We sailed from Tilbury. The embarkation worked like clockwork. From parking the car (luggage swiftly removed for us by the baggage handlers) to joining the queue to book in - 20 mins later we were being shown to our cabin and our bags were already there!
The Marco Polo is indeed a classic ship, really quite elegant. Whenever we turned a corner and came into contact with a member of staff, they addressed us and asked if we were well/having a good time/do we need any help. BRILLIANT service from the room stewardess to the waiter at our table in the Waldorf, to the entertainments staff, oh...I could go on and on. Not a bad word to say about any of the staff. When you entered an eating area, you were given a squirt of hand cleaner and everywhere on the ship was spotless. Every time we stopped at a port, the ship would dock and staff would continue the maintenance of the ship - cleaning portholes, painting, polishing and so on.
Food in the Waldorf restaurant consisted of buffet breakfast with an amount of waiter service. Plenty of fruit, good selection of hot and cold food. Marco's Restaurant was less formal but with similar food choices. Lunch and Dinner was also self service in Marcos but waiter service in the Waldorf with allocated seating at set times in the evening. Food was as follows:
3.30-4.30 Afternoon tea with rolls, cakes, fruit etc
6-9.30pm Evening Meal
around 11pm late night snacks - No time to go hungry!
The ship was very stable much to my relief but sick bags were soon distributed around the ship if it got choppy. I never noticed anyone suffering from seasickness. A Dr is on board to deal with any problems. We missed one port as we had to wait around 30 miles from St Petersburg for the best part of a day as the sea was too choppy for the pilot to meet us and guide us in. We were therefore a day short and had to miss Stockholm. Getting off the ship at any port of call was a breeze. No huge queues to disembark so more time in port. Another beauty of the smaller ships!
Copenhagen - good but only ashore there for 6 hours.
Warnemunde/Rostock - an unexpected gem (take the train to Rostock)
Tallinn - beautiful.
St Petersburg - very interesting (would have preferred to be there for 2 days).
Helsinki - nice (but expensive). The market was the best value for money.
Due to the delay in St Petersburg we were a little late back to Tilbury docking at 10am instead of 7am so the passengers for the following cruise did not see the way the embarkation should have worked and were frustrated by having to queue whilst we were being disembarked.
Cabin 263 was OK. Great value for money. Ship engine noise (the heartbeat of the ship) didn't bother me but my husband opted for earplugs. There are no balcony cabins and you have to accept that this is a classic ship. If you want fancy cabins, take a modern ship with 2000 plus passengers. I personally loved the intimacy.
We played scrabble and cards in the games room and sat in the library to look up ports of call a couple of times. If there was a downside it was that the majority passengers were generally OAPs. Well, it felt like that most of the time. No kids on board was nice(you enjoy kids when the time is right but I enjoyed the lack of them in this case).
I noticed previous reviews moaned about the lack of mugs - this only happened once on our trip and they were replenished within 3 minutes (and people still moaned!) and there was a coffee/tea station inside and not only outside as was previously reported. I learnt one thing from this cruise, some people will moan about anything! I hope this review helps!