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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted to visit. We were a group of 6 people from 3 generations, all with inside cabins. We had the full board package rather than all inclusive, because we don’t drink very much and, at over £28pp per day, you would have to go some to get your money’s worth! Also, every person on the booking must buy the package, which is hardly fair when there are under 18s in the group. We flew from Edinburgh to Palma on Tuesday 9th Oct. Check in, flight, and transfers were seamless. No problems at all. Very well organised, with Marella staff on hand at every point to direct customers. Check in at the cruise terminal was relatively quick and again, very easy. We arrived at the ship around lunch-time and our cabins were ready. We went to have a look at the cabins then went for lunch. All staff on the ship were friendly and happy. They seem much more relaxed that RC staff, who seem to have supervisors on their back the whole time. We were very happy with the ship itself. There was of a good standard of cleanliness. I’ve read some reviews saying that the ship is old and tired and needs to be retired, but I wouldn’t agree. There were a few issues – especially leaks here and there when it rained, but generally it was pretty good. There seemed to be fewer blocked toilets than our other cruises with RC. We didn’t really use the lifts, but they did seem quite slow. One thing I thought was strange was that at night, there were no lights at the front of the promenade deck, which meant it was pitch dark at night, preventing everyone except the bravest from walking round the ship after dark. I’m not sure of the reason, but I’m assuming it’s because the bridge might find it more difficult to see if there are lights directly below them, but you’d think there could be some muted, low level lighting to allow people to have a stroll round the deck at night. There are lots of lounges and places to sit, so you never struggle to find somewhere to relax. There are the usual issues with sunbeds of people putting towels or belongings on them then disappearing for hours on end. This needs to be better managed The ship is apparently going into dry dock on 30th Oct for a week for repairs and deep cleaning. Dining: We ate mostly at Sirens for breakfast and afternoon tea, and the Lido or dining room for dinner. Dining positives:- In the main dining room, there are no set times for dinner. You can decide whether to share with others or have a table to yourself. You are seated immediately you arrive at the dining room -we did not ever have to wait in a queue to be seated. Afternoon tea in Sirens is fantastic, and was always very busy. Food was of good quality mainly and there was always plenty. Desserts in particular are much better than RC, who’s desserts are all very similar in consistency. Tables were kept clean and tidy by staff. Plates were cleared quickly and efficiently. Dining negatives:- Queues!!! British people become quite fierce if anyone tries to nip into a gap in the queue. The layout of the self service areas mean that if you only want something at the far end, you pretty much have to queue from the start. This was probably one of the only things that RC trumps Marella, as they have different stations for different food types. That said, the queues move quite quickly, so it’s not a major issue We didn’t try any of the a la carte restaurants as the food in the included restaurants was more than enough for us. Entertainment and activities:- We didn’t go to many shows in the theatre. We saw Stan John, the comedian, who was fine. Otherwise, we heard from others that the ships entertainment staff were decent for the first few nights but after that, it seemed to be too much of the same thing. There was a trio singing in the Waters Edge lounge, called Acoustic Soul, who were very good, but otherwise, we didn’t do many of the offered activities – although there was plenty to do. Service was good throughout the ship. Although I’d advise everyone to check their onboard account as we were double charged for use of the safe. Marella are much less pushy regarding selling extras than RC. Photo opportunities are there, but you are not bombarded every time you get on and off the ship etc. One major negative was that one of our cases was badly damaged being transferred from the ship to the cruise terminal at the end of the cruise, and the response to this was less than impressive. They tried to stick it back together with 2 small pieces of duct tape. We had to pay 10 euros at the airport to have it wrapped. I emailed Tui when I got home, but so far have had no response. Ports and excursions:- This is where Marella beats RC hands down, for me. The hours we were in port were much longer than RC. I suppose, in fairness, the ports we visited were relatively close together, but we were usually able to disembark around 9ish and didn’t have to be back on until 6 or 7pm. The ports we visited only twice had shuttle buses, which were £7pp (Portimao and Valencia) The shuttle bus in Valencia is unnecessary. Our teenagers wanted to go to the aquarium, so we didn’t get the shuttle bus. We left the port and got a local bus (number 95) to the aquarium. There are frequent buses numbers 95 and 4, which go to city centre from the port. They cost 1.50 each way. All in all, a great cruise. I would not hesitate to use Marella again, and would definitely choose them before Royal Caribbean next time Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the entertainment wasn’t for us, very Hi De Hi, they tried hard but lacked any sophistication. The food was plentiful though more canteen than cuisine. The ship was old and we were surprised Tui were associated with such a vessel; though we believe this is its last year - the paint work was awful, no straightlines to be seen! The continuous promotions to sell photos, treatments and items from the onboard shops was tiresome - shame on you Tui. The cycle tours were excellent and highly recommended. The cabin was shabby, though very well cleaned twice a day by the excellent stewards. In summary, if you want games, fun and frolics with like minded passengers this is the ship for you. If you want sophistication, an up to-date ship I’m sure Tui can do better. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic ... Read More
