1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Pullmantur
  4. Pullmantur Cruise Reviews

132 Pullmantur Cruise Reviews

My husband and I booked this, as it was Malta to Malta and we had no flying. Having done approximately 10 other cruises before, we can honestly say this was down there at the bottom. The embarkation process was excellent, well organised ... Read More
My husband and I booked this, as it was Malta to Malta and we had no flying. Having done approximately 10 other cruises before, we can honestly say this was down there at the bottom. The embarkation process was excellent, well organised and very quick. Our cabin (1007) which was a balcony, was ready upon embarkation and was a reasonable size with lots of storage,, however there starts the downfall, during the cruise, our toilets stopped flushing for a whole day, and another day we were without water in the cabin for the whole day, we couldn't shower to go out on tour, then when we got back we could not wash or shower before dinner (all we got was one bottle of water to supplement us)!. The carpet was not vacuumed and there were bits all over. The cabin steward left no details of his name, and the this day (disembarkation) we still do not know his/her name (shoddy to say the least). Plus side is the cabin was quiet and we had an excellent nights sleep. I used the spa and booked a pilates session- this was excellent! She stretched my abilities and I had a thorough work out. I was going to go back for a second, but never got around to it- shame. Security aboard the ship thought they were protecting the president of USA. They never cracked a smile or exchanged pleasantries which we saw. Breakfasts were at the hottest, warm and some occasions cold once I asked if they had warm plates to put the warm food on and the staff member actually said what a good idea, it would stop the food getting cold! lunch was virtually the same throughout the week. I am surprised the ship has not gone down with any infections, as no-one and I mean o-one used the hand sanitisers, there was no member of staff to make people use them and they were not even placed very strategically! Entertainment was a joke first night was introduce the staff, and two other nights was screened football in the theatre. So, 3 out of 7 nights the animation team had off! There was no poolside entertainment, sorry I lie, there was bingo round the pool?, ad bingo in the bar later around 20.00. Entertainment between 14.00 and 16.00 was siesta time!!!Evenings were very tame affairs i.e. RCL (who incidentally own CDF) will have animated village people groups and bought in acts during a cruise. Not so on Zenith! The dancers were good entertainment, but the shows lacked Pzazz. The bar staff and the dining room staff were excellent, and made up for the rest of the ships faults and the lack of enthusiasm in the rest of the crew. Sorry! I cannot recommend this cruise unless you are 90 plus! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I wanted to try different company and I wanted to see different ports in the med.The cabin I had was inside cabin with a window was kept very clean,The dining restaurant and the buffet restaurant were excellent the food plenty and tasty. ... Read More
I wanted to try different company and I wanted to see different ports in the med.The cabin I had was inside cabin with a window was kept very clean,The dining restaurant and the buffet restaurant were excellent the food plenty and tasty. The staff was very nice my wife lost her hand bag and one of the cabin steward found it and handed it at the reception desk,Being a French speaking ship we wanted an excursion with English guide and the PR on the ship Irina Davydova went out of her way to help us and I want to thank her. For a ship over 20 years old it is kept very well and for the money me and my wife paid for the Cruise was more then worth it also the entertainment was very well organised with different things every night embarkation and disembarkation went very well and the security excellent on a good note Ice cream should be available at the buffet restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I had to write this after seeing negative reviews for this same cruise. I have sailed over 100 cruises and I can't wait to go on this same sailing in 2017! The food, the entertainment was all good. The value is exceptional! Where ... Read More
I had to write this after seeing negative reviews for this same cruise. I have sailed over 100 cruises and I can't wait to go on this same sailing in 2017! The food, the entertainment was all good. The value is exceptional! Where else can you get unlimited frozen drinks, beer, wine and premium coffee free of charge. It's not 5-star luxury but you're getting 99% off the price of other cruises doing the same Trans-Atlantic crossing. I read one review that said that the announcements were only in Spanish.....not true, they were also made in English. The entire crew is multi-lingual. The same review said the shows were in Spanish...again not true, we saw excellent shows in English. They do have "Spanish Only" shows for "Spanish Only" guest, other than the comedian we had no issues being entertained. The disco played mostly American music. The vibe was energetic and fun. Our outside cabin was OK, nothing wrong with the bed, lights, TV, toilet, shower, etc. I'm sure that if there had been an issue the hotel manager would have taken care of it. Our tablemates were all from the USA, and we all had very enjoyable meals, every night. We had the appetisers, several entrees, deserts and the cheese plate, along with our bottles of wine and a nice cup of expresso at the end (no hidden charges here!) Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Pullmantur Horizon Marseille to Calais We just returned from 8 night cruise starting from Marseille (France) , Gibraltar (UK) , Cadiz (Spain) ,Lisbon, Porto (Portugal) , Ferrol (Spain) to Calais(France) Spanish Pullmantur does ... Read More
Pullmantur Horizon Marseille to Calais We just returned from 8 night cruise starting from Marseille (France) , Gibraltar (UK) , Cadiz (Spain) ,Lisbon, Porto (Portugal) , Ferrol (Spain) to Calais(France) Spanish Pullmantur does this cruise under the name of "Croisieres De France". So, on the ship most passengers were French. All the announcements and the shows were in French only. But most shows were song and dance type. So language was not much of a problem. People were friendly and kind. Horizon is an older ship. All Pullmantur ships are second hand. But Pullmantur company makes up this disadvantage with the lower price cabins and all inclusive deal. (all you can eat and drink for free). They have different shows everynight and they are as good as the more expensive cruise ship shows. They also have dance lessons , music, exercise lessons, many different activities, etc. like all the other cruises have. We stayed in balcony room on the 10th floor. Beds were quite big and comfortable and cabin was clean. All the brands included in the all inclusive deal were quite satisfactory. For example Grant and Ballantines was in the free package. But if you want Johnny Walker Red you pay 1 Euro. Wines and beer were pretty good. By paying little bit more (1, 2 or 3 euro more- depends on the drink- ) you can have any drink and any brand of your choice. Or by paying 10 euro pp.per day, you can have all the brands and drink all you want. They have James's piano bar just for the smokers. In that bar you pay for drinks. I do not recommend to take cruise tours. Because you make the same tours by yourself for much less amount. Gibraltar city center is just 10 minutes by walking. Cadiz city center is only 500 meters. With tourist city buses you can hop on- hop off anywhere for 16 euro for whole day. Lisbon 15 minute by taxi or Public Bus no: 728. Hop on hop off buses 17 euro for whole day, you can see most of the city sight seeing places this way (ALL the places you would see with the ship tour) and stops right by the port. Porto 10 km to downtown, ship has a bus service every half an hour to downtown for 10 euro round trip. Ferrol 10 minute walk to downtown. Ship has free shuttle to city center and back every half hour. In the past we sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL and Costa. This was our 24th. cruise. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise. We got more value than we bargained for. We'll go next to Norwegian Fijords and Baltic with Pullmantur Monarch for a 14 days cruise in June 2016. We hope, we'll like that one also. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
NEVER Again! let me first start off by saying we were 6 Canadians who thought we'd give a different cruise line a chance. We have sailed 13 times prior with NCL , Royal and Celebrity but thought we'd try something different ... Read More
NEVER Again! let me first start off by saying we were 6 Canadians who thought we'd give a different cruise line a chance. We have sailed 13 times prior with NCL , Royal and Celebrity but thought we'd try something different this time. We are all in our early 40's as well just to give you an idea. We were definetly the minority on the ship. The Announcements were made first in spanish and then in English but still garbled and hard to understand. All and i mean All of the entertainment on board was Spanish only. Which meant that any pool side games...night time entertainment or any goings on around the ship were Spanish only. just be sure you are aware of that going in. The food. Again compared to past cruises...The food was mediocre. We certainly didnt starve but it was nothing like the cruises we've been on in the past. Dinner seatings were 730 and 1030. Late by our standards but there was NO food anywhere between 330 and 730 pm. If you came back hungry from an excursion or the beach. Well too bad. No food available till dinner time! This would have to be the first cruise where you've ever heard me say "'Im hungry" Two seperate dinners our group barely ate as the meals were close to not edible. Drinks were again Mediocre. We had the supposive drink package? that was a joke! You had one beer to choose from . Miller lite. That was it. and one Slushie drink to choose from. Pina Coloda. In fact we asked for them to make our drink of choice into a slushy by adding ice and blending it and were told they werent allowed?? Noone went out of their way to make us happy ! Ship itself is old and run down. Our friends found a cockroach in their closet!!! the showers were mildewy beds uncomfortable Pool Deck. We woke up one morning to find blood on the deck. it appeared someone hurt themselves the night prior and it trailed from the pool deck into the elevator area and all over the railings. There was a staff member right there ...visible to her eyes but yet noone was cleaning it? we told 3 people. 2 hours later ...noone had cleaned it up! We finally told someone in a white suit how disgusting that was and insisting on someone cleaning it up! Even after clean up spots of blood were still seen on deck. Ashtrays always full. Glasses all over the table from the night prior Again not something i'm used to in the cruising industry Entertainment was a joke. I seriously questioned whether they asked the kitchen staff to come out and dance for entertainment. we bragged to our friends how great the entertainment on board cruise ships were and well lets just say we walked out after 30 min. Gave it a second chance night 4 and again walked out. Staff were generally okay. the guy that cleaned our room and our wait staff in the dining room were actually pretty amazing. they both spoke english and did their best to make our stay with them better. If it were not for the itineary and the group we travelled with this trip would have been a bust. But we made the best of it and came out with some great memories anyways. My advice. Book a NCL Royal Caribbean or elsewhere. Dont waste your time or money here Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had an opportunity for a LONG vacation and needed to unwind before reaching Barcelona (for 3 weeks in Spain). We live on the Pacific side of Costa Rica (expat Americans) and it was very convenient to have friends drive us to Puerto ... Read More
We had an opportunity for a LONG vacation and needed to unwind before reaching Barcelona (for 3 weeks in Spain). We live on the Pacific side of Costa Rica (expat Americans) and it was very convenient to have friends drive us to Puerto Limon. The cruise on Pullmantur was less expensive than an economy flight to Barcelona and gave us 15 nights to relax on the crossing for just over $900 per person in the second best accommodations on the ship. This was a ship that could hold 1500 passengers and between Puerto Limon and the 1st of two stops, the Dominican Republic, only 80 (YES, EIGHTY!) people boarded. The crew was friendly and efficient. I believe there were 600 crew members making the ratio of crew to passenger 7.5 crew to 1 passenger. That was the ONLY good thing to say about this cruise. The ship was old; not very attractive; badly needed refurbishing; and not very well maintained. The dining service was great, but the food was a 1-star on a scale of 1 to 5. The menu offered steak and shrimp for an upcharge of $10 and $15 per person. It was otherwise bland, tough meat, sameness, and what one might expect from a not too good cooks kitchen. Only the pastry chef and bread baker were 3-4 star. If the ship had stabilizers they did not seem to be working, as walking through the hallways required holding on to the railings at all times during the Atlantic crossing. It appeared that this was a maintenance cruise as the banging continued as the rust was hammered off the metal for several hours every day. The temperature in the cabins could not be controlled and after several service calls I wound up sitting in my cabin with a sweater and wrapped in a down blanket to keep warm. I got a cold after a few days and spent the next few in bed. During that time, my husband was not allowed to carry even a cup of tea back to the cabin for me and room service would not deliver any hot beverages except at breakfast. Once we hit the Mediterranean (after 8 freezing days) it was warmer. The toilets on the ship worked on a system similar to that of a plane; some sort of air system. For at least 3 days the system was being repaired from first thing in the morning to 3 in the afternoon and there were NO WORKING TOILETS on the ship. No flushing toilets that is. And when the smell became bad enough "Out of Order" signs were placed on the public bathrooms of the ship. Thank goodness there were only 80 people! The sea was so rough that the outside decks were closed most of the time, along with the pool. The sea spray reached over our balcony onto the sliding doors of the veranda - and we were on deck 9! I am a smoker and could only smoke outside, which was, of course, impossible except at the back of deck 10, protected from the sea spray, but where most of the hammering continued from morning to night. The only smoking area on the INSIDE of the ship was a bar who only allowed passengers who had purchased their "supreme" beverage package! I had not since I don't drink at all. The entertainment on the ship was less than mediocre. There were two shows (both very unprofessional) and the rest of the nights were theme parties in the lounge sponsored by the ships entertainment crew. There was a Captain's Cocktail Party - strangely held AFTER dinner when everyone was already full. The second stop before we reached Barcelona was in Gibralter. The tour I had booked was canceled because there were not enough reservations. We were able to book the same tour with a tour vender on the dock for 1/2 the price the ship had charged and had a delightful time. With all of the above, there was never any apology - not even for the canceled excursions, broken AC or toilets! The staff at the front desk acted as if everything was in perfect order. It was surreal. All I can say about Pullmantur is although they are a division of Royal Caribbean, it's time to close them down and retire their lowest-end ships and cruises. I spent most days reading and wondering why we didn't fly, which would have given us an extra two weeks to spend for fabulous trip through southern Spain. My recommendation... STAY AWAY from a Pullmantur cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
