Sail Date: April 2010
Having just returned home today, the itinerary was good, the weather fantastic and the ship and most of the staff were terrible. The food was school canteen food, served cold or if you were lucky warm, the waitresses were chewing gum and ... Read More
Having just returned home today, the itinerary was good, the weather fantastic and the ship and most of the staff were terrible. The food was school canteen food, served cold or if you were lucky warm, the waitresses were chewing gum and the cutlery was transport cafe. The head chef was an Indian who could not cook a good curry, and as for English food, best left not said. On deck and in the Bistro, the crew queued up for food first, and sat around smoking. There was a lack of information from the Bridge, and as for organising excursion trips by Tender, it was a joke. All the staff were unprofessional, and lacked any kind of training from the Captain down, there was literally no Management. The entertainment was amaturistic and the same every day. Why go on this terrible ship when there are others far superior and cheaper. If you have booked a cruise on the Marco Polo, then get your deposit back quick! I could write pages, but do not have the time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2010
"You get what you pay for, don't you?" My parents never flew in a commercial aircraft on a scheduled flight. Their sole experience of taking to the skies was a twenty- minute spin around Worthing Pier (in a biplane) ... Read More
"You get what you pay for, don't you?" My parents never flew in a commercial aircraft on a scheduled flight. Their sole experience of taking to the skies was a twenty- minute spin around Worthing Pier (in a biplane) sometime after World War 2. I myself have never witnessed a premier division football match, and only within the last year or two have I dipped my toe into cruising. Leaving things late seems to be a family trait. First for me in 2008 was the Queen Mary 2, transatlantic and with all the frills. Magic. Enter at a sedate pace from harbour left MS Marco Polo, late of the Soviet Navy. Now some cruise companies own their own vessels, train their own crews and are only beholden, when publicly owned at least, to their shareholders. Others such as Cruise and Maritime claim very few assets and simply lease a ship, lock stock and smoking funnel- captain, crew, the whole shebang. As with many other shipping operators, responsibility for vessels such as the Marco Polo involves complex and sometimes rapidly-changing ownership, and when Transoceanic went "belly up" late last year, Cruise and Maritime stepped into the breach and guaranteed a certain number of sailings to provide a continuity for Tilbury-based voyages. So our vessel of choice started life as one of five built in Germany for the Russian navy, all named after famous soviet poets. The Ms Marco Polo saw the light of day first as the Alexander Pushkin and after twenty- five years of heavy Baltic duty was just about ready for the knackers yard. Rescued in 1990 by an enterprising English entrepreneur, one Gerry Herrod (founder of Ocean Cruise Lines), she was divested of all her aging Russian garments and reduced to her steel underpants, a bare skeleton of raw metal. Painstakingly a Dutch engineer and a Japanese interior designer reconstructed her. From Ocean Cruise via Trans-Ocean and now Cruise and Maritime, the Ms Marco Polo has gathered a loyal following of travel agents, journalists and passengers alike. Still with her magnificent hull, ideal for an ice-battering Baltic patrol, her aesthetically satisfying and technically expert superstructure allows her to ride through comparatively narrow gaps, but as it is over forty years from this original refit, she is showing signs of rust and age. Now as MS Marco Polo she plies the Northern climes, the Amazon basin, and presently she is heading for North Africa, Spain, Portugal and France. With her loyal following aging alongside this elegant vessel, my only hope is that the whole lot of us don't disappear in a final last gasp bathed in a golden sunset somewhere off the Bay of Biscay. Carrying a compliment of about 800 passengers and 330 crew, by modern standards she might be deemed "small", "intimate" and "traditional" and she, and those who sale with an in her, are the subject of this report on C and M's "Iberian Highlights". Day 1. My arrival at Victoria Coach Station for the journey to Tilbury (£20 return) was marked by a growing unease as I saw what I assumed to be fellow passengers assembling at exit 1 and 2. At this point I gazed at the retreating back of my youngest son, who had helped me with cases to the station, and was tempted to scream "come back!" and do a runner ( a reaction later supported by two other passengers who like me were by now hiding behind pillars.) But then the party was called and the geriatric queue wound its way slowly towards the waiting coach. Still time to cut and run, or to join it? "Better join" said a voice in my head, "the money's already spent!." So join I did. At Tilbury we were shunted on board in double-quick time and immediately left to our own devices. Deprived by the coach journey of lunch, I wandered through the "buffet" facility with heavy heart having briefly tasted luke-warm, gelatinous and severely overcooked pasta. A foretaste of what is to come? Surely not. Day 2. Cherbourg, from whence The Titanic set out on her epic 1912 voyage. A hint of things to come, maybe? Here I realised, on waking to various announcements about coach party 720B and so on, that on a cruise such as this, one quickly becomes a second class citizen if you opt out of the guided tours organised by the company. Doing a quick calculation I reckon that every coach that leaves the ship for a 3-4 hour local excursion earns the company about £1000 profit, thus five coaches, seven ports of call etc., etc. So after coaches have struggled away in a wreath of diesel fumes, we lonely pariahs make our way onto the deserted quay to stand beneath a sign reading, "shuttle bus". Glancing down the pole I see resting at its foot a pile of steaming horse dung. Shuttle bus? Twenty minutes later we hear "clip clop, clip clop" noises in the distance followed by the sight of an ancient horse and carriage. Forty minutes beyond this we are proceeding at barely walking pace though an industrial estate and Carrefore carparks on a circuitous route into town (the main bridge being closed for repairs). Time just for a brief coffee followed by a geriatric jog back to the boat, narrowly avoiding second day abandonment on the dock. Day 3. At sea through the Bay of Biscay. Those of us unfortunates travelling alone are invited to a "singles meeting experience" at the upper deck bar. A desultory group of a baker's dozen or so, mainly women of an uncertain age, all congregate and proceed to eye each other up with varying degrees of embarrassment and/or distain. Our cruise representative, Leah who previously worked for The Disney Corporation, now clearly prefers brigades of the elderly rather than screaming children to deal with. Leah's "shadow" and future replacement, Lauren (28ish), enlivened matters just by being there and before long the group divided, amoeba-like and gratefully dispersed to continue with reading their Joanna Trollopes and John Grishams. Day three marked my decision to observe the behaviour of the (mainly eastern European) crew in their attitude towards the passengers. On the whole this seemed to comprise an awkward mixture of patronising condescension liberally laced with maternal/paternal concern. For example, on arrival at the Waldorf (!) dining area for lunch, where one was placed with others at random, unlike the designated and rigid sitting for evening dinner, I was seated at an empty table for ten and I was quickly followed into their seats by six or so others. As they were settling themselves around me the waiter handed me the menu, so saying, "and where is your other half?" This was probably the first time, on this voyage as a single traveller, that I was rendered literally speechless. As I gazed at him in incredulity he continued, upping the volume somewhat in the belief, I presumed, that I was hard of hearing. "You know, your better half, your WIFE!" By now we had the full attention of not just our table but adjoining ones as well. So raising my voice appropriately I replied, "she ran off with a lounge lizard from Dublin six years ago." Gasps and nervous laughter insured the lunch, for me at least, was short and sour. On reflection I can only think that the waiter thought my dinner neighbour of the previous night was actually my wife. But this was an outrageous assumption- I may have been gay, or recently widowed, and this incident reflected extremely badly on the training of at least one particular crewmember. On the evening of the third day came the formal "welcome" by the Captain and his Heads of Department in the Marco Polo lounge reserved mainly for live evening entertainment. A promised glass of champagne with the Captain turned out to be a forty-five minute wait clutching a cheap glass of sweet sparkly. Meanwhile our Captain/host dutifully shook hands- for the benefit of the ever-present photographer- with each and every member of the passenger list (singles excluded) at £4.99 a shot. After introducing his colleagues, all standing to attention and very deferential and most seeming to come from the same part of the former Soviet Union as himself (Croatia), he soon absented himself with the parting shot "if you have complaints make sure you contact one of them, not me!" Basil Fawlty in seaman's uniform sprung to mind at about this point in our high-seas adventure. My first taste of the live entertainment, "Venetian Nights" had all the appeal of an immediate elimination from the first round of 'X' Factor, enlivened by the sight of an elderly passenger projectile vomiting into the curtains bounding the stage arena. Was this a comment on the performances, I wondered? So it is about this time that the effects of seasick passengers seem to segue into he unmentionable norovisus. The virus is the bane of cruise operators as this highly contagious and violent combination of sickness and diarrhoea can sweep through the enclosed environment of a ship at sea like a forest fire. It must have been a nightmare in the below-decks hospital area to separate Bay of Biscay refugees from the genuinely ill. Soon the rumours were circulating, someone had died, three ambulances had arrived to meet the ship at Vigo, members of the crew were abandoning ship we are all doomed! What was certainly true, as the company issued no information to us about any of these rumours be they founded or unfounded, was that certain cabin windows were marked with a large taped white cross and their doors were sealed with substantial bands of sticky tape. And we are barely a third of the way through the cruise! Day 4: Vigo. Tanoy calls for all the moneyed passengers who had coaches booked for Saniago de Compostela leave us plebs facing a faulty gangplank and subsequent tardy arrival on the quay to see the two-hourly local shuttle bus disappearing in a cloud of diesel fumes. It is clearly the policy of cruise operators to keep passengers in the dark about available local bus services as an alternative to the scheduled coaches. Reason? They want you to book their expensive tours instead of helping you into town, even if all you want to do is just to potter around it. On this cruise there were tours ranging for £26-£70. A tidy source of additional income requiring merely the hiring of a local coach for half a day. Easy money, but as far as I'm concerned, a black mark to C and M. So for the rest of us a lengthy trek over concrete and macadam and then a vertiginous climb up and through a (literally) collapsing