2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We saw it in a newspaper as BOGOF offer. This was not correct. By the time we had paid extra for the all inclusive element it ended up costing as much as going to the caribbean. Guests on our dinner table had paid far less. This ship ... Read More
We saw it in a newspaper as BOGOF offer. This was not correct. By the time we had paid extra for the all inclusive element it ended up costing as much as going to the caribbean. Guests on our dinner table had paid far less. This ship is very old (over 50 years) and it shows. The cabin window rattled all the time. The cabin was ok, beds comfortable, bathroom acceptable. The food on board was very good, with good choices available although the dinners really had too much on the plate. The staff were very good, helpful, efficient, friendly. The entertainment was very third rate. However, it should be noted that at 66 we were some of the youngest on the voyage. The days at sea were miserable, and we had to stay on our beds for most of that time, due to the inclement weather. Excursions were expensive, so we opted to sort ourselves out and found getting buses very easy. Most places we stopped at were mostly closed, but the whole point for us had been the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, which we did 2 nights running in and near Alta within the Arctic Circle. Would we choose this cruise line again? No. Ship late getting back into Tilbury, mess-up with the coach back to Victoria, lost our onward connection, had to get new ticket, very long day to get home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Choose this cruise because it was going to the smaller ports in the Baltic. Took shuttle from Victoria, there was an event going on in London which caused some delays to shuttle but nothing serious. Process at Tilbury went smoothly , ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was going to the smaller ports in the Baltic. Took shuttle from Victoria, there was an event going on in London which caused some delays to shuttle but nothing serious. Process at Tilbury went smoothly , left hand luggage in cabin and had quick lunch in buffet before lifeboat drill. Next day was a seaday, spoilt for choice when it came to activities , lectures, craft classes, quizzes etc. I recommend arriving early for craft sessions they are always popular, this trip was no exception. We had a late night passage through Kiel canal and arrived in Wismar around lunch time on Tuesday. Wismar is where the Marco Polo was built. There were shuttle buses into town for 2 euros but its an easy walk and if you go via the old harbour quite a scenic one. I recommend the restored old merchants house, the wallpaper gallery is a must see. Audio description available in several languages. Entry is via donation and staff are extremely pleasant. St Georges church has a lift to take you to top of its Tower for 3 euros...well worth it for an overview of the town. Several other churches and a lovely town Square, shame our visit was a little short. Day two saw us in Rhonne Denmark, charming little place, being so late in the season the tourist areas were almost deserted. The side streets were quaint , and the main shopping street delightful with fountains and a children's play park. The museum was very informative , particularly as to the war time events. Lots of public toilet facilities alas having the right coinage in local currency not always possible, the usual standby of taking a coffee break did not work because a lot of cafes do not offer facilities. The church overlooking the harbour is delightful and is well worth a visit on way back to tenders. Visby Sweden....the new cruise stage only opened this year and it looked like the local gulls had been making free use of it....free shuttle into the old town. Rather like a Disney film set, turrets and floral decorated balconies abound, was expecting Rapunzel to appear at any moment. It is possible to walk round the city walls and some of the towers are open to give a good view point. The botanical gardens were still in bloom and provided a welcome pot to rest for a while. Entry to the museum was 10 euros and looked interesting however I had left it rather late to visit so confined myself to coffee and cake in the cafe. Filter coffee offered free refills. Staff multi lingual but please note Euros are not accepted as payment. Unfortunately witnessed two American ladies from the ship being quite abusive to staff on discovering this. Arrival in Klapeda was not promising a grey damp mist greeted us, however a local folk group were playing on quayside so wasn't all bad. We received town maps with a marked trail around the town, there is something to see on every corner so feel free just to wander. The sculpture garden is well worth visit, but there are sculptures and interesting buildings everywhere. A small craft market offered much amber but also ceramics and art work. Prices were reasonable and English was widely spoken. Finally we arrived in Gdansk the largest and busiest port on our itinerary, free shuttle into town. Amber shops/ stalls everywhere but no heavy sell. There is a scenic observation wheel which gives you 15 minutes of eye level viewing for around £6. Lots of building work going on but refreshingly building sympathetic to original style. Fairly typical normal port of call, very touristy. Our return passage through Kiel canal was in daylight. Fascinating to watch the gate close behind us and lots of interesting bridges/ canal side homes to see on way through. Final day was sea day, back in the North sea so a tiny bit of movement but ship handles very well in conditions , the pool burger bar stayed open throughout I think the smell of frying did make some people feel a little off colour. Final morning buffet started sevingbreakfast early, had no trouble finding seat although I would recommend hanging on to your cup if you want a refill. After breakfast I moved onto Palm garden and found seat by the window to watch our arrival in Tilbury. Return shuttle went very smoothly. The Marco Polo is looking good despite her age, constant cleaning and, when in port , painting going on. Public facilities good, I recommend the Columbus lounge if you do start to feel the effects of sea movement. Service in the Wardolf restaurant good, nice selection of dishes and extra off menu dishes salomon etc always available. Also additionally dishes of veg if you would like them. Bar staff efficient although sometimes waiting times in the show lounge were longer than ideal. Very friendly ship, I recommend for those who actually like being at sea. Maybe not for those who want waterslides and the like, but throw yourself into the activities and you will have a good time. Lecturers were good and very good comedian/ singer/ one man band provided excellent entertainment...he even doubled up as tour guide at one port. My one niggle....the new cruise director and his assistant....they were both good singers and very enthusiastic, pleasant and accessable... However I wonder if they are not a little too full of themselves for CMV? Time will tell. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely ... Read More
