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Went on the this ship 5 years ago for my first cruise. It gave me the taste of cruising and have since been on 6 more cruises. 5 with Royal Caribbean and 2 on the Dream. I'm not fussed who wears what at dinner time or who got the best deal etc as we all pay to enjoy a cruise and get the wow factor to take home with us. Unfortunately this time I had a comparison and boy did this ship fail badly. It's great for sun worshipers but for those that want entertainment. excitement. good food and drink, polite sociable staff and not to be cheated into paying for something you won't get then stay away from this ship. I have sent a lengthy complaint letter to TUI with photo's and now await their response. On my recent cruise with them, I and many other passengers spent most of our time at the reception desk making formal complaints. Booking Experience: The drinks package. you have 3 choices. 1)pay as you go on board 2) All Inclusive - you get cocktails, spirits, soft drinks, beer wines but all unbranded. 3)Premium - for £50per person more you will get the same drinks as the all inclusive but branded drinks. You also get speciality coffees and a few extra other drinks thrown in. On the whole, we found booking very easy and the online booking account was very helpful. I did have issues with conflicting advice when I wanted to add extras to my booking. I wanted to place a message on the cruise news so used the TUI online chat, I was given a number to telephone to place the message. Unfortunately, I was passed 3 times before I eventually spoke to Pascal and he duly took my message and payment. In total I spent approximately an hour to achieve this but to TUI’s credit, the message was included in the cruise news and on the day I requested. Also, I used the same chat facility to request to upgrade from All inclusive to Premium drinks. I was given a number and an email to arrange the extra package. I emailed TUI and eventually received a reply giving me a number to call to arrange the upgrade to premium. However, I was passed again from the number given to another number, I was then told that I could only upgrade on the ship? Once on board, I queued and upgraded to the Premium package. However, for 2 days I was constantly told when ordering a drink that there would be a supplement charge? We therefore spent unnecessary time explaining to the bar staff that we had upgraded and that’s why there is a hole punched in the sea pass card! We also paid too many visits to reception to ensure supplement charges were removed. Using the chat service again, I requested a Sharps box for our room as my wife is diabetic and uses insulin by injection. We got to our stateroom and there was no Sharp box. We found the housekeeper and he eventually sorted this out for us. The Cruise – Drinks & Service The first day on board did not get off to a good start as stated above with the drinks upgrade. The next 3 days did not get any better. Our very first drink was at the main Poolside bar. I ordered a Mudslide cocktail and the barman used unbranded spirits. i.e. instead of Baileys he used Shannons Irish cream and an unbranded Vodka. I intervened and told him to make it again. The cocktail was given to me in a frosted plastic small cup? This may be due to Health and Safety but it looked cheap, ugly and not very appetising. We sat down and eventually left the drink but ordered another from the waiter. I watched the barman mix my second cocktail with unbranded drinks again so I challenged him and he said he ’had forgot’! We moved to the Medusa Lounge and ordered a Chocolate Martini drink with the waiter, yet again the bar staff used unbranded spirits and the wrong one’s too. I went to the bar myself and told the bar person to use branded drinks otherwise I would take this further. He knew from my sea pass card that we had the premium drinks package. After this my drinks were fine. In addition to the bar staff possibly following the TUI policy to use unbranded drinks over Premium paid branded drinks, the bar service throughout the ship was abysmal. This was also the general opinion from passengers who were waiting 20 minutes plus for a drink, this is unacceptable and a fellow passenger actually reported this to the reception to pass on to the Bar services manager. We actually experienced this on several occasions, we were in the ‘Tides’ lounge as it was relatively quiet and we wanted a drink at 10pm before going into the Broadway theatre for the 10:30 pm performance. We sat down and our order was taken straight away, we waited and at 10:25pm we left as our drink (despite chasing it up) never showed. We therefore left without a drink and went to the show. This slow service was a regular occurrence no matter the time of day or the lounge you were in. Be warned that when the waiter takes your order, they will give you unbranded drinks so tell them to use branded drinks. They won't try it on then. WATER ALLOCATION. according to the drinks menu you have to pay for bottled water whatever package you are on, passengers were paying about 1 euro 50 for a small bottle. However, if you read the small print, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO 1.5LTS PER PERSON PER CABIN EACH DAY. on the second day we questioned this at reception and for each day thereafter the housekeeper gave us 3 Ltrs of water. Also. on each bar there is a jug of iced water so you can help yourself. In the Lido buffet lounge there is also a water station where you can fill up your bottles. Dining Experience Passengers love to be wowed