6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We were attracted to Marco Polo because of the cruise itinerary and the pricing. Refurbished in the 1990's, starting to show some weariness. It's too small for 800 people. We were lucky to have a convivial bunch of Scots on ... Read More
We were attracted to Marco Polo because of the cruise itinerary and the pricing. Refurbished in the 1990's, starting to show some weariness. It's too small for 800 people. We were lucky to have a convivial bunch of Scots on board. The problems with the ship have all been said before - nothing has been done. The food is ok. In the bistro the salad range was minimal and poor. One type of salami & devon every day just does not cut the mustard for meat selection. The "system" for tea and coffee making was poorly organised - a longstanding issue. Their idea of afternoon tea in the Dining Room is to keep topping up hot water onto the tea bag they give you, into a tiny cup. Also there was no afternoon tea available in the bistro on most days. The cabin walls are thin - you can clearly hear people speaking next door. We were kept awake late at night by inconsiderates next door talking loudly and then starting up again at 5.30am and they didn't get the hint from a bang on the wall. Not real sharp. The staff were generally good, except for the arrogant piece of work who does the future cruise bookings, the surly thing that handed out cutlery in the bistro and a pain in the neck prima donna entertainer who thought she was something special, prancing through the crowds with a silly false grin on her face. Our room (821) was adequate in size, but they screwed a tv to a fixed pedestal right in the middle of it, taking up space. The shower just did not work properly at all, even after a plumber had looked at it. No manner of adjusting could get the temperature right or at times any water at all to come out of it. The captain was a jolly, congenial Greek man. The ship would make a good luxury cruising vessel if refurbished to a high standard for about 200 people. The Advice: pay the extra and go on Holland America Line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We have just returned from a Baltic cruise from Rosyth I went with some trepidation having read some reviews. If you are expecting a modern ship with many facilities and are under 50 this will not be for you. However we found all the staff ... Read More
We have just returned from a Baltic cruise from Rosyth I went with some trepidation having read some reviews. If you are expecting a modern ship with many facilities and are under 50 this will not be for you. However we found all the staff friendly,service good,food OK but the bistro needs improving. The entertainment though not to our taste was enjoyable and all the entertainment team worked very hard. We were lucky this was a cruise from Scotland so it was full of good humour, the sun shone non stop and the sea was calm. We saw some lovely places and St Petersburg was amazing. Our cabin on admunsen deck was comfy and spacious but I heard people complain about thin walls on the lower decks. I would not cruise on this ship or any other in the winter as there is such a high chance of stormy weather. TIps There were shuttle busses/tour busses at every port. The euro or credit cards were accepted everywhere. We used tour de force for our Russian tour they were brilliant. Marco polo is what she is perhaps not for long cruises or stormy seas but we had a brilliant time! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Funny and not funny: Embarkation was supposed to be Leith but changed to Rosyth on the 11th Hour (excuses ranged from technical problems to tide problems !) but we were informed this was the norm for this ship---and here we go--- a ... Read More
Funny and not funny: Embarkation was supposed to be Leith but changed to Rosyth on the 11th Hour (excuses ranged from technical problems to tide problems !) but we were informed this was the norm for this ship---and here we go--- a great start!! On Board: I've never seen so many people with Walking sticks, Zimmer's, Wheelchairs, and general health problems I thought I was on a Lourdes Pilgrimage, people should know their own limitations when going on any type of Holiday and yes it does cause inconvenience to other fellow passengers, simple things like going up stairs & gangways, on and off buses, lifting food on to a plate, opening a door was a major task to many people on board. Muster Drill/ Lifeboat drill: A lot of people will not make it in a real life situation, this drill was done as we left the port and we congregated at various 'muster points' on board but not taken to any lifeboats 'stay in your cabins and someone will come and get you if you cant make it on your own' was the ships Tannoy Announcement at the drill------Aye right !! At least one more drill might have been welcomed on the 12 day trip. Activities/Entertainment on Board Daytime activities ranged from 1000 bit Jigsaw puzzles, Crochet, Reading, Bingo, Quiz games and Highland dancing. There was some 40 Min to 60 Minute shows on each evening done by the amateur show staff who tried their best. Shore excursions: The itinerary was the reason I was on board and were all good albeit a bit costly however, no one seemed to be sure how close to Port we would be at different locations and shuttle buses had to be used to get to most towns if you had not booked on an excursion. Food & Drink: Average but with plenty of choice and there was always something you could eat on any day or night , I'm sure it was a paradise from breakfast to dinner for many. Drink was about same price as your local and AI was on offer at £17 per person per day ( this is per cabin, so a couple pays £34 per day! ) Service: Good all round service from the hard working behind the scenes staff and cabin staff who as usual do extended hours to make your life as easy as possible. I always give alternate days off to the cabin boy or girl just as a breather for them, its no big deal and I do not have a servant at home anyways !! I guess most other passengers do !! Gratuities: Lol , (I love this subject) the first week everyone is talking about how the lowly paid ships workers are due everything they can get including Gratuities & Tips etc. then the second week and after they receive a preview of their Ships Statement bill-----its all change ---lol excuse after excuse on why they wont pay the gratuities and a Que is then formed at the Reception at the second last cruise day to have the Gratuities removed from their account !! ( its £5 per person per day on a 12 day cruise and grannie Murphy ain't paying that --nor is jock fae Edinburgh ken !!) Cabin: The cabin (inside) was large enough and the toilet and shower room was adequate, there was soap, and shower gel, the shower had some hot and cold issues but not too bad. No kettle or iron in cabins and the electric socket is a flat 2 pin affair, take some coat hangers with you ( 6 or so ) as you will need