We booked this because we were going to the U K and decided to try this cruise because it was going through the Kiel Canal.. We had a total of 4 sea days. and our port stops were. Wismar . Germany. A very quiet port lovely architecture but very walkable. Next Port was Ronne a Danish island. Again very very quiet and apsrt from the churches not much to see.Would not visit this port again. Visbey was next { swedish Island} Beautiful and historic area. very quiet and a 20 minute bus ride from ship. Ship provided shuttle bus. Klaipeda Lituania was our next stop. Very laid out town New and old sections. Easy to walk around with a good choice of cafes. Our favourite stop was Gdansk Poland . So much to see I wish we had stopped longer there than Ronne and Wismar. We did not take any ships tours. We had a inside cabin {509} spacious for inside cabins and a good location for getting to and fro to dining and shows. Very well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation well managed. Food choices and meals , excellent. Entertainment was also varied and of good quality. Would consider taking another cruise with this company depending on the Ports. My only negative was having to vacate the cabin by 7am. Very difficult to get Tea and coffee as the machines did not work or the first few hours . Adult only cruise. Small pool and three whirlpools. Fitness room etc. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
As an experienced travellers and cruisers, we selected this cruise because the itinerary looked interesting; the dates suited, it looked good value and to try CMV and Tilbury. Background information This is a review of a nine night ... Read More
As an experienced travellers and cruisers, we selected this cruise because the itinerary looked interesting; the dates suited, it looked good value and to try CMV and Tilbury. Background information This is a review of a nine night cruise from Tilbury on the Cruise and Maritime (CMV) ship Marco Polo. Our now considerable experience of travelling has included cruises with P&O, Thomson and SAGA. We are English, fit and in our seventies. In addition to the appealing itinerary and date, we selected this CMV cruise because it was child free, sailed from a fairly local port and looked good value. The following sections are under the headings advised by CruiseCritic and also show our CruiseCritic ratings. Below that are further sections commenting on the other CruiseCritic ratings. Travel to Port of Embarkation Our Rating - Terrible Tilbury terminal entrance and car park are poorly sign posted and there is a lengthy one-way-system to negotiate between the two. On first booking, we received directions to drive to the ship. When our tickets arrived, only six days before we sailed (despite my prompting), they had a parking ticket for the wrong car and new directions to a car park, about a mile from the ship, to pick up a shuttle bus. A corrected parking ticket was sent after two more complaints. The drive to Tilbury was about two hours and easy but then our problems really started. When we eventually found the unmarked car park, we were told that there was no shuttle bus. After a ‘phone call, the attendant re-directed us back round the one-way-system. These directions were also wrong and on arrival at a barrier we were directed a third time round the one-way-system to the Tilbury Terminal where there was a long queue of traffic. A second CMV ship, Columbus, was leaving the terminal an hour before our 5pm departure and this seemed to be more than the small terminal could cope with. Eventually, we were pointed to a space to park in but this was not the end of the problems. There was no help with our luggage and it took some time to find where to take it. After carrying and depositing the luggage, it then took more questions to find where we should go. When we found the right doorway, we were handed health forms to fill in and pointed to a small, crowded room with no unoccupied seats. It was now way past our boarding time of 2pm and we had not eaten or drunk anything since breakfast. There was no indication of when we might get on the ship, whether there would be anything available on board or where our next meal was coming from. Fortunately, about half an hour later and after more queuing, we were allowed to walk on to the ship, our cases were already outside our cabin and the on-board buffet was still serving lunch. We had booked through Iglu so the initial delay in receiving incorrect tickets may have been caused by Iglu or CMV. The repeated misdirections and delays were entirely unnecessary and of CMV’s making. Before we could unpack and settle in, we had to do the lifeboat drill. This was easily the longest and most frustrating version of this “requirement” we have endured. It started reasonably, gathering in the “muster” lounge for a lengthy lecture. We were then asked to put on the lifebelts and walk in single file, with hands on the shoulder in front, on a complex march through the ships corridors and stairs to a lifeboat. We then stood outside for several minutes until eventually allowed to leave and find our way back through the crowds. Stateroom (Cabin) Our Rating - Poor A review of the cabin is in CruiseCritic’s separate section. Ship Information Marco Polo is, by a small margin, the smallest and the second oldest cruise ship we have been on. It was originally Aleksandr Pushkin built in East Germany in 1965 with greater hull strength and stability