Kerry Spencer
Cruise Critic Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Marella Explorer 2 Entertainment & Activities

Theater

The ship's Broadway Show Lounge on Deck 6 & 7 is home to 12 high-energy musical productions. There are two shows per evening and each show is only featured once per weeklong sailing. 

The shows, produced by "ted" (the entertainment group, feel worthy of a West End stage -- particularly new show “Revive: The Forgotten Circus”, which sees acrobatics incorporated into a theatrical extravaganza that also involves vocalists, ballet and mime artists. The other new show, “Lovestruck”, is a modern love story with references to the woes of online dating. Other shows feature tributes to specific genres or eras, such as “Rockology”, featuring classic rock, and “Soul”. While the vocal talent is very good, the stand out dance performances are extraordinary.

A comedian also performs in the theatre on Sunday evenings, when the entertainment cast take the night off. The weekly crew show also takes place at the theatre.

During the day, the theatre is occasionally used for movie screenings.

Daily Fun

Expect daily fun around the pool with Marella cruise staff leading activities such as ice carving, bingo, trivia, pool games and daytime shows. Line dancing and table tennis tournaments are a regular occurrence and crafts also appears on the programme -- typically taking place in The Coffee Port -- such as still-life drawing and water colour painting.

At Night

Most of the nightly entertainment is contained within the ship’s venues, though there’s a Sail Away party, Movies by Moonlight open-air cinema and the Silent Disco that sometimes takes place on the Pool Deck.

Indigo Casino (Deck 12), offering slot machines and card tables, is located within Indigo Bar & Club. Casino tournaments are listed in the daily Cruise News programme.

Marella Explorer 2 Bars and Lounges

Aperitif (Deck 6):  A centrally located bar between Kora La and Surf & Turf, this venue is styled as a pre- and post-dinner drinks venue that is most popular after 7 p.m. It feels like an after-dark spot -- perfect for couples -- with a pianist playing in the evening and its own cocktail menu, with specialties such as Espresso Martini.

Flutes (Deck 6): This new-to-the-line bar is another popular pre- or post-dinner drinks venue. What makes Flutes unique is the convenient, quirky "Press for Champagne" buttons dotted around the venue. The menu specialises in Champagne, Prosecco and Bellini cocktails. Drinks here are chargeable, varying from a £2.50 supplement for a Bellini to £9/£43 for a glass/bottle of Champagne.

Squid & Anchor (Deck 7): The ship’s pub has more of a lounge feel to it -- taking up a spacious section at the aft of the ship. There’s ample seating and a stage area where activities and entertainment, such as bingo, trivia and singers performing in the evening takes place. It’s also the spot for karaoke -- or bandaoke if you prefer singing as part of a group.

Gin & Whiskey Bar (Deck 7): Located within a section of Squid & Anchor, as the name suggests, this venue specialises in gin and whisky and provides a small bar with stools and a high-table, also with stools. The menu includes a variety of different gins, whiskies and cocktails. There’s a £3 supplement.

19th Hole (Deck 7): Located next to the Broadway Show Lounge, 19th Hole has a golf theme, featuring a golf simulator experience, golf-inspired cocktails, craft beer and seating in fun golf buggies. The simulator experience is aimed at golfing enthusiasts, costing £25 for one hour, and featuring 48 of the world’s best courses.

Pool Bar (Deck 11): A convenient bar for passengers to order drinks during the day, while sunbathing or lounging on the pool deck.

Indigo Bar & Club (Deck 12): This huge space offers plenty of seating and 360-degree ocean views with cocktail-making session, live music, a DJ and dance floor for dancing late into the night. The bar offers the Indigo by BarWizards cocktail menu, which includes some of the most fun and inventive cocktails onboard that take inspiration from destinations around the world.

The Shack (Deck 12): Located directly above Snack Shack and overlooking the pool, The Shack offers an informal spot to order daytime drinks.

Marella Explorer 2 Outside Recreation

Pools

There is one large pool with four whirlpools next to it on Deck 11. The space is where all the action happens during the day. It’s the most popular spot for sunbathing with plenty of loungers and seating either side of the pool.

