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5 Pullmantur Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as it was a fairly late decision to go on a Norway cruise, and the American cruise lines were sold out. We were a little worried that Pullmantur is a Spanish language cruise, but we never had a problem communicating ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a fairly late decision to go on a Norway cruise, and the American cruise lines were sold out. We were a little worried that Pullmantur is a Spanish language cruise, but we never had a problem communicating with any of the staff on board. Important announcements were also made in English, and we were provided English menus and daily cruise news. Entertainment is in Spanish, which we knew in advance, so we skipped it. Excursions are also in Spanish, so we booked our own independent excursions where we wanted. We had stateroom 5147, which had staterooms above and below it, so hoped for a quiet room. Unfortunately, we were very aft, and evidently above engines or thrusters. When they came on (middle of the night, and when docking and leaving), our entire cabin would shake very hard, and it was extremely noisy. Woke us up every time. It generally lasted 30 minutes or more, so very much disrupted our sleep. Stay away from any lower aft stateroom. Walking down the hallway, it seemed like the shaking and noise continued for at least another 8-10 staterooms toward midship. The stateroom itself had 2 sets of bunk beds. Beds were comfortable, although the pillows were very flat. We had two closets in the room, and plenty of drawers. Only seating was one chair by a small table; it would have been nicer to have a small loveseat. The bathroom was decent size, as was the shower. No cabinets in the bathroom, but there was a glass shelf above the sink. No problems with the toilet as some have reported. I only saw our stateroom attendant once. Rooms are only serviced in the morning or early afternoon, so if you sleep in and miss your time, you are out of luck. Service was more like any regular hotel. We did get one towel animal in the middle of the week. The room was clean, but the bathroom desperately needed a really thorough grout cleaning, and the tile on the floor was uneven. My major complaint with this cruise was the food. It was absolutely terrible. Almost everything was very overcooked, sometimes to the point where you could not even cut the meat. We had early seating dinner at 7:30. Late seating was 9:45. We were seated with the other Americans at our table of 9. The dining room food was never hot, lukewarm mostly. No coffee or after dinner drinks are served; you have to go to the buffet or bar afterwards for those. Dinner is 3 courses, an appetizer, entree, and dessert. There are everyday choices, vegetarian, and daily. Portions are very small, and entrees do not come with sides or veggies for the most part-just meat. There was a sugar free dessert choice every day except the gala dinner. The gala dinner was a set menu, you had no choice of anything on that 6 course meal, not even a sugar free choice (I'm diabetic). Out of the 6 courses, I only ate the soup, the rest was food I could not/want to eat (like the salmon in baby squid sauce-yuck). Most at our table started ordering two appetizers at dinner. You have to order your dessert with the rest of the meal, and no options to try something different if you did not like something. Most nights we went to the buffet to find more food as we were hungry after dinner-and saw our table mates there :-). I skipped two nights in the dining room too. The "hot"food on the buffet was never hot, except for the carving meat they had at lunchtime, and generally the soup. Sometimes the food was actually refrigerator cold, meaning the cooks had not even attempted to warm it up before putting it on the buffet. The best choices on the buffet were the salad and deli meat area. At breakfast, there was no omelette or made to order area. Everything was on the buffet only. The scrambled eggs were always soupy, and the fried eggs generally very overcooked. Best bets were the breakfast breads-croissants and brioche bread was always fresh-and the fruit. At lunch there was also a 4 item vegetarian area in the back corner-one item was always plain white rice. Gluten free breads were also available in the other back corner. The only fruit at lunch and dinner was a fruit cocktail, which was the breakfast fruits cut up. At dinner, the best choice was the pasta station -you could chose your own veggies and protein (varied between chicken, salmon, ham) which was stir fried for you, and then pasta was added. You put on your own sauce, generally marinara, pesto and/or alfredo. Since it was cooked individually it was always hot. Some days breakfast was offered in the dining room too, but it was also a buffet with even fewer choices. Lunch was only offered in the dining room on the sea day, as a buffet. There was no ice cream machine anywhere on the ship. Signs on the coffee/tea dispensers in the dining room said they were available 24 hours a day, but that was not really true, as they were not continually kept warm . The ship had all inclusive beverages, but the alcoholic choices were poor quality. You could buy an upgraded package with top shelf brands if you wanted. Also you could buy individual glasses of better wine at a reasonable price (3-4 Euros) if you wanted. Soft drinks were included, but only poured from 2 liter bottles, and were always flat. Generally