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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Just returned from two week Baltic cruise on Marella Explorer (10 th Aug19). Never having cruised before, we were unsure what to expect, but the itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Apologies in advance for the length of this review, I ... Read More
Just returned from two week Baltic cruise on Marella Explorer (10 th Aug19). Never having cruised before, we were unsure what to expect, but the itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Apologies in advance for the length of this review, I know it's going to be a long one We sailed from Newcastle, so no flights involved for us which was a huge bonus, mainly as no luggage restrictions ( so long as each case weighed no more than 23k each) but also being able to avoid the chaos of airports in summer. We stayed overnight the night before in Premier inn at the port( not the best, will review separately on trip advisor) . We drove to the car park at 1130 which took all of 30 seconds from the hotel, dropped off our luggage in the marquee as instructed, where our cases were tagged with our cabin number - didn't see them again until we were on board. Then taken by bus to the check in area where we were given our cruise cards and information. We waited no more than 10 mins to be called to have passports checked, and after another very short bus ride we embarked. We were on board by 1215 - really efficient, smooth process, greatly appreciated by us as we had no idea of the process. We had just had lunch by the pool when an announcement was made at 130 pm that cabins were available and our luggage arrived around 330 pm , really efficient service. We explored and attended muster drill which was obviously very busy, but it was well organised and lasted no more than 15 mins. Unfortunately the weather was poor for sail away so I believe a sail away party was held indoors. We stayed on deck in the typical British summer weather to watch us sail away instead. We had a sea day immediately which gave us time to explore all the ship had to offer. Two pools, which were bigger than we expected. Three generous hot tubs too. Poolside bands when weather allowed, and twice daily films by the pools. 10 bars, 10 restaurants , a kids area, a teenage area, table tennis, mini golf, cinema, show lounge, champneys spa and gym, basket ball court, adults only sunbathing area, library with table games, shuffle board, quoits a huge English style pub with lots of quizzes and bands. Great value shops, I'm sure there was more but am at a loss to remember Entertainment was on in the show lounge twice nightly and the few we saw were good. They had a guest comedian who was really good - so good we went to both his shows , one being a late night version Service on board really was with a smile. Every member of staff without exception was friendly and polite. Everyone of the staff worked so hard and gave the impression they loved what they did. Our room stewards were fab and we appreciated the turndown service in the evening. Our cabin was kept very clean each day. Hygiene was important throughout the ship, with hand sanitiser everywhere and gentle reminders in the daily cruise news . Exiting the ship at each port of call was easy and smooth. , no long lines , and the same getting back on after each port. The sail away party after each port was great and after our two day stay in St Petersburg we were welcomed back with songs and dancing from all the crew on the dock side - really nice touch. Another nice touch was a BBQ by the pool on a rare sunny day after we visited Copenhagen . Food is subjective and I'm sure you can't please everyone. But we didn't have a meal we didn't enjoy on board. From the buffet to the steak house, all really good. We tried them all, including the ones with the supplement except for the Dining club, purely as its not to my taste . There were no tender ports on this itinerary , but a few of the ports were a little way out of town. TUI did provide shuttles for these at £5 each which we used. Only in Stockholm was the shuttle useless. It dropped us in a busy part of town difficult to find again for the return. We made our own way back to the ship, but guests were complaining the shuttle picked up in a different part of town that people weren't made aware of causing some to have to get taxis back to the ship We didn't use TUI excursions at all, we researched before and either did our own thing or booked privately with no issues at all. Besides the price, the fact that TUI use full size coaches for excursions put us off. The privately booked tours used 16 seat mini buses, making it easier to see the sights quickly with a guarantee of not missing all aboard time We didn't know wether we would love or hate the cruising experience, but can safely say we are hooked ! Thank you captain John , you have an amazing crew, you should be very proud, but you need better jokes ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
