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9 South Pacific Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our first ever cruise with any company and it has put me off any future sailing with RC. I went on board with an open mind after reading many poor reviews about this ship. Unfortunately, most negatives were confirmed. Too ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise with any company and it has put me off any future sailing with RC. I went on board with an open mind after reading many poor reviews about this ship. Unfortunately, most negatives were confirmed. Too crowded. Too long to wait for any activities if they were not already booked out. Very short times on activities due to the number of guests they are trying to accomodate. (1 hr wait per activity the norm) Think your getting something special with the drinks package including premium coffee but there are so few places to get a decent coffee expect a 30-40 min wait at peak times. No real dramas with other beverage availability but some venues need more bar staff to reduce wait times. Food quality was quite inconsistent. Some was good and some was poor. Most was pub grub at best. Even in the 'extra fee' restaurants we were disappointed. Felt like RC is out to bleed your wallet at every opportunity. We had a travelling companion that needed some antibiotics from the medical centre. A consultation and a few pills later... a bill for $400 US? Trying to get off for the day at a port, now that's an experience. Expect delays after delays and total chaos trying to get 5000 people through one gangway and everyone wanting to be the first ashore. Ovation gangway rage was brewing. Trying to get a decent seat near a pool... Set your alarm for 6 am. Want a decent seat at a show you've booked.... Get there an hour early or you'll end up trying to look around a 400mm column in the Royal Theatre or be stuck up the back of Two70 with a huge designer lamp blocking your view to the upper level stages. Forget about seeing the performers on the lower stages unless your in the front 2 rows. The robot bar is the ultimate gimmick. It doesn't create drinks anywhere near the standard of a decent bartender and spills 15% of your selection trying to get it in the plastic cup. Most times I walked past, it was being re-stocked or had broken down. And the one that most people don't expect... This ship looks like a tsunami couldn't influence it's bulk. Wrong! Ovation is quite influenced by a swell as low as 3-4 metres. It's just too damn top heavy so be prepared for some extra rock 'n roll. With the huge amount of guests on board and the chaos we experienced in calm controlled conditions, one might question their ability to efficiently handle an emergency situation. On the positive side, If you do get a decent seat for any entertainment you should enjoy the talented performers. The band 'Rock The Boat' is one of the tightest and most talented covers bands you'll find anywhere. The Dream and Legs were also great. Pixels... well, got a crap seat so couldn't see much of that. Most of the staff are very friendly and efficient and will bend over backwards to try and please you. The accomodation is spacious, modern and comfortable but any announcements can't be heard inside the well insulated cabins. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Should be a speaker and volume control or TV override so you don't have open your cabin door to hear any announcements. Most people I spoke to on the ship about their experience had similar opinions to us and most said they won't sail again on Ovation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are 2 women. I am in my late fifties, my travelling companion in her seventies. Originally my parents (also in their seventies) were to join us for the cruise in the adjacent mini-suite, but had to cancel at the last minute due to an ... Read More
We are 2 women. I am in my late fifties, my travelling companion in her seventies. Originally my parents (also in their seventies) were to join us for the cruise in the adjacent mini-suite, but had to cancel at the last minute due to an urgent health issue. This has no bearing on my review of this particular cruise. My companion had never cruised or left Australia before. I am an experienced traveller, often solo. This was my first ocean cruise. Previously I have cruised for up to 14 days on a small ship expedition off Kimberley WA coast and a river cruise in Russia. We are both of average fitness with no mobility problems. We chose the New Zealand itinerary over Christmas for the ports and shore excursions available around New Zealand sailing out of Sydney Harbour and the personal recommendation of at least 6 people regarding Princess Cruises. We used the Princess Sydney Airport shuttle bus both ways. Both the embarkation and disembarkation process and passenger experience was severley compromised by poor communication, lackadaisical service and in fact misinformation on the part of Princess staff/contractors on the ground and on board ship. We had been upgraded to Club Class - thank you - but were not informed of this until we had been standing in various queues for more than 3 hours at the Sydney terminal. There was nothing on the