The lovely Jaqueline and her parents went on Cruise and Maritime Voyages’s Magellan for a five night Christmas markets cruise in December 2016. This was her third cruise and her parents’ very first, here is her review of the experience…
We set sail from Tilbury which was very easy to get to as a coach is provided from London. The check in and embarkation was quick and easy, that quick that the sandwiches we had brought along to eat while we waited we ended up eating in our cabin!
We had a family cabin which was very clean and comfortable and plenty big enough for the three of us. The cabin stewards do a brilliant job keeping everything clean.
We were very lucky with the weather all week, despite it being mid-December and cold it didn’t rain and it was not very windy, the sea was as calm as a mill pond too.
For dinners we ate in the Kensington Restaurant and were placed on a table for six with another family of three (two ladies who were sisters and the daughter of one, making my dad the only man but he didn’t seem to mind). The table waiters were very friendly and hard-working. The food was delicious and one of the nights was Italian themed.
The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas with trees, wreathes and tinsel everywhere but not in a way that made it look tacky. The theme of Christmas was continued all week with Christmas movies playing in the theatre, we watched Miracle on 34th Street one afternoon.
We visited Amsterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp with one day at sea and on board there were plenty of games and activities. The only issue we found was most people like to eat in the Bistro for breakfast and lunch but other people seemed to have taken it as a place to sit and read (which is no problem when it is not a meal time) but they were taking up space when hungry people wanted to sit down. None of the staff seemed to have the authority to ask the people who were not eating to move for a while and come back when the mealtimes were over and these people who were doing it clearly didn’t think about the situation they were causing. Apart from that we thoroughly enjoyed the week. It was a lovely start to the Christmas period.
We took a tour of Amsterdam, the first part was by canal and then after a break where we had some free time and my family warmed up with hot chocolates at Hotel Victoria the tour continued by coach. It is a very interesting place, the architecture is lovely. There was not enough time to see everything the city has to offer but the tour was a great little taster to give us an impression and a longer trip to see more of the sites and museums and also perhaps to go further afield and see more of the surrounding area is recommended.
Hamburg was beautiful, Germans really know how to do Christmas! Their market was lovely and had so many stalls selling food, decorations and gifts. They have a little shop within the market that was so full of Christmas decorations there wasn’t much room for other people so staff controlled how many people are allowed in at one time. There were so many traditional wooden tree decorations and nutcrackers. We didn’t end up seeing very much of the city apart from a quick walk around as we spent most of the time seeing the market, buying gifts and sampling the food. After about 4.00 when it started getting dark the Christmas Lights came on making it even more beautiful.
In Antwerp the docks are right in the city centre so it was nice and easy to walk around then go back to the ship, drop off the things we had bought first time round and head out again.
Although it was the middle of the week, most shops and the Christmas market didn’t open till 11.00. It was very quiet till then so we walked around looking at the buildings which are all very beautiful. Then, later on the place was buzzing as the market opened. The main square was packed with stalls. Of course being in Belgium we had to make sure we went to the chocolate shop and ate waffles from the market. We had a good walk around seeing the city and by the port is the castle which you can go in and go up the slope and see fantastic views of the city and the port.
The run-up to Christmas is obviously always a very busy time for everyone but I would thoroughly recommend a short break away like this beforehand. A cruise where you can go to see a few places and let yourself be taken care of by the hardworking friendly staff for a few days refreshes you to carry on with the preparation and is a lovely start to Christmas!
Cruise Addicts Blog says:
“Thank you for the review of your Christmas Market Cruise with Cruise & Maritime Voyages, I’m totally convinced on Christmas Market cruises and will be looking into booking one soon!”
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