31 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise as was a very cheap deal, obviously get what you pay for. Cabin was very outdated, hairs on bedding, hairs in the sink and floor was filthy when we arrived and wasn’t hoovered the whole time we were there. Freezing ... Read More
Chose this cruise as was a very cheap deal, obviously get what you pay for. Cabin was very outdated, hairs on bedding, hairs in the sink and floor was filthy when we arrived and wasn’t hoovered the whole time we were there. Freezing cold in room even with heating on. Loose wires on the phone. Tv didn’t work properly. Cabin steward was very rude and didn’t do his job at all. Food was basic and not many options, staff in restaurant rude and unfriendly Entertainment absolutely awful and of poor standard, show team need upgrading massively. Lack of entertainment on board- nothing to do on board for hours on end in between the little entertainment they did provide. Arrived in Amsterdam 4 hours late but we’re not informed until we were meant to dock so everyone was sat waiting and we didn’t stay later. Disembarkation diabolical massive queues everywhere! NEVER-AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have been on 10 previous cruises with Princess, Royal, P&O, and found this a grade above. P&O are equitable to Princess, and RCCL are just too big, with too many options. You have a 10 minute walk to get anywhere. This is the ... Read More
I have been on 10 previous cruises with Princess, Royal, P&O, and found this a grade above. P&O are equitable to Princess, and RCCL are just too big, with too many options. You have a 10 minute walk to get anywhere. This is the advantage of a smaller but well resourced ship. Columbus at 1440 passengers is the largest in the CMV fleet, but still medium sized. It is not missing anything. Still bars, restaurants, pools, decks, entertainment etc... but all within a small distance. It still has 9 lifts on a smaller boat, so you never wait long for one to arrive. The restaurant is well laid out with private booths, like a modern family restaurant. Staff remember your name and after 2 nights, know your needs and preferences. They work hard at this. Without being too in your face, all staff are friendly, positive and extra mile people. Well recruited, and well trained. The Fjords were beautiful, visiting Eidfjord, Flam, and Bergen. The funicular railways, whilst not cheap, are excellent value for money and show you views you could not see otherwise, from powerful waterfalls to snow capped mountains, mountain villages, and deep valleys. Beautiful. Ship food was good, rooms (inner, with 4 guests) are fine, and on this occasion, entertainment was the best we have experienced in any ship (this was our 11th cruise) DJ King was utterly believable as Elvis, Roy G Hemmings was a great singer (if somewhat Narcissistic), and one of the earliest of the Drifters, with great girl backing singers one night, and male backing singers the second time, with the girls joining at the end - a truly memorable evening. And the 3 degrees? Magnificent, iconic,unforgettable. These ladies are genuine soul legends. The ‘soul legends theme’ cruise was an inspired idea, and we (myself, wife, sister, daughter) would definitely do it again. ABSOLUTELY UNFORGETTABLE!,, Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a ... Read More
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a change from Stockholm to Nynashamn, however none of us received notification of a change from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. In addition passengers were expected to pay the cost of the transfers to the original destinations. Eventually after some protracted communications we were offered cabin upgrades. The Baltic cruise is special, with great cities on offer to explore. We had previously visited some of the cities. For new ports were Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rostock / Wanermunde and Helsinki. We used the shuttles when available and either self guided or chose the excellent freewalks. The only tours booked were in St Petersburg. Our 2 half-day tour with CMV were very disappointing. Too much time travelling and in the same tourist shop, too little time in the Spilled Blood Church and Peter and Paul Fortress. My advice is to book through an independent operator. We also attended the evening ballet to see Sleeping Beauty which was enjoyable and well organised. Just a few comments about the ship: Staff worked hard and efficiently, although we found sometimes the crew did not understand our request. At the 1st sitting in the Waterfront waiters had no time to chat with us. The food was lovely and well presented. Other times we used the buffet where the food and service were good. The buffet can be very busy and sometimes full. They also varied meal times and these were not always matched to our needs. On one occasion we found the breakfast finished at 9 and we were too late. Our cabin boy was friendly and efficient. The daily quizzes were too difficult. Typically the winners scored 11 / 20. Some of the bar waiters were great and remembered our order, and offered packages to save money. Raffles was strange though with one particular miserable and unhelpful waitress. She was downright rude, and they often closed up when the bar was still well populated? Customer Services were not interested to receive feedback on this issue! In summary, we were generally satisfied and think the cruise provided good value for money. CMV need to ensure their staff are better trained and improve their shore excursions and caucus to receive service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but ... Read More
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but they then let us on ship without any security checks. From that moment everyone's security was compromised until return to Tllbury. The first tendering at Kirkwall was terrible. Ticketing started at 0900 and we received ours at 0915 but had to wait ages - until we landed ashore at 1210. They didn't have enough tenders operating and those that were, were uncoordinated. A massive list formed at return time and the harbourmaster contacted the Captain to ask for more tenders. We heard from a number of sources that the Captain refused. After a written complaint I received a letter of management speak blaming the wind??? and the harbour authorities. We had an emergency muster alarm early morning whilst most were in bed. A Faulty alarm. These things can happen but it was badly handled and we weren't given any explanation or apology until the Captain was forced to make a PA announcment mid morning. Also some staff wandered around with bouyancy aids but lacking direction. At NUUK, the Greenland Capital, coahes didn't arrive for excursions. 1st excuse - traffic, then the excursion leader admitted that the coach company had forgotten and said, "That's Greenland". Why didn't she check up the day before? The boat is poorly managed, the Bistro staff are inefficient and lack decent training.If you show them dirty cups or cracked cups, you cannot be confident that they fully understand the problem and the cups continually re-appear. Cold plates for hot meals and warm plates for salads. etc. The Bistro is not good enough to compete with transport cafes. The cupboards are like '50's kitchenettes and even poorly painted. Llttle variety of breakfast offerings. However, we dined in the main restaurant every evening and the food was excellent. terrific selection, well made, hot and well presented.A different kitchen from the Bistro, but we presume still under the head chef? The entertainment was first class every evening and the guest speakers were above par. We will not sail with CMV again. We feel they are a disgrace to the cruising industry, and clearly operate Marco Polo on a shoestring. They tsake a very poor attitude to grumbles or complaints, argueing with passengers instead of trying to solve the problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of ... Read More
