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15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We saw this cruise advertised in the local press and the price was very good. It was a transatlantic cruise from Malaga to the Caribbean. We thought that it was reasonably priced because it was a transatlantic and we weren't due back ... Read More
We saw this cruise advertised in the local press and the price was very good. It was a transatlantic cruise from Malaga to the Caribbean. We thought that it was reasonably priced because it was a transatlantic and we weren't due back until late on Christmas eve. We asked if it was predominantly Spanish and were told, no, the crew all speak English, literature is in English and the whole cruise is international as it is sold to English and French too. On arrival at our allocated cabin ( 4048) we were met by the cabin steward , who apologised to us and explained that the lock on the cabin door was not working and he thought that it needed the battery replacing. He said that he had reported it and it would be fixed, but in the meantime, we would be unable to close the cabin door as once closed, our magnetic card would not open it. We left our cases on the bed, locked for security purposes and went to get a drink. When we returned, the lock was still not functioning. It was then that we discovered that the carpet in our cabin was soaked - too wet for us to walk over it in our bare feet and it was soaked from the door to under the bed and the full width of the bed. We went to reception and reported this and also the fact that the lock was not working on our cabin door. We then discovered that the plug to sink was useless and we had no cold water with which to clean our teeth. We returned to reception and joined the ever growing queue again to report this, the lock and the wet carpet. We requested to be moved to a different cabin and were told that there were none available but a blower was installed into our room in an attempt to dry the carpet out . At 9pm, 6 hours after accessing our cabin, we finally had the lock fixed but the blower in the room was just bringing out the smell from the carpet , which we now realised was water from the sewage pipes. By this time we had discovered that each time we flushed the toilet , water gushed from the back of the toilet onto the floor of the bathroom. This leak was so bad that my husband put the bath mat down to soak up the water and within seconds it was dripping when he lifted it. A third visit to reception was a total waste of time. On our first night aboard, a keycard was inserted into our cabin at around midnight and someone attempted to walk in, but we had mindfully put the blower in front of the door before we went to bed. That night the smell in our cabin was so bad that I was unable to sleep. The next morning we went back to reception again and after much arguing, we were offered another cabin (4005) which we refused because it was noisy even when we were stationary and also it was right at the front of the ship and would therefore be more subject to bounce if we encountered rough seas. We were then shown cabin 4081 which we accepted. This cabin though was still not without minor problems. We reported at least 6 times that we had no sink plug and in the end , when we were in Gran Canaria, we found a ferreteria and bought our own . We also had a leak from the back of the toilet , but this was much less than the leak in the original cabin and after 6 days a plumber finally arrived to fix it. On the day that we first embarked the Zenith, there were no pubic toilets in operation and the sewage system was a huge problem throughout our stay , with many people sufffering blocked and overflowing toilets. On our second night in cabin 4081 , my husband flushed the toilet at 11.30pm and it overflowed until the bathroom was under 2-3" of water and the toilet brush was floating. Fortunately, it stopped before it overflowed once again into our cabin. Some of smells on board were atrocious and we did remark to those on reception that we were fearful of an outbreak of dysentry or something similar with so much sewage tainted water being poured into the carpets. Most mornings of our trip the water from the taps was brown and we were unable to use it to clean our teeth or to wash small items of personal nature. For the first few days of the cruise, the jacuzzi's were out of use and when they did open them , only two were available. For the first 11 days of the cruise, one of the restaurants was out of use due to refurbishment but with approximately 1000 guests on board, this left the one remaining restaurant very overcrowded. On gala night, our choices of meal were duck or steak. On our table of 6 both were ordered and none were eaten as everything was too tough to be considered edible. On most evenings the accompaniments of chips, mashed potato and vegetables were served either lukewarm or cold. They would be brought to the servery and left there for up to 10 minutes before being served. Apart from these complaints, the food was usually of a good standard. Entertainment on the ship was generally pretty poor. The Abba night was good and the Rock Never Dies on the last night was excellent but despite