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24 Pullmantur Cruise Reviews

NOT THE ZENITH SHIP. MONARCH Ship was our cruise. All Spanish speaking, some English. Overall a fair cruise. Do not take interior room as walls are thin. Fruit was not ripe, hard and lacked flavor. Coke and other soft drinks plus most ... Read More
NOT THE ZENITH SHIP. MONARCH Ship was our cruise. All Spanish speaking, some English. Overall a fair cruise. Do not take interior room as walls are thin. Fruit was not ripe, hard and lacked flavor. Coke and other soft drinks plus most alcohol free in open main pool/deck area. Poor looking few channels on 17-20" TV. Few activities, guess we are spoiled. Yellowish brown nasty looking hot water for 3 days, took cold shower. It is an adventure. All Spanish speaking cruise, some English. Overall a fair cruise, fun for first timers but experienced cruisers will not be happy unless you are old hippies. Do not take interior room as walls are thin and some people will party all night into the wee hours of the morning... plus staff do not like complaints, so it is best to hold complaints until you can make them online. The Filipino staff were great, but some of the Spanish complained about being underpaid. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was ... Read More
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was clean, if a little scruffy in places. We were able to gaze out of our Deck 9 window between 2 lifeboats, not a problem. Seas were very calm and engine vibration was minimal. A toilet issue and an A/C problem were fixed in minutes. It proved there were very few English-speaking co-passengers, so opportunities to socialize were limited. The Spanish passengers were without the reservation or class-consciousness often experienced on other cruise lines. We almost exclusively ate in the Main Restaurant, the Buffet was great for snacks when needed between meals. In the Main Restaurant Breakfast was served Buffet-style, for Lunch the Main course was waiter-served, Appetizer and Dessert was again, Buffet-style. Buffet items were always of a good standard, with plentiful fresh fruit, cold meats and cheeses and dessert options. There were 2 sittings for Dinner, 7:30 and 9:45, with the evening entertainment sandwiched in between. Our sitting, the first, seemed slightly rushed. Food quality was OK, not gourmet, a little bland for my taste. Plenty of wine was available, again, by no means vintage. We enjoyed the Theatre entertainment, no doubt regular cruisers will have experienced many Abba and Rock compilations in their travels. It was also great to share a cocktail both pre and post dinner listening to the other musical entertainers. We took one excursion, crossing the border from Ceuta into Morocco to visit Tetuan. It reinforced my dislike of organized excursions, herding 40+ people through it's maze-like Medina was no easy feat. The multi-lingual guide and his local helper did a great job. There was an Officer on-board dedicated to assist the English speaking guests, she was a delight. Overall we both had a great time, but are likely to look elsewhere if and when we cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were told we could embark at 10.00 am as we had already booked in online. We had to wait until 10.35 to get upstairs into another queue where we were told that we would have to wait for 5 minutes. We got onboard the ship at 11.00 am ... Read More
We were told we could embark at 10.00 am as we had already booked in online. We had to wait until 10.35 to get upstairs into another queue where we were told that we would have to wait for 5 minutes. We got onboard the ship at 11.00 am which was the earliest we have every been able to embark on a ship. On our first day we were asked at least 6 times did we want to purchase a drink's upgrade and then every day after that. This is simply harassing the passenger. People are on holidays and can not be bothered listening to sales pitches. It is very off putting. We have sailed previously with NCL, Holland America and Celebrity X and found all of these cruise lines superior to Pullmantur. In our opinion the Horizon should be scrapped. The exterior is grubby, black soot billowing from the chimneys, I got stains on my clothes on a few occasions. The ladies public toilets are a no go zone. One was constantly flooded and out of order. There are not enough ladies toilets. I ended up going to my cabin as the public toilets were so bad. The bar stools at the bar in the Casino are impossible to sit on without sliding off, they are too small and uncomfortable. There is no "washy, washy" people on this ship to cleanse hands and the tables are not wiped down, which means they can get sticky. I was worried about bugs being passed on but fortunately we were not struck down by illness. The food was good. There were lots of vegetarian options at the buffet. We did not eat in the Dining Room as Delisiaz suited me better. It would be better if dishes were labelled if vegetarian/vegan friendly as I had to constantly ask the chef if dishes contained dairy products. The wine was poured in glasses and sitting ready to go which was a good idea. The coeliac, vegetarian corner was a good idea and soya milk was available which was great. On other cruises this usually had to be asked for. My husband loved the coffee in the cafe which was free, this is always charged for on other cruises. The bar waiters were pleasant, some of the barstaff were solemn. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Our 3rd cruise and a late booking wishing for some winter warmth. However the weather wasn't playing ball. Stormy and windy and being a small ship with poor stability it was rocking!(not in a good way) Embarkation was easy and ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise and a late booking wishing for some winter warmth. However the weather wasn't playing ball. Stormy and windy and being a small ship with poor stability it was rocking!(not in a good way) Embarkation was easy and relaxed, however there was over selling of the additional drinks upgrade. We were pitched to 3 times in 30 minutes and stopped additional staff within 1st 12 hours doing the the same. Obvious that being budget and all inclusive the extras are what the boat needs to sell. The room was clean, adequate but dated. The carpet had a few stains and could do with a good shampoo. The bathroom grouting could do with a refresh. Facilities in bedroom and ensuite sufficient. Cabin attendant was polite and very kind when I was ill in the room. Entertainment was reasonable. Choreography in the show numbers was lacking, and the two 'spectaculars' were colourful but not artistically technical. Since we were in the Spanish area it would have been nice to see some traditional flamenco or other local dance instead of watered down versions of Spanish dance. Being English spoken the magician/comedian night was a no no. Needs to be rethought. Bands and entertainment in other areas was good but sound was too loud for conversation in the bar areas, and very thumpy! Excursions was excellently priced, the right amount of time for each one with fabulous tour guides - no complaint there at all! Well done for the gluten free dining - it was good to see - and the baker made an effort to make me bread so I did not have to eat the pap that comes out of packet too regularly. The only complaint I had was, that quite often the food would come out at a different time to my dining companions which would mean I was a course ahead, or behind them and frequently eating (to prevent food going cold) when they were awaiting a course. Breakfast buffet was lovely and varied for such a low price. My husband did not enjoy the main dinners as much as they lacked variety and our table needed to order vegetables separately to go with the mains as it was not provided. Service was varied, some fabulous staff but some who obviously need to up their game, but you need to remember this cruise line is at the lower end of the market and a smaller fish in the sea. I had a 50 minute massage in the spa which I have to say was excellent, but still pricey - same Elemis range I use in my local spa, but about double the price for the time. However a welcome relaxation. Overall my husband said it was like his loveable childhood mongrel dog, who was faithful, always there and served a purpose, however for me, I think I need the pedigree! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
What a way to spend Christmas. My friends and I all arrived in Tenerife to spend the festive time on board Pullmantur Horizon and journeying around lovely hot Canary Islands. All aboard on the 21st December 2017 with our first ... Read More
What a way to spend Christmas. My friends and I all arrived in Tenerife to spend the festive time on board Pullmantur Horizon and journeying around lovely hot Canary Islands. All aboard on the 21st December 2017 with our first experience of this lovely ship though an elderly lady of the seas ! . The Spanish ran ship has a good mix of British, Spanish and other nationalities. All announcements are first made in Spanish then English. The ship needs continual tender loving care especially on the outer deck areas. Our Cabin was spacious, comfortable and above all squeaky clean. Our luggage arrived speedily which gave us chance to change and explore the ship. Although room service is only once a day this was more than adequate for our needs. Our first place to seek out was the buffet and pool bar. Very impressed with the quality and layout of the main buffet, not the greatest of choice but the quality was excellent and there is a selection for vegetarians and non gluten guests. The standard drinks package included in the price was ok but limited on choice. We chose to upgrade for an extra €10 a day and this was really good value for money as we then had a much greater choice of drinks. We decided as group to eat at the second sitting in the lovely main restaurant. For all the menu has a set choice each evening that does not change, there is a daily À la cart. We enjoyed our time in the restaurant and aboard ship especially the entertainment in the theatre and above all the friendly atmosphere created by all the members of crew and officers. This cruise was certainly value for money and I not only recommend it but we will cruise again with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because it departed and returned from/to our home town of Malaga. As before on other cruises, we chose a cabin with a balcony, as we enjoy just sitting there and relaxing, also waking up to the view. The ship is ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it departed and returned from/to our home town of Malaga. As before on other cruises, we chose a cabin with a balcony, as we enjoy just sitting there and relaxing, also waking up to the view. The ship is old, but has a certain charm that the newer ones don't have. The dining arrangements were very well organised and the atmosphere and waiters were perfect. Nothing like the variety of food on larger and newer ships, but quality and presentation were excellent and the staff