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5 Perth (Fremantle) to Africa Cruise Reviews

46 day Return trip from Fremantle. Had a wonderful cruise, met some lovely people who introduced us to Cruise Critic. Ship was great although was having a few issues with water leaks which the ships staff got onto straight away. She is ... Read More
46 day Return trip from Fremantle. Had a wonderful cruise, met some lovely people who introduced us to Cruise Critic. Ship was great although was having a few issues with water leaks which the ships staff got onto straight away. She is due in for a major overhaul in the coming months. We were a little disappointed with the movies, there weren't many latest releases and we had seen most of the movies shown. The Princess tours are good although reasonably expensive. However when you only have one day in port they are the least stressful way of seeing something. We enjoyed the four tours we did and we felt they were good value. We had an inside cabin for the first time and were extremely happy with it. We left the bathroom light on at night so the room wasn't too dark. The bed was comfortable, we would definitely have an inside cabin next time to keep our costs down. The food onboard was amazing! We ate most nights in the dining room, the food is presented well, plenty of choices and you tend not to over eat! Unlike in the Horizon. The itinerary for this cruise was fantastic, loved all the ports especially Cape Town. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first Cunard cruise, but 15th overall. We embarked at Fremantle, Western Australia, on 2 April 2015 for a 16 night cruise to Cape Town, South Africa. Embarkation process was smooth, easy and quick. Then onto the ship, ... Read More
This was our first Cunard cruise, but 15th overall. We embarked at Fremantle, Western Australia, on 2 April 2015 for a 16 night cruise to Cape Town, South Africa. Embarkation process was smooth, easy and quick. Then onto the ship, which was a little confusing until we got our bearings. There were people around to point you in the right direction. Our balcony cabin (5036) was on deck five which was an ideal location, it was selected for us as an upgrade and although the balcony was sheltered, we still enjoyed it, though would have used it more if it was not sheltered. The balcony was very large and private, and being on deck five we could easily go up and down the stairs as most activities, bars and dining were on decks two and three. The bed was very comfortable. The cabin was similar to others we have had, it had all the basics and was kept clean by our wonderful steward Joey. Joey was impressive, knew our names from the first day, always friendly and smiling and nothing was too much trouble. He is a real asset to Cunard. (To improve the cabin a shower screen, instead of the existing shower curtain, would be good. Also a better TV with interactive capabilities so you can check your bill, your photos and order room service like other cruise lines have.) Another advantage of being on deck five was it was very stable and you could hardly feel the ship moving. On a Celebrity cruise in December we had a lovely suite on deck 12 but you could really feel the sway of the ship. On level five it was much smoother. Also, deck five has cabins only above and beneath, meaning there was no noise. We ate most of our meals in the Britannia dining room, on a table for eight. Our table mates were lovely although we did have one couple who were not very interested in the dress code, which we found amusing. I don't understand why people would book a Cunard cruise when they don't want to wear a dinner jacket, or suit jacket. This man wore a track suit jacket into the dining room and then promptly took it off - and most evenings sat in a t shirt - as he was too hot. He wore a shirt with a collar and tie on formal night. We found this behaviour very child-like and laughed about it, but it didn't detract from our wonderful dinners. Only one evening we booked Todd English (which was ok but I wouldn't bother in future as Britannia was so good) because we were on the 6pm sitting in Britannia and had a shore excursion that was due to bring us back after this time. The service in Britannia was outstanding, our waiter Alecs and his assistant were excellent and the food was really good. We had a four course meal every night, and left the table very content every evening. One formal night we were invited to dine with two of the officers, which was a lot of fun. They were very approachable and friendly, and we had a great evening, although probably drank way too much as they were footing the drinks bill. A very funny night. We also attended a captain's welcome and meet the officers drinks one night. We had our photo taken with the Deputy Captain, David, who was a lovely man. We ate lunch occasionally at the Boardwalk Cafe on deck 12, they do salads, burgers and hot dogs, ice cream and quick snacks. Only once we visited the Kings Court buffet, which was a quick lunch one port day between tours. We usually breakfast in the Britannia or Sir Samuels (the coffee shop, which has complimentary muffins, doughnuts, pastries) or we had room service if a port day. We usually avoid the buffets on most ships as they are crowded, and in 15 cruises we have not once had a stomach bug or bad flu, which we attribute to avoiding the