Sail Date: July 2008
I had not read any member reviews of the Marco Polo before booking our cruise around the British Isles (Celtic Explorer) a few months earlier, and had chosen the ship on its itinerary, its Tilbury start and end port, and convenient dates. ... Read More
I had not read any member reviews of the Marco Polo before booking our cruise around the British Isles (Celtic Explorer) a few months earlier, and had chosen the ship on its itinerary, its Tilbury start and end port, and convenient dates. Having cruised twice before over the last five years (with Voyages of Discovery and Royal Star) my husband and I were looking forward to his cruise. However, from the moment we entered the Marco restaurant for refreshments before sailing we realized that this cruise was going to be different. Most of the crew are Ukrainian or of Eastern European origin and do not have a good command of English. Worse still, they are very surly and abrupt in their dealings with passengers and obviously have no idea of customer service. That first afternoon we found it impossible to get a cup of tea despite asking a waitress several times over the course of half and hour, and in the end went out onto the pool deck and served ourselves from the self service area. We put this lack of interest down to embarkation day chaos and fully expected the situation to improve. Unfortunately it didn't and in some areas things went from bad to worse. Of course there were notable exceptions, one of whom was our cabin stewardess, Vera, who tried very hard to make us feel welcome. CABIN: Our cabin was a good size with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The shower was a hit and miss affair, one minute it was freezing cold, the next scalding hot. It took a while to get used to this and know when to leap out of the way and wait for the temperature to stabilize again for a brief period. Then we had a mini-flood in the bathroom - the water from the shower drained into the main bathroom area instead of into the outlet pipe and there was over 2 inches of water slopping around. This was reported immediately to reception who promised to send an engineer to investigate. After half an hour and no sign of help and the bathroom still under water we contacted reception again. This time our problem was overhead by one of the few English staff on board (part of the entertainment team) and he advised us to get the cabin stewardess to mop it up with towels until the blockage was found. While Vera was mopping up the promised engineer arrived, ignored us and informed Vera that it was the 'physic' of the ship and was due to the listing of the ship (we were under sail and we were at an angle). And that was that! Obviously we knew that all 200 or so cabins on the starboard side of the ship could not all be under water, but this demonstrated the attitude of the general staff. We had to report the problem again the next day and this time three technicians looked at the system and pronounced it okay; certainly the situation was never as bad again. DINING: The main restaurant, the Waldorf was fine overall, although we were a little disappointed some nights with the poor choices on the dinner menus. Lunch and breakfast were as expected and the kitchen produced some good soups and lots of lovely bread and rolls. Table service was generally poor, especially with the waiter assigned to our dinner table. He was surly throughout each meal, did not give people enough time to make their selections and had no idea on which side to serve the dishes. Fortunately our 4 table companions were great company and we all enjoyed our meals and didn't let our waiter's attitude upset us. The self service bistro was truly dreadful though - unappetizing platters of luke warm food, and after one attempt at eating lunch there we abandoned the meal and went to the Waldorf. SERVICE: As mentioned several times already this is the area that really lets the ship down. On our previous cruises we have been fortunate enough to be served by Filipinos and they are always very friendly, efficient and go out of their way to ensure you are having a good time. This is not true of the East Europeans and they appear to think that serving passengers is beneath them. Service was always slow, rude at times (during disembarking and embarking at port stops the security staff never acknowledged the passengers and usually talked to each other in Ukrainian over passengers heads)and slovenly. On several occasions we found stacks and stacks of dirty cups and plates on the pool deck with no-one interested in taking them away. Needless to say there was often a shortage of fresh crockery! MANAGEMENT: During the whole 11 day cruise we only saw the captain once and that was at the Gala evening several nights after the start of the cruise. He did not smile or speak to anyone when they were introduced and just acknowledged us with a curt nod. He only dined once at his table throughout the cruise and on that occasion his companions were relatives and friends of the crew that were aboard. There were no daily announcements from him at all, nor was he ever to be seen again around the ship. With an attitude like that from the captain it is not really surprising that the rest of his crew were so unwelcoming. The notable exception in this area was the English cruise entertainment team who were always friendly and made a point of greeting and chatting to passengers. ITINERARY: It was a good itinerary (just a pity that we were not able to anchor in Jersey as scheduled), and the shore excursions appeared to be generally good value. The information sheets given out for each port were comprehensive and very useful. The tender procedures were very poorly managed and at one stop (Stornoway) independent passengers had to wait over an hour in the gangways before they could disembark. Tour passengers had begun disembarking an hour before the time slot given to independent passengers (around 300 or so) so it was very annoying being made to queue up for so long. The delay in getting off the ship left us with just 3hrs on the island. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to ... Read More
We have just returned from the Northern Lights cruise and were extremely lucky to have an excellent view of them. This was our first cruise and to be honest probably our last. We are used to renting a self catering apartment and a car to do our own thing. The cruise reminded us of Butlins from the seventies, set times for everything and rather dated entertainment, although the duo in Scotts bar during the evening were very good, particularly Lilli Moore, the singer ( I recommend her rendition of Mack the Knife) The food was very good and the staff, apart from the odd one, were excellent although the officers were a bit standoffish. You will be plagued by photographers but you are not obliged to buy. The drinks on board were a rip off, £5 for a glass of poor quality house wine for example, which varied in size depending on the barman. A bottle at dinner requires a spend of at least £20 for something worth drinking. The cocktails also vary in size and quality. I suggest you take good quality teabags with you as Lyons tea is somewhat bland. If you wish to partake in excursions then please check the Internet as they are a lot cheaper and many of the trips ashore can be done by free shuttle bus, local buses and trains. You must have good medical insurance as the cost of treatment on the ship will give you a coronary when you get the bill! I know it is easy to criticise but the majority of passengers were pensioners, as I am, and we have to count the pennies so be aware of the costs I have mentioned. Overall we enjoyed the trip and I would recommend the ship but we will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Our cabin was great, the itinerary was great, and we enjoyed both of these features, sadly the on board catering and management is tatty. The first morning at buffet breakfast, no cups and no glasses for fruit juice. I had to ask three ... Read More
Our cabin was great, the itinerary was great, and we enjoyed both of these features, sadly the on board catering and management is tatty. The first morning at buffet breakfast, no cups and no glasses for fruit juice. I had to ask three waiters before 5 glasses appeared for about a dozen people! we then got plastic throw away cups! This was repeated throughout the week. I spoke with the restaurant manager who told me he had only 140 coffee mugs on the boat, and that he had cups on order for 2 months! Come on fellers - ordering cups is one page no the web! I looked when I got back and a thousand cups/mugs will cost less than £1000 delivered. Lack of social skills and training in waiting staff is endemic. Waiters push past/though you, if you query anything you often get an aggressive response. English language knowledge is very limited. Food is pretty basic, cooked breakfast in buffet is grim, better in Waldorf. Lunch toook forever to produce, by comparision, our dinner waitress was clearly on a time bind and without our active and repeated pressure we would have had our four courses served and cleared in 45 minutes! Management was conspicuous by its low visibility. All in all a shame, we enjoyed the cruise, but feel that the ship needs a total shake up. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our ... Read More
We recently returned from the Scandinavian Capitals and St.Peterburg cruise on 4th - 16th October. This was our first cruise and frankly, had we had not spoken to a number of fellow passengers on the ship, it would have been our last. We were told not to judge this ship with others. Firstly, l would like to say that the ship was very clean and the crew were all friendly and helpful. I wish the rest of the cruise had been as positive. On day one, we had a lifeboat drill and had to meet at the Marco Polo lounge. When we neared the Captains club, I commented to my wife that l could smell cigarette smoke. When we entered the Captains Club, there were dozens of people smoking. We were both disgusted at this being allowed inside of the ship. The only way to the Marco Pole lounge was through this disgustingly smelly room. The food on day one was excellent, getting worse by the day... More often than not the food was warm bordering on cold. Fresh food was out of the question. The Marco Polo Bistro was open from 06.30 - 07.00 for drinks and then open at 07.30 for breakfast. A couple of people told us that the fried eggs were being put out before 07.00am. As you can imagine they were not upto much at 07.30. One night there was a German theme. It appeared that sausages and frankfurters were being cooked to order. By the time we had put some on the plate with some watery salad and sat down, these were cold. How, l don't know. Fresh fruit was ok on day one and went down hill each day. It appeared that all of the fruit was loaded in England and no new supplies were picked up after that. We don't actually like black bananas. Every day for afternoon tea were the same dried out sandwiches and cakes galore. It would have been nice to have been served a few savouries, especially as my wife is Diabetic and all that was on offer were sugary cakes. I can't imagine us sailing with Cruise Maritime again, which is a pity because our next cruise is/was going to be to the Norwegian Fjords. I just hope our next cruise will not be as disappointing as this one... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were ... Read More
