45 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) to Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

Although this was our 40th cruise, it was the first on Marco Polo and the smallest ship we have been on in 25 years of cruising and at 2 nights, the shortest. This is also my first review of a cruise ship. Having booked the cruise ... Read More
Although this was our 40th cruise, it was the first on Marco Polo and the smallest ship we have been on in 25 years of cruising and at 2 nights, the shortest. This is also my first review of a cruise ship. Having booked the cruise recently I looked up the reviews just before going and was quite alarmed by the number of negative reviews. I was not therefore expecting much. However, having enjoyed a very pleasant couple of days I thought that I should review it. I can only think that those negative reviews have come from people that only generally sail on the big modern ships with over 6000 guests and the staff to perform West End style shows. Whilst the exterior and steel around windows etc shows the signs of a 50 year old ship, the carpets and furniture and internal woodwork is kept spotless and clean. The beds are not modern but are comfortable enough and the bedding was clean. The inside cabins were larger than I expected with much more cupboard and drawer room than on many larger ships. With the exception of the lady leaving the duty free shop 4 hours before docking on the final morning who rather rudely announced that they 'were shut as we are always shut in port' when they clearly weren't, everyone else was very pleasant and friendly. I would say that it is a very happy ship.The food was as good as any of the ships we have been on and better than many. Still offering afternoon tea and late night snacks.The entertainment was not brilliant but the singers were good and did provide good entertainment. Let down a bit by the quality of the backing music but nothing to complain about. If you really want everything you get with the big ships, the Marco Polo is not for you. But for great value for money, friendly staff, good food and drinks at less than pub prices in the UK you can't beat this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The itinerary looked good 7 stops in Greenland and 3 on the way, although we ended up with 6+2. Very poor organisation throughout. We parked in the adjacent car park and had to wait for ages for the shuttle bus to take us to the ship. ... Read More
The itinerary looked good 7 stops in Greenland and 3 on the way, although we ended up with 6+2. Very poor organisation throughout. We parked in the adjacent car park and had to wait for ages for the shuttle bus to take us to the ship. On board for the first time we had to find our own way to our cabin - no greeting. Lifeboat drill was a shambles - no-one on the stairs to direct us, people milling around in all directions and staff did not know where stations were other than their own. The life jackets deserve replacement; I'd hate to have an emergency on that ship. There was a chargeable bottle of water in the cabin when we arrived, but the cabin steward was happy to take it away. He was the best thing on the ship, efficient, cheerful and willing. We had booked an excursion on Narsarsuaq to see Eric the Red's settlement in the afternoon of 29th July. In the morning we were tendered ashore to see the town. We returned to catch the tender back to the ship just as one was leaving at 11.21. No worries - we were due to meet in the Discovery lounge at 12.00 for a 12.30 departure, the ferry takes less than 20 minutes so we'll be on time - so we thought. The next ferry arrived at 11.44 - a bit tight but we'll be OK. The ferry did not go straight back however, but we bobbed about in the ocean until 12.32, causing us to miss our excursion. Over 3/4 hour for a 20 min trip! There were two platforms in use on the ship, one appeared to have "our" intended excursion tender on it (I guess they were waiting for us to arrive), the other was not being used until it was eventually decided that the one we were on would tie up there. You can imagine our feelings when we tied up just as the excursion tender was leaving. When I complained at the Excursion Desk I was told that we should not have gone ashore in the morning! Then to top it all we were told at the Excursions Desk that I would still be charged £100 for the excursion although our non-arrival was due to their incompetence. I later complained to Head Office, but they merely stood by the ship decisions. The staff incompetence was further shown at another tender port which we arrived at in late morning. Their ship's paper stated that tender tickets would be given out at midday from the Tour Office (mid-ships) and would passengers please not queue before then. As anyone with half a brain would expect, by midday the queue stretched from the Office, past the shops, right through the restaurant and out onto the aft deck! Dining - food average (nothing special) but it was often only warm by the time it arrived at our table. If we ordered a starter and soup both were collected at the same time and the soup was kept at the serving area so it was cool by the time we got it. Service was slow and our table was always the last to be served. The wine waitress was efficient and cheerful, the others less so. Aerosol cream on supposed Irish coffee. Afternoon tea was very repetitive. Double cream instead of clotted cream on scones. Breakfast croissants dry and tasteless; toast cold. Very poor choice of cheeses. Rust was evident over the ship. The woodwork is in need of re-varnishing. The steps used to get to tenders have a joining bar across each step such that it moves dangerously when stepped upon. The resident entertainment team is very good; the lead male dancer was outstanding. The layout of the show lounge is poor respecting the view from most seats apart from the front row. Although English is the accepted language, most of the crew are foreign. The captain spoke his own brand of English which was very difficult to follow over the loudspeakers when there was an announcement; he was rarely seen during the cruise, even at "his" cocktail parties - which were non-events. On formal nights few men wore dinner jackets. I even saw one man in shorts in the show lounge on a formal evening. No-one seemed to care. Would we go again? You're joking! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
the brochure looked good but was well overrated to actual cruise. the Iceland shore excursion was good except there were so many other coaches at stop you could not have a proper lunch in time allowed. eric the red tour in qaqortoq was a ... Read More
the brochure looked good but was well overrated to actual cruise. the Iceland shore excursion was good except there were so many other coaches at stop you could not have a proper lunch in time allowed. eric the red tour in qaqortoq was a rip off as all you had to do was go ashore and walk 1km to see every thing they were charging for. sisimuit sightseeing tour was cut short by 1 third but sip only gave 25% off tour. we had a flightseeing tour inillulissat which was very good and run properly. we were the only ones to do flight as fog rolled in and all other flight cancelled. we were due to go sailing among the icebergs next day but that days activities was cancelled. we found out the next day if we had gone ashore the local people doing the tour still done the tours themselves and there was no need for the ship to cancel their arranged tours . our last stop in Greenland was nanortalik where it 3 hrs to disembark ship after picking up tender tickets, then sat in tender for 20min in freezing cold before the tender was unloaded.by the time we reached shore we had only 1hr before we had to return to ship . we had to wait 1.5 hrs to join tender for our return to ship the last stop was lerwick in Shetland islands (there was to be 2 stops but they cancelled one ) where the tour was good but no time allowed to visit town. you travel a long way to see sights but are not given enough time a several of ports for proper sightseeing. the food in bistro was not good at times and we were sick 3 times, the food in dining room was much better. the bistro kept on running out knives , forks and plates and dining room had same problem at breakfast. disembarkation was bad as our group had to leave ship early to meet our bus and ship would not help us remove our baggage which is very difficult for old people as far as cmv goes we would never go on one of their ships and will tell all our friends the same Read Less