As a first time cruiser, I was attracted to Marella’s package given it included not only food, but drinks also. I was initially nervous, having read mixed reviews online. The ship is fantastic. There’s loads to do at all hours. Our ... Read More
As a first time cruiser, I was attracted to Marella’s package given it included not only food, but drinks also. I was initially nervous, having read mixed reviews online. The ship is fantastic. There’s loads to do at all hours. Our cabin was clean, comfortable, well maintained and offered plenty of storage space. The food was fantastic. The main fine dining restaurant, Latitiude 53, was good, albeit hit and miss at times. However the Vista restaurant was faultless every time and was some of the best food we’ve ever eaten. Mediterranean Italian was also superb and the buffet restaurant offered a great choice, whilst also maintaining a high quality. The organisation of the embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and faultless. All the staff were beyond superb. I cannot put into words how they made the cruise. Will definitely be cruising with Tui again- already looking at the next one! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise for it's itinerary as the Baltic was somewhere we had never been before and were keen to experience. St Petersburg was the highlight but we enjoyed the other ports of call too. Embarkation/disembarkation ... Read More
We chose this cruise for it's itinerary as the Baltic was somewhere we had never been before and were keen to experience. St Petersburg was the highlight but we enjoyed the other ports of call too. Embarkation/disembarkation was very well organised with no issues for us. We thought the dining was excellent, especially Vista Italian, the Pizza/Pasta Italian and the Mediterranean Tapas. The quality and choice at Latitude 53 was also very good. Market Place was always busy but had a really good choice all day and we especially enjoyed afternoon tea. We didn't try eating in any of the places where there was a cover charge. On the whole, we also really enjoyed the onboard entertainment. The show cast are a very talented bunch and certainly work very hard. All the staff were smiley & friendly. We thought the wifi was expensive at £25 for 3 days. If they do have to charge then surely those 3 days needn't be consecutive? Couldn't the system at least recognise when you're off the ship and therefore couldn't possibly be using it? Obviously there were one or two other things that could be improved upon but you can't please all the people all the time and overall the ship, cabin, dining entertainment & service were excellent. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Price was great for all inclusive. Travelled with Tui before and very informal and friendly so prefer this type of cruising. Great cabin spacious and clean and as usual very friendly hardworking staff. Few issues with queues at ... Read More
Price was great for all inclusive. Travelled with Tui before and very informal and friendly so prefer this type of cruising. Great cabin spacious and clean and as usual very friendly hardworking staff. Few issues with queues at Main dining area and waiting once in but relsoved after speaking with maitre D. The Med Bar for TAPAS excellent as well as the Italian so plenty of choice for eats Good quality drinks Plenty of entertainment., shows, quizzes, groups, piano, lectures , cinema something for everyone Lots of different bars for entertainment or quiet areas if you prefer Lovely Lounge Bar very bright and spacious with our fave staff Michelle Roland David Alice always singliong smiling and going hte extra mile Too may great staff to mention all the names Booked the 2 day Saint Petersburg tour with ALLA tours, by far the best from speaking to others . only 14 in the group, no queues, excellent lunches in 4 star hotels each day, Dimitry our guide was fantastic and knowledgable. Very easy to book and answered all questions beforehand, highly recommend ALLA Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We always choose cruises based on the itinerary and this completely fitted the bill! Our second cruise on this ship and once again it excelled itself. We had a large balcony cabin (9135) which is well placed midships and well looked ... Read More
We always choose cruises based on the itinerary and this completely fitted the bill! Our second cruise on this ship and once again it excelled itself. We had a large balcony cabin (9135) which is well placed midships and well looked after and cleaned by the cabin stewards. Food as always was excellent in both Latitude 53 and Vista, as well as the lunches in The Market Place. The entertainment by the ships enetertainment crew was generally good except that we had seen most of the shows before so in some cases we didn't get to see a show. The guest artists, The Harper Brothers are still performing the same act as we have seen 4 times before and well worth missing and Ricky K was also poor and reminded me why I don't watch Britains Got Talent, because blatantly he didn't! There was a guest crossover singer (sorry forgot her name) who was excellent however although only allowed one show! The 2 Crew shows were excellent and show a wealth of talent, in fact in our opinion the best Crew show ever! We did our own thing as regards trips except for the occasional port shuttle bus. In most ports we used the HOHO bus's and Canal/River trips sometimes combined to get a better deal. In St Petersburg we used Alla Tours who were beyond excellent and I really recommend them as opposed to the ships offerings as for about the same price you see more, are in groups of a maximum size of 16 comfortable mini bus's. The guide (ours was Marina) was excellent and spoke great English. All in all an excellent cruise on a super ship with great staff! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we weren't disappointed. The countries visited were all so interesting but all different too. Due to my lack of mobility we chose to go on an excursion on nearly all the ports of call and I ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we weren't disappointed. The countries visited were all so interesting but all different too. Due to my lack of mobility we chose to go on an excursion on nearly all the ports of call and I have to say they were the best we've ever done. All the tour guides were informative, interesting and fun, yes even in Russia!! We chose to have a balcony and had cabin 10000 which was a great location. It's the last cabin before the bridge on deck 10 so you only have a few staff members going past the door. Plus when you arrive or leave a port you can watch the captain and his amazing staff maneuver the ship when on the balcony. Also in this location you weren't anywhere near any of the music entertainment, which suited us well. Our cabin stewards were superb and so helpful, they were unobtrusive and kept the cabin nice and clean. We only ate at the Market Place as that's our preferred way to eat. I don't want a waiter fussing over me, I'm quite capable of getting my own food, putting a napkin on my own lap and able to eat without being asked if everything is ok. The food was amazing and so beautifully presented and with such choice. As I said all the excursions were so good and well worth the money. It's fascinating to find out how other countries run themselves and their history. As I have limited mobility I found that after 2 reasonably active excursions (I thought I'd chosen ones with little walking, but it was more than my knee could stand easily) that I couldn't face a third so went to destinations just to see if it was possible to exchange to a less active one. They were so very helpful and with the say so of the boss we were allowed to do this, for which we were very grateful. We went on a river cruise instead so hardly any walking and it was a superb way to see Stockholm. The entertainment wasn't as good as other Tui cruises we've been on and I think they got the age demographic a bit wrong. But the performers themselves tried their hardest and we didn't miss a show. Getting on the ship in Newcastle was a bit of a shambles, but getting off went very smoothly. It's hard to exit nearly 2000 people at one time, so we thought they did a good job. ALL the staff are so friendly, polite, happy and courteous and as all tips are included its not like they are trying to be friendly so they get tips. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole event apart from some rather rough sea coming back over the North Sea, but that's Mother Natures fault, no-one else's! Other than a bit of seasickness that afternoon the rest of the cruise was wonderful and we've already booked our next one and I wouldn't call ourselves typical cruise people! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We started cruising in 1987 when the ships were smaller and the food and service was excellent but over the years the ships got larger and larger the food and service deteriated to such an extent that we cruised twice in 2017 on these ... Read More
We started cruising in 1987 when the ships were smaller and the food and service was excellent but over the years the ships got larger and larger the food and service deteriated to such an extent that we cruised twice in 2017 on these floating theme parks we said that's it no more cruising for us. A friend recommended marella which turned out to be brilliant just like cruising used to be we booked a suite which was massive, every member of the crew were friendly and seemed happy in their work and couldn't do enough for us.Within two days most of the crew and senior officers were calling us by our name. The ship was spotless in all departments and whether you ate in the restruants or the self service islands the choice of food and service was as good as any ship we have been on. The performers in the shows were absolutely brilliant, I'm not a fan of singing and dancing shows and always sit on the isle so I wouldn't disturb people when I left early, on this ship the show and the talent was so good I sat through every show. Despite the drinks being free the waiters were always offering you drinks and being free you would have thought they would be slow to keep the costs down but the opposite was true. My wife complained that the ship lacked the wow factor but compared with other ships I found it homely comfortable and very friendly, we could all find something to complain about but my only complaint is this ship isn't based in Southampton and doing the Mediterranean as if it was I wouldn't consider using any other shipping line . Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First embarkation from Southampton for Discovery and we always wanted to visit St Petersburg, This is our second trip on the Discovery and weren’t disappointed with the ambience,food or entertainment. Embarkation was a piece of cake, ... Read More
First embarkation from Southampton for Discovery and we always wanted to visit St Petersburg, This is our second trip on the Discovery and weren’t disappointed with the ambience,food or entertainment. Embarkation was a piece of cake, straight through check in and luggage delivered to cabin by the time we had a coffee in the Snack Shack deck nine. There were six in our party( four plus two who had not been with Marcella before) but subsequent dining was a doddle ,it only took a couple of days to find a great waiter and team- table 29- in the 47# dining room. Entertainment by the resident troupe was very good, how they remembered all the routines, only disappointment was that there was only one guest act the whole cruise, though Sebby Mercury was a joy ( one of the troupe) Generally all the staff, front of shop and back room, were excellent and all attentive, and all team leaders were approachable and friendly. We visited Gothenburg Tallin Warnemunde Stockholm St. Petersburg ( two days) Copenhagen and Zeebrugge though not necessarily in that order A downside , though we had a larger cabin chosen from the ship’s deck plan on line, Deluxe on deck eight (8534) which was quite spacious,the floor to ceiling windows were grimy outside mainly because the window cleaner couldn’t reach and because the deck above (9) was the lounger and table area for the snack bar we had furniture movement at about 6am to 7 am and again about 9 to 10 pm The casino had only two tables, blackjack and poker, the roulette was an automatic one and very popular, and the slot machines plentiful and paid out quite well,!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My first time on Discovery and most enjoyable, the cities were exceptional and lucky with the weather. I was lucky to discover an art class on the first sea day as I attended a lecture which was very entertaining about Pirate Radio and ... Read More
My first time on Discovery and most enjoyable, the cities were exceptional and lucky with the weather. I was lucky to discover an art class on the first sea day as I attended a lecture which was very entertaining about Pirate Radio and Interviews with some Graffitti information, well worth the time. i found myself attending the class with a Robin who was an excellent teacher and very patient. I now have an artistic ability I never knew about. Bar 11 was super in the evenings an oasis on board to enjoy a drink with a great view and excellent staff. The Entertainment in the evenings was much the usual with themed shows and quality speciality acts, all very good. just a warning there are no toiletries in the cabins so take plenty, however the cleaning staff were top draw. I believe that Marella will make changes but hopefully not too many. There was a charge for Shuttle Buses but all excursions were good value. St Petersburg is stunning and Aarhus was special but of course visiting so many cities its difficult to be critical. Docking in Copenhagen was a way out of the city which meant you couldn't walk to the city, but as it was raining not a bad thing, dock in Oslo was great. All in all I hope to return. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First time cruiser and was in all honesty unsure if cruising would be my ideal holiday. Had spent a few weeks prior reading some reviews and Facebook group posts to learn what I could prior to departure and get some cruising tips. Some ... Read More
First time cruiser and was in all honesty unsure if cruising would be my ideal holiday. Had spent a few weeks prior reading some reviews and Facebook group posts to learn what I could prior to departure and get some cruising tips. Some proved useful, others although useful, turned out to be more personnal opinions so I’m sure some of my report will be the same to any readers of my review. Overall the organisation of the cruise by staff from embarkation at the port, to cabin staff, chefs, domestic staff, tour operators, bar and restaurant staff, everyone is fantastic. The only staff who seemed vague and less helpful were the Duty-Free personnel - they didnt seem as interested, more into selling, this is probably part of their job I guess, but I was less than impressed in this area whereas I was totally amazed by everyone else. A subject we all place high on our priorities is FOOD. Where