We chose CMV /Magellan, as the itinerary (Baltic cities and St Petersburg) was very attractive - just what we wanted to do, the timing suited us, the headline cost was reasonable. We booked via Mr Bridge, whom we've cruised with ... Read More
We chose CMV /Magellan, as the itinerary (Baltic cities and St Petersburg) was very attractive - just what we wanted to do, the timing suited us, the headline cost was reasonable. We booked via Mr Bridge, whom we've cruised with before with other cruise companies and other ships, and had good experiences: we expected we'd have well-organized bridge playing, good bridge seminars while at sea, and a lovely group of people to get to know. Our expectations in that regard were fully realized, which was great.
Overall, the cruise had far more plus points than negative. The ship was a bit larger than we're used to and prefer, but it was well run. The staff were friendly and efficient, and went out of their way to make the cruise a pleasant experience. The food was very good, even outstanding at times, the cabin spacious and comfortable, with a good hot shower, and everything was clean and well maintained. The shore excursions were well organized and generally excellent. We were kept well-informed about what was going on, by daily printed bulletins and PA announcements. The choice of destinations was well thought through, and we were able to select a mixture of organized tours and doing our own thing which was ideal for us.
Embarkation was efficient. Disembarkation would have involved a tedious wait after docking, but we chose to go "express" and take our own bags off, which worked great. We were off and on our way within 30 minutes of docking, more or less as soon as the gangway was in place. Just as well, as we were on a tight schedule.
We were amazingly fortunate with the weather - calm seas, and warm sunshine for every shore excursion - glorious!
There were some downsides, however. Bottled water was charged for (and expensive!), and alcoholic drinks were very expensive, especially for wine. They offered a drinks package at £17 per day, but if taken, all passengers in a cabin had to take it, and for the whole duration- over £400. We weren't tempted, and had a near alcohol-free cruise. Gratuities policy was to levy £5 per person per day, which some might find OK - we'd have preferred to make our own decision. Entertainment on board was poor for us - there was a casino area, mostly wasted space as hardly anyone used it. There was no facility for ballroom dancing, just disco and karaoke. There were some lectures, but they were a bit lacklustre. We were pestered all the time by the ship's photographers, at meals, going into meals, going ashore - a bit of a pain, as it was too much. The shore excursions were good but expensive. It seems CMV's business model is a bit like Ryanair - low headline price, then sting the punter for every extra they can think of. That's sort of OK if you're flying, as getting to your destination is a minor part of a holiday, but on a cruise it's rankling every day. Such a shame, as the whole thing could have been really great, with a few changes of policy. Read Less