reassurances that the ship was international, most shows were predominantly in Spanish. Daytime entertainment, considering that we were to spend 9 days in total at sea, was non existent. There were lots of seminars throughout the day, but all were put on by the spa and were aimed at selling their products and services. The arts and crafts classes were so basic that I could have taken better myself and the few quizzes entailed running to hit a bell, which for people of our age group is not acceptable. Having cruised before , we expected a full entertainments programe. There was a lot of bingo played but that is definately not for everyone. If we hadn't been lucky enough to encounter extremely good weather during our crossing, the entertainment programe would have been totally inadequate. Had we experienced rough seas, the plumbing would have been an even worse nightmare than it was. On our final day aboard, we left our cabins at 9 a.m. and when we required the toilets, we found that the public toilets on deck 8 were both out of order, the ladies had water absolutely pouring out of the door soaking the carpet in the corridor and into the entrance of the theatre. Disembarkation was a complete joke. The cruise director asked people to leave the theatre a section at a time but after the first ones had left, the Spanish started getting up and going anyway and no one stopped them, which cause massive congestion problems. Halfway through the cruise I spoke to the cruise director and asked if some of us could organise a Christmas Carol service in one of the bars. I was told that they had a Christmas show planned ( it turned out to be a dead loss). After speaking to guests, the general opinion was that anything that they put on would not be Christmas carols , so would be totally different to what we planned. I went to reception and asked to speak to David again. I was told that he knew about it. I explained that I needed to speak to him again and the receptionist said that he would put in a request but David never did get back to me, he just wasn't interested in what the British wanted. The flight home was a mere continuation of the holiday. The plane was owned by Pullmanturs and embarcation of 500 passengers took about anhour and a half, one of the toilets was out of service and the consoles on our seats were not working. Lights were dimmed throughout apart from when we were eating and air conditioning was only put on 3 times, each lasting a few minutes. The plane was excessively hot, many people were coughing so is it surprising that 3 days later I went down with a throat and chest bug which I still have 3 weeks later. After our return, I happened to speak to a lady who was a complete stranger to me. It turned out that she was on the Zenith around the Med from October 30th - Nov. 6th and they experienced the same problems then. It appears to me that this ship has serious problems with their sewage system. Every time a toilet overflows and soaks a carpet, they deal with it by drying the bacteria laden carpet with a blower, thus drying the bacteria on for people to walk on, both in cabins and in public areas. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
As independent travellers to tour packages/companies I felt we were not given consideration nor treated in the same way as other passengers, I felt we lost 2 x half days of our holiday due to the embarkation/disembarkation process. I ... Read More
As independent travellers to tour packages/companies I felt we were not given consideration nor treated in the same way as other passengers, I felt we lost 2 x half days of our holiday due to the embarkation/disembarkation process. I write below our honest/factual story which did detract from the wonderful 6 days we had on board with no other issues. If you are aware in advance and build it into the planning of your holiday then I hope you find this helpful rather than wasting your precious holiday time. We had already stayed in Barbados and as our flight was not until 5pm so we were determined not to waste yet another day of our trip. We took a taxi back to our previous hotel 20 minutes away from Port for 20 US dollars and paid a day rate of 60 US dollars which gave us a room, shower, towels and beach towels. This should not have been necessary! However please look up Oceans 15 on the internet if you feel you may want to use them as we did. They are located at Christchurch a 5 minute walk away from Dover Beach. We then paid a further 20 US dollars and took another 20 minutes taxi to the airport later in the day. We arrived at the port at 12 p.m. and took our luggage to the designated area. Long queues with no seats followed. Disabled assistance was obtained at the front of the queue not ideal when standing for any more than a short period was not ideal for my disabled mother, one problem with disability is that people cannot see what is going on inside the body with the heart and the head! One Horizon man was patient and polite and deserved praise for being alone handling in excess of 120 people for embarkation. He gave us forms to complete - immigration, health and expense account. These had to be done right there standing in the open hall. There were no chairs and I found myself