As we had spent two months on the Cruise and Maritime flag ship M/V Magellan from middle of December 2015 to middle of February 2016, I was rather concerned how the Marco polo cruise to the Baltic would go.
The Magellan was rather awful, and therefore we decided to go for only a 12 night cruise of the Baltic Sea , with ports of call at Aalborg, Warnemunde ( for an excursion to Berlin ), Tallin, St Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm before returning via the Kiel canal to Tilbury port.It must be stated that we had done this on the M/V Blackwatch about three and a half years earlier.
Embarkation was excellent, and I would class the inside cabin as compact. However, the cabin was on deck 5 and right at the very back, and the engine sound together with the propeller sound was loud, and although we got slightly use to it , it must be said that of the five cruises we have done, this was by far the loudest and lot's of vibration to go with it.
The excursions that we choose, ( six in all), went well and the highlight for me in the whole cruise was the visit to Berlin. Although, all are rather expensive , even with our 5% discount, the trip to Berlin, all twelve hours, was wonderful, and i am pleased that we choose it. There were also three excursions in St Petersburg , including the ballet on the Saturday night, and the wonderful Peterhof Palace which is just under an hour drive away from St Petersburg, ( just could not get it out of my mind that in reality the palace was less than 70 years old as virtually destroyed in WW2.) But the trip was well worth going. Two other excursions followed in Helsinki, ( not much to see it that city) and finally Stockholm, where we were only there for about six hours.
The food was far better than on the Magellan, however, it must be said that it was probably always going to be as the Magellan was that poor, and both the Waldorf restaurant and the buffet restaurant, were rather good with service, and facilities. There was the odd game of " Hunt the Table" in the buffet area ,but nowhere near as bad as the Magellan to which I compare the Marco polo under the CMV banner.
The show entertainment, was in the Marco polo lounge, and not that bad, it had the normal song and dance, which was expected, but the shows were all rather good, and the singer Jordan was magnificent, although I believe that he is only on this ship for a month. However, the assistant cruise director, was not at all good, and although she has the moves and expressions, so many of her pitches were so high, they went right through me !, and at times she is rather squeaky, the other two were good, and Emily, would be classed as better than average. There were also two external entertainers, a comedian, but so many of the jokes were told over ten years ago, and I thought he was nothing special, plus a husband and wife magician act, and they were both fine.The shows in Scott's bar, which were held at 21.30pm, I thought rather poor, and for once they would be classed as better on the Magellan.This would also be said of the daily games such as crazy golf. So, one up to the Magellan when it comes to them.
The ship is now 51 years old, but does have something about it, which others do not. It has a bit of old fashioned style, and the complete opposite of the " floating town's " that are now on the seas. It does not have all the facilities of the much larger ship's, but then again , there were no children, and I saw no binge drinking as there was so much of that on the Magellan. I know passengers have these drink packages as they do on other cruise ships, but it appeared to be disciplined drinking, and that was good. Although the average age of the passengers was high, so it was for the two month's on the Magellan, and therefore I can only conclude that the Marco Polo passengers were more responsible, and that may also account for people not taking up the tables in the buffet for so long or reserving outside seats and chairs, which was done in abundance on the Magellan. So, this comes down to the mindset of the passengers and they were a lot better on the Marco polo than the Magellan ( where I found a far higher percentage of people to be more selfish), and I only saw one row about seat reserving on the Marco polo, compared to it being a daily event on the Magellan.
The disembarkation was for us rather long, and we sat in the Columbus club for four hours before being called. Regretfully, just as on the Magellan, passengers are asked to vacate their cabins at 07.00am, and that is far too early, then there is a struggle to find anywhere to sit, although this time we were rather lucky , unlike the Magellan where we ended sitting on the floor by one of the lift's. I think this is something that CMV need to address as I understand that cabins need to be cleared and made ready for the next cruise, but 07.00 is too early and then there is the worry of where do we go ? However, once called, we left the ship very easily and were soon out of the terminal, but four hours is rather a long wait.
The result is that I would rather not go on M/V Magellan again, but I am happy to say that I would on the M/V Marco polo, and if you fancy a cruise that has a bit of old fashioned style then give her a go.
Cabin was compact, and functional, it had a reasonable amount of cupboards and drawers, but as expected only one chair and that was often in the way, as room was restricted.
A shuttle bus was arranged to near the old town, and then a walk of about three hours around that area,. This part of Tallin is having a lot of work done on it, such as the cobbled streets, and is a wonderful place to stroll around, as not that many people there on the Saturday afternoon we visited, although far more than we were last there when it was at the end on November.2012.