While on a majestic fjords cruise and leaving Amsterdam we hit a foreign object on a initial inspection and short delay we had the all clear to carry on but never got to Norway, around half way the boat developed a mechanical vault so had ... Read More
While on a majestic fjords cruise and leaving Amsterdam we hit a foreign object on a initial inspection and short delay we had the all clear to carry on but never got to Norway, around half way the boat developed a mechanical vault so had to turn back.
The cruise was eventually terminated and we went back to Amsterdam. We still enjoyed a full program of entertainment and everything else on board. They announced that we would be going back to tilbury by ferry
They had already given us £25 each and a free bar fo one night but then told us we would get a full refund + free cruise of same duration anytime in the next 2 years or if we wanted a longer one they will deduct the value of this cruise
We only lost one day of the whole trip it’s good to hear of a company doing the right thing with out having to spend hours complaining. Nice one CMV Read Less
The ship is lovely and our cabin 4060 was spacious, comfortable and quiet. We had 3 wardrobes - full hanging, half hanging and shelves with safe. Bathroom compact but shower larger than the one on the Marco Polo.
The restaurant ... Read More
The ship is lovely and our cabin 4060 was spacious, comfortable and quiet. We had 3 wardrobes - full hanging, half hanging and shelves with safe. Bathroom compact but shower larger than the one on the Marco Polo.
The restaurant (Waldorf) was a bit strange to reach from our cabin. You had to go up to deck 9 walk past Captain's Bar, Sinatra's Bar and Tavener's Bar then down to deck 8. The 5 course evening meal had a good choice each night and there was always something I liked to eat. We had a Chocoholic Night one night and Magnifique buffet near the end of the cruise. Both brilliant.
We did ship's tours in every port except St.Petersburg (Alla Tour detailed below) and Helsinki - rest day. Dundee and St.Andrews was a wet day. Aarhus and Edeltoft was good and a lovely village to walk round. Warnemunde and Schwerin Castle was good.Tallin was in a small mini bus so saw Upper and Lower Tallin as well as a tour of the area. Stockholm has a lot of road and building work going on so cranes everywhere. This was the only guide who was a bit hard to hear and understand as we think she was Spanish. Our final tour of Copenhagen and Dragar was very good. And Dragar was a lovely old village on the coast.
Our visit to St. Petersburg was with Alla Tours and we did the Must See tour. There was 8 in our party and lunch both days was included. First day was 3 courses and second day was 4. Both delicious. Our guide was Katya - a local who was also an English teacher so understanding her was no problem. We were in all the places straight away and in Catherine's Palace the small groups go in through the servant's entrance and tour each room from the right hand side whereas the public and large groups tour on the left and were very crowded. Would highly recommend an independent tour company. When we left the queue apparently was over 40 mins wait in the rain.
We visited Church of Spilled Blood, St. Isaac's, The Hermitage (wow), Catherine's Palace, Peterhof Gardens. Also went to the subway and a boat trip. Everything so enjoyable and lovely being in such a small group. Highly recommend anyone to do rather than the large ship tours.St.Petersburg is definitely a MUST SEE and would to have done and seen more. Read Less
Having read previous reviews we were worried about going on our first cruise. Please make your own mind up. We live 20 minutes away so embarkation was efficient and quick. No waiting around in airports for hours. Our room was bigger than ... Read More
Having read previous reviews we were worried about going on our first cruise. Please make your own mind up. We live 20 minutes away so embarkation was efficient and quick. No waiting around in airports for hours. Our room was bigger than we expected with plenty wardrobe space, tea and coffee making facilities and as part of our VIP package complimentary wine and several bottles of water. Sepnash our cabin steward was always friendly and cheerful even though he worked extremely hard cleaning our room at least twice a day. We tended to have breakfast in the waldorf restaurant which was always fresh with plenty choice. You didn't even have to make your own toast as there was always someone to do it for you. Lunchtime we tended to eat from the grill bar which was basically chips, burgers and salad. However there were plenty of others places to eat with plenty of variety. Evenings we ate in Kensington restaurant with themed nights including Greek and italian. Daytime entertainment was basic but a quiz at least once a day but for what we paid we couldn't grumble. We went to A few shows which we enjoyed and there was always entertainment on in the other bars including a pianist and duo. We loved Norway with bergen being our favourite destination especially the funicular railway. The views from the top were spectacular. We did the hop on hop off bus but this was a waste of money as we could walk everywhere as bergen is so compact. We booked 2 trips to Glamis castle and Flam railway which were both good. While we were in Flam we visited the micro brewery which we really enjoyed and if you like beer tasting this is well worth a try. Read Less
We chose this cruise because it is easy to embark at Tilbury but sad to say we were very disappointed .Very poor communication skills with crew at all levels as they seemed to only speak or understand very little English as in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is easy to embark at Tilbury but sad to say we were very disappointed .Very poor communication skills with crew at all levels as they seemed to only speak or understand very little English as in the restaurant and bars only a few understood the food & drinks orders .As it was a long wait in the restaurant and when the meals arrived they were undercooked or only warm as we treated ourselves to steak in the grill it was very tough and worth the money as my partner sent her back the kitchen to the disgust of the chef & waiter . In the bars the glasses were often warm (one of my pet hates ) one evening in the dome we sent the drinks and my glass back where the barman became very irate and slammed the beer glass on the bar .
The excursions were offer priced and badly organised as on the last one it should have been a steam train only to be replaced with an old diesel of which no explanation was offered .In Helsinki & Stockholm we were only allowed about 3/4 hours a shore a joke! .The entertainment was very poor lasting only 45 minuetes also the guest speakers on board were very amateurish as they seemed not to no what they were operating .The best thing was disembarkation at Tilbury please note there are much better cruise companies . Read Less
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary: had more ports of calls than other similar cruises. Loved St Petersburgh especially: chose Alla Tours ‘Must see’ two day tour which was fantastic! Saw all the major sites in a small ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary: had more ports of calls than other similar cruises. Loved St Petersburgh especially: chose Alla Tours ‘Must see’ two day tour which was fantastic! Saw all the major sites in a small group and ahead of the crowds. Exceptionally quick and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Staff gave us a friendly welcome. Inner cabin larger than we expected, light, airy, quiet and clean. We’re vegetarians and never had such a varied choice of food: didn’t have the same meal twice for dinner. Waiters attentive. Great drinks packages. Prices around the same as at home rather than inflated. Friendly, efficient staff. Always smiling. I had the hot tub to myself most days! Wish swimming pool was heated though! Could always find somewhere quiet to sit inside and out with good deck space. I particularly appreciated the fact that there wasn’t music playing everywhere. Not really bothered about evening entertainment personally, but others seemed satisfied with it. Showed films on sea days in Palladium. Read Less
Pick up from Victoria Coach Station was great, just a little waiting before setting off. Embarkation straight forward quick and easy. Cabin on reception deck level so very easy to find. 2 cases arrived very quickly the 3rd was missing ... Read More
Pick up from Victoria Coach Station was great, just a little waiting before setting off. Embarkation straight forward quick and easy. Cabin on reception deck level so very easy to find. 2 cases arrived very quickly the 3rd was missing for about 2 hours, the cabin steward found it in the end. Not the best cabin that we have had, needs the bathroom updating. 2 comfortable chairs was a bit of a bonus but they were under the TV. There were a few problems with the cabin as detailed in the cabin review section.
