4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking forward to trip. Perfect start great to leave luggage at Gatwick and see it next in our cabin. I do have limited mobility so arranged an adapted cabin which turned out good ; Sorry down hill from here on THIS ship and MOST of staff are not aware or interested in the disable / less mobile customer. The ship has NO disable seating in restaurants or bars and you are on your own with getting help from staff to get seated . the stock reply seems " we are busy ", " try another restaurant " ; Try another time. The theater is not a lot better . Yes there are a few disable seats but so poorly signed again it is free for all, so do not expect to get one unless you get to show about 45 minuets early. We did eventual get the welfare dept to put out some signs in the Cafeteria just 8 seats which considering the amount of wheel chairs/ scooters ect on board was no where enough . To cap it all I was told by a manager in the Theater he could not ask people to move from disable seats and I should walk down the stairs to front . The shows in all are ok not up to a professional standard more a good local theater group. The excursion ok but again not good for less mobile , we invested in a special light weight wheelchair so I could enjoy the trips but nearly all the trips state on the day that no wheel chairs or buggy's can be accommodated so yes got on the trips but did not see much of the sights except from the transport windows . Read Less
6 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the cruise to celebrate some special birthdays somewhere hot and sunny! We have previously travelled with Marella on their other ships and with P & O. Embarkation was super quick - off the plane in Barbados, straight on a ... Read More
We chose the cruise to celebrate some special birthdays somewhere hot and sunny! We have previously travelled with Marella on their other ships and with P & O. Embarkation was super quick - off the plane in Barbados, straight on a coach and to the ship. The Explorer is a nice ship but lacks any wow factor. There is no central atrium which other ships have and we found this ship awkward to navigate as you have to go up/down a floor to get to some areas and remember what colour staircase you need to take! All areas of the ship were kept clean. Staff were always friendly and polite. Food in the dining rooms was absolutely lovely with a good variety and waiters were friendly. Only niggle with dining in the main restaurants was if you had to have a pager and wait for a table to be ready you could only wait in a small bar area as we were told the pagers would not work further away. This was crowded at times with very little seating so mostly standing while waiting for a table, so not overly comfortable. We have no problem waiting for a table but on other ships you could take the pager anywhere, so not all herded together! The Market Place was often really crowded at peak times (breakfast) and not always easy to find a table but food was generally good. Our balcony cabin was comfortable and kept really clean by our cabin stewerd who was always ready with a greeting and smile. The shows were very good but a little 'samey'. Felt there had been more of a variety on other ships. We booked some excursions through Marella which were as described and we were happy with what was offered. At some ports we took taxis which were a lot cheaper than a Marella excursion. Overall Marella offers really good value, you can do as little or much as you like, all staff generally seem happy and we would definately book again. Read Less
5 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
5 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
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
9 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
6 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
4 Helpful Votes
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
4 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for a 60th birthday gift for my wife having never been to the Caribbean before. We were not to be disappointed. A painless flight on the Dreamliner from Glasgow to Barbados saw us straight into a bus and on our way to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a 60th birthday gift for my wife having never been to the Caribbean before. We were not to be disappointed. A painless flight on the Dreamliner from Glasgow to Barbados saw us straight into a bus and on our way to the ship within minutes of landing. The check in service was speedy and efficient and our luggage arrived very quickly and so the holiday began. The ship was in general very good with hard working staff who tried everything possible to make our holiday a memorable one. Our Captain John Clark was tremendous keeping everyone well informed of sailing times destinations etc and did it all with a fabulous sense of purpose and with great humour. The cabin with balcony 8223 was well furnished and well looked after by our attendant Flavia who on the occassion of my wifes birthday decorated it stylishly for the day. The balloons towel art and birthday sash were fab but the added birthday card from the housekeeping staff was much appreciated. Plenty clean towels linen etc and always a smile and a hello from housekeeping was impressive as we enjoyed ourselves. Dining .. we always ate at the market place (buffet) as we found it easily accessible and plenty of choice everyday. Loved the breakfasts and afternoon cream teas mmm scones and cream were fabulous. Rhea May was a breath of fresh air always a smile and a little chat whilst working tirelessly at her station. Lovely lady. Entertainment was good most nights in the Broadway Lounge with Amy in particular catching