11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Having done over 15 Thompson cruises with our husbands and together have to say that Thompson have not just rebranded but have sold out to Merella.The ship is nice enough but some how lacks the touch of the Thompson's older ships, ... Read More
Having done over 15 Thompson cruises with our husbands and together have to say that Thompson have not just rebranded but have sold out to Merella.The ship is nice enough but some how lacks the touch of the Thompson's older ships, there just was not the atmosphere any were on board, most of the staff were friendly enough but that spark has gone, and well some are down right miserable , never saw the cruise director walking around meeting people ( as they have on our other cruises) and the entertainment staff did a few quizzes and that was it. The evening shows were good but the girls singers did tend to screech, the groups, singers and soloist were good I think it is now all about paying extra in the specialist resturants if you want a decent meal, the choice at breakfast was good as we always eat in the resturanr, as the self service is a free for all fighting for tables. Luch was ok with plenty of choice from a sandwich to a 3 course meal in the resturant, (salad was a bit of a let down) evenging meal in the self service was terrible very little choice and it closes early., the resturant is better but very hit and miss not as good as it used to be, i could of soled my shoes with the duck i was served, looks nice though, lots of complaing at night. I am not a big drinker but i do like to taste it when i am having one, had a cidar with lunch one day tasteless, so watered down as were the cocktails, have to say the banana daiquiris were good but more of a mocktail, very little choice in the wine and the house wine coloured water. We were very luck as there were only 43 children on our criuise (very noisey around the pool deck) as there were 450 a couple of weeks ago, what they did i have no idea as there is not the facilities for so many children. We thought we would spoil ourselves and have a cabin with a large balcony, yes the balcony is large but the room is very small with little room to move around, but the bathroom was good with a walk in shower with glass door (not curtain) plenty of wardrobes and draws. On one of the days we were unable to tender as it was a bit rough, would of thought that the entertainment director would of had a program for such an event but it seems not it took 2 hours with a lets do Q&A with the show team once they had got out of there beds. To sum up the cruise would i do another Merella cruise the answer is NO, i am afraid it was like Butlins on the sea ( i beleive that they are targeting the younger couples with children) and we were very thankfull that we had gone that week and not the week after as that was Buzz Bingo week and you could play bingo 4 times a day every day, my friend said she woukd of thrown me overboard but i said it was ok i would of jummped. 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
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Having cruised with Thomson (Marella) a few times we decided to try one of the new additions to the fleet and the ship itself is very nice at first glance and is well laid out. The market place buffet is typical of modern cruise buffets ... Read More
Having cruised with Thomson (Marella) a few times we decided to try one of the new additions to the fleet and the ship itself is very nice at first glance and is well laid out. The market place buffet is typical of modern cruise buffets areas quite a good choice of foods but badly laid out causing a lot of queuing problems especially at peak breakfast times. The resteraunt is a different problem choice of food is not great but adequate but the lack of staff is not acceptable to slow a service. The spa is a massive space and is not overly expensive but has one major fault there is no indoor hydro pool and this is a shame because all class spas have them. Our cabin was cabin number 10103 a large balcony cabin and yes it is a large balcony but the room is far to small and the bathroom had a very bad smell all week which after talking to other guest they had the same problem so again a Marella cruise has problems with the santitacion side.one great addition to the balcony was the hammock that was very comfortable and nice for a lazy afternoon kip. The squid and anchor bar was very nice and in one corner it has the premium gin and whisky bar and that is a nice area with access to the outside smoking area which was always well used a lot of smokers were on this cruise. The casino area which incorporated the indigo nightclub was a good concept with two blackjack tables and one five card stud table plus live roulette it was adequate in size for the ship. But because the ship was all inclusive it attracts a lot of non cruise tramps at sea who think that getting dressed up is to wear scruffy t shirt shorts and flip flops, and drink to ecsess ignorant rude people who really should not be on this type of holiday they should stick to Benidorm. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was ... Read More
