We were recommended by some friends who had previously been on Marella before it became all inclusive. Unfortunately it has now become like a cheap holiday camp that caters for grossly overweight chav’s that like to booze from the moment they get up and they made up about 40% of the passengers. The Pool deck was like a walrus colony and best avoided as was the buffet at the Market Place were most of the them ate as much as they could of the 3 star food served there. Money doesn’t make you a better person but manners do and most of these people didn’t have any.
The good points were the TUI and ship staff who were mostly excellent, the efficient airport and transfer to the ship, good itinerary. There is generally plenty of space on the ship and quieter areas such as the veranda which has better sun beds with pads, however certain people would be up early to reserve even if they weren’t around all morning and no one enforced their policy of removing towels if left for more than 45 mins. The ship was refitted this year but it looks like a lot of areas were not touched.
We had an executive cabin which was very spacious with separate lounge area, double shower and walk in wardrobe. There was a large balcony with sun loungers, hammock and table and chairs. The bed is quite firm and we did ask for a topper which was quickly provided.Our room was on deck 10 which is below the pool deck and there used to quite a bit of noise from the sun loungers being stacked or people running around in the evening.
Our cabin steward Irena was excellent and always eager to help.
The restaurants are not up to the standard you would expect, Latitude 53 serves the occasional good dish but generally average fare. Vista served one of the best lasagnes I have had but the bruschetta was terrible and the steaks were tough. The tapas and and Mediterranean were reasonable but the restaurant felt like a cafe. The Kora La and Surf and Turf are good but then you have to pay £24.95 or £28.95 extra per person extra so should be. Breakfast at Latitude was good apart from the long life juices. The sail away Caribbean BBQ was awful. The Head Chef really needs replacing with someone who can improve the standard of catering on the ship.
The shore excursions were a mixed bag some like St Kitts scenic railway good but the Bequia coastal cruise awful as catamaran is really a small motorise catamaran ferry not one with sails which expected. After a trip to snorkel we were then dumped on a crowded beach with no sun beds or anywhere to sit for 3 hour and given a cheap lunch in the local cafe. The beach transfers were a waste of money and you are far better organising yourself.
The shows are alright but spoiled by the female singers thinking that screeching as loud as they can adds to their performance rather clarity. The guest comedian Steve Terry was very funny and would of been better to see more comedians.
Embarkation and disembarking is very slick and well organised. The Champneys spa is good although the gym is quite limited.
With all inclusive most drinks are included but the cocktails are more like slushy’s as so full of ice and although you can drink unlimited alcohol you have to pay for bottled water or a special coffee which is really irritating.
Based on our experience TUI seem to be catering more for the 3 star holiday brigade and we won’t go again which is sad as they do put in a lot of effort and have some aspects which are very good. However if you like to eat and drink for 19 hours a day baste yourself in the sun until lobster red lying right next to other overweight people this is the holiday for you.
Beds need better mattresses and a pad on the sun loungers would also improve comfort.