53 Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

From the large warehouse for embarkment in Bristol thoughts of cheap and cheerful came in to my head. On board there was a smell of diesel in the lower decks. Cabin was clean but as the ship is 55 years old could not expect much. Biggest ... Read More
From the large warehouse for embarkment in Bristol thoughts of cheap and cheerful came in to my head. On board there was a smell of diesel in the lower decks. Cabin was clean but as the ship is 55 years old could not expect much. Biggest problem was the trip hazards in the door ways, raised lips on every doorway and uneven floors, on the public toilets two raised edges caught a lot of people out. They had to call the helicopter out twice, and by the end of the cruise many were sporting arm and foot injury's due to falls. Dining was in two times, and various size tables from two to ten seats. Food was good and plenty of choice with just over the hour from start to finish. This allowed time to get to the theatre to watch the show at 8pm. The biggest problem I had was the lack of time in the ports. Would arrive at 8am and leave at 1.30 or arrive at 7am and leave 12.30. By the time you had breakfast it only gave a couple of hours to see the place. Cobh was a complete waste and was only to drop people off as arrive 6am and leave at 10.45. By the time you paid for 165 car park then tips and drink package you could of gone on a much better cruise line for the same cost. Would I go back on to this ship no but spoke to many that have been on a few times because of its size. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I have just returned from our 3rd cruise but first with the Cruise and Maritime (CMV). This was the Iceland and the Northern lights cruise also calling at Faroe and Orkney islands. We were on the Marco Polo in a superior ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our 3rd cruise but first with the Cruise and Maritime (CMV). This was the Iceland and the Northern lights cruise also calling at Faroe and Orkney islands. We were on the Marco Polo in a superior outside cabin (477). The ship is old and tatty but small enough to feel friendly and in our opinion, more personal than the huge cruise ships. This was a cruise of 2 halves, great shore experiences vs fairly terrible on board experience ( some admittedly not CMV's fault). We hit some pretty awful weather ( force 9 gales I overheard ), which on a ship with people already sick ( more about that later ) was not pleasant but obviously no ones fault. Even hardened cruisers were saying they were the worse conditions they had ever experienced. The time spent on shore was wonderful. We went whale watching with CMV which was fantastic, We saw some subtle northern lights whilst on the ship but later did a CMV Northern lights boat trip which didn’t seem value for money as the boat just took us out a bit in the bay we were docked in and not to a proper dark sky area. We also did a fabulous golden circle tour not with CMV but with a company called ‘FAB tours which was really interesting and thoroughly enjoyable thanks to a superb tour guide (Ragnor) plus it was substantially cheaper than the CMV equivalent, Ragnor picked us up at Reykjavik port ( a short stroll from the ship) and there were only 4 of us in the mini bus so felt very personal. We were able to do extra little things like feeding the iceland ponies and did not feel at all rushed , we even had some time at the end so Ragnor took us to see the cathedral and the pearl in the city. Definately recommended. We hired a car on Orkney which was easy to arrange, Avis car hire place was next to where the shuttle bus dropped us in town. That enabled us to see everything we could in the limited time there without the usual ‘hearding' . However unfortunately our time on Orkney was cut short by 3 hours ( out of the planned 8 hours) because our ship was held in quarantine for 3 hours due to the diahorrea and vomiting bug which had plagued our ship for approx half of our cruise. We made the most of our time there but we’re really disappointed by the short amount of time we had there. The bug meant that all public areas were closed apart from one restaurant ( the buffet was closed and cancelled to limit infection spreading) and the bars. This severely limited what we could do particularly on sea days. One main bar ( Scott’s bar) is available to sit in during the day but you cannot get a drink so you need to carry drinks up flights of stairs which is not safe , I suggested to reception that they consider opening it particularly in the circumstances However the receptionist just told me “ it’s not my decision" and refused to let me speak to his superior. Time to talk about ‘ the plague ‘ that struck the ship and its affect on our holiday. Passengers started suffering with diahorrea and vomiting approx 7 days into the cruise and it was spreading, of course these things happen on cruises, we all.understand that, however it is how it is dealt with and the treatment of the passengers that sorts the wheat from the chaff. Our experience of CMV is that they are definitely ‘ the chaff. Our cruise effectively ended with the outbreak and the remaining 5 days became an exercise in managing us with little regard to the fact that there were many trying to enjoy their holiday. The staff in general were friendly and helpful but even some of those were getting snappy and stretched towards the end of the Cruise. The management were nowhere to be seen. By the last few days we had the impression we were now just an inconvenience to CMV who just wanted us to stay out of the way so they could clean all public areas ready for the next cruise. So for a large proportion of our cruise there was no gym, hot tub, pool, spa, burger bar, craft classes, shops, buffet restaurant, library or card room. There was no attempt to reopen anything after it had been cleaned ( presumably to save them cleaning again before the next cruise) and the whole atmosphere became very unpleasant. There was very little in the way of information from our Captain who just occasionally made a dour announcement giving us information about our whereabouts that was available on the tv channel anyway, he sounded bored and lacked any humour ( which could have been helpful given the circumstances). However he kept the ship safe which is his job. The worse thing in our opinion was that at no point was there any acknowledgement of the distress we were experiencing, it was quite bizarre. All we received was a letter through the door explaining that there was a virus on board. I was ill for 2 days and my husband and I basically had to fend for ourselves paying for room service as I wasn't ill enough to qualify for free room service ! The daily ‘ explorer’ paper was our main source of information and was quite useful thank goodness. There were a few shining lights within the staff, for us it was our extremely hard working cabin cleaner Min Zaw who frankly deserves a medal, Colin our waiter had a sense of humour and the drinks waiter Tun in the globe bar always had a smile and a laugh. The food was at best mediocre, on par with a 3 star all inclusive hotel but wine on the vip package was nice and plentiful. Unfortunately this whole experience has put us off cruising at least for the foreseeable future and we would certainly never use CMV again. I wrote to CMV but only received a standard letter which did not address any of my concerns and just quoted policy at me – no apology for the way things were handled. They offered us a discount on our ‘ next CMV ‘ cruise which did make us laugh. In summary it wasn't the fact we were unlucky enough to experience a bug on board a cruise ship but rather how it was handled by CMV. Our takeaway lesson from this is ‘ beware cruisers, one bug on board and your holiday is basically over ‘. We work too hard for our holidays so .... Never again !!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ... Read More
It had always been a desire to travel to the Artic circle and see the Northern Lights. CMV offered this at the time of year which suited. We knew that it was a budget cruise, so went with an open mind. We did like the idea of a small ship as they tend to be friendlier. The only problem is being a small ship it gets thrown around alot more when the seas are rough. We have only been on larger ships, max 2500 passengers and in areas like the Med or Caribean which tend to be smoother. Our biggest problem was from the poor service received. Try for a pre-dinner drink in the Captians Bar and the average wait was 30 minutes. In the buffet you would never see a smile from the crew. One can only assume the management were extremely hard on them. The Waldorf restaurant was okay and the food was reasonable, but I had fish most days which was fine but it was always served the same. Never changed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people ... Read More
This was our second cruise and I found this one not up to standard. The good point was our room was great then all went down hill. Meals not that good all tasted the same no variety. The best thing was we met some wonderful people on board. The day paid trips over priced for what we got. To top it all off we where charged nearly $700.00 for tips two days before we disembarked, We had only a few glasses of wine and a couple of cocktails and a few beers. I do not recommend this cruise as you are unaware of any of this add on tipping until last few days. When you pay a big price to do this cruise you do not expect to be landed with this large amount. We do expect a few dollars but $700.00 Australian come on. Very disappointed will not do another cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our first and last cruise, very disappointing especially the food which aims for quantity rather than quality. Food was very repetitive, poor choice and poor quality, for example Kraft cheese slices sometimes the only cheese on offer!! ... Read More
