196 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) Senior Cruise Reviews

I genuinely believe most of the negative feedback on this cruise to be very harsh/pickie...but everyone is allowed their opinion, so here is mine/ours. Firstly embarkation/disembarkation - Fine, particularly getting on the ship....well ... Read More
I genuinely believe most of the negative feedback on this cruise to be very harsh/pickie...but everyone is allowed their opinion, so here is mine/ours. Firstly embarkation/disembarkation - Fine, particularly getting on the ship....well apart from a small issue with security about my Skean Dhu...Scottish Sock knife. I took my kilt for the formal nights and when our bags went through the security x-rays obvious concerns were raised. This episode was more funny than inconvenient and when you think about it....my fault!! After that we sailed (sorry) through embarkation. Disembarkation was more time consuming so if on a tight schedule consider using the express service. But it was a glorious day when we arrived back in Tilbury so we just waited our turn and enjoyed the company of a couple of sisters who had been on the cruise. The Ship - Lovely! Apparently old but clean and well maintained. I have nothing to compare it to as this was our first cruise...but I really liked the the Magellan and her crew. The ship was immaculately clean...staff constantly cleaning...constantly....I mean constantly!!! I am sure other ships have better, do different and are bigger, faster and prettier but the Magellan is a lovely ship with a fantastic crew. Dining - Breakfast: not my priority meal of the day...I'd rather sleep/relax my way into the day rather than chase breakfast. As far as the quality of the food at breakfast...this was probably the most disappointing thing. Sausages...blah...bacon as usual when you leave home even more blah. I generally stuck with fresh fruit or the meats/cheeses. TIP...if you are happy with a buttered roll or some fruit and tea/coffee then order room service...it's free and prompt. Lunch: Reasonable varied selection of hot and cold foods, they seem to like making variations of Bread/Butter pudding so watch the hips!! A bit of a challenge to get a seat in the Bistro but we considered that part of the hunt!! As a kinda cafe/bistro style thing I think it was fine. Dinners - I loved every meal we had. I find the criticism of the portions astonishing as I am a big lad with a strong appetite and not quite so far into my senior years as most of the passengers. Individually the portions may not be as big...but the evening meal is 5 courses...eat them all and you are good!! I never had one desert as I am not a sweet person (shut it wife) and I never left hungry. And if you are not having all the courses and are feeling particularly hungry...ask for extra mains...not a problem and no extra cost..shhh.... There were a couple of theme nights thrown in also which were nice. Our waiters were superb and very accommodating to all our needs/requests. Entertainment and Activities: Hmmm this was OK. Kind of Butlins holiday park style but with a far better looking Theatre. I suspect the older audience enjoyed it more. The entertainment team were absolute professionals and gave it their all with some great voices and attitude. The musicians and dancers also were very good. The quizzes and other activities...well remember that not all of your passengers are over 70 years old!! Questions about 1942 radio shows and tv...gimme a chance guv!! This would be my only real complaint about the cruise...please remember CMV, that not all your passengers will be 70+ although I do appreciate that the majority are and you are catering to the majority. For everyone's info my wife and I are 49 and knew full well what we were getting into on this cruise...we researched thoroughly. The subject matters of the lectures by the guest speakers was dreadful and of no interest to us whatsoever. Maybe that is an age thing...and Bridge is not our thing either. All in all the entertainment was ok but the team were lovely and I agree with other comments made that it was a nice touch when they mingled after shows and chatted to their audience. The Disco had no point at all. Virtually empty and a DJ that was better a ruining an atmosphere than generating one. The best night in the Disco was the Karaoke night but when that evening finished and the dj had a chance to play to his audience...he only succeeded in emptying the place in record time...you would have thought it was an evacuation!! The boy was as sharp as a beach ball !!! I believe the disco is being turned into another bar for next season...probably best but a shame. Service - Well what can I say but sorry to those who criticise, you are way too fussy...it was OUTSTANDING. From boarding to departure. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone. I will single out some people...Sasha our room maid...a lovely girl. Waiting staff Than and Pavlo...good lads always wanting and able to help....entertainment staff...Tony, and Katie...professional, lovely, fun people and interested in your comments..Bar staff...Ivan, George...and..damn I may get this wrong..Valery, a big Ukrainian lad all in the Captains club/bar and lastly the fantastic Kristina...outstanding friendly, happy and genuinely nice young lady. Nothing too much for this girl!! Although we had the pleasure of her last voyage as she was going home with her savings to help in the family fishing shop!! She made our holiday so much more enjoyable. Next...Ports and Excursions - If I didn't have great things to say about these I would look pretty silly. Surely everyone who picked this cruise..researched the hell out of it. Nothing to complain about here...My wife and I were a bit more able than some of the folks so decided to do our on things when we arrived at the various ports...Never paid for the excursions except in St Petersberg. Copenhagen: Wonderful (sorry)....a lovely place. Don't do the open top tours...not value for money at all. Town is a nice walking distance away and you can walk past the Little Mermaid on the way. Beautiful city center with many great sculptures, buildings old and new. If not fed up with water...do the canal tour from the center of town...5 Euros and well worth it for 1 hour. Warnemunde: Beautiful town with a fantastic beach. Never signed up for the 3hr each way trip to Berlin and instead planned to go to Rostock but never made it as Warnemunde was so nice!! Spent the whole day there. Loved it. Tallin - Again a beautiful town. Old town is lovely with some great buildings and a medieval wall that you can walk up and view the town from...3 euros for that privilege. A lot of development going on in the old town just now. St Petersberg - To see this you will be tied to the excursions, unless you get your own visas to do your own thing...at £150 each with a trip to the Russian embassy perhaps not worth it...but I'd argue this...I thought the ships excursions were over priced for what you got. Paying for the two full day excursions package was £250 each...and you are tied to what, when and how that trip goes whereas the visa gives you your own time to do what you want...maybe book a room in St P...just a thought folks. The city itself while viewing from coaches and canal boats like we did is fantastic. Vodka at the dock duty free is a great price btw...just saying. Helsinki - Beautiful city and I really liked it. Very modern and old at the same time. Lovely market just near the docks and then further in town all the latest fashions and brands you could ask for. Nynashamn - again we opted not to bother with the 1hr journey very early in the morning to Stockholm...perhaps a mistake. The wee town was lovely and the surrounding area was picturesque, but there wasn't much open to satisfy the visiting tourists in my opinion. We did have a nice few hours just wandering but consider Stockholm. I do not understand the reviews that complain that this town was expensive or that town was to hilly and not user friendly. Do your research folks...yes Russia and Helsinki were expensive...I new that three days after we booked our cruise and budgeted accordingly. It is not CMV's fault the this country is expensive and that country is hilly. As I said earlier my wife and I are 49...well she's 50 now....sorry Debs and were among the youngest on the ship which was a concern of mine. I must take a moment and thanks our fellow evening table guests in the Kensington Restaurant...Kris & Jackie and Linton & Anne...lovely couples and you made or holiday so much more fun...thanks for your company. I would say that CMV could just spare some thought that not all your cruisers are 70+ but all in all my wife and I loved the cruise and had a wonderful time. Would I recommend this cruise to others...of course!! I already have!! Would I cruise with CMV and the Magellan again...absolutely can't wait for the next time we see you all again. Would we pick this itinerary again, yep again whats not to love about these countries and we certainly never seen all of there is to them. I hope you find this review helpful folks...great cruise...but that's just my opinion!! Oh I nearly forgot to mention the drinks package!! If you are fond of a wee drink this is excellent value...£400 and odd quid for the two of us....And we burned that up....I added up our receipts and we spent a whole lot more than that so we got our moneys worth...and some!! Great value for money....£17 a day...lol....hic!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We embarked at Tilbury & I have got to say that the embarkation was not too bad & the cases arrived in a timely manner. We ate our Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant which I could not fault the service was food & no complaints ... Read More
We embarked at Tilbury & I have got to say that the embarkation was not too bad & the cases arrived in a timely manner. We ate our Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant which I could not fault the service was food & no complaints about the food. Our Cabin which which was described as an Inside superior was roomy but the noise from the engine was too much in our view. The noise kicked in when it was docking which was quite early on a number of occasions & there is no way you could sleep. The entertainment of an evening was slightly dated except the last show which was good. The ports of call were good except that it was called a Christmas Market Tour but there was NO Christmas Market in Amsterdam at all. A little moan, you were kicked out of your Cabin at 7.30am but we did not Dock until after 8am & were not allowed off the ship until about 9am. Which left a number of ladies trying to find a Toilet that was free (and not blocked) between those times. Overall not a bad cruise, the people you meet always make up for the bad bits!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We have used CMV before on Marco Polo which was enjoyable with no complaints so were looking forward to a similar experience. To be honest the ship and cruise in general was up to expectation but we were far from satisfied with the cabin ... Read More