our eye with her fantastic voice and enthusiasm during the routines but that said all the staff/team were very good. We found all the entertainers on board very good but after two weeks a little repetetive but thats a small gripe. Comedians were fab with the Harper Brothers fantastic. We did however think that pool deck and other daytime activities a little sparse. Good mix of quizzes throughout the day. The one disappointment was the lack of atrium activity. The staff on explorer were mostly exellent whilst providing us with our experience and would like to give special mention to again Rhea May in the market place, Flavia our cabin attendant and Oscar behind the bar in the Squid and Anchor. Captain John and all his crew are a real credit to Marella for making our holiday a special holiday. Lastly on ports of call and excursions. We enjoyed all the ports but found the price of excursions aboard the ship a little high. If this was addressed by the company many more people would book i am sure. Prices from local operators were much more realistic. Look forward to joining Marella on another cruise in the not too distant future. Thank you all. Only a couple of negatives for me .. the coffee bar not being part of the all inclusive although selected coffee in various bars were and the minibar being not included having to purchase water seems a bit silly. If your all inclusive then surely all is included. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels ... Read More
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels changed etc. We ate in the Market Place buffet restaurant on our first evening which, as with other Marella cruise ships, had very average fare. Our intention was to eat in the main dining room, Latitude 53, for the rest of our cruise. Oh dear. What a letdown. The service was appalling both nights we went and didn't go back. Therefore, we were limited for choice. As for the Broadway show lounge, we found the entertainment rather poor compared to other cruises we have been on. And the two guest acts - "comedians" - were woefullly dire. But the sun shone (mainly) and we didn't allow the downsides to mar our holiday. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Last year we had done the Northern Carribean on Marella Discovery 2 and decided that this year was to be the Southern part! We had loved both of the Discoveries and were concerned that the lack of an Atrium would be important. Well is is ... Read More
Last year we had done the Northern Carribean on Marella Discovery 2 and decided that this year was to be the Southern part! We had loved both of the Discoveries and were concerned that the lack of an Atrium would be important. Well is is a shame but the ship is still fantastic! It is different but in a nice way. You can always find somewhere to enjoy a quiet cocktail or 2, well someone has to do it. It is most unusual that although the ship was full, there didn't seem to be crowds of people around although the restaurants sometimes got a bit full. I think that was largely our own fault as we always seemed to be wanting to eat between sittings as we do like our cocktails! Oh have I said that before? Our Cabin 9107 and our friends in the neighbouring cabin 9103. Both were excellent, spacious & quiet and as we had adjoining balconies we had them opened up for an amazing space! The cruise itself was exactly what we wanted, although some destinations were still in the throes of repairs after the 2017 storms, but the welcome wherever we went was amazing. All in all our only little complaint was the 2 stops at Bequia, although we enjoyed ourselves greatly there, it would have been nice to go somewhere different (supposed to be St Vincent on the first week). Mostly we made our own way exploring by taxi's / minibuses which came out at about 1/2 Marella's trip prices and we got to see more and with less time wasted getting 40 odd people out of a bus at a time!. We did do the train in St Kitts with Marella though as it isn't possible privately. We did the Surf & Turf one night, however it seemed very rushed whereas we were anticipating a relaxing and leisurely meal. Whilst the quality was ok, so was the menu in the MDR's both traditional and Italian. We never eat dinner in the Buffet restaurants as it just too much of a `bun fight'! Neither did we go in the Squid & Anchor Pub, just too noisy and frenetic. IMHO, as long as you want a relaxing holiday/cruise, have a balcony cabin so that you can relax after your trips without the perpetual noise in the pool areas which sadly Marella seem to think should always be blasted with 130dB noise and certainly is not a place to have a few zzzz's! All in all a fantastic cruise and thanks to all of the extremely helpful staff all over the ship. We did have a terrible experience at the end when one of our friends sadly passed away suddenly, however the ship helped us through this disaster even arranging a private taxi to the airport and also assistance at Birmingham airport on our return. We have to thanks especially the Welfare Hostess Fiona Smith and all of the others in the medical department and the Hotel department for their help. Whilst we would have dearly loved not to have had to meet them under these circumstances, they comforted us and especially our friend who was obviously grieving. Just a short note, apparently Marella are the only cruise line with a dedicated Welfare Hostess whose main responsibility is medical emergencies. Other lines have a shared Social/Welfare hostess which I guess is not as good. Thanks Explorer, we look forward to our return on June 22nd on the Legends of the Baltic Cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our third Caribbean cruise with TUI but the first with Marella. The first two were on the Dream and the Celebration. Marella have brought a more commercial side to TUI which is not necessarily for the best. A sense of greed has ... Read More
