197 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

My husband and I have just returned from our 3rd cruise but first with the Cruise and Maritime (CMV). This was the Iceland and the Northern lights cruise also calling at Faroe and Orkney islands. We were on the Marco Polo in a superior ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our 3rd cruise but first with the Cruise and Maritime (CMV). This was the Iceland and the Northern lights cruise also calling at Faroe and Orkney islands. We were on the Marco Polo in a superior outside cabin (477). The ship is old and tatty but small enough to feel friendly and in our opinion, more personal than the huge cruise ships. This was a cruise of 2 halves, great shore experiences vs fairly terrible on board experience ( some admittedly not CMV's fault). We hit some pretty awful weather ( force 9 gales I overheard ), which on a ship with people already sick ( more about that later ) was not pleasant but obviously no ones fault. Even hardened cruisers were saying they were the worse conditions they had ever experienced. The time spent on shore was wonderful. We went whale watching with CMV which was fantastic, We saw some subtle northern lights whilst on the ship but later did a CMV Northern lights boat trip which didn’t seem value for money as the boat just took us out a bit in the bay we were docked in and not to a proper dark sky area. We also did a fabulous golden circle tour not with CMV but with a company called ‘FAB tours which was really interesting and thoroughly enjoyable thanks to a superb tour guide (Ragnor) plus it was substantially cheaper than the CMV equivalent, Ragnor picked us up at Reykjavik port ( a short stroll from the ship) and there were only 4 of us in the mini bus so felt very personal. We were able to do extra little things like feeding the iceland ponies and did not feel at all rushed , we even had some time at the end so Ragnor took us to see the cathedral and the pearl in the city. Definately recommended. We hired a car on Orkney which was easy to arrange, Avis car hire place was next to where the shuttle bus dropped us in town. That enabled us to see everything we could in the limited time there without the usual ‘hearding' . However unfortunately our time on Orkney was cut short by 3 hours ( out of the planned 8 hours) because our ship was held in quarantine for 3 hours due to the diahorrea and vomiting bug which had plagued our ship for approx half of our cruise. We made the most of our time there but we’re really disappointed by the short amount of time we had there. The bug meant that all public areas were closed apart from one restaurant ( the buffet was closed and cancelled to limit infection spreading) and the bars. This severely limited what we could do particularly on sea days. One main bar ( Scott’s bar) is available to sit in during the day but you cannot get a drink so you need to carry drinks up flights of stairs which is not safe , I suggested to reception that they consider opening it particularly in the circumstances However the receptionist just told me “ it’s not my decision" and refused to let me speak to his superior. Time to talk about ‘ the plague ‘ that struck the ship and its affect on our holiday. Passengers started suffering with diahorrea and vomiting approx 7 days into the cruise and it was spreading, of course these things happen on cruises, we all.understand that, however it is how it is dealt with and the treatment of the passengers that sorts the wheat from the chaff. Our experience of CMV is that they are definitely ‘ the chaff. Our cruise effectively ended with the outbreak and the remaining 5 days became an exercise in managing us with little regard to the fact that there were many trying to enjoy their holiday. The staff in general were friendly and helpful but even some of those were getting snappy and stretched towards the end of the Cruise. The management were nowhere to be seen. By the last few days we had the impression we were now just an inconvenience to CMV who just wanted us to stay out of the way so they could clean all public areas ready for the next cruise. So for a large proportion of our cruise there was no gym, hot tub, pool, spa, burger bar, craft classes, shops, buffet restaurant, library or card room. There was no attempt to reopen anything after it had been cleaned ( presumably to save them cleaning again before the next cruise) and the whole atmosphere became very unpleasant. There was very little in the way of information from our Captain who just occasionally made a dour announcement giving us information about our whereabouts that was available on the tv channel anyway, he sounded bored and lacked any humour ( which could have been helpful given the circumstances). However he kept the ship safe which is his job. The worse thing in our opinion was that at no point was there any acknowledgement of the distress we were experiencing, it was quite bizarre. All we received was a letter through the door explaining that there was a virus on board. I was ill for 2 days and my husband and I basically had to fend for ourselves paying for room service