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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Eager to try out all kinds of cruising we thought we'd opt for a mini cruise before committing to a longer cruise with this company. Thank heavens we did. Embarkation was a security nightmare. Having wended our way through a queue ... Read More
Eager to try out all kinds of cruising we thought we'd opt for a mini cruise before committing to a longer cruise with this company. Thank heavens we did. Embarkation was a security nightmare. Having wended our way through a queue we were eventually waved through without even a cursory check of our luggage, no x-ray or quick physical check of my handbag, I could have had anything in my bag and boarded with complete impunity. This was a worry in these times. Our cabin was dated, grubby and neglected. At night it was virtually impossible to sleep, the sound of the engine made sure of that, at one stage I even rang reception to ask if the propellor had become misaligned such was the racket, only to be advised that she was an old ship and old ships make a noise. Hoping that dinner would inspire us we went down to the dining room. The first course was a solitary mushroom stuffed with some unmentionable substance and even the hardened cruisers of this company were surprised by both the absence of taste & colour. We waited a ling time before the next course and well mannered diners waited patiently as other diners at our table were not served at the same time. Subsequent courses and meals failed to inspire so we decamped to the self service restaurant which was equally uninspiring and dull. There is nothing further to say except that I wouldn't go near Cruise & Maritime if I were bobbing about stranded and clinging to a broken pallet in the Channel. Read Less
81 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
A COUNTERBLAST TO CRUISING Or Some Naval Gazing (Pun Intended) In our thirty years together, my partner and I have travelled tens of thousands of miles, to many different destinations, using many modes of transport; but I am ... Read More
A COUNTERBLAST TO CRUISING Or Some Naval Gazing (Pun Intended) In our thirty years together, my partner and I have travelled tens of thousands of miles, to many different destinations, using many modes of transport; but I am afraid to say that this 54 day cruise rates plum bottom of our list. The success of cruising stands or falls on its complement of passengers and in this respect I can honestly say that I have never met a more disagreeable group, and it was difficult to keep a civil tongue among such cantankerous, rude, petty-minded, boorish, boring people – obsessed with value and imagined sleights. Mean! Here I tread wearily through a minefield of misanthropy and patronization! With its pervading cooking and sanitary smells and its feel of the corridors and public spaces of a Care Home, the Marco Polo is exactly that. Not quite Salty Towers, more three star; a geriatric, floating Butlins without Ruth Madoc’s “Hello Campers!” Just Ross Roberts, our camp Cruise Director, who valiantly rallied us to our Arts & Craft classes, Bridge meetings, Creative Writing courses, Bingo, Twenty Questions, Give us a Clue – a limitless horizon of nursery school fun and frolics for geriatrics. It was like an institution and like all institutions it had its school prefects, its little Hitlers, its bullies and its selfish, self-important types; its know-alls and its know-nothings. In port for 22 days, at sea for 32 means that actual cruising alone has to be something enjoyable in itself. Let me quote from one of the daily programme bulletins – “IMPORTANT NOTICE: it has come to our attention that some of our passengers’ behaviour has been causing distress, annoyance and upset to the fellow passengers. The well-being of our passengers is paramount to the success of our cruise. If this behaviour continues we reserve the right to terminate their booking arrangements with us.” This insert appeared several times and there have even been appeals from the management over the PA. So, like a school, in the last resort was expulsion a possibility? Of course not! I experienced bullying harassment; in a bridge meeting one passenger was reduced to tears. Rudeness usually arose from petty concerns: chair reservations, queuing, behaviour at the tea stations and such like. There were, apparently, round sixteen departures from this vessel: six deaths, six emergency disembarkations and repatriations and a few so disenchanted with the atmosphere on board they left the ship early and flew home. Our geriatric float was filled with badly dressed, often overweight elderly people displaying class obsessions and mistaken perceptions of pecking orders. Many treated the staff in the most off-hand, haughty and rude manner. And there was the inevitable retreat into the tribal fortress of superiority and entitlement where I am afraid my partner and I could and indeed did not want to go. It made one ashamed of being British, and also understand why we Brits are frequently loathed abroad. The ‘whole’ is not ‘the sum of its parts’ of course; it needs only a few rotten apples to ferment the barrel. This is also manifested in the level of conversation and social engagement. Beyond, yes, the weather, the boasts of other cruise experiences, taxi stories, the petty complaints about unimportant things and the tyranny of the ubiquitous know-alls, it was difficult to engage in any meaningful way. It was a relief when someone like-minded and amusing came one’s way, and it is true, they did! We found good apples; kind, considerate, enlightened passengers on the ship of fools, who were as shocked by some of the attitudes as we were, but en masse we appeared a motley and dispirited lot creating a fairly humourless, oppressive atmosphere that was hard to work against. One had almost to warm oneself up, like