Cruise Personaliser and we or our travel agent were not informed. We were told to get into one queue and then another and then we were appartently in the wrong queue. Honestly this mob could not run a chook raffle. We were even told at one point that they had run out of trolleys - "go and look after your own bags" - after being told by another Princess staffer that they would be looked after between getting on the bus and cabin. Then after considerable panic, some nice young man turned up with more trolleys. The beginning of the cruise was marred considerably as it took my companion the first 3 days to get over it! Disembarkation was just as disorganised. We had done everything we had been told - as always - to the letter. We were called "light blue 6" so we made our way to where we were told only to be told by Security to "wait until you are called" We said "We have been called". We made our way down to the luggage and mine went missing for more than an hour. Another woman and I were both given "lost luggage vouchers" before some sheepish young bloke turned up with my bag. As far as i know, the other woman is still waiting. Cabin (mini-suite) OK, maitenance very poor. Shower/bath outlet blocked so showering in ankle deep water that took up to 20 minutes to drain (after 2 minute shower) - plumber materialised 48 hours after complaint - apparently no one had noticed prior to this. Speaking to other women on cruise - this is the first thing that they check - they clean their own outlet pipe of hair and other debris left by previous occupants! Yuck!!!!! Toilet broke while room steward on time off (Day 5 Auckland). Bowl overflowing and down back wall. Managed to stop before the dirty deluge reached the carpet, after wading in - not happy. Paged steward - no answer - pager clearly not put through to anyone else. Contacted Passenger Services and demanded help - not taken seriously. Plumber took 3.5 hours to arrive. Strange little man came to mop up water - did not clean bowl. Eventually saw supervisor 3 days later, who called me a liar - not a high point Princess! Complimentary bottle of cheap wine not really appreciated after that experience! Food repitive, average, sometimes poor - inedible - even CS Share. Room service - most times something - like milk - left off tray. Entertainment disappointing. High point of trip - the marvelous Ana (Club Class dining room hostess). Perhaps Princess need to make her a trainer in customer service and common sense! On-shore excursions generally as expected although expensive for what is provided. Akaroa - Southern Alps including train to Arthur's Pass. As with all the excursions considerably overpriced. I might be nice to at least get a biscuit to go with the cold weak coffee. Disappointing when driver left an elderly couple behind with their bags and coats still on bus after 5 minute photo stop. They could both be clearly seen by all of the other 20 passengers on this particular bus hurrying back to whithin 2 metres of the bus front door! Driver told repeatedly, but they were left to catch up at next stop an hour or so later on another bus - not good enough! Driver's name - Gary. He was clearly seen being interviewed for the "Reflections" DVD for this cruise. In Dunedin after city tour, bemused when "complimentary shuttle bus back to ship" costs $10 NZ one way! Bemused when on boarding found "gift for you" card for prepaid internet access. Apparently they were the "only cards that we had printed". People who had prepaid drinks packages had to ask for refunds as it was cheaper to arrange on board. Far too often there were language problems including incorrect drinks orders - or perhaps just convenient excuse for appalling service. Most of captain's and other announcements not audible from inside room. Some were - why not all? Told by steward to "open the door". If it is important enough to make an anouncement about then it needs to be heard throughout the ship. Sometimes by the time I realised that there was an announcement going on and got to the other end of the long skinny mini-suite to open the door - the announcement was over! The biggest bugbear was the door to our cabin / mini-suite. One or both of our cruise cards needed to be reactivated no less than seventeen (yes 17) times for the 14 days or our cruise to operate the door. Strangely the magnetic strip worked just fine for everything else - only the door was a problem! Just as well as my companion used hers to spend an awful lot of money in the ship's retail precinct. That was the only time except overnight on the bedside table away from lights etc. that she removed the lanyard from around her neck - as for both of us. She doesn't actually carry a phone and her bag did NOT have a magnet! It got to the stage that my companion would not leave the room without me for fear of not being able to get back in. We made contingency plans so that we did not miss various bookings because we couldn't get timely entrance to our room. Each foray into the queue at Passenger Services took from 5 - 30 minutes. Yes - I timed it! Yes, I, in particular do understand the concept of magnets, phones etc. as I hold post-graduate university qualifcations in medical physics. Other passengers also had problems