174 Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) Family Cruise Reviews

Was a little nervous about cruising, also after reading some of the reviews, however we needn't have worried. As this was our first cruise we had nothing to compare it with but highly recommend this ship to anyone. Flew from ... Read More
Was a little nervous about cruising, also after reading some of the reviews, however we needn't have worried. As this was our first cruise we had nothing to compare it with but highly recommend this ship to anyone. Flew from Manchester to Palma to do the Western Mediterranean. Check in at Manchester was just like any other flight. At Palma you are directed to the transfer coaches and given an information leaflet (good to read on the coach). Takes around 20 minutes to the port. Once at the Port you are given an envelope with luggage tags with your cabin number on and boarding cards. Your suitcases are then ready for you to tag up. You don't see your cases again until they are brought to your cabin. At the port you queue to get a photo taken,and to leave your debit/credit card details. You are welcomed onboard and directed to your cabin. Cases arrived very quickly, before we went to explore the ship. As everyone has mentioned, all staff are amazing, polite and attentive, cannot do enough for you. Drinks are free flowing, don't bother with the upgrade package, there is plenty to choose from just on the all inclusive. Food was amazing at every meal. Cannot fault it. We tended to have breakfast and evening dinner at the Orion Restaurant on Deck 4. Waiter service all meals. You are made to feel very special. Dinner you can choose to sit with other passengers if you wish. We did both, and it was a lot of fun. We also used the buffets on Deck 9 & 11. Was going to try the 3 restaurants that you can pay extra (it isn't expensive), however we found the food excellent without going to these restaurants.(there is a package, bookable by reception for around £49 per person to include all 3 if you like). Entertainment is fantastic, the staff all work very hard and long hours. There is so much going on, you need to organise yourself a little timetable. Something for everyone.Our 'day at sea' was poor weather, but plenty of things to keep you amused all day/evening. The Theatre normally has an 8.30pm & 10.30pm show, we went every evening as they were so good. You need to take your seat around 15 minutes before as it does get busy. Entrances on Deck 8 & 9. Help yourself to drinks at the tables as you enter the Theatre. Waiters also come round once inside asking if you want more. Most things are on Deck 8, such as the lounges, reception, excursion booking, shops. Photographers will take your photo each evening on Deck 8 by the Madusa Lounge (if you don't want this just say so), and also when you get off at each port. Available to buy from the studio on Deck 8 by reception. We viewed ours a few days into the cruise. TIP - DON'T BUY THEM AT THIS TIME. £14.95 each. They will try to sell you the package for around £200 as they do take a lot. We waited until our very last evening. Chose 4 we really liked and made them an offer (accepted, as any money to them is better none). The swimming pools are small but adequate and sunbeds close together. We went onto the very top sundeck where there is more space, you get more sun, and can still hear the daytime entertainment and look over the rails to see what is going on. When it is your last day, you are given information in your cabin, about leaving your suitcases outside your cabin before you go to bed, they are collected by crew while you are sleeping, you see them again all lined up at the Port ready for you to claim. TIP - as you can have 10kg hand luggage, pack enough for at least one day - swimwear, day clothes, evening outfit, and miniature toiletries.... just incase. Pool Towels are provided in your cabin. TIP - as any extras you may have are added to your cabin number, ask for a 'print out' from reception part way through your cruise, so you can keep an eye on it. TIP - if you are prone to motion sickness seabands, the seasickness tablets & 'Gin Gins' hard boiled ginger sweets from Holland & Barrett help a lot. I booked 3 excursions online prior to the cruise, and booked another couple whilst onboard. If you are confident or have been before, you can easily do things yourself. I just knew that i would be the one to get lost and miss the boat. They won't wait for you, however with the excursions you are sure to be back in good time. TRIPS: PALERMO Scicily. Were due to go to Trapani, but due to the weather had to change Port. A lovely short excursion around some of the sights. NAPLES. Were due to be in Sorrento, but again due to weather had to change Port. We had already pre booked to go to Versuvius and Pompeii, all trips went ahead as normal & as we were a little closer we actually got a small refund. Loved this trip, but please note the walk up the volcano is steep & hard going on the legs or if you are unfit like me. Pompeii is amazing would have loved to spend more time there. ROME. We did Rome in a Day. A lot of walking as expected but fantastic to see the main sights, was very fast paced. Our local guide there did walk a little too fast for people to keep up & appreciate what she was saying. It was mentioned to her, so after lunch she went at a more manageable & enjoyable pace. CORSICA. Probably my most favourite place. Very green and beautiful. We visited the tortoise sanctuary. I got bitten...not by a tortoise but by some insect on my legs. Perhaps a good idea to use mozzie spray dependent on time of year. Most of the signage is in French, but doesn't stop you enjoying it. Once back at the Port we had a little stroll around the town & market and had a drink at the harbour. Was very busy, but probably due to an enormous cruise liner coming in similar time to us. PALERMOS. Sadly for some guests the Barcelona trips were unable to go ahead. I had already pre booked The Best of Costa Brava trip. To be honest this was a bit disappointing. It was quite a drive on the coach, but nothing really to look at along the way. Stopped in Lloret de Mar to visit a garden. The garden itself is lovely and overlooks the sea, however it has a steep climb up to it, even with a handrail. Some of our elderly passengers had to stay at the bottom. There are quite a number of steps to climb in the garden too. We then went on to Tossa del Mar, this was a nicer town, a few shops and bars/restaurants. You can visit a castle, but please be warned again it is quite a climb and uneven cobbles. I wish I had done the trip with the little train and medieval village instead. Have a fantastic trip everyone, you will love it Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have just returned from a 7 day Cosmopolitan Classic cruise around the Mediterranean on the Marella Discovery 2. This was my first cruise with my family which includes my husband, 27 year old daughter and my 86years old mother-in-law who ... Read More
I have just returned from a 7 day Cosmopolitan Classic cruise around the Mediterranean on the Marella Discovery 2. This was my first cruise with my family which includes my husband, 27 year old daughter and my 86years old mother-in-law who finds it difficult to walk and needs a wheelchair. The ship was beautiful, very grand and our balcony rooms were clean and comfortable. The entertainment was very good with different Broadway shows every night, a piano singer, opera singer, a band and more. The food was superb with different menus every night. All the people that worked on the boat from the cooks, the restaurant staff, the room staff, bar staff, etc were very attentive to the needs of my elderly mother-in-law and our needs, nothing was to much trouble. In fact I cannot praise them enough, they always had big smiles on their faces and made the experience for all my family a very memorable one. This was our first booking with a TUI holiday and I certainly will be using them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had been on the Marella Discovery before and even cruises on the sister ship Marella Discovery 2 last year. We decided to go on another cruise with my Parents and my Brother and Siater-in-law for my Parents 50th golden wedding ... Read More