Our first and last cruise, very disappointing especially the food which aims for quantity rather than quality. Food was very repetitive, poor choice and poor quality, for example Kraft cheese slices sometimes the only cheese on offer!! Staff not friendly, service was always slow. You've already paid your tips so I guess they don't care. In the buffet restaurant although the staff cleared the tables between diners they never wiped them so if you came late you had a dirty table. Evening entertainment was disappointing. Repetitive song and dance shows, the, best entertainment was the comedian who was actually OK. There was constant maintenance work being carried out which meant stairs up to upper decks were often closed off. They offer WiFi which doesn't actually work, so what's the point Excursions were very expensive and we heard people on the one excursion we did saying they had been to the same place 2 days running. Overall a bad experience, don't recommend it and wouldn't return Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The Norwegian Fjords were stunning and the weather was spectacular, the cruise experience not so much. Disappointing... The ship while kept clean is in need of a refurb. The service in the bars and for coffee is excruciating slow. We ... Read More
The Norwegian Fjords were stunning and the weather was spectacular, the cruise experience not so much. Disappointing... The ship while kept clean is in need of a refurb. The service in the bars and for coffee is excruciating slow. We waited for over and hour in the captains lounge just to get a coffee, and had to chase it 3 times before we got 2 cups...getting drinks was equally as slow all the time. Very frustrating and you had to wait for waiter service, no other option. The crew were not easy to engage with, and some were downright rude. Very happy to talk and laugh between themselves, but as the customers were felt like an inconvenience. Breakfast was a farce most mornings, and we tried different times, food had run out leading to long queues, no toast, not even mugs to get tea and coffee, just a joke, and set the day off on the wrong note every morning. Scots bar was closed one evening for a staff party! But the ship was heading to Newcastle when we came home then to tilbury with perhaps very few passengers, could the staff party have been then? Not a pleasant trip, and many of our travellers we ate with in the evening had complained on board about the service. Good food and service ok at the evening dinner. I would be very reluctant to recommend the Marco Polo or cruise Maritime after our experience, and it’s unlikely we would want to travel with them again, which is disappointing as they will be sailing from Aberdeen in 2020. The company need to review their management of the catering areas for b/fast and lunch, train the crew to be customer focused, and look to refresh the ship if they hope to get return Business. Not what we were looking forward to on the cruise. To let you understand how disappointed we were in 40 years of travel and holidays, this is the 1st time we have complained. Think twice before you book.... Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
A TA told us about overnight cruises where the ship is repositioned and you can stay and received food and entertainment at a reasonable price. We went from Newcastle to Rosyth(Edinburgh). We had an outside cabin that was small and dated. ... Read More
A TA told us about overnight cruises where the ship is repositioned and you can stay and received food and entertainment at a reasonable price. We went from Newcastle to Rosyth(Edinburgh). We had an outside cabin that was small and dated. We were told check-in was 550pm, when we got to our room we had a message to say we had to be on the 6pm dinner sitting.(If we'd been on the later sitting we could have used the health facilites and they'd have made some money!) We got there as quick as we could and then had trouble getting served (ship was full). Late on during our meal we were told 3 times to hurry up as they wanted to prepare for the next sitting! Food apart from the tenderloin was very average. Bars and staff were lovely, drink/cocktails very reasonable. Went to the cabaret which had a delayed start but we didn't know how long the delay would be and the band were sat around texting. Show was OK but short. DJ and dancing was very good. Sadly they added £7 per person to our drinks bill and if you had a drink after midnight you got charged again. You have to vacate your room by 730am and we were told we would not disembark until 930am. Ship was chaotic as people left bags everywhere and the staff didn't manage//organise the process. Breakfast was plentiful but chaotic. Disembarkation was delayed as they had no ramp and had to submit some rickety stairs! Staff did not magage expectations and were due to passengers asking for advice as how long the delay would be at what the process would be, in the end the passengers took over and just all lined up and forced embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but ... Read More
I only chose Marco Polo in order to get to Greenland. The boat is very shabby and I don't think much has been done, cosmetically, since her last major refit in 1995. The computers broke down at registration, causing a delay, but they then let us on ship without any security checks. From that moment everyone's security was compromised until return to Tllbury. The first tendering at Kirkwall was terrible. Ticketing started at 0900 and we received ours at 0915 but had to wait ages - until we landed ashore at 1210. They didn't have enough tenders operating and those that were, were uncoordinated. A massive list formed at return time and the harbourmaster contacted the Captain to ask for more tenders. We heard from a number of sources that the Captain refused. After a written complaint I received a letter of management speak blaming the wind??? and the harbour authorities. We had an emergency muster alarm early morning whilst most were in bed. A Faulty alarm. These things can happen but it was badly handled and we weren't given any explanation or apology until the Captain was forced to make a PA announcment mid morning. Also some staff wandered around with bouyancy aids but lacking direction. At NUUK, the Greenland Capital, coahes didn't arrive for excursions. 1st excuse - traffic, then the excursion leader admitted that the coach company had forgotten and said, "That's Greenland". Why didn't she check up the day before? The boat is poorly managed, the Bistro staff are inefficient and lack decent training.If you show them dirty cups or cracked cups, you cannot be confident that they fully understand the problem and the cups continually re-appear. Cold plates for hot meals and warm plates for salads. etc. The Bistro is not good enough to compete with transport cafes. The cupboards are like '50's kitchenettes and even poorly painted. Llttle variety of breakfast offerings. However, we dined in the main restaurant every evening and the food was excellent. terrific selection, well made, hot and well presented.A different kitchen from the Bistro, but we presume still under the head chef? The entertainment was first class every evening and the guest speakers were above par. We will not sail with CMV again. We feel they are a disgrace to the cruising industry, and clearly operate Marco Polo on a shoestring. They tsake a very poor attitude to grumbles or complaints, argueing with passengers instead of trying to solve the problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to go to Greenland and when the offer came up grabbed it. However wished we had paid more with another operator. Paid for a better room when booking however found on when on board some people had been upgraded to our cabin ... Read More
We wanted to go to Greenland and when the offer came up grabbed it. However wished we had paid more with another operator. Paid for a better room when booking however found on when on board some people had been upgraded to our cabin category they had paid £1,000 less than us. Ship old, no comfortable chairs inside other than the 5 in the library. Chairs in dining room dirty, chairs in Show Lounge not fixed to the ground meant anyone sitting in them restricted the view of those behind. Food average selected mozzarella and tomato as a starter processed cheese was on our plate! No lectures about Greenland or Iceland. Best of all were the staff who were all very nice. Anyone thinking of going again with C&M I advise seriously consider going with another cruise line especially if you go to Greenland - better to pay more for an expedition ship or Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, ... Read More
We like the small ship voyages. Was on Marco Polo to Antarctica twice when owned by Orient and NCL. Then to the Norwegian fjords (awful experience) and this one was selected to see Greenland. Not much has changed. Our cabin was fine, except for our next door neighbour who complained when I made a phone call from the room. A lot of older travellers, as we are. But some were just plain nasty. We had great tablemates and Sanjay was a great server. He recognized my love of pappadums and brought an ample supply to the table each night. Smiling, cheerful and provided quality service. Communication onboard was horrendous. Leaving the ship at Kirkwall was a total mess-taking 3 hours to disembark, leaving little time to see anything there. The alarm bells sounded early morning, and people were running for their life jackets! Announcement came over intercom to disregard alarm, but no further info or apology for their stupid mistake. Entertainment was abysmal. The chunky blonde, possibly Spanish, girl was a horrific singer. She sang during the 4 July presentation and it was painful to listen to her. Much better when they sang as a group. A few, like the cruise director, had passable voices, but several others were just plain awful. They managed to butcher Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables during 2 nights of "entertainment". Like the sauna, and it was usually vacant. The cocktail tasting were a fun event and reasonably priced. Shore excursions very costly and we did better just going out on our own. Embarkation was fast and efficient, but long wait to disembark. Overall, we got to Greenland, which was our goal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Cabin We were given a tiny, windowless cabin on the lowest deck known as Carabic. The smell of diesel is so overpowering it leaves a taste in your mouth as you leave the tiny lift. We paid for an inner cabin and the offer suggested a ... Read More
