Sail Date: August 2011
This was a our first cruise together as a retired couple from the US. The Marco Polo is a relatively old ship built in 1965. It shows its age in terms of some noise during the sailing at night between ports. We could feel vibration in the ... Read More
This was a our first cruise together as a retired couple from the US. The Marco Polo is a relatively old ship built in 1965. It shows its age in terms of some noise during the sailing at night between ports. We could feel vibration in the beds & a creaking noise near the door, but not so bad that it kept us from sleeping. I used earplugs & a small sound machine. Our room steward did a great job attending to the room twice a day. As far as we knew, we were the only Americans on board. The fellow British passengers & crew were very gracious. We had the 6pm dinner seating and thoroughly enjoyed the meals & tablemates. At lunch we also ate in the Waldorf dining area & met new people each day that way. The waitstaff is very efficient. The entertainment was varied & of good quality. Because of this being a smaller ship, there was no waiting in line for embarkation or disembarkation. Very short lines at the casual buffet or coffee/tea service. The shore excursions were all in the Norwegian Fjords, so the scenery was gorgeous. They seemed rather pricey, so we elected not to sign up for any of the excursions. Instead, we walked around the port villages & did the sightseeing on our own. We enjoyed the jacuzzis on the top deck & I had a very nice facial at the Jade Spa. We didn't participate much in the organized games/activities. We usually spent our free time lounging in the bar areas listening to the lovely live music & enjoying the views out the windows. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Just returned from short break on Marco Polo. Was very wary of this trip as we had short break on Fred Olsen's Boudicca some time ago and were very disappointed as the whole experience left us with a 'never again' attitude ... Read More
Just returned from short break on Marco Polo. Was very wary of this trip as we had short break on Fred Olsen's Boudicca some time ago and were very disappointed as the whole experience left us with a 'never again' attitude for these 3* ships. However we were pleasantly surprised with Marco Polo. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite which I am sure helped A LOT. The suite was very spacious although dated, the bed was extremely comfortable, 2 televisions (but wish these cruising companies would relay BBC ITV etc - especially for rainy days!). Canapes daily and fresh fruit and flowers the usual suite accompaniments. The food was just ok but the dining room was very pleasant and run well however the waiter was run off his feet and needs a helper, we did feel very sorry for him, poor Elvis! The entertainment was excellent, Richard Sykes brilliant, P & O need to head hunt this amazing friendly head of entertainment! Drinks contrary to other reviews inexpensive and served to perfection with waiters constantly cleaning tables for water marks. After 12+ cruises must say I thoroughly enjoyed this one - although it is for passengers who enjoy the old way of cruising not the new glitzy large tankers! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
This was our first cruise. I went with 2 other friends and we had a cabin for 3, which to my surprise was more than generously sized. From the moment we arrived to the second we left we were treated with enormous politesse and helpfulness ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I went with 2 other friends and we had a cabin for 3, which to my surprise was more than generously sized. From the moment we arrived to the second we left we were treated with enormous politesse and helpfulness by all staff. The service was always superb. Our cabin was always spotless and must have been cleaned several times per day as was the whole ship. We ate Breakfast and Dinner in the restaurant but tended to have a light lunch of soup and a roll in the buffet Bistro so that we didn't explode. I can highly recommend the soups! There was an excellent choice of food - always something new to try or alternatives if the main menu was a little rich. The vegetarian choices were good too. We went on an all day excursion on the railway at Flam which was excellently orgainised and most enjoyable but on other days we did our own thing and in fact on one day stayed on board to sail to the pick up point. It is true - the best views of the Fjords are from the water and we didn't want to spend much time on a coach going through the mountain tunnels! We were in the younger age group on board and rather exhausted from our jobs when we embarked so the slower pace and beautiful sights suited us down to the ground and we got through our reading lists and played cards too. Bliss. We found the nicest places to sit were on the side decks or in the Captains club. Again the staff were fantastic, remembering our names and guiding us through the list of cocktails we tried every evening! Comfortable and relaxing. We were not so keen on Scott's bar - it just wasn't our thing. We only went to a few shows but really enjoyed them although we really loved the lectures and quizzes. We can highly recommend the classical duo before second sitting of Dinner. We were expecting there to be great push on spending extra (especially drinks)and although we were informed of what was available there was no pressure to buy at all. As I have said this was our first cruise. Definitely not our last and I would not hesitate to recommend the Marco Polo and her team. However if you are veteran cruisers and like massive ships with cinemas and climbing walls then this may not be for you. It was for us and hopefully will be again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2011
I was looking forward to the cruise because of the cites to be visited. And after reading some reviews of previous critics I was wary of certain points i.e. the food. Dinner in the main restaurant was good not 5* and I had an ... Read More
I was looking forward to the cruise because of the cites to be visited. And after reading some reviews of previous critics I was wary of certain points i.e. the food. Dinner in the main restaurant was good not 5* and I had an enjoyable meal, The buffet I found badly laid out, and a lot of unnecessary queuing. But again lots of food and plenty choice. The entertainment of boards was good and I attended the craft classes of Mavis Bee and these were very well attended in fact towards the end so many people were turning up there was not room for them. The staff were very helpful and always around. Staff were present of each coach for the tours and again their knowledge was good. Liken the fact that it was adult only cruise Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
First the bad news. There were many people who should really not have been on this cruise. I think the ship is not designed for the unfit or the very elderly. Because it was particularly rough at sea, we talked to passengers who ended ... Read More
First the bad news. There were many people who should really not have been on this cruise. I think the ship is not designed for the unfit or the very elderly. Because it was particularly rough at sea, we talked to passengers who ended up with broken ribs, broken leg (broken while on an shore excursion)which ruined the rest of his cruise and in Amsterdam the emergency services were called to a passenger but we didn't find out what had happened. We saw people in wheelchairs and zimmer frames when it is obvious the ship is just not designed for it. We were fairly mobile but even so it was a nightmare getting up and down between the decks when lifts were constantly out of action or too slow. Also, watch your spending on these 'cashless' cruises. Everything is paid for using your cruise-card and you pay at the end of the cruise. As the ship is basically a floating bar/hotel, it can easily mount up. Beware. The good news. The food was wonderful and plentiful (although some people felt the need to complain). The staff generally were very good particularly in the Waldorf Restaurant (the self-service 'bistro' tended to get very crowded). Shows and the on-board entertainment were good and were needed because of the lengthy time at sea. We were on the lower 'Caribic' deck, just above the waterline, so in rough seas the portholes were clamped shut. The cabins were very clean and easily large enough for the two of us. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We sailed from Tilbury. The embarkation worked like clockwork. From parking the car (luggage swiftly removed for us by the baggage handlers) to joining the queue to book in - 20 mins later we were being shown to our cabin and our bags were ... Read More
We sailed from Tilbury. The embarkation worked like clockwork. From parking the car (luggage swiftly removed for us by the baggage handlers) to joining the queue to book in - 20 mins later we were being shown to our cabin and our bags were already there! The Marco Polo is indeed a classic ship, really quite elegant. Whenever we turned a corner and came into contact with a member of staff, they addressed us and asked if we were well/having a good time/do we need any help. BRILLIANT service from the room stewardess to the waiter at our table in the Waldorf, to the entertainments staff, oh...I could go on and on. Not a bad word to say about any of the staff. When you entered an eating area, you were given a squirt of hand cleaner and everywhere on the ship was spotless. Every time we stopped at a port, the ship would dock and staff would continue the maintenance of the ship - cleaning portholes, painting, polishing and so on. Food in the Waldorf restaurant consisted of buffet breakfast with an amount of waiter service. Plenty of fruit, good selection of hot and cold food. Marco's Restaurant was less formal but with similar food choices. Lunch and Dinner was also self service in Marcos but waiter service in the Waldorf with allocated seating at set times in the evening. Food was as follows: 6-7am coffee/tea/pastries 7-10am breakfast 12-2pm Lunch 3.30-4.30 Afternoon tea with rolls, cakes, fruit etc 6-9.30pm Evening Meal around 11pm late night snacks - No time to go hungry! The ship was very stable much to my relief but sick bags were soon distributed around the ship if it got choppy. I never noticed anyone suffering from seasickness. A Dr is on board to deal with any problems. We missed one port as we had to wait around 30 miles from St Petersburg for the best part of a day as the sea was too choppy for the pilot to meet us and guide us in. We were therefore a day short and had to miss Stockholm. Getting off the ship at any port of call was a breeze. No huge queues to disembark so more time in port. Another beauty of the smaller ships! Copenhagen - good but only ashore there for 6 hours. Warnemunde/Rostock - an unexpected gem (take the train to Rostock) Tallinn - beautiful. St Petersburg - very interesting (would have preferred to be there for 2 days). Helsinki - nice (but expensive). The market was the best value for money. Due to the delay in St Petersburg we were a little late back to Tilbury docking at 10am instead of 7am so the passengers for the following cruise did not see the way the embarkation should have worked and were frustrated by having to queue whilst we were being disembarked. Cabin 263 was OK. Great value for money. Ship engine noise (the heartbeat of the ship) didn't bother me but my husband opted for earplugs. There are no balcony cabins and you have to accept that this is a classic ship. If you want fancy cabins, take a modern ship with 2000 plus passengers. I personally loved the intimacy. We played scrabble and cards in the games room and sat in the library to look up ports of call a couple of times. If there was a downside it was that the majority passengers were generally OAPs. Well, it felt like that most of the time. No kids on board was nice(you enjoy kids when the time is right but I enjoyed the lack of them in this case). I noticed previous reviews moaned about the lack of mugs - this only happened once on our trip and they were replenished within 3 minutes (and people still moaned!) and there was a coffee/tea station inside and not only outside as was previously reported. I learnt one thing from this cruise, some people will moan about anything! I hope this review helps! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