First of all, I was not on vacation but traveling back home from The Caribbean. The ship itself was not that great except for the spacious cabin which was a nice surprise. There was no great entrance hall with glass wall elevators and ... Read More
First of all, I was not on vacation but traveling back home from The Caribbean. The ship itself was not that great except for the spacious cabin which was a nice surprise. There was no great entrance hall with glass wall elevators and marble stairs that I had seen on Empress before. But I can whole heartedly say that the staff made it up and much more! The service, attention and care on the boat were amazing. I am a young mother traveling alone with my two year old which is not always easy but with the experience with this boat and previously on Pullmantur's Empress, I can only recommend the cruise line! The food was not very good in the beginning but it got better along the way. The weather happened to be terrible but seeing my son being loved and attended by the staff and clientele and him having the time of his life this cruise has been one of the greatest travel memories for me. Note that you should know languages like Spanish or French to get the best of the cruise. The repositioning cruises are my thing and I will certainly go for more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The ship was fairly nice on the inside. Some of the ceilings on the 11 deck need attention and it seemed a lot of rust on the ship had been painted over. At times when you first turned on the water it came out a very dark brown. The ... Read More
The ship was fairly nice on the inside. Some of the ceilings on the 11 deck need attention and it seemed a lot of rust on the ship had been painted over. At times when you first turned on the water it came out a very dark brown. The mattresses should have be replaced about five years ago. The ship does not have stabilizers and did a lot of rocking. The food was average. In the mornings some of the food was cold. Great crew and staff, all very friendly and helpful. The entertainers in the theater were great. I did not like that on this cruise the drinks were free. A lot started drinking before 10am. I would guess that some drank over $200 worth of drinks which my ticket helped pay for. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: ... Read More
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: Food . Good in Resturant although can sometime be lukewarm, good in the buffet, always a good selection but again can be lukewarm. Seems a theme on this cruise line, maybe thats their way. My only reservation and its a very British reservation is that they are clueless on how to make tea. Ship. Old and Tired, in my opinion, not well maintained, carpets show signs of wear all over the ship and some are badly stained. Wood Decks on solerium by gym very rough, missing lots of corking and certainly not been polished and stained for a good few year, further up the ship wood deck has been replaced by astroturf like carpet. Entertainment: Having crossed the Atlantic on one of the big Royals a couple years ago and being extremely dissappointed with the entertainment, was surprised to find that the entertainment on Horizon was in fact quite good, the staff tried every night to put on a show that was different and entertaining and to which they mostly succeeded in doing. Overall a fine, entertaining cruise with good food and good entertainment and a freindly ship with some very good levels of service (and some poor) for a price that would put the bigger cruise line to shame. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Although this ship is owned by Pullmantour (ultimately RCL) - sails in the colours of Croisieres de France - predominately French clientèle with French and some English announcements - almost all crew speak English well. Some English/US ... Read More
Although this ship is owned by Pullmantour (ultimately RCL) - sails in the colours of Croisieres de France - predominately French clientèle with French and some English announcements - almost all crew speak English well. Some English/US passengers, a few Russians but very much in minority. Olga - ships international rep very good indeed - speaks fluent English, Russian and Ukrainian Positioning cruise Saveurs et Decouverts - with wine and food experts on board. Very very good value for money as price was relatively low. Like this ship. Not too big - food good - inside cabin spacious. Struggled in storm on Bay of Biscay - late arrival in La Coruna and Gibraltar - stays shortened considerably which was annoying. Did not take ship's excursions. Entertainment ok - not quite as good as Costa (Magica cruise last Oct). Food better than Costa. Drinks package included in price - not all included - but enough to keep interesting. I would travel on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We speak only English and were worried about taking this cruise where the language is French. We shouldn't have been concerned. The staff spoke English better then French and many passengers spoke English as well. Often the staff ... Read More
We speak only English and were worried about taking this cruise where the language is French. We shouldn't have been concerned. The staff spoke English better then French and many passengers spoke English as well. Often the staff seemed relieved that we spoke to them in English. Although the entertainment was in French, 70% of the music was in English with songs from popular USA bands. The entertainment was mostly visual and was excellent. Our room was updated and wonderful. The hallways could use new carpeting. We had a balcony room and a few things came with this including a bottle of champagne, discounts on room service, priority disembarking in ports, and priority disembarking the day the cruise ended. Was sad that staff didn't make towel animals for our room--but worth it for the better price on the cruise. Food was wonderful. I thought we would have foie gras every night but it was an additional 15 euro per person so we didn't order it. No steak tartare either. French breakfasts can be just croissants and coffee so we were worried but breakfast was pretty good. We loved the muesli, cream fresh for our pastries, oatmeal and fresh fruit. Dinner was wonderful and there were some fabulous desserts. We loved that the French go light on sugar so you can actually taste the flavors of your dessert. The tap water on board was excellent. No need to order bottled water. A few times they put ice in our water as that is what Americans usually want. We let them know we didn't need it. One thing nice about this cruise that we didn't expect is that the passengers were so pleasant. The French tend to be polite, classy and speak quietly. My husband is from NYC and tends to speak loudly so we had to help him remember to speak softly in elevators and hallways. We didn't want to be known as the loud obnoxious Americans. We had no seasick days as the Mediterranean is so smooth. It's a great cruise for those who don't like movement of the ship. In ports: Barcelona-rented electric-assist bikes for $20 ea. These are amazing and keep you from getting tired and you can see all the architecture quickly. Highly recommend. Had tapas for lunch. Menorca-Rented a car and bought snorkel equipment. Drove half an hour to a spot to snorkel. No colorful fish but family loved it. Husband got a 100 euro ticket trying to navigate one of many traffic circles. Rome port-Walked to nearby markets and found amazing deals on wine (3 euro for 2 liters!) and food. Heard there was civil unrest in Rome (90 mins away) and other ships were telling passengers not to go there. Genoa-took the sightseeing bus for about 10 euro each that dropped us off at the best aquarium in the Mediterranean. Kids were free. Adults around 16 euro each. Ajaccio France-Walked around to see Napoleon childhood home, museums, gardens, town. Walked to the beach and spent second half of the day snorkeling there. We have been on many cruises and have never been allowed to take alcohol to our room that we buy in port. This ship allowed us to bring alcohol on board which was wonderful as there were amazing deals in the ports. One day at the market in Italy, we found some of the best wine for $1.50/liter. We also bought some fabulous Sangria in Barcelona for $6/bottle. It was so nice to get to enjoy it that evening before dinner. After dinner they always had something special planned that was loads of fun. One night they had a show in the disco mixed with dancing. We had a blast with our 3 kids aged 13, 17, 21. The music was great and mostly from the US. The staff taught us line dances. Another night they had 70s and 80s dancing with a band in the lounge. Another night they had a tropical midnight buffet and dancing around the pool. When we booked this cruise the travel agent discouraged us as it was a French speaking cruise. When he realized we were serious and were going to do it, he let us know that everyone who books it wants to go again. We met one other American on board and we both decided this is one cruise we will be going on again. There were 3 other families who were not French speaking and spoke English as a second language. I believe they were Asian. I highly recommend this cruise to those who are not concerned about being surrounded by people speaking French. It would be a great cruise if you are trying to learn French. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Background information: A Canadian company is offering this package deal which includes airfare, transfers and cruise on the CDF Horizon. It was our 11th cruise, but never on a Croisieres de France ship. Ship information: it's an ... Read More
Background information: A Canadian company is offering this package deal which includes airfare, transfers and cruise on the CDF Horizon. It was our 11th cruise, but never on a Croisieres de France ship. Ship information: it's an older ship owned by Pullman that works the Caribbean in the winter. Travel to embarkation port: We left Montreal at 6 am, arrived in DR at 11 am and, as stated, our transfer from the Samana airport was included and went well. This ship picks up and drops off passengers at each port, so even though we were there early, we had to wait in line for 3 hours before making it to our room. There were at least 4 check points where we had to show our passport and airline info. I don't recall any activities. Entertainment: they always had some live music in the afternoon. The nightclub was full. Many VJ's have trouble adjusting their music to their clientele . Rap just doesn't cut it when the average age is over 50. The dance floor was full for pre 1980 music but would empty quickly when the "Yoyoyo" would start. Food and drink service was pretty good considering the drinks were included in the deal. Other than that, good luck if you had a complaint. Dining was very good considering the French cuisine and deserts. Snacks were often available and excellent. Loved every port; Santo Domingo, St-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Isla Margarita in Venezuela. The produce, fish and spice markets are not to be missed. We had already seen these islands, except Venezuela. We only booked one shore beach excursion in Venezuela and it was safe (escorted by 2 gun carrying guards on motorcycles) and lots of fun. Rum and drinks on the bus included. Guide helped us with merchants selling pearls. Cabin: This is where this cruise looses all its value. We had our room booked, midship 5th floor ocean view. They changed it 2 weeks before departure and the woman in charge stated it was ok, at embarkation. It was below the kitchen on the sixth deck. We didn't sleep for a week. Carts rolling like freight trains all night. No other rooms available, even though there were people embarking at every port. No one came to check the noise after 4 promises that they would come. No compensation, except 10% off the next cruise. Joke! I wouldn't take my chances booking with them ever again. It's called ocean view, but the windows are so old, you can't see clearly through them. Disembarkation: Here we go again, 2 hours to make it to the bus after we left ship to enter the terminal. More check points. Looks like a make work project. Summary: old ship, great food, mediocre drinks, but free. Because of the noise from the engines and from the kitchen upstairs, I wouldn't recommend this company to anyone. The only company that changed our reserved room and stuck us in the back without any say in the matter. Also be aware that we were charged for pictures we never ordered. Someone took them by giving our room number and without presenting their ship's card. It took 2 days to resolve that issue. Many others in the lobby complaining about Internet usage over €100, missing luggage and other billing issues. The itinerary is amazing, but not on that ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Everything was wonderful. The food, drinks, juice (they could have it with less sugar, of course, like we serve in Brazil), dinner restaurants, buffet service; air conditioning was cold (like some people complained about), but hey, come ... Read More