Cabin We were given a tiny, windowless cabin on the lowest deck known as Carabic. The smell of diesel is so overpowering it leaves a taste in your mouth as you leave the tiny lift. We paid for an inner cabin and the offer suggested a free upgrade that never happened; despite this the cabin was serviceable and kept spotlessly clean by Lillia our Cabin Stewart. The two twin beds were smaller than a regular single but were rewarded with fresh crisp linen daily along with the white as wave towels. The cabin was serviceable and a little larger than I expected. The draw space and hanging space was well utilised for storing the plethora of formal wear needed on the cruise. 3 single wardrobes housed rails, the safe and a set of small draws along with a tie rack. The top space held the life jackets and could be used for storing larger items. The storage of suitcases was difficult but we squeezed them under the beds, this would be impossible with the hard shell cases but our smaller softer cases compressed to fit. The bathroom optimised the available space and provided a shower with a detachable head; the pressure was good and left us feeling refreshed. The toiletries supplied were limited and of a poor quality. The descenders in the showers were tricky to use when slippery and wet but we had brought our own and recommend travellers do the same. The standard of cleaning in the cabin is outstanding and I have never had a better standard anywhere in the world. Twice each day the room is cleaned and turned back at night, clothes folded for you, bins emptied, dressing area organised. It feels like Mary Poppins has visited each time you return. Captain’s Club This comfortable area is rarely unoccupied, in the day it’s bright clean interior attracts people hoping to relax and have a drink and at night it is a waiting area for people preparing for the show lounge cabaret. A delightful pianist and violinist play at various times on most evenings but they could not be enjoyed because they became inaudible within the busy room full of chattering guests. A beautiful resource that is sadly under appreciated and lost amongst the people. Sadly this area is understaffed and many guests treat the overworked staff appallingly. I have witnessed so many occasions where guests have berated, abused and directly verbally attacked the young staff. The waiting time for drinks is over 30 minutes or more and there does seem to be a favouring of those guests without a drinks package over those who have the package. This highlights another anomaly in the pricing of the drinks package. If I ordered a quadruple whisky this would be included in the package BUT a latte coffee would not. This seems rather unfair and does not encourage sensible drinking. My main issue with this area is the lack of tables for two persons. Most of the tables are laid out as 4s and so it negates any privacy or time for couples to enjoy together. Most of the time the lounge is quite full and so people sit with you and want to chat. A lovely thing to happen on a friendly ship but there are times when I would have appreciated some time alone with my husband. This layout was further hindered by the many Zimmer frames, walking trollies and walking sticks that created an ever changing obstacle course for people to negotiate. Scott’s Bar This is a lively little venue however after 10 all entertainment moves to this bar and sadly the area is far too small for the number of visitors using it. It was almost impossible to see both the show at 9 in the show lounge and then get a seat upstairs. Sadly we missed out because if this. The bar staff in this area are good and much quicker than in other areas of the ship. Many of the soft furnishings in this area are broken and are uncomfortable but this is only if you are fast enough to get a seat. Marco’s Bistro Terrible! This restaurant is appalling and I am afraid it has deteriorated during the cruise. The food is luke warm at best and stagnant and congealed most of the time. The choice is poor with mostly chopped meat dishes and diced over cooked soggy vegetables. The sweet section at lunch and dinner are poor with small portions of poorly presented sweets that include many cold puddings and whips. The majority of food has a soft blended texture ideal if chewing is best avoided! The cutlery includes only soup spoons rather than desert or tea spoons, so one must stir tea, eat cake and cereal with a soup spoon. Usually there is a shortage of cutlery throughout the restaurant at all 3 meals. My biggest annoyance was having to collect food in relays as people would take your seat between courses. Lone diners would find it impossible to eat all courses in the same seat. Main Restaurant This area is stunning and despite the tatty table cloths, with more pulls than a grandmother’s stocking, it is warm and welcoming. The staff try hard but the lack of organisation makes this a doomed enterprise. We were sat on a table of six and we were so close to other tables that the waiters played limbo to get about carrying the trays. The menus allowed for a choice but really what you received was like Russian roulette. I ordered ice cream and got sorbet, ordered pasta and got pork! This seemed to happen every night to at least one person in the table. The delay between courses was ridiculous with a 90 minute wait on Christmas Day between starter and main. This improved to 50 minutes on Boxing Day. We eventually complained and the time between courses reduced but the game of roulette continued. Midnight snacks Pathetic! These are carried around on a tray and given out in tiny portions on serviettes. I was blessed with grease down my ball gown as the waiter spilt them all down me on Christmas Eve! Not the wonderful plan I had for my dress which is now ruined. Deck Bar Swimming pool! More of a puddle than a pool. I heard it called a splash pool, a great name as it just splashes icy water over people sat at tables around it. The slippery deck is then a risk to the shuffling older people who hope to sit by it. No one used it as it is covered with a net, a complete waste of deck space and a blooming pain in the neck! The bar out here is well stocked and enticing but the wait time for a drink is so long you contemplate jumping overboard! The waiting staff meander about, avoiding eye contact and rarely engage with people. I have found this the worst area to get a drink and have often given in and had a self service coffee rather than nothing. Entertainment The entertainment team includes some excellent singers with talent way beyond this ship. Callum, Anneka and Savannah brighten every room when they enter and their talent shines through. The others are not quite as talented but what they lack in ability they make up for in enthusiasm. Mitch makes everyone smile and excelled at Elvis and some swing but he struggles with more challenging songs. Not all of the songs the entertainers sing suit their voices and even the best of them murder some songs. The Wuthering Heights needs to be pulled ASAP! Daytimes are dull. Little if any entertainment goes on and much is not hosted. The entertainment seems to be aimed at the older generation with Knit and Natter and Bridge. We attended the Creative Writing and although we enjoyed the sharing of creative works the gentleman who ran the session was poor. He talked. A lot! He then got everyone to write and share. The feedback was peer feedback with little input from him. There was no development of people’s skill, no feedback or development of ideas. The next session repeated exactly the first in format and activities. The room was too small and the delivery needs to be improved. The tutor led session was didactic and lacked any imagination. Ironic given it was a creative writing class. The exception to the poor daytime activities was the Morecombe and Wise Comedy lecture that was excellent. It was well planned, entertaining and engaging, giving rise to much laughter and good spirits. The presenter was knowledgeable and very talented. Excursions The excursions are very expensive however they are well organised and have a high standard of tour guide. We did 3 different excursions and booked a fourth that was unfortunately cancelled. The first tour of Gibraltar was on a minibus and took us to the Rock, the Caves and the museum. The guide was excellent and entertained and informed us. He was relaxed and the tour took longer than expected but it was worth every second of my time. The second tour took us around a very foggy and rainy Funchal. To be honest the tour should have been cancelled due to the weather. The views were totally covered by a thick blanket of fog making visibility about 3 meters maximum. The guide tried her best but coffee and cake at a golf club and a walk to a wine tasting cost us £48 each. Very disappointing! The 3rd trip around a freezing cold Lisbon was a march, following a bossy school mistress who barked at us and constantly repeated herself. When people asked for rendezvous times she wouldn’t give them insisting we stayed with her. The visit to the monastery allowed no time to contemplate the beautiful place or enter into prayer. It was a fast walk through and a sit on a pew whilst she talked and talked constantly repeating herself. Disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Although our expectations for an older, smaller ship were not over indulgent, the condition of this ship is just plain awful. Cabins had leaky pipes and showers, customers were moved mid-cruise for "routine maintenance" (???), ... Read More
