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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because we were told the food was French and gourmet. Well, the food ok but not great. Also the destinations were very good: Sicily, Crete, Greece and Corsica. Ship is a bit old, but the crew were very nice and always ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were told the food was French and gourmet. Well, the food ok but not great. Also the destinations were very good: Sicily, Crete, Greece and Corsica. Ship is a bit old, but the crew were very nice and always helpful and polite. We started to return to Marseille, FR from Greek Katakolon GR with a full day at sea on 18th of October 2016. We were schdeuled to stop and visit Adjaccia, Corsica on 19th. After that we were to proceed to Marseille, FR arriving the monring of the 20th. Events changed things. About 22:30 PM on the 18th a public announcemnet indicated that we were changing course for Naples, Italy becuase one of the passengers was very ill and need to be hospitized as soon as possible.We were to arrive in Naples about 3:00 AM on the19th to drop off this passenger and then proceed non-stop to Marseille, FR. The stop at Adjaccio, Corsica was cancelled for 1700 passengers. with no mention of compensation. We and many other passengers were very dissapointed. We discovered that the ship was to disembark all of us and immediately pick up 1700 new passengers to embark at 17:00 PM. It seemd to us that we were now just some cargo. We would not have taken this cruise if we had known that over 80% of the passengers were over 80 years old. There were many people in wheelchairs. On Wednesday, the 19th, mid afternoon the Italian Air force had to send a rescue team in a helicopter to airlift a 93 year old man to Livorno, Italy. We later discovered that 4 other people had been disembarked in ports along the way because of health issues. Smoking was permitted in some areas. This is not good Excellent captain - very precise movement and control of a large ship. This ship has good stabilizers. Nice music in bars in evening, but sets were always too short, no more than 45 minutes. Internet was poor by satellite MTN out of Miami, Florida. Various payment plans - Example 100 minutes for 39 Euros.The software design for Internet was very bad. Some kinds of alcoholic drinks were free, but we had to pay for mineral water. Some of the outside restrooms awere dirty and smelled bad. - others were ok. Carpets in the hallways were dirty, stained and worn as was the carpeting on the stairways. We had 5 days of problems with the front desk re our credit. It was actually a problem in their databases and information management. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and ... Read More
As a family we wanted to make our annual vacation. Firstly our local agency misguided us about the age of ship. We wanted to travel with a new ship. But Zenith was built in 1992 and unfortunately it felt that way; from the smell and service to the furniture. Although some of dining serving staff were helpful, most of bartenders were grumpy and somewhat careless. During seven days at least three of the bartenders were angry over little things. In Zenith ship, the 11 th floor is the general dining area where one can have all his or her emails, if wished. The entry area is closed to the kitchen where a strong smell first stops you. Then you have to walk toward the back to get over with it. Finally, one must never ever share his or her credit card with accounting, because they overcharged us. Although the night before I confirmed everything. I realized that every single day they charged for things we did not even authorize. So they almost tripled shared us. Unfortunately we cannot reach to any accounting or customer service team of Pullmantur Zenith. As a summary, only one with absolutely no expectation of service and quality may go with Zenith ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I wanted to try different company and I wanted to see different ports in the med.The cabin I had was inside cabin with a window was kept very clean,The dining restaurant and the buffet restaurant were excellent the food plenty and tasty. ... Read More
I wanted to try different company and I wanted to see different ports in the med.The cabin I had was inside cabin with a window was kept very clean,The dining restaurant and the buffet restaurant were excellent the food plenty and tasty. The staff was very nice my wife lost her hand bag and one of the cabin steward found it and handed it at the reception desk,Being a French speaking ship we wanted an excursion with English guide and the PR on the ship Irina Davydova went out of her way to help us and I want to thank her. For a ship over 20 years old it is kept very well and for the money me and my wife paid for the Cruise was more then worth it also the entertainment was very well organised with different things every night embarkation and disembarkation went very well and the security excellent on a good note Ice cream should be available at the buffet restaurant. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Pullmantur Horizon Marseille to Calais We just returned from 8 night cruise starting from Marseille (France) , Gibraltar (UK) , Cadiz (Spain) ,Lisbon, Porto (Portugal) , Ferrol (Spain) to Calais(France) Spanish Pullmantur does ... Read More