very attentive. Drinks were included and as long as you didn't order main brand alcoholic drinks then you didn't have to pay. We were satisfied with the brands offered and don't drink much, so no problem. The entertainment was of a high standard. We can't comment on sports activities nor spa treatments as we didn't partake. Our big problem was that we were given cabin 9103 - one of the four cabins that are located immediately above the discotheque. At 23.45 hrs the music started. At first we laughed, thinking "this just can't be happening". Then it got louder and louder and louder until we couldn't hear ourselves think. It continued until 3 am every single night for the 7 nights of our cruise. If your excursion departs at 7am, you do not want to be wide awake until 4-5 am (sleep wasn't automatic once the music stopped). We called reception 2-3 times every night. We filled out 2 official complaint forms. After four nights we were offered the use of an interior cabin 5 decks below, just for sleeping purposes, as the ship was full and no other similar or superior cabins were available. We didn't accept as we'd already put up with it for four nights and we would have meen made to sign a waiver to renounce any further claim. Also the thought of having to go down every night with an overnight bag was totally inconvenient. Although everything else on the ship was acceptable and in accordance with what we had paid (you get what you pay for), we could not enjoy it as we were so tired and grumpy through total lack of sleep. We slept through most of the explanations from the guide on the coaches, so that was wasted and we even opted for going to bed early instead of enjoying the night life aboard - just to get a couple of hours before the bom-bom-bom started (with the accompanying vibrations). Radios and musical instruments are forbidden in the cabins, yet we had a disco in ours. Both the captain and the ship's director admitted knowledge of the problem with these four cabins (9101, 9103, 9105, 9107) and that Pullmantur/Royal Caribbean were trying to find a solution. The ship is over 30 years old and they are still trying???? On our return we contacted our agency and they referred our complaints to the company. We were offered a discount of 15% off our next Pullmantur cruise, to be used within 12 months and asked to sign a waiver. What an insult of an apollogy for knowingly and deliberatly putting us in a cabin where we wouldn't be able to get a single night sleep and for totally ruining our much needed holiday and wasting our hard-earned money. Naturally we declined, so watch this space. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This my very first cruise so I don't have a lot to compare it too. I live in Curacao, and get to see A LOT of cruise ships. Compared to those who visit the island, this one was small. But I received the cruise as a gift so I cant ... Read More
This my very first cruise so I don't have a lot to compare it too. I live in Curacao, and get to see A LOT of cruise ships. Compared to those who visit the island, this one was small. But I received the cruise as a gift so I cant complain. The ship is an older smaller ship. There was not a lot of diversity. Two buffets, One main dining room, one bar, one club. We had the ocean vieuw room on deck 10 and it was ok. Our room was nicely cleaned EVERYDAY! We had the all inclusive drink package and regularly took drinks to our room. Didier was awesome in cleaning everything up. The diner was good. Didn't eat anything twice. Our waiter Vedi was amazing. He always knew what pairing to recommend and no request was too outrageous. He and Diana gave us exceptional service everyday. So much that I was looking forward to dinner. The entertainment and activities were very limited. There was always something to do, but there was not many options. And also I had the feeling that it was all focused on a much older crowd. The ports and excursions were ok. I only booked an excursion at Cartagena, the hop on, hop off bus. I think it was ok. I wouldnt go on this cruise again, but I will recommend it to an older or elderly couple. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
the No1 reason to write this review is a complaint - they have crushed my luggage, an expensive one I purchased for 350 dollars. After 4 months!!! of mailing back and forth, they would give me 100 EUR. This is not how you make returning ... Read More
the No1 reason to write this review is a complaint - they have crushed my luggage, an expensive one I purchased for 350 dollars. After 4 months!!! of mailing back and forth, they would give me 100 EUR. This is not how you make returning and happy customers! I heard sorry "0" times, only to contact their central office, which is a pain, considering I had to spend time and money to buy a new one, as I was expecting to travel 1 more month in central america, which is pretty hard with a crushed luggage. Otherwise the ship is a bit old, holds well for it's age. Need to pay for water? On an all inclusive deal? Fruit juices are terrible 10% fruit content syrups. Bar staff's English is limited. On the plus side, dinner was remarkable, every night! Seriously, hats off, we always could chose from a menu, and all were great! with wine included. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I think that I can echo the same things about Pullmantur cruises that have been said here and agree. The furniture in the state rooms is in very bad condition and the collar around the hot tubs was broken. There were no excursions with ... Read More