than usual. This, plus stabilisers and a deep draught do seem to help it ride heavy seas better than most small cruise ships. Marco Polo’s refits and refurbishments have kept it reasonably up-to-date but the age shows, notably in the cabins (see separate section) and the passage ways where structural beams of all sizes run across the floors to trip the unwary. Internally, Marco Polo appears clean and smart. There are no worn carpets or furnishings, no chipped paint and cleaning, as on other ships, is constant. There are sanitizers where there is food plus staff with spray-guns. Most passengers comply willingly and there was very little coughing or sneezing on board. Look a little deeper, however, and things are not quite so good. Paint was smeared on windows and dirt could be found in obscure places like the bottom of the toothbrush glass holders in our “bathroom”. There were also occasional smells in the public toilets but we did not experience smells elsewhere on the ship. There are eight passenger decks, less than most ships and most facilities (bars, lounges, restaurants etc) are fairly close, so getting around is relatively easy. The main restaurant is on deck six (Atlantic). Almost all the other public spaces are two decks up on deck eight (Magellan). From bow to stern, these are as follows: Theatre (with a bar); Captain’s Club (main bar); Reception (starboard); Tour office (port); Palm garden (a starboard seating area); Shops (port); Columbus lounge (small bar); Library (starboard and small); Card room (port and small); Marco’s buffet restaurant plus an outside deck with pool, bar and food counter. One deck up from this lot on deck nine (Amundsen) are the promenade and Scott's bar. A further deck up on deck ten (Columbus) is a wellness centre (gym) and beauty salon. One final deck up on eleven (Navigator) is the sun deck with whirlpools. The promenade goes round about two thirds of deck nine. At each end there are steps up to deck ten where you can walk round and back down to the prom. You can also walk all the way around deck ten but much of it is a narrow passage between the lifeboats and cabins. The promenade is traditional teak and quite wide so should be good for sun bathing (in better weather) but anywhere near the middle, on either side, there is a constant loud noise presumably from the air conditioning system. There is similar noise in the centre of the Columbus lounge on deck eight. As with other ships, all on-board spending is charged to a cruise card account which must be settled (by cash or card) on the last full day. Dining Our Rating - Average - just Marco Polo has two main restaurants, the Waldorf on deck six and Marco’s buffet on deck eight. Both were fairly noisy and hectic. Outside Marco’s there is an additional fair-weather food counter. These three options are free. There is also the Fusion Indian restaurant behind the Waldorf on deck six. We did not try the Fusion which costs extra so none of my comments apply to this restaurant. Bar drinks, at additional cost (unless you buy a package) are wine-waiter served at lunch and dinner in the Waldorf and in the evening in Marco’s. The Waldorf The evening meal in the Waldorf is the only time when formal dining, at an allocated table, with full waiter service occurs. There are no tables for two. Our request for a table for six was agreed in advance and a table allocation card was in our cabin on arrival. Despite this, we were initially allocated a table for eight but this was changed without problem. Joining us was one interesting couple and another ‘been everywhere and done everything’ dominating couple of the type so often found on cruises. Evening meals took a long time with noticeable gaps between the five courses - starter, soup, salad, main and desert followed by tea or coffee. The starters were small, little more than horderves and the sweet deserts were little bigger. There were also some oddities. When chicken tikka masala was on the menu, for example, it came with boiled rice, a portion of shredded cabbage and a popadom. No saag aloo or similar and no naan bread despite the chef being Indian. At breakfast we were directed to the next table the waiters decided to fill so we landed up with different numbers of different people each time. Tea, coffee and juice were waiter served but everything else was self-service. The buffet arrangements were chaotic. Various tables were laid with different types of food and there were three queuing points for fresh cooked eggs and toast. The queues were often long and slow but when we finally got eggs they were good especially the omelets. This can not be said for the bacon which was very streaky, dry and hard (common with buffets) or the sausages which were mealy. We only saw hash browns once but there were pieces of roast potato. There was porridge and a good range of cold options (meet, cheese, fruit, bread and cereals) but again with oddities. All the prepared fruit, for example, was named “fruit compote” and none of these compotes included grapefruit although half grape-fruits in their skins were available. Lunch arrangements were similar to breakfast but a little less chaotic. Tea and coffee were waiter served but then it was into the fray and hope you remembered where you were sitting. Marco’s Proper buffet counters here worked somewhat better than the Waldorf at breakfast and lunch and could be a lot quicker. It did, however, get very busy, especially at the beginning of meal times although there were quieter periods, usually towards the end of a meal time. There was no allocated seating. Most tables seated four but there were some tables for two. There was overflow space outside, around the pool and there was nothing to stop us wandering into the nearby Columbus Lounge or Palm Garden with plates of food but we did not need to resort to any of this. In fact, one of our most enjoyable and peaceful evening meals was at a table for two, next to a window in Marco’s. Waiters were always on hand whipping away empty dishes almost before we finished. Wine waiters wandered through Marco’s during dinner but it was difficult to spot them and even more difficult to get their attention. We did not see them at lunch time. The food on offer was very similar, if not identical, to that in the Waldorf. At breakfast there was a single station for fresh