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

It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ... Read More
It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ship as they tend to be friendlier. The only problem is being a small ship it gets thrown around alot more when the seas are rough. We have only been on larger ships, max 2500 passengers and in areas like the Med or Caribean which tend to be smoother. Our biggest problem was from the poor service received. Try for a pre-dinner drink in the Captians Bar and the average wait was 30 minutes. In the buffet you would never see a smile from the crew. One can only assume the management were extremely hard on them. The Waldorf restaurant was okay and the food was reasonable, but I had fish most days which was fine but it was always served the same. Never changed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people ... Read More
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people on board. The day paid trips over priced for what we got. To top it all off we where charged nearly $700.00 for tips two days before we disembarked, We had only a few glasses of wine and a couple of cocktails and a few beers. I do not recommend this cruise as you are unaware of any of this add on tipping until last few days. When you pay a big price to do this cruise you do not expect to be landed with this large amount. We do expect a few dollars but $700.00 Australian come on. Very disappointed will not do another cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My wife and I recently cruised with CMV Columbus to the Canary Islands. This cruise was, what CMV term as, a multigenerational cruise. If you want to have a nice pleasant cruise then these types are to be avoided at all costs. There were ... Read More
My wife and I recently cruised with CMV Columbus to the Canary Islands. This cruise was, what CMV term as, a multigenerational cruise. If you want to have a nice pleasant cruise then these types are to be avoided at all costs. There were children running amok,uncontrolled, everywhere including through the Bistro restaurant outside deck, putting many elderly people at risk of injury. Also in the shops at nighttime and totally invading the Oasis on deck 8, which was supposed to be designated “adults only” as there were signs stating this fact, and monopolizing the whirlpools, throwing water everywhere and sitting at the bar. The ships management were totally disinterested in dealing with our repeated requests that they adhere to the original concept that this area should be child free. We were told that as the management advised parents at embarkation that it was their responsibility to control children that was sufficient. This left no outdoor areas of the ship child free. As we were on the cruise immediately preceding this one we could not help observe that the menu in the Bistro had changed considerably to a much lower budget fare, a definite bias towards cheaper meals that would be more acceptable to the younger element. In regards to the Bistro there was a distinct lack of hygiene with no cleaning of tables in between guests sitting down to eat, all that was done was to replace the paper place mat and issue new cutlery, and on busy times in the Bistro there was no clearing or cleaning of tables at all, guests had to move aside dirty dishes to find a place to eat. With regard to the Waterfront restaurant the seating times left a lot to be desired, the first sitting seems to be too early but the second sitting is too late. The menus were totally uninspiring, mediocre at best, with four courses of very small portions, not helped by very slow service. Despite the daily requests in the ships program regarding guests not to reserve sun loungers, by leaving personal belongings on them, hardly anyone took any notice of that, on the Oasis deck all the loungers were reserved by 7am with no one anywhere in sight. Another example of the management being unable to manage the ship for the benefit and comfort of all passengers. This was exacerbated by the lack of presence around the ship of all the management staff, except the Captain who was often seen walking around various parts of the vessel. Embarkation was very efficient and quick, however disembarkation was a complete disaster due to CMVs express disembarkation policy whereby passengers can nominate to take their own baggage off the ship instead of disembarking by deck number. The problem with this system is that about 95% of passengers chose that option, which meant that there was almost a ship load of people trying to get off from the sole gangway in the reception area. This caused complete chaos with people trying to squeeze their way off the ship with all their baggage all at the same time. This is,obviously, an accident or confrontation waiting to happen. Our cabin, on deck 8 was a good size, but generally needed to be updated, the storage was good but needed renovation as some drawers would not open. The bathroom was adequate and the shower was good but the washbasin had had a very bad partial respray which was tacky and unacceptable, it needed complete replacement. The bed was good and very comfortable, the air con was very good and our cabin steward looked after us very well. Overall the ship was kept in good order and was very clean. One area where CMV excelled was the organization of the shore excursions, after having been on many previous cruises we noticed that CMV were better at that than any other cruises we have been on. We did use the Fusion speciality restaurant and found that to be excellent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, ... Read More
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, except for our next door neighbour who complained when I made a phone call from the room. A lot of older travellers, as we are. But some were just plain nasty. We had great tablemates and Sanjay was a great server. He recognized my love of pappadums and brought an ample supply to the table each night. Smiling, cheerful and provided quality service. Communication onboard was horrendous. Leaving the ship at Kirkwall was a total mess-taking 3 hours to disembark, leaving little time to see anything there. The alarm bells sounded early morning, and people were running for their life jackets! Announcement came over intercom to disregard alarm, but no further info or apology for their stupid mistake. Entertainment was abysmal. The chunky blonde, possibly Spanish, girl was a horrific singer. She sang during the 4 July presentation and it was painful to listen to her. Much better when they sang as a group. A few, like the cruise director, had passable voices, but several others were just plain awful. They managed to butcher Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables during 2 nights of "entertainment". Like the sauna, and it was usually vacant. The cocktail tasting were a fun event and reasonably priced. Shore excursions very costly and we did better just going out on our own. Embarkation was fast and efficient, but long wait to disembark. Overall, we got to Greenland, which was our goal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ship broken down in Dover so not in dock in Tilbury, so we had to be bused to Dover, given a bottle of water apple & crisps for lunch. After a two hour drive we arrived in Dover getting on the ship went well, we were told that the ... Read More
