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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were rather daunting due to their size. We chose Norway Fjords because the scenic beauty of these appealed. Although first timers we were guided through embarkation without any problems, and the same with disembarkation. The ship was an ideal size for finding your way around and also made for a friendly and more intimate atmosphere. We had a standard plus twin which was basic but comfy with adequate room for all our needs. The dining facilities were very good as was the food with a good variety. The youngsters that put on the twice nightly shows gave a good variety of entertainment even when the sea was a bit rough. There was a variety of other activities held to suit a vast majority of people. The service was excellent with all of the crew being very friendly and helpful. The whole cruise was excellent so much so that we have booked to go on a 28 day cruise on the Marco Polo in 2017. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews ... Read More
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews on CruiseCritic, the Marco Polo was fine and we enjoyed our time on the ship. I guess if you wanted to find faults you could do but we found the ship had plenty of room and things to do - much more on the ship than you expect from the outside. A good set of stops (Faroes, 4 in Iceland, Shetlands, Orkney) and excursions, but independent excursions also no problem. Really friendly staff, food was good, cabin was what we expected, friendly passengers etc. Embarkation was a bit slow, but disembarkation was really fast and efficient. Wifi would have been good but free wifi at all stops so not a problem. So no real issues from us. A good cruise, now what next? Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a ... Read More
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a small ship was a bit of a squash at meal times especially breakfast, we had the all inclusive drinks package of £17 per person per day which was good value and the drinks were good quality, entertainment sadly was not very good at all the nightly show was too short and very amateurish and quiz games disorganized and hard to follow, also the choice of music needs up dating... Our cabin was small which I expected on a ship but was clean and the service from our steward Yuri was excellent but I did begrudge paying £2.20 for a bottle of water in our room and should be included in the drinks package.... All in all an enjoyable week but don't think cruising is for us as we found it to confining and Norway is beautiful.... Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed where to go clearly throughout. We had a superior cabin on the 9th Deck and it had two windows which was a nice surprise. The furniture and fittings had seen better days but everything was clean and functional - precisely what I expected from CMV's photos and the price I paid. The room was cleaned twice a day and we opted to have a continental breakfast in bed the majority of the mornings. Information was provided in a nightly magazine and there was plenty to do during the days at sea. The entertainment was again, in keeping with the whole experience of being fun and functional. The shows were slightly cheesy, the quizzes silly and the musicians in all of the different bar/ lounge areas were fantastic. If you opt for a cruise like this, you need to embrace the spirit in which it is intended and join in. Everyone we spoke to was of a similar opinion- you get what you pay for and if you throw yourself into the 'small friendly boat ethos' then you'll get a lot more from your experience. We ate in the Waldorf restaurant each evening and there was a wide range of food which was cooked well and served at the right temperature by a highly efficient team. The food was a little bland and 'safe' to my taste but it was perfectly edible and fun stuff like 'the parade of the baked Alaska ' complete with indoor pyrotechnics and the night the head waiter danced to Zorba the Greek with a giant bottle of Olive Oil are what made this holiday so much fun. Norway itself and the excursions were fantastic. We paid for two and did Bergen on our own. I'm glad that we went on the guided tours as they were well worth the money, had very well informed guides and allowed us to see things we would not have been able to plan on our own. The fjords were spectacular and my best moment was waking up early on the second morning of our cruise to find that we were cruising the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Norway was very expensive and I feel that this cruise offered good value for money as an alternative to staying in a hotel and exploring on our own which is what we would normally do. The whole boat was spotlessly clean and staff seemed to be cleaning constantly throughtout the day. Hygiene was very important and at every meal time we had to clean our hands before entering. I thought this was a good thing. Since this was an entirely unpretentious cruise, there was little emphasis on dressing up and hanging out with the captain which suited us and our companions. That said, there was a meet the captain evening which was well organised and good fun. The majority of travellers were older than us but they seemed to be up for more of a good time than the younger folk and for me, this laid back approach to travel only added to the experience. There truly was no hurry to get on coaches/ upstairs/ into bars - we were supposed to be on holiday! My only grumbles would be that the 'Bistro' area was not very pleasant; it was reminiscent of a mid 1990's department store and was often hot and smelly. It could do with a refurb and a reconfiguration of the space. Also there were not enough bar staff circulating particularly during the evenings which led to considerable frustration when trying to order drinks. These however, were only minor issues and would not put me off travelling with this company or ship again. We had heard horror stories about disembarkation but like every other part of the trip, this was a smooth calm process. We opted for express disembarkation and, if you are able to carry your own bags and use the stairs, I'd definitely recommend this. We got off about 15 minutes after docking and the buses were waiting to take us straight to the car park so we only had about 30mins where we had to do any waiting around. So, I would recommend this cruise to first timers and those who enjoy chatting to other people and simple pleasures such as reading a good book in the sunshine and working ones way through the cocktail menu of an evening. It was a laid back, fun holiday. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the ... Read More
A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the entertainment manager put on a range of great activities including a traditional Captain's Reception! The visits to Honfleur , Rouen and afternoon cruise back down the Seine were memorable! We thoroughly enjoyed visiting historical places and the markets! The accommodation on board was a cabin on level 4,bijou but we loved the portholes, we were able to watch the Seine early morning. The dining room was a little cramped,but the tables were great,there was a great menu and the food was delicious, enjoyed with great dining companions!! The staff were second to none and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this short cruise.We felt this was traditional cruising at it's best ....the Marco Polo is now 50 years old! For us..it ..what is not to love !! It was reassuring that many passengers were older with some having a disability, the teams appeared to support them well. Read Less
47 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Having spent a lifetime sailing and never having seen the point of cruising in a big ship my wife finally persuaded me that is what we were going to do. She had enjoyed Christmas shopping trip on Marco Polo with a friend and was keen to ... Read More
Having spent a lifetime sailing and never having seen the point of cruising in a big ship my wife finally persuaded me that is what we were going to do. She had enjoyed Christmas shopping trip on Marco Polo with a friend and was keen to see the fjords so I read the reviews of Magellan and having enjoyed a tremendous week I have come to the conclusion that the detrimental reviews are more about the reviewer than the ship. We met several people who seemed to be there just to moan and that was before they had even boarded Fortunately we didn't have to eat with them. Yes Magellan rolls when the sea is rough, so does everything else that floats, some more than others. I forgot to unscrew the inclinometer from my own boat and take it but I didn't notice a permanent list or anything more than the usual heel in the wind and when she navigated tight bends. Yes she is an elderly lady but she is kept beautifully clean and the crew were marvellous. Nothing appeared to be too much for them. The cabin was spotless, the odd creak from a ship underway doesn't keep me awake. I rate excellent based on what I pay and CMV give tremendous value for money. The Port of Tilbury does have more than a few problems none of which are in CMV's control. It is very convenient for us as we live on the Essex Coast and no doubt for the millions of others living close to London but access by road can be a problem so allow plenty of time. Would we sail on Magellan again - we have already booked. Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Four of us booked a Fjord cruise having never cruised before, we were a little worried by the varying reviews on the Magellan, however all we can do is give our honest opinion....we loved it. On arrival at tilbury there was a little bit of ... Read More
Four of us booked a Fjord cruise having never cruised before, we were a little worried by the varying reviews on the Magellan, however all we can do is give our honest opinion....we loved it. On arrival at tilbury there was a little bit of a hold up as the last trip had arrived back late so there was a two hour of the ship trying to play catch up. After that slight hiccup everything was super. Our cabin, an inner was roomy, very comfortable beds, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space and the bathroom a decent size. The food on the ship was lovely, though we heard grumbling a of 'small portions' there was 5 courses every evening...how much do people really want to eat. Breakfast, plenty of choice from continental to full English. Breakfast not being long over then lunch, again something for everyone. Afternoon tea from 3ish...who could possibly eat any more? The staff on board we met were all very friendly, happy to chat and a pleasure to talk to. We were undecided as to take the drinks package...we did and when we cruise again we would probably not use the drinks package as the drinks were on par with UK pub prices. So unless you drink quite a lot, it's probably cheaper to pay for drinks as you go. We took a couple of the trips, but we all felt that the trips we took, could have been booked and arrange very easily independently, just do a bit of homework before you travel. Around the ship all he areas are spotlessly clean, there seems to be a staff member cleaning all the time. The ship,is immaculate. Not really sure why the ratings are only three star...we will certainly book again...loved every moment....well done! Don't worry about the negative reviews on the Magellan....we loved it! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. We got a buy one get one free offer. The facilities on the ship were excellent. It was all very clean. The food choice was amazing and the staff were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. We got a buy one get one free offer. The facilities on the ship were excellent. It was all very clean. The food choice was amazing and the staff were very friendly and polite! The entertainment was brilliant and the comedian was very good indeed. I'd never had a cocktail before, but now I think that they're lovely!! The musical entertainment was superb, especially the pianist and the violinist. There was also a large number of shore excursions to choose from. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. The Captain went around and spoke to people, which we thought was very nice and he seemed a really nice guy. All of the staff worked incredibly hard and they were always very attentive and smartly dressed. All in all a superb cruising experience and we would go again! Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our first cruise so we have nothing to compare it with but were a bit wary given some of the bad reviews this ship and company get. Tilbury is an odd port and probably needed refurbishment 40 years ago, it still does and after ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we have nothing to compare it with but were a bit wary given some of the bad reviews this ship and company get. Tilbury is an odd port and probably needed refurbishment 40 years ago, it still does and after a bit of chaos at the long term car park the embarkation process was very efficient. From starting the process to boarding the ship and being shown straight to our cabin was no more than 15 minutes. The meet and greet on board was good and within minutes we had dropped out hand luggage off and were free to explore. The ship is not huge, which appealed to us. Everything was immaculate and there was constant cleaning and polishing going on throughout the entire voyage, along with window cleaning and painting whenever the ship was in port. There are staff dispensing anti-bac at all times in every place food is served. There were various activities for most sea days, quizzes, art, a choir and entertainment. We didn't go to much of the 'on stage' entertainment as it wasn't our style (singing and dancing) but there is also an excellent resident pianist who plays regularly in one of the smaller bars and a fantastic piano and violin duet who played 3 or 4 times a day in one of the other bars, they were stunning. Other people enjoyed the main entertainment so there was a variety of styles to suit taste. The guest cabaret (comedy and music) was very old hat, Frank Spencer impressions and lots of jokes around impotence, some people found him funny, he was a better singer than comedian. Some of the guest lectures were interesting, a bit more variety would have been good. The food was very good, always a choice of self serve or restaurant. While occasionally the soup wasn't hot there was always a good choice, it was always well presented and served with a smile. I am veggie and was always well catered for with a choice of menu. While the breakfast staff were not always overly cheerful or interactive the evening dinner service was good humoured, professional and always served with beaming smiles. Our waiter, Thant, remembered our particular likes and dislikes and was always ready to change anything that wasn't to someone's liking (eg blue cheese on the cheese and biscuits) and remembered this for next time. Portion sizes were very good, not excessive but more than adequate. Lunch was 3 courses, though staff were also happy to just do the soup if requested, 3 courses were not compulsory (!) dinner was a minimum of 5 courses with fresh pizza available 12-6 and afternoon tea 3.30-4.30 plus late night snacks handed around in all bars around 11/11.30. I'm sure no-one could possibly go hungry. Drinks are very reasonable, there is a drinks package at £17pp per night but bar prices are normal, fairly cheap, pub prices. Wine packages are offered a few days into the trip for those who don't want the full drinks package. We just bought drinks as we went along and had a very reasonable bill at the end of the trip. Shore excursions are expensive, in most places we just did our own thing. Amsterdam was an easy walk from port to city centre and there were buses for the less mobile. In the Faroe Islands we did a trip which was good but at £37 expensive for 2.5 hours. In Iceland we did our own thing, there was a port shuttle available at £12 but a local bus is £6 return and went every 20 minutes. In Orkney there was a free shuttle provided locally and we were greeted by Tourist Info staff, the whole town was geared up for our visit (even the local vicar was sat in the Cathedral on his laptop in case anyone wanted a chat, there were welcome signs in shops) and we were "piped off' by a bagpipe and drum band. Disembarkment was a little chaotic but not unreasonable for getting 1,200 people and their luggage off a ship. The staff were very friendly, the Captain informative and also funny. We had one pretty rough sea day as we left Iceland when most activities were cancelled and we were catching wine glasses and fellow passengers as they slid around the ship. Listening to some fellow passengers whinging and wining as we left the ship it was hard to believe we had been on the same cruise, while I'm sure there will have been some genuine mishaps or problems some people just seemed to be looking for problems "there wasn't even a mint on our pillow at night" was one person's moan about why he would never use CMV again... Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Our embarkation was at Amsterdam Cruise Terminal, very nice terminal at walking distance of centre of Amsterdam in comparison to the Tilbury terminal which was located in an industrial area 40 km from London. Well done Amsterdam!! After ... Read More
