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Douglas Emond

Age: 53


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Orient

Ship: Marco Polo

Sailing Date: N/A

Itinerary: Northern European Capitals

I had a very enjoyable time on my recent Orient Line cruise on the Marco Polo. We sailed from Copenhagen for 12 days with calls at Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Kalmar, Kiel, Amsterdam and Zeebrugge.

I shared an inside cabin with a friend and our two other friends took an outside cabin on the same deck. Our stateroom had two lower beds at right angles. There was a TV which offered CNN, BBC news, a variety station of documentaries and A & E programs, 3 channels of current, popular and classic films. A ship channel broadcast the view forward from a closed circuit camera in the bridge alternating with the progress of the ship and weather details. I was conscious of the fact that the walls weren't completely soundproof and would have appreciated headsets for the TV so that I didn't risk disturbing neighbors. I had brought my own but they didn't fit the socket in the front of the TV. Because the TV was bolted to a stand it could not be swiveled towards one or the other beds. There was lots of storage space, a safe in the closet. Once or twice the water from the shower rose through the floor drain in the bathroom but wasn't a great problem as we had lots of towels and if the shower was run at a lower flow the floor remained dry. I found the room very comfortable and large enough for the two of us. Our steward was excellent.

I was very impressed with the food served in the the two dining rooms. The more formal one always had 4 choices of main course plus a vegetarian option and a healthy option and lastly a chicken option. The more casual buffet restaurant also served good, varied food. While I can be a bit picky with my food I always had several excellent choices. Tea was served at 16:00 and snacks were available from around 18:00 to 20:00 as well as from 23:00 to 24:00. Room service was also there for those confined to their cabin.

The gym was much better than I expected. There were foam mats, stability balls, weights, tubes, steps, a ping pong table. The treadmills, elliptical trainer, stationary bikes all had TV's attached and a wall of windows kept the room very bright in the day time.

My favorite activity on the ship was the Trivia Pursuit challenge twice a day and the brain teaser left in the Library each morning. There was a regular crowd which created a fun rivalry.

I was a bit anxious about taking a cruise but my experience on the Marco Polo has put my fears to rest. I had the opportunity to be alone or to be amongst new friends, to sit in the sun or shade or whirlpool outdoors or enjoy a floor show, a music performance or a film indoors. There was only one child that I saw on the ship so it was always reasonably peaceful and quiet which was great for the mostly older crowd aboard.
It seems that, just as on shore, there will always be people whose goal in life it is to find fault and relish the chance to complain. I had no idea how many princesses would stray so far from their castle and make their way onto a cruise ship. The best illustration was the fellow who screamed and ranted at our tour guide during a shore excursion to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg because she was waiting too long for passengers to use the toilets upon arrival at the museum. It turned out that it was this same fellow's own wife and child who cost us all an extra 20 minute delay to our tour!


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