Ship broken down in Dover so not in dock in Tilbury, so we had to be bused to Dover, given a bottle of water apple & crisps for lunch. After a two hour drive we arrived in Dover getting on the ship went well, we were told that the self service was closed ( but found out later it was open) there should have been a kettle in our cabin that was missing so no warm cuppa. First evening meal in the restaurant was not very good, also we ask for a table for 6/8 given one for 4. Then found out the ship had not been repaired so had to miss Gibraltar so that meant 5 day's at sea with not a lot to do. Ship repaired in Tenerife. 31/12 arrived in Madeira> My husband went on a excursion I didn't because it was a tender. I am disabled (having a bad day) so I stayed on board. He left me at 8.45 I next saw him at 7.15 because they stopped the tenders for safety reasons, leaving hundreds on shore either sat on the tenders or stood out in the rain, last people got back around 11.30 all missing their Grand New Years Eve meal as we did. A lot of people missed the fireworks at midnight as they were either too ill or too tired to stay up. We did see the fireworks were spectacular, they were what nearly all the passages had gone to see. The disembarkation was a joke we had crew members with cases or large bags pushing passed paying passengers to get of the ship, maybe like a lot of the passengers they too couldn't wait to get off. After showing our sea passes there were new staff walking towards us to get on the same way as everyone was getting off. They were so rude bearing in mind their ages compared to the passengers, who were mainly OAP's or disabled like myself. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this ship as we sailed in her 18 months previously and apart from very average food in the Waterfront Restaurant we had a good time. We were in need of some serious R&R after a very difficult year and the children were ... Read More
We chose this ship as we sailed in her 18 months previously and apart from very average food in the Waterfront Restaurant we had a good time. We were in need of some serious R&R after a very difficult year and the children were happy to go elsewhere. We therefore booked the courier service through SAGA to take us to Tilbury & back. The day before we left the embarkation was changed to Dover where extra repairs had to be made apparently although why was never mentioned by the captain or the crew. Embarkation was fast and efficient but from there it all went downhill. The excursion to Amsterdam canals was organised during the daylight hours and the famous lights were not evident. A waste of time & money. As soon as we left there we were informed that the scheduled stop in Gibraltar had been cancelled as the repairs had not been effected in Dover. So after 5.5 days at sea suffering with very mediocre food in the main restaurant and indifferent entertainment in the Palladium we arrived in Tenerife earlier than stated. The excursion booked was thoroughly dangerous on roads unsuitable for big coaches and little or no safety barriers on bends with 400' or more drops. So decided to cancel rest of excursions but no refund given and money taken to cancel! Best was New Years' firework display but some 600 or so very bruised and battered passengers may not agree after suffering appalling conditions tendering to the mainland in rough seas when no other cruise liners were offering this and then being left for hours to fend for themselves when the weather worsened. All in all we felt that there was a lack of care for the passengers exhibited by the officers and heads of departments, although the staff on the ground so to speak were friendly and helpful. The wine cellar choice was little short of abysmal. If you drink dry wine only you will be ok as that is all they have and the spirit measures are extremely small. Luckily we took out a VIP package and came out on top. The best drinks were definitely the cocktails and the lovely coffees. Food was poor except for the buffet on the top but not easy to get drinks up there. The whole ethos of Christmas was missing. Embarkation was a total shambles and as there was a DOA in one of the cabins even more delay ensued with a free for all at the exit to the dock building. Would we go again.....answer no as it appears the shipping line is more interested in making money at all costs than looking after the comfort of it's passengers and our experience was worse than the previous trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our sixth cruise, one of the previous ships also belonged to CMV, the Astor. The Astor was a lovely ship with the right number of passengers. We soon realised that most passengers on the Magellan had chesty coughs and bad ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, one of the previous ships also belonged to CMV, the Astor. The Astor was a lovely ship with the right number of passengers. We soon realised that most passengers on the Magellan had chesty coughs and bad colds, so we were furious that, after getting through the winter with just one cold, we fell for the bugs on this ship. Before embarking at Tilbury each passenger had to complete a health questionnaire. I don’t think people were entirely honest. Even on the excursion buses we were surrounded by unhealthy people so felt really uncomfortable. Our cabin was well appointed but the biggest problem was the air conditioning. Either it was too noisy or, on four occasions we had the smell of diesel oil. Just awful !! The same smell was evident in the lift area on Pacific deck 7. Because the air con was a problem we had to keep it shut meaning a stuffy air cabin. The Raffles Bistro restaurant was the worst food experience of any ship we had been on. There were too many people trying to eat there at popular meal times. If you could get near the food you could not find anywhere to sit. We ate in the Waldorf restaurant and the food and service were excellent. Staff around the ship were friendly and efficient and even tried to assist us with ingress of diesel in to our cabin. We booked this cruise at least six months in advance and paid full price for it. I think we can safely say that many of the passengers would not have paid the same ! On formal nights, for instance, people would turn up in T shirt and jeans when most of us would be in DJ. To add to the bad experience we have found out since getting home that this cruise is being advertised at Buy One and Get One Free ! This was a twelve day cruise and five of them were at sea. Too much ! The Scenic Reykjavik excursion was rediculous. Who wants to see a housing estate and a church that was closed ? The entertainment was good and the lectures were from experienced professionals. Having highlighted the good and the bad parts of this cruise we would not travel on the Magellan again, and especially out of Tilbury which was a logistical nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Iceland was the main attraction of this cruise and then the Islands of Great Britain. We traveled in the Owners Suite which was adequate but not anything special. Our cabin steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. ... Read More
