Marella Celebration Entertainment & Activities
The ship's two-tier Broadway Theatre has rows of banquette-style seating and red chairs, some with a side table for drinks. Seats are positioned around a low-level stage and Marella's entertainment team put on nightly shows (with the exception of Sundays) at 8:30 p.m., repeated at 10:30 p.m. Shows are focused on singing and dancing, with themes like British Music Awards, based on songs by Brit Award winners, such as Amy Winehouse, Take That and Adele. Other shows include "Pop Goes the West End" and our favourite, "Cameron's Classics", which features a range of Cameron Mackintosh classics, from shows such as "Les Miserables", "Miss Saigon", "Oliver" and "Mary Poppins". It's routine for the ship's passengers to head straight for the Broadway Theatre after dinner, before continuing the night in one of the ship's bars. The atmosphere is lively and the theatre's two nightly shows are both popular, so our tip is to go early to grab a good a seat.
What Marella Celebration lacks in gimmicky rides and slides, it makes up for in atmosphere. The entertainment team host a range of daily activities, including poolside trivia, live music and demonstrations such as cocktail making and ice carving. There's bingo in Liberties, towel-folding demos by the Lido Pool, golf putting challenges in the casino and morning games of shuffleboard. Daily activities and times are listed in the ship's Cruise News.
We enjoyed the poolside entertainment offering, which sees many of the ship's passengers get involved and interact, such as the Master Chef challenge, where passengers become judges as chefs from Mistral's, Kora La and Hot Stone each prepare a dish on stage.
A stand-up comedian performs twice weekly in the theatre and the crew's weekly talent show -- usually on Sunday evenings -- is not to be missed. Expect singing, dancing and unique performance art from the talented crew members.
Live music can be found in most corners of the ship, including Hemingway's (Deck 5), Liberties (Deck 6) and Horizons (Deck 9). Vocal duo Groove Thing, the ship's resident band Top Men and solo musicians perform throughout the ship's venues. For late night dancing, passengers fill the dance floor in Liberties, while a section of Hemingway's is home to the ship's small casino (machines open from 6:30 p.m. and gaming tables from 8 p.m.), where a £10,000 Live Lotto Draw and Card Tables Happy Hour take place.
Marella Celebration Bars and Lounges
The same bar menu applies to all drinking venues onboard Marella Celebration and we liked this simple approach. The menu features a selection of drinks, including sparkling wines and Champagne, white, red and rose wine, bottled and draught beers and ciders, classic and contemporary cocktails, a selection of martinis and shooters, mocktails, spirts and soft drinks. All spirits are served as 40ml measures -- that's 60 percent more than the U.K. standard measure. Expect favourites such as Foster's, Heineken, Guinness and London Pride on tap, ranging from £3.70 to £3.90 for a pint.
Each of the ship's seven bars and lounges offer their own personality and style -- for relaxed daytime fun, Lido Pool Bar is the place to be; if you're looking for a calming ambiance with stunning views, Horizons is for you, while Liberties and Hemingway's offer lively evening merriment.
Broadway Show Lounge & Mezzanine (Deck 5 & 6): The small bar area is located on the second tier, mezzanine level, although table service is provided before and during the twice-nightly stage performances.
The Coffee Port (Deck 5): Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., the Coffee Port was added to the Explorer's Lounge in 2013. With muted colour tones of mint green, fawn and neutral and high-back armchairs and comfy sofas, it is a calming spot away from the busy sun decks. Although a little on the clinical side, the space is contemporary with the feel of an airport business lounge.
The Coffee Port serves Lavazza coffee and a selection of delicious cookies, cakes -- such as tiramisu, carrot cake and Black Forest gateau -- and ice cream. Coffees start from £2.30 for an espresso and there's also a luxury hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate flakes, and Twinings teas available.
There's a large flat-screen TV usually showing Sky News, which allows passengers to keep up to date with daily goings on back home. The Coffee Port also offers the Martini Moments menu, featuring the martini section from the main bar menu. We would have liked to have seen an espresso martini on the menu -- especially being in the Coffee Port.
