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23 Cruise & Maritime Voyages Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

I chose to travel to Canada and the Cruise and Maritime Marco Polo was available for the cruise. The ship is small and old. Built many years ago. It tilts and sways alot. It is suitable for retired and elderly people. I experienced stress ... Read More
I chose to travel to Canada and the Cruise and Maritime Marco Polo was available for the cruise. The ship is small and old. Built many years ago. It tilts and sways alot. It is suitable for retired and elderly people. I experienced stress because of a elderly woman who talked non-stop. The male supervisor who works in the buffet area, stares at you in a hateful way. He behaves as if he resents passengers helping themselves to food that they paid for! The buffet cooks behind the counter also stare in a nasty unpleasant manner. The tall, male security guard with dark hair, enjoys stalking women in a creepy manner. He follows women like a creepy shadow. WiFi is not available, so I could not access online banking. Some of the tours were suitable. For example, Montreal, Quebec and Sydney. The Marco Polo cruise was for 30 days to Canada. My dining experience in the buffet found a variety of cooked food. Chicken, fish, and vegetarian. Also salads. The Waldorf restaurant provides a daily set menu to choose from. Two or three starters, main meals, and desserts. Alcohol has to be paid for as extra expenses. Activities such as, comedy drama and singing was pleasant entertainment. There was a daily £5 charge for art classes, for this reason I only attended once. The service by staff in general was basic. The Scotts bar, had 1 good bartender who served nice cocktails. The cabin i stayed in was a standard room. Two single beds, a cabinet with drawers, a double wardrobe and one chair. A small shower room. With basic soap and shampoo with a unpleasant smell. Towels were changed by request. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The main reason that my husband and I chose this cruise was the itinerary. We enjoy long cruises and sailing 39 nights from Fremantle to Tilbury(London) appealed to us. Stops included Mauritius, various South African stops, St Helena, ... Read More
The main reason that my husband and I chose this cruise was the itinerary. We enjoy long cruises and sailing 39 nights from Fremantle to Tilbury(London) appealed to us. Stops included Mauritius, various South African stops, St Helena, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Casablanca and Lisbon. We went on many excursions but the visit to a private game reserve in Mossel Bay, South Africa and Marrakech was the most enjoyable The entertainment was superb thanks to the cruise director Katie with something different each of the 39 nights. The caliber of the singers and dancers far exceeded any other cruise that I have been on and the costumes were outstanding. Kudos to Captain Andrey for his friendliness and exceptional capability when required. There was something about the ambience of this cruise. The helpful, friendly staff always ready with a smile, the delicious food and the sea day activities made this cruise something special. This cruise was magical. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The itinerary for this cruise was very appealing - not many cruise ships sail up the Amazon, and the price was extremely attractive: 42 nights for under £2k (inside cabin), or around £2.5k (sea view). The boat is old, but having ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise was very appealing - not many cruise ships sail up the Amazon, and the price was extremely attractive: 42 nights for under £2k (inside cabin), or around £2.5k (sea view). The boat is old, but having cruised on some of the biggest ships, I found that the Magellan is small enough that you soon get to know your fellow travellers, and many of the crew (who were generally very helpful and friendly). We had force 9 storms in the Bay of Biscay, and the ship pitched and rolled, but strangely enough very few people seemed to suffer drom sea sickness. I found the gentle movement of the boat in heavy seas quite relaxing! Unfortunately an earlier review draws attention to the problems with coughs and chest infections on this ship. We suffered the same problem. In fact we heard that 13 people died on this trip (unconfirmed, as the cruise companies naturally do not want this publicised), but we certainly saw hearses driving up to meet the ship in some ports, and enough rumours circulating around the ship to suggest the numbers were well into double figures. The medical centre seemed to be out of its depth and unable to cope - it is a private practice, so money seems to be the overriding motivation for them. We heard of passengers being lumbered with bills for thousands of pounds after their travel insurance companies declined their claim. It is interesting to note that the medical centre ran out of cough mixture after less then two weeks, and there is no on-board pharmacy, so buying even basic medication from them will result in extortionate charges being added to your onboard account. Entertainment was OK - we appreciate its difficult to do 42 consecutive shows on a limited budget. The entgertainers are very talented, and do their best. Lauren (Assistant Cruise Director) is particularly outstanding, and Tony (Cruise Director) did a great job of whipping up the entertainment, but he is now off to Australia to join the Columbus. There were some dodgy old-school stand-up comedians from the UK who should probably have retired years ago! Service in the restaurants was, I thought, outstanding. The food was a bit variable, but generally very adequate, with a good choice. The ship is kept very clean, so I think the infection problem is probably something to do with the ductwork - most people I met suffered coughs and sore throats, and I suspect germs are cirulating through the old piping. The on-board accounting system is outdated - posting an account under your door every two weeks, without even an envelope, is ludicrous. The staff at reception were sometimes a bit stroppy about dealing with errors (and there were a few.....). Cruising the Amazon was interesting, but at times a bit false. Boca da Valeria is a fake village where you will be greeted on arrival by scores of kids demanding money to take photographs of them posing with various animals. We saw a half dead catfish plonked on a table for all to see. Horrible. The 'indigineous tribespeople locals' (ha ha) will happily offer to take you up river to see where they really live for a fistful of dollars...... The rest of the itinerary was great, though the ship-bought excursions are very expensive, and you will do far better buying locally organised tours at the ports. But overall this ship has a good atmosphere, all the facilities you need and, if you stay healthy, you will have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
MV Columbus very nice ship well appointed. Spacious cabins good storage space, cases under beds. Lovely crew all friendly and very helpful. Good launderettes on two decks. Dining, food seemed to be down to price nothing special compared ... Read More
