Marella Dream Review

Marella Dream (Photo: Marella Cruises)
Marella Dream (Photo: Marella Cruises)
2019 Best for Embarkation
2019 Best for Entertainment
2019 Best for Public Rooms
Marella Dream
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Pros

All-inclusive ship with well-maintained public spaces; excellent quality speciality dining

Cons

Limited Balcony cabins; poor quality of free dining in the buffet restaurant

Bottom Line

An all-inclusive, all-Brit ship that hides its age well with an elegant look and feel


About

Passengers 1,533
Crew 600
Passenger to Crew 2.56:1
Launched 2005
Shore Excursions 271
Kerry Spencer
Cruise Critic Editor

Marella Dream Overview

The 1,533-passenger, 54,763-tonne Marella Dream joined the Marella (then Thomson) fleet in 2010 and is one of the line's oldest ships -- alongside Celebration -- at 34 years old.

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For the most part the ship feels elegant, with a traditional ambiance. This is especially true on Deck 8 where most of the ship's public spaces can be found and on the Promenade Deck, where teak doors and brass-rimmed portholes create a timeless look rarely found on new ships of today. 

During a November 2018 dry dock the ship received a minor refresh, with new upholstery in some of the bars, water dispensers added to all decks with cabins, new sun loungers on Deck 11, and USB ports fitted in The Coffee Port.

Look out for the ship's phenomenal artwork, which can prove a real talking point over dinner. Most pieces were inherited from Holland America Line, thanks to Dream's spell sailing as HAL's Westerdam during the 1990s. 

The crew is a highlight onboard. They build a wonderful rapport with passengers, particularly in the ship's restaurants, where crew and passengers share life stories and memories of past sailings.

The fact that gratuities are included in the price of the cruise fare makes no difference to the level of service delivered, either, which is consistently very good. The ship offers fantastic value for money and moved all-inclusive, with drinks included from May 2019 (though passengers can pay extra for more premium brands).

Despite a 2017 name change from Thomson to Marella, the tour operator is still very much the trusted go-to brand for package holidays for British holidaymakers. While Marella's newer ships might shake off that cheap and cheerful package holiday image, that picture is still very much true of the line's classic ships, Dream and Celebration. Dream's loyal passengers -- almost all repeat guests -- love this about the experience and it's why they continue to sail on the ageing ship.

If you're looking for an action-packed ship bursting with fun and modern activities -- the kind found on new-build megaships -- Dream isn't for you, but if you appreciate a more traditional style of cruising, with your home comforts -- PG Tips and HP sauce, chicken curry and fish and chips -- readily available, you're probably going to enjoy this ship. 


Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals in the main dining room, Sirens and Lido Buffet Restaurant
  • Gratuities
  • Drinks, including soft drinks and alcohol
  • All theatre shows
  • Mini-golf
  • All daily activities onboard
  • Use of the gym, but not most classes

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Premium drinks
  • Speciality restaurants
  • Premium coffee in The Coffee Port
  • Room service
  • Spa treatments
  • Shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and art work

Fellow Passengers

Though the passenger base skews towards the fifty-plus, we found multigenerational families on our sailing, with grandparents, children and grandchildren sailing together with the ship catering reasonably well for all age groups.

All passengers are British and most are repeat guests who are loyal to the ship.


Marella Dream Dress Code

Daytime: Beachwear, including swimmers, flip flops and cover ups around the pool, outside and in the Lido Buffet is acceptable. Jeans or shorts and T-shirts or casual shirts and sundresses are also fine. 

Evening: Two options are operated in the evening: Smart, which means you'll need to dress up with trousers and shirt, suit, dresses such as cocktail dress or smart two pieces, and the more formal Dress to Impress nights -- typically once a week -- which gives passengers the chance to go all-out glam. Jacket and tie are optional,

Not permitted: No jeans on Dress to Impress nights.

Marella Dress Code

Marella Dream Inclusions

Marella Cruises operates an all-inclusive gratuities policy with tips included in the price of the cruise fare. Passengers wanting to tip their favourite waiter or cabin steward can still do so. The onboard currency is British pound. 

Included with your cruise fare:

  • All meals in the main dining room, Sirens and Lido Buffet Restaurant
  • Gratuities
  • Drinks, including soft drinks and alcohol
  • All theatre shows
  • Mini-golf
  • All daily activities onboard
  • Use of the gym, but not most classes

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Premium drinks
  • Speciality restaurants
  • Premium coffee in The Coffee Port
  • Room service
  • Spa treatments
  • Shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and art work


  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
Deck:
Orion Deck
Pegasus Deck
Perseus Deck
Auriga Deck
Hercules Deck
Andromeda Deck
Cassiopea Deck
Sirens Deck
Centaurus Deck

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More about Marella Dream

Is Marella Dream a good ship to cruise on?
Marella Dream won 16 awards over the years, including Best for Embarkation, Best for Entertainment, Best for Public Rooms in 2019.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2019 Best for Embarkation
  • 2019 Best for Entertainment
  • 2019 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2019 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2019 Best for Value
  • 2014 Best for Entertainment
  • 2014 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2013 Best Overall
  • 2013 Best for Cabins
  • 2013 Best for Dining
  • 2013 Best for Embarkation
  • 2013 Best for Entertainment
  • 2013 Best for Fitness
  • 2013 Best for Service
  • 2013 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2013 Best for Value

Marella Dream Member Reviews

Marella Dream
Caroline Hill
Sail Date: Aug 2019
This is our 3rd cruise with Tui. 2 on the Celebration and our first on the Marella Dream. Personally I much prefer a smaller more personalised cruise....Read More
Marella Dream
Susan 87d
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We have not knocked any points off for our cruise as overall we enjoyed immensely, thank you to all marella dream....Read More
Marella Dream
klausojjih
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Marella Dream is an old vessel and maybe this is its last year in service, who knows. I have good memories. Depending on how much you pay, GO FOR IT!...Read More
Marella Dream
Stansfield
Sail Date: Feb 2019
The Marella Dream Show team and their shows in the Broadway Show Lounge were excellent....Read More

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) Fleet