Cruise Line: Renaissance Cruise Line
Date of Cruise: November 14, 2000
Barcelona to Lisbon on the R6
By: Anthony Fortino
We took the 15 day cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon on November 14 with stops everyday at places such as Tunis, Casablanca, Tangiers, Gibraltar, etc. The ship's ambience is beautiful. The rooms are on the small side. Our stateroom was a balcony stateroom and while the length was satisfactory it could use another foot or two in width. The closets were adequate, but drawer space was skimpy and badly placed.
As veteran cruisers (over 30 on various ships) we particularly wanted to try their version of open seating dining. We learned very quickly that we did not like it. While with the "standard" program you may get stuck at a table with people you don't like - on the the R6 you get tired of introducing yourself every night and basically repeating yourself every night. We took advantage of the buffet on the "lido" more nights than usual. It was particularly surprising that you couldn't get a table for two at the specialty restaurants and again were seated with new people each night.
The other issue with the specialty restaurants was that you could only make reservations for the night after the day you make the reservations. You could not schedule your reservations for those days you did not schedule a shore excursion. One day at a time. We did like the casual dining atmosphere and most people dressed appropriately. The food was below average but adequate. Because of the seating arrangements the dining room service was significantly below average. The preordained tipping ($12 per day per person) also contributed to this. Tips were posted daily, and you were forced to cancel them and then put cash into "envelopes" on the final night and perhaps give them to a waiter whom you had not seen the entire voyage. We stayed with the preordained tipping.
We think that it is imperative to take the cancellation insurance as our experience will point out. I was struck by a car driven by a drunken driver in Cadiz Spain. I suffered a hairline fracture and a concussion. Cadiz was an overnight stop and was scheduled to leave at 2:00 pm the following day. I was held in the hospital overnight for observation and was released at 10:30 AM and could have continued our journey to Lisbon (18 hours) on the ship with a doctor available if necessary. Instead the ship's doctor would not allow us on the ship, and quite loudly and obnoxiously told my wife that he wasn't going to be liable for me. The doctor was quite fluent in Spanish but was no help to my wife in obtaining any information, and indeed was no help when I was released. Instead a physician passenger and another passenger who was fluent in Spanish went to the hospital with my wife and informed both of us what the restrictions were and what symptoms to be aware of -- if things were getting off course.
Thankfully the insurance company (Berkleycare) with the assistance of AIG got us airline tickets home. Since we were not allowed back on board we were forced to take a hotel room for two nights. If something had happened we would not have the advantage of an English speaking doctor and would have been forced to return to the hospital where I had been treated. So much for Renaissance treatment of their passengers. Oh yes there is a little matter of refunding the return leg of our journey -- The business class tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. That is true - I found out after we got home. I was told by Renaissance that even though they had denied me reboarding I should look to my insurance. With Renaissance you must take insurance --- You will get no from Renaissance. This applies in Europe or elsewhere or here at home