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12 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) to South America Cruise Reviews

Picked this for the itinerary and had thought that, if nothing else, we would have knowledgable lecturers onboard, and possibly..hopefully..a commentary as we sailed the Amazon. There was NOTHING. The English speaking port lecturer had ... Read More
Picked this for the itinerary and had thought that, if nothing else, we would have knowledgable lecturers onboard, and possibly..hopefully..a commentary as we sailed the Amazon. There was NOTHING. The English speaking port lecturer had never visited the Amazon and plagiarised all and sundry delivering her information in a very poor manner. The infection running through the ship was something else. Within a day of sailing people were coughing and spluttering all over the place. Several were "admitted" to the hospital where they received courses of antibiotics and nebulisers. This was still going on 5 weeks later. The view of many was that the air conditioning was more than likely to blame. Occasionally cutlery was pre wrapped to minimise contamination, but not often. 6 weeks onboard a ship where at least 50%, if not a lot more, were coughing all over you was just too much. The ship's doctor was treating it as an infection, but we didn't know what it was. Home 2 weeks now and I still have a cough!! Food was dire both in the restaurant and in the canteen self service. Staff were young Ukranian, pleasant enough with poor English. Officers were Greek and very visible around the ship. Don't know why it is marketed as an English company, as all medication given to passengers was in Greek and people had to be verbally told how to administer their medication.....I did not need to visit the medical dept. as lasted 4 weeks before succumbing to the "virus". Would definitely not rate this ship, and concur totally with previous reviewers of this cruise. Was amazed at how many single travellers there were.... in excess of 150 Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Just to counter the negative reviews from others. We chose this cruise because it went up the Amazon and it was being heavily advertised and discounted just prior to departure. We never actually thought we would cruise, and most of the ... Read More
Just to counter the negative reviews from others. We chose this cruise because it went up the Amazon and it was being heavily advertised and discounted just prior to departure. We never actually thought we would cruise, and most of the downsides I imagined were there, but there wasn't really anything I hadn't predicted, so the upsides more than made up for it. I want three things from a holiday. Destination, destination, destination. More seriously, destination, a clean bed and some food and drink. So, the places we went were amazing, we upgraded to a suite so the bed was amazing,and the food was really good. Downsides? There were some opinionated, rude people on the cruise who felt entitled to be treated better than everyone else. But I expected that and they weren't all like that. The entertainment was stuck in the 1970s. But I expected that and I wasn't really bothered. CMV didn't have an onboard naturalist so many people left feeling that they had not seen any wildlife, which was disappointing. Boca de Valeria was so false. The organised onshore excursions were horrible - look out the window, sorry we missed it, five minutes to take a photo then back on the bus, don't stop there, hurry up, and now lets spend ages in my brother's/Cousin's/friend's cafe. But then I expected that. Upsides. I went up the Amazon. I found a brilliant guide to take me to interesting places in Manaus. I loved Cabo Verde. I loved the Azores. Tobago was brilliant. Grenada was brilliant. St Lucia looked brilliant but I ran out of time. We travelled to all these amazing places and never had to repack our bags once. I'm doing it all again, but it will all be about the destinations, and what we make of it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Our departure from Tilbury was pretty chaotic. We travelled to the ship on their coach from London Coach Station and the last quarter of a mile took about 90 mins. The ship had arrived late from their previous cruise (the Canaries I ... Read More
Our departure from Tilbury was pretty chaotic. We travelled to the ship on their coach from London Coach Station and the last quarter of a mile took about 90 mins. The ship had arrived late from their previous cruise (the Canaries I think), because of terrible weather and so embarkation was backing up. However when we eventually arrived at the terminal everything was done speedily. Once aboard we were impressed by the size and layout of our sea view cabin on deck 4 and the speed with which our luggage was delivered. This was a 6 week cruise to the Canaries, the amazon, West Indies and The Azores. This was our view of the Ship. FOOD. Excellent. We had early dining (6.15pm). There were five courses which were well cooked and well presented. As well as the days main meals (usually about 5 options) there was always Salmon fillet and breast of chicken available. The waiters were lovely and most helpful. We were on a table of 8 and two of them were quite specific about their requirements. The waiters had no problem with this. There was a large buffet available for those who preferred less formal dining. Breakfast and lunch