Pullmantur Horizon Marseille to Calais We just returned from 8 night cruise starting from Marseille (France) , Gibraltar (UK) , Cadiz (Spain) ,Lisbon, Porto (Portugal) , Ferrol (Spain) to Calais(France) Spanish Pullmantur does this cruise under the name of "Croisieres De France". So, on the ship most passengers were French. All the announcements and the shows were in French only. But most shows were song and dance type. So language was not much of a problem. People were friendly and kind. Horizon is an older ship. All Pullmantur ships are second hand. But Pullmantur company makes up this disadvantage with the lower price cabins and all inclusive deal. (all you can eat and drink for free). They have different shows everynight and they are as good as the more expensive cruise ship shows. They also have dance lessons , music, exercise lessons, many different activities, etc. like all the other cruises have. We stayed in balcony room on the 10th floor. Beds were quite big and comfortable and cabin was clean. All the brands included in the all inclusive deal were quite satisfactory. For example Grant and Ballantines was in the free package. But if you want Johnny Walker Red you pay 1 Euro. Wines and beer were pretty good. By paying little bit more (1, 2 or 3 euro more- depends on the drink- ) you can have any drink and any brand of your choice. Or by paying 10 euro pp.per day, you can have all the brands and drink all you want. They have James's piano bar just for the smokers. In that bar you pay for drinks. I do not recommend to take cruise tours. Because you make the same tours by yourself for much less amount. Gibraltar city center is just 10 minutes by walking. Cadiz city center is only 500 meters. With tourist city buses you can hop on- hop off anywhere for 16 euro for whole day. Lisbon 15 minute by taxi or Public Bus no: 728. Hop on hop off buses 17 euro for whole day, you can see most of the city sight seeing places this way (ALL the places you would see with the ship tour) and stops right by the port. Porto 10 km to downtown, ship has a bus service every half an hour to downtown for 10 euro round trip. Ferrol 10 minute walk to downtown. Ship has free shuttle to city center and back every half hour. In the past we sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, NCL and Costa. This was our 24th. cruise. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise. We got more value than we bargained for. We'll go next to Norwegian Fijords and Baltic with Pullmantur Monarch for a 14 days cruise in June 2016. We hope, we'll like that one also. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: ... Read More
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: Food . Good in Resturant although can sometime be lukewarm, good in the buffet, always a good selection but again can be lukewarm. Seems a theme on this cruise line, maybe thats their way. My only reservation and its a very British reservation is that they are clueless on how to make tea. Ship. Old and Tired, in my opinion, not well maintained, carpets show signs of wear all over the ship and some are badly stained. Wood Decks on solerium by gym very rough, missing lots of corking and certainly not been polished and stained for a good few year, further up the ship wood deck has been replaced by astroturf like carpet. Entertainment: Having crossed the Atlantic on one of the big Royals a couple years ago and being extremely dissappointed with the entertainment, was surprised to find that the entertainment on Horizon was in fact quite good, the staff tried every night to put on a show that was different and entertaining and to which they mostly succeeded in doing. Overall a fine, entertaining cruise with good food and good entertainment and a freindly ship with some very good levels of service (and some poor) for a price that would put the bigger cruise line to shame. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We speak only English and were worried about taking this cruise where the language is French. We shouldn't have been concerned. The staff spoke English better then French and many passengers spoke English as well. Often the staff ... Read More
We speak only English and were worried about taking this cruise where the language is French. We shouldn't have been concerned. The staff spoke English better then French and many passengers spoke English as well. Often the staff seemed relieved that we spoke to them in English. Although the entertainment was in French, 70% of the music was in English with songs from popular USA bands. The entertainment was mostly visual and was excellent. Our room was updated and wonderful. The hallways could use new carpeting. We had a balcony room and a few things came with this including a bottle of champagne, discounts on room service, priority disembarking in ports, and priority disembarking the day the cruise ended. Was sad that staff didn't make towel animals for our room--but worth it for the better price on the cruise. Food was wonderful. I thought we would have foie gras every night but it was an additional 15 euro per person so we didn't order it. No steak tartare either. French breakfasts can be just croissants and coffee so we were worried but breakfast was pretty good. We