Check-in Process: I booked a cruise holiday simply enough on the website and had confirmation emails. As part of my booking documentation it clearly states:
“You’ll be able to check-in online from 7 days before your departure date and once you do, you’ll automatically be allocated your seats on the plane”
That’s simple to understand, However….. When I proceeded to check-in online the following error message appeared:
“We're currently unable to offer you online check-in for your flight. Don't worry, you can proceed to TUI Airways bag drop desk at the airport on your day of departure where check-in will be completed for you and your boarding passes will be issued.”
I thought this was strange so I ask TUI customer service why I could not check-in online and this was their response:
“Online check in it is a complimentary service that we offer. We only allow 70-80% of our customers to check in online”
This is information is not mentioned on the TUI website, Terms & Conditions’ or my booking forms so basically rather than being up front so I could make an informed decision before the check-in date, I am now stuck with the hassle of check-in at the Airport with no way to avoid it. This is before my holiday begins, so, who knows what else TUI will fail to mention.
Airport: So got to Gatwick the day before the flight and despite advertising "day before bag drop" on their website, I could not use this service on a TUI Fly/Cruise holiday. Great
Check-In on the day: This was actually good. Bags get taken straight to the ship so no need to collect at the Airport which is a nice bonus. Please note they do weight your "hand/cabin" luggage as well as your hold luggage. Make sure you don't go over your limit otherwise they will definitely charge you. The excess baggage charge for long haul is £17 a Kilo
Arrival: The arrival at Dominican Republic Airport was excellent, got on coach straight after arrival, received a welcome drink and on-boarding onto the ship was very quick.
Accommodation/cabin: This was basic but the bed was comfortable and shower was good. Only problem was that they charge you £15/£25 to use the in-room safe. No not a deposit, they actually charge you. wow
Inclusive Package: They advertised as an all-inclusive cruise however the drinks are limited and extremely watered down (Many other guests said the same thing). Note Bottle water is not included or premium drinks such as JD etc. If you pay another £50 Per person you can get premium drinks but this still does not include bottle water (except one bottle a day in you cabin). Also if you want to have the odd premium drink with the basic all-inclusive you can pay a supplement but that is nearly the cost of the drink (Example Heineken supplement is £3.00 when the drink cost £3.90).
Tours: Excellent tours and good trips. A really positive.
Staff: The best thing about the cruise was the staff. They were excellent, very helpful and always attentive.
Food: Lido Restaurant was nice but limited range of food. Terrible pizza and Burgers in the outdoor lido, funny considering this a basic on most cruises. Main Restaurant was excellent (£10 Steak supplement was very good) but Gala Night was a bit disappointing. Went to the one of the three paid restaurants, food was good but not worth £35 Supplement (For 2).
Activities: Absolutely awful, there were seminars on water retention, bingo (£5 ago), table tennis and quiz's. There were two pools and one Jacuzzi's on board and on the only day at sea one pool and the Jacuzzi was closed. There were no movies or sports TV's in the bars or theatre and no real stand out activities. Rubbish
Shows: The show team were enthusiastic and lovely people but the shows were terrible. Nothing much to write home about except the comedian shows which saved it for me.
Overall, good holiday but it would be 50/50 on whether I would use TUI/Marella again. Everything comes with supplement rather than being a true all-inclusive cruise (as advertised) and food/activities/shows very underwhelming. The staff and tours saved it for me but not enough to fully recommend. If you do book with TUI, be prepared for some hidden surprises and factor this into the cost.
Pretty Basic. Decor abit dated but acceptable. Storage was abit small but the shower and Bed were good. Cleaning staff were excellent and friendly. One negative is that rather than a standard deposit or free use, they actually charge you to use the in-cabin safe (£15 for a week / £25 for two weeks).
We did the Marella Treasure Island Trip. Did some snorkeling by 3 caves on the alleged island that inspired the treasure island book. Then went to a private island for more snorkeling and had a few drinks on the beach side bar. Very good trip overall and amazing service considering the hurricane hit the BVI and they still recovering.View All 79 Snorkeling Reviews