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was only one person trying to sell extras as we embarked (premium drinks), which was also nice and the photographers weren't pushy either. We didn't need the extra drinks as the inclusive package had enough decent drinks to easily satisfy us and the quality of the house wines was plenty good enough. All the staff were absolutely excellent and caring. they were always helpful and polite, with a genuine smile (and the number of staff who said good morning to me at 06:00 was truly impressive). The reception staff were always polite and attentive, even during our issue with the cabin.The waiters in the main restaurant and Vista (table 118) were absolutely brilliant, for breakfast and dinner - with no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment was pretty good, we attended a few quizzes, but there was this and then bingo - which was not for us. The shows we saw were generally of high quality, though someone does need to explain the COGS concept to me as it was just confusing. Though the dancing was good the story was completely missing (e.g. girl called Celeste, but Roxanne was putting on the red light...) The food at breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant was of excellent quality and fresh/hot every time. Getting lunch in the Market Place was also easy and there were no queues when we went there, so no problems getting a place to sit and eat at all. Shore excursions were excellent (apart from Pisa and the wine trip associated, Pisa really crowded and the walk from the coach park too long and difficult, with street vendors trying to sell you tack for the last half a mile. The wine tour/tasting involved 2 minutes of talking then leaving us in a tent with nice food and reasonable wine for a long time). The Palermo wine tasting trip was brilliant and of much better quality (and so was the wine). The trip to Herculaneum was a real eye-opener and there is much more there than in Pompeii. The Pals village trip we really good and rice tour very insightful. Monaco was brilliant and though we didn't stay with the tour of the old part, we bused close to Casino Square (number 1 or 2) and then walked back down the F1 track to the star finish area, had a coffee then went back to the main road to catch the bus back up the hill, in time to rejoin the coach. Note there are ticket machines at major bus stations that allow you to buy tickets (1.5 euro's for 1 way) rather than 2 euro's on the bus and the screens for bus progress are excellent. Ticket machines with English annotation. Disembarkation was easy from off the ship and to the airport (it couldn't have been easier to find the luggage and get on the coach). The airport itself is chaos with late planes and too many people and not enough staff (not a fault of Marella). Overall this cruise and the staff exceeded my expectations and we would put Marella above MSC (terrible) and Royal Caribbean (good) based on this experience. The value for money and not having to pay for tips or drinks meant our bill at the end was 20 x what has been on other lines. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had a fantastic time on this cruise. Our balcony cabin on deck 9 was spacious and had plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. We upgraded to the premium drinks package which was an extra £50 and although not necessary you can then have ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on this cruise. Our balcony cabin on deck 9 was spacious and had plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. We upgraded to the premium drinks package which was an extra £50 and although not necessary you can then have special cocktails, gins etc and your soft drinks are cans also 1.5 litres of water in your cabin every day. You can also have a lovely coffee in the Coffee Port which would be an additional cost otherwise. Vista was our favourite restaurant due to the food choices and also we found the waiter service there was even better if that's possible. As it was a special occasion we paid £35 each to eat in the Dining Club which was a great experience as the food and service were exceptional. We also paid an extra £27 for Surf and Turf restaurant and the food was first class. It's not necessary to do this, you could easily have a wonderful time on board without any upgrades. The waiters work so hard and are so friendly and helpful. Many of them are away from home for 8 months at a time but still managed to make us laugh. Entertainment in the fantastic show lounge was OK and we also had a choice of other singers in the various lounges. The one negative experience happened when we got home and I believe has nothing to do with the staff on the ship. Our bill was paid in full and the money deducted from our Bank account however we still have a "pending" amount of £335 which is restricting access to our funds. I've emailed Marella but it's still to be resolved. I don't have a lot of faith in Tui's customer service due to previous experience and feel this may drag on. I hope I'm wrong as apart from this we had a wonderful time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery ... Read More