We have used CMV before on Marco Polo which was enjoyable with no complaints so were looking forward to a similar experience. To be honest the ship and cruise in general was up to expectation but we were far from satisfied with the cabin (inside, deck seven number 7146) allocated to us. From the second night out we were subjected to heavy noise from above which made it almost impossible to sleep, it sounded as though heavily loaded wheel barrows were being moved back and forth across the cabin roof. After putting up with it for two nights the matter was raised with the reception staff but were advised that there was no alternative accommodation available so nothing could be done. In the meantime we discovered from other adjacent cabins that we were directly below the galley and the noise was due to late night and early morning work in the bakery, Later in the week a cabin did somehow become free for us to use so normal sleep was again possible but by this time we were more than a little dissatisfied with the treatment received. Correspondence with CMV achieved nothing apart from being told that such noise was an understood risk of cruising a fact that as a cruiser of many years experience with various lines I was not impressed with. To conclude I can only emphasise the need to check carefully where your cabin is situated and most definitely avoid number 7146 on the Magellan and probably others near it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise because the dates fitted perfectly for us and we wanted to go to the fjords. The cruise and maritime website prior to embarkation was very useful and the information was received in a timely manner and was informative. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the dates fitted perfectly for us and we wanted to go to the fjords. The cruise and maritime website prior to embarkation was very useful and the information was received in a timely manner and was informative. The price of this cruise was very good. I gave my review this title because of the reviews I read beforehand, although I always work on the basis that many people who review are either 'rants or ravers' however, I really have to say that it is beyond my comprehension how anyone can find anything about this ship that warrants a negative review! My experience regarding embarkation was very good, not sure how it would be if it was raining as we didn't see any cover. Once at the ship we were very quickly processed. Staff took us to our cabin and we then went off for a drink. We were upgraded, our cabin was at the front of the ship and we like many felt vibration and movement and noticed this through to day 3. Having only ever being on bigger ships this was very noticeable to us. We got the drinks package and it was well worth it for us. We saved the receipts and worked out that it would have cost well over a hundred pound more if we hadn't taken it. I usually only drink red wine but did try a number of cocktails which I really enjoyed. The wine (in my opinion) was beautiful, 14% Tempranillo, I would highly recommend this. We ate in the buffet, had lunch in both restaurants and 1 breakfast in one restaurant. We had dinner in the Kensington. The food was nicely presented in the restaurant and the service was excellent. Dinner was 5 course and lunch was 4, lots of variety and all enjoyable. I couldn't complain about the food at all. The service at the bars and around was first rate. The lectures we attended were good. The shows were average, but this is an entertainment team and not professional performers. We didn't do any excursions, preferring to do our own which were easy enough and significantly cheaper. The seating areas were obviously very busy when everybody was on the ship, however, seats could be found fairly easily and people tended to move around a lot, I didn't see any saving of seats in the lounge areas. I was impressed at the number of staff in all departments, the whole ship is spotless and cleaners were constantly stationed by each toilet area and were always in and out cleaning. I have to mention our wonderful cabin steward who was first rate and such a genuinely nice and discreet chap. I would recommend this ship and company and would go with them again. If you are reading having booked, please do not be worried by anything negative you may have read, go with an open mind and enjoy yourselves. If you want a 5* ship with butler service, you'll have to pay a lot more than the excellent value for money cruise, with 5* staff that you will experience with the Magellan. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Second time on my birthday..the catering and waiting staff brought a sparkle birthday cake singing happy birthday...food was in plenty and of a very good standard and variety.. We could not fault our trip..I am a retired nurse and very ... Read More
Second time on my birthday..the catering and waiting staff brought a sparkle birthday cake singing happy birthday...food was in plenty and of a very good standard and variety.. We could not fault our trip..I am a retired nurse and very keen on good hygiene and the whole ship,cabins,food was A+++. I saw a programme rip off Britain with a passenger saying that paint affected him..I say rubbish...NO fumes whatsoever came from the paint.I use inhalers and it did not affect me at all....Maintenance and cleaning is high on the agenda and none of us found either the painting or cleaning obtrusive at all. Please go and enjoy your trip..highly recommend this company... Entertainment was really good,the cruise director was friendly ,the girls and boys of the entertainment troop were fabulous..service and waiters were friendly and caring.. The captain was very good at given out information of the routes and weather conditions.. Highly recommend.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Having been on several cruises in the past, always with Cunard, it was with trepidation that I booked a trip on CMV Magellan. Magellan is a Holiday Class ship, so you would be forgiven if you thought it would be full of rowdy young ... Read More
Having been on several cruises in the past, always with Cunard, it was with trepidation that I booked a trip on CMV Magellan. Magellan is a Holiday Class ship, so you would be forgiven if you thought it would be full of rowdy young booze-fuelled "cruisers". I was not setting my sights very high on this ship, as it had seen a previous life with Carnival Cruises, and it is relatively old. However, I was indeed surprised. Embarkation was an absolute delight; no sooner had I arrived at Tilbury, than my cases were taken and I was soon checked-in. I boarded about an hour later. I opted this time for an inside cabin, something I would not normally do, but since the cruise was certainly bargain-basement price, I saw little point in spending a fortune for a suite or very superior cabin. My cabin, a twin-bedded affair on the 6th deck, was indeed comfortable, and relatively spacious. I really couldnt fault it. Two standard beds, bedside tables, television, small dressing table, 3 wardrobes, shower and toilet with hairdryer. I didnt really need much more. I wasted no time in finding my way round the ship. Magellan is not overly large, carrying around 1150 passengers and around 450 crew, but it offers a fair mix of 3 whirlpools, 2 swimming pools, a nightclub, 2 restaurants, casino, library, card room, several sundecks, internet cafe (charge payable), bistro, health club, gym, lounges, theatre and several bars spread over 5 decks (the others are for the cabins/galley/crew). Enough to keep you occupied for a short cruise anyway. There are 2 main restaurants, which are initially difficult to find; Waldorf and Kensington. Dinner settings are 6.30 and 8.15. Staff are attentive, and the food, whilst not being at Cunard standard, is certainly good. Meals generally consist of a starter, soup, salad, main, dessert and coffee. I enjoyed the food. If you prefer, you can eat in the Bistro, which serves the same food on a help yourself basis, though it can be crowded at times, and some travellers can be quite selfish with their need to be "first" for their meals. Expect some pushing and shoving! I preferred the waiter service in the restaurant. There is free tea and coffee available in the Bistro 24/7. Other drinks are chargeable. As a guide, a coke is £2.05, cocktails around £4, coffee (special) £2-ish, water (bottled) at £2.05. There are of course other spirits available. There are drinks packages available. You can have unlimited drinks (soft or alcoholic) for £17/day, or unlimited soft drinks for £9.95/day, or 10 cocktails for £30. I opted for the latter. Cocktails were fair, being a little light on alcohol I felt. There is a show each evening, at 6.30 and 9.45, to accommodate the 2 restaurant settings. I found some of the shows a little poor, though, to be fair, 3 were particularly good. The Baltic Cruise visited Denmark (Copenhagen), Germany (Berlin), Finland (Helsinki), Estonia (Tallinn), Russia (St Petersburg) and Sweden (Stockholm). Trips vary in price. Mine cost from £29 to £129. I cant write about every trip here, but would comment as follows: Copenhagen - easy to do it alone - the city is within 2 miles of the port; Warnemunde (Germany) - I took the 12-hour trip to Berlin to see the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie etc etc. Its a full 12 hours and cost £129. I thought it was excellent. Warmunde is also a very nice place in its own right. Tallin - a beautiful little place with cobbled streets and worth a look. Again, I took a taxi from the port - £14. St Petersburg - 2 days are spent here. I personally found this place expensive, hostile, and totally unsuitable for wheelchair users. Plenty of shops. There are some lovely palaces and churches to see, but as they are not my thing, I took the evening canal cruise, which, at £39 was reasonable. You can buy Duty Free goods at the port if you do not wish to actually enter Russia. The Immigration process can be long-winded and frustrating. . Some of my friends attended the ballet, which they said was the best ever. Helsinki - this is quite an inoffensive place, and extremely clean. I took the tram ride around the city here and enjoyed it. A mix of shops catering for basic needs. Stockholm - the place I liked least. Unsuitable for disabled people due to cobbled streets and hills. I thought it was very expensive. As a guide, I ordered 2 cakes and 2 coffees that amounted to just under £24. Life aboard Magellan has its good and bad points. The best point for me was the fact its an ADULT ONLY ship. You can relax without noisy children around you. Food is certainly good, and staff are very attentive. Cabins are comfortable. Shows are typically of the holidaymaker ilk. The negatives? Drinks can soon add up on your onboard account, as can any other purchases. Trips can also add a huge cost to what appears to be a good value holiday. (My onboard bill was virtually the same as my cruise cost). Sometimes its difficult to find a place to sit. Also, for some odd reason, there is a LOT of vibration on this ship. Would I travel on Magellen again? Definitely YES, but I would not always use the arranged tours, as many can be made on foot or using buses and taxis. My cruise cost £749 for 12 nights. So for just over £60/day, you really cannot complain. Its a really excellent deal. Remember that tips are automatically added to your account at £5/day per person. One point to make though is that the suites advertised on the ship, advertising balcony views, invariably look out over the lifeboats, so not as good as you might imagine. Probably the best value is an outside cabin on Deck 6. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Good points first -Price , Magellan the ship itself , food and drinks plus and the Baltic cities we visited. Bad points - the entertainment shows and music were very old and dated . Too many very old and or infirm people on this ... Read More