I am new to cruising and read with some alarm the reviews on here, so I want to do a thorough and balanced review so you know whats in store and give some tips. Get a cup of tea now as its a long one! I booked the cruise through Iglu.com ... Read More
I am new to cruising and read with some alarm the reviews on here, so I want to do a thorough and balanced review so you know whats in store and give some tips. Get a cup of tea now as its a long one! I booked the cruise through Iglu.com as a anniversary present to my (russian) husband. We are both in our early 30's. We were in a distinct minority age wise! We had paid for a inner cabin but was upgraded to a cat 9 for free, the cabin is basic with twin beds and the bathroom reminded me of a airplane loo at first. I like luxury so I thought I would hate it but was very wrong, its comfortable and kept spotlessly clean by our cabin steward twice a day. a plate of fruit was brought every day. Our cabin steward was very friendly and chatty which I liked. The public areas are very stylish and we spent time in three bars, preferring the columbus lounge as the bar steward Viktor and the two waiters, Marco and Cecily were fun and friendly. If you don't like that then the captains club have more reserved waiters. All are very attentive and the cocktail list is amazing. There is often a cocktail of the day for £2.50 but the prices were cheaper than most bars. Soft drinks and Mineral water are expensive by comparison. I recommend taking a brita filter if you want non chlorine tasting water as this will be cheaper. We didn't bother with Scotts bar which reminded me of an 80's nightclub, but it seemed very popular. The food seems to attract the biggest criticism on here so will say this. Breakfast at both restaurants is really good with a hot and continental range. I heard some people say the eggs were cold but didnt find this personally. The buffet style meals at Marcos seemed popular but I didn't always like the choices preferring to dine at the Waldorf instead. The food is good but is dated in style and cooking method. Again it reminds me of restaurants in the 80's but the same time it was quality but it is not winning any Michelin stars. It pains me to write this though as we had no complaints otherwise. There was a pirates and Italian themed night which were fun and the food was amazing. The two gala nights were also excellent and we were invited to the captains table on the first night which was a real treat. The onboard itinerary is clearly geared towards its mature following with quizzes, old fashioned game shows (Mr & Mrs), crafts etc. That said, it has a really good fitness programme and I spent most of my time with a book or in the gym. This suited me. I also loved the music by Carmen (violin and Piano) who dedicated a song to me on our anniversary and Freedom (Piano and sax/clarinet/flute) who were excellent performers. I didn't see any of the west-end style shows but they were always packed out.The ports were interesting but there was not nearly enough time spent at each port. Stockholm was only 3 hours but we saw plenty. We only went on one cruise excursion which was fun but seemed expensive for what we got (Rostock Revealed). I will add that we missed the announcement and the ship organised a catch up taxi which shows the level of great service you can expect. In Russia, We went to Marina S Wilson for a private tour of St Petersburg which was well worth it. Visas came through no problem. The cruise trips in Russia seemed poorly organised and the ballet group missed half the ballet and were made to sit on the stairs. I would recommend going to a Russian federation approved operator as it will be better value and you will see more. There was no pressure to buy excursions and these certainly generated the most complaints on the ship. My main bugbear was some other cruisers. The majority of people were lovely and sociable but there was a few that were aggressive towards staff and downright racist and sexist at times. Some people considered (unjustified) moaning an Olympic sport. The staff deal with this with good humour. There were also smokers who would light up as you were eating outside which got me into an argument on the first day. I would liked to see smoking outside scotts bar only and in the evenings after food. But it is not as bad as some places. Finally, buy the celebration package. we had a lovely champagne breakfast and private candlelit dinner which was out of this world and were treated like royalty by the staff. We would definitely go back to the Marco polo for the way we were treated. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
I have recently returned from my third cruise on Marco Polo. First I must state I am an Art Deco nut and the fact that the ship's public areas are decorated Art Deco style is what drew me to this ship. Second I have never been on any ... Read More
I have recently returned from my third cruise on Marco Polo. First I must state I am an Art Deco nut and the fact that the ship's public areas are decorated Art Deco style is what drew me to this ship. Second I have never been on any other cruise line, unless you count a P&O crossing to France or a Cal Mac sailing around Mull to Iona. My husband refuses to fly so my only way of seeing the world is to go by ship. First cruise was to the Fjiords, fantastic, second was to see the Northern Lights, that was a cruise and a half. We saw the Lights and it was incredible, we were also caught in the worst storm seen in the Norwegian Sea for a decade.Marco Polo was built as a ice breaker and has brilliant stabilisers. Windows crashed in all around us, the tea station went over but the crew were fantastic. I have never seen so many uses for cling film in my life, it held litter bins in place, the plates for food in place, and in true Titanic spirit, the entertainment staff played on, Olga on the piano was brilliant, bearing in mind that her first instrument is the violin!! her hands needed to be at one end of the keyboard but her stool kept taking her to the other. Third was the Baltic capitals, absolutely fantastic. Mind you when we got to border control in St. Peterburg I did have a wobbly moment, the border guard was so stern, he kept looking from my passport to some screen and back again, I did begin to wonder what he knew about me that I didn't know, finally he let me in!! My thoughts on Marco Polo, I love it, on all three cruises we had the most fantastic staff, some even remembered us from previous cruises and called us by name. The food is good and plentiful but I accept that for the price I am paying I am not going to get gourmet dining. The entertainmers are great, the show team are all professionally trained dancers and musicians and Richards Sykes is an inspiration, the classical entertainers, Olga and Tetyana and Lilia and Eugene are brilliant and the crew entertainers i.e Ciat and James are fantastic. The excursions we took on all three cruises we were fantastic. Cruise and Maritime use guides who really know thier area and subject and give you a great experience. I don't understand some of the critism of the crew, i.e surly or unfriendly, I have never found this, they are all cheerful to a man (or woman) I remember one crewman, what ever time I was on deck he was there, scrubbing and polishing, I took to remembering the old army adage, if it moves salute it, if it stands still polish it, and shot out of his way, but he was always very polite.. good morning Madan, did you have a good night? So, you have read my review and I stand by it, I love Marco Polo as a ship and I will be back as soon as I can. Why don't you give it a go? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
M V Marco Polo, well that's her name now, as she started life as an icebreaker being launched in the 60's and although she has been updated since there is an age problem in that at her normal cruising speed of 17 knots and just a ... Read More
M V Marco Polo, well that's her name now, as she started life as an icebreaker being launched in the 60's and although she has been updated since there is an age problem in that at her normal cruising speed of 17 knots and just a hint of inclement weather then the vibrations from the propellers set in with our cabin doors, ceiling and wall panels rattling all night. At least we found a good use for the daily information sheet as when folded and jammed in doors it quietened them a little.To think we paid for an upgrade to go up and aft and where at 5am on every morning the crew would start cleaning the outside decks and lifeboats with metal buckets bouncing off metal decks, at least we were up in time for the 7 o'clock tea. Being over 6ft made getting into the shower interesting, especially when I dropped my shampoo on my toe but no matter as with the water temp. going from very cold to very hot in an instant I didn't spend long there. Don't get me wrong, the ship is small and intimate with the hospitality crew working their socks off to please and the other passengers very amenable, with many a word exchanged, normally when standing with a full plate of food and waiting for a free table in the restaurant. Now for the homework bit, the itinerary sounds comprehensive but timings seem to be suited more for the cruise line than the passenger. Of the 11 day cruise, nearly 5 of those are at sea, with only 1 day in St. Petersburg, 4 hours in Stockholm and the transit of the Kiel Canal starting at 11 at night and exiting at 8 next morning, that made for some interesting comments from fellow travellers who had all expected to see us through during daylight. Information on ports of call is dire with not even a city map available on board and the first day lecture on destinations is blatantly to sell their tours, so I do recommend that you get as much information as you need before sailing and find out the docking times at each port. Sorry about the moans as we really enjoyed the trip to visit places we have longed to see and were quiet proud to return home more sober and less heavy than when we started. I won't mention the gym, honest. you would cry. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Got a late deal on an old ship therefore did not have very high expectations. BIG MISTAKE!!! What we actually got was brilliant value for money. Embarkation was a dream our cases taken from us and waiting in our cabin when we arrived. The ... Read More
