3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, ... Read More
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, no standing still. Then we were taken from the ship to the airport and our cases were sent to the plane ahead of us so we didn’t have to carry them around with us, they will also look after your hand luggage for you from when you leave your cabin until you depart the ship, they give you clean towels and an option to use a cabin to freshen up before your flight. Completely hassle free. Cabin was very comfortable and quiet, spotlessly cleaned twice daily and the cabin stewards were so friendly and kind. Fantastic staff, so attentive, friendly and really make you feel valued. Delicious food with plenty of options. The restaurants were very nice and in the buffet you have tons of options, you have fresh food cooked to order including omelettes and create your own stir fries, pastas and pizzas where you can choose exactly what ingredients they put in your meal. The fresh salad bars were so good too with freshly made potato salads, coleslaws and bean salads to name but a few. They had branston like pickle, piccalilli, chutneys and all the usual condiments including HP sauce, Branded drinks and a great choice of cocktails. Even without the premium drinks upgrade. Twinings breakfast and Yorkshire tea and many other kinds of herbal teas, delicious fresh sweet pure orange juice. The snack bar by the pool had freshly prepared salads (Caesar, Greek, Asian, curried chicken, avocado, salmon and more) sandwiches, wraps and burgers, hotdogs, fries etc to grab and go. Excellent entertainment with so many different options to choose from each day and night, something to do whatever your mood. The Collective were absolutely fantastic and got everyone rocking! Plenty of fun, lively areas with great music and entertainment and also calmer areas if you want some peace and quiet to just chill out and enjoy the moment. Didn’t feel at all overcrowded, even at the busiest times there was always somewhere to sit in the shade or in the sun. You can dress to impress if you like which meant I got the chance to wear some evening dresses but if you don’t feel like dressing up you don’t have to. You’re treated beautifully whatever you wear. Unlike other holidays I’ve been on (where drunken idiots have spoiled it for everyone else with their bad behaviour and they’ve been allowed to remain in the hotel and carry on their behaviour for the whole holiday) if someone gets out of hand they are promptly removed from the ship, they have zero tolerance of violent or abusive behaviour, Brilliant! Like staying in a 5 star hotel where the view changes daily. I can’t see how they can improve this ship and it’s staff. We don’t know how they manage it but even on a ship with so many other people on board you are made to feel special, the staff remember you and treat you very well. We will definitely be booking with TUI / Marella again. Everything really was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very ... Read More
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very big THANK YOU to Amanda Hudson the social host and our captain Peter Harris for sorting everything out so that we could do it on our wedding anniversary. We had a lovely day thanks again to Amanda Hudson for everything that you did to it happen it's very much appreciated. The ship is lovely all staff very friendly and work very hard food lovely as well will definitely be coming back. All the staff are really friendly and work hard food was excellent we had an invite to join the captain at his table as well which was lovely couldn't of asked for a better 25th wedding anniversary cruise we've got lots of wonderful memories and photos Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Previously cruised on the Royal Clipper (twice) and Norwegian Star (not the best experience), so we have been on small and larger vessels. Tui package holidays have always been consistent for quality, so it was interesting to try their ... Read More
Previously cruised on the Royal Clipper (twice) and Norwegian Star (not the best experience), so we have been on small and larger vessels. Tui package holidays have always been consistent for quality, so it was interesting to try their cruise option. Flights - very good, the system of leaving luggage at Manchester airport and not having to handle it again until it arrived at the cabin worked extremely well. The Dreamliner is an excellent aircraft, in our opinion better than Airbus offerings. Apart from some slow service on the plane (don't think there were enough cabin crew) and not much variety in inflight entertainment all went well. Very comfortable flights both ways. The ship - excellent all round. Large balcony cabin has plenty of storage and well laid out. Didn't find the small number of power points too much of an inconvenience, we always seemed to keep our smart phones and iPad charged. No other reviewers have mentioned a super innovation on this ship - the Navigate app. for smart phone or tablet. Much better than reams of paper daily news letters cluttering the cabin. Reception service was excellent, always attended to quickly and with a smile. Not many children on this cruise, almost adults only. No issues with