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

31 Pullmantur Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise because of three good experiences with Pullmanturs. We are British, but both speak Spanish, so there was no language problem - not that there would have been. All the crew are at least bilingual. Zenith herself is ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of three good experiences with Pullmanturs. We are British, but both speak Spanish, so there was no language problem - not that there would have been. All the crew are at least bilingual. Zenith herself is not a youngster, and a tiny bit tatty in places, but always clean. The food on board was the best we have ever had on a cruise, ad indeed on a par with many five star restaurants. The crew went out of their way to meet our need, always smiling and obliging. The cabin - 6101 - was perfectly adequate. Spacious and immaculately clean, and kept that way. The shore excursions were great. Got to see places on the Faroe Islands, Orkney and Shetland that would never have found ourselves. Entertainment was of a very high standard too. A couple of side comments. Most of my working life I was an Environmental Health Officer and Hotel Inspector. The standard of food hygiene and food handling on board were very high. I did ask some very searching questions of senior and junior catering staff. They really knew their business. And here is a chuckle! Our cabin steward accidentally left a checklist that has to be completed regularly - it was about bedbugs, and gave the cabin staff detailed instruction what to look for and where! Trust me - no bedbugs or other nasties anywhere. I would recommend Pullmanturs without reservation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Pullmantur Horizon was chosen for this Suez Cruise for the value, the lesser single supplement and the opportunity to enjoy the Spanish cuisine. The ship, although relatively elderly, is in excellent condition and certainly well-built, ... Read More
Pullmantur Horizon was chosen for this Suez Cruise for the value, the lesser single supplement and the opportunity to enjoy the Spanish cuisine. The ship, although relatively elderly, is in excellent condition and certainly well-built, giving no ominous creaking and swaying. My cabin was a 4 bed room and very comfortable. The public rooms, elevators, deck areas, buffets, dinning areas are well appointed and maintained. Service is of the highest degree, with smiling responses to questions, helpful in all cases. The ports of call were limited due to the location of the cruise. The transit of the Suez Canal itself was the high point of the cruise, and we had a full daylight transit. The port of Salalah was not an exciting visit. Visits to Khasab, Muscat, and Aqaba were adequate and interesting. One glaring problem for cruisers was the lack of information on port services; if shuttle buses were provided and general tourist information for the area. Pullmantur (as other cruise lines do) should provide adequate and correct information for passengers to exit the port area. Pullmantur did not offer any information, and, when questioned, often gave incorrect, conflicting information. The lectures and structured features for English speakers were very limited. In fact, the one lecture directed to the English passengers turned out to be a rant against Donald Trump by the speaker Fani Lopez, totally inappropriate and insulting to American and other passengers. This was the one poor occurrence on this cruise and will not be ignored. The cuisine experience was exceptional. Spanish regional foods and dishes were available at all meals. Wonderful displays of cheese, deli meat were available at all meals. The buffet was open at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a full menu and good variety of meat and fish dishes. The dining room was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a combination of buffet and service. Options of mix and match dishes were possible at dinner, upon request. The beverage policy included was very adequate. Specialty coffee selections, cocktails, wine, beer, cava were available. Entertainment options seemed to be more geared to the Spanish speakers. Bingo was a popular feature for all. The cruises offered by Pullmantur are certainly worth considering, especially for solo travelers. An increased enrichment lecture series for the English speakers is sorely needed and certainly can be easily remedied. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Had the pleasure of travelling in the Arabian Gulf on MV Horizon, it was outstanding even though the ship is 30 years old it is still a good ship and the service is exceptional, food very good , service great and the advantage of free ... Read More
Had the pleasure of travelling in the Arabian Gulf on MV Horizon, it was outstanding even though the ship is 30 years old it is still a good ship and the service is exceptional, food very good , service great and the advantage of free drinks was a nice touch. The shows were great, everything is done in Spanish and English, majority of crew are Pilipino so no problem, compared to the opposition MSC who I have travelled with out of Durban several times, always a disaster and terrible food, there is no comparison, Pullmantur really goes the extra mile. I thought the food quality was only because of the ship going out of Durban but after hearing the horrendous stories from passengers from two MSC ships in the Arabian Gulf they all complained about the bad food on their MSC ships and this stunned me. Seeing a certain South African travel agency loves to run Pullmantur down and I have now had first class experience to it not being true. I now throw out a challenge to the CEO of MSC if the comments made by several of your passengers is not being true show me that this is not the case. You want a great cruise try Pullmantur you won’t be sorry we met several UK passengers who were on their 3 trip on Pullmantur so that’s good enough to hear the positives, Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wanted a local cruise since we live in the Middle East and saw that a lot of cruises start in Dubai. After some research, we saw that Pullmantur was by far the cheapest option and, after further digging, couldn't really find out a ... Read More