Apart from 2 three day short cruises this was our first experience of a long time at sea. First let me say that I cannot fault any of the ships crew or service received. The food was excellent and plenty of it. The down sides for us were as follows: The drinks were all very expensive and as someone else remarked the bottled water was a ridiculous price. We bought ours from some of the ports that we stopped at. We had to smuggle on some reasonably priced wine to drink in our cabin and managed to get past the check in without having it confiscated! The entertainment got a bit boring after the third night with the same old faces and the dance routines were the same but in different costumes. There were never any great films put on at any time during the day - just really old stuff. Not having an on board cinema I would have thought that they could have found some better and more up to date films? The days at sea between ports went on forever - and with a tiny pool that I only saw one or two people use. One of my personal dislikes was the amount of Scots on board - sorry, but we cannot all like them! On formal evenings why do they have to wear those daft kilts?!! - We Englishmen dont come to dinner in our traditional Redcoats do we? Still, that as I said is personal and nothing to do with the cruise line. So we were glad to get back to Tilbury. The final bill was pretty steep even though we had tried to keep our drinking to an unfun level and then of course they take about £150 for tips as well - which one member of the crew told me they dont ever see? Maybe we are hard to please? But I did try hard to enjoy this holiday but by the end of the first week I was going stir crazy. I dont think we would ever go again and certainly not for two weeks. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We sailed from Tilbury which was great, no flying, we drove from Yorkshire and stayed the night in a hotel so we were relaxed for boarding the ship the next day. Once on board the ship we were shown to our cabin, our cases were already ... Read More
We sailed from Tilbury which was great, no flying, we drove from Yorkshire and stayed the night in a hotel so we were relaxed for boarding the ship the next day. Once on board the ship we were shown to our cabin, our cases were already outside out cabin. We were supposed to be on Baltic deck but were upgraded to pacific deck (level 7), also our room was the bigger, inner twin which slept 3 people instead of the smaller room we had originally booked. The room was very clean and comfortable. stocked with the general, tissues, shampoo etc; bottled water was in the room, cost over £2. The only thing missing was a tea/coffee maker. We had taken our own travel kettle but were not supposed to use it. Hot drinks were available free of charge in Marco's buffet room from 7am - 10pm, hot drinks could be purchased in bars around the ship. There is 2 duty free shops selling alcohol, cigarettes, perfuum, gifts and another one selling sweets, toiletries, clothes etc; shave gel cost over £4!The Cruise Director, Richard has got a great entertainment team, he also joins in the shows which is a plus. The evening entertainment is excellent, better than i have seen on other cruise ships. the shows in the Marco lounge (theatre) are different every night, 2 shows per night, eg; Joseph and his Technicoloured Dreamcoat, Eurovision, Queen and many more. The singers and dancers put on professional, entertaining shows. There was also a comedian and magician, both very good. If you go to the 10pm show which finishes approx 10.45-11pm and you want to go on to the Scotts bar is more singers performing followed by a disco, you will find it hard to get a seat as it is always packed. There was always a seat in the captain's club where a violinist and pianist play each evening. The daytime entertainment is rather poor, the odd quiz, bingo and something like shove halfpenny. We would rate the Waldorf Restaurant 2* only. I am vegetarian and there was one choice only. On the menu they put out samples of the evening meals on a table outside the restaurant, often the meals we ordered were not as plentiful or finished off the same as the samples, quite honestly I stopped looking at them because they didn't look very appetising. The waiter was Bulgarian (which is not an issue) but he was not very talkative, when he did speak he muttered and was talking as he walked away, not very professional. The napkins were never ironed and often very damp, apparently they get washed in between sittings. The buffet bar, well what can we say, there was always a varied choice of food for breakfast, dinner, afternoon tea and evening meal. It would have been good had the food been hot, there was only a small flame under each of the food containers, but saying that, if you managed to get the food when it was just put out it still wasn't hot. We were eating continental breakfast because the bacon etc; was always cold. I commented to the supervisor about the cold food on more than once occasion, eventually, she had one of boys warm my plated food in the oven, the plate came back hot the food still wasn't warm, when I told her she just walked away. When I complained to the staff on reception, hoping they would pass the message upwards, they just seemed perplexed and said nothing. I said I would put the complaint in writing and the receptionist said he would do it for me!!! needless to say I did it myself but never received a reply. The cakes left a lot to be desired, they were generally mousse and tasted the same whether lemon or chocolate.The outside bar opened 2 days then we hit bad weather and it never opened again!!!!! They did nice burgers, spare ribs and fish, really tasty and hot!!! (the fish was yummy)Apart from the food and attitude of some of the staff on board we had a fantastic holiday, the days we were off the ship were so good they outweighed the negatives.We had booked our trips independently, on the internet, prior to sailing. Although we didn't get to dock at 3 ports we did do all the trips we had booked and they were much better value for money than the ship tours offered. When we went to the talks about the tours from the ship there was no one advising about 'do it yourself', which usually on cruises they do have separate talks for those wanting to do it yourself. A few hints for those wanting to do it themselves.Amsterdam - just outside the terminal you can get a tram into the town, it's a couple of stops only. The drivers are very helpful, we were advised to buy a tram ticket for 1 hour, this cost about £10. We got on a tram around the city and back, we then strolled down the main shopping street. The red light district is off this street, take the street down the side of the church, you can't miss it and it is obviously what visitors to Amsterdam want to see. We wanted to go on a canal cruise but didn't get time. We got the tram back to the terminal and the driver didn't even charge us. Molde - the Atlantic road tour cost £49 pp on ship tour. it is easy to do yourself - leave the ship, out of the port turn right to the bus station and tourist information, 5 mins walk, take bus no.7 and to the Atlantic road. He drops you off and then picks you up 10-15 minutes later and takes you back to Molde. The whole trip takes about 3 hrs and you get to see plenty of scenery and little places. The cost if you are a pensioner (they say senior) is approx £14 per couple, if you are under pension age it costs £28 per couple.Svartisen Glacier - passing through Arctic Circle and viewing glacier- we kept being told there would be warm wine, we never saw any!!! great experience though, very cold.Narvik - the Ofoten Railway - cost from ship £60 ppWe got on the 9am shuttle to the station (the town is about 50 min walk) we were told we could pay on the train so we got on. a nice train ride to Riksgransen, takes about 40 min. spent some time at the ski resort and got the train back. The cost should have been £12 pp return but we never saw the ticket man. The people on the trip were supposed to return by coach but it broke down so they got on the train. Back in Narvik we walked to Fagernes mountain Cablecar, it is signposted and takes about 20 mins from the station. there is a cafe at the top and some fantastic views. cost £10 pp.Tromso - dog sledding - cost from ship £135 - I enquired and was told the actual dog sledding was for 30 mins only. Our trip cost about the same but we were dog sledding for about 2 hrs. We got a taxi to the hotel we were being picked up from, takes about 10 mins to the town from the ship. The travel into the wilderness took about 1hr 15 mins, 'lyngsfjord.com adventure'. They kitted us out with clothes, we were partnered up and one stood on the sledge driving and one sat, sitting is a bit bumpy. We had 6 dogs pulling us and it was so much fun, actually sledding on rivers covered in ice and snow, going through woodland. When we had finished we went into a tent (hotel) for very hot fish/vegetable soup with bread, drinks and cake. Then it was the journey back to town and the end of a great fun day, we got back to town by 4.45 pm excellent value. We got the shuttle bus back to the ship, the last one was 5.15.We got our first sighting of the lights later that night, everything on the ship stops for people (staff and holiday makers alike) to go outside and see. Again the following evening the lights appeared on numerous occasions. Richard, the cruise director announces it over the loud speaker for everyone to hear, even if you are in bed you won't miss it. My only wish is that we had paid to go on the evening out to the wilderness trip in search of the lights. The people who did go said they had never experienced anything like it and even if the lights hadn't appeared it was a great experience. Of course they got a better sighting of the lights than we did from the ship. The cost was £99. Due to severe weather conditions we missed out on 3 ports, Bergen, Allesund and Svolvaer. This couldn't be helped and rather safe than sorry. We could have been kept more up to date with information during our time on the ship regarding not visiting certain ports and updates on where we were and the weather conditions etc; but all in all, fantastic holiday with great, never done before, experiences, shame about the food and some of the staff. This is not a budget holiday but you would think it was as far as the food was concerned. It's a smaller ship than we have been used to but try not to compare with the bigger ships and make the most of what there is to do in the places you visit. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