with the menu and dishes cooked, however, the food served on board this ship was dreadful. Every meat cooked was overdone, Jacket potatoes were either lost in the water or underdone. The starters, main and sweets were awful. Again, this was the opinion of most of the passengers we met. The food that was left was disgusting and such a terrible waste. In the past, if a meal was not to our liking, the head waiter or Maitre d would intervene and ask if we would like anything else instead or at least cook the same meal properly. Not on this ship though. The service was abysmal, if we told the waiter something was wrong, they would simply take the plate away and no replacement was offered. We would then go to the Lido buffet and get a snack from there. We also struggled to get a drink at the table, the first 2 evenings we went without a drink with our meal, despite telling the food waiter that we had not been asked by anyone. The bread selection was very poor, the 4 choices were all rock hard or stale. There was little or no interaction between staff and passengers and the dining experience was very poor. The time in the main dining room should be a special time but each night was disappointing and a total let down. The buffet was average at best in the evenings and at breakfast time the selection of the same 2 pastries were disappointing. The transport café breakfast fry up was cold but edible. The Stateroom The stateroom was as expected, small but served its purpose. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. The shower was not forceful but the water remained hot. Our biggest issue with the room was the power point. We had 1 socket to charge 2 phones, hair straightener and 2 toothbrushes. If we put anything on charge while we were out, the housekeeping would unplug it. Most infuriating! We never made ourselves a drink due to a dirty kettle. We did report this but nothing got done. Entertainment Daytime entertainment was very poor, the ship’s entertainment team relies on passengers wanting general knowledge quizzes and Bingo. Passengers wanted Zumba classes, dance classes, water exercises etc with music blasting out to blow the cobwebs away and put a smile on their faces. The most exciting poolside activity was the ice sculpture. We watched a very gifted man chisel a block of ice for 25 minutes. The first 10 minutes was ok but then passengers found it boring and went back to their sun loungers. The TUI policy for lounge towels is one per passenger and you are given this on day 1 in our stateroom. The towel would only cover half of the sun lounger, we asked for a second towel and was refused? The Broadway show Dream team consisted of 5 women and 5 men. In the 5 years of cruising, they are the best entertainers I have seen. Each night they put on a professional like production, the stage set, the singing and the dancing was exceptional. Each show they were all magnificent. Disembarkation What a fiasco this was, we were given a white label to put on our suitcases, the suitcases would be collected from outside our room and we were told we would find them at quayside behind our coloured stand. We arrived at the quayside to find about 7 lines of suitcases behind their corresponding coloured stand. We had 2 suitcases both with white labels, we found 1 in the correct line but then we spent 20 minutes looking for the second. We eventually found it in the brown line. There was 1 exit to the coaches so we made our way to the queue. After a few minutes an abrupt TUI rep told us to leave the queue and stand away as she only wanted blue labels. As well as us there was a mixture of other coloured labels in this queue. We all congregated in a corner answering the same questions to passengers joining us, we were all confused as to where we should be and when we would leave for the coach. The Rep did nothing to alleviate these problems. Eventually through other passengers we were told we think it’s the white labels turn to go to the next coach. Surely, if you could put the luggage in a coloured queue you could have arranged a coloured queue for passengers to wait to be called. Misellenaneous Why, when I could have unlimited drinks, unlimited food, TUI charge for a bag of crisps? Why do you not have a cinema screen that could double up as a poolside entertainment screen? Why, is it acceptable for Marella staff to walk past without smiling and saying hello? this ship has the most miserable staff we have encountered on a cruise. Why is it acceptable for the entertainment team to use the landing on a staircase to play a children’s skittles competition? When we were at Portimao, having had a lovely day out, we returned to the tender boat only to be at the back of a very long queue. Passengers would arrive after us to join the queue. From the Marella Sun Canopy by the tender boarding area to the back of the queue was approximately 300 yards. It was a very hot day and we had no sun shelter. Once we eventually got to the sun canopy to board the tender, we could have a cup of water of no more than 15cm! Why couldn’t you have this canopy further down the line where passengers could benefit more and not give it as we were boarding the tender? Needless to say, we returned from our cruise and for the first time, we feel extremely disappointed and let down. We are an average working class family and look forward to treating ourselves once a year. Whether it’s. Tui or Marella, we believe you have failed to give us a cruise where we can relax, unwind, be entertained, be wowed and speak highly of the food and the ships friendliness to passengers.