Our embarkation was at Amsterdam Cruise Terminal, very nice terminal at walking distance of centre of Amsterdam in comparison to the Tilbury terminal which was located in an industrial area 40 km from London. Well done Amsterdam!! After a quick registration we were escorted to our cabin. Specious cabin with a double bed window and a lot of storage space. Our dinner was served at the Waldorf restaurant, good quality food and TOP service by our waiters Ashley and Ivan. We used our breakfast at Raffels buffet restaurant, the varierty of the food was excellent. A lot of fresh fruits. Restaurant can become crouwded due to people who remain sited after they have finished their breakfast, lunch or tee due to the cold weather. Reception staff was not very friendly and lost ?? a form for a refund request on our account statement. The saying "how colder the destination the older the passengers" was correct, we felt that we (age 46 & 55) were bringing down the avarage age on board. In relation to the destination of the cruise "North Cape" we were shocked about the high number of disabled people on board. During the evacuation drill we were the only ones waiting at the lifeboats for a long time. The lifts could not handle the high amount of olderly people. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was my first cruise, and probably my last. Cruising simply is not for me. Over and above that I have a few grumbles some of which apply as much to a hotel as a ship. The lifts in the Magellan are very slow {very}. And yet half the ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and probably my last. Cruising simply is not for me. Over and above that I have a few grumbles some of which apply as much to a hotel as a ship. The lifts in the Magellan are very slow {very}. And yet half the lifts are not in use or don't work. The crew and all their odds and ends also use the lifts, thus I travelled up and down at various times with, a table, a stack of chairs, and a large trolley. not a good impression. everything about the ship says "hotel" and yet there is no shoe polisher or cleaner. Embarkation at the start of the cruise and disembarkation at the end was fine, but getting on and off the ship for shore excursions was painfully slow. All passengers are issued with a cruise card, which have to be swiped by a crew member, each time you leave or board the ship. In a card wont read or scan correctly the entire queue has to wait. Twice we had to stand out on the quay for well over 15 minutes. It didn't rain, but I would have been furious if it had. The gangway, was, for the most part a narrow single gangway, fixed to a low deck, where the effect of the tide has a dramatic effect on the gangway angle and the height of the ship above the gangway. thus people with crutches and wheelchairs had great difficulty, and to watch some of the people with a whole range of disabilities negotiating the gangway, sideways and having to duck deep to avoid banging their heads at the same time was a depressing sight. Too much emphasis at booking is put on Dress code and formality. Casual is fine and most people seemed happy to be casual except for the odd Formal evening. We had a very pleasant cruise without the need of party frocks and dinner suits. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
As this was our first cruise we were very apprehensive, especially when seeing the very mixed reviews previously, however, we can honestly say the experience was thoroughly enjoyable. We took out the drinks package, but in all honesty ... Read More
As this was our first cruise we were very apprehensive, especially when seeing the very mixed reviews previously, however, we can honestly say the experience was thoroughly enjoyable. We took out the drinks package, but in all honesty if you are not big drinkers, (as we are not) it was not worth it, the drinks were reasonably priced eg, £3.20 for a large larger/beer, £5.00 for a large glass of wine to have with dinner. The staff were polite and efficient, entertainment was good, with a variety of options available during the day, lectures, craft, sport, games but to name a few. The entertainment staff were friendly and professional. It was a shame to hear others complaining about the portion sizes at evening Dinner, the portions were sufficient, bearing in mind you could have a 4 course option every evening. For those wanting "larger portions" then the "all you can eat" Raffles buffet would have been the right option!! On the point of Raffles!!, it was difficult to get a seat on occasions, this was predominantly due to the fact that once guests had eaten they remained at the tables, chatting, most annoying when they can see other guests struggling to find seat to have their meals. This was not a fault of the ship/crew, but other inconsiderate diners!! There was a daily bulletin providing all the information you needed for the following day, this was clearly set out and easy to follow. Excursions: now these were expensive and how the company had the "cheek" to charge the prices they did for some of the excursions amazes me. The stop off destinations were very scenic and nice places to visit, it was a shame the Northern Lights were a little elusive, but alas they can not be ordered to show when you are there!! This however did not take away the enjoyment of the cruise. Would we go on another cruise - Yes Would we go back on the Magellan - Yes Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
As first-time cruisers we weren't sure what to expect, or how a small ship like Astor compares with a 4,000 passenger monster. We were attracted by the bargain rate of $900 for two people for five nights. If the cruise had cost two or ... Read More
As first-time cruisers we weren't sure what to expect, or how a small ship like Astor compares with a 4,000 passenger monster. We were attracted by the bargain rate of $900 for two people for five nights. If the cruise had cost two or three times as much our post-voyage opinions might have been sterner. The ship was excellently maintained and operated. If there were grumpy crew members we didn't see them. I suspect that reviewers who harshly criticise crew are types who like confrontation and making complaints. The interior cabin was small but as described on the website. The only failing was an erratic vacuum toilet that sometimes left solid and liquid offerings unflushed, then later whisked them away at a time of its own choosing. Food was generally good. Some of it looked better than it tasted but the chef deserved more bouquets than brickbats. Unlike another reviewer we had no stale rolls or hard scones. Quite the opposite, both were excellent. The entertainers merited top marks for trying even though their cheesy dancing, cheesy singing and cheesy costumes weren't to our taste. A different show was presented each night. We excused ourselves from afternoon bingo, morning quizzes and other activities that would appeal to some. Life on board would have been cost-free if we'd been teetotal and hadn't bought one souvenir photo. For what we paid the cruise was extraordinarily good value for money. We began to feel a bit 'stir crazy' after three days. The cruise taught us that more of the same wouldn't be our next holiday choice, but that's the way we are and not a criticism of the Astor. Overall, a highly satisfactory and memorable trip. Near to top marks to the Cap'n and his capable, cheerful crew. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first cruise and we loved it Very clean room and common areas constantly being cleaned This was a short cruise but a great introduction whilst the Astor is small compared to others I see why many love her it's not ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we loved it Very clean room and common areas constantly being cleaned This was a short cruise but a great introduction whilst the Astor is small compared to others I see why many love her it's not shiny new and modern but warm and welcoming The crew were happy and very helpful maybe more signage on the ship would have been helpful This trip had a good mix of people but this is clearly not a ship for children limited activities The food was ok we dined in the Waldof resturant and the meals did become repetitive and average more choice in the Buffett and better desserts enjoyed afternoon tea there several times The drinks package was good value but the water package is not The nighttime shows did not meet expectations they need a lot of work I feel high school students could provide a better standard Lots of room around the ship for quite reflective time or if you prefer bars and music that's available also The use of the tender in Esperance was fast and professional and the volunteers in the towns were lovely and appreciated No tender required in Albany and a wonderful day was had I found the twin rooms very spacious the double rooms have less room to move about great storage in the rooms Highly recommend not sure I would like the modern ships will have to contemplate this Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of ... Read More
