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Sail Date: August 2019
It was wife’s birthday so went for it Enjoyed cruise but I was disappointed in the timings ,the boat went up the fjords early morning (while in bed) out in evening (while at dinner ) thus missing some of the scenery A shorter ... Read More
It was wife’s birthday so went for it Enjoyed cruise but I was disappointed in the timings ,the boat went up the fjords early morning (while in bed) out in evening (while at dinner ) thus missing some of the scenery A shorter stay at the places would have cured some of that, as there was nothing much in the villages stopped at .b t w £1.75 to use loo in one place by c c ! Plus side free upgraded to ocean view but noisy ,as we were on the lower deck 5 . As it was wife’s birthday they had a cake for her and the waiters came to the table with it Ready to sing her happy birthday ,but alas they were too late as we went up to see the show. However it was put in the cabin with a card ,nice gesture!. The food was excellent six course dinners with a great variety of food from Beef wellington To salmon . Breakfast loads of cereal,fruits ,yoghurt s meats ,cheeses ,porridge ,bacon (bit hard) sausages ,beans ,hash browns and one morning black pudding which was very tasty ! Another morning pancakes ,the chef was on doing the omelette with different fillings plus fried eggs . Lunch three course ,even fish and chips with mushy peas one day ,shepherds pie another . We chose the dining room as the self service was always very busy ! Drink prices were reasonable at £3.75 pint or near enough Entertainment was good ,some good singers and dancers that would put many a t v show to shame. Different theme every night ,the guest comedian on two nights well what can I say ! There were quizzes and games laid on by the crew which were fun And got you chatting to your fellow passengers . In all a very pleasant cruise up the Norwegian Fjordland third cruise but first on a small ship And nice it started from rosyth saved trailing to south . One final point perhaps they could give the windows a clean now and again they were very dirty when looking out having a relaxing drink Took a while to disembark 2hrs after arriving at port .we were last off ! The End ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our 5th cruise so we had lots to compare the Magellan to. As it was cheaper than our usual cruises we didn't expect it to be as good as it was. We booked though a local bus company (J McGinley coaches) who picked us up ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise so we had lots to compare the Magellan to. As it was cheaper than our usual cruises we didn't expect it to be as good as it was. We booked though a local bus company (J McGinley coaches) who picked us up practically at our door and returned us home immediately on disembarking no airports or hanging around a great plus for the holiday.Embarking and disembarking was super fast and efficient and our cases were at the cabin with an hour. The Magellan is older and not as glitzy as some we have been on but we really enjoyed the cruise. The fjords are magnificent and we saw lots of magnificient scenery both on excursions and while sailing on the ship. Food : we managed to get a table for 2 in the Kensington 2nd sitting and we thought that the food was excellent. Small portions but lots of courses and it was like fine dining every night. I loved their consomme style soups we had a different one each night - very high standard. Our waiters Menino from Goa and Kwang from Burma were very charming and looked after us well . I opted for the lobster thermidor one night at £16 extra and it was lovely. We don't like dressing up for formal evenings ( a thing of the past thankfully on NCL who we usually cruise with ) so we ate in the buffet on formal nights. The food wasn't as good as in the dining room and was mostly too cold . The buffet in the evening ends far too early at 8.30 . Our 2nd sitting dinner was only starting then so why so early? The staff in the buffet were no overly helpful they watched me struggle to carry chairs to an empty table and didn't offer to help. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were good but often hard to find a table. They had smoked duck for breakfast quite often amazing! Its a nice touch that they bring around canapes after 10 to the bar area but the calamari is inedible hard and tough . One night they put on a Magnifique buffet at 10.30 with all sorts of starters, salads, suckling pig and desserts but it was too late to enjoy and just after dinner surely this would be better at lunch time? Drinks : We opted for the premium drinks package which included our gratuities and felt we got good value with it although the drinks prices were very reasonable compared to other cruise line . The big negative we had on the Magellan however was the bar service , it was awful, we always waited at least 15 min to get a drink often much longer and frequently had to go to the bar to be served ourselves. Surely they can do away with the need to sign for each drink as well as swiping the guest card. Any other cruise we have been on the card was swiped and that was it , the signing slowed down the whole process . The bar waiters were a bit laid back too and were in no hurry to serve and if you went to the bar to order often just ignored you. The Taverners and Sinatra lounge were the slowest .This is an area Magellan needs to address. Safety Drill The safety drill took far too long it needs to be better organised and more efficient other ships we have been on do it in 15 min. We enjoyed the entertainment , the comedian ( can't remember his name was excellent) and the Broadway night was very good. Abba and We will rock you were not so good but shows lasted less than an hour which was just right . The cabins were fine plenty of room to store our luggage but the walls were very thin when our neighbours had their TV on until 3.am we heard every word of it . Nina our stewardess looked after us well . One thing I really dislike about CMV is that they overlap cruises. We were disembarking in Dublin some guests got off in Liverpool but new guests also got on to start a new cruise.This spoiled our last night as we didn't have our usual dining room table or sitting so opted for the buffet which was chaotic with all the new guests having to eat there . Also the bar closed before dinner from 6.30 to almost 7.30 while the new guests did the safety drill just at the time for our pre dinner drinks. I have listed a few negatives but overall it was a great cruise the disembarking and tendering ran well and we loved our excursions . We didn't really avail of the sunbeds and pool as the weather was cool. The day time activities weren't very good I think the older people would have liked Bingo and we would have likes more interesting talk relevant to the area instead of talks about African animals . We would like to do Iceland and the Faroe island with the company next . Please do away with the outdated dress code we had formal ,informal and causal evenings let everyone wear what they want when they want please and have more tables for 2 not everyone wants to eat with the same group every night Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Although this was our 40th cruise, it was the first on Marco Polo and the smallest ship we have been on in 25 years of cruising and at 2 nights, the shortest. This is also my first review of a cruise ship. Having booked the cruise ... Read More
Although this was our 40th cruise, it was the first on Marco Polo and the smallest ship we have been on in 25 years of cruising and at 2 nights, the shortest. This is also my first review of a cruise ship. Having booked the cruise recently I looked up the reviews just before going and was quite alarmed by the number of negative reviews. I was not therefore expecting much. However, having enjoyed a very pleasant couple of days I thought that I should review it. I can only think that those negative reviews have come from people that only generally sail on the big modern ships with over 6000 guests and the staff to perform West End style shows. Whilst the exterior and steel around windows etc shows the signs of a 50 year old ship, the carpets and furniture and internal woodwork is kept spotless and clean. The beds are not modern but are comfortable enough and the bedding was clean. The inside cabins were larger than I expected with much more cupboard and drawer room than on many larger ships. With the exception of the lady leaving the duty free shop 4 hours before docking on the final morning who rather rudely announced that they 'were shut as we are always shut in port' when they clearly weren't, everyone else was very pleasant and friendly. I would say that it is a very happy ship.The food was as good as any of the ships we have been on and better than many. Still offering afternoon tea and late night snacks.The entertainment was not brilliant but the singers were good and did provide good entertainment. Let down a bit by the quality of the backing music but nothing to complain about. If you really want everything you get with the big ships, the Marco Polo is not for you. But for great value for money, friendly staff, good food and drinks at less than pub prices in the UK you can't beat this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Embarked at Tilbury (was a bit chaotic but this was due to the ship being late in due to weather conditions which cant be helped) Once on the ship we went to our cabin on deck 5 this was a lovely spacious (inside) cabin which had a ... Read More