loved the muesli, cream fresh for our pastries, oatmeal and fresh fruit. Dinner was wonderful and there were some fabulous desserts. We loved that the French go light on sugar so you can actually taste the flavors of your dessert. The tap water on board was excellent. No need to order bottled water. A few times they put ice in our water as that is what Americans usually want. We let them know we didn't need it. One thing nice about this cruise that we didn't expect is that the passengers were so pleasant. The French tend to be polite, classy and speak quietly. My husband is from NYC and tends to speak loudly so we had to help him remember to speak softly in elevators and hallways. We didn't want to be known as the loud obnoxious Americans. We had no seasick days as the Mediterranean is so smooth. It's a great cruise for those who don't like movement of the ship. In ports: Barcelona-rented electric-assist bikes for $20 ea. These are amazing and keep you from getting tired and you can see all the architecture quickly. Highly recommend. Had tapas for lunch. Menorca-Rented a car and bought snorkel equipment. Drove half an hour to a spot to snorkel. No colorful fish but family loved it. Husband got a 100 euro ticket trying to navigate one of many traffic circles. Rome port-Walked to nearby markets and found amazing deals on wine (3 euro for 2 liters!) and food. Heard there was civil unrest in Rome (90 mins away) and other ships were telling passengers not to go there. Genoa-took the sightseeing bus for about 10 euro each that dropped us off at the best aquarium in the Mediterranean. Kids were free. Adults around 16 euro each. Ajaccio France-Walked around to see Napoleon childhood home, museums, gardens, town. Walked to the beach and spent second half of the day snorkeling there. We have been on many cruises and have never been allowed to take alcohol to our room that we buy in port. This ship allowed us to bring alcohol on board which was wonderful as there were amazing deals in the ports. One day at the market in Italy, we found some of the best wine for $1.50/liter. We also bought some fabulous Sangria in Barcelona for $6/bottle. It was so nice to get to enjoy it that evening before dinner. After dinner they always had something special planned that was loads of fun. One night they had a show in the disco mixed with dancing. We had a blast with our 3 kids aged 13, 17, 21. The music was great and mostly from the US. The staff taught us line dances. Another night they had 70s and 80s dancing with a band in the lounge. Another night they had a tropical midnight buffet and dancing around the pool. When we booked this cruise the travel agent discouraged us as it was a French speaking cruise. When he realized we were serious and were going to do it, he let us know that everyone who books it wants to go again. We met one other American on board and we both decided this is one cruise we will be going on again. There were 3 other families who were not French speaking and spoke English as a second language. I believe they were Asian. I highly recommend this cruise to those who are not concerned about being surrounded by people speaking French. It would be a great cruise if you are trying to learn French. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We booked this cruise due to the itinerary which included: France, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain. The itinerary included 12 ports and 2 sea days. We found little information on the internet (incl Cruise Critic and ... Read More
We booked this cruise due to the itinerary which included: France, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain. The itinerary included 12 ports and 2 sea days. We found little information on the internet (incl Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor) so we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into after booking this cruise. The Zenith is an older, and smaller ship, and we understood that English was not the first language. We could find only one (but favourable) review in Cruise Critic, and nothing in Trip Advisor. We were pleasantly surprised with the ship, it's crew, and language did not pose a problem! The ship is older, but maintained in good condition, and although smaller than what we are used to (mostly Carnival line), we were able to enjoy ourselves (group of 6) in the cafe, the casino, the theatre, and of course "eating". Another bonus was the inclusion of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in the price. There are extra charges for "premium" alcohol, but we were quite happy with what was served within the package price. Another bonus we discovered... while checking in was that we had "VIP Service". We are not sure why we received this service, but it included priority boarding, champagne & fruit in our room upon arrival, and additional fruit baskets throughout the week. We also received coupons for Casino play. The majority of the passengers were French speaking. Our guess was of the 1100 or so (of ~1600 capacity) passengers on board, is that less than 100 passengers spoke English as their first language. Even though all of the announcements were first made in French, they were generally repeated in good English. And an effort was made to provide some information sessions in English only (excursions, and disembarkation information). Something we found very odd, was that for those passengers not in the European Union, needed to surrender their passports to the "purser's office" for immigration/customs purposes. We sailed the Mediterranean with Carnival in 2011 and this procedure was not required. Needless to say, we refused to leave our passports onboard when going off of the ship. When we brought this fairly significant issue to their attention, we felt that our concerns fell on deaf ears. It was only after much effort that we understood that we would receive our passports immediately after immigration/customs clearance each day and that this process would not hold us up for long. Special thanks to "Jean Luc" who was there most days to see us off the ship asap, in many cases before others on board. Also, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment provided in the theatre each night. Kudos to Cruise Director "Kamel", and the animation crew. Kamel's enthusiam, and smooth transition between the French and English languages was fantastic. The shows were "incredible"! A definite highlight of the trip. We understand that they do not have many 14 day itineraries, so there was much extra work to provide unique programming for 14 nights. Special guest entertainers were brought in, but the on-board entertainment was spectacular (including a group of ballet dancers from Brazil in the line-up). Overall we were very pleased with this cruise. This review is made of my own accord, there was no request made by cruise staff to review our experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
This was listed as a Pullmantur cruise on Cruise Critic, but we received communication about it from "Crosiere de France" . We (age 55 to 61), have done about 23 cruises on many different companies, but never this one. We left ... Read More
This was listed as a Pullmantur cruise on Cruise Critic, but we received communication about it from "Crosiere de France" . We (age 55 to 61), have done about 23 cruises on many different companies, but never this one. We left Marseille 26th April for 7 nights, the only primarily English speaking guests - we think. Over all, our experience was quite frustrating although there were some great things too about the trip. In the end we decided that frustration was not going to be helpful! We should just see it as entertaining and hilarious !! We chose this cruise out of Marseille on the Zenith a ship of the Crosiere de France because it suited our time (I had business in Paris after the cruise) and offered an interesting itinerary; Tunisia, Malta, Messina, Sicily, Certiviccia (Rome) and Corsica. We had already booked the cruise when some friends told us they had been on a group of six who had done a cruise on this. Soon after we arrived on the boat we were advised that an international hostess was appointed to help us. They failed to tell us she neither spoke nor read French!! She didn’t tell us this either but seemed to make up her understanding of French which was not as good as mine (learned 45 years ago at high school). Some lovely French people we met were quite apologetic about “the French” approach to tourism. They indicated that in other countries they experience much better customer service than in France or by French companies. What a pity  Despite the above, the following comments about our experience are offered with an attempt at a balanced perspective. There are some things we really enjoyed (the venue, sunsets, sunrises and some lovely, lovely staff  and some very kind and interesting fellow passengers); the comfortable bed, the food in the main restaurant and particularly Moka, where the café was very predictable and mostly a very pleasant space (except at peak time when it seemed to become a children’s playground – dodging waiters delivering both hot drinks and alcohol in glass with children under their feet). We particularly enjoyed the 7am cappuccinos! We were very surprised to find many of the service staff did not speak French (we later learned this was more than 50%); some staff told us they got by on some key words (No wonder they looked dazed and stressed at times). Some seemed to speak better English than French; they spoke Arabic, Spanish, other Asian languages and Tagalog (Phillipines). Staff seemed very happy to be able to talk in English to us, but some struggled with understanding what we had said – for example, chicken came instead of prawns, and ice-cream instead of a different dessert; but always willingly changed with good humour!! The Children This was school holidays so one expects lots of children, however, the cruise ship rules said the parents are responsible for the children and the children should be supervised by the parents. The children dominated bars, smoking areas, casino, elevators and.. many of them appeared to be unsupervised. They were not supposed to be in elevators without parents but about 80% of the time, no parent could be seen. The gym was supposed to only have over 18 year olds! My horror was to see a 3 or 4 year old wandering around the treadmill on which an adult was running and others in the gym. I saw two children sitting in a bar, unsupervised eating their way through the packets of sugar on the table and when I pointed them out to the security person, he