Evening dinning, good table shared by us and 4 other very nice people right at the back of the ship, so when sailing out of port we had a super view through the windows. Stewards were very good and the service (although very slow on the first night) improved though the cruise. We only saw a little of the entertainment which in the main was good, the young people in the shows worked very hard. The stewards in the public areas were also very hard working and pleasant.
We were lucky enough to have a brilliant team with our group and our excursions were pre-planned before we left the UK so we only used the ship's excursions on a couple of days. The best of these was a trip to Sark. A very long day which saw us return to the ship too late for our regular dinner sitting, and as this was a formal night we decided to see if they could find us a table at the second sitting. Previously we had been told that we would have to dine in the Buffet if we were late returning from an excursion, but 4 of us just walked Into the main dinning area and were found a table. Great night glad we did not miss it as it was probably the best dinning night of the whole cruise.
For the most the ports along the way were most interesting. The ones where the ship could dock alongside were very good to disembark from, the problems were where a tender was used. What a shambles, and not all the fault of the weather. It was obvious that there were serious tensions between the ship and in one place the outside tender operators, a situation that became very unpleasant at one point. In other ports where the ships own tenders were used, getting on and off was quite a challenge, at one point a member of the crew went overboard in quite a rough swell.
I know that this ship had in the previous 4 months sailed around the world so the ship's company had experienced a long time away from home, but the senior members of the crew were probably the most miserable bunch of individuals that I have come across in a very long time. I don't think that I heard the Captain come over the Tannoy once during the whole cruise and at one of the evening events he exuded no enthusiasm at all looking as if he wished he was somewhere else entirely. Some of the staff were most belligerent, when you asked for information they were most dismissive and you were made to feel that you were interrupting them and that they could not be bothered with someone like you.
As I have previously said we were very fortunate to be part of a bigger group, and as such we were able to share our views with others in the group. We were able to enjoy the company of like minded travellers. Had we have been on our own I think that cruise would have been quite an unpleasant experience.
In conclusion my view is that we put this cruise down as one that will not be repeated with this particular ship. Read Less
This is our 5th cruise, the 3rd on the Magellan. We were sent tickets and purple luggage labels, booked for parking at Newcastle. Boarding turned out to be horrendous, something went seriously wrong which CMV blamed on the Port Authority. ... Read More
This is our 5th cruise, the 3rd on the Magellan. We were sent tickets and purple luggage labels, booked for parking at Newcastle. Boarding turned out to be horrendous, something went seriously wrong which CMV blamed on the Port Authority. Eventually on board cabin 5193, right on the stern, deck 5, Baltic. All went well until 2-am, woke up by horrendous noise, props and bearings, followed by every imaginable noise a ship could make at one hour intervals. Phoned reception followed by visit to reception. Asked for change of cabin, refused at that time, was offered a temporary inside 4 berth cabin for the night, we refused that on the grounds we might have to stay there, so no sleep that night. Docking was even worse, continuous noise early morning docked at Dundee, we packed our bags. Visited reception for change of cabin, no can do until boarding has completed. Phoned local Dundee Taxi company for price back to Newcastle, they text me back £350. Waited and waited for info. Eventually told reception that unless we receive a like for like cabin before departure we will leave the ship and CMV can pay for taxi back to Newcastle. This seemed to do the trick and we were offered suitable like for like cabin on the same deck. Sorted and we thanked the staff involved.
Day 2 was the start of our cruise, we can put all that happened behind us. New Cabin good, very clean, coffee and tea making facilities in all cabins which is a great bonus, lovely male Steward who was attentive throughout. As a rule we always try and give the Cabin Stewards a break, so making up room does not have to be every day, they are always there if you need them. Food as always very good, we never use the restaurants, that is our choice, we prefer to use the Bistro on deck 10, purely for choice and we can pick our time to eat. Always something there for everyone. Plenty to do and see on the ship on sail days or just relax and socialise. Noticed sick bags out at Dundee and at various other times although the sea was never rough, slight bobbing but gentle all the same.
Unusual for us we decided to book shore excursions, we normally do our own thing, but as we had to book Russian excursions we thought what the hell. Actual excursions well organised and a good variety, (very good description of actual excursions so you know what you are letting yourself in for). Excursions are good value for money. All excursions start with a coach journey, this is where we noticed an abnormal amount of coughing. A lot of passengers were complaining of a sore throat. Further into the cruise the problem seemed to get worse, more people coughing, the general consensus was the air conditioning. Up to now we were not affected. We arrived at St Petersburg and disembarked for our excursion, half day at the Hermitage. This is a busy excursion and nonstop once you are in the venue. Two of our party went missing and were found outside, they did not seem well and said they needed air. Back on the ship by afternoon my Wife complained of a sore throat. As seasoned cruiser's we take every kind of medication just in case, so after taking this my Wife settled a bit and it was "carry on cruising". The second day in St Petersburg we were at the Yusipov palace and Waterways. This was a fabulous excursion for anyone going to St Petersburg. However it was marred by increased coughing, by the time we were back on ship it was noticeably worse among the passengers. Also we noticed passengers walking around with cannulas attached. My Wife's condition worsened throughout the day and evening, our own meds were not working. My Wife does suffer from COPD following Lung Cancer three years before. We always visit our G.P. before cruising for "Fit to travel purposes". By late evening things were that bad we had to visit the dreaded Medical Centre (no one wants to end up here). Upon initial assessment my Wife was immediately put on an I.V. Drip with Anti-Biotics (one hour) followed the next morning by another one hour I.V. drip with anti-biotics and face mask nebuliser. This was followed by two further treatments lasting one hour each. Various tests were carried out via a blood test. All tests proved negative. Diagnosis Pneumonia / Chest infection. Whilst these treatments were taking place a lot of other passengers were receiving the same treatment for the same problem, one elderly lady was very bad. This was a very busy Medical Centre. I have to say the care and treatment was first class. Eventually my Wife was discharged, however we were confined to Ship at Stockholm and no arranged Excursion at Alborg (we had a gentle walk here although limited).
Elsewhere on the ship this was becoming an epidemic with coughing from every quarter so much so we spent a lot of time in our cabin to avoid the problem. The worse part was in the theatre where you could hardly hear the guest speaker for coughing all around. As far as I know and saw, one chap was airlifted off by Helicopter, he was being treated while my Wife had her last treatment, one person left at Stockholm for emergency operation. We heard of one being left at Russia and one at Alborg. Talking to a passenger (coughing became a talking point) a maintenance team turned up at her cabin to fix the bathroom door, (no problem known to her) however miraculously the door repair yielded a new shower head??? Make of that what you will. By the time we left Alborg my Wife was feeling better, albeit she still had a very sore throat which we treated with hot honey drinks. I have to ask the question. What was lurking aboard the Magellan? I have never known a problem like this on all our other cruises and it was quite worrying. Disembarkation, we were sent two light blue luggage labels the evening before. We came on with purple and guessed this was because of cabin change, light blue also denoted SAGA cruisers. Back to reception and after explanation we were given purple luggage labels (remember the car park), so on the day we disembarked with all the other purples, only to find we were an hour late and that service had ended. We were told we should have had lime green labels (yep I am still working on that one). However CMV were very good and we had a coach and escort back to the car park. Now I said earlier the "dreaded Medical Centre". The final bill for this was £4600.00. Now we have insurance but as with all insurances there ARE RESTRICTIONS AND RIDERS, one of our restrictions is COPD. As the diagnosis was Chest Infection Primary and COPD as secondary we are hoping the insurance passed the treatment as we were allowed to disembark. DO NOT CRUISE WITHOUT FULL INSURANCE. My Wife has visited our G.P. and further blood tests have been taken. She is still unwell and is being monitored. I would like to say that this was a good cruise, but the health issue has left us with no memorable thoughts. Of course the staff were brilliant as always, they all work very hard to please you. Will we cruise again? We have a cruise booked next year on the Marco Polo, but seriously after experiencing what we have just gone through........................... Read Less
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a ... Read More
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a new one. Not because it is better but because it is different.
