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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as lay out is concerned, that we have had on any other cruise ship we have been on. Unfortunately , because the ship is old there were a lot of banging and creaking noises within the cabin in rough seas we had 4 nights of little sleep.All other areas on the ship were clean and well looked after and it was easy to find your way around. The ships daily programmes were adequate but the resident show performers were very good indeed. The swimming pool on the other hand was "out of action" for the duration of the cruise. Having had one lunch in the cafeteria where the "hot" food was just warm and the queues long, we ate in the restaurant for lunch and dinner for the remainder of the cruise. The food was varied and plentiful. We had breakfast in our cabin which was good. All cabin, restaurant and bar staff were very good and only too ready to please. We bought a drinks package which was good value for money but it would have been nice to have more than one choice of house wine. Coffee and water was excluded from the package. Just prior to sailing the advertised itinerary times in Orkney (8am-5pm) had been changed to 8am -2pm and Honfleur had been changed from 8am -8pm to 1pm -10pm without any apologies or explanation. The first port of call was Mull where I had arranged for Alan Robson www.mulltaxi.co.uk to provide a private tour tailored to suit our needs.This was to include a visit to the distillery.The weather was overcast and the sea slightly choppy so we were anchored way off Tobermory to be told that the captain was waiting for the weather to improve and an announcement would be made in an hour to let us know what was happening before making a decision. This did not happen and I was kept up to date by our taxi firm who told me that the harbour master had been told that the ship had decided not to tender passengers off to the harbour! Alan also cancelled our distillery tour for us.Two hours later an announcement was made informing us all that not only Mull was being cancelled but also Stornoway. We were sailing straight to Orkney and would arriving there a day earlier than planned. As I had arranged for www.hebrideanexcursions.co.uk to provide another tailored tour of Harris and Lewis for us and Orkney Taxis to meet us (now a day earlier) at the pier in Orkney I was now left to sort this out without a mobile 'phone signal. Clare the receptionist suggested that it must be my network provider at fault and that I should go as high as I could on deck to try and get a signal.It was now raining and blustery on deck. I know from past holidays in the Western Isles that mobile 'phone reception is very poor. I eventually asked if I could use the land line and was given the codes on how to get an outside line and was told that the first minute was free and after that it was £4 a minute.The land line did not work and after a long discussion and a flat refusal from Clare to do anything personaly to help, the ships communication officer, who had been asked to sort out our 'phone, contacted TG the guest relations officer who eventually agreed to send an email to Orkney taxis for me. As a seasoned cruiser I had never come across such an unhelpful attitude from those who were supposed to be there to help the guests, especially when none of the changes were of our own doing. My previous experiences with other cruise lines have always been very positive with staff who have a "can do" approach to their guests. Donald and Gail of Orkney Taxis met us at the pier and we had a wonderful day being shown around the Island by a local guide with so much knowledge of the Island. Nothing was too much trouble and we were able to stop whenever we wanted to.The time ashore was now 8am to 10pm. I managed to eventually get a signal and let John ,Hebridean Excursions know what was NOT happening. See Tripadvisor reviews of this company. A half day( 8am -2pm) in Invergordon was substituted at late notice for the loss of the other two ports of call. This is a repair port for the oil rigs and has little to offer. Two, expensive,organised tours were offered and no information was available for independent travellers as to how they could get around the area. We arrived in Honfleur at 12pm, (46 hours later) and had to wait until 2pm before we could get off the boat to get a shuttle bus into the town.We were "allowed" to get off earlier but would have to walk for at least 20 minutes before we were near to the town. I had a local taxi firm number obtained in the UK but the codes were confusing, again Clare refused to even try and find out for me what the codes were and suggested I walk to the harbour ofice to get a taxi. Again Independent passengers were kept waiting until the organised tours were all off the ship. There was also a problem at St. Mary's in as much that the ship was anchored a good 30 minute tender journey each way thus delaying and prolonging the time getting us off board, again priority was given to the organised tours. As the sea was choppy when we arrived I was waiting for an announcement that we would not be going ashore . However the boatmen of the Scilly Isles tender passengers on and off all the ships and know all the tides etc. They could not