Marella Voyager made its debut in June 2023 after a multi-million-pound bow-to-stern refurb that included a raft of new-to-the-line additions. Originally built in 1997 for Celebrity Cruises and most recently sailing as Tui's Mein Schiff Herz, the 1,912-passenger family-friendly ship is now the fifth and largest by tonnage in the Marella cruises fleet.
In terms of look and feel, Marella Voyager doesn’t deviate far from its sister ships, and experienced Marella cruisers will also find plenty of familiar favourites on board. The main leap forward is in the ship’s dining, expanding both free and premium food venues, together with much more plant-forward options.
Marella Voyager reviews are very positive about the ship’s nightlife upgrade, and we’re inclined to agree. The introduction of fleet-first Electric Rooms and The Exchange really take after-dark action to the next level. While a little short on wow-factor, cabins don’t disappoint and suites positively impress.
First timers shouldn’t find the manageable Marella Voyager deck plan too intimidating, and the all-inclusive-as-standard also helps keep it simple – as well as making for some lively evenings.
All in all, Marella Voyager is a strong addition to the Marella fleet, both in terms of its broad appeal and hitting the sweet spot between the familiar and the future-facing. Plus, it’s all wrapped up in a package that’s as British as fish ‘n’ chips.
Marella Voyager's deck plan is easily navigable by most standards, though it would benefit slightly from clearer signage to indicate forward from aft. Deck 11 is the hub for daytime action, being both the pool deck (complete with bar, snack bar and stage) and where you’ll find The Kitchens – the busiest area of the ship for breakfast and lunch times. Adults seeking peace away from the bustle can slip into the Oceans Spa on Deck 11 or ascend to The Veranda on Deck 14, the only real kid-free area and certainly the quietest. Different ages tend to coexist happily throughout the ship, although we were sailing outside of UK school holidays.
Decks 5 through to 7 contain most of the entertainment, premium dining and bar lounge areas, so you’ll find most passengers gravitating to this part of the ship in the evening. The Marella Voyager deck plan does a pretty good job of separating sleeping areas from the livelier nightlife. There might be some sound spill from the Squid & Anchor into Deck 8 aft cabins, but most late-night shenanigans are contained in The Electric Rooms on Deck 12. We found our suite on Deck 10 perfectly positioned for easy pool and dining access and (besides one weekly pool deck party) away from any after-dark din.
With a dozen or so room types, passengers shouldn’t struggle to find one that ticks the right boxes for them. Freshly zhuzhed up in 2023, all the cabins we saw felt clean and contemporary with spaces thoughtfully laid-out for those travelling in families or groups. Categories break down into the standard Inside, Outside, Balcony, Family and Suite, all delivering where it really matters with comfy beds, effective air con and good showers.
We were undeniably impressed with what the Executive Suites have to offer, both in terms of size and finish – families might want to consider stretching their budget for one if possible. That said, cosier Family Balcony Cabins can sleep up to one more (five in all) and still provide a feeling of light and space.
Which cabins to avoid depends largely on your plans on board. Night owls won’t mind cabins aft cabins on Deck 8 that sit above the Squid & Anchor pub, where there can be music past midnight. Noise and footfall around the kids’ club on Deck 9 aft might cause annoyance to cabins close by, especially during school holidays. Half a dozen cabins also have restricted picture window views on forward Deck 4, so check the Marella Voyager deck plan beforehand if this would be an issue.
There’s a welcome return of many of Marella Cruises' food staples, from the likes of premium dining Surf & Turf and Kora La to the popular poolside grab-and-go Snack Shack. The biggest dining development has been replacing the traditional buffet with food-court-style The Kitchens, offering an impressive choice of eight distinctive stations. We found food quality generally above-par and with daily variations on each theme. Dining experience in the ship’s main dining room, Latitude 53, could feel a little conveyer-belt with long waits at peak times, but service is swift and the menu didn’t disappoint. New-to-the-line Mexican eatery Abuela’s scored high for their dinner offering (though someone should tell them chorizo and churros are Spanish). Another big step forward is in the ship’s increased selection of meat-free dishes, totalling several dozen in all, as well as plenty of plant-based alternatives to keep veggies and vegans happy.
• All but premium dining venues
• Sodas and juices by the glass
• Selected draught and bottled beers and ciders
• Selected cocktails, aperitifs and spirits
• Selected wine and Prosecco by the glass
• All theatre shows
• All daily activities (except excursions)
• Use of the gym and all fitness classes
• Kids’ clubs
• Shore excursions
• Spa treatments
• Bar snacks
• Room service
• The Exchange experience
Aimed squarely at the British market, Marella Voyager passengers hail from all over the UK, with Scotland and the North of England particularly well represented during our sailing. Most were older couples, retirees and seasoned cruisers, though there were a few younger families with kids and even some multi-generational groups on board.
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Friendly helpful staff, great shows and decent food.