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Sail Date: May 2019
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a ... Read More
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a new one. Not because it is better but because it is different. The eccentricities and signs of age are apparent as soon as we had embarked at Cardiff and were shown to our cabin (number 130 - chosen by the operator as we had elected to a guaranteed outside cabin rather than choosing one). The first thing one notices is that there are only two electrical sockets - a 220 volt continental point and a 110 volt US point (plus an unnamed push button whose use we didn't bother to determine). In 1965 travellers probably only needed one point - but with the plethora of electrical appliances that are the stock in trade of the modern traveller, one power point is not really adequate. The cabin lights were also rather primitive, with an array of ceiling lights none of which could be switched separately - it was all on or all off using the one switch by the cabin door - and two separate reading lights. When we arrived in the cabin the air-conditioning wasn't working although, to be fair, the engineer was on site in less than an hour and fixed the problem. This was our first contact with the staff and was characteristic of all our relationships with the staff who were invariably efficient, helpful and pleasant. So 100% for that aspect of the cruise. Having unpacked we need to find out the layout of the ship and then we discovered eccentricity number 2. The one thing that every passenger needs is a plan of the ship and this should be in every cabin - but not on the Marco Polo. Yes, plans there were a-plenty at reception - once one finds it. But why not in the cabins which is where they will be most needed? Having found a deck plan another eccentricity was evident (number 3 if you're counting). The ship's plan shows the names of all the decks: Navigator, Columbus, Amundsen, Magellan, Pacific, Atlantic, Baltic and Caribic - but the references in the daily activities guide (entitled The Explorer) gave only deck numbers (Eg. Deck 9 Aft). Of course it is not too difficult to write the deck number on the ship's plan oneself - but why on earth wasn't this done at the time of printing? Before leaving the cabin one other eccentricity was evident, although we didn't bother to mention it to the staff as nothing could have been done. Our cabin floor was as bumpy as if the carpet had been laid across a ploughed field; goodness only knows what was underneath. Finally, although we had paid extra for an outside cabin we might as well have saved our money as for 80% of the journey there were deadlights across the portholes. This is permitted under the normal terms and conditions but it is as well for prospective passengers to be aware of this possibility on the lower deck cabins of this vessel. There are two restaurants on the Marco Polo, one waiter service and one self service and the food is good in both although that in the waiter-service restaurant is more interesting. The waiter service was very good. It is a sad fact that many (maybe all?) cruise companies charge very competitive prices for their cruises and then seek to make up their profits on the extras. My own extras bill came to over £900, much of which was drinks. On board drinks will be duty-free and bought at a discount price, but any savings are not passed on to passengers. As an example, a glass of house wine was £6 and a bottle of beer £4.50 - both well over UK pub prices. A further indication of this can be seen at the water station where there is a stern notice which reads, "For Health and Hygiene reasons it is strictly prohibited to refill water bottles at the water station". Well, I suppose it is just possible that some infected person might have drunk from the neck of a water bottle and then refilled it when pressing that neck against the tap - but I doubt it's a very serious risk. More likely is it that Cruise and Maritime want to make sure that passengers buy the bottled water that they supply at a purely nominal £2,80 per bottle. Cruise lines do have a monopoly and a captive market on board and this was evident from the price and range of the items for sale in the ship's shop. Proudly advertised as duty-free it was clear from the prices that any saving of duty was offset by an increase in profit. I needed to buy a pair of swimming trunks and the modest pair they had for sale was priced at £21 - about twice what a similar pair would have cost at home. The same excessive prices prevailed for most of the items on sale and I rarely saw anyone buying anything. In part the paucity of sales could have been due to the poor stick selection, which was not appropriate for the passenger profile. My own guess is that the average age of the passengers as around 80 years and thus hardly likely to want to buy designer shopping bags or the like. But the one thing that they would all