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12 Liverpool to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have ... Read More
Local port , easy transport, weather very rough on sea days, food & staff excellent, apart from the restaurant Maitre D , who was most unhelpful, we asked to change our dining time as my husband is diabetic, we were told we would have to pay extra. Fred Olsen want extra money all the time, 10 pounds each for shuttle bus in Lanzarote, 16 pounds for 5 cappuccinos. My husband had a fall & was helped by a member of the bar staff, an officer walked by & ignored us. Same happened to a very frail lady, the Hotel manager just walked past her. We had been to all the ports before so didn't take any trips, which like all cruises are hugely overpriced. cabin was very comfy, we paid extra for a window, & we were well looked after by our lovely stewardess. The sea water swimming pool was lovely, nice & warm, a bit deep at 7 ft 1 end & nearly 6 at shallow end. Arriving back in Liverpool, was great, we were home within 45 minutes, a big bonus. Overall a good cruise, the weather could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Travel thousands of miles across storm- tossed ocean to cruise the St Lawrence River by night and see all the pretty flashing lights on the navigation aides along the length of the river. Watch burning cinders spewing from the funnel over ... Read More
Travel thousands of miles across storm- tossed ocean to cruise the St Lawrence River by night and see all the pretty flashing lights on the navigation aides along the length of the river. Watch burning cinders spewing from the funnel over the decks as we incinerate the on board rubbish and pollute the sea. By day relax on the open decks surrounded by reeking ashtrays, cigarette smoke and crew members varnishing the taffrails and re-caulking the deck under your feet as you queue for chips. Take a trip ashore in one of our skilfully manned tenders. For your enjoyment we will lose our way in the fog for an hour whilst trying to return to the ship and for thrills re-embark you at midships on the windward side of the vessel for you to experience the 2-metre rise and fall of the swell as you try to get a footing on the landing stage. Break a leg folks! Dine in our fabulous restaurant and watch as your dinner and long-stemmed wine glass slide gracefully across the table and onto the deck where the glass shatters into a hundred pieces while the waiter pours hot coffee down your neck. Have fun in your cabin trying not to cut your feet on the broken glass from the litre glass bottles of water which have slid off the dresser and smashed on the deck, soaking the carpet and your clothes that have been thrown from the open drawers of the dresser. Have fun staggering along the deck and up companionways to reach a toilet because a crew member is in your cabin bathroom replacing and sealing the shower wall. Qualify for NHS hearing aids on your return home by sitting through several of our showtime presentations by our singers. (NB. It is pure conjecture that no whales have ever been seen from the ship because the singers perfectly reproduce the whale alarm call). Finally, watch the Northern Ireland authorities emergency response as we sail into Belfast with the Red Ensign upside down and the Captain, speaking from bridge, teaches the crew some new Russian vocabulary. If you are queueing on a beach awaiting evacuation in the face of a pursuing army then board this vessel. Those are the only circumstances in which this should be done. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
After reading a review posted by a fellow passenger on this 28 night cruise, I'm wondering whether we were actually on the same holiday ! Everyone is entitled to their views, but to me, the difference between the previous review and ... Read More
After reading a review posted by a fellow passenger on this 28 night cruise, I'm wondering whether we were actually on the same holiday ! Everyone is entitled to their views, but to me, the difference between the previous review and the one below is more to do with attitude and expectation. I had already prepared my review (just not posted it yet), so I will leave it up to the reader to decide who had the best holiday experience. This cruise was our 2nd with CMV and on the Marco Polo. A previous 12 night cruise to Iceland last October became the taster to this 28 night return transatlantic cruise to Canada and therefore we were aware of what to expect from this ship before we booked. Firstly, we had found the standard cabins to be too small - for us - for a month long trip, so we splashed out and booked a DeLuxe Outside cabin for this cruise, which - with so many sea days - turned out to be a good move. The Itinerary, was Liverpool, Cobh, St John's (Newfoundland), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Islands), Gaspe (Quebec), Montreal, Quebec City (2 