Sail Date: March 2008
This was touted as a very special event with many great surprise features, as it was the final voyage of a former (before NCL bought the line) great ship. Having been on the Marco Polo prior to and after the NCL takeover, I witnessed the ... Read More
This was touted as a very special event with many great surprise features, as it was the final voyage of a former (before NCL bought the line) great ship. Having been on the Marco Polo prior to and after the NCL takeover, I witnessed the accelerating deterioration of ambiance and quality. In summary, most of the passengers on this cruise were former enthusiastic Marco Polo repeaters. All had noticed the same deterioration of quality that I did. I spoke directly to about 50 of the 700+ passengers who were as convinced as I was that they would never again set foot on an NCL ship. There was not one among these experienced cruisers who did not believe that NCL management had an awful disregard for their customers and were only concerned with bilking them. I overheard many people saying this in addition to the ones that I directly spoke to. It started with the people at NCL who booked the flights. We were a party of six, 3 adults and 3 children. They initially booked us on separate flights and had the children flying alone. It took a concerted effort by our TA to straighten this out. Even so, it was poorly done. They scheduled us to fly from Lisbon (debarkation point) to Heathrow (sitting for 5 hours) then to Miami (another 5 hour layover) and then ultimately to Tampa. We arrived in Tampa at midnight. This despite available flights from Lisbon direct to the USA (Newark) which had direct flights to Tampa. During the voyage, they continually ran out of different kinds of food, starting with fruit, then vegetables and much more. Like many lines there was a high priced Internet service. Their router had bandwidth limitations, so if there were several simultaneous users, some would get cut off. This made it difficult and at times impossible to send lengthy attachments or photos. The Internet manager knew little about computers or data transmission and tried to cover up by giving nonsensical explanations. We lost Internet use for 4 days and the ship personnel tried to tell us that there was no satellite coverage at the Equator. Imagine if this fairy tale were true, we were sailing Northeast and no communication for 4 days. Just how wide do they believe the Equator to be? Their Internet service software was designed to keep everything slow, as it was full of time consuming steps such as; right after log on they had a screen which tried to sell you more time. You had to say "no" before you could get anywhere. The Pursers office had 4 people that interfaced with the passengers. Two were nasty, the other 2 tried to help but were limited by management. For example, early on many people including me received a curt note from the Purser threatening to cut off our charge privileges if we did not go to them immediately and sign a credit card slip. Since I had done so earlier I went to find out what the problem was. After a bit of harangue and snide remarks by the Pursers staff they finally admitted that there was a stack of signed credit card slips that they had not yet entered into the computer system. The Filipino restaurant staff were great. They maintained their humor, quality standards and human warmth, even though the too were victimized by NCL management. Many of the people had been with the ship for 15 or more years, and of those who were offered positions with NCL after this final voyage; were offered a step down in position and pay and on very poor routes. The Marco Polo was on a continuous trip around the world and NCL was placing them on ships that commuted from the US East coast to the Caribbean for very short cruises. In summary, NCL managed to convince us to NEVER go on another NCL ship. We all had the impression that all NCL was trying to do was to extract money from us. They continually tried to mislead us and told us outrageous excuses for poor service. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
We were attracted by the itinerary which is a circumnavigation of Britain. Marco Polo offered this cruise this summer. She recently gained new owners. The formerly Filipino crew have been replaced by East Europeans with limited English and ... Read More
We were attracted by the itinerary which is a circumnavigation of Britain. Marco Polo offered this cruise this summer. She recently gained new owners. The formerly Filipino crew have been replaced by East Europeans with limited English and apparently little training. From the captain to the crew who swipe the cards when passengers disembark there is a culture of rudeness. Our fellow diners spent the whole cruise trying to get plumbing fixed in their stateroom. When our bathroom flooded we knew it was "the physics of the ship" as described by the engineer. The ship listed in the swell and the shower tray could not drain. The short shower curtain allowed the shower water to fall into the bathroom instead of the shower tray. Out broken mirror door on the wardrobe had some sticking plaster - now curling - laid over the broken glass. Our wall lights on the wall facing the beds were different sizes. The one chair was stained. The stateroom was freezing throughout the cruise with a broken thermostat. The spas on deck were empty. When the small pool was filled while in port it never looked clean or inviting. Part of the main entertainment deck was roped off during our cruise because boards had completely rotted away. We never heard the Captain or saw him apart from his unsmiling and silent handshake at a predinner meeting. The crew took their lead from him. The male crew in particular were sullen and unfriendly. The weather was an important factor as rain was a possibility or likelihood nearly every day. The Captain had a role in telling passengers of changes to schedule, which happened because it was too windy - we think - to visit St Helier on jersey. We needed the Captain to give us weather forecasts, tell us what the itinerary was going to be for the day, the features coming up which we could look out for, and any other relevant news. There was nothing. The Meet-the-Captain event did not happen until five days into the cruise and Jersey was well behind us. Dining was fine if you don't mind everyone having water poured over their menus and the tablecloth instead of into the glasses. Many nights the main course choice was pork chicken or fish. The food was not particularly tasty or imaginative. We concluded staff had been hired on the trawl through the Baltic en route to Tilbury and little training had occurred. It was several days before breakfast was organized and food available at the table such as juice or toast.In Belfast some additional crew were flown in from India who startled us by greeting passengers and efficiently and pleasantly meeting their dining needs. The contrast between the ethnicities of the crew and the levels of courtesy were dramatic. The waitress who poured water everywhere learned to hold the glasses to one side of the table during our cruise, and she was pleasant in her manner, unlike her male compatriots. There was little interest in providing sufficient places to visit Giants Causeway in Ireland. My husband hired a coach himself for 22 otherwise disappointed passengers. A crew member who was part of the Marco Polo tour department boarded this coach as we waited to depart and in front of the passengers he advised our driver to take our money at the front door of the coach and immediately put us out through the rear door. Such is the ambiance and respect for passengers shown by male east European crew members. Our coach cost £30 without lunch, which we paid for separately. The Marco Polo coach cost £79. On one excursion on Stornaway our coach set off knowing they were leaving four passengers behind who had failed to get places on the tender to shore. The coach full of passengers then had to wait while the late passengers were brought to the excursion destination. On another occasion we rose at 6.30am to be in the lounge at 8.30am and were kept there for an hour and a quarter before being called to the tender. It was like waiting to be called for a blood test in an NHS local hospital when time passes and the sense of passing time goes completely. On board on a travel day many passengers slept after lunch in the public areas. Activities on offer included quiz games card games and Bingo. The small gym had a small number of old machines. For example there are three treadmills of which two were broken. Two children played on the others while I waited for one to become available. A walk was held on board each morning. A number of the passengers were a little unsteady on their feet so we did not join the morning walk as the deck was quite narrow. The ship was freezing cold on cold days apart from the little card room and the little library. These were pleasant places. There were plenty of Scrabble games. The library lacked any newspapers even though we were in English-speaking ports on eight days. I saw one photocopy of one paper during the eleven days. A 'Britain Today' one sheet paper