It is hard to categorise the Marco Polo. It is certainly not Cunard. We went on the ship as it offered an interesting two night trip to Amsterdam. We were upgraded before we left. Tilbury is interesting. We parked away from the Terminal to a not particularly well signposted timber warehouse a few hundred yards away and were bussed back. Odd it felt but it was under cover. The transit bus said it all with a sign at the door "no smoking, no alcohol, no greasy foods".
The ship was eclectic. Clean throughout and furnishings were acceptable although its ancient heritage was obvious. Meals were adequate, just. Breakfast poor in the restaurant and self service with bacon like shoe leather and toast over crunchy. One evening meal good, one poor and the plated meal displays to help you choose enabled comparison of quantities (the display was more generous). The bars were always crowded and a lot (I mean a lot) of drink was consumed.
The North Sea was bumpy and my wife had an interesting debate with reception in trying to extract some (chargeable) travel pills. They (the seasoned sailors) said it was not very bumpy. Were they trying to prove me wrong or declare I am a wimp? They did a remarkably efficient drill before sailing and the entertainment was pretty good. So if you like Queen or Roll and Roll era hits and dressing up in life jackets this is just the cruise for you The crew is mostly Eastern European with a degree of sternness often apparent or was it a lost in translation. The crew were on their last trip of the season
The disappointment was the theft of two dress watches form our case when left out to be off loaded or during the process. This has never happened to us before. Although they were not Rolexes, they did have some worth. I did inform Cruise and Maritime because I felt they should be aware although I was not expecting them to compensate. I had no reply.
So, apart from the theft, and some high spots (like our table companions) it was pretty mediocre and this is how I expected it to be before we went. It will have been a treat for the rather large number of keen smokers and drinkers as the duty free shop was popular, so much so that good nature deserted some travellers as they pushed and shoved in the queue. So, as I started, Cunard it was not. However in fairness to cross the channel it was a million times better than a ferry so it is in a category of its own. It does a 42 day trip to the Amazon in January. Now that is for the brave.