169 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Cruise Reviews

After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much ... Read More
After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much longer. This is not the first time - see reviews. Access to ship far too steep - why not a lower deck? Outside cabin ok but continual noise all night as ceiling panels vibrating so noisy - new ship? Seatings a problem everywhere - lounge, market place, indigo and theatre. Food fair in market place and 53. Found vista for last 2 days - much better. Staff in restaurants don’t seem to be allowed to be part of your holiday - Spirit was fun- Explorer dead pan waiters. Shows poor quality- team worked hard but material terrible - what was cogs all about? Far too loud-too much visual effects and flashing lights. Oh, Spirit was 10 out of 10. Did not participate in any of the daily activities other than walking ourselves around the deck! Days at sea were dead - why no speaker - why no play by show team? Met some of our old Spirit team - Spirit is still their ship- no further comment required. Out of control is the “show your appreciation to the magnificent crew” - how many times were we asked to applaud? Leaving the ship was just as bad. Group 8 had 1000 leaving at same time to queue, get transfer bus and finally find luggage. WHY not make groups of 300 max. So view of Marella is that they have totally lost the Thomson “spirit” that made cruising so enjoyable. Sorry Marella but it’s goodbye from us Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad ... Read More
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad decision. Must say the cabin is spacious and well furnished BUT the inescapable element is constant noise from the deck above. We noticed it initially during the first day, noise of furniture being moved and scraped along the deck. The first night we were woke at 5am, then at 1.30am second night. It appears the deck was being cleaned which needed furniture to be moved. Formally complained in writing, no one responded and had a third night of disturbed sleep. Altogether had to complain 3 times to the “hotel manager”, not impressed at all with the response. The cruise was spoiled by the noise as it is a constant irritant when in the cabin, even during the day. A number of other issues occurred such as on embarkation we were told there was an IT problem which meant long queues while dropping off luggage in the car park and within the terminal building. Luggage was not unloaded on time from the ship after disembarkation, again huge queues in the car park whilst fork lift trucks were coming and going delivering suitcases. The food generally in the restaurants is adequate, not of a high quality. Got the feeling that some of the crew were very inexperienced, and required further training. Overall, it is downmarket, it was a bad experience and will not be going anywhere near a Marella ship again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 2018
Drunken and abusive behaviour of some passengers seems to allowed by the security on board, this escalated until two of my family were physically assaulted. After I intervened I was accused of assaulting the aggressor and the head of ... Read More
Drunken and abusive behaviour of some passengers seems to allowed by the security on board, this escalated until two of my family were physically assaulted. After I intervened I was accused of assaulting the aggressor and the head of security called the police to arrest me, the French police found me to be innocent of assault. To add insult to injury I was forced off ship, leaving my family alone and having to make my own way home from a foreign port, the tears of my distraught daughter and objections from other passengers had no effect on the crews decision to abandon me. After I was forced from the ship my family were refused food and drink ( even though the cruise was all inclusive) as management explained I was the registered card holder and I was not present! My family were treated very poorly after my departure and made to feel like criminals, they were openly talked about by the head of security and monitored constantly. Tui have not tried to contact me since abandoning me, they obviously do not care about my well being or safety. Bad customer care to say the least! Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date June 2018
The worst holiday experience ever. If you think all inclusive means just that, forget it. Read my review on trip advisor. We have never seen so many disgruntled people in one place nor such blatant price gouging. The food, service, staff, ... Read More
The worst holiday experience ever. If you think all inclusive means just that, forget it. Read my review on trip advisor. We have never seen so many disgruntled people in one place nor such blatant price gouging. The food, service, staff, swimming pool, awful. Excursions were a massive rip off. Nothing more than expensive trips in a coach with no water or lunch provided at up to £98 per person; on one we were taken to a fruit and veg market in Cannes on the Rivera!!! The swimming pool was so cold as to be unusable even by the children. Food was dreadful unless you paid a £50 upgrade per couple each time to visit the restricted restaurants that served average food. The staff appeared resentful and clearly did not want to be there. There were a couple of exceptions and we were informed that all the staff were agency and had only been on board 2/3 weeks when we boarded, it showed. Several times the waiting staff could not read the menu. It truly was an awful experience that is never to be repeated. We were thankful we only had to spend a week on the ship DON'T book, you have been warned. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was only the second cruise my husband and I have been on and were so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse including our dealings with the provider TUI. We had booked a balcony cabin as we have in the ... Read More