grovelling on the floor or standing bent over a table crowded with other people and no privacy. This is where I managed to get bitten up my legs for the first time of my holiday and I believe this was from grovelling on the floor to fill in forms. After completing and returning the forms we finally went to the ship reception area at 145pm, unnecessary duplication of process. Again we had to queue for a lengthy time and the receptionists were surly and inefficient. We didn't manage to do the expense form at this time as the queue was so long. We were also advised if wanting cash account we had to pay 150 euro in advance or swipe a card for credit account. I had no issue setting up a credit account until checkout when I had been charged an additional 72 euro per person without my permission and with disinterest again from reception who said it was a compulsory charge and would not refund it, blaming my agent for not advising me, I am still dealing with my agent to get this refunded. We had been advised that bills would be put under our door at 5am and not to contact reception, we didn't get our bills and clearly this was because the fraudulent charges had been put onto our accounts. I have no problem paying tips had Horizon in advance made us aware of this as the staff were very deserving of them but this was classed as a service charge which we had already paid to our agent. However I would not have paid 144 euros in tips for what ended up being a 6 day holiday. Reception were adamant it was our problem not their's though I wasn't surprised as their attitude from the beginning had not been customer focussed. I am generally a very calm person working in a busy department with in excess of 300 people running teams of people from 18 to 60 years old and at least 30 different nationalities but this was the first time I found blank smiles,felt I was unable to get answers and felt I wanted to be rude towards them so often walked off from reception in frustration. I also found it odd that our passports would be confiscated and only returned at the end of the cruise just before we were escorted off the ship. I had a big issue with our luggage as we left hand luggage with our cases which contained medicines needed and didn't expect the luggage to be longer than an hour or so, how wrong I was, it was left abandoned outside our door after 530pm, I was miffed at this as some of it was not locked and one bag had been opened but I must stress that nothing was missing. I had to keep going back to the room to check as medication was needed as I hadn't anticipated over 5 hours for the luggage to arrive when I saw it be loaded onto the truck before we had left embarkation! I was equally miffed at disembarkation we were clearly told luggage would be collected once only and had to be outside our room at 3am! This was prior to us being marched off ship at 9am. I must say collecting our passports was disorganised too with people pushing and shoving as noone would queue, I felt the staff should have a queue system in place. It was made clear to us that we should not stay on board and anyway our luggage would be left unattended in the port! We finally got to our rooms on deck 6 although it is an older ship the inside was fairly spacious more than we expected. Our cabin steward was excellent and cleaned the room every day replacing towels when needed. Had 2 double wardrobes and sufficient drawers for 2 to share both at a spacious dressing table and in one set of the wardrobes. Which also contained a safe and lifejackets. Small but clean bathroom and good shower. We had a double bed when twin beds were requested, I didn't want to share a double bed with my elderly Mother so spoke to the steward and he sorted the beds out within 30 minutes for us. The day you embark you attend a safety presentation at which you are supposed to take your life vests. This however wasn't in any of our documentation and as I was at reception just before the meeting the advice from there was to wait in our cabin! Completely wrong. There was no mention that pool towels were not in the room and had to be signed for on the pool deck. The decks were kept clean and tidy. There was a great daily newsletter. I would have liked to have seen more about the staff in here too.There was also a information newsletter left in the room on arrival which with a few tweaks in some sections would have been much better. The sections I believe that need improvement or inclusion are: Which decks WIFI available and at what cost the WIFI is and how to set it up as I wasn't given options on my phone and again reception could not help me so I went without WIFI. A section on pool towels and where to collect them. These are not in the room as suggested but on deck 11 by the pool. A section on the safety meeting and to take the life vests along. Breakfast and lunch were very good with a good choice of food. There were the traditional breakfast items and lots of French pastries/breads, the omelettes were prepared before hand and served in squares with filling such as salmon or onion.. Lunch also was good - salads, vegetables, meats and fish and lots of fruit. Of course wine and drinks were free all day long and branded drinks too. We found 3 course dinner very