days) Sept-Iles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Cap-aux-Meules, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Corner Brook (Newfoundland) & a final port of St Anthony (Newfoundland) that unfortunately had to be cancelled. The Ship - is old by current cruising standards, but charming at the same time. It is kept spotlessly clean by the staff, and for us, this compensates for the obvious wear and tear you can see around the ship. Having said that, I am led to believe that the Marco Polo will soon be going into dry dock for a 'make over' so it will be interesting to see what they do to her. She has a loyal fan base who cruise regularly on her, and I can understand why, as she is probably one of the most honest and friendly ships I have ever been on. She doesn't profess to be all singing and dancing with glitz everywhere you look - but if your expectations are realistic and you open yourself to the quirkiness of the ship, she will embrace you and give you a warm homely feeling. (Apologies if this is a bit too lyrical !!) Embarkation at Liverpool was speedy and well organised. Cabin - A DeLuxe Oceanview on Deck 11. Great size and layout, with 3 large windows, kingsize bed, settee & chair, stool and coffee table. Fridge/Minibar, Tea & Coffee making facility, and bowl of fruit replenished as necessary. The two double wardrobes provided plenty of hanging space for clothes and there were drawers galore which helped in keeping the room tidy. The only downside (for us) was that the bathroom had a full size bath with overhead shower. We prefer a walk-in shower which is what you get with the more standard cabins. By the way, its true what they say about the higher you are, the more motion you feel !!!! We do not suffer from sea sickness, but if you are prone to this malaise, then stick to a lower deck cabin. Dining - If you are used to the selection you get on the premium cruise ships, then you will feel limited with Marco Polo. The food is good, but the choice is limited and repetitive. Breakfast can be taken in either the Bistro Buffet, or MDR - both are buffet style, although tea and coffee are served to your table in the Dining Room. Lunch is also served Buffet style in the Bistro and by Table service in the MDR. An addition when weather permits is the Pool Grill which has a Burger / Pizza / Fries selection on the open aft deck. Buffets are notorious for being difficult to find seats, but we only had 2 occasions at Breakfast during the 28 nights when it was full and we walked out and waited 15 mins. Afternoon Tea is also served in the Buffet around 3.15 each day - the pastries and scones were lovely. Dinner is a 5 course affair in the MDR (two sittings 6.00 pm and 8.00 p.m.) and of all the food served on this ship, I found this to be the best quality & choice. And if you hadn't eaten enough during the day, they provided a buffet in all the lounges at 11.00 p.m. each night !!!! During our 28 night cruise, there were 4 Formal Nights which the majority of passengers adhered to. The remaining nights were a mix of Informal or Casual depending on whether we had been in Port all day or not. Mostly, men wore Jacket (usually taken off within minutes of sitting down !!) & open neck shirt for Informal, and just short sleeve shirt / polo on casual nights. Overall, I would say Ladies dressed up more than I have seen on P & O / Princess / Royal Caribbean etc although the atmosphere never made you feel you had to. Entertainment - This is one of the reasons we chose to cruise on CMVs Marco Polo again. I have never met an Entertainment Team that puts so much effort into their job. The 4/5 headline singers (including the Cruise Director) were outstanding, and also doubled up on hosting onboard quizzes / bingo / games etc. and also provided Cabaret in Scotts Bar at 11.00 p.m. each evening. The twice nightly (8.00 p.m. & 10.00 p.m.) main Shows in the Marco Polo Lounge were superb and very well attended. On a couple of the evenings early in the cruise, a Comedian joined the ship, and likewise we were joined by a Ventriloquist / Comedian for a couple of shows on our way home. The 7 strong dance troupe were amazing, as was the Live Band. In fact I can honestly say that the whole Entertainment team was one of the best and most committed I have ever come across. A big plus for the CMV line in my opinion. Only one downside to the entertainment was that for the whole 28 nights, the large Columbus Lounge had the resident Russian Classical duo playing in the evening. Im not against classical music, but this limited the use of this Lounge - at least to us. I would have liked to have heard some occasional upbeat music in this area, and move the classical team around a bit. Onboard Lectures - I would imagine that these become more important, the more sea days you have in your Itinerary, and become extremely important when you are sailing across the North Atlantic - both ways !!! We had 4 great Speakers giving presentations on a wide range of subjects from the History of Newfoundland