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Just returned from a great cruise to St Petersburg on CMV's Magellan and thought I'd write a note to allay the fears of others who may have been concerned about some of the early reviews. To cut to the chase, CMV offer very good value but you don't get all the frills that I suspect you'd expect from more expensive cruise lines with newer megaships and all mod cons. You're going to be upset if you want a champagne lifestyle for beer prices, but if you want to travel comfortably on a pleasant ship with an excellent crew then read on. As we live in SE London, the coach transfer from Victoria made sense, and was reasonable value at £25 return. Embarkation was straightforward and cases soon arrived at our outside cabin on deck 6 - clean, quiet, surprisingly spacious with plenty of storage space, very comfortable beds and a great powerful shower. Take extra hangers though, if you're packing clothes for more than a week or so. The ship itself is a nice size - large enough to be able to find some space to oneself if you want to escape, but small enough to feel like a ship rather than floating apartment complex. There's plenty of deck space but the sheltered spots are taken quickly; the pools are small (think dip rather than lengths). Sinatra's Bar was a nice place for a cocktail or evening drink, listening to the pianist and Hampton's Bar was a treat in the late evening when the superb pianist and violinist played some lovely classical pieces (and more modern songs that had been rearranged in a classical way). Shows in the main lounge were of a decent standard, with excellent choreography, dancing and lighting occasionally let down by average singing from some performers. The house band are superb. More variety in the style and format of shows would be nice and sight lines in the main theatre are tricky - too many pillars and screens make it difficult to find chairs with an unblocked view. The two restaurants are comfortable and self-service buffet area fine if you would prefer a more relaxed setting...as long as you avoid the busiest periods when finding a place to sit could be quite challenging. A tip - breakfast in bed is free and you avoid the crowds, so if you're happy with fruit, cereal, yoghurt, juice, toast and tea/coffee this is a very nice option. As for the food generally, it was always at least adequate and often rather better than that; not haute cuisine but decent. House wines were good (£15 a bottle for Spanish reds and whites) but if you move up the wine list to spend in the low to mid £20s you don't get a big jump in quality. Cocktails and spirits are cheap - around £3.50 each. We took advantage of the £85 voucher offer for five bottles of wine and ten litres of water, which worked perfectly for us; the £17 per day drinks package may work for people who expect to drink a lot more. Sadly tea and coffee were a let-down. You can pay extra for decent coffees but the standard fare was average at best, and tea tasted mostly of chlorinated water. PS CMV, no cruise line offering a "traditional British" experience should allow Lipton tea anywhere near their ships - inexcusable tasteless brew! The crew work incredibly hard and were unfailingly friendly and helpful. We couldn't praise them highly enough and there were numerous examples of them going the extra mile to help people have a great time on board. There were plenty of activities available, geared often for an older age group; if CMV would like to attract more younger customers this is an area they might want to develop - quizzes, craft classes and ballroom dancing appeal to a particular demographic.... And some more lectures/talks about the ports would be nice too - beyond a sales pitch for the ship's excursions. Talking of those, we mostly did our own thing but the ship excursion from Warnemunde to Schwerin Castle in Germany was excellent, and we appreciated the free shuttle buses laid on in a number of the other ports. A very full two day package we organised with SPB Tours in St Petersburg was absolutely superb and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it for people who want to be a bit more adventurous than the ship's coach tours. In summary, we booked this cruise for the itinerary rather than the ship and were a little worried about the latter. We needn't have worried - we had a great time and perhaps the best way I could conclude this review is to say that if Magellan was doing another itinerary I was interested in, I'd have no hesitation in booking again if the price was right. It's good value at the discounted and two for one prices you can often get from CMV - perhaps less so at the full sticker price, but I'm not sure many people paid that.

