22 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Cruise Reviews

Hi just back from a week on the Explorer the flight from Edinburgh was good Transfer was quick.When we got too our cabin the cabin had a bad spell reported too reception fixed straight away smell came back 2 days later and you could smell ... Read More
Hi just back from a week on the Explorer the flight from Edinburgh was good Transfer was quick.When we got too our cabin the cabin had a bad spell reported too reception fixed straight away smell came back 2 days later and you could smell it a lot round the ship as if there was problem with drainage a few times the public toilets were closed. The food on the ship was not as good as Discovery 2 some days the choices were poor The food was off average standard if you wanted Ice cream you had too pay even if you up graded too premium The entertainment was good but again not as good as discovery 2 the games were not as funny and did not get guest involled as much the shows in the Broadway shows were just about the same each night singing too soul music The Broadway Theartre did not have a waiter service You had too take your drinks with you or take what they had too offer at the door The Squid and Anchor bar was very busy at night and if you were not fast you could not get a seat The sun decks were busy up on the varanda deck there was not enough sun loungers and guest were putting towels on the beds and going off shore for 4 hours and coming back Overall this was a old ship need work done too there drainage system and more staff would book with marella again but not this ship Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This must be the worst ship in the fleet for service. Food isn't great either and hygiene standards in the restaurants are unusually low. There seemed too few staff to offer a good standard of drinks service and service at the bars ... Read More
This must be the worst ship in the fleet for service. Food isn't great either and hygiene standards in the restaurants are unusually low. There seemed too few staff to offer a good standard of drinks service and service at the bars was random (unless you tip, which we did!). Managers were disinterested in feedback. Cocktails were dreadful, never had the same mix twice and no at seat service in the show lounge. I suspect that the further away the company get from the origional Thompson brand the lower the standards become. Food was cafe standard in the main dining room, tapas was lovely but the italian was distinctly average too. Dont expect the usual frills with your suite either, no canapes or bubbly on this boat. Usually, the good point outweighs the bad, but this time it just tipped the other way, I would never want to go on the explorer again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are frequently Cruise and always choose our cruise for the itinerary and as Explorer was the only ship in the canaries at our chosen dates that is the ship we chose. Embarkation was smooth and luggage delivered promptly. Our first ... Read More
We are frequently Cruise and always choose our cruise for the itinerary and as Explorer was the only ship in the canaries at our chosen dates that is the ship we chose. Embarkation was smooth and luggage delivered promptly. Our first evening we went to dinner in the main dining room Italian section. We put the poor service and the very mediocre food down to the fact it was the first night and we have experienced this before on a first night on Marella and other lines to be fair. Lunch next Day was no better to be honest nor was breakfast. The food was not what you would call bad but it was neither up to the standard we know from any cruise we have ever been on. Marella seem to have reduced their menu in the morning so you can only have egg benedict (always my chosen breakfast most mornings) on one day of the week and this is the same for anything other than English breakfast or omelettes for the main part. They have even stopped offering pastries Although they can be requested I learned. Lunch had burger, veg burger and ploughman’s lunch on the menu every day with a couple of other choices which differed each day. To be fair we found lunch better than dinner probably because they were less busy. The serving seemed pretty chaotic at times We always book a couple of speciality restaurants anyway so next evening so having booked the 3 dining package and eating in the Mediterranean restaurant we were able to avoid the dining room in the evenings. We were on Discovery 2 in March 19 and used the snack shack a few times which was very good. On Explorer it was awful. Even the smell of it as you past was horrible The speciality restaurants we found as follows Kora La - fabulous. Service food and wine was a delight Uni Shushi - this was a first for us. We put ourselves in the hands of the chef and were not disappointed. It was a lovely experience with food we’d never chosen before. Again service was impeccable The Dining Club - We have done similar food and wine pairings on other shops and cruise lines but this was the very best ever. Again food and wine exceptional as was service. Big shout out to the wine steward who was helpful throughout. He covered all restaurants and always found us a nice wine. We were on premium drinks package but in main restaurants were always offered only inferior wine Surf and Turf - starters lovely but the main course was not. We ordered medium cooked food which was raw and the fat was literally running off the side of the slate on which my food was served. The onion rings tasted only of grease. We left before trying dessert. We’d used this restaurant on Discovery which was excellent so we were very disappointed. The head waiter saw the