the attendants poured out the entire bottle into glasses at once, so if you were not there at that time, it sat for awhile. The specialty coffees in the bars were all consistently good, and included in the cruise fare. We were mostly on time for all our ports. This cruise goes between Rostock, Germany and Trondheim, Norway. We started in Trondheim, but logistically it would have been better the other direction I think. Starting in Trondheim, our first port was Alesund on Sunday, and a lot of the town was closed, no port area car rental was open, and bus service was severely limited there. You could fly directly into Trondheim or take a 6 hour train from Oslo (scenic except the last hour). Plus connecting to a flight back to the US in Germany required an overnight somewhere as Rostock is several hours from Berlin or Hamburg. Docking in Rostock was in an industrial area, no buses nearby. A taxi to the train/bus station was 40 Euros. Luckily we bumped into friends we met on the ship and shared a taxi. All the taxis we saw there were minivans, so we managed to fit 5 of us and luggage in one taxi. If embarking in Trondheim, you DO NOT go directly to the ship. Instead you check in at the far end of the Clarian hotel near the ship. Signage for this is very poor, and wandering around in the rain with our luggage trying to find where to go was not fun. No one was interested in seeing our health forms or the bar code form we were emailed after checking in online. They also insisted on keeping our passports, which was unnecessary as we were not leaving the Schengen area on this cruise. One family at our table refused to leave their passports, and they were allowed to keep them. We took our own luggage on board, as we just had carry on luggage and it was already mid afternoon when we arrived and all staterooms were open. We also carried off our luggage at the end. Debarkation was from the 5th floor, our floor, so no hassle with the luggage on elevators. If you treat this cruise more like a ferry service and stay in a quieter room, you will probably not be as disappointed. Ports: Alesund: has a very nice art nouveau walking tour for $15, we also walked a few km to the aquarium which featured Norwegian sea life. Geiranger: We rented a car ($200!) from the TI and drove to Tollstigen, stopping at the Eagle Bend viewpoint, and also towards Dalsnibba. There are numerous buses that go to the viewpoints. Geiranger itself is very small. The TI only had a few cars to rent, so be sure and reserve in advance if you want to do that. Flam: We were too late to book the Norway in a Nutshell tours. Two took a bus to Gudvangen to do a kayak trip in the narrower fjord, and one a 2 hour Segway trip. Bergen: We planned to take the funicular up the mountain, but with 4 other ships in town, that was impossible. We walked up instead, a long steep walk with a lot of other people. At the top, there were tons of people, so no peace and quiet. There was shopping in the Bryggen area, but again wall to wall people. We found a quiet coffee shop and tried the Norwegian waffles. Not our favorite port, way too overcrowded. Stavanger: We split up and two took a ferry/bus connection and hiked up Pulpit Rock. We docked about 15 minutes late, so they missed the first ferry, which meant more people on the trail later, but still very nice. There was time to explore the old town a little. One instead did a Viking tour to see the 3 swords monument, iron age museum, and archeology museum. Also the petroleum museum was near the port, about a 10 minute walk, and was very modern and well done. Probably our favorite port. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I will never go on Horizon again. The ship is falling to pieces. Our toilet did not work for the whole duration of the cruise. Room furniture old and shabby. Drawers without back, mattress worn out and balcony furniture very rusty and ... Read More
I will never go on Horizon again. The ship is falling to pieces. Our toilet did not work for the whole duration of the cruise. Room furniture old and shabby. Drawers without back, mattress worn out and balcony furniture very rusty and chairs full of thorns. During our stay the ship was grounded in Stavenger harbour. Definitely customers were not to blame for this but they suffered the consequences. No empathy shown to customers. Information provided was very scant. No alternative tours offered in substitution of the Geiranger Excurcion which we lost till the ship was repaired. Air conditioner in the restaurant always out of order. Avoid it at all costs. Only positive was the level of food. We had to spend long hours on the ship, with very minimal entertainment during the day. We went on this cruise liner to celebrate our 30 wedding anniversary. It turned out to be a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
A nightmare. The Horizon is old and cabins need refurbishing badly. Our cabin (which they call state room) was very tatty and with a bad smell. Not very welcoming. As one would expect in a 1 Star hotel or less. Mattress was worn out ... Read More
