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Marella Discovery Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
522 reviews
7 Awards
Marella Discovery
Marella Discovery's Deluxe Balcony (Photo: Marella Cruises)
CC Marella Discovery Poolside Diner
TA Marella Discovery Main Atrium
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Editor Rating
Very Good
Leon Beckenham
Cruise Critic Contributor

Taking over from Marella Dream as the line's newest and largest ship, the 1,830-passenger Marella Discovery set sail on its maiden voyage from Palma de Mallorca in June 2016. It was joined by a sister vessel, Marella Discovery II, in April 2017.


Manageable-size ship with outstanding service and some excellent dining


Despite a multimillion dollar refit parts of the ship can still feel dated

Bottom Line

It's an impressive next step in the TUI/Thomson fleet and sure to have widespread appeal


Passengers : 1,830
Crew : 761
Passenger to Crew : 2.40:1
Launched : 1996
Shore Excursions : 511

Marella Discovery is not a new-build however, but a well-seasoned (1996) ship that had previously been sailing as Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. It had a $53 million overhaul in 2011, and a further six-week refit completed in April 2016, and was unveiled in its present incarnation complete with new name, new signage and new features. (Note: It was reborn as TUI Discovery, but that name was changed in October 2017. Marella, incidentally, is Celtic for "shining sea".)

The ship was reborn sporting a brand-new look and feel, with a modern wave design on the hull, brightened up interiors and a number of new features including speciality restaurants, several new bars, and redesigned public spaces. Gone is the dark and dingy casino, replaced with the light and colourful flagship Live Room bar. Dining areas sparkle (with the exception of the still rather dowdy buffet restaurant), and updated cabins are modern, clean and comfortable.

A minnow compared to most of its contemporaries, Marella Discovery won't be overwhelming for first-timers, while still managing to squeeze enough in to keep the more seasoned cruiser happy.

Marella Cruises (nee Thomson) is in fact the U.K. cruise brand of German giant, the TUI Group, but despite its German owners -- the vessel is as British as cod and chips. Expect British-brand teabags (both Yorkshire and Twinings), bottles of HP sauce, and John Smith's by the pint.

While still offering plenty of mainstream mealtime favourites, dining on the Discovery has seriously upped its game, in both its free and speciality offerings. Its main dining room, 47°, backs up glittering surrounds with excellent food and service, while the Surf & Turf Steakhouse would compare well with any land-based eatery. Service throughout the ship (from the mostly long-term serving crew) is efficient, smiley, and super-friendly -- expect to be on first name terms with some by the end of the cruise.

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Although largely lacking the way of hi-tech wizardry or state-of-the-art showstoppers, the likes of virtual dance classes and touch-screen booking technology do lend the ship a distinctively 21st-century feel. While billed as family-friendly -- and it largely is -- parents with younger kids might struggle to keep their tots entertained.

The ship was a deserved winner of the 2016 Editors' Picks Awards for Best New Ship, and the move (in 2017) to the ship going all-inclusive has cemented its appeal as a great all-rounder accessible to most budgets.

Fellow Passengers

Passengers onboard Marella Discovery hail almost exclusively from the British Isles. As well as a strong leaning towards retirees, typical cruisers also comprise working families with young kids and teens, together with the occasional young couple. Thanks to the trust in the Thomson brand (as it was), it's a popular pick with first-timers, though most passengers already have at least a few cruises under their belt.

Marella Discovery Dress Code

There's been a concerted shift to a more casual approach to dress on the Marella Discovery. While scruffy is certainly not de la mode, younger passengers lean towards a relaxed mix of jeans, t-shirts, and the odd piece of sportswear; more senior cruisers tend to stick to smart casual. There's still opportunities to break out the glad rags, with the traditional Captain's Gala Night replaced with a Dress To Impress evening; fancy gowns and tuxes aren't compulsory, though plenty seize the chance to pull on their best. The main restaurants -- 47° and Gallery 47° -- don't allow vests, shorts, or swimwear, and the two a la carte eateries and cocktail bar require collared shirts (with or without tie).

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Marella Discovery cruises to

How much does it cost to go on Marella Discovery?

Cruises on Marella Discovery start from null per person.

Is Marella Discovery a good ship to cruise on?

Marella Discovery won 7 awards over the years, including Best Overall, Best for Entertainment, and Best for Fitness & Recreation in 2019.
Marella Discovery Cruiser Reviews

Up there with the Best apart from a Mr Smith picking up my suitcase on disembarkation from the Ship

There is no doubt in my mind that I would definitely use Marella again and is excellent value for money. Thanks Nigel Cabin 6617Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

Well Organised on the Marella Discovery

Our first cruise and it wont be our last, well organised at Birmingham Airport greeted by the Tui rep given our flight boarding pass suitcases taken from us and not to be seen again until outside our cabin door onboard ship in Barbados, we upgraded from an inside cabin to a Junior Suite with balcony No 8520 we were well pleased, very impressed with the ship it had undergone a major revamp 2022 with new carpets throughout the ship, the cabins also had a face lift but for some reason all the fridges had been removed from the cabins, all the staff onboard were very friendly and couldn't do enough for you and always happy and smiling, it is all inclusive including drinks the food was good but a little repetitive, if you wanted a steak or indian food you had to pay extra which I didn't think was fair and should have been included within the all inclusive deal, but all in all we did enjoy ourselves the daily excursions are good and worth going on, the evening entertainment was a bit like Butlins it was the same faces each evening just singing different songs,Read More
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First Time Cruiser

Age 70s

Trip of a Lifetime!

We can only say Thankyou TUI & the Marella Discovery Cruise team for our trip of a lifetime!Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

Fab u lous

I got quite annoyed and defensive saying I have been on other ships, not Marella, where they missed ports and nothing was given, so i think cheers Marella thanks for making a situation a little betterRead More
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6-10 Cruises

Age 50s

Marella Cruises Fleet
Marella Discovery
Marella Discovery 2
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