8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose this cruise as we had not previously visited some of the ports of call plus we were celebrating our ruby wedding anniversary. I will start with the positives: Cabin housekeeping was excellent. Food excellent and plenty of choice, we ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had not previously visited some of the ports of call plus we were celebrating our ruby wedding anniversary. I will start with the positives: Cabin housekeeping was excellent. Food excellent and plenty of choice, we chose to eat mostly in the Latitude 53 both for breakfast and dinner as this was waiter service. We occasionally dined in the Italian restaurant Vista for dinner, when we could get in as some nights there was a 45 mins wait. In the self service restaurant The Market Place the food again was good but the restaurant itself seems very dark & gloomy so we used to chose our food and take it through to the Med Bar & Terrace or outside on deck 11. Service was a little slow at times but on the whole not a problem. We really enjoyed the Pasta corner on deck 11 in the Med Bar & Terrace here you choose you pasta, sauce & toppings and it's cooked to order while you wait. We only tried one of the supplemented restaurants Surf & Turf Steakhouse once and this was a good dining experience. Entertainment on board was very good across the ship as were the crew who always had a smile. Now to the negatives: we booked & paid to reserve two cabins on deck 4 mid ship as two of our party had not sailed before and it is always advised to book low down & mid ship to avoid any seasickness/movement. However, the noise in these cabins was horrendous and we were unable to sleep at night due to engine noise, vibrations plus the galley is above and noise from that could also be heard. One night the smoke alarm went off in both of our cabins at 04.10am with a smell of burning cable we immediately rang reception who said they would send up a maintenance man (what happened to evacuating the cabin) he arrived said that he could smell it all along the corridor and he was trying to locate the source. He came back to us about 10 mins later saying everything was OK but we never really received a satisfactory answer to the cause. As typically british we put up with the engine noise for about 4 nights then complained to Reception who said that they would log the complaint and when we went to bed that night to ring them and they would come and listen!! When they did come they agreed that the noise was unacceptable, apologised profusely and we were offered a safe bed for the night, whatever that may be or earplugs!! and they would try & get us another cabin the following day. We declined the safe bed as we had put up with it for days one more night would not make much difference. The following day we waited until 3pm that afternoon as we had not had any communication from Reception so went to ask what was going on. Eventually we were offered another cabin on the same deck which we accepted as the noise was a little better, we could not be offered another deck as they said the ship was full! However our friends had to put with the noise for another night and on threatening to ask for a flight home were offered a cabin on deck 5 forward of the ship where no noise could be heard. This could have been a great cruise but for the cabin fiasco and lack of communication from Reception. I would not advise anyone to book a cabin on deck 4. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. ... Read More
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. We had a great cabin on deck 10, it had a large balcony with a hammock, sun lounger and table and chairs, the shower room was lovely, and on the whole it was kept very clean. Plenty of hanging space and drawers for our clothes. 2. The restaurants were clean, tidy and plenty of choice. The dress to impress evening was lovely and we met some really nice people that shared our table. 3. The front of the ship had an adults only area, it was quiet with waiter service, we always managed to get sun loungers, what a bonus. 4. There was a huge screen on the pool deck. Lots of guests watched the football. 5. The excursions were definitely worth the money. We can’t comment on the excursion for Rome as we cancelled it. 6. There was always seats in the theatre, and we attended a few of the shows, they were quite good, 45 minutes was long enough. 7. The food was very good, even fussy eaters would have found something, there was plenty of choice. The negatives: 1. We feel the ship is understaffed, on our first evening we waited 30 minutes for a starter, we were brought the wrong drinks 4 times, we actually felt sorry for the waiters, who were almost running between tables, one of them informed us that he on previous cruises looked after 5 tables, on this cruise he was looking after 13. Often there were only 2 bar staff, with up to 20 to 30 people waiting to be served, it was actually quicker to go into the buffet restaurant and pour yourself a drink. On the subject of drinks, bizarrely all wines, larger and soft drinks were freely available in the a la carte resteraunts, but in the buffet restaurant you couldn’t get a soft drinks, and at the bars you had to pay for water! 2. BEWARE this is not an all inclusive cruise, you have to pay in most of the restaurants , a steak meal on dress to impress evening incurred an additional £100 approx. 3. You had to pay for ice-cream, and coffee in the coffee lounge. 4. To exchange beach towels you had to leave them in your room in the evening when the cabin boys came into check the cabins, usually this was around 6ish when we were trying to get ready for dinner. 5. Items from the mini bar had to be paid for, NOT all inclusive. 6. Children were allowed to jump in and out of the jacuzzis completely unchecked by staff and parents, it stated clearly next to the jacuzzi children under 13 were not allowed in it, children under 16 needed to be supervised by an adult. On one of these occasions one young girl around 4 years old urinated in the jacuzzi, we found this completely unacceptable also their parents whilst sat in the smoking area were passing food to the children. This seriously needs addressing. We did actually complain to reception, they said to call security if it happened again. 7. Our holiday was cruise and stay, our disembarkation was an absolute shambles, as the TUI staff didn’t seem to have any idea, where people should queue for their specific coach. 8. WiFi is very expensive, and you can’t use 3G or 4G on board. On the whole we had a lovely time and have booked another cruise next year. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 15th cruise with Tui/Marcella and it was the best. It was wonderful to have a door on the shower instead of a wrap around curtain. All members of the crew were great, but as usual the attention of some need a mention. ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise with Tui/Marcella and it was the best. It was wonderful to have a door on the shower instead of a wrap around curtain. All members of the crew were great, but as usual the attention of some need a mention. Jesus,Walito and Tamara in the restaurant and Naren in the Market Place all of whom gave such incredible attention to detail. The ship was great, even better than Discovery2 The cabin was better than any we've had before. The food was super with plenty of choice. The broadway shows were fantastic but as one reviewer mentioned no one came round with drinks while the show was on,our take on that was you could pick up a drink as you walked into the theatre our bring in the drink or drinks of your choice and the show was never spoiled by someone standing in front of you. We found all service excellent. All transfers and flights were good. We are hoping to go on the explorer again this year loved it. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Able to fly from local airport i.e Cardiff was the main reason for booking this last minute cruise.... not been with Tui or Marella as it is now called before and was pleasantly surprised. Cabin on deck 9 was spacious and very clean, Jamie ... Read More