as I wasn't ill enough to qualify for free room service ! The daily ‘ explorer’ paper was our main source of information and was quite useful thank goodness. There were a few shining lights within the staff, for us it was our extremely hard working cabin cleaner Min Zaw who frankly deserves a medal, Colin our waiter had a sense of humour and the drinks waiter Tun in the globe bar always had a smile and a laugh. The food was at best mediocre, on par with a 3 star all inclusive hotel but wine on the vip package was nice and plentiful. Unfortunately this whole experience has put us off cruising at least for the foreseeable future and we would certainly never use CMV again. I wrote to CMV but only received a standard letter which did not address any of my concerns and just quoted policy at me – no apology for the way things were handled. They offered us a discount on our ‘ next CMV ‘ cruise which did make us laugh. In summary it wasn't the fact we were unlucky enough to experience a bug on board a cruise ship but rather how it was handled by CMV. Our takeaway lesson from this is ‘ beware cruisers, one bug on board and your holiday is basically over ‘. We work too hard for our holidays so .... Never again !!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first cruise and we are both in our mid 50s and still at work so this is our completely unbiased review about the Marco Polo ship. Firstly I have to say that this cruise ship has a non child policy and that the average age of ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we are both in our mid 50s and still at work so this is our completely unbiased review about the Marco Polo ship. Firstly I have to say that this cruise ship has a non child policy and that the average age of the passengers was at least 70 plus. The whole experience we found to be excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised and everything went to plan. The cabin (ours was inside on deck 7 ) was all we needed. The beds were comfortable there was plenty of room, the tv had entertainment on and also plenty of info about the cruise as it proceeded. The staff were wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble. They were kind, courteous and very respectful and considering some of the pompous, arrogant passengers we witnessed they had to deal with we admire them for keeping their cool and composure. Indeed the one disadvantage was some of the fellow passengers. Yes we did meet some lovely people but they also had the same opinion that we had that some people are never satisfied and really think that they are far superior than they really are. Some of the complaints we heard were quite frankly pathetic. If some passengers were used to been pampered on Cunard then they should go back there!! So going back to our experience the food was excellent. You have 2 options the Waldorf restaurant and the buffet lounge. The menus were the same but the Waldorf was waiter service. We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet and dinner in the Waldorf. I would recommend to dine for dinner in the Waldorf. If you can tolerate your fellow passengers you are dining with the food and service was 5 star. 5 courses I can honestly say I could not complain about one of them. Fantastic presentation and superb quality. There was plenty of entertainment on the ship for all concerned, the gym and sauna were excellent and we also had a tour of the bridge where we found the crew to be informative, friendly and helpful. We did 6 excursions all very well organised and that was a theme through the entire cruise excellent organisation. Yes the ship looks a bit tired in certain areas but generally for us it was a touch of luxury. So in summary we enjoyed it immensely and would we book with CMV again YES. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ... Read More
It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ship as they tend to be friendlier. The only problem is being a small ship it gets thrown around alot more when the seas are rough. We have only been on larger ships, max 2500 passengers and in areas like the Med or Caribean which tend to be smoother. Our biggest problem was from the poor service received. Try for a pre-dinner drink in the Captians Bar and the average wait was 30 minutes. In the buffet you would never see a smile from the crew. One can only assume the management were extremely hard on them. The Waldorf restaurant was okay and the food was reasonable, but I had fish most days which was fine but it was always served the same. Never changed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people ... Read More
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people on board. The day paid trips over priced for what we got. To top it all off we where charged nearly $700.00 for tips two days before we disembarked, We had only a few glasses of wine and a couple of cocktails and a few beers. I do not recommend this cruise as you are unaware of any of this add on tipping until last few days. When you pay a big price to do this cruise you do not expect to be landed with this large amount. We do expect a few dollars but $700.00 Australian come on. Very disappointed will not do another cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose to travel to Canada and the Cruise and Maritime Marco Polo was available for the cruise. The ship is small and old. Built many years ago. It tilts and sways alot. It is suitable for retired and elderly people. I experienced stress ... Read More
