Please carefully read this General Information, which contains useful details that you need to know before you book your cruise holiday. Should there be some additional information that you require or you have questions about any aspect of your cruise, please do not hesitate to contact us. Fuller, more detailed information will be forwarded in our pre-sailing booklet around two months before you sail.
View pre-sailing booklets here:
|Marco Polo Booklet||Ocean Countess Booklet|
There is no restriction on the amount of luggage that you may bring on board the cruises which depart from and return to the UK or the Republic of Ireland. In order to reduce the risk of accidental damage during baggage handling, please do not overpack your suitcases and also ensure that no one item of baggage weighs more than 23kgs/50lbs. As there are no separate Baggage Room facilities aboard our ships, it should be noted that all baggage must be stored within the cabin. Under bed storage is available in most cabins for suitcases not exceeding 23cms / 9 inches in depth. We strongly recommend the use of security locks for your luggage for all parts of your journey. Jewellery, medication, travel documents, passport and other valuables should be kept in your hand luggage. All baggage should be clearly labelled, do not forget to specify your name and cabin number on the luggage labels. The Company is not responsible for any loss or damage to your luggage during transit to or from the ship. In case of loss or damage advise the carriers involved and your insurance company.
In order to travel aboard our ships it is important that passengers read and sign, or in the case of web bookings, acknowledge that they have read the Booking Conditions, which cover the detailed terms and conditions under which bookings are accepted. It is the passenger’s responsibility to ensure that all the ship’s manifest information, including, but not limited to, full names, dates of birth, passport details, travel insurance and medical declarations are provided to the company in a timely manner. Failure to provide such information and a signed acknowledgement of our Booking Conditions could result in a delay in boarding at Embarkation or, in extreme circumstances, the permissions to board being refused.
The information contained in this brochure has been checked for accuracy and is correct at the time of printing in December 2011. Worldwide events subsequent to this date may necessitate unavoidable alterations to our planned schedules. Any such changes deemed to be significant or fundamental to your booking will be advised to you accordingly. It should also be noted that the destination photography and maps are generic to the locations depicted and may not be a specific representation of sights or images to be viewed in a particular port of call on the cruise booked. Similarly, cabin photography is typical of the category shown but individual furnishings and colour schemes may vary within the same cabin grade.
Children and Teens
Please note that Marco Polo is child-free and therefore for the enjoyment of adult passengers only (16 years and above at the time of sailing). There are no dedicated recreational facilities for children aboard Ocean Countess, but nevertheless accompanied children and teenagers under the age of 18 at the date of sailing are of course welcome on board and, when occupying a third or fourth berth in a cabin with two full fare paying passengers, travel at the beneficial rate shown under the ‘Fares’ box on each cruise page. Children and teens under the age of 18 at the date of sailing but occupying a twin cabin with just one accompanying adult, are charged at the full adult fare. We are unable to carry infants under the age of six months at the time of sailing.
During the day, attitudes are very relaxed and informality is the key. Casual clothing is quite sufficient during the days at sea and for time spent ashore. On certain shore excursions and at some religious sites, discretion should be used so as not to cause inadvertent offence with inappropriate clothing. Advice will be given on board in such cases. Every day, the Daily Programme suggests, as a guide, a mode of dress for that particular evening’s events. For Marco Polo and Ocean Countess there are generally two ‘formal’ or gala nights planned on each cruise when many gentlemen wear a dinner jacket, although a lounge suit is quite acceptable. The ladies on these occasions have a chance to dress up and often opt for evening or cocktail dresses. On evenings proposed as ‘informal’, a suit or smart jacket and trousers, with or without a tie, for the men is suggested and the ladies have further opportunities to look elegant in a cocktail dress, trouser suits and stylish co-ordinates. A ‘casual’ recommendation often covers evenings spent in port or when a special event such as a deck party is scheduled. In these cases, the choice of dress is left entirely to you.
Duty Free Sales
The on board shops are open daily when each ship is at sea, but local customs regulations do not permit the sale of duty free goods whilst a ship is in port. It should be noted that liquor and tobacco products purchased will only be delivered to your cabin on the last day of the cruise. Drink and tobacco may of course be purchased throughout the cruise from the ships’ bars at the listed shipboard prices.
