6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the day before, The information given to us at Palma was "You know as much as we do" which wasn't very helpfull. This was advertised as Marella Explorer first sailing? The ship was launched in May 1996?? I would rank it as a average cruise ship with nothing exceptional or nothing really bad apart from the things below. Bars -- I found that in all the bars I visited that the staff were very obliging but were very inexperienced The waiter service was slow and that orders were frequently wrong, The bar & waiting staff were also not familiar with the computer terminals that they were using that led to ques forming, on one occasion I noted that there were five staff behind the bar and only one serving and on another I asked for my usual drink and was told that it was not on the all inclusive package and that I would have to upgrade to get it, after I was told this I went to reception to check this out and was told that the bar staff were mistaken. Restaurants Market place- Only ate here a few times and found that the food was genrally good but was let down by food being slowly replaced when required and that some hot food was only luke warm. On one day the only plates that were available for salad and cold meats were just out of the dishwasher and were hot. Latitude 53- The food at latitude 53 was good where we mostly ate Most of the staff here seemed experienced and most orders were served correctly but one lunch time I made the mistake of ordering a Vegeterian Burger after a 20 min wait the waiter apoligised for the delay and said the chef was making it from scratch when it arrived 15 min later I was disappointed to find that it was just fried cooked lentals with a sice of tomato in a burger bun, Definitely not Restaurant quality. Broadway Show lounge The entertainment in the Broadway Show lounge was good and varied we were able to get seats on all the nights we went there except one where we had to stand for half of a poular show, On this night there was a portion of the seating cordoned with a sign saying reserved seating, the next day I questioned this at reception and was told that "It is not possible to reserve seating" I then asked why there was reserved seating the previous night? The receptionist took my cabin number and told me that she would list it as a complaint and get back to me. 10 hrs later I had herd nothing and went back and saw another person and was told that there was no complaint noted and that she would try and find out for me about the reserved seating, After consulting with someone in the back office she came back and said that the seats were probibly reserved for crew members as it was captains night and that if I wanted to see a show that I should arrive earlier to which I replied "Is it TUI policy to put the crews comfort above there passangers" To which there was no reply So I can only assume that this is the case. At 07:00 one morning the captain came over the PA to tell us that we had docked and that we were free to go ashore I asked at destination service (There was a que at reception) why there was a need to make the announcement so early and was told that it was for the benifit of the passengers going on excursions to which I pointed out most were not and what about them, I did not receive a reply. I was considering going on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords next year but it will not be on the Marella Explorer, Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First sailing Marcella Explorer 19th may 2018 We have looked forward to this weeks cruise with our family for many months, we saved hard and the time came. We chose Thomson (Tui) (Marella) because we had never been disappointed before. ... Read More
First sailing Marcella Explorer 19th may 2018 We have looked forward to this weeks cruise with our family for many months, we saved hard and the time came. We chose Thomson (Tui) (Marella) because we had never been disappointed before. We have cruised many times with Thomson before. Starting with the Destiny and on the spirit only last year. We recommended to our family that Thomson was the best for food, entertainment and friendly staff. And of course the all inclusive package was a huge bonus. First impressions of the ship was good. We made our way to the Mediterranean tapas bar for a well earned drink. We were offered an upgrade to the premium package and declined as we were happy with what was on the basic AI drinks menu. - [ ] We went to find our cabin. (Inside cabins 4171 4175 4179). They weren’t ready. We stated it wasn’t a problem. We would go for lunch and come back later. Which we did, he obviously hadn’t done anything else after we had come down the first time. The hangers were just thrown on top of the wardrobe. There was no soap/ shower gel in the dispenser in the shower. There were 2 pairs of safety goggles in one of the bedside drawers. Which had coffee stains on the top. Room 4175 had numerous receipts and other litter in the drawers. Room 2179 had a pair of dirty underpants in one of their drawers. Why was this not checked? - [ ] The cabin was not hoovered all week. With a new