169 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date February 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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date January 2019
it was our first time on Marella and we enjoyed it. We usually cruise with P & O and we found them fairly similar. There were pros and cons. The dining room was superb as were all the waiting staff, so friendly. probably more menu ... Read More
it was our first time on Marella and we enjoyed it. We usually cruise with P & O and we found them fairly similar. There were pros and cons. The dining room was superb as were all the waiting staff, so friendly. probably more menu choice on P &O. The theatre group were brilliant with both singing and acting better than p& O but the actual performances were more quirky. the final show of Movies was brilliant. I felt they were sadly lacking with other entertainment on board. There were 4 grand pianos that were rarely used and when they were for the odd half an hour the singing wasn't that good. We have been used to better. There were no onboard talks or special guests and no choir which we like on P & o. The cabins were great, large shower with a glass door with just shower gel on the wall, no separate shampoo, lotion etc.The cabin steward was lovely and good at his job. we had a large balcony cabin and that was worth it because no chance of getting a sun lounger after about 7.30! One thing I did miss was the adults only pool. Although this pool only ever had about 8 people in at one time the decks were full. ( Why don't people swim?) so very noisy. There was an adults only part of deck but small and not near the pool. We chose this ship because of the itinerary and we weren't disappointed. Would however have liked the choice to do an afternoon one but they seemed to be all mornings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Explorer having recently come into service with TUI is a larger ship than the Discovery. We paid extra for a Junior Suite which was worth every penny due to the size of the balcony which included 2 sun beds (this was great on sea days ... Read More
The Explorer having recently come into service with TUI is a larger ship than the Discovery. We paid extra for a Junior Suite which was worth every penny due to the size of the balcony which included 2 sun beds (this was great on sea days due the lack of availability on all decks of beds and the usual reserving) a full size table, 2 chairs and an hammock where included. The premier service included fast track check in which was very efficient, fast delivery of luggage (this was very poor with cases being delivered 2 hours later) 3 items of clothing pressed and breakfast in the cabin twice. The cabin has the most storage I have encountered on any ship with a vast amount of drawers and hanging space. The other facilities were a kettle, coffee machine and makings that were replenished daily. A flat screen TV, hairdryer and a double settee in addition to a good sized dressing table and chair and a safe was provided. The bathroom had a full size double shower with a glass door and bathroom liquids were replenished daily, the towels were changed regularly and were of good quality, in addition to 2 beach towels. The ship has a multitude of bars which are all tastefully decorated, the main restaurant is on a split level with an Italian menu downstairs and the food choice excellent. Other specialist restaurants were available as was a self service facility providing food most of the day. The All Inclusive drinks worked well with a good range of beer, wine, spirits and cocktails although coffee was not included and had to be paid for. The bar service was excellent, however, the service in the main restaurant was sporadic, the staff worked very hard but a lack of staff meant unacceptable delays and wrong food orders being delivered. Having been reminded of the need to fill in the post cruise email by the Captain we have never received any post cruise communication from TUI, we have contacted TUI previously on this subject and also brought it to the attention of the staff whilst on board, once again no opportunity to give feedback after this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group). Age range 50 to 60 This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand. Started back in June 1999 on the good old ... Read More
Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group). Age range 50 to 60 This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand. Started back in June 1999 on the good old Topaz and last sailing previous to this latest one, was on the Discovery (September 2017) The Journey... Upgraded to Premium seats for the first time on the flights, and well worth the extra we paid, service superb. Included lounge at Gatwick, niggle... was expecting the same on the return from Barbados, which didn't happen, we feel this should have been included, but apparently it is only BA passengers that are offered this facility. Must have been a mistake, but we had exactly the same films on the outbound and inbound journey. Extremely disappointed with the transport Marella laid on to get you to and from the ship, rust bucket of local buses, nowhere to put your hand luggage, very cramped, and somewaht dangerous...this is POOR Marella and not a great first impression and needs to be improved quickly. Embarkation