The eccentricities and signs of age are apparent as soon as we had embarked at Cardiff and were shown to our cabin (number 130 - chosen by the operator as we had elected to a guaranteed outside cabin rather than choosing one). The first thing one notices is that there are only two electrical sockets - a 220 volt continental point and a 110 volt US point (plus an unnamed push button whose use we didn't bother to determine). In 1965 travellers probably only needed one point - but with the plethora of electrical appliances that are the stock in trade of the modern traveller, one power point is not really adequate.
The cabin lights were also rather primitive, with an array of ceiling lights none of which could be switched separately - it was all on or all off using the one switch by the cabin door - and two separate reading lights.
When we arrived in the cabin the air-conditioning wasn't working although, to be fair, the engineer was on site in less than an hour and fixed the problem. This was our first contact with the staff and was characteristic of all our relationships with the staff who were invariably efficient, helpful and pleasant. So 100% for that aspect of the cruise.
Having unpacked we need to find out the layout of the ship and then we discovered eccentricity number 2. The one thing that every passenger needs is a plan of the ship and this should be in every cabin - but not on the Marco Polo. Yes, plans there were a-plenty at reception - once one finds it. But why not in the cabins which is where they will be most needed? Having found a deck plan another eccentricity was evident (number 3 if you're counting). The ship's plan shows the names of all the decks: Navigator, Columbus, Amundsen, Magellan, Pacific, Atlantic, Baltic and Caribic - but the references in the daily activities guide (entitled The Explorer) gave only deck numbers (Eg. Deck 9 Aft). Of course it is not too difficult to write the deck number on the ship's plan oneself - but why on earth wasn't this done at the time of printing?
Before leaving the cabin one other eccentricity was evident, although we didn't bother to mention it to the staff as nothing could have been done. Our cabin floor was as bumpy as if the carpet had been laid across a ploughed field; goodness only knows what was underneath.
Finally, although we had paid extra for an outside cabin we might as well have saved our money as for 80% of the journey there were deadlights across the portholes. This is permitted under the normal terms and conditions but it is as well for prospective passengers to be aware of this possibility on the lower deck cabins of this vessel.
There are two restaurants on the Marco Polo, one waiter service and one self service and the food is good in both although that in the waiter-service restaurant is more interesting. The waiter service was very good.
It is a sad fact that many (maybe all?) cruise companies charge very competitive prices for their cruises and then seek to make up their profits on the extras. My own extras bill came to over £900, much of which was drinks. On board drinks will be duty-free and bought at a discount price, but any savings are not passed on to passengers. As an example, a glass of house wine was £6 and a bottle of beer £4.50 - both well over UK pub prices. A further indication of this can be seen at the water station where there is a stern notice which reads, "For Health and Hygiene reasons it is strictly prohibited to refill water bottles at the water station". Well, I suppose it is just possible that some infected person might have drunk from the neck of a water bottle and then refilled it when pressing that neck against the tap - but I doubt it's a very serious risk. More likely is it that Cruise and Maritime want to make sure that passengers buy the bottled water that they supply at a purely nominal £2,80 per bottle.
Cruise lines do have a monopoly and a captive market on board and this was evident from the price and range of the items for sale in the ship's shop. Proudly advertised as duty-free it was clear from the prices that any saving of duty was offset by an increase in profit. I needed to buy a pair of swimming trunks and the modest pair they had for sale was priced at £21 - about twice what a similar pair would have cost at home. The same excessive prices prevailed for most of the items on sale and I rarely saw anyone buying anything.
In part the paucity of sales could have been due to the poor stick selection, which was not appropriate for the passenger profile. My own guess is that the average age of the passengers as around 80 years and thus hardly likely to want to buy designer shopping bags or the like. But the one thing that they would all use and probably need would be a walking stick, since at least 50% of the passengers were using a walking aid of one sort or another. Walking stick can break, get lost or simply be forgotten but did the shop stock such things? No. The assistant there did tell me that sticks were frequently requested but that it wasn't an item they ever stocked. If would seem to me that the buyer needs to look harder at the passenger profiles.
The entertainment was of the usual variety and standard and little more needs to be said. The shore excursions were good enough but, as is so often the case, pricey for what they were.
In summary, one can understand why some people enjoy the quirkiness of the Marco Polo, but next time I will try a different line Read Less
Friends alerted us to an attractive last minute offer for a cruise around Iceland on CMV's Marco Polo. None of us had ever cruised with Cruise & Maritime Voyages before, it's not a cruise line we ever seriously looked at, but ... Read More
Friends alerted us to an attractive last minute offer for a cruise around Iceland on CMV's Marco Polo. None of us had ever cruised with Cruise & Maritime Voyages before, it's not a cruise line we ever seriously looked at, but with an interesting destination and a low price, we were interested. The date was perfect, and Iceland had been on my wish list of destinations for a long time. So my wife and I booked a Standard Plus outside cabin, and our friends a Superior.
Cardiff doesn't have a cruise terminal to speak of, the marquee didn't make a great first impression, but it was handy to have the car right out in front. Getting out of the port on the ship is an experience, there's a lock, and even with a ship of this modest size it's a tight fit.
The Marco Polo is over 50 years old, and we knew from the beginning that it can't be compared with modern ships. There is an upside to it, of course, because the design of the ship has a certain nostalgic charm. Add the fact that it only takes about 800 passengers, and you will understand that on this ship you won't get lost in the crowds. It's not massive, and there is no cold or minimalist modern design (except in some abstract art on walls here and there).
We were somewhat disconcerted to find that there were diesel fumes on our deck - even in the cabin. Although usually my sinuses are considered to be the most sensitive in our family, my wife had more serious trouble with the air quality in the cabin. Fortunately, the problem dissipated as soon as we were on our way - but kept coming back each time we were in port.
As for the ship, if you read reviews about the Marco Polo, you'll find that most people agree that a lot of the key areas on the ship look quite nice, but that Marco Polo 'looks tired' in places. I generally agree, although I would go a little further and say it looks shabby in some spots. I mean, I understand the part about it being an old ship and not being able to make it look like a new ship. Fair enough. But there is no excuse for shoddy maintenance - serious damage to carpets and wall panels, duct tape where a socket should be, etc. These are things that make a place look poor, and there is no need for it. Maintenance can and should be done properly, and with an eye for detail, whatever budget you cater for, whatever kind of cruise you're offering, however old the ship.
Speaking of maintenance, during the cruise we had to report four or five problems with our cabin: a dysfunctional bathroom light (never properly fixed, it did work, but not as it should), a safe we couldn't get into when it gave us an unjustifiable error (we had followed instructions in detail), a TV which seemed to have given up the ghost (fixed the same day), a safety rail connecting the bathroom door to the wall having been ripped out in rough weather (fixed the next day, leaving dozens of dangerous metal shavings on the floor, which our steward had to clean up when we discovered it after coming back to our cabin in the evening). I do have to mention that the people at reception are very understanding when you tell them about a complaint, and they immediately report it to the relevant department.
