The itinerary for this cruise was very appealing - not many cruise ships sail up the Amazon, and the price was extremely attractive: 42 nights for under £2k (inside cabin), or around £2.5k (sea view). The boat is old, but having cruised on some of the biggest ships, I found that the Magellan is small enough that you soon get to know your fellow travellers, and many of the crew (who were generally very helpful and friendly). We had force 9 storms in the Bay of Biscay, and the ship pitched and rolled, but strangely enough very few people seemed to suffer drom sea sickness. I found the gentle movement of the boat in heavy seas quite relaxing!
Unfortunately an earlier review draws attention to the problems with coughs and chest infections on this ship. We suffered the same problem. In fact we heard that 13 people died on this trip (unconfirmed, as the cruise companies naturally do not want this publicised), but we certainly saw hearses driving up to meet the ship in some ports, and enough rumours circulating around the ship to suggest the numbers were well into double figures. The medical centre seemed to be out of its depth and unable to cope - it is a private practice, so money seems to be the overriding motivation for them. We heard of passengers being lumbered with bills for thousands of pounds after their travel insurance companies declined their claim. It is interesting to note that the medical centre ran out of cough mixture after less then two weeks, and there is no on-board pharmacy, so buying even basic medication from them will result in extortionate charges being added to your onboard account.
Entertainment was OK - we appreciate its difficult to do 42 consecutive shows on a limited budget. The entgertainers are very talented, and do their best. Lauren (Assistant Cruise Director) is particularly outstanding, and Tony (Cruise Director) did a great job of whipping up the entertainment, but he is now off to Australia to join the Columbus. There were some dodgy old-school stand-up comedians from the UK who should probably have retired years ago!
Service in the restaurants was, I thought, outstanding. The food was a bit variable, but generally very adequate, with a good choice. The ship is kept very clean, so I think the infection problem is probably something to do with the ductwork - most people I met suffered coughs and sore throats, and I suspect germs are cirulating through the old piping.
The on-board accounting system is outdated - posting an account under your door every two weeks, without even an envelope, is ludicrous. The staff at reception were sometimes a bit stroppy about dealing with errors (and there were a few.....).
Cruising the Amazon was interesting, but at times a bit false. Boca da Valeria is a fake village where you will be greeted on arrival by scores of kids demanding money to take photographs of them posing with various animals. We saw a half dead catfish plonked on a table for all to see. Horrible. The 'indigineous tribespeople locals' (ha ha) will happily offer to take you up river to see where they really live for a fistful of dollars......
The rest of the itinerary was great, though the ship-bought excursions are very expensive, and you will do far better buying locally organised tours at the ports.
But overall this ship has a good atmosphere, all the facilities you need and, if you stay healthy, you will have a great time.
Cabin was fairly roomy, with a great shower. No fridge, unfortunately. Ship is extremely noisy during docking manouvres and in heavy seas. A few large Rusty Nails in the Captains Club before bedtime will cure this, and ensure a good nights sleep! The beds are very comfortable. The all-inclusive drinks package at £17 a night is great value, and recommended.