8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My husband and I set sail on the 1st September on the Highlights of the Mediterranean and Mediterranean Secrets cruise. We were impressed with the ship especially the layout it was spacious with lots of seating areas. Having been on the ... Read More
My husband and I set sail on the 1st September on the Highlights of the Mediterranean and Mediterranean Secrets cruise. We were impressed with the ship especially the layout it was spacious with lots of seating areas. Having been on the Discovery two where the entertainment was exceptional, Daniella, Sammy and Reggae Band to name just a few and the cruise Director and Assistant very in touch with the passengers, we were disappointed this time. Explorer appears to be catering for younger cruises as the entertainment team were all very young and whilst we were sure, probably good for a younger clientele, we and many of those we spoke to were of the same opinion that it was not suited to the majority of passengers on Explorer at this time. The ship appears to lack atmosphere. This may because its fairly new and perhaps will improve with time. The food was exceptional!, there were no repeats during the two weeks. Service in the Latitude was poor. The poor waiters /waitresses were run off their feet. There did not appear to be enough staff in this area. We complained and were moved around the restaurant during the week that we were able to visit. , sadly wherever we were placed the service did not improve. All other areas were good. Unfortunately my husband was taken very ill on the cruise resulting in him spending a considerable time in the medical centre and in hospital in St Raphael and Palma. I Must now say how delighted we were to the medical staff and the doctor on board and want to say a huge BIG thankyou Their care and attention was second to none and we cannot thank you enough, nothing was too much trouble during the day or in the middle of the night, I had not realised that Tui Marella employed a welfare worker, again many thanks to Elaine for her care and diligence escorting us on both occasions to hospital and assisting with insurance queries/taxis/medication etc. Eric our Cabin Steward was so very kind and ensured that we were given the care and attention and privacy during the week that my husband was unwell and needing to spend time in the cabin. A special thank you to the girls in Latitude they always had a smile on their faces and tried to accommodate us where ever they could. The destinations were fabulous, we were disappointed that the illness prevented us from benefitting from what I think would have been a very good cruise. Hopefully Tui Marella will sort some of these small teething problems out and Explorer will soon enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere that the other ships in the fleet offer. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Positives: We had an inside cabin (5071), which was fairly spacious and it had a really comfortable bed (equivalent to a queen size) and pillows. Thank you to Adang for keeping our room so clean. There were plenty of sunbeds ... Read More
Positives: We had an inside cabin (5071), which was fairly spacious and it had a really comfortable bed (equivalent to a queen size) and pillows. Thank you to Adang for keeping our room so clean. There were plenty of sunbeds available, although when at sea most of them were taken up. There is a good waiter service providing you with an endless supply of iced drinks and brought to your sunbed as well as a poolside bar. The poolside snack bar was fairly good, providing healthy salad take-aways as well as the usual chips, burgers, hotdogs etc. We thought that some of the all-inclusive food could be a bit hit and miss and although Latitude was good in the morning for breakfast it got really busy in the evening. We had to wait a bit too long between each course and we found the food to be quite average. Because of this we booked into the Dining Club and paid a £45 supplement each for an 8 course meal, but wow it was worth it! It was up there with being one of the best meals we have had and was accompanied by a different wine with each course as well as cognac after the cheese and biscuits. This was French cuisine at its finest. If you’re a foodie like us, it’s worth trying out to make your holiday more memorable. We were so impressed that we booked in again 3 days later. Thank-you to Ralph, Alona and Dejan for looking after us and informing us about the food and how it was prepared and the different wines that went with each course. We also booked into the Surf and Turf at an extra supplement which was very good but not as special as The Dining Room in our opinion. The entertainment was really good and every night was different including two very funny comedians. We were really looked after in the Broadway theatre by Serhii one of the wine waiters – thank-you Serhii. Negatives: The trip to Rome – although there is some fantastic things to see in Rome this trip ended up being a very long day with no free time of your own! There was too much information given via the tour guide and a lot of the guests were taking out their headphones as it was just information overload - please change this to be only as informative as necessary so we can actually retain some of the information being told! There was also a lot of walking involved - approx 7 miles which was very tiring! When we eventually stopped for a drink we were charged 7 Euros for a coke and 10 Euros for a beer at a nearby bistro! Toilets - unfortunately inconsiderate passengers will insist on dropping all sorts down the toilet other than human waste and the provided toilet paper. This caused huge problems with many public toilets on the ship getting blocked and being made out of action. I often found myself just returning to my room instead of using one on the deck where we were sat. On the day of departure we had to be out of our room at 8:00 and I found myself looking for a toilet before debarkation. Most of the public toilets, if not in use, were out of action on deck 5,6,7,8 and 11. Overall we found this cruise to be really good and the Captain and his staff to be really friendly and attentive and although we did upgrade to the finer dining experiences, we are glad that we did as it made the holiday much more memorable. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked this cruise, as, with the exception of Ajaccio, we hadn't visited any of the ports of call (more of that later). We also liked the idea of the all-inclusive drinks and tips. I think the longest queue we encountered was ... Read More
