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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
A cruise around the Canaries and the Caribbean over Xmas/New Year sounded idillic. Alas, it proved totally the opposite, mainly boring due to lack of organised entertainment during "at sea" days which could be four days in a ... Read More
A cruise around the Canaries and the Caribbean over Xmas/New Year sounded idillic. Alas, it proved totally the opposite, mainly boring due to lack of organised entertainment during "at sea" days which could be four days in a row. Furthermore, we found ourselves on a ship built over 33 years ago, so very outdated. We experieced rough seas between UK and Lisbon and the ship could not cope and rolled like a cork. Only the islands of Madeira, Antigua and Cozulmel were of interest. So much for visitng the Caribbean? Our cabin was very small and did not represent anything like in the cruise brochure.It was stuffy with faulty air conditioning, no window to open and there was a constant smell of nausiating food and kitchen in the hallway and cabin. On arrival in Las Palmas we went out an bought ourselves a fan for the cabin. On arrival back home we had to wash every item of clothing, even new clothing not worn to try and get rid of the horrible food/kitchen smell. The only bright aspect of the cabin was the excellent steward from Honduras called Nelson. The food was terrible. At one lunchtime sitting, all 8 of us on the table left the food and told the Manager to throw it overboard along with the chef. Yes it was that bad. The highlight each evening was the 45 minute show in the in the Magellan Show Lounge. The ship has its own group of about 8 dancers and 6 singers and they put on a great show each evening. The singers were superb. They are worthy of being on a major cruise liner. Another pre-dinner highlight was the classical recital in the Hampton's Bar with a lovely pianist and an excellen violinist. There was nightly entertaiment in the Captains Club if you can call the duo, Derya & Tolga entertainment as neither could sing in tune and we often completely off key. Another complaint is the scam tactics of the barmen who give short measure with wine drinks. I sent my so-called 250ml drinks back more than 20 times for top-up and not once was there any objection from a barman? They need glasses with measurement amounts shown on the glass to stop this practise. The ports of call, with the exception of Madeira, Antigua & Cozumel were a complete waste of time. Cape Verde was stepping into the a poor third world country with filth and poverty everywhere. We were happy to reach Cozumel at the end of the cruise and disembark, but we still had organisational disasters. It took almost a whole day to get from Cozumel to Cancun airport. Then there was a 2 hour flight delay. This was made worse by having to sit on the bus at Gatwick to take us back to Tilbury for over one hour. Upon arrival back at Tilbury Docks we found all our cars unaccessable due to being advised where to park by the cruise car parking attendants. The police were called who removed a fence and help us, one by one to break free. My car was in a far corner and it took 2 hours before I was out. Need I say that my crusing days are over and it you decide to cruise I suggest you made sure it is not on the Magellan. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We took Cruce Mundo cruise from our travel agent. We returned on August 4th,2018. The ship MS Bellejour gave us a lot of problems. At the first day of the trip air conditioner didn't work with 95F (35C). Next day cabin was not ... Read More
We took Cruce Mundo cruise from our travel agent. We returned on August 4th,2018. The ship MS Bellejour gave us a lot of problems. At the first day of the trip air conditioner didn't work with 95F (35C). Next day cabin was not clean for the entire day, For the last 3 days Ship phone didn't work. Hair drier was missing in the cabin and was delivered at midnight. On the trip to Strasbourg by bus 2 buses had trouble with air conditioners and we had to wait for another bus at 95F outside. Food for dinner was limited and Ship didn't have any entertainment. We strongly recommend to everyone avoid the cruise with MS Bellejour .Old ship and service bellow expectation by far.We had nice offshore excursions with the knowledgeable guides.but everything else was not good at all.Also we expected to see very clean cities. but were very surprised to see garbage all over on the streets Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
If you are thinking of going on a cruise with this company on this ship, I would urge to re-think. We have just spent a lot of money on a tired looking, sub-standard cruise ship with possibly the rudest crew possible. Not all the crew ... Read More
If you are thinking of going on a cruise with this company on this ship, I would urge to re-think. We have just spent a lot of money on a tired looking, sub-standard cruise ship with possibly the rudest crew possible. Not all the crew it must be said but most of them. We have submitted a long letter listing all the inadequacies we encountered on this 2 week debacle. There are 2 good things to be noted though: a) The food was plentiful, well presented and there was no known food poisoning. b) We were able to disembark occasionally. (Although even that was a fraught experience!) It was to be a cruise for my elderly mother and myself to have a wonderful experience allowing her to see the Northern Lights whilst she can. We planned and saved for some time and eventually left home for the trip of our lifetime. The last bit was meant to happen but unfortunately it become the trip of a lifetime for the wrong reasons. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Delays are every part of life, and this also includes sailing off into the so called Sunshine for a Christmas, New Year Cruise. Unfortunately there was a 5 hour delay leaving Tilbury, due to apparent bad weather on the English ... Read More
Delays are every part of life, and this also includes sailing off into the so called Sunshine for a Christmas, New Year Cruise. Unfortunately there was a 5 hour delay leaving Tilbury, due to apparent bad weather on the English Channel.!!! Our first port of call was to be Gibraltor on Boxing Day. But, again there was the apparently bad weather excuse to sail across the Bay of Biscay. So our first port was Antwerp, at the cost of not visiting Lanzarote. ( seems strange, it was to bad to sail out across the Bay of Biscay, but not too bad to sail back.) We did however pick up the wife and son of a Senior member of the Ships bridge up at Antwerp, and they disembarked at Lisburn as not too endure the almost dangerous weather on the Bay of Biscay. We had one evening we will never forget whilst sailing back across the Bay of Biscay when Waiters were thrown about and almost everything was thrown of the dining tables. Later that evening we was treated to Air Sea Rescue, air lifting a passenger/Passengers off the ship. Even though this was predomently a British passenger cruise over the Christmas/ New Year period, there was very little Christmas spirit given by any of the entertainment staff. No Mince Pies, Christmas Cake or Christmas Pudding. Christmas Dinner comprised with one and Half Brussels Sprouts.....there was NO Christmas tradition on board this ship. Only real highlight to this cruise was the lovely people we met and the New Year Fireworks spectacular in Funchal Maderia. I felt the entertainment was very very poor indeed, and didn't seem any real direction or participation from the cruise director who seemed more preoccupied with other things. Although myself and wife spent nearly a year looking forward to this cruise, I'm afraid we will never sail on this ship again or possibly with the Cruise company. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We took this cruise as it was convenient to our home and needed a break. We have cruised for 20 years and have never experienced such a miserable cruise. 5 hours late in departing which we understand can't be helped. The ship then ... Read More