Able to fly from local airport i.e Cardiff was the main reason for booking this last minute cruise.... not been with Tui or Marella as it is now called before and was pleasantly surprised. Cabin on deck 9 was spacious and very clean, Jamie our cabin steward was amazing - great towel decorations too... Embarkation was simple & ship layout was similar to previous cruise we had been on (celebrity) so was easy to get around. Food was great, waiter staff particularly Jessica in Vista were amazing ... nothing was too much trouble and drinks were topped up regularly (Jessica again..) Couple of nights it got a bit hectic and we left early due to long wait for dessert but other than that couldn’t fault it. Entertainment was superb. We heard a couple of rumblings from other cruise passengers that it wasn’t up to much but we thought it was excellent and unlike on previous cruises went to the show every night ... only disappointment was the comedian shipped over from Britain, we left early that night. Only other criticisms we had were that there were too many additional fee paying restaurants, would have preferred to pay more up front and been able to attend each one even for one night & the other are the designated smoking areas in prime spots on the ship... Will probably go with Marella again but only if balcony rooms are available and probably not for a while but all in all a lovely experience Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise as we liked the destinations that it offered and we had previously been on the Discovery. The negatives: The ship was shabby, the handrails on deck 12 had bolts missing from them, one of the large curtains in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we liked the destinations that it offered and we had previously been on the Discovery. The negatives: The ship was shabby, the handrails on deck 12 had bolts missing from them, one of the large curtains in the cinema was hanging off, there were large scratches on mirror doors of the lifts, there were scuffs marks on walls everywhere. I could understand this if the ship had not just undergone a refurbishment but it seemed as if everything was rushed to get the ship ready in time. The toilets are horrendous, they block continuously and there is a nasty smell from them. Trip to Barcelona from Palamos - We visited La Sagrada and the tour operator whisked us on foot around the outside of the building in 12 minutes, this was after just spending 15 minutes in a shop where the operator told us they allow us to use their toilet facility. The Explorer comes with All Inclusive drinks as standard - but if you want a bottle of water you have to pay for it. The food was very disappointing, one evening we left the Latitude (sit down waiter restaurant) as the menu was so poor. The positives: The trips to Lucca, Pompeii and Herculaneum were excellent as was the port of Villefranche. The excursion staff and house keeping staff were excellent. Neutral: On occasion we felt intimidated whilst in the entertainment areas but the two shows that we watched were good. We had a large balcony cabin which was spacious but due to technical difficulties the television did not work properly. You could not turn the air conditioning off - it went from cold to hot on a turntable switch which we found very loud. Summary: This one week holiday cost us £3000 which we do not feel was value for money as excursions are on top of this. We will never go on the Explorer again and feel that Tui should be automatically refunding passengers part of the cruise costs as the ship is not up to standard Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea where to go or what to do while we waited for our cabin. Our cabin (a junior suite with balcony) was nice until night came. We were directly above the Squid and Anchor “pub” and our bed pulsated until the early hours to the beat of the music downstairs. After much complaining we were moved for our second week. This time to the tenth floor. This room whilst quieter was slightly smaller and had a much bigger problem. Every day, without fail, the toilet would block..... often while we were out..... the shared vacuum system is horrid and I saw over flowing toilets on more than one occasion. The housekeeping staff were fantastic and extremely hard working, some of the bar staff however (coffee port) were pretty miserable. The evening shows were fantastic and a real highlight!!!! The food was good but the selection could have been better, I’ve been on all inclusive holidays with Tui in the past year with much better food selection. Probably my biggest problem with this cruise though was that it is advertised as All Inclusive..... this is not! WiFi is extra and expensive, drinks before 10 are extra, ice cream..... extra. It just feels like they are trying to squeeze money out of you at every opportunity. Please note this ship is not new, it has been revamped, and well, but it is a bit rough around the edges. The gym is run by Champneys and is the best equipped gym I have ever seen in any holiday resort. Some of the classes cost extra. The 45 minute ‘no leave’ sunbed rule is not enforced and finding sun beds on a sea day is very challenging. This is branded as a family cruise ship but as our kids are at private school their summer holidays start 2 weeks before state schools. The first week we were cruising was mostly adults.....OAPs to be exact and there was a distinct feeling the kids were not welcome. The second week was better but I still heard older people joking how there seemed to be a lot of kids skipping school! In conclusion I definitely think I will cruise again but it’s unlikely we will cruise with Tui..... I will be looking for a higher end cruise with less child intolerant fat old people..... if such a thing exists. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be ... Read More
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be scolded in the shower and have a toilet that didn't flush, having the plumber to the cabin twice to check the shower, only to be told there was nothing they could do as we were the last cabin on the run and when other people run cold water we lost ours. This is also sold as an all inclusive holiday but if you want certain drinks you have to upgrade your package we did do this, then when we went to dinner and asked for pink prosecco, we were told they didn't do this drink in this bar what the point of upgrading if you cant get the drink you want surely should be available in any bar. The food was ok nothing special but ok . Service could be a bit slow dinner sometimes being 2.5hrs . The cabin was clean but very noisy with the ship vibrations, and the air condition .The bathroom was poor with the shower being so grubby i wanted to wear flip flops . Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We always go with Tui on cruises as we have enjoyed the experience in the past. We thought the Explorer was worth a look but were disappointed overall. The negatives were minor in comparison with both Discovery ships but made a ... Read More