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of thousands of people on a sealed tin box somehow didn’t fit with my views of travel and the oceans. However in the spring of 2016 I had just turned 70 when my wife’s mother offered us a cruise on the Marco Polo as a birthday gift. Well I had’t been attracted to cruising but this was a gift that was so exciting on so many levels that of course we could not refuse. However! The next morning we awoke to the reality that we had just accepted a cruise for 54 days. 54 days. What had we done? Gift or no gift this was a major piece of time especially to be stuck on one of those tin boxes. We started the research and the logistics. We had seen no brochures. We accepted the cruise on the recommendation of Lilian, my mother in law, an inveterate cruiser. We knew vaguely that the cruise traversed 100° of Latitude. That it went from Bristol to Bristol via Tierra del Fuego. We had 17 ports of call including Rio, Buenos Aires, The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas; more on this later) and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. All in all an interesting itinerary. Tick one for the pro column. Next the boat. The Marco Polo. It sounds like I must have heard of it and I believed I had in reference to a more adventurous cruising style. I Google it. I learn from our modern oracle that she was originally one of the Russian poets, a group of 5 sister ships built in East Germany and named after poets. The Marco Polo was originally the Aleksandr Pushkin built in 1965 and used on the Leningrad to Montreal run in the summers and cruising in the winters. Built to be converted into a troop carrier at a moment’s notice (probably released defence dollars or rubles for construction); she was also ice hardened which has a nice ring to it what with Titanic mythology etc. She was completely rebuilt in the late ‘90s to an elegant understated traditional Deco decor with all mod-cons. I liked the sound of the ship as I had crossed the Atlantic twice on similar boats before the jet age. Once on the Empress of Britain and once on the Statendam. Score two on the pro side. Next was the cultural experience. We were going to be on The Marco Polo for 54 days with the same people. A village of 960 (This must be the max as there are only life boats for this number as I later counted). A petrie dish of people my science mind shouted. What experiments can we do? How can all that experience and talent be mobilized? On the other hand 54 days is also long enough for social niceties to fall away. People are real and will reveal themselves. When I find a bit later that we will have the same supper companions for the full run I am a bit worried but that turned out to be before I had met them (George,Pam,Ray,Maggie,Peter and Linda). The table beside us was not so lucky and wild discussions led to table breakup! 54 for days is long enough for for friendships to be forged. 54 days is long enough to make friends and loose them as well. The prospective clientel are retired and everyone has a good story to tell if you ask. So I am beginning to feel some positive indicators stacking up for the whole experience. I still have worries but we are committed so worries are useless. The cruise is in four weeks, Christmas is in two. We live in Victoria, British Columbia, we have a house and a dog. Flights to be bought, rental cars to be arranged, house and dog sitter to find. Oh yeah and Christmas is here. We made it. Christmas with family, Tim, Michael and Christine and Oliver and Charlotte, Tim, Melanie and Mike and Ayja and David and oh yeah my ex wife Alex and Tony. And did I mention Barbara, my most amazing of all women wife. She is masterminding this whole operation not to mention Christmas. We do the New Year with my aforementioned mother in law, Lilian in Wisbech and her and my wife’s rellies, Valerie,Veronica,Gary,.... plus the ‘young’ Joan (84), Lilian’s lifelong friend from her working days. And off to Bristol to join the Marco Polo. Oops, last minute email, the ship couldn’t make the tides into Bristol because of bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (premonition) and so is in Southampton. Fortunately we had not booked a train but had elected for about the same price to rent a car with a one way drop off to Bristol. Quick call to Europcar and the drop off is now Southampton right next to the ship. I was inexplicably looking forward to my first sight of the Marco Polo but only glimpses were to be had as we boarded. It looks like a ship not an apartment block (a block of flats). Score another point for The Marco Polo. We were a bit worried about our last minute purchase cabin in the bilges somewhere near a huge noisy engine. We had decided that if the cabin was awful that would be a good thing as it would push us out except for sleeping. A window is a wonderful thing. Even a porthole in some way gives you that link to the outside world. We didn’t have one. We knew this. There were no upgrades available even if we paid. We actually didn’t want to pay. It is quite a jump. I would prefer to spend the money on wine and beer which were not exactly cheap (we live in France in the summers, this being a reflection of the price of wine). And then there was the gratuity which in 54 days adds up to quite a bit. As we got to know crew members along the way and experienced how hard they worked and what personal commitment they made to be there we begrudged this less and less. In fact our only begrudging came from a suspicion that perhaps gratuities were being used to supplement meagre pay. I have really no way to judge this one way or the other. Certainly it may be like the workers in the vineyard parable. Each makes a deal which works for them. There were Romanians, Ukrainians, Brits, Greeks, Portuguese, Indian and Burmese. Captain Morais was from Mozambique. It was a happy crew. The cabin was OK; Clean, smart, touch of Deco; it was internal and very central. No window but everything else was the same as a smaller outside cabin. The central location served us well through the Bay of Biscay where the forward cabins had a tendency to levitate you from your bunk. We would have liked a double bed but for the very few rough nights bunks were perhaps best. Meals are a large part of not just cruises but life. Cultures are built around food, wine, music and tea. There is a bit of an expectation on cruises of good food. Some lines are renowned for their food. I can’t say that Marco Polo culture is built around food. It is much more built around a cohesive experience that has adventure and experience and indeed learning as central themes. However the food is adequate always, exceptional occasionally and always served with great alacrity and humour by staff who go the extra mile and engage as true participants in your cruise experience. There are various restaurants and bars scattered around the boat but in general there was a formal dinning room with super efficient table service and a bistro with canteen type service but immediate back deck access. The back deck was where the heart of the boat resided in the warmer climes. We typically took our breakfasts in the bistro and on the back deck. Lunches we went to the dinning room where seating was as arrival and so a new table of people was an every day event until the very end of the cruise; at 54 days there were still many people that we never recalled ever seeing before. Suppers we took at Table 5 with our waiters Heine and Aung from Burma and our wine waiter Olga from Romania. At first I thought that a more diverse table group could not be found and then I realized that we are all retired Anglos and so the diversity was just within that culture. As a Canadian I notice things about Brit culture that are not the same as in other cultures. I knew a German who had hitchhiked with a Brit for a while and confessed to being very confused at first. As Germans get to know you they become more polite whereas with Brits the opposite is true. It seems that nobody could resist the opportunity to wind someone up. Occasionally it backfired as in our neighbouring table but although much winding up was done at our table we all were committed to having a good time and it was all taken in stride. Our table mates: Peter knows absolutely everything about any rail line in the world. Linda his charming chattery wife was delightful in her projected naiviety. Ray, the retired police firearms and diving expert, great Somerset accent and his dynamic wife Maggie were from of all places Midsummer Norton. And George and Pam from a neighbouring table joined us when their table mates never showed and two of ours likewise. Often well primed by supper time they were totally committed to enjoying every moment of their lives. These our tablemates (spell check just corrected this to ‘stablemates’. Who knows which is closer to the truth) provided lots of entertainment and I hope we returned the favour. The voyage had 17 stops, crossed the Equator twice and crossed more than 100 degrees of Latitude. From Rio to the Falklands the stops were what most people had come for. Several people were making what amounted to pilgrimages. To the Falklands or to the Welsh communities of Argentina. One poor chap was going to the Falklands but died in Rio before getting there. The stops were great. To suddenly be in Rio or Monte Video was definitely magical but of course way too brief. Ushuaia the most southern town in the world, jump off for Antarctica. Natal, Brazil a holiday town of sand dunes and beaches. Madeira where Brits holidayed from Victorian times was absolutely delightful. We rode the wicker