MV Columbus very nice ship well appointed. Spacious cabins good storage space, cases under beds. Lovely crew all friendly and very helpful. Good launderettes on two decks. Dining, food seemed to be down to price nothing special compared with other ships. Very popular was fish and chips when served during a special culinary buffet. Desserts too sugary and hot desserts not quite what it said on the tin. During the days at sea, expensive craft lessons, only two lecturers, both on wildlife and photography and one a lifestyle expert as well. No regular dance classes, therefore no dance sessions except for a couple of attempts which were failures. Scheduling of things to do wasn't done with much thought so a lot of overlapping. The ship's entertainment company of singers and dancers were excellent very, very talented. Good shows, good choreography and costumes but the same faces every night. Late in cruise a couple of comedians came onboard. One a good song and joke act. For once a good band, no tinny trumpet but the music whether live or recorded drowned the singers. Free shuttle buses at some destinations. Excursions seemed expensive but we enjoyed the ones we went on but mostly we did our own thing with taxis etc cheaper. Disembarkation a complete shambles, cases all mixed up lack of trolleys. We were using the coach connection which meant self load the cases, not enough coaches, delayed departure due to trying to squeeze people in, luggage wouldn't fit missed our connection. If CMV improves the food, entertainment, daytime recreation we would go again with them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as having two full days in Havana-at very short notice one day was cancelled and a visit to Belize substituted; not at all what we wanted. George Town visit cancelled, (Unable to bring tenders ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as having two full days in Havana-at very short notice one day was cancelled and a visit to Belize substituted; not at all what we wanted. George Town visit cancelled, (Unable to bring tenders alongside as we were so far from shore) even though other ships further in shore were all tendering. Due to arrive Ocho Rios 07.00 hrs-finally arrived by tender at 13.00hrs-apparently the ships' carpenter had to build new steps at the landing stage. Clearly no forward planning from this company The cabin walls are so thin that every sound from next door is heard-the words from the T.V. in the next cabin can be clearly heard-the reception desk send down ear-plugs when you complain. This makes absolutely no difference and even the snores from adjacent cabins can be heard. Our cabin was at the stern of the ship and the door-closer to the outside deck was broken. For the first seven nights we had this additional loud bang next to our heads every time someone went out on deck. This is an extremely noisy ship wherever you happen to be. There is no escape from continual games and loud competitions in all lounges and bars. The 4 seats (for 700 pax.) in the library are like gold dust and we were only able to "bag" seats three times on the journey. When the weather turned warmer the noise moved up a level with all deck areas subject to over-amplified noise from the "entertainment" department. I have never been on a warm-water cruise where it's impossible to have a quiet drink out on deck. The food is adequate but the cafe and restaurant most definitely are not. We had food and drink spilled on us in the main restaurant (not the fault of the staff, who were extremely good) because too many tables had been crammed in. The situation in the cafe was even worse as they continuously ran out of crockery and cutlery. One night I had to eat roast lamb and veg. with a spoon as "everything is in the dishwasher". The standard of lectures was extremely poor-all read from scripts. We have been on over two dozen crises and never experienced anything like this. Despite complaining both on board and on our return, this company is unwilling to make any compensation for these five miserable weeks. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our first cruise, and we found it to exceed any expectations we might have had! The ship was just the right size - small and intimate enough that it really felt like 'home' after just a few days, but with plenty to do ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we found it to exceed any expectations we might have had! The ship was just the right size - small and intimate enough that it really felt like 'home' after just a few days, but with plenty to do and just sufficient space for everyone on the days when it was too wet or cold to use the decks. The staff were amazing - thoroughly professional, whilst also being very friendly and providing an excellent service throughout our cruise. The ship was very clean and the cabins, though a little compact(!), had everything to hand and enough storage space for our long cruise (and my many dresses!). The cruise was a great combination of sea days and shore days, with good ports of call. I must mention that when docked in Lisbon, we (two couples) had a fantastic motorbike and sidecar tour of the city with BikeMySide, a great concept with very knowledgeable and skilled drivers/guides. We had pre-booked the tour in the UK, my husband and I having had a tour on a previous visit to Lisbon (we enjoyed it so much we couldn't visit the city without repeating it). A great highlight for the four of us, to kick off our excellent cruise. We would definitely travel with CMV and the Marco Polo again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the destinations, embarkation was simple and quick in Avonmouth. The cabin was bigger than expected and kept nice and clean, by the helpful cabin steward.The entertainment was very good for the facilities at their disposal, the team worked very hard. Not enough seating around the ship internally, as weather was very bad you could not go outside on deck. The food was quite nice, but nothing special, the portions were minute, and if like us you were on early sitting you had nothing to eat until breakfast. We have never been so hunger on a cruise before, no tea or coffee after midnight either. Breakfast was alright so long as you didn't want hot food, it was always Luke warm, but cold meats and cheese were fine. Excursions were very expensive, it was a fraction of the price to do the trip independently. Ship old and well worn and had loud engine noises throughout the cruise, making it difficult to sleep. This is not a cruise for anybody under 70 years old. We sailed in terribly rough conditions force 9 and 10 gales, furniture, crew and passengers were being tossed around the ship, we were like a cork in a washing machine, very dangerous, serveral passengers were seriously injured and had to be flown home. A really awful experience, were we feared for our lives. We missed out on two ports due to weather conditions, I have it all on video, please watch and see for yourselves, as Cruise and Maritime, did not take my comments seriously and trivialised our complaint. I have been as fair and accurate in this review as possible. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first cruise with Cruise & Maritime and we were a little apprehensive given the low price we paid. The Magellan was lacking in the little niceties, e.g. quality toiletries, bath robes, nuts with drinks etc. however it had ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Cruise & Maritime and we were a little apprehensive given the low price we paid. The Magellan was lacking in the little niceties, e.g. quality toiletries, bath robes, nuts with drinks etc. however it had all the basics needed. Checking in was speedy and efficient, we were escorted to our cabin within 30 minutes of arrival and our luggage was waiting for us there. However, as we were escorted round the side of the hand luggage x-ray machine and didn't go through the body scanner at Tilbury we could have been taking anything on board. Despite having asked for a double bed the cabin was set up as a twin. However, this was quickly rectified. The cabin size was compatible to other cruises we have been on but lacked a fridge and a decent size and quality TV. Not that it mattered much as we could not get any TV channels at all once south of the Azores. The shower was larger than many cruise ships and had plenty of hot water at a good pressure. Room service, for a limited breakfast menu, was delivered on time and free. Evening entertainment was not the quality or variety you get on larger ships but then we were not expecting West End show standards. However, what the entertainers lacked in talent they made up for in their tremendous enthusiasm. However, when the premier entertainment for one evening was, what looked like a pirated DVD of a 30 year old rock concert, we were not impressed. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, customer service was first class and didn't deserve the rudeness they received from some of the passengers whose manners left a lot to be desired. The food is as good in terms of quality and variety as any cruise ship we have been on, with evening meals comprising two or three appetisers, two soups, three salads and four main courses to choose from, followed by a choice of three sweets, cheese and coffee or tea. Everything from Sushi, Curry, Pasta and Steaks were on the menu, and there was always a vegetarian alternative. Although the meals did get boring after the third week. The only disappointment was the lack of a speciality restaurant but l guess that's just down to the size of the ship. We also prefer open dining at a time that suits us rather than the fixed early or late sittings in the restaurants. However, there is always the self service restaurant as an alternative. One real concern was the lack of hygiene in some restaurant areas. There were no staff offering hand disinfectant at the poolside Grill where I saw one woman put her hands into the tray of chips and scoop up a handful of chips from the tray onto her plate potentially contaminating the whole tray of chips. Thankfully the staff promptly disposed of the rest of the tray of chips in the bin. That says more about the passenger than the staff, but should have been prevented. The staff worked extremely hard to put on a Beach Party on Mayreau Island taking all the food and equipment ashore from the ship. This was was a great success and fully appreciated. My wife and I suffered sore throats, coughs and cold symptoms during the voyage, as did many people we spoke to, which we put down to the air conditioning. Conclusion:- The Magellan is to cruising what Lidl is to supermarkets. Good value for a limited product. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We embarked on the Marco Polo on the 7th September from Tilbury for 34 nights destination Canada, All was OK until we got to our room 605 on a tilt and so was the bed, you can hear the Music from the show room 3 times a day, rehearsal and ... Read More