We always go with Tui on cruises as we have enjoyed the experience in the past. We thought the Explorer was worth a look but were disappointed overall. The negatives were minor in comparison with both Discovery ships but made a difference to us. On the adults sun deck, some beds were broken, towels were down but no takers as per usual, the back the seat in the show lounge came off as I sat down and only one coffee machine in Lattitude 53 was annoying. We had to walk out a few times to catch the show, as we had waited so long. The food was adequate but not too exciting and the waiters were sometimes a bit ‘novicey’. On the positive side, we always got a bed on any deck, waiter service was good on the decks and our cabin on deck 12 was excellent with cabin staff really helpful. We had sailed with Captain John before and he was as informative about destinations as on past cruises and the entertainments manager was also very good. As it was our anniversary, we went to the Surf and Turf restaurant and it was worth every penny. We won’t go on the Explorer again but will certainly continue on other Marella Cruises in particular, both Discovery vessels. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
1st time cruisers was very wary at first about going on a ship but can honestly say that you would not even know you are moving so smooth.The cabin was spotless and kept that way all week by the hardworking staff .The restaurants were ... Read More
1st time cruisers was very wary at first about going on a ship but can honestly say that you would not even know you are moving so smooth.The cabin was spotless and kept that way all week by the hardworking staff .The restaurants were great market place was busy most of the time but food was excellent ,if you want to pay an extra charge then there are sushi ,surf and turf and others to try we found the all inclusive restaurants were fine for us so did not try them.Entertainment was excellent and the team work very hard to keep us happy pool deck very busy so uf you want a lounger go early .All in all this was a fantastic expierence and we have booked to go on discovery next year so thank you captain John and his hardworking team for giving us a fantastic holiday we will deffo be cruising again Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get ... Read More
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get our dates we opted for the New Thomsons Cruise Ship mainly with recommendation from the Travel Agent. So Disappointing for paying £3,000 for a weeks holiday on a basic ship.........I have a Diary Allergy and food or help from staff was non existent . The food was basic, and very limited in The Marketplace. Plenty eating places to choose from if you wish to pay supplements but still not worth the money. Some eating areas were set along corridors where people walked passed or children ran through! The all inclusive drinks package was cheap drink, diet coke in a glass full of ice 80%water approx 20% coke. I ended up buying cans of diet coke at a supplement of £1.00. The cabin was roomy and a bigger balcony with chairs, table, sunbed and hammock but the room was still basic. The staff were wonderful at keeping it immaculate. Entertainment was ok, Virtual bands , constant repetitive viewing. Theatre shows were ok but finding a seat was impossible at times and guests were not willing to move to make room for other people. Sunbeds .... well unless you were there at 6am in the morning and dumping your towels then you weren't lucky to find a bed. Policy is ,,,towels will be removed if no one is on the bed for a period of time, that was never implemented. People were even leaving their towels on their bed, going off shore for the morning then coming back onto their bed... !!!! It was a real let down, nothing impressive about the ship...apart from the Captain and the wonderful staff. Marrella Cruises have a long way to go to compete with other Cruise Companies, instead of moving forward they are still living in the times of Thomsons Cruises 10years ago.... I never write reviews and sometimes wonder why people see lots of negatives in holidays but i felt so dissapointed, hax a wasted holiday and were £3,000 out of pocket for one of the worst cruise ships I have sailed on.... Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have been on a few Thomsons cruises and we decided to go on the new ship the explorer, we had read many reviews on the ship before we went and there was a mixture off what people were saying , we went for 7 nights and had a large ... Read More
We have been on a few Thomsons cruises and we decided to go on the new ship the explorer, we had read many reviews on the ship before we went and there was a mixture off what people were saying , we went for 7 nights and had a large balcony which the cabin was still small but clean , the dress code is more relaxed which we think to relax you were getting people coming in ,in wet bathing suits and sitting down in the dining area, on a night time people were just in shorts and tee shirts which there is nothing wrong in that , but we just think on the night time long trousers . We also found that there is a lot more restaurants where you have to pay a supplement. The Turf & Surf is roughly £28.95 each , Kora La £19.95 each and the Diner club is £45.00 each if you go for the 8 course meal and you get a different wine with each meal which I must say was the best one for us . We were all inclusive, but we find now there are a lot off restaurants where you have to pay which is up to people if they want to to go up market a bit . We also think the dress code is far to relax and I think Thomsons cruises have taken things out that was great ,things like the captains night , the ice sculptures that was on display and the dress code . The entertainment was poor have seen better on Thomsons cruises. But it just what people make it themselves. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First time we have ever cruised, and we were not disappointed. The whole experience was fantastic, the food was excellent lots of different choices to choose from, the speciality restaurants were well worth the supplement fee that applied. ... Read More
First time we have ever cruised, and we were not disappointed. The whole experience was fantastic, the food was excellent lots of different choices to choose from, the speciality restaurants were well worth the supplement fee that applied. The entertainment was fantastic the crew work very hard, and there is a variety to suit all. The cabin was immaculate on arrival and kept up to the same standard throughout our stay a big thank you to Hobir . Overall we had a fantastic holiday and would recommend Marella explorer, the destinations we visited were very enjoyable. Thanks to Tui for making our holiday so enjoyable, and we are already looking to book another, but for a longer stay, and a big thank you to all the crew on board who word very hard to cater for everyone, and also a big thank you to captain John and his team . Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 ... Read More
