Sail Date: February 2012
to start with i have to say the crew were excellent,and the entertainment staff were the best of any cruise line i have sailed with,but i found the rest of the the cruise holiday somewhat lacking there was no coffee or tea after ten pm ... Read More
to start with i have to say the crew were excellent,and the entertainment staff were the best of any cruise line i have sailed with,but i found the rest of the the cruise holiday somewhat lacking there was no coffee or tea after ten pm unless you paid for it the late night snacks that were advertised in the brochure consisted of the waiters walking around the lounges with trays of finger food,there was only one tea and coffee station in the in the bistro area the the only other one being outside on a wind swept and often rainy heaving deck the queue for the inside one was sometimes twelve deep. unfotunatly two ports of call were cancelled because of bad weather at sea,which was no ones fault but the itinery was left the same as if it had been a shore day,there were no films or extra entertainment put in place. the ships theatre company were exellent as were the musicians and singers around the ship, the guest artists were suberb,but there could have been a bit more variety..eg a magician, the cabin was large and comfortable the library was very well stocked the games room was of a high standard with a huge assortment of games if i had to pick one member of the crew for special mention then it would be the cruise director richard who could not do enough,he was always there with a smile always with time to talk to the passengers a genuine and nice man. the food on the ship was good, but not as good as other ships,and there did seem to be a lack of space in the bistro at meal times. over all it was a very happy ship and with a few minor changes would be an exellent ship Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We did not have any trouble booking in then we were shown to our cabin we could not believe the rabbit warren of corridors we were taken along to get to the cabin. The cabin was very small and claustrophoic, there was plenty of drawer and ... Read More
We did not have any trouble booking in then we were shown to our cabin we could not believe the rabbit warren of corridors we were taken along to get to the cabin. The cabin was very small and claustrophoic, there was plenty of drawer and cupboard space that was the only good thing about the cabin. The whole of the ship is very dismal and old. We had a banging noise all night for a week even though this was reported the first day, it was only after I said it would be taken further that it was sorted out, we were lucky some other passengers were given ear plugs. We went to Marco Bistro for lunch once they did not have enough cutlery and we had to wait while these were washed up, you could not get juice at lunch times the machine was switched off, only water we have never had this before. We then ate all our meals in the main restaurant but they often did not have cereal bowls once again we had to wait for them to be washed. It would have been nice to have a choice of yoguarts but you had to take either plain and sometimes there was another flavour these were in a large container, the toast was pre-cooked and kept warm under a lamp which was not very nice. When we used the self service at breakfast and lunch times it was very dangerous with plates trying to get back to your table as the tables were so close together. We could not believe you got rice with most evening meals even fish.Our table was by the window and there were several towels on the window ledge to stop the water coming in the window frames. We paid for an outside cabin and the porthole was open four days out of fourteen, we could have saved money and had an inside cabin, we were told that it is always rough on this trip so why was there not a discount for the days the portholes were closed? The entertainment was not too bad if you could see it people came late and sat in front of you, we were not allowed to go to the bar for drinks but we waited a long time for anyone to serve us. When we have been on other cruises they do water maintenance overnight this time we were without water for five hours, all public toilets were closed and you could not use the toilet in the cabin, when we complained a senior officer told us they would switch the water on when it suited them. We did not do the excursions we like to do our own trips we were annoyed we could not book the ice hotel this was only for the ship to book, our friends complained and they said they would try to get us complimentary tickets for the Sunday these were put under our door just our names on them when we received our account we had to pay £55 each it would have been nice if they had informed us before we went that we had to pay. When we received the information regarding disembarkation it said we had to be out of the cabins by 7.00am and would all be off the ship by 9.30am so we booked a taxi for this time we were still on the ship at 11.00am if we had not told them we had a taxi waiting I do not know what time we would have got off. Cruise Maritime is not interested in any complaints even though they know that six people were so fed up with the cruise they flew home at their own expense from Alta. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Not a 5 star cruise/ship but not marketed as such. A traditional cruise with all the ingredients. The Waldorf Restaurant was beyond our expectations and well managed. Dinner comprised of 6 courses with Grilled Salmon/Chicken always ... Read More
Not a 5 star cruise/ship but not marketed as such. A traditional cruise with all the ingredients. The Waldorf Restaurant was beyond our expectations and well managed. Dinner comprised of 6 courses with Grilled Salmon/Chicken always available. During the course of the cruise Sirloin Steak, Duck Breast, Smoked Salmon and Caviar all appeared on the menu. At breakfast porridge and kippers were available to order where as everything else was buffet style. A chef cooked your fried egg or omelet whilst you waited. No problem getting a seat at the open sittings. Marco's self service restaurant was also most satisfactory. Proper crockery, and table cloths in the evening. If you went at peak times you could have to share a table or eat outside by the swimming pool. At lunch there was also a grill on deck. There was not as wide a choice as you get on Princess and if I had a complaint it was the sausages which I avoided after the first morning's experience! Tea and coffee were available all day and there must have been a choice of half a dozen teas. The public rooms were comfortably furnished and the theatre entertainment was good with routines slickly executed. We noticed a slight smell of diesel on deck 5 aft. More of a problem was the smell of paint, from the hull painting which took place whilst in port. However the ship was well maintained and kept spotlessly clean. The service we received was good. The staff were friendly. Quite a few were Eastern European but there were quite a few from the Far East. Our waiter came from Burma. The chefs looked as though they mainly came from the Indian sub continent. On the basis of our experience we would like to do the Amazon cruise in 2014. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We drove straight into the London Cruise Terminal and immediately unloaded our cases to the waiting porters before driving the 400 metres or so to the long-stay car park -- a covered parking area. Whilst it would have been as quick to walk ... Read More
We drove straight into the London Cruise Terminal and immediately unloaded our cases to the waiting porters before driving the 400 metres or so to the long-stay car park -- a covered parking area. Whilst it would have been as quick to walk we were transported back to the main terminal by mini-bus. Cruise & Maritime schedule their check-in times based on cabin number and we were told to report at 12:15. We were about 30 mins early and were directed to the lounge where refreshments were available. Promptly at 12:15 we were called to check-in and in less than 30 minutes we were on board and being led to our cabin. Our luggage was waiting when we arrived. We were late booking and the main criteria we applied was an un-obstructed view. We were allocated a "superior plus cabin on deck 7. It was on the small side but had plenty of storage an adequate shower-room and was clean, bright and airy. A recent review said that a room with a view was a waste on money because the windows were very small and were very dirty. Our window was large and clean and the outside was cleaned regularly throughout the week. Lunch was only available in Marco's Bistro. As we dislike walking around with our food seeking out a table we located an outside table by the pool and took it in turns to collect our food. As piscaparians (veggie plus fish) there was only two hot choices but also an abundant selection of salads and, after we started eating, we also discovered a poolside pizza bar which would have met our dietary requirements. Marco Polo set sail at 2:30 and we were hoping to see Southend Pier as we travelled up the Thames Estuary but a comprehensive SOLAS drill caused us to miss it. We assembled at our muster stations for a full roll-call before being taken to our lifeboat stations for further instruction. It was the most detailed drill we have experienced since our first cruise some 20 years ago when we actually had to get into the lifeboats. Having cruised on Marco Polo last October we soon found our way around this very small and friendly ship and we spent a relaxing afternoon doing not very much at all until we settled into one of the bars, being entertained by a jazz duo before joining our six table guests for our second sitting dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant. I can never decide if only nice friendly people cruise or if we have always been lucky with our table guests on our various cruises but again we had been perfectly matched. The meal was a pleasant 5 course affair and everyone seemed to be satisfied. There was only one vegetarian choice which wasn't to my liking but an alternative was quickly offered. The evening was rounded off with a visit to the show in the Marco Polo Lounge -- a song and dance presentation with a live band. We intended to follow this up with the live sixties cabaret in Scotts Bar but the need for sleep took the better of us. The first night in our cabin highlighted one of the few problems with Marco Polo -- the wafer thin walls. We did not experience this last time when we were upgrade to a deluxe cabin. We spent a while listening to a detailed report of what the couple in the cabin next to had spent in the bar before they bid one another goodnight and silence, interrupted occasionally by some plumbing noises, reigned. There was no need for an early call the next morning -- our neighbours on the other side switched the television news on at 7.30 promptly. This pattern followed for the remainder of the cruise but it is amazing how quickly the body gets used to ignoring surrounding sounds! Our first port of call was Honfleur and after the mayhem of a cafeteria breakfast in Marcos Bistro we took the free