6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
10 Helpful Votes
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 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
9 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
11 Helpful Votes
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
12 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & ... Read More
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & a half hours of landing. We booked an inside cabin on deck 8 which was fine if a little on the small side, even though we had booked a larger 4 berth cabin, there is no way 4 people would manage. Plenty of wardrobe space, usual shower room my only complaint would be no iron in cabin. I spoke to head of housekeeping regarding this and was informed an iron is a fire hazard and any clothing requiring ironing would be sent to the laundry.... For a charge of course!! Dining ... We ate breakfast in the marketplace, perfectly adequate with an omelette station & poached eggs on request, along with all the usual buffet. Latitude was disappointing, tasteless food , the vista was far better quality so we ate here mostly. We didn't pay for any extra dining but did try the tapas which was nice but the portions for 2 were very very small & we felt rushed. The squid & anchor was like butlins, listening to Lisa from entertainment do a quiz with 2 other members running round cruisers for answers is not what you expect on a cruise. Nor karaoke!! Avoid at all costs.we liked the lounge for drinks with the piano and lovely singers, the beats, resident band were also very good. Broadway entertainment was mediocre, saw better on the dream. The first night was soul & Motown which was excellent but it went downhill from there, the entertainment team were doing a changeover & I must stress those that left were far better then the new members, a special mention to Tobias who was a fantastic singer, far better then the girls who sounded like they were in competition every night. The poolside quiz was fine but again mid afternoon was spoiled by Lisa who played music far too loud & liked the sound of her own voice. You can't fault the cabin staff or any of the bar staff or waiters they were all excellent. A special mention to Vanessa & Suzie who worked the bars & Joseph on the pool deck. We didn't book any trips & just did our own thing but couldn't fault any destination. Captain John was great & very informative with a great sense of humour. I'm no snob but some of the dress code should of been addressed, tracksuit bottoms in a restaurant should not be allowed, whilst smart casual is ok I think Marella need to look at listing what is acceptable. All in all a lovely cruise but could of been excellent if the niggle things were sorted. This is a Marella flagship but in my opinion the Dream was better. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had 2 fold down beds above where we slept which restricted our move ability when getting in/out of bed. The cabin was ample size for 2 people, there was a dressing table/stool which was a good size with drawers on both sides, a double wardrobe with plenty coat hangers, shelves and drawers. Bathroom was fitted out well with a shower which had a glass door also shower gel dispenser on wall, toilet and fitted units throughout. Air con control on wall. TV with various channels along with cruise ship info. Our steward was very attentive and cleaned our cabin twice a day with towel change twice a day if needed. We had 2 pool towels which could be changed at any time. The easiest boarding we've had on a cruise (& we've been on a few!) when our plane landed at Barbados we got off the plane and straight onto a bus on the tarmac which took us to the port for embarkation which was quick and easy. On our last day we booked a courtesy cabin to shower and freshen up before our flight home. You are allowed to use all the facilities on board including the AI right up until your bus comes to take you to the airport, which is great which means you can stay on the ship or go ashore & back on board if you want. Other cruise companies we've sailed with don't let you do this, it's off at 8am unless you've booked a tour to fill in your day till you go to the airport!! On board facilities include AI ( you can upgrade to Premium AI but personally I don't think it's worth it, unless you like posh coffees ) even champagne is extra on the P. AI. Food is plentiful with the Market Place Cafe - buffett restuarant which is lovely, you have other serviced restuarants to choose from : Vista, The Mediterranian,,Tapas, The Snack shack also Latitude 53. There's other restuarants that you can pay a cover charge for but we didn't use these as found eating places ample for what we needed. You'll never go hungry as it's breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea then evening meal. I didn't use the spa so can't comment. 