We had been on the Marella Discovery before and even cruises on the sister ship Marella Discovery 2 last year. We decided to go on another cruise with my Parents and my Brother and Siater-in-law for my Parents 50th golden wedding anniversary. It started out ok with the only gripe was we were not able to book the Surf and Turf speciality restaurant on the day we embarked (11/10/2019), as we missed out with the speciality restaurant we went to the 47 gallery restaurant and the waiter staff were absolutely fantastic which was a consistent feeling when we dined. But this seems to be the only positive thing about the ship. Throughout the whole week the ship smelt of Fuel and a number of the Toilets were continuously blocked and smelly. The Balcony room was looking tired and used needs another refurb. The cabin staff were friendly but missed things when cleaning. The shows were very mediocre compared to previous Marella Cruises. I’m not sure I could guarantee I will cruise by Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We decided to take our first cruise around the western med as we was both 40 and wanted to do something different and the excursions had some places we have always wanted to visit. We had our three year old daughter with us. From start to ... Read More
We decided to take our first cruise around the western med as we was both 40 and wanted to do something different and the excursions had some places we have always wanted to visit. We had our three year old daughter with us. From start to finish our holiday was wonderful the check in at the start the staff before the cruise and during the cruise are amazing and are a credit to tui. Plenty of fun things to do on the ship a big pool to relax by a library lots of bar areas there is something for all ages even a kids club for the little ones. Our cabin was small but it was enough for us and our belongings we are not ones for sitting around in rooms we just use as a place to shower get ready and sleep. If we do cruise again we would opt for a bigger room just so our daughter has a little more room to play when we are in the room. The staff who cleaned our room are so friendly and we enjoyed coming back to the room every afternoon off our tours to a different animal made with our towels. there is a snack bar on board a buffet restaurant and three other restaurants one where you pay a small supplement to eat there a steakhouse. The buffet restaurant had a different theme everyday and plenty of food on offer for breakfast lunch and dinner the snack bar near the pool has same food everyday from fish and chips to burgers sandwiches and salads. There are two restaurants that are free and require no booking though at certain times are extremely busy but they will give you a ticket with a time on for you to go back. Staff again in both restaurants are super friendly and can’t do enough for you. Both restaurants have changing menus daily. There a lots of options in the all inclusive for drinks you can also pay £50 extra at the beginning of your cruise for premium drinks package but I feel there is plenty of choice on the all inclusive option with lagers from red stripe corona and peroni to Smirnoff Gordon’s gin and Morgan’s spice rum there are more options in spirits also you have plenty of choice for cocktails. The entertainment on this cruise was fantastic with the daily full of things to do if you prefer to stay on board rather than go offshore. From quizzes to dance lessons cruise ship tours etc. They have shows and entertainers every night in the different bars and a movie every night on deck by the pool at 9pm. We did about 3 of the excursions our favourite being Pisa the only problem we had about the cruise is we did not know there was a no cash policy on board now bringing £2000 spends in euros was a bit of a shock as the exchange rate wasn’t so great luckily had a bit of cash on the cards we did change some money not all. I think it was because we booked online and they do not inform you of this. Overall a brilliant first cruise and we would use tui again Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call Discovery 2 was visiting and we have had a wonderful holiday. The entertainment team put on some truly spectacular shows we especially enjoyed the Freddie Mercury show absolutely amazing, also ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call Discovery 2 was visiting and we have had a wonderful holiday. The entertainment team put on some truly spectacular shows we especially enjoyed the Freddie Mercury show absolutely amazing, also Carl the UK comedian had everyone laughing from the minute he came on stage to the minute he left and what an amazing voice he's got! The cuisine in all the restaurants is excellent, we especially enjoyed the Italian restaurant, our waiters, we're John Vicoy, Gilzen and the lovely Mary Rose, ask to be seated at Mary Rose's section of the restaraunt, I assure you they will add to your dining experience, thank you guy's and Mary Rose, you really made our holiday special and the trio of tiramasui is the best desert I have ever tasted! A mahoosive thank you to each and every crew member for making our holiday so wonderful. We will be back! Carol and Robert Parkes Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was honestly the worst cruise I’ve ever been on. It was truly awful. I had my two children with me as we couldn’t get away during the summer holidays due to work commitments. This cruise is not family friendly at all. ... Read More
This was honestly the worst cruise I’ve ever been on. It was truly awful. I had my two children with me as we couldn’t get away during the summer holidays due to work commitments. This cruise is not family friendly at all. 1. Not once was the climbing wall open 2. The indoor pool bans kids between 2-5pm covering a good part of the hot part of the day. I pay the same amount of money as everyone else, I should have the access to the same facilities. 3. The kids food at the buffet was rock hard and quite frankly absolutely bogging. It had obviously been out for a very long time. On the final day you can expect no kids buffet. 4. The pool tiles are broken and one of them actually cut my sons foot.. it’s very obvious it’s about a foot wide. The staff are friendly but the entertainment is like butlins. It’s really loud, you can’t sit at the pool and have a conversation with someone without some game show rubbish or having to listen to some pub quiz. If butlins is your thing, this is for you. Also, as a footnote, I not only saw the cruise director speak to a member of staff like crap but also the deputy cruise director do the same.. uncomfortable. Much of the entertainment was awkward and just so over the top it was ridiculous. I witnessed bar staff being rude to kids when they were asking for things at the bar. Just no need. It was overall a really poor experience and despite cruising with TUI 7 times now I won’t be going with them again. I certainly would never recommend this for a family. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
From start to finish this cruise was for my wife and i was superb, the ship, the staff, the food, every aspect of the ship was very well managed, from the pool side to the very high class restaurants nothing was to much, the staff in all ... Read More