Lido Pool Bar (Deck 5): The Lido Pool Bar is at the centre of the ship's action, with a lively and fun atmosphere during the day. Service here is intuitive and crew are exceptional -- expect servers to know your name and drink order before you've even sat down. There's a small corner bar flanked by bar stools, and a large collection of comfy outdoor sofas and tables and chairs offering plenty of seating.
Hemingway's Bar & Casino (Deck 5): Open from 11:30 a.m. until late, Hemingway's Bar
is also home to the ship's casino and features a programme of live music, including pianists and singers, every evening from 5:30 p.m. -- although don't expect references to the bar's namesake, we didn't spot any. The long L-shaped bar, flanked by purple bar stools, has a sophisticated feel, with plenty of seating and tables surrounding the bar's piano and central stage area. Hemingway's is popular for pre- and post-dinner drinks. Expect a lively atmosphere late at night, with sing-alongs, and occasionally some dancing, until the early hours.
Liberties (Deck 6): A lot of the ship's evening action takes place in Liberties, which opens from 10 a.m. until late. The dark space (there are no windows) is suited to its nightly programme, which includes karaoke, cabaret and other live music and trivia. The resident party band, Top Men, perform a mix of classic and contemporary songs at various times daily. Liberties is also the place to catch live football matches and other sporting entertainment, while the disco takes hold late into the evening.
Horizons (Deck 9): With wraparound sea views the ship's nautical themed Horizons bar, open from 2 p.m. until 1 a.m. daily, is at its most popular from 6 p.m. when passengers pick their seats to settle in for sunset.
Look out for the oriental antique screen at the entrance, which dates back to the 17th century. Other touches include seafaring treasures, such as a model ship and compass. Large Queen Anne-style armchairs make for comfy seating, while nightly entertainment, such as singers and pianists, gives the lounge a romantic ambiance.
The Sun Lounge (Deck 9): Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, this small bar caters to sunbathers during the day, offering table -- or rather sun lounger -- service. On sea days in warmer weather, the Sun Deck can become especially busy.
Marella Celebration Outside Recreation
Marella Celebration has two pools -- the family Lido pool on Deck 5 and the adults-only pool on Deck 8. Both use filtered sea water and are surrounded with deck space. Deck 8's pool also features a whirlpool. The ship doesn't have a kids-only pool and any children using the main pool must be supervised at all times.
Due to the small nature of the ship, the only recreational facility is shuffleboard in the Sun Lounge on Deck 9.
There are plenty of options when it comes to sun decks and loungers. Both swimming pools feature sun decks, although we found the one on Deck 5 very busy, even on port days, while the sun deck on Deck 8 tends to be less busy. Additional sun decks can be found on Deck 9, which features better quality padded rattan-style sun loungers, on Deck 10 and on the ship's outdoor promenade on Deck 6. Towels are not provided on sun decks. Instead, each cabin is provided with two towels. These must be left in cabins when passengers leave the ship otherwise a £10 charge per towel is applied to the passenger's account.
Marella Celebration Services
Although Marella Celebration is Wi-Fi enabled, it is not available in certain areas of the ship, including cabins. Passengers are offered five different Internet packages, ranging from £8 to £90. The strongest Wi-Fi connection can be found in the Coffee Port. Passengers also have use of the ship's 24-hour Internet cafe, Browser's Corner, by the Coffee Port, which features five PCs offering the same packages.
At the front of the ship, past the Coffee Port, passengers will find the Card Room, featuring a selection of books and board games.
Destinations services, and the l bike tours desk, are located in the Coffee Port. Opening hours vary and are shown in the daily Cruise News. Marella provides useful port guides and handy maps, which can be picked up on the destinations services desk.
The 24-hour reception desk also handles currency exchange from 7:15 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Open daily from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Broad Street is home to the ship's shops, selling brands such Swarovski and Pandora, plus perfume, watches, duty-free items, travel essentials and fashion.
Memories Photo Gallery on Deck 5 offers Seascape Photography packages, allowing passengers to use the ship as the backdrop for photos, while the Pure Portrait Studio offers classic black and white portrait photography in a studio.
Laundry rooms are located on Decks 1, 2, 6 and 7, including two washers, two dryers and one ironing board. All laundry room services are complimentary -- with washing detergent pumped into the washing machines when they're turned on. There is also a fee-paying laundry collection service.