food and drink on board, mainly used Lattitude 53 for breakfast and dinner and the Market Place for lunch. Tried Vista one night, the only time we had to wait for a table, but no real inconvenience, the food was worth the wait - the Parpadelli Carbonare was superb! Visited Surf and Turf once, again a real treat, the fillet steak and lobster combination was to die for, well worth the extra. Generally the food was far superior to Norwegian and on a par with Royal Clipper ( a totally diffent cruise experience). Didn't bother with the Premium upgrade, didn't spend anywhere near the £100 it would have costs, the standard offerings were fine. Service was always quick and efficient, we had no problems on this cruise. Entertainment was good, with enough variety for us. No problems with sunbeds as we don't like being too near the pools (too noisy). Always found a quiet spot, the Veranda wasn't all that busy and we could retreat to the cabin and the large balcony if we wanted. Just a mention for Alan and Linda - you've stirred my interest in ballroom dancing and am looking to take some lessons ashore, many thanks. Shore excursions - only tried two. St. Maarten got off to a bad start, over 30 minutes late starting and the tour didn't show off the island in its best light. We walked into the town in the afternoon and we saw a much better side. The Tortola land and sea exclusion was in total contrast, gave us a real taster for the BVI. Otherwise we did our own thing at the other ports (have been to St.Kitts, Antigua and Bequia on previous holidays, so knew our way around). All in all an excellent holiday, Marella must be doing something right as we are about to book another cruise on the Explorer 2 next March to see some other islands we haven't yet visited. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... this would made one think it would have been 4 star at least in my eyes. The food in the main restaurant was inedible, overcooked and hard to eat. It was so bad we decided to use the Market buffet the rest of the holiday. There were specialist restaurants but they wanted upwards of £30 per person per visit ( after having paid for food i felt the cover charge was over the top compared with being able to pay on the Celebration a sum of £10 per person to upgrade the main meal in the dining room to steak or lamb chops etc ) On speaking to people on the ship, nobody thought the specialty restaurants to be be good value. One of the nice things about a cruise is coming back to your cabin at night after dinner and finding your cabin news containing the details of the next days itinerary and a little bit about the ship and crew... nice bedtime reading and handy to take with you the next day on shore excursions as it always had the telephone numbers of the port authority etc in case you have any off shore difficulties etc. This is currently being replaced by an APP you must load on your phone and use the ships WiFi When I inquired if we could have a paper copy delivered to my cabin as before ( these are still available if you rush to reception in the evening) i was promptly and firmly told NO... i even offered to pay to have this and it was ignored. The APP is terrible only some of it is on the phone APP others and again not all are on the TV. The only way you could get the menus of the restaurants was from the flat touch screen terminals at the lifts (these sometimes lost the WiFi and didnt work either). It really ruffled my feathers when every day there was a channel on the TV where the Cruise Director would go over the highlights of the days activities and did it from the paper copy of the cruise news!! The ship is poorly covered by entertainment at night and it doesnt flow properly like the Celebration or other cruise ships i have used.. things finish in the middle of other items you may be interested in and you find yourself walking in on a half completed piece of entertainment upsetting the guests that managed to be there on time for it to start. The bars are mainly all too loud and mainly served by piped music with occasional live music... it seemed to be done on the cheap or not utilised properly. Staff on the ship are mainly unhappy and it shows to the customer. The biggest concern on the ship, i have left till the end.... the number of people i seen drunk in the early afternoon was high ( never before have i seen this on a cruise) between afternoon and evening it looked like the ship was a BOOZE CRUISE ... im certainly not impressed with the Explorer or Marriela / Tui.. and wonder if the Celebration is now been changed to feel and look the same... ( this was my favourite ship in the Tui fleet) It looks like we will need to use our other favourite ships like the NCL ( Jade/Pearl etc) In Conclusion .... if i was offered another week on the Explorer, i would decline it!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive ... Read More
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive crew & FOC meals/refreshments. The transfer from the airport to ship was also very smooth & embarkation quick & efficient. Our luggage was with us within the hour which allowed us to explore the ship. The ship, as many people have mentioned, is merely new to Marella & is about 20yrs old. That said, the fact that she is not a new “block of flats” on a hull adds to the appeal & we were very impressed with the look, feel & layout. Yes, there are a few signs of age, but on the whole one could have no complaints. Word is she is going back into dock late this year to have further improvements made which shows the investment & faith TUI have in her. We booked a cabin with a large balcony & I have to admit that the hammock, sun lounger & chairs were well used, especially for an afternoon nap before food & drink! The cabin was spacious enough with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was far better than experienced on the Dream, with walk in showers a bonus. We experienced no issues with either the toilet or A/C & the cabin was kept spotless by Romric, a gem of a cabin steward! Make use of the plug for the kettle & take a double European adaptor, it helped a great deal when charging phones & i-pads through out the night! The food & drink on board was bountiful, lets say that, & to a very high standard in general, especially Vista, the Mediterranean tapas & Italian pizza & pasta eateries. The breakfasts in the self service buffet were outstanding, but where the previous contributor, LHMS, got his fresh, sweet orange juice from remains a mystery to me & my wife! The service in the MDR was sluggish at times with portions a little on the slim side, but no real issues. We tried all the surcharge restaurants & found them all excellent. Take a tip, if you are on a 2 wk cruise, book 3 for £75 & save!!! We upgraded to premium AI during the second week, mainly for the Coffee Port (which is excellent) the gin & whisky bar (in the Squid & Anchor) & for my fix of Strongbow Dark Fruits (sad!). There was no issue at all with the choice or service of the standard AI, in fact, the attitude & enthusiasm shown by all the bar & waiting staff could not be faulted, especially in S&A & Indigo. Yes, some fellow cruisers over-indulged & perhaps were a little loud & irritating, but so what, they are allowed to & i didn’t have their headaches the following morning! We attended 7 shows in the Broadway show lounge during the 2 weeks & thoroughly enjoyed all but 1, which is a pretty solid hit rate. I’m not sure what previous contributors expect for their money, the West End it isn’t, but they are great ways to spend an hour being entertained. The ports of call were all diverse, especially the difference between the volcanic ABC islands & the more traditional Caribbean islands of BVI, St. Kitts & Genada. Every island was welcoming & we were never over-hassled by the locals selling tours, when haggling over price is half of the fun! We always booked when we got off the ship. It’s cheaper & less “sanitised”! The whole experience was topped off by Captain Peter Harris. The guy has the driest of wits, is very approachable but there is no doubt he is in charge. Very re-assuring. 5/5 the Explorer isn’t, but she is a lot better than a 4 & we will be booking the Far East or Cannaries for 2020. One last plea. TUI, look to a loyalty scheme. Other lines are moving more towards the offer Marella exceed at & are becoming increasingly attractive!!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first cruise for our silver wedding anniversary & certainly won’t be our last. After arriving in Barbados we were put on a coach straight to the ship, embarkation was fantastic. We were greeted by a steel band & ... Read More
This was our first cruise for our silver wedding anniversary & certainly won’t be our last. After arriving in Barbados we were put on a coach straight to the ship, embarkation was fantastic. We were greeted by a steel band & given rum punches, got our room cards, photos taken & all done & dusted in minutes. Our cases arrived outside our cabin about an hour later. Entertainment was fantastic, we particularly enjoyed the shows in the theatre, they are young but work their socks off to give fantastic performances which last approx 45 minutes & drinks are served to you throughout. The entertainment around the ship & in the Squid & Anchor by the bands The Beats & The Collectables were fantastic also as were the games in the Squid & Anchor, really good fun if you want to partake or just watch. A must is the silent disco which was on twice a week, again you can partake or just watch. The entertainment is run by cruise director Cameron & he & all involved really do a good job to cater for everyone’s taste. There is always something going on somewhere if something in particular is not to your taste. There is a cinema & outdoor cinema, casino, library, gym, coffee port, scoops ice cream, snack shack, Champneys Spa & Salon, Broadway shops, 2 swimming pools, 3 jacuzzis, running track, mini golf, 10 restaurants to name a few so there is something for everyone. Sea days are a nightmare to get a sun bed as people put their towels down early, come at 8am & you’ve no chance. Staff do put tickets on them if they are empty for 45 mins but we saw loads of ‘reserved beds’ empty for longer, we never saw any towels being removed for people wanting a sun bed. We did a few tours with Tui which were amazing, one of these tours started an late so inevitably we arrived back late for the ship which thankfully had to wait for us because it was a Tui excursion. We did the trikes in Aruba (independently booked from home) submarine tour, catamaran & Pitons, Champagne & lobster catamaran & a few more independent ones off shore. All trips were fantastic, all the locals were extremely friendly towards us & we never felt intimidated anywhere. We picked up some WiFi with the price of a drink in certain bars. We were lucky enough to have our wedding renewal on our anniversary with thanks to Amanda the social hostess. This was something we couldn’t book back home at our Tui shop or the many phone calls by my husband. We were fortunate enough to get hold of Amanda’s e-mail & arranged it the week before we went, it was absolutely amazing & they couldn’t do enough for us. Captain Peter performed the ceremony on the bridge & it was wonderful, we had the silver package for £200 & it was perfect. We also purchased all the photos taken which was set to music & have it on a usb stick, also included was 16 photos which are professional photos taken by the lovely photographer team. All the staff on board are extremely polite & friendly & work such long hours to ensure we have the best time possible, they have a few hours off here & there but not days off. In order to receive a full day off they have to be mentioned in reviews so it’s very sad & darn right rude when you see people clicking fingers at them for service or moaning because they have to wait a short time for a table in one of the restaurants. Unfortunately I can’t remember all their names who made our holiday but a shout out goes to Gladys, housekeeping on deck 9, Roman who refilled our drinks on the deck pool, Vicky & Elizabeth entertainment staff, Captain Peter & Cameron for their daily announcements & Amanda social hostess for making it possible for us to renew our wedding vows. A few necessities to take with you, towel pegs or bands as it gets very windy in the Caribbean ( if your towel blows off or you lose it you will be charged £10 per towel). As I’ve said it gets quite windy & for us girls it is very unkind to our hair. 5 mins after drying my hair it went frizzy & after a few days very dry, my heat protection spray wasn’t strong enough for the Caribbean wind so I purchased Ghd protection spray from the Broadway shops which cost $13 but so worth it, this spray is expensive but I would not be without it for future cruises. I never felt the need to wrap up in the evening so didn’t wear the wrap I brought. Definitely bring looser fitting clothes for your second week as despite my good intentions not to over indulge it’s very hard as the food is delicious & plentiful. We also never used the euros as all islands accept usd, we used ours to pay off part of our bill on leaving. On the day of disembarkment you have to leave your cabin by 8am. You can pay £35 for a late room check out subject to availability & only till 1.30 or you can pay £14.95 pp for a day pass in Champneys Spa. We did this & it was amazing, we got our travel luggage in the lockers, provided with robes, towels, refreshments, showers & you can still use the ships facilities. For any disabled people wanting to cruise there were plenty of guests in wheelchairs & mobility scooters, incidentally the ship has plenty of lifts. We had an absolutely amazing time aboard the Explorer & are already looking for our next cruise - yep we’ve got the cruise bug. All the negative comments we read about before embarking on our first cruise in our eyes are unfounded but that is just our opinion, everyone has different expectations, experiences & are entitled to their own opinions. A holiday is what you make it & my husband & I have made many memories visiting 12 islands on one holiday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs ... Read More
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs and a hammock! It was ideal to get away from the hustle and bustle of the pool deck areas and really chill out. Okay the Marella explorer is not brand new and not as huge as some of the other cruise ships but for us it as just right. The main self service dinning room served a good range of hot and cold dishes which changed daily, and if you wanted a full English breakfast you'd have to go a long way to beat it, we also tried out the specialty restaurants, some you had to pay a cover charge for, but well worth it, and the all inclusive drinks package was the best we ever had, all the top and well known beers and spirits.We can't praise all the staff on-board enough, from the cleaners to the ships Captain, nothing was too much. Plenty of hand sanitisers' everywhere, entertainment and activities were suited to all age groups and were well organised, The only thing I would do differently next time would be to book shore excursions on-board the ship, yes they are more expensive than doing it yourself but it saves the hassle of being pestered by the hoards as you walk out of the port area into local towns, overall we had a fantastic first cruise experience and certainly do it all over again, especially on the Marella Explorer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit ... Read More