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic and our rooms although dated were spotless. Henry and Rocky were fantastic cabin stewards with the most loveliest smiles for you every time they saw you . I can’t believe waiter staff knew our names after only a couple of days . Service was fantastic. Absolutely gutted this is the ships last year sailing . Only downfall was that there was only one charging socket for phones etc .And WiFi not so good although it was £49 for 7 days per person . The entertainment team were amazing as was the compare who was very funny. Shops ok but not much to purchase would have liked a little more choice Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
we chose this cruise as we had never been to Portugal before. The ship is getting a bit tired but its still fantastic ,FOOD is fabulous loads of choice ,breakfast and lunch is the best in our opinion :) almost like a English full breakfast ... Read More
we chose this cruise as we had never been to Portugal before. The ship is getting a bit tired but its still fantastic ,FOOD is fabulous loads of choice ,breakfast and lunch is the best in our opinion :) almost like a English full breakfast mmmm. Drinks ...cocktails are lovely my fav is Long island iced tea ,wine and beers are lovely also. Entertainment was ok could have been better if the sound was turned down a bit. Ship staff are all fabulous :) :) :) so helpful, polite every day ,they never stop working always cleaning and asking how you are doing. Collis are room steward ,made me a towel animal every day they were fantastic , room was kept clean and very tidy.always asking did we need anythink ,and have a nice day .we had a balcony room 8014 fantastic room. ONLY issue with this hoiliday was the Ship had docked up in Palma so far away, it would have been a verylong walk just to get off the docks and then to the town center.we are both walkers but this was too long . we found this happened a few times but they but shuttle busses on for £7pp on theses other days . OVER ALL FABULOUS ....we will be back xx Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been ... Read More
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been on most of the cruise lines before, including a previous Princess, but this has to be one of the best ships. The cabin steward, bar staff, restaurant staff, were so polite and obliging. The ship itself, although built in 2004, had obviously had a recent update. The bed in our cabin was king size and very comfortable. The only negative thing I could find was the choice of beers! All lager types apart from Bass (brewed in USA!!!) and the tasteless John Smiths and Boddingtons. Here's where P & O score points as they have a good choice of British Beers. Princess, take note!!! Definitely go with Princess again though. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were ... Read More
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were badly handled and information had to be submitted several times.I let that go as one of those things. Once on board , every time I bought anything whether in the restaurants , shops ,bars etc the bill presented left a line for adding a tip. This despite having prepaid gratuities as recommended by the cruise line. That is appalling. The cabin service by the stewardess was efficient. The room service orders arrived prompt ,served efficiently and by nice staff. The waiters allocated to our table were excellent ( so I tipped generously). Otherwise, things are not good. The food was indifferent, sometimes the portions were meagre . Classic dishes were often spoiled , being accompanied by a bit of boiled vegetables. Appetisers were particularly bad, better to have none at all. The buffets were of inferior cafeteria standard. The breakfast buffets were basic and tired , the bread available dreadful. As for the coffee throughout the ship (in the restaurants, the buffets, breakfast ,etc it was dire, dreadful, weak, thin . Similarly with tea , the water for which was never hot enough. So weak tea was served throughout. The only way to have decent tea or coffee was to buy and pay for it in a specialist coffee shop. The wine lists were absurd. At the beginning of the wine list 5 recommended fine wines were listed. When ordering one of these , after waiting 10 minutes, I was told they didn’t have it. So I chose an alternative, that was also not available and so on with 4 of their own recommended wines! The wine waiters didn’t know much about wine. So nothing on this ship for wine lovers. The entertainment on board was basic holiday camp fare, except for two excellent guitarists often playing some of the lounges. The activities available were standard fare. The gangways at most ports were badly arranged - given that they knew most passengers were elderly - steep stairs were in use. Bad enough for many to struggle descending , much worse when ascending on returning to the ship. Claims that they were restricted by the tides did not check out, as they could ramp or extend the steps to make them easier. Overall, the ship has a downmarket feel and the cruise line seem unmoved by making life better for its customers. I shall not be using it again. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Having cruised last October on Tui Discovery I had no hesitation in booking this cruise on its new sister ship Tui Discovery 2, and was not disappointed. I travelled with my four children (aged 19, 17, 14 and 8) and all five of us had a ... Read More
