We went on the 10 night cruise leaving from Leith, Edinburgh for the Norwegian fjords and the midnight sun. We came back sunburnt from being in the Arctic! Embarkation was so smooth, from home to our cabin in under one hour. We had a deluxe cabin (Pacific Deck 7 Cabin 434). After reading the divided reviews in Cruise Critics, I was seriously apprehensive but I need not have been. The cabin was OK in size- about sizes with the deluxe cabin we had on the Celebrity Mercury (now Mein Schiff 2). The only extra space we had on the Celebrity cabin was a balcony which we hardly used due to the bad weather sailing to Alaska. The cabin attendant on the Marco Polo we had was called Iryna she was brilliant- rooms cleaned well, replenished used items immediately and left the cabin well made up and tidy twice a day. She turned down our beds each evening.
The Bistro tended to be very busy though we never found a problem getting seats. I noticed some people complaining about having to eat fish and rice...well... for some cultural groups and cuisines..that is fine and really quite delicious. However there was a range of foodwith some variation for the salads, cakes and main dishes. We ate in the Bistro for breakfast and lunch and in the Waldorf dining evening evening. The food in the evening was excellent. The portions were reasonable, not large but with five courses, it sufficed. We had really nice people at our table which made each dinner evening something to look forward to. We thought the drinks were reasonably priced for a cruise ship. If you drink wine with your evening meal, best to get a package. We got a wine package for Â£80 which bought you 5 bottles of wine plus 10 bottles of water or 6 bottles of wine with no water. The water gets delivered to your cabin and we found having bottled water was very good. I also used the gym and sauna each day as well as using the whirlpool in the top deck several times during the cruise. The weather was very hot.. and so people sunbathed as we cruised into the Arctic. So do bring light wear and not just wintry wear.
The evening entertainment in the Lounge was energetic and there are some very talented young people who provide a fast paced 45 minute entertainment each evening. Other activities on board cover a range of tastes from Tai Chi (these classes with Nicola were great) to craft sessions, line dancing, bingo and quizzes. There is a jazz bar area which I loved and classical music in the Captain's Lounge. I indulged in four massage sessions in the Jade Wellness Clinic and if you can get a lady called Inna- she is very good.
Shore excursions were a tad pricey. We did not take an excursion at Molde or in Tromso. We walked about in Molde and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the boat when docked in Tromson. We went on the the Trollstigen Road trip, the ferry trip in Gerainger fjord and onto to Dalsnibba (too short a time at the top - only 15 minutes), the trip to the Viking Museum in Leknes(Lofoten Islands) and of course the trip to the North Cape. I have to say that our trip days were great because the weather was just perfect. I think we picked the right trips to go on- however all these trips cost us Â£540 for both of us- rather a lot.
We went on this cruise as we wanted to relax and de-stress as our jobs are extremely demanding. We did de-stress and yes,our cocktail and drinks bill was somewhat large. You make from it what you put in. If you are determined to find fault, complain and moan, then yes, you probably will find that. For example, the shower pressure is not great and it is difficult to get the temperature level of the water to stay constant but overall, it was fine. However if you are a positive person and not parochial in attitude and look for things to enjoy, then you will. The staff at every level was just fantastic. I too noticed comments about Eastern European staff being unfriendly, I did not find that so. To begin with some are more reserved but when you get talking, its fine. If you take an interest in the various staff, they take an interest back.
We liked the 'no children' atmosphere on the boat- we do have children so it is not about not liking kids but about the peace and quiet. The ship is small and so there is less to do on board but a couple of good books, an iPod and just a preparedness to relax will see your blood pressure level plummet.
We enjoyed the cruise so much, we have booked again next year but this time to head even further north to Spitzbergen. We booked while on board and got a very good discount.