I chose to travel to Canada and the Cruise and Maritime Marco Polo was available for the cruise. The ship is small and old. Built many years ago. It tilts and sways alot. It is suitable for retired and elderly people. I experienced stress because of a elderly woman who talked non-stop. The male supervisor who works in the buffet area, stares at you in a hateful way. He behaves as if he resents passengers helping themselves to food that they paid for! The buffet cooks behind the counter also stare in a nasty unpleasant manner. The tall, male security guard with dark hair, enjoys stalking women in a creepy manner. He follows women like a creepy shadow. WiFi is not available, so I could not access online banking. Some of the tours were suitable. For example, Montreal, Quebec and Sydney. The Marco Polo cruise was for 30 days to Canada. My dining experience in the buffet found a variety of cooked food. Chicken, fish, and vegetarian. Also salads. The Waldorf restaurant provides a daily set menu to choose from. Two or three starters, main meals, and desserts. Alcohol has to be paid for as extra expenses. Activities such as, comedy drama and singing was pleasant entertainment. There was a daily £5 charge for art classes, for this reason I only attended once. The service by staff in general was basic. The Scotts bar, had 1 good bartender who served nice cocktails. The cabin i stayed in was a standard room. Two single beds, a cabinet with drawers, a double wardrobe and one chair. A small shower room. With basic soap and shampoo with a unpleasant smell. Towels were changed by request. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our last time on the Marco Polo was in 2011, our second cruise, after our first on NCL with a butler and a concierge and lots of fancy extras. We’ve done lots of cruises since, but the Marco Polo has stayed VERY special and both times ... Read More
Our last time on the Marco Polo was in 2011, our second cruise, after our first on NCL with a butler and a concierge and lots of fancy extras. We’ve done lots of cruises since, but the Marco Polo has stayed VERY special and both times have been equally enjoyable. It’s a shame this is the last time the Marco Polo will visit Canada, so I’ll concentrate on the ship, rather than the ports. If it were to return to Canada, I’d suggest calling it “Canada with a fall”, as a lot of people took the title “fall” rather too literally and actually fell, which kept the doctor fairly busy (although he always seemed to have time for a cigarette – and the occasional brandy - out on deck!)! On arrival, the new parking facilities at Tilbury made things much easier. As we went towards check in, we were greeted by Sheena, a member of staff who recognised us from 2011 – she was also there to wish us a safe journey home when we got back! Check in took no time, and within minutes, we were in our cabin. We really like CMV, and yes, there are things they could do better – information about the ports could have maps, there could be more mugs available and a couple of the waiting staff might be a little more courteous at times (that said, our waiter, Pritish, was fantastic). Sometimes, perhaps a little more attention could be paid to detail. Getting the time zone wrong was a good example, but it does add to the quirkiness of CMV and probably why we rate it so highly. It’s a small ship experience with a very friendly and very helpful crew (mostly) and very friendly passengers (mostly), with no casino, no art auctions, very few queues, no huge upselling – and no kids (although most passengers are very young at heart). Calling it a “small ship” is correct, but as the cruise progresses, it takes longer and longer to get anywhere as you keep nattering to people on the way! We’ve racked our brains as to what facilities a larger ship has that we’d use and can’t think of anything that really makes a huge difference to our overall enjoyment. We booked a “guaranteed” cabin and were allocated 655, an accessible cabin on deck 9. It was very big and exceedingly well situated. It had more than ample storage facilities with a large dressing table and three wardrobes. And very usefully, lots of wall hooks for coats and dressing gowns that we brought with. One of the dressing gowns came in particularly useful to block out the light from under the door. Most of the time the noise from Scott’s Bar didn’t bother us, however we did have to make sure the big doors were closed before we went to bed, and were annoyed by the selfish people who opened them once or twice late at night despite the signs. Our cabin door rattled - we managed to remedy it by using a sock - the cabin attendant did say he’d inform the carpenter, but that didn’t seem to happen, however he did keep the cabin absolutely spotless