85 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Reviews

We went for Marella as have been with them lots of times before and always the best for entertainment. However, we were disappointed with the shows in the first week, although they improved by the second week. We understood the team had ... Read More
We went for Marella as have been with them lots of times before and always the best for entertainment. However, we were disappointed with the shows in the first week, although they improved by the second week. We understood the team had not been together long and also that another production company are involved with explorer, and it showed. Not impressed with the Cruise Director, except for his bollywood dancing. Not a lot going on during the day - but as we had lots of ports of call, this was excepted. Very good reggae band and good party on deck the second week. Had to be brought indoors the first week due to rain. The ship itself was great, lovely dining room with lots of small tables and plenty of room. Went to the Diners Club and although you pay extra it was well worth it. Cafes on the pool deck were very good, as was the self service restaurant and it was never crowded, except on the first sea day. Pool area, good - but sun beds need replacing. All crew friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose this 2 week cruise for the itinerary - 12 islands with only 1 sea day. Flew Gatwick - Barbados quick transfer & luggage delivered straight to cabin. Have sales on other Marella ships but first time on Explorer 2 & quite ... Read More
Chose this 2 week cruise for the itinerary - 12 islands with only 1 sea day. Flew Gatwick - Barbados quick transfer & luggage delivered straight to cabin. Have sales on other Marella ships but first time on Explorer 2 & quite impressed. Clean & spacious and adults only with a range of bars, eateries & entertainment. Younger vibe than some other cruises we've been on. CABIN Inside cabin deck 8 had lots of cupboard & drawer space with a decent size bathroom with a proper shower cubicle- no getting wrapped up in a curtain! Tea/ coffee tray restocked daily & always clean. Ours was quiet with good soundproofing but friends on deck 9 had noise from show lounge, rehearsals through the day & 2 shows at night despite being 2 decks above. EATING Latitude is main restaurant & Market Place the buffet, Vista is Italian & Nonnas a pizza place. Various places around the pool do snacks/lunches & there are several places with a surcharge, some quite hefty. Food in the Latitude was underwhelming overall. Bland at times, often undercooked veg & dried out from being too long under hot lights. Some descriptions were way off the mark - glamorous puddings turned out to be just tinned fruit & ice cream. Service varied wherever you sat - smiles & topping up drinks etc to morose waiters with long waits. Vista had a different feel, waiters often more friendly and food much better. Menu only changes every 3 -4 days so cant eat their every day unless you like repetition.Market Place buffet is a great place for lunch- hot & cold offerings, imaginative salads, also variety at breakfast & evenings. Lovely afternoon tea with proper clotted cream with the scones - top marks! Snacks around the pool were good & fresh. ENTERTAINMENT Usual singers & bands in different bars , Jon the guitarist was very good as was Hannah and The Collective, a reggae band. Kabir the Cruise Director was good, always smiling & talking to people & being involved. His Bollywood dance classes were amazing! The show team were ok with some good female singers, the shows were a little samey & the dance moves were almost the same in every show. The comedian was dire relying on the audience all the time & was quite derogatory towards women.The ballroom dance couple were uninspiring & never seemed to smile of enjoy their role.Enjoyed the quizzes & game shows. BARS Something for everyone. Indigo is big with fab views & great discos, especially the silent ones! Aperitif good for pre dinner drinks, Flutes good for bubbly & piano music. 19th hole was a bit niche for us . Coffee port was large but wasted space in the middle of the ship, a quiet space to sit & read but never busy day or night. Pool deck very busy by day with lots of activity, evenings had barbecues, moonlight movies , parties & sing a longs. The big screen was great & even spotted people on adjoining ships & the quayside watching it! There is a big choice of drinks available for all inclusive but most bars show a limited list , often with premium/ surcharge drinks when you can have virtually any AI drink in any bar so always ask. EXCURSIONS Easy to book ; wide range to suit all tastes/ abilities although not cheap. Some were excellent while others not so. Dolphin/ whale watching for example does not say possibility might be low. Another trip boat ride was cancelled so offered another at 50% which was basically lots of free time in a very small town. You could do your own thing in most places as docked close to towns. Maps are not provided any more but can download to your phone or find tourist info ashore. Destination staff varied too - the senior reps knew their stuff but others didn't. One didn't know his maps & another didn't know if taxi fares were set by the govt or not, a third advised about an island she had never been too! Big shout out goes to Alessio the bike rep - he knew his stuff, was very safety conscious and nothing was too much trouble. Would recommend this itinerary, busy but amazing & would travel on Explorer 2 again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I chose this cruise as I was assured by the local Tui agent that as it had recently undergone a re-fit it was disability friendly as my husband has a walking difficulty. The flight out to Barbados was lovely no issues and plenty of ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I was assured by the local Tui agent that as it had recently undergone a re-fit it was disability friendly as my husband has a walking difficulty. The flight out to Barbados was lovely no issues and plenty of assistance. Once on Board the ship i went to destination services to enquire about our next day excursion, I was told that due to so many steps over 50 that it was not suitable despite being informed in shop prior to departure and paying for it that we were unable to go. With that in mind i asked for a