an actor before a stage entry; psyche oneself into a performance! It was exhausting! It is not relaxing - and it is far too long! DISCLAIMER: this is a very personal view and I’m sure there were many here who would not recognise the picture I have painted. That the average age was round 75 should not be surprising since it can only be retirees who can afford the time and expenditure for 54 days! We should have worked that out long before we paid our deposit, but didn’t. Big Mistake! Our “shore leaves” or “exeats” as we came to call them, extending the boarding school metaphor, were not long enough. That said, and apart from two stops, we enjoyed all the places we visited for one reason or another; had a taster for further, later exploration and, in the case of Brazil, actually saw quite a lot spread across seven very different cities. I never say ‘never again’ because you never know. The Marco Polo is a fifty year-old liner, small by modern standards, at around 22,000 tons, she is shabby-chic; the food is good but institutional; everything works – just - the entertainment is frequent and, shall we say, diverting. She carries 650+ passengers and 250+ staff/crew. We had a spacious cabin on Deck 9, starboard, for’ard, under the bridge. Lots of light. Edison was our steward; a charming man from the Philippines, efficient and helpful, he works nine months of every year, has a family in Manila whom he phones more often than he sees. He speaks English well and is part of a small Philippino contingent; there others from Burma (or Myanmar as we must now call it). Most are from the Ukraine or Romania and the rest, mainly restaurant and waiting/cooking staff are from India. Philip was our table steward and hails from Mumbai; an exceptionally attentive, cheerful and nice young man who also, like many on board, has family waiting at home. They all work hard and are never deserving of some of the peremptory rudeness we saw them have to put up with; the attitudes of superiority and sublime sense of entitlement that certain types of English express! The Ukrainian staff were efficient but rather graceless. A combination of poor English, the shyness that that engenders, a distinct distaste for working so far from home, results in a rather joyless brusqueness that made it difficult to warm to those that hovered around us for much of the day! The Ship’s doctor was Romanian. Most of the troupe of dancers, singers, musicians and entertainers were Romanian/Ukrainian. Of the entertainers and their efforts, I have only praise. What an impossible task! The band, the solo musicians, the dance corps were all excellent and we were treated to an array of well costumed, well choreographed floor shows with different themes put together in an astonishing time scale. Only two solo singers were toneless and should be sent home in a hurry! As one friend opined this morning at breakfast, “Aren’t you looking forward to the end of term?”!! Lord Dismiss us with Thy Blessing All who once attended here……….! Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of ... Read More
Marco Polo What better name could there be to conjure up exploration and adventure. This was my first cruise. I had never really been attracted to the cruising lifestyle. A solo sailor from the west coast of Canada, the idea of thousands of people on a sealed tin box somehow didn’t fit with my views of travel and the oceans. However in the spring of 2016 I had just turned 70 when my wife’s mother offered us a cruise on the Marco Polo as a birthday gift. Well I had’t been attracted to cruising but this was a gift that was so exciting on so many levels that of course we could not refuse. However! The next morning we awoke to the reality that we had just accepted a cruise for 54 days. 54 days. What had we done? Gift or no gift this was a major piece of time especially to be stuck on one of those tin boxes. We started the research and the logistics. We had seen no brochures. We accepted the cruise on the recommendation of Lilian, my mother in law, an inveterate cruiser. We knew vaguely that the cruise traversed 100° of Latitude. That it went from Bristol to Bristol via Tierra del Fuego. We had 17 ports of call including Rio, Buenos Aires, The Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas; more on this later) and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. All in all an interesting itinerary. Tick one for the pro column. Next the boat. The Marco Polo. It sounds like I must have heard of it and I believed I had in reference to a more adventurous cruising style. I Google it. I learn from our modern oracle that she was originally one of the Russian poets, a group of 5 sister ships built in East Germany and named after poets. The Marco Polo was originally the Aleksandr Pushkin built in 1965 and used on the Leningrad to Montreal run in the summers and cruising in the winters. Built to be converted into a troop carrier at a moment’s notice (probably released defence dollars or rubles for construction); she was also ice hardened which has a nice ring to it what with Titanic mythology etc. She was completely rebuilt in the late ‘90s to an elegant understated traditional Deco decor with all mod-cons. I liked the sound of the ship as I had crossed the Atlantic twice on similar boats before the jet age. Once on the Empress of Britain and once on the Statendam. Score two on the pro side. Next was the cultural experience. We were going to be on The Marco Polo for 54 days with the same people. A village of 960 (This must be the max as there are only life boats for this number as I later counted). A petrie dish of people my science mind shouted. What experiments can we do? How can all that experience and talent be mobilized? On the other hand 54 days is also long enough for social niceties to fall away. People are real and will reveal themselves. When I find a bit later that we will have the same supper companions for the full run I am a bit worried but that turned out to be before I had met them (George,Pam,Ray,Maggie,Peter and Linda). The table beside us was not so lucky and wild discussions led to table breakup! 