6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
South America cruise excellent. Ship old but very good. Lots of activities on sea days. Trips expensive but easy to make your own way. Food very good. Staff couldn't do enough for you. Many solo travellers. Entertainment very good. ... Read More
South America cruise excellent. Ship old but very good. Lots of activities on sea days. Trips expensive but easy to make your own way. Food very good. Staff couldn't do enough for you. Many solo travellers. Entertainment very good. Opted for drinks package which turned out to be an excellent choice.. disappointed not to visit some places that required a tender but you have to respect the captain's safety decisions. I would definitely hope to do another cruise on Marco polo. Although it is not as luxurious as most ships it was definitely the best I had been on for activities on sea days. There were also excellent guest speakers. People were grumbling about price paid but it depends whether you opt to book early or late and shop around different travel agents. We were on a dining table for ten but you can also eat in the history were food was very good Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely ... Read More
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely architecture but very walkable. Next Port was Ronne a Danish island. Again very very quiet and apsrt from the churches not much to see.Would not visit this port again. Visbey was next { swedish Island} Beautiful and historic area. very quiet and a 20 minute bus ride from ship. Ship provided shuttle bus. Klaipeda Lituania was our next stop. Very laid out town New and old sections. Easy to walk around with a good choice of cafes. Our favourite stop was Gdansk Poland . So much to see I wish we had stopped longer there than Ronne and Wismar. We did not take any ships tours. We had a inside cabin {509} spacious for inside cabins and a good location for getting to and fro to dining and shows. Very well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation well managed. Food choices and meals , excellent. Entertainment was also varied and of good quality. Would consider taking another cruise with this company depending on the Ports. My only negative was having to vacate the cabin by 7am. Very difficult to get Tea and coffee as the machines did not work or the first few hours . Adult only cruise. Small pool and three whirlpools. Fitness room etc. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this cruise to see a bit of Canada. Had done a couple of cruises about 20 years ago and not sure about 31 days. No need to worry as the time aboard ship there was plenty to do - games, quizzes and talks or craft sessions. Or ... Read More
We choose this cruise to see a bit of Canada. Had done a couple of cruises about 20 years ago and not sure about 31 days. No need to worry as the time aboard ship there was plenty to do - games, quizzes and talks or craft sessions. Or even choir, line dancing and acting. Embarkation was fine and the cases that we had sent ahead by TEFRA were waiting at our cabin door. We chose late sitting in the Waldorf with a table of 8. Out table companions were fab - a couple from Scotland, couple from South Yorkshire and couple from Australia. The meals and choice were great. My only complaint was that sometimes the main course was only lukewarm and not hot. If I asked for it to be hot it was otherwise best to eat it quick. I must say the first course were usually delicious and could have ate more! There was 4 formal nights and quite a few Informal nights which towards the end of the cruise might as well be casual as the dress code was not enforced as it had been at the beginning of the cruise.The Bistro was great for breakfast and lunch although at peak times it was hard trying to find a seat. Basically just had to ask if seats were free and so got to meet lots of people. Quite a few were Australians. The evening entertainment was absolutely fantastic. The small team - Mitch, Callum, Josh, Chrysy, Annette and Savannah and the dancers made each show very enjoyable. They did 2 shows a night (unless the odd comedian or other act was on) then a show in Scott's Bar after the last show in Marco Polo lounge. They also did the quizzes and games during the day so worked really hard to keep us entertained. Due to illness I missed the night they did songs from the Musicals but the last night when I saw Les Miserables (my favourite) they deserved a standing ovation. Our cabin was on Atlantic so same floor as the Waldorf and handy on a night for the restaurant.The cabin was a good size with 2 portholes.There were 2 sets of 4 drawers (one between the twin beds) and a 3 door wardrobe with safe. Plenty of hangers and could ask cabin steward for more if needed. The bathroom was fine and the water in the shower was lovely and warm. Towels as and when you wanted them. Cabin steward did or checked the cabin twice every day and bed was always made again on a night. Ashveer our steward was brilliant when we were ill with a virus and checked if we needed anything a few times a day. We did a lot of the excursions and were well worth the money apart from one. The Sugar Shack Experience in Montreal was awful and wouldn't recommend at all. Glengariff - a lovely tour round the area with a coffee stop and then time in the time. Bought a lovely cardigan. St.John's, Newfoundland - a boat trip to see the puffins, bald eagles and possibly dolphins. This was a wet day and no dolphins but still a good trip. Halifax and the Tall Ship was lovely and a glorious day Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown - One of the prettiest places on this trip. Went to see the Confederation Bridge which we sailed under later on the way out. Also a lovely shopping area nearby but not enough time to see all the shops which was a shame. Quebec (day 1) - tour round Quebec and Montmorency Falls. Loved seeing Quebec. Quebec (day 2) - St Anne du Beaupre Basilica, canyon (falls) and Island was on a very wet day but the tour guide was very good so overall the trip was good. Saguenay - Fjord museum was good but not enough time spent there. Then went on to Le Pulpier where we had too much time for what there was to see. Baie-Comeau trip took you to a beautiful church - St Emilie - oldest church in Baie-Comeau which only has one mass a year. Also The Garden of the Glaciers - fantastic. Havre St Pierre - a small town Corner Brook - Did the Panoramic tour which was 2 hours and was ok for seeing a bit of the area. Sydney, Halifax - no tours and stayed on ship as not too well. Cork and Blarney - would have loved more time in Blarney as lots to see and not enough time. Disembarkation. We were late docking due to it being a very foggy morning but disembarkation soon got caught up. We had our time changed as originally time meant we would have missed our train. We had a phone call a couple of days before saying a person would meet us to take out cases from us and take to TEFRA. After getting off we collected our cases but then had to search for the person. Someone eventually tracked them down and they had no idea they were supposed to be taking our cases. We were trying to order a car to take us to Kings Cross from Tilbury when this person said there were taxis and where to go. When we got there and found the person to see she said the taxis wouldn't take us to Kings Cross. By the time we booked a car and they made it through the traffic (2 ships were in port) and road works we had just over an hour to catch our train. Thanks to the driver from Addison Lee we made it with 7 minutes to spare. Unbelievable. Overall this was a great trip, bar illness. Crossing from Ireland to Canada the sea was a bit choppy but I didn't mind that and the return crossing was like a mill pond. The Marco Polo is an older ship but for size she is fab. A lovely, friendly ship and not too big that you don't get to know people. You got used to seeing the same people and saying hello. The crew spoke to you in passing. The staff from cabin stewards to bar staff and restaurant staff were lovely and were always ready to help less mobile passengers carry their food and drink to a table for them. I wouldn't do again but purely because I've done it and probably wouldn't do one as long again but yes I would definitely travel on the Marco Polo again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our first ever cruise chosen because of the destinations and departure port being so close to home. Very impressed with the organisation of embarkation, cleanliness and standard of service. We had cabin 607 on deck 9. Spacious enough and ... Read More
Our first ever cruise chosen because of the destinations and departure port being so close to home. Very impressed with the organisation of embarkation, cleanliness and standard of service. We had cabin 607 on deck 9. Spacious enough and with plenty of storage but nothing flash. Food was excellent as was the service ice and the standard of entertainment was superb. Popular with older people. Sadly the pool was only filled on 2 days despite the very high temperatures which was a huge disappointment and no explanation was every given despite enquiries. Ports of call were excellent, wish we had had more time in Stockholm. The ships excursions were very expensive but we were happy to do our own thing and use local transport. One exception was St Petersburg as we wanted to see so much in our 2 days. We booked a tour through a local company called Alla tours and saved almost 50% on the ships prices. We were on a small minibus with 11 others from our ship and it was amazing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose the cruise because of the itinerary [St Petersburg] and have sailed on Marco Polo before. Marco Polo looks like a ship and not like a floating apartment block and that's why I like it. OK it has its downside when the ship is ... Read More