Embarked at Tilbury (was a bit chaotic but this was due to the ship being late in due to weather conditions which cant be helped) Once on the ship we went to our cabin on deck 5 this was a lovely spacious (inside) cabin which had a really good separate wardrobe area and with a lot of extra draws also. The ship is very nicely decorated and easy to find your way around (as not a very big ship) The Dining in the buffet (lunch) was fairly good the food was always hot and very tasty my only comment would be that it doesn't have that much choice, But I could always find something to eat. The afternoon tea was extremely good the scones where delicious and also the shortbread biscuits. The Burgers and hot dogs served from the grill on the pool deck outside the buffet where also very good and fresh (sometimes the burgers were a little pink and needed to be cooked a little more) The Fusion Indian restaurant is (based in the back area of the buffet but this is separated of in the evening, the food and the staff where brilliant. The starters and the naan breads where cooked freshly in the outside clay oven and were absolutely delicious. I would definitely recommend eating in here as the pricing is really reasonable for 3 courses it is around £15 and the food was really lovely. The main waterfront restaurant we used for Breakfast and evening meal and the staff and food was brilliant. The breakfast could sometimes be a little slow in busy periods but this is to be expected and beats the buffet rush and hassle trying to find a seat to eat once you have you breakfast. Our evening waiters were fantastic and very attentive and made it very personal by knowing all our names (6 of us in total) and they know what we like and what we didn't by the end of the first few days. Entertainment this is where I was not very impressed, we went to the theatre on 3 occasions to watch shows/comedian first of all if you did not turn up a hour before the show was due to start then you would not get a seat or if you did manage to get one it would be a very bad view as there are a lot of pillars to try and see around and people think its acceptable to put children's buggies right at the front of the row so anyone behind these rows could not see anything at all. (these could of been left at the end of the isle as the children were on there laps anyway) Once the show finally started I have to say that the entertainment team singers/dancers where of a very poor standard there was one girl and one lad who could sing a little but the others were not very good at all. the comedian that they had on was ok but more aimed at the older generation of people. The seats in the theatre are also very un comfy (the single seat chairs) after a while your bottom would go to sleep. The connections bar this is quite a nice bar area however again the seats are very un comfy and the band that plays in here was pretty good however was far to load and when the singer started to sing (she was ok but nothing special) she would only sing a couple of lines of the song over and over again then it was mostly the band playing the rest of the song. The Tavern Pub was also a nice area to sit in again comfort was not great. The raffles bar on desk 6 above the atrium was a nice bar and you can hear the music from the atrium from here but it was not so loud you could not have a conversation so found this a nice place to have a drink and a chat with everyone. The music played in the Atrium was very good this was a pianist and sometimes a violinist would join her together they were very good. Hemmingway's on deck5 supplied premium coffee and cakes the cakes were chargeable but very delicious and worth the money. Swimming Pools are a big disappointment there are 2 both are 6ft 3 deep and getting in and out of them is very difficult the steps are very steep ( on the pool bar side there is a nice bit at the top with bar stools in it however you cannot get in or near this area as the kids were always in it and jumping off the bar stools and soaking everywhere including the bar area and staff??? The pool next to this also had a better set of steps that led into the pool but again was also full of kids jumping of them and then just constantly jumping in and out of the pool so if you did manage to get into it then you would get a child jump on you. - If this is going to continue to be a multigeneration cruise then they need to make a children's pool area and make some rules for them. Spa - I had a happy feet treatment which was very lovely and the staff in the spa were very nice, the atmosphere in there was very relaxing, The Ports we visiting were all pretty good and quite close to everything if it wasn't then a shuttle bus was on offer which was very helpful if you are not able to walk very far. We didn't do any organised excursions as we like to just get of and do our own thing. We did a couple of the hop on hop off bus tours in Gran Canaria, Lisbon and Madeira I would definitely these as you get to see so much more of the area around you. Madeira is absolutely stunning and one of the best places I have visited, If you get the chance then definitely do the Toboggan ride in Monte.(if you use the hop on hop off bus then you can buy an extra blue route ticket and this takes you to the top of Monte and will pick you up again at the bottom of the Toboggan run) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have made a great trip through Scandinavia and the Baltic States to Saint Petersburg. The ship is somewhat outdated, but the rooms are very comfortable. The service from the staff is fantastic, and the food in the (buffet) restaurant ... Read More
We have made a great trip through Scandinavia and the Baltic States to Saint Petersburg. The ship is somewhat outdated, but the rooms are very comfortable. The service from the staff is fantastic, and the food in the (buffet) restaurant is great too. The shows in the evening are nice and not inferior to the shows that other companies offer. There are plenty of activities on the ship - even on days when you don't go ashore. The only drawback we found was that 90% of the passengers boarded in London, and therefore everything on the ship is aimed at these British passengers. For example, there is a big show to welcome the guests, where no word is said about the passengers who have been on board for 2 weeks and disembark the day after in Rotterdam. There is also a "British Only" buffet. As a result, as a non-Briton you get the feeling that you are in the third wheel. This feeling was shared by many Irish / Spanish / Dutch guests. Disembarkation is very chaotic: in Tilbury there are long queues and people who do not need to disembark are asked to wait in the room - when all British passengers have left, there is not enough time left to take the train to London . Also in Rotterdam the departure is chaotic and you get the idea that they are doing this for the first time. This is much better organized at other companies. Another point of irritation is that British passengers occupy seats in large numbers: for the show at 9 p.m. you have to take a seat at 8 p.m. because otherwise there are no good places left. People occupy entire rows for guests who come later. Also at the pool early in the morning sun loungers are claimed with a towel - some of these chairs are not used all day. It is regularly announced that this is not desirable, but that does not resolve it. With other cruises I have never experienced that you have to go to the theatre 1 hour before the start of a show to make sure there is a seat for you. The excursions were all perfectly arranged. They've done that well! All in all we had a great holiday, thanks to the great staff and the good food. Still, I would choose a different company next time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a super time onboard the Magellan. Staff were amazing and always smiling. Thr food was fantastic, always hot, plentiful with lots of choice, afternoon tea scones were amazing everyday and the evening meals in the restaurant were ... Read More
We had a super time onboard the Magellan. Staff were amazing and always smiling. Thr food was fantastic, always hot, plentiful with lots of choice, afternoon tea scones were amazing everyday and the evening meals in the restaurant were superb served by a lovely waiter. The ship was always clean and the itinerary was brilliant. There were activities if you wanted to join in, crafts and cinema on the days at sea. We used the gym a lot on the boat too which had enough machines to help burn off the copious amount of food eaten. Norway was spectacular, it helped that we had such good weather, even in Shetland on the way over! There are a lot of bad reviews on here, however moaners love to find something to moan about and rarely give praise in my opinion! My main gripe (apart from said moaners onboard) is the need for some new tender boats, they are in need of an upgrade! A few of the outdoor areas are maybe looking a little tired and a couple of nights of the main entertainment were not really our thing (other entertainment was available) however none of these effected our holiday, we thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely use the ship again! Don't let the moaners put you off unless you are one yourself!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had never cruised out of Tilbury, it was a great chance to take our granddaughter . Embarkation was excellent, we know the local area very well so went straight to the port.This is an old ship but staff kept it very clean there is ... Read More
We had never cruised out of Tilbury, it was a great chance to take our granddaughter . Embarkation was excellent, we know the local area very well so went straight to the port.This is an old ship but staff kept it very clean there is always some issues with toilets or lifts but this was seen to very quickly. Our cabin was kept lovely by Nanathn in cabin 6140, he made us and our granddaughter very welcome.We only went to waterfront resturant once it was very slow and our dining time very early. The bistro on a whole was good breakfast and lunch were great but dinner was a bit hit and miss some times even running out of food and not replacing at 8.10 pm we did bring this to the attention of management , on a whole all staff were very nice and polite entertainment for the children and adults very good some of the best we had seen in more than 35cruises. The ports were great in Bergan did the ice museum I would recommend this to any body, went on the little trains in Eidfjord and flam this was enough for our granddaughter , but I think the best for her was the cruise director Iain he met her in the terminal and with his magic shows and circus tricks and always remembering her name made her her 1st cruise very special. Disembarkation went very well and was well organised off in very dood time and port staff very polite and helpful , will cruise again given the chance .. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We were a group of six friends on the Scottish Isles 8 night cruise from Newcastle finishing somewhat bizarrely in Liverpool. Embarkation was extremely fast and painless. We are gold members and have priority boarding but everyone was ... Read More