This was only the second cruise my husband and I have been on and were so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse including our dealings with the provider TUI. We had booked a balcony cabin as we have in the past but although the room was pleasant, it certainly wasn't the standard we expected. There was a dummy dial (did not work) on the wall for the air-conditioning but it did not control anything so all day and all night we had cold air blowing directly on to our bed for the whole week. We went on the second sailing for this cruise ship and it was quite obvious, that things were not what they should be. Many of the staff, although always polite and helpful, ran around like headless chickens and it was obvious that management had not completed training of the staff. The food was OK but not as good as we had had on a previous cruise ship with a different company. I think that probably the worse problem was with the toilets. The public toilets were constantly having to be closed as the sewerage was overflowing and floating which smelt dreadful at times. Staff tried their best to keep on top of the problem but it is obvious that this old refurbished ship was not fit for purpose and was not able to take the volume of passengers. I can understand why things such as norovirus can spread quickly on a ship. There were many other issues which are too many to mention but I think what I am most annoyed about is that on the day after our return to the UK, I emailed TUI to outline all my concerns and problems. They did not respond so after 28 days I had no option but to contact ABTA who are no handling the complaint. A simple apology from TUI with acknowledgment of the problems the ship was having would have been sufficient but it has now angered me that they didn't even have the common courtesy to contact me following my email. I now have to wait a further 28 days for ABTA to try and resolve the matter but if nothing is forthcoming, I shall pursue the matter further TUI ..... (from a very annoyed TUI customer) Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions ... Read More
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions booked for most early mornings so had to be in bed by 11pm and up early. So our routine was that after dinner each night we would head to the bars for a few drinks. But is was sooo boring. Nothing happening. Maybe a game of over priced bingo and then a reality band on the big screen. The same one that was playing the night before, and the night before that. Oh my god it was so boring on that ship. Nothing, just nothing went on. The Theater was dismal, I know them young people work very hard and they were pretty good but the shows were just rubbish. I couldn't work out what one or two of the shows was even about, seemed like a bit of a mishmash. Days at sea were unbearable. Just lay out on a sunbed bored to death and then in the afternoon someone who was unable to sing a note in tune would start playing acoustic guitar, they would come on and sing slow, slow, slow ballads.. It would make me feel like jumping overboard. The cruise was drinks all inclusive, so getting somebody to try and serve you at the bar was like waiting for a bus. There were no staff and on sea days if you were lucky enough to flag a waiter and order a drink, they would be 30 minutes coming back with it. On two occasions they didn't return at all and when I complained I was told it was probably because they had finished their shift or gone on their break. Kill me now, YES it really was that boring. We booked a cabin at the back of the ship. The cabin was terrible. The lampshade was hanging off, the walls were filthy, the mattresses had 'stains' on them, the shelves rattled about and the toilet was half way up the wall that I had to climb up onto it with my legs dangling in mid air whist I tried to do my business. I don't need to explain the difficulties in cleansing oneself! The shower was a disgrace. Was filthy dirty scum on the walls and mold all around the seals. Food was alright but nothing to get excited about. But better that some cruises I've been on. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The ... Read More