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit chewy and tough. Having said that anyone who can't find something good to eat must be the most picky eater ever. Such a wide variety. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9, it was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The balcony had two chairs of reasonable comfort and a small table. There was a kettle and fridge in the cabin. Bath, hand and pool towels were provided along with face cloths. There were two pools, not large but big enough and quite deep. There was also 3 jacuzzi's. Plenty of entertainment to suit everyone. Good variety of drinks and cocktails included in the drinks package. Didn't bother upgrading to premier for more choices. There was enough. The premium cocktails were not that expensive at £2.50 a time. The champneys although expensive were fabulous. Paid to keep a room on last day at a cost of £ 35, wasn't really worth it, only allowed to have it from 10 til 1.30. better to pay £15 each and book into the spar where they have lockers sauna's steam rooms, hot seats, fresh air room and sleeping room. Fabulous place. Loved every minute. The shore excursions run by the ship were over priced. We tended to get the tours on shore from official operaters and taxi's. Much cheaper and really good value. The people on the islands we visited were really friendly. The only island we found that tended change prices at a whim was St Lucia but even there we enjoyed the tour. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
After a long bout of illness we were looking for a special holiday and boy did we get one. Every port/island that we visited was absolutely amazing, beautiful scenery, white sand beaches and crystal clear sea’s. The ship was ... Read More
After a long bout of illness we were looking for a special holiday and boy did we get one. Every port/island that we visited was absolutely amazing, beautiful scenery, white sand beaches and crystal clear sea’s. The ship was equally amazing, we had an inside cabin on deck 9 (9162) it was spacious with a good sized en-suite and plenty of storage, the cabin crew came in twice a day to clean and tidy replacing towels as often as required, Andrew was our steward and a friendlier and more helpful person you could not wish for. Although we had two weeks on board we did not see everything as there was just too much to see, places we did frequent were, The Broadway show lounge, 2 sometimes 3 shows a night we went at least once a night and were very happy with the shows especially the George Michael tribute act and The Harper Brothers which were the funniest comedy act I’ve seen in years. Squid and Anchor, typical Saturday night pub with pub quiz, Mr & Mrs and other games and live music nightly. Indigo nightclub, Disco’s and silent disco’s (very funny) casino where you could play Blackjack, Poker or Roulette. Food and drink, If you wanted to be waited on Latitude 53 is all you could ask for excellent food and service, choice of 5/6 starters,mains and deserts, if you wanted self service The Market place offerers a larger choice and is of equal quality, if like me your a late night snacker the Mediterranean bar is open until 01.30 where you can get a curry or burger and chips etc. Ours was an all inclusive cruise without the premium package we found that we could eat and drink as much as we required without the added expense. Finally I would like to say thank you to all the staff from cleaners to captain who made this the most wonderful holiday that I’ve ever had and I will definitely be doing this again. Special mentions go to Andrew our cabin Steward, Carlos our drinks waiter (Indigo), Ramonne drinks waiter (Squid and Anchor) Chloe entertainment Squid and Anchor, Cameron entertainment manager and James who I think had something to do with sound and lighting. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Flight left gatwick a little late but still managed to arrive on time crew were friendly food wasn't bad. Really impressed with arrival after landing we were put on a bus and taken to the ship with in an hour and a bit we were in our ... Read More
Flight left gatwick a little late but still managed to arrive on time crew were friendly food wasn't bad. Really impressed with arrival after landing we were put on a bus and taken to the ship with in an hour and a bit we were in our cabin luggage arrived about an hour later. We have cruised before twice with marella on the dream and discovery 2 twice with royal caribbean legend and splendor of the seas .p&o azura celebrity constellation. and azamara journey. We really enjoyed our time on this ship the staff are excellent you never have to wait to be served and nearly always with a smile. What really made this ship stand out for us were the restaurant choices we are normally feed up with the food after a week but not on this ship. we ate in all of them except the sushi and enjoyed most of our meals. We only had one sea day and decided to hire a cabana for that day glad we did as you could not get a sun bed after 7.30am the rest of the time we had no trouble with sun beds. We did four excursions with the ship and they were very well organised the rest of the time we did our own thing. We will cruise with marella again as we like the older smaller ships and you get good value for money so we can go more often. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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