14 La Palma Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Cruise Reviews

The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like ... Read More
The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like I've never seen rain like it before) On arrival at the port our cases were ferried from the coach (A little Wet) and we picked up our boarding cards for cabin 9176 and within 20 minutes we were on board and exploring. First impressions There is not the wow factor of Indy with the multi storey atrium but they have managed to get a lot in the ship. Areas that felt a little small to start with then we noticed how much more room you have per person we had, but the ship is in lovely condition albeit there are perhaps a few blemishes but we were more than happy. Our cabin We were in cabin 9176 which is a standard balcony. It was immaculately presented and quite spacious. where I was only allowed 3 drawers, a shelf and two hangers we reached a more equitable distribution and all our 40kg of luggage had a home. The cases fit under the bed if you lift the frame to get them past the lip. Our cabin steward Roberto was a handsome young chap and very polite and thorough. We were very content. The bars/drink We decided not to get the premium Ai package. The house red was very pleasant as were the other wine options we tried. In terms of everything else the Ai suited us as it does contain main brands and we are not fussy over whether the gin is Gordon's or Tanqueray . It has much the same effect after sufficient numbers. Of the bars we tried squid and anchor, the lounge, indigo bar and the pool bar. We really liked the lounge and also indigo was a good spot for a drink before the club started as it was quieter and had some of the best views on the ship and a thank you to Imer,Rita and Anna for great service. Places to eat/food For breakfast we tended to eat at the market place. The choice was plentiful and most days I managed to resist the temptations of the fried bread. Most days. There are good options jn terms of cereals, fruit, cooked and continental options. We had no issues in getting a table at any time. Lunches we used both the market place and the Mediterranean. The options in the market place were nice and fresh and had variety. In the med I had the bespoke pasta option. Taste wise it was very nice indeed although perhaps a little oily. For our evening meals we generally ate in latitude 53, We never had a poor meal with highlights for me being the beef Wellington. Service wise it was excellent but we had some incredible service from Annette and Capella and they are an absolute credit to Marella Explorer . Entertainment All of the entertainment from the quizzes to the meditation classes were excellent and the show cast were all very talented and excellent individuals singing at the piano including Matt CD Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was ... Read More
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was tops never a problem to do anything for u... food choices galore restaurants staff amazing... these guys work long hours but are always polite and give u the time of day... would 100% book with marella explorer again... had a problem with our room nothing major.. but the ship manager got us moved straight away.... fabulous time couple of days a bit wet but hey 15 nights without cooking makes up for that... entertainment good.. broadway show room is like going to London except in London u don’t get complementary drinks... ship was very clean literally inside and out were kept clean daily and more than once a day... couldn’t ask for a better first time cruise The 6 days going across to the Caribbean were long but hey we knew wen we booked... oh and the guys at the Lavizza coffee port loved seeing me at 7am every morning Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having done over 15 Thompson cruises with our husbands and together have to say that Thompson have not just rebranded but have sold out to Merella.The ship is nice enough but some how lacks the touch of the Thompson's older ships, ... Read More
Having done over 15 Thompson cruises with our husbands and together have to say that Thompson have not just rebranded but have sold out to Merella.The ship is nice enough but some how lacks the touch of the Thompson's older ships, there just was not the atmosphere any were on board, most of the staff were friendly enough but that spark has gone, and well some are down right miserable , never saw the cruise director walking around meeting people ( as they have on our other cruises) and the entertainment staff did a few quizzes and that was it. The evening shows were good but the girls singers did tend to screech, the groups, singers and soloist were good I think it is now all about paying extra in the specialist resturants if you want a decent meal, the choice at breakfast was good as we always eat in the resturanr, as the self service is a free for all fighting for tables. Luch was ok with plenty of choice from a sandwich to a 3 course meal in the resturant, (salad was a bit of a let down) evenging meal in the self service was terrible very little choice and it closes early., the resturant is better but very hit and miss not as good as it used to be, i could of soled my shoes with the duck i was served, looks nice though, lots of complaing at night. I am not a big drinker but i do like to taste it when i am having one, had a cidar with lunch one day tasteless, so watered down as were the cocktails, have to say the banana daiquiris were good but more of a mocktail, very little choice in the wine and the house wine coloured water. We