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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices ... Read More
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices have rocketed by up to 70% ( beware ' Anchor Fares ' you will be second class guests even having to pay a large sum for a couple of clicks on a computer to change your unfavourable dining time ). Quality of food has fallen dramatically, they used to have the very best food, now the meat is tough ( pork steaks, veal etc. ) Food in the self service buffets is always no more than very lukewarm, cold bacon, uncooked vegetables, far less than al dente, just dipped in warm water. The breakfast marmalade and jams are cheap, bulk bought and tasteless in open dishes rather than the tasty individual sealed packs and immediately adjacent to wheat bearing bagels so the crumbs can contaminate the jams with gluten. Scrambled eggs very cool and so runny they could be poured; horrid. Never once was steak or prawn cocktails on offer, unlike other cruise lines where they are staple every dinner. A New Maitre D' needed, bring back Mr Angel. Same guest artists twice each in 7 nights. Good theatre company, though. No interesting guest speakers Captain waiter in Palms never once spoke to us, not even a greeting. We ate there over 30 times. Dirty looking, food ingrained table mats in Palms restaurant, no doubt bacteria bearing. Mentioned this but they were only ever wiped over with a damp cloth, and, to think, cruise lines worry about Norovirus !! Only place where good food available is The Grill, at £20,00 per person extra, but even that is over priced, no soup on menu. Only good coffee on the ship in there. We have recommended Olsen to many friends and obtained many customers for them but we can no longer do so as there is far better value on other cruise lines. We have three further cruises booked, none of them with Fred Olsen. Only consolation of this cruise was the wonderful staff (mostly ) Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted to visit. We were a group of 6 people from 3 generations, all with inside cabins. We had the full board package rather than all inclusive, because we don’t drink very much and, at over £28pp per day, you would have to go some to get your money’s worth! Also, every person on the booking must buy the package, which is hardly fair when there are under 18s in the group. We flew from Edinburgh to Palma on Tuesday 9th Oct. Check in, flight, and transfers were seamless. No problems at all. Very well organised, with Marella staff on hand at every point to direct customers. Check in at the cruise terminal was relatively quick and again, very easy. We arrived at the ship around lunch-time and our cabins were ready. We went to have a look at the cabins then went for lunch. All staff on the ship were friendly and happy. They seem much more relaxed that RC staff, who seem to have supervisors on their back the whole time. We were very happy with the ship itself. There was of a good standard of cleanliness. I’ve read some reviews saying that the ship is old and tired and needs to be retired, but I wouldn’t agree. There were a few issues – especially leaks here and there when it rained, but generally it was pretty good. There seemed to be fewer blocked toilets than our other cruises with RC. We didn’t really use the lifts, but they did seem quite slow. One thing I thought was strange was that at night, there were no lights at the front of the promenade deck, which meant it was pitch dark at night, preventing everyone except the bravest from walking round the ship after dark. I’m not sure of the reason, but I’m assuming it’s because the bridge might find it more difficult to see if there are lights directly below them, but you’d think there could be some muted, low level lighting to allow people to have a stroll round the deck at night. There are lots of lounges and places to sit, so you never struggle to find somewhere to relax. There are the usual issues with sunbeds of people putting towels or belongings on them then disappearing for hours on end. This needs to be better managed The ship is apparently going into dry dock on 30th Oct for a week for repairs and deep cleaning. Dining: We ate mostly at Sirens for breakfast and afternoon tea, and the Lido or dining room for dinner. Dining positives:- In the main dining room, there are no set times for dinner. You can decide whether to share with others or have a table to yourself. You are seated immediately you arrive at the dining room -we did not ever have to wait in a queue to be seated. Afternoon tea in Sirens is fantastic, and was always very busy. Food was of good quality mainly and there was always plenty. Desserts in particular are much better than RC, who’s desserts are all very similar in consistency. Tables were kept clean and tidy by staff. Plates were cleared quickly and efficiently. Dining negatives:- Queues!!! British people become quite fierce if anyone tries to nip into a gap in the queue. The layout of the self service areas mean that if you only want something at the far end, you pretty much have to queue from the start. This was probably one of the only things that RC trumps Marella, as they have different stations for different food types. That said, the queues move quite quickly, so it’s not a major issue We didn’t try any of the a la carte restaurants as the food in the included restaurants was more than enough for us. Entertainment and activities:- We didn’t go to many shows in