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33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This boat had mixed emotions from me....I thought I would have enjoyed it, but unfortunately I'm monolingual, and they're more concerned with their Spanish and French Guest. The TV stations were all in Spanish, well barring CNN ... Read More
This boat had mixed emotions from me....I thought I would have enjoyed it, but unfortunately I'm monolingual, and they're more concerned with their Spanish and French Guest. The TV stations were all in Spanish, well barring CNN and one movie station, which showed the same thing over and over. The food was okay, it had it's moments... The staff were friendly, even though one crew member openly told me he hated his job. The kids club was in spanish and my son, had serious challenges....but still went along, because there was nothing else to do. My cabin, So my cabin was huge, a lovely ocean view, huge bathroom....BUTTTTT let me tell you, clearly disinfectant and bleach is a no no, because the bathroom was horrible...we were told not to flush toilet paper, but place it in the bin. so image what happened when you had to number two..... Im not sure how sanitary that is, for us or the housekeepers. The towels were dingy, there were no facetowels, the sheets were not that clean either. A whole floor on the boat couldn't flush their toilets, and the pee and feces was floating in the public toilets...I was not.......impressed and if I had not cruised before, I wouldn't attempt to do it again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose the cruise because I wanted to cruise the Caribbean visiting places like Santo Domingo which I do not usually go to. The cruise was good, the food was good too. The staff were helpful and friendly. I was very disappointed that ... Read More
I chose the cruise because I wanted to cruise the Caribbean visiting places like Santo Domingo which I do not usually go to. The cruise was good, the food was good too. The staff were helpful and friendly. I was very disappointed that the Teen Club was never available for my daughter whenever she went there was some excuse or the other - "we have only boys today", "or we are dealing with the new children today.". Service was good in the photo shop and the Spa. However, dinner time service was the best and I must commend Waiter Mr. Julian Martinez and Assistant Waiter Mr. Santiago Assume who gave excellent service. I enjoyed the nightly shows with the singers and dancers. However the stand up show was disappointing to me as it was in Spanish and I am English speaking. My recommendation would be to pay more attention to the non -Spanish speaking passengers during the entertainment segments so that all passengers can have a better experience. 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
Our party of six - three couples - boarded the Horizon on January 21, 2014. We have all cruised many times to various destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal, Baltic, etc and on the major large cruise lines. In ... Read More
Our party of six - three couples - boarded the Horizon on January 21, 2014. We have all cruised many times to various destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Panama Canal, Baltic, etc and on the major large cruise lines. In addition we have travelled extensively over land .I cruised last month on Carnival Valor so that was still fresh in my mind and I thought it would be good to use as a comparison. This was my thirtieth cruise. We booked as usual through a major online agency. I am dealing mainly with my impressions of the Horizon since information on ports of call is readily available. Let me say now that I will never again cruise on this ship and I am unable in good conscience to recommend it to anyone because of the behaviour of the staff which negated everything else that was positive. We got to the port at 1.30 p.m. and took our luggage to the designated area. Then Horizon staff 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 certainly not the type of welcome you get on the Carnival Valor where you are allowed on the ship and offered a seat and refreshment. After completing and returning the forms we went to the ship to the reception area to be checked in. We were amazed to learn that our passports would be confiscated and only returned at the end of the cruise just before we were escorted off the ship. The two British couples in the group even had their ID cards taken. What is that about? Is this still done? I would suggest that you travel with a copy of your passport information if you intend to be on this ship. We were not at all comfortable with this situation. We finally got to our rooms, ocean view on deck 4, and were pleasantly surprised, because although it is an old ship the inside is quite attractive. However, do not expect complementary toiletries as on other lines. There are shampoo and body wash dispensers in the shower stall and only one cake of soap at the face basin. Facial tissues are not provided. If you need these things bring your own. Our cabin steward was a pleasant young man but he was unable to complete the work. Do not expect turn down service at night. This was hit or miss. Of the seven nights we were on the ship we got this only three times. Breakfast and lunch were very good, and better in my opinion than other lines. There were the traditional breakfast items and lots of French pastries, the omelettes were prepared before hand. Lunch also was good - salads, vegetables, meats and fish and lots of fruit. Of course wine and drinks were free. On other ships we often have breakfast in the dining room to get away from the crowds, but there was always somewhere to sit in the upstairs buffet on this ship. Dinner was nothing to write home about. There is one formal night, and that was the worst meal of the entire cruise. There was no lobster, shrimp cocktail, cherries jubilee or baked Alaska. We ordered duck, and it was so undercooked we thought it would have jumped off the plate quacking and fly away. The waiter encouraged us to try other things on the menu. He was really very nice and helpful and did everything in his power to make our dining experience pleasant. The same cannot be said for some of the other staff in the upstairs buffet. They were downright rude. A passenger asked one politely to clear a table, his response was 'you don't have to tell me I can see for myself'. If he can see it why doesn't he clear it? They stand around talking with trays of wine and drinks but refuse to serve. Of course not all of them do this but you can't help noticing the ones who do. One cleared the table directly in front the passenger's face like he was going to break the man's nose off. The lounges are quite nice but small and seating is limited, so while the music especially in the Rendez-Vous lounge was good it was not possible for us to spend time there as we had hoped. 