with their doors and batteries etc were replaced - particularly if at least one of the passsengers was male! I have never had this problem before and no - I do not believe that this was our fault. Twice we were told that this would be checked out - it was not and of course on the last morning of the cruise my companion's card ceased to work yet again - right on queue! It was particularly disheartening to see our cabin steward and one of his nasty little mates appearing to have a good laugh at my elderly companion attempting to gain entrance to her own room and failing. It may be fine in some cultures to treat middle-aged and elderly wormen as invisible - not in mine. Please remember that it is my generation and older particularly in Australia and like countries who DO have the disposable income along with the opportunity, health and fitness in retirement to use it; but we are choosey where we spend it - and we are becoming silent no more regarding poor service and downright rudeness. "Princess Cruises - Come back New"...................... Princess Cruises - Come back broke and disappointed! Princess Cruises - don't come back at all! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. However, the overall food and restaurant experience were appalling. Bad organisation, cheap food, no change of menu, no flexibility with dining times, having to queue for breakfast, upstairs pantry - don't even go there .... you had to pay for a lot of the food, and which cruise line does not put food on after 9 pm on New Year's Eve, for heaven's sake? THIS ONE!!! We would hang out to be on shore just so we could find something decent to eat. The biggest problem with P&O is that even though they get you to complete a survey on your experience, they don't seem to give a toss at how bad the review is. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Will this was my second time on the The Rhapsody and 4th time with RCCL and I must say that I was VERY disappointed. RCCL to save on cost have changed a few things around and I feel not for the better. Basically they were more like a P ... Read More
Will this was my second time on the The Rhapsody and 4th time with RCCL and I must say that I was VERY disappointed. RCCL to save on cost have changed a few things around and I feel not for the better. Basically they were more like a P & O / Carnival cruise than a RCCL cruise so yes they have gone down a notch. Now not that I drink alot but the thing I found disappointing on the Carnival Spirit was the way they had Nip pourers and they even had measuring jugs for Wine - whereas, the RCCL line did not. To my surprise they have introduced this now (apparently within the las 3 mths) as a cost saving messure as told to me by the Bar Staff. Also one of the highlights use to be the singing of the Reastaurant staff near the end of the cruise - this has also been cut out. On RCCL they have a Fundraiser called "Save our Seas" T-Shirts and they sell them for $10 and you do a 1km walk with the Captain and his cruise. Well this was the first RCCL cruise that this did not happen as I supposed we were not good enough to walk with Captain Gustav.....The last time I was on The Rhapsody was April 2013 and this time the so called "Broadway" showa were exactly the same and the other supporting shows were mediocre as best - Very Disappointing indeed. The saving grace as always id the Main Restaurant and Dinner each night was enjoyable. I am hoping that RCCL will pick up their standards otherwise, I will have to find a new Cruise Line to travel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Where to begin? Being seasoned cruisers and having done the Radiance last year,we had a couple of expectations surrounding this cruise. Beautifully refurbished ship,Christmas happy people all having a nice time....Wrong!! We and a group ... Read More
Where to begin? Being seasoned cruisers and having done the Radiance last year,we had a couple of expectations surrounding this cruise. Beautifully refurbished ship,Christmas happy people all having a nice time....Wrong!! We and a group of others literally ran off the ship and all stated never again in a month of frosty fridays in hell would we sail on Voyager again,if at all RCCL. Embarkation was 100%. A steady slide downhill from then on. Our junior suite was on level nine,in a good location,but thats it. We weren't looking for fault as on Radiance there had been little to complain about,just kick back and enjoy. Oh,no,not on this sorry ship...the first thing noticed was the unvarnished handrails on our balony,complete with sticky patches of plastic protective coating that lazy workers had failed to peel off(it came off easily i might add). Filthy glass doors,and deck(i cleaned those doors myself,after the cabin steward had a go and gave up). Black mould in the shower,which after 5 days was removed and re siliconed. Patches of rolled on flat paint(aprox 20 of these)on the living area ceiling covering tiny scratches!all these patches were around 20 x25cms each! But more to the point,the ceiling was satin finish,so you can imagine what they looked like,way worse at night...positively shameful standard of work. Not all our drawers had been re-lined(a swanky part of this refurbishment, i