shuttle into town and had a pleasant stroll in the sunshine before returning for lunch. We again tried the Bistro, which was far less busy than at breakfast time but for the rest of the cruise we elected to use the formal restaurant for all our meals. I have seen Marco Polo criticised for its policy of filling tables in order rather than allowing "freedom seating". Whilst, like most, we would have naturally sat on a table on our own we were very happy to be forced to meet other people and were again amazed at how many nice people choose to cruise on Marco Polo. After lunch we were torn between the healthy option of a brisk walk into town or join in the afternoon's organised activities and decided to stay on board. We entered the afternoon quiz and realised that we should have done the walk -- only 8 out of 20 for us! It was only day two but our lifestyle was quickly settling into pattern that was going to stay for the next 7 days. A coffee in the lounge -- so much nicer than the free stuff that is available all day in the Bistro, a drink before dinner, ( a couple on the "happy hour" days, a pleasant meal, a well produced show and a failed attempt to join in the late night entertainment. Some commented on the high price of drinks but £3.70 for gin and tonic. £1.80 for cappucino and £15 for a bottle of house wine seemed reasonable to us. Day 3 was our first sea day and we woke to a very bouncy ride even though we were yet to reach the Bay of Biscay. Fortunately the wind dropped and things settled down. A very comprehensive programme of entertainment was on offer. We attended two very interesting lectures -- one about Chelsea Flower show, and one about wine. We entered the quiz, 17/20 this time but still 2 points off the leaders and the 39 points in Countdown -- thankfully again off the leader board so we avoided the Conundrum. On many cruise ships it is on sea days that you realise how many people are on board and seating is at a premium. Despite reading a review recently that said there was very little comfortable seating on board and that it was being "reserved" with coats and bags, we saw no evidence of this, were always able to get a seat and were pleasantly surprised at amount of open space. The evening saw the first formal night and virtually everyone on board dressed for the occasion (or stayed in their cabins). Everyone that we spoke to was very satisfied with the meal. The evening show was an excellent presentation of Joseph - undoubtedly the best of many such productions that we have seen over the years. Day 4 was to be St de Luz but we awoke to heavy swells and we were unable to use the tenders to get to shore. After a morning of waiting, day 4 became another sea day. The entertainments team arranged additional afternoon entertainment including a Treasure Hunt. Anthea Guthrie, the Chelsea Flower Show lecturer offered to host an informal garden chat and whilst she expected half a dozen gardeners to sit round a table for a chat she was greeted with the main lounge full to capacity with gardeners wanting tips. She very professionally presented a 50 minute Gardeners Question time which could probably have gone for the rest of the afternoon if the room wasn't required for other activities. After three musical shows tonight's show was an evening of magical mayhem provided by the very competent cruise director. Day 5 was Le Verdon. The weather was wet but we used the free shuttle to go into town for a short stroll. The town was disappointing -- like a minor UK seaside resort in January with everything locked up but the exercise did us good. This evening's show was a classical performance from the on-board duo. Excellent again. More entertainment followed but, again, we only heard later how good it was. Day 6 was Brest and we chose an organised coach trip. As expensive as ever but our knowledgeable guide explained the history of this part of Brittany as we visited some of the sights in our very full five hour trip. The evening show was a guest comedian -- judging by the response of the audience he was good but stand-up comedy has never been our thing and losing an hour's sleep stopped us from going to the Blues Brothers Tribute. Day 7 was our final port day and it was back to the UK in the form of St. Peter Port, Guernsey. Going ashore by tender, being Easter Sunday, the town was very quiet but some people visited the Castle, some circumnavigated the Island for £1 on the local bus. Those that stayed on board had a full day on entertainment. This was our second formal evening, linked with a farewell evening with the officers. The evening show was a rock and roll tribute and was again excellent. Day 8 was a full day at sea as we returned to Tilbury. Another full day of activities was arranged and the main problem was finding enough time to fit the meals in. The rough weather made it impossible to use the outside spaces but, although it seemed busier than on the first sea day, it was still not overcrowded. Day 9 saw us docking in Tilbury, dead on time at 7:00 am. We were asked to vacate our cabins before breakfast and leave our hand luggage in one of the lounges. Disembarkation started about 8:30 and before 9:30 we were driving out of the car park. Could we fault the holiday? Probably only the thin walls which it is very difficult to do anything about. Would we travel with Cruise and Maritime again -- definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Disovering that 'Marco Polo' was still operating as a cruise ship, having last seen her as 'Alexander Pushkin',under the Soviet flag, in Gran Canaria in the late 60's, I was not expecting anything great when my ... Read More
Disovering that 'Marco Polo' was still operating as a cruise ship, having last seen her as 'Alexander Pushkin',under the Soviet flag, in Gran Canaria in the late 60's, I was not expecting anything great when my wife booked us onto the Easter cruise from which we have just returned. Travelling without expectation often brings nice surprises however and this cruise was no exception to that curious rule. A spacious, tidy and spotless cabin, two large windows, compact but very serviceable shower room, loads of storage space and a delightful Cabin Steward, Yuiry (his spelling)greeted our arrival on board. Departing from Tilbury made for a convenient drive for us and the secure parking is indoors so, apart from the usual queue to get aboard, the whole transfer was easy and unstressful. Free magazines whilst waiting were a welcome extra. Good start. In 'Marco Polo's extensive public spaces there is no apparent hangover from the Soviet years except for the fact that she feels well found and seaworthy - a real, traditional ship with a proper funnel, a secure draft and an amazing sea range due to her outsized fuel tanks - the latter not an issue on an eight night trip! Knowing that she was built well and has a great pedigree (check the Wikipedia entry)all adds to a real sense of safe, steady voyaging in a near historic vessel. April and the Bay of Biscay invite lively weather as a near certainty and we rode out some rough stuff without discomfort on our way South and homeward bound. She has effective stabilisers and rides a swell easily. The decor throughout is comfortable, light and modern. Public spaces are smart, well organised and in good condition. With the possible exception of Marco's Bistro (sometimes chaotic - heavily used at lunch and teatimes, long queues for tea and coffee, some unsuitable behaviour by fellow cruisers) she feels quite classy throughout in an understated way. Most of the furnishings around the ship are crisp and feel new. There is plenty of seating - a bit of a squash when it's raining and everyone's inside - but given a touch of sunshine people spread out and you can then find a quiet corner. Her beautiful exterior teak decks are spacious and there is room to sit outside or promenade and some excellent vantage points eg below the bridge looking for'ard and from the upper deck at the aft end where you look down on the small swimming pool and the sun decks. (Smokers congregate here too!) The small Games Room is rightly popular, the Library seems well stocked. Each day's Itinerary offers a broad range of activities - Fruit and Vegetable carving, Line dancing, Crazy Golf competitions, a lecture from a Guest Speaker. The Radio Theatre plays excellent sound archive programmes such as episodes of 'Round the Horne' and 'Just a Minute'- a great idea and very popular. Film shows in the Marco Polo Lounge, the ship's theatre, offer a mix of modern and classic; eg'Contagion' or you can watch 'Casablanca' in your cabin. If you have cruised before you may find the food on 'Marco Polo' a little quirky. There was nothing to complain about but I had a sense that the chef was on a tight budget. A fish Terrine had no taste at all. The bread rolls were sometimes 'resistant'.One evening's dinner choices were heavily dependent on veal. Soups are excellent. Salads a little less than imaginative - there is a box of coleslaw in that kitchen somewhere and it appears under different titles depending on its plate companion of the day! Breakfast offers a satisfying range well suited to English tastes - although the sausages could have more dash. The Egg Chef ('Call me Lubbly Jubbly!') provides excellent omelets or fried eggs with good humour. Orange juice became steadily more watery as the cruise progressed. This was much commented upon! Lunches offer a good choice - pasta and sauces, chicken, veal again. The Dinners in the well- appointed restaurant are very well presented by expert staff. Here expect a number of courses: cold and hot appetisers (sauteed seafood, Carpaccio con Scaglie), choice of soups, a salad, a usually tasty Main Course eg Grilled Pork Tenderloin or Chicken baked with Aubergines. Puddings include Tiramisu, Ice Cream of the Day. Cheese Platter is included. Coffee and Tea to follow.You can tuck in to it all! There is a good range of quite affordable wines at £20 upwards. These can be drunk over several evenings if one prefers. The service on this ship is amongst the best we have experienced, including on our favourite Cunard. Staff are polite, competent and usually speedy. The behaviour of one's fellow passengers often leaves the cruiser aghast and we saw some of the worst of Brits afloat on this trip. On 'Marco Polo' the staff appear admirably able to handle it! The Cruise Director rightly enjoys an excellent reputation. The Entertainment team outshines Fred. Olsen by several stars - the dancers are particularly good. Classical, jazz and popular music abound all over the ship and the formal 'Showtime' every night is worth attending in the Marco Polo Lounge. This 'theatre space' has an annoying row of raised extra single chairs in front of each seating tier which means that latecomers to the show dump themselves in front of you and block your view. There are also some pillars that obscure lines of sight and various seats are very brightly lit for H+S reasons. Recce the MP Lounge in advance, choose your favoured seats and get there early would be useful advice! Avoid the cocktails if you like to taste your choice of liquor - or have them mixed with a double shot. All spirits on board MP tasted curiously understrength to me - although my wife says that's because I have too much acquaintance with gin and whisky to be satisfied with a normal measure! Our furthest destination port was St Jean de Luz but the tenders couldn't handle the disembarkation in a heavy swell so we stayed at anchor and were unable to go ashore. I note that others have commented on missing ports in this way with Cruise and Maritime. Of course it costs cruise companies a good deal to go alongside in any ports - if being cynical I would suggest the choice of 'tender' ports is likely to reduce passengers' chances to get ashore at this time of year. Other ports on this trip eg Brest had little to offer. Soulac-sur-Mer was wet, blustery and largely shut. We should have been prepared for the fact that France is largely closed over Easter but hadn't given it a thought! If you're keen to join the organised tours you do pay for it - £30 to £80 pp per trip on this cruise but the experience is at least purposeful and managed. Our final day at sea was spent ambling around in a blustery and wet English Channel. I checked our position and course several times. At one stage we were steering 180 deg - that's due South on anyone's chart and not the way to Tilbury. Average speed on day eight was about 9 knots! Again I guess it's commercially advantageous to keep a ship full of spenders at sea even if you have to make a 'sea day' out of going round in circles! Slow progress uses less fuel too! Overall we enjoyed this cruise more than the sum total of the parts I list above. 