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Marco Polo Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
434 Reviews

Seine river and medieval ports: beautiful,relaxing cruise on a small older ship

Marco Polo Cruise Review by Kentigern1

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2017
  • Destination: the British Isles & Western Europe

We chose this 7 night cruise for the ports visited, convenience (no fly) and price. Having read mixed reviews we weren't sure what to expect. This was our first cruise with Cruise and Maritime: the model suits us and we would return. We enjoy cruises as a relaxed, comfortable way to travel to some beautiful and interesting destinations.

We appreciated the smaller ship with a relaxed homely feel. CMV seem to know their clientele and cater well for them - mainly older and British on this cruise, many being repeat cruisers with CMV. Despite being a small ship, facilities were adequate, including 3 hot tubs, a sauna and gym, none of which were busy. It may not have the glitz and luxury of newer and bigger ships / lines, (no fruit in cabin, chocolates on pillows, or quirky folded towels etc) and the main restaurant was a bit cramped. But for us this was more than compensated for by the quiet, relaxed, intimate ambience (about 800 passengers).

We particularly appreciated:

- the most efficient embarkation and disembarkation we have ever experienced (car to cabin in under 20 minutes, with luggage following a few minutes later)

- tea and coffee included and served at the table at the end of dinner (some lines no longer do that). Tea (wide choice) and coffee freely available on deck 8 most waking hours.

- free shuttles at ports (although we mostly walked)

- beautiful medieval ports and a lovely cruise along the Seine - not accesssible on larger ships.

- personal and prompt responses from staff to queries or concerns. e.g. staff remembered our preferences despite our changing dinner sitting (as per our request).

- announcements clear and in English. Just enough but not too much.

- enrichment programme. I attended 4 gardening lectures which were interesting and useful. There were also art, craft and line dancing classes available, all well attended.

- classical music duo playing every evening.

- entertainment team did well, including the ships own band. Again not glitzy but enjoyable.

- fellow cruisers seemed kind and considerate, interesting and not noisy (adults only on this cruise)!

- evening activities in the bars were self-contained and the rest of the ship remained quiet

- no casino / gambling machines

- easy to promenade right round the ship.

- good written summary port information for each stop, and no hard sell re excursions.

- well attended Sunday service taken by an officer.

- the small ship was quick and easy to get around.

- repeated sightings of dolphins as we cruised!

All in all an unfussy, relaxed cruise on a small older ship, with personal service from helpful staff, visiting beautiful places. The Cruise and Maritime style suits us and we would certainly return if the price, timing and destinations matched our requirements.

Kentigern1's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin Pacific (superior, inside) 501

Perfectly adequate. Fixed twin beds like most on this ship, but good use of space. Good shower. No tea / coffee-making facility in cabin, but available on deck 8 most waking hours until midnight. (NB deep suitcases won't fit under the bed to store). Continuous noise from engine / air conditioning but didn't keep us awake. Some noise early morning from maintenance / service area next door.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Bristol (Avonmouth)

The most efficient embarkation and disembarkation we have ever experienced. We didn't explore Bristol though.


Beautiful medieval fishing port. Easy 20 minute walk from berth (free shuttle also available). We could have done with longer than the half day visit.


Interesting medieval town. Plenty to see and do on our all day stop, although also a base for trips further afield to Ghent / Bruges etc. Berthed right by the centre of town.


We enjoyed this most of the 3 stops and could have done with all day rather than a half day. Lovely picturesque medieval town and easy to explore on foot. A pity we were there on a Monday when both the Cathedral and Abbey were shut. Many of the churches tend to open 10-12 and 14-17.00 so it's worth timing visits carefully.

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