Having read some terrible reviews about this ship we were not expecting a great cruise.We wwere proved wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed it and have booked again for December on the same ship. It was a 7 night cruise from Newcastle to Dundee and then on to Norway. (Review menu will not allow me to choose Norway.)
As background, my husband and I are 53 and a very young 60 and have cruised around 30 times with many cruiselines, including Celebrity, Cunard, RCI, Princess, Fred Olsen, Costa, MSC and others, so we have a benchmark for comparison.
We were given a check in time of 12.40 and advised not to arrive before that. Of course, we arrived 15 minutes early, got a coffee in the nice cafe in Newcastle Cruise Terminal and strolled up to check-in at our given time. No queue at all, a quick process and straight onto the ship. We were pleased to be personally greeted and escorted to our cabin.
Unlike many premium cruiselines, our cabin was ready on boarding and luggage arrived fairly quickly. We had been upgraded from an Inner to an Oceanview and were very pleased with it, Yes, the ship is 30 years old, but the cabin was clean and comfortable, quite spacious with loads of storage, flat screen TV, safe and a decent sized bathroom. We did miss having a fridge, but it was not a major issue. We had single beds on arrival and asked for them to be made into a double. This had been done when we returned from dinner that evening. We had Elena as our Steward who was very friendly and had the cabin made up as soon as we left it every morning and evening. She made us some novel towel animals on 2 nights as well.
The ship has a very modern feel and is well laid out with most of the bars, restaurants and entertainment venues on decks 8,9 and 10. We bought the all inclusive drinks package for £17 per person per day which was great value and included wine by the glass, mixed drinks, beers and cocktails. It was nice not having a large bar bill at the end of the cruise! We loved Sinatra's Bar and the staff there especially "Tuna" were all great and friendly. Service could be a tad slow at busy times but if it was, we simply grabbed a seat at the bar and were quickly served.
I was not expecting the food on Magellan to be very good but again I was incorrect. Breakfast could either be taken in the busy but completely satisfactory Raffles Buffet or in the Main Dining Room. We choose the Dining Room most mornings and the food was of a good quality with plenty of choice. Most was self service although omelettes were cooked to order and were delicious and juice/tea/coffee was served by waiters.
Raffles Bistro was open for lunch although we prefer the Dining Room where we enjoyed excellent fish and chips one day and a curry on another day. The buffet also has a curry station most days and pizza available from noon until 18.00. Afternoon tea was available in the Buffet everyday from 15.30 until 16.30 and consisted of cakes, biscuits and scones. Fresh fruit was always available.
Dinner in the Dining Room was great. It was a full 5 course menu every night. A highlight was the Lamb Shank with mash which just fell off the bone. The Ginger Chicken was also a delight. Our waiter, Carlton, soon picked up that my husband and I liked our food with a kick, so he brought us Tabasco Sauce every night without fail. Boris, the drink waiter, knew we had the package and our wine was ready at every meal as well. On the second formal night they did a Baked Alaska parade which was great fun. They also presented us with Easter Cake on Easter Sunday. A minor niggle was the speed of the meal, which was rather fast, but not a major problem. We did not feel pushed out of the Dining Room at the end and quite often sat and chatted with our table mates.
There was the usual daytime entertainment with quizzes, line dancing etc. There was also a very good guest speaker who gave several interesting afternoon lectures. Up to date films were shown in the Main Show Lounge as well. There was little on deck, but as we had snow and freezing temperatures, this was not a surprise! I would imagine that the decks and pools would be well used in summer months. There was also a good comedian onboard who did two different shows on two separate nights. The Broadway type shows were average enough but fine for 45 minutes after dinner! The bars were very lively into the small hours as was Scotts Nightclub.
We only booked one as we prefer to do our own thing, but we enjoyed it. A good lunch was provided and plenty of spare time, so no issues.
Hassle free. We were staying overnight in a Newcastle hotel so did not want to get off too early. As we had the first tags, we requested later ones from Guest Services. This was no bother and we were literally last off the ship well after 10.00am. Luggage waiting and off we went.
We have no complaints whatsoever about this cruise. It was not up to the luxury premium standards of Celebrity or Cunard, but then again, we paid about one quarter of the price we pay for those brands. Quite simply, it was exceptional value for money, a fun cruise, good mid sized well appointed clean ship with helpful crew. What more could one ask for? We did hear a lot of complaints on our cruise but most were trivial and a problem is not a real issue if it can be solved. Some folk just like to complain!
My husband and I would not hesitate to board the Magellan again and are already looking forward to our Christmas Market mini cruise on her in December.