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Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby Mungo » 22 Jan 2012 21:13

Christmas Markets Mini cruise Marco Polo 17th – 20th Dec 2011.

Booked this 3 night mini cruise for myself and daughter, calling at Antwerp and Amsterdam for £159pp Guarantee inside several weeks before sailing. Ended up with a superior inside. Had read mixed reviews so went with an open mind. ;)

Embarkation.: We allowed plenty of time as had visions of heavy traffic at Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres and the Dartford Crossing as this was the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend. In fact there was nothing! There is an Asda and McDonalds just a few minutes before Tilbury Docks so we stopped and had a break. On arrival at Tilbury.............which we found easy to get to....... we were met by porters who took our luggage and we then parked the car and were returned to the ship by shuttle bus. In the arrivals hall we walked straight to a check in desk, then through security and directly on board. As we boarded the crew greeted us and one took us to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting! Super! :D

Disembarkation: We had to be out of our cabins by 7.30am. Probably the earliest I’ve encountered on a cruise but it was nice to be able to go straight to the cabin on boarding................can’t have it both ways I suppose! No coloured cards given for disembarking........we were just called by deck number and it seemed we were trusted to adhere to our deck. Because Marco Polo is a small ship cases were easily found. Shuttle buses awaited and we were whisked off to the car park.

The Ship: Well let’s not forget she is an elderly lady BUT her interior decor and furnishings in public areas were immaculate. She is light and airy and easy to get around. Loved her prom deck and Scott’s Bar proved to be our favourite place for a drink. Crew always seemed to be working outside, rubbing away rust and painting. No chance to try the pool as it wasn’t in use and strange the hot tubs- also out of use- were on a higher deck.

Crew: Most are East European and do look somewhat surly to begin with but are actually very pleasant.

Cabin: We had a Superior inside cabin on Pacific Deck. A very compact cabin but with plenty of drawer space although not much hanging space. Suitcases had to go under the beds. TV old and air conditioning very noisy although we next to the Fan Room which could be why. Bathroom usual cruise ship size and basic toiletries provided. Did like the fact that in the wardrobe not only were beach towels provided but also were deck blankets! Did miss having a kettle and tea/coffee.

Food: Main restaurant- Waldorf- We were on 2nd sitting on a table of 8. Very pleasant company. A young first time couple of my daughter’s age, 2 sisters- one who had cruised Saga before and the other a first timer and a couple who had cruised Cunard several times but were willing to try something different. The tables did seem somewhat close but we and the waiters coped! The food was well presented with a good choice. Like the majority of ships today it is served plated but the waiters were more than willing to change things. The first timers were never sure what to have so our waiters would bring them out all the dishes!
The buffet-Marco’s buffet served an assortment of food at various times during the day. Fairly plain but a good choice. There was a Tea and Coffee station in here and also one outside by the pool. These weren’t 24 hours but from 6.30am – 10pm.

Ports of call: This was called a Christmas Markets cruise........ plenty of those in Antwerp, a delightful place but they were AWOL in Amsterdam! A few people did say they came across a few random stalls but we didn’t find them. My daughter and I DIY’d. Antwerp is a charming place and easy to walk to the centre. We just wandered around and enjoyed the atmosphere in the markets. In Amsterdam we at first thought we might do a canal cruise. We walked from the ship into town about a 20 minute walk although you could take a tram. When I was there with Fred Olsen in the summer a shuttle bus was provided- you had to pay but none was laid on by CMV. However the sun was shining and we decided to walk around. We ended up at Anne Frank’s House, there was no queue so decided to go in. What a thought provoking experience. So glad we visited. ;)

Entertainment: A Daily Programme was provided each day. A nice touch was people with birthdays were listed in it. Despite just being a mini cruise, there were various quizzes, indoor sports, films during the day. The Showteam worked very hard and put on some wonderful evening shows each of the 3 nights we were onboard. There was also ballroom dancing and various musicians and more quizzes. 2 very small shops onboard and a small photogallery. There was no hard sell going on.

Conclusion:- All in all a delightful ship. She isn’t glitzy, doesn’t have climbing walls, huge atriums but is “classic”. Sad to say but ships like her are becoming fewer as the years progress. An enjoyable time was had by daughter and myself. I would certainly be happy to cruise on Marco Polo again. :D

PS. Would like to add that the Muster was the most thorough I've ever experienced and this was before the Costa Concordia tragedy. We first had to go to our muster station and were checked off the list. We were then led in an orderly fashion..........single file hand on the shouder of the person in front.......to the Promenade Deck where we had to stand, in an orderly fashion under our own numbered lifeboat.
Last edited by Mungo on 22 Jan 2012 21:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby sevenseascoaster » 22 Jan 2012 21:25

Nice clearcut review Sue, glad to hear you enjoyed it. Add it it to the other reviews of those wlo stayed on the overnighter, it seems to have a lot going for it :) .
Just goes to show that you do not need to have have all the 'Glitz and bells and whistles' on a ship, to enjoy yourself.
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Re: Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby Barrowboy » 22 Jan 2012 21:39

.
I know I was only on her for a day visit, but I found her quite impressive of an old un, everywhere seemed liked it had just been refurbished, I found the food excellent, wouldn't mind have a short cruise on her myself...

Glad you had a good time Sue - nice review as well....
David
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Re: Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby Mungo » 22 Jan 2012 23:08

Thanks Wen and David. Taken me a while to get round to writing the review. :oops:

She really is a little gem and I hope she continues to sail for many more years. Some good prices out there too! :D
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Re: Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby Dave » 23 Jan 2012 10:55

Thanks for the review Sue. :thumbup:

I have to admit that although our initial impression during our recent evening visit was favourable (for the reasons you've given), we suffered an appalling couple at dinner which no doubt influenced my not-so-glowing review!
Dave

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Re: Marco Polo Mini cruise 17th- 20th Dec 2011

Postby grannyM » 23 Jan 2012 19:13

Nice review Sue, thanks for that. I'm glad you and your daughter enjoyed it. :D
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