laughed at them, then wagged his finger and laughed some more! Children ran through corridors, through rooms where drinks were being served and through restaurants. One small group of 10 year olds were unsupervised running through a room and the last one jumped up to punch the fire alarm- fortunately she missed!! There appeared to be a range of declared rules which were not enforced or supported. Whenever we wanted to ask a question in person or by phone, they referred us to the ‘International Hostess’, a lovely person who made the required reports and acted sympathetically towards us but definitely took the ship’s line and I am actually not sure that she understood our concerns .. I actually think English was not her language (nor French – as mentioned above!) The smoking! As well as selling cigarettes at a cheap price, all outdoor space had smokers, even on a tour bus, (against the rules), on balconies (also against the rules) and in doorways (no rules)! The outside parts of the ship are all smoking areas, this includes eating areas, around children, and around recreation spaces such as pools, spars walking areas etc. We did not frequent these!! We tried to find outside air space without smokers – but one always found us – looked sideways at us, then lit up!! Food We are lovers of travelling, taking journeys to many parts of the world. For example, we enjoy buying local produce to have when travelling. This is a practice which has been and still is allowed – in our experience - by many different cruiselines! We also noticed that the nearby-parked Costa crew and passengers brought food on when at Citaveccia. However this was seen as a big no no on the Zenith. There was no sign or information about this prohibition – until the day after we brought two small cakes on board. These were initially confiscated - until I protested strongly…. We were then allowed to take them to our room, with the instruction to eat them quickly ??? cakes ???? I had already brought cheese, biscuits and local macaroons from Marseille which were for some reason not detected and we had been happily enjoying them at various times with our cups of tea. So.. two days after the cake incident we headed to the home of produce, Corsica!! We resisted – feeling traumatised by the perspective that we had broken an undeclared rule. By the way, a sign appeared the next day, which had a picture of fruit, a picture of a pastry and picture of meat. Each with a cross through them and an instruction that one could not take them on board. We ate our patisserie purchases in Corsica before getting on board but then noticed at least 10 people passing us and getting on board with plastic bags of cheese, sausage, etc in see through plastic bags guess what ! None was confiscated !!  Overall the on-board food was good, when we didn’t like a meal, a replacement was offered. Every evening had fish, meat and vegetarian options as well as bread and desserts. Our waiter was fabulous and every night remembered we like olive oil with bread and lemon with fish. They ran out of butter on day 3 but offered margarine instead. On day 7 butter was proudly produced. There was free house wine, house beer and house cocktails which we enjoyed occasionally. They used very sweet cordials and getting drinks apart from diet pepsi without sugar is difficult. It seems that drinking unsweetened soda water is not common and tonic water was very sweet. Sparkling water was available and bottled water available at a reasonable price. We resorted to this as with the passing of days the tap water tasted increasingly salty and unpalatable. On the last day, we were asked (I think accidentally) if we wanted sea water or bottled water – an accurate description. The meals are available in the deck 11 cafeteria, through room services (pretty good with 30 minutes wait), and for dinner in two sittings in a restaurant. We were initially offered the late 9:15 sitting but were able to change it on Day One to the 7pm sitting. In fact no dinner food was available until 7pm when the same menu is offered in the cafeteria as well. The buffet breakfast is also available in the restaurant and in the deck 11 buffet. A la Carte was offered in the restaurant but not well advertised and there was some surprise when we ordered off this table menu. Overall breakfast was a pleasant experience and we met some lovely passengers and crew at this time. The Room We were in room 1005 very close to the front on the ship. There were some good and bad things. The bed seemed comfortable and storage space was good except for baggage space – there was none that worked for our bags. A folded up overhead extra bed was tricky to get around if you weren’t looking. A very small TV in the corner of the room worked well. The balcony was lovely but a bit grubby – looked like it had not been washed down for some time. However we enjoyed some days with warm weather – so room service lunch was great - usually Chicken Caesar salad and a good cheese plate. The bathroom smelt pretty bad – and there was a black stain in the toilet which was it seems from a plumbing repair. It was a while before I also figured out that it was the drain that seemed to smell. I sprayed some of my body spriz a couple of times and that helped a lot!! When we arrived, the shower curtain was worse for