Chose the cruise because of the itinerary [St Petersburg] and have sailed on Marco Polo before. Marco Polo looks like a ship and not like a floating apartment block and that's why I like it. OK it has its downside when the ship is full - not enough seating in buffet; insufficient open deck seating; cramped restaurant tables [and bossy waiters at breakfast & lunch - sit where you are told [for their convenience] and not where you want to sit. But Marco Polo has plenty of upside too. No screaming kids or truculent teenagers. Small ship atmosphere. Friendly and hardworking staff - buffet Head Waiter and his staff superb as was our table waiter at dinner in the restaurant. Thank you very much Sanjay. Good food. Reasonably priced drinks. Really good entertainment and a good itinerary although the Captain, speaking from the bridge, had to cancel Stockholm and transit of Kiel Canal because the Germans don't maintain their canal locks properly. Wouldn't happen on a Russian canal Captain! Also the passengers were mainly British and of an age when good manners, courtesy and civility were deemed important educational outcomes which made for a very pleasant atmosphere on board throughout the cruise. One serious issue is that crew leave passengers to sort themselves out when having to queue for disembarkation tickets and shuttle buses. Not good practice. Queues should be orderly and controlled with clear instructions given by crew. [and to the truculent crew member in future cruise sales - I know what I am talking about having written operational orders involving dozens of agencies and thousands of people so don't try and make me appear to be a moron in front of other passengers. I did not complain about your attitude this time]. Overall a good cruise and excellent value for money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
All good - except charged for a bottle of water in the cabin not used- we deliberately made a point of not opening the bottles of water in the cabin - did manage to get money back with a bit of awkwardness-also staff not terribly friendly ... Read More
All good - except charged for a bottle of water in the cabin not used- we deliberately made a point of not opening the bottles of water in the cabin - did manage to get money back with a bit of awkwardness-also staff not terribly friendly at the reception while dealing with it! My main moan was the dreadful Wellness Package I had pre - booked for £129!!! To cut a very long story short - don't bother with getting it! - not worth the money and hassle I had trying to sort it. It was a disaster from the start to the finish - thought with pre booking it and the price I would have red carpet treatment - oh how I was wrong! Don't Do It!!! But apart from that -thoroughly enjoyed the trip - even with two extremely choppy nights at sea! - don't forget the sea sickness pills and you will be fine! Would book with the cruise line again - but keeping to small trips. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Why this cruise? We chose this ship due to the superb itinerary and reasonable price point. For less than half the cost of 1 week on board an "expedition" ship, we spent 3 weeks visiting Faroe Islands (1 port), Iceland (3 ... Read More
Why this cruise? We chose this ship due to the superb itinerary and reasonable price point. For less than half the cost of 1 week on board an "expedition" ship, we spent 3 weeks visiting Faroe Islands (1 port), Iceland (3 ports), and the raison d'être - Greenland (7 ports) in addition to a port day in Scotland to pick up additional passengers. The itinerary and ship were well worth the time and dime. Overall ship impression: Our experience differs mightily from the many reviewers, including one apparently from the same trip, that trashed the ship. We found the Marco Polo to be clean, safe, with mostly friendly staff and crew. Yes she is 50 years old and her furnishings are a bit dated compared to the latest mass market 2-6,000 passenger ship, but all equipment was clean and in good repair. The crew was very diligent with cleaning and usually whenever we were docked, there were crewmen cleaning or painting the exterior or making repairs. During one port where we were tendered, an excursion ship returning passengers from an iceberg tour banged the side of the ship..hard. The captain waived them off and made them drop the passengers at the small ship dock to be brought on board by the tenders. At the next port the damage (it looked like mostly scratches) was repaired and reprinted. Elevators all worked, treated as a period piece, the Marco Polo proved a capable ship even in rough seas and one we'd sail again. Cabin review: Our cabin, Pacific Deck exterior aft, was plenty spacious for 2 people, as long as you don't mind sleeping in twin beds. Due to the age and design of the ship, the floor did cant downward just past the bathroom. There are several blog posts online that describe the reason for this, so the info was available before we sailed. I will mention that walking past open doors and peaking inside that there was a lot of variation in cabin size and layout. Size restrictions were exacerbated by residents slovenliness. We may have gotten lucky with cabin assignment but were quite pleased with ours. Our cabin steward was wonderful - friendly, helpful, informative and with the bonus of being a dab hand with towel animals ;-)) Food: Waldorf Dining Room was very good with 4 course plated dinners. Lunch was plated with option to augment with a decent salad bar. Breakfast was good -omelet station, etc. our table and wine steward were superb and took very good care of our needs. We had delightful table companions. However, I was less impressed with food in the Lido Deck buffet overall. The dinner mains were the same as or similar to some of the Waldorf mains, but by the time you got through the line and sat down ,the food was no longer hot. There were a lot of weird sides, esp in the salads department, but I attributed it ( perhaps charitably) to a difference between American and British tastes. For lunch, most days the grill by the pool was open and had good choices. The food was certainly edible and not the school cafeteria slop alluded to by others. Buffet breakfast was fine. Overall, my preference was the Waldorf, food presentation was good and the experience more sanitary. My biggest complaint about the buffet food is really the other passengers - a lot refused to use sanitizer, sneezed and coughed on the buffet, grabbed large amounts of food to waste, put their personal bottles on the drinks dispenser, camped out at tables not eating, leaving others wandering around with their plates and just some general nasty dining behavior. Some behavior was gross. Luckily our room was below so some times if we couldn't find a table and it was too cool to eat on deck, we ate in our room. Public spaces: Despite being an Arctic region cruise, the Aft pool deck was heavily used. We had very good weather, most afternoons in upper 60/lower 70s(F) so you could enjoy being outside whale watching with a sweater or light jacket mid-day. There were several seating areas on the main deck and generally we could find someplace to relax with a view to sea while cruising. Almost all seating areas had a bar and wait staff. Noise levels were reasonable. The lounge behind the theater was most busy, excellent reading area, and the location of activities including guessing games and other low -activity contests. All the lounges were bright. The theater was pretty nice -the floor was sloped towards the stage with benches and cocktail tables like you'd see in a Frank Sinatra movie. Very few seats had obstructed views due to the support columns. There was one kind of witchy waitress in for main lounge, she was also witchy when on dining duty in the buffet. Otherwise the bar and wait staff were very professional or friendly. The reception staff, esp. the head receptionist, were helpful and informative. We did not experience any of the reported attitude (except for witchy woman). Entertainment: The entertainment team put on several,good programs, especially the first 10-14 days, but them petered out. The performances were high energy, varied and entertaining. After the evening's big performance, one or more of the main singers would do a show in the aft bar, generally singing with some patter. All very enjoyable. The male cast members also led the aerobics and stretch classes.The entertainment team worked hard. There was a guest magician and guest comedian who joined mid-way. Neither was particularly good, I'd say they were "has beens" whose material hadn't changed in a couple decades. The magician was the better of the two. Enrichment activities: Overall, the enrichment program presented a wide ranging variety of topics related to our destinations. Besides the obligatory presentations by the shore excursion team, the cruise had 3 subject experts the duration of the cruise. If I remember correctly, the bird expert's name was Peter. He had several book published by the royal bird society that were available for purchase in the ship's shop. His presentations were all excellent and he was very approachable on shore and on ship, even when not "on duty". He is definitely "a keeper" and I hope CMV invites him on lots of cruises. The other excellent enrichment specialist was a photographer, whose name escapes me, but he