the theatre. We saw Stan John, the comedian, who was fine. Otherwise, we heard from others that the ships entertainment staff were decent for the first few nights but after that, it seemed to be too much of the same thing. There was a trio singing in the Waters Edge lounge, called Acoustic Soul, who were very good, but otherwise, we didn’t do many of the offered activities – although there was plenty to do. Service was good throughout the ship. Although I’d advise everyone to check their onboard account as we were double charged for use of the safe. Marella are much less pushy regarding selling extras than RC. Photo opportunities are there, but you are not bombarded every time you get on and off the ship etc. One major negative was that one of our cases was badly damaged being transferred from the ship to the cruise terminal at the end of the cruise, and the response to this was less than impressive. They tried to stick it back together with 2 small pieces of duct tape. We had to pay 10 euros at the airport to have it wrapped. I emailed Tui when I got home, but so far have had no response. Ports and excursions:- This is where Marella beats RC hands down, for me. The hours we were in port were much longer than RC. I suppose, in fairness, the ports we visited were relatively close together, but we were usually able to disembark around 9ish and didn’t have to be back on until 6 or 7pm. The ports we visited only twice had shuttle buses, which were £7pp (Portimao and Valencia) The shuttle bus in Valencia is unnecessary. Our teenagers wanted to go to the aquarium, so we didn’t get the shuttle bus. We left the port and got a local bus (number 95) to the aquarium. There are frequent buses numbers 95 and 4, which go to city centre from the port. They cost 1.50 each way. All in all, a great cruise. I would not hesitate to use Marella again, and would definitely choose them before Royal Caribbean next time Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Had a lovely time onboard the Explorer, the ship itself was very good and well organised. The cabin was of the usual cruise ship size but was cleaned to a very high standard. The food was very good in the many all inclusive/buffet ... Read More
Had a lovely time onboard the Explorer, the ship itself was very good and well organised. The cabin was of the usual cruise ship size but was cleaned to a very high standard. The food was very good in the many all inclusive/buffet style restaurants onboard. We went to two of the additional charge restaurants Surf & turf, and Kori la both were excellent and well worth the extra charges. The entertainment crews were very good and the Broadway shows were excellent. ALL the waiter, waitress, & bar staff were very friendly and always had a smile for us. All the crews work very hard and do deserve a tip although I think most people didn't tip, but in my experience good service deserves a tip whatever cruise company you go with. We didn't go on any Tui excursion as though they were on the expensive side although we went ashore in every port and did our own thing. I did read a few bad reviews about the Explorer prior, but to be honest this is a great ship with an excellent crews. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We really loved this Cruise Ship, having been on Majesty, Celebration, Discovery 1 and 2. All were very good , but we found there wasn't the atmosphere on the Discoveries with the crew that there was on Majesty and Celebration. On ... Read More
We really loved this Cruise Ship, having been on Majesty, Celebration, Discovery 1 and 2. All were very good , but we found there wasn't the atmosphere on the Discoveries with the crew that there was on Majesty and Celebration. On Explorer it had all come back wtih the singing and music playing from the crew in the dining room. We loved our outside cabin and the bathroom had a proper shower cubical rather than a space with a curtain that has been on all the other ships The entertainment was really good with the crew and their shows and for two nights we had the brilliant finalist from 'Britain's Got Talent' a few years ago Jon Clegg. His comedy and impressions weregreat and went down really well. A chap that was singing in the lounge was really good and was playing many of the folk songs we used to sing when we first stated dating back in the early 70s. It brought back some lovely memeories. The food was really good and great sevice from the staff. On the night when they have a party for regular guests, we were approached by Richard the general manager and asked for our feedback on the new ship. I said we had a wonderful time, but to be really picky the Gluten Free bread and rolls they provide for my diet were pretty hard, like they are on all long haul airlines. We were very impressed that the next day Richard phoned me in the cabin and said he had looked at the bread and agreeing with me spoke to thechef. He said in future they would be getting freshly baked GF bread for the ship. Hober was our cabin man and he was as helpful and friendly as all the other crew. Looking forward to thinking about Explorer two due to be launched later this year. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was ... Read More
