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Kim Friedman

Age: 46 to 55

Occupation:N/A

Number of Cruises: 11 to 20 Cruises

Cruise Line: Orient

Ship: Marco Polo

Sailing Date: June 5, 1999

Itinerary: Greek Isles & Italy

After spending three nights in Istanbul at The Marmara Hotel we boarded the ship. We paid for an additional night at the hotel. This is a good idea since the trip is an arduous one and you have an additional day to acclimate to the time change. The hotel is fine; the rooms were fairly large; the restaurant was adequate, but go downstairs to the coffee shop unless you want a huge buffet. We ate dinner once in the hotel and two nights at restaurants recommended by the front desk.

We boarded the ship easily with no delays. It is clean and the room was fairly spacious. We were on the main deck (484) in an inside cabin. There was tons of drawer space and you can turn around in the bathroom! To store your luggage under the bed, one person needs to lift the bed frame and the other needs to push the luggage under. Our luggage was in the room when we arrived. One thing to remember, you must lock your room with the key when you leave...It is not automatic!!! K

The welcome aboard buffet was okay. Have the hamburgers that they grill outside. there was a chocolate dessert worth the calories.

We had heard that the food was barely passable...we traveled with another couple and neither of us had major complaints. I would not say it compared to Celebrity, but I went on RCCL for a weekend in January and their food was no better. The service was fine, but do not expect much chatting or entertainment from your waiter. He serves, little more. We happen to like that, but people expecting jokes and chatting as is found on many Caribbean ships will be disappointed.

The deck space is ample, but our cruise was not fully booked. There are very few chairs on the pool deck, so go up one or two levels. For shade seekers, there are chairs all around the outside walkways. It was a great place to read.

The ship vibrates regularly, so I would not want a cabin any lower than ours. The beds are not particularly comfortable, but no worse than any other line. Our cabin steward was prompt in cleaning our cabin and friendly whenever we saw him. He reported a wet carpet to engineering, but they had not found the leak that began on day four before we disembarked! It was not a major problem, but if it had been I would not have been happy. Our damp spot was very small, but the other couple we were traveling with had more water in their cabin and the leak was not found for them either.

We found the tours to be reasonably priced and were happy with all but one of them. If your itinerary takes you to Sorrento and you wish to visit Pompeii, arrange for your own tour. The ship's program had a great guide, but they only allowed you two and one half hours there. It was not enough time. Since the ship was docked all day, we did not understand why a longer tour was not offered as an option. Also, when the brochure states that the tour includes walking and climbing...believe it! Several people on the tours were unable to keep up and returned to the buses to wait. These are arduous tours to the ruins. There is lots of climbing of hills involved also.

If entertainment is your thing do not take this line! Out of all of the shows, only two were truly entertaining. the others were amateur productions. The cruise director does have a great voice so be sure not to miss his show. We did not really care as we were usually tired and just wanted a little show before going to bed. the casino is very small and was not used by many passengers on our trip.

The included tour of Rome was good, but the guides expected you to keep a very fast walking pace. Some members of our group got taxis to go back to the hotel since tour buses are forced to park so distantly from major attractions. I thought the Vatican Museum tour was great; it got you in and out of the museum in an efficient manner, yet you saw all of the major sights. Our guide was so good that other people listened to her at each stop.

I would say the ship and land package were great for the money. I was unhappy with our flight arrangements on the way home since our wakeup call came at 3:45 AM. I live in a major city with direct service to Rome, but we were routed via Milan to save the cruise line money. It was a lousy way to end a great vacation.

As you can see, most of my complaints were minor. Enjoy!

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