through to the photographing over a period of years, of a lioness and her family in India. A WW11 Historian (who did a very convincing impression of Winston Churchill) also gave us an in-depth explanation of events such as the sinking of the Bismark, the D-Day Landings and the Dambusters. All good stuff. Shore Excursions - As with all cruise lines, these are expensive for what they are, but if you are not up to the hassle of researching your ports and arranging private tours, then just book them and enjoy. The Excursion staff are first class, and Sue (the Manager) is extremely good at her job. The tours are well organised and simply administered without fuss. Maybe its because this Ship is so much smaller than many, but disembarkation onto the tours went without a hitch - as far as I could see. Overall Enjoyment - A great cruise, which included a number of great ports in Canada that many ships are too big to call at - a fabulous Itinerary, with just one exception 'Sept Isles' - not a lot there, and my advice is not to take the Shuttle into Town - what town ?!? Either do one of the ships tours further afield, or stay on the ship and have a cheap massage !! If you are prone to motion sickness, I wouldn't take the Marco Polo on a North Transatlantic Voyage unless the Itinerary was something special. Don't get me wrong, we felt safe on her and she rode the waves well, but she's small, so there is movement. BUT, I can't wait for her to come out of the re-fit next year and book again. To us, she is a 'special' ship and probably always will be. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I originally drafted this review of the British Isles Discovery Cruise (Cruise and Maritime) some weeks ago but it read like “What I did on my holidays”. So, I abandoned that approach and will instead to focus on the experience which ... Read More
I originally drafted this review of the British Isles Discovery Cruise (Cruise and Maritime) some weeks ago but it read like “What I did on my holidays”. So, I abandoned that approach and will instead to focus on the experience which should make for a shorter piece and be more helpful to the reader. Suffice it to say my wife and I left from Liverpool (Pier Head) Terminal on 20th August and arrived back on 1st September. Our cruise took us to Dublin, Cobh (near Cork), St Mary’s (Isles of Scilly), Guernsey, Honfleur in France (for Bayeux), Edinburgh, Orkney, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), Mull (Inner Hebrides) and Belfast. MV Marco Polo is an older cruise ship, first built in former East Germany in 1964 and named the Aleksandr Pushkin. She has recently been fully refitted and carries around 800 passengers and 300 crew. A Russian Captain oversaw a multi-national crew who were pretty much unfailingly helpful, cheery and polite. We were first-time cruisers and admittedly in our mid-60’s, were among the younger passengers. We dined each evening with two other North West couples of a similar vintage who had, in each case, extensive experience of sea cruise holidays. I can only report that the holiday was a wonderful experience from beginning to end. The ship was an ideal size – large enough to provide a comprehensive range of services – small enough to feel personal and comfortable. The food was plentiful and varied without being overwhelming and was of a consistently high quality. My wife is a lifelong vegetarian and was well catered for and the drinks prices were reasonable with pre-booked all-inclusive packages available if required. The range of available excursions (we selected three) was very comprehensive at each location and the provision was prompt and well-organised. The local guides were really excellent and provided plenty of interesting and informative background for each trip. The on-board entertainment was good and unobtrusive and the staff worked very hard to provide a quality service. Our cabin was a ‘Superior Plus’ twin on the Pacific deck with a large window to view the outside world. The sunsets were particularly pleasant to view. I am sure that I could pick holes if pressed, but why bother? Overall, this was a super holiday and excellent value. WE had the added bonus of meeting up with old friends and relatives in five of the ten ports and are now enthusiastic convers to the cruising experience ……. On smaller ships! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
All good - except charged for a bottle of water in the cabin not used- we deliberately made a point of not opening the bottles of water in the cabin - did manage to get money back with a bit of awkwardness-also staff not terribly friendly ... Read More