could be in the dining rooms or the buffet and there was a wide selection. Staff were most pleasant and helpful. There was also an outside buffet with burgers, sausage, chips for people who preferred 'fast food' and there was a pizza bar in the buffet. Ice cream was always available. ENTERTAINMENT. I thought that the entertainment was excellent. The main show had a troupe of dancers, mostly from the Ukraine, who were extremely talented and performed in a huge variety of shows over the 42 days of the cruise. The Magellan Orchestra (more of a band really) were again Eastern European and were extremely talented. The bandleader played trumpet and was accompanied by a saxophone, lead and base guitar, drummer and keyboard player. They leant towards modern jazz but could play everything else as well. There was also a concert pianist, a pianist and violinist duo, a Filipino duo who sang and played 'easy listening' for dancing and seven vocalists who did the shows, some late night entertainment and ran the quizzes, Mr & Mrs etc. Mostly they were very good singers and they were certainly very hard working. Several other entertainers joined, did a few performances and left at the next port of call. Because of the length of the cruise there were a lot of other activities to keep passengers occupied and I (together with 30 others) learned to play five chords on a ukulele and performed 12 songs at the end of the cruise for a large and appreciative audience. My wife and I also joined the choir and again put on a show at the end. There was also handicraft, Bridge etc. There were some excellent lectures during the day and they were well attended. FITNESS. That was a bit of a disappointment. They gym was well stocked but too small. There were aerobics, pilates and/or yoga on sea days but they were mostly put on by the dancers (who were extremely fit but not fitness instructors) and it was a bit of a mess with no proper venue for them to take place. PORT EXCURSIONS. I thought they were very good and reasonably priced compared to other cruises I have been on. In most of the ports we called at it was easy to get five or six in a minibus and have the same trip for far less. Because this was January in the Atlantic, we had some periods of very stormy weather and on about five of the days those of us on the lower decks with sea views had our windows covered in steel plates. Personally I think that was a sensible precaution. We had to stay overnight in one port because the loading gear had failed and they could not raise the tender back into position. We left another port early to get ahead of a storm that was forecast but again I thought that was sensible. Most of the people on the ship were retired and I would imagine that the average age was in the late 60's (I am 71). I got the feeling that there were some people on the ship who would never travel with the company again and some who had booked their next trip with them. Myself and my wife would have no qualms about another cruise with this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My sister and I loved every minute of this cruise! We found Magellan to be like a well loved holiday home - not immaculate and glitzy, but comfortable, friendly and with plenty to do. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to an outside ... Read More
My sister and I loved every minute of this cruise! We found Magellan to be like a well loved holiday home - not immaculate and glitzy, but comfortable, friendly and with plenty to do. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to an outside cabin, which was quite roomy with enough storage space for our 6 week trip (a pre-booking concern), and a great shower. The cabin steward, Viktoriya, kept it immaculate and was always available if we needed anything. We ate in the restaurant most evenings - a 5 course meal which was always varied with sensible sized portions, so that we didn't end up like house sides by the end of the cruise. Lunches we mostly ate in the bistro where there was a good variety including a live cooking and pizza station, plus a grill serving chicken, salad and burgers. It was not gourmet cooking, but it never pretended to be so, although I think some passengers expected that. During days at sea there were lots of activities to try - quizzes, dancing, choir, drama, ukelele playing, crafts, shuffleboard, table tennis, bridge - or plenty of space on deck to sunbathe and chat to fellow passengers if you preferred to do very little. In hot weather the larger pool was very refreshing for a dip. The lectures were mostly very interesting especially those about the places we were to visit, and I particularly lived Alan's talks (he is artist in residence at Durham University) about art and lots of other things he is passionate about. The entertainment team were also terrific - different shows for 42 nights is quite a feat, not to mention the cabarets, deck parties and classical recitals. They were also all extremely personable around the ship. The itinerary of the cruise was very varied with a really good mixture of ports, and being a smaller ship we seemed to be able to visit smaller ports that could not accommodate larger ships. We particularly liked Alto do Chao in the Amazon, a rather laid back sort of place, with good swimming and lots of little bars and eateries along the beach and riverbank. We would have liked a longer stay there. Devil's Island was also fascinating and thought-provoking with most of the penal buildings still in tact. I have read other reviews, including some very negative ones, and although I agree with some of the negative points, to me they were of minor importance. To us, the most important things were the sociability of the passengers, the friendliness and hard work of the crew, the itinerary and the time to do as little or as much as we wanted. We could have done it all over again!! If you go, I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
