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53 Marella Cruises Asia Cruise Reviews

My wife & I booked this trip at the last minute and can honestly say "WOW!" Although we had to miss Cambodia due to the virus situation we were blessed to have an overnight stay in Vietnam which turned out fantastic for us ... Read More
My wife & I booked this trip at the last minute and can honestly say "WOW!" Although we had to miss Cambodia due to the virus situation we were blessed to have an overnight stay in Vietnam which turned out fantastic for us as it gave us time to see Ho Chi Minh and a trip down Mekong Delta. The staff & crew were fantastic especially the waiters Damoder,David,Dede & Ernesto. The captain,Chris,was so down to earth and his announcements were enjoyable yet informative. Visiting Thailand,Malaysia,Singapore etc gave us the chance to visit some breathtaking temples,beaches etc and we spent very little due to the local street food etc being less than £5 for 2 people and it was deeeeeelicious! The cabins on board cleaned daily made it soooo refreshing to get into bed after a great day exploring although it was after a great night onboard also with entertainment for all tastes. Our housekeeping team Ramil,Liza & Manju were the most attentive and caring as my wife who is disabled was never bothered when she needed to stay in bed longer. We can only say Thankyou TUI & the Marella Discovery Cruise team for our trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise on Valentine's Day when we found an amazing price on line. Flying from Manchester was quite smooth but our disembarkation in Thailand was so slow and frustrating. Once at the ship our check-in was quick and easy ... Read More
We chose this cruise on Valentine's Day when we found an amazing price on line. Flying from Manchester was quite smooth but our disembarkation in Thailand was so slow and frustrating. Once at the ship our check-in was quick and easy and our cases were at our room within the hour. Our cabin: deck 2 outside was clean and tidy and our cabin crew kept it spotless throughout the cruise. The itinerary was excellent though we had to miss Cambodia because of the developing Corona crisis. We loved Penang. Langkawi was a sheer delight. Malacca was fascinating and Singapore was impressive. Thailand: Ko Samui was great fun and we were well pleased with all our stops. My wife and I made our own arrangements for shore stops and found this to be quite easy to do. On board the entertainment was excellent. Daily dance lessons and twice-nightly social dances were superb and our heartfelt thanks go to Amy and Dmitrii for making our holiday really special. The showteam were excellent, performing a range of shows to suit all tastes. We also enjoyed Celidh dancing, Jazz Dancing and line dancing - so much to do! We ate in the waiter service restaurants for breakfast and dinner. For lunch we used the Islands self service restaurant. The food was always excellent... suckling pig was an unexpected treat and the veal, venison, duck and Angus beef were great. All bar and waiting staff were so helpful and good-natured. There was a real family atmosphere on board throughout the cruise. Captain Chris Dodds and his officers were an inspiration, dealing brilliantly with many difficult situations caused by outside factors. The reception team were also really helpful and caring for the entire cruise. It's hard to find fault with this cruise, crew and ship. They were all excellent. We will be back on board as soon as circumstances make it possible! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was Very hesitant,husband booked it really wanted to go (Without the virus) just wasn’t on my to do list How wrong was abs amazing Would not have gone to the countries without going on a cruise the itinerary was excellent ... Read More
I was Very hesitant,husband booked it really wanted to go (Without the virus) just wasn’t on my to do list How wrong was abs amazing Would not have gone to the countries without going on a cruise the itinerary was excellent and was adapted due to restrictions what also made it was knowing I was goin back to a wonderful friendly ship everything and everyone was amazing and made lasting memories Thanks to sue Stewart who made us feel special inviting us to sit at her table and to all the staff Thank you so much The food entertainment service cleanliness everything was spot on varied entertainment to suit every taste met some really lovely people from all over the UK due to choosing to share a table some nights surf n turf was a special night at an extra but it was worth it would have done it again but left it late to book Would recommend defo Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are regulars on cruise holidays and were looking forward to our cruise of Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as these were all countries we had never visited before and my partner was particularly looking forward to ... Read More
We are regulars on cruise holidays and were looking forward to our cruise of Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as these were all countries we had never visited before and my partner was particularly looking forward to visiting Singapore. Plus points - the first week was great fun, we met some great people, the staff in restaurants and bars and cleaning and domestic services were lovely and all added to a great atmosphere onboard. Cambodia was an experience but we welcome the opportunity to see how people live in some of the poorer countries. The entertainment we saw was very good and the singer's rendition of Whitney Houston songs was wonderful - best I have heard in 16 cruises. Now the negatives - my partner had a relatively mild condition but one that she felt needed medical attention. The diagnosis was that she was suffering from an "acute respiratory condition" which warranted her being sent off ship for a CT scan at Hospital, despite the fact she had responded to treatment. This diagnosis was reached in spite of the fact that she had successfully toured Penang in hot temperatures for 5/6 hours on day previous without any issue!! If she had chosen not to follow medical advice, our travel insurance would have been invalid. Things went from bad to worse, the hospital authorities treated her for Covid-19 (well hardly treated her - tested her pulse, temperature and blood pressure - as had already been taken onboard and were fine). She never received any treatment at all yet was transferred to another hospital for another procedure (same happened here, no treatment just questions and tested pulse, temperature and blood pressure). Marella rep at hospital was no use at all, all he did was advise there were procedures in place but not explain what they were and if he communicated with the ship (I assume he did) and with the Hospital authorities then he didn't let us know what was going on. Apparently there should have been a Marella Port Agent available to support us - none available. As my partner had not been discharged from Hospital by time the ship sailed, we were disembarked and basically abandoned in a foreign country with no support. Useful contact numbers are only useful if they are attainable - they weren't - and in our opinion, the ship should not have sailed whilst my partner had not been cleared of COVID-19. We had to arrange to get to Singapore and re-embark there - this despite the fact that we were both in a state of shock at how this ridiculous situation had ever materialised. We were up for 28 hours and stayed in Singapore Airport guarding our belongings (which had been sent to us at the Hospital along with our passports via a local taxi driver - no one from Marella involved in ensuring our belongings arrived safely but totally left to chance). We re-embarked at Singapore but were nervous about leaving the ship again in case we were disembarked and our cruise was ruined. Subsequent attempts to get answers from TUI on how this farcical chain of events happened have been shockingly handled by the company to date. This experience has put us off cruising completely and we are trying to ensure that what happened to us will never happen to any other couple ever again. The service rating reflects the onboard welfare service and customer service thereafter and is no reflection of the excellent service provided by the bar staff, restaurant and cleaning staff. Equally the VFM would have been a 4 based on week 1 but was reduced to 1 in light of our experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I don't normally write a review post holiday but felt on this occasion it was necessary, to help inform potential customers and for Tui to use for continuous improvement. We embarked on christmas day and found out that there had ... Read More
