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CMV Marco Polo P500 Cruise March 2015 (review delayed due to poor response by CMV to valid complaints). This cruise was advertised as an “Eclipse and Northern Lights Spectacular” and we should have known that things were not quite right when the invoice had the correct dates but the wrong days of the week. Generally we found the food quality, cabins and staff helpfulness much better than we had anticipated from previous CC postings. Maybe we were lucky that the seas were kind from Tilbury to Reykjavik and the vessel was reasonably stable both ways. In general we found the Marco Polo was very pleasant considering the age of the vessel. The areas that could benefit improvement were the scanning of passengers on and off the vessel and the labor-intensive handling of luggage, both of which were certainly dated. The unfortunate problems lie with the planning. The docking location in the Faroe Islands was changed from Torshavn to Kollafjordur. Although this was less convenient, CMV finally offered a free bus service to Torshavn but the additional travel time was not appreciated. More disturbing was the change in leaving Reykjavik from 6 PM Monday to 6 AM Monday, especially as it was not clearly pointed out and came as a surprise to some passengers. This was probably a typo. Several passengers complained about this change and were given all sorts of tales about the port not having docking space but the fact remains that there was insufficient time to reach Invergordon unless the Marco Polo left early Monday morning. The main problem with this cruise was that it was advertised as “Eclipse and Northern Lights Spectacular” and it failed miserably on both these counts. The cruise was first advertised about two years before the eclipse and after quickly becoming fully booked CMV decided to add their newly acquired Magellan to attempt to view the eclipse. A total eclipse of the sun is a spectacular event that can last from a few seconds to about seven and a half minutes. Clear skies are essential and we understood that we only had about a 40 percent chance at best for this eclipse. What we did not anticipate is that CMV appeared to have no clear understanding of viewing a solar eclipse. Although CMV denies aiming for the point of maximum eclipse, a live plot of the Marco Polo course shows no deviation to seek clear skies. Many other vessels were able take the weather conditions into account and to at least see a partial if not a total eclipse. Unfortunately all the Marco Polo passengers experienced was a sudden darkening of a very cloudy sky with many not understanding what they had missed. CMV was more concerned in trying to video the Marco Polo and the Magellan cruising together rather than attempting to view totality! The Northern Lights experience was equally frustrating. Five coach loads of passengers were taken from the ship (where the moon was visible) to a dark site that was so clouded that no glimmer of the moon was present. Northern Lights tours by local companies were cancelled due to the poor viewing conditions and those from the Marco Polo should also have been cancelled. Complaints to CMV regarding the Marco Polo P500 cruise not living up to the two main advertised attractions were fruitless. Responses to specific complaints were miserably slow to non-existent. What has been learned is that any complaints to CMV regarding non-performance should be made while still aboard the vessel. Although one hopes it will not be necessary any future cruise complaints will be made before the end of the voyage irrespective of the cruise line.

What could have been a good cruise was marred by poor planning by CMV.

Marco Polo Cruise Review by jerseyv

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2015
  • Destination: Arctic
CMV Marco Polo P500 Cruise March 2015 (review delayed due to poor response by CMV to valid complaints).

This cruise was advertised as an “Eclipse and Northern Lights Spectacular” and we should have known that things were not quite right when the invoice had the correct dates but the wrong days of the week. Generally we found the food quality, cabins and staff helpfulness much better than we had anticipated from previous CC postings.

Maybe we were lucky that the seas were kind from Tilbury to Reykjavik and the vessel was reasonably stable both ways. In general we found the Marco Polo was very pleasant considering the age of the vessel. The areas that could benefit improvement were the scanning of passengers on and off the vessel and the labor-intensive handling of luggage, both of which were certainly dated.

The unfortunate problems lie with the planning. The docking location in the Faroe Islands was changed from Torshavn to Kollafjordur. Although this was less convenient, CMV finally offered a free bus service to Torshavn but the additional travel time was not appreciated.

More disturbing was the change in leaving Reykjavik from 6 PM Monday to 6 AM Monday, especially as it was not clearly pointed out and came as a surprise to some passengers. This was probably a typo. Several passengers complained about this change and were given all sorts of tales about the port not having docking space but the fact remains that there was insufficient time to reach Invergordon unless the Marco Polo left early Monday morning.

The main problem with this cruise was that it was advertised as “Eclipse and Northern Lights Spectacular” and it failed miserably on both these counts.

The cruise was first advertised about two years before the eclipse and after quickly becoming fully booked CMV decided to add their newly acquired Magellan to attempt to view the eclipse. A total eclipse of the sun is a spectacular event that can last from a few seconds to about seven and a half minutes. Clear skies are essential and we understood that we only had about a 40 percent chance at best for this eclipse.

What we did not anticipate is that CMV appeared to have no clear understanding of viewing a solar eclipse. Although CMV denies aiming for the point of maximum eclipse, a live plot of the Marco Polo course shows no deviation to seek clear skies. Many other vessels were able take the weather conditions into account and to at least see a partial if not a total eclipse. Unfortunately all the Marco Polo passengers experienced was a sudden darkening of a very cloudy sky with many not understanding what they had missed. CMV was more concerned in trying to video the Marco Polo and the Magellan cruising together rather than attempting to view totality!

The Northern Lights experience was equally frustrating. Five coach loads of passengers were taken from the ship (where the moon was visible) to a dark site that was so clouded that no glimmer of the moon was present. Northern Lights tours by local companies were cancelled due to the poor viewing conditions and those from the Marco Polo should also have been cancelled.

Complaints to CMV regarding the Marco Polo P500 cruise not living up to the two main advertised attractions were fruitless. Responses to specific complaints were miserably slow to non-existent.

What has been learned is that any complaints to CMV regarding non-performance should be made while still aboard the vessel. Although one hopes it will not be necessary any future cruise complaints will be made before the end of the voyage irrespective of the cruise line.
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