Secured a last minute booking on this cruise - then read some uncomplimentary Internet reviews and thought "oops - what have we done?". Well, were they wrong!
I was expecting hard, uncomfortable beds, but the beds were very good, not hard at all. The cabins were on the compact side, but quite adequate with plenty of clothes storage. The cabin stewardess was very attentive and quick to provide extra pillows, etc on request.
We had no complaints whatsoever with the food. We ate in the Waldorf Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner and could not fault either the food served or the service. We ate afternoon tea in the Marco's Bistro. This also served main meals, but why use self service when you can eat 5 courses served by charming waiters? Our only regret on the food side was that there is no tea making facility in the cabins and that tea/coffee was only available between 7am and 10pm. You only realise you need something, of course, when you can't have it!
The entertainment crew on the Marco Polo work really hard and there was a very comprehensive daily programme of events - lectures, games, quizzes,etc. In the evenings the show team put on some very professional shows.
Marco Polo is a small ship compared to some (800 passengers approx) and not in it's first youth, but it radiates friendliness and confidence.
There are plenty of comfortable areas to sit and relax and I don't consider the bar prices to be at all unreasonable.
Marco Polo's ports of call were Floro, Leknes, Honningsvaag for the North Cape, Alta, Tromso, Andalsnes and Bergen. We were scheduled to visit Molde, but this was cancelled due to a Norwegian Pilots Work to Rule. We went on a few of the ship's organised tours which were admittedly overpriced in comparison with the independent ones we undertook, but very good. I think that is true of all cruise ships though. The North Cape was disappointing (smothered in tourists just like us) but the other places were all attractive and interesting and Andalsnes and Leknes particularly beautiful.
We had some rough weather in the North Sea at the start of the cruise which caused some passengers grief. However, I, a bad traveller usually, had no trouble after taking a precautionary sea sickness tablet. We had marvellous weather from then on with blue skies and constant sun. The thermal underwear we took was quite superfluous.
Norway is a truly beautiful country and this was a wonderful time of year to see it. My only regret is that I had to get off the boat at Tilbury and not continue on with the lucky people who were staying on to go on the next cruise to Iceland. I would have no hesitation in recommending the Marco Polo to anyone.