I don't normally write a review post holiday but felt on this occasion it was necessary, to help inform potential customers and for Tui to use for continuous improvement. We embarked on christmas day and found out that there had been a fire in the engine room transformer. Planet cruise knew but did not make us aware beforhand. The itinerary had not changed on the ticket confirmation received on 19th dec 19 - they claim they sent an email on the 17th Dec to advise of this change but not received. They also couldn't forward this specific mail so sent a new mail upon my request/return. We understood the transformer issue was a known problem but sent the ship anyway hoping it wouldn't fail - It did. Discovery has now had two fires in twelve months so as the first fix didn't solve the issue therefore i believe this could be considered negligent on their part, if the same root cause As a result we had to sail at a reduced speed which meant 2 destinations were missed completely, and nearly 1 day less in Langkawi, resulting in nearly 3 extra days at sea. We were due in langkawi at 8am but arrived at 16.30 so Marella could cliam they had not missed another port to trigger bigger refund Tui consider this a minor change so offered customers a refund of £250pp - i'm not sure we, and most other passengers, would agree its minor. Some passengers who joined the week before us also had £100 extra onboard spend for their inconvenience - i do not see how their holiday was more impacted than ours. Embarkation was simple and efficient Onboard, most staff were generally miserable/rude, which created lots of negatively on the ship, didn't appear to care and just went through the motions. Don't even bother with reception - greeted with a 'yes' rather than 'good morning, how can i help so sums up nicely Sergi at the pool bar(deck9), a young blondy lady at the coffee pot(serving magic coffee) and our chamber team were the most notable exceptions. Bar staff, waiters and managers were happy to argue in front of customers. Mostly Eastern european and Asian staff onboard. Ship lacked leadership and perhaps a coincidence but the captain was replaced mid-cruise. The frustrations and negativety with passengers, esp in the 1st week, was also poor which added to the tense atmosphere onboard. We heard a fight broke out with several drunk passengers on our 1st night and to Marella's credit got them off the ship quickly The entertainment was average and with the extra sea days repetative. We had a deluxe cabin(dec8) which was great - although next to atrium so quite noisy until midnight, which wasn't a problem for us. Deck space for sunbeds is tight on sea days so get up early Food in waiter service restaurants was good. Buffet restaurant was hit and miss - mainly miss so average at best. Choice, quality and temperature. Plates usually hotter than food. Premium drinks upgrade is worth it - grey goose normal and bar 11 cocktails hasx an additional charge of £2.50. Deck10 bar/smoking area a disgrace in the evening as tables not cleared. Even when passengers asked staff if they would mind clearing tables they said they were too busy so no and would walk off. Destination services have no clue about the actual destinations themselves and can only advise on the official trips, or point you to book using screens. I suggest doing research upfront on things to do, costs, locations to port(laem chabang is 2.5hrs from Bangkok, Mekong delta is 3hrs, kuala lumpur is 1hr). They even asked us to let them know the cost for Orang utan island(penang) as many people had asked - trip unavailable on board so many did alone (its 40ringit pp), haggle for taxi outside (its about a 1hr drive n we paid $60 for 2 people from $200). Come on Marella sort this out as you should be the experts. If you have not changed money to local do NOT do this onboard. Example ex rate gbp/usd 1/1.12. Exchange rates are better in port terminals. Book well in advance online if you want to go up Petronas Towers - between 10-15hrs is ideal to fit with timing of 'tui book your own' trip. You would be lucky if there is an allotted time available on the day Singapore is AMAZING. We booked 'sea, land and air' trip. Although 'Hop on/off buses' are also at port terminal and taxi is c $14singapore so would do that if visiting again. Spent the evening at Boat quay n Marina bay and the city comes to life at night so would well advise - don't miss out on this Language isn't an issue as english is mainly 2nd lanuage and locals happy to help. Not sure I'd do this in Cambodia though All things considered we had a good holiday, visited some great countries, gutted we missed koh samui and malacca but would rate the ship as average. My onboard experience has in reality put me off booking another Marella cruise. Although other customers, and a Tui employee who was on holiday, suggested that based on previous cruises they'd done, his didn't reflect all their ships in the fleet. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We were celebrating Birthdays & Special Anniversary. The itinerary included Koi Samui and Cambodia and was the right dates. Firstly, we have been on many cruises over the years, most higher class but always enjoyed Thomson because ... Read More
We were celebrating Birthdays & Special Anniversary. The itinerary included Koi Samui and Cambodia and was the right dates. Firstly, we have been on many cruises over the years, most higher class but always enjoyed Thomson because of the wonderful service, mainly from the Phillipino and British Staffand their attention to care. However, this is our 2nd trip on Discovery mainly to give it the benefit of the doubt as we went went TUI had just acquired it and put it down to teething problems, we now know not so. The ship was badly run, food was very basic unless you paid and went into the speciality restaurants, service was either non existent or poor apart from a few stars. We found the Eastern Europeans lacking in manners, abrupt even arguing with each other in front of customers, not all but largely. No waiter service in the Theatre despite paying for Premium Drinks. Just a lot of pre poured drinks in plastic glasses,classy. Not enough sun beds on board for sea days despite having three extra of those. Lost three ports and offered £250 and £200 onboard spend which was used to go the nicer restaurants. No port showcases anymore, and although the trips we did take were good, the actual TUI staff were not very knowledgable about the destinations. We were not told when we boarded about the problems. We were not told until the following day after overhearing various passengers complaining. Despite having three extra sea days, there were no extra activities really. It is a money pot onboard with anything that is decent is chargeable. I cannot believe how what was a very good brand has turned in to a hotel at sea for drunks, We even had people fighting onboard, unbelievable. The cabins are old and tired despite being in a suite. Spacious and clean but very dated. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
For the itinerary, unfortuately there was a few technical errors so we missed 2 ports. One in particular I was really wanting to visit, Koh samui on Christmas day. But Marella gave us £100 each to spend on board, so shopping away my ... Read More
For the itinerary, unfortuately there was a few technical errors so we missed 2 ports. One in particular I was really wanting to visit, Koh samui on Christmas day. But Marella gave us £100 each to spend on board, so shopping away my cares. There was a lot of moaning people on board but to me you just get on with it or spoil the rest of your holiday. 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 better. Boat is good, lots to do and places to go, even when more sea days than expected. Food was super as ever. The places we visited I would have never gone on my own. It's a way to see the world in a snapshot. Overall Super experience Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our 1st time of Marella and we wont be using them again. The ship itself is fine as is the food and service. Cabins adequate and quite spacious. Any trips we did with them were good value. The entertainment while not as varied as ... Read More
Our 1st time of Marella and we wont be using them again. The ship itself is fine as is the food and service. Cabins adequate and quite spacious. Any trips we did with them were good value. The entertainment while not as varied as some ships was good. Though the lack of daytime speakers is a loss imo. The all inclusive did lead to a few drunks on board, one lady disrupted the whole theatre, one dancing on tables and one offloaded on Singapore via Police ! The onboard climbing wall, running track and gym are all very useful. What lets them down is the appalling customer service if anything goes wrong. To change a cruise and only be told when you get into your cabin is awful as they knew the ship had issues 1 week earlier. So we lost 3 ports, lost Christmas day on Koh Samui and gained 3 sea days and a repeat visit to Singapore. This is not what we booked or paid for. TUI think £250 is worthy compensation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
the itineraries were amazing, lots of different places we have always wanted to go then there was a fire in the engine room transformer which was dealt with quickly but the repercussions were we had to sail at a reduced speed which ... Read More