was very informative as well as helpful with suggestions when we ran across him on shore. The final "main" presenter was a British lawyer who does a lot of work with native peoples advising them how to protect their interests and equities against corporations, countries and other exploitation. She was very interesting and apparently spent a great deal of time learning the native Inuit and related cultures. Her discussions were wide ranging, covering evolution, colonialism, current living conditions, etc. The shore presentations were okay, but you could tell the staff were mostly reading and not speaking from experience. They augmented their presentations with one by their subcontractor and a Greenland excursion organizer. He sounded great when on stage but when approached with a question later was very dismissive and borderline rude. There was one performance by a Greenland native (Inuit) who performed a drum dance. It was very different, she spent a great deal,of time putting the dance in context and explaining its history. Interesting and unique, however several people walked out. The only "bad" enrichment activity was some guy whose presentation started interesting but turned into a diatribe against international organizations, the US, and climate change skeptics. Excursions: Biggest gripe with the cruise was that some people were able to get on several,of the mostly limited excursions. By the time we were able to reserve excursions from the US, all the interesting ones were full, including all the small boat ice berg trips. We only had opportunity to choose from very long hikes or one expensive flight seeing tours. We're not big hikers so those were out. We booked the only available flight seeing over the glacier at Kangerlussaq, my husband got denied due to how they distributed weight so heavy people who registered early got to go and there wasn't enough weight allowance for us both on the same plane. We decided I would go and film. That didn't work out as iI got stashed in the back seat behind a large man and all I saw was bits of the dirty edge of the glacier, but mostly my view was filled with the engine under the wing. Oh yeah we also got the tundra wildlife bus tour in Kangerlussaq, which was a bust. Pretty much we wasted about $500 dollars on the ships excursions. Luckily in Torshavn, Faroes, there were seats on the bus to the bird cliff cruise, so we did that. It was okay, over-hyped or we had bad luck with birds. Since we didn't have good selection of Greenland excursions from the ship, we tried to book independently. For all but 2 port that also was a bust since the Marco Polo booked all available tourist services for flight seeing and for iceberg cruising. Port adventures: Kingston-upon-Hull -planned embarkation port but got email night before ship wouldn't make it due to Kiel a Kanal delays and Hull port tides. Got a free bus ride to Newcastle on Tyne to embark Marco Polo. Complete with boxed lunch (yuck ) Rosyth - took train to Edinburgh, walked around, did a ghoulish bus tour Torshavn - ships bird cliff tour, nice enough, sadly not a lot of puffins (2 flying high) :( Seyðisfjörður - walked outskirts of city, only 2 excursions offered, one of interest was full, the other was bus to sites we did on our own in 2015 Akureyri - rented a car to drive to Dettifoss and Asbergyi - excellent drive, great sights (had been to all other options on our ring road trip in 2015) Tassilaq - had a great 8 hour independent tour arranged, ship didn't go to port due ice, but sister ship was reported there 2 days later (Note: cruise ship did not have any excursions available for this port) Qerqetauq - substitute port for missed Tasiilaq. Nice picturesque town, lots of midges, seal (furring) museum. Short visit (~4-5hours). Narsarsaug. - independent ice berg tour via a Blue Ice, was on old fishing boat since ship booked all speed boats, but it think we spent more time in water looking at lagoons, trade les money, but ships excursions were full. Very good choice. Qeqertarsuaq -wandered about on own, excellent views, whale watched. Ship offered several long hikes here with availability. Beautiful town, island Ilulissat - ships excursions full. Walked to UNESCO heritage site. Superb view of glaciers from land. Rough getting back to ship on tenders doe waves and wind. Sat in tender about an hour while excursion ships tried to tie up to unload passengers. Sisimiut - wandered the town, bought great Greenlandic rock specimens Kangerlussuaq - ships tundra wildlife tour, no reindeer, no musk ox, few birds, very dusty, glad I don't live here! Ships glacier flightseeing - disappointing, mostly waste of $$$ Nuuk - walked to national museum on other side of town, steep uphill (in case that matters to someone considering it). Great museum, torn whether it would have been more useful at start of trip or at end, but satisfied a lot of questions I might not have had at beginning of cruise Sea days -rough crossing to Iceland Reykjavik - disembarked and flew home Like Marco Polo enough to book 2018 cruise on her before disembarking! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose the Marco Polo to move away from the larger ships. Boarded in Hull after overnight stay in Holidat Inn Hull Marina. Embarkation very smooth and well organised. Cabin very comfortable and crew very friendly and helpful. Booked port ... Read More
Chose the Marco Polo to move away from the larger ships. Boarded in Hull after overnight stay in Holidat Inn Hull Marina. Embarkation very smooth and well organised. Cabin very comfortable and crew very friendly and helpful. Booked port excursions for St.Petersberg only since other ports easy to get around on our own. Could have done with more time in some places. Very disappointed with the activities onboard compared to previous cruise vessels run by P&O. Swimming pool out of use for the whole 11 days - green slime and covered with net. No tea or coffee making facilities in cabin. Mealtimes very crowded and expensive to book one of the "special" restaurants (£20) Communication problems resulted in a delay at Kiel Canal and subsequently the return to Hull was cancelled and vessel ended up going back to Newcastle, presumably to avoid delay to the next cruise. Passengers disembarked at Newcastle and were transferred back to Hull by coach. A long day before the 5 hour drive back home to Wiltshire We would visit the Baltic again but not with Cruise&Maritime and not on the Marco Polo Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Just arrived back from our first ever cruise to Iceland from Hull. Embarkation was smooth, staff friendly and efficient. All excursions booked were well organised. Tender boats well run. Good range of food at meal times, you never go ... Read More
Just arrived back from our first ever cruise to Iceland from Hull. Embarkation was smooth, staff friendly and efficient. All excursions booked were well organised. Tender boats well run. Good range of food at meal times, you never go hungry on this ship!! Cabin was kept very clean. Cant comment on the entertainment as didn't see, but the ship has a nice relaxed feel , you can do what you like - dress for a formal dinner, or be casual - its upto you. My only negative would be the décor in some of the public areas is looking a little tired, and in need of updating - that said the staff work very hard to keep everywhere clean, and the drinks are a little on the expensive side - £5 for a glass of white wine. All in all an enjoyable holiday, and would definitely consider booking another cruise on this ship. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We choose this cruise as we have always wanted to go to Iceland. We have sailed on the Marco Polo before and love this old fashioned ship. It is full of character unlike the big glass monstrosities used by other shipping lines. Food ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we have always wanted to go to Iceland. We have sailed on the Marco Polo before and love this old fashioned ship. It is full of character unlike the big glass monstrosities used by other shipping lines. Food was excellent. We used the buffet and there was a wide range of lovely food. Staff were all lovely and friendly and our cabin steward Saw was excellent. For a small ship there was a good range of activities available during " at sea" days. I particularly enjoyed the jewelry making, and my husband loved the photography talks. We were in cabin 531 which was spacious, with plenty of storage room. The beds were very comfortable. Some passengers were a bit inconsiderate at night, making a lot of noise coming back to their cabins in the early hours. Not the fault of the ship I know, but maybe some signs up reminding people to be quiet would be an idea. Had a very enjoyable trip with some very good trips when visiting ports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was sold to us as an introduction to cruising and it was just that.Booked to celebrate my 60th Birthday i had been planning for years. I cannot fault the Ship or its crew and because of them i am hoping to go on similar holidays ... Read More