I think that I can echo the same things about Pullmantur cruises that have been said here and agree. The furniture in the state rooms is in very bad condition and the collar around the hot tubs was broken. There were no excursions with English guides available at any port. We took a Greek Island cruise and I would expect the food and entertainment to be Greece themed but instead was all Spanish. The tipping was just added to your bill and you get no chance to dispute it or adjust it, they just add it to your bill on the last day. There are none of the amenities cruise ships usually have. No luxury at all. You get what you pay for though, transportation to five Greek Islands, meals, entertainment (in Spanish) and that's basically it. If you're looking for a normal cruise ship experience, don't take a Pullmantur cruise. Embarkation was a real problem. The buses that normally run from the subway station in Piraeus to the cruise port didn't stop and you have no way other than walking (over a mile) with suitcases in tow to where the ship was. That's a little hard to do in 100 degree heat. There should have been Pullmantur shuttle buses to take you to the ship. It's a very basic, bare bones, no perks cruise I cannot recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise (our first) mainly because of value for money. We paid $1,500 per ticket and that included the round trip flight from Quito to Panama. Cartagena was forgettable but we did do the Mud Volcano excursion through Viator. ... Read More
We chose this cruise (our first) mainly because of value for money. We paid $1,500 per ticket and that included the round trip flight from Quito to Panama. Cartagena was forgettable but we did do the Mud Volcano excursion through Viator. Nothing quite like getting completely immersed in volcanic mud. On Curacao we did the Tugboat snorkeling excursion (Viator also) and that was very good. On Bonaire we snorkeled off of Klien Island and that was by far the best water time we had of all three islands. By far the most to see (turtles, many fish, moray eels and much more). I could have stayed in the water for days on Bonaire. On Aruba we did a glass bottom boat and snorkeling tour with Watersports and Tours Aruba after a literal last minute cancellation of a Catamaran excursion due to the boat being rented out from underneath us by a private party. NEVER WILL I DO BUSINESS AGAIN WITH ARUBA WATERSPORTS CENTER. Now about the ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was orderly and mostly hassle free. The security did arrest my utility tool as it contained a knife but gave it back to me at the end of the cruise. I saw a lot of clothes irons also under house arrest due to potential fire hazards. The service as quite exceptional. Five stars to all the Food and Beverage staff from the Manager and Head Waiter on down. Those folks are keepers and I would hire them myself if I owned a ship. The food was very good and met my expectations and then some. There was the buffet with good food and generous hours and the dining room with fixed times and seating - I enjoyed eating at both. The cabin (exterior superior) was nice. We had a king bed and the shower was spacious enough. My wife likes the evening shows and we took a few in. They were good also and a good way to end the day. There were many activities that we did not partake as my main goal in taking the cruise was rest and relaxation with emphasis on rest. We also found housekeeping to be quite good and did a good job of keeping the cabin clean. I know very little Spanish but all the staff I encountered spoke great English and I met a lot of the staff. For TV in English, there was the BBC and a movie station. The ship sponsored excursions were not of interest to me but then again my wife and I are experienced world travelers and can manage time schedules. The Moka Coffee shop and bar was my first stop in morning for cappuccino and I found it amusing that they could not make a moka for lack of chocolate. I also met a lot of great passengers and had many good conversations on the boat. It's a value for money cruise and yes, I would definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Horizon's itinerary was sent to us via email by our cruise organizer. It indicated that the cruise's port of origin was Trieste, Italy and the first port of call would be Venice. We arranged an "open-jaw" flight ... Read More
The Horizon's itinerary was sent to us via email by our cruise organizer. It indicated that the cruise's port of origin was Trieste, Italy and the first port of call would be Venice. We arranged an "open-jaw" flight from Toronto to Venice, returning to Toronto from Athens, and a one-way car rental to Trieste. It didn't register on me when we received the itinerary that there was no exact location given for embarkation in Trieste - I assumed that there would be one and only one cruise ship terminal. Trieste, as it turns out, has many piers or "Molos" spanning a distance on the waterfront of over 3 kilometres. After dropping off our keys at the car rental agency's location on Molo 4 near the northeast end of the waterfront, we first checked Molo 4 for signs of our ship. No luck, so we started dragging our luggage in 30 degrees celsius southwest towards the other Molos, becoming increasingly concerned that there was no sign of our ship anywhere, nor any sign of other people looking as lost as us. We eventually reached the ferry terminal at the southwest end of the waterfront and realized that the Horizon was not in Trieste. This was confirmed by a helpful taxi driver who got in