toboggans down from Monte. A ride not to be missed. All in all the voyage had so much going for it you would have to be near death not to appreciate it. But then again I did joke to my daughter that at each stop we brought on fresh vegetables and dropped off the dead. I think the 54 days led to the interesting dynamic that evolved and changed as time went by. There was definitely a period when everyone seemed to be wingeing about something. It could be the iceberg lettuce, the pasta or the books in the library. But it passed. There were lectures and shows and dancing and crafts and bridge etc. The lectures were about the countries we visited and the wildlife to be encountered. Clive Leatherdalde a Phd in Saudi history and politics prepared great talks on the politics and history of each country. His history of the Falklands was especially interesting as so many of the Brits had some connection or opinion about the conflict with Argentina. In fact several people were outraged by his use of the Argentinian name Las Malvinas alongside the British name. The history has no clear claim to ownership and in fact the UK would really like to give it to Argentina and was on its way to doing that when the Generals invaded to score some political points. Maggie Thatcher needed some points too and we know how that worked out. So now the Brits have to keep them. One day I was looking down on the back deck with many tables of people, chatting, drinking, reading, knitting, etc. A thought suddenly jumped into my head ‘What a waste. All that experience, knowledge and talent not being used’. The World is going through a huge shift in climate and economics and needs all the help it can get. Then I thought that old white guys are often blamed for the problem, (perhaps correctly) so who wants our opinion anyway. Then I thought of the Elders project of Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel and Madela et al. Perhaps a social network, a think tank open to Marco Polo voyageurs dedicated to moving global ideas forward. My favourite thing to do was to sit down with someone and ask them “What’s your best story?” As you can imagine there were many great tales. At times a 54 day voyage seems like this is it forever. But for us it eventually ended and we are back in Canada for a few months. Quite a few people stayed on board for the Caribbean cruise which says a lot for the culture of the company and the ship. So fare you well Marco Polo. A classic ship with an engaging ambiance. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I have just returned from MV Magellan’s cruise to the Amazon, West Indies and the Azores. I wanted to share my experiences with you and to thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime. I took my late husband’s niece with me; for ... Read More
I have just returned from MV Magellan’s cruise to the Amazon, West Indies and the Azores. I wanted to share my experiences with you and to thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime. I took my late husband’s niece with me; for company. She is about to turn 43 so lowered the average age of the passengers by about 90%! She is full of life and energy and impressed everyone from the Cook to the Captain. She certainly ensured that I had a wonderful time as I hung grimly onto her coat-tails and enjoyed the ride. There were a number of people who did nothing but moan but I suspect that the majority of them moan for England. When I book my next cruise, please can you weed out moaning passengers in order to make my voyage more enjoyable. We all know Magellan is not looking her best at present but as she is due for a refit she should emerge with the majority of her problems behind her. I think my only comment is that she is looking a little tired and needs some attention to her plumbing and leaks but no doubt, those things will be addressed. I shall start with the unpleasant things that happened to me and get them out of the way: on leaving Lisbon, in the teeth of a gale, I succumbed to the dreaded D&V lurgy. Being flung around the bathroom as the ship pitched and rolled while suffering is not a memory I wish to dwell on. On alerting Reception to my illness, the situation was instantly taken in hand. Two spacemen turned up shrink-wrapped in plastic with every cleaning agent and gadget known to man. Under the tutelage of the lovely Head Housekeeper, they proceeded to restore health and sanity to the cabin all the while reassuring me that I was not a nuisance, couldn’t help it and they were there to make it better. They did. Such lovely boys: their mummies would be proud of their professional approach and their kindness. Two days later when we were due to be released from our confinement, my niece went down with it so we were incarcerated under the same strict conditions for another two days. You can imagine our joy at being able to see the outside world again and have normal food . One of the most pleasing aspects was the attention given to hygiene in all the public areas: there were always members of the housekeeping team scrubbing, rubbing and polishing to prevent illness being passed from one person to another. What a shame that so many passengers failed to follow the same protocols and failed to protect fellow passengers with their indifference to handwashing and sanitising, not to mention filling their water bottles from the machines in Raffles. No wonder the bugs spread. We were warned about thieves and muggers in Manaus and it soon became obvious that the ship’s company and passengers were being targeted; such a shame when the town needs all the tourism it can get. Horrid stuff over; now down to the sheer pleasure of the cruise. Where to start: the food was good with plenty of choice and really, if there was nothing appealing on the menu for the evening meal, that has to be down to the individual. Having had a tour of the galley (at the end of the cruise when we had dinner at the Chef’s Table) I understood better the constraints under which the catering staff work and indeed, am very impressed with their achievements. Well done, chaps. This leads me on to the crew in general. What a fantastic set of lads and lasses. They were always, without exception, helpful, kind and willing. There were several I would happily take home with me as I am sure they would look after me much better than I look after myself. Even when the dreaded bugs struck, there they were with their precious time off cancelled, making sure we had food to eat and things to drink, probably far more than the majority of us either needed or wanted but heyho, life on board ship tends to centre around food. They still kept smiling. Wherever, one encountered staff be it in the bars, restaurants, corridors, cabins, we were always met with courteous greetings and smiles as well as excellent service. The entertainment provided was varied and fun; it may not have catered for all tastes all of the time but it certainly covered most of it for most of the time. What more can they do with such a varied clientele? The dancers were simply fantastic and the singers terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows I watched. As for the lectures, Louise Bonner has to be the star of the show: her knowledge, her variety of subject matter and her entertaining delivery made listening to her a sheer pleasure as well as being so informative. I’d do the cruise again just to listen to her. I had some amazing experiences while taking part in the excursions. I’ve never snorkelled before; now I’ve learnt to do it, swum with turtles and enjoyed watching a variety of fish as I swam over the reefs. Amazing. My only complaint about excursions is that I needed to cut myself into about three pieces so that I could do more of them. Can I suggest, that when you call in at St Lucia, passengers are enabled to do the aerial tram ride and the zip wire ride; they are side by side. I begged, pleaded, promised the earth but to no avail! The memory of the animals and birds I saw, the beautiful scenery not to mention the warmth, blue sky and sea, delightful people and different surroundings will stay with me for the rest of my lifetime. What a good thing I kept a journal and took a ton of photographs. I shall be able to bore for Britain for the next year or two. Having had a quick look at the Cruise Critic website, I was amused to see comments about the gales. The poor Captain might be the chap in charge but even he can’t control the weather and I thought he did very well to outrun the storm on the way home. All credit to him. As for the ship listing, my secret mole (another passenger who had spent 20 years in the Navy) explained to me that the degree of listing to starboard was between 10 and 20 and was due to not having the stabilisers in use at that time plus the huge volume of fluids sloshing around in the bilges being pumped gently from one tank to another in order to maintain the level of the ship. I am sure both the Captain and my friend Ian would have been delighted with the Captain’s Q and A session where someone asked the exact same question and Captain Nikos repeated almost word for word the explanation I had been given earlier. What a relief that they both got it right! As for the huge bang while coming back down the Amazon, it was clear that we had hit a log, a not uncommon hazard in those waters and there was no harm done but of course, the doom and gloom merchants had a field day. On the personal front, my niece and I were invited to the Sailaway Bridge Party on leaving Iles du Salut. The guests consisted of those passengers who had suffered at the hands of the muggers in Manaus and those who had been inconvenienced by Magellan’s, ahem, deficiencies... What a fun evening we had, sitting in the Captain’s chair, wearing his hat and taking silly photos. It was a charming and thoughtful way of “kissing it better” on the part of Captain Nikos and it was much appreciated by all of us there. Even better, we were then invited to the Captain’s Table, a new experience for me and one unlikely to be repeated. That was very special. Thank you to all concerned. Read Less
