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Clay Clayton

Why so cheap?

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My Daddy always said you get what you pay for so I’m a little concerned about the low fares on Pullmantur.  

 

We are looking at Monarch’s eastbound Spring 2020 transatlantic and the price for a Jr Suite (balcony) all in including drinks package and gratuities is slightly over $1000 per person. That’s about what we paid on Norwegian Star last fall for a westbound TA in an inside at a group rate!

 

From reading the few reviews and info available here on CC and on YouTube it appears Pullmantur is comparable to other mainstream lines but just on older ships. Most reviewers seem to think it’s a good value.  

 

Was my Daddy wrong?  

Edited by Clay Clayton

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Looking here to answer the same question you had.  I’m looking at doing a B2B next summer on Monarch doing Iceland and Norway.  Prices are ridiculously cheap.

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I have sailed on the Horizon three times—to the Canaries, Adriatic Coast & most recently, the UAE.  I loved it.  The ship is older and not as fancy as the lines with more modern ships, but the people are friendly, itineraries are great and price is excellent.  I will be sailing on a ship they may be losing from their fleet—Zenith—next month.  

 

It is a Spanish ship, so the primary language spoken on board is Spanish.  However, most of the crew also speak English, so the language issue should not be a barrier to your enjoyment.  For excursions, a minimum number of English speakers are required (12 I think).  Before they’ll have an English speaking guide.  During the cruise down the Adriatic coast, I was the only native, English speaker present. Fortunately, the guides spoke passable English so I didn’t misunderstand the return times and get left behind. LOL!  It didn’t dampen my enjoyment one bit.

 

I hope this helps.

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Thanks it does and your thoughts echo those of other reviewers, but still wonder how so cheap! LOL

 

Unfortunately the last verandas for sale disappeared for the spring TA we were interested in taking so at this point unless they reappear looks like we will be taking someone else....at least this year!

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4 hours ago, Clay Clayton said:

Thanks it does and your thoughts echo those of other reviewers, but still wonder how so cheap! LOL

 

Unfortunately the last verandas for sale disappeared for the spring TA we were interested in taking so at this point unless they reappear looks like we will be taking someone else....at least this year!

 

Keep checking. The cruise I wanted was showing sold out, then one day there was a balcony cabin available and I grabbed it. Once I booked, it was showing sold out again. After final payment, more cabins did open up.

And sign up for emails. They sent me a sale notice for the cruise following ours. We booked during the sale and we saved 50% on that cruise.

Also don't forget to check off the 55+ discount if it applies. And their excursions are so much cheaper than other cruise lines!

I am doing a B2B next month on the Zenith, which is leaving Pullmantur at the end of the year. These ships are ex Celebrity ships. My first cruise was on the Horizon which is a sister ship of the Zenith. 

I will do a review of our cruises when we return.

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With regards to the price / quality of Pullmantur....

 

We have been on about 40 cruises. Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, RCCL, etc. and when I saw the price(s) for the Pullmantur cruises last spring I was very skeptical.  We booked a Jr. Suite on the Monarch 7 day cruise for last July (2019)  (out of Curacao).  I think we paid about $100 per person per day, which included the "basic" drink package (included for all passengers - beer, wine, basic mixed drinks, etc) and a also the gratuities.  We were generally pleasantly surprised. The room was very spacious and the balcony was typical with 2 chairs and a small table.  I found the drink package to be a nice perc since glasses of wine were generally just put out at the buffets and we could get coffee, cappucino, espresso, soda, basic beer, etc. at any bar.  Considering that everyone's essentially on this package, we saw very few inebriated passengers.   The food in the dining room was not up to the level of the other major cruise lines, but we pretty much suspected that going in.  There were few choices and only 1-2 "new" items on any dinner menu, with about 3-4 "standard", repeated choices available every day.

 

A huge pleasant surprise was the Waves lounge - available to all Jr. Suite (and above) passengers. This was a very spacious lounge with good finger foods available almost any time and a dedicated bar with several drink waiters walking around to take your orders.  The higher Waves level (black) allowed for outside access to private lounge and unlimited access to the top shelf liquors.  [As an aside, they also sold bottles of liquor at great prices on the  and you could just take it with you on the ship once you bought it!! - never seen that before on any cruise line...]

 

All announcements, etc. were in Spanish (my grasp of Spanish is very limited), but all announcements were repeated in English and all menus, etc. were also in both languages.  Musical numbers / dance shows were all in Spanish but were certainly watchable.  The rapport of the cruise director and his assistant, were naturally also in Spanish.  Most of the passengers found them to be very entertaining, though that part of the evenings entertainment was a bit frustrating.

 

We have already signed up for our next Pullmantur in April (European cruise from Barcelona) and I would highly recommend them as long as you go in with an open mind.