Iceland was the main attraction of this cruise and then the Islands of Great Britain. We traveled in the Owners Suite which was adequate but not anything special. Our cabin steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. We found the food to be exceptionally boring and monotonous in its lack of variety and presentation. The staff were wonderful and couldn't do enough for you. The entertainment was very basic and repetitive. The itinerary which was the major reason for booking this particular cruise would have been amazing if they had adhered to it !!!!!!!! The Captain chose not to dock at times but anchor offshore which meant traveling by the slow , uncomfortable and ancient tenders to port . The organization of getting onto the tenders was slow and onerous. The Excursion Desk was not open often enough and the Excursion Staff were amateurish in their efforts to explain changes to the itinerary . On shore excursions were too short and rushed. When changes to sailing were made the time in Port was excessive and not what we expected or paid for or what the literature proposed. Lectures were held on at sea days and then extra lectures were added when Ports were cancelled . These were apparently quite informative at times. The ship was like a floating nursing home and despite the literature indicating that all passengers needed to be fit and able and sign a statement to say they were I have never seen so many elderly and unfit travelers. The ship was clean and well maintained but obviously very old. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Where do I start… As with our previous cruise on Magellan, we lost count how many times the toilets failed to flush. This time there was also a stench of raw sewage in the cabin corridors and in some public areas. When the toilets ... Read More
Where do I start… As with our previous cruise on Magellan, we lost count how many times the toilets failed to flush. This time there was also a stench of raw sewage in the cabin corridors and in some public areas. When the toilets *were* working, there was sometimes a 20 second delay between pressing the flush button and the toilet actually flushing. After about a week on board, my wife and I both contracted ‘the famous Magellan cough’ (as mentioned by one of the entertainments team). If CMV clearly knew of this infection then why were we not warned prior to boarding? I overheard one passenger saying the on-board doctor charged him £28 for a 10 minute consultation with the nurse and a bottle of cough mixture. Obviously there is more money to be made by not fixing the ventilation/aircon and NOT telling the passengers! Lifts not working (again). One lift (11) was not working for the whole duration of the cruise. Another lift (in the middle of the ship) seemed to be always stuck on deck 4. There were also call buttons not working (either they lit up and the lift went straight past or didn’t illuminate at all!). I wonder what other systems on the ship don’t work due to poor maintenance. Wobbling gangway in Lisbon. Outright dangerous. In conclusion, this was our 3rd trip with CMV. We will think twice about using them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
A nice itinerary, a very friendly and helpful crew, nice cabin but will never cruise on this ship again why. Entertainment good shows but the times are not as on all other ships i have been on show times 7pm and 9pm, nothing on after ... Read More
A nice itinerary, a very friendly and helpful crew, nice cabin but will never cruise on this ship again why. Entertainment good shows but the times are not as on all other ships i have been on show times 7pm and 9pm, nothing on after second sitting for dinner, except tp sit in a bar and drink, the amount of people who returned to their cabins after the second sitting should tell the senior staff something, as they do not seem to listen to their cusomers. Food quality and choice was lacking and having sailed on the marco polo same cruise line which was why i selected to try the Magellan, was very disappointing. The only time on a cruise that i even skipped a full english. On the bright side the itinerary which included st Petersburg, was excellent and would encourage others to do, but not on the Magellan. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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
Just before our Cruise, we received the final documents from CMV and noted our Cabin had been changed from 5092 to 7188, a choice no one would freely make. I rung CMV and despite protesting they refused to change back to the one booked, ... Read More
Just before our Cruise, we received the final documents from CMV and noted our Cabin had been changed from 5092 to 7188, a choice no one would freely make. I rung CMV and despite protesting they refused to change back to the one booked, stating you checked the upgrade box, basically tough luck. As we found out later, this turned out to be a DOWNGRADE. Difficult to understand what was, "superior plus" about this cabin. It should noted that apart from one night this cabin 7188 remained empty, the reason it was occupied was because their cabin became flooded on deck 5. They quickly returned the next day. Other people knew people someone from a previous cruise, who had complained about this cabin. We arrived at the car park at 11.00 hours for an 11.30 boarding to be confronted with total chaos. There were no porters to assist you with your luggage, joined a long queue shuttling along with our cases, eventually boarded a double decker bus, totally unsuitable for many to get upstairs. How fortunate it was not raining. Eventfully arrived at the main terminal to be confronted with long queues, eventfully boarded at 12.45. Our last case arrived during the life boat drill, sometime after 16.00 hours, which was longwinded & disorganised. Our initial thoughts on the cabin were encouraging, reasonable size, as was the shower. But limited storage, and our cabin steward was very helpful. We arrived at the Waldorf restaurant and had a most enjoyable meal, table companions & service were very good. Eventually we returned to our cabin, and things went downhill rapidly, noise from the propellers was worse than expected, and we were subjected to loud metallic banging and repetitive vibrations all night. It was as if a metal door were swinging freely, and slamming closed. We were