We chose this cruise mainly for its itinerary and the dates it went on as we had a very limited time window to go away in. We have been with Marella before, a few years ago, and really enjoyed our last cruise around the Adriatic on a smaller ship . We are a fit and healthy couple in our late 40s and early 50s and travelled as a solo couple, no children or friends with us..although we made plenty of friends on board.
I am very surprised on reading the reviews on here how negative some people are about the Explorer and its staff. We embarked at Newcastle and didn't have to wait too long before boarding, and I would say we were probably there at peak time. There were seats to sit on and drinks to be had , we merely had to wait for our number to be called. The same goes for disembarkation, which went very smoothly and was very well organised especially when you consider the amount of people Marella has to disembark from the ship. We were told a time slot and that was in fact the time we disembarked, with time to have a farewell breakfast in the restaurant beforehand.
The ship was bigger than the last one we went on and at first we weren't sure about it. The layout is a little confusing but once we were used to it we found our way about pretty well. I would say we were amongst the younger people on the ship although we are not young, the passengers were predominately older than us, in our late 40s.
Reasonable size, plenty of storage and hangers, tea, coffee, toilet rolls replenished daily, fresh towels if you needed them (left on the floor, then you would get fresh. We didn't do this daily as we try to save energy and water) The standard folded towels into animals which are always a bit of fun, evening chocolates and turn downs. Cabin always made up and tidied promptly. Nice big window to see out of and stable, quiet cabin. TV Hairdryer, kettle, fridge all provided. Bed very comfortable as were pillows. Negative point was the vicious air con which we couldn't seem to turn down very much...this was common to all the cabins and people were complaining about it. Wasn't horrendous and you can always put on a sweatshirt...which I frequently did! Kept us fit walking up and down all the stairs to the upper decks!