wear, the wall next to our room had a suspicious brown mark. Here is the good part – we – co-incidentally – ran into an executive chef for the line, the morning after our first night and jokingly made our comments – a new shower curtain emerged!! And we were allocated a new room steward who was on his first week with this cruise line and desperate to be helpful and to please!! When I asked if he could vacuum the floor, he did, he cleaned and changed the linen and did all the things one hopes a room steward will do - even replaced the water - when we asked. He did ask us to not tell anyone except him if there were problems… therefore also coped with my requests for things to be attended to. Maintenance requests from us were generally seen as a nuisance. We stopped one outside door rattling about 3am with pieces of cardboard, the bathroom lock was missing two screws, and the rubber seal on the sliding door to the balcony was inadequate - adding cold wind through the door some nights. The Itinerary and day visits On all cruises except one Baltic Princess Cruise I have been frustrated by the poor information availability provided by cruise line staff abut ports and excursions. This journey was no exception. They would not give us maps or information until the day of the port visit. Perhaps this is for marketing and sales reasons. Our port experiences are provided below as examples. Marseille (pre-cruise) – we spent three nights in Marseille and took a one day trip by local bus to Aix en Provence which was very enjoyable. We also spent time in Marseille walking, doing a one day hop on hop off exploration. We stayed at The Viex Port Hotel in a cheap no view room but it was very comfortable. Getting to the port by taxi was easy; getting on the boat was chaotic, confusing and disorganised over about an hour until they decided we were VIPS when things marginally improved. The room was not ready for another hour (until 3pm) and we spent time waiting in the deck 11 space, after a short lunch. Getting off the boat was better organised, we bought the bus transfer which was good value and an additional interesting experience when the bus ran into a truck it tried to pass in a very narrow street Now to the journey Day One at sea – there were no onboard activities of interest to us and we were still getting oriented to the cruiseline. We did discover the Moka Café, to our delight!! Actually there is an absence of comment about entertainment in this report because it was pretty much absent for us. Incidental entertainment worked best for us. We watched three Abba songs in an evening show. It was bit like a highschool music performance. Talking with passengers and watching the world go by was the best entertainment for us. For example, the May day eve parade in the restaurant was pretty good fun. Day Two - Tunisia – as there had been a recent state of emergency and election, we opted for a Ship’s tour to Carthage but were advised that it would be in French – there were no English options available throughout the cruise. The local guide offered us a front seat and he occasionally made comments in English for us; some fellow passengers also assisted with English translations. The trip itself was excellent and although we missed about 80% of the commentary we were glad we did the tour. We went straight back on board afterwards as it seemed tricky to go anywhere else with the little information available. Day Three - Malta – we were blessed with a beautiful day in Valletta. Malta appears to have been working very hard to get its tourism working well. We walked from the boat, took the new 2 euro elevator to the garden and city. We enjoyed our day of self-guided/assisted-by-locals exploration. Taxi drivers, buses and other forms of transport were not needed Day Four- Messina – Sicily – After taking a 90 minute bus tour which we arranged on shore, we had another short self-directed city wander, which we enjoyed very much; however this was the source of the offending cakes. We bought lunch from a boulangerie and ate on the street. Day Five - Citavecchia (Rome). The ship option was a bus trip then self–directed tour of Rome which we were warned could be shut down because it was 1st of May. After some deliberation, we opted and with no ship provided information, for a train trip to Rome. We left at 9:15 am from our room after the ship had arrived at 9am. The port offered a free transfer to the bus station and we then took an 80c euro – return, bus ride to the station and caught a train to St Peter’s Square. The whole journey took 2 hours and 15 minutes. We wandered around St Peters Square, found a little wine bar in the side street for lunch, where the ambience was better than the food, but worth the time. We walked up the hill to the children’s hospital look out, had an amazing gelato, walked back to the station, arriving at 2:40pm; we took the 3:02 train back to Citavecchia and finally arrived back at the ship at 5pm. Day Six – a short day in Corsica – Off the ship and serendipitously onto a 90 minute bus trip – just outside the boat terminal, down town. We went upstairs on the bus, but discovered the smoking culture again – despite a no smoking rule. We moved downstairs and had an enjoyable trip until fellow passengers joined us and spoke very loudly in French over the top of the