We embarked on the Marco Polo on the 7th September from Tilbury for 34 nights destination Canada, All was OK until we got to our room 605 on a tilt and so was the bed, you can hear the Music from the show room 3 times a day, rehearsal and then the two shows at night. On the whole the ship is ok, BUT if you have a food allergy, then this is not the Ship for you. I have a NUT ALLERGY, and it did not matter how many time I mentioned this, it was totally ignored to the point where I gave up going to the restaurant and lived on soup. Food I would give a 25 out of 100 and that was on a good day. Look carefully at this as I know that everyones expectations are different, But don't say you were not warned. CMV voyages, (Cheap and Miserable) think carefully. Don,t always go for their tours check locally you will find them a lot cheaper and usually more informative. Hop on Hop off buses are cheaper independently than booking through the cruise ship. They do not have shuttle buses at most ports and walking can be for a while. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having just retuned from a cruise to Canada on the Marco Polo and after reading some of the reviews on here i felt i should pass comment about our trip. Embarcation went smoothly and without any problems, for the age of the ship our cabin ... Read More
Having just retuned from a cruise to Canada on the Marco Polo and after reading some of the reviews on here i felt i should pass comment about our trip. Embarcation went smoothly and without any problems, for the age of the ship our cabin 511 was spacious and had plenty of storage space, the cabin steward was pleasent and kept it spotless. The rest of the ship to was spotless ,but then they were cleaning it all the time.The bar staff and all the waiters were frendly and very pleasent, drinks on board were reasonably priced, a coffee in the lounges was £1.70 although you could get it for free in the bistro all day, and cocktails a resonable £3.05. Again the dinning room staff could not do enough for you, there was six courses on the menu and you could have as much food as you wished, our only criticism is it could sometimes have been hotter, some of the things we did not care for but that was our choise, there was buffet breackfast with all you could want and eggs done while you wated, the bistro was again good but it did get a little crowded but if you waited a short while it did quieten down.The trips were good and we found again resonably priced against some other cruise lines we have used There were snags such as seating when at sea but we did always manage to find some where to sit. The entertainment was good and varied, the shows on the other hand could have been better. Disembaraction went well, yes we did have to vacate our cabins by 7am but that is normal on most cruise lines. All in all and for the price we paid we were well pleased, we have travelled on Marco Polo before and will again ,its not 5 star but take into consideration what you pay and its extreamly good value for money Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The Marco Polo is sadly beginning to show its age. The ship is small compared to most other cruise ships and with 900 passengers on board somewhat overcrowded.The ship rolls continuously from side to side and in the Atlantic swell it ... Read More
The Marco Polo is sadly beginning to show its age. The ship is small compared to most other cruise ships and with 900 passengers on board somewhat overcrowded.The ship rolls continuously from side to side and in the Atlantic swell it pitches as well which does not make for comfort. During the good weather when passengers were able to sit and eat outside, the buffet facilities and the lounges coped, but as soon as the weather changed it was difficult to find a seat at breakfast or lunch and in the lounge. The food is unimaginative and somewhat repetitive, however the names for the dishes are very imaginative. In the Bistro there is always a fish dish (usually in a butter sauce), two meat dishes, and a pasta dish with something stirred through it. There are salads, although at times the lettuce was very poor, and the cucumber had seen better days (most of them in an over efficient cooler). There were usually composite salads made of pasta with meat etc. which made one think of yesterday's left overs. The vegetarian meal was often just a vegetable, not a well planned menu with protein. These meals are repeated in the Waldorf Restaurant with waiter service. There is no drinks package. A glass of wine (250ml) costs £5 and the bottle (750ml) costs £15. Other more expensive options are available. The bar services are outsourced and the staff sometimes repeatedly ask if you want a drink. When in port there is very little information available for those passengers not booked on tours (these vary in price from (£39 - £69 per person) and town maps are generally not available. The cabins are adequate, but the beds are small, very narrow and not particularly long. Entertainment is provided by a small dedicated team of talented singers and dancers accompanied by the Marco Polo Band, which is first class. There is not a show every evening and sometimes shows are repeated. When films are shown, the screen is very small and the sound is bad. The crew are mainly Eastern European and work very hard. They are an asset to the ship, and speaking from personal experience, the medical care, although expensive, is first class. There is a very good programme of painting and art activities and and guest lecturers who speak on the Amazon and wild life. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Despite 800+ old folks being cooped up for 6 weeks, there was a high degree of tolerance between passengers. There was some fractious behaviour, some very rude people, some who assumed entitlement, and some who complained about trivia. It ... Read More
Despite 800+ old folks being cooped up for 6 weeks, there was a high degree of tolerance between passengers. There was some fractious behaviour, some very rude people, some who assumed entitlement, and some who complained about trivia. It was best to ignore this. I enjoyed the Food and entertainment but it is a personal matter. I had many excellent meals, and some not so good ones. Same with the shows. When the complainers were asked what they didn't. Like about the shows or food, they could not give a coherent answer, often mumbling something about Fred Olsen! Staff were very hard working. Kept the ship spotless, and provided excellent service, and more often than not, good entertainment. The ship is their home, and they made us welcome . Some passengers were rude to the staff, and there was no excuse for this. There was a full daily schedule of entertainment, lectures , games, and crafts including water colour. No boredom here! Drinks were not cheap, although there happy hours every day. Incidentally, there is a wine package that is not publicised. Ask for it from your waitor in the restaurant. It costs £85 for 6 bottles. Similar price to house wine, but much better quality. Incomplete bottles are kept till finished. We could make a bottle last for 2-3 nights. Another wheeze is to share a large glass of wine between two. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise and I researched it well during the 12 months before we set sail. Everything was MUCH better than the 3 star cruise we were expecting. The food was excellent in all restaurants and plentyful for a normal healthy ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I researched it well during the 12 months before we set sail. Everything was MUCH better than the 3 star cruise we were expecting. The food was excellent in all restaurants and plentyful for a normal healthy person......many overweight passengers felt the portions in main restaurant were a bit small but as there were 6 courses believe me it was plenty, the soups were superb. Our cabin steward and our waiters were lovely and couldn't do enough for us. The entrainment was varied and excellent. The ports of call were interesting and several out of this world......Devils island...the Azores....Carribean... Amazon......wonderful. The excursions were good but if you arrange yourself on arrival rather cheaper. Someone brought the Norvo Virus aboard at Manus up the Amazon......this was controlled by the medical staff despite many passengers making no effort to conform to the very sensible restrictions imposed for everyone's benefit. The staff worked very hard cleaning and sanitizing. Long hours. Now the sad part ...we encountered a very sever storm entering the English Channel....I was in the restaurant when a huge wave stove in some windows....a elderly man died of his in injuries and many were injured....I was 2 tables away and observed everything......the waiters on duty were instantly involved in first aid and helping people out of harms way.....some of them were also injured.....they were fantastic. Around the ship others were hurt and again the crew and medical staff were magnificent . The Captain in my humble opinion handled his ship with great skill particularly when he had to turn the ship for Helicopter evacuation of two casualties who needed urgent hospitalising. A great cruise with a sad ending.... The only real downside were the percentage of passengers who were rude, selfish and seemed determined from the off to find fault with everything and everybody...I really don't know why they bother to come along. A good number were a embarrassment.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Reading the negative reviews of the ship it would be easy to conclude the Marco Polo is one to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. We went on the 42 day Amazon cruise and it was exactly as we expected and a great experience, ... Read More
Reading the negative reviews of the ship it would be easy to conclude the Marco Polo is one to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. We went on the 42 day Amazon cruise and it was exactly as we expected and a great experience, even down to the bad weather in the Bay of Biscay and across the Atlantic. The clue was in the sailing dates, January 5th to February 16th, spotted it yet "WINTER MONTHS" in the Atlantic, never going to be a mill pond experience! The other clue to the Marco polo is in the prices you pay for the cruise! Anyone remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for" but as regards VALUE FOR MONEY I give Marco Polo 10 out of 10. If you want Michelin Star food, formal nights where the dress code really is black tie, a ball room, a west end quality theatre and a chocolate on your pillow at night then book on a Cunard Queen and pay the extra. The Marco Polo is a small ship with limited facilities, that's what you get on a small ship! The show lounge isn't a west end theatre, although the entertainment staff work very hard and provide some very good shows, the food is of a good resteraunt quality but not outstanding and the service is attentive, prompt and friendly and our cabin stewardess Nattalia, was an absolute delight, as was our table waiter Kevin and many, many other crew members on board who made the voyage great fun, but the passanger to staff ratio cannot give the same level of service as a Queen. We loved the Marco Polo, it took us places a big ship couldn't go and provided an intimate exoerience a big ship sometimes lacks. There were the usual things that could have been better! The TV started repeating the programes less than half way through the cruise and the timing of the second show in the evening at 2200 meant if you were second sitting dinner then you sometimes had to chose between eating desert and seeing the show. As for the entertainment starting at 2130 in Scotts Bar or the Captains Club, then second sitting dinners just had to forgett about them! Better co-ordination of the meals and the entertainment would have been a huge improvement. Maybe something for the new cruise director to take on board! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Had I read the reviews on the Marco Polo before booking I probably would not have gone ahead. However I am delighted to read the last two very fair and accurate reviews echoing my feelings. Before that I wondered if I had been on the same ... Read More
Had I read the reviews on the Marco Polo before booking I probably would not have gone ahead. However I am delighted to read the last two very fair and accurate reviews echoing my feelings. Before that I wondered if I had been on the same ship reading some older reviews, but even on the ship there were those who never stopped whining, getting not only themselves down but others who had to listen to them. The crew were wonderful, polite, cheerful and very hard working, and although from the Eastern block their English was good and often the common language between them if they could not speak each other's. We were unfortunate to get norovirus on the ship but the crew could not have done any more to try and keep it under control, with constant cleaning even after they had finished their normal duties late at night. The food was adequate, and soups and sauces very good, also cakes at teatime. Things were not ideal once the self service bistro was closed down due to the norovirus but it could not be helped although it was more fuel for the moaners. The entertainers were very good and the dancers brilliant. We were very lucky to have very talented Richard Sykes as an extra guest cruise director who has now taken over on the next trip, without him the daytime entertainment would have been weak. Two daily quizzes, sometimes with repeated questions were enough, we did not need any extra at night which we got a couple of times. We had an excellent comedian Gerry Graham at the beginning of the trip and although we all hoped to see more of him he disembarked at Madeira. Another comedian/magician on our return who did not go down well with some people: some smut and cheap jokes at the expense of passengers he got up on stage was not considered apt but it was toned down at his next performance - presumably he got some feedback. Not sure why Michelle Monroe was chosen as an entertainer, only 'qualification' was being Matt's daughter. The choir laid on by Richard was good fun, and the jewellery classes by Linda very good. Unfortunately the room too small for art if you happened to have a seat with your back to the teacher. For future cruisers on this long cruise, take enough medicine with you to cover all eventualities - the dr's bills are exhorbitant. And although Euros or US$ are accepted everywhere you need local currency at the chemists ashore. And if on the Amazon cruise make sure you do not miss the Boi Bumba excursion at Parintins - amazing! This was a pleasant cruise and good value for money - if you are looking for 5* go for a more expensive ship, you get what you pay for! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies ... Read More