understand why we were so far off shore. DJ Cabs St. Mary's met us at the pier and we had an excellent tour of the island, stopping off whenever we wanted and had first hand knowledge of the Islands history, flora and fauna. The excursions are expensive and I would recommend the above mentioned private taxi firms to anyone, all were good value for money and even those that we did not meet up with have been in contact with me hoping that everything had gone alright for us and that we had enjoyed our cruise. Disembarkation went smoothly but again the steps were appalling with no help from the crew.The port staff were very helpful. This cruise was not cheap and unless the attitudes of some key customer services / guest relations personel change we will not use this cruise line again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
Firstly the good points as they are few and far between. We saw the northern lights in their glory which was the whole point of the cruise so a big plus. Second our cabin steward was brilliant to the point where we could have adopted ... Read More
Firstly the good points as they are few and far between. We saw the northern lights in their glory which was the whole point of the cruise so a big plus. Second our cabin steward was brilliant to the point where we could have adopted him. That's it for good points. The boarding was a total haphazard mob of people everywhere, which was sad really as the very initial part where you dropped your cases of was organised and reassuring. Once upon the ship all seemed well. Cabin was fine, clean, but why do I sound surprised surly that's what's expected. We had a double bed facing the front of the ship and we were right at the front of the ship which later we realised was not a good idea as the first night we had all the noise of the staffs party below us and boy do they know how to party. The other part of the bed facing to the front was when we had a bad stormy night on two occasions we had our feet down then lifting off then CRASH as the front of the ship hit back down it was worse then a roller coaster at universal studios! Our first nights meal ok average, very small portions but didn't feel hungry afterwards did the trick gave me calories. The days at sea were boring.... Nothing to do...hold on line dancing "ok let's give it a go" kill an hour or so....ummm 4 dances and over .. Now was that worth the effort NO... Come on if you say line dancing let's have a dam good go at it not just a dip in of the toe. Crafts were ok.. But again could have been much better Evening entertainment.... Well two comedians one average the other should have walked the plank.. Literally absolutely terrible. In fact they allowed him to have a second show and I think it was practically empty from what I was told as you guessed I couldn't face being sick,with out it being the sea making me feel ill. The other shows were average. They did put effort into the shows but It lacked something...the main female singer could not sing to save her life well let's be nice if she sang in tune and in range it was fine but for some reason she chose to sing at screech pitch! Not good. I was trying to find and be nice bit it was difficult. Then the cocktail saga, one night a big glass the next a smaller one,yep the measures were different but you paid the same price... Naughty and were they bothered no way. Now it states late night snacks..... A waiter with a tray of greasy nasty deep fried rubbish and then had the cheek to give you a napkin and you had one of each lovely late night treat. One eaten never again unless you want to live off of heartburn remedys. The staff were not brilliant there were the odd one or two who excelled and they know who they are, but other wise they were pretty , opinionated not overly friendly. We had a couple of occasions where they staff were arguing in front of us who was putting the coffee glasses onto the tray... You do not need to see or hear this. On another occasion we were chatting to one of the friendlier staff members when bellowed from behind the bar he was ordered instructions to get ice... Well firstly he was doing what he's meant to do talk and be nice to paying passengers secondly it was his break it wasn't like he was not pulling his weight but there's no such thing on board as passenger satisfaction at all. The trips were fine. We did a few. Husky dog safari, ice hotel, snowmobile etc all good. The other ports of call were bit boring not much to see not much to do, why go there. See a wooden church ok but not worth a stop for! Surly the itinary could have been better arranged so you could see And do more when off the ship. There was only one bout of novo virus dealt with swiftly and well in my opinion. We had a lady air lifted off by helicopter one night poor thing she was fine evidently but the Dj was getting quite irate with people in Scott's bar. I don't think people were glorying in on the fact this poor lady was I'll more the fact you don't see a sea rescue everyday! But he tried his best to keep people from the windows and everyone did all sit back somewhat, but he did loose it a bit. Now the Dj in Scott's bar was fine but it was very loud if you wanted to chat... I'm being pinickity now as yes if you want to chat you could go into another bar but Scott's