6 islands cruise.
We chose this cruise as initially all 6 islands were ones we hadn't visited. Unfortunately,3 had to be changed prior to departure but at least we didn't end up with our dreaded "days at sea"
Overall an excellent week. Overwhelmingly, staff were friendly, attentive and helpful. Typically- our cabin stewardess Serina was superb.
Food was excellent in all the places we tried. Mostly for evenings we used either 47 or Gallery 47 (both included in price). Plenty of choice and well presented.
We had a couple of breakfasts where the waiting staff were somewhat disorganised - eg coffee turning up, followed 10 minutes later, after numerous requests, by milk and a further 5 minutes for tea spoons (forks work well provided you use the wrong end!!)
The inclusive drinks range was sufficiently extensive for most people with few exclusions. I suppose if you only like one specific brand you may be disappointed (eg Remy Martin brandy is excluded as is champagne) but genuine Bacardi and named Whiskies were included and the beers/lager were good for my taste. We would certainly not have benefitted from the Premium upgrade although we did pay extra a couple of times at the Coffee shop which we enjoyed.
Island buffet was also very good and we used this for breakfast when we had early starts and also at lunch - problem here is trying not to eat too much when you know you face dinner later. Then, of course, there’s always afternoon tea for when you get peckish!
Surf and Turf restaurant – We tried to book this from day 1 for any night but the best we could get was, on day 2, to be put on a stand-by list for the week! We didn’t get in. As we were on a cruise and stay we were only on board for one week. We suspect that all bookings went to people for whom this was their second week thus had pre-booked before newcomers arrived. Even though we were told this wasn’t the case, we couldn’t get any other explanation. So if you are cruising for one week only you may not get in which to us felt like we were penalised.
Others who had been to Surf and Turf said it was good but maybe not worth the £28 ish supplement each.
Snack Shack is worth a visit during the day – some sandwiches / boxed salads to take away and some people loved the fish and chips although we didn’t try that.
Bar Eleven, the top floor bar was OK but not as good as some other Tui ships. We were hoping for an “Horizons” type of bar (eg on Celebration and Spirit this was a good sized pleasant relaxed bar with some live relaxed music). We think that sticking Bar Eleven in a thoroughfare between Kora La and Surf and Turf restaurants spoiled the atmosphere noticeably.
For us the Atrium was far better although many others must have thought the same as it was sometimes hard to find a table. However if you go to the Atrium later when the show is on in the Broadway lounge, you stand a better chance of getting a seat. Some excellent entertainment here particularly the guitarist. Other watering holes were good with quizzes, music and entertainment aplenty.
See separate review for cabin
On the dress to impress night I reckon about 60% or so wore DJ’s, most others wore smart casual. I don’t think it matters as long as people are seen to make some sort of effort.
We were lucky enough to get last minute seats on the Death in Paradise excursion on Guadaloupe. This wasn’t available online before the cruise and was thus a pleasant surprise for us. We only found out accidentally at the excursions counter onboard – no idea why Tui hadn’t advertised it – staff didn’t know.
And finally, where did the name Marella come from. I see Tui don’t call their German ships Marella.
Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Regent Seven Seas, Princess, P&O, Norwegian Cruise lines, MSC, Silversea etc . Compared with those I think Marella sounds second rate. Even Tui would sound better.
Just couldn't spend enough time on board to try everything out so certainly large enough ship for our needs and transport between islands. Overall, very good ship, staff and entertainment with plenty to keep all well fed, watered and entertained.
As mentioned in a previous review, Cabin 8022’s balcony does indeed have an overhang of deck 9 above (an open deck which is wider than 8) and obviously it can reduce the amount of sun you get. You may get noise from people walking or sunbeds etc being moved early morning. It is though an excellent size suite with plenty of storage and a good fridge. We had some slightly turbulent nights when we got a lot of creaks from the balcony door (couldn’t fix it).
We did have an issue the shower - at times it was very hot and on one occasion the cold water went off completely whilst I was showering. They did change the shower head but this did not alleviate the problem. It did eventually get sorted.