Everything was wonderful. The food, drinks, juice (they could have it with less sugar, of course, like we serve in Brazil), dinner restaurants, buffet service; air conditioning was cold (like some people complained about), but hey, come on, better to wear a light sweater inside a theater than sweat to death in the heat of brazilian february!!! I traveled with husband and grown up son, and we had a lot of fun. of course, i expected more entertainment in the pool, like the "pelucas aerobics", that was so much fun. but it is understandable that we traveled in carnival holiday, and most passengers were young people who didn't care about aerobics in the pool; they wanted to drink, drink, drink, ( I am 44 years old, so, that was a bit different for me; i'd rather do sports and swim). The big shots of pullmantur MUST RAISE the salary of the crew members when they come to Brazil, because, even though brazilian people ( I am brazilian myself), are very friendly and nice, they are also very impolitely dirty, leaving trash everywhere and NOT picking after themselves. Therefore, the crew worked like crazy, I could see it. It is so different when you work with europeans or americans, for example. So, pullmantur: pay extra for your crew members when they come to Brazil, specially because they HARDLY EVER get tipped!!!! I loved all of you workers of Zenith!!! God bless you all!! Liliane Chaves, araraquara, brazil. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Rating: 5 star rating based on overall experience and price paid. This is not a 5 star ship and things were not perfect, but we enjoyed ourselves and thought the cruise offered an excellent value. But you have to understand that you will ... Read More
Rating: 5 star rating based on overall experience and price paid. This is not a 5 star ship and things were not perfect, but we enjoyed ourselves and thought the cruise offered an excellent value. But you have to understand that you will be on a 25 year old ship, so temper expectations accordingly. Background: I am a past guest on most of the major cruise lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Croisieres de France aka CDF. We decided to try CDF due to favorable pricing, which included food and alcohol. I believe that alcohol will not be included after some point in April 2015. We were also attracted to the itinerary out of St. Maarten which included visits to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Margarita Island, Venezuela, and 2 stops in the Dominican Republic. Videos: Some may have seen my YouTube video, "CDF for Americans", where I shared info that I gathered on Croisieres de France prior to this cruise. I expect to do several additional directly and loosely related videos. I recorded a room review and have uploaded it. My YouTube user name is bradfordwillis and if you look at my videos (almost 800 of them!), you should be able to find the CDF videos with the help of the YouTube search function (many are gaming videos). Dailies: I saved all of my daily "Journal de Bord", which were offered in English. I won't be scanning them, but I will retain them for a bit in case anyone has any questions. Money: I suggest that you bring along some Euro. We brought about 150 Euro each, although you could get by with more or less than that. The ship and many merchants will accept credit cards. Many smaller vendors, drivers and such will want Euro, especially in Guadeloupe and Martinique. The U.S. dollar is likely accepted at most other ports and widely accepted on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and somewhat (but less) on the French side. Be aware that Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted. Discover card, less so. I prefer a card that has no foreign transaction fee and use a Capital One Visa for this purpose. Many of the European credit cards have a security chip, while many U.S. cards don't. You probably won't have an issue with this, but if they have a problem with your card, have them run it though manually. Also be 100% sure to call your credit card company prior to sailing and give them your itinerary. Otherwise it may be blocked due to potential fraud and then you really have a problem. Telephone Communications: Unless you know *exactly* what you are doing, do not use your cell phone. Put it into airplane mode prior to leaving the U.S. and do not exit airplane mode anywhere for a split second. Rates on this ship and on many of these islands are super expensive. Data often runs over $20 per megabyte (yep, a megabyte is almost nothing). My suggestion is to buy the ship's Wi-Fi package (cheap by cruise ship standards) and use Skype for communications. You can enable Wi-Fi on your phone, but again I don't suggest you enable data or voice. I'd recommend you go into your settings, click on cellular, then roaming, and turn off data roaming and voice roaming and then leave it in airplane mode with only Wi-Fi enabled. If you do otherwise and get a big nasty bill, don't say you weren't warned. Skype is cheap and the ship's Wi-Fi is quite reasonable and usually pretty good, when the ship is not in or near the port. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In a word, bad. We first were scrutinized by St. Maarten pier personnel. Then, we dropped off luggage with some guys who we weren't even sure worked for CDF. Next, we waited in a very long line in the hot weather sweating, while 2 (yes, 2) agents tried to check in a long line of passengers. They seemed overworked and passengers got off to a slightly grumpy start. Once it was our turn, not having the receipt for my flights seemed to become a major problem (boarding passes were not enough). After more passport scrutiny, we were told to wait outside for an escort to walk us a very short distance to the gate, but no escorts were available. After maybe 20 minutes, an escort walked us to the gate. Once at the gate, passports were further scrutinized. We crossed the gangway only a few steps where passports were scrutinized again. We went through security screening, with a bag search and major hassle over my "hair iron" which they were going to have to confiscate as it was contraband. Only I didn't have a hair iron, I had a small fabric steamer, which they also tried to take. After I politely protested, it was allowed on board. Next, upstairs where passports were further scrutinized and one of the reception desk workers was obviously very sick with the flu, or similar. I might also add that this is the first cruise I've been on where *all* passports are held by the cruise line until the day of disembarkation, which is odd. My luggage never arrived and I was later told it was being held because it contained more contraband. I hadn't showered in a day and had no clothing to wear to dinner. Now, I would have to wait hours to retrieve my bag, even to the point of missing dinner, because security did not open until 8 pm. Finally, they showed up and it turned out the contraband was a tiny pocket knife with a 2 inch blade. Not even a problem, according to security. So, the embarkation process is the worst I've experienced and I call upon CDF to improve, simplify and streamline this process. Disembarkation was almost as poor. Lots of waiting around in the same room as those waiting for excursions. Luggage took a very long time to show up, while everyone sweated in the hot sun. The Ship: The ship is the Horizon, originally built for Celebrity Cruises roughly 25 years ago. The ship is small by today's standards, but has an excellent feel and layout. If you are expecting a new mega ship with a Grand Atrium, specialty dining and such, you will be disappointed. However, the ship itself is quite solid. I told my girlfriend that the bones of the ship are very good. And while CDF keeps the ship very clean, there is no mistaking that this is an older ship. When I first boarded, I thought she looked tired. But after a bit, she looked pretty good to me. Maybe the unlimited drinks helped? Let me also say that I enjoy a smaller ship. As CDF would say, "It's human-sized" and I agree with this. The Room: We had room 1077, which is a Prestige class ocean view room. We had a foldaway bunk as well as a love seat that opened into a bed. The room was kept very clean, although the window needed cleaning. There was some minor obstruction from the lifeboats below and lifts. I was surprised this wasn't mentioned. Partially obstructed views aren't usually considered the highest category (Prestige) in the ocean view class. The walls seemed pretty thin and we heard constant doors slamming during the night. I believe that we were near a service door, unfortunately. The air conditioning system seemed inconsistent. At times, room temperature was fine. Other times, even at night, the room was uncomfortably warm to the point that I had to sleep without sheets, blankets or clothing. I have uploaded a YouTube video tour of the room. Search CDF Horizon 1077 on YouTube to view. I purchased the Internet package and I thought it was fairly priced. Speeds were very good, with several periods of poor or no service. However, I was offered extra minutes to compensate me for this. Do be aware that the lower decks do not have in room Wi-Fi internet service available. I believe that only decks 7 through 11 offer Wi-Fi service. The Staff: The staff was very good and very friendly. Even though it is a French ship and maybe 75% of the passengers were French, all staff members spoke English and all announcements were in French, Spanish, and English, generally in that order. The service was typically very good to excellent. However, one reception area clerk was obviously terribly sick and really should not have been interacting with passengers. When I mentioned that she was sick and needed rest, she seemed embarrassed and did not want to discuss the topic. I later got sick and I wondered if I got it from her. Special kudos to our waiter, Birowo Wicaksono, who was outstanding. Always friendly, always a smile on his face, and 100% spot on and very honest with regard to his recommendations for the evening's best dinner selections. Sanitation: The ship was extremely clean, but passenger sanitation is not quite up to U.S. cruise line standards. They do have soap dispensers throughout the ship, but not a lot of passengers seemed to use them. At the buffet, so many hands touched those serving spoons and of course, many of those hands were not sanitary. To compare, on a Princess cruise that we took recently, *everyone* had to sanitize their hands in front of a staff member before they were even allowed in the buffet area. I heard a lot of people coughing, so I think that CDF could improve in this area. Passengers: As mentioned, the passengers were mostly French, with a good number of Spanish speakers, and very few Americans or English speakers. Menus and all printed material were also offered in English, so there were no major language issues. Despite the unlimited drinks on this sailing, passengers were uniformly well behaved. I'm in my early 50's and generally the passengers were older than me, with plenty of exceptions of course. I always enjoy the spirit of the French and this cruise reminded me of a prior trip to Paris years ago, where I had a wonderful experience. I had spent a little time trying to brush up on my French, purchasing a Berlitz French phrase book and CD. But the reality is that I don't speak French other than a very few basic phrases, so it was of very limited help. Conversely, most of the other passengers spoke French and to a lesser degree, Spanish. But literature was offered in English, announcements were in English and the crew spoke English, so everything worked out fine. The Food: For us, the biggest surprise was the quality of the food. It was mostly excellent. Everything was prepared fresh and with simple ingredients that paired well and made sense. The menu was not as beef/steak heavy as many U.S.