Although our expectations for an older, smaller ship were not over indulgent, the condition of this ship is just plain awful. Cabins had leaky pipes and showers, customers were moved mid-cruise for "routine maintenance" (???), floors popped when walked on, and food (although very nicely presented) was of poor quality...as in what you might expect from McDonalds if it were properly plated. The food at the buffet was simply horrible, nearly inedible. Most of the service crew were, however, exceptional. The problems clearly rest on the company itself, not the people working on the ship. This was our third trip on the Marco Polo, and the deterioration of quality was unbelievable. There was very little information of value given at any of the ports, especially as to how far into towns and what transportation was available. There was a clear problem with reception personnel understanding English, one in particular was down right rude. We did not expect this ship to be like a 5 star cruise, but unless mammoth things are improved we would never cruise it again. Avoid this ship if you can. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Chose this cruise as it was going to St Petersburg, wish I hadn't bothered, the smell of diesel hit me and my daughter on embarkation onto Baltic Deck, we were held up for 25 hours on the return journey on the Kiel Canal, lots of ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was going to St Petersburg, wish I hadn't bothered, the smell of diesel hit me and my daughter on embarkation onto Baltic Deck, we were held up for 25 hours on the return journey on the Kiel Canal, lots of different stories as to why, the captain when he made an announcement could hardly be understood, in fact it became a standing joke among the passengers. We were all given £50 per cabin as compensation and the promise of free soft drinks, speciality tea & coffee for the Monday only to be told hours later we'd have to purchase them using the £50. The smell of raw sewerage permeated our cabin bathroom on several occasions and one passenger was shaving in his shower when he noticed he was stood in raw sewerage, the result being his whole cabin had to be disinfected! I decided to try this company having sailed with a larger cruise company on several occasions without any problems, one of the reasons I chose CMV was the lower price, and I found to my dismay you really do get what you pay for! Would I use them again?.....id sooner donate a kidney without anaesthetic, try them yourself at your peril. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
She is an old boat but appears to be well maintained by the crew cabins shabby but sheak house keeping,bar staff and the waiting team servicing the evening in the Waldorf restaurant top notch however the Evining meal was on most night ... Read More
She is an old boat but appears to be well maintained by the crew cabins shabby but sheak house keeping,bar staff and the waiting team servicing the evening in the Waldorf restaurant top notch however the Evining meal was on most night passibie for restraunt style food (only one tuc biscuit with Mouse portion of cheese)but the same can not be said for the breakfast or lunch menus Breakfast used cheap smoked sausage inedible greasy bacon watery beans tomatoes and very unappetising scrambled eggs cheap cardboard breakfast cereals not great however the lunch buffet in Marcos took the biscuit. salad meats of spam luncheon meats salami not a real portion of reconisibile meat chicken ham pork etc that my years of cruising could recognise if you love cream of beetroot or parsnip soup you've cracked it.all the deserts are servived in small portions with all the imitation whipped cream you can manage. There is a grill on the deck at the bistro rear most days one day it may be a sausage next day a chicken leg the next a portion of ropey salmon and finally a hamburger Afternoon tea is a little better but inedible sandwiches (old BR style curled ends) what part of salami and cream cheese is a ham&cheese sandwich. supper don't go there 0 out of 10 Greasy deep fried chicken wings of a sort. Entertainment poor shows not great young inexperienced singers very unfunny comedian.DJ was great. Bench style seating in the theatre not very comfortable as are the plastic garden style chairs on rear decks first and last time with this company it's true you get what you pay for, I will pay more in future with one of the other cruise lines no such thing as a free lunch (or cruise) Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. Age group 60 - 90 years of age. Very elderly frail clientele - not a good combination with rough seas so we were greeted with 2 ambulances on the dockside at our first port stop. An ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. Age group 60 - 90 years of age. Very elderly frail clientele - not a good combination with rough seas so we were greeted with 2 ambulances on the dockside at our first port stop. An emergency helicopter evacuation of a patient also took place. We were worried about the full evacuation process should an emergency arise with the numbers of frail elderly and people with walking difficulties aboard. Baltic deck (rear): very noisy due to engine noise and waves crashing. Ear plugs recommended ! Food: European. Queues outside restaurants before they opened - no reason for this ! Food varied in quality. Cabin; good size, plenty of hanging space, drawers etc. No fridge or kettle however. Good bathroom size but very noisy with waves crashing against the side of the ship. Entertainment; limited and based around the older age group. Knit & natter; bean bag throwing, quiz, bingo, make a frilly scarf etc. Decks often partially closed for maintenance. We did like the photographic lectures. Gym and activities: limited activities due to entertainment crew needing space to rehearse. Uncomfortable chairs on sun decks & the theatre had padded bench style seating Embarkation: Virtually a warehouse. Very rushed scanning process at Bristol - port staff shoving things through before you could unpack. Cleanliness: Crew to be congratulated on their thoroughness. Maintenance: appeared good. We reported leaking tap & sink and these were repaired. Crew: very friendly & helpful Excursions: good but could be expensive. Many were only half a day due to the elderly clientele. We preferred to go it alone in the main ports as we wanted to utilise the whole day in port rather than be taken back to the ship at lunchtime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
For the chance to see the Northern lights and Norway in the winter. In that capacity the cruise was all I hoped for, as Cruise & Maritime had no part in the splendor of nature. The food was of a poor standard, pork on the menu ... Read More
For the chance to see the Northern lights and Norway in the winter. In that capacity the cruise was all I hoped for, as Cruise & Maritime had no part in the splendor of nature. The food was of a poor standard, pork on the menu turned to ham,sword fish was black, all meats were over cooked, vegetables came in very small amounts, On one menu the great British pub grub was Bavarian meat loaf or spam to you and me. Drinks waiters did not understand that if you wanted a whisky and ginger you do not have a whole can of ginger ale (330ml) pored on top prices were on the high side even for in house brands. Dining table waiters were unhelpful slow to serve each course and did not stay around to check if every thing was all right, so if you had a complaint you had to wait until he came back to clear the plates.I complained one night and tolled so the chef got it wrong, a shrug of the shoulders and gone. Sorry Cruise & Maritime you will not see me again unless you up you game a long way. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Really do not know where to start with this one ?. The initial Cruise was book to depart from Tilbury on the 16th February 2017 for 15 Nights in the Land of the Northern Lights (P704).....................however, the Departure port with ... Read More
Really do not know where to start with this one ?. The initial Cruise was book to depart from Tilbury on the 16th February 2017 for 15 Nights in the Land of the Northern Lights (P704).....................however, the Departure port with then changed to Bristol Avonmouth and the Cruise brought forward to depart on the 13th February 2017. We booked this Cruise with CMV because we live in Kent and Tilbury is around 40 miles from us.............excellent departure port. Now it begins to fall apart. We are travelling with my totally disabled Mother In Law whom is wheelchair bound, so we have booked a disabled taxi ti get us from Herne Bay Kent to Tilbury Cruise terminal at a cost of £50 return journey. We now have to contact the taxi Company and tell them that we now need to get to Bristol Avonmouth some 200 miles from our home address and this is now going to cost us an extra £500 on top of our Cruise costs to get to Bristol Avonmouth, is that fair ?. I spoke with CMV and explained the situation regarding the extra mileage and costs and where they interested....................NOT REMOTELY !!!!, and refused to even assist with any help regarding the cost of the taxi fare, nothing at all, so now I have the Cruise to pay for plus an additional £500 taxi fare on top of that. CMV were not interested at all, they have your money for the Cruise, why should they worry, they have Got You !!!!. Eventually, after many long and protracted telephone conversations, they did concede to pay part of the taxi fare, well, no they didn't, they offer to pay us £75.00 towards the taxi fare, but this would be paid as 'Onboard' spend to my cabin. THIS NEVER HAPPENED, they got away