32 night West Indies Cruise Marco Polo Cruise and Maritime 28th Feb 2016
32 night seems a long time to be on a cruise, if you say nearly 5 weeks it seems even longer. I had concerns, would I get bored, what if I didn’t like the ship, would I get lonely. Luckily none of this happened. You can follow what I got up to, I have split it into weeks as there was so much to mention. Absolutely brilliant cruise and would highly recommend going on the Marco polo what makes the Marco Polo special
Day 1 Sunday welcome aboard
The ship was sailing from my home town of Bristol, so for once I didn’t have far to go, my excuse for taking more luggage, not that I need one. Avonmouth dock however is difficult to get to by public transport so I had to get a taxi.
Check in was really quick and painless not like bigger cruise liners where it takes hours. I completed a health questionnaire, showed passport and was given cruise card. You check in by order of luggage labels which are sent to you a couple of weeks before. I was about 15 minutes later than my scheduled check-in time and they had already called white labels so I joined the queue straight away, it took less than 5 minutes to get to the front of the queue, then through security scan and straight onto the ship. I felt so young looking at the other passengers but at least the crew looked nearer my age.
When I got on the ship a member of staff showed me to my cabin. They have old fashioned keys which is great as I can never work key cards. It’s so exciting when you first get on the ship I love exploring and finding out what’s on offer.
I attended the passenger lifeboat drill which is compulsory. These always make me laugh because if the ship was going down I’m not being awkward but I’m jumping in the closest lifeboat not trying to find the one I’m supposed to be in.
One of my cases hadn’t arrived when they made an announcement “if your suitcase has not arrived come to reception immediately” I did panic as people were then saying things got left on the dock as they ran out of time loading the ship but luckily it arrived in my cabin after dinner.
I’m put on the 2nd sitting for dinner even though I requested the 1st as I need to take medications at meal times and the 2nd sitting is too late. I had to go to the restaurant manager 15 minutes before dining started and he changed it for me without me having to plead my case like I have had to do on other cruise lines. There were two other people there wanting to change, on my last cruise the queue was about 20.
Dinner table seems a good bunch of people thankfully as nothing worse than having to eat with people you don’t like. The first night is always a bit of a getting to know you session. It’s a mixed bunch, two sisters, two other solo travellers, a couple with her brother. The food was delicious and service was great and my waiter is cute what more could I ask for.
I didn’t go to any evening shows I’m still feeling a bit shy so went back to the cabin to read all the information. I love the fact that still got BBC1 and ITV3 on the TV, will lose these when we get further out to sea. Though not liking the fact the film of the day was Captain Phillip’s, we’re about to go into Caribbean waters and they show a film about pirates taking passengers hostage, I’ve already worked myself up watching pirates of the Caribbean the day before sailing!!!
Day 2 Monday 29th February sea day
I went for breakfast in the Waldorf at 8am, I won’t be doing that often as I love a lie in. This is the sit down restaurant and normally they take your order and bring it to the table but it’s a buffet self-service set up. They still bring juice, tea, coffee and there are a few options you can order such as kippers and poached eggs. There is so much to choose, I don’t often eat breakfast but it was delicious with thick cut bacon yummy.
I went to the solos meet up managed by guest services hostess Georgia. It was a really good turnout, I later found out there were 30 solo passengers. I’m the youngest solo passenger and I haven’t come across anyone else close to my age on the ship yet. I went to lunch with 3 of the ladies then went and explored the ship. Best thing about it being a small ship is I’m getting my bearings quickly and not getting lost all the time.
At dinner I mentioned to the guys on my table that “I’m a travel blogger so don’t think I’m weird for taking pictures of my food” luckily they didn’t and even start taking pictures themselves as it is presented really well. I did plan on taking pictures every night but sometimes I was so hungry I ate the meal before I remembered to take a picture.
Day 3 Tuesday 1st March sea day
The sea is starting to get a bit rough today; I love it but take my sea sickness pills just in case.