From start to finish this cruise was for my wife and i was superb, the ship, the staff, the food, every aspect of the ship was very well managed, from the pool side to the very high class restaurants nothing was to much, the staff in all the bars and restaurants could not do enough for you and were so pleasant, the cabin we had was very spacious clean and tidy, when we returned each night it was spotless, we will be going back for another cruise, no matter what time of day there was always a different activity going on around the ship, something for everyone no matter how old or young you are, from mini golf to rock climbing learning to dance to been in a choir, in the atrium every day there an artist performing, in the theatre there was always a great show to watch, so something for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed with lots of other cruise companies in the past, we were a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise but we loved it. It was a short 10-15minute journey from Corfu airport followed by an efficient check in. You had the ... Read More
Having sailed with lots of other cruise companies in the past, we were a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise but we loved it. It was a short 10-15minute journey from Corfu airport followed by an efficient check in. You had the option of a shuttle bus or 5minute walk to the ship. The itinerary was wonderful with several memorable sailing in & out of ports such as Kotor in Montenegro and Venice ( leaving at night was magical). We went on a cruise tour to the beautiful Krka waterfalls and also half day gondola tour. There were plenty of other tour options/activities available on the dockside. The staff on board were friendly, efficient and seemed genuinely happy. The Entertainment staff led by Katy were great and the Captain was a star! There was no heavy sales pressures and unless you wanted to, you weren’t harassed by ship photographers. There were various dining options to suit everyone. Yes, the ship is a bit tired looking but it didn’t affect the service you received. We were warned about the potential wait at Corfu airport when we departed and the process was managed as well as it could be. We would definitely sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. ... Read More
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. The positives are its an older ship but has some great venues and bars which makes the personnel touches better than the bigger ships and it proved no different from our previous sailings. The services from the bars and restaurant staff were excellent. The professional entertainment was excellent although some of the best act were too late in the evening. We read on an informative letter in our cabin on arrival that they listen to the cruise feedback reviews. They had decided they would let children use the adult pools which I’m not sure was thought through. We like the lido pool on deck 9 it has a children’s pool but they all used the adult pool. Not supervised by staff and parents and just basic chaos all week. Jumping,pushing,shoving,inflatables the size of a person. Water guns the size of cannons firing all over the deck. We are not stick in the muds we have 3 children who don’t behave in this fashion. Three times we complained to reception and all we got back was they are the same throughout the ship. Ruined the holiday and experience. The sail away party the life and sole of these cruises was ruined by the life safety drill taking place at 10.00 in the evening which is unheard off. The food which was always the stalwart of the Dream has gone backwards!! Repetitive basis offering and the sweet selection was really poor. The Cruise Director spent more time trying to sell upgrades than actually information around the entertainment. The 2 hour flight delay coming and 5 hour delay going back didn’t help either. This is our 2nd Marella cruise this year which hasn’t come anywhere near expectations with delays and standards going backwards.one of the biggest frustrations is trying to get your voice heard. The Tui App on the ship is loaded with questions they want to hear rather than anything they don’t. The questionnaire they send you is just as frustrating and if you criticising too much will not let you complete. Prices going up and standards going down. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Returned on 17th Aug 2019 from a 7 day cruise on Marella Discovery 2 on its Cosmopolitan Classics Cruise. This was our first cruise and Marella were recommended to us by a relative. Our flight was from Manchester airport scheduled for ... Read More
Returned on 17th Aug 2019 from a 7 day cruise on Marella Discovery 2 on its Cosmopolitan Classics Cruise. This was our first cruise and Marella were recommended to us by a relative. Our flight was from Manchester airport scheduled for 12:50. Up on arrival at Manchester at 09:35 we joined a large queue at the TUI check in desks. There were only 2 desks open for all TUI flights that morning. WE slowly made our way through the queue only for all of us in the queue to be asked to move back whilst other flights took priority. No explanation was given by the TUI staff whose only comment was for us to go downstairs and have a coffee for at least half an hour. We all refused and just stood there beyond the barriers and were told that we had to move as we were blocking the fire exit. No one moved. We were all disgusted by the treatment we received from the TUI staff who did not seem to care or any customer service. We eventually were checked in at about 10:45. The flight was then delayed for approx. 45 minutes with the reason given that the baggage handlers were very slow at loading the aircraft. Manchester Airport is the “pits”. It is undergoing major refurbishment of the terminal 2 but will not be any better as it is still run by the worst management I have come across. It is run by the local Councils and needs to be privatised. Buffet restaurant. The good points – Plenty of choice of food, lovely views from the tables near the windows, plenty of seating/tables which were cleared very quickly by the staff. Drinks were self-service with a good choice. The bad points – Breakfast was the same every day and the bacon and sausages appeared to be very pale and undercooked. The fruit choice was also very limited and this was the only meal of the day that you could obtain a banana. Although there was a choice of food at lunch and dinner menu choices were themed foreign dishes which were cooked in sauces/herbs etc. There was no alternative choice of “plain food” with even the salad section having spices/oils on the lettuce. The fruit choice was very limited being mainly melon and pineapple. The hot “puddings” did not appeal to us as they did not look nice. The cakes were small and did not appear enticing and were the same choice every day. You were expected to use a plastic “glass” for water/ fruit juice. However although these were washed they appeared not to have been rinsed properly and therefor looked dirty and cloudy. They looked to be a health hazard to us and we therefore chose to use glasses instead where available. There is also a snack area on deck 9 where you can obtain what is described as “food on the go”. This consisted of mainly burgers/chips and sandwiches. The area stunk of burnt fat/oil and the sandwiches were the most unappetising that I have ever seen. You can eat in this area but it is directly next to a designated smoking area so you are subjected to cigarette smoke as you eat. Other free restaurants. The good points – 2 to choose from, one of which was sort of a general choice and the