9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons living close to Liverpool it was an ideal place to set off from. Another reason we chose this particular one is that the Marco Polo is not to big as we felt that some of the other ships were rather daunting due to their size. We chose Norway Fjords because the scenic beauty of these appealed. Although first timers we were guided through embarkation without any problems, and the same with disembarkation. The ship was an ideal size for finding your way around and also made for a friendly and more intimate atmosphere. We had a standard plus twin which was basic but comfy with adequate room for all our needs. The dining facilities were very good as was the food with a good variety. The youngsters that put on the twice nightly shows gave a good variety of entertainment even when the sea was a bit rough. There was a variety of other activities held to suit a vast majority of people. The service was excellent with all of the crew being very friendly and helpful. The whole cruise was excellent so much so that we have booked to go on a 28 day cruise on the Marco Polo in 2017. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews ... Read More
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews on CruiseCritic, the Marco Polo was fine and we enjoyed our time on the ship. I guess if you wanted to find faults you could do but we found the ship had plenty of room and things to do - much more on the ship than you expect from the outside. A good set of stops (Faroes, 4 in Iceland, Shetlands, Orkney) and excursions, but independent excursions also no problem. Really friendly staff, food was good, cabin was what we expected, friendly passengers etc. Embarkation was a bit slow, but disembarkation was really fast and efficient. Wifi would have been good but free wifi at all stops so not a problem. So no real issues from us. A good cruise, now what next? Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a ... Read More
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a small ship was a bit of a squash at meal times especially breakfast, we had the all inclusive drinks package of £17 per person per day which was good value and the drinks were good quality, entertainment sadly was not very good at all the nightly show was too short and very amateurish and quiz games disorganized and hard to follow, also the choice of music needs up dating... Our cabin was small which I expected on a ship but was clean and the service from our steward Yuri was excellent but I did begrudge paying £2.20 for a bottle of water in our room and should be included in the drinks package.... All in all an enjoyable week but don't think cruising is for us as we found it to confining and Norway is beautiful.... Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed where to go clearly throughout. We had a superior cabin on the 9th Deck and it had two windows which was a nice surprise. The furniture and fittings had seen better days but everything was clean and functional - precisely what I expected from CMV's photos and the price I paid. The room was cleaned twice a day and we opted to have a continental breakfast in bed the majority of the mornings. Information was provided in a nightly magazine and there was plenty to do during the days at sea. The entertainment was again, in keeping with the whole experience of being fun and functional. The shows were slightly cheesy, the quizzes silly and the musicians in all of the different bar/ lounge areas were fantastic. If you opt for a cruise like this, you need to embrace the spirit in which it is intended and join in. Everyone we spoke to was of a similar opinion- you get what you pay for and if you throw yourself into the 'small friendly boat ethos' then you'll get a lot more from your experience. We ate in the Waldorf restaurant each evening and there was a wide range of food which was cooked well and served at the right temperature by a highly efficient team. The food was a little bland and 'safe' to my taste but it was perfectly edible and fun stuff like 'the parade of the baked Alaska ' complete with indoor pyrotechnics and the night the head waiter danced to Zorba the Greek with a giant bottle of Olive Oil are what made this holiday so much fun. Norway itself and the excursions were fantastic. We paid for two and did Bergen on our own. I'm glad that we went on the guided tours as they were well worth the money, had very well informed guides and allowed us to see things we would not have been able to plan on our own. The fjords were spectacular and my best moment was waking up early on the second morning of our cruise to find that we were cruising the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Norway was very expensive and I feel that this cruise offered good value for money as an alternative to staying in a hotel and exploring on our own which is what we would normally do. The whole boat was spotlessly clean and staff seemed to be cleaning constantly throughtout the day. Hygiene was very important and at every meal time we had to clean our hands before entering. I thought this was a good thing. Since this was an entirely unpretentious cruise, there was little emphasis on dressing up and hanging out with the captain which suited us and our companions. That said, there was a meet the captain evening which was well organised and good fun. The majority of travellers were older than us but they seemed to be up for more of a good time than the younger folk and for me, this laid back approach to travel only added to the experience. There truly was no hurry to get on coaches/ upstairs/ into bars - we were supposed to be on holiday! My only grumbles would be that the 'Bistro' area was not very pleasant; it was reminiscent of a mid 1990's department store and was often hot and smelly. It could do with a refurb and a reconfiguration of the space. Also there were not enough bar staff circulating particularly during the evenings which led to considerable frustration when trying to order drinks. These however, were only minor issues and would not put me off travelling with this company or ship again. We had heard horror stories about disembarkation but like every other part of the trip, this was a smooth calm process. We opted for express disembarkation and, if you are able to carry your own bags and use the stairs, I'd definitely recommend this. We got off about 15 minutes after docking and the buses were waiting to take us straight to the car park so we only had about 30mins where we had to do any waiting around. So, I would recommend this cruise to first timers and those who enjoy chatting to other people and simple pleasures such as reading a good book in the sunshine and working ones way through the cocktail menu of an evening. It was a laid back, fun holiday. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the ... Read More
A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the entertainment manager put on a range of great activities including a traditional Captain's Reception! The visits to Honfleur , Rouen and afternoon cruise back down the Seine were memorable! We thoroughly enjoyed visiting historical places and the markets! The accommodation on board was a cabin on level 4,bijou but we loved the portholes, we were able to watch the Seine early morning. The dining room was a little cramped,but the tables were great,there was a great menu and the food was delicious, enjoyed with great dining companions!! The staff were second to none and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this short cruise.We felt this was traditional cruising at it's best ....the Marco Polo is now 50 years old! For us..it ..what is not to love !! It was reassuring that many passengers were older with some having a disability, the teams appeared to support them well. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of ... Read More