Good points first -Price , Magellan the ship itself , food and drinks plus and the Baltic cities we visited. Bad points - the entertainment shows and music were very old and dated . Too many very old and or infirm people on this cruise so gave the atomosphere one of a derby and Joan club at sea ! Cities such as Stockholm only had a 4 hour visit time which is much too short Entertainment was very much aimed at 70/80 year olds with the newest music I heard all cruise was by Abba and the band played what I would ( bad ) lift music The entertainment staff had to come up with their own ideas for shows etc , a case in point was one of them ( slightly) looking like Buddy Holly (but sounding nothing like him ) so you got a Buddy Holly tribute act....but a terrible one ! If you value the entertainment on board your cruise alongside the destinations you have been warned !!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,and the price was a factor too.the coach link from London Victoria was well organised and embarkation was very smooth.our cabin was better than we expected very spacious and plenty of hanging room.tv ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,and the price was a factor too.the coach link from London Victoria was well organised and embarkation was very smooth.our cabin was better than we expected very spacious and plenty of hanging room.tv with flat screen,comfy beds and large window.the food was excellent with plenty of choice.the entertainment was professional and the guest speakers packed the theatre every time especially the ex customs officer.all the crew were attentive and pleasant,the drinks package was well worth it the ports on this cruise are very interesting and St Petersburg blew you away.we have cruised all over the world and this as been one of the best.we've been on posher cruises but this is friendlier and adults only.there is no tea and coffee making facilities in cabin but you can get round this by ordering room service at no extra charge.we would certainly cruise with cruise maritime again Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We recently completed a Baltic cruise of 12 nights and followed on with a 7 night cruise of the Norwegian Fjords a (total of 19 nights) on the Magellan. We have cruised with a number of lines including Cunard, Celebrity, NCL P & O ... Read More
We recently completed a Baltic cruise of 12 nights and followed on with a 7 night cruise of the Norwegian Fjords a (total of 19 nights) on the Magellan. We have cruised with a number of lines including Cunard, Celebrity, NCL P & O (Australia), Costa and APT River Cruises and can say that the shipboard experience is very good and in terms of dining experience and presentation of public areas Magellan is equal to what we have experienced on other lines. The boarding process was seamless and assisted by staff taking you direct to your cabin - an experience not previously matched. Cabins were OK, roomy and functional, interior for the Baltic and an OG cabin for the Fjords. The cabins lacked the nice things (body lotion, pamper packs, in cabin movies etc) found on other cruise lines but we think that what was provided was great value. Dining times were slightly earlier starting, (conflicted slightly with excursion returns) but easily varied to a later sitting as required. The meal presentations were of equal standing to our prior our experience. Each course was small but totally sufficient. Quality was good in the main with some tough choices, Some tougher cuts of meat but your selection could ensure enjoyment of meals. I looked forward to poached eggs in the morning but struggled to get the egg cooked perfectly with the whites a bit raw, or if overcooked the yolk solid! We attended most shows and enjoyed the performances and performers. Not quite to our past experiences but good entertainment overall. We did a lot of reading and sedentary holiday activities but the daily sheet indicated many activities we could have participated in if we wanted to. The highlight of our trip was the ship's response to our request to hold a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. There had been about 16 or so CC members on the roll call and the ship, through the Hotel Director and Future Cruise staff, were extremely helpful in facilitating both a welcome meeting (with invites) and a bridge tour followed by a farewell function with the Captain in attendance. Now that is one up on what we have previously experienced- well done and thank you to the staff involved. All CC members were thrilled by the experience. I had a problem paying my on board account with my pre-loaded cash card with the card declined for some reason on two occasions and had to scramble with cash to finalise the account, with no change left until I got onshore. My card worked OK externally but it is likely the card being processed electronically without my pin caused the rejection. Ports of call were fabulous, especially Tallinn, Warnemunde and St Petersburg. The Ports of Copenhagen Stockholm and Helsinki were short and more time could easliy be spent there- perhaps that's the next opportunity. We did our own excursions in these ports, many covered in Trip Advisor or via Cruise Critic forums. For the Norwegian Fjords, we did a couple of bus trips up the Trollstigen Road from both Aldasnes and Geiranger - hairy but extremely worthwhile, getting write ups in travel magazines. At some ports the ship had single landing doors open due to tide heights/gang plank issues which caused exit buildups and frustration. Other ports were a simple long or short walk as the towns presented themselves. We had some heavy seas in the North Sea but the ship remained comfortable and we did not suffer from too much movement. The ship did have a natural 'St Vitus Dance' evident but we seemed to get used to the shudder. The menu for the second trip seemed similar to the first trip, but we were not left wanting. A highlight was dining on the Captain's table with the Captain and Hotel Director hosting a group of other back to back passengers. We did try Raffles Bistro but with the menu essentially the same we preferred the service and plated meal sizes. In summary, the trips on the Magellan were excellent value and presentation and service very good. We enjoyed ourselves, meeting some lovely people - us being two of about 20 that were not British nationals! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Review of Cruise W1610 Black Watch: Arctic Adventure and Exploration July 17th- August 12th “Not again, even with discounts….” PART 1 THE REVIEW: This is at best a mixed reaction and review of a specialist cruise, which ... Read More
Review of Cruise W1610 Black Watch: Arctic Adventure and Exploration July 17th- August 12th “Not again, even with discounts….” PART 1 THE REVIEW: This is at best a mixed reaction and review of a specialist cruise, which was anticipated with great promise, but was compromised by a series of running flaws. Not many ships visit Greenland, certainly not with an itinerary that lasts just short of a full month, crosses the Arctic Circle and visits Norway, The North Cape, Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland. This means that the cost factors were comparatively high, and the ship was –at least initially- full to capacity. Things got off to a bad start after a drive to Tillbury found me and three suitcases (plus numerous other confused passengers besides) on a dockside with no ship in sight: in the event it was stuck at Dover so emergency coaches had to be quickly ordered as many hundreds of people began asking why they had not been informed of this so that they could have made their own arrangement to go directly to Dover. Fred Olsen’s explanation that it was simply not possible to contact everyone at short notice looked like a more than lame excuse when they had been sending passengers sms texts for some days reminding us all of arrival times, etc. No refreshments were provided for the journey and the coach driver- who could barely speak English- was completely flummoxed by the air-conditioning, which only worked intermittently. (“Oh my God, Oh my God” was all he was heard to utter.) Apparently a passenger’s plastic walking stick somewhere towards the coach’s rear began to melt! Fred Olsen’s Black Watch is by now clearly an ageing vessel and one desperately in need of a complete refit, severe updating, or putting out to pasture. The carpets were manifestly ancient and everywhere- corridors and public areas- covered with stains as if previous passengers and simple expired there (well maybe they had). The staff tried to cope with this on a more-or-less daily basis by soaking them thoroughly then aiming massive blower heaters on them (result: much noise plus humidity). My cabin (outside with view) was the size of a cramped prison cell with what seemed to be beds for four- all narrow and no more than 20” wide with two metal ones slung from the walls, presumably to accommodate a family, and reminiscent of primitive holiday conditions more suited to Butlins in the 50’s. The outside view was provided by two (I assume) original portholes bolted shut with rust all around on the outside. I asked for a change of room, for which I was fully prepared to pay additionally if necessary, but none was available and I was not informed of any subsequent vacancy although passengers did leave throughout the voyage. The walls were not well soundproofed and a noisy party next door allowed me to participate in most conversations, should I have chosen to, from a very short distance. (PS There is ALWAYS another cabin available; believe me I know this from friends who work in the business.) Here I must introduce another cautionary note: this cruise is adult only and attracts a comparatively aged group of guests. Indeed I think the average age was well over pension age, and to be amongst such a group was certainly a double shock; firstly in the realization that oneself is now probably perceived as an “older person” , but secondly as to how infirm many of the passengers are. Wheelchairs, walking frames and many with stick struggling in the public areas, particularly in rougher seas. I was unable amongst the 750 or so guests on board, to spot anyone under the age of 50: the downside of a combination of destination, price, length of voyage and ‘adults only’ appellation. (Just as I am completing this report I have spotted two who might just qualify not to compete in a senior tournament.) Food was reasonably good but on sea days always taken in very crowded conditions. Entertainment was of varying quality with an enthusiastic troop of young dancers who barely mixed with passengers, except when obliged to (on “Captains Cocktail Night”, etc.) a good trio, an excellent guest violinist and a very good pianist for the lounge areas. One thing I have noticed with Fred Olsen is that extras such as photography packages are increasingly “pushed” at guests, as are future cruises with added discounts and inducements. I suppose people fall for these ploys or else there would be much less activity of this