52 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Cruise Reviews

The itinerary and time of year are main reasons we chose this cruise and it did not disappoint. The crew and staff all so kind, helpful and humorous and most importantly skilful whatever their role. Special thanks to Willy and his team ... Read More
The itinerary and time of year are main reasons we chose this cruise and it did not disappoint. The crew and staff all so kind, helpful and humorous and most importantly skilful whatever their role. Special thanks to Willy and his team who kept our spacious room so tidy and clean and yes the monkey towel sculpture hanging from a mirror did make us jump. We enjoyed our meals in Latitude 53 and the Market Place for snacks. The Italian restaurant Vista came highly recommended by other guests but we only had the chance to visit once as so popular. Embarkation and security checks took a while but disembarkation was straightforward. The only disappointment was slight problems with most of our trips but they did not spoil the enjoyment of the trip...for us but did for some . Plenty going on throughout the ship and we especially enjoyed the evening shows but they did come over as very loud and the music was all very much the same whatever show they were performing but nevertheless, some very talented musicians and dancers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was very good.We travelled to Southampton with Inter cruises who were very professional with no problems,but on arriving we had to queue to receive the luggage tags then again to get port side ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was very good.We travelled to Southampton with Inter cruises who were very professional with no problems,but on arriving we had to queue to receive the luggage tags then again to get port side with only one desk open even the ladies on the desk were complaining then again to get checked in where there was a "technical" problem with the computers-it took over 2 hours to get on board and it's the last thing you need when you've been travelling for 5 hours. We liked the ship with lots of space it was bright and clean.I booked our cabin 8004 as it looked bigger and we weren't disappointed it was huge.With Steward Prasetyo and team we were well looked after and nothing was too much trouble and surprised us with amazing towel sculptures. We had breakfast and lunch in the buffet and there was a good selection to please everyone,evening meal was in the main dining room and the meals were well cooked and beautifully presented again we were well looked after by Noel,Freddie and Vladlena? "The A Team" Entertainment was varied with something for everyone and we enjoyed going to the cinema a few times as well. Our favourite place for a drink was the Lounge after the show -a special mention for Alice who was a star. All the staff we encountered greeted you with a smile and they're all a credit to the company.We enjoyed daily announcements by Captain Peter -he's certainly got a sense of humour especially when explaining that we'd just got through a severe storm but now it 's just a storm-we were on deck 8 and the waves were hitting our window!! We enjoyed all the ports of call on this trip but again we were plagued with the dreaded queuing getting off and back on the ship Disembarkation was a breeze thank goodness very well organised We will certainly cruise with Marella again if the ports of call are what we want. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
As stated above ,this review is of 2 different cruises ,both from Newcastle ,to the Baltic sea on the 10th of August,with an immediate turn round on the 24th for another week around the Norwegian fjords,so if its overly long apologies in ... Read More
As stated above ,this review is of 2 different cruises ,both from Newcastle ,to the Baltic sea on the 10th of August,with an immediate turn round on the 24th for another week around the Norwegian fjords,so if its overly long apologies in advance. First of all,embarkation at Newcastle was not the perfect start for us. We arrived for the first shuttlebus from Newcastle station at 1145, to be told it was already full and the next one would be in an hour ,as there was a bus "missing".. Once at the port, checking in our luggage was fairly straightforward, there then followed a 50metre bus ride to a larger building where we waited a long time for our number to be called for boarding. The journey from our home in Sheffield took less time than all this. Our first impressions of the ship was that it had been partially, not fully, refurbished. The Atrium,shops and reception area were all brightness and bling, elsewhere the dominant colour was brown ,usually varnished wood, including most of the old furniture in the public areas, and the fittings in the cabin. We chose these cruises for their itineries, and in this case we were not disappointed. We had beautiful weather throughout the Baltic cruise, usually sunshine with low 20s temperatures, so in the majority of cases we did our own thing, eschewing museum visits and concentrated on outdoor activities .In Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki we took local boat trips with great city views. Marella provided a (good value) shuttle into Gothenburg ( which was mainly closed due to our early arrival and departure) and at Warnemünde we hired bikes to try and burn off some of the pounds gained on board. Along with most reviewers ,we felt St. Petersburg was the highlight, there we took a private tour for 2 days , very exhausting but well worth the money, with the advantage of a canal /river trip and early entry into various museums.This was specially good as otherwise we would have been queuing for hours! Our only disappointment was Tallinn, but this was because we were sharing the port with 3 other ships, all of which arrived simultaneously ,and the small capital was overwhelmed. So to the food.The Marketplace buffet had all the trappings of a cross-channel ferry, with a scrum and race for tables at breakfast time , but the quality was ok. The MDR (Latitude 53 ) had more or less the same menu but with waiter service and better wine. The menu changed each day. Best of all was the Vista Italian , only 2 different menus throughout the cruise , but top class, The only problem was that this soon became common knowledge and there was always a wait of up to an hour.. We found the Mediterranean Italian and Tapas both disappointing, and didn't try any of the speciality restaurants so can't comment there. Regarding entertainment and enrichment, this is where we felt Marella fell down and thought certain activities were inappropriate. The cruise was blessed with beautiful sailaways past islands and through archipelagoes. Was it necessary to have loud music and films on deck at these times? There was plenty of that to be had in the bars and cinemas, we would have preferred to sail away in peace and quiet, like in the sail -ins we usually missed due to early morning arrivals! Having said that, the music and games in the evening in the bars were fun, but the entertainment in the Broadway Show lounge (with the exception of the crew show) a bit so-so. We also felt Marella should have included lectures on board regarding the history and culture of the ports we were visiting, but all we got were talks about Baltic royalty, and a couple of shallow presentations from Destination Services who were simply trying to sell excursions. The staff were magnificent, and we'd give them 6 stars if we could. From the cabin staff, always there to help,bar staff serving drinks quickly and efficiently,to reception organising our transition from the 1st to the 2nd cruise.. There was only a slight problem in the restaurants, where service could sometimes be a bit too slow, or after a late start in Vista having 3 courses served in a gold medal winning time of 20 minutes. The 2nd cruise to the Fjords was only a week, but it was lovely to have the ship to ourselves in the 2-3 hours before the next group of passengers boarded, especially in the untypically warm Newcastle weather. There were more families with children this time, with pool safety regulations often being ignored, and bizarrely people who just wanted to drink all day ,which was a bit mystifying given the landscape. 