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of thousands of people on a sealed tin box somehow didn’t fit with my views of travel and the oceans. However in the spring of 2016 I had just turned 70 when my wife’s mother offered us a cruise on the Marco Polo as a birthday gift. Well I had’t been attracted to cruising but this was a gift that was so exciting on so many levels that of course we could not refuse. However! The next morning we awoke to the reality that we had just accepted a cruise for 54 days. 54 days. What had we done? Gift or no gift this was a major piece of time especially to be stuck on one of those tin boxes. We started the research and the logistics. We had seen no brochures. We accepted the cruise on the recommendation of Lilian, my mother in law, an inveterate cruiser. We knew vaguely that the cruise traversed 100° of Latitude. That it went from Bristol to Bristol via Tierra del Fuego. We had 17 ports of call including Rio, Buenos Aires, The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas; more on this later) and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. All in all an interesting itinerary. Tick one for the pro column. Next the boat. The Marco Polo. It sounds like I must have heard of it and I believed I had in reference to a more adventurous cruising style. I Google it. I learn from our modern oracle that she was originally one of the Russian poets, a group of 5 sister ships built in East Germany and named after poets. The Marco Polo was originally the Aleksandr Pushkin built in 1965 and used on the Leningrad to Montreal run in the summers and cruising in the winters. Built to be converted into a troop carrier at a moment’s notice (probably released defence dollars or rubles for construction); she was also ice hardened which has a nice ring to it what with Titanic mythology etc. She was completely rebuilt in the late ‘90s to an elegant understated traditional Deco decor with all mod-cons. I liked the sound of the ship as I had crossed the Atlantic twice on similar boats before the jet age. Once on the Empress of Britain and once on the Statendam. Score two on the pro side. Next was the cultural experience. We were going to be on The Marco Polo for 54 days with the same people. A village of 960 (This must be the max as there are only life boats for this number as I later counted). A petrie dish of people my science mind shouted. What experiments can we do? How can all that experience and talent be mobilized? On the other hand 54 days is also long enough for social niceties to fall away. People are real and will reveal themselves. When I find a bit later that we will have the same supper companions for the full run I am a bit worried but that turned out to be before I had met them (George,Pam,Ray,Maggie,Peter and Linda). The table beside us was not so lucky and wild discussions led to table breakup! 54 for days is long enough for for friendships to be forged. 54 days is long enough to make friends and loose them as well. The prospective clientel are retired and everyone has a good story to tell if you ask. So I am beginning to feel some positive indicators stacking up for the whole experience. I still have worries but we are committed so worries are useless. The cruise is in four weeks, Christmas is in two. We live in Victoria, British Columbia, we have a house and a dog. Flights to be bought, rental cars to be arranged, house and dog sitter to find. Oh yeah and Christmas is here. We made it. Christmas with family, Tim, Michael and Christine and Oliver and Charlotte, Tim, Melanie and Mike and Ayja and David and oh yeah my ex wife Alex and Tony. And did I mention Barbara, my most amazing of all women wife. She is masterminding this whole operation not to mention Christmas. We do the New Year with my aforementioned mother in law, Lilian in Wisbech and her and my wife’s rellies, Valerie,Veronica,Gary,.... plus the ‘young’ Joan (84), Lilian’s lifelong friend from her working days. And off to Bristol to join the Marco Polo. Oops, last minute email, the ship couldn’t make the tides into Bristol because of bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (premonition) and so is in Southampton. Fortunately we had not booked a train but had elected for about the same price to rent a car with a one way drop off to Bristol. Quick call to Europcar and the drop off is now Southampton right next to the ship. I was inexplicably looking forward to my first sight of the Marco Polo but only glimpses were to be had as we boarded. It looks like a ship not an apartment block (a block of flats). Score another point for The Marco Polo. We were a bit worried about our last minute purchase cabin in the bilges somewhere near a huge noisy engine. We had decided that if the cabin was awful that would be a good thing as it would push us out except for sleeping. A window is a wonderful thing. Even a porthole in some way gives you that link to the outside world. We didn’t have one. We knew this. There were no upgrades available even if we paid. We actually didn’t want to pay. It is quite a jump. I would prefer to spend the money on wine and beer which were not exactly cheap (we live in France in the summers, this being a reflection of the price of wine). And then there was the gratuity which in 54 days adds up to quite a bit. As we got to know crew members along the way and experienced how hard they worked and what personal commitment they made to be there we begrudged this less and less. In fact our only begrudging came from a suspicion that perhaps gratuities were being used to supplement meagre pay. I have really no way to judge this one way or the other. Certainly it may be like the workers in the vineyard parable. Each makes a deal which works for them. There were Romanians, Ukrainians, Brits, Greeks, Portuguese, Indian and Burmese. Captain Morais was from Mozambique. It was a happy crew. The cabin was OK; Clean, smart, touch of Deco; it was internal and very central. No window but everything else was the same as a smaller outside cabin. The central location served us well through the Bay of Biscay where the forward cabins had a tendency to levitate you from your bunk. We would have liked a double bed but for the very few rough nights bunks were perhaps best. Meals are a large part of not just cruises but life. Cultures are built around food, wine, music and tea. There is a bit of an expectation on cruises of good food. Some lines are renowned for their food. I can’t say that Marco Polo culture is built around food. It is much more built around a cohesive experience that has adventure and experience and indeed learning as central themes. However the food is adequate always, exceptional occasionally and always served with great alacrity and humour by staff who go the extra mile and engage as true participants in your cruise experience. There are various restaurants and bars scattered around the boat but in general there was a formal dinning room with super efficient table service and a bistro with canteen type service but immediate back deck access. The back deck was where the heart of the boat resided in the warmer climes. We typically took our breakfasts in the bistro and on the back deck. Lunches we went to the dinning room where seating was as arrival and so a new table of people was an every day event until the very end of the cruise; at 54 days there were still many people that we never recalled ever seeing before. Suppers we took at Table 5 with our waiters Heine and Aung from Burma and our wine waiter Olga from Romania. At first I thought that a more diverse table group could not be found and then I realized that we are all retired Anglos and so the diversity was just within that culture. As a Canadian I notice things about Brit culture that are not the same as in other cultures. I knew a German who had hitchhiked with a Brit for a while and confessed to being very confused at first. As Germans get to know you they become more polite whereas with Brits the opposite is true. It seems that nobody could resist the opportunity to wind someone up. Occasionally it backfired as in our neighbouring table but although much winding up was done at our table we all were committed to having a good time and it was all taken in stride. Our table mates: Peter knows absolutely everything about any rail line in the world. Linda his charming chattery wife was delightful in her projected naiviety. Ray, the retired police firearms and diving expert, great Somerset accent and his dynamic wife Maggie were from of all places Midsummer Norton. And George and Pam from a neighbouring table joined us when their table mates never showed and two of ours likewise. Often well primed by supper time they were totally committed to enjoying every moment of their lives. These our tablemates (spell check just corrected this to ‘stablemates’. Who knows which is closer to the truth) provided lots of entertainment and I hope we returned the favour. The voyage had 17 stops, crossed the Equator twice and crossed more than 100 degrees of Latitude. From Rio to the Falklands the stops were what most people had come for. Several people were making what amounted to pilgrimages. To the Falklands or to the Welsh communities of Argentina. One poor chap was going to the Falklands but died in Rio before getting there. The stops were great. To suddenly be in Rio or Monte Video was definitely magical but of course way too brief. Ushuaia the most southern town in the world, jump off for Antarctica. Natal, Brazil a holiday town of sand dunes and beaches. Madeira where Brits holidayed from Victorian times was absolutely delightful. We rode the wicker toboggans down from Monte. A ride not to be missed. All in all the voyage had so much going for it