We booked this cruise, as, with the exception of Ajaccio, we hadn't visited any of the ports of call (more of that later). We also liked the idea of the all-inclusive drinks and tips. I think the longest queue we encountered was when we first arrived at the airport to check-in (couldn't do it online beforehand), which was about 15 minutes. After this everything went perfectly, and, from our flight departing at 6am from East Midlands, we were in the pool on the Explorer less than 4 hours later (we took swimming costumes in our cabin luggage). We expected to have to wait a short while for our cabin, but we were well looked after with food & drink, and the cabin was ready after just over an hour. The cabin was wonderful - clean and spacious, and the upgrade to the large balcony, with its hammock, was an indulgence that we were both delighted with. I had looked at deck plans at time of booking, and selected one mid-ships on Deck 9 (cabins above and below). Credit must go to our cabin steward, Cyrus, who looked after us all week and was so friendly, whether it was early morning, or late night. The all-inclusive drinks package didn't disappoint (I have included photos of everything that is included, as well the drinks in the premium package). Great selection of bottled beers, labelled spirits, and cocktails. Beware - the measures are much larger than standard UK!! Food - absolutely fantastic. I have nothing but praise for the kitchen and restaurant staff. I've seen some reviews where people have complained about the size of portions in the Latitude restaurant. It was really simple - if we wanted more, we asked! Nothing was too much trouble, and when we couldn't decide which starter or dessert to have, they brought both. Surely it's better this way than having loads of waste. Different story in The Marketplace, where people stacked plates sky high and then left half of it. We booked into the Italian restaurant on two nights, and had tapas on another; both had a wide range of wonderful food on offer. All these are inclusive, and you could have as much as you wanted. As with the drinks we didn't even consider booking for one of the restaurants with the the uplift. Oh, and the midnight buffet was a welcome end to the evening on more than one occasion! Entertainment - West End shows really aren't our bag, but, as we had friends onboard who liked them, we went to one. Not really sure what was going on (for reference it was the show called 'Cogs'), but very professionally done. Musicians around the ship were top quality, as would be expected, and the silent disco was hilarious (even better after a couple of strawberry & black pepper infused vodkas). We thought that the ship looked really fresh throughout - the refit has been done really well. We didn't use the Spa, so can't comment on that. There was some difficulty in obtaining sunbeds on the day at sea, but we were expecting that. We managed to find space around to pool on all the other days, after returning from shore. So far, so good. Now on to our gripe. It appears that Tui are selecting ports that are perhaps cheaper to dock at, encouraging people to book on their extremely expensive shore excursions. In the past we have been used to ports like Monaco, Kotor, Barcelona, Naples, etc, where you can just walk off the ship and be straight in the town, or within easy reach of the train station - even Dubrovnik port, where we have visited previously, had a dock with a nice view, even though it was a bus transfer away. Anyway, I digress. In the ports where passengers aren't allowed to walk (Porto Torres, La Spezia and Sete), Tui provided complimentary shuttle services to the entrance of the port. Fair enough - Sete was actually a lovely town, and we took a boat trip onto the lagoon, and we had a good walk around La Spezia, including St George's Castle, which had great views across the town and harbour. However, the town of Porto Torres was not pleasant. For the first time ever in our cruising history, we booked a shore excursion (we always use local transport). For £22 each we had a half hour coach ride to the beach at La Pelosa (stunning, although very busy). However, on arrival we found that we needed to hire a pair of sunbeds at €30, and we were only there for 3 hours!!! We did venture into the town on our return to Porto Torres, but were back on the ship within half an hour. We were somewhat disappointed at having to pay £7 each for the shuttle bus into Tarragona; whilst, technically, we were allowed to walk to the town from the dock, it took the coach more than 20 minutes to cover the journey, so that will give an idea of the distance. Apart from a case going missing for a few minutes as we left the ship, the return journey for us was as smooth as the outward. Overall, we wouldn't hesitate in sailing on this ship again, and Tui's all-inclusive pricing seems to be the way forward. However, we will look very carefully at the ports in future; just because we haven't been somewhere before doesn't mean we should! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs ... Read More