MARCO POLO : 7 to 17 July 2011 Round Great Britain from Tilbury, London Boarding & disembarking : Excellent - the boat was ready for boarding at the specified time and luggage was handled efficiently. On return to Tilbury we ... Read More
MARCO POLO : 7 to 17 July 2011 Round Great Britain from Tilbury, London Boarding & disembarking : Excellent - the boat was ready for boarding at the specified time and luggage was handled efficiently. On return to Tilbury we disembarked on time - luggage was ready for collection. Parking : Easy (£9per day). Arrive - unload to porters at terminal - park 1 minute away - shuttle bus back. On return - collect luggage - load into shuttle bus. Itinerary and timing : Excellent - this 10 day cruise travelled all of the first day and overnight for the first stop at Invergordon (just north of Inverness). For the subsequent days it sailed evening to morning ensuring long day stops at Kirkwall in the Orkneys - Stornaway in the Hebrides - Tobormory on the Isle of Mull - Dublin - St Marys in the Scilly Isles - Gurnsey - and HonFleur on the French coast. Crew : Mainly Greek officers (of whom passengers saw little). Waiters and other "above decks" staff - seemed mainly east European, the balance being Asian. While the east Europeans were polite and helpful, their manner often seemed forced and unnatural. The Asians were usually smiling and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Our east European chambermaid did a splendid job and was always cheery and smiling. Staff at Reception, Trip etc desks were pleasant & helpful. Cleanliness : High standards. Our cabin was very well maintained and restaurants, corridors etc were clean and well presented. Cabin : Standard cabin on Baltic Deck (outside with two portholes). Compact and in good order with adequate wardrobe & storage space, a small safe and narrow but comfortable twin beds set at 90o. Thin walls - air con OK - fair bit of engine etc noise. Bathroom with compact shower (with curtain), good sized handbasin and lavatory - soaps and smellies provided. Chambermaid looked after us very well. Food : Disappointing - only adequate. Waldorf Dining Room attractive and well laid out though crowded. Comprehensive buffet breakfast offered all that was needed and did not vary. But awful toast - thin bread like warm rusks!! Pleasant waiter service for 5 or 6 course dinner (two sittings) - decent choice each evening - fancy descriptions, small portions and nicely presented but not all that well cooked - mainly we suspect because of the number being served at the same time. Fish tended to be overcooked, but the lamb hock served one evening was superb. Marco's Bistro is casual and more of a canteen - self service for breakfast and dinner though with reduced choice. Drinks : Dinner wines over priced - house wine about £15 with others starting around £20. Other drinks in restaurants and around the ship were reasonably priced. Complimentary coffee & teas were available most of the day (self service). Going ashore : Where it was possible to walk ashore a regular bus shuttle service took passengers to & from the town. When moored offshore the ship's tenders (lifeboats) provided a regular shuttle service. Both services worked well though tenders got crowded. Trips We did three trips (each approaching £40pp) and were satisfied. Coach drivers and couriers were pleasant and informative. Entertainment : We only took in some of the evening shows in the two venues and enjoyed them. The entertainers clearly enjoyed their work, were competent and produced a varied programme. Dance opportunities were very limited (other than a bit of "bopping" on the small dance floor in the Scott's Bar). Given the age profile of passengers more ballroom dancing (both in the evening and during the day) would have been appreciated. Facilities : As this is a small ship able to get into relatively inaccessible places we did not expect too many facilities. As we were blessed with mainly very good weather and flat seas throughout we did not need them. There seems to be just about adequate indoor seating in several locations for the rainy days and a small library and card/games room - also a very small gym (mainly used by crew) and a small ping pong etc room. The small (outdoor) swimming pool is surrounded by relaxing passengers on good weather days, and hot tubs are available on the upper deck. And, of course, there are a few shops! Difficulties encountered : Only one problem marred the trip. This involved the return to the ship by shuttle bus from Dublin. Some crew were allowed shore leave at the various stops and they travelled with passengers on the bus or tender shuttles. In Dublin several crew and many passengers were waiting for the return bus. After quite a scrum both crew and passengers filled the (two deck) bus. Young and fit crew took seats while elderly passengers were left to stand. Two young crewmen did not appreciate me telling them to give their seats to passengers, but reluctantly did so. We took this up with an officer who said the standing order was that staff should always give seats to passengers. We were assured that this would be brought to the Captain's attention, and that action would be taken. I was promised feed-back but have received nothing so I assume nothing has been done. As non-smokers we were concerned about smoking being permitted in one outside aft area but it was a not a major problem. Summary : We are only occasional cruisers and this one did exactly what it offered. We wanted to sample hard-to-see places around UK - and we did. We were very lucky to have amazingly good weather with lots of time spent in the sun on the open aft decks, met pleasant and interesting folk and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. But we wonder how enjoyable it would have been in bad weather (the ship bounced around a bit on the return trip up the Channel), and how enjoyable the experience would have been if restricted to spending far more time indoors. I suspect we would have gone mad. Reasonable value for money. Our tips for future passengers : In Tobermory the distillery shop has its whiskys at sensible prices - try Black Bottle - a lovely blend for just £13. And try the good coffee on the terrace of the Western Isles Hotel with its super view over the harbour. In Gurnsey the 7 & 7a service bus leaves St Peter Port and travels for over an hour round the perimeter of the island for just £1!!!! Best value ever!! HonFleur is lovely so spend the time in the town (especially if it is market day). Will we use the Marco Polo again? : Probably not. 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
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: May 2013
We booked this cruise primarily for the ports we were to visit.we were pleasantly pleased re size cabin.onour previous cruises we had cabin with balcony and sea view,but as seasoned yacht sailors tried inside cabin,and this was fine.apart ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily for the ports we were to visit.we were pleasantly pleased re size cabin.onour previous cruises we had cabin with balcony and sea view,but as seasoned yacht sailors tried inside cabin,and this was fine.apart from being next to cleaners locker!every morning we were awoken 6.40 am to clatter trolleys and cleaners talking loudly,before the hoovering started 7.40! Marco Polo an ok boat.p Main problem was Eastern European waiters.as always ,a few we're sweet,but on the whole,poor attitude towards customers.sighing when someone at our table asked for decaf coffee,often did not understand what was asked.a complete contrast to the predominantly sa staff on other ships,who were friendly,helpful and welcoming.fixed meal times and tables in pm was new to us,plus the mostly required jacket or jacket and tie requirement.will not repeat.although the couple we spent every night for dinner were lovely,we. Had requested table for 8.no one else turned up apart from once,so we spent all time same 4people.the food was ok,nothing special,but ok.drinks were reasonably priced. Best bit of cruise was entertainment,which was excellent.Matt leads a superb team,and every night was different but excellent. The captain was lovely,coming into public areas and greeting passengers,coming to shows,not the norm.some of the organisation was Mickey Mouse,in ware undue huge queues for non existent shuttle buses ,people ending up paying for taxis.outbreak no reovirus unfortunate,though unlike previous cruises,did not see non stop cleaning of hand rails prior to outbreak.gym etc shut ,fair enough.but my husband missed the gym.happy to accept reason why,until saw staff using whilst closed to passengers!Same with alcohol spray .passengers rightly made to use.spoke to someone who had witnessed 6 staff entering restaurant and not sprayed.approached and asked why not,told just passing through!afternoon tea was a gunfight,as 800people trying to get tea and scone in 1 hour window not great.staff to passenger ratio not great to cope with something like norovirus.we much proffered princess and Thomson,and would give Marco Polo body swerve. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, ... Read More