cooked eggs but it was almost impossible to find toast. On each side of Marco’s there are self-service hot drink and cold drink machines. A wide variety of teas and coffees are available with hot milk or cold skimmed milk all in reasonable sized mugs. These machines are free and available up to eleven at night. We and others frequently carried mugs of tea, coffee and milk the length of deck eight and down to our cabin. The coffee available in the bars may be a little better and only cost £1.80 but came in small cups. Outside Marco’s a small food counter served burger (or similar) and chips. Although outside, this was open most, if not every day of our nine days in October in northern Europe. It appeared to be the only place on the ship to serve chips. They were never an option on the restaurant menus - another oddity and a shame as they were good chips. More than once, I collected food from Marco’s buffet, then went outside to get chips and then went back inside to eat. Afternoon Tea This was available only in Marco’s and was disappointing. It was entirely self-service meaning that we needed to queue to get tea from the machine and then queue again for cakes etc from the buffet. Savoury options were reasonable but cakes were not the best. Apple strudel, for example, had about the right apple filling mix but was round and on a very hard short pastry base. Late Night Snacks These were a major disappointment. What was advertised as a buffet in all lounges was actually a waiter wandering round with a very limited selection of horderves. They were even smaller and less appetising than SAGA’s similar offerings which at least did not claim to be a buffet. Meal Times These were reasonably extended with breakfast usually available from 6am to 10am. Lunch from noon to 2pm and dinner from 5:45 to 10:30. Overall food experience Our last meal, effectively a beef Sunday roast was excellent and the quality of most of the food was good. Better than we got with Thomson but not as good as P&O or SAGA. Similar can be said about the service. It was difficult to fault but was not quite as good as P&O or SAGA possibly because many were less than fluent in English. Activities Our Rating - Poor This part of our review covers CruiseCritic’s “Enrichment Activities” and “Fitness & Recreation” ratings topics. There were activities but that was not what were were looking for or expecting from this cruise. There was a wellness centre and a beauty salon on deck ten (Columbus). There were also frequent quizzes and invitations to activities (table tennis, knitting etc) many of which were unmanaged, just suggestions that passengers met, for example, to play bridge. We attended a tours presentation which seemed little more than verbal instructions on how to fill in an application form. Service Our Rating - Very Good Our real rating would only be good but this is not a CruiseCritic option. All the staff seemed to be foreign, mostly eastern European and there was often difficulty in being understood. They were, however, faultlessly helpful and friendly. This ship has no launderette and irons are not allowed although some ignored this restriction. The laundry service, which we did not use, charges £1.70 to iron a shirt or £2.50 to wash and iron. A dress is £2.50 or £3.75 and trousers are £1.85 or £3.75. We did not try cabin service either, which looked a little pricey although continental breakfast appeared to be free. Entertainment Our Rating - Poor The “orchestra” (really a small band) and the singing, dancing troupe were probably not much different from those on other ships. A couple of the singers were not bad and the dancing was energetic. They performed nightly in the theatre. Members of the troupe also performed late at night in Scott’s bar. They called this cabaret but it was really just singing to recorded music. In addition there were classical and pop duos and a guest evening appearances from Lee Carroll (comedian), Savannah Shepherd (soprano) and a bagpipe band. The young soprano was good but sang to recorded music and the band was good if you like bagpipes. The classical duo comprised piano and violin and played evening spots in the Captain’s Club. The pianist read the music, not always accurately and played with little feeling. The violinist was better but did not join the pianist every night. The Excelsior (pop) duo comprised a keyboard player and singer. They also played evening spots but in Scott’s bar. The keyboard was supported by recorded or automatic backing and played ballroom dance sessions as well as popular songs from the 1930’s to date. He was sometimes joined by a girl singer, somewhat in the Cilla Black mode with good soft and not so good harsh notes. The keyboard player sang too with a pleasant high pitched voice but with a heavy accent. Only once did we hear both of them singing in the same song. There was no daytime entertainment. The grand pianos in most bars were not played. The earliest entertainment was the single performance from the soprano at 4:15. Port & Shore Excursions Our Rating - Average We had worked out in advance how to see the interesting sights without booking relatively expensive ship’s excursions. Leith, Scotland Our plan worked well here. Marco Polo docked almost alongside the Royal Yacht, the entrance to which is in a shopping complex also containing Debenhams and an M&S food-hall. We did this lot in the morning and the well organised Britannia tour, with audio guides, was well worth the £14 entrance fee. In the afternoon we tried a Majestic bus tour of Edinburgh, also with an audio tour and at a similar price. It was hop-on-hop-off but we stayed on and it was still interesting enough, conveniently dropping us off at the ship. Klaksvik and Torshavn, Faroes In both of these ports we just took the free shuttle-but into town and wandered round. Klaksvic is small but both had visitor centres. It was interesting enough to see the scenery and how the remote Faroese live. The CMV excursions on offer probably would not have been much more interesting. Lerwick, Shetland Unfortunately, this was cancelled for the all too common seas too high for tenders reason and the ship sailed to the next stop. Kirkwall, Orkney We arrived here a day early but too late in the morning for the single 10am Stagecoach bus tour we had planned. In the morning we took the