We were a group of six friends on the Scottish Isles 8 night cruise from Newcastle finishing somewhat bizarrely in Liverpool. Embarkation was extremely fast and painless. We are gold members and have priority boarding but everyone was boarded quickly. As soon as the car pulled up our luggage was taken and we never saw it again until it was in our cabin. We have been on 4or 5 CMV cruises and enjoyed them all but predominantly on some of the fleets older ships. Whilst the Magellan is not new it is in good condition very quiet and stable. We were upgraded to a superior inner room so didn’t have to row on this trip(we always choose the voyager guarantee and have never failed to get a decent cabin. The food was very good even if the portions weren’t huge but after 5courses I had had enough. We all had a drinks and tip package which I thought was exceptional value. The house wines were ok and all the usual branded spirits available though it seemed odd to me that some coffees were chargeable. We tended to use the main dining room for dinner/ lunch and the bistro for breakfast. We tried the main restaurant for breakfast but the service was too slow for us. The entertainment does seem a bit like a lot of singing and dancing but in different costumes each night but it was light and reasonably proficient We had a comedian for two nights who was OK. He clearly had been doing cruise ships for some time and his material showed this. We weren’t onboard much during the day so didn’t take advantage of the other activities onboard. We won the quiz on the first night but quit while we were ahead. First port was Dundee where we saw a quite a large exchange of passengers. Weather was good so we strolled ashore visited the Discovery and the new V&A (great outside but much wasted space inside) but an enjoyable hour and a half. We also visited Broughty Ferry Castle which was worth a visit. Next stop was Shetland where the weather was a bit wet but we still managed a significant Lerwick town trail walk which now includes Jimmy Peres’s House from the Shetland TV series. Next stop was the Faroes where we had a 35 minute shuttle bus ride to Torshaven which was interesting in itself. We enjoyed another walk around the town looking at some of the older properties with their distinctive grass roofs. An enjoyable day out. Orkney was our next stop in cloudy weather. We have been to Orkney a couple of times so dint see the need to visit scara brae which we would have if it had been our first visit. We were fortunate to witness what seemed the wedding of the year at the cathedral. We also witnessed the “ blackening” of another engaged couple which seemed to involve sitting in the back of an open truck which friends covered in molasses, gunge etc roaring around the town making a lot of noise. The poor groom to be was cling filmed to a stone cross in the churchyard but was freed before the wedding party arrived. A beautiful day and we arrived in sunny Skye to be tendered ashore to meet up with our prearranged tour bus. This was a private tour (sky mini bus tours)for the six of us (£42 each ) and it was really excellent. The beautiful weather helped as did the two knowledgeable locals who did the driving and guiding. We stopped at all the usual sights some of which were quite busy it being a Sunday and having excellent weather. We had a lovely lunch in an old hunting lodge called Flodigarry House which also had Flora McDonald's house in the grounds. The bus dropped off at the docks for our tender. - an excellent all day trip. Next stop Belfast in mixed weather. Here we enjoyed the hop on hop off bus (we negotiated £50 for six old fogies!). We did the full tour then got off at the Titanic exhibition which was excellent. That took a couple of hours but I really enjoyed it as it was a lot to do with the history of Belfast rather than just the sinking and subsequent recovery of the ship. It even included a mini Disney like shipyard ride. On the bus watch out for low hanging branches as my pal had his glasses and heating aid knocked off!!! Then on to Liverpool. Disembarkation was not so smooth due to not using the Ships tannoy to tell you what was happening ( it could be that as we were docked the ship was not allowed to so not to disturb the locals) it meant passengers were constantly querying why they couldn't leave the ship, pa better presence with better communication would have sorted it. There were some anxious passengers needing to catch a train/coach who were left in the dark. A very enjoyable cruise with excellent food and service - pity about the weather!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Actually chose this cruise due to an engine failure on one we booked. Interesting ports around the Uk where few other ships go. Though this is an old ship from Carnival, it was well maintained and clean. Had an inside cabin on deck seven, ... Read More
Actually chose this cruise due to an engine failure on one we booked. Interesting ports around the Uk where few other ships go. Though this is an old ship from Carnival, it was well maintained and clean. Had an inside cabin on deck seven, and was larger than those on Crystal! Food was surprisingly good, especially the dinners in the restaurants. Restaurants were also open for breakfast and lunch and were expertly staffed. Great place to go if one wants to beat the crowds at the main buffet. Drinks were well priced, and did not include a tip. One could actually get a pint of larger (German) for 3 pounds 60 pence! Tours were also top notch. Payment for these were from 40-70 pounds. Only problem I had was with the crew members that were not involved with the passengers (stewards-wait staff, etc) Many could not understand English-tough to communicate with. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first, but hopefully not our only, cruise so we have nothing to compare against. As first-timers I will say one thing firstly: the instructions given each day were a great help and all the things I worry about (not knowing ... Read More
This was our first, but hopefully not our only, cruise so we have nothing to compare against. As first-timers I will say one thing firstly: the instructions given each day were a great help and all the things I worry about (not knowing where to go or what to do) turned out to be nothing to worry about at all. Your hands are well and truly held to ensure you know where you need to be and when. Embarkation was very quick (20 minutes from drop-off outside Newcastle Passenger Terminal to being in our cabin). The cabin was 4119 and was more than adequate for our needs. The ship has a slightly dated feel to it but is clean and bright. Large bars and public areas meant even at the busiest times it didn't feel cramped. We stuck to the Bistro (buffet) and the "Speciality Restaurants" as we're not formal-wear people. The food was flawlessly good. The "Speciality Restaurants" are really "pop-up restaurants" requiring reservations within part of the Bistro's area. The service and food there was absolutely wonderful. The arrival into ports was handled well and it was far easier to walk on/off than I'd expected. We had one anchor port on the itinerary (Lerwick) but they managed to dock in the end so can't speak to how good/bad the tender process is. The main issue was due to our fellow passengers (of a certain age and thus of a certain speed!) which did mean we took to walking out rather than wait for shuttle buses which would take forever to board or get off. We went on two excursions (Jewels of the North in Akureyi and Loch Ness in Invergordon) both of which were well-organised though suffered from similar "speed" issues as the getting on and off the ship did! We went to a few shows, activities and lectures. The shows were extremely well done and the show area is spacious with comfortable seating (lots of leg room which is very important to me!). The activities (quizzes, "gameshows") were amusing enough though we avoided the Knit and Natter due to concerns we might get too over-excited ;) (In all seriousness there was plenty to do for all personalities!). The lectures... weren't so good. One of the speaker's lectures were so full of errors I was able to spot them and I wasn't an expert on their subjects. The other had blurry photos and film which seemed pointless given the lack of quality. Service was great in parts (the restaurants), okay in others (we had a few mix-ups happen around our welcome package which were eventually sorted and refunds arranged without us asking so all was well) and bad, for the most part, in bars. Even if just 6 tables were in use out of the 40 or so available in a bar, you'd be lucky to get successfully served once every 60 minutes. Needless to say this meant we never woke up with a hangover! I'd hold special praise for our room steward and her colleagues on our deck. They were not just always polite when we passed them in the corridor but remembered us and engaged us in personal greetings. Our room was kept immaculately throughout our trip. Overall the positives far outweighed the negatives and we had a really enjoyable two weeks. We'll certainly be cruising again and CMV will at least get consideration when we come to planning our next trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The staff were all polite, friendly and helpful. The ship is well maintained and clean. The outside area have comfortable loungers and the Jacuzzis are great. The cabins are a good size and comfortable, with plenty of storage. Excellent on ... Read More
The staff were all polite, friendly and helpful. The ship is well maintained and clean. The outside area have comfortable loungers and the Jacuzzis are great. The cabins are a good size and comfortable, with plenty of storage. Excellent on board entertainment, with good shows and smaller singing groups etc. The food in the restaurant is generally good to very good. The breakfast delivered to the cabin was not as good as the previous year as there was very little choice. We didn't eat in the buffet very often as it is very busy and difficult for my husband who has poor mobility. There are a wide range of excursions which include ones with reduced walking. Lovely public areas, attractive bars and seating. Staff all did their best when the ship had to end early. The compensation was generous. We are looking forward to another Norwegian cruise on Columbus next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having read previous reviews we were worried about going on our first cruise. Please make your own mind up. We live 20 minutes away so embarkation was efficient and quick. No waiting around in airports for hours. Our room was bigger than ... Read More
Having read previous reviews we were worried about going on our first cruise. Please make your own mind up. We live 20 minutes away so embarkation was efficient and quick. No waiting around in airports for hours. Our room was bigger than we expected with plenty wardrobe space, tea and coffee making facilities and as part of our VIP package complimentary wine and several bottles of water. Sepnash our cabin steward was always friendly and cheerful even though he worked extremely hard cleaning our room at least twice a day. We tended to have breakfast in the waldorf restaurant which was always fresh with plenty choice. You didn't even have to make your own toast as there was always someone to do it for you. Lunchtime we tended to eat from the grill bar which was basically chips, burgers and salad. However there were plenty of others places to eat with plenty of variety. Evenings we ate in Kensington restaurant with themed nights including Greek and italian. Daytime entertainment was basic but a quiz at least once a day but for what we paid we couldn't grumble. We went to A few shows which we enjoyed and there was always entertainment on in the other bars including a pianist and duo. We loved Norway with bergen being our favourite destination especially the funicular railway. The views from the top were spectacular. We did the hop on hop off bus but this was a waste of money as we could walk everywhere as bergen is so compact. We booked 2 trips to Glamis castle and Flam railway which were both good. While we were in Flam we visited the micro brewery which we really enjoyed and if you like beer tasting this is well worth a try. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, ... Read More