them. The TV is an old antiquated thing and shows some Movies and old tv shows and has the news ,and on this ship you will use it !! Dressing up: 3 dress codes are used ,Formal: Tux or suits and ties for men and evening gowns or similar for women. Informal: its expected that men will wear a jacket and slacks optional for a tie , women will wear slacks or skirt and top or blouse-------(most folks did not bother too much ) Casual: slacks for men, good jeans are ok and collared shirt (no T shirts or football colours) women can wear slacks and top ,no shorts for anyone in night dinning rooms Summary: One lift was out of use on the whole trip then the second broke down for a day that meant no lifts for that day for anyone, the ship is 50 years old and I think its had its time at sea. It's held together with temporary repairs ( sticking plaster jobs!!). I wont be on board again that's for sure. Hygiene could be better in restaurants Marcos Bistro for example uses a bucket to collect slops at the coffee/tea/water stations as there is no sink available at these points. Mugs and cups are collected from the kitchen after being washed and transported on a filthy plastic tray (used to collect left over food dishes) and placed at the coffee stations for general use, remember to clean the rim of the mug with a hand tissue ! At the end of the day it's all about the money Folks Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband has a few mobility problems and a couple of years ago we decided that cruising might be our way forward. We were fortunate to chose Marco Polo for our first cruise as the crew really go the extra mile for passengers. We have ... Read More
My husband has a few mobility problems and a couple of years ago we decided that cruising might be our way forward. We were fortunate to chose Marco Polo for our first cruise as the crew really go the extra mile for passengers. We have since returned twice, the latest trip being to the Baltic. Every time we find that there are crew members on board who always remember us and make us feel at home. It has enabled us to visit places that would be unattainable otherwise. The food is varied and the stewards always made sure that we had a nice meal even when the menu offering did not offer something to our taste (that did not happen very often!) Our cabin stewards have all been excellent and looked after us well and you have not lived until you meet the wonderful "Lovely Jubley" our poolside and breakfast chef. He is quite a character and makes everyone feel good with his chat! On arrival at Leith we had our cases taken and were told they would be outside our cabin next time we saw them (and they were) We were then directed to a bus which took us to Rosyth as there had been a last minute change of departure port, there we joined a queue to check in which did not take to long, from there we were taken through the port by bus to the ship and boarded right away. Because of time changes we were directed to Marco's Bistro for lunch before heading to our cabin. All went quite smoothly The ship is well maintained with ongoing maintenance throughout the cruise. Oh! we have just booked another trip to add to the 2 already in the pipeline. Says it all I think. See you soon folks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
For a first time cruiser I chose the Minicruise from Rosyth to Tillbury. My first impressions of the Marco Polo, upon embarkation, was its similarity to the Dover Calais cross channel ferries. The food was tremendous and the staff ... Read More
For a first time cruiser I chose the Minicruise from Rosyth to Tillbury. My first impressions of the Marco Polo, upon embarkation, was its similarity to the Dover Calais cross channel ferries. The food was tremendous and the staff were outstanding: polite, courteous and well mannered at all times. My only criticism would be that of the Cruise Director who would be more suited in a Holiday Camp .... His behaviour and attitude insulted myself and some of my fellow passengers. The weakest aspect was the entertainment: poorly rehearsed and staged with some rather out of tune lead singers, it was certainly not the quality of high class entertainment that was advertised ...... Even the piano and violin duo left a lot to be desired as the churned out the old favourites which would have been worthy of any senior school student .... As professional musicians they should have been able to do so much better..... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise to Canada. This cruise was advertised as a commemorative cruise and was always going to be fully booked with passengers travelling from as far Australia to be on it. If the cruise had been in warmer ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise to Canada. This cruise was advertised as a commemorative cruise and was always going to be fully booked with passengers travelling from as far Australia to be on it. If the cruise had been in warmer climes more passengers would have been out on deck so the lounges were quite crowed. The staff very pleasant and tried to carry out any requests made of them. The Captain was very professional as were the officers. The food was good (six courses for dinner and if requested extra vegetables available). Our cabin was very spacious and comfortable and was kept clean and tidy by our steward. The tours were some of the best we have experienced and very efficiently organised, One such tour was to see 'La Fabuleuse' in Saguernay. This was as good as any London West End show with a cast of 200 volunteers (very professional). The show relives the history of the area with some incredible special effects and was specially put on in English for just 85 of us from the ship. We did find that the bistro was crowded but if you delayed going there until the first rush was over usually three quarters of an hour or so, there were plenty of tables to be had. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I spent 9 nights on the Marco Polo (Cruise and Marine Ltd) recently (August 2015). We cruised anti-clockwise around the British Isles. This is not the most comfortable of ships. (1) In our opinion there are too many cabins and ... Read More
My wife and I spent 9 nights on the Marco Polo (Cruise and Marine Ltd) recently (August 2015). We cruised anti-clockwise around the British Isles. This is not the most comfortable of ships. (1) In our opinion there are too many cabins and therefore too many people on board. The cabins, (one step up from a Brittany ferry), are of minimal size and the beds are not side by side as there is not sufficient space for this. The beds form an ‘L’ shape on two walls. (2) We experienced considerable rumbling and clanking from the engines during the night (cabin 304) when the ship was underway. (3) On our final morning, when we due to disembark at 10:30am (at Tilbury), we were told to vacate our cabins at 7am! We feel strongly that this is unreasonable. (4) Unless you instruct them otherwise they will automatically charge £5 for gratuities to each individual’s on-board account. For two people for nine nights that would total £90!! (5) The staff were helpful and polite and we tipped several for excellent service. (6) Cleanliness is above and beyond what you might expect. (Though that is for their benefit mainly to avoid having any sickness epidemic aboard). We booked this cruise as we felt it represented good value - however you only get what you pay for don’t you? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning ... Read More