All good - except charged for a bottle of water in the cabin not used- we deliberately made a point of not opening the bottles of water in the cabin - did manage to get money back with a bit of awkwardness-also staff not terribly friendly at the reception while dealing with it! My main moan was the dreadful Wellness Package I had pre - booked for £129!!! To cut a very long story short - don't bother with getting it! - not worth the money and hassle I had trying to sort it. It was a disaster from the start to the finish - thought with pre booking it and the price I would have red carpet treatment - oh how I was wrong! Don't Do It!!! But apart from that -thoroughly enjoyed the trip - even with two extremely choppy nights at sea! - don't forget the sea sickness pills and you will be fine! Would book with the cruise line again - but keeping to small trips. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Just returned from a fantastic trip around the British Isles on the Azores, yes shes an old ship but don't be put off. First time cruising and were pleasantly surprised by this ship ( don't take any notice of any negative ... Read More
Just returned from a fantastic trip around the British Isles on the Azores, yes shes an old ship but don't be put off. First time cruising and were pleasantly surprised by this ship ( don't take any notice of any negative comments on previous reviews) Embarkation at Liverpool was well organised, taxi dropped us off, porters there to take luggage straight away, checking in 10 mins then straight onto ship, met off gangway and shown to cabin, although small ( cabin 317 ) it was well thought out and bathroom much bigger than expected, shower always hot water and plenty of pressure. Went for drink at the outside bar, went back to cabin and luggage there already, very impressed. Meals on board were great we ate both at the buffet and the waiter service restaurant, serving staff excellent, always plenty of choice, only small niggle was felt bit rushed in the restaurant. One night paid supplement for the steak house ( well worth the £15 extra ) best steak I've had cooked to perfection. We did wonder if tender off the ship at certain ports of call would be a problem as we hadn't booked their trips, as they get priority, but not a problem at all, never felt we were waiting long ( Heard on bigger ships this can be a nightmare) Drinks package £17 each per day well worth it for us Overall if you like the idea of a small ship with traditional cruise feel, this is the one for you Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I having celebrated two special birthdays this year decided to culminate the year with a cruise. Unfortunately we chose not to go on one of our tried and trusted cruise lines. We chose to go with Fred Olsen for 14 days on ... Read More
My wife and I having celebrated two special birthdays this year decided to culminate the year with a cruise. Unfortunately we chose not to go on one of our tried and trusted cruise lines. We chose to go with Fred Olsen for 14 days on board Black Watch. What a disaster We were not aware that a feature of their cruises is extensive maintenance program . Virtually on a daily basis one or more public areas were closed off for repair or decoration Outer decks were on occasion strewn with hoses electric cables and machinery, on three days we had to suffer paint varnish and staining odours. W were advised on a daily basis by the Captain always to use the handrails when moving around - what does one do when the rails were being stained. Thinking it was a one off matter we wrote to customer services only to be told that all Fred Olsen ships cruised throughout the whole year which means that all maintenance has to be carried out during cruises. One last thing if you are blind or partially sighted (like me) F O is not for as you are not welcome. All in all we wasted £4000 Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We had requested a disabled room with a walk in shower, We could not fault the room, lovely bedding ( quite a few people had commented on this to us also) everything we wanted, lovely balcony we were on floor 7 and did not have any ... Read More
We had requested a disabled room with a walk in shower, We could not fault the room, lovely bedding ( quite a few people had commented on this to us also) everything we wanted, lovely balcony we were on floor 7 and did not have any problems. Yes a little noise from the shipmates but they have to clean the decks before everyone is up. We did not get into The Faroe Islands this was because of rough weather but I would rather be safe than risking docking, the captain explained the reason correctly and it wasnt because another ship was in our place. The food was amazing and so much, we are younger travelers in our fifties and found the fellow travellers we spoke to were lovely. It was so nice to be on holiday and everyone said hello and always chatted ( yes there were a few moaners but most people avoided them) I would definately reccomend the Black Watch if you want a smaller ship and lots to do. The organised trips were excellent and again we found them very disabled friendly if you needed extra help always there (reserved space on a coach or a taxi if required). We went on the flight ICE AND FIRE GLACIERS AND VOLCANOES yes more expensive