sort, but it is a very unwelcome part of the Olsen cruise experience, in my opinion. Also, beware of hidden extras even with an all-inclusive package. I bought the drinks package @ £10 per day which in theory allows unlimited house spirits, wine and soft drinks. However, even though I presented my inclusive card to bar staff I was still charged for a Bloody Mary although the ingredients of tomato juice and vodka are part of the package. When I challenged this at the Guest Services counter a couple of days later this produced a dramatic encounter enjoyed by many staff and guests. The Bar Manager was called who explained that a Bloody Mary was a cocktail requiring expert preparation, hence the charge. When I explained that I had been making them for years by simply putting these ingredients together, I was repeatedly told, again and again, that it was classed by Olsen’s as “a cocktail”. When I said this should have been made clear by the bar staff and that I considered £8 excessive for 6 drops of Worcester sauce a guest listening nearby turned her prune-moon face at me and said “do be nice!” “That’s all very well madam,” I countered “but it is not your bill that’s been docked twenty four quid!” I was promised a complete refund and left the scene through a wave of clapping and supportive passengers. The departure from Greenland and the subsequent 3-4 days at sea was a terrific strain both on the inner resources of the ship and the passengers, many of who did not cope well with rocky sea conditions. Also, we steamed rapidly past the Faroe Isles, which seemed to me to be madness given that everyone was begging for a break from the lengthy sea days, and many would have given their eyeteeth for the chance to stretch their legs on dry land. From the reactions I canvassed from many guests, most thought well of the cruise and enjoyed much of the itinerary; although quite a few criticized the cost of many of the shore excursions which were all extras to the original cost (for example £90 for a guided 2 mile walk on one of the islands, easily accessible on your own from the ship, and therefore unguided and potentially cost free). I went for three reasons: Icelandic waterfalls, Greenland icebergs and to complete the draft of a novel. Frankly I was not too interested in local craftsmen weaving winter apparel from seal dung or whatever regional materials they use. So this made my reasons for travelling quite specific and probably unusual. But for those in general I noticed a measure of “British stiff-upper lip-ness” which I have to say I admired, but did not feel obliged to participate in. Cabin TVs looked like something out of “Crossroads” circa 1960s and performed about as well. Internet access was totally unreliable and very expensive, and I insisted of refunds of £41 and £13 respectively for connection to the server but thereafter NOT to the internet. If few other passengers complained then someone was making a lot of money out of this failed service. Much better to wait for a port day and connect to Wi-Fi in a local café for cost of a coffee (and very often entirely free.) In conclusion if you require dance lessons, craft and art classes (the art teacher’s own exhibition was a severe embarrassment to any half-competent watercolourist) basic lectures on ports of call, or geology, being sold overpriced jewelry and branded goods, expensive snaps of your trip et al, then this might be the one for you. But, I’m sorry to say, as I have travelled in the past with Olsen and have a soft spot for Fred Senior’s determination to continue with his pet loss-leader, this is not one for me, not again (even with 5% plus 4% plus 5% special offers off.) PART TWO: THE REPORT This part of the review has not yet been substantiated or commented on by The Fred Olsen Company. Currently I am waiting for confirmation that the following information is basically correct. I sent this directly to the M.D of Olsen who declined to respond or comment personally, and his Customer Service Dept. demanded 28 days to reply. I’m afraid, again, this is not good enough Messrs Olsen! The delay at the start of the cruise at Tilbury/Dover was due to a severe engine fire on a previous voyage, which had to be curtailed as a result. The marine authorities were not apparently satisfied with the quality of the repairs undertaken and requested that additional works be carried out. This meant The Black Watch was unable to sail to Tilbury due to a statutory entitlement for the crew to rest before setting out. It was fairly clear during our Arctic Adventure trip that problems with the engine(s) persisted. On our return from Greenland (three days non-stop at sea) in the mid-Atlantic and well over 24 hours from any safe haven, mechanical trouble seemingly struck again resulting in a severe loss of power. Speed reduced to approximately 8 knots, from 14 knots, and the ship began a series of circular manoeuveres transmitting a much greater degree of motion on board, sending many passengers to their cabins. This mechanical problem apparently manifest itself –at least as it was recounted to me- with a degree of panic on the bridge, and also seemed to affect the ships stabilizers which only appeared to operate spasmodically. A total engine failure in our position in the mid-Atlantic could have been a major calamity, and whilst it would clearly be unwise to transmit any kind of panic from crew to passengers, a blanket of silence is not a good solution either. In an era when transparency is a worthy goal to aim for, it seems that Fred Olsen have only managed to score one entirely of their own. 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Sail Date July 2016
Over all the cruise was very good. We chose it for the itinerary. Staff, entertainment and food is first class. The Magellan lacks the 'wow factor' experienced on other cruises. The cabins were small and the general condition ... Read More
Over all the cruise was very good. We chose it for the itinerary. Staff, entertainment and food is first class. The Magellan lacks the 'wow factor' experienced on other cruises. The cabins were small and the general condition felt 'tired'. Towels were not good quality, no fridge in cabin and only one electric plug point. The ship was also noisy, engine juddering noise. Organisation was good. Service excellent and prices of drinks etc exceptional. Overall a good experience but would have liked a few more special touches. The staff work very hard and are very professional and helpful. The entertainment team are very good. Had a wonderful BIG Band ...Seven Steps on our particular cruise who were first class. The variety of entertainment in bars and lounges was poor. There were plenty of deck chairs and it was easy to find seats in all areas. Some excursions were a little expensive it is worth looking at doing your own thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose C&MV for their cost and scheduling. Ship, Magellan, also possessed the amenities we desired. Once embarked we found our impressions gathered from the C&MV literature to have been accurate. Ship was clean, crew ... Read More
We chose C&MV for their cost and scheduling. Ship, Magellan, also possessed the amenities we desired. Once embarked we found our impressions gathered from the C&MV literature to have been accurate. Ship was clean, crew professional at all levels, food very good and shore visits as described. We like the adults only provision. We chose to go cruising as it afforded us a leisurely way to see an area (the Baltic and its nations) that we'd not spent a lot of time in. We also wanted to travel in a way that would allow us to spend a maximum amount of time with an older British friend that we've traveled extensively with in the past. He is in his mid 80s, my wife and I in early 70s. Both our friend and I have given up driving (our friend has given up completely, I have given up in England and to a limited extent on the continent). Thus a driving tour was ruled out. We also wanted to avoid the perturbations associated with bus touring - off the bus, eat your meal, go to bed, get up, get your bag down stairs, gobble down breakfast, get on the bus - wait for the slow to eat/act - set off for your next destination. This is not for the elderly! Dining aboard Magellan was a pleasant experience. Food was very good, well presented and properly served. Some of the more junior service staff did, however, seem slightly unsure of the finer points of service, but they always tried hard and were always pleasant and up-beat. Cabin, a standard plus twin inner was adequate in size, bed (queen size) was comfortable. Closet space a adequate with enough hangers provided, drawers adequate as well. We didn't come aboard for "entertainment" so didn't participate and thus can't comment. Lectures were, for the most part, good and contributed to more enjoyable shore visits.s The only area we found slightly lacking was our debarkation. Seas had come up, wind and tide against us for the approach into Tilbury. Ship would be late arriving and thus putting a wrench into many passenger's arrival plans (how would the party meeting you know you'd be late . . . Internet connectivity problematic). Crew returned luggage to staterooms, stateroom cleared, and then the wait for our arrival began with passengers spread all about the ship. Every lounge filled. If one needed help with luggage - fortunately our party of three did not - you might not get off the ship for two hours after we docked. My wife had hustled the two men off to a position that put us very near the front of the line. So, as soon as we were pier side and could clear customs and immigration we raced off the ship and found our party. I would also add that Tilbury is hard to find. We were driven from West Malling to Tilbury by a friend who had been a London taxi driver for many years. He had some difficulty in finding the C&MV facility. So you can see how difficult it would be like for a person, first time in the London area, to find Tilbury Port and the pier area where the ship would be . . . put up more and better signs! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have always been interested in the discovery element of cruising offered by Swan Hellenic; we liked the idea of a ''country house' atmosphere and we were keen on the itinerary. The thought of being in a small ship with ... Read More
We have always been interested in the discovery element of cruising offered by Swan Hellenic; we liked the idea of a ''country house' atmosphere and we were keen on the itinerary. The thought of being in a small ship with fewer passengers that was able to visit small ports and bays was attractive. The ship was fine if a bit dated. The food was adequate without being star quality. The staff were by and large friendly and helpful to the very elderly passengers who made up 90% of those sailing. We knew that the average age but we had no idea that because the shop sailed to and from Portsmouth, it attracted an even more elderly lot. Don't get me wrong, most passengers were charming and 'up for it' but if one were a disco hound, this is not the ship for you. There was one huge gaffe where the company had failed to gauge the tides properly so that when we arrived the ship's master decided that he could not operate the tenders within the time available and so tours were cancelled. That was pretty shoddy planning, in my view. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. ... Read More
