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138 Pullmantur Cruise Reviews

This past September 2016 I took a cruise on the Monarch with Pullmantur. The price was a great value and the cruise was worth every penny since I paid less than $600 for this cruise and it was a 15 day cruise. Was everything excellent? ... Read More
This past September 2016 I took a cruise on the Monarch with Pullmantur. The price was a great value and the cruise was worth every penny since I paid less than $600 for this cruise and it was a 15 day cruise. Was everything excellent? No, but for me the ship was comfortable the food was good and the staff were upbeat and nice to be around. The food at the buffet was very good and the dinner food in the dining room was good but my dining choices were limited, the menu never changed throughout the duration of the cruise (15- days) we had one menu to select from and the items on the menu were limited. My favorite hang-out was Schooner Bar was my favorite hang-out, it was right next to the Casino and the bar made excellent coffee - yum and the bar service was great. Would I take another cruise with Pullmantur? You betcha, yes, I sure would it's a great value. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and ... Read More
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and service to the furniture. Although some of dining serving staff were helpful, most of bartenders were grumpy and somewhat careless. During seven days at least three of the bartenders were angry over little things. In Zenith ship, the 11 th floor is the general dining area where one can have all his or her emails, if wished. The entry area is closed to the kitchen where a strong smell first stops you. Then you have to walk toward the back to get over with it. Finally, one must never ever share his or her credit card with accounting, because they overcharged us. Although the night before I confirmed everything. I realized that every single day they charged for things we did not even authorize. So they almost tripled shared us. Unfortunately we cannot reach to any accounting or customer service team of Pullmantur Zenith. As a summary, only one with absolutely no expectation of service and quality may go with Zenith ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
A nightmare. The Horizon is old and cabins need refurbishing badly. Our cabin (which they call state room) was very tatty and with a bad smell. Not very welcoming. As one would expect in a 1 Star hotel or less. Mattress was worn out ... Read More
A nightmare. The Horizon is old and cabins need refurbishing badly. Our cabin (which they call state room) was very tatty and with a bad smell. Not very welcoming. As one would expect in a 1 Star hotel or less. Mattress was worn out and hollow on the sides, toilet suction inefficient, flooded balcony, rusty table and torn rattan chairs without cushions in balcony. The restaurant was extremely hot. Daily promises that they were going to fix the Air Conditioner did not materialise. The list is endless. Nowhere in their marketing material did they say that this was an inferior quality cruise liner. To top it all, the ship ran aground on a sandbank when leaving Stavanger. We felt this was ridiculous with all the navigational tools available in this day and age. Information about the incident was minimal and we did not know what was going on except that the ship was tilted on one side. We obtained most of the information from the internet. The ship couldn't leave the port and we missed two ports and the best excursion, which we were really looking forward to. Suitable alternative and reasonable excursions or entertainment were not provided while we were stuck in port. Had to spend a lot of time on the vessel just being idle. Besides, we were all very anxious about the condition of the ship following the incident, hoping that proper repairs were carried out and the ship would be seaworthy to sail the North Sea. The trauma of the incident ruined the rest of the holiday and we were very disappointed with the way we were treated. The only positive thing was the food. Very good variety and excellent quality. Well done to the chef. But that was mainly it. We will definitely not travel again with this cruise line and would not recommend it to my family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I will never go on Horizon again. The ship is falling to pieces. Our toilet did not work for the whole duration of the cruise. Room furniture old and shabby. Drawers without back, mattress worn out and balcony furniture very rusty and ... Read More
I will never go on Horizon again. The ship is falling to pieces. Our toilet did not work for the whole duration of the cruise. Room furniture old and shabby. Drawers without back, mattress worn out and balcony furniture very rusty and chairs full of thorns. During our stay the ship was grounded in Stavenger harbour. Definitely customers were not to blame for this but they suffered the consequences. No empathy shown to customers. Information provided was very scant. No alternative tours offered in substitution of the Geiranger Excurcion which we lost till the ship was repaired. Air conditioner in the restaurant always out of order. Avoid it at all costs. Only positive was the level of food. We had to spend long hours on the ship, with very minimal entertainment during the day. We went on this cruise liner to celebrate our 30 wedding anniversary. It turned out to be a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