you would have to be near death not to appreciate it. But then again I did joke to my daughter that at each stop we brought on fresh vegetables and dropped off the dead. I think the 54 days led to the interesting dynamic that evolved and changed as time went by. There was definitely a period when everyone seemed to be wingeing about something. It could be the iceberg lettuce, the pasta or the books in the library. But it passed. There were lectures and shows and dancing and crafts and bridge etc. The lectures were about the countries we visited and the wildlife to be encountered. Clive Leatherdalde a Phd in Saudi history and politics prepared great talks on the politics and history of each country. His history of the Falklands was especially interesting as so many of the Brits had some connection or opinion about the conflict with Argentina. In fact several people were outraged by his use of the Argentinian name Las Malvinas alongside the British name. The history has no clear claim to ownership and in fact the UK would really like to give it to Argentina and was on its way to doing that when the Generals invaded to score some political points. Maggie Thatcher needed some points too and we know how that worked out. So now the Brits have to keep them. One day I was looking down on the back deck with many tables of people, chatting, drinking, reading, knitting, etc. A thought suddenly jumped into my head ‘What a waste. All that experience, knowledge and talent not being used’. The World is going through a huge shift in climate and economics and needs all the help it can get. Then I thought that old white guys are often blamed for the problem, (perhaps correctly) so who wants our opinion anyway. Then I thought of the Elders project of Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel and Madela et al. Perhaps a social network, a think tank open to Marco Polo voyageurs dedicated to moving global ideas forward. My favourite thing to do was to sit down with someone and ask them “What’s your best story?” As you can imagine there were many great tales. At times a 54 day voyage seems like this is it forever. But for us it eventually ended and we are back in Canada for a few months. Quite a few people stayed on board for the Caribbean cruise which says a lot for the culture of the company and the ship. So fare you well Marco Polo. A classic ship with an engaging ambiance. Read Less
84 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally ... Read More
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally sent us the brochure for the wrong ship, after we booked a year in advance, we thought it was just an oversight. Then when our travel agent later sought to reconfirm that the cabin we had booked was a twin that could convert to a double (it was a wedding anniversary, after all!), they told us it couldn't! So we then had to fight to get the confirmation that the cabin we had booked WAS in fact a convertible one. Silly us, we chose to ignore those examples of initial company incompetence. Boy, have we lived to regret that! A month on from returning and we are still struggling to come to terms with not only a terrible experience, but a terrible attitude on the part of the company, Crusie and Maritime Voyages, who simply rejected our claim for compensation and who have tried to shut us down from social media so we cannot complain about them publicly. Their treatment of us is unbelievable! We fully intend to pursure the matter as far as arbitration, if we have to. The weather was so rough they should never have sailed. Cruse and Maritime Voyages' Captain made the decision to sail, without giving people adequate notice of EXTREMELY rough seas, or offering them the opportunity to cancel or reschedule (which would have been the decent thing to do). We left Avonmouth port twelve hours late, and we lost BOTH of our two pre-Christmas port stops! So we were at sea for three days until Christmas, in seriously rough weather - to the point where my husband, who has been a yacht racer since he was a child, and who definitely has his "sea legs" was throwing up for three days, because it was so bad. I could hardly get out of bed myself for all of that time. The weather was so bad that we could hardly stand up safely for MOST of the trip, and as mature sailers who have lived on our own yacht in the past, we undestand bad weather and when you should or not subject people to conditions that render them injured, sick, and at risk. We were more or less confined to cabin for at least seven of the fourteen days we were away, because it was simply too dangerous to move about the ship safely. All we heard for a full fortnight was the endless sound of smashing glass, bottles and crockery, and the Captain telling us "I regret to advise...". People went flying through the air and some needed medical treatment, at least one to the tune of £1000 for two infusions to stop her from feeling so sick, and there were several "code Alpha" (mayday) calls to staff regarding on-board crises, and they were running all over the ship picking people up off the floor., along with smashed plates etc. One woman fell off her chair, landed on the floor and gashed her legs open on broken glass, another, fell and knocked herself unconscious and that was FAR from all. My husband and I both helped several elderly people to move about the ship on several occasions, and when the staff shut down the elevators because of rough weather, and closed one of the only two restaurants on the ship, people had to make their way down to the lower decks for food or even just a cup of tea. So those in wheelchairs or with other disabilities couldn't get access to food or a hot drink independently. I found a lady sitting on the stairs sobbing her heart out because she wanted a cup of tea, and she just couldn't make it down the several flights of stairs to the one place where she could get one. It was just sickening. On returning to our cabin on one of the worst rough days, after an attempt to get some fresh air, we were very freaked out to find that our cabin steward had taken our life jackets out from where they were stowed in an overhead cupboard, and had left them on the window sill! What kind of reaction is anyone supposed to have, to that? The food on the cruise was extremely low-budget, tasteless mush, and we've had better food in staff canteens. The coffee was of very poor quality, and they were serving us rubbish like cottage pie, soggy pasta with tasteless tomato sauce, lumpy mashed potatoes, plain boiled rice, and beef stew. There were no hot puddings, just miniscule squares of jelly-based deserts that looked and tasted like they had come from a supermarket freezer. There were no lovely salad ingredients, just lettuce, cheap cheese and meat options, and no really nice fruit, nothing that could compare with other cruise lines' fare (and believe me, I have thoroughly checked!) - it was just run-of-the-mill stuff that you'd make at home, and to a better standard. Even the bread rolls were cheap and dry. Its not what you expect in return for more than four thousand pounds!!! The in-cabin entertainment was repetitive (a same one hour program or a movie on a continuous loop for 24 hours on all watchable channels). The on-board entertainment was mediocre, and everything was short. Many of the staff were incompetent. They didn't know who to report faults to, as I found out after reporting something three times in the same day, only to find out that reception had passed on the complaint to the wrong person who apparently just ignored it. I demanded a meeting with the Cruise Director at one point and he thanked me for being one of the few people he'd dealt with who hadn't shouted at him! People WERE shouting, and complaining all throughout, and few seemed to get a satisfactory answer to any of the complaints made. A lot of the people on the cruise paid less than half of what we did. We paid top brochure price, others paid as little as £1600 for two. To top it off, the weather was so bad that the captain made the decision to dock at Southampton at the end of the cruise, instead of going back to Avonmouth. You can imagine the uproar and inconvenience THAT caused! Many other people on our cruise had left at the first port and made their own way back to the UK at their own expense, others did it from subsequent ports. Sadly, we were not in a financial position to do that. We ended up as miserable, sick, sitting ducks. Believe it or not, there was a lot more to complain about than this, but I won't go on. For us, this was the worst experience EVER. We'd looked forward to it for so long, almost two decades. It was meantto be our dream anniversary holiday, but it was a complete and utter disaster,. Cruise and Maritime Voyages have elected to assume absolutely NO responsiblity for ANYTHING that went wrong in the cruise, and are ignoring our complaints in the hope that we will go away. We will not. That I can promise. If we have to go all the way to arbitration, we absolutely will. If anyone wants to see a copy of our complaint to them in its 10-page entirety, I will be happy to provide it, along with a copy of their reply to us. I just don't want anyone else to have the experience we had. Nobody deserves that. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Cruise and Maritime Voyages tout this ship, on their website, as a "luxury cozy ship" and they say that if customers "have enough British pounds they will be very lucky" to take a cruise on Marco Polo. We felt anything but lucky, and if that was their standard of luxury, I'd hate to see their "average", because this wasn't even that. It was very, very poor. It is interesting to note that in their rejection of our complaint they stated that they DON'T advertise themselves as a luxury experience. So they lied. And they have closed off our ability to comment on their facebook page,a nd have deleted our negative comments. They are unwilling to face any responsibility for the consequences of that horrible experience. I doubt we are the only complainants. And I doubt we will be the only ones fobbed óff. But we're not going away, and neither should anyone else who has borne the brunt of Cruise and Maritime's catastrophic "Christmas Cruise" - or any other, for that matter. I can be contacted via my website MaxineCook.com, there is a report about our experience with Cruise and Maritime Voyages under the Soapbox menu option, and I will respond to emails reagarding this, if doing so will stop anyone else having such a hideous, rip-off experience. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at ... Read More
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at injuries sustained by many passengers due to broken glass and furniture flying around. Madeira trip on New Years eve was a fiasco. Unable to dock so tenders ferried passengers the half hour trip to port. Tenders unsuitable for the journey due to choppy seas, lack of crew training and dangerous practice. Many passengers unable to make the trip as only able-bodied people allowed. Many of the passengers were elderly so unable to leave the ship. Frequent accidents on board consisted of broken limbs, broken ribs, head injuries, lacerations caused by flying glass and objects. Tables made of glass and marble and not secured so causing many of the injuries. Return journey not to Avonmouth but Southampton so had to be bussed back causing all later plans to be disrupted. Offer of the year. If we would like to book another cruise on this boat in 2016 we can have 15% off if we book by 31st March. .....A small 50 yr old boat not fit for purpose in winter weather. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! I do not think that the stabilisers were extended on our southern journey thus making things even more uncomfortable for the passengers. There was no form of compensation offered for the loss of 2 ports and the huge delays getting us into Funchal. When it came to Madeira we had to use the tenders to land. I had no problem with this except for their sheer incompetence at lowering the boats. the first tender banged into the ship and broke two of its windows and damaged its rubbing strip. The second tender also hit the boat as it was being lowered which created a hole in the hull. We watched them repairing this with fibre glass! This left the lifeboats available for use which were slow and inappropriate. One wonders what would have happened if we had needed those tenders in an emergency - would they have been able to lower them without damage! The rough seas caused many injuries but many more injuries were caused by the unsuitability of the furniture for cruising. Chairs that tipped over when you were sat on them (Scotts Bar and Marco Polo Lounge); tables not bolted down to the floor; handrails not available as you approached the top of stairs etc. The food in the Waldorf was excellent but never hot - always tepid and in the rough weather we had to demand tumblers instead of the wine glasses that were top heavy and crashing to the ground! One afternoon in the Marco Polo Lounge, because it was so rough, they turned all the tub chairs onto their sides so that they couldn't be used. This left their sharp metal bases pointing skywards ready to do huge damage should someone be unfortunate enough to fall onto them - no common sense and another fine example of inappropriate furniture! The return disembarkation at Southampton and the subsequent coaches were well organised. The staff we came across were excellent. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always ... Read More
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always hot water. Our cabin maid did an excellent job. A good choice of food in the restaurant and bistro. All ports of call ok with my favourites being Hon Fleur and The Scilly Isles. Embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning ... Read More
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning continuously. We found the food very good with lots of choices in the Bistro. At busy periods it was a bit crowded but we didn't at any time have to wait for a table. The staff were constantly replenishing the dishes. The Waldorf restaurant was very good with quick service, ok the portions were small but there were 5 courses and we found it absolutely fine. After all in the Bistro it was mostly the same menu so we did have a choice. The cruise itself was a very enjoyable experience and very well organised. We met some really nice people, saw most of the shows and enjoyed the music in both bars. There were plenty of shore excursions if wanted. I did think these were rather expensive though. There were plenty of talks etc going on and things to do if anyone did not want to go ashore. The disembarkation was very organised ( we carried our own bags so it was much quicker) All in all a very pleasat cruise. I would certainly sail on the Marco Polo again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
For a first time cruiser I chose the Minicruise from Rosyth to Tillbury. My first impressions of the Marco Polo, upon embarkation, was its similarity to the Dover Calais cross channel ferries. The food was tremendous and the staff ... Read More
For a first time cruiser I chose the Minicruise from Rosyth to Tillbury. My first impressions of the Marco Polo, upon embarkation, was its similarity to the Dover Calais cross channel ferries. The food was tremendous and the staff were outstanding: polite, courteous and well mannered at all times. My only criticism would be that of the Cruise Director who would be more suited in a Holiday Camp .... His behaviour and attitude insulted myself and some of my fellow passengers. The weakest aspect was the entertainment: poorly rehearsed and staged with some rather out of tune lead singers, it was certainly not the quality of high class entertainment that was advertised ...... Even the piano and violin duo left a lot to be desired as the churned out the old favourites which would have been worthy of any senior school student .... As professional musicians they should have been able to do so much better..... Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Loved the idea of a cruise with my partner and to see the fjords. We are in our 30s!! We were the youngest on the ship by a couple of generations. Embrakment was quick and easy. Cabin was very basic and no different to that of an overnight ... Read More
Loved the idea of a cruise with my partner and to see the fjords. We are in our 30s!! We were the youngest on the ship by a couple of generations. Embrakment was quick and easy. Cabin was very basic and no different to that of an overnight ferry. Food was very basic and consisted of meat or fish in sauce. Norway was beautiful but felt depressed when having to get back on the boat. The days a sea were torture and we spent time wondering aimlessly from one end of the ship to another. Entertainment such as napkin folding and arm chairrobics were just ridiculous. Then held hostage on the last day having to vacate cabins by 7am but not let off the boat until 10am. Awful holiday and the bordom of the boat out weighed what was a beautiful destination. Never ever again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Our first cruise & our expectations were more than exceeded. I loved the Marco Polo. The service was exceptional. You would be hard pressed to criticize anything although I'm sure some picky people would try. The food was lovely ... Read More
