46 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We arrived at Tilbury and the cruise terminal was busy, but the embarkation process was basically orderly, but not as smooth as it might be. The boarding was by numbered groups, and some people blocked queues anticipating their own ... Read More
We arrived at Tilbury and the cruise terminal was busy, but the embarkation process was basically orderly, but not as smooth as it might be. The boarding was by numbered groups, and some people blocked queues anticipating their own numbers. Once on board everything calmed down, and our luggage was ready for us at our cabin. The cabin on the Pacific Deck was smallish, but comfortable, and did provide all the basics we needed. Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant was good, the service excellent and the maitre d' a true professional. He had a friendly nature with a sense of humour, and made the mealtime a real pleasure. Breakfast in the Waldorf is buffet style, and a bit crowded, so we had breakfast in the open dining Marco's on the second day. The selection was good and the food of a good quality. The public areas were clean, and the deck and serving staff friendly. Disembarking and boarding in Amsterdam was smooth, and the overall experience very positive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies ... Read More
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies and a few more places thrown in for good measure !!! To be honest, we had no intention of going on a cruise but at the price this trip was offered at it was just too good to refuse. We booked a basic inside cabin and I think we were upgraded to a "standard plus". I won't say what we paid but it was an unbelievably good bargain as far as we were concerned but I do know many people paid a lot more than we did and for the extra all they got was, in our opinion anyway, a slightly better cabin in as much as a little bit more room and possibly windows too. Both we felt we didn't need. Having booked the holiday, I then started gleaning as much information about the trip as possible and soon realised the Marco Polo certainly seems to polarise opinions so here's mine ! The first thing is to consider where the trip is going to before choosing a cabin. On cold weather trips being over the kitchens might be advantageous, on warm ones probably not. Certainly being under the rear deck is one to avoid during warm weather as the noise from above must be awful when they move tables and chairs around at the crack of dawn and very late at night. Anywhere near the show lounge would probably be intolerable of those who go to bed before 11.00pm We hadn't thought about any of these things so it was by good luck our cabin was well placed and, in our opinion , perfectly adequate for our needs. We were amazed how all our luggage vanished in to drawers,wardrobes and under the bed. We had read criticisms about staff and we found them largely totally unfounded. The majority were hardworking and attentive although there are always the odd exceptions to the rule. I thought the crew in general were overworked and underpaid. I don't understand why tips are added to the bill , why not increase the fares paid and increase wages ? I don't like the fact that tips can be reduced either because it means that they are either being withheld or being unfairly handed out to the people who you have come in to most contact with meaning that if tips are seen as part of the wage packet, some crew members receive less than others. We found the food on the boat to be very good, judging by the amounts people were eating it couldn't be that bad ! Served meals in the Waldorf were pleasant, the self service Bistro is a bit canteen like for our liking but it does offer the opportunity to eat outside on the rear deck when weather permits. We chose a table for eight in the Waldorf and were fortunate to share with likeminded guests, 6 weeks of the same could have been trying had we not been lucky. Breakfast and lunch tables are allocated as you arrive so you get to meet different people each meal time which I found interesting as you shared your experiences. The ships dress code is not strictly adhered to. I chose a dinner jacket for formal nights but I'd say just as many wore suits. Informal nights suggest you wear a jacket but once the weather got warmer the majority of men abandoned the idea, myself included. I did speak to one lady who thought it was outrageous that men were allowed in to the Waldorf in such a state of undress, after all one of the reasons she booked the Marco Polo was because of the dress code. Of course she made no mention that 1) the alternative Bistro was closed because of norovirus and 2) ladies can choose to wear very lightweight sleeveless dresses. It ain't fair! Generally speaking I thought the ship was much better in appearance than I had expected. I thought the public areas were well appointed and actually, quite smart. Not tired as described by some.The outside wooden decks have a nice traditional feel but there isn't a huge amount of space when the weather gets nice. Sunbeds are at a premium and certainly, the uppermost sun lounge deck was not to our liking at all with no space between loungers to speak of, instead we chose to sit in a chair where ever a little space between other people was possible. I guess this is something that might be common to all cruises. One or two previous reports have made mention of soot being deposited on the decks. It happened again during our cruise and I have to say, on occasion was so thick it could and had to be brushed away each evening. On the last night of our trip to the West Indies, the party on the rear deck was cancelled as there were red hot lumps of burning soot landing on the decks. It was more like a firework display. I do wonder if the many coughs that people were suffering was in any way linked. I do know that clothes were actually getting ruined by sitting on sooty chairs and this situation needs some urgent attention.