1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Cruise & Maritime Voyages
  4. Cruise & Maritime Voyages Cruise Reviews
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had never sailed CMV before but was seduced by the price, not having to go to Southampton and the option of the Sicily Isles, something on my 80yr old mother’s bucket list. However, the first announcement on board was the cancellation ... Read More
We had never sailed CMV before but was seduced by the price, not having to go to Southampton and the option of the Sicily Isles, something on my 80yr old mother’s bucket list. However, the first announcement on board was the cancellation of the Sicily Isles due to predicted bad weather, a frequent occurrence we were later told. The pre-cruise info was fine except when I tried to book port parking too close to departure I was told it’s too late and no we can’t suggest an alternative! Embarkation was fine. Even though I had ticked the box to say we were bringing a wheelchair, apparently you need a wheelchair users cabin which is different to a disabled cabin. So we had to pay to upgrade, luckily there was one or I was told to cancel our cruise! The cabin was a good size for 3 however I don’t know if it was any bigger than a standard outside, for the extra £80.00. The ship is 34 yrs old and on it’s 3rd life but the decor is fine, it’s not like a super new boat but perfectly acceptable except the cabin window which was very worn and you couldn't see that much out of it. Being older I’m not sure if the ship has stabilisers but you could certainly feel her roll about, only in moderate seas. The food was fine, a little limited in Raffles and the lack of tables there was woeful. The shows were fine, they pale if you have seen them on Cunard for example, but perfectly acceptable for a short cruise. The staff helpfulness and friendliness was mixed about 50:50 I would say. HOWEVER, my biggest grumble and the one which spoilt the cruise for us was the almost total lack of disability awareness. No preplanning for wheelchair users, no help with tables in buffet, none reserved for wheelchairs, terrible gang planks- seriously frightened my mother, poor lifeboat drill with no clue what to do with wheelchair in the event of a problem. Terrible trenches at doorways, causing wheelchair to repeatedly get stuck, crew no apparent training on disability issues. I suggest CMV get disability awareness training ASAP. Would I sail Magellan again - no, would I cruise CMV again - very unlikely, would I recommend CMV to friends- would let them make up their mind based on my thoughts. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise ... Read More
I am writing this review on the last “at sea” day on a 8 night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords on the CMV Columbus in August 2019. For any readers contemplating this cruise, the main issue you should be aware of is that this cruise is a floating care home. The average age of a guest is well into their 70’s and the oldest passenger I came across was an astonishing 98! I have never seen so many strollers, walking frames, walking sticks, mobility scooters and wheel chairs in all my life! At age 62 I must be in the 5% of guests under the age of 65. I have nothing whatsoever against this passenger profile, except that I really do not want to be a part of it! Spending 8 nights having to battle through the maze of associated mobility aids and having to suffer the significant inconvenience to more able-bodied passengers which this presents, is not a holiday for me – it’s just a hassle. If you fit with this profile I am sure you will enjoy yourself. The ship itself holds 1400 passengers, and has been rebranded several times in its history as it moved between owners and refits. The overall quality of finish is average to good, and the style of décor reflects its niche in the market for elderly Brits wanting to be away from home but in familiar surroundings. Although a shame that CMV has decided for some reason that plastic and silk imitation plants and trees are more pleasing than real ones, resulting in a rather tacky funeral feel to the Taverner’s bar and a tired wilting appearance to the potted trees in Connexions. Cabins are nice and well maintained, if not a little dated in furnishings. The rest of the ship flows around deck 7 with its British bar (traditional London style) and the more modern Connexions bar (which appears to have been modelled on a conservatory). You will also find the main Waterfront restaurant on this deck. The other eatery is a self-service buffet style and is on deck 12. The best outdoor bar is the Oasis bar, which was surprisingly pleasant with its panoramic view and comfy sunbeds. As far as the food is concerned, the evening dinner on the Waterfront restaurant is good (but not great) in terms of selection and quality. I would recommend the 2nd sitting, as this allows more time before having to change, a 1st sitting in the theatre and plenty of time afterwards to relax in the bars. The self-service restaurant is to be avoided at all costs. The food is dismal, the atmosphere chaotic and the seating arrangements far too limited and uncomfortable for the number of guests (and walking aids!) trying to occupy them. In short it is a cattle market of stress inducing trauma. Think about your blood pressure and avoid this place like the plague. Far better to spend your time enjoying a great coffee in the coffee shop by the pool area. The best coffee I have ever tasted. Drinks prices on board are very reasonable indeed. £3.30 for a pint of Fosters, a 4cl Gordon’s gin at £3.60 and alcoholic cocktails around £4.80. Having said that CMV offer a range of pre-paid inclusive drink packages and these offer exceptional value in my view. Dress on board is casual and informal, with appropriate minimum standards in the indoor bars and lounges in the evening. There were 2 formal nights during the cruise. It’s always a good measure of your fellow passengers to observe their interpretation of “formal”. I would estimate that 40% were traditional “black tie” enthusiasts, and a further 30% made some sort of effort (however marginal) to smarten themselves up. The remaining 30%? – well I think the less said, the better! The staff on board vary considerably. Our cabin steward was fantastic, friendly, personal and did a really good job at keeping the cabin clean and tidy. The restaurant staff were generally efficient and on the whole appeared to enjoy their jobs. With a couple of exceptions, all of the bar staff were as miserable as sin, without a smile for anyone, and with the ability only to communicate in grunts (if at all). Not once in a whole week were we approached at our table in the bars and asked if we wanted to order a drink. We had to attract someone’s attention (which on occasion would be successful, but more usually resulted in total avoidance) or queue at the bar and get our own drink (eventually, and after having to endure surly and indifferent “service”) Shore excisions were, as usual, overpriced, but reasonable well organised. Check before you book to see if you can make your own arrangements to see the “ attractions” – we did and saved ourself at least 30% on the CMV cost. The evening entertainment was disappointing. For starters the Palladium theatre is small with awful sight lines of the stage. Unless you bag a seat at least 30 minutes prior to showtime you can forget seeing at least half of the stage. The resident entertainment dancers/singers, can’t. That is to say they try hard, but there is only one guy and one girl who came even remotely close to being able to sing in tune. The rest would get immediate “red crosses and a loud buzzer” from Simon Cowell. Dancing was slightly better, but production values and variety were very poor. This was a major let-down as we have been used to very professional and talented entertainers on other cruises. From the 7 nights we had a comedian (the same one) for 2 nights, a magician (the ships entertainment director) for 1 night and the dancers/singers for the remainder. The comedian was not bad, although should really have retired his act some time ago. The magician was just plain embarrassing. So overall an exceptionally average cruise, not helped by the clientele, the ships facilities and the crew. If a British “flavoured” floating care home is your thing, with a heady mix of cheap drinks, bingo, quizzes, and “end of the pier” entertainment - then you should definitely go for it. If not – you should save your money for an alternative cruise. You may need to pay a little more, but it will be money well spent. It was good to try CMV, but once is enough. At least until I am 80! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Stunning place to visit Weather was fantastic Ship, very tired needs to retire as well do some staff No regrets going. But definitely won’t cruise again on this ship Service in outside bars very slow ( we waited 3 hours ... Read More
Stunning place to visit Weather was fantastic Ship, very tired needs to retire as well do some staff No regrets going. But definitely won’t cruise again on this ship Service in outside bars very slow ( we waited 3 hours before being attended to ) we were told if not happy move to an area that has waiters, one night asked for surf and turf for dinner 24 hours in advance was told no as it was a formal night Choice of foods not great Invited to a cocktail party ! Without any cocktails. Beer ,wine ,orange juice ! We done our own thing at the ports out of the 4 Bergen I didn’t enjoy The other 3 had better scenery very quiet and piecefull Entertainment very limited but the night shows were very good the dancers and singers work very hard VIP drinks package was well worth the money We met some lovely people glad we have done the fjords Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I chose a 2 night cruise to see what the Marco Polo was like as I was planning to go on a much longer cruise (78 nights) and was unsure if I would enjoy life on this rather old and small ship for that length of time. I have been on larger ... Read More
I chose a 2 night cruise to see what the Marco Polo was like as I was planning to go on a much longer cruise (78 nights) and was unsure if I would enjoy life on this rather old and small ship for that length of time. I have been on larger ships for long voyages before. Having read various reviews I was anxious to find out if they were accurate or not. On the whole I found them a good guide to the ship. Reasonably OK for a short voyage but not for any longer. The main reasons for this are that the cabins lack virtually any sound proofing. I heard every word of the phone call that my next door neighbour was making. I was in a premium ocean view cabin. I could also hear music from the entertainment lounge in the evenings. The buffet got very crowded and it was very difficult to find a seat or a table. At times it was crowded with people queuing for food, people trying to go out to the pool deck and people coming in or just passing through. Perhaps the best term would be a scrum. The public areas were mainly only on one deck so no real area for a quiet few hours, activities were also held in these areas. The gym was very small and some of the equipment was out of order. The entertainment lounge looked old and tired and it appeared that if you didnt sit in the front row you would have not seen very much. All these things would not have made an enjoyable long trip with a lot of sea days. I gave the trip a 3 star mainly because the service was good, food OK and a shuttle bus was provided for the port stop, but the ship was really not up to standard for today's cruising Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
The ship was spotless, and furnishings. Please with the size of our inside cabin, sufficient storage space. Having done a lot of cruises with different cruise lines we found the staff on this ship very abrupt, up to the point of being ... Read More
