Sail Date: July 2009
We had a fantastic time despite concerns following the norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise. The ship was immaculate and kept very clean. The cabin was good and again kept immaculately. The staff were fantastic - they must have ... Read More
We had a fantastic time despite concerns following the norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise. The ship was immaculate and kept very clean. The cabin was good and again kept immaculately. The staff were fantastic - they must have had a really tough time the week before but the service couldn't have been better. They were all welcoming, efficient and nothing was too much. The food was a bit bizarre at times, particularly with the themed nights, but generally was tasty and well presented - not to really good restaurant standard but then they are serving large numbers of people in a short time. Drinks were reasonably priced considering the captive market. We were disappointed with a couple of the trips we went on but then they aren't really our thing. Don't bother with the Berlin trip from Rostock - 6 hours travelling and we were whisked round on a coach and were on and off for a few minutes at the sites. The tour guide sent us to sleep!! The docks were always a fair way from the city centres, but at least we got some exercise. Some of the others ships docked much closer than the MP, but then maybe that's the price you pay (or don't) as we felt the cruise was really good value. Overall a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2010
On lst of February we sailed from London Tilbury - an unusual departure port but beneficial for many travellers. An efficient embarcation was made pleasant by a generous supply of free expensive magazines covering cruises, holidays ... Read More
On lst of February we sailed from London Tilbury - an unusual departure port but beneficial for many travellers. An efficient embarcation was made pleasant by a generous supply of free expensive magazines covering cruises, holidays generally, classic cars, golf etc. The ship, though elderly, had undergone an expensive refit in 2002 with public rooms and cabins now well furnished. The ship's captain, a Russian, was something of a martinet and ruled the Russian\Ukranian crew with an iron hand. He ensured that safety was paramount and this was reassuring. The stage shows for this modest-size ship exceeded by far those experienced on both similar and larger ships. The Russian\Ukranian dancers were classically trained in ballet from six years of age. Their choreographer was a hard task master who produced superb routines. The lead singers, too, were above the norm. Individual performers, a female pianist and a female violinist and two male instrumentalists excelled, as did the six piece band. A high light of the cruise was the presence of the Cruise Director, Richard Sykes - a more than competent pianist and vocalist. He was tireless - being involved in many of the activities on board. The multi national crew coped well with the English language with very few exceptions. The food from a mixed continental background was somewhat adventurous but generally the standard was satisfactory. The one thousand mile journey up the Amazon and Orinoco was fascinating but was something of a learning experience for the ship's management who hopefully will benefit from the experience gained on this first cruise for them on these two rivers. The majority of the passengers,including the Dutch contingent, were of mature age, but to many of us this 42 day voyage was something of a delightful "Boys' Own Adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
This was our first cruise and we are now hooked!We sailed on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to Amsterdam and then on up the west coast of Norway calling at 8 ports of call and into many Fjords.We chose this ship as it was sailing from UK and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we are now hooked!We sailed on the Marco Polo from Tilbury to Amsterdam and then on up the west coast of Norway calling at 8 ports of call and into many Fjords.We chose this ship as it was sailing from UK and had a no children policy. The embarkation process was very smooth and we were shown to our cabin quickly and our luggage was delivered soon afterwards. The whole experience was very relaxing and the service was first class. Most of the crew were always smiling and polite and couldn't have been more helpful.Strangly some of the staff on reception were the least friendly! We ate excellent food in the Waldorf Restaurant each evening and the Bistro also served excellent food throughout the cruise.The ship was very clean. The entertainment was fine although that's not really our 'thing' but it was full when we did go to the lounge. There was plenty to occupy us when we were at sea and the cabin was large enough to relax in but you can spend a lot of time just looking at the scenery when at sea. There was information left in the cabin each evening relating to the next day which also gave the expected temperature and sea condition. We saw amazing sights - Glacier,ice hotel,ice sculptures, great museums and so much snow! We went on a few trips but you can also do a lot of things yourself eg The Ofoten Railway trip (£12 return)!Although we went free as the attendant didn't have any tickets as it was Sunday!! Oh yes - We saw the Northern Lights!! The most relaxing holiday we have been on for a long time. Don't let the elderly clientele put you off booking!! It was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
If you want to go somewhere in relative comfort, well fed and entertained then this could be the ship for you. The Gazetteer rates this ship as 3 Star. I have stayed in 3 Star hotels and had better holidays than in 5 star, and the same ... Read More
If you want to go somewhere in relative comfort, well fed and entertained then this could be the ship for you. The Gazetteer rates this ship as 3 Star. I have stayed in 3 Star hotels and had better holidays than in 5 star, and the same could happen on board the Marco Polo. One phrase uttered by a fellow traveller was "You get what you pay for". If you can understand that then you will enjoy what you get. The ship is over 40 years old, has classic lines and a beautiful teak deck. When at anchor near a modern cruise ship it looks smaller, but it is kept in good condition. Maintenance was carried out on a regular basis during this cruise, crew tried hard not to disturb passengers and were always friendly and obliging. The varnishing of a set of teak stairs took 2 hours and was dealt with quickly and with good humour. No one complained (believe me I was sitting by the rail catching some rays and everyone was complimentary about the way the crew were looking after the ship.) AFter reading some reviews of the ship I was wary but a friend checked other sites and one reassurance was that "It has a really low rate of Norovirus cases". This I can understand as the ship was kept spotless and the passengers encouraged to do the same. As soon as we boarded we were offered anti-bacterial hand gel and this was available every time you left the ship, entered the ship, entered the dining rooms, used the gym, and even after you had washed your hands in the toilets. I never saw anyone refuse them and most people who commented on this fastidiousness were impressed. The crew were friendly and helpful, and although for most English was a second language they really tried hard to please. Our cabin was on the lowest passenger deck, but chosen for it's size and number of portholes. We were offered smaller cabins of the same grade higher up, but decided the larger cabin was for us. We saw the size of these cabins and really were pleased we had opted for the bigger cabin. The cabins we saw were more than adequate, but ours could have been a suite! Unfortunately this knowledge did not stop some pitying looks from fellow passnegers, one of whom commented in the lift "The more you pay the more you sway!" We didn't sway, paid the same and didn't have an obstructed view! The tender transfers were a worry for my mum who was travelling with me. However, the description we were given by the travel agent and the reality were far apart. If you can walk down steps and step across a 3 inch gap with 2 nice men holding your arms then you can do this! It was a fun experience and the crew made it an adventure for some of the older passengers. Only once did a bow wave come up and "drench" one side of the tender (a high speed lifeboat), but this was met with good humour and much laughter. The food was of a good standard, only once did I dislike my choices. Entertainment was of the singing/ dancing cabaret style, with quizes and games added in. It was of a good quality with no repetition. Craft sessions and wildlife talks were available for those interested in them. In response to earlier postings/ reviews there were plenty of plates available, and if you had to wait for a coffee cup it was for 2 minutes and they arrived steaming from the washer. Coffee and tea were in abundance, drink were comparable to home and service was excellent. Experienced cruisers were mainly of the opinion that the ship catered for passengers focused on their destination. Some passengers compared the ship to larger newer ships and were a little disgruntled at the differences, but most were satisfied and pleased with the overall cruising experience. I would have no qualms booking the ship again, as long as the itinerary was one which I wanted. This ship is capable of the Mediterranean, an Atlantic crossing, the Amazon river and Antarctica. A true all rounder, and as such has varied passengers. Yes there are a high number of retired passengers, but there are also middle aged professionals and younger couples.On the last day I met and Australian couple on board for 2 months cruising Europe. They were enchanted. Enough said. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
I have had the pleasure of travelling on a number of large cruise ships, so prior to booking this one on the Marco Polo, I decided to look the vessel up on cruise critic, to see what other cruisers had said about the ship. There were ... Read More
I have had the pleasure of travelling on a number of large cruise ships, so prior to booking this one on the Marco Polo, I decided to look the vessel up on cruise critic, to see what other cruisers had said about the ship. There were some who said they would never travel on this ship again, and others who stated that they had a brill time. There were some who said that the dinning was not upto scratch, mainly that the food was cold/luke warm. I found this also to be the case, not just in the restaurant, but also in the poolside self service. But to start my review from the beginning, the arrival and boarding the Marco Polo, was a well rehearsed drill. I travelled to Tilbury by car, and on arrival at the cruise terminal, our cases were taken from us, to be loaded onto the ship, and we were directed to a nearby parking facility. On leaving the secure car-park, a mini bus returned us to the cruise terminal. The cruise and maritime, staff were helpful in the boarding procedure, and we were very soon on board. Our cabin on deck 7 was very clean and bright, and I must say it remained that way for the duration of the cruise, assisted by a very helpful cabin steward. The furnishing in all the public areas, well they had seen better days, and I would say that the ship was in need of a well earned refit. The entertainment was OK, and passed the time away between ports. I would say that the tour desks staff were not the most friendly of folk, however the tours that we undertook, although expensive, were worth the money. I would say that this was the best part of the whole experiance Would I sail on the Marco Polo again, Yes. The only advice I would give is, don't compare it to the other cruise ships, as it cant compete . The Marco is nothing really more than a North Sea Ferry, without the cars. However the price tends to be OK, so you get really, in this case what you pay for. Last but not least, the tipping. They do bill you £5 per person a day, added to your onboard account. What you are not told is if you are not happy, don't pay it. Or if you want to give less, do what you feel is its worth. On the last day prior to disembarkation, toddle off to the purser/ reception desk, and ask for a tipping form. You wont be the only one, they will have loads ready to give out. Then all you need to do is fill it in, return it to the receptionist, and your account is altered to reflect the changes. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My daughter and I wanted to see the Northern lights,it was on our life list of 'things to do'. We were also excited about a cruise in the Artic.I had previously cruised the Fjords on Marco Polo when she was run by Transocean.I ... Read More