My husband and I were attracted to this cruise for two reasons; firstly it left from Leith and secondly it was going to St Petersburg. We thought we would give cruising a try and if we liked it we would perhaps do a cruise to Iceland, Orkney etc.It may be a case of pay peanuts and get monkeys but this cruise fell short of our expectations. In particular, probably due to ignorance on our part in not having done our homework beforehand, we felt particularly ripped off in relation to the excursions we had pre-booked (apart from St Petersburg when it suited us for someone else to do the visa paperwork). In nearly all cases we could have got off the ship and boarded a shuttle bus to take us into the centre of town at no cost. This would have allowed us to board a sightseeing bus (sometimes parked at the cruise berth!) This would have given us a far better insight and more time to explore the city we were visiting.The biggest disappointment was a Norovirus outbreak day five into the cruise. This meant that facilities such as the gym, swimming pool, hot tubs, library etc were out of bounds. These are exactly the activities that I was relying on to alleviate the boredom on the days we were at sea. I am not a big fan of quizzes, throwing bean bags into a bucket, Countdown, singing classes etc. For the first few days I had happily gone to the gym and participated in various classes, Yoga, Stretch and Tone, Belly Blaster etc.This outbreak meant that staff were constantly cleaning the ship wearing masks, plastic aprons and gloves - not a particularly reassuring sight! I appreciate the need for this to happen but would also have appreciated more of an update especially in the first few days of the outbreak as to when restrictions would be lifted. This in fact never happened and the day before we were due to disembark it was announced that two more Norovirus cases had been confirmed. The most alarming part of this was that as we were disembarking at 6pm on Wednesday 12 June, other travellers were happily embarking that same day for a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords! Suppose one plus point is that we didn't catch the virus!All in all not a good first time cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and ... Read More
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and expensive trips. Food was good, (no problem there) cabin was OK (same one as previous cruise) but was located near the access door to the crews quarters and some staff were downright rude by being noisy outside our cabin at all hours of the night - no consideration for sleeping passengers. Announcements from Cruise Director were pointless - why tell is GPS references - what we wanted was "what's that island over there" or "there are six whales half a mile off our stern" tell us something useful ! Staff attitude was poor ( downright rude) from the top to the bottom. We handed a nearly new holdall to CMV staff on arrival and between the quayside and the cabin our luggage was damaged making it unusable again. Having complained to the service desk was abruptly told to fill out a form. Having done so, was told to claim on my insurance. In other words, CMV don't care and having to pay an excess I pick up the cost of their carelessness. Two letters to Customer Relations did not resolve my dispute so wrote a third letter to CMV's Managing Director. he never replied so guess what, have cancelled my next booking, yes have lost £350 deposit, but won't be travelling with CMV ever again. Real pitty as we like the Marco Polo - just can't stand CMV and their attitude to teh customers who pay their salaries! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
If CMV do read reviews and feedback forms then why do they not act upon them. This is the interesting question! We recently stepped ashore (am still in motion) having spent 30 days on board the good old Marco Polo cruise ship. I did read ... Read More
If CMV do read reviews and feedback forms then why do they not act upon them. This is the interesting question! We recently stepped ashore (am still in motion) having spent 30 days on board the good old Marco Polo cruise ship. I did read the reviews of previous voyages but must have seen only the good ones or, subconsciously filtered out the bad ones. My boss at work found these with great relish about two weeks before we sailed ! So my expectations were mixed as to how our holiday to the Caribbean would go. As a result my review reflects the mixture of good and bad experiences of the trip. All the negative comments are true and all the positive comments are true, So why doesn't the management listen and make positive changes, it would not take much to make this ship so much more enjoyable. Train staff to be courteous, reward those who are and reprimand those who are rude, abrupt , drunk on duty and lazy.I blame the dining room management team for the poor service. Our waitress Inna and her assistant were excellent. Waiters did not pull out chairs for guests or help elderly passengers, instead they rushed us at lunch and breakfast. Reception staff varied their helpfulness depending on how harassed they were. We found asking politely for help was rewarded with calm efficiency. Our cabin steward Natalia was exceptionally good and quickly remedied the creaky bed and the worn, pilled bedsheets. She patiently mopped the flooded bathroom floor after my stupidy at leaving the shower curtains on the wrong side and constantly refreshed the worn towels after my ablutions. Reader are you getting my drift? The Ship should be renamed "The Richard Sykes " after our effervescent and multi -talented cruise director. This man is superhuman as well as being the captains voice, he entertained us daily with his musical and cabaret talent. He also acted as compere to a variety of game shows which ranged from the interesting to the ridiculous. All the time smiling and being charming, despite hearing all sorts of grumbles and complaints from fellow passengers. A 2 hour "Elvis " marathon, an Elton John tribute, Victoria Wood antics to name but a few of his more modern sessions. This he complimented with various shows from the 1930's and 40's for our more senior cruisers. The ship's band and show teams have come in for some criticism on other cruise reviews but we found them to be very competent, considering they had many ship's duties to perform. As well as nightly performances, they acted as embarkation personnel, quiz masters, fitness and yoga coaches, librarians, games show hosts etc. The nice thing about this is, we passengers got to know these talented people and their participation made up for the surliness of the others and played a huge part in relieving the boredom of 22 tedious sea days. I would like to mention three people Vlad in Yoga class, Emma in fitness and for the last four days, Linda who showed me how to make stunning jewellery To them I owe my dubious sanity. Health on board any ship is a matter of extreme importance.I thank my lucky stars we travelled on another ship to the Baltic and missed the Norovirus episode. With an elderly demographic passenger list , illness sadly is a fact of life , however rumour has it ,one gent asked for his online account to be sent to the "ship's doctor " as he had paid all his spending money to him. Ultimately in the final few days every cough and sneeze by another passenger was almost regarded as the kiss of death.Needless to say there were queues of passengers at the pharmacies at our ports of call! Deck space on the sunny days was ok but the sundeck was marred by soot from the funnel and rough seas of course put the tubs and pool out of action. Deck furniture needs cleaning, and the tea and coffee areas were unsatisfactory having over-spilling bins nearby. the smokers were limited to certain areas and seemed happy enough. Excursions seemed popular with many passengers, especially the less active, but we took taxis and seemed to navigate our way around the beautiful islands quite easily. at half the cost I am sure. Finally Food. First courses and puddings/cakes were delicious, soups wholesome and tasty, mains samey and institutional, What I would have given for a boiled tattie ! I suspect a lot, especially veg, emerged from the deep freezes. The Wine waiter had the easiest job on the whole ship as not many bottles were in evidence! Dress code; What dress code ? Again I blame the dining room management , not once did anyone ask me if I had enjoyed my meal. That readers says a lot ! Thank you for your patience if you have read this. CMV take note.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My Family (Adults) went on this stay on board overnight to nowhere docked at Tilbury Firstly when got onto ship some Male Eastern European went a bit crazy as wanted my room no. straight away and even when gave him the paperwork with ... Read More
My Family (Adults) went on this stay on board overnight to nowhere docked at Tilbury Firstly when got onto ship some Male Eastern European went a bit crazy as wanted my room no. straight away and even when gave him the paperwork with cabin no. he picked up my bag and headed straight for the lift without even saying anything to me like "follow me" the whole service from Customer Services to Waiter staff 95% Russian, Polish, Romanian, no English crew at all! They all speak to each other in there lingo not in English. If you ask to repeat something you get shouted at in a firm russian voice! Nice food but dinner was so small portions and just about warm, Breakfast in Scotts Bar was self service which was ok but the coffee/Tea machine was 100yds away from the food or your table if unlucky by the time you sit down either the Tea is cold or the breakfast is. Entertainment was a load of rubbish like X Factor, if you was on the second sitting for dinner you missed most of the show, maybe different if actually on the cruise. But the prices of drinks £10 buys you a Vodka and coke, and a pint of beer, noprices shown anywhere, no till they getthe change out of there pockets. dance floor way too small for the amount of people on board. Cabin nice though we had a obstructed view window but was ok, clean and tidy, beds are tiny like hammocks or kids beds, turn over and you fall out. They made us disembark at 09.00hrs! Cabin had to be vacated by 08.00hrs with luggage left in showroom lounge for anyone to pick up or fiddle with. I certainly wouldn't rush to book a cruise of more than 3 days! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Quite a nice ship but the service was quite poor in the bars. The staff were friendly if they understood English. They appeared to be mostly Eastern European and some being quite inexperienced. The three night trip was to Ghent and ... Read More