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. The excursions and lectures are informative and academic. This last cruise we had an engine fire on the first night! We had our 2nd muster drill that evening but the 2nd one was very real! Because of that we had to put in to a port that wasn't on the itinerary. The excursion staff hustled to make some of the excursions happen and to come up with others while the ship was being repaired and certified to sail. We missed some of the highlights of the trip though such as visiting the chateaus. We also didn't have hot water for a day. We are still waiting to hear about a promised compensation...... This was really something that should have been decided and announced to everyone before we disembarked. Now everyone thinks that if we really do receive compensation it will be inequitable. But we did get an open bar several nights! Then, just as has happened on other cruises, we missed another port of call as the seas were very choppy and caused the small ship to change course. This is something people need to be aware of on this small ship. You don't always get to visit all the ports of call. Instead you get a choppy day at sea as they move on to the next port of call. Now they are moving to the North Sea for 2017 which is notorious for choppy waters! This ship really rocks. One day we were confined to our cabins because it was to dangerous to be out and about. We were told the ship was going to go into dock for 6 months after this season ends in November. I hope they refurbish the cabins. The carpets are stained and worn. The bed skirt was filthy as were the walls. The towels were stained. That being said, the attitude of the crew/staff and fellow passengers makes this a friendly travel experience. You can get into to port at cities the large cruise liners can't and the excursions are designed to be educational. The food is better than the standard cruise liners. The passengers are older and I've only seen 1-2 teenagers. There is a tiny workout room but no regular activities. This is probably due to the fact that most passengers are in the 60-80 year old range. The excursions are usually a half day which allows free time in the port city. I hope this cruise line can get it together as they really have a good thing going and a devoted, but dwindling following. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
It was the best ocean cruise experience ever. We have been on many other cruise lines and Viking is the best. We booked two back to back cruises with a pre extension in Iceland. I think it was about a 32 day trip. We caught our ship ... Read More
It was the best ocean cruise experience ever. We have been on many other cruise lines and Viking is the best. We booked two back to back cruises with a pre extension in Iceland. I think it was about a 32 day trip. We caught our ship in London and sailed up to Scotland and then to the northern part of Norway. The first cruise was increadibly scenic. The second cruise through the Baltics was much more cultural. The best thing about the Viking cruises is that most of the shore excursions were included in the packaged price. The WIFI was included. Beer and wine were included. The launderette was free. And the food was fabulous. Even after traveling around for 32 days we were sorry we had to go home. My wife was a little concerned before we started our trip because we couldn't book any of the specialty dinning rooms in advance due to our cabin class. But once we go on board, making a reservation at one of the specialty restaurants was not a problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose the cruise because of having travelled before with Cruise and Maritime on the Astoria which we enjoyed. Also the itinerary appealed to us. We opted for an inside cabin and was on deck 7. The cabin was spacious but it did have ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of having travelled before with Cruise and Maritime on the Astoria which we enjoyed. Also the itinerary appealed to us. We opted for an inside cabin and was on deck 7. The cabin was spacious but it did have bunk beds so if there were four people in the cabin, it would have been cramped. Other comments have said the cabins were noisy on this ship but we did not have a problem and found the beds comfortable. Our cabin was kept clean and we never had to ask for anything. Entertainment on this cruise was below our expectations mainly because we had to go to the show before dinner as we were on the 2nd sitting (8.15pm). On previous cruises, we have always had the show after dinner. We found ourselves at a loose end with nothing much to do. The entertainment is definitely geared for the First sitting passengers who had more choice. The food was fine with a good choice. However, we found it annoying when the waiters whisked plates away before everyone had finished their food. Also we always had to ask for extra coffee. We were disappointed with some areas of the ship that were 'cold' and 'uninviting'. We found some comfy chairs on one of the decks but it was a shame the fountain and pool had no water in it. The main pool also was not very inviting. We had some lovely trips and although the organised trips were expensive, we enjoyed the beautiful countryside. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The Magellan is an older ship that was purchased by CMV just a year or so ago. No glitz, no atrium, few balconies but comfortable and in reasonable condition. About 1200 passengers, just about all British who enjoy that they can drive to ... Read More
The Magellan is an older ship that was purchased by CMV just a year or so ago. No glitz, no atrium, few balconies but comfortable and in reasonable condition. About 1200 passengers, just about all British who enjoy that they can drive to the port - no flight needed. No children! The itinerary was super, a 12 night round trip from Tilbury not far from London. We took the train from Fenchurch Street station in the City of London to Tilbury Town and the ferry shuttle to the cruise terminal (you must show your train ticket to ride for free). The itinerary was: Invergordon (for Inverness), Kirkwall (Orkneys), Stornoway (Lewis, Outer Hebrides), Tobermory, Belfast (Northern Ireland), Dublin and Cobh (Ireland), the Isles of Scilly (Cornwall, U.K. ), and two French ports - St. Malo (near Mont St Michel) and Honfleur. The cruise line uses the older style of set dining times in its two formal dining rooms. There are different start times for each - in the Waldorf, the early sitting was at 5:45pm and in the Kensington, at 6:15pm. The late sittings were rather too late for us - after 8, I think. We had charming table mates, two older British couples who were travelling together. Breakfasts were served buffet style in the two dining rooms and in the self-service restaurant. However they serve you coffee and juice in the dining rooms, but not in the more casual restaurant. There were egg cooking stations. Boring sugary cereals suitable for non-existent kids (no children allowed) as well as porridge and weetabix. You could cobble together the "full English" but it wasn't appealing. "Breakfast in bed" is the only free room service - continental. I was prepared for average food. The service was excellent but the food did not match. It is Continental cuisine but their best dishes were curries. Their attempt at creme brûlée was terrible - curdled and not creamy. Gordon Ramsay would not allowed it to leave the galley! They made no attempt to cook seasonally nor to reflect the areas we were visiting. Few vegetables. The cheeses were labelled as assorted cheese. (Just finished a Marks & Spencer's sandwich proudly labelled with the name of the cheese - Wensleydale.) It seems a lack of care. Buy or make a few labels and put them on the cheese plate. Jamie Oliver and gastropubs haven't happened yet! Bacon at breakfast was undercooked in the Waldorf. The sausages were the sort with too much filler in them. The comedian joked about the single brown stripe on them! The food service officer was helpful and he ordered a special curry for us for the following evening. The soups were pretty good but the food felt institutional. They went amiss the most when they tried dishes like a bland creole starter. And their Waldorf salad was like baby food! They only served vanilla and strawberry ice cream - a bit melted, but they were the most reliable desserts. Once my travel companion scored banana and once chocolate ice cream. They do need a new chef for sweets. The cakes, tarts and squares were boring and not worth the calories - some teatime treats were labelled as "dry cake". The teatime scones were quite good. However most passengers (almost all were older Brits) seemed happy enough with the food. And we were happy to have wonderful lunches off the ship, including fabulous fish and chips and chowders. Alcohol prices were reasonable but only tea, coffee and "tap" water are available for free. My tea drinking sisters were surprised they didn't have teapots. (They do have them for room service.) There was a special get-together for American passengers and we Canadians got a last minute invitation from the "future cruise' staffer. (I had been whining a bit to him.) Free champagne! And a free group photo. Our TA used the Miami-based CMV office for our booking. There was more food available in bars from 10-10:30 every night and two gala spreads during the cruise - one featured chocolate fantasies and one had a whimsical theme - a roast chicken band plus a whole roast pig. However service didn't start until after 10:30pm. When the hotel director at the American event asked a few of us about the events, someone said it was too late and too much food right after their second sitting dinner. I suggested a gala brunch instead - we were only getting in quite late one day so that would have fit the schedule. I was told that it was impossible! I think they should focus on the core meals and get them right. They have pools, a gym and a spa as well as a library and a dedicated card room, plus lots of under-utilized outside space. Be prepared to visit further afield on this itinerary. We had a great archaeology tour in Kirkwall with WildAboutOrkney (Clive). We had pre-booked a taxi for a few hours in Stornoway with STS (Valerie) to see archaeology and black houses. Be sure to have the amazing fish and chips at Cameron's. We took the Stagecoach bus into Inverness to see Culloden. We had a super day trip to the Giant's Causeway, a rope bridge (Carrick-a-Rede), a whiskey distillery, a photo stop at Dunluce castle used in Game of Thrones and scenic drive along the Causeway Coastal road with Belfast City Sightseeing. Before returning us to the ship, our driver, Gary gave us an informative but unsettling tour of Belfast, its sectarian areas and graffiti and murals. Glad we did it though. Btw, we shared this excursion with cruisers from Oceania Nautica that had docked closer to the city. In Dublin, we had pre-booked a hop on, hop off bus (yellow) and pre-booked Kilmainham Gaol. Worthwhile. We rented a car from Sixt in St Malo for a visit to Mont St Michel then walked the walls in St Malo. We visited the market in Honfleur and had lunch with the rest of the tourists on Vieux Bassin. Two places we just explored locally - Cobh (the heritage centre) and Tobermory (a walk