buffets. And lots of hand washing! The ship is lovely, with large public spaces and walkways. We had coffee in Sir Samuels most days, and spent a lot of time in the Golden Lion either drinking or doing trivia. We love trivia! And the sessions were great fun, with stiff competition but we managed to win a few times. John and Rebecca were the two activity hosts that usually did the trivia and they were both friendly and great entertainers. Instead of giving out pens and other paraphernalia to the winners, a stamp was provided. These stamps were saved up and then cashed in at the end of the cruise, which was Cape Town for us. My husband Mic participated in a few sporting challenges such as golf, decathlon, cricket, shuffleboard, table tennis and won additional stamps that way. The prizes on offer were really good, we left with two lovely photo frames and a couple of smaller items. The pianist in the pub, Pat, was great. We spent many evenings enjoying his playing and singing and he was a real character. The service in the bars was really good, plenty of people serving drinks and clearing tables. There were heaps of Aussies on the ship which meant the bars were busy. A highlight of the cruise for us was the Planetarium, which is situated in the Illuminations theatre and we saw three of the four planetarium shows, which we enjoyed. The ship also has a 3D cinema, which we have never come across on a ship before. The movie screen was really large, it was just like seeing a movie in a cinema on land, great sound as well. We saw a few movies, and also attended lectures in Illuminations. We preferred this venue to the main theatre, which had a rather odd configuration for seating. We saw a couple of good shows in the main theatre though and enjoyed the guest speaker David Campese who is an Australian Rugby great. F.W. De Klerk was also a speaker, we saw the ex-President board the ship but didn't attend his lecture. The nightclub G32 is a little gem, hidden away behind the Queens Room, or ballroom. Most evenings there were very few of us in there, but the band was terrific and was a great place to get down and boogie! Lots of fun. We didn't know it existed at first, and when we heard about it we were not interested as it partially allowed smoking (upstairs is the smoking section). When you first go in you can smell the smoke, but it doesn't bother you and you can't really smell it when in there, as we sat in the lower level near the dance floor. It is a shame that it is a smoking venue as most people said they were not interested because they didn't like the smoke. The Queens Room is where afternoon tea is served, we only attended once as we had 6pm dinner, and there is no way you can eat scones with jam and cream at 3.30pm and then front up for a 6pm dinner. But it was fun to do once. At night the ballroom dancing happens in here, with male dance hosts on hand for the single ladies. The ballroom dancers were mainly an older crowd though. The ship put on lessons daily I think, so it is a good opportunity to learn if you are interested. The ship had a lot of activities on every day, there is no time to be bored. We were flat out most days trying to attend everything we wanted to do. Another good venue is the Commodore Club which is at the front of the ship and has large windows so you can look out and enjoy a cocktail with friends. We did four ship excursions, in Mauritius we did 'southern delights' which was an all day tour with a nice lunch although the restaurant had all of the tour groups in there at once, so it was a bit of a mad house. In Durban we did 'valley of a thousand hills' which toured a native village with dancing, and also a reptile park which had an impressive array of crocodiles. In the afternoon we took the free shuttle from the ship to the Shaka Village shopping complex, which was about ten minutes from the port. In Port Elizabeth we did Addo Elephant Park which was amazing! Lots of animals there. In Cape Town we did an all day tour to the Cape of Good Hope, a winery for tasting, and up the cable car to Table Mountain. It was very cold up the mountain, even though the day was warm. So pack a warm jacket! Overall, a very enjoyable holiday! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We booked the cruise at the last moment and for a price we could not refuse. What a bargain ! We have cruised with Cunard three times before always on the queen Elizabeth. The QM2 surpassed all our expectations. We loved the spaciousness ... Read More
We booked the cruise at the last moment and for a price we could not refuse. What a bargain ! We have cruised with Cunard three times before always on the queen Elizabeth. The QM2 surpassed all our expectations. We loved the spaciousness of the ship with its wide corridors and large public areas. There really was not anything we could fault. I read other comments from people who have been on the queen Mary and I wonder if we were travelling in some parallel world ! The dress standards seemed to be more relaxed than on other Cunard cruises and it was not unusual to see people in the bars after 6pm with shorts, track-suites, trainers etc. The main dining room seemed to be more fussy, although there were people without jackets on a few occasions. Only real complaint was that there were two loons who power walked around the cabin decks shouting at people yo get out of the way. Really rude pair it was a wonder they did not get a serious slap from one of the guests! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We departed from Perth, Australia for one of the segments of Crystal's 2015 World Cruise. This was our 15th cruise, and we have sailed on 10 different lines. We chose based upon itinerary, and chose this one since it transported us ... Read More
