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TUI were recommended by a cruise mad friend as a great introduction to this type of holiday. We chose this cruise and ship as it covered an awful lot of places of interest. On the day of arrival we were stunned at seeing the shop and is sheer size. Now of course we are first timers with experience limited to cross channel ferries. And even more stunning to us was this is a sort of mid sized ship! Embarkation was smooth and we were greeted by extremely friendly staff from the terminal through to walking on board. The ship is beautiful and despite initial 'newbie' confusion everything is well sign posted and there are lots of maps to help you find your way about. We boarded about 15:00 and after unpacking in the lovely, clean cabin we used the next two hours or so to explore every part of the shop and get our bearings. Be warned that for some areas such as Latitude and Vista restaurants might mean taking a detour up or down a deck as deck 5 seems to end suddenly despite signs pointing you beyond a point you're told you can't pass! Anyway that bit of obvious advice aside the cabin was lovely. We booked a balcony cabin and we're on deck 8 starboard. It was clean, well equipped and very well laid out. It includes an electronic valuable safe much the same as hotels provide. The shower is brilliant, like standing in front of a fire hose! Our cabin was cleaned around three times a day and the staff are very friendly and only to happy to help with any requirements. That last sentence applies to ALL the TUI staff who are always helpful, smiling and friendly. That goes a long way to making the whole experience very personable and personal. Dining facilities are excellent from the self service marketplace with a huge choice of hot and cold, sweet and savoury food and drink, to the superb Fine Dining Club (£35pp supplement). The included Latitude and Vista restaurants are also very good quality. Entertainment on board was mixed. The Broadway Show Lounge shows were superb, almost West End quality and there are plenty of other things to entertain you on board albeit some rather 'hi de hi' level but......you choose what suits you. We loved the Lounge with the Pink piano and a rather more easy going atmosphere. The pub on board, The Squid and Anchor,was pretty close to a pub atmosphere and has an aft outside area for smokers /vapers with excellent waiter service. As for excursions, they were a mixed bag. None were bad but some are limited time at destination with long transfer times (nearly 2 hours from Palamos to Barcelona leaving us just 4 hours to discover as an example). Next time as experienced city breakers we will take some Lonely Planet guides and research the transfer from Port to destination more carefully. But then the whole cruise was for us to learn this stuff. Every day is a school day on your first cruise. In summary,so impressed were we by the whole experience that we booked next year's one on board and for a great price.until next time

Beautiful ship, great cruise

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by grocerjack

17 people found this helpful
Trip Details
TUI were recommended by a cruise mad friend as a great introduction to this type of holiday. We chose this cruise and ship as it covered an awful lot of places of interest. On the day of arrival we were stunned at seeing the shop and is sheer size. Now of course we are first timers with experience limited to cross channel ferries. And even more stunning to us was this is a sort of mid sized ship! Embarkation was smooth and we were greeted by extremely friendly staff from the terminal through to walking on board.

The ship is beautiful and despite initial 'newbie' confusion everything is well sign posted and there are lots of maps to help you find your way about. We boarded about 15:00 and after unpacking in the lovely, clean cabin we used the next two hours or so to explore every part of the shop and get our bearings. Be warned that for some areas such as Latitude and Vista restaurants might mean taking a detour up or down a deck as deck 5 seems to end suddenly despite signs pointing you beyond a point you're told you can't pass! Anyway that bit of obvious advice aside the cabin was lovely. We booked a balcony cabin and we're on deck 8 starboard. It was clean, well equipped and very well laid out. It includes an electronic valuable safe much the same as hotels provide. The shower is brilliant, like standing in front of a fire hose! Our cabin was cleaned around three times a day and the staff are very friendly and only to happy to help with any requirements.

That last sentence applies to ALL the TUI staff who are always helpful, smiling and friendly. That goes a long way to making the whole experience very personable and personal.

Dining facilities are excellent from the self service marketplace with a huge choice of hot and cold, sweet and savoury food and drink, to the superb Fine Dining Club (£35pp supplement). The included Latitude and Vista restaurants are also very good quality. Entertainment on board was mixed. The Broadway Show Lounge shows were superb, almost West End quality and there are plenty of other things to entertain you on board albeit some rather 'hi de hi' level but......you choose what suits you. We loved the Lounge with the Pink piano and a rather more easy going atmosphere. The pub on board, The Squid and Anchor,was pretty close to a pub atmosphere and has an aft outside area for smokers /vapers with excellent waiter service.

As for excursions, they were a mixed bag. None were bad but some are limited time at destination with long transfer times (nearly 2 hours from Palamos to Barcelona leaving us just 4 hours to discover as an example). Next time as experienced city breakers we will take some Lonely Planet guides and research the transfer from Port to destination more carefully. But then the whole cruise was for us to learn this stuff. Every day is a school day on your first cruise.

In summary,so impressed were we by the whole experience that we booked next year's one on board and for a great price.until next time
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8098
Lovely, clean, tidy, comfortable. Like a very good hotel room with a different view every morning.