other a themed Italian menu. We did not use any of these as I do not eat Italian as I have a pasta allergy and the general themed restaurant menu consisted again of everything being cooked in sauces/herbs etc. Main pool. This was on deck 9. It is a small pool that is filled with filtered seawater. It was extremely busy and people were on sunbeds all around it. There was also a pool bar. There was a constant noise of either loud music or the entertainment team shouting through microphones and organising games. My impression was that it was like Butlin’s on sea but I soon revised this to Pontin’s on sea. It was dreadful. Bars. These were mainly situated on deck 4. They were adequately furnished and appeared OK but in the light of day the upholstery needed a good clean. Bar service was prompt and there was also waiter service. The glasses that drinks were served in were cloudy and appeared dirty. I lost count of the times I had to request a clean glass. There seems to be a problem with the dishwashing as it does not give a good finish to glassware. Although the bars were on deck 4 there were no toilets on this deck. You either had to go down 1 deck or up 2 decks for a toilet. This is very bad design and needs addressing. This is an old ship which was purchased second hand from Royal Caribbean and in my opinion is in need of modernisation and decent planning of facilities. At the end of the cruise all suitcases needed to be placed outside the cabin by 02:00 and cabins had to be vacated by 09:00. This is very bad and appears to be bad customer service. In this day and age with computer technology they should be able to stagger cabin vacation around flight times etc. There is no need for every cabin to be vacated by 09:00. Overall we enjoyed the cruise but would be very wary of booking another one with TUI. They seem to be aiming for the bottom end of the market both price and service wise. If we ever cruise again it will be with a more up market organisation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have been on over 20 cruises mostly with NCL, MSC, RCI and P&O. In April I sailed on this ship on the repositioning cruise via Suez canal. I booked it again in August for my recently widowed friend and her son as I had enjoyed the ... Read More
I have been on over 20 cruises mostly with NCL, MSC, RCI and P&O. In April I sailed on this ship on the repositioning cruise via Suez canal. I booked it again in August for my recently widowed friend and her son as I had enjoyed the previous cruise in April. The friendliness of the very hard working crew is phenomenal. The performers in the Broadway Theatre are the best I have seen on a cruise ship, the standard of the shows is excellent. They really should be in west end shows. It is a smaller ship that is very easily navigated from bars, theatre to dining rooms and cabins. We are mainly in the main dining room as the food and service was so good we didn't want to go anywhere else. Captain Chris and Katy the cruise director work so hard to ensure that all guests are well looked after. We will certainly be booking the Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. ... Read More
On the boat they are constantly trying to sell you addition services. For example, when we were dining someone came up to use trying to sell a steak plate for an additional 25 euro. This was insulting as we were dining in the restaurant. On check-out we had to contribute 70 Euro per person as a service charge (for what we do not know) and they automatically put in our contribution to Unicef. I do not need a third party to force me to contribute to charity. The staff were friendly but at one point they said we had ordered too many drinks on our package. We had the unlimited drinks package and this is what you get. This company is very tricky and once on the boat expect to be a victim to their attempts to extract money from you. For example, the photographer will come up to your group take photos and later you may purchase these for 35 Euro each. We were so tired of being asked all the time. We will not travel with MSC ever again Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have been on 3 merella cruises before but this was the first cruise on the Merella Discovery 2. What a fabulous time we had from the moment we set foot on the ship in Palma . Secrets of the Mediterranean was brilliant, seeing Scilly, ... Read More
We have been on 3 merella cruises before but this was the first cruise on the Merella Discovery 2. What a fabulous time we had from the moment we set foot on the ship in Palma . Secrets of the Mediterranean was brilliant, seeing Scilly, the Amalfi coast and Sardinia was great. The captain told us one day that we would be passing Capri and also the Bay of Naples in the distance and also around 10pm that night we also saw a live volcano erupting, something we will probably never see again. Everything was brilliant. The ship itself was so clean and always something to do. The food was fabulous and was plenty of choice in the different restaurants available. We had a balcony cabin, the first time we have had one and worth the extra. All the staff on the Discovery 2 were excellent but I would like to mention 3 in particular, Emily who kept our cabin 6544 impeccably clean and tidy and nothing too much trouble for her, always a smile. Thank you Emily. Alexander the barman/waiter in the Live room, always so helpful, couldnt please enough and remembered all our drinks. Thank you Alexander. Lastly Tamara in the Coffee Port, what a wonderful, socialable, lovely member of staff, always a smile and so helpful when we were trying to choose what to try each day. Thank you Tamara. Already looking for our cruise for 2020 and hopefully Discovery 2 again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
A great two week Aegean cruise. Wonderful destinations, fantastic food and attentive staff. Cabins were kept clean at all times and the beds were turned down at night lovely touch. Chris the captain walked the ship every day and ... Read More
A great two week Aegean cruise. Wonderful destinations, fantastic food and attentive staff. Cabins were kept clean at all times and the beds were turned down at night lovely touch. Chris the captain walked the ship every day and would often stop and chat sometimes show people to their tables the restaurant. This was a lovely touch, he even got involved in entertaining us one night with an officer Cupid dance! Entertainment was amazing always something to watch. We loved the daily afternoon quiz it became a ritual. My two teenagers had a great time at the hideout teen club. Housem the club leader became a true friend to them. They met some lovely friends and had a great two weeks. I couldn’t fault this Cruise we had an amazing time. I would recommend a stop in Venice as we left we had one of the entertainment crew singing opera it was amazing, I will remember it forever brought me to tears. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second cruise on Discovery 2 and we rebooted the cabins we had last year. 6533 an inside cabin for our teenage boys. It's a really good inside cabin. Lots of storage and a small sofa in the room as well. 6534 ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Discovery 2 and we rebooted the cabins we had last year. 6533 an inside cabin for our teenage boys. It's a really good inside cabin. Lots of storage and a small sofa in the room as well. 6534 balcony cabin again good size for two of us. Both kept tidy by our cabin steward. Deck 6 is a good position on the ship between the coffee port and the front stair cases and lifts. Whole ship was kept so tidy the staff all work hard and are great team. Bit of a shame that the entertainment was identical to the shows on last years cruise .....festivals....Simon & Garfunkle .......strictly.....but we watched them and enjoyed. Food. Everyone has different taste but the food here will not disappoint. We ate breakfast in the buffet each morning .....choices of continental ...full fry up....chef specials and omelettes or fruit. You can have it in 47 the main dining room if you wish. If on board lunch can be a quick snack or full blown meal the choice is there. We ate at the 2 waiter service restaurants in the evening's and paid supplement to eat in surf and turf.......gorgeous steak....a must try. We did go with tuxedo and long dress and so did quite a few fellow passengers. We visited ports and did a mix of on our own independent tours on foot and we booked some must see visits..i.e. Vatican and Sistine Chapel and Pompeii ....felt a bit let down with the Pompeii trip so definitely do you homework on what exactly Marella and selling the trip as. I would diy a trip next time. This was our third Marella cruise but the lack of change in itinerary is putting me off booking another. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Absolutely fantastic first cruise. I Love Marella Discovery 2, in my opinion the perfect size ship for our first experience, not overwhelmingly big but still with lots of choice and plenty of things to do. The Crew went above and beyond ... Read More
Absolutely fantastic first cruise. I Love Marella Discovery 2, in my opinion the perfect size ship for our first experience, not overwhelmingly big but still with lots of choice and plenty of things to do. The Crew went above and beyond for us. The Food was fantastic and the entertainment was incredible. I travel with a wheelchair and was worried about getting about but the crew were so helpful, the weather was rough on the first day and I struggled but there was always someone on hand to help. I even got table service in the self service restaurant so that I didn’t have to carry anything. The cabin was very comfortable and the chocolate on our pillow every evening a lovely touch. We only had a week and there was so much that I didn’t get to try, too much to fit into one week. I Can’t wait to book again. TUI excursions were very well organised and the guides very informative. We stuck with the basic all inclusive package and this still gave plenty of choice. Thank you Captain and crew. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
From the minute we arrived in the airport everything went smoothly up to when we arrived back a week later. Tui staff extremely organised and helpful. Would like to give a special mention to the bartender Philip "beep beep - love is ... Read More
From the minute we arrived in the airport everything went smoothly up to when we arrived back a week later. Tui staff extremely organised and helpful. Would like to give a special mention to the bartender Philip "beep beep - love is in the air" and Lewis our fantastic cabin house keeper. Nothing was too much for Lewis. Both guys were so accommodating and super friendly. They deserve recognition for all the hard work and politeness they showed us all. Food was perfect for all my family. Great variety. Broadway shows in the evening were not great, we expected so much more. The entertainment team again just our opinion screeched through many of if not all the songs they sang. Many people walked out during each show. (Hate to give a negative comment) regardless it does not warrent a rate reduction in my opinion because you can see they work very hard. We thought it was such a nice touch from Shane to bring many of the team on stage the evening before so we could say thank you to all the wonderful staff. It was emotional. In a lovely way. These guys work so hard to give us the hard earned holiday. We did a few excursions all booked via Tui all went so easy and very reasonable. We would not recommend purchasing WiFi, £40 for one day and signal kept dropping more so than having it. Went to reception twice got no satisfaction. So it really was a waste of money. My daughter had a facial and I had a wash and blow dry in the spa. Both were fantastic, very well priced also. Both lovely ladies that pampered us. We have not knocked any points off for our cruise as overall we enjoyed immensely, thank you to all marella dream. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The transfers from start to finish, were smooth.We even were allowed to move cabin and stay on later on the last day, to save us having to wait at the airport for hours for our flight.This cost £35 per person and was well worth it. ... Read More
The transfers from start to finish, were smooth.We even were allowed to move cabin and stay on later on the last day, to save us having to wait at the airport for hours for our flight.This cost £35 per person and was well worth it. This was the best cruise I have been on.I liked that it was much smaller ship and that it was older.The staff are lovely and can't do enough for you.The food was good and plenty of choice.The cabin was spotless and the lad that did for us, Lewis, deserves a special mention, for being so good at his job and going out of his way to help us when ever he could. The ship was clean and tidy and as it's an older ship yes some of the toilets could have a bit of a whiff about them at times.However given the amount of people they serve I think that can be expected , on a whole though they to were spotless and clean. I really enjoyed it, and hope to go again next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We choose the cruise as the itinerary was great, and thought we'd give Marella a go, we hadn't before. We usually cruise P&O and there is a world of difference, whilst the staff on board are great and helpful, the service ... Read More
We choose the cruise as the itinerary was great, and thought we'd give Marella a go, we hadn't before. We usually cruise P&O and there is a world of difference, whilst the staff on board are great and helpful, the service and understand of the staff is very poor. The food is very poor, like a pizza hut buffet but being charged £1000+, the dietary requirements aren't catered for and generally the ship is very disorganised. The customer service from Marella before and after the cruise was poor. Its so hard because whilst the staff on board are generally good but can't communicate so easily, and those who can do not understand the difference between running a beach holiday and a cruise. Shame on you If Marella keep this up their business will be no existent except for cheap cruises for which they are almost there You can really tell the difference between a proper cruise line like P&O versus a business like Thomson Cruises/Marella, which doesn't quite understand how to run a cruise business. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and ... Read More