the itineraries were amazing, lots of different places we have always wanted to go then there was a fire in the engine room transformer which was dealt with quickly but the repercussions were we had to sail at a reduced speed which meant three of our excursions were canceled with an extra two days at sea. The itineraries were the only reason we paid nearly six thousand pounds to spend twenty-four hours on an aeroplane to board the ship and the cruise experience was ruined. What made it worse was the paltry £250 each Tui told us we would receive without consultation and when everybody complained I overheard, with witnesses, the captain saying loudly he would be glad when all the moaners left his ship. True. The same captain who knew his ship had the same problem a year before and TUI still sent the ship out in the hope it wouldn`t happen again. They gambled and failed with the resultant ruination of our cruise. If I wanted to spend five days at sea I would have chosen a cheap and cheerful Med cruise. Tui In our opinion should never have sent that ship out without ensuring the transformer problem was addressed properly. They didn`t and will have to pay the consequences. Marella Discovery and two fires in twelve months is negligent in my opinion and would not go with TUI Marella again. The entertainment was average and the staff and waiters were mostly eastern Europeans who do not smile Unfortunately the Asian staff seemed to copy them and made for a depressing cruise. The captain was arrogant and the food not up to standard, proved by a notice in the self service restaurant which asked passengers to stop leaving so much waste on their plates! Shocking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this cruise because ihad exotic locatopns and it was warm at this tome of the year. The flight from Gatwick with Tui was fine no problems on time. The presentation of the ship and thr cabin was very gppd. The food and drink ... Read More
I chose this cruise because ihad exotic locatopns and it was warm at this tome of the year. The flight from Gatwick with Tui was fine no problems on time. The presentation of the ship and thr cabin was very gppd. The food and drink selection were very good. The entertainment was good with a lot of effort put in by the entertainment team Now the bad bit The ship had a technical problem coming out of Singapore, which caused a major disruption to the cruise, we spent almost 6 days a t sea and missed 3 ports. Despite Marella sending out technicians the ship remained unfixed and Marella have no intention of recifying the fault until it has to relocate. Probably about 50% of the cruise was dtsrupted and Marella offered £250 per passenger compensation on a cruise that was well over £1200 per person, some paid far more. The bar syaff and cabin stewards were very good I will never go on another Marella cruise and this was our 6th Ports visited Langkawi, Penang Port Klang Singapre x 2 Laem Chabang Phu My Missed ports Khosamui Sihanoukville and Malaca. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on the Enchanting Far East cruise on the Marella Discovery in December 2019. The cruise got off to a bad start when we fell victim to a somewhat desperate money-grabbing trick. Even though we went online to reserve seats for our ... Read More
We went on the Enchanting Far East cruise on the Marella Discovery in December 2019. The cruise got off to a bad start when we fell victim to a somewhat desperate money-grabbing trick. Even though we went online to reserve seats for our party of three as soon as booking opened, TUI allocated us seats scattered all around the plane and then demanded an additional fee for sitting near (not even next to) each other. The food in the buffet was of the usual standard. Not great, but adequate if you’re not dining at one of the proper restaurants. One thing that bothered us is the fact that they have done away with paper napkins at the buffet. These were useful for holding the tongs/ladles etc when serving up the food. If you have ever noticed the sticky residue on them you would understand why. Their disappearance is a backward step in maintaining hygiene. The meals at both “all inclusive” restaurants were a bit hit and miss but the upstairs Italian one was the better of the two. Although the portions were sometimes comically small, when it was good, it was very good, and the service was very friendly and mostly efficient. Having said that, for the second year running we gave up waiting one night and walked out before our dessert reached the table. My main criticism is that the plates in both restaurants were often greasy and finger-marked. Staff were not very receptive to feedback on the subject. All the basics are covered in the bars but the number of drinks in the “all inclusive” package has dwindled, along with the variety of cocktails available. I wonder how long they can keep calling it “all inclusive” without some watchdog picking up on the fact that it is in fact a long way from all inclusive. We found the waiter service in the bars to be quite poor. Several times we saw staff just standing in a virtually empty bar staring at the entertainment and studiously avoiding eye contact with the handful of customers. The entertainment was OK for the first few nights. Generally, though, the entertainment is aimed at older ladies and chavs. If you’re neither of those, you’re going to get very bored, very fast. Unfortunately, the on-deck TV screen was zapped by lightning early on and we missed several nights of movies as a result, although they did put on some movies indoors, which is a welcome development. Marella need to work on this – and on providing cheaper and more effective Wi-Fi – if they are ever going to attract a new generation of cruisers. The cabin crew were efficient and friendly. Some of the entertainment staff were likeable and very good at their job too (eg, George and Dean), although others were less popular with customers and need to work on their people skills. One guy at destination services – Kevin – was very helpful and willing to spend time discussing trip options. Some of his colleagues were less user-friendly. We found one or two of the reception staff to be unhelpful or outright rude; one girl in particular smirked and gave us an attitude when we were unable to book a late checkout. Most of the organised trips were expensive but enjoyable. But there were some issues. Before the engine problems, we booked a cable car excursion on Langkawi. Once on the tour bus we were told that the cable car wouldn’t be running that day due to high winds. Fair enough. That wasn’t TUI’s fault and couldn’t be helped. However, TUI knew about the cancellation before we boarded the bus and yet instead of taking us to another sight on the island, or just giving us our money back, they drove us to a very shabby, crowded aquarium. It took 20 minutes to look around, after which we had to hang around a shopping centre for two hours to await our ride back to the ship. This was by no means an equivalent to going on a cable car sightseeing trip. We were offered some money back for this fiasco but I would rather have ditched the excursion altogether. The cruise itself was marred by a well-publicised incident that led to several of the ports being cancelled. One night, the captain (who came across as somewhat aloof and unsympathetic) announced that there had been a fire in one of the engine rooms. The damage meant that the ship couldn’t make a decent speed and so three ports of call were cancelled: Cambodia, Malacca and Koh Samui. This meant additional (boring) days at sea. The incident has received some unfavourable press coverage. It turns out that the Discovery has suffered similar problems before. In addition to abandoning some ports of call, some of the organised trips had to be shortened. The timing for our Bangkok trip was rescheduled. We were told at destination services that cutting the trip by two hours would have no impact on the quality of the excursion. This turned out to be untrue. We set out at 6am and after a long journey into the city, we were rushed around a temple complex and then whisked away to a grubby restaurant on the river before being bussed back to port just in time for departure. We didn’t see much of Bangkok, some temples were missed out and there was no exploration of the canals as promised. All in all, it was a stressful and unpleasant experience. Even though they did not provide the trip we paid for, TUI have refused to compensate us. To be fair, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The trips to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon were all very good; the guides were knowledgeable and the restaurants in the latter two were of particularly high quality. In addition, due to the engine problem a return stop in Singapore was added, which was welcome as it is a really nice place. We managed to see a lot of the city on our two DIY trips via the metro. But it should have been the same for Bangkok, Malacca, Koh Samui and Cambodia. Along with most customers, we had booked this cruise purely because it was stopping at locations that we were unlikely ever to visit any other way. But it turns out that TUI’s policy is that they make no guarantees about visiting specific ports and they reserve the right to change the published itinerary at any point, without compensating their customers. If you think about it, this is very odd. After all, you wouldn’t pay a taxi driver for taking you round and round the M25 if you had booked him to take you to the airport, would you? The bottom line is that we did not get the holiday that was advertised and for which we paid TUI a significant amount of money. So, take this as a warning. Regardless of what cruise you think you are booking with TUI/Marella, you could end up just pootling around the ocean and not actually going anywhere! We have been offered a £250 refund but this is nowhere near sufficient compensation given the huge amount of money the holiday cost. All in all, I can’t help concluding that TUI is desperate to squeeze as much money out of its customers as it can, while providing as little service as possible. Moreover, the Marella Discovery is badly managed, prone to worrying engine problems and is staffed by some of the least able TUI employees. We’ve been on TUI/Marella cruises for many years. We know it is cruising at the lower end of the market and there have always been minor grumbles but, generally, the positives have always outweighed any negatives. After this experience, though, we couldn’t recommend them to anyone anymore and we intend to upgrade to a more professional, honest and reliable cruise company next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We boarded in Muscat and chose this cruise for the itinerary stopping at Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin, Sri Lanka, Sabang & Phuket. We knew most of the ports. There wasn't lots to do in Mangalore or Sabang but we knew that ... Read More