Quite a nice ship but the service was quite poor in the bars. The staff were friendly if they understood English. They appeared to be mostly Eastern European and some being quite inexperienced. The three night trip was to Ghent and Amsterdam for xmas shopping. Prior to the trip we were offered excursions to Brussels and Bruges but nothing for Ghent. However, being a small ship it is able to dock in Ghent along the waterways from the open sea. We were not told that there were courtesy coaches at the dock to take us in to Ghent until we enquired. Maybe they wanted us to book excursions. We did pre-book the city and canal trip in Amsterdam. This was a four hour trip, of which over one hour was takenp up with travelling around the outskirts, the pleasurable canal trip took an hour. We were given a half slot to visit the flower market on foot and then return to the ship. We had no time to eat or drink. The trip went at 12.15 which meant sitting around the ship after breakfast and there was no time for shopping or visiting the xmas market as you had to be back on the ship by 5.30. Not only did we miss lunch, but afternoon tea had also finished. We found out that the ship docked approx. 20 minute walk from the city centre with buses and taxis outside the dock gates. Had we known this, we would not have pre-booked the tour as we would have gone into the city after breakfast and seen far more of the interesting parts of Amsterdam. We were later informed that we had to vacate our cabins by 7.30am and left the ship at around 10am. The food was quite nice in the Waldorf restaurant but the it was very second rate in the self service cafe. There was a shortage of seating, cutlery and crockery at each breakfast session. The entertainment during the evening was very good, however, as only 11/2 hours was allowed for second sitting, we always missed the first part of the show. The earlier sitting had two hours. We have been on other cruise ships which are better, but for a short break we had an enjoyable time.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
It was a last minute booking with Cruise Maritime on the Marco Polo out of Tilbury, London ,UK. heading North looking for the Northern Lights above the arctic circle. We had read lots of reviews about the Marco Polo, yet not until after ... Read More
It was a last minute booking with Cruise Maritime on the Marco Polo out of Tilbury, London ,UK. heading North looking for the Northern Lights above the arctic circle. We had read lots of reviews about the Marco Polo, yet not until after we had booked. Realistically, if we had done our homework first we would have never booked. And to be totally honest we would have missed out, because the fourteen day cruise proved to be extremely enjoyable. Due in part to the quality of the other travelling guests, the raw wilderness of the Norwegian Coast and the friendliness of the service staff on board the ship. The boarding process was fairly civilised, although the holding pens prior to registration were not that comfortable due to the number of passengers arriving and the speed of which the small amount of counter staff were able to process them. Seating was limited and the weather both outside and in was cool. To be fair to the organising staff, some of the problems could have been due to the guests arriving earlier than their strict boarding times. Unfortunately, Tilbury is not the best place to get to on a Sunday, so many people had no choice, they had to get there when the transport was available. Once we eventually got through the check-in process we were greeted by a member of staff who showed us to our cabin. On the plus side, the cabin was ready and our luggage was already outside our room. A first on any cruise line we have previously used. Normally, you just go into a lounge, or sample the awaiting buffet until the guest service managers tells you that the cabins are now available. After which, there is a mass exodus from the lounges and restaurants. First impressions were mixed. The cabin was clean, in fact spotless, although rather dated. Old fashioned boxy TV, small bathroom with one of those awful clingy plastic shower curtains. But then again it was adequate. Twin beds were again acceptable, and comfortable, although l soon found out that the quilts didn’t cover my 6ft 1 inch length. There was a choice, keep my feet covered and my chest out of wraps in the cold. Soon found a good store of blankets in the wardrobe, so all was well. Then it was time for us to investigate the ship from bow to stern. Well it didn’t take long, it’s not a big ship. But it had a quaint old worldly charm that suited the customer profile on board. It had a full service restaurant, a bistro/self-service restaurant, three bar/lounges, small library and card room, activity room, and a theatre with bar, along with a spar and exercise room. The departure perhaps was the first hint that the communication skills between crew and officers could be a problem. The senior crewmember took control of slipping the ships moorings and passing a line out to the tug to pull us around to point to the open seas. The crew ran round like headless chickens producing a mishmash of spaghetti knots from the retrieved ropes until the senior master managed to get them fixed round the capstan’s. Thank goodness the lifeboat drill went off without a hitch. Dinner in the serviced restaurant was surprisingly good. Plenty of choice, cooked well and served simply yet effectively in an attractive restaurant. A special mention to the superb skills of our sections wine waiter, who was quick and efficient. Considering he had a vast number of people to serve, he managed to swiftly take orders and deliver the appropriate drinks at double quick time, even when the boat was listing at 45 degrees and rocking under the effects of a gale force 9 storm. But that came later in the cruise. After dinner we adjourned to the show lounge for the first musical production. The size of the theatre gave it a club atmosphere, with the audience being exceedingly close to the artists. You felt you were part of the performance. The band was highly skilled, very professional and backed virtually all the high line musical performances during the cruise. The ships own performers were exceedingly enthusiastic, with 90% of the singers being extremely competent. The dancers put everything into each routine, but lacked polish. Nevertheless, it was good honest entertainment. Time for bed. As l mentioned previously, it was comfortable, Air con worked, although noisy, TV didn’t and it took four complaints and one and half days before it was simply fixed. Shower worked, but wasn’t controllable. One minute hot, next cold, then scolding hot. But it was OK! After all we hadn’t paid a fortune. Biggest complaint was the noise, from machinery, people in the corridor, mainly crew (tell by the guttural language) and guests in other cabins. In all my time cruising, l have never experienced anything like this. But l put it down to the age of the ship. It is nearly 50 years old after all. Earplugs managed to dull most of the sound. Up early and into the self-serve bistro, but the offerings were not inspiring, so we opted for the main restaurant, which consisted of a hot and cold buffet. A selection of fruits, both fresh, tinned and dried, with cereals, muesli’s and yoghurts along with breads, cakes, muffins cheeses, fish and meats. All in all not bad. You could order kippers and poached eggs, plus each day there was a daily special. The majority of people opted for the cooked breakfast that was buffet style, being kept warm in chaffing dishes. Coffee, tea and fruit juice was all served at the table. Loving kippers we both opted for them. They may have been herring, but l don’t think they were, they were definitely not smoked and they tasted like a damp warm tea towel. One very small mouthful was all it took to make the decision never to try again. On a positive note, the hot buffet was quite good. Scrambled eggs were excellent, bacon was a changeable feast, sometimes good, others not so, sausages were poor and the others really depended on how long it had been standing over the jell heaters in the chaffing dishes. A single chef had a gas burner situated near the buffet and he was happy to make fried eggs to order as well as omelettes. Seemed fine, yet rather too much oil for me, plus the queues built up fairly fast. You also had to like toast that was cold and soggy as the one small machine could not match demand. This was resolved by a young waitress who ensured she had at least forty slices precooked and ready! We soon realised that if you arrived early, you had some opportunity of having a fairly relaxed breakfast. On the occasions when we arrived at a peak time, it was lines and queues everywhere, a real bun fight. Sorry, that is too strong. The majority of people were kind and courteous and not pushy at all. It was just the volume of people being serviced in the limitation of space available. Surprised that they were using a buffet system in the serviced restaurant when they had a dedicated self-service restaurant in the stern. Would imagine it had to do with labour costs. Things changed within a day at sea. Some form of viral outbreak must have been found as we encountered some of the crew in Biohazard suits cleaning a room. Into a breakfast room full of staff and hardly any customers. Everything had changed overnight. You were not allowed to touch anything near the buffet. Staff passed you everything with their callipers and blue plastic clad hands. This continued around the ship. It was nice to see that they take these things seriously to save an outbreak from spreading. And within a day it had been contained and the restrictions were removed. Whatever it was dealt with efficiently and effectively. From our personal point of view, our problems arose once the seas became rough and they started taking precautions for the passenger’s safety, which then impeded on the enjoyment of the trip. I understand the necessity for safety, but other actions need to be implemented to ensure that the guest’s requirements are met. It was also very noticeable that the senior staff were perhaps being overcautious, keeping areas closed even though seas had subsided. Portholes and windows were sealed with metal covers. Outside areas became out of bounds. Self-service restaurant was closed, and lounges on the top deck were shut, reducing the operating area dramatically. Consequentially everyone had to eat in the main restaurant. There wasn’t enough seating for all the guests with