15 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Reviews

First the good points. 1. Terrific stage shows 2. Friendly crew (apart from Zak the barman who thought he was a comedian but, was just annoying). 3. Damjano on reception is an absolute star. 4. Lovely destinations. Now the ... Read More
First the good points. 1. Terrific stage shows 2. Friendly crew (apart from Zak the barman who thought he was a comedian but, was just annoying). 3. Damjano on reception is an absolute star. 4. Lovely destinations. Now the bad points. 1. Awful smell of sewege in cabin (1014), which could not be resolved, even with a deep clean of the drains. After a week, we were given another cabin, which was directly above the reverse thrust engines, that made the cabin rattle every morning at around 5.30, for about 30 minutes. 2. Sun loungers always reserved. Never saw any towels removed, even though it was threatened. 3. Food, especially breakfast, was never hot. 4. Some passengers seemed to be straight out of Weatherspoons. 5. Can only get desert cocktails when eating in Surf & Turf. Having been on Explorer 1 in March, we feel that Explorer 2, although newer, was much, much better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked this cruise having read about the extensive, multi million pound work, carried out on the ship, earlier in the year. The idea of an adults only, all inclusive, port intensive cruise, especially during school holidays, in an ... Read More
We booked this cruise having read about the extensive, multi million pound work, carried out on the ship, earlier in the year. The idea of an adults only, all inclusive, port intensive cruise, especially during school holidays, in an Executive suite, appealed.....how wrong we were ! The public areas are very well appointed, but our Executive suite, oh dear. When we first walked in, we presumed it hadn’t been used much before & was a spare, back up suite. There were so many things wrong with place, missing door handles, rubber seal falling off the bottom of the fridge door, hooks broken, & missing, on back of bathroom door. We had difficulty in opening bathroom units, which are supposed to be spring action, but need a small knob on at least one door under each sink. Water from one sink tap sprayed everywhere, especially the mirror & the person standing in front of it ! The bathroom had been partially modernised, but nowhere else, and even here, more work still needs to be done. The door leading to the bathroom had been damaged and repaired, at some point, but long cracks could be easily seen. There is a shower screen over the bath, but .... no shower ! This rendered the screen futile, & the rubber seal on the door kept falling off when it was opened & closed. Why did we constantly open this door ? The bath towels were always on a shelf above the bath, inside this unit, & we required them twice daily ! When we read about the suites before we left, and again, after we returned home, it clearly stated that there is an over the bath shower, as well as a walk in one. The tv unit in the lounge area was in a very bad state of disrepair, in fact falling apart, & wires were everywhere. Photographs we looked at, of some suites, showed flat screen tv’s mounted on walls, not in ours. Both TVs sat on units, with many wires bundled behind them. The USB points on both bedside lamps, didn’t work properly. The left one didn’t work at all.... The biggest shock...the safe was not secured to anything, meaning it could be lifted & removed from room ! Fortunately we managed to get maintenance to repair some things, especially the safe, but if this place was in regular use, surely others, including cabin stewards, & inspections by senior management, would have noticed the dreadful state of the place. We found an old pair of sandals under the coffee table, & a packet of painkillers in a bedroom drawer..... For what we were charged, almost £7,000, about 5 weeks before we embarked, we expected superb accommodation, & numerous amenities which goes with suites. Prior to leaving home, we had to seek advice as to what amenities would be included, as nothing is stated in brochures, or any website. Eventually, after phoning the South African call centre, several times, as to begin with, we were told “ the system was down “, so they were unable to answer our queries, we were advised we would get robes & toiletries. In fact we got robes, slippers & Clarins toiletries, but.....no shower cap, shoe shine cloth, vanity pack containing cotton buds & cotton wool discs. Once a week, we were also given a tiny tube of lip balm, & a slightly larger tube of limb & foot balm, described a mini spa luxuries. Our suite was also an interconnecting room, so could hear the ramblings during the night, of the occupants in the balcony cabin. The balcony for our suite was massive, the loungers were very comfortable, so we spent much of our on board time there. Unfortunately, this also needed much attention & tlc, particularly in need of painting of the metal floor area under the wooden slats, & varnishing of chair arms. The floor was rusty & old, although no doubt cleaned daily...It is directly under the pool bar, so during the day, it was very noisy, but we were not aware of any noise once we were inside. We went ashore every day we were in port. Leaving the ship early, meant we could enjoy the places we visited when it was quiet, returning to the ship once it started to get very busy. There were times when our suite hadn’t been serviced by the time we got back, in spite of having told our stewards that we rose early, went out, & also were early bedders. Unfortunately, for the majority of the time, our place was the last to be done, until almost the end of the two weeks, when, having spoken with supervisors, it was done early, both morning & evening. There were many issues, which we have already submitted to the company directly, but the bottom line is that we got virtually nothing, having paid a great deal of money. On the very last morning, we returned to our suite after breakfast, & found a letter asking us to go to reception for compensation. We went, & were given a form to sign in order to get our compensation, in which it stated that we wouldn’t get any more money. The amount we were given was underwhelming....