touch with his dispatcher. The taxi driver struggled with English to tell us that the Horizon was in Venice. We were confused, exhausted and becoming desperate, since we were now approaching the boarding deadline. We took the taxi back to the main piazza and sent an email to our cruise organizer, explaining our circumstances. She responded to our email, confirming that due to "mechanical issues" the ship was in fact no longer departing from Trieste, and that Pullmantur was transporting passengers by bus from Trieste to Venice. She recommended that we try to find the Pullmantur representatives. At this point we were exhausted, and couldn't imagine having to race back and forth across the waterfront looking for Pullmantur reps. I walked back over to the Trieste Terminal Passegiere and verified that there was nobody there from Pullmantur. At this point, still working with very little information, we reluctantly decided to take a taxi from Trieste to Venice. The taxi driver got us back to Venice quickly and we were finally able to board the Horizon, but it cost us 265 euros. Altogether, the pointless and exhausting round trip from Venice to Trieste cost us over $600 Canadian, including the cost of our car rental, diesel, tolls and taxi fares. Following our cruise organizer agent's advice, we talked to the Horizon guest services staff about obtaining compensation, and were told to complete a claim form. We did so, and were told 2 days later that "regrettably" they couldn't do anything for us. The desk manager told us that our cruise organizer had been notified of the itinerary change, and suggested that we submit a claim to the cruise organizer. Our agent in turn told us that they had been notified by Pullmantur, but only after they had already found out from other passengers what was happening. We were not the only people affected by this problem. Rob Goldstone (yes, *the* Rob Goldstone) was also left hanging, as were a couple from Melbourne and our dinner table companions from Vancouver. I will follow through with submitting the claim via the cruise organizer, but I'm not optimistic that anything more than finger pointing will result. The cruise was otherwise nice. The ports of call were all top-notch. We didn't opt for any of the ship's excursions, since the passengers on the ship were predominantly Spanish-speaking and we were told that English would only be offered if at least 10 people on the tour required it. So we basically did our own thing in each port, which was good since it was undoubtedly cheaper to do so and allowed us to move at our own pace. Meals on the ship were of reasonable but not outstanding quality. The restaurant and bar staff and cabin attendants were attentive and pleasant. The unlimited drinks that were included in the price were of decent enough quality that we felt no need to upgrade. We saw only one of the evening shows, an Abba tribute on the last night. It was good enough that we regretted not having attended more performances. Be aware that if you don't speak Spanish, you may feel a bit out of place on this ship.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because it left from Colon Panama where and we were visiting friends in Panama. The itinerary was original too. Colon, Cartagena, Colombia, and the ABC islands. As I am learning Spanish, this cruise was a great ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it left from Colon Panama where and we were visiting friends in Panama. The itinerary was original too. Colon, Cartagena, Colombia, and the ABC islands. As I am learning Spanish, this cruise was a great language immersion experience for me too. The fact that alcoholic drinks were included in the already low price was also a positive. However, the service was not as good as on other cruises, the restaurants staff in general do not show any enthusiasm, and seem a bit bored. On the first evening dinner, we had a couple of waiters that were simply difficult to deal with. We requested a change and had a great pair of friendly waiters for the rest of the cruise. In the buffet, cleanliness seems to be a problem and the table towels appear to be reused without any wash, with visible stains, and a smell that does not resemble that of a freshly cleaned towel. As opposed to the formal dining restaurant where all is up to standard or better. The cabin, an inside one, is surprisingly larger than many other cruise ships, with plenty of storage space. When reported, an issues are quickly resolved. So in summary, this a good cruise ship and line but only if you are not to picky about Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
First off, please know I'm writing this review from MY perspective. This was cruise #68 for me. I'd read the reviews about the Zenith, while it was in the Mediterranean, however all of those were before it came out of drydock ... Read More
