Travelmarvel Sapphire Cruise Review by perth.couple
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: Europe River
After raising a number of these concerns with staff members in a courteous and respectful manner and having them either ignored or dismissed there seemed little point in pursuing matters further during the trip.
While in general the vessel presented well, the cabins were pleasant and comfortable the hygiene, food and drink quality and aspects of service left a great deal to be desired.
On the third day my wife was taken ill with flu like symptoms and spent most of the next three days in bed. During that time it became obvious it was spreading among both passengers and crew. Disturbingly I noticed two of the restaurant staff, open mouth coughing while carrying food and drinks. There were a number of passengers that had to seek medical attention ashore including one transported by Ambulance.
I thought I was fortunate that I seemed to get a mild dose of this ailment but the cough persisted. A week after our return I was taken very ill such that I had to have chest X rays, swabs and 3 courses of Antibiotics. We both still have a persistent cough three week after returning.
While we agree the operator’s can’t control it if people come onboard with ailments we question whether it is entirely the case. The following observations could suggest this is not an isolated incident.
1) The Cruise Director devoted a very lengthy section of her welcoming address to illness and how medical assistance could be sort in a number of ways.
2) The Hotel Manager at the same event was most insistent the hand sanitizers (only 2 available) be used and that this would be policed rigorously, unfortunately this was not the case at all.
3) Very high dust loading in the cabin, each morning the cabinet tops were covered in dust despite being wiped clean daily. This may be ineffective or poorly maintained vacuum cleaners. The dust and the air-conditioners could be a carrier of viruses and bacteria.
4) The same appears to have occurred in June as stated in the Cruise Critic review, “To top off our experiences was the issue with ship hygiene. About half the ship had colds and a severe cough which spread rapidly, almost becoming an epidemic. Hygiene was not addressed by ship’s officers at any time, in fact was totally ignored, expect when they had to order doctors on board to treat those infected.”
1) Food substandard to fair at best, soups in general were watery, flavourless such that after three tries could not face any further.
2) Appetizers were tiny pretences that were more plate decoration than anything. Example two shaved slices of meat about 25mm by 90 mm a small green leaf and some dressing. It had been sitting sometime as the meat had adhered to the plate.
3) Main meals seemed to be an attempt at nouvelle cuisine but with few exceptions were bland and appeared to be using second tier produce. Fish identified as Blue Whiting when served was part raw and some of the part that was cooked was very tough to cut never mind eat.
4) The staff tried to provide a reasonable level of service but seemed overwhelmed at times. In some instances did not or chose not to understand. Example of why raising concerns was pointless - Lamb rack 4 tiny pieces of meat described as medium rare but were predominantly raw. When mentioned to wait staff member the response was “Where I come from this is medium rare”
5) Flies were common in the dining room and no effort to control them was evident. Mentioned to Cruise Director with no result, drew to the attention of senior restaurant staff member, “We cannot control this” was the response. A small cockroach was also observed on the window sill in the restaurant.
6) Complaints seemed to be a source of amusement at times with staff and senior staff equally amused.
7) My wife prefers a dry white wine and at one evening meal she was offered a Riesling and asked if there was a dry alternative and was provided with one. A different staff member offered a Riesling refill and when asked for a dry white said there was none available. When asked if she could check the response was “You want me to go to the fridge and come back and tell you the same thing, what you had before was left over from Lunch service”. When we tried establish if there was any dry white wine onboard we were advised the Supervisor would have to be consulted. The wine was provided with an evident display of displeasure.
Having travelled extensively this is the first time we wanted the trip to be over before it was finished.
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