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Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group). Age range 50 to 60 This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand. Started back in June 1999 on the good old Topaz and last sailing previous to this latest one, was on the Discovery (September 2017) The Journey... Upgraded to Premium seats for the first time on the flights, and well worth the extra we paid, service superb. Included lounge at Gatwick, niggle... was expecting the same on the return from Barbados, which didn't happen, we feel this should have been included, but apparently it is only BA passengers that are offered this facility. Must have been a mistake, but we had exactly the same films on the outbound and inbound journey. Extremely disappointed with the transport Marella laid on to get you to and from the ship, rust bucket of local buses, nowhere to put your hand luggage, very cramped, and somewaht dangerous...this is POOR Marella and not a great first impression and needs to be improved quickly. Embarkation at Barbados port was ok, although could have been more welcoming, (music etc) as per previous cruises. Accommodation.... Cabins on this ship are not the most exciting, we were on deck 10, extended balcony cabin. Very dull colour scheme and dated, Balcony was great very large. Our cabin stewards Cyrus and Patrick were FANTASTIC It is apparent that the big spend has been allocated to the public areas, which are really nice, the ship is absoutlely spotlessly clean. Entertainment.. The Broadway showroom is very impressive and the entertainment team are extremely talented, although I believe this was their last week on the explorer before moving on to explorer 2. Dining... The 1st week we dined in Latitude 53 3 times, food was fine but we felt the restaurant lacked atmosphere, Vista x 1, not a good experience, food cold, erratic service. Med Tapas x 3, which was our favourite dining area out of all of the all inclusive restaurants. Consistenly great food and service Market place very good for breakfast and lunch (if you were on board), but evening selection was quite poor, this didnt bother us very much as we prefer to be served, at dinner, rather than self service. The 2nd week, we took up 3 of the speciality restaurants, 1.The Dining Club, 2.Surf and Turf 3. Kora La WELL WORTH the £75 extra. The service and food, were absoulutely superb in all restaurants. The decor in the dining club was very special, hard to pick a favourite though, as all were so good. INSIDE BARS... Favourite bar was the Med/Tapas area inside and out on deck, the lovely young Darren was an absolute professional in taking and servicing our large order., he is a real credit to the team. We also used the Lounge bar quite a lot, very pleasant, great service and staff. Personally, not so keen on the squid and anchor, although this seemed very popular with many guests, too dark and karaoke etc not really our thing. NEGATIVES... 1. Booked the speciality restaurants at Guest relations area and the member of staff who carried out our bookings, was extremely sullen and certainly did not have the personality for this front facing role. 2. Day time snack shack and bar above, staff not so friendly and smiley and the ready mixed cocktails at this bar, were absolutley disgusting. 3. Champneys - beautiful, but why oh why so expensive, false economy, make the prices more attractive and perhaps your average cruiser may be more inclined to take up some of the treatments. IN CLOSING... Cannot praise the Staff enough, they are all so friendly and work so hard (apart from the odd 1 or 2) Captain John has a great sense of humour and mixes well with the passengers, often found myself laughing aloud at his amusing announcements and wit. Other officers, also extremely professional, yet maintaining a really friendly vibe. All round...It certainly came across that this is a very friendly, happy ship and a lovely team of people, who really do want you to have the best holiday. Ports of call on this Caribbean Cruise were absolutley fantastic and the weather and calm seas, were perfect. Still a fan of Marella and will definitely cruise again with them. May try Explorer 2 next year.

Great Cruise... a few niggles

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by Calmseas007

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group).

Age range 50 to 60

This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand.

Started back in June 1999 on the good old Topaz and last sailing previous to this latest one, was on the Discovery (September 2017)

The Journey...

Upgraded to Premium seats for the first time on the flights, and well worth the extra we paid, service superb. Included lounge at Gatwick, niggle...

was expecting the same on the return from Barbados, which didn't happen, we feel this should have been included, but apparently it is only BA passengers that are offered this facility.

Must have been a mistake, but we had exactly the same films on the outbound and inbound journey.

Extremely disappointed with the transport Marella laid on to get you to and from the ship, rust bucket of local buses, nowhere to put your hand luggage, very cramped, and somewaht dangerous...this is POOR Marella and not a great first impression and needs to be improved quickly.

Embarkation at Barbados port was ok, although could have been more welcoming, (music etc) as per previous cruises.

Accommodation....

Cabins on this ship are not the most exciting, we were on deck 10, extended balcony cabin. Very dull colour scheme and dated, Balcony was great very large.

Our cabin stewards Cyrus and Patrick were FANTASTIC

It is apparent that the big spend has been allocated to the public areas, which are really nice, the ship is absoutlely spotlessly clean.

Entertainment..

The Broadway showroom is very impressive and the entertainment team are extremely talented, although I believe this was their last week on the explorer before moving on to explorer 2.

Dining...

The 1st week we dined in

Latitude 53 3 times, food was fine but we felt the restaurant lacked atmosphere,

Vista x 1, not a good experience, food cold, erratic service.

Med Tapas x 3, which was our favourite dining area out of all of the all inclusive restaurants. Consistenly great food and service

Market place very good for breakfast and lunch (if you were on board), but evening selection was quite poor, this didnt bother us very much as we prefer to be served, at dinner, rather than self service.

The 2nd week, we took up 3 of the speciality restaurants,

1.The Dining Club,

2.Surf and Turf

3. Kora La

WELL WORTH the £75 extra. The service and food, were absoulutely superb in all restaurants. The decor in the dining club was very special, hard to pick a favourite though, as all were so good.

INSIDE BARS...

Favourite bar was the Med/Tapas area inside and out on deck, the lovely young Darren was an absolute professional in taking and servicing our large order., he is a real credit to the team.

We also used the Lounge bar quite a lot, very pleasant, great service and staff.

Personally, not so keen on the squid and anchor, although this seemed very popular with many guests, too dark and karaoke etc not really our thing.

NEGATIVES...

1. Booked the speciality restaurants at Guest relations area and the member of staff who carried out our bookings, was extremely sullen and certainly did not have the personality for this front facing role.

2. Day time snack shack and bar above, staff not so friendly and smiley and the ready mixed cocktails at this bar, were absolutley disgusting.

3. Champneys - beautiful, but why oh why so expensive, false economy, make the prices more attractive and perhaps your average cruiser may be more inclined to take up some of the treatments.

IN CLOSING...

Cannot praise the Staff enough, they are all so friendly and work so hard (apart from the odd 1 or 2)

Captain John has a great sense of humour and mixes well with the passengers, often found myself laughing aloud at his amusing announcements and wit. Other officers, also extremely professional, yet maintaining a really friendly vibe.

All round...It certainly came across that this is a very friendly, happy ship and a lovely team of people, who really do want you to have the best holiday.

Ports of call on this Caribbean Cruise were absolutley fantastic and the weather and calm seas, were perfect.

Still a fan of Marella and will definitely cruise again with them. May try Explorer 2 next year.
Calmseas007’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 10091
On the small side and disappointed that the cabin seemed quite dark and dated, very brown and beige. small compared with other Marella/Tui cruises we have been on before (15 in total) the extended balcony was great, 2 x sunbeds, 2 x chairs and small table, plus hammock.Bathroom facilities adequate, although again dated. Shower temperature changes quite bad.
Cabin stewards Cyrus and Patrick absolutely excellent, standard of cleaning exceptional and always a friendly smile. Nothing was too much trouble for them.