While I still have about 500 photos to post from my visit to Jordan in late Winter I have to start posting from my latest travels to someplace new. Well folks we all know that Travel Xena enjoys cruising so after a rather unpleasant experiences trying to book with her usual cruise line Norwegian, she scraped that vacation and managed to convince her travel companion to go to its namesake of Norway instead. So we did. In wading through my email I noticed one from VacationstoGo.com and an amazing deal to go on a “Midnight Sun” Norwegian Fjords cruise with Crosiers de France known as CDF. A full week cruise in an ocean view cabin that came to about $650 per person with tax and with inclusive of a basic beverage package.
Let me take a minute here to describe what has to be the best beverage package on a non-luxury line. It was truly ‘tout-inclusiv’ at stated. We had house wines and all drinks with standard liquors, if we wanted something with a high end liquor like the J&B I ordered. It was 1-2 Euro more…that’s it. I think I might have seen one think on the menu that was 3 euro, but short of about 2 drinks everything bit of alcohol that touched my lips I didn’t pay any extra for and tips weren’t expected.
This wasn’t to say that my friend “M” and I didn’t tip our three favorites that regularly made sure we were never without but there was no space for a tip even when ordering something that was ‘higher end’. If you wanted a fuller drinks package you had two choices, one was an additional 5 Euro a day and the other 10 Euro a day. Yes you read right. The equivalent of $6 – $11 USD at current exchange rates, with NO automatic gratuity added on. It really begs the question of how much American marketed cruise lines are truly making off of us, even with so called Free Beverage Packages that some of them espouse.
Now that we have the booze out of the way which is fairly important to any cruise, (I’ll get to the ports later), but the next series of posts are my thoughts the whole process of booking and getting to the port taking CDF Croisiers de France cruise from Calais to Norway at the ports of Stavanger, (Helllsylt briefly) Gerainger, Flam and Bergen, in that order. With the above agency you don’t book online, so we called in and were connected with Bia who took our info and arranged everything quickly and smoothly. Getting to Calais was interesting and I’ll discuss that in a future post.
Note: After several unsatisfactory exchanges with the “new and improved” recently gone public Norwegian Cruise Line, my sailings on that line will be limited until their pre-boarding customer service is as high as their on-board. I work diligently for my salary, and think that money should be spent on worthwhile vendors and when it comes to cruises there are certainly many lines to choose from. I have had many great experiences aboard NCL ships and hopefully their service industry company will become customer centric again one day.
I have a cruise booked with them in a couple of months, I have high hopes for my time on board despite my experience with their customer service ahead of time.