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs of the recent refurbishment. The Latitude 53 restaurant was very good and had enough of a menu choice to keep us occupied over a two week cruise, we dined in the speciality restaurant Kora La and Surf and Turf paying a supplement and both were well worth it. The Balcony cabin was ok, maintained very well by Andrew our steward who was perfectly discreet but kept an untidy bunch from making too much of a mess in our cabin. The kettle and fridge were a useful addition and despite the cabins being 16m sq it was just big enough for us to not be on top of one another. The service delivery throughout the ship was magnificent as always, every member of staff was polite, courteous and couldn't do enough for us wherever we went or whatever we did. Definitely the company's best asset. A special mention for the show cast who were Broadway standard every night and even the guest entertainment was very good. There is not much I could criticise but if pushed Marella should look to improve their ports of call, or indeed stop mooring in commercial locations. We didn't mind this too much initially but on two occasions there was a charge for the shuttle bus which we thought was taking liberties given the cost of the cruise. Propriano in Corsica was a very nice exception to this to be fair however. Our final comments have to go to the bike excursion team, in particular Nico and Ahsleigh for looking after us on our Rome trip - different class!. In addition head waiter Carlos and his team of Chris, Mark, Frank etc etc were amazing. A nice ship with great staff and magnificent entertainment - shame about Marellas first pub the Squid & Anchor which brought an all inclusive hotel clientelle to an otherwise perfect two weeks cruising, if you just don't go there then it doesn't impact on you too much. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as we had done three other cruises with Thomsons and thought the new ships would be an improvement. I have to say we were a little disappointed. Good points were that staff were excellent and the cabin facilities ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had done three other cruises with Thomsons and thought the new ships would be an improvement. I have to say we were a little disappointed. Good points were that staff were excellent and the cabin facilities were good and very clean. Service was good. Bad points were the food in the inclusive restaurants was very poor we felt but the service was good. We didn't go in the other restaurants as felt we had paid enough for the holiday without paying more. As another review said we didn't like the fact that customers didn't follow the dress code and were too casual in the main dining room, I.e shorts in the evening. They should have been turned away. If they wanted to be that casual should have eaten in the self service. The shows were boring same old singing and dancing which we get fed up with. The swimming pool area was very noisy during the day and we did not even entertain the idea of sitting there. (There is only one pool). The cabin walls are thin and we could here almost every word from the family from hell next door with their screaming kids who banged and screamed with their mother shouting back. (I do have teenagers and would never have let them have such disrespect of others around them). My daughters bunk bed moved as a result of next doors kids jumping on their beds. Overall we had a good holiday but we thought that the food quality had suffered as a result of All Inclusive and maybe next time will pick an Adults only cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a ... Read More
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a supplement for food and it does not come cheap up to £49 per person.and it is no better than the food supplied indeed we had to walk out of the Asian restaurant as it was grossly overcooked.whoever designed the pub the squid and anchor should be told are you having a laugh hardly any seats and half of them face the bar away from the stage.i spoke to the manager and the cruise director about this and they totally agreed and said it would be changed in January I hope so as we like a game show but if you go to the second show in the broadway forget about a seat and getting a drink to busy and not enough staff on.overall we loved the cruise but some of the ports are industrial and you can only look at so many cranes and containers and at a couple of ports tui have a cheek to charge you £7 return on there shuttle bus get a grip tui and take us to some nice ports Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was ... Read More
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was not quite as good as these previous ones, but was still enjoyable. Firstly the positives: Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and quick Ship well laid-out and easy to navigate Cleanliness of cabin and general areas very good and housekeeping attentive All staff friendly, polite and helpful Kid’s club very good All the shows in the theatre (bar one that did not work well at all) were very good Bands/musicians excellent Bar drinks/service excellent and inclusive drinks more than plentiful in choice Availability of sun loungers/hammocks good (especially on upper decks above pool) apart from sea day when it did take some time to find somewhere. Plentiful supply of water dispensers around ship very useful Proper shower screen instead of curtain Loved the cream teas! Now for the negatives: FOOD: – In general the food was not as good as we have had on previous cruises (included Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2). It was acceptable, but nothing particularly special and seemed to have been tailored for a bland, “safe” palate (on one occasion we ordered the “vindaloo” which was nothing more than a risotto with no spice or any heat at all – it would not even have passed as a biriyani!). The buffet had a good selection (but not as varied or extensive as previous cruises and again, fairly bland) and the ice-cream machine rarely worked properly as it was not freezing correctly. In addition on days when we returned from trips sometimes they were in the middle of changing from one meal to another so vast areas were shut with little choice of anything to eat. The pasta/pizza/tapas restaurant was mediocre and limited (although the idea of selecting ingredients for your pasta/pizza was an interesting concept). The snack shack sandwiches were OK but the salads were mainly lettuce and the burgers and hotdogs of very cheap quality. The menu selection in Latitude 53 was pretty limited (and two of the items were exactly the same every night) and most of the starters were very small portions, more like an “amuse bouche”. At Vista (the Italian) they offered the same, fairly uninspired, menu for 3 nights then changed it for the last 4 – the Italian on both Discovery ships is much better, with more