The ship was spotless, and furnishings. Please with the size of our inside cabin, sufficient storage space. Having done a lot of cruises with different cruise lines we found the staff on this ship very abrupt, up to the point of being rude, we had table 40 in Kensington restaurant our waiter had a dont care attitude. The food could of been a lot better you didn’t seem to have a lot of choice.you had to wait a long time for your meals but that’s not unusual. We did the steak speciality meal ( don’t waste your money) it was awfull, they had people walking through with swimwear on not being stopped whilst you were having your meal. Security should of been a lot better we came back on ship once and was not searched. You had to wait a very long time to get a drink in the bars sometimes up to 30mins I think three was a shortage of staff. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are regular cruisers and have just returned from a 2 week cruise to the Baltic & St Petersburg on the CMV Columbus. We chose the cruise because of the itinery and the price. It is the first time we've cruised with CMV. The ... Read More
We are regular cruisers and have just returned from a 2 week cruise to the Baltic & St Petersburg on the CMV Columbus. We chose the cruise because of the itinery and the price. It is the first time we've cruised with CMV. The pre cruise communication and organisation at the port on departure was excellent. The ship was clean with all the basic facilites you need on a ship. The cabin was bigger than onther basic inside cabins we've had before and had lots of storage space for a 2 week trip. The quality of food in the mani restaurant we thought was great and very well presented.The fixed sitting system was fine but the 5.45pm-6.15pm entry window for 1st sitting was early. We tried both the speciality restaurants which we also found to be excellent. We had the VIP package so the restaurants were discounted by 50%. This discount made them good value. We didn't try the Chef's Table as we were told the 50% discont didn't apply to this for some reason. The range of drinks available within the VIP package was good for cocktails & beers. Included in the package were the "signature wines". However this was only 4 white wines, there were reds aswell. Only 1 of these being a chardanney which my wife felt was very limited. There were shows evry night in the show lounge but these we found to be very disappointing in quality. When compared to what we experienced on Thomson, P and O & Royal Carribean felt rather amateurish. The show lounge was also very small with poor views unless you were prepared to arrive 60 minutes ahed of show time to bag the front row central seats. This was a major disappointment. Like all ships we've been on the Columbus had a self service restaurant. Compared to other ships of a similar size/ capacity it was small with a limited range of each day. Our teenagers often found it difficult to find something to eat. Only on 1 day of the 14 were they able to get chips from here at lunch. You may view this as a positive. The biggest issue though was the fact that it was always extremely difficult and often impossible to get a seat, especially at breakfast. If you were able to get one it was then a challenge to get cutlery. This was largely due to the limited opening times. Breakfast regularly ran 7.00am-9.30am. The lasted it was on until was 10am. There was no chance of a lie in if you wanted breakfast. We didn't feel that the timings had passengers at the heart of planning. We were all on holiday after all. The self service restaurant closed at 9.pm. From here there was no food available until breakfast, with the exception of a tray of canapeas brought round to bars by waiters in the style of a cocktail party. This lack of late night food would be a significant issue for many based on how popular the late night food offer has been on other ships. The ship offered a wide range of excersions at each port. The destinations services was accurately called Excersion Services. There were no port maps available and they only wanted to give info on the ships excursions. We found these to be very expensive. Eg the 2 day Grand Tour of ST Petersburg was £320 each. We booked a comparable tour with a local company (Alla Tours, who were excellent) which saved us £780 in total for a group of 6. On the final day of the trip poor weather resulted in us being 3.5 hours late arriving at Tilbury. Clearly completely beyond the control of CMV and just one of those things. However, they didn't inform us of this until 10 minutes before we were all due to vacate our cabins at 7.30am. We were told that we could stay in cabins until 9.30am. By this time most had vacated. We returned to the cabin to find that the cabin steward, who hadn't been told about the chnge, had not surprisingly, stripped the cabin and cleaned it ready for the new arrivals. Would you have asked to use the cabin again? As we were still on the ship and disembarcation had not started by noon and with a 3 hour drive home we went up to the self service restaurant to eat before we left. Here the manager told us that service wouldn't begin until 2pm and actually said that he'd been told "We're not feeding those getting off, only those getting on". We felt this was profits over customer care. Overall we had an enjoyable cruise made so by the friendly, efficient staff and the excellent itinerary, especially St Petersburg. However, we wouldn't rush to cruise with CMV again as unlike any other companies we've sailed with it didn't feel like the customer was at the heart of the comapies philosophy. It was more a case of the customer having to conform to the CMV way. Dissappointing Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Embarkation Firstly if we ever take a cruise from Liverpool when we live near Portsmouth departing at start of school holidays, shoot us! The car drop off was easy, but we were early and it was going to get much busier, without a lot ... Read More
Embarkation Firstly if we ever take a cruise from Liverpool when we live near Portsmouth departing at start of school holidays, shoot us! The car drop off was easy, but we were early and it was going to get much busier, without a lot of space to operate in. Parking the car meant following a black minibus for about 1 mile along the main dock road, with lots of traffic lights. This was asking for trouble and sure enough being third in line, at the back meant I had to stop at lights when the others had made it through. Fortunately the driver was very observant and kind, so found somewhere to stop and wait. The trip back was uneventful and the service was excellent. My wife had waited for me in the large seating area (tent) and we had to wait to get on board until our luggage label was called (Red). As we were early, we had quite a wait, which was OK but a number of other passengers with Red labels, just walked into the queue for boarding and got away with it. We were told when we asked that we couldn't get on any earlier. We were in the tent waiting at 13:15. Red was called at 14:00. So for 45 minutes we watched the boarding procedure. Below are our observations: 1. Due to the boarding system, the room cards were handed out at a separate table. Which had up to 3 people searching through stacks of cards alphabetically as in all "M's" were in one stack but not in alphabetical order from then on as "Ma" should have been near the top but was half way down and missed first time through the stack. This was a slow process and meant the 10 people with paddles designed for linking credit cards and checking passports were constantly waiting for people. 2. Most other cruise lines integrate the card/passport checking with giving cabin cards. 3. After 15 minutes someone decided to move the table for handing out cards away from the health form table, which made absolutely no difference as they were still the bottleneck! Due to the very steep slope (and wet) leading down to the pontoon, where the ship was berthed, provision of a bus for people with walking difficulties was a great idea. Thank you. As there were 1,000 people maximum getting on board, it should have been a straightforward process. If they had to cope with 3,000 plus it would have been chaos. Clearly this was not a full time operation. Our hand luggage was not scanned when getting on the ship. We walked on with a full small suitcase and back pack. The luggage reached the cabin before we did, which was great. Maybe due to us arriving early, but that part of the process is definitely efficient. Dining The bistro for lunch has a reasonable selection, though the sugar free lemon mouse had absolutely no taste of lemon whatsoever. The layout is pretty good with space between tables. The pizzas lack a tomato base and have been there for ages. The Waldorf restaurant for dinner is very good and though the portions aren't large the food is served very quickly, the waiting staff are excellent and really work hard looking after the guests. Vegetarians get two choices for main meal which is good. Breakfast in the Waldorf is buffet and the food is alright, The orange juice is squash and it is a bit of a scrum at times. The food is what you'd expect from a buffet. If you want sit down go to the Kensington where it is better and more relaxed. The choice is excellent. Scrambled egg on toast was nice and freshly made but a tiny portion. They even do crispy bacon. Most of our breakfasts were taken here. We met the head of restaurant and chef with other guests with special dietary needs who explained they can deal with most requests, if they knew about them. The guests could get a menu for the next night and write what they wanted or changes and they would make them. They would even cook you something different if there was nothing you liked and the selection of gluten, lactose and not free products were excellent. Shows The shows are of reasonable standard, though not outstanding and the singers/dancers are OK. They do struggle with some songs and the dancers "whoop" at the end of songs which is disconcerting. The cruise director has the best singing voice and also knows how to get out a song, one of the younger singers is also good. The dancers are certainly energetic and put a lot of effort into it. If you sit upstairs down the sides of their show lounge, don't expect to be served a drink at all quickly, whereas downstairs multiple waiters are ready to serve you. On one occasion we waited 20 minutes trying to get attention from upstairs and ended up going to see one of the crew just to get a waiter to come and take my order. Then the drinks took a further 15 minutes to arrive and the show had started, so 35 minutes to get two simple drinks! An earlier attempt only took 10 minutes less! General Ship The ship is compact and bijou. Everything seems smaller and the ship itself is definitely narrower and has corridors down one side of public areas to make larger (e.g. Pub and Sinatras bar). There is no promenade, though you can get completely around the ship on deck 10 via a few doors and steps at the bow. There is also no running track, though the gym does look to be pretty good. The ship seems to roll in the slightest of swells, The North sea was about as flat as it could be 3 foot waves max) yet Magellan rolled on occasions. We've been on much larger ships in over twice the swell and had less movement, maybe it is because it is an older ship? The corridors in the cabin areas is nice and wide, enabling two sets of people to pass easily. The staff are very polite and say good morning... when they see you. Even the receptionist we dealt with over the room was always friendly and polite. The waiters are very efficient and fast with service and always very polite. We were issued with bars of soap for the cabins, but on day 10, why? Ports & Excursions The excursions are good though getting on and off the ship can be fun. The gangway height can be very low and once due to the tide it was too low and they had to resort to tenders, which seemed to cause a stir. They should have known the tide levels. Another occasion, our first tender port, one of the boats had a problem which caused significant delays, why couldn't they just get another boat ready? The excursion deck has really unhelpful opening hours, half an hour in the morning (07:30 - 08:00 - when you are having breakfast & 18:00 - 20:00 when it is first sitting for dinner!). Reception can't help. I understand it is a small ship and crew and they have multiple jobs/roles, but on all other lines we've been on the opening times are much longer. Shetland is a wonderful island group, with plenty to see and do on the main island. Strongly recommend a local guide. Ours was brilliant (Grant). We didn't realise how big the islands were. Puffins and seals were amazing to see, St Ninians beach is our idea of heaven and we'll be back. Olden was great going to the Birksdal glacier, with the ride most of the way up (Troll car). The last bit we had to walk was hard, but we'll worth it. Geiranger going to Mount