along the path in Aros Park). And in the Scilly Isles, we took the ship's morning tour to Tresco Abbey Gardens. We were tendered directly to this private island and afterwards, tendered to St Mary's via the ship - just stayed on the tender. Depending on the tides, there can be a long walk (40 minutes) to the garden but there were complimentary shuttles for those less able. Wonderful garden with a garden tour guide. I guess what got to me most about the Magellan was the lack of flexibility. Breakfast ended fairly early, even when the ship was not getting into port until noon. Most staff didn't seem to know what was happening, and didn't seem to be willing to give a best guess. But they were friendly! My sisters wanted to use one of the whirlpools but either they weren't on (and no one knew the hours for them) or they were cold. Just too much hassle. We had a higher than usual percentage of tenders because of our itinerary and an added one in Kirkwall because there were two warships there for a military anniversary. We were issued tender tickets (queuing in a lounge) but the people going on excursions didn't fill each tender, departing with quite a few empty seats. We thought they should let independents go ashore then since there was space. We did suggest this and thankfully the excursion person did start allocating extra tender tickets to independent guests. There was entertainment every night including a few production shows. We went to three very good comic shows during our busy trip. Quite a few venues for music and drinking. There was a lecturer (we went to one lecture on Oscar Wilde). They do have the dreaded photographers on board but I don't know how much they sold. Quite intrusive though. Wifi worked okay but not in our room. There was a repeater in the main hallway so we lurked there sometimes. Cheaper wifi service than on other ships I have sailed on. At the end of the cruise, we had to be out of our stateroom by 6:30am and we were told express disembarkation would not start until 8am (actually it started about a half hour earlier than that). Surprise, surprise, many people wanted to do express so they could just drive home! They didn't want to wait around in a lounge for their time slot. I do want to say that the crew was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Other passengers were welcoming and friendly. And the cost for our quad cabin was surprisingly affordable. But I felt stressed - too much rushing to get to dinner or breakfast on time. If you spoke up, you got more services, but I don't want to have to ask for favours. I would assume that since they do this itinerary regularly, they would know what is "usual", but they didn't seem to. If you do decide to cruise with them, don't expect to hear about the ship's excursions until about a month before you go. I suggest you do your own thing. The ship was very good about supplying tourist brochures the evening before and arranging for local tourism officials to come on board in the morning. They did supply free shuttles in a few ports. An oddity - the daily program did not give weather forecasts and for the first half of the cruise, the cruise director didn't provide this either. It didn't appear on the ship's webcam page on the tv either. It was hard for us to prep for a full day away from the ship, so we just prepared for the worst! We wouldn't select CMV again, especially if you couldn't have a meal a day off the ship! However the price was excellent for our quad room and I believe that the extra cost for solo travellers is much lower than average. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My husband & I have taken around a dozen cruises with various lines inc. P&O Royal Carribean, CUnard, Celebrity, MSC & Fred. We took this short cruise to determine how we felt about the ship and cruise line before thinking of ... Read More
My husband & I have taken around a dozen cruises with various lines inc. P&O Royal Carribean, CUnard, Celebrity, MSC & Fred. We took this short cruise to determine how we felt about the ship and cruise line before thinking of any longer duration. We fortunately caught the cruise coach from London Victoria to Tilbury - we had no delays and went straight to check-in on arrival at the port, unlike many other passengers, many of whom waited over an hour & a half simply to get into the car park, after having done battle with the M25 traffic. So far, so good. We arrived at our cabin, deck 6, at the rear of the ship - quite large in size - slightly surprised with the twin bed formation - but we got used to it - apparently we were told there are only 10 'Queen' beds on board. However, the beds were comfortable and the pillows, small but reasonable too. However there were no tea-making facilities in cabin which is surprising for a cruise line that prides itself on a traditional British cruise - we need our tea!! Also you need adaptions to use the plugs, again unexpected. The shower curtain however was a real pain! It's about 2 inches too short to reach the floor, so the bathroom floor gets wet and the curtains will insist on sticking to you when trying to shower. Don't get me started on the noise!! I've never heard such a din - not just the usual drone but banging, clanking and high whining vibration especially when starting the approach to a port - so 5am wake-up call was to be expected. Food was good, tasty although portions were not large, but with a potential 5-course menu - it wasn't necessary to go hungry and if you fancied trying an extra of anything our waiter was very happy to oblige. Our Wine steward was also very helpful and pleasant and it was a very nice touch that a complimentary drink was offered on the last night on the Company" -cheers!! There was one formal night, and most dressed appropriately however there were an odd few who only managed to sport a tea-shirt and jeans. One big complaint - I only drink Soya milk, which was available on the Buffet at breakfast but unavailable anywhere else on the ship for a coffee - it was quite a task to actually take a cup of milk from breakfast and ask one of the Baristas to make me a Latte using it. Afternoon tea was fairly standard - buffet style but one day had lovely raisin scones with jam and cream - this was followed the next day by Cheese scones still offered with jam and cream - different.!! Late night snacks were brought round the lounges on the 1st & 3rd night, unfortunately there were not enough to go round on the first evening - or some folks got more than their fair share! Middle night of cruise saw a "Magnifique Buffet" with ice sculptures and carved fruit/vegs - lots of sea-food available, much to my husbands delight. The entertainment team were good, shows were of reasonable standard, especially the ABBA inspired show. But the best was the Cabaret provided each night by members of the Entertainment team. We enjoy dancing - this was not as good on the ship as others we have experienced. The dance floor was on the small side but the main problem was the musical duo couldn't seem to maintain any sort of tempo throughout a song, so what initally appeared to be a rumba or cha-cha would slow down or speed up and then the inevitable key-change so just went on, & on ..... We both experienced some treatments in the Spa and really impressed by both our therapists - very good treatments, really relaxing and reasonably priced. What a shame that the tannoys are not turned off (or at least down) to prevent the sudden announcements fro breaking into the relaxation time. However one of the biggest gripes of the whole expereince was the first Port - Ghent - 8 shuttle buses for everyone who wanted to take themselves independently into Ghent - a 26 min drive away (hour- round-trip). We had been waiting for a shuttle for around 40 minutes when the crowd were told there was an hour delay - so taking the hour round trip into account, we (together with a considerable number of others) gave up and spent the rest of the day on-board. Many people were very unhappy with this situation and the cruise director got quite a bit of stick for this. Next stop at Amsterdam was better - just a 10 minute walk into the centre. We never saw, or even heard the Captain, or indeed any of the Senior Staff, which was unusual. All announcements were made by a the Passenger Director (or something).A large number of the crew were from Ukraine, according to the information in the ships bulletin, who tended to be rather off-hand, with smaller numbers of Indonesian and Filipino waiters who were as attentive as ever. We docked 2 hours late on our return to Tilbury as a result of the adverse weather conditions experienced overnight. We were in quite a storm. However, after nearly a dozen cruises, including across the North Sea, the Baltic, Fjords, Bay of Biscay and a Transaltantic - this was the worst experience I have had, pitching and rolling and in fact, the first time, ever - I succumbed to the sick-bag (sorry) . We were amused to watch the usual window washing whilst in port - this consisted of a hose-pipe fitted with some shower-like attachments being dangled over the side and swung from side to side - ingenious! We met some very nice people and have answered our question - would we go with them again - Sorry - not for us. We like smaller ships but this was not really up to speed in our opinion. Fred do small much better, as do some of the other smaller ships available with other lines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We went on this cruise as a taster, just to see what CMV was like. The week-end before we had been on the Harmony of the Seas also as a taster. one extreme to the other you may say !! Anyway Harmony we were glad to get off.(see review). ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a taster, just to see what CMV was like. The week-end before we had been on the Harmony of the Seas also as a taster. one extreme to the other you may say !! Anyway Harmony we were glad to get off.(see review). Magellan we wanted to stay on !! A lot older, a lot smaller, a lot less brash and flash; but a lot more like a ship and a far better atmosphere on board. The shows were good, a lovely Captains Club lounge where we danced 2 nights running. No nice dance lounge like that on Harmony. Also the drinks prices were very good, and no added 18% on top! The food wasn't brilliant but reasonable. Dinner was good. A lot easier to get a table for breakfast in the buffet. We had an outside view cabin which was as roomy as Harmony, the shower room a bit bigger. The décor on the ship was very smart, all clean and tidy. All in all having read a few bad reviews about this ship we were pleasantly surprised ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this short cruise to Amsterdam and Ghent to give us insight to what cruising is all about. The embarkation and disembarkation were a joke - on arrival we were a little early and after being sent to the wrong booking area we were ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to Amsterdam and Ghent to give us insight to what cruising is all about. The embarkation and disembarkation were a joke - on arrival we were a little early and after being sent to the wrong booking area we were directed to a pub to chill out. On return there was a huge queue and we had to wait for sometime before finally giving our luggage in and getting on board. Disembarkation- We were late in port due to the weather - we were should of alighted at 9.45 but it was around 11 or 12 when we were called. We got to the queue when an announcement was made to go to the aft as someone had fallen. We all duly went aft only to find we had to queue again and then the doors were closed. (more passengers were being called to disembark when we were still stuck there) The crew were becoming frustrated as much as us. Finally a crew member came into view and we asked why were we waiting, he disappeared through the doors and a little while later the doors opened, we gave out a cheer. When stepping onto the gangplank a crew member was calling a port person a 'stupid idiot' as he had not connected the gangplank securely to the ship so it was moving in and away from the side - someone could have had a serious injury. During the both occasions there was a lack of information to why we were held up. The cruise itself - cabin/bathroom was a good size, the food was very good but the waiter could have been a little more attentive as he got some orders wrong/mixed up. There was plenty of choice and different ways to have your meals (buffet style or in restaurants) The entertainment was good and the troupe worked very hard. We enjoyed the stop offs in Ghent and Amsterdam but time was very limited. Pick up and drop off worked OK for us but some people were waiting sometime to get a coach back to ship. For our first time it has put us off as we seemed to queue for everything and if we did decide to cruise again we would definitely not use the port of Tilbury. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a ... Read More
