435 Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

Just back from a failed mission to see the Northern Lights. This was our first time on Marco Polo and unless they have a very special offer it will be our last. My wife had just celebrated her 60th 2 days before departure, and it was our ... Read More
Just back from a failed mission to see the Northern Lights. This was our first time on Marco Polo and unless they have a very special offer it will be our last. My wife had just celebrated her 60th 2 days before departure, and it was our wedding anniversary on the day after sailing so this was a special treat for her. I booked a "Celebration Package" at £175 before we departed and ordered flowers for the cabin. The flowers were waiting for us and were good value for money in my opinion. The package consisted of a Candlelight meal for two, A cocktail each in the Captains Club, a £50 voucher for the Duty Free or Boutique, a Portrait Photo, and a Champagne Breakfast. I spoke to customer services when booking this and they were very vague about how this would be provided and where the 2 meals would take place. As it happens, the Candlelight Meal took place in the card room (closed for that evening) and the breakfast in a corner of the Waldorf Resturant. The Marco Polo team got this absolutely spot on and I thank them for that. The only fly in that ointment was dealing with the ships photographers in order to get a portrait done. It was done eventually but like most of the photographs taken it looked amaturish to say the least, though to be fair, these days most ships photographers have no idea how to take a decent picture. Anyway, back to the Marco Polo. She is dated, and on a cruise where not much time is likely to be spent outside, has little to offer the modern passenger. My wife's parents would have recognised her from their crusies in the 1970's (they didn't sail on her but did similar cruises). I doubt that little has changed. The bars and lounges were often full with people just reading (a few played Bean Bag Bowls) or chatting in small groups. There was no background music other than once or twice a day a 30 minute session from on of the 2 resident "Duo's" took place. This was either a classical pianist (with or without the accompaning violinist) or the slightlier more up-to-date pair who played 60's stuff or Jazz. The shows from the resident troupe were hit and miss. They all tried hard but often missed the high standard that was claimed, and this could be down to trying to have a 9 week cycle rather than a 2 week cycle on the shows meaning they were constantly rehersing new stuff rather than perfecting the shows. We had a guest comedian, and guest Tenor, and a couple of lecturers, again a tired and old -fashioned format. In fact the most entertaining thing was the Comedian, the Tenor and the ex-copper (on of the lecturers) running around playing schoolboy pranks on each other. Other than that, there was a craft class, calligraphy lessons, ballroom dance class and some game shows. I'm sorry, but to attend a game show/quiz entitled "Name that Tune" where the Cruise Director splits the bar into 2 teams and appoints a captain for each team and then rewards only those captains with a Marco Polo goody bag and cocktail, is not entertainment. Waldorf Resturant. This is the waiter service eatery. "Fine Dining". The quality was quite good, although the portions were very small. Early sitting diners were lucky as they could top up at the Bistro. Wine was expensive as usual on cruises. The water offered was undrinkable - tainted with some chemical or other. So the only option was to buy the over-priced bottled water (£2.20). The Bistro was the self-service eatery and was often full to overflowing. The food was much the same as the Waldorf, but in buffet format, with the usual implications. there was a "live" cooking station some nights which was very good. The bistro was the place where the complimentary Tea and Coffee was available (also there was a station on the aft deck by the pool). Of the 2 stations in the bistro, only one was ever open at a time and the one by the pool was purely random. There was often a problem with providing sufficient mugs to keep up with demand. Staff. The staff were all very friendly (well maybe with one or two exceptions) so could not fault them. they work very hard and they seem to take a pride in their work. The officers on the other hand seemed a bit stand offish, except for Julie the Customer Service Manager. She even cracked better jokes than the comedian at times. Cabins. We were on deck 6 (same level as the Waldorf) around mid-ships, in an outside cabin with 2 portholes. The cabin was small but clean and comfortable. There was a little bit of engine type noise, but it was not a major issue. What was annoying was the need to vacate the cabin an hour or more before the ship had even arrives back at Tilbury. Overall. We thought the embarkation was carried out well. We used the Express Disembarkation option when leaving, mainly because we just wanted off the ship as quickly as possible. The ship has seen better days and needs some work on it. (ceiling panel on the aft deck came loose in the high winds for instance). Better facilities are needed for when the weather restricts access to parts of the ship. The Theatre need better accoustics and sound system - lots if feedback and reverb when singers hit high notes tends to spoil the perfomance. Communication and management attitudes need to be improved as well. The cruise itself. We were unlucky. The previous cruise had good weather, saw the Northern Lights and was a success by all accounts. We had poor weather from the moment we reached Amsterdam right through to just before arriving back. If the day started sunny, it was raining by evening and every night there was almost 100% cloud cover. If we were in open sea, it was rough. 8 metre waves, force 6, 7, 8, even force 9. In the Fjords it was different. Nice and calm most of the time. The scenery was brilliant. Some places were almost magical. Some you wondered why we stopped there. Alta for instance is a one horse (or raindeer) town. The only reason for the long stay there is to sell overnight stays in the Ice Hotel (£320 per person) and to run Husky rides and Snowmobile trips. The town has little to offer although we did enjoy the visit to the "Cathedral". the Ice Hotel (2 hour tour) was well worth it, such a spectacular construction. Narvik was unfortunate as we had not booked anything and were planning on taking the cable car up the mountain. This was closed due to high winds so it was down to the War Museum and the shops for us. Bergen was interesting and would be worth a return visit. Tromso disappointed us. The information was that it's cathederal was closed in the morning but open in the afternoon. However, it turned out that this was incorrect and it was open in the morning, and it was closed early afternoon for a tour from the ship. As we would not have had time to visit it when it reopened due to our departure time, we made do with another visit to a shopping centre, only to find on our return that the ship was going to stay the night due to high winds, high seas and generally terrible weather in other words it was unsafe to leave at mornal time.This was relayed to passengers too late for us to do anything, although we did find out that the officers knew of a couple of places worth them going ashore in a group for. Recomended things to do ashore. 1. The Ice Hotel at Alta is worth the visit. 2. Bergen - take the Fenicular to the top and take a walk aroung the pathways up there. It is a magical place. 