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of arriving at Tilbury we were having lunch in the World Cafe and our holiday had started. Very impressed. Our stateroom was ready early and we were given a guided tour of the facilities in the cabin. On my mentioning that I did not drink coffee (there is a coffee maker in the cabin) the steward straight away fetched me a kettle and kept the teabags topped up - he kept the cabin spotless for the cruise and chatted and laughed with us every day, making the experience a bit more personal. We ate mostly in the World Cafe as it was very relaxed and the food was tasty and plentiful. We tried the pool grill and the afternoon tea which were both great and Manifredis italian had great service and great food, The service in every bar and lounge and dining was second to none, Very impressed. There were plenty of interesting lectures to attend, and we enjoyed sitting in the Explorers lounge watching the fjords go by with a tasty waffle and fresh fruit. We relaxed in our cabin most evenings and watched a film on the TV so cannot comment on the evening entertainment. The included excursions were informative and gave us an oversight into each port. The highlight of the trip was 'Chasing the lights' at Tromso where we were treated to a spectacular display of the Aurora about an hour or so outside the town, so many photos ........ On the way home we had the honour of a glimse of 2 Killer whale from our balcony,,,another hightlight. a quick photo and they were gone. March is certainly a good time to take this cruise. The weather was great, even a sunny day in Bergen !! Disembarkation was fairly uneventfull although there was no rep at Oslo to help out. All in all a fantastic holiday and thank you to all the ships staff for a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Viking Ocean. We’ve wanted to try another upscale, luxury line after sailing on Azamara a few years ago, but have never been ready to spend the extra money, which typically cost $400 to $500 a day, per person. We picked this cruise largely because it was a Northern Lights cruise in an area of the world we had never been, the Arctic Circle. The question is was the Viking Sky worth three to four times the cost of mainline cruises? One note of caution: even though we thought were prepared for the cold temperatures that awaited us, we discovered that we had not anticipated the severity of the bitter cold temperatures we would face and the length of time we would be exposed to them. On several days temperatures dropped to -25 F and we spent up to 5 hours on day without a break other than a camp fire. More about this later. Overview The Viking Ocean is a smaller ship than many of those found with the major lines, but not the smallest of the luxury lines, with 930 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences about sailing on some smaller ships is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were really not present on the Viking Sky, which is one of the finest ships we have sailed on in terms of style and amenities. I really didn’t feel like I was on a small ship, even though there were fewer common areas. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where I did notice a difference was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Another benefit of sailing on a smaller ship was the nimbleness they have over their larger brethren to alter their itinerary or add a fresh food to the menu. The public rooms are nicely done and have a feel of warmth and elegance. There are four dining options aboard the Viking Sky making it equal to or a step above larger ships. The state rooms are among the most efficient and modern we have encountered. I loved the heated floor in the bath room and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. Unlike many other lines, Viking Ocean is an oenophile’s heaven as wine is embraced and welcomed. You can bring onboard as much wine as you can carry and there is no corkage fee! All totaled, we noticed very few weaknesses, and there really wasn’t a lack of things to do, especially if you enjoy lectures, which is a feature of Viking. I think what was noticeable is what was missing, no art auctions, pushy promotions, a casino, baked Alaska parades, and much of the other glitzy fluff found on most other lines. Many frequent sailors of Viking Ocean that have tried other luxury lines like Oceania, Azamara, Seaborne, Regent and Crystal, swear that Viking Ocean is the gold standard for luxury cruises. The bottom line question: is Viking Ocean worth four to five times the cost of other upscale lines like Celebrity? I will address that later, but first a few more details. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of the Infinity). Wine lovers will love that, unlike Celebrity who confiscated our wine when we sailed them in 2013, Viking Ocean welcomes bringing as much wine and spirits that you wish on board. While we often bring wine onboard cruises from our cellar, we’ve learned to become very creative in how we bring our wine onboard so as to avoid confiscation. Not so with Viking Ocean that also charges the lowest corkage fee of any line we know, which is zero!! Viking Ocean’s attitude toward wine certainly is one of the benefits that may bring us back again. The Ship The ship was new in 2017 and it really shows. We haven’t taken pictures of a cruise ship in years, but we did of the Viking Sky. The contemporary design coupled with the modern efficiency of the ship were stunning. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. One benefit is that the elevators were the fastest I’ve encountered on a ship and almost always available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be very satisfied on the Viking Sky. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room, The Restaurant, doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a table for two. Every other evening we skipped the main dining room and spent our evening in one of the two specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s or the Chef’s Table. One tip is to book your reservations immediately when you board. These fill up quickly and getting reservations later in the cruise, especially at Manfredi's can be difficult. The food quality and presentation in The Restaurant was certainly above average and what you would expect for an upper end cruise line. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. However, we enjoyed the service in the specialty restaurants a bit better than in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, have no cover charge. They offer passengers a break from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above. Manfredi’s features a wonderful Italian menu while Chef’s Table offers a set menu that changes every three days. One experience we’ve come to enjoy on other ships that would be fitting to an upscale ship like the Viking Sky would be an automated wine bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of wine available in 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz pours. This allows you to inexpensively sample a broad variety of wines you might not otherwise have the courage to try. One thing we appreciate about Viking Ocean is the fact that juice and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso drinks. Wine As we mentioned earlier, we were especially pleased with how Viking Ocean embraces and welcomes wine lovers who want to bring their wines on board to enjoy. One of my perennial complaints on other lines, like Celebrity, is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s retail, they also have the highest corkage fee of any line at $25 a bottle. Of course, since Celebrity will confiscate all but two bottles of wine you bring on board to enjoy, what’s the point of having a corkage fee at all? We found the Viking Sky was unequaled in being the most wine friendly cruise line we’ve sailed. The per bottle charges were reasonable and there are no corkage fees. One deviation from other lines is that the Viking Sky had noticeably fewer wine events than other lines. They had a few whiskey, vodka, and aquavit tastings, but no wine tastings that I recall. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Viking Sky is slightly above average. While they don’t have a lot of cardiovascular machines (three stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, six treadmills, and two stair-steppers) I never only had to wait for a machine once in 12 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another abnormality, the men’s locker’s worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed to your stateroom key. The men’s locker room featured a dry sauna and plunge pool. The sauna was perfectly hot and in working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Viking Sky. There was also an area with hot tubs, cool rooms, and a steam sauna. One unique feature was an individual dryer for your swim suit that was really helpful. An extra bonus was the spa did not have a daily charge, which can cost up to $20 a day on other lines. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was surprisingly good for a smaller ship. The Cruise Director, Drew, and his assistant, Courtney, had amazing voices and both did their own shows which were very enjoyable. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than anything else. It was refreshing that the Viking Sky had a live band rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is quite expansive and comfortable. We never had a problem finding a seat in or near the front row. The onboard entertainment found in the lounges was very good. There wasn’t a disappointing instrumentalist or singer in the lineup, which is certainly unusual on a small ship. In contrast was our experience on Azamara where there wasn’t a lounge entertainer that rose above substandard. The enrichment talks were really outstanding, again in contrast with our experience on Azamara where they were consistently disappointing. We had four lecturers on board who were all phenomenal in their field. We were especially treated by having Dr. Ed Kopp from the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles who was outstanding. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. The Internet on the ship was as good as or better than any I’ve had at sea. I got access 95% of the times I attempted to get online. And the fact the Internet was free was an experience I’ve never had with another line. On Azamara I paid $0.43 a minute for their lease expensive package. Having access to the internet on all my devices whenever I wanted it without having to pay attention to my usage was a game changer for me. For that reason alone Viking Ocean will be at the top of my list for future cruise consideration. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here, except that they did not bombard you with specials and promotions which was refreshing. Afternoon Tea I have never reviewed an afternoon tea experience on a ship as most are not worth mentioning. However, the afternoon tea on the Viking Sky was the best we have had at sea. Not only are you served a three tier plate of sandwiches and desserts, they will also bring you proper sconces with jam and Devonshire cream. Yes, real clotted cream not the standard whipped cream. I don’t recall Cunard Line served clotted cream, but I can tell you no other ship I’ve been on has. This was a real treat! Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our 12 day cruise started in London, England and went up the west coast of Norway, stopping at Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso, Alta, Narvik, and Bergen where we disembarked. The specific theme for this cruise was chasing the Northern Lights. And “chasing” is the right term. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to see the Northern Lights. I assumed we would see them often or every night from the ship. I was wrong! The guides will tell you there are four things necessary to see the Northern Lights, but I say there are five: solar activity, cold weather, darkness, a clear sky, and luck. If any one of those is absent you will not be successful. The hardest one of these was a clear sky, which thwarted our efforts to see the lights continuously. While there was one really good sighting from the ship, it came and went very quickly. To see the lights really necessitated booking a Northern Lights tour that attempted to find a clear sky within a few hours’ drive of the ship. Even then spotting the lights was still a crap shot. We did have one night where we got to see a nice display of the lights for less than five minutes returning from an outing where we waited in -25 degree weather for 3 hours with nothing but a campfire to cut the bitter cold. This leads me to the most unexpected aspect of this trip, campfires and frozen food. We returned home with our clothes smelling of smoke because of the many campfires we encountered on our excursions. Whether it was dog sledding, reindeer sleighs, Sami camps, or Northern Light tours there was a campfire present in everyone to help with the bitter cold. There were very few heated buildings or shelters expect for a few tepees with campfires. At times the temperatures were so brutal that even the bread offered us was frozen. Which leads me to another unexpected aspect, the extreme bitter cold and the randomness of the tour vendors providing thermal suits, boots, head gear, and gloves. About ½ of our tours provided such apparel, and believe me we needed it even though I was wearing 5 layers of clothing, three pairs of socks, winter boots, two pairs of pants, a balaclava, knitted wool beanie, and a hoodie, a down vest, an outer coat, and gloves inside mittens. Which meant that the other ½ of the time the vendors provided no additional clothing. And in -25 degree weather, where you are outside for up to 5 hours at a time with only a campfire, this is a problem. My hands and toes were perpetually cold, even with hand warmers stuffed in my boots and gloves. Many people on our tours were simply unprepared for this and suffered because of it. I cannot stress enough how critical it is you don’t underestimate the cold. Here is the crazy thing, the tours we booked off ship provided thermal gear while those booked on the ship did not. The tours provided by the ship were significantly over priced and under delivered. Which leads me to this very important tip: don’t book tours with Viking Sky. Instead book only off-ship local tour providers. For example, with a local tour provider of dog sliding we were provided thermal gear and able to drive our own team of dogs. The tour provided by the ship offered no thermal gear, you could not drive the team, and was very poorly organized. Many in our party waited up to two hours in 15 F degree weather with no shelter and no campfire before getting a 30 minute ride. There was no food offered except for some frozen cake midway into the trip. The bus was so late arriving back at the ship that many missed their second tour. And for this, we paid $430 per person. Our request for even a partial refund fell on deaf ears, which really disappointed us given Viking Ocean’s stellar reputation for providing a top quality experience. We were told other tours that had similar misfortunes did remit refunds to passengers. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements prior to departure or using the Internet onboard the ship to contact several tour companies that are highly rated by TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. Our favorite ports were Stavanger, Bodo, and Tromso where the ship docked in the middle of town. However, even though in Alta and Narvik the ship docks some distance from the center of town the ship did provide shuttle buses. Quite frankly, there was really nothing to see in the town of Alta, where the emphasis is on booking tours to see the Northern Lights and staying warm. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. Is the Viking Ocean experience worth three to four times the cost of other lines like Celebrity or twice the cost of Azamara? Certainly Viking Ocean has Azamara beat for value. Celebrity is often a good value for what you get, but Viking Ocean is in a whole different category and price range, so it’s a hard question to answer. However, if price is no factor, Viking Ocean is the only way to go! The service, stateroom amenities, ship amenities, free inclusions like wine and Internet, and dining room experience are undoubtedly among the best at sea. So is the ability for a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t. For many people, this may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail with Viking Ocean again when I find an itinerary that is highly unique (like this cruise to the Arctic Circle) or heavily discounted. But I will be absolutely certain not to book any of their shore excursions!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
A cruise around the Canaries and the Caribbean over Xmas/New Year sounded idillic. Alas, it proved totally the opposite, mainly boring due to lack of organised entertainment during "at sea" days which could be four days in a ... Read More
A cruise around the Canaries and the Caribbean over Xmas/New Year sounded idillic. Alas, it proved totally the opposite, mainly boring due to lack of organised entertainment during "at sea" days which could be four days in a row. Furthermore, we found ourselves on a ship built over 33 years ago, so very outdated. We experieced rough seas between UK and Lisbon and the ship could not cope and rolled like a cork. Only the islands of Madeira, Antigua and Cozulmel were of interest. So much for visitng the Caribbean? Our cabin was very small and did not represent anything like in the cruise brochure.It was stuffy with faulty air conditioning, no window to open and there was a constant smell of nausiating food and kitchen in the hallway and cabin. On arrival in Las Palmas we went out an bought ourselves a fan for the cabin. On arrival back home we had to wash every item of clothing, even new clothing not worn to try and get rid of the horrible food/kitchen smell. The only bright aspect of the cabin was the excellent steward from Honduras called Nelson. The food was terrible. At one lunchtime sitting, all 8 of us on the table left the food and told the Manager to throw it overboard along with the chef. Yes it was that bad. The highlight each evening was the 45 minute show in the in the Magellan Show Lounge. The ship has its own group of about 8 dancers and 6 singers and they put on a great show each evening. The singers were superb. They are worthy of being on a major cruise liner. Another pre-dinner highlight was the classical recital in the Hampton's Bar with a lovely pianist and an excellen violinist. There was nightly entertaiment in the Captains Club if you can call the duo, Derya & Tolga entertainment as neither could sing in tune and we often completely off key. Another complaint is the scam tactics of the barmen who give short measure with wine drinks. I sent my so-called 250ml drinks back more than 20 times for top-up and not once was there any objection from a barman? They need glasses with measurement amounts shown on the glass to stop this practise. The ports of call, with the exception of Madeira, Antigua & Cozumel were a complete waste of time. Cape Verde was stepping into the a poor third world country with filth and poverty everywhere. We were happy to reach Cozumel at the end of the cruise and disembark, but we still had organisational disasters. It took almost a whole day to get from Cozumel to Cancun airport. Then there was a 2 hour flight delay. This was made worse by having to sit on the bus at Gatwick to take us back to Tilbury for over one hour. Upon arrival back at Tilbury Docks we found all our cars unaccessable due to being advised where to park by the cruise car parking attendants. The police were called who removed a fence and help us, one by one to break free. My car was in a far corner and it took 2 hours before I was out. Need I say that my crusing days are over and it you decide to cruise I suggest you made sure it is not on the Magellan. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I ... Read More
43I booked a last minute 5 night cruise on Marco Polo as it had been advertised at a very good price. I have sailed on her a number of times and have a soft spot for this elegant old cruise ship. Embarkation at Tilbury was very quick, I had allowed for travel holdups that did not occur, and arrived at the port almost two hours early, and checked in and was aboard in less than five minutes. I had a comfortable outside cabin on deck 7 with tea and coffee making facilities, which I was very happy with. It was kept spotlessly clean by my steward, who was a dab hand at providing me with a range of daily towel sculptured animals. Our first port of call was Rotterdam, which was a delight. Although free coach shuttles had been laid on, it was only a 15 minute walk from the cruise terminal to the city centre. Rotterdam is much more modern than Amsterdam, but the benefit is that you do not have the hordes of tourists to contend with. It is a lovely city to explore on foot. Our next stop was Rouen for an evening visit to the Christmas markets by the cathedral. As before, free shuttle coaches had been provided to the city centre. Rouen is beautiful, I would have liked far longer there to fully explore the place. Our third and final stop was a full day in Honfleur. We had been informed at the start of the cruise that the Christmas market in Honfleur had been delayed and would not be open for our visit. I spent the morning exploring Honfleur, which is well worth a visit, with many quaint narrow streets and ancient buildings. After returning to the ship for lunch, CMV