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Just returned from this cruise. We booked this primarily for the itinerary as, even though we’ve cruised quite a bit, we had not visited any of the ports on this cruise save for the departure port of Corfu. We also booked to get an experience of Marella’s move to larger ships, with the Discovery being the biggest we have cruised on to date. Overall the cruise was very good. The facilities on the ship are well documented on the Internet so I won’t go into too much detail, suffice to say they were of a high standard. A few pointers for potential Discovery guests and also the good and not so good points: Good: The staff were superb. Quick to serve, helpful and smiling. I did get to have a chat with the Master of the ship, Captain Chris Dodds, and it was apparent that he was proud of the ship and his staff, justifiably so. The entertainment crew were the best I’ve seen and the Broadway lounge is big enough and well equipped enough to allow spectacular shows to be delivered. All inclusive allowed beers and wines to be on draught in the self service restaurants so you could help yourself. As a consequence you weren’t having to wait to be served to have a drink with your meal. When going into the Broadway lounge for the evening show, drinks were served as you went in so you weren’t having to order a drink once in the lounge. This meant you able to watch the show without people waving their cards at the waiting staff and the staff having to serve drinks in the dark. The Galley 47 restaurant serves Italian dishes and was very good. I used it twice and was very impressed. My jury was out about all inclusive. I considered that that this did not allow the possibility of enticing offers for drinks packages etc for early bookers (which I have used before) but I’m beginning to change my mind. The way that some people went mad at the buffet meant that they have some of my share but, nevertheless, all inclusive allowed me to budget with confidence. Not so good: During our cruise, the main restaurant opened for waiter served breakfast at 07:30. For guests going on organised tours this did not generally give sufficient time for breakfast before the tours commenced. Hence these guests had to use the self service on deck 9, the result of which the self service got unnecessarily busy. This may be a bit unfair. The food was excellently prepared and served. I could not fault it but...... it was a bit safe. I though we could have had a bit more of the Mediterranean flavour. “Tailor the menu to the venue” so to speak. No criticism of the way the food was delivered but more Med, less English would have been my preference. Marella provide all guests with the opportunity to download an “app” which connects to the ship’s Internet (at no cost) and provides details of your on-board account, what’s going on, excursions, where to eat, etc and is, overall very useful. They also still produce the “Cruise News” paper which is left in your cabin during the evening turn down. The problem I encountered is that the itinerary on the “app” and the “Cruise News” didn’t always match up so you still ended up at Destination Services or Reception to verify the precise details. Just a bit of co-ordination needed for what was otherwise a very useful facility. Nothing to do with the actual cruise but I was seriously stitched up over the price, with the possibility of saving almost £300 for the same deal if I’d timed it right, having been enticed to book early with a discount code. I did write to Marella head office (as a long standing and loyal customer, of 20 years if you include Thomson), but my loyally and my comments were dismissed as “bad luck”. Marella/TUI didn’t even bother to respond using the same medium as I did, rather just an e-mail. Itinerary: Good (Santorini apart) and I’ve glad I’ve been. Santorini is too crowded and you end up watching out for the next gap in the crowds rather than enjoying the island. The cable car had a two hour wait to descend so I had to use the steps, past the ill-treated donkeys and horses, tied up with no water, one passing you every so often with a selfish tourist on his back, just so he can tell his mates he took part in the Santorini tradition (don’t use them please). In summary: This was our seventh cruise with Thomson/TUI/Marella and I do detect a change in the target clientele and company’s philosophy. Absolutely nothing but praise for the experience I had, but Marella’s move to larger ships, the subsequent escalating cost to support the all inclusive packages and the dismissive way I was treated by head office may cause me to investigate alternatives. Finally, one area that doesn’t get mentioned very often, my local TUI office (Newark-on-Trent). The staff in there are excellent hence I use them rather than the Internet. I pay a small premium but it’s worth it for the assistance I receive during booking and should I need to book any excursions or have any queries regarding my holiday. Well done to them.

Marella “Aegean Shores” 7 day cruise aboard the Marella Discovery.