First a little context: We started cruising nearly 30 years ago, doing CTC, Costa, MSC, Princess cruises, Ocean cruise Lines, HAL, then after a 25 year break returned to it 4 years ago and since then we have done Oceania, Azamara x3, AmaWaterways, Celebrity, Marella Dream, FO x2. This was our first time to the Fjords and, wow, what absolutely stunning scenery. The weather was absolutely perfect, not a drop of rain and barely a cloud in the sky. Embarkation/Disembarkation Very efficient. The cases were being taken out of the car before the engine was even switched off. We were called forward at our allocated boarding time of 12, spent about 15 minutes queuing, all the formalities were done really quickly and onboard we went and to our cabin, which was ready. No glass of fizz though. Nina, our cabin stewardess whizzed us through all we needed to know, by which time our cases had arrived and we were good to go for lunch which was being served around the ship. On disembarkation we had to leave the cabin at 7, assemble in our allocated lounge at 8.30 and we were called off at around that time. There was a queue of around 15/20 minutes for the shuttles back to the car park. Tilbury is a really quaint little cruise terminal and it was delightful to sail from there. Cabin We had a forward outside ‘superior’ cabin on Deck 6. Nice picture window, although pretty filthy (as were all of the windows although we did see crew trying to clean them with lowered hoses)! Cabin was small and plain, but adequate. TBH most cabins seemed much of a muchness in terms of size. Kettle and supplies were provided but no fridge. No complaints about the bathroom and the shower was fine. Oh yes, the toilet did stop flushing from time to time, which was a bit awkward first thing in the morning, but was fixed quite quickly. I wondered if it was because, unusually, the toilet paper was pretty thick and luxurious?! Quickly moving on, we had no particular issues with noise or vibrations, the aircon was rather noisy though and could only be turned up or down, I suppose you get used to it, but I did find it a little warm at night. The bed was comfortable and the extra half-pillow used on the bed instead of a cushion got a gold star from me. Extra pillows and duvets were stored in the wardrobes and all looked clean and fresh. My one gripe was that the bottom sheet was stretchy cotton, which had that ‘bobbly’ kind of feel, OH didn’t even notice though. The flatscreen TV showed various channels including BBC and Sky News plus 2 films a day. Ship Yes, it’s an old ship. The decoration and furnishing is quite basic but it’s clean. It’s not quaint and charming, but it is small, you can sit inside and see from one side to the other, you know that you are at sea. There are lots of little outside areas to explore. However, a number of these are smoking areas, including the outdoor heated area by the pool! 2 of the whirlpools were open during our trip, and towards the end the pools were filled with freezing water which looked really murky. Not very inviting! Food Before we sailed, I was having grave misgivings about this area. But I suppose that the half a stone I put on in a week is an indicator that my fears were groundless. There are 2 main restaurants, Kensington and Waldorf, which operate 2 sittings for dinner. Both serve up 5/6 course evening meals. Portions are not huge but I felt that the quality was pretty good. Plenty of fresh vegetables and meat that looked like it had come from an actual animal. There were also themed nights – Greek for example where the waiters dressed up and did a bit of Greek dancing, and Italian. All in all a bit of fun! We had requested a table of 6 late sitting, and were put on a table of 8 with just one other couple. It wasn’t a problem though, the other couple were lovely and eventually we arranged ourselves so that we could all look out of the window at the stunning scenery passing by. For breakfast you could opt for cabin service, free if you just wanted drinks and croissants/toast or £10 to include cooked breakfast, self-service in the bistro, hybrid waiter / self service in Waldorf or full service in Kensington. Now, I don’t really do buffets for hygiene reasons but the full service restaurant was really slow so we mostly ate in Waldorf where there was an excellent egg/omelette station in addition to the other breakfast goodies or the served dish of the day such as egg benedict, smoked salmon and eggs or corned beef hash. The breakfast spread was pretty good to be fair although the fruit juice and coffee were undrinkable. A similar system was in operation at lunchtime, with full service lunch in the Kensington. When the weather permitted there was also an outdoor grill, serving hotdogs, burgers and chips on the pool deck and, my particular favourite, a pizza station in the buffet, open from 11 til 5, perfect for a late lunch on a port day. The pizza was absolutely delicious and I think primarily responsible for my alarming weight gain. Afternoon tea is served in the buffet at 3.30. This was a complete bunfight, with people dipping their spoons into huge bowls of cream and jam after having started to eat their tea en route from one buffet station to another, licking their fingers as they went. There is no late-night buffet, but canapés do circulate in the lounges, including tasty little samosas and spring rolls, infinitely preferable! A word or two on the ‘speciality dining’. We did the ‘Chef’s table’ which was a ‘reception’ with the restaurant manager and the chef, photographs, a quick galley tour with the chef followed by a 10 course menu with wines and dedicated waiter. The cost of this is £60pp, discounted if you have already taken one of the drinks packages. There were 8 of us in a private area and it was such a excellent evening I would thoroughly recommend it. This is not ‘pushed’ very much around the ship, so if you want to do it, you have to put your name down with the Restaurant manager and, if they get enough interest they will send you an invitation. We also went to the curry Fusion restaurant – which was an area of the buffet separated off. This costs £15, discounted once again if you have the drinks package. I was a bit reluctant to do this because to be frank, the congealed dishes of curry they were displaying at the entrance to the buffet on the day we boarded hardly looked appetising. You get a plate of mixed appetisers, a rolled up popadum, rice and breads plus one main course and some very sweet desserts. Delicious! Entertainment There was the usual range of daytime activities, quizzes, craft classes, lectures. In the evening, there were 2 shows at 7.15 and 9.15 which meant that second sitting guests had to go to the show before dinner. Not my preferred arrangement, but the reason for this was that the singers often had to perform again in the lounge at around 10.30. The show team, 4 singers, 6/7 dancers worked hard with very limited costumes and virtually no sets. There was a small live orchestra though. I thought the shows were ok, not exactly West End standard, but then I often don’t think much of them!. The guest artist was a comedian who did shows on 2 nights, I gave the second show a miss. Most of the action after the show took place in the Capatain’s Club lounge. Usually there was some kind of ‘gameshow’, hosted by the CD then cabaret by one or more of the singers followed by a DJ who managed to put a dampener on any dancing and send everyone to bed! There was limited entertainment in the other bars in the form of sets by a pianist and a pianist/violinist duo. The CD didn’t seem to do an awful lot, other than host the gameshow and say a few words at the end of the production shows, and was not very visible, but perhaps he did a lot behind the scenes. Service This area was admittedly a little variable. On the one hand, our waiters in Waldorf for dinner were excellent, as good as any anywhere. OH was on a special diet and well looked after with the next day menus and so on. On the other hand, it was often difficult to get served in the bars. All good things come to those who wait, but sometimes you had to wait a very long time. Our cabin stewardess was efficient and made us a mouse towel animal on embarkation. The only towel animal we have ever had! I think they said that there were 42 nationalities of crew, some of the service staff didn’t speak perfect English, maybe that was something to do with it plus the fact that the ship was full. Fellow passengers There was a very high proportion of first time cruisers onboard and a lot of passengers came from the Kent/Essex area. Everyone was very friendly and there was very little moaning going on! Top notch! This was an adult only sailing with passengers from their twenties to their eighties, with the average age probably mid fifties. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects: It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so ... Read More
We went on the Astoria in March 2019 and firstly the really good aspects: It went from our home port in Poole so no distance to travel. It is a nice size with not too far to walk to the restaurants and lounges, it is quite stable so although quite rough seas it didn't roll too much so no sea sickness. It had a cinema with recent releases being shown. They had a good speaker on board who shared his Vulcan experiences so being into aviation this was a nice surprise. The cabins were very well appointed with plenty of space for clothes etc. The staff were very friendly and we received good service. They provided shuttle buses at all the ports for independent travellers not going on the excursions so there weren’t the long walks that we have had on other cruise providers Next the not so good aspects The cabins were noisy and vibration from the engines could be felt all night long. We couldn't work out whether this was the location of our cabin - deck 4 mid ship but I suspect that it was throughout the ship but the beds were very comfortable so didn't affect our sleep. The general consensus was 'the more you pay the more you sway' .The service in the Olissipo restaurant was quite slow and the food average. We did treat ourselves to the steak bar and had an excellent 8 course meal although one of the steaks was too tough and went back. The schedules weren't kept to due to rough weather (not their fault) so we only ended up with 4 full days ashore and 4 half days. Our trip to the Scillies was cancelled which was disappointing. We felt that the information provided by the excursion team was poor for independent travellers. For instance when we went to Invergordon we were told that it was difficult to get the public transport into Inverness and that we should take the £25 ship transfer. In fact there was a bus that went straight into Inverness and cost only £12 return. Clearly they were more interested in selling the excursions. There were 2 sizes of wine on offer a large and small glass but despite repeated requests for a small glass, large ones (187ml) always arrived. So we ended up buying a bottle which was cheaper. Overall it is a good value boat and CMV are recommended as good organisers. We would go on Astoria again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block ... Read More
Having read so many bad reviews about Magellan we were very surprised and delighted that we enjoyed our cruise so much. The ship was a proper old fashioned, lovely vehicle and so much nicer than those ghastly things which look like a block of flats on a barge. We found our cabin very adequate and it was kept scrupulously clean by our delightful steward Putu. Shower was excellent and endless clean towels. The food and service we found to be excellent and lots of choice and everything very crisp and fresh. We found all staff very very kind and helpful and cleanliness throughout the shop was faultless. We were not very interested in entertainment as we love sea watching and sky watching and reading so could entertain ourselves.The ship seemed very buzzy and fun though if one wanted entertainment. We would have liked more information about where we were at sea and maybe maps. We were not very happy with one of our excursions and found staff not very able to deal with this and the other people who complained. Dealt with now. A small complaint about an altogether great value and very very lovely cruise. Cannot wait for the next one already booked. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This cruise itinerary was great plus there was an excellent deal for solo passengers. I booked an inside and was upgraded to an outside cabin, L shaped beds, but a reasonable size, with shower, a decent size. It was set up for someone with ... Read More
This cruise itinerary was great plus there was an excellent deal for solo passengers. I booked an inside and was upgraded to an outside cabin, L shaped beds, but a reasonable size, with shower, a decent size. It was set up for someone with mobility issues, extra handles in the shower room and a pull down seat in the shower, but these didn't get in the way at all. Shower/hair gell and conditioner were in two containers in the shower plus small bars of soap were provided. A kettle with tea/coffee was provided in the cabin plus a TV (but no BBC world service just a French channel giving news in English?). There was no daily newspaper to catch up on the news available as I had always had on other ships. The first two days was open sitting at dinner time with no allocated table which a lot of people didn't like (I didn't mind), then I was allocated a table but given the time of between 6-8 pm so after people joining at different times, my table agreed a time for us all to come, so that worked well. For a solo there were a lot of get togethers but I found I met a lot of people, just by chatting to whoever sat next to me. The jacuzzi was always sociable. I did a couple of ship excursions which were well managed, as you would expect, and priced reasonably £38 for a half day. The shows were ok and due to the numbers on board, there was only the one around 9pm, then another entertainment around 10pm. Quizzes were generally at 9.30 and 4pm and well attended (It was obvious some people do lots of quizzes as they regularly won). We didn't have a message from the captain at noon, which I enjoyed on other ships. There was one gala night (usual shake hands with the Captain, photo then into lounge followed by introduction to staff) and another evening termed 'elegant' the rest were casual though most men wore shirts and trousers and ladies smart trousers and tops, or dresses. Sea days there was usually a lecture (I found them so so) a creative writing session (this was great fun, really enjoyed this), deck games and a fitness session, plus the quizzes and other get togethers. Embarkation seemed a bit mixed, after an eleven and a half flight, I just wanted to get on the ship and it wasn't clear whether we had to take our own cases from the coach or not. Disembarkation worked well. I bought the Premier package before boarding which paid for gratuities, most cocktails and other drinks on board (not speciality coffees) and a small bottle of water. There was also a bottle of wine as part of this. This was reasonably priced and just made things easy for me as a solo to have a drink when I wanted. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
South America cruise excellent. Ship old but very good. Lots of activities on sea days. Trips expensive but easy to make your own way. Food very good. Staff couldn't do enough for you. Many solo travellers. Entertainment very good. ... Read More
South America cruise excellent. Ship old but very good. Lots of activities on sea days. Trips expensive but easy to make your own way. Food very good. Staff couldn't do enough for you. Many solo travellers. Entertainment very good. Opted for drinks package which turned out to be an excellent choice.. disappointed not to visit some places that required a tender but you have to respect the captain's safety decisions. I would definitely hope to do another cruise on Marco polo. Although it is not as luxurious as most ships it was definitely the best I had been on for activities on sea days. There were also excellent guest speakers. People were grumbling about price paid but it depends whether you opt to book early or late and shop around different travel agents. We were on a dining table for ten but you can also eat in the history were food was very good Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because it was good value at Xmas. Everywhere was festively and attractively decorated. The staff were welcoming and helpful. The food was plentiful and well served. ( it can get busy in the buffet restaurant ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was good value at Xmas. Everywhere was festively and attractively decorated. The staff were welcoming and helpful. The food was plentiful and well served. ( it can get busy in the buffet restaurant at peak times. The entertainers were young and personable and the shows were colouful with good dancing routines and songs. There were several knowledgeable speakers who were interesting to listen to during our many sea days. There was a range of daily physical activities and quizzes. There is a small spa area on deck 2 with heated tiled loungers and a steam room. It was too chilly to use the pool but people used the open decked loungers whenever they saw some sun. There were even some open air bbqs on deck. The itinerary was good but disrupted by the cancellation of Gibraltar ( propeller damage from a German pilot on the previous cruise) and the rough seas when at anchor in Funchal. It was disappointing to have to leave Amsterdam at 3 .30 just when the Xmas lights were beginning to shine especially as we had 5 sea days following that port. There were lots tours to select from and some presentations given beforehand. In order to keep costs down we were independent travellers in Funchal, and Lisbon. There was an excellent walking tour with a local guide in Amsterdam. My main issue was the daily Captain’s lunchtime info giving was very difficult to understand because of the language accent and the real lack of communication and leadership when 650 cruise passengers were stranded on the quay at Lisbon when the ship tenders could not attach themselves to the ship in rough seas. People spent hours in the wet, cold and dark either standing on the quayside or huddled in the bouncing tenders really anxious about how they could returnto the ship. The crew were excellent in catching the passengers thrown individually from their tenders but there was a real danger of sickness and injury. Some passengers did not manage to return til very late and the crew had the tricky task of reattaching tenders after midnight in strong winds. A real damper on what was a formal dinner and midnight fireworks in the bay. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This really was a very good cruise certainly for this time of the year getting away to a bit of warmer weather , the staff laid on lots of entertainment with singing carols and everyone joined in ,also many other things were going on ... Read More
This really was a very good cruise certainly for this time of the year getting away to a bit of warmer weather , the staff laid on lots of entertainment with singing carols and everyone joined in ,also many other things were going on throughout the day , cocktails go down very well on the cruise also plenty of waiters serving drinks throughout the day and evening to save us getting up to get a drink at the bar,I am not sure where CMV get so many friendly staff but the staff really did make the cruise such a pleasure , nothing was to much trouble also looking at a closer issue the ship was spotlessly clean , on a couple of down sides we missed Gibraltar due to an issue with the propeller which got sorted in the Canaries the other was Maderia which had choppy waters for the tender boats going to shore , this made some not to well but maybe they should of stayed on the ship , i really wanted to see Maderia and as i don`t get sea sick it wasn`t a problem , the only main problem was docking the tenders coming back the swell was up a bit more and did cause an issue trying to get back but saying that I think all got back onboard to watch the fireworks which were fantastic , would i do this cruise again at Christmas , `Of Course ` , it is a great ship with great staff . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The Christmas Cruise on MV Columbus proved to be unpredictable but enjoyable. On the day prior to departure, I received a text and phone call from CMV advising of a change to the embarkation. The ship was now to depart from Dover and not ... Read More