kindly laid on free coaches to take us over the impressive Seine bridge to spend an afternoon in Le Havre. I have seen some reviews of Marco Polo where people moan about various niggles they’ve found, but these seem very unfair to me. The ship is not new, but she is smartly styled and the crew work tirelessly to keep her looking her best. I found the food in the restaurant to be very good, the beef wellington one night particularly worth a mention. Dinner consists of five courses, Cunard only serve four on QM2! My table companions all agreed the food in the restaurant was very good. There were lots of activities organized on board, regular quizzes and games, craft workshops, guest lectures (themed on Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte which were excellent and well presented) as well as entertainment from talented musicians and an enthusiastic show team of singers and dancers. If you get a chance to do a longer cruise on this lovely liner, you are in for a little treat at the end of your meal on the last formal night. This is possibly the only ship that still does the ‘Baked Alaska’ parade properly. Take your cameras with you to dinner. I’ll say no more so as not to spoil the surprise! The baked Alaska was delicious of course. After a final day at sea, we disembarked in Avonmouth, Bristol. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and ... Read More
I was looking forward to this cruise with my friend as I had sailed on Ocean Village about 4 times many years ago and wanted to compare. Embarkation from Tilbury was brilliant. We were called by the colour on our luggage label and walked on board without much queuing. The waiting area had plenty of seating, a small coffee bar and was nice and warm. Our cabin was a nice size (I already knew this from OV) but the wooden furniture was the original and so was the bathroom. This was OK though and the shower is really large. The air con worked well and the bed was comfortable. Our cabin was on deck 5 at the front (5120) and had a lot of movement on rough days. I was seasick and would recommend a higher level and central if you suffer from this. There seemed to be a lot of crowding in the Bistro buffet on level 12. We had to find a seat (not easy) then take turns to get our food. I had never experienced this on OV so I can only assume that it was the time of year and no-one was eating outside. The food here was average. Breakfast was very good, lunch didn't have much choice of hot food and it didn't look that appetising. The desserts were moussy!! and the hot choice seemed mainly to be a sloppy variation of bread and butter pudding. The thing that put us off the most though was that it was very cold in there. On the second day we decided to use the Waterfront restaurant (waiter service). We were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of food compared to the Bistro so we continued to use it.... and it was lovely and warm. The afternoon tea was nice with delicious biscuits and scones with fresh cream and jam.... yummy. The entertainment was quite poor and there wasn't a huge amount going on, especially during our day at sea. I liked the comedian though.... very old jokes but he pulled it off because he was likeable. The decor in the public areas was nice and looked refurbished. There is quite a lot of seating around the ship and it didn't feel crowded (except the Bistro) even though the ship was full. I'll finish on a positive as we really enjoyed our cruise. The staff were excellent. They worked hard and were always helpful and friendly. Also our fellow passengers were so friendly which made all the difference. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Luxurious barge with spacious accommodations for 8. Every detail is handled. The cruise begins with high tea at the Stafford Hotel in London before transfer to the barge. The Magna Carta is beautiful, meticulously clean and very ... Read More
Luxurious barge with spacious accommodations for 8. Every detail is handled. The cruise begins with high tea at the Stafford Hotel in London before transfer to the barge. The Magna Carta is beautiful, meticulously clean and very comfortable. Our cabin and bathroom were large and nicely appointed. The staff was lovely and anticipated our every need. Our tour guide was very well informed taking us to Oxford, Highclere (Downton Abbey), Cliveden, Windsor and Hampton Court. One of the many highlights was sitting on the sun deck cruising through the locks with a Guinness or cup of tea enjoying conversations while passing lovely countryside. We were served 3 gourmet meals a day accompanied by exquisite wines. A full bar was also available. We took the Queen Mary 2 from New York to meet the Magna Carta in London. The food and service on the Magna Carta far exceeded Cunard’s. It was a wonderful week on the Thames. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next ... Read More
We had a brilliant holiday. Service food and entertainment were all excellent. The ships singers and dancers were exceptional .This was a little bigger ship than we are used to but we actually preferred it and will look for similar next year. Room was quite small but we spend very little time there. We prefer to be out either exploring or up on deck. The other guests we chatted to had all enjoyed their holiday. On formal nights nights most people dressed up but not ott. Some people chose not to and this appeared to be acceptable. They did not go to the formal dining rooms . We prefer to do our own thing but booked 2 last minute excursions . Both were very good if a bit expensive. There was a small problem with the tendering in st peters. Staff came round to explain and apologise. Throughout the holiday the captain ensured guests were well informed. The ship had a relaxed atmosphere. This was our first fly cruise . everything was well organised. This was the same on departure. All good we reallly enjoyed especially in waterfront ,,most of the times we dining late and tired because we booked in 1st sit but the staff showed smiley face.making jokes and fun the service too fast.we never had this before very good and lovely waiter Mr. sabari very frank and efficient. Beds very comfortable with beautifully laundered linen and great pillows. Having some experience of travelling on cargo ships over the years, the occasional ship smells of bunkering, and the inevitable hum and vibration of the engines disturbed us hardly at all, as we reckoned it was hardly possible to avoid these things altogether. We slept well, and loved our cabin cheerful.over all we enjoyed except st.peters. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my first cruise and first solo holiday, having read previous negative reviews I boarded with nervous anticipation. I travelled to Tilbury Docks via the CMV coach from Victoria which was very well organised. The embarkation ... Read More