2 pools with 3 hot tubs, busy around pool for sunbathing but there's lots of other places to sunbathe which are quieter. Indoorr and outdoor cinema. Theatre on board lovely and plenty of seats, although the entertainment wasn't the best we'd seen but this didn't spoil our cruise as there's so much going on you can choose where you can go. Christmas Eve on board was great, from drinks in the bar, a silent disco (good fun) to Carols on the stairs, there wasn't a shortage of things to do. It was buzzing with excitement from young and older alike. We didn't do any shore excursions with the ship but did have a couple of trips on local buses/taxis Cost $20 pp in a bus 2 hours takes you on an island tour Tortola, also $25 pp in a mini bus taxi in Antigua (3 couples) driver gave an island tour to Nelson's Dockyard, beach & other attractions, well worth it took around 3 hours, plenty of time to get back to ship . We also walked to places as most amenities are quite close by. All staff on board very helpful couldn't do enough for you and nothing was too much trouble. Captain John was great (told some corny jokes but still made me laugh) kept you informed of what was going on with passages/weather etc. Cruise director very good as well. Would like to go on one of the Discovery ships as heard good reviews about them from friends. Looking to book another Marella Cruise for next Christmas/New year. A very enjoyable holiday from boarding our Dreamliner flight in Manchester, to boarding our lovely cruise ship Marella Explorer, to coming home a week later...Plain sailing! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us straight to the cruise ship - we didn’t have to go through passport control or pick up our baggage which was a definite bonus. We must have been on the boat just over 3/4 hour after stepping off the plane and doing the necessary photo shoot etc. Brilliant service. The ship had been recently refurbished so was quite nice but not the best we’ve been on. The cabin was plenty big enough, as was all the drawers, wardrobe and storage space. More than we’ve had before. The bathroom was nice with the biggest shower we’ve ever had on a cruise Ship which was good. We enjoyed the food but my only complaint was the beef which was nearly always tough! I had two steaks which were both tough and the roast beef was a bit better but not tender enough for me. All the rest of the meats I had like pork and lamb were very tender. We ate downstairs in the Italian restaurant at no extra cost. We enjoyed the food down there. The staff in the dining room were brilliant and could not do enough for you, we never ever had to ask for our drinks topping up as the waiters were there topping you up before you had finished, or in my case, getting me another Fanta orange as soon as I had finished. Also I had a latte coffee after my meal on the first night and I never had to ask for another as it was always there waiting for me as soon as I finished my meal - though we always asked for the same table / waiters. The quantities were also bigger than you usually get on a cruise ship - that could explain the weight gain !!!! The singers in the theatre had brilliant voices, the dancing good, as were the costumes. Unfortunately what let them down was the production. They had a soul night one night, the next night a rock night. I love rock music but they sang songs we hardly knew ! Another night was west end musicals - they only sang two songs we knew ! Another night was called cogs - and that’s what it was about - cogs !!! The producer did some really ‘off the wall’ stuff. If they had sang songs we knew it would have been brilliant with their voices but it was spoilt ! We also went to see a comedian one night and he was absolutely rubbish! We didn’t laugh once. I wasn’t overly impressed with the singers around the boat, they were ok but not fantastic. We visited a lot of ports which were good but the excursions were quite pricey. We got taxis outside the port for a fraction of the price but even the taxi prices have gone up in the last few years. We did one excursion through the boat and we went kayaking in Antigua. Our guide was lovely and couldn’t have been more helpful, offering to take pictures of us or holding on to us when we were walking around the speedboat (stationary!). He was really pleasant and polite and at the end of the tour he whipped his hat off to reveal he was one of the theatre singer, Trez (pronounced Tray - however you spell it !) he was absolutely lovely, a credit to the team. We had to be out of the cabin at 8.00 am on the morning of disembarkation but we were allowed to stay on the boat all day and use the facilities. We’ve never had this on a boat before as usually we have to go straight to the airport in the morning, even if we’re not flying until the evening. We also booked a courtesy cabin and although we only had it for 20 minutes it was long enough to get a shower and changed. So all in all that was a bonus being allowed to stay on the boat for the day. Before we went we read reviews that although it was all inclusive you had to pay for water. That was certainly untrue. They poured water every night with meals, and topped you up. You could get water in the bars, around the pool, in the market place and there was a water machine outside cabins so you could fill your kettle. - first time we’ve ever had a kettle and tea / coffee in the cabin. I would definitely go on this boat again - as I would the airline - which was roomy and plenty of food and drinks on board. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose the two weeks in the Caribbean so we got to see 12 islands. Embarkation was smooth and access to our cabin and receipt of our luggage was speedy. The whole of the ship had been refurbished very nicely and was kept spotlessly ... Read More
