We have never cruised before, and wanting to get away for the whole Christmas Period, this cruise fitted the bill. It appeared good value compared to alternative festive getaways and we had a good time, but all was all not exactly plain sailing.
We booked through Saga, who’s service was exemplary. They arranged transportation from our home to the port and return, which was upgraded to minute perfect luxury private cars, free of charge because we live close to Avonmouth.
This is an old small ship, and when docked the view looked comical, as the Marco Polo looked as if it was the tug for the larger cruise ships. However we had the last laugh passing enormous queues for those huge floating hotels, to just walk straight on the Marco Polo. Embarkation, and disembarkation particularly were easy too.
Lovely spacious cabin, plenty of storage, large comfortable bed, but a little bit dated. View, of the sea over a lifeboat. Windows, bath and fittings showing their age. Spotless on arrival, but nasty stain on quilt through the large middle part of our stay. Tap water was a dirty colour at night and early morning.
Terminal is a big warehouse, but does its job well.
Avonmouth is not pretty. Excellent transport service arranged by Saga.
Walked from ship through town centre. Nice Pubs, Shops opened late because it was Boxing Day. Some remained closed. Took cable car up the Rock. We carried a croissant, well wrapped in the bottom of our back pack. This created unwanted attention from the Apes so we made a hasty retreat down again. DONT CARRY ANYTHING EDIBLE up there. Also try and pay with as near to the right amount of cash as possible as you will be given change in Gibraltar coins and notes which are not legal tender in the UK.
Port nice and close to City. Nice Prom to stroll, had a good meal at tapas bar in back street, then browsed large City Centre shops.. Most were open, if a little later because it was Sunday.
Although we didn't get into the harbour, the New Year fireworks were amazing, as werethe view of Funchal's lights decorating the hillside and sparkling in the rain. CMV laid on useful transfer into town. Took the sightseeing bus ride in the pouring rain. When it stopped we took the cable car up into the clouds in Monte. Then back for a stroll through town.
Most of the shops were closed for New Years day and in spite of the weather found the place fascinating, so much so we have booked a break there (flying this time).