~Bob

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They have pretty high taxes compared to other cruise lines; I guess that compensates some for lower prices.

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DH and I just finished a B2B on the Zenith on Sept 28th. It was our first time with Pullmantur and we LOVED it! We mainly sail with NCL (we are Platinum) and we were getting a little tired of them and wanted a change.

 

Pullmantur has recently teamed with a three Michelin-starred chef and the food is wonderful. We thought the food was far better than NCL and the Gala night dinner (7 courses) was the best meal either of us has had on a cruise. We ate all our dinners in the dining room but we did walk thru the buffet and they put tablecloths on the tables for dinner which we thought was a nice touch.

 

Having the drinks included was wonderful. Since everyone has it, you never have to show a card to get a drink. At dinner, wine flows very freely  🙂 

 

 

5 hours ago, Pacificana said:

They have pretty high taxes compared to other cruise lines; I guess that compensates some for lower prices.

 

I just checked our last NCL cruise (in June) and taxes were $339 and on Pullmantur they were $225 the first cruise and $260 the second cruise.

 

We booked directly with Pullmantur at Pullmantur.travel which is in English and USD.

Highly recommend Pullmantur!!

 

 

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I have never cruised NCL, but have been on quite a few other lines, and never paid as much in taxes. Usually it is around a hundred dollars, give or take. This being said, I just happily paid $260 in taxes and fees for a cruise on Sovereign next June because the price itself was too good to be missed. I cruised on Monarch before and quite enjoyed it. Free drinks add a lot of value and convenience. 

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Also all the specialty coffees are included too. We had Cappuccinos in the morning and Cappuccinos with Irish Cream after dinner. Pullmantur really is great value for the money. We are looking at doing another cruise with them next year.

@Pacificana Enjoy your cruise on the Sovereign!

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After a bitterly disappointing experience with MSC earlier this year, we decided to give Pullmantur a try with a one-night cruise before booking anything longer. We sailed on Zenith from Lisbon to Vigo as she made her way to the Baltic and left reluctantly, wishing we could carry on further North. This was despite the sea being rough enough for the entertainment to be cancelled. 

 

Consequently, we have since booked on Horizon from Athens to Venice and Trieste with stops in Croatia. Don't expect all the glitz and glamour of the larger lines and you'll be fine. 

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Thanks for the input on Zenith, sailing on her next on the 17th of this month around the Canary islands and Madeira.

Looking forward to the Black Waves club and an opportunity to speak Spanish !

 

Only thing I am concerned about  is how stable the ship is and if the seas are rough between Madeira and Tenerife our first port.

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These ships are a little smaller than most these days but are fully stabilized.  If you dislike ship motion find a 1000 foot plus vessel.  There are quite a few.  I actuallly like being at sea but the larger ships don't move as much.  

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I have been on 9 Pullmantur Cruises. The first was a 15-day transatlantic from Bilbao to Panama. It was so inexpensive no one would go with me. I had a terrific time! The food was great, the ability to have a drink after dinner or a spirited coffee was pleasant and the salsa dancing and Spanish music beyond belief fun. So I did a month b2b in Norway all the way up to Svalbard and last summer 5 b2b’s from Trieste to Porto, down to Tangier and back to Piraeus. The comments are accurate. One must be mindful it IS a Spanish ship. Despite the language that they offer English for 7-12 or more, in my experience that varies by ship and cruise and staff and even the individual tour guide and their willingness to comply. And they did not count all the other nationalities that required English, such as the Germans and the French and the Norwegians etc. who did not speak Spanish to meet their criteria. Needless to say, there were angry groups of people. On one day the tour participants banded together for a lobby demonstration to get a refund. Didn’t happen. The shows can be enjoyable despite only Spanish but if it’s heavily language-based such as a comedian, you need to be prepared to try to laugh along or leave. They may or may not make announcements in both Spanish and English. Up to them apparently. 

Also, be mindful that being older ships, they’re not as in such good condition in many details but are clean and I thought impressive despite their age. That also means that not all cabins can have twin beds put together or separated to make two twins. I caution you to inquire Before you book. They just assigned 2 people automatically to a double bed cabin. My gf who traveled with me on the Norway cruises actually slept on the floor! for two of the cruises as they would do nothing to accommodate our predicament as those beds could Not be separated and we did not wanting to sleep together in a double. The international hostess was wonderful and tried very hard to get our cabin changed but they said all their empty cabins were under repair and could not be used. Her boss was actually outspoken insulting and rude to us in his fervor to keep my friend on the floor. The staff were apologetic but powerless. 

Despite that, they offered itineraries and value that I had a great month in the Mediterranean with some other friends who got lots of fair warning from me. It went great. And I’d do it again!

