We have just returned from a seven night cruise to the Fjiords on the Magellan. Let me start by saying that if it had been my first cruise it would also have been my last. The ship should be re-named the Sloop John B (the worst ship I have ever been on according to the Beach Boys).
To begin with we had the usual muster and instructions on what to do if the alarm sounded.. I am not being flippant when I say that the drill script must have been written by the Chuckle Brothers for a carry on film. Firstly we had our instructions...'When the alarm sounds, go to your cabins and get your lifejackets, warm clothing and any medicine you need and make your way to your muster point. We were on deck 6 and muster was on deck 8. We then donned our lifejackets and were told to put one hand on the shoulder of the person in front and we did a 200 people conga up a flight of stairs on the open deck to our point of exit. I use this phrase as lifeboats were never mentioned. Next we were told that if we had to abandon ship then we should jump but keep our legs together and have one arm across our chests and hold our noses and mouth. We should only jump a maximum of about three metres. Now I am not a mathematician but that would mean the ship would have to sink about 4 or 5 decks before we could jump.
Now, considering that there were dozens of wheelchair users and limited mobility people, how do they go several floors down, then up and then climb a flight of stairs as we were informed the lifts would not be working. We took over ten minutes to go to our cabin and climb two flights of (steep) stairs. The average age of cruisers was about 70+ so I doubt any of these instructions we received were possible.
Also we realised on our first day that we could not have a kettle in our cabin. We were emphatically told it was a Health and Safety matter. As it turns out cabins above grade 9 have kettles. This means that either the cruise company only cares about the lower rate passengers and not those who pay more, which would seem to be against the H&S rules OR reception were lying and it was about how much you paid! I wonder which it is?
Another negative point was the disembarkation, a total fiasco. We had to vacate our cabin at 6am having put our luggage out before midnight. At 6am we left the cabin and went to the lift area to find it was full of cases stacked up and a notice that the lifts were being used for luggage only. The four flights of stairs were chockerblock with over 1,000 people going to the dining rooms. Wheelchair users had no chance. We reached the dining room after about 30 mins to find it so full that there were no chairs, windowsill places, cups, glasses and very little food left. We eventually got some toast and a cup of tea which we had to take outside.
Other faults were that there was nowhere to buy a bottle of juice to take to your room (though we purchased some ashore) and nowhere to be found to obtain the advertised 24 hr snacks though some chicken nuggets were brought round in one bar about 10.30. The juice machines only had cold water after breakfast when the orange juice and grapefruit juice were halted. We also reported dirty cups and napkins regularly.
Now for the positives. The entertainment was good. The food was reasonable but with limited choices. The cabin was ok but very noisy as the ship, being very old, creaked a lot. Some of the bed linen was not as clean as it should have been and the toilet basin and mirror above actually moved as it was on a hinge. I cannot say much about the shore excursions as it was mainly heavy rain ,though this cannot be blamed on the Cruise line. It was a shame as Flam looked nice but Bergen was a waste of time (and it had an international cycle event which meant many roads were closed. It looked a bit run down anyway.
All in all, a very disappointing experience never to be repeated. A thought did occur that the reason for a ridiculous early rise at the end was because, unlike many cruises where you arrive at about 5am and the ship empties and fills leaving about 6pm the Magellan was sailing again at 1.30 pm, meaning the customers had to be shunted o as quickly as possible to allow money grabbing to triumph.
Ok but old and creaky.