I have added another cruise to my personal challenge of cruising all the cruise lines/ships available around the world.
This time, I kept it local with our group of six (family members), on CMV Vasco De Gama
Departing from Bali for six-night heading to Perth.
First, we must keep in mind that this a 3-3.5-star level and not a new ship and was quite bouncy, so if you suffer from sea sickness and there are a few sea days, maybe avoid this ship.
Correspondence with CMV pre-trip was excellent and I was always answered within a few hours. First time for us.
The first thing I will mention, is that we were saddened by the disappointing behaviour from some of the passengers, many were just constantly whinging and complaining and extremely rude to the staff at times. Maybe if passengers want luxury, and a vast choice of menu items, then choose the appropriate cruise for you needs and preferences, not the cheaper end of the market ones, this cruise was very reasonably priced
No one deserves to be shouted at and spoken to with such aggression, the poor staff, they took it well and did their best with what they had, I think some were very new to the ship.
Positives first, the ship décor is pretty good, and has a real luxurious feel, the lounges are stunning and decorated in their own style, they were probably some of the nicest I have seen.
Embarkation was on time, a little confusing, but it was their first port. Overall, I think they suffered a crew shortage which did impact the enjoyment of the cruise. Once onboard, we headed for a snack, and was greeted by some grumpy staff, who obviously didn’t want to be there, luckily, they were replaced with the regular wait staff.
Their main show theatre, Hollywood, was a fabulous two-tiered show lounge, was impressive and comfortable with some great shows and felt luxurious.
The Dome Observatory with its panoramic view, was a favourite and hosted many day and night events, again, decorated beautifully. This was a great venue to relax or chat with other passengers, and at night, it turned into a disco with entertainment
Blue Room, just one of the five bars on-board, again, luxurious appointments as well as the other four bars.
The ship overall, never seemed busy, as it offered many spaces to venture. The back pool on level 10 was great, adults only, but this needs to be enforced by the crew to avoid dis-harmony.
The Vasco offers a varied choice of three Restaurants – Waterfront Restaurant, Waterfront Mediterranean and Waterfront Eurasia, all included in your fare, and more importantly, unlike other cruise lines, it has a policy of “DINE WHEN YOU LIKE” which is just perfect, no stress, no lines, no waiting around for specific sittings.
The main buffet restaurant, Bistro, was also available for meals, but towards the end of the cruise, it was getting less and sad for variety. The is also the grill, which we didn’t try. Fully booked.
The food is ok/nice, many were disappointed with no ice-cream, but you could get that in the main restaurant. The chefs were also happy to cater to your needs, you just had to ask.
Please do not expect fine dining, you will be disappointed. But I must say, I had the best fish and chips at sea! I was at a loss when I witnessed a passenger yelling at one of the managers, saying that they were starving as there was only seafood on board?? All food groups were served each day, again, whinging for no real reason.
Vegetarians and Vegans have their own menu each day, but there was so much confusing around this, and often, the meals were mixed up. Perhaps a section of the buffet can be labelled, Vegan, which will avoid the hunting around all the stations checking the food labels that had the Vegan box ticked.
The three-decked atrium housed the shopping galleria, which was totally boring, as it run out of nearly everything, like lanyards for e.g., when I enquired if they had any, I was told sternly, “Run Out”, there were rude passengers, but there were also some rude grumpy crew
The photo gallery, at last some nice pictures at reasonable prices!!
Cinema was great and, on this occasion, I will agree with the passengers, “where was the popcorn”, its cheap and would make the evening more enjoyable. The casino was a little small, so I didn’t have a play, but love the quiz’s and bingo on sea days.
Unfortunately, even though coffee was available at some bars, it was not good, except, the machine in the Bistro which served the best coffee I have ever had at a buffet restaurant.
The bar system is excellent, each time you order a drink, you need to sign for it, so you instantly know if you are being charged for a drink, or it reads 0 as you had a drinks package. The only cruise line (exclude the all-inclusive ones) I never had to fix my bill!
but the invoicing was brilliant, not once were we overcharged, meaning I didn’t have to visit reception and obtain a refund.
The cabins were comfortable, well laid out and super comfy beds.
The not so good and can easily be fixed.
The bars, all the bars are well stocked, BUT, it is only waiter service, you cannot simply walk up to the bar and order a drink and take it away with you, you need to sit down and wait for the waiter, which on a fully crewed ship, this would be great, but with only one (on average) behind the bar making the drinks, it was disastrous, two drinks would take 45mins. They even run out of glasses and had no one to fetch any!!
CMV, why not have both, walk up to get your drink, or sit at a table and be waited on. Have two bar staff, not just one, this complaint was justified. In the end, you had to order two drinks at the same time not to wait nearly an hour. This did not make any sense.
As VDG is an older ship, of course there will be issues, but the toilets blocking regularly, with sewage smell along some corridors and the awful smell of damp carpet due to leaks around the place, this really should be fixed, as this really does ruin your experience. Also, maybe clean the windows, some were bad, you couldn’t even see out of them.
Disembarkation, this was a little disorganised, as those who chose the independent exit (off-load your own luggage) was a mess, everyone crowded the area which was not pleasant.
But the HUGE let down, was the lack of staff, resulting in the Kids Club being shut!! And, the swimming pool., on a few days. CMV, you need the kids club, this would of saved the gym equipment being used to entertain them! And it was a well-equipped gym.
Would I sail again, yes, absolutely, it has many positives and for the price and pretty good.
I hope this helps any future travellers
My next adventure – Regent Seven Seas
Cabins were spacious, clean and great for the price.