-based cruise lines, but it was highly enjoyable and certainly no one left hungry. I think the lunch buffet was the best I've experienced on any ship. I noticed that they would often swap out food trays and bins even when there was plenty left. So there seemed to be a real emphasis on freshness. The pizza was not very good, which surprised me. Pasta buffet day in the main dining room was excellent. Asian buffet lunch in the main dining room was pretty good, but not as good as the pasta buffet. We seemed to eat a lot of lamb, chicken and pork, but generally it was surprisingly good and we didn't especially miss the usual slabs of beef. Surprisingly, the Gala Night (similar to Formal Night), featured a fancy rolled up menu and really poor quality beef medallions. They were generous cuts of beef, but way overcooked, super tough, and seemingly of a lower quality. I was surprised by this, so it's probably a good thing that they mostly stay away from beef. The drinks were also pretty good with an excellent variety. The house red wine was French and quite solid for what I assume was a basic wine. Les Granges was the brand, and the red, white and blush were all uniformly respectable. We had a lot of lamb, which was very good. The seafood was extremely fresh and very good. Salad was as basic as it gets, but with fresh ingredients. The French are very much into good food and wine, so while the selections are different than what you might see on a US based ship, it's tasty and generally high-quality food nonetheless. The desserts were mostly delicious. I have uploaded 2 videos showing the main dining room Search CDF Horizon dining room on YouTube to view. Coffee: I'm into coffee, so I'll cover that separately. The coffee in the buffet is poor. The coffee in Café Moka is really, really good. They use fresh Italian Lavazza beans, which is what I often use myself, and can whip you up a terrific cappuccino or espresso. Don't forget to visit and try some of their coffee drinks. Entertainment: We had Miss France on board, with cameras following her constantly, so I suppose that was entertainment in itself. But generally, the entertainment was very good to excellent. There was a Flamingo guitar player named Guillermo Fernandez who was excellent. We also enjoyed the band Sensation Tropical, who had a lot of energy and were musically very solid. We attended 3 shows in the theater and all were very good. I especially enjoyed their tribute to the Beatles. Good dancing, good singing, well-choreographed, and the live band (hidden upstairs on the left side) was also excellent. So generally, entertainment was very solid. I guess my only complaint was that, after and sometimes during some shows, there was way, way too much chatting by the cruise director, another fellow with a similar position, and too many introductions. We spent a bit of time with the cruise director, Mr. Tivoli, who is a nice guy and a good magician, so I'm not picking on him specifically. It's just that they could cut the chatter and introductions by maybe 85%-90% (seriously). There are many TV channels, but only 1 in English (CNN). However, you may find some American subtitled movies and such, but I doubt you came to watch a lot of television anyway. Dress Code: I didn't see a lot of suits, but most passengers were appropriately attired for the main dining room. I did see some suits and nicer dresses on Gala Night. Most nights, I wore a nice pair of designer jeans, a better quality dress shirt or slacks. I took a black sport coat and wore it once without a tie with jeans and during Gala Night, I mated it with some wool slacks, a tie and a nice dress shirt. My girlfriend mostly wore a nice, but not over-the-top, dress. Ports of Call: Interesting and varied. For the most part, you should and likely need to take an excursion of some form, or perhaps rent a car. Do not expect to simply walk around the port area and have a favorable experience. I want to discuss each port, but I do have a general suggestion. Book the ship's tours. While the ship's tours are in French or Spanish only, many of the tour guides also speak English. Be sure to sit at the very front of your bus, tell the tour guide that you are an English speaker, and usually they will attempt to accommodate you somewhat. Some of these islands seem potentially dangerous and the ship's tours did often include security. St. Maarten: For us, this is where the cruise began and ended. We stayed 2 nights on the back-end and I think St. Maarten is quite lovely. I've used Bernard Tours several times (this time too). He provides beer, strong rum punch, sodas, water and spends 4.5 hours with beach time at Orient Beach (1.5 hours), 45 minutes at Maho Beach, where the planes land right over your head (we got 1 hour), and visits the French capital Marigot, as well as providing a terrific overview of most of the island. He picked us up and dropped us off at the Holland House Hotel in Phillipsburg, which is highly recommended. Get a beachfront room if possible. It was awesome! Guadeloupe: This was our first stop and it was a generally poor experience. I had searched high and low for a English-speaking tour guide without a lot of success. So we figured that we'd exit the ship and see what we could find. We visited the Guadeloupe tourism desk, located next to the ship, and were referred to an English speaking taxi driver named Frederick (AVOID him!), who said he would show us all around the island and get us back "before the ship leaves" for 50 Euro each. We took him up on the offer and I considered ourselves lucky to have found an English-speaker, as pretty much everyone speaks French only. Things started off well. He showed us a lovely waterfall and some of the surrounding area. But after only 2 hours, he said he should go no further without another 60 Euro per person. We told him that simply wasn't going to happen and said he had told us he would drive us around for the day at the agreed upon price. He said there was some wonderful thing 10 minutes away he wanted to show us, but wouldn't do it for less money. We felt ripped off and misled by the guy, so obviously stay away from this driver. We told him that if he wouldn't drive us around, at least take us somewhere to eat and we were interested in trying Creole food. He took us to a restaurant called Gwot An Nou 9 Rue Hincelin assainissement 97139 Les Abymes 0590 24 44 27. The prices are moderate, the atmosphere is nice and the food was very good. They didn't speak English, but we got by somehow. But I think we got very unlucky by getting paired up with Frederick. You may well run into him, as again, most of these guys don't speak English. I hold him responsible for the fact that we didn't get to see much of the island. Shame on Frederick for trying to take advantage of tourists with bait-and-switch tactics. I recommend that you use a ship's tour such as "Creole Colors" or "St. Anne on your Own". Both are inexpensive and you know you'll get what you pay for. Just sit near the front, tell the guide you speak English and hope for the best! Martinique: This was probably the prettiest island on the trip, as well as the cleanest with terrific roadways and infrastructure. Like Guadeloupe, it is a French Republic and this has a very French feel to it. Martinique also felt like the safest island that we visited. I didn't feel as if someone was apt to slit my throat in order to take my watch and money, and that was not always the case. I don't think that we had security (not sure), but I don't think we needed it. The ship docks in Fort de France, which is a relatively large city. In my view, this is yet another case where you have to do a tour (or drive if you wish) and get away from the port. We did the "Saint Pierre and the Rum Distillery" tour, which is highly recommended. Some may know that St. Pierre was destroyed by a volcano in the early 1900s and only 1 man survived. The entire town was obliterated in nothing flat and the sole survivor was in jail for being drunk on rum. It's thought that the jail's thick walls saved him. But St. Pierre is quaint and charming. The drive to the city is long and gorgeous with so much varied terrain and elevations. The rum distillery they stop at is Rhum Depaz and the grounds are very pretty with nice tasting rum as well. I had considered doing the tour to the Clement rum distillery, which was more money, but I'm convinced that the "St. Pierre & Rum Distillery Tour" was the right decision. Margarita Island: The good news is that the people are very friendly. The bad news is that it seems outright unsafe. We had 4 military uniformed National Guardsmen to escort us. I had arranged a private tour, and I believe the driver was not far beyond the main gate. Security told me it's very dangerous to walk beyond the gate of the port area, so I'm not entirely sure why they even stop there. Since we couldn't hook up with our tour guide, I was able to snag the Fiesta Margarita ship's tour, which was the last to leave. It's a loud open air party bus that blasts music for the 2 hour drive to a very pretty beach where some food and alcohol are provided. I was fighting with my girlfriend, which killed the fun for me, but if you like to drink and party and you'd enjoy some beach time, this is a good value with good security. The island itself is more desert than tropical, but there is some appeal. Still, it does not seem safe without security, even though the people smiled and waved every time they say & heard our brightly-colored party bus. I had to use the restroom on the way back (remember, it's a really long drive and most have been drinking), and they did not seem to have good plans to do that. We ended up stopping on the side of the road and they expected me to relieve myself in front of the entire bus. Instead, I pushed my way several feet into the reeds, which are razor sharp, and immediately sunk into a foot of mud. I was covered with mud and my legs were bleeding quite a bit. It's a good tour, but they need to have a potential bathroom stop somewhere along the very long route. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: We did the Fun Safari to Bayaguana Tour. It was pricey (about $100 per person) and included a lunch that I didn't enjoy. There was something about the food that did not taste fresh. Maybe it was the seasonings, but I have my suspicions. I love to eat but when I'm leaving a lot of beef, rice and chicken on the plate, it tells you that something's up. Basically, you board a small bus and head out to the countryside where you visit a small town and drive over a lot of dusty, dirt roads. You'll see the modest town of Bayaguana, which is not "exciting" or especially scenic, but is interesting. You'll also visit a very pretty waterfall, where you can swim (I have a YouTube video on this search Bayaguana waterfalls to find it). We also visited a home and were shown coffee beans, a lot of tropical fruit and such. Again, the tour was interesting and the tour drivers did a great job (also included an armed undercover police officer), but at something like 7.5 hours it was a very long day and frankly, I would have probably preferred another option. For some, what might be a better option that's cheap, close and interesting is just to visit the nearby Colonial Zone (aka Zona Colonial). For many, it's a 15 minute walk from the ship and there are literally tourist police every block. Otherwise, you'll pay a cab $10-$12 to get there. There are many very old and interesting buildings, bars, restaurants, places to shop and lots of people both locals and tourists. I personally enjoyed this more than Bayaguana and it costs next-to-nothing to do. If you walk, exit the port and turn left at the first major street. Without turning, stay as far to the left as you can for 15 minutes or so and you'll come to a bridge over the inlet. Turn left and cross the bridge and you'll be there. Again, there are tourist police every block (I'm not joking), and they can point you there just in case. They won't speak English but say, "Zona Colonial?" and they'll get the idea. But it's really simple to get there. La Romana, Dominican Republic: There's limited time at this stop and we had heard that there was a shuttle service to Altos de Chavon, which is a newer village made to look like it's from the 1500s. While there were no shuttles, there were plenty of taxis and we shared one with others. Our fare was $10 per person, but you could pay more if you don't share. Altos de Chavon is not within walking distance. As you might guess, I'll be uploading several Altos de Chavon videos to YouTube. To find them, search CDF Horizon Altos de Chavon. I definitely do recommend that you visit Altos de Chavon. It's located within the lush resort of Casa de Campo and is gorgeous, it's safe, it's cheap, and it's a quick stop when you don't have much time anyway. The entrance fee is only $5. The surrounding area is very upscale and well maintained. Afterwards, our taxi driver (who had waited for us for an hour) drove us to the town of La Romana, encouraging us to shop. But despite a very, very heavy police presence (for a reason, no doubt), it looked pretty sketchy and not particularly appealing, so we skipped it. Our cab driver tried to convince us it was an "easy" walk from La Romana back to the ship, but that didn't appear to be the case. Venues: Other venues we visited were James Le Piano Bar, which is old school with dark woods and such. There was no piano playing when we were there and it was very quiet, but it's a nice relaxing place to get away and maybe have a snifter of Grand Marnier (extra 3 Euros) or a glass of wine. We also ran into the Captain, Cruise Director and some Senior Officers here. Saphir le Danse Club is okay. It opens late and generally crowds were smaller. My girlfriend likes to dance, so she enjoyed it. I can take it or leave it. We spent a ton of time at the Zephir bar poolside on Deck 11. We had one particular bartender who made us great drinks there. If you find someone like that, slip them $5 and they won't forget you. As mentioned earlier, we absolutely loved the cappuccino and espresso at Café Moka and we spent a lot of time listening to music while sipping drinks at Salon Rendez-Vouz located on Deck 7 just outside of the Le Splendide main dining room. Conclusion: I had a great time on Croisieres de France and on the Horizon. It's an older ship with a good feel and layout, so make sure you understand this. Service was very good as were the food, cocktails and entertainment. Language was not much of an issue either. Again, this was not a 5 star ship or experience, but I felt as if we received very good value for our money. If you are looking for something different at a reasonable price, consider Croisieres de France and the Horizon! Oh, and don't forget to check for my YouTube videos (my user name is bradfordwillis), as I plan on uploading a number of them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I would rate this cruise 6 out of 10 which is exactly what I expected having sailed on another Pulmantur ship last year. The line caters to the French & Spanish ( F&S) & I would guess that only 2% were English. Eg.-I spent the ... Read More
