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12 Naples to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We wanted to visit Dubai. The ship. The crew. The food. The entertainment all very good. It he itinerary had Beeb changed about a week before departure and we were not notified.we would finish in Oman. Then on our penultimate day travel ... Read More
We wanted to visit Dubai. The ship. The crew. The food. The entertainment all very good. It he itinerary had Beeb changed about a week before departure and we were not notified.we would finish in Oman. Then on our penultimate day travel by free bus to Dubai. But due to medical emergencies the ship diverted , delaying our arrival in Oman by 24 hours. So we didn't get to see Dubai. Our first stop Aqaba ,we stayed for two days and after departure it was announced we had taken on security guards, we would picking up weapons at sea. Some decks and areas of ship were closed for safety against pirate attack. This was around the Gulf of Aden. We were 12 days at sea on this cruise. We departed with a 2.5 hour drive to Dubai Airport. The choice of restaurants is excellent. The food quality first class. Great choice of drinks on the fully inclusive. Cleanliness of cabin very good, obliging stewards. Cleanliness of ship very good. Entertainment, plenty of choices, for a lively time or places to just chill. We have been many times with Marella, they are our favourite cruise line. Because the service is excellent From Oman. Our holiday was booked from Manchester Airport even though Birmingham is our closest airport. The reason for this was, if we took the Manchester flight we gained an extra night in Dubai. We are disappointed this time with Marella as we should have been given the option to change our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
As soon as we stepped on the ship we really liked it. Everywhere is light, bright and airy. Our cabin was 1130 right at the back and was very quiet. The cabin had more storage than we have ever had before and the bathroom was clean ... Read More
As soon as we stepped on the ship we really liked it. Everywhere is light, bright and airy. Our cabin was 1130 right at the back and was very quiet. The cabin had more storage than we have ever had before and the bathroom was clean and bright with a good shower, always plenty of hot water. The bed was very firm which were great for us and the balcony was a good size. We mostly ate in Latitude or Vista and never had a bad meal nor did we have to wait long. Liked the Nonnas pizza restaurant for lunch and also the Beach Cove where they did hot sandwiches and a salad bar etc. There was also Scoops which did delicious Italian ice creams. We didn't try the pay restaurants as we didn't feel the need. We thought the shows were very professional and loved them all bar one but you can't please everyone. Liked The Beats resident group but weren't keen on The Vibes (the backing was too loud and you couldn't hear the singer very well, on one occasion she sang with The Beats' backing group and she was much better) We loved Danny and Jack who I think were called Swing Pin. There were also other good musicians around the ship. We thought the entertainment in the Squid and Anchor was very poor so we went up to Indigo where it was a lovely atmosphere. The service on the ship was fantastic, all the crew did a great job. We had lovely cabin stewards, Iyoful,Dindo and Jose who were so polite and always asked if everything was okay. The ports of call were all very good and the weather was mostly kind to us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have ... Read More
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have added greatly to the experience. A negative was the lack of toilets on the main restaurant decks 5,6 and 7. That was the only negative. The staff were excellent and the food and drink packages were again value for money. The entertainment was good throughout the ship and the silent disco is something to behold. The cabin we had was on deck 9 with a balcony, it was spacious, the bathroom was well proportioned with the shower enclosure big enough for me as I'm six foot four. The pool deck area had enough sun loungers for all the guests and the bar staff ensured your drinks were topped up continually. On the whole it was a superb holiday with way more positives than negatives. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We did Greek Getaway followed by Mediterranean Gems. The destinations were all excellent and both weeks were completely different. We did 3 trips: Mykonos beach trip, Pompeii and Herculaneum and Inside Pisa. We enjoyed them all but I would ... Read More
We did Greek Getaway followed by Mediterranean Gems. The destinations were all excellent and both weeks were completely different. We did 3 trips: Mykonos beach trip, Pompeii and Herculaneum and Inside Pisa. We enjoyed them all but I would have liked a little free time in Pompeii to absorb the atmosphere. On board we usually managed to get a subbed although in the sea days we had to be up early. Bar and restaurant staff were friendly and efficient. Basic drinks package was ok we didn’t upgrade but paid extra occasionally for premium drinks, we found this cheaper than if we had upgraded. Food was all good, we ate in latitude and vista in the evenings, beach cove at lunchtime and market place for breakfast. The ship was freezing due to the air conditioning being set at too low a temperature. There weren’t enough toilets and the queue in the ladies of an evening was always long, not helped by the fact that on several occasions only one toilet was in use. The broadway shows were excellent and we liked the said and anchor of an evening. Our cabin was well looked after by Nur, it was a bit noisy at night, there were a lot of unexplained bangs. I was disappointed that the Captains dinner has been replaced by Dress to Impress as I feel that not having a special occasion to dress up for meant less people did dress up, this took some of the glamour away for me. I had to visit the Medical Centre and was very well looked after by all of the staff there, I felt confident with both their diagnosis and treatment. Overall it was an enjoyable cruise with some amazing destinations which I would like to return to. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Been with Thomson/Tui for over 40 years and had good holidays by and large. This one was a nightmare. Naples airport must be in the running for the worst run airport in Europe. We were kept in the air for 20 minutes circling. held on the ... Read More
