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144 South America Cruise Reviews

Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might ... Read More
Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might find this review informative. A brief word about my cruise experience to give a measure of insight into my observations. I have been on approximately 80 cruises on all level of cruise lines from Crystal/Seabourn/ Azamara/Oceania/ Celebrity/MSC/Royal Carib/ Carnival and others. In a prior life I was a lawyer. I'm not rich, but comfortable enough to take 3 or 4 cruises a year. I consider myself pretty sophisticated, but not elitist. I now live in both NYC and Bs As. My girl friend (a Portena) and I wanted to take a cruise and to take her daughter and the daughter's boy friend with us - their first cruise. I thought this mini cruise RT from Bs As to Punta del Este and Montevideo would be an appropriate first cruise for the kids (21 years old). Costa is not my favorite line by a long shot, but I had sailed on this same ship for about 14 nights on a transatlantic cruise about two years ago. I was in Samsara and it wasn't that bad. Moreover, 3 nights, no air purchase necessary, and Samsara was kind of nice because of the dedicated dining room. An easy intro to cruising for the kids I thought. I was a bit surprised with the pricing and terms available via the So Am travel agents my Buenos Aires girl friend consulted to book the cruise. First, you had to buy the drink package (brindiamo) when booking a Samsara cabin. No other option. The price for 3 nights for each of our two inside Samsara cabins with brinidamo and prepaid grats was about $1350 ($2700 for both). I thought that was kind of pricey (450/night per cabin), but what the heck, it was certainly not an expensive cruise and the Samsara level was pretty nice...so I thought. Embarkation/Disembarkation We planned to arrive around 3pm in hopes of avoiding the rush. The terminal is a 10 minute cab ride from my Recoleta apt. Unfortunately, boarding did not start on time (noon) as there was apparently some kind of problem (reported to be wind and cargo container related) so we became mired in the process along with most of the other 3800 pax whose numbers were waiting to be called to start the process, go through immigration, etc. Fortunately, we met a friend who worked at the terminal and he was able to help us check in "smoothly" (bypass the lines). Curiously, by order of the local authorities no refreshments can be offered by the cruise line in the pax terminal. There is only one café in the huge terminal and I suspect the owner is politically connected because this one café has a monopoly on refreshments. Why else would authorities prohibit cruise lines from offering guests even a glass of water? Corruption rears its ugly head once more in Bs As. Check-in struck me as unique because no onboard room cards were distributed prior to embarking. The cards were awaiting you on your cabin bed. One is required to register a credit (not debit) card within 48 hours of boarding at guest services or at one of the several machines located onboard designed for this purpose. That was a first for me. Pax are not assisted to their cabins, but we managed to locate our adjoining Samsara inside cabins without difficulty. By the time we got to our cabin, washed up, and looked for some lunch, it was about 4:30 pm. Gratefully, the buffet was kept open longer than the posted 5 pm closure as many pax simply did not get a chance to eat before then by virtue of the delayed boarding. Disembarkation was a joke. The ship's daily paper did not have info about disembarkation or breakfast availability. Though different colored luggage tags were left in the cabin , no colors were announced. People just filed off as they pleased. Luggage was available at the gangway alongside the ship so we had to shlep our own bags to board a bus that took us to the terminal. There were 3 large ships disembarking that morning (10,000 pax). Customs did not exist. We were herded like cattle through the terminal past customs, no declarations of any kind, to the masses waiting out side struggling to get taxis that were not going to overcharge. We walked a couple of blocks away from the terminal and caught taxis to take us to our respective destinations (nearby Retiro and nearby Recoleta to my apt). What a nightmare. Cabins. I had sailed a transatlantic cruise about 2 years earlier on the Fascinosa in a Samsara class cabin which is why I booked the Samsara class on this minicruise. Samsara cabin occupants had a dedicated dining room that was far superior to the MDR and alone justified the higher cost IMO (not to mention access to the restricted Spa facilities). I was soon to find out that as the result of a recent policy change even Samsara occupants are now required to pay $28.50 pp to dine in the "Samsara" restaurant. I found that out only after dining there the first night of the cruise. My inside Samsara cabin had a bed that was situated so close to a wall and desk that getting out of bed on that sde meant squeezing through an uncomfortably narraw space. Bad. Our flat screen TV (about 26 inches) was located as far from the head of the bed as possible making viewing a bit strained but that turned out to be unimportant because there was very limited programming and what there was, was not unexpectedly, in Spanish (or Portugues).There was sufficient closet and drawer space for a mini cruise, but I doubt it would have been comfortably sufficient for a longer cruise. The shower pressure in the bath was low which was a minor annoyance, but oddly there was no hair conditioner or shampoo. My girlfriend has hair like Shakira so conditioner is an absolute must. I have never been on a ship, much less in a supposedly superior cabin class like Samsara, where shampoo and hair conditioner was not supplied. I had to call guest services twice to get some little bottles delivered to the cabin. Not sure if this was SOP or our steward simply forgot to place the bottles in our bathroom. Bad. When we went to the dedicated Samsara spa we were told by reception there that in order to get robes we had to ask our room steward. Subsequently, our room steward told us to get the robes at the spa. Hello? I was now beginning to entertain some doubts about this cruise. Another call to guest services resolved the matter. Passengers. The older I get, the more I find myself liking little kids. They are a pleasure to observe and there were lots on board (summer vacation was just ending). A whole lot. Maybe too many to suit some, but in So Am, more so than in the US, little kids hang with the grown ups till all hours. It's the culture. Apparently, it's also the culture to dress down. Generally speaking, the dress of most passengers often bordered on unintentional punk. Good slacks and a collared shirt were rare even on gala night which, due to the brevity of this cruise, was combined with "white" night. I was one of few who even bothered to wear a sports jacket. Go figure. Shorts prevailed which was actually kind of interesting given the number of women with good legs. (Of course, lest my darling girl friend misinterpret this observation, it was purely for the purpose of reportage. I couldn't care less. Really, dear.) The culture of So Americans is also more dance oriented and the dance floors located throughout the ship were frequently full of pax learning a new step or doing salsa or cumbia or you name it. They really get into it. The music was great especially at the main lobby atrium lounge where a surprisingly "big" sound was generated by a couple of alternating, equally talented keyboard singers backed by recorded dance music. Dining. My Samsara package included the "brindiamo' beverage package. Unfortunately, mixed cocktails like cosmopolitans, negronis or pina coladas were not included in the package. Thankfully, waiters at all bars would serve non-alcoholic cosmos, pina coladas etc and then serve you a jigger of vodka or rum so you could mix your own cocktail and not pay the $11 you would otherwise have to pay notwithstanding "brindiamo." Go figure. As I mentioned, I bought the Samsara cabins anyway because I thought the dedicated dining room was part of the deal. I discovered it was NOT only after dining there the first night. I then really began to question why the inside cabins were each $1350 for 3 nights. The Samsara dining room was very good when I thought it was included in my package. Well prepared duck ala orange with chestnuts, A nice grilled salmon with a large langostina sitting atop it. Really nice food with excellent service. There were very few diners in the room so we had practically all wait staff to ourselves. However, at $28.50 pp surcharge, I wasn't sure it was THAT good. At least, I wasn't sure until I ate in the MDR on the 3rd and final night and had an atrocious meal. I 'd gladly pay the surcharge to avoid the slop they throw at you in the MDR. And that included a grilled lobster for a $17 surcharge. The lobster was dry and small. It was served without drawn butter and when I asked our pleasant and hard working waiter for some, he brought individual wrapped butter pats. He had no idea what drawn butter was. Bad training. As bad as the lobster was, it was much, much better than the advertised chef's special that night which I can best describe as a ground porkburger that tasted as if it might be reconstituted dog food. It was no better than the reconstituted powdered eggs I had for breakfast on the disembarkation day. Yuch. Inedible. To paraphrase an old joke: Gee whiz , Costa. What did you do with the money? What money? The money we gave you to buy food! We ate breakfast first morning in the MDR. We could order eggs, etc, from our waiter (nice guy and hard working as usual), but still had to leave our table to get fruit from a nearby buffet. Hmm. When we ate in the "lido" buffet the next day, I found it terribly difficult to locate bacon and eggs. There was bacon at the omelet station, but it wasn't visible and there was no easy signage informing you it was available at that station. So one walks around a large area looking for stuff. Ditto for bread. There was no toaster near a bread tray. Where the heck could I toast my bread. Go wandering some more. When I mentioned this to a chef he began to argue as if having a toaster was impossible- not enough space. Hmm. Bad. We did have one lucky break - sort of. We were assigned to the early seating in the MDR as appeared on the back of the room card. After the first night at the Samsara, I went to guest services to change our first seating (8;45) to second seating (10:15). (We eat late in So Am.) I was told I had to consult the maître 'd at 7:45 pm when he would be at the MDR. At about 7:55 my girl friend went to the MDR to change the seating. The maître said it was impossible, but treated her so impolitely my normally even tempered darling was upset and got angry, righteously so. We called the dining room mgr and after explaining what happened he comped us at the Samsara for that night and changed us to late seating for the 3rd and final night. He remembered me from my TA two years earlier. High fives all around. Entertainment. In the main theater/show room there was a magician on the first night who was good. We only caught part of his act. There was an acrobatic high rope duo the next night. Pretty good. On the last night, the ship's company put on a show (Radio) which as far as these kinds of shows go, I thought was not very good. Music was too loud, dancing was spotty - not my cup of tea and not all that well received by the audience as far as I could tell. However, the entertainment throughout other parts of the ship (grand bar Topkapi, atrium bar, outside pool deck) was all great. Lots of singing and dancing till the wee hours. So I was told - I crash at about 12:30. We danced a lot before that. Conclusion. For the price I paid this was a terrible cruise. The food in the MDR was laughingly bad. The cabin was smallish, poorly laid out and ill supplied. Service was only proper after several calls to guest services. Who wants to have to complain to get things right? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY WITH NO INTEGRITY. This was not a cruise. This was FALSE ADVERTISING We traveled half way across the world and got stuck in a sewer in Santos, Brazil from Saturday February 28, 2016 until we finally reached ... Read More
STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY WITH NO INTEGRITY. This was not a cruise. This was FALSE ADVERTISING We traveled half way across the world and got stuck in a sewer in Santos, Brazil from Saturday February 28, 2016 until we finally reached Rio on Thursday morning. We sat for 5 days in the rain with a noisy power plant right next to the ship. Trains ran through the neighboring facility at all hours of the night. Garbage on the water and no activities for anyone under the age of 80. They only had needlepoint (1 day crochet) and bridge. They made a handicapped woman walk up a flight of steps the last night from the ground to the fifth floor. No one from the crew helped this poor woman. They had some good musicians on the ship but did not have them play even one minute more during this tragedy. The gym equipment was not functional and quite dangerous. The steam room smelled like mold as soon as you opened the door. DISGUSTING!!!! There was a stomach virus on the ship and we were not able to board so the cruise started late. This ship is going to be refurbished and SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE ON THIS VOYAGE. The internet did not work, yet they charged you $1.00 per minute while you waited for this antique server to reach civilization. While on a tour bus, the internet worked instantaneously which means that the internet was in the area, just not on this outdated vessel. The back up generator malfunctioned and we were not able to leave the port. We were told that the propeller broke and 500 gallons of water got into the ship and ruined the generator. I get my nails done, hair styled and pack....jump through hoops to get a visa (that I didn't get to use) and they DON'T BOTHER TO CHECK TO SEE THAT THEIR SHIP IS OPERATING PROPERLY. The town of Santos was rat infested and disgusting. It looked as if a storm hit the town 10 years ago and they left all the garbage everywhere. One excursion the took us to an orchid garden with ZERO orchids. Just green leaves and #rodents. I have cruised on many other lines previously and was a big fan of cruising. I don't think I will ever go on another cruise. The only thing they did thus far was to offer us 25% off of a future cruise. WHAT FOOL WOULD WANT TO SIGN UP FOR ANOTHER EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS? This was our #honeymoon and my husband was in tears. So sorry that we SPENT OUR HONEYMOON IN A TOILET THANKS TO REGENT SEVEN SEAS.....STAY AWAY ...FAR AWAY. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first cruise on Regent, my husband and I always cruise with Seabourn. We chose this trip based on itinerary. Our penthouse cabin was horrible, disgusting old carpet, full of bumps and peeling off the baseboards. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Regent, my husband and I always cruise with Seabourn. We chose this trip based on itinerary. Our penthouse cabin was horrible, disgusting old carpet, full of bumps and peeling off the baseboards. The bathroom was old with tiny tub and missing grout all over. Twice the price of Seabourn which is to cruise in real luxury. Buenos Aires and Punta del Este are two great ports, a lot to see, clean and beautiful. The rest were awful. The ship's backup generator broke and we were stuck at the port of Santos, Brazil for four days waiting on a replacement for the generator. Santos is a hideous port and we missed three ports of call. According to a fellow passenger traveling on the same ship on a previous recent cruise, they had generator problems as well. There were cases of gastroenteritis reported from both the previous cruise as well as ours. The necessary precautions included no launderette service for most of the cruise etc. big mess. The service was good, food and entertainment ok. There was limited communication from the bridge and in general. Total disappointment a wasted of $30,000. Will never cruise with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and ... Read More
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and tables at shadow while they didnt use it, and while old people had nowhere to seat but "deck sun chairs" under full sun. - Lack in response of stealed stuff while they have cammeras everywhere. - Hyper lack on organizing boat tickets to go to the beaches (four or five bridges long lines of people at 7 am), while they sell you prior expensive bad packages to go offboard on first turn. - Too cold conditioned air inside, at any public space. You could difference such as 20ºC form outside and inside. A lot of people got colds or got sick including me. - Food was good at buffet but mostly fat like: cream, butter, and too much oil and flour. Healty food i found was rare withuout mentioning vegies, fruit and cereal... want low cream milk? then you'll have to pay extra for it. Bufet juices are all artificial. - Ship and boats spread black and brown stains at sea, without mentioning whole black smoke by engines. - Crew... always smiling... but if you stared a little just... watching them, you would see they are all the same doing different things at anytime. Several times i asked some of them, do you ever sleep?! Not all of them anwered, but i know some did just for a couple of hours. - Yes, it is slave work but i have nothing better in my country, if you dont like it they fire you. "Ship rules under who knows what wokr and human rights." - Last night i saw the captain eating a piece of pizza at the bufett... Think if i had known all the things i readed after arriving (didnt have internet because it was a joke the price) mabye i wouldnt be here. - Arriving, all things they said they will do to take care of our lougage like data and unique numbers id and coulours for organize and find your stuff, never happened. Lucky you if you could find your stuff in a mess... and I could have taken anyones stuff without any control. Going off the ship and off the port was all a mess too, no matter if you where a baby, and old woman with walking stick or a guy with wheel chair. Sorry my english. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I chose a cruise as I have terminal cancer and am unable to do very much, so my carer and I decided a cruise would be a very good option as she could do as many of the shore excursions as she wanted to and I could do what I was able to do ... Read More
I chose a cruise as I have terminal cancer and am unable to do very much, so my carer and I decided a cruise would be a very good option as she could do as many of the shore excursions as she wanted to and I could do what I was able to do without hindering her enjoyment. The only dates that fitted both our diaries was the cruise Timeless South America from the 18th Feb to 5th March 2016. Having been pronounced fit to fly by my thoracic consultant I knew that I would have to get clearance from Minerva's doctor. There was no form which Swan Hellenic required to be completed, for this procedure which would have been a huge help to my Oncologist and Thoracic Consultants as they kept being sent emails asking for more and more information, taking up their very precious time. All this took seven days to get the go ahead from the ship's doctor. During this period there was almost daily communication to or from Swan Hellenic and at the beginning my carer and I decided that it would be easiest if I made the booking for both of us, which I duly told Swan Hellenic, as I couldn't go without a carer and my carer didn't want to go alone. At the final stage Swan Hellenic's as I was booking for two of us, the booking clerk told me that she only had flights for one person, and that was for me. I asked her to check the flights and get my carer flights. All flights were fully booked. Thankfully I realised earlier in this booking process that Swan Hellenic were totally inefficient in their booking process and I had reserved two flights with Trailfinders. I told Swan Hellenic that I was not prepared to pay for the flight in my package nor in my carers package as they had lost her flight for which a deposit had been paid. Anyway Swan Hellenic told me that they wouldn't charge me for my flights but would not discount them. I was then told after a discussion with her superior that on this occasion they would not charge me for the flights but there would be no discount made. In my language I took that to mean that I would be paying for the the flights no matter what they said. By then I was almost in a mental home dealing with them so I said I would pay for the package for the two of us and deal with the problem when I returned. I then confirmed and paid for our flights with Trailfinders who were an absolutely joy to deal with after Swan Hellenic. Our flights were fantastic, Air France London - Paris - Santiago. Although our flights were not organised by Swan Hellenic I had insisted that that all transfer would be included in what I paid Swan Hellenic. We were duly transferred to the ship. Our cabins were fine I had one of the Owner's Suites and my carer on the same deck had a Superior Balcony Cabin. Our cabins were very clean and our stewardess was absolutely delightful and absolutely nothing was too much trouble, she even managed to get a repair done to one of my shoes. Valparaiso was a disappointment as my carer and I wanted to go into the town for dinner that first evening. we were moored alongside opposite an entrance to the town, but we were told we would have to get the transfer bus back to customs and immigration, which was about a mile from the ship, then try and find a taxi to take us back to the town. Needless to say we didn't go through all that rigmarole. The food in the Veranda Restaurant, self service, was on the whole pretty ordinary verging on the disgusting. One day skate wings were offered for lunch, I love skate but what was in the dish were grey curled up wings looking as though they had been kicking around for several days. The cold buffet was the same every day. There was only one pudding a day made on the ship all the rest were pre-frozen puddings. Luckily for me and my carer we had been to boarding school and learnt to eat what was put in front of us. The Swan