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

Poor ship, but a great itinerary cut short

Magellan Cruise Review by capmat

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2020
  • Destination: the British Isles & Western Europe

We chose this cruise for Iceland, and the Scottish islands. Overall, the itinerary was great, and from this perspective we loved the cruise. The weather was definitely against us, though, and some extremely rough days at sea meant we didn't leave the cabin much - not necessarily a bad thing in light of virus concerns. However, there are many reasons we wouldn't sail on this ship again and the cabins were one of them: of the three cabins in our group, all had problems, and two of them were significant enough to interfere with getting a good night's sleep. The ship made gestures of dealing with them, but told us in the end it is an old ship and the noise issues are to be expected. Sound-proofing is terrible - whatever they are watching on the TV in the next cabin, so are you effectively. It's a shame, as the cabins are actually quite cosy looking. As note in other reviews, embarking and disembarking was a bit chaotic. In Rotterdam there was only a steep set of steps to get on and off the ship, which meant we queued for over an hour to get off as many elderly passengers had to be helped down the steps individually.

Dinning is another reason not to go with this ship again: towards the end of the trip there were a couple of outbursts in the buffet from passengers sick to death of the same old food being put out each time. The restaurants were better, but not by much. Food was a major disappointment. It smacked of cost cutting. What was served wasn't bad, just unimaginative and a bit basic. Caviar was on the menu one evening - but just three tiny eggs, more for decoration. Blink and you'd miss it on the plate. The menu often looked promising, but what was served in front of you just didn't live up to the hype.

Entertainment was hit and miss; this is an area of personal taste, so hard to assess. Certainly not very imaginative or engaging, but it killed 45 minutes. The talks were terrible - the speakers just gave a power point presentation and read their notes aloud.

Service was generally fine. Many passengers ended up falling during the stormy seas and crew were quick to help out. The cabin stewards were great - mine even cleaned up my cabin after the worst night of the storm and everything ended up on the floor. Having spent the night wishing I was dead, I didn't clear up myself in the morning just staggered out to get some fresh air. Bit embarrassed to be honest that he'd picked everything up... but grateful too! One of our group ended up on the floor when the mattress parted company with the bed... it was really rough at times. Feel sorry for passengers on decks 3,4 and 5 who had the windows covered for most of the cruise in the end to storm the windows being blown in by the storm. Even when it was much calmer they didn't remove the deadlights on the windows, which seemed a bit lazy on the part of the staff to be honest.

We took the ship's excursion in Rotterdam, a city tour, which was very good. We arrived in the Faroe islands just as the shops were closing, and it is raining hard so not a great experience. In Iceland we did private tours with Discover Iceland: very expensive, but worth every penny. In Shetland the tourist office recommended a local guide who was very elderly: turned out to be like having your grandad show you around. Hilarious after the event ( he couldn't/wouldn't talk and drive at the same time, nearly killed us all after reversing out into traffic and not seeing a bus), but a bit trying at the time. Shetland was sunny and wind-free, which we were repeatedly told was exceptional. The island looked gorgeous, though, so happy to have seen it at its best!

After Shetland we were informed the ship would be skipping the next port of call, the Orkneys, and heading straight for Tilbury. Overall, the ship handled the cancelling of the cruise quite well. This must have been a nightmare logistics operation, and it went more or less OK. Two more days of rough sea ahead, so by the time we arrived back in Tilbury I have to say we were all very happy to get off the ship.

Overall, I would recommend the itinerary, warn you that the weather can be very stormy ( 26 feet waves, gale force winds) so be prepared for that, but have to recommend picking a different ship if the ship matters to you. We went more for the itinerary and the ship was a means of getting there, which it did. We've been on other cruises when the ship was a destination in its own right, but this isn't one of those ships. The biggest plus point was that by and large the other passengers were some of the most down to earth and friendly people we've ever had on a cruise - lots of laughs and story swapping. If this is the sort of passenger CMV attracts then on that strength I'd be prepared to try out one of their other ships. Several passengers noted that having cruised on the Magellan before cost-cutting measures were clearly evident, and standards had dropped. If you can get the itinerary you want on this ship with a massive discount (which we did), then OK, it'll do the job. Otherwise, avoid...

capmat's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Initially cosy looking, and the beds were super-comfortable, but sound-proofing was a major issue, as was noise in general - lots of creaking and groaning furniture, noisy AC, odd banging noises from somewhere outside the shell of the cabin. A major reason for not going with this ship again, as two out of the three cabins booked in this group were a problem. The odds feel too high that if we went again with this ship then you'd end up with a duff cabin. 6055 was actually the least problematic of the three cabins booked. 6051 and 7062 were terrible.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury)

Limited facilities but fine for the purpose of getting you on/off the ship.


Lovely tour guide, really friendly. Tour of the city and harbour cruise. Nice!

Golden Circle

Booked a private tour with Discover Iceland. Very expensive, but we went at our own pace. The tour guide made sure we arrived at popular places when the tour buses weren't there, as well as showed us lots of things you wouldn't get to see on an organised tour - quirky buildings, quick stops at places that had particularly amazing views. Well recommended.

View All 122 Golden Circle Reviews
Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

Went with the option from the tourist office: lovely old man drove us around, but the tour was like being shown around by your grandad. You can imagine... hilarious in hindsight, frustrating in the moment. Not many options for independent travel: most people went with the ship, then walking tours (the tourist information had lots of information for that), and then local taxis charged 50 quid an hour to take you (up to 6 people I believe) where ever you wanted to go. We paid 35 quid per person, and certainly got to see some places you couldn't see on a big tour bus.

Torshavn (Faroe Islands)

We arrived on a Saturday, and by the time we had gotten off the boat the shops had all pretty much closed (at 2pm, so be warned!). The tourist information had some options for local companies if you wanted to wing it; we didn't book anything and rather glad of that, as it was hissing rain. Torshavn is very small, very pretty (even in the rain) and you can easily walk to where ever you want to get. The central tourist information centre was particularly good.

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