This was sold to us as an introduction to cruising and it was just that.Booked to celebrate my 60th Birthday i had been planning for years. I cannot fault the Ship or its crew and because of them i am hoping to go on similar holidays again. I have learnt a lot. We started of with everything going smoothly to plan We sailed from Cardiff on the day of a big football match but our coach got us there with ease. First day and the Scilly Isles started off a bit wet with a little delay on our visit to Tresco, This meant abandoning our planned visit to St Mary's as it would have been a rush. Onwards to France with a lovely cruise down the Seine in brilliant sunshine and into Rouen - a shame everything was closed as it was a public holiday! (Not like England) Still we had a pleasant evening stroll.The following day a trip to Giverny and Monet's garden was all that it promised to be, we left just as the heavens opened. That is where the holiday ended. That evening due to a forecast storm our trip to Antwerp was cancelled. I understand the safety implications but this was very disappointing especially as our substitute was Dover! I will not list all the bad points other than to say i am still upset about it. It was also the only port where we had to pay for the shuttle into the town - good old England! We nearly left the ship here to go home at this point, but as we were looking forward to the day at sea on our way back to Hull we cotinued and we did enjoy some pampering! To sum up my first cruise barely left England, I came back with all my Euros that i planned to buy gifts with in Antwerp - the pound shop in Dover couldn't quite do it! Would i do it again - strangely yes but with no expectations! As some has already suggested in another review a longer stay in France or somewhere,anywhere but not Dover would have been better! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We picked this cruise from Cardiff as it was close to home and because of the ports of call and very few days at sea. This was a 10 night cruise visiting France, Spain and Portugal with a night stopover in Lisbon. Embarkation and ... Read More
We picked this cruise from Cardiff as it was close to home and because of the ports of call and very few days at sea. This was a 10 night cruise visiting France, Spain and Portugal with a night stopover in Lisbon. Embarkation and disembarkation was quickly dealt with. I was apprehensive about sailing on the Marco Polo as I had read a lot of bad reviews but overall was impressed by her even though she is an old ship in need of updating.This was our first cruise on Marco Polo and our 4th time with CMV.. I think she is just fine for short cruises and would not consider doing a long cruise on her. Our cabin was clean with plenty of space and we had received an upgrade from our original booking. (only difference I could see was the fact we had 2 windows instead of 2 portholes and were 1 deck up) We had tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin. We had fantastic weather throughout from the moment we left Cardiff to our return. The only thing was that at times,it was difficult to find somewhere to sit out on deck, especially the pool deck!. The bar staff were fantastic as basically so were all the waiting staff, really helpful and friendly. A lot has been said in previous reviews about the food on board and I will not comment to much except to say that at times it leaves a lot to be desired! We never went to see a show as the times they were on need to be sorted out. If you were on 2nd sitting for dinner you had to go and see a show beforehand. It would have been much better to have seen on after dinner as the 1st sitting people had!. As far as the singers who performed out on deck most days, what can one say, I'll give them 10 out of 10 for effort but basically they were terrible. It would have been better if one on two of them could actually sing in tune.The only one who had a half decent voice was the entertainments manger. ports of call were very good though as we all know its far cheaper to go off and do your own thing rather than take an excursion, Having said that we did do a couple which due to the heat turned out for us to be a good thing. Value for money, well yes. If you want first class food and entertainment and loads more activities then CMV is not for you.As in anything in life you get what you paid for. We really liked Marco Polo and hope to saild on her again some time. I understand from talking to a senior officer that she is going to have some sort of refit at the end of next year and that they hope to keep her for a few more years after that before she is "retired". I hope that is the case as I feel there is a very strong market for smaller ships instead of these massive monsters that are now on our seas. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I was a bit sceptical about my 7 night Scottish Island cruise on Marco Polo as I'd hear a few bad things about the ship, but have to say I had a great time. We chose this one based on the itinerary and were certainly not disappointed. ... Read More
I was a bit sceptical about my 7 night Scottish Island cruise on Marco Polo as I'd hear a few bad things about the ship, but have to say I had a great time. We chose this one based on the itinerary and were certainly not disappointed. The food was great and there was plenty of choice. We took the drinks package at £17.00pppn and it was worth it for us, but on board prices are very reasonable if you choose to pay as you go. Our fellow cruises were a great laugh and the evening entertainment was good (quite amateurish but still good fun).The inside cabin we had was compact and comfortable with a great power shower. We pre-booked a few excursions which were added to our cruise bill and they were all terrific. They were run efficiently and I felt they were great value for money. I certainly couldn't have done them on my own. The only issue I had was being squashed in like sardines at dinner time and some of the staff not able to crack a smile (they are very over worked though). On the whole we had a wonderful cruise and if the price and itinerary was right, we would definitely go again!!! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to visit St Petersburg and the 2 day stop at this city did not let us down. We chose the 2 day package and visited the Winter Palace (The Hermitage), the Summer Palace (Catherine's ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to visit St Petersburg and the 2 day stop at this city did not let us down. We chose the 2 day package and visited the Winter Palace (The Hermitage), the Summer Palace (Catherine's Palace) and Peterhof. The only disappointment was we did not get to see the Faberge Museum. We also chose the trip to Berlin and the 3 hour bus journey both ways was worth it as we had a wonderful guide who was very knowledgable and spoke wonderful English. The other stops we did ourselves - Copenhagen, Helsinki and Tallin. We did not get off the ship at Nynasham for Stockholm because there was not enough time to visit Stockholm at any length. The trips were expensive but we saw a lot of things that the independent traveller may have missed. However, I would suggest that you wait until you are on board to book any shore excursions because it is only by attending the shore excursion previews that you find out that courtesy buses will be provided at certain ports. The embarkation and disembarkation did go smoothly. The Marco Polo is a wonderful old ship and the 800+ passengers were able to meet new people and enjoy their company. Our cabin (615) was very clean and comfortable and our cabin steward (Edison) was a hard working, cheerful and pleasant young man. Dining in the Waldorf Restaurant was excellent. The menu was extensive and the food very good. Our waiter (Uros) was very attentive, happy and efficient. We used Marco's Bistro for breakfast - lots of choice but you had to be early to get a good table. The entertainment team on board were very hard working and good. The shows were very good in the main but one or two nights were very average. The dancers were excellent. We enjoyed the quizzes - but don't treat them seriously - have a laugh. The duo in Scott's Bar were very good. We paid for all inclusive and it was worth it though the prices were similar to lounge bar prices at home. It cost £17 per person per day but, if you had a glass of wine at lunchtime and another with dinner then that would cost you £10. The service in the various lounges and the pool bar was on the slow side as there was not enough bar staff and the waiters were very good at ignoring arms raised requesting service while they picked up empty glasses or stood at the bar waiting for the one bar person on duty to pour the drinks. All in all we had a great time and I would recommend the Marco Polo voyage. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
With misgivings, we booked a 1 night taster on this venerable ship, for nostalgic reasons! Decades ago, when she was under Gerry Herrods ownership, we enjoyed some adventurous cruises on her,; to Antarctica, up the amazon , etc, and ... Read More
With misgivings, we booked a 1 night taster on this venerable ship, for nostalgic reasons! Decades ago, when she was under Gerry Herrods ownership, we enjoyed some adventurous cruises on her,; to Antarctica, up the amazon , etc, and loved her. A convenient one nighter was available, from Newcastle, to us infinitely more accessible than Tilbury. Our hopes were not high, assuming we would find shabbiness and lack of maintenance. How wrong we were, she was beautifully maintained, and cared for. We felt welcome and valued as customers, and enjoyed our brief stay in our roomy cabin with comfortable double bed. Food, as we'd expected, was basic, but adequate, and service was fine. The drawbacks were few, poor embarkation and a chaotic disembarkation, which Needed far better management, and a disembarkation that was far too early came as a shock.. A 0ne night cruise with a mere 16 hours onboard made it poor value, and very hurried Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Travelling solo, I chose this cruise because of the Newcastle Embarkation port and I live close by. Embarkation was as efficient as could be expected, there was an element of waiting and slight confusion when entering the large ... Read More