We were looking at a 50+ day cruise along the South American east coast but by the time we had made up our minds it was unavailable so our agent suggested this as an alternative. We booked in mid November and the price was very reasonable. ... Read More
We were looking at a 50+ day cruise along the South American east coast but by the time we had made up our minds it was unavailable so our agent suggested this as an alternative. We booked in mid November and the price was very reasonable. We had spent a week last summer on Marco Polo so had a fair idea of what to expect from CMV, good clean ship, good service, good food and hopefully good company. Tilbury is not an efficient port. There were huge queues of cars trying to get to the ship to drop off or park, despite the fact that we had a time slot. I don't really think this was CMV's fault. Magellan is fine, a little tired in some respects but CLEAN (this matters on cruises, especially on a long voyage). Some of the problems are directly attributable to passengers, not crew! For example, it is incredible how many passengers are of the 'rules only apply to other people' persuasion: Refusing to use hand sanitisers Filling water bottles at the water stations (I have no germs...only other people may have) Taking tea bags and coffee sachets by the handful (goodness knows why, were they planning to set up cafes?) Reserving sun beds (there were loads unused but still people attempted to bag their place and threw paddies if anyone had the temerity to remove their heaps of belongings and use the bed!) The facilities on board are good for the size of ship. The lack of self service laundry and ironing facilities is inconvenient on a long cruise but if you check details beforehand you already know this! Apparently launderettes are to be installed next season, which is good. The entertainment was pretty good, although another one or two extra visiting artistes would have been welcome with so many sea days. The on board team were very hard working and generally enthusiastic but needed the odd day off! Some of the lecturers were good, especially Louise Bonner, whose presentations were entertaining, interesting, informative and relevant to the places we were to visit. There were plenty of activities available. The service from pretty well all the staff was helpful and friendly, despite, at times, some very rude customers! We used the shore excursion programme more than we would normally have done because the Amazonian ports in particular had limited alternatives and we wanted to make the most of the time we had, it's not a place we will be likely to return to. We found the trips in general to be very well organised and the local guides informative. The cost compares well with other companies' offerings. Our cabin was a reasonable size, with adequate storage and a comfortable bed. The wall bunks do seem superfluous to requirements ( I can't really see 4 adults sharing) so they could be removed and the lighting rearranged. The food was generally well presented and tasty. We dined in the Kensington (late sitting) and always enjoyed our meals. If food was occasionally not hot enough we said so, and it was replaced. No fuss! The house wines were very palatable, and with a little persuasion we got a wine chiller on the table when required. Without being rude or bad tempered it is pretty easy to remedy any problems if you point them out! The only consistent problem on the Magellan is that it seems impossible to keep it level in any sea or river conditions. This has been mentioned in other reviews and was much discussed on board. Many passengers were ex Navy or Merchant Navy and had all sorts of theories about the cause of the problem! We concluded that the ship itself has a design flaw, as all other theories about ballast tanks, stabilisers, wind etc didn't explain the variations in list, sometimes to port, sometimes starboard, not necessarily correlating with weather conditions. This will prevent us travelling on Magellan again, as it was uncomfortable for us. Some people, although aware of the list, didn't find it a problem. We would be quite happy to try another CMV ship. Incidentally, the doctor was brilliant! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I sometime wonder if the reviewers had been on the same ship as myself because I found this cruise to be very enjoyable and took me to those places that I had wished to visit in the past and the programme of visits was perfect. The ship ... Read More