Dalsniba was brilliant and the views were breath-taking, we were lucky enough to have a clear day. Our guide was excellent too. Eagles road also provided an excellent viewpoint. The Flam railway was the tour we looked forward to most, but it was badly run, just a train (the scenery was good) and a stop for mediocre waffles, jam and cream. The disembarkation from the ship took absolutely ages (over an hour). It was not organised well at all, one boat needed servicing which didn't help. The train was late both ways, and there was very little to do at Vatnahalsen after eating waffles to take up the hour and twenty minutes we had at the top. Please do not expect too much from this tour. Eidfjord is pretty but unless on an excursion very little to do (our excursion was cancelled). We went on the road train which took up an hour, from then on there is little else. Stavanger has quite a few attractions, get in early as with 3 cruise ships in it was definitely busy. Been told the oil museum is interesting. Orkney is much more commercialised than Shetland, and though there are some excellent sites, there are some that are expensive (Scara Brae). It is a lovely place and the views would have been good without the most and rain. Following on from the tender debacles, I have a question for CMV: If you have 1,200 people wanting to get off a ship and the journey, from ship to shore and back takes 30 minutes (I timed it, 10 mins each way and 5 mins for on/off the boat). How long does it take with only 3 Tenders? Assuming 60 people per boat, that is 20 boats worth and 20 boats at 30 minutes each therefore 10 hours! Fortunately not all wanted to get off, but enough did so that as the boats started at 08:15 The people with ticket B (so second non excursion group), were on a boat leaving the ship at 09:20. That is ridiculous! The actual question is, assuming you arrive at the port to go back to the boat at 14:30, there is a long queue and you get on the fifth boat out. As it was raining, how wet are you when you finally get on a tender? Answer: VERY! Therefore, how happy are you with CMV that they only put 3 tender boats on? Answer: FURIOUS! Even MSC tendering in Santorini, from a similar distance out had at least 10 tenders in the water and though they had more people to get back, it only took 5 minutes to get on a boat. To say the whole tendering scenario on Magellan is a farce is an understatement. Apparently we were told they tender boats were restricted due to the pollution they spewed out (which was large amounts and very smelly diesel). Answer get better tender boats. Disembarkation As we are travelling from Liverpool to Portsmouth we want to get an early start back. The problem is that with both of us requiring a stick, with 2 large cases a small one and a ruck sack, there is no way we can use the express service. I.e. Get yourself off the boat. We also have to recover our car from parking about a mile and a half away. We went down to excursions, who have given us black luggage labels so we can get off at 09:10 and not 10:00, which is good. The actual disembarkation process was excellent and very quick. We were called at 08:50 20 mins early, we were met by a fan to take us up to the luggage area, because of having sticks and a steep ramp. Our luggage was easily identifiable and both pieces next to each other (which is a first). The transport to where the car was parked was quick and efficient so we were off home before 09:25. Conclusions There are a number of pros and cons with Cruise and Maritime, or this cruise on Magellan in particular: PROS • Food • Service • Embarkation and disembarkation (cases there each time) • Customer Services getting on and off ship • Destinations CONS • Cabins can be noisy • Cabins have thin walls • Tendering service Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this because of the price and because of the itinerary. Not only did the cruise cover the fjords but there were stops in Dublin, Lerwick and Kirkwall. My partner had never visited Dublin and the stop in Kirkwall offered a chance ... Read More
We chose this because of the price and because of the itinerary. Not only did the cruise cover the fjords but there were stops in Dublin, Lerwick and Kirkwall. My partner had never visited Dublin and the stop in Kirkwall offered a chance to visit the Stone Age village of Skara Brae. It was unlikely that we would ever be in the vicinity again so the opportunity was one worth taking. We were conscious of the fact that CMV was at the cheap end of the market but first impressions were good. Check in at Liverpool was smooth and we found the cabin to be clean and spacious. For the first time we had fixed dining. We were wary of being 'stuck' with the same people for eleven days so requested a table of eight. Our fears were ungrounded. We all gelled well and conversation was easy throughout. The food and service in the restaurant was uniformly good. Breakfast in the buffet, although on sea days, a scramble was fine. On the one day that we were forced to have our evening meal in the buffet it was poor - my Lamb Madras was merely stewed lamb with potatoes plus a pinch of mild curry powder which was bland and tasteless. We did not explore the other eating options. Service in the bars was good. If only I could say the same for the entertainment.. Each of the three main bars had its resident act and these acts were on every night. One was a piano bar, another featured a duo singing bland versions of pop hits through the ages, whilst the third had an Irish singer who veered between Irish crowd pleasers and country classics. If this has made him sound like a pub singer then this is essentially all he was. We did attend some of the shows. The Magellan team were truly awful. The dancers were not in sync and the main female singer compensated for her inability to reach even base camp when attempting the high notes by shouting the lyrics. We made the mistake of sitting near the front for one performance and her attempts to ascend the scale actually hurt our ears! Two guest performers were booked - a very average singer and a comedian. Although his jokes, like the man himself were not in the first flush of youth he was far from the worst we've heard. One final observation on the entertainment: the rock 'n' roll tribute featured the much older cruise director serenading the young female singer with Neil Sedaka's Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen. Several passengers found this idea of the older one celebrating the girl's transition to womanhood more than a little creepy. The overall onboard experience was fine. The sea days saw sunny weather so that masked the lack of activities. We have cruised with other lines and the lack of options to fill the days seems to be an issue with all ships. We took only one organised excursion - the Flam railway. Unfortunately the train broke down so we were unable to complete the trip. We had a convoluted journey back to the boat hence our buffet meal (see above). Whilst it was accepted that CMV could not be blamed for the breakdown, we were disappointed that two days later we had heard nothing by way of an apology or refund just a reminder that the full fare would be added to our bill. When we queried this those on the excursion desk felt they had done nothing wrong and that they were 'looking into the matter'. We did eventually receive a 50% refund but customer care was sadly lacking. Several ports required tenders. The tendering was not handled well. CMV operated a scheme whereby no guests could leave the boat until all of the excursion groups had disembarked. When one of the tenders was out of action this led to long waits to leave the ship. A local boat was hired but those on excursions told of their boats being only partially full. When our ticket was called after an hour's wait the boat left with space for many more. One couple we spoke to waited for two and a half hours after collecting their ticket before they could disembark. Another passenger, who travelled frequently with CMV stated that he resented being treated like a second class citizen because he had not bought an excursion. I would cruise with CMV again. The service was fine, the itinerary well thought out, and overall it was very good value. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a good overall experience on our “Grand Fjordland Splendour” cruise on the Magellan. Overall, we believe that the cruise provided good value for money. Nevertheless, some upsetting incidents arose that could have been avoided, ... Read More
We had a good overall experience on our “Grand Fjordland Splendour” cruise on the Magellan. Overall, we believe that the cruise provided good value for money. Nevertheless, some upsetting incidents arose that could have been avoided, or much better handled, if managers had taken more care of their customers. The ports of call were good, and the excursions, though expensive, were worthwhile. We found the food and cabins perfectly adequate. The gym is good, but the library and the areas for quiet discussion and games are small. Much of the inside space is taken up by the casino, beauty salon, photograph shop and gift shop, which seem designed to make profit for the company, rather than to add much to customers’ pleasure. The singing and dancing shows in the theatre are spirited and appealing, but some singers in the bar areas are over-amplified. Cabin, restaurant and bar staff were unfailingly helpful and pleasant. By contrast, the staff on Reception can be off hand. One we encountered was actively rude. These staff need to be better managed. We had a few occasions in which we needed to speak to the Reception staff. Once we asked for a town map for a port we intended to explore on our own. There were two ladies at the desk. The unhelpful lady did not bother to look, and said that they didn’t have any. The helpful lady said, ‘I think we might have some.’ She got up, looked in a cupboard, and found a pile of town maps. Another unhelpful lady brushed aside a query about changing our dinner sitting. We asked to speak to the restaurant manger. The reception lady replied in an uninterested voice that we had to sort this out ourselves. One night the toilet flush didn’t work. Someone had pushed something down the pan and blocked the loo for several cabins. I called Reception. The lady was uninterested and said that it would be fixed in the morning. In the morning, it hadn’t been fixed. When we went to Reception to find out what had happened, one member of staff was particularly unpleasant. For example, when I asked why we hadn’t been moved to a different cabine as soon as I reported the problem, he said, ‘We have emergency cabins, but you didn’t ask for one.’ There’s a reason for that. I didn’t know they existed, and Reception didn’t tell me. After much persistence, we were allowed to speak to the customer services manager. He recognised that our enjoyment of our holiday had been reduced, and that we deserved compensation that he could not authorise himself. He undertook to write to CMV company management to set out our case, and assured us that CMV would wrtie to us after our return home. We have had no communication from CMV. Management can be slow to respond to situations that arise. Once, we returned from an excursion to find that the tide was low, and that the gangway resembled a limbo dancing pole. You couldn’t enter the ship, even by bending low. Passengers, many of whom had mobility difficulties, were having to sit on the gangway and slide down on their bottoms. Some complained that they had been injured by this. In my case, the only damage done was to my dignity. However, it was not pleasant to hear that a lady had been asked to leave her wheelchair to slide down the gangway. Only after angry passengers had voiced their complaints did management belatedly make tender boats available. This need should have been attemded to hours earlier. CMV needs to ensure that managers and staff responsibie for customer welfare treat passengers like valued guests, rather than like a bunch of nuisances. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose this because of the attractive itinerary, plus the convenience of sailing from UK port with no flights involved. As seasoned cruisers for many years ( principally with Thomson / Marella and NCL) we tried CMV for the first time ... Read More
