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6 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

If CMV do read reviews and feedback forms then why do they not act upon them. This is the interesting question! We recently stepped ashore (am still in motion) having spent 30 days on board the good old Marco Polo cruise ship. I did read ... Read More
If CMV do read reviews and feedback forms then why do they not act upon them. This is the interesting question! We recently stepped ashore (am still in motion) having spent 30 days on board the good old Marco Polo cruise ship. I did read the reviews of previous voyages but must have seen only the good ones or, subconsciously filtered out the bad ones. My boss at work found these with great relish about two weeks before we sailed ! So my expectations were mixed as to how our holiday to the Caribbean would go. As a result my review reflects the mixture of good and bad experiences of the trip. All the negative comments are true and all the positive comments are true, So why doesn't the management listen and make positive changes, it would not take much to make this ship so much more enjoyable. Train staff to be courteous, reward those who are and reprimand those who are rude, abrupt , drunk on duty and lazy.I blame the dining room management team for the poor service. Our waitress Inna and her assistant were excellent. Waiters did not pull out chairs for guests or help elderly passengers, instead they rushed us at lunch and breakfast. Reception staff varied their helpfulness depending on how harassed they were. We found asking politely for help was rewarded with calm efficiency. Our cabin steward Natalia was exceptionally good and quickly remedied the creaky bed and the worn, pilled bedsheets. She patiently mopped the flooded bathroom floor after my stupidy at leaving the shower curtains on the wrong side and constantly refreshed the worn towels after my ablutions. Reader are you getting my drift? The Ship should be renamed "The Richard Sykes " after our effervescent and multi -talented cruise director. This man is superhuman as well as being the captains voice, he entertained us daily with his musical and cabaret talent. He also acted as compere to a variety of game shows which ranged from the interesting to the ridiculous. All the time smiling and being charming, despite hearing all sorts of grumbles and complaints from fellow passengers. A 2 hour "Elvis " marathon, an Elton John tribute, Victoria Wood antics to name but a few of his more modern sessions. This he complimented with various shows from the 1930's and 40's for our more senior cruisers. The ship's band and show teams have come in for some criticism on other cruise reviews but we found them to be very competent, considering they had many ship's duties to perform. As well as nightly performances, they acted as embarkation personnel, quiz masters, fitness and yoga coaches, librarians, games show hosts etc. The nice thing about this is, we passengers got to know these talented people and their participation made up for the surliness of the others and played a huge part in relieving the boredom of 22 tedious sea days. I would like to mention three people Vlad in Yoga class, Emma in fitness and for the last four days, Linda who showed me how to make stunning jewellery To them I owe my dubious sanity. Health on board any ship is a matter of extreme importance.I thank my lucky stars we travelled on another ship to the Baltic and missed the Norovirus episode. With an elderly demographic passenger list , illness sadly is a fact of life , however rumour has it ,one gent asked for his online account to be sent to the "ship's doctor " as he had paid all his spending money to him. Ultimately in the final few days every cough and sneeze by another passenger was almost regarded as the kiss of death.Needless to say there were queues of passengers at the pharmacies at our ports of call! Deck space on the sunny days was ok but the sundeck was marred by soot from the funnel and rough seas of course put the tubs and pool out of action. Deck furniture needs cleaning, and the tea and coffee areas were unsatisfactory having over-spilling bins nearby. the smokers were limited to certain areas and seemed happy enough. Excursions seemed popular with many passengers, especially the less active, but we took taxis and seemed to navigate our way around the beautiful islands quite easily. at half the cost I am sure. Finally Food. First courses and puddings/cakes were delicious, soups wholesome and tasty, mains samey and institutional, What I would have given for a boiled tattie ! I suspect a lot, especially veg, emerged from the deep freezes. The Wine waiter had the easiest job on the whole ship as not many bottles were in evidence! Dress code; What dress code ? Again I blame the dining room management , not once did anyone ask me if I had enjoyed my meal. That readers says a lot ! Thank you for your patience if you have read this. CMV take note.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Oh dear Oh dear. We have cruised now with P&O for around 8 years, our previous sailing four years ago on board Oriana from Southampton to the Caribbean and back. Our Son got married on board and we had a wonderful time despite a storm ... Read More
