We have also just returned from a cruise with CMV, on their ‘new’ vessel, the Magellan. A memorable trip for the solar eclipse and northern lights, but infamous in our memory for the levels of illness, lacklustre quality and ... Read More
We have also just returned from a cruise with CMV, on their ‘new’ vessel, the Magellan. A memorable trip for the solar eclipse and northern lights, but infamous in our memory for the levels of illness, lacklustre quality and astonishing bureaucracy.
Embarkation went remarkably smoothly, and we were taken to our cabin, a twin room on Deck 6 outer, efficiently. We only had four bags between us; these arrived individually over the space of about two hours. When sailing the Magellan shakes, judders and rattles like a cross channel ferry, so if that something you can't sleep through keep it in mind.
There was a lot of minor illness on the cruise, a heavy cold virus seems to have been accelerated around, by the first weekend hacking coughs and sneezes punctuated all public gatherings onboard. We lost a couple of days each recovering from this illness, and talking to other passengers this was quite a common experience.
In the Waldorf and Kensington dining rooms the seated dining was generally good, service good and food reasonable. Our table was near a corner in the Waldorf and this is a very draughty location, not good when the Arctic wind was blowing. Raffles 'bistro' on the other hand became quite chaotic, lacked sufficient seating, and was much closer to a works canteen than a 'bistro'. The food was generally very good; you just couldn't eat in comfort. Given that there were only about 800 passengers (according to an officer) rather than the 1250 capacity, I dread to think what the situation would have been like if the vessel had been closer to capacity. Most of the passengers were in their seventies and eighties, many with mobility issues. The vessel has plenty of lifts to serve these needs.
Regarding the food, there’s a good range of healthy options, lots of fruit and vegetables as well as well cooked mains. There is no indoor swimming pool on the vessel, only an outside one. The gym equipment is broadly fine, but the saddles on the cycle machines are broken. You also need some Spanish language skills as all the instructions are in that language. The shipboard tannoy is inconsistent over the vessel, and pot-luck on whether you hear it. Sometimes we received it in our cabin, sometimes not. There is supposed to be satellite Wi-Fi whilst at sea but it rarely actually works. There are about six terminals in the Wi-Fi lounge but only two ever worked and that was painfully slowly. Queues built-up as did the complaints. Try and double-check the Wi-Fi effectiveness before you cough-up for it as they will start charging for it when they can get the software to work.
The administrative systems on board were astonishingly complex. The drinks package at £17 a day appeared to be a way of simplifying things. However it didn't include soft drinks, tea or coffee in the bars, bottled water (!) or even the cocktail of the day in some bars. Every time a drink was ordered you had to sign a chit! Often the chit included a charge and the staff were most put out when people refused to sign despite reassurances that you wouldn't be charged! We saw people queuing at reception to have these incorrect charges removed from their bills! CMV seems to delight in producing large quantities of paperwork. On the last day of the cruise while we queued (again) in Reception to sort something out, dozens of fellow passengers came through to remove all the gratuities from their bills as they wished to make their own arrangements. We saw lots of administrative errors being challenged and the Cruise manager being clueless as to how to sort them out. At embarkation everyone handed in their passports with the promise that they would be returned in 24 hours. In fact three days had gone by without news, we got them back just in time for Reykjavik. On arrival at Lerwick there was a surprise, contrary to the paperwork we received this port required tendering, just another error. Also choose excursions carefully, talking to many fellow passengers, they don't sound good value for money.
On a positive note, Richard the Cruise Entertainment Director is an excellent singer and Compere. He was also excellent when it came to alerting everyone about the northern lights. There were some excellent speakers for the voyage. There was also a good range of activities to pass the days at sea.