'Marco polo' is a bit of a treasure and has something very special about her. I'm certain we'll be back before long. Oh, and the value is second to none - even at today's reducing cruise fares! Go enjoy - whilst she's still available! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We arrived at Tilbury at 13.35, while I parked my wife joined the queue for checking in. The checking in process was speedy and efficient. By 1400 we were in our cabin with our luggage. Our cabin was perfectly adequate, nothing luxurious ... Read More
We arrived at Tilbury at 13.35, while I parked my wife joined the queue for checking in. The checking in process was speedy and efficient. By 1400 we were in our cabin with our luggage. Our cabin was perfectly adequate, nothing luxurious but we had booked the Voyager Inside Guarantee package for only £699 each. We were booked on the first sitting for dinner and our principle waiters Ivo and Dawson were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. I would give the food 7/10 with three dishes 9/10. The wine, at least the one I chose was good. We enjoyed the entertainment in the Marco Polo Lounge, it was well presented and well performed. The public areas on Marco Polo were all comfortable and well furnished. I also made good use of the excellent gym facilities. We found all the staff very pleasant and cheerful, but we do like to treat the staff as we would like to be treated. We had read some less than complimentary comments about Marco Polo before we sailed, we found none of them to be true. Possibly people get what they deserve. Would we consider going on Marco Polo again? Definately. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
My wife and I are quite experienced cruisers on a variety of American cruise ships and on River boat cruises. This review is of our experience and is a critique of the Easter cruise and of the Marco Polo ship itself. As other reviews in ... Read More
My wife and I are quite experienced cruisers on a variety of American cruise ships and on River boat cruises. This review is of our experience and is a critique of the Easter cruise and of the Marco Polo ship itself. As other reviews in Cruise Critic have outlined the history of the Marco Polo I will not dwell on that except to reiterate that the Marco Polo . is quite an old ship, having been built in 1965 in East Germany. It was named the Alexander Pushkin and was the flagship of five sister ships owned by the Baltic shipping Co. They sailed from Leningrad to Montreal until the late seventies It changed ownership a few times and sailed out of Australia for a time.. From 1991-93 it was renovated and refurbished in Greece at a cost of $60 million and was then named the Marco Polo under the Orient Line. Her ownership changed a few times but she still has the original huge diesel engines. It is assuring to know that the ship was built to stand any sort of weather it is likely to encounter for its hull is strengthened to deal with ice. This cruise left from Tilbury docks at the mouth of the Thames and there was a bus that was organized to take passengers to the ship leaving from Victoria Stn. in London. But we were staying in North London and there were six of us in our party comprised of my wife and myself and two of our children with their spouses. So it seemed appropriate to get a taxi to take us there and back for £127. each way. The trip took about an hour. Boarding the ship was arranged according to your cabin number and we were scheduled to board at 12.15 P.M. However we had to wait in the port lounge until about 1.15 P.M. When things got moving everything went smoothly. There was no shortage of staff and we were quickly escorted to our cabins to which our suitcases had been delivered. The impression of our cabin was that it was very small and had twin beds which were the narrowest I have ever seen. As is usual, the toilet with wash room and shower was small and very cramped but everything was clean and compact. Interestingly, the toilet was not the usual suction machine but flushed like a house toilet There was ample drawer space and lockers and a safe for valuables. The Samsung TV worked with 5 or so channels.. We went for lunch to the Marco Bistro cafeteria to find it was crammed and difficult to find a seat, either inside or out on deck beside the pool. At 3.30 p.m. there was the usual first day life boat drill and this was very well organized. The main complaint was that we stood outside on the deck for a lot longer than necessary after the drill, before we were dismissed. I found that we were scheduled to have dinner at the late sitting, when we had reserved the early sitting. So I went to see the maitre d' who quickly and politely changed our seating to a nice table at the early sitting. That evening we had dinner in the Waldorf restaurant with fast and courteous service. The wines and drinks were fairly expensive but within the usual range of prices for Cruise ships. There was a good selection of wines. As we like a glass of wine with our meals I found it best to buy the special of 6 bottles from the wine steward for £80. There are no specialty restaurants on this ship which are becoming popular on many cruise ships. These restaurants charge a premium of $25 or more and I think should be superfluous as the food should be of high enough quality that one should not have to pay extra for a good meal. The entertainment that evening was in the lounge and was a song and dance routine. The quality of the band, singers and dancers was high. The size of the lounge seemed a little small for the number of passengers and so nearly every seat was taken and one had to get there early. It was a lovely clear evening and it was a smooth motionless crossing of the English channel. I did notice that the engines were a bit noisy. This was not a problem for us as we were on the 7th, (Pacific) deck but those on the lower decks did grumble about it. Our first dock was at Honfleur. This is a lovely small port in France and the home of Camembert cheese and Calvados, apple brandy. Complimentary bus shuttle service into town was provided by the port which ran every few minutes. For breakfast in the Waldorf restaurant there was a good selection of food, which was buffet style but one could order things not seen in the buffet. I ordered kippers and they were very good.. In the Bistro cafe, I did notice that there were no cloth napkins and there were no trays. I have heard that many ships are doing away with trays as this greatly reduces food consumption and waste. So not a bad thing, but one misses the convenience of having a tray to carry your dishes. Juices seem to be at a premium and are only available at breakfast The next day we were at sea all day and at first there were large swells that made getting about difficult. Fortunately the sea settled down and later on in the day it was much better. There were quite a few activities arranged for the passengers, with the library open, the fitness center, various contests, a lecturer etc. It was the first cruise we have been on that did not have bridge games organized with an instructor, but it is the shortest cruise we have taken. This was the night of the Captain's cocktail party and a formal night. It was very similar to that on other cruise ships with your picture taken beside the Captain, the senior staff was introduced and a glass of champagne and a hors d'oeuvre offered. I was pleased to see that about 85% of the male passengers were in proper formal wear, some others were in dark suits and a small smattering in brown shoes and not so formal wear. I estimated that 80-90% of the passengers on this cruise were over the age of 70 yrs and I saw no passengers in their teens or twenties and of course no children. I would say that 90% were English.. We anchored off St. Jean de Luz the next morning. This is near Biarritz, San Sebastian, the Spanish border and the Basque country. Tours had been arranged but there were 2 meter swells at the ship's side that made getting on and off the tenders hazardous. Many alternatives were considered and waiting for a few hours did not improve the conditions. Therefore getting ashore was abandoned. All ship activities are cancelled when in port but this was soon remedied and a new schedule of events was arranged and printed to keep the passengers happy and occupied. We next traveled over night along the French coast to Le Verdon. There, we were able to tie up to a dock. It was a foggy rainy cold morning but the rain stopped by noon. This is at the mouth of the Gironde estuary so is the port for Bordeaux and is in the Medoc wine country. Passengers are not allowed to walk in this restricted secure port area. But complimentary shuttle buses were provided which ran every 15 min. to the nearby resort town of Sourlac sur mer.(in Aquitaine province). However that shuttle bus dropped the passengers off at a car park which was about mile from the town center so it meant quite a walk for the older passengers and many did not get off but stayed on the bus to go back to the ship. That evening the entertainment was a Classical concert by the Carmen Duo` which were two young ladies from the Ukraine, one playing the violin and the other the piano and they were superb. Our next stop was in the harbor of Brest, in Brittany where we anchored and one got ashore by tender. But, at 1415 hrs. the ship tied up at the pier and stayed there until departure at 7.p.m. A bus was arranged as a shuttle to the city. We did not find this to be a worth while stop and did not get off the bus. The following morning, we were anchored in the Bay of St. Peter Port, Guernsey and passengers could get to land by tenders from 8.a.m. untll the last tender at 5.p.m. This is a nice port and island and being Easter Sunday many stores etc. were closed. A good way to see Guernsey is to take the local bus for an hour's drive around the island for £1 each. That night was another Captain's cocktail party and it was Formal dress code. The next day we were at sea all day and there were plenty of activities scheduled. As is usual all luggage was to be placed outside the cabin door by midnight. Departure was by code colors on the luggage. Conclusion. This has been a fairly detailed description of the cruise and the ship so it should help each reader to make their own assessment. My ratings out of 5 stars would be: Boarding and disembarkation = 4 ½*. Cabins = 4*. Meals and food offered = 4*. Cabin Staff and food service = 4 ½* Entertainment. = 4 ½*. Itinerary and port choice.= 3 *. Value for the price paid for the cruise. This would depend on how much you paid for your cabin. If you were to have bought your ticket after they began discounting the cruise you got excellent value for your money. But if you bought the ticket some months before your rating would only be so so. Also if your cabin happened to be on the lowest deck and you could not sleep because of the noise of the motors you would not be very happy. The staff was helpful and pleasant and there was no pressure on the passengers to buy pictures, tours or drinks etc. The entertainment was very good to excellent .Our experience was that we enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper ... Read More
