We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility).
We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and Southern France. We chose the ship and Marella (Tui) because it went where we wanted to go when we were able to go - we haven’t cruised with Marella before.
First - some shout outs to the exceptional service from our cabin staff - led by Faiden - who looked after us all with great care throughout our fortnight.
We particularly enjoyed the e-bike excursions led by Niko and Ashleigh - they led us through the sights and the beaches of Portimao, Corsica and St Raphael.
We also used some of the coach based excursions- which were comfortable and as expected.
We appreciated the peace of mind of all inclusive drinks - the upgrade was not necessary- and saw no evidence of it being abused by our fellow passengers.
We were keen patrons of the coffee port, where we always enjoyed friendly service from Tamara.
We ended up consistently using the Islands buffet for meals, for the pure convenience and because we tended to be earlier to rise and to bed than most, so that we tended to want our meals earlier than the other restaurants opened. We had breakfast a couple of times in the waiter service 47 degrees dining room - and it was a better experience. Islands certainly has a variety of food, but it has to be said that some of it was not very tasty - which is probably an inevitable consequence of the cooking methods required to produce food on that scale. Nonetheless we opted for convenience and there was usually something memorable on our plate each night.
We frequently used the gym and adjoining spa/sauna services which were well equipped and set up.
We preferred the Glass house indoor pool area which was quieter and cooler than the main pool area.
In summary, the cruise delivered the experience we had hoped for with some of the staff making it that little bit better than we had expected.
Light and airy - spacious with heaps of storage - one of the big pluses of the cruise - a little further aft than ideal from the midship stairs/lifts (we were misled by the floor plan which shows service stairs)