The Christmas Cruise on MV Columbus proved to be unpredictable but enjoyable. On the day prior to departure, I received a text and phone call from CMV advising of a change to the embarkation. The ship was now to depart from Dover and not Tilbury due to a ‘minor technical issue’. This didn’t affect me too much as the transfer from Victoria Coach Station would now go direct to Dover, rather than Tilbury. Dover is actually a much nicer Cruise Terminal than Tilbury. Changes to embarkation were notified to me in a timely and informative manner by text and phone and the coach transfer to Dover and embarkation was smooth and efficient The ‘minor technical issue’ was later revealed to be related to the starboard propellers and repairs were due to be carried out in Dover prior to sailing, but we were later to find out this was not possible due to the poor sea conditions and bad weather. Columbus set sail for Amsterdam later that evening, arriving early the next day. Amsterdam was lovely; vast arrays of Christmas lights; huge Christmas market and a very comprehensive and informative city tour by coach and canal boat. The Shore Excursion Team’s organisation landside was efficient Once we had set sail from Amsterdam, we were advised that due to the fact that the repairs could not be carried out in Dover, Columbus would not be calling at Gibraltar and would go directly to Tenerife where she would stay for 24 hours whilst the repairs were undertaken. That meant 5 days at sea! Many passengers were upset over the missing out of Gibraltar but I wasn’t too concerned. We received compensation for the ‘missed port’ and Columbus proceeded fairly slowly with a very noticeable judder which I assume was due to the imbalance of the propellers. This was most noticeable in bed (as it rocked us to sleep!) and in the Waterfront Restaurant. MV Columbus was suitably and imaginatively decorated for a Christmas Cruise and gifts in the cabin on Christmas Eve were a nice touch. The staff and crew were proactive in wishing guests a ‘Merry Christmas’ and the public areas of the ship were always kept spotless, especially the toilet areas where a member of staff seemed constantly to be in attendance During the 5 sea days there were a full range of activities, lectures, quiz and game shows organised, but probably no more or less than would have been offered anyway. A film was shown in the Palladium Lounge most afternoons, as it was too cold to use the deck screen. The Cruise Director, Iain Bagshaw, gave a run-down of the daily programme twice a day and held a 15 minute ‘Chat with Iain’ each afternoon. He was friendly enough but one got the feeling that ‘it was just a job’ and he didn’t really show any genuine enthusiasm. The lucky and observant ones saw both whales and dolphins. The weather remained cold and wet and most of the time the open decks were closed due to high winds. Cruising through the Bay of Biscay wasn’t too rough, but certainly not a millpond. Even with her damaged propellers, Columbus managed to remain fairly stable in the rough weather. There was nightly and sometimes afternoon entertainment presented by the Columbus Singers and Dancers or the ‘Guest Act’ which for the first half of the cruise was the comedian / impersonator Christopher Gee, who was actually quite good. Entertainment was very mixed. The team were pleasant to talk to and enthusiastic, but seemed to lack professional training. Angelina stood out and boosted the credence of the vocalists. The ‘Abba’ and ‘Round the World’ shows were probably the most notable. The dance team’s coordination was generally quite good; the 2nd Guest Act (who transferred from Marco Polo in Lanzarote), the comedian Les Bryan was embarrassing to watch. The food and service in both the Waterfront Restaurant and Plantation Bistro was of a continually high standard. Christmas Eve Dinner was excellent. My Cabin Steward always had a smile and time for a chat whilst providing a faultless standard of service. The inside cabin on Deck 10 was spacious and perfectly adequate. The vast majority of bar staff were pleasant and attentive, although some needed some additional training in their job and demonstrated poor customer service skills. We arrived in Tenerife at about 20:00 it was very nice to be able to get off for a few hours and have a drink in a local café. Columbus berthed at the improved cruise terminal which is now a good 20 minutes walk from the town centre. Coach transfers were provided for those with walking difficulties on the next day, although I walked in and out on each occasion. Immediately after we berthed, a specialist team and local divers arrived and started to work on the propellers. They completed their work about an hour before we departed the next day and we have to assume that they were successful, although no mention of the success or otherwise was made by anyone on the ship. The weather was partly sunny and temperatures in the low 20’s. I did not take an organised excursion, but took the local bus to Puerto de la Cruz for an enjoyable day of exploration costing €8, whereas the same cruise excursion transfer was priced at £22. Local knowledge comes in handy! We proceeded to both Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and then Arrecife in Lanzarote on the following days, for about 6 hours in each port. Transfers were arranged in Arrecife, but not needed in Las Palmas, as we berthed close to the entrance. Whilst walking along the coastline in Arrecife, Marco Polo could be seen approaching the port – she looked surprisingly impressive! The now familiar judder was gone, so whatever had been done to the propellers in Tenerife must have been successful. Arrival and departure in both ports was as per the itinerary. The weather was disappointing with mostly cloudy skies, quite a strong win and only a few short periods of sunshine. This was certainly not what I had expected or what I had been used to in Tenerife over the last 25+ years at this time of year. Columbus was joined by Marco Polo in all the Canary Island ports and was dwarfed by Columbus when berthed alongside. We also had two huge TUI ships and a German ship with us in Tenerife and Lanzarote. The penultimate port was Madeira which turned out to be the most memorable, but not for the reasons we had expected. We anchored early in the morning to the right of the terminal quite near the Queen Victoria. Again it was overcast, light winds and a small swell. However there was a forecast of rain in the late afternoon. The Tender Service stared at 09:00 and passengers with mobility issues were advised to observe the procedure before deciding if they were capable of transferring to the tender with minimal assistance. I found it surprising that many with ‘walkers’ and ‘Zimmer frames’ were allowed to use the service. I transferred at about 11:30 and by that time the swell was increasing and getting onto the tender was quite tricky. Many people in other tenders were sick on the 10-15 minute transfer to the dock. Within the dock area, the swell presented a few tricky moments when trying to get off onto land. The two TUI, the German (Avia?) and a Fred Olsen ships were berthed, although the Fred Olsen ship left early evening to view the fireworks from the bay. I spent a couple of hours exploring the Christmas Forest and Market, checking out the restaurants and viewing (but not taking) the cable car, as the clouds were obscuring the mountain from about half way up. They certainly take Christmas seriously and put together a fantastic display – really capturing the Christmas Spirit. I then decided that as it was getting quite cold and windy and the clouds were gathering quickly, I’d make my way back to the dockside to catch the tender back to Columbus. It was New Year’s Eve, so being on board early would allow sufficient time to prepare for the New Year’s Eve Dinner at 17:45. On arrival at the dockside, I was met with a queue of about 150 people who were also waiting to return. It transpired that the Tender Service and all afternoon excursions had been cancelled by the ship at noon, as the weather had deteriorated making tendering not a particularly safe or viable option. There were about 600 passengers on Madeira with no idea of how they were to get back on board, or even if that was going to be possible. Columbus was observed steaming up and down the coast trying to find a more sheltered location to re-commence the Tender Service. Those that were not aware what was happening could have been quite traumatised by seeing this, thinking that the ship had left! We understand that there were frantic conversations between the ship and the Harbour Authorities trying to find a solution to get the passengers back safely and the result was that the only option was to commence the tendering service, with the assistance of a tug to try to keep Columbus in a stable position. My utmost praise and admiration must go to the crew on the Tenders in Madeira who, despite a huge swell, successfully managed to get passengers back on board in atrocious conditions. Once back on board (some 7 hours after I had intended), cold and wet with dampened spirits, it was too late to attend the New Year’s Eve Dinner, which was to have been one of the cruise highlights. Many passengers suffered sea-sickness, cuts, bruises and emotional trauma. One tender made three unsuccessful attempts to set passengers onto the platform, totalling nearly 2 hours of bobbing about in the huge swell. One 93 year old, complete with ‘walker’ suffered bruising to one arm and cuts and a sprain to the other during the re-boarding. He was certainly a character and said that it was the best adrenalin rush he had experienced in years! A few were shouting, verbally abusing the Madeiran dockside staff, ship’s representative and other passengers and demanding to be flown home and their money back. The vast majority of the Brits just quietly queued in the freezing cold rain and waited patiently until a solution had been devised. The New Year’s Eve firework display on Madeira was indeed impressive and helped to brighten the spirits of those who had been stranded on Madeira. There was free champagne and although it was still quite windy with light rain, it was definitely worth seeing. Columbus then cruised on to cold and misty Lisbon for half a day and to our surprise duty free goods in the new terminal building here were much cheaper than they had been on the Canaries. The mist lifted as we left and Columbus left bound for another 2+ days at sea through a very a very stormy and rough Bay of Biscay. It is just as well that I quite enjoy the days at sea, as we had 10, but I prefer them when the weather is warmer. A Christmas cruise has always been something to look forward to, something special and memorable. Unfortunately this cruise will probably be remembered by some with more negative than positive thoughts although they should probably remember that the weather and sea conditions are unpredictable and that CMV cannot be held responsible for these. Despite the weather, missing Gibraltar and the difficulties in Madeira, the cruise was enjoyable and value for money. The Columbus made a magnificent effort to capture the Spirit of Christmas with decorations, carols, displays and themed events. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
In December 2018 we went on a Christmas Canary Islands and Madeira cruise on the CMV Columbus. We booked with Saga, who offer a door to door service as standard. The cruise was to be from Tilbury to Tilbury but due to a technical problem ... Read More