I would rate this cruise 6 out of 10 which is exactly what I expected having sailed on another Pulmantur ship last year. The line caters to the French & Spanish ( F&S) & I would guess that only 2% were English. Eg.-I spent the sea day at the pool and never heard a word of English except from the bar tenders & crew who all can speak English to various degrees. If the crew could not get a group of over 20 English people for an excursion with an English guide it was cancelled. The F&S seem to travel in large groups and can be very loud but never pushy or rude as someone else here experienced. We managed to get a table of 6 English people together for dinner which btw is late-7:00 & 9:15. The food imho was mediocre at best but then I’m fussy – like hot food hot & cold food cold which was not the case at the buffets. Buffet lunches were nice salad bars, fish, good pasta dishes, different carved roast everyday- frequently tough. The entertainment was all F&S except for one group who did English songs but it was impossible to know where they would be playing at any time-they didn’t know themselves. Very few activities offered. Ports all received poor reviews on the net except SXM . We had been to the 1st 3 (Guadeloupe, Martinique & Margarita Island ) in better times so just stayed on the ship. We did leave for Wi Fi at each port and also bought very inexpensive pearls on Marguerite Island. Santo Domingo is huge- not what I consider a typical Caribbean port – taxi driver said that the nearest beach was 50 miles away and cost $50.00 one way! It started to rain at this point so another day onboard. I went to mass in La Romana which took some finding as no-one on the ship who I asked including the info desk knew if there was a church. The village was small – combination of beautiful houses and abject poverty beside each other - no beaches. The passage from the D.R. to SXM was very rough-worse than what we experienced crossing the Atlantic. On reading this report it sounds fairly negative but for the price ($490.00) incl. drinks and the convenience of leaving from SXM with no airfare to factor in, it was well worth it if you like cruising. I’m happy to answer any questions that anyone has about this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I did my first cruise by the company Pullmantur, ship Zenith, and had many disappointments. I paid over 1400 real for 5 days in the period from 01.23.15 to 01.27.15 The ship left Santos (BRAZIL), went to Ilhabela, Buzios and then returned ... Read More
I did my first cruise by the company Pullmantur, ship Zenith, and had many disappointments. I paid over 1400 real for 5 days in the period from 01.23.15 to 01.27.15 The ship left Santos (BRAZIL), went to Ilhabela, Buzios and then returned to Santos. The ship Pullmantur Zenith need to improve a lot. Drinking water provided in the ship's dependencies, it's horrible, it tastes like salt, very salty, brackish water seems. Unable to drink 2 liters of water per day (recommended for one person). And the more absurd they sell mineral water for an exorbitant price in dollars !!!! Juice options are only two flavors, but only with sugar, that is, you can not put the amount of sugar you want. In the cabins and inside the ship, the air conditioner is extremely cold. So at bedtime in the cabin, the sheet, the thin comforter and blanket were not enough to keep warm at night. Complained once, came two maintenance crew, but the air conditioning was still extremely cold. That is, we could not adjust the temperature in the cabin. Thus, when we take hot bath, had to stay in the icy quarter ... The attractions were very limited during the day, the only attraction and entertainment was the pool area and the area of purchasing. The theater attractions are held only at night, during the day does not have any concert or show. Some areas of the ship were restricted only to those who had the drinks package ... Small cabin for 3 people Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise. Embarking from our own country saved a lot of hassle. As soon as we went to the Lobby we were given our cabin card. We were on deck 5 to the front. Our twin cabin was very comfortable. It was cleaned every day. ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Embarking from our own country saved a lot of hassle. As soon as we went to the Lobby we were given our cabin card. We were on deck 5 to the front. Our twin cabin was very comfortable. It was cleaned every day. Our cabin stewardess, Marlete was very friendly, always with a welcoming smile. The shiip in general was always nice and tidy with staff doing their work. With regards to breakfast, there was a large variety of food, from cereals, joghurts, really good freshly baked bread, eggs, omelettes, sausages, salads, fresh fruits, pastries and sweets and juices, teas and coffees. The buffets were exquisite as well with so much variety, from pizzas and pasta to ready made dishes of fish, meat and carvery and salads. Juices, soft drinks and wine were also there. The main restaurant, Le Flamboyant, offered fine dining with a la carte menu. It had a lot of variety too, from fish, veal, rabbit, duck and other meat. Starters included mouthwatering soups, pasta and salads. Dessert was really delicious. Besides there were different bars open nearly all the time. Service was good with friendly staff always helping you when in difficulty. Entertainment was also very nice. With the pool, jacuzzi and gymn, it was really great! Activities throughout the day for different categories, such kid's clubs, karoaki, demonstrations, well-being talks and also on request religious meetings such as Mass. Everyone was taken care of. In the evening one should not miss the shows in the theatre. Very well prepared shows by very professional bands, singers, dancers and animators who made the public participate. We really enjoyed them! Good presentations by Kamel, Maria Paz and Claudine. Then there are the disco and the casino too! With regards to excursions, we only had the Marseille excursions organised by the ship management. Which was nice and interesting. The other excursions were bought from the travel agency we booked from. They were all nice but travelling so much for all those days was a bit tiring especially where the weather was a bit hot. So next time we will not buy the package of excursions when booking the cruise, so that we choose daily whilst on cruise, which ones we feel like going. But on the whole, the places we went to were very beautiful. As a first experience, the Zenith offered us a very enjoyable cruise. It was very worth it and so we hope to go on another one in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We sailed on that ill fated voyage Pullmantur Sovereign Saturday, May 10, 2014 out of Barcelona. The ship had engine problems just half hour after departure. We missed the Tunisia port of call and limped into Naples. Pullmantur offered to ... Read More
We sailed on that ill fated voyage Pullmantur Sovereign Saturday, May 10, 2014 out of Barcelona. The ship had engine problems just half hour after departure. We missed the Tunisia port of call and limped into Naples. Pullmantur offered to reimburse one full day of cruise cost--very nice. The ship couldn't get repaired in Naples even after flying in 4 engineers from England. The decision was made to end the cruise in Rome on the next day(Wednesday). Pullmantur then flew everyone back to Barcelona and put everyone up in hotels in Barcelona for the duration. They also paid for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And here's the kicker--they are going to reimburse everyone for the price of the cruise. So we get a one week vacation--a few days on the ship and a few days in beautiful Barcelona, with food and drink for free!!!!! They are also offering 60% discount on the next Pullmantur cruise. Kudos to Pullmantur for looking after its passengers/clients. This is a very good gesture by this Spanish cruiseline. I wish the American cruise companies would be as accommodating in the future. The logistics of getting 2000 passengers out of Civitavecchia and into hotels in Barcelona in one day was truly impressive. We lucked out and were in a 5* hotel. Pullmantur staff are to be commended as they were under quite a bit of stress and pressure from all the upheaval. Top marks to all the staff---- from the front line staff taking all the abuse, to the middle management for facilitating it all, to the senior management making all those tough decisions. Pullmantur should be proud of all their staff for doing the right thing. Bravo Pullmantur!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We booked this cruise due to the itinerary which included: France, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain. The itinerary included 12 ports and 2 sea days. We found little information on the internet (incl Cruise Critic and ... Read More
We booked this cruise due to the itinerary which included: France, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain. The itinerary included 12 ports and 2 sea days. We found little information on the internet (incl Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor) so we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into after booking this cruise. The Zenith is an older, and smaller ship, and we understood that English was not the first language. We could find only one (but favourable) review in Cruise Critic, and nothing in Trip Advisor. We were pleasantly surprised with the ship, it's crew, and language did not pose a problem! The ship is older, but maintained in good condition, and although smaller than what we are used to (mostly Carnival line), we were able to enjoy ourselves (group of 6) in the cafe, the casino, the theatre, and of course "eating". Another bonus was the inclusion of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in the price. There are extra charges for "premium" alcohol, but we were quite happy with what was served within the package price. Another bonus we discovered... while checking in was that we had "VIP Service". We are not sure why we received this service, but it included priority boarding, champagne & fruit in our room upon arrival, and additional fruit baskets throughout the week. We also received coupons for Casino play. The majority of the passengers were French speaking. Our guess was of the 1100 or so (of ~1600 capacity) passengers on board, is that less than 100 passengers spoke English as their first language. Even though all of the announcements were first made in French, they were generally repeated in good English. And an effort was made to provide some information sessions in English only (excursions, and disembarkation information). Something we found very odd, was that for those passengers not in the European Union, needed to surrender their passports to the "purser's office" for immigration/customs purposes. We sailed the Mediterranean with Carnival in 2011 and this procedure was not required. Needless to say, we refused to leave our passports onboard when going off of the ship. When we brought this fairly significant issue to their attention, we felt that our concerns fell on deaf ears. It was only after much effort that we understood that we would receive our passports immediately after immigration/customs clearance each day and that this process would not hold us up for long. Special thanks to "Jean Luc" who was there most days to see us off the ship asap, in many cases before others on board. Also, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment provided in the theatre each night. Kudos to Cruise Director "Kamel", and the animation crew. Kamel's enthusiam, and smooth transition between the French and English languages was fantastic. The shows were "incredible"! A definite highlight of the trip. We understand that they do not have many 14 day itineraries, so there was much extra work to provide unique programming for 14 nights. Special guest entertainers were brought in, but the on-board entertainment was spectacular (including a group of ballet dancers from Brazil in the line-up). Overall we were very pleased with this cruise. This review is made of my own accord, there was no request made by cruise staff to review our experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was listed as a Pullmantur cruise on Cruise Critic, but we received communication about it from "Crosiere de France" . We (age 55 to 61), have done about 23 cruises on many different companies, but never this one. We left ... Read More
This was listed as a Pullmantur cruise on Cruise Critic, but we received communication about it from "Crosiere de France" . We (age 55 to 61), have done about 23 cruises on many different companies, but never this one. We left Marseille 26th April for 7 nights, the only primarily English speaking guests - we think. Over all, our experience was quite frustrating although there were some great things too about the trip. In the end we decided that frustration was not going to be helpful! We should just see it as entertaining and hilarious !! We chose this cruise out of Marseille on the Zenith a ship of the Crosiere de France because it suited our time (I had business in Paris after the cruise) and offered an interesting itinerary; Tunisia, Malta, Messina, Sicily, Certiviccia (Rome) and Corsica. We had already booked the cruise when some friends told us they had been on a group of six who had done a cruise on this. Soon after we arrived on the boat we were advised that an international hostess was appointed to help us. They failed to tell us she neither spoke nor read French!! She didn’t tell us this either but seemed to make up her understanding of French which was not as good as mine (learned 45 years ago at high school). Some lovely French people we met were quite apologetic about “the French” approach to tourism. They indicated that in other countries they experience much better customer service than in France or by French companies. What a pity  Despite the above, the following comments about our experience are offered with an attempt at a balanced perspective. There are some things we really enjoyed (the venue, sunsets, sunrises and some lovely, lovely staff  and some very kind and interesting fellow passengers); the comfortable bed, the food in the main restaurant and particularly Moka, where the café was very predictable and mostly a very pleasant space (except at peak time when it seemed to become a children’s playground – dodging waiters delivering both hot drinks and alcohol in glass with children under their feet). We particularly enjoyed the 7am cappuccinos! We were very surprised to find many of the service staff did not speak French (we later learned this was more than 50%); some staff told us they got by on some key words (No wonder they looked dazed and stressed at times). Some seemed to speak better English than French; they spoke Arabic, Spanish, other Asian languages and Tagalog (Phillipines). Staff seemed very happy to be able to talk in English to us, but some struggled with understanding what we had said – for example, chicken came instead of prawns, and ice-cream instead of a different dessert; but always willingly changed with good humour!! The Children This was school holidays so one expects lots of children, however, the cruise ship rules said the parents are responsible for the children and the children should be supervised by the parents. The children dominated bars, smoking areas, casino, elevators and.. many of them appeared to be unsupervised. They were not supposed to be in elevators without parents but about 80% of the time, no parent could be seen. The gym was supposed to only have over 18 year