Chose this because of the attractive itinerary, plus the convenience of sailing from UK port with no flights involved. As seasoned cruisers for many years ( principally with Thomson / Marella and NCL) we tried CMV for the first time this year. I will start with the positives:- There is a good staff to passenger ratio, and we found the service was good across all departments. The cabin (6131) was spacious and clean, and well serviced by our cabin steward on a daily basis. The food was of an acceptable quality, and well presented, and served hot. The itinerary was good, with adequate time ashore in each venue. The DISembarcation at Liverpool was very speedy, and we were on the train home in little more than an hour after disembarcation commenced. Now for the negative points. We attended the cruise terminal at Exactly the time given by CMV, Only to find that RED label had already been boarded 1/2 hour earlier, which resulted in some delay to us boarding. The boarding process struck us as being very poorly organised. The dining allocation in the Kensington restaurant, (we opted for the smaller table) was bench seats either side of the table ( 3 people each side) which was very cramped and uncomfortable. We both made the observation that this seating would be more appropriate in a Wetherspoons Pub! On the 2 venues that required tender service the wait was unacceptably long ( 3hrs. in the Scilly Isles, and one and a 1/2 hrs at Guernsey ) This obviously had a detrimental effect on our time ashore. There is considerable room for improvement here. The evening entertainment in the main show lounge was very poor by cruise ship standards. The last evening on board was a "formal" night where passengers dressed for the occasion for the advertised "Gala Dinner" This was quite a damp squib---- The only thing "Gala" about it was the baked alaska dessert. This is not what we are used to on other cruise lines in the same price bracket. To sum up, if you are looking for a no frills cruise from a uk port with no flying involved, then go for it, but there are better deals out there with other companies. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The staff were mostly lovely, helpful and willing. Though it was difficult to communicate with some as their English was poor. The trips were reasonably well organised, pity that the Scilly isles had to be omitted, sea too rough to use ... Read More
The staff were mostly lovely, helpful and willing. Though it was difficult to communicate with some as their English was poor. The trips were reasonably well organised, pity that the Scilly isles had to be omitted, sea too rough to use the tender. Food at dinner in the Waterfront restaurant was sometimes tepid, sometimes it was very difficult to find a seat in the upstairs buffet, I think most of us enjoyed the food most of the time. Wide choice in the buffet. There were few lectures can't comment as I only went to one, fell asleep during it. The talks on our destinations were mostly concerned with their excursions rather than the place itself. The public rooms were comfy and pleasant, pity the library was closed much of the time. I personally found nothing of interest in the on board shops. And the duty free was expensive. Cabins had a fridge plus tea and coffee making facilities, which was very nice. The ship appeared very clean' Evening entertainment was patchy. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked this cruise as it seemed an ideal way to visit Iceland and the Faroe Islands, something a bit different. Another bonus for us was embarkation in Dublin - no flights! We were onto the ship in 5 minutes. It was very quick ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it seemed an ideal way to visit Iceland and the Faroe Islands, something a bit different. Another bonus for us was embarkation in Dublin - no flights! We were onto the ship in 5 minutes. It was very quick indeed. Cases were at our cabin before we were, so top marks to the porters. The ship was, as we knew, an older model, but very good in most aspects except the size of our cabin which was limited in circulation space. I'm no spring chicken, and we knew the CMV demographic, but the age group on this ship was quite the oldest we've ever seen. There could only have been about 10 people under 60 and you had to feel sorry for them!! The buffet was therefore a pretty slow process, as you were constantly holding back behind less agile passengers. We thought Fred Olsen had the market cornered in respect of the nursing home market, but this was a real eye opener. Food was excellent, and our drinks package was more than adequate. Entertainment was not great however. The one show I did venture in to see could only be described as up to the standard of our local amateur dramatic society. Singing and dancing were not up to much. Others of our party did go to further shows, and were appalled at the comedian, but felt the 'crooner' was good and there was a classic night which went down reasonably well too. Music in the bars was decidedly average, but after a few pints didn't seem to matter too much. Reykjavik: We were picked up at the dockside by a local tour company for the standard Golden Circle tour. Geysers, Craters, Waterfalls, Tectonic plates, 8 hours in total, but half the price of the CMV tour, which covered less. Isafjordur: 5 of our party took a walk around the town itself, but I hired a bike and went around the coast for 20 miles, pretty spectacular views, really enjoyed it. Clear blue skies for the afternoon. Akureyri: Went whale watching with a local company, again, cheaper than the cruise ship excursion. Spent an hour watching one particular whale in waters which had hardly a ripple. Took a walk around the town in the afternoon. Again, sun in the afternoon. Klaksvik: Not very much to see here. Just a stopping off point for excursions but we hadn't booked anything here. Dull and wet. Thorshavn: Bigger town, more to see, hired a bike again and climbed out of the town and rode along the coast. Faroes are very bleak and the weather was dull and misty which disappointed some, but is only to be expected. Liverpool was our last port and it was great to visit again after many many years. Lots to see, even if you never left the dockside area. All in all, the number of sea days (5) felt like just too much. Now I know you can't move Iceland any closer, but 2 days in a row on the Magellan was too much. I bring a kindle for reading purposes, but didn't use it at all, so the time must have passed rightly, but the 11 day trip did feel a bit too long for us all, and that was down to the days at sea. All in all, we got what we expected I suppose. We've seen Iceland now, but wouldn't be rushing back. Unlike Norway, for example, which we've returned to with Fred, and would love to go again. Scenery more spectacular and easier to get to! Would use CMV again without a doubt, if the itinerary was appealing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. The embarkation port is close to us so was brilliant at the beginning and end of our holiday. Embarkation was one of the best we have experienced, very smooth and we did not have to wait for our ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. The embarkation port is close to us so was brilliant at the beginning and end of our holiday. Embarkation was one of the best we have experienced, very smooth and we did not have to wait for our luggage. We chose priority disembarkation, where you take your own luggage off, which again was very easy and suited us. The ship is good but it was overcrowded. The cabin is very good, but a big step into the bathroom and the window was dirty, spoiling an excellent view. The highlight of the dining experience was dinner which was excellent. Breakfast, lunch and tea were average, with big queues for tea. The onboard ship's entertainment was outstanding, although visiting acts were poor. There was also a great choice of onboard activities and excellent guest lecturers. Service was excellent and usually with a smile. We found the ports of call very interesting and was one of the main reasons we chose this cruise. The visit to Narsarsuaq was cancelled, but we went to Minaatsoq instead. We also missed out on Prince Christian Sound due to it being blocked by icebergs. Shore excursions in Iceland, Faroe Islands and Orkney were good and value for money, but very poor value for money in Greenland. Our best visits in Greenland were when we explored on our own. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Pick up from Victoria Coach Station was great, just a little waiting before setting off. Embarkation straight forward quick and easy. Cabin on reception deck level so very easy to find. 2 cases arrived very quickly the 3rd was missing ... Read More
Pick up from Victoria Coach Station was great, just a little waiting before setting off. Embarkation straight forward quick and easy. Cabin on reception deck level so very easy to find. 2 cases arrived very quickly the 3rd was missing for about 2 hours, the cabin steward found it in the end. Not the best cabin that we have had, needs the bathroom updating. 2 comfortable chairs was a bit of a bonus but they were under the TV. There were a few problems with the cabin as detailed in the cabin review section. Evening dinning, good table shared by us and 4 other very nice people right at the back of the ship, so when sailing out of port we had a super view through the windows. Stewards were very good and the service (although very slow on the first night) improved though the cruise. We only saw a little of the entertainment which in the main was good, the young people in the shows worked very hard. The stewards in the public areas were also very hard working and pleasant. We were lucky enough to have a brilliant team with our group and our excursions were pre-planned before we left the UK so we only used the ship's excursions on a couple of days. The best of these was a trip to Sark. A very long day which saw us return to the ship too late for our regular dinner sitting, and as this was a formal night we decided to see if they could find us a table at the second sitting. Previously we had been told that we would have to dine in the Buffet if we were late returning from an excursion, but 4 of us just walked Into the main dinning area and were found a table. Great night glad we did not miss it as it was probably the best dinning night of the whole cruise. For the most the ports along the way were most interesting. The ones where the ship could dock alongside were very good to disembark from, the problems were where a tender was used. What a shambles, and not all the fault of the weather. It was obvious that there were serious tensions between the ship and in one place the outside tender operators, a situation that became very unpleasant at one point. In other ports where the ships own tenders were used, getting on and off was quite a challenge, at one point a member of the crew went overboard in quite a rough swell. I know that this ship had in the previous 4 months sailed around the world so the ship's company had experienced a long time away from home, but the senior members of the crew were probably the most miserable bunch of individuals that I have come across in a very long time. I don't think that I heard the Captain come over the Tannoy once during the whole cruise and at one of the evening events he exuded no enthusiasm at all looking as if he wished he was somewhere else entirely. Some of the staff were most belligerent, when you asked for information they were most dismissive and you were made to feel that you were interrupting them and that they could not be bothered with someone like you. As I have previously said we were very fortunate to be part of a bigger group, and as such we were able to share our views with others in the group. We were able to enjoy the company of like minded travellers. Had we have been on our own I think that cruise would have been quite an unpleasant experience. In conclusion my view is that we put this cruise down as one that will not be repeated with this particular ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is our 5th cruise, the 3rd on the Magellan. We were sent tickets and purple luggage labels, booked for parking at Newcastle. Boarding turned out to be horrendous, something went seriously wrong which CMV blamed on the Port Authority. ... Read More
