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Vasco da Gama (Cruise & Maritime Voyages) Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
54 Reviews

Ship not "fit for purpose"

Vasco da Gama (Cruise & Maritime Voyages) Cruise Review by Cyclopseas

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: Trans-Ocean

The promotion by Imagine Cruising (who were fantastic and very helpful) made this voyage sound like the "trip of a lifetime", so we took it to satisfy an important anniversary in our life. - VASCO da GAMA Cruise – London to Sydney 56 days. Oct to Dec 2019

It had not been my intention to publish this critique of the Voyage, as I had hoped to receive some credible and constructive response to various communications directed to the Australian Managing Director of CMV ( Mr.Dean Crozier). However, none of my communications were acknowledged or replied to. I guess therein lies the type of Customer Service provided by CMV.

Having taken many cruises over the past 35 years, we were really enthusiastic about this cruise on the Vasco da Gama and were excited to be onboard a ship which had "... undergone a multimillion dollar refurbishment..."…. as per published promotional material.

Additionally, the route and the itinerary destinations (ports of call), were most interesting and we eagerly looked forward to the many exciting on-shore excursions available. Throughout this 56 day voyage from London to Sydney

However, following the initial voyage of the renamed “Vasco da Gama”, from Singapore to London in mid 2019, we became aware and a little concerned with some of the negative on-line reviews citing issues of significance including water, air-conditioning, sewerage, public hygiene, etc. These sorts of issues have a direct impact on the suitability of the ship as being "fit for purpose", and also impact on compliance with basic and accepted requirements for fundamental "health and safety".

Naturally we assumed (wrongly) that CMV would take note of these obvious critical issues affecting the ship (and the amenity of the passengers) on this initial line voyage and they would be completely rectified prior to the V001 Southbound voyage commencing Oct 9th from Tilbury London.

Once onboard we were confronted with wet carpet in our designated cabin. The enthusiastic Cabin Stewards applied blowers to dry the affected areas, but no attempt was made to find the source of the leak. The same wet carpet reappeared the next day with same treatment applied by the Cabin Stewards.

A quick look around the vessel quickly revealed an aesthetically attractive décor within a very tired old ship, worn out infrastructure and with appallingly dirty (contaminated) windows. (Pics available)

As we got underway, more and more "issues" became apparent, with the following matters affecting my wife and I directly and personally. These include a hopelessly antiquated TV / DVD system, inadequate onboard sound system meaning many announcements were either inaudible or simply not heard in certain locations, this being a serious issue particularly in the communication of an emergency situation. Of concern to everyone was the ridiculously expensive and poor quality of the Internet service provided aboard “Vasco da Gama”. These facilities fall far short of what is expected in this day and age, and what is provided by other Cruise Lines (We are aware of additional related issues affecting a great number of other passengers).

Most of our serious concerns fall into the category of the ship not being "Fit for Purpose", and with those issues having a significant impact on HEALTH and SAFETY for the passengers.

Air-conditioning. During the second week of the voyage, our cabin became an overheated "sauna" to the extent that it completely deprived my wife of any sleep. Our initially expressed concerns resulted in a "technician" attending for a few minutes, but with no better outcome. However a subsequent meeting with the ship's Chief Engineer did produce immediate results. (Thank you). But this exercise did highlight the fact that customer (passenger) comfort is a little or no major concern to CMV. The designated Guest Services Manager was a glaring example of how not to deal with people and their concerns.... just obfuscate and ignore. To him, the ship's passengers were clearly just an annoyance.

Later in the voyage, the Air-Conditioning malfunctioned in the Club Bistro on Deck 11, creating excessive condensation on the ceiling throughout. The condensation, which lasted for many days, caused water to drop onto food, plates, people , food surfaces, cutlery, crockery and the floor. Everyone was disgusted. This naturally presents a HUGE health and safety risk for all concerned. The Staff and Crew response was to "mop" the ceilings with floor mops draped with a towel....!!!! Hardly a safe or healthy response to such a potential health risk to all those onboard. (Pics available)

Windows. Almost all the ships windows were disgraceful ...… unclean, and with moss, fungus, mould and mildew evident between the laminates of the double glazing. Additionally the windows in our cabin (and many adjacent cabins) were continuously wet between the laminates clearly indicating that they were not sealed and all contamination was freely airborne throughout the ship. Other windows including in the Club Bistro on Deck 11 were visible cracked and broken, again providing free flow or airborne contamination. (Pics available)