( Again, are you listening management?) The entertainment during the days was of no interest to me, I wanted to be outside so I can't really comment. I attended a few lectures which were of a very variable standard from poor to excellent and judging from the numbers falling asleep, even mid morning, I think my opinion was widely echoed ! Some things like the daily quizzes and the choir were very well attended, others not so much. The only one I tried was tossing bean bags in to a waste paper bin which , having been decried as "Butlins like" by an earlier poster, I have to take exception. It's damned difficult, much harder than darts ! The evening entertainment was again variable. The song and dance routines were very good but towards the end they started to be a little repetitive just because it was the same team. On some evenings they showed a film but the choice seemed rather odd, mostly children's films for an audience of pensioners. Apparently one film only had four people watching ! Our cruise itinerary was very good indeed and most stops were well planned. Arriving early, leaving late thus offering maximum time in port.There were a couple of exceptions, I don't know why Madeira was only a half day stop. Faial in the Azores became a full day to avoid a storm, why wasn't it always planned as such ? The visit to Ille du Salut was for most the best stop of the lot. The visit there should certainly be extended, this was a tendered stop and, as happens, these stops can be abandoned if the swell is too big. We were lucky that our stop went ahead despite the sea being quite rough.Take note if you are planning a cruise anywhere where the likely hood of poor weather can effect your stops. Organised trips in the ports of call were in my opinion, poor value for money. The one lesson I soon learnt was to DIY your own. Not everyone feels comfortable doing so but for us it's the only way. Not only do you usually save money, you get your own tailor made trip without being part of a crowd. I have to say though, the Marco Polo trips we went on were well organised but, particularly if you are wildlife watching, overcrowded and noisy due to the number of people involved. I was also surprised that no one asked for opinions about the trips and it also seems that no one attempts to improve them from one year to the next. Another example of no one listening as far as the cruise management is concerned. Talking of management, that's where my huge negative comes in to play.I thought they were awful. I soon discovered that the boat is leased, crew and all, by Cruise and Maritime who also appear to have some of their own staff on board. Don't ask me who is employed by who because it's not always obvious. I am not sure what the roles the Cruise and Maritime staff are supposed to carry out either so perhaps my criticism is unfair but again, maybe it's the fault of management in the constant failure to communicate. Some people criticised the fact the ship's Captain rarely spoke over the public address system Personally I don't care. We had announcements made each day on his behalf to tell us were we were and what were the available daily activities. These were made by the Cruise Director who also introduced and closed some of the entertainments in a rather unctuous Hughie Green style but was otherwise hardly seen. We had the Guest Service Manager give us daily updates on the state of the norovirus outbreak but information was limited to wether restrictions had stayed in place, and reminders about hygiene standards that should be maintained. Never were we told the scale of the problem, how many new cases there were daily and wether there were both crew and guests involved. Most importantly too, we were never told why certain things were no longer in operation. Perhaps if this had been communicated there would be less scepticism. The outbreak of norovirus seems to be something that happens regularly and not just on cruise ships and in fairness, the crew worked extremely hard to control it. They were let down by both guests and crew members who simply flouted requests to sanitise their hands. I reminded one passenger reboarding the boat and someone else remarked to the security guard scanning their pass that the four crew members in front of them hadn't sanitised either. He simply smiled.A report of the incident was made at reception but to my knowledge it was not responded to. There seemed to be little sense in some of the decisions made. Why abandon the leather bound menus in the Waldorf , issuing instead disposable ones, when on a daily basis, at choir practice the music sheets were handed out and handed back again for future use ? Why close down the card room and library use ? Fine, don't lend books and cards but a chair is a chair no matter where it is. Why shut the table tennis room if you have your own bat and ball ? How come deck quoits was still going on ? The list of inconsistencies goes on and on but again lack of communication didn't help passenger disgruntlement. As a token of good will all passengers received a £75 reduction on our individual bar bills and a 25% discount of a future cruise but you had to book within 6 weeks to claim the latter. I'm not sure if that would be considered a fair settlement by most. Personally I was happy enough but as previously stated I paid a bargain price for my cruise. Someone who had paid several thousand more might disagree. I didn't use any of the withdrawn amenities anyway, the only exception being the Bistro. It must have been unavailable for 50% of the trip or three weeks in real terms. This coincided with much of the warmer weather and eating outside would have been an attractive proposition. The other effect of withdrawing the Bistro was to add pressure on the Waldorf. Queuing was the order of the day both at breakfast and lunchtimes. For us it meant foregoing lunch and getting up early. No bad thing really as over indulging is easy when you can have three meals plus high tea ( which we also avoided because of the queue.) It was a long wait between meals though, especially for an 8.15pm dinner. My opinion of the ship's management didn't improve during our horrible storm experience either. For those who were in their cabins, as instructed by the management , there was virtually no communication at all. No reassurances, nothing other than warnings to sit on the floor as we were about to undertake a very difficult manoeuvre. We only learnt of the tragic event that led to the death of a passenger by watching the TV news, and later by ship's gossip. Once again, I thought it was in hugely bad taste that no mention, no offers of condolence on behalf of management and guests alike was made. No, it as business as usual the following day, albeit an announcement that entertainments were limite . Appalling. There will in due course be a full investigation in to the events that led up to that fateful accident and I trust the truth will be revealed. Finally you might ask, would I recommend the ship and in particularly this cruise ? I think the ship has it's own charm and it exceeded my expectations which were lower as a result of reading the negatives made by previous guests here on Cruise Critic. I guess it's the equivalent of choosing between a veteran car and a modern one. For some, the charm of a past age is irresistible, for others the lack of more modern amenities is a definite negative. Personally, I like the ship. Sort out the soot and get better senior managers who communicate