14 Newcastle (England) Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo Cruise Reviews

A TA told us about overnight cruises where the ship is repositioned and you can stay and received food and entertainment at a reasonable price. We went from Newcastle to Rosyth(Edinburgh). We had an outside cabin that was small and dated. ... Read More
A TA told us about overnight cruises where the ship is repositioned and you can stay and received food and entertainment at a reasonable price. We went from Newcastle to Rosyth(Edinburgh). We had an outside cabin that was small and dated. We were told check-in was 550pm, when we got to our room we had a message to say we had to be on the 6pm dinner sitting.(If we'd been on the later sitting we could have used the health facilites and they'd have made some money!) We got there as quick as we could and then had trouble getting served (ship was full). Late on during our meal we were told 3 times to hurry up as they wanted to prepare for the next sitting! Food apart from the tenderloin was very average. Bars and staff were lovely, drink/cocktails very reasonable. Went to the cabaret which had a delayed start but we didn't know how long the delay would be and the band were sat around texting. Show was OK but short. DJ and dancing was very good. Sadly they added £7 per person to our drinks bill and if you had a drink after midnight you got charged again. You have to vacate your room by 730am and we were told we would not disembark until 930am. Ship was chaotic as people left bags everywhere and the staff didn't manage//organise the process. Breakfast was plentiful but chaotic. Disembarkation was delayed as they had no ramp and had to submit some rickety stairs! Staff did not magage expectations and were due to passengers asking for advice as how long the delay would be at what the process would be, in the end the passengers took over and just all lined up and forced embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Why this cruise? We chose this ship due to the superb itinerary and reasonable price point. For less than half the cost of 1 week on board an "expedition" ship, we spent 3 weeks visiting Faroe Islands (1 port), Iceland (3 ... Read More
Why this cruise? We chose this ship due to the superb itinerary and reasonable price point. For less than half the cost of 1 week on board an "expedition" ship, we spent 3 weeks visiting Faroe Islands (1 port), Iceland (3 ports), and the raison d'être - Greenland (7 ports) in addition to a port day in Scotland to pick up additional passengers. The itinerary and ship were well worth the time and dime. Overall ship impression: Our experience differs mightily from the many reviewers, including one apparently from the same trip, that trashed the ship. We found the Marco Polo to be clean, safe, with mostly friendly staff and crew. Yes she is 50 years old and her furnishings are a bit dated compared to the latest mass market 2-6,000 passenger ship, but all equipment was clean and in good repair. The crew was very diligent with cleaning and usually whenever we were docked, there were crewmen cleaning or painting the exterior or making repairs. During one port where we were tendered, an excursion ship returning passengers from an iceberg tour banged the side of the ship..hard. The captain waived them off and made them drop the passengers at the small ship dock to be brought on board by the tenders. At the next port the damage (it looked like mostly scratches) was repaired and reprinted. Elevators all worked, treated as a period piece, the Marco Polo proved a capable ship even in rough seas and one we'd sail again. Cabin review: Our cabin, Pacific Deck exterior aft, was plenty spacious for 2 people, as long as you don't mind sleeping in twin beds. Due to the age and design of the ship, the floor did cant downward just past the bathroom. There are several blog posts online that describe the reason for this, so the info was available before we sailed. I will mention that walking past open doors and peaking inside that there was a lot of variation in cabin size and layout. Size restrictions were exacerbated by residents slovenliness. We may have gotten lucky with cabin assignment but were quite pleased with ours. Our cabin steward was wonderful - friendly, helpful, informative and with the bonus of being a dab hand with towel animals ;-)) Food: Waldorf Dining Room was very good with 4 course plated dinners. Lunch was plated with option to augment with a decent salad bar. Breakfast was good -omelet station, etc. our table and wine steward were superb and took very good care of our needs. We had delightful table companions. However, I was less impressed with food in the Lido Deck buffet overall. The dinner mains were the same as or similar to some of the Waldorf mains, but by the time you got through the line and sat down ,the food was no longer hot. There were a lot of weird sides, esp in the salads department, but I attributed it ( perhaps charitably) to a difference between American and British tastes. For lunch, most days the grill by the pool was open and had good choices. The food was certainly edible and not the school