From the moment we embarked the Marco Polo we were very satisfied. We were shown to a really nice, very clean and pleasant cabin no 408. We had chosen an outside cabin. The staff were very pleasant and helpful and were cleaning continuously. We found the food very good with lots of choices in the Bistro. At busy periods it was a bit crowded but we didn't at any time have to wait for a table. The staff were constantly replenishing the dishes. The Waldorf restaurant was very good with quick service, ok the portions were small but there were 5 courses and we found it absolutely fine. After all in the Bistro it was mostly the same menu so we did have a choice. The cruise itself was a very enjoyable experience and very well organised. We met some really nice people, saw most of the shows and enjoyed the music in both bars. There were plenty of shore excursions if wanted. I did think these were rather expensive though. There were plenty of talks etc going on and things to do if anyone did not want to go ashore. The disembarkation was very organised ( we carried our own bags so it was much quicker) All in all a very pleasat cruise. I would certainly sail on the Marco Polo again Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always ... Read More
We went on the British Isles Discovery cruise late August, early September. The Marco Polo is not a modern ship, but all the same very comfortable in our Superior Twin Inside cabin. Shower and toilet facilities very small, but always hot water. Our cabin maid did an excellent job. A good choice of food in the restaurant and bistro. All ports of call ok with my favourites being Hon Fleur and The Scilly Isles. Embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Marco Polo 2015 Canadian Centenary Cruise (34 days) This is our subjective opinion, we are in our late 60,s and being possibly 15/20 years younger than the average person on board. First impressions 3 star, final impression 2 ... Read More
Marco Polo 2015 Canadian Centenary Cruise (34 days) This is our subjective opinion, we are in our late 60,s and being possibly 15/20 years younger than the average person on board. First impressions 3 star, final impression 2 star. Basic cruising on a budget, If you paid more than 50% of the original quoted price you were done. Best point; Restaurant, food fair for mass production, not fine dining or even wholesome. Fish frozen always tasted old some like jelly, Chicken poorly cooked sometimes hard and sometimes pink, beware !! Very poor indian/asian cuisine considering kitchen staff 95% asian!! Water always tasted unpleasant. Self service restaurant was 'staff canteen' level and very busy and very overcrowded, a bun fight on most occasions, always hard to find a free table, which says a lot for the main restaurant. Worst point; Crowd/Client management, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch and afternoon teas were all managed by herding people onto the minimum number of tables in the restaurant, assumedly to keep the relaying of tables to a minimum. Very unpleasant if you happen upon a loud or rude neighbour, and we did on several occasions. Live and let live I say, but not next to me at the dining table, I like to choose my companions. Bed linen and duvets were old, as were the mattresses, Cabins were reasonably clean Overall it felt very much like a holiday camp, with loud ear piercing tannoy announcements from an over enthusiastic red coat leader. Entertainment was not to our taste. It was a shame that the captain could not speak english clear enough to be fully understood in his daily address. Outside area, rear only, polluted for periods with diesel/exhaust fumes,(and smokers) also in lower cabin levels and occasionally in main lounges. Not pleasant at all, when all cabins are sealed from the outside, air con is not really healthy, If you come on a cruise for fresh clean air forget it. Interior of the ship can be best described as equal to a cross channel ferry. Gym very poor as was the library. Exercise is hard as deck is cramped and awkward in places, not really suitable for daily exercise. We washed our white smalls in the bathroom sink only to find the water had turned them orange! Excursions were expensive and poor, as always no responsibility is taken by the cruise ship!! so no comeback. Be aware of being taken for a ride literally, at your expense. Mind your age when considering taking a whale watching trip as these boats and RIBs can be a little unstable, crowded, painful at times and not always rewarding and always too expensive. Overall the ship is too old, too small, uncomfortable in even the mildest storm, and well past its sell by date. Not at all recommended. It felt that the boat was run for the ease/benefit of the crew/staff rather than the clients. We have travelled on a number of different cruise ships (4) one for 3 months in the last 12 months and they were all 100% better. So do some research, be choosy and think carefully before you book. We are also sailors having a yacht of our own, cruising the Med for the past 8 years. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Having just retuned from a cruise to Canada on the Marco Polo and after reading some of the reviews on here i felt i should pass comment about our trip. Embarcation went smoothly and without any problems, for the age of the ship our cabin ... Read More
Having just retuned from a cruise to Canada on the Marco Polo and after reading some of the reviews on here i felt i should pass comment about our trip. Embarcation went smoothly and without any problems, for the age of the ship our cabin 511 was spacious and had plenty of storage space, the cabin steward was pleasent and kept it spotless. The rest of the ship to was spotless ,but then they were cleaning it all the time.The bar staff and all the waiters were frendly and very pleasent, drinks on board were reasonably priced, a coffee in the lounges was £1.70 although you could get it for free in the bistro all day, and cocktails a resonable £3.05. Again the dinning room staff could not do enough for you, there was six courses on the menu and you could have as much food as you wished, our only criticism is it could sometimes have been hotter, some of the things we did not care for but that was our choise, there was buffet breackfast with all you could want and eggs done while you wated, the bistro was again good but it did get a little crowded but if you waited a short while it did quieten down.The trips were good and we found again resonably priced against some other cruise lines we have used There were snags such as seating when at sea but we did always manage to find some where to sit. The entertainment was good and varied, the shows on the other hand could have been better. Disembaraction went well, yes we did have to vacate our cabins by 7am but that is normal on most cruise lines. All in all and for the price we paid we were well pleased, we have travelled on Marco Polo before and will again ,its not 5 star but take into consideration what you pay and its extreamly good value for money Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We embarked on the Marco Polo on the 7th September from Tilbury for 34 nights destination Canada, All was OK until we got to our room 605 on a tilt and so was the bed, you can hear the Music from the show room 3 times a day, rehearsal and ... Read More