My daughter and I wanted to see the Northern lights,it was on our life list of 'things to do'. We were also excited about a cruise in the Artic.I had previously cruised the Fjords on Marco Polo when she was run by Transocean.I had been impressed by the ship,crew and itinerary and therefore chose her again as she is an excellent sailing ship and we expected that all the weather may not be good. We were right to be cautious and when the worst of the weather hit we felt safe, the ship sailed well and the itinerary was fulfilled although the ports of Molde and Alesund were exchanged for each other in the program.As hoped we saw the lights several times whilst on board which was fantastic, exciting and what we had hoped for having chosen a cruise to see the lights as maximising our opportunities to do so. It was hilarious the first formal dining night when the tannoy went in the middle of late dining,everyone left the dining room, running in all directions not knowing where the ships bows were or how to get there in order to see the lights. Evening dresses, high heels and if you were lucky your coat,boy was it cold, but an adventure and fun.Dinner was quite late. We saw the lights on board four times.The last two times it felt so close it was almost touchable.(It was a sobering thought that although we had had a thorough life boat drill there was a great deal of confusion amongst passengers when the tannoy went, I noticed several passengers checking where their lifeboats were again the following day. The scenery was jaw dropping on this cruise,the air was so clean and the light perfect for painting and photography. The itinerary was so well designed everything just became more and more stunning and interesting. We were never cold in all our layers,and we enjoyed the friendship of the passengers and helpfullness of the crew throughout the cruise.The onboard lecturers on Photography and Astronomy were helpful,interesting and well chosen.It was a pleasant surprise to have a free coach shuttle when necessary,tourist information on board at some ports and efficient,trouble free customer friendly tendering at Svolvaer,the Lofoten Islands. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
After our arrival at the Tibury cruise terminal we were processed relatively quickly, and onboard for lunch. The crew were very welcoming, and showed us to our cabins. Luggage was already delivered to our cabin door. We had lunch in the ... Read More
After our arrival at the Tibury cruise terminal we were processed relatively quickly, and onboard for lunch. The crew were very welcoming, and showed us to our cabins. Luggage was already delivered to our cabin door. We had lunch in the buffet restaurant, which was quite busy, but manageable. On the whole we found the food was of a good standard, but layout was very frustrating with one long line so you had to join a long queue and wait till you got to the item required. The tea/coffee station was very busy, and would tend to run out of cups when you got to the front of the queue. The outdoor one was better, probably as not everyone knew it was there!Our cabin, 808 was a good size, but the large windows are partially obstructed by the lifeboats. We had been upgraded from a much lower grade, so appreciated that, but would not pay the extra money especially for a long cruise. Food in main restaurant (Waldorf) was a fairly good standard, but in comparison to Princess and P&O we would say it was not up to their standards. Service was excellent and waiters very accommodating.Entertainment - We had 3 shows, first night was with an around the world theme, which contained many unfamiliar songs, although very well sung, we would have liked a few more familiar ones - otherwise it was professionally done. The second night we had a show based on the musicals. This time full of well known songs and was very well performed by the onboard entertainers.Third night was a queen tribute show, but as we are not queen fans we gave it a miss. Also we had to vacate our cabins by 7am which was quite a strain. Ports of call - Amsterdam. Ship docked very far from the city, and we had a long shuttle ride, plus 15 minute walk from the drop of point. Lovely city but to be avoided on Queens Day - which was of course on April 30th. Best thing to do would be the trip to the bulbfields to avoid the excessive crowds. We were warned that it would be busy, but nothing prepared us for the noise and huge groups of young people swarming through the streets. We took to the canal for an hour, but they were all on board boats as well!!Antwerp - This was a lovely place, with many historic buildings and a castle to explore. Lovely cake shops, and many sidewalk cafes. The ship docks right in the city centre which is always a good start.Overall, we have to say the Marco Polo does not have the wow factor of the larger ships, but it has a homely atmosphere, and very attentive crew.The cabins do not have tea/coffee making facilities, and kettles are not allowed on board. Also the tv signal is a bit hit and miss.The best part for us is the Tilbury departure port, as we live 15 minutes drive away, and that would influence our future trips with Marco Polo. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
This was our first cruise aboard the Marco Polo. To be honest we were somewhat apprehensive, as there had been several poor reviews of the ship since we booked last November. However our concerns were unjustified and we thoroughly enjoyed ... Read More
This was our first cruise aboard the Marco Polo. To be honest we were somewhat apprehensive, as there had been several poor reviews of the ship since we booked last November. However our concerns were unjustified and we thoroughly enjoyed both the ship and the trip around the Norwegian Fjords. Embarkation was a doddle, on arrival just drop your bags off at the Terminal and head for the long stay car park about 500m away and get the shuttle bus back to the Terminal to check-in. The whole process took no more than 20 minutes from arriving to unpacking - much easier and far less stressful that at any airport. We had been given a cabin upgrade on arrival, and our cabin was comfortable and tidy, though probably not as spacious as those on some larger ships, it was perfectly adequate for our needs, there was plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, and empty suitcases could easily be stowed under the beds and out of site. The bathroom was clean and well stocked, and everything worked. To be honest, there was a bit of hum from the engines which you could hear when it was quiet, so if you are a light sleeper then remember to take your earplugs. On our 2nd night there was a slight rolling around, as the sea was described as 'moderate', and we heard that a number of passengers had suffered as a result. However, we were located in the centre of the ship and although we felt the ship's movement, it wasn't a problem for us, though others might be more sensitive to this. Again, this is something you can expect on a smaller ship. We found the Crew to be very keen on hygiene, in every part of the ship, not just in the restaurants. There are several Bars, plus Library, Games Room, Gym, Card Room, plus the main Theatre where shows are held every evening. We found all the staff to be friendly and helpful. We had opted for 2nd Dining in the main Waldorf Restaurant, which was immaculately presented. We had all of our meals there except a couple when it was warm enough to eat out on deck, where we used Marco's restaurant instead. We found the standard and choice of food to be quite acceptable, especially the self-service breakfasts, where there was a huge choice of fruits/cereals/breads and pastries, hot food, plus eggs cooked to order. Porridge and Smoked Salmon were available to order. The Lunches and Dinners consisted of 5 or 6 courses each, and there was always at least 3 choices of each course, plus a vegetarian option. The portions were not huge but were sufficient. (you could always top up in Marco's if you wanted!). Some of the previous reviews had mentioned that the food was not always hot, but you have to remember that ships are catering for several hundred people at a time, it's not like having a dinner for 2 in some candlelit bistro, so there always has be a small delay from the food leaving the kitchen to arriving at your table. Anyway, we didn't have any problems with the quality of the food. The staff were always polite and attentive too. Water was always served with the meals. The food served in Marco's (Self-service), was similar to that offered in the main Dining room, and occasionally some of the dishes would run out, and you may have to wait a few minutes for it to be replaced. There was also generally a queue, especially at opening times, so unless you're desperately hungry (unlikely to be honest), we always though it better to wait for 30 minutes or so whilst the queue died down, before getting any food. There is also another servery out on deck, where they serve a couple of simple dishes each lunchtime, maybe pizzas, sausages, fish & salad etc. This food here was always piping hot as it was generally cooked on the spot. There was free Tea & Coffee from 2 separate vending machines until 10pm, we never saw a problem of running out of cups, as has been mentioned on other reviews, and saw staff regularly filling them up. Our only complaint was that the Teabags (Lipton Yellow) were rather weak, which necessitated a couple of bags per cup, therefore taking longer to get a drink. The tables both in Marco's and also outside on deck did tend to fill up pretty quickly, but there were lots of tables for 4 with only 2 people, so it was always possible to get a table, but not necessarily to yourselves. We also found that people often stayed at their table throughout the mealtimes, even when not dining, which obviously deprives others of a table. The Entertainment staff were brilliant, to be honest I'd be happy to watch some of the shows that they put on at my local theatre. There were spectacular shows each evening, mostly West End style Sing and Dance numbers, plus a comedian (Andre) for a couple of nights who was a cross between Tommy Cooper and Jim Davidson, very funny. Late at night in Scott's Bar, there was a follow-up themed cabaret act, either 60's, Elvis, Abba, Rock & Roll etc. which was also highly enjoyable, plus a resident singer. In other Bars there was a piano player and violinist every evening. There were also various things going on around the ship throughout the day - talks, quizzes, demonstrations etc. So you were never bored. One criticism is regarding the drinks prices, which are really overpriced. Draft Beer was the equivalent of £4,20 a pint, and a 250ml glass of wine was £5. A bottle of House Wine was £14,90, and cocktails around £4. However, the same criticisms are levelled at most if not all of the Cruise Lines. The same goes for the Ships Photographs (£10 for 1, £20 for 3) and Cruise DVDs (£20), although we were not pestered by photographers as we have been on other Ships. We didn't do any organised excursions as we prefer to do our own thing, and you never know what the weather will be like in Norway. Some who had booked for for scenic journeys up into the Mountains were disappointed as there was low cloud and drizzle at the time. Again, we thought most were overpriced. We did our own trip on the railway at Flam, costing 300 NOK (apx. £45) for the return trip, less than half the cost of the organised tour, though we didn't have coffee & cake. So our overall impression - The scenery in the Fjords was truly wonderful, though the weather could have been kinder to us we thoroughly enjoyed our 8 night holiday. In the end we were pleasantly surprised by what the Marco Polo had to offer. So as long as you are aware of the ship's capabilities and think 4* Hilton not 5* Ritz, then you should be pleasantly surprised too. Would we book on the Marco Polo again - yes. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Although the cabin was small it had everything needed and who wants to spend time in the cabin anyway? Whilst not being gourmet standard the food was good and varied with a range of options ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Although the cabin was small it had everything needed and who wants to spend time in the cabin anyway? Whilst not being gourmet standard the food was good and varied with a range of options for each course and we didn't pay gourmet prices. All the excursions were well organized with a local guide and a ships representative and ran smoothly. The one exception was caused by the local guide who did not take the advice of the ships representative. This was immediately sorted out by the cruise line who made a more than adequate reduction to the cost. We found all the crew friendly and helpful. We made some good friends and would recommend the Marco Polo to anyone who wants a friendly relaxed and happy cruise. One of the BIG pluses is that there are no screaming kids! All in all the best of the cruises we've been on and we hope to travel on her again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Just returned from short break on Marco Polo. Was very wary of this trip as we had short break on Fred Olsen's Boudicca some time ago and were very disappointed as the whole experience left us with a 'never again' attitude ... Read More
Just returned from short break on Marco Polo. Was very wary of this trip as we had short break on Fred Olsen's Boudicca some time ago and were very disappointed as the whole experience left us with a 'never again' attitude for these 3* ships. However we were pleasantly surprised with Marco Polo. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite which I am sure helped A LOT. The suite was very spacious although dated, the bed was extremely comfortable, 2 televisions (but wish these cruising companies would relay BBC ITV etc - especially for rainy days!). Canapes daily and fresh fruit and flowers the usual suite accompaniments. The food was just ok but the dining room was very pleasant and run well however the waiter was run off his feet and needs a helper, we did feel very sorry for him, poor Elvis! The entertainment was excellent, Richard Sykes brilliant, P & O need to head hunt this amazing friendly head of entertainment! Drinks contrary to other reviews inexpensive and served to perfection with waiters constantly cleaning tables for water marks. After 12+ cruises must say I thoroughly enjoyed this one - although it is for passengers who enjoy the old way of cruising not the new glitzy large tankers! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
I am new to cruising and read with some alarm the reviews on here, so I want to do a thorough and balanced review so you know whats in store and give some tips. Get a cup of tea now as its a long one! I booked the cruise through Iglu.com ... Read More
I am new to cruising and read with some alarm the reviews on here, so I want to do a thorough and balanced review so you know whats in store and give some tips. Get a cup of tea now as its a long one! I booked the cruise through Iglu.com as a anniversary present to my (russian) husband. We are both in our early 30's. We were in a distinct minority age wise! We had paid for a inner cabin but was upgraded to a cat 9 for free, the cabin is basic with twin beds and the bathroom reminded me of a airplane loo at first. I like luxury so I thought I would hate it but was very wrong, its comfortable and kept spotlessly clean by our cabin steward twice a day. a plate of fruit was brought every day. Our cabin steward was very friendly and chatty which I liked. The public areas are very stylish and we spent time in three bars, preferring the columbus lounge as the bar steward Viktor and the two waiters, Marco and Cecily were fun and friendly. If you don't like that then the captains club have more reserved waiters. All are very attentive and the cocktail list is amazing. There is often a cocktail of the day for £2.50 but the prices were cheaper than most bars. Soft drinks and Mineral water are expensive by comparison. I recommend taking a brita filter if you want non chlorine tasting water as this will be cheaper. We didn't bother with Scotts bar which reminded me of an 80's nightclub, but it seemed very popular. The food seems to attract the biggest criticism on here so will say this. Breakfast at both restaurants is really good with a hot and continental range. I heard some people say the eggs were cold but didnt find this personally. The buffet style meals at Marcos seemed popular but I didn't always like the choices preferring to dine at the Waldorf instead. The food is good but is dated in style and cooking method. Again it reminds me of restaurants in the 80's but the same time it was quality but it is not winning any Michelin stars. It pains me to write this though as we had no complaints otherwise. There was a pirates and Italian themed night which were fun and the food was amazing. The two gala nights were also excellent and we were invited to the captains table on the first night which was a real treat. The onboard itinerary is clearly geared towards its mature following with quizzes, old fashioned game shows (Mr & Mrs), crafts etc. That said, it has a really good fitness programme and I spent most of my time with a book or in the gym. This suited me. I also loved the music by Carmen (violin and Piano) who dedicated a song to me on our anniversary and Freedom (Piano and sax/clarinet/flute) who were excellent performers. I didn't see any of the west-end style shows but they were always packed out.The ports were interesting but there was not nearly enough time spent at each port. Stockholm was only 3 hours but we saw plenty. We only went on one cruise excursion which was fun but seemed expensive for what we got (Rostock Revealed). I will add that we missed the announcement and the ship organised a catch up taxi which shows the level of great service you can expect. In Russia, We went to Marina S Wilson for a private tour of St Petersburg which was well worth it. Visas came through no problem. The cruise trips in Russia seemed poorly organised and the ballet group missed half the ballet and were made to sit on the stairs. I would recommend going to a Russian federation approved operator as it will be better value and you will see more. There was no pressure to buy excursions and these certainly generated the most complaints on the ship. My main bugbear was some other cruisers. The majority of people were lovely and sociable but there was a few that were aggressive towards staff and downright racist and sexist at times. Some people considered (unjustified) moaning an Olympic sport. The staff deal with this with good humour. There were also smokers who would light up as you were eating outside which got me into an argument on the first day. I would liked to see smoking outside scotts bar only and in the evenings after food. But it is not as bad as some places. Finally, buy the celebration package. we had a lovely champagne breakfast and private candlelit dinner which was out of this world and were treated like royalty by the staff. We would definitely go back to the Marco polo for the way we were treated. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
.I am going to start by saying to all those people who have placed bad reviews about the Marco Polo that we are NOT inexperienced Cruisers having done 6 cruises with 3 different companies so we do have points of comparison. Firstly the ... Read More
.I am going to start by saying to all those people who have placed bad reviews about the Marco Polo that we are NOT inexperienced Cruisers having done 6 cruises with 3 different companies so we do have points of comparison. Firstly the embarkation process with CMV was first class, by far better and faster than others. Luggage already at the cabin by the time we were escorted there by member of crew unlike a previous cruise when we waited 3 hours for the luggage to arrive and then had to drag it down the corridor! Only paid for an inside cabin (which I wouldn't do again with any cruise line...personal preference) but it was more than adequate space wise and certainly clean and comfortable. Bathroom a bit small but again adequate and well kept with frequent towel changes. Waldorf Restaurant very cramped for space and food, though always presented beautifully, was at times repetitive. Didn't pay for Fillet steaks and Lobster so didn't expect it. Though portion sizes were smaller than previously experienced, service was quick and pleasant and "juggling" with the menu was accepted and accommodated. Marcos Buffet was no more or less chaotic than any other ships self service food outlet, and the answer is not to use it if you dont like the system. You can always be seated in the Waldorf and get personal waiter service. Constantly aware of ongoing cleaning procedures on all corridors and decks and certainly there are no "foul" smells apart from maybe up on the top sun deck(10) near to the ships funnel where there was a smell of diesel. Disembarkation at all ports was hardly noticeable it was so smooth with clear and concise information given via the ships PA system as well as in the daily programmes. CMV provided free shuttle services in each of the ports, something other Cruise Lines are making additional charges for. Some of the Tours were not really suitable for us and we found them a little excessive cost-wise though those we did partake of were well run and informative. Drinks were 30% up on other Cruise lines used and therefore we found them quite expensive and the level of service in the bars could have been better. It was noticeable that the Eastern European bar staff were not particularly friendly in contrast to the relatively fewer Indian employees who were always helpful and pleasant. The on board entertainment programme is the best we have ever experienced with something going on throughout the day on sea days and at appropriate times on shore days. It was extremely varied to suit most if not all tastes from competitive activities to just plain good old "fun". If anything, a possible criticism would be that there