Our first cruise & our expectations were more than exceeded. I loved the Marco Polo. The service was exceptional. You would be hard pressed to criticize anything although I'm sure some picky people would try. The food was lovely & far too much of it & the entertainment team were magnificent. Loved the ship, the decor was elegant, the seas were so calm & the Norwegian Fjords simply stunning. Saving for my next cruise now. The best experience of my life so far. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
I would like to say that this was our first sea cruise so not sure what to judge against. I would like to say that the crew were in general very friendly and efficient.Thank you to Olga our cabin steward, who always had a smile on her ... Read More
I would like to say that this was our first sea cruise so not sure what to judge against. I would like to say that the crew were in general very friendly and efficient.Thank you to Olga our cabin steward, who always had a smile on her face and was always around when needed. Also to Alen our waiter in the Waldorf restaurant. Cabin was small but adequate (319).Plenty of storage. Ship had an engine problem on day 4 so did not see Svatisen Glacier as we had to re-route to Trondheim for 12 hours.Trondheim although pleasant meant we had to miss Honningsvaag and The North Cape.Also due to the weather the captain wanted to leave and come back through the fjords so we missed Sortland as well and stopped at Kristiansund. Now as this was billed as The Northern Lights cruise,for reasons above, we did not spend enough time in the Arctic so did not really see the Aurora.We were on board one night and got a message from Johnathon the cruise director saying that the lights were starting to show,but by the time we got on deck cloud had started to cover.I would rather had missed the southerly ports of call and had more time in the Arctic to see what 90% of passengers had booked cruise for. Found the excursions to be quite expensive. Drinks were expensive £3.50 for tin of beer,£5 for rum and coke. Also water at £2.20 a bottle Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We arrived at Tilbury and the cruise terminal was busy, but the embarkation process was basically orderly, but not as smooth as it might be. The boarding was by numbered groups, and some people blocked queues anticipating their own ... Read More
We arrived at Tilbury and the cruise terminal was busy, but the embarkation process was basically orderly, but not as smooth as it might be. The boarding was by numbered groups, and some people blocked queues anticipating their own numbers. Once on board everything calmed down, and our luggage was ready for us at our cabin. The cabin on the Pacific Deck was smallish, but comfortable, and did provide all the basics we needed. Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant was good, the service excellent and the maitre d' a true professional. He had a friendly nature with a sense of humour, and made the mealtime a real pleasure. Breakfast in the Waldorf is buffet style, and a bit crowded, so we had breakfast in the open dining Marco's on the second day. The selection was good and the food of a good quality. The public areas were clean, and the deck and serving staff friendly. Disembarking and boarding in Amsterdam was smooth, and the overall experience very positive. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our first cruise chosen for its interesting itinerary, the highlight being two days in St Petersburg. We imagined that our most enduring memories would be of the Russian Palaces, which are indeed magnificent, but the things that ... Read More
This was our first cruise chosen for its interesting itinerary, the highlight being two days in St Petersburg. We imagined that our most enduring memories would be of the Russian Palaces, which are indeed magnificent, but the things that stand out in our minds at present are the unfailing courteousness of the crew on the Marco Polo and the enormous friendliness of our fellow passengers. As we sailed from Newcastle, this may have something to do with the fact that most people were from the North of England and Scotland which created a very convivial atmosphere. As first time cruisers, we liked the idea of a relatively small, traditional ship with only 800 passengers. We had read reviews that the ship looked ‘tired’, but we did not find this to be the case. Our cabin was in pristine condition and kept spotlessly clean by the attendant Luis. The décor of the public areas was also of a high standard. It has to be remembered that the Marco Polo is almost 50 years old, so you are sailing on a slice of maritime history. When berthed next to larger and more modern cruise ships, it had the appearance of a large private yacht with much more elegant lines than its modern counterparts. As no one has a limitless budget, there are one or two things we would have liked to have known in advance, for instance, the cost of drinks. These turned out to be very reasonable, a premium gin and tonic costing £3.95 and only £3.00 during happy hour, whilst the ‘cocktail of the day’ was available at £3.10. The most economical way of buying wine for dinner is to go for a package – 6 bottles of very pleasant white, rose and red (in any combination) for £80 which provides a saving of around 30% in comparison with buying them individually. Our criticisms are fairly minor – the dinner service was rather rushed and the quality of the food could have been better. Instead of having six courses every evening, CMV could consider having three or four of a higher standard. This would also mean that more time could be allowed between courses. We also heard some passenger complain of noise and vibration on the lower decks, so it may best to book a cabin higher up if these things are likely to irritate you. We enjoyed the on-board entertainment, the highlights being the Russian evening of song and dance which was performed with real verve – perhaps because many cast members were from the Ukraine. There were also performances from Laurence Robinson, a very talented tenor. In all of this, I think you have to consider ‘value for money’. It you want more sophisticated food or entertainment, then it could be a case of digging deeper into your pocket and booking on a more modern vessel. But if you do this you will be missing out on a lot of things which are unique to the Marco Polo, its fascinating history as a liner travelling between St Petersburg and Montreal in the Cold War era (there is very good on-board lecture about this), its small ship atmosphere and the deck arrangement at the stern of the vessel where everyone congregates in a party atmosphere. In November, the ship goes in for another extensive refit which will extend its life by another five years, so book up now to enjoy this unique experience!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies ... Read More
This was our first cruise and many commented that we had certainly jumped in at the deep end, however, we were not alone it seemed. Quite a few people had been attracted by the amazing cruise itinerary......The Amazon and the West Indies and a few more places thrown in for good measure !!! To be honest, we had no intention of going on a cruise but at the price this trip was offered at it was just too good to refuse. We booked a basic inside cabin and I think we were upgraded to a "standard plus". I won't say what we paid but it was an unbelievably good bargain as far as we were concerned but I do know many people paid a lot more than we did and for the extra all they got was, in our opinion anyway, a slightly better cabin in as much as a little bit more room and possibly windows too. Both we felt we didn't need. Having booked the holiday, I then started gleaning as much information about the trip as possible and soon realised the Marco Polo certainly seems to polarise opinions so here's mine ! The first thing is to consider where the trip is going to before choosing a cabin. On cold weather trips being over the kitchens might be advantageous, on warm ones probably not. Certainly being under the rear deck is one to avoid during warm weather as the noise from above must be awful when they move tables and chairs around at the crack of dawn and very late at night. Anywhere near the show lounge would probably be intolerable of those who go to bed before 11.00pm We hadn't thought about any of these things so it was by good luck our cabin was well placed and, in our opinion , perfectly adequate for our needs. We were amazed how all our luggage vanished in to drawers,wardrobes and under the bed. We had read criticisms about staff and we found them largely totally unfounded. The majority were hardworking and attentive although there are always the odd exceptions to the rule. I thought the crew in general were overworked and underpaid. I don't understand why tips are added to the bill , why not increase the fares paid and increase wages ? I don't like the fact that