use and probably need would be a walking stick, since at least 50% of the passengers were using a walking aid of one sort or another. Walking stick can break, get lost or simply be forgotten but did the shop stock such things? No. The assistant there did tell me that sticks were frequently requested but that it wasn't an item they ever stocked. If would seem to me that the buyer needs to look harder at the passenger profiles. The entertainment was of the usual variety and standard and little more needs to be said. The shore excursions were good enough but, as is so often the case, pricey for what they were. In summary, one can understand why some people enjoy the quirkiness of the Marco Polo, but next time I will try a different line Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who was very helpful and pleasant. We travelled on the Magellan last year to the Northern Lights and I must say that the ship has gone down hill since then. The food in the Raffles Grill at breakfast was good but people stay at the tables after their breakfast and it is hard at times to find a table. We were seated in the Kensington Restaurant (2nd sitting). The food served was not as good as last year and several times had to be returned as it was cold. This applies to us and others on our table. The two waiters that we had on our table were very good. We were on a table of eight and had a great time with the other guests. We went to the Indian fusion twice and will say it was excellent and very good value. Now the bad points. Why do CMV seem to think that everyone over 65 likes classical music. In the bar at the Kensington restaurant before dinner there was a violinist and a pianist playing classical music. In one of the bars early evening there was a guitarist playing Spanish music in my opinion very badly. Guest lecturers talking about art, Quizzes, game shows ,nit and natter, carpet bowls and painting made up the daytime so called entertainment then there were the shows . I have never seen such a load of out of tune and out of sync dancers and singers on any ship that we have been on,the shows were terrible. This is not only my opinion. We met others who said the entertainment was DIRE, who walked out shortly after it started. There were at least another half a dozen couples who said the same thing This ship needs to liven up its act and realise that just because a lot of people are elderly they cant enjoy a bit of lively music to dance to earlier than 11pm. I am 74 and find it boring. Shore excursions very expensive. Would we travel on CMV again, possibly. but not the Magellan. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Three-night / two-day pre-Christmas family-cruise for £225 each for an outside cabin - what's not to like? Destinations (Antwerp and Amsterdam) - good. Cabins - good. Food - average. Service - in the main, attentive and friendly. ... Read More
Three-night / two-day pre-Christmas family-cruise for £225 each for an outside cabin - what's not to like? Destinations (Antwerp and Amsterdam) - good. Cabins - good. Food - average. Service - in the main, attentive and friendly. Entertainment - no idea (we didn't bother). A few words of advice / recommendation for potential travellers: (1) Expect long delays at dinner in the main restaurant. And if you order drinks at the table they are likely to arrive well into the meal. (2) If the time of arrival in a port of call is quite late, don't think you can have a lie-in and go for a late breakfast close to closing time in either the restaurant or the self-service buffet. If you opt for the former, the service will be very slow and the food likely to be dried-up. If you go for the latter, you are very unlikely to be able to get a seat. Go early is the top-tip. (3) There's no pressure from the onboard photographic team, but on our short trip the shore-photographs at Antwerp were frankly hopeless (totally washed-out). Don't be tempted to buy (at unjustifiably high prices) just for the sake of it. (4) Think carefully about the 'onboard gratuity added daily to your account for your convenience'. We chose to remove this because there were aspects of the trip which we felt made it unwarranted. Of course it's a marketing ploy on the part of all cruise lines to make the base-price seem as attractively-low as possible. Better to reward individuals separately (as we chose to do) whom you feel may have gone above and beyond. Sorry about the 'invisible' members of crew who then receive a share of nothing - but that's life! (4) Don't be put off from considering CMV (with whom we have now cruised three times, out of twenty cruises overall) or the Columbus. Recognise that for what you pay, you will get really good value for money. How or where else can you get transported to two different European cities and enjoy a full-board experience (the beds are very comfortable incidentally) for £75 a day? On this trip, it was even possible to secure late-availability inside cabins for £129 - that's just £43 a day, which by anyone's standards is amazing value. Choose wisely and you will be well-satisfied. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this ship because I wanted to go to a German Christmas market. Prices were good on board, very clean, staff were excellent and entertainment was brilliant. Food was good with lots of choices. There is only one downfall, the ship in ... Read More