was too much going on and not enough time given to some of the activities before the next one started. We chose a Xmas and New Year Cruise for the 2nd year in a row as coming from the North have little access to West End type shows and Cabaret entertainment. We certainly were NOT disappointed on Marco Polo.I cant imagine how much it would have cost for similar entertainment on land!! The Entertainment team headed by Richard Sykes is superb. Versatile and such fun they all put their hearts and souls into every single programme.With each of the team with their own particular expertise and talent it is hard to believe that some people could fail to be entertained. From tribute acts to Victoria Wood, Dusty Springfield etc, to Boxing Day Pantomime and New Years Gala party as well as every music genre, there was something for everyone. So Well Done Richard and your team not forgetting the engaging Russian Dance group who performed so elegantly. No doubt some of you will have read press reports about the Norovirus being on board Marco Polo during this Xmas Canaries Cruise. As passengers we would like to make it clear that though this report was true we do not believe this was in any way due to any failure on the part of CMV or its crew. Every possible precaution was taken to contain this virus which must have been brought on board by passengers at one of the ports some 7/8 days into the cruise. It is known that this virus has a 48 hour incubation period and therefore would have hit long before then had it been present at the outset. We cannot praise the Company enough for the way it handled the situation. Once the virus was identified and passengers were at risk the procedures and level of control were exemplary. Consequently we are only 2 of more than 600 passengers who were NOT affected by the Virus. I realise this is a rather long review and hope that people take the time to read it as it is an unbiased view of a "value for money" cruise. I would say to those who disagree are you sure you were on Marco Polo? To those of you who are currently sailing to The Amazon have a great time!!!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
I was in two minds whether or not to write a review about this cruise, however, I have seen quite a bit of negative comment that I believe to be unfair so i want to add my point of view. Let me say from the outset we embarked on December ... Read More
I was in two minds whether or not to write a review about this cruise, however, I have seen quite a bit of negative comment that I believe to be unfair so i want to add my point of view. Let me say from the outset we embarked on December 8th when the whole of the UK was being battered by very high winds and CMV and the crew of the Marc Polo have no control over that. They did flip the itinerary though visiting Antwerp as the first port and Amsterdam as the second so they did all they could to negate the effects of the weather. Embarkation was a breeze and the safety drill had the novelty of the passengers actually going from their muster station and lining up by their assigned lifeboat. We were then inspected by the Deputy Captain which was all a bit different than usual. The staff who were mainly Eastern European were friendly and helpful and were happy to chat with the passengers at quiet time. On the whole the food was very nice, well prepared and nicely served. An exception would be the breakfast in The Restaurant, it was still on a help yourself basis, and, unfortunately on the day we ate in there was only lukewarm. Marco Polo was probably the cleanest cruise ship we have ever been on and cleaning seemed to go on constantly. Entertainment was fair the three shows we saw in the show lounge whilst lacking the glitz of say the P&O show team were enjoyable and entertaining. There has been a suggestion that the whole ship smelled of diesel fuel, if it did then I certainly did not notice it. As for the two ports of call they were what they were two fairly major European Cities in winter, Amsterdam as ever was charming and quaint and Antwerp interesting. I just can't see what prompted such strong criticism of the ship and the cruise. We have cruised quite a bit and feel that what you pay for a cruise must be measured against a passengers expectations. This trip was a bargain and we had the added bonus of a free upgrade to one of the best two cabins on the ship. Overall we found the trip a pleasant winter break and whilst I would be wary of undertaking an Atlantic Voyage on Marco Polo we would certainly consider a Baltic, Fjords or around Britain trip on her. We would certainly Mini/Party Cruise on her. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2012
Cruise and Maritime. This refers to the 45day Amazon cruise. Shorter cruises will be different. There are two types of passenger on this ship, regular customers who express absolute loyalty and repeat-book this wonderful experience, and ... Read More
Cruise and Maritime. This refers to the 45day Amazon cruise. Shorter cruises will be different. There are two types of passenger on this ship, regular customers who express absolute loyalty and repeat-book this wonderful experience, and others who promise themselves 'never-again'. Deckspace: This is limited. They would be well advised to limit the monopolizing of deckchairs with some system. Sheltered outside space is confined to the rear deck. The pool has room for about six and is overlooked by about 300 so testosterone is well evident. If you do not like ugly bare flesh do not go on warm-water cruises on this ship. Cabin: In some cabins bedside light is at wrong end of bed. A small torch is a good idea. Power is 110v from an American socket and 230v from a European socket. Do not be confused by the brochure, British appliances will need an adapter, Europeans are OK. Space is at a premium. Underbed storage may not be deep enough for suitcases (squashable bags would be good) particularly where a second bunk is provided. Our cabin has less than a metre of wardrobe rail for potentially three people. The bedside table is cluttered by a large telephone and a tray with two bottles of water (not complementary). You will probably find space elsewhere for these. Food: Surprising at the price but restaurant portions can be boring over many days. The buffet is at fixed and limited periods and will be crowded and hot. On hot days the outside sheltered parts of the deck are crowded and smokers will seem to dominate. Smoking is allowed sitting at the outside bar which seems odd when hygiene is dominant. We took our meals in the restaurant and conversation will depend on the company you are allocated. Our evening companions were great (table for four) but at lunch you are sat in order of entry. We were on a long trip so a typical passenger was retired on private means and a not surprising number were residents of IOM or Jersey. On a long trip, constant conversation with Mail and Telegraph readers can wear you down. In between listing all the places they have seen you will get titbits about how the dictators make the best governments. On shorter cruises a more normal sample of passengers will be better company. Drinks: The official coffee is foul as usual. Double espresso is �£3.20 and very good. Other drinks are comparable to land prices. The ice-buckets can get watery so you might want to avoid too much dilution by, for example, ordering a neat gin and a separate can of tonic. To get a drink without ice needs perseverance. You get chased out of the main lounge at closing time when they spray mysterious chemicals on all unoccupied tables. Entertainment: The small team do a grand job of raising the standard a bit above a holiday camp level. On a long cruise they rose to the challenge. In fact I believe it gave them the chance to do stuff in different ways and to personally get to know passengers. The dancers from the old Eastern Bloc really fancied themselves and the sound of a good singer rendering 'La Mer' as well as Aznarvor with a pair of dancers tangoing in front of him was, unintentionally, as funny as the Two Ronnies. Generally speaking the British based contingent did an amazing job (45 days and nights). Being a small ship there are no discrete routes for staff to move around without being seen. So if you were observant you could monitor the private relationships among the Ukrainian Showteam! The classical music duo were very serene and decorous playing their own stuff in the lounges but cheered and clapped dementedly when their friends were performing in the theatre. Offputting! Serving and cabin staff: absolute praise here. There were problems with the ship and every effort made to overcome them. During a complete power failure our attendant had to flush our toilets with a bucket. Going around the cabins asking people if they had kaka or only pee-pee was priceless! Waiters were attentive but seem to be in fear of the officer grades that wandered around during the sessions and appeared in greater numbers at closing times. The waiting staff followed the management rules strictly, which could be annoying, for example removing plates the moment you put the last fork down, or whipping away a glass as soon as it is empty. In a cafe on land this behaviour would seem bizarre but on this ship tables will be cleared and wiped, even if it annoyed guests. When they walk in front of spectators collecting glasses in the theatre it's downright annoying. We saw a purser tell one server to go and change her shoes to regulation style -- not good in front of customers. On another occasion we had just stopped at reception as the attendant was having a word with a colleague in the back office. An officer appeared around the corner at that moment and with a flick of the fingers pointed at us as 'unattended'. Totally unnecessary, embarrassing and indicative of bad staff relations. When you are on holiday you do not want to witness quasi-military discipline. This company takes full advantage of staff insecurity. Ports-of-call: They have a tendency to cut costs by calling at major ports at weekends when local businesses are closed. We spent lots of money on the ship while at sea. There is a deliberate withholding of information about shore costs. For example the frequent bus from Icoaraci to Belem costs 2 real but the transfer bus was �£29! The guide was inaudible at the back. They warn you about unscrupulous taxi tours at ports but it is the official tours which are a rip-off. All companies are the same. Laundry examples: Men's shirt �£1.85, Trousers �£3.75, this will not break the bank. If you are flying to the ship do not overload with baggage. Wifi: Activation fee �£3.95. Pay as you go 60p/min. 100mins �£42.50. 250mins �£75. No guarantee of speed so not worth considering unless you are desperate or flush. There is a daily international news leaflet which is adequate. Mobile phone by BT Onwave. Cabin: If you are on deck 5 port side the proximity of the engine room may prevent the a/c achieving less than 25degs. In the tropics this is not acceptable and we had to change our cabin on doctors orders. I would not do a long cruise on this ship again. But once, especially the Amazon, is not to be missed. Don't forget to take your sense of humour.