properly with their guests and you have solved most problems. As for the 42 night Amazon cruise, well you can make your own mind up. I am glad we did it but I probably wouldn't do it again even though there would be a temptation to do it a second time having learnt from the first ! Again, shame the management don't try to tweak the trip to improve on the shortcomings. I suppose, like so many, the Amazon didn't deliver on the image I imagined prior to embarking. The rain forest image didn't materialise. The reality is we never really ventured very far from the main river but that in itself is a remarkable journey which takes you nearly a 1000 miles from the sea. All the other ports of call lived up to expectation, mainly because I didn't expect too much ! The sea days were a bit of a trial, especially on the return journey with so little to look forward to compared to the outward one when gradually the weather got warmer and the destinations arrived at. Again, with no previous experience, I was naive, we did after all travel nearly 120000 remarkable miles. Just being in the middle of the Atlantic and witnessing first hand this huge wilderness is something not many people have done. Go ahead, give it a try. Along with some memories there is also the strong likelihood you will make some new friends for life.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This cruise left Tilbury knowing that gales were forcast in the English Channel and The Bay of Biscay.The reckless decision to sail resulted in crossing the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale,passengers were injured and ambulances greeted us ... Read More
This cruise left Tilbury knowing that gales were forcast in the English Channel and The Bay of Biscay.The reckless decision to sail resulted in crossing the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale,passengers were injured and ambulances greeted us when we made an unscheduled stop in CORUNA Spain so that casualties could be taken to hospital for treatment. On christmas eve all evening entertainment was cancelled and we were advised to stay in our cabin.Christmas day in Coruna was miserable,christmas dinner awful [eg 1 brussel sprout]The atmosphere on board was very subdued and not festive. The first two scheduled stops were cancelled [Gibraltar and Lanzarotte]Tenerife and Palma were ok.In Madeira the ship moored in the bay and we were taken ashore by tender,ours was skippered by a man who apparantly could not manouvre a boat; it taking 4 attempts to approach and dock at a pier being shared with two other cruises. Our final scheduled stop was cancelled having earlier been changed from Porto to Lisbon this was apparantly to avoid further bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (and in our opinion to reach Tilbury in time for the next cruise) which we crossed in a force 10 gale-great plan-After breakfast we were 'advised' not to move about the ship and to stay in our cabins due to the unpredictable movement of the ship,restaurants were closed for lunch and we were brought food to our cabin - 2 filled rolls and 2 half sandwiches for 2 people.We were released from our cabins for dinner after 7 hours no drinks were offered in this time. We then stopped in the dismal port of le Havre a soulless grim channel port (why not Honfleur?), this was pointless and no way made up for missing stops at Gibralter Lanzarotte and Lisbon. We like many others would have been happier to have gone straight back to Tilbury. Looking on the bright side Ebeneezer Scrooge is alive and well working for Cruise and Maritime, compensation of £25.00 was given to each passenger plus the offer of 20% off another of their cruises. This cruise had no redeeming features,think long and hard before you cruise with this company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
our first ever cruise .. for a retirement treat and covering both Christmas and New Year heading for the some winter sun. shortly after leaving tilbury we were told to expect bad weather . no warnings could have predicted what we had to ... Read More
our first ever cruise .. for a retirement treat and covering both Christmas and New Year heading for the some winter sun. shortly after leaving tilbury we were told to expect bad weather . no warnings could have predicted what we had to endure.. and to top it all the sea sickness tablets were £1 each.. and sold without original packaging . putting the weather aside. this was not my idea of cruising .. second rate food.. cutlery and crockery .. poor décor on the ship . Shower curtains that did not do a satisfactory job of preventing water from flooding the bathroom floor. they clung to your body instead of hanging over the base of the shower., cheap towels that had seen their best. hardly any decorations for Christmas .. and certainly no Christmas , New year celebrations , thank goodness for madeira's fireworks, other wise all our days and evening were the same .. back to the weather .. the captain knew we were going into bad weather but there was nothing done to prevent accidents and to protect the safety of passengers and crew. tables were not fastened down. chairs were light weight and sitting smooth floors in some of the lounges. when the ship rocked these chairs and other heavy items that were not secured to the floor moved, causing injury to passengers. our cabins had furniture that again was not properly secured . our chest of drawers tipped over during a violent storm one night . we were fortunate that it was during the night as we were not up and about in our room. after it had been secured the drawers continued to open and close with every movement of the ship. When we were able to leave our cabins , the entertainment can only be described as Butlin's rejects.. A magician that wouldn't be able to trick a school child. was a highlight of two evening's entertainment Day time activities consisted of quizzes , quoits , and the "highlight "? chucking beanbags into a waste paper bin.. too much excitement . oh and the prizes ... who could resist competing for a MARCO POLO book mark ?? Talking of books, when did the library last purchase some up to date reference books , or indeed a recent novel?? This was an expensive holiday with budget accommodation , food and entertainment sorry but a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was a our first cruise together as a retired couple from the US. The Marco Polo is a relatively old ship built in 1965. It shows its age in terms of some noise during the sailing at night between ports. We could feel vibration in the ... Read More