In December 2018 we went on a Christmas Canary Islands and Madeira cruise on the CMV Columbus. We booked with Saga, who offer a door to door service as standard. The cruise was to be from Tilbury to Tilbury but due to a technical problem with the ship we sailed from Dover and missed Gibraltar as the ship had to go to Tenerife for repairs to one of its propellers. We were given £25 each as compensation for missing Gibraltar. The Ship The Columbus is a mid sized ship and although a bit old was in good condition. As the weather was not good, except in the Canaries, there was no going on deck due to high winds and it was quite cold. That put pressure on the seating situation so at times it was very hard to get somewhere to sit. Inside some of the public places could have been warmer. Most of the passengers were very friendly and we had many a good conversation during our cruise. Apart from Christmas the music played in the public areas was more for teenagers that the older crowd on board. The Cabin We were in cabin 10156 and it was bigger than most ships with two upper bunks protruding from the wall, which could get in the way. The lighting wasn’t bright enough. There was a big double bed, well two singles pushed together, but there was two single duvet covers on there as the double duvets they have are too small, or so our cabin steward told us. I went to reception regarding this and was asked to write a note to the Head Housekeeper and within a few hours we had a double duvet. There was only a bedside light on one side with the one on the other side at the other end of a dressing table so couldn’t be reached from the bed. There was a kettle with Whittards tea and Douwe Egberts coffee. Because I pre paid the gratuities there was a bottle of Red Merlot on the table. There was a small armchair and a desk chair. There was ample space for hanging our clothes and drawers for other items. There was a fridge and a safe. There was a small flat screen television but it was placed left of the bed so it was hard to watch it from the bed. There was only one socket, which had the kettle plugged into it, and that had to be used for all our charging. Luckily we brought the extension. The bathroom was small but the shower was big and again the lighting was inadequate. There was plenty of storage in the bathroom. The shower head was fixed and the larger shower cubicle helped. There was a soap dispenser in the shower and two small bars of soap on the washbasin and that was it. Luckily we brought some of our own. During sailing the cabin walls creaked quite a bit and others said the same thing. Our cabin steward was called Ashveer and he was very good. He is from Mauritius and we had some good laughs with him. The food We eat in the MDR a few times, the service in there was good, but as we are fond of spicy food we kept mainly to the buffet as they had a much better selection. The food was well cooked and hot. The afternoon tea was especially good with various rolls and lots of delicious cakes and those very nice scones that people keep writing about. Getting a table in the buffet could be difficult at times, especially at breakfast, but we managed. The friendliness of the other passengers made that a bit easier. They put on a good show for Christmas but we missed the New Years dinner due to a problem with getting back to the ship by Tender in Funchal. The sea became very rough after we got on land so we were delayed for many hours before we could get back and even that was quite hazardous. We were back for the midnight fireworks and that was spectacular. Entertainment The theatre is very badly laid out with seating being mainly on the flat and with some of the back seats lower than the ones at the front. There is a balcony but there is a metal bar running all round it and that gets in the way and the glass panel reflects a lot. There are also several large columns which get in the way. The Cruise Director Ian Bagshaw put on a magic show as he was at one time a professional in that form of entertainment. He was around the ship all day and stopped for a chat on occasions. There were two visiting comedians, Christopher Gee, who is an impressionist and very funny and Les Bryan, once of the Marauders in the early sixties and the Comedians on television. The resident show team put on a variety of shows, even a Pantomime, and in the main were quite good. One problem was that the noise of the music drowned out the singers. That is something that could easily have been remedied. Their final show was a tour around the worlds music culminating in music from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England. They brought the house down. The shows were at 1915 and 2100 each evening. There were various music shows in some of the bars throughout the day and evening. There was a game show in the Dome nightclub most evenings but not until 2215. Much too late. There was a disco up there after that. We didn't take any ships shore excursions as we had been to all the places visited except Lanzarote. The crew were magnificent, always smiling and helpful. There are 27 different nationalities working on board. As I write this review a letter has arrived from CMV with a cheque for £100, £50 each, and a 20% future cruise discount if booked by March 31st. This was in relation to our problem with the Tenders in Funchal. That was a surprise. We would not take this cruise again due to the cold weather. It spoiled the cruise as we had to spend most of our time indoors. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Three-night / two-day pre-Christmas family-cruise for £225 each for an outside cabin - what's not to like? Destinations (Antwerp and Amsterdam) - good. Cabins - good. Food - average. Service - in the main, attentive and friendly. ... Read More
Three-night / two-day pre-Christmas family-cruise for £225 each for an outside cabin - what's not to like? Destinations (Antwerp and Amsterdam) - good. Cabins - good. Food - average. Service - in the main, attentive and friendly. Entertainment - no idea (we didn't bother). A few words of advice / recommendation for potential travellers: (1) Expect long delays at dinner in the main restaurant. And if you order drinks at the table they are likely to arrive well into the meal. (2) If the time of arrival in a port of call is quite late, don't think you can have a lie-in and go for a late breakfast close to closing time in either the restaurant or the self-service buffet. If you opt for the former, the service will be very slow and the food likely to be dried-up. If you go for the latter, you are very unlikely to be able to get a seat. Go early is the top-tip. (3) There's no pressure from the onboard photographic team, but on our short trip the shore-photographs at Antwerp were frankly hopeless (totally washed-out). Don't be tempted to buy (at unjustifiably high prices) just for the sake of it. (4) Think carefully about the 'onboard gratuity added daily to your account for your convenience'. We chose to remove this because there were aspects of the trip which we felt made it unwarranted. Of course it's a marketing ploy on the part of all cruise lines to make the base-price seem as attractively-low as possible. Better to reward individuals separately (as we chose to do) whom you feel may have gone above and beyond. Sorry about the 'invisible' members of crew who then receive a share of nothing - but that's life! (4) Don't be put off from considering CMV (with whom we have now cruised three times, out of twenty cruises overall) or the Columbus. Recognise that for what you pay, you will get really good value for money. How or where else can you get transported to two different European cities and enjoy a full-board experience (the beds are very comfortable incidentally) for £75 a day? On this trip, it was even possible to secure late-availability inside cabins for £129 - that's just £43 a day, which by anyone's standards is amazing value. Choose wisely and you will be well-satisfied. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The ship was lovely especially the dining restaurant, which is set out so nice with partitions so you are in a secluded small section rather than open to the whole restaurant, what an absolutely brilliant idea, food was very nice and with ... Read More
The ship was lovely especially the dining restaurant, which is set out so nice with partitions so you are in a secluded small section rather than open to the whole restaurant, what an absolutely brilliant idea, food was very nice and with plenty of choices. The staff were friendly and nothing was to much trouble. Getting on and off ship was very organised. The only down side was the entertainment was a little hit and miss, Christmas show was very poor but other shows very good. The venues got very busy and we failed sometimes to get a seat. I would choose the ship again purely on the lovely dining experience. After sailing on Costa ship last May which was a really bad experience in every way I promised myself I would never ever cruise again, this one was already booked which I did not want to do but has restored my faith in cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first time on this ship.It was very good. Embarkation was very. Quick and smooth. Our cabin boy was lovely. The service in the bars was very slow at times,they need more staff. The entertament was great the boys ... Read More
This was our first time on this ship.It was very good. Embarkation was very. Quick and smooth. Our cabin boy was lovely. The service in the bars was very slow at times,they need more staff. The entertament was great the boys and girls never stopped working,they made our trip Really great, hope the same troop will be on. there when we go again. The food was very Good on some nights and not on others,depends on what you order.. Our cabin was nice and big,the sink in the bathroom needed to be up dated though .Shower was nice and big too. The drinks price was the same as in a pub here.coffee machine was very nice and on all day.I liked the door of the ship and how it was laid out. On disembarkation they need to have the sign that says this side for the bus to car park and the other for taxis in the HALL where the baggage is. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Back in May 2017, my wife and I decided to take a chance and booked to sail on CMV Magellan to see the3 Northern Lights. We choose this cruise because we liked the itinerary, the chance to see the Northern Lights and that it is a smaller ... Read More
