7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have ... Read More
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have added greatly to the experience. A negative was the lack of toilets on the main restaurant decks 5,6 and 7. That was the only negative. The staff were excellent and the food and drink packages were again value for money. The entertainment was good throughout the ship and the silent disco is something to behold. The cabin we had was on deck 9 with a balcony, it was spacious, the bathroom was well proportioned with the shower enclosure big enough for me as I'm six foot four. The pool deck area had enough sun loungers for all the guests and the bar staff ensured your drinks were topped up continually. On the whole it was a superb holiday with way more positives than negatives. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We did Greek Getaway followed by Mediterranean Gems. The destinations were all excellent and both weeks were completely different. We did 3 trips: Mykonos beach trip, Pompeii and Herculaneum and Inside Pisa. We enjoyed them all but I would ... Read More
We did Greek Getaway followed by Mediterranean Gems. The destinations were all excellent and both weeks were completely different. We did 3 trips: Mykonos beach trip, Pompeii and Herculaneum and Inside Pisa. We enjoyed them all but I would have liked a little free time in Pompeii to absorb the atmosphere. On board we usually managed to get a subbed although in the sea days we had to be up early. Bar and restaurant staff were friendly and efficient. Basic drinks package was ok we didn’t upgrade but paid extra occasionally for premium drinks, we found this cheaper than if we had upgraded. Food was all good, we ate in latitude and vista in the evenings, beach cove at lunchtime and market place for breakfast. The ship was freezing due to the air conditioning being set at too low a temperature. There weren’t enough toilets and the queue in the ladies of an evening was always long, not helped by the fact that on several occasions only one toilet was in use. The broadway shows were excellent and we liked the said and anchor of an evening. Our cabin was well looked after by Nur, it was a bit noisy at night, there were a lot of unexplained bangs. I was disappointed that the Captains dinner has been replaced by Dress to Impress as I feel that not having a special occasion to dress up for meant less people did dress up, this took some of the glamour away for me. I had to visit the Medical Centre and was very well looked after by all of the staff there, I felt confident with both their diagnosis and treatment. Overall it was an enjoyable cruise with some amazing destinations which I would like to return to. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly converted and would love to cruise again, on explorer 2 again too. Wish we’d done a 2 week cruise!!! Best bits: - Food was really good and in such abundance! (Vista and the Dining Club were brilliant). - Crew were lively and generally super helpful and polite. - Drinks package is very good and although we upgraded to premium we needn’t have as there was such a large selection of drinks. - We always managed to get a sunbed, even on sea days and we certainly weren’t up at the crack of dawn- but they were enforcing rules for people leaving towels on beds which is good to see. - My mother and father in law had a cabin on lower decks and their service from Nui (their steward) was incredible. - Jack Glanville the guest comedian was the highlight of the week for the entertainment. - I loved using the gym, running track. - Fish and Chips from snack shack were a treat! - We did excursions to St Tropez, Rome and Florence but did the ‘on your own’ versions as didn’t fancy following an umbrella!! They were beautiful places, but hot and over crowded at this time of year- completely not Marella’s fault, but just a word of advice for other cruisers. Think we would organise tours independently next time as they were extremely long days and fellow cruisers said we could do them cheaper if we arranged taxi tours ourselves! Things to improve on: - Both main speciality restaurants (Kora La and Surf and Turf) were booked up by day 2 of our cruise which we were gutted about. They didn’t seem to care either, I did complain and say customers should be told they book up quickly and I would have booked day 1 of the cruise (even though this seems a bit sad to have to do as soon as stepping on the ship). It did mean we booked The Dining Club instead which in the end was superb, but my boyfriend really wanted to try Surf and Turf. - Our steward kept walking into our room without knocking, whilst we didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, it was a bit uncomfortable! He walked in without a moments knock or hesitation and my partner was quite frustrated by this when he walked in and I was in the shower and he just asked, ‘is someone in there?’ A little strange but I suppose they’re just used to people not being in the cabin, but may require some further training. We just ended up leaving the lock on the door or do not disturb in whenever we were in. - As others have mentioned, Naples airport was a nightmare, queues galore through passport control and a very long wait for bags, and long walk in the heat for the bus transfer. I hope they don’t only use Naples (although it’s good for Sorrento trips for us!) - Noise in our cabin kept me from sleeping one night due to a loud noise when the ship was rocking in the wind- I didn’t sleep till 5am. (Cabin 8128) - Spa is great, but an infinity pool it is not! (It is only deep enough to sit in!) - Gym needs air con!!!!! All in all, these are minor complaints for a superb cruise but things which if rectified would be amazing! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
