Being first time cruisers my partner and myself decided to go with TUI due to the all inclusive option to give us peace of mind and the excellent value for money!. We travelled to Barbados where we embarked the ship for a fortnight. From start to finish the holiday was the most amazing, unforgettable experience.
Flights - we upgraded to premium and will continue to do in the future as it really adds to the luxury of the holiday right from the start, stewards really could not do enough for you, food and drink throughout was fab! (highly recommended if within your budget!)
Cabin - we upgraded to a deluxe balcony cabin on the back of the ship - significantly more expensive to other cabins - but if it's in your budget 100% go for it - the view was incredible. However, the motion at this position on the ship was slightly more than we expected but after some sea sickness tablets this was no problem (worth every second for the view!).
Issues - the few minor issues we did have on board they resolved extremely efficiently.
Food & Drink - We upgraded to the premium drinks package - worth the money even if you are not a big drinker as the soft drinks, coffee and fresh juice alone would rack up a high bill! - be aware that premium package cans of soft drink and coffees weren't available until 10am - not ideal if you are going ashore when you dock up usually around 8am. Food was incredible - so many options from morning to evening - highly recommend paying the extra to dine at surf and turf and kora la - not expensive for the quality of food you are served (Book at the start of trip for a specific date to avoid disappointment as they get busy).
sunbeds - on sea days if you like to sunbathe - GET A BED EARLY! if you don't they are extremely difficult to find one at all let alone one in the sun - that is also where the deluxe balcony comes in handy as you have two loungers on there directly in the sun majority of the day.
Entertainment - we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, although, as it is an adults only ship, the entertainment may be slightly bland for others, depends on what you expect from a holiday, we were 24 years old and it suited us just fine. If you love a party on an evening - in our opinion this may not be the best option. Many different bars to go to with different vibes which suited us perfectly, and we LOVED the music in the day by the pool deck - entertainment was slightly boring - but if all you want to do is soak up the sun like us it really didn't faze us.
ports - the Caribbean sells itself but places such as Curacao and Aruba - just the most beautiful beaches - would highly recommend the excursion to swim with turtles in Curacao it was the best experience.
We have just booked to sail in Feb 2022 to the western Caribbean islands - Jamaica - on the same ship, with all the same upgrades because every penny spent in Jan 2020 was so worth it! Highly recommend the Marella Explorer 2 for the Caribbean.