cafeteria slop alluded to by others. Buffet breakfast was fine. Overall, my preference was the Waldorf, food presentation was good and the experience more sanitary. My biggest complaint about the buffet food is really the other passengers - a lot refused to use sanitizer, sneezed and coughed on the buffet, grabbed large amounts of food to waste, put their personal bottles on the drinks dispenser, camped out at tables not eating, leaving others wandering around with their plates and just some general nasty dining behavior. Some behavior was gross. Luckily our room was below so some times if we couldn't find a table and it was too cool to eat on deck, we ate in our room. Public spaces: Despite being an Arctic region cruise, the Aft pool deck was heavily used. We had very good weather, most afternoons in upper 60/lower 70s(F) so you could enjoy being outside whale watching with a sweater or light jacket mid-day. There were several seating areas on the main deck and generally we could find someplace to relax with a view to sea while cruising. Almost all seating areas had a bar and wait staff. Noise levels were reasonable. The lounge behind the theater was most busy, excellent reading area, and the location of activities including guessing games and other low -activity contests. All the lounges were bright. The theater was pretty nice -the floor was sloped towards the stage with benches and cocktail tables like you'd see in a Frank Sinatra movie. Very few seats had obstructed views due to the support columns. There was one kind of witchy waitress in for main lounge, she was also witchy when on dining duty in the buffet. Otherwise the bar and wait staff were very professional or friendly. The reception staff, esp. the head receptionist, were helpful and informative. We did not experience any of the reported attitude (except for witchy woman). Entertainment: The entertainment team put on several,good programs, especially the first 10-14 days, but them petered out. The performances were high energy, varied and entertaining. After the evening's big performance, one or more of the main singers would do a show in the aft bar, generally singing with some patter. All very enjoyable. The male cast members also led the aerobics and stretch classes.The entertainment team worked hard. There was a guest magician and guest comedian who joined mid-way. Neither was particularly good, I'd say they were "has beens" whose material hadn't changed in a couple decades. The magician was the better of the two. Enrichment activities: Overall, the enrichment program presented a wide ranging variety of topics related to our destinations. Besides the obligatory presentations by the shore excursion team, the cruise had 3 subject experts the duration of the cruise. If I remember correctly, the bird expert's name was Peter. He had several book published by the royal bird society that were available for purchase in the ship's shop. His presentations were all excellent and he was very approachable on shore and on ship, even when not "on duty". He is definitely "a keeper" and I hope CMV invites him on lots of cruises. The other excellent enrichment specialist was a photographer, whose name escapes me, but he was very informative as well as helpful with suggestions when we ran across him on shore. The final "main" presenter was a British lawyer who does a lot of work with native peoples advising them how to protect their interests and equities against corporations, countries and other exploitation. She was very interesting and apparently spent a great deal of time learning the native Inuit and related cultures. Her discussions were wide ranging, covering evolution, colonialism, current living conditions, etc. The shore presentations were okay, but you could tell the staff were mostly reading and not speaking from experience. They augmented their presentations with one by their subcontractor and a Greenland excursion organizer. He sounded great when on stage but when approached with a question later was very dismissive and borderline rude. There was one performance by a Greenland native (Inuit) who performed a drum dance. It was very different, she spent a great deal,of time putting the dance in context and explaining its history. Interesting and unique, however several people walked out. The only "bad" enrichment activity was some guy whose presentation started interesting but turned into a diatribe against international organizations, the US, and climate change skeptics. Excursions: Biggest gripe with the cruise was that some people were able to get on several,of the mostly limited excursions. By the time we were able to reserve excursions from the US, all the interesting ones were full, including all the small boat ice berg trips. We only had opportunity to choose from very long hikes or one expensive flight seeing tours. We're not big hikers so those were out. We booked the only available flight seeing over the glacier at Kangerlussaq, my husband got denied due to how they distributed weight so heavy people who registered early got to go and there wasn't enough weight allowance for us both on the same plane. We decided I would