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Marella Spirit Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
365 Reviews

Outdated and Disappointing

Marella Spirit Cruise Review by justingalore

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2017
  • Destination: the Eastern Mediterranean

This cruise ("Timeless Treasures - taking in Cyprus, Santorini, two stops in Turkey and Israel) was originally booked with my mother, but after a family emergency I instead went with my girlfriend.

Firstly - the ports were all interesting and the excursions (booked though Thomson) were pretty good.

The experience on-board unfortunately was another matter. Both the cabin and the communal areas were dilapidated, and we encountered numerous issues.

The (outside) cabin fixtures were very tired. Parts of it looked almost antique. Electricity would turn on and off randomly, sometimes the TV was not usable for hours. There was only one plug socket which was strangely positioned behind an old speaker making it hard to plug devices in. The mattresses were appalling, thin and uncomfortable. The toilet sometimes did not flush. Most significantly, my girlfriend was having a shower and the water turned black, leaving remnants of what appeared to be oil on her skin afterwards. The room was not at all airy and was quite oppressive. (On the positive side, cabin stewards were attentive, made nice towel animals and we did receive a bottle of wine having reported the oil incident).

On to the boat itself.

- The communal areas had a urine smell. It made it incredibly disheartening getting back on to the boat from the ports.

- The cinema badly projects one of the TV channels (showing fairly dated films like Avatar, The Devil Wears Prada, The Day After Tomorrow). And even then only when it is working. (At first there was no sound and the lights were on for a full day. When we reported this the cinema was closed for another full day - before being opened again).

- The (tiny) pool was a foul shade of green for a couple of days (remember the Olympic diving pool - like that but worse) - before being corrected. We saw a mother shouting at her child not to do in there, so alarming was the colour.

- Food - whether at the buffet, Compass Rose seated restaurant, or "posh" restaurant with a surcharge (Sirocco's) - was almost universally poor. Everything was almost guaranteed to be executed badly and without taste - weird tasteless pizza, strange fake american cream, tasteless "strawberry sauce" instead of Jam on the scones, peculiar "baked" potatoes which seemed more like they were boiled (and not for long enough). The only things executed well were some parts of breakfast (hash browns, eggs, beans etc) and things they couldn't ruin, like yogurt pots or cheese.

- We were on the "all inclusive" drinks package (we wouldn't have paid full price for this, but got some kind of deal). It wasn't at all all inclusive, as anything even a little bit nice was not in the plan. No coffees before 10:00am, no baileys, no cocktail that wasn't comprised entirely of fake sugary ingredients, no canned drinks, no water. We bought a few baileys outside of the all inclusive package and these were so watered down (or milked down perhaps) they were white not brown. I would only suggest the package to people who want to guzzle multiple Boddingtons or house wine all day.

- The captains reception was just an excuse to make one queue multiple times for (bad) photographs. Seriously boring.

- Interiors were just old and tired. No modern facilities. The wifi was a joke. It basically didn't work and was extremely expensive. The shops sold overpriced tat.

- Public toilets were often blocked and half filled with excrement.

On the positive front. The staff were a friendly bunch. Also the shows in the lounge were enthusiastically delivered. It seems like the staff were fighting a losing battle against a tired old ship and poor investment by Thomson.

This experience would put me off ever booking with Thomson again.

justingalore's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Value For Money
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