town. In Vigo many buildings seemed simply to have been abandoned and left, inwardly disintegrating and broken-toothed, to the elements. Occasionally a modern, and surely temporary rescue is attempted when the building is "faced" in cheap steel and glass. A practical expedient to keep things in place for perhaps another decade, but after that, what then? On return and at a basically inedible lunch of luke-warm plaice covered in brown sauce(?), one fellow passenger tells me why glasses and cutlery are snatched from us almost before they are finished with. Not it appears from pure zeal on behalf of the waiters, rather a severe lack of stock, hence the need to keep all utensils on a circuitous move- from table to mouth, mouth to dishwasher, dishwasher to table, etc., etc. After lunch, through a combination of exhaustion, hunger and boredom I find myself at reception making a late coach booking for the morrow: "Lisbon's Famous Sights". Day 5 Lisbon. A storm seemed to be following our progress down the Spanish coast and our arrival in Lisbon was marked by strong winds and horizontal rain. I raced to the comparative safety of the quayside coach, ready for almost any off-ship experiences. Our coach stopped for the obligatory twenty minutes at each spot designated to be of potential interest to the visitor with two hours to spend in town. In many cases our departure was entirely dependent on the gradual forward progression of the twenty or so charabancs ahead of us in the designated parking places. "Now we shall be stopping for ten minutes, enough for you to take a photograph" seemed to be the mantra of the morning. In the end you simply find yourself behaving like Japanese tourists in London, in, out, 'snap', on. Ah well, when in Lisbon.... Day 6: Cadiz. A night of furious rocking as if attempting to sleep on a motorised waterbed saw us, come the dawn, sailing majestically up to the magnificent city of Cadiz. Its proximity to the ocean meant that it was subject to frequent raids and sackings, mostly by us British. To realise that the total population numbers not much more than 100,000 souls, and that the prevailing feeling of friendliness, cleanliness and wonderful Mediterranean ambience of al fresco living adds immeasurably to the charm of its already exquisite architecture. Like Lisbon there is evidence of neglect of some great buildings, but the new lady mayor has apparently galvanised the local populace into action on many new renovation projects. Of all the many cities in Spain (specifically Andalucia) and Portugal , this is by far the one I would chose to live in, or return to soon. Earlier that day, over a perfectly ordinary dining-room breakfast, I counselled opinion from the sundry guests seated at my table. Without prejudice, two out of three would not choose to travel by C and M, and Marco Polo, again. Of the remaining third, ones who in my observation would not initiate let alone join in a table conversation, but when pressed for an answer would say, abruptly and hurriedly "It's alright, you get what you pay for, don't you?" I buttonholed, on the way back from the Cadiz city tour, one of the young English crewmembers, one Matthew Agg, to ask how he was enjoying his time with C and M. He told me he had worked previously for P and O who own their own ships. C and M basically charter the vessel along with 95% of the crew, without having any direct investment in Ms Marco Polo itself. This, according to Matt, means that there are some fundamental differences in the chain of command between people like him and Heads of Department up to, and including, the Captain himself. In fact he gave me the distinct impression that the Captain in our case was much more difficult to approach than would be the case the case with P and O and Cunard. However Matt was happy with the working conditions and very much liked the smaller ship, which gave him the chance of really getting to know both crew and passengers. He was full of praise for his employees and although I was tempted to feel that he was being naturally guarded in his remarks, his natural enthusiasm was infectious and from this point on I too started to see the positives as well as the negatives of the voyage. Day 7: Gibraltar and Tangier. Oh dear, Gib. next! In the quayside terminal building it announces its presence in sculptural form as a large, mud-coloured, bare and inhospitable rock. Which, I thought, it pretty much what it is. With rain teeming down four unfortunate tours headed for the sights (rock, monkeys) all hidden in masses of low cloud. Time to wander around this time capsule of old Britain unhassled and unaided. I was expecting to hate everything, but once one leaves the central drag of fish and chip shops and discount stores, there were indeed some pleasant sights to be seen. A Catholic Church opposite an Anglican Chapel, each doing good Sunday business along with the odd police car looking for all the world as if it had just completed its morning M25 duties. All this together with spacious squares, decent sized trees and lush vegetation, alongside red pillar-boxes and helmeted bobbies- plus the cheapest Camel Lights in Europe! Still locked into day eight, we set sail at lunchtime amid squalls, scudding clouds and rain-lashed decks towards the topknot of north Africa- exotic Tangiers. With barely four hours to "do" the whole place it smacks rather of "if it's Thursday it must be Belgium". As we pull into dock I see a series of hastily erected stalls all lined up on the quayside flogging the usual dodgy mixture of handbags, cheap leather belts, kaftans and assorted colourful riff-raff. Astonishingly many passengers choose to make do with this as their only taste of Tangiers, but I decided, thank God, to invest this time in a coach tour of the city and environs, with a highlight walking through the medina and Kasbah. Here are some of this extraordinary city's oldest parts, a rabbit warren of narrow passageways, some a mere eighteen inches wide. No wonder Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Betty Hutton all chose Tangiers as a welcoming haven in their stormy lives. Now this mantle has passed to Marrakech, home to Hollywood stars and starlets, nestling conveniently at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. However to my mind Tangiers is by for the more attractive place, resting on cool hills and surrounded by lush green forests. A magnetic, magic place indeed, and all packed into four hurried hours, before it is back to the boat. Day 8: Portimao, Portugal. Now we come, so to speak, to the fag end of the cruise. Having "done" Gib and Tangiers in barely a day, we turn tail and race up the coast to Portimao where we have a so-called "anchorage point" waiting for us where tender craft will ferry us to the shore. In fact our designated mooring point seems to be marked by a single buoy bobbing some mile or so offshore and with a swell rapidly rising from four to eight feet within minutes of our arrival. A creaking of pulleys announces that one of our emergency lifeboats is being awkwardly cranked into the sea and with heavy hearts we, hanging over the ship's rails, realise that it is to be in our own escape craft that any expedition to the distance shore will be achieved. After about an hour of shouting, pulling on ropes and general water-based cabaret antics, it is perfectly clear to all that our elderly and infirm passengers would tumble one after the other into the ocean if they were to attempt any manoeuvre from gangplank to lifeboat. Then comes the inevitable announcement that we are to amuse ourselves for the rest of the day and that all excursions are hereby cancelled. A general scrum age for the sun-lounges soon ended in a patchwork quilt of broiling British flesh necessitating a retreat to the inner lounge and the comfort of a draft Becks (£2.80). Day 9: At Sea. The nine remaining singles assembled, courtesy of Passenger Liaison Services, for an early lunch together and presumably "catch up". Wine was there waiting on the table, which was generally and tacitly acknowledged to be a nice gesture from the management until it became clear that it had to be paid for (£20 per bottle for the red, £25 for the white). So we retreated to our heavily chlorinated water and I suggested that we took the round table "temperature" of our feelings about the voyage thus far. On a scale of 1-10 the votes ranged from 1 to 7 with a mean average of exactly 4.1. Specific complaints roughly in order of length and strength of comments were as follows: 1. Poor food, frequently served luke-warm or even cold. 2. Hurried and overpriced on-shore tours. 3. Drastically bad inter-cabin sound insulation. 4. Overcrowding of on-board facilities, especially during days at sea. 5. Cessation of free hot drinks by 8.30pm. 6. Surly and unhelpful staff attitudes. 7. Overpriced bar items. 8. Constant circulation of photographers leading to overselling of prints being the subject of a revolving display in public areas. 9. No attempt to relay via the ships GPS systems world news on any kind of regular basis. 10. Age and condition of vessel. One of our group said that the previous evening he had been obliged to lock his cabin door as a result of a violent altercation in the corridor concerning TV noise levels, not in adjacent but in opposing cabins. This escalated to a physical confrontation, which had to be broken up by crewmembers. Only by asking these kinds of questions of fellow travellers did I mange to piece together a proper picture of the voyage as a whole, which apparently included the decamping of some of the crew at Cadiz as a result of poor working conditions, along with some unhappy passengers too. It appears there was an unexpected death on board as well, and three ambulances were seen to be waiting for us at one of our ports of call. And were we briefly stuck on the mud in Gibralter? There was certainly a great deal of muddy water-churning and unexpected delay in leaving. Day 10. Gijon, Spain. Just time to stretch ones legs before another 48-hour rush for home. I sensed a general feeling of deflation and dissatisfaction amongst many of the passengers alongside a strong desire for a speedy return to home and beauty. Apart from providing a brief unrocking base for a short walk, Gjon seems to have nothing whatsoever to recommend it at all. Day 11: Last Day. I spoke this morning with a lady who had paid (for herself and her husband) a total of £3000 for the voyage, who was understandably furious to find late bookers has expended merely a third of this at the last minute for similar cabins and facilities. When asked how she rated the whole experience she replied, 2/10. She also mentioned that the questionnaire issued to all passengers for comments carried the chance of a "free cruise" draw if posted into the reception box by 8.0pm. She was making sure she popped hers into the box well after 8.00 so saying, "I wouldn't go again with C and M even if it was free!" Facilities on Board A small and inadequately stocked library comprising four arms-chairs (constantly filled) and a single desk, with books locked up at most times. Some recent-ish "House and Garden" type magazines, which appeared to "walk" swiftly from the shelves. Nearby a card room of similar size used occasionally for craft-type activities, which again stretched the available space beyond sensible limits. On the upper deck tucked somewhere under the eaves a stuffy and hot Internet Room. My one attempt to log-on involved a complicated and completely impossible to initiate password system. Get a Blackberry! Spa/Hairdressing/Massage. All untested by yours truly, but one middle-aged guest very pleased with her on-board hairdo. Quite a number of passengers have returned to the Marco Polo for this cruise as a result of previous experiences when the ship was under different