was produced but contained almost no news. The evening entertainment was very good with vivacious performers giving their best. The lounge seats were comfortable, and the cruise director was very hardworking. There were very few lectures given The one we attended on Microbes was well-presented and interesting. More lectures from an additional lecturer would have been helpful. The cocktail hour entertainers included a Russian duo, a female pianist and violinist, and a male saxophonist. By day eleven we were very familiar with the Slav style somewhat mournful music from these entertainers. We longed for something lighter and more varied, western! Manhattan or Latin American style would be welcomed. This sorry saga staying in a 'large' premium cabin cost one and a half times the price of a cruise on QM2. At the final breakfast all eight people (crammed onto our tiny table with no space for passengers to move around) said never again would they cruise on the Marco Polo with Transocean Cruise Line. However the itinerary was terrific and we would highly recommend a circumnavigation of Britain. Learning more about our roots and seeing Britain from several different, offshore perspectives was memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We boarded on the 1st February 2010 for a six week cruise.The first thing that we noticed were the filthy windows which were not cleaned until one week before we arrived back in England, and then were only hosed down,we might as well have ... Read More
We boarded on the 1st February 2010 for a six week cruise.The first thing that we noticed were the filthy windows which were not cleaned until one week before we arrived back in England, and then were only hosed down,we might as well have had an inside cabin.The next thing we found was that the water was coming out of the taps a horrible brown colour,yet the water was supposed to be according to the ships "management",.potable.This brown water happened on at least 20 days out of the 42day voyage,sometimes we were given bottled water and other times we had to purchase water at £2.20 for a bottle which was less than a litre. We were unable to control the temperature of the water in the shower and one was either scalded or frozen, such was the difference in the temperature.This happened every day.The so called "beautiful" teak decks only saw water when it rained and were filthy,and if one walked on the decks without footwear, ones feet got very dirty. People with walking difficulties should not be allowed to travel on the MARCO POLO unless accompanied by a carer, because of the unbelievable amount of traps on the ship,and also because they got no help at all from the staff.On the sun deck there should be a warning that if one suffers from breathing difficulties one should not use this deck because of the constant fumes,this deck also has the Jacuzis.The traps on the ship were 4inch up-stands at the top of all flights of stairs on the open decks,and 6inch steps at all doors leadind to and from the decks The catering was appalling,a tea and coffee machine was set up on the pool deck,but was constantly short of cups and at one point the "management" announced that it was the passengers fault that there was not enough cups because the passengers were taking them to their cabins. The"Management"stated that there were 1600 cups for this function even though there were more than 800 passengers on board.At lunch in the Bistro, if one went to lunch after 1:15 pm there was constantly a shortage of plates or cutlery or both.In the Bistro a drinks machine was set up but again there was either a shortage of glasses or drinks or both on a daily basis,tea if required was out on the pool deck.and one had to push through a very heavy door to get to the pool deck ,and then had to again push through this door with teas in your hand,once again no assistance. On one occasion an elderly man carrying two glasses tripped over the steps smashing the glasses, cutting his hands, dislocated his shoulder and fractured his pelvis.The food was no more than one star and was as boring as it could possibly get day in and day out. Fresh vegetables were non existent.On one occasion among many the three male guests on our table ordered chicken we waited about one hour and when we asked the waiter where our meal was we were told that they had run out of chicken and that they were getting some more from the freezer.Ten minutes later the chicken arrived which was luke warm and tough and no one ate it.I am sure this chicken was cooked from frozen or at best not thawed out properly. . Bar service on the outside decks was practically non existent and when one complained one was met with a shrug of the shoulders.The bar staff had a no care attitude ,and after 40 days of ordering the same drinks they still did not know our drinks.The entertainment was mixed the show dancers were very good ,but they have now left the ship to go on the COUNTESS .The cruise director and his helpers were Karaoke because their acts consisted of shouting into the mikes accompanied by canned music.They were so loud that one wondered if they thought that they were appearing at the o2 arena ,and not a very small lounge on a one star ship. Shore excursions left a lot to be desired,we went on some but cancelled many more,on one excursion the highlight was a visit to the Botanical Gardens to see the many orchids and tropical plants.There was not even a blade of grass to be seen and not one flower.We spoke to the guide as to why, and she stated it was the dry season, and that we should close our eyes and imagine what it would be like.Shuttle buses if laid on were not announced until the night before,and that tickets are available at the excursion desk. Imagine the chaos as hundreds of people went to a very small reception area at the same time.I do believe that the Shuttles were announced late in order that the passengers would buy trips.At one stop it was announced that the Shuttle would be every 15 minutes we waited 1 hour 20 minutes.Some passengers paid nearly £300 each to see the Angel Falls,on their return they told us there was more water coming from their overflows.When they complained they were told it was because they have not had any rain for months.One has to ask why did the trip go ahead. On sea days if it rained there was not enough seating inside the ship for all the passengers.There was always a shortage of deck chairs and the ones available were filthy and were not cleaned for the whole 6 week cruise.This cruise was our 40th cruise and was a cruise from hell.I spoke to several past and loyal MARCO POLO passengers and evey one of them said this is not the ship they sailed on 3 years ago and that they would never sail on the ship again.The reason we booked was the itinerary, and we did check cruise critics, and now realise the reviews we looked at were 2007. I think I should stop now but I will say again DO NOT BOOK THE MARCO POLO Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Having just returned home today, the itinerary was good, the weather fantastic and the ship and most of the staff were terrible. The food was school canteen food, served cold or if you were lucky warm, the waitresses were chewing gum and ... Read More
Having just returned home today, the itinerary was good, the weather fantastic and the ship and most of the staff were terrible. The food was school canteen food, served cold or if you were lucky warm, the waitresses were chewing gum and the cutlery was transport cafe. The head chef was an Indian who could not cook a good curry, and as for English food, best left not said. On deck and in the Bistro, the crew queued up for food first, and sat around smoking. There was a lack of information from the Bridge, and as for organising excursion trips by Tender, it was a joke. All the staff were unprofessional, and lacked any kind of training from the Captain down, there was literally no Management. The entertainment was amaturistic and the same every day. Why go on this terrible ship when there are others far superior and cheaper. If you have booked a cruise on the Marco Polo, then get your deposit back quick! I could write pages, but do not have the time! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This was our second cruise, the first through Royal Caribbean on the Legend of the Seas. What a sad experience! Having read some of the reviews of previous passengers prior to booking the cruise and having realised that they were up to ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first through Royal Caribbean on the Legend of the Seas. What a sad experience! Having read some of the reviews of previous passengers prior to booking the cruise and having realised that they were up to two years old in some cases we were prepared for some problems. Whilst overall the standard came no where near to that of the Legend of the Seas I think that to be fair the staff on board were tired and a bit jaded. Many of them were apparently working up to 16 hours a day and this reflected in their less than friendly grins. For some there were language difficulties, but it is evident that they were trying. Daily meeting were held for the cabin and waiting staff to update them all on the problems of the previous 24 hours, and this appeared to be having an effect. Our cabin was small, but well maintained by a young man who was very cheerful and conscientious in his job. Our three main concerns were as follows: 1 The farce of dining in the serve yourself restaurant. If you could find a table, then you probably could not find a chair. If you found a table and chair then there were no cups. Getting all three to combine together was a work of logistical magic!! The very ebullient guy in charge of the restaurant was once heard to comment "I'm getting mug hassle again from the passengers!" 