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper and, because we remembered the Marco Polo with affection and the price was very good, we decided to book, particularly since it was departing from Newcastle which is only half an hour away from us. Having read some of the scathing reviews here, I can only ask what the moaners expected. First of all, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a budget cruise line and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. Secondly, the Marco Polo is an elderly lady indeed, having been built in 1965. Therefore she has no balcony cabins and lacks the (so-called) mod-cons you'll find on the newer, mammoth, 'plastic' cruise ships. However, she has clean and classic lines, wooden decks and portholes, cascading rear decks with excellent views, and friendly and attentive staff. We had booked a standard outside cabin but found ourselves upgraded to a Superior Plus twin ocean view on Deck 9 (Amundsen Deck). The cabin (602) is right at the front overlooking the bow, so our window was looking in the direction of travel, instead of a side-on view of the sea. As we were high up the ship and at the front we did not get any noise from the engine and enjoyed a good night's sleep each night. The cabin, although very clean and comfortable, was plainly furnished and had "no frills". There was loads of wardrobe and drawer space, twin beds, a chair and an old-fashioned (i.e. CRT) television. The selection of mini-toiletries, i.e. shampoo, shower gel and body lotion, was a cheapish brand and you don't get a chocolate on your pillow at night. Nonetheless our cabin stewardess kept the place immaculate and was very friendly. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch in the self-service Raffles buffet, and dinner in the main Waldorf restaurant. I have to say that the food in the restaurant was much better than that in the buffet, which tended to be unimaginative and repetitive. Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, there seemed to be an ongoing problem with there not being enough crockery and cutlery to cater for everyone; several times they ran out of coffee mugs, cereal bowls and knives or spoons, and you'd have to wait around for the kitchen staff to bring some more. This only occurred in the self-service buffet on Deck 8; the food and service in the main restaurant (Waldorf) were excellent. We found the entertainment to be surprisingly good for a small ship; the entertainment team turned their hands to everything from participating in the musical cabarets, to being quiz masters/mistresses, to game-show hosts to excursion couriers. They were a real friendly bunch. The musical performances in the Marco Polo Lounge included tributes to Abba and Queen, excerpts from West End musicals, and their own version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The nightly game shows in Scott's Bar included Catchphrase, the Weakest Link, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Mr & Mrs. They were really good fun and it was a lively crowd that congregated in Scott's Bar each night. The bar is situated on Deck 9 Aft and the doors open onto the outside deck which affords fantastic views and lets in a welcome sea breeze. We were blessed with weather that would have rivalled that on the Med. The 5-day cruise, which took us to Kirkwall (Orkney), Stornoway (Isle of Lewis), Ullapool and Invergordon, never saw a cloud in the sky and Ullapool clocked the hottest place in the UK when we were there, with a temperature of 28 Celsius. Obviously the cruise line can't control the weather, but it really made the holiday. This was our 30th cruise and it just so happened that the Captain on the Marco Polo, Georgios Antonellos, was the same captain we'd had on our very first cruise 24 years ago. We spotted him out on the bridge wing and told him this fact and he was tickled pink that we'd remembered him from the "Starship Royale" way back in 1988. He took us on a tour of the bridge and asked us which cabin we were staying in. Later that evening we returned to our cabin to find a bowl of fruit, some smoked salmon canapes along with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses. A card peeping from the fruit bowl was inscribed "With Compliments" and signed "Captain G. Antonellos". What a lovely, thoughtful touch and really the icing on the cake. We've travelled with the more fashionable cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruise, Cunard and Holland America, so we didn't expect much from Cruise & Maritime or the little old Marco Polo. But the whole experience surpassed all of our expectations and turned out to be a really enjoyable trip with excellent entertainment. We'd definitely cruise with CMV and Marco Polo again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Pleasant surprise with a very good free upgrade from cheapest inner cabin to superior outside cabin and felt optimistic despite reading some of the reviews.Embarkation was spot on. Arrived at the cruise terminal at 12.25 pm and was shown ... Read More
Pleasant surprise with a very good free upgrade from cheapest inner cabin to superior outside cabin and felt optimistic despite reading some of the reviews.Embarkation was spot on. Arrived at the cruise terminal at 12.25 pm and was shown to our cabin by 13. 15 and eating buffet lunch 20 minutes later. The ship, public areas may have been a little dated and worn in some areas but spotlessly clean. The cabin was spotless with a double wardrobe and had a larger en suite than when I cruised with Cunard/ Princess lines.The twin beds were exceptionally comfortable. Didn't use the main dining room as didn't want to dress up.1 formal night even on a 2 night er cruise ! Buffet was reasonable and fish dishes excellent. The salads did though look like yesterdays veg served up in pasta or mayonnaise.There is cabin service but except for breakfast there is a charge. Service from staff excellent throughout- all polite and cheerful and greeted passengers when they walked past. Drinks were a bit pricey but no service charge added to the bill The entertainment /showtime standard but there was a very good classical duo on piano and violin playing in one lounge/bars. Didn't go on any of the excursions as had been to Belgium several times and its only a 15 minute walk to Antwerp central area. There was a couple of little things that irked me but not enough to spoil the experience of sailing on a traditional British cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We had never cruised before so were a little unsure of what to expect... espacially after reading some of the negative reviews givent to the Marco Polo on this site.. Firstly, Marco Polo is a cruise ship built in the 60s and has had ... Read More
We had never cruised before so were a little unsure of what to expect... espacially after reading some of the negative reviews givent to the Marco Polo on this site.. Firstly, Marco Polo is a cruise ship built in the 60s and has had numerous refits, if you want a luxury liner with balconies large cabins and massive deck areas then look elsewhere. Marco Polo is a small ship by comparison to some of the floating hotels that we saw on our cruise, she takes 820 passengers and was full on this particular cruise. We found the size of the ship suited us fine and we never felt lost in a crowd. Staff were helpful and very pleasant at all times, we, unlike one reviewer, did see the captain and saw his officers on a number of occaisions.The ship was clean and tidy, cabin was kept spotless by our steward who again was very pleasant and helpful. . It was a big enough room with plenty of storage space. The food was very good with a choice of formal dining or buffet meals for all three meals. We were blessed with some good weather and calm to moderate seas which always helps the holiday. The scenery was spectacular...We went on some excursions but other times chose to spend time in the port of call.. the choice is yours.. Would I go on the Marco Polo again? without a doubt.. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Having read some of the reviews I can only assume that some people who have posted bad reviews are professional moaners. We have just returned from a cruise leaving from Leith (Edinburgh) to the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape (most ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews I can only assume that some people who have posted bad reviews are professional moaners. We have just returned from a cruise leaving from Leith (Edinburgh) to the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape (most northerly point of Europe, way beyond the Arctic Circle). We have sailed on the QE2 just before she was taken out of service, and many aspects of our Marco Polo cruise were better than Cunard - embarkation being one - very swift and efficient. We found the ship to be spotlessly clean - no wonder - the crew were constantly cleaning. We enjoyed the food - there was masses of it, and lots of choice. The destinations they had picked were beautiful and interesting, and the Excursion Team was extremely efficient. The one problem we had was when we were late docking into Honnigsvag, for the North Cape, because a giant Italian Cruise ship was still occupying the berth. They were late leaving because some of their passengers had failed to return to the ship on time. Our excursion times were revised to ensure we got sufficient time at the North Cape, and the Captain altered the route slightly, and went at top speed to make up for lost time. All the crew were friendly and efficient - I did not mind the fact that they wanted us out of the dining room once we had finished eating. These folk work extremely long hours with very little free time, and you can understand them wanting to get finished up. We had the cheapest ocean view cabin, but it was pefectly adequate, with plenty of storage space. After all, you only really sleep in it. There was always somewhere quiet you could find in the public areas if you wanted to read or doze. We liked the fact that the Marco Polo, which is nearly 50 years old, is a proper cruise liner, and looks like a real ship, unlike these horrible skyscrapers at sea which so many people seem to like. Marco Polo is small enough to feel intimate and friendly, but large enough to feel spacious. I cannot understand those who felt claustrophobic - airplanes are much worse! I would go on Marco Polo again, like a shot, if she was sailing somewhere I wanted to go. The main purpose of our trip was not to have a cruise, per se, but to see the Norwegian Fjords and the North Cape. Given the humungously high prices in Norway, it was a really good value way to see these sights. It would have cost us 3 or 4 times as much to go by air or by land. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Probably easier for people if I use a bullet point system. First the GOOD: # WEATHER FANTASTIC # CALM SEAS # MAGNIFICENT SCENERY # GREAT COMPANY AT TABLE Much of what we enjoyed on this trip did not relate/rely on the ship. The ... Read More
