4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have ... Read More
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have added greatly to the experience. A negative was the lack of toilets on the main restaurant decks 5,6 and 7. That was the only negative. The staff were excellent and the food and drink packages were again value for money. The entertainment was good throughout the ship and the silent disco is something to behold. The cabin we had was on deck 9 with a balcony, it was spacious, the bathroom was well proportioned with the shower enclosure big enough for me as I'm six foot four. The pool deck area had enough sun loungers for all the guests and the bar staff ensured your drinks were topped up continually. On the whole it was a superb holiday with way more positives than negatives. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Loyal Marella customers. This was our second cruise on this ship. It has definitely improved since our last voyage on her - you can tell that the team have settled in and the snagging issues from earlier this year have gone. The ship ... Read More
Loyal Marella customers. This was our second cruise on this ship. It has definitely improved since our last voyage on her - you can tell that the team have settled in and the snagging issues from earlier this year have gone. The ship is being maintained nicely and the public areas are still very fresh. The only snag being that the air conditioning didn’t seem to cope very well when the ship was in port. Our cabin was one of the two Royal Suites on board and it was worth every penny. Very luxurious and comfortable. There always seemed to be some form of entertainment going on around the ship. We saw a few of the shows and also watched the comedians (note to the unaware - stay well away from the front few rows If you don’t want to be the butt of any jokes!). We preferred the pianists in Flutes and Aperitif over the more formal entertainment like the shows. As always with Marella, the thing that made it so good was the service that the staff offered. So many of the staff remember us from previous cruises - it was lovely. A special thanks to Simina the sommelier, the wine tasting she does on sea day is really good fun and informative. She looked after us for the rest of our cruise surprising us with nice wines. Dining was great. From the al a carte dining we went to Surf and Turf, Kora La and the Dining Club. All well worth a visit! The only downside with this particular cruise has to be Naples airport. Really really bad. Stressful. Made better by the fact that the TUI cabin crew warned us before we got off that it ‘runs on Italian time!’ That bit of good humour kept everything in perspective. We waited on the aircraft for 40 minutes on the tarmac before the busses came to take us to the airport. We were told by the screens to wait at luggage belt 5 and then an hour later were told to move to belt 1, and then it took another 30 minutes for luggage to arrive that then got stuck at the entrance to to belt and other passengers had to pull it through. It was also quite a walk to the coach transfer in the heat so if you do have anyone in your party with a disability make sure you ask for assistance. The return experience was just as shambolic with no where to sit while you wait (think people actually arguing over seats!!!), so again if you struggle I would be requesting a wheel chair. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly converted and would love to cruise again, on explorer 2 again too. Wish we’d done a 2 week cruise!!! Best bits: - Food was really good and in such abundance! (Vista and the Dining Club were brilliant). - Crew were lively and generally super helpful and polite. - Drinks package is very good and although we upgraded to premium we needn’t have as there was such a large selection of drinks. - We always managed to get a sunbed, even on sea days and we certainly weren’t up at the crack of dawn- but they were enforcing rules for people leaving towels on beds which is good to see. - My mother and father in law had a cabin on lower decks and their service from Nui (their steward) was incredible. - Jack Glanville the guest comedian was the highlight of the week for the entertainment. - I loved using the gym, running track. - Fish and Chips from snack shack were a treat! - We did excursions to St Tropez, Rome and Florence but did the ‘on your own’ versions as didn’t fancy following an umbrella!! They were beautiful places, but hot and over crowded at this time of year- completely not Marella’s fault, but just a word of advice for other cruisers. Think we would organise tours independently next time as they were extremely long days and fellow cruisers said we could do them cheaper if we arranged taxi tours ourselves! Things to improve on: - Both main speciality restaurants (Kora La and Surf and Turf) were booked up by day 2 of our cruise which we were gutted about. They didn’t seem to care either, I did complain and say customers should be told they book up quickly and I would have booked day 1 of the cruise (even though this seems a bit sad to have to do as soon as stepping on the ship). It did mean we booked The Dining Club instead which in the end was superb, but my boyfriend really wanted to try Surf and Turf. - Our steward kept walking into our room without knocking, whilst we didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, it was a bit uncomfortable! He walked in without a moments knock or hesitation and my partner was quite frustrated by this when he walked in and I was in the shower and he just asked, ‘is someone in there?’ A little strange but I suppose they’re just used to people not being in the cabin, but may require some further training. We just ended up leaving the lock on the door or do not disturb in whenever we were in. - As others have mentioned, Naples airport was a nightmare, queues galore through passport control and a very long wait for bags, and long walk in the heat for the bus transfer. I hope they don’t only use Naples (although it’s good for Sorrento trips for us!) - Noise in our cabin kept me from sleeping one night due to a loud noise when the ship was rocking in the wind- I didn’t sleep till 5am. (Cabin 8128) - Spa is great, but an infinity pool it is not! (It is only deep enough to sit in!) - Gym needs air con!!!!! All in all, these are minor complaints for a superb cruise but things which if rectified would be amazing! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and ... Read More
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and we had one rainy morning. We flew from East Midlands to Palma and although check-in was slow arrangements went smoothly until check-in at the cruise terminal where things again were slow. This cruise was the second week since the ship had been refurbished and the quality of furnishings and fittings was exceptional. The lifts were spacious and quick. Without exception all the staff we met were friendly, welcoming and helpful. Eating was a delight with open dining in six restaurants and three a la carte which cost extra. Ten bars, one a pub and a coffee shop completed the arrangements. The talented Explorer 2 Show Team produced a number of top class shows in the Broadway Show Lounge that would rival any produced in the West End. There were lots of activities during the day and in the evenings. Pampering was available at Champney’s Spa a new venture. We visited three Countries, five towns and could either walk in or take an inexpensive shuttle bus to enjoy them. There were lots of excursions to places like Pisa, Florence, Genoa and St Tropez and lots of room for sunbathing. Departing the ship was an ordeal because of poor organisation and we were again held up by Border Control at East Midlands on return. An enjoyable cruise, a top-class ship, fine food and drink and an outstanding crew. And the bonus adults only. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise, and was a disappointment for several reasons. When we booked, we were sold the "newest" ship in the fleet, we later discovered it had undergone a 9 week refurbishment. My local pub was recently ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and was a disappointment for several reasons. When we booked, we were sold the "newest" ship in the fleet, we later discovered it had undergone a 9 week refurbishment. My local pub was recently refurbished, and it took 4 times that. We had 3 "Code Victoria's" meaning that that a serious flood had occurred requiring intimidate attention. We later discovered that this was due to busting pipes, due to the ship standing for several months during its impending sale - its 24 years old. Blocked toilets were a major problem bringing flooding, and constantly running fans to try and dry them out. One night we dined at Beach Cove, (and experience we had to pay for), only to sit in water that was being washed out of the near by pool and running under the doors. Although an apology was given, even the captain was summoned to inspect, no refund was offered. We were asked to upgrade our drink package which was £50 for the week, and as a fairly heavy social drinker I thought that good value - and it was! All premium brands, including 12 year old Glenfiddich, all premium cocktails, and they were not shy on pouring measures!! Also worthy of note were the Asian restaurant, and steak restaurant, although neither were in the inclusive package. One thing I did find strange is that without the purchase of the premium drinks package soft drinks were NOT included. Not Coke, water or any other. Even the ice cream by the pool was an extra £1. By far our worst problem was noise at night. Not noise of other guests, but and "unexplained noise" from somewhere below our cabin, something like a metal door slamming repeatedly. Despite complaining 5 nights out of the 7 it was never resolved, although they did look. And here is another problem - because no OFFICIAL complaint was recorded despite complaining almost every night, when we raised this on checkout there was only a single record of the issue, despite my partner being on first name terms with the night staff having repeatedly raised the issue at 2, 3, and 4am. It finally resulted in a £100 rebate on our account - at least it paid for our drinks package. The food range was acceptable, but certainly not extensive. We also had groups of contractors on board (that came for 2 weeks for the refurb and were still on the ship 8 later) fixing the plumbing, the TV's and the WiFi. The one thing that was amazing were the staff. All willing to help, all friendly, and all wanting to make the experience a good one. What they could not obliviously legislate for was Tui's poor management, and letting this ship sale far far to early. The only trip we almost booked was an underground tour of Naples costing £60. Due to cost we decided not to, thinking we'd walk there ourselves, around 20 mins from the boat. Good job we did, it was 10 euros each!!! Total saving over £100!!! Finally there were some "excitable" other guests on board, clearly with some characteristically individual needs. These were not dealt with by the staff appropriately, although they were banned from drinking alcohol after the 4th night... Too late for some... Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the ... Read More
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the balcony. The electricity and shower door were dealt with in a reasonable space of time. Someone came to fix the safe, told us it was new and they didn’t have a code and another person would come to fix. More than 24 hours later no one had come and we contacted reception again, after giving a report of the items that needed repairing the receptionist rolled her eyes to indicate she had enough of us. Another member of staff arrived to give us the same answer about the safe and left. It was eventually fixed after more than 24 hours on the ship. Once the electricity was back on we realised the television did not work. This was fixed on the second day. On the third night we came back from dinner to find we had no running water from the sink taps and reception was closed. We reported next day and it was repaired while we were on an excursion. That night after dinner we came back to find no water again until the next day when we reported again. At this time we asked for the general manager, to be told he’s usually around somewhere and no further indication that anyone would find him. Maintenance staff have called on three occasions to fix the air conditioning which has always worked and we’ve not reported any problems. Many of the dining areas incur a supplementary charge, not all. We went to Nanno’s (no charge) at lunchtime for pasta (45 minute wait), the Beach cove for skewers (1hr 10 minutes for main course), latitude for breakfast (dirty tablecloth, dirty crockery, toast with a 10 minute wait for butter). We decided to eat in the market place where there was a good choice of food and no waiting. My partner uses the gym most days and most of the electrical equipment and exercise bicycles do not work. Speaking to other guests it seems as if everyone has had issues with either their cabin, service or both. The staff are very friendly and are working hard but there is a sense that the processes in place are not working and a lot needs to be done to get this ship up to an acceptable standard. There is a real sales atmosphere on board, constant encouragement to upgrade to different packages. If you buy something there is a hard sell to buy more, we understand the need for companies to make money but it seems the balance is not right on this ship, and it can be uncomfortable at times and not relaxing. Read Less
Marella Explorer 2 Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 3.8
Dining N/A 3.7
Entertainment N/A 3.9
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.0
Family N/A 3.0
Service N/A 4.4

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