All cabins feature 110v and 220v current and have an electrical socket to allow small appliances such as electric shavers, electric rollers and hair stylers to be used. Each bathroom is equipped with an integral hair dryer. It is advisable to bring a UK three pin to European round two pin universal adapter in order to access the electrical supply in the cabins.
The embarkation procedures at UK ports normally commence 4 hours prior to the published sailing time. At final disembarkation, you should allow approximately 90-120 minutes from the scheduled arrival time before disembarkation. The full embarkation and disembarkation procedures and timings will be confirmed when tickets and cruise documentation is despatched usually 14 days prior to sail date.
Extras not included
Please refer to Look What's Included for what is included in the fare. Unless otherwise stated, the following extras are not included:- travel insurance; travel joining costs to the port of embarkation; optional shore excursions; port parking; on board expenditure of a personal nature i.e. drinks, gifts, shopping, laundry, communications etc; any visa & health certificate charges that may apply; and crew gratuities which will be automatically billed to your on board account.
According to international custom in the hospitality industry, tipping is accepted as the standard recognition of good service. For your greater convenience we operate an automatic tipping system so instead of worrying how much and when to tip, an amount of $8.00 per person per night ($6.60 per person per night for cruises of more than 16 nights duration) will be debited to your on board account at the end of the cruise.
If we accept your booking, but are unable at the time to quote you a specific cabin number, or you have booked one of the Voyager Cabin Guarantees that are available on certain cruises, we shall allocate you a ‘guaranteed’ cabin at the fare quoted for your chosen grade of accommodation. Please note that you may ultimately be berthed in a higher grade of cabin for the same price, but in some circumstances this may be located on a lower deck. In most cases, the cabin number will be confirmed at the ticketing stage; however, we reserve the right to make changes up to the time of embarkation.
For more information please check with your health care professional. You can also access online information resources from the World Health Organization website at www.who.int/vaccines-diseases and the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/travel.
Holiday & Accommodation Information
In this edition of our brochure, we have endeavoured to provide as much essential information as space permits about Marco Polo and Ocean Countess. However, please bear in mind that from time to time, certain facilities, activities entertainments and shore excursions may be altered or withdrawn due to adverse weather conditions, lack of demand, essential maintenance work or other reasons beyond our control.
It should be noted that the cruise itineraries published in this brochure are subject to amendment. Should major changes to the ports of call, other than timing adjustments or the order in which they are visited, become necessary we shall endeavour to notify you in advance. Please note that in the event of adverse weather or sea conditions that prevent a vessel from calling at one of the scheduled ports of call, alternative arrangements will be made where possible. This is particularly pertinent to cruises around the waters of the British Isles. The order of visiting scheduled ports of call may also be varied due to congestion, tidal or other operational reasons. It should also be noted that the viewing of natural phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis or the Midnight Sun are entirely dependent on favourable weather and/or atmospheric conditions at the time.
Whilst our cruises are ostensibly sold to the British cruise market, we do embark passengers of other nationalities, although predominantly Dutch and Irish, at our other embarkation ports of Amsterdam and Dublin.
Manage My Booking
Our online facility Manage My Booking, accessed through our website, enables you to view your booking at any time and complete or amend the personal information of all of the passengers on your booking. Visit www.cruiseandmaritime.com and click on the Manage My Booking icon button on our home page.
In the interest of your own safety and well-being, you must be fit and healthy to take your cruise and all other travel arrangements that you book with us. Therefore, the Company must be advised at the time of booking of any pre-existing medical condition and of any change to a passenger’s condition that occurs between booking and the sailing date. Medical Declarations, on the Company’s official form, will be required by all passengers including those who a) are pregnant or b) have a mental or physical disability, including mobility limitations. The Declaration Forms are sent to passengers once bookings are confirmed. Cruise & Maritime Voyages reserves the right in its absolute discretion to refuse boarding to persons who in the opinion of the Company’s Medical Consultant are unfit to undertake the cruise or who have failed to make full disclosure of the nature of their condition.