managements, and almost without exception the consensus was that C a M fell far short by comparison. It seems that cost cutting by a very cost-conscious regime is contributing in large measure to customer dissatisfaction. However, for the first time cruisers I spoke to, with no points of comparison, such issues wee not raised. Entertainment C and M prides itself on a nightly range of live entertainment in two venues, and certainly some passengers were favourably impressed by this fact alone. Others complained that a recent change of management had left the entertainment basically the same, with the exception of a new Cruise Director. In this respect the present incumbent faired badly by comparison with his predecessor, and was generally considered to be both cocky and aloof, an awkward combination for someone of (at best) modest abilities. The nightly performances of popular middle-of-the-road music (Andrew Lloyd Webber et al) ranged from round one losers from X Factor, to really quite accomplished. Voices were above mere competent, and 4-6 lithe and possibly classically trained dancers in a range of skimpy costumes kept the front row (wheelchair accessible) seats well filled. An orchestra of 6-7 accomplished musicians helped the atmosphere no end, and their native eastern European repertoire was supplement by quite a few American standards, which they clearly liked playing a lot. So an overall seven out of ten on this score. Overview The Marco Polo in its current guise is basically a ship appealing to a solid working-class passenger compliment. And before readers throw up their hands in horror at the word "class" I should point out that it is precisely this which forms a very strong element in most kinds of cruise, be it in the observation or in the breach. As passengers we are housed and often fed in a tier system based on an ability to pay (or not) and even the uniforms of crew and the hierarchy of command supports the idea that we slot into a class appropriate to our wealth and station in life. If you want to be treated like a Hollywood star of the 30s, take a Princess Grill cruise on the Queen Mary 2, transatlantic. If you want to swig lager with beer-bellies from up North, Marco Polo is your ship. So this is assuredly a "value for money" cruise with the emphasis firmly on the budget-conscious. One of the problems facing C and M is that they attempt to present a Cunard or P and O type front, whilst behind the scenes cut-price catering in conjunction with staff clearly unused to British social mores mean they are failing to actually satisfy either end of the spectrum. This together with a compliment of passengers, who looked like the walking wounded from the Napoleonic Wars, means that you have to be on guard to prevent yourself simply falling in and becoming one of them and ending up being carted off in a wheelchair. One passenger who has already told me that the toast at breakfast had been a severe test of his remaining molars put it like this. "Look straight ahead, slightly above the heads of all the others, avoid eye contact, eat sparingly and carefully, bring plenty of booze on board and enjoy the ports of call". I say amen to that and if you can, leave the Zimmer frame at Tilbury. Ah well, with erupting volcanoes, I guess it wasn't so bad after all. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Our cabin was great, the itinerary was great, and we enjoyed both of these features, sadly the on board catering and management is tatty. The first morning at buffet breakfast, no cups and no glasses for fruit juice. I had to ask three ... Read More
Our cabin was great, the itinerary was great, and we enjoyed both of these features, sadly the on board catering and management is tatty. The first morning at buffet breakfast, no cups and no glasses for fruit juice. I had to ask three waiters before 5 glasses appeared for about a dozen people! we then got plastic throw away cups! This was repeated throughout the week. I spoke with the restaurant manager who told me he had only 140 coffee mugs on the boat, and that he had cups on order for 2 months! Come on fellers - ordering cups is one page no the web! I looked when I got back and a thousand cups/mugs will cost less than £1000 delivered. Lack of social skills and training in waiting staff is endemic. Waiters push past/though you, if you query anything you often get an aggressive response. English language knowledge is very limited. Food is pretty basic, cooked breakfast in buffet is grim, better in Waldorf. Lunch toook forever to produce, by comparision, our dinner waitress was clearly on a time bind and without our active and repeated pressure we would have had our four courses served and cleared in 45 minutes! Management was conspicuous by its low visibility. All in all a shame, we enjoyed the cruise, but feel that the ship needs a total shake up. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This was our second cruise, the first through Royal Caribbean on the Legend of the Seas. What a sad experience! Having read some of the reviews of previous passengers prior to booking the cruise and having realised that they were up to ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first through Royal Caribbean on the Legend of the Seas. What a sad experience! Having read some of the reviews of previous passengers prior to booking the cruise and having realised that they were up to two years old in some cases we were prepared for some problems. Whilst overall the standard came no where near to that of the Legend of the Seas I think that to be fair the staff on board were tired and a bit jaded. Many of them were apparently working up to 16 hours a day and this reflected in their less than friendly grins. For some there were language difficulties, but it is evident that they were trying. Daily meeting were held for the cabin and waiting staff to update them all on the problems of the previous 24 hours, and this appeared to be having an effect. Our cabin was small, but well maintained by a young man who was very cheerful and conscientious in his job. Our three main concerns were as follows: 1 The farce of dining in the serve yourself restaurant. If you could find a table, then you probably could not find a chair. If you found a table and chair then there were no cups. Getting all three to combine together was a work of logistical magic!! The very ebullient guy in charge of the restaurant was once heard to comment "I'm getting mug hassle again from the passengers!" 2 The lack of time spent on shore trips. In the main the shore trips lasted little more than four hours, sometimes less if the ship was delayed getting to port. On one occasion the trip from Cadiz to Gibraltar showed on the onboard television log that we were 35 miles from the destination as we left Cadiz. The ship came into port in Gibraltar about 8am the following morning. At one point during the night I was awake and turned on the television to watch our progress. We were going first of all north, then south then east and finally north again. We spent all night going round in circles. Whilst this was bad, what made it worse was the heavy weather which we had been warned about the previous evening. With the large number of quite old and some infirm people on board I felt at the time that the captain was not considering the health of his passengers by not going straight to Gibraltar when he knew this. The same thing happened going across the Bay of Biscay. One of the ports of call was Portimaio in Portugal. We sat on the boat all day watching the resort from about half a mile off shore. The tender was lowered to let people off but the swell was such as to make this impractical. However, if the tender had been lowered on the other side of the vessel (sheltered from the swell by the ship itself) then we could have made it to shore. Add to that the fact that 12 people were brought onboard during the late afternoon makes on feel that there never was an intention to let us ashore that day. Out of 11 days on the ship we spent over 5 days at sea - with a break of 4 hours on one of those days. Not a bunch of happy passengers. 3 Tipping. On the first information sheet from the booking agency we were informed that all gratuities were included in the cost of the holiday. On board we were told £5.00 a person per day would be automatically added to our credit card bill unless we registered in the first 24 hours onboard that we did not wish to have this facility. When we told the reception area that we wanted to withdraw from this system we were told that a box would be available on the reception counter for us to put an envelope with any gratuity inside for the individual staff member. To the end of the cruise we enquired with our cabin cleaner about these two systems. He informed us that they never got any extra in the form of tips either from the company or the white box system. So, we gave him the money ourselves. Apparently there was some system onboard to prevent them having any money on their persons, but as our guy said, "There are always ways of getting around this problem". On the whole we felt that the experience of the passengers was similar to our own and that the ships owners and operators had little or no concern for the experience of the paying passengers. There are many other small niggles about the cruise, but I am so tired of the whole thing I think I had better call it a day now. In future, don't book with the Marco Polo - unless it is going to join the other four similar ships built at the same time. To the scrap yard! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
We both had a lovely time considering this was our first cruise . Visiting Rouen after sailing up the Seine could not complain about that as we sunned ourselves on the whirlpool deck ( what a treat ) . Then the next port of call was ... Read More
We both had a lovely time considering this was our first cruise . Visiting Rouen after sailing up the Seine could not complain about that as we sunned ourselves on the whirlpool deck ( what a treat ) . Then the next port of call was Guernsey having a guided tour with cream teas, the driver of the coach was very informative and funny. The following day we are at the Isles of Scilly visiting the Abbey Garden's on the Island of Tresco. This would have been better for a much longer trip not enough time to see everything. We moved cabins as our cabin was very noisy apart from that everything was very clean crew were very hard working and some were helpful . The Waldorf's restaurant was good had the same menu most nights fish pork or chicken. Lots of water at the table not sure where it came from. All the entertainment was very good in the evening. I'm sorry to say there has been a down side which has spoilt a lovely cruise. When we arrived home we both came down with NOROVIRUS both started at the same time. I don't think we will be going on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
I found the experience onboard the Marco Polo one of partuclular interest. Having worked onboard many ships with many cruise lines I was interested to see how the smaller operators are coping with their competitors. I have to say that the ... Read More