2 The lack of time spent on shore trips. In the main the shore trips lasted little more than four hours, sometimes less if the ship was delayed getting to port. On one occasion the trip from Cadiz to Gibraltar showed on the onboard television log that we were 35 miles from the destination as we left Cadiz. The ship came into port in Gibraltar about 8am the following morning. At one point during the night I was awake and turned on the television to watch our progress. We were going first of all north, then south then east and finally north again. We spent all night going round in circles. Whilst this was bad, what made it worse was the heavy weather which we had been warned about the previous evening. With the large number of quite old and some infirm people on board I felt at the time that the captain was not considering the health of his passengers by not going straight to Gibraltar when he knew this. The same thing happened going across the Bay of Biscay. One of the ports of call was Portimaio in Portugal. We sat on the boat all day watching the resort from about half a mile off shore. The tender was lowered to let people off but the swell was such as to make this impractical. However, if the tender had been lowered on the other side of the vessel (sheltered from the swell by the ship itself) then we could have made it to shore. Add to that the fact that 12 people were brought onboard during the late afternoon makes on feel that there never was an intention to let us ashore that day. Out of 11 days on the ship we spent over 5 days at sea - with a break of 4 hours on one of those days. Not a bunch of happy passengers. 3 Tipping. On the first information sheet from the booking agency we were informed that all gratuities were included in the cost of the holiday. On board we were told £5.00 a person per day would be automatically added to our credit card bill unless we registered in the first 24 hours onboard that we did not wish to have this facility. When we told the reception area that we wanted to withdraw from this system we were told that a box would be available on the reception counter for us to put an envelope with any gratuity inside for the individual staff member. To the end of the cruise we enquired with our cabin cleaner about these two systems. He informed us that they never got any extra in the form of tips either from the company or the white box system. So, we gave him the money ourselves. Apparently there was some system onboard to prevent them having any money on their persons, but as our guy said, "There are always ways of getting around this problem". On the whole we felt that the experience of the passengers was similar to our own and that the ships owners and operators had little or no concern for the experience of the paying passengers. There are many other small niggles about the cruise, but I am so tired of the whole thing I think I had better call it a day now. In future, don't book with the Marco Polo - unless it is going to join the other four similar ships built at the same time. To the scrap yard! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
I am just back from a cruise on the Marco Polo with my partner, to Edinburgh, Norwegian Fjords & Lerwick, its was cheap as chips £599. But once on the ship prices rise, a bottle of water 750mls in the cabin was £2.20p, ( so take your ... Read More
I am just back from a cruise on the Marco Polo with my partner, to Edinburgh, Norwegian Fjords & Lerwick, its was cheap as chips £599. But once on the ship prices rise, a bottle of water 750mls in the cabin was £2.20p, ( so take your own) tours are very expensive. We tended to do our own thing at the destinations. At one stop, Flam, the tour from the boat, The Flamsbana Mountain Railway was £59, We did the trip for £34 booking from the station a 100 yds from the ship. We did however take one coach trip at Geirager Fjord, up the Eagles Road, £41. a full coach load of people 3 hours for £41, was expensive but the only way to the top of Mount Dalsnibba for the view over the Fjord with the Marco Polo moored up. The service at the Waldorf Restaurant was quite unbelievable too, ladies not served first, plates cleared, before other people had finished their course. Some people had there sweet, while others were still on their main course. Wine was from £13 to £30 a bottle, but water was free, the only trouble was the wine waiter, started clearing the glasses of water before we had finished with them. In the Waldorf Restaurant one evening, we had roast beef but we were not asked how we would like it, one slice or I should say door step was well done (some of the ladies could not cut through theirs) the next slice I had was red raw, I could not eat it. My partner could eat none of hers because it was raw, and she likes beef well done. The waiter just shrugged when we told him about it. Pudding described as Mousse, was a small chocolate cup cake, Cheesecake was a sponge slice with no taste at all. The Chef who was Indian (even his Curry was not up to much) he must have had very little knowledge about the English language when writing the menu, the same as most of the crew, mostly from the Eastern Block countries. One day at breakfast one of our friends on the table, turned her head to talk to her mum, her half eaten omelette was taken away by the waiter without even asking. The other a self-service restaurant the Marcos Bistro (should have been cafe) when open for lunch or afternoon tea was like feeding time at the zoo, lack of seating, no mugs for your tea or coffee, I had to wait sometimes 15 minutes for the waiter to put them out, if you were in the first 12 people to get a mugs you were lucky. ( My advice is to take a plastic Thermos cup with you), then you can take it outside where there are seats, but of course most times it was a little cold. The Internet again was too expensive to use, I never noticed anyone in there, I did manage to connect with my laptop, when on the dock at Flam as did some of the crew, it was free, the password was on the door of the dock side office. One good place was our cabin, it was kept clean and tidy, but stewardess did take the toiletries out the day before the cruise finished so we did not pinch any, we took our own anyway. The evening entertainment grew on us the troupe of Russian dancers and singers did a very good job. On two nights we were entertained by the guest artist talented Katy Setterfield with her impressions of well known singers. Another highlight was the guest lecturer David Horsley on birds, mammals and fauna. So would we recommend the Marco Polo, only to people we do not like, but we did have a laugh, especially over the food description's on the menu. So if you do take a cruise on the Marco Polo, don't forget to take water, and a thermos mug, look up the ports you are visiting on the Internet before you go to see if its cheaper to do your own thing. Tilbury, could do with a good clean up. Leith for Edinburgh, a short bus ride into town £3 for all day ticket. Bergan short walk into the center of town and the Floibanen funicular. Geiranger, tender to town, but not a lot there, took a tour. Olden Nordfjord, tender, walk half mile in to town but not much there, from the dock, a toy town train on the road ride £15 too expensive. Flam, 100 yds to town and station for the Flambana Mountain Railway £34 each, we booked our own train ride and saved £50 on tour price for the two of us, even more if you are an OAP. Lerwick, tender, in to center of town a lot cheaper than Norway so its the place to buy presents before you go back home. Happy Cruise-ing Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
We'd never been on a cruise before. Doubt if we shall again. We deliberately chose a slightly smaller ship, thinking it might be less impersonal than a very large one, and this may have been the case. There were some good ... Read More