Restaurant food was better and most main dishes cooked to order. One day there was a special tea laid on for the passengers in the Swan Restaurant, all the cakes and gateaux were pre-frozen quite definitely not cooked in the ship's kitchen. The very best thing about Minerva apart from my stewardess, was the Spa. Run by two charming and delightful Ukrainian girls. I spent most of my time there having wonderful treatments. it was a shame one could get no information prior to arriving on the ship as to what treatments were available and be able to book in advance. The other very good thing was the ship's company's entertainment. They put their heart and soul into it, most of them wearing their country's national costume and dancing and singing their songs and dances. It was a wonderful evening. There were three good opera singers and other good entertainment. The service on the ship was excellent in all areas. Twice I had to complain about banging in the middle of the night above my cabin, it was as though a lot of furniture was being moved. I was never given an good explanation for this because they told me the cabin above me was unoccupied. On another day my balcony floor and furniture was covered with paint flakes, they must have been rubbing down the balcony above me in preparation for painting it. No apology was received when I complained about that all I was told was they have to do maintenance while the ship is cruising and rooms are empty. The three excursions I went on two were pretty boring, one we were taken to see a light house that had never worked, another we were dumped in a shopping mall, which could have been anywhere in the world. The tour of Valpariso was moderately interesting. The speakers were on the whole talking about things that were irrelevant to where we were visiting. One speaker was very full of himself and rather rude. The television reception in the bedroom was very bad and the charge for WiFi was exhorbitant. When we arrived at Gyuaquil Airport for our return flight, the passengers on Minerva who were on the charter flight were still in the airport lounge having been told their flight could not leave until the airline had paid their overdue fuel bill. I wonder why Swan Hellenic used such a charter airline that didn't pay its bills. My carer and I travelled home on KLM and had a very comfortable journey to Amsterdam a very comfortable flight and very attentive stewards. The plane was delayed from Ecuador but KLM very efficiently rebooked our connecting flight to London which all went very smoothly and our luggage was with us as well. This was my second cruise but first with Swan Hellenic on Minerva. I could not recommend to anyone to travel with Swan Hellenic unless you have very broad shoulders, the stomach of an oxen, the patience of Job and are prepared to loose £5,000, which Swan Hellenic claim they don't owe me. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We boarded the Regatta in Lima for a 33 night cruise to Rio de Janeiro. I was lucky to have had the chance to use the Launderette during the first few days before it was closed for the rest of the cruise due to a GI outbreak. On the ... Read More
We boarded the Regatta in Lima for a 33 night cruise to Rio de Janeiro. I was lucky to have had the chance to use the Launderette during the first few days before it was closed for the rest of the cruise due to a GI outbreak. On the cruise Lima to Buenos Aries (BA), a bundled laundry service was offered at just $12.50 for 20 items, however, this increased to $24.95 from BA to Rio. Why!? Oceania. The two speciality restaurants on board were a grill and an Italian and these were both excellent with very good staff. However the Terrace Cafe had a poor selection of staff who never knew what was in anything and had poor english, this stood out more when they had to deal with all the serving etc due to the GI outbreak. The GDR was very good and most of the staff here were also very good. It's not easy dealing with mass catering. We were disappointed that the Ice Cream/Milk Shake Station closed at 4pm on ALL days, as when you return late afternoon from shore on a hot day I feel this should have been available. The milk shakes were excellent. The wave grill produced the best burgers I have had and it was good to have it open until 4pm for when you returned too late for lunch. Shortly after being on board, the ship advised us that some passengers were reporting GI symptoms and they gave every cabin an information sheet about the Norovirus. As the cruise progressed the stateroom letters changed to 'guests showing symptoms of acute gastroenteritis'. They stated that the ship's staff had immediately deployed its Response Plan, developed in accordance with CDC guidelines. Here, I am afraid I have to disagree! A 'Response Plan' would be something that would be put into place overnight NOT thinking of things to do from one day to the next! Staffing the hand cleansing stations came one day, a few days later they closed the Launderette, then they took away the salt and pepper pots. A day later they closed the Library. A few days later they took away the menu binders etc etc. That's not 'a plan', in my opinion. The sanitation of the tables in the bars was often very badly timed, ie just as Happy Hour started and people would be arriving and having to drink on wet smelly tables, as they could not be wiped dry. 30 mins earlier would have made a big difference Oceania. We thoroughly enjoyed the Martini tastings and the Margarita tastings that were arranged in the bars but felt that the Wine tastings were overpriced. I do not believe that ships should make a big profit out of entertainment. Unfortunately, after being on board a week I went down with severe diarrhea and attended the medical centre. Here I was told that they had caught it early and was given imodium. Three days later it was back with vengeance so I attended the medical centre again together with many many other passengers and crew. This time I was given antibiotics for bacteria, so we are now not dealing with Norovirus, in my opinion. I was isolated in my cabin (concierge level 7), together with my husband. The couple from the cabin next door had disembarked and we saw an extra bed go in followed by three crew members needing isolation. Room service during this period was diabolical. As everyone has stated, the atmosphere on board did not make for ideal holiday conditions and the entertainment and things 'to do' were lacking. There was only one lecturer on board which was a disappointment but at least the one we did have was excellent, providing a great deal of information about South America. On the last day of our cruise, my diarrhea had returned. I took some imodium and flew home. On my return to Scarborough UK I went to see my Doctor and a sample was sent to the hospital lab. The diarrhea continued whilst the lab did their work as it was not advisable for me to take imodium until the reason was diagnosed. My Doctor then rang me to say that the lab had found Entamoeba histolytic and that I needed immediate treatment for Amoebiasis and a blood test to check my liver.Treatment involved two medications, the second one coming from the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Belgium. I am still taking this now and reflecting on my worst ever holiday. Whether I got this parasite from Peru or from the Regatta, I do not know. I would be very interested to hear reviews from anyone else who was ill on board, as to whether they have had further investigations on their return home. My husband has been cleared. My low score for embarkment is due to the fact that there was no compulsory hand cleansing when boarding in Lima, where the staff blame for all disease. The enrichment score is for the excellent lecturer but not for Oceania who should have provided more than one lecturer for 33 nights. I have informed Oceania of all of this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I joined the Regent Seven Seas Mariner in Lima on 31st January 2016 – a 53 night cruise bound for Miami via Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Although we had booked a Concierge D level room this was a disappointment and ... Read More
My husband and I joined the Regent Seven Seas Mariner in Lima on 31st January 2016 – a 53 night cruise bound for Miami via Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Although we had booked a Concierge D level room this was a disappointment and noticeably smaller than the suites on the Voyager. Even the bathroom was much smaller. The ship is tired and in need of refurbishment which is scheduled for late 2017. We were bitterly disappointed in the first two legs of our cruise from Lima to Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. Problems started soon after departing Lima when on-board gastroenteritis reached reportable levels and Code Red restrictions were enforced. This meant the public laundries were closed, there was no salt or pepper or other condiments left on the dining tables, you had to wait for an attendant to bring them by which time the food was cold, there were no nibbles with drinks and every surface was constantly damp because of extreme disinfectant being sprayed throughout the ship. The staff tried the best they could, but even their numbers were depleted because of illness, so they were under continuous pressure. These restrictions lasted most of the cruise so passengers felt that being charged even half the normal amount to have their laundry done by the ship was less than satisfactory. I choose cruises based on their itinerary and that was the main reason for choosing Regent. The advertised destinations including the Chilean Fjords, Punta Arenas, the Beagle Channel and the Falkland Islands, as well as the opportunity to swim and snorkel at some amazing destinations further North were what attracted me. What a letdown this was. Of the 20 different advertised ports, we missed 7 mostly because of perceived difficulty in launching tenders and one due to being quarantined because of shipboard illness. We were constantly being told there was a storm cell following us, but apart from a few days of overcast weather, we encountered no severe weather, rough seas or strong winds. There was never any difficulty walking around the ship hence why we missed so many ports remains a mystery. I would question the timing of the itinerary which meant the ship arrived in some ports in the afternoon when winds (and sea swell) are usually at their highest. I would also question why a captain would choose to pass through an area such as the Beagle Channel in the dark knowing that everyone on board wanted to see the sights in this picturesque area? We missed most of the Glaciers in this area because of poor timing. The Captain decided when leaving Ushuaia, two days prior to scheduled arrival that it would be too rough to tender in the Falkland Islands, so we limped up the East Coast to Punta Del Este at a sluggish 12 knots. We had 15 sea days instead of 8 making it more like a cheap relocation cruise than the luxury all-inclusive adventure exploring interesting new locations that we had paid for. The worst time was spent in the port of Santos, the largest port in Brazil. As mentioned by others, the ship’s emergency generator failed to operate