I found the experience onboard the Marco Polo one of partuclular interest. Having worked onboard many ships with many cruise lines I was interested to see how the smaller operators are coping with their competitors. I have to say that the staff during embarkation where very helpful, especially as Tilbury does not have many facilities for Cruise Line passengers. The ship is old and a little tired, from the outside it really looks tired. Internally it is a little better than expected, nice, clean and relatively in good repair. The staff are very keen to help and seem to work very well together, not like some of the bigger cruise ships where the intemacy has gone between the staff. Our cabin was an Inside Twin and again more than adequate for a short cruise. I am glad to say there was no diesel or garbage smells blowing around the corridors or through the AC which can be expected from older ships. The Lido food was for me very limited in selection and at times a bit of a fight to get to. The Dining however was much better although not exceptional. Entertainment was good, and drinks fairly priced. I would return for another mini cruise but anything over 4 days may be a struggle as it is a limited ship with what it has to offer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2010
Having seen this ship from the outside we were surprised at the nice inside re-furbishment. The cabin was small but we expected that. The bars and restaurnts were pleasantly decorated and spacious. We were slightly surprised when the ... Read More
Having seen this ship from the outside we were surprised at the nice inside re-furbishment. The cabin was small but we expected that. The bars and restaurnts were pleasantly decorated and spacious. We were slightly surprised when the buffet advertised was a few slices of Pizza and curled up sandwiches, however they tasted OK, although the delivery of the food and the conditions it was kept in left a little to be desired. The bar staff were efficient and drinks flowed. When we set sail it was with a little concern that the ship took about 35 feet of pierside out as she hit it!! We wondered why we were going so far up the Thames!! The evening got underway and then we nmet the waiting staff in the restaurant. They were curt unhelpful and very poor in service. They did not want to serve that was for sure!! The meal was tep-id, small and we were wondering if the bread would go around to keep us full until the morning..............the men were hungry!! The cheese was very warm and sweaty!! We enjoyed the entertainment though and the show was top notch stuff, we were very surprised and went noff to bed thinking that perhaps the restaurant would improve. It didn't!! Thank goodness it was only 3 days............what a shame though as with the nice interior, good entertainment if they ditched the waiting staff and improved the food it we would have considerd it again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
From start to finish,this was 1st class.As a former naval/merchant naval officer,when my wife booked this cruise,I thought the whole time I was going to be on this ship I would be looking to criticise what I was about experience. Much to ... Read More
From start to finish,this was 1st class.As a former naval/merchant naval officer,when my wife booked this cruise,I thought the whole time I was going to be on this ship I would be looking to criticise what I was about experience. Much to my surprise and delight"we"thoroughly enjoyed every moment.The service was superb from the Captain all the way down through the crew in every department,it was impossible to criticise anyone or service.The evening entertainment(different every night)had to be seen to be believed.The shows were worthy of the West-End theatres,costumes,singers and dancers(and this all-inclusive),the food was delicious,waiters and waitresses all cheerful and happy,as were the bar staff.So much going on in the different entertainment rooms you were spoilt for choice.Delightful cabin stewardess,spotlessly clean and turned the beds down each evening and left a delightful animal(made out of towels)on the bed.We toured the Norwegian Fjords and that is a fabulous sight to be seen.From the time of booking(with Newmarket Travel)to landing back home the organisation was smooth and well run.We travelled from Liverpool by coach to London Victoria coach station and vice-verse.On arrival in Victoria homeward bound the guide saw the labels on our cases and said,"are you for the Marco Polo",I said,"love to,but,unfortunately were on the way home".That's a feeling you only get when you have thoroughly enjoyed yourselves.WELL DONE TO ALL. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Having cruised once before on P&O Line on the med and experienced wonderful food and great entertainment but much boredom on sea days, I was pleased when I saw the Marco Polo British Isles Itinary. It ticked all boxes for visiting some ... Read More
Having cruised once before on P&O Line on the med and experienced wonderful food and great entertainment but much boredom on sea days, I was pleased when I saw the Marco Polo British Isles Itinary. It ticked all boxes for visiting some wonderful islands around our coast. Places we would never otherwise visit like Stornaway and The Scillies. I knew the ship was small and read reviews before booking. But the one thing deemed most important to my hubby was good food and I was sure it would be. Wrong! Eating in the restaurant was soon abandoned. It wasn't worth the effort of dressing up.The food in the self service on pool deck was no better but at least we could help our selves and go casual which after busy sightseeing everyday suited us. The food is very eastern european and I am sure they have a contract with Lidl! Their take on English food doesn't work. very tough meat and combinations which don't go together. No tea/coffee making facilities in cabins. Just water at £2.50 a bottle ( the tap water is undrinkable) We learnt to buy water and soft drink on our shore trips.Tea and coffee is available all day outside on pool deck but otherwise it's buy from the bar between meals. The entertainment was rather amateur and hubby couldn't bear watching rather large Russian dancers prancing. P&O entertainment had spoilt him! The other passengers we spoke to felt the same about the food-boring and lacking variety. Milk was always uht ,my bug bear as love my tea. Our cabin had constant engine noise and the beds were hard. Hubby bought ear plugs and I slept on top of duvet for comfort, so we got around those problems. Everywhere was claen and the staff were polite and helpful. The excursions are always expensive but we thought most were worth the money as we had a wondeful time on nearly all of them. Monet's Gardens were the most disappointing as our guide did so much talking before we got inside that she had left us too little time to get round! The port for Monet is Honfleur and much more worth doing. Lovely Normandy town. All in all the cruise was worth it for the excellent ports of call which larger ships don't seem to visit. If cruise and maritime did P&O Dining and entertainment then all would be perfick! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Both in our 70s, with experience as group travel organisers for over 60s.We were spoiled perhaps, last year we travelled the full Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten on their smallest ship, Lofoten. Less than 100 return passengers, plus local ... Read More
Both in our 70s, with experience as group travel organisers for over 60s.We were spoiled perhaps, last year we travelled the full Norwegian coast with Hurtigruten on their smallest ship, Lofoten. Less than 100 return passengers, plus local port to port traffic, first class food, individual attention from the Chef to a diet need. Hurtigruten also have swish tower block ships if you like that. But this is about Marco Polo. Judging by the literature, and a full review here, its a cut price play at being the Queen Mary 2, with the smart atmosphere being the main game. We wanted just a relaxed fortnight going to interesting places, without calling in at Moss Bros on the way. In fact, though some drag the kitchen sink to Tilbury, and in the main restaurant some dress like a Traveller wedding, and the waiters and guests are hard to distinguish, this can be avoided. Service in the restaurant is appallingly slow and the food no better than in the Marco Polo lounge, a self service facility with no dress code, the chance to view and select your meals, and an excellent barbecue most nights. It adjoins the pool deck, which means open air (sorry Newmarketl al fresco)dining when the summer allows. Given the average passenger is over 60, the diet is a bit unadventurous inevitably (no garlic !! and only a rare curry powder curry)but plentiful, and you can eat virtually all day. Tea and coffee always available on the pool deck, but curiously, the shortage of cups mentioned here continues, passengers smuggle them back to their cabins to be sure of getting one next time, and the problem is extreme by the end. So bring your own mug. Cabins excellent,though a lingering smell of diesel on the bottom deck, days after bunkering.Insulation poor, at least in inside cabins. Watching the late film will get visits from elderly neighbours. Service over the top, indeed almost all staff are friendly and helpful. Entertainment good, at least x channel ferry standard, and better than that in the Captains lounge (another bar). 2 buskers in another lounge covering old time joys are not Acker Bilk, and should stick to busking. Time ashore. Inevitably limited just a tasting. Information about shuttle and cit buses bit limited, and non existant in Copenhagen, perhaps to encourage sales of excursions. Visa problems make it inevitable to excurse in Leningrad. Library excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth. Tips. Not sure the "tip pool" works, so you can top up by leaving envelope at reception addressed to cabin staff etc, and telling them its there. Bar prices reasonable, and offers most days, naughty persons might even buy the local firewater ashore and smuggle it in.(but beware Scandinavian prices, and only buy Stolichnaya vodka, in a proper shop.) Newmarket service as agents. Say 8/10 A big leap forward for them, its usually coach tours and newspaper days out. How they accommodate a full ship in winter, without the open decks we wonder. So, you get what you pay for, Cunard charge double for the same itineraries,don't expect Cunard swank, though if fancy dress is you you can pretend, and even shake the Captains hand. 792 times (not us), poor guy, looked a bit frazzled. Keep after Newmarket if you don't get documents, and do take your own mug. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
The staff on the Marco Polo were beyond excellent...they were so helpful and cheerful it was a delight. The only exception were the Reception staff who were surly in comparison. Our cabin was superb...we could only afford a Category 3, ... Read More
The staff on the Marco Polo were beyond excellent...they were so helpful and cheerful it was a delight. The only exception were the Reception staff who were surly in comparison. Our cabin was superb...we could only afford a Category 3, but to our delight we were upgraded to a category 9, free of charge, as we had booked many months ago, so people who got last minute deals could have the cheaper cabins. Only problem was the couple in Cabin 717 who were often having 'domestics' which we could hear thrugh the wall! (well we could hear the woman, the poor bloke never got a look in!) Andrey our cabin steward was attentive and helpful. The food was great, but we were shocked at the greed of the British Pensioners on board. At 46 & 47 years, we were among the youngest 20% on board, but they could out-eat us with no problem. To be honest at times the ship looked like a floating care home there were so many oldies! There were a number of Dutch couples on board who were lovely and chatted to us, but a lot of the elderly Brits did nothing but moan the whole trip. Yes we made some nice friends,especially among the whale & bird watchers, but a lot of the passengers were snobby & aloof and I wondered why they had come at all! My husband said it was the most relaxing holiday he had ever had and the staff were the most helpful of anywhere we had been in the past. A couple of the excursions were a bit of a disappointment, (especially The Arctic Nature of Spitsbergen which was advertised as a 3 mile walk but was in fact about 300 yards) but the on board lectures by Gloria Barnett were excellent. All in all we had a superb holiday to a wonderful location, assisted by an amazing team of staff for whom nothing was too much trouble. Any improvements that could be made? 1. A heated swimming pool would have made our holiday complete. 2. A less crowded ship, but then the prices would be higher 3. Better sound insulation between the cabins. 4.24 hour tea & coffee machines on each floor Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