go and film. That didn't work out as iI got stashed in the back seat behind a large man and all I saw was bits of the dirty edge of the glacier, but mostly my view was filled with the engine under the wing. Oh yeah we also got the tundra wildlife bus tour in Kangerlussaq, which was a bust. Pretty much we wasted about $500 dollars on the ships excursions. Luckily in Torshavn, Faroes, there were seats on the bus to the bird cliff cruise, so we did that. It was okay, over-hyped or we had bad luck with birds. Since we didn't have good selection of Greenland excursions from the ship, we tried to book independently. For all but 2 port that also was a bust since the Marco Polo booked all available tourist services for flight seeing and for iceberg cruising. Port adventures: Kingston-upon-Hull -planned embarkation port but got email night before ship wouldn't make it due to Kiel a Kanal delays and Hull port tides. Got a free bus ride to Newcastle on Tyne to embark Marco Polo. Complete with boxed lunch (yuck ) Rosyth - took train to Edinburgh, walked around, did a ghoulish bus tour Torshavn - ships bird cliff tour, nice enough, sadly not a lot of puffins (2 flying high) :( Seyðisfjörður - walked outskirts of city, only 2 excursions offered, one of interest was full, the other was bus to sites we did on our own in 2015 Akureyri - rented a car to drive to Dettifoss and Asbergyi - excellent drive, great sights (had been to all other options on our ring road trip in 2015) Tassilaq - had a great 8 hour independent tour arranged, ship didn't go to port due ice, but sister ship was reported there 2 days later (Note: cruise ship did not have any excursions available for this port) Qerqetauq - substitute port for missed Tasiilaq. Nice picturesque town, lots of midges, seal (furring) museum. Short visit (~4-5hours). Narsarsaug. - independent ice berg tour via a Blue Ice, was on old fishing boat since ship booked all speed boats, but it think we spent more time in water looking at lagoons, trade les money, but ships excursions were full. Very good choice. Qeqertarsuaq -wandered about on own, excellent views, whale watched. Ship offered several long hikes here with availability. Beautiful town, island Ilulissat - ships excursions full. Walked to UNESCO heritage site. Superb view of glaciers from land. Rough getting back to ship on tenders doe waves and wind. Sat in tender about an hour while excursion ships tried to tie up to unload passengers. Sisimiut - wandered the town, bought great Greenlandic rock specimens Kangerlussuaq - ships tundra wildlife tour, no reindeer, no musk ox, few birds, very dusty, glad I don't live here! Ships glacier flightseeing - disappointing, mostly waste of $$$ Nuuk - walked to national museum on other side of town, steep uphill (in case that matters to someone considering it). Great museum, torn whether it would have been more useful at start of trip or at end, but satisfied a lot of questions I might not have had at beginning of cruise Sea days -rough crossing to Iceland Reykjavik - disembarked and flew home Like Marco Polo enough to book 2018 cruise on her before disembarking! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
With misgivings, we booked a 1 night taster on this venerable ship, for nostalgic reasons! Decades ago, when she was under Gerry Herrods ownership, we enjoyed some adventurous cruises on her,; to Antarctica, up the amazon , etc, and ... Read More
With misgivings, we booked a 1 night taster on this venerable ship, for nostalgic reasons! Decades ago, when she was under Gerry Herrods ownership, we enjoyed some adventurous cruises on her,; to Antarctica, up the amazon , etc, and loved her. A convenient one nighter was available, from Newcastle, to us infinitely more accessible than Tilbury. Our hopes were not high, assuming we would find shabbiness and lack of maintenance. How wrong we were, she was beautifully maintained, and cared for. We felt welcome and valued as customers, and enjoyed our brief stay in our roomy cabin with comfortable double bed. Food, as we'd expected, was basic, but adequate, and service was fine. The drawbacks were few, poor embarkation and a chaotic disembarkation, which Needed far better management, and a disembarkation that was far too early came as a shock.. A 0ne night cruise with a mere 16 hours onboard made it poor value, and very hurried Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Travelling solo, I chose this cruise because of the Newcastle Embarkation port and I live close by. Embarkation was as efficient as could be expected, there was an element of waiting and slight confusion when entering the large ... Read More
