9 Edinburgh (South Queensferry) to Baltic Sea Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

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
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 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
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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