We chose the cruise to celebrate some special birthdays somewhere hot and sunny! We have previously travelled with Marella on their other ships and with P & O.
Embarkation was super quick - off the plane in Barbados, straight on a coach and to the ship.
The Explorer is a nice ship but lacks any wow factor. There is no central atrium which other ships have and we found this ship awkward to navigate as you have to go up/down a floor to get to some areas and remember what colour staircase you need to take!
All areas of the ship were kept clean. Staff were always friendly and polite.
Food in the dining rooms was absolutely lovely with a good variety and waiters were friendly. Only niggle with dining in the main restaurants was if you had to have a pager and wait for a table to be ready you could only wait in a small bar area as we were told the pagers would not work further away. This was crowded at times with very little seating so mostly standing while waiting for a table, so not overly comfortable. We have no problem waiting for a table but on other ships you could take the pager anywhere, so not all herded together! The Market Place was often really crowded at peak times (breakfast) and not always easy to find a table but food was generally good.
Our balcony cabin was comfortable and kept really clean by our cabin stewerd who was always ready with a greeting and smile.
The shows were very good but a little 'samey'. Felt there had been more of a variety on other ships.
We booked some excursions through Marella which were as described and we were happy with what was offered. At some ports we took taxis which were a lot cheaper than a Marella excursion.
Overall Marella offers really good value, you can do as little or much as you like, all staff generally seem happy and we would definately book again.
Our cabin steward Okky was ready with a smile and greeting all the time and remembered our names from the first day. He kept the cabin super clean. Plenty of storage areas in cabin, super comfortable bed and proper shower door instead of a shower curtain!
We spent the day at Palm Court Gardens and had sunbeds reserved before leaving the Uk. On arrival our beds were ready and we paid in US dollars. Palm Court has an infinity pool, restaurant and lively gardens and is about 10 minutes walk from the cruise port.
We got a taxi to Maho beach for a couple of hours to watch the planes land (over the beach). Really great atmosphere on the beach and beach bars. Taxis are shared and you pay for a return, really efficient and return when you like. Taxi drop off/pick up next to the beach.
Took a boat accross from port to Virgin Gorda, then a short drive to the starting point. The trek to the beach was tiring in the heat but well worth it once there - absolutey stunning! Next to the caves which you had to go through to get to the next beach - again stunning. Need to be able to crouch down and climb up and over rocks on this trip. Well worth the hike!View All 12 Virgin Gorda Baths Reviews
This was booked before the cruise and is not available on the ship. Trip involves a short bus ride to a beach where a boat takes you to the island. The island is beautiful with crystal clear water perfect for snorkelling (take a snorkel set). Alcoholic and soft drinks available all day along with snacks and lunch. You have a sunbed in/out of shade and can just relax. Would highly recommend!View All undefined undefined Reviews