We boarded in Muscat and chose this cruise for the itinerary stopping at Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin, Sri Lanka, Sabang & Phuket. We knew most of the ports. There wasn't lots to do in Mangalore or Sabang but we knew that before but it was good to get off and have a look around. Quite a few days at sea so be prepared to be up early if you want to lay in the sunshine. We enjoyed the ship, the staff are all fantastic but the best bit are the west end style shows that are on 6 nights of the week. Better than most American Cruise lines....Norwegian, RCL etc. We ate in the restaurant every night and chose the same table number as we liked the waiting staff in that area. Food was excellent. Service in the bars on this particular cruise was quick. On other cruises we have found long waits to be served. Not sure if this was because less people were drinking or a better system of being served. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The itinerary was changed 3 weeks before we sailed and we were given the option to cancel. However, having made a variety of arrangements (hotels. car park, house-sitters) we decided to stick with it and accept the OBC, although with it ... Read More
The itinerary was changed 3 weeks before we sailed and we were given the option to cancel. However, having made a variety of arrangements (hotels. car park, house-sitters) we decided to stick with it and accept the OBC, although with it being an All Inclusive cruise this wasn't really much use. A week before we travelled we received notification that we would be flying back to East Midlands, rather than Birmingham, since the runway was undergoing works at night. This added an hour on our homeward journey, not what you want at 1.30am when you've been up for over 20 hours already and still have almost 5 hours to drive home. As the runway works had been published much earlier in the year, they were clearly aware of this at the time we booked (September) and should have made us aware. Had they done so, we would not have booked the cruise. The outbound flight had about 125 empty seats, presumably due to passengers who had cancelled. Cabin crew did move a few people so as to ease the congested areas. We did only have one meal going out, rather than the promised two for long-haul. Our cabin was generally OK, other than the vibration which did hinder my sleep a few nights. We tried to upgrade and were quite happy to pay. Even though they had about 200 empty cabins, they wanted a ridiculous amount from us. It was twice as much as we could have paid whilst still at home. Service in the restaurant was excellent. The waiters are always so friendly and helpful. Food is very goo, although does lack a bit of variety at times. The bar service was generally very good but it was a shame that many of the drinks I expected on the upgraded premium package ran out early on and were not replenished for about a week. I discussed this with a manager but was not recompensed for the lack of being able to use the package I'd paid for. Service from Destination Services was poor. The information that was provided was, in many instances, totally incorrect and, when I queried this with them, they were quite defensive and unpleasant. It transpires that the only information they have to impart comes from Google (!!) or the Port Agents. I got the impression that they were really only interested in those people taking the ships tours. Part way through the first week, it was announced that some of the original itinerary was being re-instated. Whilst it was a vast improvement on the amended itinerary it did lead to some issues, such as not having the right currency, and not having done enough research for DIY when in port. Some of the ports that were left on were diabolical with nothing at all to do in the vicinity. Fujairah - we went to the port gates, took one look at where we would have to walk to get anywhere ourselves, and went back to the ship. The shuttle bus driver said that there wasn't much point in going in to Fujairah as it was Friday, Prayer Day and everywhere was shut anyway. Khor Fakkan - the ship offered tours to Fujairah and not a lot else so that was another wasted day. The entertainment on offer was generally poor, mainly Butlins or Benidorm style. It was trivia, quizzes and karaoke. I mean, 'cryptic biscuit', guess the name of the biscuit from the clue? Whoever thought of that?! The evening theatre shows should have been twice a night but in the second week this was reduced to just one. We were not told why so I asked the assistant cruise director who said that they had been told to do it by HO, due to the low passenger numbers. In the second week there were only about 1100 passengers instead of 1800, presumably again because people had taken the cancellation option. I was told that it was better for the show team to perform to one larger audience. I replied that surely what suited the paying passengers should have been of higher importance. Since we like to dine at about 8pm, we were unable to see any of the shows as they were held at 9pm. The classical singer in the Atrium was popular so this is an area that could be built on The guest speakers were great but not utilised enough. Marella needs to realise that some of the passengers actually have brains that they want to use, even when on holiday. One day, when we were in the worst port of all (and it rained all day) out of 21 activities listed in the Cruise News, 10 were Spa events, 2 were shop sales, 1 was Bingo ticket sales! I used the steam room a few times which was very pleasant. However, on many occasions the floor in the changing area was swimming in water. Embarkation was OK, in general, although disembarking was poor. We had to get on a coach, drive less than 200 metres, get off the coach to do Oman immigration, then re board the coach to the airport. I asked if we could just walk but were told that we couldn't since passengers might get on the shuttle bus to the port gates by mistake. Many passengers didn't take their hand-luggage off with them to go through the security machines but the Marella representative said to keep in quiet and it wouldn't matter. We were at the airport several hours early and, whilst it is a beautiful airport (Muscat) there is very little seating. On the plane back the rear part was almost empty of passengers and the captain announced that there were 170 passengers on the 300 seat plane. Cabin crew refused to let anybody move unless they paid £65 each, claiming that the empty seats were all extra legroom seats. This meant that we had a very uncomfortable 8 hour flight home since we had a rather large and smelly passenger sat next to us who had wanted to move. This seemed to be another penny pinching move by Tui/Marella. To summarise, there were too many changes which were poorly communicated. Many of the ports should never be chosen as cruise ports since they had nothing to offer. Restaurant staff were excellent and the major plus point. If you want intelligent entertainment, choose another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary which proved to be so - the colour, congestion of Indian cities and the opulence of the Gulf States. The cabin (outside) was spacious, with a large window; well appointed with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary which proved to be so - the colour, congestion of Indian cities and the opulence of the Gulf States. The cabin (outside) was spacious, with a large window; well appointed with plenty of storage; only issue was a shower curtain rather than a door. Service in cabin, bars and restaurant (we only used the 'Islands' ) was excellent, though the Deck bar service was often slow, mainly because under-staffed. Poor staff management. Food was variable - we only used the 'Islands' and Snack-Shack. The latter very limited and ran out of wine on two occasions. The 'Islands' had a good selection, though the carvery was disappointing, and on one occasion the chicken was raw (ie bloody) and the staff rude, requiring attention from senior staff. Our main complaint though is with the poor information provided both by TUI before the cruise and on board. This provided by Reception and Destinations desk was poor and often inaccurate regarding documents required ashore, particularly in India. The excursion arrangements were akso often poor requesting people to assemble in the Broadway lounge resulting in several hundred to go to the gangway, when in fact making announcements for people to go from cabins/ public lounges would have resulted in smaller queues. Basically the staff didn't know what they were doing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 4th cruise with Tui/Marella. twice on