84 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally ... Read More
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally sent us the brochure for the wrong ship, after we booked a year in advance, we thought it was just an oversight. Then when our travel agent later sought to reconfirm that the cabin we had booked was a twin that could convert to a double (it was a wedding anniversary, after all!), they told us it couldn't! So we then had to fight to get the confirmation that the cabin we had booked WAS in fact a convertible one. Silly us, we chose to ignore those examples of initial company incompetence. Boy, have we lived to regret that! A month on from returning and we are still struggling to come to terms with not only a terrible experience, but a terrible attitude on the part of the company, Crusie and Maritime Voyages, who simply rejected our claim for compensation and who have tried to shut us down from social media so we cannot complain about them publicly. Their treatment of us is unbelievable! We fully intend to pursure the matter as far as arbitration, if we have to. The weather was so rough they should never have sailed. Cruse and Maritime Voyages' Captain made the decision to sail, without giving people adequate notice of EXTREMELY rough seas, or offering them the opportunity to cancel or reschedule (which would have been the decent thing to do). We left Avonmouth port twelve hours late, and we lost BOTH of our two pre-Christmas port stops! So we were at sea for three days until Christmas, in seriously rough weather - to the point where my husband, who has been a yacht racer since he was a child, and who definitely has his "sea legs" was throwing up for three days, because it was so bad. I could hardly get out of bed myself for all of that time. The weather was so bad that we could hardly stand up safely for MOST of the trip, and as mature sailers who have lived on our own yacht in the past, we undestand bad weather and when you should or not subject people to conditions that render them injured, sick, and at risk. We were more or less confined to cabin for at least seven of the fourteen days we were away, because it was simply too dangerous to move about the ship safely. All we heard for a full fortnight was the endless sound of smashing glass, bottles and crockery, and the Captain telling us "I regret to advise...". People went flying through the air and some needed medical treatment, at least one to the tune of £1000 for two infusions to stop her from feeling so sick, and there were several "code Alpha" (mayday) calls to staff regarding on-board crises, and they were running all over the ship picking people up off the floor., along with smashed plates etc. One woman fell off her chair, landed on the floor and gashed her legs open on broken glass, another, fell and knocked herself unconscious and that was FAR from all. My husband and I both helped several elderly people to move about the ship on several occasions, and when the staff shut down the elevators because of rough weather, and closed one of the only two restaurants on the ship, people had to make their way down to the lower decks for food or even just a cup of tea. So those in wheelchairs or with other disabilities couldn't get access to food or a hot drink independently. I found a lady sitting on the stairs sobbing her heart out because she wanted a cup of tea, and she just couldn't make it down the several flights of stairs to the one place where she could get one. It was just sickening. On returning to our cabin on one of the worst rough days, after an attempt to get some fresh air, we were very freaked out to find that our cabin steward had taken our life jackets out from where they were stowed in an overhead cupboard, and had left them on the window sill! What kind of reaction is anyone supposed to have, to that? The food on the cruise was extremely low-budget, tasteless mush, and we've had better food in staff canteens. The coffee was of very poor quality, and they were serving us rubbish like cottage pie, soggy pasta with tasteless tomato sauce, lumpy mashed potatoes, plain boiled rice, and beef stew. There were no hot puddings, just miniscule squares of jelly-based deserts that looked and tasted like they had come from a supermarket freezer. There were no lovely salad ingredients, just lettuce, cheap cheese and meat options, and no really nice fruit, nothing that could compare with other cruise lines' fare (and believe me, I have thoroughly checked!) - it was just run-of-the-mill stuff that you'd make at home, and to a better standard. Even the bread rolls were cheap and dry. Its not what you expect in return for more than four thousand pounds!!! The in-cabin entertainment was repetitive (a same one hour program or a movie on a continuous loop for 24 hours on all watchable channels). The on-board entertainment was mediocre, and everything was short. Many of the staff were incompetent. They didn't know who to report faults to, as I found out after reporting something three times in the same day, only to find out that reception had passed on the complaint to the wrong person who apparently just ignored it. I demanded a meeting with the Cruise Director at one point and he thanked me for being one of the few people he'd dealt with who hadn't shouted at him! People WERE shouting, and complaining all throughout, and few seemed to get a satisfactory answer to any of the complaints made. A lot of the people on the cruise paid less than half of what we did. We paid top brochure price, others paid as little as £1600 for two. To top it off, the weather was so bad that the captain made the decision to dock at Southampton at the end of the cruise, instead of going back to Avonmouth. You can imagine the uproar and inconvenience THAT caused! Many other people on our cruise had left at the first port and made their own way back to the UK at their own expense, others did it from subsequent ports. Sadly, we were not in a financial position to do that. We ended up as miserable, sick, sitting ducks. Believe it or not, there was a lot more to complain about than this, but I won't go on. For us, this was the worst experience EVER. We'd looked forward to it for so long, almost two decades. It was meantto be our dream anniversary holiday, but it was a complete and utter disaster,. Cruise and Maritime Voyages have elected to assume absolutely NO responsiblity for ANYTHING that went wrong in the cruise, and are ignoring our complaints in the hope that we will go away. We will not. That I can promise. If we have to go all the way to arbitration, we absolutely will. If anyone wants to see a copy of our complaint to them in its 10-page entirety, I will be happy to provide it, along with a copy of their reply to us. I just don't want anyone else to have the experience we had. Nobody deserves that. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Cruise and Maritime Voyages tout this ship, on their website, as a "luxury cozy ship" and they say that if customers "have enough British pounds they will be very lucky" to take a cruise on Marco Polo. We felt anything but lucky, and if that was their standard of luxury, I'd hate to see their "average", because this wasn't even that. It was very, very poor. It is interesting to note that in their rejection of our complaint they stated that they DON'T advertise themselves as a luxury experience. So they lied. And they have closed off our ability to comment on their facebook page,a nd have deleted our negative comments. They are unwilling to face any responsibility for the consequences of that horrible experience. I doubt we are the only complainants. And I doubt we will be the only ones fobbed óff. But we're not going away, and neither should anyone else who has borne the brunt of Cruise and Maritime's catastrophic "Christmas Cruise" - or any other, for that matter. I can be contacted via my website MaxineCook.com, there is a report about our experience with Cruise and Maritime Voyages under the Soapbox menu option, and I will respond to emails reagarding this, if doing so will stop anyone else having such a hideous, rip-off experience. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at ... Read More