free shuttle bus to town and visited the impressive Cathedral and a museum located just over the road. Both interesting and both free. Fortunately, on the previous day, we had been able to book the afternoon CMV tour 113002 to Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Ring of Brodgar. This cost £51 each but included the £6 ticket price for Skara Brae and the house, both worth seeing. We then were taken to Ring of Brodgar and had time to struggle around this ‘Stonehenge’ in high winds and poring rain. The tour also passed the Ness of Brodgar (site of the current archaeological revelations) and Scapa Flow although we did not see any Churchill Barriers. Our guide was knowledgable and spoke almost all the time during the coach transfers as well as at the sites. Although not cheep, the excursion was reasonable value, especially as, having missed the bus, there was probably no other way we could have seen even a few of the sights. Invergordon, Scotland This port was added as we had missed Lerwick. It was no compensation. There is little to see, the church was closed and the museum was just a random collection of old things. It was, however, a pleasant enough town in which to stretch the legs. There were CMV tours to places like Inverness where we have already been. Disembarkation Our Rating - Very Good We managed to get up, take a quiet breakfast and return to our cabin, all before 7am, the time we were asked to vacate. The usual wait to disembark did not seem as bad as on other ships. We had comfortable seats in the Captain’s Lounge and the tea and coffee machines (in Marco’s) were working. There was a bit of a queue to get off when our “colour” was called but the worst part was trying to find our cases in the several groups scattered all around the large hall. Our four cases (we overpacked) were each in a different area, so it took a considerable time to spot them. Having done that, it was only a short walk with a trolley to our car and we were on our way by about 9am. The following sections are our explanations for our other CruiseCritic ratings. Onboard Experience Our Rating - Average A daily programme was delivered to our cabin, usually during the preceding evening. This was about as good as on other ships but often had inaccuracies. “Britain Today” a two sheet, eight page, ships daily newspaper was available, free, from reception. This included press association news plus some international news and a crossword. There were two formal nights on the first and last full days, both at sea. The first included the usual ‘photo with the captain and a small glass of sparkling wine. This was followed by a brief presentation of the captain and top crew in the theatre. It was all OK but not as good as the “cocktail parties” offered by other cruise lines. The majority conformed to the dress code but it was not enforced. On formal nights there were some men without ties and even some trainers. On informal nights, there were one or two men in shorts in restaurants. Most passengers were English with an average age probably in the seventies. There were a lot of walking sticks and some mobility scooters though overall, they seemed somewhat more mobile than SAGA passengers. There were some younger passengers including a fair number from the USA. All seemed happy, polite and well behaved. We heard no complaints and the only issue was one passenger in Marco’s who claimed the seat we sat in was hers “but I forgot to put my bag there”! There were plenty of other seats at the time. There was queuing, sometimes, to get off or on the ship and at the buffets in both restaurants but these usually did not take long and there was no queuing for the theatre or elsewhere. Public Rooms Our Rating - Average The public rooms are listed under “Ship Information” above. Here are details about the main rooms. They are all on deck eight (Magellan) except for Scott's bar which is on deck nine (Amundsen). There was never a problem finding a comfortable seat in any of the public rooms. Marco Polo Lounge This is the theatre. It is a single story and rises towards the back (which is at the bow of the ship), helping the view of the stage. The seating is comfortable, on wide corridors, on which further seating is placed. If occupied, this further seating can block the view. At the rear is a bar from which waiters serve seated patrons. This bar was only open when there is a stage event. Captain’s Club This is the main bar and was open early morning till late. It stretches the width of the ship and is nearly as large as the theatre. There is a small central stage, opposite the bar, where evening classical music was played. Innocuous piped music played at other times. A small dance floor was unused. The comfortable seating is similar to the theatre with sofas around the edges and small arm chairs around small tables elsewhere. Palm Garden This is a smaller seating area, midships, on the starboard side. There is a piano which was not played. The seating was cushioned but less comfortable wicker chairs. There is no bar but there is wine water service from the adjoining Columbus lounge. Columbus Lounge This small bar has similar seating to the Captain’s Club. There are no windows in this bar and much of it was spoiled by a constant loud hum, presumably from the air conditioning system. The bar was open till late from 10am when at sea and 2pm when in a port. Scott's Bar This is the late night venue. It is one deck up from the other rooms, has similar comfortable seating to the Captain’s Lounge and was open all day but the bar did not open till 1pm when at sea or 2pm when in a port. There is a dance floor plus two stages, one used by the pop duo and the other for late night cabaret. During the day, this was probably the most peaceful public part of the ship. Bars In addition to the bars in the public rooms there is one outside Marco's buffet, next to the pool. Bar staff were reasonably attentive but their system sometimes resulted in long delays before the drinks arrived. Waiters took orders from us and other tables and delivered these to the barman who mixed drinks and made coffee while the waiter processed the preceding orders through the till, delivered them with receipts for signature, collected another set of orders and took these to the barman. After this, with luck, the waiter processed our