but if like me you cannot walk to see these places just an unforgettable experience. The pilot made sure you got to see everything. The Spa dept were very good Elise organised a personal physio session for me to help with my mobility. She was truely wonderful and wrote it all down for me to continue when I got home. If you want a holiday were you lose track of time visit amazing places with lovely company, with great talks, shows as good as The West End singers and dancers who were so approachable and seemed to have lots of other activities they helped with and ( it was nice that the a lot of the main staff ate in the buffet restaurant so you were able to chat to them over lunch or afternoon tea. Also if you had any food allergies they went out of their way to assist. A VERY ENJOYABLE HOLIDAY Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We could not dock at the Faroes as the Braemar was in and no room for us, pilot not able to manage to get us in, rough sea, so another day at sea organized. We have had 5 Balmoral cruises (very good) 1 Bouddica (ok) but would not recommend ... Read More
We could not dock at the Faroes as the Braemar was in and no room for us, pilot not able to manage to get us in, rough sea, so another day at sea organized. We have had 5 Balmoral cruises (very good) 1 Bouddica (ok) but would not recommend or go on the Black Watch, avoid deck 7 lido deck. We had a large deluxe junior suite. Woken at 1am by deck crew pulling chairs along and then most of the other days at 5.30 onwards by deck hands banging, washing the deck down, others complained about them talking loud, we reported it twice. Moved cabin to equivalent as strong smell of diesel in bedroom, this seemed to be all round the ship. Restaurant like a canteen, and never had any moans before, but waiters not as quick and friendly as the Balmoral, never offered tea or coffee with dessert at lunch time, food good but breakfast often cold, good variety. Brenda Collins comedienne was fantastic and the male singer, team shows were good, dancers seem snobby. Special thanks to Chandra the Mater D who got us into the Orchid Room for dinner. Quizzes good with Olly, Jonny and Liam, not as good in the day with the dance team (one in particular). Met some nice people, but seemed a lot of snobs on board. Back on Balmoral Sept and trying Braemar in October. Never saw our cabin maid in 2nd cabin, name tag was not even in room. On other cruises they have gone out of their way to meet you." Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This is my experience. Everybody has a different experience so these are my opinions on what i found onboard this cruise. I booked 2 weeks prior to departure and booked a balcony cabin. Fred Olsen kindly gave me a free upgrade to a ... Read More
This is my experience. Everybody has a different experience so these are my opinions on what i found onboard this cruise. I booked 2 weeks prior to departure and booked a balcony cabin. Fred Olsen kindly gave me a free upgrade to a suite. Boarding at Liverpool was great, far more comfortable than Sounthampton. Very pleased with the cabin, all comforts and nice fresh flowers, sparkling wine, canapes, fluffy bath robe and free slippers. Also use of binoculars and umbrella if needed. Lovely bathroom, and great for smokers as you can smoke on the balcony. Unlike other cruise lines where you have to trek around the decks to find a smoking area. Bravo to FO for their smoking policy. The ship is looking its age. Sun deck tired and decor very low key and dull. All staff friendly and polite. Lifts very small and always a wait for one to arrive. The Glentaner dining room was one of the worst i have ever been in on a ship. A large version of a nursing home dining room. Very harsh lighting and too bright. Food was a let down. On Boudicca and Balmoral it was fine but not on this cruise. Were they on rations ? I ordered shrimps to start with which i know means prawns. I was served 3 prawns on a plate !!! gone in seconds. Then an Italian tomato salad. One tomato cut in slices drizzled with oil !!! useless. Main course was poor and also long waits in between courses. Not impressed. The garden cafe is lovely and food is far better and nicer surroundings. Mini cruises attract a totally different type of passenger than a proper cruise would so i seen a wedding party was onboard. Bad news ! By evening the females were drunk and swearing and bawling walking around the ship, drinks in hand. Horrendous language. FO need to curb this fast. Next day i heard other passengers say they were kept awake all night due to the noise in the cabins from these women. This is really bad that people like this spoil peoples cruises because of their drinking and bad behaviour. Half day trip to Dublin was enjoyable, only 27 on the trip. Rather bossy tour guide but it was a good trip. I would not travel on Black Watch again. She is near retirement now and her age shows. Entertainment was poor. Comedian who was not funny, a weak choir and the ships singers and dancers very amateur. I do wish people who want to sit and talk would not come in to see a show as they do not watch the show, just loud voices non stop. Go to one of the lounges if you want to talk. Its bad manners to the acts who are trying to entertain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We travelled from Liverpool to Ireland on Friday 8th May 2015 and had cabin number 9912. The room was very clean and everything that had been promised in the brochure, but the quality of the mattress and the pillows was very poor, both ... Read More
