16 October 2015
MS Marco Polo
Marco Polo 50th Anniversary Canadian voyage.
This observation has been prepared on a fair and even handed basis and is as comprehensive as I think that it should be. Neither my wife or I have any ... Read More
16 October 2015
MS Marco Polo
Marco Polo 50th Anniversary Canadian voyage.
This observation has been prepared on a fair and even handed basis and is as comprehensive as I think that it should be. Neither my wife or I have any connection with the Company, the vessel or its staff.
Following the completion of this voyage we wish to present our views regarding the ship and the personnel that we had direct dealings with. Both of us have had many years dealing with all levels of the general public in front line service, in which service was delivered that was not only had to be right the first time, but delivered under no little pressure. I have professional Maritime qualifications and in addition, my wife has professional qualifications in the catering industry and understands how this business is operated.
We have to thank all of the staff that we have met, their industrious work ethic does them credit, as does their very pleasant and helpful service.
A first class lecturer on subjects topical to the voyage. His popular and riveting lectures were well attended. They had it all – the Inuit, Sami people, maritime life and Arctic explorers. I have never seen an audience at a lecture ask to have one of the presentational films shown twice. His lectures are both instructional and humorous and Eric McVicar is a definite ‘must’ for these cruises. As time went by, he proved to have a huge sense of fun with a wicked sense of humour and his recitals were not only appreciated but expected. We hope to see him again. Eric was always available and approachable ‘out of hours’ on the deck and we found he was able to cover a range of interesting subjects. Certainly, Eric McVicar’s attendance on board will be a factor in the planning of any future voyages with Cruise and Maritime. Well done.
Another good addition to the itinerary. Bearing in mind the number of people who had cameras and associated problems. We thought that Ian’s professional lectures were well targeted, and the attendance at his lectures proved how popular he was. His instruction on photography enabled a lot of people to improve their skills on the voyage, and his contribution was well suited to everyone with a camera. Towards the end of the voyage he ran two challenges for extra fun and instruction. Well done. Again, Ian would always be there ‘out of hours’ to sort out the many problems people were experiencing.
We only attended her bird and animal lectures and found them to be very instructive. Having only a basic knowledge of the wildlife we were about to encounter, we found her information very helpful and our voyage was enriched by her instructions and advice.
One Lecturer on Cannibals who I will not name.
This was an absolute disaster; whoever planned his performance clearly had not reviewed him. He was embarrassing to watch. His subject matter was not appropriate and delivered in a most unprepared and shambolic manner akin to a badly done home slide show. It was a shame that he wasted valuable Lecture time that could have been filled by the professional Lecturers on board. Bad form.
Our Cabin Steward.
The Steward was a well presented, very pleasant and helpful person. Our cabin was always cleaned and presented to a high standard and he was most helpful and prompt in dealing with our queries. Both of us are very particular about the accommodation that we stay in, and his work was consistently high. In addition, he has a good command of English.
Deputy Matre d’, Waldorf Restaurant.
We primarily dealt with one of them, however all the comments below apply equally to the other. Both are very capable men who were always discreetly conducting operations and regularly checked with our table. They managed the restaurant well and were always on hand to provide assistance. We had the occasion to observe them when he dealt with a complaint from someone in the restaurant, and can say that he handled the situation was beautifully handled. It is credit due to them both that the standard of their management contributed to the successful running of the Waldorf Restaurant and our dining experience.
Waiter in charge of our table.
Again, a very pleasant, positive person who is focused on his job. He was of smart appearance and service was delivered in a highly attentive and professional manner. His command of English was good and he resolved all our queries promptly and it was a pleasure to deal with him.
Assistant Waiter to our table.
Again he was a very pleasant, approachable and smart person, who also has a good command of English and delivered service in a highly attentive and professional manner.
This is a very smart, competent young lady who spread sunshine to our table with her happy disposition. She acted in a very smart and professional manner and was quite correct when discharging her services.
“Loverley Jubberly,” Chef.
It has to be said that was well as running the separate catering and omelette events, his character and humour is a definite asset to the Team. We enjoyed not only his cuisine but his humorous character who engaged with everyone in his own happy style. In short, he spread humour and good will which is very important to any cruise.
And now the kitchen staff in the background. In this regard we are mindful that at most times the restaurant was operating at full capacity and normally in the general run of things, there are times when things do not go as they should do. We experienced only one problem during the cruise regarding a beef dish, but we all agreed that this was probably due to a supplier and not the standard of the Chefs. It is all credit due to them that they provided consistent food of a high quality throughout our voyage, working flat out within the constraints of the vessel. Certainly, the whole restaurant was working quite efficiently to achieve this.