A nightmare. The Horizon is old and cabins need refurbishing badly. Our cabin (which they call state room) was very tatty and with a bad smell. Not very welcoming. As one would expect in a 1 Star hotel or less. Mattress was worn out and hollow on the sides, toilet suction inefficient, flooded balcony, rusty table and torn rattan chairs without cushions in balcony. The restaurant was extremely hot. Daily promises that they were going to fix the Air Conditioner did not materialise. The list is endless. Nowhere in their marketing material did they say that this was an inferior quality cruise liner. To top it all, the ship ran aground on a sandbank when leaving Stavanger. We felt this was ridiculous with all the navigational tools available in this day and age. Information about the incident was minimal and we did not know what was going on except that the ship was tilted on one side. We obtained most of the information from the internet. The ship couldn't leave the port and we missed two ports and the best excursion, which we were really looking forward to. Suitable alternative and reasonable excursions or entertainment were not provided while we were stuck in port. Had to spend a lot of time on the vessel just being idle. Besides, we were all very anxious about the condition of the ship following the incident, hoping that proper repairs were carried out and the ship would be seaworthy to sail the North Sea. The trauma of the incident ruined the rest of the holiday and we were very disappointed with the way we were treated. The only positive thing was the food. Very good variety and excellent quality. Well done to the chef. But that was mainly it. We will definitely not travel again with this cruise line and would not recommend it to my family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
KEEP IN MIND When you decide to sail on the CDF- Croisiers de France Horizon keep in mind that it is an older ship, and by that I mean pushing 30. When you realize that it's not going to be as fancy and up to date as it's ... Read More
KEEP IN MIND When you decide to sail on the CDF- Croisiers de France Horizon keep in mind that it is an older ship, and by that I mean pushing 30. When you realize that it's not going to be as fancy and up to date as it's newer sisters you are not disappointed. Thankfully thanks to a CruiseCritic review I knew this. Boarding in Calais for our Midnight Sun cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was lovely. BOARDING Embarkation was smooth, we went inside the waiting area after getting out of our cab (after taking the train from Paris to Lille, then Lille to Calais after boarding a flight from JFK whew...) Check in was quick if not a bit confusing as most announcements were made in French but there were plenty of people to help. We stood up for the 30 minutes or so until we were able to board as the area was crowded and there weren't nearly enough seats for the people that showed up before the Noon boarding. Water was available and I assume restrooms though I didn't use it. They take passports at the beginning of the cruise supposedly for visas, however since all ports were in Norway a place for which Americans don't need Visas, I have no idea why they needed it the entire cruise. I've only had this happen on trips when visiting Egypt and Turkey and not for the entire cruise duration. That's that however, we picked them up the last day of the cruise and no one has stolen our identity as yet. ACTIVITIES If you don't speak French you'll probably not find a lot of activities that suit your interest, as there aren't a lot of activities happening compared to lines like NCL, RCCL and Carnival but if you're there for the ports and don't mind your main nightly activity being dancing or reading, you'll be fine. There is a daily list of activities delivered every night as on all cruises. It is available in English. CUISINE The meals were good. Not stunning, however I'm not a huge fan of French dishes so this plays into my thoughts on this manner. The foods that I liked, I actually loved. Everything was prepared well, the presentation was lovely and the included beverage package allowed for (French) house wine which was better than house wines on most other lines. BEVERAGES 'Tout Inclus' as they say. Alcohol is included. There are other beverage packages that let you upgrade, one for 5 Euro a day, the other 10. We didn't feel it was needed and the couple of times that I wanted something now included it cost me 2 Euros. That's it. Gratuities are something you can give to your favorite bartenders at the end of the cruise but there is no space to add that on the chit if you order a premium drink. Drinks included don't need to be signed for at all. Due to this package if you buy liquor on board in the shops you can take it to your room. Considering the fantastic price we paid, inclusive anything was amazing. Large bottles of water could be bought for 1 Euro, either singly, or in packs of 3, 6 or 9 and delivered to your room. TOURS We only took one tour that was ship sponsored the rest of the time we wandered around each place on our own. We took a bus tour to Mt Dalsnibba in Gerainger, it was fine but we expected hiking of which there was none, however the views were beautiful even though the fog was rolling in. The bus ride is not for people who are scared of heights, scared of sheer drops or who are motion sick. Especially the latter. An older woman sitting behind me on the bus apparently had too much wine the night before and decided that then was the time to be sick and burped her way up and down the mountain with a vomit finale (into a bag) still while sitting behind me. Needless to say if she'd fallen overboard once we'd sailed I wouldn't have felt too bad. SPA I had an hour long massage on the last sea day for 55 Euro. About a third of what I pay on other lines and even at home. 2o minutes on the head, 20 on the back and 20 on the legs