We had wanted to have a look at the Scottish Isles and the itinerary of the cruise we chose was provided by CMV Marco Polo. We knew that Marco Polo was 50 years old and not necessarily the ship we would have given first choice after reading reviews but we thought we would make up our own minds We were given commemorative pins when we embarked - from a different port than arranged. We arrived at Leith where we had booked our CMV parking to be given a letter outlining changes in the itinerary. Rosyth was a provided coach ride away and we were all credited with £50 per cabin. However there was notification there of an increase in tender ports. We believe this showed a weakness in planning and organisation or cost cutting.
The refits over the years have kept this ship quite comfortable for passengers if you can overlook the dents here and there, except we felt added cabins (ours had been added when the second tier of the show lounge was taken away) meant there was a lag in the increase of places to eat. Unlike other cruise lines, there is not always food available on the Marco Polo. Afternoon tea was uncomfortably crowded in the Marco Grill which in the evening was the buffet restaurant alternative to the main dining room, The Waldorf, where there was set dining of two sittings. Breakfast was help yourself buffet selection with staff cooking eggs and omelettes to order in two dining areas. Dinners with waiter service in the main dining room were tasty and well presented; service was good but it was not the standard of food we have had on other cruise lines and this showed the economy style although we had paid well for our grade of cabin.
A big demonstration of the age of the ship was the tender experience. The weather was stormy and these small craft had a tarpaulin over the top and only two small windows either end. It was most unpleasant. The stormy weather meant we had to have one port changed which was very disappointing as the itinerary was the reason we chose the cruise in spite of the choice of the Marco Polo. Obviously safety has to be the first consideration but would it have been safer with newer tenders?