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery 2 on many accounts and I feel you all need to know. The Market Place restaurant is typically a Spanish Hotel's 3 star Buffet junction - deplorable without question. Head chef should be sacked. The pay as you go restaurants were very nice but also very pricey as individuals but at £75.00 pp for 3 dinners OK. They reception staff are complete nonentities who didn't know what they were doing or how they were doing it and served up countless lies to my son, who received a note from his bank saying that they were charging him OD facilities as TUI started to take any fees immediately and not on cruise end. A breach of conditions! If you are a smoker, which I am not, you will get wet, have to sit on other knees and generally be treated like animals by the whole ship's company. They don't clean ashtrays on a regular basis. Moving on perhaps the worst single event was the Explorer talent show. They offered a prize of £250 as well as a recording date in Hamstead for the overall winner. A young man, who works for Jet 2 as a cabin steward won the competition. To everybody's shock the Captain and Entertainment Officer refused to pay out the £250 and offered him £50 and decided not to go ahead with the recording studio. He later was abused by the general manager for so called cheating as well as a member of the shows entertainment people. This is a disgraceful breach and needs to be dealt with by TUI. Finally the waiting staff and room attendants were absolutely brilliant, but beware of the management. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for our honeymoon as it started in the Mediterranean and sailed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Can honestly say it was the best holiday of my life, however it was my first ever cruise so I have nothing to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our honeymoon as it started in the Mediterranean and sailed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Can honestly say it was the best holiday of my life, however it was my first ever cruise so I have nothing to compare it to. We had an inside cabin on deck 4 which was quite small but I wasn't expecting any larger and we barely spent any time in the room anyway. The cabin was kept pristine by our cabin steward Isaac who was fantastic. There was a TV and coffee / tea making facilities. Shower wasn't great, kept going between hot and cold on the same settings, we didn't complain about this at the time but in hindsight that might have helped. At the time we just put up with it. Didn't get a great sleep on the beds either, they weren't uncomfortable but I think I was missing my own mattress. Plenty of choice for food and every restaurant we went to served great food, even in the marketplace (buffet style). Loved latitude and vista for our dinners, went to surf and turf once but didn't try other speciality restaurants. Loved having lunch in the Mediterranean, their pasta was lovely. Boat was a good size and there was always plenty to do around the boat which was important during our 6 sea days. They even put on some tournaments over the 6 days like shuffleboard and table tennis which was nice. Went to a couple of the shows and they were good, the cast seemed really professional, loved the movies show and had a few guest comedians which was up my street. Put off the pool deck as it was always really busy and I can't swim anyway. There was no children on our cruise but looked as though there was plenty there for kids. Service was generally good, sometimes meals and drinks were a bit slow but all the staff on board were really helpful and I have no complaints about any of them. All ports were great and had plenty to do, went on a couple of excursions organised by TUI, tour guides were very knowledgeable and made sure we had a great time. Came off this cruise and immediately wanted to book another, so we've booked a baltic cruise in July for the same ship. Can't recommend highly enough. Thankyou to all the staff who made it exceptional. Note - This cruise was perfect for myself and my husband as it was slightly more casual than expected, for those that prefer luxury cruises, this was luxurious by my standards but from what I've heard from experienced cruisers this was not as formal as others. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their ... Read More
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their specialty acts they brought on for the duration of the Atlantic ocean was to be honest DIRE. I have seen better acts on my local social club, a tribute Take That act that said they were not a tribute act but like to sing their songs. well I did not pay a lot of money to listen to a Karaoke night as a show night. There were two so called comedians who were in my opinion as funny as a funeral and as for the resident acts, so boring, no life at all no chance of dancing to any of it apart from the disco on the 12th deck. The Celebration is an older ship but I never had a better time than on there. Finally the Shows on the Broadway Theatre, singing and dancing shows virtually every night, no West End musicals like they used to be I would say that they have drastically cut there entertainment budget but increased their prices for maximum profit. This may sound like Victor Meldrew but after talking to many passengers during the cruise we were all of the same opinion. Goodnight and happy cruising. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like ... Read More