plate and agreed it was poor. He came out to the bar area where we were and offered us a drink. How laughable is that on an all inclusive cruise Entertainment was good throughout as you would expect from Marella who in our opinion always excel here We booked a cabins for the sea day but we did not find this was worth doing. The one thing that we did enjoy was that you had access to the thermal spa. We would probably never have done this. But it was super and we used again later in cruise. Great saunas and steam rooms and fab relaxation areas We were not too bothered about the ports as had been in all before but heard from other guests that excursions were good We had a large balcony cabin which was good and clean. All you need I would never choose to sail on Explorer again and will have to look closely before using Marella. If the changes in restaurants in particular at breakfast and dinner including choices and quality run throughout the line then it’s not for me Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Staff and ship lovely. Food is great. Make sure you don't miss out on the tapas as it's amazing and inclusive just make sure to book it on the app. Vista is also a great place to eat especially the carbonara which for just five ... Read More
Staff and ship lovely. Food is great. Make sure you don't miss out on the tapas as it's amazing and inclusive just make sure to book it on the app. Vista is also a great place to eat especially the carbonara which for just five pounds more is prepared in a giant parmasan wheel at your table and is super tasty. Good service. What let's it down is the passengers. From threats of physical violence for being falsely accused of queue jumping on shore, to bad language, singlets galore and a cheap northern social club vibe, Explorer is one to miss. The buffet could get very hectic and the Squid and Anchor feral after 6pm. Be prepared for constant whingers expecting champagne service for beer money. If you are a gay couple be prepared for dirty looks from your fellow passengers and people to actively avoid making conversation with you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
After an uneventful flight from Stansted, when we arrived at Tenerife we were directed by a Tui rep. to leave the airport and turn left.! There we encountered a large crowd whom after asking other passengers were made aware “we” were ... Read More
After an uneventful flight from Stansted, when we arrived at Tenerife we were directed by a Tui rep. to leave the airport and turn left.! There we encountered a large crowd whom after asking other passengers were made aware “we” were queueing - for over two hours - for coach transfer to the ship. This was totally unacceptable as we had left home at 06:30. When we eventually got on the correct coach sat there or over an hour the delay was for no obvious reason. When we arrived at the ship terminal there was a short delay to go through the check-in formalities. When we got to our cabin – 4108 we were favourably impressed. Due to the delay in getting to the ship within a short time we off to attend the ships safety drill. It was that night when our first impressions became very negative. It was almost impossible to sleep, there was a loud vibration from the air conditioning system ventilator. As the night progressed further loud “mechanical” noises came from the deck below ours and there was a constant vibration throughout the cabin. We apparently were not the only passengers on deck 4 who were complaining about the noise. After complaining to the ships reception we were offered another cabin which we declined as there was no window. The food on the ship was good however as per previous experiences on other Marella ships there was a constant flow of people trying to find seating in the buffet restaurants. During our last dinner in the Latitude restaurant we were told by the waiter that as we had paid for the optional drinks package upgrade a better quality wine was available to us with our meal as opposed to the carafe house wine. What a waste of money. As we had never been there we were looking forward to our visit to La Gomera. However due to the weather conditions it was not possible to dock the ship so we spent a very unpleasant day at sea. At the end of our cruise the transfer to the coaches taking us onward to our hotel was more farcical than our transfer to the ship. To reach the location of the coaches and our luggage we walked the length of the quay in pouring rain. Consequently, once we had retrieved our luggage and boarded the coach we were soaked through. Yet another delay when a Tui rep, discovered that a number of passengers had been assigned to the wrong coach. At the end of our awful cruise experience what could be more appropriate than lost luggage? Well that is what happened, my luggage did not arrive in Stansted and based on the information received after a total lack of support from Tui, including the Tui travel agency the trip was booked through, it was found to be still in Tenerife. I eventually got it back after 7 days. We have been on a number of Tui/Marella cruises and have noticed that their standards have steadily declined and cost cutting is obvious in the drinks available. In the Broadway Show Lounge there used to be a waiter drinks service throughout the performance now I was offered a bottle of beer as I entered the Lounge. Worst is the lack of staff especially in the Coffee Port where often there are two staff - one delivering drinks the other dispensing them. In addition, some of the waiters are extremely rude and clearly have had little training. One evening, service in the “Lounge” bar was very slow and a number of guests were agitated. When a waiter arrived he too was agitated and made his annoyance clear. When he came to take my order he pointed at me and shouted “You”. My wife and I are of the opinion that this will be our last Tui/ Marella cruise as in the years they have been operating cruises they seemed to have learned little apart from how to save money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal ... Read More