tips can be reduced either because it means that they are either being withheld or being unfairly handed out to the people who you have come in to most contact with meaning that if tips are seen as part of the wage packet, some crew members receive less than others. We found the food on the boat to be very good, judging by the amounts people were eating it couldn't be that bad ! Served meals in the Waldorf were pleasant, the self service Bistro is a bit canteen like for our liking but it does offer the opportunity to eat outside on the rear deck when weather permits. We chose a table for eight in the Waldorf and were fortunate to share with likeminded guests, 6 weeks of the same could have been trying had we not been lucky. Breakfast and lunch tables are allocated as you arrive so you get to meet different people each meal time which I found interesting as you shared your experiences. The ships dress code is not strictly adhered to. I chose a dinner jacket for formal nights but I'd say just as many wore suits. Informal nights suggest you wear a jacket but once the weather got warmer the majority of men abandoned the idea, myself included. I did speak to one lady who thought it was outrageous that men were allowed in to the Waldorf in such a state of undress, after all one of the reasons she booked the Marco Polo was because of the dress code. Of course she made no mention that 1) the alternative Bistro was closed because of norovirus and 2) ladies can choose to wear very lightweight sleeveless dresses. It ain't fair! Generally speaking I thought the ship was much better in appearance than I had expected. I thought the public areas were well appointed and actually, quite smart. Not tired as described by some.The outside wooden decks have a nice traditional feel but there isn't a huge amount of space when the weather gets nice. Sunbeds are at a premium and certainly, the uppermost sun lounge deck was not to our liking at all with no space between loungers to speak of, instead we chose to sit in a chair where ever a little space between other people was possible. I guess this is something that might be common to all cruises. One or two previous reports have made mention of soot being deposited on the decks. It happened again during our cruise and I have to say, on occasion was so thick it could and had to be brushed away each evening. On the last night of our trip to the West Indies, the party on the rear deck was cancelled as there were red hot lumps of burning soot landing on the decks. It was more like a firework display. I do wonder if the many coughs that people were suffering was in any way linked. I do know that clothes were actually getting ruined by sitting on sooty chairs and this situation needs some urgent attention.( Again, are you listening management?) The entertainment during the days was of no interest to me, I wanted to be outside so I can't really comment. I attended a few lectures which were of a very variable standard from poor to excellent and judging from the numbers falling asleep, even mid morning, I think my opinion was widely echoed ! Some things like the daily quizzes and the choir were very well attended, others not so much. The only one I tried was tossing bean bags in to a waste paper bin which , having been decried as "Butlins like" by an earlier poster, I have to take exception. It's damned difficult, much harder than darts ! The evening entertainment was again variable. The song and dance routines were very good but towards the end they started to be a little repetitive just because it was the same team. On some evenings they showed a film but the choice seemed rather odd, mostly children's films for an audience of pensioners. Apparently one film only had four people watching ! Our cruise itinerary was very good indeed and most stops were well planned. Arriving early, leaving late thus offering maximum time in port.There were a couple of exceptions, I don't know why Madeira was only a half day stop. Faial in the Azores became a full day to avoid a storm, why wasn't it always planned as such ? The visit to Ille du Salut was for most the best stop of the lot. The visit there should certainly be extended, this was a tendered stop and, as happens, these stops can be abandoned if the swell is too big. We were lucky that our stop went ahead despite the sea being quite rough.Take note if you are planning a cruise anywhere where the likely hood of poor weather can effect your stops. Organised trips in the ports of call were in my opinion, poor value for money. The one lesson I soon learnt was to DIY your own. Not everyone feels comfortable doing so but for us it's the only way. Not only do you usually save money, you get your own tailor made trip without being part of a crowd. I have to say though, the Marco Polo trips we went on were well organised but, particularly if you are wildlife watching, overcrowded and noisy due to the number of people involved. I was also surprised that no one asked for opinions about the trips and it also seems that no one attempts to improve them from one year to the next. Another example of no one listening as far as the cruise management is concerned. Talking of management, that's where my huge negative comes in to play.I thought they were awful. I soon discovered that the boat is leased, crew and all, by Cruise and Maritime who also appear to have some of their own staff on board. Don't ask me who is employed by who because it's not always obvious. I am not sure what the roles the Cruise and Maritime staff are supposed to carry out either so perhaps my criticism is unfair but again, maybe it's the fault of management in the constant failure to communicate. Some people criticised the fact the ship's Captain rarely spoke over the public address system Personally I don't care. We had announcements made each day on his behalf to tell us were we were and what were the available daily activities. These were made by the Cruise Director who also introduced and closed some of the entertainments in a rather unctuous Hughie Green style but was otherwise hardly seen. We had the Guest Service Manager give us daily updates on the state of the norovirus outbreak but information was limited to wether restrictions had stayed in place, and reminders about hygiene standards that should be maintained. Never were we told the scale of the problem, how many new cases there were daily and wether there were both crew and guests involved. Most importantly too, we were never told why certain things were no longer in operation. Perhaps if this had been communicated there would be less scepticism. The outbreak of norovirus seems to be something that happens regularly and not just on cruise ships and in fairness, the crew worked extremely hard to control it. They were let down by both guests and crew members who simply flouted requests to sanitise their hands. I reminded one passenger reboarding the boat and someone else remarked to the security guard scanning their pass that the four crew members in front of them hadn't sanitised either. He simply smiled.A report of the incident was made at reception but to my knowledge it was not responded to. There seemed to be little sense in some of the decisions made. Why abandon the leather bound menus in the Waldorf , issuing instead disposable ones, when on a daily basis, at choir practice the music sheets were handed out and handed back again for future use ? Why close down the card room and library use ? Fine, don't lend books and cards but a chair is a chair no matter where it is. Why shut the table tennis room if you have your own bat and ball ? How come deck quoits was still going on ? The list of inconsistencies goes on and on but again lack of communication didn't help passenger disgruntlement. As a token of good will all passengers received a £75 reduction on our individual bar bills and a 25% discount of a future cruise but you had to book within 6 weeks to claim the latter. I'm not sure if that would be considered a fair settlement by most. Personally I was happy enough but as previously stated I paid a bargain price for my cruise. Someone who had paid several thousand more might disagree. I didn't use any of the withdrawn amenities anyway, the only exception being the Bistro. It must have been unavailable for 50% of the trip or three weeks in real terms. This coincided with much of the warmer weather and eating outside would have been an attractive proposition. The other effect of withdrawing the Bistro was to add pressure on the Waldorf. Queuing was the order of the day both at breakfast and lunchtimes. For us it meant foregoing lunch and getting up early. No bad thing really as over indulging is easy when you can have three meals plus high tea ( which we also avoided because of the queue.) It was a long wait between meals