3. Narvik. If you want to do the railway excursion - book your tickets online (about £8 per person return), don't do it from the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We are frequent cruisers, probably nearly 100. We were excited about seeing the Northern Lights and know that there is no guarantee. What we did not expect was the poor quality of entertainment, total lack of communication and regard for ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers, probably nearly 100. We were excited about seeing the Northern Lights and know that there is no guarantee. What we did not expect was the poor quality of entertainment, total lack of communication and regard for passengers and overall scabby service by most of the seniour staff. We stayed in cabin 527, and our Ukrainian cabin stewardess was fine. She was friendly, pleasant and worked hard to service 19 cabins twice a day. (among the most cabins we have heard being assigned to one person). Ditto for the wait staff. Despite limited English, the staff in the Waldorf was fine. For the most part, the food was acceptable. We actually liked the smaller portions. It is overwhelming to get course after course of mediocre food in large portions on many of the other ships. We sat at table 37, and it was pretty obvious that is where the waves came thru and killed the passenger the previous month. It was covered by a metal sheet, and several got covered during our cruise. Entertainment was poor, and the cruise director totally worthless. He showed up infrequently to introduce a guest entertainer, and seldom seen again. He would never make it on any of the other cruise lines. Richard seemed to turn over most duties, announcements to Julie, who was in the excursion department. Ditto for the mostly absent captain. we missed Sortland to "avoid" rough weather. So instead of being docked for 10 hours of the time, we spent 2 solid days in gale force 8 winds. Virtually everyone on the ship, crew included, were violently ill. We heard that 25 passengers out of 700 made it to breakfast one day. Never any announcements, updates from the Captain or worthless cruise director or other seniour staff. We heard that the head of the dining room wouldn't let anyone take food back to their room for someone who could not make it to the dining room. The buffet was frequently closed for rough weather. In fact the second day I was sitting in a chair in the bistro and a wave violently hit the ship, and my chair toppled to the floor. One staff member came over, took my cabin number and never bothered to even check on me later. Totally forgotten about. Only had a huge bruise on my left thigh, but it would have been nice to show some concern, even faked for passengers. The cruise was probably 90% elderly, and they also loved to closed the lifts with little notice. People in motourized scooters and canes, and with only a few moments notice it was difficult for them. Room service was an extra charge, which was limiting to those unable to leave their cabins during turbulent weather. Boarding was fine, but disembarking was awful. Kicked out of the the cabin by 0700, and we did not get off this ship til 1030. You are herded into various lounges to sit, again with little to no information from the so called seniour staff. The man and lady who frequently worked the info desk appeared to be more into each other than helping anyone. Took Marco Polo twice to Antarctica, where it wound up hitting an underwater mountain and ripping a huge gash into the side of the ship. Think we are done with this ship, But mainly the attitudes and uncaring staff was enough for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was my 2nd trip on the Marco Polo, and my husband's 1st. We were disappointed not to see the Northern Lights, but we knew it wasn't guaranteed, but we still enjoyed the cruise despite the bad weather & rough seas. Our ... Read More
This was my 2nd trip on the Marco Polo, and my husband's 1st. We were disappointed not to see the Northern Lights, but we knew it wasn't guaranteed, but we still enjoyed the cruise despite the bad weather & rough seas. Our cabin was always clean and adequate for our needs. We didn't spend a lot of time in it. More draw space would have been good.  We found the staff very helpful and very polite. We enjoyed the food in the Waldorf Restaurant, but found the food in the Marco Bistro wasn't always hot enough. I found the Medical Centre very helpful, as due to a fall in the mountains I needed medical assistance, yes the cost wasn't cheap but then medical care isn't when not covered by the NHS. That's why travel insurance is required. We met some lovely passengers on the cruise, and we enjoyed the relax atmosphere. We thought that due to the tragic accident on the ship in Feb2014, the Captain & crew were very cautious, but then nobody would want another tragic accident to happen again. We are looking forward to booking another trip next year, perhaps the Northern Lights again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Firstly the good points as they are few and far between. We saw the northern lights in their glory which was the whole point of the cruise so a big plus. Second our cabin steward was brilliant to the point where we could have adopted ... Read More
Firstly the good points as they are few and far between. We saw the northern lights in their glory which was the whole point of the cruise so a big plus. Second our cabin steward was brilliant to the point where we could have adopted him. That's it for good points. The boarding was a total haphazard mob of people everywhere, which was sad really as the very initial part where you dropped your cases of was organised and reassuring. Once upon the ship all seemed well. Cabin was fine, clean, but why do I sound surprised surly that's what's expected. We had a double bed facing the front of the ship and we were right at the front of the ship which later we realised was not a good idea as the first night we had all the noise of the staffs party below us and boy do they know how to party. The other part of the bed facing to the front was when we had a bad stormy night on two occasions we had our feet down then lifting off then CRASH as the front of the ship hit back down it was worse then a roller coaster at universal studios! Our first nights meal ok average, very small portions but didn't feel hungry afterwards did the trick gave me calories. The days at sea were boring.... Nothing to do...hold on line dancing "ok let's give it a go" kill an hour or so....ummm 4 dances and over .. Now was that worth the effort NO... Come on if you say line dancing let's have a dam good go at it not just a dip in of the toe. Crafts were ok.. But again could have been much better Evening entertainment.... Well two comedians one average the other should have walked the plank.. Literally absolutely terrible. In fact they allowed him to have a second show and I think it was practically empty from what I was told as you guessed I couldn't face being sick,with out it being the sea making me feel ill. The other shows were average. They did put effort into the shows but It lacked something...the main female singer could not sing to save her life well let's be nice if she sang in tune and in range it was fine but for some reason she chose to sing at screech pitch! Not good. I was trying to find and be nice bit it was difficult. Then the cocktail saga, one night a big glass the next a smaller one,yep the measures were different but you paid the same price... Naughty and were they bothered no way. Now it states late night snacks..... A waiter with a tray of greasy nasty deep fried rubbish and then had