English commentary! Fortunately when I protested this reduced and the bus trip was overall fantastic. After wandering in the town, enjoying some great gelato and quiche for lunch, we then headed back to the ship for a 2pm departure . There is more we would have liked to see in this island but no more time!! The ports were enjoyable and on the whole inexpensive. Overall the cruise was a reasonable journey although the frustrations of poor communication were difficult. The Cruise staff found it difficult to be honest about their limited language and this made our frustration very high. As thinking travellers we sought to address concerns we had but this seemed to be resented by staff and I think understanding this and seeing it as a Faulty Towers venture earlier would have reduced our distress. We had lots of sleep catch up, some new sites to see and some time together to explore and manage challenges. That’s good enough for a reasonable holiday. Would I recommend this cruiseline – no not until they improve their honesty and commitment to other cultures and to customer service. Did we have a good week? – yes it was an adventure in survival fawlty towers at sea! We might not have said this if we had not had some sympathy and support from staff and fellow passengers.   Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2012
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but ... Read More
Full disclosure - The sailing was a charter for a club run out of Brussels called La Demence. This is a gay club and so (obviously) it was a gay cruise. My parter and I have been together 12 years and have never been on such a cruise but thought if we don't try it now we never will. The trip was themed around the club with a host of DJs and an impressive pool deck lighting and sound system - it was a party ship! Boarding in Marseille should have been the first sign that this was not to be the best cruise experience. Firstly signage on what to do and when was very poor. In the event you had to leave your luggage on the ground floor (queue up rather than be greeted and have it taken as has been the case on previous trips), then queue up to check in. We queued around 40 mins and we were near the front! There were only 7 check in desks with no pre-check in facility so EVERYONE was filling in credit card authorisations etc. After this we had another 90 mins to wait until we could board. In this time there were no refreshments - just a stuffy room. Once on board we could go straight to our rooms. We had an inside on deck 6 near the back (near the engines - more later). The room was a good size with TONS of cupboard space and a good shower. It looked dated but then the ship is 22 years old. There was no room service menu and the in room safe was locked. We reported the safe and left for lunch in the buffet on deck 11. Food as a whole was very disappointing. The buffet had a small selection every day (lunch and dinner) 3 salads, 3 hot dishes, 3 veg and a roast. There was also pizza and pasta. There was an outside grill but this closed during evening dinner time. The food generally tasted better then it looked but I never went back for more (unlike all other cruises I have been on when I have been an absolute pig as there are just too many good things to eat!). The main dining room had open seating in the evening. The meal was efficient and FAST. In and out in under an hour (they gave NCL a run for their money). Portions were small but again nothing was ever good enough for me to order more. Every day there were 2 main parties around the pool. 6pm - 9pm was a T-Dance and Midnight - 4:30am was the main party. The lighting and DJs were first class. My fellow passengers came from around 60 countries! Most announcements were in French, Spanish and English - but English was probably the most commonly used. Sorry gay clubbing community but the people on board were my biggest problem. Fairly rude and behaving like children. Dress codes were "liberal" with just a top needed to dine in the main dining room in the evening - but even this was too much effort for some. If I am going to a full service restaurant, with light ambient music and an attempt at a refined atmosphere then I would hope the diners would respect this and at least wear a smart T Shirt and Smart shorts / jeans. People coming in to eat in bathing suits and laughing loudly, ordering the waiting staff around and "wearing" napkins on their heads as hats is not what I expected. During the rest of the day my partner and I hardly spoke to a soul - so different to conventional cruising where we have made some lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Public rooms were nice enough but again very dated. I am not sure where the re-fit money went. No room had any wow factor. However, the layout of the ship was very good and I imagine on a conventional cruise it works very well. As CDF offer an all inclusive cruise experience, alcohol selections were very limited and bottom end brands. We visited 3 ports - Naples, Sicily and Ibiza. Ibiza was an overnight from 2pm to 9am the following day. Any chance to get of the ship was welcomed and I enjoyed all 3 ports. Entertainment apart from the parties was provided by bought in "talent". La Diva was a singer (actually a surprisingly good singer) that had a good rapport with