We had an opportunity for a LONG vacation and needed to unwind before reaching Barcelona (for 3 weeks in Spain). We live on the Pacific side of Costa Rica (expat Americans) and it was very convenient to have friends drive us to Puerto ... Read More
We had an opportunity for a LONG vacation and needed to unwind before reaching Barcelona (for 3 weeks in Spain). We live on the Pacific side of Costa Rica (expat Americans) and it was very convenient to have friends drive us to Puerto Limon. The cruise on Pullmantur was less expensive than an economy flight to Barcelona and gave us 15 nights to relax on the crossing for just over $900 per person in the second best accommodations on the ship.
This was a ship that could hold 1500 passengers and between Puerto Limon and the 1st of two stops, the Dominican Republic, only 80 (YES, EIGHTY!) people boarded. The crew was friendly and efficient. I believe there were 600 crew members making the ratio of crew to passenger 7.5 crew to 1 passenger. That was the ONLY good thing to say about this cruise.
The ship was old; not very attractive; badly needed refurbishing; and not very well maintained. The dining service was great, but the food was a 1-star on a scale of 1 to 5. The menu offered steak and shrimp for an upcharge of $10 and $15 per person. It was otherwise bland, tough meat, sameness, and what one might expect from a not too good cooks kitchen. Only the pastry chef and bread baker were 3-4 star.
If the ship had stabilizers they did not seem to be working, as walking through the hallways required holding on to the railings at all times during the Atlantic crossing. It appeared that this was a maintenance cruise as the banging continued as the rust was hammered off the metal for several hours every day.
The temperature in the cabins could not be controlled and after several service calls I wound up sitting in my cabin with a sweater and wrapped in a down blanket to keep warm. I got a cold after a few days and spent the next few in bed. During that time, my husband was not allowed to carry even a cup of tea back to the cabin for me and room service would not deliver any hot beverages except at breakfast. Once we hit the Mediterranean (after 8 freezing days) it was warmer.
The toilets on the ship worked on a system similar to that of a plane; some sort of air system. For at least 3 days the system was being repaired from first thing in the morning to 3 in the afternoon and there were NO WORKING TOILETS on the ship. No flushing toilets that is. And when the smell became bad enough "Out of Order" signs were placed on the public bathrooms of the ship. Thank goodness there were only 80 people!
The sea was so rough that the outside decks were closed most of the time, along with the pool. The sea spray reached over our balcony onto the sliding doors of the veranda - and we were on deck 9!
I am a smoker and could only smoke outside, which was, of course, impossible except at the back of deck 10, protected from the sea spray, but where most of the hammering continued from morning to night. The only smoking area on the INSIDE of the ship was a bar who only allowed passengers who had purchased their "supreme" beverage package! I had not since I don't drink at all.
The entertainment on the ship was less than mediocre. There were two shows (both very unprofessional) and the rest of the nights were theme parties in the lounge sponsored by the ships entertainment crew. There was a Captain's Cocktail Party - strangely held AFTER dinner when everyone was already full.
The second stop before we reached Barcelona was in Gibralter. The tour I had booked was canceled because there were not enough reservations. We were able to book the same tour with a tour vender on the dock for 1/2 the price the ship had charged and had a delightful time.
With all of the above, there was never any apology - not even for the canceled excursions, broken AC or toilets! The staff at the front desk acted as if everything was in perfect order. It was surreal.
All I can say about Pullmantur is although they are a division of Royal Caribbean, it's time to close them down and retire their lowest-end ships and cruises. I spent most days reading and wondering why we didn't fly, which would have given us an extra two weeks to spend for fabulous trip through southern Spain.
My recommendation... STAY AWAY from a Pullmantur cruise. Read Less