I had previously travelled on the Magellan and Columbus with Cruise and Maritime and had enjoyed both trips. On this basis, I booked a 30 day cruise to Canada with my partner on the Marco Polo. Embarkation on 5th Sept at Tilbury was chaotic and delayed. On being shown our cabin, I immediately saw that it would not meet our needs because of insufficient storage.
My complaint was lodged with the cabin steward who offered extra hangers and said that empty suitcases could be stored one deck below. Upon further enquiry, I was advised that these would not be accessible. My partner has recently endured cancer treatment necessitating the use of bulky incontinence aids which added to our luggage.
We were called for the evacuation drill immediately. After this, I went promptly to reception and lodged the need for more (accessible) storage. I was told that no other adjustments could be made. I then asked to leave the ship. I was advised that as it was 15.45 and the ship was sailing at 16.00 that it was too late to disembark. I confirmed that I would have to leave at the earliest opportunity at Glengariff. The receptionist stated that she would escalate my complaint to her manager.
During the next 44hrs at sea, I had the misfortunate to have my initial concerns realised and worse fears confirmed.
Marco Polo is described as “elegant” and “stylish” . This is misleading. Rather it is tired and dated. For example. the Marco’s Bistro carpet was soiled and sticky, the ceiling in Scott’s Bar was damaged with twisted metal and broken lights. Two lifts were unreliable ( I was stuck in one for several minutes) and then broke on the first day requiring repair.
The stench of diesel on the Baltic Deck and in our cabin was all-pervading and nausea-inducing. I was advised that the ship is over 50 years old.
To describe the ship as stabilised is misleading. During the crossing to Ireland, there was excessive roll even though the sea conditions were described as “slight”. I saw no stabilising fins being deployed presumably to maintain speed and fuel efficiency as seas were slight. I witnessed several passengers stumbling and numerous accidents with crockery and glasses including with the senior officers (broken glass) during the Captain’s presentation in the theatre. My nausea and discomfort when laying in our cabin were compounded by the strong stench of diesel.
The food was not of the same standard as on previous voyages. Although I was not able to eat much beyond the first day due to nausea, my partner who was a chef confirmed that too much salt was consistently being used in all the dishes he tried.
To describe the entertainment as “truly sparkling” is misleading. The entertainment’s director offered a comically bad rendition of an Elvis impersonation on the first night and then made a hardsell on drinks etc. The dancers were good but the material they were given to work with was woeful. Given the cramped conditions in the theatre, the first night was enough to dissuade us from going back the following evening.
On the 6th, Sept I again went to reception and stated my intention to disembark the following day. Once again I was told me that my complaint had been escalated to the manager but no response had been forthcoming and he was not available to speak to me.
On 7th we anchored at sea for Glengariff. Disembarkation by tender was delayed (I finally got ashore 3 hrs after arrival). I confirmed to reception that I did not want to disembark but felt I had no other option as my complaint had not been resolved. I incurred the cost of of repatiation and the disappointment of not being able to enjoy what iI had eagerly anticipated as a trip of a lifetime.
Cruise and Maritme have advised me that they take 28 days to respond to complaints. I recommend avoiding this ship.
Extremely cramped with insufficient storage. All-pervading stench of diesel.