Sail Date July 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 wanted to go to Greenland and when the offer came up grabbed it. However wished we had paid more with another operator. Paid for a better room when booking however found on when on board some people had been upgraded to our cabin ... Read More
We wanted to go to Greenland and when the offer came up grabbed it. However wished we had paid more with another operator. Paid for a better room when booking however found on when on board some people had been upgraded to our cabin category they had paid £1,000 less than us. Ship old, no comfortable chairs inside other than the 5 in the library. Chairs in dining room dirty, chairs in Show Lounge not fixed to the ground meant anyone sitting in them restricted the view of those behind. Food average selected mozzarella and tomato as a starter processed cheese was on our plate! No lectures about Greenland or Iceland. Best of all were the staff who were all very nice. Anyone thinking of going again with C&M I advise seriously consider going with another cruise line especially if you go to Greenland - better to pay more for an expedition ship or Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. The embarkation port is close to us so was brilliant at the beginning and end of our holiday. Embarkation was one of the best we have experienced, very smooth and we did not have to wait for our ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. The embarkation port is close to us so was brilliant at the beginning and end of our holiday. Embarkation was one of the best we have experienced, very smooth and we did not have to wait for our luggage. We chose priority disembarkation, where you take your own luggage off, which again was very easy and suited us. The ship is good but it was overcrowded. The cabin is very good, but a big step into the bathroom and the window was dirty, spoiling an excellent view. The highlight of the dining experience was dinner which was excellent. Breakfast, lunch and tea were average, with big queues for tea. The onboard ship's entertainment was outstanding, although visiting acts were poor. There was also a great choice of onboard activities and excellent guest lecturers. Service was excellent and usually with a smile. We found the ports of call very interesting and was one of the main reasons we chose this cruise. The visit to Narsarsuaq was cancelled, but we went to Minaatsoq instead. We also missed out on Prince Christian Sound due to it being blocked by icebergs. Shore excursions in Iceland, Faroe Islands and Orkney were good and value for money, but very poor value for money in Greenland. Our best visits in Greenland were when we explored on our own. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
As an experienced travellers and cruisers, we selected this cruise because the itinerary looked interesting; the dates suited, it looked good value and to try CMV and Tilbury. Background information This is a review of a nine night ... Read More
As an experienced travellers and cruisers, we selected this cruise because the itinerary looked interesting; the dates suited, it looked good value and to try CMV and Tilbury. Background information This is a review of a nine night cruise from Tilbury on the Cruise and Maritime (CMV) ship Marco Polo. Our now considerable experience of travelling has included cruises with P&O, Thomson and SAGA. We are English, fit and in our seventies. In addition to the appealing itinerary and date, we selected this CMV cruise because it was child free, sailed from a fairly local port and looked good value. The following sections are under the headings advised by CruiseCritic and also show our CruiseCritic ratings. Below that are further sections commenting on the other CruiseCritic ratings. Travel to Port of Embarkation Our Rating - Terrible Tilbury terminal entrance and car park are poorly sign posted and there is a lengthy one-way-system to negotiate between the two. On first booking, we received directions to drive to the ship. When our tickets arrived, only six days before we sailed (despite my prompting), they had a parking ticket for the wrong car and new directions to a car park, about a mile from the ship, to pick up a shuttle bus. A corrected parking ticket was sent after two more complaints. The drive to Tilbury was about two hours and easy but then our problems really started. When we eventually found the unmarked car park, we were told that there was no shuttle bus. After a ‘phone call, the attendant re-directed us back round the one-way-system. These directions were also wrong and on arrival at a barrier we were directed a third time round the one-way-system to the Tilbury Terminal where there was a long queue of traffic. A second CMV ship, Columbus, was leaving the terminal an hour before our 5pm departure and this seemed to be more than the small terminal could cope with. Eventually, we were pointed to a space to park in but this was not the end of the problems. There was no help with our luggage and it took some time to find where to take it. After carrying and depositing the luggage, it then took more questions to find where we should go. When we found the right doorway, we were handed health forms to fill in and pointed to a small, crowded room with no unoccupied seats. It was now way past our boarding time of 2pm and we had not eaten or drunk anything since breakfast. There was no indication of when we might get on the ship, whether there would be anything available on board or where our next meal was coming from. Fortunately, about half an hour later and after more queuing, we were allowed to walk on to the ship, our cases were already outside our cabin and the on-board buffet was still serving lunch. We had booked through Iglu so the initial delay in receiving incorrect tickets may have been caused by Iglu or CMV. The repeated misdirections and delays were entirely unnecessary and of CMV’s making. Before we could unpack and settle in, we had to do the lifeboat drill. This was easily the longest and most frustrating version of this “requirement” we have endured. It started reasonably, gathering in the “muster” lounge for a lengthy lecture. We were then asked to put on the lifebelts and walk in single file, with hands on the shoulder in front, on a complex march through the ships corridors and stairs to a lifeboat. We then stood outside for several minutes until eventually allowed to leave and find our way back through the crowds. Stateroom (Cabin) Our Rating - Poor A review of the cabin is in CruiseCritic’s separate section. Ship Information Marco Polo is, by a small margin, the smallest and the second oldest cruise ship we have been on. It was originally Aleksandr Pushkin built in East Germany in 1965 with greater hull strength and stability than usual. This, plus stabilisers and a deep draught do seem to help it ride heavy seas better than most small cruise ships. Marco Polo’s refits and refurbishments have kept it reasonably up-to-date but the age shows, notably in the cabins (see separate section) and the passage ways where structural beams of all sizes run across the floors to trip the unwary. Internally, Marco Polo appears clean and smart. There are no worn carpets or furnishings, no chipped paint and cleaning, as on other ships, is constant. There are sanitizers where there is food plus staff with spray-guns. Most passengers comply willingly and there was very little coughing or sneezing on board. Look a little deeper, however, and things are not quite so good. Paint was smeared on windows and dirt could be found in obscure places like the bottom of the toothbrush glass holders in our “bathroom”. There were also occasional smells in the public toilets but we did not experience smells elsewhere on the ship. There are eight passenger decks, less than most ships and most facilities (bars, lounges, restaurants etc) are fairly close, so getting around is relatively easy. The main restaurant is on deck six (Atlantic). Almost all the other public spaces are two decks up on deck eight (Magellan). From bow to stern, these are as follows: Theatre (with a bar); Captain’s Club (main bar); Reception (starboard); Tour office (port); Palm garden (a starboard seating area); Shops (port); Columbus lounge (small bar); Library (starboard and small); Card room (port and small); Marco’s buffet restaurant plus an outside deck with pool, bar and food counter. One deck up from this lot on deck nine (Amundsen) are the promenade and Scott's bar. A further deck up on deck ten (Columbus) is a wellness centre (gym) and beauty salon. One final deck up on eleven (Navigator) is