Fact Finders review Vasco da Gama Half World Cruise Tilbury to Sydney 9 October – 2 December 2019
The facilities, services, design and layout of the ship presented very well, despite its age of 27 years, in the pre-cruise promotional material. The itinerary crossing two magnificent oceans and the Panama Canal was just perfect for us. However, our cruise experience was devastated by the lack of appropriate maintenance or upgrade of Vasco da Gama’s essential services and utilities. It became apparent shortly into the cruise that these were in dire need of refurbishment and should been addressed during the ship’s time in dry dock. The associated problems of this neglect plagued passengers throughout their entire cruise experience. It became obvious to us that the purchase of a second or third-hand ship with a patchy maintenance record and renaming it after limited refurbishment (only the engines?) and remodelling of some public areas was a high-risk strategy. CMV should have carried out a comprehensive audit of the ship’s utilities and essential services and undertaken a thorough overhaul of them rendering this critique unnecessary!
Our cruise experience was also greatly diminished by unprofessional executive management and incompetent management of guests’ needs, reminiscent of Fawlty Towers. We could not understand what all the “white uniforms with epaulettes” were doing as they stalked their way around ship, including the dining rooms. We were told that it was to ensure that staff were doing their job properly. Unfortunately, there was a gestapo-like quality about their supervision which did not contribute to a relaxed and genial atmosphere. Certainly interaction of executive and some senior managers with passengers, as we have experienced on other cruise lines, was not a priority for them.
We love cruising at sea level so lower deck mid-ships is perfect for us. Plenty of storage space. Comfortable beds. Great cabin cleaning service - morning and night. Towels replaced twice daily if required. Towels were nearly worn out. Bathrooms acceptable, but could be upgraded. Ancient TV sets should be replaced immediately. This process was commenced on this cruise for the more expensive cabins. I could imagine how annoyed high-paying customers would be having to watch tiny sets with badly pixelated images and inadequate sound.
Loved historical Lisbon. Especially Moorish area. This old part of town has been hugely refurbished. Now tiny old tenament houses have been converted into restaurants, boutique hotels and BnBs and it looks great. Has a great vibe. Suggest walking down to this area from the St Georges Fort after taking the tram to the top. A managable walk with great views and wonderful history.
Guided tour of El HAssan II Mosque. A magnificent structure. Highly recommend a visit.
A third world port.
Recommend the island tour by boat to see the wildlife. Apparently a photographers
Took an organised tour to Masaya Volcano and nearby volcanic lake which was developed as a recreational and touristic area with great views.The 2 hour drive through villages, farmland and tropical forest provided an interesting and informative experience of middle America.
Suffering from gastric infection and isloated to cabin for 48 hours so couldn't disembark to see the island. Very disappointing.