This was a our first cruise together as a retired couple from the US. The Marco Polo is a relatively old ship built in 1965. It shows its age in terms of some noise during the sailing at night between ports. We could feel vibration in the beds & a creaking noise near the door, but not so bad that it kept us from sleeping. I used earplugs & a small sound machine. Our room steward did a great job attending to the room twice a day. As far as we knew, we were the only Americans on board. The fellow British passengers & crew were very gracious. We had the 6pm dinner seating and thoroughly enjoyed the meals & tablemates. At lunch we also ate in the Waldorf dining area & met new people each day that way. The waitstaff is very efficient. The entertainment was varied & of good quality. Because of this being a smaller ship, there was no waiting in line for embarkation or disembarkation. Very short lines at the casual buffet or coffee/tea service. The shore excursions were all in the Norwegian Fjords, so the scenery was gorgeous. They seemed rather pricey, so we elected not to sign up for any of the excursions. Instead, we walked around the port villages & did the sightseeing on our own. We enjoyed the jacuzzis on the top deck & I had a very nice facial at the Jade Spa. We didn't participate much in the organized games/activities. We usually spent our free time lounging in the bar areas listening to the lovely live music & enjoying the views out the windows. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our first cruise. I went with 2 other friends and we had a cabin for 3, which to my surprise was more than generously sized. From the moment we arrived to the second we left we were treated with enormous politesse and helpfulness ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I went with 2 other friends and we had a cabin for 3, which to my surprise was more than generously sized. From the moment we arrived to the second we left we were treated with enormous politesse and helpfulness by all staff. The service was always superb. Our cabin was always spotless and must have been cleaned several times per day as was the whole ship. We ate Breakfast and Dinner in the restaurant but tended to have a light lunch of soup and a roll in the buffet Bistro so that we didn't explode. I can highly recommend the soups! There was an excellent choice of food - always something new to try or alternatives if the main menu was a little rich. The vegetarian choices were good too. We went on an all day excursion on the railway at Flam which was excellently orgainised and most enjoyable but on other days we did our own thing and in fact on one day stayed on board to sail to the pick up point. It is true - the best views of the Fjords are from the water and we didn't want to spend much time on a coach going through the mountain tunnels! We were in the younger age group on board and rather exhausted from our jobs when we embarked so the slower pace and beautiful sights suited us down to the ground and we got through our reading lists and played cards too. Bliss. We found the nicest places to sit were on the side decks or in the Captains club. Again the staff were fantastic, remembering our names and guiding us through the list of cocktails we tried every evening! Comfortable and relaxing. We were not so keen on Scott's bar - it just wasn't our thing. We only went to a few shows but really enjoyed them although we really loved the lectures and quizzes. We can highly recommend the classical duo before second sitting of Dinner. We were expecting there to be great push on spending extra (especially drinks)and although we were informed of what was available there was no pressure to buy at all. As I have said this was our first cruise. Definitely not our last and I would not hesitate to recommend the Marco Polo and her team. However if you are veteran cruisers and like massive ships with cinemas and climbing walls then this may not be for you. It was for us and hopefully will be again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The staff on the Marco Polo do everything they can to make the experience an enjoyable one. To say that they work hard is an gross understatement. I saw staff on stage entertaining to a very high standard one moment, and serving drinks on ... Read More
The staff on the Marco Polo do everything they can to make the experience an enjoyable one. To say that they work hard is an gross understatement. I saw staff on stage entertaining to a very high standard one moment, and serving drinks on another deck just moments afterward. Whatever they are paid should be doubled !The Fjords were stunning and we were very impressed with the choice and variation of ports of call.Norway can be very expensive, but you can save money by shopping around for trips while visiting places rather than booking ahead or on board.Food was of a high standard with a good selection and service also very good.Cabins are basic but comfortable, and who goes on a cruise to sit in a cabin anyhow ? Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first cruise and therefore have nothing to compare it with but we were very satisfied with our holiday. We sailed from Tilbury so no airports to contend with. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage. The beds were ... Read More
This was our first cruise and therefore have nothing to compare it with but we were very satisfied with our holiday. We sailed from Tilbury so no airports to contend with. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage. The beds were comfortable and the en-suite quite adequate.We found all staff consistently pleasant and attentive even when some passengers were quite rude to them. The ship was spotlessly clean in all areas and great trouble was taken to remind diners to cleanse their hands prior to entering the restaurants. The food was excellent. We mostly ate in the Waldorf Restaurant as the self service bistro tended to be a bit draughty as the doors to the deck were either side of it. The food we did eat there was delicious and always hot. The only criticism being the frequent lack of mugs at the drinks counters. This was an irritating problem that should be so easy to resolve - I wonder if it has?The entertainers were professional and very talented young people. There was enough variety to meet most people's needs from beautifully played classical & easy listening to show-time and the velvet voiced Carmen. The lectures were interesting too. The Cruise Director, Richard, deserves a mention for his versatility, enthusiasm and professionalism. The lounge areas were very comfortable. Drinks were reasonable to buy too, what we would call 'London prices'.I would endorse the previous critic's comment and was disappointed that I didn't go to 'The Wilderness' to see the lights. Those that went had a spectacular experience. I hadn't realised that light pollution from the ship and harbour,etc would interfere with seeing the lights at their best. However we did enjoy our other excursions especially the dog sledging. The excursions did seem expensive but then Norway is an expensive country. Again, we were disappointed that we missed 3 of our ports of call but I don't know how this could have been avoided as the weather was so bad at one point that the Captain had to take the advice of the Norwegian pilots and,for our safety and comfort, we had to anchor in a fjord and therefore had to make up lost time to return to Tilbury on-time for the next cruise. There were the usual moaners complaining about this too - we were in the Arctic Ocean in February for goodness sake! I wonder who built the snowman on deck and his cheeky companions late one night? Only the snowman remained the next morning! Maybe a River Cruise would be calmer??!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
If you enjoy bean bag throwing and bingo then this cruise is for you.As for seeing Norway ... don't bet on it. Out of seven planned stops in Norway only four were managed. The explanation (very poorly communicated) was down to the ... Read More
If you enjoy bean bag throwing and bingo then this cruise is for you.As for seeing Norway ... don't bet on it. Out of seven planned stops in Norway only four were managed. The explanation (very poorly communicated) was down to the weather.The ship is ex Russian, specifically built for cruising in the ice bound higher latitudes. In February one should expect that the weather in the Arctic Circle isn't going to be perfect BUT one should also expect that the cruise company would not be running cruises if there is such a limited chance of completing the itinerary, not least because the ship can manage these conditions.The first missed stop was because the port necessitated an anchorage which was deemed to be a problem as the weather made using the tenders uncertain. In the event it was decided to visit an alternative port ... which also, it turned out, needed to use tenders ... which of course meant that the second choice was also impossible to go ashore.Later in the trip the Captain (virtually unseen during the whole fiasco) and the cruise directors waited so long to make a decision that two further stops were impossible to visit in the remaining time.Whilst waiting for these decisions (over 8 hours) no updates were given. When eventually advised that we would be going straight back to Tilbury (missing the final two ports) we were crassly told to 'have a great evening'. No thought was given to recognising this huge disappointment through some announcement or gesture.We were inadvertently told in the end that the weather was no worse than a Force 8 which this ship could easily cope with.At no point were alternatives considered e.g. letting passengers ashore whilst waiting to make up their minds or choosing substitute ports where we could get ashore.The ship is great; the crew are great; the Captain and directors are bad decision makers and exceptionally poor communicators.Travel with the Marco Polo is a gamble whilst these 'managers' are employed. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were ... Read More
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were as follows: The drinks were all very expensive and as someone else remarked the bottled water was a ridiculous price. We bought ours from some of the ports that we stopped at. We had to smuggle on some reasonably priced wine to drink in our cabin and managed to get past the check in without having it confiscated! The entertainment got a bit boring after the third night with the same old faces and the dance routines were the same but in different costumes. There were never any great films put on at any time during the day - just really old stuff. Not having an on board cinema I would have thought that they could have found some better and more up to date films? The days at sea between ports went on forever - and with a tiny pool that I only saw one or two people use. One of my personal dislikes was the amount of Scots on board - sorry, but we cannot all like them! On formal evenings why do they have to wear those daft kilts?!! - We Englishmen dont come to dinner in our traditional Redcoats do we? Still, that as I said is personal and nothing to do with the cruise line. So we were glad to get back to Tilbury. The final bill was pretty steep even though we had tried to keep our drinking to an unfun level and then of course they take about £150 for tips as well - which one member of the crew told me they dont ever see? Maybe we are hard to please? But I did try hard to enjoy this holiday but by the end of the first week I was going stir crazy. I dont think we would ever go again and certainly not for two weeks. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our ... Read More
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our last. We were told not to judge this ship with others. Firstly, l would like to say that the ship was very clean and the crew were all friendly and helpful. I wish the rest of the cruise had been as positive. On day one, we had a lifeboat drill and had to meet at the Marco Polo lounge. When we neared the Captains club, I commented to my wife that l could smell cigarette smoke. When we entered the Captains Club, there were dozens of people smoking. We were both disgusted at this being allowed inside of the ship. The only way to the Marco Pole lounge was through this disgustingly smelly room. The food on day one was excellent, getting worse by the day... More often than not the food was warm bordering on cold. Fresh food was out of the question. The Marco Polo Bistro was open from 06.30 - 07.00 for drinks and then open at 07.30 for breakfast. A couple of people told us that the fried eggs were being put out before 07.00am. As you can imagine they were not upto much at 07.30. One night there was a German theme. It appeared that sausages and frankfurters were being cooked to order. By the time we had put some on the plate with some watery salad and sat down, these were cold. How, l don't know. Fresh fruit was ok on day one and went down hill each day. It appeared that all of the fruit was loaded in England and no new supplies were picked up after that. We don't actually like black bananas. Every day for afternoon tea were the same dried out sandwiches and cakes galore. It would have been nice to have been served a few savouries, especially as my wife is Diabetic and all that was on offer were sugary cakes. I can't imagine us sailing with Cruise Maritime again, which is a pity because our next cruise is/was going to be to the Norwegian Fjords. I just hope our next cruise will not be as disappointing as this one... Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Not having been on a cruise before we were a bit sceptical and as the people in our party did not want to fly anywhere this was the ideal solution .A cruise for 15 nights to Morocco and the Canary Islands places we had never been before ... Read More