Been with Thomson/Tui for over 40 years and had good holidays by and large. This one was a nightmare. Naples airport must be in the running for the worst run airport in Europe. We were kept in the air for 20 minutes circling. held on the hot plane for a further 2 hours before disembarking ( we were number 8 in the queue apparently - which included an American flight. A further 1Hr 50 mins for baggage, followed by a 700 meter march with all our baggage in the midday sun to reach the coach. Throughout the cruise a total lack of British Tui agents to talk with. The only saving grace was the wonderful and young crew ( mainly Phillipino who simply couldn't do enough to compensate. TUI continue to totally ignore the complaints about coming through Naples airport and so the shambles continues endlessly. If I lived to be a hundred I would never pass through Naples Airport ever again, so I guess Sorrento is off the plan list. We new when the ship was manoeuvring in harbour as every inch of our cabin did a Samba, and the TV threatened to literally bounce of the wall. Been on several other cruises and this one doesn't compare I feel. Special mention to RAJESH in the main restaurant(Latitude) who was a 5 star performer. My cabin steward TEGUH was incredibly efficient and polite and provided the best room service we have ever encountered. Thomson failed to inform me of the 200 Euro cash back limit and argued all the way that I would have been told and should check the small print. I feel TUI are losing their way these days and we will consider other travel companies from here on. Thomsons older cruises on the Discovery apparently are quite good. Marella is in my opinion TUI's attempt to establish a more traditional cruise to compare with P & O Carnival and the rest but fall way way short of the overall standards required. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because it included places we hadn't visited before. In that respect, it was a success, and might have been even better if the final stopping point of Giardini Naxos on Sicily was not mysteriously removed from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included places we hadn't visited before. In that respect, it was a success, and might have been even better if the final stopping point of Giardini Naxos on Sicily was not mysteriously removed from the itinerary as we boarded the ship !!! The excuse from the Captain is that it was a tender port and there wouldn't have been enough time to get passengers on and off. Really ? Marella only worked that out on the first day of the cruise ???? Difficult to believe that one. Passengers were offered £25 pp on-board credit to make up for this second sea day out of 7. On the face of it, a cost to TUI of about £50K. In reality, just getting passengers to buy more of the ship's services. A huge con. The holiday was going well (including a fabulous flight over the Alps) until we reached Naples airport. I've read other reviews, and our issue of no stairs, no buses to transfer to the terminal and late arrival of baggage is clearly not unique. On the return flight, we were between 1 and 2 hours late departing, again due to inefficient airport staff (or, being generous, using an airport which lacks the capacity to handle multiple arrivals). I will never fly into or out of Naples again !!! Our balcony cabin on Deck 8 was spacious and well equipped. The lack of sockets was offset to a large extent by the USB connections either side of the bed, very useful for charging phones !!! As long as you appreciate Explorer 2 is NOT new, you will be ok with things like stained shower grouting. Less satisfactory was a safe which was falling to bits and a balcony door which very definitely did not open and close in the designed manner. Because of the faulty safe, we actually had to attend the safety drill with our valuables in a Tesco bag !!!!!!!!!! We splashed out on one of the Cabanas for Sea Day 1, £99 but worth it as it also allowed us to access the health suite. Never been in an infinity pool which was warmer than a bath !! On Sea Day 2, I didn't make it to our favourite Veranda spot before 8 a.m. and there wasn't a free sunbed to be seen. The Market Place was fine for breakfast and afternoon snacks. We ate in Vista in the evening three times, and that was quite good. The undoubted eating highlight for us was the Diners Club on Sea Day 1, Yes, there was an additional cost of £45 pp, but for that we had a superb 7-course tasting menu, with an excellent complementary wine served with each course. Memorable. Less enjoyable was the Surf & Turf, but that was probably down to ourselves (I was sunburnt and my wife was unwell). Entertainment in the Broadway Lounge was surprisingly good - what an excellent group of dancers and singers the ship has. I believe there was a comedian on the ship on Day 5, but we had never heard of him (Tom Binns ??? ) so gave that a miss. Our favourite port was Split, though we felt a bit aggrieved to have splashed out £42 pp for an excursion which we could have done on foot for a few euro.The so-called wine tasting was a joke... Venice was disappointing due to the constant drizzle. We did get our trip on a gondola, but were unlucky enough to get the most surly Venetian gondolier who never spoke a word, never mind break into a few verses of O Solo Mio !!!! At least my wife was able to have a Bellini in the famous Harry's Bar. When she also wanted to eat in the famous restaurant, I knew it was time to break out the credit card !!!!! Ancona looked to be a lovely little town, but it was shut on the Sunday we called. Dubrovnik was absolutely lovely, and the cruise terminal was in a beautiful area, albeit a couple of miles from the old town. This brings me on to my main gripe about the Marella service - a lack of shuttle transport and lack of basic port information in the daily newssheets. I've read elsewhere that this is to save paper, to which I say 'Claptrap'. Why not tell you about the Venice Water Taxis (and cost) ? That would probably take all of a paragraph on Page 1. As I said, we didn't get our final stop in Giardini Naxos. It was a very small consolation to be sailing through the Messina Strait at tea-time and to cruise slowly past active Stromboli a few hours later. Imagine if it had been this week !!! It was a bit galling, however, to see what we think was Marella Explorer coming out from Giardini Naxos as we sailed past !!!!!!!!! No time problems for them. We were so looking forward to making a trip to Taormina. All in all, I know my review is not especially positive, but it is my honest opinion of a cruise experience which would not tempt me back to Marella. One good point which can't be forgotten is that our hold luggage was taken from the corridor and directly to Naples Airport. We didn't see it again until we got back in Glasgow. This was a first for me, and very welcome. Last word for the heroic staff, who serve drinks and food and keep the place shining, while smiling constantly. They are the real stars. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Explorer 2 – What can I say? Loved, loved, loved her to bits and neither of us wanted to come home. I can only tell you our experiences and about the parts of the ship we frequented. Our favourite watering hole was Flutes, Prosecco ... Read More
Explorer 2 – What can I say? Loved, loved, loved her to bits and neither of us wanted to come home. I can only tell you our experiences and about the parts of the ship we frequented. Our favourite watering hole was Flutes, Prosecco for myself and G&T for DH, very well looked after by Karnal, Natassia and Flocer. Most evening the golden piano was played and it was a relaxing place to sit, have a drink and watch the world go by. We also used Aperitif as this was closest to the restaurants and was a far as the Vista pager range would stretch. We also used the bar in the nightclub Indigo and on the Verandah (deck 12). We upgraded to the Premium package which worked out at £7 per day and we reckon we had our monies worth. We used the Coffee Port every day, the lovely Alexandra fetching us steaming Flat Whites of Lavazza coffee. There is a small library of books, biographies and autobiographies, odd travel book and some fiction. On the last day passengers were leaving books they had brought with them so it should soon build up. One of Ex2’s cows lives in the coffee port and there are UK sockets in some of the booths if you want to recharge or work using them for your electronics. We weren’t able to book into any of the ‘pay’ extra eating venues as they were on reduced numbers due to staff having to be relocated to serve in the buffet and you just had to book them on the first day, whilst this was a bit disappointing we still had very good food elsewhere on the ship. We dined in Latitude 53 (MDR) 3 times and 4 times in Vista (Italian next door) and at all times we had lovely waiting staff, who kept our drinks topped up, can highly recommend the Merlot and Pinot Grigio, the food was hot and tasty and there was plenty of variety. I have to say I had the 3 pot Tastes of Tiramisu twice! We dined between 8pm and 8.30pm mostly and sometimes had to have a pager for Vista from the very efficient Iona. We also had lunch at The Snack Shack (lovely fish & chips), used the Help yourself cabinet with all manner of goodies for a lighter lunch, The Beach Cove and of course the Buffet where Afternoon Tea was served which I can personally recommend…Red Velvet cup cakes to die for and Jam & cream scones…lush! (All deck 11 Pool) We went to the 10.30 show in the Broadway lounge every night except one as we didn’t care to see a comedian. We loved Movies; a compilation of hits from the movies, Zuma; a Strictly Latin American extravaganza, Cogs; a lovely story about an inventor and Buds Diner; Grease based but didn’t rate Lovestruck which we thought was poorly directed and had a very good cast of singers wasted singing and shouting over each other so much you couldn’t tell what song they were singing, the story wasn’t good either, way too messy. The Broadway Shops are still building up but there was a god selection of goods for a price. I bought some perfume to use up the OBC and used the rest of it to buy some ship’s photographs. Everywhere around the ship there were hand sanitizers and you were encouraged to use them frequently. The Pool Deck when we were able to use it (3 days rain out of 7!!)had plenty of beds and places to eat as mentioned above. There were music quizzes and live music every day and all day there was music playing which at times was so loud you couldn’t speak to the person