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My wife and I chose this cruise for our Honeymoon. We're 30 and 28 respectively, and had never cruised before. Alongside excitement we were filled with apprehension at what to expect. In particular we had been unsure about dress codes ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for our Honeymoon. We're 30 and 28 respectively, and had never cruised before. Alongside excitement we were filled with apprehension at what to expect. In particular we had been unsure about dress codes and general comfort on board. I'll attempt to give a full, honest account of our experience which will probably be most useful to those who haven't cruised before and perhaps those who haven't cruised aboard the Marco Polo. I shall start with the positives, move onto negatives/criticisms and then finish with some tips and advice for those considering this trip. The time ashore, in my opinion, is not relevant to the cruise itself (other than cruise-organised-excursions) so I'll focus primarily on the ship itself. Positives I'll start by saying that we had a wonderful time all-in-all. The trip met my expectations (but not quite my wife's) and the important things we set out to do were seen and achieved. As with most, out main ambition was to witness the Northern Lights, which we did -- both partially from the ship and in their full glory on the dedicated excursion (which I highly recommend). There is of course no guarantee of seeing them so be prepared for that. I have both positive and negative things to say about the food. Overall it was high quality, tasty, varied and fresh. The soup in particular was always good. Dinner in the Waldorf restaurant consisted of 4 course meals, served quickly and courteously; We always took breakfast and lunch in Marco's Bistro (the buffet), finding the Waldorf far too formal and not enjoying being made to socialize with a new group of people every time (evening meals were always the same group and table). Waiting staff were always efficient, accurate and friendly. With regards to alcoholic drinks -- there is a wide range of choice across all ship bars and the prices were generally very reasonable. Entertainment was clearly geared towards the older generations, but my wife and I found a couple of shows enjoyable. The show-team worked hard and were impressive. However, we entertained ourselves mostly in our cabin, watching films and reading. Our cabin was fitted with a decent TV with 2 film channels showing relatively recent releases on repeat -- a new film each day. Another channel aired classic British comedy. Perfect after a day's walking on-shore. Another welcome feature of the ship was the gym -- much better than expected or described in the brochure (though don't try it on rough seas). The layout of the ship is sensible, with nothing important being too far away from anything else. General decor was simple, tasteful, tidy and in working order. All staff were polite, helpful and seemed to be working hard. An information sheet was delivered to the cabin each day with everything we needed to know about events on and off the ship. In addition, loudspeaker announcements across the ship were clear and informative. No stone was left unturned. As for the excursions, like the food we have good and bad things to say about them. We feel we chose well and those we did were worth doing. Negatives Myself being vegetarian and my wife vegetarian and lactose intolerant is where our criticism of the catering comes in. When I phoned to book the cruise I made this clear to the operator and was assured this would be fine. I then emailed nearer the time to acquire written confirmation, which I received. Yet on the ship food options were initially so scarce it was as if our requirements had not been considered. Both restaurants picked up on this after a couple of days and provided options but they were the classic case of fobbing us off with vegetable-based dishes -- nothing substantial like bean, nut or soy products (apart from one tiny portion of tofu one evening). We vegetarians require protein and substance like everyone else, not just the meat-eaters' meal minus the meat. And though tasty we were disappointed that we'd been misled. The buffet restaurant was overwhelmed at breakfast and lunch and we were surprised to find a severe lack of manners in some of the older folks. Queues were guaranteed and some paid them no respect (despite being a boat full of Brits). Furthermore, most would finish their meal and then sit at their table enjoying a hot drink with no thought given to the couples wandering around with plates of food desperately trying to find a table. This is of course no criticism of the cruise operator itself -- though staff could perhaps politely ask people to take their tea and coffee elsewhere during meal times. No sign of the packed-lunches mentioned in the documentation. Other than that, the decision to put the restaurants at the ends of the ship so that they could feel the full effect of rough seas seems a strange one. I personally couldn't stomach eating anywhere but my centrally-positioned cabin during such times. We'd heard people mention that the Marco Polo has good stabilization and we'd have to disagree. Sure, we suffered monstrous waves but the ship did little to hide their effect. Furthermore, the severe seas which we encountered twice caused us to miss our stops at Molde and Alesund. We found this disappointing and although it couldn't be helped, the management did absolutely nothing to try and compensate us. They weren't obliged to but some kind of gesture would have been nice -- an attempt to reach the next port earlier perhaps. Cruise excursions were good and well-organised, but not good value. Often times we would arrive on shore to find we could have done trips independently for a fraction of the cost (even in expensive Norway). In fact, every cable car and museum visit we paid for independently and walked there ourselves for a total cost of perhaps £10 per person. The organized excursion which provided coach there probably totaled £60+ per person. Tips/Advice Warmth -- Norway in winter, and the Arctic, were far warmer than we expected and had prepared for. Don't pack for Siberian weather -- it was barely colder than the coldest British winter. I didn't use any of the thermals or half the jumpers I took. Missing ports -- The brochure doesn't mention this but we got the distinct impression that it's not at all uncommon to miss ports due to rough seas. The ship was quite casual about it and clearly doesn't allow enough time to account for difficult journeys. Rough seas -- Try to book a cabin in the middle of the boat. This was the best thing we could have done as we suffered far less from sea-sickness than those who were at the ends. Also watch out when navigating the boat during such times. I didn't suffer badly but felt more secure in the comfort of our cabin. Watch out for wardrobe doors and drawers flying around. Easy-going dress code -- We needn't have been worried. There was a dress-code but no-one was scrutinized. I brought far too much; a single pair of trousers, 2 shirts (1 dress, 1 casual), 1 jacket and a bow-tie would easily have sufficed). Few ladies wore anything approaching cocktail dresses, opting for smart but non-dazzling ensembles. Expensive internet -- Don't use the internet unless you absolutely need to. 10 minutes cost me almost £15 and was so slow I hardly got anything done during that time. Bad tea and coffee -- Coffee was unpredictable, sometimes okay, sometimes horrible. Tea bags were continental 'Lipton' ones and no good for those with taste. Bring your own. Also, a good idea to bring your own mugs when ones provided are unavailable. Hot water delivered to room -- This isn't advertised but if you phone reception they'll happily bring you a jug of hot water to make your own tea/coffee. Another good reason to have your own mugs to hand. Breakfast in bed -- We took full advantage of this on the choppier days as I personally couldn't face eating in the restaurants which were (surprisingly) busy and up-and-down. Forms are provided to fill in and hang outside your door before you go to bed. There is no extra cost for this. Carry-on supplies -- Moments before leaving home I noticed the small print forbidding taking your own alcohol aboard and had to unpack it and leave it behind. However, we did bring a bag full of water, soya milk and snacks which we got onboard with no problem. This was essential for us, my wife being dairy-intolerant and the ship not providing soya milk. Also, bottled water is provided in cabins but is expensive. Tap water is chlorinated. Conclusion We wouldn't cruise again. Nothing fundamentally bad about the Marco Polo, just the whole cruising style doesn't suit us. But then again, we knew that was probably the case before going. Cruising was simply the best way to see lots of Norway and the Northern Lights in one trip without lots of cost, organization and hassle. We made the right choice and had the trip of a lifetime -- though this was reliant on Norway itself not so much the ship. We would recommend the cruise to others -- just be prepared for certain eventualities as mentioned above. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
This was the first time on a cruise, and the cruise was more a means to an end (ie seeing the Northern Lights!) rather than us wanting to go on a cruise. But we went into it with an open mind. Overall, the ship was ok, staff were really ... Read More
This was the first time on a cruise, and the cruise was more a means to an end (ie seeing the Northern Lights!) rather than us wanting to go on a cruise. But we went into it with an open mind. Overall, the ship was ok, staff were really lovely and helpful, but I don't think we're cruise people. The weather was really bad (gale force 8/9, 10m high waves) for a few days on the outleg and a few days on the return leg. The crew did a magnificent job to just keep working and smiling whilst the rest of us were feeling sick and falling about the restaurant! The bad weather meant we missed Alesund and Molde however this couldn't be helped. The only thing I would say is that I think this could have been communicated sooner, and more details of the weather forecast given over the tannoy so we would know when the bad weather was due to end. The ship itself was ok, bit dated in places, but overall no complaints. It was cleaned regularly and the staff did an excellent job in this. There was regular entertain laid on, however we felt this catered for an older clientele (bingo, bean bag bowls) and it was actually quite difficult to get away from the entertainment at times as there wasn't that much space on the common areas of the ship. It would have been better if we could have sat out on deck, but that was a no go with the weather. The food was to a good standard. We missed the gala nights (due to the bad weather and illness) but the normal restaurant nights were very quickly served and very accommodating. The lunches and afternoon tea in the bistro were good, however the amount of people and lack of manners displayed by some of our fellow cruisers spoilt the occasion (for example, pinching scones off other peoples plates!). The best thing we had was a champagne breakfast in bed and private dining in the card room for our anniversary (we paid for the celebration package). This was well worth it, with a full bottle of champagne and a chance to dine alone and be waited on hand and foot. We saw the Northern Lights on around 5 occasions - the best being in Alta when we went on the tour. We got into the routine of going out on deck after dinner (after getting changed into our warm weather gear) and standing out there for a couple of hours. This provided us with the best viewings and meant we actually saw the lights develop from the grey to the green which was great. The cruise director did announce any lights to the rest of the ship, but a lot of the time by the time people had come out on deck, they had faded again. A few points about the ports of call: - Amsterdam - 20 mins walk to the centre, only there for half a day so didn't do a lot - Svolvaer - small place, went