good except for one evening receiving a chicken leg/thigh as the main meat it was meatless and stringy so we chose our meat carefully after that and all meals, chicken breast beef medallions, lamb were beautifully cooked. All the waiters and assistant waiters were extremely efficient, polite and helpful as were all the staff in whichever restaurant, bar or part of the ship we attended except for reception, we spoke with 4 different receptionists and found them all to have attitude and to be rude/unhelpful. We also always had to queue. I asked for a complaint form and it took me 3 times before they would give me the form to complete then as it had to go back to reception I didn't bother taking it back as felt it would not have been handled anyway. Table numbers was an issue as few English speaking people on board and an elderly Mother with digestive issues we booked a table for 2 in advance. Again we were not bothered where this was just that we did not share with others. This did not happen so on the first night we were helped to move and given a table for two and advised we could keep it for the week we were there. This worked well for 5 nights until new people boarded and our table number was duplicated with someone else who was very insistent they had the table. Night 6 we were already eating bread and had drinks when rudely interrupted in French with finger poking and gesticulation to get up from the table. Fortunately the waiters handled this for us especially as it was a birthday and we had birthday items obviously also on the table. The last night the table was already taken by the same rude woman when we got there and it delayed us appox 10 minutes whilst the waiters/manager found us another table. We didn't even speak to the woman on our table as had no intention being as rude as She was the previous evening however it would not have taken much for me to remove her from the table myself! The lounges are quite nice but small and seating is limited, so while the music especially in the Rendez-Vous lounge was good, both the band and the singer, it was not possible to get a seat every night and people would have to stand around. The dancing also looked good fun too and i'm sure with a bigger area more people would dance. We also enjoyed the atmosphere and staff in Café Moka and the cocktails and coffees etc.... Dress code at times in the evening was more casual than casual, I'm all for not going formal every night but some people were still in their smelly day clothes! I felt the standard of casual could have bee a little higher. There were some lovely outfits on the formal gala night for photos with the Captain, well done to all these people for setting standards. The announcements were made first in French, then in Spanish and finally in English so we were always aware of what was going on. However in the theatre the jokes were in French or Spanish only so obviously English speaking passengers were at a loss. The shows were quite entertaining, with songs in all three languages. One night there was a tribute to Michael Jackson and another to Abba. The shows were a little arty but entertaining none the less. Each evening we had to sit through the introductions taking at least 10 minutes when a simple poster at the entrance to the theatre in multiple languages would have been sufficient. The trips were a little pricey and had to be booked 48 hours in advance, one point from our perspective was that some of the trips were timed too long for elderly/disabled passengers and that combined with sea sickness and not knowing how well we would be in 48 hours meant that we didn't book any trips in advance. Some Ports however once you left the ship had plenty of variety for trips and we arranged some ourselves more suited to our timings/budget and what we actually wanted to see. Some tips on the trips follow: At La Romana, it wasn't easy to avoid expensive taxis as the Port is set a good walk out of town. In St Kitts good choice of trips but the trips to The Baths for example had to be booked in advance. Again in St Lucia were a good choice of trips.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
Just returned from our first cruise on Pullmantur's Monarch, a cruise line out of Spain owned by Royal Caribbean. One might call them the "little sister" of Royal Caribbean since their fleet incudes the older, smaller ships ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise on Pullmantur's Monarch, a cruise line out of Spain owned by Royal Caribbean. One might call them the "little sister" of Royal Caribbean since their fleet incudes the older, smaller ships passed down from the bigger cruise line. But what Pullmantur offers that other cruise lines don't is an ALL INCLUSIVE package for one low price that includes food, alcohol and other ship board activities. And another special feature offered only by this cruise line is the ability to board the ship at ANY of the ports of call that they stop at, creating an unusually diverse group of cruisers mixed together. Our trip left from the port of Colon, Panama and included stops at Cartagena, Columbia, Oranjestad, Aruba, La Guairá, Venezuela, and Willemstad, Curacao before returning to Panama. At each port while cruisers are enjoying