Expected twin beds in cabin

By Sonia Ibanez
This item appears on page 26 of the February 2015 issue.

The following text is from a letter mailed to Gate 1 Travel. — Editor

I am not a cruise person, but
Gate 1’s itinerary for a 16-day “Danube River Cruise,” scheduled to depart from Nuremberg on Sept. 4, 2014, enticed me to book the trip on June 3, 2013.

When I called Gate 1, I spoke to Adam Haun, who made reservations for me and for three friends I’d be traveling with. We would be sharing two cabins, two women per cabin.

With reservations made over a year in advance, it’s only normal for travelers to have questions along the way. My friends and I each spoke to Mr. Haun a couple of times, but later, despite our emails as well as repeated messages left on his voicemail, none of us received a further reply from Mr. Haun. We took to calling Gate 1 and asking our questions, usually of a financial nature, to whoever answered the phone.

In Gate 1’s brochure, it stated that some cabins on the cruise ship each had two single beds while others provided only one bed and that Gate 1 would try to accommodate passengers accordingly. Pledging ignorance about cruises and ships, I assumed that two women in a cabin would have the benefit of two separate beds. How wrong we were!

Yes, you can blame us for choosing the “cheapest” cabins on an already expensive trip (about $5,000 each), but it never occurred to us in our wildest dreams what we would be faced with when we entered our cabins on the M/S Sound of Music. Each cabin had essentially no space to move around and, adding insult to injury, only one bed, a bed that, really, could barely accommodate one person, let alone two adults.

Since the bed in my cabin was against the wall, I practically had to jump, monkey-like, to get over my roommate. The situation was uncomfortable and, in fact, unbearable to the point that two members of our team opted for an “upgrade” of $200 each in order to be moved to the second level of the ship, where they shared a nice cabin fit for two individuals.

My “cheap” traveling companion and I refused to pay the extra money to have livable quarters. We strongly felt that Gate 1 should have had the courtesy to inform us about the very small sizes of the cabins and the bed limitations on Level 1 (with cabin numbers in the 100s) and then let us decide.

I have no idea why there was such confusion over four women traveling together and sharing cabins. Two women friends can share a room but definitely not a bed. I think part of the confusion was because of our disjointed conversations with various individuals at Gate 1 instead of with just one person. The four of us were offended that Mr. Haun ignored our calls and provided no further guidance or advice. 

On the plus side, I must commend Gate 1 for a wonderful itinerary that flowed flawlessly. Daniel, Soma and Barbara were superb tour directors — knowledgeable, helpful, always available and in control of any situation. Soma, in particular, who took us all the way to Berlin, is a terrific asset to any travel organization.

I enjoyed the ship, the M/S Sound of Music. The staff was a pleasure to deal with, the meals were outstanding and the ship and cabins were kept spotless. Aside from the horrible “monks’ cells” on Level 1, I found no other fault with the ship.

The hotels used by Gate 1 were the best, with superb service all the way. They were in terrific locations and offered excellent buffet breakfasts. Local guides were very knowledgeable and even, at times, too informative.

Would I travel with Gate 1 again? Of course! Would I take another cruise? No. As I said, I’m not a cruise person.

I hope this letter will be taken for what it is: suggestions to help Gate 1 improve its services.


Fort Washington, PA

ITN emailed a copy of Ms. Ibanez’s letter to Gate 1 Travel (455 Maryland Dr., Fort Washington, PA 19034; www.gate1travel.com) but received no reply. That same day, Ms. Ibanez informed ITN of an email received from Gate 1 a week earlier. The Gate 1 representative wrote that she was glad to hear that most of Ms. Ibanez’s cruise was enjoyable, then added, “You did request a less expensive cabin category, and, yes, we do state in our literature that the beds in Category E cannot be separated. However, your reservations agent should have repeated this fact, as you might not have read the text and could have made a different decision. Please accept our apology for this omission, along with a future travel credit of $100 per person for your inconvenience.”