and never seemed to stop working. The hold rails in the bathroom came in very useful when we were taking a shower in rough seas. However, as for true accessibility, the ship isn’t modern and one day a lady was in tears after climbing the gang way back up to the ship which was very steep due to tidal conditions – she didn’t leave the ship again until disembarkation. However, others (including yours truly) managed to dance in Scott’s Bar in rather rough seas until the small hours. With so many sea days, we were delighted with the daytime activities, especially the creative writing classes by Chrissie – and the drama classes with Harry and Emma. Doing these meant that there were clashes with some of the lectures but the ones we saw (especially Steve’s maritime history ones) were great. Sue was always on deck saying we’d just missed a whale (seriously, she was fabulous at explaining the natural world around us) – and Lucy was a real trooper although a lot of what she said about photography rather went over our untechnical heads – we just want to point and click to get a photo! Given that our previous Marco Polo Cruise Director was the amazing Richard Sykes, Josh had a lot to live upto and he was a really great Cruise Director – a very talented showman with a great future. The standout moment for us was when he unexpectedly appeared during our drama class in his costume for the cocktail competition. At that moment, it confirmed we were in great hands! The nightly entertainment was mainly very good, although we thought the comedians were rather past their best before date. At nearly 60, I really struggled with some subjects, such as putting sixpences and aspirins in stocking suspenders that broke in the wash. Thankfully some other passengers explained it to us. One thing we would change about the “Round the World” would be the English bit. Surely Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn and some outdated jingoistic claptrap about how we’re going to widen our “Empire” could perhaps be replaced by something more in keeping with the modern world, perhaps a couple of Beatles songs, like “With A Little Help From Our Friends” and “Imagine”. Or even Scooch’s Eurovision entry, “Flying the Flag”. Or something less innocuous like “My Old Man”. It was nice to see a smattering of same sex couples, perhaps we should have asked for an LGBT meet up to be put in the programme as we didn’t get to know one couple until the last few days. Being gay obviously wasn’t a problem, but we were rather more cautious about talking about politics and very carefully “came out” as pro-EU – and were delighted to find so many likeminded people – and were over the moon that EU flags sometimes adorned our cocktails! Unlike some other lines, CMV isn’t “totally” British, we very much enjoyed having a smattering of Dutch and Australian etc passengers onboard. The food was very much to our taste, I’m not sure I ordered anything I didn’t like, and there was a very good variety with very few repetitions during the 30 days, although my pescatarian husband had a couple of veggie dishes he wasn’t keen on, but they were changed very quickly to something he did like. Our waiter, Pritish, was absolutely brilliant and dealt with our dietary requirements superbly. Portions were huge and our only complaint was that the food was too nice so we ate too much! Of course, it wouldn’t be CMV without a few quirks – vinegar springs to mind where at first it came in a gravy boat, then the waiters just brought the plastic bottle! Shame I can’t be as enthusiastic about the house wine. My husband refused to drink the house white after a while and we ended up buying bottles – even at £12 after the discount, it mounts up and is rather annoying when you’ve already spent around £1200 on two drinks packages. For our next cruise, we’ve decided to take the VIP package, reluctantly, in the hope that the wine is better. To cut down on eating, many times, we had the free “breakfast in bed” – toast, a croissant, a pastry, orange juice and tea/coffee was enough – inside cabins don’t have a kettle, so this was a way round getting a hot drink in the morning. A cooked version for a tenner was also available, although I’m not sure how you’d actually eat it comfortably in most cabins which don’t have a table. We only missed one port, St Johns, due to a hurricane, the rest of the time, we got to our destinations, although the tender process was a little chaotic at times, and our last Canadian port, Sydney was only until 1pm, meaning a very short stop for some – thankfully we pre-booked an excursion meaning we were off the ship quite early, but didn’t get a chance for a walk round the town afterwards. The excursions we went on were well priced and well organised and most of the time, free shuttles to the city centre were laid on by the port authorities, but that’s down to the port authority, rather than the cruise company. There’s no denying that CMV is truly unique and not for everyone. There’s simply no point in comparing it to other lines, it does things differently, it will suit some people more than others, and I’m sure there will be reviews about the “rust bucket” and “rude staff” etc. It certainly isn’t a rust bucket and 99% of the staff are friendly and helpful. Towards the end of the cruise, we had no hesitation in booking another with CMV where we got a 5% discount – plus free parking from cruise.co.uk! We’ve now got three CMV cruises to look forward to, none on the Marco Polo, which is a shame as it’s a fantastic ship, but I hope we’ll put that right soon enough. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose a 2 night cruise to see what the Marco Polo was like as I was planning to go on a much longer cruise (78 nights) and was unsure if I would enjoy life on this rather old and small ship for that length of time. I have been on larger ... Read More