the sun deck with whirlpools. The promenade goes round about two thirds of deck nine. At each end there are steps up to deck ten where you can walk round and back down to the prom. You can also walk all the way around deck ten but much of it is a narrow passage between the lifeboats and cabins. The promenade is traditional teak and quite wide so should be good for sun bathing (in better weather) but anywhere near the middle, on either side, there is a constant loud noise presumably from the air conditioning system. There is similar noise in the centre of the Columbus lounge on deck eight. As with other ships, all on-board spending is charged to a cruise card account which must be settled (by cash or card) on the last full day. Dining Our Rating - Average - just Marco Polo has two main restaurants, the Waldorf on deck six and Marco’s buffet on deck eight. Both were fairly noisy and hectic. Outside Marco’s there is an additional fair-weather food counter. These three options are free. There is also the Fusion Indian restaurant behind the Waldorf on deck six. We did not try the Fusion which costs extra so none of my comments apply to this restaurant. Bar drinks, at additional cost (unless you buy a package) are wine-waiter served at lunch and dinner in the Waldorf and in the evening in Marco’s. The Waldorf The evening meal in the Waldorf is the only time when formal dining, at an allocated table, with full waiter service occurs. There are no tables for two. Our request for a table for six was agreed in advance and a table allocation card was in our cabin on arrival. Despite this, we were initially allocated a table for eight but this was changed without problem. Joining us was one interesting couple and another ‘been everywhere and done everything’ dominating couple of the type so often found on cruises. Evening meals took a long time with noticeable gaps between the five courses - starter, soup, salad, main and desert followed by tea or coffee. The starters were small, little more than horderves and the sweet deserts were little bigger. There were also some oddities. When chicken tikka masala was on the menu, for example, it came with boiled rice, a portion of shredded cabbage and a popadom. No saag aloo or similar and no naan bread despite the chef being Indian. At breakfast we were directed to the next table the waiters decided to fill so we landed up with different numbers of different people each time. Tea, coffee and juice were waiter served but everything else was self-service. The buffet arrangements were chaotic. Various tables were laid with different types of food and there were three queuing points for fresh cooked eggs and toast. The queues were often long and slow but when we finally got eggs they were good especially the omelets. This can not be said for the bacon which was very streaky, dry and hard (common with buffets) or the sausages which were mealy. We only saw hash browns once but there were pieces of roast potato. There was porridge and a good range of cold options (meet, cheese, fruit, bread and cereals) but again with oddities. All the prepared fruit, for example, was named “fruit compote” and none of these compotes included grapefruit although half grape-fruits in their skins were available. Lunch arrangements were similar to breakfast but a little less chaotic. Tea and coffee were waiter served but then it was into the fray and hope you remembered where you were sitting. Marco’s Proper buffet counters here worked somewhat better than the Waldorf at breakfast and lunch and could be a lot quicker. It did, however, get very busy, especially at the beginning of meal times although there were quieter periods, usually towards the end of a meal time. There was no allocated seating. Most tables seated four but there were some tables for two. There was overflow space outside, around the pool and there was nothing to stop us wandering into the nearby Columbus Lounge or Palm Garden with plates of food but we did not need to resort to any of this. In fact, one of our most enjoyable and peaceful evening meals was at a table for two, next to a window in Marco’s. Waiters were always on hand whipping away empty dishes almost before we finished. Wine waiters wandered through Marco’s during dinner but it was difficult to spot them and even more difficult to get their attention. We did not see them at lunch time. The food on offer was very similar, if not identical, to that in the Waldorf. At breakfast there was a single station for fresh cooked eggs but it was almost impossible to find toast. On each side of Marco’s there are self-service hot drink and cold drink machines. A wide variety of teas and coffees are available with hot milk or cold skimmed milk all in reasonable sized mugs. These machines are free and available up to eleven at night. We and others frequently carried mugs of tea, coffee and milk the length of deck eight and down to our cabin. The coffee available in the bars may be a little better and only cost £1.80 but came in small cups. Outside Marco’s a small food counter served burger (or similar) and chips. Although outside, this was open most, if not every day of our nine days in October in northern Europe. It appeared to be the only place on the ship to serve chips. They were never an option on the restaurant menus - another oddity and a shame as they were good chips. More than once, I collected food from Marco’s buffet, then went outside to get chips and then went back inside to eat. Afternoon Tea This was available only in Marco’s and was disappointing. It was entirely self-service meaning that we needed to queue to get tea from the machine and then queue again for cakes etc from the buffet. Savoury options were reasonable but cakes were not the best. Apple strudel, for example, had about the right apple filling mix but was round and on a very hard short pastry base. Late Night Snacks These were a major disappointment. What was advertised as a buffet in all lounges was actually a waiter wandering round with a very limited selection of horderves. They were even smaller and less appetising than SAGA’s similar offerings which at least did not claim to be a buffet. Meal Times These were reasonably extended with breakfast usually available from 6am to 10am. Lunch from noon to 2pm and dinner from 5:45 to 10:30. Overall food experience Our last meal, effectively a beef Sunday roast was excellent and the quality of most of the food was good. Better than we got with Thomson but not as good as P&O or SAGA. Similar can be said about the service. It was difficult to fault but was not quite as good as P&O or SAGA possibly because many were less than fluent in English. Activities Our Rating - Poor This part of our review covers CruiseCritic’s “Enrichment Activities” and “Fitness & Recreation” ratings topics. There were activities but that was not what were were looking for or expecting from this cruise. There was a wellness centre and a beauty salon on deck ten (Columbus). There were also frequent quizzes and invitations to activities (table tennis, knitting etc) many of which were unmanaged, just suggestions that passengers met, for example, to play bridge. We attended a tours presentation which seemed little more than verbal instructions on how to fill in an application form. Service Our Rating - Very Good Our real rating would only be good but this is not a CruiseCritic option. All the staff seemed to be foreign, mostly eastern European and there was often difficulty in being understood. They were, however, faultlessly helpful and friendly. This ship has no launderette and irons are not allowed although some ignored this restriction. The laundry service, which we did not use, charges £1.70 to iron a shirt or £2.50 to wash and iron. A dress is £2.50 or £3.75 and trousers are £1.85 or £3.75. We did not try cabin service either, which looked a little pricey although continental breakfast appeared to be free. Entertainment Our Rating - Poor The “orchestra” (really a small band) and the singing, dancing troupe were probably not much different from those on other ships. A couple of the singers were not bad and the dancing was energetic. They performed nightly in the theatre. Members of the troupe also performed late at night in Scott’s bar. They called this cabaret but it was really just singing to recorded music. In addition there were classical and pop duos and a guest evening appearances from Lee Carroll (comedian), Savannah Shepherd (soprano) and a bagpipe band. The young soprano was good but sang to recorded music and the band was good if you like bagpipes. The classical duo comprised piano