the cheek to give you a napkin and you had one of each lovely late night treat. One eaten never again unless you want to live off of heartburn remedys. The staff were not brilliant there were the odd one or two who excelled and they know who they are, but other wise they were pretty , opinionated not overly friendly. We had a couple of occasions where they staff were arguing in front of us who was putting the coffee glasses onto the tray... You do not need to see or hear this. On another occasion we were chatting to one of the friendlier staff members when bellowed from behind the bar he was ordered instructions to get ice... Well firstly he was doing what he's meant to do talk and be nice to paying passengers secondly it was his break it wasn't like he was not pulling his weight but there's no such thing on board as passenger satisfaction at all. The trips were fine. We did a few. Husky dog safari, ice hotel, snowmobile etc all good. The other ports of call were bit boring not much to see not much to do, why go there. See a wooden church ok but not worth a stop for! Surly the itinary could have been better arranged so you could see And do more when off the ship. There was only one bout of novo virus dealt with swiftly and well in my opinion. We had a lady air lifted off by helicopter one night poor thing she was fine evidently but the Dj was getting quite irate with people in Scott's bar. I don't think people were glorying in on the fact this poor lady was I'll more the fact you don't see a sea rescue everyday! But he tried his best to keep people from the windows and everyone did all sit back somewhat, but he did loose it a bit. Now the Dj in Scott's bar was fine but it was very loud if you wanted to chat... I'm being pinickity now as yes if you want to chat you could go into another bar but Scott's stay open later so if you wanted that holiday feeling of drinking cocktails staying up late it had to be Scott's, well until the staff had decided enough was enough and told you to go. It is not like other ships where you are welcome till you decide to go on the Marco Polo they tell you when to go. There was a party of 8 to 10 people wanting to stay up late and party this is not the ship for you after all the staff want to go into the staff quarters to party all night how can they do that whilst looking after paying passengers! The food ... Umm well where do I start, portions size one mussel for a starter, laughable but true, or a tiny spoonful of veg on a tiny piece of lettuce. We had steak one night well it was called steak may have been old boot leather. Who could tell the difference, cooked to perfection if you wanted it nuked! Fish yes we had fish couldn't tell you what fish,only it was that. The cutlery was few and far between one night we were asked to keep our used cutlery to use on the next course. Bread rolls one each if you wanted more I think we may have begged! Plates were not placed nicely in front of you but more slung in a surly manor. Now the last night, night before the big tip boy was our waiter polite and nice... Bit too late we opted out of mass tips and gave them according to the deserved. Wine waiter was very good no problems there and drinks package was good. I stated you can opt out of the mass tipping, the day before you dock back at tilbury go to reception tell them that's what you want to do.. It's not a problem sign a form done! Then as I said you can tip the deserved and they get a tip worth having. Please think about this it's worth it if you find some are very good. The buffet was ok bit of the same really. Salad never really changed much same of the same. You are given your cutley in there, just choose a table and off you go. Staff do get in your way they really don't see you as the passenger more of an in convienance and if they are there and want to top up say lettuce you WILL get out of the way... They will make sure of that. Just rude the whole time. Now I know it's a ship but I believe it has a ghost captain.... Where the hell was he. It's understood he doesn't like the passengers and it shows. He never comes down for a meal never eats with the passengers in fact we saw him briefly once but that was it. Marco Polo is 50 years old it needs help it looks old it creaks and groans but boy oh boy it bounces around the sea like an inflatable dingy. Everyone even well seasoned cruisers felt sea sick. I'm not too offay with ships but there must be something seriously wrong with her stabilisers because even with a slight swell it felt awful and you felt every single movement unlike any ship I have ever been on before. The two storms one night our cabin had been arranged so nothing would smash or fall and on the bing bing we were informed the second night the following week, nothing in fact we knew it was going to happen by looking at our phone app of the sea conditions and in fact it was a worse storm than the first one. It took me a week to feel like I wasn't being bounced about on the sea upon returning home that's how the Marco Polo is so unstable. Will I ever go on her again a DEFINITE NO. Was I pleased I went well yes but only because I saw the northern lights and met some lovely people. So make your mind up from this but if you want something special choose another ship... It's just not polished and lacks that's feel good factor unfortunately. PS this ship needs a new executive chef urgently (But doubt if Cruise and Maritime read this!)   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
we have cruised on marco polo a couple of years ago,the cruise standard was very good,this time we found that the service in the bistro was way below the standard we expected,some of the staff were downright surly and rude, the tea and ... Read More
we have cruised on marco polo a couple of years ago,the cruise standard was very good,this time we found that the service in the bistro was way below the standard we expected,some of the staff were downright surly and rude, the tea and coffee stations were never replenished properly despite bringing this to the attention of supervisory staff the standard did not improve,the cabin staff were good but overall the crew were lacking interest. The ship is showing signs of age and despite the seas not being particulary rough we had a couple of very uncomfortable nights.Some of the ports of call we made seemed to be more for the sake of excursions as there wasn't much else to do there, the excursions were also horrendously expensive even by norway standards. A train journey on the ofoten railway costs £75 but the same journey independantly was £18,all in all not a very favourable return for the ship that we enjoyed last time,we certainly will not be going again on the basis of this trip Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Reading the negative reviews of the ship it would be easy to conclude the Marco Polo is one to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. We went on the 42 day Amazon cruise and it was exactly as we expected and a great experience, ... Read More