refund only to be told i needed to give 24hours notice which was impossible as I had only just boarded the ship, after much discussion I was offered the refund. Next morning went up to have a swim in pool only to find it was totally unsuitable as to enter it you had to use a ladder. The Jacuzzi was unsuitable as there were No handrails, we then paid £148 to use the Spa but once again he could get in but in order to use it he had to lie down, once again unsuitable. The food had very limited choice and I have had better in Wetherspoons, so we paid to go into other restaurants within the ship, we also paid for drinks upgrade but again we had to purchase water separately and in the Carrabean you need water. The shows were, well what can I say outrageous So bad you could not listen to them female vocalists screaming down a microphone thinking they sound just like the real artist.The Staff on board were brilliant and couldn't be more helpful, the cabin was very clean however we paid for a deluxe balcony cabin and the ordinary balcony cabins were much nicer. The pool sunbeds were impossible to get near as people would put towels on them and then not sit on them, despite in the ships hand book stating they will be removed after 45 mins this does not happen, as I mentioned it to staff and was ignored.Unlike other cruises I have been on people did not make any effort to dress for dinner and wore shorts and tee shirts in the Restuarants. Although i enjoyed the carrabean i felt let down by the ship as it cost a lot of money and was in hindsight mis sold this holiday as i mentioned earlier i was told it would be suitable for my husband who has walking difficulties., therefore never again will I go on a Tui Cruise I will stay with P and O Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I spent a week on this ship and had a great time , all the staff were very friendly and could not do enough for you . We were in cabin 1055 and our housekeeping team were great especially Lubaib pinto and Barnard they went above and ... Read More
I spent a week on this ship and had a great time , all the staff were very friendly and could not do enough for you . We were in cabin 1055 and our housekeeping team were great especially Lubaib pinto and Barnard they went above and beyond, it was me and MY HUSBANDS BIRTHDAY when we were on board the ship and they made it extra special for us by decorating our cabin with lights, banners and they even made a birthday cake from towels , it was just amazing and a lovely surprise when we came back to our cabin to find that the house keeping staff had gone to so much trouble to make our trip so rememberable. We ate in 2 off the restraunts that had a supplement charge but we found them to be great value for money and the premium drinks package meant we could enjoy some lovely. Wines Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary as wanted somewhere warm .Having cruised many times before on different cruise lines ,we were a bit wary of Marella having read some of the reviews and my 3 girlfriends were very pro P and O . ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary as wanted somewhere warm .Having cruised many times before on different cruise lines ,we were a bit wary of Marella having read some of the reviews and my 3 girlfriends were very pro P and O . However that all changed as everything a bout this cruise was wonderful . We especially liked the all inclusive aspect, especially the drinks included part . This took away the constant bothering of waiters hovering over you all the time ,wanting you to order the very expensive drinks plus service charge , The entertainment was simply superb and we were lucky to experience the changeover of 2 troops of singers and dancers as one lot were finishing their 9 month contract, so were entertained by both . Our cabin was the best I have ever had with plenty of storage and a larger than average shower . There were plug sockets for both European and American plugs plus a very useful USB port above the bed ,so do take a UK converter Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We spent the 2 weeks around New Year on this ship and were very impressed. They did a great job of the Hogmanay Party one of the best I have been to. Great Night. We will be back! Staff on the ship are 5*. I was told that they range ... Read More
We spent the 2 weeks around New Year on this ship and were very impressed. They did a great job of the Hogmanay Party one of the best I have been to. Great Night. We will be back! Staff on the ship are 5*. I was told that they range from over 45 different countries but whoever did the hiring and training deserves a promotion. So proactive and helpful. Loved the way they take you straight from the bottom of the aircraft steps straight to the ship AND at the end of your trip Immigration is done ON BOARD before breakfast.. Very slick. No Q's at bars NEVER waited for water, bread , meals or drink to be delivered to my dinner table. How they manage to feed all those people in all the different restaurant about the same time was fantastic. Logistically amazing! Everything was so smooth you just take it for granted. Not once did I have to Q and that included going on or off the ship. Spa is nice, they do deals and I thought they were reasonable 3 treatments for £99. Don't ignore the shops on board, for some things they gave me the best prices. Try the bike rides(they have ebikes). We did 2 of the organised trips and thought they were good value, next year we will do more. Coffee in the Coffee Pot was lovely, girl who ran it knew her coffee. Loved the films on the top deck at night and one night when the weather got colder the staff turned up with cosy blankets - without being asked, how nice was that! As I said....we will be back! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and to have New Year in the Caribean. We were told this was a new ship and would meet all our needs !!! The cabin was old, tired and next to the engine on the fourth floor. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and to have New Year in the Caribean. We were told this was a new ship and would meet all our needs !!! The cabin was old, tired and next to the engine on the fourth floor. The noise from the engine when at sea and when docking was so loud it was unbearable. We had no sleep and the cabin shook so much all the fittings fell of the walls, Lights were broken, curtains stained and bare wires hung over the bed. The shower was filthy, mold on all the tiles, grout and walls, and rust all over the door with broken fixtures. The toilet was broken and kept overflowing getting blocked. The corridor smelled of sewerage all the time. we asked to be moved and were told the ship was full. The second week the sheep was also full. By this time we were very tired due to lack of sleep and we left when we docked in barbados as I could not stand another night on that ship. The Bar was dirty, veryting was ticky with poor quality drinks. Beware all cocktails come from Slush machines that are all ice no alocohol. You have to pay for water !!! The food was very poor and very tiny portions. We hated every minute on this cruise I have warned all my family, friends and colleagues never to book a Tui cruise they should all be decommissioned. The ships are reconditioned ships not new. Royal Caribean got rid of these ships for a reason and they should be borken up for scrap. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After encouragement from myParents that Marella cruises were not just for the over 50’s- I booked for me and my husband (both in early thirties) to celebrate new year in the Caribbean. Embarkation was seamless- very informative staff ... Read More
After encouragement from myParents that Marella cruises were not just for the over 50’s- I booked for me and my husband (both in early thirties) to celebrate new year in the Caribbean. Embarkation was seamless- very informative staff and our cars were at our cabin right after we left the muster station briefing. The food and drinks available are plentiful and something for everyone (inc fussy eaters like me) the premium drinks package wasn’t pushed on us and I didn’t feel the need to buy it due to the vast range available in the AI package We ate in the surf and turf restaurant one evening and it was well worth the additional charge- if your interested book early as there is limited space available. Our favourite restaurant was Vista and a special mention to Allen, Jonathan and Salvin who went above and beyond for us each time we visited!!! We booked one excursion with TUI to A private island in Aruba which was a great day out and good value for money. However, we saved $50 in BVI by booking our own trip to Virgin Gorda and it was the same trip! We arranged all our own island tours and beach transfers and this saved us a lot of money. Top tip- if you like animals stingray city in Antigua is amazing! You can’t book with TUI but the tourist information at the port can arrange it $50pp plus transport but an amazing place to swimWith the rays on a shallow sandbank The entertainment team were engaging and the broadway shows were brilliant! Great comedian in josh Adams My only niggle was that there was no ironing facilities available unless you sent out to the laundrette service. You can’t take an iron on board but on other cruise liners there have been ironing rooms- small issue but it didn’t affect the trip Wide range of passengers and the best new year celebrations I’ve ever had!!! Definitely looking at a marella USA cruise for Mardi Gras in 2021 Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise to be away for Christmas for the first time. The ship is adult only and this suited us. The standards on board are very good, food, cleanliness etc. Our cabin was on deck 12 (1253) with Monna and Miller taking ... Read More
We choose this cruise to be away for Christmas for the first time. The ship is adult only and this suited us. The standards on board are very good, food, cleanliness etc. Our cabin was on deck 12 (1253) with Monna and Miller taking excellent care of us, we really cannot praise them too highly, polite, efficient with a great sense of humour. We would cruise on this ship again and if we were really lucky have Monna and Miller's care again. We can't give a review for Enrichment Activities, Fitness & Recreation or Shore Excursions as we did 'our own thing'. On Christmas Day the Cruise Director, Matthew Shaw, held a service in the main show lounge which was really enjoyable and marked the day. The other really nice thing about Matthew is that he wasn't over the top and 'in your face' as a lot of cruise directors are, some have to make everything about themselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Just come back from a christmas cruise. The ship was only refurbed in May 2019 and the communal areas show this. They are very tastefully decorated. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from on the ship. If you want to eat st ... Read More
Just come back from a christmas cruise. The ship was only refurbed in May 2019 and the communal areas show this. They are very tastefully decorated. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from on the ship. If you want to eat st surf and turf (payment) book early. We ate at the asian restaurant also for a payment and although we tried new items of food i would say the curry was average. The food all round was fabulous and we have no complaint. Xmas dinner was exceptional with a good choice to choose from. They waiters were also exceptional. The only downfall was the queue to book a christmas slot. This would have been better dealt with if people were not pushing in at the front of the queue which was in turn infuriating those who had stood for an hour. The rooms were very well kept by staff. Our young man was called Cyrus and he was fabulous. My only critism is thst these havent had a complete make over. Our drawers fell out. The tv was broke which was replaced straight away i may add. The front of the safe fell off. My daughters were in a room next door and their wardrobe door fell off. I feel a bit more money could be spent to update these. The entertainment was good. My only criticism is that they stopped a party on deck at around 11.15 for a carol service inside. We went to the nightclub in a hope to carry on partying. The DJ pkayed awful songs and the only reason we knew it had gon midnight is that we were waiting to sing happy birthday to our friend as he turned 50 xmas day. We never booked excursions except for the final day chosing to haggle with taxi drivers outside the port who take you to where ever you want to go for a fraction ofvthe price. We booked the 'Farewell to Barbados' trip costing £52.00 pp there were 10 of us so they had a fair whzck from us. The trip was boring with the driver poiting out his sister in laws house. We went to a plantation where we had lunch but we were segregared from anothet trip who appeared to have much nicer food than us. Keep your money the trip isnt worth it. On saying all this we had a great time and will definitely go back to the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our First cruise since 2012 and we chose to have it at Christmas was perhaps the best one, as this ship was not too big to get around and we docked at most ports very close to the Caribbean island's terminals. The crew were ... Read More