We wanted a local cruise since we live in the Middle East and saw that a lot of cruises start in Dubai. After some research, we saw that Pullmantur was by far the cheapest option and, after further digging, couldn't really find out a lot about the ship, her cabins, onboard food, etc. What we did find sounded discouraging but, being the unfussy folks that we are, we thought, "Let's give them a try". I'm glad we did. It was an excellent cruise. We arrived at DXB and took a taxi straight to the Port Rashid cruise terminal. We hopped out and found virtually no one there. It transpires that Pullmantur keep the Horizon in port between cruises for two whole days, meaning, statistically, half of the cruisers embark/disembark on one day and half on the other. You can rock up virtually any time. For us, it took about 10 minutes from taxi to being on board. It may be longer if you arrive with a plane load of Spaniards from Madrid, but we were locals so it was very pleasant. We wandered around the ship for about half an hour and then went to our cabin. Our bags were already there. Best embarkation we have ever experienced. We were very pleased by the quality of food. Both the main dining room and buffet offerings were tasty and varied with only a few, small misses. The free drinks package definitely makes you feel like you're getting good value and we found the wait staff invariably friendly and helpful. The only staff that we didn't feel the joy from were the cabin staff, which is quite unusual from our experience. We can only think that they were overworked since we rarely saw them, they couldn't/wouldn't tidy the room at the same time each day and sometimes said they would come at a particular time and simply didn't. We didn't make use of the excursions as we knew the area well. We found the gym adequate but small. Fortunately, our fellow cruisers didn't seem to like exercise all that much so we had the run of the place. Can't comment on the entertainment as we found the timings good for Spaniards (i.e. late 2300!!) but not good for our sleeping patterns. All in all, a great but short outing for us. As I indicated, it's not a luxury ship but you certainly get your value and it is by no means a third rate line/ship. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
All went to plan. Solo traveller and staff made me very welcome didn't feel excluded.Food in main restaurant was lovely and a change from the norm. The main buffet was good as were choices. Waters were particularly attentive and ... Read More
All went to plan. Solo traveller and staff made me very welcome didn't feel excluded.Food in main restaurant was lovely and a change from the norm. The main buffet was good as were choices. Waters were particularly attentive and couldn't have done more.Drinks were excellent including beer ,gin,and many coctails all included Entertainment was excellent very wacky but professional,as were all the musicians,particularly the latino band and singer. Cabin was fine ,bed lovely. Enjoyed all the different islands and Agadir. Plenty of sun loungers and chairs.Bar staff excellent. Pool and Jacuzzis all spotless Very clean and well run ship if a bit dated,which didn't worry me. Good itinerary ,fab weather Embarkation and disembarkation was so fast.Ipaid to have extended stay till 4pm the last day which was helpful. If you want 5* + not for you,but everyone I spoke to enjoyed it .Spanish were very friendly well done Pullmantur,would definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This ship whilst being old is so great value for money you don’t notice the age of the ship We had a balcony cabin which was fine in size plenty of storage space and bathroom slightly bigger than other ships we have been on We paid ... Read More
This ship whilst being old is so great value for money you don’t notice the age of the ship We had a balcony cabin which was fine in size plenty of storage space and bathroom slightly bigger than other ships we have been on We paid £1450 for 2 of us all inclusive including tips Food in the restaurant was fabulous and the waiters can’t do enough for you. Maybe a bit limited in choice but you can have as many dishes from the menu that you want Bar staff were excellent and drink choice was okay You can upgrade to premium package for € 98 per week which is good value The bar stays open for as long as there is someone in it and no time limit for all inclusive unlike other lines that stop at 2am We didn’t go to any shows but the musicians in the casino bar were excellent Embarkation was so easy we were on the ship in ten minutes. No queues getting on or off ship in port Disembarkation the exact same I will definitely be going on this ship again and would recommend it as long as you don’t expect 5 star all the way Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We saw this cruise for £549 for 7 nights all inclusive and after reading bad reviews, thought why not, we were already going to stay for 2 weeks in Gran Canaria and this was cheaper than an all inclusive hotel, so we went with an open ... Read More
We saw this cruise for £549 for 7 nights all inclusive and after reading bad reviews, thought why not, we were already going to stay for 2 weeks in Gran Canaria and this was cheaper than an all inclusive hotel, so we went with an open mind. I have cruised once before with Cunard and my partner has never cruised before. Embarkation and cabin: Embarkation was pretty straightforward. We showed up about 12:30 and after a little wait in line we went onboard with our wheelie cases. Our cabin was not ready so we went straight to the dining area and had some lunch. Our case turned up about 4pm. The room was basic but comfortable with two single beds pushed together to make an extra kingsize. The cabin was quite spacious with plenty of wardrobe space and drawers. The bathroom had a hairdryer and a glass shelf to put all of your bits on. No complementary bottles of shampoo, etc, just a fitting on the shower wall with shower gel in. There were no tea-making facilities in the room which was annoying as you are not allowed to bring a travel kettle onboard. The room was very clean, had a lovely large window and the air conditioning worked perfectly. Onboard: The ship had two swimming pools, three jacuzzis, an a la carte restaurant (which was open from breakfast time until about 10:30pm, with hot drinks available 24hrs), a main dining hall, a theatre, gym, casino, duty free shop, library and a disco. Some parts of the ship look a bit tired but overall, nothing to put you off choosing Pullmantur. Eating: Personally I could have stayed onboard and ate the whole week away as the food was of high standard. I don't eat meat but my partner does and we both found that every day there was a good selection of fish and meat dishes available, as well as vegetarian options. We chose to eat in the formal dining room every evening but one and ate lunch at the buffet every day but one. We had two gala nights, including Christmas Eve with a large 7 course meal on both of those nights and the waiter tailored mine to not include meat. The same dishes as the fine dining (and more) are served in the buffet restaurant every day for those that prefer it. All of the dishes served are good quality and cooked to perfection. If you are after chips and burgers then this is not the cruise for you. Ports: We had six ports and one day at sea. Tenerife, La Palma, Funchal (christmas day), Agadir and Lanzarote. 