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I have just returned from MV Magellan’s cruise to the Amazon, West Indies and the Azores. I wanted to share my experiences with you and to thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime. I took my late husband’s niece with me; for ... Read More
I have just returned from MV Magellan’s cruise to the Amazon, West Indies and the Azores. I wanted to share my experiences with you and to thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime. I took my late husband’s niece with me; for company. She is about to turn 43 so lowered the average age of the passengers by about 90%! She is full of life and energy and impressed everyone from the Cook to the Captain. She certainly ensured that I had a wonderful time as I hung grimly onto her coat-tails and enjoyed the ride. There were a number of people who did nothing but moan but I suspect that the majority of them moan for England. When I book my next cruise, please can you weed out moaning passengers in order to make my voyage more enjoyable. We all know Magellan is not looking her best at present but as she is due for a refit she should emerge with the majority of her problems behind her. I think my only comment is that she is looking a little tired and needs some attention to her plumbing and leaks but no doubt, those things will be addressed. I shall start with the unpleasant things that happened to me and get them out of the way: on leaving Lisbon, in the teeth of a gale, I succumbed to the dreaded D&V lurgy. Being flung around the bathroom as the ship pitched and rolled while suffering is not a memory I wish to dwell on. On alerting Reception to my illness, the situation was instantly taken in hand. Two spacemen turned up shrink-wrapped in plastic with every cleaning agent and gadget known to man. Under the tutelage of the lovely Head Housekeeper, they proceeded to restore health and sanity to the cabin all the while reassuring me that I was not a nuisance, couldn’t help it and they were there to make it better. They did. Such lovely boys: their mummies would be proud of their professional approach and their kindness. Two days later when we were due to be released from our confinement, my niece went down with it so we were incarcerated under the same strict conditions for another two days. You can imagine our joy at being able to see the outside world again and have normal food . One of the most pleasing aspects was the attention given to hygiene in all the public areas: there were always members of the housekeeping team scrubbing, rubbing and polishing to prevent illness being passed from one person to another. What a shame that so many passengers failed to follow the same protocols and failed to protect fellow passengers with their indifference to handwashing and sanitising, not to mention filling their water bottles from the machines in Raffles. No wonder the bugs spread. We were warned about thieves and muggers in Manaus and it soon became obvious that the ship’s company and passengers were being targeted; such a shame when the town needs all the tourism it can get. Horrid stuff over; now down to the sheer pleasure of the cruise. Where to start: the food was good with plenty of choice and really, if there was nothing appealing on the menu for the evening meal, that has to be down to the individual. Having had a tour of the galley (at the end of the cruise when we had dinner at the Chef’s Table) I understood better the constraints under which the catering staff work and indeed, am very impressed with their achievements. Well done, chaps. This leads me on to the crew in general. What a fantastic set of lads and lasses. They were always, without exception, helpful, kind and willing. There were several I would happily take home with me as I am sure they would look after me much better than I look after myself. Even when the dreaded bugs struck, there they were with their precious time off cancelled, making sure we had food to eat and things to drink, probably far more than the majority of us either needed or wanted but heyho, life on board ship tends to centre around food. They still kept smiling. Wherever, one encountered staff be it in the bars, restaurants, corridors, cabins, we were always met with courteous greetings and smiles as well as excellent service. The entertainment provided was varied and fun; it may not have catered for all tastes all of the time but it certainly covered most of it for most of the time. What more can they do with such a varied clientele? The dancers were simply fantastic and the singers terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows I watched. As for the lectures, Louise Bonner has to be the star of the show: her knowledge, her variety of subject matter and her entertaining delivery made listening to her a sheer pleasure as well as being so informative. I’d do the cruise again just to listen to her. I had some amazing experiences while taking part in the excursions. I’ve never snorkelled before; now I’ve learnt to do it, swum with turtles and enjoyed watching a variety of fish as I swam over the reefs. Amazing. My only complaint about excursions is that I needed to cut myself into about three pieces so that I could do more of them. Can I suggest, that when you call in at St Lucia, passengers are enabled to do the aerial tram ride and the zip wire ride; they are side by side. I begged, pleaded, promised the earth but to no avail! The memory of the animals and birds I saw, the beautiful scenery not to mention the warmth, blue sky and sea, delightful people and different surroundings will stay with me for the rest of my lifetime. What a good thing I kept a journal and took a ton of photographs. I shall be able to bore for Britain for the next year or two. Having had a quick look at the Cruise Critic website, I was amused to see comments about the gales. The poor Captain might be the chap in charge but even he can’t control the weather and I thought he did very well to outrun the storm on the way home. All credit to him. As for the ship listing, my secret mole (another passenger who had spent 20 years in the Navy) explained to me that the degree of listing to starboard was between 10 and 20 and was due to not having the stabilisers in use at that time plus the huge volume of fluids sloshing around in the bilges being pumped gently from one tank to another in order to maintain the level of the ship. I am sure both the Captain and my friend Ian would have been delighted with the Captain’s Q and A session where someone asked the exact same question and Captain Nikos repeated almost word for word the explanation I had been given earlier. What a relief that they both got it right! As for the huge bang while coming back down the Amazon, it was clear that we had hit a log, a not uncommon hazard in those waters and there was no harm done but of course, the doom and gloom merchants had a field day. On the personal front, my niece and I were invited to the Sailaway Bridge Party on leaving Iles du Salut. The guests consisted of those passengers who had suffered at the hands of the muggers in Manaus and those who had been inconvenienced by Magellan’s, ahem, deficiencies... What a fun evening we had, sitting in the Captain’s chair, wearing his hat and taking silly photos. It was a charming and thoughtful way of “kissing it better” on the part of Captain Nikos and it was much appreciated by all of us there. Even better, we were then invited to the Captain’s Table, a new experience for me and one unlikely to be repeated. That was very special. Thank you to all concerned. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Magellan Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6

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