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28 Edinburgh (South Queensferry) to Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for the ports visited, The Cruise ship for the passenger size and a Balcony Stateroom for watching the world go by. Firstly the ports we visited were all great. some were via tender boat and others berthed close to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports visited, The Cruise ship for the passenger size and a Balcony Stateroom for watching the world go by. Firstly the ports we visited were all great. some were via tender boat and others berthed close to town. On this cruise the embarkation process took such a long time with the ports telling us we would commence boarding at 11:30am when in fact it was 12:30pm. The luggage did not arrive to our room until 4:00pm after multiple attempts I was advised it was still in the port enclosure even though it was dropped off early at 9:00am. This was not a good start to what I was hoping would be a great voyage. disembarkation took no more than 10 minutes and luggage was sitting in bays to pick up straight away at Copenhagen. The room was nice (could have had a fitted sheet on the bottom cover of the bed though) and the balcony was great but the bathroom was so small when you sat on the toilet you would have to remove the toilet roll to save cutting your leg on the metal holder cover. The Shower was so small that if you dropped the soap you would have to get out of the shower to pick it up and worst still there was no shower glass door only a fabric (Plastic) shower screen. This is unheard off in a promoted luxury cruise ship. The food at all the restaurants was good and we mostly ate at the windows café except to use up our OBC's we ate at Aquilinas and Prime C on three occasions. These restaurants I believe should be free or certainly 1 of each per cruise offered complementary to ALL cabin clases instead of $30:00 each or 3 for $70:00. The complimentary white wines were terrible as many were tried but did not taste very nice this should be looked into with the cruise promotions. The entertainment was not first class and it was a hit and miss thing with 2 of the stars brought on board doing fantastic shows and the on board entertainers just average for a promoted luxury cruise ship. The activities on board were well received and numerous. The room service team and on board staff in all areas we very friendly and helpful in every way certainly a big plus for Azamara recruiting here. The captain was also present a lot and very approachable for a chat. The free laundry service was well used by me and a big hit with other passengers too. The shore excursions were well over priced in all ports so we only took one (to use up the OBC's) as you could not do the tour at Olden independently as there is a closed shop set up between the cruise ships Shore departments and the operators from what I was told to do a tour along the lake I am yet to understand why when Azamara would book in bulk for tours that they are not offered cheaper than the local operators. The Locals are always a third or half cheaper for the same tour offered by the cruise line. All in all we had a great cruise to many ports we would normally not have visited and would like to thank Azamara. For a promoted luxury cruise line I would give it a 4 Star at the Max until improvements are made. . Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise was selected to celebrate our anniversary and to get out of the extreme summer heat of Florida! Azamara only offered the one sailing for this itinerary, or we'd have selected another time to go since it was PEAK tourist ... Read More
This cruise was selected to celebrate our anniversary and to get out of the extreme summer heat of Florida! Azamara only offered the one sailing for this itinerary, or we'd have selected another time to go since it was PEAK tourist season in all the ports of call. That made the trip stressful at times dealing with the thousands of visitors and hundreds of busses at tight venues, particularly in St Petersburg Russia. We utilized independent tours so I can't comment on the port excursions sponsored by Azamara. Regarding the ship itself, I submitted concerns about no extended weather forecast on the TV, pay-for-movies which were older than the ship (Dancing in the Rain!!!), the telephone, the short hours for the exercise room, absolutely horribly slow WIFI and a problem with dinner taking 2.5 hours in the main dining room causing us to miss the early entertainment. I was immediately contacted with either personal visits or calls from ship staff members resolving the issues that were possible. To other passengers' surprise they noticed the weather was now being featured along with the information from the bridge on channel 14 each morning! Kudos for such an easy issue being resolved! Dining room staff made great efforts to service us more efficiently allowing us time to enjoy the evenings' activities. The rest of my concerns couldn't be resolved on this sailing, but word was being sent up to corporate for consideration. Nice to know there is customer service out there when you ask for it! I did bring other issues to their attention via their survey, which I haven't heard back from yet. The 'new' chairs in the Cabaret Lounge were quite deep and no lumbar pillows were to be had anywhere. I observed many people bringing items with them to make their time more comfortable while watching the events held there. My husband and I moved to the bar stools for a better fit. The ship schedule called for a power outage at 1400 hours on the last day in port. The same exact time many passengers needed the WIFI to access their airline check-in and boarding pass printing. However, due to the power outage, the computers went down, and no one would go up to the Drawing Room and reboot the computers/printers until after 1700 hours! Of course that caused a major backlog/line and way too much last minute stress! (We aborted and turned our phones off Airplane Mode taking a hit for a call to check in, etc.) Regarding the food...even with some dietary restrictions I usually had no issue finding something on the menu or buffets that I could eat. But I did think that they always cooked too much bacon in the mornings as they'd chop it up and sneak it into dishes where it had no business belonging! I was totally expecting it on my ice cream one day! The final day continental breakfast left a whole lot out...like anything to eat after the initial rush ran through! We were into the Windows Café only 30 minutes after it opened and the trays were bare, coffee gone and juice machine sputtering. It took the two lone attendants quite a while to get anything else out, so we grabbed a protein bar from our suitcase and left the ship without much satisfaction there. The warmest day of the cruise the self-serve frozen yogurt machine was out of order, but fixed promptly for the next day. Regarding onboard entertainment...aside from missing the first 3 shows, we found a mix of excellent to mediocre talent aboard. Considering the size of the ship, I guess it was overall pretty good. The Russian Troupe that performed for White Night on the pool deck were outstanding. They were followed by the ship's own band and vocalists belting out hits that had the dance floor jammed! Great night of fun. But the highlight was in Gdansk Poland where the ship was welcomed in port by a marching band playing patriotic songs. That evening we had a surprise visit onboard by former Polish President Lech Walesa in Gdansk Poland. After listening to his comments (via an interpreter) about the Solidarity Movement, and pre-arranged Q&A, the passengers had individual photos taken with Mr. Walesa on stage. He was very insightful and amusing. Thank you AZAMARA! I didn't give this cruise a 5-star rating because I think there were way too many 'little' issues that should never have happened at this level of cruise cost. Hopefully the company will heed the passengers comments and make immediate changes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise as it gave us the longest time in St. Petersburg. Also as we live in Scotland, leaving from Edinburgh was a bonus! We'd been on the Journey twice before and in truth we've mainly gone by itinerary. In ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it gave us the longest time in St. Petersburg. Also as we live in Scotland, leaving from Edinburgh was a bonus! We'd been on the Journey twice before and in truth we've mainly gone by itinerary. In April/May we were fortunate to take the 3 week Spice Route cruise which was amazing. It was fun and seemed to have a 'friendlier' and more laid back feel but apart from meeting 4 lovely couples, by the end of 3 weeks I was having cabin fever. The service and staff on this Baltic cruise were friendly and even recognised us, which is always a nice touch. Food was good but not exceptional and starts to get a little boring. For me the entertainment is very repetitive. We'd seen 4 of the acts on the previous cruise and the daytime activities need a little more imagination. We always find the historian worth listening to and it gives us a good insight into our ports of call. The ports on the Baltic cruise were very interesting although the cost of some of Azamara excursions were very overpriced. We booked our own 3 day tour for St Petersburg and it seemed most other passengers followed suit. Very disappointing is the exercise programme. The gym space is too small for the number of people who want to join the classes. Having said all this we've booked a Cuba cruise because once again they seem to be staying for the longest time in Havana but we'll most definitely not win the prize for the most cruises on Azamara! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Title says it all. It is nowhere near as good as a Vikings Ocean Cruise. The ship is old has outdated decor (early Renaissance?) which is dark and dreary. The rugs are almost warn out. On the 7th floor starboard the hallway rug has a ... Read More