Travelling solo, I chose this cruise because of the Newcastle Embarkation port and I live close by. Embarkation was as efficient as could be expected, there was an element of waiting and slight confusion when entering the large embarkation hall, as you had to collect your Cruise Card then sit and wait around until your label colour was announced then check in. It was fairly well organised and once checked in, I was boarding and in my cabin within minutes, The Marci Polo is a wonderful old lady and because of her size, easy to navigate unlike the hotel ships of today. I would say that 70-80% of the passengers were from the North East in view of the Newcastle sail and age group definitely in the 60+ range. The ship looked her age from the outside but clean and bright once on board. The quality of food at both restaurants varied. Formal dining in the Waldorf I enjoyed though there were mixed comments about the quality of the food and small portions. I believe it came down to menu choice. I personally enjoyed every meal although the late sitting was 'late' at 8.15-30 and given the choice again I would go earlier. Marco's Bistro I found convenient for breakfast and lunch and although there was a varied choice of buffet food, it did resemble a supermarket cafe serving luke warm and poor quality food. Tea time proved very popular with little cakes and sandwiches, it was always very busy, very hard to get a seat and a bit like a cattle market especially when the weather was poor without the choice of dining outside on the deck. I did not attend the evening shows but on sail days I found all of the lectures on marine and bird life, space and volcanoes very enjoyable and well attended, Bar prices not as expensive as other cruise lines I have been on. I did purchase their drinks package but it turned out I would have been better off without as I barely reached the daily limit. Perhaps if the speciality coffees had been included in the package it would have been more worth while. All the bar stewards were very friendly bar one lad in Scott's bar whom I found rude and surly. Perhaps he had a bad day. Good daily programme published each day and delivered to cabin. One complaint - on another cruise line, if you tuned into a certain TV channel there were up to date reports on where you were sailing by plus any interesting wildlife. Marco Polo displayed an up to the minute navigation slide (rather like those on plane travel) but a good example was the morning we were supposed to circumnavigate Surtsee - most of the passengers 'missed' the event as nothing was announced unless you were prepared to stand on the deck and wait around in the cold for the island to pass by! The Captain did make his daily navigational announcement, but bless him, his accent was quite hard to understand! The Solo get-togethers were an inspiration on behalf of Olga the Guest Services Host, we boarded as solo's, but disembarked with lovely memories of friendships made - the luncheon and Bridge visit was absolutely fab. Most of the excursions, although expensive, I enjoyed and were well organised. I note another reviewer had not enjoyed The Essence of East Iceland tour. I would totally agree with his comments. The tour was 'flat', the guide poor, even though the scenery was wonderful. All the other tour guides I encountered were very good and entertaining. My cabin Category 12 - Pacific - was lovely, no complaints. Two large port holes, comfortable double bed. Lovely powerful shower. A cabin steward who was very efficient and attentive in fact all of the stewards worked extremely hard. I especially appreciated the kettle and also enjoyed a few breakfasts in my cabin rather than the Bistro. Just one other complaint on returning back from one of the excursions in Iceland on a rainy afternoon, a totally 'unsafe' walkway was used to board the ship as a result whilst I was waiting to board we witnessed two people - one elderly having nasty falls. They did have other 'stairways' which were much more suitable and I think on this occasion this was definitely a Health and Safety Issue. So all in all a wonderful trip for me personally and I would sail with Marco Polo again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date. Which is the main reason we cruise. The ship and cruise line are secondary to us. Embarkation: No problems. Nothing to note. Ship: Older, smaller ship. Which has ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date. Which is the main reason we cruise. The ship and cruise line are secondary to us. Embarkation: No problems. Nothing to note. Ship: Older, smaller ship. Which has it's pro and cons. My wife liked that we were close to dining and the theater. We docked right in the ports of some smaller towns. The ship also looked like a classic cruise ship. Cabin: OK. The main problem was the shower was slow draining and splash over at times. But, we're not really fussy about our cabin. We had a nice big window. Dining: OK. Typical British food. Brought the beer package, 14 beers for $50. Entertainment: Good. Enjoyed the shows and lectures, especially the bird classes. Service: OK. Eastern European crew. Did their job but could smile more. I guess that's just how they are. I asked how many more beers I had on my package, and the server said "You should know that." Ports: Great! Most times we were the only ship in port. Only had to tender once in Shetland. Iceland and Shetland were the highlights. Also enjoyed the Faeroes, Kirkland and Inverness. Shore excursions: Only took the ship's excursions if there were no other choice. Took a local tour in Reychivic and was glad we did. Traveller: Mostly British in the 60-70's. Disembarkation: No problems. We did the express checkout (you carry your own bags off and are the first to go.) To sum it up: The itinerary was interesting and a great way to see Iceland! The ship was OK. But we knew that going in so it was a big disappointment. Overall we had a good time! Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first cruise and in truth we had been rather sniffy about cruises before but we wanted to go to Iceland and CMV were offering a 2 for 1 deal so we gave it a go. The Marco Polo appealed as it was a small ship and looked like ... Read More
This was our first cruise and in truth we had been rather sniffy about cruises before but we wanted to go to Iceland and CMV were offering a 2 for 1 deal so we gave it a go. The Marco Polo appealed as it was a small ship and looked like a real ship as opposed to the floating blocks of flats that pass as cruise ships. So, how was it? The embarkation started off well, we parked our car (under cover) and our luggage was whipped away and we were shuttle bussed to the terminal. Here there was a long queue and a lot of waiting. We trooped through the P&O ferry terminal as if we were on a day trip to France. It is at this point that you realise the Marco Polo has 800 passengers and there was only one window where you picked up your boarding card. CMV do stagger the boarding times but two or three windows would help. However, we were soon on the ship and into our cabin (434), which was bright, airy and clean. It wasn’t quite as spacious as the pictures led us to believe but hotels do the same trick (shoot the picture on a wide angle lens) so we weren’t disappointed. The steward was very attentive and helpful and kept the cabin clean and tidy for the whole cruise. The staff (or are they all called crew?) were mainly Indian or East European and were friendly and wanted you to enjoy yourself. For some reason those on the reception desk did have a somewhat supercilious air about them as if they would rather be dealing with passengers on the Queen Mary. I don’t know, is there a class system amongst the staff with reception being at the top of the pile? The food was OK, perhaps a little bland for my tastes but CMV has worked out the demographics of their passengers and erred on the side of caution. Except for one meal, which consisted of a fish called Panga (Pangasius) a native of the Mekong Delta. Well, let’s just put that down to experience!!! There are two main restaurants: The Waldorf and the Marco Polo Bistro. The food was the same at both venues and whilst the bistro had the ambiance of a crowded works canteen it did offer the opportunity to sit outside on the aft deck which was pleasant. The Waldorf was slightly more formal, although the dress code was generally informal save for two nights, with two sittings for the evening meal. We chose the early sitting and you were aware as soon as the main course had finished that they were rushing through the dessert and coffee to clear ready for the second sitting. We were extremely fortunate that our table of eight all got on very well and meals were a delight. If you happened to be on a table where this wasn’t the case, then that could be a chore. We couldn’t really comment on the evening entertainment as we didn’t go but we did go to the lectures given in the daytime. These were generally interesting and well-presented although the one given by the shore excursion team about the ‘exciting places’ we were going to visit simply involved a girl reading from the brochure, verbatim. Not very illuminating. We booked lots of the shore excursions and these were well organised and pretty efficient. I know several people have said that they were expensive and, yes, you probably could have organised them yourself at a considerable saving but we didn’t want all the faff. There is the added bonus that if you are on an organised excursion and you are late returning they will hold the ship for you. A case of ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice’. Disembarkation was very swift and easy, albeit we were up and off the ship by 7.15 am. This was just as well as the ship was running low on food and had run out of several basic items, breakfast cereal and bacon. So, what were our final thoughts on this our first cruise? We liked it. I accept that several aspects were low rent but then, in fairness, CMV are not charging top dollar for the cruise. We chose the Marco Polo for the reasons stated plus we didn’t want great atriums with shopping malls and restaurants with great big ice sculptures and it did what it said on the tin. If you want big glitzy cruises with all the bells and whistles then this ship isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you want a simpler time on a ship that’s a bit quirky then do as we did and give it a go. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This cruise was to the Faroes, Iceland, Orkney and Shetland sailing from Hull. First impression was that the embarkation arrangements were mickey mouse as we had opted for the car parking arrangements. In the end however, choosing ... Read More