Oh dear Oh dear. We have cruised now with P&O for around 8 years, our previous sailing four years ago on board Oriana from Southampton to the Caribbean and back. Our Son got married on board and we had a wonderful time despite a storm at sea. There was plenty of things to do and the entertainment and food on board was varied and of good quality. Two years ago we went with friend on a Mediterranean cruise on board Royal Caribbean and although the ship was good, we praised at the time to our friends to try and used P&O as we felt it was so much better. How can a company change so much in four years. Read on. Our first encounter was with the boarding disruption at Southampton. After travelling some two hours a distance of nearly 135 miles, one didn't expect to have to wait in a traffic hold up at the port entrance to the ship in an hour of traffic. This we we're first told was due to excess luggage after the world cruise and then to be told of a computer failure. The first excuse doesn't really hold true as this wouldn't have been the first time a cruise ship has returned from a world cruise, and the second excuse a feeble one unless the computers has not been checked or maintained (This comes from my son in law an IT whiz kid). It was a complete shambles and not a good start to the holiday. When we eventually boarded we quickly explored the ship and ended up near the Crystal pool where the dome that is clearly advertised as "She even has one pool which can be covered by a sky dome" was being repaired and hand winched closed. This was really unsatisfactory as it was hand winched open and left open in all weathers, which proved a problem on one evening when the pool party that had to be held around the other pool, finished prematurely because rain stopped play,,,,,,,,,, Literally. Over the period of our holiday there was little to keep most people we spoke to from young to elderly amused. The resident show theatre company we're of good standard and worked hard to entertain, but most of the guest acts of board were terrible. We have at home better street buskers than most of the acts were on board. We had to contend with a West End female vocalist that took great pleasure in informing everyone who she had rubbed shoulders with on her outstanding career and a Singer Songwriter who's claim to fame was writing, or co-writing a song for Barry Maniloe which incidentally was many years ago, and again took great pleasure in telling everyone how wonderful he was. The fact was that several people walked out of the Curzon Theatre and many more that I assume did not see him on his first performance, walked out on his second appearance at the Carmen's venue. He could not only crucify any song with his singing but even managed to destroy any credibility of piano playing with a Ragtime number. The most annoying and totally inappropriate artist was the after dinner speaker ex MP. This was conveniently placed to make sure everyone had an early night, as after watching a show at one end of the ship to go to the other end to listen to him, he killed the evenings dancing which followed. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to book an after dinner speaker who boasted of his serving on the government, boasted of his political party and boasted of his involvement of Dyson cleansers to the point of stating that P&O's use of the "Henry" hoovers was a huge mistake because they chuck loads of dust out and that we all should buy Dyson ones. And the truly tropical Caribbean style band. Or not. Apparently the leader of the band had a passport that was under six months expiry and missed the ship at Southampton. Now common sense would be find another band suitable through the hundreds of agencies in the UK and fly them out to the Azores. Simple. But oh no, the band was eventually flown out to Barbados and we celebrated Caribbean music after leaving Barbados and on route back to Madeira. Very apt. Who actually picks the acts? And do they only get them from agencies and not see who they have booked. I work with dramatics and have had some experience in booking acts for clubs, I only booked an act that I had seen, not on an agencies recommendation (they are going to be biased as they want a booking, and I'm sure that I could have done a better job. The food was fantastic with a great selection and reasonable portions in the restaurant's, but this was four years ago. On this occasion the food was good but the quantity and selections, especially in the "Orangery" was poor compared to four years ago. I know that everyone is trying to cut costs, but there does come a point when people notice, and we were not alone. The only people we spoke to throughout our holiday that were none the wiser were first time cruisers. The ship was looking tatty with worn carpets, lighting bulbs broken, hand dryers not working and general dEcor shabby. We have cruised before on Oriana and although an older ship, she was beautifully kept. Now to