In 2013, I joined Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo for a 3-night mini-cruise from Tilbury to Ghent and Amsterdam. It was my first time cruising with CMV and I enjoyed every moment of it.
My cabin was on Navigator Deck – cabin 821 to be exact – and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space it offered. I had two single beds, a large chest of drawers, chair, table, TV and a large wardrobe. The bathroom was also rather generous and featured a large vanity area, toilet, shower and hair dryer. I had an obstructed view – there was a lifeboat hanging outside of my window – but I have to say that it really didn’t bother me. I could still clearly see our entrance into port every morning.
In the evening I dined on a table for 10 in the Waldorf restaurant. There were quite a few large tables in there, and I did sometimes feel like I didn’t have a lot of space, but once settled and tucking into the food, I was quite content. Dishes I tried during the cruise included chicken consommé, potato and leek soup, vegetable spring roll with fried rice, stir fried vegetables and garlic sauce, turkey with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables (I really enjoyed this dish!), vegetable vol-au-vent, spinach and cheese stuffed chicken, and a cheese and caramelised onion tart. The food onboard was good and I enjoyed the varied selection of dishes that were offered every evening. I also have to say that the speed of service was superb. I have cruised on ships where the food would take a month to leave the kitchen, but every night the Waldorf restaurant was full and we never waited longer than 10-minutes between courses.
My favourite area aboard Marco Polo was her aft pool deck. There are not many ships left out there with a tiered stern like the one she boasts and I made sure I lapped it up. I do like a traditional ship and Marco Polo really did offer that – she was lovely. They certainly don’t make them like her anymore that’s for sure!
Scott’s bar was the “go to” place every evening and the music and dancing would last well into the early hours of the morning. Columbus Bar was nice if you wanted something a little quieter, and of course. you would visit the Marco Polo Lounge for the evening’s main entertainment. One space that I really liked was the Captain’s Club. It was modern, bright and had a great relaxation vibe about it. I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but the brief “chill out” was very much appreciated after my rather lengthy journey from Newcastle to London.
Our calls to Ghent and Amsterdam were also very good. It was the first time that I had visited both ports and Amsterdam has since become one of my favourite places. In fact, I have literally just returned from a 3-day break there! It is the ideal stop for a short city-break or even a pre or post-cruise break should you be embarking or disembarking in the city.
Marco Polo still remains the smallest ship that I have cruised on, but she had so much character and I met many people aboard that simply loved her. She seems to have a very loyal following, which is nice, but I wonder for how much longer she will be with us. She is a grand old lady and for now, she continues to sail her guests to some incredible destinations, including the Amazon which is a voyage I am desperately hoping to do aboard her one year.
Images sourced via Cruise & Maritime Voyages Press Center. Credits: Cruise & Maritime Voyages.