Marella Explorer

(5:30 p.m. BST) -- Next month, Marella Cruises will launch its newest and largest ship, Marella Explorer. In addition to 13 new production shows and a link-up with luxury spa brand Champneys, the 1,924-passenger vessel boasts 10 restaurants, including new sushi, pizza and tapas options.

Further, the ship will have the largest inside cabins in the fleet, along with more than a dozen family balcony cabins. Plus, a new combination bar, casino and nightclub concept -- dubbed Indigo -- will house an impressively high-tech DJ emulator, which is the only one of its kind in the UK.

Marella Explorer has entered a four-week dry dock prior to its May launch. Get the details.

Marella caught us up with the ship's most senior officers, who have shared what they're looking forward to when they take charge of the newest member of the fleet.

Captain Peter Harris

What excites you most about Marella Explorer?
"The new additions on the ship, particularly Indigo Bar which looks stunning in concept and will provide something different for our guests. Also the fact she is the first new ship under the Marella Cruises name and continues the move to offering customers more choice and variety."

Which itinerary are you most looking forward to?
"The itinerary I'm most looking forward to is still a little way off, its cruising to the Baltic and the Fjords out of the UK. Before then, however, I am looking forward to cruising out of Barbados in the winter."

Why did you want to work on Marella Explorer?
"I wanted to work on Marella Explorer, as it's a great honour to bring out a new ship. We have a really friendly and great team working together to launch a wonderful ship that will continue to take Marella Cruises forward into a bright future on the shining sea."

General Manager Richard Godwin

What excites you most about working on Marella Explorer?
"The 'buzz' and excitement around everything that goes into launching a new ship is infectious. It's great to see all the hard work paying off and all the ideas and concepts coming together."

Which itinerary are you most looking forward to?
"Highlights of the Mediterranean -- delivers what it says on the tin. Some of the most exciting ports, customer favourites and the opportunity to explore the gems that are Rome, Florence, Pisa and Barcelona."

Why did you want to work on Marella Explorer?
"I have played a major part in the delivery of new and rebranded ships throughout the years, and the buzz around a new ship makes each day interesting and exciting. There are different aspects that appeal to me when launching a ship. I enjoy seeing both the onboard and shore teams working together towards the same goal, as this makes a motivating team environment, and the variety around the work keeps me inspired."

Chief Engineer Thomas Zinnert

What excites you most about working on Marella Explorer?
"Being part of the great team getting the 'lady' through the refurbishment and into service."

Which itinerary are you most looking forward to?
"My favourite itinerary would have to be the Fjords in Norway for 2019; the landscape is simply amazing."

Why did you want to work on Marella Explorer?
"Taking over a ship is a very interesting and challenging project. It's fantastic to be a part of the process from day one, and seeing all the changes and hard work pay off on her first sailing is really rewarding."

--By Cruise Critic Staff