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In July we joined Columbus for a cruise to Iceland which turned out to be the cruise from hell. The problems started on arrival at Tilbury we had taken the coach transfer from Victoria which was delayed and despite being told on the tannoy to proceed directly to check in the cruise director told us to sit down even though there was no queue. Once on the vessel there was no possibility of getting anything to eat between 4:30 and 6:00. The lifeboat drill was managed by the entertainment team with no ships officers anywhere to be seen. Despite CMV pushing the fact they are a “British Cruise Line” the all inclusive drinks package include only a german lager no british beer at all, the bar staff also served cheap spirits which was meant for the cocktails rather than the named brands which were included in the package. The vessel had been refitted after arrival from Australia, one of the main changes was the main dining room which had been split into small areas, with partitions. This meant that to serve food the waiters had to lean over diners, it also meant we could not see the waiters if we wanted to attract their attention. There were many other problems in the MDR on the first night our dining companions could not get any of the first three wines they chose and later the waiter did not know what port was. Breakfast in the MDR was a disaster the menu was very limited, it was almost impossible to get toast and there were no preserves on the table when asked a spoonful was placed on the cold toast. Although at breakfast the food was better in the self service restaurant it was almost impossible to find a seat as people remained at the tables long after finishing their meals. Lunch in the MDR was acceptable despite having the wrong food delivered on a regular basis. Having cruised with other lines, the quality of the entertainment was significantly lower, the dancers were not synchronised and the singer’s voices did not blend together. The vessel has three levels of dress code formal, informal and casual, the informal dress code for men included a jacket however at least half did not wear them and nothing was said about it, on the formal night one man appeared in a jumper and again nothing was said. When we arrived at the ports no announcements were made to advise we could leave the vessel, at Torshavn we were told we had to collect tickets for the free bus to the town, having queued for half an hour to collect tickets everybody was told to go the buses together, when we arrived and looked for our bus we were told to get on the first one and ignore the ticket. The main conclusion was that the cruise and the vessel required better management starting from arrival times at Tilbury on the first day, they did not allow for traffic problems, right to the delays on the coach back to London. As things seem to change a little throughout the cruise it appeared as though CMV were using this cruise as a shake down to learn about the boat and the problems that needed attending to. This was not fair on the passengers who had paid for a normal cruise. The boat has had very little work done on it since the move from Pacific Pearl to Columbus, no work was done on the cabins. There seems to have been little training of a new crew especially with the range of nationalities who clearly had communications problems. There was not enough attention to detail regarding hygiene very little suggestions that we should use the hand sanitisers, it was only later in the cruise that the waiters stood by the door to the MDR with sanitizers. The quality of the food was poor served cool and several times incorrectly. The wine waiter at dinner did not do his job he seemed more interested in clearing plates and serving coffee before the sweet was served. The timetable on the boat is geared towards the first sitting dinner, lunch finishes at 2pm and although there was a tea it served dry sandwiches, variable scones and a couple of cakes during a one hour period, finishing at 4:30pm. There is then 4 hours until late sitting and , if you miss tea there is no opportunity to get included food until 8:30 dinner so it can be 6 ½ hrs between food. This is also true of other special events such as the whiskey tasting event on this cruise, held between 9 and 10 in the evening right in the middle of meal time, also the late night snacks served at 11 in the bars, which sometimes arrived before we did from dinner. If late night snacks can be provided for first sitting or those eating in the bistro why can they not provide pre dinner snacks for second sitting? The Captain and Cruise Director were almost invisible, we heard the Captain with his midday report any time between 11:45 and 12:15 depending on what suited him irrespective of what events may be happening also decided to announce we were leaving Kirkwall whilst the locals were on the dockside entertaining us with dancing and bagpipes. On other vessels the Captain will be seen walking around the vessel chatting to the passengers. We are used to seeing the Captain and senior crew in their whites for formal night, not there brown suits with bow ties. We never saw the Cruise Director before the early show. The bar staff were very good however waitresses should take an order leave it at the bar and go to get the next orders, collect the first one and deliver, they should also be circulating when not actually serving drinks. On returning from the cruise I sent a detailed list of problems to CMV with a list of suggestions on how a lot of the problems could be rectified, it took CMV six weeks to respond and then it was sent to our travel agent who forwarded it, the response acknowledged some of the comments but tried to defend the crew and ship especially the training of the crew.