Reading the negative reviews of the ship it would be easy to conclude the Marco Polo is one to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. We went on the 42 day Amazon cruise and it was exactly as we expected and a great experience, even down to the bad weather in the Bay of Biscay and across the Atlantic. The clue was in the sailing dates, January 5th to February 16th, spotted it yet "WINTER MONTHS" in the Atlantic, never going to be a mill pond experience! The other clue to the Marco polo is in the prices you pay for the cruise! Anyone remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for" but as regards VALUE FOR MONEY I give Marco Polo 10 out of 10. If you want Michelin Star food, formal nights where the dress code really is black tie, a ball room, a west end quality theatre and a chocolate on your pillow at night then book on a Cunard Queen and pay the extra. The Marco Polo is a small ship with limited facilities, that's what you get on a small ship! The show lounge isn't a west end theatre, although the entertainment staff work very hard and provide some very good shows, the food is of a good resteraunt quality but not outstanding and the service is attentive, prompt and friendly and our cabin stewardess Nattalia, was an absolute delight, as was our table waiter Kevin and many, many other crew members on board who made the voyage great fun, but the passanger to staff ratio cannot give the same level of service as a Queen. We loved the Marco Polo, it took us places a big ship couldn't go and provided an intimate exoerience a big ship sometimes lacks. There were the usual things that could have been better! The TV started repeating the programes less than half way through the cruise and the timing of the second show in the evening at 2200 meant if you were second sitting dinner then you sometimes had to chose between eating desert and seeing the show. As for the entertainment starting at 2130 in Scotts Bar or the Captains Club, then second sitting dinners just had to forgett about them! Better co-ordination of the meals and the entertainment would have been a huge improvement. Maybe something for the new cruise director to take on board! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Having read the glowing reviews on Marco Polo's Amazon 6 week cruise, I thought I should redress the balance. We have cruised for the last 12 years on various ships, large and small, expensive and cheap, and in all weathers. Never ... Read More
Having read the glowing reviews on Marco Polo's Amazon 6 week cruise, I thought I should redress the balance. We have cruised for the last 12 years on various ships, large and small, expensive and cheap, and in all weathers. Never have we experienced a trip like our 42 night Amazon, Caribbean and Azores cruise on Marco Polo. We had read the reviews before we booked, and were fully aware of the ship's shortcomings. There was no launderette! The ship was old with no balconies. The bath towels were small and very thin. There was no port lecturer, so no help for the independents. Other lecturers were rostered, but were of a very poor quality. To have an "expert" turning his back to his audience and reading his notes from the screen muttering to himself, does not inspire confidence in the veracity of his lecture or his preparation. Yes! The show lounge was basic.All that was acceptable. But to have only song/dance entertainment for all 42 nights, except for 1 comedy night, 2 magic nights and the odd (very odd!) film, was monotonous, to say the least.The show team were very good and did their best, some of the singing was excellent, but to show G rated films or children's animated ones (Rapunzel - really?) left many passengers yawning. Norovirus was an issue. Boy! Did the staff work hard, washing and cleaning, but they were let down by poor on board management. The various maitre'd's seemed unconcerned as to passengers' comforts/complaints, or pleas to put an extra member of staff behind the counter to speed up the compulsory serving. "Nothing I can do" was the standard answer. To have only 1 coffee station open for the 3 weeks of the virus led to huge queues (2 others were left unattended), and to shut the cold water station completely, with temperatures of 30C+ was sheer madness. After a week of complaints this was finally rectified. The food served in the main restaurant was poor. Lots of courses but spoiled by usually only being luke-warm. Our waiter always offered to take it back but by then it was already an hour into the meal, and the extra wait was not worth it! Before norovirus we could vote with our feet and eat in the self service restaurant, but when that closed, all was lost. Added to which, after 2 or 3 weeks the food menu was re-cycled. No new dishes, same bland food, inedible vegetables, and fancy titles to deserts, which the waiters could not explain. Further, towards the end of the trip, some of the fruit ran out - pineapples, bananas and kiwi fruit were at a premium - marmalade/fruit jam was missing, and many of the pats of butter were black and rancid, vegetables were in short supply, and individual breakfast cereals were finished. Portions seemed to get progressively smaller. Almost without exception the "minions" were superb, always smiling, always a friendly word or a joke, all done in a second language of course. On-board management were a different calibre, scant people skills and towing the party line. As with many other organisations, there was little effort to tell us what was happening, apart from daily broadcasts haranguing us for promoting/prolonging norovirus. Nothing was said about the passenger killed, no apology for putting us in that situation (rumour had it that the captain had been warned not to leave the Azores, but had ignored the advice due to the schedule of turn round in Tilbury). One of the entertainment team did a tribute to our lost colleague, but nothing was broadcast. In summary, the Marco Polo is not suited for trips of more than 3 weeks, needs a thorough overhaul/upgrade, and some of the senior officers need a course in people and organisational skills. (Yes Captain, you as well.) A bitter conclusion to a bumpy cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We were first time cruisers seduced by the thought of escaping the English winter and the romance of the exotic places that we had never thought we might be able to visit. And so we embarked with a sense of excitement and optimism which is ... Read More
We were first time cruisers seduced by the thought of escaping the English winter and the romance of the exotic places that we had never thought we might be able to visit. And so we embarked with a sense of excitement and optimism which is probably essential for a long voyage like this. We were not disappointed. We were greeted by smiling faces and an immaculate if clearly older ship and everything was as we expected - not a glitzy razzamatazz but a solid ocean going vessel with comfortable if not exactly glamorous amenities. We were very impressed by the food which was plentiful and always hot (unlike some previous passengers' experiences.) Our table for dinner was a delight - our smiling and efficient waiter Kevin and our enthusiastic wine waiter Alla served us with courtesy and patience night after night in sometimes trying circumstances for them. One criticism would be the standard of the wines on offer at very inflated prices. But I was relieved to find that we did not have to buy expensive bottled water and nicely chilled water was readily available. A special mention must be made of the entertainers. Small in number they may have been but full of talent and such energy! We saw a different show night ater night, with some gorgeous costumes and good variety. With many of them from Eastern Euopean countries it was lovely, for example, to have an evening of Russian songs and dances. They were unfailingly enthusiastic too and brilliant at raising spirits at the difficult times. And the voyage itself; my head is still full of images of the empty deep blue expanse of the Atlantic, the jungle in all its different greens as we journeyed down the Amazon, the extraordinary, extravagant facade of the opera house in Manaus, sloths clinging to the topmost branches of trees, the beautiful but sinister Iles du Salut, all bathed in tropical sun and of course occasional tropical downpours! Yes things did go wrong; there was an annoying change of itinerary; we were hit by a norovirus bug that resulted in a lot of facilities being closed but these could and do happen on any ship and we have been offered generous compensation by the company which they were not obliged to do. Obviously the last 24 hours do overshadow what was otherwise a magical trip and questions do need to be asked about why we were in that stretch of water when the storm of February 14 had been accurately forecast, but when I remember the kindness and hard work of all the crew to try and pick up the pieces of that awful day I would still say that the Marco Polo is a special ship; we met wonderful people both passengers and crew and really did have the trip of a lifetime.