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and Southern France. We chose the ship and Marella (Tui) because it went where we wanted to go when we were able to go - we haven’t cruised with Marella before. First - some shout outs to the exceptional service from our cabin staff - led by Faiden - who looked after us all with great care throughout our fortnight. We particularly enjoyed the e-bike excursions led by Niko and Ashleigh - they led us through the sights and the beaches of Portimao, Corsica and St Raphael. We also used some of the coach based excursions- which were comfortable and as expected. We appreciated the peace of mind of all inclusive drinks - the upgrade was not necessary- and saw no evidence of it being abused by our fellow passengers. We were keen patrons of the coffee port, where we always enjoyed friendly service from Tamara. We ended up consistently using the Islands buffet for meals, for the pure convenience and because we tended to be earlier to rise and to bed than most, so that we tended to want our meals earlier than the other restaurants opened. We had breakfast a couple of times in the waiter service 47 degrees dining room - and it was a better experience. Islands certainly has a variety of food, but it has to be said that some of it was not very tasty - which is probably an inevitable consequence of the cooking methods required to produce food on that scale. Nonetheless we opted for convenience and there was usually something memorable on our plate each night. We frequently used the gym and adjoining spa/sauna services which were well equipped and set up. We preferred the Glass house indoor pool area which was quieter and cooler than the main pool area. In summary, the cruise delivered the experience we had hoped for with some of the staff making it that little bit better than we had expected. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We went on a family cruise to celebrate our 48th Anniversary and husband’s 70th birthday. It was a long way to go for an average cruise.The ship was crowded and people pushed and shoved and constantly.We felt crowded and rushed. The ... Read More
We went on a family cruise to celebrate our 48th Anniversary and husband’s 70th birthday. It was a long way to go for an average cruise.The ship was crowded and people pushed and shoved and constantly.We felt crowded and rushed. The best part of the cruise was our steward. He was a lovely young man who was so caring and polite and attentive. Our cabin was very comfortable and very clean. The buffet on Deck 16 was good.It served dinner only.The buffet on Deck 8 was always noisy and overcrowded.We only ate once in the restaurant Silver Sands. The hot food was cold and service very slow.It was also very noisy. The ship lets off passengers and brings on new passengers at each port so muster has to be done everyday for the new passengers so movement is restricted each time that day for the existing passengers.It was kind of like being on a “bus” run, but on a ship! I will stick with Royal Caribbean and Holland America and pass on MRC. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise across many lines and my wife's 12th. With us was our 9-year-old daughter on her 3rd cruise. We booked in a balcony (non-Yacht Club) and had a rate I would call exceptional (helped out by the fact that our daughter sailed for free). Overall Review: Our cruise on MSC Fantasia was a great vacation but mainly due to the itinerary. The ship is fine, seemingly heavy on bars and lounges with (as expected) a heavily-European crowd, mainly French and Italian with some from the UK and a limited few from the US. The cabin was in great condition and looked identical to those we've had on Celebrity and other lines (minus the TV which as other reviewers have noted was comically small but we only turned it on once). Should be noted that Fantasia is due to have a refit sometime in 2019-20. The crew as good overall... top-tier managers and supervisors really get customer service and there are some at the rank-and-file level that do as well but generally service is average at best and can have issues. Our dining room service experience, though, was exceptional and one of the absolute best we've had on any line in a main dining room. Food, as noted in other reviews, was average at best and could be below average in areas. Pastas and pizzas were good as expected but cost-control methods elsewhere take their toll on the overall quality. The upside was really the itinerary which was amazing but the downside was the constant feeling of being upsold, even more so than on other lines. From the drink package being pushed at the beginning to the specialty dining to - and this was a surprise to me - a €24 upgrade to add a lobster tail to your entree on Gala Night. The increases, in my mind, were extreme on some notes (such as the lobster or a €68 per person Chef's-Table tasting menu in the specialty) but some things were surprisingly low. While a can of soda (Pepsi by the way) was €3.50, a glass of wine was only €5 and bottles of wine were from €25 to €50 with a strong list of decent Italian wines. In short it was a great value and itinerary. We would consider sailing MSC again on an itinerary that gave us in-port dining options but would avoid the line for itineraries like the Caribbean where in-port dining is more difficult and/or expensive. Dining: Putting this first because, frankly, this is the one with the most ups and downs and as a self-confessed "foodie" it's an important part of my vacation experience. Food in the dining room for dinner was good to very good - the pastas were the natural highlight for an italian cruise line. Cooked to perfection with delicious sauces... if you see a pasta dish you might like, order. Portions could be small (one dish had three medium-sized ravioli) but waiters understand and are ready with backups. Meat dishes are hit-and-miss... all are sliced, mostly very thinly, with good to very good sauces. Give up the concept of ordering your steak to temp (unless you opt for the €24 T-bone upsell) - you're getting a slice. If you skip the sauce be prepared for dry meat... not the best. Seafood is good but they're obviously cost-conscious with their portion sizes - a seafood risotto featured one langostine, two shrimp and about 5 small bay scallops. Desserts were OK - but there are always free pastries next to the gelato bar (delicious and priced the same you'll see in port). In an odd twist though – there was a stunning lack of chicken dishes on any menu. Not a downside, just an interesting note. Now... beyond the dining room.... essentially, you're going to have the buffet. This is an insane zoo of a place with a feel that’s straight out of Lord of the Flies. The crowds are everywhere even at non-peak times and the flow is poorly laid out. Essentially there are 6-7 areas (pizza, hot items, bakery, salad, desserts, vegetarian/healthy) that are repeated throughout the expanse of the space. The food there is average to below-average with the exception of the pizza which is quite good (skip the charcoal though - bad attempt IMO). Breakfast is repeated daily so if you don't like it on day one you're gonna be in for a long week. Juice is offered at breakfast… should be “juice” as the orange juice tasted suspiciously like Tang. But the big fun was to happen on the at-sea day – which was chaos from about 7am until 3pm. The food was average as noted but what was insane was the pushing, shoving, shouting and lack of order of the other guests. All three of us – including my daughter – were shoved or pushed or had people cut in front of us in buffet lines as we waited patiently for our turn in a station. There was neither a right-to-left nor a left-to-right flow of the pax in each section but rather an olly-olly-oxenfree cacophonous scrum. Beverages at lunch were limited to water or the bar – unless there was some leftover “juice” from breakfast. However, service in the buffet though is good - lots of waiters around ready to take your money for a beverage. We attempted lunch in the dining room on the at-sea day (our 2nd day) but based on the choices and quality we opted to eat in port on the rest of the days and that - not shockingly - turned out to be the absolute highlight of the food on our trip. We did not attempt dinner in the buffet but a walk thru there showed some of the entrees in the dining room available with some other regular choices - and the aforementioned pizza available from 11am until Midnight so if you're in a pinch grab a slice. Lastly, one of our group needs a gluten-free diet. We had selected MSC in part knowing that they dedicated themselves to a quality GF diet