We'd never been on a cruise before. Doubt if we shall again. We deliberately chose a slightly smaller ship, thinking it might be less impersonal than a very large one, and this may have been the case. There were some good things - embarkation and disembarkation was easy; staff were pleasant and our room very comfortable. From day 1, from Tilbury to Edinburgh, I thought it was strange that, right in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in Europe, there were no announcements saying it was on, with masses to go and see and do. There were £55 tickets for the Tattoo (cost price £23). Nothing about the fact you could get off the boat at Leith, get a bus all day ticket for £3, and go to lots of shows. Which we did and had a great day. But hey? All the ship wanted to do was make money in its tour buses. For the rest of the voyage, we chose not to go on excursions. We wanted our own time to look around places. But every time we were anchored out in the bay, it was people booked on tours who were scheduled off first into the tenders, which meant we had much less time on shore. The excursions were extremely expensive. And they also appeared to direct the boat to stop in places where bus tours left from, rather than places of much intrinsic interest, eg Olden. So, Cruise and Maritime were wholly focused on passengers willing to pay a very considerable amount on their extra tours, giving those who wanted to see the place more independently rather a second-class experience. Internet? 60p per minute. Yes, per minute. Bottles water in the cabin - £2.20 Food - my partner found the food irritating and not very good - tiny portions in nouvelle cuisine style. I stated when booking that I am vegetarian. Cruise and Maritime offered vegetarian food. The food served did not constitute a rounded vegetarian diet. They served vegetables. And pasta. And more pasta. I don't normally eat much pasta. Virtually no protein on offer. When I raised this with the Passenger Services Director, and pointed out what was lacking, she was very pleasant. Nothing changed except that it seemed I had lots of people running around asking if the food was ok. The food and the menus remained exactly the same. Afternoon teas were a pretty dismal affair, with very ordinary, very dry, uninteresting little cakes. I think you could maybe have got a decent cup of coffee on board for about £3 or so. I didn't see why I should have to pay that much. There were a couple of stations for free tea and coffee all day long. At least once a day they seemed to completely run out of mugs for 20 minutes or more and we'd be told that the dishwashing machine had broken down. On arrival in our cabin, there were flowers - meant for another cabin. And excursion tickets - meant for another cabin. The daily blurb had mistakes in it, day after day, almost every day. I raised it with the passenger services director along with the food issue. It also did not give enough simple, useful information to independent travellers about local buses and transport, costs etc. As much out of principle as anything else we chose not to avail ourselves of the overpriced items in the boat. I object to being -as I see it - fleeced. And I was given sub-standard vegetarian food. All this is not new to Cruise and Maritime as I wrote to them in September. When they replied they discounted all of my complaints, with anodyne phrases such as "I am sorry that you were disappointed..". What I write about are not difficult issues. And I'm surprised the company did not welcome the feedback, which it should have found helpful in developing its services. So - Marco Polo - oh no, oh no.. Marie Needham Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The ... Read More
We boarded the boat with some trepidation, given poor previous reviews. The boat is very clean, but given the average age of its clientele it needs to be - we were advised that most passengers were in their mid-seventies this cruise. The already poor health of many of them was exacerbated by the air conditioning, which was often toxic, I don't know if this was for the benefit of the franchised medical centre, I had a chest infection and was charged just shy of £2k for a few antibiotics, which didn't work - I think whatever the bug was it was resistant to the remedies available on board, I eventually got better after buying antibiotics from a pharmacy ashore. If you are going to travel my advice would be to take some with you. One small good point was that the food was so bland and dreadful, that I managed to lose weight onboard - this is a first for me, and my husband who also lost a bit. The wine list was small and not good, although the house red was just about drinkable. Entertainment was enjoyed by the majority of those onboard, although not to our taste - this is probably just a generational thing, the entertainers worked hard, but lacked direction. Shows were generally packed, but this was probably also a function of the numbers onboard, it did seem to be grossly overcrowded. The itinerary was varied for a variety of dubious reasons, which we found hard to believe, this was coupled with very slow average speed, which caused the boat to roll a lot and causing discomfort to more than a few passengers - this was evidenced by sick bags being placed virtually everywhere. In short it was the wrong cruise for us, the very elderly seemed to think it was spiffing, but the younger people we spoke to all stated that they would not use the boat again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
If you enjoy bean bag throwing and bingo then this cruise is for you.As for seeing Norway ... don't bet on it. Out of seven planned stops in Norway only four were managed. The explanation (very poorly communicated) was down to the ... Read More
If you enjoy bean bag throwing and bingo then this cruise is for you.As for seeing Norway ... don't bet on it. Out of seven planned stops in Norway only four were managed. The explanation (very poorly communicated) was down to the weather.The ship is ex Russian, specifically built for cruising in the ice bound higher latitudes. In February one should expect that the weather in the Arctic Circle isn't going to be perfect BUT one should also expect that the cruise company would not be running cruises if there is such a limited chance of completing the itinerary, not least because the ship can manage these conditions.The first missed stop was because the port necessitated an anchorage which was deemed to be a problem as the weather made using the tenders uncertain. In the event it was decided to visit an alternative port ... which also, it turned out, needed to use tenders ... which of course meant that the second choice was also impossible to go ashore.Later in the trip the Captain (virtually unseen during the whole fiasco) and the cruise directors waited so long to make a decision that two further stops were impossible to visit in the remaining time.Whilst waiting for these decisions (over 8 hours) no updates were given. When eventually advised that we would be going straight back to Tilbury (missing the final two ports) we were crassly told to 'have a great evening'. No thought was given to recognising this huge disappointment through some announcement or gesture.We were inadvertently told in the end that the weather was no worse than a Force 8 which this ship could easily cope with.At no point were alternatives considered e.g. letting passengers ashore whilst waiting to make up their minds or choosing substitute ports where we could get ashore.The ship is great; the crew are great; the Captain and directors are bad decision makers and exceptionally poor communicators.Travel with the Marco Polo is a gamble whilst these 'managers' are employed. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We were really looking forward to this trip to see the northern lights and Norway in winter. We were so disappointed by the ship. The cabin was small old fashioned cramped and lacked facilities. The food was appalling the main ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this trip to see the northern lights and Norway in winter. We were so disappointed by the ship. The cabin was small old fashioned cramped and lacked facilities. The food was appalling the main restaurant was dark and dismal the food unattractive and tasteless. The staff tried hard but had little to play with. The alternative dining venue was appalling it looked like a works canteen with food to match. Entertainment was dreadful, an amateur caberer show not as good as a production in a village hall. Repetitive singing duo in one of the bars and a few quizzes. Shops poor with little stock and very overpriced. Outside deck full of tatty plastic chairs and dirty cups. Husky trips and ice hotel excellent but very expensive. We missed 4 ports of call due to severe storms We will stick to better cruise lines in the future. Avoid at all costs Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Cruise to see the Northern Lights. We boarded at Tilbury with high expectations and were let down at almost every step of the way. It is a shame as the possibility to create a good cruise experience is there, but the management were so ... Read More