on the organised boat trip which was great, but freezing. Got some lovely views of sea eagles - Narvik - went to the polar zoo. There are only a few animals there (5/6) and we were only there for a couple of hours, but the trip there on the bus went through some magnificent scenario which added to the trip. - Tromso - gorgeous little city. Shuttle bus laid on to the centre. We walked over the bridge, to the cathedral, and up the cable car for some magnificent view and waist high snow! Easy to do on your own. - Alta - went dog sledding which was amazing, really enjoyed it. Alta itself is very small, so I would recommend doing a ship tour or organising something yourself. Trip out at night was great, however this is obviously northern light dependent. - Bergen - docks in the centre so easy to go into town. The day was cloudy, but we went up the funicular anyway and had a lovely walk around the mountain at the top, with a nice lunch at the restaurant. Few tips - dress code not that formal so don't worry about it. - sea sickness tablets are available from reception (I didn't know about this for the first few days) - coffee was not great at the coffee station. I stuck to fruit teas. Would be worth taking your own instant and making that instead. Alcohol was reasonably priced. - we ordered a wine package, which included bottled water which we had in the room and was worth it, as the tap water wasn't great - the tv did have some british classic on it which was good, and different films every day, however I would have taken a laptop/DVDs if I'd known how little there was to do on the ship if you didn't like the organised activities - if you want to take photos of the lights, you definitely need a SLR camera and decent tripod. And be prepared to stand in the cold for hours. Overall, we did have a really enjoyable cruise and have some great memories, especially of the northern lights and dog sledding. It was a great way of seeing a lot of Norway without the stress or hassle of arranging our own travel/excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Not a 5 star cruise/ship but not marketed as such. A traditional cruise with all the ingredients. The Waldorf Restaurant was beyond our expectations and well managed. Dinner comprised of 6 courses with Grilled Salmon/Chicken always ... Read More
Not a 5 star cruise/ship but not marketed as such. A traditional cruise with all the ingredients. The Waldorf Restaurant was beyond our expectations and well managed. Dinner comprised of 6 courses with Grilled Salmon/Chicken always available. During the course of the cruise Sirloin Steak, Duck Breast, Smoked Salmon and Caviar all appeared on the menu. At breakfast porridge and kippers were available to order where as everything else was buffet style. A chef cooked your fried egg or omelet whilst you waited. No problem getting a seat at the open sittings. Marco's self service restaurant was also most satisfactory. Proper crockery, and table cloths in the evening. If you went at peak times you could have to share a table or eat outside by the swimming pool. At lunch there was also a grill on deck. There was not as wide a choice as you get on Princess and if I had a complaint it was the sausages which I avoided after the first morning's experience! Tea and coffee were available all day and there must have been a choice of half a dozen teas. The public rooms were comfortably furnished and the theatre entertainment was good with routines slickly executed. We noticed a slight smell of diesel on deck 5 aft. More of a problem was the smell of paint, from the hull painting which took place whilst in port. However the ship was well maintained and kept spotlessly clean. The service we received was good. The staff were friendly. Quite a few were Eastern European but there were quite a few from the Far East. Our waiter came from Burma. The chefs looked as though they mainly came from the Indian sub continent. On the basis of our experience we would like to do the Amazon cruise in 2014. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
My wife and I are quite experienced cruisers on a variety of American cruise ships and on River boat cruises. This review is of our experience and is a critique of the Easter cruise and of the Marco Polo ship itself. As other reviews in ... Read More
My wife and I are quite experienced cruisers on a variety of American cruise ships and on River boat cruises. This review is of our experience and is a critique of the Easter cruise and of the Marco Polo ship itself. As other reviews in Cruise Critic have outlined the history of the Marco Polo I will not dwell on that except to reiterate that the Marco Polo . is quite an old ship, having been built in 1965 in East Germany. It was named the Alexander Pushkin and was the flagship of five sister ships owned by the Baltic shipping Co. They sailed from Leningrad to Montreal until the late seventies It changed ownership a few times and sailed out of Australia for a time.. From 1991-93 it was renovated and refurbished in Greece at a cost of $60 million and was then named the Marco Polo under the Orient Line. Her ownership changed a few times but she still has the original huge diesel engines. It is assuring to know that the ship was built to stand any sort of weather it is likely to encounter for its hull is strengthened to deal with ice. This cruise left from Tilbury docks at the mouth of the Thames and there was a bus that was organized to take passengers to the ship leaving from Victoria Stn. in London. But we were staying in North London and there were six of us in our party comprised of my wife and myself and two of our children with their spouses. So it seemed appropriate to get a taxi to take us there and back for £127. each way. The trip took about an hour. Boarding the ship was arranged according to your cabin number and we were scheduled to board at 12.15 P.M. However we had to wait in the port lounge until about 1.15 P.M. When things got moving everything went smoothly. There was no shortage of staff and we were quickly escorted to our cabins to which our suitcases had been delivered. The impression of our cabin was that it was very small and had twin beds which were the narrowest I have ever seen. As is usual, the toilet with wash room and shower was small and very cramped but everything was clean and compact. Interestingly, the toilet was not the usual suction machine but flushed like a house toilet There was ample drawer space and lockers and a safe for valuables. The Samsung TV worked with 5 or so channels.. We went for lunch to the Marco Bistro cafeteria to find it was crammed and difficult to find a seat, either inside or out on deck beside the pool. At 3.30 p.m. there was the usual first day life boat drill and this was very well organized. The main complaint was that we stood outside on the deck for a lot longer than necessary after the drill, before we were dismissed. I found that we were scheduled to have dinner at the late sitting, when we had reserved the early sitting. So I went to see the maitre d' who quickly and politely changed our seating to a nice table at the early sitting. That evening we had dinner in the Waldorf restaurant with fast and courteous service. The wines and drinks were fairly expensive but within the usual range of prices for Cruise ships. There was a good selection of wines. As we like a glass of wine with our meals I found it best to buy the special of 6 bottles from the wine steward for £80. There are no specialty restaurants on this ship which are becoming popular on many cruise ships. These restaurants charge a premium of $25 or more and I think should be superfluous as the food should be of high enough quality that one should not have to pay extra for a good meal. The entertainment that evening was in the lounge and was a song and dance routine. The quality of the band, singers and dancers was high. The size of the lounge seemed a little small for the number of passengers and so nearly every seat was taken and one had to get there early. It was a lovely clear evening and it was a smooth motionless crossing of the English channel. I did notice that the engines were a bit noisy. This was not a problem for us as we were on the 7th, (Pacific) deck but those on the lower decks did grumble about it. Our first dock was at Honfleur. This is a lovely small port in France and the home of Camembert cheese and Calvados, apple brandy. Complimentary bus shuttle service into town was provided by the port which ran every few minutes. For breakfast in the Waldorf restaurant there was a good selection of food, which was buffet style but one could order things not seen in the buffet. I ordered kippers and they were very good.. In the Bistro cafe, I did notice that there were no cloth napkins and there were no trays. I have heard that many ships are doing away with trays as this greatly reduces food consumption and waste. So not a bad thing, but one misses the convenience of having a tray to carry your dishes. Juices seem to be at a premium and are only available at breakfast The next day we were at sea all day and at first there were large swells that made getting about difficult. Fortunately the sea settled down and later on in the day it was much better. There were quite a few activities arranged for the passengers, with the library open, the fitness center, various contests, a lecturer etc. It was the first cruise we have been on that did not have bridge games organized with an instructor, but it is the shortest cruise we have taken. This was the night of the Captain's cocktail party and a formal night. It was very similar to that on other cruise ships with your picture taken beside the Captain, the senior staff was introduced and a glass of champagne and a hors d'oeuvre offered. I was pleased to see that about 85% of the male passengers were in proper formal wear, some others were in dark suits and a small smattering in brown shoes and not so formal wear. I estimated that 80-90% of the passengers on this cruise were over the age of 70 yrs and I saw no passengers in their teens or twenties and of course no children. I would say that 90% were English.. We anchored off St. Jean de Luz the next morning. This is near Biarritz, San Sebastian, the Spanish border and the Basque country. Tours had been arranged but there were 2 meter swells at the ship's side that made getting on and off the tenders hazardous. Many alternatives were considered and waiting for a few hours did not improve the conditions. Therefore getting ashore was abandoned. All ship activities are cancelled when in port but this was soon remedied and a new schedule of events was arranged and printed to keep the passengers happy and occupied. We next traveled over night along the French coast to Le Verdon. There, we were able to tie up to a dock. It was a foggy rainy cold morning but the rain stopped by noon. This is at the mouth of the Gironde estuary so is the port for Bordeaux and is in the Medoc wine country. Passengers are not allowed to walk in this restricted secure port area. But complimentary shuttle buses were provided which ran every 15 min. to the nearby resort town of Sourlac sur mer.