We took this cruise as it was convenient to our home and needed a break. We have cruised for 20 years and have never experienced such a miserable cruise. 5 hours late in departing which we understand can't be helped. The ship then went back to Antwerp which they said was due to bad weather. We were due to go to Gibraltar and therefore missed out Lanzarote. We picked up a lady and a child who were family cruise members. The ship is advertised as child free! I was told that they would only be allowed in crew areas but they went anywhere in the ship and disturbed guests.Trades description! The cruise was supposed to be festive. The Christmas dinner was disgusting and no one had heard of mince pies or Christmas pudding. Decorations were non existent. The staff worked hard but were restricted by the appalling management. The cruise home was through the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale. Necessitating the use of a helicopter to lift off injured folk. Many folk, including the child and mother had left in Lisbon as they were aware that the Bay was going to be very rough. In fact folk had been leaving throughout the cruise as food and entertainment was the worst we have ever experienced. Cruise Maritime refused to accept that it had been a disastrous cruise and wanted folk to go through the trouble of ABTA because they know that guests were so fed up they couldn't be bothered. I can only sum up by saying that it may have been a one off terrible cruise. They knew it was well below accepted standards and should have held up their hands and apologised. I would never cruise with this company again. After cruising with most companies I feel able to classify thus company as deceptive and having no care for their guests. My advise is just don't trust them. They want your money but not are prepared to provide the basic services. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
My wife and myself booked this cruise back in the summer as we wanted to get away for christmas, and having previously cruised on CMV Marco Polo round Britain this year and enjoyed it we thought we would try the flagship, BUT what a ... Read More
My wife and myself booked this cruise back in the summer as we wanted to get away for christmas, and having previously cruised on CMV Marco Polo round Britain this year and enjoyed it we thought we would try the flagship, BUT what a difference a ship makes. We departed Tilbury 21/12/2015, and hadnt been underway 5 minutes when the Captain came on and said due to bad weather we were having to sail to Antwerp to avoid the worst of the weather I found that strange as my iphone app shipping forecast was giving the next day as the best weather of the week in the channel. HOWEVER if the Captain says thats the way it is fair enough. But as he pointed out we would not now as a result be sailing to Lansarote as scheduled. ( big dissapointment ) So we enjoyed the day in Antwerp, then we had 3 days of sailing down to Gibralter and would be arriving a day late. I am not going to review the fabric of the ship as I found our cabin spacious, the shower hot, and large, we had a window in the cabin so happy days. During the complete cruise only 2 of the lifts work, dont let anyone kid you this is not an issue IT IS on that ship, the stairs are steep my wife actually fell UP them during rough weather. We estimated that 80% of the passengers on this ship were between 80/85yrs old. this led to some very serious "whinging" over the 2 weeks especially over the lifts. The food provided was abysmal, we dined in the Waldorf Restaurant I love my food, but unfortunately the food provided was not good, there was plenty of choice but none of it suited me, and indeed that was a general concensus expressed during the cruise. Breakfast I ended up just going to the top deck buffet and making a bacon roll. We did hear that they had sacked the chef on the third day but that could have been due to the "serious rumour squad" that was in abundance throughout the cruise. Christmas day dinner instead of being a meal to remember became one to forget, in fact I was fed up with hearing the complaints about it. I think the problem is if you have indian chefs, and oriental\eastern european waiters, they fail to recognise what the British consider traditional christmas fair. Entertainment Very Poor, there was a comedian on who was good he did 2 nights but failing that it was the resident "entertainers" now lets make this clear I am no showman, but my wife enjoys a a good show, (cough) however there were no good shows to be had here another passenger said it was like "Butlins on Water." The entertainment manager was on Marco Polo when we cruised, I remember him saying he used to do a Robbie Williams tribute act so every time I hear him sing I hear a Robbie Williams song being murdered. anyway we went up to the top deck bistro to get away from the formality of the restaurant breakfast (before I took the bacon roll route) It was regularly packed deffinately a case of first up best dressed. People were hogging the tables instead of eating breakfast and moving on, especially as they could see people were hunting around for spare seats. My wife and I were stood up Christmas morning having a brew, and she said I cant believe its Christmas morning and Im having to stand up to drink a cup of tea. After that she opted for the breakfast in the cabin option, and I went the bacon roll route sat out on the top deck in sometimes bracing weather ! On Marco Polo the staff used to encourage you to move on when you had eaten, it was also published on the daily activities sheet, "please move on when you have eaten breakfast as others are waiting to eat" no such luck on Magellan it was described as a "bun fight" What really made me smile was the couples who sat on a table for 4 but they sat on opposite corners making it awkard for another couple to sit on the same table. Peter Kay could have got enough material for a whole new series from what went on on that ship. So back to the Antwerp diversion which cost us Lanzarote, it transpired that a young lady and young boy who arrived on the ship in Antwerp was the wife/son of the head of hotel, she had let the cat out the bag and said that they had been supposed to meet the ship in Gibralter, but was unable to get a flight but she had managed to drive down and meet the ship on our UNSCHEDULED stop in Antwerp. So the rumour quickly spread that she was the reason our trip to Lanzarote was cancelled caused a lot of resentment amongst the passengers true or not but it would be interesting to see the passenger manafest for Antwerp. Personally if that WAS the case I find it outrageous, and like others I will be emailing CMV for and answer to the question. the rest of the voyage passed we met some great people saw some fantastic places, we ended up coming back over the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale which was interesting the ship was effectlively locked down for the day. A helicopter med evac in the channel for someone who was seriously injured when a rogue wave hit the ship, and on arrival at Tilbury an hours wait to get off despite being priority. All in all we enjoyed the adventure, would we use this ship again ? NOT A CHANCE, The entertainment staff/Chefs all want a good old dose of sorting out. As they say we have been their, worn the dodgy T shirt and moved on. I hope you have a better experience on her than us. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to ... Read More
