Kerry Spencer
Cruise Critic Editor
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Marella Dream Entertainment & Activities

Broadway Show Lounge (Decks 8 & 9): The two-tier show lounge has the feel of a West End theatre and features a bar and waiter service.

There are two nightly shows including flawless performances such as "Moulin Rouge," "Concerto Musicals," "Dancing Queen" and "New York, New York". There's also a weekly comedy act and a crew performance called "The Dream's Got Talent!" The crew show is not to be missed, if passengers can stay up long enough to catch the 11:30 p.m. performance.

The nightly Broadway Show Lounge performances are a highlight for many cruise passengers onboard and the theatre tends to get packed out at both showings.

Daily Fun

The ship's daily Cruise News programme features a rundown of activities and entertainment taking place throughout the day, including boules, skittles, quoits, darts, table tennis, Giant Jenga, trivia, game shows and bingo. There's also ice-carving, towel-animal demos, napkin-folding, cocktail-making and chef demos.

Expect a more action-packed programme on sea days, with entertainment such as fashion show, dance classes and An Audience with the Captain added to the programme.

At Night

Nightly events include live music, a late-night disco, game shows such as "The Drop" and trivia.

There's a casino located within The Water's Edge on Deck 8, featuring slot machines, roulette and Black Jack tables. Tournaments and gaming lessons also take place.

Marella Dream Bars and Lounges

Medusa Lounge (Deck 8): This is the ship’s biggest lounge where passengers can take part in day and evening entertainment and activities. Floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides keep the space light, with plenty of seating scattered around the lounge, a stage area and dance floor. The bar is occupied by a row of bar stools.

The space is well used by passengers with activities and entertainment here including live music, trivia, bingo and game shows.

The Water's Edge (Deck 8): The Water's Edge is a spacious lounge that is home to the ship's casino, though it does not play a central role within the space. There's a small stage area where live music takes place and access to the smoking area outside. There's a late-night disco that is often busy until closing time at 1 a.m.

Explorer's Lounge (Deck 8): This venue is a modern coffee bar by day and tuneful piano bar by night, serving specialist for-fee coffee, tea, cakes and gelato and from 6 p.m. alcohol is served. There's a grand piano and live music plays out during the evening.

Tides (Deck 8): Located in the hub of the ship, this spot fills up in the evening when resident live music duo, Music Wave, take to the stage. A row of bar stools and plenty of seating is available.

Lido Bar (Deck 9 & 10): Located outside of the Lido buffet restaurant, the Lido Bar is open for al fresco poolside drinks all day.

Pool Bar (Deck 11): Located by the ship's Main pool with a scattering of rattan-style outdoor seating and tables.

Marella Dream Outside Recreation

Pools

Marella Dream features two pools: The Main Pool on Deck 11 and the Lido Pool on Deck 9. Both open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Pools are surrounded by sun loungers with each pool featuring two adults-only hot tubs. There's also a separate kids pool, but no adults-only pool.

The ship operates a "Tanning Time" policy which means crew place a ticket holder on sunbeds that are not in use but have been left with towels or other possessions on them. If passengers don't return to their sunbed within 45 minutes, crew remove towels or other personal items and leave them with reception. We think this is a fair policy and limits sunbed hoggers from taking up beds they are not using.

Some of the ship's sun loungers feel worn and dated, but they are being replaced. For new loungers, passengers should head to Deck 11's pool, outside Sirens.

Recreation

The ship has a table tennis table (Deck 11) and boules (Deck 12). 

Sun Decks

Marella Dream offers one pool-free sundeck on Deck 12, which has a beach-club feel and offers plenty of sun loungers with tables and four brand-new Cabana-style double chairs.

Sun loungers are also located around the ship's exterior on Deck 9.

Marella Dream Services

The ship features a gorgeous 24-hour traditional-style library with dark-wood panelling within the Browsers' Corner. Passengers can also play Sudoku, pick out a jigsaw or a board game. 
 