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies and a few more places thrown in for good measure !!! To be honest, we had no intention of going on a cruise but at the price this trip was offered at it was just too good to refuse. We booked a basic inside cabin and I think we were upgraded to a "standard plus". I won't say what we paid but it was an unbelievably good bargain as far as we were concerned but I do know many people paid a lot more than we did and for the extra all they got was, in our opinion anyway, a slightly better cabin in as much as a little bit more room and possibly windows too. Both we felt we didn't need. Having booked the holiday, I then started gleaning as much information about the trip as possible and soon realised the Marco Polo certainly seems to polarise opinions so here's mine ! The first thing is to consider where the trip is going to before choosing a cabin. On cold weather trips being over the kitchens might be advantageous, on warm ones probably not. Certainly being under the rear deck is one to avoid during warm weather as the noise from above must be awful when they move tables and chairs around at the crack of dawn and very late at night. Anywhere near the show lounge would probably be intolerable of those who go to bed before 11.00pm We hadn't thought about any of these things so it was by good luck our cabin was well placed and, in our opinion , perfectly adequate for our needs. We were amazed how all our luggage vanished in to drawers,wardrobes and under the bed. We had read criticisms about staff and we found them largely totally unfounded. The majority were hardworking and attentive although there are always the odd exceptions to the rule. I thought the crew in general were overworked and underpaid. I don't understand why tips are added to the bill , why not increase the fares paid and increase wages ? I don't like the fact that tips can be reduced either because it means that they are either being withheld or being unfairly handed out to the people who you have come in to most contact with meaning that if tips are seen as part of the wage packet, some crew members receive less than others. We found the food on the boat to be very good, judging by the amounts people were eating it couldn't be that bad ! Served meals in the Waldorf were pleasant, the self service Bistro is a bit canteen like for our liking but it does offer the opportunity to eat outside on the rear deck when weather permits. We chose a table for eight in the Waldorf and were fortunate to share with likeminded guests, 6 weeks of the same could have been trying had we not been lucky. Breakfast and lunch tables are allocated as you arrive so you get to meet different people each meal time which I found interesting as you shared your experiences. The ships dress code is not strictly adhered to. I chose a dinner jacket for formal nights but I'd say just as many wore suits. Informal nights suggest you wear a jacket but once the weather got warmer the majority of men abandoned the idea, myself included. I did speak to one lady who thought it was outrageous that men were allowed in to the Waldorf in such a state of undress, after all one of the reasons she booked the Marco Polo was because of the dress code. Of course she made no mention that 1) the alternative Bistro was closed because of norovirus and 2) ladies can choose to wear very lightweight sleeveless dresses. It ain't fair! Generally speaking I thought the ship was much better in appearance than I had expected. I thought the public areas were well appointed and actually, quite smart. Not tired as described by some.The outside wooden decks have a nice traditional feel but there isn't a huge amount of space when the weather gets nice. Sunbeds are at a premium and certainly, the uppermost sun lounge deck was not to our liking at all with no space between loungers to speak of, instead we chose to sit in a chair where ever a little space between other people was possible. I guess this is something that might be common to all cruises. One or two previous reports have made mention of soot being deposited on the decks. It happened again during our cruise and I have to say, on occasion was so thick it could and had to be brushed away each evening. On the last night of our trip to the West Indies, the party on the rear deck was cancelled as there were red hot lumps of burning soot landing on the decks. It was more like a firework display. I do wonder if the many coughs that people were suffering was in any way linked. I do know that clothes were actually getting ruined by sitting on sooty chairs and this situation needs some urgent attention.( Again, are you listening management?) The entertainment during the days was of no interest to me, I wanted to be outside so I can't really comment. I attended a few lectures which were of a very variable standard from poor to excellent and judging from the numbers falling asleep, even mid morning, I think my opinion was widely echoed ! Some things like the daily quizzes and the choir were very well attended, others not so much. The only one I tried was tossing bean bags in to a waste paper bin which , having been decried as "Butlins like" by an earlier poster, I have to take exception. It's damned difficult, much harder than darts ! The evening entertainment was again variable. The song and dance routines were very good but towards the end they started to be a little repetitive just because it was the same team. On some evenings they showed a film but the choice seemed rather odd, mostly children's films for an audience of pensioners. Apparently one film only had four people watching ! Our cruise itinerary was very good indeed and most stops were well planned. Arriving early, leaving late thus offering maximum time in port.There were a couple of exceptions, I don't know why Madeira was only a half day stop. Faial in the Azores became a full day to avoid a storm, why wasn't it always planned as such ? The visit to Ille du Salut was for most the best stop of the lot. The visit there should certainly be extended, this was a tendered stop and, as happens, these stops can be abandoned if the swell is too big. We were lucky that our stop went ahead despite the sea being quite rough.Take note if you are planning a cruise anywhere where the likely hood of poor weather can effect your stops. Organised trips in the ports of call were in my opinion, poor value for money. The one lesson I soon learnt was to DIY your own. Not everyone feels comfortable doing so but for us it's the only way. Not only do you usually save money, you get your own tailor made trip without being part of a crowd. I have to say though, the Marco Polo trips we went on were well organised but, particularly if you are wildlife watching, overcrowded and noisy due to the number of people involved. I was also surprised that no one asked for opinions about the trips and it also seems that no one attempts to improve them from one year to the next. Another example of no one listening as far as the cruise management is concerned. Talking of management, that's where my huge negative comes in to play.I thought they were awful. I soon discovered that the boat is leased, crew and all, by Cruise and Maritime who also appear to have some of their own staff on board. Don't ask me who is employed by who because it's not always obvious. I am not sure what the roles the Cruise and Maritime staff are supposed to carry out either so perhaps my criticism is unfair but again, maybe it's the fault of management in the constant failure to communicate. Some people criticised the fact the ship's Captain rarely spoke over the public address system Personally I don't care. We had announcements made each day on his behalf to tell us were we were and what were the available daily activities. These were made by the Cruise Director who also introduced and closed some of the entertainments in a rather unctuous Hughie Green style but was otherwise hardly seen. We had the Guest Service Manager give us daily updates on the state of the norovirus outbreak but information was limited to wether restrictions had stayed in place, and reminders about hygiene standards that should be maintained. Never were we told the scale of the problem, how many new cases there were daily and wether there were both crew and guests involved. Most importantly too, we were never told why certain things were no longer in operation. Perhaps if this had been communicated there would be less scepticism. The outbreak of norovirus seems to be something that happens regularly and not just on cruise ships and in fairness, the crew worked extremely hard to control it. They were let down by both guests and crew members who simply flouted requests to sanitise their hands. I reminded one passenger reboarding the boat and someone else remarked to the security guard scanning their pass that the four crew members in front of them hadn't sanitised either. He simply smiled.A report of the incident was made at reception but to my knowledge it was not responded to. There seemed to be little sense in some of the decisions made. Why abandon the leather bound menus in the Waldorf , issuing instead disposable ones, when on a daily basis, at choir practice the music sheets were handed out and handed back again for future use ? Why close down the card room and library