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 it is jam packed with all the things you would expect and much much more, beautiful public areas, cabins and large pool area, first class entertainment, show lounge is more like West end theatre and shows are breath taking, nice adult only deck to escape the lively pool area if needed, plenty of choice of food which was amazing. Had last meal at Kora Li Asian infusion restaurant, paid extra but so worth it, food, presentation and service were excellent. All the staff were verý friendly, welcoming and helpful, amazing cruise, amazing ship, would highly recommended. Fantastic value for money. Would definitely book with Marella again. My only criticism would be the high prices in the on board Champneys spa. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning ... Read More
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning toilets on decks 5/6. The staff go out of their way to build a good rapport and to make you feel valued, particularly in the Squid & Anchor!! We enjoyed the size of the ship and found it so much better than the extra large super liners than we have experienced in the past, particularly on tender days. The entertainment was varied and high quality as was the food in all restaurants. Our junior suite had an amazing view, extra large balcony with hammock. By comparison, this cabin would have been so much more expensive on other ships. We very much enjoyed the excursions and the 12 port stops out of 14 days. The contrast of cities, beaches, towns was just perfect. Negatives – there was a slight sewage aroma which occasionally filtered into our cabin. However this was not too much of a problem as to spoil our holiday. Pricing – we enjoyed our Caribbean cruise in April 2017 so much that we booked this holiday on return. However, in March 2018, we checked availability and we could have bought the identical cruise for £600 cheaper and there was full availability. We therefore believe that there should be a price promise recognition for those who book particularly early. We have earmarked a cruise for 2019 but will not now book this until next year. All in all, we are very much looking forward to booking another Tui cruise. The All Inclusive is most definitely a plus. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We were first time cruisers on TUI (now Marella) Spirit last August and were both absolutely smitten. I think after a couple of days we were hooked, and after the two weeks were up we were ready to book the next, this one – departing at ... Read More
We were first time cruisers on TUI (now Marella) Spirit last August and were both absolutely smitten. I think after a couple of days we were hooked, and after the two weeks were up we were ready to book the next, this one – departing at the end of July 2018. We used or local TUI store and were sold this two week back to back on Explorer. This time we decided to take our 17 year old with us as she would really have. We paid adult price for her as she is 17 and had a cabin to herself (she was classed as a single traveller, she was issued with an adult cruise card and even had the note left on her bed inviting her to the single travellers reception.) Arrival in Palma was slick, as was boarding, it was very soon apparent that this ship had far more technology than Spirit, more reliance on it! The ship is quite big although it's still dwarfed by the likes of the Aida Prima and some of the MSC liners, it is plush in places. I'm aware that one reviewer picked up on things like scratches in the lifts, yes they're there but they didn't detract from the sparkle that this ship has. The food is great, we feel that some of the restaurants are still struggling at busy times possibly because the staff are all so new, but the food quality is fabulous as was the service of most of the staff, so good that we tipped one or two as they really did go above and beyond what was required. We ate in Latitude 53 most nights, Vista (the Italian) one night and tried on another two occasions, each of those times the wait time was just too long and so we returned to Latitude 53. Breakfast was taken in the self-service (Market Place), the selection of food is good with English cooked breakfast, continental, freshly prepared omelettes etc. fruit and cereal always on offer. The only downside to the Market Place at breakfast time is the queue and the seating. Breakfast in Latitude 53 is a much more civilised affair however the choice of food is not available. The cabins are well appointed and clean, we had an inside to keep the costs down, three of us for two weeks has cost more or less £7000! Had we travelled without daughter we would have had an outside cabin, we would not have an inside cabin again just because they are so dark! We did not notice much sunbed hogging, although we did see some belongings removed after beds were ticketed. TUI should operate the same procedure in some of the bars! We didn’t upgrade to premium as personally we have no need to. The drinks selection is adequate. There have been some issues and things that don't sit right with us: Over the first five days we experienced a series of minor problems... each of these took time out of our day to sort. Wrong people allocated the wrong cabin, boarding cards not working to open our cabin door on several occasions, my debit card swiped but receptionist added my husband's name as card holder, bank subsequently declined (quite right too), safe would not open and had to have someone in to sort this -- twice initially and then again at the end of our first week. When I complained about the series of minor issues the receptionist clearly thought all of our issues were amusing! This was subsequently escalated to the General Manager who felt that a bottle of wine would fix this. The excursions are very expensive (this is common among all tour operators I know). Please be careful! We were made aware of a family group who booked to go to Camp Nou in Barcelona – parents and a young child in a buggy. They were charged by TUI for three… Children under five go into Camp Nou FREE! The premium restaurants are all expensive when you consider this is an all-inclusive ship... the "supplement" is between £25 and £35 per person. You may think different but to me, that's not a "supplement", that's paying for the meal in full! If it really is a supplement then are we saying that steak and chips in Surf & Turf costs well over £50 a head? Despite paying an adult fare for daughter, despite her boarding card starting that she is on here as an adult we had one waitress try to give a 17 year old a baby plastic beaker and straw for a glass of coke. When questioned the waitress advised that daughter was "under age", we had ordered “a coke!!!” I should point out that my daughter doesn't drink alcohol so no comments about legal age limit please. Entertainment is confused to say the least. The cruise director, Matthew, was only really seen on TV and seemed to spend his time promoting Champneys. If comparing the entertainment team to Spirit, then Spirit is first rate and Explorer is dreary. The resident band, The Collective seemed to have more rapport with the guests. Structured entertainment seemed to be nothing more than quiz after quiz punctuated with bingo and the standard sail away parties. We didn’t use the casino which is located between the Indigo Bar and Night Club. We did watch one or two games, we thought it was noisy with hustle and bustle. It appears that despite the signs children are allowed into the casino area. Broadway show was generally very good, some of the jokes from the comedians were recycled, but not the less very well presented. This is very much a family ship and not what we were sold. I did query the family element with our travel agent before we paid the final balance but were assured it would not be overrun with small children (my husband is a school teacher and during our holidays he likes to be away from children), however this was not the case. Whilst we observed a deal of children behaving well there was of course the contingent who were unruly and allowed to be so, the late adult entertainment (another form of quiz) being overtaken by a seven year old – yes, I am sure your son is cute but this is adult time! However, in short we're had a good holiday. We will not be cruising on Explorer again, we may consider Explorer 2 (adults only) although we are also considering that market. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was ... Read More
