8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want ... Read More
Just back from 28 day cruise on Olsen’s Black Watch. We are in our early 60 s and very active, most on the cruise are in their eighties plus, low mobility and not active. Great for them to get a cruise holiday but frustrating if you want plenty of activity. Golf putting, carpet bowls in the corridor, whist, bingo, British singalong dress nights did not appeal. Ship was being constantly worked on so noise all over including windows being replaced on upper decks, toilets not working, information about destinations not great or non existent. The entertainment ranges from amateurish to good, the crew provide a lot of input. It is an old creaky ship which during storms bounced around. Disembarkation was appalling with low mobility people having and causing problems. A double decker bus shuttled people to trains with lower deck for suitcases including zimmer framed etc. and upper deck for passengers. The late arrival and departure of these ‘coaches’ caused many of us to miss our connections. Food is okay, staff ok, gym a bit limited, all areas busy and yapping all the time. All in all a great cruise for those who have low mobility but a snooze fest for others Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
5 Helpful Votes
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We booked this 6 months before departure so paid c. £3500 for 4 of us. Last minute passengers can pay much less (£500-600 each) and I imagine CMV struggle to break even. I had no problem with the price. Embarkation at Liverpool was ... Read More
We booked this 6 months before departure so paid c. £3500 for 4 of us. Last minute passengers can pay much less (£500-600 each) and I imagine CMV struggle to break even. I had no problem with the price. Embarkation at Liverpool was extremely efficient. Greenock and Lerwick were dreary places so you will need to arrange excursions. I would do this in advance or you may have to use CMV tours at a price. These small places are not equipped to cater for independent tours especially if another cruise ship arrives at the same time. We enjoyed the Faroe Islands, Kirkwall and Tobermoray was pretty but simply a small harbour. The evening meals on the ship were very good - lots of choice for everyone. Breakfasts less acceptable and a bit of a scrum. There is an a la carte option at breakfast which is less choice but more peaceful. We usually had lunch at our port destination but there was a buffet on board, pizza and a burger bar. There are hundreds of staff on board from around the world and they were all exceptionally helpful and it seemed a happy ship on the face of it. They are obviously very reliant on tips so worth remembering that. The evening entertainment was enthusiastic and had its moments - some good and also excruciating. Didn't expect too much! It was mainly fun. Contrary to popular belief cruises are not really suitable for the very elderly/ infirm unless they remain on board all day! Even then disembarking is stressful as is the emergency drill (lifts out of action both times and many stairs to climb). Also bear in mind that the boats may drop anchor outside small ports and it is then necessary to reach shore on small tender boats - very difficult for the elderly. Finally do think about disembarkation and onward travel. The final port may be miles from the rail station (eg Newcastle) and taxis can be limited Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a ... Read More
Chose the Cruise because I could board at Liverpool. I was very disappointed with the poor choice of food in Raffles buffet at breakfast and lunchtime. It was very difficult to find a seat to eat a meal since it is so small and this was a particular problem on sea days. Lots of staff on Reception but most appeared poorly trained and they constantly had to find more experienced staff to consult. Overall, there appeared to be a total lack of communication between staff in all departments. When problems arose, few of them were willing to help solve them. The problem always remained with the customer to sort out. II thought the theatre entertainment was good and Dana was a brilliant revelation. The remaining organised activities during the day were poor. Trying to find seats in the bars and lounges in the evening was difficult because there were too many passengers for the limited facilities of the ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
we chose this cruise to see the fjords, and for the convenient port of embarkation. chose the ship for its smaller size for our first cruise. embarkation was very smooth and quick, no waiting at all, straight on board and our cases were ... Read More
we chose this cruise to see the fjords, and for the convenient port of embarkation. chose the ship for its smaller size for our first cruise. embarkation was very smooth and quick, no waiting at all, straight on board and our cases were outside our cabin within minutes!. Cabin was excellent, with plenty of space to move about and very good facilities. Cabin steward was first class and very helpful, as were every single member of staff on board, such a cheerful bunch! The food was excellent, plentiful and frequent. Although the marco polo is an older ship, she has an understated elegance about her, Plenty of activities if you wanted them, and quiet areas if that was your preference. Entertainment crew were very good, and carried on regardless of some difficult sea conditions. the excursions were varied and very interesting. we had an unscheduled overnight stop in bergen due to rough seas, and missed out tobermory. Some passengers were unhappy about that, but surely the safety of passengers and crew should take priority. Personally, i think the captain is to be commended in the decision he made! Dining was a real pleasure, particularly of an evening. We were fortunate to be seated with lovely people, and the waiters/waitresses were top notch, nothing was too much trouble for them the only downside was the weather, which was nobodys fault! We would certainly cruise again on the Marco Polo, maybe a summer one next time. Disembarkation was just as good as embarkation. I had reservations about having to use a tender for a couple of excursions, but need not have been worried, the staff were there to assist and made it very easy Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Never cruised before and wanted to see if we would enjoy it. We cannot fault the crew or ship we were well looked after by very pleasant staff who tried to do every thing in their power to make the cruise a pleasant experience. The food ... Read More