we have just returned from a weeks cruising on the Marella Explorer 2 from Naples to Messina / Dubrovnic / Split / Venice / Ancona back to Naples some people have mentioned Naples airport being a nightmare - we found it to be fine ... Read More
we have just returned from a weeks cruising on the Marella Explorer 2 from Naples to Messina / Dubrovnic / Split / Venice / Ancona back to Naples some people have mentioned Naples airport being a nightmare - we found it to be fine after collecting your luggage it was an approx 5 mins walk to board the coach on arrival at the cruise port ( approx 25 mins by coach) the boarding process was speedy and efficient - we arrived on board approx 1130 hrs ( we had an early flight from Stansted at 0600 hrs ) - our cabin was ready at 1230 hrs we had a great time / good food - especially the lovely Latitude and Vista restaurants / great entertainment couldn't fault anything we arranged all excursions ourselves - which we found was the most economical way our favourites were Dubrovnik and Venice which were both stunning and to round off a superb week , Captain Kostas stopped the ship off Stromboli ( Volcano) to watch it erupt - amazing would highly recommend this cruise / ship Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I booked this cruise with my sister as a 'taster' for alot of cities in our bucket list and also wanted to experience what cruising was like. The booking process was floorless and staff at our local Tui (West bridgford, ... Read More
I booked this cruise with my sister as a 'taster' for alot of cities in our bucket list and also wanted to experience what cruising was like. The booking process was floorless and staff at our local Tui (West bridgford, Nottingham) very helpful and accomodating. They seemed genuinely excited for us! I'll talk about the cruise itself first: ship was lovely and was big enough you weren't falling over people. There were plenty of amenities and we didn't feel we lacked anything. The squid and anchor had a traditional British pub feeling and to sit on the back if the ship with staff topping up your drinks regularly was bliss. The coffee port was great for not just coffee but also books and board games, there was a slight charge for those (ourselves included) that weren't on the top up inclusive package but it was minimal in our opinion. The pool side was always a hive of activity and although got very busy we never struggled to find somewhere to chill on a sunbed. You do need to get there earlier or move beds around for shade but again, this was always manageable. Staff are on hand for anything you want. The show's in the show lounge were entertaining and there are some very talented performers. The decks are great for walking round on and just watching the world go by. Food: we are in vista which was always lovely, the carbonara was the best I have ever eaten and they use a cheese wheel table side to prepare it, latitude was great although peak times meant a short wait (pager and bar close by to wait), this only occured once during a 2 week stay and we only waited 10 minutes. They also did a lovely breakfast, french toast highly recommend! Nonna's was a break from a formal meal and we enjoyed the service and views, my sister had pizza and I had a calzone, both lovely. Snack shack does what it says on the tin, easy grab and go and plenty of choice. Market place is buffet and the choices are great, some reviews have been unkind about this place but we enjoyed it and after a long day sight seeing you don't always want to get dressed up for dinner and want something less formal. Cabin was very spacious (5006) and we had the reception and restaurants on our floor. Loads of space for things, wasn't disturbed by noise and was very pleased. This was an inside cabin and we don't feel we missed having a window or balcony at all. Special shout out to Idris and his team for keeping our cabin spotless and well stocked, brilliant team and do nice and accomodating! The app you can use is great source of information and we used this daily along with the cruise news. The trips we felt were well priced and enjoyed them all, organised and no issues for the 5 we booked in advance. We also got off at 2 other ports during our stay. Staff make you feel so special, nothing is too much trouble for them. They had the patience of saints for the more demanding people and were always smiling. The shops were great and had excellent deals on daily, Pandora was my favourite and the prices were impressive, I came away with 2 rings, 2 charms and a new bracelet and they were cheaper than on the mainland. Best bits, trvi fountain, Sorrento, Dubrovnik, Venice mind blowing, Highlight was our last night when we sailed past stromboli where an active volcano had erupted the week before was still active. To watch lava running down the side of the mountain and see periodic explosions was surreal. Overall we have absolutely loved our holiday and are definitely hooked on cruising. The bad bit (sorry); Naples airport. Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. On arrival we were told we would need to collect our cases after all. They took over 2 hours to come round the carousel, we then had a 10 min walk at the hottest time of the day and had to wait 90 mins in direct sunlight for coaches to take us to the ship as they were stuck in traffic. On our return journey we were made to wait 2 hrs to go through to the plane with around 300 other people in a small area with no air conditioning. One person passed out from the heat and had to be taken away by ambulance. Nobody would tell us anything and the staff were beyond unhelpful. When we finally got on the plane (90 min delay at this point) we were informed by the captain we couldn't go as our cases were still in the tarmac waiting to be put on. All in all, we returned to the UK 2 and a half hours later than expected. I would NEVER fly to Naples airport again and unless a different port is used would not go on explorer 2. That said, we will be booking with marella again, just avoiding Naples due to the diabolical service Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
this was chose for the places to visit that we liked to go to. Firstly can i point out that this ship is a New to Marella cruises and not a Brand new ship as some say and was never listed as a Brand new ship. Anyway on to the review , The ... Read More
this was chose for the places to visit that we liked to go to. Firstly can i point out that this ship is a New to Marella cruises and not a Brand new ship as some say and was never listed as a Brand new ship. Anyway on to the review , The flight was good and on time , on arrival at Naples airport we were at the far end of the airport to get off the flight the transfer buses were slow in arriving and on arrival in the airport we had to wait close on an hour for our luggage .one all luggage collected we were then pointed to were we had to get the transfer bus to the ship , this was a long walk not really suitable for the elderly or those not good on their feet. we were then directed to the transfer bus and told by a rep that we could not go straight to the ship as the was a hold up and we would be taken to have some food and drink in Naples , we settled down to pizzas and wine and was taken care of very well. eventually after a few hours the rep came and collected us and we made our way to the port . when we arrived it was total chaos no one was able to go on board as the Naples authority would not let on due to an outbreak of Neurovirus onboard from the last cruise. Communication was poor throughout the wait and very little place to sit until much later when they opened a conference lounge for people. Eventually about 7.00 pm we were allowed onboard and able to go to our cabin where the luggage was waiting for us. The pools and the hot tubs were closed for the first week The staff were very helpful even though their work load increased with having to serve passengers buffet food and drinks the first week Hand sanitisers were everywhere and the majority of passengers did use them but not everyone .( this is why viruses are spread ) We enjoyed the food in all of the eating places we visited Our favourite restaurant was Vista . Least favourite was Nonnas which was pizza and pasta that you picked yourself and was prepared from your order The snack shack for poolside snacks very good food ,and enjoyed the inclusive drinks. The broadway shows were varied and really good. Comedian was great as was the silent disco ( a must for everyone to see ) The Squid and Anchor pub held all different activities , Flutes was really good for pre dinner drinks .Plenty of activity onboard throughout the day and evening at the different venues depending on your tastes. We thought that the cruise line was penny pinching a bit this time . This being a new ship to them we expected better, quite Disappointing that they no longer give out any maps and information sheets for any of the ports. or daily news sheets. The reason given was t they wished to save paper. on the first week the weather was mixed with some of our finest British rain. Venice in the rain was not quite the same as last time. We had a medical emergency and had to turn round and head for land which was a total of 6 hours altogether. all in all the cruise was very good and made better by the group we met right at the beginning when taken for our food. Many thanks to all the crew onboard for their efforts to make us all welcome under this difficult situation. This was our 16th cruise with this cruise line and will still sail with them again. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Explorer 2 – What can I say? Loved, loved, loved her to bits and neither of us wanted to come home. I can only tell you our experiences and about the parts of the ship we frequented. Our favourite watering hole was Flutes, Prosecco ... Read More
