"Elegance & value, on board the sumptuously elegant Marco Polo, offering all the comforts of an excellent hotel, all meals, including morning coffee, and afternoon tea and cakes, are included in the great value price" So quoted the brochure from Newmarket Promotions, which I feel qualifies for attention under the Trades Description Act!! To be fair the cabin was comfortable, not luxurious. Bottled water was provided, and would be replaced if desired, for £1.95p. The cabin steward was excellent & very helpful. There were two restaurants, the "Waldorf", providing waiter service in the evenings, buffet service at breakfast and lunch times, providing a reasonable selection of dishes. Although somewhat cramped for space so choosing a seat was important to avoid disturbing other diners. The other "restaurant", the Bistro was somewhat akin to a motorway cafe, with tablecloths and napkins only being provided in the evenings! Again a reasonable selection of dishes to which one helped oneself. Morning coffee and tea and cakes could be had, on the open deck, adjacent to the Bistro, provided one was prepared to queue, mug in hand ,awaiting one's turn at the tea urn!! Spoons took the shape of a plastic twizzle stick. Alternatively one could be served in the lounge at the modest price of £1.45 per person!!
The evening meals were nicely presented, with a choice of three or four dishes for each course, although it appeared, at times, that some of the more usual items were in short supply. Having ordered cheese and biscuits instead of a sweet, I received four one inch "squares" of cheese with one water biscuit! The latter I returned with the comment that somebody might be going without, but the comment was wasted as most of the staff seemed to have difficulty in understanding English. The majority it seems were from the Ukraine, well presented, polite, but lacking in sufficient training. The scenery and the weather were beyond compare, sadly the Marco Polo was not. Having cruised on three previous occasions, the Marco Polo still has a long way to go to justify the description of "elegance and value" as described in the brochure, and even further to meet their customers expectations. Good value for money? I leave other people to judge, but the fact that gratuities are included in the price would suggest that it is better to be safe than sorry!! At just under £2000.00 a weeks holiday in a five star hotel could be had. Perhaps next time!!.
Reasonable size, odd layout, beds at right angles, deserving of refurbishment.