Our First cruise since 2012 and we chose to have it at Christmas was perhaps the best one, as this ship was not too big to get around and we docked at most ports very close to the Caribbean island's terminals. The crew were friendly and always busy but able to help when needed with the ship being cleaned on a daily basis. The food was very good and able to use the main restaurant (Latitude 53 ) without any booking (other than Christmas day )with a good selection of house wine/beers and the food was great too. On sea days the pool area was always full and many decided to put their towels down as early as 5.30am (I was informed by a crew member), very selfish I thought from fellow British passengers (who think they are still on their old beach holidays I'm sure). Being an all inclusive ship I thought of having to pay £7 extra per day for any premium drinks(this year it has gone up by 20%) a bit expensive( a card that can be scanned would help here, so if anyone had more than their daily quota would be charged accordingly) TUI take note!. The trips ashore I thought to be expensive, but you do not need to do many as there was always something to do or even stay on board and relax by the pool as we did(plenty of sunbeds around, but several needing to be replaced as they were falling apart, not even lasting 9 months they have been in service- perhaps they were a job lot... Whilst the pool was seawater( with a chlorinated smell) that kept you from putting your feet down at the bottom, I also felt the steps entering the pool were set too far apart some found it very difficult to get in and out with the over large diameter stainless steel arms as many had trouble gripping them(unless you had builders hands), as I see other ships have also graduated steps to get in, so this is bad point for TUI and should again take notes for improvements... Other than that we did really enjoy the trip and felt we do another again soon(with TUI of course). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we like to try different ships as deja vu sets in very quickly as we have found out. Ships staff excellent with a helpful attitude in all areas and kept the ship very clean. Food good in all locations especially in kora la , surf and ... Read More
we like to try different ships as deja vu sets in very quickly as we have found out. Ships staff excellent with a helpful attitude in all areas and kept the ship very clean. Food good in all locations especially in kora la , surf and turf, beach cove and nonnas. Main dining and italian particulary very good. Self service usual bun fight but better than discoveries. Bars are all good with aperitif at the very top due to the very cheery bar staff. We did not use 19th hole but used all the others, gin bar very good. We would recommend the all inclusive premium upgrade as it allows a greater variety of drinks. The standard a/l is ok if you like cheap booze, but you have to pay in the coffee port and dont get free water bottles in your cabin. The premium wine is far better than the standard offerings. The only negative is the entertainment which over fifteen cruises we have found is getting worse. Singers who clear a large proportion of a bar is not a good sign. One special act a week is less than the three or four usually tribute acts from only a few years ago. P & O are also guilty here, the old Ocean Village ships were much better here. The big question is would we go on her again as we like change every cruise we would depending on the itinery Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Marella as we have now been on all the Marella ships and this particular cruise was around the Eastern Caribbean. Our TUI Dreamliner flight to/from Barbados was good and as before on a long flight we upgraded to the Premium ... Read More
We chose Marella as we have now been on all the Marella ships and this particular cruise was around the Eastern Caribbean. Our TUI Dreamliner flight to/from Barbados was good and as before on a long flight we upgraded to the Premium cabin for the extra room and comfort. It was great checking our bags in at Gatwick only to see them again outside our cabin after a speedy ships check in obtaining our ships security pass/cabin door key. The cabin was a balcony cabin mid ships with a reasonable size balcony with chairs. The cabin itself was good with plenty of storage space, a small settee and good bathroom with a glass shower screen. The only down side was the distance between the bed end and the wall but we soon got used to the fact that you could not pass one another. It was well maintained by the two cabin persons who were very pleasant and worked very hard. Food generally was of a reasonable standard both in the buffet where we went for lunch and in the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Like many hotels and cruise ships the food was not always very hot. The bars were all pleasant and again the staff were all very hard working and soon got to know your drinks which were all the very acceptable standard inclusive, the premium package we do not think is necessary. The 'Coffee Pot' coffee shop which is an extra charge is located in an area the size of a bar and which we found to be very big and not very comfortable, it does however have excellent friendly staff. Like most cruise ships the main pool deck was always very busy and the sun beds were all very close to one another. If you were happy to sit on other decks there was plenty of space and sunbeds. We cannot comment on the theatre entertainment as we rarely go to a show and would prefer the small amount of entertainment in the bars. The ships public rooms have fairly modern furnishings but the main atrium is quite disappointing compared with the Discovery ships. Also the bottom floor of the atrium, where dancing takes place in the evening, lacks furniture by day and has folding chairs put out by evening!!! Overall the cruise was very enjoyable, the ship is clean and the staff friendly and hard working and we met some very nice people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Marketing suggested it was a new ship but turned out to be a 25 year old with limited refurbishment. There were many signs of ageing. Very misleading on the part of TUI marketing department but this is quite common with TUI. Food was ... Read More
