We are frequently Cruise and always choose our cruise for the itinerary and as Explorer was the only ship in the canaries at our chosen dates that is the ship we chose. Embarkation was smooth and luggage delivered promptly.
Our first evening we went to dinner in the main dining room Italian section. We put the poor service and the very mediocre food down to the fact it was the first night and we have experienced this before on a first night on Marella and other lines to be fair. Lunch next Day was no better to be honest nor was breakfast. The food was not what you would call bad but it was neither up to the standard we know from any cruise we have ever been on. Marella seem to have reduced their menu in the morning so you can only have egg benedict (always my chosen breakfast most mornings) on one day of the week and this is the same for anything other than English breakfast or omelettes for the main part. They have even stopped offering pastries Although they can be requested I learned. Lunch had burger, veg burger and ploughman’s lunch on the menu every day with a couple of other choices which differed each day. To be fair we found lunch better than dinner probably because they were less busy. The serving seemed pretty chaotic at times
We always book a couple of speciality restaurants anyway so next evening so having booked the 3 dining package and eating in the Mediterranean restaurant we were able to avoid the dining room in the evenings.
We were on Discovery 2 in March 19 and used the snack shack a few times which was very good. On Explorer it was awful. Even the smell of it as you past was horrible
The speciality restaurants we found as follows
Kora La - fabulous. Service food and wine was a delight
Uni Shushi - this was a first for us. We put ourselves in the hands of the chef and were not disappointed. It was a lovely experience with food we’d never chosen before. Again service was impeccable
The Dining Club - We have done similar food and wine pairings on other shops and cruise lines but this was the very best ever. Again food and wine exceptional as was service. Big shout out to the wine steward who was helpful throughout. He covered all restaurants and always found us a nice wine. We were on premium drinks package but in main restaurants were always offered only inferior wine
Surf and Turf - starters lovely but the main course was not. We ordered medium cooked food which was raw and the fat was literally running off the side of the slate on which my food was served. The onion rings tasted only of grease. We left before trying dessert. We’d used this restaurant on Discovery which was excellent so we were very disappointed. The head waiter saw the plate and agreed it was poor. He came out to the bar area where we were and offered us a drink. How laughable is that on an all inclusive cruise
Entertainment was good throughout as you would expect from Marella who in our opinion always excel here
We booked a cabins for the sea day but we did not find this was worth doing. The one thing that we did enjoy was that you had access to the thermal spa. We would probably never have done this. But it was super and we used again later in cruise. Great saunas and steam rooms and fab relaxation areas
We were not too bothered about the ports as had been in all before but heard from other guests that excursions were good
We had a large balcony cabin which was good and clean. All you need
I would never choose to sail on Explorer again and will have to look closely before using Marella. If the changes in restaurants in particular at breakfast and dinner including choices and quality run throughout the line then it’s not for me