£50. Evidently this is the norm, & maximum given out...really ?!? To date, we have not even had an automated reply for our report, which was submitted shortly after we returned home. We decided to wait until we received word from them, but since over a week has elapsed, have decided to carry out the request of the CD. He asked, through the television, for us to post our thoughts on social media, so that everyone could read our comments ! Premium service is a joke.... Not all suite levels should be treated the same. Those pax paying more should get better amenities, but no, on this ship, all suites regardless of money spent, get the same. We suggested some benefits which could be given to Executive & Royal suite guests, but they have obviously fallen on deaf ears. These suites should automatically be given the premium drinks package, & at least 1hour of free Wi-fi daily. There is no Concierge lounge onboard, no private areas for sunbathing, drinking or eating, in fact, once you leave the suite, nothing is given. We read CruiseMapper’s description of this accommodation, prior to embarking, & were wowed, but alas this is completely wrong. This ship started life with Celebrity, and obviously the description given was for when it was a suite with them. There is one line saying, half way through the information, that this suite gets only ‘Premium Service’...... The entire overview should be removed from publication, as it is completely false. We are very experienced cruisers, not with this company, so know what is acceptable, & what is not. To say we were appalled by the standards in this suite, is fairly accurate. Many fellow passengers also left much to be desired. Walking about the ship, in lounges, and the Market Place( buffet ), females wearing only a bikini, men, bare chested & with bare feet were common sights ! Fortunately, the crew in Indigo lounge, deck 12, where we were enjoying a preprandial drink about 17.30, asked men to put on tops, although some men were wearing swimming shorts, but not always dry ! We didn’t frequent the Squid & Anchor pub, as Bingo was being played there daily before dinner. Most crew we encountered were very pleasant. Our servers in the MDR, Latitudes, table 412, which we managed to get regularly, were very good, attentive, friendly & helpful. We found the presentation, & quality of food, to be very good, & had no complaints at all, regardless of where, & when, we ate. We both liked the concept of the Snack Shack on the pool deck, where light prepared snacks could be taken from the refrigerated cabinet, during the day, and consumed on our balcony, & small portions of fish & chips, readily available at the counter for lunch. Two bar staff, Flocera in Flutes, & Alikasandra,( from Belarus ), who worked in both the pool bar, & Aperitif, were excellent. The latter spent much time in conversation with us, when the place was quiet, and we thoroughly enjoyed these encounters. All bar staff we met were good, but the barmen in both Indigo & Aperitif, were particularly attentive, & knew our choice of drinks in the evening. Naples Airport is a disaster, especially when leaving. Arrival wasn’t too bad, except we had to wait quite a while for our luggage, then had a long walk, in the heat, to the coaches. Returning home was horrendous. The place is too small to cope with all the people. UK citizens tend to stand in line, not other nationalities, so it was just a general free for all when going through immigration etc. The departure gate was extremely small, meaning most people had to stand until the bus arrived to take us to the plane. To make matters worse, we were standing for almost an hour. Fortunately the door was open, so fresh air could circulate, but a dreadful situation, especially for older people. The ports of call, particularly the Greek getaway sector, were very good. The second week was alright, but think we would have preferred the following week’s itinerary, going to Croatia etc. We have submitted constructive criticism, & trust our points have been noted by HQ. It is not as if we have manufactured situations or conditions....we report what we found. We have not detailed all the faults on here, but did in our report submitted to the company. One supervisor actually said that it was just the fact the suite didn’t live up to our expectations, was why we were being so critical ! We would defy anyone, paying what we did, for such substandard accommodation, not to be concerned, & report same. Most clocks around the ship displayed the wrong time, some out by many hours. If all other accommodation was in the same dire state as ours, then the ship should not have been put into service when it was. Maintenance work was ongoing all around the ship during our two weeks on board. Did the company run out of time, & money, before it could complete the renovations to our suite ? If so, then the cost to us should have been amended. Surely, the top suites should have been the first places to have undergone massive refurbishment, after the public areas. Finally, some may think, when reading this, that several faults are minor...individually, some are, but collectively, they make for appalling conditions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I both choose this cruise a year and a half before our wedding as we wanted to get everything set in advanced. Additionally, we also booked the excursions online as soon as they became available. Firstly, this was our ... Read More
