We booked cruise P329, Amsterdam & Ghent Break, departing from Tilbury on October 3, 2013 and returning October 6, 2013 aboard the Marco Polo. Two days prior to departure we received an e-mail stating that due to an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise, extra time would be needed to clean the ship properly before our cruise was meant to depart. As such, our embarkation time was pushed back from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. At this point we weren't told anything further regarding how our cruise would be affected due to the norovirus, outbreak.
It was not until once we got on board and after it was too late to get back off the ship did we read the daily cruise program and realize that several amenities and services were canceled during the cruise due to said outbreak of norovirus. Such amenities included the Library, Marco's Bistro, all public toilets, the gym, the sauna, the swimming pool, the jacuzzi and the Net Centre. We also came to understand that Afternoon Tea, which we were looking forward to, was canceled as well.
Breakfast the following morning was a disaster as we all had to line up in the Waldorf Restaurant for 20 minutes just to eat some rather disappointing food. I do find it interesting that all of the bars and the chargeable health spa managed to stay open but the non-revenue generating parts of the ship were closed. Every surface except those in the rooms were covered in this unattractive film due to the ongoing cleaning during our cruise. There even managed to be a BLOOD STAINED PILLOW left in our cabin (see enclosed picture). Suffice it to say, it was a miserable cruise and one that should have been canceled given how many amenities and services were unavailable.
The worst part was when we discovered on day two that some passengers received a letter in the cruise terminal apologizing for the lack of amenities, which also allowed them to cancel this particular cruise and reschedule for a later date. When another passenger was kind enough to show us this letter, WHICH WE DID NOT GET, this “get out” clause was discreetly hidden on the back page in the very last paragraph of said letter. We found this tactic to be deliberately deceitful, calculated and absolutely disgusting. CMV knew full well that no one would read the letter until it was already too late to get off of the ship. It was among the most underhanded stunts I have ever seen.
As stated earlier, this was the worst cruise we have ever had the misfortune to endure. By the time we pulled into Amsterdam, my partner was so fed up of the experience, he went to the airport and flew home. I nearly did the same and would have done so if it weren't so difficult to collect our car, which was still parked at Tilbury. This cruise should have been canceled to properly clean the ship. No one would have been distraught at having to reschedule a little 3 day cruise. Instead it was three days of compromised service and poor excuses.
We are demanding a full refund for this cruise as it was a complete and utter disappointment from embarkation to disembarkation and virtually every moment in between.