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a small ship was a bit of a squash at meal times especially breakfast, we had the all inclusive drinks package of £17 per person per day which was good value and the drinks were good quality, entertainment sadly was not very good at all the nightly show was too short and very amateurish and quiz games disorganized and hard to follow, also the choice of music needs up dating... Our cabin was small which I expected on a ship but was clean and the service from our steward Yuri was excellent but I did begrudge paying £2.20 for a bottle of water in our room and should be included in the drinks package.... All in all an enjoyable week but don't think cruising is for us as we found it to confining and Norway is beautiful.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed where to go clearly throughout. We had a superior cabin on the 9th Deck and it had two windows which was a nice surprise. The furniture and fittings had seen better days but everything was clean and functional - precisely what I expected from CMV's photos and the price I paid. The room was cleaned twice a day and we opted to have a continental breakfast in bed the majority of the mornings. Information was provided in a nightly magazine and there was plenty to do during the days at sea. The entertainment was again, in keeping with the whole experience of being fun and functional. The shows were slightly cheesy, the quizzes silly and the musicians in all of the different bar/ lounge areas were fantastic. If you opt for a cruise like this, you need to embrace the spirit in which it is intended and join in. Everyone we spoke to was of a similar opinion- you get what you pay for and if you throw yourself into the 'small friendly boat ethos' then you'll get a lot more from your experience. We ate in the Waldorf restaurant each evening and there was a wide range of food which was cooked well and served at the right temperature by a highly efficient team. The food was a little bland and 'safe' to my taste but it was perfectly edible and fun stuff like 'the parade of the baked Alaska ' complete with indoor pyrotechnics and the night the head waiter danced to Zorba the Greek with a giant bottle of Olive Oil are what made this holiday so much fun. Norway itself and the excursions were fantastic. We paid for two and did Bergen on our own. I'm glad that we went on the guided tours as they were well worth the money, had very well informed guides and allowed us to see things we would not have been able to plan on our own. The fjords were spectacular and my best moment was waking up early on the second morning of our cruise to find that we were cruising the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Norway was very expensive and I feel that this cruise offered good value for money as an alternative to staying in a hotel and exploring on our own which is what we would normally do. The whole boat was spotlessly clean and staff seemed to be cleaning constantly throughtout the day. Hygiene was very important and at every meal time we had to clean our hands before entering. I thought this was a good thing. Since this was an entirely unpretentious cruise, there was little emphasis on dressing up and hanging out with the captain which suited us and our companions. That said, there was a meet the captain evening which was well organised and good fun. The majority of travellers were older than us but they seemed to be up for more of a good time than the younger folk and for me, this laid back approach to travel only added to the experience. There truly was no hurry to get on coaches/ upstairs/ into bars - we were supposed to be on holiday! My only grumbles would be that the 'Bistro' area was not very pleasant; it was reminiscent of a mid 1990's department store and was often hot and smelly. It could do with a refurb and a reconfiguration of the space. Also there were not enough bar staff circulating particularly during the evenings which led to considerable frustration when trying to order drinks. These however, were only minor issues and would not put me off travelling with this company or ship again. We had heard horror stories about disembarkation but like every other part of the trip, this was a smooth calm process. We opted for express disembarkation and, if you are able to carry your own bags and use the stairs, I'd definitely recommend this. We got off about 15 minutes after docking and the buses were waiting to take us straight to the car park so we only had about 30mins where we had to do any waiting around. So, I would recommend this cruise to first timers and those who enjoy chatting to other people and simple pleasures such as reading a good book in the sunshine and working ones way through the cocktail menu of an evening. It was a laid back, fun holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Having spent a lifetime sailing and never having seen the point of cruising in a big ship my wife finally persuaded me that is what we were going to do. She had enjoyed Christmas shopping trip on Marco Polo with a friend and was keen to ... Read More
Having spent a lifetime sailing and never having seen the point of cruising in a big ship my wife finally persuaded me that is what we were going to do. She had enjoyed Christmas shopping trip on Marco Polo with a friend and was keen to see the fjords so I read the reviews of Magellan and having enjoyed a tremendous week I have come to the conclusion that the detrimental reviews are more about the reviewer than the ship. We met several people who seemed to be there just to moan and that was before they had even boarded Fortunately we didn't have to eat with them. Yes Magellan rolls when the sea is rough, so does everything else that floats, some more than others. I forgot to unscrew the inclinometer from my own boat and take it but I didn't notice a permanent list or anything more than the usual heel in the wind and when she navigated tight bends. Yes she is an elderly lady but she is kept beautifully clean and the crew were marvellous. Nothing appeared to be too much for them. The cabin was spotless, the odd creak from a ship underway doesn't keep me awake. I rate excellent based on what I pay and CMV give tremendous value for money. The Port of Tilbury does have more than a few problems none of which are in CMV's control. It is very convenient for us as we live on the Essex Coast and no doubt for the millions of others living close to London but access by road can be a problem so allow plenty of time. Would we sail on Magellan again - we have already booked. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Introduction: This was our first CMV cruise and was booked after a disappointing Xmas 2015 & New Year cruise to the same destination with a competitor cruise line. We booked with CMV and then read the earlier reviews, so we were ... Read More
Introduction: This was our first CMV cruise and was booked after a disappointing Xmas 2015 & New Year cruise to the same destination with a competitor cruise line. We booked with CMV and then read the earlier reviews, so we were concerned that we were in for another disappointment ... Nothing could be further from the truth - the whole cruise experience was really good and the new Captain has changed the service quality immeasurably. Crew members all smile, service is quick and efficient and everything happens in the background, leaving the passenger to enjoy the cruise instead of worrying about the next problem. The Captain and his senior Officers are available (and very visible) throughout each day and give passengers adequate time to raise concerns or issues, without any hint of the 'corporate brush-off' response. The Executive Chef even visited each table at the Dinner Sitting to gain feedback. Embarkation: The Long Stay Car Parking is about 1 mile away from the Cruise Terminal and Shuttle Buses run back and forth - it's a bit of a bun-fight with tight parking slots and trying to avoid passengers wandering across the traffic path towing cases, bags and other appendages. The process is slightly chaotic but it works. Inside the Cruise Terminal, the process is much smoother - there is a separate Waiting Lounge (faded charm, peeling plaster but rather like an Agatha Christie film set) and timed booking-in slots were operating so that, even with a full complement of 1250 passengers, the queuing was kept to a minimum and the process was very smooth and efficient. On board, a crew member escorted us to our cabin - a really nice touch, and checked that door keys worked before returning to guide the next passenger. The Cabin Review is in a separate section. Ship Layout: Slightly quirky - you can only access the full length of the ship at the top and lowest decks since the middle of the ship is devoted to the Galley that serves both restaurants. So, you need to know whether you're aiming for the stern or the prow before leaving the cabin - for the first couple of days, lost souls were wandering the decks muttering 'Is it the rear or the front I need to get to?' as they familiarised themselves with the layout. Lifts are quite small and, with an ageing and often mobility-limited client group, in constant demand. If you need to use the lifts, be prepared to wait up to 2 minutes for one to become available. This was a source of annoyance for several customers. Staircases are quite steep - using them will get you fit! - and the stair riser on some staircases slopes back into the staircase (to create extra space for those size 13 shoes?) and this take a wee while to adjust to. Crew Members are cleaning handrails, lift entrances and the public areas constantly to minimise the risk of infection. Despite this, and the hand-cleansing machines and notices everywhere, passengers still