We embarked on the Marco Polo on the 7th September from Tilbury for 34 nights destination Canada, All was OK until we got to our room 605 on a tilt and so was the bed, you can hear the Music from the show room 3 times a day, rehearsal and then the two shows at night. On the whole the ship is ok, BUT if you have a food allergy, then this is not the Ship for you. I have a NUT ALLERGY, and it did not matter how many time I mentioned this, it was totally ignored to the point where I gave up going to the restaurant and lived on soup. Food I would give a 25 out of 100 and that was on a good day. Look carefully at this as I know that everyones expectations are different, But don't say you were not warned. CMV voyages, (Cheap and Miserable) think carefully. Don,t always go for their tours check locally you will find them a lot cheaper and usually more informative. Hop on Hop off buses are cheaper independently than booking through the cruise ship. They do not have shuttle buses at most ports and walking can be for a while. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
16 October 2015 MS Marco Polo Marco Polo 50th Anniversary Canadian voyage. This observation has been prepared on a fair and even handed basis and is as comprehensive as I think that it should be. Neither my wife or I have any ... Read More
16 October 2015 MS Marco Polo Marco Polo 50th Anniversary Canadian voyage. This observation has been prepared on a fair and even handed basis and is as comprehensive as I think that it should be. Neither my wife or I have any connection with the Company, the vessel or its staff. Following the completion of this voyage we wish to present our views regarding the ship and the personnel that we had direct dealings with. Both of us have had many years dealing with all levels of the general public in front line service, in which service was delivered that was not only had to be right the first time, but delivered under no little pressure. I have professional Maritime qualifications and in addition, my wife has professional qualifications in the catering industry and understands how this business is operated. We have to thank all of the staff that we have met, their industrious work ethic does them credit, as does their very pleasant and helpful service. Lectures Eric McVicar A first class lecturer on subjects topical to the voyage. His popular and riveting lectures were well attended. They had it all – the Inuit, Sami people, maritime life and Arctic explorers. I have never seen an audience at a lecture ask to have one of the presentational films shown twice. His lectures are both instructional and humorous and Eric McVicar is a definite ‘must’ for these cruises. As time went by, he proved to have a huge sense of fun with a wicked sense of humour and his recitals were not only appreciated but expected. We hope to see him again. Eric was always available and approachable ‘out of hours’ on the deck and we found he was able to cover a range of interesting subjects. Certainly, Eric McVicar’s attendance on board will be a factor in the planning of any future voyages with Cruise and Maritime. Well done. Ian Butterworth Another good addition to the itinerary. Bearing in mind the number of people who had cameras and associated problems. We thought that Ian’s professional lectures were well targeted, and the attendance at his lectures proved how popular he was. His instruction on photography enabled a lot of people to improve their skills on the voyage, and his contribution was well suited to everyone with a camera. Towards the end of the voyage he ran two challenges for extra fun and instruction. Well done. Again, Ian would always be there ‘out of hours’ to sort out the many problems people were experiencing. Sue Walsh We only attended her bird and animal lectures and found them to be very instructive. Having only a basic knowledge of the wildlife we were about to encounter, we found her information very helpful and our voyage was enriched by her instructions and advice. One Lecturer on Cannibals who I will not name. This was an absolute disaster; whoever planned his performance clearly had not reviewed him. He was embarrassing to watch. His subject matter was not appropriate and delivered in a most unprepared and shambolic manner akin to a badly done home slide show. It was a shame that he wasted valuable Lecture time that could have been filled by the professional Lecturers on board. Bad form. Our Cabin Steward. The Steward was a well presented, very pleasant and helpful person. Our cabin was always cleaned and presented to a high standard and he was most helpful and prompt in dealing with our queries. Both of us are very particular about the accommodation that we stay in, and his work was consistently high. In addition, he has a good command of English. Deputy Matre d’, Waldorf Restaurant. We primarily dealt with one of them, however all the comments below apply equally to the other. Both are very capable men who were always discreetly conducting operations and regularly checked with our table. They managed the restaurant well and were always on hand to provide assistance. We had the occasion to observe them when he dealt with a complaint from someone in the restaurant, and can say that he handled the situation was beautifully handled. It is credit due to them both that the standard of their management contributed to the successful running of the Waldorf Restaurant and our dining experience. Waiter in charge of our table. Again, a very pleasant, positive person who is focused on his job. He was of smart appearance and service was delivered in a highly attentive and professional manner. His command of English was good and he resolved all our queries promptly and it was a pleasure to deal with him. Assistant Waiter to our table. Again he was a very pleasant, approachable and smart person, who also has a good command of English and delivered service in a highly attentive and professional manner. Wine Waitress. This is a very smart, competent young lady who spread sunshine to our table with her happy disposition. She acted in a very smart and