Booked a Med cruise in 2021 for July 2022 and was really disappointed after experiencing a fabulous time on a Marella Far East cruise just before the first lockdown. It was clearly apparent that they were trying to claw back lockdown losses. We only ate at the Islands Buffet Restaurant, as we had eaten at the speciality restaurants previously, so just went buffet. On a 2 week cruise, we did not expect the menu to be a weekly repeat but it was, and the 47 deg. was virtually a served option of the buffet. The live station served well cooked meat/salmon at dinner but you don't expect mash with duck, nothing rarely matched the offerings and the majority of veg was hard and appeared to be from frozen stock. The breakfast quality was excellent but there wasn't a poached egg option at the live station, only omelettes, which were obtained through a pager, probably a result of Covid. The restaurant staff were very good, but on occasions, were slow to clear tables, also, on one occasion the soup, a fish chowder, was lukewarm and temperature testing proved it. There wasn't any consistency with Atrium bar staff, wh sometimes required 2 cards for 4 drinks and only 1 card at other times and the service was slow, hinting that the slower they were, the less drinks were provided. The entertainment was below average, with the majority of shows revolving around the overweight and overage team leader and on the once a week flown in acts, both comedians were just above mediocre, also nobody came around for drink orders as on previous Marella cruises. The drinks table on entry to each show, was quickly removed to prevent second drinks. Everything on the ship was accessed via the Navigate App on smartphones, if you had one, or up on the deck 5 screens. There were no port maps available at Destination Services, you had to take a picture on your phone and when we asked about cruise certificates, were told that they were not done now after Covid, but, after winning a quiz, we were presented with a certificate, so no consistency there. It was announced on numerous occasions, that smoking/vaping was restricted to certain starboard locations, although several vapers were seen in the pool area but were not policed by any ship staff unlike the announcements about sunbed reserving which still went unpoliced. We did the Discovering Iberia cruise on the 02/07, followed by the Highlights on 09/07 and bought all of our excursions through the TUI travel shop after they appeared on the TUI Cruise Control site, but the description of each excursion we booked differed dramatically when we went on them, if they were described as they actually delivered, we would not have booked them as they were route marches in a heatwave, the trips were not described as a lot of walking, which they were. If you go to book the same excursions now, the descriptions on activity has now changed. The description for Monaco/Monte Carlo states a visit to the Old Town first followed by Monte Carlo so that we experience a flutter at the casino but we did it the other way around, so that experience was denied us as it wasn't open. It may seem that we are solely complaining, but as we went as 2 couples, we did enjoy ourselves, mind you if it was just the 2 of us, that wouldn't have been so good.
Plenty to see and great atmosphere