Cruise to see the Northern Lights. We boarded at Tilbury with high expectations and were let down at almost every step of the way. It is a shame as the possibility to create a good cruise experience is there, but the management were so poor that it let the whole trip down. Major problems include: Very poor management of the Marco's Restaurant. Scramble for food is laughable at each mealtime. Food very frequently warm at best due to ridiculous opening doors to deck area for smokers in freezing cold temperatures. These doors should be off limits at mealtimes. The tea/coffee area is a shambles at all times with cups and mugs in short supply most of the time, along with cutlery shortages. Either get more cups and mugs or wash up more frequently and for goodness sake monitor continuous these areas in order to forsee shortages. The majority of the staff and crew are foreign but on the whole very ameniable and pleasant. Some waiters have had a charisma bypass and most of the reception staff were not helpful. The tours on this trip were so expensive as to be laughable. This was not helped by the fact that absolutely no help or useful information is given to you if you do not wish to book a tour. Most irritating this as it meant much time lost exploring buses and trains that could have been detailed for you. Very bad indeed this aspect and needs much more work to be helpful. Throughout the trip the Captain was notable by his abscence. We had many days of very bad weather and the Captain did nothing to reassure the passengers. Indeed many would question his judgement in losing a day or so sailing and thereby missing 3 ports of call. sadly the nicer towns in Norway. Having had to spend so much time on board due to weather and missed ports of call, the infill entertainment was pathethic. It was of an old peoples home standard. e.g. throwing bean bags into wastepaper bins!!!! The highlight of the whole trip and the saving grace in preventing a total disaster was the on board evening entertainers. They were magnificent for the whole trip and worked extremely hard and were the best we have seen in a long time. Full marks to them. It wouldn't take any real cost to build on the fine entertainment and make this a better ship to sail in. The management need a thorough overhaul and need to understand what makes for a pleasant cruise. Mostly small things would improve passenegr satisfaction enormously. Provide better entertainment during day, show films for example. Stop smokers using restaurant deck to keep doors locked and food warmer. Sort out the tea/coffee serving area. Make independent travellers welcome by providing good port of call information. Keep trip costs lower. I would not use this ship again until it smartens up its act. It is 2011 and customers expect and demand more than this ship provides. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
Go on this ship if you enjoy school dinner type meals, chemical tasting drinks small cramped cabins with no soundproofing whatsoever, no space inside on cool or wet days. Poor entertainment, singers apart from one who could nor sing and ... Read More
Go on this ship if you enjoy school dinner type meals, chemical tasting drinks small cramped cabins with no soundproofing whatsoever, no space inside on cool or wet days. Poor entertainment, singers apart from one who could nor sing and dancers that seemed to do similar dances each night but in a different costume.This ship is very old and felt very unstable in high seas very bad for any passengers who are elderly or disabled. The waiters in the main dining room however did give really good service in spite of the tables being so close together in the dining room.In spite of all this we did enjoy our holiday thanks to meeting some nice people, having a good table of eight each evening and the weather being sunny and warm most of the time.We did take a couple of trips one of which was allocated two buses, one bus they overfilled resulting in a dozen people getting onto the first bus and having to get off again in-spite of 3 staff and tour members counting and checking tickets. Would we go on this ship again!!!! No Never. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
do not beleive the reviews on here about the Marco Polo - I can only assume that the prople writing them have low standards or have not been on a proper cruise before. We were really looking forward to a short bank holiday break - ... Read More
do not beleive the reviews on here about the Marco Polo - I can only assume that the prople writing them have low standards or have not been on a proper cruise before. We were really looking forward to a short bank holiday break - and having done short cruises before with NCL and RCCI and read the Marco Polo reviews thought this seemed like a good idea. How wrong we were. it is a rare thing to be able to say that the best thing about a cruise is the inside cabin (and even that was not anything special). the food was terrible - again, not usually a problem on a cruise ship. coffe was watery - the coffee machines on deck were filthy and old - the coffee cups were not all filthy - but you had to pick up a few first to find a clean one. i hate to think what things are like behind the scenes if the "on display" areas are this disgusting. breakfast: a few stale croissants and other stale pastries - the chococale criossants had some horrible strange congealed filling. the sausages were inedible. the eggs undercooked. usually on cruise lines there is a huge choice at breakfast - not on the marco polo. I ended up having one slice of cold overcooked toast and some baked beans and then ate properly when we got off the ship - which we couldnt wait to do. in amsterdam (first stop) the ship did not dock at the cruise terminal - but at a port some 20 minutes away which seemed to be a cargo port for the adjoining nissan factory. we had a long queue to get off and then had to wait for a coach.  we discussed not getting back on the ship in Amsterdam - and if we had all our luggage with us, we would not have bothered getting back on. we had dinner at both the buffet restaurant and the main dining room (hoping after the first night in the main dining room that the buffet might be better) - both were terrible - the buffet being slightly worse. the only thing edible that evening at the buffet was some boiled potatoes and some sort of cabbage and tofu stir fry. and a bread roll. the highlight (or rather lowlight)of the main dining room food was one of the starters - some sort of cheap tesco value raw tomato stuffed with what was described as "meat" but looked like cat food. i have never seen anything like it in my life. the fish pie looked and smelled like vomit on a plate. it was poor quality ready meals all round at dinner. the boat seemed to list the whole time and i think probably lacks any kind of stabilisers as it was an extremely rough ride. the facilities were terrible - they had obviously tried to make some effort with the inside spaces - but silk purse and so's ear stuff really. the pool was jawdroppinggly bad - filled with cloudy water. Quite frankly the boat should be scrapped. Only the british would put up with these low standards. the only saving grace was that we were not on it for any longer. we couldnt wait to get off. save your money and go on a proper cruise - and for those people who think its the best thing since sliced bread, you really need to get out more. I have only rated this "1" star as there is not the ability to rate as zero. you couldn't pay me to go on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Having cruised lots I am not too sure how this ship can be classed as a cruise ship. It is an absolute joke. Food is appalling, entertainment is like a bad school production, ship is dirty, smells of diesel everywhere, public areas are ... Read More
Having cruised lots I am not too sure how this ship can be classed as a cruise ship. It is an absolute joke. Food is appalling, entertainment is like a bad school production, ship is dirty, smells of diesel everywhere, public areas are either very warm or freezing cold, bedding is old and bobbly, crew are rude etc.... Advertised a captains cocktail party - never saw Captain or indeed any senior officers the whole time on board. Most passengers were elderly and moany. Embarkation and disembarkation was an absolute farce In Antwerp to get back on board the climb up the stairs (might as well of been a ladder) was at a 60 degree angle - felt sorry for the guy in the wheelchair - he was told wait for the tide to turn!!! Hope it was tongue in cheek! The lift doors attempt to sever limbs, health and safety was non existing! And the emergency drill was a fiasco. The best thing this company can do is take a cruise with RCCL or one of the other competitors and find out how to do things with professionalism. Cross channel ferry services are better than this! For the people who have told me the Marco Polo is marvellous, well all I can say is they are easy pleased! Its not cheap and there are a lot better options available. Had to wait an eternity for people to settle their on board accounts before we were allowed off, get a grip- pre Christmas break..... no it was an endurance test and something we will definitely avoid at all costs! if it had been longer I would have packed up and flown home Overall would have been 0 but as 1 is the least so be it - guess they get a 1 overall for getting me home to the comfort of Terra firma without a broken bone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to ... Read More