I sometime wonder if the reviewers had been on the same ship as myself because I found this cruise to be very enjoyable and took me to those places that I had wished to visit in the past and the programme of visits was perfect. The ship is old and well travelled but one passenger was overheard in saying that they had never travelled on such a clean ship. The crew were constantly cleaning and the use of hand sanitisers was required whenever you entered the restaurants. My cabin 6087 was the largest I had ever had and was kept spotlessly clean by Kway Min OO who is now having a well earned holiday in Myanmar. The Cabin was well appointed. Check-in was straightforward following an easy twenty minute walk from Tilbury Town Station and was ahead of schedule in spite of the ship arriving in Tilbury later than planned. I only cruise to see places that I wish to travel to so am not a hardened cruiser and this cruise took me one thousand miles up the Amazon to Manaus which is a fascinating city although as some passengers found to their cost, it has a violent undertone. The excursion that I took from Manaus, Amazonian Experience was excellent and I had no complaints on any of the excursions although I fully appreciate the annoyance of those who did the beach transfer on Bequia to a beach just fifteen minutes walk from the landing stage. The crew were excellent although I did have some reservations about the attitude of the waiters. The tender crews had some difficult work to do at times and they should be complimented for their work on Isle d' Salut where there was a heavy swell but they ensured that all passengers who wished to go ashore did so in as great a comfort as was possible. One reviewer has commented about the sudden violent vibration when we were travelling up the Amazon and has said that it must have been caused by the ship hitting a sandbank and dismissing the Cruise Director's comment that it was caused by a sudden change of course. I spoke to a retired Naval Officer just after this incident and he had said that the incident could well have been caused by a sudden change of course and it should be remembered that the ship was under the control of the Brazilian Pilots at that time. Overall, this was an excellent trip and as one reviewer has said too many passengers want Cunard standards at CMV prices. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
You either love the Marco PoloPolo despite its faults or the problems appear to become so magnified that they appear to be all you take from the cruise. Having read previous reviews we were a little concerned before we joined the ship. In ... Read More
You either love the Marco PoloPolo despite its faults or the problems appear to become so magnified that they appear to be all you take from the cruise. Having read previous reviews we were a little concerned before we joined the ship. In the event we thought the cruise was excellent value for money that allowed us to visit parts of the world we had not visited before. Embarking at Tilbury was well organised and our luggage arrived outside our cabin before we did. Our cabin a standard plus twin inner on Atlantic Deck was compact but had plenty of storage space. The beds were comfortable and big enough for a 15 stone 6' man. There was some noise from the TV in an adjoining cabin but it was not a real problem The ship was smartly decorated, and was extremely clean. Staff could be seen cleaning through out the day.No Nova virus problem although there was a cold/cough that circulated. We found the ride excellent and my wife, a poor sailor, only resorted to sea sickness pills on one day of the 42 whilst on the edge of the Bay of Biscay. All the staff were very hard working and the passenger facing staff spoke reasonable English. Our table steward Jude was excellent.Unlike other reviewers we did not find the bar staff pushy. The food ranged between the excellent and the acceptable. The fish dishes and curries were always good, the pasta dishes were poor. We dined in the Wardolf which has two sittings. The kitchen brigade appeared under staffed and this showed at times. The Bistro buffet served similar food to the main restaurant with the addition of a barbeque or stir fry station on deck. At times the food was warm rather than hot. The main negative relating to food was the very poor logistics of CMV, frequent shortages of fresh fruit and salad items. While in the Amazon and Caribbean there was banana rationing and oranges were in short supply for the whole cruise. Drinks were priced at the London, non Wetherspoon, prices. Draugh beer was BitBurger although the best on offer was I think the Franziskaner 1/2 litre at £3.50 a bottle. House wine was £15 a bottle and £5 for a big glass. Happy hour between 16.00 and 18.00 together with the daily cocktail and speciality coffee offers kept the bar bill down. We don't usually do organised excursions but we did two in the Amazon and 3 in the Carribean. We thought the ones we picked were OK. We particularly liked the Boi Bumba show in Parintins which was a cut down version of the huge show in June. By all accounts the city tour in Manaus was poor value, we explored on foot and saw most things. Of the non Amazonian ports Iles due Salut, Bequia, Horta and Ponta Delgada were the most memorable. The small entertainment team worked hard. The two Raul and Ryan were excellent and Jonathan Dulson made a good fist of being cruise director. The two female singers were poor but the Excelsior Duo were good. The dancers were a delight and the ships band outstanding especially the jazz concert. My wife went to the daily watercolour class. She thought they were excellent and at £3 a secession good value. Captain Nicos was to be seen in the public areas several times a day and was very proactive in speaking to passengers. On the bridge tour I did he spent a considerable a!punt of time with us. I also visited the engine room. A memorable experience the chief engineer proudly showed is around. Her was very proud of the ship and the engine room was spotless with all metal parts decorated in bright colours It was not a Cunard or P&O style cruise but great value for money and one we won't forget. We met two couples who had done exactly the same cruise in 2014 and returned despite the unfortunet incident in the channel that they had both witnessed.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We were first time cruisers seduced by the thought of escaping the English winter and the romance of the exotic places that we had never thought we might be able to visit. And so we embarked with a sense of excitement and optimism which is ... Read More
