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Magellan Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
479 Reviews

First Time Cruise - Northern Isles

Magellan Cruise Review by jaekay1

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: the British Isles & Western Europe

This was our first, but hopefully not our only, cruise so we have nothing to compare against.

As first-timers I will say one thing firstly: the instructions given each day were a great help and all the things I worry about (not knowing where to go or what to do) turned out to be nothing to worry about at all. Your hands are well and truly held to ensure you know where you need to be and when.

Embarkation was very quick (20 minutes from drop-off outside Newcastle Passenger Terminal to being in our cabin). The cabin was 4119 and was more than adequate for our needs.

The ship has a slightly dated feel to it but is clean and bright. Large bars and public areas meant even at the busiest times it didn't feel cramped.

We stuck to the Bistro (buffet) and the "Speciality Restaurants" as we're not formal-wear people. The food was flawlessly good. The "Speciality Restaurants" are really "pop-up restaurants" requiring reservations within part of the Bistro's area. The service and food there was absolutely wonderful.

The arrival into ports was handled well and it was far easier to walk on/off than I'd expected. We had one anchor port on the itinerary (Lerwick) but they managed to dock in the end so can't speak to how good/bad the tender process is. The main issue was due to our fellow passengers (of a certain age and thus of a certain speed!) which did mean we took to walking out rather than wait for shuttle buses which would take forever to board or get off. We went on two excursions (Jewels of the North in Akureyi and Loch Ness in Invergordon) both of which were well-organised though suffered from similar "speed" issues as the getting on and off the ship did!

We went to a few shows, activities and lectures. The shows were extremely well done and the show area is spacious with comfortable seating (lots of leg room which is very important to me!). The activities (quizzes, "gameshows") were amusing enough though we avoided the Knit and Natter due to concerns we might get too over-excited ;) (In all seriousness there was plenty to do for all personalities!). The lectures... weren't so good. One of the speaker's lectures were so full of errors I was able to spot them and I wasn't an expert on their subjects. The other had blurry photos and film which seemed pointless given the lack of quality.

Service was great in parts (the restaurants), okay in others (we had a few mix-ups happen around our welcome package which were eventually sorted and refunds arranged without us asking so all was well) and bad, for the most part, in bars. Even if just 6 tables were in use out of the 40 or so available in a bar, you'd be lucky to get successfully served once every 60 minutes. Needless to say this meant we never woke up with a hangover! I'd hold special praise for our room steward and her colleagues on our deck. They were not just always polite when we passed them in the corridor but remembered us and engaged us in personal greetings. Our room was kept immaculately throughout our trip.

Overall the positives far outweighed the negatives and we had a really enjoyable two weeks. We'll certainly be cruising again and CMV will at least get consideration when we come to planning our next trip.

jaekay1's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Cabin Standard Twin w/porthole 4119

The room was perfectly suitable for our needs. Large enough to store everything we had, I'm 6'8" and didn't feel cramped.

Equally the shower was a good size (again I'm 6'8" so that really says something if I think it was fine!).

The only fault would be the TV was tiny and the quality terrible so taking a break in the cabin to watch a movie wasn't worth the time.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Newcastle (England)

Embarkation and disembarkation took minutes. Very easy. We had to take a shuttle the 100m from the terminal to the ship but on our return we found we were allowed to walk it (which made things even quicker!)

Torshavn (Faroe Islands)

You have to take a shuttle from the ship to the port entrance as it is a very busy working port (containers being moved about constantly). The town itself was pretty, easy to reach on foot and so peaceful.

Quite a long excursion and with the slowness of our fellow passengers every stop required lengthy coach disembarkation times.

However it was well-organised and it was a very full trip. We saw the Myvatn lakes, pseudo-craters, lavascapes and boiling hot pots. Godafoss falls was the crowning glory. However... EVERYTHING is incredibly touristy and in-authentic. This is nice but don't expect to see the "real" Iceland.

Lunch was at the Foss Hotel. It was one of the best quality buffets I've ever had.

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The port was 5kms from the city centre. A shuttle bus was laid on by the port authorities (2000 kroner for a return ticket). It was incredibly busy in the visitor centre and we missed one bus waiting to buy a ticket. They are very infrequent. The second day we decided to just walk it, that's how poor the shuttle bus service is. However, I'd recommend a taxi!

The touristy stuff in Reykjavik can easily be seen in half a day. I'd recommend the city pass as the museums are not free so get whatever discounts you can!

I didn't take an excursion but I think to enjoy your stop here you should!!

Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

We walked out of the port (shuttle bus to town centre was laid on however really not needed). Lerwick isn't the prettiest place and again... we should've gone on an excursion!

The museum is amazing however!

Highland Day Tour

We went to Uruquat Castle and Loch Ness. Great tour guide, beautiful locations. Only let down was the hilariously daft recorded commentary on the Jacobite Warrior boat trip...

View All 69 Highland Day Tour Reviews

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