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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Festival Cruises

MS Bolero

Your Rating:One Stars
Reviewed by: Karen Davie
# previous cruises:7
Date of Trip: March 24, 2001
Itinerary: Caribbean - Southern

I have taken 6 cruises altogether with three being Festival cruise (MS Triton, MS Flamenco and finally MS Bolero) lines booking through Regent holidays. Up until this cruise I have always enjoyed travelling on these smaller Festival ships. It atmosphere is far more congenial and you get to know your fellow passengers much better than on the larger ships of other cruise lines. This trip on the Bolero was a disappointment. Since the amalgamation of the company with partners in January the ship has gone down hill. There are more passengers on board and the quality of the food has suffered greatly. I am thankful that our particular cruise did not have a full day at sea or the passengers would have been at each other's throats.

Public Areas
The Public Areas were comfortable so long as most of the ship was in port! If the whole ship was meeting as before tour departures the "Reflections Lounge" has impossible. There was not enough seating and little room to pass fellow passengers. Ventilation (and I do not object to smokers - my travel companion smokes) was abysmal. Most of the passengers were French is origin and their cigarettes far strong in odour to what I a Canadian am use to. To public rooms reeked with french cigarettes. To "Starlight Lounge" were the evening shows were performed is poorly laid out. If not in the first row near the stage, it is impossible to see the stage. Barriers are between rows blocking views and all rows are on the same level. Other ships I've been on, have raised levels to enable passengers to see over the heads in front. The Dinning Room - the Windows on the Sea Restaurant, was over crowded. There was very little room between the tables and on a few occasions waiters and passengers collided. The one area where you could get as sense of space was the promenade deck. Although far more crowded then any other ship I've been on there was still the opportunity to walk around the ship and find a quiet corner to sit in and watch the ocean. Around the pools when all passengers were on board forget trying to get a chair. Even when I did the Transatlantic cruise on the Flamenco, we were able to sit comfortably on the deck with out overcrowding. Over all reaction to the ship this cruise, was that there were far more passengers then the ship can comfortably handle.

Food and Service
What can I say about the food — except for the morning breakfast buffet I found the food quality had slipped dreadfully. Not only was the quality poor but you were rushed through meals. Salads were brought with the main course rather than separately as have been the norm on past Festival cruises. It was very disconcerting to have the waiters wipe your plate away before you even had a chance to finish chewing your last mouthful let alone put your fork down. I felt at times as if I was in a race to see how fast I could eat.

Well at least the cabins had not changed. We had an outside cabin on the Atlantic deck and found it adequate for two adult women. Our steward was excellent keeping the cabin clean and supplying us with a never ending supply of ice, needed after a day of sightseeing to help cool down with a coke. There was enough storage space for clothes and the cabin was easily navigated when everything was in it spot.

After the first show we did not attend other evening performances. Gone was the normal entertainment staff that we had become familiar with on Festival cruises and the entertainers were part of the activities staff. The quality of the show we saw and those our table companions told us about were amateurish at best. One highlight of the entertainment was an afternoon performance of Creole dancers that was brought on board while in Martinique. The show was excellent.

Thankfully this cruise was a port a day cruise otherwise it would have been very disappointing. We stopped at Tortola, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinque, St. Maarten/ St Martin, Puerto Rico and finally in the Dominican Republic. The ports of call were fantastic and all just a little bit different from the next. Excursion from the ship were varied with something to satisfy all tastes and need for adventure.

Who Goes
With the wide range of nationalities (the preponderance of passenger were from France and other french speaking European cities) on board the head steward had to carefully ensure people of the same language were together. At open sittings staff carefully ensured that people of the same language were together. Our table companions were great. Each night we left the table only to go to the lounge to continue our conversations. Addresses were exchanged and promises that if we are ever in the same city, that we would contact each other.

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