Upon arrival at the embarkation port, you will also be required to complete a Public Health Questionnaire. If you have suffered from any viral symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms within the 48 hours before sailing, you must immediately contact your GP and notify us providing details of the symptoms suffered. Based on the information you provide, if we reasonably feel that you are not fit to travel, we will not allow you to board.
The Company regrets that it cannot accept bookings from passengers who will be twenty-eight weeks pregnant or more by the end of their cruise. Please note that a failure to disclose a specified medical condition may additionally invalidate your travel insurance.
The services of our qualified medical staff are available to you on board in the event of ‘mal de mer’ or an emergency. There is a scale of charges for surgery visits and medical treatment. Such charges are usually claimable under your travel insurance policy, less any excess amounts. Seasickness tablets are available from Reception at a nominal charge.
Mobility /Special Needs
A cruise is quite unlike a land based holiday and the ships of our fleet are not ideally suited to prospective passengers in wheelchairs or those who have limited mobility. It is therefore essential that you contact our office to discuss your requirements before you make a booking. It should be noted that the layout of the ship could considerably restrict such passengers’ movement around the vessel and indeed preclude access to some of the ports of call, where gangway conditions are not conducive or passengers are conveyed ashore by tender. Passengers with mobility limitations, or who suffer from blindness or deafness or have other special needs, can only be accepted for travel IF THEY ARE ACCOMPANIED BY AT LEAST ONE ABLE-BODIED COMPANION who will be responsible for general care and assistance throughout the cruise.
On Board Payments
All prices on board are quoted in Sterling and a cashless system is in operation for all your on board purchases. An account is opened for you at the start of your cruise and you sign a debit when purchasing goods and services on board. This is charged to your shipboard account and a final invoice is presented at the end of the cruise itemising all charges. This can be settled by Sterling Travellers’ Cheques, which incur a 3% transaction fee, or by American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit cards, or by Maestro, Solo or Visa debit cards, and of course, cash. It is not possible to use personal cheques to settle on board accounts. The Reception staff also offer a facility to purchase small amounts of certain foreign currencies for use in some of the ports of call.
A passport is essential for all cruises, including mini-cruises and sailings around the British Isles and Republic of Ireland and all guests must hold a full ten year passport. Many countries, including most of those visited during the winter cruise programme, require visitors to hold passports that have at least six months validity beyond the return date of the cruise. It is the responsibility of holders of non-British passports to check with the relevant consular authorities of the countries to be visited to ascertain if there any specific restrictions or requirements for their planned itinerary. Any passenger arriving at the departure port without a passport, or with the incorrect documentation, will not be allowed to embark. Such circumstances are not covered by insurance and no refund claims will be entertained.
In order to maintain a high standard of customer service, please be aware that telephone calls made to our Reservations Department are recorded for monitoring and training purposes.
Complimentary tea and coffee is available from the relevant refreshment station on each ship between the hours of 06.30 and 22.00 each day. Outside of these times, you may purchase hot drinks and a range of speciality coffees from any of the ship’s bars.
Restaurant & Table Reservations
Whilst breakfasts and lunches are generally served in the restaurant on an open seating basis, two sittings with allocated seating are operated for dinner in the evening. On days at sea, these sittings are normally timed to commence from 18.00hrs and 20.15hrs and these timings may vary during port days. You should state any preferences for a particular dinner sitting and/or table size at the time of booking. Please note that requests for specific dining sittings and/or table sizes will be treated strictly on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and will be subject to availability. Whilst every effort will be made to accommodate preferences, no guarantee or confirmations can be given.
Safety on Board
Shortly before the ship sails, or if this is not possible within 24 hours of departure, a full safety drill will be held and this compulsory exercise will give passengers precise information of what to do and where to muster in the event of an emergency on board as well as important instructions about life jackets and the emergency procedures in place. In the event of adverse weather or sea conditions it is important to take extra care moving around the ship, making use of the handrails and heeding any special instructions given over the P.A. system. In certain sea conditions, use of the passenger lifts may be suspended for the duration and outside cabins on the lower decks may have protective covers, known as deadlights, placed over their portholes. These covers will therefore exclude natural light from the cabins affected. Such restrictions will be lifted as soon as it is practicable.