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On 11/23/2019 at 3:28 PM, Schnuggums2 said:

I have been on 9 Pullmantur Cruises. The first was a 15-day transatlantic from Bilbao to Panama.

The Colon-Lisbon trip on the Monarch will be my 3rd cruise with Pullmantur and that ship. 

Our first cruise with them was the Bilbao to Colon as well. Was yours with us on the nearly EMPTY ship to Lisbon in 2016? It was also really schadenfreude when we couldn't stop in Aruba due to a little ol' CAT 4 HURRICANE MATTHEW! Boy, were those people PISSED! Well played Captain!  

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On 12/7/2019 at 6:52 PM, gbearman said:

The Colon-Lisbon trip on the Monarch will be my 3rd cruise with Pullmantur and that ship. 

Our first cruise with them was the Bilbao to Colon as well. Was yours with us on the nearly EMPTY ship to Lisbon in 2016? It was also really schadenfreude when we couldn't stop in Aruba due to a little ol' CAT 4 HURRICANE MATTHEW! Boy, were those people PISSED! Well played Captain!  

Gary, we will be on that cruise from Colon to Lisbon in April. 

Quick question if you don't mind.

We are flying in to Panama City on the 15th.

What would you recommend as the best way to get to Colon on the morning of the 17th?

Or would you recommend we get a place to stay in Colon rather than Panama City? 

(Not wanting anything fancy or expensive, but safe and clean). 

 

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3 hours ago, 2CoolCanucks said:

 

What would you recommend as the best way to get to Colon on the morning of the 17th?

Or would you recommend we get a place to stay in Colon rather than Panama City? 

(Not wanting anything fancy or expensive, but safe and clean). 

 

DO NOT STAY IN COLON! It's a nasty place! We will be staying at the Wyndham Albrook which is attached to the largest mall in Latin America. The Holiday Inn Panama Canal is also nice.

 

The reason we are staying there is to catch the 7AM Panama Canal Railway. It's a one hour trip and costs $25 per person.  There will be at least a dozen of us on that train. Tickets are purchased at the station that morning.  

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Excellent!  Thanks for the advice. Will look into booking at one of those places and will probably be part  of the group on the train then that morning. Will they have enough room for a large crowd?

And the biggest mall?? Oh oh... need to save some cash for the cruise. 🙂
Looking forward to this vacation! 

Thanks again!

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2 hours ago, 2CoolCanucks said:

Will they have enough room for a large crowd?

Yes, They have about 5--6 long cars and one of which was the club car. The say that they always have room! I took the train previously (cruise), and we were in the club car. 

 

The mall also gives you a LOT of choices for food (3 food courts, each one on 2 levels) as well as restaurants outside of the mall. 

 

I also like the fact that the Wyndham starts the free breakfast at 6AM, so we have time to get served.

Please join our role call at  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2687136-transatlantic-pullmantur-monarch-april-17-2020/

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On 12/20/2019 at 2:01 AM, gbearman said:

The reason we are staying there is to catch the 7AM Panama Canal Railway. It's a one hour trip and costs $25 per person.  There will be at least a dozen of us on that train. Tickets are purchased at the station that morning.  

Hi Gary,
I have been searching for info regarding the train, which brought me to your post.
We would like to also use the train to get from Panama City to Colon the morning of a cruise departure in February.
Everything I have see online says there is no room for luggage, only racks above to store briefcases or small backpacks. They say it's primarily a commuter train for people working in Colon or for day tourists.
Have you found anything to the contrary? We would love to do this, but had almost ruled it out due to the luggage issue.
We are a group of four with two people who walk with canes, so the other two of us will be doing most of the heavy lifting.
Also, any advice on how to manage the hours in between train arrival (8.45?) and check-in for the cruise, lumbered with luggage?
Thanks for any help you (or anyone else) can provide
Also, I now see your profile says "Bocas del Toro" Do you live there? That is our first stop, so any local guidance would be very welcome. I haven't started to research it yet, I'm sure there must be some info on a port board, but I haven't gotten that far yet:)
Thanks again,
Kerri

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I did the train in the other direction returning from the cruise 2 years ago and do not recall having any difficulty handling my suitcase on board. There was a place to leave it. It is however meant to be a commuter train in that direction mostly and it’s not large, old and a bit rickety. I found it very nice and had an historical feel to the ‘adventure’. There will be taxis at the end. There are shops, mostly for trinkets and the abundant ‘Panama’ hats, small cafes right near the ship. There is a Radisson hotel where I stayed for two nights and would be your best bet for air con comfort for hours. I was advised well not to walk Colon alone past certain areas. You’ll know them when you see them and feel them. 

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