advised by others that it was a wire rope and there was nothing that CMV could do about it, or were prepared to do. Complained to Customer Service they advised that the ship was full and consequently there was nothing they could do. During the second enjoyable meal one of our table companions was missing, she was in sick bay having fallen over and either broken or dislocated her hip. One of many to fall over and injure themselves. Was advised that cruise ship arrived at Tilbury with quite a few less passengers, as CMV have not disputed this figure it must be correct. If so, one must question whether this ship is suitable for its itinerary the cliental it aims at. Endured a second sleepless night and complained to Customer Service again, and advised that there nothing they can do. Later in the day we were contacted by Customer Service that another cabin 7059 was available as it appeared to much quieter, so we moved in, how wrong we were. The cabin was even worse, again we complained to Customer Service, and requested that can someone come and have a look at it. Eventually a carpenter arrived, he tried his best hammering corks in, in various parts of the ceiling, all to no avail He advised the whole wall panel needed to be removed to resolve the problem. Next day we went to Customer Service and advised the tapping problem had not been resolved, they requested a report from the Carpenter, he inspected the cabin again and reported that the problem had been resolved. Customer Service advised that as no one had complained about the cabin before, which was totally untrue. Consequently, we had to endure another sleepless night. After leaving Gibraltar, the Ship started cruising at high speed in turbulent water and the noise in 7059 was unbearable, we went the Customer Service and demanded that we come and inspect the cabin, he refused, however they arranged for someone to inspect the cabin, he agreed that it very bad. We were then offered 7087 as a night cabin, however this turned to be not much better, because the speed the ship was travelling at, and the vibration from the prop shaft, even the fan in the bathroom was rattling badly. Yet another sleepless night, it was so bad that my wife returned to the 7059. During the day the Captain reduced the speed to about 10 knots, which significantly reduced the noise level, why he found it necessary to travel at high speed at first, who knows. After returning to our day cabin 7059, there was what I describe as a very condescending letter from Julie Thompson and a bottle cheap house red wine (cost to CMV about £2.50), two wine glasses, but no corkscrew, how typical. I would add that the next day when I went to reception to pick up a news letter, the person I dealt with the night before saw me coming & looked the other way & totally ignored me. At at no time were we asked is everything okay during the rest of the cruise. Later on the Cruise another couple on our table complained about noise in their cabin at low speed, they were immediately offered a quiet sleeping cabin and deck 5, at no time where offered this option. I won't go into other problems we had with Customer Service, few seen able sort out even simple problems. Needless to say, we will never cruise with CMV, and well over 80% of the people we spoke to, felt the same. As a company, they seem to have little respect for customers. They must be aware that cabin 7188 is noisy and customer service on the ship were certainly aware of the problems with 7059. Last but not least, within a few days many people starting coughing, including myself after about 5 days. In the second week all three ladies on our table had several days in bed. Even now, my wife is very poorly, and a x-ray confirmed she has a lung infection. This is a major problem that will be difficult to eradicate, I feel sorry for the people on the next cruise. An email similar to the above was send to CMV on Tuesday, to date no response. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The Ship itself: The Magellan is the noisiest, creakiest, most unstable ship that we have been on. If you don’t mind a rolling ship then it might be OK otherwise this is not the ship for you. The ship constantly rolls with every wave ... Read More
The Ship itself: The Magellan is the noisiest, creakiest, most unstable ship that we have been on. If you don’t mind a rolling ship then it might be OK otherwise this is not the ship for you. The ship constantly rolls with every wave no matter how small. I set up an “inclinometer” to monitor it. From London to Amsterdam to Lisbon, the ship rolled from 0 to over 8 degrees to port. At one point during the night, it rolled so much (probably over 12 degrees) that all the bottles and glasses of water on the bedside cabinets and the dressing table slid off onto the floor. Loads of crockery smashed to the floor in Raffles Restaurant. Sleep was impossible. From Lisbon to Cape Verde, it was 0-4 degrees. At Cape Verde in port, the ship was moored on the starboard side but still leaned at 1 degree to port. Across the Atlantic to Brazil, it was from 3 degrees starboard to 3 degrees port. Even up the Amazon River, it rolled from +2 to -2 degrees. At one point, it is my opinion that the ship hit a sandbank because it violently listed at about 15 degrees to starboard. All the crockery in Raffles kitchen fell to the floor (again). When spoken to later, the Customer Services Manager denied hitting a sandbank but claimed that it was a tight bend in the channel instead!!! Engine noise was excessive and 24/7. The Tender boats are very old and do not appear to be in good condition. One has broken down. The lift on another broke and we had to remain overnight in port for the repair. All the tenders are very smokey and noisy. The Magellan leaks. After every shower of rain, there were pots placed in suitable positions in the Captain’s Bar, in the Sinatra’s bar and outside the Gym. On one occasion, the leak outside the Gym was so bad, it was literally pouring gallons of water onto the carpet but nobody was taking any notice. On another occasion, the strong smell of sewage outside the Gym was very noticeable. There may have been more leaks around the ship. Deck 4 seemed to have more problems that most. Several passengers had to change their cabins due to flooding problems. One couple changed room three times because sewage kept flooding up the shower plug hole and many passengers reported brown water coming from the basin taps (see Water below). The remainder of the ship shows its age. Rust is evident everywhere and the smell of diesel was common along the cabin areas as was the smell of sick from passengers who could not take the rolling. Cabins: The cabins are quite dated and furniture is showing signs of wear. The ceiling panels rattle; the wardrobe doors creak, other items squeak - no chance of a good night’s sleep. There is no control over the heating in the cabins. There is a built-in fan in the ceiling with a variable speed control but no