Chose this 2 week cruise for the itinerary - 12 islands with only 1 sea day. Flew Gatwick - Barbados quick transfer & luggage delivered straight to cabin. Have sales on other Marella ships but first time on Explorer 2 & quite impressed. Clean & spacious and adults only with a range of bars, eateries & entertainment. Younger vibe than some other cruises we've been on.
CABIN Inside cabin deck 8 had lots of cupboard & drawer space with a decent size bathroom with a proper shower cubicle- no getting wrapped up in a curtain! Tea/ coffee tray restocked daily & always clean. Ours was quiet with good soundproofing but friends on deck 9 had noise from show lounge, rehearsals through the day & 2 shows at night despite being 2 decks above.
EATING Latitude is main restaurant & Market Place the buffet, Vista is Italian & Nonnas a pizza place. Various places around the pool do snacks/lunches & there are several places with a surcharge, some quite hefty. Food in the Latitude was underwhelming overall. Bland at times, often undercooked veg & dried out from being too long under hot lights. Some descriptions were way off the mark - glamorous puddings turned out to be just tinned fruit & ice cream. Service varied wherever you sat - smiles & topping up drinks etc to morose waiters with long waits. Vista had a different feel, waiters often more friendly and food much better. Menu only changes every 3 -4 days so cant eat their every day unless you like repetition.Market Place buffet is a great place for lunch- hot & cold offerings, imaginative salads, also variety at breakfast & evenings. Lovely afternoon tea with proper clotted cream with the scones - top marks! Snacks around the pool were good & fresh.
ENTERTAINMENT Usual singers & bands in different bars , Jon the guitarist was very good as was Hannah and The Collective, a reggae band. Kabir the Cruise Director was good, always smiling & talking to people & being involved. His Bollywood dance classes were amazing! The show team were ok with some good female singers, the shows were a little samey & the dance moves were almost the same in every show. The comedian was dire relying on the audience all the time & was quite derogatory towards women.The ballroom dance couple were uninspiring & never seemed to smile of enjoy their role.Enjoyed the quizzes & game shows.
BARS Something for everyone. Indigo is big with fab views & great discos, especially the silent ones! Aperitif good for pre dinner drinks, Flutes good for bubbly & piano music. 19th hole was a bit niche for us . Coffee port was large but wasted space in the middle of the ship, a quiet space to sit & read but never busy day or night. Pool deck very busy by day with lots of activity, evenings had barbecues, moonlight movies , parties & sing a longs. The big screen was great & even spotted people on adjoining ships & the quayside watching it! There is a big choice of drinks available for all inclusive but most bars show a limited list , often with premium/ surcharge drinks when you can have virtually any AI drink in any bar so always ask.
EXCURSIONS Easy to book ; wide range to suit all tastes/ abilities although not cheap. Some were excellent while others not so. Dolphin/ whale watching for example does not say possibility might be low. Another trip boat ride was cancelled so offered another at 50% which was basically lots of free time in a very small town. You could do your own thing in most places as docked close to towns. Maps are not provided any more but can download to your phone or find tourist info ashore. Destination staff varied too - the senior reps knew their stuff but others didn't. One didn't know his maps & another didn't know if taxi fares were set by the govt or not, a third advised about an island she had never been too! Big shout out goes to Alessio the bike rep - he knew his stuff, was very safety conscious and nothing was too much trouble.
Would recommend this itinerary, busy but amazing & would travel on Explorer 2 again.