Explorer 2 – What can I say? Loved, loved, loved her to bits and neither of us wanted to come home. I can only tell you our experiences and about the parts of the ship we frequented. Our favourite watering hole was Flutes, Prosecco for myself and G&T for DH, very well looked after by Karnal, Natassia and Flocer. Most evening the golden piano was played and it was a relaxing place to sit, have a drink and watch the world go by. We also used Aperitif as this was closest to the restaurants and was a far as the Vista pager range would stretch. We also used the bar in the nightclub Indigo and on the Verandah (deck 12). We upgraded to the Premium package which worked out at £7 per day and we reckon we had our monies worth. We used the Coffee Port every day, the lovely Alexandra fetching us steaming Flat Whites of Lavazza coffee. There is a small library of books, biographies and autobiographies, odd travel book and some fiction. On the last day passengers were leaving books they had brought with them so it should soon build up. One of Ex2’s cows lives in the coffee port and there are UK sockets in some of the booths if you want to recharge or work using them for your electronics. We weren’t able to book into any of the ‘pay’ extra eating venues as they were on reduced numbers due to staff having to be relocated to serve in the buffet and you just had to book them on the first day, whilst this was a bit disappointing we still had very good food elsewhere on the ship. We dined in Latitude 53 (MDR) 3 times and 4 times in Vista (Italian next door) and at all times we had lovely waiting staff, who kept our drinks topped up, can highly recommend the Merlot and Pinot Grigio, the food was hot and tasty and there was plenty of variety. I have to say I had the 3 pot Tastes of Tiramisu twice! We dined between 8pm and 8.30pm mostly and sometimes had to have a pager for Vista from the very efficient Iona. We also had lunch at The Snack Shack (lovely fish & chips), used the Help yourself cabinet with all manner of goodies for a lighter lunch, The Beach Cove and of course the Buffet where Afternoon Tea was served which I can personally recommend…Red Velvet cup cakes to die for and Jam & cream scones…lush! (All deck 11 Pool) We went to the 10.30 show in the Broadway lounge every night except one as we didn’t care to see a comedian. We loved Movies; a compilation of hits from the movies, Zuma; a Strictly Latin American extravaganza, Cogs; a lovely story about an inventor and Buds Diner; Grease based but didn’t rate Lovestruck which we thought was poorly directed and had a very good cast of singers wasted singing and shouting over each other so much you couldn’t tell what song they were singing, the story wasn’t good either, way too messy. The Broadway Shops are still building up but there was a god selection of goods for a price. I bought some perfume to use up the OBC and used the rest of it to buy some ship’s photographs. Everywhere around the ship there were hand sanitizers and you were encouraged to use them frequently. The Pool Deck when we were able to use it (3 days rain out of 7!!)had plenty of beds and places to eat as mentioned above. There were music quizzes and live music every day and all day there was music playing which at times was so loud you couldn’t speak to the person on the sun bed beside you. Marella its ok to have some quiet time at the pool, we don’t need entertaining all the time. My only real complaint was not enough public toilets only one set per deck, 6,7,11,and 12. They were however immaculately clean and well provisioned at all times. Sail aways weren’t particularly special but it was good to be on deck despite the rain in Venice but both Split and Dubrovnik were sunny. When Ex2 was putting in the knots to make up lost time it was windy on deck and quite a few people got burnt on sea day as they hadn’t counted for the strength of the sun due to the cooling wind. There were some very red legs and chests! All in all Explorer 2 is a great ship we were only on a week and would liked to have more time to have tried more of the facilities, we never got to Nonna’s or the 19th Hole or Champneys but gives us a good excuse to board her again later in the year! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy ... Read More
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy Dubrovnik, Croatia and Sicily and back to Naples 7 nights all-inclusive for under £800 WOW The dining in the main restaurants was superb and the food choice was excellent, onboard activities I must admit apart from a quiz or to we didn't do much but from the list provided every day there was lots to do in the day time if you wanted it, the service from the staff was very good and they were all too keen on doing anything you asked of them, the evening entertainment was good, all be it same type each evening musical and dance apart from a comedian one night, Food and drinks during the day was very good overall the cruise was very good but not as good as cruises costing twice as much we have been on but you can't expect it to be but we were both very pleased with everything on board and would recommend this cruise to