at Barbados port was ok, although could have been more welcoming, (music etc) as per previous cruises. Accommodation.... Cabins on this ship are not the most exciting, we were on deck 10, extended balcony cabin. Very dull colour scheme and dated, Balcony was great very large. Our cabin stewards Cyrus and Patrick were FANTASTIC It is apparent that the big spend has been allocated to the public areas, which are really nice, the ship is absoutlely spotlessly clean. Entertainment.. The Broadway showroom is very impressive and the entertainment team are extremely talented, although I believe this was their last week on the explorer before moving on to explorer 2. Dining... The 1st week we dined in Latitude 53 3 times, food was fine but we felt the restaurant lacked atmosphere, Vista x 1, not a good experience, food cold, erratic service. Med Tapas x 3, which was our favourite dining area out of all of the all inclusive restaurants. Consistenly great food and service Market place very good for breakfast and lunch (if you were on board), but evening selection was quite poor, this didnt bother us very much as we prefer to be served, at dinner, rather than self service. The 2nd week, we took up 3 of the speciality restaurants, 1.The Dining Club, 2.Surf and Turf 3. Kora La WELL WORTH the £75 extra. The service and food, were absoulutely superb in all restaurants. The decor in the dining club was very special, hard to pick a favourite though, as all were so good. INSIDE BARS... Favourite bar was the Med/Tapas area inside and out on deck, the lovely young Darren was an absolute professional in taking and servicing our large order., he is a real credit to the team. We also used the Lounge bar quite a lot, very pleasant, great service and staff. Personally, not so keen on the squid and anchor, although this seemed very popular with many guests, too dark and karaoke etc not really our thing. NEGATIVES... 1. Booked the speciality restaurants at Guest relations area and the member of staff who carried out our bookings, was extremely sullen and certainly did not have the personality for this front facing role. 2. Day time snack shack and bar above, staff not so friendly and smiley and the ready mixed cocktails at this bar, were absolutley disgusting. 3. Champneys - beautiful, but why oh why so expensive, false economy, make the prices more attractive and perhaps your average cruiser may be more inclined to take up some of the treatments. IN CLOSING... Cannot praise the Staff enough, they are all so friendly and work so hard (apart from the odd 1 or 2) Captain John has a great sense of humour and mixes well with the passengers, often found myself laughing aloud at his amusing announcements and wit. Other officers, also extremely professional, yet maintaining a really friendly vibe. All round...It certainly came across that this is a very friendly, happy ship and a lovely team of people, who really do want you to have the best holiday. Ports of call on this Caribbean Cruise were absolutley fantastic and the weather and calm seas, were perfect. Still a fan of Marella and will definitely cruise again with them. May try Explorer 2 next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Just returned today from a 2 week cruise with marella explorer in the Caribbean, a party of 6 adults.. We have been on about 12 Tui cruises and this one was very disappointing the food in the main restaurant in an evening was not as good ... Read More
Just returned today from a 2 week cruise with marella explorer in the Caribbean, a party of 6 adults.. We have been on about 12 Tui cruises and this one was very disappointing the food in the main restaurant in an evening was not as good as on previous ships in fact we left our food on a few occasions because of the poor quality. Market street restaurant was ok but almost the same thing everyday. We did not go to the entertainment in the broadway show lounge every night but the shows we did go to were very good. Our cabin was a bit dated as all Tui ships are but big enough and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space and kept clean by housekeeping staff. The music and entertainment round the pool area was very very loud as was anything that was going on in the said and anchor pub but plenty of quiet areas if you wanted quiet. The itinerary was good and captain John and the crew were great as were most (not all) the staff Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & ... Read More
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & a half hours of landing. We booked an inside cabin on deck 8 which was fine if a little on the small side, even though we had booked a larger 4 berth cabin, there is no way 4 people would manage. Plenty of wardrobe space, usual shower room my only complaint would be no iron in cabin. I spoke to head of housekeeping regarding this and was informed an iron is a fire hazard and any clothing requiring ironing would be sent to the laundry.... For a charge of course!! Dining ... We ate breakfast in the marketplace, perfectly adequate with an omelette station & poached eggs on request, along with all the usual buffet. Latitude was disappointing, tasteless food , the vista was far better quality so we ate here mostly. We didn't pay for any extra dining but did try the tapas which was nice but the portions for 2 were very very small & we felt