do I start with food? I certainly can’t fault it. On board is the full range from casual snacks, to high end dining. Snack shack is so handy for lots of reasons – quick familiar food people are used to, ready when you need it and ranging from fast food pleasures including burgers, fried chicken, fish and chips there were also healthy options of fruit pots, granola with yougurt, salad boxes and a selection of sandwiches and wraps all available to eat in or to take away. Great for tours off ship. The Glass House during the day is pleasant and relaxed with a nice selection of salad, always a carving joint and snacks daily. The only thing that confused me here was the coffee normally in the All Inclusive - cappucino, latte was chargeable although I'd never seen anything to say this. It did have the standard coffee and tea machine available though. From 6pm a part of the Glass House becomes a pizza and tapas restaurant which are cool to share. Sharing plates of meats, cheese or a meat/cheese combo are an option and just be aware and you can order it all, not just a selection. Myself and husband enjoyed this location for food. It also extends its services at 21:30 to become the late-night food provider, again with a small but adequate choice of curry, chips and their accompaniment’s with salad and some sweet snacks too. 47 degrees - lovely a la carte restaurant with around half the menu as standard choices and the other choices varied over a period of time. It made it a nice dinner choice with waiter service and pleasant surroundings. It also served breakfast with a small buffet selection and a la carte choices including Full English, eggs and omelletes to order and varied cloices of french toast, pancakes etc. Breakfast seemed busy sometimes though, and sometimes, some, food arrived and wasn’t as hot as Id have preferred, but otherwise it was good and helps a bit with portion control as the food is plentiful from early till late. Gallery 47 degrees - Italian menu with probably less change on the menu selection, but we managed to go 4 times and had a lovely meal every time. The antipasti were amazing and I could have eaten this 3-fold with some of the delicious bread on offer and been happy that was my meal! Islands Buffet – The main restaurant and the busiest with the widest variety of food. I can only describe it as ‘standard buffet’ and don’t mean this in anyway derogatory. It offers what anyone who has been All Inclusive at a hotel on holiday would expect – lots of food choices to mix and match, salads, carved meat section, and a children’s selection, there was a station for dietary requirements which although I didn’t choose this food, looked to have at least a few choices every time I went past. Dinner time food seemed to have a theme that changed daily, from Mexican, Thai, Greek, Spanish and of course British with Roast Meat and all the trimmings. They also had an afternoon tea 3 – 5pm offering mini sandwiches and rolls with scones, jam and cream with cakes and desserts like crumble, strudel etc. I loved my scones from here. Something I noticed in the buffet was the plastic glasses were clean but so scratched that they never really looked that nice. Considering everywhere had plastic, the ones in Islands were by far in the worst condition, so much so, I didn’t have a drink in there but took a drink in with me from elsewhere. Now accommodation, I think overall the accommodation is basic but sufficient for the needs. We were basic so no frills whatsoever, but there was plenty of space to sleep, wash and changeover from one activity to the next. We never spend much time in our room on any holiday so basic was fine. If you wanted to have a drink or spend time with friends/family together in your room something less basic would be better so I think this is a very personal subject which people will choose and pay for within requirements and budget. Irrespective, they were maintained well, cleaned properly and nothing was a problem for the hard working cabin staff. The cleaning staff on board were always doing something, dusting staircases, polishing lift doors, stocking up on supplies and just keeping the ship in ‘tip top’ condition. All of them had a smile on their faces and never let you pass without a Good Morning/Afternoon or Evening. They are a credit to themselves. Drinks availability within the All Inclusive was excellent, as were the barmen who were constantly busy mixing cocktails and mocktails, pouring beers, soft drinks and coffees as well as clearing and cleaning up. They still managed to chat with the customers and get to know them. We had many a chat with Milos and Georgio at the Pool Bar and others who impressed us a lot were Anthony, Renalyn and Ogen, well done all of you! I used the Gym daily and it provided a very good service. Curtis who was the training professional on board put in lots of visibility to help gym users and also ran several classes – some complimentary, some chargeable and also seminars on several interesting topics these were held in the Live Lounge and were informative but