This is our 5th cruise, the 3rd on the Magellan. We were sent tickets and purple luggage labels, booked for parking at Newcastle. Boarding turned out to be horrendous, something went seriously wrong which CMV blamed on the Port Authority. Eventually on board cabin 5193, right on the stern, deck 5, Baltic. All went well until 2-am, woke up by horrendous noise, props and bearings, followed by every imaginable noise a ship could make at one hour intervals. Phoned reception followed by visit to reception. Asked for change of cabin, refused at that time, was offered a temporary inside 4 berth cabin for the night, we refused that on the grounds we might have to stay there, so no sleep that night. Docking was even worse, continuous noise early morning docked at Dundee, we packed our bags. Visited reception for change of cabin, no can do until boarding has completed. Phoned local Dundee Taxi company for price back to Newcastle, they text me back £350. Waited and waited for info. Eventually told reception that unless we receive a like for like cabin before departure we will leave the ship and CMV can pay for taxi back to Newcastle. This seemed to do the trick and we were offered suitable like for like cabin on the same deck. Sorted and we thanked the staff involved. Day 2 was the start of our cruise, we can put all that happened behind us. New Cabin good, very clean, coffee and tea making facilities in all cabins which is a great bonus, lovely male Steward who was attentive throughout. As a rule we always try and give the Cabin Stewards a break, so making up room does not have to be every day, they are always there if you need them. Food as always very good, we never use the restaurants, that is our choice, we prefer to use the Bistro on deck 10, purely for choice and we can pick our time to eat. Always something there for everyone. Plenty to do and see on the ship on sail days or just relax and socialise. Noticed sick bags out at Dundee and at various other times although the sea was never rough, slight bobbing but gentle all the same. Unusual for us we decided to book shore excursions, we normally do our own thing, but as we had to book Russian excursions we thought what the hell. Actual excursions well organised and a good variety, (very good description of actual excursions so you know what you are letting yourself in for). Excursions are good value for money. All excursions start with a coach journey, this is where we noticed an abnormal amount of coughing. A lot of passengers were complaining of a sore throat. Further into the cruise the problem seemed to get worse, more people coughing, the general consensus was the air conditioning. Up to now we were not affected. We arrived at St Petersburg and disembarked for our excursion, half day at the Hermitage. This is a busy excursion and nonstop once you are in the venue. Two of our party went missing and were found outside, they did not seem well and said they needed air. Back on the ship by afternoon my Wife complained of a sore throat. As seasoned cruiser's we take every kind of medication just in case, so after taking this my Wife settled a bit and it was "carry on cruising". The second day in St Petersburg we were at the Yusipov palace and Waterways. This was a fabulous excursion for anyone going to St Petersburg. However it was marred by increased coughing, by the time we were back on ship it was noticeably worse among the passengers. Also we noticed passengers walking around with cannulas attached. My Wife's condition worsened throughout the day and evening, our own meds were not working. My Wife does suffer from COPD following Lung Cancer three years before. We always visit our G.P. before cruising for "Fit to travel purposes". By late evening things were that bad we had to visit the dreaded Medical Centre (no one wants to end up here). Upon initial assessment my Wife was immediately put on an I.V. Drip with Anti-Biotics (one hour) followed the next morning by another one hour I.V. drip with anti-biotics and face mask nebuliser. This was followed by two further treatments lasting one hour each. Various tests were carried out via a blood test. All tests proved negative. Diagnosis Pneumonia / Chest infection. Whilst these treatments were taking place a lot of other passengers were receiving the same treatment for the same problem, one elderly lady was very bad. This was a very busy Medical Centre. I have to say the care and treatment was first class. Eventually my Wife was discharged, however we were confined to Ship at Stockholm and no arranged Excursion at Alborg (we had a gentle walk here although limited). Elsewhere on the ship this was becoming an epidemic with coughing from every quarter so much so we spent a lot of time in our cabin to avoid the problem. The worse part was in the theatre where you could hardly hear the guest speaker for coughing all around. As far as I know and saw, one chap was airlifted off by Helicopter, he was being treated while my Wife had her last treatment, one person left at Stockholm for emergency operation. We heard of one being left at Russia and one at Alborg. Talking to a passenger (coughing became a talking point) a maintenance team turned up at her cabin to fix the bathroom door, (no problem known to her) however miraculously the door repair yielded a new shower head??? Make of that what you will. By the time we left Alborg my Wife was feeling better, albeit she still had a very sore throat which we treated with hot honey drinks. I have to ask the question. What was lurking aboard the Magellan? I have never known a problem like this on all our other cruises and it was quite worrying. Disembarkation, we were sent two light blue luggage labels the evening before. We came on with purple and guessed this was because of cabin change, light blue also denoted SAGA cruisers. Back to reception and after explanation we were given purple luggage labels (remember the car park), so on the day we disembarked with all the other purples, only to find we were an hour late and that service had ended. We were told we should have had lime green labels (yep I am still working on that one). However CMV were very good and we had a coach and escort back to the car park. Now I said earlier the "dreaded Medical Centre". The final bill for this was £4600.00. Now we have insurance but as with all insurances there ARE RESTRICTIONS AND RIDERS, one of our restrictions is COPD. As the diagnosis was Chest Infection Primary and COPD as secondary we are hoping the insurance passed the treatment as we were allowed to disembark. DO NOT CRUISE WITHOUT FULL INSURANCE. My Wife has visited our G.P. and further blood tests have been taken. She is still unwell and is being monitored. I would like to say that this was a good cruise, but the health issue has left us with no memorable thoughts. Of course the staff were brilliant as always, they all work very hard to please you. Will we cruise again? We have a cruise booked next year on the Marco Polo, but seriously after experiencing what we have just gone through........................... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a ... Read More
The Marco Polo seems to be popular with many (I spoke to a fellow passenger who had travelled on 7 voyages) but I suspect that those who like this 54-years-old ship are the same as people who choose to drive a 54-year old car rather than a new one. Not because it is better but because it is different. The eccentricities and signs of age are apparent as soon as we had embarked at Cardiff and were shown to our cabin (number 130 - chosen by the operator as we had elected to a guaranteed outside cabin rather than choosing one). The first thing one notices is that there are only two electrical sockets - a 220 volt continental point and a 110 volt US point (plus an unnamed push button whose use we didn't bother to determine). In 1965 travellers probably only needed one point - but with the plethora of electrical appliances that are the stock in trade of the modern traveller, one power point is not really adequate. The cabin lights were also rather primitive, with an array of ceiling lights none of which could be switched separately - it was all on or all off using the one switch by the cabin door - and two separate reading lights. When we arrived in the cabin the air-conditioning wasn't working although, to be fair, the engineer was on site in less than an hour and fixed the problem. This was our first contact with the staff and was characteristic of all our relationships with the staff who were invariably efficient, helpful and pleasant. So 100% for that aspect of the cruise. Having unpacked we need to find out the layout of the ship and then we discovered eccentricity number 2. The one thing that every passenger needs is a plan of the ship and this should be in every cabin - but not on the Marco Polo. Yes, plans there were a-plenty at reception - once one finds it. But why not in the cabins which is where they will be most needed? Having found a deck plan another eccentricity was evident (number 3 if you're counting). The ship's plan shows the names of all the decks: Navigator, Columbus, Amundsen, Magellan, Pacific, Atlantic, Baltic and Caribic - but the references in the daily activities guide (entitled The Explorer) gave only deck numbers (Eg. Deck 9 Aft). Of course it is not too difficult to write the deck number on the ship's plan oneself - but why on earth wasn't this done at the time of printing? Before leaving the cabin one other eccentricity was evident, although we didn't bother to mention it to the staff as nothing could have been done. Our cabin floor was as bumpy as if the carpet had been laid across a ploughed field; goodness only knows what was underneath. Finally, although we had paid extra for an outside cabin we might as well have saved our money as for 80% of the journey there were deadlights across the portholes. This is permitted under the normal terms and conditions but it is as well for prospective passengers to be aware of this possibility on the lower deck cabins of this vessel. There are two restaurants on the Marco Polo, one waiter service and one self service and the food is good in both although that in the waiter-service restaurant is more interesting. The waiter service was very good. It is a sad fact that many (maybe all?) cruise companies charge very competitive prices for their cruises and then seek to make up their profits on the extras. My own extras bill came to over £900, much of which was drinks. On board drinks will be duty-free and bought at a discount price, but any savings are not passed on to passengers. As an example, a glass of house wine was £6 and a bottle of beer £4.50 - both well over UK pub prices. A further indication of this can be seen at the water station where there is a stern notice which reads, "For Health and Hygiene reasons it is strictly prohibited to refill water bottles at the water station". Well, I suppose it is just possible that some infected person might have drunk from the neck of a water bottle and then refilled it when pressing that neck against the tap - but I doubt it's a very serious risk. More likely is it that Cruise and Maritime want to make sure that passengers buy the bottled water that they supply at a purely nominal £2,80 per bottle. Cruise lines do have a monopoly and a captive market on board and this was evident from the price and range of the items for sale in the ship's shop. Proudly advertised as duty-free it was clear from the prices that any saving of duty was offset by an increase in profit. I needed to buy a pair of swimming trunks and the modest pair they had for sale was priced at £21 - about twice what a similar pair would have cost at home. The same excessive prices prevailed for most of the items on sale and I rarely saw anyone buying anything. In part the paucity of sales could have been due to the poor stick selection, which was not appropriate for the passenger profile. My own guess is that the average age of the passengers as around 80 years and thus hardly likely to want to buy designer shopping bags or the like. But the one thing that they would all use and probably need would be a walking stick, since at least 50% of the passengers were using a walking aid of one sort or another. Walking stick can break, get lost or simply be forgotten but did the shop stock such things? No. The assistant there did tell me that sticks were frequently requested but that it wasn't an item they ever stocked. If would seem to me that the buyer needs to look harder at the passenger profiles. The entertainment was of the usual variety and standard and little more needs to be said. The shore excursions were good enough but, as is so often the case, pricey for what they were. In summary, one can understand why some people enjoy the quirkiness of the Marco Polo, but next time I will try a different line Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Friends alerted us to an attractive last minute offer for a cruise around Iceland on CMV's Marco Polo. None of us had ever cruised with Cruise & Maritime Voyages before, it's not a cruise line we ever seriously looked at, but ... Read More