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Had I read the reviews on the Marco Polo before booking I probably would not have gone ahead. However I am delighted to read the last two very fair and accurate reviews echoing my feelings. Before that I wondered if I had been on the same ... Read More
Had I read the reviews on the Marco Polo before booking I probably would not have gone ahead. However I am delighted to read the last two very fair and accurate reviews echoing my feelings. Before that I wondered if I had been on the same ship reading some older reviews, but even on the ship there were those who never stopped whining, getting not only themselves down but others who had to listen to them. The crew were wonderful, polite, cheerful and very hard working, and although from the Eastern block their English was good and often the common language between them if they could not speak each other's. We were unfortunate to get norovirus on the ship but the crew could not have done any more to try and keep it under control, with constant cleaning even after they had finished their normal duties late at night. The food was adequate, and soups and sauces very good, also cakes at teatime. Things were not ideal once the self service bistro was closed down due to the norovirus but it could not be helped although it was more fuel for the moaners. The entertainers were very good and the dancers brilliant. We were very lucky to have very talented Richard Sykes as an extra guest cruise director who has now taken over on the next trip, without him the daytime entertainment would have been weak. Two daily quizzes, sometimes with repeated questions were enough, we did not need any extra at night which we got a couple of times. We had an excellent comedian Gerry Graham at the beginning of the trip and although we all hoped to see more of him he disembarked at Madeira. Another comedian/magician on our return who did not go down well with some people: some smut and cheap jokes at the expense of passengers he got up on stage was not considered apt but it was toned down at his next performance - presumably he got some feedback. Not sure why Michelle Monroe was chosen as an entertainer, only 'qualification' was being Matt's daughter. The choir laid on by Richard was good fun, and the jewellery classes by Linda very good. Unfortunately the room too small for art if you happened to have a seat with your back to the teacher. For future cruisers on this long cruise, take enough medicine with you to cover all eventualities - the dr's bills are exhorbitant. And although Euros or US$ are accepted everywhere you need local currency at the chemists ashore. And if on the Amazon cruise make sure you do not miss the Boi Bumba excursion at Parintins - amazing! This was a pleasant cruise and good value for money - if you are looking for 5* go for a more expensive ship, you get what you pay for! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is the complaint I raised on the Marco Polo the ship which suffered a loss of life when the windows of the restaurant crashed in in a continuous known storm! I was also one of many who tried emailing during the cruise to customer ... Read More
This is the complaint I raised on the Marco Polo the ship which suffered a loss of life when the windows of the restaurant crashed in in a continuous known storm! I was also one of many who tried emailing during the cruise to customer services, all rejected by server so I then filled in a form on the website. Not a word has been heard from them. Our cruise was a nightmare from the first week. As we embarked there was exceptional cleaning still going on and within a week passengers started going down with sickness and it excelerated with approximately 30% of evening diners hit with it. We could tell by the amount of diners missing part way through the cruise the buffet restaurant was closed down as was most of the facilities with those sick being confined to there cabins for two days. The daily contamination procedures carried on till the end of the cruise. The crew wore masks the passengers had to suffer the fumes even whilst sleeping. Like a previous cruiser complained, the ship was like a bucking Bronco even in calm waters. We left the Azores when I believe we should have delayed departure. Straight into storms and for hours suffered tremendous seas with the ship keeling over with huge waves lashing up to the upper decks. Eventually the windows in the Waldorf restuarant break with a lot of people injured and loss of life. Those passengers on other decks were being thrust across the decks with tables chairs and anything not bolted down with them. I have never ever experienced the likes of this AND TO PAY THOUSANDS OF POUNDS FOR THE EXPERIENCE TOO. Please anyone looking to cruise, DO NOT CONSIDER CRUISE MARITIME. COMPLAINT FORM COMPLETED ON SHIP Complaint Complaints are in the following categories; Ship is unsuitable in its facilities for 42 days with a changing European and South American climate Food is extremely poor quality and often unsuitable in most cases. Inattention and lack of care of the ship's staff. Loss of amenities, toilets, classes, gym, pool, sauna, jacuzzi, table tennis, and Bistro. The condition of the ship is not up to the standards of modern day cruise ships. e.g. Unstable, overpopulated by staff and passengers, the engine exhaust, soot and sparks showering down constantly. Too much loose furniture is unanchored. Noro Virus which in many cases could be food poisoning, unproven by lack of testing.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our first cruise and I researched it well during the 12 months before we set sail. Everything was MUCH better than the 3 star cruise we were expecting. The food was excellent in all restaurants and plentyful for a normal healthy ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I researched it well during the 12 months before we set sail. Everything was MUCH better than the 3 star cruise we were expecting. The food was excellent in all restaurants and plentyful for a normal healthy person......many overweight passengers felt the portions in main restaurant were a bit small but as there were 6 courses believe me it was plenty, the soups were superb. Our cabin steward and our waiters were lovely and couldn't do enough for us. The entrainment was varied and excellent. The ports of call were interesting and several out of this world......Devils island...the Azores....Carribean... Amazon......wonderful. The excursions were good but if you arrange yourself on arrival rather cheaper. Someone brought the Norvo Virus aboard at Manus up the Amazon......this was controlled by the medical staff despite many passengers making no effort to conform to the very sensible restrictions imposed for everyone's benefit. The staff worked very hard cleaning and sanitizing. Long hours. Now the sad part ...we encountered a very sever storm entering the English Channel....I was in the restaurant when a huge wave stove in some windows....a elderly man died of his in injuries and many were injured....I was 2 tables away and observed everything......the waiters on duty were instantly involved in first aid and helping people out of harms way.....some of them were also injured.....they were fantastic. Around the ship others were hurt and again the crew and medical staff were magnificent . The Captain in my humble opinion handled his ship with great skill particularly when he had to turn the ship for Helicopter evacuation of two casualties who needed urgent hospitalising. A great cruise with a sad ending.... The only real downside were the percentage of passengers who were rude, selfish and seemed determined from the off to find fault with everything and everybody...I really don't know why they bother to come along. A good number were a embarrassment.   Read Less
