My first time in a Thomson/Marella cruise:
I Can’t fault the cruise check-in process we were on the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the port!!
The ship.....for her age to be honest she’s ok!! Yes she’s a bit dated and there are definitely signs of neglect over the years that she’s been at Thomson/Marella cruises but reading some of the reviews I was dubious and thought would we make it around the Mediterranean!!! Yes there are some vibrations and shudders as u leave port and also during the sailing but honestly it’s not that noticeable unless ur looking out for it and she actually sails ok when at sea!!!
The main lounges are ok though dated and don’t have the fancy carpets or decor of larger cruise companies but they do the job as they were intended though it can be difficult to find seats when the main evening entertainment is taking place in a particular lounge.
The Cabin... we were in an L shaped inside cabin and despite the first annoyance at the bed layout despite letting Marella know that we were on our anniversary we appreciated that the cabins are a bit more spacious and have more wardrobe space than some inside cabins on larger cruise ships!! The beds are comfortable and we slept well every night though the air con is non existent and the rooms can get very warm and stuffy!! The bathroom is probably where the age of the ship shows, it was like something out of a hostel I was afraid of catching something from the shower/bathroom floor and shower curtain!! The wear and tear & shabby repairs over the years are visible!! But after all it is a bathroom so thankfully you don’t need to spend too much time in it!!
The Food.... the worst I’ve experienced on any cruise I’ve been on before and this was my 15th cruise!! The choice is limited especially in the restaurant...unlike most cruise lines you had to pay extra for a steak!! The quality of the ingredients is poor and you can taste that they are cheap!! The burgers are like something from Iceland although the salad selection is pretty ok but that gets boring after a few days!! In the buffet a lot of the meats were very chewy and as for desserts there’s very little to even choose from and really not worth the extra calories..Orange jelly seamed to be on offer at every meal and it’s tasteless!!
The All inclusive drinks..... where to even begin!!!!!! There’s probably more drinks that u have to pay and upgrade for than you get for free!! Yes you can get most spirits and a mixer included but it’s advertised as Smirnoff/Gordon’s etc but what you really get is very cheap unheard of brands that are nasty!! Also many guests were talking about how watered down the spirits were and to be honest after having a few G&Ts it’s definitely not full strength drinks as it had very little effect on me our my friends and we definitely would be used to our brands!! The cocktails are pathetic and really not a cocktail at all just a few spirits is a glass topped with juice...honestly in a full week I never saw a bar tender use a cocktail shaker at all to make any cocktail and a blender was only used if u wanted to pay extra for a premium drink!! The wine is terrible quality in the all inclusive it’s red, white or rose with not even a brand or grape type mentioned just house...not that we are wine connoisseurs or anything but you would at least like to know what it was so u could avoid it it when u get home!! This is definitely the worst all inclusive drinks package of any cruise line I’ve been on please don’t pay for it unless it’s already included as it’s really not worth it... unless u want to pay £2.50 extra per drink to upgrade to a better brand/drink!! It does the job while on holiday but not like what u would get on a better cruise line where premium brands are already included!!
The entertainment....to be fair I don’t think Marella Cruises really have a budget for entertainment and the staff did as best as they could....BUT this was amateur at best!! All of the entertainment staff were really lovely but the shows were at times a bit hard to watch and at some stage I saw most of the audience grimace as they struggled to reach the notes during a few performances!! Definitely not broadway shows..think more school productions!! But they did try their best to entertain!! The music in the rest of the bars was ok and especially the guys singing in Raffles they were probably the best throughout the week!!!
The best thing about Marella Spirit is the staff!! From the Bar staff to cabin staff and even the cruise entertainment staff they are all so lovely and they are what helps make the holiday and they are a credit to the company however the Marella product lets them all down!!!
Would I chose a Marella Cruise again....DEFINITELY NOT!!!!
I would suggest that for a few £ more go with a different cruise line, I know in the future I will be!! This holiday made me appreciate all the little things that the big cruise companies get right!!