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal back on a cruise until this one. My wife got sick on day 7 with diarrhea, probably something she ate. I caught them replacing the premium ingredients of the premium all inclusive drinks menu with cheap alternatives. The entertainment is pretty much the same every day, singing and dancing with the same group of dancers, it's OK but after a week it's too much, too repetitive. Be warned if you sail from Newcastle with parking your car it takes two buses to get to the ship and likewise on return, this needs simplifying. The baltic itinery is great, however the tours are not so great, save yourself some money and spend it on a better cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to ... Read More
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to make a special mention to 2 members of staff who did go that extra mile to make our cruise special Putra our cabin steward was exceptional in trying to sort out our many problems that we incurred and secondly Gregg from the Bar staff who was entertaining, friendly, full of happiness and good fun to be near. 2nd The bad points. We entered our cabin and found we had a paper thin mattress that when you just touched it with slight pressure you could feel through to the bed frame. 2 wooden boxes with sharp edges protruding from the space in the headboard where our heads went. Another wooden box protruding from the wall near the access to side of bed. Safe not working. Fridge not working. Air conditioning not working. welcome to marella explorer. after complaining we were told that it would all be sorted out and not to worry. the reception staff ended up coming down to cabin as they seemed not to believe what we were saying and took photo's. we were informed that there was no other cabins available and they would put an extra mattress on the bed and pillows to cover boxes on headboard, 3 days later safe is replaced, refrigerator is replaced, air con is fixed(ish). We were told that the protruding boxes would be removed the following day, 2 days later we were informed that the protruding boxes could not be moved, a sorry was issued in the form of a scribbled note on a bottle of prosecco with 6 chocolate strawberries and we would have to make do! ships layout is not great if you are in the theatre and want a drink you have to walk 3/4 the length of the ship then que for 20 minutes by which time the show is finished Also if you want to participate in the evening entertainment and watch the evening show you cant as they overlap by 15 minutes so you either miss the end of the entertainment or the beginning of the show .... very poor planning Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after sampling the all inclusive drinks it was obvious why! The same applied to the quality of the food! We pre booked two excursions for when we were in St Petersburg and only did one because the first was such a let down. The overall standard of this ship is at best 2 star. We visited our local Tui branch to give our feedback and were told it couldn't be compared with the likes of Celebrity but this was not reflected in the price!!!!! We contacted the Tui post cruise help line 3 weeks ago and have not had a reply, we also tried calling but nobody picked up the phone. Absoluty disgraceful! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great ... Read More
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great theatre with good sight lines. A decent sized cinema.But as a cruise experience did not live up to the standard we have become accustomed to with P@O. On sea days the main pool area was a no go for us,with its loud music,that was not even catered to the average age group of around 65 (it was an adults only cruise).Felt like we were back at Butlins.For anyone who likes to dance the Indigo disco with its small dance floor and no seats was a waste of time.What would on other ships be known as the crows nest was a strange layout and doubled as the casino.It was difficult to get a seat in the squid and anchor pub which was incredibly noisy and consisted of mainly childish game shows.And finally the food.Again hit and miss.as was the service.We finally cottoned on to two excellent waiters Maiko and Benjie one in the vista and one in the latitude restaurants. Service in the tapas and pizza restaurants was good.The staff were more multicultural than on any of our 18 or so other cruises.Some of the entertainment in the evening was good some not so good.Very little in the way of entertainment during the day,no lectures or talks just films in the cinema that tended to repeat.Spoke to people who had cruised on Discovery and much preferred it.All in all,in my opinion a long way to go to match P@O. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking forward to trip. Perfect start great to leave luggage at Gatwick and see it next in our cabin. I do have limited mobility so arranged an adapted cabin which turned out good ; Sorry down hill from here on THIS ship and MOST of staff are not aware or interested in the disable / less mobile customer. The ship has NO disable seating in restaurants or bars and you are on your own with getting help from staff to get seated . the stock reply seems " we are busy ", " try another restaurant " ; Try another time. The theater is not a lot better . Yes there are a few disable seats but so poorly signed again it is free for all, so do not expect to get one unless you get to show about 45 minuets early. We did eventual get the welfare dept to put out some signs in the Cafeteria just 8 seats which considering the amount of wheel chairs/ scooters ect on board was no where enough . To cap it all I was told by a manager in the Theater he could not ask people to move from disable seats and I should walk down the stairs to front . The shows in all are ok not up to a professional standard more a good local theater group. The excursion ok but again not good for less mobile , we invested in a special light weight wheelchair so I could enjoy the trips but nearly all the trips state on the day that no wheel chairs or buggy's can be accommodated so yes got on the trips but did not see much of the sights except from the transport windows . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... this would made one think it would have been 4 star at least in my eyes. The food in the main restaurant was inedible, overcooked and hard to eat. It was so bad we decided to use the Market buffet the rest of the holiday. There were specialist restaurants but they wanted upwards of £30 per person per visit ( after having paid for food i felt the cover charge was over the top compared with being able to pay on the Celebration a sum of £10 per person to upgrade the main meal in the dining room to steak or lamb chops etc ) On speaking to people on the ship, nobody thought the specialty restaurants to be be good value. One of the nice things about a cruise is coming back to your cabin at night after dinner and finding your cabin news containing the details of the next days itinerary and a little bit about the ship and crew... nice bedtime reading and handy to take with you the next day on shore excursions as it always had the telephone numbers of the port authority etc in case you have any off shore difficulties etc. This is currently being replaced by an APP you must load on your phone and use the ships WiFi When I inquired if we could have a paper copy delivered to my cabin as before ( these are still available if you rush to reception in the evening) i was promptly and firmly told NO... i even offered to pay to have this and it was ignored. The APP is terrible only some of it is on the phone APP others and again not all are on the TV. The only way you could get the menus of the restaurants was from the flat touch screen terminals at the lifts (these sometimes lost the WiFi and didnt work either). It really ruffled my feathers when every day there was a channel on the TV where the Cruise Director would go over the highlights of the days activities and did it from the paper copy of the cruise news!! The ship is poorly covered by entertainment at night and it doesnt flow properly like the Celebration or other cruise ships i have used.. things finish in the middle of other items you may be interested in and you find yourself walking in on a half completed piece of entertainment upsetting the guests that managed to be there on time for it to start. The bars are mainly all too loud and mainly served by piped music with occasional live music... it seemed to be done on the cheap or not utilised properly. Staff on the ship are mainly unhappy and it shows to the customer. The biggest concern on the ship, i have left till the end.... the number of people i seen drunk in the early afternoon was high ( never before have i seen this on a cruise) between afternoon and evening it looked like the ship was a BOOZE CRUISE ... im certainly not impressed with the Explorer or Marriela / Tui.. and wonder if the Celebration is now been changed to feel and look the same... ( this was my favourite ship in the Tui fleet) It looks like we will need to use our other favourite ships like the NCL ( Jade/Pearl etc) In Conclusion .... if i was offered another week on the Explorer, i would decline it!! Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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
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
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their ... Read More
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their specialty acts they brought on for the duration of the Atlantic ocean was to be honest DIRE. I have seen better acts on my local social club, a tribute Take That act that said they were not a tribute act but like to sing their songs. well I did not pay a lot of money to listen to a Karaoke night as a show night. There were two so called comedians who were in my opinion as funny as a funeral and as for the resident acts, so boring, no life at all no chance of dancing to any of it apart from the disco on the 12th deck. The Celebration is an older ship but I never had a better time than on there. Finally the Shows on the Broadway Theatre, singing and dancing shows virtually every night, no West End musicals like they used to be I would say that they have drastically cut there entertainment budget but increased their prices for maximum profit. This may sound like Victor Meldrew but after talking to many passengers during the cruise we were all of the same opinion. Goodnight and happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to ... Read More