Marketing suggested it was a new ship but turned out to be a 25 year old with limited refurbishment. There were many signs of ageing. Very misleading on the part of TUI marketing department but this is quite common with TUI. Food was very basic and could be easily be compared with pub grub. Only decent food was to be found in the extra cost venues. The cleaning standards were very superficial, especially in the main buffet restaurant. With the exception of the reception staff who were obnoxious, rude and unhelpful, the other staff were pleasant helpful and very willing. A special mention for Stevan from Serbia and Erald from Albania who were both very helpful, knowledgeable, and professional waiters. I gained the distinct impression that this was mostly a booze cruise. Great for those who want that but not for me. This was my first, and probably last, cruise based on my experience on TUI Marella Explorer 2. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Boarding - We have cruised many times including two with Marella, on their smaller ships, so looked forward to this, the latest addition to the fleet. Boarding at Barbados was smooth, with up selling limited to the AI Premium pack, which ... Read More
Boarding - We have cruised many times including two with Marella, on their smaller ships, so looked forward to this, the latest addition to the fleet. Boarding at Barbados was smooth, with up selling limited to the AI Premium pack, which we already had. First impressions of the ship were disappointing, the general decor being a low key drab‘battleship’ grey and the main atrium area, though nicely decorated for Christmas, being soulless and more like a shopping centre, There is only one bar, ‘Flutes’, around the atrium, this is a pleasant place for pre-show drinks, but has a limited capacity. In my view too much space has been allocated to shops, that never seemed to have customers. Cabin - plenty of storage, very nice shower and useful customer features on the TV, though no music options. All the films were free. Space at the end of the bed is limited. We also found the bed uncomfortable, a thin mattress that felt lumpy. The room was kept immaculate by Maria, with fresh towels every day. Our cabin, 9211, was located opposite the cleaners store, so we were woken early most mornings as they parked the service trollies and got ready. Food - best described as mediocre in all the standard restaurants, we preferred Vista. The self catering is the usual free for all but ok if you go off-peak. The additional costs for the specialist restaurants are some of the most expensive we’ve seen across all lines. Surf & Turf, nothing special, but the Dining Club was lovely. Pool area - two nice pools and four jacuzzis. Sun bed hogging is endemic on this ship, particularly on sea days. Due to our circumstances we couldn’t get off the ship at several ports and witnessed people reserving beds in the morning and returning several hours later, in the afternoon, presumably after doing a shore tour. The staff did nothing about this. People with restricted mobility, unable to use stairs, should be aware they will not have access to the upper decks that have The Veranda and Sundeck, the lifts do not service these decks! It means you must sit around the pool area. This is were all the quizzes, live performances and discos take place. OK for a while, but for us there was no escape to a quiet area. Finally, the large poolside screen, it just shows adverts for cruises, trips and staff bio’s all day, why can’t they show a concert or similar during the day? There were a couple of films in the evening, but no comfortable seating available, sorry I’m being so negative, but we were trapped here for 12 days! Shows & Bars - nice theatre with some well produced shows. We enjoyed the comedian. My wife, due to an on shore accident, had to use a wheelchair throughout the cruise, giving us an eye opening insight into this aspect of cruising. The PRM (Persons of Restricted Mobility) seats are at the back of the theatre. Like the sun-beds, you have to get in early to secure one. Again, no staff oversight of this area, on one occasion we were told the seat was being reserved whilst the person ran to the toilet! Squid and Anchor, the Gin and Whisky bar is the highlight, but again, it’s like drinking on the moon, no atmosphere. It’s a general feature that the seating on the ship though it looks stylish is uncomfortable with few places to really relax. Finally - my fellow cruisers! We met some lovely people who enriched our experience. Equally there were some who were selfish, loud, boorish and occasionally outright drunk. There were a couple of dress to impress nights when some did make an effort, with long dresses and evening suits, making it so incongruous to see people in shorts, vests and flip-flops, mingling in the bars. Special thanks to Carol, from the ships welfare team, for her communication and invaluable assistance following our accident on Tortola. Overall though a really disappointing cruise and I doubt we will return to Marella. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose the cruise because it was All inclusive, Adults only, All gratuities were included, the Caribbean destination, suitable dates, not too formal and a reasonable price., The holiday started from Birmingham Airport a much better ... Read More
