- This was supposed to be an overnight taster from Hull to Rosyth. The night before sailing we were contacted to say the ship would not be docking in Hull as it had been delayed in the Kiel canal due to lock maintenance and we would be bussed to Newcastle. Ok, these things happen, although it meant we missed half of the trip. Unfortunately that was only the start of the problems. Customer service the next day was abysmal.
On leaving Hull by coach around 2.30.pm (the time we should have been boarding), we were given a pack up in place of the afternoon tea we would have had on board. It consisted of one slice of bread made into 2 sandwiches wrapped in a serviette and soggy, plus a packet of mini cheddars and a bottle of water. It turned out that this had to last us until nearly 9.00pm.
We arrived at Newcastle around 5.30pm. We then sat in the terminal with 100's of other people in the same situation for nearly 3 hours until around 8.30pm. It was absolute chaos and totally unorganised with no clear information as to what was happening. We kept being assured we would be able to board soon and were told that we were waiting for people to disembark, yet one of the announcements 1 hour into our wait was for a taxi for someone who had already disembarked. In addition other passengers were in touch with people already on board who told us it wasn't true.
We were also told by a crew member that the reason for not docking at Hull was that the Russians refused to refuel them and by the time it was sorted out they had a 5-6hr delay. This was at odds with the story given to us by customer services the night before.
At 7pm they decided to start checking people in but then we had to sit down and wait again for boarding. They couldn't even organise check in properly resulting in an absolute shambles when lots of people tried to join the queue at once because they weren't given clear instructions. An announcement was then made blaming passengers for delays because they were 'messing up the systems'. We were told that the restaurant would be open until 9.00pm and there would only be 1 sitting!
By the time we eventually boarded at 8.30pm everyone was fed up and I think the comment of a man standing next to me summed it up when he said 'I wouldn't like them to organise a ---- -- in any brewery I owned'.
The food and facilities on the ship were fairly good as was the entertainment but prices were high e.g £4.20 for a can of cider, and we were charged £10 gratuities for the cabin for the 1 night. Why they need to do this instead of putting it on the original price and paying their staff properly is beyond me, but I know that they are not alone in this.
We also had a problem with something not working in our cabin. The crew did their best to sort it out, unsuccessfully, but only after an altercation with a very rude receptionst who couldn't see that it mattered as we were disembarking later that day.
Overall not an experience I would want to repeat. If the point of this taster was to encourage people to book for longer trips it failed dismally.
I should add that I am not in the habit of writing negative reviews and this is my first ever.
Published on: 14 August 2017