everyone wanting to cruise on a budget. We went on trips to the waterfalls from split and the caves from Ancona both good value trips we felt, but both had long coach trips over 1.5 hours but comfortable coaches help and both trips had a lot of walking so keep that in mind if you not good in your feet. We did have a issue in Naples unfortunately due to the port powers to be not letting us on board because if a sickness but for 8 Very long hours with no food or drinks supplied by Tui they did let us down there but they were on top of it once on board as we believe it had run the course. If it wasn't for that they would have got 5stars for everything. Word of warning !!!! Don't use the so-called duty free on board unless you know in advance how much the item you are buying is back home as like we found out it is not cheaper than back home and they will not honor their price match promise unless you tell them while on the cruise so they refused to give me a refund because I didn't find out until I was back in the UK, Tui isn't running the duty free I believe the company is called HARDING BROTHERS RETAIL Ltd well that's what it says on the receipt Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an ... Read More
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an adults only ship. TUI had only just started using Naples as their home port, and our arrival and departure at the airport were poor, not down to TUI, but the local airport services, with delays to finding stairs and buses and luggage for virtually every flight we talked to. Our weather for the week was mixed, but it didn't hinder any of our plans, and in fact the lightening storm at Ancona was the highlight of the visit, as there just isn't much there, especially on a Sunday ! Overall I would say that whilst Marbella was smaller than any P&O ship we have been on, half of the things about it were better, and half were poorer, so we would definitely sail with them again. I would say that P&O ships are better appointed, it's public spaces more luxurious, and they offer a wider variety of food in the buffets and restaurants. However the all inclusive on Marella is much better, the rooms more spacious, and the standard of service and friendliness from the staff overall was better. The main difference to us was that the Explorer made no use of the atrium area on the ship, and unlike P&O it wasn't a focal point for seating or dancing, but it was a smaller ship to be fair. The age profile probably averaged 50 to 60, and the activities reflected this. We had intended to eat at larger tables to meet people, but to be honest the tables for 2 are so close together, you have no option but to interact with other dinners ! Our ports of call were as follows, and I hate paying the rip off prices for tours charged by all cruise lines, so a bit of research means you can do it all at half the price - Naples we only had a couple of hours to explorer before departure, and so no chance to visit Pompei. It was May Day, and there was a major rally in the city, so it was as busy as Oxford Street on a Saturday, so we didn't see it at its best, but I wouldn't rush back as it struck me as a working port and a bit grubby. Easy walk to the centre of the city from the port. Split in Croatia was really worthwhile. Again an easy 10 minute walk from the ship to the centre, and it's really interesting to walk around the market outside the city walls, and then the warren of streets in the centre. We went back to the ship for lunch and then back along the waterfront and past the city centre to the Marjan Peninsular for a walk with views back down onto the city. Venice we went on deck for the early morning sail in, but the poor weather meant it was like sailing up the Humber Estuary in the mist. The rain delayed our start but we took the people mover from just outside the port (1.5 euros) to Piazza Roma, and took the vaporetto route 1 water taxi down the Grand Canal (7.5 euros) to San Marco. We went in the Doges Palace (20 euros) with only a 15 minute queue, up the Campanile Tower (8 euros) with only a 20 minute queue, and into the Basilica (free) with only a 10 minute queue. All were well worthwhile, especially the Basilica as on the way out you have the option to pay 5 euros to go up onto the roof for some great views down onto the square below which I would recommend. Afterwards we wandered the streets up the Rialto Bridge and market, and walked back up the Grand Canal to the people mover at Piazza Roma. The city is easy to walk around and there is no need to travel on the canals if you don't wish to, and the gondolas are a published 80 euros for 40 minutes wherever you catch one from. Ancona was just a filler stop, as there just isn't much there. The weather was our worst of the trip, which in some ways worked out, as we had a tremendous lightening storm in the afternoon which was the highlight of the town ! Dubrovnik was our favourite stop along with Venice, with the buildings like Split but more structured streets unlike the warrens at Split. From the port exit turn left and catch the bus 1 or 8 into the old town (15 kune) as it's a bit too far to walk, and when you get there you will want to walk the walls (200 kune). The walls are intact and a full circuit takes around an hour and a half, but the views are spectacular, and includes the adjacent fort with views back onto the town. The cable car to the lookout above the city was not operating due to a tax dispute with the government. Messina town in Sicily doesn't have much, so we opted to turn left out of the port and a 10 minute walk takes you to the central train station where a train runs regularly to Traormina Giardini station (8 euros return), but you need a taxi up to the town (15 euros) or wait for the bus. We didn't have much time so we got a taxi and the town is very quaint. Turns out that we did the right thing as some of the ship tours went nowhere due to an accident on the main road. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The first thing to note is that whilst this ship is new to Marella it was built in 1994 and in places despite a refit is showing its age. You will need to travel on TUIs German Mein Schiff 1 & 2 if you want brand new ships! It is also ... Read More
The first thing to note is that whilst this ship is new to Marella it was built in 1994 and in places despite a refit is showing its age. You will need to travel on TUIs German Mein Schiff 1 & 2 if you want brand new ships! It is also a shame the all inclusive bit doesn't start when you step on the very old Boeing 757 plane but then i suppose prices would be higher. We booked a cabin with a balcony and were allocated right in the middle of the ship on the port side on deck 8 . It was about the size of a normal Travelodge room and had a nice sized shower cubicle which for a big chap is really welcome and had plenty of storage with the cases fitting under the bed. We heard many guests who were on deck 4 and near the back of the boat complaining of noise from the kitchens and vibrations when the boat was travelling, however this was not the case where we were situated. As always the cabin steward was very helpful and all the staff worked hard to ensure the guests had a great time.The only niggle we found was how thin the toilet paper was but other than that everything else worked well. It was great to have pool towels, TV, safe, hairdryer and a small fridge included in our cabin. We stuck with the standard inclusive package which is all anyone could ever need, although we noticed that since our last cruise on Discovery last year the choice of cocktails is less extensive than it was just 11 months ago - Not a major issue though. Similarly instead of waiter service at your seats in the Broadway show lounge they offer you a table of about 8 different drinks as you go in. Whilst it limited your choice of drinks it did stop constant chatting to the waiters during the shows. The entertainment was excellent in the evenings with 5 fantastic shows by the entertainment cast with fantastic use of technology and two guest slots the first were two comedians and the second an Elton John impressionist. There is always lots going on around the ship although we were a little disappointed that the movies by moonlight were started 30 minutes before the first evening ) show finished (and ended 30 minutes after the second show started) so you never got to see a film all the way through! Marella seem to be catering for a younger generation in its 50s (which we are) as we heard lots of grumbles from older passengers that there was no formal dancing available, dance lessons or classical music evenings which apparently is what they like to do! Dining is plentiful and to cater for 1800 plus people they do a great job. The buffet was always hot and plentiful of choice. The formal restaurants Lattitude and Vista were also great. We loved Nonna's an informal no frills Italian restaurant. which we went to a few times. We could not justify paying for the additional charge restaurants and don't think we suffered for not going there. For lunch we picked up sandwiches from the snack shack before heading out for the day. We did not use the pools or the spa.gym but it had lots of customers during the time we were there. The real joy was the itinerary. A different destination everyday with no sea days made it a great holiday for us. It was a great cruise which i would happily go on again. Hope you find his useful Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Booked under no illusion this would be like a Celebrity, Princess Cruise ect for the money paid, and that it was also an old shop which had been renovated rather than brand new. Overall impression public areas were clean and modern ... Read More