Don't sail on this vessel

Columbus Cruise Review by Bertiecat1

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2017
  • Destination: Arctic
In July we joined Columbus for a cruise to Iceland which turned out to be the cruise from hell. The problems started on arrival at Tilbury we had taken the coach transfer from Victoria which was delayed and despite being told on the tannoy to proceed directly to check in the cruise director told us to sit down even though there was no queue. Once on the vessel there was no possibility of getting anything to eat between 4:30 and 6:00. The lifeboat drill was managed by the entertainment team with no ships officers anywhere to be seen.

Despite CMV pushing the fact they are a “British Cruise Line” the all inclusive drinks package include only a german lager no british beer at all, the bar staff also served cheap spirits which was meant for the cocktails rather than the named brands which were included in the package.

The vessel had been refitted after arrival from Australia, one of the main changes was the main dining room which had been split into small areas, with partitions. This meant that to serve food the waiters had to lean over diners, it also meant we could not see the waiters if we wanted to attract their attention. There were many other problems in the MDR on the first night our dining companions could not get any of the first three wines they chose and later the waiter did not know what port was. Breakfast in the MDR was a disaster the menu was very limited, it was almost impossible to get toast and there were no preserves on the table when asked a spoonful was placed on the cold toast. Although at breakfast the food was better in the self service restaurant it was almost impossible to find a seat as people remained at the tables long after finishing their meals. Lunch in the MDR was acceptable despite having the wrong food delivered on a regular basis.

Having cruised with other lines, the quality of the entertainment was significantly lower, the dancers were not synchronised and the singer’s voices did not blend together.

The vessel has three levels of dress code formal, informal and casual, the informal dress code for men included a jacket however at least half did not wear them and nothing was said about it, on the formal night one man appeared in a jumper and again nothing was said.

When we arrived at the ports no announcements were made to advise we could leave the vessel, at Torshavn we were told we had to collect tickets for the free bus to the town, having queued for half an hour to collect tickets everybody was told to go the buses together, when we arrived and looked for our bus we were told to get on the first one and ignore the ticket.

The main conclusion was that the cruise and the vessel required better management starting from arrival times at Tilbury on the first day, they did not allow for traffic problems, right to the delays on the coach back to London. As things seem to change a little throughout the cruise it appeared as though CMV were using this cruise as a shake down to learn about the boat and the problems that needed attending to. This was not fair on the passengers who had paid for a normal cruise.

The boat has had very little work done on it since the move from Pacific Pearl to Columbus, no work was done on the cabins. There seems to have been little training of a new crew especially with the range of nationalities who clearly had communications problems.

There was not enough attention to detail regarding hygiene very little suggestions that we should use the hand sanitisers, it was only later in the cruise that the waiters stood by the door to the MDR with sanitizers.

The quality of the food was poor served cool and several times incorrectly. The wine waiter at dinner did not do his job he seemed more interested in clearing plates and serving coffee before the sweet was served.

The timetable on the boat is geared towards the first sitting dinner, lunch finishes at 2pm and although there was a tea it served dry sandwiches, variable scones and a couple of cakes during a one hour period, finishing at 4:30pm. There is then 4 hours until late sitting and , if you miss tea there is no opportunity to get included food until 8:30 dinner so it can be 6 ½ hrs between food. This is also true of other special events such as the whiskey tasting event on this cruise, held between 9 and 10 in the evening right in the middle of meal time, also the late night snacks served at 11 in the bars, which sometimes arrived before we did from dinner. If late night snacks can be provided for first sitting or those eating in the bistro why can they not provide pre dinner snacks for second sitting?

The Captain and Cruise Director were almost invisible, we heard the Captain with his midday report any time between 11:45 and 12:15 depending on what suited him irrespective of what events may be happening also decided to announce we were leaving Kirkwall whilst the locals were on the dockside entertaining us with dancing and bagpipes. On other vessels the Captain will be seen walking around the vessel chatting to the passengers. We are used to seeing the Captain and senior crew in their whites for formal night, not there brown suits with bow ties. We never saw the Cruise Director before the early show.

The bar staff were very good however waitresses should take an order leave it at the bar and go to get the next orders, collect the first one and deliver, they should also be circulating when not actually serving drinks.

On returning from the cruise I sent a detailed list of problems to CMV with a list of suggestions on how a lot of the problems could be rectified, it took CMV six weeks to respond and then it was sent to our travel agent who forwarded it, the response acknowledged some of the comments but tried to defend the crew and ship especially the training of the crew.
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