Having cruised last October on Tui Discovery I had no hesitation in booking this cruise on its new sister ship Tui Discovery 2, and was not disappointed. I travelled with my four children (aged 19, 17, 14 and 8) and all five of us had a fantastic time. Embarkation (and disembarkation) were smooth and swift, which always helps on a cruise! And, on boarding, our luggage arrived at our cabins in a very timely fashion. The ship itself was clean throughout and easy to navigate (as I say I had already sailed on the Tui Discovery and this ship's layout was identical). This is a mid-size ship (previously a RC ship), which is perfect for first time cruisers or families as it does not take too long to get your bearings. We had two different types of cabin - myself and my two youngest were in a deluxe balcony and my two eldest were in a standard inside. Both cabins were clean (and constantly kept that way by the super efficient staff) with comfy beds, adequate storage and standard size/facilities as for most cruise ships. I booked specific cabins so that we were close to each other and so that we were mid-ship and not near any noisy/busy areas of this ship so was very happy with my choices. Dining was very good with plenty of options for all. I did not bother with the speciality restaurants (as they cost extra and because there were so many other places to eat). Breakfast can either be taken at Islands buffett (good selection, good food, was a little busy on disembarkation today, but apart from that never a problem finding somewhere to sit) or in the main restaurant (this was more civilised and a more leisurely affair, as the main hot options were waiter service with a small cold buffet selection). Lunch can be taken again at the buffett or a set 4 course at the main 47 restaurant or you can just grab a snack at the snack shack (burgers, hot dogs, mac cheese, sandwiches, salads etc) or there is also food at the indoor pool. In the afternoons you can get ice-cream and from 3pm - 5pm afternoon tea at the buffet was very good (great selection of tasty sandwiches, cakes, cream teas etc). Dinner can either again be in the buffet or in the main restaurant or the Italian above (we had 5 meals in the main restaurant and 2 in the Italian, all of which were really good - although the Italian menu does tend to be the same every night). We only had to wait to be seated on one evening (you are provided with a buzzer and you do not have to wait long). All in all very good food and very good service. Bar service was in general good although there was often a long wait at the pool bars (they could do with more staff) and occassionally waiting time at the other bars in the evenings. The new all inclusive package was ample for us and do not see why you would want to pay any extra - all your standard drinks - shorts, wines, beers and cocktails (and they were good quality labelled brands) and good selection of non-alcholic drinks and mocktails too were included - you just have to present your card. Evening shows were good quality (although one was identical to a show we saw in October which was a shame, also there were no real plays, which I usually like and one night there was a comedian but it was unclear whether this was suitable for young children so we did not attend just in case) we did not go to any of the films this time as they were either not things we wanted to see or things we had seen. All the bands/musicians/singers around the ship were really good and provided good entertainment. Did not use the casino (it is tiny!!). Never had a problem finding a seat in the theatre (we went to the 8.30pm perfomances each night). Day time entertainment was OK (although a little tacky at times). Kids club was good (although I would have preferred more or longer sessions or drop in sessions). Climbing wall was good (you need to book a slot) my middle and youngest boy enjoyed this. We also enjoyed the mini golf and shuttle board and table tennis. My 17 year old used the gym every day which he said was not bad. The main pool is tiny and crowded (full of kids) is more like a glorified children's paddling pool, but that is often the way on a cruise ship. The inside pool was better and had an adults only time period, but who wants to be inside when there is sun shining outside? There was not usually a problem finding a sun bed - apart from the day at sea when we could not find one at all!! So had to all cram onto our balcony!! They are supposed to impose a 45 minute rule (whereby if a sun bed is empty for more than 45 minutes they remove the items on it) but I never saw this being implemented. Likewise you can never get anywhere to sit in the adults only section (had the same problem on Tui Discovery in October). Also finding any beds that are in shade (for my 8 year old) was impossible so had to use our towels to form a tent for him! It was a shame that only about 50 - 60% of the passengers bothered to dress up for the "dress to impress night". I always love this night on cruises and it makes it so special - however when you and your daughter are dressed in a cocktail dress and your boys are in suits and you are seated at dinner next to people in t-shirts it does rather spoil it. I think if there is a formal night or dress up night reminders should be sent to travellers before the holiday (so they can pack accordingly) and maybe if they don't want to dress up for that one night they can be seated in a more casual dining area. Ports of call were all very good: In Barcelona we got a hop on hop off bus tour and managed to see quite a bit. In Palma we did book one trip through the ship (the train in Soller) which was OK but nothing special. At all the other ports (Ibiza, Almeria and Ceuta) I had already researched in advance where we could go and what we could see so we were well prepared to do our own thing (as I always find the maps that you get from the ship are a bit basic). All staff were excellent - polite, efficient, friendly, courteous, helpful ..... perfect!! I did have two small issues - Firstly I ordered a photo (for £14.95) and before I