2 of the ports here were tender ports, and Marella ,to our chagrin, always tendered people who had booked their excursions first. This meant in Olden, we arrived ashore too late to book anything locally. We used the ship's excursion in Geiranger, which was a long day, beautiful scenery but an amateurish guide.Not a patch on St.Pete. However, here the Norwegian authorities banned noisy sailaways. so instead we had classical music accompanying the fjord exits, which we found far more applicable. Indeed ,on one occasion we took our evening meal up on deck with us as the fjord slipped serenely by. Disembarkation back at Newcastle was a piece of cake compared to embarkation, and we got a train home an hour earlier than anticipated. Would we cruise again? Difficult to answer after all the adverse publicity the larger floating hotels have had, but Marella seems to pollute less than others, so its a possibility. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, wanted to see the north of iceland and fjords of Norway. This two week cruise from Newcastle was ideal. We had read of issues with embarkation at Newcastle with past Marella cruises so were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, wanted to see the north of iceland and fjords of Norway. This two week cruise from Newcastle was ideal. We had read of issues with embarkation at Newcastle with past Marella cruises so were prepared. We arrived (having spent the night in Newcastyle) by Taxi at about 12:00 noon and were dropped off as instructed by port officials at the 'red terminal building' with our cases. We waited in a queue for maybe 5 minutes before leaving our cases and recieving an envelope from the staff on duty, ,walked outside to the suttle bus and were taken to the main port terminal. We were then given cruise cards and asked to wait until called. We were priority so did not wait however those with us at that time 12:15 did not wait long before being processed and re-bussed to the ship. Our friends who were self drive and park took ages to get on board, they arrived at the parking at 13:00 and did not get on board until 15:00. So I would suugest arriving earlier to avoid a long wait. Disembarkation was easy. We had cabin 12031. Really good, modern and clean. Food on board was fine. Long waits for tables in Vista (italian) at peak times, paigers given out however they only reached as far as the adjacent bar, no issues if you could find a seat. This is a small bar with liuttle seating. Vista was good. MDR had no real wait but some queueing. Plenty of tables for two if needed but all (most) were very close to each other, Food here was hit and miss as was service, service at times in certain sections was very slow, sometimes without a smile however generally waiting staff tried hard and worked hard. We tried Surf and Turf, Asian Fustion and the Dinning Club , Surf and Turf was rushed and ordinary, steaks were OK but the atmosphere was lacking, we had so many waiters it was hard to keep track, Asain fusion was OK. Marco (in charge of this section) is so good and deserves a special mention. The Dinning Club although the most expensive was really really good, the night we ate there the food was to die for as good as any restaurant we have dined in over the last few years. Wiat staff on point, explained everything to you, service was not rushed. We met Stanley the chef and gave him 10 out 10. Its expensive however if you have special event on board just try it. We up graded the drinks package as we like real coffe ( no charge at the coffee pot), really enjoyed the whiskeys and gins in the whisky and gin bar and the fact that Fever tree tonic comes with this package, as does better wines and proper canned drinks. We were less keen on the lay out the ship-it did not flow from aft to stern. There is no bar near the Show lounge so unless you want the bottled beer or pre-poured wines you had to remember to get your drink befotre the show-no table service either in teh show lounge. Drinks were a little inconsistant-in indego some were good some were not as different mixers made different cocktails, some cokctails on the pool deck bar were undrinkable.Never had a real problem in delays getting served. Seats in the Indego lounge were at times hard to find as this was a cold weather cruise lots of people 'camped' for the day inside in an area to read not caring that others wanted to sit and listen to music , bands or do teh quizzes. Shows were not so good. Singers and dancers tried but the 'shows' did not really suit the audience. Previous Marella cruises had more 'professional looking shows. Some people were dismayed (given the continued controversy around Michael Jackson) that he 'won' the soul award. Maybe Marella should look at that one as despite his music he has become a controversial figure. Staff were as usual very friendly, they all speak and say hello and most do enjoy a chat. Our cabin stewrads were wonderful, always chatty and we had lots of towel animals. Some of the excurstions did seem a bit overpriced. We like to do our own thing however on this cruise due to the small nature of ports of call its not always possibnle.The Flam railway is very expensive for what it is, half and hour up the mountain (scenery is nice) a stop not quite at the top for awful coffe and a cold waffle and half an hour down again. Its very hyped however there is not much else to do in port. All in all we enjoyed the cruise, were happy with the ship, really happy with our chosen cabin and found teh food fine. We would use Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Iceland and Norway were on our bucket list so this cruise seemed the perfect way to tick them off. As destinations they didn’t disappoint and are both amazing places. We had sailed with Marella at Xmas in the Caribbean and selecting ... Read More
Iceland and Norway were on our bucket list so this cruise seemed the perfect way to tick them off. As destinations they didn’t disappoint and are both amazing places. We had sailed with Marella at Xmas in the Caribbean and selecting Marella again was an easy choice. This time departure was from Newcastle so no flights and extra luggage allowance. Departure was fine. It took a little while and there was some queues but overall not a problem and thankfully the rain kept off. We had inside cabins on Deck 9. Excellent fit out with a good bathroom and shower. Cabin stewards attentive and helpful as were all the staff onboard. Cabins serviced twice daily too. The ship itself is good. There is a good selection of restaurants. Some you have to pay extra for but there is enough choice and variety if you don’t want that. Food quality good throughout. One shortfall is a general shortage of indoor seating which can create challenges when the weather is not so good. Bars excellent as is the range of all inclusive drinks.. there’s enough variety and choice.. if you do fancy an up market brand for a change then you can pay as you go for those adding it to your cabin bill. This works well and saves you going for the drinks upgrade package. The prices are reasonable too. Entertainment was a mixed bag. The shows and tribute act in the Broadway