carpet the fluff coming off of it was of large quantity. The coffee stain was still there midweek so I ended up cleaning it myself. - [ ] The following day was a sea day. We were woken up by the loudest tannoy in the room. It was so loud it was uncomfortable. We held a pillow up to the speaker. It went on for a very long time. We asked at reception if it could be turned down but he didn’t understand what we were saying to help. - [ ] That evening we went to latitude 53 for dinner. We have always dined in the main restaurant on all of our previous cruises. The food choices were very poor. It appears a couple of courses had disappeared ie salad course and soup course. We don’t eat meat so the different course choices was one of the reasons why we picked Thomson. Our waiter offered us bread, when we asked for more from the same waiter. He didn’t know what bread was. - [ ] At 6am the following morning we wondered what was happening. Our room shook so much for about 20mins. There was things falling off the shelves. Our shampoo fell into the shower, the whole cabin was shaking. After speaking to our family in the other rooms they said exactly the same. Were on holiday, we didn’t want to be shaken about at 6 am every morning apart from sea day and the tender day. We were offered another cabin but it was over the corridor. It wouldn’t have made any difference. These cabins should not be used for guests. - [ ] As the weather wasn’t good we spent some time in the Squid and Anchor pub. There was very limited service staff. We went to the bar the whole afternoon. When I did manage to get a girls attention for a drink. I was told abruptly “I’ll be with you in a minute”, never saw her again. - [ ] Nights 3,4 and 5 we ate in the speciality restaurants. Umi sushi. Kora la and Surf and Turf. All very good and we enjoyed the food very much.. this was the kind of food and service we are used to on previous cruises. This cruise this service came at a high cost to us. - [ ] The entertainment lacked such a high standard too. I’ve always thought Thomson as being on par with west end shows, however I wasn’t impressed. Although the comedian was good and nice to see Lisa Riley of course. - [ ] The last evening we ate in the main dining room again, this time the food was cold. And actually left the room still hungry. - [ ] The bottom line is. The standards have dropped. The food was cold and unimpressive in the main restaurant. The service has lost its personal touch. So many eastern european staff who are very abrupt and really do not know enough English to do the job. The Philippine staff are always friendly and helpful. The eastern europeans really couldn’t give a damn when they didn’t understand and sometimes were quite rude. - [ ] A plus side was the bike tours. Gem and Michelle were very good and we thoroughly enjoyed the 2 rides we did with them. I was more stressed on holiday than if I had stayed at home 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
81 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We have just returned from the most fabulous holiday ever with tui Marella explorer. We arrived in palma and embarked on the new to tui ship. Immaculately presented rooms newly refurbished it certainly was more impressive than we had ... Read More
We have just returned from the most fabulous holiday ever with tui Marella explorer. We arrived in palma and embarked on the new to tui ship. Immaculately presented rooms newly refurbished it certainly was more impressive than we had anticipated. We had lots of little gifts pens, notebooks toiletries chocolates etc celebrating its first voyage with tui. Over the years we have been on many Thomson tui holidays so had an ideal what to expect, average food, decent accommodation cheesy entertainment etc. Well that may have been the old Thomson/ tui experience, but after this week we can honestly say they have thrown away the old manual and reinvented themselves with this one and blown away the old tired format of the holiday experience and set the bar so high I don't think other holiday cruises will reach. Food 10 places to eat, five with a supplement and five as part of the all inclusive, it's a Thompson/tui holiday and I had the old expectation of the all in food would be poor and the supplement food would be good, how wrong I was! The all inclusive food in all five places to eat was fabulous, tasty fresh well presented with attentive staff and waiters, clean facilities and very professional chefs, tui have thrown everything into this one and thrown the old way of doing things, dining was a treat wether it was a snack or and sit down table waitered service eating was a pleasure with the all inclusive deal. We did try a meal with the supplemented eateries, the Kora La it was simply fantastic a real treat, but whatever you taste or need they cater for everyone. We in our party had and gluten free and a veggie and they were taken care of no problem. Staff Couldn't do enough for you, your every need was catered for and nothing was too much trouble, faultless in every way. Excursions We went to Pompeii and Herculaneum fabulous day out very informative guide who's knowledge and