1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Western Mediterranean Cruises
  4. Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

89 Malaga to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Our reason for booking this Tui cruise was that we booked late and needed a disabled cabin, Tui were the only cruise line that could accommodate this at such short notice. We are not “seasoned” cruisers, this was only our fourth ... Read More
Our reason for booking this Tui cruise was that we booked late and needed a disabled cabin, Tui were the only cruise line that could accommodate this at such short notice. We are not “seasoned” cruisers, this was only our fourth cruise in total and we have only sailed with P&O previously. We were nervous reading the reviews but have to say from the outset that we did enjoy our seven nights on Marella Discovery. I will try to make this review as fair and informative as I can. There are positives in that the ship was very clean, the staff (though mainly young and in lots of cases a bit inexperienced) were polite, friendly and very helpful. Discovery 2 isn’t massively impressive from the outside but the pretty atrium and public rooms on board are comfortably furnished and very welcoming and the vibe in the atrium bar is just lovely. I’m not sure whether this is down to the staff or the clientele but the atmosphere is very pleasant and relaxed. We met some lovely people on this cruise and didn’t find the snobby element you can sometimes encounter elsewhere. I need to say here that level 4 on the ship is the main “entertainment” area accommodating the theatre, a live-lounge (the clue’s in the name), a casino, the very popular atrium bar and the main dining room - BUT THERE ARE NO PUBLIC TOILETS ON THIS LEVEL!! You have to either go up one floor or down one floor to find a loo. Now this is fine if you, like me, are able bodied and can easily manage the double staircases (about 20 steps) to each level but, if you have to wait for a lift, it’s really unacceptable. This wouldn’t only affect the age demographic on this adult only cruise - I wouldn’t like to be travelling with children who, in my experience, nearly always decide they are desperately in need the loo when they sit down to eat. This really is my biggest niggle with Marella Discovery 2. As for eating, we personally used the main dining room, the Italian dining area, the Island buffet and the Snack Shack. The food in all dining rooms varied from perfectly acceptable to fairly good; there was lots of choice and you’d have to be a very fussy eater not to find something you’d like, however, we felt the dining room cuisine was not as good a standard as we have experienced on P&O. The temperature of the food served (on BOTH cruise lines we have travelled with) is never hot enough for British palates - we like hot food to be piping hot and this is something we rarely find in Mediterranean countries. Service in the main dining room can be a bit slow but we felt this could be improved either by better supervision, giving the staff more training or taking on more experienced waiting staff. That being said, the waiters/waitresses were all friendly and helpful. We were a bit worried about the “all inclusive” aspect of the cruise (which was adult only on our trip) and wondered whether people would be drunk by lunchtime. Again, we needn’t have worried, we didn’t see anyone taking undue advantage and going mad with the all inclusive drinks package. As for service of drinks, this was excellent with waiters/waitresses patrolling the pool area most of the day and checking whether you wanted anything from the bar and the same in the lounges in the evening. Drinks were served quickly and measures are European so more generous than in UK. We were asked if we wanted to upgrade to the premier drinks package but this really isn’t necessary and, though I’ve read in other reviews that people were pressured into purchasing the upgrade, we were not and we didn’t see anyone else being given the hard sell either. Our cabin was spacious, clean and comfortable. My only complaint was that drawer space was extremely limited. In an extra large, double cabin we had a wardrobe with plenty of hangers and only three very small drawers (I’m talking about 12” wide) built into a very small dressing table, though there was lots of space for a reasonable sized set of drawers. We do like the formality of P&O cruises (probably because that’s what we’re used to) and I wasn’t sure how we’d go on with a less formal approach. It’s a case of almost anything goes but most people seem to dress smart/casual. I didn’t take any “evening” dresses - I think I’d have felt a bit too “showy” if I had. Several men wore dinner jackets and a few of the ladies did wear evening dresses on the “Dress to Impress” night (equivalent of the Captain’s formal nights on other lines) but, in the main, most guests were smart but less formal. (Some men in lounge suits, some in shirts, ties and smart trousers and others in open neck shirts with smart, casual trousers; ladies in anything from long or short summer dresses, jumpsuits, and smart pants and tops). We didn’t see anyone looking scruffy in the dining rooms in the evening and found the less formal approach very refreshing. The shows we saw (4 in total) were all very professional and your enjoyment of these will really depend on your own taste. The theatre is very comfortable and drinks are not only served there by waiting staff but you can also pick up a drink from the makeshift bar outside each performance in your way in but soft drinks were not available outside the theatre. Poolside entertainment was limited but we didn’t mind that and it may be different in summer months or on family cruises. (To be fair, we only had one sea day and the weather wasn’t conducive to sitting by the pool (November) so we didn’t get to find out whether there’s a bigger range of “entertainment” on sea days). There were quizzes by the pool during the day and you could take part or not, as you wish. On the strength of this experience we have booked to cruise with Tui again later in 2019 - having checked that there are loos close to the main entertainment and restaurant areas first. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
It was a late decision as we already had another cruise booked for November. We saw that Marella Spirit’s last cruise was advertised as having a fireworks send off from Malaga. That was enough incentive so we signed up. Sailing at ten ... Read More
It was a late decision as we already had another cruise booked for November. We saw that Marella Spirit’s last cruise was advertised as having a fireworks send off from Malaga. That was enough incentive so we signed up. Sailing at ten in the evening meant that there was time for exploring the sights of the city. Malaga has improved dramatically over the last decade and the port area with shops and restaurants is a delight to walk around. The old city around the Alcazaba, cathedral and Roman amphitheatre is interesting too. The sailaway was on a calm, mild October evening. As we left the port entrance, cruise director Ted reminded everyone that Spirit had visited 41 countries and 213 ports whilst covering over 700,000 miles for Thomson/Marella over 16 years. There followed an impressive firework display to set the atmosphere for an amazing final week. Marella had laid on several ‘little extras’ and souvenirs to mark the occasion from a glass of sparkling at check in, a free arrival photo and special chocolates for this final cruise. First full day was a sea day and friends often say that we must be bored on a sea day on a cruise – far from it. There was plenty to entertain us from a talk about the ports to be visited, a backstage tour with the entertainments girls, cocktail demo, an afternoon play and music around the ship. This was also the day for the Captain’s Gala reception and dinner. Most people dressed to impress but sadly I found the meal itself somewhat under-whelming. This contrasted with otherwise excellent food throughout. Meals on Marella are tailored to British tastes with great cooked breakfasts and roasts at both lunch and dinner. There were plenty of alternative choices and vegetarian options too. Stage shows were high quality and they were complemented by good groups, pianist Alex and, particularly, saxophonist Callum Sweet. Comedian Phil Doyle was hilarious. Mark Labbett from ‘The Chase’ was a special guest and a great favourite for ‘selfies’ although at 6 foot 6 inches tall he towered over everyone. We found staff always helpful and cheerful in spite of many not knowing where their future lay at the end of the cruise. The crew show highlighted that many had been on the ship for ten or more years so the end of the Tui era meant a life-change for them. Most contracts seemed to be ending and many were returning home for a break and to seek new challenges. The captain in charge of the first sailaway in May 2003 was invited to take charge of the final departure from Cartagena – a nice touch. There were tears from many both on and off the stage after the last night’s show and final talks from cruise director Ted and Captain Kafetsis. Many passengers on the cruise had sailed multiple times on Spirit and knew the crew as friends. This was our first cruise on Spirit but we felt part of the ‘family’ by the end. We had visited all of the ports before but found something new in each. Barcelona never ceases to produce something fresh to see and we explored Toulon for the first time. The only excursion we took was in Valencia where we had an excellent guide and the ship’s price for the tour was good value for money. This was our third cruise with Thomson/Marella and we have always found a happy atmosphere on their ships. This was also the smallest ship we have been on and it was without the variety of the newer monster ships of other cruise lines but it meant we could get to know the entertainments team and had a great time. Thank you to all the Spirit team and we wish them all well for the future. Next week we are on Marella Discovery and looking forward to another interesting voyage – but no fireworks this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had to have one last Cruise on this ship. We have fond memories of cruises past and we were not disappointed with the service we received. Our destinations had to be changed due to predicted bad weather. Almeria was lovely but ... Read More