We chose the two weeks in the Caribbean so we got to see 12 islands. Embarkation was smooth and access to our cabin and receipt of our luggage was speedy. The whole of the ship had been refurbished very nicely and was kept spotlessly clean. The only time we spotted any mess or litter, it was promptly cleaned up. It has to be said that the staff work extremely hard and sometimes have a challenge, as there are always going to be fellow guests who have poor standards. There are santisers all over the ship but some guests chose to ignore them. The Market Place is where we chose to eat breakfast as it is quicker/more practical. Lunchtime we ate either in the Market Place or Mediterranean Tapas. We ate in Latitude 12 out of 14 nights for dinner. The Market place offers a large variety of food for Breakfast. There are queues quite often but they go down quickly. One thing we found annoying was that sauces like ketchup, pepper sauce and brown sauce were in bottles at the end of the hot food section to be used there but several people did not think to add the sauces at the station but instead took them to their table, so often none there for us to use. Maybe a sign saying not to remove would help... Lunchtime we didn't always find something we fancied in the Market Place so would pop to the Med. Tapas as it offered pasta or pizza on one side and on the other a paella each day or options such as jacket potatoes. If we wanted a cup of tea or coffee we took it in from the Market Place. It took us a while to realise (as we ate usually at Latitude) that for the evening meal each side of the Market place had different food, ie, on one side there was always a Caribbean section. We really enjoyed eating in Latitude. We soon decided to ask for the same table each time as besides the good location we found the staff, Pande, Tamar and Kathleen, brilliant. We enjoyed every meal although our friend once or twice wasn't keen on her selection so was offered the menu again and chose an alternative. There was an issue in the bars at times with some staff not really understanding what was asked for (Ogi was great!) but we found the All Inclusive drinks were fine. The only thing my husband would have preferred is at least one cask ale beer included, like Hobgoblin. He stuck to lager, Prosecco or spirits so it wasn't a major problem. We were a little perplexed at how much ice was put into drinks, it made the drinks almost tasteless The entertainment was good, generally, but we felt that on a Caribbean cruise there should have been at least one Caribbean artist/group (it is not the same listening to Caribbean songs delivered by English people, sorry). On Sunday lunch times (Barbados) there was a Bajan Steel band by the pool but as this is either changeover day or the day to go onshore, we only got the chance to see them the day we left. The Beats, were great, as were the individual artists, and the Show team are very talented. As it is a long walk from Aft (where our cabin was) to the Forward section to go down to 3 to go onshore we asked for wheelchair assistance for my disabled husband, which was great. However towards the middle of the second week, an email had been sent to housekeeping by the head office to say this was no longer allowed, and assistance could only be given on embarking and disembarking. On disembarking we were told we could only book assistance at reception thirty minutes before we were due to get the coach to the airport. We went down 40 minutes before and there were already many people waiting. The time arrived for the coach to leave and we were still waiting, despite asking twice where the assistance was. In the end they sent us to the airport in a taxi. At Barbados airport it took quite a long time to get assistance and when it came we were taken straight to the gate to sit and wait so I didn't even get the chance to get my husband any water for taking his medication. Luckily a fellow passenger kindly gave us a bottle. We had cruised previously in the mediterranean, late September, and only once felt any movement of the ship. On this one we did feel movement everyday but it didn't bother us. However our friends were not happy with it at all. We would definitely go on a Marella cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise as it was available at the right price and the timing suited our schedules, we were not disappointed with any aspect of the cruise, there can always be improvements, check in at the ship on day 1 could be better but ... Read More