during testing, so it took 4 days to locate and install a temporary emergency generator. During the remainder of the time in Santos we were confined to the ship because the first day we did an orientation tour of the town and were repeatedly told by the local guide how dangerous the town was and that it is unwise to walk around the area. It was impossible to spend any time on the balcony because of the unbearable noise emanating from the grain silos and train line directly opposite the wharf and swimming on board was out of the question because it rained the entire time. No additional tours or entertainment (apart from screening a couple of movies everyone had already seen) was organised, so it is impossible to overstate the frustration felt by people on board. As a result we missed out on 3 ports where swimming and snorkelling were to be highlights. The company has made an offer of a small amount of discount on a future cruise, but I’m afraid I have lost faith in Regent being able to deliver their advertised itinerary. Thankfully the final leg from Rio to Miami was an improvement even though shipboard illness persisted for about a week and we missed landing on Devil’s Island, another disappointment. The food on board the Mariner is well presented and often quite enjoyable however, there is little variation in the menu which rotates every 10 days or so. Breakfast also lacks variation. The specialty restaurants were good quality and the service on board was of a high standard but disrupted because of the illness. The regular cast of entertainers were extremely competent but the same shows were repeated on each leg of the cruise, alright if you were only doing one leg. Embarking was an easy process with lots of staff around to guide you, but arriving in Miami there was a long wait to disembark because of the port authorities (a common occurrence by all accounts). Best not to book transport too close to anticipated docking time. I would advise you not to rely too heavily on destinations when booking your cruise, otherwise you will be as disappointed as I was when you miss a lot of ports. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Looking forward to our trip of a lifetime turned into the trip from H___. After 3 days at sea, we got shut down by a stomach/diarrhea virus for the whole trip. Once we could not serve ourselves due to Code Red, there were not enough ... Read More
Looking forward to our trip of a lifetime turned into the trip from H___. After 3 days at sea, we got shut down by a stomach/diarrhea virus for the whole trip. Once we could not serve ourselves due to Code Red, there were not enough people to serve the passengers. Instead of putting individual salt and pepper packages out at a table, we had to sit and wait for servers to salt and pepper our food while our food got cold. The main breakfast/lunch restaurant food was basically the same everyday. Just average. The Compass Rose restaurant, food was just average. Beef was tough and chewy everywhere on the ship. In Prime 7 it was not “prime” beef. The specialty restaurants were better than the other restaurants. All restaurants had a problem with the food not coming out hot. Other cruise ships offer a casual dining area throughout the afternoon into the evening where you can obtain a sandwich for a quick dinner after you have been touring all day. You had this capability at the pool restaurant but it is closed after 4 pm and are forced to go to the main dining rooms for a long drawn out meal or sit in your room with marginal room service. In regards to our ports, some we wondered why we stopped there as there was nothing to see. The tours were marginal to say the least, the poorest tours we have been on while cruising. Towards the end of our trip we quit going on the tours we booked because of so many poor experiences. Iquique and Coquimbo were missed due to tender issues. This saved Regent money but cost us our experience which we have paid for. In Ushuia we were told we had nets in the engine, our next stop was the Falkland Islands, the highlight of the trip. Instead of fixing it there, we were told we had to miss two more ports, (a total of 4 now) and spend 4 days at sea. We wondered why Regent’s corporate office didn't arrange to fly some divers in to investigate the problem before we got to Ushuaia. It was determined at that time we were ok to run at a normal speed, yet we couldn’t we get to another port early, instead they drug out 4 days at sea. We were all seasoned travelers and understand the problems that can arise with travel. The problem is with how Regent handled the problems. Regent missed ports but no attempt was made to obtain additional ports of call or to procure an earlier arrival at the next port to get us off the ship. No attempt was made to provide any additional activities or entertainment by the cruise director to make our days more palatable at sea, now of which there were 10. We were on a constant code red due to intestinal illnesses. No attempt was made to make our life better such as no laundry charges (they shut the self serve laundry down), many of us packed less relying on the laundromat. This is an added cost to us. Our level of service was greatly diminished due to the extra disinfecting and lack of staff. The crew was inattentive to passengers, why try since we were all so unhappy? Missing ports saved fuel, docking expenses and tour expenses. At no time was there an attempt made to get us to the next port earlier even when it was a tender port, instead the captain slowed the ship down to 13 knots to poke along to our next destination. We have been on Tauck where a similar thing happened in Europe and they changed buses, dockage etc. to accommodate the guests and made the negative a positive. (By the way Tauck tours are awesome) We sent a letter to Regent and were offered $1000.00 on our next cruise. This is less than what was being offered on board if we booked another cruise. Our travel agent has quit referring customers to Regent after our experiences and treatment. Regent has been taken over by Norwegian Cruise lines and apparently has lost their ability to provide the quality and customer service they were known for. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Lima to Buenos Aires. We were expecting a luxury all inclusive cruise, because this is what they advertise. We discovered that with this cruise line all inclusive means that you will get the worst land tours you can imagine, with broken ... Read More
Lima to Buenos Aires. We were expecting a luxury all inclusive cruise, because this is what they advertise. We discovered that with this cruise line all inclusive means that you will get the worst land tours you can imagine, with broken down transport, guides that can't speak English, so in other words on this cruise you do not get what you pay for, the company clearly believes that providing its customers with the crapiest tours is ok. It also clearly thinks it's ok to allow you onto a boat that has a GI infection, already on board, and that it is not their fault that you get sick. Whilst all the while serving Luke warm food. The services are massively reduced during a code red, they seem to think that removing coffee from your cabin will stop the infection, that closing the laundry will help. Whilst continuing to serve Luke warm food. They offered us a 50% reduction on the ships laundry, when I explained to them that I had already paid for the use of a laundry onboard and that because they had closed it, the ship would now have to do my laundry free of charge, they agreed, whilst we were getting our laundry done foc they were charging other passengers the full rate!!! We complained throughout the trip, about the standard of the tours, the missed ports, apparently they have only been to the Falkland Islands once in the last 4 years, why is it on the itinerary? They have admitted that on our cruise that although they said that the weather was bad in the Falklands, so they couldn't go it turned out that it was actually ok so we could have gone! Instead because of a 'propeller problem' we limped at half speed 1450 nautical miles, and guess what the propeller apparently magically self-healed, so we missed the Falklands for no reason at all, gosh I wonder how much it saves the company not going to the Falklands ? We were told that someone would respond to our complaints, two months later I have received a letter saying sorry for the awful cruise but all we can offer you is £720 credit towards another one, what a joke will never go on another cruise again. We need to fight these idiots and get our money back no matter their terms and conditions these do not affect our consumer rights, and they should not be allowed to continue to get away with providing such an appalling product. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We recently took a cruise on Voyage 9602A (Booking reference DM6J6V) on board Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso). Our stateroom was B401. Let me say from the outset that this cruise was an absolute disgrace and ... Read More
We recently took a cruise on Voyage 9602A (Booking reference DM6J6V) on board Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso). Our stateroom was B401. Let me say from the outset that this cruise was an absolute disgrace and disappointment, not just because of the cancelled ports, but also because of the (at times) rude/poor onboard service, the terrible standard of food and the multiple public announcement disruptions blasted into our cabin in the early hours of many mornings. I will give further details below but stress without doubt my wife and I WILL NEVER SAIL WITH PRINCESS AGAIN. Below is a summary why! Countless public announcements waking us up in the early hours of the morning - Captain Stefano Ravera and Princess Cruises information policies need a huge kick in the butt. 4am, 5am , 5.45am, 6.15 am, 7am were the ridiculous times we were woken up by public announcements on multiple mornings by this captain under the banner of 'Important announcements'. Not only did the announcements ruin our sleep, Captain Ravera carried on and on and on like an academy award acceptance speech (then repeated in 2 more languages !). If your adverting slogan is "Come back new" ..........well we "Came back exhausted ! " cause you could forget getting back to sleep after those announcements blasted us in 3 languages from a speaker above our bed. What a ridiculous way and time to provide information. !!!!!!!!!! Some of the announcements related to ONE sick passenger being evacuated or ONE lost child due to irresponsible parents. Fancy disturbing 2000 PLUS passengers that may times because ONE stateroom was experiencing difficulties. What an OUTRAGEOUS policy regarding safety information ! There is a TV screen in every stateroom and a safety procedure everyone goes through when they first board. Display safety information on a dedicated channel TV channel so passengers can view it anytime and explain safety procedures/rules for helicopter evacuations when passengers first board!! DONT HAVE PROCEDURES AND A CAPTAIN THAT WAKES PEOPLE UP AT THOSE RIDICULOUS TIMES ON THEIR MUCH NEEDED AND EXPENSIVE VACATION! Disgraceful rude service from Shore Tour Desk Manager – NEVER have we experienced