Three day Amsterdam/Antwerp cruise.
I was a bit worried prior to sailing as I had read some unfavourable reviews. I have to note that this review is based on my own experience which was mostly positive. There are other reviews, both on ... Read More
Three day Amsterdam/Antwerp cruise.
I was a bit worried prior to sailing as I had read some unfavourable reviews. I have to note that this review is based on my own experience which was mostly positive. There are other reviews, both on this website and others, from people on the same cruise who experienced very loud engine noise (seemingly the lower deck forward cabins) and some horrendous plumbing problems: non flushing toilets, intermittent water supply and in some cases, flooded cabins.
Thankfully I did not experience any of these problems myself.
If you are happy to have a relaxed attitude and appreciate that this is a ‘budget’ cruise then you will have an excellent time. If you are expecting a very high standard, you may be a little disappointed.
Embarkation was swift and easy. (As was parking at the terminal if you have paid for it.)
Cabins are spacious and comfortable. Hair dryer provided although not very powerful. If you have long or thick hair or want to do lots of styling, you may want to bring your own. Shower was good – powerful enough. No complimentary toiletries (although there is shower gel in a wall mounted dispenser) and no tea/coffee making facilities (the guidebook actually forbids ‘water heating’ in cabins (?!) but everyone I met was using their own travel kettle). Spare blankets and beach towels provided. Beds comfy but narrow. May not be quite so comfy for anyone a bit taller or wider than average.
The tv in room has a reasonable range of basic UK channels plus a ‘cruise route’ channel. Engines can be quite noisy, especially when they suddenly go into thrust mode and I heard some people complaining about poor sleep quality but it didn’t bother me particularly. No it wasn’t quiet, but in my cabin it wasn't bad enough complain about. Maybe I was lucky with my cabin location. (Deck 7 Aft)
All staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The bar, food and cabin stewards are permanently smiling and always happy to exchange pleasantries. Any problems (we had a couple of very minor issues) were dealt with pleasantly and efficiently.
Food is excellent. Two formal restaurants (although you have to queue outside for them to open at the designated time – it would have been nicer to open perhaps 15 mins earlier and allow people in at their leisure) and a casual Bistro with a wide selection of buffet style foods. (Although finding a seat there at busy times was a problem.)
We had one formal night and two smart/casual nights (I had previously read contradictory notes about whether there would be a formal night on such a short cruise and indeed some of the staff seemed unsure as to whether there was a formal night.)
Also be aware that dinner can sometimes take a couple of hours so if you want to see the show the show lounge (scheduled for after dinner) you may have to leave dinner early. (Second sitting dinner is 8.30 with the show starting at 10.30 but on the first night we didn’t get to the show until after 11pm and although we made it on time the next night, the last night we had to rush dessert and skip coffee.)
Bar prices were very reasonable (£4 for a cocktail, under £1.80 for a cappuccino)
The cabin and the ship itself were very clean and tidy and everything appears very well maintained.
However, this is a new ship (to this company, at least) with a new itinerary, and some things were a little disorganised. e.g. Dinner on the first evening seemed a little haphazard. Several people were not seated in their requested groups or table sizes and there seemed to be a lot of ‘jiggling people about’ and scribbled out names on seating plans.
Also the Lifeboat drill took far too long. Members of the entertainment staff were our ‘team leaders’ and they openly admitted they had not performed this task before. As instructed, we walked single file from the muster station to ‘near’ our allocated lifeboat but then waited whilst staff realised we should have gone in a different order as we now didn’t have room to walk past another group already in situ by their lifeboat. We had to back up and use a different entrance. Not a big problem on the day and no-one was complaining but ultimately this is one of the ‘serious bits’ of cruising and this didn’t instil much confidence. (I’m sure this will be sorted out in due course when the staff have performed the drill a few times.)
I was disappointed with the standard of the evening shows from the in house entertainment crew. All ents staff were extremely hard working (the singers often finishing the main show then immediately appearing in one of the lounge bars.) and deserve mention for that - all dancers/singers smiled throughout and looked happy and enthusiastic - however the general standard of performance was more on a par with that of a student show. Choreography was quite dated and dancers looked very young, inexperienced and lacked ‘oomph’. The singers were pleasant enough but needed more personality. Again – they were ok, just not great, so don’t expect a West End style standard show.
The Cruise Director however, was very good. Good voice, good personality and stage presence. He definitely ‘lifted’ the shows.
A tip for the show lounge/theatre – seats downstairs have a better view. Seats upstairs are nicer but have glass partitions and lots of metal work and pillars which obscure the view quite badly.
I was also disappointed that the pool was closed. I had read in the small print beforehand that the pool is empty at night and also during port days (due to some ‘port regulation’ which I have never come across before on other ships) - which on a city break cruise of two days meant the pool was never filled. At least I knew in advance but nevertheless, a cruise without a pool is very disappointing.
Although passengers were mostly of retirement age, there were plenty of people in their late 30s/40s so it didn’t feel too much like an ‘elderly’ clientele. Adults only, so no kids clubs etc.
May be of interest to nervous passengers - - in conversation I asked one of the shore excursion team if she new why we had made an unusual turning manoeuvre in the middle of the night (you can watch the route on the tv in your cabin) and she explained that the captain had chosen to sail around a storm. She went on to say that she had worked on several ships with several captains and that this one was the best, being highly skilled and extremely safety conscious. He adjusted our departure time from one port to avoid the oncoming storm - another cruise ship berthed next to us planned to keep to the original time and apparently was stuck in port for several hours longer.)
On the whole if you have a reasonably relaxed attitude and appreciate you are on a lower cost cruise then Magellan is great value for money, clean, comfortable, efficient and you will have a great time.
If you are used to cruising with the bigger companies or expect everything to be almost perfect, then you may be disappointed Read Less