the Dream and twice on Discovery. This being our 4th year in a row, we were hoping for something different. We were very disappointed to find that the food menu was very much the same, ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Tui/Marella. twice on the Dream and twice on Discovery. This being our 4th year in a row, we were hoping for something different. We were very disappointed to find that the food menu was very much the same, but shocked to find the the menu was repeated after the first week. How strange when most of the cruises that were available to book were for 14 or more nights. The show team on board performed the same songs and dance routines the we'd seen for the previous 3 cruises with only some minor changes to the shows. The only new entertainment for the two weeks were the guest singer and comedian. So if you've been on any of the tui/marella cruises before, don't expect to see any new. The destinations on this cruise also sounded interesting. But we found that Port Blair in the Anderman islands was a wasted day, Not much to see and driving across the island was like taking a tour through the local tip. Mangalore was also a horrible port. The cruise ships were docked alongside the coal terminal that was being scooped and heaped all day by diggers, throwing clouds of coal dust into the air. Tui like to claim that they out their customers first, but like all big companies, profit comes first and when you complain they only accept what you say, but do noting to rectify the problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Delayed in Manchester for 3 hours as Langkawi had a military air display.. TUI only had 2 years notice of this so why did they arrange flights for this day?? Arrived after a good flight Premium Economy on the Dreamliner. Took 2.5 hours to ... Read More
Delayed in Manchester for 3 hours as Langkawi had a military air display.. TUI only had 2 years notice of this so why did they arrange flights for this day?? Arrived after a good flight Premium Economy on the Dreamliner. Took 2.5 hours to do the 20 minute Port transfer due to the Military event. Once on the Ship everything was great.. cabin steward Prakash was amazing.. Deluxe Balcony on deck 7 was brilliant.. loads of storage bigger than usual bathroom.. tea and coffee facility great balcony. Ship was great staff helpful and friendly food ok. Tried each of the specialty restaurants which were worth a visit. Ports of call... appalling!! Sri Lanka was lovely everywhere else wasn’t worth the effort of going ashore. After the fiasco with visas the itinerary was very disappointing as ports were too far away and far too industrial. The departure from Dubai was stressful to say the least as I think it’s the first time the smaller airport had been used by TUI.. total IT system failure meant we waited nearly 2 hours to begin check in following arrival with no TUI Rep at the airport not a good end to the holiday Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Landed in Malaysia, then cruised to the Andaman Islands , Sri Lanka and then the West Coast of India finishing in Dubai. Andaman Islands .. the organised trip we did was terrible , not a good start , all we saw was rubbish, dock areas ... Read More
Landed in Malaysia, then cruised to the Andaman Islands , Sri Lanka and then the West Coast of India finishing in Dubai. Andaman Islands .. the organised trip we did was terrible , not a good start , all we saw was rubbish, dock areas full of plastic. But Great people. Sri Lanka lovely, .. west coast of India ... put it this way, just hope and pray you don’t want the toilet and I honestly don’t know why as a country we bother to re cycle plastics and take care of our environment. The same enthusiasm does not seem to exist here. We went on organised trips every day, some were good but most were not. Overall though the people were kind and curtious We cruise a lot, and what you pay for this ship is fairly good value for money. Food good, but not outstanding, we tried all the restaurants and I have to stay the Glasshouse restaurant was amazing. Our room however was not, we were directly under the gym and boy did you know it. Stay away from them rooms. We complained several times about the noise, but nothing was done, the normal fobbing off. Depending on what bar you went to would would depend on the customer service. Not consistently good. And TUI overall pre and post holiday, not good service. Would not go with TUI again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this Cruise as it was out of our comfort zone and was for our Golden Wedding. We had a fantastic holiday The Ship was very good, bit tired in places but in general very nice. Main problem encountered was the vibration ... Read More
We chose this Cruise as it was out of our comfort zone and was for our Golden Wedding. We had a fantastic holiday The Ship was very good, bit tired in places but in general very nice. Main problem encountered was the vibration running through the ship when sailing, which suggests an in balance in the drive mechanism, especially when trying to sleep. Staff were the best we have encountered, food very good in all Depts and entertainment generally very good Flights too long for us especially on the return which was 6 hours late. The trips we did were very good and informative The ports were primarily working ports which was a bit off putting, possibly down to cost. Overall a fabulous holiday which we will never forget. We had a problem with dirty water in our first cabin but this was quickly remedied by a move to another cabin John and Pat Caulkin Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have cruised with Marella in the past and already had great cruises but this one surpassed all expectations. Asia was a new itinerary for Marella this year, I had visited all of the destinations many moons ago when backpacking but knew ... Read More
We have cruised with Marella in the past and already had great cruises but this one surpassed all expectations. Asia was a new itinerary for Marella this year, I had visited all of the destinations many moons ago when backpacking but knew it would have changed a lot, whereas for my mum and dad it was their first time in Asia. It certainly won't be the last! Fabulous itinerary and made all the better by a classy ship and amazing crew and officers who really went out of their way to make everything perfect! Would recommend it in a heartbeat! We flew from Bormingham to Langkawi on the Dreamliner. I have to admit that we all hated such a long flight, this was the only downside, but the crew were excellent onboard the flight and Tui were very helpful in organising extra luggage allowance for the medicating I need to travel with, full marks to the welfare team pre cruise! The drwMliner very comfortable. Unfortunately the inflight entertainment was a bit uninspiring but comfort wise the Dreamliner was very roomy. On arrival to Langkawi it took only around half an hour transfer time and the check in on board was very quick and efficient. Doe to booking only ten weeks before there had only been the choice of all three of us in a standard inside cabin so we spectre it o be cramped, which it was. However full marks to Chiefhousekeeper Larry and his team, the ship was cleaner than spotless all cruise and all of the housekeeping team we encountered were do pleasant and helpful, especially our cabin steward Andy who even specially arranged a fridge for my medication. Marella still do the nightly turndown service and chocolates on pillow which I'd a nice touch, we find a lot of lines skip this nowadays. We did not eat in any of the speciality restaurants but the island's buffet for breakfast and lunch, the glasshouse for lunches and reaturant 47 deck 4 and the Italian on deck 5 were excellent. I cannot commend the f and b team highly enough. I have to follow an extremely strict diet for medical reasons and thus travelling can be a nightmare for me. However I was met on board on arrival and the restaurant staff and chefs were fabulous. They were already aware of my allergies. They cooked specially for me all week and managed to produce anything I requested. Julia who is in charge of special diets deserves a particular mention. In all of my years of travel I have never received such good customer service! She has the patience of a saint and is worth her weight in gold to Marella. Her attentative service is one thing that will certainly make us cruise with Marella again alone! The food was excellent and the service consistently brilliant.. I have also never had better porridge in my life! Top marks to the breakfast chefs! It as also nice that they tried to incorporate local fruits such as dragonfruit, Logan berries and guavas into the menu! Well done executive chef and his team! Destinations services team and their manager Pd were also brilliant, they were a fountain of knowledge and also very helpful with independent information, not just interested in those doing their trips. We did most things independently apart from the 'on your own' transfers onto Ho Chi Minh city and Kuala Lumpar which were both very well organised. Very impressed. We found the other ports easy enough to do by ourselves although be warned, you need to do plenty of research, this is not a relaxing cruise but the destinations are so worth it! We found the who's very good. Also the gym instructoe Curtis was very pleasant and helpful. Well done Marella for a brilliant two weeks. Can't recommend you enough. You have three loyal passengers now for life!ggg Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