such rude and disrespectful service from anyone onboard the four princess cruises we have been on than from the Shore Tour Desk Manager. ! She was not only rude in her communication but clearly puts policies and rules ahead of any form of customer service. Despite Princess cancelling all our shore tours / ports with LESS than 48 hours notice, She refused to allow us to cancel a $700 USD tour the day before because I felt ill. Her answer was we hadnt given 48 hours notice and Princess would be out of pocket if we didn't go so she insisted on forcing us to pay the $700 USD – DISGRACEFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE TOWARD AN ILL PASSENGER, especially after Princess cancelled our shore tours / ports with LESS than 48 hours notice. On another cancelled tour due to immigration requirements, She was told we would like to make our own way to the Tango show tour after we cleared immigration. She made no offer to pay for our taxi to get there, and when she found out the restaurant had charged us $50 USD more than other Princess passengers who made the original tour, she washed her hands of us and said because we went independently she was not our problem and it was our fault for paying the restaurant the higher price. She even told us we should have gone walking around the city of Buenos Aires ourselves trying to find a different Tango venue !.......DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!! I was forced to have two separate meeting with the Customer services director, Mario, to have both of these issues dealt with and charges reversed !!!!!! Poor Horizon Court Buffet Service, Food and illness - We ate most of our food at the Horizon Court Buffet. Almost every time we put cooked food on our plate it was COLD and had not been kept at a warm enough temperature to avoid illness. Much of the food looked like cheap frozen products. I got sick with a gastro upset from the food on board. It could not have come from eating at a port because ALL our ports were cancelled. Because of this unacceptable issue I was confined to my cabin like a prisoner for 24 hours (because of US health regulations). ABSOLUTELY Princess's fault ! Only highlighted further by the approximate 150 gastro cases suffered by passengers of the Diamond Princess in Sydney. While I was confined to my cabin like a prisoner on MY VACATION, countless passengers roamed freely around the ship with clear signs of contagious colds and flu. UNACCEPTABLE PRINCESS!!! As far as the Horizon Court waiter service goes, the staff working at the Horizon Court Buffet were appalling. It was often hard to find a waiter for a drink and when we found one they were either short, rude or annoyed as if we were bothering them ! Air Conditioning – This ship as you know sails down to the South Atlantic and to very cold temperatures. To our amazement, every single restaurant and common area was kept air conditioned with COLD air. Ever heard of HEATING for that part of the world???????? There were people wearing wind jackets and scarves to the restaurants to keep warm. We were forced to eat some meals in our stateroom cabin because it was about the only place we could keep warm. WAKE UP PRINCESS !!!! Cancellation of Ports on Our Itinerary – Every single port ( with the exception of a disastrous stop at Punta Arenas ) was cancelled by this Captain Ravera under the banner of 'safety'. Even when the skies were sunny he deemed the winds to be unsafe. Well how about DON'T sell cruises and take thousands of dollars from passengers to parts of the world where the weather is never going to be predictable or reliable. THIS IS THE SOUTH ATLANTIC FOR GOODNESS SAKE – NEAR ANTARCTICA. If its not safe for cruise ships and tender boats in summer, then don't sell cruises there and take thousands of dollars from passengers ! Cause the $100 USD credit offered for 'disappointment' goes nowhere near compensating passengers for missing all of our ports. NOT EVEN CLOSE !! And don't insult passengers with a discount on a future cruise as compensation because I wouldn't dare cruise with Princess again based on our experience above. More importantly don't insult passengers by quoting your terms and conditions about weather conditions and safety – because if EVERY port bar one on a cruise is cancelled then YOU SHOULDN'T BE SELLING CRUISES TO THAT PART OF THE WORLD AND TAKING PEOPLES MONEY. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in ... Read More
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in the cabins which was awful considering we sailed out of Tilbury in the sea of winter. Now smokers beware every time the ship bunkers they stop smoking on the open decks but bunkering can take 8 hours and they won't tell us in advance. I have travelled on nearly every ship that leaves Southampton and there is no one else that imposes that including Fred Olsen whose ships are no bigger than Magellan. They will only let you buy cigarettes in their shop but you can't have them until the last night of the cruise. My friends and I booked the world cruise for 5 January 2017 and have just read in the booklet "please note that any alcohol and cigarettes purchased ashore will be kept in a safe lock up and returned to you on the night prior to your fine destination". In other words you can only buy from their bars for the duration of 4 months. The fact they don't have your brand is tough luck and of course they ran out of the more popular brands in February. I rang today to be told it is down to the customs officials in other countries... what a croc... they only have a problem if you bring cigarettes or contraband ashore, not if you bring them onto a ship that is in fact cruising in international waters. Cruise & Maritime are holding you to ransom over having to make your purchases on board at their inflated prices. If you are thinking of travelling on Cruise & Maritime I urge you to reconsider. They are dangling 2 for 1 deals which look very appealing but the Amazon cruise was full of pax who, having bought the drinks package, were determined to get their monies worth and were roaring drunk every night. One particular alcoholic actually bent over his chair, was sick all over the floor, and promptly stayed where he was and carried on drinking!!! A majority of those on deck were Irish and we were subjected to shanty singalongs nearly every night. It's all very well dropping prices but then you cannot control the calibre of guest that comes on. It was like a booze cruise... but for 6 weeks! Also there are no fridges in the cabin. I only drink soda and I couldn't get a cold drink until the bars opened at 9.00am. They wanted to put my medication in their fridge which meant if you needed them in the night you had to get up, get dressed, and go to reception. We were hoping for good things in the refit in December but find the only difference is to Scotts Bar which is being changed into a themed British style pub called Scott's Tavern & Nightclub. We were promised a launderette but this is now not happening. Instead C&M have offered us a free fortnightly 'laundry bag' but that is only for people on the whole world cruise sector. The ports of Oranjestad, Aruba and Acapulco Mexico have been shortened. Our stop in Rarotonga has been cancelled. Our stop at Jakarta has been cancelled and because they have changed the Suez transit times we now lose our stop at Piraeus. I don't want an extended two day stop in Safaga which is only beneficial to their tours office selling spaces to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I chose this cruise because of the port stops. Because we are at sea for 4 months it doesn't give the cruise line a right to hold us to ransom over everything they want to enforce. They are emptying the pools at every port, once again this is the only cruise line that does this. If you want to stay on board you can't swim!! On the Amazon transit we were without the pool for 8 days, that in temperatures upto 105 degrees. I don't want to go on this cruise but I wasn't allowed to cancel without huge canx charges and the point is that some of this information has only just been released. i.e we knew about visas to India and Australia but now have just been told that we need them in Indonesia, Vietnam, Maldives, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan and although they are done for you on the ship there are a load more fees to pay, monies we didn't know about in advance. The only thing worth the money was the entertainment staff who worked themselves to the bone (they didn't have a choice). We had the Nora virus onboard (which has happened on every C&M ship I've ever been on and the Ents team had to do deep clean duty. They had to be up and cleaning at 7.00am even though some hadn't finished work until 1.00am Anyone who has mobility issues take heed if you haven't book a adapted cabin you cannot bring a scooter or any mobility aid on board. If you turn up at Tilbury with one you will be denied boarding. Cruise & Maritime have gone a step too far. I thought I was booking an exotic holiday not a stay in a detention camp. They seem to have forgotten that the British still have freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
A COUNTERBLAST TO CRUISING Or Some Naval Gazing (Pun Intended) In our thirty years together, my partner and I have travelled tens of thousands of miles, to many different destinations, using many modes of transport; but I am ... Read More
A COUNTERBLAST TO CRUISING Or Some Naval Gazing (Pun Intended) In our thirty years together, my partner and I have travelled tens of thousands of miles, to many different destinations, using many modes of transport; but I am afraid to say that this 54 day cruise rates plum bottom of our list. The success of cruising stands or falls on its complement of passengers and in this respect I can honestly say that I have never met a more disagreeable group, and it was difficult to keep a civil tongue among such cantankerous, rude, petty-minded, boorish, boring people – obsessed with value and imagined sleights. Mean! Here I tread wearily through a minefield of misanthropy and patronization! With its pervading cooking and sanitary smells and its feel of the corridors and public spaces of a Care Home, the Marco Polo is exactly that. Not quite Salty Towers, more three star; a geriatric, floating Butlins without Ruth Madoc’s “Hello Campers!” Just Ross Roberts, our camp Cruise Director, who valiantly rallied us to our Arts & Craft classes, Bridge meetings, Creative Writing courses, Bingo, Twenty Questions, Give us a Clue – a limitless horizon of nursery school fun and frolics for geriatrics. It was like an institution and like all institutions it had its school prefects, its little Hitlers, its bullies and its selfish, self-important types; its know-alls and its know-nothings. In port for 22 days, at sea for 32 means that actual cruising alone has to be something enjoyable in itself. Let me quote from one of the daily programme bulletins – “IMPORTANT NOTICE: it has come to our attention that some of our passengers’ behaviour has been causing distress, annoyance and upset to the fellow passengers. The well-being of our passengers is paramount to the success of our cruise. If this behaviour continues we reserve the right to terminate their booking