The ship has some nice lounges, a good nightclub, an atmospheric a la carte restaurant, a buffet bistro, a cosy library, a show lounge instead of a conventional theatre, and several other public spaces, all of which have been decorated quite homely but cheaply. But I wonder if the ship doesn't take too many passengers, because almost every single space feels like it has too much crammed in - with very little space between seats and tables. This is especially true for the buffet bistro, and I'll go so far as to say that it's too small to accommodate the many people who want to use it at peak times. Whether you're on outdoor person or not, often you have no choice and you just have to take your food outside. (Nice on a cruise to the Med, but not always so nice when you're circumnavigating Iceland in weather just above zero degrees Celsius.)
But all of this isn't what made me think of Fawlty Towers - it was what happened at mealtimes in the Waldorf restaurant, the a la carte restaurant, and the buffet bistro. On the face of it, the Waldorf operates much like similar restaurants on the ships of other cruise lines. Until you actually experience the meals. But let me tell you more about the place first. Decorated in pleasant colours, partially with a "stained glass ceiling" (it's plastic, CMV, don't call it what it isn't!), it looks and is quite cosy. Like elsewhere, each table has a permanent waiter assigned, and there are people milling about to offer drinking water, wines, etc.
We always dined with our friends, at a table for four. And after a few days, we got into the habit of having a bit of a laugh at the service we were getting. Don't get me wrong, it was usually friendly service with a smile, but it wasn't always very professional. Providing cutlery was hit and miss: sometimes we got it, sometimes we didn't, and had to ask. Sometimes we got the correct cutlery for a dish, but more often than not it was the wrong choice, or it was put in the wrong spot. Or it was taken away when we actually had to keep it (we were expected to use the same cutlery for several subsequent dishes). The waiter only remembered men's names and dietary requirements, the lady was forgotten, including the rather obvious fact that she was vegetarian (one day I had to swap soups with my wife, because even after checking with the waiter if a certain soup could be eaten by my wife, it turned out not to be vegetarian at all - fortunately mine was). Tables had two table cloths, and clearly the bottom ones didn't get washed during the cruise. Some problems I suspect weren't the waiter's fault, I had the impression that the kitchen wasn't very good in timing orders. Sometimes one person would be left out, even if everyone had ordered the same dish. And sometimes courses arrived too quickly, one day my wife had two plates waiting for her while she was finishing the food on the first. I do understand it can get a bit complicated when you offer people five (!) courses, and not everyone orders the same number of courses, but I have seen that handled a lot better elsewhere.
Breakfast and lunch can be interesting as well. They're not done in sittings, so you get shown to a table. One day there was no one to point me to a seat, so having reached the restaurant before the others, I sat down where we usually sit. I was immediately told off by an Eastern European unsmiling staff member who ordered me away from that seat, with the rather interesting reason "You can't sit there, because it's open seating!" Huh??? Doesn't open seating mean you can sit anywhere? Apparently not. I was assigned a different seat, and protesting that I was waiting for my wife and two friends didn't help, this rather curt lady wanted me at a table with five other guests. Only when I protested loudly that I was part of a party of four, did one of the waiters grasp what was going on, and explained it to the lady. By the time the others arrived I was quite upset. Not only had it been handled strangely, but I had been ordered about by a curt staff member, in a dictatorial tone, which isn't what I come on a cruise for, I expect to be treated nicely, friendly and smilingly. One of our friends had a similar experience at breakfast - returning to the table with a plate full of warm omelette (at least it was still warm at that point), a lady (same one?) wouldn't allow him to sit down! When he finally could, his omelette was no longer warm. Strange, and very unprofessional.
Most mistakes were just laughable, though. They were the source of lots of giggles at our table. So many reminded us of Manuel's mistakes in Fawlty Towers. It was good, though, that we didn't come across anyone who reminded us of Basil Fawlty!
I get the impression that not all the staff have been professionally trained - or maybe the ship didn't get the best ones, I don't know. I'll make an exception for our cabin steward, who was one of the best we've ever had. But some other crew members we had dealings with either weren't very good at what they did, or their English wasn't good enough to understand what we were saying to them. And some Eastern European staff clearly aren't used to smiling at people, or at treating passengers friendly.
Speaking of being friendly, we generally got on well with the passengers, although some weren't exactly the sort we were used to. I was shocked, for instance, when a man in front of us at a show turned around and threatened a man sitting next to us with physical violence if he didn't shut up. And he didn't sound like he was joking!
About the food - as far as I can tell, only the fruit was fresh, everything else seems to have come from the freezers or from tins. We had our suspicions that not everything was made from scratch either, with a lot having been bought in, like the cheap supermarket quality pizzas, to name an example. Kitchen staff also seem to have trouble understanding certain western dishes. For example, serving a Caesar salad with a lot of gravy is really weird! Having said that, we did enjoy most of the food. Yes, some was overcooked, some was too cold or too hard, but we enjoyed the majority of the dishes, and there was certainly enough to choose from. At some point during the cruise fish dishes started to taste a bit ' suspect' though, and we stopped ordering them. And then during the Q&A session with the captain and other leading crew members it became clear that they they prefer not to buy their fish fresh, so I suppose that explains it.
Upstairs, in the buffet cafetaria (Marco's Bistro), things can get worse. Overcooked duck, overcooked chips, cream chilled to such a low temperature that it's almost as if you're served frozen cream (in big lumps, with only more or less usable 'melted' bits in between), scones not defrosted in time because they're still ice cold and hard in the middle - my impression was that there's no quality control here. I suspect that once something reaches the buffet, staff are just happy that it's there, and they don't care if it's in an edible state or not. Add to that the situation with glasses, cups and plates, and milk, all of which the place tends ro run out quite quickly, and regularly, and I can only shake my head. Not very well organised. And you really do need to organise a buffet very well for it to function properly, and not to be a place where food comes to die a premature death.
Another thing I should mention about food, is the live cooking stations. In itself a good idea, I'm all for it. But as soon as you cook chips in advance, and then put them on a hot plate for a while, they're hard by the time people put them on their plate. The same goes for toast - providing toasting as a service for guests is great. Just don't pre-toast any bread, because I had hard to cut bread for days, until I had the idea to ask the man to give me freshly toasted bread. Just don't make toast in advance! But the chef at the egg cooking station in the Waldorf at breakfast is good at what he does. His overeasy eggs were much better than the overcooked poached egg I had in a dish at dinner.
One of our biggest problems on the ship, was noise in the night. I know that our friends and a lot of other passengers didn't have the problems we did, so it must have been the position of our cabin (the most forward outside cabin on deck 6), but when seas weren't very calm (and they weren't for most of the cruise), there was a lot of noise. There was a continual loud banging, some kind of electronic-sounding noise, and there were loud noises every time we docked. All of these noises robbed us of a lot of sleep. A great pity, because the beds were comfortable, and without those noises I would have slept like a baby.
Entertainment was in the show lounge, the Marco Polo lounge. Most nights the ship's singers and dancers performed shows, and occasionally there were guest performers. We weren't impressed with the guest performers. But the singers and dancers were quite good - certainly the dancers, and most of the singers. Considering the limited means at their disposal, without backgrounds, not a lot of space, and very few props, I think they did a really good job. Most of the shows were not only entertaining, but actually quite good. Something else we liked, was using the singers elsewhere on the ship. On the rear deck at sailaway, in the nightclub. Excellent idea.
One of my favourite facilities on the ship was the sauna. On cruises I like to do two things every day, several times a day: have a swim, and use the sauna. Since the pool was netted off for the whole cruise, that left the sauna. It had a good, high temperature, and was open for 12 hours a day. Perfect.