P&O's first Lady Captain. Sarah Bretton! Did she and her staff have a personal hygiene phobia or do they all have highly contagious skin conditions? As when a hand of anyone was put out in the Formal Captain pictures to shake it was evident that this is not acceptable. And when I had a photo taken with me one side and my wife the other, my wife said to the Captain "is this ok" referring to the distance next to the Captain for a photo, to be told, "that's far enough". Also whilst speaking to a regular frequent traveller who was a gold member and had spoken to one of the Officers on board, said that they had been instructed not to shake hands with guests. Before I am given some mundane excuse as to why this is not done, take a look at your in-cabin advertisement for the Azura. Does it not show a sociable captain and officers mixing with their guests. If the captain in her wisdom doesn't like bodily contact then why not wear gloves or have a hand cleanser to hand, after all the whole ships guests have at least three hand cleanses a day with the sanitary hand cleanser. And another point is if the Captain doesn't want to get infected, I assume she doesn't touch any part of the ship, including the glasses she and her officers drink from. I am not a smoker, but respect the areas set aside on board for smokers. This rule apparently doesn't apply to ships officers who made a brief visit to the pool night party. Non-smokers on the Starboard side, smokers on the port side and smoking officers who were apparently exempt, in the bar in the middle which incidentally didn't have ashtrays, so where did the ash go? The Pools have Jacuzzis. I can understand that the pool in bad weather condition's is closed for safety, but why were the Jacuzzis affected. Or more to the point one. It was drained and left emptied and out of action for several days until it was refilled again. And a final gripe, the Dance room ( Carmen's) placed very strategically at the Stern of the ship. I'm no expert on ship control but common sense would suggest that the venue in the rough sea conditions would be very unstable at the stern. The Discotheque was placed midship. No-one, and I mean No-one was using it until the early hours so why not make full use of the venue by changing the programme. Common senses again. In conclusion both myself and wife found the whole experience this time with P & O a shambles. There is only so much you can cut back on and sadly in the four years in which we have not used P & O it shows immensely . With more and more companies using Southampton as a base and all competitively priced, I can foresee that P & O will suffer unless a rethink is in hand. Don't get us wrong, we love cruising, but this experience has somewhat marred P & O's credibility as one of the top. And this would be such a shame. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My wife and I have just completed a 36 day Christmas Caribbean Cruise on the Marco Polo departing Tilbury 6th December and arriving back on 10th January. We had the advantage of missing most of the Icelandic conditions experienced in the ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed a 36 day Christmas Caribbean Cruise on the Marco Polo departing Tilbury 6th December and arriving back on 10th January. We had the advantage of missing most of the Icelandic conditions experienced in the UK over that period - an added bonus! but I do wish to congratulate the Captain and his crew on making this trip so memorable. It was truly fantastic. Previous critics of Marco Polo cruises have complained about the price of drinks. Yes, they were a few pence dearer than I would expect to pay in my "local" but if you drink on board everyday, don't be surprised if you get a large bill at the end of the cruise!! And OK, the Cabin water was expensive at £2.20 per bottle but you were not stopped from bringing on board your own water. Many passengers did so. The Waldorf Restaurant served superb food in excellent surroundings and for those who preferred something more informal, they could dine in the Bistro. I tended to take evening meals in the Waldorf but for other meals I ate either in the Bistro or on deck. Daytime entertainment was pitched at the right level - carpet bowls (even if my bowls did run down the stairs), Bean Bag Bucket Bowls, Bagatelle and Jackkalo - all well attended as was Shuffleboard and the excellent guest lectures. There were numerous quiz's, a card room and keep fit classes. In other words something for everyone and coffee/tea was available throughout the day until about 22.00. Evening shows were really well done and everyone involved deserves a round of applause. So what was the downside of this fabulous trip - perhaps they need a bigger bagatelle board. I didn't watch a lot of TV/Films partly because it took me the whole of the trip to master the controls; some of the TVs could do with an upgrade. Also I would have preferred to see some cheese available at lunch-times. But doesn't all this sound petty. The fact is from top to bottom or the other way round, every member of the cruise worked their socks off to make this trip