Probably easier for people if I use a bullet point system. First the GOOD: # WEATHER FANTASTIC # CALM SEAS # MAGNIFICENT SCENERY # GREAT COMPANY AT TABLE Much of what we enjoyed on this trip did not relate/rely on the ship. The Marco Polo is an old ship and much smaller that most. As a result entertainment is limited and the boat is claustophobic. Do not know what this would be like on a long cruise as the cabins are small and ours was on the second top deck with a view. Food improved as the cruise went on. Courses are small but there are plenty of them. We tended to dine formally as it is a bit of a cafeteria in Marco's. However, the tables in the DR are very close together which makes movement very difficult especially for the less mobile passengers. This particular cruise did have an elderly feel to it. If you want something a bit less twee then do not go on this one. THE BAD # rushed dining - they serve you very quickly which is not necessary on a cruise. # pushy staff - maybe it was just us but our waiter was pushy when it came to nominations for best staff member. We were actually still eating and I was talking when he interrupted me to inform us that we should vote for him! ( we didn't) Obviously there is pressure to be selected but a less aggressive service style and a bit more civility would pay dividends. # pressure to buy dvd/photos/cocktails etc. Everything is geared to buy, buy , buy. We have a camera thank you and can take our own photies. All in all we went on this cruise to see Norway which we did. We are not cruisers and cannot see ourselves going again. By their very nature cruises have to be organised and cruise companies have to make profits. I felt that, as cruie virgins, we were at a distinct disadvantage as to perks/costs etc. Also a cruise with an age range of 65+ carries its fair share of rude,old people who think that age in itself allows them to be pushy and ignorant. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We went on the 10 night cruise leaving from Leith, Edinburgh for the Norwegian fjords and the midnight sun. We came back sunburnt from being in the Arctic! Embarkation was so smooth, from home to our cabin in under one hour. We had a ... Read More
We went on the 10 night cruise leaving from Leith, Edinburgh for the Norwegian fjords and the midnight sun. We came back sunburnt from being in the Arctic! Embarkation was so smooth, from home to our cabin in under one hour. We had a deluxe cabin (Pacific Deck 7 Cabin 434). After reading the divided reviews in Cruise Critics, I was seriously apprehensive but I need not have been. The cabin was OK in size- about sizes with the deluxe cabin we had on the Celebrity Mercury (now Mein Schiff 2). The only extra space we had on the Celebrity cabin was a balcony which we hardly used due to the bad weather sailing to Alaska. The cabin attendant on the Marco Polo we had was called Iryna she was brilliant- rooms cleaned well, replenished used items immediately and left the cabin well made up and tidy twice a day. She turned down our beds each evening. The Bistro tended to be very busy though we never found a problem getting seats. I noticed some people complaining about having to eat fish and rice...well... for some cultural groups and cuisines..that is fine and really quite delicious. However there was a range of foodwith some variation for the salads, cakes and main dishes. We ate in the Bistro for breakfast and lunch and in the Waldorf dining evening evening. The food in the evening was excellent. The portions were reasonable, not large but with five courses, it sufficed. We had really nice people at our table which made each dinner evening something to look forward to. We thought the drinks were reasonably priced for a cruise ship. If you drink wine with your evening meal, best to get a package. We got a wine package for £80 which bought you 5 bottles of wine plus 10 bottles of water or 6 bottles of wine with no water. The water gets delivered to your cabin and we found having bottled water was very good. I also used the gym and sauna each day as well as using the whirlpool in the top deck several times during the cruise. The weather was very hot.. and so people sunbathed as we cruised into the Arctic. So do bring light wear and not just wintry wear. The evening entertainment in the Lounge was energetic and there are some very talented young people who provide a fast paced 45 minute entertainment each evening. Other activities on board cover a range of tastes from Tai Chi (these classes with Nicola were great) to craft sessions, line dancing, bingo and quizzes. There is a jazz bar area which I loved and classical music in the Captain's Lounge. I indulged in four massage sessions in the Jade Wellness Clinic and if you can get a lady called Inna- she is very good. Shore excursions were a tad pricey. We did not take an excursion at Molde or in Tromso. We walked about in Molde and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the boat when docked in Tromson. We went on the the Trollstigen Road trip, the ferry trip in Gerainger fjord and onto to Dalsnibba (too short a time at the top - only 15 minutes), the trip to the Viking Museum in Leknes(Lofoten Islands) and of course the trip to the North Cape. I have to say that our trip days were great because the weather was just perfect. I think we picked the right trips to go on- however all these trips cost us £540 for both of us- rather a lot. We went on this cruise as we wanted to relax and de-stress as our jobs are extremely demanding. We did de-stress and yes,our cocktail and drinks bill was somewhat large. You make from it what you put in. If you are determined to find fault, complain and moan, then yes, you probably will find that. For example, the shower pressure is not great and it is difficult to get the temperature level of the water to stay constant but overall, it was fine. However if you are a positive person and not parochial in attitude and look for things to enjoy, then you will. The staff at every level was just fantastic. I too noticed comments about Eastern European staff being unfriendly, I did not find that so. To begin with some are more reserved but when you get talking, its fine. If you take an interest in the various staff, they take an interest back. We liked the 'no children' atmosphere on the boat- we do have children so it is not about not liking kids but about the peace and quiet. The ship is small and so there is less to do on board but a couple of good books, an iPod and just a preparedness to relax will see your blood pressure level plummet. We enjoyed the cruise so much, we have booked again next year but this time to head even further north to Spitzbergen. We booked while on board and got a very good discount. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We booked this cruise just three weeks ago and took advantage of a newspaper advertisement for 8 days in the Fjords/Orkney Island for less than '£700 for the two of us. We thought OK an inside cabin will not be the best but for ... Read More
We booked this cruise just three weeks ago and took advantage of a newspaper advertisement for 8 days in the Fjords/Orkney Island for less than '£700 for the two of us. We thought OK an inside cabin will not be the best but for the price we went ahead and booked it anyway. Wow were we surprised as our cabin was very large with a wardrobe each and two sets of drawers for our clothes. The cabin was very bright with mirrors making it seem even larger. The food was excellent and equally the evening entertainment. The staff were fantastic and the hosts were amazing. We met so many nice people on board and shared experiences of past cruises. Didn't use the pool but did enjoy the three jacuzzis in the sunshine - beware take plenty of After-Sun if you burn easily like I unfortunately do. The gym was quite modern and I used it twice. There were daytime activities such as Bingo, Quizzes etc but we didn't take part in these as we were happy to relax with a book instead. Daily news-sheet to keep up-to-date with all the news back home. My husband's birthday was lovely with the ship's crew singing and playing Happy Birthday even though we never mentioned it, he just wanted a quiet birthday away with no fuss LoL. Two formal nights and the rest either casual or semi-formal. There was always the opportunity to dine in the buffet restaurant if preferred. We chose the 8pm sitting and enjoyed the entertainment at 10pm followed by cabaret etc into the wee hours. Ports of Call were: Hellesylt, Andalsnes, Olden, Skjolden, Bergen and Kirkwall. They were all very different and there was plenty of time to explore them all and enjoy the beautiful spectacular scenery. Would we go again? You bet!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
I live in Zimbabwe and was contacted by my parents to see if I would like to accompany them on a British Isles cruise. Personally I would have chosen somewhere more exotic but was willing to give it a go. Knowing nothing about other ships ... Read More