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to the bad weather conditions in Germany. The itinerary was then 1 day in Amsterdam, 1 day in Brugge and 1 in Antwerp. I am all for health and safety! and this also meant 3 ports of call instead of 1. The first night sailing to Amsterdam was extremely choppy and we managed about 4 hours sleep. We knew that Brugge was only about 80 odd miles away so we assumed that night we would have a quick journey, be docked and have a good nights sleep. WRONG! we could not dock until 6am the next morning we were just bobbing around in the sea for hours, being right above the props and the water crashing against our port holes. We seemed to fair better than others who on the higher decks had their drawers opening, things falling over and one poor woman had a narrow escape when the tv fell over and landed on the bed beside her! Neither of us slept again at all, when the boat finally docked we thought lets go to bed now and get a couple of hours, WRONG, we were so low on the ship that the rubber buffers were right outside our window and the noise of them scraping against the side made it impossible. It was horrendous to say the least. The Captain - was noticeable by his absents, except when spotted with a young blonde in an office smoking! different policies for different people I suppose. The Food - Only 1 night spent in the Restaurant (nothing special) and the help yourself Bistro - food warm at best repetitive and run to a strict regime, if it was 8.30 and people still in there all the food is cleared away regardless. Entertainment - Now this is the only good bit, all the staff were really nice and put on a good show every night. We had a trickle of water coming out of our tap, we tried to call reception to ask if this could be remedied but the phone didn't work. We went to reception she said she would get it sorted and that she realised our phone was not working. On our arrival back there was still no water, we complained again. At last someone came. It worked for 1 morning! It was quite amusing that the last night we go two letters, one saying we hoped the water problem had been resolved and another that said, sorry it couldn't be fixed because they couldn't get in touch with us by phone!! It was broken der!! Our friends had a nice surprise too, they were asleep in their cabin and at 1.50am they were woken by someone walking in! He said sorry and left, they called reception immediately but they were not really interested, after a second complaint in person in the morning they were told it would be looked into. Apparently they said, the week before the staff had been given these cabins and the intruder was staff who didn't know that these same cabins had been given to the general public! Bad case of communication to say the least. As for the Christmas markets, in Brugge there were half a dozen open, selling items you could buy here for a third of the cost. In Antwerp there were none open at all, as the people who had booked a trip on board at a very high price found out. The few that were open sold either hot food or you could have a drink. Where were the stalls for the Xmas presents that people wanted to buy? To be honest if it hadn't been for the people whom we met on the ship it would have been the worst nightmare ever. If you don't mind repetitive lukewarm food, reception staff that cant be bothered, a captain you never see or hear and enjoy a ship that does not appear to be stabilised at all, then go for it! I myself wont be going on it again, myself and my husband are still suffering extremely bad "sea legs". Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but ... Read More
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but they then let us on ship without any security checks. From that moment everyone's security was compromised until return to Tllbury. The first tendering at Kirkwall was terrible. Ticketing started at 0900 and we received ours at 0915 but had to wait ages - until we landed ashore at 1210. They didn't have enough tenders operating and those that were, were uncoordinated. A massive list formed at return time and the harbourmaster contacted the Captain to ask for more tenders. We heard from a number of sources that the Captain refused. After a written complaint I received a letter of management speak blaming the wind??? and the harbour authorities. We had an emergency muster alarm early morning whilst most were in bed. A Faulty alarm. These things can happen but it was badly handled and we weren't given any explanation or apology until the Captain was forced to make a PA announcment mid morning. Also some staff wandered around with bouyancy aids but lacking direction. At NUUK, the Greenland Capital, coahes didn't arrive for excursions. 1st excuse - traffic, then the excursion leader admitted that the coach company had forgotten and said, "That's Greenland". Why didn't she check up the day before? The boat is poorly managed, the Bistro staff are inefficient and lack decent training.If you show them dirty cups or cracked cups, you cannot be confident that they fully understand the problem and the cups continually re-appear. Cold plates for hot meals and warm plates for salads. etc. The Bistro is not good enough to compete with transport cafes. The cupboards are like '50's kitchenettes and even poorly painted. Llttle variety of breakfast offerings. However, we dined in the main restaurant every evening and the food was excellent. terrific selection, well made, hot and well presented.A different kitchen from the Bistro, but we presume still under the head chef? The entertainment was first class every evening and the guest speakers were above par. We will not sail with CMV again. We feel they are a disgrace to the cruising industry, and clearly operate Marco Polo on a shoestring. They tsake a very poor attitude to grumbles or complaints, argueing with passengers instead of trying to solve the problem. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we ... Read More
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we were in the wrong area. It was like Custers last stand! There were cars going round and round in circles all being in the wrong place. We finally got to the right area and had to sit under a marquee with rain, whipped up by high winds, blowing through!! The first impression of the ship wasn't good. It looked pretty unkempt . We were on deck 7 and the smell of sewage and fuel oil was overwhelming . I made a comment to one off the crew and we were told " It's an old ship " and that this was it's last trip before a refit. The smell got worse over the next 4 days particularly when the Captain made a decision to sail with a force 11 predicted!! We had 7/8 metre waves and hurricane force winds. This was a full day at sea. The opinion if the guests was that we shouldn't have sailed. The smell after was REVOLTING. It made your eyes sting and you held your breath until you got away from the stairwell. The food was bland and pretty much the same every day. The trouble was seating. There simply wasnt enough seats and tables to cater for everybody. We had to sit on the window sills on two occasions!! They were constantly running out of cutlery and crockery. Mugs were at a premium. The room staff were SUPERB, as were the waiters, but other bar staff had a couldn't care less attitude. We were served the wrong drinks numerous times and had our cards swapped on 3 occasions. The shows were, well what do I say?. Queen tribute night summed it up. The backing ' band' were terrible. The 4 singers went from English to their native tounge if the couldn't remember the words. I didn't know if to laugh or cry! We walked out after the third song. Some people did say they enjoyed it to be fair. The comedian we saw had the oldest jokes you could think of. To make matters worse he tried to play the guitar! He couldn't keep up with the back music AND played out of time and time. The tours were good and we saw the Northern lights, which was the reason for the cruise. The tour guides were very helpful. We wouldn't sail again on the Meggelan. I know this was it's last trip and it showed, but it just lacked the things that make it a nice ship. Perhaps after a refit things might be different. But going on our experience, this was a outdated old smelly ship and had we known that, we wouldn't have booked it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the outside doors were open, obviously to let passengers on and off when in port however there was no extra heating, no hot air blowers and the bars were COLD, the dining areas were COLD you could only eat either end of dining areas with a coat and gloves on, would not book again in the winter. The staff were all friendly and the service was good, such a shame the heating was not improved on because the trip was spoilt. Embarkation was efficient and the two excursions we booked were also good. My husband and I would have booked to cruise again on the Columbus because the ship in general is lovely but this experience has really put us off. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
