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We chose this cruise because of the ports visited as most were a first for us. These were to embark at Malaga, then a sea day to Porto, then on to Lisbon, Porta Mao, Cadiz, Gibraltar and back to Malaga. Followed by a 4 night stay in a hotel at Fuengirola. This all came in a deal through Tui complete with All Inclusive drinks package on the ship. Tui is a well oiled machine, and we had no problems with booking, flights, transfers or disembarkation. The only issue was that as Tui grows and takes over more companies things get a little disjointed. For example we flew out Norwegian Airways which is South Terminal Gatwick and flew back Tui which is North Terminal and we had to get from one to the other to get back to the car park. The cruise is now run by Marella, another arm of Tui and getting cruise information before hand was a bit difficult as there is no link between the booking web site and the cruise web site. Having said that the cruise was great. The staff were as always excellent, the ship was spotlessly clean, if not a bit tired, the food was also excellent. This is the fourth Tui cruise we have been on and was the biggest Tui room we have ever had. It is worth paying the extra £10 for the space. The entertainment was quite good. Not the best Tui entertainment we have ever had but certainly not the worst!!!! We had the all inclusive drinks package, which on a personal level we can either take it or leave it. But as we had it tried to make best use of it. The staff were very good and tried to make sure your glass was full at all times. There was no difficulty in getting a drink. Some came with a supplement as they had branded spirits in them. The only issue was that the cocktails did seem little weak. My wife usually gets tipsy at the smell of the bar maids apron, but there she was drinking cocktails all day and they had very little effect on her? If you like all day activity then the sun deck on the back of the ship is the place to go. Music, quizzes, demonstrations, food and drinks all day long. If you don't then there was plenty of space and beds on the upper forward sun decks and on the boat decks. There were also multiple bars around the ship all offering something a little different in terms of ambience, music, views and comfort. At the ports of call it was also possible to go on organised bike trips with the resident cyclist to guide and lead you. This was obviously a popular ship as many of the customers were familiar with the staff and seemed to know them almost as personal friends. We spoke to lots of people who had been on the ship multiple times. We think that in itself is a great recommendation. The ports were all very interesting for different reasons. The cruise dock at Porto is a bit of a way out of town and there was a bus service available from the ship for £7pp open return usage. Which was well worth the money. If you go on this cruise and want to go ashore you need to be relatively fit or go on organised trips so you can be transported. Nearly everywhere we stopped was a bit out of town and either a 15min walk or a bus ride. Also Porto and Lisbon are very hilly and everywhere seems to be up hill!!! Would we go again. Definitely YES. We don't know how they manage to fly you in and out, transfer you, cruise you, feed you, entertain you, water/booze you and provide so many staff for less than £80 a day each including tips????

Amazing value

Marella Spirit Cruise Review by Jivedancer56

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because of the ports visited as most were a first for us. These were to embark at Malaga, then a sea day to Porto, then on to Lisbon, Porta Mao, Cadiz, Gibraltar and back to Malaga. Followed by a 4 night stay in a hotel at Fuengirola. This all came in a deal through Tui complete with All Inclusive drinks package on the ship.

Tui is a well oiled machine, and we had no problems with booking, flights, transfers or disembarkation. The only issue was that as Tui grows and takes over more companies things get a little disjointed. For example we flew out Norwegian Airways which is South Terminal Gatwick and flew back Tui which is North Terminal and we had to get from one to the other to get back to the car park. The cruise is now run by Marella, another arm of Tui and getting cruise information before hand was a bit difficult as there is no link between the booking web site and the cruise web site.

Having said that the cruise was great. The staff were as always excellent, the ship was spotlessly clean, if not a bit tired, the food was also excellent. This is the fourth Tui cruise we have been on and was the biggest Tui room we have ever had. It is worth paying the extra £10 for the space. The entertainment was quite good. Not the best Tui entertainment we have ever had but certainly not the worst!!!!

We had the all inclusive drinks package, which on a personal level we can either take it or leave it. But as we had it tried to make best use of it. The staff were very good and tried to make sure your glass was full at all times. There was no difficulty in getting a drink. Some came with a supplement as they had branded spirits in them. The only issue was that the cocktails did seem little weak. My wife usually gets tipsy at the smell of the bar maids apron, but there she was drinking cocktails all day and they had very little effect on her?

If you like all day activity then the sun deck on the back of the ship is the place to go. Music, quizzes, demonstrations, food and drinks all day long. If you don't then there was plenty of space and beds on the upper forward sun decks and on the boat decks.

There were also multiple bars around the ship all offering something a little different in terms of ambience, music, views and comfort.

At the ports of call it was also possible to go on organised bike trips with the resident cyclist to guide and lead you.

This was obviously a popular ship as many of the customers were familiar with the staff and seemed to know them almost as personal friends. We spoke to lots of people who had been on the ship multiple times. We think that in itself is a great recommendation.

The ports were all very interesting for different reasons. The cruise dock at Porto is a bit of a way out of town and there was a bus service available from the ship for £7pp open return usage. Which was well worth the money.

If you go on this cruise and want to go ashore you need to be relatively fit or go on organised trips so you can be transported. Nearly everywhere we stopped was a bit out of town and either a 15min walk or a bus ride. Also Porto and Lisbon are very hilly and everywhere seems to be up hill!!!

Would we go again. Definitely YES. We don't know how they manage to fly you in and out, transfer you, cruise you, feed you, entertain you, water/booze you and provide so many staff for less than £80 a day each including tips????
Jivedancer56’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 505
We had a nice big cabin (for a Tui ship). A massive big double bed, four full length wardrobes, a shower room, tea/coffee making facility, TV all of which was kept immaculately clean by the cabin staff.What more could yo ask for?
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cadiz
    Ship parked relatively close to the town, so we walked in. Nice old city, very relaxed, lots of shops and a big cathedral to visit. Nice long water front to stroll along as well.
    View All 43 Cadiz Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Gibraltar
    For such a small place there is too much to see and do here. If its a first time and you like history you have to go to the top of the rock and see the tunnels, and the apes etc. If you don't then there is a massive duty free shopping area, where they prefer Pounds Sterling. If you spend Euros the exchange rate they offer is very low and the benefits of the duty free is wiped out. Take plenty of money here!!!
    View All 722 Gibraltar Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Lisbon
    Very hilly place. Lots of places to see and trips to take, museums, trams, etc. We took a Tok Tok from outside the port. Did a deal with the driver and he took us round all the places you can't get to on a coach. Lots of back streets and view points as well as interesting architectural features. We paid €80 which was cheaper than what was on offer from the ship tours and we had a nice big Tok Tok to ourselves rather than being crushed into a smaller one with another couple.
    View All 794 Lisbon Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Porto (Leixoes)
    We took the Tui provided bus (£7pp open return) into town and walked up and down the hills. If you get to the river it is possible to take the 6 bridges boat trip €15 which takes about an hour. Nice gentle cruise up and down the river going under the variety of bridges the cross the Douro river. Many other attractions and museums in the city to go and see as well as an old fashioned tram system the lots of people seem to want to take a ride on.
    View All 70 Porto (Leixoes) Cruise Port Reviews
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