This was our third Caribbean cruise with TUI but the first with Marella. The first two were on the Dream and the Celebration. Marella have brought a more commercial side to TUI which is not necessarily for the best. A sense of greed has crept in which is a shame. Having said that, we still enjoyed our one week cruise very much and have booked again for next year. In this review, I aim to review each element briefly with areas where improvement is necessary highlighted. Flight Departures and transfers - all very easy. The bus we were loaded into at Barbados to take us to the ship was too small for the passengers and luggage being transferred. MARELLA ISSUE. Flight out - very comfortable, good service and food Return Flight - I was in seat 27C. This should be removed. I was bashed at least 100 times during the night flight, therefore no sleep. The breakfast was horrible. Embarkation at the Port - very simple, takes a while. Met by Captain and senior crew. Drink available and Bajan music being played. Toilet nearby if required! Once you are through this process, you can go straight to your room. Our luggage arrived quickly. Ship generally - the Captain advised us that it is a vessel, not a ship! The Explorer is in good condition generally with some areas in need of refurbishment soon. Overall very pleasant. Crew generally - all very polite, courteous and helpful. The Captain was very informative and told dreadful jokes. We didn't take to the Cruise Director. Reception - generally very helpful. One lad never gave us a straight answer to any question which became a bit annoying. Wifi - if you wish to contact relatives about your safe arrival, do this before you get on board. Wifi charges when we were on board were absolutely disgraceful. MARELLA GREED. Cabin - we had an internal cabin on Deck 5 - it was a very good size with excellent storage and a really good shower. Electric sockets were poor - ours worked intermittently which we reported. Our cabin steward was very polite, helpful and thorough - a very clean room throughout the cruise. Water - there is a water point on each floor. You have a carafe in your room which you can use to fill kettles, bottles etc All inclusive package - totally adequate unless you like speciality drinks. Unless you have the Premium package, Marella seem to have made getting a coffee more difficult than necessary. Some bars will make you one, others won't and the Mediterranean bar wouldn't make us a coffee but would make us an Irish coffee???!! Bar staff were in short supply at times at all the bars but with the exception of one barman in the Squid and Anchor who took exception to me asking him regularly to reduce the amount of ice he used in cocktails, they were all very polite and helpful. Restaurants The Market Place (buffet) - great for breakfast with hot and cold options. The cumberland sausages and bacon warrant specific praise. Lunch and Evening Meals were not as good and seemed to lack choice, imagination and quality. We used the Snack Shack for lunch if we were on the the ship. Latitude 53 and Vista - less quantity, better quality, excellent service. Our favourites. Mediterranean Tapas - one specific meal carries a cover charge. Other than that, the food was delicious but did lack quantity. This was the only meal I left hungry. Service was excellent. Mediterranean Italian - nice food but service was below the standard of the other restaurants. The staff never really made an effort - they seemed aloof. Other restaurants - carry a cover charge of circa £25. Entertainment - as we have specific involvement in Song / Dance, we will limit the comments in this section. The main Auditorium is sizeable and well designed but will need decoration soon. The rake of the seating does mean a tall person can block the view of those behind quite badly. The professional dancers are very good, the female singers are better than the male ones but need to stop "screaming". The comedians (Harper Brothers) were excellent. There are other singers etc in various bars during the day. None of them left us wanting more. However, we really enjoyed The Collective, a Bajan Band who mostly sang during the day by the pool. Bingo - expensive, short games and poor prizes. We only played once. Photographers - pains in the backside!! Swimming Pool and Sunbeds - as would be expected, the pool is small but well used. There are a significant number of sunbeds over 4 decks with only Deck 11 offering shade. Despite this, the sunbed hogs are out early to stake their claim and keep them with limited use. However, the crew do make some effort to remove towels where beds are unused for 45 minutes. A good start but needs to be more stringent. Like the bars, you can have drinks served to your table / sunbed. Excursions - generally Marella try to pack you into small buses. MARELLA ISSUE. Curacao - we went on the Sea & See Island Tour. Beautiful Island with a stunning Town. The tour took us around the island to a Liquor Factory followed by a trip on a boat with a hull that makes you think you are in a submarine. You see a lot of smaller fish BUT this is NOT for those who suffer with sea sickness or claustrophobia. The bus we were in was cramped. There is an ice cream shop near the ship - excellent ice cream. Tour 7/10 Bonaire - we went on the Palm Beach Reef Snorkel. These comments are based on the fact that we don't know what Bonaire beaches are generally like. We were driven in a multi coloured children's bus, with no legroom at all, by a suicidal version of Lewis Hamilton and no guide, to a "Building Site by the Sea". There, we were dropped off