After cruising with Marella before around the Mediterranean two years ago on Discovery 1 and having such a fantastic cruise , I was really looking forward to this cruise on their newest and largest ship.
The previous cruise on Discovery was going to take some beating but I was confident Marella would not let me down.
We got off to a good start with perfect flights over to Barbados then it was straight off the aircraft and onto a bus and straight to the ship and the boarding process was quick and problem free , well done Marella they really have got this process running like a well oiled machine.
We didn't book the cruise to late on so by this time there was no balcony cabins available which we were not that bothered about as we have had balcony cabins in the past and although we have enjoyed them we are not sure if we get the full benefit of them so on this occasion we were quite happy to go with an inside cabin , however we did not pay the extra to choose the cabin and ended up having our cabin allocated which maybe wasn't a great idea as you end up with what nobody else wants .Our cabin was on deck 9 near the back of the ship , close to the kids club which was not a problem at all, the cabin itself was adequate and seemed fine at first but on closer inspection e found that the air con unit above the bed was filthy and you were also not able to knock it off at all. The main problem with the cabin though was the noise everything rattled and groaned from the safe door to the wardrobe doors and drawers and during early morning docking the noise was horrendous and the cabin literally shook at times, but when I reported this to reception I was told that you have to expect a bit of noise on a ship, anyways the ship was full and there was no other cabins available to re locate us so we had to put up with it , most of the rattling was rectified by myself by some strategically placed pieces of toilet paper.
I guess you get what you pay for o we decided to get on with the cruise and not to let the cabin get us down which we didn't,
As expected based on the last cruise on Discovery the bar service and choice of drinks on board was excellent , the service from the drinks waiters was very good and you never had to wait long , they work so hard and always with a smile, excellent in every way and a credit to the company.
Entertainment was varied and decent , the resident band were very good and the theatre productions were also very good, some of the solo acts didn't really appeal to my taste but that is just a personal choice, overall the entertainment was not as good as previously on Discovery.
Dining there is a good choice of places to eat on board and you will never go hungry, the market place buffet was perfect for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea but not great for dinner , the Mediterranean restaurant was nice with the tapas section being a favourite of ours .Unfortunately the main dining room Vista was the real let down for us , previously on Discovery the dinner in the main dining room was a real highlight every evening where we were served some delicious food every night , really good fine dining experience but on Explorer it was no way near as good , the food was mainly ok but nothing exceptional infact on a couple of occasions it was very disappointing verging on poor.
Also the service in the dining room could be quite poor at times, it seemed disorganised and chaotic on occasions , service could be very slow and a couple of times we walked out before dessert as it was that bad.
Finally the ports of call were all beautiful and we went to some magical places and we loved every one , done all out trips independently as Marella excursions were overpriced
Overall we loved many parts of the cruise but I expected more from this ship which it failed to deliver , if I was to go with Marella again which we probably will because we love the all inclusive concept that they offer , but next time it will be back to the Discovery ships which to us offer so much more despite being older and smaller.
Small , noisy especially during early morning docking , dirty in places , decent but small bathroom , good shower, bed comfy enough but maybe a bit to soft after 14 nights