This cruise was to the Faroes, Iceland, Orkney and Shetland sailing from Hull. First impression was that the embarkation arrangements were mickey mouse as we had opted for the car parking arrangements. In the end however, choosing secure parking was a good move as we were the first to leave the ship on arriving back at Hull. My wife had never experienced a small ship cruise before and having sailed with Princess, Celebrity and Cunard it would have been easy to consider this a lesser experience. So, in general: a) Cabin was clean and spacious - superior ocean view (I think) despite no sofa and extra seat. b) Cabin service - excellent. c) Cruise Director - Tony Parkins - wonderful host. d) Evening entertainment in the Marco Polo Lounge - as good as anything you would get on the big ships. The Marco Polo Ballet (as they are called) were amazing. e) Waldorf Restaurant (1st Sitting) - Much too frantic for our liking and dropped out of formal dining half way through the cruise. f) Marco Polo Bistro - good choice of menu if you could put up with the lack of space especially at breakfast time. You needed to get up early. g) The waiting/res bistro staff were in the main youngsters from Romania, Serbia, India and the Ukraine. One criticism is that they would not defer to you and would expect you to get out of their way. Not happy about that and it would be a complaint. However, it was not all of them to be fair. h) TV in cabin - waste of time. Bad quality viewing. I) Shore excursions. - Strictly they were very expensive in Iceland and the Faroes for what you got. I am not surprised as the VAT rates are astronomical. The worst value was the Eastern Iceland Essentials in Seydisfjordur which at £69 per person was a "rip off" as there strictly was nothing to see and shopping stops are not my interest. j) Cocktails were very good value for money. k) Cruise cost - Two for one? Don't believe it. We paid well over £3000 for two and there is no way that I would have paid £3000 for just the one. Never. Generally then it was an enjoyable trip and being so small you could meet people and then meet them again unlike the big ships where you would never bump into the same people again. Not sure that I would use MSV again as the ship is quite old, but was an interesting experience. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews ... Read More
We wanted to visit Iceland and, having initially looked at flights/hotels, this cruise, our first, fitted the bill. Although the good weather and calm sea helped, the cruise exceeded our expectations. Despite the previous negative reviews on CruiseCritic, the Marco Polo was fine and we enjoyed our time on the ship. I guess if you wanted to find faults you could do but we found the ship had plenty of room and things to do - much more on the ship than you expect from the outside. A good set of stops (Faroes, 4 in Iceland, Shetlands, Orkney) and excursions, but independent excursions also no problem. Really friendly staff, food was good, cabin was what we expected, friendly passengers etc. Embarkation was a bit slow, but disembarkation was really fast and efficient. Wifi would have been good but free wifi at all stops so not a problem. So no real issues from us. A good cruise, now what next? Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Chose this cruise on price and local embarkation (Hull). The small ship (only 800 passengers) suited my age range and the fact no children allowed suited me and my husband. I have been on much more expensive and larger ships but found ... Read More
Chose this cruise on price and local embarkation (Hull). The small ship (only 800 passengers) suited my age range and the fact no children allowed suited me and my husband. I have been on much more expensive and larger ships but found the Marco Polo more intimate. Cabin small but adequate, cabin staff very friendly and attentive. Dining very wide choice 5 course evening meal which was good value for what we paid, service was great. Facilitates adequate for my age group, attended craft sessions which passed the time whilst sailing with friendly instructors. Evening entertainment was average on the nights we attended. I went to Norway to see the fjords, my husband and I were not disappointed, scenery was awesome. Organised excursions were not cheap but this did not put me off and was not disappointed. We would certainly go again but would not pay the extra for higher grade outside cabin as it only consisted of two grubby portholes and had to kneel on bed to look out of. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
As we had spent two months on the Cruise and Maritime flag ship M/V Magellan from middle of December 2015 to middle of February 2016, I was rather concerned how the Marco polo cruise to the Baltic would go. The Magellan was rather ... Read More
As we had spent two months on the Cruise and Maritime flag ship M/V Magellan from middle of December 2015 to middle of February 2016, I was rather concerned how the Marco polo cruise to the Baltic would go. The Magellan was rather awful, and therefore we decided to go for only a 12 night cruise of the Baltic Sea , with ports of call at Aalborg, Warnemunde ( for an excursion to Berlin ), Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm before returning via the Kiel canal to Tilbury port.It must be stated that we had done this on the M/V Blackwatch about three and a half years earlier. Embarkation was excellent, and I would class the inside cabin as compact. However, the cabin was on deck 5 and right at the very back, and the engine sound together with the propeller sound was loud, and although we got slightly use to it , it must be said that of the five cruises we have done, this was by far the loudest and lot's of vibration to go with it. The excursions that we choose, ( six in all), went well and the highlight for me in the whole cruise was the visit to Berlin. Although, all are rather expensive , even with our 5% discount, the trip to Berlin, all twelve hours, was wonderful, and i am pleased that we choose it. There were also three excursions in St Petersburg , including the ballet on the Saturday night, and the wonderful Peterhof Palace which is just under an hour drive away from St Petersburg, ( just could not get it out of my mind that in reality the palace was less than 70 years old as virtually destroyed in WW2.) But the trip was well worth going. Two other excursions followed in Helsinki, ( not much to see it that city) and finally Stockholm, where we were only there for about six hours. The food was far better than on the Magellan, however, it must be said that it was probably always going to be as the Magellan was that poor, and both the Waldorf restaurant and the buffet restaurant, were rather good with service, and facilities. There was the odd game of " Hunt the Table" in the buffet area ,but nowhere near as bad as the Magellan to which I compare the Marco polo under the CMV banner. The show entertainment, was in the Marco polo lounge, and not that bad, it had the normal song and dance, which was expected, but the shows were all rather good, and the singer Jordan was magnificent, although I believe that he is only on this ship for a month. However, the assistant cruise director, was not at all good, and although she has the moves and expressions, so many of her pitches were so high, they went right through me !, and at times she is rather squeaky, the other two were good, and Emily, would be classed as better than average. There were also two external entertainers, a comedian, but so many of the jokes were told over ten years ago, and I thought he was nothing special, plus a husband and wife magician act, and they were both fine.The shows in Scott's bar, which were held at 21.30pm, I thought rather poor, and for once they would be classed as better on the Magellan.This would also be said of the daily games such as crazy golf. So, one up to the Magellan when it comes to them. The ship is now 51 years old, but does have something about it, which others do not. It has a bit of old fashioned style, and the complete opposite of the " floating town's " that are now on the seas. It does not have all the facilities of the much larger ship's, but then again , there were no children, and I saw no binge drinking as there was so much of that on the Magellan. I know passengers have