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The entertainment on board is the worst I have ever experienced on any cruise, its Butlin’s at sea, cheap and extremely irritating. The team responsible for your entertainment can easily be found in the smoking areas of the bars, drinking, smoking and entertaining each other. The food is reasonable, however the service is painfully slow and you can expect to be spending a great deal of time waiting between courses for your meals to be served. The specialist restaurants that incur a supplement are still painfully slow from a service perspective, the food is nothing special and certainly not worth the additional cost. The icing on the cake came during our second week when we rounded a corner on deck 7 to find human excrement on the deck, a crew member was placing a chair over the turd to prevent anyone walking in it and he smile and said “someone had relaxed too much on their holiday”. I'm no snob, I like a drink and a good laugh as much as anyone, howsever the calibre of guest on this cruise left much to be desired. . The excursions are over-priced, but they always are on cruise ships and in fairness we enjoyed them all. On days where we had no excursions booked we couldn’t face staying on-board with the drunks staggering around so we left the ship and got Taxi’s to the nearest beach. My advise to anyone considering booking with Marella is simple, DON'T. Maybe we were just unlucky, but I will never cruise with Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal ... Read More
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal back on a cruise until this one. My wife got sick on day 7 with diarrhea, probably something she ate. I caught them replacing the premium ingredients of the premium all inclusive drinks menu with cheap alternatives. The entertainment is pretty much the same every day, singing and dancing with the same group of dancers, it's OK but after a week it's too much, too repetitive. Be warned if you sail from Newcastle with parking your car it takes two buses to get to the ship and likewise on return, this needs simplifying. The baltic itinery is great, however the tours are not so great, save yourself some money and spend it on a better cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to ... Read More
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to make a special mention to 2 members of staff who did go that extra mile to make our cruise special Putra our cabin steward was exceptional in trying to sort out our many problems that we incurred and secondly Gregg from the Bar staff who was entertaining, friendly, full of happiness and good fun to be near. 2nd The bad points. We entered our cabin and found we had a paper thin mattress that when you just touched it with slight pressure you could feel through to the bed frame. 2 wooden boxes with sharp edges protruding from the space in the headboard where our heads went. Another wooden box protruding from the wall near the access to side of bed. Safe not working. Fridge not working. Air conditioning not working. welcome to marella explorer. after complaining we were told that it would all be sorted out and not to worry. the reception staff ended up coming down to cabin as they seemed not to believe what we were saying and took photo's. we were informed that there was no other cabins available and they would put an extra mattress on the bed and pillows to cover boxes on headboard, 3 days later safe is replaced, refrigerator is replaced, air con is fixed(ish). We were told that the protruding boxes would be removed the following day, 2 days later we were informed that the protruding boxes could not be moved, a sorry was issued in the form of a scribbled note on a bottle of prosecco with 6 chocolate strawberries and we would have to make do! ships layout is not great if you are in the theatre and want a drink you have to walk 3/4 the length of the ship then que for 20 minutes by which time the show is finished Also if you want to participate in the evening entertainment and watch the evening show you cant as they overlap by 15 minutes so you either miss the end of the entertainment or the beginning of the show .... very poor planning Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after sampling the all inclusive drinks it was obvious why! The same applied to the quality of the food! We pre booked two excursions for when we were in St Petersburg and only did one because the first was such a let down. The overall standard of this ship is at best 2 star. We visited our local Tui branch to give our feedback and were told it couldn't be compared with the likes of Celebrity but this was not reflected in the price!!!!! We contacted the Tui post cruise help line 3 weeks ago and have not had a reply, we also tried calling but nobody picked up the phone. Absoluty disgraceful! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great ... Read More
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great theatre with good sight lines. A decent sized cinema.But as a cruise experience did not live up to the standard we have become accustomed to with P@O. On sea days the main pool area was a no go for us,with its loud music,that was not even catered to the average age group of around 65 (it was an adults only cruise).Felt like we were back at Butlins.For anyone who likes to dance the Indigo disco with its small dance floor and no seats was a waste of time.What would on other ships be known as the crows nest was a strange layout and doubled as the casino.It was difficult to get a seat in the squid and anchor pub which was incredibly noisy and consisted of mainly childish game shows.And finally the food.Again hit and miss.as was the service.We finally cottoned on to two excellent waiters Maiko and Benjie one in the vista and one in the latitude restaurants. Service in the tapas and pizza restaurants was good.The staff were more multicultural than on any of our 18 or so other cruises.Some of the entertainment in the evening was good some not so good.Very little in the way of entertainment during the day,no lectures or talks just films in the cinema that tended to repeat.Spoke to people who had cruised on Discovery and much preferred it.All in all,in my opinion a long way to go to match P@O. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking forward to trip. Perfect start great to leave luggage at Gatwick and see it next in our cabin. I do have limited mobility so arranged an adapted cabin which turned out good ; Sorry down hill from here on THIS ship and MOST of staff are not aware or interested in the disable / less mobile customer. The ship has NO disable seating in restaurants or bars and you are on your own with getting help from staff to get seated . the stock reply seems " we are busy ", " try another restaurant " ; Try another time. The theater is not a lot better . Yes there are a few disable seats but so poorly signed again it is free for all, so do not expect to get one unless you get to show about 45 minuets early. We did eventual get the welfare dept to put out some signs in the Cafeteria just 8 seats which considering the amount of wheel chairs/ scooters ect on board was no where enough . To cap it all I was told by a manager in the Theater he could not ask people to move from disable seats and I should walk down the stairs to front . The shows in all are ok not up to a professional standard more a good local theater group. The excursion ok but again not good for less mobile , we invested in a special light weight wheelchair so I could enjoy the trips but nearly all the trips state on the day that no wheel chairs or buggy's can be accommodated so yes got on the trips but did not see much of the sights except from the transport windows . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... this would made one think it would have been 4 star at least in my eyes. The food in the main restaurant was inedible, overcooked and hard to eat. It was so bad we decided to use the Market buffet the rest of the holiday. There were specialist restaurants but they wanted upwards of £30 per person per visit ( after having paid for food i felt the cover charge was over the top compared with being able to pay on the Celebration a sum of £10 per person to upgrade the main meal in the dining room to steak or lamb chops etc ) On speaking to people on the ship, nobody thought the specialty restaurants to be be good value. One of the nice things about a cruise is coming back to your cabin at night after dinner and finding your cabin news containing the details of the next days itinerary and a little bit about the ship and crew... nice bedtime reading and handy to take with you the next day on shore excursions as it always had the telephone numbers of the port authority etc in case you have any off shore difficulties etc. This is currently being replaced by an APP you must load on your phone and use the ships WiFi When I inquired if we could have a paper copy delivered to my cabin as before ( these are still available if you rush to reception in the evening) i was promptly and firmly told NO... i even offered to pay to have this and it was ignored. The APP is terrible only some of it is on the phone APP others and again not all are on the TV. The only way you could get the menus of the restaurants was from the flat touch screen terminals at the lifts (these sometimes lost the WiFi and didnt work either). It really ruffled my feathers when every day there was a channel on the TV where the Cruise Director would go over the highlights of the days activities and did it from the paper copy of the cruise news!! The ship is poorly covered by entertainment at night and it doesnt flow properly like the Celebration or other cruise ships i have used.. things finish in the middle of other items you may be interested in and you find yourself walking in on a half completed piece of entertainment upsetting the guests that managed to be there on time for it to start. The bars are mainly all too loud and mainly served by piped music with occasional live music... it seemed to be done on the cheap or not utilised properly. Staff on the ship are mainly unhappy and it shows to the customer. The biggest concern on the ship, i have left till the end.... the number of people i seen drunk in the early afternoon was high ( never before have i seen this on a cruise) between afternoon and evening it looked like the ship was a BOOZE CRUISE ... im certainly not impressed with the Explorer or Marriela / Tui.. and wonder if the Celebration is now been changed to feel and look the same... ( this was my favourite ship in the Tui fleet) It looks like we will need to use our other favourite ships like the NCL ( Jade/Pearl etc) In Conclusion .... if i was offered another week on the Explorer, i would decline it!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose Marella Explorer as it was a medium-size ship, and our very first cruise 20 years was with Thomson and we were very pleased with that. Sadly our experience of Marella Explorer was very disappointing. The service in the ... Read More