Ports and excursions were well chosen. We liked most of the ports - only Belfast will never be one of our favourites. The excursions were well organised, and stops well chosen. In fact, one of the excursions, Jewels of the North, was one of the best we've ever been on. It was great to see and experience some of Iceland's geological phenomena up close, and to get them explained so well.
I'm aware that most of the above may come across as quite critical. So does that mean we didn't enjoy the cruise? No, it doesn't, generally speaking we did enjoy the cruise, and in a lot of ways very much so, in fact. It's just that I think the company and the ship's crew are missing a few tricks here and there, and I think they could do better.
But if a chance comes up to go another CMV cruise, we would consider it - at the right price. We don't think their full prices offer value for money, but at the right price we could be interested. Read Less
We boarded and informed the ship had only one engine. This was replaced 12 days into our cruise. This meant we were unloaded and loaded at small jetties spent hours on coaches and less time at our destinations. A lock broke near Frankfurt ... Read More
We boarded and informed the ship had only one engine. This was replaced 12 days into our cruise. This meant we were unloaded and loaded at small jetties spent hours on coaches and less time at our destinations. A lock broke near Frankfurt which put us back another 12 hours. The ship is not fit for purpose. The toilet system broke down 3 times. Internet very bad reception. T V was in German had not been switched to a English satellite. The food was O K but deserts terrible. Coffee in the restaurant to strong and cold complained to the Hotel Manager but no improvement. Staff in restaurant needed training not serving ladies first, reaching across to deliver or pick up plates. The temperature control in our cabins did not work. We some times had to endure unpleasant smells when docked closed to other ships. The ship needed net curtains to most cabins for privacy when in port or docked next to another ship. Read Less
We chose CMV for the itinerary that started in Singapore and ended in London 46 days later. The ship was a total delight - small but with many stylish lounges, a walk-around promenade deck, two sunny pools, and three free restaurant ... Read More
We chose CMV for the itinerary that started in Singapore and ended in London 46 days later. The ship was a total delight - small but with many stylish lounges, a walk-around promenade deck, two sunny pools, and three free restaurant choices in addition to the buffet.
Our interior cabin 4117 was spacious, quiet, and very steady during windy portions of the trip.
Since George and I enjoyed every day on board and would do this cruise again, suffice it to say we really liked the food, entertainments, spa services, reading lounges, cabin attendants, cruise directors, casino folks, craft classes, passenger choir, afternoon tea, the informative lectures, and so many other aspects of this cruise.
The ambience was relaxed - like being home - rather than super luxe. That made the cruise restful. With many sea days, we were able to read some great books. How nice is that - cruising along and reading?
We did not buy a beverage package and survived quite well on tea, coffee, water, and an occasional Schweppes Bitter Lemon over ice.
Lovely cruise, lovely staff, a variety of cuisines, and at a good price. Thank you CMV!!! Read Less
My husband and I traveled to London from America to celebrate my 60th birthday . It was our first time to be in Europe and it's beautiful. I would rate the places we went as Very Good. Embarkation and disembarkation is OK.
I was ... Read More
My husband and I traveled to London from America to celebrate my 60th birthday . It was our first time to be in Europe and it's beautiful. I would rate the places we went as Very Good. Embarkation and disembarkation is OK.
I was so disappointed with the ship . Our cabin is in the 4th floor and once you get in the hallway it smell like SEWER. I heard people complained about the smell. But nothing was done about it.
The Entertainment show is so horrible that some people walked out of the show. It was amateur singer and dancer. The singer are out of tune and you can't even tell if they were singing or screaming. The outfit of the dancer are so tacky and the performance is so horrible. The magician who did the show his magic trick could be done by a 10 year old. So amateur and so CHEAP. It's laughable. We been cruising quite a bit and entertainment is big for us. We always look forward for good show and was never been disappointed . But this ship the show they gave us is very insulting. CMV need to hire Professional people to entertain their customer. AT breakfast or lunch people talked about how bad the prior night performance was. There's nothing to do so you end up watching half the horrible show and walked out .
If you like their activities like Board game, Darts tournament, carpet bowl, table tennis ,Knit & Natter , Bridge and song from the 40"s then this is your ship. We were bored beyond bored. Try to watch Tv on your cabin they only give you 1 movie all day.
The food is Ok I won't complain about it.
They need to improved their customer service. Excursion is Ok and I like the countries we went.
When we came back to America I was asked by co worker , friends & family about the cruise line. I told them NEVER take a cruise with CMV Voyages Magellan. It's not a cruise ship that you recommend to friends and family. Read Less
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who was very helpful and pleasant.
We travelled on the Magellan last year to the Northern Lights and I must say that the ship has gone down hill since then. The food in the Raffles Grill at breakfast was good but people stay at the tables after their breakfast and it is hard at times to find a table. We were seated in the Kensington Restaurant (2nd sitting). The food served was not as good as last year and several times had to be returned as it was cold. This applies to us and others on our table. The two waiters that we had on our table were very good. We were on a table of eight and had a great time with the other guests. We went to the Indian fusion twice and will say it was excellent and very good value.
Now the bad points. Why do CMV seem to think that everyone over 65 likes classical music. In the bar at the Kensington restaurant before dinner there was a violinist and a pianist playing classical music. In one of the bars early evening there was a guitarist playing Spanish music in my opinion very badly. Guest lecturers talking about art, Quizzes, game shows ,nit and natter, carpet bowls and painting made up the daytime so called entertainment then there were the shows . I have never seen such a load of out of tune and out of sync dancers and singers on any ship that we have been on,the shows were terrible. This is not only my opinion. We met others who said the entertainment was DIRE, who walked out shortly after it started. There were at least another half a dozen couples who said the same thing
This ship needs to liven up its act and realise that just because a lot of people are elderly they cant enjoy a bit of lively music to dance to earlier than 11pm. I am 74 and find it boring.
Shore excursions very expensive.
Would we travel on CMV again, possibly. but not the Magellan. Read Less
Good value for money, not too big a ship. It sailed well and felt comfortable despite a swell on the sea our first full day at sea, I never felt it like others did. Lunch was available before we sailed on the 13th and it was a lovely ... Read More
Good value for money, not too big a ship. It sailed well and felt comfortable despite a swell on the sea our first full day at sea, I never felt it like others did. Lunch was available before we sailed on the 13th and it was a lovely buffett, good selection and included a special diet buffett for vegetarians, vegans and diabetics, the diabetic desserts were very good in taste and presentation. No after taste. The bars were very comfortable, I made the Taverners my spot as great window seating to spend drinking after dinner and enjoying the sea or fjords scenery. The evening meals in the Waldorf were delicious, five courses... wow. Lots of selections and all very well presented and delicious... I never heard one complaint. The breakfast buffett was full English, a buffet of croissants, pastries. An omellette station, there was porridge, a cereal station... then lunch buffet from 1130 to die for. Or you could go to your designated restaurant and sit down for breakfast or lunch. I liked the buffet, everyone chatty in the buffet area's when eating. Very friendly cruise. Always someone happy to have a conversation. The staff were kept on their feet and I felt for them working so hard to keep our tables cleared, and cups supplied. I will say on day one the 13th it seemed everyone of the 1200 passengers wanted a cup of tea and got bitchy when cups ran out and they had to wait five to ten minutes for fresh ones. I did point out that a dish washing machine has a cycle and that's about ten minutes long. Some rude passengers who bitched about anything and everything, I guess they enjoy being miserable or unreasonable because the crew did a great job. Good service everywhere, good cabin staff, discreet. Bar staff kept very busy, hardly time to look up and smile much as they were busy making cocktails by the dozen, lol. Great drinks package, I mean you could drink yourself into oblivion as most cocktails included, also spirits included. My friend had double whiskies every night - bells? I loved the small gym. I liked the decks to sit out on. The ship was very comfortable. Evening entertainment is what you make it, sit there or dance. The shows were fun, not west end but good enough with fantastic male and female vocals.. lovely voices. I can't wait to go again. There are short cruises coming up of two or three nights I hope to catch.. the Captains cocktail hour was fun. The Captain was seen every morning on deck available to the public as he always did a walk through. Very nice. Thanks Magellan. Read Less
we've just come back from majestic fjords with beautiful scenery and weather but alas was a disaster
the ship was full
the room was small uncomfortable and very noisy
broken sleep with funnel next door
no transfer of ... Read More
we've just come back from majestic fjords with beautiful scenery and weather but alas was a disaster
the ship was full
the room was small uncomfortable and very noisy
broken sleep with funnel next door
no transfer of room available
several complaints unresolved reception issues
couldn't get a buffet table was like being on a Costa ship
Also the cost was very reasonably priced on the face of it..