enjoyable (the captain however would not let anyone beat him at table tennis - he should take it a little easier!) One word of warning. it didn't affect me but I understand the Ships Sick Bay charges exorbitant fees for medical attention and they want the money up front (so I was told ). Another very expensive item is the cost of on board photographs. The ship must have thrown away hundreds of photo's which would have been very saleable at a more realistic price. After all, it wasn't as though the pictures were being taken by David Bailey. But i am not complaining. I sailed on a great little ship with a great crew, superb food, and with terrific entertainment. Would I go again on the Marco Polo - most definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband and I are new to cruising and our first cruise was on the Independence of the Seas and was a wonderful experience. Wanting to compare this experience to a smaller ship to see if there was a different atmosphere we booked onto ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising and our first cruise was on the Independence of the Seas and was a wonderful experience. Wanting to compare this experience to a smaller ship to see if there was a different atmosphere we booked onto the Marco Polo leaving Tilbury on 2nd January 2010. This proved to be a big mistake - the ship was so obviously overbooked, there were not enough sunbeds or outside chairs for the amount of passengers wanting to use them and we witnessed many tense confrontations where these were "reserved" with towels, blankets or books for well over the 30 mins allowed. Our first problem was with the safe which, having put our valuables in, refused to open. Eventually the whole safe had to be drilled out of the wall and a new one put in which we couldn't use till the glue dried. Next our shower consistently only gave us cold water and it was only thanks to our cabin steward that it got fixed at all. Then the air conditioning wouldn't work and again we had workmen in the cabin trying to fix it. The cabins are extremely small especially as we had the comparison with the Independence. The excursions from the ship were very expensive and we felt ripped off when we found we could do the same trips from the port at much lower prices. The alcoholic drinks on board were extremely expensive and what was worse they ran out of beer nearly a week away from the end of the cruise!! The water was not much better - foul stuff tasting of chlorine and if you couldn't bear it you could buy bottles at extortionate prices (£2.50 bottle), which meant at each port we were forced to go shopping for affordable water. By far the worst thing was that they allowed smoking in one of the bars which meant that place was somewhere we couldn't go and the rooms leading off this bar always smelt of cigarette smoke. The disembarkation was unbelievable - it took 3 hours of boredom whilst they tried to get all the luggage off the ship before we could get off ourselves - complete incompetence. The overall impression of the Marco Polo was of a tired old ship charging 4 star prices for a 3 star service, and we will not be repeating this experience ever. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We actually travelled From Southampton but this stupid review site has only Got Tilbury. The Departure area is fairly well organised considering they have to deal with 300o odd passengers, we did not have to wait long to board maybe ... Read More
We actually travelled From Southampton but this stupid review site has only Got Tilbury. The Departure area is fairly well organised considering they have to deal with 300o odd passengers, we did not have to wait long to board maybe 45mins or so. we had a outside cabin with balcony on deck 14, which was smaller than I imagined but adequate.On departure a Naval brass band plays you away as you leave Southampton, I thought this was great. We had Club dining which was very nice we usually went there for formal dinners where you always had a table booked, but we also ate in the 2 buffet style restaurants, and had a fantastic meal in the White room as well. There was a fantastic entertainments manager on the ship from Jersey, who was also very funny,Leon St Croix. he joined in all the activities and also hosted an interesting screen show of the planets, it was like being in the planetarium, well almost. You spend six days at sea from Teneriffe, The sail away parties are a lot of fun Brian Conley Did 3 shows one night Booking therapies was a complete joke you would wait for your booked appointment then they would say after half hour wait sorry can you come back tommorow,No way we are on vacation so no sale there, the girl just looked at us and said you are not annoyed are you. Also went to buy a Dress shirt from wardrobe asked the assistant for a tape measure to measure neck size, they did not have one. another no sale. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was a 'budget' cruise ship and it certainly lived up to those expectations. We were not informed at the time of booking that this cruise started in Germany and would arrive in the UK with over 600 German passengers ... Read More