professional manner and was quite correct when discharging her services. “Loverley Jubberly,” Chef. It has to be said that was well as running the separate catering and omelette events, his character and humour is a definite asset to the Team. We enjoyed not only his cuisine but his humorous character who engaged with everyone in his own happy style. In short, he spread humour and good will which is very important to any cruise. And now the kitchen staff in the background. In this regard we are mindful that at most times the restaurant was operating at full capacity and normally in the general run of things, there are times when things do not go as they should do. We experienced only one problem during the cruise regarding a beef dish, but we all agreed that this was probably due to a supplier and not the standard of the Chefs. It is all credit due to them that they provided consistent food of a high quality throughout our voyage, working flat out within the constraints of the vessel. Certainly, the whole restaurant was working quite efficiently to achieve this. It is also compliment to the Chefs that they produced such a wide range of food and patisserie in such challenging circumstances. Their showcase of patisserie and chocolate in the restaurant were superb and they have every reason to be proud – well done. We noted that an anti-infection regime for the Restaurant and Buffet Bar was in place for the entire voyage. Most, if not all passengers observed this and in order to reinforce it, waiters were stationed at the entrances to the restaurants to assist. We thought that this was very important point and a definite ‘plus’ for this company. The Buffet Bar was crowded on occasions but with outside snack facilities there was a choice to eat elsewhere, or alter the timings for eating in the Buffet. I was impressed by the young lady who dealt with the Shore Clearances who answered my queries and was very informative. With regards to the remaining staff that we encountered. As a matter of course we engaged with them during the course of the days, (usually with a ‘good morning’ of the like) and they responded in kind within the limits of their current functions. All credit must be given to the sea boat’s crews who dealt with everybody in a very kind and helpful way while tendering ashore. We realised that it is not easy to deal with people in the upper age bracket in a boat while disembarking. Their concern was appreciated and having some Maritime experience I know how much time and effort they put into the care of the passengers. Entertainments We enjoyed what we saw enormously. Richard Sykes is a star performer and superb entertainment backed up by Lee and the boys and girls. His wide repertoire and with his warm and embracing character, he was well received and he had time for everyone ‘out of hours.’ His arrangement and performance of ‘Les Miserables’ was superb! and we enjoyed the shows immensely. Shore Excursions Susan Susan has a wonderful bubbly, open and engaging character who related to all levels, putting people at ease whilst working hard to organise their Tours. Again, she was always available ‘out of hours’ to provide answers to queries. Certainly both she and her assistant are the right people for the position. A word here about venues. Although we did not partake in many Tours, however a feature of our booking Marco Polo was the interesting venues that the ship visited. It enabled us to visit places that were untouched by the ‘plastic’ tourist industry. As such, we were able to walk about and experience how ordinary local people lived and to talk to them. Reception Desk All the staff were first class and we thank them for their help and advice that delivered promptly. Ship’s Officers It was good to see the Captain moving around the ship on a regular basis and chatting with the passengers. His daily navigational information was well received and the frequency of announcements over the ship’s public address system was not intrusive. All the Ships Officers we met were polite and helpful. General observations We think the pricing of the bottled water in the cabins is too high. We suggest that if the charges were more reasonable, we would have used it bearing in mind there were no tea and coffee facilities in the cabin. The cost of laundry was reasonable. We had a few items laundered and they came back to a very satisfactory standard. Our Cabin got very hot on some occasions. The air conditioning would shut down to ‘cool’, but we felt that this should be checked out. We did not mention this as it did not warrant a complaint, just an observation. We noted that throughout the voyage, the crew carried out a programme of discreet maintenance. Paintwork and varnish were refurbished thus ensuring that the vessel was as well presented as far as was possible. Slip resistant deck paint was being refurbished, the teak was always clean and external paintwork was washed down. There were few rust marks to be seen and the credit must be given to the condition and appearance of the foredeck. I assume that the isolated repairs to the teak decking will be completed during the next scheduled maintenance. We saw that the handrails to the stair towers were regularly cleaned with a bleach solution, and reflects the good anti-infection regime operated elsewhere. Well done. For a ship of her age, the Marco Polo is a grand old lady of good appearance and a joy to see. Marco Polo recommendation This is a small very substantially built ‘traditional’ ship unlike the impersonal blocks of flats roaming the oceans. Some passengers who had experienced the larger ships with yards of Formica and endless stainless tell felt the Marco Polo was a bit of a come down. But many of the passengers we met re book with the Polo, and are satisfied with her. This must be a recommendation in itself. This has been described a 'budget' cruise ship. It probably is depending on where you are coming from. We could not afford the high cost of other ships and we got good value for money with the Polo, certainly the staff did not treat us as 'budget' customers. It is clear what the Gratuities Policy is and you have the choice of paying the daily rate chargeable to your on board account and leaving it as it is, upping it - or reducing it to pay staff individually if you want to. We don’t go for a ‘Class’ system anywhere and the passengers were friendly and good natured. It was a very pleasant experience to communicate and associate with a good bunch who returned kindness and courtesy. For sure there were the moaners, you get this everywhere, and some passengers should learn how to address staff properly. I could not do their job and they had our abiding respect for the service that they gave to us. Well done, thank you. The standard of cleanliness was very high and we enjoyed the experience of being with the multinational crew. The ship has a very ‘homely’ and comfortable feel and for the future, the Marco Polo would be first choice in our booking. As customers we thank Cruise and Maritime for making our voyage a very pleasant and rewarding experience. For us it did what it said on the tin. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We have cruised only once before and that was with Saga. On this occasion we had a Junior Suite (Cabin 404.) The extra expense of the more costly cabin was well worth it; the accommodation was spacious with a good sized bathroom, a ... Read More