When you factors in cost of excursions and car parking then not so reasonable.
if the basics are not right.. then you can't really fully enjoy the good bits.
Majestic fjord land
Very relaxing with beautiful scenery
Awesome in fact but that's the natural side of fjords for you with 3d passages that melt away and mountain overhangs you can almost touch as the ship sails through occasional narrow channels but you have to be up on deck at the right time to see them
1 particular spot was like the scene from Jason and the argonauts were Neptune pops up out of the water to save the ship from clashing cliff tops.
from other previous holiday comments weather could be very wet especially in Bergen but Unexpectedly the weather was gloriously sunny all week although occasionally very windy and cold
Free use of safe
Tea making but limited with small table and kettle
Only 2 sockets in room
Bed very uncomfortable and small for me
Good value food with excellent English breakfast
On gala and captains night the cuisine was excellent on other nights could be average though
Cream teas and biscuits are to die for unfortunately everyone else felt the same.! when everyone comes back from days out at same time there are queues and shoving going on then finding a table is difficult too when ship is at capacity,
which rather takes most of the pleasure out of it.
The food is very good in general if not repetitive tho, sometimes bland and not very hot all of the time but one has to remember the cost of some of the cruises.
The service is good in general as the staff trying hard to accommodate everyone but again because of this you can be waiting for 15 mins or more for a drink in certain bars.
Cocktails of the day are usually very good and reasonably cheap at £3.50 per day.
They did a wheat beer at same price which was a bonus as it's 1 of my favourites even tho its £1.25 in aldis I was just happy to see it as most cruises don't seem to accommodate wheat beer usually
Small room and shower
Our room 5111 very noisy all day and all night
Also had smelly gas smells from engines and main funnel
Complained twice but not taken seriously.
Like trying to sleep on a rollercoaster
1st time they sprayed carpet for smells
2nd time gave me ear plugs which were not adequate.
Said they were full and couldn't change my room but found out later that they hold back some rooms in case of emergency.
So our 50th and 60th birthday holiday was spoiled through lack of sleep and rest.
1st dining time too early and 2nd too late
Only 1 buffet restaurant which was packed full several times with no spare tables and a scramble to get anything.
The 2 main service restaurants too slow when busy and food some times not hot enough even when not busy.
Excursions over priced and not good value when you can walk off and do some of the so called tours for nothing or a lot less when you just pop into tourist information and a small "what's available?" Read Less
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, ... Read More
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, AmaWaterways, Celebrity, Marella Dream, FO x2.
This was our first time to the Fjords and, wow, what absolutely stunning scenery. The weather was absolutely perfect, not a drop of rain and barely a cloud in the sky.
Very efficient. The cases were being taken out of the car before the engine was even switched off. We were called forward at our allocated boarding time of 12, spent about 15 minutes queuing, all the formalities were done really quickly and onboard we went and to our cabin, which was ready. No glass of fizz though. Nina, our cabin stewardess whizzed us through all we needed to know, by which time our cases had arrived and we were good to go for lunch which was being served around the ship. On disembarkation we had to leave the cabin at 7, assemble in our allocated lounge at 8.30 and we were called off at around that time. There was a queue of around 15/20 minutes for the shuttles back to the car park. Tilbury is a really quaint little cruise terminal and it was delightful to sail from there.
We had a forward outside ‘superior’ cabin on Deck 6. Nice picture window, although pretty filthy (as were all of the windows although we did see crew trying to clean them with lowered hoses)! Cabin was small and plain, but adequate. TBH most cabins seemed much of a muchness in terms of size. Kettle and supplies were provided but no fridge. No complaints about the bathroom and the shower was fine. Oh yes, the toilet did stop flushing from time to time, which was a bit awkward first thing in the morning, but was fixed quite quickly. I wondered if it was because, unusually, the toilet paper was pretty thick and luxurious?!
Quickly moving on, we had no particular issues with noise or vibrations, the aircon was rather noisy though and could only be turned up or down, I suppose you get used to it, but I did find it a little warm at night.
The bed was comfortable and the extra half-pillow used on the bed instead of a cushion got a gold star from me. Extra pillows and duvets were stored in the wardrobes and all looked clean and fresh. My one gripe was that the bottom sheet was stretchy cotton, which had that ‘bobbly’ kind of feel, OH didn’t even notice though.
The flatscreen TV showed various channels including BBC and Sky News plus 2 films a day.
Yes, it’s an old ship. The decoration and furnishing is quite basic but it’s clean. It’s not quaint and charming, but it is small, you can sit inside and see from one side to the other, you know that you are at sea. There are lots of little outside areas to explore. However, a number of these are smoking areas, including the outdoor heated area by the pool! 2 of the whirlpools were open during our trip, and towards the end the pools were filled with freezing water which looked really murky. Not very inviting!
Before we sailed, I was having grave misgivings about this area. But I suppose that the half a stone I put on in a week is an indicator that my fears were groundless.
There are 2 main restaurants, Kensington and Waldorf, which operate 2 sittings for dinner. Both serve up 5/6 course evening meals. Portions are not huge but I felt that the quality was pretty good. Plenty of fresh vegetables and meat that looked like it had come from an actual animal. There were also themed nights – Greek for example where the waiters dressed up and did a bit of Greek dancing, and Italian. All in all a bit of fun!
We had requested a table of 6 late sitting, and were put on a table of 8 with just one other couple. It wasn’t a problem though, the other couple were lovely and eventually we arranged ourselves so that we could all look out of the window at the stunning scenery passing by.
For breakfast you could opt for cabin service, free if you just wanted drinks and croissants/toast or £10 to include cooked breakfast, self-service in the bistro, hybrid waiter / self service in Waldorf or full service in Kensington. Now, I don’t really do buffets for hygiene reasons but the full service restaurant was really slow so we mostly ate in Waldorf where there was an excellent egg/omelette station in addition to the other breakfast goodies or the served dish of the day such as egg benedict, smoked salmon and eggs or corned beef hash. The breakfast spread was pretty good to be fair although the fruit juice and coffee were undrinkable.
A similar system was in operation at lunchtime, with full service lunch in the Kensington. When the weather permitted there was also an outdoor grill, serving hotdogs, burgers and chips on the pool deck and, my particular favourite, a pizza station in the buffet, open from 11 til 5, perfect for a late lunch on a port day. The pizza was absolutely delicious and I think primarily responsible for my alarming weight gain.