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was clean, if a little scruffy in places. We were able to gaze out of our Deck 9 window between 2 lifeboats, not a problem. Seas were very calm and engine vibration was minimal. A toilet issue and an A/C problem were fixed in minutes. It proved there were very few English-speaking co-passengers, so opportunities to socialize were limited. The Spanish passengers were without the reservation or class-consciousness often experienced on other cruise lines. We almost exclusively ate in the Main Restaurant, the Buffet was great for snacks when needed between meals. In the Main Restaurant Breakfast was served Buffet-style, for Lunch the Main course was waiter-served, Appetizer and Dessert was again, Buffet-style. Buffet items were always of a good standard, with plentiful fresh fruit, cold meats and cheeses and dessert options. There were 2 sittings for Dinner, 7:30 and 9:45, with the evening entertainment sandwiched in between. Our sitting, the first, seemed slightly rushed. Food quality was OK, not gourmet, a little bland for my taste. Plenty of wine was available, again, by no means vintage. We enjoyed the Theatre entertainment, no doubt regular cruisers will have experienced many Abba and Rock compilations in their travels. It was also great to share a cocktail both pre and post dinner listening to the other musical entertainers. We took one excursion, crossing the border from Ceuta into Morocco to visit Tetuan. It reinforced my dislike of organized excursions, herding 40+ people through it's maze-like Medina was no easy feat. The multi-lingual guide and his local helper did a great job. There was an Officer on-board dedicated to assist the English speaking guests, she was a delight. Overall we both had a great time, but are likely to look elsewhere if and when we cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was ... Read More
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was acceptable but not as big a choice as on most ships these days. There was only a little waiting to get a table for two at dinner. We thought the entertainment was good as is usual with Tui, excellent costumes and they certainly presented it with lots of enthusiasm every night. The ship leaves Tui this year and it is probably the right time as the trend moves to larger better fitted out ships. To the Irish couple who thought they knew us from somewhere else but none of us could figure where from. We checked our holiday photos and it was from a tour of Eastern Canada in 2016, small world - hope you see this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the entertainment wasn’t for us, very Hi De Hi, they tried hard but lacked any sophistication. The food was plentiful though more canteen than cuisine. The ship was old and we were surprised Tui were associated with such a vessel; though we believe this is its last year - the paint work was awful, no straightlines to be seen! The continuous promotions to sell photos, treatments and items from the onboard shops was tiresome - shame on you Tui. The cycle tours were excellent and highly recommended. The cabin was shabby, though very well cleaned twice a day by the excellent stewards. In summary, if you want games, fun and frolics with like minded passengers this is the ship for you. If you want sophistication, an up to-date ship I’m sure Tui can do better. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
So …….. For my Wife's Birthday I surprised her with the Spanish Delights TUI Cruise aboard the Marella Dream. Have Cruised with TUI previously so knew what to expect ( more or less ) - The Dream is an 'older' lady ... Read More
So …….. For my Wife's Birthday I surprised her with the Spanish Delights TUI Cruise aboard the Marella Dream. Have Cruised with TUI previously so knew what to expect ( more or less ) - The Dream is an 'older' lady however, the crew do an amazing job of cleaning / maintenance albeit often at inappropriate times ! Cabin: on deck seven ( 7139 ) highly recommended, our cabin steward was amazing! - aim for mid ships if you can, its nearer the restaurants / bars / show lounges. The air conditioning however is a nuisance, gave me endless sore throats. Food: ……. ah' the all important food was ………. appalling at times, forever cold / tasteless / 'odd' ! How bout' Beef Stroganoff cooked with whole lemons that were cut in half and then 'stewed'-in with the gravy !!! totally disgusting - off putting to say the least. I experienced raw bacon / stale bread / toast you could break your teeth on ! / The orange Duck was orange-less and tasted of ……. Nothing! The coldest 'cooked' glazed carrots ever, salad past it's sell by date / stay away from the Fish, Grey in colour and again tasteless & on & on. Lets talk milk, the milk onboard is the long life stuff found in cardboard boxes, it is NOT chilled prior to being 'served' to passengers - imagine my horror when first trying cornflakes for breakfast and the milk is unnaturally 'warm' - TUI, the majority of Brits. prefer cold milk on cereals !!! The dessert station was a disaster, very poor selection compared to say the TUI Celebration and again tasteless, the rice pudding for example so thick and stodgy you cement bricks with it ! and what was that watery custard all about! The food was overall dire - We spoke to senior ships crew member who disagreed with us! claiming it was a popular menu served on all TUI ships! My wife survived on a diet of watermelon for breakfast / Lunch / Dinner !!! Entertainment: was fab. don't believe other reviews that say the singers cannot sing! my own 40yrs on the 'road' tell me otherwise. Ports of call: All good with the exception of Portugal / Valencia. Both of these require a £7 pp Shuttle to get you to town. Totally disappointed with where we