Title says it all. It is nowhere near as good as a Vikings Ocean Cruise. The ship is old has outdated decor (early Renaissance?) which is dark and dreary. The rugs are almost warn out. On the 7th floor starboard the hallway rug has a severe stain running the complete length of it which looks like there had been a sewage overflow on the cabin side of the rug. The intenet package was impossible to use, using Wi-Fi. I could seldom connect to the internet. When I did connect it would literally take many minutes to download material; uploading material was simply impossible. Internet support was very minimal and often unavailable. Had I paid the $239 for unlited service I would have been very angry. The food was good but not very good. The service was excellent though and very prompt. The same dishes were served almost every day with only a few different side dishes. We did eat in Windows,the buffet restaurant most of the time. The first time we ate in the Discovery restaurant it was so noisy that it was hard to have a conversation. We will not sail with Azamara again. That is sad because we had read so many positive reviews. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My son took me on the cruise for a very special birthday....age not for public knowledge...We had a great time, met some wonderful people ( fellow cruisers and crew) AND MADE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY. STAYED UP TILL ALL HOURS, SANG ... Read More
My son took me on the cruise for a very special birthday....age not for public knowledge...We had a great time, met some wonderful people ( fellow cruisers and crew) AND MADE THE MOST OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY. STAYED UP TILL ALL HOURS, SANG DANCED AND IN GENERAL MADE MY BIRTHDAY SPECIAL. and I even went in the pool which is completely unknown for me. Loved every port we visited, even the soaking we got in Copenhagen was one of those life experiences!!!!!!! Our cabin was good and spacious enough since we were hardly ever in it only to sleep for short spells at a time! We appreciated the cultural experiences, entertainment, and having the DJ till quite late. Efficient entry at Leith and exit at Stockholm helped immensely. There was quantity of food but the quality was somewhat lacking. We are a family who eat out a lot and enjoy food of a special quality. The food was average, but not mind blowing. However............. the chocolate evening was AMAZING. I met a lot of fellow Scots and had a great laugh. My son was absolutely wonderful for taking me on this cruise , and not too embarrassed to boogie with me on the dance floor. I have lovely memories of my "special" birthday. My previous cruises have been on the "Radiance of The Sea" and the "Solstice". Each ship has it's own character and the"Azamara Journey" for me was another happy cruising experience. A special thanks to the cabin attendants...they make on board life easy. I have left the "Value for money" part empty...the cruise was a gift from my son. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
These were places we'd never been before. Everything was good except the choices at dinner in the main dining room. Too many fancy names for the previous nights leftovers, it seemed. Very little straightforward meals and next to no ... Read More
These were places we'd never been before. Everything was good except the choices at dinner in the main dining room. Too many fancy names for the previous nights leftovers, it seemed. Very little straightforward meals and next to no Italian pasta type meals. Also had one meal at Aqualina that was just passable. The lobster tail was rubber. Two at Prime C were good, but not out of this world. We would like to have had more things to do onboard although this itinerary kept us busy with touring most days. The staff and crew were all delightful. Especially enjoyed Tony's performance the last night with the singers and dancers....surprise ending. Also, surprised to open the deck doors to a marching band with cheerleaders welcoming us to Gdansk. Never have had a welcome to port like that! Having Lech Walesa onboard that evening was wonderful...a warm, charismatic man with a sense of humor. Not the history lecture we thought it might be. Also, the ship size enabled us to pull ahead of the many other ships at port and go right to the front and walk right off. No tendering. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were a little worried about an Azamara cruise with a 17 and 19 year old, but we all had a great time. The service was amazing, food was very good and the staff addressed each of our on board issues (gym temp too hot, and jacuzzi not ... Read More
We were a little worried about an Azamara cruise with a 17 and 19 year old, but we all had a great time. The service was amazing, food was very good and the staff addressed each of our on board issues (gym temp too hot, and jacuzzi not open late enough). The hotel manager fixed the gym temp and kept the jacuzzi open 2 hours later one night while we were on the cruise. We would have liked it open much later every night though. The DJ and gym classes kept my kids happy on board; with the comedy shows, concert in St Petersburg and of course the fabulous night with Lech Walesa entertaining us the most. We were also lucky enough to have the personable painter Eric Waugh on board. He not only painted a scene from every port, but at each live event which was fun and entertaining to be a part of. We joined the cruise critic roll call before the cruise where we were able to get many great tips and joined in on a 3 day Russia SPB excursion with a great group of people. The roll call meet and great was fun and we got to interact (even karaoke) with a number of the people throughout the cruise. My only complaint were the 5% pompous snob cruisers on board. Whether it was to jump ahead of others to get a drink, cut the line to get on or off the ship, not willing to close the curtains an inch at dinner so the line of 10 people were not blinded by the setting sun, fighting in the laundry room etc. etc. While my kids were treated so nicely by most of the passengers (who were an average age of 65) and really all of the staff, they did get a few comments and looks from some nasty people. I am not sure if they are like this all the time or their Azamara status created this. My husband found the front desk staff to be uninformed and not much help. We also would have liked the fun DJ dancing to be earlier each night (10:30 was pretty late to get started esp. after a very somber guitarist each night). A few more shows and a better variety of daily entertainment would also have made us happier. Overall we had a great trip and we would take an Azamara cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We returned to Azamara after our first voyage last year on the Quest. We found that the two ships were almost similar although we preferred the artwork on the Quest better than the Journey. Else, everything was equal and the service ... Read More