and feet with no hard sell afterward. NORWAY Outstanding! The midnight sun experienced this far North in July allowed for stunning views while cruising and I only wish that I'd gone before. Every place was more beautiful than expected. The people are friendly, the food is good and I plan on flying back sooner than later to experience it for a lot longer than 4 days. With that being said I'd also take the Pullmantur/CDF Horizon to do the same cruise next July. I can't add photos here but I'll have some up on my Travel Xena website within the next few weeks. SIDE NOTES I didn't use the internet on board. We were going to buy a package but I use Project Fi as a phone service and had phone and internet service all over Norway and on the ship when sailing close to shore as we often were so I didn't feel the need. We were two of 10 Americans on board which we thought was pretty interesting. I had a chance to practice my French surprise people that I wasn't from Martinique but New York and make cruise buddies of passengers and crew. The was a laundry offer of 2 bags for 15 Euro or 1 for 12. Or 4 bags for 25 Euro. I opted for the one bag as my friend didn't have anything she wanted to send out and it was delivered the next day. All in all, despite it being an old ship, the service was great and the ports well chosen. I'd sail it again and give it a 4 of 5 for the following: Price Ports Customer Service Food Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
“Croisieres de France” (CDF) avoid at all costs !!! Cruise with “Croisieres de France” Date 18-25 join 2016 destination Norwegian Fjords Cabin 9106 First of all the only thing French about “Croisieres de France” is ... Read More
“Croisieres de France” (CDF) avoid at all costs !!! Cruise with “Croisieres de France” Date 18-25 join 2016 destination Norwegian Fjords Cabin 9106 First of all the only thing French about “Croisieres de France” is the name andthe terrible organisation. CDF claim gourmet cooking “Gault Millau” but the quality turned out to be at best A 2 star Tunisian hotel quality and at its worst about “works canteen” level.The evening meal was a 3 course (compared with 5 or 6 on MSC cruises) for example it was cheese or desert! (MSC offer cheese ET dessert) Twice the main course was so bad that my wife sent it back. The serving staff had trouble understanding French and many of them spoke no French at all so we had to point to the dish or drink on the menu Funnily enough the waiters had trouble understanding what we ordered but spoke enough French to explain how we should fill out the cruise evaluation The “gala” dinner was held on the second night of the cruise. There was no difference with other Nights. There was no animation or music, and neither the Captain nor any officers deigned to appear; in fact the only officers we saw during the whole cruise were the 2 or 3 who seemed to have bought their family with them and although in uniform one of them was often seen kissing and cuddling his wife (girlfriend?) in the passenger area The catering staff also spent a lot of time trying to sell cheap watches, handbags and scarves every day in one of the gangways adjoining the bar area which was so crowded it was often impossible to pass. İf you only speak English it is great to be able to order a drink without having to point it out on the bar card, but you don’t qualify for any information about disembarking or activities on board. That was always done in very strongly accented French which was also difficult for French people to understand, despite the fact that there were many English speaking guests aboard. During the day and at the Buffets meals, there seemed to be groups of serving staff stang aroung chatting together in their language and not really interested in making sure that the passengers were being taken care of. Now for the best part of the “rip-off” We booked a cabin with a balcony, and this was supposed to give us the packet “Privelege” With:- - A dedicated hostess. -A “personalised signed copy of the Gala menu” - plus one or two other small perks which we received (Spğarkling wine for the depart. Bathrobes etc) The hostess was in fact a host who had his hours of presence clearly defined on a noticeboard. Three times I went to see him at the and twice he was absent! The last time anothermember of staff suggested taking my table number so the the host could see me during the evening meal, the next day I asked him why he had not passed to see us, he told me he had passed but we weren’t there. So we asked the other membersat our table who assured us that no one had come to see us (that is the level of service “privilege” As for the personalized and signed copy of the Gala menu everyone on our table, who were not in the “privilege” packet received the same cheap photocopie. Every day the balcony floor was littered with pieces of food thrown to the seagulls by the passengers on the deck above. We are French-speaking Swiss and our booking was done though a French travel-agent but we received the daily News-sheet in English and the result that we were not informed about the French-speaking activities taking place (example we missed all the conferences about Norway and its history). One of the crise organizers told us on the last day that Belgian and Swiss-French customers were considered as “English speakers” by CDF! So if you’re looking for a cruise …. Choose another company Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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