Travelling solo, I chose this cruise because of the Newcastle Embarkation port and I live close by. Embarkation was as efficient as could be expected, there was an element of waiting and slight confusion when entering the large embarkation hall, as you had to collect your Cruise Card then sit and wait around until your label colour was announced then check in. It was fairly well organised and once checked in, I was boarding and in my cabin within minutes, The Marci Polo is a wonderful old lady and because of her size, easy to navigate unlike the hotel ships of today. I would say that 70-80% of the passengers were from the North East in view of the Newcastle sail and age group definitely in the 60+ range. The ship looked her age from the outside but clean and bright once on board. The quality of food at both restaurants varied. Formal dining in the Waldorf I enjoyed though there were mixed comments about the quality of the food and small portions. I believe it came down to menu choice. I personally enjoyed every meal although the late sitting was 'late' at 8.15-30 and given the choice again I would go earlier. Marco's Bistro I found convenient for breakfast and lunch and although there was a varied choice of buffet food, it did resemble a supermarket cafe serving luke warm and poor quality food. Tea time proved very popular with little cakes and sandwiches, it was always very busy, very hard to get a seat and a bit like a cattle market especially when the weather was poor without the choice of dining outside on the deck. I did not attend the evening shows but on sail days I found all of the lectures on marine and bird life, space and volcanoes very enjoyable and well attended, Bar prices not as expensive as other cruise lines I have been on. I did purchase their drinks package but it turned out I would have been better off without as I barely reached the daily limit. Perhaps if the speciality coffees had been included in the package it would have been more worth while. All the bar stewards were very friendly bar one lad in Scott's bar whom I found rude and surly. Perhaps he had a bad day. Good daily programme published each day and delivered to cabin. One complaint - on another cruise line, if you tuned into a certain TV channel there were up to date reports on where you were sailing by plus any interesting wildlife. Marco Polo displayed an up to the minute navigation slide (rather like those on plane travel) but a good example was the morning we were supposed to circumnavigate Surtsee - most of the passengers 'missed' the event as nothing was announced unless you were prepared to stand on the deck and wait around in the cold for the island to pass by! The Captain did make his daily navigational announcement, but bless him, his accent was quite hard to understand! The Solo get-togethers were an inspiration on behalf of Olga the Guest Services Host, we boarded as solo's, but disembarked with lovely memories of friendships made - the luncheon and Bridge visit was absolutely fab. Most of the excursions, although expensive, I enjoyed and were well organised. I note another reviewer had not enjoyed The Essence of East Iceland tour. I would totally agree with his comments. The tour was 'flat', the guide poor, even though the scenery was wonderful. All the other tour guides I encountered were very good and entertaining. My cabin Category 12 - Pacific - was lovely, no complaints. Two large port holes, comfortable double bed. Lovely powerful shower. A cabin steward who was very efficient and attentive in fact all of the stewards worked extremely hard. I especially appreciated the kettle and also enjoyed a few breakfasts in my cabin rather than the Bistro. Just one other complaint on returning back from one of the excursions in Iceland on a rainy afternoon, a totally 'unsafe' walkway was used to board the ship as a result whilst I was waiting to board we witnessed two people - one elderly having nasty falls. They did have other 'stairways' which were much more suitable and I think on this occasion this was definitely a Health and Safety Issue. So all in all a wonderful trip for me personally and I would sail with Marco Polo again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date. Which is the main reason we cruise. The ship and cruise line are secondary to us. Embarkation: No problems. Nothing to note. Ship: Older, smaller ship. Which has ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date. Which is the main reason we cruise. The ship and cruise line are secondary to us. Embarkation: No problems. Nothing to note. Ship: Older, smaller ship. Which has it's pro and cons. My wife liked that we were close to dining and the theater. We docked right in the ports of some smaller towns. The ship also looked like a classic cruise ship. Cabin: OK. The main problem was the shower was slow draining and splash over at times. But, we're not really fussy about our cabin. We had a nice big window. Dining: OK. Typical British food. Brought the beer package, 14 beers for $50. Entertainment: Good. Enjoyed the shows and lectures, especially the bird classes. Service: OK. Eastern European crew. Did their job but could smile more. I guess that's just how they are. I asked how many more beers I had on my package, and the server said "You should know that." Ports: Great! Most times we were the only ship in port. Only had to tender once in Shetland. Iceland and Shetland were the highlights. Also enjoyed the Faeroes, Kirkland and Inverness. Shore excursions: Only took the ship's excursions if there were no other choice. Took a local tour in Reychivic and was glad we did. Traveller: Mostly British in the 60-70's. Disembarkation: No problems. We did the express checkout (you carry your own bags off and are the first to go.) To sum it up: The itinerary was interesting and a great way to see Iceland! The ship was OK. But we knew that going in so it was a big disappointment. Overall we had a good time! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Loved the idea of a cruise with my partner and to see the fjords. We are in our 30s!! We were the youngest on the ship by a couple of generations. Embrakment was quick and easy. Cabin was very basic and no different to that of an overnight ... Read More