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 January 2014
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
Sail Date December 2013
Horrendous, Horrendous, Horrendous. The Captain should never have taken the ship out of Tilbury. He knew that we were heading straight into a storm in the English channel and a force 10 gale going through the Bay of Biscay. All other ... Read More
Horrendous, Horrendous, Horrendous. The Captain should never have taken the ship out of Tilbury. He knew that we were heading straight into a storm in the English channel and a force 10 gale going through the Bay of Biscay. All other shipping took shelter but he boasted to us all that he was the only one who took his ship through such dreadful weather. His decision meant that we had many injured passengers, some needing hospital treatment. Out of 14 days we only had 3 days of calm seas. We missed out some of our port of calls and stayed less time in others. We should have stopped at Lisbon on our way back but the Captain decided to go straight through from Madeira to La Havre saying it was to avoid the worst of the weather going back over the Bay of Biscay. If fact he took us through at the worst time when the storm was at its peak. Again this caused many more injuries to passengers and a lot of damage to the interior of the ship. Out of our 14 day holiday I was bedridden with severe sea sickness for 8. Weather conditions for shipping is known well in advance so the safety and comfort of passengers should not had been put at risk as it was on this ship. Putting the weather aside I can honestly say that this company has no idea how to run a cruise ship. The Chef has never worked in an English restaurant and has no idea how to cook for the English taste. Our Christmas dinner was a joke. The traditional Christmas day meal that was advertised in their brochure it was not. We had 2 slices of rolled turkey,1 pigs in blanket 3 halves of sprouts ,1 small floret of cauliflower and 4 tiny pieces of fried potatoes. We had no roast potatoes, stuffing, parsnips, peas or carrots. The Christmas pudding was anything but. It was a half round piece of dry sponge flavoured with some mixed spice with no fruit in it at all. The rest of the meals on this ship were equally unappetising and clearly made from cheap ingredients. The cold meats for salads at lunch time consisted of Eastern European style processed meats. It was the same for the whole 14 days. This is a very budget ship charging luxury prices. We paid £4,500.00 for the 2 of us for this cruise. We have been on other cruises and paid a lot less than this for fantastic food and cabins. Our cabin was supposed to be a premium outside double. It was very dated with leaking windows, hard small single beds pushed together with very small worn quilts and covers. The crew were an unhappy and unhelpful bunch with a few exceptions, our cabins steward being one of them. I will never ever go on this ship again and would advise others to avoid it at all costs.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My friends from the Netball world were looking for a Xmas night out and saw the Marco Polo advertise an overnight event. Having been on the Marco Polo myself cruising to the Amazon 5 years ago it was lovely to remind myself of the good ... Read More
My friends from the Netball world were looking for a Xmas night out and saw the Marco Polo advertise an overnight event. Having been on the Marco Polo myself cruising to the Amazon 5 years ago it was lovely to remind myself of the good times. My friends thought the cabins small but adequate. We did have a wonderful evening but just felt everything was a little rushed. We wanted to look around the ship but found we only had time to get to our cabins, get dressed for dinner, pre dinner drinks in the Captains Club and then down to the evening meal. The meal was tasty and well presented but both our wine waitress and our waiter were unfriendly with little time for any banter. Sometimes the plates were placed hurriedly down and they were clearing the plates before we had finished. However the evening was not spoilt and we took in the Cabaret and before we knew it, it was 1 o`clock. As we had to vacate our rooms at 8am we were up and queued for breakfast. Again this was a nightmare as so many guests wanted to be seated and the buffet style breakfast was difficult to manage. We gave up wanting a cooked breakfast!! The fruit was lovely and orange and coffee welcoming. Overall we had a lovely experience but would have wanted more time and less people and hopefully friendlier staff. I think unfortunately we chose the wrong Saturday as Marco Polo was sailing the next day and it was a short turn around for the Staff. That does not excuse a the lack of a smile from the crew!! Read Less
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
Sail Date December 2013
My Family (Adults) went on this stay on board overnight to nowhere docked at Tilbury Firstly when got onto ship some Male Eastern European went a bit crazy as wanted my room no. straight away and even when gave him the paperwork with ... Read More
My Family (Adults) went on this stay on board overnight to nowhere docked at Tilbury Firstly when got onto ship some Male Eastern European went a bit crazy as wanted my room no. straight away and even when gave him the paperwork with cabin no. he picked up my bag and headed straight for the lift without even saying anything to me like "follow me" the whole service from Customer Services to Waiter staff 95% Russian, Polish, Romanian, no English crew at all! They all speak to each other in there lingo not in English. If you ask to repeat something you get shouted at in a firm russian voice! Nice food but dinner was so small portions and just about warm, Breakfast in Scotts Bar was self service which was ok but the coffee/Tea machine was 100yds away from the food or your table if unlucky by the time you sit down either the Tea is cold or the breakfast is. Entertainment was a load of rubbish like X Factor, if you was on the second sitting for dinner you missed most of the show, maybe different if actually on the cruise. But the prices of drinks £10 buys you a Vodka and coke, and a pint of beer, noprices shown anywhere, no till they getthe change out of there pockets. dance floor way too small for the amount of people on board. Cabin nice though we had a obstructed view window but was ok, clean and tidy, beds are tiny like hammocks or kids beds, turn over and you fall out. They made us disembark at 09.00hrs! Cabin had to be vacated by 08.00hrs with luggage left in showroom lounge for anyone to pick up or fiddle with. I certainly wouldn't rush to book a cruise of more than 3 days! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first Cruise trip and had some concerns on how it would go. We arrived at Tilbury and were greeted by a porter who took our cases and suit carrires away which were at our cabing door when we boarded the ship. The embarking was ... Read More