laid back, he knew his trade very well and was clearly passionate about it. We did use the Oceans Spa although we hadn’t planned to. Top Tip – don’t go booking too early as they issue offers of varying choices as the cruise progresses. I choose a Top to Toe Massage when it was on offer and had the best deep tissue massage from Eka. Entertainment – There is a massive, diverse selection of entertainment on offer throughout the days. Something on for what must suit all age ranges and preferences frequently. It was a case of choosing what took your fancy and going along. I would say that on days ‘At Sea’ if the weather wasn’t warm there wasn’t too much for us once we had done the Climbing Wall, Crazy Golf and had a look in the Duty Free Shops. But that’s possibly our preferences and certainly not because there was nothing to do. Tours and Excursions – since this was our first cruise we decided to book our day trips by selection and in advance. The organisation on board meant this did work and getting information beforehand was available and getting on & off ship, using the transport and meeting guides was meticulously organised. On a couple of occasions we didn’t go back to the ship when the tour ended. Instead, after informing the guide that we weren’t going back, we did a bit of our own thing and went back on our own. This was in the locations where it was merely a shot stroll from the centre to the ship. I enjoyed this as it gave us a good mix of organised and ad hoc. Everyone to their own on how much they book and plan beforehand. I could type forever about the Cruise which in itself says a lot. I have glossed over some subjects because I didn’t want to be boring or voice my own opinion too much. A cruise is easily adapted to individual needs and requirements. I have decided that I would definitely do another cruise and most possibly with Tui/Marella. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise as as our first ever because of its itinerary and price. The Baltic capitals trip was very enjoyable, well organised and delivered everything it promised. My wife and I simply walked around each stopping point (with ... Read More
We chose this cruise as as our first ever because of its itinerary and price. The Baltic capitals trip was very enjoyable, well organised and delivered everything it promised. My wife and I simply walked around each stopping point (with the exception of St Petersburg) .... regular buses were provided and transfers from boat to city were smooth and painless. The St Petersburg excursion (Peterhof Palace and Hermitage Museum - 9 hours with lunch included) was great but exhausting... more a criticism of our fitness than of the itinerary! The all-inclusive package was great. Food was well cooked and varied; drinks were easily available and very good. The service was simply excellent... Tui have certainly got their recruitment procedures right). A wide variety of activities were also available and easy to find out about and sign up for. Our holiday bonus was the "Passion for Dance" programme run by the wonderful Amy and Roland. These young dancers were brilliant teachers, unbelievable performers and simply wonderful, positive people. They taught a daily lesson (we now know 10 dances.... starting from zero!) and hosted a twice-nightly social dance in the "Atrium". In the second week we had to move into the "Venue" to accommodate the growing number of learner and experienced dancers. We smiled and laughed through every session... it was lovely.We would happily adopt Amy and Roland! The show team as a whole were splendid, producing spectacular shows.... different every night and displaying their brilliance in singing, acting and dancing. I've paid a lot of money to see shows in England which were nowhere near as enjoyable as those I saw on board. We had a basic inside cabin and it was fine... though dark rooms make it difficult to know what time it is in the mornings! It was kept spotless by the crew. We will be on board Discovery again next year. Thank you Tui, more making our first cruise so wonderful! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Just returned from 14 nights on the Marella Discovery, sailing from Newcastle to the Baltic Captials, and where the embarkation ran like clock work. We stayed in an outside cabin on deck 3 in cabin 3070. What a fantastic time we had ... Read More