23 Dec - North Tenerife: We caught the bus to Las Teresitas costing €1.25 each way and enjoyed the beach 24 Dec - La Palma: We went for a walk in the lovely old town and did some Christmas shopping. We tried to book the dune buggy tour but there were no other takers so it was not running Christmas Day - Funchal, Madeira: We had a lovely stroll around Funchal and then sat on the seafront eating churros 26 Dec: At sea 27 Dec Agadir, Morocco: This port was horrible and smelly so we stayed onboard, went to the gym and lounged around the pool. 28 Dec Lanzarote: We took the Grand Tour at €59 each and visited Jameos Del Agua, the vineyards, Valley of a Thousand Palms and Timanfaya (about 5-6hrs) Formal dining: We chose first sitting and dressed up accordingly to each theme night. Most people did the same, although there were some that didn't but they still dressed smart. On both gala nights my partner wore his tuxedo with different coloured bow ties and I wore long dresses, as did many others. They seemed to keep all the different nationalities together with waiters that spoke their language which was nice. Drinks: We did not bother with upgrading to a drinks package. The drinks offered on the all-inclusive were perfectly fine. My partner said the beer was nice, the same as he was drinking the rest of the holiday. The spirits were nice, not all being brand names, although some were and the sparkling wine was very nice. Language and entertainment: Everything was in both Spanish and English everywhere. There was no language barrier on the ship or on any excursions. This may have been a problem for other languages, such as French etc. but we didn't notice it. The animation team's performances were all multi-national and of a very high standard. Even the bingo was in three or four languages. Disenbarkation: This was seemless. You could stay on the cruise for the whole of the next day at a really small cost with facilities to shower etc. They picked up your case from outside your door after 1am and the ship magazine told you where to be at what time you could disembark. This all took about 15 minutes. Once off, we collected our case from the designated area and left for the rest of our adventure. Would we go with Pullmantur again? You bet we would! We would definitely recommend as it was fantastic value for money Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I travelled on the Horizon in 2017 had many problems but I thought I would give Pullmantur another chance as I live in Gran Canaria and sailing from Las Palmas is so easy just get the bus there and back no hassle with airports. I booked ... Read More
I travelled on the Horizon in 2017 had many problems but I thought I would give Pullmantur another chance as I live in Gran Canaria and sailing from Las Palmas is so easy just get the bus there and back no hassle with airports. I booked 2 cruises back to back. The food was first class (had an accident so using a crutch) preferred the waiter service. Great staff, great choice and munched my way through the entire menu. Buffet for breakfast and lunch was good and a table reserved for guests with disabilities appreciated. Staff in the bars very smart and helpful. Did not do the drinks package I did the previous year and to be honest didn't feel shortchanged. Bacardi and Gin flowed throughout the cruise. Entertainment good better when they did the full dancing shows as very Spanish Orientated. If you love Bingo then there's lots of that on offer. The cabins are spacious I had 2 on the 6th deck. Shower nice and warm. Bed very comfortable and lovely soft pillows. Cannot comment on the excursions as hard to walk but note if you are English speaking there is a good chance they will cancel it unless they get minimum numbers. Checked out of one cabin into another after the first week very quickly and stress free and there was a bottle of champagne on ice in the new cabin (nice touch) but left half of it as I was on my own and not much of a drinker. The new cabin on the second week was very very noisy (6168) and asked to be moved. again this happened with no problems. The boat itself I think had just had a refurb as looked nice and clean and fresh. For what I paid DO NOT MISS THIS CRUISELINE and very good if you are learning Spanish or speak it Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We normally sail Norwegian, and have also sailed Royal Caribbean a few times. Our reason for choosing Pullmantur for this trip was solely cost - the cruises with this line are often very competitively priced. We are a couple in our mid ... Read More
We normally sail Norwegian, and have also sailed Royal Caribbean a few times. Our reason for choosing Pullmantur for this trip was solely cost - the cruises with this line are often very competitively priced. We are a couple in our mid 30's from Scotland. Our travel agent warned us that this is an old ship, that we're not paying much to travel with, and to set our expectations accordingly. We read through details of the ship and noted the key differences - that there is one main dining room, no choice of restaurants, and only a small selection of bars. We also noted that entertainment is in Spanish. We both absolutely loved this cruise. It is one of the most relaxing cruises we've ever had - and we will definitely be booking Pullmantur again. However, this cruise will not be for everyone, and it's important to appreciate that this Pullmantur is different - not necessarily better or worse. I will make some comments that seem judgemental - they are. These are my honest observations, and your feelings on the subject are likely to be different: The line is not American - which is strange, since Royal Caribbean own 49% of it, apparently. The passengers on Pullmantur are far less entitled than on American lines such as Norwegian and Royal Caribbean - they are happier, more care-free, and I have not seen the entitlement and rudeness shown to staff that I have witnessed on other lines. The staff seem more relaxed, too. There is no tipping - gratuities are paid with your cruise fare, and are not mentioned at any point during the entire cruise. On the rare occasion you have to pay for something, there isn't even a tipping line on the receipt! Inclusive means inclusive - you simply ask for a cava, and are given a cava. Nobody takes your card - there is no receipt presented in a folder, there is no opportunity for tipping. You just get your drink, a smile, and you're on your way. This is far more relaxed. Coffee - any variety - is free. I always resented 'speciality coffee' being charged for even with a premium drinks package on Norwegian. On there Horizon, there is a large (and overstaffed!) coffee shop called Cafe Cafe, which offers a variety of teas and coffees (as well as cocktails, and other alcohol) for free. It's a really relaxed environment. Photos - they barely bother. It's great! With other lines, you're harassed every damn night at dinner, every time you get off the ship, every time you get on the ship. We had one photo for getting on board, and one at dinner, and that was it - we never saw a photographer again. Ideal. Food - it's not American. There are no comforting piles of crap. It's largely Mediterranean, sensible portions, and decent quality. I have a food intolerance, and felt really looked after - I can recommend this line for coeliacs. Even at breakfast there is a gluten free area with cakes, bread, a dedicated gluten free only toaster, cereals, etc. They can make the usual adaptations to standard meals, but it's nice not to need to ask. See where I'm going here? It's not an Amercian line, and they don't nickel and dime you as though you're on one. So, that's all the things I love about Pullmantur. On to some drawbacks: Entertainment - this isn't an issue for me, but I know this is important to many cruisers. If you don't speak Spanish, then you will be disappointed. There are no broadway shows. There are things on in the theatre - no idea what, they're all in Spanish. Gym - this one did irritate me, but, it is what it is - it's crap, and despite limited space, it could be better. There are a few cardio machines - treadmills, static bikes. The bikes are showing their age, and I could feel one of them slipping, this needs proper maintenance. There is a good selection of free weights, but the benches are cramped, so it's just as well the gym wasn't busy on my visits. The choice of machines is bizarre - there are two entirely pointless goodgirl-badgirl machines (leg adducter machines!), which really aren't a good use of space. Replacing them with cables would give far more resource in the small space. Rooms - a mixed bag! First, I loved the space in my room, although I don't think it can be much larger than a standard ocean-view, it felt bigger, and there was loads more storage, not to mention a proper desk. It feels dated, but solid. The bathroom.... it's functional, it's clean - but looks dated. I can live with clean but dated, however, some people cruise for luxury, and the bathroom... well, it's a bit budget motel. But then, that's the price bracket you're paying. Casino - I hate the things; they're vulgar. The casino on this ship is tiny, and for once, is non-smoking! I have nothing nice to say about casinos anyway, but if I was into them, this casino would be underwhelming. Given that few people seemed to use it, clearly other passengers feel the same. That's it for drawbacks. Some random observations: I love the staff. They are kind, honest, and genuine. They do not have the false happy-smiley thing going on with American lines. No disinterested "How are you" type questions. They provide efficient, friendly, polite service, without the faux-customer service you'll see elsewhere. They will go out of their way to help you - even when you don't ask for help. For example, bar staff will often recommend a free house spirit rather than a premium drink. Overall, I don't feel sold to - I feel I have been on a relaxing holiday. We will be sailing with Pullmantur again, but not exclusively. They are not a premium line nor a luxury line - they're an honest company that'll provide a relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were originally sailing with friends on Royal Carribean last year but had to cancel for chemotherapy. So this year the prices had risen way more than expected so after searching we find Pullmantur at a very reasonable price and a better ... Read More
We were originally sailing with friends on Royal Carribean last year but had to cancel for chemotherapy. So this year the prices had risen way more than expected so after searching we find Pullmantur at a very reasonable price and a better itinerary. We enjoyed the Horizon, it was comfortable , clean the staff were great and it exceeded all our expectations. The food was good,we had nice people on our table which was very international, though we found the Spanish people very happy and nice. Our verandah cabin was great. The excursions we chose were really enjoyable and reasonable. The Spa was good. We went to a couple of shows which were quite good. We very much appreciated that beverages were included, we dont drink a lot but did enjoy not having to worry about cost. We are converted to Pullmantur and hopefully in 2020 we can enjoy another cruise for our Golden wedding. As seniors living in Australia its expensive to get to Europe or Carribean so we cant do every year(but if we win Lotto we certainly would be on Pullmantur regularly) We didnt realise there were so many young adults on board till our second sailaway when the party on our top deck began round the pool and it was madness-there must have been many sore heads BUT it really wasnt a niuisance to us, we just carried our drinks to our verandah cabin on the same deck and enjoyed the view Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
When I originally booked this cruise I was not expecting too much as it was such a good price. It was a week cruising the Canary Islands and Morocco for under 400 euros per person all inclusive and we literally thought if it got us around ... Read More
When I originally booked this cruise I was not expecting too much as it was such a good price. It was a week cruising the Canary Islands and Morocco for under 400 euros per person all inclusive and we literally thought if it got us around the ports then it was a good deal, but we did not expect a lot from the food and drink at that price. we had sailed on the ship about 9 years previously as Island Star and knew it would be an old ship, but we had very much liked it, we like the smaller ships and we knew it had undergone a recent refurb so decided to give it a go. We were very pleasantly surprised! This was a fabulous cruise from start to finish. With Pullmamtur there was the option to check in on line and when we arrived at the terminal we were checked in and on board within 10 minutes, very efficient! The ship is looking lovely and you would not think she was as old as she is. We had an outside superior cabin for three adults which I had expected we may need to upgrade on board but it was very spacious and loads of storage space - 2 double wardrobes and 24 drawers along with lots of mirrors!!! We asked for extra coathangers and were provided very quickly with an extra 20 so no problems with cabin space at all (although I am happy to sleep on a bunk, some may not like this but the bunk was not actually over the double bed which was huge). The cabin and the public rooms were spotless. The food is probably amongst the best that we have had on a ship and I have sailed with many lines. The buffet restaurant on the lido deck had a fantastic array of fresh salads and vegetables, a wide variety of hot mains, pizzas, paellas, deserts and every lunch there was a special carvery....the first day it was whole roasted salmons baked in salt, they did whole roast hake one day, the biggest beef joint have ever seen, roast turkeys and we were very impressed that they managed to mass produce pork with fabulous crispy crackling, not an easy task! The buffet is open breakfast lunch and dinner, we chose to eat breakfast and lunches there, and dinner in the main dining room. If you go to the lido buffet you need to find your own table whereas if you go to the main dining room the waiters seat you and get the drinks for you, but apart from that it is the same food and same buffet style for lunch and breakfast. It could be a slight scrum for a table if you hit busy time in the lido, eg when all of the trips were returning, but the opening hours were long and once you had your table everything was very nicely laid out and no queues. One thing Pullmantur do which we thought was a great idea is to have little paper discs on the table, green on one side, red on the other. If you dont want your plates cleared and are returning to your table you put the card to red so no helpful waiter clears it whilst you are returning to the buffet to get something else, meaning that one of you does not need to stand guard over your table the whole time....a simple idea but so effective! The main dining room is very spacious and never seemed over crowded. We were on first sitting which was 7.30pm. The second sitting at 9.45pm would have been too late for us, but fortunately