54 for days is long enough for for friendships to be forged. 54 days is long enough to make friends and loose them as well. The prospective clientel are retired and everyone has a good story to tell if you ask. So I am beginning to feel some positive indicators stacking up for the whole experience. I still have worries but we are committed so worries are useless. The cruise is in four weeks, Christmas is in two. We live in Victoria, British Columbia, we have a house and a dog. Flights to be bought, rental cars to be arranged, house and dog sitter to find. Oh yeah and Christmas is here. We made it. Christmas with family, Tim, Michael and Christine and Oliver and Charlotte, Tim, Melanie and Mike and Ayja and David and oh yeah my ex wife Alex and Tony. And did I mention Barbara, my most amazing of all women wife. She is masterminding this whole operation not to mention Christmas. We do the New Year with my aforementioned mother in law, Lilian in Wisbech and her and my wife’s rellies, Valerie,Veronica,Gary,.... plus the ‘young’ Joan (84), Lilian’s lifelong friend from her working days. And off to Bristol to join the Marco Polo. Oops, last minute email, the ship couldn’t make the tides into Bristol because of bad weather in the Bay of Biscay (premonition) and so is in Southampton. Fortunately we had not booked a train but had elected for about the same price to rent a car with a one way drop off to Bristol. Quick call to Europcar and the drop off is now Southampton right next to the ship. I was inexplicably looking forward to my first sight of the Marco Polo but only glimpses were to be had as we boarded. It looks like a ship not an apartment block (a block of flats). Score another point for The Marco Polo. We were a bit worried about our last minute purchase cabin in the bilges somewhere near a huge noisy engine. We had decided that if the cabin was awful that would be a good thing as it would push us out except for sleeping. A window is a wonderful thing. Even a porthole in some way gives you that link to the outside world. We didn’t have one. We knew this. There were no upgrades available even if we paid. We actually didn’t want to pay. It is quite a jump. I would prefer to spend the money on wine and beer which were not exactly cheap (we live in France in the summers, this being a reflection of the price of wine). And then there was the gratuity which in 54 days adds up to quite a bit. As we got to know crew members along the way and experienced how hard they worked and what personal commitment they made to be there we begrudged this less and less. In fact our only begrudging came from a suspicion that perhaps gratuities were being used to supplement meagre pay. I have really no way to judge this one way or the other. Certainly it may be like the workers in the vineyard parable. Each makes a deal which works for them. There were Romanians, Ukrainians, Brits, Greeks, Portuguese, Indian and Burmese. Captain Morais was from Mozambique. It was a happy crew. The cabin was OK; Clean, smart, touch of Deco; it was internal and very central. No window but everything else was the same as a smaller outside cabin. The central location served us well through the Bay of Biscay where the forward cabins had a tendency to levitate you from your bunk. We would have liked a double bed but for the very few rough nights bunks were perhaps best. Meals are a large part of not just cruises but life. Cultures are built around food, wine, music and tea. There is a bit of an expectation on cruises of good food. Some lines are renowned for their food. I can’t say that Marco Polo culture is built around food. It is much more built around a cohesive experience that has adventure and experience and indeed learning as central themes. However the food is adequate always, exceptional occasionally and always served with great alacrity and humour by staff who go the extra mile and engage as true participants in your cruise experience. There are various restaurants and bars scattered around the boat but in general there was a formal dinning room with super efficient table service and a bistro with canteen type service but immediate back deck access. The back deck was where the heart of the boat resided in the warmer climes. We typically took our breakfasts in the bistro and on the back deck. Lunches we went to the dinning room where seating was as arrival and so a new table of people was an every day event until the very end of the cruise; at 54 days there were still many people that we never recalled ever seeing before. Suppers we took at Table 5 with our waiters Heine and Aung from Burma and our wine waiter Olga from Romania. At first I thought that a more diverse table group could not be found and then I realized that we are all retired Anglos and so the diversity was just within that culture. As a Canadian I notice things about Brit culture that are not the same as in other cultures. I knew a German who had hitchhiked with a Brit for a while and confessed to being very confused at first. As Germans get to know you they become more polite whereas with Brits the opposite is true. It seems that nobody could resist the opportunity to wind someone up. Occasionally it backfired as in our neighbouring table but although much winding up was done at our table we all were committed to having a good time and it was all taken in stride. Our table mates: Peter knows absolutely everything about any rail line in the world. Linda his charming chattery wife was delightful in her projected naiviety. Ray, the retired police firearms and diving expert, great Somerset accent and his dynamic wife Maggie were from of all places Midsummer Norton. And George