on the sun bed beside you. Marella its ok to have some quiet time at the pool, we don’t need entertaining all the time. My only real complaint was not enough public toilets only one set per deck, 6,7,11,and 12. They were however immaculately clean and well provisioned at all times. Sail aways weren’t particularly special but it was good to be on deck despite the rain in Venice but both Split and Dubrovnik were sunny. When Ex2 was putting in the knots to make up lost time it was windy on deck and quite a few people got burnt on sea day as they hadn’t counted for the strength of the sun due to the cooling wind. There were some very red legs and chests! All in all Explorer 2 is a great ship we were only on a week and would liked to have more time to have tried more of the facilities, we never got to Nonna’s or the 19th Hole or Champneys but gives us a good excuse to board her again later in the year! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy ... Read More
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy Dubrovnik, Croatia and Sicily and back to Naples 7 nights all-inclusive for under £800 WOW The dining in the main restaurants was superb and the food choice was excellent, onboard activities I must admit apart from a quiz or to we didn't do much but from the list provided every day there was lots to do in the day time if you wanted it, the service from the staff was very good and they were all too keen on doing anything you asked of them, the evening entertainment was good, all be it same type each evening musical and dance apart from a comedian one night, Food and drinks during the day was very good overall the cruise was very good but not as good as cruises costing twice as much we have been on but you can't expect it to be but we were both very pleased with everything on board and would recommend this cruise to everyone wanting to cruise on a budget. We went on trips to the waterfalls from split and the caves from Ancona both good value trips we felt, but both had long coach trips over 1.5 hours but comfortable coaches help and both trips had a lot of walking so keep that in mind if you not good in your feet. We did have a issue in Naples unfortunately due to the port powers to be not letting us on board because if a sickness but for 8 Very long hours with no food or drinks supplied by Tui they did let us down there but they were on top of it once on board as we believe it had run the course. If it wasn't for that they would have got 5stars for everything. Word of warning !!!! Don't use the so-called duty free on board unless you know in advance how much the item you are buying is back home as like we found out it is not cheaper than back home and they will not honor their price match promise unless you tell them while on the cruise so they refused to give me a refund because I didn't find out until I was back in the UK, Tui isn't running the duty free I believe the company is called HARDING BROTHERS RETAIL Ltd well that's what it says on the receipt Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an ... Read More
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an adults only ship. TUI had only just started using Naples as their home port, and our arrival and departure at the airport were poor, not down to TUI, but the local airport services, with delays to finding stairs and buses and luggage for virtually every flight we talked to. Our weather for the week was mixed, but it didn't hinder any of our plans, and in fact the lightening storm at Ancona was the highlight of the visit, as there just isn't much there, especially on a Sunday ! Overall I would say that whilst Marbella was smaller than any P&O ship we have been on, half of the things about it were better, and half were poorer, so we would definitely sail with them again. I would say that P&O ships are better appointed, it's public spaces more luxurious, and they offer a wider variety of food in the buffets and restaurants. However the all inclusive on Marella is much better, the rooms more spacious, and the standard of service and friendliness from the staff overall was better. The main difference to us was that the Explorer made no use of the atrium area on the ship, and unlike P&O it wasn't a focal point for seating or dancing, but it was a smaller ship to be fair. The age profile probably averaged 50 to 60, and the activities reflected this. We had intended to eat at larger tables to meet people, but to be honest the tables for 2 are so close together, you have no option but to interact with other dinners ! Our ports of call were as follows, and I hate paying the rip off prices for tours charged by all cruise lines, so a bit of research means you can do it all at half the price - Naples we only had a couple of hours to explorer before departure, and so no chance to visit Pompei. It was May Day, and there was a major rally in the city, so it was as busy as Oxford Street on a Saturday, so we didn't see it at its best, but I wouldn't rush back as it struck me as a working port and a bit grubby. Easy walk to the centre of the city from the port. Split in Croatia was really worthwhile. Again an easy 10 minute walk from the ship to the centre, and it's really interesting to walk around the market outside the city walls, and then the warren of streets in the centre. We went back to the ship for lunch and then back along the waterfront and past the city centre to the Marjan Peninsular for a walk with views back down onto the city. Venice we went on deck for the early morning sail in, but the poor weather meant it was like sailing up the Humber Estuary in the mist. The rain delayed our start but we took the people mover from just outside the port (1.5 euros) to Piazza Roma, and took