with not paying anything. This really is a rubbish Company. I move on though, three days before our departure day CMV decide to call us again and this time the departure port has moved again, so we booked for Tilbury, then changed to Bristol Avonmouth and now we are going to depart from Portland Dorset. I must say that the taxi firm were great, no price increase first of all, but then again the distance was reduced by 5.4 miles, CMV told us to keep our Embarkation time as we had been given which was 14:40 in the afternoon. Come departure day, taxi arrives and away we go to Portland Dorset and some four hours later arrive at the Terminal in Portland, it's empty !!!!!. Taxi has departed and here we are, sitting in some damp dingy building awaiting for someone from CMV to turn up and tell us whats happening.................did that happen...................NO !!!! not until 4:00pm when we where introduced to the Cruise Director, whom really did not have a clue, waffle waffle waffle but nothing. The ship at this time was sitting on a sandbank in Portland Harbour and had not berthed so was still full of disembarking passengers from the previous Cruise. There was no refreshments available or supplied by CMV for Customers at the Portland Terminal, absolutely nothing. More and more Customers were turning up, but still no information was coming forward from the Cruise Director as to when we would be moving onboard. Very slowly some disembarking passengers came ashore, their luggage thrown on the back of some old open backed truck and once at the Terminal they had to unload it themselves before they could go, This went on for A COUPLE OF HOURS. Eventually, we were passport processed and moved into another damp dingy room awaiting transport to the ship. Called to get on the transport at 19:40 hours, as we were first in, they kindly took us first out...............more problems. My disabled Mother In Law is wheelchair bound and could not get into the Coach to the ship, despite me telling the Cruise Director multiple times that she would need to be transported to the ship, nothing had been done, had it not been for a kind hearted bus driver I am pretty sure we would have been left at the terminal and watched the ship depart.................we did eventually get to the ship having been subjected to more security searches than you would get at London Heathrow, and at the bottom of the gangway once there we were subjected to a torrent of abuse from a female Security Officer onboard the ship shouting that we cannot come onboard with the wheelchair. Fortunately, an Officer instructed some of the Crew to come and assist us with the wheelchair movement onto the ship.............at last we were onboard after seven and three quarter hours of dis organised ciaos...............really a total disaster thus far. Once on board found our cabin which was supposedly disability adapted, it's not, and certainly not for use with a wheelchair bound Customer. The cabin was fairly large but the WC was totally impracticable, the equipment we needed to get in to the toilet kept grounding on a roughly made ramp, making it difficult to get into the toilet. The water from the tap was a constant orange colour, the assistance bars around the toilet were permanent not the fol up type, so we could not get the wheel chair close to the toilet easily, just a horrible nasty place to be. We sailed at 03:00hours hours late but their fun had not finished even now, at midnight they decided to do 'Life Boat Drill', after all the time we had been messed about now this........................Oh the end of a perfect day..............somewhere in the World but NOT on the MS Marco Polo.. The ship itself is quite a nice vessel, even though she is 52 years old, the decor is nice and the public areas are tastefully completed. The food..................where do you start? The Waldorf is the main Restaurant, and I was on the first sitting, Portions very small, very limited choice on the menu, found every cut of meat tough to cut and eat, veg I found tasteless, not a good experience, infact we stopped using this place and used Marco on Deck 8 for all our meals breakfast\lunch\Afternoon tea and Evening meal...........better selection, food alot tastier and a staff always helpful, nice place to be....................quite enjoyable with great views to. Entertainment: The Guest Speakers were very good as were the two acts brought on and Comedian and a Magician........................but sorry to have to say it but the onboard Entertainment Team were appalling, The Dancers were good, the Vocalist were awful. Really do not want to spend to long on this, but I certainly would never pay to watch any of their shows, they were abysmal from start to finish. Port of Call Excellent Ports, dismal departure times. Really could go on writing about this Cruise for a long long time and alas could say nothing nice about it. This really is a awful Cruise Line, fortunately I have done it and will never do it again with CMV. This is my fifteenth Cruise and by far the worst ever. I would advise anyone with a disability not to use CMV, they are more interested in the able bodied Customer and they are not afraid to show this. From start to finish it was a total disgrace and I think that CMV should hang their head in shame for their performance on this Cruise, possible learn a few lessons infact a lot of lessons. My God Bless them and all who Sail with Them Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this because of the itinery and it was our first experience of Cruise Maritime Voyages. It will be our last cruise with them. If you want a budget no frills cruise with second rate food (in choice, quality and quantity). Food was ... Read More
We chose this because of the itinery and it was our first experience of Cruise Maritime Voyages. It will be our last cruise with them. If you want a budget no frills cruise with second rate food (in choice, quality and quantity). Food was often served cold and under cooked, when a complaint was made no one wanted to take responsibility. If you want second rate entertainment with a very limited variety ,then this cruise line will suit you. If you want and expect more for your money then it will not suit you. The ship was kept clean, the crew were very hard working but obviously working within very tight budget constraints and there is a disorganisation about with the company coming from the very top. There were no tea / coffee making facilities in the cabin. We had problems with the plumbing on two occasions (which were attended to and fixed quickly) The on board air conditioning was overbearing and too cold). The entertainment was mainly the very hard working in house team and four guest comedians, with two duos in the lounges. There was no other variety and sometimes no shows just the offering of a fil Drinks were expensive. There was no laundrette, which is useful on a long voyage, just an expensive laundry, which according to other passengers ruined some clothes.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary.When we visited the Waldorf restaurant for our 1st breakfast the staff were very curt towards the passengers and made unacceptable comments to other waiters about the passengers! The staff ... Read More
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary.When we visited the Waldorf restaurant for our 1st breakfast the staff were very curt towards the passengers and made unacceptable comments to other waiters about the passengers! The staff on both the reception and excursion desks lacked any people skills and they too were often rude. The excursion on the Strathspey railway was very disappointing and a rip off.The steam train was off due to maintenance! although the tour guide said it was due to fire risk from the steam train! !What was the truth!! The disembarkation was a real mess. I hope the staff will be replaced soon,it was not our 1st venture on the Marco Polo but it is our LAST. We were very sorry for our friends who were on their 1st ever cruise,we did assure them that other cruise companies offer much better service. Even the food was look warm and asking for a pot of water and fresh toast was frowned on by the staff. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Chose this cruise as the Ports of Call were all just where we wanted to go. As we live in Debyshire Hull was so easy to reach. Once on board not so sure on our choice, cabin sloped down hill making quite a high step in to shower etc. ... Read More
Chose this cruise as the Ports of Call were all just where we wanted to go. As we live in Debyshire Hull was so easy to reach. Once on board not so sure on our choice, cabin sloped down hill making quite a high step in to shower etc. Food was a great disappointment being of poor quality and level of service left much to be desired. As one of the few not ill in the bad weather on crossing north sea, I witnessed in the glorified cafe called a 'bistro' dirty pots cleared, but tables not cleaned or when they were the same cloth was used without being rinsed and no anti-bac spray used. This was the theme throughout, when meals required a sauce like mustard or mint these were served in their jars with residue running down the side!!! Waiters at meals did not realise it was bad manners to clear the table before everyone had finished eating even crossing people eating to changing cutlery. Entertainment staff tried very hard, but needed more support, even one of them told me that Oliver Twist would not ask for more! Ports of call were all good, did many trips ourselves, others were ok Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and will be my last cruise! The late departure was because of their poor embarkation procedures. We were due to board at 14:30 and didn't board until 15:45 even though we were there in plenty of time! I do not think that the stabilisers were extended on our southern journey thus making things even more uncomfortable for the passengers. There was no form of compensation offered for the loss of 2 ports and the huge delays getting us into Funchal. When it came to Madeira we had to use the tenders to land. I had no problem with this except for their sheer incompetence at lowering the boats. the first tender banged into the ship and broke two of its windows and damaged its rubbing strip. The second tender also hit the boat as it was being lowered which created a hole in the hull. We watched them repairing this with fibre glass! This left the lifeboats available for use which were slow and inappropriate. One wonders what would have happened if we had needed those tenders in an emergency - would they have been able to lower them without damage! The rough seas caused many injuries but many more injuries were caused by the unsuitability of the furniture for cruising. Chairs that tipped over when you were sat on them (Scotts Bar and Marco Polo Lounge); tables not bolted down to the floor; handrails not available as you approached the top of stairs etc. The food in the Waldorf was excellent but never hot - always tepid and in the rough weather we had to demand tumblers instead of the wine glasses that were top heavy and crashing to the ground! One afternoon in the Marco Polo Lounge, because it was so rough, they turned all the tub chairs onto their sides so that they couldn't be used. This left their sharp metal bases pointing skywards ready to do huge damage should someone be unfortunate enough to fall onto them - no common sense and another fine example of inappropriate furniture! The return disembarkation at Southampton and the subsequent coaches were well organised. The staff we came across were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Late embarkation due to non arrival of food- was said. 2 cancelled stops, Corunna and Gibraltar as missed tide at Bristol, Lisbon stop en route to Canaries, NOT as advertised on way back. Madeira berthed at 9.30 am, ashore by tender for ... Read More
Late embarkation due to non arrival of food- was said. 2 cancelled stops, Corunna and Gibraltar as missed tide at Bristol, Lisbon stop en route to Canaries, NOT as advertised on way back. Madeira berthed at 9.30 am, ashore by tender for 2.15 just as all shut for New Year, this after 1 lifeboat fibreglass hull damaged, on another two windows smashed, even cooks helping to embark and disembark clients to tenders, why only 2 tenders in use? Chaos. Vigo [an extra stop en route back]- arrive by 6pm but gangway down for 8pm! Disembarkation at S/Hampton having left car at Avonmouth cruise terminal! [This bus transfer the most organised part of the whole trip]The weather was bad, gale force times but partner ship made it to Gib. is said. Rumors abound. Little time in ports, pathetic. Bar one meal ALL food tepid although very well presented and complaints made but no change. All crew excellent including the dancers and singers but the total lack of information as to why programme changed not good. Many rumours abound! The lifts very inadequate, lacking in Christmas decor and only 2 'dress' evenings. We had requested a dining table for 6, but got 8 and squashed against another table. The ship very clean but seating areas inadequate. Would never use this company again. Very second rate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at ... Read More
Ten hour delay from Avonmouth due to bad weather so two excursions cancelled at La Corunna and Gibraltar. Four days at sea in Gale force 4 - 7 winds and then very short trips to Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Appalled at injuries sustained by many passengers due to broken glass and furniture flying around. Madeira trip on New Years eve was a fiasco. Unable to dock so tenders ferried passengers the half hour trip to port. Tenders unsuitable for the journey due to choppy seas, lack of crew training and dangerous practice. Many passengers unable to make the trip as only able-bodied people allowed. Many of the passengers were elderly so unable to leave the ship. Frequent accidents on board consisted of broken limbs, broken ribs, head injuries, lacerations caused by flying glass and objects. Tables made of glass and marble and not secured so causing many of the injuries. Return journey not to Avonmouth but Southampton so had to be bussed back causing all later plans to be disrupted. Offer of the year. If we would like to book another cruise on this boat in 2016 we can have 15% off if we book by 31st March. .....A small 50 yr old boat not fit for purpose in winter weather. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Avonmouth We travelled to Bristol from the north and stayed in an hotel overnight before embarkation. Having tracked down the access roads into the correct part of Avonmouth docks, further signage to the check in point within the site ... Read More
Avonmouth We travelled to Bristol from the north and stayed in an hotel overnight before embarkation. Having tracked down the access roads into the correct part of Avonmouth docks, further signage to the check in point within the site was quite inadequate. From time to time as we searched through the docks we could see the ship. She looked so elegant. We have admired her previously when she has docked in Funchal and were excited at the prospect of sailing on her. The ‘cruise terminal’ didn’t warrant that title – a dilapidated shed and drop off forecourt in a post industrial wasteland. Having parked the car in a rudimentary, but fenced off area we proceeded to the shed. Many people were waiting on rows of chairs, some holding glasses of what looked like mulled wine, however we boarded without delay and were soon in our cabin. Our ‘superior twin ocean view’ cabin on deck 10 was clean, of modest size, but perfectly adequate, which was just as well as we were required to spend quite a lot of time there. I had taken for granted (note to self, don’t assume anything) that there would be a fridge and my partner had insulin to store and I was needing to use to an ice pack several times a day. There were 2 bottles of water provided (not complimentary). The view from 2 small windows onto a Promenade deck was largely obscured by lifeboats on the deck above. The shower room was small but adequate, the water often had an orange tinge. The ship was very clean and staff could be seen cleaning and wiping surfaces the whole time. Changes to itinerary There was an announcement that the 4pm departure from Avonmouth was cancelled because of the ‘blustery conditions’ and we would be going out on the morning high tide. As a result we would ‘avoid the worse of the adverse conditions forecast’. Sadly, this proved to be untrue. There was no option (Head of Customer Service at Head Office) told us in a letter delivered to our cabin, ‘but to cancel scheduled calls at La Corunna (0800-1700) on 24 December and Gibraltar (0900-1700) on 26th December’ (this on the 22nd remember). Also, the Lisbon visit due 2nd January was rescheduled to 26 December (and be “a full day” ie 0700 -1800 hours in place of 1100 - 1700). ‘A short evening stay (2100 hours) at the port of Vigo’ was to be added on 2 January. We were assured that the safety of passenger and crew is their top priority and our patience and understanding were very much appreciated. Having apologised for the disappointment and inconvenience caused and leaving our holiday plans in tatters (and remember we haven’t put to sea yet), Bob wished us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – then presumably locked his desk drawer and went home to enjoy his well earned break. Thanks Bob. In fact we were told later by passengers from the preceding mini cruise, that they had been unable to go to Dublin as scheduled, but were rerouted to Cork due to inclement weather. They were told then that the ship would not be sailing from Bristol as scheduled on 22 December. In the full knowledge of this, the company allowed us to board it without any warning of this decision. Food Day 1 We began to explore the ship and went to eat lunch in the Bistro. There was a varied self-service buffet in Marco’s Bistro. Mindful of 14 days of cruise eating ahead, I ate moderately – soup, a roll, lettuce and tomatoes. Fine. We had requested early sitting (6pm) on a table of 6. Our table, sited close to the entrance to the Waldorf restaurant had 8 settings. Very quickly, it was clear that there was insufficient room for the serving staff to move around it. Other tables in the row seated 6. One (frail) guest was knocked forwards with every pass made around it and her head was bumped. This continued throughout the voyage. My seat was almost impassable and although on subsequent days I swopped places with my partner, we were all uncomfortable as the waiters struggled around. White wine was banged on the table (no bucket forthcoming), waiter thunderous as a table of 4 behind us arrive an hour late. A neighbours “mozzarella cheese tart’ is a 2x2 inch square. My salad nicoise (5 tiny pieces of potato, almost a whole olive, a 1 inch slice of green bean, a scrap of tuna and a slice of hard boiled egg) was so memorable that I photographed it and this is available on request. My (insulin-controlled diabetic) partner’s cheese plate consists of slivers of unidentifiable cheese and one single Ritz cracker. Unfortunately, He’d eaten the cracker before I thought of photographing it. I complain to the restaurant manager (I know, not the best start) who assured us that tomorrow will be better. [Actually it wasn’t, because by tomorrow my companion was sea sick and didn’t eat, but by Day 3 there was a change – the cheese and biscuits he ordered had a single digestive biscuit (Graham cracker as they say in the USA) instead of the Ritz biscuit]. Apparently there was an ongoing shortage. Still eating modestly (I had ordered 3 courses which seemed as if it would be plenty) by 9pm I was starting to feel hungry. I consulted the daily programme and saw that no food was available until 11pm. Visiting the tea and coffee station (open until midnight), the hot water boiler was empty, there was no milk and no clean cups or mugs. At 11pm I went in search of the promised food. To my surprise I discovered there is no buffet available anywhere on the ship (I’d never experienced this before on a cruise) but ‘Light Bites’ are ‘Around all lounges’. What did that mean? Well what it turned out to mean, when 10 minutes later I finally tracked down a member of staff in the Bistro carrying a single tray of food, was a paper napkin, a meatball, a fried chicken bite and a mini spring roll. I don’t eat meat so I’m afraid I was disappointed (and still hungry). And there we have it. That sadly, is an example of the rather penny-pinching approach to food, drink and customer satisfaction that pervades on this ship. I worked in catering for decades so I know a lot about the subject and the practicalities involved. I am health conscious as anyone and particularly averse to wasting food when so many people in the world don’t have enough to eat, but its not that there is no food wasted on this ship, its that the provision of it simply isn’t anywhere near good or available enough for a (literally), captive audience By the way, I had dutifully told the company in advance that I was vegetarian and my partner a diabetic. Food continued After a few days I formalised a variety of my concerns about poor service, food and a penny pinching approach in a meeting with the Guest Services Manager. She was very professional and listened carefully. One of her observations was that the dinner menu had 6 courses and suggesting that all of these be ordered – and that’s pretty much what I did – I ate soup and salad and an entrée and whilst portion sizes were modest and vegetables rather lacking, I can’t complain of being hungry in the late evening again. But really, that’s not a satisfactory strategy for customer care and it’s a long way away from the promised sumptuous dishes and carefully constructed menus that were going to make our mouths water and which are so described in C&Ms cruise brochure. At this point I might mention that perhaps because we were almost as far from the kitchen as we could be; were a large table; that the 5 women on it were served before the 3 men and because we were always the last table to be served by our harassed waiter; the food (which was carried the distance from the kitchen en masse for 3 or 4 tables) was barely tepid, and my partner (a stickler for having a hot plate with his hot food) invariably served the last of the 8 covers, did not enjoy a single meal. Luckily our table companions were a jolly bunch or it would have been completely dire. The crew Denis, our eastern European Cabin Steward was excellent. Cheerful and attentive, he was rarely seen but kept the cabin in good order, turning down the beds each night and making it look attractive. Extra hangers and softer pillows were promptly provided on request together with an ice bucket for the ice pack I had my hair done and the hairdresser was excellent. I planned to go to her again but events and bad weather overtook me I found some staff much less impressive. For example: In Marco’s Bistro, there was relentless clearing of tables by staff who did little else (the comedian raised a gale of laughter when he referred to this in his set - glance aside and your plate had gone without your being asked if you had finished; or, find a table, leave your plate of food and go for water (or vice versa), and it had disappeared leaving you to start again) More worryingly, I was shocked in the first few days to see how staff completely ignored the people struggling day after day with the high seas and undulating decks whilst juggling food and hot drinks (and just getting milk out of the ‘time dated’ vacuum jugs required high levels of strength and manual dexterity at the best of times and you had to do this whilst rocking about). No assistance was offered with carrying trays, no steadying arm proffered or help back to ones seat. No interaction, few smiles. I have never seen this before on any cruise line - waiting staff are usually so helpful to passengers. Not here, (and bear in mind there was a high proportion of people on this cruise using walking sticks). No empathy demonstrated. [I mentioned this lack of help with carrying trays during my meeting (mentioned above), and noticed that things did change, inasmuch as later in the cruise all the trays for the use of passengers were removed from the Buffet, so that sorted that problem out – but not quite as one might have hoped or anticipated]. Of course clean tables are necessary, but there needs to be a balance of this with customer service and a helpful attitude adopted. It has to be said that some individuals were working tirelessly (see below), as was the Manager. The Waldorf Restaurant (formal dining) We were seated at the far side of the entrance to the room, but from what we could see, waiters appeared to be rather overworked and didn’t seem to have an assistant, but themselves did all or most of the running to and fro the kitchen. As the fortnight progressed matters failed to improve materially, our fellow diners were still bumped and squashed and one of them existed on bread rolls and soup when he was able to leave his cabin. The cheese and biscuits plate however, grew in size over time and eventually the whole table enjoyed its’ generous portions of cheese and (amazingly solid) cream crackers. I think this was a bit of fun on the part of the senior staff. Our waiter seemed to take life very seriously and to be baffled by any requests and reluctant to ask the kitchen for anything (‘what can I do?’ he asked). In fairness, guests elsewhere assured us that their waiter was great so perhaps it was a lack of experience and confidence which will grow over time. There is of course considerable pressure on staff to clear and relay tables for the 2nd sitting so time is of the essence. There were also visible shortages of cutlery. Soup spoons replaced desert spoons across the ship throughout the cruise. This made eating a yoghurt or a desert from a minature ramekin interesting. There were ongoing ‘short outs’ of various foods and drinks. Apart from the aforementioned cheese biscuits, at various times I myself was told that there was no pineapple juice, lemonade, Baileys, lemons and juice in the bars and there were many other examples. Strange. Captains Club Bar Apart from the Marco Polo Show Lounge where shows, lectures and dancing took place, this was the largest space to congregate, with comfortable sofas, tables and chairs and a piano. A duo played a variety of music several times a day. The waiters working there seemed to have organised themselves to have the easiest jobs on the ship. There were frequently 5 or 6 talking amongst themselves around the bar with their backs to the customers. Generally, I found their attitude to be very poor and it was hard to get served. No two drinks served resembled the one before. Every successive cocktail served looked and tasted different to its predecessor – even coffee was non standardised and as a result we spent less time and money there than we might have otherwise. Other bars and lounges were noticeably better and the female staff seemed to be more customer focussed than male counterparts. Senior Officers who managed the hotel/restaurant side of operations were impressive, with an excellent style of customer interaction. Unfortunately, their subordinates and counterparts often did not follow this through and appeared unhappy (some actually vocalising this to guests). Was this a problem of management? Why so indifferent? Were they home/seasick? Were there communication or cultural gaps between managers and staff? It was difficult to know and I tried to make allowances but they were frustratingly abrupt and unhelpful at times. What was clear - because there were passengers on board who had sailed multiple times on the ship and we had conversations with people who had experienced a fantastic 50+ day cruise on her in February 2015, was that things had greatly changed for the worse. Many staff (including the famous Richard Sykes) had been transferred to the Magellan or moved on. The team that remained, included far too many people with no interest or experience in customer service. It would be interesting to know the repeat business % following this cruise. I wondered whether the 15% goodwill future cruise discount offered in the CEO’s final letter to passengers will influence matters? If the ‘never again’ comments made during this cruise are to be believed, it may be unlikely). Entertainment Because of the 2 cancelled calls, we were at sea for 4 days before reaching the rescheduled Lisbon stop. This meant there was lots of extra time and work for the Entertainments team. I was thoroughly deflated and felt quite trapped, but determined to stay positive and make the best of what was on offer in the daily programme of events. The usual fare of bingo, quizzes, TV game shows, jackaroo etc were offered but aren’t quite my thing but I thoroughly enjoyed the (extra, unscheduled) art and craft demonstrations as well as the watercolour classes and amusing talks by Jenny, Peter and Anita. There were skilful and interesting. The ‘ships choir’ singing sessions were enjoyable and informative – led by Sophie, her talent and musical knowledge together with her willingness to share her expertise to get the best from our voices was truly impressive. The new (?) Entertainments Manager Ross Roberts grew in stature and confidence as the cruise progressed. I can’t imagine what the ship would have done without him, as I saw him pour oil on troubled waters and to rectify problems several times. There was a small troupe of 6 dancers – 4 women, 2 men who performed brilliantly in adverse conditions each night. A range of musical shows was performed including Mama Mia, Queen, Music of the Musicals, Russian themed etc. Colourful costumes, considerable talent and unfailing cheerfulness were on show. Only