and Pam from a neighbouring table joined us when their table mates never showed and two of ours likewise. Often well primed by supper time they were totally committed to enjoying every moment of their lives. These our tablemates (spell check just corrected this to ‘stablemates’. Who knows which is closer to the truth) provided lots of entertainment and I hope we returned the favour. The voyage had 17 stops, crossed the Equator twice and crossed more than 100 degrees of Latitude. From Rio to the Falklands the stops were what most people had come for. Several people were making what amounted to pilgrimages. To the Falklands or to the Welsh communities of Argentina. One poor chap was going to the Falklands but died in Rio before getting there. The stops were great. To suddenly be in Rio or Monte Video was definitely magical but of course way too brief. Ushuaia the most southern town in the world, jump off for Antarctica. Natal, Brazil a holiday town of sand dunes and beaches. Madeira where Brits holidayed from Victorian times was absolutely delightful. We rode the wicker toboggans down from Monte. A ride not to be missed. All in all the voyage had so much going for it you would have to be near death not to appreciate it. But then again I did joke to my daughter that at each stop we brought on fresh vegetables and dropped off the dead. I think the 54 days led to the interesting dynamic that evolved and changed as time went by. There was definitely a period when everyone seemed to be wingeing about something. It could be the iceberg lettuce, the pasta or the books in the library. But it passed. There were lectures and shows and dancing and crafts and bridge etc. The lectures were about the countries we visited and the wildlife to be encountered. Clive Leatherdalde a Phd in Saudi history and politics prepared great talks on the politics and history of each country. His history of the Falklands was especially interesting as so many of the Brits had some connection or opinion about the conflict with Argentina. In fact several people were outraged by his use of the Argentinian name Las Malvinas alongside the British name. The history has no clear claim to ownership and in fact the UK would really like to give it to Argentina and was on its way to doing that when the Generals invaded to score some political points. Maggie Thatcher needed some points too and we know how that worked out. So now the Brits have to keep them. One day I was looking down on the back deck with many tables of people, chatting, drinking, reading, knitting, etc. A thought suddenly jumped into my head ‘What a waste. All that experience, knowledge and talent not being used’. The World is going through a huge shift in climate and economics and needs all the help it can get. Then I thought that old white guys are often blamed for the problem, (perhaps correctly) so who wants our opinion anyway. Then I thought of the Elders project of Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel and Madela et al. Perhaps a social network, a think tank open to Marco Polo voyageurs dedicated to moving global ideas forward. My favourite thing to do was to sit down with someone and ask them “What’s your best story?” As you can imagine there were many great tales. At times a 54 day voyage seems like this is it forever. But for us it eventually ended and we are back in Canada for a few months. Quite a few people stayed on board for the Caribbean cruise which says a lot for the culture of the company and the ship. So fare you well Marco Polo. A classic ship with an engaging ambiance. Read Less
56 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
18 March 2016 South American Treasures 5 January to 28 February 2016 M S Marco Polo Here are some comments and observations regarding our cruise that relate to our experiences. I have Maritime qualifications and my wife has ... Read More
18 March 2016 South American Treasures 5 January to 28 February 2016 M S Marco Polo Here are some comments and observations regarding our cruise that relate to our experiences. I have Maritime qualifications and my wife has catering qualifications and has worked in the catering and Service industry and as a matter of course, we observe people and systems. This is an independent observation; we have no connection with Cruise and Maritime, its employees or subsidiaries. When making comment on things that have not gone to plan, I have taken into account that all staff are human and susceptible to making errors. In this, it is not the errors or omissions that occur – it is how they are resolved that is important. Having been on the Canada Cruise last September, we now have something on Marco Polo to compare with. Summary First of all we wish to thank Cruise and Maritime (C&M) for a wonderful cruise. The whole package exceeded expectations, and the itinerary was superb – a truly memorable cruise for which we would consider Cruise and Maritime as our first choice next time. We also had the opportunity to catch up with some friends and make new ones, and we had a very happy crowd with us. We enjoyed the company of some very interesting and kind people, for which we thank them all. General observations I have to say that perhaps the highest criticism would be of some of the passengers, and it would be fair to say that contained within that number of people on board, there would be two murderers, a ram raider and a gas welder so to speak. In other words, there will be a fair selection of society. Those who engaged in rudeness and the silly disputes in the theatre over seating, we could avoid or at the very least ignore. We did not like the rudeness shown to staff including the unwarranted and very public verbal attack on one if the Chefs. For some people, this cruise was too long, and we suspect that some of the trouble could be assigned to those on a drinks package who were possibly getting their money’s