use ? Fine, don't lend books and cards but a chair is a chair no matter where it is. Why shut the table tennis room if you have your own bat and ball ? How come deck quoits was still going on ? The list of inconsistencies goes on and on but again lack of communication didn't help passenger disgruntlement. As a token of good will all passengers received a £75 reduction on our individual bar bills and a 25% discount of a future cruise but you had to book within 6 weeks to claim the latter. I'm not sure if that would be considered a fair settlement by most. Personally I was happy enough but as previously stated I paid a bargain price for my cruise. Someone who had paid several thousand more might disagree. I didn't use any of the withdrawn amenities anyway, the only exception being the Bistro. It must have been unavailable for 50% of the trip or three weeks in real terms. This coincided with much of the warmer weather and eating outside would have been an attractive proposition. The other effect of withdrawing the Bistro was to add pressure on the Waldorf. Queuing was the order of the day both at breakfast and lunchtimes. For us it meant foregoing lunch and getting up early. No bad thing really as over indulging is easy when you can have three meals plus high tea ( which we also avoided because of the queue.) It was a long wait between meals though, especially for an 8.15pm dinner. My opinion of the ship's management didn't improve during our horrible storm experience either. For those who were in their cabins, as instructed by the management , there was virtually no communication at all. No reassurances, nothing other than warnings to sit on the floor as we were about to undertake a very difficult manoeuvre. We only learnt of the tragic event that led to the death of a passenger by watching the TV news, and later by ship's gossip. Once again, I thought it was in hugely bad taste that no mention, no offers of condolence on behalf of management and guests alike was made. No, it as business as usual the following day, albeit an announcement that entertainments were limite . Appalling. There will in due course be a full investigation in to the events that led up to that fateful accident and I trust the truth will be revealed. Finally you might ask, would I recommend the ship and in particularly this cruise ? I think the ship has it's own charm and it exceeded my expectations which were lower as a result of reading the negatives made by previous guests here on Cruise Critic. I guess it's the equivalent of choosing between a veteran car and a modern one. For some, the charm of a past age is irresistible, for others the lack of more modern amenities is a definite negative. Personally, I like the ship. Sort out the soot and get better senior managers who communicate properly with their guests and you have solved most problems. As for the 42 night Amazon cruise, well you can make your own mind up. I am glad we did it but I probably wouldn't do it again even though there would be a temptation to do it a second time having learnt from the first ! Again, shame the management don't try to tweak the trip to improve on the shortcomings. I suppose, like so many, the Amazon didn't deliver on the image I imagined prior to embarking. The rain forest image didn't materialise. The reality is we never really ventured very far from the main river but that in itself is a remarkable journey which takes you nearly a 1000 miles from the sea. All the other ports of call lived up to expectation, mainly because I didn't expect too much ! The sea days were a bit of a trial, especially on the return journey with so little to look forward to compared to the outward one when gradually the weather got warmer and the destinations arrived at. Again, with no previous experience, I was naive, we did after all travel nearly 120000 remarkable miles. Just being in the middle of the Atlantic and witnessing first hand this huge wilderness is something not many people have done. Go ahead, give it a try. Along with some memories there is also the strong likelihood you will make some new friends for life.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Just got back from cruise to Caribbean left from Tilbury and hit rough seas was sea sick for 4 days went to see doctor on ship BIG MISTAKE. Cost me £890.83p and mine was cheapest real rip off merchant do not go to see the doctor some on ... Read More
Just got back from cruise to Caribbean left from Tilbury and hit rough seas was sea sick for 4 days went to see doctor on ship BIG MISTAKE. Cost me £890.83p and mine was cheapest real rip off merchant do not go to see the doctor some on board had bills for £5000 and over. I had blood tests did not know till I saw print out at end of cruise he only needed to give me an injection I was in know fit state to know what was happening. The ship is very tired but it grew on me through out the cruise soot coming from funnel and sparks hitting deck needs overall badly.The entertainment staff were amazing worked so hard did an amazing job. Could not fault them at all worked very hard. Buffet staff carried red hot water around in buckets to put in water urn and food brought up in lifts from kitchens. Could not get good cup of tea in buffet as water was not hot enough so was on coffee all holiday. Food was not bad did their best in not good conditions not a lot to choose from but very small ship the main restaurant was good. The hygiene on the ship was the best I have been on though people still had problems but it was not the ships fault they did their best. I would not go on it again it was too small for me. JUST DO NOT VISIT DOCTOR my insurance is not paying out so be very careful. Some people left at Azores before even reaching Caribbean and some flew back from Barbados did not want to do trip back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Embarkation and disembarkation at Tilbury was quick,easy and efficient. The size of the ship appealed to us after being overwhelmed by some bigger and impersonal vessels. We read some reviews before hand as well as the information ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation at Tilbury was quick,easy and efficient. The size of the ship appealed to us after being overwhelmed by some bigger and impersonal vessels. We read some reviews before hand as well as the information available, so were prepared with information about facilities on the trip. It was better than we expected and we were very happy overall. We are planning our next trip! ACCOMMODATION Our cabin was spacious, lots of storage (good as I over reacted to the idea of 6 weeks away and took 14 pairs of shoes and 6 bags - all used!)The laundry service is not expensive (shirt c. £1.85). There are wash lines in bathroom for 'smalls'. A small fridge would have been nice. The ship could not have been cleaner, the staff are attentive, industrious, polite, and helpful, and even smile a lot. In the 6 weeks there was only one waitress on one occasion who was less than helpful. DINING We ate mostly in the Waldorf Restaurant, (more choice) and decided to share our evening dinner table(8 people) which worked out well in our case.Our table mates were excellent company, and we shared some outings and social events together, which were good fun. Buy a wine package, as this reduces the cost.The service in the dining room was exceptional - Gabriel,Georgiana,Aung, and Alexandru, were our team and they remembered and were sensitive to dietary requirements, happy to make suggestions or changes when we wanted and ever patient, and cheerful.We enjoyed the food, which was well presented, and certainly lots of choice - (on some occasions it could have been a little hotter). There were 5 formal dinners in 6 weeks.There was always the option of having grilled salmon ( always fresh and tasty) or chicken with steamed vegetables ( or chips) in addition to the main menu. Sometimes for speed or convenience we ate in the Buffet and on the outside deck section where pizzas. burgers, crepes, stir fries etc were cooked.There is a wide range of teas / herbal teas and coffee / decaff available from 6.30 am to 10 pm.It may be a good idea to take an insulated cup/flask to your cabin. ON BOARD EDUCATION SESSIONS The options were FANTASTIC - A range of expert lecturers were on board. Steve Ragnall, a talented Marine Historian, Louise Bonner, a Geologist, Brian Ford a Biologist and expert on a wide range of subjects ranging from WW2 to the amoeba ! There were a range of other lectures / singing sessions /folk music and journalism. ART SESSIONS - Peter Woolley an artist from Yorkshire had 11 different sessions (£2 for materials) covering a range of techniques. The results were presented in an exhibition of c.400 paintings at the end of the trip. Other sessions included painting wooden items, with expert guidance, jewelry making, scrapbook making, quizzes, games. ENTERTAINMENT - Although the entertainment staff numbers are small, the skills and enthusiasm are undeniable. Award winning concert pianist, and violinist, good ship orchestra, excellent dancers and singers. A new singer, Helen Jolley won the hearts of many of the passengers because, apart from having a brilliant voice, she spent time chatting to the older people on board, when off duty, and remembered names .EXCURSIONS - we were glad we chose to pay for a few of the excursions - Amazon Adventure, Walk in the Rainforest, St.Vincent Botanical Gardens, (and St.Lucia Whale and Dolphin watching - none seen but complementary rum punch toxic) ! Tours are not cheap - but organisation is good if you want to go with the crowd. In a few of the places we hired taxis and negotiated fees to do our own thing, which we preferred. The AZORES islands were really beautiful - in Porto Delgado try Amazing Azores Tours...... Ricardo 45 Euro pp for 6 to 7 hours. NEGATIVE THINGS - IF you are a swimmer, the swimming pool on the back deck is very small. (There are 3 good hot tubs on Deck 11) Sometimes people (who in my view, need to get a life) moaned that the bistro ran out of mugs for hot drinks - but staff are very quick to respond and are very prompt at clearing tables etc, to ensure a flow of crockery. One chap complained that they had run out of Weetabix during week 5. One lady commented on the relatively poorer quality of evening gowns compared to Royal Caribbean ! Ships doctor expensive and not covered by NHS - make sure you are insured adequately. FINAL COMMENT - for us this trip was a wonderful, life enhancing experience,made better by the people we shared it with and the staff supporting us.We could not have wished for better......In the end the experience is what you are willing to make of it....... Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an ... Read More
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an outbreak of Norovirus on the incoming cruise. The facilities in the terminal were adequate and fairly comfortable, much better than the more familiar facilities at Liverpool. For the first week or so the efforts to eradicate the virus were evident, with the crew working tirelessly to clean and disinfect the ship. The itinerary was good although there were a number of arrivals when the destination was "closed". Lisbon, Sunday, Mindelo (Cap Verde) on a public holiday, Bridgetown, Sunday, Horta (Azores) arrival after 13.30hrs on a Saturday when the place closes down at 13.00hrs and Ponta Delgada on a Sunday. Maybe the schedule could do with a bit of a "tweak". Other than that the destinations were great. Particularly in the Amazon where tourists were almost a side issue, while the population got on with their lives and business. (Compare this with Alaska where you feel as if you are in a perpetual tourist theme park). One minor hic-cup was just short of Parintins, when water ingress to the electrical system caused the power to fail. Again the crew put in heroic efforts to effect successful repairs. As a result no ports were missed. Indeed, efforts by the shore excursion staff and the ship's agents secured the services of a river boat, in the absence of the availability of the ships tenders, to transfer passengers to the shore to enjoy the magnificent Boi Bumba show. All the trips on offer were competitively priced, well organised and good value for money. Marco Polo is a relatively small ship by modern standards but is well maintained and comfortable. Our inside cabin, (deck 7. Pacific deck) was very clean and comfortable thanks to the efforts of our steward Sorin. There was sufficient hanging and drawer space to accommodate all our clothing for a 45 night cruise, so no need to store clothing in suitcases. Another welcome aspect about Marco Polo is the availability of some small bars or lounges near to bars, to enjoy some quiet relaxation accompanied by some very talented East European musicians. For those other than "Radio Three listeners" the entertainment team did a magnificent job. I have never seen an entertainment team work so hard. "U.K. guest act" Richard Sykes (in truth the former Cruise Director) was almost ubiquitous. He provided multiple tribute sessions based on a number of artistes, took part in the Panto (well it was just after Christmas) and even developed and conducted a choir. All of this was achieved with such energy we were convinced that he was sniffing fly spray. A really talented and accomplished man, who should go down well when he takes up his position as CD on Ocean Countess. The Cruise Director, Gareth Cole's job is to organise, co-ordinate and manage the entertainment programme. In addition he was a capable and versatile performer. His "Blues Brothers" set was so good I wanted to throw beer bottles. (Watch the film and you will see what I mean). Despite this, some passengers were grumbling that he did not put himself about much during the day. This was more than made up for by Ed Garth, a talented singer, Amy Street and Cate Stephens, two versatile and attractive divas and Andy Sanders a really personable host and performer. In addition another U.K. guest act, comedian Andy Ford, ("He's alright if you like laughing") was always about and happy to speak to fellow passengers as well as perform to packed houses. The "show team", again East Europeans, were excellent with some really good singers and performers. Most of the bar staff and bar waiters are East European. I have seen criticism in other postings that they are unfriendly and unhelpful. Our experience is that, at first, they are a bit stiff but polite and respectful. It seems to be a natural reticence with people from Eastern Europe rather than the sickly "hail fellow well met", in your face, overly familiar faux friendliness displayed by some other nationalities. Once you break through their initial reserve, warmth and friendliness are repaid in bucket loads without ever becoming over familiar or complacent. So if the itinerary, entertainment and personnel are the highlights of the experience, the low point has to be the food. The tragedy is that the food is clearly good quality but always cold. It must be frustrating for the chefs that they go to the effort to plan, prepare and execute the menus only for the food to get to the table cold. Soup was lukewarm, meat well prepared but inedible, veg. correctly cooked but cold. Roast potatoes that should be crisp were cold and soft. On one occasion, for example, Lasagne arrived so old and cold that it was like trying to eat a deck of playing cards. On another occasion, grilled fish and boiled potatoes from the Bistro was so cold, that the butter I put on the potatoes refused to melt. The butter just sat there, grinning at me, as if to say "Well what do you want me to do? Stand up and start playing a trombone?" (Old Lurpak Ad). After complaining I was provided with freshly prepared fish and potatoes which were delicious. CMV / Global need to invest in some means of keeping pre-prepared food hot. The current system, in the buffet, of placing them under a 40 watt light bulb, only serves to dry the food without keeping it hot. I am sorry to say that the food was without doubt the worst cruise food we have ever experienced. Other cruise lines manage to feed their passengers well, no matter how large or small the ship. It is down to how the food is stored pre-service that makes the difference. So it was a "budget" or low price cruise, especially considering the length and destinations of the cruise, but food preparation and presentation is a basic. In addition, having said the "headline" cost is low, the bar prices are not. £4+ for a 500ml tin of Guinness. £3+ for John Smith's Bitter. Vodka £2.80+ with a 33cl tin of tonic £2+. So if, like me, you are a dedicated quaffer the bar bill soon racks up. Overall this was an exciting and interesting experience, well worth the cost of the fare. Entertainment and activities ( crafts and traditional deck games, Ballroom dancing classes and tap dancing lead by Nichola Glehill)) to suit just about everyone except the most curmudgeonly. Clean, comfortable surroundings with attentive and respectful staff. This cruise is a winner if there was just a bit more investment in the food presentation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Our cruise (we are Dutch) with the Marco Polo was not too bad taking into account some negative reviews on this site. The ship is old and that shows. During our trips there was a lot of repairing and painting going on, restricting the ... Read More
Our cruise (we are Dutch) with the Marco Polo was not too bad taking into account some negative reviews on this site. The ship is old and that shows. During our trips there was a lot of repairing and painting going on, restricting the available space on the decks. The itinerary is interesting but remember the Amazon is very wide so the panorama is rather boring and there are many seadays. The crew is mainly eastern european. They are in general friendly and kind but not too service orientated. Ours cruise started with the aftermath of a Noro virus and halfway there was a full power breakdown luckily on the Amazone and not on a rough open sea. The failure was blamed on incoming rainwater and that is rather alarming. PRO's: The food was good, sometimes very good. The showteam was excellent. The atmosphere among the travellers was fine WEAK's Public space limited Cabaret old fashioned Prices and quantity of drinks Dinner time available CONS's Coffee very poor, buckets of boiled water added Smoking policy very liberal and no effective control Very loud music everywhere, good if you do not like to communicate Port information insufficient Poor isolation of cabins, you can hear your neighbours talking Lots of noise from the waves Poor view from the interior Decks are not cleaned sufficiently Excursions expensive, few transfers and costly if provided   Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Used the coach from Victoria without any problem. Fairly long queue for checking in at Tilbury but we were on last coach of 4 at around same time so to be expected. First impressions of Ship were very good - nice and clean and shown ... Read More
Used the coach from Victoria without any problem. Fairly long queue for checking in at Tilbury but we were on last coach of 4 at around same time so to be expected. First impressions of Ship were very good - nice and clean and shown to cabin straight away. As advised in advance the Orinoco was doubtful and there was a letter to confirm this. Revised schedule added two Caribbean islands ( although Grenada had to be swapped to St Lucia due to forecast high swell which would have made tendering difficult and too dangerous )The Amazon and Devils Island were highlights of this wonderful itinerary. Waldorf food was excellent with good choice considering the price of this cruise,with friendly waiters. Ours was from Burma and excellent. The self service Marcos was very busy at times with lack of seating only on a few occasions at Lunch and Breakfast but then only when the weather prevented use of the outside area. Sometimes a shortage of cups / glasses but if you take one of those insulated cups you can also use this for ice! Swimming pool out of use in the Amazon due to silt and regulations. Lots of varied things to do during the days at sea although we mostly just laze away on a sunbed. Entertainment Team very good and good evening shows by the resident singers / dancers and musicians. Richard the cruise director leads from the front and probably the best we have seen. Compared to other cruises we have been on the drink prices are excessive. £3:15 for a "large" beer which was only 40 CL. Not many people drinking in the bars at these prices and many said if it had been more reasonable they would have used the bars more. Water in cabin £2:20 a bottle !! Excursions very expensive as they are on most cruise lines - we did own thing bar one trip as we wanted to guarantee seeing the meeting of the waters. Some people complained it rained alot ( IN A RAIN FORREST !! ) Our cabin stewardess deck 7 stbd fwd was first class and always very cheerful. Disembarkation was smooth enough as we were on the Victoria Coach so amongst first off apart from those who took own luggage with them. I think others might have had a long wait though. Lots of people requested tipping forms as like us they prefer to tip the Cabin Steward and Waiter personally. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was touted as a very special event with many great surprise features, as it was the final voyage of a former (before NCL bought the line) great ship. Having been on the Marco Polo prior to and after the NCL takeover, I witnessed the ... Read More
This was touted as a very special event with many great surprise features, as it was the final voyage of a former (before NCL bought the line) great ship. Having been on the Marco Polo prior to and after the NCL takeover, I witnessed the accelerating deterioration of ambiance and quality. In summary, most of the passengers on this cruise were former enthusiastic Marco Polo repeaters. All had noticed the same deterioration of quality that I did. I spoke directly to about 50 of the 700+ passengers who were as convinced as I was that they would never again set foot on an NCL ship. There was not one among these experienced cruisers who did not believe that NCL management had an awful disregard for their customers and were only concerned with bilking them. I overheard many people saying this in addition to the ones that I directly spoke to. It started with the people at NCL who booked the flights. We were a party of six, 3 adults and 3 children. They initially booked us on separate flights and had the children flying alone. It took a concerted effort by our TA to straighten this out. Even so, it was poorly done. They scheduled us to fly from Lisbon (debarkation point) to Heathrow (sitting for 5 hours) then to Miami (another 5 hour layover) and then ultimately to Tampa. We arrived in Tampa at midnight. This despite available flights from Lisbon direct to the USA (Newark) which had direct flights to Tampa. During the voyage, they continually ran out of different kinds of food, starting with fruit, then vegetables and much more. Like many lines there was a high priced Internet service. Their router had bandwidth limitations, so if there were several simultaneous users, some would get cut off. This made it difficult and at times impossible to send lengthy attachments or photos. The Internet manager knew little about computers or data transmission and tried to cover up by giving nonsensical explanations. We lost Internet use for 4 days and the ship personnel tried to tell us that there was no satellite coverage at the Equator. Imagine if this fairy tale were true, we were sailing Northeast and no communication for 4 days. Just how wide do they believe the Equator to be? Their Internet service software was designed to keep everything slow, as it was full of time consuming steps such as; right after log on they had a screen which tried to sell you more time. You had to say "no" before you could get anywhere. The Pursers office had 4 people that interfaced with the passengers. Two were nasty, the other 2 tried to help but were limited by management. For example, early on many people including me received a curt note from the Purser threatening to cut off our charge privileges if we did not go to them immediately and sign a credit card slip. Since I had done so earlier I went to find out what the problem was. After a bit of harangue and snide remarks by the Pursers staff they finally admitted that there was a stack of signed credit card slips that they had not yet entered into the computer system. The Filipino restaurant staff were great. They maintained their humor, quality standards and human warmth, even though the too were victimized by NCL management. Many of the people had been with the ship for 15 or more years, and of those who were offered positions with NCL after this final voyage; were offered a step down in position and pay and on very poor routes. The Marco Polo was on a continuous trip around the world and NCL was placing them on ships that commuted from the US East coast to the Caribbean for very short cruises. In summary, NCL managed to convince us to NEVER go on another NCL ship. We all had the impression that all NCL was trying to do was to extract money from us. They continually tried to mislead us and told us outrageous excuses for poor service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
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