the vaporetto route 1 water taxi down the Grand Canal (7.5 euros) to San Marco. We went in the Doges Palace (20 euros) with only a 15 minute queue, up the Campanile Tower (8 euros) with only a 20 minute queue, and into the Basilica (free) with only a 10 minute queue. All were well worthwhile, especially the Basilica as on the way out you have the option to pay 5 euros to go up onto the roof for some great views down onto the square below which I would recommend. Afterwards we wandered the streets up the Rialto Bridge and market, and walked back up the Grand Canal to the people mover at Piazza Roma. The city is easy to walk around and there is no need to travel on the canals if you don't wish to, and the gondolas are a published 80 euros for 40 minutes wherever you catch one from. Ancona was just a filler stop, as there just isn't much there. The weather was our worst of the trip, which in some ways worked out, as we had a tremendous lightening storm in the afternoon which was the highlight of the town ! Dubrovnik was our favourite stop along with Venice, with the buildings like Split but more structured streets unlike the warrens at Split. From the port exit turn left and catch the bus 1 or 8 into the old town (15 kune) as it's a bit too far to walk, and when you get there you will want to walk the walls (200 kune). The walls are intact and a full circuit takes around an hour and a half, but the views are spectacular, and includes the adjacent fort with views back onto the town. The cable car to the lookout above the city was not operating due to a tax dispute with the government. Messina town in Sicily doesn't have much, so we opted to turn left out of the port and a 10 minute walk takes you to the central train station where a train runs regularly to Traormina Giardini station (8 euros return), but you need a taxi up to the town (15 euros) or wait for the bus. We didn't have much time so we got a taxi and the town is very quaint. Turns out that we did the right thing as some of the ship tours went nowhere due to an accident on the main road. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and ... Read More
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and paid for this in february. on arrival at airport handed cabin labels for a deck 8 cabin. told rep incorrect as no deluxe cabins on that deck. was told do not worry as she would email ship and rectify. arrived at naples and cabin type not resolved complained at booking hall and told to go to reception. went to reception at 13.00 and told to come back at 15.00. at 15.00 told do not worry cabin will be sorted but officer who could resolve issue was sorting out lost luggage. when asked why not resolved from our 4.00a.m query at airport was told officer was dealing with medical emergency. went back 2 hours later and maria the customer service supervisor told us not to worry that it would all be sorted.at18.00 as the ship was sailing from naples harbour was informed that TUI had changed the cabin type and refunded money to our booking agent. was told no deluxe cabin available and would have to keep the cabin allocated.i had no communication prior to the cruise about any change to the cabin type ,i received my etickets in april stating a deluxe cabin. no refund was received prior to the cruise date. if my booking was changed why was I not notified and why was I not given the chance to cancel and get a refund. the cabin booked was a deluxe cabin with a queen bed. we received a bed that had walls / petitions on 3 sides. to get out of the bed you could not walk around the bed but had to climb over the other person. after the first night my husband slept on the settee so as not to disturb me. hardly a deluxe holiday experience. food on cruise was okay but nothing special . tried speciality once but not worth the premium charged. best place for eating was nona for pizza and fresh pasta. on arrival in Dubrovnik went to customer service and asked about shuttle buses into the old town. told not allowed to provide as local bus companies do not allow it.azamara supplied shuttle buses when i went to dubrovnik with them. feel like customer service staff lie to your face in the hope that they will just get rid of you . it is now over 2 months since my cruise and i have still not had an explanation or apology from TUI. at the end of june they refunded £294 for the difference in cabin prices Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Destinations and fitted in with work etc. Reason for choice of Cruise. From the time we checked in on board to the time we left all was perfect. Ship new, clean and great taste. Latitude restaurant was first class. We ate most meals ... Read More
Destinations and fitted in with work etc. Reason for choice of Cruise. From the time we checked in on board to the time we left all was perfect. Ship new, clean and great taste. Latitude restaurant was first class. We ate most meals here, a treat for Mum and easier with wheelchair. All staff superb, always ready to help with mum and happy in their work. Cabin we had two balcony cabins and were superb. Entertainment in main theatre was very good. We enjoyed all. Some better than others, but overall a great evening. Went to nightclub and also entertaining. We were asked by Steven if we would be models for the fashion show, which we agreed to and was an amazing evening. Such fun. Ports were good, disappointed with Messina, a shame we couldn’t dock in Taormina. But others good. Have recommended to friends for July. We thought the Director of entertainment, Matt was excellent, and always had time to speak to us when we bumped into him on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019

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