believe),so maintenance arrived with a box cutter and roll of sticky to do this. The reason id said something was because there was hair and such still in the drawer from the previous holiday makers. The first time we met our cabin steward,he informed us of his income,really do i need to go into any more detail regarding that?apart from unrequired information and an unacceptable thing to do. After day 5 we politely(as always)asked if we could please have clean sheets and our room vaccuumed,as it had not been done since we boarded.. this was met with a statement that it had been done...were not stupid,so could clearly see it had not been. This sort of malarkey carried on until customer relations were spoken to yet again and the situation sorted. We received a bottle of cheap red wine "for our discomfort". I mean,lets face it,our cabin is always immaculate,because that's how we choose to live,so are not hard to look after! Anyway we were assigned a new steward who was just lovely and did a great job...but no monkey towels and treats for us because i guess they were not pleased we has to complain so often,to get a mediocre result really. As for mealtimes,well i think that if you're reading this then you will know that all other comments written by my fellow reviewers are 150%true. Theres nothing i can add except,over populated ship,understaffed and lack of dining areas...actually a god awful experience. We found a lot of English language issues. We were told very firmly by the Australian customer relations assistant that"UM..they actually have to pass a test,so of course they speak good English",so ok,use it then! May i say that the gals in the high end shops were not only helpful,but cheerful and so obliging...consequently,i spent a heap of money on luxury items that i cannot buy where i live..YAAAY!! Bar staff could not have cared less,and depending on where you went,depended on the price and size of wine glass served,but,tell you what..being female ensured that any men standing at the bar did not get served before females! Very little to do really on this cruise,unless you were into noisy kids,shrieking unsupervised teenagers,or in pools that were most undesirable places to be. Most definitely lacking in anything to do for peaceful adults who wish to spend time reading,or just relaxing. So we found ourselves often driven back to our cabin,and hey,lets face it,that wasn't the best place,was it?? We knew there would be a ton of kids on board,but i question the parents who allowed their unruly kids to run riot,all over the ship continually,to the point that we are surprised there wasnt an emergency overboard...do not think that when on board,your horrid kids will be out of your hair and supervised...make no mistake,they will not, Instead they will be annoying other passengers who have paid a lot of good money to put up with them. I asked my Husband who is a construction company site manager,what makes a building/structure such as Voyager feel so sad and just not work? He said that a building has to have a soul,has to be put together by people who care..or it just wont work. Sadly Voyager is one of these such structures..a huge tank of people all sailing round in what sounds and feels like a 40 gallon drum.. I think Mr.Goldstein needs to take a good hard look at attention to detail,how his staff work and feel and make a lot of changes. And sometimes that can only come from the top and work its way down...and we all know what that means. We would have to be really keen to do RCCL ever again Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were ... Read More
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were aimed at rest home level, and were regular. i.e. knitters group, craft group, bridge players group, and on it goes! There was little of interest for anyone under 50 years old and there were no new activities during the cruise. The cruise director was dreadful. He appeared lazy and stale. His jokes were weak and he repeated them often. He was rarely seen during the day and came on after each show in the evening, and many people just walked out when he came on. The singers and dancers were great, but unless you enjoy ballroom dancing and associated music, there was nothing else to do in the evening except gamble at the casino which became expensive, or drink too much. They had one deck party during the entire cruise which was great, but needed more. We love good music but there was only the princess band which had a large brass section so could be hard to listen to, a duo who where almost karaoke with their electronic backing, a quartet which played classical and the band which occasionally played on deck who were painfully out of tune and untalented (only ok to listen to after large quantities of alcohol). The nightclub mainly played disco music. Occasionally they screened concerts by good bands like tina turner or U2 on the big screen which were great, but often at 10am?? The food was amazing. Fabulous, fresh, tasty, great selection, cannot complain. We had an inside cabin which was quite adequate for us, but the beds were very hard and a bit lumpy. The itinerary sounded good, but all of the Fiji ports were just that - ports or small towns. No little islands