Loved the idea of a cruise with my partner and to see the fjords. We are in our 30s!! We were the youngest on the ship by a couple of generations. Embrakment was quick and easy. Cabin was very basic and no different to that of an overnight ferry. Food was very basic and consisted of meat or fish in sauce. Norway was beautiful but felt depressed when having to get back on the boat. The days a sea were torture and we spent time wondering aimlessly from one end of the ship to another. Entertainment such as napkin folding and arm chairrobics were just ridiculous. Then held hostage on the last day having to vacate cabins by 7am but not let off the boat until 10am. Awful holiday and the bordom of the boat out weighed what was a beautiful destination. Never ever again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We had cruised with P&O in March and had a thoroughly miserable time so when we saw an offer in travel agent for a 6 night cruise we decided to try it to hopefully restore our faith in cruising! It did! Marco Polo is a small ship ... Read More
We had cruised with P&O in March and had a thoroughly miserable time so when we saw an offer in travel agent for a 6 night cruise we decided to try it to hopefully restore our faith in cruising! It did! Marco Polo is a small ship and celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but it is good shape and, as we expect (unlike P&O), it was being thoroughly and constantly cleaned and polished. The public areas were pleasant, not huge, but this a proper ship-shaped ship, not an apartment block at sea. It was a short cruise so no time to be bored, but actually there was plenty to do and the entertainment was pretty good. Noticeably, everyone we met seemed cheerful and happy, both crew and passengers, which made for a thoroughly pleasant experience. The staff were great, no question here of not tipping! Our cabin was tiny and basic (steerage class!) but that was what we had paid for, and it was clean and comfortable, we slept well, and it was very handy for disembarkation (a few steps!) We dined in the evenings at the later fixed sitting, and were lucky enough to meet two other couples whose company we thoroughly enjoyed. The food was good, plenty of choice, well presented and decent ingredients, no school dinners or tinned carrots here (see P&O)! We will happily cruise again now, so thank you, Cruise and Maritime, for that. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
As a regular cruiser I was thrown by the rigidity of dining times.Breakfast finished at 9:30 and no more available till 12:30.not only this but times varied and we had to look at cruise info to check when meals available.Its a small ship ... Read More
As a regular cruiser I was thrown by the rigidity of dining times.Breakfast finished at 9:30 and no more available till 12:30.not only this but times varied and we had to look at cruise info to check when meals available.Its a small ship more like a floating hotel and often in the bistro bar it was difficult to find a space to sit and eat a meal.The clientele were almost without exception over 65 and were probably happy enough to organise themselves for meals but I found the lack of flexibility limiting.It delivered on destinations and was reasonable on price but much preferred entertainment and general set up on Thomson.On the whole everyone was very happy with the cruise.The entertainment crew worked hard but were a singer down so a number of shows were not staged and so entertainment was not the usual cruise fare.This is very much a cruise for over 60 couples who want to see some interesting destinations ,regular meals, a bit of entertainment on the night and don't mind a lot of people around. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The two positives about this cruise were leaving from Newcastle and the ports of call. Marco Polo sells itself on being an old but classic ship, it is old but certainly has no class! Everything about it was a disappointment. We had ... Read More