You always wonder what a ship will be like before a cruise. Having seen the prices and ports of call for the Marco Polo, we weren't sure if an old ship was for us. Therefore, we jumped at the chance for an evening dinner, ... Read More
You always wonder what a ship will be like before a cruise. Having seen the prices and ports of call for the Marco Polo, we weren't sure if an old ship was for us. Therefore, we jumped at the chance for an evening dinner, entertainment and overnight stay. Whilst for this event they had restricted numbers to around 400, about half of full capacity, clearly the terminal at Tilbury couldn't cope. The cattle market approach together with mis-information given out by checking-in staff and a PA that you could hardly hear, filled us with trepidation. Once we arrived onboard, we were shown to our cabin. We were on Deck 5. Fortunately, we only had hand luggage. Otherwise dragging large cases over bulkheads would not have been appreciated. The corridor absolutely stunk of diesel fuel and I wonder how passengers could cope with this day in and day out. Our cabin was spacious, but very well 'used'. There were two portholes. However, to see out of them would have required certain mounteneering skills. There were only 3 channels on the old TV and they seemed to be videos on a loop system, forever repeating themselves. Given that the ship was only half full, it was very clostophobic in the bars etc. Not helped by low ceilngs and no empty seats. The food was, at best 3* or below. The entertainment, a take off of We Will Rock You, was more Pontins than West End. If you needed the loo, queuing was essential, unless you were up for a walk around the ship. For the evening meal we were allocated tables pre-embarkation. However, this system was abandoned for breakfast, when it was every man/woman for themselves. You had to queue to get a table and while you were in the scrum for food, they gave your table to another set of guests. There was no queuing system for obtaining your food or obvious area to stand while you watched guests infiltrating the scrum. They were keen for you to leave the ship but there was only a girl shouting out your Visitors Card number to someone trying to find your name on a manual list and then making a handwritten mark. All made for very long queues. This was supposed to be a Showcase to encourage future bookings. Whilst, undoubtebly, the cabins on the higher decks were better, save for one super waiter called Constantine, the rest of the crew hardly made you feel like travelling with them in the future. I'd say that they well and truely shot themselves in both feet. How they could possibly cope with nearly 800 guests is beyond my belief. Thank goodness our next cruise is NOW on a 5* ship and not a poor pretender. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise was a charter for Cruiseco in Australia who hired it to host a Rock the Boat themed cruise 2017. We saw the advert in the supplement in our Saturday paper and although it seemed expensive for 7 days around the UK it did ... Read More
This cruise was a charter for Cruiseco in Australia who hired it to host a Rock the Boat themed cruise 2017. We saw the advert in the supplement in our Saturday paper and although it seemed expensive for 7 days around the UK it did have a fantastic line up of acts from our era so we decided to jump in and book it. We took the upgrade which included the drinks package and gratuities and an outside cabin which seemed ok to us. We booked through cruise 1st who were efficient in the beginning but let us down when it came to booking parking at Newcastle.It took us weeks to sort it out and finally after saying they could not book it, CMV ended up doing so.No vouchers arrived so contact with Australia was necessary in order to get one sent by email which we printed off and all went well at Newcastle. We have never had such an efficient and quick embarkation as we had at Newcastle and the same was true on our disembarkation. Newcastle has really got it's act together, something other ports to take a lesson from. We were shown to our cabin 6064 and found it bigger than other ships and a double shower was very good.The walls had sticky finger prints all over as had the doors and wardrobe doors, otherwise it was clean and had a kettle, hairdryer but no fridge. We found the ship quite easy to get around with all the bars etc on the same deck but finding the Waldorf MDR took a bit of getting used to. We did not like the house wine offered with the drinks package ( dry rough Spanish plonk) so went without with our evening meal ( CMV need to look at this, we will not have the drinks package again and the only beer available my husband found undrinkable). The food left much to be desired, having read some good reviews on the food by other cruisers we can only assume that as this was a charter the usual chef was on holiday. We enjoyed 2 main meals but not much else.Very poor cheap ingredients( Talapia fish for example) buffet food varied but often luke warm , bland or just unappealing. We went onshore and bought a decent meal out when in port as I believe did some of the crew! It was only the superb entertainment and the bands which made this cruise enjoyable and the lovely people we met but I cannot imagine we would go on Magellan again if the food is standard. Pity because we liked a lot about the ship, cabin etc. MDR staff very good but bar staff left much to be desired at times as did buffet staff and the officers rarely acknowledged passengers in passing. Too many nationalities , many having little or poor English and we saw quite a bit of friction between them as some seemed less efficient than others. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My Daughter, her husband, my Wife and I spent three nights on the Magellen for a short Christmas Cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp, we had a nice time but it could have been so much better. Transfer from the long stay car park was very ... Read More
My Daughter, her husband, my Wife and I spent three nights on the Magellen for a short Christmas Cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp, we had a nice time but it could have been so much better. Transfer from the long stay car park was very quick, as was check in, the baggage arrived at the cabin within 15 minutes. A very good start. The ship has a good balance of communal areas, bars and shops, all very clean and spotless. Sinatra’s became our choice as the new English Tavern (replacing the nightclub) played very loud rock music most of the time, not our choice when we wanted to talk to each other. Service was good and fairly prompt, one thing we noticed was the charge for a mixer drink was the price of a can/bottle rather than a splash, if you have a vodka and coke ask for the can and add your own splash. other drinks were reasonably priced. We had a Superior cabin on deck six, it was very spacious and clean. The cabin attendant was not very attentive but he was very friendly, I am sure if we needed anything he would have helped. The downside for us was the quality of the dinning. We were placed in the Waldorf restaurant, which on appearance looked very nice, but unfortunately the quality of the food and the service is on a par with one/two star dinning. The evening “fine dining” experience (6 courses) is delivered at speed, just over an hour, and thrown at you from all angles. I don’t think they know of service from the left, dishes were delivered across table, stretched across other dinners and delivered to hand in some instance. The quality matched the service, pasta was gloopy and could be cut into slices, sauces had films of oil on them and meat very