Computer stations with internet access are also located here. There's also a Card Room and selection of shops at Broad Street Shops, selling cosmetics, fragrances, alcohol, clothes, jewellery, watches, toys and essential items such as toothpaste and sun cream. 

The Cruise Holiday Store allows passengers to book their next cruise on Deck 8; there's also a Destinations Services Desk facing the ship's 24-hour reception where passengers can book shore excursions. The ship's reception desk offers currency exchange. There's a photo gallery onboard

Wi-Fi packages are available in five plans: 60 minutes for £8; one-day plan for £15; three-day plan for £25; seven-day plan for £49 and 14-day plan for £90. Internet plans are based on data usage and so are not guaranteed to last for the duration of the plan.

Marella Dream Spa & Fitness

Spa

Ocean's Spa & Beauty salon is made up of a hair and beauty salon located adjacent to five treatment rooms on Deck 8. The spa offers a range of facials, massages and body treatments, such as wraps and scrubs. Eyebrow and eye lash tinting, waxing, manicures and pedicures are also available. Men's treatments are offered, including facial, hand and foot massage and haircut and styling.

Specialist treatments, such as teeth whitening, Ayurveda healing and non-evasive facial treatments are also available. Prices are reasonable, with 30-minute massages starting from £44 and 45-minute facials starting at £47.

Treatment rooms are dark -- as they should be to create a relaxing ambiance -- but with blinds opening up to large windows.

The hair salon features a handful of stations and offers wash and blow dry, cut, colouring, styling and trims. The salon is light with large windows allowing light to flood into the space.

There's a separate male and female sauna, located off the gym, but no thermal suite or indoor pool onboard.

Oceans Spa & Beauty salon is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.

Fitness

Oceans Fitness Centre is the ship's gym, which features a full range of cardio and weight-training equipment, including bikes, treadmills and cross-trainers, mostly by TechnoGym.

The fitness centre is open 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Though the space is small, we barely saw it in use on our sailing.

Fitness classes are available including pilates and yoga (£7) and free aerobic classes. Passengers must be aged 18 and over to use the spa and fitness facilities onboard.

There's a jogging track on Deck 12 with signs informing passengers of the distance covered by one, five and 10 laps.

Marella Dream For Kids

Marella Dream provides a dedicated Kids Club with daily activities listed in the ship's Cruise News.

A typical schedule of activities includes ship tours, arts and crafts, movie nights, pyjama parties, and mocktail-making sessions. On the ship's formal night, the Kids Club hosts a fun Mocktail Party, typically from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Marella Dream does not offer a babysitting service. There are no interconnecting cabins on the ship.

There's a separate kids' pool located next to the Lido pool on Deck 9. Kids are allowed to use any of the ship's pools providing they are potty trained and accompanied by an adult.

On our term-time sailing in November we found just a handful of kids onboard, mostly very young children who did not utilise the kids club facilities.

The ship offers highchairs in restaurants and cots in cabins. Children are not allowed to be left onboard if parents or carers go onshore.

Marella advises that babies should be at least six months old to travel and 12 months on transatlantic sailings.

Kids

The ship's kids' club is dedicated to three to 11-year olds. The Kids Club is located on Deck 8 behind The Water's Edge (by the Balcony cabins) and is typically open from 9 a.m. until around 9 p.m. -- times vary if the ship is in port.

The space is bright and vibrant with cute mini-Perspex chairs and large beanbags and features large windows overlooking the ocean, giving kids, as well as adults, the chance to feel connected to the sea.

Fun toys include a giant piano mat and there's a colourful painted yellow submarine mural on the wall.

Teens

For teens there's a dedicated section of the kids' club where 12+ are welcome to lounge, use the computer stations with internet and watch TV or DVDs. There's no specific kids' programme for teenagers.

Marella Dream Ship Stats

  • Crew: 600
  • Launched: 2005
  • Decks: 11
  • Passengers: 1,533
  • Registry: Malta

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