lounge were generally excellent and to a good standard. They certainly had the family looking forward to the next nights show. Otherwise it was a hit and miss affair with bands quizzes etc mainly catering for an older audience. This did get wearing after a while and we did crave something more up to date and modern after a few days. This was a particular issue for my teenagers who continually joked about this being a cruise for “old duffers”. This wasn’t the case although this perception can only have been exacerbated by the frequent and somewhat petty gripes of some of the more senior patrons on the boat. Movies were good with some up to date titles. Outdoor cinema was chilly at night so good that blankets were provided. It was the destinations that made this trip special however. Orkney - We took the tour to Skara Brae - A must for history buffs with a knowledgeable guide. Really excellent. Kirkwall was also fun to explore and there’s enough to do and see here. Aukeyreri was jaw dropping and the cascading waterfalls either side as we entered the fjord were amazing. We took the tour to Mvaytyn baths. This was a long ride on a coach .. over an hour but we got so see some of this fantastic landscape. The bath itself is quite an experience and highly recommended. The town is also fun to explore with some good shops. Isafjordur was a gem. There is so little there at first glance . I can imagine some people only spent an hour ashore. A helpful guide in tourist information provided an excellent walking map and a few hours later we were up amongst the ski slopes with a vista that rivals anything I’ve ever seen. Reykjavík is a funky place with lots going on. We self booked onto a whale watching tour which was excellent and we saw plenty of minke whales feeding. 2 days at sea then into Norway - Flam is so pretty. Everyone heads for the railway and it gets very busy . We didn’t pre-book so couldn’t ride. Instead we hiked and climbed up to see Brekfossen waterfalls which was spectacular. The old town of Flam is also worth an explore .Good walking here and plenty to see. Bergen is excellent and all the key sights are worth your time . Funicular provides great views and fish market is amazing. Eidfjord is also pretty and there is an excellent circular walk which takes a couple of hours if you take it slowly. But not much else other than that at the port. It seems this is a place to look at excursions or car hire. Haugesund was surprisingly fun. Great walks up the coast provided stunning views. Great town and shops too. Kristiansand was a wet day . There is a good nature park to explore at the back of the town and this town had some excellent shops also. Overall - The destinations provided an amazing holiday. The Marella Explorer is a good ship with an excellent crew. There’s little to complain about really and it’s good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted to visit the Baltic region and the itinerary looked good Embarkation was very easy and well organised. We had a short wait for our luggage but took the time to explore the ship. We dined in all the restaurants with the ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Baltic region and the itinerary looked good Embarkation was very easy and well organised. We had a short wait for our luggage but took the time to explore the ship. We dined in all the restaurants with the exception of the sushi bar.and found the food to be fair to good in the market place but we preferred latitude 53 and the supplement restaurants (surf and turf, kora - la and the dining club) where the food was absolutely amazing. The only small niggle was that there wasn't much information on the ports to allow you to go it alone. We had done research before we left but would have appreciated maps and guidance from destination services. We booked with a Russian tour company (TJ TRAVEL ) for the 2 day stop over in Saint Petersburg. There appeared to be a bit of overkill about the need for visas and the potential problems that could arise in Russia unless a Tui excursion was booked. We had an absolutely fabulous time with TJ TRAVEL with no problems at all. We attend the ballet with Tui which was lovely and fairly priced As always the crew were all very helpful and always smiling despite their heavy workload Overall the cruise was busy. We were blessed with good weather so managed a bit of sun bathing an a dip in the pool. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Check in at Newcastle went pretty smooth,Considering it's not a cruise terminal but a working port, Our cabin was 9148,was excellent,huge balcony,with hammock,sun lounger,2 chairs & a table,which was not quite ready when we got ... Read More
Check in at Newcastle went pretty smooth,Considering it's not a cruise terminal but a working port, Our cabin was 9148,was excellent,huge balcony,with hammock,sun lounger,2 chairs & a table,which was not quite ready when we got there,but our steward did let us hang my wife's dresses in 2 dress bags,& our coats up on the wall hangers,to save carrying them around for an hour or so,When we returned an hour later,the dresses had gone,the cabin steward denied ever letting us in,then couldn't understand what we were trying to explain that 6 dresses had gone from our cabin,On our way to reception I just happened to glance into the cabin stewards room (which was open & ajar) & there was all the dresses & coats,dumped on the floor,To say that we were unhappy is an understatement to say the least,We went for a cuppa to calm down before go to reception,After we did calm down,We decided to let the matter drop,We didn't want to see the poor steward getting into trouble,or worse.There are 2 bands on board Rhythm who are very good,Girl sounds like Stevie Nicks,The Beats also very good,guest acts were very good with the exception of the "Comedian" who was absolutely dire,Got to be the worst I've ever seen,I couldn't believe the amount of people who walked out of the theatre,Don't know how he makes a living from it,BUT he can certainly hold a note,What a singer.Theater cast were also excellent.Surf & Turf & Kora La are well worth that little bit extra for a different dining experience,Not worth the extra for premium drinks as all we wanted was the all inclusive menu,Which ends at 02:00 hrs,But they did announce it in the club,The silent disco is a MUST,Hilarious. Overall a good cruise & good itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our first cruise for 20 years My aim is to help people but I’ve got to be honest We were a bit worried about boarding after some reviews we read but both boarding and departing the ship was done very professionally Cabin and ... Read More