worth. While we could avoid these people, the staff could not, and we noted that they dealt with situations in a timely and correct manner. Bristol Unfortunately, at the start of the cruise, due to bad weather the Marco Polo was unable to make the Bristol departure so we were bussed to Southampton. This was not without incident as road traffic caused some delays. However our experience, and the experience of those at our table was that C&M handled this most efficiently. There were plenty of staff on hand at Bristol and despite the complications involved in transporting a large quantity of people at short notice, they did well. Reception I had occasion to make enquiries and to seek advice and assistance from most of the members of the Desk. It would be unfair to single out any one individual for comment, but as front line staff, I can say that they all did fulfil their role. They were very kind, polite, helpful, business like and forthright. Well done. Cabin and Steward On board we found most of the staff that we knew were still in place, and they made us most welcomed. Again, the standard of cleanliness was very high and our cabin was very promptly turned around by our very efficient Steward. Any small items requiring attention by the maintenance staff were dealt with at short notice and we were well pleased with the Service. We would hope that Yuri will continue in employment as we found him to work at a high rate, and to an exceptionally high standard. Well done. Cleanliness During the voyage we saw that carpets in the corridors were shampooed on various occasions. In addition to this, there was a constant regime of hoovering and on one occasion, cleaning of the walls and ceilings. We also saw that the regular cleaning to the stair towers included cleaning by a toothbrush thus ensuring that every crevice was attended to. The Bistro also had the carpet treatment during the voyage. Once again, the hand sanitization regime at the entrances to the Bistro and restaurant was welcomed, and the Matre D’s ensured that this was attended to. External cleaning was also carried out, usually early in the morning with an ongoing maintenance schedule for external woodwork. Again, well done. Entertainment We were particularly interested in the on board entertainment on Marco Polo. For the Canada voyage we had Richard Sykes as Cruise Director who was a one man show on his own. We understand that Richard has quite a large following and with good reason, and we still maintain that his qualities as a performer are hard to beat. Following Richard would be difficult for anyone, but Ross the new Cruise Director and his Deputy rose to the challenge and we were not disappointed. He put his heart and soul into the entertainment and worked hard. In the shows that we attended, Katy was brought forward (since her broken leg incident) and she is a little star. We also enjoyed some thoroughly good entertainment with him and the boys and girls. There was a different line up with new faces for the shows which worked very well. Katy seemed to have been given more of a role as lead singer and within the new group was another excellent female singer. Overall, from the shows that we saw, we considered that the new line up and entertainment was better than the Canada Cruise. Rob is coming into his own and we noticed that he was at ease on this cruise and was working hard on some new material. We understand that Ross has now moved on and Katy is now Deputy Cruise Director – and well deserved. Well done. Captain Morais deserves a special thank you. He was always pleasant and took part in the judging and activities organised by Russ. He was a damn good sport and everyone loved it. Activities and lectures There was a wide ranging Programme to cater for varying tastes and now some comment on the ones that we know about. Creative writing, Hilary Green sadly had to go ashore due to bereavement and a facilitator Pauline carried on. It was a success, a really good crowd and everyone enjoyed it. Dr Clive Leatherdale’s series of lectures was first class. Clive is a ‘must have’ for any cruise. His highly informative lectures on the history and geopolitics of the countries were visiting were delivered in an easy and gracious style. He enriched our travel experience and a measure of his popularity was that in just about every lecture, it was standing room only (with an argument over the seating on one occasion!) Clive was always approachable and available for discussion in his off duty times. Well done. Book this man again. Sue Walsh’s well attended lectures on birds and sea life had improved since the Canada Cruise (and she was good on that one too!) Very informative and entertaining, with a touch of her own style that was welcoming. Indeed, Sue and the bird watching group were to be found most days on deck giving a running commentary, or advice regarding wildlife. Photography, again a lecturer on photography is another ‘must have’ as most people want to get the best out of their cameras. John Riley had an informal style and covered the subject from a lower level than most. I welcomed his approach as I am at the lower level and enjoyed his presentations. Shore excursions We booked a few excursions this time. Having never been to South America, we were not too keen to do our own thing until we got the measure of it. All the excursions we booked were good value for money and well organised. They were a fulfilling experience. Again, a word about Susan the Excursions Director and her new assistant. Susan in an absolute star in this job, and a trouper to boot. Having contracted the bug going around and losing her voice, she continued unabated for some time with some difficulty to provide service. Once again, well done, just the warm and bubbly person for this job, and long may she continue to be employed on board. Her assistant is a star was well and they were always available