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at injuries sustained by many passengers due to broken glass and furniture flying around. Madeira trip on New Years eve was a fiasco. Unable to dock so tenders ferried passengers the half hour trip to port. Tenders unsuitable for the journey due to choppy seas, lack of crew training and dangerous practice. Many passengers unable to make the trip as only able-bodied people allowed. Many of the passengers were elderly so unable to leave the ship. Frequent accidents on board consisted of broken limbs, broken ribs, head injuries, lacerations caused by flying glass and objects. Tables made of glass and marble and not secured so causing many of the injuries. Return journey not to Avonmouth but Southampton so had to be bussed back causing all later plans to be disrupted. Offer of the year. If we would like to book another cruise on this boat in 2016 we can have 15% off if we book by 31st March. .....A small 50 yr old boat not fit for purpose in winter weather. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! I do not think that the stabilisers were extended on our southern journey thus making things even more uncomfortable for the passengers. There was no form of compensation offered for the loss of 2 ports and the huge delays getting us into Funchal. When it came to Madeira we had to use the tenders to land. I had no problem with this except for their sheer incompetence at lowering the boats. the first tender banged into the ship and broke two of its windows and damaged its rubbing strip. The second tender also hit the boat as it was being lowered which created a hole in the hull. We watched them repairing this with fibre glass! This left the lifeboats available for use which were slow and inappropriate. One wonders what would have happened if we had needed those tenders in an emergency - would they have been able to lower them without damage! The rough seas caused many injuries but many more injuries were caused by the unsuitability of the furniture for cruising. Chairs that tipped over when you were sat on them (Scotts Bar and Marco Polo Lounge); tables not bolted down to the floor; handrails not available as you approached the top of stairs etc. The food in the Waldorf was excellent but never hot - always tepid and in the rough weather we had to demand tumblers instead of the wine glasses that were top heavy and crashing to the ground! One afternoon in the Marco Polo Lounge, because it was so rough, they turned all the tub chairs onto their sides so that they couldn't be used. This left their sharp metal bases pointing skywards ready to do huge damage should someone be unfortunate enough to fall onto them - no common sense and another fine example of inappropriate furniture! The return disembarkation at Southampton and the subsequent coaches were well organised. The staff we came across were excellent. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my first cruise and was very excited about it.The disappointment started on day one.It was chaotic communication. Confusing messages. The Representative at Victoria Cross was efficient and she was being given incorrect data. Said ... Read More
This was my first cruise and was very excited about it.The disappointment started on day one.It was chaotic communication. Confusing messages. The Representative at Victoria Cross was efficient and she was being given incorrect data. Said we would be taken to a hotel for lunch because of the 5 hr.delay .Not only were we taken to Tilbury terminal but no water nor food. The operations manager didn't want to listen to complaints and take emergency action but was rude. The terminal manager was great .He was frustrated with the operations manager's inaction. He provided water and coffee. We had to pay. The food on board was tepid.Vegetarian food at dinner was terrible. I have received a letter to day from management .It was defensive and not prepared to learn. I listed a no. of problems.The only way they will learn if people stop using this Ship. I would never recommend CMV . My cabin steward was excellent and the staff in the wellness centre were wonderful and on the whole efficient. The dining room staff were in need of training. Please stop calling women DEAR Call us Madam. Rudeness was the order of the day.A lot of confusion . I blame the management. Staff need to be trained. One thing was outstanding and that was the hygene.People constantly wiping the staircasesetc. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period ... Read More
Just back from the Christmas in Bali cruise on the MS Astor. This was our first cruise and we took a bit of a risk as we weren't sure cruising is really for us, but very glad we gave it a go. All I needed out of it an extended period of downtime with a good book and a deck chair, and that was delivered immediately and in spades. Yay! The cruise was basically a day and a half in Bali, and four sea days either side - more about the journey than the destination. Given you've done enough research to find this review you'll know by now the ship is small and a bit old-school style, it also does not directly cater to young children, I would not recommend this ship to young families unless the kids are abnormally self-sufficient. So this adds up to "an older crowd", even taking the cruise passenger stereotype into account. Which is certainly no criticism - consider honestly whether you'd rather share a confined space with a bunch of understimulated children and Gen-Y party animals? Yeah, me neither. There is a drip-feed of activities & entertainment, since that wasn't really what I was there for I can't offer much insight (other than that Bingo is an extremely serious business). Also: if television is critical to your emotional well-being you may wish to look beyond this ship. The food was not Michelin standard but if one were to actually take a moment to properly consider the logistics involved, what they did achieve was pretty spectacular. There were always plenty of options, there was nice fresh fruit available with every meal, and tea & coffee available all day. The staff were all amazing - every staff member I encountered appeared naturally cheerful and obliging, which is hopefully a sign that they're treated well. Many I saw appeared to work from pre-dawn well into the evening and still keep smiling, even when most were literally oceans away from their families at Christmas. Bless their socks, one and all. If I was really hard pressed to find something to complain about (as seems to be the fashion with this style of travel) I'd say the bar service was a little on the slow side; but you could easily look upon it as a sensible risk-management point when you have a few hundred elderly people on a multi-level moving surface with tripping hazards everywhere. (A word of warning to those with a delicate constitution, this ship has stabilisers but you very definitely do still notice it moving, and we had a couple of fairly rough nights.) Really the only off-notes of the 10 days for us was overhearing a couple of instances of embarrassingly rude and entitled behaviour from other passengers towards food service staff on totally spurious grounds (eg, availability of marmite and not vegemite, or possibly vice versa, as though this makes a difference to a person's life, good lord). Once we'd found the out-of-the-way spots on the ship, and learned the optimum times to avoid the rugby scrums at the buffet we were set. A fantastic chilled-out escape, time went niiiice and slow. Ace keen :) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
12/15 3 day cruise Fremantle to Fremantle Check-in at Fremantle Passenger Terminal was the first contact with the ship’s crew, very professional and friendly. Fremantle terminal is basic and dated! Oops, if you have trouble walking ... Read More
