7 Bristol (Avonmouth) Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

Brilliant itinerary, good food and friendly staff, service excellent. Too many people on board for the size of ship. All activities over subscribed. Ship like a long corridor, so passengers and staff passing through all bars sitting areas ... Read More
Brilliant itinerary, good food and friendly staff, service excellent. Too many people on board for the size of ship. All activities over subscribed. Ship like a long corridor, so passengers and staff passing through all bars sitting areas and bistro. No quiet areas to sit and relax and read without interruptions. Cabins, very poor sound proofing so hearing neighbours whether you wanted to or not. The cabin we had 611 had people thundering around overhead doing exercise walking early mornings. Be careful of the medical mafia on the ship, very expensive. Not recommended for a long cruise. Would not travel on this ship again. There was also a spell when black soot spots came through the air conditioning unit into the cabin covering the beds and furniture. This also happened on decks. Disappointed that the captain did not seem to want to use tenders in the Caribbean when the wind or sea was not too rough! No laundrette and laundry service expensive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have never cruised before, and wanting to get away for the whole Christmas Period, this cruise fitted the bill. It appeared good value compared to alternative festive getaways and we had a good time, but all was all not exactly plain ... Read More
We have never cruised before, and wanting to get away for the whole Christmas Period, this cruise fitted the bill. It appeared good value compared to alternative festive getaways and we had a good time, but all was all not exactly plain sailing. We booked through Saga, who’s service was exemplary. They arranged transportation from our home to the port and return, which was upgraded to minute perfect luxury private cars, free of charge because we live close to Avonmouth. This is an old small ship, and when docked the view looked comical, as the Marco Polo looked as if it was the tug for the larger cruise ships. However we had the last laugh passing enormous queues for those huge floating hotels, to just walk straight on the Marco Polo. Embarkation, and disembarkation particularly were easy too. This is not a ship for those without good sea legs, as it rode every wave and rolled. I was shocked how much more movement there was on here compared with a small Cross Channel Ferry we took two weeks previously in an identical sea state. Remember to bring your sea sickness gadgets and remedies. I have never suffered sea sickness but was struck down with nausea one day and took advantage of complimentary Sea Sick Pills. On a few days the choking smell of diesel around the ship added to this problem. We purchased a drinks package, that was good value, but it could be challenging to make it pay. Service was variable. A good example was, at our dinner table we had an apparently new recruit wine steward who was struggling. At our first meal it was 45 minutes before we were offered a glass of wine. At subsequent meals we tried to purchase wine at the bar to take down to dinner, only to be curtly told to sit at a (lounge) table, as it was waiter service only. This could be a lengthy process, as there were not enough bar staff. However we found we could purchase our wine at the Columbus bar at the opposite end of the ship. Here the regular barman was an absolute legend. He was efficient and very focused. His Cocktails were the best and most consistent on board by a nautical mile. The main restaurant was always very busy in the evenings, but the service of the meals was excellent. The food was generally very good, apart from a rare duff dish, or one that was not warm enough, but Henry our table steward was very accommodating with replacements and alternatives. Breakfast was served here buffet style, and lunch was back to a more formal style, but we found the the atmosphere too dark and stuffy for mid day and chose to eat at the buffet. The Buffet was more cafe style and but food here was also tasty and better than it looked. It was always very crowded at lunchtimes, especially early on, but we always (sometimes just) managed to find somewhere to sit, sometimes outside by the pool. The whole crew were generally friendly when they could be (when it was quiet) but they could come across grumpy when under pressure. The entertainment team were exceptional, and worked very hard to provide a variety of shows and other activities across the vessel, maybe more Hi Di Hi than West End, but it wasn't unusual for the lead role of a fully dressed show to finish at 21:55 to present a quiz at 22:00 in the bar at the opposite end of the ship. Callum and Savannah were particularly outstanding talents. One of the joys of the smaller ship was that they were happy to engage with passengers around the ship and in the buffet and the smaller ship enabled you to get to know most of the staff and fellow passengers, which some passengers enjoyed but a few found this a little stifling. On this fully booked trip, space was a premium and you needed to arrive early to get a decent seat for entertainment, quizzes etc. The little fitness and wellness area was good value. Despite the ships age, the public areas were in good condition as were the furnishings and as advertised were never luxurious but surprisingly comfortable. Our cabin probably showed its age a little more. On our arrival was clean and comfortable but with some signs of wear and tear especially in the bathroom. There was a problem with the tap water in our cabin, that at times was a strange Brown/orange colour, that we repeatedly complained about.I think this may have been sorted at the end of our cruise. We paid the extra to have a bath, but bathing in that water wasn't at all appealing, but we did benefit from a large comfortable bed and a lot of living and storage space. Cabin care was disappointing. After about four days our nice bedding was changed for a set with a stained quilt. During the night some of the contents of the stain (possibly blood or vomit) soaked up onto the surface of the quilt cover. Nightly, when our beds were turned, our daily programme was positioned over the offending stain by our Cabin Steward to hide the stain. This went on for about a week until we complained and the bedding was changed. They also could have been a little more generous with the vacuum cleaner, and we resisted the temptation to borrow the one left in the gangway when obvious crumbs were left following the cabins make up. The ships programme could hardly be relied on, as it was often full of mistakes and inaccurate information. We missed events that were not listed and attended ones that didn't happen. It told us to change our clocks 24 hours early, and it mis informed us that for the last 36 hours of our cruise only one bar would be open on a cash only basis. Thankfully that wasn't the case. The cruise itinerary went to schedule perfectly apart for our arrival in Funchal where we were unable to anchor, allegedly because of the swell. I think this turned out to be an advantage as we gently cruised past Funchal at such a position that everybody could see and enjoy the whole spectacle of the town twinkling and every firework across the bay in the New Year display. Best of all our late arrival in port meant that we docked instead of tendered. The ship was launched in the mid sixtes, and there was only a handful of people born after this launch date, and most were born some twenty years or more prior. There were also a large number with walking or mobility aids, so docking ensured that everybody had time and were able to enjoy the delights (and the rain) of Madeira relatively hassle free. In spite of the niggles, we enjoyed a lovely British Christmas break surrounded by friendly, mainly older people who certainly knew how to enjoy themselves. If you like the traditional cruise with excuses to dress up, you like to be constantly very aware that you are at sea, you enjoy the company of familiar faces on a daily basis in a no thrills yet comfortable environment, this cruise is for you. However, I looked with some envy at those big sparkling cruise ships that cut through the waves rather than rode over them. I envied their gleaming new glass and paintwork and particularly their balconies. However I know we would have to have had to stretch our budget much further on there, fly before embarkation with all that entails to get there, and face long queues at every stop. We had a good time but we won't be back in a hurry. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
As a first point - this was our first cruise on a "regular" cruise liner, previously we've only sailed with Star Clippers, so we are used to smaller boats (200+ rather than 800 here). We chose this trip primarily because ... Read More
As a first point - this was our first cruise on a "regular" cruise liner, previously we've only sailed with Star Clippers, so we are used to smaller boats (200+ rather than 800 here). We chose this trip primarily because of the round-Britain itinerary and the cruise certainly delivered on that. Of all the stops only one - Inverness - was so-so and the remainder were interesting places well worth visiting. Trips were reasonable value allthough at several locations we did our own thing. Useful to know - English Heritage membership gets you into Edinburgh Castle for free, travelling independently to visit the Book of Kells in Dublin was MUCH cheaper than the organised trip and very easy (we were very glad that our trip booking was cancelled due to lack of numbers). Embarkation at Bristol through the giant shed that masquerades as a Cruise Terminal was a bit shambolic but car parking was conveniently close and we only had half an hours queueing to get through to the boat. First impressions of the boat were, yes it's old but its clean and well maintained. We found it stable - although we didn't have to contend with more than 3 metre seas - and reasonably quiet. Our cabin was roomy and beds were comfortable. Shower / bathroom a little tired perhaps but I've seen plenty worse in hotels.The cabin service stewards couldn't be faulted for helpfulness, friendliness and efficiency. Public rooms are comfortable. Bar prices seemed reasonable and service was prompt and friendly. We were less happy with the food. Not bad but not great and rather samey. Same menu in both the table service and self service restaurants. Some curious menu choices : quite a lot of curry (OK by me but some might not find this good) and on one evenng two dishes (prawn cocktail and one of the salad options) served with Marie Rose sauce. The gourmet evening - a taster menu with accompanying wines - didn't live up to its "Master Chef" aspirations and while it was enjoyable I wouldn't rate it as good value for £40 each extra). Often it seemed that the ambition of the chef outstripped the ability of the team to deliver, both on this menu and on other occasions. I don't think there's a place for a jar of pre-made sauce ona fine dining menu - just put it in a dish for heaven's sake, and if you're going to serve breseaola with a balsamic glaze make sure all the servings have it so chef doesn't have to apear from the kitchen with his squeezy bottle of glaze to fix a serving there on the table. Breakfast was the usual cheese / ham / cheese / bread / fruit / eggs / hot buffet etc but very much the same thing each day and lunch depressingly similar to breakfast. Afternoon tea - didn't really need this and thank goodness - had some of the driest and curliest sandwiches I've seen since the bad old days of British Railways station cafes. No tea or coffee making facilities in the cabin but tea is always available in the lounge and coffee too (though I'll confess to not liking the 'stewed in an urn' variety found almost everywhere). Espressos / americanos available from the bar cheaper than Costa, so nothing to complain about there. They run a two sittings for dinner arrangement with allocated tables. This was OK, except on our table one couple preferred to eat in the self-service almost every night meaning our table of eight was usually a spread out table of six. Sometimes its nice to eat with the folk you have met up with during the day. I must confess we prefer the approach used on Star Clippers which is based on open seating. Breakfast too in the table service restaurant is based on filling tables up as you enter, so its pretty hard to get a table for just the two of you. Breakfast, lunch or dinner in the self service restaurant could involve a wait for a table to become free. It wasn't that it was bad but it was the first cruise I've come back from without putting on any weight. Didn't try the entertainment - we weren't encouraged by off-key playing in the bar - but the lecture origramme (an RSPB bird expert) was interesting and the one we attended excellent. One problem with the boat was that due to the weather - a cool English spring - most of the passengers were inside almost all of the time. That made public areas crowded. It was dificult to find quiets spots to read or study (as we tend to). A crowded boat also tends to make people less conscious of other's sense of private space, so we often found people plonking down next to us without so much as an "Is this free?" Disembarkation for organised trips / independent travellers was shambolic. Part of the problems seem caused by the fact that with an elderly passenger list many folk need assistance and gangway / tender handling generally seemed a bit haphazard and not well coordinated with passenger announcements. Getting off at the end of the cruise was rather better organised and we were on our way within a couple of hours of docking and ahead of the schedule that we were given on board. Generally I didn't get the "one ship" feeling you get on Star Clippers. This may not be fair but it felt to me like the individual departments on board were just getting on with their own thing without really acting as a team for the benefit of the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Food was awful. Tasteless, and much like eating in a school cafeteria. Even the sitdown restaurant had the same food. Cabin was great, but we hardly slept. Don't know why as the beds were OK. Very old ship, and it's ... Read More
Food was awful. Tasteless, and much like eating in a school cafeteria. Even the sitdown restaurant had the same food. Cabin was great, but we hardly slept. Don't know why as the beds were OK. Very old ship, and it's showing it's age, although the staff do keep it clean. Staff fantastic, but wouldn't go on this line ever again. Embarkation was a breeze, and getting off the ship at the end went quicker than we expected. Very organized. Did not participate in entertainment so can't comment on that. Shore excursions were a mixed bag, some good, some not worth the money. In future think we'd do our own thing going ashore. On questioning the staff, it appears that some of the ports must bid to have a cruise ship dock!!!!! Belfast was a disappointment. Titanic experience was not worth the money, and the city sights, were quite depressing. Sad. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Frail elderly people, think my wife was the youngest on board apart from the staff. I am 68 & my wife is 60 but we are both very fit & healthy.Think most of the customers were well over 75+.Emergency helicopter at sea, rough seas ... Read More
Frail elderly people, think my wife was the youngest on board apart from the staff. I am 68 & my wife is 60 but we are both very fit & healthy.Think most of the customers were well over 75+.Emergency helicopter at sea, rough seas & elderly people do not mix. Food brilliant 5* well presented, cooked beautiful & most of all HOT!. Staff 10/10 could not fault them at all, staff as good as any of the 8 cruises we have been on. Ship far too small for us, well out dated, needs a complete revamp or sinking. Cabins are in need of gutting & bringing up to date.Beds too small, no dressing table for the ladies, shower jell & shampoo rubbish.Shows average, theatre not terraced correctly made it difficult to see the shows. No casino. Sun beds & chairs very uncomfortable. Would not go with Cruise & Maritime again much prefer larger more modern ships with lots more to do. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The cabin, serving and bar staff were very good. The cabin was good, but freezing for the first 7, yes 7 days. This was despite reporting it to be cold everyday, Apparently someone fictionally meassured the temperature at 24 ( I wish), so ... Read More
The cabin, serving and bar staff were very good. The cabin was good, but freezing for the first 7, yes 7 days. This was despite reporting it to be cold everyday, Apparently someone fictionally meassured the temperature at 24 ( I wish), so they didn't need to act. I stamped my feet and this was after they had increased the temperature twice, they came and measured it in my pressence at 19. The man then adjusted it there and then and fixed it. My grievance is they didn't solve the problem 3 days earlier because they decided to ignore me. On the last day I met another person that had the same experience and he had been ill in a freezing room for 14 days. He had been told his room was 24 too. On my birthday we booked the special menu in what I found out later was called the garage by the staff, because it was so cold. When I think back I don't know why we stayed because it was shivery cold. They assured us it would warm up. The starters were lovely, soup delicious, but then they came with a cold main course. We were being served by the maitre de, so if he didn't make sure it was good then there isn't much hope for the rest. My husband is gluten free. The restaurant staff were good and made sure he got toast etc, but they just don't do the stuff you can get on Fred and P&O. If you're gluten free you wont get scones, pizzas and the little extras that make a holiday. I wont be using Cruise Maritime again Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise as it was convenient for us as we live in Bristol, and we thought the weather should be warm. Convenient it was, but the weather was far from good, which was no fault of the ship, obviously. However. I was in bed for 2 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was convenient for us as we live in Bristol, and we thought the weather should be warm. Convenient it was, but the weather was far from good, which was no fault of the ship, obviously. However. I was in bed for 2 days with sea sickness. We were tossed around everywhere, which is one of the drawbacks of a small ship. We have been on bigger ships, and not even known were were on the water. It was most unpleasant, and worrying as you had no way of knowing what the next day would bring. It was extremely hard to keep your feet when walking about and ruined the whole experience for me. The staff, food and entertainment were excellent, as was our cabin. The weather in the Canaries was just passable, but it poured rain in Madeira. The drinks were very reasonably priced. Don't pay for the excursions. We had an hour on a tuk tuk in Madeira, it cost us £84. We saw nothing and spent 20 minutes looking round a shop. I complained to the excursion rep on the desk who was extremely rude and spoke to me as if I were a child. Complete rip off. We did however book as excursion at Coruna, before we sailed, which was great. Most ports have open topped buses for sight seeing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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