I chose this ship because I wanted to go to a German Christmas market. Prices were good on board, very clean, staff were excellent and entertainment was brilliant. Food was good with lots of choices. There is only one downfall, the ship in parts were too cold. In the buffet style restaurant it was so cold you had to wear your coat to eat. One waiter showed me his hands and they were like ice, little bit inhuman for those working in this restaurant. Everyone was complaining about it. At one stage they had the air conditioning on. We also had to complain about our cabin but were told where the control was and then it started to get warmer. The lifts leave a lot to be desired on the aft side. One lift was stuck on 11 for 2 days so the wait for lifts was not good. Service was excellent in all the bars and restaurants. Food in the waterfront restaurant was beautifully presented and tasty. Food in the buffet restaurant was equally as good and well presented but it was too cold in there to enjoy your food. The breakfast was excellent with lots of choice in both restaurants. There was afternoon tea in the buffet restaurant which was really good. Bar prices were excellent, cocktails for only 4 euros 75. They were delicious. Tea and coffee making facilities in your cabin and there was 24 hour tea and coffee machines in the buffet restaurant. On gala night the waiters did a dance for us which was amazing. In connexions bar there was a duo singing who was fantastic. In the other 2 bars you could enjoy a pianist and violin playing and guitar music. There was a different show every night and they were fantastic. Such talented singers and dancers. Plenty of things going on during the day, quizzes, games, bingo etc The ship is very big and the decor is beautiful. There are 2 shops on board selling duty free. There is no shop to buy sweets, drinks or other essentials. There were excursions available but this involved too much walking. Amsterdam town centre was literally 15 minute walk. In Hamburg the cruise ship laid on shuttle coaches which was an excellent service. Embarkation and disembarkation was so smooth and well ordered. I would definitely go on this cruise ship again but hopefully in summer Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I would highly recommend the 2 night mini cruise to Amsterdam from Tilbury on the Columbus, from start to finish it was stress and hassle free. We had a lovely cabin, the ship it’s self has plenty to keep you busy, lots of bars to choose ... Read More
I would highly recommend the 2 night mini cruise to Amsterdam from Tilbury on the Columbus, from start to finish it was stress and hassle free. We had a lovely cabin, the ship it’s self has plenty to keep you busy, lots of bars to choose from and the food in the waterfront restaurant was brilliant. We had a lovely day in Amsterdam and was back on the ship at 4.30pm. The shows on the ship were great, I couldn’t fault anything, I will definitely be booking every December as a pre birthday / Xmas treat and will take my partner next year too. It was such value for money, go and you won’t be disappointed. The whole experience from start to finish has made me not want to fly abroad anymore unless absolutely necessary, it’s cruising for me and my friends and family now, so book ASAP!!! Be prepared to gain a few pounds. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely ... Read More
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely architecture but very walkable. Next Port was Ronne a Danish island. Again very very quiet and apsrt from the churches not much to see.Would not visit this port again. Visbey was next { swedish Island} Beautiful and historic area. very quiet and a 20 minute bus ride from ship. Ship provided shuttle bus. Klaipeda Lituania was our next stop. Very laid out town New and old sections. Easy to walk around with a good choice of cafes. Our favourite stop was Gdansk Poland . So much to see I wish we had stopped longer there than Ronne and Wismar. We did not take any ships tours. We had a inside cabin {509} spacious for inside cabins and a good location for getting to and fro to dining and shows. Very well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation well managed. Food choices and meals , excellent. Entertainment was also varied and of good quality. Would consider taking another cruise with this company depending on the Ports. My only negative was having to vacate the cabin by 7am. Very difficult to get Tea and coffee as the machines did not work or the first few hours . Adult only cruise. Small pool and three whirlpools. Fitness room etc. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