selection, more courses and more changes) so we did not even bother eating here. I got the impression that they were pushing people to pay extra to eat in their speciality restaurants (as they were constantly plugging this over the tannoy system and in the Cruise News) and I believe that is why less effort was given to the inclusive restaurants. In addition the inter-active screens did not display the correct menus for the 2 waiter restaurants – it always showed the menu from the day before, which was of little use (I used to use this a lot on previous cruises to decide where to eat) They did not even display the menus outside the restaurants (again on previous cruises they were outside) so every night I had to go to the restaurants as they was opening to ask to see the menus (by the end of the cruise Latitude 53 was putting some menus out on a table in front of the restaurant about 15 minutes before it opened so people could have a look). The service in the main restaurant on our first two nights was ridiculously slow – on the first night it took over 2 hours to be served 3 courses (we missed nearly all of the show due to this), in addition to which our deserts (which should have been hot) arrived virtually stone cold – on the second night it took almost 2 hours to be served 2 courses so we decided to skip the 3rd course so that we could dash to the theatre just as the show was starting. Both these nights we were at the restaurant at 6.45pm (we did not really want to go any earlier as it would be too early to eat and by the time our son came back from kid’s club at 6.30pm, showered and got changed this was the time we could go). Another annoyance was that my partner asked for Peronni on the first night (which was freely available at all bars and was also brought round during the day on trolleys and is included as part of the all-inclusive) but was told they did not have any in the restaurant. He told them that the bar (literally opposite the restaurant) served it so could they not get one from there – they said they would check and after about 20 minutes my partner asked again and finally a further 15 minutes later they brought him a bottle. On the second night the same thing happened and my partner said it would be quicker for him to have just got up from the table and walked to the bar himself. By the third night, as there was a Barbecue on the pool deck, we decided we would try that as it might be quicker. Yes, it was quick, but all the food was stone cold (I mean everything – totally cold) even when new items were being put out they were already cold by the time we put them on our plate and sat down!! (I did complain about the service and cold food – see further down review for the ship's reaction). SOCKETS IN CABIN– there was only one socket (two if you unplugged the kettle and balanced your item on the tea/coffee making items) which, for a cabin for 3 of us, was really not enough when trying to charge phones, i-pads, kindles, cameras etc. DRESS TO IMPRESS – so few people bothered which made it a real shame as we really enjoy this night. The main restaurant had some people in ball gowns, cocktail dresses, three piece suits, tuxedos and even dress kilts, whilst others were just turning up in casual shorts and t-shirts! Firstly Marella/Tui should maybe make people aware of this night prior to their holiday by including a note about this before people leave the UK or add it to the information they provide or even send an email (I spoke to two families who had never been on a cruise before and they had no idea that there was a formal night and had not brought anything with them. They both said that, had they known, they would have loved to have packed something special to wear). Secondly, seeing as the main restaurant is on two floors, why can’t the staff direct those in formal attire to one floor and those in casual dress to another? My partner was in tuxedo and bow tie, my son in three piece suit and bow tie and I was in cocktail dress, so we felt a little uncomfortable as several of the tables seated around us were in t-shirts or casual polo tops! (I would suspect that, likewise, people turning up in casual day wear might feel awkward seated amongst people in full Black tie attire!) KID’S CLUB DRESSING UP PARTIES: This also applies to the kid’s club as there was a fancy dress night and also a super heroes night (had we known in advance we would have packed something for him to wear – as it was I did not bring him any fancy dress outfits!!). BRIDGE TOUR KIDS CLUB; this was my son’s 3rd cruise and both times before he has not made the bridge tour, as we had been off the ship on booked excursions, so he was very keen to do it this time. Therefore, on the first day when I registered him I asked about the tour and was told that a note would be put on the door to inform us of when it would take place. We checked every day, but saw no note so no idea if this ever took place – he was a little disappointed. REPEAT CRUISER'S DRINKS NIGHT: the cruise news asked for anybody who had sailed before with Tui to contact the reception. I did this and my name and cabin number were taken and I was told we would be invited to a drinks party with the Captain near the end of the week. I asked if they knew which night but was told I would be informed by way of an invite. We waited for an invite and by the last night had not received anything. When I went to investigate I was told that they did have our name but that we had missed the party as it was the night before and that the invites were given to housekeeping to hand out so there was nothing they could do but they would send us “pins” to our room (which we received in an envelope on the last day with a letter apologising) – strangely exactly the same thing happened when I sailed with them last time, when they again forgot our invite!! BILLS: I was charged for a drink that I did not have and had to go to reception to have this removed from my bill - again the same thing happened on my last cruise (so I would advise people to check their statements daily!). As mentioned above, re my complaints, a comments card had been placed in our room so I did fill it in with some positive comments but also mentioned that service