I live in Zimbabwe and was contacted by my parents to see if I would like to accompany them on a British Isles cruise. Personally I would have chosen somewhere more exotic but was willing to give it a go. Knowing nothing about other ships or destinations I would now say that no-one should rule out Britain as a cruise because we visited 7 wonderful places (sadly our 8th was cancelled due to high winds but it gave us a valued extra day on the ship!). In a wet British summer we were very fortunate that we had no rain at all for the duration of the cruise and that obviously helped. Orkney, Scilly and Honfleur were particularly special visits but Invergordon, Tobermory, Dublin and Guernsey were no let down either. I would love to go back to any of them for a longer stay. At each destination there was a good variety of excursions on offer. They are not cheap but on reflection I would suggest that on the whole they are a fair value for money and certainly I found the guides friendly and knowledgeable. Each trip was a memorable experience. At each place it was possible to go ashore on your own mission and shuttle buses, where required, (or tenders) were provided free of charge which I felt was a good service. Some might suggest that there is nothing to do at Invergordon but I would say it is worth a morning visit to the museum, church and to see the town murals. At other stops such as Guernsey and Scilly, I opted for a morning or afternoon excursion and used the rest of the day to do my own thing. As for the ship, the Marco Polo, I loved it. It certainly offered all that I would have wanted and expected. The cabin was very comfortable and had enough space for my needs but to be honest I spent very little time there. The shower was particularly good I thought! And I cannot speak highly enough of my cabin steward who was friendly, highly attentive but not at all intrusive or overly familiar. Indeed the whole crew were most impressive. I cannot find fault with the service they gave. I would say the same of the cruise director and his team also. My only criticism is that their presentation of shore excursions might have been more fluent. There was great attention to detail and on a couple of occasions I spotted something slightly amiss and both were dealt with immediately. The daily programme leaflet was highly informative and the news bulletins and puzzle sheets also much appreciated. Everyone wants to know about the food! I ate all my suppers in the Waldorf Restaurant. The tables seem close together but in fact it is not a problem. The food, I believe, was top quality. It had smart French or Italian names but for the most part it was not too fancy which I mean as a compliment. It was all good quality without fail and - again I say this as a compliment - the courses were not too large which meant you could have several, if not all, without feeling bloated at the end. Each evening was different. I am not someone who would rate himself as a culinary expert nor someone who eats out with any regularity but I certainly looked forward to what was on offer and found the evening meal a highlight, partly for the food and partly because all 8 of us on the table got on well.Other meals I ate in Marco's bistro. Again I was very happy with what was on offer. It would be easy to eat more than you need! Breakfast offered excellent variety for continental or traditional British style and the self service lunches had many hot and cold dishes to choose from. And I mustn't forget the lovely afternoon teas. I also appreciated the availability at pretty much all hours of the day of tea (many flavours to choose from) and coffee to help yourself. Marco's could get a little busy at breakfast or lunch but only once did it seem so crowded that we opted for lunch in the Waldorf itself which simply took a little longer at it is waiter service there but made a pleasant change. I was also very impressed by the entertainment. I would not have missed the evening show for anything. I have never been to a west end production so I can't compare but I thought the show team was wonderful. Even, one evening, when the ship was rolling quite considerably, I don't think the dancers missed a step. The pianists and vocalists in the bars and lounges were talented and appropriate. During the day there also seemed a fair amount on offer though I only attended the 20 question quiz sessions which seemed to attract a faithful audience. A couple of footnotes are that embarkation and disembarkation could not have been easier. Also the public announcement system was totally audible, not overused and each prepared announcement was always clear and well expressed. I should say that the Marco Polo obviously aims at a more elderly market. At 48 I was almost the youngest passenger. Clearly this should be born in mind when selecting the Marco Polo as a cruise ship and my judgements in the ratings are based on that. If you want a "wild" trip, don't go for the Marco Polo. For a leisurely, interesting one that can be as busy and full as you wish I cannot speak too highly of my experience. I have no other cruise experience but would jump at the chance of another Marco Polo cruise if I had the opportunity. Maybe it is worth saying that my parents were also first time cruisers and have themselves booked Marco Polo to tour the Norwegan fjords in May. Well done Cruise and Maritime and Marco Polo. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
My partner and I booked for a taster of the 'cruise' ship Marco Polo. The ship never left Tilbury but we got to experience for 1 night (thank god only 1 night)the ship and its hospitality. Firstly embarkation was no ... Read More
My partner and I booked for a taster of the 'cruise' ship Marco Polo. The ship never left Tilbury but we got to experience for 1 night (thank god only 1 night)the ship and its hospitality. Firstly embarkation was no different to queuing at Gatwick or Stansted for a flight... we were shown to our cabin which was supposed to be a guaranteed double bed suite. Upon entering it was twin beds and when I pointed out the problem the staff person threw his hands up in the air like I was being a nuisance and told me to get out of the way and proceeded to push the two beds together !!!!! Not a good start. The ship is certainly old with uneven floors in just about all areas. We had a look at the show cabins and these also had uneven floors, so a feeling of sea sickness without moving anywhere!!!!!!! The dining room has too many tables in and it is a c onstant 'excuse me' of people trying to get into their seats. Don't sit at the side tables unless you don't mind having your elbow on the window sill. Miles too cramped for a dining experience. We found the staff too abrupt. The waiter in the entertainment area was quite insistant that 'we pay cash yeh' !!!!! Maybe a few lessons in customer service may be required. The entertainment itself was diabolical ... have seen better in holiday camps. Wouldn't be impressed if that was all that was on offer on a weeks cruise !!! No escaping either as the singers after their show then go and croon away in the bars. Lots of noise in the corridors during the night (between 12 and 1am in the morning) as people made their way back to their cabins. Breakfast was a farce. I've eaten better in a 3 star hotel. Massive queue for food. Was told on entering the dining room that we could sit anywhere but was then told most pointedly by a staff member 'you sit there'!!!!! All in all I would still like to have a cruise, b ut most definately not on this boat. P&O Cross Channel ferry comes to mind. I wouldn't like to travel up the Thames on this vessel let along across the Channel or North Sea !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Whilst I have specifically listed this review for my recent trip on Marco Polo to the Baltics, Id like to generalise to include my trip with them 2 years ago to the Amazon. Marco Polo was the first ever large ship cruise I had undertaken, ... Read More
Whilst I have specifically listed this review for my recent trip on Marco Polo to the Baltics, Id like to generalise to include my trip with them 2 years ago to the Amazon. Marco Polo was the first ever large ship cruise I had undertaken, had I bitten off more than I could chew signing up as a singleton for 6 weeks on a ship? Not on your life....it was wonderful. And the biggest thing to make my holiday a success was the friendliness of the staff on board. Because it has a smaller guest capacity than the larger cruise ships, there is a bigger ratio of staff to guests so you feel like you are getting a very personal service. And the happy faces and fun demeanour of the staff gives the impression that this is either a great cruise line to work for or/and a great CAPTAIN to work for. Having met the Captain three times now, he is a charming, quiet, extremely experienced shipman who runs a strict but content ship. The food is excellent. I ate on both trips in the Waldorf Restaurant, late sitting, and having chosen a large table, met really nice fellow traveller with whom to chat over dinner. It amazes me that the kitchen can turn out the quality and presentation of food that they do, consistently under such pressured conditions. The restaurant staff and cafe/restaurant staff all work so so hard and still manage to smile. As a single traveller I have enjoyed a twin cabin with window on both trips on Amundsen Deck. This deck is convenient and quieter than the lower decks. Cabin staff are great, cabins extremely clean and with ample space. Performance entertainment on board in the evenings is excellent with equivalent to London shows in the lounge. The standard of the entertainment team singing is brilliant. Shore excursions are excellent, ship staff and land agent staff work hard, organise very well and impart tonnes of knowledge about the locations you visit. Daytime entertainment tends to be for older people and as an active/sporty lady, would not normally be the sort of things I would do regularly..Countdown, bingo and quizzes but the line caters for the general customer generic, and that isnt actually me! Saying that, I was happy to take part and if asked, I couldnt honestly say what things I would like included in the itinerary specially for me....tennis court on board...would be interesting!! Outside space onboard is very pleasant in good weather and the gym is perfectly adequate. This really is a great ship to cruise on and I chose it specifically for my second large ship cruise because I had enjoyed it so much the first time. I noticed a difference with doing a cold weather cruise as opposed to a sunny cruise, because you spend more time inside rather than out on deck. It can be difficult to find quiet space other than in your cabin and I dont like to shut myself away in my cabin to read...so HOT one next time to be able to read and sunbathe on deck again. Im always disappointed to hear people moaning, thankfully doesnt happen often but despite excellent service and food, I heard a couple moaning that the food wasnt as good as theyd had on such and such cruise! And I get upset with people getting out of their prams the MOMENT something doesnt go as planned. There was an issue on the last trip of a really early land trip and people virtually rioted because they thought they wouldnt get any breakfast before going! As it happened, it all got sorted but I dont understand why some people think the only way to get something sorted is to be verbally aggressive!! There was also an incident involving a very elderly lady who walked with a walking stick on a trip to Catherines Palace in St Petersburg. She was so rude to our lovely young Russian female guide, upset because she had to walk the length of the driveway to the Palace. I would suggest to anyone with any sort of mobility issues that before booking the cruise, check the itinerary to the extent of what trips you would be CAPABLE of making. There had been clear warning in the description of this particular trip that there would be a LOT of walking and that it may not be suitable for some guests!! The Palace security are the ones who decide where the coaches can have access and they do not allow them access to the Palace approach. If there are any single or recently having become single again people out there, nervous about doing these trips alone...dont be. There are lots of singletons in the same position and single or otherwise, people with whom to have interesting conversation. On my first Cruise Maritime trip I met a lady Id played tennis with as a teenager and on this last trip, two ladies whom I had known at College!!! I made a new lifelong friendship of a dear couple and lovely memories of fantastic trips. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