Got a late deal on an old ship therefore did not have very high expectations. BIG MISTAKE!!! What we actually got was brilliant value for money. Embarkation was a dream our cases taken from us and waiting in our cabin when we arrived. The ship is small and over 40yrs old and what a grand old lady she is. More for my age group 60+ but definitely not boring and lifeless. All public rooms are warm and inviting. The staff of various nationalities were wonderful and always willing to help. Our cabin stewardess was fantastic and the cabin was attended to twice a day. The cabin was of a reasonable size with plenty of storage. bathroom small but adequate with a nice basket of toiletries available. We tried not have our towells replaced too often as requested but if they were soiled they were relaced without asking. The Waldorf restaurant was superb as were our waiter and his assistant. I asked for cream with my coffee on the first evening and it was brought every evening after without asking. Also there was a wine waiter (even though I do not drink) something lacking on many cruise ships these days. The menus were exceptionally good and the food very good indeed. The selection and presentaion first class. No there was not fillet steak and lobster but I was not paying a five star price. Marco's self service cafeteria could become very busy and difficult to find a seat. My main gripe were canteen type mugs used in Marcos and the dreadful bits of plasic used as teaspoons. These mugs were also put on saucers with same pieces of plastic for afternoon tea not very inviting. A minor complaint really. The entertainment. A great team who gave of their best all the time. The shows were very good and well presented but the dash upto Scotts Bar after the show to be sure of a seat was well worth it. Why the rush? To see Richard Sykes (the ultimate cruise director) and his team put on the show of all shows EVERY NIGHT. On sea days there was plenty to do all the usual cruise silly games but fun. If you don't like them don't complain just sit them out they are not compulsory. The guest speakers were very interesting and the comedian excellant he could actually make you laugh without being foul mouthed and crude. The destinations were excellant and getting off the ship in each port very easy. Gibraltar was a let down as we only had a morning there the same with La Coruna. We only had one tender day as this was handled very well. I did hear complaints but I feel the people making them should be asked how much they paid for their cruise. If they want Queen Mary standards then pay Queen Mary prices. All in all out of my six cruises this had to be the best for value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Having cruised with NCL, MSC and Princess lines in the past we found Marco Polo to be the best value for money.Being a much smaller ship it did not have the variety of restaurants,lounges and bars that can be found in bigger ships, but ... Read More
Having cruised with NCL, MSC and Princess lines in the past we found Marco Polo to be the best value for money.Being a much smaller ship it did not have the variety of restaurants,lounges and bars that can be found in bigger ships, but what it did have was very good value for money.The menu's had a good selection of five course meals and the house wines were good and no more expensive than what can be found in our local eating establishments. The ship was clean,the crew were well trained,could speak good English,were very helpful and courteous.The waiters and cabin stewards we found to be as good if not better than we have found in other ships Entertainment was good, with stage shows in the evenings,and musicians of a high standard playing in the various lounges throughout the ship.Various games and quizzes, and lectures took place during the day time hours to keep everyone occupied. The cruise director should also get a mention,he was probably the best that we have had the pleasure to have sailed with. We have looked at some other reviews of this ship,some people should just stay at home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Looking at some of the reviews we were bit anxious, other reviews said "Surly easter european staff) Poor food? Not sure where these people found the surly eastern european staff but all the staff on our cruise, without exception ... Read More
Looking at some of the reviews we were bit anxious, other reviews said "Surly easter european staff) Poor food? Not sure where these people found the surly eastern european staff but all the staff on our cruise, without exception were helpful(beyond their duty), smiling and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for our waiter, Tristan, assistant Ivan wine waiter Zjeleko. Our cabin staff Radastina Nicolova was attentive and alwasy their when needed. Our room was spotless and not sure how we manage at home without Tina turning down our bed or putting towel animals to entertain us. Yes our room was 3* plus but we cruise to enjoy the sites and experience waking up in a different place every day. If you want five star all inclusive in modern plush hotels go to a hotel! People on this cruise either loved it or moaned. To all those who moaned about the food, (how much can you eat?) There was masses of food, plently of choice and there were very few hours when food wasnt being served.One comment was the plates were not hot,!! The salad had things in? One woman asked me what artishoke was? Another said I can get white cabbage at home? There was no pleasing some people but I never had the same soup twice, I tried most of them my favourites were Almond soup, Edam soup and garlic soup. We ate in the buffet for breakfast and lunch, we rarely had room for afternoon tea and had a lovely 6 course meal each evening waited on by the best ever team. Breakfast was equal to any with continental and english choices. We would have enjoyed sit down breakfast instead of buffet breakfast if we could have chosen where we sat, as we sat two times with people who ignored us at breakfast as they appeared to have bad smell under their noses or people who moaned .. Come on moaners why come on a cruise if you dont like foreigners!! Yes I heard several couples moaning about the number of foereign staff! Hello you are travelling to foreign coutries! Again I will say ALL STAFF WERE FABULOUS. Even the deck hands cleaning and putting out deckchairs and beds did so with a smile and tried to speak english politely. The excursions were well organised. All staff again were very patient with less abled people who booked onto excursions which clearly stated 3 hours walking on uneven ground! Other passengers were less patient but my hats off to staff again for organising Taxi's for those who couldn't walk any further ! and placating the moaners who got fed up of waiting for less abled to catch up. A Little plea, READ THE DESCRIPTION BEFORE BOOKING AN EXCURSION AND CONSIDER YOUR FELLOW PASSENGERS.We had less time at some stops because we were held up. There are other tours for leass abled so please seek advise of staff before booking trips. Entertainment was great Richards Sykes was attentive to passengers and staff and seemed a lovely guy. Whoever booked and interviewed entertainers did a great job. One last person Oki and Radastina always had a smile. Oki in particular was lovely Hello to all of Marco Polo staff we shall certainly see you again we hope very soon. One little request. Could you mark one area of sun beds and seats (Quiet area) I found it difficult to get away sometime to enjoy the old charm and beauty of the sea. Thank you all for magical trip Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
You always wonder what a ship will be like before a cruise. Having seen the prices and ports of call for the Marco Polo, we weren't sure if an old ship was for us. Therefore, we jumped at the chance for an evening dinner, ... Read More
You always wonder what a ship will be like before a cruise. Having seen the prices and ports of call for the Marco Polo, we weren't sure if an old ship was for us. Therefore, we jumped at the chance for an evening dinner, entertainment and overnight stay. Whilst for this event they had restricted numbers to around 400, about half of full capacity, clearly the terminal at Tilbury couldn't cope. The cattle market approach together with mis-information given out by checking-in staff and a PA that you could hardly hear, filled us with trepidation. Once we arrived onboard, we were shown to our cabin. We were on Deck 5. Fortunately, we only had hand luggage. Otherwise dragging large cases over bulkheads would not have been appreciated. The corridor absolutely stunk of diesel fuel and I wonder how passengers could cope with this day in and day out. Our cabin was spacious, but very well 'used'. There were two portholes. However, to see out of them would have required certain mounteneering skills. There were only 3 channels on the old TV and they seemed to be videos on a loop system, forever repeating themselves. Given that the ship was only half full, it was very clostophobic in the bars etc. Not helped by low ceilngs and no empty seats. The food was, at best 3* or below. The entertainment, a take off of We Will Rock You, was more Pontins than West End. If you needed the loo, queuing was essential, unless you were up for a walk around the ship. For the evening meal we were allocated tables pre-embarkation. However, this system was abandoned for breakfast, when it was every man/woman for themselves. You had to queue to get a table and while you were in the scrum for food, they gave your table to another set of guests. There was no queuing system for obtaining your food or obvious area to stand while you watched guests infiltrating the scrum. They were keen for you to leave the ship but there was only a girl shouting out your Visitors Card number to someone trying to find your name on a manual list and then making a handwritten mark. All made for very long queues. This was supposed to be a Showcase to encourage future bookings. Whilst, undoubtebly, the cabins on the higher decks were better, save for one super waiter called Constantine, the rest of the crew hardly made you feel like travelling with them in the future. I'd say that they well and truely shot themselves in both feet. How they could possibly cope with nearly 800 guests is beyond my belief. Thank goodness our next cruise is NOW on a 5* ship and not a poor pretender. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Only problem with this cruise is the very few but rather outspoken critics - especially if you sit with them at breakfast - best to go to the bistro then you will not be forced to sit with them. Chose this cruise for convenience of ... Read More