Our first cruise for 20 years My aim is to help people but I’ve got to be honest We were a bit worried about boarding after some reviews we read but both boarding and departing the ship was done very professionally Cabin and rest of ship was spotlessly clean best room cleaner I’ve ever had and I’ve traveled a lot Cabin number 10111 nice balcony with hammock etc The ships staff ie waiters bartenders cleaners etc all round the ship were fantastic and extremely friendly Got to give special mention to barmen in Squid and Anchor Kesauan , Cooper and Rade at the gin bar and two waitresses who don’t know how to stop smiling Anna and Mary Food quality was excellent everywhere We ate a few times in specialty restaurants the food and wine taster in the Dining Club is a must they treat you like royalty However I think the prices are too dear on top of all inclusive and to charge at the Tapas bar is a joke On the same subject we upgraded to premier and it more than paid for itself with special guns and cocktails and also coffee but I think it’s petty to charge for coffees Thought overall entertainment was a disappointment I expected better The groups were ok but not top turns had much better entertainment in 4 star hotels The main show group were great dancers but only a few girls had voices and none of the boys Only two one off acts a George Michael tribute and a comedian who’s late show was really funny I can only comment on excursions that we made Skagen No need for a paid trip it’s a nice walk with shops and cafes Kreil We shared a taxi with friends to the U boat and Navy Museum they’re situated in a beautiful seaside resort really enjoyed this Tallin Guided tour highlights of Talin really good guide and a interesting tour of a beautiful city St Petersburg Two day tour Completely comprehensive and intense tour of surely one of the worlds most beautiful cities I think this tour is a must but it is tiring Helsinki Short bus trip to a marina city Here’s a great tip after the tiring Russian trip we found a great way of seeing Helsinki There’s a 4D cinema that does a fun trip round Helsinki and we tied this in with a ride round Finland totally recommend this Warnemunde Extremely popular German seaside resort We walked around for couple hours nice shops Stockholm Went to ABBA Museum Not really in mood for city tour after that so an hour walk to ship The cruise in and out of Stockholm is five hours of unbelievable island beauty Copenhagen Had to see Little Mermaid only ten minutes from ship had a walk round park area for two hours Beware Pickpockets Last night of the cruise we spent in Sqid and Anchor great night it was like New Years Eve Overall I loved the friendliness of an all British Cruise and will definitely do more but hope for better class of entertainment Steve Middlesbrough Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for its itinerary and the dates it went on as we had a very limited time window to go away in. We have been with Marella before, a few years ago, and really enjoyed our last cruise around the Adriatic on a ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for its itinerary and the dates it went on as we had a very limited time window to go away in. We have been with Marella before, a few years ago, and really enjoyed our last cruise around the Adriatic on a smaller ship . We are a fit and healthy couple in our late 40s and early 50s and travelled as a solo couple, no children or friends with us..although we made plenty of friends on board. I am very surprised on reading the reviews on here how negative some people are about the Explorer and its staff. We embarked at Newcastle and didn't have to wait too long before boarding, and I would say we were probably there at peak time. There were seats to sit on and drinks to be had , we merely had to wait for our number to be called. The same goes for disembarkation, which went very smoothly and was very well organised especially when you consider the amount of people Marella has to disembark from the ship. We were told a time slot and that was in fact the time we disembarked, with time to have a farewell breakfast in the restaurant beforehand. The ship was bigger than the last one we went on and at first we weren't sure about it. The layout is a little confusing but once we were used to it we found our way about pretty well. I would say we were amongst the younger people on the ship although we are not young, the passengers were predominately older than us, in our late 40s. Our cabin was very quiet but we never bother with a balcony , just a window, and we were on deck 4 in the middle. We didn't pay extra for a specific cabin and I think were lucky as some passengers we spoke to did suffer with noise in their cabin. We did feel a very slight bit of vibration when the engines were put to full power, but the Captain also mentioned they were having trouble with a clutch on one of the engines. In my opinion engine noise on a ship is perhaps to be expected, it' isn't a hotel on dry land, it's a moving ship powered by engines on the ocean! Our cabin was very stable in the high seas, and the North Sea did get a bit turbulent on our voyage! Space wise, we thought our cabin was big enough and it had a lovely big window We had drop down bunk beds too so I think it may have been family cabin. Plenty of wardrobe space and hangers...always a big plus in my book! Hairdryer worked well, there was a kettle and cups and teabags/coffee/milk were replenished at least once a day. Toilet rolls were also kept topped up by our steward so we had at least one in reserve and usually more! Seating....I am amazed that people have mentioned a lack of seating. Both us, and other passengers who have been on other Marella ships, thought there was plenty of seating to be had, and in addition a plethora of sun beds...which pleased me as I hate having to worry about getting a seat/sunbed. We could always find seats somewhere...might not have been your first choice but again, as I say, we were there for the itinerary and voyage, not for a good seat in the lounge, We had a nice cabin to sit in too, with a television. Other people who had been on different Marella ships told us some of them DO suffer from a lack of seating, particularly those with a very large central atrium, which might look impressive but takes away from seating areas. We didn't use the pool but it's a reasonable size for the ship. The leaving party could get a bit loud, so loud it was distorted at times, but again, you could get away from it on other decks with sunbeds and it only lasted half an hour. We did watch one outdoor film in the pool area one sea day and as it was a bit nippy on deck a couple of members of staff came round with fleece blankets. Now that's personal customer care! Other areas such as the Squid and Anchor , Bar 53, the Lounge, Indigo were all nice areas to sit in. If you couldn't get a seat in one you could get one in another. Cleanliness of the ship.....the staff were always cleaning on the stairs which have glass sides. In fact they seemed to clean all the time, although our cabin steward could have vacuumed our cabin perhaps a little better....but he did keep us topped up on tea bags, milk and loo rolls as I mentioned so that is more important to us! Public toilets in the ship were always clean as was our personal one. Food...the food was excellent, top notch. We didn't bother paying for the additional restaurants such as the Sushi or Surf and Turf but friends did and raved about them. For us the food in the dining room where we ate every evening was excellent. Service was pretty good too. Someone commented there were more tables for 2 than on other ships, although you could choose to share bigger tables. The dining is flexi in the main restaurant as it you turn up and sometimes wait a few minutes to be seats, but in the Italian, Vista and the Tapas you have to book but it was easy to do so and provided you did it in advance there was plenty of choice. You could turn up at the |Italian and book but might have to wait half an hour or so in the bar with a buzzer, which went off t=hen the table was free. We ate in the Tapas bar, the Italian, the main restaurant and the buffet Market place, although didn't eat in the latter in the evening. Portions were just right, everything was hot and water and wine were kept topped up as needed. If the water was a bit slow to be refilled at busy times (this happened only once) you only need ask a waiter and it gets topped up very quickly. When you consider the amount of people they are serving they do a simply amazing job. Again, it is a ship, and if the food in the Market Place is a bit samey, it's still good and a lot of it is baked on ship. They don't re stock with food and ingredients during the trip, it is all taken on board at