We were first time cruisers seduced by the thought of escaping the English winter and the romance of the exotic places that we had never thought we might be able to visit. And so we embarked with a sense of excitement and optimism which is probably essential for a long voyage like this. We were not disappointed. We were greeted by smiling faces and an immaculate if clearly older ship and everything was as we expected - not a glitzy razzamatazz but a solid ocean going vessel with comfortable if not exactly glamorous amenities. We were very impressed by the food which was plentiful and always hot (unlike some previous passengers' experiences.) Our table for dinner was a delight - our smiling and efficient waiter Kevin and our enthusiastic wine waiter Alla served us with courtesy and patience night after night in sometimes trying circumstances for them. One criticism would be the standard of the wines on offer at very inflated prices. But I was relieved to find that we did not have to buy expensive bottled water and nicely chilled water was readily available. A special mention must be made of the entertainers. Small in number they may have been but full of talent and such energy! We saw a different show night ater night, with some gorgeous costumes and good variety. With many of them from Eastern Euopean countries it was lovely, for example, to have an evening of Russian songs and dances. They were unfailingly enthusiastic too and brilliant at raising spirits at the difficult times. And the voyage itself; my head is still full of images of the empty deep blue expanse of the Atlantic, the jungle in all its different greens as we journeyed down the Amazon, the extraordinary, extravagant facade of the opera house in Manaus, sloths clinging to the topmost branches of trees, the beautiful but sinister Iles du Salut, all bathed in tropical sun and of course occasional tropical downpours! Yes things did go wrong; there was an annoying change of itinerary; we were hit by a norovirus bug that resulted in a lot of facilities being closed but these could and do happen on any ship and we have been offered generous compensation by the company which they were not obliged to do. Obviously the last 24 hours do overshadow what was otherwise a magical trip and questions do need to be asked about why we were in that stretch of water when the storm of February 14 had been accurately forecast, but when I remember the kindness and hard work of all the crew to try and pick up the pieces of that awful day I would still say that the Marco Polo is a special ship; we met wonderful people both passengers and crew and really did have the trip of a lifetime.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The ... Read More
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The already poor health of many of them was exacerbated by the air conditioning, which was often toxic, I don't know if this was for the benefit of the franchised medical centre, I had a chest infection and was charged just shy of £2k for a few antibiotics, which didn't work - I think whatever the bug was it was resistant to the remedies available on board, I eventually got better after buying antibiotics from a pharmacy ashore. If you are going to travel my advice would be to take some with you. One small good point was that the food was so bland and dreadful, that I managed to lose weight onboard - this is a first for me, and my husband who also lost a bit. The wine list was small and not good, although the house red was just about drinkable. Entertainment was enjoyed by the majority of those onboard, although not to our taste - this is probably just a generational thing, the entertainers worked hard, but lacked direction. Shows were generally packed, but this was probably also a function of the numbers onboard, it did seem to be grossly overcrowded. The itinerary was varied for a variety of dubious reasons, which we found hard to believe, this was coupled with very slow average speed, which caused the boat to roll a lot and causing discomfort to more than a few passengers - this was evidenced by sick bags being placed virtually everywhere. In short it was the wrong cruise for us, the very elderly seemed to think it was spiffing, but the younger people we spoke to all stated that they would not use the boat again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We boarded on the 1st February 2010 for a six week cruise.The first thing that we noticed were the filthy windows which were not cleaned until one week before we arrived back in England, and then were only hosed down,we might as well have ... Read More