Only problem with this cruise is the very few but rather outspoken critics - especially if you sit with them at breakfast - best to go to the bistro then you will not be forced to sit with them. Chose this cruise for convenience of travelling and because we would hate a large impersonal ship with the sort of entertainment that some people seem to long for - X factor it ain't but a talented team provide a variety of shows and Richard (who is multi-talented, charming and ready to improvise entertainment at the drop of a hat if the weather alters the programme) organises the entertainment with imagination and flair. The staff are excellent from the cabin maids to the waiters, never complaining and serving with curtesy and a smile (even when dealing with the odd difficult passenger). How one of the critics can say the boat was dirty is just unbelievable - it is spotless and continually cleaned and tidied throughout the day and how another complains of lack of choice at breakfast: continental breakfast or full English, freshly cooked omelettes, fish, etc. plus a wide selection of fresh fruit, fresh rolls, bread and toast, etc. If you want a large, noisy boat with so many people on it that getting on and off is a nightmare the Marco Polo is not for you. If you want a calm atmosphere, good service and (much as we love our own children) a child free environment then choose this ship. Many people return year after year - we have only been on two cruises with them and are novices compared to most. Horses for courses I would hate a large impersonal ship and wish that those that enjoy such cruises would keep well away from the Marco Polo and leave those of us who appreciate it's charm in peace. The Marco Polo will continue to thrive with the return year after year of people like me. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
.I am going to start by saying to all those people who have placed bad reviews about the Marco Polo that we are NOT inexperienced Cruisers having done 6 cruises with 3 different companies so we do have points of comparison. Firstly the ... Read More
.I am going to start by saying to all those people who have placed bad reviews about the Marco Polo that we are NOT inexperienced Cruisers having done 6 cruises with 3 different companies so we do have points of comparison. Firstly the embarkation process with CMV was first class, by far better and faster than others. Luggage already at the cabin by the time we were escorted there by member of crew unlike a previous cruise when we waited 3 hours for the luggage to arrive and then had to drag it down the corridor! Only paid for an inside cabin (which I wouldn't do again with any cruise line...personal preference) but it was more than adequate space wise and certainly clean and comfortable. Bathroom a bit small but again adequate and well kept with frequent towel changes. Waldorf Restaurant very cramped for space and food, though always presented beautifully, was at times repetitive. Didn't pay for Fillet steaks and Lobster so didn't expect it. Though portion sizes were smaller than previously experienced, service was quick and pleasant and "juggling" with the menu was accepted and accommodated. Marcos Buffet was no more or less chaotic than any other ships self service food outlet, and the answer is not to use it if you dont like the system. You can always be seated in the Waldorf and get personal waiter service. Constantly aware of ongoing cleaning procedures on all corridors and decks and certainly there are no "foul" smells apart from maybe up on the top sun deck(10) near to the ships funnel where there was a smell of diesel. Disembarkation at all ports was hardly noticeable it was so smooth with clear and concise information given via the ships PA system as well as in the daily programmes. CMV provided free shuttle services in each of the ports, something other Cruise Lines are making additional charges for. Some of the Tours were not really suitable for us and we found them a little excessive cost-wise though those we did partake of were well run and informative. Drinks were 30% up on other Cruise lines used and therefore we found them quite expensive and the level of service in the bars could have been better. It was noticeable that the Eastern European bar staff were not particularly friendly in contrast to the relatively fewer Indian employees who were always helpful and pleasant. The on board entertainment programme is the best we have ever experienced with something going on throughout the day on sea days and at appropriate times on shore days. It was extremely varied to suit most if not all tastes from competitive activities to just plain good old "fun". If anything, a possible criticism would be that there was too much going on and not enough time given to some of the activities before the next one started. We chose a Xmas and New Year Cruise for the 2nd year in a row as coming from the North have little access to West End type shows and Cabaret entertainment. We certainly were NOT disappointed on Marco Polo.I cant imagine how much it would have cost for similar entertainment on land!! The Entertainment team headed by Richard Sykes is superb. Versatile and such fun they all put their hearts and souls into every single programme.With each of the team with their own particular expertise and talent it is hard to believe that some people could fail to be entertained. From tribute acts to Victoria Wood, Dusty Springfield etc, to Boxing Day Pantomime and New Years Gala party as well as every music genre, there was something for everyone. So Well Done Richard and your team not forgetting the engaging Russian Dance group who performed so elegantly. No doubt some of you will have read press reports about the Norovirus being on board Marco Polo during this Xmas Canaries Cruise. As passengers we would like to make it clear that though this report was true we do not believe this was in any way due to any failure on the part of CMV or its crew. Every possible precaution was taken to contain this virus which must have been brought on board by passengers at one of the ports some 7/8 days into the cruise. It is known that this virus has a 48 hour incubation period and therefore would have hit long before then had it been present at the outset. We cannot praise the Company enough for the way it handled the situation. Once the virus was identified and passengers were at risk the procedures and level of control were exemplary. Consequently we are only 2 of more than 600 passengers who were NOT affected by the Virus. I realise this is a rather long review and hope that people take the time to read it as it is an unbiased view of a "value for money" cruise. I would say to those who disagree are you sure you were on Marco Polo? To those of you who are currently sailing to The Amazon have a great time!!!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
I was in two minds whether or not to write a review about this cruise, however, I have seen quite a bit of negative comment that I believe to be unfair so i want to add my point of view. Let me say from the outset we embarked on December ... Read More
I was in two minds whether or not to write a review about this cruise, however, I have seen quite a bit of negative comment that I believe to be unfair so i want to add my point of view. Let me say from the outset we embarked on December 8th when the whole of the UK was being battered by very high winds and CMV and the crew of the Marc Polo have no control over that. They did flip the itinerary though visiting Antwerp as the first port and Amsterdam as the second so they did all they could to negate the effects of the weather. Embarkation was a breeze and the safety drill had the novelty of the passengers actually going from their muster station and lining up by their assigned lifeboat. We were then inspected by the Deputy Captain which was all a bit different than usual. The staff who were mainly Eastern European were friendly and helpful and were happy to chat with the passengers at quiet time. On the whole the food was very nice, well prepared and nicely served. An exception would be the breakfast in The Restaurant, it was still on a help yourself basis, and, unfortunately on the day we ate in there was only lukewarm. Marco Polo was probably the cleanest cruise ship we have ever been on and cleaning seemed to go on constantly. Entertainment was fair the three shows we saw in the show lounge whilst lacking the glitz of say the P&O show team were enjoyable and entertaining. There has been a suggestion that the whole ship smelled of diesel fuel, if it did then I certainly did not notice it. As for the two ports of call they were what they were two fairly major European Cities in winter, Amsterdam as ever was charming and quaint and Antwerp interesting. I just can't see what prompted such strong criticism of the ship and the cruise. We have cruised quite a bit and feel that what you pay for a cruise must be measured against a passengers expectations. This trip was a bargain and we had the added bonus of a free upgrade to one of the best two cabins on the ship. Overall we found the trip a pleasant winter break and whilst I would be wary of undertaking an Atlantic Voyage on Marco Polo we would certainly consider a Baltic, Fjords or around Britain trip on her. We would certainly Mini/Party Cruise on her. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Having cruised lots I am not too sure how this ship can be classed as a cruise ship. It is an absolute joke. Food is appalling, entertainment is like a bad school production, ship is dirty, smells of diesel everywhere, public areas are ... Read More
Having cruised lots I am not too sure how this ship can be classed as a cruise ship. It is an absolute joke. Food is appalling, entertainment is like a bad school production, ship is dirty, smells of diesel everywhere, public areas are either very warm or freezing cold, bedding is old and bobbly, crew are rude etc.... Advertised a captains cocktail party - never saw Captain or indeed any senior officers the whole time on board. Most passengers were elderly and moany. Embarkation and disembarkation was an absolute farce In Antwerp to get back on board the climb up the stairs (might as well of been a ladder) was at a 60 degree angle - felt sorry for the guy in the wheelchair - he was told wait for the tide to turn!!! Hope it was tongue in cheek! The lift doors attempt to sever limbs, health and safety was non existing! And the emergency drill was a fiasco. The best thing this company can do is take a cruise with RCCL or one of the other competitors and find out how to do things with professionalism. Cross channel ferry services are better than this! For the people who have told me the Marco Polo is marvellous, well all I can say is they are easy pleased! Its not cheap and there are a lot better options available. Had to wait an eternity for people to settle their on board accounts before we were allowed off, get a grip- pre Christmas break..... no it was an endurance test and something we will definitely avoid at all costs! if it had been longer I would have packed up and flown home Overall would have been 0 but as 1 is the least so be it - guess they get a 1 overall for getting me home to the comfort of Terra firma without a broken bone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to ... Read More