olds! My horror was to see a 3 or 4 year old wandering around the treadmill on which an adult was running and others in the gym. I saw two children sitting in a bar, unsupervised eating their way through the packets of sugar on the table and when I pointed them out to the security person, he laughed at them, then wagged his finger and laughed some more! Children ran through corridors, through rooms where drinks were being served and through restaurants. One small group of 10 year olds were unsupervised running through a room and the last one jumped up to punch the fire alarm- fortunately she missed!! There appeared to be a range of declared rules which were not enforced or supported. Whenever we wanted to ask a question in person or by phone, they referred us to the ‘International Hostess’, a lovely person who made the required reports and acted sympathetically towards us but definitely took the ship’s line and I am actually not sure that she understood our concerns .. I actually think English was not her language (nor French – as mentioned above!) The smoking! As well as selling cigarettes at a cheap price, all outdoor space had smokers, even on a tour bus, (against the rules), on balconies (also against the rules) and in doorways (no rules)! The outside parts of the ship are all smoking areas, this includes eating areas, around children, and around recreation spaces such as pools, spars walking areas etc. We did not frequent these!! We tried to find outside air space without smokers – but one always found us – looked sideways at us, then lit up!! Food We are lovers of travelling, taking journeys to many parts of the world. For example, we enjoy buying local produce to have when travelling. This is a practice which has been and still is allowed – in our experience - by many different cruiselines! We also noticed that the nearby-parked Costa crew and passengers brought food on when at Citaveccia. However this was seen as a big no no on the Zenith. There was no sign or information about this prohibition – until the day after we brought two small cakes on board. These were initially confiscated - until I protested strongly…. We were then allowed to take them to our room, with the instruction to eat them quickly ??? cakes ???? I had already brought cheese, biscuits and local macaroons from Marseille which were for some reason not detected and we had been happily enjoying them at various times with our cups of tea. So.. two days after the cake incident we headed to the home of produce, Corsica!! We resisted – feeling traumatised by the perspective that we had broken an undeclared rule. By the way, a sign appeared the next day, which had a picture of fruit, a picture of a pastry and picture of meat. Each with a cross through them and an instruction that one could not take them on board. We ate our patisserie purchases in Corsica before getting on board but then noticed at least 10 people passing us and getting on board with plastic bags of cheese, sausage, etc in see through plastic bags guess what ! None was confiscated !!  Overall the on-board food was good, when we didn’t like a meal, a replacement was offered. Every evening had fish, meat and vegetarian options as well as bread and desserts. Our waiter was fabulous and every night remembered we like olive oil with bread and lemon with fish. They ran out of butter on day 3 but offered margarine instead. On day 7 butter was proudly produced. There was free house wine, house beer and house cocktails which we enjoyed occasionally. They used very sweet cordials and getting drinks apart from diet pepsi without sugar is difficult. It seems that drinking unsweetened soda water is not common and tonic water was very sweet. Sparkling water was available and bottled water available at a reasonable price. We resorted to this as with the passing of days the tap water tasted increasingly salty and unpalatable. On the last day, we were asked (I think accidentally) if we wanted sea water or bottled water – an accurate description. The meals are available in the deck 11 cafeteria, through room services (pretty good with 30 minutes wait), and for dinner in two sittings in a restaurant. We were initially offered the late 9:15 sitting but were able to change it on Day One to the 7pm sitting. In fact no dinner food was available until 7pm when the same menu is offered in the cafeteria as well. The buffet breakfast is also available in the restaurant and in the deck 11 buffet. A la Carte was offered in the restaurant but not well advertised and there was some surprise when we ordered off this table menu. Overall breakfast was a pleasant experience and we met some lovely passengers and crew at this time. The Room We were in room 1005 very close to the front on the ship. There were some good and bad things. The bed seemed comfortable and storage space was good except for baggage space – there was none that worked for our bags. A folded up overhead extra bed was tricky to get around if you weren’t looking. A very small TV in the corner of the room worked well. The balcony was lovely but a bit grubby – looked like it had not been washed down for some time. However we enjoyed some days with warm weather – so room service lunch was great - usually Chicken Caesar salad and a good cheese plate. The bathroom smelt pretty bad – and there was a black stain in the toilet which was it seems from a plumbing repair. It was a while before I also figured out that it was the drain that seemed to smell. I sprayed some of my body spriz a couple of times and that helped a lot!! When we arrived, the shower curtain was worse for wear, the wall next to our room had a suspicious brown mark. Here is the good part – we – co-incidentally – ran into an executive chef for the line, the morning after our first night and jokingly made our comments – a new shower curtain emerged!! And we were allocated a new room steward who was on his first week with this cruise line and desperate to be helpful and to please!! When I asked if he could vacuum the floor, he did, he cleaned and changed the linen and did all the things one hopes a room steward will do - even replaced the water - when we asked. He did ask us to not tell anyone except him if there were problems… therefore also coped with my requests for things to be attended to. Maintenance requests from us were generally seen as a nuisance. We stopped one outside door rattling about 3am with pieces of cardboard, the bathroom lock was missing two screws, and the rubber seal on the sliding door to the balcony was inadequate - adding cold wind through the door some nights. The Itinerary and day visits On all cruises except one Baltic Princess Cruise I have been frustrated by the poor information availability provided by cruise line staff abut ports and excursions. This journey was no exception. They would not give us maps or information until the day of the port visit. Perhaps this is for marketing and sales reasons. Our port experiences are provided below as examples. Marseille (pre-cruise) – we spent three nights in Marseille and took a one day trip by local bus to Aix en Provence which was very enjoyable. We also spent time in Marseille walking, doing a one day hop on hop off exploration. We stayed at The Viex Port Hotel in a cheap no view room but it was very comfortable. Getting to the port by taxi was easy; getting on the boat was chaotic, confusing and disorganised over about an hour until they decided we were VIPS when things marginally improved. The room was not ready for another hour (until 3pm) and we spent time waiting in the deck 11 space, after a short lunch. Getting off the boat was better organised, we bought the bus transfer which was good value and an additional interesting experience when the bus ran into a truck it tried to pass in a very narrow street Now to the journey Day One at sea – there were no onboard activities of interest to us and we were still getting oriented to the cruiseline. We did discover the Moka Café, to our delight!! Actually there is an absence of comment about entertainment in this report because it was pretty much absent for us. Incidental entertainment worked best for us. We watched three Abba songs in an evening show. It was bit like a highschool music performance. Talking with passengers and watching the world go by was the best entertainment for us. For example, the May day eve parade in the restaurant was pretty good fun. Day Two - Tunisia – as there had been a recent state of emergency and election, we opted for a Ship’s tour to Carthage but were advised that it would be in French – there were no English options available throughout the cruise. The local guide offered us a front seat and he occasionally made comments in English for us; some fellow passengers also assisted with English translations. The trip itself was excellent and although we missed about 80% of the commentary we were glad we did the tour. We went straight back on board afterwards as it seemed tricky to go anywhere else with the little information available. Day Three - Malta – we were blessed with a beautiful day in Valletta. Malta appears to have been working very hard to get its tourism working well. We walked from the boat, took the new 2 euro elevator to the garden and city. We enjoyed our day of self-guided/assisted-by-locals exploration. Taxi drivers, buses and other forms of transport were not needed Day Four- Messina – Sicily – After taking a 90 minute bus tour which we arranged on shore, we had another short self-directed city wander, which we enjoyed very much; however this was the source of the offending cakes. We bought lunch from a boulangerie and ate on the street. Day Five - Citavecchia (Rome). The ship option was a bus trip then self–directed tour of Rome which we were warned could be shut down because it was 1st of May. After some deliberation, we opted and with no ship provided information, for a train trip to Rome. We left at 9:15 am from our room after the ship had arrived at 9am. The port offered a free transfer to the bus station and we then took an 80c euro – return, bus ride to the station and caught a train to St Peter’s Square. The whole journey took 2 hours and 15 minutes. We wandered around St Peters Square, found a little wine bar in the side street for lunch, where the ambience was better than the food, but worth the time. We walked up the hill to the children’s hospital look out, had an amazing gelato, walked back to the station, arriving at 2:40pm; we took the 3:02 train back to Citavecchia and finally arrived back at the ship at 5pm. Day Six – a short day in Corsica – Off the ship and serendipitously onto a 90 minute bus trip – just outside the boat terminal, down town. We went upstairs on the bus, but discovered the smoking culture again – despite a no smoking rule. We moved downstairs and had an enjoyable trip until fellow passengers joined us and spoke very loudly in French over the top of the English commentary! Fortunately when I protested this reduced and the bus trip was overall fantastic. After wandering in the town, enjoying some great gelato and quiche for lunch, we then headed back to the ship for a 2pm departure . There is more we would have liked to see in this island but no more time!! The ports were enjoyable and on the whole inexpensive. Overall the cruise was a reasonable journey although the frustrations of poor communication were difficult. The Cruise staff found it difficult to be honest about their limited language and this made our frustration very high. As thinking travellers we sought to address concerns we had but this seemed to be resented by staff and I think understanding this and seeing it as a Faulty Towers venture earlier would have reduced our distress. We had lots of sleep catch up, some new sites to see and some time together to explore and manage challenges. That’s good enough for a reasonable holiday. Would I recommend this cruiseline – no not until they improve their honesty and commitment to other cultures and to customer service. Did we have a good week? – yes it was an adventure in survival fawlty towers at sea! We might not have said this if we had not had some sympathy and support from staff and fellow passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
As independent travellers to tour packages/companies I felt we were not given consideration nor treated in the same way as other passengers, I felt we lost 2 x half days of our holiday due to the embarkation/disembarkation process. I ... Read More