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was not quite as good as these previous ones, but was still enjoyable. Firstly the positives: Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and quick Ship well laid-out and easy to navigate Cleanliness of cabin and general areas very good and housekeeping attentive All staff friendly, polite and helpful Kid’s club very good All the shows in the theatre (bar one that did not work well at all) were very good Bands/musicians excellent Bar drinks/service excellent and inclusive drinks more than plentiful in choice Availability of sun loungers/hammocks good (especially on upper decks above pool) apart from sea day when it did take some time to find somewhere. Plentiful supply of water dispensers around ship very useful Proper shower screen instead of curtain Loved the cream teas! Now for the negatives: FOOD: – In general the food was not as good as we have had on previous cruises (included Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2). It was acceptable, but nothing particularly special and seemed to have been tailored for a bland, “safe” palate (on one occasion we ordered the “vindaloo” which was nothing more than a risotto with no spice or any heat at all – it would not even have passed as a biriyani!). The buffet had a good selection (but not as varied or extensive as previous cruises and again, fairly bland) and the ice-cream machine rarely worked properly as it was not freezing correctly. In addition on days when we returned from trips sometimes they were in the middle of changing from one meal to another so vast areas were shut with little choice of anything to eat. The pasta/pizza/tapas restaurant was mediocre and limited (although the idea of selecting ingredients for your pasta/pizza was an interesting concept). The snack shack sandwiches were OK but the salads were mainly lettuce and the burgers and hotdogs of very cheap quality. The menu selection in Latitude 53 was pretty limited (and two of the items were exactly the same every night) and most of the starters were very small portions, more like an “amuse bouche”. At Vista (the Italian) they offered the same, fairly uninspired, menu for 3 nights then changed it for the last 4 – the Italian on both Discovery ships is much better, with more selection, more courses and more changes) so we did not even bother eating here. I got the impression that they were pushing people to pay extra to eat in their speciality restaurants (as they were constantly plugging this over the tannoy system and in the Cruise News) and I believe that is why less effort was given to the inclusive restaurants. In addition the inter-active screens did not display the correct menus for the 2 waiter restaurants – it always showed the menu from the day before, which was of little use (I used to use this a lot on previous cruises to decide where to eat) They did not even display the menus outside the restaurants (again on previous cruises they were outside) so every night I had to go to the restaurants as they was opening to ask to see the menus (by the end of the cruise Latitude 53 was putting some menus out on a table in front of the restaurant about 15 minutes before it opened so people could have a look). The service in the main restaurant on our first two nights was ridiculously slow – on the first night it took over 2 hours to be served 3 courses (we missed nearly all of the show due to this), in addition to which our deserts (which should have been hot) arrived virtually stone cold – on the second night it took almost 2 hours to be served 2 courses so we decided to skip the 3rd course so that we could dash to the theatre just as the show was starting. Both these nights we were at the restaurant at 6.45pm (we did not really want to go any earlier as it would be too early to eat and by the time our son came back from kid’s club at 6.30pm, showered and got changed this was the time we could go). Another annoyance was that my partner asked for Peronni on the first night (which was freely available at all bars and was also brought round during the day on trolleys and is included as part of the all-inclusive) but was told they did not have any in the restaurant. He told them that the bar (literally opposite the restaurant) served it so could they not get one from there – they said they would check and after about 20 minutes my partner asked again and finally a further 15 minutes later they brought him a bottle. On the second night the same thing happened and my partner said it would be quicker for him to have just got up from the table and walked to the bar himself. By the third night, as there was a Barbecue on the pool deck, we decided we would try that as it might be quicker. Yes, it was quick, but all the food was stone cold (I mean everything – totally cold) even when new items were being put out they were already cold by the time we put them on our plate and sat down!! (I did complain about the service and cold food – see further down review for the ship's reaction). SOCKETS IN CABIN– there was only one socket (two if you unplugged the kettle and balanced your item on the tea/coffee making items) which, for a cabin for 3 of us, was really not enough when trying to charge phones, i-pads, kindles, cameras etc. DRESS TO IMPRESS – so few people bothered which made it a real shame as we really enjoy this night. The main restaurant had some people in ball gowns, cocktail dresses, three piece suits, tuxedos and even dress kilts, whilst others were just turning up in casual shorts and t-shirts! Firstly Marella/Tui should maybe make people aware of this night prior to their holiday by including a note about this before people leave the UK or add it to the information they provide or even send an email (I spoke to two families who had never been on a cruise before and they had no idea that there was a formal night and had not brought anything with them. They both said that, had they known, they would have loved to have packed something special to wear). Secondly, seeing as the main restaurant is on two floors, why can’t the staff direct those in formal attire to one floor and those in casual dress to another? My partner was in tuxedo and bow tie, my son in three piece suit and bow tie and I was in cocktail dress, so we felt a little uncomfortable as several of the tables seated around us were in t-shirts or casual polo tops! (I would suspect