docked in Valencia - an industrial dockyard with nothing for miles should you want to stretch your legs and get off the ship for 10minutes. Our view, no matter where we stood on the ship - Steel yards / Cranes / Container ships / Industrial noise. this for 8 hrs plus the horrendous smell of refuelling the Dream. Whilst docked and if you preferred to stay onboard - you endured maintenance inc. angle grinding noise and the worst lead paint smell ever ! as the crew set about set about their task of 'keeping the Dream afloat' ! All whilst you tried to relax on the 'tired' / mostly unclean sunbeds! Staff: For us - the restaurant staff saved the day ( saved the holiday / My wife's birthday surprise from being a disaster ) Big shout out to Daisybel and Marley who were more like friends than ships crew, made our day/s as we would often seek them out to cheer us up! and cheer us up they did with their infectious smiles / quick wit / singing! Would we go TUI Cruising in the future? Unlikely, Absolutely poor value for money in this modern day age of cut backs - clearly TUI have had their annual board meeting and decided the cutbacks need to come from the all important food ! I'll wager TUI's CEO's wouldn't eat some of that slop served to us! And don't tell me I'm the only passenger to air concerns - We chatted to another hundred + passengers who felt exactly the same - inc. a family of 5 who chose to eat off the ship each time We docked! I suggest if you do not have children - pick an adult only cruise, a small number of the 'kids' on our cruise were disrespectful, roaming the corridors / bars mocking passengers who were dancing for example, quite intimidating at times and why did the angry young man need to repeatedly kick the lift doors. On-board, TUI suddenly turn into 'double-glazing' salesmen and women, every opportunity they get - they are trying to 'sell' you a package this / package that! ** Be careful with the Cocktails from the bar/s …….. whilst they look enticing - they are actually nothing but 'coloured' mountains of ice - We ordered 2 large cocktails first night only to find after a couple of sips the actual liquid content had been consumed leaving behind a mountain of ice !!! When ordering cocktails - stand firm and demand less ice ! ** TUI - I want a refund for the food at least !!! Please be aware that a formal complaint is headed your way.​ Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Just returned from a week onboard the Marella Dream with my husband and here is my review the good and the bad. The Ship itself is very good - a little tired in places but was being tidied up (painted) whilst we were onboard. Cabins ... Read More
Just returned from a week onboard the Marella Dream with my husband and here is my review the good and the bad. The Ship itself is very good - a little tired in places but was being tidied up (painted) whilst we were onboard. Cabins - we had a standard inside cabin on deck 7 midship the cabin was a good size (for the 2 of us) we had a double bed (not 2 singles as we have had previously on the Thomson's Majesty) The cleanliness was brilliant cannot praise the staff who serviced our room enough and had a lovely towel animal left on the bed every evening. Dining/restaurants - There are 2 Buffet restaurants on the ship and a main dinning room along with Speciality restaurants. We mainly dined in the Lido restaurant Buffet on deck 9 for Breakfast and Lunch and the food was always warm with a good selection/choice and very clean, Sometimes it is very busy and trying to get a table can take a little while but you get on in the end. There is also a Lido Grill outside which serves Burgers fresh to order and also you can get a sandwich/panini made freshly at lunchtimes. The pudding selection is also very good with a great variety. The Orion Main dinning room - we dined here every evening, We generally ate about 6.30-7 and found that this was a good time as you could walk straight in and get a table for 2 no problem. only on one occasion did we have to que for about 5 minutes for a table and we were asked if we minded sharing with others (which we were fine with). The food was very good also and always arrived pipping hot and very well presented. All of the Staff were very friendly and polite. Bars/Coffee Port (Explorers lounge)- Tides - The staff here were lovely always happy and smiling and come over straight away to serve you. The singers in the evening here were ok as well. Medusa Lounge - we never sat in this bar as there was never a table free always busy The Waters Edge - Loved this bar was at the back of the ship and you can sit here in the evening listening to the Amazing Acoustic Soul Brothers cannot praise these 3 enough they are lovely always smiling and happy and there music is brilliant. You can also watch the sunset from here whilst listening to the band. My only issue with this bar is there is bar far not enough seats this is a very popular bar (I guess due to the band being so good/or could be that the smoking area is directly outside) this bar definitely needs more seats as if you did not get there early you would not get a seat at all. Also due to how busy this gets it can take ages for you to get a drink. One night I waited about 30/40 minutes for my drink to arrive and then when it did it was not what I had ordered. In the end my husband would walk down to the Tides bar and get our drinks and walk back with them as it was quicker. ( he also said the barman in the Tides bar made the best long