stay open later so if you wanted that holiday feeling of drinking cocktails staying up late it had to be Scott's, well until the staff had decided enough was enough and told you to go. It is not like other ships where you are welcome till you decide to go on the Marco Polo they tell you when to go. There was a party of 8 to 10 people wanting to stay up late and party this is not the ship for you after all the staff want to go into the staff quarters to party all night how can they do that whilst looking after paying passengers! The food ... Umm well where do I start, portions size one mussel for a starter, laughable but true, or a tiny spoonful of veg on a tiny piece of lettuce. We had steak one night well it was called steak may have been old boot leather. Who could tell the difference, cooked to perfection if you wanted it nuked! Fish yes we had fish couldn't tell you what fish,only it was that. The cutlery was few and far between one night we were asked to keep our used cutlery to use on the next course. Bread rolls one each if you wanted more I think we may have begged! Plates were not placed nicely in front of you but more slung in a surly manor. Now the last night, night before the big tip boy was our waiter polite and nice... Bit too late we opted out of mass tips and gave them according to the deserved. Wine waiter was very good no problems there and drinks package was good. I stated you can opt out of the mass tipping, the day before you dock back at tilbury go to reception tell them that's what you want to do.. It's not a problem sign a form done! Then as I said you can tip the deserved and they get a tip worth having. Please think about this it's worth it if you find some are very good. The buffet was ok bit of the same really. Salad never really changed much same of the same. You are given your cutley in there, just choose a table and off you go. Staff do get in your way they really don't see you as the passenger more of an in convienance and if they are there and want to top up say lettuce you WILL get out of the way... They will make sure of that. Just rude the whole time. Now I know it's a ship but I believe it has a ghost captain.... Where the hell was he. It's understood he doesn't like the passengers and it shows. He never comes down for a meal never eats with the passengers in fact we saw him briefly once but that was it. Marco Polo is 50 years old it needs help it looks old it creaks and groans but boy oh boy it bounces around the sea like an inflatable dingy. Everyone even well seasoned cruisers felt sea sick. I'm not too offay with ships but there must be something seriously wrong with her stabilisers because even with a slight swell it felt awful and you felt every single movement unlike any ship I have ever been on before. The two storms one night our cabin had been arranged so nothing would smash or fall and on the bing bing we were informed the second night the following week, nothing in fact we knew it was going to happen by looking at our phone app of the sea conditions and in fact it was a worse storm than the first one. It took me a week to feel like I wasn't being bounced about on the sea upon returning home that's how the Marco Polo is so unstable. Will I ever go on her again a DEFINITE NO. Was I pleased I went well yes but only because I saw the northern lights and met some lovely people. So make your mind up from this but if you want something special choose another ship... It's just not polished and lacks that's feel good factor unfortunately. PS this ship needs a new executive chef urgently (But doubt if Cruise and Maritime read this!)   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and ... Read More
Cruised to Northern Cape and Sptizbergen which was our forth cruise aboard Marco Polo having already done Norway, Iceland and Amazon/Caribbean. We knew what to expect - excellent food, reasonable accommodation, acceptable entertainment.and expensive trips. Food was good, (no problem there) cabin was OK (same one as previous cruise) but was located near the access door to the crews quarters and some staff were downright rude by being noisy outside our cabin at all hours of the night - no consideration for sleeping passengers. Announcements from Cruise Director were pointless - why tell is GPS references - what we wanted was "what's that island over there" or "there are six whales half a mile off our stern" tell us something useful ! Staff attitude was poor ( downright rude) from the top to the bottom. We handed a nearly new holdall to CMV staff on arrival and between the quayside and the cabin our luggage was damaged making it unusable again. Having complained to the service desk was abruptly told to fill out a form. Having done so, was told to claim on my insurance. In other words, CMV don't care and having to pay an excess I pick up the cost of their carelessness. Two letters to Customer Relations did not resolve my dispute so wrote a third letter to CMV's Managing Director. he never replied so guess what, have cancelled my next booking, yes have lost £350 deposit, but won't be travelling with CMV ever again. Real pitty as we like the Marco Polo - just can't stand CMV and their attitude to teh customers who pay their salaries! Read Less
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