We choose this cruise as it was available at the right price and the timing suited our schedules, we were not disappointed with any aspect of the cruise, there can always be improvements, check in at the ship on day 1 could be better but have had worse, cabin could have been a little more spacious, the all inclusive package offered a quite acceptable range of drinks, would be nice for bottled water to be included though, did not hear many people complaining throughout the cruise (there are always some) but having to pay for bottled water was mentioned. Good selection of places to eat with by and large good quality food, did not try any of the pay extra restaurants as was very happy with the others, the buffet tends to get a bit busy at lunchtime found it best to avoid at peak times. Could do with an earlier breakfast option as the first one opens at 7 am, 6 would be better to cater for early risers, could do with some improvements in the standard tea & Coffee making facilities Shore excursions are quite expensive and probably not worth the money, did find that the dress standards were lower than previous cruises with this company, not a move in the right direction in our opinion. Staff very good and helpful in all areas, based on our experience on this ship for the first time we will have no hesitation in returning to this ship, provided excellent value for money. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we went on a 16 day cruise round some of Spain then onto Madeira, then 6 days at sea over to the Caribbean. We cruised the year before with P&O and we thought the service we received was as good. we loved the ship even if it n't ... Read More
we went on a 16 day cruise round some of Spain then onto Madeira, then 6 days at sea over to the Caribbean. We cruised the year before with P&O and we thought the service we received was as good. we loved the ship even if it n't as posh as P&O. we thought the food was very good in the restaurants Latitude & Vista and didn't feel the need to spend money in the others. The service from all bar staff was very good and the all inclusive package was excellent for us. The only two negatives are...… we find the staff in the retail shops to be really rude and unfriendly . we thought the prices changed for internet was far too expensive and lots of people had bad experience using it. overall a great cruise and we would 100% go on the ship again. The embarking & Disembarking was fantastic and well organised. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 2nd Marella cruise on one of their newer ships, having been on Discovery 2 in March. This was our first experience of a transatlantic crossing. Flights from Manchester to Palma were uneventful, however we arrived in ... Read More
This was our 2nd Marella cruise on one of their newer ships, having been on Discovery 2 in March. This was our first experience of a transatlantic crossing. Flights from Manchester to Palma were uneventful, however we arrived in pouring rain, thunder and lightening. Quick transfer from airport to port and easy embarkation process and we were soon on board and able to access our cabin immediately. We went exploring the ship and found most places quite easily, however without an atrium, it does make it a little bit harder. Our cabin was on deck 8, standard balcony cabin, midships, port side for the sun on our long sea days. Spacious, with plenty of storage space and very clean, and continued to be that way by the lovely Joel. The air conditioning was a little noisey, but we soon got used to it. We tended to eat in either Latitude or Vista at night, which did a lovely cod loin and a very nice sirloin steak, breakfast in the Marketplace. Food was plentiful, good choice and nicely presented. We ate in the Mediterranean most lunchtimes for lighter bites. We also ate here in the evening when one side was Tapas, and had to be booked, but was included, unless you had one of their Portuguese skewers, which were £9.95. We didn't try one of these, as we found the tapas enough, and if you wanted more, you only had to ask. We also ate in the Pizza and Pasta side at night and found this really good. Choosing your own pizza or pasta made to order and piping hot. Both of these restaurants are waiter service at night. Portions in the main dining rooms were plenty for us, but if you wanted more, you could ask for it. Service was quite prompt, and all the staff were very friendly and kept the wine flowing. We didn't upgrade our included drinks package, as there was plenty of choice for our needs. The Sauvignon Blanc was very palatable. Tanquery gin with slimline tonic [which was served from a can] and the occasional cocktail. Weather in Spain continued to be unsettled. Our ports of call being Cadiz, Cartagena and Malaga. The crossing to Madeira was in almost Force 10 gales. However, the weather was much improved in Madeira and the 6 day crossing was smooth and the sun shone most of the time. Our first port of call in the Caribbean was Antigua, where the weather was a little mixed, however we needed to get our land legs back, so we wandered around the town and made contact with home. St.Lucia was our next stop, where it poured all day. We shared a minibus with some other passengers and did a small tour of the island. Grenada was beautiful, hot and sunny, so we took the opportunity to go to a lovely beach. Barbados was our final stop where we disembarked. Unfortunately, the rain followed us here and although we didn't leave the ship until 3pm, we couldn't do any last minute sun bathing. We were glad we had decided to keep our cabin on our final day which was £35. Entertainment was very good. The show cast were very talented, and put on some very good shows and some of them had individual stints in Bar 53 early evening, which was lovely just before dinner. There were some guest artists, including 2 comedians, a magician and a trio of singers who sung Take That songs and were excellent. Overall, value for money this was a very good cruise, it was just unfortunate about the weather, but this cannot be helped. All the staff on board are the friendliest staff we have met and are a credit to Marella cruises. Would we do another transatlantic crossing? If the price was right, yes we would and with the same company. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have cruised on just about all the mainstream cruise lines With our favourite as a couple being celebrity and a group Royal Caribbean. Had never considered Marella due to the old age and small size of the ships. Having been on ... Read More