The two positives about this cruise were leaving from Newcastle and the ports of call. Marco Polo sells itself on being an old but classic ship, it is old but certainly has no class! Everything about it was a disappointment. We had booked a cabin with an outside view (there are no balconies) and were dismayed to see we actually had two portholes which were so dirty you could not see out of them and they were so high you had to stand on a chair. The cabin was very small and the TV was very old and unwatchable. The food was quite positively the worst we have ever had-anywhere! When basic items ran out (eggs at breakfast) we had to live without them. Cheese and crackers after dinner consisted of half a cheese slice, a cube of cheddar and 1 cracker. The salads had to be seen to be believed. The Dining Room was packed far too full and our table for eight should have been for four. The service all over the ship was appalling, with some positively rude staff,and most surly and unhelpful. The serve yourself tea and coffee stations were always busy with no seating available and very often, no cups. When staff were asked for replenishment of cups, they just shrugged shoulders and walked away - it was someone else's job. Unlike other cruise lines, mealtimes were strictly adhered to and if halfway through breakfast at closing time, everything was cleared. At breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, all in the Dining Room, you were herded in and the tables were filled up for the convenience of staff, so the option was not there for you to sit in a place of your choice or even without others. Although I have never been to a holiday camp, I imagine it may be like this. There were never any seats in the bars in the evenings and no assistance from staff to find any, we gave up.The entertainment was mixed, the one and only guest entertainer, a musical funny man, was very good, but only gave two performances. All other entertainment was provided by 3 singers who seemed to be expected to be everyone, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Freddy Mercury, never to a high standard, and a team of dancers. The orchestra were very good, but again not used. The lecturers were good but were not used enough. We have loved every cruise we have ever done prior to this one-this was a learning curve - never again with Cruise Maritime. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
In July 2013 we saw this cruise advertised and snapped it up,attracted by the itinerary and the price. We drove the 25 miles to North Shields and embarkation was easy and well organised. The port is small with easy car parking after ... Read More
In July 2013 we saw this cruise advertised and snapped it up,attracted by the itinerary and the price. We drove the 25 miles to North Shields and embarkation was easy and well organised. The port is small with easy car parking after dropping off the cases. After a short wait, we checked in, got our cards and got on the boat. We were welcomed and taken straight to our small cabin; our cases quickly arrived. We had just started to unpack and the drill was called. This was a little chaotic with crew shouting out cabin numbers but all ended well. The cabin has lots of drawers for our clothes but rather few, cheap random coat hangers and our cases would only just fit at the foot of our bed. We knew that the boat has small cabins but we didn't even have a chair! The en-suite shower and toilet was v. clean and modern with a supply of lotions. We found the A/c responsive and efficient. BUT . . .the beds were small, cramped and offering poor support. The cruising world has, I fear, moved on from the days of the slightly up-rated single bunk. Higher quality is needed even for a single bunk style bed! The food was excellent and suited us fine. It didn't suit the traditional English food lovers from comments some made to us but there was a good selection and dinner ( early sitting ) was quickly served by the waiters, Ukranian, like the majority of the hotel staff and crew. They have a wine waiter and he quickly got the drinks to us. I had ordered a wine and water package and was well pleased with the Italian wine - and its cost. We had continental breakfast in our room each day until the last. Lunch was taken in the buffet every day where the selection was really good. The staff cleared off the tables quickly and it was only the day at sea when it was a little crowded. The weather was variable and it wasn't always possible to eat outside but many did when the sun arrived. The Faroe Islands ( Thorhaven ) were interesting but hidden for a time under mist and drizzle. We don't do excursions as we like to stay fairly close to the ship and got ashore and wandered around the little capital and it was fascinating. A little shopping with much Scandinavian hand knitted wooly garments and just a general look around as the weather improved was just right for us. The rest of the itinerary which had attracted us, Ullapool, Lerwick and Kirkwall, were relaxing ports for a gentle stroll but all needed more sunshine than we got - no-one's fault! The lounges were a little shabby in places and due for refurbishment; the entertainment was typical British cruise - dancers jumping around, arm waving etc. to familiar music at high volume. The comedian did 2 nights and was excellent and well appreciated. A small ship allows passengers to meet the entertainers informally around or on a tender and it makes for a v. friendly ambiance. There are some small boutiques and a store for sweets, souvenirs, duty free but this is limited naturally as it is a small boat. Disembarkaton was very smooth and we got off earlier than predicted with our baggage in the right place. We chose the cruise for the itinerary and advertised price and were well pleased with what we got in the main but that now we know Marco Polo, we realise that we should have a higher grade cabin as the comfort levels we had are well below other small cruise ships that we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was the second cruise on the Marco Polo having enjoyed the first one to Norway in 2009. The itinerary was absolutely perfect for us. We had the chance to visit the most wonderful places. The Marco Polo is a really comfortable ... Read More