about 2/3 of the passengers are Spanish and seemed to like to eat late so there was no issue with getting an early sitting. You have the same table number and dinner companions for the week at dinner, and they ensure they sit the same nationalities together. The evening menus were imaginative and delicious and just the right portion slices. Very impressed with the quality of the meats and fish, when it said red snapper it was, when it said John Dory it was ( we have experienced in the past o sone ships the same white fishes being served every night in different guises!). They did not seem to serve vegetables but you only needed to ask and they would provide. I have to say that the service from the Chefs and the Head Waiter was fantastic, I am on a very restrictive diet and have a lot of allergies. The head waiter Mahreshi took this all in his stride, he would check with me every meal what I would like for the next meal, and whatever I came up with he miraculously produced with a minimum of fuss. He was so attentative, never made me feel like I was being difficult, his customer service was fantastic and I felt very well looked after. There is no afternoon tea on this ship wbich we actually prefer. Sometimes you can feel over faced by food on board ships. We found there was always food available but it wasnt in your face and we ate extremely well. The cruise was all inclusive, once on board you could upgrade your package if you wished but we did not need to. The standard gin was gordons, the wine was very nice, a good variety of cocktails was included. But the thing that really impressed us was that the speciality coffee shop was included on the all inclusive too, lovely coffee menu at no extra charge unlike other lines. In fact we were very impressed by how little extras there were to pay on board. Apart from the gratuities (72 euros per person so reasonable) they did not seem to push you to buy extras all of the time. There was no charge for any of the arts and crafts classes, stretching, dance classes, cooking demonstrations etc. We have found in recent years a lot of lines are now charging for these. And best of all no photographers in your face all of the time! Apart from the embarkation photo we did not see them, they werent snapping you at dinner or every time you got off or on the gangway. You could book a package if you wanted but otherwise the did not encroach...very refreshing! We had read reviews before hand that the Spanish were constantly partying and loud, we actually did not find this a problem at all. In fact better than an all brit cruise because no one reserved sunbeds or left their towels on them at all so you could always get a bed when you needed it. There are lots of nice lounges on board so there was always somewhere to find if you wanted some quiet time. We loved the cosy library and enjoyed the pura vida lounge in the late afternoon. Bar staff were always on hand and no cards to carry as everyone was all inclusive which made a nice change. The gym was small but very well equiped. We didnt use the spa but the saunas were free and plenty of treatments available. The suite guests had a special private lounge which looked lovely, it was the old Captains Club Room from the Island Star Days. There were various theme nights but they werent enforced. However we found it fun to dress up on Arabian Night. Other nights were the Gala Night, Tropical, 70s 80s and White Night. After I booked this I realised it was Easter week and we were a little apprehensiveabout how many kids would be on board. However we hardly saw them. There is an on site kids club and the team kept them out of the way and entertained. The only time we did find them was on sea day, the jacuzzis were hogged by unaccompanied young kids. This is one thing I wouldnt like if I was a jacuzzi lover which I am not really, i woukd then want for for the rule of over 16 years only to be enforced. I have to say that the shows were not our thing, but that is not slating the singing or dancing. They are in Spanish, had they been in English we would probably have been more enthusiastic but we had booked a Spanish Cruise Line so expected that and there were good bands in the public areas so we were quite happy with drinks and cards! Disembarking and embarking in each port was very painless and well organised, never any queueing LAS PALMAS enjoyed strolling round the old town, lovely crafty boutiques and unusual shops, cobbled streets, a nice promenade and very reasonable coffee shops! All within walking distance of the ship. LANZAROTE docked in Areceife at the port furthest from the centre. We had done our research and as we were just there in the afternoon we knew everything in Arecife was shut so we had pre organised car hire from the port for around 50 euros with cicar. We headed to Teguise old town which was very quaint. Then came back through the centre to the coast and Puerto del Carmen which was more touristy but nice for a drink on the harbour side. FUERTEVENTURA Docked in Puerto del Rossario, walked to the bus station, about 20 minutes away, and took the local bus to Correlejo. Fabulous journey, the route took us up to the national park then along the coast line past the famous sand dunes which were stunning. 3 euros and we felt like we had had a proper tour! Lots of shops and a lovely beach front at Correlejo. Would highly recommend this way rather than the organised transfer for 20 euros. AGADIR got a local taxi to take us on a tour for a few hours to see some mosques and give us an hour at the beach and lovely promenade. He would have also included the souk and fabric shops which we didnt want so we had an extra 30 min at the beach. Bartered it down to 25 euros for the three of us. Taxis are waiting outside the ship.they will try and charge as much as they think tgey can get so be prepared to haggle, but there was no issues when in the taxi and we felt quite safe although tge local driving is interesting......! GRAN CANARIA we first walked to the beach which was beautiful but unfortunately too windy a day to appreciate. There is a very long beach promenade to stroll if the weather is good. As it wasnt beach weather we then trecked accross town to a very nice shopping centre, then took a taxi to the old quarter whicb was charming, beautiful architecture and many photo oportunities. Taxis reasonable. We did not do any ship excursions but they did offer a weeks package to be pre booked that seemed very reasonable, we just like to do our own thing. Aft cabins do experience some noise when manouvering into port to dock, we are early risers soit wasnt a problem for us. Each night I requested a flask of hot warer and the bell boys brought it to the cabin within minutes. Disembarkation from the cabins is 8am and cases need to be out by midnight. As we live in Tenerife it was not an issue for us to leave the ship after breakfast but apparently if you stayed after 11am you needed to pay. The one blip we had was on disembarking. We got to the terminal to discover one of our bags was missing. It was a good half an hour before it was eventually located having been put in the wrong area. The security of the cases in the terminal did not seem to be very efficient, no one was checking very thoroughly who collected what. We approached an agent in a panic and she was very dismissive and did not seem to know what to do. We eventually located toourselves after an anxiousperiod. However I am not sure that she was part of Pullmantur, I think they were the port agency that Pullmantur use. I have to say that the service on board was excellent. I woukd not hesitate to cruise with Pullmantur again had they an itinerary that catches my eye and would definately recommend them. Incidently Pullmantur do over 55 years discount.apparently the single supplements are also reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I had read a few recent good reviews and also some pretty bad ones. I booked the cruise to meet and celebrate my brother's 50th birthday. Booked well in advance through Vacations to go. I got great service from them, a superb price ... Read More