I've tried very hard to make the following review truthful and objective for the benefit of future passengers. My wife and I had never cruised before but all-in-all we quite enjoyed our experience on board m.v. Marco Polo, but ... Read More
I've tried very hard to make the following review truthful and objective for the benefit of future passengers. My wife and I had never cruised before but all-in-all we quite enjoyed our experience on board m.v. Marco Polo, but personally speaking I'll be in no rush to repeat it. The embarkation process in Tilbury was slick and fast. Our taxi was able to pull up right outside the Cruise Terminal and the labeled luggage was whisked away by the baggage handlers. The longish check-in queue inside the terminal moved remarkably quickly and we were soon shown to our cabin and reunited with our luggage. Lunch in Marco's Bistro left a lot to be desired that day and on each day of the cruise there after. The ambiance in Marco's is that of an overcrowded chain store cafeteria, with a food selection to match. We played hunt the table/chair that day and at lunch- and tea-times in Marco's every day thereafter, a situation doubtless exacerbated by the fact that weather conditions often precluded guests from making use of the outside table and chairs. The situation each mealtime was not helped by the obvious reluctance of guests to relinquish their table/chairs once they had finished their meal, a situation that the staff did nothing to address. My wife and opted to take our breakfast and dinners in the Waldorf restaurant. What a contrast to Marco's! The ambiance was excellent. Guests were shown to the first available seats for breakfast, and helped themselves from a perfectly adequate hotel-style buffet, but if you're fussy about your sausages and bacon forget it! Fried eggs and omelets were first rate though. Guests have reserved seating for the dinner service and are waited upon by a friendly and efficient waiting team who rarely put a foot wrong. Dinners comprised five courses (six on formal nights) and generally speaking were tasty, varied and beautifully presented. The ship puts a great deal of empathise on the Dress Code of the day, Casual = anything except shorts and vests; Informal = trousers and jackets with or without ties; and Formal = Dinner Jackets (although lounge suits with ties are acceptable. In common with the majority I was happy to conform and duly dragged a largish suit bag on-board. A minority however ignored the code absolutely, which I felt was unacceptable. On Informal and Formal days these people should be politely directed to the self-service Bistro. If the ship has a rule it ought to be enforced! There are a number of help-yourself tea & coffee stations around the ship but we found these to be frankly dreadful. The water was insufficiently hot to brew a decent cup from the tea-bags provided and in any case tasted flat and stale. The coffee was unpredictable, sometimes recognizable as coffee but often not. The alternative was to order (and pay for) waitress served tea and coffee in the lounges. Much better but expensive. The Marco Polo is not a big ship and it was crowded. After two days at sea it did begin to get a little claustrophobic. We had a superior outside cabin WITH WINDOWS - although all we could see out of them was the bottom of a life-boat - but I'm 6 foot 5 inches tall and I found the cabin to be very cramped. The beds sloped into the middle of the room due I'm sure to people using the beds as seats when watching TV. And for a guy my size the shower was quite frankly a bad joke! The Marc Polo is an adults-only ship and anyone who has experienced a Warners Historic Hotel break in the UK will feel right at home. Walking sticks, elbow-crutches and mobility aids abound and we felt that most of the on-board entertainment - bingo, quizzes, deck-quoits, bean-bag bowls etc - was directed at people older my wife and I (late 60's). That said my wife enjoyed the handicraft lessons and I took in a couple of interesting lectures. The top deck features a quite well-equipped gym and outdoor Jacuzzi but unsurprisingly these facilities seemed to be little used. Performances in the theater and in the Scott's Bar nightclub were enthusiastic and entertaining if not West-End quality but once again we had to play hunt-the-seat and argue with the many people who insist that "there's someone sitting here" when in fact their cruise-companions were still in the cabin or drinking in the lounge. My biggest gripe however is with the on-board tipping policy. So-called "gratuities" are charged to your on-board account at the flat rate of £10 per day per couple. That's got nothing to do with tipping, it's simply a staff wage supplement! True you can opt out of this levy but only by completing a form on receipt of your on-board account at the end of the cruise, which we decided not to do. And we still felt we needed to recognise the hard work and service provided by our cabin steward and restaurant team. Why on earth doesn't the company simply add a further £10 per day per couple to the ticket price if it needs to supplement its payroll, and leave tipping to the ABSOLUTE DISCRETION of the guests? An finally, the de-embarkation process on board and in the terminal was as slick and efficient as we'd come to expect and trust me, much, MUCH less stressful than any airport I've ever been in. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Having read a number of less than complimentary reviews about the Marco Polo we were delighted to find we had a wonderful cruise.The ship is the smallest cruise liner we have sailed on,but good things come in small packages. Embarkation ... Read More
Having read a number of less than complimentary reviews about the Marco Polo we were delighted to find we had a wonderful cruise.The ship is the smallest cruise liner we have sailed on,but good things come in small packages. Embarkation was quick and painless,and our cases were delivered to our cabin within half an hour of our arrival,and that is a first. Our cabin was spotlessly clean and comfortable,and our every need was taken care of by our cabin steward Saw. We ate practically all the time in the Waldorf restaurant,apart from a couple of times when we had afternoon tea in Marco's buffet.The food was most acceptable,maybe not luxurious,but there was plenty of it plus lots of variety.Drinks in the bars were very reasonable,a lot less than on a number of other ships. We visited Invergordon for Inverness,Ullapool instead of Stornaway as the weather was too bad for the tenders to land,Tobermory,Dublin,Isles of Scilly,Jersey and Honfleur.Unfortunately,and this is the case with all the lines we have cruised with,the shore excursions were very overpriced,so apart from having a trip to Giverny we did our own thing.Apart from one day in Tobermory where it poured with rain,we had lovely sunny weather. This ship had it's full capacity of passengers but we never had the feeling of overcrowding and could always find a seat either on deck or inside. The crew were wonderful,very helpful,caring and unfailingly polite.The way they assisted the more elderly passengers on and off the tenders was wonderful to say.Cleaning and painting was going on all the time,but was quite inobtrusive,the ship was spotless. The selection of entertainment on board was very varied,and most professional,something for everyone. Marco Polo is a delightful little ship,and we wouldn't hesitate to cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We are fans of the Marco Polo. It's not perfect, but we wouldn't keep booking if there were serious problems. Everybody has their own experiences and views, and whilst I don't doubt some of the moans about the ship have a ... Read More
We are fans of the Marco Polo. It's not perfect, but we wouldn't keep booking if there were serious problems. Everybody has their own experiences and views, and whilst I don't doubt some of the moans about the ship have a basis in fact, some of them are nonsense. Some people just like to moan - you see that on other travel sites as well.Anyway, our most recent cruise was a short break to Amsterdam, Rouen and Antwerp. Due to traffic problems on the canal linking Amsterdam to the sea, and hence missing a tide, we got an extra stop in Honfleur. This was a bonus (though inevitably, some people were moaning!) Rouen had courtesy buses, the other city centres were all within walking distance.Embarkation couldn't be smoother (has been all four times) and getting on/off ship for shore visits also very efficient. Staff are universally friendly and helpful - generally not British, but we like that - it seems like you're on holiday before you leave Tilbury! Some posters have complained about the English language skills - we saw one passenger repeatedly saying to a waitress "oi'll avan'arf" instead of asking for a small beer, then telling his companions what an idiot the girl was for not understanding English. Smile and be pleasant to the staff, and they'll be pleasant to you - it's not difficult! Beer incidentally was £3.10 a pint - that is cheaper than my local pub. Meals - some of the criticisms are valid. The self-serve restaurant can be crowded when the weather isn't good enough to sit outside, but is better if you can bear to wait a few minutes, rather than joing a queue before they start serving. The buffet is pretty good - I'm a fussy eater and I never had problems. Breakfast can get a bit dry if you're not there when things are first put out, but that's often the case in hotels, and these people are trying to feed 800 passengers. Dinner in the Waldorf Restaurant is great - varied and tasty - when you see reviews describing it as school dinners or works canteen, you do begin to wonder!Shore excursions are expensive, but you don't have to go on them, and we generally don't.Public areas are fine - always being cleaned and decent decor. Gym is well-equipped, given the profile of the passengers. Cabins maybe aren't as well soundproofed as a modern ship, but we never had any problems yet (touch wood!) Cabins in category 12 have more storage than I have at home! Also two lovely big windows.Entertainment is generally excellent - I recently went to a West End show featuring so-called TV stars, and the dancing was definitely no better than on the Marco Polo. some shows are better than others - the Queen tribute is not my favourite, but others (eg ABBA, rock'n'roll, classical concert) I could watch again and again (and have). Daytime activities are a bit amateurish at times (competitions etc) but people enjoy them and they're not compulsory! Lectures are varied - usually art, gardening etc, but on this cruise the lectures were by a former cold war nuclear submarine commander and were very popular.Finally a comment about the passengers. They do tend to be older (we are in our late forties and are among the youngest - my wife does get mistaken for crew - best not to wear tan trousers and a pink shirt!) You get some moaners but on the whole people are there to enjoy themselves and everybody gets on ok. Age range tends to be younger on the shorter cruises - average probably 60s/early 70s.Overall, don't be put off by the moaners! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We arrived at Tilbury and embarkation was spot on and painless. Food was plentiful if a little unimaginative at breakfast and lunch. Dinners were good - the same food was served both in the restaurant and in the 'Bistro' but ... Read More