We returned to Azamara after our first voyage last year on the Quest. We found that the two ships were almost similar although we preferred the artwork on the Quest better than the Journey. Else, everything was equal and the service continued to be excellent. We thought that the main dining room's menu had drastically improved over the past year and featured a more wide-ranging assortment of choices that were all interesting. The Chef's Table was again amazing. As with last year, despite being fish instead of meat lovers, Prime C was the better experience over Aqualina which again was disappointing (a highly salted chef's special redfish was hardly "special"). Not much else was different other than the White Night this year was spectacular with the local Russian dancers and musicians and the weather was perfect to be on deck. We were also very pleased by the variety and quality of food this White Night as last year suffered some from the "dried buffet" syndrome that often affects big events. Another huge positive was their ability to have Lech Walesa come on board for a talk and Q&A. We understand that they worked on this for some time and it was a special moment for the passengers to be able to hear this world leader and to get our picture taken with him. Well done! In terms of drawbacks, Azamara continues to price itself into a higher stratosphere for what it offers in terms of complimentary aspects of the cruise (as the house chardonnay was on sale at my local market for 7$ when I returned home vs. the $20-25 bottle on Seaborn/Silversea whose cruise prices Azamar is nearing) and we didn't even try the internet as talking with friends on board suggested that it hasn't progressed past the snail crawl stage that we had last year. Only positive was that they were cleaning out their wine cellar and offering deals on certain bottles but we all agreed that adding a few hundred dollars to the cruise cost to bring up the quality of the wine and house brand liquor would be easily tolerated (as the liquor/beer/and bottle wine packages didn't seem to be worth it for most of us). A couple of other small glitches were found they were very responsive to any feedback either in person or via the early cruise "how are we doing?" form which was followed-up on very efficiently. Overall it was a great cruise. Azamara again coordinated well with the Perry Golf group and we'll likely return to do another golf cruise in the future. We know that the company line is that since they are almost always consistently full they are OK but If they continue to price themselves into the Oceana/Seaborn/Silverseas price range they need to be aware of what the competition is offering. For the price some of the other lines are more customer friendly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to visit St Petersburg and the 2 day stop at this city did not let us down. We chose the 2 day package and visited the Winter Palace (The Hermitage), the Summer Palace (Catherine's ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to visit St Petersburg and the 2 day stop at this city did not let us down. We chose the 2 day package and visited the Winter Palace (The Hermitage), the Summer Palace (Catherine's Palace) and Peterhof. The only disappointment was we did not get to see the Faberge Museum. We also chose the trip to Berlin and the 3 hour bus journey both ways was worth it as we had a wonderful guide who was very knowledgable and spoke wonderful English. The other stops we did ourselves - Copenhagen, Helsinki and Tallin. We did not get off the ship at Nynasham for Stockholm because there was not enough time to visit Stockholm at any length. The trips were expensive but we saw a lot of things that the independent traveller may have missed. However, I would suggest that you wait until you are on board to book any shore excursions because it is only by attending the shore excursion previews that you find out that courtesy buses will be provided at certain ports. The embarkation and disembarkation did go smoothly. The Marco Polo is a wonderful old ship and the 800+ passengers were able to meet new people and enjoy their company. Our cabin (615) was very clean and comfortable and our cabin steward (Edison) was a hard working, cheerful and pleasant young man. Dining in the Waldorf Restaurant was excellent. The menu was extensive and the food very good. Our waiter (Uros) was very attentive, happy and efficient. We used Marco's Bistro for breakfast - lots of choice but you had to be early to get a good table. The entertainment team on board were very hard working and good. The shows were very good in the main but one or two nights were very average. The dancers were excellent. We enjoyed the quizzes - but don't treat them seriously - have a laugh. The duo in Scott's Bar were very good. We paid for all inclusive and it was worth it though the prices were similar to lounge bar prices at home. It cost £17 per person per day but, if you had a glass of wine at lunchtime and another with dinner then that would cost you £10. The service in the various lounges and the pool bar was on the slow side as there was not enough bar staff and the waiters were very good at ignoring arms raised requesting service while they picked up empty glasses or stood at the bar waiting for the one bar person on duty to pour the drinks. All in all we had a great time and I would recommend the Marco Polo voyage. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on a Baltic cruise. It was also our 2nd cruise on the Windsurf. Our 1st Baltic cruise was on a very large ship. We like smaller ships. We chose the Scandanavian Tapestry voyage because it visited several ports in Northern Europe without a stop in St. Petersburg. Most Baltic cruises go to Russia. Since I do not agree with Putin's politics, I didn't want to go to Russia. Starting in Edinburgh was also an attraction. We stayed in Edinburgh for 2 nights before the cruise. The cruise left from the port of Lieth which is very close to Old town Edinburgh. We arrived at the dock at 1 pm to check in. We were met by the cruise director that told us that boarding was delayed until 3 pm because the ship was being deep cleaned as the last cruise had noro virus. We were able to check our bags at the dock. We were also told that we would recieve $25pp OBC for the inconvience. Instead of just waiting at the dock, we visited the Queen's yacht, The Britania. It was berthed next to the Windsurf. The self guided audio tour was excellent. It was about 4pm when we returned to the dock. At that time, we boarded the ship, checked in, and booked times at Candles and Stella Bistro. Checking in was quick. We were told not to unpack since as Yacht Club members we were on the upgrade list. Since we liked pur cabin location and all cabins are the same, we declined an upgrade. We were on deck one slightly forward. It was a great location. When the sea doors are shut when the ship is arriving or departing, being forward allowed us access to the elevator. Our previous time on the Windstar we were midship and were closed off from access to the elevators. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere. No lines, dine whenever you want, unlimited non-alcohlic drinks, fabulous food, outstanding service, etc. being on the Windsurf was wonderful. We enjoyed breakfasts and most lunches in the Veranda. We enjoyed dinners in Aamphora. We also liked our 2 dinners in the specialty venues. Candles used to be aft on the pool deck. It is now on the star deck near the veranda. It has wind/rain shields allowing you to eat outside most of the time. The fliet at Candles is fantastic. The menus in the veranda and Aamphora change daily. Often, the chef adds local items. We enjoyed the Norwegian salmon, smoked items, fresh fruits, and local cheeses and sausages. The deck bbq was outstanding.. We enjoyed quick snacks at the Yacht Club and tea in the Compass Rose. Room service was excellent. Call, order, and it arrived quickly. Want something that wasn't on a menu, usually no problem. If the ingredients are on the ship, they will make it for you. We especially enjoyed the special event which included a canal boat tour in Copenhagen, an after hours tour at a museum with a private reception of delicious local cuisine and drinks. In most ports we did our own thing. We did buy 2 excursions from the ship. In Copenhagen, we went on the Dragor fishing village tour. It was mostly a bus tour of Copenhagen with a short stop at Dragor. Description misrepresented the tour. Having been in Copenhagen twice before, we were expecting a tour completely outside the city. In Visby, we took the West Coast drive and city tour. It was excellent. We also enjoyed having the unlimited same day laundry service. It was a pleasure to arrive home. Instead of spending time doing laundry, I unpacked my clean clothes. Entertainment was very limited. The band in the main lounge was excellent. The duo in Compass Rose was poor. The guest lecturer was ok. In one port, there was a men's chior singing local songs. The crew put on a show one night. Not much else doing on the ship. I spent a lot of time reading or talking with guests. Each night before we arrived at a port, cruise director gave a short presentation about the port. I was happy that I had researched the port before the cruise. The info on the ship was very basic. They kept trying to persuade guests to buy expensive excursions. The ship excursions were overpriced. Aside from pushing the excursions, there was no real hard sell like you get on the large mass market cruises. weather was good. It was warm enough on most days to enjoy being on the outside deck areas. Went into the pool. The sport platform did not open. We enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We've cruised on commercial pleasure vessels with cabin counts ranging from 17 to nearly a 1000. Azamara's 2 identical vessels (the Journey and the Quest) strike a very satisfying balance. The ships are large enough to have ... Read More