and left with the people who run the snorkelling, the leader of whom was not exactly a people person. The sunbeds available offered no protection from the sun and the entry point to the water was across rocks and stones unless you were lucky enough to find the odd sandy patch. The only saving grace was the lady guide who took us snorkelling - she made every effort to ensure we enjoyed it. The fish we saw were only small. This tour was poor. From a snorkelling perspective, this is for novices only. Tour 2/10. Grenada - we went on the Highlights of St George's Tour - other than again being cramped in the bus, this was a very enjoyable tour with an excellent guide. Tour 8/10 St Lucia - we went on the Ultimate Sea and Land. This was an expensive and long but interesting tour of which 5.5 hours were spent cramped on a bus followed by 2 hours on a cramped catamaran (4 bus loads got on it). We had to stand for the first half an hour. The food at lunch time was at best average with water dispensers offering warm water!! The highlights were a visit to the Sulphur Springs and the chance to have a swim off the catamaran. Tour 5/10 Transfer to our Hotel - well organised other than a lady in the Port who seemed totally confused about everything. You are required to take your suitcases from the port building to the coaches for transfer to your hotel. Would we do it again? - Yes, we have already booked. We just hope that Marella improves some of its current failings and penny pinching. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary as we have done lots of cruises & out of the 11 islands we had only visited 3 before. As we had not cruised with Marella before we were keen to see what they had to offer. The cabin was a ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary as we have done lots of cruises & out of the 11 islands we had only visited 3 before. As we had not cruised with Marella before we were keen to see what they had to offer. The cabin was a decent size but lacked power points & the air conditioning couldn't be controlled. There was a kettle and fridge which was great. There was a lot of movement felt on the ship which we hadn't experienced before on the larger ships. It was impossible to get a sunbed on the 2 sea days unless you were up at 6.30am which is not my thing. We preferred to have a lie in. The MDR has very slow service & the menu didn't have much choice. Vista was good as was the Italian med & tapas for dinner. The late night buffet was very poor with little choice if you don't like curry! The snack shack was good for a take away salad at lunch time. We enjoyed the Squid & Anchor pub, plenty of quizzes, karaoke & game shows in the evening along with live music. The silent discos in Indigo were great. The shows in the theatre were not great compared to other cruise lines although the comedians were good. The all inclusive drinks package was good with plenty of choice so no need to upgrade. Embarkation was quick. We were taken off the plane & put straight onto coaches to the ship so no need for immigration at the airport. Coming home we had to put hold suitcases out side our cabin before 2am on last night and we didn't see them again until Manchester airport. We were picked up at 16.30 to go to the airport for our 18.50 flight and were herded straight through security so no check in at airport. We could still come & go on the ship as we pleased on the last day and could still order drinks on the all inclusive up until we left. Most of the staff and crew were very friendly and helpful. Overall we did enjoy our cruise despite the negatives, we visited some fabulous islands and met some fantastic people. We would consider another Marella cruise if the itinerary was right for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The food was very good indeed, plenty of choice , cooked brilliantly served with huge smiles. The staff in all areas were fabulous, couldn't do enough for you and extremely professional and friendly, some of the best staff ... Read More
The food was very good indeed, plenty of choice , cooked brilliantly served with huge smiles. The staff in all areas were fabulous, couldn't do enough for you and extremely professional and friendly, some of the best staff we've encountered. The cabins were of a decent size with good bathroom (no toiletries anymore)! and kept extremely spotless. The captain, John was one of the best we've had on a Marella cruise, great fun and friendly. The theatre shows were amazing all the staff worked very hard. The rest of the venues were aimed at the young generation, in most bars and other entertainment venues. The ship is one of their new ones been re-vamped. We actually didn't like the layout of the ship at all, no central atrium coffee areas with no windows (we called it the dungeon), no flow to the venues, very higgledy-piggledy just didn't seem right by any means. I hate to say too that since it's gone all inclusive, its not the same for obvious reasons. Don't think we will be going with Marella cruises again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Background: We usually go with all-inclusive holidays, mostly with TUI First Choice. Lately we have thought that we spend too much time on the resorts and miss out on seeing much of where we are - hence the decision to go with a ... Read More