First off, please know I'm writing this review from MY perspective. This was cruise #68 for me. I'd read the reviews about the Zenith, while it was in the Mediterranean, however all of those were before it came out of drydock before coming to the Caribbean. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive. I had sailed on the Zenith before, with Celebrity, and had good memories. We embarked from Santo Domingo, which was one of three ports you could board/disembark in. The other two were St. Maarten and Barbados. Boarding was quick, from the cab to the room was 20 minutes. The ship itself was up to date in some areas, and well worn in others. The lighting in some places was screaming the 1990s, with the brownish looking fixtures and dim output, yet other areas were up to date with LED lights. The room was okay, but the bathroom had water backing up from the shower into the bathroom floor UP THE DRAIN, plus black mold growing on the tiles. This was reported the first night and fixed immediately. The beds were definitely firm! Our cabin was under the galley, and aft. I wouldn't recommend decks 4,5,6 aft if you're a light sleeper. It was very noisy from the propellers, creaking, vibration, and movement overhead from the galley. Pullmantur only has limited cabin steward hours, and they only clean once per day. Don't expect turn down service, as they are done at 500pm! The majority of the guests on our cruise were from France, Spain, and England. I was worried about communication, however that was unfounded, as the crew is overwhelmingly multi-lingual. The announcements on board were in multi languages. The dining room for breakfast and lunch both are only buffet. There is no menu for those dining times. The selection was somewhat larger in the dining room versus the actual buffet, but not by much. Pullmantur has a version of "all-inclusive" that works for me. Your soft drinks, and a large assortment of alcoholic beverages are included. if you wanted something that did incur a charge, there is no service charge added! That's a nice surprise! This is not a cruise for the people that want to continually dress down. The Europeans dress for dinner, and it shows. There were a few people in shorts and jeans, but a very slim number. They stood out! Dinner seatings were 715pm or 930pm. Plan at least an hour and half to get through 3 courses! Food is subjective, so I won't say too much about that, other than we always found something we liked. One thing about the food, BEWARE that there is not always food available in the buffet, there is two to three hours in the morning and afternoon that the deck 11 buffet is closed. Everything from room service is a charge, so plan accordingly. Also, some staples such as shrimp cocktail or a filet mignon steak incur an additional $10 charge at dinner! Shows on board were mainly musicals or magic, something that transcend language barriers. You won't find trivia on board, but you will find activities starting in the disco at 1230am! Disembarking was quick and easy, with only a few hundred getting off the ship at time, due to the three embarkation ports. I'd consider going again on Pullmantur, but only for the right price... It was inexpensive, when you figure in all the service fees and beverages. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
So looks like my first ever cruise was to be the last for this ship in its present form.....it's now on its way to a refit before moving to the Caribbean. Desperately needs a refit cos its tired beyond redemption.......supposedly ... Read More
So looks like my first ever cruise was to be the last for this ship in its present form.....it's now on its way to a refit before moving to the Caribbean. Desperately needs a refit cos its tired beyond redemption.......supposedly had a Deluxe Cabin with Balcony but Deluxe is described as "Particularly elegant, luxurious, or elaborate for its kind; of superior quality or refinement:". .....not a chance, firstly the room was really small and cramped, the smell coming from all the drains in the shabby bathroom was just awful and my cabin was situated at the very back of deck 10 and right underneath the outside eating area of the grill restaurant....... it just beggars belief how passengers ( particularly Spanish nationals) are only happy once they've rearranged all the deck furniture by dragging table and chairs from pillar to post.......what a noise!! Of course once passengers have moved all the tables and chairs the crew have to move them all back - normally at just after 5.00 am!!! Now the balcony was accessed through a very heavy, badly fitting sliding door and was in itself ..tiny.. but it was nice to have the wind whistling through the gaps in doors to accompany you all the time there was a wind ...which was all the time the ship was actually cruising...... Now the good points......nothing to do with the fabric of the ship but the good was excellent in every one of the cafes, grills and restaurants.......brilliant menus, terrific service and outstanding quality of food....... the other good thing was the price.....you get what you pay for in most things in life and this is a truism for this ship.....2 or 3 star prices for 2 or 3 star accommodations.......it might be interesting to see what a refit does for the overall experience..fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Price from local agent including transport excellent value fully inclusive. Beware buying extra tonic Etc in Tins you will be charged ! Toilet system vacuum failed so had a few bad days having to wait or use public toilets. ... Read More
Price from local agent including transport excellent value fully inclusive. Beware buying extra tonic Etc in Tins you will be charged ! Toilet system vacuum failed so had a few bad days having to wait or use public toilets. However bottle of bubbly sent down as a way of saying sorry. Shore excursions (transport only) very good especially Monaco where we even got a free courier on the coach who looked after us superbly. Entertainment usual pullmantour shows designed with Spanish culture in mind but the best was " Rock Never Dies" excellent show ! The waiter service at dinner was excellent very attentive and nothing too much trouble. Breakfast (in restaurant) service some very good some, some poor, younger waiters did not know what they were doing. However they replaced them after complaints and the more senior ones were excellent. Cabin good and roomey , beds very comfortable. Cabin maid . Only once a day ! very unusual but money saving I guess, Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