queues snaking along the corridors. It was also a struggle to feed and water family and friends who were suffering in the confines of their cabins. When my wife was sick from an unbalance, she found that she was fine as long as she stayed prostate in bed. Initially l would nip up to the self-service with my insulated cup and get her water and coffee and the odd bread roll and take it down to her. For lunch l would take her soup and a little salad. But as soon as the self service restaurant and beverage stations closed there was nothing available. Popped to reception to ask what could be done, and was told that if my wife wanted food, she should go to the restaurant in the evening. Her attitude was, if she wants food she cant be sick. Suggested that l order a salad when l went for dinner, and l would be happy to take it down. Informed quite strongly that this would not be allowed. Tried to explain that l would not have this problem if the self service restaurant was in operation. She reiterated the obvious “The Bistro is closed” Eventfully she agreed to sort something out. But by 8pm, three hours after my discussion, nothing had materialised. Our waiter was kind enough to order a salad, and l took it down. It would have been so easy for the management to offer guests drinks and food during their incapacity. It would have also alleviated tension if they had set up a tea, water and coffee station in an area that was not closed down. This situation continued, and the supervisors in the restaurant became even more vigilant in stopping people take food from the restaurant to their loved ones in the cabins. Two of them tried to stop me, but l managed to slip their grip and take the food down. The weather had become so bad, chairs were breaking, cutlery was slipping off tables and staff were dropping trays, yet still no one offered to provide a service. It would have made all the difference. If l was a cynical person, l could believe that they didn’t provide this free service because they wanted us to pay for beverages and food served in the cabins. So to conclude, the places visited were good. They would have been better if the weather had improved, but that’s down to the changing climate and pure luck. We didn’t get to see the Northern Lights although a few people said they saw a green blip for three seconds The tours available were comprehensive, but the staff should have been more aware of what was available on the ground for those of us who like less structured events. We missed the annual husky race in the centre of Alto because no crew member was aware that it was taking place between 11.00am and 12.30. If passengers had left the boat earlier they could have experienced this spectacular event. Also no one advised us that another shuttle was available from the centre of town to take you to the next stage of the race. Its what’s called customer service? The entertainment was varied and quite acceptable, with a good all round selection of artists. The cruise director led from the front and was a total asset. Activities were varied and rather low key. Felt that perhaps they could have put up a board for likeminded people to register their interest in joining up for bridge, canasta and marhjong. Along with the opportunity of meetings for AW , friends of Dorothy, Rotary and a weekly religious service. Food service was acceptable, but it wouldn’t have taken a great deal of reorganisation to improve the service hundred fold. Senior staff need to evaluate best possible working practices and have procedures in place to deal with closedowns due to bad weather or any other calamities. Drink service was comprehensive, fairly reasonably priced, although some of the staff did struggle with the English language. The ship looks tired and you have to question if it is fit for purpose, especially if you need to isolate areas and fit metal shutters to side windows of the restaurant and cabins when they go through force 9 gales. Would return to the same area, at the same time of year to give it another try, but not with Cruise Maritime on the Marco Polo. If they had a new ship and resolved their management and organisation problems l may give it another try. But why should l when more professional companies such as Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland and America travel the same route.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
This 15-day cruise (commencing March 16th 2014) was made with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights, and was most enjoyable due to the fact that there were plenty of sightings of the Aurora Borealis and, particularly for the latter part ... Read More
This 15-day cruise (commencing March 16th 2014) was made with the hope of seeing the Northern Lights, and was most enjoyable due to the fact that there were plenty of sightings of the Aurora Borealis and, particularly for the latter part of the trip, we had excellent weather. The itinerary was well devised to provide opportunities to see the Northern Lights and to view the amazing scenery of the Norwegian fjords. There was a good selection of excursions available at the ports of call, although it was also possible to explore independently due to the Marco Polo being berthed close to town centres, or a free shuttle bus being provided. Adverse weather prevented us calling at Tromso as originally scheduled on the way north, but an imaginative amendment to the original schedule enabled a call to be made at Tromso on the return south, at the expense of the less attractive port of Sortland. Cabin 549 was comfortable and spacious, having three windows that overlooked a small deck at the starboard aft of the Marco Polo. These windows provided excellent early-morning views of the magnificent scenery as we approached the ports of call. This appeared to be one of the few cabins that had a double bed, and in fact, had a Queen-sized bed. There was no chair in the cabin, but one was provided on request. Despite the efforts of the ship's heating engineer, it was only just possible to maintain a satisfactory temperature in the cabin, but the provision of a second duvet ensured we had comfortable nights. The cabin's bathroom was also of a good size, with a splendid shower that produced plenty of very hot water. The cabin stewardess was courteous and extremely efficient, maintaining the cabin with minimal inconvenience to ourselves. Dress code for dining was Formal (2 nights); Informal (8 nights) and Casual (4 nights); although there was an extremely relaxed attitude to the standards of dress actually worn. Waiter-served lunches and dinners were provided in the formal Waldorf Restaurant. This venue also provided a buffet-style breakfast in a civilised manner. The informal Marco's Bistro was designated to provide buffet-style dining for all three types of meal. Afternoon tea was also served, but this was of poor quality with scones and jam often running out quickly. Self-service tea and coffee were freely available at two stations, but this tended to be a messy process (particularly with the use of tea bags in the mugs) - mugs were often in short supply, and many had cracks and chips. The quality of food in the Waldorf Restaurant was very good with ample courses and ample choice. The level of service at dinner was generally efficient but lacked the personal touch that often makes cruise dining an exceptional experience. We dined each evening on the first sitting at 6pm, and were initially allocated to Table 33. On finding this table occupied, we were informed by these usurping passengers that "you have been moved". We then had to join a queue of other disgruntled people in order to find which table (it was 37) we should be sitting at. This was a most unsatisfactory manner of allocating tables, and a most disappointing start to the cruise. The incident proved to be an early example of the ship's poor management skills and a general lack of imagination in dealing with unusual situations. Wine by the glass was not available in the Waldorf Restaurant, although it was listed in the Bar Menu. At no time throughout the voyage did the Maitre d'hotel enquire at our table whether the food or service was satisfactory. We ate breakfast and lunch on only a few occasions in Marco's Bistro, finding it to be not a pleasant experience. Table 37 was on the starboard side of the potentially elegant Waldorf Restaurant. The windows next to the table were covered by steel plates, thus obscuring any view of the sea or coast. We assumed that these were the windows involved in a fatal accident in adverse weather on a previous cruise that had received much publicity recently. No formal announcement was made, but we later learnt that many of the Marco Polo's windows had been declared unsafe to deal with high seas and were being replaced. The replacement programme continued throughout the voyage and had two implications: [1] Marco's Bistro was unavailable for evening meals on several nights; and [2] the windows next to our table were often hidden behind curtains. The 'new' windows in the Waldorf Restaurant were revealed on the final evening's meal - the windows did nothing to add to the restaurant's decor and had all the hallmarks of a poor DIY job. The Marco Polo's fatal accident referred to above was the second incident that made us wonder if the ship was accident prone. We had originally been booked on exactly the same cruise in 2013, only for it to be cancelled at short notice when the ship hit an uncharted object. Surprisingly, considering a large number of passengers had rebooked for 2014, no reference was made to the cancellation by the Captain at his reception party. Major inconvenience was caused to passengers by the 2013 cancellation; by the prolonged unavailability of Marco's Bistro; and by the shambolic allocation of dining positions. Each of these deserved a public apology, and the provision of some minor token (eg a bottle of wine) would have been an imaginative way of providing some compensation - neither of these courses of action was followed. Other aspects of the cruise were: - the onboard entertainment was excellent with the group of young dancers and singers performing with great enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment; - staff at the Reception desk were generally unhelpful; - the sole ladies' hairdresser provided a good service; - the Library had a very limited selection of books; - the degree of friendliness amongst the ship's crew was extremely variable, ranging from very friendly to almost surly. A poor grasp of English amongst the staff was probably a factor. - excursions were generally well organised, and disembarkation and embarkation at the ports of call was handled efficiently.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just back from a failed mission to see the Northern Lights. This was our first time on Marco Polo and unless they have a very special offer it will be our last. My wife had just celebrated her 60th 2 days before departure, and it was our ... Read More