and options. While generally true in the dining room there were elements that were phoned in… for example the same exact “dessert of the day” was served three days in a row. It was a simple sponge cake with chocolate cream (days 2-4 after the first day being the same cake with a strawberry cream) which was fine but by the third day it was redundant. It wouldn’t have been hard for the staff to swap chocolate for other flavors daily at a minimum. GF options were present but limited in the buffet and we didn’t note any GF pizza options. GF bread was always available in the dining room and some wasn’t bad. Cabin: Shortest section... it's a fine cabin. We had a balcony on deck 11 and found it to be just like any other standard balcony. No complaints on the cabin. However, our service in the cabin was a low point. Staff on the cruise, much like many of the guests, rotate on and off at each port meaning sometimes your waiter or room steward will leave mid-cruise which happened to us. Our attendant got off mid-cruise and was replaced with someone who actually smiled and was accessible. However before that we had a request for an extra blanket for the pull-out bed my daughter was in... which took four calls and over an hour to happen when we were initially promised 15 minutes. In typical fashion on the 4th call we were told a supervisor was notified and we had the blanket within 2 minutes (see below). Embarkation/Disembarkation: Really one of the hidden highlights of the cruise. Since the ship has a rolling embarkation/disembarkation as it sails there wasn’t a huge crush. We arrived in the terminal in Mallorca about 11:30am and were on the ship by about 12:30pm. One nice touch – you just turn in your paperwork and have your ID checked and then walk on the ship. Keys are waiting in your room and you simply visit a self-service kiosk to activate payment on your cruise card. Very efficient. One note – when you get to the terminal make SURE to get a check-in number. Find an MSC rep and get one – some people snuck past only to get to the embarkation area and find themselves without a number and pushed to the back of the queue. Disembarkation was by deck and was equally fast…. At least we think it was. We had an issue with formal photos not being ready (see below) that held us up. But we walked off the ship, found our luggage in the terminal and went on our way in about 5 mins from the time the photos were sorted. Ports/Itinerary: This is why we loved the cruise. The itinerary was amazing. We left from Mallorca then to Ibiza, at sea, Naples, Livorno, Genoa and finally to Marseille. We flew into Mallorca the night before and overnighted there before checking into the ship on Monday. After Embarkation we decided to go into town. In a silly move we opted for the MSC shuttle to the town – WOW, what a ripoff. We paid nearly €50 for the three of us to ride in and out – that’s more than a round-trip to the AIRPORT would have been in a taxi. Lesson learned. Palma was amazing, great to walk thru the city and shops and stopped at a little café for some great tapas. The next day was Ibiza… we planned on doing very little and decided to go into town. This time we skipped the shuttle and instead of spending €48 for the three of us we spent €12 on a local bus that was a 2-minute walk past the MSC shuttle. This was a pattern we saw in every port – a VERY expensive MSC option that should be avoided at all cost. We expected very little and had a great visit to the cathedral/fort on the top of the hill and lunched at a café in the old section of town. If you have kids there’s a nice little playground right along the main street by the bus drop off – great to let them burn off some energy! Then we had our at-sea day. This is where the other passengers really “shined.” The day started in the gym which opens at 6am. There’s a limited number of cardio (6 treadmills, 4 bikes, 2 elliptical and 2 arm bikes) and a decent set of weight machines and dumbbells. I never saw a wait for devices but each has a computer-enforced 20 minute time limit. Once that was over at 6:45 the crew was setting out chairs for the day and just about as fast as they were being sat down people were reserving with towels. We were ready for this but it was a near feeding frenzy. It should note that the starboard side of the pool deck is smoker-friendly so if you’re bothered by smoke it can be troublesome. The bigger problem on the deck was the music. Starting about 7:30 with “stretching” and then going well into the morning the crew was BLASTING music at concert-level volumes. If you’re looking for a quiet day poolside look elsewhere. We actually moved from the outdoor pool to the quieter indoor pool to avoid the deafening roar. Formal night was this night and there was a wide variety of attire. A few men were in black tie and some women were in gowns but they were the exception. I wore a black suit and tie, my wife was in a lovely dress and our daughter had a very cute semi-formal gown and we were at- or slightly over-dressed. Despite the “no shorts” rule in the dining room we even saw people in shorts in the dining room on formal night. Most guests were wearing jackets or dresses but there outliers on all ends of the spectrum. Photographers were set up around the ship and were very available. The photos they took were good to very good and prices were reasonable for cruise photos – they have a €30 option to add on to any package that gives you digital copies of any photos you buy which is a nice option. In Naples we had opted for a Family tour of Pompeii. When we got back from the pool on the at-sea day a note in our room informed us that our tour had been cancelled. A visit to the shore excursion desk later it was determined that there weren’t enough people who were interested in that tour so it was cancelled. We were “offered” to join the more expensive standard Pompeii tour without any discount or apology. So we took the larger tour. Note on tours on MSC – they are LARGE. Typically 45-60 people per group with a single leader. Guests are given headsets so they can hear the guides (par for the course really) and the guides are informative. However. We quickly learned the difference in the “regular” and “family” tour when 1/3 of the 2 hour tour in Pompeii focused on the brothels and prostitution in the city. Fun explaining that one to a 9-year-old. More on that later. After the Pompeii visit we had time to wander into Naples and visit the oldest pizza restaurant – dating back to 1738 – for a delicious lunch, opting to skip past the more tourist-oriented places in the city square. We did wander past the beautiful castle in the city center through the square for an amazing Italian coffee and gelato before returning to the ship. Next was Livorno and we had opted for a Florence & Pisa combination tour. Again, 50 of us were loaded on a coach and herded into Florence. Given that both the tower and the museums in Florence have timed tickets and the tour couldn’t tell us if we were going to Pisa and then Florence or the reverse we were unable to visit the museums or walk up in the tower on this tour. Not the end of the world but if I had known that right in the cruise terminal there were several car rental companies I would have rented a car and done a self-tour. The tour was informative but S L O W. Once we did get to Florence it took 5 minutes to get the group to cross the street given the number of people, their lack of speed and the shortness of traffic lights. Sensing this we left the group opting to meet back at the meeting spot later in the day… which was a wonderful choice. Our daughter wanted to see some specific sites (she’s a science fan so seeing Galileo’s grave and other sites were a must) including the Duomo exterior