these drink packages as they do on other cruise ships, but it appeared to be disciplined drinking, and that was good. Although the average age of the passengers was high, so it was for the two month's on the Magellan, and therefore I can only conclude that the Marco Polo passengers were more responsible, and that may also account for people not taking up the tables in the buffet for so long or reserving outside seats and chairs, which was done in abundance on the Magellan. So, this comes down to the mindset of the passengers and they were a lot better on the Marco polo than the Magellan ( where I found a far higher percentage of people to be more selfish), and I only saw one row about seat reserving on the Marco polo, compared to it being a daily event on the Magellan. The disembarkation was for us rather long, and we sat in the Columbus club for four hours before being called. Regretfully, just as on the Magellan, passengers are asked to vacate their cabins at 07.00am, and that is far too early, then there is a struggle to find anywhere to sit, although this time we were rather lucky , unlike the Magellan where we ended sitting on the floor by one of the lift's. I think this is something that CMV need to address as I understand that cabins need to be cleared and made ready for the next cruise, but 07.00 is too early and then there is the worry of where do we go ? However, once called, we left the ship very easily and were soon out of the terminal, but four hours is rather a long wait. The result is that I would rather not go on M/V Magellan again, but I am happy to say that I would on the M/V Marco polo, and if you fancy a cruise that has a bit of old fashioned style then give her a go. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a ... Read More
Just returned from six days on the Marco polo, an old ship but well maintained, as this was our first cruise didn't know what to expect.... The food was excellent also the service was too, couldn't do enough for you, being a small ship was a bit of a squash at meal times especially breakfast, we had the all inclusive drinks package of £17 per person per day which was good value and the drinks were good quality, entertainment sadly was not very good at all the nightly show was too short and very amateurish and quiz games disorganized and hard to follow, also the choice of music needs up dating... Our cabin was small which I expected on a ship but was clean and the service from our steward Yuri was excellent but I did begrudge paying £2.20 for a bottle of water in our room and should be included in the drinks package.... All in all an enjoyable week but don't think cruising is for us as we found it to confining and Norway is beautiful.... Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed the whole experience. Embarkation was a very smooth process ;taking less than an hour from arrival at the car park to eating our lunch aboard. It was well organised and we were instructed where to go clearly throughout. We had a superior cabin on the 9th Deck and it had two windows which was a nice surprise. The furniture and fittings had seen better days but everything was clean and functional - precisely what I expected from CMV's photos and the price I paid. The room was cleaned twice a day and we opted to have a continental breakfast in bed the majority of the mornings. Information was provided in a nightly magazine and there was plenty to do during the days at sea. The entertainment was again, in keeping with the whole experience of being fun and functional. The shows were slightly cheesy, the quizzes silly and the musicians in all of the different bar/ lounge areas were fantastic. If you opt for a cruise like this, you need to embrace the spirit in which it is intended and join in. Everyone we spoke to was of a similar opinion- you get what you pay for and if you throw yourself into the 'small friendly boat ethos' then you'll get a lot more from your experience. We ate in the Waldorf restaurant each evening and there was a wide range of food which was cooked well and served at the right temperature by a highly efficient team. The food was a little bland and 'safe' to my taste but it was perfectly edible and fun stuff like 'the parade of the baked Alaska ' complete with indoor pyrotechnics and the night the head waiter danced to Zorba the Greek with a giant bottle of Olive Oil are what made this holiday so much fun. Norway itself and the excursions were fantastic. We paid for two and did Bergen on our own. I'm glad that we went on the guided tours as they were well worth the money, had very well informed guides and allowed us to see things we would not have been able to plan on our own. The fjords were spectacular and my best moment was waking up early on the second morning of our cruise to find that we were cruising the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Norway was very expensive and I feel that this cruise offered good value for money as an alternative to staying in a hotel and exploring on our own which is what we would normally do. The whole boat was spotlessly clean and staff seemed to be cleaning constantly throughtout the day. Hygiene was very important and at every meal time we had to clean our hands before entering. I thought this was a good thing. Since this was an entirely unpretentious cruise, there was little emphasis on dressing up and hanging out with the captain which suited us and our companions. That said, there was a meet the captain evening which was well organised and good fun. The majority of travellers were older than us but they seemed to be up for more of a good time than the younger folk and for me, this laid back approach to travel only added to the experience. There truly was no hurry to get on coaches/ upstairs/ into bars - we were supposed to be on holiday! My only grumbles would be that the 'Bistro' area was not very pleasant; it was reminiscent of a mid 1990's department store and was often hot and smelly. It could do with a refurb and a reconfiguration of the space. Also there were not enough bar staff circulating particularly during the evenings which led to considerable frustration when trying to order drinks. These however, were only minor issues and would not put me off travelling with this company or ship again. We had heard horror stories about disembarkation but like every other part of the trip, this was a smooth calm process. We opted for express disembarkation and, if you are able to carry your own bags and use the stairs, I'd definitely recommend this. We got off about 15 minutes after docking and the buses were waiting to take us straight to the car park so we only had about 30mins where we had to do any waiting around. So, I would recommend this cruise to first timers and those who enjoy chatting to other people and simple pleasures such as reading a good book in the sunshine and working ones way through the cocktail menu of an evening. It was a laid back, fun holiday. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of ... Read More
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of thousands of people on a sealed tin box somehow didn’t fit with my views of travel and the oceans. However in the spring of 2016 I had just turned 70 when my wife’s mother offered us a cruise on the Marco Polo as a birthday gift. Well I had’t been attracted to cruising but this was a gift that was so exciting on so many levels that of course we could not refuse. However! The next morning we awoke to the reality that we had just accepted a cruise for 54 days. 54 days. What had we done? Gift or no gift this was a major piece of time especially to be stuck on one of those tin boxes. We started the research and the logistics. We had seen no brochures. We accepted the cruise on the recommendation of Lilian, my mother in law, an inveterate cruiser. We knew vaguely that the cruise traversed 100° of Latitude. That it went from Bristol to Bristol via Tierra del Fuego. We had 17 ports of call including Rio, Buenos Aires, The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas; more on this later) and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. All in all an interesting itinerary. Tick one for the pro column. Next the boat. The Marco Polo. It sounds like I must have heard of it and I believed I had in reference to a more adventurous cruising style. I Google it. I learn from our modern oracle that she was originally one of the Russian poets, a group of 5 sister ships built in East Germany and named after poets. The Marco Polo was originally the Aleksandr Pushkin built in 1965 and used on the Leningrad to Montreal run in the summers and cruising in the winters. Built to be converted into a troop carrier at a moment’s notice (probably released defence dollars or rubles for construction); she was also ice hardened which has a nice ring to it what with Titanic mythology etc. She was completely rebuilt in the late ‘90s to an elegant understated traditional Deco decor with all mod-cons. I liked the sound of the ship as I had crossed the Atlantic twice on similar boats before the jet age. Once on the Empress of Britain and once on the Statendam. Score two on the pro side. Next was the cultural experience. We were going to be on The Marco Polo for 54 days with the same people. A village of 960 (This must be the max as there are only life boats for this number as I later counted). A petrie dish of people my science mind shouted. What experiments can we do? How can all that experience and talent be mobilized? On the other hand 54 days is also long enough for social niceties to fall away. People are real and will reveal themselves. When I find a bit later that we will have the same supper companions for the full run I am a bit worried but that turned out to be before I had met them (George,Pam,Ray,Maggie,Peter and Linda). The table beside us was not so lucky and wild discussions led to table breakup! 