12/15 3 day cruise Fremantle to Fremantle Check-in at Fremantle Passenger Terminal was the first contact with the ship’s crew, very professional and friendly. Fremantle terminal is basic and dated! Oops, if you have trouble walking a mile, get help! We had an interior twin room lower deck 4 port side, room 506, very clean, well equipped but small. Bathroom very small but extremely clean, bright, well-appointed with lovely soft towels including pool towels. Even brought the glen 20 freshener, didn’t need to use it (tip from what to bring). The cabin was quiet and ocean movement minimally felt. Air-conditioning was good but when rushing around in the cabin you did warmed up, so a fan would have been excellent to have! I’m going again in January, so I will bring a desk fan (bring European adapter) Weekend weather was around 25 degrees c, what to wear, on board perfect temperature, I didn’t t need a cardie, outside was pretty warm too. Afternoon, yes a sea breeze happen but it depends where you are at, still not cold. I brought too much cool weather gear, not used on this trip. Two lovely dining areas to choose, one with table service and one buffet style, both gorgeously set so much attention to detail. Great service, immaculate dressed multi-tasking crew from all over the world and so many of them. Coffee was divine, choice of teas and water all available, no charge. Food was plentiful and fresh! Sweets, too many to choose from, including an ice-cream station. Loved the grill (barbeque) Saturday lunch time at the buffet. Drinks prices ok, a summary, soft drinks around $3.95, Beer $6.95+, glass of wine $8.50 (nice wine too), bottle of wine mid varieties $22-$38, of course top shelf is available. Upon entering the dining areas a hand sanitiser unit is available and encouraged to be used. Wellness centre with beauty treatments, hair, saunas, and heated swimming pool with aqua gear, dumb bells, and noodles is available and I had a great time. Staff excellent at the wellness centre! Of course they will marketed the goods to sell but that’s business as usual .Didn’t use to outdoor pool. Had a wedding party on board, so good to see the wedding fashion stakes at its finest and the party people, the crew very attentive! Entertainment, well I loved it! 3 different cabaret themes over the 3 night cruising with a talented multi-tasking crew. Best part is leaving the internet behind and meeting people! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Although I cruise regularly this was my first time on the Cruise & Maritime Voyages "Magellan. The cruise was entitled "land of the Northern Lights". The ship called in Amsterdam for sightseeing and to pick up Dutch ... Read More
Although I cruise regularly this was my first time on the Cruise & Maritime Voyages "Magellan. The cruise was entitled "land of the Northern Lights". The ship called in Amsterdam for sightseeing and to pick up Dutch passengers. The ship sailed from Tilbury, a port I haven't used for many years. Although not the most attractive cruise terminal the boarding procedure was one of the most swif and efficient I have encountered. The time between my arrival at the terminal and boarding the ship was less than 20 minutes. My luggage arrived at my cabin a few minutes later. The ship looked very attractive and in good condition. However, there are some aspects of its design which mar the cruise experience. There is no promenade deck which is an essential on a cruise ship. In addition, there is a quirky layout of the public rooms whereby it is not possible to walk through some decks. I had an outside cabin on deck 6 which was sold as a single cabin but had a double bed and was quite spacious. It had plenty of storage space, a picture window, television and efficient air conditioning.There was a personal safe which was unreliable and had to be repaired on three occasions. The one thing that the cabin lacked was tea/coffee making facilities. The public rooms were quite spacious and quite well laid out. The library was much too small. The theatre which was on two levels was spectacular but perhaps too large. It was greatly under-used. I dined in the Waldorf restaurant which was also on two levels. There were allocated tables for dinner and open seating for for breakfast and lunch there and in the Kensington restaurant. As an alternative all meals, afternoon tea and all-day tea/coffee service could be taken in the Raffles self-service bistro. The quality of the food was good but the menus were rather limited. The dinner menus were a trifle lacking in imagination and there were few beef or lamb dishes. Breakfast menus were fine and the expert omelette chef was a star performer. One oddity was that there was no choice of fruit juices, it was orange or orange! The daytime entertainment followed the normal pattern but the lectures were somewhat unimaginative and lacked variety. The evening "Showtime" entertainment was very limited and wasn't helped on more than one occasion for announcements of sightings of the Norther Lights. The shore excursions at the many fascinating ports of call were good although the on-board organisation of these was a little hit or miss. It would be hard to pick out the best ports of call as they all had good points but Alta and its great Tirpitz museum, the North cape and the Trondheim heritage train were very enjoyable. Although I didn't take an excursion there the visit to the lovely village of Olden was a time to remember. Many members of the the staff gave friendly and excellent service but overall the service left a great deal to be desired. The service in the lounged was often poor with unenthusiastic staff often seeming indifferent to the wishes of passengers. Lunchtime in the Waldorf restaurant when the ship was at sea could only be describes as chaotic. There seems to be a serious lack of effective and experienced supervisors to ensure good service. Overall, the itinerary was excellent and the sightings of the Northern lights spectacular but the cruise lacked character. The cruise directors was hyper-active and was much too fond of giving extended messages on the intercom. Many of my travelling companions comments that it reminded them of a holiday camp of yesteryear. The international staff, many from Eastern Europe, were a mixed back and are much in need of training to bring the service up to an acceptable level. It was very much a basic, low-cost holiday which might suit first time cruises but does not compare with Fred. Olsen or P&O. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my Husband and I's first cruise (apart from River boats in Germany and The Netherlands). We were both slightly apprehensive having read reviews about the Magellan. I'll start with the good points. Embarkation at ... Read More
This was my Husband and I's first cruise (apart from River boats in Germany and The Netherlands). We were both slightly apprehensive having read reviews about the Magellan. I'll start with the good points. Embarkation at Tilbury was easy and well managed. On the whole the food was good and there was always plenty of choice at all meal times. The crew in the restaurants and bars were always pleasant, smiling and polite and we had some very interesting conversations with some of the crew about their various home countries and how they had come to be serving as crew on the Magellan. Our Cabin stewards were also very nice and all crew worked extremely hard day and night. I have to commend the cleaning members of the crew, they never stop polishing and cleaning. The shore excursions were well managed and free courtesy buses were at most ports for people who just wanted to do their own thing once ashore. However, as someone has mentioned, it really did have the feel of a floating holiday camp! We quite expected a "hi di hi, good morning campers" to come over the speakers. The Cruise Director was really over the top and always seemed to be shouting and yet the Captain who gave a daily announcement mumbled away and no-one could hear what he was saying. What is laughingly called a bistro is a throw back to a Woolworths restaurant and for some reason people seemed to sit there most of the day in order to get a table. Thankfully we only had to eat in there once for lunch as we'd been out on an excursion and missed lunch in the restaurant. We originally booked a mid ships inside cabin on deck 5 but were upgraded to an outside cabin towards the back of the ship and it was awful! The noise of the engine and some kind of squealing of machinery meant we had no sleep at all. We reported it once and when on night 3 it was even worse my husband again complained at reception in the middle of the night and we were moved to an inner cabin on deck 6 for the night. We were then offered an outside cabin on deck 4 and that was horrible but we put up with it. The engine noise was constant and the shower didn't work properly. I know people pay a lot of money for vibrating beds but all they need to do is sleep in cabin 4120! The Magellan is an old worn out ship, the noise of the engines is ridiculous and the smell of diesel was dreadful. She should be taken out of service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect . Well we did not need to worry because it was excellent from start to finish . Our cabin was very comfy lots of wardrobe space , bathroom was good, shower excellent, and we had ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect . Well we did not need to worry because it was excellent from start to finish . Our cabin was very comfy lots of wardrobe space , bathroom was good, shower excellent, and we had a window which was a bonus . The restaurants were excellent the bistro could get busy but that wasn't a problem for us , plenty off choice and lots of it . Entertainment was good and all the staff were excellent could not do enough for you . The excursions were very well organised although I think some were a bit expensive , but very interesting . All in all we had a great time and we would defiantly book to go on the Magellan again . Read Less
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