I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ... Read More
I recognize that on any cruise there is a risk that bad weather can interfere with the experience. However, when problems occur, a reasonable cruise company is honest about the problems, mitigates the problems to the best of their ability, and takes reasonable action to remediate. On our cruise, high waves prevented our ship from reaching St. Petersburg. This had a major impact on the last two days of our trip. Vodohod chose the handle the problem in the following manner:
After a very late dinner, the cruise line announced that all passengers need to be up by 6am so they could be on buses by 7am. We then rode a very cramped bus for 4 1/2 hours to get to St. Petersburg. At 6pm we were told that we needed to get back on that very cramped bus, and ride 5 hours back to the ship. Dinner has not offered until 11:30pm. When we arrived back at the ship at 11:15pm, we were told that we needed to pack, and make sure we were up at 4:45 am, and be completely off the ship by 6am. We were then put on a 4 1/2 hour bus back to St. Petersburg. All communication was delivered by our interpreter who was powerless to do anything other than graciously endure the anger of the passengers. We tried to talk to the cruise director, and she gave us a quick there was nothing she could do, and fled the area. The cruise line did nothing to compensate us, or make the slightest effort to improve our experience. Nor did they give us the opportunity to leave the cruise early, so we could get a good night sleep and avoid two of those miserable bus rides. We later learned that one of the travel agents, who had a representative aboard and has able to learn the truth, got all of their customers off the ship early, and made sure that they spend their last night at a hotel in St. Petersburg.
The result of the three long rides on a cold bus, combined with two nights of inadequate sleep, was that my wife became very sick for the 10 days following the cruise. Her sickness would have been avoided if Vodohod, acted like a "five-star" cruise, they claim to be, by being honest about the situation, and having us spend our last night in a hotel in St. Petersburg. A month ago, I filed a formal complaint to Vodohod, though my travel agent, and Vodohod has not even had the courtesy to respond.
The positive was that the food was excellent. The dining hall staff went well beyond accommodating allergies; they did their best to accommodate every dining preference. My wife is on a glutton free diet. They custom baked for her real delicious rolls, that were so good that I started asking for them. They also provided very helpful translators that were available the entire day and evening. The tour guides ranged from ok to excellent. Read Less