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Marella Explorer Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
202 Reviews

Great but needs a bit of fine tuning

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by BioDee

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2018
  • Destination: the Caribbean

We chose the two weeks in the Caribbean so we got to see 12 islands. Embarkation was smooth and access to our cabin and receipt of our luggage was speedy.

The whole of the ship had been refurbished very nicely and was kept spotlessly clean. The only time we spotted any mess or litter, it was promptly cleaned up. It has to be said that the staff work extremely hard and sometimes have a challenge, as there are always going to be fellow guests who have poor standards. There are santisers all over the ship but some guests chose to ignore them.

The Market Place is where we chose to eat breakfast as it is quicker/more practical. Lunchtime we ate either in the Market Place or Mediterranean Tapas. We ate in Latitude 12 out of 14 nights for dinner.

The Market place offers a large variety of food for Breakfast. There are queues quite often but they go down quickly. One thing we found annoying was that sauces like ketchup, pepper sauce and brown sauce were in bottles at the end of the hot food section to be used there but several people did not think to add the sauces at the station but instead took them to their table, so often none there for us to use. Maybe a sign saying not to remove would help...

Lunchtime we didn't always find something we fancied in the Market Place so would pop to the Med. Tapas as it offered pasta or pizza on one side and on the other a paella each day or options such as jacket potatoes. If we wanted a cup of tea or coffee we took it in from the Market Place.

It took us a while to realise (as we ate usually at Latitude) that for the evening meal each side of the Market place had different food, ie, on one side there was always a Caribbean section.

We really enjoyed eating in Latitude. We soon decided to ask for the same table each time as besides the good location we found the staff, Pande, Tamar and Kathleen, brilliant. We enjoyed every meal although our friend once or twice wasn't keen on her selection so was offered the menu again and chose an alternative.

There was an issue in the bars at times with some staff not really understanding what was asked for (Ogi was great!) but we found the All Inclusive drinks were fine. The only thing my husband would have preferred is at least one cask ale beer included, like Hobgoblin. He stuck to lager, Prosecco or spirits so it wasn't a major problem. We were a little perplexed at how much ice was put into drinks, it made the drinks almost tasteless

The entertainment was good, generally, but we felt that on a Caribbean cruise there should have been at least one Caribbean artist/group (it is not the same listening to Caribbean songs delivered by English people, sorry). On Sunday lunch times (Barbados) there was a Bajan Steel band by the pool but as this is either changeover day or the day to go onshore, we only got the chance to see them the day we left. The Beats, were great, as were the individual artists, and the Show team are very talented.

As it is a long walk from Aft (where our cabin was) to the Forward section to go down to 3 to go onshore we asked for wheelchair assistance for my disabled husband, which was great. However towards the middle of the second week, an email had been sent to housekeeping by the head office to say this was no longer allowed, and assistance could only be given on embarking and disembarking.

On disembarking we were told we could only book assistance at reception thirty minutes before we were due to get the coach to the airport. We went down 40 minutes before and there were already many people waiting. The time arrived for the coach to leave and we were still waiting, despite asking twice where the assistance was. In the end they sent us to the airport in a taxi. At Barbados airport it took quite a long time to get assistance and when it came we were taken straight to the gate to sit and wait so I didn't even get the chance to get my husband any water for taking his medication. Luckily a fellow passenger kindly gave us a bottle.

We had cruised previously in the mediterranean, late September, and only once felt any movement of the ship. On this one we did feel movement everyday but it didn't bother us. However our friends were not happy with it at all.

We would definitely go on a Marella cruise again.

BioDee's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin inside 9183

We chose an inside cabin on deck 9 so that we had no entertainment above or below us. The cabin was surprisingly spacious, especially the storage. Friends had a balcony cabin and the balcony was a decent size. Our cabin Steward, Anna, was great. On one occasion, for example, we asked if we could borrow a small screwdriver to change batteries in a hand held fan. When we returned to our cabin she had put the new batteries in for us. Nothing was too much trouble.

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