went to collect it I gave £20 cash to reception to add to my account to cover the photo - however later that evening my card was refused at the bar and during dinner when I asked for wine and both times I was told I owed money (the drinks were all inclusive anyway so did not understand the logic behind this) - this was embarrassing (as I did not owe money) and had to use my eldest boy's card instead just to have wine with my dinner. When I went to reception they said my account was in credit and they did not understand why there had been a problem. (To their credit, the next day, as way of apology, I was sent a bottle of wine to my cabin so have to say I was more than happy that they acknowledged and acted on the issue). Secondly on leaving the ship I was told I owed E1.50 for a premium drink (that had somehow been added to my card) It was only a small amount but out of principle I said i did not want to pay for somebody else's drink. I then was kept waiting for almost 10 minutes (when I needed to disembark) for the matter to be resolved. However, these two tiny issues did not spoil what was an excellent holiday over all and I would definitely sail on this ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having been on 2 previous Thomson cruises and thoroughly enjoyed both, we thought this cruise would have the same high quality and pleasant experience. HOW WRONG COULD WE BE?? The whole of the first week, all the passengers had to wear ... Read More
Having been on 2 previous Thomson cruises and thoroughly enjoyed both, we thought this cruise would have the same high quality and pleasant experience. HOW WRONG COULD WE BE?? The whole of the first week, all the passengers had to wear fleeces, jackets or in my experience a woollen shawl everywhere - except our cabin! The air conditioning was on full blast for the whole of the week in every bar, dining room, place of entertainment. One could not get away from the cold air blasting into your body, except in the cabins. We spent a lot of time in the cabin that first week but couldn't even watch tv, because it didn't work properly. When I complained to the correct person on board about the cold more than once in the first week I was told it was a fault that was being rectified. It was rectified THE SECOND WEEK. Everywhere you went the first week you had to wear something to keep you warm - eating in the restaurants, seeing a show, having a drink in a bar, everywhere. The food in all the restaurants on board, bar the one you had to pay for, had exactly the same food served every day. The Deck Buffet had a warmed up different version of the previous days food, but did also have lots of other things to eat as well, which was good, because we had uncooked fish twice on board and didn't want to get food poisoning so went to the buffet every meal time from then on. When I got back home I wrote a letter informing head office of these complaints and faults on behalf of Thomson Cruises I was completely ignored for about a month. I then received a letter telling me they could not listen to my complaints (which they disputed) because I DIDN'T FILL A FORM IN ON BOARD SHIP. I even wrote to the managing Director Mr Richard Sofer of Thomson Cruises TUI. But that letter was sent back to me saying address unknown. The address I used was the head Office address on line and I also had the post code from Thomson Cruises chat now complaints on line. So now we use P&0 for our cruises and Thomas Cooke or Virgin for our other holidays. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise to coincide with my husbands birthday. From day one we had a fantastic time The cabin with balcony was spacious, the bathroom a bit cramped but adequate and everything cleaned to a high standard every day. Cabin ... Read More
We chose this cruise to coincide with my husbands birthday. From day one we had a fantastic time The cabin with balcony was spacious, the bathroom a bit cramped but adequate and everything cleaned to a high standard every day. Cabin staff ..especially Rona were always cheerful even though it was obvious they were under pressure to complete their work. We found waiting for the lifts a bit challenging but decided on day one that it would be easier to climb the stairs, luckily we are fit and able to do so We decided on freedom dining and it suited us well. The restaurant staff were always helpful . The food was good and we were not rushed. Talk around the dinner table ineviitably turned to 'how many cruises have you been on' this was bit tiresome but if people make cruising a full time hobby its to be expected Entertainmement was as good as some West end shows The drinks are reasonably priced with no surcharges. The daily charges for cabin services reasonable. In all a brilliant trip and will use P&O again Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem ... Read More
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem close chums of portly Onslow and family in that Mrs Bucket comedy series. Or the Royle family on their hols. Brits abroad who let us down. Swilling drinks, shouty, bit whiffy, tattoed, smokers, regular belchers and trumpers, string vests and they care not a jot for other passengers. P&O try hard to maintain good standards but just a few passengers foil them! Not P&O's fault. Food, entertainment, crew and facilities are all good or excellent. Showers are a bit small with no doors, just curtains. Ship looks a bit tired and rusty in places but overall decor etc was good. Very good song and dance team. Theatre is a bit too small so get there about an hour earlier to ensure seats. Best to avoid school holidays. Sometimes have to go up and down stairs or lifts too much to reach restaurants if you're infirm. Conclusion.....Well worth sampling Ventura but some passengers said they also agreed with us that RCI was a bit better. The debate goes on......All depends who you chat to. Edith Evans would not enjoy. Read Less

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