This was the second cruise on the Marco Polo having enjoyed the first one to Norway in 2009. The itinerary was absolutely perfect for us. We had the chance to visit the most wonderful places. The Marco Polo is a really comfortable liner,looks a bit dated from the dock but on board is another world. She is a very clean and well kept liner. Our Cabin was really nice and very spacious. Marjya, our cabin housekeeper was wonderful and kept our cabin in pristine condition. The restaurant was excellent, food was delicious and the service from Sid and his staff was wonderful. Many thanks to Rosario for our lessons in napkin folding and for being such a good laugh. Thanks too to Wint and Phyo, and our lovely wine waitress, (table 9). The entertainment was superb every night and we really enjoyed Laurence Robinson , the classical performer, immensely. The bar staff were outstanding and we enjoyed our laughs with Roland and Petr. Bless you all for making this cruise the best holiday I have ever had, so much so I have booked again for next April to return to the fjords. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our first cruise chosen for its interesting itinerary, the highlight being two days in St Petersburg. We imagined that our most enduring memories would be of the Russian Palaces, which are indeed magnificent, but the things that ... Read More
This was our first cruise chosen for its interesting itinerary, the highlight being two days in St Petersburg. We imagined that our most enduring memories would be of the Russian Palaces, which are indeed magnificent, but the things that stand out in our minds at present are the unfailing courteousness of the crew on the Marco Polo and the enormous friendliness of our fellow passengers. As we sailed from Newcastle, this may have something to do with the fact that most people were from the North of England and Scotland which created a very convivial atmosphere. As first time cruisers, we liked the idea of a relatively small, traditional ship with only 800 passengers. We had read reviews that the ship looked ‘tired’, but we did not find this to be the case. Our cabin was in pristine condition and kept spotlessly clean by the attendant Luis. The décor of the public areas was also of a high standard. It has to be remembered that the Marco Polo is almost 50 years old, so you are sailing on a slice of maritime history. When berthed next to larger and more modern cruise ships, it had the appearance of a large private yacht with much more elegant lines than its modern counterparts. As no one has a limitless budget, there are one or two things we would have liked to have known in advance, for instance, the cost of drinks. These turned out to be very reasonable, a premium gin and tonic costing £3.95 and only £3.00 during happy hour, whilst the ‘cocktail of the day’ was available at £3.10. The most economical way of buying wine for dinner is to go for a package – 6 bottles of very pleasant white, rose and red (in any combination) for £80 which provides a saving of around 30% in comparison with buying them individually. Our criticisms are fairly minor – the dinner service was rather rushed and the quality of the food could have been better. Instead of having six courses every evening, CMV could consider having three or four of a higher standard. This would also mean that more time could be allowed between courses. We also heard some passenger complain of noise and vibration on the lower decks, so it may best to book a cabin higher up if these things are likely to irritate you. We enjoyed the on-board entertainment, the highlights being the Russian evening of song and dance which was performed with real verve – perhaps because many cast members were from the Ukraine. There were also performances from Laurence Robinson, a very talented tenor. In all of this, I think you have to consider ‘value for money’. It you want more sophisticated food or entertainment, then it could be a case of digging deeper into your pocket and booking on a more modern vessel. But if you do this you will be missing out on a lot of things which are unique to the Marco Polo, its fascinating history as a liner travelling between St Petersburg and Montreal in the Cold War era (there is very good on-board lecture about this), its small ship atmosphere and the deck arrangement at the stern of the vessel where everyone congregates in a party atmosphere. In November, the ship goes in for another extensive refit which will extend its life by another five years, so book up now to enjoy this unique experience!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper ... Read More