We've cruised on commercial pleasure vessels with cabin counts ranging from 17 to nearly a 1000. Azamara's 2 identical vessels (the Journey and the Quest) strike a very satisfying balance. The ships are large enough to have multiple dining options, cabaret entertainment venue, pool deck, full gym and spa, casino and shops. More importantly, they're small enough that they're usually able to dock in town in the center of things while larger ships have to use tenders and ferry their passengers in and out. They're also small enough that you regularly encounter the captain and ships officers who, surprisingly, make the effort to learn your names and participation energy. Customer loyalty to the Azamara brand is very high; we met one gentleman embarking on his 24th cruise aboard the Quest. The dining experience was top shelf. Soda, wine, well drinks and beers are included as part of the cruise. What does that mean? It means that you have the choice between a white or red wine at each meal. These house wines change daily and by venue. All in all, they were quite adequate and, occasionally, great. Alternately, you can grab any of 3 beers (Becks, Budweiser or Bud Lite) or order a cocktail. There are premium beers, wines and call drinks you can order for an extra (steep) charge. There is no alcohol available with room service orders unless you buy it separately. So the "all-inclusive" designation comes with quite a few caveats but it's still better than being nickeled and dimed over every little sip. For those willing and desiring to pay for better drinking options, there's plenty to chose from. Based on their Northern California wine selections from major producers, they charge about 2x what I'd pay in a retail setting back home (Northern California). Corkage fees are $10 per bottle and they have no restrictions on how much you can bring onboard. So it's theoretically possible to wheel your private collection aboard and catch up on your wine club. Bring your own corkscrew for use in your stateroom, theirs is pathetic if serviceable. Call me slow but it wasn't until this cruise that I realized you can probably anticipate the clientele by the cost of the cruise. Azamara is a bit upscale and, in direct association, has an older clientele. It pains me to realize that, though on the young side, I fit reasonably well into this line's demographic. Port stops looked a little like a jail break from a retirement community. There were younger couples and some teens onboard but my bet was that half of them were with their grandparents. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We were attracted to Marco Polo because of the cruise itinerary and the pricing. Refurbished in the 1990's, starting to show some weariness. It's too small for 800 people. We were lucky to have a convivial bunch of Scots on ... Read More
We were attracted to Marco Polo because of the cruise itinerary and the pricing. Refurbished in the 1990's, starting to show some weariness. It's too small for 800 people. We were lucky to have a convivial bunch of Scots on board. The problems with the ship have all been said before - nothing has been done. The food is ok. In the bistro the salad range was minimal and poor. One type of salami & devon every day just does not cut the mustard for meat selection. The "system" for tea and coffee making was poorly organised - a longstanding issue. Their idea of afternoon tea in the Dining Room is to keep topping up hot water onto the tea bag they give you, into a tiny cup. Also there was no afternoon tea available in the bistro on most days. The cabin walls are thin - you can clearly hear people speaking next door. We were kept awake late at night by inconsiderates next door talking loudly and then starting up again at 5.30am and they didn't get the hint from a bang on the wall. Not real sharp. The staff were generally good, except for the arrogant piece of work who does the future cruise bookings, the surly thing that handed out cutlery in the bistro and a pain in the neck prima donna entertainer who thought she was something special, prancing through the crowds with a silly false grin on her face. Our room (821) was adequate in size, but they screwed a tv to a fixed pedestal right in the middle of it, taking up space. The shower just did not work properly at all, even after a plumber had looked at it. No manner of adjusting could get the temperature right or at times any water at all to come out of it. The captain was a jolly, congenial Greek man. The ship would make a good luxury cruising vessel if refurbished to a high standard for about 200 people. The Advice: pay the extra and go on Holland America Line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked the cruise in Sep 12 having been offered All Inclusive as an incentive. The cabin grade we were after was "Sold Out" and the cheapest we could get was a D Grade cabin on Deck 4 (We had already booked a Transatlantic for ... Read More
We booked the cruise in Sep 12 having been offered All Inclusive as an incentive. The cabin grade we were after was "Sold Out" and the cheapest we could get was a D Grade cabin on Deck 4 (We had already booked a Transatlantic for a few weeks earlier on another liner so this was a Bonus Cruise). At the time of booking there was only one price range offered. A few months later we noticed that FO had introduced 2 price ranges and ours was on offer for £400 less and the lower grade room we were told were sold out were being offered even cheaper. We tried a number of times both direct and via the Agent to rectify this to no avail. The day before the sailing we were informed that our embarkation had been delayed by a few hours due to decontamination of the ship from a Norovirus outbreak the cruise before. During the 7 days we witnessed several individuals being sick in public areas, unable to control their actions. The Captain had ordered all public facilities closed and passengers had to use there own cabin facilities. This had 2 effects - firstly people who use their own toilets are less likely to wash there hands after than those in a public toilet. Secondly, its no fun if you are trying to consume "All Inclusive" drinks on Deck 9 and the toilet is on Deck 4. It saved the company a fortune on Drinks! All Self Service facilities were withdrawn and the staff (Entertainers included) had to man the Serveries. This was a disaster as they cordoned off the facilities and the staff served from inside the cordon. Passengers could not see what was on offer and had to accept the crews portions. Also the staff would only serve "their Patch" so if you wanted a variety you could end up queuing 4 times for 1 meal. It saved the company a fortune on Food! The actions taken did not slow down the virus so how was it moving through so many passengers. Not being a medical person I could not make a professional comment but as a passenger I would point out that on more than one occasion I noticed that everyone who was drinking was signing for their drinks with the same pen!!! Luckily neither I nor my wife were taken ill, neither were we ever intoxicated! 3 Days after my cruise I weighed less than when I boarded. This has never happened before. As a bonus we could not sleep on the first night due to a loud buzzing noise. The pursers staff said it was normal. A senior engineer then said it was not normal and it was from the refrigeration unit. A junior engineer set to fix it couldn't and we spent the next 6 nights with earplugs which the shop just happened to have on sale. Other cabins in the same area did not have the noise ! I would add that the Ports were excellent and would recommend Norway Cruising to anyone   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Check-in Check-out. Check-in at Forth Ports was simple. Parted from baggage, passengers were then corralled with 700+ souls of a similar age (60 -90 years) before being taken in small numbers by bus to the pier where the Black Watch was ... Read More