This was my first cruise and first solo holiday, having read previous negative reviews I boarded with nervous anticipation. I travelled to Tilbury Docks via the CMV coach from Victoria which was very well organised. The embarkation procedure was very straightforward and quick. The staff on board were extremely welcoming and helpful. Solo travellers are very well cared for and I soon made friends. The food was excellent and very well presented. All dietary needs seem to be catered for but do let them know in advance. The trips were well organised but next time I will probably book them independently. The entertainment was variable. I personally enjoyed the classical pianist with the violinist, they were superb, likewise so were the classical guitarists. The ship was immaculately clean and tidy. There was always enough sunbeds, lovely comfortable ones at the *blunt* end! I would certainly book and travel again on the Columbus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a treat to get us in the mood for Christmas. The cabin and ship were of a good standard. Food very good. The ship its self was COLD, very cold cabin,problem which was not solved the entire cruise, even worse the outside doors were open, obviously to let passengers on and off when in port however there was no extra heating, no hot air blowers and the bars were COLD, the dining areas were COLD you could only eat either end of dining areas with a coat and gloves on, would not book again in the winter. The staff were all friendly and the service was good, such a shame the heating was not improved on because the trip was spoilt. Embarkation was efficient and the two excursions we booked were also good. My husband and I would have booked to cruise again on the Columbus because the ship in general is lovely but this experience has really put us off. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have just returned from a 6 day cruise on board the Magellan. When we arrived, we found the staff really helpful and friendly and within 20 minutes of checking in, we were on board the ship. We had a Seaview cabin on the 7th deck, which ... Read More
We have just returned from a 6 day cruise on board the Magellan. When we arrived, we found the staff really helpful and friendly and within 20 minutes of checking in, we were on board the ship. We had a Seaview cabin on the 7th deck, which was more than adequate for our needs. The walk in shower was a good size and the bed comfortable. The cabin steward was excellent, keeping our room clean and provided guidance and assistance throughout the cruise. We found all of the restaurants clean and well presented, with a good and ample selection of food. Our evening meal was in the Kensington. Due to health problems, I am often restricted with what I can eat. Maryo was so helpful each day ensuring that my diet was catered for. Something I really appreciated as he didn't make me feel a nuisance. All in all we found the whole experience on board a pleasure and we would definitely recommend the holiday to others. We have already booked for 13 of our friends to join us on board for a Christmas overnight stay. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We wanted to see Scotland and this was a fantastic opportunity at a competitive price to get a taste of what it all about and travel in luxury. Getting on and off the ship was first class and well organised,to be honest most of the ... Read More
We wanted to see Scotland and this was a fantastic opportunity at a competitive price to get a taste of what it all about and travel in luxury. Getting on and off the ship was first class and well organised,to be honest most of the issues that were few were caused by guests going to their designated areas too early causing congestion. The ship is not new but very well organised with a multinational crew who are all very helpful and go out off their way to help you, the crew also make sure you are safe and keep you informed of weather conditions, the lifeboat drill was well organised but very slow due to the mature clientele on the ship. The food in all the restaurants was superb, all to a good standard with excellent service and plenty of choice. Entertainment was okay and too a reasonable standard, but certainly not west end standard as described in some reviews. The daily activities were fun and varied and again good for the mature clientele on board. Service, all the staff did a fantastic job and went out of their way to be helpful. Ports and shore excursion's were excellent and good value, well organised with lots of interesting information. We did not travel with children and too be honest I don't think their is enough to keep them entertained, particularly if its too cold to use the outdoor pools. We will be returning again and really enjoyed our experience, we were a little nervous When I read some of the previous reviews , but we had no complaints the team did a great job and are a credit to this beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I chose this cruise because I'd wanted to see Shetland for ages. Embarkation was extremely smooth and fuss free, as was disembarkation a week later. I thought Columbus was really beautiful. My cabin (single, inner) was very ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I'd wanted to see Shetland for ages. Embarkation was extremely smooth and fuss free, as was disembarkation a week later. I thought Columbus was really beautiful. My cabin (single, inner) was very nice indeed; clean, comfy and very roomy, there were twin beds and plenty of room for two. I usually ate in the buffet because I prefer not to take too long over meals, especially being solo. I thoroughly enjoyed the talks from the antiques experts. I hadn't expected to like the evening entertainments because it's not usually my thing, but the ones I went to were excellent, especially the last night's version of Queen music. Cabin service was very good indeed, my cabin was always in tip top condition. I enjoyed all four shore excursions, although I think they are a bit pricey. Some people do their own thing but it's harder on your own. I really only have three very small caveats. One is the price of the photos you get taken the whole time. I know there's no obligation to buy them, but what a waste! Another is the almost over-attentiveness of the waiting staff; If I wanted a drink I'd ask! Lastly I wish there had been more than one complimentary tea and coffee station. I only drink tea, and it was four decks and the length of the ship away! Surely there would be room for two or three? Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Got back today. We sailed from Tilbury, having used the Victoria Coach Shuttle service. This ran smoothly and professionally. Embarkation was the same ( the only problem were the passengers who insisted that they were far more important ... Read More
Got back today. We sailed from Tilbury, having used the Victoria Coach Shuttle service. This ran smoothly and professionally. Embarkation was the same ( the only problem were the passengers who insisted that they were far more important than anyone else ). Our cabin was spotlesss and apart from being too hot ( maintenance staff soon rectified this ) was very comfortable. Dining on the first evening was not pleasant, as all those allocated to their particular restaurant were kept waiting outside the restaurant until the doors were opened. Again the behaviour of some passengers pushing and shoving left a lot to be desired. The food was expertly presented, but nothing special. As a result of this we chose to use the buffet restaurant for the remainder, We had to choose our moment as it was very popular. The entertainment catered for everyone - classical violinists / lounge music or cabaret. Last night we chose to watch the pantomime. It was SO BAD...it ended up being really funny !! The drinks were, I thought, very reasonably priced. I would say that the level of service was 99% good - the exception being the drinks waiter we had for the restaurant meal. Very pompous but it could have been a language problem Our our disembarkation when visiting Amsterdam was smooth and the visit itself enjoyable but there are mad bicyclists EVERYWHERE, and their rules of the road differ vastly from the UK. Getting back on the ship was a nightmare - only one x-ray machine working. Much heightened security at Antwerp Xmas Market for obvious reasons, but loved it!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My Daughter, her husband, my Wife and I spent three nights on the Magellen for a short Christmas Cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp, we had a nice time but it could have been so much better. Transfer from the long stay car park was very ... Read More