Very Much Better Than I'd Feared

Magellan Cruise Review by JonSchick

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Just returned from a great cruise to St Petersburg on CMV's Magellan and thought I'd write a note to allay the fears of others who may have been concerned about some of the early reviews. To cut to the chase, CMV offer very good value but you don't get all the frills that I suspect you'd expect from more expensive cruise lines with newer megaships and all mod cons. You're going to be upset if you want a champagne lifestyle for beer prices, but if you want to travel comfortably on a pleasant ship with an excellent crew then read on.

As we live in SE London, the coach transfer from Victoria made sense, and was reasonable value at £25 return. Embarkation was straightforward and cases soon arrived at our outside cabin on deck 6 - clean, quiet, surprisingly spacious with plenty of storage space, very comfortable beds and a great powerful shower. Take extra hangers though, if you're packing clothes for more than a week or so.

The ship itself is a nice size - large enough to be able to find some space to oneself if you want to escape, but small enough to feel like a ship rather than floating apartment complex. There's plenty of deck space but the sheltered spots are taken quickly; the pools are small (think dip rather than lengths).

Sinatra's Bar was a nice place for a cocktail or evening drink, listening to the pianist and Hampton's Bar was a treat in the late evening when the superb pianist and violinist played some lovely classical pieces (and more modern songs that had been rearranged in a classical way). Shows in the main lounge were of a decent standard, with excellent choreography, dancing and lighting occasionally let down by average singing from some performers. The house band are superb. More variety in the style and format of shows would be nice and sight lines in the main theatre are tricky - too many pillars and screens make it difficult to find chairs with an unblocked view.

The two restaurants are comfortable and self-service buffet area fine if you would prefer a more relaxed setting...as long as you avoid the busiest periods when finding a place to sit could be quite challenging. A tip - breakfast in bed is free and you avoid the crowds, so if you're happy with fruit, cereal, yoghurt, juice, toast and tea/coffee this is a very nice option.

As for the food generally, it was always at least adequate and often rather better than that; not haute cuisine but decent. House wines were good (£15 a bottle for Spanish reds and whites) but if you move up the wine list to spend in the low to mid £20s you don't get a big jump in quality. Cocktails and spirits are cheap - around £3.50 each. We took advantage of the £85 voucher offer for five bottles of wine and ten litres of water, which worked perfectly for us; the £17 per day drinks package may work for people who expect to drink a lot more. Sadly tea and coffee were a let-down. You can pay extra for decent coffees but the standard fare was average at best, and tea tasted mostly of chlorinated water. PS CMV, no cruise line offering a "traditional British" experience should allow Lipton tea anywhere near their ships - inexcusable tasteless brew!

The crew work incredibly hard and were unfailingly friendly and helpful. We couldn't praise them highly enough and there were numerous examples of them going the extra mile to help people have a great time on board. There were plenty of activities available, geared often for an older age group; if CMV would like to attract more younger customers this is an area they might want to develop - quizzes, craft classes and ballroom dancing appeal to a particular demographic.... And some more lectures/talks about the ports would be nice too - beyond a sales pitch for the ship's excursions. Talking of those, we mostly did our own thing but the ship excursion from Warnemunde to Schwerin Castle in Germany was excellent, and we appreciated the free shuttle buses laid on in a number of the other ports. A very full two day package we organised with SPB Tours in St Petersburg was absolutely superb and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it for people who want to be a bit more adventurous than the ship's coach tours.

In summary, we booked this cruise for the itinerary rather than the ship and were a little worried about the latter. We needn't have worried - we had a great time and perhaps the best way I could conclude this review is to say that if Magellan was doing another itinerary I was interested in, I'd have no hesitation in booking again if the price was right. It's good value at the discounted and two for one prices you can often get from CMV - perhaps less so at the full sticker price, but I'm not sure many people paid that.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 6043
Surprisingly spacious and comfortable. Quiet and clean. Good storage space but a few more hangers would not go amiss if you are travelling for more than a week or so. I'd highly recommend making sure you take cases which can fit under the bed (CMV provide the dimensions) as that helps enormously.