i was waiting to see if Thomson (TUI) were going to cruise Asia as they haven't in the past and we've always wanted to go in that direction. I will not comment about the ship as others have provided more than enough information ... Read More
i was waiting to see if Thomson (TUI) were going to cruise Asia as they haven't in the past and we've always wanted to go in that direction. I will not comment about the ship as others have provided more than enough information and pics. Travel The whole journey out and back went more or less to plan (a little late both ways but that's almost to be expected). We flew Premium both ways and was a little disappointed at Gatwick because check-in was a free for all, fortunately we arrived early so there wasn't too much of a queue. However we did get fast track through the emigration. Cabin crew both ways were good and the food adequate; but having paid a lot of money for Premium, charging extra for things like crisps was penny pinching and little niggles like that pervaded the whole experience (see comments below). Unusually we had to collect our cases on landing to go through customs. This is the first cruise we've been on where that had to be done. On the return journey however we didn't see our cases again until we arrived at Gatwick baggage reclaim. Embarkation/disembarkation The whole operation ran smoothly but the signs for Premier check-in were less than obvious and most, like us, joined the main queue. We had to leave our cases outside the cabin by 2am and vacate by 8am on the day of departure and as our flight wasn't till 5pm everyone was milling around waiting to go. Cabin Our cases were delivered to our cabin and the cabin itself was exactly as expected and up to the Company's usual standard, well equipped and clean. The balcony had 2 chairs a table and 2 loungers. Our cabin steward, Riva, looked after us very well. Having had a long journey we wanted a drink of water so opened the bottle without realising that there was a charge of £1.50 for the privilege! Water stations were on most decks with notices not to fill your own bottles. Dining We only ate in the Islands Restaurant as there was a 'supplement' to dine in many of the others. The food was plentiful and varied but some rather bland. The desserts were an absolute dream and were the best past of the meal. Excursions All were rather expensive (we knew that as most were booked before leaving UK), some did not represent good value for money in my view but I accept that others may not agree. However they were enjoyable and all but the island catamaran trip provided a well informed commentary and the guides were helpful. I must congratulate the destinations team for their positive and helpful approach. Bar service The bar staff were always smiling and helpful and we never had to wait too long for drinks service. Disappointing that some drinks (including coffee) were at an additional cost. Overall impression Entertainment was good and the team worked very hard, a comedian - Martin Daniels, was the highlight for me. There were 'technical difficulties' one night which stopped the show but these things happen. I did get the impression that the Company was out to extract every last £ whilst you were on the ship. I know that they have to encourage spending for commercial reasons but making the process obvious was unnecessary. I think it would be better the Cruise was billed as 'inclusive' to indicate that not everything was included. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Have been on Marella ( formerly Thomson) Cruises before and this one appealed as it was a new itinerary with some great places. Flight was long but good, arrived on time and apart from a queue at airport immigration we arrived at the ... Read More
Have been on Marella ( formerly Thomson) Cruises before and this one appealed as it was a new itinerary with some great places. Flight was long but good, arrived on time and apart from a queue at airport immigration we arrived at the ship after a 20 min journey. Check in was done on board and was speedy and our luggage appeared quite quickly. Cabin - we had an inside cabin on deck 6. Although near stairs and lift it was very quiet and we heard no noise from bars downstairs. It was an ideal deck to be on - down to bars/restaurants and a few flights up to the pool deck, yet away from engine noise/vibration. Although not large there's plenty of drawers and cupboard space & a small sofa,adequate for our 2 weeks. The bathroom was small but well planned & also had good storage space , Ive been in smaller. Ship - the Discovery was new to us and we really liked it. Plenty of bars and restaurants but some quiet spaces as well. It was spotlessly clean and we saw staff cleaning & dusting every day. On sea days sunbeds were short ( as on every ship Ive been on!) but we always managed to find one in the afternoons. The indoor pool - The Glass House- was an indoor spa with pool, sunbeds, relaxing chairs & a small restaurant, a great place to go when it was so hot outside. Also loved the Veranda Terrace with sunbeds & big round chairs away from hustle& bustle. We also loved the putting course & had many a game as well as shuffleboard, although we didn't have the nerve to try the climbing wall. It also has an escape room at extra cost. Food & entertainment - the usual buffet & a waiter service restaurant. There was an Italian restaurant which only had 2 menus, a small tapas & pizza restaurant and the Snack shack which had breakfast & lunch snacks e.g. sandwiches, salads, chips etc.There were also the usual extra charge restaurants but we didn't try these. After discussion we decided the food was generally underwhelming and there were only a few meals we could say we really enjoyed. It was often bland and didn't live up to its description. The buffet had some good options depending on what time you went, the Snack shack sandwiches were fresh but very sparsely filled but hey,you'll never go hungry. The restaurant was often full by 7.30 pm and we were given a pager that buzzed when your table was ready which meant we often ate quite late & staff were a bit rushed. I think some passengers complained but it was fair.There was plenty of the usual entertainment - singers, bands, quizzes,game shows etc. the shows were varied - some were reminiscent of a 6th Form school production often off key and shrieking songs, others dance routines were fantastic,especially the Roxane and Can Can dance.Mark Daniels ( Paul Daniel's son) was the guest comedian and was hilarious, it was packed. Excursions -loads on offer to suit everyone. We were often berthed in ports far away from main cities but there was always transport for you to do your own thing. There was very little to do in port as they were quite industrial in places. I found some staff on destination services a little dismissive -we were told the local beach at Koh Samui had no facilities & ' you wont want to swim there' when in fact it was a lovely little palm fringed beach with clear sandy waters and a bar at the end. Paper maps weren't available any more - maybe maps could be put on the Discovery app as there was nothing to help you find your way round places,just a moving display map. Unfortunately, I developed a kidney infection and had to use the medical centre - I cannot fault the treatment, care and follow up from the medical team, complete with full copies of all tests and results which meant I could enjoy the end of my holiday. The places we visited were amazing and never to be forgotten and I think this itinerary gave us a flavour of the Far East Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Having cruised many times, mainly with P&O, we thought we’d give Marella a try as it was going to places we hadn’t been to before. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 which had loads of storage space and kept ... Read More
Having cruised many times, mainly with P&O, we thought we’d give Marella a try as it was going to places we hadn’t been to before. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 which had loads of storage space and kept clean and tidy by our steward, Charlie. Some of the towels, particularly the hand ones, were very thin and were pretty useless in absorbing any water and were seriously in need of replacement. Food The Islands buffet we found to be very poor. The same choices seemed to be repeated again and again. Always Chicken Korma, Chilli Con Carne, pizza. Poor selection of salads and cooked meat. The waiter service restaurant just couldn’t cope. Every evening, at various times, it was necessary to have a pager and wait for 40 minutes to be called. The food again was repetative and not enough choice. Trips As we hadn’t visited this area before we booked ship’s tours. We did feel that some of the trips were poor value for money and that we were being used as guinea pigs for Marella’s first visit to Asia. Coaches were of dubious quality, one had little or no rear suspension and we all feared for our backs when going over bumps. One trip advertised as 4.5 hours had us back on ship in 3. One of the highlights of another was a visit to a fruit and spice stall at the side of a busy road! Entertainment Lady Boys of Bangkok was a good show but as only one show was performed, many people were left disapppointed as they couldn’t get into theatre. We had two comedians. One, Martin Daniels ( son of Paul) was very good, the other not so good. The Marella entertainers were very good and worked hard. Loved Natalie, she was hilarious! Could have done with something a bit different on sea days. Perhaps a talk? Would we do Marella again? Yes at the right price to the right place. Would we do Asia again. Probably not but would return to Singapore in a heartbeat, such a clean place and easily accessible . Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Have reviewed Disco before and we love it, so will concentrate on ports and trips. It’s fair to say that in some of the Ports a DIY job is not really an option as they’re as big as a city. In other places the ports are a minimum of 2 ... Read More
Have reviewed Disco before and we love it, so will concentrate on ports and trips. It’s fair to say that in some of the Ports a DIY job is not really an option as they’re as big as a city. In other places the ports are a minimum of 2 1/2 to 3hrs away so it’s a long day. We like half-day trips so a bit restricted, but most were very good. Compared to a recent cruise to Norway where everything was very expensive, we thought these trips were reasonable. We reckon the grub to be good but not great. We did Islands buffet for brek and most lunches or the Snack Shack where the wings, fish and chips are excellent and hot. Stays open until 6pm so if you’re late lunchers like us it’s great. One slight knock in most areas is that the grub could be a bit hotter. We liked 47 for dinner and eat quite late, after 8.30pm.You do get a buzzer but it’s a chance for a few bubbles pre-dins. We tried the Steak on Stone for an £11.95 surcharge. Well worth it-best dinner of trip. As others have said, if you want a sunbed on sea days you need to be up with the early breakfast cooks, about 5am. We normally waited until it thinned out a bit later. No-one gives up their beds. They run a ‘yellow card’ system for beds left for more than 2 hrs but it’s just for show. Drinks great. Longest wait a few mins. Good bottled beers, Peroni, Corona, San Miguel. **I refuse to pay for wi-fi so there’s very limited internet access. Even on the day trips there was hardly any ‘free time’ so you had to try find wi-fi wherever you could. Langkawi Nature Reserve: Excellent. Half day. About 30min journey. You go into bat cave then boat journey to watch eagles feeding from the river which is amazing. Penang: Temple followed by funicular ride to top of island. Really good. At top you can have a buggy ride around the area for a couple a quid. Very good. ***Hotel at top of hill has wi-if you can access. KL: Half day sights. Petronas Tower excellent and Independence Square and War Memorial good. Visit to disused colonial railway station a bit bizarre and an obvious ‘filler’ Bangkok: did trip ‘On your own’. Be warned, it’s 3 hrs in traffic to get there and you get 4 hrs there. And you’re dropped at a Shopping Mall outside the city. Our excellent guide recommended the Skytrain (about £3 for an all day tourist ticket) to the river, a river taxi (also about £3)then a Tuk Tuk back which was about a fiver. Had a great day. Went to Reclining Buddha which wife loved. Some guides apparently discourage being too adventurous due to time constraints but we really enjoyed it and had no problems getting back. Pattaya Beach: Coach Trip ‘On your own’. Cancelled Bangkok on own for day 2 as couldn’t face the journey and getting up in middle of night-or so it seems. Taken to shopping mall then on your own. Not really a daytime place but still enjoyable. Lots of British men talking to young people in sea front bars which is a bit weird but glad we went. Singapore: half day ‘In the footsteps of Raffles’. Best trip of the hol. Only four hrs but we got half hour walk tour, 30 mins boat ride, Singapore Sling in the Raffles Hotel (no queueing as part of trip-on your own be ready to queue for about 45 mins) then a ride on a tri-bike with a recognised firm so safe and reliable. Excellent. Sihanoukville, Cambodia: Did our own thing. An eye-opener. Quite a few scare stories re valuables and the like but didn’t hear any horror stories. There will be beggars and Tuk-Tuk overload but it’s not overwhelming. Went to the beach with another couple we met, Tuk Tuk for about 20 mins which was $20 dollars US and he wouldn’t haggle. Whole place is a building site. Vietnam: Ship is 3hrs from Ho Chi Minh so any trip is a schlep. We did Cu Chi tunnels which I really enjoyed but it was a bit of a one-trick pony. Still worthwhile. Malacca: half day sightseeing. Bit dull. Highlight was going up viewing tower and a castle. We did all those trips and they’re great, but they’re usually early kick-offs. We did four on the spin and I couldn’t wait to get back for my bottle of Peroni. We’d do the itinerary again. Loved it. **Depending on flight time, you can keep cabin past the 8am kick-out.Ours was £35 right up to 3pm departure for Gatwick and worth every penny as you weren’t fighting for space as everyone waits to get off. Apparently, 80% of people paying keep their own cabin. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise with Marella Discovery because we wanted to visit the places on offer. ( Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore). We also booked some of the excursions before with Tui because we hadn't visited any ... Read More
We chose this cruise with Marella Discovery because we wanted to visit the places on offer. ( Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore). We also booked some of the excursions before with Tui because we hadn't visited any of the places before apart from Thailand, so were not sure about what we could or couldn't do on our own. Our cabin was 8029, which had a wall to wall glass window, which was really good. Where the cabin was situated was down a small corridor on its own which made it very quiet. It was also close to the lifts, which again made it an ideal location. The cabi was very roomy and the cleaner was excellent and changed the towels/sheets every other day. The Dining experience was very good but if you wanted to eat after 7.45pm then you had a wait of about 20 -40 minutes. All the food in the Italian and the 47 degrees restaurants were good, there was plenty of choice and the menu changed each evening. The waiters were all happy and couldn't do enough for you. The Steak and Turf Specialty Restaurant is a must to visit but gets booked up very quickly. The entertainment during the day was fine and the shows at night were stunning. Service for drinks in the evening was excellent, there were always waiters on hand to get your orders. Drinks on deck while you were sunbathing were good and always cold. Shore Excursions at the various ports were hit and miss. Many of the excursions that we had prebooked before we left were much cheaper when you docked and asked the taxi drivers. All the drivers had a sheet with pictures of the places you could visit with them and you could then pick which ones you went to and which you wanted to avoid. This was better than going on the Ship Excursion because on one trip you visited about 3 temples which after one Temple the others look the same and have the same statues, people were coming back from the Ship Excursion saying they were " Templed Out" but on your own you could go to one Temple and then visit somewhere else. You saved about £30-£60. We went on a Ship Excursion entitled " Highlights of Sihanoukville by Tuk Tuk" in Cambodia. The excursion was a shambles, we were put on a fleet of Tuk Tuks, The told to get off them because they were the wrong ones, we then ended up on the Tuk Tuk from hell. 4 people squashed into a Tuk Tuk facing each other with our feet on the spare wheel. We thought the driver had the radio on but when we stopped we found that he was actually watching a Kung Fu movie on his phone that was propped up in front of the steering wheel. When we got off the Tuk we found we all had blue paint on our hands where we had been gripping the sideshow tightly because the Tuk was so unsafe, on the way back the exhaust blew. I could go on but having complained to the Ships Destination team we were only offered 30% refund which we declined because we felt from a safety point of view all we had done was hang on for dear life and not enjoyed the experience one bit. If we had booked a Tuk ourselves we could have chosen a roadworthy one and seen much more for less money. So I would recommend that you do all the trips independently, one because it a lot cheaper, if you do a trip in every port then you can save up to £200 and secondly where we thought going with Tui and Marbella would be safer as they advertise that they use reputable companies for the trips, this was clearly not the case in Cambodia. Having said that, I would recommend the cruise, the ship, and the places that it visited but I would strongly suggest that you do your excursions independently because you see more, get there quicker and can see what you want to see. Always negotiate your price first and then go explore! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Just to be aware most of the ports on this cruise are large container ports so don’t expect pretty vistas from your balcony cabin. Also the main ports, those for Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are a long way from these ... Read More