that, likewise, people turning up in casual day wear might feel awkward seated amongst people in full Black tie attire!) KID’S CLUB DRESSING UP PARTIES: This also applies to the kid’s club as there was a fancy dress night and also a super heroes night (had we known in advance we would have packed something for him to wear – as it was I did not bring him any fancy dress outfits!!). BRIDGE TOUR KIDS CLUB; this was my son’s 3rd cruise and both times before he has not made the bridge tour, as we had been off the ship on booked excursions, so he was very keen to do it this time. Therefore, on the first day when I registered him I asked about the tour and was told that a note would be put on the door to inform us of when it would take place. We checked every day, but saw no note so no idea if this ever took place – he was a little disappointed. REPEAT CRUISER'S DRINKS NIGHT: the cruise news asked for anybody who had sailed before with Tui to contact the reception. I did this and my name and cabin number were taken and I was told we would be invited to a drinks party with the Captain near the end of the week. I asked if they knew which night but was told I would be informed by way of an invite. We waited for an invite and by the last night had not received anything. When I went to investigate I was told that they did have our name but that we had missed the party as it was the night before and that the invites were given to housekeeping to hand out so there was nothing they could do but they would send us “pins” to our room (which we received in an envelope on the last day with a letter apologising) – strangely exactly the same thing happened when I sailed with them last time, when they again forgot our invite!! BILLS: I was charged for a drink that I did not have and had to go to reception to have this removed from my bill - again the same thing happened on my last cruise (so I would advise people to check their statements daily!). As mentioned above, re my complaints, a comments card had been placed in our room so I did fill it in with some positive comments but also mentioned that service in restaurants was too slow, food (in particular at barbecue) was cold and menus on interactive screens were out of date. And, to their credit, the next day I was approached during lunch by a member of staff who thanked me for bringing this to their attention, apologised profusely and said that they were looking into the slowness and that they were trying to work out a way of keeping the barbecue food hot (although I’ve had barbecues on cruises before and they have managed to serve hot food, so they must have experience of how to do this). In addition the following day a note was put in my room to say the head waiter would speak to me regarding my comments (but as I had already had the discussion with another member of staff I did not feel a further discussion was necessary). On the fourth night we finally received excellent service – and I must mention and thank Rajesh, who provided a most attentive, friendly and professional approach – the food came swiftly, the bottles of Perroni were flowing and he constantly checked on us. Likewise, Dimitri, who also served us, was most attentive and efficient. From then on we always asked to be seated in the area staffed by Rajesh and Dimitri and have to say the service for these meals could not be faulted. Also, on the morning before last, as we were in no rush to get off the ship, we ate breakfast in Latitude 53 and the service was swift and attentive and the food hot. We took three organised tours through Marella (which I had booked in advance) which were well arranged and enjoyable. Half-day tour of Pompeii; Inside the Tower of Pisa; Nice tour and little train. The other three days we explored shore on our own. Palma was a bit awkward as there was a taxi strike (although Marella staff did not seem aware and were not that helpful in suggesting other routes into town, they just kept telling us where to get taxis – even though we kept going back to tell them that there weren’t any – we eventually found a public bus). at Palermo we just walked into town and got a taxi back. At Palamos we used the shuttle bus. In summary this was a decent and enjoyable cruise for the money. If they can sort out the temperature of the food, provide a slightly better menu and improve the speed of service provided by all staff in the main restaurants then this would help immensely. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I was a bit worried after reading a few bad reviews about coming on this cruise and being a first time cruiser. The cruise exceeded expectations in every way. Room- I booked a junior suite allocation on arrival - Deck 10 - it was ... Read More
I was a bit worried after reading a few bad reviews about coming on this cruise and being a first time cruiser. The cruise exceeded expectations in every way. Room- I booked a junior suite allocation on arrival - Deck 10 - it was massive with so much storage. The bathroom was immaculate with a large walk in shower. The balcony was large with 2 chairs, table, 2 sun loungers and a hammock. The cleaning staff Darko and Edmund were a hoot and worked very hard cleaning the cabin twice a day. There was a kettle, hairdryer and expresso maker in the room. Dining- the food was superb in all the restaurants and so much choice and the service by the staff was fabulous they really cannot do enough for you. We paid to go to the Dining Club and Surf and Turf the food and service was outstanding. Latitude 53 sit down dining was amazing was very looked after in that restaurant.by Ling who treated us like royalty. Bars- I was a bit concerned the ship would feel busy and I hate children running around unsupervised but this did not happen there are plenty of places to sit and have a quiet drink - Famíles mostly congregated round the pool and squid and anchor which I avoided. The Mediterranean Bar was lovely. My only complaint about bars was having to pay for premium soft drinks and coffee/tea which seemed stupid when you could have as much alcohol as you wanted and very good brands too. Trips - were very good and very informative I thought they were good value for money but the trip to Rome was a bit too long and very tiring. Although the trip to St Tropez was not worth it and I would avoid this trip again. Entertainment- there was so much to chose from - not my cup of tea but fellow passengers said it was very good. I did partake in wine tasting twice and Simina who ran this was amazing. Overall I cannot wait to book another cruise on this ship and all previous complaints must have been resolved to make our cruise unforgettable. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had an amazing holiday for 14 nights on the explorer in August. This was our second cruise with tui the first one was on the dream 2 years ago. The explorer was larger than the dream but we soon got used to navigating our way around ... Read More