I chose a 2 night cruise to see what the Marco Polo was like as I was planning to go on a much longer cruise (78 nights) and was unsure if I would enjoy life on this rather old and small ship for that length of time. I have been on larger ships for long voyages before. Having read various reviews I was anxious to find out if they were accurate or not. On the whole I found them a good guide to the ship. Reasonably OK for a short voyage but not for any longer. The main reasons for this are that the cabins lack virtually any sound proofing. I heard every word of the phone call that my next door neighbour was making. I was in a premium ocean view cabin. I could also hear music from the entertainment lounge in the evenings. The buffet got very crowded and it was very difficult to find a seat or a table. At times it was crowded with people queuing for food, people trying to go out to the pool deck and people coming in or just passing through. Perhaps the best term would be a scrum. The public areas were mainly only on one deck so no real area for a quiet few hours, activities were also held in these areas. The gym was very small and some of the equipment was out of order. The entertainment lounge looked old and tired and it appeared that if you didnt sit in the front row you would have not seen very much. All these things would not have made an enjoyable long trip with a lot of sea days. I gave the trip a 3 star mainly because the service was good, food OK and a shuttle bus was provided for the port stop, but the ship was really not up to standard for today's cruising Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
Cheapest way to get to Greenland to see the south and west of the island. I have not been on a cruise before. I was on the Baltic deck, two away from the tender boat exit which was ideal. The cabin was spacious and clean and light and we ... Read More
Cheapest way to get to Greenland to see the south and west of the island. I have not been on a cruise before. I was on the Baltic deck, two away from the tender boat exit which was ideal. The cabin was spacious and clean and light and we could see out of the portholes and watch passing icebergs by kneeling on the beds. All staff were very good.The food was fine though not excellent. Managed just about to stop being repetitive over the 21 days on board. We ate in the restaurant in the evening - glad we chose the 8pm sitting so could let afternoon tea go down. Cream teas much appreciated! At other times ate in the cafe/bistro as we could then sit by a window and look out. Mostly to see sea and fulmars. We were lucky to go through the Prinz Christain Sound which took all day, as entry can be blocked by icebergs. Unluckily could not land at Uummannaq though the view of it from the ship was magnificent. Was foggy part of the time at Illullissat so try and see the ice flow early in the day. Listening to whales in the mist was very atmospheric! I liked the fact the ship was like a real boat and not too dressed up. Public areas were comfortable and the entertainment staff were very talented. Drinks a reasonable price.The rear of the deck was a lovely suntrap, even in the arctic. We used the jacuzzis one day and it was warm enough to sunbathe in just a swimming costume. We used lots of mosquito spray just in case but I personally saw very few and never had to use a head net. Apparently where there are sheep farms, you do not get them so that included Brattihled. I didn't partake of the organised activities much though went to the lectures. Could have done with a lecture on wildlife (which there wasn't) and having the lecture on greenlandic flowers BEFORE we got there. The astronomy man was excellent. Fitness suite very poor - cycle machines had no resistance so useless. Sauna and jacuzzis were good. Tours - Go on the golden circle tour in Iceland if you haven't done it before. I had so got a £25 ticket for transport and some museums and the ferry to Videy island. Could also have used it in some swimming pools. Erik the Red settlement - excellent tour and well worth it. A lovely spot too and no mosquitoes.. The Qoroq icefjord tour was on a four seater boat and positively dangerous as was a speed boat and nothing to hold onto and feet kept slipping. Needed to get inside but couldn't get boat to stop to do so until reached the glacier so was scary. NOT SAFE. Only one large berg in the fjord anyway. Sisimiut town tour just drove us around - no tour as such. You will see plenty of dogs in Illullissat later. Illullissat walk to icefjord - easy to do your self unless have mobility problems. The icefjord boat trip there was cancelled because of the mist. Valley of the Winds Tour - at a place I forget - better to go yourself and follow the red trail - you can see the map trail at the museum. The guides took people the wrong way and too close to a precipice for comfort. Shetland tour was very good to see jahlhof. Very chatty guide. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, ... Read More