thermostat. Many cabins have 2 bunk beds pinned to the wall. This ship is an adult only so it is doubtful if four adults used one cabin. They should be removed to leave more living space. There is one electricity socket per cabin and that is the two round-pinned european type. There was another socket of 115v and a corner light socket of unknown voltage that we used as a battery charger only. The Magellan website has absolutely no information about electric types and their usage. Irons and kettles not allowed although we ignored that for the first few days. We brewed our own tea but water was a problem as mentioned. Also milk is a problem - only long life milk is available which is not very good in tea. Milk did not keep in the cabin for more than a few hours before going off and there is no fridge in the cabin. Food: If you are a meat eater, then the food might be considered acceptable. For a calorie-conscious Vegetarian or Pescatarian, very disappointing. Food choice in the Raffles Restaurant (probably the most commonly used restaurant) was quite basic. All fish dishes are swimming in oil, butter or some form of cream sauce and all were overcooked. Cheese choice was very limited. Salads were limited mainly to a lot of cos or iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. When there was a coleslaw, chopped leftover meat from the previous night was invariably always added to it - no good for vegetarians and I think it spoilt it for everyone. As the holiday progressed, it became worse. At Raffles Bistro (self service), we were constantly (at least half the duration) being served by an army of waiters (at least 25) for “Health & Safety” reasons. It was ridiculous. In the evening, our meals here became more and more restricted. Eventually, all salads were pre-prepared in bowls as were desserts - all very restricted. We could not help but get the impression that this was more for economy rather than health! Food at the Waldorf & Kensington Restaurants was better but restricted to the menu. Entertainment: The shows were pretty good on the whole. The dancers were well received and performed very well - could have done with more of their shows. The singers left quite a lot to be desired. There were two male singers who were very good, excellent even but the rest !!! Water: The water from the cabin basins was supposed to be fit for drinking. However, on our first night, some black greasy fluid came from the taps leaving a ring round the basin which had to be scrapped off. We never tried to use it as drinking water after that. The alternative was bottled water at £2.20 per 75cl bottle (£2.93/litre) which is quite expensive. Water in Lisbon was 1 Euro for 5.4 litres! There are drinking fountains around the ship but we are not supposed to fill water bottles due to “hygiene reasons” - we ignored this; we need clean water in the cabin. Later when we left Barbados, dark brown water issued from the basin taps and we bottled a sample for future analysis. Drinks: All spirits and fortified wines are measured out using a 40ml thimble measure (not legal in Britain). However, the bar staff never seemed to fill it to the 40ml mark. By obtaining a large measure of spirits from all the various outlets and filling a measured bottle, it was clear that the average was around 33ml, not 40ml, per measure. This might be considered OK if you have a drinks package at £17/day/per person (you simply have another drink) but beware if you are buying your drinks ad-hoc over the bar. Furthermore, lemonade, tonic, coke or ginger ale was only available by the can (£2.05) which makes a mixed drink quite expensive. Beer was simply Bitburger Lager and served in 440ml measure (with a lot of froth) at £3.30 - quite expensive. Other beers were bottled and chargeable even if a drinks package had been bought. When the drinks bill arrived (every 2 weeks), there was always a discrepancy or two but the Reception staff did not seem to be too bothered. As I had a drinks package and therefore would not be charged, they were reluctant to investigate drinks that should have gone on someone else’s bill. Gym: The gym is limited but useful. There is only one mat available for floor exercises despite requests for extra ones (this was met with “You should have brought your own”). A water fountain has recently been installed which is well used. We filled our water bottles from it without any objections. Itinerary: This could do with reviewing. Some stops could have done with being longer and some with being shorter. Manaus in the middle of Brazil was very hazardous to your health and not only from the Zika virus. During our enforced overnight stay, 9 passengers were mugged in the town despite the presence of Tourist Police. Additionally, it was reported that one female crew member was held up by a mugger but rescued by a male crew member who had to use force to fend off the attacker. Also another crew member who separated from his group was held up at gunpoint and robbed of everything down to his underpants. There were also warnings issued about Santana with regard to pickpockets & muggers. Gratuities: This was included in the fortnightly invoice but could be declined if done promptly. We were never sure who received these gratuities. Some staff were salaried, some salaried plus gratuities, some just paid a wage and some unpaid living off gratuities & tips. We do not believe in gratuities as we consider that the company should pay a fair, living wage to all its employees and passengers should be free to reward special service. CMV are very sensitive about this element. We were told by one member of staff that they would be instantly sacked at the next port if it was found that they had talked to passengers about gratuities. This was confirmed by other staff. It appears that gratuities are a way that CMV use to subsidise wages. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We wanted some destinations neither of us had been to before and the Amazon was very inviting, plus price was reasonable for the length 6wks . Did not expect 5star cruising but nor did we expect so much water where it shouldn't be! ... Read More