The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like I've never seen rain like it before) On arrival at the port our cases were ferried from the coach (A little Wet) and we picked up our boarding cards for cabin 9176 and within 20 minutes we were on board and exploring. First impressions There is not the wow factor of Indy with the multi storey atrium but they have managed to get a lot in the ship. Areas that felt a little small to start with then we noticed how much more room you have per person we had, but the ship is in lovely condition albeit there are perhaps a few blemishes but we were more than happy. Our cabin We were in cabin 9176 which is a standard balcony. It was immaculately presented and quite spacious. where I was only allowed 3 drawers, a shelf and two hangers we reached a more equitable distribution and all our 40kg of luggage had a home. The cases fit under the bed if you lift the frame to get them past the lip. Our cabin steward Roberto was a handsome young chap and very polite and thorough. We were very content. The bars/drink We decided not to get the premium Ai package. The house red was very pleasant as were the other wine options we tried. In terms of everything else the Ai suited us as it does contain main brands and we are not fussy over whether the gin is Gordon's or Tanqueray . It has much the same effect after sufficient numbers. Of the bars we tried squid and anchor, the lounge, indigo bar and the pool bar. We really liked the lounge and also indigo was a good spot for a drink before the club started as it was quieter and had some of the best views on the ship and a thank you to Imer,Rita and Anna for great service. Places to eat/food For breakfast we tended to eat at the market place. The choice was plentiful and most days I managed to resist the temptations of the fried bread. Most days. There are good options jn terms of cereals, fruit, cooked and continental options. We had no issues in getting a table at any time. Lunches we used both the market place and the Mediterranean. The options in the market place were nice and fresh and had variety. In the med I had the bespoke pasta option. Taste wise it was very nice indeed although perhaps a little oily. For our evening meals we generally ate in latitude 53, We never had a poor meal with highlights for me being the beef Wellington. Service wise it was excellent but we had some incredible service from Annette and Capella and they are an absolute credit to Marella Explorer . Entertainment All of the entertainment from the quizzes to the meditation classes were excellent and the show cast were all very talented and excellent individuals singing at the piano including Matt CD Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was ... Read More
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was tops never a problem to do anything for u... food choices galore restaurants staff amazing... these guys work long hours but are always polite and give u the time of day... would 100% book with marella explorer again... had a problem with our room nothing major.. but the ship manager got us moved straight away.... fabulous time couple of days a bit wet but hey 15 nights without cooking makes up for that... entertainment good.. broadway show room is like going to London except in London u don’t get complementary drinks... ship was very clean literally inside and out were kept clean daily and more than once a day... couldn’t ask for a better first time cruise The 6 days going across to the Caribbean were long but hey we knew wen we booked... oh and the guys at the Lavizza coffee port loved seeing me at 7am every morning Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was ... Read More
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was completely ignored, but the most alarming thing was the attitude of the general manager who accused me of cheating at the casino even after cctv showed I wasn’t and made of with £80 of my money ,i also got food poisoning on the 2nd day and was confined to cabin for 24 hours after the doctor was pretty sure it was food poisoning but again the general manager didn’t agree ,I sent a letter to the CEO of Marella Chris Hackney nearly 4 weeks ago, and still no reply, as I said in the heading ....Butlins at Sea ....but that’s probably unfair to Butlins 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
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for itinerary – two sea days in two weeks and a route covering a good contrasting area of the Caribbean such as the dry arid island of Bonaire to the green lush island of St Lucia. Also ease of access is a bonus – ... Read More
We chose this cruise for itinerary – two sea days in two weeks and a route covering a good contrasting area of the Caribbean such as the dry arid island of Bonaire to the green lush island of St Lucia. Also ease of access is a bonus – checking in at our UK airport and not seeing our luggage again until it arrives at your cabin is a bonus as too is arriving at Barbados airport and just walking a few metres to your transfer coach. Our first Marella cruise, but have cruised with Celebrity, RCCL, Azamara and Cunard over the past 8 yrs. We chose Premium cabin seating, adding this on a couple of months before departure. The included Escape Lounge at Manchester was quite good, very busy though but was a good step up from Aspire which we have previously used. The flights were very comfortable and you would certainly not go hungry or be uncomfortable on the flight with popcorn/crisps, two meals, plenty of drinks and water, hot towels, spacious seating and relatively good IFE. The Explorer is 22 years old and feels and looks her age in most places, she has a wobble too and is not the smoothest of rides where ever you are on the ship, yaw movement as well as a pitch and roll even in light seas. Parts of the ship are art-décor style such as the MDR restaurant and parts are modern, light and airy such as the coffee port and the Mediterranean restaurants and bar areas. The Broadway show lounge hasn’t been touched in refurb, with some carpets and seating in poor condition, a gold ceiling and grab handles, illuminated side tables with gold coloured surround which are so dated. The Market Place Buffet is the least updated, the new dark grey carpet and probably original seating, tables, panelling