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to cabin, card for drinks food etc, and boarding card, got to out cabin 9100 which was deck 9, reasonable size with a large balcony with chairs table and a hammock, beds were ok, Bottled water-small bottles of wine, biscuits on what we thought was a complimentary tray, later discovered all that was chargeable, at an exorbitant rate. This is where it all started to go wrong, we booked as "All inclusive", turns out not as all inclusive as you think. In the coffee pot lounge you were charged for coffee, several other places, bars and restuarants had a charge, and not cheap. So we set sail had our first nights meal in The Market Place, which was very basic cafeteria food, which was ok, self serve pumps of red/white wine and fosters lager, this was free. had a wander around the ship seemed quite well appointed, eventually went to bed around 11pm quite a tiring day... didnt sleep at all well as above the twin beds was the air conditioning unit very noisy all night slept badly, woke tired. complained to reception asked if it could be turned off, very curtly told no, reception staff not very helpful, after talking to other passengers who also agreed they had problems with reception. tried other restuarants Meditteranean pasta and pizza, average, latitude 53 was ok, but not exactly what we would expect from a restuarant that appeared to be a bit more upmarket than others. drinks were free, rather most drinks were free, could drink oneself silly as a lot did especially on the pool deck Entertainment was somewhat amatuerish, girls and guys prancing around and trying to sing, more like yelling, too loud afoten had no idea what they were singing about, the best night was when they had the comedian steve? terry he was very funny. Excursions to Rome-Florence-Pisa etc were very expensive almost £200.00 per couple, and those places would be jam packed with tourists, All in all for us was not a good experience, could, and should have spent our money elsewhere .not on a cruise, we agreed that it was an experience not a good one and we would never ever go on a cruise again, although there was one guy who had done 54 cruises in 7 years (must have been insane) The plus side was our cabin staff were absolutely amazing Madelyn and ? cannot remeber his name nothing too much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name and airport flown from and were given an envelope with your key cards in. Went through security and onto the ship and our bags were delivered within half an hour of boarding. We can cabin 9255 right at the back. We had a big balcony and the room was well appointed and the beds comfy. You could only get 3 tv channels. However our toilet blocked on 3 days. The one next door did too as I could hear the maintenance man trying to unblock it. Our sink plug didnt work either, it would not stay down. The public toilets by the buffet were blocked too. When we docked it was really noisy in our cabin and because we were docking early in the morning we were woken up by the engines about 6 am. We and my daughter both paid £49 each for 7 days wifi. After 3 days my daughters ran out. We went down to reception to query it and were told it had all been used up and would have to buy more days. How it could have been used up I do not know but the receptionist wasnt interested. She paid £25 for another 3 days and this ran out after 2 days, even though she barely used it and on one of those days we were on a 10 hour trip to Pisa so didnt even use wifi. We booked a full day trip to Rome which was described on TUI website as visiting the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps among other places. However the guide dropped us off at the Piazzo Navonna and said if we wanted to see the Fountain and the Steps we could make our own way there and it was a 20 minute walk. We were not given a map or directions. She then left us and said to meet back in 2 1/2 hours. As we did not have our phones with us we didnt know how to get there so ended up not seeing them. We spoke to another couple at dinner that night who had been on same trip but on another coach and their guide had taken them to those places and stayed with them the whole time. We did PIsa and Florence trip too but only saw 4 places in Florence, and only saw the leaningI Tower in Pisa. I did not feel they were good value for what we paid. The food in the buffet in the evening was the worst I've ever had on a curise ship and I've been on P&O, NCL, RCI and Carnival. If you were a vegitarian there was very little choice apart from steamed brocoli, carrots and cauliflower or salad. The food in the Italian was excellent but if you went between 7.30 and 8.30 there was a 40 minute wait. One night we went at 8 pm and she said there was an hours wait and they had run out of pagers. The food in the main dining room was good too. The cocktails were limited and there were only 2 creamy ones. I paid extra for a mudslide but it was very watery. If you wanted to pay for extra premium brands or other cocktails it was £2.50. I paid extra for a creamy cocktail in the Italian restaurant but when it came it just had a great big blob of cream floating in the middtle. The staff were lovely, we never had a problem getting sunbeds, the boat wasnt very busy seeing as it was school holidays and waiters were constantly coming round to take drinks orders. The lounges were spacious and you could always find a seat. We went to one show but it was very poor so never bothered going again. The ship never enforced using hand gel before entering the restaurants, unlike other boats I've been on. Hardly anybody used it. The gym was described as being state of the art but was tiny with limited equipment. There were free classes for half an hour (walk around the deck in the am) and 45 minute classes that cost £7. I paid for the 45 minute classes but they only ran for 30 minutes and that included a warm up and cool down. I did not feel as though I had had a full workout in that time. The instructor was good, just wish the classes had run for the advertised time. Our flight home was at 1.15 pm but we were taken to the airport at 9 am so had a long wait there. I will not be going with Marella next time, they have a long way to go before catching up with RCI and NCL Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get ... Read More