We have cruised only once before and that was with Saga. On this occasion we had a Junior Suite (Cabin 404.) The extra expense of the more costly cabin was well worth it; the accommodation was spacious with a good sized bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe and a large bedroom. Our cabin steward was attentive, hard working and in every way a pleasure to deal with. Fresh flowers and fruit were always in place and we had a large television. This meant that we could spend time in our cabin rather than in the rather small public rooms. We chose to dine at a table for eight and whilst we all came from different backgrounds we found the company of our fellow diners delightful. Breakfast was a bit of a scrum but the staff tried hard to overcome the slight problems that occurred. We tended to only have a bowl of soup for lunch and this we took in the buffet area where, because of the weather, was rather crowded. Dinner in the evening was a more leisurely affair and our waiter was competent, friendly and very helpful at all times, our wine waitress had a sparkling personality and a phenomenal memory. The wines on board were perfectly adequate. We felt that the food was reasonably good, it wasn't fine dining but we hadn't expected that it would be. The Marco Polo is old but she looks good. The public rooms (library, bars and relaxing areas) are small and tended to be crowded and this was exacerbated by the fact that it was too cold to spend long periods on the weather decks. The Cruise Director worked tirelessly and the entertainment personnel tried very hard to please. In summary we felt that we had a thoroughly enjoyable cruise in a fine old ship. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful cruise around the Baltic on the Marco Polo. I had great reservations because of reviews I had read and almost made a decision to cancel the trip. How wrong I would have been so ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful cruise around the Baltic on the Marco Polo. I had great reservations because of reviews I had read and almost made a decision to cancel the trip. How wrong I would have been so don’t take all the negative comments too seriously. This trip provided great value for money. Sure, it’s not a five star ship but was more than adequate. I would suggest we had one of the smallest cabins on the ship, which I wouldn’t recommend – but even that worked out ok by only using the cabin to sleep and having the right attitude. In fact, we were located off the corridors and found cabin 249 was relatively quiet. (We did choose to sleep with earplugs though and these worked a treat). The cities visited on this cruise were special indeed and surpassed our expectations. I had never thought of visiting Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallin and certainly that I would get to St Petersburg in my lifetime. St Petersburg certainly stood out – the trips to the Hermitage Museum, and Church on Spilled Blood were well worth it. The one disappointment was the trip to the Ballet – it did not present either ballet or this very special Russian tradition in the right way. It was a concert with very little lighting or scenery so would not encourage the non-balletomane to venture to another performance I would imagine. I took advantage of some great craft classes on the cruise and the art classes looked amazing. Should have done at least one of those. They let us down with ballroom classes though – with only one scheduled. I wasn’t bored once on the cruise – probably because I needed a good break and spent hours doing my embroidery which gave me great pleasure. It also helped me through the only one rough day we had on the cruise. Stay focussed and it isn’t a problem!! The entertainment was good (but we have experienced better on larger ships). I know that because we were in the cheaper section of the ship we may not have had the best stewards. My husband and I danced most nights away in Scott’s bar which was fun. The food was ok – but you need to choose carefully. I enjoyed all of mine – my husband made some wrong choices! But there is more than enough to eat. We chose to have a table for two, which we prefer to sharing with strangers – but for others that is the way to go. I wish I had taken heed of some earlier posts re tea and taken my own green tea – as I always had to ask. We chose to take out the drinks package which was expensive and encouraged us drink a little more than we would have otherwise. It was still value for money. So if you take this cheaper cruise option, be ready for a special treat and accept that not everything will be perfect. We had a thoroughly enjoyable trip, made some new friends and saw some amazing cities in our beautiful world. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our 20th cruise. We have been with various companies on both large and small ships. We were cruising to Amsterdam, Belgium and France. Started with problems the day before we sailed when we received am email to say that the boat ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise. We have been with various companies on both large and small ships. We were cruising to Amsterdam, Belgium and France. Started with problems the day before we sailed when we received am email to say that the boat was going to be 3 hours late returning from its previous cruise. We did find that the boarding process was painless and were happy to find we had been up graded from inside cabin 485 to outside cabin723. This was a large clean cabin. Life boat drill wss next and to my amazement men and women were sepereted. This would be impossible to implement in a real emergency. Next came dinner. The main dining room felt cramped so for the rest of the week we ate in the bistro. The food for every meal was good but tea and coffee facilities left a lot to be desired. Often no cups and hot water not always hot enough. The cruise passed smothley with the exception of a change of ports. This ment we spent time in Honfleur which was an advantage. The one thing that let the whole trip down wss disembarkation morning !!! Out of cabins by 7am. 800 passangers waiting for a table and breakfast. Not the best parting memory !! Be warned also that there are very few public toilets on the ship. A good ship for small cruises but not for longer ones. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Cant be bothered to write an essay..but: Good points: Loved the ship and the ease with which one could access all decks without using lifts, easy to get between venues. Em/disembarkation smooth and a well oiled machine. Good ... Read More