Afternoon tea is served in the buffet at 3.30. This was a complete bunfight, with people dipping their spoons into huge bowls of cream and jam after having started to eat their tea en route from one buffet station to another, licking their fingers as they went.
There is no late-night buffet, but canapés do circulate in the lounges, including tasty little samosas and spring rolls, infinitely preferable!
A word or two on the ‘speciality dining’. We did the ‘Chef’s table’ which was a ‘reception’ with the restaurant manager and the chef, photographs, a quick galley tour with the chef followed by a 10 course menu with wines and dedicated waiter. The cost of this is £60pp, discounted if you have already taken one of the drinks packages. There were 8 of us in a private area and it was such a excellent evening I would thoroughly recommend it. This is not ‘pushed’ very much around the ship, so if you want to do it, you have to put your name down with the Restaurant manager and, if they get enough interest they will send you an invitation.
We also went to the curry Fusion restaurant – which was an area of the buffet separated off. This costs £15, discounted once again if you have the drinks package. I was a bit reluctant to do this because to be frank, the congealed dishes of curry they were displaying at the entrance to the buffet on the day we boarded hardly looked appetising. You get a plate of mixed appetisers, a rolled up popadum, rice and breads plus one main course and some very sweet desserts. Delicious!
There was the usual range of daytime activities, quizzes, craft classes, lectures. In the evening, there were 2 shows at 7.15 and 9.15 which meant that second sitting guests had to go to the show before dinner. Not my preferred arrangement, but the reason for this was that the singers often had to perform again in the lounge at around 10.30. The show team, 4 singers, 6/7 dancers worked hard with very limited costumes and virtually no sets. There was a small live orchestra though. I thought the shows were ok, not exactly West End standard, but then I often don’t think much of them!. The guest artist was a comedian who did shows on 2 nights, I gave the second show a miss. Most of the action after the show took place in the Capatain’s Club lounge. Usually there was some kind of ‘gameshow’, hosted by the CD then cabaret by one or more of the singers followed by a DJ who managed to put a dampener on any dancing and send everyone to bed! There was limited entertainment in the other bars in the form of sets by a pianist and a pianist/violinist duo.
The CD didn’t seem to do an awful lot, other than host the gameshow and say a few words at the end of the production shows, and was not very visible, but perhaps he did a lot behind the scenes.
This area was admittedly a little variable. On the one hand, our waiters in Waldorf for dinner were excellent, as good as any anywhere. OH was on a special diet and well looked after with the next day menus and so on. On the other hand, it was often difficult to get served in the bars. All good things come to those who wait, but sometimes you had to wait a very long time.
Our cabin stewardess was efficient and made us a mouse towel animal on embarkation. The only towel animal we have ever had!
I think they said that there were 42 nationalities of crew, some of the service staff didn’t speak perfect English, maybe that was something to do with it plus the fact that the ship was full.
There was a very high proportion of first time cruisers onboard and a lot of passengers came from the Kent/Essex area. Everyone was very friendly and there was very little moaning going on! Top notch! This was an adult only sailing with passengers from their twenties to their eighties, with the average age probably mid fifties. Read Less
The Marco Polo is an old ship but she's been lovingly looked after. She's kept spotlessly clean by the staff. The cabin we had (for 3 people) was a little small (I had the top "bunk") but again it's clean and ... Read More
The Marco Polo is an old ship but she's been lovingly looked after. She's kept spotlessly clean by the staff. The cabin we had (for 3 people) was a little small (I had the top "bunk") but again it's clean and perfect for our cruise of a week.
It's not a big ship (800 passengers) and that means it doesn't feel impersonal by any means.
The choice of food in both restaurants is amazing - tasty and plentiful. You won't starve on this ship. Free tea and coffee and water available at all times. Never ran out of anything.
All crew were lovely, friendly and helpful.
If you suffer from sea sickness then ask for a cabin on the lower floors. We were on the Navigator deck and we could feel movement , tho not unpleasant.
The cruise we did was down the Seine from Bristol, stopping at Honfleur (so pretty), Rouen (ok), Guernsey (lovely) and Scilly isles. The ship doesn't go into port at the Scilly isles and the sea too rough for the tender so we couldn't do that trip sadly.
Overall, I would highly recommend her. Read Less
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects:
It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so ... Read More
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects:
It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so although quite rough seas it didn't roll too much so no sea sickness. It had a cinema with recent releases being shown. They had a good speaker on board who shared his Vulcan experiences so being into aviation this was a nice surprise. The cabins were very well appointed with plenty of space for clothes etc. The staff were very friendly and we received good service. They provided shuttle buses at all the ports for independent travellers not going on the excursions so there weren’t the long walks that we have had on other cruise providers
Next the not so good aspects
The cabins were noisy and vibration from the engines could be felt all night long. We couldn't work out whether this was the location of our cabin - deck 4 mid ship but I suspect that it was throughout the ship but the beds were very comfortable so didn't affect our sleep. The general consensus was 'the more you pay the more you sway' .The service in the Olissipo restaurant was quite slow and the food average. We did treat ourselves to the steak bar and had an excellent 8 course meal although one of the steaks was too tough and went back. The schedules weren't kept to due to rough weather (not their fault) so we only ended up with 4 full days ashore and 4 half days. Our trip to the Scillies was cancelled which was disappointing. We felt that the information provided by the excursion team was poor for independent travellers. For instance when we went to Invergordon we were told that it was difficult to get the public transport into Inverness and that we should take the £25 ship transfer. In fact there was a bus that went straight into Inverness and cost only £12 return. Clearly they were more interested in selling the excursions. There were 2 sizes of wine on offer a large and small glass but despite repeated requests for a small glass, large ones (187ml) always arrived. So we ended up buying a bottle which was cheaper.
Overall it is a good value boat and CMV are recommended as good organisers. We would go on Astoria again. Read Less
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ... Read More
I'm fed-up with moaning minnies who comment unfavourably on this 70-year old 'real ship' because it doesn't seem to match up to the vast majority of the bland 'floating blocks of flats' (i.e. most other cruise ships). Of course it doesn't! Anybody who does the most basic of research should KNOW what they can expect of the Astoria. This is a 'travel experience' and all the better for i! Consider these facts; (1) Pretty straightforward arrival/departure arrangements at smaller ports (Poole in this instance); (2) Great destinations (because she's a small ship and can get into places that the leviathans can't); (3) ALL cabins have bath, bidet and shower (OK, possibly slightly tired - but more or less unheard of on newer ships); (4) Other reviewers' adverse comments made about the food are frankly PATHETIC (see later); (5) Friendly crew who appear to go out of their way to be helpful; (6) Sensibly-priced on-board drinks (billed in sterling) with a good selection; (7) Very acceptable leisure-facilities given her small size; (8) Unbeatable value for money as long as you are not expecting The Ritz.
We paid just £492 each and achieved a 'one grade' upgrade to an outside cabin, which was a bonus - but the review wouldn't have changed even if we had been in the inside cabin that we had expected. Bear in mind that the basic 'real cost' will actually always be £7 per day each higher because of the addition of the 'automatic gratuity' - so in our case that made it £562 each. Allowing for our travel costs, car-parking (£100 in this case), four port-excursions and a drink or two each day, our holiday-cost increased to just a smidge under £1000 each. Where else can you get full-board accommodation and be transported around the country with organised excursions for just £100 per day?