Check-in Check-out. Check-in at Forth Ports was simple. Parted from baggage, passengers were then corralled with 700+ souls of a similar age (60 -90 years) before being taken in small numbers by bus to the pier where the Black Watch was berthed. Disembarkation is best likened to the discharge of a battle weary army with a simple order - pick up your kit and get out. Forth Ports have a lot to learn about simple courtesy and their capacity to do so might even be in doubt. Boat Stuff. Built in 1972 it was sumptuous for it's time but with three major refits increasing passenger numbers from 539 to 820, it is now a crowded old tub with old tub problems and only a few old tub graces. Having visited accommodation on decks 3,4,5,7 and 8 I hold the view that decks 2 and 3 fall far short of what I would recommend to people for whom I have only a cool regard and deck 5 could only be recommended as basic but probably value for money. I occupied a mini suite on deck 7 by default and at very little extra cost : a very large cabin, double windows, sofa, chairs, wardrobes and drawers aplenty, thick pile carpet, TV, fridge, comfortable queen size bed, spotless mattress, ensuite with bath, basin and shower with no tell-tale black fungus on the grout. Every thing was clean and kept clean. The lobby opened into a hallway corridor rather than passageways smelling of the last two cruises. Normally I would have taken a standard outside cabin at time of booking. The onboard public areas including the lounges and corridors were in good condition, well carpeted and decorated but all were characterized by low deckheads (ceilings). The theatre was barely adequate for the population and with no real elevation of the floor, dodging heads was a show-long exercise. The inescapable problem of overcrowding was most manifest in the dining room where tables were packed in with little room to move while meal service was underway.Unfortunately practically all tables were rectangular,2s, 4s and 8s which are asocial by design.I was fortunate being placed, as requested and at a cost of £28, at one of the round tables. These deficiencies, created by Olsens in the interest of profit, detracted greatly from an otherwise excellent restaurant with a superb menu served by overworked Filipino waiters who did all they could to please. There was a small flexible dining buffet area but the vast majority elected to have fixed dining with the social benefits of meeting familiar people at each evening dinner. Complementing these facilities are the Observatory lounge at the for'ard end above the navigation bridge where the sea-hardy could watch the bow dive into the swell and throw heavy sea against the for'ard windows of deck 7, the cinema in the bowels of deck 3 - a refuge for those suffering mal de mer, two bars, a gymnasium restricted due to noise transmission and a delightful library and card room which was rapidly colonised by lodgers who held and guarded their seats throughout the 14 day cruise. On the outside, weather permitting, there is a promenade deck too narrow for multiple activities. Ardent walkers, including those with mobility problems, must navigate past various obstructions, structural narrows and wind bafflles at the rear to prevent passengers being swept off the after-end or into the pool. Yes! there is a mini pool with waves suitable for wind surfing and jacuzzi in which to thaw. Entertainment. Olsen staff organised oodles of activities for all tastes and there were several good films as well as middle-of-the-road stage shows but the real bonus came from the guest lecturer and his pre-excursion talks. A stowaway Peer of the Realm also popped up to amuse for an hour or two and was probably not missed at Westminster for the duration. Strange choice. Itinerary. Cruise non-stop to Iceland, two nights in Reykjavik, circumnavigate calling at two important settlements with a wide choice of excursions. Fascinating. Must be seen but not by ship. Cruise non-stop to the Faroe Islands - gems in the Atlantic. Not to be missed. Cruise to Norway and two of its most picturesque fiords with a final day in Bergen. Excursions. Well done Olsens. Excellent extensive choice of well chosen and well organised tours with local guides included. Many tours were influenced by the poor weather but should certainly not to be missed. They were reasonably priced which is unusual for cruises.The geophysical opportunities in Iceland are boundless. Weather. This is a significant factor when considering a cruise on this little ship at any time in the north Atlantic. It may have been built forty years ago with this maritime geography in mind but at 200m by 25m it is not suitable for the bulk of the population who chose to hitch a ride, with or without stabilisers. One hour west of the Pentland Firth the Captain announced that we were heading for a depression with a changing sea state reaching storm force 8 to 9. The Captain will be remembered for his honesty. For the next 30 hours Black Watch pitched, heaved and corkscrewed it's way north only finding relief in the darkness as we approached Iceland. Only the most infertile imagination could fail to picture how 700+ pensioners coped with these challenges and there was more in store enroute to the Faroes, from there to Norway and on the final dash from Bergen to Rosyth. A great many people were inconvenienced, many were nauseated and sick, the dining facilities became surprisingly spaceous while the stair-wells and public rooms were decorated with garlands of free vomit bags. Despite these conditions I was not aware of any concern on the part of fellow passengers with regard to the Ship's safety or the capabilities of the crew. Fellow Travellers. Olsens alone have the statistics but I believe there were in excess of 670 passengers over 60 years of age with most being in their 70s. A small number were probably well preserved in their 80s, many were frail elderly powered by determination, others were assisted by sticks and tripods, a few had wheeled assistance while others talked of various spare parts embedded somewhere in their anatomy. To complete the picture four courageous children appeared from time to time while a similar number of teen-aged youths suffered in silence. From conversations in which I participated or overheard and pill-taking witnessed at various breakfast and dinner tables, I would estimate that 50% of passegers were travelling with significant illness managed successfully by medication including anticoagulants, antihypertensives, arrhythmia mitigators , beta blockers, diuretics, steroids, minor psycotropics, and prescription-only-analgesics. While these issues are normal in any civil population they may constitute another dimension for concern if that same population is threatened by additional illness such as prolonged vomiting as in motion sickness or Norovirus or both with disturbance of fluid intake. This was the first time we had travelled as qualified members of a geriatric group and it was probably the most important mass social experience since our student years. 43,000 cumulative years of life experience to share, no illusions about immortality, pretentions and ambitions abandoned, greed muted in recognition of simple need and a sound belief that the hourglass is inverted. The company could hardly have been better and our dinner table group was excellent. But why? Why had so many elderly people gravitated to this old ship? The excellent food and table service are available elsewhere and better shipboard facilities and hotel services likewise. The itinerary can certainly be enjoyed by other means, earlier in the season, or on a larger ship and from my own observations few, if any, could not afford a greater outlay. Perhaps it is because word has spread that the Black Watch and other Olsen ships are very friendly, that lots of people say the same (although evidence is not made available), that there are no lager louts, no badly behaved children, no social mountaineers, no Louis Chopard watches on over-exposed wrists, Garrard trinkets dripping from ears and no Donatella Versace labels flaunted. Yet this social milieu is not the invention of Olsens , though they are quick to exploit it commercially, it is the by-product of this type of passenger population, their expectations, their attitudes, their challenges and their shared predicaments, sticks, wheels and all. What a pity they are not rewarded with a better ship. Norovirus - The self limiting minor communicable illness from which all but the frail and immuno-compromised are expected to recover. What an understatement. The first authors of these words should have a bout and reflect on the likely experience of the population described in these notes and in the environment also described. As Black Watch ploughed it's way to the Faroes the Captain announced that the virus had joined ship and passengers started to look around for missing faces. Slowly people began to disappear as cabin quarantine took it's toll and public life on board changed character - catering staff donned blue gloves, passengers were isolated from all buffet contact, storm troopers attacked with sani-sprays, butter portions and tea bags were moved by tongs and finally the Captain announced that he and his officers would not shake hands with passengers at the gala dinner. We had become dirty, dirty fare-paying people. Semantics aside if one did a pencil audit of Olsen's management of the outbreak in relation to the controls, set out by the US Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the UK Health Protection Agency, faults were not in abundance. The sad fact is, the outbreak continued and the two follow-on cruises suffered also. Perhaps of greater importance is the potential impact such events can have on a captive population of elderly people, many of whom have significant pre-existing medical problems, many affected by motion sickness, all of whom are located in storm bound waters with limited onboard medical facilities, one doctor and two nurses. Conclusions. The Icelandic tour has a high probability of bad weather which may make the ship experience unpleasant and in some personal circumstances pose a threat to the impaired health of certain passengers. In 2013 the ship demonstrated an inability to free itself from norovirus.between cruises. The Black Watch, in my opinion, has long since sailed past its sell by date as regards the physical provisions for contemporary hospitality and elderly people particularly, deserve better. There are some charming features about the ship and the actual domestic and catering services were of a high quality. In many other matters too Fred Olsen demonstrated qualities worthy of praise but I view this particular cruise from the perspective of a reasonably fit senior citizen who has sailed with others less fortunate in this respect and find it difficult to recommend the cruise on that basis for this section of the touring public.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few ... Read More
My wife and I and two other couples met in Edinburgh, where we spent three days getting over jet lag and enjoying this fun city (we highly recommend the food tour Eat Walk Edinburgh). The cruise terminal in Edinburgh was small with few amenities, but the boarding process went smoothly enough. From the start, the Wind Surf staff were friendly and welcoming. Our cabin (one of the standard cabins, but upgraded to be on the 2nd level midship) was compact and efficient, with two porthole windows, and we found it quite comfortable. There is an elevator, but we used the stairs, which gave us a lot of exercise during the 11-day cruise. The public areas were nice, and we ate dinner a few times each in the upscale restaurant, in the main dining room, and (our favorite during good weather) on the poolside deck. We also spent several evenings in the main lounge where we enjoyed pop music (Cool Breeze band) and dancing. There was live entertainment also in a smaller bar area, but we did not go there. I enjoyed using the hot tub (there are two) and also the small pool several times. Few guests used the pool, which made it that much easier and less crowded for me. I also used the exercise room a couple of times, and it seemed to be pretty available. I did not try the spa. People seemed to enjoy the game room and my wife and I shopped in the ship store. Open deck space and lounge chairs were in short supply at times, but compared with some ships, there was adequate outdoor space to enjoy and walk around. One time in the Baltic Sea we swam off the ship's swimming area, and enjoyed that (but water temp was 62 degrees!). Throughout the cruise, staff were very nice and competent. An especially positive feature is the open door policy on the bridge and in most areas of the ship. We took a very interesting galley tour. The captain and hotel manger could not have been nicer or more open to conversation, and this set an open and friendly tone throughout. The food was very good in all restaurants onboard. Alcohol choices were good and prices comparable to restaurants at home. We chose to eat a few lunches on land, just to get a better feel for the areas we visited. We loved the choice of port stops - a good mix of cities and smaller towns. In every case the ship docked in a convenient location. The shore excursions offered by Windstar seemed to be over-priced, so we did not take any of them. Instead, we did a little advance planning and arranged tours and activities on our own, including a food tour in Copenhagen (excellent). We rented bikes in Skagen and arranged a guided walking tour in Warnemunde. We explored Oslo, Visby and Sandhamn on our own. We also purchased the two day hotel extension in Stockholm, and explored that on our own (from the Scandic Anglais Hotel, which was nice and had an excellent location). In Copenhagen and Stockholm we used the hop-on/off boats, and recommend them (but not the buses). Although the cruise was wonderful, my one suggestion for improvement is that the quality of handouts and information given prior to each port stop be more complete, more up to date, and more professional (such as using real maps, in English; and providing information about where to eat, shop, and get cash, as well as transportation tips). The port information lectures were not well done and seemed aimed at marketing the shore excursions (which is necessary, but not sufficient).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We chose this back-to-back cruise the the itinerary .... Iceland and then the north cape and Spitsbergen. We were not expecting luxury but we could find virtually nothing to recommend this line. The ship is tired and needs a major refurb ... Read More
We chose this back-to-back cruise the the itinerary .... Iceland and then the north cape and Spitsbergen. We were not expecting luxury but we could find virtually nothing to recommend this line. The ship is tired and needs a major refurb or scrap. The showers don't work properly throughout the ship ... The water is either scalding hot or freezing cold. The buffet consistently runs out of food, plates, and/or cups. The food is mediocre and I've never sailed on a ship where you have to constantly ask for water at the table and the after dinner coffee/tea is never refilled. If you don't want to do organised tours at every stop, forget it. You'll find the ship pulling into stops for only 3-4 hours at times where there is no time for the independent traveller to see anything. This ship is completely geared to tours with no info for indies. If the ship is tendered, the indies are the very last to be allowed ashore. Overall, the crew rarely smiles. Of course, you'll find exceptions but you do feel as though you are putting them out. On the plus side, we found the entire staff at the reception desk to be as good and efficient as any we have ever run into....also very friendly. While I have no problem boarding by deck, with the suites boarding first, the same thing happens on disembarkation without regard to when you have to leave to catch a plane. IF you need to disembark early and are on one of the lower decks, you must notify them BUT you must struggle off with all your luggage by yourself! We also noted that there were, not surprisingly, a fair number of passengers with mobility issues. The crew/staff virtually never offered help and the gangway was really difficult for them. We have seen much more care in other cruise lines Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
The reason for choosing this cruise was our strong desire to visit Spitzbergen. W We had twice been to the North Cape of Norway but wanted to go still further north. MS Marco Polo enabled us to do so at a reasonable price, below the usual ... Read More
The reason for choosing this cruise was our strong desire to visit Spitzbergen. W We had twice been to the North Cape of Norway but wanted to go still further north. MS Marco Polo enabled us to do so at a reasonable price, below the usual going rate for Spitzbergen. Having read mixed reviews our expectations were not particularly high. One has to be realistic, one was not for this price going to get five star luxury but in fact we were pleasantly surprised. The good impression was from the outset when we had a fast and friendly check-in which compared well with previous cruise experiences. We had a comfortable cabin with plenty of storage space. It was always immaculately clean, as was the ship as a whole. Generally we were very satisfied with the amenities and the all public areas. meals were almost unfailingly of a high quality. Dinner was waiter served in the Waldorf restaurant whilst for lunch we generally went for the buffet. I would in particular commend the inventive and very tasty soups. Except for one young madam, staff were invariably helpful. It is true that for the mainly East European waiting staff poker faces tended to be the order of the day (though I would exempt the Ukrainian waiter who served us at dinner time). There was a range of activities and entertainment. Much of that was not for us - making hessian bags is not really our thing - but some of the Evening entertainment was good and the husband and wife team who the Cruise and Assistant Director did a very good job, they themselves being versatile entertainers.One cannot really blame the cruise line for some of the fellow passengers. The clientele was an ageing one with most probably