to exchange the time of day and to answer the numerous queries. Venues We booked the cruise giving regard to the places on the itinerary, and we were certainly not disappointed. Apart from Rio Grande that was closed and really not worth the bother, all the places had something to offer. Our favourite place was Montevideo, and we would have liked two days there. We would have foregone Ileus and Rio Grande for this. Waldorf Restaurant We heard a few complaints voiced about the catering during our voyage. We normally disregard third party comment, as taking into account the length of the voyage and the wide number of individual tastes this is not surprising. However, there was an issue surrounding the beef being tough and some of the steaks. Firstly, when queries were raised about meals, in our experience they were changed immediately and would have been changed again if required, and the whole thing was focussed around the customer. Certainly, both the Matre D’s had a grip on the running of the Waldorf and ensured that it ran well, and we noticed that the Bistro and rear deck eating area was observed by them. Regarding the beef, we were of the opinion that this was due to the quality of beef being supplied (as on the Canada voyage) and this was changed during the voyage. In general, all the steaks (as far as we could see) were delivered well done, and in one case – tough. I did however have one that was excellent. I understand that C&M are advertising in the American market, and if this is so, I would suggest that the steak issue is resolved as they will know the standard expected by American customers. We purchased a wine package but did not rate this good value. We will not be doing this again and certainly, if we considered one in the future, we would welcome the opportunity to taste the wine before purchasing. It seemed to us that the wine included in the package was of ‘budget’ quality. Towards the end of the cruise, various small things like coffee sachets, honey and the like ran out, this should not have happened. These minor things are very important. On our table we had Elvis and Zee as Stewards, with Alla as wine waitress. We received a high standard of service from them all and they are to be commended. It was good to see that Boyan is now a Steward with a table in his own right, and no review would be complete without giving credit again to Wine Waitress Valentina who provided excellent service, and we would hope that she will continue to employed on board for some time in the future. The two Bar Stewards we were most impressed with are Sandra and I think Maja her name is, who mostly worked the after deck. In general, we can say that once again, we were impressed by how hard the staff worked and we would be happy to recommend them for employment anywhere within their disciplines. It seems strange but the majority of the Stewards who attended to us were female for some reason - it just worked that way. In this I would not denigrate the male stewards who were also observed to be working well. It was interesting to learn that amongst the Stewards there was a Vetinary and an Architect, they are interesting people from a range of backgrounds. Disembarkation At arrival at Bristol on the Sunday, we were faced with dubious taxi availability. Suspecting that there might be a delay, we had booked our train home for the afternoon, however we are sure a few people missed their connections that had not realised that delays would be incurred. We would have welcomed (and paid for) a shuttle bus to take us to the Station, and perhaps this something that C&M could look at for the future? Conclusion The voyage did what it said on the tin, and more. We do not go for the large sea going ‘blocks of flats’, or a cruise with a Class hierarchy. The cruise was good value for money and we would book Marco Polo again. Once more, when the cocktail parties for previous customers was feature, it was noticeable that the theatre was nearly filled. This is a true mark of customer satisfaction when so many people are loyal to the Company and repeatedly book again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Room 9179 deck 7 this room was a good size with plenty of wardrobe space.Draw backs 2 lights over one side of bed can not see T.V if in bed near wall walking into room like walking on rice crisppie's .All 3 walls you can hear your ... Read More
Room 9179 deck 7 this room was a good size with plenty of wardrobe space.Draw backs 2 lights over one side of bed can not see T.V if in bed near wall walking into room like walking on rice crisppie's .All 3 walls you can hear your neighbours and in a bad storm the noise is bloody awful. The shower room bled into the other room so always had wet feet.......lol The room steward Alfred Cardozo was fantastic so tip him well. The ship was built in 1985 had a refurbishment 2 years ago but still looked tired and old like a bag of rusty nails The funnel stack chucked out black soot all over the back deck so be aware of white shirts getting black.The stair risers were 2 steep and uneven and we appeared to have leaks everywhere blowers on the go all the time I played table tennis days at sea the table one side had no feet rusting and falling apart the bats and balls had Costa cruise's on them. The Library was a complete waste of time books so old came from the ark and a complete mess. Kensington Restaurant table 102 both stewards were good but English were poor so explaining what was on menu to us was limited but they tried. The food was not a good standard and my partner lived of salmon most of the trip it seems they put everything in the mixer and hope it come's out the right colour mainly on the sweet selection came as solid blocks in different colours. The Chefs were mainly Asian if you wanted steak you had to pay £22 for surf and turf what a con.There speciality restaurant was in the Waldorf same