and violin and played evening spots in the Captain’s Club. The pianist read the music, not always accurately and played with little feeling. The violinist was better but did not join the pianist every night. The Excelsior (pop) duo comprised a keyboard player and singer. They also played evening spots but in Scott’s bar. The keyboard was supported by recorded or automatic backing and played ballroom dance sessions as well as popular songs from the 1930’s to date. He was sometimes joined by a girl singer, somewhat in the Cilla Black mode with good soft and not so good harsh notes. The keyboard player sang too with a pleasant high pitched voice but with a heavy accent. Only once did we hear both of them singing in the same song. There was no daytime entertainment. The grand pianos in most bars were not played. The earliest entertainment was the single performance from the soprano at 4:15. Port & Shore Excursions Our Rating - Average We had worked out in advance how to see the interesting sights without booking relatively expensive ship’s excursions. Leith, Scotland Our plan worked well here. Marco Polo docked almost alongside the Royal Yacht, the entrance to which is in a shopping complex also containing Debenhams and an M&S food-hall. We did this lot in the morning and the well organised Britannia tour, with audio guides, was well worth the £14 entrance fee. In the afternoon we tried a Majestic bus tour of Edinburgh, also with an audio tour and at a similar price. It was hop-on-hop-off but we stayed on and it was still interesting enough, conveniently dropping us off at the ship. Klaksvik and Torshavn, Faroes In both of these ports we just took the free shuttle-but into town and wandered round. Klaksvic is small but both had visitor centres. It was interesting enough to see the scenery and how the remote Faroese live. The CMV excursions on offer probably would not have been much more interesting. Lerwick, Shetland Unfortunately, this was cancelled for the all too common seas too high for tenders reason and the ship sailed to the next stop. Kirkwall, Orkney We arrived here a day early but too late in the morning for the single 10am Stagecoach bus tour we had planned. In the morning we took the free shuttle bus to town and visited the impressive Cathedral and a museum located just over the road. Both interesting and both free. Fortunately, on the previous day, we had been able to book the afternoon CMV tour 113002 to Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Ring of Brodgar. This cost £51 each but included the £6 ticket price for Skara Brae and the house, both worth seeing. We then were taken to Ring of Brodgar and had time to struggle around this ‘Stonehenge’ in high winds and poring rain. The tour also passed the Ness of Brodgar (site of the current archaeological revelations) and Scapa Flow although we did not see any Churchill Barriers. Our guide was knowledgable and spoke almost all the time during the coach transfers as well as at the sites. Although not cheep, the excursion was reasonable value, especially as, having missed the bus, there was probably no other way we could have seen even a few of the sights. Invergordon, Scotland This port was added as we had missed Lerwick. It was no compensation. There is little to see, the church was closed and the museum was just a random collection of old things. It was, however, a pleasant enough town in which to stretch the legs. There were CMV tours to places like Inverness where we have already been. Disembarkation Our Rating - Very Good We managed to get up, take a quiet breakfast and return to our cabin, all before 7am, the time we were asked to vacate. The usual wait to disembark did not seem as bad as on other ships. We had comfortable seats in the Captain’s Lounge and the tea and coffee machines (in Marco’s) were working. There was a bit of a queue to get off when our “colour” was called but the worst part was trying to find our cases in the several groups scattered all around the large hall. Our four cases (we overpacked) were each in a different area, so it took a considerable time to spot them. Having done that, it was only a short walk with a trolley to our car and we were on our way by about 9am. The following sections are our explanations for our other CruiseCritic ratings. Onboard Experience Our Rating - Average A daily programme was delivered to our cabin, usually during the preceding evening. This was about as good as on other ships but often had inaccuracies. “Britain Today” a two sheet, eight page, ships daily newspaper was available, free, from reception. This included press association news plus some international news and a crossword. There were two formal nights on the first and last full days, both at sea. The first included the usual ‘photo with the captain and a small glass of sparkling wine. This was followed by a brief presentation of the captain and top crew in the theatre. It was all OK but not as good as the “cocktail parties” offered by other cruise lines. The majority conformed to the dress code but it was not enforced. On formal nights there were some men without ties and even some trainers. On informal nights, there were one or two men in shorts in restaurants. Most passengers were English with an average age probably in the seventies. There were a lot of walking sticks and some mobility scooters though overall, they seemed somewhat more mobile than SAGA passengers. There were some younger passengers including a fair number from the USA. All seemed happy, polite and well behaved. We heard no complaints and the only issue was one passenger in Marco’s who claimed the seat we sat in was hers “but I forgot to put my bag there”! There were plenty of other seats at the time. There was queuing, sometimes, to get off or on the ship and at the buffets in both restaurants but these usually did not take long and there was no queuing for the theatre or elsewhere. Public Rooms Our Rating - Average The public rooms are listed under “Ship Information” above. Here are details about the main rooms. They are all on deck eight (Magellan) except for Scott's bar which is on deck nine (Amundsen). There was never a problem finding a comfortable seat in any of the public rooms. Marco Polo Lounge This is the theatre. It is a single story and rises towards the back (which is at the bow of the ship), helping the view of the stage. The seating is comfortable, on wide corridors, on which further seating is placed. If occupied, this further seating can block the view. At the rear is a bar from which waiters serve seated patrons. This bar was only open when there is a stage event. Captain’s Club This is the main bar and was open early morning till late. It stretches the width of the ship and is nearly as large as the theatre. There is a small central stage, opposite the bar, where evening classical music was played. Innocuous piped music played at other times. A small dance floor was unused. The comfortable seating is similar to the theatre with sofas around the edges and small arm chairs around small tables elsewhere. Palm Garden This is a smaller seating area, midships, on the starboard side. There is a piano which was not played. The seating was cushioned but less comfortable wicker chairs. There is no bar but there is wine water service from the adjoining Columbus lounge. Columbus Lounge This small bar has similar seating to the Captain’s Club. There are no windows in this bar and much of it was spoiled by a constant loud hum, presumably from the air conditioning system. The bar was open till late from 10am when at sea and 2pm when in a port. Scott's Bar This is the late night venue. It is one deck up from the other rooms, has similar comfortable seating to the Captain’s Lounge and was open all day but the bar did not open till 1pm when at sea or 2pm when in a port. There is a dance floor plus two stages, one used by the pop duo and the other for late night cabaret. During the day, this was probably the most peaceful public part of the ship. Bars In addition to the bars in the public rooms there is one outside Marco's buffet, next to the pool. Bar staff were reasonably attentive but their system sometimes resulted in long delays before the drinks arrived. Waiters took orders from us and other tables and delivered these to the barman who mixed drinks and made coffee while the waiter processed the preceding orders through the till, delivered them with receipts for signature, collected another set of orders and took these to the barman. After this, with luck, the waiter processed our drinks through the till and delivered them. It all worked well