were very luck as there were only 43 children on our criuise (very noisey around the pool deck) as there were 450 a couple of weeks ago, what they did i have no idea as there is not the facilities for so many children. We thought we would spoil ourselves and have a cabin with a large balcony, yes the balcony is large but the room is very small with little room to move around, but the bathroom was good with a walk in shower with glass door (not curtain) plenty of wardrobes and draws. On one of the days we were unable to tender as it was a bit rough, would of thought that the entertainment director would of had a program for such an event but it seems not it took 2 hours with a lets do Q&A with the show team once they had got out of there beds. To sum up the cruise would i do another Merella cruise the answer is NO, i am afraid it was like Butlins on the sea ( i beleive that they are targeting the younger couples with children) and we were very thankfull that we had gone that week and not the week after as that was Buzz Bingo week and you could play bingo 4 times a day every day, my friend said she woukd of thrown me overboard but i said it was ok i would of jummped. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I really enjoyed my cruise on Marella Explorer. The ship is slightly bigger than the Discovery, which I have also sailed on. The only negative was the 'sail away' party and the first two theatre shows, which could have been ... Read More
I really enjoyed my cruise on Marella Explorer. The ship is slightly bigger than the Discovery, which I have also sailed on. The only negative was the 'sail away' party and the first two theatre shows, which could have been better. The 'sail away' party was lead by an excellent female singer. But what was everyone else doing? Very little. This is not the usual experience I've had with Thomson/Marella. This show should be the most important of the cruise but lacked the 'X' factor. The first two theatre shows didn't have a story. SOUL was good but just seemed to be one song followed by another. ROCKOLOGY was similar. But he choice of songs could have been much stronger and need changing. Matt, the cruise director, was excellent. But why have him singing in a small lounge, when he should have been singing 'swing songs' from the musicals on either the main stage or on the deck. All in all though, an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Wow Amazing is the word to describe our cruise. Embarking was quick and easy. The ship is wonderful she as a small runni g track a small gym a great spa a pub a casino several bars lots of choice for meals our favorite was the dining club ... Read More
Wow Amazing is the word to describe our cruise. Embarking was quick and easy. The ship is wonderful she as a small runni g track a small gym a great spa a pub a casino several bars lots of choice for meals our favorite was the dining club this is a payable resteraunt but tbe food was top class we highly recomend it. The shows at night were excellant the attention to detail and the service from all the staff was first class. Our cabin steward effendi dmade our stay brilliant. We will be going again nxt year we cannot recomend this cruise enough you will not be disappointed if you book it. The staff made our holiday very special.The cabins have a minibar that are well stocked. Every member of the crew were excellant nothing was too much trouble.The pool area was excellant waiters constantly fetching drinks for you. The coffee shop serves excellant coffee and cakes. The movies in the cinema were very good. Fantastic cruise all round. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to ... Read More
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to cabin, card for drinks food etc, and boarding card, got to out cabin 9100 which was deck 9, reasonable size with a large balcony with chairs table and a hammock, beds were ok, Bottled water-small bottles of wine, biscuits on what we thought was a complimentary tray, later discovered all that was chargeable, at an exorbitant rate. This is where it all started to go wrong, we booked as "All inclusive", turns out not as all inclusive as you think. In the coffee pot lounge you were charged for coffee, several other places, bars and restuarants had a charge, and not cheap. So we set sail had our first nights meal in The Market Place, which was very basic cafeteria food, which was ok, self serve pumps of red/white wine and fosters lager, this was free. had a wander around the ship seemed quite well appointed, eventually went to bed around 11pm quite a tiring day... didnt sleep at all well as above the twin beds was the air conditioning unit very noisy all night slept badly, woke tired. complained to reception asked if it could be turned off, very curtly told no, reception staff not very helpful, after talking to other passengers who also agreed they had problems with reception. tried other restuarants Meditteranean pasta and pizza, average, latitude 53 was ok, but not exactly what we would expect from a restuarant that appeared to be a bit more upmarket than others. drinks were free, rather most drinks were free, could drink oneself silly as a lot did especially on the pool deck Entertainment was somewhat amatuerish, girls and guys prancing around and trying to sing, more like yelling, too loud afoten had no idea what they were singing about, the best night was when they had the comedian steve? terry he was very funny. Excursions to Rome-Florence-Pisa etc were very expensive almost £200.00 per couple, and those places would be jam packed with tourists, All in all for us was not a good experience, could, and should have spent our money elsewhere .not on a cruise, we agreed that it was an experience not a good one and we would never ever go on a cruise again, although there was one guy who had done 54 cruises in 7 years (must have been insane) The plus side was our cabin staff were absolutely amazing Madelyn and ? cannot remeber his name nothing too much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Can not praise this ship enough excellent staff from entertainment Lisa James and Matt and Lisa Victoria can sing. Cooper on the pool Deck was so helpful and pleasant . Everything about the ship was fabulous and will be booking again. Surf ... Read More