Cant be bothered to write an essay..but: Good points: Loved the ship and the ease with which one could access all decks without using lifts, easy to get between venues. Em/disembarkation smooth and a well oiled machine. Good cheerful service from bus drivers and porters at Tilbury. I liked the food, ALL of it, though beans on toast is a feast to me when I haven't cooked it! In the main it was lukewarm, but the soups were always hot, as was any freshly cooked things like hot dogs and pizzas. Coffee and tea dire as usual. The cabin was OK with sufficient storage for 6 days. Wouldnt know where to put it all for any longer. Small cases go under bed, bigger ones? Hmmm. Bathrooms OK, showers intermittently hot but powerful. Stinking blocked drains. Nice toiletries. Guests onboard from Only fools, Hi de hi, Allo allo, were fab, and the reason for booking. Also the Giverny/Monet's House trip was fab, a lifetime wish realised. The rest of the entertainment was poor. Bad points: Steward was rubbish. We saw him only once, cleaned room and turned down bed once in the afternoons. Wet towels after evening showering left to fester till following afternoon. Housekeeping changed them without comment. Nothing improved. Hoovered in doorway as far as he could reach, left the rest haha...Basic service badly executed. Food venue in both places was chaotic, absolute bedlam. But acceptable quality of food for me for the price. Bar staff mainly surly and slow, waiting staff much more professional. Personal tipping could be a factor here! In short as with all C&M cruises you get what you pay for (£349) which is old tired ships, old tired cabins and poor facilities. But it WAS generally clean. I would go again if the attraction was good guests or good destinations. Otherwise I prefer a bit more than 3 star. Read Less
85 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally ... Read More
Where do I begin? This experience was one absolutely, without question, straight from hell. We waited for almost twenty years for our Marco Polo experience, and we cannot believe how truly horrible it really was. When they originally sent us the brochure for the wrong ship, after we booked a year in advance, we thought it was just an oversight. Then when our travel agent later sought to reconfirm that the cabin we had booked was a twin that could convert to a double (it was a wedding anniversary, after all!), they told us it couldn't! So we then had to fight to get the confirmation that the cabin we had booked WAS in fact a convertible one. Silly us, we chose to ignore those examples of initial company incompetence. Boy, have we lived to regret that! A month on from returning and we are still struggling to come to terms with not only a terrible experience, but a terrible attitude on the part of the company, Crusie and Maritime Voyages, who simply rejected our claim for compensation and who have tried to shut us down from social media so we cannot complain about them publicly. Their treatment of us is unbelievable! We fully intend to pursure the matter as far as arbitration, if we have to. The weather was so rough they should never have sailed. Cruse and Maritime Voyages' Captain made the decision to sail, without giving people adequate notice of EXTREMELY rough seas, or offering them the opportunity to cancel or reschedule (which would have been the decent thing to do). We left Avonmouth port twelve hours late, and we lost BOTH of our two pre-Christmas port stops! So we were at sea for three days until Christmas, in seriously rough weather - to the point where my husband, who has been a yacht racer since he was a child, and who definitely has his "sea legs" was throwing up for three days, because it was so bad. I could hardly get out of bed myself for all of that time. The weather was so bad that we could hardly stand up safely for MOST of the trip, and as mature sailers who have lived on our own yacht in the past, we undestand bad weather and when you should or not subject people to conditions that render them injured, sick, and at risk. We were more or less confined to cabin for at least seven of the fourteen days we were away, because it was simply too dangerous to move about the ship safely. All we heard for a full fortnight was the endless sound of smashing glass, bottles and crockery, and the Captain telling us "I regret to advise...". People went flying through the air and some needed medical treatment, at least one to the tune of £1000 for two infusions to stop her from feeling so sick, and there were several "code Alpha" (mayday) calls to staff regarding on-board crises, and they were running all over the ship picking people up off the floor., along with smashed plates etc. One woman fell off her chair, landed on the floor and gashed her legs open on broken glass, another, fell and knocked herself unconscious and that was FAR from all. My husband and I both helped several elderly people to move about the ship on several occasions, and when the staff shut down the elevators because of rough weather, and closed one of the only two restaurants on the ship, people had to make their way down to the lower decks for food or even just a cup of tea. So those in wheelchairs or with other disabilities couldn't get access to food or a hot drink independently. I found a lady sitting on the stairs sobbing her heart out because she wanted a cup of tea, and she just couldn't make it down the several flights of stairs to the one place where she could get one. It was just sickening. On returning to our cabin on one of the worst rough days, after an attempt to get some fresh air, we were very freaked out to find that our cabin steward had taken our life jackets out from where they were stowed in an overhead cupboard, and had left them on the window sill! What kind of reaction is anyone supposed to have, to that? The food on the cruise was extremely low-budget, tasteless mush, and we've had better food in staff canteens. The coffee was of very poor quality, and they were serving us rubbish like cottage pie, soggy pasta with tasteless tomato sauce, lumpy mashed potatoes, plain boiled rice, and beef stew. There were no hot puddings, just miniscule squares of jelly-based deserts that looked and tasted like they had come from a supermarket freezer. There were no lovely salad ingredients, just lettuce, cheap cheese and meat options, and no really nice fruit, nothing that could compare with other cruise lines' fare (and believe me, I have thoroughly checked!) - it was just run-of-the-mill stuff that you'd make at home, and to a better standard. Even the bread rolls were cheap and dry. Its not what you expect in return for more than four thousand pounds!!! The in-cabin entertainment was repetitive (a same one hour program or a movie on a continuous loop for 24 hours on all watchable channels). The on-board entertainment was mediocre, and everything was short. Many of the staff were incompetent. They didn't know who to report faults to, as I found out after