Marella Explorer Cruise Review by Coops and Co
- Sail Date: March 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive crew & FOC meals/refreshments. The transfer from the airport to ship was also very smooth & embarkation quick & efficient. Our luggage was with us within the hour which allowed us to explore the ship.
The ship, as many people have mentioned, is merely new to Marella & is about 20yrs old. That said, the fact that she is not a new “block of flats” on a hull adds to the appeal & we were very impressed with the look, feel & layout. Yes, there are a few signs of age, but on the whole one could have no complaints. Word is she is going back into dock late this year to have further improvements made which shows the investment & faith TUI have in her.
We booked a cabin with a large balcony & I have to admit that the hammock, sun lounger & chairs were well used, especially for an afternoon nap before food & drink! The cabin was spacious enough with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was far better than experienced on the Dream, with walk in showers a bonus. We experienced no issues with either the toilet or A/C & the cabin was kept spotless by Romric, a gem of a cabin steward! Make use of the plug for the kettle & take a double European adaptor, it helped a great deal when charging phones & i-pads through out the night!
The food & drink on board was bountiful, lets say that, & to a very high standard in general, especially Vista, the Mediterranean tapas & Italian pizza & pasta eateries. The breakfasts in the self service buffet were outstanding, but where the previous contributor, LHMS, got his fresh, sweet orange juice from remains a mystery to me & my wife! The service in the MDR was sluggish at times with portions a little on the slim side, but no real issues. We tried all the surcharge restaurants & found them all excellent. Take a tip, if you are on a 2 wk cruise, book 3 for £75 & save!!!
We upgraded to premium AI during the second week, mainly for the Coffee Port (which is excellent) the gin & whisky bar (in the Squid & Anchor) & for my fix of Strongbow Dark Fruits (sad!). There was no issue at all with the choice or service of the standard AI, in fact, the attitude & enthusiasm shown by all the bar & waiting staff could not be faulted, especially in S&A & Indigo. Yes, some fellow cruisers over-indulged & perhaps were a little loud & irritating, but so what, they are allowed to & i didn’t have their headaches the following morning!
We attended 7 shows in the Broadway show lounge during the 2 weeks & thoroughly enjoyed all but 1, which is a pretty solid hit rate. I’m not sure what previous contributors expect for their money, the West End it isn’t, but they are great ways to spend an hour being entertained.
The ports of call were all diverse, especially the difference between the volcanic ABC islands & the more traditional Caribbean islands of BVI, St. Kitts & Genada. Every island was welcoming & we were never over-hassled by the locals selling tours, when haggling over price is half of the fun! We always booked when we got off the ship. It’s cheaper & less “sanitised”!
The whole experience was topped off by Captain Peter Harris. The guy has the driest of wits, is very approachable but there is no doubt he is in charge. Very re-assuring.
5/5 the Explorer isn’t, but she is a lot better than a 4 & we will be booking the Far East or Cannaries for 2020.
One last plea. TUI, look to a loyalty scheme. Other lines are moving more towards the offer Marella exceed at & are becoming increasingly attractive!!!!!!
250,000+ people have entered their email
Plenty of storage & hanging space with an excellent large balcony & well equipped toilet.
Wonderful service from the cabin stewards, especially Romric.