I had read a few recent good reviews and also some pretty bad ones. I booked the cruise to meet and celebrate my brother's 50th birthday. Booked well in advance through Vacations to go. I got great service from them, a superb price and no single supplement. I worked in the travel industry for many years and have been on various cruise lines, including Silver Seas, Swan Helenic Crystal etc. So, I had a realistic idea of what to expect for the price paid, which was expect a few faults, maybe a small cabin, mediocre service and entertainment. Well, the ship exceeded all my expectations. Old but Gold. Big, well furnished inside cabin, a largish bathroom, plenty cupboard space, TV with many channels if you needed to watch it. Lots of electric sockets. The formal dining room served excellent food, although you had to ask for more vegetables and for butter with your bread. The soups and salads were tasty, the fish, meat etc also of a good standard and also the puddings. The buffet selection was vast and also had some stand out dishes, the carvery being one of them. Plenty of space even on the days at sea. Excursions were very well run and keenly priced. Embarkation and Disembarkation was quick and efficient in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The basic drinks package is ample. 3 small minus points. Entertainment in the main theater was awful. Saying that the musicians in the other bars etc were good. The crew are too eager to sell you the upgrade drink package. Agadir is not a good destination, please consider another canary island instead. This was mentioned to me by various people on the cruise of different nationalities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise as there were no sea days so daily entertainment was not an issue. The Cruise line caters predominantly to the Spanish client but there were many on-board for whom English was the preferred language. All the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise as there were no sea days so daily entertainment was not an issue. The Cruise line caters predominantly to the Spanish client but there were many on-board for whom English was the preferred language. All the staff spoke English. The ship was a no frills ship. We did not partake of any of the daytime activities as we were on shore each day. The evening entertainment was excellent, the absence of too much dialogue meant it was not necessary to understand Spanish. Food was good and plentiful, with a section for dietary needs such as gluten free and the service was excellent. The all inclusive deal was fair and being able to vet good coffee within this deal was a bonus. Water was feely available in all the bars so it wasn't necessary to take out the expensive extra drinks packages that were offered. Our Stateroom was clean if a little tired. Public areas were clean. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After taking a week's cruise at Christmas we were so pleased that we jumped at the chance to take this repositioning cruise from Las Palmas to our home in Malaga. The ship may be older with no bells and whistles but the itinerary, ... Read More
After taking a week's cruise at Christmas we were so pleased that we jumped at the chance to take this repositioning cruise from Las Palmas to our home in Malaga. The ship may be older with no bells and whistles but the itinerary, charm of the ship and the unsurpassed level of service made these two cruises some of the best we have experienced. The cabin may be a little dated but the ship is about to undergo a 3 week drydock in Cadiz so expect to see major improvements. Pullmantur clearly value this ship and it is kept in top condition. Food was outstanding in both the cafeteria and main dining room ... and did I mention that drinks are included!! Good brands are available on the basic package and if you are a brand snob then you can upgrade to a better package for only $10 per day. The entertainment was outstanding with dancers pulling 5 or 6 stunning production shows out of the hat every week!! We booked our cruises through a US agent and got outstanding bargains on both cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We paid for the upgrade to the "waves club" and were not siddapointed.. Our hostess Josianne was an amazing lady - so friendly and accomodating in every way. The staff in the Waes lounge were the same. We were treated like ... Read More
We paid for the upgrade to the "waves club" and were not siddapointed.. Our hostess Josianne was an amazing lady - so friendly and accomodating in every way. The staff in the Waes lounge were the same. We were treated like royalty all the way. The food was fantastic - not what we were expecting on an all inclusive cruise - a large variety of different things in the two main restaurants and dinner was al a carte everynight in the restuarant on the 7th deck. our cabin staff who cleaned the cabins everyday were helpful, friendly and very polite. We had cabin number 1024 and only had one problem. Every day at the same time we had a loud vibrating noise that was pretty loud coming from the floor below us. at first we thought it was the AC but it turned out to be something mechanical in the ceiling on the floor below us. We had to call the front desk to get them to sort it out. we had to call every day. that was the only complaint until the end of the cruise. They lost one of out bags in between taking it the night before disembarkation. When we docked at the port we were taken off the boat to go through customs to get our bags. we were there for almost 2 hours looking for our bags. The coach wa delayed to the airport and we almost missed our flight. we got the the airport at the time of boarding and it was busy. we had to be rushed through the line ups to be ablet oget on the flight. up until them we had an amazing cruise. everything was perfect. but the losing of our luggage was someting that completely spoiled our holiday. whenever we think back about this amazing holiday we will always have a bad memory of them losing out bags. All the souveneirs that we bought and the gifts for our families were in the lost bag.. very upsetting. but the cruise itself was fabulous. the excursions were very well co ordinated and all were exactly as described. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Honestly, we choice this cruise because it fit the dates that I needed it to fit in but we were extremely happy with the cabins, food, and customer service of the employees that worked on the boat and the employees on land. Dinner had a ... Read More
Honestly, we choice this cruise because it fit the dates that I needed it to fit in but we were extremely happy with the cabins, food, and customer service of the employees that worked on the boat and the employees on land. Dinner had a nice variety of food and even had a later night on the upper levels. Because I usually missed the meal time for the main dining, I ended up eating up above a lot and I liked it. The port was enjoyable but I have to bring special attention to Santo Domingo. I feel many people on the ship did not enjoy themselves at this port because they were confused as to what to see and or do. The Colonial Zone is a must and while many went there I don't think they experienced it the way we did. You have to take the walking tour. You can find the guides on the street, they will approach you and ask you if you want the walking tour. I believe many of the guides speak different languages but I only speak English and our guide spoke it perfectly. I am not sure if this is a company or just individuals doing it but all the guides that I saw on the street had backpacks on. Not sure why but you can recognize from their backpacks. HaHa... I did a lot of reading about the ports before I left so I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do and see. Don't let yourself waste this port like I saw so many on my ship do. This is a world heritage city and dates back 500 years. The architecture and ruins are beautiful to walk around. I found this reveiw of the Colonial Zone most helpful because it gave a great review of the museums, etc. http://www.santodomingotaxi.com/blogs/post/The-Colonial-Zone/. Read this onea and a 1 or 2 others so you can make the most of your time. Back to the ship since that is what we are reviewing. I had never heard of this ship but I enjoyed it more than the better named ships. Great people that work there and I was able to relax and have a great time. Zenith is definalty worth the money and the ports were enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law booked this cruise for a party of 14 us, and as it was the first cruise myself and my wife had been on we had a fantastic time. Ship sounds nothing like some of the reviews and for its age was in ... Read More
My Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law booked this cruise for a party of 14 us, and as it was the first cruise myself and my wife had been on we had a fantastic time. Ship sounds nothing like some of the reviews and for its age was in good shape. We had an outside cabin and it was lovely and kept clean and tidy everyday by the cabin staff. Dining was excellent with a good choice of eating a la carte or waited service in the Splendid restaurant which we chose every evening. The food was excellent and the service was impeccable. The evening shows were very good with Abba and Beatles tributes on a couple of evenings. There are plenty of bars, Casino, Discotheque and a well equipped Gym and Spa. Overall the service by the crew was excellent. As this was my sister and Brother-in-laws 15th cruise we did not bother with any of the port and shore excursions as we made our own way around and found it most enjoyable. But had my wife and myself been on our own we would of most probably gone on an excursion. My wife and myself would definitely go on another cruise. Thank you Pullmantur for a truly great first time cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Let me start by saying that we have been on around 30 cruises from 5 star Celebrity and RC to Costa (Avoid at all costs they are a horrible company !) Going on the reviews i was not expecting much from the Horizon but wow it exceeded our ... Read More
Let me start by saying that we have been on around 30 cruises from 5 star Celebrity and RC to Costa (Avoid at all costs they are a horrible company !) Going on the reviews i was not expecting much from the Horizon but wow it exceeded our expectations in every way. We arrived at the ship around 3pm and literally walked straight on !!!! The whole process took 5 minutes (Not the 2 hrs we spent waiting in a huge queue whilst embarking RC and Costa ships !) Food was excellent in both restaurants, The AI drinks package was limitless and served anywhere throughout the ship, Non of the usual one drink per person ridiculousness that other cruise lines charging £50 a day insist on. The whole ship is really relaxed ! Rooms are larger than average and clean the ship is 20 plus yrs old but in good condition, The gym has new up to date equipment, The jacuzzi 's are both clean and warm as are the pools. service is excellent and staff are very friendly and look happy in their jobs. If you are looking for a cheap fun relaxed cruise with great food and an excellent FREE drinks package you wont be disappointed. Pound for pound amongst the best cruise ive ever been on. Thankyou Pullmantur for showing how a cruise ship should be run. We will definately be back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The stops along the cruise is variable in origins, since dutch/french island, to old English Colony. All stops had choices of nice beaches and historical sites, as well as shopping places. The piano bar and singers during cruise were very ... Read More
The stops along the cruise is variable in origins, since dutch/french island, to old English Colony. All stops had choices of nice beaches and historical sites, as well as shopping places. The piano bar and singers during cruise were very warm and friendly. The coffee place Moka with its Cappucino was a must every single dinner, as the Rendezvous bar for dancing. The cabin was clean every single day, with privacy. The baggage take in and off board was smart too. The dining options were very fancy for a large restaurant. The fine option to eat at Flamboyant was paired to carefully chosen waiters, speaking at least two languages. While the take it all restaurant at 11th floor had a wider range of open time, just in case one misses the downstairs restaurant. The drinks are free, and the choice is wide to every taste. Barmen were very fast serving so many people at the pool. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Enjoyed the cruise very much can't say the same for my fellow British passengers!We avoided them as much as possible.If moaning was in the Olympics we were cruising with a lot of gold medalists!OK the ship was tired looking and had a ... Read More