Can not praise this ship enough excellent staff from entertainment Lisa James and Matt and Lisa Victoria can sing. Cooper on the pool Deck was so helpful and pleasant . Everything about the ship was fabulous and will be booking again. Surf and Turf restaurant good is amazing. The squid and anchor was an amazing stop for us and karaoke was so much fun. The main shoe bar in fantastic and had BGT John Clarke comedy one night. The sail away party was something else. We did excursions one was to Rome when we arrived back to a band playing and staff with trays of ice cold water and the captain and staff saying welcome back madam I felt like royalty. Getting in and 8ff the ship is so stress free everything is so organised. To sum up all the staff are a credit to the ship and captain John was very nice and funny Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs ... Read More
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs of the recent refurbishment. The Latitude 53 restaurant was very good and had enough of a menu choice to keep us occupied over a two week cruise, we dined in the speciality restaurant Kora La and Surf and Turf paying a supplement and both were well worth it. The Balcony cabin was ok, maintained very well by Andrew our steward who was perfectly discreet but kept an untidy bunch from making too much of a mess in our cabin. The kettle and fridge were a useful addition and despite the cabins being 16m sq it was just big enough for us to not be on top of one another. The service delivery throughout the ship was magnificent as always, every member of staff was polite, courteous and couldn't do enough for us wherever we went or whatever we did. Definitely the company's best asset. A special mention for the show cast who were Broadway standard every night and even the guest entertainment was very good. There is not much I could criticise but if pushed Marella should look to improve their ports of call, or indeed stop mooring in commercial locations. We didn't mind this too much initially but on two occasions there was a charge for the shuttle bus which we thought was taking liberties given the cost of the cruise. Propriano in Corsica was a very nice exception to this to be fair however. Our final comments have to go to the bike excursion team, in particular Nico and Ahsleigh for looking after us on our Rome trip - different class!. In addition head waiter Carlos and his team of Chris, Mark, Frank etc etc were amazing. A nice ship with great staff and magnificent entertainment - shame about Marellas first pub the Squid & Anchor which brought an all inclusive hotel clientelle to an otherwise perfect two weeks cruising, if you just don't go there then it doesn't impact on you too much. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were first time cruisers on TUI (now Marella) Spirit last August and were both absolutely smitten. I think after a couple of days we were hooked, and after the two weeks were up we were ready to book the next, this one – departing at ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on TUI (now Marella) Spirit last August and were both absolutely smitten. I think after a couple of days we were hooked, and after the two weeks were up we were ready to book the next, this one – departing at the end of July 2018. We used or local TUI store and were sold this two week back to back on Explorer. This time we decided to take our 17 year old with us as she would really have. We paid adult price for her as she is 17 and had a cabin to herself (she was classed as a single traveller, she was issued with an adult cruise card and even had the note left on her bed inviting her to the single travellers reception.) Arrival in Palma was slick, as was boarding, it was very soon apparent that this ship had far more technology than Spirit, more reliance on it! The ship is quite big although it's still dwarfed by the likes of the Aida Prima and some of the MSC liners, it is plush in places. I'm aware that one reviewer picked up on things like scratches in the lifts, yes they're there but they didn't detract from the sparkle that this ship has. The food is great, we feel that some of the restaurants are still struggling at busy times possibly because the staff are all so new, but the food quality is fabulous as was the service of most of the staff, so good that we tipped one or two as they really did go above and beyond what was required. We ate in Latitude 53 most nights, Vista (the Italian) one night and tried on another two occasions, each of those times the wait time was just too long and so we returned to Latitude 53. Breakfast was taken in the self-service (Market Place), the selection of food is good with English cooked breakfast, continental, freshly prepared omelettes etc. fruit and cereal always on offer. The only downside to the Market Place at breakfast time is the queue and the seating. Breakfast in Latitude 53 is a much more civilised affair however the choice of food is not available. The cabins are well appointed and clean, we had an inside to keep the costs down, three of us for two weeks has cost more or less £7000! Had we travelled without daughter we would have had an outside cabin, we would not have an inside cabin again just because they are so dark! We did not notice much sunbed hogging, although we did see some belongings removed after beds were ticketed. TUI should operate the same procedure in some of the bars! We didn’t upgrade to premium as personally we have no need to. The drinks selection is adequate. There have been some issues and things that don't sit right with us: Over the first five days we experienced a series of minor problems... each of these took time out of our day to sort. Wrong people allocated the wrong cabin, boarding cards not working to open our cabin door on several occasions, my debit card swiped but receptionist added my husband's name as card holder, bank subsequently declined (quite right too), safe would not open and had to have someone in to sort this -- twice initially and then again at the end of our first week. When I complained about the series of minor issues the receptionist clearly thought all of our issues were amusing! This was subsequently escalated to the General Manager who felt that a bottle of wine would fix this. The excursions are very expensive (this is common among all tour operators I know). Please be careful! We were made aware of a family group who booked to go to Camp Nou in Barcelona – parents and a young child in a buggy. They were charged by TUI for three… Children under five go into Camp Nou FREE! The premium restaurants are all expensive when you consider this is an all-inclusive ship... the "supplement" is between £25 and £35 per person. You may think different but to me, that's not a "supplement", that's paying for the meal in full! If it really is a supplement then are we saying that steak and chips in Surf & Turf costs well over £50 a head? Despite paying an adult fare for daughter, despite her boarding card starting that she is on here as an adult we had one waitress try to give a 17 year old a baby plastic beaker and straw for a glass of coke. When questioned the waitress advised that daughter was "under age", we had ordered “a coke!!!” I should point out that my daughter doesn't drink alcohol so no comments about legal age limit please. Entertainment is confused to say the least. The cruise director, Matthew, was only really seen on TV and seemed to spend his time promoting Champneys. If comparing the entertainment team to Spirit, then Spirit is first rate and Explorer is dreary. The resident band, The Collective seemed to have more rapport with the guests. Structured entertainment seemed to be nothing more than quiz after quiz punctuated with bingo and the standard sail away parties. We didn’t use the casino which is located between the Indigo Bar and Night Club. We did watch one or two games, we thought it was noisy with hustle and bustle. It appears that despite the signs children are allowed into the casino area. Broadway show was generally very good, some of the jokes from the comedians were recycled, but not the less very well presented. This is very much a family ship and not what we were sold. I did query the family element with our travel agent before we paid the final balance but were assured it would not be overrun with small children (my husband is a school teacher and during our holidays he likes to be away from children), however this was not the case. Whilst we observed a deal of children behaving well there was of course the contingent who were unruly and allowed to be so, the late adult entertainment (another form of quiz) being overtaken by a seven year old – yes, I am sure your son is cute but this is adult time! However, in short we're had a good holiday. We will not be cruising on Explorer again, we may consider Explorer 2 (adults only) although we are also considering that market. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea where to go or what to do while we waited for our cabin. Our cabin (a junior suite with balcony) was nice until night came. We were directly above the Squid and Anchor “pub” and our bed pulsated until the early hours to the beat of the music downstairs. After much complaining we were moved for our second week. This time to the tenth floor. This room whilst quieter was slightly smaller and had a much bigger problem. Every day, without fail, the toilet would block..... often while we were out..... the shared vacuum system is horrid and I saw over flowing toilets on more than one occasion. The housekeeping staff were fantastic and extremely hard working, some of the bar staff however (coffee port) were pretty miserable. The evening shows were fantastic and a real highlight!!!! The food was good but the selection could have been better, I’ve been on all inclusive holidays with Tui in the past year with much better food selection. Probably my biggest problem with this cruise though was that it is advertised as All Inclusive..... this is not! WiFi is extra and expensive, drinks before 10 are extra, ice cream..... extra. It just feels like they are trying to squeeze money out of you at every opportunity. Please note this ship is not new, it has been revamped, and well, but it is a bit rough around the edges. The gym is run by Champneys and is the best equipped gym I have ever seen in any holiday resort. Some of the classes cost extra. The 45 minute ‘no leave’ sunbed rule is not enforced and finding sun beds on a sea day is very challenging. This is branded as a family cruise ship but as our kids are at private school their summer holidays start 2 weeks before state schools. The first week we were cruising was mostly adults.....OAPs to be exact and there was a distinct feeling the kids were not welcome. The second week was better but I still heard older people joking how there seemed to be a lot of kids skipping school! In conclusion I definitely think I will cruise again but it’s unlikely we will cruise with Tui..... I will be looking for a higher end cruise with less child intolerant fat old people..... if such a thing exists. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
After a great cruise on Tui Discovery, decided to try Explorer. With it being refitted and rebranded, plus we also were thinking of a Caribbean cruise for early next year. We have cruised with many different cruise lines, including ... Read More
After a great cruise on Tui Discovery, decided to try Explorer. With it being refitted and rebranded, plus we also were thinking of a Caribbean cruise for early next year. We have cruised with many different cruise lines, including Thomsons early vessels, all round the world. Embarkation was smooth and quickly done. The staff were very helpful and we were soon in our cabin, with cabin stewards greeting us. Our luggage was delivered within 30mins. The cabin( 8103) was well outfitted and clean, the shower area was disappointing with a stained sink, corroding mirror plus an unpleasant smell, which we reported, it faded gradually and did not affect the cabin Spent millions upgrading the ship, needed another few pounds spending on the shower area to get it to the same standard as the rest of the ship. The Market Place food was good quality as was the food in Latitude 53. Apart from the second night when the serving and kitchen staff seemed overwhelmed with an influx of a party of 250 people, the service improved tremendously. The Vista restaurant was very busy and it took 3 attempts to eat there. ( It needs to be larger) The entertainment we saw good and professionally done. The excursion to Carcassonne was disappointing, as we did not have enough free time to explore and it was not a cheap trip. The ports of call were interesting, with the exception of Porto Torres, which was a waste of time, best bet is to go on an organised trip to see the surrounding areas. The bar service and choice of drinks was excellent as was the cabin stewards work. Overall we and our friends enjoyed the experience and expect that the odd problems will be ironed out. My wife considered £39 for a wash and blow at the hairdresser to be very expensive. Disembarkation was problem free. We have in fact booked a Caribbean cruise on Explorer for late January next year, so this cruise didn't put us off. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
First time cruisers, so didn’t know what to expect. Smooth embarkation. All ports reached on time. Excursions very well organised. Loved the restaurants and bars. Waiters very attentive. Lovely selection of drinks. If you wanted to ... Read More
First time cruisers, so didn’t know what to expect. Smooth embarkation. All ports reached on time. Excursions very well organised. Loved the restaurants and bars. Waiters very attentive. Lovely selection of drinks. If you wanted to sun bathe there were plenty of sun beds. Cabin had lots of storage, shower lovely. Beds comfortable. Lovely nightclub, didn’t get to bed till 2 as dancing away. Shows very good - drinks laid on for this too. Captain and team very professional. There was a dress to impress night and it was lovely to see people dressed up. We have been really bitten by the cruise bug and are already thinking about the next one. Only negatives are that it is a refurbished boat and some of the windows shabby. A little disorganised when leaving ship to go to our hotel for the week. But we had an amazing time. Can’t wait to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting ... Read More
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting for us in our cabin. Embarkation was easy and the systems employed throughout the cruise proved efficient. We had mixed feeling about the increased balcony space at the expense of stateroom floor-space. The hammock and lounger were useful.... but so would have been the space in the room: you can't have everything so it was what it was. Our room attendants were superb - always friendly and helpful and a credit to the ship. It would be remiss not to mention the first morning's confusion, but suffice to say, from then on, everything on the ship appeared to run smoothly. We chose to eat in the dining room and one has to say the food was superb. My only criticism was that although wine and beer were available with the meal, spirts were not. On the subject of wine, the quality of the wine on tap in the Market Place was awful. Not only could I not drink either red or white, I saw countless glasses of unfinished wine on tables left by others doubtless of the same opinion. The theatre and entertainment by contrast, were fabulous (no other word for it). The dancers were so professional and "together", they could have been on the West End stage. The musicians were equally as good (as well as those throughout the ship). The theatre was as good as I have ever been in: the seats were well placed. with lit-up tables and efficient waiter service. The captain was ever present and approachable: we managed a bridge tour where we enjoyed his hospitality and shared some of his experiences. A big thank you the crew who made or cruise as enjoyable as it was Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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