if you were not in a hurry. Going to a bar got the drinks quicker but there was still a wait for a waiter to arrive and work the till. Value for Money Our Rating - Average CMV cruises look good value. They cost less than most and a lot less than some but as they say, you get what you pay for. It is easy to see where some of the savings are made. First, Marco Polo and I believe CMV’s other ships, are quite small and old, so they do not have the facilities of newer, larger competitors. There is only one speciality restaurant and no high deck panoramic lounge but these are small prices to pay. Second, the crew are nearly all foreign which should not matter except that many have limited fluency in English. For us, this was just a little frustrating at times but not a problem. Third, there were no little extras. No sail-away party and meet the captain evening was just one glass of wine. The evening buffet did not exist. There were no nuts or nibbles at the bars and no chocolates on the pillow. Fourth, all the greenery and floral displays were artificial. Fifth, although there were free shuttle-buses in ports, there were no free tours. Sixth, the cabin, a premium ocean view, was smaller and less well fitted than similar cabins on other ships. The CMV premium drinks package for two of us at £368 was good value. Bitburger beer was £3.30 for a short pint and the wine was £3.20 to £5.60 with cocktails costing more. Our bar bills would have totalled five pence less than the cost of the package but we also had wine with most lunches and dinners plus a complimentary bottle of wine in the cabin and the gratuities covered, which otherwise would have been automatically charged at £63 each. Despite this package, we were charged £2.80 for a bottle of water opened in the cabin. Overall it was fair value for money but we would sooner pay a little more for higher standards. Summary Our Overall Rating - Average This cruise rates only just above poor. After a disastrous start, detailed above, much of our experience was good but not quite as good as other cruise lines offer. Even Thomson Spirit which did not impress, had a better cabin. Fellow passengers were a decent lot. Not too stuffy nor too scruffy. Old but not infirm and with a sprinkling of youth. The atmosphere on board was relaxed and friendly. In marked contrast to embarkation, disembarkation worked well, although even here, our experience was marred by needless scattering of our luggage. The itinerary was as expected but we only got to three of the four interesting island groups. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Recent return from Faroe Islands tour. Had been on the Marco Polo 20 years ago on Baltic Cruise. Enjoyed the overall experience.But found the ship to be very noisy operating. AVOID cabin 429 which has a small service lift next to it ... Read More
Recent return from Faroe Islands tour. Had been on the Marco Polo 20 years ago on Baltic Cruise. Enjoyed the overall experience.But found the ship to be very noisy operating. AVOID cabin 429 which has a small service lift next to it ,constant operating noise. We were relocated but would be wary of being able to find a quiet cabin . Good news food ok, good entertainment.Unable to dock at Shetland Islands due to bad weather this seems to happen quite often. Stopped at Invergordon instead so was able to visit Inverness. Drinks reasonably priced. Staff hardworking and helpful ,though breakfast in the Walford could be a rushed mad scramble. Security checks on and off ship very lax. Little scanning of bags on return to ship. Little to recommend the Faroe islands even more remote than I thought they would be. Overall good value for money but will go back to larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We thought we would try the Marco Polo to go to the Faroe islands. on the 5th of October 2018. Day one , We got to Tillbury car park from Wiltshire.about 11.30am ,we were told you can’t park yet go to Asta for a cup of coffee then come ... Read More
We thought we would try the Marco Polo to go to the Faroe islands. on the 5th of October 2018. Day one , We got to Tillbury car park from Wiltshire.about 11.30am ,we were told you can’t park yet go to Asta for a cup of coffee then come back .( forgot to mention there were no time stared to arrive.) so we parked in a lorry park for an hour . .OK parked on ship no one there to welcome you., found cabin . unpacked ,down to get afternoon tea .Well here we go , food was awful tea was cold .I could go on .The 8 days my wife and i found there were no wow factor we were not treated as a paying customer, special.No flowers on the taple , dirty chairs Breakfast and lunch time we were bullied in to seating rushed by waiters.Not much choices in English Food .Good factors cabin ok Trips we found ok.friendly passengers.NOT STAFF. However enjoyed the cruise. OVERALL Cruise & Maritime needs to look and take note from other cruise lines . Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Cant be bothered to write an essay..but: Good points: Loved the ship and the ease with which one could access all decks without using lifts, easy to get between venues. Em/disembarkation smooth and a well oiled machine. Good ... Read More
Cant be bothered to write an essay..but: Good points: Loved the ship and the ease with which one could access all decks without using lifts, easy to get between venues. Em/disembarkation smooth and a well oiled machine. Good cheerful service from bus drivers and porters at Tilbury. I liked the food, ALL of it, though beans on toast is a feast to me when I haven't cooked it! In the main it was lukewarm, but the soups were always hot, as was any freshly cooked things like hot dogs and pizzas. Coffee and tea dire as usual. The cabin was OK with sufficient storage for 6 days. Wouldnt know where to put it all for any longer. Small cases go under bed, bigger ones? Hmmm. Bathrooms OK, showers intermittently hot but powerful. Stinking blocked drains. Nice toiletries. Guests onboard from Only fools, Hi de hi, Allo allo, were fab, and the reason for booking. Also the Giverny/Monet's House trip was fab, a lifetime wish realised. The rest of the entertainment was poor. Bad points: Steward was rubbish. We saw him only once, cleaned room and turned down bed once in the afternoons. Wet towels after evening showering left to fester till following afternoon. Housekeeping changed them without comment. Nothing improved. Hoovered in doorway as far as he could reach, left the rest haha...Basic service badly executed. Food venue in both places was chaotic, absolute bedlam. But acceptable quality of food for me for the price. Bar staff mainly surly and slow, waiting staff much more professional. Personal tipping could be a factor here! In short as with all C&M cruises you get what you pay for (£349) which is old tired ships, old tired cabins and poor facilities. But it WAS generally clean. I would go again if the attraction was good guests or good destinations. Otherwise I prefer a bit more than 3 star. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning ... Read More
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning continuously. We found the food very good with lots of choices in the Bistro. At busy periods it was a bit crowded but we didn't at any time have to wait for a table. The staff were constantly replenishing the dishes. The Waldorf restaurant was very good with quick service, ok the portions were small but there were 5 courses and we found it absolutely fine. After all in the Bistro it was mostly the same menu so we did have a choice. The cruise itself was a very enjoyable experience and very well organised. We met some really nice people, saw most of the shows and enjoyed the music in both bars. There were plenty of shore excursions if wanted. I did think these were rather expensive though. There were plenty of talks etc going on and things to do if anyone did not want to go ashore. The disembarkation was very organised ( we carried our own bags so it was much quicker) All in all a very pleasat cruise. I would certainly sail on the Marco Polo again Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always ... Read More
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always hot water. Our cabin maid did an excellent job. A good choice of food in the restaurant and bistro. All ports of call ok with my favourites being Hon Fleur and The Scilly Isles. Embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Two of us travelled independently on this cruise around the British Isles. Find Tilbury from the M25 was a bit of a nightmare, but posssibly that was due to road works, although the road signs were poor too. Once there embarkation was ... Read More