We departed from Perth, Australia for one of the segments of Crystal's 2015 World Cruise. This was our 15th cruise, and we have sailed on 10 different lines. We chose based upon itinerary, and chose this one since it transported us to Africa where we have begun a land-based tour of South Africa and Madagascar. We are two retired gents in our mid-60s, and we enjoy ocean crossings and exploring the world. Service: Truly excellent without any bowing or scraping. I often noticed how the Crystal staff made all situations, no matter how complicated or demanding, very smooth and easy. Embarkation and Disembarkation: The simplest and smoothest we have every experienced. One minor problem in a port, but again, ridiculously quick and smooth. Ship: In very good condition. Many well-designed public spaces. The only time we felt crowded was when folks were waited outside the dining room for dinner. See below for my cabin review. Enrichment Program: The absolute best we have ever experienced. We loved the lecture series with many talks at a very high level. Our attention spans never failed and we were often challenged by the thought-provoking content. Destination lectures provided very good information and preparation. Internet: Of course it is slow and you will have trouble up-loading your photos or doing anything that requires band width. But this is exactly the same as on every other cruise line. The big benefit on Crystal is that Crystal Society members (you join automatically after your first Crystal cruise) are given one free hour for each day on board. This was a major benefit for us, allowing us to avoid any internet costs, and making the Crystal experience more all-inclusive. Beverages: Excellent, from the fresh juices, to the specialty coffees, to all the booze and wine, all-inclusive. So bottoms up! Food: Since we are foodies from the San Francisco area, this is a make-or-break area for us, and we were generally pleased. The stand-out for us was Tastes, the small plates venue on the Lido deck which features world cuisine. Our only complaint was that they don't vary the menu, so after 2 visits, we had sampled all the small plates. Dinner and lunch in the main dining room were always quite good, with lots of variety and even some ethnic dishes, which we appreciated. We did have a special meal with some friends, a series of Indian curries, which was lackluster. Breakfast and lunch buffets in the Lido were good enough with lots of variety, but a few things to avoid, such as the super-greasy bacon. The specialty restos were a big disappointment. Silk Road lacked any wow factor; I just don't understand the rave reviews. But poor, poor Prego is desperately in need of a make-over. The interior design looks like a New Jersey suburban Italian resto that Tony Soprano might frequent. The Prego food quality was sadly just a step above the Olive Garden. Come on, Crystal, you can do better than that! Entertainment: There was an excellent concert pianist, and we enjoyed Ms. Calvert's Patsy Cline show. And one night in the Cove we were brought to tears by a smooth jazz jam that included a floating bunch of the best musicians on board, a transcending experience. Otherwise the entertainment was same old, same old cruise ship material. Does Belinda King book the acts and script the shows, like she does for other lines? Here is where we do not fit the typical cruise ship demographic, and where I will probably get a lot of push back from others. But we search for something more modern, more edgy, maybe a bit younger. The nadir was a salute to British rock from the 60s where the troupe did an endless group sing of 20-second bits from dozens and dozens of songs, very much like the dull introductions to "American Idol" episodes. I almost lost it during the dumbed-down medley of Rolling Stones' songs, which was like a "Saturday Night Live" parody of what one would expect on a cruise ship. At one time that music stood for something. Where did we go wrong? The Big Issue: We boarded the 4th segment of a 6-segment World Cruise, joining hundreds and hundreds of folks who were on for the full 100 days. Many of these passengers had taken many Crystal world cruises before. They had bonded, knew each other, and seemed to stay within their own groups of friends. Very natural, of course, but this was hard for us, and try as we might, we found it very hard to meet people. Believe me, this did not ruin our experience, but we very, very often felt left out. We did meet a few people and had a few good conversations, but over the course of 21 days, we were pretty much on our own. It was more than a bit alienating. I would caution others who are considering one or two segments midway through a Crystal world cruise. You might have a bit of trouble connecting with others. So would I cruise Crystal again? Certainly for the right itinerary, and we would definitely consider an Atlantic crossing. But I think I would avoid a segment of a world cruise. In fact, we have made a deposit on the 2016 World Cruise mainly because of the incredible itinerary and because we got a very good deal. But we are now about 95% sure that we will cancel and spend our travel dollars elsewhere. I don't think I could make it through 102 days of struggling to connect with the closed group of frequent world cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We didn't have very high expectations of this ship as we knew that it was fairly old and we couldn't find any reviews on her but on first inspection we were pleasantly surprised with her appearance. Everything was shipshape, ... Read More
