This is our third time with CMV, and the second time we’ve been on the Magellan. The value for money is outstanding, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of our fellow passengers obviously went on the cruise simply to find fault with ... Read More
This is our third time with CMV, and the second time we’ve been on the Magellan. The value for money is outstanding, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of our fellow passengers obviously went on the cruise simply to find fault with anything they could, some of the best entertainment was listening to the moaning! Too many sea days and it was too cold in the Canaries were amongst our favourites - along with "the trouble with cruise ships is that they can't fly"... If you’re unhappy with life, then a cruise isn’t going to put it right, however hard they try. And the ship staff do try!
Our last cruise was on the Regal Princess – with over 4000 passengers. Throughout the cruise, I kept asking myself if there was anything I missed from the Regal that wasn’t available on Magellan and really couldn’t think of anything. In fact, the smaller ship had many advantages over the larger ship – it was friendlier (you saw people twice!) and much easier to find your way around.
We were delighted to find ourselves on the same table – with the same waiter – as last time on the Magellan. Zay Yar, hailing from Myanmar is still by far the best waiter we’ve had on any ship. Eating on the second sitting let him advise on dishes – if we chose something that didn’t go down too well on the first sitting, then he’d let us know. I can’t think that there was anything I didn’t like during the whole cruise. I’m not keen on desserts, so he’d always bring a cold starter or salad instead – and dealt with my allergy to cheese superbly – especially on Italian night, where he went through the menu the night before. Overall, we found the food to be excellent in the restaurants.
We didn’t really go to the buffet, except for a couple of breakfasts as it was open slightly later than the restaurants. Having the drinks package meant that we didn’t have to serve ourselves with orange juice – and the day we went, I spotted a “minute steak special” – the regular waiters had no idea, but as soon as I asked the Maitre d’ (just look for stripes!), he asked where I was sitting and brought it to me. That’s my type of buffet! We sat by the pool and had no problem getting a table, but it’s a shame that breakfast isn’t served later in the restaurants, although it's still buffet style, we preferred it. The Waldorf tended to be quieter at breakfast and lunch as it’s at the end of the ship, both serve the same food.
We’re gold passengers, so had a 5% discount on the drinks package, making it just over £16 a day, which we found to be good value, especially as it let us try out some cocktails – some of them we really wouldn’t have twice (like the Apotheke, a dreadful mix of crème de menthe, Martini Rosso and something else!) But I quickly got something I liked to take the taste away! We were impressed by the quality of the house wines and sparkling wine, although it would have been nice if tea/coffee were included.
For the first time, we had a guaranteed cabin saving some money, meaning that we hadn’t chosen the cabin. Another first was that our baggage actually arrived before we did! We were very happy with 6082 until the sea was very rough on the way back and there was a very bad hammering noise. We’d convinced ourselves that they wouldn’t do anything about it, but after no sleep, I finally snapped at around 5am one morning and we called reception. Within minutes, a friendly face appeared, couldn’t fix the problem and said he’d report it to reception. A few minutes later, the phone rang and said that we could have a “sleeping cabin” on deck 4. We went in our dressing gowns and slept for the rest of the night. Why we didn’t do it sooner is beyond me, and very much our fault for not letting CMV have the chance to rectify the situation, which they did very well indeed. After all, they can’t put right a problem they don’t know about.
The cabins are fine, if simple – one tip is that the toiletries are basic, so if you’re fussy, then bring your own favourite brands. Unlike some other passengers, we didn’t get any towel animals which are always a bit of fun.
Fellow passengers were a fair mix – if you’re under 60, it’s a great way to feel young as most passengers will be older than you, although on the whole CMV passengers do seem to be full of life. There aren’t many ships where the main lounge is still busy after midnight! We're always delighted to see a smattering of fellow EU citizens on the ship from the Netherlands and Germany, just giving it that more cosmopolitan edge. Having said that, we were exceedingly careful to keep our political views to ourselves during the trip, knowing that we'd probably disagree with the vast majority of fellow cruisers.
You really need to go with the flow with the daytime activities and evening entertainment – as much as carpet bowls on a rocky ship can be very entertaining, it’s true to say there are some things to laugh at, rather than laugh with…
Christmas day was a bit quiet – until dinner – when we had rocket balloons which were exceptionally entertaining – probably the most fun meal I’ve ever had. Santa Claus was also kind - cufflinks, cards and chocolates were on the beds which was a nice touch.
We were a little surprised to find no theatre entertainment on New Year’s Eve, but after dinner, it was great fun.
The excursions well organised and interesting, and not too dear if you compare them with other cruise lines. Having spent $199 (plus $3.95 connection) on the Regal for 4 hours of internet, £35 for 12 hours wasn’t too bad at all, although I do wonder when it’ll be a little faster.
I’ve no idea why, but we were invited to the Captain’s table one night which was a lovely and unexpected touch. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and felt very spoiled and privileged, having two senior officers and the Captain as dinner companions, although I did joke about having to eat with the staff! The next day, we were invited onto the bridge which is always fascinating.
One thing that does need addressing, however, was that the gangways were inadequate, especially in Tenerife where it was a rickety staircase from Deck 5, not even a ramp. Considering the amount of frail and disabled passengers onboard, CMV really does need to liaise better with the port authorities.
Ports - Amsterdam
- 10 minutes easy walk into town for the able bodied, although a new cruise terminal is being built out of the city. We just had a coffee with friends.
- If you’ve done the rock tour, then there’s not that much else to do. The walk into town is an easy 10-20 minutes, no need for a taxi if you’re able bodied. The biggest disappointment for some was that M&S was closed as it was Boxing Day!
- Fire island tour – fascinating volcanic landscape, the only shame is that the tour didn’t drop us into town, rather than having to get the shuttle bus back in.
- First time I’d been – we had a wander around and a nice lunch on the square near the ship after nearly being ripped off at a beach café. We were lucky that the Science Museum had an open day - it was very interesting.
- Probably the outstanding tour of the trip – La Orotava was an amazingly gorgeous little town, with a highlight of a huge nativity scene at the Town Hall. We then went to Puerto de la Cruz, unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time there, but we were supposed to leave earlier than we did due to not tendering in Madeira. Again, the tour bus didn’t drop us off in town after our excursion, so we had to go to the cruise terminal and back onto the shuttle bus, which was an unexpectedly short journey.
- Couldn’t tender as weather too rough, but still caught the fireworks, which were spectacular.
- Went to Sintra and Cascais. The weather was too wet to do much walking, but that certainly isn’t the fault of the cruise line. In Sintra, we went to the Myths and Legends museum which was great fun. In Cascais, we went to a lovely restaurant “Jardim dos Frangos” where we had a lovely lunch and sheltered from the rain
To be honest, I can’t recommend the Magellan enough. Personally, I’ve been as happy (or even happier) in an inside cabin on the Magellan as I’ve been on any other ship, even if it’s got a balcony or a butler. We go with no expectations, and generally speaking, our expectations are usually exceeded. Read Less