This was a 'budget' cruise ship and it certainly lived up to those expectations. We were not informed at the time of booking that this cruise started in Germany and would arrive in the UK with over 600 German passengers already on board and there would only be around 200 UK passengers on the cruise. Problems began at Tilbury when the 'disabled' and 'those with walking difficulties'were called for embarkation, but then kept standing for over half an hour whilst those in charge tried to get their act together. German passengers were allowed priority to disembark at Tilbury, although the purpose of the stop was for British passengers to embark. Once these folk had ascertained there was nothing of interest to see at Tilbury, many expected to push pass everyone embarking with hand luggage. The cabin was roomy but noisy. The ceiling and wall panels rattled with every ship movement and had to be wedged with cardboard. The curtains were difficult to close without leaving a gap (i.e. too small). The set of drawers and one wardrobe door would not stay closed and had to be wedged shut when on the move. The soundproofing was inadequate and conversation could be heard from neighbours. The satellite TV system only had German language channels (now there's a surprise!). Overall, This was hardly up to our expectations of a grade 12 twin cabin. There were two restaurants - The Waldorf and Marco's. Breakfast consisted of a cold, greasy fry-up on cold plates with orange juice that became weaker due to watering down as the cruise progressed. Tea and coffee were difficult to tell apart. The evening meal comprised of a choice of pasta, fish and pork/beef/veal on every night. No points given for imagination. Again, cold plates were the norm. The waiters were badly trained, over enthusiastic and took your half consumed food or drink away if you left them to get anything from the buffet. It was no real loss though!! Entertainment consisted of bingo, countdown, card making and other unmissable fun. The best entertainment was watching the Germans stuffing every bit of food in sight. The games in the games room were largely incomplete (e.g. one domino missing in the set, dice missing in another game and the 5 of spades in many of the packs of cards). Once we were underway in the Atlantic, the ship listed and rolled even in reasonable weather. Force 1-2 was Ok though. There was no Captain's welcome dinner or final dinner, just a welcome cocktail party where you were made to queue outside the lounge for ages while folk had their pictures taken with the captain on an individual basis. After 20 minutes of standing around, we couldn't be bothered..... All but one of the lifts were marked 'out of order' during bad weather. Those with walking difficulties had problems in getting to the restaurant. The one working lift was often comandeered by cabin staff whose used pass keys to bypass waiting passengers. Complaints were treated with the 'what do you expect me to do about it?' attitude. One passenger had a fatal heart. The body was removed in the middle of the disembarkation process in Antigua. Nice timing. The following day, a German jumped overboard (must have been the food!! Not enough of it, perhaps?) and caused us many hours delay whilst an investigation proceeded. We missed a port because of this inconsiderate individual throwing himself to the sharks. By now things had hotted up and one elderly English lady was drageed out of the lift by her hair by a German male who couldn't wait for the next lift. For one minute, it looked like another might be going overboard when no-one was looking!! Mixed passengers on the 'Rhum Runner' was a mistake as free booze was involved and a punch up between two passengers looked lightly when the words 'you ****ing Nazi' was heard coming from one 80+ year old. We were looking forward to Remembrance Sunday on board with anticipation. The berthing arrangements sometimes created a lengthy walk for those on Marco Polo to get ashore. Not so for those with Carnival Cruises and others which berthed next to the dock exit. We then we informed that Transocean Tours had gone bust..... Well what a Surprise!! Bad news was that they had been reincarnated as something else and would be taking bookings for...... wait for it..... 'The Caribbean' in February. Can't wait!! The places visited were very good, albeit with seemingly expensive tours. For example, one tour costing 55 Euros could be taken at the port for $30 US. You got your own personal guide too. The duty free on board was more expensive than UK supermarket prices. For example, 200 cigarettes on board cost 31.50 Euro, but could be bought in Martinique duty free for 15 Euro. Drinks on board were dearer than UK pub prices and a can of John Smiths Yorkshire p*ss was 2.70 Euro. The duty free shop with it's 200 Euro pullovers was visited when we needed a good laugh. All in all, a budget cruise and it shows. If you want a decent cruise AVOID this ship like the plague. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009

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