Just to be aware most of the ports on this cruise are large container ports so don’t expect pretty vistas from your balcony cabin. Also the main ports, those for Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City are a long way from these cities (at least 2-3 hours). There are lots of reviews about the ship so won’t go into detail about that as there is lots of info online. We found the standard drinks package fine (I don’t drink alcohol and hubby was able to have beers that he likes from the limited choice of beers as it is mainly lagers) and felt it was not worth the upgrade to the premium package which is an £50 per person per week so £200 on the 2 week cruise. We flew in and out of Langkawi as we wanted the extra time in Bangkok and had booked the ship tour called Sleepless Bangkok and tuk tuk ride which meant we didn’t get back to the ship until around midnight. One of the things I would have liked to see was a ladyboy show and unbeknown to us the ladyboys of Bangkok come onto the ship and do a show in the theatre on the evening of the overnight in Bangkok which we missed. Everybody says the show is fabulous. Langkawi – the advice I read was to walk past the initial throng of taxi drivers trying to get your business and carry on a bit further to the car park area. However one of our group of 4 was able to negotiate a return fare to the cable car of 150 ringgits (£30 so £15 per couple). Took about 45 minutes to get there but was closed due to high winds, we had been advised it was closed the previous day also due to the winds but did open later in the day, we hung around for a while but no sign of it opening or the wind easing so the other couple were returned to the ship and on their advice we went to the mangroves. The boat trip for 2 hours was 350 ringgits (£70) which is a private boat, there were no other people getting a boat at the same time so we were unable to share despite plenty of room on the boat, the price is for the boat, not the number of people so would be better to have several of you to share the cost. The 1 hour trip (sorry can’t remember the cost) would be sufficient as you don’t see much more on the 2 hour trip. We then got the taxi driver to take us to Eagle Square where we stopped for about 20 minutes. When we asked the taxi driver how much extra it was he said to pay what we felt so we paid a further 150 ringgits on top of the original 150 for taking us to the cable car and back and he seemed happy with this. He was happy to wait as long as needed at each stop. We found out later that the cable car did open later in the day despite it still being windy so if it is windy suggest going early afternoon and you may get to do it. Penang – we got the HOHO bus from outside the port – bus was waiting as you exited the port terminal but had to wait a while for it to depart. We bought our tickets inside the terminal at a cost of 45 ringgits each – so around £10 each. We wanted to go on the funicular (as we were unable to do the cable car in Langkawi), you can buy tickets on the bus, either 30 ringgits or 80 ringgits for fast pass tickets per person. We made the mistake of going for the cheaper ones and it took about an hour and a half before we made it to the top. You have to wait until your boarding number is called, then queue for about 15 minutes in one area, then you move on and think you are going to board the funicular but then it is another big queue before a final big queue before you get on. The fast pass tickets just go straight through so you would be up in about 10 minutes. By the time we made it to the top we only had a quick scout round as we were concerned about the queue to get back down and having to wait for the HOHO bus. Kuala Lumpur – we did the Kuala Lumpur on your own trip with the ship which I would recommend. I had pre-booked the Petronas Tower tour for 12.15 so before that we got a taxi to and from central market which cost 40 ringgits (£8) there and 20 ringgits back (£4). We were given maps on the coach and the drop off and pick up was by the Petronas Towers. Singapore – we used the metro which is accessible from the port terminal – jus follow the signs or ask. A day pass is $10 per person or a single ride is $1.80. We just did single rides as we knew we wouldn’t do enough to warrant the day pass. We got the metro to Clarke Quay and then did a boat trip from there to Marina Bay which was $18 each. There are various stops to get off in Marina Bay. (We got off at Marina Bay Sands hotel but I would recommend getting off at the Merlion Statue to see that close up then walking round to Marina Bay Sands although this would be a fair walk). We then went up to the viewing platform of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which was $23 each – just enter the hotel and follow the signs. We then followed the signs to Gardens by the Bay. Unfortunately the arial walkway in the trees was closed for maintenance on the day we were there but costs $8 each. We were undecided about doing the domes (as we have been to the Eden Project in Cornwall and felt it would be like that) but we did it and they are amazing – highly recommended. $28 each. Koh Samui – We got a songthew (type of bus with an open rear) to Chaweng Beach, agreed a cost with the driver of 500 baht (£13) return fare for a couple. 6 other couples joined us. On arrival the driver arranged a pick up time with us and he was there exactly on time which we arranged for 2.30pm to allow sufficient time to get back to the ship, it was an hour’s journey each way. The driver even stopped on the way back and went into a shop, then presented us all with a chilled bottle of water. We walked about 5 minutes or so along the beach and hired sunbeds on the beach outside a hotel for 100 baht each (£2.63) for the day. We also had access to the toilet facilities. Hubby also had his first ever massage for I think 300 baht – was supposed to be 45 minutes but was over an hour. Laem Chabang (Bangkok) – we did ship tours on the 2 days to Bangkok – Sleepless Bangkok and tuk tuk ride on the first day and the ancient city on the second day. The tuk tuk ride was fun, night market was quite small. Spent quite a lot of time at the temple where they do the evening chanting (bit too long) and the flower market is just a walk through. Ancient city trip was nice, very clean and picturesque. Cambodia, Sihanoukville – the port transfer bus gets accosted by taxi/tuk tuk drivers wanting your business which some people find very intimidating and return straight away to the ship. The guy at my husband’s window met us off the bus and we moved away from the crowd to negotiate a price which was $60US for 3 hours, He spoke good English and the Cambodian people are friendly. We visited a square, a religious site, several beaches, golden lions roundabout and a fishing village. There is a lot of building going on of casinos and hotels by the Chinese as advised by our driver/guide but they bring their own people so it doesn’t give work to the locals. The area is very third world with lots of rubbish around and basic roads, with the fishing village being extremely basic and slum-like, makes you appreciate what we have at home! So is an experience which shouldn’t be missed, plus you are helping their economy. We had originally planned to go on a ferry to the island of Koh Rong Sanloem and had prebooked and paid online for the return ferries. This was based on the the itinerary had said we would be in Sihanoukville from 7am to 9pm so allowed plenty of time for getting back to the ship as we had been told that transport such as ferries don’t always run to the scheduled times. However when we received the cruise paper the evening before the departure time was 7pm which we felt was too tight to ensure we would make it back in time so had to forgo the island trip. This trip is not offered by the ship. On asking other people the 7pm departure had also happened on the previous cruise. Phu My Vietnam – Vung Tau – We chose to do a ship tour to the seaside area of Vung Tau rather than go into Ho Chi Minh City which is retrospect was probably not a great idea. The trip was partly sightseeing and partly beach with lunch. We were firstly driven to a lookout point but there wasn’t long enough to climb the many steps to get to the top to see the Jesus statue due to the short time we were given here. We then went to a religious site and were given quite a long time here which wasn’t needed as not a great deal to see, so the timings were not great. We also stopped along the seafront for a brief photo stop. The beach hotel we were taken to was nice, the lunch was basic but ok (no choice of food), the beach was nice although the sea was rough and there were kite surfers who didn’t have any consideration for the bathers so you had to be careful when in the sea. Speaking to people who had gone into Ho Chi Minh City, they said it was really good, so we wished we had gone there instead. Malacca – Tenders to shore which was not mentioned in Tui info but departure time was 4pm rather than the stated 2pm. We walked to Dutch Square and Jonker Street, then did a boat trip on the river which cost 30 ringgts each (approx £6 each). As it was very hot we then hired one of the bike/tuk tuks to save further walking in the heat (sorry can’t remember how much this was). However we ended up re-visiting some of the places we had already been to and wasn’t able to communicate this with the language barrier. We got him to drop us at McDonalds so we could get some refreshments and use their wifi and we then walked back to the tender area. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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