KEEP IN MIND When you decide to sail on the CDF- Croisiers de France Horizon keep in mind that it is an older ship, and by that I mean pushing 30. When you realize that it's not going to be as fancy and up to date as it's ... Read More
KEEP IN MIND When you decide to sail on the CDF- Croisiers de France Horizon keep in mind that it is an older ship, and by that I mean pushing 30. When you realize that it's not going to be as fancy and up to date as it's newer sisters you are not disappointed. Thankfully thanks to a CruiseCritic review I knew this. Boarding in Calais for our Midnight Sun cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was lovely. BOARDING Embarkation was smooth, we went inside the waiting area after getting out of our cab (after taking the train from Paris to Lille, then Lille to Calais after boarding a flight from JFK whew...) Check in was quick if not a bit confusing as most announcements were made in French but there were plenty of people to help. We stood up for the 30 minutes or so until we were able to board as the area was crowded and there weren't nearly enough seats for the people that showed up before the Noon boarding. Water was available and I assume restrooms though I didn't use it. They take passports at the beginning of the cruise supposedly for visas, however since all ports were in Norway a place for which Americans don't need Visas, I have no idea why they needed it the entire cruise. I've only had this happen on trips when visiting Egypt and Turkey and not for the entire cruise duration. That's that however, we picked them up the last day of the cruise and no one has stolen our identity as yet. ACTIVITIES If you don't speak French you'll probably not find a lot of activities that suit your interest, as there aren't a lot of activities happening compared to lines like NCL, RCCL and Carnival but if you're there for the ports and don't mind your main nightly activity being dancing or reading, you'll be fine. There is a daily list of activities delivered every night as on all cruises. It is available in English. CUISINE The meals were good. Not stunning, however I'm not a huge fan of French dishes so this plays into my thoughts on this manner. The foods that I liked, I actually loved. Everything was prepared well, the presentation was lovely and the included beverage package allowed for (French) house wine which was better than house wines on most other lines. BEVERAGES 'Tout Inclus' as they say. Alcohol is included. There are other beverage packages that let you upgrade, one for 5 Euro a day, the other 10. We didn't feel it was needed and the couple of times that I wanted something now included it cost me 2 Euros. That's it. Gratuities are something you can give to your favorite bartenders at the end of the cruise but there is no space to add that on the chit if you order a premium drink. Drinks included don't need to be signed for at all. Due to this package if you buy liquor on board in the shops you can take it to your room. Considering the fantastic price we paid, inclusive anything was amazing. Large bottles of water could be bought for 1 Euro, either singly, or in packs of 3, 6 or 9 and delivered to your room. TOURS We only took one tour that was ship sponsored the rest of the time we wandered around each place on our own. We took a bus tour to Mt Dalsnibba in Gerainger, it was fine but we expected hiking of which there was none, however the views were beautiful even though the fog was rolling in. The bus ride is not for people who are scared of heights, scared of sheer drops or who are motion sick. Especially the latter. An older woman sitting behind me on the bus apparently had too much wine the night before and decided that then was the time to be sick and burped her way up and down the mountain with a vomit finale (into a bag) still while sitting behind me. Needless to say if she'd fallen overboard once we'd sailed I wouldn't have felt too bad. SPA I had an hour long massage on the last sea day for 55 Euro. About a third of what I pay on other lines and even at home. 2o minutes on the head, 20 on the back and 20 on the legs and feet with no hard sell afterward. NORWAY Outstanding! The midnight sun experienced this far North in July allowed for stunning views while cruising and I only wish that I'd gone before. Every place was more beautiful than expected. The people are friendly, the food is good and I plan on flying back sooner than later to experience it for a lot longer than 4 days. With that being said I'd also take the Pullmantur/CDF Horizon to do the same cruise next July. I can't add photos here but I'll have some up on my Travel Xena website within the next few weeks. SIDE NOTES I didn't use the internet on board. We were going to buy a package but I use Project Fi as a phone