drinks through the till and delivered them. It all worked well if you were not in a hurry. Going to a bar got the drinks quicker but there was still a wait for a waiter to arrive and work the till. Value for Money Our Rating - Average CMV cruises look good value. They cost less than most and a lot less than some but as they say, you get what you pay for. It is easy to see where some of the savings are made. First, Marco Polo and I believe CMV’s other ships, are quite small and old, so they do not have the facilities of newer, larger competitors. There is only one speciality restaurant and no high deck panoramic lounge but these are small prices to pay. Second, the crew are nearly all foreign which should not matter except that many have limited fluency in English. For us, this was just a little frustrating at times but not a problem. Third, there were no little extras. No sail-away party and meet the captain evening was just one glass of wine. The evening buffet did not exist. There were no nuts or nibbles at the bars and no chocolates on the pillow. Fourth, all the greenery and floral displays were artificial. Fifth, although there were free shuttle-buses in ports, there were no free tours. Sixth, the cabin, a premium ocean view, was smaller and less well fitted than similar cabins on other ships. The CMV premium drinks package for two of us at £368 was good value. Bitburger beer was £3.30 for a short pint and the wine was £3.20 to £5.60 with cocktails costing more. Our bar bills would have totalled five pence less than the cost of the package but we also had wine with most lunches and dinners plus a complimentary bottle of wine in the cabin and the gratuities covered, which otherwise would have been automatically charged at £63 each. Despite this package, we were charged £2.80 for a bottle of water opened in the cabin. Overall it was fair value for money but we would sooner pay a little more for higher standards. Summary Our Overall Rating - Average This cruise rates only just above poor. After a disastrous start, detailed above, much of our experience was good but not quite as good as other cruise lines offer. Even Thomson Spirit which did not impress, had a better cabin. Fellow passengers were a decent lot. Not too stuffy nor too scruffy. Old but not infirm and with a sprinkling of youth. The atmosphere on board was relaxed and friendly. In marked contrast to embarkation, disembarkation worked well, although even here, our experience was marred by needless scattering of our luggage. The itinerary was as expected but we only got to three of the four interesting island groups. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Recent return from Faroe Islands tour. Had been on the Marco Polo 20 years ago on Baltic Cruise. Enjoyed the overall experience.But found the ship to be very noisy operating. AVOID cabin 429 which has a small service lift next to it ... Read More
Recent return from Faroe Islands tour. Had been on the Marco Polo 20 years ago on Baltic Cruise. Enjoyed the overall experience.But found the ship to be very noisy operating. AVOID cabin 429 which has a small service lift next to it ,constant operating noise. We were relocated but would be wary of being able to find a quiet cabin . Good news food ok, good entertainment.Unable to dock at Shetland Islands due to bad weather this seems to happen quite often. Stopped at Invergordon instead so was able to visit Inverness. Drinks reasonably priced. Staff hardworking and helpful ,though breakfast in the Walford could be a rushed mad scramble. Security checks on and off ship very lax. Little scanning of bags on return to ship. Little to recommend the Faroe islands even more remote than I thought they would be. Overall good value for money but will go back to larger ships. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We thought we would try the Marco Polo to go to the Faroe islands. on the 5th of October 2018. Day one , We got to Tillbury car park from Wiltshire.about 11.30am ,we were told you can’t park yet go to Asta for a cup of coffee then ... Read More
We thought we would try the Marco Polo to go to the Faroe islands. on the 5th of October 2018. Day one , We got to Tillbury car park from Wiltshire.about 11.30am ,we were told you can’t park yet go to Asta for a cup of coffee then come back .( forgot to mention there were no time stared to arrive.) so we parked in a lorry park for an hour . .OK parked on ship no one there to welcome you., found cabin . unpacked ,down to get afternoon tea .Well here we go , food was awful tea was cold .I could go on .The 8 days my wife and i found there were no wow factor we were not treated as a paying customer, special.No flowers on the taple , dirty chairs Breakfast and lunch time we were bullied in to seating rushed by waiters.Not much choices in English Food .Good factors cabin ok Trips we found ok.friendly passengers.NOT STAFF. However enjoyed the cruise. OVERALL Cruise & Maritime needs to look and take note from other cruise lines . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wanted to see the East side of Canada after visiting the other side last year. The cabin was fine 3 cases already waiting as we arrived at our cabin the steward was very helpful. The ship was kept very clean and tidy. Enjoyed the food ... Read More
Wanted to see the East side of Canada after visiting the other side last year. The cabin was fine 3 cases already waiting as we arrived at our cabin the steward was very helpful. The ship was kept very clean and tidy. Enjoyed the food tried self service and the restaurant, , plenty to chose from, only complaint not enough vegetables on the plate in the restaurant. The ship rides rough weather very well. Though we were lucky not too many rough seas. Enjoyed Glengariff our first port, the tendering is a bit of a slow job, then of of to Canada, enjoyed the exercise classes that that the dancers take, if you wanted there were crafts bridge, games and quizzes every sea day. We had 2 lecturers on board both very good,the one for whales and dolphins was on deck and able to tell us what species we saw which added to the enjoyment. St Johns it poured down but didnt stop our walking trip, the scenery was fantastic. Halifax was hot sunny and a lovely city to explore and Charlotte Town on Prince Edward Island was a lovely town. It was a