and ceilings are unwelcoming and dismal. Walking through the area between service the area smelled of stale water and unpleasant odour. We only occasionally ate here as it was often busy and other guests rarely used tongs etc to handle food. There were people in swimwear too – many of these guests were dressed to impress with plenty of body artwork, obese in size and little clothing. Drinks included wine were on draft. Fruit juice was only served at breakfast and not available at other times. Tables were cleared quickly in here though. Our cabin a deck 10 junior suite was a good size with an immense amount of storage. House-keeping was some of the best we have experienced. The extras for booking this class of cabin were not enough however, they should have included the premium drinks package. The extras were: Three items pressed per person for the first 24hrs even returned and re-hung in our wardrobes. two mornings of complimentary room service breakfast (continental) – which was very good – lots too!, a Lavazza coffee maker in the cabin, Clarins toiletries which were pleasant to use and express luggage delivery with speedy check-in. We never had any problems with the toilets or smells that others encountered. This forward cabin was extremely quiet too and we never heard noise from docking etc. The bathroom was quite spacious with a glass door on the good-sized shower, washing line, lots of shelving. The balcony was large with a hammock – rarely used, two chairs and a table and two sun loungers. We used our balcony quite a lot as the sundecks are cramped and noisy. We could hear the music on the deck 11 pool deck from the balcony. Our main gripe is the poor quality of food and drink, Marella are really counting the beans here. The included wines were poor quality, most of the pre-made cocktails at events and the theatre were so watered down with ice they were tasteless. We don’t drink excessively and ended up upgrading to the Premium package for the second week, also to enjoy the lovely Lavazza coffees in the Coffee Port – the lovely Phillipino lady working here was excellent in her work. The dinner menus in Latitudes both in choice and presentation often resembled a meal in a supermarket café. Poor cuts of meat, tasteless bland food and a lack of presentation and service which took forever, sometimes 40-45 mins between courses! Wine and water not refilled, having to chase up with staff orders and refills should not be necessary. The Vista the lower floor of the MDR was an Italian with a slightly better menu that changed every other day, but was very popular, hence pagers were often used with waiting up to an hour, we managed to eat here early between 6.30 – 7pm or 8-30 onwards. Service was inconsistent, there was not enough staff. We enjoyed the Surf & Turf restaurant, the main course and deserts were very good, the starters not so. Not sure it was worth the cost again other supplementary restaurants on other ships at a a similar price though. We also ate a couple of times at Med Tapas, the food was quite tame with not enough flavouring used. The Portuguese Espetada skewers were very good but at a supplement of £9.95. The meat on these was excellent. On one occasion, our two main courses arrived 30 mins apart! We were not charged the supplement. The entertainment was adequate, the shows we gave up on and were not of interest to us. The two girl entertainers flown in called Union Avenue were very good up in Indigo, with a couple of singers and guitarists around the ship very good too – vocally most were very good and extremely hardworking. We avoided the pool sailaway parties and BBQ’s – we like a good time but to see a 20 stone tattooed woman with a pint in her hand dancing dancing to calypso and reggae music is not a pleasant sight and multiply this by the other chavs (around 25% of the cruise guests) it was a low grade holiday camp. The staff themselves from Captain Peter who was very personable yet showed he was in authority and was always visible around the ship, I don’t know when he slept! (he needs to work for Azamara as they have great captains too!) were really friendly, welcoming and there was always a hello when walking about, yet the waiting staff in the bars and restaurants lacked training and service was totally inconsistent, yet you cannot fail to like them for they work long hours on eight month contracts. As mentioned the house keeping staff we had were some of the best we have experienced. The TUI-navigate app was very useful it uses the ships wifi (without charge as not connected to the internet) and you are able to access your onboard account, book restaurants, check your itinerary and book excursions, You can also buy internet use - which is very expensive, slow and not worth the money. On a final note and not many people that are booking may not be aware of is that you have to vacate your cabin by 8am on your last morning, this is fine if you are on a lunch time flight, however if you are not flying until early evening as many of the Barbados flights do then you will have to either try to book a limited number of courtesy cabin @ £35 or hang about the ship and book a slot in a cabin to use the shower. There is secure storage for hand luggage and your suitcases are taken from you the evening before departure. We managed to retain ours however I had asked on our arrival day. We would not return to Marella, the cruise cost over £3000 per person and for that money we expected more, especially in food and drink quality. My title R&R could mean.... 'Rough and Ready' are guests and ship in place. Rum & Reggae- order double to taste the cocktails and be fed up of hearing Mysterious girl, Red, Red Wine each day reggae style and it could mean Rest & Relaxation - yes in places, our balcony was quiet, parts of the ship were too, mostly not though. It is entry level cruising and for those loyal to the brand they need to experience other lines. Also, for those loyal to Marella they need a loyalty scheme. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I don't have any other cruises to compare it with but we found the marella explorer to be brilliant value for money . We stayed in a suite number 10041. Fantastic cabin with a separate living room and bedroom . Plenty of storage space ... Read More