Myself & my husband arrived back yesterday 7th December from what should have been 2 days in Hamburg and 1 in Amsterdam looking at the Christmas markets. We were informed the day before that the itinerary was going to be changed due to the bad weather conditions in Germany. The itinerary was then 1 day in Amsterdam, 1 day in Brugge and 1 in Antwerp. I am all for health and safety! and this also meant 3 ports of call instead of 1. The first night sailing to Amsterdam was extremely choppy and we managed about 4 hours sleep. We knew that Brugge was only about 80 odd miles away so we assumed that night we would have a quick journey, be docked and have a good nights sleep. WRONG! we could not dock until 6am the next morning we were just bobbing around in the sea for hours, being right above the props and the water crashing against our port holes. We seemed to fair better than others who on the higher decks had their drawers opening, things falling over and one poor woman had a narrow escape when the tv fell over and landed on the bed beside her! Neither of us slept again at all, when the boat finally docked we thought lets go to bed now and get a couple of hours, WRONG, we were so low on the ship that the rubber buffers were right outside our window and the noise of them scraping against the side made it impossible. It was horrendous to say the least. The Captain - was noticeable by his absents, except when spotted with a young blonde in an office smoking! different policies for different people I suppose. The Food - Only 1 night spent in the Restaurant (nothing special) and the help yourself Bistro - food warm at best repetitive and run to a strict regime, if it was 8.30 and people still in there all the food is cleared away regardless. Entertainment - Now this is the only good bit, all the staff were really nice and put on a good show every night. We had a trickle of water coming out of our tap, we tried to call reception to ask if this could be remedied but the phone didn't work. We went to reception she said she would get it sorted and that she realised our phone was not working. On our arrival back there was still no water, we complained again. At last someone came. It worked for 1 morning! It was quite amusing that the last night we go two letters, one saying we hoped the water problem had been resolved and another that said, sorry it couldn't be fixed because they couldn't get in touch with us by phone!! It was broken der!! Our friends had a nice surprise too, they were asleep in their cabin and at 1.50am they were woken by someone walking in! He said sorry and left, they called reception immediately but they were not really interested, after a second complaint in person in the morning they were told it would be looked into. Apparently they said, the week before the staff had been given these cabins and the intruder was staff who didn't know that these same cabins had been given to the general public! Bad case of communication to say the least. As for the Christmas markets, in Brugge there were half a dozen open, selling items you could buy here for a third of the cost. In Antwerp there were none open at all, as the people who had booked a trip on board at a very high price found out. The few that were open sold either hot food or you could have a drink. Where were the stalls for the Xmas presents that people wanted to buy? To be honest if it hadn't been for the people whom we met on the ship it would have been the worst nightmare ever. If you don't mind repetitive lukewarm food, reception staff that cant be bothered, a captain you never see or hear and enjoy a ship that does not appear to be stabilised at all, then go for it! I myself wont be going on it again, myself and my husband are still suffering extremely bad "sea legs". Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We did not have any trouble booking in then we were shown to our cabin we could not believe the rabbit warren of corridors we were taken along to get to the cabin. The cabin was very small and claustrophoic, there was plenty of drawer and ... Read More
We did not have any trouble booking in then we were shown to our cabin we could not believe the rabbit warren of corridors we were taken along to get to the cabin. The cabin was very small and claustrophoic, there was plenty of drawer and cupboard space that was the only good thing about the cabin. The whole of the ship is very dismal and old. We had a banging noise all night for a week even though this was reported the first day, it was only after I said it would be taken further that it was sorted out, we were lucky some other passengers were given ear plugs. We went to Marco Bistro for lunch once they did not have enough cutlery and we had to wait while these were washed up, you could not get juice at lunch times the machine was switched off, only water we have never had this before. We then ate all our meals in the main restaurant but they often did not have cereal bowls once again we had to wait for them to be washed. It would have been nice to have a choice of yoguarts but you had to take either plain and sometimes there was another flavour these were in a large container, the toast was pre-cooked and kept warm under a lamp which was not very nice. When we used the self service at breakfast and lunch times it was very dangerous with plates trying to get back to your table as the tables were so close together. We could not believe you got rice with most evening meals even fish.Our table was by the window and there were several towels on the window ledge to stop the water coming in the window frames. We paid for an outside cabin and the porthole was open four days out of fourteen, we could have saved money and had an inside cabin, we were told that it is always rough on this trip so why was there not a discount for the days the portholes were closed? The entertainment was not too bad if you could see it people came late and sat in front of you, we were not allowed to go to the bar for drinks but we waited a long time for anyone to serve us. When we have been on other cruises they do water maintenance overnight this time we were without water for five hours, all public toilets were closed and you could not use the toilet in the cabin, when we complained a senior officer told us they would switch the water on when it suited them. We did not do the excursions we like to do our own trips we were annoyed we could not book the ice hotel this was only for the ship to book, our friends complained and they said they would try to get us complimentary tickets for the Sunday these were put under our door just our names on them when we received our account we had to pay £55 each it would have been nice if they had informed us before we went that we had to pay. When we received the information regarding disembarkation it said we had to be out of the cabins by 7.00am and would all be off the ship by 9.30am so we booked a taxi for this time we were still on the ship at 11.00am if we had not told them we had a taxi waiting I do not know what time we would have got off. Cruise Maritime is not interested in any complaints even though they know that six people were so fed up with the cruise they flew home at their own expense from Alta. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
My partner and I booked for a taster of the 'cruise' ship Marco Polo. The ship never left Tilbury but we got to experience for 1 night (thank god only 1 night)the ship and its hospitality. Firstly embarkation was no ... Read More
My partner and I booked for a taster of the 'cruise' ship Marco Polo. The ship never left Tilbury but we got to experience for 1 night (thank god only 1 night)the ship and its hospitality. Firstly embarkation was no different to queuing at Gatwick or Stansted for a flight... we were shown to our cabin which was supposed to be a guaranteed double bed suite. Upon entering it was twin beds and when I pointed out the problem the staff person threw his hands up in the air like I was being a nuisance and told me to get out of the way and proceeded to push the two beds together !!!!! Not a good start. The ship is certainly old with uneven floors in just about all areas. We had a look at the show cabins and these also had uneven floors, so a feeling of sea sickness without moving anywhere!!!!!!! The dining room has too many tables in and it is a c onstant 'excuse me' of people trying to get into their seats. Don't sit at the side tables unless you don't mind having your elbow on the window sill. Miles too cramped for a dining experience. We found the staff too abrupt. The waiter in the entertainment area was quite insistant that 'we pay cash yeh' !!!!! Maybe a few lessons in customer service may be required. The entertainment itself was diabolical ... have seen better in holiday camps. Wouldn't be impressed if that was all that was on offer on a weeks cruise !!! No escaping either as the singers after their show then go and croon away in the bars. Lots of noise in the corridors during the night (between 12 and 1am in the morning) as people made their way back to their cabins. Breakfast was a farce. I've eaten better in a 3 star hotel. Massive queue for food. Was told on entering the dining room that we could sit anywhere but was then told most pointedly by a staff member 'you sit there'!!!!! All in all I would still like to have a cruise, b ut most definately not on this boat. P&O Cross Channel ferry comes to mind. I wouldn't like to travel up the Thames on this vessel let along across the Channel or North Sea !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We'd never been on the Marco Polo and quite fancied some of their itineraries and so when we saw a three day Christmas Markets cruise to Antwerp and Amsterdam we thought this would be a good way to find out what the ship was like! ... Read More