First of all I will tell you a little about myself and my husband. I am 29 and he is 31, we have been married for 4 years and normally try to get away once or twice a year. The normal sort of break we do are city breaks, normally the ... Read More
First of all I will tell you a little about myself and my husband. I am 29 and he is 31, we have been married for 4 years and normally try to get away once or twice a year. The normal sort of break we do are city breaks, normally the cheaper the better but we don't mind splashing out for something we think is worth it. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinery, it had ports of call that we desperately wanted to see so seemed like the perfect holiday for us. Before we travelled I was a little sceptical about the cruise itself as it seemed too good to be true, all those cities for the price we were paying. I was also concered about our ages and the fact that cruises in general tend to attract slightly older travellers (especially cruises such as this that are child free). At times we did get slightly irritated by fellow passengers general rudeness towards us (especially the ones that assumed we were staff because we were younger) but all in all we didn't let it affect our overall experience. In fact we had an absolutely amazing time! The ship itself is gorgeous and very well maintained. The staff clearly take pride in their work, they were friendly and paid great attention to detail. Our room was cleaned twice a day and our room steward was always on hand and very very friendly. The waiting and bar staff all spoke brilliant English and went out of their way to ensure that we were well looked after. The entertainment, admin and all other members of staff seemed very professional and approachable also. Our toilet broke about halfway through but it was fixed quickly and efficiently and caused us no inconvenience at all. Neither of us have a bad word to say about any of the staff at all. The ship itself is fairly small but in a friendly way. Theres certainly enough to do to keep you entertained and a nice selection of places to sit and relax with a drink or to read a book etc. However at times it was quite hard to find a spare seat as people tended to spread their belongings out over chairs/sunloungers even when they werent actually using them. The only real fault that I can find with the whole experience is the swimming pool, its certainly not very appealing. It was a lot smaller than I expected and whilst I am sure it was perfectly clean it just didn't make me want to go for a swim - even on the hottest of days! I heard a few other people making similar comments too. I will quickly mention food and drink too. I am such a fussy eater so I always like to hear what people have to say about it before I travel. The food was of a good standard although largely not to my liking (I really am very fussy though) my husband however was in absolute heaven! I am sure he doubled in size over the period of the cruise. The drinks were lovely and fairly reasonably priced. We did feel the cans of coke were a little over priced at £2.05 each but the rest of the drinks menu seemed reasonable, the cocktails especially seemed well priced. All in all we can't recommend the Marco Polo enough!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
If you want to go somewhere in relative comfort, well fed and entertained then this could be the ship for you. The Gazetteer rates this ship as 3 Star. I have stayed in 3 Star hotels and had better holidays than in 5 star, and the same ... Read More
If you want to go somewhere in relative comfort, well fed and entertained then this could be the ship for you. The Gazetteer rates this ship as 3 Star. I have stayed in 3 Star hotels and had better holidays than in 5 star, and the same could happen on board the Marco Polo. One phrase uttered by a fellow traveller was "You get what you pay for". If you can understand that then you will enjoy what you get. The ship is over 40 years old, has classic lines and a beautiful teak deck. When at anchor near a modern cruise ship it looks smaller, but it is kept in good condition. Maintenance was carried out on a regular basis during this cruise, crew tried hard not to disturb passengers and were always friendly and obliging. The varnishing of a set of teak stairs took 2 hours and was dealt with quickly and with good humour. No one complained (believe me I was sitting by the rail catching some rays and everyone was complimentary about the way the crew were looking after the ship.) AFter reading some reviews of the ship I was wary but a friend checked other sites and one reassurance was that "It has a really low rate of Norovirus cases". This I can understand as the ship was kept spotless and the passengers encouraged to do the same. As soon as we boarded we were offered anti-bacterial hand gel and this was available every time you left the ship, entered the ship, entered the dining rooms, used the gym, and even after you had washed your hands in the toilets. I never saw anyone refuse them and most people who commented on this fastidiousness were impressed. The crew were friendly and helpful, and although for most English was a second language they really tried hard to please. Our cabin was on the lowest passenger deck, but chosen for it's size and number of portholes. We were offered smaller cabins of the same grade higher up, but decided the larger cabin was for us. We saw the size of these cabins and really were pleased we had opted for the bigger cabin. The cabins we saw were more than adequate, but ours could have been a suite! Unfortunately this knowledge did not stop some pitying looks from fellow passnegers, one of whom commented in the lift "The more you pay the more you sway!" We didn't sway, paid the same and didn't have an obstructed view! The tender transfers were a worry for my mum who was travelling with me. However, the description we were given by the travel agent and the reality were far apart. If you can walk down steps and step across a 3 inch gap with 2 nice men holding your arms then you can do this! It was a fun experience and the crew made it an adventure for some of the older passengers. Only once did a bow wave come up and "drench" one side of the tender (a high speed lifeboat), but this was met with good humour and much laughter. The food was of a good standard, only once did I dislike my choices. Entertainment was of the singing/ dancing cabaret style, with quizes and games added in. It was of a good quality with no repetition. Craft sessions and wildlife talks were available for those interested in them. In response to earlier postings/ reviews there were plenty of plates available, and if you had to wait for a coffee cup it was for 2 minutes and they arrived steaming from the washer. Coffee and tea were in abundance, drink were comparable to home and service was excellent. Experienced cruisers were mainly of the opinion that the ship catered for passengers focused on their destination. Some passengers compared the ship to larger newer ships and were a little disgruntled at the differences, but most were satisfied and pleased with the overall cruising experience. I would have no qualms booking the ship again, as long as the itinerary was one which I wanted. This ship is capable of the Mediterranean, an Atlantic crossing, the Amazon river and Antarctica. A true all rounder, and as such has varied passengers. Yes there are a high number of retired passengers, but there are also middle aged professionals and younger couples.On the last day I met and Australian couple on board for 2 months cruising Europe. They were enchanted. Enough said. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
We have wanted to see Norway and the fjords for some time but have never found a package that suits us. When browsing at the end of July last year, we came across availability with the Marco Polo. having looked at cruising on this ship ... Read More
We have wanted to see Norway and the fjords for some time but have never found a package that suits us. When browsing at the end of July last year, we came across availability with the Marco Polo. having looked at cruising on this ship before but not being able to book, we decided to go for it.As neither of us have cruised before, we were not sure what to expect. Our cabin was quite large and very comfortable. Although we were on a lower deck, things were not too bad. On embarkation, our luggage arrived at the cabin before we did. I was worried about access as I use a walkign stick, but I had no problems at all, and the staff were very good with help to get on & off the tenders.All the staff were very friendly and there was maybe just one staff member who was perhaps not quite so frindly, but no complaints. We ate in the Waldorf every evening as the food was very good. The portion sizes about right and quality was excellent. Our waiter was really good and we had no trouble with plates being taken early but we did note that dirty plates were never left too long. As someone else noted, we were given hand cleansing gel whenever we entered the ship and when going in to the Waldorf or the cafe bar.When out on deck, we kept our tea mugs which we obtained from the tea bar on deck. There were some issues with the lack of cups on one day, but we were told that it was due to the dishwasher breaking down. In my opinion, if everyone had kept their own mug rather than expecting a new one every time, then this problem would have been eased substantially.All the ports of call were interesting, and we went on 4 organised tours. They were expensive, but taking into account the sailing times, we did not want to be on a private tour over a long distance with the possibility of the ship leaving port prior to our return. In Edinburgh (Leith) we got off the ship early and walked round the corner to see the Britannia early and this worked well, as when we came out everyone was queueing. We went backt ot he ship for lunch, then went back out in the afternoon, back on ship for dinner and then out again in the evening. We both had one day tickets £3 each which allowed us unrestricted travel on buses throughout the day.As I suffer with travel sickness, I was concerned about the sailing. I took one travel pill on the first day, but did not need any more after that. The only time I felt a little odd was on the formal captain's dinner evening when I went to the spa to have my hair styled (they did a fantastic job).Looking back, the only thing we found to be a little annoying was the tendering. As our cabin was very close to the exit of the ship, it was a bit of a pain having to go up to the lounge to get the tickets and then wait and have to go back down to exit. It was good coming back on board as we were right by the cabin.On the whole we really enjoyed our trip. The staff were all friendly and as a joint effort they kept the ship spotless. There were always a senior crew member walking round and letting staff know if something was not up to standard.At the present time, it is unlikely that we would cruise again, but that is purely because we found the tendering and time restrictions did not suit us, but we woudl recommend the Marco Polo & CMV to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