We didn't have very high expectations of this ship as we knew that it was fairly old and we couldn't find any reviews on her but on first inspection we were pleasantly surprised with her appearance. Everything was shipshape, clean and not at all tired looking. The embarkation was seamless, however my suitcase on delivery, was very badly ripped all along the zipper and looked as though it could have been tampered with. I duly filled out an "Incident Report". Cabin: Despite assurances from CMV Australia when I booked that my cabin did not contain a sofa bed as part of the "twin bed" arrangement, we did in fact get a very uncomfortable sofa bed and the other single bed was only marginallly better. We complained and were given mattress toppers which helped a little. Others we spoke to were having the same problem. Otherwise the cabin was adequate but was very noisy. This may have had something to do with the cabin being in the aft part of the ship though others amidships had the same complaint. Food: Breakfast was always good. Lunch adequate but very repetitive. Dinner was disastrous. Unappetising presentation (grey looking meat) oversalted gravy with hardly a green vegetable in sight. They had two specialty restaurants which were free but I would have regretted going there if there had been an extra charge. In our opinion the asian specialty restaurant was the better of the two. Service was excellent. Drinks: Beer and wine prices were within the expected range but I ordered a Johnny Walker Red with ginger ale and it cost AUD $13.00 ($8-00 for the whiskey and $5-00 for the can of ginger ale!) which we considered exhorbitant. Johnny Walker black was AUD $10-00 with AUD $$5-00 extra for a can of ginger ale. Anything other than beer and house wine was exhorbitantly priced. We have been on many cruises but these were the dearest scotch and dry prices we've ever experienced. Entertainment: The shows were good with very talented singers and dancers but were let down by the venue. Large pillars obscured all but the lower level of the showroom (which is flat) and large tables surrounded by 6-8 chairs took up an inordinate amount of space. Everyone had to drag these very heavy chairs away from the tables to find somewhere to sit. Tenders: These tenders are antiquated, uncomfortable, claustaphobic and difficult to get into as once aboard you have to descend more steep steps to get down into the seats. Service: Our cabin steward (Maya) was faultless but the lack of training was very obvious in the restaurant and buffet in particular. The staff were mainly from Russia, Ukraine and Romania and could not have been described as warm and friendly initially, but by the end of our cruise in Capetown were a lot more familiar. General: The crossing of the Indian Ocean was not very pleasant, due in some part to a couple of days of fairly heavy swell, but mostly because the ship didn't seem to handle even the most moderate swell very well. If the ship had stabilizers it was not apparent or they were not deployed. Another passenger who had served on cargo ships for most of his life concurred with our observations. Obviously the pool had the be closed on rough days but we were also denied the table tennis/darts/tennis/basketball area as it was being renovated for almost the entire trip. There was one very unpleasant incident in Durban where guests were told they could walk out of the port if desired only to be prevented from doing so. So a hundred or more unhappy souls were then told a shuttle was organised and was on its way so then people stood around for another 45 minutes. Some silly people ignored the authorities and just walked through until they closed and barred the gate. By the time we all got the shuttle it was almost time to go back to the ship so there were a lot of unhappy campers! The number of passengers on board the ship was approximately 350; well short of its 650 passenger capacity. Due to the smaller number of passengers there was only one open sitting for the evening meal and this meant that the one entertainment show was attended by most passengers at the same time; this lead to some overcrowding. I would not like to be on this ship when it has its full complement of passengers as I feel that the breakfast and lunch in the buffet would be chaotic. A big problem was that the shows finished about ten o'clock and the tea and coffee facility in the buffet was removed at ten o'clock. Many passengers, myself included, found this to be a totally unnecessary inconvenience as many people like to have a cup of tea or coffee before returning to their cabins.To make the problem worse there are no tea of coffee making facilities in the cabins.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014

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