The food in Astoria's restaurant is EXCELLENT (and not at all bad in the buffet). I've not had better Beef Wellington or Fillet Mignon for example. We always push the boat out and have all five courses at dinner (OK, so the 'sophisticated' might say that this is not good form - but I don't care!) and the quantities are entirely adequate.
I suppose that anybody paying the top-prices (we heard of some passengers who had paid a basic price of aproaching £1800 each) might feel perturbed that they had to 'endure' the riff-raff (not that there was anybody actually like that on our cruise - just 'normal' folk', expectedly all of age 65+) since there is absolutely no segregation (everybody eating the same food in the same restaurants, using the same bars, seeing the same entertainment and using the same ship's-tenders when transferring ashore from anchor-ports) - which is why the canny traveller will opt for the lower-priced deals.
The entertainment-team work hard and their 'Round The World' show in particular was simply fun to see after our second-sitting dinner (a really nice table of 8 incidentally, with an excellent steward). The two guest-comedians (two shows each) generated a good number of laughs at each performance.
There were a couple of intersting talks by a guest-lecturer in the room which doubles as a cinema (some good films were shown, but the time of showing did not suit second-sitting diners), - but again, don't expect an I-Max style experience.
I genuinely believe that people of 'normal expectation' can have little grounds to fault this splendid old ship. My advice is to travel on her whilst you still can, with just the one caveat that those of impaired mobility might be better-advised to look elsewhere (getting on and off the ship itself - and especially on and off the tenders at anchor-ports - calls for a modest degree of agility). Read Less
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly ... Read More
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly Isles. At the start we only had half a day in both Dunkirk and Invergordon. At the end, the Scilly Isles was cancelled altogether because of rough weather forecast and difficulty of boarding tenders to go ashore. Indeed arrangements for getting passengers ashore were generally very unsatisfactory particularly bearing in mind that at least the half passengers seemed to have mobility issues. In many cases, apart from tenders it involved walking down a steep set of rickety steps. Not the best we have experienced. As Tresco was the only coach trip we had booked we and many others were bitterly disappointed. There were frequent shuttle buses at most ports of call though which were very good once ashore. The food was terrible. Breakfast was the best. Portions were minute. One roast potato, slice of carrot and piece of broccoli in the dining room. Matchbox sized portions of cheesecake. I actually lost 3lbs!!! The bar & wine waiter were obviously under instructions to ignore whatever the customer asked for and only to give large measures. We were going to tip our room steward extra but a couple of days before the end I asked for another toilet roll and was told it was rationed!!!! So no tip! All in all I am sorry to say I cannot recommend this cruise and based on what we had CMV either. Read Less
I choose this cruise mainly because of the destination and from the reviews thought the ship although old would be ok. First let me say i love cruising and have done 45-50 cruises with very few complaints but honestly this cruise ship and ... Read More
I choose this cruise mainly because of the destination and from the reviews thought the ship although old would be ok. First let me say i love cruising and have done 45-50 cruises with very few complaints but honestly this cruise ship and CMV have a lot to answer for.
Our cabin 216 was small and we had 1 small porthole and had paid for an oceanview. The porthole was closed for 11 days of a 15 day cruise, whilst they do it for safety reasons there were times we were docked and still it was kept closed we had ask on several occasions to have it opened. We could have had an internal cabin for some $1000 less each.The smell of diesal and the crew smoking was there for the entire cruise.
The ship was full to capacity 800 in a ship this size is just not on. Everything was full the buffett was a fight at every meal to find a seat and the quality was really bad even the 3 coffee machines were continually out of order. The dining room although a little better was way below standard.
I paid for a VIP package please dont do it !! the wine list is a joke there are 2 white wines and 2 red wines from there signature drinks and 2 from the standard package to choose from i couldnt believe it. They some other wines by the bottle but they had to be paid for and you couldnt get them by the glass. With the other drinks if you wanted anything that wasnt on the drinks menu you couldnt have it !!! also the system they have is that you can only order from a waitor and cant get a drink from the bar.
The entertainment was an insult except a young lady soprano who was great the biggest joke was when showtime came at night and old bloke with a banjo came out and started a singalong , i had to laugh !!! the showband seriously was that bad that the singers who did individual shows they didnt even play. I could go on.
Excursions altho expensive were good and well organised.
This company are treating the elderly british with contempt in my opinion .
Go with this ship and company at your peril and as i said i have done nearly 50 cruises and cant believe all i wanted to do was get off . Read Less
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, ... Read More
We wanted a taste of river cruising so this seemed ideal. Embarkation at Poole was quick however a little back to front, you picked up your cruise card at the port, then got on the ship to "check in", have passports checked etc, then were taken to your cabin where your room keys were waiting for you.
We booked last minute so the only available cabin was "Inside Guarantee" which was surprisingly larger than expected although really disappointed that the beds could not be put together to form a double. No kettle/tea/coffee making facilities. Bath in bathroom was a bonus.
Entertainment was pretty basic, don't get me wrong, the all worked really, really hard but don't expect any Broadway type shows!
We found the menu in the Restaurant quite limited and basic, and the portions fairly small. Staff were really helpful and friendly, no long waits at either bar or restaurants. Cocktail of the Day was a nice touch. No "snacks" available late night or if you miss breakfast (which ends at 930am)
Due to bad weather most out door areas were mostly closed and the crossing both there and back was the worst I've ever experienced, sick bags and sickness pills were in plentiful supply!
Both stops (Honfleur and Rouen) were really pretty, we did not book excursions but visited the areas where the shuttle bus dropped you.
Casino was a bit of a waste really, only 1 member of staff to run a Blackjack Table or Roulette Table alternatively between giving out tokens for the slots. Read Less
Last minute cruise with interesting itinerary; however travellers beware, you get what you pay for. The ship has limited facilities for pleasure on sea days; the entertainment was poor at the best of times. The excursions were not great ... Read More
Last minute cruise with interesting itinerary; however travellers beware, you get what you pay for. The ship has limited facilities for pleasure on sea days; the entertainment was poor at the best of times. The excursions were not great value for money and were limited. Excursion staff had limited knowledge and did not understand you as their English was limited. This also applies to the reception crew.
If you wanted to lose weight on a cruise this is the one to go on; the food was extremely poor with limited choice and odd combinations of food were put together. What the chef described as a cheese and onion tart was in fact a slice of quiche served with parsley sauce. The chef obviously lacked imagination and flair and did not have an educated palette for flavours. I am well aware of food recycling to ensure budgets are met; however I think bread and butter pudding or a combination of different egg custards everyday can get boring especially when lacking flavour.
The best meal of the day was breakfast; however even a microwave technician can cook an egg.
On a positive note the superior outside cabin was comfortable and clean. Cabin boys diligent in their work ethic. Read Less
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block ... Read More
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block of flats on a barge. We found our cabin very adequate and it was kept scrupulously clean by our delightful steward Putu. Shower was excellent and endless clean towels. The food and service we found to be excellent and lots of choice and everything very crisp and fresh. We found all staff very very kind and helpful and cleanliness throughout the shop was faultless.
We were not very interested in entertainment as we love sea watching and sky watching and reading so could entertain ourselves.The ship seemed very buzzy and fun though if one wanted entertainment.
We would have liked more information about where we were at sea and maybe maps.
We were not very happy with one of our excursions and found staff not very able to deal with this and the other people who complained. Dealt with now.
A small complaint about an altogether great value and very very lovely cruise.
Cannot wait for the next one already booked. Read Less