though, especially for an 8.15pm dinner. My opinion of the ship's management didn't improve during our horrible storm experience either. For those who were in their cabins, as instructed by the management , there was virtually no communication at all. No reassurances, nothing other than warnings to sit on the floor as we were about to undertake a very difficult manoeuvre. We only learnt of the tragic event that led to the death of a passenger by watching the TV news, and later by ship's gossip. Once again, I thought it was in hugely bad taste that no mention, no offers of condolence on behalf of management and guests alike was made. No, it as business as usual the following day, albeit an announcement that entertainments were limite . Appalling. There will in due course be a full investigation in to the events that led up to that fateful accident and I trust the truth will be revealed. Finally you might ask, would I recommend the ship and in particularly this cruise ? I think the ship has it's own charm and it exceeded my expectations which were lower as a result of reading the negatives made by previous guests here on Cruise Critic. I guess it's the equivalent of choosing between a veteran car and a modern one. For some, the charm of a past age is irresistible, for others the lack of more modern amenities is a definite negative. Personally, I like the ship. Sort out the soot and get better senior managers who communicate properly with their guests and you have solved most problems. As for the 42 night Amazon cruise, well you can make your own mind up. I am glad we did it but I probably wouldn't do it again even though there would be a temptation to do it a second time having learnt from the first ! Again, shame the management don't try to tweak the trip to improve on the shortcomings. I suppose, like so many, the Amazon didn't deliver on the image I imagined prior to embarking. The rain forest image didn't materialise. The reality is we never really ventured very far from the main river but that in itself is a remarkable journey which takes you nearly a 1000 miles from the sea. All the other ports of call lived up to expectation, mainly because I didn't expect too much ! The sea days were a bit of a trial, especially on the return journey with so little to look forward to compared to the outward one when gradually the weather got warmer and the destinations arrived at. Again, with no previous experience, I was naive, we did after all travel nearly 120000 remarkable miles. Just being in the middle of the Atlantic and witnessing first hand this huge wilderness is something not many people have done. Go ahead, give it a try. Along with some memories there is also the strong likelihood you will make some new friends for life.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I booked this as a birthday present for my partner for his 60th when the Ship was docked at Tilbury and what a terrible experience it was!! Some people likened it to Butlins. Having been to Butlins several times over the years much prefer ... Read More
I booked this as a birthday present for my partner for his 60th when the Ship was docked at Tilbury and what a terrible experience it was!! Some people likened it to Butlins. Having been to Butlins several times over the years much prefer Butlins. On a positive note the evening meal was excellent but there is nothing else positive about our stay and I feel sorry for those people venturing on a cruise on this "Ferry". Below is a list of issues I found with this stay: 1. No water nor tea making facilities in the room 2. There was a 6.15 sitting for dinner for those not staying overnight. Our sitting at 8.15 was 25 mins late and we had to queue in a tiny corridor until they were ready. 3. When we left the dining room there were no seats in the caberet nor in the bar area for dancing as these were all taken up by the earlier sitting. Certainly could not get on the dance floor. 4. There was a caberet for the later diners but this was very amateurish so did not stay. 4. We could not get a drink at the bar. Only waiter/waitress service and one barman at each bar - hence a long delay. 5. Big queues as the toilets were limited and having to take over the mens. 6. Breakfast. Well the lack of it. We arrived in the dining room for 8:00 - as we did not have to disembark until 9.30. We were faced with a queue travelling all around the room so decided to wait until it had gone down. BIG MISTAKE. By the time we arrived at the buffet it had all gone. No eggs, no bacon, no beans. We asked for scrambled to be made up and this was eventually poured in to serving platter. This experience does not give me any incentive to take a cruise on the Marco Polo. I could not imagine spending more than one day on it as this was enough to put me off!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
This cruise left Tilbury knowing that gales were forcast in the English Channel and The Bay of Biscay.The reckless decision to sail resulted in crossing the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale,passengers were injured and ambulances greeted us ... Read More
This cruise left Tilbury knowing that gales were forcast in the English Channel and The Bay of Biscay.The reckless decision to sail resulted in crossing the Bay of Biscay in a force 9 gale,passengers were injured and ambulances greeted us when we made an unscheduled stop in CORUNA Spain so that casualties could be taken to hospital for treatment. On christmas eve all evening entertainment was cancelled and we were advised to stay in our cabin.Christmas day in Coruna was miserable,christmas dinner awful [eg 1 brussel sprout]The atmosphere on board was very subdued and not festive. The first two scheduled stops were cancelled [Gibraltar and Lanzarotte]Tenerife and Palma were ok.In Madeira the ship moored in the bay and we were taken ashore by tender,ours was skippered by a man who apparantly could not manouvre a boat; it taking 4 attempts to approach and dock at a pier being shared with two other cruises. Our final scheduled stop was cancelled having earlier been changed from Porto to Lisbon this was apparantly to avoid further bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (and in our opinion to reach Tilbury in time for the next cruise) which we crossed in a force 10 gale-great plan-After breakfast we were 'advised' not to move about the ship and to stay in our cabins due to the unpredictable movement of the ship,restaurants were closed for lunch and we were brought food to our cabin - 2 filled rolls and 2 half sandwiches for 2 people.We were released from our cabins for dinner after 7 hours no drinks were offered in this time. We then stopped in the dismal port of le Havre a soulless grim channel port (why not Honfleur?), this was pointless and no way made up for missing stops at Gibralter Lanzarotte and Lisbon. We like many others would have been happier to have gone straight back to Tilbury. Looking on the bright side Ebeneezer Scrooge is alive and well working for Cruise and Maritime, compensation of £25.00 was given to each passenger plus the offer of 20% off another of their cruises. This cruise had no redeeming features,think long and hard before you cruise with this company. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
our first ever cruise .. for a retirement treat and covering both Christmas and New Year heading for the some winter sun. shortly after leaving tilbury we were told to expect bad weather . no warnings could have predicted what we had to ... Read More
our first ever cruise .. for a retirement treat and covering both Christmas and New Year heading for the some winter sun. shortly after leaving tilbury we were told to expect bad weather . no warnings could have predicted what we had to endure.. and to top it all the sea sickness tablets were £1 each.. and sold without original packaging . putting the weather aside. this was not my idea of cruising .. second rate food.. cutlery and crockery .. poor décor on the ship . Shower curtains that did not do a satisfactory job of preventing water from flooding the bathroom floor. they clung to your body instead of hanging over the base of the shower., cheap towels that had seen their best. hardly any decorations for Christmas .. and certainly no Christmas , New year celebrations , thank goodness for madeira's fireworks, other wise all our days and evening were the same .. back to the weather .. the captain knew we were going into bad weather but there was nothing done to prevent accidents and to protect the safety of passengers and crew. tables were not fastened down. chairs were light weight and sitting smooth floors in some of the lounges. when the ship rocked these chairs and other heavy items that were not secured to the floor moved, causing injury to passengers. our cabins had furniture that again was not properly secured . our chest of drawers tipped over during a violent storm one night . we were fortunate that it was during the night as we were not up and about in our room. after it had been secured the drawers continued to open and close with every movement of the ship. When we were able to leave our cabins , the entertainment can only be described as Butlin's rejects.. A magician that wouldn't be able to trick a school child. was a highlight of two evening's entertainment Day time activities consisted of quizzes , quoits , and the "highlight "? chucking beanbags into a waste paper bin.. too much excitement . oh and the prizes ... who could resist competing for a MARCO POLO book mark ?? Talking of books, when did the library last purchase some up to date reference books , or indeed a recent novel?? This was an expensive holiday with budget accommodation , food and entertainment sorry but a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
