We normally prefer small ship cruises but this was easily the worst.
We made the booking on condition that we would be allocated a cabin with a double bed,at the front of the ship. The request was acknowledged by Variety Cruises.
On arrival, we were shown to a cabin with two single beds at the back of the ship !
I queried their error and they argued that there are no cabins with double beds. I showed them their brochure with pictures of cabins which did have double beds and a copy of my email acknowledgment !
They were not even embarrassed by being caught out.The Manager shrugged his shoulders.This was a particularly telling sign.
They then argued that it was now too late as everyone was already on board. I pointed out that two taxis had just pulled up and the passengers were just embarking.
I said if you don’t give us a cabin with a double bed then we would be getting off and would take legal action to receive a refund. At this point they moved us to another cabin with a double bed. We received no apology.
We submitted a formal complaint ,at the end of the cruise, about this and also the lack of service provided if you didn’t “ sign up” for their organised tours.
In Santorini , as an example,they would not provide a tender from the ship to land after 8.00 in the morning unless we agreed to pay €140 euros each way for a tender.
It took 7 weeks to get a reply from the Company regarding our complaints.They did ultimately acknowledge that “ if you are not going on the tour , having just one time to go ashore at 8am was not ideal”.
It certainly wasn’t ideal because the return tender was at 16.30pm ,eight and a half hours later.
They could have paid the €140 for the tender themselves but they were a penny pinching company in everything they did.
The fundamental problem is that they don’t have their own tender. In Mykonos they moored a fair distance away and we needed to pay for our own public transport to travel to the town centre. The larger ships had their own tenders which went back and forth throughout the day and evening.
Our category grade A cabin was on the small side and needed to be updated but it was ok
The food on board was of a cafeteria standard and should have been better as they were not catering for many people.If the food served on board had been given to us in a restaurant on land ,we would have eaten it but would not have returned. Unfortunately, onboard we had no option.
Quality of dining is important ,particularly on a small ship with no entertainment. So there wasn’t much to look forward to in the evening. Fortunately our fellow passengers were a lovely crowd and we were lucky because this may not have been the case.
Be very careful if you are on your honeymoon and want a double bed. By the same token ,you could be in for a shock if you want two single beds to then be allocated a double bed !
This is not a cheap cruise , we paid £4700,and after our experience we will never use this company again. Why take the risk ?
Small dated cabin.