A huge ‘thumbs up’ for staff and crew of ‘Columbus’ on the themed ‘Legends of Magic’ Baltic Cities and St. Petersburg Cruise that departed on 11th August from Tilbury. Embarkation was smooth and a warm welcome was waiting on ... Read More
A huge ‘thumbs up’ for staff and crew of ‘Columbus’ on the themed ‘Legends of Magic’ Baltic Cities and St. Petersburg Cruise that departed on 11th August from Tilbury. Embarkation was smooth and a warm welcome was waiting on board. The inner twin cabin on Deck 10 was spotless and kept that way by the hard-working Svetlana. It was well-proportioned, provided adequate hanging / storage space, effective A/C, TV and the addition of tea/coffee making facilities was a bonus. Prior to departure the Muster Station Drill was well organised and completed quickly a great improvement on my previous experience. The food in the Waterfront Restaurant was very good and sometimes exceptional (Quote from the Cruise Director…You come on as passengers and leave as cargo!) Dining in the Fusions Indian speciality restaurant was definitely an enjoyable experience where flavours and presentation were combined in an imaginative way, resulting in an unforgettable evening. A suggested Dress Code is published every day allowing those who wish to ‘dress for dinner’ the opportunity to do so, although ‘smart casual’ appeared to be acceptable in the Waterfront Restaurant at all times, which annoyed some. There were two ‘formal’ evenings and the Captain’s Cocktail Party and those who had no inclination to ‘dress up’ used the Plantation Bistro. The ‘Columbus’ singers and dancers provided entertaining and enjoyable shows with singer Chloe and dancer Yana offering outstanding performances. Not West End or Broadway standard, but certainly commendable and better than some cruise shows I’ve experienced. Then there were the guest magicians (including Fifth Dimension, John Archer, Nardini and Paul Wilson from BBC’s ‘The Real Hustle’), who were genuinely amazing. What was also impressive was that they were often seen around the ship talking with passengers. This was a Multi-Generational cruise but there were plenty of organised activities for all ages. The entertainments team always seemed to be involved with something outside their normal shows – rehearsing, hosting activities or supervising and escorting excursions. On this particular cruise, I have to commend the parents who too responsibility for their youngsters and I didn’t encounter any children running riot, as noted in some reviews. Embarkation and disembarkation at ports was accomplished smoothly and there was a comprehensive range of shore excursions available, though it has to be said that many could be sourced locally at a lower price. The vast majority of crew and staff were friendly, attentive and exceptionally hard-working though some still need to ‘up their game’ and learn to smile! Some of the male staff in the Taverner’s Pub seemed to make a habit of ignoring passengers. The staff in Connexions were always ‘on the ball’ and in Raffles exceptional (if somewhat slow) service and long conversations were the order of the day. Whilst every cruise and each passenger’s experience is different, the ‘Legends of Magic’ themed Baltic Cities and St. Petersburg Cruise on ‘Columbus’ certainly exceeded my expectations. I will have no hesitation about cruising on ‘Columbus’ in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have sailed with CMV on the super little Marco Polo and the lovely Astoria before so choosing Columbus for their few multi generation cruise held no fears. Boarding was as quick as lightning - no hanging around, there. As soon as we ... Read More
We have sailed with CMV on the super little Marco Polo and the lovely Astoria before so choosing Columbus for their few multi generation cruise held no fears. Boarding was as quick as lightning - no hanging around, there. As soon as we were on, we were impressed by the Atrium although the carpet was some what mind blowing! We we're off to our cabin and we had selected deck 8, a restricted view cabin. We had selected this as we had family both above and below us in cabins and, because my mother has a fear of heights, we could go no higher. When we walked into the cabin, we were very disappointed. The restricted view cabins on deck 8 are actually NO VIEW! The lifeboat was rammed almost up against the window and the room was quite dark without a light on. We have been in restricted view cabins before and they have been fine. You don't expect a panorama but a little light is normally to be expected. There was little or none here. The cabin itself was lovely, plenty of room and storage. The bed, however, was uncomfortable. Well slept in, it dipped to the right making it very difficult to sleep but over all, the cabin was roomy and generous. A bottle of wine and glasses were present (we had opted for the all inclusive package - I urge you to do so!), A complimentary box of tissues and lovely fleece blankets, too. The bars were excellent. All in different themes and decor, they were very comfortable with a large selection of drinks and cocktails albeit pricey if you're paying. A glass of wine will set you back £5.60. All inclusive is the way forward as, not only do you get your drinks free but all gratuities are included. You won't have that clocking up daily. Most of the staff were genial but, my goodness, some of the bar tenders could do with a social skills weekend. Surly isn't the word for it. The food was grand, though. Excellent fayre with lots of choice on Deck 12. We tried the restaurant but found the service to be lacking so kept with the buffet bar. Staff need to be a little hotter on the alcohol wash, though. I watched many diners go in without first washing their hands and I can see that familiar old foe, Norovirus, breaking out for an unwelcome visit quite soon. The sailing was perfect. The staff were very professional and safety was clearly Paramount. The film channels hosted well chosen films and there was something for everyone. The Dome on 14 was where the children danced their socks off every afternoon so they were thoroughly entertained. In all, it was another enjoyable cruise with CMV. However, there are a few ends that need tidying on Columbus. They need to apply the standards of the Marco Polo, though. Although CMV will never have Fred Olsen standards, I do expect a tighter ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Good value for money. Great VIP drinks package. Fusion Indian restaurant was out of this world! My only issue was that as this was a Multigenerational cruise, the entertainment was still aimed more at the older end. And the acts were ... Read More
Good value for money. Great VIP drinks package. Fusion Indian restaurant was out of this world! My only issue was that as this was a Multigenerational cruise, the entertainment was still aimed more at the older end. And the acts were exactly the same all week especially in Taverners Bar. And the quiz questions were for people of 70 years plus. Even the kids questions were hard. The 2 best entertain part was the farewell party which I really enjoyed and Ian's Magic Show which my 5 year old really enjoyed. And as an entertainer Ian was spot on. We had an issue with a prebooked wine package that had been discontinued on that brand so we were unable to get our 5 free bottles, but with some emails between our agent and the ship, Elvis the bar manager sorted this out which meant I've brought my 5 bottles home with no charge. Would I book with CMV again? Maybe, but the entertainment needs updating for multigenerational cruises. I do understand it's normally an adult only cruise line but I feel they need to adapt for the school holidays. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Fjords and the Columbus sailed from Tilbury, which was convenient. We were a little anxious about the ship, having read some previous negative reviews and never having cruised before. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Fjords and the Columbus sailed from Tilbury, which was convenient. We were a little anxious about the ship, having read some previous negative reviews and never having cruised before. We needn't have worried. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well organised, happening ahead of time. The ship was clean and the staff friendly and well organised. The public areas were smart. The cabins and corridors were a little tired, with dubious art work but the beds were comfy, the shower decent and the picture window had a window sill wide enough to sit in to take in the view. The food was excellent, albeit breakfast was repetitive. You could have waiter served breakfast, lunch and dinner, or opt for the buffet style restaurant. Choose the "Japanese" end for a less canteen style atmosphere and the further away from the food you go the quieter you'll find it. The Waterfront restaurant served well presented and tasty food, with the fish highly recommended. The early sitting is a bit early at 5.45 and we chose to miss the Captains cocktails preceding it as we didn't want to miss the scenery by going in to change. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss but quite frankly we were there to enjoy the views and would take blankets and sit on the rear deck until night fall. We did 2 shore excursions which were competitively priced when compared to organising independently. These were sea kayaking in Eidford and the Loen lake trip: both well worth doing. The weather was kind in Skjolden, so we were happy walking. We did not enjoy Bergen as there were 2 other ships in and it was very busy: but that is not the fault of the Columbus! We would use Columbus again, if it was going to the places we wanted to see. Read Less
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