We chose Marella Explorer as it was a medium-size ship, and our very first cruise 20 years was with Thomson and we were very pleased with that. Sadly our experience of Marella Explorer was very disappointing. The service in the restaurants was generally poor though better in the Vista restaurant. Rarely asked if we wanted coffee after a meal. The quality of the food was OK, with Vista being much better than Latitude 53. The buffet food was fine, but the background music was often intrusive. The surcharge for the speciality restaurants seemed exorbitant so not used. The entertainment in the Broadway theatre was not very good; the performers worked hard but with poor material, and it seemed that playing everything loud was the solution. Quite a number of people left because of the loud music. Alternative entertainmant on the sea day was sadly lacking. The captain was obviously keen to be "one of the boys" but daily apologies became an irritation. On the positive side, our junior suite was excellent as was the service from our steward, and all the crew were always helpful and polite. The carafe system of fresh water in the cabin was excellent and should be copied by all the cruise line to save plastic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been ... Read More
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been disappointing and NOT up to the standard of previous Thomson cruises. Firstly, the Explorer, although it may be considered that the Atrium of the ship is a waste of space it creates an outstanding focal point, a hub usually with pleasant bars, music & conversation. This is missing on the Explorer and the redesigning of the ship is a miss-match with speciality restaurants being created from corridors and even the Shushi restaurant has a walk-way (corridor) going through it. The Casino is tucked away in a corner (a little like an after thought stuck in a corner). You have to walk through the buffet restaurant to reach alternative bars with lots of people walking in swimwear (very unhygienic). The food although served hot, in the main restaurant lacked variety, bars are under staffed and public areas are left uncleaned, with dirty glasses, tables and bins overflowing. There is certainly a lack of staff and some border on uninterested, compared with some who are outstanding. The entertainment programme was poor with one professional act within 7 days and the Thomson entertainment staff where also very poor (something which previously on Thomson's cruises has been exceptional) although the resident band "the Beats" where enjoyable. On the sea day the entertainment team were happy to play a film out of deck, in fact every day at least one film was shown (really entertainment?!). Our cabin was pleasant (our Cabin stewards outstanding), but by the 5th day the bathroom smell was overwhelming and a trip to reception to complain was necessary and the smell/fault was resolved for 2 days until the 3rd day when the smell came back in fact the whole ship smelled (sorry). There is no indoor pool & although Thomson promote that one of the outdoor pools during a period of day is purely for adults this was never enforced, nor was the smoking/vapouring policy with vapouring on decks & bars. The All Inclusive drinks menu has also been revised with many of the cocktails being removed or now on the premium drinks menu. If you have cruised with Thomsons before you will be disappointed, if you haven't cruised with Thomsons then don't do the Explorer! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We ... Read More
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We did upgrade to the premium class flights and a premium drinks package. The ship was extremely busy which we anticipated. However, we did not expect some of the children on board to be unsupervised by their parents/grandparents to such an extent as to make the cruise unpleasant. Despite 'No Diving' signs on the pools the children continued to do this which can be very disconcerting to older guests and also potentially dangerous. I rarely saw a lifeguard around the pool to stop this practice. As a vegetarian I found the food awful. For example, a vegetable pie with the crust extremely hard and the rest of it raw and uncooked. We did ask to see a chef and he did come down to see us but was not particularly helpful. What shocked was when he admitted he didn't taste any of the vegetarian dishes. A couple of the restaurant managers said the same thing. The vegetarian option for Christmas Day dinner was mushroom crepes. Surely something more seasonal and exciting could have been offered? Our inside cabin was perfectly acceptable and the steward worked very hard. The service in the dining room (other than the specialty restaurants) was extremely slow and the food usually arrived lukewarm at best. I do not think this the fault of the waiters simply that there are just not enough staff to properly offer a good service. We did not book any tours preferring to explore on our own so cannot comment on those. The Embarkation process was smooth and it was an added bonus to have luggage checked in at Gatwick and then be taken straight to the ship.T The Lounge bar is style over substance in my opinion. The design makes it difficult for the waiters to work in and there are far too few of the to cope with the needs of the guests. We did not see the shows so again can make no comment on them. The pool and deck areas are extremely busy and I did not once see the '45 minute rule' being implemented. Some chairs were left unattended for up to five hours and no effort was made to remove belongings or towels. We will definitely not be sailing on this ship again and probably not cruising on any other Marella vessel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their ... Read More