with sandy beaches and good snorkelling and swimming unless you paid for an excursion. New Caledonia ports were good though. In general the best staff were the lower ranking ones. They couldn't do enough for you, although it soon transpired that if they put one foot out of place they were disciplined. They wouldn't even let us fill our own wine glass from the bottle on the table, or they would end up in the office of their superior. The supervisors, however in general were not great and could appear arrogant and unhelpful. Typical of such a hierarchal organisation. I would have happily fired a few and promoted their subordinates. Overall I definitely would not travel with Princess again. They have dated and slipped behind in a hugely competitive market where there are superior ships and experiences available. My advice to Sun Princess is get rid of your Cruise Director and find someone with some fresh ideas and some get up and go.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
After an amazing trip on Freedom of the Seas we were excited to be spending Xmas onboard Voyager of the Seas after the refurbishment. Unfortunately the boat, cruise and service were all disappointing. The meals were average and lacked ... Read More
After an amazing trip on Freedom of the Seas we were excited to be spending Xmas onboard Voyager of the Seas after the refurbishment. Unfortunately the boat, cruise and service were all disappointing. The meals were average and lacked variety, the wait at any of the bars to purchase a drink was ridiculous, the service received was below expectations and the cruise lacked any Christmas spirit. The entertainment was not up to standard for a RCI cruise. We visited the day spa and were forgotten about and left in the lounge area, went back to see reception after 30 minutes. Finally had our massage / facials but it was rushed and below standard. For which we paid a compulsory tipping of about 17%. We came down with food poisoning on Xmas night and spent the remainder of the cruise unable to participate in anything. Left the boat on the 29th straight to the airport and then to see our doctor on arrival home. Whilst onboard and at the medical centre only nurse was available during the cruise and just gave injections and tablets. Not at all interested in another RCI cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We always wanted to go to the south pacific and this was an affordable cruise with Holland America an round trip from San Diego. We had a great time visiting all the ports and overall enjoyed the cruise. However, we will not be cruising ... Read More
We always wanted to go to the south pacific and this was an affordable cruise with Holland America an round trip from San Diego. We had a great time visiting all the ports and overall enjoyed the cruise. However, we will not be cruising on this line again do to the demographics of the ship. If you are over 75 this is the cruise for you. Fellow Passengers: The passengers were definitely seasoned cruisers as the brochure states. We knew that the typical demographic was 50 plus. This cruise attracted passengers that fit a demographic of 75 to 90 year olds. Many people joked that this was a floating nursing home. Lots of wheel chairs, walkers and electric scooters on the ship. My husband and I do have our AARP cards however, were surprised by the age group of the passengers. We did not have much in common with the majority of our fellow passengers. Overall people were friendly and we made some new friendships. Dinning: The food was great on the ship lido and the dining room. Varied menu items. Quality was good. The only snacks available in the afternoon were deserts in the Lido. No healthy foods like yogurt, or cottage cheese or veggies. The lido also closed early at 8:00 pm then late night snack from 10 to 11 pm. The service in the lido was poor. Wait staff did not pick up the dirty dishes in front of you. Many times I had to bus our table. The service in the dining room I would rate poor. One evening I had to chase down the waiter as he forgot to take my husband's order for dinner. Food did not come out of the kitchen consistently. When ordering food sometimes more often than not, the people's food came out at different times. By the time I finished eating my husband was just being served. There is an opportunity for additional training for the wait staff. Italian Restaurant, Canaletto was fairly good it is similar to the leading chain restaurant and is not gourmet Italian fair. It was not worth the 10 dollars per person. Steak House, Pinnacle Grill -- We found that we did not need to make a reservation at this restaurant we just walked in and were seated. This steak house did not meet our expectations. The cost was $20 per person. We ordered steaks -- filet and rib eye. The rib eye was tough very hard to cut my husbands appeared to be baked not seared rare. They had to be using a lower grad of Sterling Beef. I was expecting an experience like we get when we dine at Motrin's or Ruth's Chris steak house, USDA Prime Beef. When you spend $45 for a steak you get the best. We sent our steaks back and our money was refunded. Public Rooms: We did not care for the layout of the ship -- it was very compartmental. Not