Horizon Cruise Review by xenagurl
- Sail Date: July 2016
- Destination: Norwegian Fjords
When you decide to sail on the CDF- Croisiers de France Horizon keep in mind that it is an older ship, and by that I mean pushing 30. When you realize that it's not going to be as fancy and up to date as it's newer sisters you are not disappointed. Thankfully thanks to a CruiseCritic review I knew this. Boarding in Calais for our Midnight Sun cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was lovely.
Embarkation was smooth, we went inside the waiting area after getting out of our cab (after taking the train from Paris to Lille, then Lille to Calais after boarding a flight from JFK whew...) Check in was quick if not a bit confusing as most announcements were made in French but there were plenty of people to help. We stood up for the 30 minutes or so until we were able to board as the area was crowded and there weren't nearly enough seats for the people that showed up before the Noon boarding. Water was available and I assume restrooms though I didn't use it.
They take passports at the beginning of the cruise supposedly for visas, however since all ports were in Norway a place for which Americans don't need Visas, I have no idea why they needed it the entire cruise. I've only had this happen on trips when visiting Egypt and Turkey and not for the entire cruise duration. That's that however, we picked them up the last day of the cruise and no one has stolen our identity as yet.
If you don't speak French you'll probably not find a lot of activities that suit your interest, as there aren't a lot of activities happening compared to lines like NCL, RCCL and Carnival but if you're there for the ports and don't mind your main nightly activity being dancing or reading, you'll be fine. There is a daily list of activities delivered every night as on all cruises. It is available in English.
The meals were good. Not stunning, however I'm not a huge fan of French dishes so this plays into my thoughts on this manner. The foods that I liked, I actually loved. Everything was prepared well, the presentation was lovely and the included beverage package allowed for (French) house wine which was better than house wines on most other lines.
'Tout Inclus' as they say. Alcohol is included. There are other beverage packages that let you upgrade, one for 5 Euro a day, the other 10. We didn't feel it was needed and the couple of times that I wanted something now included it cost me 2 Euros. That's it. Gratuities are something you can give to your favorite bartenders at the end of the cruise but there is no space to add that on the chit if you order a premium drink. Drinks included don't need to be signed for at all.
Due to this package if you buy liquor on board in the shops you can take it to your room.
Considering the fantastic price we paid, inclusive anything was amazing. Large bottles of water could be bought for 1 Euro, either singly, or in packs of 3, 6 or 9 and delivered to your room.
We only took one tour that was ship sponsored the rest of the time we wandered around each place on our own. We took a bus tour to Mt Dalsnibba in Gerainger, it was fine but we expected hiking of which there was none, however the views were beautiful even though the fog was rolling in. The bus ride is not for people who are scared of heights, scared of sheer drops or who are motion sick. Especially the latter. An older woman sitting behind me on the bus apparently had too much wine the night before and decided that then was the time to be sick and burped her way up and down the mountain with a vomit finale (into a bag) still while sitting behind me. Needless to say if she'd fallen overboard once we'd sailed I wouldn't have felt too bad.
I had an hour long massage on the last sea day for 55 Euro. About a third of what I pay on other lines and even at home. 2o minutes on the head, 20 on the back and 20 on the legs and feet with no hard sell afterward.
Outstanding! The midnight sun experienced this far North in July allowed for stunning views while cruising and I only wish that I'd gone before. Every place was more beautiful than expected. The people are friendly, the food is good and I plan on flying back sooner than later to experience it for a lot longer than 4 days. With that being said I'd also take the Pullmantur/CDF Horizon to do the same cruise next July. I can't add photos here but I'll have some up on my Travel Xena website within the next few weeks.
I didn't use the internet on board. We were going to buy a package but I use Project Fi as a phone service and had phone and internet service all over Norway and on the ship when sailing close to shore as we often were so I didn't feel the need.
We were two of 10 Americans on board which we thought was pretty interesting. I had a chance to practice my French surprise people that I wasn't from Martinique but New York and make cruise buddies of passengers and crew.
The was a laundry offer of 2 bags for 15 Euro or 1 for 12. Or 4 bags for 25 Euro. I opted for the one bag as my friend didn't have anything she wanted to send out and it was delivered the next day.
All in all, despite it being an old ship, the service was great and the ports well chosen.
I'd sail it again and give it a 4 of 5 for the following:
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However perhaps due to how low our deck was subject to a fairly loud engine noise when sailing. My friend is a sound sleeper and this didn't bother her, I however am not and even with ear plugs and sleeping pills I still found hitting REM a bit elusive for a while after laying down.
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