The ship and the holiday
The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available.
Good places of call and all excursions were well organised despite tender trouble in Stornaway.
Excellent Captain who kept us well informed throughout – often very humerous
The embarkation procedure needs attention. We had to queue for luggage labels despite our disability and that we had booked our cabin. Need more than 3 checking in
We have some limitations on mobility and asked for help with our luggage when we arrived by taxi. None given - just a shrug. I am unable to lift luggage but able to walk with a stick. We are not wheelchair bound both but have difficulty walking. It appears that we are unable to get assistance unless we take to a wheelchair. Other cruise lines offer very much better assistance
Staff worked very hard and were always pleasant with a smile. However, we learnt from one of the very good cabin staff that when he started 10 years ago he had 12 staterooms to oversee. Each now have 28. No wonder they were tired and used periods off to catch up with sleep
Newcastle a good port for cruises for almost everyone we spoke to. However Marella need to sort the embarkation procedure out better as well as disembarkation
Dining was very slow initially in Latitude 53 but TUI did respond to complaints and service much improved after 3 nights
Menu in Latitudes not as wide as in earlier years and sad to say the quality of the food was poorer which is different to my views on earlier cruises- More cost cutting?
Had foul smell in shower room when we returned from a function - attended to 3 times but reappeared - was told that it was due to the ship being on rocky seas and the foul water was swishing into shower water - surely not on level 9 - as this means that both foul water and washing water are the same - this would be a very dangerous health hazard
We had a very good speaker and very well attended Broadway theatre full for 4 of the 5 talks (well done!) despite some issues not of his making.
Entertainment apart from the talks was very poor - not aimed for all the generations on board. The shows were given by a well-trained and enthusiastic group of singer dancers. Mostly it was pop. However as someone commented, if we were watching on TV at home, we would switch off. Just one comedian in 14 nights – no other speciality acts. No classical music at all.
The scheduled deck games were not hosted or hosts did not appear at all. Note to Marella - The limitation of some of these games issues could be overcome by utilising the space adjacent to the putting area as well as enforcing what we were promised.
Also unhosted Bridge etc was scheduled at breakfast time. Tis did nt take place.
The library (the Attic) was much better than on Explorer 2 although 3 of the 5 bookcases were emptied within 24 hours. Many more games provided compared Explorer 2 but no playing cards (unless they were taken by guests) The games were needed in view of the poor entertainment available. A request failed to see them arrive. However the Attic was a lovely quiet spot
Scheduling was erratic – we did not see or meet the captain until the last night as it clashed
We felt that everything that could be cut financially, had been with the result that the cruise will appeal to a limited market covered by other cruise lines.
We have cruised with Tomson/TUI/ Marella about 10 times but probably not again despite the convenience of the port
Suggestions for Marella
1. Use the sheltered deck area adjacent to part of the putting/golf area. No doubt used for ship storage etc But consider adapting for eg quoits when not in use (it was not used throughout the cruise)
2. Can we have cards provided
3. Can you afford hosted bridge and whist etc as on other cruise ships
4. Can you afford hosted arts and crafts as many would follow this- On P & O, the number on the watercolour class filled the lounge
As expected with issues with smell
Very good despite the queue for the return tender
Visited church and botanical gardens both interesting
Visited Viking experience which was for tourists but ver entetaining
Saw highlights as expected but more time needed at two of the places
As expected - good idea about viking invasions etc
Just visited town on foot