We had an amazing holiday for 14 nights on the explorer in August. This was our second cruise with tui the first one was on the dream 2 years ago. The explorer was larger than the dream but we soon got used to navigating our way around the ship. We really enjoyed the sail away party and relaxing in the adults only section after a day off the ship. All the restaurants were very good, we didn't try the speciality restaurants as the food in the inclusive restaurants was so good. We did think there could have been more entertainment/activities going on in the day. Most of the ports of call were really good and we enjoyed them except in the port of Sardinia which we thought was disappointing. Our holiday was made extra special by one member of staff on the back of the ship in the Mediterranean bar His service was fab and he always made time not to only serve us our drinks but talk to us and answer any questions we had. His name was Rene. It was really nice to meet you Rene, by the time we left we felt like you had become a friend. Another member of staff was Marlon. Thank you Marlon for your great service. Glenmorangie and a cold prosecco Thank you guys. Sorry we didn't get to say goodbye on the saturday morning. We were gutted you weren't in the Mediterranean bar when we called there before we left the ship. Would we cruise with you again? Yes most definitely. Stev and Andrea Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as we had done three other cruises with Thomsons and thought the new ships would be an improvement. I have to say we were a little disappointed. Good points were that staff were excellent and the cabin facilities ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had done three other cruises with Thomsons and thought the new ships would be an improvement. I have to say we were a little disappointed. Good points were that staff were excellent and the cabin facilities were good and very clean. Service was good. Bad points were the food in the inclusive restaurants was very poor we felt but the service was good. We didn't go in the other restaurants as felt we had paid enough for the holiday without paying more. As another review said we didn't like the fact that customers didn't follow the dress code and were too casual in the main dining room, I.e shorts in the evening. They should have been turned away. If they wanted to be that casual should have eaten in the self service. The shows were boring same old singing and dancing which we get fed up with. The swimming pool area was very noisy during the day and we did not even entertain the idea of sitting there. (There is only one pool). The cabin walls are thin and we could here almost every word from the family from hell next door with their screaming kids who banged and screamed with their mother shouting back. (I do have teenagers and would never have let them have such disrespect of others around them). My daughters bunk bed moved as a result of next doors kids jumping on their beds. Overall we had a good holiday but we thought that the food quality had suffered as a result of All Inclusive and maybe next time will pick an Adults only cruise. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have been on other cruises with Thompson and encouraged family members to come this time and they were not disappointed. My mum is disabled and she was looked after so well with regard to arrival and every time we left the ship everyone ... Read More
We have been on other cruises with Thompson and encouraged family members to come this time and they were not disappointed. My mum is disabled and she was looked after so well with regard to arrival and every time we left the ship everyone was so attentive and caring.We had balcony cabins on deck eight which were just perfect they are not plush but clean and comfortable and just what you need. We had a very nice steward who looked after us very well thank you Basirun. The food was really good and there was enough choice to suit everyone, you could if you wanted pay extra to dine at specialty restaurants but we really didn't see the need. The broadway shops are a must and if you go look out for Mustafa who works in the watch shop he is great fun a great salesman and knows his stuff, then there is the lovely Simone she can be found in the perfume shop and does make overs, she is a very talented make up artist and both are massive assets to Tui, well done guys you helped to make our cruise special. There are plenty of activities on board to suit all age groups although the pool is not really sufficient for the size of the boat particularly for the day at sea but other than that there are plenty of bars a cinema restaurants game zones a casino and great shows every night, something for everyone. There are plenty of excursions but really if you can research the ports before you go as there are some that you can do alone for a fraction of the cost, having said that though you are more protected if you go with Tui, we did both. Tui please review the excursion in Barcelona to the Aquarium and Beach, we felt that was not worth the money 1 hour 20 mins in Aquarium then 1 hour 20 mins on the beach at £44 a head, maybe make both a day each as not long enough at either destination really. We would go again it's a great way to see the world and waking up each morning in another port cannot be beaten in our opinion and flying and sailing with Tui previously Thompson we have never been disappointed. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a ... Read More
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a supplement for food and it does not come cheap up to £49 per person.and it is no better than the food supplied indeed we had to walk out of the Asian restaurant as it was grossly overcooked.whoever designed the pub the squid and anchor should be told are you having a laugh hardly any seats and half of them face the bar away from the stage.i spoke to the manager and the cruise director about this and they totally agreed and said it would be changed in January I hope so as we like a game show but if you go to the second show in the broadway forget about a seat and getting a drink to busy and not enough staff on.overall we loved the cruise but some of the ports are industrial and you can only look at so many cranes and containers and at a couple of ports tui have a cheek to charge you £7 return on there shuttle bus get a grip tui and take us to some nice ports Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our fourth cruise with Marella. The previous three were when they were still Thomson Cruises. We have been on the Dream, Celebration and the Majesty. All of these ships were very good, but, the Explorer was so much better. ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Marella. The previous three were when they were still Thomson Cruises. We have been on the Dream, Celebration and the Majesty. All of these ships were very good, but, the Explorer was so much better. Cabins are bigger, there are more places to eat. 10 restaurants to be precise, and also many bars. Every night the food was superb. We ate most nights in the Latitude 53 restaurant. There was nothing we could fault. The waiting staff are so friendly, attentive and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. I Have to mention Zibel and Mindroy. They were fantastic. The food was so much better than on any cruise we've done before, it was almost Michelin star standard. Even the food in the self service area was great. We went with four of our friends who have never cruised before. It has taken us five years of trying to get them afloat and now they are hooked. They could believe the standard of everything. The entertainment was excellent as well. The only blip in all of this was sometimes the toilet system blocked, but, this was mainly due to mindless idiots putting wet wipes etc, down the toilet which causes the narrow bore pipes to block easily. Nearly everyday the Captain had to keep telling people not to do this over the ships P.A. system. Overall the experience was fanatstic. I would highly recommend Marella. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked this cruise, as, with the exception of Ajaccio, we hadn't visited any of the ports of call (more of that later). We also liked the idea of the all-inclusive drinks and tips. I think the longest queue we encountered was ... Read More