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to the bad weather conditions in Germany. The itinerary was then 1 day in Amsterdam, 1 day in Brugge and 1 in Antwerp. I am all for health and safety! and this also meant 3 ports of call instead of 1. The first night sailing to Amsterdam was extremely choppy and we managed about 4 hours sleep. We knew that Brugge was only about 80 odd miles away so we assumed that night we would have a quick journey, be docked and have a good nights sleep. WRONG! we could not dock until 6am the next morning we were just bobbing around in the sea for hours, being right above the props and the water crashing against our port holes. We seemed to fair better than others who on the higher decks had their drawers opening, things falling over and one poor woman had a narrow escape when the tv fell over and landed on the bed beside her! Neither of us slept again at all, when the boat finally docked we thought lets go to bed now and get a couple of hours, WRONG, we were so low on the ship that the rubber buffers were right outside our window and the noise of them scraping against the side made it impossible. It was horrendous to say the least. The Captain - was noticeable by his absents, except when spotted with a young blonde in an office smoking! different policies for different people I suppose. The Food - Only 1 night spent in the Restaurant (nothing special) and the help yourself Bistro - food warm at best repetitive and run to a strict regime, if it was 8.30 and people still in there all the food is cleared away regardless. Entertainment - Now this is the only good bit, all the staff were really nice and put on a good show every night. We had a trickle of water coming out of our tap, we tried to call reception to ask if this could be remedied but the phone didn't work. We went to reception she said she would get it sorted and that she realised our phone was not working. On our arrival back there was still no water, we complained again. At last someone came. It worked for 1 morning! It was quite amusing that the last night we go two letters, one saying we hoped the water problem had been resolved and another that said, sorry it couldn't be fixed because they couldn't get in touch with us by phone!! It was broken der!! Our friends had a nice surprise too, they were asleep in their cabin and at 1.50am they were woken by someone walking in! He said sorry and left, they called reception immediately but they were not really interested, after a second complaint in person in the morning they were told it would be looked into. Apparently they said, the week before the staff had been given these cabins and the intruder was staff who didn't know that these same cabins had been given to the general public! Bad case of communication to say the least. As for the Christmas markets, in Brugge there were half a dozen open, selling items you could buy here for a third of the cost. In Antwerp there were none open at all, as the people who had booked a trip on board at a very high price found out. The few that were open sold either hot food or you could have a drink. Where were the stalls for the Xmas presents that people wanted to buy? To be honest if it hadn't been for the people whom we met on the ship it would have been the worst nightmare ever. If you don't mind repetitive lukewarm food, reception staff that cant be bothered, a captain you never see or hear and enjoy a ship that does not appear to be stabilised at all, then go for it! I myself wont be going on it again, myself and my husband are still suffering extremely bad "sea legs". Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2012
Cruise and Maritime. This refers to the 45day Amazon cruise. Shorter cruises will be different. There are two types of passenger on this ship, regular customers who express absolute loyalty and repeat-book this wonderful experience, and ... Read More
Cruise and Maritime. This refers to the 45day Amazon cruise. Shorter cruises will be different. There are two types of passenger on this ship, regular customers who express absolute loyalty and repeat-book this wonderful experience, and others who promise themselves 'never-again'. Deckspace: This is limited. They would be well advised to limit the monopolizing of deckchairs with some system. Sheltered outside space is confined to the rear deck. The pool has room for about six and is overlooked by about 300 so testosterone is well evident. If you do not like ugly bare flesh do not go on warm-water cruises on this ship. Cabin: In some cabins bedside light is at wrong end of bed. A small torch is a good idea. Power is 110v from an American socket and 230v from a European socket. Do not be confused by the brochure, British appliances will need an adapter, Europeans are OK. Space is at a premium. Underbed storage may not be deep enough for suitcases (squashable bags would be good) particularly where a second bunk is provided. Our cabin has less than a metre of wardrobe rail for potentially three people. The bedside table is cluttered by a large telephone and a tray with two bottles of water (not complementary). You will probably find space elsewhere for these. Food: Surprising at the price but restaurant portions can be boring over many days. The buffet is at fixed and limited periods and will be crowded and hot. On hot days the outside sheltered parts of the deck are crowded and smokers will seem to dominate. Smoking is allowed sitting at the outside bar which seems odd when hygiene is dominant. We took our meals in the restaurant and conversation will depend on the company you are allocated. Our evening companions were great (table for four) but at lunch you are sat in order of entry. We were on a long trip so a typical passenger was retired on private means and a not surprising number were residents of IOM or Jersey. On a long trip, constant conversation with Mail and Telegraph readers can wear you down. In between listing all the places they have seen you will get titbits about how the dictators make the best governments. On shorter cruises a more normal sample of passengers will be better company. Drinks: The official coffee is foul as usual. Double espresso is �£3.20 and very good. Other drinks are comparable to land prices. The ice-buckets can get watery so you might want to avoid too much dilution by, for example, ordering a neat gin and a separate can of tonic. To get a drink without ice needs perseverance. You get chased out of the main lounge at closing time when they spray mysterious chemicals on all unoccupied tables. Entertainment: The small team do a grand job of raising the standard a bit above a holiday camp level. On a long cruise they rose to the challenge. In fact I believe it gave them the chance to do stuff in different ways and to personally get to know passengers. The dancers from the old Eastern Bloc really fancied themselves and the sound of a good singer rendering 'La Mer' as well as Aznarvor with a pair of dancers tangoing in front of him was, unintentionally, as funny as the Two Ronnies. Generally speaking the British based contingent did an amazing job (45 days and nights). Being a small ship there are no discrete routes for staff to move around without being seen. So if you were observant you could monitor the private relationships among the Ukrainian Showteam! The classical music duo were very serene and decorous playing their own stuff in the lounges but cheered and clapped dementedly when their friends were performing in the theatre. Offputting! Serving and cabin staff: absolute praise here. There were problems with the ship and every effort made to overcome them. During a complete power failure our attendant had to flush our toilets with a bucket. Going around the cabins asking people if they had kaka or only pee-pee was priceless! Waiters were attentive but seem to be in fear of the officer grades that wandered around during the sessions and appeared in greater numbers at closing times. The waiting staff followed the management rules strictly, which could be annoying, for example removing plates the moment you put the last fork down, or whipping away a glass as soon as it is empty. In a cafe on land this behaviour would seem bizarre but on this ship tables will be cleared and wiped, even if it annoyed guests. When they walk in front of spectators collecting glasses in the theatre it's downright annoying. We saw a purser tell one server to go and change her shoes to regulation style -- not good in front of customers. On another occasion we had just stopped at reception as the attendant was having a word with a colleague in the back office. An officer appeared around the corner at that moment and with a flick of the fingers pointed at us as 'unattended'. Totally unnecessary, embarrassing and indicative of bad staff relations. When you are on holiday you do not want to witness quasi-military discipline. This company takes full advantage of staff insecurity. Ports-of-call: They have a tendency to cut costs by calling at major ports at weekends when local businesses are closed. We spent lots of money on the ship while at sea. There is a deliberate withholding of information about shore costs. For example the frequent bus from Icoaraci to Belem costs 2 real but the transfer bus was �£29! The guide was inaudible at the back. They warn you about unscrupulous taxi tours at ports but it is the official tours which are a rip-off. All companies are the same. Laundry examples: Men's shirt �£1.85, Trousers �£3.75, this will not break the bank. If you are flying to the ship do not overload with baggage. Wifi: Activation fee �£3.95. Pay as you go 60p/min. 100mins �£42.50. 250mins �£75. No guarantee of speed so not worth considering unless you are desperate or flush. There is a daily international news leaflet which is adequate. Mobile phone by BT Onwave. Cabin: If you are on deck 5 port side the proximity of the engine room may prevent the a/c achieving less than 25degs. In the tropics this is not acceptable and we had to change our cabin on doctors orders. I would not do a long cruise on this ship again. But once, especially the Amazon, is not to be missed. Don't forget to take your sense of humour.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an ... Read More