Tonight is the 1st formal night and the captain’s welcome reception, I don’t go to the first one but a lady from my dinner table says she will come with me after dinner for the 2nd sitting so I get to have my glass of champagne (nice gesture but it’s really because she wanted another glass lol!). One of the ladies from the solo group has been invited to the captain’s table, how exciting! I watch the show with the guys from my dinner table, we end up all getting on really well and often watched the shows together. It was Abba, it was quite good not amazing west end standards but enjoyable.
Day 4 Wednesday 2nd March sea day
The seas are getting calmer and the sun shone for the first time today, walking on the port side of the ship was nice as it was in the sunshine but got chilly again on the starboard side. (see I’m talking like a sailor already)
I attended the photography lecture, I learnt loads to hopefully help improve on my photos I can’t wait for the next lectures.
I managed to tick of another thing on my bucket list today, I saw some killer whales in the wild. It was amazing and such a buzz to see. I think it was mummy and baby. They didn’t breach but they did blow, later on there was sightings of dolphins too.
I watched the tap dancing class, I didn’t join in as I had just had lunch and didn’t think it was the best thing to do plus I can’t dance to save my life unless I’m drunk then I’m great. Katie the dance instructor and her assistant Claudia were so energetic, offered great encouragement to the passengers and made it an overall nice thing to watch. I cannot believe where some of these ladies get their energy from as I was knackered just watching. It was a good turnout 19 woman and 3 men.
Day 5 Thursday 3rd March Ponta Delgada, Azores
Today was a port day in Ponta Delgada, Azores. I haven’t been here before so I got off the ship to explore. I had wanted to go on one of the excursions but it was fully booked so if I were to go again I would try and get to the crater lake as people said it was lovely. Though it was an overcast day and it would have been much prettier if the sun was shining.
It was nice to be on land after 4 days at sea. Sao Miguel is also referred to locally as “the green island” it’s the largest and most populous island in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores (source: Wikipedia) I hadn’t even heard of it before booking this cruise.
I can see why it’s called the green island as the background behind the ship is luscious green hills. Today was like a spring day in the UK not as sunny as I thought it would be but still warm. It’s so quiet. I decided to go on the mini train around the town it was only 5euros. There are horse and carriages which are also 5 euros and an open top bus but I’m not sure how much that was.
The tourist information office is to the left of the port a few minutes’ walk, it’s easy to find as other passengers are heading that way. They have Wi-Fi and gave me information about the train. Whist I was waiting for the train I sat on a bench in a square and managed to pick up Wi-Fi, I sat here for a bit watching people near this strange looking tree.
The train was interesting it took about an hour, took us round the town with commentary. It’s definitely worth 5euros.
Tonight’s show was stars in their eyes. Emma, one of the singers was amazing as Bette Midler singing wind beneath my wings, the passengers went wild for her and everyone was talking about her for days afterwards. I later spoke to Emma and found out this was her favourite song to sing. We later went to game show which was Mr and Mrs and it was so funny.
Day 6 Friday 4th March sea day
I did the quiz today either I’m getting smarter or these questions were really easy as I did pretty well. I joined a lady that I had met on a previous cruise (it’s a small world in cruising) she travels on cruise ships instead of living in an old people’s home, I’m gonna do that!
Tonight’s show was we will rock you, based on queen, the game was name that TV theme I got most of them right, think I need to get a life as I watch too much TV.
Day 7 Saturday 5th March sea day
I went to sign up for murder on the Marco Polo but decided against it. Claudia explained the rules and there was quite a good turnout. You are given a photo of the person that you have to murder and you can murder them in three ways. 1. Having your photo taken with them and doing a pistol sign then say your dead. 2. Put a sticker on their drink and when they take a sip they have been poisoned and 3. Give them the kiss of death by kissing them on both cheeks. I decided not to do it as I hate having my photo taken, would never dream of going up to a stranger and kissing them plus I don’t want people with dirty hands touching my drinks. I did see a few people taking part during the cruise.
I got a good book from the library so went back to my room and chilled on my bed reading and dozing all day it’s a hard life!!
I went to the single meet up for lunch. There were four tables and Lee (cruise director), a reception guy and Georgia (guest services host) came but we didn’t have a staff member on our table and it was such a long winded lunch and not much fun, only good thing was the free drink so I wont be going again.
To be continued……….