Just back from a failed mission to see the Northern Lights. This was our first time on Marco Polo and unless they have a very special offer it will be our last. My wife had just celebrated her 60th 2 days before departure, and it was our wedding anniversary on the day after sailing so this was a special treat for her. I booked a "Celebration Package" at £175 before we departed and ordered flowers for the cabin. The flowers were waiting for us and were good value for money in my opinion. The package consisted of a Candlelight meal for two, A cocktail each in the Captains Club, a £50 voucher for the Duty Free or Boutique, a Portrait Photo, and a Champagne Breakfast. I spoke to customer services when booking this and they were very vague about how this would be provided and where the 2 meals would take place. As it happens, the Candlelight Meal took place in the card room (closed for that evening) and the breakfast in a corner of the Waldorf Resturant. The Marco Polo team got this absolutely spot on and I thank them for that. The only fly in that ointment was dealing with the ships photographers in order to get a portrait done. It was done eventually but like most of the photographs taken it looked amaturish to say the least, though to be fair, these days most ships photographers have no idea how to take a decent picture. Anyway, back to the Marco Polo. She is dated, and on a cruise where not much time is likely to be spent outside, has little to offer the modern passenger. My wife's parents would have recognised her from their crusies in the 1970's (they didn't sail on her but did similar cruises). I doubt that little has changed. The bars and lounges were often full with people just reading (a few played Bean Bag Bowls) or chatting in small groups. There was no background music other than once or twice a day a 30 minute session from on of the 2 resident "Duo's" took place. This was either a classical pianist (with or without the accompaning violinist) or the slightlier more up-to-date pair who played 60's stuff or Jazz. The shows from the resident troupe were hit and miss. They all tried hard but often missed the high standard that was claimed, and this could be down to trying to have a 9 week cycle rather than a 2 week cycle on the shows meaning they were constantly rehersing new stuff rather than perfecting the shows. We had a guest comedian, and guest Tenor, and a couple of lecturers, again a tired and old -fashioned format. In fact the most entertaining thing was the Comedian, the Tenor and the ex-copper (on of the lecturers) running around playing schoolboy pranks on each other. Other than that, there was a craft class, calligraphy lessons, ballroom dance class and some game shows. I'm sorry, but to attend a game show/quiz entitled "Name that Tune" where the Cruise Director splits the bar into 2 teams and appoints a captain for each team and then rewards only those captains with a Marco Polo goody bag and cocktail, is not entertainment. Waldorf Resturant. This is the waiter service eatery. "Fine Dining". The quality was quite good, although the portions were very small. Early sitting diners were lucky as they could top up at the Bistro. Wine was expensive as usual on cruises. The water offered was undrinkable - tainted with some chemical or other. So the only option was to buy the over-priced bottled water (£2.20). The Bistro was the self-service eatery and was often full to overflowing. The food was much the same as the Waldorf, but in buffet format, with the usual implications. there was a "live" cooking station some nights which was very good. The bistro was the place where the complimentary Tea and Coffee was available (also there was a station on the aft deck by the pool). Of the 2 stations in the bistro, only one was ever open at a time and the one by the pool was purely random. There was often a problem with providing sufficient mugs to keep up with demand. Staff. The staff were all very friendly (well maybe with one or two exceptions) so could not fault them. they work very hard and they seem to take a pride in their work. The officers on the other hand seemed a bit stand offish, except for Julie the Customer Service Manager. She even cracked better jokes than the comedian at times. Cabins. We were on deck 6 (same level as the Waldorf) around mid-ships, in an outside cabin with 2 portholes. The cabin was small but clean and comfortable. There was a little bit of engine type noise, but it was not a major issue. What was annoying was the need to vacate the cabin an hour or more before the ship had even arrives back at Tilbury. Overall. We thought the embarkation was carried out well. We used the Express Disembarkation option when leaving, mainly because we just wanted off the ship as quickly as possible. The ship has seen better days and needs some work on it. (ceiling panel on the aft deck came loose in the high winds for instance). Better facilities are needed for when the weather restricts access to parts of the ship. The Theatre need better accoustics and sound system - lots if feedback and reverb when singers hit high notes tends to spoil the perfomance. Communication and management attitudes need to be improved as well. The cruise itself. We were unlucky. The previous cruise had good weather, saw the Northern Lights and was a success by all accounts. We had poor weather from the moment we reached Amsterdam right through to just before arriving back. If the day started sunny, it was raining by evening and every night there was almost 100% cloud cover. If we were in open sea, it was rough. 8 metre waves, force 6, 7, 8, even force 9. In the Fjords it was different. Nice and calm most of the time. The scenery was brilliant. Some places were almost magical. Some you wondered why we stopped there. Alta for instance is a one horse (or raindeer) town. The only reason for the long stay there is to sell overnight stays in the Ice Hotel (£320 per person) and to run Husky rides and Snowmobile trips. The town has little to offer although we did enjoy the visit to the "Cathedral". the Ice Hotel (2 hour tour) was well worth it, such a spectacular construction. Narvik was unfortunate as we had not booked anything and were planning on taking the cable car up the mountain. This was closed due to high winds so it was down to the War Museum and the shops for us. Bergen was interesting and would be worth a return visit. Tromso disappointed us. The information was that it's cathederal was closed in the morning but open in the afternoon. However, it turned out that this was incorrect and it was open in the morning, and it was closed early afternoon for a tour from the ship. As we would not have had time to visit it when it reopened due to our departure time, we made do with another visit to a shopping centre, only to find on our return that the ship was going to stay the night due to high winds, high seas and generally terrible weather in other words it was unsafe to leave at mornal time.This was relayed to passengers too late for us to do anything, although we did find out that the officers knew of a couple of places worth them going ashore in a group for. Recomended things to do ashore. 1. The Ice Hotel at Alta is worth the visit. 2. Bergen - take the Fenicular to the top and take a walk aroung the pathways up there. It is a magical place. 3. Narvik. If you want to do the railway excursion - book your tickets online (about £8 per person return), don't do it from the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We have been on the Marco Polo twice, the first time in July 2013 Around Britain, and April 2014 to the Norwegian fjiords. It seems to be the luck of the draw what sort of experience you have as there is no consistency, There is little or ... Read More
We have been on the Marco Polo twice, the first time in July 2013 Around Britain, and April 2014 to the Norwegian fjiords. It seems to be the luck of the draw what sort of experience you have as there is no consistency, There is little or no announcements throughout you trip, the cruise director would say a few words once in a while between acts in the show lounge, usually after a complaint. The first trip was by far the best, the crew were mainly Philipino and were warm friendly and happy in their work. The second trip was spoiled by a mainly eastern European crew who were grumpy,surly and arrogant. Apart from this,we enjoyed both trips but would not go again. We have formed the opinion that Cruise Maritime are primarily a profit motivated company and according to staff, not good to work for. We were joined on the second part of the Norway trip by some of the owners, who sat on their own in the Marco Polo lounge and never spoke to anyone, the cruise director was constanly tending their needs, and fawning around them, pity he was not the same with paying passengers. We were a lot wiser on our second trip, booked our own trips(theirs are massively overpriced) opted out of the tipping system ( we tipped staff who we rated, handsomely) the others did not get anything from us, especially the higher ranking staff who usually get the biggest share of the pot when they don't deserve it. We were amazed when one of the waitresses told us thet they have to buy their own pens and the reason that the staff are unhappy is because of their work contracts which are usually for six months of constant cruising without a day off. Hence the foreign crews, British workers would never go for that. They are also told by management that the tips are part of their wages, a fact that we resented and the reason we opted out. In other words, the passengers tips are paying the wages for the company. All the time you are on the ship there is a huge charm offensive from the cruise director, who keeps telling you what a wonderfull time you are having, and how lucky you are. it reminded me of Orwell's Animal Farm and got on our nerves after a while. The shows were great and very professional the Stops were usually in tiny non descript places (probrably cheap docking fees) the food was ok. but basic, choices for beers was also very limited. By far the best thing of the whole holiday is not supplied by the company i.e the great friends that you make, which is by far the best selling point of the whole experience. We never met or even saw the captain and were constantly told by the smarmy cruise director (Tony) that the captain would obviously love to meet us but the safety of the ship was paramount and his dedication to duty kept him away from us, this in the calm waters of the Fjiords. All in all, don't go on this ship if you are used to luxury cruising, it is a very basic, old style type of cruise. We were attracted by a two for one offer and the Fjiords, where the larger more luxurious ships cannot go. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