reporting something three times in the same day, only to find out that reception had passed on the complaint to the wrong person who apparently just ignored it. I demanded a meeting with the Cruise Director at one point and he thanked me for being one of the few people he'd dealt with who hadn't shouted at him! People WERE shouting, and complaining all throughout, and few seemed to get a satisfactory answer to any of the complaints made. A lot of the people on the cruise paid less than half of what we did. We paid top brochure price, others paid as little as £1600 for two. To top it off, the weather was so bad that the captain made the decision to dock at Southampton at the end of the cruise, instead of going back to Avonmouth. You can imagine the uproar and inconvenience THAT caused! Many other people on our cruise had left at the first port and made their own way back to the UK at their own expense, others did it from subsequent ports. Sadly, we were not in a financial position to do that. We ended up as miserable, sick, sitting ducks. Believe it or not, there was a lot more to complain about than this, but I won't go on. For us, this was the worst experience EVER. We'd looked forward to it for so long, almost two decades. It was meantto be our dream anniversary holiday, but it was a complete and utter disaster,. Cruise and Maritime Voyages have elected to assume absolutely NO responsiblity for ANYTHING that went wrong in the cruise, and are ignoring our complaints in the hope that we will go away. We will not. That I can promise. If we have to go all the way to arbitration, we absolutely will. If anyone wants to see a copy of our complaint to them in its 10-page entirety, I will be happy to provide it, along with a copy of their reply to us. I just don't want anyone else to have the experience we had. Nobody deserves that. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Cruise and Maritime Voyages tout this ship, on their website, as a "luxury cozy ship" and they say that if customers "have enough British pounds they will be very lucky" to take a cruise on Marco Polo. We felt anything but lucky, and if that was their standard of luxury, I'd hate to see their "average", because this wasn't even that. It was very, very poor. It is interesting to note that in their rejection of our complaint they stated that they DON'T advertise themselves as a luxury experience. So they lied. And they have closed off our ability to comment on their facebook page,a nd have deleted our negative comments. They are unwilling to face any responsibility for the consequences of that horrible experience. I doubt we are the only complainants. And I doubt we will be the only ones fobbed óff. But we're not going away, and neither should anyone else who has borne the brunt of Cruise and Maritime's catastrophic "Christmas Cruise" - or any other, for that matter. I can be contacted via my website MaxineCook.com, there is a report about our experience with Cruise and Maritime Voyages under the Soapbox menu option, and I will respond to emails reagarding this, if doing so will stop anyone else having such a hideous, rip-off experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our third cruise on Marco Polo. Leaving from Avonmouth (Bristol) was delayed by the late arrival of a coach, and possibly the weather. This meant that tide was missed, and with a locking window of only an hour Marco Polo had to ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Marco Polo. Leaving from Avonmouth (Bristol) was delayed by the late arrival of a coach, and possibly the weather. This meant that tide was missed, and with a locking window of only an hour Marco Polo had to wait 12 hours for the next tide. The outbound passage then meant that the call at La Coruna was not made. Christmas Day was spent at sea and the first port of call was Lisbon. What a lovely city. Take a tour on the Red Bus, hop on hop off. Don't miss the Carriage Museum or the Military Museum. Because of the delay Gibraltar was also missed, much to my disappointment, but again the earlier weather was to blame. The next stop was the Canary Isles. Arrecife on Lanzarotte was a disappointment made up for by Gran Canaria and Tenerrife. Funchal on Madiera was next for the New Years fireworks. The whole voyage, for me, was worth it for the 8 mins 47 secs of the display. Quite fabulous. An evening call at Vigo on the way back was enjoyed by quite a few passengers, we stayed on board. The crossing of the Bay of Biscay was rough and with Marco Polo unable to made the necessary speed towards Avonmouth, she diverted to Southampton. Coaches were ready to take the passengers back to Avonmouth. It has to be said that during the time at sea there were some injuries to passengers, but these were due to the weather and not the fault of the company or the ship. The cabin we were allocated was very good, The staff as always were excellent and the food in the Waldorf Restraunt and Marco's Bistro was good. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Embarkation because of cabin number was fast and easy, there were three adults in cabin, which was roomy and comfortable. Things started going downhill fast. Sailing was delayed till next morning, plenty of rumours why bad weather was main ... Read More
Embarkation because of cabin number was fast and easy, there were three adults in cabin, which was roomy and comfortable. Things started going downhill fast. Sailing was delayed till next morning, plenty of rumours why bad weather was main reason. Two ports of call cancelled (La Corunna and worst of all Gibraltar) ship docked in Lisbon instead. The Canary Islands were fabulous as always, Madeira was excellent but had to go ashore by tender, the standard of seamanship was appalling, farcical really and not fit to crew passenger liners. Our cabin steward (Denis) was fabulous, but rest of crew were sulky, unsmiling, rude and completely unprofessional. Don't bother with drinks package unless you are an alcoholic lol. We think the wine waitress in the restaurant thought she was paying for it herself and was really mean with the servings. The bar ran out of Bailleys, gin and lemonade so quite a lot of cocktails could not be made. Food left a lot to be desired and only Luke warm. How can anybody make jelly with absolutely NO flavour (Marco Polo chefs). TheMarco Polo was a sturdy ship, we hit some really rough weather. Public areas always full, not enough seats anywhere. Too many people on board. Will never sail with Cruise and Maritime again. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
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
8 Helpful Votes
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
16 Helpful Votes
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
30 Helpful Votes
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
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 3.2
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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