Background: We usually go with all-inclusive holidays, mostly with TUI First Choice. Lately we have thought that we spend too much time on the resorts and miss out on seeing much of where we are - hence the decision to go with a cruise. We chose marella as we are used used to TUI, and know their standards and the all inclusive is important - we didn't want to get hit with unexpected costs. The itinerary and ship were the result of research - we liked the small number of sea days, and a mid-sized but newly (partly) refurbished ship seemed ideal. Arrival and first impression: First impressions were fantastic - dropping luggage at the airport to next see it onboard was great, as was the get off the plane and straight onto a bus. Our flight was late (and was last of all the flights) so we were rushed on board and straight to muster drill, it was all well organised despite this. Cabin: We chose 9107 based on reviews (and paid to choose - but as a deal with booking extra space seats) - we wanted a large balcony so that we could use it if the ship was very busy on sea days, and its central position was ideal for stability. Central location meant its never too far to go up to pool deck or Market Place, and same not far down to bars and restaurants. I was very happy with 9107 - everything worked, it has enough room and storage, and got 2 cases out of the way under the bed. Cabin steward Prasetyo was brilliant, always friendly, greeted everyone by name, and learnt our routines to make sure the cabin was always cleaned and tidied while we were out. Dining: Market place buffet was just what I would expect from an all-inclusive buffet. There was always plenty of choice and I was happy to see staff always cleaning, and checking food temperatures etc. They also really try hard with sanitisers everywhere and strongly encourage guests to use them. Latitude 53 was fine, we ate here on dress to impress night and it was busy but we were given a pager and just had a few drinks while waiting. Again the staff were very attentive although busy, and my wife's drinks just magically kept being replaced without asking. The Italian in Latitude was great also, which a good choice, and attentive service. Kora La was a nice change and the food and service was worth the upgrade. The same was true of surf and turf - it was a very nice relaxed dining experience, and well worth the extra. The steak was brilliant - though the beef onboard everywhere was excellent - the sirloin I had in the Italian was gorgeous. The only slight niggle is pre-dinner drinks in aperitif - everything in aperitif is cost extra if you are on the std drinks package - just a small niggle. Bars: All the bars were excellent - I only ever had to wait a bit in the lounge on dress to impress night when it was really,really busy. Just about everywhere a waiter appeared as soon as you sat down and had drinks quickly. Even on the pool deck the waiters were constantly circling with trolleys of booze. I stuck with the std drinks package as it covered 90% of what I wanted and was happy of pay for the occasional cocktail (mudslide) and other drinks - like in the coffee port. I ordered what I felt like, and the bit extra I had to pay was still well less that the £200 to upgrade - but you may feel differently - read the menu online as make your mind up! Entertainment: This was the least impressive bit of the cruise. The team work hard, but the main shows were a bit lacking - Vocalists and the many voices of LIss Jones were very poor. Though rockology was great - so they can do it! That said the other bands and singers in the bars were great for the most part - especially the duo who were often in the lounge. It certainly didn't spoil my holiday - just a minor niggle that could be improved. Service: Service onboard was fantastic everywhere, staff were always happy to help. All the staff I interacted with from embarking/disembarking, shore excursion team, waiters, cleaners etc were all great. Ports / excursions: The choice of ports was good, though I think the paradise islands itinerary was a bit weaker. We did a mix of TUI excursions and DIY. To be honest I would do less TUI ones next time, as all of the ports had lots to do, and only the Antigua Lobster Lunch and Aruba Sea and see were really worth the extra cost of the TUI - they were the two stand-out excursions. Overall: A fantastic holiday, and now my wife wants to always cruise in future - so that says it all really! (And probably with Marella again as they match what we want/expect) I'd certainly cruise on the explorer again or any of the bigger Marella ships... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I must say the standered of food in the resturant was good, and the Vista resturant very good, but the variety could have been more varied, the buffet resturant did not have choice of other cruise ships we have been on. The main resturant ... Read More
I must say the standered of food in the resturant was good, and the Vista resturant very good, but the variety could have been more varied, the buffet resturant did not have choice of other cruise ships we have been on. The main resturant was very random with service, one night 2.5 hours to get served the meal, another 1.5 hours to get first course, there was never any reason to it, some nights water and wine as you sat down other nights had to ask 4-5 times to get anything, many managers walking about but could not see the problems the waiters were having., each night was different with different problems, number of people complaining but no one seemed that bothered, that was the first time I have ever complained on a cruise. Pointed out the problems several times to resturant manager, and senior manger on ship, really made no difference. Went to the paying Asian resturant one night which was very good. Bars, on first day on board at sea there seemed to be no control on the amount of alcohol some people were drinking, which did result in several audications between passengers but any no one bothered. The entertainment team were very good and the shows excellent I must say we got on with the cruise and enjoyed our self, but having cruised with many companies we will not be sailing with TUI again, it has some way to go compete with the establish cruise lines. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because we enjoyed our Caribbean cruise on Discovery last year. Our main grumbles were with the poor quality restaurant food and the shambolic service in the Latitude. The food presentation was poor and the meals ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we enjoyed our Caribbean cruise on Discovery last year. Our main grumbles were with the poor quality restaurant food and the shambolic service in the Latitude. The food presentation was poor and the meals didn’t resemble any level of quality that one would expect from a restaurant. Adjacent dirty tables were never cleared until required by other diners. Service was slow, meals taking up to three hours and drinks often arrived after food was served or even finished! The staff seemed inexperienced and lacking in training. We did complain to the catering manager, Wally. He ensured that on our next meal the service standard improved, but sadly this was not sustained for the rest of our week. We thought the buffet food was superior to the restaurant food. The wine served tasted awful and I frequently couldn’t finish my glass - very unusual for me! The bottle labels said 13% alcohol but it tasted watered down, as did many of the other drinks served. Theatre entertainment was average, our balcony cabin clean and comfortable and the ports visited were good. Cruise staff seemed happy and for the most part helpful and transfers were good. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise. We booked 12 month ago. We always book our holidays via our bank but never having cruised before thought we would take advice from the local agent. We paid extra to book our cabin and took the agents advice of ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We booked 12 month ago. We always book our holidays via our bank but never having cruised before thought we would take advice from the local agent. We paid extra to book our cabin and took the agents advice of cabin. 8140. To be informed the week before we sailed our cabin was double booked. We were refunded £45 booking fee. We were also told we would be give £50 onto our account when we boarded the boat. We had to up grade to the premium package when getting on the boat. (noticed you can do this on line when you book your holiday on line) It took 4 days and three visits to the reception for the refund to be put on our account!! We had a good flight luggage outside our cabin within 2 hours. The cabin 8104 please note same numbers not necessarily in the same order!! Was very nice. The cabin stewards were excellent no complaints what so ever about the room. It was lovely having a balcony and being early risers waking up and looking out to see. We paid an extra £35 to keep the room we were informed it may not be the same room but would be of a similar standard. This was not the case we got a inside cabin 2 decks higher this works out at £10per hour getting the room at 10 having to vacate at 1.30 waste of money for us. The ship is immaculate very impressed with hygiene. Sun beds are reserved by people with towels. in 14 days only got sunbeds twice. The food on this ship was excellent the waiters are fantastic they work very hard and make everyone feel special. We ate at the vista for most of our cruise the food was excellent (Italian) credit to the head waiters all of their staff are trained to a high standard. Our favourite bar Was The Mediterranean Bar at the rear of the boat it was beautiful to sit through the day bar with a view. Breakfast in the marketplace was very good. The Squid and Anchor was like a 70's flashback to the wheel tappers and shunters for those old enough to remember. The only thing it lacked was Max & Paddy standing on the door. It was quizzes Bingo quizzes karaoke quizzes with a quiz master who could not read and had to spell some of the questions ! People were saving chairs a elderly couple asked a couple if they could sit down to be told they were saving seats for their friends this old couple had walking difficultys it worked out that it was two staff members who sat on the seats and one of the guests got up to get her a drink. On this I complained the girl soon got up and left. the old couple got a seat in the end oblivious to what had gone on. I was so annoyed I reported this to the reception to be told I should have taken names! (we were standing) it is a shame that the Gin & whiskey bar is located in this pub. Cooper the bar man was fantastic very professional and polite he made us some lovely Gin combinations. Being a none smoker everytime the door was opened we were exposed to the smell of cigarettes. Olga was fabulous in the apprietief bar. Lovely drinks made by a lovely girl. The Broadway Shows were fantastic we are big fans of musical theatre. Loved all the modern songs that were sang well done. We thought they would have more entertainment on board on through the day. Having stayed in the Caribbean in numerous hotels water aerobics yoga salsa dancing have always been included. Yoga on the boat is an additional charge no activities except shuffle board and one table tennis table for a tournament. Cameron the Entertainment Director should work out a routine for timing so when one show finished something else started. There is no consistency on this ship. It a shame just a couple of niggles in the entertainment can damage the reputation of such a fabulous ship with fantastic hard working staff Cabin Stewards and Waiters who sing better then some of the performers with their guitars. We had a relaxed holiday visited some lovely places and met some fabulous people. Could have not coped with out a balcony to escape to now and again. We don't know if we do another cruise undecided to many hidden extras to pay for Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose Marella Explorer as it was a medium-size ship, and our very first cruise 20 years was with Thomson and we were very pleased with that. Sadly our experience of Marella Explorer was very disappointing. The service in the ... Read More
We chose Marella Explorer as it was a medium-size ship, and our very first cruise 20 years was with Thomson and we were very pleased with that. Sadly our experience of Marella Explorer was very disappointing. The service in the restaurants was generally poor though better in the Vista restaurant. Rarely asked if we wanted coffee after a meal. The quality of the food was OK, with Vista being much better than Latitude 53. The buffet food was fine, but the background music was often intrusive. The surcharge for the speciality restaurants seemed exorbitant so not used. The entertainment in the Broadway theatre was not very good; the performers worked hard but with poor material, and it seemed that playing everything loud was the solution. Quite a number of people left because of the loud music. Alternative entertainmant on the sea day was sadly lacking. The captain was obviously keen to be "one of the boys" but daily apologies became an irritation. On the positive side, our junior suite was excellent as was the service from our steward, and all the crew were always helpful and polite. The carafe system of fresh water in the cabin was excellent and should be copied by all the cruise line to save plastic. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was the old Celebrity Galaxy and not as well designed as the Marella Discovery ships. But the onboard facilities and service was excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation was faultless, although leaving the cabin at 8am on the final ... Read More
This was the old Celebrity Galaxy and not as well designed as the Marella Discovery ships. But the onboard facilities and service was excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation was faultless, although leaving the cabin at 8am on the final day was tiresome. Junior suite cabin on deck 12 was roomy, spotlessly clean and came with a large, furnished balcony, but a small bathroom. Dining in the main restaurant was average, but with plenty of places around the ship offering food all day, no one would go hungry. The all inclusive drinks package was excellent, although a charge for bottled water and an expensive, and unnecessary mini bar in the cabin caused some moans. Entertainment was average both in the theatre and around the ship, and the mournful choice of songs from the lady pianist in the lounge drove me, and many others to seek refuge elsewhere. Bigger ships had the choice of cruise terminals and we often ended up in commercial ports with views of containers and cranes. Shuttle buses were few and far between and passengers were left to either walk to towns or haggle with taxi drivers. The one and only tender service took four hours to get the last passengers ashore from the anchored ship. Shore excursions were expensive and many, like us, did the same trips with taxis at a fraction of the price. Can't be bad though, we have rebooked for next Christmas. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
After cruising with Marella before around the Mediterranean two years ago on Discovery 1 and having such a fantastic cruise , I was really looking forward to this cruise on their newest and largest ship. The previous cruise on ... Read More
After cruising with Marella before around the Mediterranean two years ago on Discovery 1 and having such a fantastic cruise , I was really looking forward to this cruise on their newest and largest ship. The previous cruise on Discovery was going to take some beating but I was confident Marella would not let me down. We got off to a good start with perfect flights over to Barbados then it was straight off the aircraft and onto a bus and straight to the ship and the boarding process was quick and problem free , well done Marella they really have got this process running like a well oiled machine. We didn't book the cruise to late on so by this time there was no balcony cabins available which we were not that bothered about as we have had balcony cabins in the past and although we have enjoyed them we are not sure if we get the full benefit of them so on this occasion we were quite happy to go with an inside cabin , however we did not pay the extra to choose the cabin and ended up having our cabin allocated which maybe wasn't a great idea as you end up with what nobody else wants .Our cabin was on deck 9 near the back of the ship , close to the kids club which was not a problem at all, the cabin itself was adequate and seemed fine at first but on closer inspection e found that the air con unit above the bed was filthy and you were also not able to knock it off at all. The main problem with the cabin though was the noise everything rattled and groaned from the safe door to the wardrobe doors and drawers and during early morning docking the noise was horrendous and the cabin literally shook at times, but when I reported this to reception I was told that you have to expect a bit of noise on a ship, anyways the ship was full and there was no other cabins available to re locate us so we had to put up with it , most of the rattling was rectified by myself by some strategically placed pieces of toilet paper. I guess you get what you pay for o we decided to get on with the cruise and not to let the cabin get us down which we didn't, As expected based on the last cruise on Discovery the bar service and choice of drinks on board was excellent , the service from the drinks