Swimming Pools - Cleanliness and Maintenance. The pools on Decks 10 and 11 were not maintained in accordance with CMV's stated (published) policy, with the pool on Deck 11 being emptied and cleaned on 4 occasions only throughout the voyage. On one occasion a staff member had to specifically request the pool to be cleaned due to the obvious and visible presence of "contamination". During another period where the pool, on Deck 11 was emptied for cleaning, one of the now exposed underwater light fittings was clearly full of "green contaminated" water, yet the pool was re-filled without that underwater light fitting being emptied, cleaned and sanitized. Likewise the pool on Deck 10 became clearly contaminated and turned bright yellow…!!! The potential health and safety implications are obvious to anyone. These matters were subsequently drawn to the attention of the Captain, who was "most concerned" and took a copy of the pictures of the offending light fitting (Pool on Deck 11). However, it was another 5 days before the pool was emptied and the affected light fitting, properly emptied of the contaminated water, and thoroughly cleaned. (Just prior to arriving in Sydney)!!! This is clearly in breach of CMV's own published pool cleaning policy, and flies in the face of common sense and basic healthy practises. (Pics available)

Defective Ship Hygiene. From the outset, my wife and I were concerned with aspects of the absence of basic compliance with required ship hygiene as evidenced above with considerable leaks of both "potable" and "grey" water on all Decks, including crew levels (according to staff). All attempts to ascertain if CMV (“Vasco da Gama”) complied with the World Health Organisation- “Guide to Ship Sanitation” as adopted by Bahamas Maritime Safety Authority, (embracing all Bahamas registered vessels) proved fruitless. As with many of the matters raised with ship crew / staff, they were met with obfuscation or simply ignored.

Sewerage Leaks. One of our greatest concerns was the frequent and repeated sewerage leaks occurring at various points on board, particularly above the walkway on Deck 6, at approximately midship on the Port side. These leaks were attended to daily by ship crew who themselves were regularly coated in the brown muck each day, only to have the temporary taping of the leak fail the next day. This issue was a particular concern as Deck 6 was used for exercise, walking, etc , by many onboard. The problem continued for a long period and was only really seriously addressed on the day prior to arriving in Sydney. (pics available).

On-board illness. Prior to midway through the voyage my wife became severely ill (as did many other passengers and a similar number of crew), requiring medical attention at the onboard Medical Centre (diagnosis, was as with most similarly affected passengers, - suspected diverticulitis,,,!!! when none had ever had such a previous diagnosis). It was about this time that a regulated regime of hand sanitation was introduced at all appropriate points (meals areas, theatres, toilets, embarkation, etc). However, in such an environment, surely the regimented hand sanitation should have been in place from the commencement of the voyage. We understand from the Doctor that there was 83 passenger illness cases requiring his attention (along with a “similar number” of ship crew and staff). Approximately half of the passenger patients were confined to their cabins (along with their cabin partners) for periods 24 - 72 hours, as were affected staff and crew. Clearly an indication of a very seriously deficient Health and Safety program.

Needless to say, our "trip of a lifetime" effectively ended mid voyage, with my wife's illness. From that point we sacrificed much of the pleasures to be had because of her lingering unwell feeling. We no longer took shore excursions and limited many opportunities to participate in activities for fear of further contamination.

Upon returning home and visiting her Doctor, she was diagnosed with Salmonella ..!! (which we now understand is a "reportable" sickness). It is not surprising that a number of other “sick” passengers have contacted us to advise that their own Doctor diagnosed Salmonella on their return…!!! One could be excused for asking if the ship was trying to "protected itself from closer scrutiny"??

Given that most of these issues were drawn to the attention of CMV after the Singapore to London voyage, it is therefore beyond belief that these issues were not properly rectified prior to the commencement of the Southbound voyage in Oct, 2019.

The above matters were of such serious concern to us and many other affected passengers that an on-board meeting of over 150 people resolved for a deputation to meet with the Captain to draw these matters to the attention of CMV "officially". Interestingly, their personal interventions produced remedial action and significant works were subsequently undertaken on the key issues including Pool cleaning, Sewerage leaks and Air-conditioning. But obviously it was at the end of the voyage...... too little, too late for us, and others who were severely impacted negatively by significant health and safety issues that could well have been avoided if the serious matters detailed above had been addressed and rectified prior to the voyage. Needless to say that by the end of the cruise the Vasco da Gama had been renamed “Fiasco Disaster”……. And for good reason.

MORAL : Take a CMV Cruise at your peril….. particularly onboard the “Fiasco Disaster”.

Submitted by : Cyclopseas.

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