in restaurants was too slow, food (in particular at barbecue) was cold and menus on interactive screens were out of date. And, to their credit, the next day I was approached during lunch by a member of staff who thanked me for bringing this to their attention, apologised profusely and said that they were looking into the slowness and that they were trying to work out a way of keeping the barbecue food hot (although I’ve had barbecues on cruises before and they have managed to serve hot food, so they must have experience of how to do this). In addition the following day a note was put in my room to say the head waiter would speak to me regarding my comments (but as I had already had the discussion with another member of staff I did not feel a further discussion was necessary). On the fourth night we finally received excellent service – and I must mention and thank Rajesh, who provided a most attentive, friendly and professional approach – the food came swiftly, the bottles of Perroni were flowing and he constantly checked on us. Likewise, Dimitri, who also served us, was most attentive and efficient. From then on we always asked to be seated in the area staffed by Rajesh and Dimitri and have to say the service for these meals could not be faulted. Also, on the morning before last, as we were in no rush to get off the ship, we ate breakfast in Latitude 53 and the service was swift and attentive and the food hot. We took three organised tours through Marella (which I had booked in advance) which were well arranged and enjoyable. Half-day tour of Pompeii; Inside the Tower of Pisa; Nice tour and little train. The other three days we explored shore on our own. Palma was a bit awkward as there was a taxi strike (although Marella staff did not seem aware and were not that helpful in suggesting other routes into town, they just kept telling us where to get taxis – even though we kept going back to tell them that there weren’t any – we eventually found a public bus). at Palermo we just walked into town and got a taxi back. At Palamos we used the shuttle bus. In summary this was a decent and enjoyable cruise for the money. If they can sort out the temperature of the food, provide a slightly better menu and improve the speed of service provided by all staff in the main restaurants then this would help immensely. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Able to fly from local airport i.e Cardiff was the main reason for booking this last minute cruise.... not been with Tui or Marella as it is now called before and was pleasantly surprised. Cabin on deck 9 was spacious and very clean, Jamie ... Read More
Able to fly from local airport i.e Cardiff was the main reason for booking this last minute cruise.... not been with Tui or Marella as it is now called before and was pleasantly surprised. Cabin on deck 9 was spacious and very clean, Jamie our cabin steward was amazing - great towel decorations too... Embarkation was simple & ship layout was similar to previous cruise we had been on (celebrity) so was easy to get around. Food was great, waiter staff particularly Jessica in Vista were amazing ... nothing was too much trouble and drinks were topped up regularly (Jessica again..) Couple of nights it got a bit hectic and we left early due to long wait for dessert but other than that couldn’t fault it. Entertainment was superb. We heard a couple of rumblings from other cruise passengers that it wasn’t up to much but we thought it was excellent and unlike on previous cruises went to the show every night ... only disappointment was the comedian shipped over from Britain, we left early that night. Only other criticisms we had were that there were too many additional fee paying restaurants, would have preferred to pay more up front and been able to attend each one even for one night & the other are the designated smoking areas in prime spots on the ship... Will probably go with Marella again but only if balcony rooms are available and probably not for a while but all in all a lovely experience Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Marella Explorer and the crew were absolutely first class. Waiters in the eateries were all very polite, and Geronimo and his merry band were very entertaining. All of the staff were very attentive, always smiling giving a happy relaxed, ... Read More
Marella Explorer and the crew were absolutely first class. Waiters in the eateries were all very polite, and Geronimo and his merry band were very entertaining. All of the staff were very attentive, always smiling giving a happy relaxed, laid back atmosphere throughout, not stuffy at all. Food was brilliant, everything was immaculately clean in all public areas. Cabin was spacious, balcony was a bonus. Make use of the safe ! Everyone was so friendly, and chatted and passed on advice to each other. My advice would be to research and plan excursions before you go, coaches don't have a toilet and can spend a lot of time in traffic queues, restricting sight seeing time. A rickshaw in Barcelona was recommended, instead of bus. Elaine the welfare officer was very helpful, lovely person!! Receptionists weren't always helpful, a little standoffish at times. Latitude and the Market Place were my favourite places to eat. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. ... Read More