We are first-time cruisers and this adventure surpassed all our expectations. We researched the cruise thoroughly in advance, including the itinerary and the ship. We were especially looking forward to Spitzbergen and the glaciers; and the ... Read More
We are first-time cruisers and this adventure surpassed all our expectations. We researched the cruise thoroughly in advance, including the itinerary and the ship. We were especially looking forward to Spitzbergen and the glaciers; and the North Cape. The views of the arctic landscape were breath-taking and our memories will stay with us always. The fjords were spectacular and we would like to visit more. The ship was superb: it had many art deco features; it was comfortable; the restaurants were very good; there were many leisure amenities; and the staff were excellent. The standard of cleanliness was remarkable. The entertainers were all highly professional and the shows were enjoyable. There are many critics of this ship. In my experience they fall into 2 categories: lack of research; and "other cruise lines are better". Put simply, the Marco Polo fulfils all the advertising and reviews written about it. It is not sold as a "luxury liner". It is smaller than most liners, but that makes it intimate and friendly. It is not glitzy and glamorous, but it is advertised as traditional cruising. The customer service crew are predominantly eastern European. Their command of English is commendable and they were always polite and respectful. The second category of critic was truly insufferable! They whined incessantly about the cutlery and crockery, the furniture, nothing the staff did was ever going to be good enough, the calibre of entertainment, the standard of food. They were expecting a 5* cruise for a 3* price! The ultimate in luxury was not on offer. We got exactly what we paid for - a comfortable and entertaining cruise to a truly magnificent destination. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
We were a little apprehensive before we left. A forty year old ship, not sure. We needn't have worried.From the moment we arrived at Tilbury we were well looked after. Embarkation was easy and efficient, the moment we steeped onto ... Read More
We were a little apprehensive before we left. A forty year old ship, not sure. We needn't have worried.From the moment we arrived at Tilbury we were well looked after. Embarkation was easy and efficient, the moment we steeped onto Marco Polo i felt reassured. Very elegant inside and spotlessly clean. We went to our cabin 818 with our baggage already there. The cabin was roomy, clean with everything we required.The ship it self was well laid out. 5 bar area's all with there own atmosphere, Marco's Bistro with it's excellent food although it could be a bit of a bun fight sometimes securing a table ! We ate most of our meals in the Waldorf Restaurant which quite simply was superb, not a bad course let alone a meal. The service was excellent and a big thank you to Rocky our table waiter and Cruz our wine waiter. The Marco Polo lounge was a great place for the evening entertainment. Joseph, We will rock you, Abba, were just a few excellent shows the entertainment team did, and the entertainment around the other lounges was top class as well.A big thank you to Cruise and Maritime the cruise was superb and worth every bit of money spent. As for Marco Polo, she really is a liner in the classic mold, and we will be back on her again.Just to note Disembarkation was just as good and easy as embarkation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
I came across this cruise on the Guardian website and was immediately taken by the itinerary (Faroes and the Western Isles). Although we got an early-booking discount, we paid almost £1,000 for a 5-day cruise for the 2 of us, i.e. quite ... Read More
I came across this cruise on the Guardian website and was immediately taken by the itinerary (Faroes and the Western Isles). Although we got an early-booking discount, we paid almost £1,000 for a 5-day cruise for the 2 of us, i.e. quite an investment for a mere 5 nights. Not a cruiser myself, I hadn't sussed out that cruising is for old people. By this I mean, really old people with serious health and mobility problems. Nothing wrong with that...but: expect to be poked by a walking stick from someone in a wheelchair when you're queuing up for check-in. Also prepare for being severely circled and targeted by someone with a walking aid (trolley-type) once who have managed to get a table for lunch. This in itself is no mean feat as most passengers just remain stationary after breakfast and occupy tables for a full day.Of course, those with health/ mobility problems should be able to sit down, get some rest and enjoy their food, but so do we. Have I mentioned that we got asked on a number of occasions how long we were on the ship and what my partner (from Spain) exactly does for a living on-board as we looked young and one of us has a slightly darker complexion? The service we received was an outright joke. This excludes the wonderful Tatiana (our cabin steward) and the Scotts Bar staff who were nothing but friendly and forthcoming. All the rest, especially the restaurant waiters were outright surly. Maybe it was yet again the same issue with us not fitting into the age or ethnic demographic, but I've had a better service experience in hostels. Bearing in mind that they take it from the living (£2.05 for a can of soft drinks) and that they got to take another £650 for on-board drinks and land excursions, I'd expect the service to be a pleasant experience. Overall, an unsatisfactory experience. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, ... Read More
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, Orkney etc.It may be a case of pay peanuts and get monkeys but this cruise fell short of our expectations. In particular, probably due to ignorance on our part in not having done our homework beforehand, we felt particularly ripped off in relation to the excursions we had pre-booked (apart from St Petersburg when it suited us for someone else to do the visa paperwork). In nearly all cases we could have got off the ship and boarded a shuttle bus to take us into the centre of town at no cost. This would have allowed us to board a sightseeing bus (sometimes parked at the cruise berth!) This would have given us a far better insight and more time to explore the city we were visiting.The biggest disappointment was a Norovirus outbreak day five into the cruise. This meant that facilities such as the gym, swimming pool, hot tubs, library etc were out of bounds. These are exactly the activities that I was relying on to alleviate the boredom on the days we were at sea. I am not a big fan of quizzes, throwing bean bags into a bucket, Countdown, singing classes etc. For the first few days I had happily gone to the gym and participated in various classes, Yoga, Stretch and Tone, Belly Blaster etc.This outbreak meant that staff were constantly cleaning the ship wearing masks, plastic aprons and gloves - not a particularly reassuring sight! I appreciate the need for this to happen but would also have appreciated more of an update especially in the first few days of the outbreak as to when restrictions would be lifted. This in fact never happened and the day before we were due to disembark it was announced that two more Norovirus cases had been confirmed. The most alarming part of this was that as we were disembarking at 6pm on Wednesday 12 June, other travellers were happily embarking that same day for a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords! Suppose one plus point is that we didn't catch the virus!All in all not a good first time cruising experience. Read Less
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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