Not having been on a cruise before we were a bit sceptical and as the people in our party did not want to fly anywhere this was the ideal solution .A cruise for 15 nights to Morocco and the Canary Islands places we had never been before .We booked this only three weeks before we went and for a bargain price of £669 per person for an ocean view cabin .Leaving from Tilbury gave us an hour's run to the port which was great. We found that we could not fault either the embarkation or the ship itself, being that it was built in the 1960's it was most comfortable and we never felt any rough movement even going through the Bay Of Biscay where it can sometimes get rough, it was kept very clean and we had to use hand gel on entry in to any of the eating places which was a good idea since the ship was full to capacity. Just over 800 people which by today's standards is small. The Dining room and service was five star and as for the waiters nothing was too much trouble .The food was excellent and presented in a way Master Chef would be proud of and never repeated during the 15 day cruise .I liked the fact that we sat with new people during breakfast and lunch and we got to meet some very nice people .Some of the seasoned cruisers said that this was not as good as they had experienced in the past but I always say speak as you find I thought that the drinks on board were just around normal London pub prices I personally don't think that £3.10 for a pint is excessive nor £4.75 for a large glass of red wine which was around a third of a bottle .we did have to pay for water in the cabin and one could say this was a bit pricey but having thought of the logistics getting this on board perhaps not .It was open to all to pre buy a drinks package in advance which gave us wine and water and saved us a few pounds I also think that the gratuity charged of £150 per cabin was justified and saved us having to tip in person, the onboard staff earned every penny. The entertainment was first class and the dance troupe worked very hard having to put on two shows a night both for the early diners and the later sitting .the costumes and performances were comparable to a west end show There was always something going on with a quiz or space lecture which was awe inspiring . The on-shore excursions were very good and we really did enjoy the Souk and Fantasia in Morocco and the Fire Mountains in Lanzarote but they only lasted half a day could have been longer .we did have one of our guides that found it a bit hard to explain herself in English and we had to concentrate to hear correctly .There were certain things that we weren't interested in like a trip to an embroidery factory but then again you can't please everybody .I think that if we go that route again we would get a taxi and do our own thing. Now for the downside. We were very surprised that smoking on board was allowed especially in one of the main bars the Captain's Cabin .This was most unpleasant and should be banned instantly . As this bar was the main route through to the Marco Polo lounge it was like walking though a fog of smoke and then smelling of cigarette smoke while we were enjoying the entertainment was just horrible .The swimming pool was just too small and never had water in it most of the time and there was a great lack of chairs on the sun decks .People were taking chairs out on deck from the bistro which left diners with nowhere to sit. The crew should have stopped the practice of sun bed reservation as well. All in all a great holiday and would go again without hesitation especially getting a good price by booking at the last minute. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have wanted to see Norway and the fjords for some time but have never found a package that suits us. When browsing at the end of July last year, we came across availability with the Marco Polo. having looked at cruising on this ship ... Read More
We have wanted to see Norway and the fjords for some time but have never found a package that suits us. When browsing at the end of July last year, we came across availability with the Marco Polo. having looked at cruising on this ship before but not being able to book, we decided to go for it.As neither of us have cruised before, we were not sure what to expect. Our cabin was quite large and very comfortable. Although we were on a lower deck, things were not too bad. On embarkation, our luggage arrived at the cabin before we did. I was worried about access as I use a walkign stick, but I had no problems at all, and the staff were very good with help to get on & off the tenders.All the staff were very friendly and there was maybe just one staff member who was perhaps not quite so frindly, but no complaints. We ate in the Waldorf every evening as the food was very good. The portion sizes about right and quality was excellent. Our waiter was really good and we had no trouble with plates being taken early but we did note that dirty plates were never left too long. As someone else noted, we were given hand cleansing gel whenever we entered the ship and when going in to the Waldorf or the cafe bar.When out on deck, we kept our tea mugs which we obtained from the tea bar on deck. There were some issues with the lack of cups on one day, but we were told that it was due to the dishwasher breaking down. In my opinion, if everyone had kept their own mug rather than expecting a new one every time, then this problem would have been eased substantially.All the ports of call were interesting, and we went on 4 organised tours. They were expensive, but taking into account the sailing times, we did not want to be on a private tour over a long distance with the possibility of the ship leaving port prior to our return. In Edinburgh (Leith) we got off the ship early and walked round the corner to see the Britannia early and this worked well, as when we came out everyone was queueing. We went backt ot he ship for lunch, then went back out in the afternoon, back on ship for dinner and then out again in the evening. We both had one day tickets £3 each which allowed us unrestricted travel on buses throughout the day.As I suffer with travel sickness, I was concerned about the sailing. I took one travel pill on the first day, but did not need any more after that. The only time I felt a little odd was on the formal captain's dinner evening when I went to the spa to have my hair styled (they did a fantastic job).Looking back, the only thing we found to be a little annoying was the tendering. As our cabin was very close to the exit of the ship, it was a bit of a pain having to go up to the lounge to get the tickets and then wait and have to go back down to exit. It was good coming back on board as we were right by the cabin.On the whole we really enjoyed our trip. The staff were all friendly and as a joint effort they kept the ship spotless. There were always a senior crew member walking round and letting staff know if something was not up to standard.At the present time, it is unlikely that we would cruise again, but that is purely because we found the tendering and time restrictions did not suit us, but we woudl recommend the Marco Polo & CMV to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