arrangements with us.” This insert appeared several times and there have even been appeals from the management over the PA. So, like a school, in the last resort was expulsion a possibility? Of course not! I experienced bullying harassment; in a bridge meeting one passenger was reduced to tears. Rudeness usually arose from petty concerns: chair reservations, queuing, behaviour at the tea stations and such like. There were, apparently, round sixteen departures from this vessel: six deaths, six emergency disembarkations and repatriations and a few so disenchanted with the atmosphere on board they left the ship early and flew home. Our geriatric float was filled with badly dressed, often overweight elderly people displaying class obsessions and mistaken perceptions of pecking orders. Many treated the staff in the most off-hand, haughty and rude manner. And there was the inevitable retreat into the tribal fortress of superiority and entitlement where I am afraid my partner and I could and indeed did not want to go. It made one ashamed of being British, and also understand why we Brits are frequently loathed abroad. The ‘whole’ is not ‘the sum of its parts’ of course; it needs only a few rotten apples to ferment the barrel. This is also manifested in the level of conversation and social engagement. Beyond, yes, the weather, the boasts of other cruise experiences, taxi stories, the petty complaints about unimportant things and the tyranny of the ubiquitous know-alls, it was difficult to engage in any meaningful way. It was a relief when someone like-minded and amusing came one’s way, and it is true, they did! We found good apples; kind, considerate, enlightened passengers on the ship of fools, who were as shocked by some of the attitudes as we were, but en masse we appeared a motley and dispirited lot creating a fairly humourless, oppressive atmosphere that was hard to work against. One had almost to warm oneself up, like an actor before a stage entry; psyche oneself into a performance! It was exhausting! It is not relaxing - and it is far too long! DISCLAIMER: this is a very personal view and I’m sure there were many here who would not recognise the picture I have painted. That the average age was round 75 should not be surprising since it can only be retirees who can afford the time and expenditure for 54 days! We should have worked that out long before we paid our deposit, but didn’t. Big Mistake! Our “shore leaves” or “exeats” as we came to call them, extending the boarding school metaphor, were not long enough. That said, and apart from two stops, we enjoyed all the places we visited for one reason or another; had a taster for further, later exploration and, in the case of Brazil, actually saw quite a lot spread across seven very different cities. I never say ‘never again’ because you never know. The Marco Polo is a fifty year-old liner, small by modern standards, at around 22,000 tons, she is shabby-chic; the food is good but institutional; everything works – just - the entertainment is frequent and, shall we say, diverting. She carries 650+ passengers and 250+ staff/crew. We had a spacious cabin on Deck 9, starboard, for’ard, under the bridge. Lots of light. Edison was our steward; a charming man from the Philippines, efficient and helpful, he works nine months of every year, has a family in Manila whom he phones more often than he sees. He speaks English well and is part of a small Philippino contingent; there others from Burma (or Myanmar as we must now call it). Most are from the Ukraine or Romania and the rest, mainly restaurant and waiting/cooking staff are from India. Philip was our table steward and hails from Mumbai; an exceptionally attentive, cheerful and nice young man who also, like many on board, has family waiting at home. They all work hard and are never deserving of some of the peremptory rudeness we saw them have to put up with; the attitudes of superiority and sublime sense of entitlement that certain types of English express! The Ukrainian staff were efficient but rather graceless. A combination of poor English, the shyness that that engenders, a distinct distaste for working so far from home, results in a rather joyless brusqueness that made it difficult to warm to those that hovered around us for much of the day! The Ship’s doctor was Romanian. Most of the troupe of dancers, singers, musicians and entertainers were Romanian/Ukrainian. Of the entertainers and their efforts, I have only praise. What an impossible task! The band, the solo musicians, the dance corps were all excellent and we were treated to an array of well costumed, well choreographed floor shows with different themes put together in an astonishing time scale. Only two solo singers were toneless and should be sent home in a hurry! As one friend opined this morning at breakfast, “Aren’t you looking forward to the end of term?”!! Lord Dismiss us with Thy Blessing All who once attended here……….! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Room 9179 deck 7 this room was a good size with plenty of wardrobe space.Draw backs 2 lights over one side of bed can not see T.V if in bed near wall walking into room like walking on rice crisppie's .All 3 walls you can hear your ... Read More
Room 9179 deck 7 this room was a good size with plenty of wardrobe space.Draw backs 2 lights over one side of bed can not see T.V if in bed near wall walking into room like walking on rice crisppie's .All 3 walls you can hear your neighbours and in a bad storm the noise is bloody awful. The shower room bled into the other room so always had wet feet.......lol The room steward Alfred Cardozo was fantastic so tip him well. The ship was built in 1985 had a refurbishment 2 years ago but still looked tired and old like a bag of rusty nails The funnel stack chucked out black soot all over the back deck so be aware of white shirts getting black.The stair risers were 2 steep and uneven and we appeared to have leaks everywhere blowers on the go all the time I played table tennis days at sea the table one side had no feet rusting and falling apart the bats and balls had Costa cruise's on them. The Library was a complete waste of time books so old came from the ark and a complete mess. Kensington Restaurant table 102 both stewards were good but English were poor so explaining what was on menu to us was limited but they tried. The food was not a good standard and my partner lived of salmon most of the trip it seems they put everything in the mixer and hope it come's out the right colour mainly on the sweet selection came as solid blocks in different colours. The Chefs were mainly Asian if you wanted steak you had to pay £22 for surf and turf what a con.There speciality restaurant was in the Waldorf same restaurant as other clients but with a glass wall but felt like you were with everybody else This cost a extra £40.Afternoon tea bloody awful flat scones coleslaw sandwiches and snacks after dinner deep fried everything, But have to say if you like pitza in the Bistro was very good 3 types and garlic bread very good The excursions were good but some a bit pricey and some were the same but worded a bit different Jungle walk Forest walk same thing another con some ppl were transported to a beach costing £24 for a 10 min ride another con The entertainment team put there all into everything and were well received by all we had 3 acts brought on through a 6 week cruise not very good for such a long journey The guest lectures Louse Bonner and Param Sandhu were both excellent If you liked quiz's and the Ukulele and bridge u would love it some came with a supplement to cover cost We did have a lot of smokers on board and most of the staff smoked and seemed to take over a lot of the outside decks to everybody's annoyance. The ship seemed to be tilted to one-side nearly all of the cruise. when we finally got to the ports in the Amazon we were offloaded via gangplanks on wooden pallets ppl were banging there head and tripping over wood Health and Safety thrown out of the window. I know this was not a expensive cruise for all but some did spend over £7000 if i had i would have blown a fuse. As for the Captain his daily update was drab and boring when u did see him he had a cigarette in his hand and most of his crew did not smile.Will not sail again with this company CMV Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) ... Read More
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) that made life easy for us with great cabin service and a constant friendly smile. The Samsara Spa experience at their thermal baths package was a good value for a wonderful relaxing daily experience. Entertainment and music was good for our dancing and listening pleasure. The ship halls, walls and bars are luxurious although of an overloaded kind of decoration. The pool facilities are good and so are the hot water Jacuzzis. We can’t comment on the shore excursions because we found them to be expensive, several other passengers that had used them were unpleased and we decided to do our own excursions which turned out great. Boarding and unboarding the ship was orderly. On the negative side Costa Fascinosa had the worst food quality and food availability we had ever experienced in a cruise ship. Mostly lots of bread, pastries and cold pizza, very little prepared food and hardly any availability of grilled items. The dinning experience was unsatisfactory as the service between plates was unjustly slow and the waiting became obnoxious. The waiter was nice and attentive but apparently overburdened with too many tables to service or too slow of a kitchen service. Dinner was a 2-1/2 hours event at times, just too slow for our enjoyment. We made the mistake of purchasing one of Costa Fascinosas “unlimited daily wine and water packages” for $40 plus 15% service charge per person per day. They turned out to have the cheapest tasting lowest quality wine (we tried the 2 kinds of reds they had) we had ever experienced. The “unlimited water” part of the $40 per person a day package caused us the most anger. You had “unlimited water” yet couldn’t get a bottle of your own water to take to your room and they forced you to refill very small 7oz glasses, one by one, for all your daily water needs. Each 7oz glass of water of your “unlimited water package” requires you to go to a bar, put it on your cruise card and they wont give you more than one (1) glass of water per request. My wife and I had to go from bar to bar, several times a day, collecting and carrying multiple small 7oz glasses of water, in multiple trips in order to have some water back at our cabin, simply ridiculous. The water “scarcity” we experienced and the hours spent collecting ultra small glasses of water to get the benefit of our “unlimited water package” was indeed aggravating specially since a majority of the crew seemed angry or displeased with their work by showing a negative attitude when we asked for service. Some crew were nice and even smiled, the majority seemed very displeased with their work environment and treated us with contempt. Costa Line is very expensive when compared with other cruises we have been to. The Samsara’s Spa massage at $179 per person turned out to be an over short massage (40 minutes) that had as its goal trying to sell us an expensive package of high priced products we didn’t need. As a summary we can say that after having done over 12 cruises the Costa Fascinosa cruise has been our WORST ever vacation investment. In fact, it has been our only negative experience ever in cruise lines. We wouldn’t recommend Costa Lines to anybody that would like to get their moneys worth on a quality vacation cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I like to start off with good things to say, the bread, pastries, deserts, our table waiters and cabin steward and dance lessons were all good. Outside of that the experience on the ship was the worst. This was our 16th cruise and 9th ... Read More
I like to start off with good things to say, the bread, pastries, deserts, our table waiters and cabin steward and dance lessons were all good. Outside of that the experience on the ship was the worst. This was our 16th cruise and 9th with our son. So I will compare with my previous experiences. The Costa Deliziosa has interiors that are very tacky and gaudy, your reflection will follow you everywhere and after a while you will get annoyed that 12 of you are moving in unison everywhere. The color Red is overdone to a point where now it is no longer my favorite color. Everything is in Italian, and English is the 5th language after, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The food choices were very limited and the stations that they had setup had very long lines. Being a vegetarian limits your choice even more. For breakfast (because of their limited choices) everyone wanted fresh eggs or fresh omelets and the lines would move at a snail pace cause the poor guy (yes one guy) making the fresh eggs an omelets just could not keep up. By the way they use European powder mixes for scrambled eggs and I cant even describe to you the texture of that supposedly edible item. The other problem was the slick floor tile they used along the main isles, so along with the crowded lines one had to share the crowed isles cause by the second day on the ship everyone was walking slow in the isles. I did not know if staff was new, however most of them could not answer questions, they had to look for someone who knew the answer or they said I dont know. The Asian staff was helpful the rest of them did not speak English or at least conveyed that they dont understand English. Their shows were okay nothing with a wow factor, same old dancing groups, singers, magicians etc.. They were big into selling us a trip into diamonds international where they showcased the variety of the best products to get at bargain prices. We skipped a beautiful day in Costa Maya because according to the "authorities" it was choppy. Later we heard that Costa did not dock the pier cause they did not want to pay the dock fees. Dont know how far this is true, but its quite possible. Compared to my travels around the Caribbean and the world we have docked and tendered in far worse choppy conditions. Anyways we will never know the real reason for skipping a port with a pier to dock, especially because a ship from princess cruise had already docked before us. Lastly I was really shocked by the rudeness of the passengers. We had 3 incidents where we (my spouse, my son and I) were told off by the passengers. Im not sure if the Europeans hate Americans or it was just a racial thing, however in the 16 years we have traveled in cruises and made so many new friends from all over the world, this was by far the rudest crowd of Europeans. And I spoke to several Americans of different age groups and they all said it will be the last time they will cruise with Costa. I also got talking to the nicer staff who spoke good English and they were all telling us of how chincyer the Costa company has gotten with wages and other means of slashing salaries after the Concordia disaster. I have never written reviews however I felt that this one deserved one cause it truly was the worst cruising experience we had. I hope that your experience is better than ours. To end on a good note we had a great American family who were our dinner mates. They are now our friends for life. We requested special vegetarian meals for dinner which were good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost ... Read More
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost double the price of Caribbean/European/Alaskan tours we have done in the past; Not included (nor mentioned by the cruise line) was almost $1600 per family of visas for Brazil and Argentina on top of the price. The check in was horrendous (and we are platinum level travellers); The luggage check in was chaotic; Lines extremely long and no AC while it was 90 degrees outside. They ask for a documents that they don't specify to bring with you (luckily we had them) despite the fact that we had done our electronic checkins. They also hold your passports when you check in so lord forbid you run into an issue in a foreign country because you will be stuck there without a passport. The crew was half brazillian; Most of the crew did not speak English (a first for us); The food in the Lido Deck areas was always subpar compared to other cruises. When you return from an excursion at 4-5pm, there are NO dining areas OPEN! God forbid you like iced-tea because it was rarer than 18year old scotch. Having said that though, will say that they did have much better quality coffee than we have seen on any other cruise. Formal dining area service was extremely slow and English menus were not always available. Sent Laundry out ($30 Service in which you fill a bag for wash and dry); There are no washers and dryers available for Do it yourself. They brought the laundry back 72 hours later at 7pm the night before disembarkation; We packed it and discovered after disembarkation that either the clothes was super heated or had a chemical put in that literally turned all high end cotton garments to paper. These undergarments literally tore with minimal effort. Cruise line said that since we didn't report it immediately that there is no recourse. Casino reeked of smoke with active smoking allowed (no separate non smoking areas) 2 out of the 3 excursions were for 6 hours or less (and one required tenders!) Uruguay was very nice; Had many people have pickpocket issues in Buenos Aires. Entertainment was non existent in the large theaters; They were mostly involve the cruisers in games etc. No formal comedian shows, dance shows, magic, music etc. Balcony cabin room was fine though the shower was literally 4 square feet. Room service options were very minimal. Disembarkation, strangely enough was very smooth; Not sure whether they were efficient or we just wanted to eagerly get the hell off the ship; VERY EXPENSIVE, VERY POOR overall Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I have never been so disgusted in a cruise like the ship the aria what a disappointment to the point of serving off food (no hygiene at all empty hand dispensers) people were not washing hands this food area was not controlled like other ... Read More
I have never been so disgusted in a cruise like the ship the aria what a disappointment to the point of serving off food (no hygiene at all empty hand dispensers) people were not washing hands this food area was not controlled like other cruise I have been on. Its a wonder we all didn't come down sick mind you I had an upset stomach the whole cruise and was very careful as to what I ate not that there was a lot of choices no salt and pepper shakers you had to ask, bad service, the entertainment wasn't good at all. the food selection was appalling no cheese or cold meets offered 2 choice of salads same selection the whole 10 days some of the food I wouldn't serve to a dog . xmas day what a joke no see food the whole cruise only fish that was horrible, I don't know of anyone on the cruise that was happy ,smokers were treated badly (I don't smoke) but was there and seen for myself discussing. cabin nice but had to get our cleaner to change sheets as they were badly soiled with a substance I wish not to mention , these were apparently just changed, bathroom toilet had to ask to clean a gain, several time during the 10 days cruise the whole experience was awful the places we stoped were not worth seeing except canes staff were not fully trained and lack of service. Value for money nil no coffee cards available, everything was a con nothing free on this ship plus over charged on account and couldn't prove it, I could say a lot more but ill leave it at that, thank you from unhappy customer never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The cruise ship staff and the cruise ship line were completely out of touch with the passengers wanted and expected. It strarted from the monent with got on board. Our previous cruises we have made a point of leaving gratuities the ... Read More
The cruise ship staff and the cruise ship line were completely out of touch with the passengers wanted and expected. It strarted from the monent with got on board. Our previous cruises we have made a point of leaving gratuities the crew members we felt were deserving of something in addition. It doesn't matter to us what the cruise line policy regarding wages is. They should pay their crew and if we feel that a tip is deserved, we leave it. NCL in Florida told us we could opt out of the automatic fee of $13.50 usd per person per day by advising the customer service desk on arrival. They refused and said it was up to NCL head office. Numerous heated discusions later didn't help. They wouldn't do it. The food in the two restaurants was sub-standard and a limited menu. The buffet was somewhat better, but for example, a main course one night was "turkey pannini" One of our stops was to be Stanley in the Falkland islands. Two nights and one day of cruising in rough weather and they wouldn't put us ashore. Passengers complained that we should get a refund of the portion of the port taxes for that stop so they gave $10.00. Smoking is allowed on outside decks only and for two days it snowed. Smoking was allowed in the casino, but once in Chilean waters the casino closed. It took a petition from over 50 passengers to get them to allow us to smoke in the now empty casino. It seemed that the crew sensed that the passengers were unhappy so from there it was a downword spiral. Not a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets ... Read More