restaurant as other clients but with a glass wall but felt like you were with everybody else This cost a extra £40.Afternoon tea bloody awful flat scones coleslaw sandwiches and snacks after dinner deep fried everything, But have to say if you like pitza in the Bistro was very good 3 types and garlic bread very good The excursions were good but some a bit pricey and some were the same but worded a bit different Jungle walk Forest walk same thing another con some ppl were transported to a beach costing £24 for a 10 min ride another con The entertainment team put there all into everything and were well received by all we had 3 acts brought on through a 6 week cruise not very good for such a long journey The guest lectures Louse Bonner and Param Sandhu were both excellent If you liked quiz's and the Ukulele and bridge u would love it some came with a supplement to cover cost We did have a lot of smokers on board and most of the staff smoked and seemed to take over a lot of the outside decks to everybody's annoyance. The ship seemed to be tilted to one-side nearly all of the cruise. when we finally got to the ports in the Amazon we were offloaded via gangplanks on wooden pallets ppl were banging there head and tripping over wood Health and Safety thrown out of the window. I know this was not a expensive cruise for all but some did spend over £7000 if i had i would have blown a fuse. As for the Captain his daily update was drab and boring when u did see him he had a cigarette in his hand and most of his crew did not smile.Will not sail again with this company CMV Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in ... Read More
Unfortunately Magellan isn't much better than Marco Polo. The seating on Deck 10 around the pool resembled a works cafeteria and was very uncomfortable. The food... I'll pass on because where do I start. There is no heating in the cabins which was awful considering we sailed out of Tilbury in the sea of winter. Now smokers beware every time the ship bunkers they stop smoking on the open decks but bunkering can take 8 hours and they won't tell us in advance. I have travelled on nearly every ship that leaves Southampton and there is no one else that imposes that including Fred Olsen whose ships are no bigger than Magellan. They will only let you buy cigarettes in their shop but you can't have them until the last night of the cruise. My friends and I booked the world cruise for 5 January 2017 and have just read in the booklet "please note that any alcohol and cigarettes purchased ashore will be kept in a safe lock up and returned to you on the night prior to your fine destination". In other words you can only buy from their bars for the duration of 4 months. The fact they don't have your brand is tough luck and of course they ran out of the more popular brands in February. I rang today to be told it is down to the customs officials in other countries... what a croc... they only have a problem if you bring cigarettes or contraband ashore, not if you bring them onto a ship that is in fact cruising in international waters. Cruise & Maritime are holding you to ransom over having to make your purchases on board at their inflated prices. If you are thinking of travelling on Cruise & Maritime I urge you to reconsider. They are dangling 2 for 1 deals which look very appealing but the Amazon cruise was full of pax who, having bought the drinks package, were determined to get their monies worth and were roaring drunk every night. One particular alcoholic actually bent over his chair, was sick all over the floor, and promptly stayed where he was and carried on drinking!!! A majority of those on deck were Irish and we were subjected to shanty singalongs nearly every night. It's all very well dropping prices but then you cannot control the calibre of guest that comes on. It was like a booze cruise... but for 6 weeks! Also there are no fridges in the cabin. I only drink soda and I couldn't get a cold drink until the bars opened at 9.00am. They wanted to put my medication in their fridge which meant if you needed them in the night you had to get up, get dressed, and go to reception. We were hoping for good things in the refit in December but find the only difference is to Scotts Bar which is being changed into a themed British style pub called Scott's Tavern & Nightclub. We were promised a launderette but this is now not happening. Instead C&M have offered us a free fortnightly 'laundry bag' but that is only for people on the whole world cruise sector. The ports of Oranjestad, Aruba and Acapulco Mexico have been shortened. Our stop in Rarotonga has been cancelled. Our stop at Jakarta has been cancelled and because they have changed the Suez transit times we now lose our stop at Piraeus. I don't want an extended two day stop in Safaga which is only beneficial to their tours office selling spaces to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I chose this cruise because of the port stops. Because we are at sea for 4 months it doesn't give the cruise line a right to hold us to ransom over everything they want to enforce. They are emptying the pools at every port, once again this is the only cruise line that does this. If you want to stay on board you can't swim!! On the Amazon transit we were without the pool for 8 days, that in temperatures upto 105 degrees. I don't want to go on this cruise but I wasn't allowed to cancel without huge canx charges and the point is that some of this information has only just been released. i.e we knew about visas to India and Australia but now have just been told that we need them in Indonesia, Vietnam, Maldives, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan and although they are done for you on the ship there are a load more fees to pay, monies we didn't know about in advance. The only thing worth the money was the entertainment staff who worked themselves to the bone (they