Recreation

Explorer 2’s recreational offering is pared back. Passengers will find a new mini-golf area on Deck 15, overlooking the Pool Deck, and a table tennis table on Deck 12.

Smoking is permitted to the entrance ofIndigo on Deck 12, overlooking the Pool Deck.

Sun Decks

In addition to the Pool Deck, which is the busiest and liveliest spot during the day, sun loungers are available on the Promenade Deck (Deck 6), which is the best option for shaded areas; Deck 12, which is the best spot for sun, and on the Veranda Deck (Deck 14), which has a more exclusive beach-club feel and features a variety of loungers and seating, including Balinese-style daybeds and the private Veranda Cabanas that can be hired out for £99 per day or £400 per week via the spa. The price also includes access to the spa’s Thermal Suite. Each Veranda Cabana is ocean facing, perfect for couples, with two sun loungers and a canopy that can be pulled down to create shade or pushed back. There’s also a buzzer that is used to order drinks.

Marella Explorer 2 Services

There's a Cruise Holiday Store and Destination Services by Reception. Currency can be exchanged at Reception. There’s also a photo studio, medical centre, Broad Street shops, which offers a handful of boutiques, and the Photo Gallery.

There are no laundrettes onboard but there is a laundry service available that offers washing and pressing services, for fee, per item.

During the refit, Marella added water stations to decks with cabins. Though bottled water is still available in cabins -- the water stations are in place to encourage passengers to refill bottles or carafes that are supplied in cabins.

There’s no internet cafe, but Wi-Fi is available. Five packages are offered: 60 minutes (£8) for 75mb of data; one day (£15) for 300mb; three days (£25) for 800mb; seven days (£49) for 1200mb and 14 days (90) for 2200mb. Wi-Fi access is available in all areas of the ship and we found it strong

Bike Tours are available in selected ports with 15 electric and 15 standard bikes onboard. The guided cycling tours are typically 4.5 hours and cost £36 for a standard bike and £46 for an electric bike. The bikes can only be used as part of a guided tour. 

Marella Explorer 2 Spa & Fitness

Spa

Explorer 2 features a luxury Champneys Spa in a partnership with the popular land-based brand. Located on Deck 11, there are nine treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a couples' suite and two relaxation rooms, one with dimmed lights and waterbeds and the other with ocean views.

What stands the spa apart is the gorgeous ocean-view infinity pool in the Thermal Suite. It’s shallow, but deep enough to lie in and enjoy the Jacuzzi feature. There are also two Experience Showers, a Herbal Sauna and an Ice Experience (a shower-like booth that features a crushed ice pit. The idea is that you use the ice improve circulation by applying it to your body). 

The spa menu includes a mix of Champneys and Clarins treatments, including facials, massages, body treatments such as wraps and the Champneys Spa Heaven Cocoon, which cost from £49. Though 50-minute facials and massages cost £70-90.

Couples’ treatments include four different types of massages, and there’s teeth whitening, acupuncture; men’s treatments such as a Luxury Shave; MediSpa treatments such as fillers; and hair and beauty treatments such as waxing, manicures and pedicures available.

As well as treatments, wellbeing and beauty seminars are also held in the spa on topics such as reflexology, acupuncture, teeth whitening and non-surgical face lifts.

A Thermal Suite pass can be purchased for £15 or £10 with a treatment, or £77 for a week pass. The Veranda Cabanas on Deck 12 are also booked through the spa. The spa opening hours are 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Fitness

Champneys Spa’s gym offers a wide selection of cardio and weight equipment. There’s also space for classes, which includes yoga, Pilates, Legs, Bums and Tums and Circuits, which cost £7.

There are some free classes, too, such as Foam Roll & Release and Morning Workout. The spa’s gym also hosts daily health and fitness seminars on a range of subjects, such as how to relieve pain and “Secrets to a Flatter Stomach.”

The gym is open from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. A running track is located on Deck 14.

Marella Explorer 2 For Kids

Marella Explorer 2 is an adults-only ship and has no family cabins, programming, or kids’ clubs onboard.

Marella Explorer 2 Ship Stats

  • Crew: 780
  • Launched: 2019
  • Decks: 14
  • Passengers: 1,814
  • Registry: Malta
  • CDC Score: N/A

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