Two of us travelled independently on this cruise around the British Isles. Find Tilbury from the M25 was a bit of a nightmare, but posssibly that was due to road works, although the road signs were poor too. Once there embarkation was quite efficient although a little slow. The cabin was fine. we each had an inner twin although booked for singles so plenty of room really. The tv was the old CRT and frequently lost signal. My friend's was very poor and was never sorted even after reporting it. Food was very good, and I particularly liked their idea of showing the actual dishes outside the restaurant before the meal. It helped make up ones mind. The wine service was rather slow. They needed more wine waiters but otherwise our table waiter was efficient and pleasant. I took the all inclusive drinks package at £17 per day which I felt was good value. It included most cocktails as well as wine and beer. I was able to try things never before sampled. Mmmm! I would also mention that they do not seem to check your hand luggage as you go on board so those who want to take some of their own booze could probably do so easily. Being singles , unfortunately we were seated at a table of other singles for the evening meal.It was a table of 8 but there were only 5 of us so it was more difficult to mingle. I would prefer to change tables every night and meet other people, although I recognize this is not for everyone. At breakfast and at tea we were placed on tables according to first come first served which was good to sit by new people. The entertainment was very good with Jonothan the cruise director working very hard. It was much better than that on FRed Olsen which I sampled recently. The comedian, however was not quite as good. On one stormy night the dancers performed amazingly well considering the roll of the boat. Brilliant. One good thing is that CM provide free shuttles to the town when necessary which Fred Olsen charged for. Overall I have to say it was excellent value for money. It's not 5 star but you can't expect it at their prices. I would certainly travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I am writing this review a month after getting home because we both really enjoyed the cruise although there are some points you should know! First of all, if you haven't sailed from the London Cruise Terminal then you won't know ... Read More
I am writing this review a month after getting home because we both really enjoyed the cruise although there are some points you should know! First of all, if you haven't sailed from the London Cruise Terminal then you won't know that you need to get there at least 45 minutes before your embarkation time. All the paperwork tells you not to arrive to early but a phone call to CMV revealled that you ned to be there 45 minutes early to allow time to get your car parked and you bussed back to the terminal. In our case we arrived much eralier than that because I was worried about traffic delays - and there were none! The silver lining there was that I got to park my car right next to the Terminal! The cruise itself was great with the exception of the visit to Invergordon. We were supposed to be going to Stornoway but the weather was too bad, Invergordon is a real one horse town with not much to recommend it so an excursion is vital. We didn't and were glad to get back on board!! All of the other destinations were excellent but again we didn't use any of the excursions. You can get a 'maxi' bus ticket from the Tourist information centre in Kirkwall (Orkneys) which costs £27.50 each (compared to around £45 for the 'official' excursion) and the driver was both knowledgeable and entertaining. For £1 you can also do an Island tour of Guernsey - okay a bit rapid but you do get to see quite a lot. The tender transfers were excellent to - I was a bit concerned beforehand but nothing to worry about. The onboard entertainment was not as good as that found on some cruise ships but the day time lectures were extremely good. Catering is not quite what you get with some other Lines either . Breakfast was fine. So was lunch, tea and dinner but their idea of a 'midnight feast' was a selection of cold nibbles handed out by the catering staff at around 10.30 - but we didn't starve! Something else I can recommend - for the able bodied - is express disembarkation upon return to Tilbury. As we had a 'rowing class' cabin we were scheduled off at around 11.30am. Because we chose Express then we were off at 8.30 and actually arrived home after a long drive about 15 minutes after we would have disembarked! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Great cruise around British Isles, helped by excellent, sunny weather apart from Kirkwall. Nice sized ship, around 800 passengers, most aged 70 plus. (Average age way above 60). On board staff excellent, most from Ukraine; restaurant ... Read More
Great cruise around British Isles, helped by excellent, sunny weather apart from Kirkwall. Nice sized ship, around 800 passengers, most aged 70 plus. (Average age way above 60). On board staff excellent, most from Ukraine; restaurant staff and chefs, mainly Indian. Brilliant waiter Kalpit and wine waitress Valentina. Wanted to see the Italian Chapel in Orkney, and signed up to a 'Leisurely Orkney' tour which highlighted the Chapel. Yet we stayed just 20 minutes at the Italian Chapel (in a 3 1/2 hr tour), totally ridiculous. We were bussed in and bussed out and taken to less interesting sites including a tea stop of almost an hour! Staff could be more welcoming to guests returning to ship - now they just swipe your card, with no pleasantries. 'Welcome back', with a smile,wouldn't hurt, would it? There should also be more thought given to daily activities on board, quiz/bingo, quiz/bingo, quiz/bingo is a little boring and repetitive. Also Cruise & Maritime should remember that not all guests are 70 plus. A comedian bored on and on about 50s Rock n Roll outfits, for example. Ship spotless, cabins comfortable and food decent. Of course, it's not Celebrity...and that's no bad thing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was a cruise to the Christmas Markets of Amsterdam and Ghent 15 - 18 December 2014, except... there really isn't much of a Christmas market in Amsterdam and not much surfaces in Ghent until after 11.00 a.m. The organisation of ... Read More
This was a cruise to the Christmas Markets of Amsterdam and Ghent 15 - 18 December 2014, except... there really isn't much of a Christmas market in Amsterdam and not much surfaces in Ghent until after 11.00 a.m. The organisation of shuttle buses from the port to town centres was outstanding and the tour of the canals and city in Amsterdam was first class with a witty and informative commentary. It was no hardship that Amsterdam had no Christmas market as the Bloemenmarkt had a spectacular Christmas shop and plenty of choice for gifts. The Ghent market was lovely when it eventually got going. Life and food on board were of a very good standard but many passengers missed the embarkation lunch due to slowness in embarking - many passengers however, it must be said, paid little heed to announcements and instructions which didn't help! The courtesy and friendliness of staff is superb. You have the impression that they enjoy being of service so top marks to them! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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 a very pleasant voyage, and one with some highlights as well. The departure from Tilbury was orderly, and the emergency drill very thorough, but not taxing. The general attitude of all staff and crew was welcoming, so we settled ... Read More