rushed. The squid & anchor was like butlins, listening to Lisa from entertainment do a quiz with 2 other members running round cruisers for answers is not what you expect on a cruise. Nor karaoke!! Avoid at all costs.we liked the lounge for drinks with the piano and lovely singers, the beats, resident band were also very good. Broadway entertainment was mediocre, saw better on the dream. The first night was soul & Motown which was excellent but it went downhill from there, the entertainment team were doing a changeover & I must stress those that left were far better then the new members, a special mention to Tobias who was a fantastic singer, far better then the girls who sounded like they were in competition every night. The poolside quiz was fine but again mid afternoon was spoiled by Lisa who played music far too loud & liked the sound of her own voice. You can't fault the cabin staff or any of the bar staff or waiters they were all excellent. A special mention to Vanessa & Suzie who worked the bars & Joseph on the pool deck. We didn't book any trips & just did our own thing but couldn't fault any destination. Captain John was great & very informative with a great sense of humour. I'm no snob but some of the dress code should of been addressed, tracksuit bottoms in a restaurant should not be allowed, whilst smart casual is ok I think Marella need to look at listing what is acceptable. All in all a lovely cruise but could of been excellent if the niggle things were sorted. This is a Marella flagship but in my opinion the Dream was better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First of all let me inform you that my husband and I have cruised many times with many of the main cruise operators.This is our opinion of our New Year Carribean cruise. The staff throughout the ship are pleasant and efficient. The ship is ... Read More
First of all let me inform you that my husband and I have cruised many times with many of the main cruise operators.This is our opinion of our New Year Carribean cruise. The staff throughout the ship are pleasant and efficient. The ship is clean and well maintained. The entertainment was good. The major issue with this ship is the food in Latitudes Restaurant and the Lido Buffet. In both of these eateries the quality and choice of food is poor. We visited Latitudes on the first evening of our trip and left very disappointed indeed.For the rest of our cruise we ate at Vista (Italian and included in fare) or at one of the speciality restaurants. To eat in the speciality restaurants, Kora La, Surf and Turf and The Dining Club cost us £220 but knowing that we were assured of a good meal made it well worth the price. The difference in quality is staggering and begs the question if Chefs can produce excellent meals in these restaurants, why is it not the same throughout the ship? The answer is obviously cost but in our opinion cutting costs with food is a big mistake and deters passengers from booking with Marella again. In the middle of the week all of the speciality restaurants were full, with people being turned away or put onto waiting lists should guests not turn up. Marella strongly encourage guests to pay for an upgrade in drinks, offering well known brands as opposed to local ones. Why don’t they have the good sense to put £100 pounds on each fare and up the quality of food? Marella you seriously need to up your game. Also there is no loyalty scheme for frequent sailors.Others offer free WiFi, laundry, mini bars and excursions. We are at the top of some loyalty schemes and have received all of these benefits. Where is our incentive to book again? We have been told by our local Tui branch that a loyalty scheme has been discussed several a times during the last few years. Remember, there is a lot of choice when booking a cruise. Food plays an important part in any holiday and the number of foodie programmes on TV , shows the appetite the U.K. public have for well cooked great looking meals ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been ... Read More
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been disappointing and NOT up to the standard of previous Thomson cruises. Firstly, the Explorer, although it may be considered that the Atrium of the ship is a waste of space it creates an outstanding focal point, a hub usually with pleasant bars, music & conversation. This is missing on the Explorer and the redesigning of the ship is a miss-match with speciality restaurants being created from corridors and even the Shushi restaurant has a walk-way (corridor) going through it. The Casino is tucked away in a corner (a little like an after thought stuck in a corner). You have to walk through the buffet restaurant to reach alternative bars with lots of people walking in swimwear (very unhygienic). The food although served hot, in the main restaurant lacked variety, bars are under staffed and public areas are left uncleaned, with dirty glasses, tables and bins overflowing. There is certainly a lack of staff and some border on uninterested, compared with some who are outstanding. The entertainment programme was poor with one professional act within 7 days and the Thomson entertainment staff where also very poor (something which previously on Thomson's cruises has been exceptional) although the resident band "the Beats" where enjoyable. On the sea day the entertainment team