Having read some of the previous reviews we did wonder a bit what to expect ! Embarkation at Tilbury was painless and hardly any wait, taken straight to our cabin (tiny but then we had opted for the most basic one available) and our suitcases were there waiting. All clean and pleasant, no bobbly sheets !! Very friendly helpful cabin stewardess, likewise the waiter on our second sitting (we had no difficulty in getting our meals and along for the evening entertainment unlike a previous reviewer). The entertainment was good and varied each evening, aimed at the age and style of the audience. Our guest speaker for the week was David Gaylor aka Roy Grace in the Peter James novels so this was a huge bonus also, he was really interesting and very approachable even when out and about on the ship. One thing which I really really did NOT LIKE about the cruise was the breakfast style, its all help yourself buffet even in the Waldorf restaurant, very little variety (no eggs benedict, no smoked salmon and scrambled egg etc), just queue and help yourself like a works canteen. And believe it or not, no marmite, this being as near a British ship as you could get , I have cruised with American and Italian lines and they have marmite but not here ! However this aside , and of course the exhorbitant cost of shore excursions , but this is not unique to Marco Polo, the bar drinks prices were not bad, although a request for a Moscow Mule met with blank stares and no attempt to oblige (unlike P&O last year who did not have it on their list but did sort it out and make it for me). Service in the palm court lounge was slow, often you had to go in search of a waiter, and its not in your face snappy like on American ships, but for me this is an advantage not the opposite.
Food at lunch and dinner was lovely, so this made up for the poor breakfasts.
All in all I would definitely consider Marco Polo again, except that their itinerary is quite limited and they do not really go where I want to !!