My husband and I both choose this cruise a year and a half before our wedding as we wanted to get everything set in advanced. Additionally, we also booked the excursions online as soon as they became available. Firstly, this was our Honeymoon and I started this review mid-way through our cruise as we were so disappointed. We had quite a few issues and as we were only away for 7 days we seemingly had the worst luck possible. We arrived in Naples, Italy via a flight from Gatwick which overall wasn't too bad. The wait for the luggage was around 30 minutes so not a bad wait compared to what we had seen on other reviews. The crew on the ship are delightful and I cannot fault anything here. Everyone is lovely and so accommodating - Jaya, our cabin steward was brilliant and would recommend anyone to say hello if they ever pass by him. The only department I would complain about is the Excursion team. When we were in Dubrovnik no one had any idea who was queuing where and was a nightmare. My husband and I got told to go the wrong way/ into the wrong queue twice and other cruisers were having the same issue. Please, can someone make sure in the future there is a protocol for these members to run by as they had no idea? The food is great, and the a la carte dining experiences (specifically Surf and Turf and also Kora La) was amazing. The specialty restaurants are fabulous and would thoroughly recommend. Now, the massive negatives here are our experience with the port days. We are here only for a week for our first cruise and honeymoon. Just as we had got into our cabin, we had noticed there was an excursion ticket missing. So there were 4 days worth of excursions instead of 5. We had to go to the desk to find out what was going on as no other information was provided, no letters sent etc. When speaking with the excursion team, it turned out that our excursion had been cancelled due to congestion which I cover below. We had also taken out around £500 worth of euros, to be told that the currency on the cruise itself is GBP. No one mentioned this at all which is surprising and also disappointing. If we wanted to change this we'd end up with much less than what we set out with which again is a joke. We ended up using our credit card which was the last thing we wanted to do. Our first port, Messina Sicily was fantastic. We travelled to Mt. Etna and had a great time, no faults here. The port team was lovely and very insightful about our trip. The coach journey to Mt Etna was around 1hr 30mins (or so) however the lady who had done our tour (can't remember her name), was great. Our 2nd port was Drubovnik. Now, this is the excursion that was cancelled - we also were not able to Dock due to "congestion". This meant we had to wait for a tender to pick up and drop off hundreds of people. This was an absolute nightmare and we were not able to get on shore until 5 hours after anchoring. The tenders were also very limited which was above and beyond frustrating. This was at no fault of the cruise however none of the excursion team really knew what they were doing which made things even worse. When we were queuing for the tender after our ticket number finally being called the staff didn't even know what queue we were to get in, it was very disorganized. This meant we had 2 hours before "rush hour" to get back in the cruise. We had next to no time to do anything which is extremely disappointing and a massive waste to a day in a location we really wanted to explore more. The next day, the port was Ancona. My husband and I had booked the picture-perfect bayside duo. Originally when booking we were told we would be heading down to the pebble shores and would be able to take a dip in the fantastic beaches. Oh, how wrong they were, as we didn't even touch the beach. Sirolo was lovely but again after lugging our swimwear around we felt this day wasn't great but was not as bad as the last. The tour guide here was very knowledgeable in regards to the area and provided a better experience, even though we were disappointed as we wanted to go for a swim in such lovely weather. The 4th day, where we were when I started to write this review, is Venice. We were supposed to Dock at 5am, however, it was around 9am and we were still a few miles from shore. There was a power outage in the early hours of the morning which resulted in us both being woken up by several announcements between the hours of 1:30am and 2:40am. This, in turn, meant we did not manage to get to the Dock in time and as Venice operates a time slot functionality - we inevitably missed our slot and we had to wait until midday to dock. This meant our excursion, which was a gondola ride (the 2nd favourite excursion we booked) was cancelled, along with many others from other passengers. The destination desk was absolutely packed so there was no chance of us booking a different excursion. We were however given a cruise card credit of £50 each and of course, our excursion was refunded but the time lost on both this excursion and the other excursion (Dubrovnik) was just a little too much for us and we were overwhelmingly disappointed. On the 5th day, we arrived at Split, where we went onto our last excursion - Krka waterfalls. This was our favorite day and can I just say everything on this day was fantastic. Starting from the coach Journey with the tour guide (Coach 1, can't remember his name unfortunately - the driver was Ivan) down to the Waterfalls and exploring the nature park and then the boat ride back to the coach > then back to the cruise. The tour guide was awesome and hilarious and we're very happy with how this day turned out. The last day was a full day at sea. Unfortunately, this means everyone is up at the crack of dawn to get onto a sunbed where apparently if you leave your towel it is yours for the day. There was a note which mentioned if you leave it for longer than 45 minutes the items will be removed however I noticed some people were covering 2 sunbeds at times to make sure their partner could come back and I also noticed some people coming back to their sunbed for 10 minutes at a time and then leaving for another 30 minutes, cheating the system. This is very disappointing. Similarly, in the whirlpool, it says on the sign 15 minutes at a time however there were people in there for hours, m4eaning my husband and we didn't get a chance to go in there. The pool is nice when hot but very salty so head above water at all times. My husband and I ended up paying something around £3 to watch movies in our cabin as we'd already had enough of walking and trying to find a sunbed over a period of 2 hours (we went to the bar to wait for a further 10-15 minutes). Overall, including the cruise itself, excursions, euros we had taken and the current amount accumulated was around £4500. This is one of our biggest spends but I can certainly say we won't be booking this cruise again due to the disappointments with the excursions. We did, of course, get the canceled excursions refunded but there was no recognition to the fact that our days were wasted and we had to make our own way around with no insight to the locations whatsoever. We understand these things can happen but in our perspective, we had a nightmare on some days that became very stressful on what should have been a relaxing holiday away for a week. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first ever cruise, going to Spain, South of France, Italy and Croatia. Overall we enjoyed the cruise. Embarkation was straightforward and the ship seemed clean and well-equipped. The major plus point was the staff in the bars ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, going to Spain, South of France, Italy and Croatia. Overall we enjoyed the cruise. Embarkation was straightforward and the ship seemed clean and well-equipped. The major plus point was the staff in the bars and restaurants who were very, very good as were the cabin crew.However, a major damper was put on the cruise early on when I had my wallet with my credit cards stolen in Barcelona on the first excursion out. Obviously this was a fairly big issue but I thought that, as this must be a relatively common occurrence there would be ample help and support available - how wrong I was! I'd emphasise that throughout the whole process on board ship, the everyday staff that I dealt with were all very helpful and friendly and did whatever they could to assist. The problem seemed to be higher up the food chain where senior crew weren't willing to do anything to help if it meant bending their rules or processes and procedures in anyw ay whatsoever. Our account on the ship was tied to the credit card I lost and so this had to be closed down. i was immediately told that the only way to buy anything on board ship going forward would be to put cash on account. Fortunately we had a small amount of cash with us which I put on the account but it wasn't enough to allow us to do all the things we wanted to - it was my birthday, my wife's birthday and our 30th wedding anniversary whilst we were away and we had wanted to celebrate each event in the premium (extra cost) restaurants on board but we now couldn't do this and we subsequently also had to cancel my wife's celebratory meal through lack of money. The reason for this was that because some of the excursions had been so poor we changed our Venice excursion to another one. We hoped, given our situation, to be able to just pay the difference in price between the two trips but no, they insisted on cancelling the original booking (made pre-departure) and refunding the amount to our credit card and making us pay for the new trip from our ship's account - which meant we didn't have enough money to pay the cover charge for the restaurant for my wife's meal. To make things worse, the Venice trip was subsequently cancelled after we spent 30-60 minutes adrift during the night with no power at all which made us 7 hours late docking in Venice meaning that most excursions were cancelled. Of course by this time all of the premium restaurants on board were full so we still couldn't get in! By this time I was sick and tired of the total lack of help or goodwill from TUI. We had paid for our cruise by all due dates, we'd pre-booked and paid for nearly £900 worth of excursions before setting off and yet they still wouldn't bend in any way whatsoever to make our holiday better or less stressful. I met with the Guest Relations Manager who simply reiterated what her staff had told me - that it wasn't their fault I'd had my wallet stolen and as it happened in port they didn't even have any responsibility to us! She even stressed how they'd pointed out that Barcelona was full of pickpockets - pointing out the paragraph in the "Cruise News" where this had been said - inferring that we were either stupid or careless to have our belongings stolen. She said that as I had said I was trying to get an emergency credit card sent to us (which it was, in Naples) they didn't think they needed to do anything more to help us. Yet they knew within 10 minutes of the credit card arriving that it wouldn't work with their systems (again, they have one way of doing things and no other, apparently) but still they showed no goodwill or willingness to help. Then, finally, the Guest Relations Manager told me that someone in the UK could have gone to a TUI travel shop and made a money transfer to us on the ship! When I asked why she was only now telling me this she said that it was "quite involved with many steps so they didn't like to publicise it"!! Although it may not seem it this is a brief recounting of what was a catalogue of issues with the senior staff on board Marella Explorer 2. The total lack of goodwill shown by them and by TUI was completely at odds with the helpfulness and friendliness of the general crew. We could have had a really good first ever cruise, but they managed to ruin it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Very disappointed with Explorer 2 as was not as good as Explorer 1. Didnt look or feel like been refurbished. Cabin bathroom grotty, particularly shower smelled and grubby. Bar staff unfriendly and rude, never smiled, communication poor. ... Read More
Very disappointed with Explorer 2 as was not as good as Explorer 1. Didnt look or feel like been refurbished. Cabin bathroom grotty, particularly shower smelled and grubby. Bar staff unfriendly and rude, never smiled, communication poor. Dirty mop left in pool shower all day, pools small and dirty, all 4 jacuzzis didnt work all week, beds crammed in, very noisy all day like Butlins on Board, tacky and cheesy or trying to sell stuff on screen! Breakfast cold, not much selection, no omlette station, no service on the terrace or bar, no atmosphere dead at terrace end of ship at night. Clock by pool didnt work all week, drink stations didnt work, or no cups, very poor! Even online feedback didnt work. Many complaints from others about no escape from noise level, nowhere outside quiet or able to relax with service. Food was average, needed to book trips as not much near ports! Couldn't understand daily announcements. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Old ship showing its age in places where it has been refurbished many times. Some fittings very tired. Cabin ok and nice balcony, although unable to control the air con so the cabin could get cold at times Decent food and ... Read More