An old ship, crafty drink policy. Also great if you want to go on a diet

Marella Dream Cruise Review by only1armband

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Went on the this ship 5 years ago for my first cruise. It gave me the taste of cruising and have since been on 6 more cruises. 5 with Royal Caribbean and 2 on the Dream.

I'm not fussed who wears what at dinner time or who got the best deal etc as we all pay to enjoy a cruise and get the wow factor to take home with us. Unfortunately this time I had a comparison and boy did this ship fail badly. It's great for sun worshipers but for those that want entertainment. excitement. good food and drink, polite sociable staff and not to be cheated into paying for something you won't get then stay away from this ship.

I have sent a lengthy complaint letter to TUI with photo's and now await their response. On my recent cruise with them, I and many other passengers spent most of our time at the reception desk making formal complaints.

Booking Experience:

The drinks package. you have 3 choices. 1)pay as you go on board 2) All Inclusive - you get cocktails, spirits, soft drinks, beer wines but all unbranded. 3)Premium - for £50per person more you will get the same drinks as the all inclusive but branded drinks. You also get speciality coffees and a few extra other drinks thrown in.

On the whole, we found booking very easy and the online booking account was very helpful. I did have issues with conflicting advice when I wanted to add extras to my booking. I wanted to place a message on the cruise news so used the TUI online chat, I was given a number to telephone to place the message. Unfortunately, I was passed 3 times before I eventually spoke to Pascal and he duly took my message and payment. In total I spent approximately an hour to achieve this but to TUI’s credit, the message was included in the cruise news and on the day I requested.

Also, I used the same chat facility to request to upgrade from All inclusive to Premium drinks. I was given a number and an email to arrange the extra package. I emailed TUI and eventually received a reply giving me a number to call to arrange the upgrade to premium. However, I was passed again from the number given to another number, I was then told that I could only upgrade on the ship?

Once on board, I queued and upgraded to the Premium package. However, for 2 days I was constantly told when ordering a drink that there would be a supplement charge? We therefore spent unnecessary time explaining to the bar staff that we had upgraded and that’s why there is a hole punched in the sea pass card! We also paid too many visits to reception to ensure supplement charges were removed.

Using the chat service again, I requested a Sharps box for our room as my wife is diabetic and uses insulin by injection. We got to our stateroom and there was no Sharp box. We found the housekeeper and he eventually sorted this out for us.


The Cruise – Drinks & Service

The first day on board did not get off to a good start as stated above with the drinks upgrade. The next 3 days did not get any better. Our very first drink was at the main Poolside bar. I ordered a Mudslide cocktail and the barman used unbranded spirits. i.e. instead of Baileys he used Shannons Irish cream and an unbranded Vodka. I intervened and told him to make it again. The cocktail was given to me in a frosted plastic small cup? This may be due to Health and Safety but it looked cheap, ugly and not very appetising. We sat down and eventually left the drink but ordered another from the waiter. I watched the barman mix my second cocktail with unbranded drinks again so I challenged him and he said he ’had forgot’!

We moved to the Medusa Lounge and ordered a Chocolate Martini drink with the waiter, yet again the bar staff used unbranded spirits and the wrong one’s too. I went to the bar myself and told the bar person to use branded drinks otherwise I would take this further. He knew from my sea pass card that we had the premium drinks package. After this my drinks were fine.

In addition to the bar staff possibly following the TUI policy to use unbranded drinks over Premium paid branded drinks, the bar service throughout the ship was abysmal. This was also the general opinion from passengers who were waiting 20 minutes plus for a drink, this is unacceptable and a fellow passenger actually reported this to the reception to pass on to the Bar services manager.

We actually experienced this on several occasions, we were in the ‘Tides’ lounge as it was relatively quiet and we wanted a drink at 10pm before going into the Broadway theatre for the 10:30 pm performance. We sat down and our order was taken straight away, we waited and at 10:25pm we left as our drink (despite chasing it up) never showed. We therefore left without a drink and went to the show. This slow service was a regular occurrence no matter the time of day or the lounge you were in.

Be warned that when the waiter takes your order, they will give you unbranded drinks so tell them to use branded drinks. They won't try it on then.

WATER ALLOCATION. according to the drinks menu you have to pay for bottled water whatever package you are on, passengers were paying about 1 euro 50 for a small bottle. However, if you read the small print, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO 1.5LTS PER PERSON PER CABIN EACH DAY. on the second day we questioned this at reception and for each day thereafter the housekeeper gave us 3 Ltrs of water. Also. on each bar there is a jug of iced water so you can help yourself. In the Lido buffet lounge there is also a water station where you can fill up your bottles.