feel they have the right to refill their own water bottles and to return excess food to the serving trays so the coughing starts - grrr! CMV needs to employ a retired schoolteacher from the 1960s so that (s)he can use a wooden ruler to rap the knuckles of any passenger ignoring the food hygiene rules ... Dining: We were allocated First Sitting in the Waldorf Restaurant on a Table for 8. A combination of poor handwriting, inaccurate transcription of the Dining Cards from the computer records and passengers not having their reading glasses meant that we had 12 different guests for the 8 seats over the first 4 days! Eventually (back to Agatha Christie), the Maitre d' appeared at the Table with pad and pen and requested cabin numbers and names so that he could solve the 'Whodunnit' of the Dining Room - of the 12 people trying to get in the 8 seats, 10 were very pleasant so we had a good final selection of fellow diners! Zin and Min (Waiter and Wine Waiter) were first rate and very friendly, seeing the humour of the changing guests until the 'real 8' diners were identified. Menus were decent - safe, unadventurous food in sensible portions. The temperature of the food could have been a wee bit hotter on occasions. We took the £85 Alcohol Package (5 bottles of reasonable quality wine (equivalent to supermarket 'Dine In' promotions - safe but decent quality) and 10 bottles of water) since we do not drink much alcohol. Unused wine is stored until the next meal and there was no noticeable deterioration in its quality. Wine can be bought by the glass for £5 or you can pay £17 per person per day for the Unlimited Drinks Package. We started using the Raffles Bistro fro breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, but it was often tight for space so finding a table could resemble the Saturday morning drive around the multi-storey car park for the Space that is supposed to be available. The lunch-time deadline return from port visits in Santa Cruz and Gibraltar caused a wee bit of a logjam with diners exceeding available spaces until the Maitre d' began gathering up lost souls and directing them to the restaurants. The Bistro has no table cloths during the day and the layout has evoked descriptions of 'canteen' in appearance with several tables having bench seats along the wall as the perimeter tables run the length of the room. The layout gets the most 'bums on seats' and it gives you a chance to meet lots of fellow cruisers - it's a lively atmosphere that works well, if a little spartan on the furnishings. The Bistro food is the same as in the main restaurants and the range is decent - not spectacular, but you won't starve (I am a very picky eater and managed to find enough variety, albeit in combinations that would have made the chef weep) and there is no problem with taking further portions. Empty serving trays were replenished promptly, but the pressure of a full complement of passengers and the rigid hygiene rules of not re-using plates when taking a second portion (food hygiene and cleaning regimes throughout the ship are scrupulous) sometimes meant a delay whilst new plates and cutlery arrived - nothing major and 'Hunt the Plate' gives a wee bit of exercise to burn the extra calories ... Plenty of serving/support staff (all of whom smile and try to make polite conversation - there's been a big effort to engage with passengers) to clear plates and guide passengers around the serving stations (Mushrooms and Hash Browns sit in a separate Serving Station from the rest of the cooked breakfast components). Quirky, but it works well as does the small queue to have a freshly fried egg rather than scooping up one that has been pre-cooked and then left to sunbathe under the warming lights ... Entertainment: The Carmen Duo classical music act is very good and their show in the Magellan Lounge was excellent - the only complaint is that the sho did not last longer. The Duo also played each evening in Hampton's Bar (3 or 4 sessions of 20-25 minutes) to an appreciative audience. The Magellan Entertainment Team, led by Raul, the Assistant Cruise Director, work very hard to provide a fresh face to the 'song and dance' staple offering. The 'Abba' Evening was done very competently and was very enjoyable. I am a Queen devotee and hoped that the 'Queen' Evening wouldn't be too bad - alas it was. The 'Abba' production showed that there are very capable singers - the 'Queen' production was simply too ambitious and, as a fellow fan observed, 'After the second murder, I called Quincy, MD. to arrange the autopsies ...' Raul and the crew led the 'Sail Away' singing to great effect - it was energetic and well received, confirming that the 'Queen' production had been too ambitious. Guest Lecturers were good - Sue Walsh and Alan Oliver. The latter is a more academic presenter who would get you through your exams, but who is a little too academic for cruise entertainment. Sue Walsh is a very enthusiastic bird watcher, ringer, conservation volunteer - her enthusiasm for her subject shines through, even though she some times became carried away and talked about the subject matter of the next 2-3 slides, leaving a few 'Err, ums ...' until she recovered from realising that she had just spent a couple of minutes covering the content of the new slide! Sue was very happy to talk to passengers outside the lecture stints and to share photos and information from her Tablet. Very enjoyable. Shore Excursions: We booked quite late so several excursions were fully booked - no problem for us since this cruise was to visit destinations that the previous cruise company had cancelled over Xmas 2015 and New Year. We made our own way in each port and encountered no problems. Courtesy buses were available, albeit stipulated on a couple of occasions as being for those passengers with mobility difficulties. In practice, these passengers were given priority and then it was 'first come, first served' for everyone else. It was particularly nice not to have to pay for the Courtesy buses - a nice gesture that CMV and the Port Authorities deserve credit for providing. Julie, the Customer Services Manager. was high profile during the Shore Excursions process, and her cheerful, warm Lancashire voice was a delight. Her update announcement at Gibraltar - 'Ladies and Gentlemen, it's not cloudy - I've just been down at the quayside - I'm from Lancashire and I know rain - it's absolutely lashing it down so DO, please take your coats and umbrellas' was very well received. Some passengers felt that Magellan could have stayed longer at some ports - a matter of personal choice. My wife and I were unable to go ashore at Lisbon because we had picked up the coughing sickness that someone had kindly brought aboard. Those who did remarked on the queues at the local pharmacy to purchase paracetamol etc. Disembarkation: This is probably the weakest element. The baggage collection from cabins on the previous night was very smooth, albeit slightly noisy as cabin crew began the portering about midnight and cabins had to be vacated by 07:00 the next morning. 07:00 and lots of passengers, carrying hand luggage, scrabbling for lifts and then restaurant/bistro space was all a wee bit chaotic. Breakfast was over by 09:00 and there was then up to 2 hours wait for disembarkation. Seats were at a premium (if all else fails, aim for the Magellan Show Lounge - it's dark and a wee bit cold but you can sit comfortably). Toilets were at an even bigger premium as the (already limited by original design) public WCs were closed down for cleaning and maintenance - lots of frustrated, ageing working class males, roaming the decks whilst describing their impending incontinence is not a happy spectacle. I found a working toilet at my 6th attempt - this is not good enough and let the previous high organisational performance slip. London Cruise Terminal does not have enough baggage trolleys for the 1250 passengers so people had to queue for a trolley; then queue to leave the terminal; then queue to reach the Shuttle Buses to return to the Long Stay Car Park which was heaving because of the arrival of new passengers for the Norwegian Fjords Cruise. If you watch Rugby and wonder why players are not allowed to carry suitcases into the scrum, you will have a picture of the organisation under strain ... The organisers were run off their feet getting exiting passengers away and coping with new arrivals whilst a succession of taxis and private care were dropping new passengers off at the Cruise Terminal. After vacating our cabin at 07:00 and being called for disembarkation at 11:00, it was almost midday when we left the Cruise Terminal and 12:40 before arrival the Long Stay Car Park - quite a fraught process overall. There needs to be more trolleys and more frequent Shuttle Bus journeys to free up bottle necks. Summary: I recommend prefacing any review with 'Looking at the price we paid' before making criticisms. I heard several comments from fellow passengers that 'The food is not as good as xyz cruises and it's not available round the clock' etc. We paid £52 per person per day (and we could have saved £5 per person per day by choosing a cheaper cabin) for 14 nights cruising, with 6 ports of call over 4000+ nautical miles on a full board basis with free entertainment provided. Our budget pre-cruise hotel cost us £35 per person for accommodation only! The cruise was well organised, staffed by a friendly and competent crew who provided great service and who made us feel like people rather than cabin numbers. CMV promise 3.5 star service but get closer to 4 star - they could provide more of the pampering, more choice of menu items, fluffier towels etc but not at the prices they charge. I was very apprehensive about the booking after I had read the reviews. My experience has been very positive - a good, value-for-money, decent holiday that was better than CMV indicated. My wife and I have already booked our next cruise on the Magellan (Norway on 17th April 2016 - just about time to get the holiday washing dry before we meet up with the Captain and Crew again); we are really looking forward to the experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I will not re-state the title because we had a wnderful cruise. The food was excellent, the crew were excellent and the entertainment was excellent. The itinerary was as expected and enjoyable. The weather was as expected and ... Read More
I will not re-state the title because we had a wnderful cruise. The food was excellent, the crew were excellent and the entertainment was excellent. The itinerary was as expected and enjoyable. The weather was as expected and changeable. If we had just pulled out into mid-Atlantic and gone round in circles, I would not have complained. The evening buffets/ displays should really have been photographed not eaten. I am not a wine buff but the house wines were good and much enjoyed. Embarkation at Tilbury was good, disembarkation was a little chaotic but we got there in the end. We had a table for four (163) where the bench seats were a bit low and my wife asked for (and was given) a cushion but if this is a complaint, it is a small one. The cabin was comfotable (6150) but I would have preferred a cabin with a bit of daylight - but this was my fault not CMV's. Overall - great!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016

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