I am just back from a cruise on the Marco Polo with my partner, to Edinburgh, Norwegian Fjords & Lerwick, its was cheap as chips £599. But once on the ship prices rise, a bottle of water 750mls in the cabin was £2.20p, ( so take your ... Read More
I am just back from a cruise on the Marco Polo with my partner, to Edinburgh, Norwegian Fjords & Lerwick, its was cheap as chips £599. But once on the ship prices rise, a bottle of water 750mls in the cabin was £2.20p, ( so take your own) tours are very expensive. We tended to do our own thing at the destinations. At one stop, Flam, the tour from the boat, The Flamsbana Mountain Railway was £59, We did the trip for £34 booking from the station a 100 yds from the ship. We did however take one coach trip at Geirager Fjord, up the Eagles Road, £41. a full coach load of people 3 hours for £41, was expensive but the only way to the top of Mount Dalsnibba for the view over the Fjord with the Marco Polo moored up. The service at the Waldorf Restaurant was quite unbelievable too, ladies not served first, plates cleared, before other people had finished their course. Some people had there sweet, while others were still on their main course. Wine was from £13 to £30 a bottle, but water was free, the only trouble was the wine waiter, started clearing the glasses of water before we had finished with them. In the Waldorf Restaurant one evening, we had roast beef but we were not asked how we would like it, one slice or I should say door step was well done (some of the ladies could not cut through theirs) the next slice I had was red raw, I could not eat it. My partner could eat none of hers because it was raw, and she likes beef well done. The waiter just shrugged when we told him about it. Pudding described as Mousse, was a small chocolate cup cake, Cheesecake was a sponge slice with no taste at all. The Chef who was Indian (even his Curry was not up to much) he must have had very little knowledge about the English language when writing the menu, the same as most of the crew, mostly from the Eastern Block countries. One day at breakfast one of our friends on the table, turned her head to talk to her mum, her half eaten omelette was taken away by the waiter without even asking. The other a self-service restaurant the Marcos Bistro (should have been cafe) when open for lunch or afternoon tea was like feeding time at the zoo, lack of seating, no mugs for your tea or coffee, I had to wait sometimes 15 minutes for the waiter to put them out, if you were in the first 12 people to get a mugs you were lucky. ( My advice is to take a plastic Thermos cup with you), then you can take it outside where there are seats, but of course most times it was a little cold. The Internet again was too expensive to use, I never noticed anyone in there, I did manage to connect with my laptop, when on the dock at Flam as did some of the crew, it was free, the password was on the door of the dock side office. One good place was our cabin, it was kept clean and tidy, but stewardess did take the toiletries out the day before the cruise finished so we did not pinch any, we took our own anyway. The evening entertainment grew on us the troupe of Russian dancers and singers did a very good job. On two nights we were entertained by the guest artist talented Katy Setterfield with her impressions of well known singers. Another highlight was the guest lecturer David Horsley on birds, mammals and fauna. So would we recommend the Marco Polo, only to people we do not like, but we did have a laugh, especially over the food description's on the menu. So if you do take a cruise on the Marco Polo, don't forget to take water, and a thermos mug, look up the ports you are visiting on the Internet before you go to see if its cheaper to do your own thing. Tilbury, could do with a good clean up. Leith for Edinburgh, a short bus ride into town £3 for all day ticket. Bergan short walk into the center of town and the Floibanen funicular. Geiranger, tender to town, but not a lot there, took a tour. Olden Nordfjord, tender, walk half mile in to town but not much there, from the dock, a toy town train on the road ride £15 too expensive. Flam, 100 yds to town and station for the Flambana Mountain Railway £34 each, we booked our own train ride and saved £50 on tour price for the two of us, even more if you are an OAP. Lerwick, tender, in to center of town a lot cheaper than Norway so its the place to buy presents before you go back home. Happy Cruise-ing Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
We'd never been on a cruise before. Doubt if we shall again. We deliberately chose a slightly smaller ship, thinking it might be less impersonal than a very large one, and this may have been the case. There were some good ... Read More
We'd never been on a cruise before. Doubt if we shall again. We deliberately chose a slightly smaller ship, thinking it might be less impersonal than a very large one, and this may have been the case. There were some good things - embarkation and disembarkation was easy; staff were pleasant and our room very comfortable. From day 1, from Tilbury to Edinburgh, I thought it was strange that, right in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in Europe, there were no announcements saying it was on, with masses to go and see and do. There were £55 tickets for the Tattoo (cost price £23). Nothing about the fact you could get off the boat at Leith, get a bus all day ticket for £3, and go to lots of shows. Which we did and had a great day. But hey? All the ship wanted to do was make money in its tour buses. For the rest of the voyage, we chose not to go on excursions. We wanted our own time to look around places. But every time we were anchored out in the bay, it was people booked on tours who were scheduled off first into the tenders, which meant we had much less time on shore. The excursions were extremely expensive. And they also appeared to direct the boat to stop in places where bus tours left from, rather than places of much intrinsic interest, eg Olden. So, Cruise and Maritime were wholly focused on passengers willing to pay a very considerable amount on their extra tours, giving those who wanted to see the place more independently rather a second-class experience. Internet? 60p per minute. Yes, per minute. Bottles water in the cabin - £2.20 Food - my partner found the food irritating and not very good - tiny portions in nouvelle cuisine style. I stated when booking that I am vegetarian. Cruise and Maritime offered vegetarian food. The food served did not constitute a rounded vegetarian diet. They served vegetables. And pasta. And more pasta. I don't normally eat much pasta. Virtually no protein on offer. When I raised this with the Passenger Services Director, and pointed out what was lacking, she was very pleasant. Nothing changed except that it seemed I had lots of people running around asking if the food was ok. The food and the menus remained exactly the same. Afternoon teas were a pretty dismal affair, with very ordinary, very dry, uninteresting little cakes. I think you could maybe have got a decent cup of coffee on board for about £3 or so. I didn't see why I should have to pay that much. There were a couple of stations for free tea and coffee all day long. At least once a day they seemed to completely run out of mugs for 20 minutes or more and we'd be told that the dishwashing machine had broken down. On arrival in our cabin, there were flowers - meant for another cabin. And excursion tickets - meant for another cabin. The daily blurb had mistakes in it, day after day, almost every day. I raised it with the passenger services director along with the food issue. It also did not give enough simple, useful information to independent travellers about local buses and transport, costs etc. As much out of principle as anything else we chose not to avail ourselves of the overpriced items in the boat. I object to being -as I see it - fleeced. And I was given sub-standard vegetarian food. All this is not new to Cruise and Maritime as I wrote to them in September. When they replied they discounted all of my complaints, with anodyne phrases such as "I am sorry that you were disappointed..". What I write about are not difficult issues. And I'm surprised the company did not welcome the feedback, which it should have found helpful in developing its services. So - Marco Polo - oh no, oh no.. Marie Needham Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
I have had the pleasure of travelling on a number of large cruise ships, so prior to booking this one on the Marco Polo, I decided to look the vessel up on cruise critic, to see what other cruisers had said about the ship. There were ... Read More
I have had the pleasure of travelling on a number of large cruise ships, so prior to booking this one on the Marco Polo, I decided to look the vessel up on cruise critic, to see what other cruisers had said about the ship. There were some who said they would never travel on this ship again, and others who stated that they had a brill time. There were some who said that the dinning was not upto scratch, mainly that the food was cold/luke warm. I found this also to be the case, not just in the restaurant, but also in the poolside self service. But to start my review from the beginning, the arrival and boarding the Marco Polo, was a well rehearsed drill. I travelled to Tilbury by car, and on arrival at the cruise terminal, our cases were taken from us, to be loaded onto the ship, and we were directed to a nearby parking facility. On leaving the secure car-park, a mini bus returned us to the cruise terminal. The cruise and maritime, staff were helpful in the boarding procedure, and we were very soon on board. Our cabin on deck 7 was very clean and bright, and I must say it remained that way for the duration of the cruise, assisted by a very helpful cabin steward. The furnishing in all the public areas, well they had seen better days, and I would say that the ship was in need of a well earned refit. The entertainment was OK, and passed the time away between ports. I would say that the tour desks staff were not the most friendly of folk, however the tours that we undertook, although expensive, were worth the money. I would say that this was the best part of the whole experiance Would I sail on the Marco Polo again, Yes. The only advice I would give is, don't compare it to the other cruise ships, as it cant compete . The Marco is nothing really more than a North Sea Ferry, without the cars. However the price tends to be OK, so you get really, in this case what you pay for. Last but not least, the tipping. They do bill you £5 per person a day, added to your onboard account. What you are not told is if you are not happy, don't pay it. Or if you want to give less, do what you feel is its worth. On the last day prior to disembarkation, toddle off to the purser/ reception desk, and ask for a tipping form. You wont be the only one, they will have loads ready to give out. Then all you need to do is fill it in, return it to the receptionist, and your account is altered to reflect the changes. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our ... Read More
