My wife and I have just completed a 36 day Christmas Caribbean Cruise on the Marco Polo departing Tilbury 6th December and arriving back on 10th January. We had the advantage of missing most of the Icelandic conditions experienced in the UK over that period - an added bonus! but I do wish to congratulate the Captain and his crew on making this trip so memorable. It was truly fantastic. Previous critics of Marco Polo cruises have complained about the price of drinks. Yes, they were a few pence dearer than I would expect to pay in my "local" but if you drink on board everyday, don't be surprised if you get a large bill at the end of the cruise!! And OK, the Cabin water was expensive at £2.20 per bottle but you were not stopped from bringing on board your own water. Many passengers did so.
The Waldorf Restaurant served superb food in excellent surroundings and for those who preferred something more informal, they could dine in the Bistro. I tended to take evening meals in the Waldorf but for other meals I ate either in the Bistro or on deck. Daytime entertainment was pitched at the right level - carpet bowls (even if my bowls did run down the stairs), Bean Bag Bucket Bowls, Bagatelle and Jackkalo - all well attended as was Shuffleboard and the excellent guest lectures. There were numerous quiz's, a card room and keep fit classes. In other words something for everyone and coffee/tea was available throughout the day until about 22.00.
Evening shows were really well done and everyone involved deserves a round of applause. So what was the downside of this fabulous trip - perhaps they need a bigger bagatelle board. I didn't watch a lot of TV/Films partly because it took me the whole of the trip to master the controls; some of the TVs could do with an upgrade. Also I would have preferred to see some cheese available at lunch-times. But doesn't all this sound petty. The fact is from top to bottom or the other way round, every member of the cruise worked their socks off to make this trip enjoyable (the captain however would not let anyone beat him at table tennis - he should take it a little easier!)
One word of warning. it didn't affect me but I understand the Ships Sick Bay charges exorbitant fees for medical attention and they want the money up front (so I was told
). Another very expensive item is the cost of on board photographs. The ship must have thrown away hundreds of photo's which would have been very saleable at a more realistic price. After all, it wasn't as though the pictures were being taken by David Bailey.
But i am not complaining. I sailed on a great little ship with a great crew, superb food, and with terrific entertainment. Would I go again on the Marco Polo - most definitely yes.