Old ship showing its age in places where it has been refurbished many times. Some fittings very tired. Cabin ok and nice balcony, although unable to control the air con so the cabin could get cold at times Decent food and entertainment for the price paid. Some customers could get very noisy after a long day utilising the 'all inclusive' drinks and there were a couple of scuffles between passengers. Staff seem to accept these events as normal and took no action. Good itinerary for the one week Adriatic Cruise but spoiled by missing one of the main destinations being Sicily. TUI advised that 'due to customer feedback' the ship would stop an extra 2 hours in Dubrovnik (ie from 7.5 hours to 9.5 hours) then have a 2nd day at sea (on a 7 day cruise!). Nobody that we spoke to on the cruise would have preferred that option and many were angry at the change, which was only advised on the transfer to the ship. The weather was good and the sea calm so there were no operational reasons for missing one of the main destinations on this cruise. TUI gave each passenger a pathetic £25 to spend on the ship in compensation for the loss of 1/6 of the destinations. There seems to be no reason other than TUI cost saving for missing Sicily. On return we sent a letter of complaint (completely ignored) and then email (acknowledged a month ago but no response). TUI's poor customer service continues. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As a National Customer Account Manger of one of the UK leading holiday companies and having now complete 15 Marella cruises I like to give an honest rounded option on the experience. Whilst this isn't a new ship and other reviews I ... Read More
As a National Customer Account Manger of one of the UK leading holiday companies and having now complete 15 Marella cruises I like to give an honest rounded option on the experience. Whilst this isn't a new ship and other reviews I read before the cruise also stated its new to the fleet and its a nice ship. The positives. Nice ship with some really good venues, bars and restaurants. The customer service from all the staff from cabins to bars & restaurants etc is excellent and what you would expect from Marella. The negatives. This ships sail out of Naples the worst airport experience I've had in 40 years both on arrival and departure so beware when you book. An hour and a half to get you luggage, another 20 minutes walk up bank with your cases to the coach park and another 20 minutes queue for the bus. Not the best start to a holiday going back was worse. Food was well below the standard and the worst myself and wife experienced in all our sailings. Respective tough meat dishes, no roast of the day,Jacket, boiled or roasts and only chips twice in the week. The sweet selection was basic and the same every night. As we and others arrived late on the ship due to the debacle at Naples airport the lunch buffet was closed and limited food on offer. The late night buffet was really basic and not worth the effort. We paid £100 for the drinks upgrade on the first day as I would rather drink Heineken rather than Fosters and my wife Bulmer rather than Strongbow ( personal choice) Two of the main bars Pool bar and the Squid and Anchor didn't stock these. The entertainment was pretty dreadful. The two best acts on the ship were the crew show and the guest artist from the UK. The bands The Collective were great but the Vibe were awful and looked and sounds as if the got together 5 minutes before the ship sailed. The rest of the entertainment crew were the worst I've seen on any cruise or even in the UK. This was an Adult cruise and they fed us kid type games shows backed up with poor jokes, lousy singers on top. If the Cruise Director/staff spent less time talking about themselves and put more focus on the customers it would have been better. The ports of call were good but the usual information you got maps etc from destination services were none existent. I purchase the internet for work back home if you don't use your megabytes you loose them. Summarise. Great ship. Excellent service. Entertainment rubbish. Food Poor. Talking on a new ship to the fleet, sticking it dry dock for two weeks and getting it out on the ocean is always going to have problems. You might change the name but not the previous shame. Marella have built up loyal following myself and wife included. The have built up the fleet of good ships and created a brand in Marella. This ship is way off the standard of any of the others and needs some serious surgery. I would give this ship a wide berth for 12 months till they sort the basics of the food and the entertainment out. I like many others would never travel into or out of Naples airport again its an nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and ... Read More
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and paid for this in february. on arrival at airport handed cabin labels for a deck 8 cabin. told rep incorrect as no deluxe cabins on that deck. was told do not worry as she would email ship and rectify. arrived at naples and cabin type not resolved complained at booking hall and told to go to reception. went to reception at 13.00 and told to come back at 15.00. at 15.00 told do not worry cabin will be sorted but officer who could resolve issue was sorting out lost luggage. when asked why not resolved from our 4.00a.m query at airport was told officer was dealing with medical emergency. went back 2 hours later and maria the customer service supervisor told us not to worry that it would all be sorted.at18.00 as the ship was sailing from naples harbour was informed that TUI had changed the cabin type and refunded money to our booking agent. was told no deluxe cabin available and would have to keep the cabin allocated.i had no communication prior to the cruise about any change to the cabin type ,i received my etickets in april stating a deluxe cabin. no refund was received prior to the cruise date. if my booking was changed why was I not notified and why was I not given the chance to cancel and get a refund. the cabin booked was