Newcastle. Staff...the majority of the staff were lovely, happy, polite and willing to go the extra mile. There was the odd one or two which weren't, I can only agree with other reviewers on that, compared to the other Marella ship we went on where all the staff we encountered were bouncy, happy and friendly. However, it is a new ship to the fleet and a lot of the staff were very new so perhaps not a very tight team yet and have yet to settle. We found the odd...and I do mean odd in a large team, waiter perhaps a bit terse, and there were a couple staff on the security team as you go in who were a little terse and rude, one woman in particular. I realise they are on security but the security staff on our other ship were always smiling and customer friendly A please and thank you and a smile is just natural courtesy, although to be honest it could be a culture difference too. So...onto a couple more negative points about the ship which hopefully will get sorted our and certainly wouldn't put us off travelling on it. Air con...far too strong especially in the cabins. Was actually making people ill , and I suffered dreadfully from a dry throat, a bad chest , a stuffy head and dry hair and skin. Many people complained of this and there didn't seem to be a way to turn it down as the controls didn't seem to make a lot of difference. The shows were disappointing compared to the shows we had seen 3 or 4 years ago on a Marella cruise. Then they were West End quality, now more like school show, although some of them were better than others. Again, new staff, new troupe and I was told a different (cheaper?!) company supplying them so not as polished and together as they could be. Also in some shows we felt it was done on the cheap, lack of costumes and stage back drops and equipment. The best shows for us were the Rock one, the Soul one (which I didn't think I'd like..although Id have to say I didn't think all the songs were soul but who cares) the songs from the Musicals and Cogs. I didn't really understand Cogs...it was a very loose story, but the costumes and general stage dressing was fabulous and the songs pretty good. Although Marella, please sort out your sound and mikes....they are on too loud and are distorted...the balance is wrong! Cost of the excursions is ,as usual, a little high but on a par with other cruise companies. We tend to research before we go and do our own if possible. Explorer...you need to increase the cycle tours as they were very popular and difficult to get on to. We managed to do one as someone cancelled and we were on the reserve list, it was fabulous, good knowledgeable guides, easy pace for us and for those who didn't cycle there was the option of the amazing e-bikes (with a motor to help pedalling) We didn't use Marella for any excursions except the bikes and went with TJ Travel for St Petersburg, a 2 day tour. Talking to others we definitely did the right thing as there was no queuing for us, local guides, a better itinerary and a smaller group equipped with the hearing boxes and ear pieces. We notice Marella don't give you much advice about where to catch buses etc now when you land somewhere; they used to the day before on the cruise news. Probably because they would rather you did an excursion. however, as we had researched before going it didn't really affect us. Finally, be aware that although Yoga etc is advertised, it is available but you have to pay for it. The gym however is free and pretty good for a ship. It's certainly an experience on a treadmill in a rolling sea with 50 mile an hour winds! Finally, although yes there was origami and water painting to be done it was self led, not tutored, So all in all we liked Explorer, it is a reasonably priced cruise ship if you want to cruise and see places you may not have done otherwise and we certainly wouldn't hesitate to use it again, particularly if Marella tweak the areas I've mentioned! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Very enjoyable but the weather spoilt it a little, but being in the Baltics it can be expected, the ship itself it perfect except for when the weather is bad there are a minimum of bars due to the outside bars not being open. The lounge in ... Read More
Very enjoyable but the weather spoilt it a little, but being in the Baltics it can be expected, the ship itself it perfect except for when the weather is bad there are a minimum of bars due to the outside bars not being open. The lounge in the evening gets very ful, if you miss the theatre you will get a seat, the indigo exactly the same packed especially after the shows are finished as for the Mediterranean during days at sea, worse than tying to get a sunbed in a note,, simply packed with oldies sound asleep taking up space, my opinion if you want to sleep all day you have a cabin, let someone else enjoy the comfort and have a drink.the food overall was excellent nothing to complain about in that department, tries attitude 5e a couple of times and felt satisfied but I prefer the buffet, in the buffet I had to have a word with the top guy regards condiments always empty, its simple enough for someone as part of kitchen/restaurant duties to go around every other day and check each condiment, simple organisation. The staff through out the ship are excellent they work such long hours but are always laughing and joking Ben and Marabell in the lounge, perfect all the lads and lasses in Indigo excellent to many to mention, days at sea entertainment, pathetic the entertainment staff are getting paid on those days for nothing, the only ones that seem to be doing anything are the quiz masters in the Sqiud n Anchor. Resident singers, not bad but not perfect seen better on other Marella ships. Overall experience, my wife and I , sister in law and brother loved it now thinking of booking August in Norway cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to experience the beauty of Norway and the Midnight Sun Cruise fitted the bill perfectly. Port of Tyne is only a 60 min car drive away from home so it was very convenient for us. First time with Marella (TUI) having been ... Read More
We wanted to experience the beauty of Norway and the Midnight Sun Cruise fitted the bill perfectly. Port of Tyne is only a 60 min car drive away from home so it was very convenient for us. First time with Marella (TUI) having been P&O cruisers before. Overall a good experience and we would recommend this cruise, especially for beginners. But don’t expect to meet young people on this cruise. We would have scored this a 5 if it not for the very poor embarkation process. The best part of this cruise was the whole crew, they were absolutely fabulous. Friendly, fun, engaging wherever you were in the ship, and whatever they were doing. They are a credit to the company and made the cruise for us and the main reason we would return. Captain John was a particular delight despite some unforeseen berthing changes resulting in more use of tenders than planned. His Q&A session was one of our highlights. The ship is a good size but sometimes felt like there were a touch too many passengers as queues for dinner were a regular feature (Latitude) and securing a seat in the Lounge for a drink in the evenings or a table for breakfast in the Market Place (buffet) often a challenge. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 mid ships, a little tight on space and storage and a little tired here and there but fine for our needs. It was clean and very well maintained by our steward. We wouldn’t choose this deck again as we were below the running track and could hear some over enthusiastic joggers early in the morning (at 6 on holiday?) stomping their way around. We had an all inclusive package which worked well for us. The food ranged from superb (Dining Club, Kora La and Surf and Turf - additional cover charges), very good (Latitude and Mediterranean) acceptable (Market Place buffet). Best place for drink quality was The Lounge where the bar staff were brilliant. For me the entertainment was mixed. The Broadway Show Lounge shows were either very good or a little working mans club. Some really good singers.dancers and some not so good singers.dancers. I’m sorry but I thought all the resident bands were poor. However, the crew show in the theatre was excellent entertainment. We purchased the Spa pass, which was good value for the money as we were able to come and go as we pleased for the whole cruise. A good place to unwind and relax. The Horizon Sauna was excellent for watching the world go by and recommended for departures. They keep numbers down to a manageable level so you had good room to use the facilities. One morning they didn’t have some of the rooms switched on as we were in port, a little annoying but a really pleasant place with friendly staff. No complaint at all about the service in the bars, restaurants or cabin all very attentive and we had so much fun with the staff they were brilliant. Excursions we went on gave us exactly what we wanted, a real experience of the stunning beauty of Norway. They were well managed, had a good variety of interesting visits and locations and the guides were excellent. One of the tours was too rushed with a 15 minute visit to a beautiful waterfall and only 20 minutes to eat a 2 course meal as we had a ferry to catch. Disembarkation was fine, made easier for us as we were in the last group to leave the ship. That was a pleasant experience seeing most of the public areas empty and quiet. Embarkation was terrible and poorly organised. You park your car then have to walk your cases up a steepish car park, dodging the cars that were parking to a big queue outside a marquee at the top of the car park. Unlike Southampton, they wouldn’t take any hand luggage like suit carriers/flight bags. Then onto a bus for a 2 minute ride to the terminal, where more queues to collect paperwork and then across to the other side of the terminal to another queue to collect tickets and go through security to another coach that took 15 mins to load for another.2 minute trip to the ship. Anyone with some logistical/organisational skills could make this process so much easier, come on Marella sort this out its dreadful. So to summarise, first class crew, pleasant ship, functional cabin, good food, good soda, ok entertainment, superb service, good excursions, beautiful county, older passenger demographic, terrible embankment and better disembarkation.....would we go with Marella again, yes but mainly for the crew and to explore the Baltic. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We always choose our cruises by itinerary, not cruise line and this one did not disappoint. Combination of fjords and the Arctic with the 24 hour daylight was perfect for us, Marella only do this route once a year and not many other cruise ... Read More
We always choose our cruises by itinerary, not cruise line and this one did not disappoint. Combination of fjords and the Arctic with the 24 hour daylight was perfect for us, Marella only do this route once a year and not many other cruise lines do trips into the Arctic Circle. First the good points - some people are a bit sniffy about Marella (Butlins at sea etc) but loads of positives for us. First the size of ship, we prefer the smaller ones and the Explorer we found to be light and airy, especially the Mediterranean lounge which houses the fab tapas restaurant and the pizza/pasta in the evenings at no extra cost with spectacular views. All in all, the food we ate was certainly on a par with any other ship we have been on. The extra cost Surf and Turf and Kora Lai were top notch, as were all the staff (and we include the fabulous quiet bar 'Aperitif staff' just outside these venues as well - our bar of choice - mainly because you could get Fever tree tonics and Bottega processo on the premium upgraded all inclusive which for us at just over £7 a day we considered good value). The regular staff (bar staff, cleaners, cabin staff ) all great. Now the Marella entertainment and customer facing staff could take a few lessons from the regular staff. Even spoke to Calvin James (head of staff?) ref some points but even he didn't give us much eye contact and generally didn't give the impression that he was being very attentive to our conversation. The entertainment from our point was very ' samey' - silent disco brilliant but mix it up abit and theme it eg have a soul theme v the 80'st,lost is novelty after a few times but with a few changes it could be so much better, you have the staff. Again some of the staff seemed to turn their smiles on and off. And only so many times you can watch Bohemian Rhapsody........And a bit more variety on the at sea days would be good, as we were in the Arctic Circle it is hardly sunbathing weather. But we did have a concern with the comedian that was flown in and thanks to head of entertainment that met us to talk about our issues. Thank you for that. If you do this cruise next year just be aware that as it a one off cruise , go with an open mind. Weather etc can affect it - we were blessed with the most fab weather. But some of the ports required us to tender when originally we were due to be harbourside, so if you have mobility issues, be warned. Also when we did use the destinations staff, on a few of the trips it was very poorly arranged. Alot of waiting around in the cold, and we were one of the youngest on board (we are 58!) . No wonder we choose to do our own thing in port if we can, not good value at all. Cabin was great, proper shower door and huge balcony, had a hammock, sunbed and 2 chairs and a table (extra large balcony cabin!). Maybe a few funky toiletries would be nice and the towels could have been a lot fluffier! But all in all, no issues. So would be cruise Marella again? If the itinerary was right, yes we would. As an ex - Tui member of staff, I know you can do much better, it won't take alot to sharpen up staff attitudes and better organised excursions, lets give the big boys a run for the money! And please keep the middle sized ships, they can get into all the smaller ports that those monsters can't! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were ... Read More
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were brilliant. Positives: - Drop bags at check in and don't see them again until you're at your cruise ship cabin - Great airplane staff who can't do enough for you - Decent food and service on plane - Coach Transfer to ship waiting upon arrival and you're whisked off without going through all the hassle of the airport - OK sized cabin - Well stocked buffet with nice fresh (mostly) salads and plenty of choice, although does get a bit samey by end of 2 weeks - The free A La Carte restaurants of decent standard with good service - the paid-for ones were OK but you wouldn't miss much if you didn't visit those - Informal dresscode which was great (wish I knew this before I lugged a tux and a suit halfway round the world lol) - Impressive refurbed show lounge with comfy seats not-bad acts - Good selection of beers wines and spirits included - Great housekeeping staff who cleaned our cabin TWICE a day! - Friendly Captain who is often seen mingling with the passengers on the ship and enjoyed his morning announcements with the odd pun thrown in for good measure - No tips Negatives: - The staff must get commission for upgrading you to premium as they are on you as soon as you order your first drink. However, there's a decent selection of drinks