Friends alerted us to an attractive last minute offer for a cruise around Iceland on CMV's Marco Polo. None of us had ever cruised with Cruise & Maritime Voyages before, it's not a cruise line we ever seriously looked at, but with an interesting destination and a low price, we were interested. The date was perfect, and Iceland had been on my wish list of destinations for a long time. So my wife and I booked a Standard Plus outside cabin, and our friends a Superior. Cardiff doesn't have a cruise terminal to speak of, the marquee didn't make a great first impression, but it was handy to have the car right out in front. Getting out of the port on the ship is an experience, there's a lock, and even with a ship of this modest size it's a tight fit. The Marco Polo is over 50 years old, and we knew from the beginning that it can't be compared with modern ships. There is an upside to it, of course, because the design of the ship has a certain nostalgic charm. Add the fact that it only takes about 800 passengers, and you will understand that on this ship you won't get lost in the crowds. It's not massive, and there is no cold or minimalist modern design (except in some abstract art on walls here and there). We were somewhat disconcerted to find that there were diesel fumes on our deck - even in the cabin. Although usually my sinuses are considered to be the most sensitive in our family, my wife had more serious trouble with the air quality in the cabin. Fortunately, the problem dissipated as soon as we were on our way - but kept coming back each time we were in port. As for the ship, if you read reviews about the Marco Polo, you'll find that most people agree that a lot of the key areas on the ship look quite nice, but that Marco Polo 'looks tired' in places. I generally agree, although I would go a little further and say it looks shabby in some spots. I mean, I understand the part about it being an old ship and not being able to make it look like a new ship. Fair enough. But there is no excuse for shoddy maintenance - serious damage to carpets and wall panels, duct tape where a socket should be, etc. These are things that make a place look poor, and there is no need for it. Maintenance can and should be done properly, and with an eye for detail, whatever budget you cater for, whatever kind of cruise you're offering, however old the ship. Speaking of maintenance, during the cruise we had to report four or five problems with our cabin: a dysfunctional bathroom light (never properly fixed, it did work, but not as it should), a safe we couldn't get into when it gave us an unjustifiable error (we had followed instructions in detail), a TV which seemed to have given up the ghost (fixed the same day), a safety rail connecting the bathroom door to the wall having been ripped out in rough weather (fixed the next day, leaving dozens of dangerous metal shavings on the floor, which our steward had to clean up when we discovered it after coming back to our cabin in the evening). I do have to mention that the people at reception are very understanding when you tell them about a complaint, and they immediately report it to the relevant department. The ship has some nice lounges, a good nightclub, an atmospheric a la carte restaurant, a buffet bistro, a cosy library, a show lounge instead of a conventional theatre, and several other public spaces, all of which have been decorated quite homely but cheaply. But I wonder if the ship doesn't take too many passengers, because almost every single space feels like it has too much crammed in - with very little space between seats and tables. This is especially true for the buffet bistro, and I'll go so far as to say that it's too small to accommodate the many people who want to use it at peak times. Whether you're on outdoor person or not, often you have no choice and you just have to take your food outside. (Nice on a cruise to the Med, but not always so nice when you're circumnavigating Iceland in weather just above zero degrees Celsius.) But all of this isn't what made me think of Fawlty Towers - it was what happened at mealtimes in the Waldorf restaurant, the a la carte restaurant, and the buffet bistro. On the face of it, the Waldorf operates much like similar restaurants on the ships of other cruise lines. Until you actually experience the meals. But let me tell you more about the place first. Decorated in pleasant colours, partially with a "stained glass ceiling" (it's plastic, CMV, don't call it what it isn't!), it looks and is quite cosy. Like elsewhere, each table has a permanent waiter assigned, and there are people milling about to offer drinking water, wines, etc. We always dined with our friends, at a table for four. And after a few days, we got into the habit of having a bit of a laugh at the service we were getting. Don't get me wrong, it was usually friendly service with a smile, but it wasn't always very professional. Providing cutlery was hit and miss: sometimes we got it, sometimes we didn't, and had to ask. Sometimes we got the correct cutlery for a dish, but more often than not it was the wrong choice, or it was put in the wrong spot. Or it was taken away when we actually had to keep it (we were expected to use the same cutlery for several subsequent dishes). The waiter only remembered men's names and dietary requirements, the lady was forgotten, including the rather obvious fact that she was vegetarian (one day I had to swap soups with my wife, because even after checking with the waiter if a certain soup could be eaten by my wife, it turned out not to be vegetarian at all - fortunately mine was). Tables had two table cloths, and clearly the bottom ones didn't get washed during the cruise. Some problems I suspect weren't the waiter's fault, I had the impression that the kitchen wasn't very good in timing orders. Sometimes one person would be left out, even if everyone had ordered the same dish. And sometimes courses arrived too quickly, one day my wife had two plates waiting for her while she was finishing the food on the first. I do understand it can get a bit complicated when you offer people five (!) courses, and not everyone orders the same number of courses, but I have seen that handled a lot better elsewhere. Breakfast and lunch can be interesting as well. They're not done in sittings, so you get shown to a table. One day there was no one to point me to a seat, so having reached the restaurant before the others, I sat down where we usually sit. I was immediately told off by an Eastern European unsmiling staff member who ordered me away from that seat, with the rather interesting reason "You can't sit there, because it's open seating!" Huh??? Doesn't open seating mean you can sit anywhere? Apparently not. I was assigned a different seat, and protesting that I was waiting for my wife and two friends didn't help, this rather curt lady wanted me at a table with five other guests. Only when I protested loudly that I was part of a party of four, did one of the waiters grasp what was going on, and explained it to the lady. By the time the others arrived I was quite upset. Not only had it been handled strangely, but I had been ordered about by a curt staff member, in a dictatorial tone, which isn't what I come on a cruise for, I expect to be treated nicely, friendly and smilingly. One of our friends had a similar experience at breakfast - returning to the table with a plate full of warm omelette (at least it was still warm at that point), a lady (same one?) wouldn't allow him to sit down! When he finally could, his omelette was no longer warm. Strange, and very unprofessional. Most mistakes were just laughable, though. They were the source of lots of giggles at our table. So many reminded us of Manuel's mistakes in Fawlty Towers. It was good, though, that we didn't come across anyone who reminded us of Basil Fawlty! I get the impression that not all the staff have been professionally trained - or maybe the ship didn't get the best ones, I don't know. I'll make an exception for our cabin steward, who was one of the best we've ever had. But some other crew members we had dealings with either weren't very good at what they did, or their English wasn't good enough to understand what we were saying to them. And some Eastern European staff clearly aren't used to smiling at people, or at treating passengers friendly. Speaking of being friendly, we generally got on well with the passengers, although some weren't exactly the sort we were used to. I was shocked, for instance, when a man in front of us at a show turned around and threatened a man sitting next to us with physical violence if he didn't shut up. And he didn't sound like he was joking! About the food - as far as I can tell, only the fruit was fresh, everything else seems to have come from the freezers or from tins. We had our suspicions that not everything was made from scratch either, with a lot having been bought in, like the cheap supermarket quality pizzas, to name an example. Kitchen staff also seem to have trouble understanding certain western dishes. For example, serving a Caesar salad with a lot of gravy is really weird! Having said that, we did enjoy most of the food. Yes, some was overcooked, some was too cold or too hard, but we enjoyed the majority of the dishes, and there was certainly enough to choose from. At some point during the cruise fish dishes started to taste a bit ' suspect' though, and we stopped ordering them. And then during the Q&A session with the captain and other leading crew members it became clear that they they prefer not to buy their fish fresh, so I suppose that explains it. Upstairs, in the buffet cafetaria (Marco's Bistro), things can get worse. Overcooked duck, overcooked chips, cream chilled to such a low temperature that it's almost as if you're served frozen cream (in big lumps, with only more or less usable 'melted' bits in between), scones not defrosted in time because they're still ice cold and hard in the middle - my impression was that there's no quality control here. I suspect that once something reaches the buffet, staff are just happy that it's there, and they don't care if it's in an edible state or not. Add to that the situation with glasses, cups and plates, and milk, all of which the place tends ro run out quite quickly, and regularly, and I can only shake my head. Not very well organised. And you really do need to organise a buffet very well for it to function properly, and not to be a place where food comes to die a premature death. Another thing I should mention about food, is the live cooking stations. In itself a good idea, I'm all for it. But as soon as you cook chips in advance, and then put them on a hot plate for a while, they're hard by the time people put them on their plate. The same goes for toast - providing toasting as a service for guests is great. Just don't pre-toast any bread, because I had hard to cut bread for days, until I had the idea to ask the man to give me freshly toasted bread. Just don't make toast in advance! But the chef at the egg cooking station in the Waldorf at breakfast is good at what he does. His overeasy eggs were much better than the overcooked poached egg I had in a dish at dinner. One of our biggest problems on the ship, was noise in the night. I know that our friends and a lot of other passengers didn't have the problems we did, so it must have been the position of our cabin (the most forward outside cabin on deck 6), but when seas weren't very calm (and they weren't for most of the cruise), there was a lot of noise. There was a continual loud banging, some kind of electronic-sounding noise, and there were loud noises every time we docked. All of these noises robbed us of a lot of sleep. A great pity, because the beds were comfortable, and without those noises I would have slept like a baby. Entertainment was in the show lounge, the Marco Polo lounge. Most nights the ship's singers and dancers performed shows, and occasionally there were guest performers. We weren't impressed with the guest performers. But the singers and dancers were quite good - certainly the dancers, and most of the singers. Considering the limited means at their disposal, without backgrounds, not a lot of space, and very few props, I think they did a really good job. Most of the shows were not only entertaining, but actually quite good. Something else we liked, was using the singers elsewhere on the ship. On the rear deck at sailaway, in the nightclub. Excellent idea. One of my favourite facilities on the ship was the sauna. On cruises I like to do two things every day, several times a day: have a swim, and use the sauna. Since the pool was netted off for the whole cruise, that left the sauna. It had a good, high temperature, and was open for 12 hours a day. Perfect. Ports and excursions were well chosen. We liked most of the ports - only Belfast will never be one of our favourites. The excursions were well organised, and stops well chosen. In fact, one of the excursions, Jewels of the North, was one of the best we've ever been on. It was great to see and experience some of Iceland's geological phenomena up close, and to get them explained so well. I'm aware that most of the above may come across as quite critical. So does that mean we didn't enjoy the cruise? No, it doesn't, generally speaking we did enjoy the cruise, and in a lot of ways very much so, in fact. It's just that I think the company and the ship's crew are missing a few tricks here and there, and I think they could do better. But if a chance comes up to go another CMV cruise, we would consider it - at the right price. We don't think their full prices offer value for money, but at the right price we could be interested. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the Hidden Baltic treasures cruise. Not our first cruise with CMV and various other companies. Embarkation was good. Our cabin 7073 was very nice and kept well cleaned by our cabin steward Alleyna who was very helpful and pleasant. We travelled on the Magellan last year to the Northern Lights and I must say that the ship has gone down hill since then. The food in the Raffles Grill at breakfast was good but people stay at the tables after their breakfast and it is hard at times to find a table. We were seated in the Kensington Restaurant (2nd sitting). The food served was not as good as last year and several times had to be returned as it was cold. This applies to us and others on our table. The two waiters that we had on our table were very good. We were on a table of eight and had a great time with the other guests. We went to the Indian fusion twice and will say it was excellent and very good value. Now the bad points. Why do CMV seem to think that everyone over 65 likes classical music. In the bar at the Kensington restaurant before dinner there was a violinist and a pianist playing classical music. In one of the bars early evening there was a guitarist playing Spanish music in my opinion very badly. Guest lecturers talking about art, Quizzes, game shows ,nit and natter, carpet bowls and painting made up the daytime so called entertainment then there were the shows . I have never seen such a load of out of tune and out of sync dancers and singers on any ship that we have been on,the shows were terrible. This is not only my opinion. We met others who said the entertainment was DIRE, who walked out shortly after it started. There were at least another half a dozen couples who said the same thing This ship needs to liven up its act and realise that just because a lot of people are elderly they cant enjoy a bit of lively music to dance to earlier than 11pm. I am 74 and find it boring. Shore excursions very expensive. Would we travel on CMV again, possibly. but not the Magellan. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly ... Read More
Paid half price and got half of nearly everything. We actually left on the 23/3/19 for 11 day cruise from Poole. We were attracted to the cruise because it left from Poole, was visiting the Shetland Isles and in particular The Scilly Isles. At the start we only had half a day in both Dunkirk and Invergordon. At the end, the Scilly Isles was cancelled altogether because of rough weather forecast and difficulty of boarding tenders to go ashore. Indeed arrangements for getting passengers ashore were generally very unsatisfactory particularly bearing in mind that at least the half passengers seemed to have mobility issues. In many cases, apart from tenders it involved walking down a steep set of rickety steps. Not the best we have experienced. As Tresco was the only coach trip we had booked we and many others were bitterly disappointed. There were frequent shuttle buses at most ports of call though which were very good once ashore. The food was terrible. Breakfast was the best. Portions were minute. One roast potato, slice of carrot and piece of broccoli in the dining room. Matchbox sized portions of cheesecake. I actually lost 3lbs!!! The bar & wine waiter were obviously under instructions to ignore whatever the customer asked for and only to give large measures. We were going to tip our room steward extra but a couple of days before the end I asked for another toilet roll and was told it was rationed!!!! So no tip! All in all I am sorry to say I cannot recommend this cruise and based on what we had CMV either. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
OK, the cost and value are pretty good (World Cruise 2019), but its let down by two key things. Firstly the food. It varies between average to terrible and tends to be stodgy, swimming in gravy or sauce and usually over cooked. (Our table ... Read More
OK, the cost and value are pretty good (World Cruise 2019), but its let down by two key things. Firstly the food. It varies between average to terrible and tends to be stodgy, swimming in gravy or sauce and usually over cooked. (Our table of 6 must have sent well over 30 meals back or not eaten in just 70 days.) Not forgetting that when avocado or anchovy appears on the menu! All you get is something from a tube or powdered anchovy??(Dont try and find it on the plate or in the flavour). Secondly the service many of the drinks waiters/waitresses are offhand and rude as were the shore crew. The dining staff are very friendly but lack support to help solve problems when they arise (Fusion restaurant being an exception and very good), the cabin staff are a shining light (along with the little contact you may get with engineering type staff. For the rest the cruise is comfortable with reasonable sized cabins and comfortable beds, not lush, but comfortable. The entertainment team are very good and put on a wide variety of shows that are choreographed on board. Lee Cooper, Holly and the team take a bow. I guess the frustrating thing about this cruise is that it easily could be better, without becoming an expensive overkill. The boat is as big as you need, just fix the food! It’s the only issue that holds me back from booking again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Leaving from Adelaide was the big attraction as the norm is a flight to the eastern states to catch a cruise. The smaller ship was ok but limited your choice of places to go and rest or a bar for a quiet drink. I have been on 8 cruises and ... Read More
Leaving from Adelaide was the big attraction as the norm is a flight to the eastern states to catch a cruise. The smaller ship was ok but limited your choice of places to go and rest or a bar for a quiet drink. I have been on 8 cruises and my experiences with the night entertainment has always been average to poor and the Astor’s takes the cup for the worst performances I have ever seen. And lastly a singer or singers with a guitar at various times night and day to listen to would have been great instead of a pianoist and violinist who were at best depressing. We took out the premium drinks package which to my surprise only included a Shandy beer or the most bitter beer I have ever been unfortunate to try Bitsburger, surely a mid strength or light beer could have been on the list. We drunk cocktails and spirits all cruise which cost a lot more than the beers were, that got me stumped how CMV came up with that idea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked this trip over a year ago - for the itinereary - our first time with CMV - and our last unless they come up with an exceptional route. The first port of call, Belize, was cancelled a week or so before we flew. CMV hadn't ... Read More
We booked this trip over a year ago - for the itinereary - our first time with CMV - and our last unless they come up with an exceptional route. The first port of call, Belize, was cancelled a week or so before we flew. CMV hadn't realised the chartered Virgib Atlantic flights couldn't land at the embarakation port of Cozumel due to their size. Consequently we landed at Cancun then coach to Playa Del Carmen and ferry to Cozumel adding over 5 hours to our trip after a long flight. We arrived at 8 pm - the second flight was 3 hrs later. Consequently there was no time to include Belize (which was one of the reasons we booked). Surely CMV must have known about this when they planned the cruise. Our cabin was ok and our steward exceptional. No fridge but kettle etc and good shower. The ship, despite a refurb, is nearing the end of its days The food was palapatable at best but not up to the standard of the several cruise lines we've sailed with before. It was a treat to have a live 6 piece band but the compant shows were unispiring. The 4 British singers were good and the 12 European dancers were proficient but the choreographty was samey and some of the costumes were dire. Some nights a singer had to inroduce the show and request applause at the end - where was the CD? We had two excellent guest speakers, one gave 4 lectures about the canal (and a useful commentary as we traversed the canal. The other chap gave 4 talks about photography and his travels which I enjoyed. We usually enjoy dancing on a cruise but the male of the duo in the Captains Club lounge was, quite frankly, so poor - choosing songs out of his range - that we couldn't bare to listen. The TV films in our cabin had a habit of "freezing" half way through then starting from scratch or were in a foreign language - Forrest Gump in Chinese! The daytime "activities" were uninspired and in many cases do it yourself with no cruise staff presiding. Two days before we were due to stop in Nicargua we were advised that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only endorsed essential travel. This edict had been in place for several months and other cruise ships were callling there with no problems. Even though CMV secured a second Costa Rica port of call to replace Nicaragua they should have advised us much earlier rather than rely on a last minute change of policy. We were due to stop to refuel in Barbados on our return flight (either it was cheaper there or the plane was too heavy to take off from San Jose with a full fuel load. As soon as we took off the pilot announced that we couldn't go to Barbados as air space over Columbia was denied to us - following a car bomb in Bogata 4 days earlier. Surely Virgin Atlantic must have known before take off. We were diverted tp Montego Bay where we were told that they had no food prepared and were there any volunteers to forgo a meal. After an hour's delay hot pasta and beef was supplied - a packet of crisps for the vegetarians. Next year's CMV Panama Canal cruise already has 2 fewer ports of call. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we, a usa couple, had a land-trip scheduled near puntarenas costa rica starting jan. 21, and found this cmv ship from cozumel-to-puntarenas would disembark there that day, after cruising the panama canal, and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we, a usa couple, had a land-trip scheduled near puntarenas costa rica starting jan. 21, and found this cmv ship from cozumel-to-puntarenas would disembark there that day, after cruising the panama canal, and stopping at central american countries we've always wanted to visit: belize, roatan, cartagena, nicaragua, & colon (we'd only already seen limon costa rica). Ship & cabin: nice, clean, fairly well laid out. About the same as celebrity, costa & princess ships we've been on. Room comfortable enough, with desk, chair, bed-lights, etc. Tv was lacking any variety of options, but we didn't cruise to watch tv. Ac worked well. And we got the cabin upgrade that we were told we would get as part of a special package we bought (for gratuities-paid-in-advance). It also included a bottle of wine, although we had to remind them of that many times before they finally brought it to us. cons: immigration processing was very disorganized & frustrating. All passengers had to just sit in a theater seat doing nothing until they called your row, and wait hours while they processed each individual, one by one; a super inefficient, boring process. Then later they topped that by doing the longest lifejacket safety session ever, having everyone again sitting in wait a long time in the theater, then slowly hearing all the safety protocols, repeated in several languages, and then when it seemed over, they had us walk out on deck and have to just stand, silently in place in our lifejackets for about 20 minutes longer, with no information being conveyed, until they said ok to go back to our cabins. Also, i could never find an empty lounge chair or comfortable seat by the pools, and the upper deck had no covered/shaded seating at all! There was no decent place for the popular yoga class: held in the hot sun & strong winds on the top deck. Fitness rm was always too hot, had no views, and cardio-equip had no individual tv consoles to watch, and the room lacked space for floor exercises out of the foot-paths. entertainment/activities: the big shows were excellent. But the comic they had on 2 nights was bad and got almost no laughs. No opportunity for us to listen to a live-music dance band before or after dinner. A couple bar-lounges had a super boring piano player, or cello-violin duo, but no fun dance music or any classic-rock bands). there were some trivia-type activities on-board, but not much else. Not even any free hands-on learning to fold napkins or towels. The dance classes were disorganized (like most activities), often didn't happen at time or place scheduled, and held in a walkway next to the smoking section, so not a good space to do a dance class and we had to breath horrible smoke! the lectures were also not as described, and often didn't occur as scheduled, and a couple of the shore excursion lecturers were very inarticulate...could barely speak english. Dining: we usually love buffets (vs fancy dining rm), but the buffet was quite limited vs other cruises we've been on. Only 1 cooked veggie dish, the same every day-- a mix of carrots, corn, peas, green beans. Never salmon, halibut, or other popular grilled fish. And for meat, no carving station, or grill, or steaks; mostly traditional british dishes. also, no cookies, chocolates or ice cream ever offered. No soda-pop either, which was offered on other ship buffets. The fine-dining restaurant was so crowded & noisy, & slow service, that it ironically felt more relaxing & peaceful in the buffet! we went when there were not many people there, yet they sat everyone super-close together! and the food options were essentially the same in both places. Biggest disappointment was the last minute cancellations of two ports! belize especially i wanted to see and had pre-scheduled a snorkel-boat tour there, and it was cancelled due to lack of coordination (poor mgt) by cmv, re: london flight passengers arriving too late for ship to depart on original scheduled time from cozumel to belize. Also, they thought it might be unsafe to stop in nicaragua as planned, even though many passengers disagreed and would have preferred going there anyway, even if we were limited on which places there to visit. Cmv gave no compensation of any kind to passengers, who ended up visiting 2 fewer countries than planned & having 2 extra boring days at sea. Other cruise lines that similarly cancelled port stops compensated passengers. furthermore, the cmv booking agent told us when we booked by phone with her that we would get a $100 cabin credit. never got it! Overall, i would never cruise on cmv again, nor believe what they say. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Brilliant itinerary, good food and friendly staff, service excellent. Too many people on board for the size of ship. All activities over subscribed. Ship like a long corridor, so passengers and staff passing through all bars sitting areas ... Read More
Brilliant itinerary, good food and friendly staff, service excellent. Too many people on board for the size of ship. All activities over subscribed. Ship like a long corridor, so passengers and staff passing through all bars sitting areas and bistro. No quiet areas to sit and relax and read without interruptions. Cabins, very poor sound proofing so hearing neighbours whether you wanted to or not. The cabin we had 611 had people thundering around overhead doing exercise walking early mornings. Be careful of the medical mafia on the ship, very expensive. Not recommended for a long cruise. Would not travel on this ship again. There was also a spell when black soot spots came through the air conditioning unit into the cabin covering the beds and furniture. This also happened on decks. Disappointed that the captain did not seem to want to use tenders in the Caribbean when the wind or sea was not too rough! No laundrette and laundry service expensive. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have never cruised before, and wanting to get away for the whole Christmas Period, this cruise fitted the bill. It appeared good value compared to alternative festive getaways and we had a good time, but all was all not exactly plain ... Read More
We have never cruised before, and wanting to get away for the whole Christmas Period, this cruise fitted the bill. It appeared good value compared to alternative festive getaways and we had a good time, but all was all not exactly plain sailing. We booked through Saga, who’s service was exemplary. They arranged transportation from our home to the port and return, which was upgraded to minute perfect luxury private cars, free of charge because we live close to Avonmouth. This is an old small ship, and when docked the view looked comical, as the Marco Polo looked as if it was the tug for the larger cruise ships. However we had the last laugh passing enormous queues for those huge floating hotels, to just walk straight on the Marco Polo. Embarkation, and disembarkation particularly were easy too. This is not a ship for those without good sea legs, as it rode every wave and rolled. I was shocked how much more movement there was on here compared with a small Cross Channel Ferry we took two weeks previously in an identical sea state. Remember to bring your sea sickness gadgets and remedies. I have never suffered sea sickness but was struck down with nausea one day and took advantage of complimentary Sea Sick Pills. On a few days the choking smell of diesel around the ship added to this problem. We purchased a drinks package, that was good value, but it could be challenging to make it pay. Service was variable. A good example was, at our dinner table we had an apparently new recruit wine steward who was struggling. At our first meal it was 45 minutes before we were offered a glass of wine. At subsequent meals we tried to purchase wine at the bar to take down to dinner, only to be curtly told to sit at a (lounge) table, as it was waiter service only. This could be a lengthy process, as there were not enough bar staff. However we found we could purchase our wine at the Columbus bar at the opposite end of the ship. Here the regular barman was an absolute legend. He was efficient and very focused. His Cocktails were the best and most consistent on board by a nautical mile. The main restaurant was always very busy in the evenings, but the service of the meals was excellent. The food was generally very good, apart from a rare duff dish, or one that was not warm enough, but Henry our table steward was very accommodating with replacements and alternatives. Breakfast was served here buffet style, and lunch was back to a more formal style, but we found the the atmosphere too dark and stuffy for mid day and chose to eat at the buffet. The Buffet was more cafe style and but food here was also tasty and better than it looked. It was always very crowded at lunchtimes, especially early on, but we always (sometimes just) managed to find somewhere to sit, sometimes outside by the pool. The whole crew were generally friendly when they could be (when it was quiet) but they could come across grumpy when under pressure. The entertainment team were exceptional, and worked very hard to provide a variety of shows and other activities across the vessel, maybe more Hi Di Hi than West End, but it wasn't unusual for the lead role of a fully dressed show to finish at 21:55 to present a quiz at 22:00 in the bar at the opposite end of the ship. Callum and Savannah were particularly outstanding talents. One of the joys of the smaller ship was that they were happy to engage with passengers around the ship and in the buffet and the smaller ship enabled you to get to know most of the staff and fellow passengers, which some passengers enjoyed but a few found this a little stifling. On this fully booked trip, space was a premium and you needed to arrive early to get a decent seat for entertainment, quizzes etc. The little fitness and wellness area was good value. Despite the ships age, the public areas were in good condition as were the furnishings and as advertised were never luxurious but surprisingly comfortable. Our cabin probably showed its age a little more. On our arrival was clean and comfortable but with some signs of wear and tear especially in the bathroom. There was a problem with the tap water in our cabin, that at times was a strange Brown/orange colour, that we repeatedly complained about.I think this may have been sorted at the end of our cruise. We paid the extra to have a bath, but bathing in that water wasn't at all appealing, but we did benefit from a large comfortable bed and a lot of living and storage space. Cabin care was disappointing. After about four days our nice bedding was changed for a set with a stained quilt. During the night some of the contents of the stain (possibly blood or vomit) soaked up onto the surface of the quilt cover. Nightly, when our beds were turned, our daily programme was positioned over the offending stain by our Cabin Steward to hide the stain. This went on for about a week until we complained and the bedding was changed. They also could have been a little more generous with the vacuum cleaner, and we resisted the temptation to borrow the one left in the gangway when obvious crumbs were left following the cabins make up. The ships programme could hardly be relied on, as it was often full of mistakes and inaccurate information. We missed events that were not listed and attended ones that didn't happen. It told us to change our clocks 24 hours early, and it mis informed us that for the last 36 hours of our cruise only one bar would be open on a cash only basis. Thankfully that wasn't the case. The cruise itinerary went to schedule perfectly apart for our arrival in Funchal where we were unable to anchor, allegedly because of the swell. I think this turned out to be an advantage as we gently cruised past Funchal at such a position that everybody could see and enjoy the whole spectacle of the town twinkling and every firework across the bay in the New Year display. Best of all our late arrival in port meant that we docked instead of tendered. The ship was launched in the mid sixtes, and there was only a handful of people born after this launch date, and most were born some twenty years or more prior. There were also a large number with walking or mobility aids, so docking ensured that everybody had time and were able to enjoy the delights (and the rain) of Madeira relatively hassle free. In spite of the niggles, we enjoyed a lovely British Christmas break surrounded by friendly, mainly older people who certainly knew how to enjoy themselves. If you like the traditional cruise with excuses to dress up, you like to be constantly very aware that you are at sea, you enjoy the company of familiar faces on a daily basis in a no thrills yet comfortable environment, this cruise is for you. However, I looked with some envy at those big sparkling cruise ships that cut through the waves rather than rode over them. I envied their gleaming new glass and paintwork and particularly their balconies. However I know we would have to have had to stretch our budget much further on there, fly before embarkation with all that entails to get there, and face long queues at every stop. We had a good time but we won't be back in a hurry. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise