This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the day before, The information given to us at Palma was "You know as much as we do" which wasn't very helpfull.
This was advertised as Marella Explorer first sailing? The ship was launched in May 1996?? I would rank it as a average cruise ship with nothing exceptional or nothing really bad apart from the things below.
Bars -- I found that in all the bars I visited that the staff were very obliging but were very inexperienced The waiter service was slow and that orders were frequently wrong, The bar & waiting staff were also not familiar with the computer terminals that they were using that led to ques forming, on one occasion I noted that there were five staff behind the bar and only one serving and on another I asked for my usual drink and was told that it was not on the all inclusive package and that I would have to upgrade to get it, after I was told this I went to reception to check this out and was told that the bar staff were mistaken.
Market place- Only ate here a few times and found that the food was genrally good but was let down by food being slowly replaced when required and that some hot food was only luke warm. On one day the only plates that were available for salad and cold meats were just out of the dishwasher and were hot.
Latitude 53- The food at latitude 53 was good where we mostly ate Most of the staff here seemed experienced and most orders were served correctly but one lunch time I made the mistake of ordering a Vegeterian Burger after a 20 min wait the waiter apoligised for the delay and said the chef was making it from scratch when it arrived 15 min later I was disappointed to find that it was just fried cooked lentals with a sice of tomato in a burger bun, Definitely not Restaurant quality.
Broadway Show lounge
The entertainment in the Broadway Show lounge was good and varied we were able to get seats on all the nights we went there except one where we had to stand for half of a poular show, On this night there was a portion of the seating cordoned with a sign saying reserved seating, the next day I questioned this at reception and was told that "It is not possible to reserve seating" I then asked why there was reserved seating the previous night? The receptionist took my cabin number and told me that she would list it as a complaint and get back to me. 10 hrs later I had herd nothing and went back and saw another person and was told that there was no complaint noted and that she would try and find out for me about the reserved seating, After consulting with someone in the back office she came back and said that the seats were probibly reserved for crew members as it was captains night and that if I wanted to see a show that I should arrive earlier to which I replied "Is it TUI policy to put the crews comfort above there passangers" To which there was no reply So I can only assume that this is the case.
At 07:00 one morning the captain came over the PA to tell us that we had docked and that we were free to go ashore I asked at destination service (There was a que at reception) why there was a need to make the announcement so early and was told that it was for the benifit of the passengers going on excursions to which I pointed out most were not and what about them, I did not receive a reply.
I was considering going on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords next year but it will not be on the Marella Explorer,
A foating Premmier Inn.