Celebrating a birthday was our excuse to choose a taster cruise on the " new" to them, Magellan, the latest addition to Cruise and Maritime's fleet of elderly vessels. We were initially advised that we could arrive as early ... Read More
Celebrating a birthday was our excuse to choose a taster cruise on the " new" to them, Magellan, the latest addition to Cruise and Maritime's fleet of elderly vessels. We were initially advised that we could arrive as early as 8.30 am, but were eventually advised to arrive at. 10.30, still early for those of us who live a long way from the London Cruise terminal of Tilbury, quite easily reached by train from Fenchurch street. Approaching the vessel, her Carnival heritage was clear from the now navy blue winged funnel . Embarkation was badly organised, quite chaotic and took far longer than it ought to have. We finally boarded and were shown to our cabin on deck 7 by a smiling staff member. Our supposedly superior cabin was decidedly dull, well worn , with odd layout, a strange knee jarring quadrant corner table, and poor lighting. There was adequate storage, a safe that didn't work, despite the attempts of a maintenance man, but thankfully the bed was comfortable. The bathroom was minuscule, badly lit and with the tiniest bar of soap we have ever seen. We had not expected luxury, but we felt this was a standard pared to the bare bones.
Departure was delayed, so as we had left home at dawn, we decided to have an early buffet lunch in the Raffles Bistro. There was a reasonable choice , with decent soup and fresh crusty bread, but we noted that empty platters were not quickly replaced . Tables were pushed very close together, and many guests found it hard to find a seat.
Since the wintry sun was out we explored the outside decks, and found a spacious teak sun deck, with ample sun lounge beds, so enjoyed a pleasant hour or so of reading in the sunshine, delightful after a long dreary winter. The navigator deck was pleasant for a stroll, and was where the much nicer few suites were located. We had a look in one, finding it far superior, with lovely lounge area, separate bed space and spa tub bathroom. The balcony was generous, but with obstructed views.
Finally we set sail , with little fuss, and no happy sailaway on offer. We sipped a glass of champagne and wished the clouds to keep away!
Later we explored the interior spaces, with 2 decks of public areas, deck 9 having a series of bars and a decent showroom on 2 levels. We enjoyed a duo performing easy listening tunes, before dinner, and had a quick look in the spacious shops.
We found little of the glitz that we expected of an exCarnival/Costa vessel, and few attempts to make this a glamorous attractive ship.
The restaurant deck was difficult to navigate, as you needed to use the right stairs or lift to get to either of the 2 main restaurants, allocated according to cabin location.
We dined late in the smaller of the two , sharing a 6 table. The menu offered good, but predictable choices , and was well cooked and pleasantly presented , but getting some wine proved a challenge as there appeared to be few wine waiters. We were treated to an enthusiastic old style baked Alaska parade, but no other desserts or cheese was offered to those who don't care for this particular cake .
We made our way to the Show lounge, and realised that there were many seats with column obscured sight lines and several rows of one level seats nearer the stage. The small orchestra played on one side of the upper level. The performance that night was an Abba tribute, performed by a troupe of skilled dancers and some good singers , rather dulled by really old style choreography . It was received with great enthusiasm by the audience.
We were too tired to investigate the night club 's offerings, and the casino held little attraction as the antiquated slot machines required feeding in dollars.
We found the bed comfortable, and ordered room service early morning tea, before making our way to the Raffles bistro for an excellent breakfast of scrambled eggs and gravlax with freshly made toast.
Because our arrival in Newcastle was going to be delayed, we enjoyed a morning trivia, and a brisk deck walk in the strong breeze . Finally Magellan turned towards the Tyne estuary , tying up some distance from the city. We took a taxi , and were driven by a charming young man, proud of his city, who gave us a running commentary and took us to the railway station on a route passing the amazing regeneration of this handsome city and it's riverside.
Would we sail on Magellan again? Probably not, but it was interesting to see an older Carnival ship being put to new use.