We wanted some destinations neither of us had been to before and the Amazon was very inviting, plus price was reasonable for the length 6wks . Did not expect 5star cruising but nor did we expect so much water where it shouldn't be! The cabin was of ample size, beds very comfortable, shower great. Food was acceptable but in buffet not great. Like an old fashioned noisy school canteen! The waiters were attentive and cabin staff excellent. The trips ashore, with one exception were good, although the queuing for tenders was hideous despite trips being called at diff times. The tenders were grubby and old with broken windows, and on some trips the return tenders were reduced to one. The ship is tired and tatty but very clean.Most of our trip only 2 out of 4 lifts worked and often one was being used by staff to transport bed linen etc. Luckily stairs are easy for us but not so for a lot of less able people on board. Entertainment was ok, also had a couple of good lecturers giving talks on destinations etc. Problems, well water is a BIG one. Constant leaks in the lounge from ceiling, often light fittings! meant checking your chair wasn't damp, minding the blue towels that lay on entrance to the bar for most of trip, soaking up big leak, also outside the gym.Apparently swimming pool leaked---- Lots of ill people confined to cabins... about 3wks into trip the usual clanging and shaking in cabin of loose wall panels changed to horrendous knocking and thudding on our walls.After 3 nights no sleep told reception who said ship sailing to full capacity and offered earplugs! I declined as already tried my own to no avail. after numerous attempts got a member of staff to come and listenin our cabin. They accepted it was awful and gave us new cabin. We had to move ourselves as by 10pm promised help not arrived. Problem-trip 1st thing next morning, no safe, light not working, still same next day so had to use 2 cabins 1 for safe 1 to sleep. Back from trip, required 3 more tel calls to get sorted. 3days later, returned from breakfast to open bathroom door and be greeted by a flood of water and waste matter coming up drain.Staff said they would get a plumber to fix it. The smell was awful. They put a cabin lad outside our door as it had to be kept open for access. I checked at frequent intervals and noticed some other empty cabins with same problem. By late afternoon the waste matter had spilled onto our carpet and they had industrial dryers in, still insisting we could go back later! at 8pm they admitted defeat and gave us another cabin 1 deck up. Great, yet another evening ruined, we also missed our slot for dinner as we had no where to get washed and dressed in so had to make do with leftovers at buffet. The promised assistance to move arrived at 11pm one lady who we ended up helping as only one lift was working so we carried half our belongings up stairs. Surprise, broken air con and safe totally missing lock! We were not alone as we spoke with numerous couples who'd had to move. I approached reception next day re speaking to Julie-cust services, but just received letter through cabin door saying aware of situation and to contact company on return. Since then numerous letters have been written, company not interested, just offered 15% off my NEXT cruise with them this year! I declined and wrote to ABTA.It went to pre arbitration but they won't respond with any better offer.I would need to pay for full arbitration. I am disgusted with their customer service attitude and can only say don't cruise with them.Heaven help anyone going on the 'maiden world cruise with them. The Amazon destination and other ports of call were great but the ship is tired and needs scrapping, not refurbishing. Lots of people on here feel likewise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Late embarkation due to non arrival of food- was said. 2 cancelled stops, Corunna and Gibraltar as missed tide at Bristol, Lisbon stop en route to Canaries, NOT as advertised on way back. Madeira berthed at 9.30 am, ashore by tender for ... Read More
Late embarkation due to non arrival of food- was said. 2 cancelled stops, Corunna and Gibraltar as missed tide at Bristol, Lisbon stop en route to Canaries, NOT as advertised on way back. Madeira berthed at 9.30 am, ashore by tender for 2.15 just as all shut for New Year, this after 1 lifeboat fibreglass hull damaged, on another two windows smashed, even cooks helping to embark and disembark clients to tenders, why only 2 tenders in use? Chaos. Vigo [an extra stop en route back]- arrive by 6pm but gangway down for 8pm! Disembarkation at S/Hampton having left car at Avonmouth cruise terminal! [This bus transfer the most organised part of the whole trip]The weather was bad, gale force times but partner ship made it to Gib. is said. Rumors abound. Little time in ports, pathetic. Bar one meal ALL food tepid although very well presented and complaints made but no change. All crew excellent including the dancers and singers but the total lack of information as to why programme changed not good. Many rumours abound! The lifts very inadequate, lacking in Christmas decor and only 2 'dress' evenings. We had requested a dining table for 6, but got 8 and squashed against another table. The ship very clean but seating areas inadequate. Would never use this company again. Very second rate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
What a disappointment, first port of call should have been Gibraltar, it was Antwerp. The reason for this change wasn't believed by anyone and as a result, we didn't go to Lanzarote. The food in the Waldorf was mainly inedible, ... Read More
What a disappointment, first port of call should have been Gibraltar, it was Antwerp. The reason for this change wasn't believed by anyone and as a result, we didn't go to Lanzarote. The food in the Waldorf was mainly inedible, the Head Chef clearly couldn't cook even basic food. He tried to be too clever and innovative, but failed miserably. The lack of sufficient seating in most public areas, including Raffles was problematical. The ship appeared to little or no stabilisation compared to other ships I have sailed in previously. Wouldn't ever consider another cruise with Cruise and Maritime, I am going back to P and O (a professional Company). Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I don't think I have to say much about this xmas/new year cruise, most has been said from previous reviews. It was a total disappointment, all comments previously written are 100% accurate, our cabin steward ( Sanjay ) seemed to be ... Read More
I don't think I have to say much about this xmas/new year cruise, most has been said from previous reviews. It was a total disappointment, all comments previously written are 100% accurate, our cabin steward ( Sanjay ) seemed to be the only person who knew what is job was, and the the staff who took our orders for drinks, they did a fine job. We saw the captain maybe 4 times in the 2 weeks, just his report on the pa system, if you could hear him that is. The other item no one has pointed out was the disembarkation at Tilbury, many took the offer of the express move to get off early, this was a total joke, we stood for 1.5 hours waiting to disembark, only to be told that we had to turn round to disembark the other side, then turned again, then again, surely a ship can only dock one way, of course tempers started to raise, when we were told to move round again to another place of disembarking by a member of staff, what did she expect. Eventually we left the ship at 3.10 pm instead of 1.30pm, that was after waiting around at different points on the ship from 10.00am, the time we had to vacate our cabins. So over 5 hrs to vacate the ship. It was a disgrace to be treated like this. I could say more about the entertainment, food, cleanliness, the drinks rip off which hardly anyone took up, the £5.00 per night per person tips, I, like most were at reception on the 4th January getting it reimbursed from our card bills. At least I gave a good tip to our cabin steward, he deserved it. I will no doubt be going back to Thomson for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Ship is lovely, but no laundry,cinema or tea/coffee facility in cabins - essential on long cruises, but not according to CMV. Staff are generally lacking in enthusiasm and all crew struggle with English. Restaurant staff and cabin ... Read More