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get our dates we opted for the New Thomsons Cruise Ship mainly with recommendation from the Travel Agent. So Disappointing for paying £3,000 for a weeks holiday on a basic ship.........I have a Diary Allergy and food or help from staff was non existent . The food was basic, and very limited in The Marketplace. Plenty eating places to choose from if you wish to pay supplements but still not worth the money. Some eating areas were set along corridors where people walked passed or children ran through! The all inclusive drinks package was cheap drink, diet coke in a glass full of ice 80%water approx 20% coke. I ended up buying cans of diet coke at a supplement of £1.00. The cabin was roomy and a bigger balcony with chairs, table, sunbed and hammock but the room was still basic. The staff were wonderful at keeping it immaculate. Entertainment was ok, Virtual bands , constant repetitive viewing. Theatre shows were ok but finding a seat was impossible at times and guests were not willing to move to make room for other people. Sunbeds .... well unless you were there at 6am in the morning and dumping your towels then you weren't lucky to find a bed. Policy is ,,,towels will be removed if no one is on the bed for a period of time, that was never implemented. People were even leaving their towels on their bed, going off shore for the morning then coming back onto their bed... !!!! It was a real let down, nothing impressive about the ship...apart from the Captain and the wonderful staff. Marrella Cruises have a long way to go to compete with other Cruise Companies, instead of moving forward they are still living in the times of Thomsons Cruises 10years ago.... I never write reviews and sometimes wonder why people see lots of negatives in holidays but i felt so dissapointed, hax a wasted holiday and were £3,000 out of pocket for one of the worst cruise ships I have sailed on.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be ... Read More
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be scolded in the shower and have a toilet that didn't flush, having the plumber to the cabin twice to check the shower, only to be told there was nothing they could do as we were the last cabin on the run and when other people run cold water we lost ours. This is also sold as an all inclusive holiday but if you want certain drinks you have to upgrade your package we did do this, then when we went to dinner and asked for pink prosecco, we were told they didn't do this drink in this bar what the point of upgrading if you cant get the drink you want surely should be available in any bar. The food was ok nothing special but ok . Service could be a bit slow dinner sometimes being 2.5hrs . The cabin was clean but very noisy with the ship vibrations, and the air condition .The bathroom was poor with the shower being so grubby i wanted to wear flip flops . Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose to do this cruise as we has been advised that it was family friendly with loads of activities for a three year. Not the case. The ship itself although spotless is a bit tired - I know it has been refurbished but there are ... Read More
We choose to do this cruise as we has been advised that it was family friendly with loads of activities for a three year. Not the case. The ship itself although spotless is a bit tired - I know it has been refurbished but there are areas that are needing a bit of TLC for example the showers needing new screens and not just cleaned, toilet roll holder holes not filled in correctly etc We had a room with a balcony and it was big enough although limited space and storage for three. The first night we arrive the only place opened with the Market Place and that was very limited. In all the food was disappointing particularly if eating here. It is very limited at times and all you can get to drink is milk, water or beer. The other restaurants that we tried including the pasta, tapas and steak are nice and worth waiting on a table. The snack shack at the pool is ok although you soon get fed up with chips. Ice cream should be included in the cost. The entertainment for families particularly with babies and toddlers isn't what we thought. We ended up at the Squid and Anchor every night for a drink and the quiz. During the day there was only the children's club which had a splash pool and some activities. The gym and spa was good a bit of time out and very competitively priced. The pools are very very cold and quite deep along with the fact that children are only allowed in at certain times. It is a nightmare to get a sunbed and even though there is a 45min rule for leaving them unattended I never saw anyone implementing this. The children's pool is a joke and takes you away from the crowd insulating you from any adult company. We had booked trips prior to arrival. When we arrived one had been changed and we specifically asked if it was suitable for us and a pram. We were assured it was. To be honest it was awful we could have done it ourselves for a lot these and had more time to explore. All trips were overpriced and not worth it. There is a lot more I could write about including the rip off cost of Wi-Fi we is extortion but these are the main points. I am very disappointed in the cruise I think it is overpriced and not worth the money Read Less
Sail Date June 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
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
Sail Date May 2018
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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