(in Aquitaine province). However that shuttle bus dropped the passengers off at a car park which was about mile from the town center so it meant quite a walk for the older passengers and many did not get off but stayed on the bus to go back to the ship. That evening the entertainment was a Classical concert by the Carmen Duo` which were two young ladies from the Ukraine, one playing the violin and the other the piano and they were superb. Our next stop was in the harbor of Brest, in Brittany where we anchored and one got ashore by tender. But, at 1415 hrs. the ship tied up at the pier and stayed there until departure at 7.p.m. A bus was arranged as a shuttle to the city. We did not find this to be a worth while stop and did not get off the bus. The following morning, we were anchored in the Bay of St. Peter Port, Guernsey and passengers could get to land by tenders from 8.a.m. untll the last tender at 5.p.m. This is a nice port and island and being Easter Sunday many stores etc. were closed. A good way to see Guernsey is to take the local bus for an hour's drive around the island for £1 each. That night was another Captain's cocktail party and it was Formal dress code. The next day we were at sea all day and there were plenty of activities scheduled. As is usual all luggage was to be placed outside the cabin door by midnight. Departure was by code colors on the luggage. Conclusion. This has been a fairly detailed description of the cruise and the ship so it should help each reader to make their own assessment. My ratings out of 5 stars would be: Boarding and disembarkation = 4 ½*. Cabins = 4*. Meals and food offered = 4*. Cabin Staff and food service = 4 ½* Entertainment. = 4 ½*. Itinerary and port choice.= 3 *. Value for the price paid for the cruise. This would depend on how much you paid for your cabin. If you were to have bought your ticket after they began discounting the cruise you got excellent value for your money. But if you bought the ticket some months before your rating would only be so so. Also if your cabin happened to be on the lowest deck and you could not sleep because of the noise of the motors you would not be very happy. The staff was helpful and pleasant and there was no pressure on the passengers to buy pictures, tours or drinks etc. The entertainment was very good to excellent .Our experience was that we enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper ... Read More
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper and, because we remembered the Marco Polo with affection and the price was very good, we decided to book, particularly since it was departing from Newcastle which is only half an hour away from us. Having read some of the scathing reviews here, I can only ask what the moaners expected. First of all, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a budget cruise line and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. Secondly, the Marco Polo is an elderly lady indeed, having been built in 1965. Therefore she has no balcony cabins and lacks the (so-called) mod-cons you'll find on the newer, mammoth, 'plastic' cruise ships. However, she has clean and classic lines, wooden decks and portholes, cascading rear decks with excellent views, and friendly and attentive staff. We had booked a standard outside cabin but found ourselves upgraded to a Superior Plus twin ocean view on Deck 9 (Amundsen Deck). The cabin (602) is right at the front overlooking the bow, so our window was looking in the direction of travel, instead of a side-on view of the sea. As we were high up the ship and at the front we did not get any noise from the engine and enjoyed a good night's sleep each night. The cabin, although very clean and comfortable, was plainly furnished and had "no frills". There was loads of wardrobe and drawer space, twin beds, a chair and an old-fashioned (i.e. CRT) television. The selection of mini-toiletries, i.e. shampoo, shower gel and body lotion, was a cheapish brand and you don't get a chocolate on your pillow at night. Nonetheless our cabin stewardess kept the place immaculate and was very friendly. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch in the self-service Raffles buffet, and dinner in the main Waldorf restaurant. I have to say that the food in the restaurant was much better than that in the buffet, which tended to be unimaginative and repetitive. Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, there seemed to be an ongoing problem with there not being enough crockery and cutlery to cater for everyone; several times they ran out of coffee mugs, cereal bowls and knives or spoons, and you'd have to wait around for the kitchen staff to bring some more. This only occurred in the self-service buffet on Deck 8; the food and service in the main restaurant (Waldorf) were excellent. We found the entertainment to be surprisingly good for a small ship; the entertainment team turned their hands to everything from participating in the musical cabarets, to being quiz masters/mistresses, to game-show hosts to excursion couriers. They were a real friendly bunch. The musical performances in the Marco Polo Lounge included tributes to Abba and Queen, excerpts from West End musicals, and their own version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The nightly game shows in Scott's Bar included Catchphrase, the Weakest Link, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Mr & Mrs. They were really good fun and it was a lively crowd that congregated in Scott's Bar each night. The bar is situated on Deck 9 Aft and the doors open onto the outside deck which affords fantastic views and lets in a welcome sea breeze. We were blessed with weather that would have rivalled that on the Med. The 5-day cruise, which took us to Kirkwall (Orkney), Stornoway (Isle of Lewis), Ullapool and Invergordon, never saw a cloud in the sky and Ullapool clocked the hottest place in the UK when we were there, with a temperature of 28 Celsius. Obviously the cruise line can't control the weather, but it really made the holiday. This was our 30th cruise and it just so happened that the Captain on the Marco Polo, Georgios Antonellos, was the same captain we'd had on our very first cruise 24 years ago. We spotted him out on the bridge wing and told him this fact and he was tickled pink that we'd remembered him from the "Starship Royale" way back in 1988. He took us on a tour of the bridge and asked us which cabin we were staying in. Later that evening we returned to our cabin to find a bowl of fruit, some smoked salmon canapes along with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses. A card peeping from the fruit bowl was inscribed "With Compliments" and signed "Captain G. Antonellos". What a lovely, thoughtful touch and really the icing on the cake. We've travelled with the more fashionable cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruise, Cunard and Holland America, so we didn't expect much from Cruise & Maritime or the little old Marco Polo. But the whole experience surpassed all of our expectations and turned out to be a really enjoyable trip with excellent entertainment. We'd definitely cruise with CMV and Marco Polo again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
Pleasant surprise with a very good free upgrade from cheapest inner cabin to superior outside cabin and felt optimistic despite reading some of the reviews.Embarkation was spot on. Arrived at the cruise terminal at 12.25 pm and was shown ... Read More
Pleasant surprise with a very good free upgrade from cheapest inner cabin to superior outside cabin and felt optimistic despite reading some of the reviews.Embarkation was spot on. Arrived at the cruise terminal at 12.25 pm and was shown to our cabin by 13. 15 and eating buffet lunch 20 minutes later. The ship, public areas may have been a little dated and worn in some areas but spotlessly clean. The cabin was spotless with a double wardrobe and had a larger en suite than when I cruised with Cunard/ Princess lines.The twin beds were exceptionally comfortable. Didn't use the main dining room as didn't want to dress up.1 formal night even on a 2 night er cruise ! Buffet was reasonable and fish dishes excellent. The salads did though look like yesterdays veg served up in pasta or mayonnaise.There is cabin service but except for breakfast there is a charge. Service from staff excellent throughout- all polite and cheerful and greeted passengers when they walked past. Drinks were a bit pricey but no service charge added to the bill The entertainment /showtime standard but there was a very good classical duo on piano and violin playing in one lounge/bars. Didn't go on any of the excursions as had been to Belgium several times and its only a 15 minute walk to Antwerp central area. There was a couple of little things that irked me but not enough to spoil the experience of sailing on a traditional British cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We had never cruised before so were a little unsure of what to expect... espacially after reading some of the negative reviews givent to the Marco Polo on this site.. Firstly, Marco Polo is a cruise ship built in the 60s and has had ... Read More
We had never cruised before so were a little unsure of what to expect... espacially after reading some of the negative reviews givent to the Marco Polo on this site.. Firstly, Marco Polo is a cruise ship built in the 60s and has had numerous refits, if you want a luxury liner with balconies large cabins and massive deck areas then look elsewhere. Marco Polo is a small ship by comparison to some of the floating hotels that we saw on our cruise, she takes 820 passengers and was full on this particular cruise. We found the size of the ship suited us fine and we never felt lost in a crowd. Staff were helpful and very pleasant at all times, we, unlike one reviewer, did see the captain and saw his officers on a number of occaisions.The ship was clean and tidy, cabin was kept spotless by our steward who again was very pleasant and helpful. . It was a big enough room with plenty of storage space. The food was very good with a choice of formal dining or buffet meals for all three meals. We were blessed with some good weather and calm to moderate seas which always helps the holiday. The scenery was spectacular...We went on some excursions but other times chose to spend time in the port of call.. the choice is yours.. Would I go on the Marco Polo again? without a doubt.. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
This was an Easter-time cruise affording an opportunity to visit some of Europe's most celebrated gardens such as Keukenhof, Tresco Abbey Gardens and Monet's Garden. Sailing from Tilbury, the itinerary was: Amsterdam - Antwerp - ... Read More