were happy to play a film out of deck, in fact every day at least one film was shown (really entertainment?!). Our cabin was pleasant (our Cabin stewards outstanding), but by the 5th day the bathroom smell was overwhelming and a trip to reception to complain was necessary and the smell/fault was resolved for 2 days until the 3rd day when the smell came back in fact the whole ship smelled (sorry). There is no indoor pool & although Thomson promote that one of the outdoor pools during a period of day is purely for adults this was never enforced, nor was the smoking/vapouring policy with vapouring on decks & bars. The All Inclusive drinks menu has also been revised with many of the cocktails being removed or now on the premium drinks menu. If you have cruised with Thomsons before you will be disappointed, if you haven't cruised with Thomsons then don't do the Explorer! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had 2 fold down beds above where we slept which restricted our move ability when getting in/out of bed. The cabin was ample size for 2 people, there was a dressing table/stool which was a good size with drawers on both sides, a double wardrobe with plenty coat hangers, shelves and drawers. Bathroom was fitted out well with a shower which had a glass door also shower gel dispenser on wall, toilet and fitted units throughout. Air con control on wall. TV with various channels along with cruise ship info. Our steward was very attentive and cleaned our cabin twice a day with towel change twice a day if needed. We had 2 pool towels which could be changed at any time. The easiest boarding we've had on a cruise (& we've been on a few!) when our plane landed at Barbados we got off the plane and straight onto a bus on the tarmac which took us to the port for embarkation which was quick and easy. On our last day we booked a courtesy cabin to shower and freshen up before our flight home. You are allowed to use all the facilities on board including the AI right up until your bus comes to take you to the airport, which is great which means you can stay on the ship or go ashore & back on board if you want. Other cruise companies we've sailed with don't let you do this, it's off at 8am unless you've booked a tour to fill in your day till you go to the airport!! On board facilities include AI ( you can upgrade to Premium AI but personally I don't think it's worth it, unless you like posh coffees ) even champagne is extra on the P. AI. Food is plentiful with the Market Place Cafe - buffett restuarant which is lovely, you have other serviced restuarants to choose from : Vista, The Mediterranian,,Tapas, The Snack shack also Latitude 53. There's other restuarants that you can pay a cover charge for but we didn't use these as found eating places ample for what we needed. You'll never go hungry as it's breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea then evening meal. I didn't use the spa so can't comment. 2 pools with 3 hot tubs, busy around pool for sunbathing but there's lots of other places to sunbathe which are quieter. Indoorr and outdoor cinema. Theatre on board lovely and plenty of seats, although the entertainment wasn't the best we'd seen but this didn't spoil our cruise as there's so much going on you can choose where you can go. Christmas Eve on board was great, from drinks in the bar, a silent disco (good fun) to Carols on the stairs, there wasn't a shortage of things to do. It was buzzing with excitement from young and older alike. We didn't do any shore excursions with the ship but did have a couple of trips on local buses/taxis Cost $20 pp in a bus 2 hours takes you on an island tour Tortola, also $25 pp in a mini bus taxi in Antigua (3 couples) driver gave an island tour to Nelson's Dockyard, beach & other attractions, well worth it took around 3 hours, plenty of time to get back to ship . We also walked to places as most amenities are quite close by. All staff on board very helpful couldn't do enough for you and nothing was too much trouble. Captain John was great (told some corny jokes but still made me laugh) kept you informed of what was going on with passages/weather etc. Cruise director very good as well. Would like to go on one of the Discovery ships as heard good reviews about them from friends. Looking to book another Marella Cruise for next Christmas/New year. A very enjoyable holiday from boarding our Dreamliner flight in Manchester, to boarding our lovely cruise ship Marella Explorer, to coming home a week later...Plain sailing! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We ... Read More