We have cruised on just about all the mainstream cruise lines With our favourite as a couple being celebrity and a group Royal Caribbean. Had never considered Marella due to the old age and small size of the ships. Having been on the explorer when it was the galaxy and with flights from Norwich we thought it was time to give it a try. We were a group of 8 and I was very anxious having been the one to suggest this ship! Flight - great , transfers and boarding handled very well our bags were in our cabin within 5 mins of us. Headed straight to the buffet for lunch, had one sip of the house wine and upgraded whilst overall this was good value to us I think 2 white wines to choose from is not enough. Plenty of seating in the buffet as long as you head out towards the back of the ship where this a lovely outside eating area and bar for drinks. In my opinion the food is where this cruise lost top marks - whilst it was ok you could tell it was all done on a budget. Personally I would prefer to pay say £50 a week more and have better quality food. For example the joints of meat you always get on the buffet were usually chicken or pork never once saw the huge joints of beef found on every other line. The MDR choices were usually ‘cheap’ meals. The service in the MDR was good unless you went later. I loved that you could turn up when you likes and get a pager the problem is they do not have enough people relaying tables so you can wait a long time and then sit surrounded by tables that need laying. The bar staff were great no issues with getting a drink (especially if you tip). The cabin staff also were fantastic kept the cabin spotlessly clean and took the time to create great towel animals. They were a few issues with blocked toilets but didn’t cause too much of an issue. We did our own trips in all the ports although next time I think I would try the bike tours as these looked good fun and a bit different. Entertainment was surprisingly good we watched all the main shows and loved the comedian the first week but not the second although the audience did seem to love them Sun beds always available despite the usual bed blockers! Overall a good value cruise and I would consider another Marella cruise on explorer 2 or any subsequent ships they purchase. In summary the really good points were Bar staff Cabin No signing for drinks all orders taken on tablets and cards scanned. Great value premiums drinks Entertainment Transfers on and off ship very smooth Flights from regional airports Speciality restaurants particularly the sushi it was amazing Ship never felt overcrowded ...... Things not so good in our opinion Age of ship meant noisy engines Food quality poor due to the ingredients not the staff Ports felt like penny pinching again by going to a number of cheap ports each week. Dress code old fashioned women could look as scruffy as they liked but men even in beautiful clothes had to have a collar. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I really enjoyed my cruise on Marella Explorer. The ship is slightly bigger than the Discovery, which I have also sailed on. The only negative was the 'sail away' party and the first two theatre shows, which could have been ... Read More
I really enjoyed my cruise on Marella Explorer. The ship is slightly bigger than the Discovery, which I have also sailed on. The only negative was the 'sail away' party and the first two theatre shows, which could have been better. The 'sail away' party was lead by an excellent female singer. But what was everyone else doing? Very little. This is not the usual experience I've had with Thomson/Marella. This show should be the most important of the cruise but lacked the 'X' factor. The first two theatre shows didn't have a story. SOUL was good but just seemed to be one song followed by another. ROCKOLOGY was similar. But he choice of songs could have been much stronger and need changing. Matt, the cruise director, was excellent. But why have him singing in a small lounge, when he should have been singing 'swing songs' from the musicals on either the main stage or on the deck. All in all though, an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our first cruise was chosen as our honeymoon. Embarkation went smoothly and our hold luggage didn’t take long to follow us to our rooms. Had read other reviews just before departing and made sure swimming essentials were packed in ... Read More