54 for days is long enough for for friendships to be forged. 54 days is long enough to make friends and loose them as well. The prospective clientel are retired and everyone has a good story to tell if you ask. So I am beginning to feel some positive indicators stacking up for the whole experience. I still have worries but we are committed so worries are useless. The cruise is in four weeks, Christmas is in two. We live in Victoria, British Columbia, we have a house and a dog. Flights to be bought, rental cars to be arranged, house and dog sitter to find. Oh yeah and Christmas is here. We made it. Christmas with family, Tim, Michael and Christine and Oliver and Charlotte, Tim, Melanie and Mike and Ayja and David and oh yeah my ex wife Alex and Tony. And did I mention Barbara, my most amazing of all women wife. She is masterminding this whole operation not to mention Christmas. We do the New Year with my aforementioned mother in law, Lilian in Wisbech and her and my wife’s rellies, Valerie,Veronica,Gary,.... plus the ‘young’ Joan (84), Lilian’s lifelong friend from her working days. And off to Bristol to join the Marco Polo. Oops, last minute email, the ship couldn’t make the tides into Bristol because of bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (premonition) and so is in Southampton. Fortunately we had not booked a train but had elected for about the same price to rent a car with a one way drop off to Bristol. Quick call to Europcar and the drop off is now Southampton right next to the ship. I was inexplicably looking forward to my first sight of the Marco Polo but only glimpses were to be had as we boarded. It looks like a ship not an apartment block (a block of flats). Score another point for The Marco Polo. We were a bit worried about our last minute purchase cabin in the bilges somewhere near a huge noisy engine. We had decided that if the cabin was awful that would be a good thing as it would push us out except for sleeping. A window is a wonderful thing. Even a porthole in some way gives you that link to the outside world. We didn’t have one. We knew this. There were no upgrades available even if we paid. We actually didn’t want to pay. It is quite a jump. I would prefer to spend the money on wine and beer which were not exactly cheap (we live in France in the summers, this being a reflection of the price of wine). And then there was the gratuity which in 54 days adds up to quite a bit. As we got to know crew members along the way and experienced how hard they worked and what personal commitment they made to be there we begrudged this less and less. In fact our only begrudging came from a suspicion that perhaps gratuities were being used to supplement meagre pay. I have really no way to judge this one way or the other. Certainly it may be like the workers in the vineyard parable. Each makes a deal which works for them. There were Romanians, Ukrainians, Brits, Greeks, Portuguese, Indian and Burmese. Captain Morais was from Mozambique. It was a happy crew. The cabin was OK; Clean, smart, touch of Deco; it was internal and very central. No window but everything else was the same as a smaller outside cabin. The central location served us well through the Bay of Biscay where the forward cabins had a tendency to levitate you from your bunk. We would have liked a double bed but for the very few rough nights bunks were perhaps best. Meals are a large part of not just cruises but life. Cultures are built around food, wine, music and tea. There is a bit of an expectation on cruises of good food. Some lines are renowned for their food. I can’t say that Marco Polo culture is built around food. It is much more built around a cohesive experience that has adventure and experience and indeed learning as central themes. However the food is adequate always, exceptional occasionally and always served with great alacrity and humour by staff who go the extra mile and engage as true participants in your cruise experience. There are various restaurants and bars scattered around the boat but in general there was a formal dinning room with super efficient table service and a bistro with canteen type service but immediate back deck access. The back deck was where the heart of the boat resided in the warmer climes. We typically took our breakfasts in the bistro and on the back deck. Lunches we went to the dinning room where seating was as arrival and so a new table of people was an every day event until the very end of the cruise; at 54 days there were still many people that we never recalled ever seeing before. Suppers we took at Table 5 with our waiters Heine and Aung from Burma and our wine waiter Olga from Romania. At first I thought that a more diverse table group could not be found and then I realized that we are all retired Anglos and so the diversity was just within that culture. As a Canadian I notice things about Brit culture that are not the same as in other cultures. I knew a German who had hitchhiked with a Brit for a while and confessed to being very confused at first. As Germans get to know you they become more polite whereas with Brits the opposite is true. It seems that nobody could resist the opportunity to wind someone up. Occasionally it backfired as in our neighbouring table but although much winding up was done at our table we all were committed to having a good time and it was all taken in stride. Our table mates: Peter knows absolutely everything about any rail line in the world. Linda his charming chattery wife was delightful in her projected naiviety. Ray, the retired police firearms and diving expert, great Somerset accent and his dynamic wife Maggie were from of all places Midsummer Norton. And George and Pam from a neighbouring table joined us when their table mates never showed and two of ours likewise. Often well primed by supper time they were totally committed to enjoying every moment of their lives. These our tablemates (spell check just corrected this to ‘stablemates’. Who knows which is closer to the truth) provided lots of entertainment and I hope we returned the favour. The voyage had 17 stops, crossed the Equator twice and crossed more than 100 degrees of Latitude. From Rio to the Falklands the stops were what most people had come for. Several people were making what amounted to pilgrimages. To the Falklands or to the Welsh communities of Argentina. One poor chap was going to the Falklands but died in Rio before getting there. The stops were great. To suddenly be in Rio or Monte Video was definitely magical but of course way too brief. Ushuaia the most southern town in the world, jump off for Antarctica. Natal, Brazil a holiday town of sand dunes and beaches. Madeira where Brits holidayed from Victorian times was absolutely delightful. We rode the wicker toboggans down from Monte. A ride not to be missed. All in all the voyage had so much going for it you would have to be near death not to appreciate it. But then again I did joke to my daughter that at each stop we brought on fresh vegetables and dropped off the dead. I think the 54 days led to the interesting dynamic that evolved and changed as time went by. There was definitely a period when everyone seemed to be wingeing about something. It could be the iceberg lettuce, the pasta or the books in the library. But it passed. There were lectures and shows and dancing and crafts and bridge etc. The lectures were about the countries we visited and the wildlife to be encountered. Clive Leatherdalde a Phd in Saudi history and politics prepared great talks on the politics and history of each country. His history of the Falklands was especially interesting as so many of the Brits had some connection or opinion about the conflict with Argentina. In fact several people were outraged by his use of the Argentinian name Las Malvinas alongside the British name. The history has no clear claim to ownership and in fact the UK would really like to give it to Argentina and was on its way to doing that when the Generals invaded to score some political points. Maggie Thatcher needed some points too and we know how that worked out. So now the Brits have to keep them. One day I was looking down on the back deck with many tables of people, chatting, drinking, reading, knitting, etc. A thought suddenly jumped into my head ‘What a waste. All that experience, knowledge and talent not being used’. The World is going through a huge shift in climate and economics and needs all the help it can get. Then I thought that old white guys are often blamed for the problem, (perhaps correctly) so who wants our opinion anyway. Then I thought of the Elders project of Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel and Madela et al. Perhaps a social network, a think tank open to Marco Polo voyageurs dedicated to moving global ideas forward. My favourite thing to do was to sit down with someone and ask them “What’s your best story?” As you can imagine there were many great tales. At times a 54 day voyage seems like this is it forever. But for us it eventually ended and we are back in Canada for a few months. Quite a few people stayed on board for the Caribbean cruise which says a lot for the culture of the company and the ship. So fare you well Marco Polo. A classic ship with an engaging ambiance. Read Less
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

Find a Marco Polo Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise