Updated August 2019
We sent Sarah from our marketing team out to get to know more on what Cruise and Maritime Voyages are all about. Read on to find out just what she thought.
Having minimal exposure to small cruise ships, I was keen to get onboard Marco Polo, which has a maximum capacity of just 850 guests. The difference in service and attention to detail was evident straight away; as soon as we stepped onboard the ship, a friendly staff member took our bags and guided us to our cabins. This was a great personal touch to give a positive first impression; something that would be hard to offer on a larger cruise ship with a higher guest capacity.
Upon entering my cabin my initial surprise was how large it was. For a ship of this size I expected it to be much smaller. It was immaculately cleaned with a perfectly made bed, large vanity area, flat screen TV and huge triple wardrobe. But, as inviting as it was, the sun was calling.
As a welcomed surprise the warm sun was beaming down on London, so it was easy to imagine cruising the Mediterranean or some other glorious sunny destination onboard Marco Polo. This meant only one thing, it was time for a cocktail on deck. We found a perfect spot right at the top of the ship to base ourselves for the day, before making our way to the bar to see what kinds of tropical cocktails we could choose from to quench our thirst.
The bar menu offered an array of different cocktails including a Marco Polo Special - although I must confess I did not try this. I went for a frozen Mango Daiquiri that came complete in a large exotic glass with fruit and an umbrella. The drinks prices were the cheapest I had ever seen on any cruise, with the cocktails only costing around £5 each.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the comfortable loungers, laughing, drinking cocktails, and taking an occasional dip in the hot tub. We enjoyed a peaceful sail away from Tilbury watching the surrounding scenic countryside views. It gave a quintessentially British feel that showcased views we would not necessarily see unless sailing on this stretch of water.
As the sun started to set over the aft of the ship, it was time to see if the evening offered the delightful experience we had enjoyed all day. While Cruise and Maritime are known not to put on huge production shows, we did not know what to expect on this quaint ship when evening sets in.
After a refreshing shower and change of clothes we met for pre-dinner drinks in Scott’s Bar. There are no formal evenings onboard and most people were in smart/casual wear. We sat by the window and shared a bottle of house wine which was delicious. We were, however, the only ones in the lounge which gave the impression that most guests opt for the earlier dining time.
The Waldoff dining room is large and filled with immaculately laid tables and smiling wait staff. The menu was varied, making it hard to decide what to order. I'd have to say that the cuisine was what impressed me most about the cruise; it was what you could expect on a luxury line. My six courses were:
1. Onion Baji
2. Pumpin Soup
4. Filet Minion Steak
5. Baked Alaska
6. Cheese Plate
After dining we head for the Marco Polo Lounge to see the evening entertainment; The 'Bon Voyage' show. It's a small-scale cabaret that showcases singers, dancers and a live band. This time gave us the opportunity to see the 'type' of guests onboard - mostly couples with an average age of 60 – 80. Everyone appeared to enjoy the show and smiles were seen all around.
Evenings are my favourite time onboard cruise ships and I love to experience the array of different bars and nightclubs. Although Marco Polo does not offer such an extensive range of different evening venues, Scott’s Bar was heaving with smiles and people enjoying themselves. The first part of the evening saw three male jazz singers entertain, this was then followed by disco music. Like an intimate family party, it was obvious this atmosphere is one of the reasons why people love this line.
After a comfortable night’s sleep, we head down to the main restaurant for a delicious breakfast. This consisted of a full English followed by fresh pastries and coffee before it was time to say goodbye to Marco Polo.
The Cruise and Maritime experience was very different to many other cruise lines, and I must say it opened my eyes to how different people’s cruise expectations are. Do you need rock climbing walls, lots of restaurants and multiple activities? With the impressive 90% return customer rate that Cruise and Maritime has, clearly many people don’t. They do not sell themselves on having the most innovative ships at sea, but pride themselves on offering an intimate, family-like cruising experience to take you to some of the world’s most intriguing places.
Many have said that people have forgotten the true meaning of cruising is to explore the world in style, but this is certainly still a core value of Cruise and Maritime. Overall it was a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone who simply wants to visit intriguing destinations on a friendly ship.
If this sounds like the cruise line you are looking for, browse our range of Cruise and Maritime cruise deals for some inspiration.