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets so a free for all and chaos. Thankfully, no accident or it would be worse than a Costa disaster. Library not there...empty shelves! .. (Do not make money so took them out). Entertainment programme dire, as just hard sell all day... Promoting the spa, Effy Diamonds, shops....you name it. Anything interesting was lumped into the first hour so all day could be 'open your wallet'. Christmas and New Year very poor. Atrium is social centre...not big enough for such a big ship so pictures look good......but majority of passengers cannot see/hear/dance/use. Three days at sea and we left ports at 4.30pm?????? Could not see what we wanted....yet next port only four hours sail away?? One port was San Martin, a disused sandy area with NOTHING there......and they had the audacity to charge $16 each to be shuttled ten minutes away to a tiny resort....no taxis to do it yourself. Only there to pick up Macho Picchu excursions and cheaper than staying in Lima.....money, money money taken with no thought of the other passengers....the majority! Lots MORE but needless to say NEVER AGAIN ON PRINCESS. Check their history of diseases! In Nicaragua we had our temperatures taken as we left the tender....'"this ship has a bad record....we do not want here"!! NO sanitasation getting back on and folk going straight to eat at the buffet and restaurants...again sanitisation optional!!!! TempeLong delays getting off in places as immigration checking the loads who used the doctor...same numbers self medicated so iver 700?? Theatre was a cacophony of coughing, sneezing and spluttering but authorities NOT sanitising or cleaning banisters and denying any problem or sickness.......AWFUL! Think Carnival is now pushing money, money money.....so will not be using the other lines under their umbrella. Woukd rather sail, .....enjoy .....and survive!!! Sailed for forty years and this was the WORSE cruise, ship, management, sickness incidence numbers and programme/port times etc. Nightmare 31 days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We have travelled more than 30 cruises and this has been the worst by far. The sanitization on the ship was a total disgrace. Due to the lack of this, the ship had many passengers with Norovirus and were confined to their cabins. We spoke ... Read More
We have travelled more than 30 cruises and this has been the worst by far. The sanitization on the ship was a total disgrace. Due to the lack of this, the ship had many passengers with Norovirus and were confined to their cabins. We spoke to senior management on several occasions to be told there was not a problem. The library was a joke. The toilets were always blocked and out of commission. No staff were present in the toilets and on many occasions the service sheet times were invalid. The staff in the bars, restaurants, housekeeping were superb but senior management were rarely seen and were quite condescending. We booked the cruise as a 31 day cruise and did not realise it was split in a number of cruises. the first 15 days were ok, the food, entertainment ok but it changed drastically after the first fifteen days. We will never travel with Princess again and certainly would not recommend this ship Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Having been on many cruises, this was the worst. The ship was in bad condition from one end to the other. Being a latitudes member, one of the so called perks is bed turn down and a chocolate. The ship ran out of chocolates on the ... Read More
Having been on many cruises, this was the worst. The ship was in bad condition from one end to the other. Being a latitudes member, one of the so called perks is bed turn down and a chocolate. The ship ran out of chocolates on the sixth day of a 2 week cruise. Windows were shattered on the pool deck. A sliding glass door was inoperable after three days, was never repaired on the pool deck. Mind you it was cold, so the cold wind blew down the passage way making the stateroom cold. The food was slopp. They ran out of yogurt, cheerios, lemonade. Thanksgiving dinner was dry, dry turkey, no mashed potatoes, no cranberries, no Pumpkin pie or whip cream. Most of the crew were not helpful. There was little to no thought for people with walking disability's. The ramps getting on and of the ship in port were so steep, people with no disability were having difficulty. To me it was downright dangerous. A lot of the excursions were not very good. All of the furniture, carpet, cabinets, beds are plain work out and thread bare. Showers have black mold all over in them. After sailing with NCL a few times now, I would not recommend them to anyone, not even a enemy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at ... Read More
It took 8 hours for my luggage to arrive at our room. embarkation was slow and disorganised. The disembarkation was dis-organized embarkation with people hanging around lost and confused. There was no information in place at embarkation. My husband who is disabled had to walk a very long way in the heat to the taxi, as the roads were closed for redesigning and 2 MSC ships were disembarking at once, it was chaotic and dangerous with one single pavement and porters who were squeezing through the throng with huge trolleys! The most outstanding issue, I think, was the lack of hygiene aboard this ship. It was terrible; almost non-existent. Dozens of people were sick with colds, coughing, sneezing, around the food. When entering the buffet or dining room, no staff member was present to oversee that people used the hand sanitizer, so most did not. Other cruise lines enforce this. Babies in nappies were sat on the tables in the buffet.  When I asked the staff for a decaf coffee sachet they looked at me as if I had asked them to stick pins in their eyes, the staff were rude, arrogant, argumentative, and appeared to think that “the customer is always wrong”.  service wasn't good (room attendant being the exception).  I would NOT recommend this cruise line to anyone. Both of us came back home with an illness, from colds to sore throats, and I believe the lack of cleanliness on this ship played a big part in that. I feel we should get a refund for this awful experience. Definitely NOT a luxury cruise The buffet was very crowded and chaotic, it was hard to find a free table, and I was shocked to be using plastic cups and plates ! The drink packages were expensive, it was low quality food. Poor service and attitude. Hard to relax in this environment! Half the buffet was closed and the other half was over crowded. They served the same food the whole cruise recycling everything. The food was plentiful but the quality was very poor, everyone was saying that it was very poor quality. The coffee was really undrinkable they must be using the cheapest kind of coffee beans.  The theatre was stunning but wasted as the entertainment on board was terrible we are used to west end style shows like the ones P and O put on.  Frequently there was no internet and I got shouted at in reception for trying to get it 3 days in a row. In The Gym - there are 10 running machines with people queuing to use them - 8 are taken up with people taking a slow walk ! The 25 minute rule on the running machines in the gym doesn't work as young men just come off of one machine and go onto another machine.  There was a passenger strutting around with a speaker blasting music out and sticking his finger up at anyone who asked him to go away. The staff didn't bother to say anything to him. There were stalls set up everywhere to try to get passengers to spend more, selling everything from handbags to not pads, it looked like a jumble sale. We will never go on a MSC Cruise again, it was so disappointing after going on a P&O Cruise. The ship was beautiful and kept very clean. The places we visited were lovely, although some areas were clearly very dangerous, no warnings or advise was given to us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
1. To embark we had to wait in line for more than 2 hours even when we arrived at the pre-registered time. We had to wait from 1:30 pm to almost 4 pm to board the ship. 2. Again we had to wait for 1 hour at disembarkation. We were ... Read More
1. To embark we had to wait in line for more than 2 hours even when we arrived at the pre-registered time. We had to wait from 1:30 pm to almost 4 pm to board the ship. 2. Again we had to wait for 1 hour at disembarkation. We were told to disembark at 7:45 am. We waited in line at a very small space with standing room only until 9 pm. 3. Staff at Guest Services had no clue what were going on on board. They could never answer any questions without checking with others. When they did not know the answers, they shrugged their shoulders, 'too bad, can't help you, you are on your own'. 4. The dinner menu was always the same, because NCL tried to force you to go to the pay restaurants where the gratuity was included in the bill, but the passengers were expected to give more tips. 5. Since all tips paid in advance were lower per NCL, the attitudes of some of the service staff were arrogant and careless. 6. For a 17-day cruise, there were 8 days at sea. All activities were planned to make more money out of the passengers. 7. The loud speakers of the general announcement must have inferior qualities, because the passengers could hardly hear what had been announced. 8. There were no big screen movies provided. You can only watch movies in your stateroom via the small screen TV and the same movies were played over and over and over again. Overall, there were a major management issue of the chief hotel manager(s). From embarkation to disembarkation, a state of chaos reined the procedures. There were no consideration for seniors or physical challenged persons. After this experience, I will not even consider a free cruise with Norwegian Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have been on more than 20 cruises, about half just my wife and the rest with my children (all under 16 now.) All in all, I have been very satisfied with the crusies we have taken. After reading reviews about the Silver Galapogos, I went ... Read More
I have been on more than 20 cruises, about half just my wife and the rest with my children (all under 16 now.) All in all, I have been very satisfied with the crusies we have taken. After reading reviews about the Silver Galapogos, I went in with relatively low expections about the quality of the ship and high expectations about the service. I will say that ship met my expectations. Let me start with the possitives. The staff were eager to help and friendly. The naturalists really know their stuff and were very knowledgable. For the negatives, the power generator is turned off at night to save on fuel and the air conditioning only cools the room to about 85 degrees. When we talk with the staff we were first told that this was due to new regulations and there was nothing that could be done and then we were told that it was due to mechanical failure. The food was even worse than expected given the reviews. Most meals were served cold and took a very long time. Despite the fact that the ship was not full, the staff seemed overwhelmed. My 10 year old missed two days of exploring as a result of a stomach bug he picked up on day 3. The medical staff was helpful but diasspointing nonetheless. All in all, the trip was a big dissapointment. We could have spent much less and had at least the same experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this ... Read More
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this is an expedition cruise and such should be expected. The food was terrible by any standards. The accomidations were as expected, but again, we had low expectations. The public rooms smelled of mildew and mold. Having been to the Galapagos three times now, I can say with confidence that this cruise is highly over priced given our experience. Other operators offered better service, food and accommodations for about 60% of the cost. On the positive side, the naturalists were very knowledgeable and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015

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