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Mein Schiff Cruise Review
0.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
35 Reviews

Good, but not a "Premium All-Inclusive" as Mein Schiff advertises...

Mein Schiff Cruise Review by berlinNYC

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: Canary Islands

Just came back from our first ever Mein Schiff cruise, and my first German speaking ship experience (my partner has been once on the AIDA). This was our 28th cruise.

I, a non-german, but German speaking person, give this ship a 3 out of 5. My partner, German born and raised, gives it a 4. Both of us liked a few things, and disliked a few others. All in all, we found the "Premium All Inclusive" to be a misleading moto. Basically it means you can have (almost) all the drinks you want, at (almost) every venue. Yes, there are more limitations to their "all inclusive" drink policy that one would care for.

Drinks: in most bars there are a wide variety of all inclusive drinks one can order. There are also many "extra charge" drinks, but at the bars the choices of inclusive ones are decent. However, at the Main Restaurants (Klassik and Mediterran) the alcoholic drink choices are very limited, including just one choice for red, white and rosé, and all 3 are bad, really bad. During dinner bar personal will walk around and offer you "additional charge" drinks, many of which are the same that are inclusive at the bars. Just a nickeling and dimming play, one that one would not expect when booking a "Premium All Inclusive" cruise. At the buffet restaurant, the drink choices are even more limited than in the main dining rooms. So one better get a drink at a bar, then walk into the restaurant or buffet.

And if you decide to try the specialty restaurants, there are no included drinks whatsoever, not even water. So, wow!

Restaurants: Dinner at Main Dining Rooms (Klassik and Mediterran) was good. Food choices were somewhat limited, but they tasted good. Nothing was exotic or expensive (no lobster, no escargots). Many staples of other cruise lines did not find their way into Mein Schiff. Desserts were limited and not too interesting. Service is disconnected, and mostly very slow. Most of the times we had to wait 10 to 15 minutes between courses.

Breakfast choices are limited and repetitive everywhere. Not the best (or expensive) selections. Even for the German taste the selection was not impressive.

We had breakfast in 4 different venues, and did not care for it in any of them. One can only have ala carte at the Mediterran, but they do it in a very weird and hurried way. Basically a cart is driven to your table and right there and then you need to make all your selections (not many) at once. Best location we found for breakfast was at the "Tag und Nacht" 24 hour eatery. Here the choices were even more reduced, but the place is quieter and cozier.

Lunch was good at the buffet. Again, nothing like better or more expensive meats, more like German comfort food, but it was good.

Pluses:

The cabin is quite nice and bright, clean and comfortable. Bathroom works well. Balcony nice and deep unlike the newer larger ships nowadays (I'm thinking of you Norwegian Breakaway class). However, in line with German philosophy (less choices, less service, cheaper), there is no minibar/no fridge, and no room service. Bedding is not so good like on the other cruiselines, and there is just 1 pillow per passenger.

Ship is pretty, very clean, streamlined. It reminds one of the Celebrity Solstice class. Keeping up with the simpler/cheaper German mantra, there is nothing too exciting or too out of the ordinary with the decor; almost no artwork, no paintings anywhere. The ship has no art gallery, and the Casino is more of a joke than anything else. It is a tiny room, probably smaller than a simple cabin, with 6 slot machines and one computer operated roulette. That is it.

The Pool Deck: This ship has two pools, one being a great 25meter long pool, great for actual swimming on a cruise ship, and one smaller covered pool. The deck area around the pools are nice and mostly quiet. Remember, no entertainment on this ship (which around the pool we found quite good - a lot more relaxing).

Gym is smaller but nice. One of the pluses on this ship is the wellness area, or spa. It is a large area, with many different saunas (maybe not a big thing for Americans, but very high on the list for Germans and other Europeans) and nice relaxing rooms. This is at no additional cost.

Negative:

Entertaining: If you know other non-german ships, you know the entertaining that it is offered. At Mein Schiff (3), the shows were few, and lousy. In a 7 night tour we had one "real show", it lasted 40 minutes, of which half of it was the Capitan and the cruise director addressing the guests. Show #2 was quartet of singers who were quite bad, show #3 was a "crew show", and show #4 was a "thank you" show, which is basically no show.

The ship has no musicians anywhere, and the few entertainers who also sing, are very bad singers. No pianist at this bar, no violin player at a lounge, or a rock band somewhere. No live music.

Additional cost for almost anything offered. Any time that something was announced on the PA system or printed on the daily program, this something was at an additional cost.

At one of the stops, Funchal, we had a 13:30 all aboard. We arrived at the ship at 12:30, and had the longest line we have ever experienced to reenter a ship in our 28 cruises. It look us 38 minutes in line to get thru the ships security, all of it because they would not open a second check-in/security line. UN-flexibility at it's best.

Service: Not as good as one knows in the US or on major cruiselines. Even though most service employees (waiters, bar personal, cabin stewards) are from South Asia and Eastern Europe (like in most cruises), they are trained with the German crowed in mind, which means, less service, less friendliness, less politeness than one is accustomed to.

Service by the German Personal (like Front Desk) is very unfriendly and cold, very unapologetic, as one knows in most of Germany.

Language: German is the language spoken here. This is expected but just as a warning for non German speakers. If you don't speak it, or have a German speaking person in your party, this might not be the ship for you. There are signs in English and (most of) the crew speaks English, but just about anything is in German, all the instructions, all the excursions, all the (what they call) entertainment.

One very negative thing: on the last morning we received our bill, which included 25Euro per passenger for an "early check-in". So we went to the passenger desk and asked why the charge. The German lady said "because you boarded early, and there is a 25Euro charge for that service". We said we were not aware nor signed up for it. She then told us we should have known it. We said we didn't and would very much appreciate the removal of the charges. The lady repeated herself, and said if I were not happy, to call my travel agent. At my request, she looked into the system and saw we boarded the ship at 12:25pm, and because of 35minutes we were being charged for a service they offer for people with early incoming flights who can check-in as early as 9am. Their regular check-in time is at 1pm. I told her that upon check-in there were no signs and no personal whatsoever to tell us "if you board now, instead of waiting 35 minutes you will be charged 25Euro for an early check-in." She did not remove it, did not apologize, just stood there, and called "next".

Ugly. Bad system, horrible customer service.


berlinNYC's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

The cabin is quite nice and bright, clean and comfortable. Bathroom works well. Balcony nice and deep unlike the newer larger ships nowadays (I'm thinking of you Norwegian Breakaway class). However, in line with German philosophy (less choices, less service, cheaper), there is no minibar/no fridge, and no room service. Bedding is not so good like on the other cruiselines, and there is just 1 pillow per passenger.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

La Palma

Very pretty town of Santa Cruz de La Palma. A nice surprise.

Tenerife

This is a bigger city with some shopping and cafes, restaurants, etc . It has an amazing Opera Building on the water, designed by Calatrava. A must if you are interested in architecture and or music.

Fuerteventura

The town of Puerto del Rosario, the main town on the island has absolutely nothing to offer. It is a ghost town. If you have a port of call here, make sure to book a trip to the amazing beaches of Jandia and other beaches close to it, OR make it a "at sea day".


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berlinNYC
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