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, except for our next door neighbour who complained when I made a phone call from the room. A lot of older travellers, as we are. But some were just plain nasty. We had great tablemates and Sanjay was a great server. He recognized my love of pappadums and brought an ample supply to the table each night. Smiling, cheerful and provided quality service. Communication onboard was horrendous. Leaving the ship at Kirkwall was a total mess-taking 3 hours to disembark, leaving little time to see anything there. The alarm bells sounded early morning, and people were running for their life jackets! Announcement came over intercom to disregard alarm, but no further info or apology for their stupid mistake. Entertainment was abysmal. The chunky blonde, possibly Spanish, girl was a horrific singer. She sang during the 4 July presentation and it was painful to listen to her. Much better when they sang as a group. A few, like the cruise director, had passable voices, but several others were just plain awful. They managed to butcher Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables during 2 nights of "entertainment". Like the sauna, and it was usually vacant. The cocktail tasting were a fun event and reasonably priced. Shore excursions very costly and we did better just going out on our own. Embarkation was fast and efficient, but long wait to disembark. Overall, we got to Greenland, which was our goal. 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
We saw it in a newspaper as BOGOF offer. This was not correct. By the time we had paid extra for the all inclusive element it ended up costing as much as going to the caribbean. Guests on our dinner table had paid far less. This ship ... Read More
We saw it in a newspaper as BOGOF offer. This was not correct. By the time we had paid extra for the all inclusive element it ended up costing as much as going to the caribbean. Guests on our dinner table had paid far less. This ship is very old (over 50 years) and it shows. The cabin window rattled all the time. The cabin was ok, beds comfortable, bathroom acceptable. The food on board was very good, with good choices available although the dinners really had too much on the plate. The staff were very good, helpful, efficient, friendly. The entertainment was very third rate. However, it should be noted that at 66 we were some of the youngest on the voyage. The days at sea were miserable, and we had to stay on our beds for most of that time, due to the inclement weather. Excursions were expensive, so we opted to sort ourselves out and found getting buses very easy. Most places we stopped at were mostly closed, but the whole point for us had been the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, which we did 2 nights running in and near Alta within the Arctic Circle. Would we choose this cruise line again? No. Ship late getting back into Tilbury, mess-up with the coach back to Victoria, lost our onward connection, had to get new ticket, very long day to get home. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise which we did back to back with a cruise of the Baltic in a different cabin (inside cabin 409 at the front of the ship which often had diesel fumes in the cabin). We moved to cabin 327 for this phase of our ... Read More
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise which we did back to back with a cruise of the Baltic in a different cabin (inside cabin 409 at the front of the ship which often had diesel fumes in the cabin). We moved to cabin 327 for this phase of our back to back cruise and we were much happier enjoying this midship cabin which had a high porthole and the difference some natural light makes is amazing. The cabin enjoyed good quality air too and it was so easy to walk out our door to the main dining room on the same level. We visited some amazing ports and now have life long memories of the beautiful scenery that we saw and all that we experienced. I highly recommend this cruise as the ports are amazingly scenic and whilst it was bitterly cold we found it invigorating and memorable. The entertainment on board was outstanding. Whilst we doubt we saw the northern lights as they can illusive we nevertheless had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise but a few things hampered it being better. I did not find the diesel fumes inside the inside cabin tolerable and struggled to feel well under those circumstances. The beds in the cabin were single narrow ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise but a few things hampered it being better. I did not find the diesel fumes inside the inside cabin tolerable and struggled to feel well under those circumstances. The beds in the cabin were single narrow hard beds which I found difficult to tolerate and I literally ached 24/7 from the pain it caused my spine. The cabin other than that was quite comfortable and cosy for an inside cabin although being at the front of the ship I felt a lot of movement. I did not like having to go to the same table every night with the same companions for dinner and after a few nights avoided the main dining room opting for casual dining instead which was much more relaxed - our companions in the main dining room drank a lot of alcohol and I found them rather bawdy and talkative which did not help my digestion. Our table in the main dining room was also wedged into a tight space at the end of the dining room and we were wedged into a tight corner which was claustrophobic. We did this cruise back to back with a cruise to the Northern Lights / Arctic Circle which I shall review separately as it was a much better experience as we changed cabins. Staff on board were lovely. Entertainment on board was exceptionally good. We also made good like minded lifelong friends whilst on board. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Choose this cruise because it was going to the smaller ports in the Baltic. Took shuttle from Victoria, there was an event going on in London which caused some delays to shuttle but nothing serious. Process at Tilbury went smoothly , ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was going to the smaller ports in the Baltic. Took shuttle from Victoria, there was an event going on in London which caused some delays to shuttle but nothing serious. Process at Tilbury went smoothly , left hand luggage in cabin and had quick lunch in buffet before lifeboat drill. Next day was a seaday, spoilt for choice when it came to activities , lectures, craft classes, quizzes etc. I recommend arriving early for craft sessions they are always popular, this trip was no exception. We had a late night passage through Kiel canal and arrived in Wismar around lunch time on Tuesday. Wismar is where the Marco Polo was built. There were shuttle buses into town for 2 euros but its an easy walk and if you go via the old harbour quite a scenic one. I recommend the restored old merchants house, the wallpaper gallery is a must see. Audio description available in several languages. Entry is via donation and staff are extremely pleasant. St Georges church has a lift to take you to top of its Tower for 3 euros...well worth it for an overview of the town. Several other churches and a lovely town Square, shame our visit was a little short. Day two saw us in Rhonne Denmark, charming little place, being so late in the season the tourist areas were almost deserted. The side streets were quaint , and the main shopping street delightful with fountains and a children's play park. The museum was very informative , particularly as to the war time events. Lots of public toilet facilities alas having the right coinage in local currency not always possible, the usual standby of taking a coffee break did not work because a lot of cafes do not offer facilities. The church overlooking the harbour is delightful and is well worth a visit on way back to tenders. Visby Sweden....the new cruise stage only opened this year and it looked like the local gulls had been making free use of it....free shuttle into the old town. Rather like a Disney film set, turrets and floral decorated balconies abound, was expecting Rapunzel to appear at any moment. It is possible to walk round the city walls and some of the towers are open to give a good view point. The botanical gardens were still in bloom and provided a welcome pot to rest for a while. Entry to the museum was 10 euros and looked interesting however I had left it rather late to visit so confined myself to coffee and cake in the cafe. Filter coffee offered free refills. Staff multi lingual but please note Euros are not accepted as payment. Unfortunately witnessed two American ladies from the ship being quite abusive to staff on discovering this. Arrival in Klapeda was not promising a grey damp mist greeted us, however a local folk group were playing on quayside so wasn't all bad. We received town maps with a marked trail around the town, there is something to see on every corner so feel free just to wander. The sculpture garden is well worth visit, but there are sculptures and interesting buildings everywhere. A small craft market offered much amber but also ceramics and art work. Prices were reasonable and English was widely spoken. Finally we arrived in Gdansk the largest and busiest port on our itinerary, free shuttle into town. Amber shops/ stalls everywhere but no heavy sell. There is a scenic observation wheel which gives you 15 minutes of eye level viewing for around £6. Lots of building work going on but refreshingly building sympathetic to original style. Fairly typical normal port of call, very touristy. Our return passage through Kiel canal was in