passion was beyond compare, it made for a fabulous day out Entertainment well, we have been on countless Thomson/Tui holidays and even at five star level, the entertainment was lack lustre, amateurish and cheesy at its best, OH BOY, are you in for a treat, simply put the onboard shows in the broadway lounge were outstanding, the singing, the dancing, the acting, the presentation, the musicality and directorship were second to none, we were a party of six, and we were all blown away by the outstanding performances of all of the shows. Tui have thrown away the old "how to" entertainment book and replaced it with something that's worthy of any west end stage. It sounds OTT but I promise if they keep that level of passion they gave in performing for us you will not be disappointed. The last place you want to have poor entertainment is sailing down the med with nowhere to go! The entertainment in all of the other bars and lounges were fantastic too, there is something for everyone and your musical taste I'm sure, will be catered for. Bad bits It was over in a week, first time ever we didn't want to come home! Overall We had avoided cruises for many years thinking it would be "Butlins in a Boat" how wrong were we? We are looking at next years cruises already!!! Awesome effort by all involve in making everyone's holiday on board extra special and captain peter and staff for making our journey a safe and pleasant one 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions ... Read More
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions booked for most early mornings so had to be in bed by 11pm and up early. So our routine was that after dinner each night we would head to the bars for a few drinks. But is was sooo boring. Nothing happening. Maybe a game of over priced bingo and then a reality band on the big screen. The same one that was playing the night before, and the night before that. Oh my god it was so boring on that ship. Nothing, just nothing went on. The Theater was dismal, I know them young people work very hard and they were pretty good but the shows were just rubbish. I couldn't work out what one or two of the shows was even about, seemed like a bit of a mishmash. Days at sea were unbearable. Just lay out on a sunbed bored to death and then in the afternoon someone who was unable to sing a note in tune would start playing acoustic guitar, they would come on and sing slow, slow, slow ballads.. It would make me feel like jumping overboard. The cruise was drinks all inclusive, so getting somebody to try and serve you at the bar was like waiting for a bus. There were no staff and on sea days if you were lucky enough to flag a waiter and order a drink, they would be 30 minutes coming back with it. On two occasions they didn't return at all and when I complained I was told it was probably because they had finished their shift or gone on their break. Kill me now, YES it really was that boring. We booked a cabin at the back of the ship. The cabin was terrible. The lampshade was hanging off, the walls were filthy, the mattresses had 'stains' on them, the shelves rattled about and the toilet was half way up the wall that I had to climb up onto it with my legs dangling in mid air whist I tried to do my business. I don't need to explain the difficulties in cleansing oneself! The shower was a disgrace. Was filthy dirty scum on the walls and mold all around the seals. Food was alright but nothing to get excited about. But better that some cruises I've been on. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The ... Read More
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The entertainment on board is the worst I have ever experienced on any cruise, its Butlin’s at sea, cheap and extremely irritating. The team responsible for your entertainment can easily be found in the smoking areas of the bars, drinking, smoking and entertaining each other. The food is reasonable, however the service is painfully slow and you can expect to be spending a great deal of time waiting between courses for your meals to be served. The specialist restaurants that incur a supplement are still painfully slow from a service perspective, the food is nothing special and certainly not worth the additional cost. The icing on the cake came during our second week when we rounded a corner on deck 7 to find human excrement on the deck, a crew member was placing a chair over the turd to prevent anyone walking in it and he smile and said “someone had relaxed too much on their holiday”. I'm no snob, I like a drink and a good laugh as much as anyone, howsever the calibre of guest on this cruise left much to be desired. . The excursions are over-priced, but they always are on cruise ships and in fairness we enjoyed them all. On days where we had no excursions booked we couldn’t face staying on-board with the drunks staggering around so we left the ship and got Taxi’s to the nearest beach. My advise to anyone considering booking with Marella is simple, DON'T. Maybe we were just unlucky, but I will never cruise with Marella again. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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