the crowd and did 3 shows over the week. Koka was one of the worst drag acts I have EVER seen. Put me in a dress and I would be more convincing. Add in that he mimed to songs and I have no idea why the other passengers seemed to like him! Nicky Nicole was a further drag act - I have no idea what he did though apart from manage to walk in high heels. Finally there was the ship dances (who seemed capable) and a ventriloquist (v. funny). In addition to the nightly show there was a gay film festival. Not sure why just because I am gay I have to be subjected to worthy but badly acted and directed films, but there you go. Personally I would have been happier watching The Avengers or a good comedy. Finally the cabin. We were in 6169 and in terms of comfort no issues. Bed was good, sheets were clean, shower good. BUT - we did not meet our steward for 2 days, there was no room service menu, the safe was locked (2 days to unlock it despite repeated requests) and the engine noise was deafening! In summary then the ship was average, the food was average, the service was average, the fellow passengers were a huge pain (I would go into some of the things they did but this has gone on too long already) the parties were excellent and the additional entertainment was largely poor. When I tell you that the list price for an inside cabin was €1500 per person (based on 2 sharing) I think you will agree that this was horrifically over priced. Compared to other companies I have cruised with (overall rating): 1) Disney 2) Royal Caribbean 3) Celebrity 4) NCL 5) CDF (with reservations as this was a charter and the normal offer may be better). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
Hmmm. I'm the first to review a Croisieres de France cruise, probably because it's French based and French speaking but read on....you might find something useful. The in-laws are French so we went with them on this cruise ... Read More
Hmmm. I'm the first to review a Croisieres de France cruise, probably because it's French based and French speaking but read on....you might find something useful. The in-laws are French so we went with them on this cruise starting and finishing in Marseilles. Booked in France through local travel agent but the Croisieres de France (CDF) website is www.cdfcroisieresdefrance.fr Officially, French is spoken onboard but special announcements (including lifeboat drill) are given in French and English. The ship's crew is made up of 37 different nationalities and they don't all speak French. In fact, the entire dining room staff (who were fantastic) were all from Mauritius and could speak English. Bear in mind though, that 99% of your fellow passengers will be French speakers so it may be awkward for you if you like to chat, make friends, share a dining room table etc. The cruise was the 'Tutti Frutti' and - after a group discount because it was booked for 50 people - the price was 970 euros. This was all inclusive - all food and drink and tips. There were additional items you could pay for on board e.g. the spa sessions, laundry, some specific cocktails or special food e.g caviar but, to be honest, it was a French ship and the French expect good food as standard so there was absolutely no need to pay for any other food (apart from waffles/crepes at 1.75 euros from the poolside creperie, which my wife insisted on having every day!). The ship was the Horizon (bought by CDF recently, refurbished in early 2012 and now painted up in the dark blue livery of CDF). Despite 12 decks, it's actually quite a small ship when you see it beside other cruise ships. 1500 passengers and 650 crew. We docked beside the Costa Magica in Valletta and it was massive compared to our ship but we actually liked the intimacy of ours. It had a variety of bars, dancefloors, casino, theatre (nightly entertainment, cabaret style), shop, children's club and gym. The outdoor pool had a children's pool beside it and two jacuzzis. Evening meals were in two sittings, which you had to reserve at the time of booking - either 1900 or 2115. Initially, we thought 2115 was too late to eat each night but it actually worked out really well as we returned to the ship each day 1700/1800, went for a dip in the pool, lazed about, got showered/dressed for dinner, went to the 2000 cabaret show or aperitifs in the casino then up to the restaurant so the pace was actually quite nice. It would have been a rush if we'd had the 1900 sitting. You sat at the same table every night, the food was fantastic and the Mauritian waiters were just brilliant. The restaurant dress code was smart-casual - no shorts or t-shirts. You had the option of a less formal meal in the grill room each night too if you preferred. We did this once. It was buffet style and eat as much as you want. Our cabin was on deck 6 and a fairly decent size. Our cleaner cleaned twice a day. We actually said to him not to bother with the second clean. He worked very hard and the cabin was spotless. The only gripe about the ship was the lifts. There were 3 or 4 sets of two lifts but they were always busy and you had to wait ages - a problem for those with medical conditions. Overall, though, we were impressed by the ship, despite its small size and the waiting/cleaning staff were amazing. Read Less
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