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. We had a great cabin on deck 10, it had a large balcony with a hammock, sun lounger and table and chairs, the shower room was lovely, and on the whole it was kept very clean. Plenty of hanging space and drawers for our clothes. 2. The restaurants were clean, tidy and plenty of choice. The dress to impress evening was lovely and we met some really nice people that shared our table. 3. The front of the ship had an adults only area, it was quiet with waiter service, we always managed to get sun loungers, what a bonus. 4. There was a huge screen on the pool deck. Lots of guests watched the football. 5. The excursions were definitely worth the money. We can’t comment on the excursion for Rome as we cancelled it. 6. There was always seats in the theatre, and we attended a few of the shows, they were quite good, 45 minutes was long enough. 7. The food was very good, even fussy eaters would have found something, there was plenty of choice. The negatives: 1. We feel the ship is understaffed, on our first evening we waited 30 minutes for a starter, we were brought the wrong drinks 4 times, we actually felt sorry for the waiters, who were almost running between tables, one of them informed us that he on previous cruises looked after 5 tables, on this cruise he was looking after 13. Often there were only 2 bar staff, with up to 20 to 30 people waiting to be served, it was actually quicker to go into the buffet restaurant and pour yourself a drink. On the subject of drinks, bizarrely all wines, larger and soft drinks were freely available in the a la carte resteraunts, but in the buffet restaurant you couldn’t get a soft drinks, and at the bars you had to pay for water! 2. BEWARE this is not an all inclusive cruise, you have to pay in most of the restaurants , a steak meal on dress to impress evening incurred an additional £100 approx. 3. You had to pay for ice-cream, and coffee in the coffee lounge. 4. To exchange beach towels you had to leave them in your room in the evening when the cabin boys came into check the cabins, usually this was around 6ish when we were trying to get ready for dinner. 5. Items from the mini bar had to be paid for, NOT all inclusive. 6. Children were allowed to jump in and out of the jacuzzis completely unchecked by staff and parents, it stated clearly next to the jacuzzi children under 13 were not allowed in it, children under 16 needed to be supervised by an adult. On one of these occasions one young girl around 4 years old urinated in the jacuzzi, we found this completely unacceptable also their parents whilst sat in the smoking area were passing food to the children. This seriously needs addressing. We did actually complain to reception, they said to call security if it happened again. 7. Our holiday was cruise and stay, our disembarkation was an absolute shambles, as the TUI staff didn’t seem to have any idea, where people should queue for their specific coach. 8. WiFi is very expensive, and you can’t use 3G or 4G on board. On the whole we had a lovely time and have booked another cruise next year. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
After a great cruise on Tui Discovery, decided to try Explorer. With it being refitted and rebranded, plus we also were thinking of a Caribbean cruise for early next year. We have cruised with many different cruise lines, including ... Read More
After a great cruise on Tui Discovery, decided to try Explorer. With it being refitted and rebranded, plus we also were thinking of a Caribbean cruise for early next year. We have cruised with many different cruise lines, including Thomsons early vessels, all round the world. Embarkation was smooth and quickly done. The staff were very helpful and we were soon in our cabin, with cabin stewards greeting us. Our luggage was delivered within 30mins. The cabin( 8103) was well outfitted and clean, the shower area was disappointing with a stained sink, corroding mirror plus an unpleasant smell, which we reported, it faded gradually and did not affect the cabin Spent millions upgrading the ship, needed another few pounds spending on the shower area to get it to the same standard as the rest of the ship. The Market Place food was good quality as was the food in Latitude 53. Apart from the second night when the serving and kitchen staff seemed overwhelmed with an influx of a party of 250 people, the service improved tremendously. The Vista restaurant was very busy and it took 3 attempts to eat there. ( It needs to be larger) The entertainment we saw good and professionally done. The excursion to Carcassonne was disappointing, as we did not have enough free time to explore and it was not a cheap trip. The ports of call were interesting, with the exception of Porto Torres, which was a waste of time, best bet is to go on an organised trip to see the surrounding areas. The bar service and choice of drinks was excellent as was the cabin stewards work. Overall we and our friends enjoyed the experience and expect that the odd problems will be ironed out. My wife considered £39 for a wash and blow at the hairdresser to be very expensive. Disembarkation was problem free. We have in fact booked a Caribbean cruise on Explorer for late January next year, so this cruise didn't put us off. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for a short break to the Mediterranean. Good flight to Palma as part of the deal, easy transfer to the ship and fast processing to get us on board. Our room was ready when we arrived at mid-day, clean but lacking any ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a short break to the Mediterranean. Good flight to Palma as part of the deal, easy transfer to the ship and fast processing to get us on board. Our room was ready when we arrived at mid-day, clean but lacking any character, no pictures, flowers etc. Great cabin service, very friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. The ship is advertised as “new” but when you read the paperwork in detail you soon find it has been in service since 1996 and has had various names. As seems to be normal now on cruise ships, doggy toilets often blocking but a first for us was the Captain putting out a message to stop putting foreign objects down the loo ....... Plenty of places to eat, all clean and well presented. We chose the formal dining but were disappointed with the lack of variety as only one or two items changed each day. Portion size was small but in fairness when we asked for more we got it, unfortunately that was usually after we had finished the meal. Waiters were friendly but service was slow and they were clearly over worked as many mistakes were made with the orders which was quite frustrating. Entertainment was very good and a pleasure to watch. The entertainment team worked incredibly had and put on a number of great shows. The visiting Comedian was great and very funny, his show also very entertaining. One grizzle, the age old sun lounger problem. So many loungers with towels left all day while genuine sun worshipers were left to hunt for a bed. There was a 45 minute rule for unattended beds but it was never used. All in all, good cruise,friendly staff but room for improvement. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose this cruise as it coincided with a special anniversary. It also visited ports that we were interested in. Plenty of restaurants and activities day and night if you chose to do that. We were only at sea for one day so every other day ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it coincided with a special anniversary. It also visited ports that we were interested in. Plenty of restaurants and activities day and night if you chose to do that. We were only at sea for one day so every other day was taken up with shore excursions. Although TUI reps were very informative on these excursions we found that they were very over priced. Friends went off on their own and paid a fraction of the price we did by using taxi or bus. We also found the speciality restaurants quite expensive considering we were only paying a supplement of an all inclusive cruise. However the dining club experience was to die for. One of the best meal experiences we have ever had. About six small courses with wine to compliment each course. Finishing with a brandy and port costing over £90.00. Surf and Turf restaurant was excellent too with a charge of £47.00 including a glass of wine each. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected this cruise as it was our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We always fancied trying a cruise but were apprehensive about it being a bad experience. Since we normally holiday with Thomsons (Tui) ... Read More
We selected this cruise as it was our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We always fancied trying a cruise but were apprehensive about it being a bad experience. Since we normally holiday with Thomsons (Tui) we felt we would be in good hands and this was a good decision. Overall I can understand how people choose to go on cruise holidays as the overall experience was fantastic. We stayed on in Mallorca for another 3 nights which was a lovely end to our holiday. I could nit-pick like the next one, but nothing is ever perfect and you adapt. Flew out to Mallorca, travelled by coach to the ship and the embarkation process was so well organised it was over in a couple a minutes. Went onboard and headed for our cabin. Within 15 minutes we had our luggage delivered to our cabin. The accommodation was spacious and as I said previously we had a balcony. The bathroom/shower was a little bit underwhelming. The shower looked a bit grubby and small. However the facilities are done to maximise the living space in the cabin and the shower was powerful and always gave me hot water. We slept well in our bed as the mattress was soft and very comfortable. With the gentle rocking movement of the ship as she sailed through the night gave us an excellent sleep. The bars were excellent, with the exception of the Indigo Lounge, which would be better named the Moon Bar as it lacked any atmosphere. The entertainment was very good. Some entertainers was better than others, but on the hole it was a very good standard. The staff were exceptional. They were so friendly and tried to enhance our holiday experience and nothing was a problem to them. The staff were a credit to the ships company and the greatest asset of the ship. As always there is an exception to this and we managed to find one bar waitress called Mansot who needs to go back to finishing school as she was aggressive and abrupt when we dealt with her. But that was easily sorted as there were plenty of staff to attend to us. Our first port was Palermo in Sicily. When we disembarked it was like running the gauntlet with the locals trying to sell their trips. A simple thing like get a taxi into the centre turned into a pressure sale to take a full tour for exuberant prices. We ended up walking into the centre, a walk of about 15 minutes. This set us up for what to expect at the remaining ports, but none were as bad as Palermo. We booked an excursion which was described as Discover the Canals of Livorno. It cost 76 pounds for two and was sold by the ship. It was very disappointing. We were never more than 10 minute drive away from the ship. We were dropped of at a smelly fish market and told we had an hour to explore, but warned that pick pockets operate in this area. My head was on a swivel the whole time When we returned to the ship I was annoyed to learn that passengers had walked off the ship and bought the same excursion for 12 Euros. The excursions I felt were expensive and were all much of a likeness. There was nothing that was exciting like snorkeling, scuba diving or zip wire adventures. The port of Villefranche was beautiful. We wanted to get the train into Monaco, but it was Bastille day which meant the trains were running on a limited service. However we decided to stay in Villefranche and it was an excellent day. So pretty and the quaint cobbled back streets were lovely. The ship was not alongside and we were taken ashore on the tenders. That was an experience. The food onboard was as I would have expected. A very high standard and even the market place which is the buffet style restaurant was very good. I certainly always found that there was plenty to choose from and I was never hungry. And I never had a dicky stomach either. The All Inclusive drinks package was very good and it was unlimited quantities of named branded spirits and beers. I was very happy with my lot. On the first night we went to the live show which was called Rockology. The singers and dancers were very talented and sang well. However I never got the theme of the the show. It was random songs being sung. Good show but lacked production to give it some meaning. We never went back but there was entertainment in every bar and lounge which suited our needs. Our last day was in Barcelona. We had a great day around the pool and the entertainment team provided a great pool party atmosphere. Overall it was a great holiday and experience which we will do again, without a doubt. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We decided to go on the Explorer's first voyage under the TUI flag. It was my 50th birthday, so my husband and grandchild came along with me. Embarking, we had no issues and since we had a "premier" suite we were allowed ... Read More
