This is our 5th cruise, the 3rd on the Magellan. We were sent tickets and purple luggage labels, booked for parking at Newcastle. Boarding turned out to be horrendous, something went seriously wrong which CMV blamed on the Port Authority. Eventually on board cabin 5193, right on the stern, deck 5, Baltic. All went well until 2-am, woke up by horrendous noise, props and bearings, followed by every imaginable noise a ship could make at one hour intervals. Phoned reception followed by visit to reception. Asked for change of cabin, refused at that time, was offered a temporary inside 4 berth cabin for the night, we refused that on the grounds we might have to stay there, so no sleep that night. Docking was even worse, continuous noise early morning docked at Dundee, we packed our bags. Visited reception for change of cabin, no can do until boarding has completed. Phoned local Dundee Taxi company for price back to Newcastle, they text me back £350. Waited and waited for info. Eventually told reception that unless we receive a like for like cabin before departure we will leave the ship and CMV can pay for taxi back to Newcastle. This seemed to do the trick and we were offered suitable like for like cabin on the same deck. Sorted and we thanked the staff involved.
Day 2 was the start of our cruise, we can put all that happened behind us. New Cabin good, very clean, coffee and tea making facilities in all cabins which is a great bonus, lovely male Steward who was attentive throughout. As a rule we always try and give the Cabin Stewards a break, so making up room does not have to be every day, they are always there if you need them. Food as always very good, we never use the restaurants, that is our choice, we prefer to use the Bistro on deck 10, purely for choice and we can pick our time to eat. Always something there for everyone. Plenty to do and see on the ship on sail days or just relax and socialise. Noticed sick bags out at Dundee and at various other times although the sea was never rough, slight bobbing but gentle all the same.
Unusual for us we decided to book shore excursions, we normally do our own thing, but as we had to book Russian excursions we thought what the hell. Actual excursions well organised and a good variety, (very good description of actual excursions so you know what you are letting yourself in for). Excursions are good value for money. All excursions start with a coach journey, this is where we noticed an abnormal amount of coughing. A lot of passengers were complaining of a sore throat. Further into the cruise the problem seemed to get worse, more people coughing, the general consensus was the air conditioning. Up to now we were not affected. We arrived at St Petersburg and disembarked for our excursion, half day at the Hermitage. This is a busy excursion and nonstop once you are in the venue. Two of our party went missing and were found outside, they did not seem well and said they needed air. Back on the ship by afternoon my Wife complained of a sore throat. As seasoned cruiser's we take every kind of medication just in case, so after taking this my Wife settled a bit and it was "carry on cruising". The second day in St Petersburg we were at the Yusipov palace and Waterways. This was a fabulous excursion for anyone going to St Petersburg. However it was marred by increased coughing, by the time we were back on ship it was noticeably worse among the passengers. Also we noticed passengers walking around with cannulas attached. My Wife's condition worsened throughout the day and evening, our own meds were not working. My Wife does suffer from COPD following Lung Cancer three years before. We always visit our G.P. before cruising for "Fit to travel purposes". By late evening things were that bad we had to visit the dreaded Medical Centre (no one wants to end up here). Upon initial assessment my Wife was immediately put on an I.V. Drip with Anti-Biotics (one hour) followed the next morning by another one hour I.V. drip with anti-biotics and face mask nebuliser. This was followed by two further treatments lasting one hour each. Various tests were carried out via a blood test. All tests proved negative. Diagnosis Pneumonia / Chest infection. Whilst these treatments were taking place a lot of other passengers were receiving the same treatment for the same problem, one elderly lady was very bad. This was a very busy Medical Centre. I have to say the care and treatment was first class. Eventually my Wife was discharged, however we were confined to Ship at Stockholm and no arranged Excursion at Alborg (we had a gentle walk here although limited).
Elsewhere on the ship this was becoming an epidemic with coughing from every quarter so much so we spent a lot of time in our cabin to avoid the problem. The worse part was in the theatre where you could hardly hear the guest speaker for coughing all around. As far as I know and saw, one chap was airlifted off by Helicopter, he was being treated while my Wife had her last treatment, one person left at Stockholm for emergency operation. We heard of one being left at Russia and one at Alborg. Talking to a passenger (coughing became a talking point) a maintenance team turned up at her cabin to fix the bathroom door, (no problem known to her) however miraculously the door repair yielded a new shower head??? Make of that what you will. By the time we left Alborg my Wife was feeling better, albeit she still had a very sore throat which we treated with hot honey drinks. I have to ask the question. What was lurking aboard the Magellan? I have never known a problem like this on all our other cruises and it was quite worrying. Disembarkation, we were sent two light blue luggage labels the evening before. We came on with purple and guessed this was because of cabin change, light blue also denoted SAGA cruisers. Back to reception and after explanation we were given purple luggage labels (remember the car park), so on the day we disembarked with all the other purples, only to find we were an hour late and that service had ended. We were told we should have had lime green labels (yep I am still working on that one). However CMV were very good and we had a coach and escort back to the car park. Now I said earlier the "dreaded Medical Centre". The final bill for this was £4600.00. Now we have insurance but as with all insurances there ARE RESTRICTIONS AND RIDERS, one of our restrictions is COPD. As the diagnosis was Chest Infection Primary and COPD as secondary we are hoping the insurance passed the treatment as we were allowed to disembark. DO NOT CRUISE WITHOUT FULL INSURANCE. My Wife has visited our G.P. and further blood tests have been taken. She is still unwell and is being monitored. I would like to say that this was a good cruise, but the health issue has left us with no memorable thoughts. Of course the staff were brilliant as always, they all work very hard to please you. Will we cruise again? We have a cruise booked next year on the Marco Polo, but seriously after experiencing what we have just gone through...........................