We'd never been on the Marco Polo and quite fancied some of their itineraries and so when we saw a three day Christmas Markets cruise to Antwerp and Amsterdam we thought this would be a good way to find out what the ship was like! And ..... we're so glad we did. We'd booked an inside cabin on the Pacific Deck but a few days before we went we got a phone call offering us a free upgrade to an outside premium on the same deck - of course we said "yes" who wouldn't. What a poisoned chalice this turned out to be. The cabin was certainly spacious but was right at the back of the ship and the windows looked out onto a large pile of mattresses - yup mattresses - not the ones you get on the sunbeds but piles and piles of single mattresses. On top of that the cabin was absolutely freezing and we had to have an oil filled radiator going full pelt day and night just to keep the temperature around 68oC. We must have been the only passengers ever to beg for a downgrade but it was not possible as the ship was fully booked! On the plus side, there was plenty of wardrobe space and the cabin was kept spotless by the lovely Christian. The inside cabins on the same deck all looked lovely and warm as we walked past them. There was a choice of eating places, either the main dining room or Marco's Bistro. Both were very much the same in the food they served. Breakfast was a buffet and if you didn't arrive the minute the food was put out then you had to eat congealed eggs, soggy sausages and sticky bacon. The toast was kept warm under a lamp so you can imagine it was tepid and chewy. We ate out so I can't comment on the lunchtime food but in the evenings we ate in the main waiter-service restaurant. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the food but when we go on a cruise we expect something different to what I cook at home - the food was mostly bland, uninspiring and downright boring - certainly not up to the standard of any other cruises we have been on. There's quite a few bars dotted around the ship but again we found them very cold and a number of the other passengers complained about the cold air blowing from the ventilation systems. Prices in the bars were pretty average for a cruise ship but we did hear a number of complaints from other passengers about overcharging. It was only on the last night that the temperature was increased - to such an extent that the public rooms were stifling hot! Sadly, we also found the staff in general were miserable and in some cases downright surly - although we were very lucky to have a marvellous cabin steward (Christian) and a lovely waiter (Yvgen). I've never seen so few smiles on a cruise ship from the staff - overhearing some conversations I think many of them were not happy with their lot. I'm glad we tried it out before going on a 14 night cruise as we now know we will NEVER EVER EVER sail on this ship again - I think Cruise and Maritime need to re-look at their business model - yes it's cheap but it's not value for money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
I came across this cruise on the Guardian website and was immediately taken by the itinerary (Faroes and the Western Isles). Although we got an early-booking discount, we paid almost £1,000 for a 5-day cruise for the 2 of us, i.e. quite ... Read More
I came across this cruise on the Guardian website and was immediately taken by the itinerary (Faroes and the Western Isles). Although we got an early-booking discount, we paid almost £1,000 for a 5-day cruise for the 2 of us, i.e. quite an investment for a mere 5 nights. Not a cruiser myself, I hadn't sussed out that cruising is for old people. By this I mean, really old people with serious health and mobility problems. Nothing wrong with that...but: expect to be poked by a walking stick from someone in a wheelchair when you're queuing up for check-in. Also prepare for being severely circled and targeted by someone with a walking aid (trolley-type) once who have managed to get a table for lunch. This in itself is no mean feat as most passengers just remain stationary after breakfast and occupy tables for a full day.Of course, those with health/ mobility problems should be able to sit down, get some rest and enjoy their food, but so do we. Have I mentioned that we got asked on a number of occasions how long we were on the ship and what my partner (from Spain) exactly does for a living on-board as we looked young and one of us has a slightly darker complexion? The service we received was an outright joke. This excludes the wonderful Tatiana (our cabin steward) and the Scotts Bar staff who were nothing but friendly and forthcoming. All the rest, especially the restaurant waiters were outright surly. Maybe it was yet again the same issue with us not fitting into the age or ethnic demographic, but I've had a better service experience in hostels. Bearing in mind that they take it from the living (£2.05 for a can of soft drinks) and that they got to take another £650 for on-board drinks and land excursions, I'd expect the service to be a pleasant experience. Overall, an unsatisfactory experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
First impression was positive.The parking and embarkation was seamless with a rapid bag to cabin delivery. After that it was all downhill.We were travelling with my partners elderly mother who was unable to operate the safe.When my ... Read More
First impression was positive.The parking and embarkation was seamless with a rapid bag to cabin delivery. After that it was all downhill.We were travelling with my partners elderly mother who was unable to operate the safe.When my partner asked the cabin attendant for some assistance she was told in no uncertain terms that the safe was okay before we turned up.We explained we only needed some help and not a row. We soon learnt that this aggressive and unhelpfull attitude was peculiar to most of the staff. A clue to the lack of service is that a cup of tea is not available after 10pm unless you want to buy an appalling cup of clear liquid at the bar. The ship was suffering from one of it's bouts of Nora Virus but although passengers were restricted to having all food served at the counters by staff. The crew by contrast were immune to the disease as they gaily massaged each others neck or played catch with the butter whilst their customers meekly queued to be served at the same time watching a dirty boiler suited engineer use the restaurant as a short cut ignoring the use of the obligatory hand cleanser. Staff training is at a minimum including English lessons.I asked for a Pernod and was asked if I wanted a pint,my partner asked for a cider but was told they don't do cider.When she saw pointed out Strongbow on the menu she was told that it was a beer as it was under the heading of beer. I witnessed an irate passenger in the show lounge tell two senior staff members to be quite as he was trying to show while they propped up the bar trying to chat up a waitress. On one occasion I foolishly challenged an entertainer who in his haste to tidy up after a show had pushed my partner and her mother out of his way only to be told I was wrong.Rather than get beaten up I backed down. This is only a small sample of my observations but sufficed to say in 16 cruises this is the first time I did not give any tips except to our table waitress who was not very good but unlike most of the rest she did try. Their is no doubt in my mind that this is the worst ship I have been on with poor food poor entertainment and atrocious staff. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We chose this back-to-back cruise the the itinerary .... Iceland and then the north cape and Spitsbergen. We were not expecting luxury but we could find virtually nothing to recommend this line. The ship is tired and needs a major refurb ... Read More
We chose this back-to-back cruise the the itinerary .... Iceland and then the north cape and Spitsbergen. We were not expecting luxury but we could find virtually nothing to recommend this line. The ship is tired and needs a major refurb or scrap. The showers don't work properly throughout the ship ... The water is either scalding hot or freezing cold. The buffet consistently runs out of food, plates, and/or cups. The food is mediocre and I've never sailed on a ship where you have to constantly ask for water at the table and the after dinner coffee/tea is never refilled. If you don't want to do organised tours at every stop, forget it. You'll find the ship pulling into stops for only 3-4 hours at times where there is no time for the independent traveller to see anything. This ship is completely geared to tours with no info for indies. If the ship is tendered, the indies are the very last to be allowed ashore. Overall, the crew rarely smiles. Of course, you'll find exceptions but you do feel as though you are putting them out. On the plus side, we found the entire staff at the reception desk to be as good and efficient as any we have ever run into....also very friendly. While I have no problem boarding by deck, with the suites boarding first, the same thing happens on disembarkation without regard to when you have to leave to catch a plane. IF you need to disembark early and are on one of the lower decks, you must notify them BUT you must struggle off with all your luggage by yourself! We also noted that there were, not surprisingly, a fair number of passengers with mobility issues. The crew/staff virtually never offered help and the gangway was really difficult for them. We have seen much more care in other cruise lines Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