We arrived at Tilbury and embarkation was spot on and painless. Food was plentiful if a little unimaginative at breakfast and lunch. Dinners were good - the same food was served both in the restaurant and in the 'Bistro' but the bistro was self service, and apparently the wine cost less in the Bistro than in the Restaurant. Entertainment was probably the best we have seen - both dancers and singers were good and very hard working. The cabin was small but clean with enough hanging and drawer space - note however, that your suitcases stay in the room (under the bed)so make sure they are not too big! Gratuities are charged at £10 per day per cabin, however we chose to give money personally to our cabin girl,(who failed to say 'thank you') our waiter (Nin Nin who was the cheeriest and nicest staff member we met on board) and wine waiter and the remainder of the £140 we added to our final bill. The attraction of this cruise for us was the departure from Tilbury. We were surprised, however at the number of old and infirm people on board, given that this is an old ship and not really suitable for wheelchairs etc. Over all the trip was good value working out at about £100 per night each including bar bill and car parking. We did not take any of the trips in port. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
It is hard to categorise the Marco Polo. It is certainly not Cunard. We went on the ship as it offered an interesting two night trip to Amsterdam. We were upgraded before we left. Tilbury is interesting. We parked away from the Terminal to ... Read More
It is hard to categorise the Marco Polo. It is certainly not Cunard. We went on the ship as it offered an interesting two night trip to Amsterdam. We were upgraded before we left. Tilbury is interesting. We parked away from the Terminal to a not particularly well signposted timber warehouse a few hundred yards away and were bussed back. Odd it felt but it was under cover. The transit bus said it all with a sign at the door "no smoking, no alcohol, no greasy foods". The ship was eclectic. Clean throughout and furnishings were acceptable although its ancient heritage was obvious. Meals were adequate, just. Breakfast poor in the restaurant and self service with bacon like shoe leather and toast over crunchy. One evening meal good, one poor and the plated meal displays to help you choose enabled comparison of quantities (the display was more generous). The bars were always crowded and a lot (I mean a lot) of drink was consumed. The North Sea was bumpy and my wife had an interesting debate with reception in trying to extract some (chargeable) travel pills. They (the seasoned sailors) said it was not very bumpy. Were they trying to prove me wrong or declare I am a wimp? They did a remarkably efficient drill before sailing and the entertainment was pretty good. So if you like Queen or Roll and Roll era hits and dressing up in life jackets this is just the cruise for you The crew is mostly Eastern European with a degree of sternness often apparent or was it a lost in translation. The crew were on their last trip of the season The disappointment was the theft of two dress watches form our case when left out to be off loaded or during the process. This has never happened to us before. Although they were not Rolexes, they did have some worth. I did inform Cruise and Maritime because I felt they should be aware although I was not expecting them to compensate. I had no reply. So, apart from the theft, and some high spots (like our table companions) it was pretty mediocre and this is how I expected it to be before we went. It will have been a treat for the rather large number of keen smokers and drinkers as the duty free shop was popular, so much so that good nature deserted some travellers as they pushed and shoved in the queue. So, as I started, Cunard it was not. However in fairness to cross the channel it was a million times better than a ferry so it is in a category of its own. It does a 42 day trip to the Amazon in January. Now that is for the brave. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
My wife and I had booked a cruise to the Amazon for January 2014 on The Marco Polo and then booked the Mediterranean Gold on the Marco Polo to see what the ship was like . The ship,crew and entertainment was good but the food was awful, ... Read More
My wife and I had booked a cruise to the Amazon for January 2014 on The Marco Polo and then booked the Mediterranean Gold on the Marco Polo to see what the ship was like . The ship,crew and entertainment was good but the food was awful, for breakfast you had to ask for Weetabix in the Bistro and it came from a standard multi pack from a naked hand so much for hygiene,the sausages were vile to say the least and the bacon was served up in a large steel bowl which meant it was all stuck together and difficult to pick up, omelette's and scrambled egg were all made from powdered egg and the fried eggs looked revolting. We were on a table for eight people in the Waldorf Restaurant table 67 and by the third night there were only two people using it as the food was tasteless and bland and the meat was tough or undercooked that the six other people used the Bistro which was slightly better. I lived on soup and brown rolls and salad for the remainder of the cruise. One passenger was so disgusted by the food she tried to get a flight from Palma to the U.K. The Amazon Cruise is now in doubt and we may cancel because of the food. I do not know who wrote the review for the Marco Polo Restaurants food as it is far from the high standards of P&O or Princess cruises. I have had better food in Transport Cafes and Works Canteens Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Marco Polo Canaries From Tilbury 20/12/12 -- 03/01/13 Moaning seems to be a British pastime so I thought I'd post a positive review for a change. One of our fellow passengers summed up the ship on the penultimate day of the cruise. ... Read More
Marco Polo Canaries From Tilbury 20/12/12 -- 03/01/13 Moaning seems to be a British pastime so I thought I'd post a positive review for a change. One of our fellow passengers summed up the ship on the penultimate day of the cruise. He said 'It's a Ronseal ship -- it does exactly what it says on the tin' Embarcation and disembarcation both went very smoothly as you'd expect on a ship with approx 850 passengers. We had a basic cabin which was kept spotlessly clean by the ever cheerful steward. Food was good. Breakfast and lunch, in the buffet was OK with plenty of choice, if a bit 'samey'. In the restaurant the quality was better but it was an open sitting so you couldn't choose where you sat. We ended up once with man who bored us to death with his tale of his wife who left him for a Turk called Abdul and the second time with the 'We've been on the Oriana/ Ventura/ Vision of the Seas' type complaining about no chocolate on the pillows and lack of lobster. After that we had breakfast and lunch in the buffet. The making of the cruise was our dinner table. The eight of us got on like a house on fire which coupled with the excellant service from the wine and table waiters and the choice of good food made the cruise for us. One of us told the waiter that she didn't like digestive biscuits with her cheese so every night we were given an extra plate of TUC crackers. It's that attention to detail which you remember. The food was good, we didn't leave much. The entertainment varied, Guest comedy magician Andre and singing/comedy act Sister Sister were superb. The ship cabaret varied from a brilliant 'Joseph' to a dire Queen tribute. We had the resident performers singing in the Lounge every night. Generally it was very enjoyable but on one occasion the show was 'Divas' where the three girls' performance was as rocky as the ship crossing the Bay of Biscay. My table companion said he had had more enjoyable times going to the dentist. There were also guest lectures, crafts, games, quizzes and a very popular choir workshop held every morning. Drinks were reasonably priced with no 15% service charge added to the bill everytime you ordered a pint. We had a very enjoyable time. There are some negatives. Our first thoughts were 'fantastic no children' and we settled down to enjoy a relaxing fortnight. Unfortunately old people in spades over compensated for the lack of children. It will take ages to get the sound of the constant tap tapping of sticks out of my head, at times it sounded like Blind Pew on Treasure Island. Children run around, old people cause different problems, stopping in the middle of the dinner queues or worse turning round and going backwards in them, hogging tables for four in the buffet reading their book while people are looking for somewhere to sit or alternatively just being plain rude, talking loudly through shows and announcements, pushing in the front of queues for cutlery saying 'I only want a fork' and if you dare criticise, giving you the 'if it wasn't for us you'd all be speaking German look'. We paid under a grand each for 14 days with carparking so it was excellent value for money especially as we were away for both Christmas and New Year. We would certainly go again. Well done Marco Polo -- not 100% but certainly 80 -- 85% overall (despite the lack of lobster) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not ... Read More
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not much. The ship advertises for the 60+ age group but realistically it is aimed at 80+ and all the events on board are aimed at this age group. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. I have not approached the company as I do not want recompense for my trip. I just want others to know what it is really like. The entertainment was average to poor. Imagine on New Year's Eve at 55 years to be given a song sheet from the first World War. A woman in our group nearly cried! I was not the only person feeling like this. I was told that 26 people had left the ship at various destinations on route. Some were ill but I was led to believe that most just could not stand it any longer. I met many people on the cruise and very few had a good word to say about it. Some may argue that I am moaning for the sake of it. No - I still work and work hard for my money and my time out, as does my partner. I have never been on a holiday before and not only wished the days to pass quicker, but did start to feel depressed and would have preferred being at work. If you are looking for a holiday with good food and entertainment, LOOK ELSEWHERE! 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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