Travelling solo, I chose this cruise because of the Newcastle Embarkation port and I live close by. Embarkation was as efficient as could be expected, there was an element of waiting and slight confusion when entering the large embarkation hall, as you had to collect your Cruise Card then sit and wait around until your label colour was announced then check in. It was fairly well organised and once checked in, I was boarding and in my cabin within minutes,
The Marci Polo is a wonderful old lady and because of her size, easy to navigate unlike the hotel ships of today. I would say that 70-80% of the passengers were from the North East in view of the Newcastle sail and age group definitely in the 60+ range. The ship looked her age from the outside but clean and bright once on board. The quality of food at both restaurants varied. Formal dining in the Waldorf I enjoyed though there were mixed comments about the quality of the food and small portions. I believe it came down to menu choice. I personally enjoyed every meal although the late sitting was 'late' at 8.15-30 and given the choice again I would go earlier. Marco's Bistro I found convenient for breakfast and lunch and although there was a varied choice of buffet food, it did resemble a supermarket cafe serving luke warm and poor quality food. Tea time proved very popular with little cakes and sandwiches, it was always very busy, very hard to get a seat and a bit like a cattle market especially when the weather was poor without the choice of dining outside on the deck.
I did not attend the evening shows but on sail days I found all of the lectures on marine and bird life, space and volcanoes very enjoyable and well attended,