service and had phone and internet service all over Norway and on the ship when sailing close to shore as we often were so I didn't feel the need. We were two of 10 Americans on board which we thought was pretty interesting. I had a chance to practice my French surprise people that I wasn't from Martinique but New York and make cruise buddies of passengers and crew. The was a laundry offer of 2 bags for 15 Euro or 1 for 12. Or 4 bags for 25 Euro. I opted for the one bag as my friend didn't have anything she wanted to send out and it was delivered the next day. All in all, despite it being an old ship, the service was great and the ports well chosen. I'd sail it again and give it a 4 of 5 for the following: Price Ports Customer Service Food Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
“Croisieres de France” (CDF) avoid at all costs !!! Cruise with “Croisieres de France” Date 18-25 join 2016 destination Norwegian Fjords Cabin 9106 First of all the only thing French about “Croisieres de France” is ... Read More
“Croisieres de France” (CDF) avoid at all costs !!! Cruise with “Croisieres de France” Date 18-25 join 2016 destination Norwegian Fjords Cabin 9106 First of all the only thing French about “Croisieres de France” is the name andthe terrible organisation. CDF claim gourmet cooking “Gault Millau” but the quality turned out to be at best A 2 star Tunisian hotel quality and at its worst about “works canteen” level.The evening meal was a 3 course (compared with 5 or 6 on MSC cruises) for example it was cheese or desert! (MSC offer cheese ET dessert) Twice the main course was so bad that my wife sent it back. The serving staff had trouble understanding French and many of them spoke no French at all so we had to point to the dish or drink on the menu Funnily enough the waiters had trouble understanding what we ordered but spoke enough French to explain how we should fill out the cruise evaluation The “gala” dinner was held on the second night of the cruise. There was no difference with other Nights. There was no animation or music, and neither the Captain nor any officers deigned to appear; in fact the only officers we saw during the whole cruise were the 2 or 3 who seemed to have bought their family with them and although in uniform one of them was often seen kissing and cuddling his wife (girlfriend?) in the passenger area The catering staff also spent a lot of time trying to sell cheap watches, handbags and scarves every day in one of the gangways adjoining the bar area which was so crowded it was often impossible to pass. İf you only speak English it is great to be able to order a drink without having to point it out on the bar card, but you don’t qualify for any information about disembarking or activities on board. That was always done in very strongly accented French which was also difficult for French people to understand, despite the fact that there were many English speaking guests aboard. During the day and at the Buffets meals, there seemed to be groups of serving staff stang aroung chatting together in their language and not really interested in making sure that the passengers were being taken care of. Now for the best part of the “rip-off” We booked a cabin with a balcony, and this was supposed to give us the packet “Privelege” With:- - A dedicated hostess. -A “personalised signed copy of the Gala menu” - plus one or two other small perks which we received (Spğarkling wine for the depart. Bathrobes etc) The hostess was in fact a host who had his hours of presence clearly defined on a noticeboard. Three times I went to see him at the and twice he was absent! The last time anothermember of staff suggested taking my table number so the the host could see me during the evening meal, the next day I asked him why he had not passed to see us, he told me he had passed but we weren’t there. So we asked the other membersat our table who assured us that no one had come to see us (that is the level of service “privilege” As for the personalized and signed copy of the Gala menu everyone on our table, who were not in the “privilege” packet received the same cheap photocopie. Every day the balcony floor was littered with pieces of food thrown to the seagulls by the passengers on the deck above. We are French-speaking Swiss and our booking was done though a French travel-agent but we received the daily News-sheet in English and the result that we were not informed about the French-speaking activities taking place (example we missed all the conferences about Norway and its history). One of the crise organizers told us on the last day that Belgian and Swiss-French customers were considered as “English speakers” by CDF! So if you’re looking for a cruise …. Choose another company Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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
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
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
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 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
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
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