daylight. Fascinating to watch the gate close behind us and lots of interesting bridges/ canal side homes to see on way through. Final day was sea day, back in the North sea so a tiny bit of movement but ship handles very well in conditions , the pool burger bar stayed open throughout I think the smell of frying did make some people feel a little off colour. Final morning buffet started sevingbreakfast early, had no trouble finding seat although I would recommend hanging on to your cup if you want a refill. After breakfast I moved onto Palm garden and found seat by the window to watch our arrival in Tilbury. Return shuttle went very smoothly. The Marco Polo is looking good despite her age, constant cleaning and, when in port , painting going on. Public facilities good, I recommend the Columbus lounge if you do start to feel the effects of sea movement. Service in the Wardolf restaurant good, nice selection of dishes and extra off menu dishes salomon etc always available. Also additionally dishes of veg if you would like them. Bar staff efficient although sometimes waiting times in the show lounge were longer than ideal. Very friendly ship, I recommend for those who actually like being at sea. Maybe not for those who want waterslides and the like, but throw yourself into the activities and you will have a good time. Lecturers were good and very good comedian/ singer/ one man band provided excellent entertainment...he even doubled up as tour guide at one port. My one niggle....the new cruise director and his assistant....they were both good singers and very enthusiastic, pleasant and accessable... However I wonder if they are not a little too full of themselves for CMV? Time will tell. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely ... Read More
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely architecture but very walkable. Next Port was Ronne a Danish island. Again very very quiet and apsrt from the churches not much to see.Would not visit this port again. Visbey was next { swedish Island} Beautiful and historic area. very quiet and a 20 minute bus ride from ship. Ship provided shuttle bus. Klaipeda Lituania was our next stop. Very laid out town New and old sections. Easy to walk around with a good choice of cafes. Our favourite stop was Gdansk Poland . So much to see I wish we had stopped longer there than Ronne and Wismar. We did not take any ships tours. We had a inside cabin {509} spacious for inside cabins and a good location for getting to and fro to dining and shows. Very well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation well managed. Food choices and meals , excellent. Entertainment was also varied and of good quality. Would consider taking another cruise with this company depending on the Ports. My only negative was having to vacate the cabin by 7am. Very difficult to get Tea and coffee as the machines did not work or the first few hours . Adult only cruise. Small pool and three whirlpools. Fitness room etc. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
Wanted to see the East side of Canada after visiting the other side last year. The cabin was fine 3 cases already waiting as we arrived at our cabin the steward was very helpful. The ship was kept very clean and tidy. Enjoyed the food ... Read More
Wanted to see the East side of Canada after visiting the other side last year. The cabin was fine 3 cases already waiting as we arrived at our cabin the steward was very helpful. The ship was kept very clean and tidy. Enjoyed the food tried self service and the restaurant, , plenty to chose from, only complaint not enough vegetables on the plate in the restaurant. The ship rides rough weather very well. Though we were lucky not too many rough seas. Enjoyed Glengariff our first port, the tendering is a bit of a slow job, then of of to Canada, enjoyed the exercise classes that that the dancers take, if you wanted there were crafts bridge, games and quizzes every sea day. We had 2 lecturers on board both very good,the one for whales and dolphins was on deck and able to tell us what species we saw which added to the enjoyment. St Johns it poured down but didnt stop our walking trip, the scenery was fantastic. Halifax was hot sunny and a lovely city to explore and Charlotte Town on Prince Edward Island was a lovely town. It was a pity the next 2 days as we sailed down the St Laurence to Montreal it turned dull and cooler. Montreal was great and Quebec, pity our second day there it poured down all day. Most of the time we did our own walks round and exploring as there was usually good maps. The smaller French speaking town were friendly but did not have lot to see, but we were welcomed and usually the locals turned up to wave us off. Entertainment was very good for such a small ship dancers and singers great and the young singer Savannah that had just joined was a pleasure to hear. Enjoyed the chocolate afternoon tea. met some lovely people, all the crew were friendly and helpful, oneor two slight problems but no more than other cruise lines Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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