included anyway and I reckon I only really made my money back on the premium drinks I had - Coffee from the machines on the ship is a bit naff but there is a coffee shop where you can get decent coffee for a premium. This is supposedly included if you have paid for premium however if you go before 10am you still have to pay! Come on TUI you must have a £billion turnover you can do without this penny-pinching - Watch out for the Narcissistic Cruise Director. Loves himself so much he even has his own TV channel featuring himself mainly, along with staff from different areas on ship. You'll just be starting to relax by the pool when his face will suddenly appear on the big screen and he'll be trying to flog you some SPA treatments or some other product they are finding difficult to shift - If you go to Indigo Bar give yourself plenty of time to get a drink. In fact take a drink with you from another bar to drink while you're waiting to be served a drink. They offer ridiculous cocktails like a 'Bathtub' that is a mini porcelain bathtub filled with spirits and mixers for 4 people - however only the head barman knows how to make it and it takes him half an hour. They call themselves the 'bar wizards' - Harry Potter morelike Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star ... Read More
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star cruise with modern decor , good food , a lively friendly atmosphere and great staff to look after you then this is the one you should book. Flight on TUI dreamliner was very good both ways and really liked that your luggage was delivered straight to your cabin from the airport on arrival and collected from your cabin and sent to the airport on departure. Large balcony cabin had lots of storage space and walk in shower and was kept very clean by cabin staff who always went above and beyond to ensure that you had a great experience.It was my wife's birthday whilst on board and they decorated the room with banners,balloons and a special card from all the staff. Every time you passed a member of staff they were always friendly and polite. Food was good but was excellent in the ones where you paid a supplement and well worth the extra,we bought a trio deal which was good value. Drinks choice was very good with all the popular beers and spirits included so no need to book the premium package. Service at the bars was very quick and you did not need to leave your seat if you wished as drinks waiters were constantly available. Entertainment was not west end standard but was varied and entertaining and always a great night in the sqid and anchor pub. We visited 10 different ports with the tender used only once and saw some great islands. We booked some TUI excursions and did some others ourselves and although ship excursions were not overpriced think doing it yourself via local taxis is better value and a better overall experience. On the down side TUI need to get their act together on their systems as this is having a detrimental effect on the booking experience. If you pay for a certain cabin then you should be allocated it or be able to cancel or get substantial compensation. We went with another couple and it took us ages at the store to book cabins next to each other which we paid extra for only for our friends to be told 2 days before we went that they had been moved to a different cabin due to double booking. On talking to other people on board this had happened to a lot of people. Think overall and especially on board it was a great, good value holiday experience and we would go again but please TUI get your act together and update your systems. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive ... Read More
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive crew & FOC meals/refreshments. The transfer from the airport to ship was also very smooth & embarkation quick & efficient. Our luggage was with us within the hour which allowed us to explore the ship. The ship, as many people have mentioned, is merely new to Marella & is about 20yrs old. That said, the fact that she is not a new “block of flats” on a hull adds to the appeal & we were very impressed with the look, feel & layout. Yes, there are a few signs of age, but on the whole one could have no complaints. Word is she is going back into dock late this year to have further improvements made which shows the investment & faith TUI have in her. We booked a cabin with a large balcony & I have to admit that the hammock, sun lounger & chairs were well used, especially for an afternoon nap before food & drink! The cabin was spacious enough with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was far better than experienced on the Dream, with walk in showers a bonus. We experienced no issues with either the toilet or A/C & the cabin was kept spotless by Romric, a gem of a cabin steward! Make use of the plug for the kettle & take a double European adaptor, it helped a great deal when charging phones & i-pads through out the night! The food & drink on board was bountiful, lets say that, & to a very high standard in general, especially Vista, the Mediterranean tapas & Italian pizza & pasta eateries. The breakfasts in the self service buffet were outstanding, but where the previous contributor, LHMS, got his fresh, sweet orange juice from remains a mystery to me & my wife! The service in the MDR was sluggish at times with portions a little on the slim side, but no real issues. We tried all the surcharge restaurants & found them all excellent. Take a tip, if you are on a 2 wk cruise, book 3 for £75 & save!!! We upgraded to premium AI during the second week, mainly for the Coffee Port (which is excellent) the gin & whisky bar (in the Squid & Anchor) & for my fix of Strongbow Dark Fruits (sad!). There was no issue at all with the choice or service of the standard AI, in fact, the attitude & enthusiasm shown by all the bar & waiting staff could not be faulted, especially in S&A & Indigo. Yes, some fellow cruisers over-indulged & perhaps were a little loud & irritating, but so what, they are allowed to & i didn’t have their headaches the following morning! We attended 7 shows in the Broadway show lounge during the 2 weeks & thoroughly enjoyed all but 1, which is a pretty solid hit rate. I’m not sure what previous contributors expect for their money, the West End it isn’t, but they are great ways to spend an hour being entertained. The ports of call were all diverse, especially the difference between the volcanic ABC islands & the more traditional Caribbean islands of BVI, St. Kitts & Genada. Every island was welcoming & we were never over-hassled by the locals selling tours, when haggling over price is half of the fun! We always booked when we got off the ship. It’s cheaper & less “sanitised”! The whole experience was topped off by Captain Peter Harris. The guy has the driest of wits, is very approachable but there is no doubt he is in charge. Very re-assuring. 5/5 the Explorer isn’t, but she is a lot better than a 4 & we will be booking the Far East or Cannaries for 2020. One last plea. TUI, look to a loyalty scheme. Other lines are moving more towards the offer Marella exceed at & are becoming increasingly attractive!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels ... Read More