dry. Breakfast had the usual extensive choice but looked like it had been thrown onto the serving dishes. The Waldorf had the slowest omelette cook I have encountered, using one small frying pan rather than a grill. Breakfast on disembarkation morning was chaos in every restaurant, the ship cannot cope with everyone arriving for food at once. Not enough seating, cutlery or cups, I didn’t get a chance to experience if there was enough food. Everybody had to vacate their cabins by 7am, if they staggered checkout this might avoid this problem. Leaving the ship was straightforward and hassle free, it didn’t look like anybody paid attention to the disembarkation time slot but queues did keep moving and transfer busses were frequent. My first impressions of the Magellan were very good, unfortunately the quality of the dinning service and food would drive me mad on a sailing any longer than three days. In fact, if I had paid full cabin price I would be complaining formally rather than adding a review. This is such a shame for what is a nice cruising environment and a very pleasant ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The embarkation process was very quick and easy which was appreciated after a very long journey. Our cabin was clean and tidy but thought the balcony was small.[little bit noisy] The ship was bigger then any others we had been on ... Read More
The embarkation process was very quick and easy which was appreciated after a very long journey. Our cabin was clean and tidy but thought the balcony was small.[little bit noisy] The ship was bigger then any others we had been on and seemed without much character We were on 2nd sitting for dining and found the staff very good MR.sabari and giving us much attention,with a smiling face.we love it,even in busy time he showing a warm smile and the way service is great.we never had these kind of service and conversation.The food was ok but have had better on other cruises. The entertainment was the worst by far we have seen over the years with cmv seeming to love ex Britain's got talent losers or lookalikes their main offering which is not what you expect. The shops were ok but the staffs attitude and service were very poor. In summary, every thing was average..except dining experience. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Just returned from a 3 night cruise with my partner from london to amsterdam then onto antwerp. Overall, i had a wonderful holiday. In regards to some of the things I experienced on the ship, at times i was flabbergasted and felt compelled ... Read More
Just returned from a 3 night cruise with my partner from london to amsterdam then onto antwerp. Overall, i had a wonderful holiday. In regards to some of the things I experienced on the ship, at times i was flabbergasted and felt compelled to write this review, . PROS . Waldorf restaurant in the evenings is wonderful. Ample menu, good food, Mostly good service (I'll come back to this). . Ship very clean. Our cabin was very comfortable. . Evening shows entertaining, well scripted, brilliant dancers and singers . Very relaxed atmosphere- the friendliest cruise I have been on and we found the other guests to be great company.(good mixture of ages too) . Destinations were amazing. We had a thoroughly good time on shore and id love to return to Amsterdam. Port staff also really friendly, helpful and welcoming CONS . Lunch in the top 'informal' restaurant has not nearly enough seating and the food selection was very poor. . Hot tub was cold... too cold to even attempt to get in . We arrived late in both ports by 1hour- 1.5 hours . No drinks packages- something most cruisers expect as standard. (my bar bill cost me a small fortune!!) . And now my biggest complaint- Poorly trained/selected staff that could use some serious senior management. The restaurant staff were fairly professional, however they do require some English lessons on key restaurant terms ( a confusing couple of episodes re 'lemonade' and the wrong starters). RECEPETION... front of house and the face of any business... absolutely dismal. I took a dislike to one girl with a face like a wet weekend and a serious attitude problem- the others were not great either. ( I think she was head receptionist which is where these issues may lie). They seemed to have no regard for passenger welfare, solving issues or being remotely helpful... every time i went to the desk it was chaos and nobody knew what was going on. Bar staff all seemed to be doing their job efficiently, particularly one guy in the Tavener pub who was one of the only members of staff i came across who seemed happy to be there and actually engaged with guests. Some port staff were very rude and unhelpful- smoking in front of guests also- The biggest NO NO of tourism- very unprofessional At times the cruise was chaotic, stemming from the lack of staff ability and organisation. I would seriously recommend the management of this company travel with other cruise liners to get a feel for what good customer service is. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We considered travelling to Alaska to see the Aurora but the Magellan Northern Lights cruise offered a much cheaper alternative. To be honest looking at previous reviews I knew this would not be a luxury trip and I do not like cruises. I ... Read More
We considered travelling to Alaska to see the Aurora but the Magellan Northern Lights cruise offered a much cheaper alternative. To be honest looking at previous reviews I knew this would not be a luxury trip and I do not like cruises. I dislike all the extra hidden expense and being stuck with old people that only talk about their last cruise whilst eating themselves to death. I dislike seeing 20 stone people in their 40s and 50s with walking sticks struggling to get into lifts when they are young enough to use the stairs. This is humanity at its worst and typical of the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the west. That said we saw the Aurora and it was all worth the sleepless nights of listening to rumbling engines and noisy ventilation. My wife congratulated me for not snoring the entire trip when in fact she had little chance of hearing me over the din of the creaks and various other odd sounds this ship subjects you too not to mention your neighbours conversations because of the lack of soundproofing. We bought an expensive wine package but none of the crew understood how it worked and getting our pre paid wine was a chore. We opted to remove all tips as a result....£130 and tipped a few good crew. You get what you pay for and if you like departing and arriving in a aircraft hanger that leaks and with no direction from anyone then good luck. Tip - take as much alcohol in you baggage as you want and save £hundreds as no one checks. We took on an entire cocktail cabinet and a flask for hot coffee in the morning as there are no tea making facilities (well not unless you have a suite). It was I admit value for money with nice food. Do it once, and sleep for a week to recover is my motto if you want to see the Northern Lights, however I can see no other reason for travelling on this ship........round the world? my god! no way if you paid me. 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
Sail Date: December 2015
This was misrepresented. There are no Christmas markets in Amsterdam and very few stalls and mostly just food in Antwerp. Since that was the sole purpose of the trip it was very disappointing. The Christmas markets in Manchester UK were a ... Read More
This was misrepresented. There are no Christmas markets in Amsterdam and very few stalls and mostly just food in Antwerp. Since that was the sole purpose of the trip it was very disappointing. The Christmas markets in Manchester UK were a 100 times better so I might as well have stayed home. That said, the staff and food on the cruise were very good. The organisation was not. The evacuation training was a shambles. The information sheets provided each morning with details of Amsterdam/Antwerp were inaccurate. Stated markets (!) in Antwerp would open at 10.00. They opened at 12.00. I made the most of the trip and did have a good time but I would not recommend it. Many of my dinner companions were complaining too. The theatre show was very poor. The pianist and singer and pianist and violinist were good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and ... Read More