I chose the cruise because it was All inclusive, Adults only, All gratuities were included, the Caribbean destination, suitable dates, not too formal and a reasonable price., The holiday started from Birmingham Airport a much better experience than Gatwick or Heathrow. The Dreamliner airplane was the best I have flown in, in terms of comfort ie legroom, seat size, high ceiling, inflight entertainment and food. Yes it was standard class but I have flown standard class all around the world. Transfer from the Birmingham airport to the ship in Barbados was seamless. Embarkation to our Balcony cabin was quick and went without a hitch. Without exception all the crew/staff were very friendly and our cabin staff treated us like old friends. The food options were as described and expected and were plentiful and of good quality and variety. We never felt we needed to attend the Premium eating restaurants. We used both waiter and self service meal options as they suited us and found both excellent. The Theatre entertainment was excellent and very professional. The "during the day" options ie, talks,hobby type clubs, could have been better but with so much scenery and good weather to enjoy it was sufficient. To be able to choose food and take it out on deck and eat in the sun deck area and look out to sea was a pleasurable experience. To meet and chat with generally like minded people who were happy to be friendly and enjoy meeting new people made the holiday experience very good. If you wanted to simply lay on a sunbed and soak up the sun it would have proved difficult with the limited sunbeds and room to do so. If you wanted to drink as much as possible that option was there. By being a little brave and being prepared to go ashore and "arrange" your own trips, you could save a lot of money and tailor your trips to do exactly what you wanted. This included going with other passengers and enjoying group excursions or simply on your own. The journey home was as good as the journey out (except the holiday was nearly over) Would I go on a TUI or Marella holiday again? Yes without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Sold as “new” ship. Albeit a refurbishment. However very disappointed that my first impression of the ship was that our cabin and public areas were grubby, well worn and dated. So spent the remainder of 2 weeks making the most of the ... Read More
Sold as “new” ship. Albeit a refurbishment. However very disappointed that my first impression of the ship was that our cabin and public areas were grubby, well worn and dated. So spent the remainder of 2 weeks making the most of the less than luxurious surroundings. The Market Place & pool deck are the hub of catering and where most of day activities occur. The food is on par with hospital food and self service. Latitude and Vista offer a slightly better standard of food and waiter service. But still not that good. Premium drinks package not worth buying wish we hadn’t . Can’t get sparkling water without paying again on top of this. The pool deck entertainer made a joke that he was pleased to welcome aboard all of the cast of the Jeremy Kyle Show now that the show had finished. Except it isn’t a joke. It’s the clientele that let this holiday down. No one enforces the dress code. Even in the so called smart areas you will be sat dining with folk who think it ok to dine in swimwear, vests or shirtless. There is supposed to be rule that sun beds are not reserved. Unfortunately on the at sea days there are insufficient sun beds and many reserved by a towel yet unoccupied. The smoking deck is outside of both entrances to the main cocktail bar, Indigo. And consequently this bar stinks. Some of the on shore excursions by Destination Services not value for money at all. And are thinly veiled trips to stores/factories for a sales pitch. One of the TUI girls that accompanied us was next to useless she couldn’t answer any questions put to her on the excursion, Entertainment was appalling. Tried the show 3 times in 2 weeks but on each occasion walked out after 20 minutes. The so called comedians being an insult to one’s intelligence. But without exception the staff, particularly in housekeeping are an absolute credit to TUI and probably get paid the least. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my partner and we both had an amazing holiday. From landing in Barbados a smooth transition on to the ship and from there a fab holiday began. We had an outside cabin which had plenty of room, ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my partner and we both had an amazing holiday. From landing in Barbados a smooth transition on to the ship and from there a fab holiday began. We had an outside cabin which had plenty of room, bathroom was big enough with a lovely shower that was always hot! The food was great whichever place we chose to eat so cant single any one in particular however the staff in Latitude and vista are a credit to the ship. Drinks were amazing, we upgraded to the premium namely for the gin and whisky bar and we found this well worth it. Special mention to Illeas in the gin bar who is one of the best bar tenders we have come across. Entertainment was really good some nights better than others - the rockology, movies, soul and motown were all fab and the entertainment in the squid and anchor was also good - the effort the full team put in is phenomenal. As this was our first cruise we had people commenting we were too young to be going on this type of holiday but I'm thrilled we did and we are already looking again for next year! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because it departed from Barbados and because we have cruised with Thomson/Marella before and have always had an enjoyable time. We cruised November 17-24 and travelled the southern Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it departed from Barbados and because we have cruised with Thomson/Marella before and have always had an enjoyable time. We cruised November 17-24 and travelled the southern Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grenada and St Lucia. On Explorer 2 it was good to have more options to eat from and lots of different lounges to relax in. The crew has to be some of the friendliest ever. Our cabin was comfortable with lots of shelving, drawers and hanging space and a big plus was the shelving behind the mirror. The shower had glass doors and was very spacious. Our cabin steward was very thorough and kept our cabin spotless. Although face cloths are not usually supplied, I asked for them and they were provided.:) The bed was very comfortable. We ate breakfast in the MDR Latitude mainly because they offered smoked salmon and had daily specials. At lunch we normally had a snack from the Snack Shack together with selection from The Marketplace. Our evening meals were in Vista, the Italian part of the MDR. We had flavourful and