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Booked this cruise as a party of 16 friends who cruise regularly - between us have cruised on Thompson (Marella), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Silver Seas so quite a bit of cruise experience. As a couple we have had 3 previous Thompson cruises including the 2 Discovery ships and expected the same if not better quality of cruise. Unfortunately was distinctly average with real issues with both the itinerary and service on board. Firstly the itinerary “Mediterranean Secrets” the secret was how poor some of the ports of call were! Distinct impression Marella cutting costs by docking at cheapest Med ports - Sete, France - think St Helens with sun. Most disappointing Porte Torres, Sardinia - had really looked forward to this, believe Sardinia a beautiful and exclusive island - to be honest Runcorn is more picturesque - opened curtains to be greeted by what looked like a cement factory. Whoever at Marella visited this port and deemed it suitable to dock a ship of near 2000 tourists needs their head feeling. Following bus ride through industrial docks dispatched to town which consisted of one main street with a church at the top of it. We were back on the boat within 2 hours as were most passengers - awful. Did enjoy Corsica and La Spezzia but overall itinerary poor and misrepresented by the company. On board a mixed bag. Didn’t feel the refurbishment of the ship was as good as the Discovery vessels, ship look and felt worn. Decent cabin with large balcony keep spotlessly clean by our steward Roberto so no complaints there - nice shower and comfy bed. Lacked little touches like the nice toiletries or robes etc. Food good throughout the ship but the service in the main dining room both for breakfast and dinner was very poor. Expect over 2 hours to serve 3 course dinner, in fact on our last night we walked out after 2 courses so as not to miss the show. Breakfast was a lottery as to whether you got what you actually ordered - one day we counted and had to ask for tea 4 times before it finally came. Not enough staff, poorly trained and not well supervised in the dining room. We tried the Kora La, at a supplement of £25 pp - enjoyed dinner and service much better but not value for money if you consider you have already paid for a dinner in your cruise cost. Bar service good throughout, no problems getting served - Joe our favourite bar man on rear outside bar and Squid and Anchor in the evening. Always a smile and gave excellent service. Paid for the upgraded drinks package but not all drinks advertised always available and not in all bars. Also thought reserving the Squid and Anchor exclusively for the “Gold Radio” group until 8.30 pm each evening was not appropriate - surely we had all paid equally for our cruise and should have access to all facilities. As the gin bar was in there passengers who had upgraded their drinks package to get access to the premium gins couldn’t do so, very poor. Entertainment not as good as previous cruises with Thompson. Soul theatre show probably about the best - other entertainment mediocre. Please stop the saxophonist by the pool drove us mad! Comedian on board for a couple of nights was decent. There were clearly problems with toilets on the ship with passengers complaining of loos not flushing and on the day we left the ship public toilets were in very poor condition. So overall has put us off cruising with Thompson/Marella. It’s not a cheap cruise, offers from other cruise lines like RC and Celebrity make them equally affordable. Our next cruise booked with P and O.

Disappointed with itinerary and service on board

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by Julnw

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Booked this cruise as a party of 16 friends who cruise regularly - between us have cruised on Thompson (Marella), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Silver Seas so quite a bit of cruise experience. As a couple we have had 3 previous Thompson cruises including the 2 Discovery ships and expected the same if not better quality of cruise. Unfortunately was distinctly average with real issues with both the itinerary and service on board.

Firstly the itinerary “Mediterranean Secrets” the secret was how poor some of the ports of call were! Distinct impression Marella cutting costs by docking at cheapest Med ports - Sete, France - think St Helens with sun. Most disappointing Porte Torres, Sardinia - had really looked forward to this, believe Sardinia a beautiful and exclusive island - to be honest Runcorn is more picturesque - opened curtains to be greeted by what looked like a cement factory. Whoever at Marella visited this port and deemed it suitable to dock a ship of near 2000 tourists needs their head feeling. Following bus ride through industrial docks dispatched to town which consisted of one main street with a church at the top of it. We were back on the boat within 2 hours as were most passengers - awful. Did enjoy Corsica and La Spezzia but overall itinerary poor and misrepresented by the company.

On board a mixed bag. Didn’t feel the refurbishment of the ship was as good as the Discovery vessels, ship look and felt worn. Decent cabin with large balcony keep spotlessly clean by our steward Roberto so no complaints there - nice shower and comfy bed. Lacked little touches like the nice toiletries or robes etc.

Food good throughout the ship but the service in the main dining room both for breakfast and dinner was very poor. Expect over 2 hours to serve 3 course dinner, in fact on our last night we walked out after 2 courses so as not to miss the show. Breakfast was a lottery as to whether you got what you actually ordered - one day we counted and had to ask for tea 4 times before it finally came. Not enough staff, poorly trained and not well supervised in the dining room. We tried the Kora La, at a supplement of £25 pp - enjoyed dinner and service much better but not value for money if you consider you have already paid for a dinner in your cruise cost.

Bar service good throughout, no problems getting served - Joe our favourite bar man on rear outside bar and Squid and Anchor in the evening. Always a smile and gave excellent service. Paid for the upgraded drinks package but not all drinks advertised always available and not in all bars. Also thought reserving the Squid and Anchor exclusively for the “Gold Radio” group until 8.30 pm each evening was not appropriate - surely we had all paid equally for our cruise and should have access to all facilities. As the gin bar was in there passengers who had upgraded their drinks package to get access to the premium gins couldn’t do so, very poor.

Entertainment not as good as previous cruises with Thompson. Soul theatre show probably about the best - other entertainment mediocre. Please stop the saxophonist by the pool drove us mad! Comedian on board for a couple of nights was decent.

There were clearly problems with toilets on the ship with passengers complaining of loos not flushing and on the day we left the ship public toilets were in very poor condition.

So overall has put us off cruising with Thompson/Marella. It’s not a cheap cruise, offers from other cruise lines like RC and Celebrity make them equally affordable. Our next cruise booked with P and O.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9148
Comfortable cabin