Whilst I have specifically listed this review for my recent trip on Marco Polo to the Baltics, Id like to generalise to include my trip with them 2 years ago to the Amazon.
Marco Polo was the first ever large ship cruise I had undertaken, had I bitten off more than I could chew signing up as a singleton for 6 weeks on a ship?
Not on your life....it was wonderful. And the biggest thing to make my holiday a success was the friendliness of the staff on board. Because it has a smaller guest capacity than the larger cruise ships, there is a bigger ratio of staff to guests so you feel like you are getting a very personal service. And the happy faces and fun demeanour of the staff gives the impression that this is either a great cruise line to work for or/and a great CAPTAIN to work for. Having met the Captain three times now, he is a charming, quiet, extremely experienced shipman who runs a strict but content ship.
The food is excellent. I ate on both trips in the Waldorf Restaurant, late sitting, and having chosen a large table, met really nice fellow traveller with whom to chat over dinner. It amazes me that the kitchen can turn out the quality and presentation of food that they do, consistently under such pressured conditions. The restaurant staff and cafe/restaurant staff all work so so hard and still manage to smile.
As a single traveller I have enjoyed a twin cabin with window on both trips on Amundsen Deck. This deck is convenient and quieter than the lower decks. Cabin staff are great, cabins extremely clean and with ample space.
Performance entertainment on board in the evenings is excellent with equivalent to London shows in the lounge. The standard of the entertainment team singing is brilliant.
Shore excursions are excellent, ship staff and land agent staff work hard, organise very well and impart tonnes of knowledge about the locations you visit.
Daytime entertainment tends to be for older people and as an active/sporty lady, would not normally be the sort of things I would do regularly..Countdown, bingo and quizzes but the line caters for the general customer generic, and that isnt actually me! Saying that, I was happy to take part and if asked, I couldnt honestly say what things I would like included in the itinerary specially for me....tennis court on board...would be interesting!!
Outside space onboard is very pleasant in good weather and the gym is perfectly adequate.
This really is a great ship to cruise on and I chose it specifically for my second large ship cruise because I had enjoyed it so much the first time. I noticed a difference with doing a cold weather cruise as opposed to a sunny cruise, because you spend more time inside rather than out on deck. It can be difficult to find quiet space other than in your cabin and I dont like to shut myself away in my cabin to read...so HOT one next time to be able to read and sunbathe on deck again.
Im always disappointed to hear people moaning, thankfully doesnt happen often but despite excellent service and food, I heard a couple moaning that the food wasnt as good as theyd had on such and such cruise! And I get upset with people getting out of their prams the MOMENT something doesnt go as planned. There was an issue on the last trip of a really early land trip and people virtually rioted because they thought they wouldnt get any breakfast before going! As it happened, it all got sorted but I dont understand why some people think the only way to get something sorted is to be verbally aggressive!!
There was also an incident involving a very elderly lady who walked with a walking stick on a trip to Catherines Palace in St Petersburg. She was so rude to our lovely young Russian female guide, upset because she had to walk the length of the driveway to the Palace. I would suggest to anyone with any sort of mobility issues that before booking the cruise, check the itinerary to the extent of what trips you would be CAPABLE of making. There had been clear warning in the description of this particular trip that there would be a LOT of walking and that it may not be suitable for some guests!! The Palace security are the ones who decide where the coaches can have access and they do not allow them access to the Palace approach.
If there are any single or recently having become single again people out there, nervous about doing these trips alone...dont be. There are lots of singletons in the same position and single or otherwise, people with whom to have interesting conversation. On my first Cruise Maritime trip I met a lady Id played tennis with as a teenager and on this last trip, two ladies whom I had known at College!!! I made a new lifelong friendship of a dear couple and lovely memories of fantastic trips.