a deluxe cabin with a queen bed. we received a bed that had walls / petitions on 3 sides. to get out of the bed you could not walk around the bed but had to climb over the other person. after the first night my husband slept on the settee so as not to disturb me. hardly a deluxe holiday experience. food on cruise was okay but nothing special . tried speciality once but not worth the premium charged. best place for eating was nona for pizza and fresh pasta. on arrival in Dubrovnik went to customer service and asked about shuttle buses into the old town. told not allowed to provide as local bus companies do not allow it.azamara supplied shuttle buses when i went to dubrovnik with them. feel like customer service staff lie to your face in the hope that they will just get rid of you . it is now over 2 months since my cruise and i have still not had an explanation or apology from TUI. at the end of june they refunded £294 for the difference in cabin prices Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to ... Read More
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to fly cruise via Majorca. We are less mobile than we used to be and assistance was booked but this seemed to exclude TUI staff. Help was needed with luggage not wheelchairs but airports do both not one. The ship was Explorer 2 which was undertaking its second cruise since being fully refurbished. The ship and staff are still having issues. However I feel that others might wish to learn that this ship is not up to the standard even of Discovery There is a reduction or omission in many areas offered in comparison * no maps of the ship in the cabin * no maps of ports visited * much lower mileage of cruising: we even left port about 6 pm to idle off the coast for several hours (presumably this saves on port charges?) rather than take off later poorer entertainment * no classical music whatsoever - all pop * no readily available deck games (hosted or otherwise) although the putting green (not golf) was on the top deck around the funnel and was unreachable when the wind was up as most of the time * library was a joke - just one small stand with charity shop books although a few board games were available and were well used as little else to do Add to this, we had issues with a stuck loo outlet switch, a broken safe causing us a loss of almost a days visiting - not expected on an expensively regenerated ship It felt that every attempt was being made to cut costs even at the expense of cruisers enjoyment Overall - a boring experience and not to be repeated Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was by far the most disappointing TUI cruise I have been on for the following reasons: 1. The air conditioning was not working for the first 5 days and our cabin was stifling hot which made it impossible to rest well for ... Read More
This was by far the most disappointing TUI cruise I have been on for the following reasons: 1. The air conditioning was not working for the first 5 days and our cabin was stifling hot which made it impossible to rest well for subsequent activities. 2. The cabin toilet failed to flush on at least 3 occasions meaning we had to rely on toilets around the ship which also failed to flush on occasions. 3. The quality of the Market Place buffet was very poor. The cooked breakfast, for example, was rendered tasteless by the way you cook them. Try for yourself the bacon and sausage and it should be clear what I mean. The porridge was glue-like and inedible, the coffee rancid, the toast rubbery ( although I appreciate other bread was available). 4. We tried the Latitude restaurant and found the service slow and the food also poor, compared to our experiences of TUI cruises. 5. 'All inclusive' should mean you provide at least good service and quality. It felt to us that you were providing poor quality in order to encourage passengers to pay for the additional food packages. 6. The TV did not work from the outset. When finally tuned in, around day 4 of the cruise, it worked intermittently but usually the screen went blank after a few minutes. Interestingly, the channels selling TUI services was working 7. Some gym equipment was not set up correctly and did not work well. The bike leads were loose and should be tidied/taped, for health and safety reasons. 8. We enjoyed a very expensive couples massage. The price was twice what a premium massage would cost at home and I acknowledge I understood this at the time. It was disappointing to be given the hard sell whilst still wearing a towel, for oils and further massages, we were really embarrassed. The massage was good but not good value for money. 9. ‘All inclusive’ seems to mean being offered beer at 9am in the morning and being able to eat quantity throughout the day. Is this really the direction you are heading? 10. We enjoyed a couple of trips. In Barcelona, I was able to get decent internet access for the price of a (decent) Americano in Costa and can of course get free access pretty anywhere in the world. Surely a decent and free internet connection should be provided on the ship as part of the being ‘all inclusive’? I have complained to TUI who wish to present any complaint as minor teething issues with a small discount of a subsequent cruise. This is very disappointing and we will be looking elsewhere in future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural ... Read More