waiters was very good and you never had to wait long , they work so hard and always with a smile, excellent in every way and a credit to the company. Entertainment was varied and decent , the resident band were very good and the theatre productions were also very good, some of the solo acts didn't really appeal to my taste but that is just a personal choice, overall the entertainment was not as good as previously on Discovery. Dining there is a good choice of places to eat on board and you will never go hungry, the market place buffet was perfect for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea but not great for dinner , the Mediterranean restaurant was nice with the tapas section being a favourite of ours .Unfortunately the main dining room Vista was the real let down for us , previously on Discovery the dinner in the main dining room was a real highlight every evening where we were served some delicious food every night , really good fine dining experience but on Explorer it was no way near as good , the food was mainly ok but nothing exceptional infact on a couple of occasions it was very disappointing verging on poor. Also the service in the dining room could be quite poor at times, it seemed disorganised and chaotic on occasions , service could be very slow and a couple of times we walked out before dessert as it was that bad. Finally the ports of call were all beautiful and we went to some magical places and we loved every one , done all out trips independently as Marella excursions were overpriced Overall we loved many parts of the cruise but I expected more from this ship which it failed to deliver , if I was to go with Marella again which we probably will because we love the all inclusive concept that they offer , but next time it will be back to the Discovery ships which to us offer so much more despite being older and smaller. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second cruise with Marella, having been on a seven nights cruise to Jamaica on Discovery 2 last January. Our experience on board Explorer was very good. The staff were all amazing, very professional, friendly and nothing ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Marella, having been on a seven nights cruise to Jamaica on Discovery 2 last January. Our experience on board Explorer was very good. The staff were all amazing, very professional, friendly and nothing was too much trouble for any of them. A special mention to Yonique, Fernan and Vladimir in Vista, Ana (from the Dominican Republic in the Lounge, Mediterranean, Coffee Port and Broadway Show Lounge areas) and Flavia, our cabin steward. They all contributed in making our holiday very special, with their constant smiles, friendliness and great service. The standard of entertainment provided by the team in the Broadway Show Lounge was second to none. The variety of shows and high standards of singing, dancing and acting were absolutely amazing and something we looked forward to watching every night. We cannot comment on the comedy acts as we didn't attend any of them. The standard and variety of the food on offer in the main restaurants was very good. The only criticism would be a lack of consistency with some of the drinks, particularly those where mixers were involved i.e Bacardi and Coke, Gin and Tonic. Depending on the bar attendant, they could be either the correct strength or very weak. However, taking into consideration the fact that the cruise is all inclusive, the overall impression is that it is very good value for money. The port of calls were all absolutely fabulous with a good variety of excursions on offer. The outbound and homeward flights were on time, with great staff and onboard entertainment. Overall, the cruise was a fabulous experience and we wouldn't hesitate to book again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to visit the Caribbean islands offered on this cruise. We also wanted to go “all inclusive”. We chose back to back cruises Tropical Delights and Paradise Islands.We also wanted to avoid lots of “at sea” days. We flew ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Caribbean islands offered on this cruise. We also wanted to go “all inclusive”. We chose back to back cruises Tropical Delights and Paradise Islands.We also wanted to avoid lots of “at sea” days. We flew direct from Gatwick to Barbados. The flight was comfortable and the staff helpful. The transfer and embarkation process was smooth and uneventful and our cases were in our cabin shortly after we were. There was a good choice of restaurants and lots of food choices. My husband loved a cooked breakfast every day and there was lots of fresh fruit and lighter choices if you prefer. Dinner served in Lattitude was good. Interesting menu and plenty of choice. We ate at one of the special restaurants (small supplement) on a couple of occasions and were delighted with the food and service. There were a number of bars and even a pub on board. These offered entertainment and the cocktails were delicious. We would not recommend paying the supplement for the Premium drinks package. If you want Gordon’s gin instead of an imported spit it just ask as it’s included. Entertainment in the Broadway lounge was good overall. Every taste was catered for. Not everything was to our taste. We booked our trips in advance of our cruise and the tickets were delivered to our cabin. Overall the trips we took were very well organised and interesting. We have already booked for January 2020 for Flavours of The Caribbean and Pride of Panama. This time flying direct to Jamaica. Our Marella Cruise on the Marella Explorer was fun and great value. Thanks to TUI. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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