older still than we ourselves, who are sixtysomethings. But some of these oldies, walking sticks and all, could show the stereotypical German tourist how to get to the sunbeds first. For dinner there was fixed seating and we were on a large table with seven others. On a Rhine cruise a couple of years previous there had been free seating and I'd felt this to be a bit impersonal - one might find oneself perched at the end of a table otherwise occupied by a group of friends. But one of our tour guides defended this arrangement and recalled a cruise where by the end she could have murdered a woman she'd been obliged to share a table with. I rather felt like that about a boorish old boy on our table who moaned about everything but to whom others on the table deferred. We did though meet some really nice people on this cruise. We were blessed with fine weather and saw some wonderful scenery. Spitzbergen certainly didn't disappoint. Shore excursions were quite expensive but Norway is an expensive country - those in the Faroes and Orkney were noticeably cheaper. We did not book an excursion in Tromso as we had been there before and could find our own way around. We also didn't avail ourselves of the tour to the north Cape, since we'd been there twice, instead having a very pleasant day in Honningsvag. We did five tours in all and I'd rate them highly, most very highly. All in all a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We are first-time cruisers and this adventure surpassed all our expectations. We researched the cruise thoroughly in advance, including the itinerary and the ship. We were especially looking forward to Spitzbergen and the glaciers; and the ... Read More
We are first-time cruisers and this adventure surpassed all our expectations. We researched the cruise thoroughly in advance, including the itinerary and the ship. We were especially looking forward to Spitzbergen and the glaciers; and the North Cape. The views of the arctic landscape were breath-taking and our memories will stay with us always. The fjords were spectacular and we would like to visit more. The ship was superb: it had many art deco features; it was comfortable; the restaurants were very good; there were many leisure amenities; and the staff were excellent. The standard of cleanliness was remarkable. The entertainers were all highly professional and the shows were enjoyable. There are many critics of this ship. In my experience they fall into 2 categories: lack of research; and "other cruise lines are better". Put simply, the Marco Polo fulfils all the advertising and reviews written about it. It is not sold as a "luxury liner". It is smaller than most liners, but that makes it intimate and friendly. It is not glitzy and glamorous, but it is advertised as traditional cruising. The customer service crew are predominantly eastern European. Their command of English is commendable and they were always polite and respectful. The second category of critic was truly insufferable! They whined incessantly about the cutlery and crockery, the furniture, nothing the staff did was ever going to be good enough, the calibre of entertainment, the standard of food. They were expecting a 5* cruise for a 3* price! The ultimate in luxury was not on offer. We got exactly what we paid for - a comfortable and entertaining cruise to a truly magnificent destination. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and ... Read More
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and expensive trips. Food was good, (no problem there) cabin was OK (same one as previous cruise) but was located near the access door to the crews quarters and some staff were downright rude by being noisy outside our cabin at all hours of the night - no consideration for sleeping passengers. Announcements from Cruise Director were pointless - why tell is GPS references - what we wanted was "what's that island over there" or "there are six whales half a mile off our stern" tell us something useful ! Staff attitude was poor ( downright rude) from the top to the bottom. We handed a nearly new holdall to CMV staff on arrival and between the quayside and the cabin our luggage was damaged making it unusable again. Having complained to the service desk was abruptly told to fill out a form. Having done so, was told to claim on my insurance. In other words, CMV don't care and having to pay an excess I pick up the cost of their carelessness. Two letters to Customer Relations did not resolve my dispute so wrote a third letter to CMV's Managing Director. he never replied so guess what, have cancelled my next booking, yes have lost £350 deposit, but won't be travelling with CMV ever again. Real pitty as we like the Marco Polo - just can't stand CMV and their attitude to teh customers who pay their salaries! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We have just returned from thirteen nights sailing up along Norway and up to Svalbard then down to the Faroese and Orkney . The Marco Polo is a handsome looking ship, yes older but has many plus points. We found the staff good and our ... Read More
We have just returned from thirteen nights sailing up along Norway and up to Svalbard then down to the Faroese and Orkney . The Marco Polo is a handsome looking ship, yes older but has many plus points. We found the staff good and our cabin steward was excellent as was one of our waiters. Some staff needed a little guidance but for the price we paid we felt it was value for money. The food was plentiful and although not the best was perfectly edible if not outstanding. The water was not the best but it rarely is on board unless you go down the bottled route. Sometimes I got the feeling that there were staff wanting to get their shift over but not often. We enjoyed the cruise, some excursions were overpriced but we went into most ports independently with no problems. My husband had wanted to do this cruise I was a reluctant companion as I didn't want to miss the second week of Wimbledon, I was surprised how much I did enjoy it and watching whales from the top deck became my favourite past-time. I was surprised to read a negative review from someone on board at the same time so registered to say ..yes the showers were temperamental and the ship rocking around all added to the fun of remaining upright in the shower and not being frozen or scalded..it was the nearest I got to exercise on there ! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, ... Read More
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, Orkney etc.It may be a case of pay peanuts and get monkeys but this cruise fell short of our expectations. In particular, probably due to ignorance on our part in not having done our homework beforehand, we felt particularly ripped off in relation to the excursions we had pre-booked (apart from St Petersburg when it suited us for someone else to do the visa paperwork). In nearly all cases we could have got off the ship and boarded a shuttle bus to take us into the centre of town at no cost. This would have allowed us to board a sightseeing bus (sometimes parked at the cruise berth!) This would have given us a far better insight and more time to explore the city we were visiting.The biggest disappointment was a Norovirus outbreak day five into the cruise. This meant that facilities such as the gym, swimming pool, hot tubs, library etc were out of bounds. These are exactly the activities that I was relying on to alleviate the boredom on the days we were at sea. I am not a big fan of quizzes, throwing bean bags into a bucket, Countdown, singing classes etc. For the first few days I had happily gone to the gym and participated in various classes, Yoga, Stretch and Tone, Belly Blaster etc.This outbreak meant that staff were constantly cleaning the ship wearing masks, plastic aprons and gloves - not a particularly reassuring sight! I appreciate the need for this to happen but would also have appreciated more of an update especially in the first few days of the outbreak as to when restrictions would be lifted. This in fact never happened and the day before we were due to disembark it was announced that two more Norovirus cases had been confirmed. The most alarming part of this was that as we were disembarking at 6pm on Wednesday 12 June, other travellers were happily embarking that same day for a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords! Suppose one plus point is that we didn't catch the virus!All in all not a good first time cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Having read some of the reviews I can only assume that some people who have posted bad reviews are professional moaners. We have just returned from a cruise leaving from Leith (Edinburgh) to the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape (most ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews I can only assume that some people who have posted bad reviews are