open like other cruise ships. The pool area most of the time had the cover closed it was like a sauna. People would get there early and sleep in the lounge chairs all day. We spent most of our time out back of the ship at the pool. Cabin: Our inside cabin was extremely small -- the bed just fit and we had one small chair with a table. The space for clothing ext.. was limited. It would be good for a 7 day cruise but, not for a 30 day. I felt like we were hiding in the closet. I have stayed in inside cabins but never one this small. We did not spend very much time in the room so it was not that big of a deal. SPA and Fitness: The gym was adequate plenty of machines etc.. However, you had to pay extra for boot camp, spin and yoga. There were no cardio classes available -- aerobics or zumba. It was extremely hot in the gym and the staff was asked several times to turn on the air conditioning but, they said they asked the captain and he would not change the temperature. Shore Excursions: We did not purchase any shore excursions from Holland. We found them extremely overpriced. We purchased our excursions in the ports from the locals. Tendering was a challenge -- long wait times to get off the ship. Some were 1 hour from the time you got your number to get off the ship. Once again do your homework - if you are used to the FUN SHIP this is not the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be ... Read More
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be desired. We had no issues with embarkation as is mentioned in other posts. We checked our bags in and continued shopping until we were able to board. As is typical with all cruises, we were ambushed once on board by those selling beverage packages. We were disappointed but not surprised that any wine package purchased only incorporated Italian wines. We selected the premium package and must say the wine was not what we would call premium. It was average at best and for 5 bottles at $109 Euro was a bit of a rort. Plus service charge of course!! The room was sufficient. Although I must say the bathroom was scungy with mould in the shower and behind the taps on the vanity. I did 10 rounds with the shower curtain on a regular basis and in the end decided it was a lot easier to shower without it. The toilet system is continually under stress which is most unpleasant. Many times, the toilet would not flush and there were occasions where the system was blocked. When we advised our hostess of this, she checked and advised us that this was OK, the entire level had the same problem!! For the next few hours, I needed to use the public toilets instead of our own and the smell was putrid. The choice of television stations is interesting. There is one English movie channel which plays movies at certain times of the day. Over the 3 weeks on the ship, the movies were repeated 3 times. Other selections other than European channels were Russian news being read in English and details of the ship. In other words, the TV service is what I would call substandard. Other areas on the ship are tired and dated. While the leather chairs and sofas are a nice touch, the corners are worn and overall appear scruffy. I had to laugh when on the first day I ventured out to the pool deck for a quick drink. I kid you not, the pool is about 3m by 3m. More like a plunge pool than a traditional swimming pool. You cannot 'swim' in it. I just assumed that the other pool at the back of the ship must make up for this. No! It is exactly the same size. In all my time travelling, I have never seen anything so ridiculous to cater for 1,600 guests. Our room was located directly across from the Emergency Exit. On the first and second nights, we had constant slamming doors as staff were using this exit to transfer baggage. In addition, all room service came up through this exit. Next to this exit was the cleaning cupboard. If you end up with room 7146, don't expect a good night's sleep. On the 3rd day, I approached the 'service' desk to inform them of the noise issue and to ask if there were any alternate cabins available that we may move to. The 'service' attendant stated that the ship was full and she didn't understand why I would have any issues with the noise. She said if I had an issue, I should tell the people responsible to be quiet. Hmmm, I thought that was their job. She then proceeded to tell me pointedly that noise can be expected on all cruises. Then she smiled and asked for the next guest enquiry. I guess that is what they call service. The restaurant for dinner was the only option. We found this extremely inconvenient. Dress rules apply for dinner and it would have been appropriate to offer at least one alternate option (eg, the buffet) for dinner, especially considering the total number of days the ship was at sea. A pizza bar did open at 8pm each night, but one can only eat so much pizza. The one night we opted for pizza, the dough was not cooked and the while dish lacked flavour. Truly awful. The food was average. The choices were varied and always contained vegetarian options. Seafood was available on a regular basis which was good. The best offering of the day was generally the buffet at lunch - a great deal of variety and specials. However, in