pity the next 2 days as we sailed down the St Laurence to Montreal it turned dull and cooler. Montreal was great and Quebec, pity our second day there it poured down all day. Most of the time we did our own walks round and exploring as there was usually good maps. The smaller French speaking town were friendly but did not have lot to see, but we were welcomed and usually the locals turned up to wave us off. Entertainment was very good for such a small ship dancers and singers great and the young singer Savannah that had just joined was a pleasure to hear. Enjoyed the chocolate afternoon tea. met some lovely people, all the crew were friendly and helpful, oneor two slight problems but no more than other cruise lines Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Great ports. Ship immaculate, lovely cabin with two windows, and massive amount of storage. Perfect size. Great attention to detail in cleaning. Great care was taken over making sure everyone used the antiseptic sprays on entering the ... Read More
Great ports. Ship immaculate, lovely cabin with two windows, and massive amount of storage. Perfect size. Great attention to detail in cleaning. Great care was taken over making sure everyone used the antiseptic sprays on entering the restaurants and when returning to the ship from shore. The food was very good, with plenty of choice, and other options if needed. The bistro was a good option for lighter dining in the evening. The Captain was very sociable, and always gave advice on being careful around the ship when the sea was rough. The stabilisers were used several times, and we found the ship behaved very well. It felt very stable. We have been on ships which did not do so well in rough seas. The service was wonderful, from the cabin stewards to the restaurant staff, bar staff and reception. All were very friendly and helpful. The entertainment was superb. It was definitely the best we have experienced on any cruise, of which we have done many. The cruise director was wonderful, and the team so talented. Other guest acts were also much appreciated. There were plenty of daytime activities to suit everyone, and the ship also offered a mile walk by circling deck 10 six times. It is not possible to walk like that on most of the new ships. Much prefer her style compared to the new impersonal monsters. At the gala dinner at the end of the cruise, one of the passengers stood up to thank the whole crew for a wonderful cruise. Will hope to travel on Marco Polo again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I had previously travelled on the Magellan and Columbus with Cruise and Maritime and had enjoyed both trips. On this basis, I booked a 30 day cruise to Canada with my partner on the Marco Polo. Embarkation on 5th Sept at Tilbury was ... Read More
I had previously travelled on the Magellan and Columbus with Cruise and Maritime and had enjoyed both trips. On this basis, I booked a 30 day cruise to Canada with my partner on the Marco Polo. Embarkation on 5th Sept at Tilbury was chaotic and delayed. On being shown our cabin, I immediately saw that it would not meet our needs because of insufficient storage. My complaint was lodged with the cabin steward who offered extra hangers and said that empty suitcases could be stored one deck below. Upon further enquiry, I was advised that these would not be accessible. My partner has recently endured cancer treatment necessitating the use of bulky incontinence aids which added to our luggage. We were called for the evacuation drill immediately. After this, I went promptly to reception and lodged the need for more (accessible) storage. I was told that no other adjustments could be made. I then asked to leave the ship. I was advised that as it was 15.45 and the ship was sailing at 16.00 that it was too late to disembark. I confirmed that I would have to leave at the earliest opportunity at Glengariff. The receptionist stated that she would escalate my complaint to her manager. During the next 44hrs at sea, I had the misfortunate to have my initial concerns realised and worse fears confirmed. Marco Polo is described as “elegant” and “stylish” . This is misleading. Rather it is tired and dated. For example. the Marco’s Bistro carpet was soiled and sticky, the ceiling in Scott’s Bar was damaged with twisted metal and broken lights. Two lifts were unreliable ( I was stuck in one for several minutes) and then broke on the first day requiring repair. The stench of diesel on the Baltic Deck and in our cabin was all-pervading and nausea-inducing. I was advised that the ship is over 50 years old. To describe the ship as stabilised is misleading. During the crossing to Ireland, there was excessive roll even though the sea conditions were described as “slight”. I saw no stabilising fins being deployed presumably to maintain speed and fuel efficiency as seas were slight. I witnessed several passengers stumbling and numerous accidents with crockery and glasses including with the senior officers (broken glass) during the Captain’s presentation in the theatre. My nausea and discomfort when laying in our cabin were compounded by the strong stench of diesel. The food was not of the same standard as on previous voyages. Although I was not able to eat much beyond the first day due to nausea, my partner who was a chef confirmed that too much salt was consistently being used in all the dishes he tried. To describe the entertainment as “truly sparkling” is misleading. The entertainment’s director offered a comically bad rendition of an Elvis impersonation on the first night and then made a hardsell on drinks etc. The dancers were good but the material they were given to work with was woeful. Given the cramped conditions in the theatre, the first night was enough to dissuade us from going back the following evening. On the 6th, Sept I again went to reception and stated my intention to disembark the following day. Once again I was told me that my complaint had been escalated to the manager but no response had been forthcoming and he was not available to speak to me. On 7th we anchored at sea for Glengariff. Disembarkation by tender was delayed (I finally got ashore 3 hrs after arrival). I confirmed to reception that I did not want to disembark but felt I had no other option as my complaint had not been resolved. I incurred the cost of of repatiation and the disappointment of not being able to enjoy what iI had eagerly anticipated as a trip of a lifetime. Cruise and Maritme have advised me that they take 28 days to respond to complaints. I recommend avoiding this ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this cruise to see a bit of Canada. Had done a couple of cruises about 20 years ago and not sure about 31 days. No need to worry as the time aboard ship there was plenty to do - games, quizzes and talks or craft sessions. Or ... Read More