professional moaners. We have just returned from a cruise leaving from Leith (Edinburgh) to the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape (most northerly point of Europe, way beyond the Arctic Circle). We have sailed on the QE2 just before she was taken out of service, and many aspects of our Marco Polo cruise were better than Cunard - embarkation being one - very swift and efficient. We found the ship to be spotlessly clean - no wonder - the crew were constantly cleaning. We enjoyed the food - there was masses of it, and lots of choice. The destinations they had picked were beautiful and interesting, and the Excursion Team was extremely efficient. The one problem we had was when we were late docking into Honnigsvag, for the North Cape, because a giant Italian Cruise ship was still occupying the berth. They were late leaving because some of their passengers had failed to return to the ship on time. Our excursion times were revised to ensure we got sufficient time at the North Cape, and the Captain altered the route slightly, and went at top speed to make up for lost time. All the crew were friendly and efficient - I did not mind the fact that they wanted us out of the dining room once we had finished eating. These folk work extremely long hours with very little free time, and you can understand them wanting to get finished up. We had the cheapest ocean view cabin, but it was pefectly adequate, with plenty of storage space. After all, you only really sleep in it. There was always somewhere quiet you could find in the public areas if you wanted to read or doze. We liked the fact that the Marco Polo, which is nearly 50 years old, is a proper cruise liner, and looks like a real ship, unlike these horrible skyscrapers at sea which so many people seem to like. Marco Polo is small enough to feel intimate and friendly, but large enough to feel spacious. I cannot understand those who felt claustrophobic - airplanes are much worse! I would go on Marco Polo again, like a shot, if she was sailing somewhere I wanted to go. The main purpose of our trip was not to have a cruise, per se, but to see the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape. Given the humungously high prices in Norway, it was a really good value way to see these sights. It would have cost us 3 or 4 times as much to go by air or by land. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We boarded the good ship Boudicca on 20th August at Rosyth in Scotland. The cabin was at best adequate, much smaller than any other cruise ship we'd been on and wardrobe space was minimal to say the least but we only had to sleep ... Read More
We boarded the good ship Boudicca on 20th August at Rosyth in Scotland. The cabin was at best adequate, much smaller than any other cruise ship we'd been on and wardrobe space was minimal to say the least but we only had to sleep shower and dress there so no great problem. Food to start with was excellent but seem to deteriorate as the cruise went on, breakfast never seemed quite up to scratch from the start but on the whole we were quite happy with the food. Entertainment, now there's something I can truly cringe about even now, the show troop were ok but the brass section of the orchestra yes the orchestra could barely play in tune. The cabaret acts were aimed at an audience in their seventies and while I'm 60 years old myself I cringed virtually on a nightly basis at the offerings (the acts were mostly quite good ,just targeted at old people). This brings us to the lounge entertainers, one was ok to passable but the duo was horrific as in the female vocalist could not hold a tune at all, how she managed to get the job I'll never know. The crew were on the whole the saviours of the ship for the most part, the smiled a lot, worked very hard and seemed to do their best, they didn't seem quite as smiley the last morning of the cruise at breakfast, but we'd given them their tips the night before but maybe I'm just cynical. Ports of call all I can say is thank the Lord for Tallin in Estonia,StPetersburg and Travemunde as they were superb, StPetersburg should be on everyone's list of places to go, it was fabulous. I won't go on forever. We met lots of very very nice people on the cruise (D1117) but I'll never cruise again with Fred Olsen. The cruise was well overpriced for the experience and everything was designed for older people than I'll ever be. The cruise while it had some good stuff was overall a great disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Ship - Old and slightly tired. Vibrates a fair amount and although we found our cabin reasonable we did hear of many complaints, particularly if you r room happened to be under the reception area. It was described as the noise of high ... Read More
The Ship - Old and slightly tired. Vibrates a fair amount and although we found our cabin reasonable we did hear of many complaints, particularly if you r room happened to be under the reception area. It was described as the noise of high heels clacking on the floor. The main dining room is fine if you like structure and sitting with the same people each night. Fortunately we were paired with a couple from Perth who were good company. If you don't fancy the main dining room then you are left with the buffet style boathouse. This area is a mess and not a particularly nice place to eat. The Food - In the main dining room the menu was varied and the quality reasonable. In the boathouse (buffet style) the food was never hot and lack of cutlery seemed to be an ongoing issue. The Staff- Very friendly bar and cabin staff although there seemed to be a continual push on drink sales. Entertainment (main showroom)- on the whole, of a reasonable standard. Entertainment (forward bar and rear bar) Hmmmm Forward bar consisted of the same pianist 3/4 times a night. Rear bar - Hamptons was a mixture of singers, game shows, bingo and the usual cocktail/ fruit carving demos. Did not think the entertainment crew worked very hard outwith their perfunctory duties. Atmosphere- compared with other cruises the atmosphere seemed quite subdued. Ships Crew - Come on Cruise and Maritime, where did you get the uniforms. If the jerseys were not hanging of them they looked as though they had been washed into submission. The yellow high vis jackets were all well passed there sell by dates. It reflected badly on the ship. Drinks Prices - very expensive. be aware if you only like a small splash of coke with your drink, you will be charged £1.95 for the pleasure. Buy a tin at £2.05 and guard it with you're life. Moulde - went ashore and had a walk round. Not a lot to see. gararnger fjiord - went ashore and had a walk round. Not a lot to see. Did not do any trips as sitting on the ship in the fjiord was what i went for. Other ports - went ashore and had a walk round. Not a lot to see. Went on the flam railway trip, which was very good. Overall - having read the above you probably think i did not enjoy my cruise, incorrect. I had a good time and got what it said on tin. The Ocean Countess is an old ship and caters for the lower priced end of the market.It is definately not a ship for children but for the more mature, who all seemed to enjoy themselves. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Left Leith on a sunny evening 23rd July. By the time we got to North Berwick it began to be very choppy. Next 24 hours were terrible - this old ship could not cope with the Gale Force wind over the North Sea. A huge percentage of ... Read More
Left Leith on a sunny evening 23rd July. By the time we got to North Berwick it began to be very choppy. Next 24 hours were terrible - this old ship could not cope with the Gale Force wind over the North Sea. A huge percentage of the ship were confined to their cabin due to the weather - the lifts were off . Does this ship have stabilisers. Due to the time lost because of the storm we were at sea from Saturday to Wednesday before we docked. Our Cabin 3051 must be the worst on the ship. Between the vibration, noise of the engines and the boom boom of the engines it was impossible to get any sleep on this cruise. After two nights of no sleep I asked to be moved. Was told by the receptionist there were no cabins available. This said the people in the cabin next to us and the cabin across from us both got moved. One of these couples described our cabins as trying to sleep in a washing machine. The cabins were certainly a little shabby - top covers were both darned. The cabin steward kept it clean. The dining room lacked something - maybe some seasoning. Certainly not the quality of food we are use to on cruises. The entertainment was very good (if we could have stayed awake). The shows were very good though the comedian was dire. This old old ship should be retired. Cruise & Maritime - NEVER AGAIN. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011

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