three days I was ravenous and ready to eat the napkin. The only other Americans on board wanted to leave the boat after the first dinner on board and they requested a refund (no way). At one meal we were served what appeared to be raw bacon. Our table mates, four Brits from the Midlands assured us it was cured meat, safe to eat and that they quite like fat. I switched to vegetarian, which seemed to cause some consternation. You’re supposed to make a declaration at the start of the cruise and to stick to it. But the plate of bright orange pureed sweet potatoes wasn’t much more appealing than the raw bacon. I ended up eating an inordinate amount of cheese and bread. I was always under the impression that the French ate well. I am revisiting that notion. They did serve very nice tomatoes. Amenities In a word, none. It has been in the high forties and low fifties with a brisk wind. Crossi did not supply lap robes on the sun deck. We managed to keep from freezing by sitting on towels. The last time I used towels like this was in 1976 in a Moscow hotel. The deck chairs are cheap and uncomfortable. There is a wastepaper basket in the bathroom but none in the cabin. I asked for one but no luck. I considered myself lucky to get a box of kleenex when I asked because it may well have been the only box of tissues on the boat. There is wifi, but you have to sit in the salon, where the receiver is, in order to connect and, of course, it is painfully slow. The Cabin I wouldn’t have thought it possible to fit a sink, toilet and shower in a space that small if I hadn’t experienced it up close and personal. No one expects ship cabins to be spacious. But I began to question my sanity when I thought about spending four grand to spend a week in a room the size of prison cell. What’s good about it? Free wine and plenty of it. (You’re gonna need it.) If I think of something else I’ll let you know. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Everyone we talked to said how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we said. We had no idea that the amount of time ... Read More
Everyone we talked to said how great the riverboat cruises are. We searched for cruises from Venice and came up with Croisieurope with stops at Padua, Verona and Bologna. Perfect! we said. We had no idea that the amount of time traveling on buses would exceed the time spent cruising on the river. With the exception of time spent in Venice, itself, we would spend a couple of hours to get to the site, about 2 hours on a tour and another couple of hours returning to the ship. Would we have paid $600 a day to spent 3 to 5 hours on a bus every day? If you count the time spent waiting for the bus we can stretch that out to 6 hours or more. Sitting on a cement curb breathing diesel fuel in a bus parking lot for 45 minutes wasn’t even unusual. I guess we should have looked at a map. At two junctures everyone had to get off the boat and onto a bus while the boat traversed the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic is too rough and the Michelangelo is too small to allow passengers. We got on and off a bus so many times it reminded me of Girl Scout camp. Very little time was spent actually cruising. Most of the time we were tied up to a pier. The Food In a word, terrible. At breakfast the steam table eggs and sausage were cold, as was the coffee. You will not dine on filet or lobster on Croisi. Veal shoulder and fish couscous is what you’ll get—the cheapest cuts of meat, fatty, stringy, tough or all of the above. After three days I was ravenous and ready to eat the napkin. The only other Americans on board wanted to leave the boat after the first dinner and they requested a refund (no way). At one meal we were served what appeared to be raw bacon. Our table mates, four Brits from the Midlands assured us it was cured meat, safe to eat and that they quite like fat. I switched to vegetarian meals, which seemed to cause some consternation. You’re supposed to make a declaration at the start of the cruise and to stick to it. But the plate of bright orange pureed sweet potatoes wasn’t much more appealing than the raw bacon. I ended up eating an inordinate amount of cheese and bread. I was always under the impression that the French ate well. I am revisiting that notion. They did serve very nice tomatoes. Amenities In a word, none. It had been in the high forties and low fifties with a brisk wind. Croisi did not supply lap robes on the sun deck. We managed to keep from freezing by sitting on towels. The last time I used towels like this was in 1976 in a Moscow hotel. The deck chairs are cheap and uncomfortable. There is wifi, but you have to sit in the salon, where the receiver is, in order to connect. The Cabin There is a wastepaper basket in the bathroom but none in the cabin. I asked for one but no luck. I considered myself lucky to get a box of kleenex when I asked because it may well have been the only box of tissues on the boat. No one expects ship cabins to be spacious. But I wouldn’t have thought it possible to fit a sink, toilet and shower in a space that small if I hadn’t experienced it up close and personal. I began to question my sanity when I thought about spending four grand to spend a week in a room the size of prison cell. What’s good about it? Free booze and plenty of it. (You’re gonna need it.) If I think of something else I’ll let you know. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
When I booked this "cruise", I knew there would not be much cruising involved. However, if I'd known the boat would be completely stationery except for 8 hours during our whole stay, I would not have booked! When did ... Read More