We boarded on the 1st February 2010 for a six week cruise.The first thing that we noticed were the filthy windows which were not cleaned until one week before we arrived back in England, and then were only hosed down,we might as well have had an inside cabin.The next thing we found was that the water was coming out of the taps a horrible brown colour,yet the water was supposed to be according to the ships "management",.potable.This brown water happened on at least 20 days out of the 42day voyage,sometimes we were given bottled water and other times we had to purchase water at £2.20 for a bottle which was less than a litre. We were unable to control the temperature of the water in the shower and one was either scalded or frozen, such was the difference in the temperature.This happened every day.The so called "beautiful" teak decks only saw water when it rained and were filthy,and if one walked on the decks without footwear, ones feet got very dirty. People with walking difficulties should not be allowed to travel on the MARCO POLO unless accompanied by a carer, because of the unbelievable amount of traps on the ship,and also because they got no help at all from the staff.On the sun deck there should be a warning that if one suffers from breathing difficulties one should not use this deck because of the constant fumes,this deck also has the Jacuzis.The traps on the ship were 4inch up-stands at the top of all flights of stairs on the open decks,and 6inch steps at all doors leadind to and from the decks The catering was appalling,a tea and coffee machine was set up on the pool deck,but was constantly short of cups and at one point the "management" announced that it was the passengers fault that there was not enough cups because the passengers were taking them to their cabins. The"Management"stated that there were 1600 cups for this function even though there were more than 800 passengers on board.At lunch in the Bistro, if one went to lunch after 1:15 pm there was constantly a shortage of plates or cutlery or both.In the Bistro a drinks machine was set up but again there was either a shortage of glasses or drinks or both on a daily basis,tea if required was out on the pool deck.and one had to push through a very heavy door to get to the pool deck ,and then had to again push through this door with teas in your hand,once again no assistance. On one occasion an elderly man carrying two glasses tripped over the steps smashing the glasses, cutting his hands, dislocated his shoulder and fractured his pelvis.The food was no more than one star and was as boring as it could possibly get day in and day out. Fresh vegetables were non existent.On one occasion among many the three male guests on our table ordered chicken we waited about one hour and when we asked the waiter where our meal was we were told that they had run out of chicken and that they were getting some more from the freezer.Ten minutes later the chicken arrived which was luke warm and tough and no one ate it.I am sure this chicken was cooked from frozen or at best not thawed out properly. . Bar service on the outside decks was practically non existent and when one complained one was met with a shrug of the shoulders.The bar staff had a no care attitude ,and after 40 days of ordering the same drinks they still did not know our drinks.The entertainment was mixed the show dancers were very good ,but they have now left the ship to go on the COUNTESS .The cruise director and his helpers were Karaoke because their acts consisted of shouting into the mikes accompanied by canned music.They were so loud that one wondered if they thought that they were appearing at the o2 arena ,and not a very small lounge on a one star ship. Shore excursions left a lot to be desired,we went on some but cancelled many more,on one excursion the highlight was a visit to the Botanical Gardens to see the many orchids and tropical plants.There was not even a blade of grass to be seen and not one flower.We spoke to the guide as to why, and she stated it was the dry season, and that we should close our eyes and imagine what it would be like.Shuttle buses if laid on were not announced until the night before,and that tickets are available at the excursion desk. Imagine the chaos as hundreds of people went to a very small reception area at the same time.I do believe that the Shuttles were announced late in order that the passengers would buy trips.At one stop it was announced that the Shuttle would be every 15 minutes we waited 1 hour 20 minutes.Some passengers paid nearly £300 each to see the Angel Falls,on their return they told us there was more water coming from their overflows.When they complained they were told it was because they have not had any rain for months.One has to ask why did the trip go ahead. On sea days if it rained there was not enough seating inside the ship for all the passengers.There was always a shortage of deck chairs and the ones available were filthy and were not cleaned for the whole 6 week cruise.This cruise was our 40th cruise and was a cruise from hell.I spoke to several past and loyal MARCO POLO passengers and evey one of them said this is not the ship they sailed on 3 years ago and that they would never sail on the ship again.The reason we booked was the itinerary, and we did check cruise critics, and now realise the reviews we looked at were 2007. I think I should stop now but I will say again DO NOT BOOK THE MARCO POLO Read Less
Sail Date February 2010

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