My Daughter, her husband, my Wife and I spent three nights on the Magellen for a short Christmas Cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp, we had a nice time but it could have been so much better. Transfer from the long stay car park was very quick, as was check in, the baggage arrived at the cabin within 15 minutes. A very good start. The ship has a good balance of communal areas, bars and shops, all very clean and spotless. Sinatra’s became our choice as the new English Tavern (replacing the nightclub) played very loud rock music most of the time, not our choice when we wanted to talk to each other. Service was good and fairly prompt, one thing we noticed was the charge for a mixer drink was the price of a can/bottle rather than a splash, if you have a vodka and coke ask for the can and add your own splash. other drinks were reasonably priced. We had a Superior cabin on deck six, it was very spacious and clean. The cabin attendant was not very attentive but he was very friendly, I am sure if we needed anything he would have helped. The downside for us was the quality of the dinning. We were placed in the Waldorf restaurant, which on appearance looked very nice, but unfortunately the quality of the food and the service is on a par with one/two star dinning. The evening “fine dining” experience (6 courses) is delivered at speed, just over an hour, and thrown at you from all angles. I don’t think they know of service from the left, dishes were delivered across table, stretched across other dinners and delivered to hand in some instance. The quality matched the service, pasta was gloopy and could be cut into slices, sauces had films of oil on them and meat very dry. Breakfast had the usual extensive choice but looked like it had been thrown onto the serving dishes. The Waldorf had the slowest omelette cook I have encountered, using one small frying pan rather than a grill. Breakfast on disembarkation morning was chaos in every restaurant, the ship cannot cope with everyone arriving for food at once. Not enough seating, cutlery or cups, I didn’t get a chance to experience if there was enough food. Everybody had to vacate their cabins by 7am, if they staggered checkout this might avoid this problem. Leaving the ship was straightforward and hassle free, it didn’t look like anybody paid attention to the disembarkation time slot but queues did keep moving and transfer busses were frequent. My first impressions of the Magellan were very good, unfortunately the quality of the dinning service and food would drive me mad on a sailing any longer than three days. In fact, if I had paid full cabin price I would be complaining formally rather than adding a review. This is such a shame for what is a nice cruising environment and a very pleasant ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Just returned from a 3 night cruise with my partner from london to amsterdam then onto antwerp. Overall, i had a wonderful holiday. In regards to some of the things I experienced on the ship, at times i was flabbergasted and felt compelled ... Read More
Just returned from a 3 night cruise with my partner from london to amsterdam then onto antwerp. Overall, i had a wonderful holiday. In regards to some of the things I experienced on the ship, at times i was flabbergasted and felt compelled to write this review, . PROS . Waldorf restaurant in the evenings is wonderful. Ample menu, good food, Mostly good service (I'll come back to this). . Ship very clean. Our cabin was very comfortable. . Evening shows entertaining, well scripted, brilliant dancers and singers . Very relaxed atmosphere- the friendliest cruise I have been on and we found the other guests to be great company.(good mixture of ages too) . Destinations were amazing. We had a thoroughly good time on shore and id love to return to Amsterdam. Port staff also really friendly, helpful and welcoming CONS . Lunch in the top 'informal' restaurant has not nearly enough seating and the food selection was very poor. . Hot tub was cold... too cold to even attempt to get in . We arrived late in both ports by 1hour- 1.5 hours . No drinks packages- something most cruisers expect as standard. (my bar bill cost me a small fortune!!) . And now my biggest complaint- Poorly trained/selected staff that could use some serious senior management. The restaurant staff were fairly professional, however they do require some English lessons on key restaurant terms ( a confusing couple of episodes re 'lemonade' and the wrong starters). RECEPETION... front of house and the face of any business... absolutely dismal. I took a dislike to one girl with a face like a wet weekend and a serious attitude problem- the others were not great either. ( I think she was head receptionist which is where these issues may lie). They seemed to have no regard for passenger welfare, solving issues or being remotely helpful... every time i went to the desk it was chaos and nobody knew what was going on. Bar staff all seemed to be doing their job efficiently, particularly one guy in the Tavener pub who was one of the only members of staff i came across who seemed happy to be there and actually engaged with guests. Some port staff were very rude and unhelpful- smoking in front of guests also- The biggest NO NO of tourism- very unprofessional At times the cruise was chaotic, stemming from the lack of staff ability and organisation. I would seriously recommend the management of this company travel with other cruise liners to get a feel for what good customer service is. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We considered travelling to Alaska to see the Aurora but the Magellan Northern Lights cruise offered a much cheaper alternative. To be honest looking at previous reviews I knew this would not be a luxury trip and I do not like cruises. I ... Read More