As independent travellers to tour packages/companies I felt we were not given consideration nor treated in the same way as other passengers, I felt we lost 2 x half days of our holiday due to the embarkation/disembarkation process. I write below our honest/factual story which did detract from the wonderful 6 days we had on board with no other issues. If you are aware in advance and build it into the planning of your holiday then I hope you find this helpful rather than wasting your precious holiday time. We had already stayed in Barbados and as our flight was not until 5pm so we were determined not to waste yet another day of our trip. We took a taxi back to our previous hotel 20 minutes away from Port for 20 US dollars and paid a day rate of 60 US dollars which gave us a room, shower, towels and beach towels. This should not have been necessary! However please look up Oceans 15 on the internet if you feel you may want to use them as we did. They are located at Christchurch a 5 minute walk away from Dover Beach. We then paid a further 20 US dollars and took another 20 minutes taxi to the airport later in the day. We arrived at the port at 12 p.m. and took our luggage to the designated area. Long queues with no seats followed. Disabled assistance was obtained at the front of the queue not ideal when standing for any more than a short period was not ideal for my disabled mother, one problem with disability is that people cannot see what is going on inside the body with the heart and the head! One Horizon man was patient and polite and deserved praise for being alone handling in excess of 120 people for embarkation. He gave us forms to complete - immigration, health and expense account. These had to be done right there standing in the open hall. There were no chairs and I found myself grovelling on the floor or standing bent over a table crowded with other people and no privacy. This is where I managed to get bitten up my legs for the first time of my holiday and I believe this was from grovelling on the floor to fill in forms. After completing and returning the forms we finally went to the ship reception area at 145pm, unnecessary duplication of process. Again we had to queue for a lengthy time and the receptionists were surly and inefficient. We didn't manage to do the expense form at this time as the queue was so long. We were also advised if wanting cash account we had to pay 150 euro in advance or swipe a card for credit account. I had no issue setting up a credit account until checkout when I had been charged an additional 72 euro per person without my permission and with disinterest again from reception who said it was a compulsory charge and would not refund it, blaming my agent for not advising me, I am still dealing with my agent to get this refunded. We had been advised that bills would be put under our door at 5am and not to contact reception, we didn't get our bills and clearly this was because the fraudulent charges had been put onto our accounts. I have no problem paying tips had Horizon in advance made us aware of this as the staff were very deserving of them but this was classed as a service charge which we had already paid to our agent. However I would not have paid 144 euros in tips for what ended up being a 6 day holiday. Reception were adamant it was our problem not their's though I wasn't surprised as their attitude from the beginning had not been customer focussed. I am generally a very calm person working in a busy department with in excess of 300 people running teams of people from 18 to 60 years old and at least 30 different nationalities but this was the first time I found blank smiles,felt I was unable to get answers and felt I wanted to be rude towards them so often walked off from reception in frustration. I also found it odd that our passports would be confiscated and only returned at the end of the cruise just before we were escorted off the ship. I had a big issue with our luggage as we left hand luggage with our cases which contained medicines needed and didn't expect the luggage to be longer than an hour or so, how wrong I was, it was left abandoned outside our door after 530pm, I was miffed at this as some of it was not locked and one bag had been opened but I must stress that nothing was missing. I had to keep going back to the room to check as medication was needed as I hadn't anticipated over 5 hours for the luggage to arrive when I saw it be loaded onto the truck before we had left embarkation! I was equally miffed at disembarkation we were clearly told luggage would be collected once only and had to be outside our room at 3am! This was prior to us being marched off ship at 9am. I must say collecting our passports was disorganised too with people pushing and shoving as noone would queue, I felt the staff should have a queue system in place. It was made clear to us that we should not stay on board and anyway our luggage would be left unattended in the port! We finally got to our rooms on deck 6 although it is an older ship the inside was fairly spacious more than we expected. Our cabin steward was excellent and cleaned the room every day replacing towels when needed. Had 2 double wardrobes and sufficient drawers for 2 to share both at a spacious dressing table and in one set of the wardrobes. Which also contained a safe and lifejackets. Small but clean bathroom and good shower. We had a double bed when twin beds were requested, I didn't want to share a double bed with my elderly Mother so spoke to the steward and he sorted the beds out within 30 minutes for us. The day you embark you attend a safety presentation at which you are supposed to take your life vests. This however wasn't in any of our documentation and as I was at reception just before the meeting the advice from there was to wait in our cabin! Completely wrong. There was no mention that pool towels were not in the room and had to be signed for on the pool deck. The decks were kept clean and tidy. There was a great daily newsletter. I would have liked to have seen more about the staff in here too.There was also a information newsletter left in the room on arrival which with a few tweaks in some sections would have been much better. The sections I believe that need improvement or inclusion are: Which decks WIFI available and at what cost the WIFI is and how to set it up as I wasn't given options on my phone and again reception could not help me so I went without WIFI. A section on pool towels and where to collect them. These are not in the room as suggested but on deck 11 by the pool. A section on the safety meeting and to take the life vests along. Breakfast and lunch were very good with a good choice of food. There were the traditional breakfast items and lots of French pastries/breads, the omelettes were prepared before hand and served in squares with filling such as salmon or onion.. Lunch also was good - salads, vegetables, meats and fish and lots of fruit. Of course wine and drinks were free all day long and branded drinks too. We found 3 course dinner very good except for one evening receiving a chicken leg/thigh as the main meat it was meatless and stringy so we chose our meat carefully after that and all meals, chicken breast beef medallions, lamb were beautifully cooked. All the waiters and assistant waiters were extremely efficient, polite and helpful as were all the staff in whichever restaurant, bar or part of the ship we attended except for reception, we spoke with 4 different receptionists and found them all to have attitude and to be rude/unhelpful. We also always had to queue. I asked for a complaint form and it took me 3 times before they would give me the form to complete then as it had to go back to reception I didn't bother taking it back as felt it would not have been handled anyway. Table numbers was an issue as few English speaking people on board and an elderly Mother with digestive issues we booked a table for 2 in advance. Again we were not bothered where this was just that we did not share with others. This did not happen so on the first night we were helped to move and given a table for two and advised we could keep it for the week we were there. This worked well for 5 nights until new people boarded and our table number was duplicated with someone else who was very insistent they had the table. Night 6 we were already eating bread and had drinks when rudely interrupted in French with finger poking and gesticulation to get up from the table. Fortunately the waiters handled this for us especially as it was a birthday and we had birthday items obviously also on the table. The last night the table was already taken by the same rude woman when we got there and it delayed us appox 10 minutes whilst the waiters/manager found us another table. We didn't even speak to the woman on our table as had no intention being as rude as She was the previous evening however it would not have taken much for me to remove her from the table myself! The lounges are quite nice but small and seating is limited, so while the music especially in the Rendez-Vous lounge was good, both the band and the singer, it was not possible to get a seat every night and people would have to stand around. The dancing also looked good fun too and i'm sure with a bigger area more people would dance. We also enjoyed the atmosphere and staff in Café Moka and the cocktails and coffees etc.... Dress code at times in the evening was more casual than casual, I'm all for not going formal every night but some people were still in their smelly day clothes! I felt the standard of casual could have bee a little higher. There were some lovely outfits on the formal gala night for photos with the Captain, well done to all these people for setting standards. The announcements were made first in French, then in Spanish and finally in English so we were always aware of what was going on. However in the theatre the jokes were in French or Spanish only so obviously English speaking passengers were at a loss. The shows were quite entertaining, with songs in all three languages. One night there was a tribute to Michael Jackson and another to Abba. The shows were a little arty but entertaining none the less. Each evening we had to sit through the introductions taking at least 10 minutes when a simple poster at the entrance to the theatre in multiple languages would have been sufficient. The trips were a little pricey and had to be booked 48 hours in advance, one point from our perspective was that some of the trips were timed too long for elderly/disabled passengers and that combined with sea sickness and not knowing how well we would be in 48 hours meant that we didn't book any trips in advance. Some Ports however once you left the ship had plenty of variety for trips and we arranged some ourselves more suited to our timings/budget and what we actually wanted to see. Some tips on the trips follow: At La Romana, it wasn't easy to avoid expensive taxis as the Port is set a good walk out of town. In St Kitts good choice of trips but the trips to The Baths for example had to be booked in advance. Again in St Lucia were a good choice of trips.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our party of six - three couples - boarded the Horizon on January 21, 2014. We have all cruised many times to various destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal, Baltic, etc and on the major large cruise lines. In ... Read More
Our party of six - three couples - boarded the Horizon on January 21, 2014. We have all cruised many times to various destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal, Baltic, etc and on the major large cruise lines. In addition we have travelled extensively over land .I cruised last month on Carnival Valor so that was still fresh in my mind and I thought it would be good to use as a comparison. This was my thirtieth cruise. We booked as usual through a major online agency. I am dealing mainly with my impressions of the Horizon since information on ports of call is readily available. Let me say now that I will never again cruise on this ship and I am unable in good conscience to recommend it to anyone because of the behaviour of the staff which negated everything else that was positive. We got to the port at 1.30 p.m. and took our luggage to the designated area. Then Horizon staff gave us forms to complete - immigration, health and expense account. These had to be done right there standing in the open hall. There were no chairs and certainly not the type of welcome you get on the Carnival Valor where you are allowed on the ship and offered a seat and refreshment. After completing and returning the forms we went to the ship to the reception area to be checked in. We were amazed to learn that our passports would be confiscated and only returned at the end of the cruise just before we were escorted off the ship. The two British couples in the group even had their ID cards taken. What is that about? Is this still done? I would suggest that you travel with a copy of your passport information if you intend to be on this ship. We were not at all comfortable with this situation. We finally got to our rooms, ocean view on deck 4, and were pleasantly surprised, because although it is an old ship the inside is quite attractive. However, do not expect complementary toiletries as on other lines. There are shampoo and body wash dispensers in the shower stall and only one cake of soap at the face basin. Facial tissues are not provided. If you need these things bring your own. Our cabin steward was a pleasant young man but he was unable to complete the work. Do not expect turn down service at night. This was hit or miss. Of the seven nights we were on the ship we got this only three times. Breakfast and lunch were very good, and better in my opinion than other lines. There were the traditional breakfast items and lots of French pastries, the omelettes were prepared before hand. Lunch also was good - salads, vegetables, meats and fish and lots of fruit. Of course wine and drinks were free. On other ships we often have breakfast in the dining room to get away from the crowds, but there was always somewhere to sit in the upstairs buffet on this ship. Dinner was nothing to write home about. There is one formal night, and that was the worst meal of the entire cruise. There was no lobster, shrimp cocktail, cherries jubilee or baked Alaska. We ordered duck, and it was so undercooked we thought it would have jumped off the plate quacking and fly away. The waiter encouraged us to try other things on the menu. He was really very nice and helpful and did everything in his power to make our dining experience pleasant. The same cannot be said for some of the other staff in the upstairs buffet. They were downright rude. A passenger asked one politely to clear a table, his response was 'you don't have to tell me I can see for myself'. If he can see it why doesn't he clear it? They stand around talking with trays of wine and drinks but refuse to serve. Of course not all of them do this but you can't help noticing the ones who do. One cleared the table directly in front the passenger's face like he was going to break the man's nose off. The lounges are quite nice but small and seating is limited, so while the music especially in the Rendez-Vous lounge was good it was not possible for us to spend time there as we had hoped. The announcements were made first in French, then in Spanish and finally in English so we were always aware of what was going on. However in the theatre the jokes were in French or Spanish only so obviously English speaking passengers were at a loss. The shows were quite entertaining, with songs in all three languages. One night there was a tribute to Michael Jackson and another to Abba. Just before the end of the cruise the staff informed us that we would have to pay an additional 72Euros each for gratuities. We took all our documentation that we had received from them showing that these were included in the fare. The staff said they did not care they were taking an additional 72Euros each. Well at that point I was totally disgusted and disappointed and only wanted to get off the ship. I have seen passengers in droves demand their gratuities back, especially in the Mediterranean so why are they grabbing our money especially for poor service? We were not even refusing to pay just advising that we had already done so. I am happy to say that the agency is refunding the money. At the disembarkation talk the international hostess said that we would all assemble in one of the lounges at 9.00 a.m. where we would receive our confiscated passports and be escorted off the ship to the Customs area since we would already be cleared by Immigration. A passenger asked if she could stay on for an additional two hours since she had a late flight. She was told that she could not do so. Take note that anyone who is accustomed on other cruise lines to checking out of the room but staying on board must be aware that this is not permitted on the Horizon unless according to the hostess you have a Pullmantur package. I am accustomed to better service so I found it difficult to accept the type that was offered. If you are cruising on this ship be aware of the above. We will not be back. Once was enough for us.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My family and I just disembarked from a 7 day cruise with Croisieres de France on the Horizon. My wife, 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the cruise and would cruise again for the value. Now, a bit more. I've done 23 cruises before ... Read More