My wife and I, both in our mid-fifties and experienced cruisers, joined the Marco Polo at Tlbury on 3rd January 2012 for the Amazon, Caribbean and Azores Cruise. Boarding was slightly delayed as the crew cleaned the ship following an outbreak of Norovirus on the incoming cruise. The facilities in the terminal were adequate and fairly comfortable, much better than the more familiar facilities at Liverpool. For the first week or so the efforts to eradicate the virus were evident, with the crew working tirelessly to clean and disinfect the ship. The itinerary was good although there were a number of arrivals when the destination was "closed". Lisbon, Sunday, Mindelo (Cap Verde) on a public holiday, Bridgetown, Sunday, Horta (Azores) arrival after 13.30hrs on a Saturday when the place closes down at 13.00hrs and Ponta Delgada on a Sunday. Maybe the schedule could do with a bit of a "tweak". Other than that the destinations were great. Particularly in the Amazon where tourists were almost a side issue, while the population got on with their lives and business. (Compare this with Alaska where you feel as if you are in a perpetual tourist theme park). One minor hic-cup was just short of Parintins, when water ingress to the electrical system caused the power to fail. Again the crew put in heroic efforts to effect successful repairs. As a result no ports were missed. Indeed, efforts by the shore excursion staff and the ship's agents secured the services of a river boat, in the absence of the availability of the ships tenders, to transfer passengers to the shore to enjoy the magnificent Boi Bumba show. All the trips on offer were competitively priced, well organised and good value for money. Marco Polo is a relatively small ship by modern standards but is well maintained and comfortable. Our inside cabin, (deck 7. Pacific deck) was very clean and comfortable thanks to the efforts of our steward Sorin. There was sufficient hanging and drawer space to accommodate all our clothing for a 45 night cruise, so no need to store clothing in suitcases. Another welcome aspect about Marco Polo is the availability of some small bars or lounges near to bars, to enjoy some quiet relaxation accompanied by some very talented East European musicians. For those other than "Radio Three listeners" the entertainment team did a magnificent job. I have never seen an entertainment team work so hard. "U.K. guest act" Richard Sykes (in truth the former Cruise Director) was almost ubiquitous. He provided multiple tribute sessions based on a number of artistes, took part in the Panto (well it was just after Christmas) and even developed and conducted a choir. All of this was achieved with such energy we were convinced that he was sniffing fly spray. A really talented and accomplished man, who should go down well when he takes up his position as CD on Ocean Countess. The Cruise Director, Gareth Cole's job is to organise, co-ordinate and manage the entertainment programme. In addition he was a capable and versatile performer. His "Blues Brothers" set was so good I wanted to throw beer bottles. (Watch the film and you will see what I mean). Despite this, some passengers were grumbling that he did not put himself about much during the day. This was more than made up for by Ed Garth, a talented singer, Amy Street and Cate Stephens, two versatile and attractive divas and Andy Sanders a really personable host and performer. In addition another U.K. guest act, comedian Andy Ford, ("He's alright if you like laughing") was always about and happy to speak to fellow passengers as well as perform to packed houses. The "show team", again East Europeans, were excellent with some really good singers and performers. Most of the bar staff and bar waiters are East European. I have seen criticism in other postings that they are unfriendly and unhelpful. Our experience is that, at first, they are a bit stiff but polite and respectful. It seems to be a natural reticence with people from Eastern Europe rather than the sickly "hail fellow well met", in your face, overly familiar faux friendliness displayed by some other nationalities. Once you break through their initial reserve, warmth and friendliness are repaid in bucket loads without ever becoming over familiar or complacent. So if the itinerary, entertainment and personnel are the highlights of the experience, the low point has to be the food. The tragedy is that the food is clearly good quality but always cold. It must be frustrating for the chefs that they go to the effort to plan, prepare and execute the menus only for the food to get to the table cold. Soup was lukewarm, meat well prepared but inedible, veg. correctly cooked but cold. Roast potatoes that should be crisp were cold and soft. On one occasion, for example, Lasagne arrived so old and cold that it was like trying to eat a deck of playing cards. On another occasion, grilled fish and boiled potatoes from the Bistro was so cold, that the butter I put on the potatoes refused to melt. The butter just sat there, grinning at me, as if to say "Well what do you want me to do? Stand up and start playing a trombone?" (Old Lurpak Ad). After complaining I was provided with freshly prepared fish and potatoes which were delicious. CMV / Global need to invest in some means of keeping pre-prepared food hot. The current system, in the buffet, of placing them under a 40 watt light bulb, only serves to dry the food without keeping it hot. I am sorry to say that the food was without doubt the worst cruise food we have ever experienced. Other cruise lines manage to feed their passengers well, no matter how large or small the ship. It is down to how the food is stored pre-service that makes the difference. So it was a "budget" or low price cruise, especially considering the length and destinations of the cruise, but food preparation and presentation is a basic. In addition, having said the "headline" cost is low, the bar prices are not. £4+ for a 500ml tin of Guinness. £3+ for John Smith's Bitter. Vodka £2.80+ with a 33cl tin of tonic £2+. So if, like me, you are a dedicated quaffer the bar bill soon racks up. Overall this was an exciting and interesting experience, well worth the cost of the fare. Entertainment and activities ( crafts and traditional deck games, Ballroom dancing classes and tap dancing lead by Nichola Glehill)) to suit just about everyone except the most curmudgeonly. Clean, comfortable surroundings with attentive and respectful staff. This cruise is a winner if there was just a bit more investment in the food presentation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2012
Our cruise (we are Dutch) with the Marco Polo was not too bad taking into account some negative reviews on this site. The ship is old and that shows. During our trips there was a lot of repairing and painting going on, restricting the ... Read More
Our cruise (we are Dutch) with the Marco Polo was not too bad taking into account some negative reviews on this site. The ship is old and that shows. During our trips there was a lot of repairing and painting going on, restricting the available space on the decks. The itinerary is interesting but remember the Amazon is very wide so the panorama is rather boring and there are many seadays. The crew is mainly eastern european. They are in general friendly and kind but not too service orientated. Ours cruise started with the aftermath of a Noro virus and halfway there was a full power breakdown luckily on the Amazone and not on a rough open sea. The failure was blamed on incoming rainwater and that is rather alarming. PRO's: The food was good, sometimes very good. The showteam was excellent. The atmosphere among the travellers was fine WEAK's Public space limited Cabaret old fashioned Prices and quantity of drinks Dinner time available CONS's Coffee very poor, buckets of boiled water added Smoking policy very liberal and no effective control Very loud music everywhere, good if you do not like to communicate Port information insufficient Poor isolation of cabins, you can hear your neighbours talking Lots of noise from the waves Poor view from the interior Decks are not cleaned sufficiently Excursions expensive, few transfers and costly if provided   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was my first cruise apart from transatlantic on QM2. Boarding. Chaotic. Urged to arrive at allotted time then changed to first come first served with no explanation. Later found this was due to cleaning because of Norovirus outbreak. ... Read More
This was my first cruise apart from transatlantic on QM2. Boarding. Chaotic. Urged to arrive at allotted time then changed to first come first served with no explanation. Later found this was due to cleaning because of Norovirus outbreak. (But why did that matter?) Cabin. I booked what was described as a double more suitable for a single, whatever that means. It was the same as most other designated doubles on my deck. ie small. Only 4 drawers and 8 hangers for 45 days. No British socket. Old style TV on pedestal taking up already limited space. People walking past window could see in if a light was on. This applied to the best suites. I asked my stewardess when the Safety drill was. She showed me how to open the safe! So much for English speaking crew. She was very hard working and helpful when I managed to explain a problem. Perhaps her East European upbringing accounted for her scared look. Restaurant. Noisy. Cramped.I had to pull my chair in so that waiters could get by. Opening the pretentious menu encroached on the place settings either side. Ceiling so low you feared for waiters heads. Service very good. The company(8) at the table made the trip. I hope I didn't spoil theirs. Marcos Bistro. Small. Crowded. Hot. Appeared to be so far from kitchen that food and cutlery etc kept running out despite a stream of willing waiters. Soft drink station had fruit juice only at breakfast. Only water the rest of the day. The Tea/Coffee stations were refilled from a bucket. You had to check that mugs were clean and not chipped. Food. There was always a fair choice but I saw the same tinned fruit salad at three meals a day every day I looked. Shortage of fresh fruit. Ran out of Marmite! The outside "barbecue" was good but meant queuing. Drinks. Bar prices - ok. Wine. Very expensive. Pretty awful at all prices I was willing to pay. Marco Polo Lounge. Unfit for purpose. Eight pillars plus four at the side of the stage, alternate high and low rows of seat, ceiling so low it covered the top of the cinema screen if sitting at the back. Less than half the audience could get a clear sight line. Dreadful acoustics. Shows. Lots of song and dance themed to pop eras or artists. Amazing variety for a long cruise. Really quite professional seeing as most of them seemed to double as deckhands and tour escorts. Dress code. Widely ignored. I saw a cardigan on a formal night. No-one could explain the difference between informal and casual. Decks. No chance of a bed after 8:30 despite constant requests not to leave towels. Power walking circuit on deck 10 but so narrow past the boats that there was a one-way system. Some area somewhere always seemed to be closed for painting. Several nasty engineering related smells. Pool deck makes a lovely all round venue for a show but seating and avoiding smokers a problem. A great memory was the Caribbean farewell party with a steel band and the sunset in the background. Shore time. Information sketchy and deliberately(?) inaccurate. The existence of banks and ATMs, actually available everywhere except the Amazonian village, was positively denied in some cases. The on board exchange rate deserves the attention of the police. The maps provided were almost useless. No scale, orientation or landmarks or any indication of where the boat might