shore excursions other passengers are embarking and disembarking, continually adding new passengers to the mix. Despite the fact that the Monarch is an older, smaller ship we found it elegant, tastefully decorated with all the necessary bells and whistles needed. Along with plenty of food and booze for free there's a spa, gym, rock climbing wall, two pools, two hot tubs, teen club, dance clubs, casino, bars, nightly shows, internet café, jogging track, basketball courts, ping pong and so much more. Although the official language onboard is Spanish, all of the crew seemed to speak English well along with several other languages too. All announcements are made first in Spanish and second in English, so everything we needed to know was clearly stated. All documents and menus were also available in English as soon as the staff knew we weren't fluent in Spanish. But since we're US expats living in Panama we are learning Spanish and enjoyed being immersed in the language for a week, but knew we could revert to English whenever we got lost. The crew was absolutely wonderful and always willing to bend over backwards to take care of our every need. My husband broke his toe on board and needed medical treatment and was immediately seen by the ship's doctors where he was given intravenous pain medication, had x-rays taken of his foot, and had all arrangements made for surgery in Cartagena, since that was our next stop. We returned to the ship before it left port and were able to continue with the rest of our vacation with the benefit of follow up medical care right on board. Cleanliness was of the utmost importance onboard as hand sanitizer was everywhere. Each time we entered or exited an eating establishment we sanitized our hands. And at every port of call we had to sanitize when leaving and re-entering the ship, making us feel very safe that we wouldn't bring home some disease. Overall we loved our cruise with Pullmantur and plan to travel with them again. Absolutely great value for the money, warm, welcoming crew members, great food and lots of good, tropical mixed drinks all of which created memories to last a lifetime. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
Not even sure where to begin...guess w/ the biggest irritation. Upon boarding the ship, we noticed it was HOT. Everywhere! We talked to the reception desk and they said they'd send someone to check on it. Not sure if anyone ever did ... Read More
Not even sure where to begin...guess w/ the biggest irritation. Upon boarding the ship, we noticed it was HOT. Everywhere! We talked to the reception desk and they said they'd send someone to check on it. Not sure if anyone ever did or not but it did seem a bit cooler but not COOL. We sweated getting ready for dinner, we were hot at not, we were hot in the theater, restaurants, etc. Not what you expect on a cruise ship! Finally 5 days into our cruise, the A/C went out completely on the whole ship. (Although I have no proof, I think the A/C was on it's way out the whole time we were aboard and it finally went out on Thur. So from 4am (which is when I woke up not able to breath due to the hot, humid air filling our cabin) until about 8pm we not no A/C and it was a sea day! Figures! The worst part is NO announcements/updates were made the whole day about this problem. They never even issued a sincere apology for the lack of A/C! Not good customer service. Next complaint, the ship was old and it smelled. We were on the 10th deck and our hall smelled like sewage 95% of the time. We were below the buffet kitchen so that may have been the problem but it's a shame to have to hold your nose on the way to your cabin. (There were other areas that smelled too.) This cruise is advertised to cater to Spanish speaking people which is why we chose it. I am a Spanish teacher and am always looking for opportunities to practice my Spanish in the summers. My husband does not speak Spanish so when I read that announcements were made in both languages (Eng/Span) and that most crew members spoke Spanish, I figured we'd be fine. What they don't mention is that "most" crew members know a LITTLE English and basically when spoken to or required to communicate in English, they are way out of their comfort zone. Also some announcements are made in both languages...not all. Shows as long as they were musical numbers were fine but comedians don't work when you don't speak Spanish! This cruise line just doesn't cut it. They aren't what they say they are and they just buy old/used ships from other cruise lines when they don't want them anymore. I have to say the food was good for the most part although breakfast choices didn't vary the whole week (and there's no syrup for pancakes/french toast.) We found most crew members friendly if approached but for the most part, they seemed to want you to get out of their way so they could work. I couldn't find many reviews on this cruise line or our ship. Not sure why but I figured I owed it to you to tell it like it is. We did get a great price on an oceanview cabin but now we know why. IF you want budget, then go for it. If you are spoiled by the many luxuries of most cruise lines, then stay far away! Read Less
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