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural cruise?? However, advised to go to Pool Deck where food and drinks were available. That was fine but the toilets were blocked. No water for washing hands, toilet tissue, sanitiser. A recipe for passengers being stuck down with tummy bugs. Crew directed us to Deck 12. Same condition. Crew then shrugged shoulders. Problems with toilets blocking all week including on final morning. Customers were blamed for this which is never the best strategy to adopt. When the above situation was reported to Reception was told this was because vessel had been in dry dock. Wrong answer. Logistical management at best could only be described as poor. The cabin was fine and front of house staff worked very hard but lacked management back-up. Food was fine but service in main restaurant started off poor. Did improve during week and a couple of the Sections delivered a very good service in the end, one of which we reported on board. I will be critical but will also praise where praise is due. On one occasion, in Gents WC on Pool Deck water was coming through ceiling via light fitting. A bucket had been placed underneath but I advised the crew member present the water leak was the least of the problems as water and electricity was never a good mix. Think that went above his head. Code Victoria was called twice to my knowledge and it was not unusual to find blowers drying out carpets which ha£ been contaminated by flood water. Captain said on ore than one occasion they were having ‘teething problems’. These were not ‘teething problems’. A number of bits of kit failed to work especially in the buffet restaurant. Many did not have signs on. TIP: if going on. Cruise on this ship take some ‘out of order’ signs with you so you can help crew. Well, experience put me off cruising but experienced ‘cruisers’ reassured Us this was not a good example and recommended other Lines for us to try. We have decided to do this as we liked the experience of visiting different locations/ countries each day but this is down to fellow travellers rather than this experience. Such a shame as had terrific potential As stated above, in my opinion the ship was, simply, not ready. The Captain did state needed the passengers to fully test vessel. I don’t mind this providing I am given the choice before booking and do not pay full price. Oh well, bye, bye Marella. We could have had such a great future relationship if only, if only!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise, and was a disappointment for several reasons. When we booked, we were sold the "newest" ship in the fleet, we later discovered it had undergone a 9 week refurbishment. My local pub was recently ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and was a disappointment for several reasons. When we booked, we were sold the "newest" ship in the fleet, we later discovered it had undergone a 9 week refurbishment. My local pub was recently refurbished, and it took 4 times that. We had 3 "Code Victoria's" meaning that that a serious flood had occurred requiring intimidate attention. We later discovered that this was due to busting pipes, due to the ship standing for several months during its impending sale - its 24 years old. Blocked toilets were a major problem bringing flooding, and constantly running fans to try and dry them out. One night we dined at Beach Cove, (and experience we had to pay for), only to sit in water that was being washed out of the near by pool and running under the doors. Although an apology was given, even the captain was summoned to inspect, no refund was offered. We were asked to upgrade our drink package which was £50 for the week, and as a fairly heavy social drinker I thought that good value - and it was! All premium brands, including 12 year old Glenfiddich, all premium cocktails, and they were not shy on pouring measures!! Also worthy of note were the Asian restaurant, and steak restaurant, although neither were in the inclusive package. One thing I did find strange is that without the purchase of the premium drinks package soft drinks were NOT included. Not Coke, water or any other. Even the ice cream by the pool was an extra £1. By far our worst problem was noise at night. Not noise of other guests, but and "unexplained noise" from somewhere below our cabin, something like a metal door slamming repeatedly. Despite complaining 5 nights out of the 7 it was never resolved, although they did look. And here is another problem - because no OFFICIAL complaint was recorded despite complaining almost every night, when we raised this on checkout there was only a single record of the issue, despite my partner being on first name terms with the night staff having repeatedly raised the issue at 2, 3, and 4am. It finally resulted in a £100 rebate on our account - at least it paid for our drinks package. The food range was acceptable, but certainly not extensive. We also had groups of contractors on board (that came for 2 weeks for the refurb and were still on the ship 8 later) fixing the plumbing, the TV's and the WiFi. The one thing that was amazing were the staff. All willing to help, all friendly, and all wanting to make the experience a good one. What they could not obliviously legislate for was Tui's poor management, and letting this ship sale far far to early. The only trip we almost booked was an underground tour of Naples costing £60. Due to cost we decided not to, thinking we'd walk there ourselves, around 20 mins from the boat. Good job we did, it was 10 euros each!!! Total saving over £100!!! Finally there were some "excitable" other guests on board, clearly with some characteristically individual needs. These were not dealt with by the staff appropriately, although they were banned from drinking alcohol after the 4th night... Too late for some... Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Chose aft deluxe cabin and paid extra. Hyped up as Maiden Voyage of new ship and seemed ideal with the stops on the way. Cabin we had chosen showed new bed , carpets etc and the layout seemed ideal. Upon arrival the room was not refurbed, ... Read More
Chose aft deluxe cabin and paid extra. Hyped up as Maiden Voyage of new ship and seemed ideal with the stops on the way. Cabin we had chosen showed new bed , carpets etc and the layout seemed ideal. Upon arrival the room was not refurbed, but "refreshed" . The shower had black stained grouting, the bed was pushed into an alcove and you had to crawl across the other person to get out of bed. Not great when you are both in your 60's . The aircon was on permanently very cold. The lightbulb by the cabin door failed on day one and it took 5 days for anyone to look at it. Went to reception to change room but nothing available as some rooms were not ready for the public to use, and nothing deluxe, or even an upgrade available. Engineers came and went but we were told that there was a technical issue with the aircon. Bed was a bit basic with a metal frame and a thin mattress. Had to have a couple of mattress toppers on, but still sunk in the middle. Food was very good. Some of