Never cruised before and wanted to see if we would enjoy it. We cannot fault the crew or ship we were well looked after by very pleasant staff who tried to do every thing in their power to make the cruise a pleasant experience. The food and service in the Waldorph restaurant was superb . Our cabin was very comfortable a superior ocean view, kept immaculate by our steward Dexter who greeted us with a smile every morning, he also came every evening to turn down the bed. Loved the Captains bar with its settees and arm chairs great for coffee and a read during the day and for sitting having a drink in the evening after the super shows the staff put on. The only downside was I wasn't a good sailor (sea sick) the sea was quite choppy being late September. Unfortunately most of the ports due to them being small were closing down as it was coming to the end of the season. I recommend this cruise ship to anyone who would like to experience a cruise where it is more intimate than larger ships. Take no notice of negative reviews on this ship we found it very pleasant and comfortable. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three reasons. Firstly we wanted to visit the Norwegian Fjords. Secondly e liked the idea that it sailed from a UK port and finally it was organised by SAGA and we trust their services. We were picked up by car and dropped at Liverpool Cruise terminal and the return was just the reverse of that. It was extremely smooth with luggage being well and speedily handled on embarkation and disembarkation. The ship was comfortable and suited us but may not suit younger people as the entertainment was not particularly geared to a young audience.There were places to sit and read or just talk so we were not confined to our cabin as has happened on larger ships. The cabin was not large but sufficed for our needs but we also had a balcony so it didn't feel too cramped. The crew were very helpful and pleasant throughout. The food was good with plenty of choice. Drinks service in the various lounges was efficient. The ships entertainment team were better than any I have experienced on other cruise lines. They actually had singers who could sing - a rarity in my experience. They had good additional entertainers including a good comedian, a good singer a flamenco guitarist and a multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, saxophone and flute) We booked four excursions but one was cancelled due to lack of take-up, The other three were better than most I have experienced before and although not cheap were reasonable value for money. Beware of the price a drinks ashore in Norway. A 500 ml bottle of beer cost the equivalent of £11.50 Overall this was a superb cruise. I have cruised about 12 times altogether with five different cruise lines and this was the best so far. Far better than P&O and a little better than Thomson. An enjoyable experience Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We are all retired young at heart couples travelling for a birthday celebration with my husbands brother and his wife. We travelled on the door to door service organised by Saga which was very good. Embarkation was very good. We ... Read More
We are all retired young at heart couples travelling for a birthday celebration with my husbands brother and his wife. We travelled on the door to door service organised by Saga which was very good. Embarkation was very good. We were so looking forward to our cruise booked for my brother in laws 70th birthday year. The Cabins which were supposed to be superior outside, were awful. We have been cruising for nearly 20 years and superior these cabins were not. Once we set sail things went from bad to worse. The vibration from the engines and creaking and rattling of the ship prevented any of us from a decent nights sleep the whole holiday. We resorted to earplugs but these did not help with the vibration. When we put our heads on the pillows it was rattling our heads. I would advise avoidance of cabin nos. 5059 or 5061 arghhh! Needless to say we all complained but the situation went unresolved. The daily information on the ship was excellent. The food was very good and our waiters Chai and Arnold really looked after us and we had them the whole holiday which was great. The staff in the dining area and bars worked extremely hard and nothing was too much trouble for them. There were activities onboard such as Quizes and quoits but unfortunately a couple of these flew overboard Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
With a small ship you get to know people easier. There are no long queue's for the dining rooms or bars. You get to know your crew and the work they all do. Going ashore for visits to interesting places with the smaller ships means ... Read More
With a small ship you get to know people easier. There are no long queue's for the dining rooms or bars. You get to know your crew and the work they all do. Going ashore for visits to interesting places with the smaller ships means you can reach places the larger ships can't. Embarking and disembarking is much quicker because of less people to do this. Having sailed on much larger ships I think I can honestly say I do prefer the smaller ones.. When sight seeing by coach in certain ports you are away long before the passengers on the larger ships because there are less people. Activities and entertainment are equally as good as on the larger ships. The smaller ships have voyages for adults only. Although children have every right to go cruising with their parents, the older adults who have been through all this with their own children now want to cruise without children for the peace & quiet that can bring Read Less

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