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels changed etc. We ate in the Market Place buffet restaurant on our first evening which, as with other Marella cruise ships, had very average fare. Our intention was to eat in the main dining room, Latitude 53, for the rest of our cruise. Oh dear. What a letdown. The service was appalling both nights we went and didn't go back. Therefore, we were limited for choice. As for the Broadway show lounge, we found the entertainment rather poor compared to other cruises we have been on. And the two guest acts - "comedians" - were woefullly dire. But the sun shone (mainly) and we didn't allow the downsides to mar our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our third Caribbean cruise with TUI but the first with Marella. The first two were on the Dream and the Celebration. Marella have brought a more commercial side to TUI which is not necessarily for the best. A sense of greed has ... Read More
This was our third Caribbean cruise with TUI but the first with Marella. The first two were on the Dream and the Celebration. Marella have brought a more commercial side to TUI which is not necessarily for the best. A sense of greed has crept in which is a shame. Having said that, we still enjoyed our one week cruise very much and have booked again for next year. In this review, I aim to review each element briefly with areas where improvement is necessary highlighted. Flight Departures and transfers - all very easy. The bus we were loaded into at Barbados to take us to the ship was too small for the passengers and luggage being transferred. MARELLA ISSUE. Flight out - very comfortable, good service and food Return Flight - I was in seat 27C. This should be removed. I was bashed at least 100 times during the night flight, therefore no sleep. The breakfast was horrible. Embarkation at the Port - very simple, takes a while. Met by Captain and senior crew. Drink available and Bajan music being played. Toilet nearby if required! Once you are through this process, you can go straight to your room. Our luggage arrived quickly. Ship generally - the Captain advised us that it is a vessel, not a ship! The Explorer is in good condition generally with some areas in need of refurbishment soon. Overall very pleasant. Crew generally - all very polite, courteous and helpful. The Captain was very informative and told dreadful jokes. We didn't take to the Cruise Director. Reception - generally very helpful. One lad never gave us a straight answer to any question which became a bit annoying. Wifi - if you wish to contact relatives about your safe arrival, do this before you get on board. Wifi charges when we were on board were absolutely disgraceful. MARELLA GREED. Cabin - we had an internal cabin on Deck 5 - it was a very good size with excellent storage and a really good shower. Electric sockets were poor - ours worked intermittently which we reported. Our cabin steward was very polite, helpful and thorough - a very clean room throughout the cruise. Water - there is a water point on each floor. You have a carafe in your room which you can use to fill kettles, bottles etc All inclusive package - totally adequate unless you like speciality drinks. Unless you have the Premium package, Marella seem to have made getting a coffee more difficult than necessary. Some bars will make you one, others won't and the Mediterranean bar wouldn't make us a coffee but would make us an Irish coffee???!! Bar staff were in short supply at times at all the bars but with the exception of one barman in the Squid and Anchor who took exception to me asking him regularly to reduce the amount of ice he used in cocktails, they were all very polite and helpful. Restaurants The Market Place (buffet) - great for breakfast with hot and cold options. The cumberland sausages and bacon warrant specific praise. Lunch and Evening Meals were not as good and seemed to lack choice, imagination and quality. We used the Snack Shack for lunch if we were on the the ship. Latitude 53 and Vista - less quantity, better quality, excellent service. Our favourites. Mediterranean Tapas - one specific meal carries a cover charge. Other than that, the food was delicious but did lack quantity. This was the only meal I left hungry. Service was excellent. Mediterranean Italian - nice food but service was below the standard of the other restaurants. The staff never really made an effort - they seemed aloof. Other restaurants - carry a cover charge of circa £25. Entertainment - as we have specific involvement in Song / Dance, we will limit the comments in this section. The main Auditorium is sizeable and well designed but will need decoration soon. The rake of the seating does mean a tall person can block the view of those behind quite badly. The professional dancers are very good, the female singers are better than the male ones but need to stop "screaming". The comedians (Harper Brothers) were excellent. There are other singers etc in various bars during the day. None of them left us wanting more. However, we really enjoyed The Collective, a Bajan Band who mostly sang during the day by the pool. Bingo - expensive, short games and poor prizes. We only played once. Photographers - pains in the backside!! Swimming Pool and Sunbeds - as would be expected, the pool is small but well used. There are a significant number of sunbeds over 4 decks with only Deck 11 offering shade. Despite this, the sunbed hogs are out early to stake their claim and keep them with limited use. However, the crew do make some effort to remove towels where beds are unused for 45 minutes. A good start but needs to be more stringent. Like the bars, you can have drinks served to your table / sunbed. Excursions - generally Marella try to pack you into small buses. MARELLA ISSUE. Curacao - we went on the Sea & See Island Tour. Beautiful Island with a stunning Town. The tour took us around the island to a Liquor Factory followed by a trip on a boat with a hull that makes you think you are in a submarine. You see a lot of smaller fish BUT this is NOT for those who suffer with sea sickness or claustrophobia. The bus we were in was cramped. There is an ice cream shop near the ship - excellent ice cream. Tour 7/10 Bonaire - we went on the Palm Beach Reef Snorkel. These comments are based on the fact that we don't know what Bonaire beaches are generally like. We were driven in a multi coloured children's bus, with no legroom at all, by a suicidal version of Lewis Hamilton and no guide, to a "Building Site by the Sea". There, we were dropped off and left with the people who run the snorkelling, the leader of whom was not exactly a people person. The sunbeds available offered no protection from the sun and the entry point to the water was across rocks and stones unless you were lucky enough to find the odd sandy patch. The only saving grace was the lady guide who took us snorkelling - she made every effort to ensure we enjoyed it. The fish we saw were only small. This tour was poor. From a snorkelling perspective, this is for novices only. Tour 2/10. Grenada - we went on the Highlights of St George's Tour - other than again being cramped in the bus, this was a very enjoyable tour with an excellent guide. Tour 8/10 St Lucia - we went on the Ultimate Sea and Land. This was an expensive and long but interesting tour of which 5.5 hours were spent cramped on a bus followed by 2 hours on a cramped catamaran (4 bus loads got on it). We had to stand for the first half an hour. The food at lunch time was at best average with water dispensers offering warm water!! The highlights were a visit to the Sulphur Springs and the chance to have a swim off the catamaran. Tour 5/10 Transfer to our Hotel - well organised other than a lady in the Port who seemed totally confused about everything. You are required to take your suitcases from the port building to the coaches for transfer to your hotel. Would we do it again? - Yes, we have already booked. We just hope that Marella improves some of its current failings and penny pinching. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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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