I don't have any other cruises to compare it with but we found the marella explorer to be brilliant value for money . We stayed in a suite number 10041. Fantastic cabin with a separate living room and bedroom . Plenty of storage space and the cabin got cleaned twice a day . The balcony was huge with and it had plenty of seating plus a hammock . We upgraded to the premium all inclusive . This was £200 overall for the two weeks for 2 people . The main reasons for the upgrade where the extra selection of gins and whiskys on offer . Plus the coffee is free in the coffee port . You also get bottled water delivered to your cabin as well as access to soft drinks on the bars . On top of all this there is a better selection of cocktails and beers/ciders and wines. We found this upgrade very useful . The food is the free restaurants was a little disappointing compared to all inclusive hotels I've been to . The market place is good for a quick meal and the MDR is nice but the portions are small and you can wait a long time for your food . Our favourite was vista. We also tried the sushi and the surf and turf which are paid restaurants . Both excellent and worth the money especially the sushi . We only went to a couple of shows and we enjoyed them . The comedians they had on weren't to our taste, very old hat . We did all our excursion through TUI which in hind site we should have done more local tours . They are a lot cheaper . This is the a list of the excursions we did so if you want to know more just contact me : ARUBA SIGHTS AND BEACH BONAIRE 4X4 GRENADA RUM RUHNER ST LUCIA ULTIMATE LAND & SEA BARBADOS TURTLE ENCOUNTER ANTIGUA CRUSOE ISLAND ROAD TOWN CANE GARDEN BEACH The only negatives about the cruise was the lack of space on the main deck during the sea days . You had to be up really early to get a bed . The food wasn't the best and it would be nice if they had better quality wines available . Overall we had a very enjoyable experience and we will defiantly cruise again with Marella Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 50th Birthday. Looking at some of the reviews beforehand we were a bit worried, but these fears were allayed by our own personal experience and we couldn't find any faults whatsoever. I would ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 50th Birthday. Looking at some of the reviews beforehand we were a bit worried, but these fears were allayed by our own personal experience and we couldn't find any faults whatsoever. I would not dream of making derogatory comments on fellow passengers as everyone is entitled to spend their holiday as they see fit. I can certainly say that I saw no behaviour from anybody which affected my enjoyment of this cruise. So when looking at reviews I would recommend focusing on the average person's expectations, not specific gripes. I can quite honestly say that the food was fantastic everywhere, from the Market Place to Vista, Latitude 53 and even the burgers in the Snack Shack. Of course there were occasional minor issues with service, but immediately rectified with humble and sincere apologies each time. The staff all over the ship were excellent, very polite, helpful and friendly. The singers and dancers on the shows were amazing, especially the girls, no screeching to this musical ear! Both comedians were great, borne out by the fact that 99% of the audience were laughing. Special mention to Ellie, who sang to my wife on her 50th. Go and see Ellie and Ross, singer and guitarist - they are brilliant and have big futures ahead of them. We went on half a dozen excursions, all great. The Bequia cruise was a laugh with the rum flowing and Bohemian Rhapsody sung throughout (the boat was named Scaramouche). The Carbet Falls in Guadeloupe were amazing. My favourite Island was Martinique although it does have a traffic problem. We ate at the Surf & Turf on my wife's 50th - again a wonderful experience. The Explorer as a whole is a very comfortable ship. Couldn't see any signs of ageing, although we have nothing to compare it to, being our first cruise. So the message is if you are Mr, Miss or Mrs Average then you will enjoy this ship immensely and what it has to offer. We are already looking at our next cruise in May 2020 for my 60th and this will almost certainly be with Marella. 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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were recommended by some friends who had previously been on Marella before it became all inclusive. Unfortunately it has now become like a cheap holiday camp that caters for grossly overweight chav’s that like to booze from the moment ... Read More