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We did upgrade to the premium class flights and a premium drinks package. The ship was extremely busy which we anticipated. However, we did not expect some of the children on board to be unsupervised by their parents/grandparents to such an extent as to make the cruise unpleasant. Despite 'No Diving' signs on the pools the children continued to do this which can be very disconcerting to older guests and also potentially dangerous. I rarely saw a lifeguard around the pool to stop this practice. As a vegetarian I found the food awful. For example, a vegetable pie with the crust extremely hard and the rest of it raw and uncooked. We did ask to see a chef and he did come down to see us but was not particularly helpful. What shocked was when he admitted he didn't taste any of the vegetarian dishes. A couple of the restaurant managers said the same thing. The vegetarian option for Christmas Day dinner was mushroom crepes. Surely something more seasonal and exciting could have been offered? Our inside cabin was perfectly acceptable and the steward worked very hard. The service in the dining room (other than the specialty restaurants) was extremely slow and the food usually arrived lukewarm at best. I do not think this the fault of the waiters simply that there are just not enough staff to properly offer a good service. We did not book any tours preferring to explore on our own so cannot comment on those. The Embarkation process was smooth and it was an added bonus to have luggage checked in at Gatwick and then be taken straight to the ship.T The Lounge bar is style over substance in my opinion. The design makes it difficult for the waiters to work in and there are far too few of the to cope with the needs of the guests. We did not see the shows so again can make no comment on them. The pool and deck areas are extremely busy and I did not once see the '45 minute rule' being implemented. Some chairs were left unattended for up to five hours and no effort was made to remove belongings or towels. We will definitely not be sailing on this ship again and probably not cruising on any other Marella vessel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either hot or cold. everyone had dry cough's, and colds. The bathing area is at least 8 inches higher than the cabin floor. This is awkward, and dangerous at our age. The toilet is a joke, you sit on the toilet with your left arm on a sink, and your right arm on a toilet roll holder. The cold water is warm, and the shower door only get by at a squeeze. The wardrobe doors are directly outside the bathroom door. So be careful. The gap at the bottom of the bed is about 18 inches wide. With a tv sticking out. Watch your shoulders. The bed is metal framed, and the mattress was in need of being replaced. Not packed up with blanket, and mattress protectors. The food choice in the market place was repetitive, poor quality, and cold. The entertainment was abysmal. In the Squid & Anchor you had a quiz, followed by virtual reality entertainment. In other words a projector screen with musicians on. This was repeated on deck 11. The lounge had a piano with a couple of singers. Heard better in the local. The broadway had such as an illusionist. Who just did card tricks. And what shows they did, where performed by the entertainments team. They put enough ice in the drinks to sink the titanic, and it took you half an hour to get served. You had to pay in the coffee shop, and if you went before 10-00 it was double the price. You could only smoke in 3 places on the ship, outside the squid and anchor at back of ship on deck 7, Outside the coffee port on deck 6, if it was open. And on deck 12 between 10-00 and 03-00. Weather permitting. So you have to leave your partner, if they don't smoke. Whilst you went up and down the ship. There are different levels to gain access to certain venues. This is because the middle of the ship is not open. It gets confusing, and tiring. The lifts sometimes close their doors on you. I have bruises to prove it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were on a 7 day cruise on marella explorer in December 2018 . There were a good selection of islands that we visited and we really enjoyed the experience ... We have a 6yo and she had lots of fun. there were many activities and ... Read More
We were on a 7 day cruise on marella explorer in December 2018 . There were a good selection of islands that we visited and we really enjoyed the experience ... We have a 6yo and she had lots of fun. there were many activities and clubs for kids . They have a good selection of excursions which we could enjoy as a family .. it is not over crowded and we never had to wait for any facilities on the ship ... the food was excellent and the staff were really helpful and pleasant and happy to help ... the crew took care of our luggage from initial check in till we landed back in the UK. That really was helpful while travelling with children. The embarcation was quick and managed well by the crew. The spa , Varanda, private cabana, indigo bar n casino , the lounge all add to the entertainment and fun .. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us straight to the cruise ship - we didn’t have to go through passport control or pick up our baggage which was a definite bonus. We must have been on the boat just over 3/4 hour after stepping off the plane and doing the necessary photo shoot etc. Brilliant service. The ship had been recently refurbished so was quite nice but not the best we’ve been on. The cabin was plenty big enough, as was all the drawers, wardrobe and storage space. More than we’ve had before. The bathroom was nice with the biggest shower we’ve ever had on a cruise Ship which was good. We enjoyed the food but my only complaint was the beef which was nearly always tough! I had two steaks which were both tough and the roast beef was a bit better but not tender enough for me. All the rest of the meats I had like pork and lamb were very tender. We ate downstairs in the Italian restaurant at no extra cost. We enjoyed the food down there. The staff in the dining room were brilliant and could