We chose this CMV cruise on Magellan as it offered ports along the Norwegian coast not available with our normal cruise line, Princess.
What a let-down!!!
To begin with, a few days before the cruise we were advised that ship would be departing a day later than scheduled, and the cruise shortened by a day, and somehow this lost two ports.
The cruise package included transport by bus from London Victoria Street terminal to the port. At the terminal, it was a totally disorganised rabble! That chaos was repeated when embarking at the port, and again when leaving the ship at the end of the cruise.
Our cabin was basic, but adequate although it groaned terribly in all sea conditions. It sounded like a herd of possums were running amok in the ceiling. The ‘air-conditioning’ was poorly controlled by adjusting a vent on the ceiling, heaven help anyone of shorter stature.
The maid was very friendly, and efficient.
One ‘feature’ of the cabin is that the door lock is opened by a punched plastic card. To identify the card, the cabin number is printed on the card. If you misplace the card (as we did) anyone that finds the card has the key, cabin number and access to your room. When we reported the key as lost, all that reception did was replace the card without re-coding the lock.
Live entertainment was, with one or two exceptions, quite basic. The comedian was okay but ancient and was recovering from a recent hip replacement which made his balance quite precarious as the ship rolled. He probably came cheap and the booking helped top up his pension.
The theatre was designed by someone whose objective was to ensure that virtually every seat has an obstructed view ( no, I am not exaggerating ). The lower level is largely ‘on the flat’ so a patron’s view is blocked by those in front. Even those in the front row, looking at the legs of the performers, could have their view blocked by large speakers on the stage. The upper level, and some parts of the lower level, are cleverly designed so the glass and aluminium railings will distort or block the view. In addition, there are many columns throughout the theatre. Somehow, every other cruise ship we have been on has been able to avoid these design problems.
The theme of this cruise was to see the Northern Lights. These are natural displays that can appear at night in the Arctic night sky. They can be feint and difficult to see, so what does the ship do .... it turns on a string of bright lights that run from mast to mast, from bow to stern, which I feel would surely have blotted out any Northern Lights had they appeared. A suggestion to the Cruise Director, that the lights be turned off, was promptly rejected.
We had not been on a cruise, apart from MSC, that did not have excellent quality and variety of meals, until the Magellan. The ship had two specialty restaurants and the buffet. As far as we could determine, the meals in all three venues were the same, the only difference was that in the restaurants, waiter brought the meals to the table often cold. Food quality and variety was poor, well below that of other cruise lines.
The tours at each port were very good. Disembarkation from the ship to get to the tour buses was not well organised. In fact, at times, it was rather dangerous due to the steepness of the gangway.
Beware of tipping. There is no choice who, or how much, you tip. It is a compulsory amount added to your bill.