“Northern Lights - bingo and bean bags”
Cruise review of Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo

cpb Marco Polo 1 Northern Lights - bingo and bean bags
cpb
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If you enjoy bean bag throwing and bingo then this cruise is for you.

As for seeing Norway ... don't bet on it. Out of seven planned stops in Norway only four were managed. The explanation (very poorly communicated) was down to the weather.

The ship is ex Russian, specifically built for cruising in the ice bound higher latitudes. In February one should expect that the weather in the Arctic Circle isn't going to be perfect BUT one should also expect that the cruise company would not be running cruises if there is such a limited chance of completing the itinerary, not least because the ship can manage these conditions.

The first missed stop was because the port necessitated an anchorage which was deemed to be a problem as the weather made using the tenders uncertain. In the event it was decided to visit an alternative port ... which also, it turned out, needed to use tenders ... which of course meant that the second choice was also impossible to go ashore.

Later in the trip the Captain (virtually unseen during the whole fiasco) and the cruise directors waited so long to make a decision that two further stops were impossible to visit in the remaining time.

Whilst waiting for these decisions (over 8 hours) no updates were given. When eventually advised that we would be going straight back to Tilbury (missing the final two ports) we were crassly told to 'have a great evening'. No thought was given to recognising this huge disappointment through some announcement or gesture.

We were inadvertently told in the end that the weather was no worse than a Force 8 which this ship could easily cope with.

At no point were alternatives considered e.g. letting passengers ashore whilst waiting to make up their minds or choosing substitute ports where we could get ashore.

The ship is great; the crew are great; the Captain and directors are bad decision makers and exceptionally poor communicators.

Travel with the Marco Polo is a gamble whilst these 'managers' are employed.

Overall Ratings
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Cabin review:

1

Port and Shore Excursions

Port
Beautiful city which doesn't need an 'excursion' as it is small enough and easy to walk around. Most sites are within easy range of the ship's berth. In fact just walking around and not 'doing' the museums etc is fun and satisfies the traveller in you. Gorgeous canals, wonderful architecture, cobbled streets, great bars and restaurants.
Published 05/12/11
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