We considered travelling to Alaska to see the Aurora but the Magellan Northern Lights cruise offered a much cheaper alternative. To be honest looking at previous reviews I knew this would not be a luxury trip and I do not like cruises. I dislike all the extra hidden expense and being stuck with old people that only talk about their last cruise whilst eating themselves to death. I dislike seeing 20 stone people in their 40s and 50s with walking sticks struggling to get into lifts when they are young enough to use the stairs. This is humanity at its worst and typical of the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the west. That said we saw the Aurora and it was all worth the sleepless nights of listening to rumbling engines and noisy ventilation. My wife congratulated me for not snoring the entire trip when in fact she had little chance of hearing me over the din of the creaks and various other odd sounds this ship subjects you too not to mention your neighbours conversations because of the lack of soundproofing. We bought an expensive wine package but none of the crew understood how it worked and getting our pre paid wine was a chore. We opted to remove all tips as a result....£130 and tipped a few good crew. You get what you pay for and if you like departing and arriving in a aircraft hanger that leaks and with no direction from anyone then good luck. Tip - take as much alcohol in you baggage as you want and save £hundreds as no one checks. We took on an entire cocktail cabinet and a flask for hot coffee in the morning as there are no tea making facilities (well not unless you have a suite). It was I admit value for money with nice food. Do it once, and sleep for a week to recover is my motto if you want to see the Northern Lights, however I can see no other reason for travelling on this ship........round the world? my god! no way if you paid me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
If you are thinking of going on a cruise with this company on this ship, I would urge to re-think. We have just spent a lot of money on a tired looking, sub-standard cruise ship with possibly the rudest crew possible. Not all the crew ... Read More
If you are thinking of going on a cruise with this company on this ship, I would urge to re-think. We have just spent a lot of money on a tired looking, sub-standard cruise ship with possibly the rudest crew possible. Not all the crew it must be said but most of them. We have submitted a long letter listing all the inadequacies we encountered on this 2 week debacle. There are 2 good things to be noted though: a) The food was plentiful, well presented and there was no known food poisoning. b) We were able to disembark occasionally. (Although even that was a fraught experience!) It was to be a cruise for my elderly mother and myself to have a wonderful experience allowing her to see the Northern Lights whilst she can. We planned and saved for some time and eventually left home for the trip of our lifetime. The last bit was meant to happen but unfortunately it become the trip of a lifetime for the wrong reasons. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Second time on my birthday..the catering and waiting staff brought a sparkle birthday cake singing happy birthday...food was in plenty and of a very good standard and variety.. We could not fault our trip..I am a retired nurse and very ... Read More
Second time on my birthday..the catering and waiting staff brought a sparkle birthday cake singing happy birthday...food was in plenty and of a very good standard and variety.. We could not fault our trip..I am a retired nurse and very keen on good hygiene and the whole ship,cabins,food was A+++. I saw a programme rip off Britain with a passenger saying that paint affected him..I say rubbish...NO fumes whatsoever came from the paint.I use inhalers and it did not affect me at all....Maintenance and cleaning is high on the agenda and none of us found either the painting or cleaning obtrusive at all. Please go and enjoy your trip..highly recommend this company... Entertainment was really good,the cruise director was friendly ,the girls and boys of the entertainment troop were fabulous..service and waiters were friendly and caring.. The captain was very good at given out information of the routes and weather conditions.. Highly recommend.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Booked through Gardeners World, viewing gardens Dublin, Scillies, Guernsey, France. I was a first time cruiser. Very concerned regarding reviews however went with open mind. Had a wonderful time, food very good, previous remarks were very ... Read More
Booked through Gardeners World, viewing gardens Dublin, Scillies, Guernsey, France. I was a first time cruiser. Very concerned regarding reviews however went with open mind. Had a wonderful time, food very good, previous remarks were very negative but I couldn't find fault. All meat dishes were tasty and tender. Desserts and cakes were varied and good. Tea was a real treat. 5 course dinner so each course was small but needed to be to get through all 5 courses. We ate breakfast and lunch in Bistro and enjoyed the many dishes on offer. Entertainment was to a good standard and the ballet/dance troupe were excellent as was the band. Singers were good overall,costumes were very good. All staff were very helpful and friendly. Very high hygiene standards throughout ship, staff administered hand gel every meal time. Shore excursions good, I thought reasonably good value all except Monets garden which was expensive as entry ticket was marked 8 euros so it seemed a lot for the coach trip (£67). I agree ship engines are noisy but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the cruise. Cabin was upgraded and back of ship floor 5, quite enough room , very comfortable beds, excellent shower. Yes I would go again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. ... Read More
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. The excursions and lectures are informative and academic. This last cruise we had an engine fire on the first night! We had our 2nd muster drill that evening but the 2nd one was very real! Because of that we had to put in to a port that wasn't on the itinerary. The excursion staff hustled to make some of the excursions happen and to come up with others while the ship was being repaired and certified to sail. We missed some of the highlights of the trip though such as visiting the chateaus. We also didn't have hot water for a day. We are still waiting to hear about a promised compensation...... This was really something that should have been decided and announced to everyone before we disembarked. Now everyone thinks that if we really do receive compensation it will be inequitable. But we did get an open bar several nights! Then, just as has happened on other cruises, we missed another port of call as the seas were very choppy and caused the small ship to change course. This is something people need to be aware of on this small ship. You don't always get to visit all the ports of call. Instead you get a choppy day at sea as they move on to the next port of call. Now they are moving to the North Sea for 2017 which is notorious for choppy waters! This ship really rocks. One day we were confined to our cabins because it was to dangerous to be out and about. We were told the ship was going to go into dock for 6 months after this season ends in November. I hope they refurbish the cabins. The carpets are stained and worn. The bed skirt was filthy as were the walls. The towels were stained. That being said, the attitude of the crew/staff and fellow passengers makes this a friendly travel experience. You can get into to port at cities the large cruise liners can't and the excursions are designed to be educational. The food is better than the standard cruise liners. The passengers are older and I've only seen 1-2 teenagers. There is a tiny workout room but no regular activities. This is probably due to the fact that most passengers are in the 60-80 year old range. The excursions are usually a half day which allows free time in the port city. I hope this cruise line can get it together as they really have a good thing going and a devoted, but dwindling following. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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