Our first cruise was chosen as our honeymoon. Embarkation went smoothly and our hold luggage didn’t take long to follow us to our rooms. Had read other reviews just before departing and made sure swimming essentials were packed in hand luggage, but as it so happens didn’t need them. First thing to point out is that only British money is needed on board. You can pay for any extras one of two ways. Either hand over debit card details, and any extras will be charged to that, or use cash. If using cash, you must ensure that there is always a positive balance of £200 on your account. I opted for the debit card and lowered the outstanding balance to be taken by paying some of it off with the cash I had taken. They have an app (doesn’t require internet access) which shows the balance of your account amongst other information (absolute must get when you first board). Each time you order/make a purchase they scan your cabin key and the account is updated immediately (mostly with £0 as its all inclusive. Second thing I wish I had known or thought about was the positioning of the cabin. Unfortunately chose an inside cabin and didn’t pre book a cabin ( novice mistake). We were given deck four towards the aft of the boat and the noise of the engine meant sleeping was very difficult for a couple of nights. Even once, we had got used to it, when the boat was put in to reverse to dock we were up like a shot, the whole cabin shook and noise was horrendous - PRE BOOK YOUR CABIN IS A MUST. As for the cabin itself, was tidy and only possible negatives were the lack of an iron or enough hangers. Wife was glad she took her own hairdryer as said the one provided wasn’t good enough. Toilets are vacuum based and ours only blocked once on the trip which was soon rectified. Wet wipes seem to be the main culprit despite constant messages about not flushing them. Wi fi needs to be paid for £50 for 1200Mb for the 7 days. Remember that on a ship you do not get the same rates as at home or when travelling in Europe. So basically saved using mobile data until on shore. That’s the only negatives. Didn’t need to use the premium restaurants or drinks as the normal restaurants were excellent and offered a good variety. Only premium items bought were ice creams. Didn’t have any problems getting a table. Some restaurants require smart clothing but this does not mean tux or even a suit. Chinos and shirts seemed to be popular choices for men. Visited the broadway show lounge most nights and entertainment was of good quality, but then it was throughout the ship. The service was nothing short of excellent and would be hard to find on any other holiday. Can’t praise this enough. We took a shore excursion on every day, and if you don’t know the cities then would recommend using one of their excursions. These can be pre booked before you travel or whilst you are on board. Palermo - opted for half day excursion (allowed us time to get back on board and get some sleep before we set sail again) to Santa rosarios grotto and morello beach - didn’t think much of this at all. The most interesting bit was seeing if the coach driver was going to manage to get the coach up the steep windy hills. Naples - full day excursion to climb Vesuvius and a guided tour around Pompei. Absolutely excellent. Having such a knowledgable guide for Pompeii was a must. Livorno - full day excursion to Florence and Pisa. Both require some time on the coach. Florence is a beautiful city and days are needed here rather than hours but the tour gives you an excellent feel for the city. Pisa was worthwhile if you have never been there before, but it is a once and done place unlike Florence. Good day. Villefranche - took half day excursion to Monte Carlo and Monaco. For those that might want to, you can’t gamble in Monte Carlo casino as is not permitted before 2 pm, but you do have time for a tour €17. For those that want to be able to say they have gambled in Monte Carlo, you can gamble in the cafe du Paris for a €5 entrance fee, but will need your passport (this is cheaper than a coffee at the same cafe which is €8). Monaco is a lovely place, coach drives along the start/finish line of the f1 track and you get to walk some of the course (an absolute must if you are an F1 fan). Again though, a once and done excursion. Barcelona - had the half day Barcelona Explorer excursion. Big mistake, wish I had chosen a full day one. Another city that requires more than one day. Would I do it again. Most definitely but probably for 14 days instead. The issues were minor and were novice mistakes. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My husband and I set sail on the 1st September on the Highlights of the Mediterranean and Mediterranean Secrets cruise. We were impressed with the ship especially the layout it was spacious with lots of seating areas. Having been on the ... Read More
My husband and I set sail on the 1st September on the Highlights of the Mediterranean and Mediterranean Secrets cruise. We were impressed with the ship especially the layout it was spacious with lots of seating areas. Having been on the Discovery two where the entertainment was exceptional, Daniella, Sammy and Reggae Band to name just a few and the cruise Director and Assistant very in touch with the passengers, we were disappointed this time. Explorer appears to be catering for younger cruises as the entertainment team were all very young and whilst we were sure, probably good for a younger clientele, we and many of those we spoke to were of the same opinion that it was not suited to the majority of passengers on Explorer at this time. The ship appears to lack atmosphere. This may because its fairly new and perhaps will improve with