The staff on the Marco Polo were beyond excellent...they were so helpful and cheerful it was a delight. The only exception were the Reception staff who were surly in comparison. Our cabin was superb...we could only afford a Category 3, ... Read More
The staff on the Marco Polo were beyond excellent...they were so helpful and cheerful it was a delight. The only exception were the Reception staff who were surly in comparison. Our cabin was superb...we could only afford a Category 3, but to our delight we were upgraded to a category 9, free of charge, as we had booked many months ago, so people who got last minute deals could have the cheaper cabins. Only problem was the couple in Cabin 717 who were often having 'domestics' which we could hear thrugh the wall! (well we could hear the woman, the poor bloke never got a look in!) Andrey our cabin steward was attentive and helpful. The food was great, but we were shocked at the greed of the British Pensioners on board. At 46 & 47 years, we were among the youngest 20% on board, but they could out-eat us with no problem. To be honest at times the ship looked like a floating care home there were so many oldies! There were a number of Dutch couples on board who were lovely and chatted to us, but a lot of the elderly Brits did nothing but moan the whole trip. Yes we made some nice friends,especially among the whale & bird watchers, but a lot of the passengers were snobby & aloof and I wondered why they had come at all! My husband said it was the most relaxing holiday he had ever had and the staff were the most helpful of anywhere we had been in the past. A couple of the excursions were a bit of a disappointment, (especially The Arctic Nature of Spitsbergen which was advertised as a 3 mile walk but was in fact about 300 yards) but the on board lectures by Gloria Barnett were excellent. All in all we had a superb holiday to a wonderful location, assisted by an amazing team of staff for whom nothing was too much trouble. Any improvements that could be made? 1. A heated swimming pool would have made our holiday complete. 2. A less crowded ship, but then the prices would be higher 3. Better sound insulation between the cabins. 4.24 hour tea & coffee machines on each floor Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
From start to finish,this was 1st class.As a former naval/merchant naval officer,when my wife booked this cruise,I thought the whole time I was going to be on this ship I would be looking to criticise what I was about experience. Much to ... Read More
From start to finish,this was 1st class.As a former naval/merchant naval officer,when my wife booked this cruise,I thought the whole time I was going to be on this ship I would be looking to criticise what I was about experience. Much to my surprise and delight"we"thoroughly enjoyed every moment.The service was superb from the Captain all the way down through the crew in every department,it was impossible to criticise anyone or service.The evening entertainment(different every night)had to be seen to be believed.The shows were worthy of the West-End theatres,costumes,singers and dancers(and this all-inclusive),the food was delicious,waiters and waitresses all cheerful and happy,as were the bar staff.So much going on in the different entertainment rooms you were spoilt for choice.Delightful cabin stewardess,spotlessly clean and turned the beds down each evening and left a delightful animal(made out of towels)on the bed.We toured the Norwegian Fjords and that is a fabulous sight to be seen.From the time of booking(with Newmarket Travel)to landing back home the organisation was smooth and well run.We travelled from Liverpool by coach to London Victoria coach station and vice-verse.On arrival in Victoria homeward bound the guide saw the labels on our cases and said,"are you for the Marco Polo",I said,"love to,but,unfortunately were on the way home".That's a feeling you only get when you have thoroughly enjoyed yourselves.WELL DONE TO ALL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We both had a lovely time considering this was our first cruise . Visiting Rouen after sailing up the Seine could not complain about that as we sunned ourselves on the whirlpool deck ( what a treat ) . Then the next port of call was ... Read More
We both had a lovely time considering this was our first cruise . Visiting Rouen after sailing up the Seine could not complain about that as we sunned ourselves on the whirlpool deck ( what a treat ) . Then the next port of call was Guernsey having a guided tour with cream teas, the driver of the coach was very informative and funny. The following day we are at the Isles of Scilly visiting the Abbey Garden's on the Island of Tresco. This would have been better for a much longer trip not enough time to see everything. We moved cabins as our cabin was very noisy apart from that everything was very clean crew were very hard working and some were helpful . The Waldorf's restaurant was good had the same menu most nights fish pork or chicken. Lots of water at the table not sure where it came from. All the entertainment was very good in the evening. I'm sorry to say there has been a down side which has spoilt a lovely cruise. When we arrived home we both came down with NOROVIRUS both started at the same time. I don't think we will be going on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our first cruise and all the passengers onboard had been enthralled by the Joanna Lumley programme in her search for the Northern Lights, we were all there for the same reason, to see the magical lights. The embarkation was very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and all the passengers onboard had been enthralled by the Joanna Lumley programme in her search for the Northern Lights, we were all there for the same reason, to see the magical lights. The embarkation was very smooth and organised, we were on the ship with a coffee within 30 minutes of arriving at Tilbury. We did