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. Just before the end of the cruise the staff informed us that we would have to pay an additional 72Euros each for gratuities. We took all our documentation that we had received from them showing that these were included in the fare. The staff said they did not care they were taking an additional 72Euros each. Well at that point I was totally disgusted and disappointed and only wanted to get off the ship. I have seen passengers in droves demand their gratuities back, especially in the Mediterranean so why are they grabbing our money especially for poor service? We were not even refusing to pay just advising that we had already done so. I am happy to say that the agency is refunding the money. At the disembarkation talk the international hostess said that we would all assemble in one of the lounges at 9.00 a.m. where we would receive our confiscated passports and be escorted off the ship to the Customs area since we would already be cleared by Immigration. A passenger asked if she could stay on for an additional two hours since she had a late flight. She was told that she could not do so. Take note that anyone who is accustomed on other cruise lines to checking out of the room but staying on board must be aware that this is not permitted on the Horizon unless according to the hostess you have a Pullmantur package. I am accustomed to better service so I found it difficult to accept the type that was offered. If you are cruising on this ship be aware of the above. We will not be back. Once was enough for us.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
I read a review before I went which made me think "Oh no, this is going to be Benidorm at Sea" which is very unlike what I would have expected from a cruise, but then again, it was about half the price that I paid for the last ... Read More
I read a review before I went which made me think "Oh no, this is going to be Benidorm at Sea" which is very unlike what I would have expected from a cruise, but then again, it was about half the price that I paid for the last cruise I went on. I am a down to earth person that expects to get what I pay for. I can tell you that this is exactly the case when it comes to the Island Star. Talking to other passengers, comments were all pretty similar. One family told me that the Ocean Village was far superior in entertainment and facilities and this is the same price range as far as I know. Hygiene was very good, with staff waiting at the entrance for you to sanitize your hands but there were other food areas where people walked in without sanitizing which was not good. I have been on another ship where the waiter/waitress will only give you your plate when they have seen you use the hand sanitizer. I would say that the best meal of the day was breakfast. The other meals were very good and it seemed that everybody on the ship enjoyed the choice. There was an allowance for special dietary meals if requested. The ship was far too overcrowded with no sunbeds being available when the ship was at sea and the swimming pools were so small, we didn't bother! Some children were boisterous and running around, throwing each other into the pool but it was the parents that kept them in check, with no staff intervening. The worst thing was that there was no draught beer. Everything they sell you is in cans. My husband asked for a pint of Boddington's and got a pint glass with an inch missing off the top so he asked them to fill it up and they said that they couldn't because it was a can. His receipt showed a 'pint' for £2.80 so he insisted on having his 'pint' and they just opened another can and topped it up. They then confessed that there were no hand pumps or draught beers anywhere on the ship. They did not serve Stella either so it was Corona by bottle, Boddington's by the can, Fosters by the can, Strongbow Cider, Bulmer's cider and cocktails or shorts. On the day we were disembarking, they received a large delivery of Stella by cans. If you are a smoker, you will love it. Smoking is allowed all down one side of the ship and on the balconies if you have a balcony room. They do not recommend smoking in the rooms. HOWEVER............. We arrived very exhausted and glad to get to our room, to find a dirty false finger nail next to one bed and the room stunk of stale fags. The toilet seat was lose and the bedding smelt musty. My little boy and my husband were exhausted so went to sleep while I went to reception to try to sort something out. I appreciated that the staff were stressed by people complaining so I was very polite and asked if it was possible that we could leave the ship and be put up on the island instead, as I thought the room was disgusting and I then began to get a lot tearful because it was very important to me to get away for xmas and having left my mum, dad and all my sisters and brother, I wished I hadn't. The reason I wanted to leave the ship is because there were no other rooms for us to move to. They said that I should try to sleep and see how I felt in the morning because the weather was bad and we were tired. They said that we would see it differently in the morning. We woke up mid-morning and the weather was bad and the room still smelt awful but we decided that we had no choice but to enjoy what we had. Meanwhile, I was offered another room that smelt clean and fresh but was for 2 adults and no children, even though we had a child. I had to turn it down for obvious reasons. The manager had a look at my comments and sent us a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of red wine along with a bowl of fruit. As a nice person, I wrote him a letter thanking him for cleaning the room and sending us those gifts. This ship is being sold in March 2009 and having a complete restoration and name change as far as I know. For the man who made a comment about the ship apparently being renovated in 2006, I would have to agree with him and say that it hasn't seen better days in years. Oh, and the bar staff are forced to ask you if you want a drink all the time. In five minutes, you will get up to 5 staff asking you if you want a drink from the bar. They make commission on what they sell and I can tell you that a bottle of Bulmer's cider was charged to me at £3.95 and no, that wasn't a 2 liter bottle! The rooms are cleaned regularly and tidied every single day. The bedding was changed regularly and very fresh after my initial complaint. I need to finish here otherwise it might become a book LOL. Read Less
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