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
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
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 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
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
I read a review before I went which made me think "Oh no, this is going to be Benidorm at Sea" which is very unlike what I would have expected from a cruise, but then again, it was about half the price that I paid for the last ... Read More
I read a review before I went which made me think "Oh no, this is going to be Benidorm at Sea" which is very unlike what I would have expected from a cruise, but then again, it was about half the price that I paid for the last cruise I went on. I am a down to earth person that expects to get what I pay for. I can tell you that this is exactly the case when it comes to the Island Star. Talking to other passengers, comments were all pretty similar. One family told me that the Ocean Village was far superior in entertainment and facilities and this is the same price range as far as I know. Hygiene was very good, with staff waiting at the entrance for you to sanitize your hands but there were other food areas where people walked in without sanitizing which was not good. I have been on another ship where the waiter/waitress will only give you your plate when they have seen you use the hand sanitizer. I would say that the best meal of the day was breakfast. The other meals were very good and it seemed that everybody on the ship enjoyed the choice. There was an allowance for special dietary meals if requested. The ship was far too overcrowded with no sunbeds being available when the ship was at sea and the swimming pools were so small, we didn't bother! Some children were boisterous and running around, throwing each other into the pool but it was the parents that kept them in check, with no staff intervening. The worst thing was that there was no draught beer. Everything they sell you is in cans. My husband asked for a pint of Boddington's and got a pint glass with an inch missing off the top so he asked them to fill it up and they said that they couldn't because it was a can. His receipt showed a 'pint' for £2.80 so he insisted on having his 'pint' and they just opened another can and topped it up. They then confessed that there were no hand pumps or draught beers anywhere on the ship. They did not serve Stella either so it was Corona by bottle, Boddington's by the can, Fosters by the can, Strongbow Cider, Bulmer's cider and cocktails or shorts. On the day we were disembarking, they received a large delivery of Stella by cans. If you are a smoker, you will love it. Smoking is allowed all down one side of the ship and on the balconies if you have a balcony room. They do not recommend smoking in the rooms. HOWEVER............. We arrived very exhausted and glad to get to our room, to find a dirty false finger nail next to one bed and the room stunk of stale fags. The toilet seat was lose and the bedding smelt musty. My little boy and my husband were exhausted so went to sleep while I went to reception to try to sort something out. I appreciated that the staff were stressed by people complaining so I was very polite and asked if it was possible that we could leave the ship and be put up on the island instead, as I thought the room was disgusting and I then began to get a lot tearful because it was very important to me to get away for xmas and having left my mum, dad and all my sisters and brother, I wished I hadn't. The reason I wanted to leave the ship is because there were no other rooms for us to move to. They said that I should try to sleep and see how I felt in the morning because the weather was bad and we were tired. They said that we would see it differently in the morning. We woke up mid-morning and the weather was bad and the room still smelt awful but we decided that we had no choice but to enjoy what we had. Meanwhile, I was offered another room that smelt clean and fresh but was for 2 adults and no children, even though we had a child. I had to turn it down for obvious reasons. The manager had a look at my comments and sent us a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of red wine along with a bowl of fruit. As a nice person, I wrote him a letter thanking him for cleaning the room and sending us those gifts. This ship is being sold in March 2009 and having a complete restoration and name change as far as I know. For the man who made a comment about the ship apparently being renovated in 2006, I would have to agree with him and say that it hasn't seen better days in years. Oh, and the bar staff are forced to ask you if you want a drink all the time. In five minutes, you will get up to 5 staff asking you if you want a drink from the bar. They make commission on what they sell and I can tell you that a bottle of Bulmer's cider was charged to me at £3.95 and no, that wasn't a 2 liter bottle! The rooms are cleaned regularly and tidied every single day. The bedding was changed regularly and very fresh after my initial complaint. I need to finish here otherwise it might become a book LOL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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