Magellan Cruise Review by David Slater
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
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.
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