the supplements seemed very excessive. Waiting times were ok, but sometimes you don't want to be bleeped by a pager after 35 minutes or so, so you have to go elsewhere to eat. The main buffet was somewhere we only went to at lunch time for a quick salad or maybe a cup of tea and a scone in the afternoon, but it is a bit basic. Staff were really friendly and realised that there were problems with bits of kit on board. Engines were quiet on sailing but very noisy when trying to manoeuvring to the dock. The cabin rattled and the door came open to the bathroom and glasses and cups rattle. Not great at 530 am most mornings. Entertainment in the Broadway Show Lounge was fine for us . The Bingo and activities during the day was not our thing. The Pool area is packed and noisy most of the day so we just went off ship as much as we could. Trips are expensive, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay up. Luckily we did on the Rome excursion as some people got lost and we were 45 minutes late back, so the ship waited . Basically it is a 24 year old ship that has been refitted a couple of times. This time it was done a bit too quickly and it needed another 4 weeks , but TUI are very money orientated so pushed ahead, despite their customers needs. I note that the cabin is now not being shown as Deluxe. If I had known that before departure I would have cancelled and got a refund. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the ... Read More
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the balcony. The electricity and shower door were dealt with in a reasonable space of time. Someone came to fix the safe, told us it was new and they didn’t have a code and another person would come to fix. More than 24 hours later no one had come and we contacted reception again, after giving a report of the items that needed repairing the receptionist rolled her eyes to indicate she had enough of us. Another member of staff arrived to give us the same answer about the safe and left. It was eventually fixed after more than 24 hours on the ship. Once the electricity was back on we realised the television did not work. This was fixed on the second day. On the third night we came back from dinner to find we had no running water from the sink taps and reception was closed. We reported next day and it was repaired while we were on an excursion. That night after dinner we came back to find no water again until the next day when we reported again. At this time we asked for the general manager, to be told he’s usually around somewhere and no further indication that anyone would find him. Maintenance staff have called on three occasions to fix the air conditioning which has always worked and we’ve not reported any problems. Many of the dining areas incur a supplementary charge, not all. We went to Nanno’s (no charge) at lunchtime for pasta (45 minute wait), the Beach cove for skewers (1hr 10 minutes for main course), latitude for breakfast (dirty tablecloth, dirty crockery, toast with a 10 minute wait for butter). We decided to eat in the market place where there was a good choice of food and no waiting. My partner uses the gym most days and most of the electrical equipment and exercise bicycles do not work. Speaking to other guests it seems as if everyone has had issues with either their cabin, service or both. The staff are very friendly and are working hard but there is a sense that the processes in place are not working and a lot needs to be done to get this ship up to an acceptable standard. There is a real sales atmosphere on board, constant encouragement to upgrade to different packages. If you buy something there is a hard sell to buy more, we understand the need for companies to make money but it seems the balance is not right on this ship, and it can be uncomfortable at times and not relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was an anniversary cruise and we have sailed with TUI before and the Explorer 2 was supposed to have been refitted for this maiden voyage. We were given our cabin number at the airport and told our luggage would be taken straight to the ... Read More
It was an anniversary cruise and we have sailed with TUI before and the Explorer 2 was supposed to have been refitted for this maiden voyage. We were given our cabin number at the airport and told our luggage would be taken straight to the ship, this however was not the case, we were then told by the TUI rep on arrival we would have to get our cases ourselves. (For us not a big problem ) . Embarkation went smoothly and we found our cabin 9245 an aft balcony, soon we noticed the air con was not working, really cold cabin, the main cabin lights not working, wires hanging down from unconnected light, hole in roof panel where a vent should have been. All the above faults were reported immediately and again and again over the next few days, it was not until the 5th day of the cruise that they were all dealt with. Ours was not the only cabin to have faults and by the end of the cruise letters were posted under cabin doors offering compensation for the faults. The entertainment at nights was good but during the day was not as good as previous cruises we have done. Food was plentiful and OK in the main Market Place dining area, also in Latitudes but the vegetarian choice was very repetitive. Nonnas was worth trying for pasta. Shore excursions mixed reviews on these, Pompei and Vesuvius was good but that was only because we had Marios as a guide who was very passionate about the history. Disappointing to find out that most of the artefacts are on show in the City of Pompei museum and not on the actual archeological site. The opinion of several TUI staff on board was that the ship had not had long enough in refit process and we have to agree on that. Assume that most problems should have been dealt with by now but it’s a pity there were so many on a what was billed as a maiden voyage. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Marella Explorer 2 Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.4
Family N/A 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.4
Enrichment 2.5 3.0
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.6

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