We have been on the Marco Polo twice before, when she belonged to Orient Lines. The last time we sailed on her was in January 2006, on an unforgettable expedition to Antarctica. We saw this 5-day cruise advertised in the local paper and, because we remembered the Marco Polo with affection and the price was very good, we decided to book, particularly since it was departing from Newcastle which is only half an hour away from us. Having read some of the scathing reviews here, I can only ask what the moaners expected. First of all, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a budget cruise line and doesn't pretend to be otherwise. Secondly, the Marco Polo is an elderly lady indeed, having been built in 1965. Therefore she has no balcony cabins and lacks the (so-called) mod-cons you'll find on the newer, mammoth, 'plastic' cruise ships. However, she has clean and classic lines, wooden decks and portholes, cascading rear decks with excellent views, and friendly and attentive staff. We had booked a standard outside cabin but found ourselves upgraded to a Superior Plus twin ocean view on Deck 9 (Amundsen Deck). The cabin (602) is right at the front overlooking the bow, so our window was looking in the direction of travel, instead of a side-on view of the sea. As we were high up the ship and at the front we did not get any noise from the engine and enjoyed a good night's sleep each night. The cabin, although very clean and comfortable, was plainly furnished and had "no frills". There was loads of wardrobe and drawer space, twin beds, a chair and an old-fashioned (i.e. CRT) television. The selection of mini-toiletries, i.e. shampoo, shower gel and body lotion, was a cheapish brand and you don't get a chocolate on your pillow at night. Nonetheless our cabin stewardess kept the place immaculate and was very friendly. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch in the self-service Raffles buffet, and dinner in the main Waldorf restaurant. I have to say that the food in the restaurant was much better than that in the buffet, which tended to be unimaginative and repetitive. Also, as other reviewers have mentioned, there seemed to be an ongoing problem with there not being enough crockery and cutlery to cater for everyone; several times they ran out of coffee mugs, cereal bowls and knives or spoons, and you'd have to wait around for the kitchen staff to bring some more. This only occurred in the self-service buffet on Deck 8; the food and service in the main restaurant (Waldorf) were excellent. We found the entertainment to be surprisingly good for a small ship; the entertainment team turned their hands to everything from participating in the musical cabarets, to being quiz masters/mistresses, to game-show hosts to excursion couriers. They were a real friendly bunch. The musical performances in the Marco Polo Lounge included tributes to Abba and Queen, excerpts from West End musicals, and their own version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The nightly game shows in Scott's Bar included Catchphrase, the Weakest Link, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Mr & Mrs. They were really good fun and it was a lively crowd that congregated in Scott's Bar each night. The bar is situated on Deck 9 Aft and the doors open onto the outside deck which affords fantastic views and lets in a welcome sea breeze. We were blessed with weather that would have rivalled that on the Med. The 5-day cruise, which took us to Kirkwall (Orkney), Stornoway (Isle of Lewis), Ullapool and Invergordon, never saw a cloud in the sky and Ullapool clocked the hottest place in the UK when we were there, with a temperature of 28 Celsius. Obviously the cruise line can't control the weather, but it really made the holiday. This was our 30th cruise and it just so happened that the Captain on the Marco Polo, Georgios Antonellos, was the same captain we'd had on our very first cruise 24 years ago. We spotted him out on the bridge wing and told him this fact and he was tickled pink that we'd remembered him from the "Starship Royale" way back in 1988. He took us on a tour of the bridge and asked us which cabin we were staying in. Later that evening we returned to our cabin to find a bowl of fruit, some smoked salmon canapes along with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses. A card peeping from the fruit bowl was inscribed "With Compliments" and signed "Captain G. Antonellos". What a lovely, thoughtful touch and really the icing on the cake. We've travelled with the more fashionable cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruise, Cunard and Holland America, so we didn't expect much from Cruise & Maritime or the little old Marco Polo. But the whole experience surpassed all of our expectations and turned out to be a really enjoyable trip with excellent entertainment. We'd definitely cruise with CMV and Marco Polo again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Marco Polo Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 4.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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