We had to have one last Cruise on this ship. We have fond memories of cruises past and we were not disappointed with the service we received. Our destinations had to be changed due to predicted bad weather. Almeria was lovely but I'm afraid Casablanca did not do.it for us and a lot of fellow passengers. The show team worked tirelessly to entertain us in the evening. The ad hoc singing in Horizons was for us was the best nght. All the shows were great and the dancing was brilliant especially on the Moulin Rouge night. The food was excellent although it was noticed that there were less choices on the menu in the Compass Rose. The staff were so proffesional and most attentive. The whole crew contributed to a great cruise and will always be remembered for the unique "Spirit" of the Spirit. It is sad that the ship is going. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a ... Read More
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a big happy family who always make you fell welcome. Special mention to our cabin steward Regie and Salem for looking after us do well and the lovely towel animals. Thank you to Harly and Kevin in the compass rose every night they brought smiles to our faces. Thank you to Adrian the maitre d' and Mario and Kent our wine waiters. Yes the ship is a bit tired looking but I would choose her any day over one of the huge ships that are on offer today. I hope Marella don't go too big because there is a market for the smaller ships.we had a great holiday good food, great atmosphere and very friendly staff what more could you ask. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose a "cruise and stay" package from TUI/Marella/Thomson as we hadn't visited any of the ports (Gibraltar, Cadiz, Portimao, Lisbon and Porto) apart from Malaga itself, and because we fancied a week on the Costa Del Sol. ... Read More
We chose a "cruise and stay" package from TUI/Marella/Thomson as we hadn't visited any of the ports (Gibraltar, Cadiz, Portimao, Lisbon and Porto) apart from Malaga itself, and because we fancied a week on the Costa Del Sol. The destination ports were absolutely brilliant and we couldn't have asked for more in 7 days. The staff, almost without exception, were attentive, courteous and friendly. The entertainment was in parts good, though rather 'samey' for our liking, not being into musicals or MOR music. The biggest negative of all was the food on board which overall was appalling. The self-service restaurant ('The Lido') was the usual bear-garden on a cruise ship; the waiter-service ('The Compass') was pretty bog-standard,and somewhat cramped. No compaints about the cooking, but the quality and choice of food was more reminiscent of a M1 service station or a works' canteen than a cruise ship. For example, in 'The Compass' the standard alternatives to the daily main 'specialities' were hot dogs or cheeseburgers. The chefs' parade was celebrated around the trumpeted 'baked Alaska' which turned out to be no more than a slice of (Walls'?) Neapolitan ice-cream with a blob of meringue sitting on top like a pea on a drum. Some of the meat should have got got Michelin stars - but from their tyre division as I could have run my Nissan on it. Much of the fruit & veg tasted tinned or frozen. 'Marella Spirit' was on one of its last few journeys, but to be honest, it shouldn't have got this far. It vibrated more than Greek plumbing and was dated and drab. Some loyal passengers will no doubt call these features 'character' or 'atmosphere' and their resilience and stoicism has to be admired. Personally, we would not go near a Marella cruise again unless the standards improve dramatically. GET NEW SUPPLIERS/BUYERS, Marella and give your exceelent staff something to be proud about. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Have been on marella cruises before and have generally enjoyed them although have never been on spirit before. Chose this cruise as the itinerary was less arduous than others we had been on. The ship yes is a little dated but only adds to ... Read More
Have been on marella cruises before and have generally enjoyed them although have never been on spirit before. Chose this cruise as the itinerary was less arduous than others we had been on. The ship yes is a little dated but only adds to its charm and yes it does vibrate but it didnt really bother us. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was spacious clean and constantly maintained by our lovely stewards. It was close to horizons bar which is relaxed comfortable bar great fir a pre dinner drink with amazing views. We never had any disturbance from the close proximity to the bar Food great we ate in the compass rose and had excelent meals every night. Food was hot well presented and tasty. We also ate in sirroccos one night. This was brilliant lovely food excellent service and plenty of good wine. The show lounge we went for the 10.30 shows. Not really West end standard ..but we didnt expect that and enjoyed them all. The staff on board were great really friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy their work. They performed in a talent show and it was great fun. Ports of call .mahon easy access just a stroll of the ship and then bit of a steep climb up to the town. Barcelona as we have been many times before went i nstead to the nou camp stadium tour which was excellent. Toulon lovely place got the little road train for 3 euros and went to the beach area then back to the marina lovely day. Valencia got the shuttle bus into valencia then open top bus trip. Not that keen on this place big city bit a huge amount to sight see. Cartagena very pretty again easy stroll from ship nice shops and cafe culture. Back to malaga where we transferred to our hotel for a week would like to add to the twit that managed to take our case with our cabin number clearly on it to Malaga airport.. really !! Thanks for that. But a big thank you to the TUI team who got it back to us that night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our second time on the spirit and again really enjoyed every moment. Had a balcony suite so it was really lovely to sit on the balcony after a long day of walking. Every one was so kind, cheerful and helpful. Made lots of friends as we ... Read More
Our second time on the spirit and again really enjoyed every moment. Had a balcony suite so it was really lovely to sit on the balcony after a long day of walking. Every one was so kind, cheerful and helpful. Made lots of friends as we were in the Compass Rose every evening and sat with different interesting people. One evening as we were eating, a pod of dolphins and tuna swam past, and the ship slowed down so that everyone could enjoy seeing them- I doubt if the bigger cruise ships would do that! The ship is extremely clean and the food isn't cold as some reviews said. Enjoyed the entertainment every evening and the team are so enthusiastic and give 100%. We went on two trips- the tuk-tuk and Gibraltar on tour own, but you could do both on your own really because the tuk-tuks are waiting for you in Lisbon and you could walk really early to the cable car in Gibraltar and no queuing. Porto itself was very disappointing but the beach was lovely. Gibraltar- be warned some of the shops close early on the Saturday., Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise as our son is part of the show team onboard and we went to see him. We were not too sure what to expect as we had read some mixed reviews and we knew the Spirit was quite an old ship. We were so pleasantly surprised at ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our son is part of the show team onboard and we went to see him. We were not too sure what to expect as we had read some mixed reviews and we knew the Spirit was quite an old ship. We were so pleasantly surprised at what a fantastic ship it is. All of the crew were really friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them, they always greeted us with a smile and remembered our names. The ship itself was very clean and tidy and there were always crew around cleaning. There was a great choice of food in the Lido which we used for breakfast and lunch. We used the Compass Rose for our evening meals and although there was less to choose from, there was a big enough variety on the menu. Jojo was our waiter and he was lovely and saved our table at the same time each night for us. We did the wine tasting excursion in Tarragona and had a fantastic day. We had a tour of the vineyard and the wine cellars, finishing off with the wine tasting which was amazing. Our coach guide was very knowledgable about Tarragona itself and told us lots about the area as we drove to the vineyard. Definitely worth doing this trip. The evening entertainment in the Broadway show lounge was amazing. The show team are extremely talented and work so hard. Obviously we were there to see our son who is part of the show team, so we watched the shows every night, twice! The standard of the shows is very high, the energy, dancing and singing is of West End quality. A massive well done to the show team. A special mention to Sam, Kirsty and Gary from the team for being so friendly. We loved the fact that there were other bars and lounges around the ship and each of them had their own entertainment. The Irish guitarist in Raffles was really good, easy listening and Strum Jam in the High Spirits bar were brilliant. I can honestly say that our week on the Spirit was fantastic and it has given us the bug to go cruising again. If it wasn't on its last voyage we would definitely book to go on the Spirit again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We’ve been on the spirit quite a few times and we booked this so we could experience it on its last season. We opted for the free all inclusive package which was a bonus. The draught beer was San Miguel which isn’t to my taste so ... Read More
We’ve been on the spirit quite a few times and we booked this so we could experience it on its last season. We opted for the free all inclusive package which was a bonus. The draught beer was San Miguel which isn’t to my taste so drank canned john smiths. We had as much coke as we wanted. Plus lovely coffee was also included. So pretty good. The clientele is mainly British so not surprising English breakfast was available every day ( responding to another reviewer) but other options are available. We went to the restaurant for breakfast - waiter served which was good. I had Indian vegetarian breakfast one day which was lovely. Lunchtimes in the lido was very samey with little variety, so we eat outside next to the pool most days. They had nice chilli and gyros som days. But lunches were quite poor overall. The evening meals in the restaurant were generally ok. I don’t like being ripped off by being charged £12 for steak. This used to be included. The freestyle dining meant you met different people each night which was good. We had 2 glasses of wine with our meal which was included in our package. The cruise director Ted was very good. There is always a good friendly atmosphere on board. This is also down to the passengers as well as the staff. Normal not posh people cruise on the Spirit, The sailaway party is like a family wedding. The shows were not as good as in the past. It was a young show team but the singers were not up to scratch especially when performing solo. The dancers were good though. There is not much to do during the day in terms of entertainment education compared with other cruise lines. But we were happy just chilling and reading. The itinerary was good Porto - defo go back Lisbon - been loads of times - excellent Portimao - wouldn’t go back to Cadiz - didn’t get off ship so don’t know Gibraltar - first time there but found it an odd place - won’t go back. So all in all a good cruise. However we feel the airline let them down despite travelling on a lovely b787 Dreamliner. Why don’t tui provide proper airline food that can be booked like Thomas cook does. On the way back there was no food available on the plane. So farewell spirit we have had some good times with you. We like the smaller ships so looking at the celebration next time. I’m not convinced by marella’s strategy of going for larger ship cast offs. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise because it fitted in with when my twin sister could take time off work and was a reasonable price (it was a birthday treat for her). I also liked the fact that tips and service charges are included in the price - ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it fitted in with when my twin sister could take time off work and was a reasonable price (it was a birthday treat for her). I also liked the fact that tips and service charges are included in the price - I've been on other cruise lines where they haven't and it all adds up. I also liked the intinerary. Marella offer flights from a number of different UK airports but that wasn't a factor for me as I live in London. I was a little worried about the cruise before I went having read some reviews that were pretty bad, especially as it was my sister's and my niece's first cruise experience and I didn't want it to be a bad one. However, I'm happy to say that the ship was pretty good. It's not the smartest one I've been on but everything was clean and well maintained as far as I saw. It's the smallest cruise ship I've been on and I agree that the sun loungers get occupied pretty quickly. The bars fill up pretty quickly at night too. In fact, we started going to dinner earlier so we could make sure we got a seat at the 8.30 performance. You need to be there at least twenty minutes before the show starts. The other one is at 10.30 p.m. The ship's vibrations were pretty noticeable a lot of the time and that was the thing my sister and my niece disliked most about the ship. I’m gluten free and hadn’t mentioned it when I booked but I told the maître d’ the first night and it was fine. You get the menu the night before from the assistant maître d’ and choose your selection. They even have a small selection of gluten free goodies in the afternoon tea although the gluten free scones weren’t that great. I thought the food in the Compass Rose and the Lido was fine. Occasionally, things weren’t quite as hot as they should have been. Our first breakfast in the Compass Rose, I wasn’t impressed because we declined to share a table and wanted to sit by the window. Perhaps the long wait we then had to get asked about tea or coffee or to be offered a juice was a co-incidence. But the service was better after that meal. I was surprised that breakfast in the Compass Rose is buffet apart from tea or coffee and juice. I’ve not had that on any of the other cruise ships I’ve been on. My niece preferred the Lido because of the outdoor Chef’s Corner where you can get omelettes at breakfast, but I preferred the Compass Rose because it was easier to get gluten free toast there. (I say toast, but it looked like it had been waved under the grill – this applied to both restaurants.) We went to Sirocco’s one night, which was amazing value for good food. A 7-course meal for £20.00. It’s a nice restaurant with very attentive, friendly waiters. And offers gluten free food. We took advantage of the VIP offer, for about £5 more, you got a reserved seat at the show and a glass of champagne. I was most impressed that because my sister ended up not coming to the show, they refunded the money without us asking. I read somewhere in the reviews that the shows are like West End productions. I think that’s exaggerating although the very young cast are talented and have fantastic voices. The stage is very small so it’s impressive they can manage to dance their routines on them. The other bands and singers were almost all very good. We didn’t watch the comedian, so I can’t comment on him. I was pleased that the Spirit has a cinema and looking forward to seeing a film or two. Be warned that most of the films on the schedule are pretty old – Big, 9 to 5, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, etc. All the more recent films are shown on TV for some reason. We tried to go and see The Secret Life of Bees but when we arrived just before it was due to start, we found the film was half way through. We complained at Reception and the woman apologised and then told us the reason was the change to the clocks and that the same thing had happened yesterday as a passenger had complained then too. I wasn’t impressed that they knew there was a problem but had done nothing about it. We didn’t bother to try and see any films after that. By the way, no films are shown in the cinema on Sunday as it’s used as a storage space for carry-on luggage for departing passengers. The shore excursions were very good. We went on the panoramic plus river cruise in Porto, the tuk tuk tour in Lisbon and my sister and niece went on the Dolphin Watch in Gibraltar. My favourite was the tuk tuk, which was great fun but they liked the Dolphin one best as they saw lots of dolphins. One great thing about the Spirit was that you had until 2.00 in the morning to put your hold luggage out. That means you can pack your evening clothes and don’t have to put them in your carry-on unlike other cruise lines where you have to put your bag outside your cabin by 10.00. You can also stay on the ship even if you have a late flight as we did – 7.30 in the evening and still eat in the restaurants and use the facilities. You do have to pay for your drinks, of course. This is unlike other cruise lines where you get kicked off fairly early in the day. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise and my sister and niece did too although, as mentioned, they hated the vibration. Would I cruise with Marella again? I’m not entirely sure. There were many good things about the cruise. There is a good atmosphere on board and all the passengers are very friendly and I loved that usually, you got a full day in port unlike some other lines. I think I’d want a better cabin although the price for an inside cabin in August is very good value. And knowing that taxes and service charges are included is a big bonus. But the swimming pools are tiny even for a cruise ship. I know the Spirit is going out of service in October, but I’d want to do a lot more research about what the other ships offer before booking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My daughter and I chose this cruise because we had such an amazing adventure last year on Spirit, that was our first ever cruise and it left us wanting more. As soon as we returned home having discovered the beautiful older lady was ... Read More
My daughter and I chose this cruise because we had such an amazing adventure last year on Spirit, that was our first ever cruise and it left us wanting more. As soon as we returned home having discovered the beautiful older lady was staying for one more year we went straight to Tui and booked for this year. Embarkation went smoothly as Tui have it down to an art form. As we had been delayed over two hours on Luton Airport tarmac because of a baggage issue (somebody pressed the computer button too soon to print off the baggage list!) it made us late getting to the ship. This meant that our luggage was outside our door within minutes of arrival at our cabin. Yes she is an older lady that does shudder, but that only adds to her charm, in fact we find it quite soothing. It is such a friendly environment small and compact in a good way. Food in The Compass Rose restaurant was second to none every evening, Ludi and James our waiters from last year remembered us and took good care of us. The Lido was excellent for breakfast and lunch times. The shows were amazing all week especially Moulin Rouge the show team work so hard and it shows fabulous everyone. We pre-booked three excursions Tuk Tuk in Lisbon (Pedro was our guide), City Tour in Cadiz and Dolphin Watching in Gibraltar all were great value for money and we learnt so much. Wish we could have stayed a few more days. Spirit will be missed a true lady. People love to complaint but we feel the holiday is what you make it. We have met some amazing people and cruising is the only holiday for us now. If you want more upmarket cruises there are plenty of companies to choose from, do your homework first and do not always listen the negative comments or you will never leave your home. Will we cruise again? actually we have already booked our week away for 2019 and the count down has started again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our third time on this old lady,being it's last year of service had to have a final fling on it.It did not disappoint but yes it is a bit shake and noisy in some areas but the staff many who have been on years are just a good as ever ... Read More
Our third time on this old lady,being it's last year of service had to have a final fling on it.It did not disappoint but yes it is a bit shake and noisy in some areas but the staff many who have been on years are just a good as ever Entertainment team work their socks off and the English comic very good ,however this was his last gig on this ship.If you like a good drink throughout the week then all inclusive can be good value ,if not just pay as you go.Cocktails however a bit weak. Tip always ask for the branded spirit e.g. Gordon's or Red Label whisky if not you may get the cheap stuff.Overall the food is good with generous portions in the Compass restaurant. Yes the furnishings and cabins are a bit dated but reflect the ambience when this ship was new.I understand this ship is owned by a Greek shipping line and is the last of the fleet to go.All other ships are TUI owned. My only fear is as the new ships get larger the personal and intimate feel of the Spirit will be lost forever which will be a pity.You will have a good time on the final few cruises of this old lady. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Seeing some of the negative reviews on this site I was a tad apprehensive. I should not have worried, my first cruise and it was amazing. Yes the ship is a bit old but I felt it added to the character. The ship is very clean, cabin ... Read More
Seeing some of the negative reviews on this site I was a tad apprehensive. I should not have worried, my first cruise and it was amazing. Yes the ship is a bit old but I felt it added to the character. The ship is very clean, cabin staff amazing and JoJo and Teng in the Compass Rose Restaurant made our holiday. For the whole trip they were our waiters, very funny and great hard working guys :-). My single cabin was a bit small, very clean and ideal for one person. Favourite port was definately Portamao in Portugal, great little beach resort. We had the drinks package and I thought it was worth the money. Yes some drinks cost extra, you had at least one brand choice of all the main spirits. I like San Miguel so was very fortunate that this was the lager included in the all inclusive. Loved having a little flutter in the Casino after dinner, the staff were so friendly. :-) Come home very relaxed and I cannot wait to book another cruise with TUI next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have been on Marella Spirit/cruise called Spirit of Iberia/TUI 1-8 July Oh well, where to start. This is not my first cruise but first European one... The boat is extremely old.. No refurbishment works being done at all. I booked ... Read More
We have been on Marella Spirit/cruise called Spirit of Iberia/TUI 1-8 July Oh well, where to start. This is not my first cruise but first European one... The boat is extremely old.. No refurbishment works being done at all. I booked this cruise trip online on TUI website, called Spirit of Iberia on Marella Spirit boat. There was an option to choose Full board or All inclusive package. Me and my husband went for all inclusive package worth £360 extra. On our first day we decided to have some drinks after dinner. I ordered rum and coke and my husband pint of beer. This was the worst two drinks you can imagine, really strong smell of some cheap alcohol and coke without bubbles. I got charged for coke...I felt a bit sick after rum and asked for sparkling water. I got charged for sparkling water as well. Beer was totally disgusting like a warm lemonade so my husband asked for bottled beer and again, we got charged for it. Okay so what are we going to drink for £360 then... Extra charge for all drinks.... still water extra charge, all inclusive package and still, sparkling water and coke are considered as premium drinks? Okay let's be honest, everywhere you book AI you don't have best drinks ever and not all are included but still and sparkling water and coke? Actually there is nothing in all inclusive package and the whole package is absolute lie! That's why on TUI website you find no information about all inclusive only few words saying literally nothing. You can only drink some "draught beer" which is, trust me not a beer for sure and some water with black sirup (they call it coke with no bubbles) I just want to say, we do travel a lot, we are not those kind of guys complaining about everything but this is something what we really experienced for the first time and don't want to leave it just like that because this is total scam. We met the same people complaining about the same stuff. TUI should be extremely embarrassed about how they treat guests and how they lie to them. It is a total rip off. We decided to call TUI, spent more than hour waiting on the line... We were told to discuss the whole situation at the reception desk because they can't deal with it online. We said that we want to pay for our drinks - as we don't drink anything from all inclusive package because all inclusive does not exist and would like to get refund of £360 and pay our own drinks on board. I mean for coke, juice, normal beer and water, standard rum etc. Just simply to be switched to full board basis from all inclusive one and pay in cash for drinks because we never reach £360 and there is nothing normal in the package. The attitude was very bad. They simply lied to us and we spent 4 days asking to speak with higher customer service representatives but they refused saying we had a special discount on our trip. We went to reception desk multiple times. I would like to tell all the potential clients, there is a fake discount on every TUI offer. You book for example cruise for two people for £2000 then they say you are special couple and official amount would be nearly £2500 and all this kind of stuff you can imagine just to cover your eyes. Then you can choose full board or all inclusive board basis. If you decide to go for All inclusive for 2 people is something over £360...then you get nothing, there is nothing included as mentioned - water still and sparkling, coke etc. Is all considered as premium drinks that you have to pay for. The rest of drinks is the lowest quality you can imagine. They don't want to discuss anything with you, all extremely rude and unprofessional attitude. We had three or four different meetings with guest relations manager, some other customer service representatives but it went nowhere they simply don't care and behave very rude. They ignore your questions, comments, everything. We have never ever experienced this kind of behavior with any other holiday provider. Food - very low quality, you get very disappointed as well. English Breakfast that's what you get every day nothing else. Then some cheap cereals and you can forget about something decent. It's like a hospital at the end of the world. Then some left overs from dinner like fish for breakfast, thank you very much. There is one more thing to say about this cruise and the company. We did not have any security briefing. There was one planned at 9:45pm first night. Over 300 people were sitting at the main restaurant listening music and drinking, no information provided about this cruise and security stuff. They simply never mentioned anything anymore. Again we met lots of people on board and we all discussed exactly the same issues starting with drinks, food, security and attitude of some receptionists and guest relations representatives. This cruise is total mess the only nice thing is really nice waiters working on board, really lovely and hard working people. It is an absolute joke and you should consider booking this trip with TUI. To be honest I think this cruise is mainly focused on older generation (over 60 and 70) which I believe it's harder for them to fight with these people and look for other options. Definitely very bad travel experience and our worst one so far. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Everything from start to finish was first class. I have never written a review and not had at least one bad word to say so this is my FIRST, we are now totally hooked on cruises and our yearly holidays will be crusing from now on. ... Read More
Everything from start to finish was first class. I have never written a review and not had at least one bad word to say so this is my FIRST, we are now totally hooked on cruises and our yearly holidays will be crusing from now on. everyone on board was SO freindly its almost too good to be true that this WAS OUR PERFECT HOLIDAY it really is a very friendly ship. FOOD was the BEST EVER and i take my hat off to all the chefs you really do lay on some wonderful dishes, i am normally an egg and chips girl but enjoyed so many other dishes, the best thing was if i just wanted plain old egg and chips or a plate of gravy and chips it was there, and the sunday roast would make any gran ashamed, there was even my fav sponge pudding and custard oh i so wish i was back on board this tea time. entertainment was FIRST CLASS and without question top class west end standards. entertainment team was fantastic and so polite. Cabin was as expected and houskeeping was 5 star. the staff are the most pleasant, polite, happy, hard working people i have ever come accross. WELL DONE TUI you really have left us dreaming of our next cruise. The ports and shore excursions need a separte review as i feel this should just be all about how wonerful this ship is! its just a shame the SPIRIT is ending in oct this year. I have only one minor thing to grumble about PLEASE put a toaster on board at breakfast so guests can make there own HOT toast. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
SHIP We have cruised with P&O Ventura, Carnival Velor, Norwegian Spirit and RC Explorer of the Seas and they have been relatively big ships compared to the Marella Spirit. When we first pulled up on the transfer we thought my god ... Read More
SHIP We have cruised with P&O Ventura, Carnival Velor, Norwegian Spirit and RC Explorer of the Seas and they have been relatively big ships compared to the Marella Spirit. When we first pulled up on the transfer we thought my god this is small, but it was much easier to navigate about (especially as we had 3 cabins which were dotted on different floors). There is still plenty of options for drinking holes on the ship, Broadway Show Lounge, Lido Deck pool bar then the classier night time bars Raffles (cocktail bar feel with Casino in), High Spirits then Horizons bar which had a chilled, relaxed vibe. None particularly modern but all had friendly staff who were all more than happy to pour you a drink. We loved the fact that 95% of the clientele were brits. We were the only brits on Explorer (Sydney to South Pacific) and Carnival (around Caribbean) and although its nice to speak to new people, brits have the same sense of humour and its nice to get to know people from back home. CABIN The cabins were a good size with lots of storage. They were immaculately clean and the cleaners were lovely. The cabins were a good layout so you felt like you had plenty of floor space. The TV quality was reasonably poor but who goes on holiday to watch TV? Shower room was fine, same as any other ship we've been on really! FOOD The food on board was great, breakfast in both the buffet and the Compass Rose main restaurant was nice, served hot most of the time and had plenty of options. Lunch was REALLY NICE! Couldnt grumble at lunch, lots of healthy salad options and plenty of options for vegetarians. We ate in the Compass Rose every night, menu was average, the menu itself felt cheap as it was just a printed piece of A4 paper wedged between an old leather booklet but the actual options were average, especially for vegetarians. The actual food itself was often served luke warm but most of it was very nice. We love a good drink and get hungry afterwards, we went on the hunt for a late buffet but it shut at 1pm, only option is room service at your cost! SERVICE Out of the 7 days, we only had one poor experience with a waiter at breakfast which to be fair, was because we rocked up 10 mins before breakfast was mean to finish so he didnt want to seat us. We did pull him up and tell his manager and he came over and apologised, but other than this the service was amazing, all staff were very friendly and they couldnt do enough for us. We are incredibly fussy, vegetarian, gay and like lemon, ice and a straw in our drinks everytime but they were very good at getting the drinks right. We've been on ships that we have been paying for drinks on and not been able to get a drink around the pool, on here they are always coming around, not bombarding you, just being available and it was great! Same during the shows. Tips were included according to TUI but we still tipped as we had some great bar service! ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES There was a show on every night and although the theathre is small, they still put on a fantastic show. Broadway standard every night. The shows could maybe do with updating but the clientele was mainly over 50/60 so it doesnt suprise me that they have entertainment like this. During the day, standard towel folding, bingo, cocktail show, fruit carving etc. Game shows were good of a night but lack of seating a problem if you are not there an hour before! PORTS The reason we booked this cruise was the ports were perfect for our family. There were no tenders needed which is great considering we had a wheelchair, pram and mobility scooter. Gibraltar was amazing, went up to visit the monkeys then shopped the cheapest duty free shops known to man (£5.95 for a litre of Smirnoff!!). Portimao, great beach! Lisbon, loads of little windy streets with stunning views from top of the hill. Cadiz, same but without the hill view - had a lovely beach though. The streets were gorgeous little Spanish streets with lovely balconies, immaculately clean and plenty of little eateries. Couldn't be bothered with the 1.5 hour drive either way to Seville although may do this next time! SUMMARY All in all, the ship wasn't very modern and it was reasonably small compared to others, but if you had never cruised before you wouldn't know any different and would think it was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed the time on board and would recommend to friends and family. The service, drinks, food, price and ports all made up for anything else that wasnt really important to us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The ship itself is old and tired but everyone knows this in advance with a bit of research. What is harder to find out is that the ship is actually leased by Marella from a Greek company (Celestyal Cruises). Consequently the Captain ... Read More
The ship itself is old and tired but everyone knows this in advance with a bit of research. What is harder to find out is that the ship is actually leased by Marella from a Greek company (Celestyal Cruises). Consequently the Captain and senior officers are Greek, which is perfectly fine. The problem is that they are in charge of the food and drinks too and the food is simply no where near as good as on Marella controlled ships. We experienced the best fish ever on Marella Discovery in Feb 2018 and the worst fish ever on Marella Spirit in May/June 2018. The swimming pool has a capacity of 9 people, which again is not exactly in line with expectations. Good luck finding a sunbed as there simply weren’t enough of them! We were lucky to have a cabin midship so we had no sea sickness at all, but the whole ship did have a type of “heartbeat” which made it vibrate slowly. Even though Marella Spirit is soon going out of the fleet, there is no excuse to not sort things out for the people who have spent there hard earned money on a cruise. On the plus side, the entertainment team and their shows were amazing, as was the kids club. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports visited as most were a first for us. These were to embark at Malaga, then a sea day to Porto, then on to Lisbon, Porta Mao, Cadiz, Gibraltar and back to Malaga. Followed by a 4 night stay in a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports visited as most were a first for us. These were to embark at Malaga, then a sea day to Porto, then on to Lisbon, Porta Mao, Cadiz, Gibraltar and back to Malaga. Followed by a 4 night stay in a hotel at Fuengirola. This all came in a deal through Tui complete with All Inclusive drinks package on the ship. Tui is a well oiled machine, and we had no problems with booking, flights, transfers or disembarkation. The only issue was that as Tui grows and takes over more companies things get a little disjointed. For example we flew out Norwegian Airways which is South Terminal Gatwick and flew back Tui which is North Terminal and we had to get from one to the other to get back to the car park. The cruise is now run by Marella, another arm of Tui and getting cruise information before hand was a bit difficult as there is no link between the booking web site and the cruise web site. Having said that the cruise was great. The staff were as always excellent, the ship was spotlessly clean, if not a bit tired, the food was also excellent. This is the fourth Tui cruise we have been on and was the biggest Tui room we have ever had. It is worth paying the extra £10 for the space. The entertainment was quite good. Not the best Tui entertainment we have ever had but certainly not the worst!!!! We had the all inclusive drinks package, which on a personal level we can either take it or leave it. But as we had it tried to make best use of it. The staff were very good and tried to make sure your glass was full at all times. There was no difficulty in getting a drink. Some came with a supplement as they had branded spirits in them. The only issue was that the cocktails did seem little weak. My wife usually gets tipsy at the smell of the bar maids apron, but there she was drinking cocktails all day and they had very little effect on her? If you like all day activity then the sun deck on the back of the ship is the place to go. Music, quizzes, demonstrations, food and drinks all day long. If you don't then there was plenty of space and beds on the upper forward sun decks and on the boat decks. There were also multiple bars around the ship all offering something a little different in terms of ambience, music, views and comfort. At the ports of call it was also possible to go on organised bike trips with the resident cyclist to guide and lead you. This was obviously a popular ship as many of the customers were familiar with the staff and seemed to know them almost as personal friends. We spoke to lots of people who had been on the ship multiple times. We think that in itself is a great recommendation. The ports were all very interesting for different reasons. The cruise dock at Porto is a bit of a way out of town and there was a bus service available from the ship for £7pp open return usage. Which was well worth the money. If you go on this cruise and want to go ashore you need to be relatively fit or go on organised trips so you can be transported. Nearly everywhere we stopped was a bit out of town and either a 15min walk or a bus ride. Also Porto and Lisbon are very hilly and everywhere seems to be up hill!!! Would we go again. Definitely YES. We don't know how they manage to fly you in and out, transfer you, cruise you, feed you, entertain you, water/booze you and provide so many staff for less than £80 a day each including tips???? Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Since 2008 we have cruised on the Spirit 6 times & have enjoyed every cruise. Yes, the ship may be getting a little tired in places, but on the whole she is still lovely & very clean. The crew as always,were superb, always smiling, ... Read More
Since 2008 we have cruised on the Spirit 6 times & have enjoyed every cruise. Yes, the ship may be getting a little tired in places, but on the whole she is still lovely & very clean. The crew as always,were superb, always smiling, always friendly & always efficient, some of which have been on this ship for years & usually recognise you on return voyages. The Captain & all officers were also very friendly & always acknowledged our presence ( & we didn’t even attend the Captain’s Gala night). We always dine in the Lido Restaurant & the food was lovely with lots of choice. The entertainment team did their very best to keep us entertained every day & evening. However, On our latest visit to the Spirit there was a once only night when all the entertainers appeared in one venue. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have all the entertainers appear in one location. When this happens, most passengers want to attend but there isn’t enough room for everyone & lots of people miss out, especially when those passengers then try the other bars only to find no alternative entertainment. Apart from that, I really can’t think of anything negative to say. We have always had a soft spot for this ship & will miss her & the crew, they will be a very hard act to follow. Our cabin 005 on deck 9 was great, as was our house keeping team. Well done everybody, you all do a great job. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We went in April and with Spring being the windiest season of the year, I knew I needed to strap myself in for a bumpy ride. NOT what I was expecting. Embarkation: Really easy and stress-free. Check in at the airport was fine ( I ... Read More
We went in April and with Spring being the windiest season of the year, I knew I needed to strap myself in for a bumpy ride. NOT what I was expecting. Embarkation: Really easy and stress-free. Check in at the airport was fine ( I still dont understand why they dont just give us those Priority Cruise tags once we've landed, but anywho ) and we were on our way. There were a few long-ish queues to check into the ship, but that was to be expected. Staff were very friendly to us, helping us to where we needed to be. Overall, the most stress-free check in i've had in a long time. Food: This is an issue I've always had with Thomson ( Well, now Marella ) ... I've never found anything WRONG with the food, its just always been a little...boring? If meat and vegetables and roast dinners every evening is your thing, then fine. But I guess I'd prefer something from the actual country I'm visiting, not just British food. Obviously if you dont like that kind of thing, then you're in luck! The actual food isself was wonderful. Considering I only had 4 dinners out of a possible 7 ( More on THAT later... ) they were all in all, pretty good. Lunches were always lots of choice, paninis, burgers, hot dogs, salads. We ate in the main restaurant for lunch one day, would HIGHLY reccomend. Lido was okay, just seemed to get a little too crowded for my liking. Having the drinks machine in the food queue, NOT a good idea. Overall, was okay, but could be better. Entertainment: We only went to 2 shows ( I'll tell you the reason... its coming ) but my god were they GOOD. I love musicals and all things like that, was right up my street. You could see how much the entertainers enjoyed performing for us, which was lovely to see. And their talent was out of this world! Other members of our party didnt agree, not enjoying the musicals. Other entertainment was also available. Live singers were always a treat to listen to. Quizzes throughout the daytime, activities on the pool deck ( When it wasnt raining sideways ). Finally, there was a games room, a library and a coffee shop. If you enjoyed a quieter ride, you had someplace to go. Overall, spectacular. Theres something for everyone. Excursions: We did one excursion, in Casablanca. All in all, it was okay. We went to a Mosque, which was BEAUTIFUL. The biggest Islamic place of worship outside of Mecca. The rest was... eye-opening. We were taken through a traditional market, where we werent allowed to buy anything. Instead we went to a tacky tourist shop... Not really my idea of fun. We were also taken through a different market- again, couldnt stop or anything. Not really sure why? Overall, an okay tour. Seemed a bit underplanned. Cabin: We had a Deck 1 cabin, pretty much as midship as you could get. Inside cabin. Very spacious and kept pristine at all times by our wonderful room steward. We had a problem with the shower on the 2nd day. Someone came right to our cabin within minutes of reporting it and sorted it so we could be on our way. Another thing, we barely ever saw our room steward. Which to me, is perfect. Never seeing them, so you never feel like you're in their way or they're in your way. Yet after a long day of adventuring, our beds were made, those little chocolates were on our pillow and we could just relax... Disembarkation: Not much to say here. The exact reverse of embarkation, completely stress free. General: In general the ship was clean. It smelled very clean upon walking in on the first day. The pool deck got untidy ( On the rare days it was actually used ) and the waiters and waitresses were always ready to fix everything for us. None of the staff ever seemed like they werent doing anything ( Except for when we left the port, and we all retreated to our porcelain vomit-bags ) Everyone was so friendly. It was just... perfect. So yes. We had some bad weather. The first night was fine, you could barely tell you were on a ship. Then we got through the Gibraltar strait, and all hell broke loose. Okay, I'm being a BIT dramatic... but throughout the course of the day the seas got rougher and rougher. So finally, at around 7pm that night I hid away in my cabin for the next 14 hours. Oh no, it didnt just last for one night... EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Rock...and roll. Im not exaggerating, 3/7 nights were about bareable for me, only because we had the protection of the Med on 2 of those nights, and the Portugese coast on the other. But the crew... they were FANTASTIC. The captain was everywhere, reassuring passengers throughout the day, then battling the seas throughout the night. We had winds at the top end of storm force 11. Bear in mind the scale only goes up to 12, and thats a Hurricane! Our cabin steward brought us extra towels on nights we didnt leave the cabin, they even delayed the ship by a few hours on the 3rd night so we could all have a nice dinner! The best thing that happened was on the final night. Since hardly anyone turned up to the captain's gala ( Escpecially in the second sitting ) they had loads of the staff come onto the stage in the entertainment, a really great photo opportunity. Just a great experience all around. The captain gave an announcement on the last day, thanking us for our co-operation, which was lovely of him. It was the worst weather he'd seen on around 20 years of working on a cruise ship, and at times it was some of the worst sea he'd ever seen. I'll miss the ship, and I'll definitely go back. Probably not on that itinerary though... Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Cruise 2018: Spirit of Iberia cruise (https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/itineraries/Spirit-of-Iberia-055604) on Marella Celebration from Thompson, 8-16 April 2018. My wife and I took this cruise as our first experience of this type of ... Read More
Cruise 2018: Spirit of Iberia cruise (https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/itineraries/Spirit-of-Iberia-055604) on Marella Celebration from Thompson, 8-16 April 2018. My wife and I took this cruise as our first experience of this type of holiday and as a special treat for our 30th wedding anniversary. Getting There & Arrival Flight TOM4796 from London Gatwick on 8th April, due to depart at 14:55 was delayed until 16:55. Aircraft Captain apologised profusely and explained that French air traffic problems caused the arrival of our aircraft to be delayed slightly but a company operational decision (not explained) to give our aircraft to a Tenerife flight instead caused the bulk of the delay. The delayed flight was without incident as was the airport transfer to our coach. • Reception in Port This was not very professional, indeed a confused affair. The young lady who met our coach and addressed us attempted to provide important boarding information in a breathless voice reading far too quickly from her clipboard and the microphone held too close to her mouth. If training in clear communication with customers and effective use of a microphone were given to her I suggest a refresher, if not I suggest the company provide such training. Important information is useless unless it is clearly given. The same situation with the same young lady occurred when we boarded the transfer coach for the homeward flight. • Check-in & boarding No issues with check-in, however we were given very little time to get onboard, find our cabin and get some food after our long delay before we were to attend a legally required safety briefing. Additionally, I discovered later that my wife’s photo had been tagged to the digital information relating to my boarding card. This meant that each time it was scanned leaving or returning to the ship my wife’s face was displayed instead of mine. I pointed this out but nothing was done and at NO TIME throughout the voyage did any of the ships security staff ever realise the mistake. • Safety Briefing This was simply shambolic. For such an important and legally required event its delivery by the Assistant Cruise Director was useless. He sat down on the stage in the Broadway theatre and proceeded to read, badly, from a sheet, with neither sufficient pauses to allow absorption of the information nor emphasis at suitable points. The demonstration on how to don a life jacket was disgracefully bad. Unclear and poorly executed. The same young lady who received us at the coach was unable to put her demonstration life jacket on properly but the Asst Cruise Director turned that into a joke. It could have been a comedy sketch, except it was important. • Ports of Call presentation On day one a presentation was given in the Broadway theatre/lounge on the ports of call we would make and what they offered. This was poorly presented in a faux chat show style with the Cruise Director obviously reading from a script. Destination Services staff showed poor audience presentation skills and poorly articulated what passengers could expect. The presentation, unfortunately, was not very professional and also seemed to focus largely on selling the expensive excursions. The Ship & Crew Marella Celebration, formerly the Nordam, is 34 years old yet quite well fitted out and comfortable. Dining and bar facilities are good, the top deck bar - Horizons - being an interesting place to drink. Our outside cabin on deck 3 was adequate with good enough facilities though an extra power socket would have been quite useful. Ventilation and heating were good yet what appeared to be a ships announcement speaker never worked. On board information sheets were good, well produced, informative and useful. Finding your way around was easy. All crew members I met were friendly, polite, helpful and approachable. I only had one problem on the second night when I asked a bar waiter for a glass of water for my wife who was feeling ill, to be refused because the bar did not open for a further 10 minutes! I had to make a complaint on one evening about a strong smell of engine exhaust in our cabin and all along our accommodation deck. This was sorted out after a time but never adequately explained. The ship had a constant wobbling motion/vibration through it, especially felt on decks 5 and 6, even when in port and engines idling. At night, engine/machinery noise permeated our cabin constantly. This could possibly have been mentally tuned out and not caused much annoyance had it not been exacerbated by the very rough seas we experienced in our Atlantic Ocean phases of the voyage. The heavy seas, heavy ship’s motion and machine noise made sleeping very difficult leading to 4 out of 7 virtually sleepless nights. Not pleasant. Marbella Cruises have no control of the weather however I feel the company should know their vessel’s comfortable sea state limitations in their role as cruise liners. Celebration is perfectly sea-worthy but not at all suited to ocean passage in such heavy sea conditions as we experienced which led to much discomfort and disappointment. I would NOT holiday on this ship again, or any other of similar dimensions and age, if the route involved any substantial sailing in open ocean. Entertainment Apart from the one show we were able to see (due to weather and illness) in the Broadway lounge, this was mediocre. Hemingway’s bar, for example, contained a beautiful (though covered up) white baby grand piano and a pianist playing on some nights was advertised. The pianist turned out to be an electronic keyboard player providing soundtracks via his laptop computer and singing not very well. Hemingway’s, a comfortable and pleasant bar, would have been vastly improved by a real pianist. Most other nightly music acts were second rate at best with very dated repertoire’s and not very entertaining. The Captain’s Gala Night was a huge disappointment. A gala evening implies a social occasion with special entertainments or performances, neither of which occurred. After half an hour of dismal musical entertainment the Captain introduced himself and spoke to us about the ship, itinerary etc and introduced key members of the crew. We then went to dinner in the Meridian restaurant but he didn’t reappear to chat with passengers and there was no further entertainment. Apart from an excellent meal with excellent service, it was all rather disappointing. Dining Meridian restaurant is excellent though service seemed slow sometimes. Very comfortable, lovely atmosphere, excellent food and wonderful, cheerful staff. The ribeye steak was definitely excellent and worth the extra £9.95 on the inclusive package. The Lido casual buffet had equally good food though it had the ambience of a school cafeteria with long queues at times, often caused by a shortage of cutlery or drinking glasses. The staff were excellent, very efficient, helpful and cheerful. Departure Although not having to depart the ship until 16:45hrs on the last day, we had to have our luggage packed and ready outside our cabin before 02:00hrs and vacate the cabin by 08:00hrs. This was especially annoying as we had suffered so much poor and fragmented sleep due to weather conditions and would have appreciated time to catch up on some of it. As it was we spent a little time in Malaga then returned and tried to rest onboard as best we could. Miscellaneous Shore excursions were quite expensively priced. A shuttle bus service was laid on by the ship at Portimao which cost £7 per adult return to the town or the beaches or both. This journey took no longer than 10 minutes so I feel it was vastly over-priced. In Malaga a port operated shuttle bus was provided, which was much more useful than that at Portimao, for a cost of €4. Casablanca could have benefitted from having a shuttle bus laid on also. There was constant selling on board which became quite tiresome. We were even charged £2 for two seasickness tablets, items that can be purchased in a pharmacy for much less. I felt this was simply taking advantage of people. Our all inclusive drinks package wasn’t quite all inclusive as, despite soft drinks supposedly being covered it didn’t cover soft drinks in cans as we were charged £1 each for six cans of Diet Coke. Some of the drinks for which a supplement was charged didn’t make sense to me. For example, Teacher’s scotch whisky, a mid-range blended whisky, was included within the package yet Bell’s, a similar quality whisky, commanded an extra charge of £2.50 as did Famous Grouse and Old Bushmills, both on a par with Teacher’s. Johnny Walker Red Label, generally considered a little more premium than either Teacher’s or ordinary Bell’s carried no extra charge. At the end of the cruise we felt that those passengers who were departing the ship became obviously less important than those newly arriving. This was displayed a few times in staff attitude and made us feel we were no longer of use as marketing targets. Conclusion Despite the poor weather and nighttime discomforts we did enjoy the adventure. We feel this holiday was overpriced and let down by the other aspects detailed above. We are not yet sure if we would cruise again. Probably we would when we feel we can afford it again but, although we felt we took great care on this occasion, we would take even more care about choosing the itinerary, ship and cruise company to hopefully gain maximum value for money and maximise our holiday experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Right from the start this Cruise was a Ripoff. TUI changed flights from Glasgow from 7.30am to 2.30pm, lost 7 hrs straight away and gave us earlier flights on return, basically lost 2 days of our holiday.Said we could fly from Newcastle if ... Read More