We were recommended by some friends who had previously been on Marella before it became all inclusive. Unfortunately it has now become like a cheap holiday camp that caters for grossly overweight chav’s that like to booze from the moment they get up and they made up about 40% of the passengers. The Pool deck was like a walrus colony and best avoided as was the buffet at the Market Place were most of the them ate as much as they could of the 3 star food served there. Money doesn’t make you a better person but manners do and most of these people didn’t have any. The good points were the TUI and ship staff who were mostly excellent, the efficient airport and transfer to the ship, good itinerary. There is generally plenty of space on the ship and quieter areas such as the veranda which has better sun beds with pads, however certain people would be up early to reserve even if they weren’t around all morning and no one enforced their policy of removing towels if left for more than 45 mins. The ship was refitted this year but it looks like a lot of areas were not touched. We had an executive cabin which was very spacious with separate lounge area, double shower and walk in wardrobe. There was a large balcony with sun loungers, hammock and table and chairs. The bed is quite firm and we did ask for a topper which was quickly provided.Our room was on deck 10 which is below the pool deck and there used to quite a bit of noise from the sun loungers being stacked or people running around in the evening. Our cabin steward Irena was excellent and always eager to help. The restaurants are not up to the standard you would expect, Latitude 53 serves the occasional good dish but generally average fare. Vista served one of the best lasagnes I have had but the bruschetta was terrible and the steaks were tough. The tapas and and Mediterranean were reasonable but the restaurant felt like a cafe. The Kora La and Surf and Turf are good but then you have to pay £24.95 or £28.95 extra per person extra so should be. Breakfast at Latitude was good apart from the long life juices. The sail away Caribbean BBQ was awful. The Head Chef really needs replacing with someone who can improve the standard of catering on the ship. The shore excursions were a mixed bag some like St Kitts scenic railway good but the Bequia coastal cruise awful as catamaran is really a small motorise catamaran ferry not one with sails which expected. After a trip to snorkel we were then dumped on a crowded beach with no sun beds or anywhere to sit for 3 hour and given a cheap lunch in the local cafe. The beach transfers were a waste of money and you are far better organising yourself. The shows are alright but spoiled by the female singers thinking that screeching as loud as they can adds to their performance rather clarity. The guest comedian Steve Terry was very funny and would of been better to see more comedians. Embarkation and disembarking is very slick and well organised. The Champneys spa is good although the gym is quite limited. With all inclusive most drinks are included but the cocktails are more like slushy’s as so full of ice and although you can drink unlimited alcohol you have to pay for bottled water or a special coffee which is really irritating. Based on our experience TUI seem to be catering more for the 3 star holiday brigade and we won’t go again which is sad as they do put in a lot of effort and have some aspects which are very good. However if you like to eat and drink for 19 hours a day baste yourself in the sun until lobster red lying right next to other overweight people this is the holiday for you. 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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We ... Read More
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We did upgrade to the premium class flights and a premium drinks package. The ship was extremely busy which we anticipated. However, we did not expect some of the children on board to be unsupervised by their parents/grandparents to such an extent as to make the cruise unpleasant. Despite 'No Diving' signs on the pools the children continued to do this which can be very disconcerting to older guests and also potentially dangerous. I rarely saw a lifeguard around the pool to stop this practice. As a vegetarian I found the food awful. For example, a vegetable pie with the crust extremely hard and the rest of it raw and uncooked. We did ask to see a chef and he did come down to see us but was not particularly helpful. What shocked was when he admitted he didn't taste any of the vegetarian dishes. A couple of the restaurant managers said the same thing. The vegetarian option for Christmas Day dinner was mushroom crepes. Surely something more seasonal and exciting could have been offered? Our inside cabin was perfectly acceptable and the steward worked very hard. The service in the dining room (other than the specialty restaurants) was extremely slow and the food usually arrived lukewarm at best. I do not think this the fault of the waiters simply that there are just not enough staff to properly offer a good service. We did not book any tours preferring to explore on our own so cannot comment on those. The Embarkation process was smooth and it was an added bonus to have luggage checked in at Gatwick and then be taken straight to the ship.T The Lounge bar is style over substance in my opinion. The design makes it difficult for the waiters to work in and there are far too few of the to cope with the needs of the guests. We did not see the shows so again can make no comment on them. The pool and deck areas are extremely busy and I did not once see the '45 minute rule' being implemented. Some chairs were left unattended for up to five hours and no effort was made to remove belongings or towels. We will definitely not be sailing on this ship again and probably not cruising on any other Marella vessel. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either hot or cold. everyone had dry cough's, and colds. The bathing area is at least 8 inches higher than the cabin floor. This is awkward, and dangerous at our age. The toilet is a joke, you sit on the toilet with your left arm on a sink, and your right arm on a toilet roll holder. The cold water is warm, and the shower door only get by at a squeeze. The wardrobe doors are directly outside the bathroom door. So be careful. The gap at the bottom of the bed is about 18 inches wide. With a tv sticking out. Watch your shoulders. The bed is metal framed, and the mattress was in need of being replaced. Not packed up with blanket, and mattress protectors. The food choice in the market place was repetitive, poor quality, and cold. The entertainment was abysmal. In the Squid & Anchor you had a quiz, followed by virtual reality entertainment. In other words a projector screen with musicians on. This was repeated on deck 11. The lounge had a piano with a couple of singers. Heard better in the local. The broadway had such as an illusionist. Who just did card tricks. And what shows they did, where performed by the entertainments team. They put enough ice in the drinks to sink the titanic, and it took you half an hour to get served. You had to pay in the coffee shop, and if you went before 10-00 it was double the price. You could only smoke in 3 places on the ship, outside the squid and anchor at back of ship on deck 7, Outside the coffee port on deck 6, if it was open. And on deck 12 between 10-00 and 03-00. Weather permitting. So you have to leave your partner, if they don't smoke. Whilst you went up and down the ship. There are different levels to gain access to certain venues. This is because the middle of the ship is not open. It gets confusing, and tiring. The lifts sometimes close their doors on you. I have bruises to prove it. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were on a 7 day cruise on marella explorer in December 2018 . There were a good selection of islands that we visited and we really enjoyed the experience ... We have a 6yo and she had lots of fun. there were many activities and ... Read More
We were on a 7 day cruise on marella explorer in December 2018 . There were a good selection of islands that we visited and we really enjoyed the experience ... We have a 6yo and she had lots of fun. there were many activities and clubs for kids . They have a good selection of excursions which we could enjoy as a family .. it is not over crowded and we never had to wait for any facilities on the ship ... the food was excellent and the staff were really helpful and pleasant and happy to help ... the crew took care of our luggage from initial check in till we landed back in the UK. That really was helpful while travelling with children. The embarcation was quick and managed well by the crew. The spa , Varanda, private cabana, indigo bar n casino , the lounge all add to the entertainment and fun .. 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been ... Read More
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been disappointing and NOT up to the standard of previous Thomson cruises. Firstly, the Explorer, although it may be considered that the Atrium of the ship is a waste of space it creates an outstanding focal point, a hub usually with pleasant bars, music & conversation. This is missing on the Explorer and the redesigning of the ship is a miss-match with speciality restaurants being created from corridors and even the Shushi restaurant has a walk-way (corridor) going through it. The Casino is tucked away in a corner (a little like an after thought stuck in a corner). You have to walk through the buffet restaurant to reach alternative bars with lots of people walking in swimwear (very unhygienic). The food although served hot, in the main restaurant lacked variety, bars are under staffed and public areas are left uncleaned, with dirty glasses, tables and bins overflowing. There is certainly a lack of staff and some border on uninterested, compared with some who are outstanding. The entertainment programme was poor with one professional act within 7 days and the Thomson entertainment staff where also very poor (something which previously on Thomson's cruises has been exceptional) although the resident band "the Beats" where enjoyable. On the sea day the entertainment team were happy to play a film out of deck, in fact every day at least one film was shown (really entertainment?!). Our cabin was pleasant (our Cabin stewards outstanding), but by the 5th day the bathroom smell was overwhelming and a trip to reception to complain was necessary and the smell/fault was resolved for 2 days until the 3rd day when the smell came back in fact the whole ship smelled (sorry). There is no indoor pool & although Thomson promote that one of the outdoor pools during a period of day is purely for adults this was never enforced, nor was the smoking/vapouring policy with vapouring on decks & bars. The All Inclusive drinks menu has also been revised with many of the cocktails being removed or now on the premium drinks menu. If you have cruised with Thomsons before you will be disappointed, if you haven't cruised with Thomsons then don't do the Explorer! Read Less
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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