We choose this cruise to see a bit of Canada. Had done a couple of cruises about 20 years ago and not sure about 31 days. No need to worry as the time aboard ship there was plenty to do - games, quizzes and talks or craft sessions. Or even choir, line dancing and acting. Embarkation was fine and the cases that we had sent ahead by TEFRA were waiting at our cabin door. We chose late sitting in the Waldorf with a table of 8. Out table companions were fab - a couple from Scotland, couple from South Yorkshire and couple from Australia. The meals and choice were great. My only complaint was that sometimes the main course was only lukewarm and not hot. If I asked for it to be hot it was otherwise best to eat it quick. I must say the first course were usually delicious and could have ate more! There was 4 formal nights and quite a few Informal nights which towards the end of the cruise might as well be casual as the dress code was not enforced as it had been at the beginning of the cruise.The Bistro was great for breakfast and lunch although at peak times it was hard trying to find a seat. Basically just had to ask if seats were free and so got to meet lots of people. Quite a few were Australians. The evening entertainment was absolutely fantastic. The small team - Mitch, Callum, Josh, Chrysy, Annette and Savannah and the dancers made each show very enjoyable. They did 2 shows a night (unless the odd comedian or other act was on) then a show in Scott's Bar after the last show in Marco Polo lounge. They also did the quizzes and games during the day so worked really hard to keep us entertained. Due to illness I missed the night they did songs from the Musicals but the last night when I saw Les Miserables (my favourite) they deserved a standing ovation. Our cabin was on Atlantic so same floor as the Waldorf and handy on a night for the restaurant.The cabin was a good size with 2 portholes.There were 2 sets of 4 drawers (one between the twin beds) and a 3 door wardrobe with safe. Plenty of hangers and could ask cabin steward for more if needed. The bathroom was fine and the water in the shower was lovely and warm. Towels as and when you wanted them. Cabin steward did or checked the cabin twice every day and bed was always made again on a night. Ashveer our steward was brilliant when we were ill with a virus and checked if we needed anything a few times a day. We did a lot of the excursions and were well worth the money apart from one. The Sugar Shack Experience in Montreal was awful and wouldn't recommend at all. Glengariff - a lovely tour round the area with a coffee stop and then time in the time. Bought a lovely cardigan. St.John's, Newfoundland - a boat trip to see the puffins, bald eagles and possibly dolphins. This was a wet day and no dolphins but still a good trip. Halifax and the Tall Ship was lovely and a glorious day Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown - One of the prettiest places on this trip. Went to see the Confederation Bridge which we sailed under later on the way out. Also a lovely shopping area nearby but not enough time to see all the shops which was a shame. Quebec (day 1) - tour round Quebec and Montmorency Falls. Loved seeing Quebec. Quebec (day 2) - St Anne du Beaupre Basilica, canyon (falls) and Island was on a very wet day but the tour guide was very good so overall the trip was good. Saguenay - Fjord museum was good but not enough time spent there. Then went on to Le Pulpier where we had too much time for what there was to see. Baie-Comeau trip took you to a beautiful church - St Emilie - oldest church in Baie-Comeau which only has one mass a year. Also The Garden of the Glaciers - fantastic. Havre St Pierre - a small town Corner Brook - Did the Panoramic tour which was 2 hours and was ok for seeing a bit of the area. Sydney, Halifax - no tours and stayed on ship as not too well. Cork and Blarney - would have loved more time in Blarney as lots to see and not enough time. Disembarkation. We were late docking due to it being a very foggy morning but disembarkation soon got caught up. We had our time changed as originally time meant we would have missed our train. We had a phone call a couple of days before saying a person would meet us to take out cases from us and take to TEFRA. After getting off we collected our cases but then had to search for the person. Someone eventually tracked them down and they had no idea they were supposed to be taking our cases. We were trying to order a car to take us to Kings Cross from Tilbury when this person said there were taxis and where to go. When we got there and found the person to see she said the taxis wouldn't take us to Kings Cross. By the time we booked a car and they made it through the traffic (2 ships were in port) and road works we had just over an hour to catch our train. Thanks to the driver from Addison Lee we made it with 7 minutes to spare. Unbelievable. Overall this was a great trip, bar illness. Crossing from Ireland to Canada the sea was a bit choppy but I didn't mind that and the return crossing was like a mill pond. The Marco Polo is an older ship but for size she is fab. A lovely, friendly ship and not too big that you don't get to know people. You got used to seeing the same people and saying hello. The crew spoke to you in passing. The staff from cabin stewards to bar staff and restaurant staff were lovely and were always ready to help less mobile passengers carry their food and drink to a table for them. I wouldn't do again but purely because I've done it and probably wouldn't do one as long again but yes I would definitely travel on the Marco Polo again. Read Less
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 3.4
Enrichment 4.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.6

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