and the copy of David in the city square. After Florence it was back into the bus for the ride to Pisa – after we lost 30 mins waiting on several couples to get to the bus. Our guide simply extended the overall time of the tour which gave us more time in Pisa but necessitated us going from the bus directly to dinner. After Livorno it was on to Genoa. We opted to take the train to Portofino on our own which was wonderful. A quick walk to the train station about 5 mins from the ship and we hopped a train to Santa Margharita where you take a bus to Portofino. The train was about €12 per person round trip and the bus was another €4 per person each way. Portofino was insanely crowded and expensive but having checked that off our bucket list we came back to Santa Margharita and had a fantastic seaside lunch before taking the train back. One note – if you do take the train you MUST validate your ticket on wall-mounted time punch machines BEFORE boarding the train. They are not well marked and you need to seek them out or face a €50 per ticket fine on board. The last stop was Marseilles. Another booked tour, another cancelled tour, this time the Avignon/Aix-en-Provence duo tour. This was cancelled for a lack of English-language participation. So, again, we went on our own to Avignon which was WELL worth the visit. The tour at the Palais du Papes was the best self-guided tour we’ve ever done anywhere with an amazing virtual-reality-type tablet experience that gave the history and perspective of the amazing palace. The second formal night was on the Marseille night – slightly inconvenient as we were disembarking in Mallorca the next morning but still nice. Service: As noted we had an issue with the shore excursions with two cancelled and the non-family tour of Pompeii not preparing us nor noting the content. I discussed this with the Shore Excursions staff and was initially told that nothing could be done. When I escalated this to a manager my issue was quickly and efficiently handled and a reasonable credit was posted to our account. This was a trend we saw throughout the ship. One night at dinner we were approached by a photographer who instructed us to cluster for a photo – which we politely declined saying “No thank you” to which he audibly scoffed and uttered a curse word under his breath as he turned and left. When I raised this to the photo manager as a point of information he was appalled and pledged to make sure the employee was instructed differently. Lastly, we had photos made on the 2nd formal night and ended up picking a package of photos from both nights. Since we were early seating they had proofs done by 10pm and promised to have final prints ready in the morning at reception. In the morning we found that one of the three pictures we needed to get was of us but the other two most clearly were not of our family. When I raised this with the agent at the reception desk it was met with a “I’m sorry” and nothing much else. However, when I raised this to a manager she worked diligently to find someone from the photo team to finally answer the phone (took 30 minutes just to find someone with the keys) who then re-printed the photos including a couple of “extras” slipped in for goodwill. It seems clear that MSC is working hard to establish a culture of service at the top levels and has trained senior staff to embody this culture. However, it’s not made it all the way down to the full crew. Some are amazing (like our dining room staff) while others are uncaring. As a passenger know that when you escalate politely and professionally things will be handled quickly and effectively. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Hi everybody, First, sorry for my english. I hope it'll be understandable. To make it easy i will highlight some importants points. Embarkation was good, faster than on my first MSC Poesia cruise. Ship is new but its ... Read More
Hi everybody, First, sorry for my english. I hope it'll be understandable. To make it easy i will highlight some importants points. Embarkation was good, faster than on my first MSC Poesia cruise. Ship is new but its qualities are like "Made in China" ship. The cabin was good, but always cold. I put the hot air at maximum with very poor results, but that was the same thing in all the ship emplacements. You have to wear a jacket or a sweater everywhere in the ship to keep your body temperature. The food was always the same, and the quality is average-low. There is only free water in the buffet restaurants, and you have to pay a 15% tax in all drinks apart from the tips of 70€ per adult and 35€ for kids. If you choose the restaurant included diner there's no free water and you have to pay for all drinks. They charged us 34.95€ for the welcome photo and we never received it and never claimed neither. We have to go to the photo shop to cancel the charge. Spectacles in the theater were awful and usually amateur singers, but that's my personal opinion. Captain invited us to a cocktail for the clients of two or more MSC cruises that consisted in a bunch of chips and nuts and a cup of extra sugary fruit juice (same that in breakfast) and a cup of cheap cider. No animation, no special show, only captain toasting for 1 minute and ciao bambino. The service was poor in general. They forget to clean our room one day, and we called several times to reception with no answer, and so on. Finally i do not recommend this cruise, but is my opinion and my experience. Next year we will travel with Royal Caribbean. Thanks for your time. manuel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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
Sail Date October 2018
This was a great itinerary on a really charming ship. The ship is big enough to offer almost anything, yet small enough to feel familiar and intimate. The Explorer war recently refurbished and previously enjoyed a very popular career as ... Read More
This was a great itinerary on a really charming ship. The ship is big enough to offer almost anything, yet small enough to feel familiar and intimate. The Explorer war recently refurbished and previously enjoyed a very popular career as "Mein Schiff 1". As Germans we were probably from a somewhat unusual customer group for Marellla, as they specifically cater for the UK market and almost any passenger we spoke to was from the UK. There are a lot of bars and eating venues in the ship, the most popular seemed to be the "Squid and Anchor", a pub themed bar. Unlike all other cruises we have been on, there was no resident band that served a regular dance venue. There was a normal disco, called Indigo that also featured a stunning bar, but suffered somewhat from very chilly air conditioning. The entertainment theater was very nice and the two shows we were attending were of excellent quality. Marella's all inclusive is OK with lots of beers to chose from and the wine was quite drinkable as well. Their regular cocktails are nothing worth drinking, though. You could upgrade to a premium drink package that we considered not worthwhile The pools were nice but by all means very cold. The children's area has a nice little poll but is quite small, but since the cruise was not during school holidays there was enough space for our two year old daughter to play. Our favorite place in the ship was the serviced restaurant called Latitude 53. It served basically the same dishes you could get at the buffet restaurant but in a much nicer environment with lots of space around your table and nice views through the large windows at the back of the ship. The food was quite good as well, with snacks being available until late at night. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018

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