While most cruise experiences are crafted to appeal to the market in which they operate, few are tailored so carefully towards a specific nationality as Marella Cruises’ fleet. In this case, British cruisers. Making its debut in 2023, Marella Voyager is certainly no different. In fact, it could be argued that the fifth ship to fly the Marella flag is the fleet’s most British yet. From home-from-home comforts to familiar UK supermarket brands, there’s a ship-load of reasons why us Brits love Marella Voyager.
The choice of dining options on Marella Voyager has undergone significant expansion, especially in the replacement of the traditional buffet with a new concept: The Kitchens. Here, passengers can browse a range of flavours from around the world, including Greek, South Asian and Indian. Neighbouring new-to-the-line Abuela’s also reflects our new love Mexican food.
The has not been to the exclusion of more traditional British fare. One station is themed around roast dinners and another classic pies and mash. Each morning most of the stations flip to cater for every configuration of the Full English breakfast. Swing by after lunch and you can enjoy the most English of traditions -- afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Or for a posher rendition, book Silver Fork restaurant for the weekly Great Musical Afternoon Tea.
Few things make us feel more at home than the brands we grew up with. Marella has really gone to town to include all our faves on Marella Voyager. Fancy some vinegar on your chips? It’s British favourite Sarson's. Something hotter? You have Colman’s mustard. A splash of umami? You have a choice between classic Heinz HP Sauce and Worcestershire sauce -- Lea & Perrins, obviously.
While competition is fierce for the crown of the nation’s favourite tea, you’ll find top-contender Yorkshire Tea bags in your cabin and The Kitchens. These join old favourite Nescafe in your cabin, too, while the fancier end of accommodation adds Lavazza coffee pods. Wet your whistle on a range of beverages that wouldn’t look out of place in your local pub, from pints of Foster’s and John Smith’s to bottles of Guinness and IPA.
Marella Voyager’s busy activities schedule is scattered with things to appeal to a British sense of fun. Whether lounging by the pool or enjoying an evening drink in the Squid & Anchor, you’ll find the onboard entertainment team hosting frequent quizzes (with one themed around British TV nostalgia). Bingo night also makes an appearance at the Squid & Anchor, as does the always-popular karaoke.
Marella Voyager’s huge Broadway Show Lounge also caters to the British love of cabaret, with a twice-daily hit of high-energy music-and-dance renditions. There's an 80's themed venue, The Electric Room, and a British stand-up to entertain the crowds. Dotted throughout the ship are small stages, where musical duos perform songs familiar to British audiences, from Adele to Elton. With its red phone box ‘secret’ entrance and 1930s theme, immersive theatre in The Exchange is also crafted to appeal to British nostalgia.
Onboard activities veer towards the less physically demanding. Unlike some of its fleet, Marella Voyager doesn’t have a climbing wall but a pleasant mini-golf course. We did see a sports court nearby, though it was (perhaps tellingly) empty and during our week at sea.
There is still plenty for Brits who are after a little exercise, from the likes of ‘Legs, Bums & Tums’ classes to Salsa lessons. And for those who want to flex their creative muscles, The Arts House runs daily fun-for-all-ages arts and crafts sessions. At The Coffee Port you’ll find a library/book exchange with popular classics and page-turners, plus a handful of board games and puzzles.
Marella Voyagers offers four itineraries on its cruises from Palma, Mallorca, during summer
These cover a trio of top Brit-friendly Mediterranean cruises to Spain, Italy and France. One, “The Magic of Spain”, focuses solely on Iberian ports of call, including cruises to Gibraltar. Also, with the ship’s European homeport being the capital of Mallorca, it’s perfect for a cruise-and-stay on this British holidaymakers’ Balearic favourite.
Marella Cruises knows that the first thing most of us Brits do after waking up is reach for the kettle, so you can certainly expect one of these must-haves in every cabin. In-cabin TVs also offer a range of familiar-to-Brits channels, including Sky Sports, ITV and some UK news and film channels.
While your average Brit doesn’t tend to feel comfortable with full-on US-style service, we still like to feel looked after. The crew onboard Marella Voyager strike that happy balance of being attentive, never intrusive. Importantly, we never had to wait too long for waiter service in the bar. They’re all always primed to wish you a cheery good morning/afternoon/evening, too.
Zhuzhed-up interiors throughout most of the ships have a very ‘Modern British’ sensibility. Colourful decor brightens up the more social areas of the ship, while smarter interiors in the specialised dining spaces emphasise a sense of occasion and encourage breaking out the fancy frocks.
As far as getting around the ship, the layout is generally easily navigable with well-sign-posted deck plans and plenty of touch-screen panels. At under 2,000 passengers, it rarely feels overcrowded but when areas do get busy it is always clear where you have to wait in line. And us Brits do like an orderly queue.
With the launch of their fifth vessel, the team at Marella Cruises has continued to hone their Brit-pleasing experience with a crowd-pleasing blend of traditional favourites and contemporary tastes. From Sunday roasts to chicken tandoori, lager by the pint and brands you probably have in your kitchen cupboard, Marella Voyager endeavours to make you feel at home while you’re at sea.