Ship is lovely, but no laundry,cinema or tea/coffee facility in cabins - essential on long cruises, but not according to CMV. Staff are generally lacking in enthusiasm and all crew struggle with English. Restaurant staff and cabin staff are very good. Food is very average - poor quality ingredients and meat was always overcooked, but well presented. Drinks are expensive - beware mixed drinks, ie vodka and tonic, using cheap and nasty spirits. A bottle of house red at dinner will set you back £15 for a wine that could probably be picked up in a supermarket for a fiver. Daytime activities are woeful and evening entertainment poor. Internet is expensive (£35 for 10 hours) and connection was very difficult, if not impossible. Gratuities are, in reality, a service charge and automatically debited to passengers' accounts. Many crew do not benefit from this system, despite what CMV claim. Good points? - Gym, steam and sauna suite ( without drinking water) and the young people that clean and disinfect the staircase handrails - always working, always cheerful and always polite. Will we cruise with CMV again? No. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We only booked this cruise because we both wanted to see Jersey and Guernsey, unfortunately that didn't happen. We choice to park at tilbury and this was a brilliant service the staff at the car park were very helpful and gave ... Read More
We only booked this cruise because we both wanted to see Jersey and Guernsey, unfortunately that didn't happen. We choice to park at tilbury and this was a brilliant service the staff at the car park were very helpful and gave clear instructions. We noticed there that the other passengers seemed older than us. (We've just turned 60) most people were well over 70+ Embarkation was fast and on the ship we were met by staff and a very nice lady showed us to our cabin. The food was not of the best quality but there was plenty of it. The soups and the bread were very nice. Afternoon tea was very strange Apple crumble and custard and small hard scones with artificial cream and dry cake. We bought the drinks package even though we are not big drinkers, but it was well worth it as the cocktails were very nice and included brand name soft drinks as well. We both enjoyed Amsterdam and Zeebrugge and looked forward to the Channel Islands, but unfortunately the Captain announced that because of the high swell we wouldn't be going and instead were going to Cherbourg and Rouen instead. We and lots of other passengers thought this strange and more likely to do with the age and disabilities of the other passengers.( the weather so calm and sunny) as they would have to use tenders in these ports. We felt let down as we wouldn't have booked a cruise around France, so will never use this company again Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This is a lovely Little boat. At 46,000 tons it is towards the top of the Small category. For a vessel of this size the cabin quality is good (4/5), but it is a little crowded. This was now our 12th cruise and certain factors ... Read More
This is a lovely Little boat. At 46,000 tons it is towards the top of the Small category. For a vessel of this size the cabin quality is good (4/5), but it is a little crowded. This was now our 12th cruise and certain factors disappointed. We prefer ‘Freestyle Dining’ and dislike being stuck on the same table with the same handful of guests every night. We are happy to share a table if necessary, but not for 6 nights in sequence. In consequence we switched our system to tracking down a good lunch meal ashore and skipping the evening dinner. The on-board alternative, the ‘Bistro’ was convenient, but the standard of food offered there was poor. (1/5). The standard of food in the main dining was well below expectation (2/5) and is our one major criticism. Had we tried this more often we might have met a better meal, but were unwilling to take the risk. The vessel has an Engine problem. It behaves like an old car. Very under-powered when ‘push’ is needed. It was extremely noisy when pulling away from the dockside or travelling in a river, probably against the water flow. We complained and the problem did disappear, but at the cost of very low speed running. To take 4 hours from Amsterdam to the river estuary indicated that the engine(s) were running at low power. Any faster and the vibrations would make the cabin furniture rattle. Coastal running over short distances worked well, but it might prove to be too noisy on a long, (Transatlantic ?) run. I await further comments. (If it was a horse I would shoot it.) The passenger mix favours the elderly, supported by the relatively low cost per person. We found the number of ‘wheelies’, Zimmer frames and wheeled walkers, motorised chairs, crutches and walking sticks surprising and soon realised that the Captain would not be able to offer the ‘Ship to Shore’ transfers using the lifeboats as tenders. It would have been extremely dangerous to even try. This was probably why the visits to Jersey and Guernsey were cancelled and replaced by Cherbourg and Rouen. I would congratulate him on this choice. We also wanted to go to the Channel Islands, but realised that it could not be done safely. CMV will have to rethink some of its itineraries or this will often arise Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We are first time cruisers so didn't have a bench mark to compare, however after speaking to other guests we realised that our experience on the Magellan was not typical of most cruises.Firstly I must say that the cabin stewards & ... Read More
We are first time cruisers so didn't have a bench mark to compare, however after speaking to other guests we realised that our experience on the Magellan was not typical of most cruises.Firstly I must say that the cabin stewards & other staff were very helpful & friendly but were battling against the shortcomings of the ship. Our first night aboard we waited an hour before anyone offered us even a glass of water & there was little improvement throughout, the food was never hot & on one occasion there was water pouring through a light fitting as we were dining. Our cabin was large enough but hot water for the shower was unreliable as was flushing the toilet. The gym had no water available & all the instructions were available in 3 languages but not English!! The cruise director was very good but some of the other entertainment was less than professional Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The Marco Polo is sadly beginning to show its age. The ship is small compared to most other cruise ships and with 900 passengers on board somewhat overcrowded.The ship rolls continuously from side to side and in the Atlantic swell it ... Read More
The Marco Polo is sadly beginning to show its age. The ship is small compared to most other cruise ships and with 900 passengers on board somewhat overcrowded.The ship rolls continuously from side to side and in the Atlantic swell it pitches as well which does not make for comfort. During the good weather when passengers were able to sit and eat outside, the buffet facilities and the lounges coped, but as soon as the weather changed it was difficult to find a seat at breakfast or lunch and in the lounge. The food is unimaginative and somewhat repetitive, however the names for the dishes are very imaginative. In the Bistro there is always a fish dish (usually in a butter sauce), two meat dishes, and a pasta dish with something stirred through it. There are salads, although at times the lettuce was very poor, and the cucumber had seen better days (most of them in an over efficient cooler). There were usually composite salads made of pasta with meat etc. which made one think of yesterday's left overs. The vegetarian meal was often just a vegetable, not a well planned menu with protein. These meals are repeated in the Waldorf Restaurant with waiter service. There is no drinks package. A glass of wine (250ml) costs £5 and the bottle (750ml) costs £15. Other more expensive options are available. The bar services are outsourced and the staff sometimes repeatedly ask if you want a drink. When in port there is very little information available for those passengers not booked on tours (these vary in price from (£39 - £69 per person) and town maps are generally not available. The cabins are adequate, but the beds are small, very narrow and not particularly long. Entertainment is provided by a small dedicated team of talented singers and dancers accompanied by the Marco Polo Band, which is first class. There is not a show every evening and sometimes shows are repeated. When films are shown, the screen is very small and the sound is bad. The crew are mainly Eastern European and work very hard. They are an asset to the ship, and speaking from personal experience, the medical care, although expensive, is first class. There is a very good programme of painting and art activities and and guest lecturers who speak on the Amazon and wild life. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
To be fair right from the start, there is nothing wrong with the ship itself - it seems well kept and clean - decks areas are well maintained and bright and clean, public areas are well decorated, clean bright, and pleasant, and the cabins ... Read More
To be fair right from the start, there is nothing wrong with the ship itself - it seems well kept and clean - decks areas are well maintained and bright and clean, public areas are well decorated, clean bright, and pleasant, and the cabins (ours at least) are clean and well maintained (see first point below however).The itinerary also was well chosen and enjoyable - all our trips were extremely enjoyable, seemed well organised, and were not outrageously expensive.So whats the problem(s)? A number of points which cumulatively completely ruined our cruise, as follows ;-1. BEDS. The mattresses on our beds were so ridiculously hard that a nights sleep of any sort was next to impossible - we prefer a firm mattress, but these were police cell grad or worse. Each morning we rose feeling dor tired and with aches all over our bodies - this itself was enough to make the cruise miserable.2. FOOD. Without going into great detail the food was very poor and clearly down to a price - more like school canteen standard (and that's being kind). To make this worse the staff seemed to think that we were all in an eating race - each finished plate was whipped away as the last fork-full was in the mouth, and the next course was there (we were on the second sitting so there was no need for this). We've never eaten a meal so quickly, and asking then to slow down just meant that your food stood in the holding area for longer and thus arrived colder (apart from the ice cream which arrive melted).A complaint about the food produced the restaurant manager who (unusually) had a good command of English and mouthed apologies and soothing assurances of better to come - however nothing changed proving that he had no authority to make changes, no ability to do so,or no desire to do so (all all three).Evidence of this was that as the week progressed it got increasingly difficult to obtain a table in the alternative buffet restaurant as more and more guests seemed to be attempting to escape the main restaurant. Just why they have formal nights escapes me, as this presupposes that dinner is an experience to look forward to, rather than to be tolerated as an unfortunate necessity for life. My wife summed it up beautifully - "the first holiday that I've ever had and not put on weight".3. STAFF. Whilst the deck staff are in the main pleasant with a reasonable command of English, the same cannot be said of the restaurant and bar staff (with a few notable exceptions). They are unhelpful, sometimes to the point of rudeness, with a very basic knowledge of our language, and when asked for anything or questioned, quite aggressive in their refusal.At breakfast and lunch (open sittings) we were not asked or invited to sit at a particular table - we were told to - yes really ! A request for an alternative table was either completely ignored or bluntly refused.The only way to communicate with the staff would seem that the guests should have a good knowledge of Russian, Estonian, Latvian, and Polish. Did I just say "guests"? Not sure if anyone's ever told them that that's what we are.4. DRINKS. The wine list is ludicrously over-priced (you can drink cheaper on Cunard) - I resent being asked to pay these prices for quite mediocre wines. as an example the cheapest bottle of wine on the list is the house red, which is a really quite poor wine at the unbelievable price of £14-90p !A glass of wine in the bars which was listed on the price list as "25cl" tended to vary in amount according to who was serving it, and always less than that as far as we could see.TO SUM UP. The whole ship seems to be run for the convenience of the cruise line and the staff, rather than for the convenience of the paying guests.OUR RECOMMENDATION. If you are looking for a cheap cruise, forget Marco Polo - go instead for Fred Olsen (preferably Balmoral) - they are not much more expensive but the staff are helpful and understand English, the food's good and served properly, the drinks are very reasonably priced, and you can get a good nights sleep. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011

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