Enjoyed the cruise very much can't say the same for my fellow British passengers!We avoided them as much as possible.If moaning was in the Olympics we were cruising with a lot of gold medalists!OK the ship was tired looking and had a few problems with the public toilets but just get on and make the best of your holiday.After all they were only making themselves miserable by moaning.Thank god for the other nationalities on board. Yes it could be noisy but we found leaving the wardrobe doors open at night eased it and you soon got used to the background noise.We had one problem with the toilet in our cabin.It was reported on our way to dinner and it was repaired by the time we returned.Also if the public toilets were in high demand it only took a couple of minutes to return to our cabin.All of the ship was kept very clean.( even with fellow passengers leaving beer cans,plastic glasses and stubbing out cigarettes on the sun deck).The staff were immaculately dressed.On the whole our fellow passengers weren't!Thankfully we prefer to eat late so changed our dinner seating to second sitting.Most of the passengers on this sitting were Spanish and were dressed well and made an effort with their appearance. I walked every day around the decks and I was amazed to see so many people drinking alcohol at 11am.Later on in the day some were very rude to the staff.We spoke Spanish as much as possible! The food was superb.Only once did our food arrive warm not hot and that was before the two sittings were introduced.Lunch was very varied with a good choice. On the whole we enjoyed our holiday.Amazing value. The only thing we can complain about was the flight to Madrid.WAMOS AIR won't be getting our business again.Dreadful airline.Not once did they come round and offer water.I ended up disturbing a fellow passenger to get some. We would like to mention a special Thank You to our two waiters at dinner.JOSE FLORES and IMADE SUKADANA.Always cheerful nothing was to much trouble.Also Piedra? our maid who kept our cabin immaculate. Enjoyed visiting all of the ports. The entertainment was OK.Music in the lounge was very good.All of the service on board the Zenith was excellent and the staff superb,always polite,always smiling. Looking forward to going on our fourth cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We were a party of 6 in three cabins with balcony, the cabins were good, the food was excellent and the entertainment was first class, although Mr Bubbles was probably more for the kids. Great crew all friendly. We read some bad reviews ... Read More
We were a party of 6 in three cabins with balcony, the cabins were good, the food was excellent and the entertainment was first class, although Mr Bubbles was probably more for the kids. Great crew all friendly. We read some bad reviews before we boarded, but hey there are always wingers so all was a pleasant surprise.. Full marks to the Zenith crew. The ship is a old but was in good condition, the cabins were clean roomy and bright . Our waiters were a lot of fun, very friendly and ever so helpful. The food was always a great choice , we had vegetarians in our party and there was always a a good choice for them also. There was entertainment in the disco but the best and very professional acts were in the main theater . We took advantage of all the excursionsm Rome, Florence Pisa and Monaco, all well organised and informative. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We sailed from Alicante. I have given 5 stars as I am taking the price into consideration. If I had paid double, I may have given 3.5 stars. I travelled with my husband and 4 other couples aged from 49 to 71, but also knew about 10 ... Read More
We sailed from Alicante. I have given 5 stars as I am taking the price into consideration. If I had paid double, I may have given 3.5 stars. I travelled with my husband and 4 other couples aged from 49 to 71, but also knew about 10 other people. Downside.... Toilet system is on a par with an aeroplane, a suction system that can't cope with toilet paper, you are advised to not put paper in the wc so if you're embarrassed, I suggest you take a roll of doggy poo bags for your paper and bin it. Yes, the ship is old so more noisy than some others and a bit of soot does come down on you if you're sunbathing at the very back of the ship, but so much space and beds available all around the ship, move elsewhere if you have white shorts on! The ship is very very clean, the curtains in the public areas must be new as the linings are pure white. Some comments say it needs a lick of paint but as most of the walls are laminated materials, not sure what you could paint. The entertainment is fantastic, my husband and I aren't big on going to tacky shows but we happened across one show mid week and went to all others after, the dancers are actually professional ballet dancers and the shows were modern (only one classical night). The rock show was fantastic. There are two resident bands on board, one catered more for the Spanish and the other tended more towards English songs. The cabin was much bigger than average, two full size single beds together so equal to a queen size. Had to roll over twice to find the hubby. Two double wardrobes, lovely big dressing table, free safe, Tv. White bedding so you know it's clean. Mattress was old but still comfortable as were the pillows. Bathroom was dated but water pressure was good so was the temperature. Run the tap for a few seconds to clear any yucky water first. No toiletries provided other than one bar of soap and some shower gel in a dispenser (and obviously toilet paper). Towels provided (and also pool towels available at the swimming pool). FOOD.... OMG..... Amazing. Ate in the restaurant every night, you have the same table at a set time every night. I need to diet now I'm home. The waiters were fabulous and couldn't do enough for you. Desserts were heavenly. Not always sure if veg was going to come with the meal so we always also ordered the side dish of veg. There was always a fish dish, veg dish and meat dish, the bread bowl was varied (also speciality breads) and flowing, usually a choice of about 3 starters, 5 mains and perhaps 4 desserts and a sugar free option. Everyone of our group of 10 was really impressed with the food. We booked a package of transfers with our travel agent. The organisation from Pullmantur was very organised and ran like clockwork. I was a bit disappointed with our Rome guide (Katrina) as she led us to a particular bus tour and lied about the other hop on/off bus companies and also tried to push a particular restaurant (obviously on commission). The service in the bars was great. It was actually quicker to sit and be served rather than go to the bar (except poolside as no waiter service there). My hubby and I (+4 friends) are booked onto the same ship in December for the transatlantic cruise and were quite worried after reading the reviews on here but now we're counting down the days and can't wait to get back onto the Zenith. They have theme nights and suggested dress codes incl. white night, tropical, rock, gala and elegant. But, again with thought, the theme after the Rome stop was casual as it was a later sailing and people wouldn't necessarily have enough time to dress up. Don't expect Princess line facilities for Pullmantur fares!! However, expect more than Thompson for lower fares (I've done both). I reiterate that my ratings are taking price into consideration. We heard some British complain about the number of Spanish people aboard and about their ways. Yes, the vast majority of passengers are Spanish and acted typically like Spanish, just as the majority of us Brits acted like Brits !!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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
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
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
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click