This was our first Cruise trip and had some concerns on how it would go. We arrived at Tilbury and were greeted by a porter who took our cases and suit carrires away which were at our cabing door when we boarded the ship. The embarking was easy and after a short queue we were on board and met with a smile and shown our cabin. Our room host was Zorro who kept smiling all the time and was very efficent. The rooms are not great but have stayed in smaller. We had 2 sets of drwaers and a large wardrobe with an old but working TV. We found the staff always smiled and were friendly. We decided on the restaturant for meals and Lisa our waitress was very atentive to our needs and seemed happy in her work. I found the choice varied and very tasty. The brekfast choice was very good from the good old fry up to cold meats. cereals or fruit and yoghurts. Entertainment was along the Campsite levels but what to do you expect on a cruise Robbie Williams. As no money is exchaged it's easy to run up a large tab if you are not too careful. We decided against the excursions as they were expensive so do not feel you have to go on them because it's in the brochure. Shuttle runs into Ghent was a bonus and a short walk from mooring into Amsterdam center was pleasant enough. My only negative were the staff in Scotts Bar, they seemed bored and really did not want to be there. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation just a bit of a wait as you are off loaded by Cabin level, posh first peasants last. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Quite a nice ship but the service was quite poor in the bars. The staff were friendly if they understood English. They appeared to be mostly Eastern European and some being quite inexperienced. The three night trip was to Ghent and ... Read More
Quite a nice ship but the service was quite poor in the bars. The staff were friendly if they understood English. They appeared to be mostly Eastern European and some being quite inexperienced. The three night trip was to Ghent and Amsterdam for xmas shopping. Prior to the trip we were offered excursions to Brussels and Bruges but nothing for Ghent. However, being a small ship it is able to dock in Ghent along the waterways from the open sea. We were not told that there were courtesy coaches at the dock to take us in to Ghent until we enquired. Maybe they wanted us to book excursions. We did pre-book the city and canal trip in Amsterdam. This was a four hour trip, of which over one hour was takenp up with travelling around the outskirts, the pleasurable canal trip took an hour. We were given a half slot to visit the flower market on foot and then return to the ship. We had no time to eat or drink. The trip went at 12.15 which meant sitting around the ship after breakfast and there was no time for shopping or visiting the xmas market as you had to be back on the ship by 5.30. Not only did we miss lunch, but afternoon tea had also finished. We found out that the ship docked approx. 20 minute walk from the city centre with buses and taxis outside the dock gates. Had we known this, we would not have pre-booked the tour as we would have gone into the city after breakfast and seen far more of the interesting parts of Amsterdam. We were later informed that we had to vacate our cabins by 7.30am and left the ship at around 10am. The food was quite nice in the Waldorf restaurant but the it was very second rate in the self service cafe. There was a shortage of seating, cutlery and crockery at each breakfast session. The entertainment during the evening was very good, however, as only 11/2 hours was allowed for second sitting, we always missed the first part of the show. The earlier sitting had two hours. We have been on other cruise ships which are better, but for a short break we had an enjoyable time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: ... Read More
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: previous reviews of the same cruise are quite right. The crew were 'new' having only been on board for 1-3 days we learnt. Practicing on the passengers who were on there for the dine/sleep events in port. The standard of English was poor and the crew struggled to get things right. The food was good but the timings at dinner in The Waldorf were out as it was nigh impossible to get to the show lounge in time for the performance after finishing dinner. The strain on the waiters was showing too. I agree that the house white wine was awful - met with a shrug when we asked it there was another type available! The main concern was of the way in which the lifeboat muster was administered. Not as before when all life vests were checked individually when you put them on by a crew member with a list but haphazardly calling out numbers of cabins. Having experienced these before on the Marco Polo passengers were taken in line to their lifeboat stations under their assigned lifeboat and inspected by the safety captain before being 'dismissed'. This time we were just held in the lounge and not shown even which deck to go to. All very rushed and given the fire on the cross channel ferry recently passengers who were new to the Marco Polo would not know where to go as the new crew didn't know either! There was sign of senior officers making sure everything was in order as before by walking through lounges and talking to passengers. On the plus side - parking arrangements were very good and embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. I sincerely hope that these issues are rectified by CMV to make the Marco Polo a very enjoyable lady of the seas again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We'd always assumed cruising was not for us. We feared cheesy entertainment, rigorous dress codes, tiny cabins, boring table mates who we could not escape.... Our 3 night mini cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam was a pleasant surprise. ... Read More
We'd always assumed cruising was not for us. We feared cheesy entertainment, rigorous dress codes, tiny cabins, boring table mates who we could not escape.... Our 3 night mini cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam was a pleasant surprise. The embarkation and dis embarkation processes were quick and painless, our mid price range cabin clean, quite roomy and comfortable, the public areas of the ship pleasant, and best of all the people we shared a table with were great fun. The shower was tricky to use, I soaked the floor at the first attempt, but by the time we returned to bed that night, it had all been cleaned. Yes, the entertainment was like something out of a Russian Holiday camp (if you can imagine such a thing) but the novelty of that entertained me, in itself. Three nights was probably enough of it, I can see how longer cruises might drag on that front. Late nights in the Captain's Bar were the best, with music to dance to and excellent bar staff serving reasonably priced cocktails. We had one rough-ish evening's weather, and I can easily see how bad weather would make for a horrible cruise, but surely that's the fault of the weather and if you do go away in December, in the worst winter for 100 years.... We got away lightly. We loved our visit to Amsterdam, you can easily walk into the city from the dock. At Ghent we went on a coach tour to Brussels, which in retrospect was a waste of time since we could have just gone to Ghent on the shuttle bus and had much more time there. We do not have any other cruises to compare this to, but we felt the ship was homely and comfortable and despite what is being said currently, well maintained. The crew worked very hard, health and safety was very well attended to. Only disappointment was that the food did not live up to what it was trying to be. It was edible, but rather ordinary and in some cases, strange. On our table we just giggled about the strangeness. Dress code is not scary, smart casual serves, you don't need to worry about having the latest or most expensive clothes. All in all we enjoyed it and will cruise again! 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