Back in May 2017, my wife and I decided to take a chance and booked to sail on CMV Magellan to see the3 Northern Lights. We choose this cruise because we liked the itinerary, the chance to see the Northern Lights and that it is a smaller (and older) ship. We have sailed on 8 other occasions from Australia using P & O and Princess Lines and from Southampton using P & O. Apart from our first cruise which was an older ship holding around 1200 passengers the other ships had around 2,000 - 2,700 and they were crowded and busy on every public deck and eatery. We choose to purchase the premium package and found this financially very beneficial as we were given an upgrade from a guaranteed outside cabin to a superior twin outside cabin (6199) as well as including the tips and a couple of free bottle of wine. (We opened 1 bottle but preferred to drink in the bars so we left the other bottle unopened in our cabin at the end of the cruise. Embarkation We also choose the return bus ride from Victoria Coach station to get us to and from the ship. This was a good and cheap option as the bus took us straight to the ship for embarkation and as we had received an email that the ship would be sailing an hour earlier than originally planned (This was the first day after the change of time for daylight savings) and from a different wharf, we didn't have to worry knowing the ship would have to wait for us if we were late. Of course we were not late but as we were one of the last to arrive embarkation for us was quick and easy. We were through and on the ship within 15 minutes. Once on board we were given our cruise card and pointed to our deck and room which we had to find for ourselves. The ship uses a separate card for entry to your room which was disappointing that the cruise card couldn't be used to open your cabin door. So for the entire cruise we had to have our cruise card for drinks and a room card to get into our cabin. This was an inconvenience that we soon got used to. Cabin Our cabin no. 6199 was spacious we thought with a large window on the Starboard side. It had one of the best showers we have had on a ship with good strong flow and plenty of hot water that stayed inside the shower recess and did not go onto the bathroom floor and the mirror did not fog up!!! There was good closet space, although we did have to ask for an additional 20 coat hangers that were promptly provided. We hung all our clothes up and had 2 large empty suitcases that didn't fit under the beds so we placed them against the wall and that was fine. Even though we were at the back of the ship on deck 6, throughout the cruise we DID NOT have any strange smells in our cabin and the ONLY engine noise we had was when the ship engines started up or slowed down to pick up the pilot and this would last only for about 20 minutes but was not too obtrusive. It didn't bother us. Ship Naturally we explored the ship and like every other ship we have been on the layouts are very similar with bars, showroom, general entertainment areas, public areas, dining areas, photography, shopping and pool and deck areas. The main restaurants, a small cocktail lounge, table tennis and shopping areas (Small and limited in stock compared to other ships but we found some items that we bought) were on deck 8. On Deck 9 were the bars (plenty and all good) and other drinking areas, small casino and a coffee lounge. Deck 10 had the bistro and main deck area which was rarely used during our cruise due to the time of year and some weather conditions on some sailing days. The ship was easy enough to get around and while some may say the colour scheme may be outdated it was all good and functional and did not detract from our experience of an older ship. Some people would be excited and call it "retro" it depends on your perspective. Entertainment. After reading ship reviews and watching some you tube videos on the showroom entertainment we were worried as it didn't look exciting. How wrong we were!! The 4 main singers CAN sing and sing very well. The only observance I would say is that not all of the songs they sang I thought best displayed their voices and the ad-libbing by the males between songs needed to be improved. There is also a 6 piece live band that accompanies the singers who were FANTASTIC! I will make special mention of the violinist who played many solos and accompanied a pianist in one of the cocktail bars as he was OUTSTANDING!! One of the singers had her own night singing opera. She was fantastic and received a standing ovation. This was the last night of the cruise and she is spectacular singer. The dancers were also great and in particular a couple of the male dancers did some outstanding Russian dancing moves. The costumes were very colourful and exciting. Sometimes the choreography was a bit basic but overall there were some of the best shows we have seen on a cruise ship. On four nights we had 2 comedians, one was funny enough for me while the other one was probably past his best, but did say 2 funny lines when he did an adlib. Overall we looked forward each night to the shows. Activities & Guest Speakers The only activities that interested us were the Guest Speakers, The Star man talking about the stars and the Northern Lights was very fascinating and passionate about his studies, The Whale man was a bit dry for me and the craft person, we weren’t interested in. The shipboard activities weren’t to our liking much except some of the quizzes, although I didn’t think it was good when you self-marked your own quiz. The late night entertainment was reasonable at times but again the ad lobbing by some of the singers when hosting wasn’t good at all. The disco for us was also a bit disappointing as the music wasn’t always to our liking. But for other passengers, the game shows were well attended to and they obviously liked them. The cruise entertainment director David was fantastic and full of energy and new when to take the Mickey out of passenger contestants. His personality and style helped make the cruise! Around the bars, the music and singers were good and relaxing. Passengers were dancing and enjoying listening as we did to the pianist and violinist in the Hampton’s Lounge before and after dinner. The captain was seen regularly walking around and talking to passengers. We had a chat to him when someone we were sitting with thought he was a drinks waiter and asked him for a drink. The Captain was the most approachable and friendly Captain we have had on any of our cruises. He had a personality, told some jokes and we congratulated him on his steering of the ship through the hurricane winds. He then explained what he did and why he did it and the ships ability to cope in simple terms. The Captain also told us that during his previous 16 trips to Alta in Norway he had never seen the Northern Lights until this cruise. He also said that many of his visits to Norway were during the warmer months. Dining We dined each evening in late session in the Kensington Restaurant placed on a table of 8. We had marvellous table guests and we all got on very well. This helps to make a cruise if you dine with people you get on with. We had a lot of laughs and good conversation. Each evening the 6 course meals were delicious and filling. The variety and quality for our meals were outstanding. For me it was hard to choose which main meal I wanted so I would ask our waiter each night for his recommendation and to surprise me. He did very well and I enjoyed all of my meals. Our drinks waiter was also very good having my glass of red waiting for me each evening. The waiters were very popular on our table. We had breakfast and most lunches at the Bistro. We found if it was very busy just wait 20 minutes and there would be plenty of tables. The food quality and variety was reasonable here without being outstanding. Sometimes they were short of coffee mugs or replacing meals but serving so many people this can happen and you just wait a few moments. I will say that I didn’t like the breakfast sausages. To me they didn’t taste too good but, most of the passengers were eating them. The Cruise, Ports and Excursions. To us the Magellan has character and charm and is not busy with too many passengers. It is easy to get around and even though we travelled through a Gale Force 11, 120kmph Hurricane winds with 7-9 metre waves for 20 hours on our first full sailing day, WE LOVED OUR CRUISE. We later spoke to the Captain on his remarkable handling of the ship during the hurricane winds. He told us that he knew the capabilities of the ship and that it could take plenty more before it became a concern. He said he had the ship listing at 60 degrees to tackle the winds as the ship could go to an 85 degree list safely. He also said that land during this time was still over 150 miles away so he would have to have gone further into the winds to go to a port and the n the remaining itinerary would have to have been changed to allow us to return to England on time. We have no problems on the decisions he made that day. The Ports we visited were wonderful with Bergan being our favourite. Alta came second because even though it snowed in the morning and we had heavy cloud all day and the tour guide said we only had a 47% chance of seeing the Northern Lights, we still saw them. The tour guide took us out at 8.00p.m to a secluded place about 55km inland and there we had a clear sky and for 2 hours we witnessed the magic and dancing lights. This was a highlight of the cruise. When we returned to the ship the Lights were still showing over the ship but not as bright as we saw them on the excursion with no town lights to distract. We also saw wild reindeer on the road as we travelled on the excursion. The coldest place we visited was the North Cape. At minus 3 and with horizontal bitting wind this was invigorating. All of the ports we visited had good and very good points of interest for us and we were glad we visited them. We saw many sights that we had never seen again and the snow-capped mountains, Fjords and wildlife was spectacular. When we booked our excursions we thought they were a bit pricey but checking local Norway websites for private tours we found the ship tours were very reasonable and value for money. Norway is an expensive place to visit with a small paper cup of instant coffee and a small coke costing 84 Krone (about 17 Australian dollars or about 8 GBP) Disembarkation For us travelling on the cruise line bus to Victoria Coach Station disembarkation was quick and easy. The ship docked at Tilbury around 8.15a.m. and we left the ship on schedule at 10.05a.m picked up our bags and got onto the bus and even though it was Remembrance Day (11/11) we had an easy drive into London, travelling over Tower Bridge, and were at Victoria by 11.30 a.m. We did see other groups waiting to disembark were running over an hour late but did not know why. Summary In summery we had a great time, we didn’t suffer any sea sickness and would easily travel on Magellan again. While I have read some other reviews of this same cruise I understand that everyone has their own expectations and experiences and any review is subjective. However, you do need to remember that this IS NOT a 5 star party ship, it is an older ship and that must be taken into consideration. You can either look at events as disappointing or you can look at them as an adventure. Looking back and at the time we thought the hurricane was an adventure to experience and say we did it. (I hope that we don’t have to do it again) My point is once you see things in a negative light it makes it difficult to enjoy the positives. The cruise, ports and excursions exceeded our expectations and as such we had a great time. Read Less
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