It is also compliment to the Chefs that they produced such a wide range of food and patisserie in such challenging circumstances. Their showcase of patisserie and chocolate in the restaurant were superb and they have every reason to be proud – well done.
We noted that an anti-infection regime for the Restaurant and Buffet Bar was in place for the entire voyage. Most, if not all passengers observed this and in order to reinforce it, waiters were stationed at the entrances to the restaurants to assist. We thought that this was very important point and a definite ‘plus’ for this company.
The Buffet Bar was crowded on occasions but with outside snack facilities there was a choice to eat elsewhere, or alter the timings for eating in the Buffet.
I was impressed by the young lady who dealt with the Shore Clearances who answered my queries and was very informative.
With regards to the remaining staff that we encountered. As a matter of course we engaged with them during the course of the days, (usually with a ‘good morning’ of the like) and they responded in kind within the limits of their current functions.
All credit must be given to the sea boat’s crews who dealt with everybody in a very kind and helpful way while tendering ashore. We realised that it is not easy to deal with people in the upper age bracket in a boat while disembarking. Their concern was appreciated and having some Maritime experience I know how much time and effort they put into the care of the passengers.
We enjoyed what we saw enormously. Richard Sykes is a star performer and superb entertainment backed up by Lee and the boys and girls. His wide repertoire and with his warm and embracing character, he was well received and he had time for everyone ‘out of hours.’ His arrangement and performance of ‘Les Miserables’ was superb! and we enjoyed the shows immensely.
Susan has a wonderful bubbly, open and engaging character who related to all levels, putting people at ease whilst working hard to organise their Tours. Again, she was always available ‘out of hours’ to provide answers to queries. Certainly both she and her assistant are the right people for the position.
A word here about venues. Although we did not partake in many Tours, however a feature of our booking Marco Polo was the interesting venues that the ship visited. It enabled us to visit places that were untouched by the ‘plastic’ tourist industry. As such, we were able to walk about and experience how ordinary local people lived and to talk to them.
All the staff were first class and we thank them for their help and advice that delivered promptly.
It was good to see the Captain moving around the ship on a regular basis and chatting with the passengers. His daily navigational information was well received and the frequency of announcements over the ship’s public address system was not intrusive. All the Ships Officers we met were polite and helpful.
We think the pricing of the bottled water in the cabins is too high. We suggest that if the charges were more reasonable, we would have used it bearing in mind there were no tea and coffee facilities in the cabin.
The cost of laundry was reasonable. We had a few items laundered and they came back to a very satisfactory standard.
Our Cabin got very hot on some occasions. The air conditioning would shut down to ‘cool’, but we felt that this should be checked out. We did not mention this as it did not warrant a complaint, just an observation.
We noted that throughout the voyage, the crew carried out a programme of discreet maintenance. Paintwork and varnish were refurbished thus ensuring that the vessel was as well presented as far as was possible. Slip resistant deck paint was being refurbished, the teak was always clean and external paintwork was washed down.
There were few rust marks to be seen and the credit must be given to the condition and appearance of the foredeck. I assume that the isolated repairs to the teak decking will be completed during the next scheduled maintenance.
We saw that the handrails to the stair towers were regularly cleaned with a bleach solution, and reflects the good anti-infection regime operated elsewhere. Well done.
For a ship of her age, the Marco Polo is a grand old lady of good appearance and a joy to see.
Marco Polo recommendation
This is a small very substantially built ‘traditional’ ship unlike the impersonal blocks of flats roaming the oceans. Some passengers who had experienced the larger ships with yards of Formica and endless stainless tell felt the Marco Polo was a bit of a come down. But many of the passengers we met re book with the Polo, and are satisfied with her. This must be a recommendation in itself. This has been described a 'budget' cruise ship. It probably is depending on where you are coming from. We could not afford the high cost of other ships and we got good value for money with the Polo, certainly the staff did not treat us as 'budget' customers.
It is clear what the Gratuities Policy is and you have the choice of paying the daily rate chargeable to your on board account and leaving it as it is, upping it - or reducing it to pay staff individually if you want to.
We don’t go for a ‘Class’ system anywhere and the passengers were friendly and good natured. It was a very pleasant experience to communicate and associate with a good bunch who returned kindness and courtesy. For sure there were the moaners, you get this everywhere, and some passengers should learn how to address staff properly. I could not do their job and they had our abiding respect for the service that they gave to us. Well done, thank you.
The standard of cleanliness was very high and we enjoyed the experience of being with the multinational crew. The ship has a very ‘homely’ and comfortable feel and for the future, the Marco Polo would be first choice in our booking.
As customers we thank Cruise and Maritime for making our voyage a very pleasant and rewarding experience. For us it did what it said on the tin. Read Less