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Marella Explorer Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
202 Reviews

Pretty average

Marella Explorer Cruise Review by jody2569

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2020
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean

We had been looking forward to this cruise since the day we booked it, and we have mad the most of it, a week in the sun is valuable time. However we probably won’t be booking another cruise with Tui, for us they have a lot of improvement to make.

The Marella is a nice ship but showing it’s age. We did throughly enjoyed sitting out in the Mediterranean bar on deck 11, a nice place to sit and enjoy a drink in the sun.

One of our biggest problem is customer service, poor would be an understatement, be sure I’m not aiming this at the troops they did a fantastic job, however the management were a different kettle of fish.

We were on one night denied dinner in our chosen any time dinning restaurant as we were simply told we can’t accommodate you so you’ll have to go and eat somewhere else. I’ll be honest that didn’t go down to well as the other dinning options didn’t really appeal to us that evening.

To cut a long story short, we complained and were offered a meeting to discuss our issues in the morning with the Food and Beverage manager and the customer relations manager. It would be fair to say, i sat in that meeting as the customer, feeling lime a naughty school boy, customer relations is not the fdm strong point, I think she needs to climb down out of the ivory tower she seems to be sat in.

After not having eaten the night before, we were not offered any apologies apart from verbal, this is not my wife and I after something for nothing, but we have experienced in past situations like this and not even had to say of do anything to have the situation out right, it was just done as a matter of course.

Any way enough negative there is some good news, we did upgrade to the premium drinks package and boy I’m glad we did, as we found the appetitive bar on deck 7, staffed by the comedy duo Ilyia and Rikki and kept in check by Simena this was a great please to be, to say these three epitomise what customer service should be is an understatement, they were fabulous night after night, (Maybe TUI you should look further down the line to see what customer service looks like and maybe your management can learn something)

Appetitive is located outside the Surf and turf and Korloa restaurants (Both extra charge) again though the level of service and the food was excellent when we eat at both.

The main dining hall was nice service was as you would expect food was just ok, the Mediterranean was nice especially if you visited on the tapas night, and equally the Italian was nice, the maker place however was a let down, provost the poorest buffet restaurant I’ve been to, I’m on holiday I don’t want a roast everyday, to the eye it looked empty,a far cry from what we experienced on Royal Caribbean where there was so much choice you couldn’t decide. (Work to be done TUI I think)

To sum up we had a nice week in the sun there were areas of the ship we enjoyed but they were predominantly extra charge services, it’s unlikely that we will travel again with Marella cruises we didn’t really feel like we were the U in the middle, further more there are other cruise lines offering a far superior service for similar money

jody2569's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

On arrival to our cabin we were surprised how tight it felt, that’s not to say it wasn’t well equipped. The beds were comfortable that’s for sure we all slept very well, however travelling with our son making three of us in the room, meant that when his bed was in place access to the balcony was difficult, as you had no choice but to climb over him to the door. The bathroom was ok nice shower but for a ship that had recently had a full refurb the were tatty bits.

I think it’s fair to say the ship shows it age on the water as when in bed there is a lot of rattling and creeking, this is something we didn’t experience on the anthem of the seas back in August. Wardrobe space was good no complaints there, one thing I would say though is for an all inclusive cruise the mini bar should really be included, to say that the charges for using it where extortionate is an understatement.

Maybe TUI you should review what all inclusive means

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Easy embarkation process didn’t see the port

Madeira (Funchal)

Lovely city would definitely return clean pretty


Nice port clean nice offerings maybe return in the future

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