Our 2nd cruise with CMV, the 1st was on the Marco Polo. This ship is bigger but not too big. It seems as dated as the MP but is still comfortable enough. This cruise was to Iceland (for overnight), taking in Amsterdam, Faroes Islands, and Kirkwall in Orkney.
Amsterdam, I am convinced, is put on the schedule as a refuelling and re-provisioning stop. Must be cheaper to refuel in Holland than UK, why else would the stop be for only half a day?
(Tip: many excursions can be booked cheaper with local tour operators, either online or when getting off the ship - Canal cruise for example).
The ship itself is comfortable. We were upgrade from deck 5 to deck 7 when out tickets came through and that was a great bonus. Outside superior twin - queen size bed. The crew work hard to keep the ship clean and tidy, so no complaints there. What was annoying was only half of the lifts were in use, and a lot of passengers had mobility issues, so there were times when lifts were very congested. The staircases were the steepest and had the narrowest treads that I have ever seen on a ship.
We used the buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch and occasionally, afternoon tea. The food was typical buffet fare, with an egg/omelette station in the morning, and a pizza station/carvery lunchtime. Finding a table, when its busy, can be a bit of hassle, especially as some passengers seem to be reluctant to socialise, and make it plain they do not want strangers sitting in the spare seats at 'their' table.
We dined in the Waldorf in the evenings and the food was very good. Portions seemed small, but after 5 courses we realised that if they had been larger then we would have been over-stuffed. The waiter we had, Joe, was excellent. Very attentive, helpful, and good fun without being 'in your face'. Want an extra ice-cream - no problem. Changed your mind when you see the main course? - no problem. we even enjoyed the dressing up for dinner (a first for us). All in all it was a very enjoyable experience.
As is often the case on ships, there never seems to be enough seats in the bars, or rather the bars you want to be in at that precise moment. Especially true after the 2nd sitting in the evening. Prices in the bars are pretty good. There is a drinks package (£17 per person per day - must apply to whole party). We also discovered that there is a 'coffee' package available (£24.99 for 20 coffees - usually price £1.80 each). We like a cappuccino so took this offer, but be warned - only the Captains Club Bar seemed to be able to make a decent one.
The Entertainment! Well, they say you can't please everyone, and that is true here.
There is the usual daytime/evening fare of quizzes,game shows and silly games (bean bag bowls) to take part in. These are run by young people who seem not to understand the likes of many of the mature passengers and end up talking down to them. Its a bit like Hi-De-Hi on the high seas, but without the imagination.
Then there are the guest acts. These are much better, one was a comedian who was famous on ITV in the 1970's. He was still pretty good, even if showing his age.
There was a very good pianist and an equally good violinist playing at various places on the ship.
Then we have the Show Team. The best I can say for them was they were enthusiastic. Sadly they looked like they were barely out of stage school. Choreography was poor, dancer's balance was poor, and the routines looked like they were made up in the school playground. This was a shame, as we watched two shows, one based upon ABBA and he other on the 1960's. But they put energy into everything. The saving grace was the "Magellan Orchestra", a 6-piece group who were brilliant.
Last and sadly in my opinion, least, we have the singers. John (also the cruise director), Brett, and Raul. Not the Three Tenors, nor even the Three Fivers. Of the three, Raul was probably the best. Certainly when on his own he could pull off some nice sounds as long as he stuck to the songs that suited him. Brett was just a bit too Girlie for my liking, and sung everything in a voice that makes Katherine Jenkins sound butch. Yes he was that bad. And even worse when hosting the games/quizzes ("i'm not really sure how you pronounce PRONOUNCE"). And then John. As cruise director he should stick to organising and not participating. He was full of himself. He sang backing to Raul's "Memories are made of this" so loud that he drowned Raul. His vocal range was poor and he often missed words out, hit bum notes, and constantly kept up banter with his fellow singers during the intro/instrumental breaks, sharing jokes with them, rather than the audience.
And the duo - Excelsior. Arrrgh! He played keyboards (they also had a backing track so that was pointless) and she murdered songs. Every song, whether rock, latin, or ballad, was delivered in a monotone voice.
I've made it sound bad, but there were some good moments in the entertainment, just not enough of them.
The Casino. This is located next to The Captains Club Bar. There is one Roulette Wheel and one card table and loads of slot machines. These are open to the general walkway between Captain Club and the other bars/internet area/Jade Spa and the stairs down to Waldorf. This means there is no atmosphere whatsoever, made worse by the two croupiers who never smile, never speak and just look like they would rather be somewhere else.
Another thing that lets CMV and the Magellan down, is the organisation side of things.
Embarkation went fine. Could not fault it. Arrived at our given time slot. Got signed in, given cruise card, taken on board, all within about 10 minutes. Perfect.
Lifeboat Drill. I pray they never have to carry this out for real. What a shambles.
Disembarkation wasn't too bad. Passengers are asked to be out of their cabins by 7:00. There is a choice. You can take your own bags ashore and therefore disembark at the earliest moment. Bags can be left in Scotts Bar at your own risk while you have breakfast. Or you wait your turn while they call passengers by luggage label colour. Then its collect your cases and follow the signs. Trouble is, everyone just wants to get off as soon as possible, so any slight hold up (they called the "coach to Victoria" passenger ahead of another group because the car park was getting blocked, and that annoyed a lot of impatient passengers.
Trying to find out anything about the ports visited, unless booked on a ships tour, is like pulling teeth, either they do not know, or they are reluctant to help.
Anyway, I know this might all sound a little negative, but my wife and I really did enjoy our cruise. The ship was clean, the cabin comfortable, the food good, we went to places that we wanted to go to, and we met some great people.
Overall it was good value for money.
Good, clean, very comfortable bed (Queen size). Could do with better positioned electric sockets, but otherwise nothing to fault.