mouthwatering dishes with a selection of quality wines always followed by gelato and sorbet and a cappuccino. The Vista had a gourmet feel about it. Needless to say we had excellent service provided by Eugene, Martin and Faye. We enjoyed the very talented Caribbean live band, The Collective, who played a wide range of reggae and calypso music. We also enjoyed Derek Dishington, a keyboardist and the comedian on the Comedy Night was very funny. We have visited the destinations many times before but we still enjoyed a few tours. In Aruba we did an island tour in the morning with a private taxi and had a very entertaining driver/guide.and then did the free trolley ride through the town centre. In Curacao we walked around the old the port and had a "ride" on the swing bridge. In Bonaire we did a very interesting south island tour to the salt flats and slave huts and saw lots of flamingos too. In Grenada we went to Grand Anse and in St Lucia we just walked around the town centre. Yet another enjoyable cruise. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Adults only. Senior cruise. The staff were 100% attentive with courteous and friendly smiles every day. They work extremely hard and should receive MORE tips from all clients. (The pool area bar service from these hard working people ... Read More
Adults only. Senior cruise. The staff were 100% attentive with courteous and friendly smiles every day. They work extremely hard and should receive MORE tips from all clients. (The pool area bar service from these hard working people should not go unrecognised). The cabin was very clean and tidy but we had to negotiate who was going where around the bedroom area. Food, Market Place was for quick and easy breakfast but we opted for Latitude if we dressed accordingly unlike some who still thought Football shirts and vests were OK for evening attire. The Beach Cove and Surf & Turf were excellent even though there was an additional charge; But we were on holiday. Pool deck. Get up there early to place your towels out to get a sunbed especially on at sea days. It was very crowded. (a bit like God's waiting room) and one can only say that there were far too many quizzes? After speaking with loads of guests who were ALL saying we want it more lively with Sail Away parties and foot taping music for the afternoon? There was only so much tiny winey from The Collective who sang the same set every day (Great band though). Us seniors do not want afternoon naps? Tours; Do not go on the island tours around Bonaire and Curacao? total waste of money and being given 15 min's to visit the so called stops??? By the time the frail and elderly got off the buses it was time to go. Cheaper to do it yourself. This was The Explores 2 first Caribbean so there were loads of creases to iron out. The entertainment staff should also stop talking over the records and Matt (you really can not sing like Freddy Mercury) Let the record play and people around the pool do their own thing. The main show in the evenings; Well done to ALL the staff and entertainers who work really hard to put on different shows every night (twice nightly). Would we re-book this ship? At the moment No. A lot of people who were on these two weeks felt the same.Lets see how it goes next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
this was good value for money! The cabin was excellent - the shower one of the best The staff were hardworking but far too few in number. This caused disjointed service in the dining room and bars. There was a lot of queuing for the ... Read More
this was good value for money! The cabin was excellent - the shower one of the best The staff were hardworking but far too few in number. This caused disjointed service in the dining room and bars. There was a lot of queuing for the buffets. Portions were relatively small - "oatcakes" with smoked …. was one oatcake. The surf and turf restaurant which was an extra charge was excellent. We opted for the premium drink package so we could get canned tonic but this was not available every where on the ship and then only after discussion. There was a good stock of whisky in the Gin and Whisky bar but the whisky was served with chlorinated water. Bottled water was chargeable! What a waste of malt whisky! It was an adult only ship but showed children's films such as Toy Story. The choice of wine was both limited and baffling with different wines available in different restaurants at different times. The cocktails were premixed and highly sweet with no fresh lime juice on the boat. On the whole they were very poor with the exception of Expresso Martinis in the coffee port which were excellent. The shows and entertainment in general was very loud without being good quality sound. The dancers were very good. We didn't pay much and saw new places in comfort. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
First time cruisers and we had a fantastic time. The staff were amazing so polite and very friendly . We ate in the Market place all the time as I had been in hospital 2weeks before and in there I could just eat what I wanted. There was ... Read More
First time cruisers and we had a fantastic time. The staff were amazing so polite and very friendly . We ate in the Market place all the time as I had been in hospital 2weeks before and in there I could just eat what I wanted. There was plenty of choice as I am a fussy eater I couldn't complain at all . The entertainment was excellent from the shows in the Broadway lounge (there was only one that I wasn't keen on) but the rest was superb. Danny Lisa and Derek with the Irish/Scootish set was brilliant as was Derek and the Vibes rock set. The pianists were great to. All in all a lot of talent . The sunbeds were all taken by 8 in the morning some people out at 5.30 in the morning putting their towels out made me laugh. Our cabin 1024 was superb lovely bathroom with a large shower bed was extremely comfortable and the balcony was lovely with a table and chairs . All in all a fabulous time was had . Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I am the type of person who rarely complains ... but....... We've been on the Dream and Celebration, and mostly not a great deal to complain about, except the food could be a little hotter. The Explorer 2 however is another thing ... Read More