on the last night when sea conditions were so dire that it was a struggle to stay upright did they (wisely) fail to perform. There were 3 female singers (one was brilliant, another was a good actress with great comedic potential and the third was beautiful but rather tuneless) and 3 guys. This small team performed 2 shows a night and these were supplemented by a Magic Duo (I didn’t see them but they were much praised), and comedian Al Brown who did 2 nights before moving onto Magellan. He was very funny. The band was ok. Safety The lifeboat drill was well conducted and all passengers expected to participate (unlike on an Italian ship I travelled on some years ago – well before the Costa disaster). In other respects though I thought the safety of passengers was put at risk in different ways on many occasions. Our planned Excursion to Santiago de Compostela was lost. We walked miles (well more than 14,000 steps) in Lisbon for the sheer joy of being liberated and off the ship. Its a beautiful city. Arrecife (Lanzarote) was ok, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz were attractive, cosmopolitan towns with good shopping and we enjoyed lunch overlooking the impressive beach at the former. Funchal looked particularly lovely. The huge crib, multiple Christmas trees and millions of fairy lights supplemented the colourful flowers and plants. Viewed from the ship, the fireworks at midnight were ab so lutely spectacular. The short, additional stop at Vigo in the dark on a wet night was rather baffling. It may have been useful for refuelling or taking on provisions but there were no excursions and it wasnt possible to explore Tendering I was surprised to hear mentioned in passing during an announcement on 30 December that we would be tendered into Madeira. It simply never occurred to me (note to self – ask the cruise consultant more searching questions!). I have visited Madeira dozens of times and one of my greatest pleasures (far too sad I know) is to watch the cruise ships - coming over the horizon, being met by the Pilot and manoeuvring into a berth. I must have seen it hundreds of times. I’ve never been there for New Year though, which is obviously the busiest date of the year. Inevitably, that means there must be more ships than there are berths available, but when I booked this cruise because it would be IN Funchal for New Years Eve, I thought it would be IN Funchal. So I was surprised, but what the heck, I’ve never been tendered anywhere before – it’d be a new experience. The itinerary said we would be there from 0900 – 0100h. But then on the day there were problems; launching the first tender, it was banged against the side of the Marco Polo and 2 windows broken. Then launching the second, it too was banged and holes knocked into the hull, which meant that alternative lifeboats would be used. The PA said that there would be delay; that the sea was very rough (not so, this was the Atlantic ocean – it was like a mill pond relatively speaking); the round trip to shore would take an hour and passengers should go and view the procedure from an upper deck and satisfy themselves that they could manage it. Only the able bodied should attempt it and independent travellers were only allowed off the boat after excursions had gone and that by means of a card in strictly alphabetical order. I was planning to meet a friend for lunch in Funchal and pleaded for something earlier that the “N’ we had been given, but to no avail. We finally got ashore at 13.50 and had missed our lunch appointment. Since we were due back aboard by 17.00 (extended to18.00) our visit was fleeting to say the least. Another disappointment. I have to add that the whole process was a fiasco. Staff were less than competent and did not inspire confidence. The queueing system (shared with Magellan and the QE) to board the tenders for the return journey though was handled with considerable cheerfulness and goodwill by the Excursions manager. Passenger injuries There were many injuries and falls amongst passengers. Broken bones, head injuries leading to concussion the list went on. Every loudspeaker announcement by the captain (always repeated immediately by another person), stressed the need for care, holding onto handrails, passing through doors or into bathrooms, staying off open decks etc). But was impossible however to move around the ship in safety. If this ship has stabilisers they seemed to have no effect. This ship is not fit for purpose and should not be carrying passengers in winter conditions. Furniture was unsecured and much seemed unsuitable (marble topped surfaces to tables in the Bistro were so slippery that crockery and glassware were flying off them for much of the cruise). Almost home Passengers were thrown onto the floor and falling off chairs on many occasions and others were so upset by the sight of so many accidents and injuries that they wept. The Captain made 2 warning announcements within 30 minutes at lunchtime on Monday 4th January, the second of these to say that he was changing course to Southampton and people were advised to retire for their own safety to their cabins. The Bistro had been closed, all the bars cleared of furniture and/or locked. Passengers were told that they would be informed in due course what arrangements would be made for meals. Almost immediately things greatly worsened, the ship rolled terrifically and people were thrown about like nine pins. After some hours, we were informed that dinner would be served in the Waldorf Restaurant and this proved to be very alarming indeed. Staff carried on impressively as tables full of plates of food and glasses smashed across the floor and onto peoples laps, furniture shifted and I saw a woman moving to the restaurant exit hurled 15 feet across it before smashing into and coming to rest (briefly knocked out) in the waiters‘ service galley. Disembarkation went smoothly. We were provided with ‘complimentary coaches’ from Southampton back to Avonmouth. I guess we should be grateful we weren’t expected to pay our own way. This was a nuisance for many, but the arrangements were well organised and the staff on shore were helpful and cheerful. I’m sorry this review is so lengthy, but it’s taken me ages to pull my thoughts together, I so wanted to be fair and balanced and if now I try to edit it down, it’ll be midsummer before I’m finished. We will laugh about all this one day no doubt - but not yet. It was unfortunate (but fairly predictable), that we experienced bad weather and high seas, but the company's response dealt poorly with the situation and with us and as feelings ran high they were lucky not to have a riot at one point. Many staff were inexperienced, food was no better than adequate and the wall to wall penny pinching was very tedious. I'm appreciative of those in the crew who worked very hard and goodness knows the Entertainments team did so, but sadly this cruise did not offer us value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is our personal appraisal and some people like the holiday camp experience because there were many repeat cruisers on this voyage, but it is definately not our scene. In our opinion the ship is much too small for over 800 people ... Read More
This is our personal appraisal and some people like the holiday camp experience because there were many repeat cruisers on this voyage, but it is definately not our scene. In our opinion the ship is much too small for over 800 people and this showed especially in the Bistro at breakfast and lunchtimes on sea days when the weather did not permit taking food on to the outside decks. Waiting for table as well as a buffet is not good especially first thing in the morning. The food was bland and not altogether appetising and there were many complaints. The Waldorf restaurant alternative was OK but the open seating was regimented for breakfast and lunch. Dinner in the Waldorf was OK but again the food was bland and incerdibly small portions. Again many complaints about both quality and amount. The tables are packed much too closely together and we, for example, were unable to access our table without asking people on the next table to move. The entertainment was poor with the exception of the cruise director himself who was a cut above the rest of the show team in terms of professionalism and talent. If you are into bingo, playing blankaty blank, who wants to be a millionaire or similar or watching Laurel & Hardy then this is the cruise for you! The restaurant staff were pleasant and tried their best under the circumstances and we could have no complaint about their service or attitude. The bar staff however were all Eastern European and we found then to be disinterested and surly. They were forever removing glasses almost before you had finished your drink and readjusting chairs and tables even if you just taken a toilet break. It was almost as though they considered you were an intrusion. We took this cruise because the itinerary was great but having read previous reviews we did have some concerns sufficient enough for us to insist on a suite. We were glad that we did because we could at least retire to the sanctuary of our cabin upon which we had no complaints. We also arranged our own tours although the few ships tours we did do were OK. The average age profile would, we guess, be well over 70, almost all British with some Australians, and whilst no doubt there will be many repeat cruisers there were also many who like ourselves will not be sailing with Cruise & Maritime Voyages or the Marco Polo again. As we said this is our personal opinion and it just did not suit what we have become accustomed to both in terms of quality of service or clientel. If you decide to sail with them choose it for the itinerary and make sure you have a good cabin preferably organise your own tours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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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