time. The food was exceptional!, there were no repeats during the two weeks. Service in the Latitude was poor. The poor waiters /waitresses were run off their feet. There did not appear to be enough staff in this area. We complained and were moved around the restaurant during the week that we were able to visit. , sadly wherever we were placed the service did not improve. All other areas were good. Unfortunately my husband was taken very ill on the cruise resulting in him spending a considerable time in the medical centre and in hospital in St Raphael and Palma. I Must now say how delighted we were to the medical staff and the doctor on board and want to say a huge BIG thankyou Their care and attention was second to none and we cannot thank you enough, nothing was too much trouble during the day or in the middle of the night, I had not realised that Tui Marella employed a welfare worker, again many thanks to Elaine for her care and diligence escorting us on both occasions to hospital and assisting with insurance queries/taxis/medication etc. Eric our Cabin Steward was so very kind and ensured that we were given the care and attention and privacy during the week that my husband was unwell and needing to spend time in the cabin. A special thank you to the girls in Latitude they always had a smile on their faces and tried to accommodate us where ever they could. The destinations were fabulous, we were disappointed that the illness prevented us from benefitting from what I think would have been a very good cruise. Hopefully Tui Marella will sort some of these small teething problems out and Explorer will soon enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere that the other ships in the fleet offer. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Positives: We had an inside cabin (5071), which was fairly spacious and it had a really comfortable bed (equivalent to a queen size) and pillows. Thank you to Adang for keeping our room so clean. There were plenty of sunbeds ... Read More
Positives: We had an inside cabin (5071), which was fairly spacious and it had a really comfortable bed (equivalent to a queen size) and pillows. Thank you to Adang for keeping our room so clean. There were plenty of sunbeds available, although when at sea most of them were taken up. There is a good waiter service providing you with an endless supply of iced drinks and brought to your sunbed as well as a poolside bar. The poolside snack bar was fairly good, providing healthy salad take-aways as well as the usual chips, burgers, hotdogs etc. We thought that some of the all-inclusive food could be a bit hit and miss and although Latitude was good in the morning for breakfast it got really busy in the evening. We had to wait a bit too long between each course and we found the food to be quite average. Because of this we booked into the Dining Club and paid a £45 supplement each for an 8 course meal, but wow it was worth it! It was up there with being one of the best meals we have had and was accompanied by a different wine with each course as well as cognac after the cheese and biscuits. This was French cuisine at its finest. If you’re a foodie like us, it’s worth trying out to make your holiday more memorable. We were so impressed that we booked in again 3 days later. Thank-you to Ralph, Alona and Dejan for looking after us and informing us about the food and how it was prepared and the different wines that went with each course. We also booked into the Surf and Turf at an extra supplement which was very good but not as special as The Dining Room in our opinion. The entertainment was really good and every night was different including two very funny comedians. We were really looked after in the Broadway theatre by Serhii one of the wine waiters – thank-you Serhii. Negatives: The trip to Rome – although there is some fantastic things to see in Rome this trip ended up being a very long day with no free time of your own! There was too much information given via the tour guide and a lot of the guests were taking out their headphones as it was just information overload - please change this to be only as informative as necessary so we can actually retain some of the information being told! There was also a lot of walking involved - approx 7 miles which was very tiring! When we eventually stopped for a drink we were charged 7 Euros for a coke and 10 Euros for a beer at a nearby bistro! Toilets - unfortunately inconsiderate passengers will insist on dropping all sorts down the toilet other than human waste and the provided toilet paper. This caused huge problems with many public toilets on the ship getting blocked and being made out of action. I often found myself just returning to my room instead of using one on the deck where we were sat. On the day of departure we had to be out of our room at 8:00 and I found myself looking for a toilet before debarkation. Most of the public toilets, if not in use, were out of action on deck 5,6,7,8 and 11. Overall we found this cruise to be really good and the Captain and his staff to be really friendly and attentive and although we did upgrade to the finer dining experiences, we are glad that we did as it made the holiday much more memorable. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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