Booked under no illusion this would be like a Celebrity, Princess Cruise ect for the money paid, and that it was also an old shop which had been renovated rather than brand new. Overall impression public areas were clean and modern although there was a few snagging issues but this is to be expected and didn’t distract from our enjoyment while onboard. Food in the main dining room was really good, we had no complaints, and the a la cadre dining especially Surf and Turf was sublime. The only disappointment was the buffet restaurant which had limited choice at each meal time. Snack shack was good especially with the choice if having fresh salads and sandwiches available if you didn’t want to have a full blown meal. Entertainment was excellent, all performers were very professional and we enjoyed many a night in Squid and Anchor at the Gin bar listening and dancing to them. We was fortunate enough to have a Executive Suite, which was amazing, having usually booked a standard balcony. I read many complaints about size of cabins, beds against walls. For us we couldn’t complain. All in all we had a brilliant week, weather was also good for mid April in the Med, but having sailed on other cruise lines many of which are classed as ‘premium’ we knew not to compare, Marella target the U.K. market and the food and entertainment reflects this as does the price. Service was second to non and we would certainly travel on a Marella cruise in the future, however if you like the finer things in life maybe book another cruise line. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We went on the 2nd sailing of Explorer 2. Collection at the airport went smoothly, we were given some information to read on the coach. The check in at the port was quick and easy. Was slightly disappointed that we were not given a map ... Read More
We went on the 2nd sailing of Explorer 2. Collection at the airport went smoothly, we were given some information to read on the coach. The check in at the port was quick and easy. Was slightly disappointed that we were not given a map of the ship but there were screens and pictures around the ship that you could look to find your way around. The ship isn't perfect despite the recent refurb but its also not brand new and I think that is something people need to remember. It has been refurbished not ripped out and started again. So there were cosmetic things that were not in tip top shape. Was this a problem for us? No. There are some great features to it, the 19th Hole with its quirky buggies and golf simulators. Flutes where you can press the button and get more prosecco. The Squid & Anchor for quizzes, game shows, karaoke and Indigo where the nightclub is. Cabin - we had a balcony cabin on deck 9. It was really spacious. The wardrobes had plenty of hanging space and hangers. Then there were several drawers and shelves as well as the vanity table with drawers. The bathroom was decent as well and shower larger that other ships i've been on. Only negative the toilet wasn't working properly. We tried to ring Reception but our phone wasn't working either. Both were resolved fairly quickly after speaking with our Cabin Steward although the toilet did break 3 times that first day. We had a kettle & cups with tea bags etc which we were really pleased with. We were located near the stairs Aft (at the back of the ship) convenienty located just above Squid & Anchor and Latitude 53 and slightly below the Market Place. Dining - This for me was the most disappointing for me. We ate in all the free restaurants. I personally didn't feel there was as many options that we have had on previous cruises and wasn't very excited by the options given. We loved Nonna's which does fab pastas. Its worth noting that in the evening you get little breads and a small salad and slightly different choices on the pizza and the toppings for pasta. Definately worth trying in the day and evening. The Market Place has pretty much the same food as the Latitude restaurant. We enjoyed some meals in Vista which is the lower part of Latitude restaurant & has a bit of a Italian feel. We did not pay for any of the Speciaility Restaurants so I cannot comment on them. A nice touch was afternoon tea 3 - 5 that did sandwiches and scones. Food came out pretty quick and was well presented. The food at the Snack Shack and Beach Cove were about the same most days with a small varience. I really enjoyed the chocolate brownies. An added bonus was they had pre-packed salads and sandwiches and cookies. So if you wanted to take someting to your room for a snack later you could. The Coffee Port was set out really nice but I didn't use as I don't drink coffee and you had to pay extra for everything. We did go the the late night snack up in the Market Place most nights. Entertainment/Activities - The shows in the Broadway were pretty good. The main cast sing and dance very well but I didn't feel it was as good as some other ships. They were a 45 min set done twice a night. I felt sometimes the programme could have been done a bit better as some activities clashed with others so you missed out. Everyone has been raving about Revive, I didn't feel the story line was clear although the singing and dancing and costumes were great. I really enjoyed the Rockology and Soul shows. The Commedian was fantastic although if you are easily offended I wouldn't go. The Piano Man wasn't really to my taste but he was a good singer, his piano playing sometimes got lost in the backing tracks. Daytime Entertainment I felt was a bit lacking, we like to get involved in things and whilst looking at the Cruise News there seemed to be lots of things to do when you looked at what they were they were things like demonstrantions. Line dancing every day or signing up for golf simulator (which had charges). Evening Quizes were pretty good but we found it was the same people joining in all the time and