Right from the start this Cruise was a Ripoff. TUI changed flights from Glasgow from 7.30am to 2.30pm, lost 7 hrs straight away and gave us earlier flights on return, basically lost 2 days of our holiday.Said we could fly from Newcastle if we wanted, but couldn't guarantee they wouldn't change these flights.Having been on Thomson Spirit the year before and received amazing service we expected this to be the same or better, boy were we about to be sorely disappointed. Most of the Eastern European staff were arrogant,ignorant and couldn't be ased doing anything, but why would they when they have a bar manager who never acknowledged passengers, never spoke, never smiled, wouldn't move out your way and was arrogant, ignorant and great role model for Staff.The Philippine staff could not have been any nicer, a credit to the company. Drinks were watered down, food was ok but nothing for youngsters.Perhaps a separate menu for under 10's Marella.Pizza,burgers and hot dogs every day get a tad boring.Did I mention that all the drinks are watered down. I was ill with your pork meatballs, most were undercooked.Service at meals could have been so much better, loads of times I had to go looking for spoons to eat my puddings or Brown sauce for my dinner and by the time I got back my meals were cold. Childrens entertainment was ok and the two staff tried there best, but you seriously need someone to show you how to work with kids and with over 20 years of experience of working with young people, I Do know what I am talking about.Happy kids make Happy Parents. The ship was noisy and I don't mean the engines, every night from 10.00 pm - 2.00 am what sounded like a train would roar by our cabins and wake us up, not happy and funnily enough wasn't mentioned in the brochure. Shore excursions were ok, but cancelling Portmao trip because of a Port workers strike and taking us to Helvua was a poor substitute...You knew about strike well in advance and could have offered us a tourist destination, Helvua was not a tourist destination. Have I mentioned the drinks were all watered down. The ship also charges for everything, visit to the deck to see captain, give us your money, momento of your miles travelled, give us your money, want to safely store things in your cabin,give us your money. I could go on and on and on, but basically this Cruise was a mini Blackpool at Sea, tatty and money money money and judging from other passengers complaints not a very good advert for Marcella. I Paid well over £6500 to take all my family on what I told them would be a brilliant Cruise. Never again will Marella Cruises be getting my hard earned money and never will I tell people how good they are...keep it up Marella, great way to go out of business. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having read some of the reviews we where concerned we'd bought a pup and where going to regret the holiday. We have cruised before on Holland America, P&O and Fred Olsen and this was to be our 6th cruise. We arrived at ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews we where concerned we'd bought a pup and where going to regret the holiday. We have cruised before on Holland America, P&O and Fred Olsen and this was to be our 6th cruise. We arrived at Doncaster Airport and where greeted by a dedicated cruise reception desk and received our room tags and instructions on what to expect at Malaga airport. The flight across and transfer where faultless and we where on board within ten minutes of arriving at the port. First impression surpassed our expectations - we where in a Suite on deck 8 (0058) and the porter guided us to our room and welcomed us on board. The suite was beautiful and of a bigger size than we could have hoped for. The bathroom was clean and roomy, the main room spotless if not a little dark meaning lights where needed even during the day despite the 2 large windows which where unobstructed by the lifeboats. We eat every evening in the Lido as we are not fine diners and we felt the room was a bit more like a canteen than some of the other buffet venues we have experienced before but the food was plentiful, warm and mostly good quality - I used the noodle bar most nights and this was excellent. The Liberties bar was our venue of choice and we enjoyed all the music, quizzes and game shows which was hosted mainly by Paul who was a really engaging guy. All the staff on the entertainment team and bar staff where very polite and good fun to be with. We watched the Africa show in the Broadway Theatre which was entertaining and the guest comedy artist was brilliant. The ship is 34 years old but doesn't feel that old or look that bad - its well maintained, clean and in good decoration and upkeep - a credit to the staff. We disembarked effortlessly at the ports of call but where disappointed that the berths where mainly in the industrial areas and not centre to the towns/ cities and needed transfers at additional cost. At Valencia we purchased coach transfer at £7 each and waited 40 minutes to get on a coach, we found out within seconds of leaving the terminal the local bus was 1.5euro each each way and was every 10minutes. The mix of ages and demographic of guests was good - those who have been on Fred Olsen will know that at mid 50's were young on them but mainstream on this cruise. The minus points where the berths, the shower water pressure, slightly dark Suite and a canteen feel to the Lido restaurant but the staff, venues, passengers, public areas and the port of calls make these points petty to mention and we will certainly use Thomson Cruises in the future - or should that now say Marella Cruises! Many thanks to all on-board for a memorable cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose the Celebration for the Gibraltar visit, because it was the place we wanted to visit most, spending around 10 hours in port, most of the port visits were pretty good, although the visit to Portimãoi was rather pointless, ... Read More
We chose the Celebration for the Gibraltar visit, because it was the place we wanted to visit most, spending around 10 hours in port, most of the port visits were pretty good, although the visit to Portimãoi was rather pointless, not much to see or do, activities for younger passengers were limited, my son was 15 at the time, all the pools at close at 6pm leaving nothing to do at all for the kids the food was very good for buffet food, and the staff were excellent very limited and very expensive WiFi at £49.99 for 7 days, you can get WiFi in your cabin The cabin was very good, and cleaned lots, sometimes twice a day, we didn't take any of the excursions, we thought pp £37 for a 1 hour trip was far too much there are a few hidden surcharges on food and drinks, so not all-inclusive, we were charged £7 per person for a shuttle bus to Portimaoi, that was quicker to walk than the bus, although the crew were very good, the ship let the cruise down, so i doubt i would cruise with Thomson again, there are better value deals on better equipped ship for a longer duration Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We are regular cruisers with Thomson. We wanted a cruise when the weather was starting to cool down from the heat of the summer. The ship is showing signs of age but we prefer smaller ships with lots of character. Therefore the age of ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with Thomson. We wanted a cruise when the weather was starting to cool down from the heat of the summer. The ship is showing signs of age but we prefer smaller ships with lots of character. Therefore the age of the ship does not bother us at all. The food was generally good and we also decided to go for deal where you ate in the three "pay" restaurants. Mistral's and the Kora La were both really good. Sadly, the wine on offer did not meet our expectations. We wanted a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but there was none available. This was particularly disappointing as the senior wine waiter who hosted the wine tasting event that we had previously attended had agreed that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was the business. We were on the "all inclusive" package and the "house white" on offer was pretty poor. On the plus side Prosecco is included in the "all Inclusive" package which went down very well. The destinations visited were really interesting and enjoyable. We went to Mahon, Menorca, Marseilles, Barcelona, Valencia, and Cartagena and found them all interesting. The entertainment on board was of of it's usual high standard and the attitude and helpfulness of the staff and crew was excellent. We are frequent cruisers and the last time we cruised with Thomson there was a bottle of bubbly to greet us in our cabin. There wasn't one this time. Also, there was mention of an event for frequent cruisers but we didn't get an invite. The adults only pool was heated, which was great. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and have already booked our next cruise on the same ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click