not do enough for you, we never ever had to ask for our drinks topping up as the waiters were there topping you up before you had finished, or in my case, getting me another Fanta orange as soon as I had finished. Also I had a latte coffee after my meal on the first night and I never had to ask for another as it was always there waiting for me as soon as I finished my meal - though we always asked for the same table / waiters. The quantities were also bigger than you usually get on a cruise ship - that could explain the weight gain !!!! The singers in the theatre had brilliant voices, the dancing good, as were the costumes. Unfortunately what let them down was the production. They had a soul night one night, the next night a rock night. I love rock music but they sang songs we hardly knew ! Another night was west end musicals - they only sang two songs we knew ! Another night was called cogs - and that’s what it was about - cogs !!! The producer did some really ‘off the wall’ stuff. If they had sang songs we knew it would have been brilliant with their voices but it was spoilt ! We also went to see a comedian one night and he was absolutely rubbish! We didn’t laugh once. I wasn’t overly impressed with the singers around the boat, they were ok but not fantastic. We visited a lot of ports which were good but the excursions were quite pricey. We got taxis outside the port for a fraction of the price but even the taxi prices have gone up in the last few years. We did one excursion through the boat and we went kayaking in Antigua. Our guide was lovely and couldn’t have been more helpful, offering to take pictures of us or holding on to us when we were walking around the speedboat (stationary!). He was really pleasant and polite and at the end of the tour he whipped his hat off to reveal he was one of the theatre singer, Trez (pronounced Tray - however you spell it !) he was absolutely lovely, a credit to the team. We had to be out of the cabin at 8.00 am on the morning of disembarkation but we were allowed to stay on the boat all day and use the facilities. We’ve never had this on a boat before as usually we have to go straight to the airport in the morning, even if we’re not flying until the evening. We also booked a courtesy cabin and although we only had it for 20 minutes it was long enough to get a shower and changed. So all in all that was a bonus being allowed to stay on the boat for the day. Before we went we read reviews that although it was all inclusive you had to pay for water. That was certainly untrue. They poured water every night with meals, and topped you up. You could get water in the bars, around the pool, in the market place and there was a water machine outside cabins so you could fill your kettle. - first time we’ve ever had a kettle and tea / coffee in the cabin. I would definitely go on this boat again - as I would the airline - which was roomy and plenty of food and drinks on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 50th Birthday. Looking at some of the reviews beforehand we were a bit worried, but these fears were allayed by our own personal experience and we couldn't find any faults whatsoever. I would ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 50th Birthday. Looking at some of the reviews beforehand we were a bit worried, but these fears were allayed by our own personal experience and we couldn't find any faults whatsoever. I would not dream of making derogatory comments on fellow passengers as everyone is entitled to spend their holiday as they see fit. I can certainly say that I saw no behaviour from anybody which affected my enjoyment of this cruise. So when looking at reviews I would recommend focusing on the average person's expectations, not specific gripes. I can quite honestly say that the food was fantastic everywhere, from the Market Place to Vista, Latitude 53 and even the burgers in the Snack Shack. Of course there were occasional minor issues with service, but immediately rectified with humble and sincere apologies each time. The staff all over the ship were excellent, very polite, helpful and friendly. The singers and dancers on the shows were amazing, especially the girls, no screeching to this musical ear! Both comedians were great, borne out by the fact that 99% of the audience were laughing. Special mention to Ellie, who sang to my wife on her 50th. Go and see Ellie and Ross, singer and guitarist - they are brilliant and have big futures ahead of them. We went on half a dozen excursions, all great. The Bequia cruise was a laugh with the rum flowing and Bohemian Rhapsody sung throughout (the boat was named Scaramouche). The Carbet Falls in Guadeloupe were amazing. My favourite Island was Martinique although it does have a traffic problem. We ate at the Surf & Turf on my wife's 50th - again a wonderful experience. The Explorer as a whole is a very comfortable ship. Couldn't see any signs of ageing, although we have nothing to compare it to, being our first cruise. So the message is if you are Mr, Miss or Mrs Average then you will enjoy this ship immensely and what it has to offer. We are already looking at our next cruise in May 2020 for my 60th and this will almost certainly be with Marella. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
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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