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