My family and I just disembarked from a 7 day cruise with Croisieres de France on the Horizon. My wife, 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the cruise and would cruise again for the value. Now, a bit more. I've done 23 cruises before this one, 14 with my wife and 1 with all three of us. We've been on all the major US-focused lines except Carnival (Royal, NCL, HAL, Princess, Celebrity, Costa, etc) and favor Celebrity above all else for their food, service and quality (in that order). We found an amazing value on this cruise with my daughter cruising for port tax only and airline tickets with miles that made this trip an easy choice based on the value. We like a quiet cruise - we've done all the big excursions and whatnot. We like dinner to be nice and enjoy quiet family time for the majority of our travels. CDF is a French/European line. Period. On a ship of 2,000 there were maybe 8 Americans and 2 Brits. The majority spoke French or Spanish. The crew nearly all spoke English - certainly well enough for us to never go without all week. Since we don't go on trips to meet folks this worked out VERY well... all those annoying conversations you hear on ships were just white noise since neither of us spoke French or Spanish well enough to understand most of it. It's also a value line. Don't expect Premier Cru Bordeaux's on the inclusive wine list. Do expect a quality table wine (and I'm a reasonable oenophile) everywhere. Don't expect foie gras unless you're willing to pay the 15 EUR premium at dinner. It's there... but it's a premium. But there are few of those. The line really is all-inclusive... all liquor, wine with all meals, tips... all inclusive. Paid for satellite internet time (with good speeds I might add) and a gift shop purchase but that was it. Soda machines dispense endless Coca Cola products as well. If you're tied to a specific brand of liquor or beer be prepared to be disappointed but if you're willing to flex a bit you can save a ton and still enjoy yourself. The itinerary was great - At Sea, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, St Kitts, Tortola. We did beaches and actually stayed on board a bit and skipped excursions this time around. I was disappointed that our stop in Martinique was on New Year's Day meaning the entire island was seemingly closed for the holiday. One lap through the city center revealed it to be a place I'd like to visit but out of 300+ shops there was a fabric store and a shoe store open. The ship sailed out of La Romana which is about 90 minutes from the airport in Santo Domingo - $100 each way in a taxi which was easily negotiated on both ends of the trip. What WASN'T easy was the immigration portion of embarkation. The DR requires you to pay a $10/pp Tourist Card tax on arrival so be prepared for that. But the biggest problem was they had a single guy working immigration on the front end... thankfully they had 4 on disembarkation. The cruise portion of the embarkation was a breeze - took less than 5 minutes Dinner was the one spot where I'd say I was truly disappointed. The food quality was excellent - it was all prepared well from quality ingredients. But... as a cruise passenger I'm used to an elegant meal experience with "glamorous" (for lack of a better word) choices. I don't want to say "gourmet" since I would only really expect that on Celebrity but there was never really a "wow" item - and even on HAL or Princess there's rarely a dinner without at least one item. But the food was good, and we were in and out most nights right at an hour... so it was GOOD, not great. The other meals were consistent mainly buffet experiences. The pizza crust was easily skipped (it's a French line, not Italian) but the daily selection of baguette, sausage and cheese was nearly as good as I got in Paris 6 weeks before. I was very glad I carry an HDMI cable so I was able to play movies from my laptop onto the TV - otherwise we would have been limited to French, Spanish or the one English-language movie that looped all day. A few other negatives you'd expect... communications with the French-first, Spanish-second, English-third crew were possible but not easy. Smoking was a bit more prevalent than I would like but not out of control nor unrestrained. A few more notes: - Amazing value for the price. - Ships are clean and safe. - Great crew and fantastic itinerary (other than noted). - Ship is not too big or too crowded - was dwarfed at many ports - Guests onboard at several points so embarkation and disembarkation is relatively easy (see below) - Our cabin NEVER got good air conditioning   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just returned from our first cruise on Pullmantur's Monarch, a cruise line out of Spain owned by Royal Caribbean. One might call them the "little sister" of Royal Caribbean since their fleet incudes the older, smaller ships ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise on Pullmantur's Monarch, a cruise line out of Spain owned by Royal Caribbean. One might call them the "little sister" of Royal Caribbean since their fleet incudes the older, smaller ships passed down from the bigger cruise line. But what Pullmantur offers that other cruise lines don't is an ALL INCLUSIVE package for one low price that includes food, alcohol and other ship board activities. And another special feature offered only by this cruise line is the ability to board the ship at ANY of the ports of call that they stop at, creating an unusually diverse group of cruisers mixed together. Our trip left from the port of Colon, Panama and included stops at Cartagena, Columbia, Oranjestad, Aruba, La Guairá, Venezuela, and Willemstad, Curacao before returning to Panama. At each port while cruisers are enjoying shore excursions other passengers are embarking and disembarking, continually adding new passengers to the mix. Despite the fact that the Monarch is an older, smaller ship we found it elegant, tastefully decorated with all the necessary bells and whistles needed. Along with plenty of food and booze for free there's a spa, gym, rock climbing wall, two pools, two hot tubs, teen club, dance clubs, casino, bars, nightly shows, internet café, jogging track, basketball courts, ping pong and so much more. Although the official language onboard is Spanish, all of the crew seemed to speak English well along with several other languages too. All announcements are made first in Spanish and second in English, so everything we needed to know was clearly stated. All documents and menus were also available in English as soon as the staff knew we weren't fluent in Spanish. But since we're US expats living in Panama we are learning Spanish and enjoyed being immersed in the language for a week, but knew we could revert to English whenever we got lost. The crew was absolutely wonderful and always willing to bend over backwards to take care of our every need. My husband broke his toe on board and needed medical treatment and was immediately seen by the ship's doctors where he was given intravenous pain medication, had x-rays taken of his foot, and had all arrangements made for surgery in Cartagena, since that was our next stop. We returned to the ship before it left port and were able to continue with the rest of our vacation with the benefit of follow up medical care right on board. Cleanliness was of the utmost importance onboard as hand sanitizer was everywhere. Each time we entered or exited an eating establishment we sanitized our hands. And at every port of call we had to sanitize when leaving and re-entering the ship, making us feel very safe that we wouldn't bring home some disease. Overall we loved our cruise with Pullmantur and plan to travel with them again. Absolutely great value for the money, warm, welcoming crew members, great food and lots of good, tropical mixed drinks all of which created memories to last a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but ... Read More
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but thought if we don't try it now we never will. The trip was themed around the club with a host of DJs and an impressive pool deck lighting and sound system - it was a party ship! Boarding in Marseille should have been the first sign that this was not to be the best cruise experience. Firstly signage on what to do and when was very poor. In the event you had to leave your luggage on the ground floor (queue up rather than be greeted and have it taken as has been the case on previous trips), then queue up to check in. We queued around 40 mins and we were near the front! There were only 7 check in desks with no pre-check in facility so EVERYONE was filling in credit card authorisations etc. After this we had another 90 mins to wait until we could board. In this time there were no refreshments - just a stuffy room. Once on board we could go straight to our rooms. We had an inside on deck 6 near the back (near the engines - more later). The room was a good size with TONS of cupboard space and a good shower. It looked dated but then the ship is 22 years old. There was no room service menu and the in room safe was locked. We reported the safe and left for lunch in the buffet on deck 11. Food as a whole was very disappointing. The buffet had a small selection every day (lunch and dinner) 3 salads, 3 hot dishes, 3 veg and a roast. There was also pizza and pasta. There was an outside grill but this closed during evening dinner time. The food generally tasted better then it looked but I never went back for more (unlike all other cruises I have been on when I have been an absolute pig as there are just too many good things to eat!). The main dining room had open seating in the evening. The meal was efficient and FAST. In and out in under an hour (they gave NCL a run for their money). Portions were small but again nothing was ever good enough for me to order more. Every day there were 2 main parties around the pool. 6pm - 9pm was a T-Dance and Midnight - 4:30am was the main party. The lighting and DJs were first class. My fellow passengers came from around 60 countries! Most announcements were in French, Spanish and English - but English was probably the most commonly used. Sorry gay clubbing community but the people on board were my biggest problem. Fairly rude and behaving like children. Dress codes were "liberal" with just a top needed to dine in the main dining room in the evening - but even this was too much effort for some. If I am going to a full service restaurant, with light ambient music and an attempt at a refined atmosphere then I would hope the diners would respect this and at least wear a smart T Shirt and Smart shorts / jeans. People coming in to eat in bathing suits and laughing loudly, ordering the waiting staff around and "wearing" napkins on their heads as hats is not what I expected. During the rest of the day my partner and I hardly spoke to a soul - so different to conventional cruising where we have made some lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Public rooms were nice enough but again very dated. I am not sure where the re-fit money went. No room had any wow factor. However, the layout of the ship was very good and I imagine on a conventional cruise it works very well. As CDF offer an all inclusive cruise experience, alcohol selections were very limited and bottom end brands. We visited 3 ports - Naples, Sicily and Ibiza. Ibiza was an overnight from 2pm to 9am the following day. Any chance to get of the ship was welcomed and I enjoyed all 3 ports. Entertainment apart from the parties was provided by bought in "talent". La Diva was a singer (actually a surprisingly good singer) that had a good rapport with the crowd and did 3 shows over the week. Koka was one of the worst drag acts I have EVER seen. Put me in a dress and I would be more convincing. Add in that he mimed to songs and I have no idea why the other passengers seemed to like him! Nicky Nicole was a further drag act - I have no idea what he did though apart from manage to walk in high heels. Finally there was the ship dances (who seemed capable) and a ventriloquist (v. funny). In addition to the nightly show there was a gay film festival. Not sure why just because I am gay I have to be subjected to worthy but badly acted and directed films, but there you go. Personally I would have been happier watching The Avengers or a good comedy. Finally the cabin. We were in 6169 and in terms of comfort no issues. Bed was good, sheets were clean, shower good. BUT - we did not meet our steward for 2 days, there was no room service menu, the safe was locked (2 days to unlock it despite repeated requests) and the engine noise was deafening! In summary then the ship was average, the food was average, the service was average, the fellow passengers were a huge pain (I would go into some of the things they did but this has gone on too long already) the parties were excellent and the additional entertainment was largely poor. When I tell you that the list price for an inside cabin was €1500 per person (based on 2 sharing) I think you will agree that this was horrifically over priced. Compared to other companies I have cruised with (overall rating): 1) Disney 2) Royal Caribbean 3) Celebrity 4) NCL 5) CDF (with reservations as this was a charter and the normal offer may be better). Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click