We booked this cruise, as, with the exception of Ajaccio, we hadn't visited any of the ports of call (more of that later). We also liked the idea of the all-inclusive drinks and tips. I think the longest queue we encountered was when we first arrived at the airport to check-in (couldn't do it online beforehand), which was about 15 minutes. After this everything went perfectly, and, from our flight departing at 6am from East Midlands, we were in the pool on the Explorer less than 4 hours later (we took swimming costumes in our cabin luggage). We expected to have to wait a short while for our cabin, but we were well looked after with food & drink, and the cabin was ready after just over an hour. The cabin was wonderful - clean and spacious, and the upgrade to the large balcony, with its hammock, was an indulgence that we were both delighted with. I had looked at deck plans at time of booking, and selected one mid-ships on Deck 9 (cabins above and below). Credit must go to our cabin steward, Cyrus, who looked after us all week and was so friendly, whether it was early morning, or late night. The all-inclusive drinks package didn't disappoint (I have included photos of everything that is included, as well the drinks in the premium package). Great selection of bottled beers, labelled spirits, and cocktails. Beware - the measures are much larger than standard UK!! Food - absolutely fantastic. I have nothing but praise for the kitchen and restaurant staff. I've seen some reviews where people have complained about the size of portions in the Latitude restaurant. It was really simple - if we wanted more, we asked! Nothing was too much trouble, and when we couldn't decide which starter or dessert to have, they brought both. Surely it's better this way than having loads of waste. Different story in The Marketplace, where people stacked plates sky high and then left half of it. We booked into the Italian restaurant on two nights, and had tapas on another; both had a wide range of wonderful food on offer. All these are inclusive, and you could have as much as you wanted. As with the drinks we didn't even consider booking for one of the restaurants with the the uplift. Oh, and the midnight buffet was a welcome end to the evening on more than one occasion! Entertainment - West End shows really aren't our bag, but, as we had friends onboard who liked them, we went to one. Not really sure what was going on (for reference it was the show called 'Cogs'), but very professionally done. Musicians around the ship were top quality, as would be expected, and the silent disco was hilarious (even better after a couple of strawberry & black pepper infused vodkas). We thought that the ship looked really fresh throughout - the refit has been done really well. We didn't use the Spa, so can't comment on that. There was some difficulty in obtaining sunbeds on the day at sea, but we were expecting that. We managed to find space around to pool on all the other days, after returning from shore. So far, so good. Now on to our gripe. It appears that Tui are selecting ports that are perhaps cheaper to dock at, encouraging people to book on their extremely expensive shore excursions. In the past we have been used to ports like Monaco, Kotor, Barcelona, Naples, etc, where you can just walk off the ship and be straight in the town, or within easy reach of the train station - even Dubrovnik port, where we have visited previously, had a dock with a nice view, even though it was a bus transfer away. Anyway, I digress. In the ports where passengers aren't allowed to walk (Porto Torres, La Spezia and Sete), Tui provided complimentary shuttle services to the entrance of the port. Fair enough - Sete was actually a lovely town, and we took a boat trip onto the lagoon, and we had a good walk around La Spezia, including St George's Castle, which had great views across the town and harbour. However, the town of Porto Torres was not pleasant. For the first time ever in our cruising history, we booked a shore excursion (we always use local transport). For £22 each we had a half hour coach ride to the beach at La Pelosa (stunning, although very busy). However, on arrival we found that we needed to hire a pair of sunbeds at €30, and we were only there for 3 hours!!! We did venture into the town on our return to Porto Torres, but were back on the ship within half an hour. We were somewhat disappointed at having to pay £7 each for the shuttle bus into Tarragona; whilst, technically, we were allowed to walk to the town from the dock, it took the coach more than 20 minutes to cover the journey, so that will give an idea of the distance. Apart from a case going missing for a few minutes as we left the ship, the return journey for us was as smooth as the outward. Overall, we wouldn't hesitate in sailing on this ship again, and Tui's all-inclusive pricing seems to be the way forward. However, we will look very carefully at the ports in future; just because we haven't been somewhere before doesn't mean we should! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs ... Read More
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs of the recent refurbishment. The Latitude 53 restaurant was very good and had enough of a menu choice to keep us occupied over a two week cruise, we dined in the speciality restaurant Kora La and Surf and Turf paying a supplement and both were well worth it. The Balcony cabin was ok, maintained very well by Andrew our steward who was perfectly discreet but kept an untidy bunch from making too much of a mess in our cabin. The kettle and fridge were a useful addition and despite the cabins being 16m sq it was just big enough for us to not be on top of one another. The service delivery throughout the ship was magnificent as always, every member of staff was polite, courteous and couldn't do enough for us wherever we went or whatever we did. Definitely the company's best asset. A special mention for the show cast who were Broadway standard every night and even the guest entertainment was very good. There is not much I could criticise but if pushed Marella should look to improve their ports of call, or indeed stop mooring in commercial locations. We didn't mind this too much initially but on two occasions there was a charge for the shuttle bus which we thought was taking liberties given the cost of the cruise. Propriano in Corsica was a very nice exception to this to be fair however. Our final comments have to go to the bike excursion team, in particular Nico and Ahsleigh for looking after us on our Rome trip - different class!. In addition head waiter Carlos and his team of Chris, Mark, Frank etc etc were amazing. A nice ship with great staff and magnificent entertainment - shame about Marellas first pub the Squid & Anchor which brought an all inclusive hotel clientelle to an otherwise perfect two weeks cruising, if you just don't go there then it doesn't impact on you too much. 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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