the end I compared this buffet with that of a pig's trough. I learned quickly not to get in between a hungry European guest and the buffet. If you did, you were in danger of losing body parts. People consistently were rude, pushing in front and eating in gigantic proportions. Poor hygiene was on full display. The buffet obviously is unable to cater for the entire number of guests on board and it is frustrating when other guests treat this buffet as the social centre of the ship instead of being efficient and completing their meal so others could be seated. The breakfast catered mainly for the European guests on board. Toast was more like a Cruskit, but there were plenty of pastries available if you wanted. In fact, over half of the buffet consisted of these pastries. Salami seemed popular for breakfast! The quality was a lot less than what I have experienced in hotels and on other cruises. The tours were limited for English speaking guests. This was further exaggerated by bilingual guests choosing the English speaking tours. We spoke with many other English speaking guests who had many of their tours cancelled. Worse still, it seemed that the cheaper tours were the ones cancelled (by cheap I mean $50 - $80 Euro) while the more expensive tours proceeded. There was a significant lack of organisation. Many tours were late and you were not kept informed by the tour organisers - just left sitting in the opera lounge waiting for your number to be called. On one tour in Seychelles, an announcement was made 15 minutes after the due departure time that we would be ready to go in 5 minutes. We were moved out 45 minutes late. For a $184 Euro excursion, an apology or explanation would have been nice. By this stage of our trip, we knew better. The same old issues arose on our tours as happens on all of them. Ignorant and selfish guests were consistently late back to the bus. However, the worst incident of lateness was a Costa staff member. The guests waited on a bus in Reunion Island for 25 minutes for a Costa staff member and his partner. We applauded them when they finally made it back to the bus. His comment? "Don't worry, the ship won't leave without me". This pretty much sums up the attitude of the staff on board. I truly believe that they are indifferent to the experience of the paying guests. The overall disorganisation by staff came to a head two days before we disembarked. Upon arriving at Mauritius, we were instructed to pick up our passports and that we would all individually undergo a customs interview with a Mauritius official. For those heading on tours for the day, we were asked to line up from 8am. Other guests wanting to go ashore were to follow at 8.30am. Knowing this could be a bit of a debacle, we started lining up at 7.30am. Already, there were around 12 people in front of us. Quite quickly the line grew and as usual, people consistently attempted to push in and get to the front of the queue. The Mauritius officials were late which added to the hysteria. Guests were shouting at each other, different nationalities were fighting each other, age was no barrier to aggression and I actually felt scared at one point that there was going to be an all in brawl. Finally at 8am, the Costa staff placed barriers up to stop people attempting to push in. The line ended up being from one end of the ship to the other. What a disgrace. This could have been organised so much better, I cannot believe with their experience that they would not intuitively understand how this frustrated some of the passengers. But again, as I have said, I really don't think they care. Due to the cost of the tours, it was evident that a lot of guests chose to stay on board or do their own thing. We had many days at sea and I must say the entertainment budget must be very constrained. Entertainment consisted of trivia competitions (skewed towards European trivia of course), a professor providing history talks, sessions from the Spa about keeping your tan, losing your kilos or having the perfect abs (same thing every day and more or less just a sales pitch), and some religious activities. Prizes for winning competitions were limited to Costa notepads, mousepads and other cheap gadgets. We just kept to ourselves when at sea and lucky I had several books and an IPhone handy. The ship provides WiFi which is great, but at $24 Euro of 3 hours is absolutely a ridiculous price. Some other things to note: Alcohol is ridiculously overpriced - if you like a drink, be prepared for a massive bill; Don't by any means get any laundry done unless you have a spare $150 Euro; Be prepared for massive currency discounts when changing into Euro's - worse than an agent; Take hand sanitiser with you - insufficient supplies on board. The good points? The service staff and the actual places we visited. We will never cruise with Costa again. When completing the feedback forms, we were told we were in with a chance at winning a free cruise. One, I do not believe Costa would give away something for free and two, even if I won, I would be loathe to take up the opportunity. Way better cruises available for similar prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010

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