be. Calling 1 1/2 miles a 20 minute walk is a bit optimistic. I suppose that statistically one day ashore in seven will be a Sunday with everything shut but accurate warning should have been possible. Tenders. Very amateur handling. Knots tying was a wonder to behold. When one ran aground, the shore hand pulled the next boat into the same spot with the inevitable result. The passengers loved it. Misc. Library tiny and only open even to return books when the librarian (very helpful) was not engaged elsewhere. Gym. I couldn't raise weights above my head without hitting the ceiling. There were recesses for the heads of people on treadmills. Reception. I lost three travel mugs, one covered in pictures of my family. I was told by other passengers that other cruise lines would have put out a call over the tannoy for something so obviously of personal value but not one was ever found. The breakdown. All power lost for 12 hours and partial for a further day. Blamed on rain getting in to the main power distribution board. V. worrying when you are crossing the Atlantic. Every one was without water, even to flush toilets, for 12 hours. After that it varied. I was without a/c or ventilation - no cabins have opening windows - for 36 hours in a temperature of over 30C. Some inside cabins were without lights. C&M response. A free bottle of house wine and permission to use the mineral water in your cabin. Overall. Seeing the Amazon was great. The crew were wonderful and most passengers fun to meet. But the Marco Polo is badly overcrowded and the facilities and organisation are completely unable to cope. There were some loyal followers, though perhaps fewer after this experience. The general view I heard was - never again. I agree. If you want to go then hurry she surely can't stay in business long. As to cruising in general. Probably never again. A cruise seems to consist of three days at sea, three queues and three hours looking through a coach window. Meeting people is the only real plus. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My wife and I chose this cruise for our Honeymoon. We're 30 and 28 respectively, and had never cruised before. Alongside excitement we were filled with apprehension at what to expect. In particular we had been unsure about dress codes ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for our Honeymoon. We're 30 and 28 respectively, and had never cruised before. Alongside excitement we were filled with apprehension at what to expect. In particular we had been unsure about dress codes and general comfort on board. I'll attempt to give a full, honest account of our experience which will probably be most useful to those who haven't cruised before and perhaps those who haven't cruised aboard the Marco Polo. I shall start with the positives, move onto negatives/criticisms and then finish with some tips and advice for those considering this trip. The time ashore, in my opinion, is not relevant to the cruise itself (other than cruise-organised-excursions) so I'll focus primarily on the ship itself. Positives I'll start by saying that we had a wonderful time all-in-all. The trip met my expectations (but not quite my wife's) and the important things we set out to do were seen and achieved. As with most, out main ambition was to witness the Northern Lights, which we did -- both partially from the ship and in their full glory on the dedicated excursion (which I highly recommend). There is of course no guarantee of seeing them so be prepared for that. I have both positive and negative things to say about the food. Overall it was high quality, tasty, varied and fresh. The soup in particular was always good. Dinner in the Waldorf restaurant consisted of 4 course meals, served quickly and courteously; We always took breakfast and lunch in Marco's Bistro (the buffet), finding the Waldorf far too formal and not enjoying being made to socialize with a new group of people every time (evening meals were always the same group and table). Waiting staff were always efficient, accurate and friendly. With regards to alcoholic drinks -- there is a wide range of choice across all ship bars and the prices were generally very reasonable. Entertainment was clearly geared towards the older generations, but my wife and I found a couple of shows enjoyable. The show-team worked hard and were impressive. However, we entertained ourselves mostly in our cabin, watching films and reading. Our cabin was fitted with a decent TV with 2 film channels showing relatively recent releases on repeat -- a new film each day. Another channel aired classic British comedy. Perfect after a day's walking on-shore. Another welcome feature of the ship was the gym -- much better than expected or described in the brochure (though don't try it on rough seas). The layout of the ship is sensible, with nothing important being too far away from anything else. General decor was simple, tasteful, tidy and in working order. All staff were polite, helpful and seemed to be working hard. An information sheet was delivered to the cabin each day with everything we needed to know about events on and off the ship. In addition, loudspeaker announcements across the ship were clear and informative. No stone was left unturned. As for the excursions, like the food we have good and bad things to say about them. We feel we chose well and those we did were worth doing. Negatives Myself being vegetarian and my wife vegetarian and lactose intolerant is where our criticism of the catering comes in. When I phoned to book the cruise I made this clear to the operator and was assured this would be fine. I then emailed nearer the time to acquire written confirmation, which I received. Yet on the ship food options were initially so scarce it was as if our requirements had not been considered. Both restaurants picked up on this after a couple of days and provided options but they were the classic case of fobbing us off with vegetable-based dishes -- nothing substantial like bean, nut or soy products (apart from one tiny portion of tofu one evening). We vegetarians require protein and substance like everyone else, not just the meat-eaters' meal minus the meat. And though tasty we were disappointed that we'd been misled. The buffet restaurant was overwhelmed at breakfast and lunch and we were surprised to find a severe lack of manners in some of the older folks. Queues were guaranteed and some paid them no respect (despite being a boat full of Brits). Furthermore, most would finish their meal and then sit at their table enjoying a hot drink with no thought given to the couples wandering around with plates of food desperately trying to find a table. This is of course no criticism of the cruise operator itself -- though staff could perhaps politely ask people to take their tea and coffee elsewhere during meal times. No sign of the packed-lunches mentioned in the documentation. Other than that, the decision to put the restaurants at the ends of the ship so that they could feel the full effect of rough seas seems a strange one. I personally couldn't stomach eating anywhere but my centrally-positioned cabin during such times. We'd heard people mention that the Marco Polo has good stabilization and we'd have to disagree. Sure, we suffered monstrous waves but the ship did little to hide their effect. Furthermore, the severe seas which we encountered twice caused us to miss our stops at Molde and Alesund. We found this disappointing and although it couldn't be helped, the management did absolutely nothing to try and compensate us. They weren't obliged to but some kind of gesture would have been nice -- an attempt to reach the next port earlier perhaps. Cruise excursions were good and well-organised, but not good value. Often times we would arrive on shore to find we could have done trips independently for a fraction of the cost (even in expensive Norway). In fact, every cable car and museum visit we paid for independently and walked there ourselves for a total cost of perhaps £10 per person. The organized excursion which provided coach there probably totaled £60+ per person. Tips/Advice Warmth -- Norway in winter, and the Arctic, were far warmer than we expected and had prepared for. Don't pack for Siberian weather -- it was barely colder than the coldest British winter. I didn't use any of the thermals or half the jumpers I took. Missing ports -- The brochure doesn't mention this but we got the distinct impression that it's not at all uncommon to miss ports due to rough seas. The ship was quite casual about it and clearly doesn't allow enough time to account for difficult journeys. Rough seas -- Try to book a cabin in the middle of the boat. This was the best thing we could have done as we suffered far less from sea-sickness than those who were at the ends. Also watch out when navigating the boat during such times. I didn't suffer badly but felt more secure in the comfort of our cabin. Watch out for wardrobe doors and drawers flying around. Easy-going dress code -- We needn't have been worried. There was a dress-code but no-one was scrutinized. I brought far too much; a single pair of trousers, 2 shirts (1 dress, 1 casual), 1 jacket and a bow-tie would easily have sufficed). Few ladies wore anything approaching cocktail dresses, opting for smart but non-dazzling ensembles. Expensive internet -- Don't use the internet unless you absolutely need to. 10 minutes cost me almost £15 and was so slow I hardly got anything done during that time. Bad tea and coffee -- Coffee was unpredictable, sometimes okay, sometimes horrible. Tea bags were continental 'Lipton' ones and no good for those with taste. Bring your own. Also, a good idea to bring your own mugs when ones provided are unavailable. Hot water delivered to room -- This isn't advertised but if you phone reception they'll happily bring you a jug of hot water to make your own tea/coffee. Another good reason to have your own mugs to hand. Breakfast in bed -- We took full advantage of this on the choppier days as I personally couldn't face eating in the restaurants which were (surprisingly) busy and up-and-down. Forms are provided to fill in and hang outside your door before you go to bed. There is no extra cost for this. Carry-on supplies -- Moments before leaving home I noticed the small print forbidding taking your own alcohol aboard and had to unpack it and leave it behind. However, we did bring a bag full of water, soya milk and snacks which we got onboard with no problem. This was essential for us, my wife being dairy-intolerant and the ship not providing soya milk. Also, bottled water is provided in cabins but is expensive. Tap water is chlorinated. Conclusion We wouldn't cruise again. Nothing fundamentally bad about the Marco Polo, just the whole cruising style doesn't suit us. But then again, we knew that was probably the case before going. Cruising was simply the best way to see lots of Norway and the Northern Lights in one trip without lots of cost, organization and hassle. We made the right choice and had the trip of a lifetime -- though this was reliant on Norway itself not so much the ship. We would recommend the cruise to others -- just be prepared for certain eventualities as mentioned above. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
