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Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was only one person trying to sell extras as we embarked (premium drinks), which was also nice and the photographers weren't pushy either. We didn't need the extra drinks as the inclusive package had enough decent drinks to easily satisfy us and the quality of the house wines was plenty good enough. All the staff were absolutely excellent and caring. they were always helpful and polite, with a genuine smile (and the number of staff who said good morning to me at 06:00 was truly impressive). The reception staff were always polite and attentive, even during our issue with the cabin.The waiters in the main restaurant and Vista (table 118) were absolutely brilliant, for breakfast and dinner - with no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment was pretty good, we attended a few quizzes, but there was this and then bingo - which was not for us. The shows we saw were generally of high quality, though someone does need to explain the COGS concept to me as it was just confusing. Though the dancing was good the story was completely missing (e.g. girl called Celeste, but Roxanne was putting on the red light...) The food at breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant was of excellent quality and fresh/hot every time. Getting lunch in the Market Place was also easy and there were no queues when we went there, so no problems getting a place to sit and eat at all. Shore excursions were excellent (apart from Pisa and the wine trip associated, Pisa really crowded and the walk from the coach park too long and difficult, with street vendors trying to sell you tack for the last half a mile. The wine tour/tasting involved 2 minutes of talking then leaving us in a tent with nice food and reasonable wine for a long time). The Palermo wine tasting trip was brilliant and of much better quality (and so was the wine). The trip to Herculaneum was a real eye-opener and there is much more there than in Pompeii. The Pals village trip we really good and rice tour very insightful. Monaco was brilliant and though we didn't stay with the tour of the old part, we bused close to Casino Square (number 1 or 2) and then walked back down the F1 track to the star finish area, had a coffee then went back to the main road to catch the bus back up the hill, in time to rejoin the coach. Note there are ticket machines at major bus stations that allow you to buy tickets (1.5 euro's for 1 way) rather than 2 euro's on the bus and the screens for bus progress are excellent. Ticket machines with English annotation. Disembarkation was easy from off the ship and to the airport (it couldn't have been easier to find the luggage and get on the coach). The airport itself is chaos with late planes and too many people and not enough staff (not a fault of Marella). Overall this cruise and the staff exceeded my expectations and we would put Marella above MSC (terrible) and Royal Caribbean (good) based on this experience. The value for money and not having to pay for tips or drinks meant our bill at the end was 20 x what has been on other lines.

Excellent Value for Money and a really caring cruise line

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by Llanfairpg

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites).

Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was only one person trying to sell extras as we embarked (premium drinks), which was also nice and the photographers weren't pushy either. We didn't need the extra drinks as the inclusive package had enough decent drinks to easily satisfy us and the quality of the house wines was plenty good enough.

All the staff were absolutely excellent and caring. they were always helpful and polite, with a genuine smile (and the number of staff who said good morning to me at 06:00 was truly impressive). The reception staff were always polite and attentive, even during our issue with the cabin.The waiters in the main restaurant and Vista (table 118) were absolutely brilliant, for breakfast and dinner - with no complaints whatsoever.

Entertainment was pretty good, we attended a few quizzes, but there was this and then bingo - which was not for us. The shows we saw were generally of high quality, though someone does need to explain the COGS concept to me as it was just confusing. Though the dancing was good the story was completely missing (e.g. girl called Celeste, but Roxanne was putting on the red light...)

The food at breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant was of excellent quality and fresh/hot every time. Getting lunch in the Market Place was also easy and there were no queues when we went there, so no problems getting a place to sit and eat at all.

Shore excursions were excellent (apart from Pisa and the wine trip associated, Pisa really crowded and the walk from the coach park too long and difficult, with street vendors trying to sell you tack for the last half a mile. The wine tour/tasting involved 2 minutes of talking then leaving us in a tent with nice food and reasonable wine for a long time). The Palermo wine tasting trip was brilliant and of much better quality (and so was the wine). The trip to Herculaneum was a real eye-opener and there is much more there than in Pompeii. The Pals village trip we really good and rice tour very insightful.

Monaco was brilliant and though we didn't stay with the tour of the old part, we bused close to Casino Square (number 1 or 2) and then walked back down the F1 track to the star finish area, had a coffee then went back to the main road to catch the bus back up the hill, in time to rejoin the coach. Note there are ticket machines at major bus stations that allow you to buy tickets (1.5 euro's for 1 way) rather than 2 euro's on the bus and the screens for bus progress are excellent. Ticket machines with English annotation.

Disembarkation was easy from off the ship and to the airport (it couldn't have been easier to find the luggage and get on the coach). The airport itself is chaos with late planes and too many people and not enough staff (not a fault of Marella).

Overall this cruise and the staff exceeded my expectations and we would put Marella above MSC (terrible) and Royal Caribbean (good) based on this experience. The value for money and not having to pay for tips or drinks meant our bill at the end was 20 x what has been on other lines.
Llanfairpgā€™s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4120/5049
4122 was our first cabin - this was noisy as soon as we entered when it was docked (had asked Iglu for a quiet cabin when booking). We asked for maintenance to look at the air conditioning as that is where we thought the noise was coming from (it wasn't). When we got underway this annoying rattle became like being on a building site, with significant vibrations/noise and it was unbearable. Very early in the morning we asked for a change of cabin and were told it would have to be dealt with later that day. The problem was it was a full cruise and the 1st cabin offered was 4127 which was in more or less the same location but on the other side of the ship -so we refused. We then spoke with the supervisor who allocated us cabin 5049 (which we found out later was a crew cabin - but as they were full it was all they could do). Cabin 5049 was excellent and exactly what we wanted. The noise difference was massive and we had no noise issues at all.

The cabin was clean with an excellent amount of hanging space. The shower was a great size.