When I originally booked this cruise I was not expecting too much as it was such a good price. It was a week cruising the Canary Islands and Morocco for under 400 euros per person all inclusive and we literally thought if it got us around ... Read More
When I originally booked this cruise I was not expecting too much as it was such a good price. It was a week cruising the Canary Islands and Morocco for under 400 euros per person all inclusive and we literally thought if it got us around the ports then it was a good deal, but we did not expect a lot from the food and drink at that price. we had sailed on the ship about 9 years previously as Island Star and knew it would be an old ship, but we had very much liked it, we like the smaller ships and we knew it had undergone a recent refurb so decided to give it a go.
We were very pleasantly surprised! This was a fabulous cruise from start to finish. With Pullmamtur there was the option to check in on line and when we arrived at the terminal we were checked in and on board within 10 minutes, very efficient! The ship is looking lovely and you would not think she was as old as she is. We had an outside superior cabin for three adults which I had expected we may need to upgrade on board but it was very spacious and loads of storage space - 2 double wardrobes and 24 drawers along with lots of mirrors!!! We asked for extra coathangers and were provided very quickly with an extra 20 so no problems with cabin space at all (although I am happy to sleep on a bunk, some may not like this but the bunk was not actually over the double bed which was huge). The cabin and the public rooms were spotless.
The food is probably amongst the best that we have had on a ship and I have sailed with many lines. The buffet restaurant on the lido deck had a fantastic array of fresh salads and vegetables, a wide variety of hot mains, pizzas, paellas, deserts and every lunch there was a special carvery....the first day it was whole roasted salmons baked in salt, they did whole roast hake one day, the biggest beef joint have ever seen, roast turkeys and we were very impressed that they managed to mass produce pork with fabulous crispy crackling, not an easy task! The buffet is open breakfast lunch and dinner, we chose to eat breakfast and lunches there, and dinner in the main dining room. If you go to the lido buffet you need to find your own table whereas if you go to the main dining room the waiters seat you and get the drinks for you, but apart from that it is the same food and same buffet style for lunch and breakfast. It could be a slight scrum for a table if you hit busy time in the lido, eg when all of the trips were returning, but the opening hours were long and once you had your table everything was very nicely laid out and no queues. One thing Pullmantur do which we thought was a great idea is to have little paper discs on the table, green on one side, red on the other. If you dont want your plates cleared and are returning to your table you put the card to red so no helpful waiter clears it whilst you are returning to the buffet to get something else, meaning that one of you does not need to stand guard over your table the whole time....a simple idea but so effective!
The main dining room is very spacious and never seemed over crowded. We were on first sitting which was 7.30pm. The second sitting at 9.45pm would have been too late for us, but fortunately about 2/3 of the passengers are Spanish and seemed to like to eat late so there was no issue with getting an early sitting. You have the same table number and dinner companions for the week at dinner, and they ensure they sit the same nationalities together. The evening menus were imaginative and delicious and just the right portion slices. Very impressed with the quality of the meats and fish, when it said red snapper it was, when it said John Dory it was ( we have experienced in the past o sone ships the same white fishes being served every night in different guises!). They did not seem to serve vegetables but you only needed to ask and they would provide.
I have to say that the service from the Chefs and the Head Waiter was fantastic, I am on a very restrictive diet and have a lot of allergies. The head waiter Mahreshi took this all in his stride, he would check with me every meal what I would like for the next meal, and whatever I came up with he miraculously produced with a minimum of fuss. He was so attentative, never made me feel like I was being difficult, his customer service was fantastic and I felt very well looked after.
There is no afternoon tea on this ship wbich we actually prefer. Sometimes you can feel over faced by food on board ships. We found there was always food available but it wasnt in your face and we ate extremely well.
The cruise was all inclusive, once on board you could upgrade your package if you wished but we did not need to. The standard gin was gordons, the wine was very nice, a good variety of cocktails was included. But the thing that really impressed us was that the speciality coffee shop was included on the all inclusive too, lovely coffee menu at no extra charge unlike other lines.
In fact we were very impressed by how little extras there were to pay on board. Apart from the gratuities (72 euros per person so reasonable) they did not seem to push you to buy extras all of the time. There was no charge for any of the arts and crafts classes, stretching, dance classes, cooking demonstrations etc. We have found in recent years a lot of lines are now charging for these. And best of all no photographers in your face all of the time! Apart from the embarkation photo we did not see them, they werent snapping you at dinner or every time you got off or on the gangway. You could book a package if you wanted but otherwise the did not encroach...very refreshing!