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and walked on board without much queuing. The waiting area had plenty of seating, a small coffee bar and was nice and warm. Our cabin was a nice size (I already knew this from OV) but the wooden furniture was the original and so was the bathroom. This was OK though and the shower is really large. The air con worked well and the bed was comfortable. Our cabin was on deck 5 at the front (5120) and had a lot of movement on rough days. I was seasick and would recommend a higher level and central if you suffer from this. There seemed to be a lot of crowding in the Bistro buffet on level 12. We had to find a seat (not easy) then take turns to get our food. I had never experienced this on OV so I can only assume that it was the time of year and no-one was eating outside. The food here was average. Breakfast was very good, lunch didn't have much choice of hot food and it didn't look that appetising. The desserts were moussy!! and the hot choice seemed mainly to be a sloppy variation of bread and butter pudding. The thing that put us off the most though was that it was very cold in there. On the second day we decided to use the Waterfront restaurant (waiter service). We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of food compared to the Bistro so we continued to use it.... and it was lovely and warm. The afternoon tea was nice with delicious biscuits and scones with fresh cream and jam.... yummy. The entertainment was quite poor and there wasn't a huge amount going on, especially during our day at sea. I liked the comedian though.... very old jokes but he pulled it off because he was likeable. The decor in the public areas was nice and looked refurbished. There is quite a lot of seating around the ship and it didn't feel crowded (except the Bistro) even though the ship was full. I'll finish on a positive as we really enjoyed our cruise. The staff were excellent. They worked hard and were always helpful and friendly. Also our fellow passengers were so friendly which made all the difference. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was a mixed bag. I would love to give five stars, I think I should and I will explain why in a moment. Having been on the Marco Polo and loved it I was worried that i might not enjoy the Magellan as much and, if I'm honest, I ... Read More
This was a mixed bag. I would love to give five stars, I think I should and I will explain why in a moment. Having been on the Marco Polo and loved it I was worried that i might not enjoy the Magellan as much and, if I'm honest, I still love the Marco Polo but there was nothing I disliked about the Magellan it's just different. A bigger vessel which means more walking, which I find difficult, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of being at sea. This was a multi generational, themed cruise. Two things I said I would never do but for the most part the children were a pleasure to be with. I saw no bad behaviour at all. Another plus for me was the number of different nationalities on board, so many interesting conversations. The downside came with the first excursion, to Paris. We knew we would have some free time but we were dropped in the most expensive, and probably busiest area for traffic for three hours. The majority stayed in the area as the traffic was horrendous with no notice at all taken of Pedestrian crossings. The coach did not pick us up where we were told we had to get on by standing in the middle of a dangerously busy road as the driver's side was facing the pavement. There were many more pluses I'm pleased to say but all on our coach agreed that the Paris trip was an ordeal and badly managed. The cabin an inner was very comfortable and our Steward very attentive. Entertainment was hit and miss, the Magellan singers and dancers were very enjoyable. There was an Irish folk trio on 2 nights with more or less the same songs the second time and a comedian we could only watch for ten minutes, it was dreadful, but that's just my opinion of course. The Cricketers and Nick Hancock were always approachable and as someone who knows nothing about cricket I still enjoyed their company. Now the reason I wanted to give 5 stars but can't as several people were genuinely scared in Paris either of being lost or knocked down. There was a raffle on behalf of the the Lord's Taveners with several prizes, the first being a Cruise donated by CMV. Never having won more than a bottle of wine in a raffle we had no expectations but, and I still can't believe this, we won the Cruise. Not a three night mini cruise that we thought it might be but an 11 night British Isles Discovery Cruise. To say we are thrilled is an understatement and we can't wait. If it had been a less chaotic Paris excursion I would have had nothing really to complain about but I really believe, given that families with young children were also with us, that not enough thought was given to the area where we could be left to our own devices. A too short time aboard the Magellan, Crew were brilliant, Magellan's own entertainers and the Cruise Director gave their all, and thank you CMV, we can't wait to come back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next ... Read More
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next year. Room was quite small but we spend very little time there. We prefer to be out either exploring or up on deck. The other guests we chatted to had all enjoyed their holiday. On formal nights nights most people dressed up but not ott. Some people chose not to and this appeared to be acceptable. They did not go to the formal dining rooms . We prefer to do our own thing but booked 2 last minute excursions . Both were very good if a bit expensive. There was a small problem with the tendering in st peters. Staff came round to explain and apologise. Throughout the holiday the captain ensured guests were well informed. The ship had a relaxed atmosphere. This was our first fly cruise . everything was well organised. This was the same on departure. All good we reallly enjoyed especially in waterfront ,,most of the times we dining late and tired because we booked in 1st sit but the staff showed smiley face.making jokes and fun the service too fast.we never had this before very good and lovely waiter Mr. sabari very frank and efficient. Beds very comfortable with beautifully laundered linen and great pillows. Having some experience of travelling on cargo ships over the years, the occasional ship smells of bunkering, and the inevitable hum and vibration of the engines disturbed us hardly at all, as we reckoned it was hardly possible to avoid these things altogether. We slept well, and loved our cabin cheerful.over all we enjoyed except st.peters. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Got back today. We sailed from Tilbury, having used the Victoria Coach Shuttle service. This ran smoothly and professionally. Embarkation was the same ( the only problem were the passengers who insisted that they were far more important ... Read More
