Had I read the reviews on the Marco Polo before booking I probably would not have gone ahead. However I am delighted to read the last two very fair and accurate reviews echoing my feelings. Before that I wondered if I had been on the same ship reading some older reviews, but even on the ship there were those who never stopped whining, getting not only themselves down but others who had to listen to them.
The crew were wonderful, polite, cheerful and very hard working, and although from the Eastern block their English was good and often the common language between them if they could not speak each other's. We were unfortunate to get norovirus on the ship but the crew could not have done any more to try and keep it under control, with constant cleaning even after they had finished their normal duties late at night.
The food was adequate, and soups and sauces very good, also cakes at teatime. Things were not ideal once the self service bistro was closed down due to the norovirus but it could not be helped although it was more fuel for the moaners.
The entertainers were very good and the dancers brilliant. We were very lucky to have very talented Richard Sykes as an extra guest cruise director who has now taken over on the next trip, without him the daytime entertainment would have been weak. Two daily quizzes, sometimes with repeated questions were enough, we did not need any extra at night which we got a couple of times. We had an excellent comedian Gerry Graham at the beginning of the trip and although we all hoped to see more of him he disembarked at Madeira. Another comedian/magician on our return who did not go down well with some people: some smut and cheap jokes at the expense of passengers he got up on stage was not considered apt but it was toned down at his next performance - presumably he got some feedback. Not sure why Michelle Monroe was chosen as an entertainer, only 'qualification' was being Matt's daughter.
The choir laid on by Richard was good fun, and the jewellery classes by Linda very good. Unfortunately the room too small for art if you happened to have a seat with your back to the teacher.
For future cruisers on this long cruise, take enough medicine with you to cover all eventualities - the dr's bills are exhorbitant. And although Euros or US$ are accepted everywhere you need local currency at the chemists ashore. And if on the Amazon cruise make sure you do not miss the Boi Bumba excursion at Parintins - amazing!
This was a pleasant cruise and good value for money - if you are looking for 5* go for a more expensive ship, you get what you pay for!