Dining Experience

Passengers love to be wowed with the menu and dishes cooked, however, the food served on board this ship was dreadful. Every meat cooked was overdone, Jacket potatoes were either lost in the water or underdone. The starters, main and sweets were awful. Again, this was the opinion of most of the passengers we met. The food that was left was disgusting and such a terrible waste. In the past, if a meal was not to our liking, the head waiter or Maitre d would intervene and ask if we would like anything else instead or at least cook the same meal properly. Not on this ship though. The service was abysmal, if we told the waiter something was wrong, they would simply take the plate away and no replacement was offered. We would then go to the Lido buffet and get a snack from there.

We also struggled to get a drink at the table, the first 2 evenings we went without a drink with our meal, despite telling the food waiter that we had not been asked by anyone.

The bread selection was very poor, the 4 choices were all rock hard or stale.

There was little or no interaction between staff and passengers and the dining experience was very poor. The time in the main dining room should be a special time but each night was disappointing and a total let down.

The buffet was average at best in the evenings and at breakfast time the selection of the same 2 pastries were disappointing. The transport café breakfast fry up was cold but edible.

The Stateroom

The stateroom was as expected, small but served its purpose. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. The shower was not forceful but the water remained hot.

Our biggest issue with the room was the power point. We had 1 socket to charge 2 phones, hair straightener and 2 toothbrushes. If we put anything on charge while we were out, the housekeeping would unplug it. Most infuriating!

We never made ourselves a drink due to a dirty kettle. We did report this but nothing got done.

Entertainment

Daytime entertainment was very poor, the ship’s entertainment team relies on passengers wanting general knowledge quizzes and Bingo. Passengers wanted Zumba classes, dance classes, water exercises etc with music blasting out to blow the cobwebs away and put a smile on their faces. The most exciting poolside activity was the ice sculpture. We watched a very gifted man chisel a block of ice for 25 minutes. The first 10 minutes was ok but then passengers found it boring and went back to their sun loungers.

The TUI policy for lounge towels is one per passenger and you are given this on day 1 in our stateroom. The towel would only cover half of the sun lounger, we asked for a second towel and was refused?

The Broadway show Dream team consisted of 5 women and 5 men. In the 5 years of cruising, they are the best entertainers I have seen. Each night they put on a professional like production, the stage set, the singing and the dancing was exceptional. Each show they were all magnificent.

Disembarkation

What a fiasco this was, we were given a white label to put on our suitcases, the suitcases would be collected from outside our room and we were told we would find them at quayside behind our coloured stand. We arrived at the quayside to find about 7 lines of suitcases behind their corresponding coloured stand. We had 2 suitcases both with white labels, we found 1 in the correct line but then we spent 20 minutes looking for the second. We eventually found it in the brown line.

There was 1 exit to the coaches so we made our way to the queue. After a few minutes an abrupt TUI rep told us to leave the queue and stand away as she only wanted blue labels. As well as us there was a mixture of other coloured labels in this queue. We all congregated in a corner answering the same questions to passengers joining us, we were all confused as to where we should be and when we would leave for the coach. The Rep did nothing to alleviate these problems. Eventually through other passengers we were told we think it’s the white labels turn to go to the next coach.

Surely, if you could put the luggage in a coloured queue you could have arranged a coloured queue for passengers to wait to be called.

Misellenaneous

Why, when I could have unlimited drinks, unlimited food, TUI charge for a bag of crisps?

Why do you not have a cinema screen that could double up as a poolside entertainment screen?

Why, is it acceptable for Marella staff to walk past without smiling and saying hello? this ship has the most miserable staff we have encountered on a cruise.

Why is it acceptable for the entertainment team to use the landing on a staircase to play a children’s skittles competition?

When we were at Portimao, having had a lovely day out, we returned to the tender boat only to be at the back of a very long queue. Passengers would arrive after us to join the queue. From the Marella Sun Canopy by the tender boarding area to the back of the queue was approximately 300 yards. It was a very hot day and we had no sun shelter. Once we eventually got to the sun canopy to board the tender, we could have a cup of water of no more than 15cm! Why couldn’t you have this canopy further down the line where passengers could benefit more and not give it as we were boarding the tender?

Needless to say, we returned from our cruise and for the first time, we feel extremely disappointed and let down. We are an average working class family and look forward to treating ourselves once a year. Whether it’s. Tui or Marella, we believe you have failed to give us a cruise where we can relax, unwind, be entertained, be wowed and speak highly of the food and the ships friendliness to passengers.
only1armband’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5033
Dated, compact, ok shower, comfy bed, good lighting and wardrobe space. decent size fridge. Only 1 electrical socket
  Marella Dream Deck Plans

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