When I booked this "cruise", I knew there would not be much cruising involved. However, if I'd known the boat would be completely stationery except for 8 hours during our whole stay, I would not have booked! When did the Michelangelo move? Once, for a short hop between our initial mooring at San Basilio and our main mooring at the Giardini Bienniale; once for a two hour meander around the North Lagoon (no stops, no commentary); and a short cruise down to Chiogga and back (two and a half hours each way). When we booked, the brochure said the ship sailed to Murano and Burano but apparently larger ships are no longer permitted to moor there. DINING AND BEVERAGES The Michelangelo is fully inclusive - all meals including unlimited beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and water (including bottles of water to take on excursions). The bar is open most of the day and very late into the night. The meals are all a set menu with no choices. Helpings were generous but there was a weird disconnect between the published menus and what was served - for instance: - "orecchiette" on the menu became plain penne on the plate; - "roman piccata" was pork schnitzel with spaghetti and the wrong sauce; - "caprese" salad was made with mozzarella instead of bocconcini; ..and so on. It felt as though Head Office had created an Italian menu to suit the ship's Venetian location, but the chef had never tasted Italian cuisine and just made it up (I recommend he spends some time with Google to find the recipes, and eats a few meals at real Italian restaurants!). The British guests seemed happy with the food but the French passengers were critical and said it was well below what they expected from Croisieurope. We were disappointed with the standard but felt it must've been difficult for a kitchen of four people to cater for so many passengers, so if there was a tendency towards institutional cooking perhaps it was unavoidable. EXCURSIONS Some passengers had booked inclusive of all excursions - we had not. The Doge's Palace is walking distance from the ship's mooring at Giardini and the queue is short, so apart from the commentary (which was good), we felt we had wasted our money on this excursion and should have done it ourselves. The trip to Murano and Burano seemed expensive, considering that local excursion operators do a similar trip for 20 euros which includes Torcello (which is more interesting than Burano). The ship goes to Chioggia on the last full day, from where there's an excursion to Padua. Chioggia itself is a large town with a few old buildings on its main street, and is not worth a visit (the Michelangelo staff recommended the fish market "with lots of interesting fish" as the highlight of the town...). We chose not to go to Padua as the excursion sounded rushed. The cruise back along the edge of the lagoon was pleasant on a spectacularly sunny day, but it would've been far better with some basic commentary telling us what islands we were passing. ENTERTAINMENT We were concerned that the entertainment consisted of ONE local musician on two of the evenings, but we need not have worried as she was a brilliant clarinetist who also sang, played the piano and acted as DJ. The large lounge had ample space for all including a good dance floor. SUMMARY This is not a cruise! To be fair, it is not Croisieurope's fault - the Venetian authories have severely limited where larger ships can go in the Lagoon. However, perhaps that means it's time for Croisieurope to reconsider whether it's worth offering this "cruise" at all, or be more imaginative about the way they run it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Under the aegis of 'Acromas' this was the new trip offered by Saga. For three nights we were booked into the Paradiso Hotel - a Golf Resort, surrounded by links (but out-of-bounds to non-golfers). The restaurant opened in the ... Read More
Under the aegis of 'Acromas' this was the new trip offered by Saga. For three nights we were booked into the Paradiso Hotel - a Golf Resort, surrounded by links (but out-of-bounds to non-golfers). The restaurant opened in the evening but on our arrival only a frantically busy cafe was available for lunch. The rooms were clean and spacious and the toilet in my room was fixed quickly, but it would have been helpful if the hotel's Italian information had been also offered in English. The boat excursions on the Lake were essentially unplanned and meant long hours of wandering in crowded streets with virtually no guidance. Our saga Rep. did her best but struggled to get support from HQ when a booked coach never arrived and stopover venues were changed at the last minute. En route to the river boat in Venice there was a long stopover in Vicenza - again no guidance as to what the city had to offer - and (for this first-time tourist) a lesson in where/how to find a toilet! Our remaining 4 nights were spent on the river boat Michelangelo. I requested (and paid for) a double room/bed for single occupancy, which, prior to the trip I had confirmed twice by phone. What I got was a twin cabin/twin beds right next door to the restaurant...noisy and crowded. We arrived late afternoon but were not seated for a meal until almost 9pm. The medical service (for a badly blistered foot) was minimal. I felt the trip was poorly put together by the agents: the pace rushed and ill-suited for a group of 18 seniors. In fact, as a minority group, we appeared to be 'last served' on a ship holding 158 people. Read Less
Michelangelo Ratings
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