MarcoMarco Polo Northern Lights 17 2 2012 to 2 3 2012 We got a lift to the ship which is relatively small. We boarded at the specified time though I did feel as if we were hanging about. They would have taken our bags early, so that ... Read More
MarcoMarco Polo Northern Lights 17 2 2012 to 2 3 2012 We got a lift to the ship which is relatively small. We boarded at the specified time though I did feel as if we were hanging about. They would have taken our bags early, so that we could do the tourist thing locally while we waited for our boarding time, but at this time of the year there was scant to do locally. Initially we were seated for dinner with another couple, but they wanted a later dining time, so we changed to a larger group. Fellow passengers were enjoyable. - Mainly helpful staff except for the getting my dietary needs catered for. There were no children on board which was nice as ours are finally old enough to stay home alone. I was really looking forward to the meals as they advertise that they cater for special diets. I have to eat low salt and low cholesterol. It became clear that the staff had scant understanding of special diets. They did not have ingredients on board and failed to purchase in port - The head waiter was a nightmare He would argue that there was no salt or butter in items when clearly there was. - It took until day 10 of the cruise before there was any attempt to reduce the salt content and even this failed frequently. After numerous complaints eventually I was given the menu in advance, but if you take all the fat and salt out it made it very bland and I had to skip so much that I would end up feeling hungry. They did not have the ingredients on board to spice it up and many of the ingredients were pre salted, or was full of saturated fats. - All the passengers were complaining that the food was luke warm. I didn't put on weigh which was a plus, but frequently felt hungry. I had to supplement my meals with some nuts that I had brought with me to make shore visit easier. When I formally complained they pointed out that they were a 3 star cruise and told me that I had received specially prepared omelettes, which was not the case. Every one commented on the coffee being vile . We were also disappointed that we missed two ports. It seems that the itinerary was somewhat ambitious for the time of year. - We paid extra for an outside cabin and we were unable to see out of the portholes for much of the cruise as they had to be obscured to prevent leaking in case the glass broke! - We also had requested a double bed, but they then said there were no doubles available and it was impossible to move the beds The showers would fluctuate to such an extent that we were scalded, or too cold and the water was shut off for maintenance on one occasion., but at least they warned us. Our toilet smelt of drains; initially they just sprayed the cubical rather than giving it a it was frustrating having to keep complaining. Sea sickness was bad on this cruise , but the weather was very bad. Luckily I had a sick bag in my handbag for the woman who was seated behind me in the theatre! The layout in the theatre was bad as we could not see the shows unless we were seated in the first two rows. The tip here is to skip the sugary fatty desert and get to the theatre early. The shows and talks were good We requested a visit to the bridge and this did not happen. We only saw the captain once. He wasn't there for his fizzy wine party. We noticed that the nicer seats in the restaurant were reserved for staff. The tours were very expensive and it was easy to explore Amsterdam on foot made it to the flower market where we bought a plant to hang near our porthole which then got obscured . We had checked and customs allow certain plants and bulbs back into the UK. On Sunday in Alta it is better to book the tour early as Norway shuts on a Sunday. We were in Alta for the Sunday morning and knowing the town was closed we got the courtesy bus half way into town and then walking up in deep snow to a vantage point where we could see aircraft coming into land just in front of the ship. - My husband is self employed and needed the Internet. It was very expensive and they warned us not to use it as it cut out frequently. He ended up in cafes ashore that had free Wi-Fi. I like to browse the shops (expensive) so that worked well for us. Security got very anxious as he turned up at the last minute on time, because he was in a cafe near by. They were worried that he had somehow sneaked back on board. The TV news often failed as we were frequently out of satellite area. We particularly Enjoyed the Ice Hotel tour at Alta thought it would have been better to do that on the Sundays and to book the last tour. but we were too slow to book. Meeting the architect who designed it was interesting. If you want good photos then wait until every one is getting back on the bus, so that it looks as if you have the place to yourselves, though people were good at moving out of the way for the photos. We also did lots on museums setting off on foot . I prefer tips to be included rather than added afterwards especially when you don't want to tip certain individuals. The Northern lights: we discovered from the guest lecturer that the Lights are all digitally enhanced on most TV, magazines and advertising but we still were pleased to see them even thought the colours were not as dramatic as we were expecting. The tannoy wakes you if you want to see the lights and it's a bit of a performance getting all the ski clothes on and sometimes the lights faded before we got up there, but at least we were lucky to see them. I fell over more times on this trip than when I go skiing it is very icy and I did have the right shoes! Communication between the booking and what actually happens was poor. Disembarking was much slower than advised: not fair for the person picking us up. There was also confusion as some guests had been told there were four formal nights when there were only two. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
This was the first time on a cruise, and the cruise was more a means to an end (ie seeing the Northern Lights!) rather than us wanting to go on a cruise. But we went into it with an open mind. Overall, the ship was ok, staff were really ... Read More
This was the first time on a cruise, and the cruise was more a means to an end (ie seeing the Northern Lights!) rather than us wanting to go on a cruise. But we went into it with an open mind. Overall, the ship was ok, staff were really lovely and helpful, but I don't think we're cruise people. The weather was really bad (gale force 8/9, 10m high waves) for a few days on the outleg and a few days on the return leg. The crew did a magnificent job to just keep working and smiling whilst the rest of us were feeling sick and falling about the restaurant! The bad weather meant we missed Alesund and Molde however this couldn't be helped. The only thing I would say is that I think this could have been communicated sooner, and more details of the weather forecast given over the tannoy so we would know when the bad weather was due to end. The ship itself was ok, bit dated in places, but overall no complaints. It was cleaned regularly and the staff did an excellent job in this. There was regular entertain laid on, however we felt this catered for an older clientele (bingo, bean bag bowls) and it was actually quite difficult to get away from the entertainment at times as there wasn't that much space on the common areas of the ship. It would have been better if we could have sat out on deck, but that was a no go with the weather. The food was to a good standard. We missed the gala nights (due to the bad weather and illness) but the normal restaurant nights were very quickly served and very accommodating. The lunches and afternoon tea in the bistro were good, however the amount of people and lack of manners displayed by some of our fellow cruisers spoilt the occasion (for example, pinching scones off other peoples plates!). The best thing we had was a champagne breakfast in bed and private dining in the card room for our anniversary (we paid for the celebration package). This was well worth it, with a full bottle of champagne and a chance to dine alone and be waited on hand and foot. We saw the Northern Lights on around 5 occasions - the best being in Alta when we went on the tour. We got into the routine of going out on deck after dinner (after getting changed into our warm weather gear) and standing out there for a couple of hours. This provided us with the best viewings and meant we actually saw the lights develop from the grey to the green which was great. The cruise director did announce any lights to the rest of the ship, but a lot of the time by the time people had come out on deck, they had faded again. A few points about the ports of call: - Amsterdam - 20 mins walk to the centre, only there for half a day so didn't do a lot - Svolvaer - small place, went on the organised boat trip which was great, but freezing. Got some lovely views of sea eagles - Narvik - went to the polar zoo. There are only a few animals there (5/6) and we were only there for a couple of hours, but the trip there on the bus went through some magnificent scenario which added to the trip. - Tromso - gorgeous little city. Shuttle bus laid on to the centre. We walked over the bridge, to the cathedral, and up the cable car for some magnificent view and waist high snow! Easy to do on your own. - Alta - went dog sledding which was amazing, really enjoyed it. Alta itself is very small, so I would recommend doing a ship tour or organising something yourself. Trip out at night was great, however this is obviously northern light dependent. - Bergen - docks in the centre so easy to go into town. The day was cloudy, but we went up the funicular anyway and had a lovely walk around the mountain at the top, with a nice lunch at the restaurant. Few tips - dress code not that formal so don't worry about it. - sea sickness tablets are available from reception (I didn't know about this for the first few days) - coffee was not great at the coffee station. I stuck to fruit teas. Would be worth taking your own instant and making that instead. Alcohol was reasonably priced. - we ordered a wine package, which included bottled water which we had in the room and was worth it, as the tap water wasn't great - the tv did have some british classic on it which was good, and different films every day, however I would have taken a laptop/DVDs if I'd known how little there was to do on the ship if you didn't like the organised activities - if you want to take photos of the lights, you definitely need a SLR camera and decent tripod. And be prepared to stand in the cold for hours. Overall, we did have a really enjoyable cruise and have some great memories, especially of the northern lights and dog sledding. It was a great way of seeing a lot of Norway without the stress or hassle of arranging our own travel/excursions. 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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