I was nervous about this 50 year old ship but we chose it for two reasons. The itinerary to the fjords and its ability to get into ports like Flam and the fact that it was small with only 800 passengers. Unfortunately it was 800 passengers ... Read More
I was nervous about this 50 year old ship but we chose it for two reasons. The itinerary to the fjords and its ability to get into ports like Flam and the fact that it was small with only 800 passengers. Unfortunately it was 800 passengers crammed in giving far less square foot per person than the bigger ships offer. Arrival at the port - this was chaos with a long queue to get to the terminal only to drop off our luggage and turn around to drive back over a mile to the actual Tilbury port and docks to park our car. Why they didn't direct people who had paid for parking to go straight there I don't know. The queue was over a mile long and we were 90 minutes late checking in, which was very smooth and painless like others have described. Our cabin was 638 on Deck 9 and although quite a high category it was still very small indeed. Clean and bathroom was sufficient but it just felt a bit cramped. Only one power point (unless you unplug TV). Facilities on board were minimal with a small duty free shop, gym, table tennis table, 3 hot tubs, games room, reading room etc. There was a internet room were charges were 60p per minute so very expensive. WIFI available on deck 8 but still expensive. The problem was during our 2 sea days there is just not enough space to accommodate everyone, we ended up back in our cabin watching dvd's one day as all the available seats in the various lounges and clubs were all taken. Food - Marcos restaurant was very school canteen like and we tried it for breakfast and lunch on one day and gave it up for the Waldorf restaurant on other mornings. What was quite nice was the wraps, paninis and burgers they cook fresh at the poolside bar. I took my own teabags but as they do not offer fresh milk for tea on board everything tasted a bit chemical or stale. the drinks service in all of the bars is good and all reasonably priced. They do a good range of cocktails and I worked my way through the non alcoholic ones during the day too. The Waldorf restaurant was good and our waitress, Katareyna was very nice. The wine waiter was very surly and didn't really want to be there and was only interested in serving wine and not any alternative bar or non alcoholic drinks. A good selection each day, small starter, soup and a salad followed by a main a dessert, cheese and coffee. Not too keen on any of the pasta dishes they were all very stodgy and bland. Breakfast in the Waldorf had a good selection and eggs and omelettes were cooked to order. The entertainment was good with 5 very professional singers who put on a spectacular show each night in the show lounge followed by late night cabaret. They all worked very hard indeed. Each show was repeated at 1015 for diners that were on the late sitting so there was no reason to miss anything by being on either dinner sitting. The entertainment cruise director was also very professional. Our ports of call were Eidfjord, Flam and Bergen and we signed up for the excursions in Eidfjord and Flam. If we were to go again I think we would do our own thing. In Eidfjord there was a small land train that took you round all the sights and up high enough to look back down at the port. I think I would have preferred this to sitting on a coach driving round the countryside. In flam there were two ships in port and plenty of tickets available to go up the flam railway to Myrdal for those who wanted to opt out of the excursion. Our trip on the railway had two disappointments, the first was that we had to get off at the stop before Myrdal where we just took a few photos and looked round a souvenir shop at one of the hotels up the mountain. The second was that the carriage was oversubscribed on the way down and we had to stand up for nearly an hour which didn't give us a very good view or the opportunity to take photos. We did complain about this and was refunded £27 each. Anyway subscribing to this excursion, I recommend you take the morning one as the afternoon one gets back too late for the first dinner sitting and so many people were forced to miss a sit down meal with waiter service that evening. Bergen - very easy to navigate under your own steam, there is a small land train as well as the funicular railway. It was raining quite hard when we arrived so everyone on the funicular excursion didn't get to see anything as it took them up to the top of a mountain surrounded by cloud. We waited until the sun came out just after lunch and had a great view. All in all the reason we went was for some beautiful scenery which we got in abundance. The Marco Polo looked very romantic and majestic anchored in the fjords where as the larger white multi deck cruise ships looked somewhat out of place. Would I go on the Marco Polo again? I don't think so as the ship felt too crowded, the average age was a lot older than expected (70-80+). Whilst our cabin steward and our waitress were very friendly we found a lot of staff very surly, particularly when you asked for specific things away from the norm (please only fill my coffee cup up half way caused a breakfast waiter to become rather rude and slam things about). Disembarkation - whilst this was very smooth and well organised the few hours leading up to it were very stressful. Every passenger was asked to vacate their cabin at 7am and because there is not enough room to seat everyone at the same time the queues for breakfast were long and we had to wait for over an hour. Meanwhile everyone was sitting where they could, on the stairs, on sunbeds etc with their hand luggage waiting to disembark. Disembarkation was staggered depending on cabin category (coloured luggage labels) and started at 0810am with the last passengers off around 10.30am. With this in mind I think it may have been more sensible to stagger breakfast.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
In July 2013 we saw this cruise advertised and snapped it up,attracted by the itinerary and the price. We drove the 25 miles to North Shields and embarkation was easy and well organised. The port is small with easy car parking after ... Read More
In July 2013 we saw this cruise advertised and snapped it up,attracted by the itinerary and the price. We drove the 25 miles to North Shields and embarkation was easy and well organised. The port is small with easy car parking after dropping off the cases. After a short wait, we checked in, got our cards and got on the boat. We were welcomed and taken straight to our small cabin; our cases quickly arrived. We had just started to unpack and the drill was called. This was a little chaotic with crew shouting out cabin numbers but all ended well. The cabin has lots of drawers for our clothes but rather few, cheap random coat hangers and our cases would only just fit at the foot of our bed. We knew that the boat has small cabins but we didn't even have a chair! The en-suite shower and toilet was v. clean and modern with a supply of lotions. We found the A/c responsive and efficient. BUT . . .the beds were small, cramped and offering poor support. The cruising world has, I fear, moved on from the days of the slightly up-rated single bunk. Higher quality is needed even for a single bunk style bed! The food was excellent and suited us fine. It didn't suit the traditional English food lovers from comments some made to us but there was a good selection and dinner ( early sitting ) was quickly served by the waiters, Ukranian, like the majority of the hotel staff and crew. They have a wine waiter and he quickly got the drinks to us. I had ordered a wine and water package and was well pleased with the Italian wine - and its cost. We had continental breakfast in our room each day until the last. Lunch was taken in the buffet every day where the selection was really good. The staff cleared off the tables quickly and it was only the day at sea when it was a little crowded. The weather was variable and it wasn't always possible to eat outside but many did when the sun arrived. The Faroe Islands ( Thorhaven ) were interesting but hidden for a time under mist and drizzle. We don't do excursions as we like to stay fairly close to the ship and got ashore and wandered around the little capital and it was fascinating. A little shopping with much Scandinavian hand knitted wooly garments and just a general look around as the weather improved was just right for us. The rest of the itinerary which had attracted us, Ullapool, Lerwick and Kirkwall, were relaxing ports for a gentle stroll but all needed more sunshine than we got - no-one's fault! The lounges were a little shabby in places and due for refurbishment; the entertainment was typical British cruise - dancers jumping around, arm waving etc. to familiar music at high volume. The comedian did 2 nights and was excellent and well appreciated. A small ship allows passengers to meet the entertainers informally around or on a tender and it makes for a v. friendly ambiance. There are some small boutiques and a store for sweets, souvenirs, duty free but this is limited naturally as it is a small boat. Disembarkaton was very smooth and we got off earlier than predicted with our baggage in the right place. We chose the cruise for the itinerary and advertised price and were well pleased with what we got in the main but that now we know Marco Polo, we realise that we should have a higher grade cabin as the comfort levels we had are well below other small cruise ships that we have been on. 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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