We had read reviews before hand that the Spanish were constantly partying and loud, we actually did not find this a problem at all. In fact better than an all brit cruise because no one reserved sunbeds or left their towels on them at all so you could always get a bed when you needed it. There are lots of nice lounges on board so there was always somewhere to find if you wanted some quiet time. We loved the cosy library and enjoyed the pura vida lounge in the late afternoon. Bar staff were always on hand and no cards to carry as everyone was all inclusive which made a nice change.
The gym was small but very well equiped. We didnt use the spa but the saunas were free and plenty of treatments available.
The suite guests had a special private lounge which looked lovely, it was the old Captains Club Room from the Island Star Days.
There were various theme nights but they werent enforced. However we found it fun to dress up on Arabian Night. Other nights were the Gala Night, Tropical, 70s 80s and White Night.
After I booked this I realised it was Easter week and we were a little apprehensiveabout how many kids would be on board. However we hardly saw them. There is an on site kids club and the team kept them out of the way and entertained. The only time we did find them was on sea day, the jacuzzis were hogged by unaccompanied young kids. This is one thing I wouldnt like if I was a jacuzzi lover which I am not really, i woukd then want for for the rule of over 16 years only to be enforced.
I have to say that the shows were not our thing, but that is not slating the singing or dancing. They are in Spanish, had they been in English we would probably have been more enthusiastic but we had booked a Spanish Cruise Line so expected that and there were good bands in the public areas so we were quite happy with drinks and cards!
Disembarking and embarking in each port was very painless and well organised, never any queueing
LAS PALMAS enjoyed strolling round the old town, lovely crafty boutiques and unusual shops, cobbled streets, a nice promenade and very reasonable coffee shops! All within walking distance of the ship.
LANZAROTE docked in Areceife at the port furthest from the centre. We had done our research and as we were just there in the afternoon we knew everything in Arecife was shut so we had pre organised car hire from the port for around 50 euros with cicar. We headed to Teguise old town which was very quaint. Then came back through the centre to the coast and Puerto del Carmen which was more touristy but nice for a drink on the harbour side.
FUERTEVENTURA Docked in Puerto del Rossario, walked to the bus station, about 20 minutes away, and took the local bus to Correlejo. Fabulous journey, the route took us up to the national park then along the coast line past the famous sand dunes which were stunning. 3 euros and we felt like we had had a proper tour! Lots of shops and a lovely beach front at Correlejo. Would highly recommend this way rather than the organised transfer for 20 euros.
AGADIR got a local taxi to take us on a tour for a few hours to see some mosques and give us an hour at the beach and lovely promenade. He would have also included the souk and fabric shops which we didnt want so we had an extra 30 min at the beach. Bartered it down to 25 euros for the three of us. Taxis are waiting outside the ship.they will try and charge as much as they think tgey can get so be prepared to haggle, but there was no issues when in the taxi and we felt quite safe although tge local driving is interesting......!
GRAN CANARIA we first walked to the beach which was beautiful but unfortunately too windy a day to appreciate. There is a very long beach promenade to stroll if the weather is good. As it wasnt beach weather we then trecked accross town to a very nice shopping centre, then took a taxi to the old quarter whicb was charming, beautiful architecture and many photo oportunities. Taxis reasonable.
We did not do any ship excursions but they did offer a weeks package to be pre booked that seemed very reasonable, we just like to do our own thing.
Aft cabins do experience some noise when manouvering into port to dock, we are early risers soit wasnt a problem for us. Each night I requested a flask of hot warer and the bell boys brought it to the cabin within minutes.
Disembarkation from the cabins is 8am and cases need to be out by midnight. As we live in Tenerife it was not an issue for us to leave the ship after breakfast but apparently if you stayed after 11am you needed to pay.
The one blip we had was on disembarking. We got to the terminal to discover one of our bags was missing. It was a good half an hour before it was eventually located having been put in the wrong area. The security of the cases in the terminal did not seem to be very efficient, no one was checking very thoroughly who collected what. We approached an agent in a panic and she was very dismissive and did not seem to know what to do. We eventually located toourselves after an anxiousperiod. However I am not sure that she was part of Pullmantur, I think they were the port agency that Pullmantur use.
I have to say that the service on board was excellent. I woukd not hesitate to cruise with Pullmantur again had they an itinerary that catches my eye and would definately recommend them.
Incidently Pullmantur do over 55 years discount.apparently the single supplements are also reasonable. Read Less