We decided to go on the Explorer's first voyage under the TUI flag. It was my 50th birthday, so my husband and grandchild came along with me. Embarking, we had no issues and since we had a "premier" suite we were allowed to skip waiting to board. Have to say there wasn't any queue anyway. We received a very warm welcome from the staff and crew and we were happy with our large balcony, complete with hammock, 2 chairs, table and 2 sunloungers. Our room was what we expected. Plenty of closet space, TV, tea/coffee facilities, safe, useless hairdryer (always, no matter what cruise line you use!) mini bar etc. We were perplexed about where to store our empty cases, so we stuck them out on the balcony. The socket for the kettle kept blowing. It worked once and then would blow again. Similarly, the loo kept breaking. There were problems the first day: 2 of our cards refused to go on the system, charged 3 times (refunded) for 1 ice cream, but again, we were expecting a few teething troubles. We were at sea the second day and the queues were unreal. Took over an hour to order a coffee in the nook, we left only to wait for 20 mins in a further queue for 2 cokes. Only one poor struggling barman with about 100 thirsty customers! This was soon resolved by the evening time. The food wasn't great. Basic "school dinners" in the market place. You had to bring your drinks in with you. Only beer, wine, water or milk available and no waiters. Quite a long wait for dinner in latitude 53. Also, I asked if I could do without the sauce on the steak and was told no. Only one potato at dinner and a small spoonful of veg. I had 3 green beans... We dined there 3 times, same every time. Again drinks are an issue if you don't drink wine. Kid's club was fantastic to the extent that my grandson huffed if it wasn't open. The staff are amazing, and my husband and I enjoyed the peace very much! Champneys spa and gym were fabulous. Cost the same for make-up as a blow dry. Thought £50 was a little steep for a blow dry but my hair looked great as did my make-up. The photographers were brilliant and we came home with some very nice shots. Entertainment was good. There was a celebrity on board. Unfortunately I didn't know who they were, but I rarely watch television. Says more about me than TUI! The excursions seemed to be well planned. We really enjoyed ours. Our guides were good and enthusiastic. Going home we were told in advance about departure times, where to disembark and get our cases/transfers. It went very smoothly for us. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves and have great faith the hiccups will be addressed with time and experience. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting ... Read More
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting for us in our cabin. Embarkation was easy and the systems employed throughout the cruise proved efficient. We had mixed feeling about the increased balcony space at the expense of stateroom floor-space. The hammock and lounger were useful.... but so would have been the space in the room: you can't have everything so it was what it was. Our room attendants were superb - always friendly and helpful and a credit to the ship. It would be remiss not to mention the first morning's confusion, but suffice to say, from then on, everything on the ship appeared to run smoothly. We chose to eat in the dining room and one has to say the food was superb. My only criticism was that although wine and beer were available with the meal, spirts were not. On the subject of wine, the quality of the wine on tap in the Market Place was awful. Not only could I not drink either red or white, I saw countless glasses of unfinished wine on tables left by others doubtless of the same opinion. The theatre and entertainment by contrast, were fabulous (no other word for it). The dancers were so professional and "together", they could have been on the West End stage. The musicians were equally as good (as well as those throughout the ship). The theatre was as good as I have ever been in: the seats were well placed. with lit-up tables and efficient waiter service. The captain was ever present and approachable: we managed a bridge tour where we enjoyed his hospitality and shared some of his experiences. A big thank you the crew who made or cruise as enjoyable as it was Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship because it was being re-launched with a new look. In hindsight we should not have gone on the 1st week as there were teething problems, but nothing worth writing home about. First reviewer has pretty much covered ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was being re-launched with a new look. In hindsight we should not have gone on the 1st week as there were teething problems, but nothing worth writing home about. First reviewer has pretty much covered everything although I would disagree with the standard of food in the all-inclusive restaurants. We had a bad experience in the Vista (Italian) which we obviously spoke to the waitress about at the time. Wrong order arriving, poor lasagna which resembled something out of frozen microwave box and came in the same looking container dish ...... not good. Diners to my right refused to eat the carbonara, TWICE. I really REALLY got the impression they were trying to steer diners towards the restaurants with cover charge. We encountered this on the Marella Dream but maximum cost was £20 per head. I think having 5 out of 10 eateries with additional cover charge is too much. Especially as the remaining all-inclusive 5 are really only 3, as 2 are combined within other areas. Vista being part of Latitude and the Tapas and Pizza places both being in the Mediterranean area. Don't get me wrong, everyone was trying really hard to make sure guests had a great time, especially Captain Peter and we did have a lovely cruise! PS - I wish I'd known in advance about the free fitness classes at Champneys, I'd have taken my gym gear. Although I did book a lovely treatment. 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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