We have been regular cruisers for a few years now, and have sailed with most of the big operators. We are recent converts to Marella and have just enjoyed a two week trip on the Caribbean on the Discovery 2. We particularly like the Discovery 2 (as well as Discovery 1). Here’s why.
1. Design of the ship. The D2 is a mid-size ship and is easy to get around. We never had to wait long for lifts unlike on the big American ships where you can wait for ages. We never felt overcrowded, not even in the buffet (which has recently been revamped and looked great). Some of the bigger ships may have more razzmatazz, but they seem to use the extra space for money making ventures such as huge (and smoky) casinos, art auctions, premium restaurants, and large jewellery shops, none of which interest us. Norwegian now have a policy of restricting large parts of their new ships to premium passengers only. On the D2 there is a very small (smoke free) casino, a couple of premium restaurants out of the way on the top deck, and a few shops. Most of the communal areas are devoted to entertainment. In addition to the lovely theatre, there are three other indoor venues for entertainers to do their stuff. That suits us fine.
2. Food. The quality and quantity of food was as good as any other operator that we’ve cruised with, perhaps with the exception of Celebrity. But what was really good was that every evening you had the option of eating in two free restaurants with completely different menus. If you cruise on the D2, do try Gallery 47 which has lovely food with an Italian style and desserts to die for.
3. The crew. All staff seemed happy and chatty. None of the surly or hard selling types you get on some ships. Captain Chris joined in one of the game shows and was quite a comedian in his own right.
4. Other cruisers. I have to admit that on the D2 I did miss having some Americans to have a smile with (and at!). However, Marella now market their Caribbean cruises in Canada, so we were able to talk to some non-Brits, which was fun.
5. No exploitation. On certain ships I have felt under constant pressure to spend, spend, spend. For example on MSC even though I had a drinks package, every time I asked for a drink the waiter tried to persuade me to buy an even better package. On Celebrity the main focus of day and evening activity seemed to centre on the casino. All other operators try very hard to persuade you to eat in their premium restaurants. On the Norwegian Epic if you want to see the circus show it costs extra. There’s none of that sort of thing with Marella. All shows are free, most drinks are free, there are no gratuities to pay, and even the excursions are reasonably priced. You don’t end up with a surprise bill at the end of the cruise. By the way, though the alcoholic drinks are free on the D2, I didn’t see anyone inebriated. This was unlike the American ships where people buy very expensive drinks packages then try to get their money’s worth.
6. Entertainment. The design of the ship facilitates a wide variety of entertainment. There was always something going on, and it was all very professionally presented. The cruise director Jonny and his great team kept the happy vibes going throughout the day, and in the evening the ship really came to life. There were two excellent resident bands, a good singer guitarist, an opera singer, a solo saxophonist, a singer pianist, comedians, and an engaging duo of competition dancers who kept the fun and music going all evening. There were four resident actors who put on small shows in the daytime and then used their improvisation skills to help make the evening game shows really great fun.
7. Theatre shows. It’s worth the price of the cruise to be able to stroll down to the Broadway theatre to watch a different show every night. In a two week cruise every show was different. This was unlike other cruise lines we’ve sailed with, where the shows the second week were exactly the same as the first. What made the shows on the D2 outstanding is that they were all so cleverly thought out and choreographed, the scenery and special effects were very artistic and well controlled, and the shows, at around 40 minutes, were about the right length for me. I’ve taken a dislike to the 2 hour long Broadway productions they have on the big Norwegian and RCI ships, where you end up with a numb backside one night, then have no show to see the following night because the same show is being repeated.
8. The quality of the show team. On every Marella cruise we’ve been on we have been very impressed with the quality of the stage performers. The current team on D2 lived up to expectations. The singers were good and could hold a note, unlike the warblers you get on American ships. The dancers were absolutely superb, we could only marvel at how they manage to keep doing it every day and remember all the steps to complete a synchronised performance. Better still, all the singers could dance and all the dancers could sing.
All in all I couldn’t fault our two weeks aboard the Marella Discovery 2. Well, maybe some of the destinations were a bit iffy, but so what!
In fact the best day out we had was in Montego Bay, where we went to a garden called Aaah Ras Natango. Check it out on TripAdvisor. A lovely place up in the hills, where hummingbirds land on your hand to feed (honestly!)
Well designed, sheltered balcony
The locals are fun. We visited Aaah Ras Natango (see review) but Dr Cave Beach looked good too
Okay place though a bit top heavy with jewellers
I'm glad we went, but a bit disappointing because it rained quite a bit. Some nice buildings, friendly locals, interesting sights. Do be careful of the holes in the pavements and roads!
This was our third time here but the first time we took a tour. It's worth it.View All 121 Best of Cozumel Reviews
The best place we visited. Had to take a taxi to get into town, but once there, there was plenty to see. Visited the chocolate museum, a tranquil oasis.
The port itself has its own little free zoo, which is great.
Okay, but in need of a bit of tlc. Found a cafe that sold the best coffee we had in 2 weeks.
A long bus trip then we got on the chairlift and saw zero birds or animals. Fair view of the Panama Canal if you can walk up to the top of a rickety metal tower.View All 14 Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour Reviews