We travelled from Liverpool to Ireland on Friday 8th May 2015 and had cabin number 9912. The room was very clean and everything that had been promised in the brochure, but the quality of the mattress and the pillows was very poor, both being hard and lumpy. We found the indoor areas of the ship to be clean and bright, the standard of the food was very high and could not be faulted, and the staff were very friendly and eager to please. However, we encountered quite a few problems with our room. When returning to our room after dinner on the first night we found the wind howling around and under the door, making such a loud noise that sleep was impossible. We had to wait over one hour and make two calls to reception before maintenance attended our room. Only a temporary fix could be effected and this was only by placing a towel along the door bottom, but we were happy to accept this as we wanted to retire and were told that a permanent repair would be done the next day. After going to bed we were woken about 2.00a.m. by a loud intermittent clanging. It turned out that the metal balcony divider had come loose in the very wet and windy weather and this was swinging back and forth. After trying to fix it twice ourselves it still worked loose again after 10 minutes so it meant another phone call to reception and a visit from the maintenance man. We would expect that these type of items should have been checked as part of general maintenance before the room was allocated. We went off the ship on the Saturday and were very disappointed on our return at 5.00 p.m. to find that the howling noise under the door had not been attended to, so we called out the Customer Service Manager to explain how very disappointed we were with our experience so far. She apologised and offered to move us to another cabin but we were loathe to do that as it involved moving our belongings ourselves. She then called out the senior maintenance man who said he had listened outside our door earlier in the day but as he could not hear anything he did not think there was still a problem! He came back an hour later and effected a repair involving duct tape. On Sunday I went to use the hairdryer and it would not work, so this meant another visit from a maintenance man and the problem was found to be an electrical one in the razor point in the bathroom - yet again another item not checked to be in working order. In the newsletter we received we were told that on the last evening we would receive a questionnaire for completion - we did not, I wonder why? There a many good things to be said about Fred Olsen cruising, the embarkation and disembarkation was handled well and efficiently, the standard of hygiene is very high too. It may have just been our bad luck to have so many problems with our room but it did mar our enjoyment of the trip to a large extent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Just returned from a 3 nighter to Dublin booked last minute. Went years ago on Black Prince and found it good, but haven't been with Fred since. Our premium twin cabin was spacious and everything worked well. The food was ... Read More
Just returned from a 3 nighter to Dublin booked last minute. Went years ago on Black Prince and found it good, but haven't been with Fred since. Our premium twin cabin was spacious and everything worked well. The food was excellent; better than I have eaten on more expensive cruise lines, and served with a smile. Passenger age mix was wider than we have experienced before. You don't usually get hen parties on Fred Olsen. They were a lovely bunch of girls who enjoyed themselves but respected other passengers. Nice to see children as well. All in all a lovely two full days in Dublin on a comfortable ship. We will travel with the company again. Embarkation was quick and efficient, and disembarkation was amazing! We were asked to vacate the cabin by 8 a.m and we're off the ship by 8.10. Incredibly efficient. Didn't go to the shows but others seemed to enjoy them. Only slight negative was limited choice of T.V channels. No problem for us; we don't go on holiday to watch T.V, but if you want to relax in your cabin there's not a lot except world news to look at. There's a nice little cinema with decent films though. Good experience which we hope to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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