This was an Easter-time cruise affording an opportunity to visit some of Europe's most celebrated gardens such as Keukenhof, Tresco Abbey Gardens and Monet's Garden. Sailing from Tilbury, the itinerary was: Amsterdam - Antwerp - Cherbourg - Scilly Isles - Guernsey - Honfleur. The Ship: The Marco Polo is a small, old, comfortable, easily navigated ship offering a relaxed sea-going experience. The exterior, comprising navy hull, white top and classic wooden decks complement an unfussy interior that is easy on the eye and kept very clean. It is the very antithesis of the more modern floating behemoths. The CMV website may claim that the Amundsen Deck offers a traditional walk around promenade. It does not, however, offer a walk all-the-way-around promenade. The ship does offer an outside viewing position forward but there is no similar observatory lounge. Announcements were in English only and the passengers with whom I came into contact were all from the UK. Their ages ranged from ...... well, let's just say that virtually every moment was a senior moment. Embarkation and Disembarkation: These were efficiently handled with no particular delays encountered. Due to a computer problem passports were handed in during embarkation and available for pick-up the following morning. The passenger safety drill was conducted before sailing. At my muster station I seemed to be one of only two passengers who preferred to wait for the demonstration rather than arrive ready to plunge over the side. At the conclusion of the drill we were led to our allocated lifeboats. Our leader was the ship's violinist - it was comforting to know that, at least on our boat, the ship's entertainment program would continue until we were rescued. I travelled to Tilbury by train. Changing stations, both train and tube, whilst lugging a suitcase is a pain in every sense of the word. The 2-minute taxi ride between the cruise terminal and the train station cost £6 - it is too far to walk and buses are not an option on Sunday. Cabin: My comfortable and well-appointed inside cabin was forward on Deck 10. The only problem related to the TV - it was perched on a high shelf and couldn't be tilted forward therefore optimum viewing was achievable only when standing up rather than sitting or lying down. The cabin stewardess (Claudia) was helpful and pleasant and bore my occasional safety-box lock-outs with good humour. Traditional chocolates were not laid out on pillows but there was a delightful Easter treat of chocolate eggs and bunnies packaged up on arrival. Dining: I have a preference for a leisurely and not particularly sociable breakfast and the extensive selection in the buffet at Marco's usually afforded this. Lunch was equally enjoyable with tasty meat, fish and vegetarian options amongst the varied, tasty dishes. Afternoon tea was a little disappointing with unusual-tasting scones and poor cream on the one occasion when I indulged. The late-sitting (as requested), dining experience in the Waldorf Restaurant was excellent. A dining mock-up was displayed outside the restaurant and whetted appetites for the imminent delights which were well-presented and very tasty. Service was quick without quite feeling rushed, and our waiter (Elvis) was friendly and unobtrusive. There were two formal nights to which most of the men wore dinner suits and others, like me, wore smart, sober attire. Other nights were either Informal (jacket requested) or Casual (for example, the first night). We were a table of six solo travellers and we got on very well. Late night finger food was brought round to the lounges and bars. The two hot-drink stations (one inside and one outside) were only available until 10pm. It's probably time to replace the milk jugs though - they all had broken spouts. Entertainment: Main access to the Lounge and Scott's Bar appeared to be from the front only making it difficult to engage in surreptitious viewing before deciding whether to go in. There were lectures connected to the "gardens" theme of the cruise but unfortunately I didn't manage to attend any of them. Port lectures were rather uninspiring with slides being displayed and being read verbatim. The entertainment shows in the Lounge were varied and well-received. The dancers were excellent with an impressive array of costumes, and the resident "Marco Polo Or-ches-traaaa!" was particularly good. Singers occasionally crossed the boundary between singing and shouting and the strained contortions adopted by one or two of the girls made one wonder if they were eating enough All Bran. Late night music in the Captain's Club was a relaxed affair whereas the late night cabaret in Scott's Bar was more of a party. Both were very enjoyable. The classical piano and violin duo were extremely talented and a particular delight to listen to. I think I may have seen the pianist almost smile on one occasion - or maybe it was just an involuntary twitch. Public Rooms and Spaces: Book access was only available at very restricted times although the library itself was always open. The onboard shops were more than adequate with toiletries, clothing and accessories, a limited but varied book selection, spirits and more. There was also an internet room, card room, lounge, bars, pool, and gym and pamper centre - but no self-service launderette. Ports of Call: I did not take any shore excursions but those that did were happy with them. The only dissatisfaction regarded neither price nor quality but availability - or rather, the lack of such. I heard of several instances where passengers were unable to book excursions on-board because they were already fully subscribed. Due to delayed flowering caused by unseasonably cold weather across much of Europe, I chose not to visit any of the celebrated gardens. - Amsterdam An enjoyable day exploring Volendam and Edam, as well as Amsterdam itself - Antwerp Another cold but bright, sunny day spent exploring the city at leisure - Cherbourg A pleasant trip to medieval Bayeux by train, primarily to see the famous tapestry - Isles of Scilly A leisurely day spent exploring the paths of St. Mary's - Guernsey Cancelled due to the weather (it wasn't safe to use the tenders) - Honfleur A ridiculously picturesque port that cannot fail to make an "impression" Summary: This was an enjoyable cruise and the crew coped well as unseasonably cold weather meant that outside spaces were not in use. The ship can, under such circumstances, seem a little claustrophobic. Heavy swells were borne with good spirits by the swaying passengers - the appearance of navy sick-bags along grab-rails indicated that particularly lively conditions were expected. I would certainly consider sailing aboard her again despite the lack of my two primary cruise requirements - a true promenade deck, and tea and biscuits available 24 hours a day. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Motor Ship Marco Polo, what to be said?  She is without doubt a clean ship, a manageable ship and a ship well organised for the ‘Adult’ clientele they intend to and do cater for. Our cabin 505 was quite spacious for this class of ... Read More
Motor Ship Marco Polo, what to be said?  She is without doubt a clean ship, a manageable ship and a ship well organised for the ‘Adult’ clientele they intend to and do cater for. Our cabin 505 was quite spacious for this class of vessel and had more than average storage space. A good size picture window gave an overall pleasant aspect to the room and though the modest shower room was a little cramped this too was more than adequate for our needs.We sailed from Edinburgh on May 26th and the collection of luggage at the port was efficient and quick. It must also be said that the departure from the ship was also well organised, speedy and painless. Food on board was adequate and even for the picky vegetarian that I am varied enough not to be boring. On the one night I absolutely did not want the ‘Vegetarian Option’ they found me something else that was more to my taste. You might think that due to the daily £5 surcharge that is applied instead of tipping there would be no incentive toward care or courtesy but on the whole the staff were kind considerate and dedicated to their task. The crew with the exception of the officer class were in the main of east European origin but had a good level of English which is the lingua franca of the boat. The one down side were the other passengers! Now I admit to being in my 69th year and I have not yet lost any of my taste for life or any strength of will, however; some of this boat-load were rude inconsiderate and obnoxious to an extent not even expected from the geriatric go-grabbers of this the 21st century. The Cruise Director did miss out on some tricks, for along with the already organised games he could have prepared for ‘The Zimmer Frame 100 meter dash’ ‘The Walking stick Fencing Final’ and the Wheelchair Diving Championship where those not bent on eating themselves to death could throw themselves into the ocean while those around cheered giving points for both suicidal style and corporal commitment..Strangely I would venture on the Marco Polo a second time as overall she is not overpriced for what she is. This old lady surrounds herself with passengers of her certain age and most feel comfortable with her faded grandeur.Overall a good voyage with inexpensive drinks, good modestly priced excursions and a generally pleasing crew. At Least Three out of Five for Cruise and Maritime Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Just got back from cruise to Caribbean left from Tilbury and hit rough seas was sea sick for 4 days went to see doctor on ship BIG MISTAKE. Cost me £890.83p and mine was cheapest real rip off merchant do not go to see the doctor some on ... Read More
Just got back from cruise to Caribbean left from Tilbury and hit rough seas was sea sick for 4 days went to see doctor on ship BIG MISTAKE. Cost me £890.83p and mine was cheapest real rip off merchant do not go to see the doctor some on board had bills for £5000 and over. I had blood tests did not know till I saw print out at end of cruise he only needed to give me an injection I was in know fit state to know what was happening. The ship is very tired but it grew on me through out the cruise soot coming from funnel and sparks hitting deck needs overall badly.The entertainment staff were amazing worked so hard did an amazing job. Could not fault them at all worked very hard. Buffet staff carried red hot water around in buckets to put in water urn and food brought up in lifts from kitchens. Could not get good cup of tea in buffet as water was not hot enough so was on coffee all holiday. Food was not bad did their best in not good conditions not a lot to choose from but very small ship the main restaurant was good. The hygiene on the ship was the best I have been on though people still had problems but it was not the ships fault they did their best. I would not go on it again it was too small for me. JUST DO NOT VISIT DOCTOR my insurance is not paying out so be very careful. Some people left at Azores before even reaching Caribbean and some flew back from Barbados did not want to do trip back. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: ... Read More
This 3 day cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets was our fifth time on the Marco Polo. I can honestly say that if it had been our first time then it would have been our last. Standards have gone down drastically: previous reviews of the same cruise are quite right. The crew were 'new' having only been on board for 1-3 days we learnt. Practicing on the passengers who were on there for the dine/sleep events in port. The standard of English was poor and the crew struggled to get things right. The food was good but the timings at dinner in The Waldorf were out as it was nigh impossible to get to the show lounge in time for the performance after finishing dinner. The strain on the waiters was showing too. I agree that the house white wine was awful - met with a shrug when we asked it there was another type available! The main concern was of the way in which the lifeboat muster was administered. Not as before when all life vests were checked individually when you put them on by a crew member with a list but haphazardly calling out numbers of cabins. Having experienced these before on the Marco Polo passengers were taken in line to their lifeboat stations under their assigned lifeboat and inspected by the safety captain before being 'dismissed'. This time we were just held in the lounge and not shown even which deck to go to. All very rushed and given the fire on the cross channel ferry recently passengers who were new to the Marco Polo would not know where to go as the new crew didn't know either! There was sign of senior officers making sure everything was in order as before by walking through lounges and talking to passengers. On the plus side - parking arrangements were very good and embarkation and disembarkation ran smoothly. I sincerely hope that these issues are rectified by CMV to make the Marco Polo a very enjoyable lady of the seas again.   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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