Got back today. We sailed from Tilbury, having used the Victoria Coach Shuttle service. This ran smoothly and professionally. Embarkation was the same ( the only problem were the passengers who insisted that they were far more important than anyone else ). Our cabin was spotlesss and apart from being too hot ( maintenance staff soon rectified this ) was very comfortable. Dining on the first evening was not pleasant, as all those allocated to their particular restaurant were kept waiting outside the restaurant until the doors were opened. Again the behaviour of some passengers pushing and shoving left a lot to be desired. The food was expertly presented, but nothing special. As a result of this we chose to use the buffet restaurant for the remainder, We had to choose our moment as it was very popular. The entertainment catered for everyone - classical violinists / lounge music or cabaret. Last night we chose to watch the pantomime. It was SO BAD...it ended up being really funny !! The drinks were, I thought, very reasonably priced. I would say that the level of service was 99% good - the exception being the drinks waiter we had for the restaurant meal. Very pompous but it could have been a language problem Our our disembarkation when visiting Amsterdam was smooth and the visit itself enjoyable but there are mad bicyclists EVERYWHERE, and their rules of the road differ vastly from the UK. Getting back on the ship was a nightmare - only one x-ray machine working. Much heightened security at Antwerp Xmas Market for obvious reasons, but loved it!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Booked through Gardeners World, viewing gardens Dublin, Scillies, Guernsey, France. I was a first time cruiser. Very concerned regarding reviews however went with open mind. Had a wonderful time, food very good, previous remarks were very ... Read More
Booked through Gardeners World, viewing gardens Dublin, Scillies, Guernsey, France. I was a first time cruiser. Very concerned regarding reviews however went with open mind. Had a wonderful time, food very good, previous remarks were very negative but I couldn't find fault. All meat dishes were tasty and tender. Desserts and cakes were varied and good. Tea was a real treat. 5 course dinner so each course was small but needed to be to get through all 5 courses. We ate breakfast and lunch in Bistro and enjoyed the many dishes on offer. Entertainment was to a good standard and the ballet/dance troupe were excellent as was the band. Singers were good overall,costumes were very good. All staff were very helpful and friendly. Very high hygiene standards throughout ship, staff administered hand gel every meal time. Shore excursions good, I thought reasonably good value all except Monets garden which was expensive as entry ticket was marked 8 euros so it seemed a lot for the coach trip (£67). I agree ship engines are noisy but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the cruise. Cabin was upgraded and back of ship floor 5, quite enough room , very comfortable beds, excellent shower. Yes I would go again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was only our second ever cruise, the first being a British Isles trip aboard Marco Polo which we enjoyed immensely. We found that embarkation at Tilbury was nowhere near as slick and easy as our experience at the CMV desks in ... Read More
This was only our second ever cruise, the first being a British Isles trip aboard Marco Polo which we enjoyed immensely. We found that embarkation at Tilbury was nowhere near as slick and easy as our experience at the CMV desks in Newcastle - on the Tilbury voyage our boarding cards were given to the wrong people and there was a mistake made when registering our credit card (which was swiftly corrected by the excellent reception staff on board the ship). Once aboard we received a very warm welcome from the staff and were shown to our cabin on deck 6. It was a lovely room, very clean, light and spacious. The service throughout our voyage was extremely good, the staff are very friendly and helpful. The shopping area aboard ship was a bit of a disappointment, heaps of space but very little stock to fill it and poor choice. We found this odd because on longer trips there is a captive audience who would perhaps love to spend a little time shopping for gifts etc. Our main criticism of this cruise is not about the ship or her crew but about the passengers who continually sat at the tables in the bistro whether they were eating or not. Many, many times we saw people taking their plates of food outside to eat (and it was cold!) because they couldn't find a table.....yet so many tables were occupied by people chatting over coffee or reading a book. Perhaps if there were notices asking passengers to vacate their table after eating the staff would feel they were in a position to uphold this request and kindly suggest that people move on to allow others to enjoy their meal in comfort? The food was very good, we had either breakfast or lunch in the bistro and each evening ate in the Waldorf restaurant where the standards of service were high. The entertainment was average but nevertheless we enjoyed the acts we saw. The free coffee from the drinks station is terrible - not just our opinion but that of many others we spoke to - but it's not too expensive to buy a coffee in the bars, and neither are the drinks prices expensive either. The all-inclusive package is a good buy if you like a few soft drinks through the day and then some drinks during the evening. Life boat drill, though essential, was very long and drawn out - I think it took 90 minutes from start to finish (surely by that time the ship would have capsized!). Shore excursions were very well planned and the guides had good knowledge of the places we visited. Our particular favourites were Amsterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen. To summarize we had a really good time -of course it's only natural to compare when you have only been on two cruises but I think our favourite ship is the Marco Polo. Nevertheless we would definitely consider travelling on the Magellan again if the itinerary was what we were looking for. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
There have been several reviews of the CMV Magellan, which show that passenger reactions can be very varied. We booked a very reasonably priced 6 night cruise called Autumn Gardens on a bogof deal with cabin allocated by the company. We ... Read More
There have been several reviews of the CMV Magellan, which show that passenger reactions can be very varied. We booked a very reasonably priced 6 night cruise called Autumn Gardens on a bogof deal with cabin allocated by the company. We expected a low deck inside cabin and found we had been allocated to a family cabin with small portholes (no view) on the lower deck at the forward end of the ship. First impressions of the cabin were very positive, as there was sufficient room to swing many cats as the wardrobes were in the anteroom which would otherwise be for third or possibly fourth occupants. What we did not know was that cabin 4007 is directly over the bow thruster, a piece of machinery that is activated each time port is reached or left. When the bow thrusters are on, the noise is so intense that occupancy of the cabin is intolerable. As we were arriving in a new port each day, usually in the early morning, we came to expect this noise and when practical, made arrangements to be elsewhere. It also seemed that the rear of the ship could get pretty noisy and juddery at times on several decks, so if you are choosing a cabin, aim for midships. Boarding at Tilbury on this occasion was fairly easy with lots of road signage if you are driving yourself. There is a big Asda very close to the port for any last minute purchases. The company discourages you from dropping off your bags before parking. The car park is a bus ride away, and whilst it works, it is not as comfortable or as efficient as the experience we had with Holland America at Harwich. A double decker bus is used, and one has to wait until it is full. Given the number of passengers with mobility issues, there may be no space on the lower deck. Bags were picked up at the car park, and did arrive in a reasonable time at our cabin. Our boarding time was set for 2.30 i.e. the last to board, but in the event, we were allowed on board almost as soon as we arrived at the cruise terminal, which is just as well as the terminal facilities are sparse. We were in lunch pretty quickly in the Raffles buffet restaurant, and then looked around the boat, as it was new to us. We thought the general condition and appearance of the ship was good for its age with plenty of seating, and many bars and public spaces to choose from. It is not the most modern of ships, but it does not pretend to be other than what is publicized. There