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our last. We were told not to judge this ship with others. Firstly, l would like to say that the ship was very clean and the crew were all friendly and helpful. I wish the rest of the cruise had been as positive. On day one, we had a lifeboat drill and had to meet at the Marco Polo lounge. When we neared the Captains club, I commented to my wife that l could smell cigarette smoke. When we entered the Captains Club, there were dozens of people smoking. We were both disgusted at this being allowed inside of the ship. The only way to the Marco Pole lounge was through this disgustingly smelly room. The food on day one was excellent, getting worse by the day... More often than not the food was warm bordering on cold. Fresh food was out of the question. The Marco Polo Bistro was open from 06.30 - 07.00 for drinks and then open at 07.30 for breakfast. A couple of people told us that the fried eggs were being put out before 07.00am. As you can imagine they were not upto much at 07.30. One night there was a German theme. It appeared that sausages and frankfurters were being cooked to order. By the time we had put some on the plate with some watery salad and sat down, these were cold. How, l don't know. Fresh fruit was ok on day one and went down hill each day. It appeared that all of the fruit was loaded in England and no new supplies were picked up after that. We don't actually like black bananas. Every day for afternoon tea were the same dried out sandwiches and cakes galore. It would have been nice to have been served a few savouries, especially as my wife is Diabetic and all that was on offer were sugary cakes. I can't imagine us sailing with Cruise Maritime again, which is a pity because our next cruise is/was going to be to the Norwegian Fjords. I just hope our next cruise will not be as disappointing as this one... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Not having been on a cruise before we were a bit sceptical and as the people in our party did not want to fly anywhere this was the ideal solution .A cruise for 15 nights to Morocco and the Canary Islands places we had never been before ... Read More
Not having been on a cruise before we were a bit sceptical and as the people in our party did not want to fly anywhere this was the ideal solution .A cruise for 15 nights to Morocco and the Canary Islands places we had never been before .We booked this only three weeks before we went and for a bargain price of £669 per person for an ocean view cabin .Leaving from Tilbury gave us an hour's run to the port which was great. We found that we could not fault either the embarkation or the ship itself, being that it was built in the 1960's it was most comfortable and we never felt any rough movement even going through the Bay Of Biscay where it can sometimes get rough, it was kept very clean and we had to use hand gel on entry in to any of the eating places which was a good idea since the ship was full to capacity. Just over 800 people which by today's standards is small. The Dining room and service was five star and as for the waiters nothing was too much trouble .The food was excellent and presented in a way Master Chef would be proud of and never repeated during the 15 day cruise .I liked the fact that we sat with new people during breakfast and lunch and we got to meet some very nice people .Some of the seasoned cruisers said that this was not as good as they had experienced in the past but I always say speak as you find I thought that the drinks on board were just around normal London pub prices I personally don't think that £3.10 for a pint is excessive nor £4.75 for a large glass of red wine which was around a third of a bottle .we did have to pay for water in the cabin and one could say this was a bit pricey but having thought of the logistics getting this on board perhaps not .It was open to all to pre buy a drinks package in advance which gave us wine and water and saved us a few pounds I also think that the gratuity charged of £150 per cabin was justified and saved us having to tip in person, the onboard staff earned every penny. The entertainment was first class and the dance troupe worked very hard having to put on two shows a night both for the early diners and the later sitting .the costumes and performances were comparable to a west end show There was always something going on with a quiz or space lecture which was awe inspiring . The on-shore excursions were very good and we really did enjoy the Souk and Fantasia in Morocco and the Fire Mountains in Lanzarote but they only lasted half a day could have been longer .we did have one of our guides that found it a bit hard to explain herself in English and we had to concentrate to hear correctly .There were certain things that we weren't interested in like a trip to an embroidery factory but then again you can't please everybody .I think that if we go that route again we would get a taxi and do our own thing. Now for the downside. We were very surprised that smoking on board was allowed especially in one of the main bars the Captain's Cabin .This was most unpleasant and should be banned instantly . As this bar was the main route through to the Marco Polo lounge it was like walking though a fog of smoke and then smelling of cigarette smoke while we were enjoying the entertainment was just horrible .The swimming pool was just too small and never had water in it most of the time and there was a great lack of chairs on the sun decks .People were taking chairs out on deck from the bistro which left diners with nowhere to sit. The crew should have stopped the practice of sun bed reservation as well. All in all a great holiday and would go again without hesitation especially getting a good price by booking at the last minute. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were ... Read More
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were as follows: The drinks were all very expensive and as someone else remarked the bottled water was a ridiculous price. We bought ours from some of the ports that we stopped at. We had to smuggle on some reasonably priced wine to drink in our cabin and managed to get past the check in without having it confiscated! The entertainment got a bit boring after the third night with the same old faces and the dance routines were the same but in different costumes. There were never any great films put on at any time during the day - just really old stuff. Not having an on board cinema I would have thought that they could have found some better and more up to date films? The days at sea between ports went on forever - and with a tiny pool that I only saw one or two people use. One of my personal dislikes was the amount of Scots on board - sorry, but we cannot all like them! On formal evenings why do they have to wear those daft kilts?!! - We Englishmen dont come to dinner in our traditional Redcoats do we? Still, that as I said is personal and nothing to do with the cruise line. So we were glad to get back to Tilbury. The final bill was pretty steep even though we had tried to keep our drinking to an unfun level and then of course they take about £150 for tips as well - which one member of the crew told me they dont ever see? Maybe we are hard to please? But I did try hard to enjoy this holiday but by the end of the first week I was going stir crazy. I dont think we would ever go again and certainly not for two weeks. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
My wife and I have just completed a 36 day Christmas Caribbean Cruise on the Marco Polo departing Tilbury 6th December and arriving back on 10th January. We had the advantage of missing most of the Icelandic conditions experienced in the ... Read More
My wife and I have just completed a 36 day Christmas Caribbean Cruise on the Marco Polo departing Tilbury 6th December and arriving back on 10th January. We had the advantage of missing most of the Icelandic conditions experienced in the UK over that period - an added bonus! but I do wish to congratulate the Captain and his crew on making this trip so memorable. It was truly fantastic. Previous critics of Marco Polo cruises have complained about the price of drinks. Yes, they were a few pence dearer than I would expect to pay in my "local" but if you drink on board everyday, don't be surprised if you get a large bill at the end of the cruise!! And OK, the Cabin water was expensive at £2.20 per bottle but you were not stopped from bringing on board your own water. Many passengers did so. The Waldorf Restaurant served superb food in excellent surroundings and for those who preferred something more informal, they could dine in the Bistro. I tended to take evening meals in the Waldorf but for other meals I ate either in the Bistro or on deck. Daytime entertainment was pitched at the right level - carpet bowls (even if my bowls did run down the stairs), Bean Bag Bucket Bowls, Bagatelle and Jackkalo - all well attended as was Shuffleboard and the excellent guest lectures. There were numerous quiz's, a card room and keep fit classes. In other words something for everyone and coffee/tea was available throughout the day until about 22.00. Evening shows were really well done and everyone involved deserves a round of applause. So what was the downside of this fabulous trip - perhaps they need a bigger bagatelle board. I didn't watch a lot of TV/Films partly because it took me the whole of the trip to master the controls; some of the TVs could do with an upgrade. Also I would have preferred to see some cheese available at lunch-times. But doesn't all this sound petty. The fact is from top to bottom or the other way round, every member of the cruise worked their socks off to make this trip enjoyable (the captain however would not let anyone beat him at table tennis - he should take it a little easier!) One word of warning. it didn't affect me but I understand the Ships Sick Bay charges exorbitant fees for medical attention and they want the money up front (so I was told ). Another very expensive item is the cost of on board photographs. The ship must have thrown away hundreds of photo's which would have been very saleable at a more realistic price. After all, it wasn't as though the pictures were being taken by David Bailey. But i am not complaining. I sailed on a great little ship with a great crew, superb food, and with terrific entertainment. Would I go again on the Marco Polo - most definitely yes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The ... Read More
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The already poor health of many of them was exacerbated by the air conditioning, which was often toxic, I don't know if this was for the benefit of the franchised medical centre, I had a chest infection and was charged just shy of £2k for a few antibiotics, which didn't work - I think whatever the bug was it was resistant to the remedies available on board, I eventually got better after buying antibiotics from a pharmacy ashore. If you are going to travel my advice would be to take some with you. One small good point was that the food was so bland and dreadful, that I managed to lose weight onboard - this is a first for me, and my husband who also lost a bit. The wine list was small and not good, although the house red was just about drinkable. Entertainment was enjoyed by the majority of those onboard, although not to our taste - this is probably just a generational thing, the entertainers worked hard, but lacked direction. Shows were generally packed, but this was probably also a function of the numbers onboard, it did seem to be grossly overcrowded. The itinerary was varied for a variety of dubious reasons, which we found hard to believe, this was coupled with very slow average speed, which caused the boat to roll a lot and causing discomfort to more than a few passengers - this was evidenced by sick bags being placed virtually everywhere. In short it was the wrong cruise for us, the very elderly seemed to think it was spiffing, but the younger people we spoke to all stated that they would not use the boat again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
As we live in East Tilbury I have often watched the "Marco Polo" Sail up the river thames, and when I saw an advert to sail on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to the Amazon and back,I had to book, plus six weeks away from England in ... Read More