audience particpation wasn't great. Indigo nightclub we went up a few times but it mainly was not many people in there, I think this was due to clashes with other activities and people not wanting to be up so late. Mini Golf is ok although the first game was the Sea Day when the waters were a bit rough so was a bit difficult but went back a few times. Pool Area - Plenty of sunbeds around the pool area and upper deck. There is also a veranda that you can use that has cushioned sunbeds and some nice little chairs. This is near the Cabana's but you have to pay for the Cabana's. There is always a man going around with a cart of certain drinks which delighted my husband. If you don't like anything on the cart though there was normally waiters around most of the time. Shore Excusions - we only did 2. We weren't going to bother as normally they are expensive but we booked one for Livorno before the Cruise and one whilst on it that were reasonable. The Livorno was the Canals but was pretty disappointed as out of 4 hours we were on the boat for about 40 mins then were left for an hour at a indoor market that sold fish, meat & cheese. None of which we could take back on the ship. The surrounding area wasn't the nicest and then we walked about 5 mins to the bus through a lovely little area that would have been nicer to sit and have a drink. The other was Sights in Barcelona. 3 hr tour to two mountains then a quick stop on the way back somewhere else. Enjoyed the tour. All ports were docked which is a lot easier when getting off the ship. Didn't have any problems with queing for getting on or off in a short amount of time. We bought photo's which was a pain because of how they have set up the offers. In the end we negotiated and got the photo's we wanted. You can buy photo's individually at a reasonable price which i haven't seen on other ships It felt very geared up for British Customers which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it has just been very different to the other cruises we've been on. All in all we had a great week, I'm not sure we'd go on Marella again as I don't feel it had the Wow factor hence the 4 star rating but we did have a great time and found the staff friendly and helpful in most cases. There were not that many public toilets and where there were some ie in the 19th Hole near the Show lounge there was only 2 cubicles. Should have toilets on every floor in my opinion. Thanks for reading if you made it to the end. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of ... Read More
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of the ships genuine age. Marella and TUI have been very upfront about the ships age, however some travel agents will say what they need to say to get the booking on! We stayed in the Royal Suite, which on first glance was amazing. After the first day we spotted some snagging that we attempted to get resolved with reception and our cabin staff but things didn’t get resolved. We escalated this to the guest relations manager who resolved it quickly and efficiently and showed a great deal of empthathy. Thank you Sam Hale, you’re a credit to Marella. The specialty dining was brilliant. Main dining was ok. I’d recommend the trio dining package for specialty resturants as it saves some money and brings the cost in at a quite reasonable price. We also paid extra for the premium drinks package. Being a wine drinker it was worth every penny, however many beer and spirits drinkers would be happy with the standard package. Overall it would have scored a 5 but the initial issues brought it down to a 4. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside ... Read More
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside cabin at the front of deck 9 was was comfortable, quite spacious with a well designed bathroom, plenty of storage space and very quiet. Daytime activities were limited and quizzes almost all music questions. However the breakfast and lunchtime buffets in the Marketplace was very good and evening waiter service along with the food in Latitudes were also very good. The shows in the Broadway were often excellent, but the evening entertainment in the Squid and Anchor was variable and often a bit chaotic, however since this was a maiden cruise it should improve as the entertainment team ' come to grips with their roles'. The crew are a major asset of the ship since they were invariably friendly and helpful. We knew the shore excursions can be expensive and since we had visited all the ports before only did one to Rome. It was The Easy Rome and was ok but did not leave the ship until 12pm. We arrived on the ship after 6pm so missed the lifeboat drill and never did one - this oversight must be sorted out. Yes we were aware of other problems around the ship but overall we enjoyed the cruise and are sure Marcella will sort them out and we recollect the Marcella Dream had host of problems when she first came into service with Thomson's. Read Less
Marella Explorer 2 Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 3.8
Dining N/A 3.8
Entertainment N/A 3.9
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.0
Family N/A 3.0
Service N/A 4.4

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