are not a lot of on-board shops, which has the positive effect of one not being made to feel that the agenda lurches from one shopping opportunity to the next, which does happen on some of the American cruises. The company knows its client demography well, and seemed well-pitched at British blue collar retirement aged folk who know a bargain when they see one. Food on board is a critical part of any cruise and the Magellan aims to not challenge middle England. It is good plain food for good plain people. There are three restaurants on the Magellan. Two are formal with two sittings each and one is a buffet restaurant which closes about 8 pm. We had requested a late sitting (8.15pm) and a table for two, and both wishes were granted. We noted that this later sitting in the Waldorf Restaurant had plenty of space at tables, and there were pairs eating at tables for 6 or 8, and even some empty tables. The restaurant staff told us that the early sittings are the most popular (possibly because of access to all the evening entertainment), but we would not want to eat at 5.45 or 6.15, although most of the passengers had opted for this. I would rate the food in the served restaurants as good, with a fair choice (never a problem there and no disappointments). The buffet restaurant at lunch was, like other ships, a bit of a scrum, with a struggle to find a table unless you come early or late. The temperature of buffet food was poor, but this is typical. You have to keep an eye out for when they change vats of food. Typically there would be a choice of two meats, a fish dish and a pasta dish. Buffet food was bland and uninspiring – more functional than entertaining, in contrast to the main restaurants. Desserts on the buffet were below the quality of the main restaurants, usually being cake based. The buffet tends to run down about 30mins before closing with less choice and fewer serving stations. They regularly ran out of cutlery. There was an impressive gala buffet displayed late one evening: this was splendid and showed that the chefs were capable of great things. It was a pity that it was so shortly after later dinner, so any food eaten was done so out of pure greed The serving staff was very mixed: it is a bit of a United Nations on the ship with a mix of Eastern Europeans and Asian staff. In my opinion, the language training was very patchy, and whilst most spoke restaurant English, the minute a question was posed which was not on their script, it was unlikely that there would be an answer without consulting management. E.g. are there any knives? In the served restaurants, there is a wine service, with middle of the road table wine costing about £20-£30/bottle. Otherwise drinks at bars are priced probably below (London) pub prices, and a cocktail of the day was available at £3.10. Unlike on some US based ships, there is no service charge on drinks. There are drinks packages available which allow access to house wine, some spirits and cocktails and other non-premium drinks and cost £17/day provided all the occupants of a cabin buy into it. If you like a drink and would consume more than 5 regular alcoholic drinks during the day, then this may be for you, but our bar bill for two came to a maximum of £20/day on a pay as you go basis. Entertainment on a cruise is also a very big deal, especially if you don’t get out much or live somewhere where there is no access to live theatre and similar. For a short cruise on a mid sized boat, there was no shortage of set entertainment of the typical middle of the road easy listening style. The shows are put on twice nightly to match the dinner sittings in their fairly large show-lounge. At first glance the show lounge is impressive with tiered seating and a large stage, but the tiering is insufficiently raised, and because of the physical structure, there are only a few seats that do not either have a barrier in front of them or a pole partially obstructing views. By and large, the entertainments were well received, and the casts mostly enthusiastic. On our six nights, there was something to watch every evening, and a late night cabaret in one of the bars. Excursions were pretty run of the mill and relatively expensive, but not as expensive as on Holland America. At one port, Zeebrugge (for Bruges), it was made quite clear that it would be very difficult to leave the port and go anywhere without one of the supplied trips. At two destinations (Jersey and Guersney), the captain made the decision not to land (i.e. 40% of destination ports and their linked excursions) because of high seas. These ports were serviced by tender boats, and hence the decision. I read subsequently that difficulties with tenders at the Channel Islands were common, but if that were the case, may be they should never have been on the itinerary. (To give you the bigger picture, on our last cruise on CMV Marco Polo, 2/3 tender landings were cancelled, so to date my record with CMV is 1/5 tender landings successful. I would advise concentrating on those trips with no tendering to shore). Instead of Jersey and Guernsey, we were offered the ports of Cherbourg and Rouen on which we had done no research. The ship offered short notice excursions, which filled up quickly, and the remaining passengers were left to sort themselves out, which is easy in Rouen, but tricky in Cherbourg. The excursion in Cherbourg was a scenic drive taking in a couple of small ports and the cabbage fields of Normandy, and priced at £45. To make things even more complex we arrived at Honfleur, our final port, many hours early, but despite this, the captain was taken by surprise by the rise and fall of the tides. After 30 minutes, the original gangway on level 5 was unusable and the exit had to be re-sited on level 8 entailing a delay of 20 minutes on already short outings. Our trip to Bayeux was very rushed leaving insufficient time after visiting the tapestry to visit the tapestry museum and explanatory film in English and still have time to see the town and have a coffee on a trip that did not return until 2p.m. Staff on the boat is very mixed, and a large contingent coming from Ukraine and lesser numbers from Bulgaria and Romania. English language skills in the lower ranks were poor. The captain is Greek and whilst he spoke English, left us with the impression that he would prefer not to. The captain’s daily announcements were therefore difficult to decipher, and the grand announcement about the loss of the Channel Islands was so indistinct that even members of the crew were left asking what was going on. Others have mentioned the somewhat military style boat drill. Whilst on some cruise ships this has descended to a perfunctory performance just asking people to assemble at the muster stations, possibly with their life jackets, the captain went all the way bar boarding the life boats. This included the crocodile up the decks to the lifeboat area, and inspection by the captain. In our boat, one person was identified as having donned their jacket inadequately, and the captain retied the knots. Perhaps there was something that we should have known? Positives: Very cheap way to cruise UK style with pub prices for drink Good destinations, and whilst excursions are not cheap, they are cheaper than other lines Food to UK tastes and not very exciting and of limited variety, and that might not be what you want. I would not recommend the burgers from the grill. Enthusiastic Entertainment Negatives: Many of crew with lack of culture of hospitality and care (of the elderly). Some would benefit from more language training. Cabins and amenities a bit Spartan, but good for price and those in know bring their own toiletries. Not much of a shopping opportunity, but some would regard that as very positive. Cabins above bow thrusters can be very noisy at arrival and departures. Ship starting to show age, but mostly works. Steep steps between decks that might defeat the less abled, but the elevators were adequate. Overall, a satisfactory basic cruise experience, but watch out for the tender ports. Read Less
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