This was a very pleasant voyage, and one with some highlights as well. The departure from Tilbury was orderly, and the emergency drill very thorough, but not taxing. The general attitude of all staff and crew was welcoming, so we settled in for a relaxing holiday. The cabin was clean, and the steward efficient, but not omnipresent. This gave us a sense of calm, and allowed us to "feel at home" in the cabin. While on the small side, the cabin provided all of the basics, and the shower had good pressure, and the wardrobe and drawer space was sufficient for an eight day cruise. Meals were good. The quality of food in the Waldorf was of a high standard, and Sid (the maitre d') was as always friendly and entertaining. The selection at Marco's (the open dining buffet) was good, and the queues were never bad. Tables on sea days were a little tricky to get at times in Marco's, but this is to be expected. The tea and coffee provision at Marco's was from early morning to 10pm and was generally well stocked, though milk offerings were whole and semi (no full skimmed on hand), and the tea brand was average. To be fair though, the young staff member who took care of the coffee point worked her heart out through out the cruise - she is a real unsung hero). The port stays were well managed, though very brief, as compared to some. The time in Amsterdam was sufficient to have a good explore, but Copenhagen and Oslo offered more restricted daylight opportunities. This said, the time ashore was interesting, and the call at Wismar was historic as it was the first time the ship had returned to the port of its construction. The town, therefore, gave the Marco Polo a wonderful send off with fireworks during the sail away. The time in Oslo, also had an element of interest, as the Indian president was visiting the city at the same day, so the town was bedecked with Norwegian and Indian flags. The transit of the Kiel Canal was really peaceful, and the scenery was second only to the views we had departing the Olsofjord. The services manager and cruise director were both wonderful, and made every effort to make the voyage enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We chose this because were desperate for a post winter break. We have been the Marco Polo several times.It's not huge but comfortable and easy to find your way around. I love bigger ships because of having more to explore which is ... Read More
We chose this because were desperate for a post winter break. We have been the Marco Polo several times.It's not huge but comfortable and easy to find your way around. I love bigger ships because of having more to explore which is good for sea days, and because the entertainment in theatre can be bigger and better than on restricted stage size and restricted height on ships like Marco Polo but having said that the customers loved the entertainment. I have found that food standards on board any ships (including MP) we have been on in the last few years has gone down a bit sadly. Maybe we shoud try NCL again. I videod the shots of this trip if its allowed to share it. Copy-paste this link or search Terry McGeary on YouTube. https://youtu.be/dPY3ZubBR_w There was one port we couldn't do due to weather but I forget which one, sorry.The channel hop took in Cherbourg which was a good little break for having a walk around a nice little French port The weather being Easter time was not shorts weather but was dry and cloudly and reasonable for getting about. Honfleur was another stop which I loved andhave been again since then, It is a beautiful, historic town/port with the most picturesque, protected harbour you good imagine. You can easily run out of memory card space in Honfleur! The other stop was The Isles of Scilly, St Mary's. This tender stop was a super one where, as with the others, we just did our own thing and took in a walk to archaeological ruins, daffodil fields (a speciality of St.Marys), botanic gardens and had a massive Cornish pasty to split for lunch! It's another place I would visit again -and might this Easter! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have been on the Marco Polo twice, the first time in July 2013 Around Britain, and April 2014 to the Norwegian fjiords. It seems to be the luck of the draw what sort of experience you have as there is no consistency, There is little or ... Read More
We have been on the Marco Polo twice, the first time in July 2013 Around Britain, and April 2014 to the Norwegian fjiords. It seems to be the luck of the draw what sort of experience you have as there is no consistency, There is little or no announcements throughout you trip, the cruise director would say a few words once in a while between acts in the show lounge, usually after a complaint. The first trip was by far the best, the crew were mainly Philipino and were warm friendly and happy in their work. The second trip was spoiled by a mainly eastern European crew who were grumpy,surly and arrogant. Apart from this,we enjoyed both trips but would not go again. We have formed the opinion that Cruise Maritime are primarily a profit motivated company and according to staff, not good to work for. We were joined on the second part of the Norway trip by some of the owners, who sat on their own in the Marco Polo lounge and never spoke to anyone, the cruise director was constanly tending their needs, and fawning around them, pity he was not the same with paying passengers. We were a lot wiser on our second trip, booked our own trips(theirs are massively overpriced) opted out of the tipping system ( we tipped staff who we rated, handsomely) the others did not get anything from us, especially the higher ranking staff who usually get the biggest share of the pot when they don't deserve it. We were amazed when one of the waitresses told us thet they have to buy their own pens and the reason that the staff are unhappy is because of their work contracts which are usually for six months of constant cruising without a day off. Hence the foreign crews, British workers would never go for that. They are also told by management that the tips are part of their wages, a fact that we resented and the reason we opted out. In other words, the passengers tips are paying the wages for the company. All the time you are on the ship there is a huge charm offensive from the cruise director, who keeps telling you what a wonderfull time you are having, and how lucky you are. it reminded me of Orwell's Animal Farm and got on our nerves after a while. The shows were great and very professional the Stops were usually in tiny non descript places (probrably cheap docking fees) the food was ok. but basic, choices for beers was also very limited. By far the best thing of the whole holiday is not supplied by the company i.e the great friends that you make, which is by far the best selling point of the whole experience. We never met or even saw the captain and were constantly told by the smarmy cruise director (Tony) that the captain would obviously love to meet us but the safety of the ship was paramount and his dedication to duty kept him away from us, this in the calm waters of the Fjiords. All in all, don't go on this ship if you are used to luxury cruising, it is a very basic, old style type of cruise. We were attracted by a two for one offer and the Fjiords, where the larger more luxurious ships cannot go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are frequent cruisers, probably nearly 100. We were excited about seeing the Northern Lights and know that there is no guarantee. What we did not expect was the poor quality of entertainment, total lack of communication and regard for ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers, probably nearly 100. We were excited about seeing the Northern Lights and know that there is no guarantee. What we did not expect was the poor quality of entertainment, total lack of communication and regard for passengers and overall scabby service by most of the seniour staff. We stayed in cabin 527, and our Ukrainian cabin stewardess was fine. She was friendly, pleasant and worked hard to service 19 cabins twice a day. (among the most cabins we have heard being assigned to one person). Ditto for the wait staff. Despite limited English, the staff in the Waldorf was fine. For the most part, the food was acceptable. We actually liked the smaller portions. It is overwhelming to get course after course of mediocre food in large portions on many of the other ships. We sat at table 37, and it was pretty obvious that is where the waves came thru and killed the passenger the previous month. It was covered by a metal sheet, and several got covered during our cruise. Entertainment was poor, and the cruise director totally worthless. He showed up infrequently to introduce a guest entertainer, and seldom seen again. He would never make it on any of the other cruise lines. Richard seemed to turn over most duties, announcements to Julie, who was in the excursion department. Ditto for the mostly absent captain. we missed Sortland to "avoid" rough weather. So instead of being docked for 10 hours of the time, we spent 2 solid days in gale force 8 winds. Virtually everyone on the ship, crew included, were violently ill. We heard that 25 passengers out of 700 made it to breakfast one day. Never any announcements, updates from the Captain or worthless cruise director or other seniour staff. We heard that the head of the dining room wouldn't let anyone take food back to their room for someone who could not make it to the dining room. The buffet was frequently closed for rough weather. In fact the second day I was sitting in a chair in the bistro and a wave violently hit the ship, and my chair toppled to the floor. One staff member came over, took my cabin number and never bothered to even check on me later. Totally forgotten about. Only had a huge bruise on my left thigh, but it would have been nice to show some concern, even faked for passengers. The cruise was probably 90% elderly, and they also loved to closed the lifts with little notice. People in motourized scooters and canes, and with only a few moments notice it was difficult for them. Room service was an extra charge, which was limiting to those unable to leave their cabins during turbulent weather. Boarding was fine, but disembarking was awful. Kicked out of the the cabin by 0700, and we did not get off this ship til 1030. You are herded into various lounges to sit, again with little to no information from the so called seniour staff. The man and lady who frequently worked the info desk appeared to be more into each other than helping anyone. Took Marco Polo twice to Antarctica, where it wound up hitting an underwater mountain and ripping a huge gash into the side of the ship. Think we are done with this ship, But mainly the attitudes and uncaring staff was enough for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: ... Read More
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: previous reviews of the same cruise are quite right. The crew were 'new' having only been on board for 1-3 days we learnt. Practicing on the passengers who were on there for the dine/sleep events in port. The standard of English was poor and the crew struggled to get things right. The food was good but the timings at dinner in The Waldorf were out as it was nigh impossible to get to the show lounge in time for the performance after finishing dinner. The strain on the waiters was showing too. I agree that the house white wine was awful - met with a shrug when we asked it there was another type available! The main concern was of the way in which the lifeboat muster was administered. Not as before when all life vests were checked individually when you put them on by a crew member with a list but haphazardly calling out numbers of cabins. Having experienced these before on the Marco Polo passengers were taken in line to their lifeboat stations under their assigned lifeboat and inspected by the safety captain before being 'dismissed'. This time we were just held in the lounge and not shown even which deck to go to. All very rushed and given the fire on the cross channel ferry recently passengers who were new to the Marco Polo would not know where to go as the new crew didn't know either! There was sign of senior officers making sure everything was in order as before by walking through lounges and talking to passengers. On the plus side - parking arrangements were very good and embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. I sincerely hope that these issues are rectified by CMV to make the Marco Polo a very enjoyable lady of the seas again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are fans of the Marco Polo. It's not perfect, but we wouldn't keep booking if there were serious problems. Everybody has their own experiences and views, and whilst I don't doubt some of the moans about the ship have a ... Read More
We are fans of the Marco Polo. It's not perfect, but we wouldn't keep booking if there were serious problems. Everybody has their own experiences and views, and whilst I don't doubt some of the moans about the ship have a basis in fact, some of them are nonsense. Some people just like to moan - you see that on other travel sites as well.Anyway, our most recent cruise was a short break to Amsterdam, Rouen and Antwerp. Due to traffic problems on the canal linking Amsterdam to the sea, and hence missing a tide, we got an extra stop in Honfleur. This was a bonus (though inevitably, some people were moaning!) Rouen had courtesy buses, the other city centres were all within walking distance.Embarkation couldn't be smoother (has been all four times) and getting on/off ship for shore visits also very efficient. Staff are universally friendly and helpful - generally not British, but we like that - it seems like you're on holiday before you leave Tilbury! Some posters have complained about the English language skills - we saw one passenger repeatedly saying to a waitress "oi'll avan'arf" instead of asking for a small beer, then telling his companions what an idiot the girl was for not understanding English. Smile and be pleasant to the staff, and they'll be pleasant to you - it's not difficult! Beer incidentally was £3.10 a pint - that is cheaper than my local pub. Meals - some of the criticisms are valid. The self-serve restaurant can be crowded when the weather isn't good enough to sit outside, but is better if you can bear to wait a few minutes, rather than joing a queue before they start serving. The buffet is pretty good - I'm a fussy eater and I never had problems. Breakfast can get a bit dry if you're not there when things are first put out, but that's often the case in hotels, and these people are trying to feed 800 passengers. Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant is great - varied and tasty - when you see reviews describing it as school dinners or works canteen, you do begin to wonder!Shore excursions are expensive, but you don't have to go on them, and we generally don't.Public areas are fine - always being cleaned and decent decor. Gym is well-equipped, given the profile of the passengers. Cabins maybe aren't as well soundproofed as a modern ship, but we never had any problems yet (touch wood!) Cabins in category 12 have more storage than I have at home! Also two lovely big windows.Entertainment is generally excellent - I recently went to a West End show featuring so-called TV stars, and the dancing was definitely no better than on the Marco Polo. some shows are better than others - the Queen tribute is not my favourite, but others (eg ABBA, rock'n'roll, classical concert) I could watch again and again (and have). Daytime activities are a bit amateurish at times (competitions etc) but people enjoy them and they're not compulsory! Lectures are varied - usually art, gardening etc, but on this cruise the lectures were by a former cold war nuclear submarine commander and were very popular.Finally a comment about the passengers. They do tend to be older (we are in our late forties and are among the youngest - my wife does get mistaken for crew - best not to wear tan trousers and a pink shirt!) You get some moaners but on the whole people are there to enjoy themselves and everybody gets on ok. Age range tends to be younger on the shorter cruises - average probably 60s/early 70s.Overall, don't be put off by the moaners! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
After reading a few mixed reviews for the Marco Polo, we were a little dubious to say the least. We could not have been happier. The ship, although this is not a luxury 5 star liner, I can only compare her to Royal Brittania! She is a ... Read More
After reading a few mixed reviews for the Marco Polo, we were a little dubious to say the least. We could not have been happier. The ship, although this is not a luxury 5 star liner, I can only compare her to Royal Brittania! She is a truly wonderful old lady, a little noisy, but her elegant Art Deco furnishings are a delight. Our room, although small and compact, was all that we needed. The single beds, were the most comfiest beds we have slept in - we are convinced they were memory foam matresses! (Much better than P&O's beds!!!) Having Rod Stewart and Frank Sinatra singing seductively via the in-house radio, wonderful 1920/40's music was heaven. We chose the 8.30pm dining, and were seated with a lovely couple, and "Rocky" our waiter could not have done enough for us, and he always had a friendly and welcoming smile. Although the weather in Amsterdam & Antwerp could have been a little kinder to us, we had a fantastic time, and I would recommend Marco Polo to anyone - I have since booked another trip for August 2012 aboard her sister ship "Ocean Countess" and I am sure she will be able to match or maybe even better the Marco Polo. Well Done to Cruise and Maritime, I hope to sail aboard the Marco Polo again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 4.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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