Sail Date December 2013
Having been on the identical cruise two years ago we were really looking forward to it. So much so we invited another couple to join us. On the plus side: - the embarkation seemed to be much better organised than the scrum of two years ... Read More
Having been on the identical cruise two years ago we were really looking forward to it. So much so we invited another couple to join us. On the plus side: - the embarkation seemed to be much better organised than the scrum of two years ago; - the acoustics in our cabin was much better than before but this was probably just luck. On the negative: - total disorganisation in the main bar area; single barman completely overran; waiters queuing to get served and many many disgruntled customers; - warm cocktails and house white wine so disgusting you could not drink it; - food in the main restaurant poor quality and haphazard service; the British cold meat served as a starter was a total joke and insult to patrons; - house white wine looks of reputable quality (Spanish) but in my opinion it is off and has been stored incorrectly - yellow in the glass; the red house is 11% abv and extremely mediocre. One night I bought the Montepulciano and this was corked - the wine waiter had no idea what I was on about. - generally the staff seemed lack any sort of teamwork; surly to each other! - the lifeboat drill was nothing like as detailed as with the previous Russian Captain. We will not go back on the Marco Polo. Principal reason is the thought of going on a longer cruise with such terrible wine and poor food.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was advertised as a Christmas and New Year Cruise aboard the Marco Polo. We booked this cruise on the basis of our first experience on this ship in September 2012 when we enjoyed the 'Round the Islands Cruise', we could not ... Read More
This was advertised as a Christmas and New Year Cruise aboard the Marco Polo. We booked this cruise on the basis of our first experience on this ship in September 2012 when we enjoyed the 'Round the Islands Cruise', we could not have wished for a more comfortable and enjoyable time with first class service and food. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of this one. Not an enjoyable cruise by any standards. This ship isn't furnished or fitted for very bad weather, furniture is not fixed and in very bad weather, as we experienced, and all furniture in the public areas was flying everywhere, and I do mean flying, and some passengers were seriously injured as well as many minor injuries. In the 'Gym' the majority of the equipment was out of order. Other activities, such as quizzes and other games and activities were good. The service was absolutely disgusting, On our first night, Sunday 22nd December I ordered soup which did not arrive even though I complained. Waiters dress appearance was poor with collars unbuttoned and ties pulled down. long wait to order wine (25 minutes on first night), better after complaining. All food, without exception was poorly presented and just warm with some main courses leaving much to be desired. (Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce was one of the main courses on three occasions, irrespective of what they called it) Service in the 'Captains Club, the main bar, was slow and the waiters appeared not to care less; some were downright rude. When I complained of the service and treatment I was told by one of the management team that 70 percent of the crew was new and had received 5 days training ashore before joining the Marco Polo for this cruise were mostly from Eastern Europe. This was marketed as a 'Christmas and New Year Cruise' No real Christmas celebrations were organised, no Christmas decorations, not even a Happy Christmas banner and virtually no decorations. Not even a decent Christmas dinner in the evening, our table had not been laid and we had to complain that we had not had our main course when they started serving tea and coffee Except for two occasions, the 'Cruise Director' was nowhere to be seen, and when he was seen he was scruffily dressed, not befitting that of a senior representative of Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Our cabin, a Junior Suite, was ok but the furnishings were poor and so was the plumbing. Our Cabin Steward was superb. Entertainment was excellent and very professional. Disembarkation was swift and one of the highlights of the voyage. So many passengers were dissatisfied that a large percentage, including my wife and I, had gratuities removed from our final statement. BAZZER   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were really looking forward to our first cruise with friends who had done loads of cruises. The smaller ship appealed and the fact that it was "adults only". The previous few days had been appalling weather in UK so we were ... Read More
We were really looking forward to our first cruise with friends who had done loads of cruises. The smaller ship appealed and the fact that it was "adults only". The previous few days had been appalling weather in UK so we were looking forward to some winter sun. We had some trepidation about crossing the Bay of Biscay, but nothing could have prepared us for Gale force 9 and storm force 10 with 10 metre waves! Other cruise ships had decided not to cross in this weather, but Marco Polo carried on. After 3 days of relentless battering by the winds and waves we got into Coruna port in Northern Spain for Christmas Day. Ambulances were waiting for several people who had injuries. The respite was welcome, but everyone were pretty jaded by this time, including the crew. The food on board was pleasant, but not what we had been told to expect. The staff were a mixed group. Some were very good and others quite surly and unhelpful. We cruised on to Tenerife, missing out Gibraltar and Lanzarote. Trips were organised for this island and La Palma & Madeira. We enjoyed the trips we did. The only saving grace was the fireworks display on Madeira on New Year's Eve. However, it seemed odd that party food was not made available for the deck party. The returning journey was also difficult with worsening weather conditions and people being confined to cabins. It wasn't really our idea of a relaxing cruise. In my opinion this cruise should never have left Tilbury. The weather conditions were known as was the forecast. The management on the boat did not take appropriate action to prevent injury early enough in this cruise. On the plus side they did give every passenger £25 compensation and an offer of 20% off another cruise ex-Tilbury. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.7
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.8
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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