Marella Discovery Cruise Review by n.cartwright

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Trip Details
Just returned from this cruise. We booked this primarily for the itinerary as, even though we’ve cruised quite a bit, we had not visited any of the ports on this cruise save for the departure port of Corfu. We also booked to get an experience of Marella’s move to larger ships, with the Discovery being the biggest we have cruised on to date.

Overall the cruise was very good. The facilities on the ship are well documented on the Internet so I won’t go into too much detail, suffice to say they were of a high standard.

A few pointers for potential Discovery guests and also the good and not so good points:

Good:

The staff were superb. Quick to serve, helpful and smiling. I did get to have a chat with the Master of the ship, Captain Chris Dodds, and it was apparent that he was proud of the ship and his staff, justifiably so.

The entertainment crew were the best I’ve seen and the Broadway lounge is big enough and well equipped enough to allow spectacular shows to be delivered.

All inclusive allowed beers and wines to be on draught in the self service restaurants so you could help yourself. As a consequence you weren’t having to wait to be served to have a drink with your meal.

When going into the Broadway lounge for the evening show, drinks were served as you went in so you weren’t having to order a drink once in the lounge. This meant you able to watch the show without people waving their cards at the waiting staff and the staff having to serve drinks in the dark.

The Galley 47 restaurant serves Italian dishes and was very good. I used it twice and was very impressed.

My jury was out about all inclusive. I considered that that this did not allow the possibility of enticing offers for drinks packages etc for early bookers (which I have used before) but I’m beginning to change my mind. The way that some people went mad at the buffet meant that they have some of my share but, nevertheless, all inclusive allowed me to budget with confidence.

Not so good:

During our cruise, the main restaurant opened for waiter served breakfast at 07:30. For guests going on organised tours this did not generally give sufficient time for breakfast before the tours commenced. Hence these guests had to use the self service on deck 9, the result of which the self service got unnecessarily busy.

This may be a bit unfair. The food was excellently prepared and served. I could not fault it but...... it was a bit safe. I though we could have had a bit more of the Mediterranean flavour. “Tailor the menu to the venue” so to speak. No criticism of the way the food was delivered but more Med, less English would have been my preference.

Marella provide all guests with the opportunity to download an “app” which connects to the ship’s Internet (at no cost) and provides details of your on-board account, what’s going on, excursions, where to eat, etc and is, overall very useful. They also still produce the “Cruise News” paper which is left in your cabin during the evening turn down. The problem I encountered is that the itinerary on the “app” and the “Cruise News” didn’t always match up so you still ended up at Destination Services or Reception to verify the precise details. Just a bit of co-ordination needed for what was otherwise a very useful facility.

Nothing to do with the actual cruise but I was seriously stitched up over the price, with the possibility of saving almost £300 for the same deal if I’d timed it right, having been enticed to book early with a discount code. I did write to Marella head office (as a long standing and loyal customer, of 20 years if you include Thomson), but my loyally and my comments were dismissed as “bad luck”. Marella/TUI didn’t even bother to respond using the same medium as I did, rather just an e-mail.

Itinerary:

Good (Santorini apart) and I’ve glad I’ve been. Santorini is too crowded and you end up watching out for the next gap in the crowds rather than enjoying the island. The cable car had a two hour wait to descend so I had to use the steps, past the ill-treated donkeys and horses, tied up with no water, one passing you every so often with a selfish tourist on his back, just so he can tell his mates he took part in the Santorini tradition (don’t use them please).

In summary:

This was our seventh cruise with Thomson/TUI/Marella and I do detect a change in the target clientele and company’s philosophy.

Absolutely nothing but praise for the experience I had, but Marella’s move to larger ships, the subsequent escalating cost to support the all inclusive packages and the dismissive way I was treated by head office may cause me to investigate alternatives.

Finally, one area that doesn’t get mentioned very often, my local TUI office (Newark-on-Trent). The staff in there are excellent hence I use them rather than the Internet. I pay a small premium but it’s worth it for the assistance I receive during booking and should I need to book any excursions or have any queries regarding my holiday. Well done to them.
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