The ship tired and tatty. Food in Bistro lukewarm. The waiter service in both restaurants dire. Never before have I experienced plates being snatched away before people have finished. Please train your staff not to do this and also not to ... Read More
The ship tired and tatty. Food in Bistro lukewarm. The waiter service in both restaurants dire. Never before have I experienced plates being snatched away before people have finished. Please train your staff not to do this and also not to actually start clearing before everyone on the table has finished. This leaves the last person eating feeling very uncomfortable. The last stop to Stockholm cancelled due to the Kiel Canal being closed. Nobody to blame but the whole episode dealt with very badly. We were offered a discount if we booked another cruise.What a cynical marketing ploy! Then spent four days at sea which included a force ten gale. We were warned of adverse weather conditions and then heard nothing until the next day. Some reassurance would have been courteous. An appalling experience and we spoke to a lot of first time cruisers who said they will never cruise again.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We booked cruise P329, Amsterdam & Ghent Break, departing from Tilbury on October 3, 2013 and returning October 6, 2013 aboard the Marco Polo. Two days prior to departure we received an e-mail stating that due to an outbreak of ... Read More
We booked cruise P329, Amsterdam & Ghent Break, departing from Tilbury on October 3, 2013 and returning October 6, 2013 aboard the Marco Polo. Two days prior to departure we received an e-mail stating that due to an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise, extra time would be needed to clean the ship properly before our cruise was meant to depart. As such, our embarkation time was pushed back from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. At this point we weren't told anything further regarding how our cruise would be affected due to the norovirus, outbreak. It was not until once we got on board and after it was too late to get back off the ship did we read the daily cruise program and realize that several amenities and services were canceled during the cruise due to said outbreak of norovirus. Such amenities included the Library, Marco's Bistro, all public toilets, the gym, the sauna, the swimming pool, the jacuzzi and the Net Centre. We also came to understand that Afternoon Tea, which we were looking forward to, was canceled as well. Breakfast the following morning was a disaster as we all had to line up in the Waldorf Restaurant for 20 minutes just to eat some rather disappointing food. I do find it interesting that all of the bars and the chargeable health spa managed to stay open but the non-revenue generating parts of the ship were closed. Every surface except those in the rooms were covered in this unattractive film due to the ongoing cleaning during our cruise. There even managed to be a BLOOD STAINED PILLOW left in our cabin (see enclosed picture). Suffice it to say, it was a miserable cruise and one that should have been canceled given how many amenities and services were unavailable. The worst part was when we discovered on day two that some passengers received a letter in the cruise terminal apologizing for the lack of amenities, which also allowed them to cancel this particular cruise and reschedule for a later date. When another passenger was kind enough to show us this letter, WHICH WE DID NOT GET, this “get out” clause was discreetly hidden on the back page in the very last paragraph of said letter. We found this tactic to be deliberately deceitful, calculated and absolutely disgusting. CMV knew full well that no one would read the letter until it was already too late to get off of the ship. It was among the most underhanded stunts I have ever seen. As stated earlier, this was the worst cruise we have ever had the misfortune to endure. By the time we pulled into Amsterdam, my partner was so fed up of the experience, he went to the airport and flew home. I nearly did the same and would have done so if it weren't so difficult to collect our car, which was still parked at Tilbury. This cruise should have been canceled to properly clean the ship. No one would have been distraught at having to reschedule a little 3 day cruise. Instead it was three days of compromised service and poor excuses. We are demanding a full refund for this cruise as it was a complete and utter disappointment from embarkation to disembarkation and virtually every moment in between. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Our cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam should never have left port.All the facilities included in the price were closed except the shows this was claimed because of numerous people touching products ie the card room. The boutiques were open ... Read More
Our cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam should never have left port.All the facilities included in the price were closed except the shows this was claimed because of numerous people touching products ie the card room. The boutiques were open funny that as passengers were handling the products and replacing them on the racks and shelves the same in the shop people were handling bottles of spirits and packets of cigarettes. How this did not constitute a possible health hazard was probably because these were on sale and would have resulted in lost revenue.The shows were excellent again shame the food was not.There was very little choice As the bistro was closed during the cruise the main restaurant had very little choice and our waiter did not know what had garlic in. We paid £998 for this cruise for 4 nights and that included 3 breakfasts 2 were nearly cold 3 lunches if required 3 dinners each and 3 shows. On requesting a part refund this was dismissed out of hand. My sister who was on the cruise with us was phoned to explain that the delayed embarkation was due to the ship having one of it's two annual normal deep clean but failed to inform her if passengers were uncomfortable with the situation you could rebook for a different date. We were not informed of this until we had unpacked in our cabins and a letter was in the cabin folder.. The cruise before us suffered a bad norovirus outbreak of at least 50+ cases as was informed to us by a crew member. With the toilets being closed you had to make a trip back to your cabin if the call arose. Several crew members claimed the cruise should have been cancelled with the lack of facilities. The company have now come back to me with a offer of 20% off a future booking for 2014/2015 providing If I book before 31/01/2014. I think this offer is a joke and I will not be taking up the offer as I will never cruise with this so called cruise company again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
This was a one night familiarisation visit to the ship. I'm so glad we did. If we hadn't we might have been fooled into booking a whole cruise. Plus points: Embarcation and disembarcation was easy. The cabin was clean and ... Read More
This was a one night familiarisation visit to the ship. I'm so glad we did. If we hadn't we might have been fooled into booking a whole cruise. Plus points: Embarcation and disembarcation was easy. The cabin was clean and comfortable. The cabin steward was friendly. Minus points: The evening meal was poor with a tasteless plate of iceberg salad, a reasonable tomato soup with soggy bread in it, the main course with congealed vegetables and served on a cold plate, and a sliver of baked Alaska. Wine was provided and poured indiscriminately into glasses without tasting. The entertainment was straight out of an episode of Hi-Di-Hi but without the talent. Skegness 1956 comes to mind. Sleep was disturbed by inconsiderate passengers shouting in the corridors well past midnight - the cabins were poorly insulated for sound so that you could hear noises from adjacent cabins. Breakfast was miserable. Coffee was stewed, fried eggs were cold, congealed and burnt on the bottom, toast was dried out and kept warm under a heat lamp. Sausages were of poor quality. Potato wedges were undercooked, greasy and cold. If I had paid £1.50 for it in a greasy spoon I would have asked for my money back. The vast majority (but not all!) of the fellow passengers were uneducated boors with few social graces. It could have been an audition for 'The Only Way is Essex' The staff were generally disinterested and unhelpful - perhaps they had become used to the prevailing atmosphere. 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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