I am the type of person who rarely complains ... but....... We've been on the Dream and Celebration, and mostly not a great deal to complain about, except the food could be a little hotter. The Explorer 2 however is another thing altogether. The food in the Marketplace on floor 11, even when put out fresh in front of you, is luke warm at best. By the time you are at your table it's getting cold, and when you've almost finished it, it's stone cold. That was virtually every meal I had except maybe one or two. Being in the pub food trade, I know from experience that it's not rocket science to serve hot food, even to large numbers of people. One day we had ham pie which turned out to be preformed pieces of 'so called' ham, which disolved into your mouth like jelly. I can eat anything, but that was the exeception to the rule! The meal at Latitude was hot, but the smallest portions of food I have ever had, which resulted in me going to the Marketplace for a luke warm top up. Scoops Ice Cream bar on deck 12 was £3.99 for a knickerbocker glory with virtually tasteless Ice cream. The all inclusive spirit drinks are - how shall I say this - watered down! Being a regular spirits drinker, and a pub landlord for 18 years, I know how a Smirnoff and Gordons Gin are supposed to taste like - and the genuine, unopened article would be twice as strong as the version I was served daily on the ship. I had a few 50 ml sealed bottled from the cabin fridge and they hit the spot within minutes, whereas I could drink all night in the bars and remain very sober. The Broadway show lounge 'Rockolgy' show was brilliant and very proffesional, with great music skills and brilliany harmonies.. The bar entertainments however, was very poor as compared to the Dream and Celebration offerings that I have seen over the last 18 months. The age group on the ship were virtually all 50 plus, yet the pub quizzes were aimed at teens and a little insulting, in my opinion. Considering the age group onboard, I found it puzzling that all of the contestants were in their late teens or twenties? (crew members perhaps?) Karaoke was good. All staff were very polite except one woman security member who was related to Hitler as she was straight faced and abrupt? Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because it's the newest ship of the Marella fleet. It is not a brand new ship. Now to dispel some of the complaints posted on this site about Naples airport. Naples is a very small airport. If several flights ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it's the newest ship of the Marella fleet. It is not a brand new ship. Now to dispel some of the complaints posted on this site about Naples airport. Naples is a very small airport. If several flights land at the same time then expect delays getting your luggage. We flew in from Birmingham and we only had to wait 20 minutes. Someone from Marella was on hand to help us. Marella staff were on hand to help us every step of the way. There is a 10 minute walk to the coach transfer. Those who require assistance will be helped. Transfer to the cruise terminal took 25 minutes. We were processed very quickly and we're having lunch on the ship as our cabins weren't ready until 12.30. your cases will be taken off you in the terminal building and taken direct to your cabin. People have commented on the lack of sockets in their cabins. There is a phone charging socket on one of the bedside lamps, a socket by the kettle on the dressing table and a shaver socket in the light over the mirror in the bathroom. You just pull the flap down and it's under there. There is plenty of wardrobe space and a cupboard with drawers m The cabin is small but very comfortable. The bed is very comfortable. For those who wish to take a tuxedo for the Captain's Dress to Impress please do so. Several men took them on our cruise. The meals are amazing. In fact they are better than some I:be eaten in my home town. I hope this post has helped those passengers vho have some concerns as a result of some of the comments especially about Naples airport. O Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We flew from Manchester to Naples and were expecting the worst after reading the reviews however, thinking back I personally think the reviews were harsh. The walk is about 5 minutes away and if you have any issues, staff were on hand to ... Read More
We flew from Manchester to Naples and were expecting the worst after reading the reviews however, thinking back I personally think the reviews were harsh. The walk is about 5 minutes away and if you have any issues, staff were on hand to assist. We embarked smoothly and were able to go to our cabins immediately so could freshen up before exploring. We knew the ship was an older ship but it’s been refurbished very well and every where was spotless with hand sanitizers placed strategically. We had a 2 week cruise and I definitely didn’t want to leave and would have loved to continue with the ship to Croatia for another week! All food on board was of a very high standard and a big shout out to Surf &Turf, loved our meals in there - book early if you can, gets booked up quickly. We didn’t try the Fine dining experience but will do that next time :) The staff on board were incredible, big shout out to Kushan who assisted on the pool deck during the day and in Aperitif at night, Marc who was on hand in the Squid & Anchor and Joko who looked after our cabin. It had great colour coding on stairwells and the Captain was clear on all aspects especially the ‘pointy end’. The shows on board in the Broadway Lounge were fantastic with Cogs being my favourite. The bands were great and the silent disco ....... what fun. We participated in a number of quizzes but maybe these could be reduced to a couple per day but this is not a negative, just my opinion. A few ports were industrial but didn’t detract from the excursions if you chose to do them. Disembarkation was smooth and as we also flew with TUI, our luggage was bonded and a plus for me. I am not sure why I thought this cruise would not be as previous cruises but I was very pleasantly surprised and will definitely look to book on again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Marella Explorer 2 Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family N/A 3.4
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.5 N/A
Service 5.0 4.4
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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