As we live in East Tilbury I have often watched the "Marco Polo" Sail up the river thames, and when I saw an advert to sail on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to the Amazon and back,I had to book, plus six weeks away from England in the winter, that sealed it I booked a year in advance. My wife Carol and I had not been on a cruise before, and during the year before we sailed we kept reading the coments people posted on cruise critic, sometimes with concern. My wife Carol and I were very impressed with the service provided by the staff and found it a very friendly boat. The food and dining was very good, we had our evening meal in the Wardolf silver service restraunt and breakfast and lunch in the self service bistro. We enjoyed the entertainment and there were plenty of activities laid on for the days at sea. The crew were also very organised when it came to getting the passengers off on the tenders, with minimal delays by alocating passengers to a tender service, when we were anchored just outside of a destination. Purchases on the boat such as water, wine and excersions we thought were a bit pricey, but then you have to bear in mind that the overall cost of the cruise was a lot less than it would have been on one of the larger ships. Another advantage of being on a smaller vessel is that we found it easy to make friends and when ashore we kept bumping into people on our cruise. It was very much like being in a small village which did add to the pleasure of the trip. Unfortunately my wife suffered with acute motion sickness, during all her time on the ship and we were repatriated from Barbados back to the UK. She cannot thank the medical team and the customer liasion people for the help and assistance they gave while she was feeling so unwell. Overal we would recommoned the Marco Polo for a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Used the coach from Victoria without any problem. Fairly long queue for checking in at Tilbury but we were on last coach of 4 at around same time so to be expected. First impressions of Ship were very good - nice and clean and shown ... Read More
Used the coach from Victoria without any problem. Fairly long queue for checking in at Tilbury but we were on last coach of 4 at around same time so to be expected. First impressions of Ship were very good - nice and clean and shown to cabin straight away. As advised in advance the Orinoco was doubtful and there was a letter to confirm this. Revised schedule added two Caribbean islands ( although Grenada had to be swapped to St Lucia due to forecast high swell which would have made tendering difficult and too dangerous )The Amazon and Devils Island were highlights of this wonderful itinerary. Waldorf food was excellent with good choice considering the price of this cruise,with friendly waiters. Ours was from Burma and excellent. The self service Marcos was very busy at times with lack of seating only on a few occasions at Lunch and Breakfast but then only when the weather prevented use of the outside area. Sometimes a shortage of cups / glasses but if you take one of those insulated cups you can also use this for ice! Swimming pool out of use in the Amazon due to silt and regulations. Lots of varied things to do during the days at sea although we mostly just laze away on a sunbed. Entertainment Team very good and good evening shows by the resident singers / dancers and musicians. Richard the cruise director leads from the front and probably the best we have seen. Compared to other cruises we have been on the drink prices are excessive. £3:15 for a "large" beer which was only 40 CL. Not many people drinking in the bars at these prices and many said if it had been more reasonable they would have used the bars more. Water in cabin £2:20 a bottle !! Excursions very expensive as they are on most cruise lines - we did own thing bar one trip as we wanted to guarantee seeing the meeting of the waters. Some people complained it rained alot ( IN A RAIN FORREST !! ) Our cabin stewardess deck 7 stbd fwd was first class and always very cheerful. Disembarkation was smooth enough as we were on the Victoria Coach so amongst first off apart from those who took own luggage with them. I think others might have had a long wait though. Lots of people requested tipping forms as like us they prefer to tip the Cabin Steward and Waiter personally. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I booked the cruise enticed by the prospect of visiting two great rivers.I was not alone in that. The destinations are rare enough not to warrant an option on the web site drop down dialogue box which is why I have used ... Read More
I booked the cruise enticed by the prospect of visiting two great rivers.I was not alone in that. The destinations are rare enough not to warrant an option on the web site drop down dialogue box which is why I have used 'blank' Naively I failed to do any research both before booking and subsequently so I only have myself to blame when Cruise and Maritime Voyages cleverly wrote just before Christmas warning that 'political uncertainty' in Venezuela meant there was a chance we would not sail into Puerto Ordaz. Note not that we would not sail to Venezuela just that we might not. I ignored the warning but was still shocked to be told after embarkation we would not be going. We were told an alternative Caribbean route to include Grenada had been arranged and Richard Sykes the efficient Cruise Director had the nerve to say....believe me I have been to Puerto Ordaz and Grenada is a much nicer place. That excellent example of professional 'spin' is what makes me uncomfortable with Cruise and Maritime Voyages business model particularly when subsequently there was another excuse and we did not put into Grenada. Cruise and Maritime Voyages are run on the 'Ryan Air' business model and by that I mean a low attractive base price then everything else chargeable right down to bottled water at £2.20p,laundry £1 a handkerchief,in cabin service and Internet access. Shore excursions are very expensive as are all drinks. The medical room is a separate franchised profit centre as is the photo unit. The pool a really nice deep pool with a deep and shallow end was emptied of water most days of the cruise (I was told the reasons but still missed use of the facility) To many reasons for saying no (including no hot drinks before 7am most days). It is all about money these days I guess. Grenada was taken off the itinerary as it was claimed the weather was to bad to put in there....hhhhmm. We had to leave Porta Del Garda early because of adverse weather (the story put about was so alarmist that one of the guests took fright and flew home) the reality was sunshine and a flat calm crossing. As with the loss of Grenada the fact that the Marco Polo then had to cruise slowly to burn up the land time lost adds weight to the theory that decisions are made for financial reasons saving berthing fees and fuel. The Amazon estuary ? my god it is huge 150 miles wide and I was excited standing on the deck as we made our approach. Great until I realised we were not sailing into the Amazon at all but Marajo Bay (well alright then the Amazon Estuary) never mind I thought we will continue West and then up the Breves Channel. Wrong! the next day we sailed back East into the Atlantic Ocean around the sublime Marajo Island before turning West again into the main Amazon stem still more than 80 miles wide at that point. Then we set off at a rate of knots Westerly until we reached Manaus which is not on the Amazon at all but the north bank of the wonderful river Negra. I said earlier do research. To late now the Amazon of my boyhood dreams is not what I saw We travelled 900 miles West into a huge river system (more than 1000 tributaries and 12 major rivers), navigable as far West as Iquitos in Peru we got as far as Manaus and because of the distance there and back we went like the clappers yes we saw some major cities but more than half of the transit was in the dark and I saw nothing of this wonderful river until the dawn. And yet and yet perhaps Amazon 'discovery' is the right description. More than 130 different birds were authenticated by the knowledgeable cruisers,river dolphins(both types),flying fish,caimans, butterflies and moths of brilliant hues in abundance and perhaps most perfect of all the sublime Regina Lily with thanks to one of the Dutch cruisers I now know the Amazon tribal legend associated with the plant. I said at the beginning of this piece it was a wonderful cruise and so it was. I love the Marco Polo A sturdy Russian Ice breaker originally she has been much modified over the years and is for me a 'proper' ship that I felt comfortable with. The crew were without exception polite and helpful,our cabin was kept in perfect order,the food varied and enjoyable. The ship was kept immaculately clean Entertainment ? well that is a personal preference issue For me for a small ship the standard was surprisingly high and all presentations showed real commitment too please. Over amplified ?..well maybe but certainly exuberant The cruise director Richard Sykes worked like a trooper was always approachable a real asset to the cruise experience. I thoroughly enjoyed all three of the lecturers on board. Each a distinct 'personality' added enormously to my pleasure in the cruise. Tony Rice proved a wonder with a camera as well as sharing his oceanic knowledge so freely. Unselfishly he has made more than 100 of his wonderful wild life images available to the cruisers what better souvenir ? Steve Ragnell on listening to my disappointment that he had to cancel his lecture on Wolfe and the battle for Quebec sat me down and ran through the whole thing for me in his time...fabulous. I also have him to thank for one of the highlights (for me) of the cruise He has a fine tenor voice and a love of Captain James Cook and sea shanties. Steve organised a number of cruisers into a choir and they then gave us a concert singing lustily a number of sea shanties. I loved that. Stephen Smith patiently told me to mend my ways and evolve while listening to my complaint that he missed Charles Penrose (he of the laughing policeman fame) Marco Polo was running full (cleverly Cruise and Maritime Voyages had merged the following cruise with a similar itinerary to be made by the sister ship Countess) a lean mean money making machine eh ? there were issues of space and some friction when cups and food ran out and/or tables were not available. Mostly the cruisers were a joy to spend time with and I have learned a lot from many of them. There are exceptions (a personal view) one upsetting incident involved the berating of a lady cruiser who was enjoying an early morning walk on deck. Out jumped a large male cruiser complaining that she was keeping his wife awake and he 'was going to do something about it' (Where I was bought up shouting at an unescorted lady was a hanging offence) Well he did and 'walking' was added to the standard jogging and power walking (I would be first to agree they are antisocial activities early) excluded activities before 8am. I hope he can live with himself. There were also 'problems' with the reserving of tables in open seating areas for the meeting room accommodation on Marco Polo running full could not keep up with demand. In the main though there was lots of good humour and give and take which made the cruise such a pleasure. I would close by saying if small ship cruising suits your style then look no further that Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Yes there are issues but the standard overall is more than acceptable. Keith 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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