Island iced tea and would only get this from him) - again the staff are happy and polite but they do have to work hard and I think they need more of them or extra staff behind the bar to keep up with the drink orders. Explorers lounge - Really not impressed with the staff members in here. On our first night on board (after arriving late we did not get on the ship until 8pm) and being tired we went into here to get a coffee as it looked like a lovely place to sit and relax with a nice coffee. We had booked the All inclusive package when we booked the cruise. We walked into this bar and the guy in here asked us what we would like as soon as we walked in a and before we had even sat down, we said that we would just like a latte coffee. He straight away said these are chargeable and you will have to pay for them unless you buy the drinks package, we explained that we had already purchased the All Inclusive package and showed him our cruise cards which show this. He said no, no your not entitled to these coffees in here you have to upgrade your package which is £50 per person, Before we could say anything he had taken our cards and started filling in paperwork to upgrade us. I was a little confused as we only wanted a latte coffee, I asked the girl who was also working in here why I was having to pay a extra £50 just to get a latte she said you can get a latte just not from this bar as we use a different type of coffee and explained that we would also get all of the top branded spirits. I told her that I was not prepared to pay £50 extra if I could go to the bar next door and get one for nothing and we are also not big drinkers and were happy just with a couple of cocktails she then told the guy that we were not going to upgrade and he just huffed and ripped up the piece of paper he had been filling in and threw back our cards at us. We never went back into this place again. Entertainment- We went to a couple of shows in the Broadway show lounge - the lounge is very nice with comfortable seats- We went to a show (I think it was called the oscars) which was were the entertainment staff sang/danced to recent music and impersonated these Singers they were ok. We also went to a show were they sang songs from Musicals - this was very good and much suited their voices. Ports/excursions - We visited the following ports - we didn't book any excursions as we like to do our own thing. Cadiz - (Spain) - a lovely stunning place to visit as soon as you step of the ship you can just walk around and see beautiful buildings and gardens. Portimao- (Portugal) - This we were told we would need to book a shuttle bus at £7pp for a return ticket as the port was quite a walk away from anything, We booked the bus and this had two drop of points - the first was supposed to be the old town but when the bus stopped it looked like the middle of nowhere and not very inviting so we gave this a miss and carried on to stop 2 which stopped just in front of the beach. The beach was beautiful and there were some shops you can also have a look around. Gibraltar - We got of the ship and walked into the town area (quite a walk) we also walked around a place called the Ocean village which is just being built but is definitely worth a walk around and lots of eating places. and worth a look at the Sunborn Yacht hotel Cartagena - (Spain) - another nice place just to get of the ship and have a little walk around not far until you are in the shops. Valencia - (Spain) - This is another stop that requires you to book the shuttle bus service and this then drops you outside the castle gates a beautiful place to walk around with beautiful stunning buildings everywhere. Swimming Pools- this is my biggest problem they are not very big and you cannot get a sunbed around them at anytime because everyone even if they are getting of the ship will put out there towels first thing in the morning. Disembarkment - Luckily we have cruised before so we know that you need to leave you luggage outside your room the night before you disembark but we had no information about the time it needed to be left outside by or what time we could get of the ship for our pick up. We went to the reception desk to ask and was told we should have received this information to our room (this never arrived) he passed me a leaflet which contained our pick up time/time to leave the ship and also what colour luggage labels we should have, ours should have been chocolate colour but unfortunately we had been given purple ones in our envelope on arrival, I went back to the reception to ask about this and was told no they should be chocolate and was given two of these for our cases. I'm glad we asked otherwise our cases may of ended up in Cork and not Southampton. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic ... Read More
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic and our rooms although dated were spotless. Henry and Rocky were fantastic cabin stewards with the most loveliest smiles for you every time they saw you . I can’t believe waiter staff knew our names after only a couple of days . Service was fantastic. Absolutely gutted this is the ships last year sailing . Only downfall was that there was only one charging socket for phones etc .And WiFi not so good although it was £49 for 7 days per person . The entertainment team were amazing as was the compare who was very funny. Shops ok but not much to purchase would have liked a little more choice Read Less

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