didn't have a choice). We had the Nora virus onboard (which has happened on every C&M ship I've ever been on and the Ents team had to do deep clean duty. They had to be up and cleaning at 7.00am even though some hadn't finished work until 1.00am Anyone who has mobility issues take heed if you haven't book a adapted cabin you cannot bring a scooter or any mobility aid on board. If you turn up at Tilbury with one you will be denied boarding. Cruise & Maritime have gone a step too far. I thought I was booking an exotic holiday not a stay in a detention camp. They seem to have forgotten that the British still have freedom of speech and freedom of choice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Advertised as a £1700 cruise for 1/2 price. However is was a terrible cruise no minus amount of money was worth it. The staff & C &M were awfully rude and full of their own importance. It's taken them appx 1 year to respond ... Read More
Advertised as a £1700 cruise for 1/2 price. However is was a terrible cruise no minus amount of money was worth it. The staff & C &M were awfully rude and full of their own importance. It's taken them appx 1 year to respond to the complaints I made. The food was "awful" during the day. Thank God for the talents of the evening chefs it made the trip bearable as did the people we met on the cruise, but we all had the opinion "AWFUL" Then the cheeky people when I asked to be removed from their data base didn't even say "I'm sorry you had a bad experience" When I complained of the spell of diesel in our jailcell they responded it was only whilst the ship or tugboat was in anchor...they were wrong they weren't the ones suffering, they weren't entitled to an opinion until they lived as we did for 11 days. It used to be an old Russian cruiser ship, it still has all the charm of the gulag Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
Having read the glowing reviews on Marco Polo's Amazon 6 week cruise, I thought I should redress the balance. We have cruised for the last 12 years on various ships, large and small, expensive and cheap, and in all weathers. Never ... Read More
Having read the glowing reviews on Marco Polo's Amazon 6 week cruise, I thought I should redress the balance. We have cruised for the last 12 years on various ships, large and small, expensive and cheap, and in all weathers. Never have we experienced a trip like our 42 night Amazon, Caribbean and Azores cruise on Marco Polo. We had read the reviews before we booked, and were fully aware of the ship's shortcomings. There was no launderette! The ship was old with no balconies. The bath towels were small and very thin. There was no port lecturer, so no help for the independents. Other lecturers were rostered, but were of a very poor quality. To have an "expert" turning his back to his audience and reading his notes from the screen muttering to himself, does not inspire confidence in the veracity of his lecture or his preparation. Yes! The show lounge was basic.All that was acceptable. But to have only song/dance entertainment for all 42 nights, except for 1 comedy night, 2 magic nights and the odd (very odd!) film, was monotonous, to say the least.The show team were very good and did their best, some of the singing was excellent, but to show G rated films or children's animated ones (Rapunzel - really?) left many passengers yawning. Norovirus was an issue. Boy! Did the staff work hard, washing and cleaning, but they were let down by poor on board management. The various maitre'd's seemed unconcerned as to passengers' comforts/complaints, or pleas to put an extra member of staff behind the counter to speed up the compulsory serving. "Nothing I can do" was the standard answer. To have only 1 coffee station open for the 3 weeks of the virus led to huge queues (2 others were left unattended), and to shut the cold water station completely, with temperatures of 30C+ was sheer madness. After a week of complaints this was finally rectified. The food served in the main restaurant was poor. Lots of courses but spoiled by usually only being luke-warm. Our waiter always offered to take it back but by then it was already an hour into the meal, and the extra wait was not worth it! Before norovirus we could vote with our feet and eat in the self service restaurant, but when that closed, all was lost. Added to which, after 2 or 3 weeks the food menu was re-cycled. No new dishes, same bland food, inedible vegetables, and fancy titles to deserts, which the waiters could not explain. Further, towards the end of the trip, some of the fruit ran out - pineapples, bananas and kiwi fruit were at a premium - marmalade/fruit jam was missing, and many of the pats of butter were black and rancid, vegetables were in short supply, and individual breakfast cereals were finished. Portions seemed to get progressively smaller. Almost without exception the "minions" were superb, always smiling, always a friendly word or a joke, all done in a second language of course. On-board management were a different calibre, scant people skills and towing the party line. As with many other organisations, there was little effort to tell us what was happening, apart from daily broadcasts haranguing us for promoting/prolonging norovirus. Nothing was said about the passenger killed, no apology for putting us in that situation (rumour had it that the captain had been warned not to leave the Azores, but had ignored the advice due to the schedule of turn round in Tilbury). One of the entertainment team did a tribute to our lost colleague, but nothing was broadcast. In summary, the Marco Polo is not suited for trips of more than 3 weeks, needs a thorough overhaul/upgrade, and some of the senior officers need a course in people and organisational skills. (Yes Captain, you as well.) A bitter conclusion to a bumpy cruise.   Read Less
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