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their specialty acts they brought on for the duration of the Atlantic ocean was to be honest DIRE. I have seen better acts on my local social club, a tribute Take That act that said they were not a tribute act but like to sing their songs. well I did not pay a lot of money to listen to a Karaoke night as a show night. There were two so called comedians who were in my opinion as funny as a funeral and as for the resident acts, so boring, no life at all no chance of dancing to any of it apart from the disco on the 12th deck. The Celebration is an older ship but I never had a better time than on there. Finally the Shows on the Broadway Theatre, singing and dancing shows virtually every night, no West End musicals like they used to be I would say that they have drastically cut there entertainment budget but increased their prices for maximum profit. This may sound like Victor Meldrew but after talking to many passengers during the cruise we were all of the same opinion. Goodnight and happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to ... Read More
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to cabin, card for drinks food etc, and boarding card, got to out cabin 9100 which was deck 9, reasonable size with a large balcony with chairs table and a hammock, beds were ok, Bottled water-small bottles of wine, biscuits on what we thought was a complimentary tray, later discovered all that was chargeable, at an exorbitant rate. This is where it all started to go wrong, we booked as "All inclusive", turns out not as all inclusive as you think. In the coffee pot lounge you were charged for coffee, several other places, bars and restuarants had a charge, and not cheap. So we set sail had our first nights meal in The Market Place, which was very basic cafeteria food, which was ok, self serve pumps of red/white wine and fosters lager, this was free. had a wander around the ship seemed quite well appointed, eventually went to bed around 11pm quite a tiring day... didnt sleep at all well as above the twin beds was the air conditioning unit very noisy all night slept badly, woke tired. complained to reception asked if it could be turned off, very curtly told no, reception staff not very helpful, after talking to other passengers who also agreed they had problems with reception. tried other restuarants Meditteranean pasta and pizza, average, latitude 53 was ok, but not exactly what we would expect from a restuarant that appeared to be a bit more upmarket than others. drinks were free, rather most drinks were free, could drink oneself silly as a lot did especially on the pool deck Entertainment was somewhat amatuerish, girls and guys prancing around and trying to sing, more like yelling, too loud afoten had no idea what they were singing about, the best night was when they had the comedian steve? terry he was very funny. Excursions to Rome-Florence-Pisa etc were very expensive almost £200.00 per couple, and those places would be jam packed with tourists, All in all for us was not a good experience, could, and should have spent our money elsewhere .not on a cruise, we agreed that it was an experience not a good one and we would never ever go on a cruise again, although there was one guy who had done 54 cruises in 7 years (must have been insane) The plus side was our cabin staff were absolutely amazing Madelyn and ? cannot remeber his name nothing too much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name and airport flown from and were given an envelope with your key cards in. Went through security and onto the ship and our bags were delivered within half an hour of boarding. We can cabin 9255 right at the back. We had a big balcony and the room was well appointed and the beds comfy. You could only get 3 tv channels. However our toilet blocked on 3 days. The one next door did too as I could hear the maintenance man trying to unblock it. Our sink plug didnt work either, it would not stay down. The public toilets by the buffet were blocked too. When we docked it was really noisy in our cabin and because we were docking early in the morning we were woken up by the engines about 6 am. We and my daughter both paid £49 each for 7 days wifi. After 3 days my daughters ran out. We went down to reception to query it and were told it had all been used up and would have to buy more days. How it could have been used up I do not know but the receptionist wasnt interested. She paid £25 for another 3 days and this ran out after 2 days, even though she barely used it and on one of those days we were on a 10 hour trip to Pisa so didnt even use wifi. We booked a full day trip to Rome which was described on TUI website as visiting the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps among other places. However the guide dropped us off at the Piazzo Navonna and said if we wanted to see the Fountain and the Steps we could make our own way there and it was a 20 minute walk. We were not given a map or directions. She then left us and said to meet back in 2 1/2 hours. As we did not have our phones with us we didnt know how to get there so ended up not seeing them. We spoke to another couple at dinner that night who had been on same trip but on another coach and their guide had taken them to those places and stayed with them the whole time. We did PIsa and Florence trip too but only saw 4 places in Florence, and only saw the leaningI Tower in Pisa. I did not feel they were good value for what we paid. The food in the buffet in the evening was the worst I've ever had on a curise ship and I've been on P&O, NCL, RCI and Carnival. If you were a vegitarian there was very little choice apart from steamed brocoli, carrots and cauliflower or salad. The food in the Italian was excellent but if you went between 7.30 and 8.30 there was a 40 minute wait. One night we went at 8 pm and she said there was an hours wait and they had run out of pagers. The food in the main dining room was good too. The cocktails were limited and there were only 2 creamy ones. I paid extra for a mudslide but it was very watery. If you wanted to pay for extra premium brands or other cocktails it was £2.50. I paid extra for a creamy cocktail in the Italian restaurant but when it came it just had a great big blob of cream floating in the middtle. The staff were lovely, we never had a problem getting sunbeds, the boat wasnt very busy seeing as it was school holidays and waiters were constantly coming round to take drinks orders. The lounges were spacious and you could always find a seat. We went to one show but it was very poor so never bothered going again. The ship never enforced using hand gel before entering the restaurants, unlike other boats I've been on. Hardly anybody used it. The gym was described as being state of the art but was tiny with limited equipment. There were free classes for half an hour (walk around the deck in the am) and 45 minute classes that cost £7. I paid for the 45 minute classes but they only ran for 30 minutes and that included a warm up and cool down. I did not feel as though I had had a full workout in that time. The instructor was good, just wish the classes had run for the advertised time. Our flight home was at 1.15 pm but we were taken to the airport at 9 am so had a long wait there. I will not be going with Marella next time, they have a long way to go before catching up with RCI and NCL Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get ... Read More
Cruised with Thompsons many times over the years but decided against sailing again as we felt the standards were beginning to drop. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Epic the last couple of years and due to not been able to get our dates we opted for the New Thomsons Cruise Ship mainly with recommendation from the Travel Agent. So Disappointing for paying £3,000 for a weeks holiday on a basic ship.........I have a Diary Allergy and food or help from staff was non existent . The food was basic, and very limited in The Marketplace. Plenty eating places to choose from if you wish to pay supplements but still not worth the money. Some eating areas were set along corridors where people walked passed or children ran through! The all inclusive drinks package was cheap drink, diet coke in a glass full of ice 80%water approx 20% coke. I ended up buying cans of diet coke at a supplement of £1.00. The cabin was roomy and a bigger balcony with chairs, table, sunbed and hammock but the room was still basic. The staff were wonderful at keeping it immaculate. Entertainment was ok, Virtual bands , constant repetitive viewing. Theatre shows were ok but finding a seat was impossible at times and guests were not willing to move to make room for other people. Sunbeds .... well unless you were there at 6am in the morning and dumping your towels then you weren't lucky to find a bed. Policy is ,,,towels will be removed if no one is on the bed for a period of time, that was never implemented. People were even leaving their towels on their bed, going off shore for the morning then coming back onto their bed... !!!! It was a real let down, nothing impressive about the ship...apart from the Captain and the wonderful staff. Marrella Cruises have a long way to go to compete with other Cruise Companies, instead of moving forward they are still living in the times of Thomsons Cruises 10years ago.... I never write reviews and sometimes wonder why people see lots of negatives in holidays but i felt so dissapointed, hax a wasted holiday and were £3,000 out of pocket for one of the worst cruise ships I have sailed on.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be ... Read More
Firstly do not be sold this cruise as a new ship this ship is over 20 yrs old, but new to the the TUI fleet, I did know this before traveling but didn't expect to be woken up every day with severe vibrations,including at 3.30am be scolded in the shower and have a toilet that didn't flush, having the plumber to the cabin twice to check the shower, only to be told there was nothing they could do as we were the last cabin on the run and when other people run cold water we lost ours. This is also sold as an all inclusive holiday but if you want certain drinks you have to upgrade your package we did do this, then when we went to dinner and asked for pink prosecco, we were told they didn't do this drink in this bar what the point of upgrading if you cant get the drink you want surely should be available in any bar. The food was ok nothing special but ok . Service could be a bit slow dinner sometimes being 2.5hrs . The cabin was clean but very noisy with the ship vibrations, and the air condition .The bathroom was poor with the shower being so grubby i wanted to wear flip flops . Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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