For your complete security and peace of mind, there are stringent security measures in force, particularly at UK ports. All cabin baggage will be electronically screened, hand baggage may be examined and you will be required to pass through an X-Ray arch prior to boarding the vessel. At embarkation you will be issued with a personalised ID card which is used for gangway control purposes and validates you as a bona-fide passenger.
An attractive programme of optional excursions is offered at each of our ports of call. At the time of going to print, the exact content and pricing of the programme has not been finalised, but you will be sent full details and a booking form with your pre-sailing information around eight weeks prior to sailing. We operate a pre-reservation service and, availability permitting; you will also be able to book on board with our Shore Excursion staff who will be pleased to assist you in selecting the excursions most suitable for your requirements. Full details will be advised with the pre-sailing information.
Smoking is no longer permitted inside our ships. Consequently, all internal areas, comprising cabins, lounges, restaurants and other public rooms are non-smoking areas. Designated areas for smokers are available externally in selected areas of the open decks. We reserve the right to alter our smoking policy during the cruising season and should new national or international maritime legislation subsequently affect this policy, passengers will be informed on board accordingly.
If you, or a member of your party, have a particular dietary requirement, we are able to offer the following dietary options: Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Low Cholesterol, Low Fat, Low Salt and Vegetarian Meals. If you have not done so at the time of booking, please advise any requirements no later than two weeks prior to departure.
A technical call, as highlighted in the itinerary, is a short duration visit to a port which is made for a specific purpose only. Such reasons for scheduling a technical call include the taking on of fresh water or fuel oil or embarking or disembarking participants of an organised shore excursion which commences at one port and rejoins the vessel at another. It is not possible for independent passengers to go ashore during these brief technical calls.
It is a condition of booking that adequate travel insurance is held by all passengers and South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd is able to offer a comprehensive travel insurance policy to passengers that are booked directly with them (i.e. not through a travel agent or a tour operator) and details are shown under Before You Sail. If you are booked through a travel agent or a tour operator, or opt not to purchase this insurance, you must give details of the alternative cover that you have in place, including the name of your insurer, policy number and most importantly the telephone number of the insurer’s Emergency Assistance service. You may be refused boarding if you are unable to provide this information.
Aboard Marco Polo and Ocean Countess, each cabin has the facility of a personal safe for your valuables and important papers. The Company is not responsible for any theft or loss of any items not kept in the safety boxes. The Company does not accept responsibility for loss or theft of cameras, video cameras, chargers and other valuable electrical items which are your responsibility at all times.
At the time of printing, no individual visas are required to be obtained in advance for any of the cruises listed in this brochure by British nationals who hold a passport that show that they are a ‘British Citizen’. Certain other nationalities however may require a Schengen Visa, which covers travel within the fifteen European and Scandinavian member states, to enable them to visit some of our ports of call. Therefore holders of passports, other than British, must check with the relevant consular authorities of the countries to be visited to ascertain if there are any specific restrictions or visa requirements for their planned itinerary. It is a passenger’s own responsibility to ensure that they hold the correct documentation to visit the countries shown on their chosen itinerary. Passengers sailing on cruises calling at St Petersburg, at the time of writing, will not be required to obtain individual Russian visas if they only go ashore as participants in the official shore excursion programme. If however passengers prefer to make independent arrangements for their time in Russia, a chargeable individual visa, issued in advance by the Consular Authorities in the UK, will be required. Details will be included with the pre-sailing information for these cruises.
Due to the stringent security measures in force, it is regretted that it is not possible to allow visitors on board Marco Polo or Ocean Countess during their calls to UK ports.
We would like to extend our appreciation to the Owners of Marco Polo and Ocean Countess for supplying and granting permission to publish their ship’s photographic material in this brochure. Some of the images have been re-touched to take account of Cruise & Maritime Voyages livery. We also kindly thank Photoshot, Shutterstock and iStockphoto for their support in providing us with material for use on this website.