The reason i chose this cruise was, it went from Malaga where i was staying for the summer ,and also because of the itinerary.I hadn't been to Porto or Porto mao before also the second week of the cruise was undiscovered Spain including ports like Roses ,Tarragona ,
Cadiz and so on.
The embarkation was easily the quickest i have ever experienced on any cruise line 10 out of 10 for that ,we were given the option of choosing our cabin prior to the trip for 48 pounds per person which i did because i didn't want any nasty surprises ,i was told that the cabin i wanted wasn't available but another similar cabin on a different floor was, so i agreed not realising that i was getting an L shaped room with single beds that could not be put together ,It was our anniversary !! i haven't spent a night in a single bed in 30 years ,the first night i nearly fell out of the bed ,not a good start to my first Marella cruise .We went for dinner the second night in the dining room and was shown to our table ,introduced ourselves to the other guests who were very nice ,I ordered melon and serrano ham as an appetiser and decided not to order the soup ,when i saw the condition of the pathetic piece of melon and the dried up piece of leather i asked the waiter could i have the soup ,he threw his eyes up to heaven and sighed as this was going to be a big deal .I could not believe how unprofessional and downright rude he was ,I ,and the other guests at the table were shocked at his behaviour .When the dessert arrived one of the other guests ordered a pudding and her husband ordered cheese ,she asked the waiter could she possible have a little piece of blue cheese and she got the same response i got, eyes thrown up to heaven .Never had she been treated like this on any Cruise line .The bottom line is if you don't want to do the the job you are being paid for ,Leave ! This was just the beginning of the cruise .
The following day we went onto the pool deck ,i have seen bigger paddling pools ,bearing in mind there were 1350 guests onboard, the pool sign said it had a maximum capacity of 8 persons ,are you joking me ? there were 10 children under the age of 12 and 1 very large man in the pool and it had a very suspect colour ,i was not getting in this pool .I decided to go to the adult pool and jacuzzi where children are not allowed ,well the rule book went out the window .children, toddlers ,everyone was allowed in the pool .so where do you go if you want a relaxing quiet read ? i know i will go to the library .i found it and the smell of damp in the room ? forget about it ! .eventually i went back to my L shaped room for peace and quiet.
My husband is a very fit man and likes to exercise regularly so he headed to the Gym ,there were odd weights, no hand towels , and broken machinery all cluttered together in a small room ,the best thing about the Gym was the air -conditioning .It was the coolest part of the ship.
I opted for the all inclusive drinks when i booked the cruise so that my husband would be able to enjoy a few glasses of wine or a scotch during or after a show it seemed to be a very good deal EXCEPT!!! I don't drink alcohol at all and Water, Yes! ,water was not included in all-inclusive drinks .the package was all inclusive drinks not all inclusive alcohol ,I could order tap water but the taste depending on where you were served, tasted disgusting ,i even tried to disguise it with lime ,forget it ! it just made it worse .
We decided one afternoon to watch a movie in the theatre ,the movie was supposed to start at 3 pm but we sat in the theatre and no film came on ,i went reception and asked what was wrong ,she told me they needed an engineer to sort the problem out to make a longer story shorter 9 guests complained in 45 minutes to reception ,eventually a young lad came in to the theatre reached up and pressed a button and the movie came on half-way through .i asked could they rewind it and the lady at reception said No! . a wasted afternoon.
The second week of our cruise teamed us up with the guests we met the second night of our cruise ,they had found a table in the restaurant where the waiters were civil ,good humoured and obliging .What lovely Guys, Jude, JR, and their team.every night they looked after us and treated us with respect and a lot of humour the banter was great between us all at the table . ,The wine waiter made a point of organising mocktails for me every night because he knew i didn't drink alcohol ,he was a pet !.
Now for the entertainment ,The shows were performed most nights by a group of young singers and dancers ,who worked so hard every night to give us a good show and to be fair they were grand ,The stand -out singer was a young man named Sam who has a bright future ahead of him, he was easily the best singer in the group .He should go a long way in his career but i think he would be better suited for the West end Musicals than a third -rate cruise ship that is already sinking .The comedian for the first week Karl Schofield was hilarious and an excellent singer,he ended up doing a gig in Raffles singing til about 2 am in the morning ,fair play to him everybody thought he was the best comedian in the two weeks .
The cabin staff we had were excellent, and as far as the other guests i spoke to all the cabins were kept spotless ,each night we found ,like other ships we have been on, curious animals appeared on our bed at night from monkeys to elephants to swans and kittens ,they really did their best to cheer the cabins up .but the dodgy shower heads and the grey tatty towels left a lot to be desired and no fridge. On the plus side the room was spacious with plenty of storage and hanging space .
My final words on the Marella Spirit is that like most Cruises its the people you meet on a cruise and the staff that either makes or breaks it and this certainly was the case with this Cruise ,We found because this was the last year the ship would be sailing, there was a lot of uncertainty with the staff if they were going to be sent to other ships or lose their jobs ,and it certainly reflected in some their attitudes and behaviours .
I was asked to try another Marella Cruise Ship and honestly i couldn't do it ,life is too short to waste time and hard -earned money on another Marella Cruise,now don't get me wrong for some people this was for them great ,but i couldn't in all honesty recommend this Cruise line to any of my friends or family .
i requested a double bed we were given a L shaped outside cabin which they could not join the beds the second week they moved us to a proper double bed ,The cabins were old and tired ,but had plenty of storage space ,the cabin staff did the best they could with what they were given ,but i believe retirement for this ship was long overdue ,also 25 pounds extra to rent a safe for your valuables is extortionate ,any other cruise line this is free .