not know what to expect and we were apprehensive but we need not have been, everything on board was first class, the food and service was excellent with plenty of choice at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, entertainment was very entertaining, the entertainment team put on some great shows, don't know how they remember all the routines! Ship was very clean and all the crew work incredibly hard to make your cruise perfect,the multi-national crew are very friendly, courteous and speak very good English. The cabins were cleaned to a high standard daily and were comfortable but basic,there is so much to do on board you only really want to sleep there. We found the delivery of the next day's daily programme to our cabin very useful with what's on and when facilities are open on board as well as weather and excursion details. The excursions were well organised and interesting but a little expensive, we would have gone into the towns independently if we had known it would be in walking distance,a lesson learnt for next time. When the Northern Lights appeared late at night the cruise director put an announcement over the tannoy and we all went up on deck to view the sight(some of us were in bed, we were thankful for this as we may not have seen them) Highlights for us were the onboard quizzes,food,impeccable staff,entertainment and the Ice Hotel in Alta, very magical, would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our first cruise and we are now hooked!We sailed on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to Amsterdam and then on up the west coast of Norway calling at 8 ports of call and into many Fjords.We chose this ship as it was sailing from UK and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we are now hooked!We sailed on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to Amsterdam and then on up the west coast of Norway calling at 8 ports of call and into many Fjords.We chose this ship as it was sailing from UK and had a no children policy. The embarkation process was very smooth and we were shown to our cabin quickly and our luggage was delivered soon afterwards. The whole experience was very relaxing and the service was first class. Most of the crew were always smiling and polite and couldn't have been more helpful.Strangly some of the staff on reception were the least friendly! We ate excellent food in the Waldorf Restaurant each evening and the Bistro also served excellent food throughout the cruise.The ship was very clean. The entertainment was fine although that's not really our 'thing' but it was full when we did go to the lounge. There was plenty to occupy us when we were at sea and the cabin was large enough to relax in but you can spend a lot of time just looking at the scenery when at sea. There was information left in the cabin each evening relating to the next day which also gave the expected temperature and sea condition. We saw amazing sights - Glacier,ice hotel,ice sculptures, great museums and so much snow! We went on a few trips but you can also do a lot of things yourself eg The Ofoten Railway trip (£12 return)!Although we went free as the attendant didn't have any tickets as it was Sunday!! Oh yes - We saw the Northern Lights!! The most relaxing holiday we have been on for a long time. Don't let the elderly clientele put you off booking!! It was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to ... Read More
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to do our own thing. The cruise reminded us of Butlins from the seventies, set times for everything and rather dated entertainment, although the duo in Scotts bar during the evening were very good, particularly Lilli Moore, the singer ( I recommend her rendition of Mack the Knife) The food was very good and the staff, apart from the odd one, were excellent although the officers were a bit standoffish. You will be plagued by photographers but you are not obliged to buy. The drinks on board were a rip off, £5 for a glass of poor quality house wine for example, which varied in size depending on the barman. A bottle at dinner requires a spend of at least £20 for something worth drinking. The cocktails also vary in size and quality. I suggest you take good quality teabags with you as Lyons tea is somewhat bland. If you wish to partake in excursions then please check the Internet as they are a lot cheaper and many of the trips ashore can be done by free shuttle bus, local buses and trains. You must have good medical insurance as the cost of treatment on the ship will give you a coronary when you get the bill! I know it is easy to criticise but the majority of passengers were pensioners, as I am, and we have to count the pennies so be aware of the costs I have mentioned. Overall we enjoyed the trip and I would recommend the ship but we will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
2009 was a difficult year for my wife and I. In February my wife's mother had a stroke and after a harrowing week she died in hospital. My 95 year old father was ailing and we had to visit him three times a week. In June he had a ... Read More
2009 was a difficult year for my wife and I. In February my wife's mother had a stroke and after a harrowing week she died in hospital. My 95 year old father was ailing and we had to visit him three times a week. In June he had a fall, went into hospital and never recovered. As executor of my father's will a long period of hassle ensued but finally by November all was sorted. We had intended to go to Spain for January but just by chance we saw an advert for a Marco Polo cruise to the Caribbean. We both said, 'Yes, let's do it!'. Price and timing was fine so off we went. We took a taxi to Tilbury as the cost of parking was twice as much as the fare! Without anything to compare, I thought the Marco Polo was a good ship. Fairly old fashioned but very neat, clean and tidy. Our cabin, though not top of the range, was very comfortable and perfectly adequate for us. Staff on board were mainly from Eastern Europe but everyone we came across was very friendly and eager to please. The trip across the Atlantic seemed to take ages but we were never bored as there were plenty of activities laid on. Food was fine, although there were the usual moans from some people who maybe are never satisfied. Once in the Caribbean the excursions were mostly quite good, though perhaps a little pricey. As first timers I was very impressed. We made some lovely friends and have visited them in France since the cruise. Would I cruise again? Yes, definitely. Marco Polo? Yes, if there are better ships then standards are very high all round. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

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