Just returned from 14 nights on the Marella Discovery, sailing from Newcastle to the Baltic Captials, and where the embarkation ran like clock work. We stayed in an outside cabin on deck 3 in cabin 3070. What a fantastic time we had during our cruise, ship was terrific, dining was extensive you wanted it you can get it. Our best dining was at No:47, can't comment on the pay for dining as we never used it. The entertainment was exceptionally good, all credit to the entertainment crew. Sebby Mercury was terrific, has was a tribute act to Queens Freddie Mercury, approx 45 minutes of non stop singing. 2 guest appearances were made from 2 comedians. There was plenty of activities going on at all times of the day during our cruise, so no time for boredom there. Service from the staff at restaurants / bars / cabin staff was to a high standard. All very friendly and always happy to help in anyway they could. We only did one organised excursion, and that was with ALLA TOURS in St Petersburg. Our guide for the 2 days was a lovely girl called Anya, very knowledgeable she was to. The tour that we undertook was called The Grand Tour, others are available. We travelled in a small group of 14 in a mini bus. On day 1 we had a 3 course dinner at a local hotel, it was excellent. On day two we had a loot to pack in so a packed lunch was also provided for us. Overall the 2 day Grand Tour was well worth the money BUT it is a long 2 days, but don't let that put you off. The visa for visiting Russia is also included in the price you pay. All other locations were done by ourselves, Gothenburg = Tallin = Helsinki = Riga = Rostock = Copenhagen = Oslo. If your a steam train fanatic then we recommend the train journey. Local train to Bad Dobran then board the steam train there to Mollie. This train goes straight through the town centre. Check it out on the web. It's not exspensive. Would I travel this cruise again, although we fully enjoyed our time on board and saw some fantastic places I feel that going back again would spoil it, but that's a personal view. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. Baltic on our bucket list! We were NOT disappointed. Loved the variety of ports of call. Tallinn, St Petersburg and Oslo our favourites. Copenhagen would probably have been on our favourite ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. Baltic on our bucket list! We were NOT disappointed. Loved the variety of ports of call. Tallinn, St Petersburg and Oslo our favourites. Copenhagen would probably have been on our favourite list too if we hadn't taken the panoramic tour. Because due to the terrible traffic congestion we spent a long time in traffic jams. Suggest you walk in to centre, and get taxi back if you are tired! We were delighted at the free shuttle buses to the centre of town in ports where we were docked further out. We loved the ship. It is lovely. One of our favourites to date, after 5 other cruises with top cruise lines. Particularly loved the bright airy feel with the huge floor to ceiling windows in main dining room and atrium. Entertainment was wonderful in the theatre. A different show every night. The shows just kept getting better and better! Loved the Paris themed one. So original! the in house show team are amazing! Also enjoyed the performances in the atrium, particularly the vocalists Max and Brandi. Wonderful singers. Also the saxophonist Vernon and Morgan the singer from the show team were excellent. The food was very good. Ok, you don't have the option of sirloin steaks every night in the main dining room as in e.g Celebrity Solstice class ships but for the money the food was excellent and beautifully presented. A big step up from our previous cruise with the same company on Thomson Majesty a few years ago. Well done Marella. Half of the upper level of the dining room is Italian themed and we loved it too. also enjoyed the Spanish style tapas meal in Glass House. Spanish speaking Shennly from Dominican Republic enhanced the experience even further as she is so friendly and we love to practice our Spanish. The majority of the waiters in the main dining room were also extremely friendly, especially Yara, though one or two a little stiff. Sometimes service a little slow especially for desserts. There seemed to be an occasional bottleneck in the kitchen. Our only difficulty was finding a seat in the Atrium in the evening or finding a sunbed at the indoor pool area or in a sheltered place particularly on cooler or sea days. More seating could be added to the upper levels of the atrium as some of the levels had no seating and others very little. People had to stand to see the most popular performances in the atrium. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for its broad itinerary. Gothenburg, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, Rostock (surprisingly excellent), Copenhagen & Oslo. And it was perfectly topped off with great weather. We did several excursions (all ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its broad itinerary. Gothenburg, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, Rostock (surprisingly excellent), Copenhagen & Oslo. And it was perfectly topped off with great weather. We did several excursions (all MARELLA'S), and loved them all except for the canal and city cruise in Copehagen which unfortunately was hampered by severe traffic congestion, so we didn't get the best of that . St Petersburg was out of this world. Complimentary shuttle buses laid on (free to use) at ports where docking was out of town. Our cabin (junior suite) was excellent as was the food and entertainment. Great service by all staff we encountered. Well run ship by Captain Chris Dodds who was visible, sociable and approachable as were all his senior team. This was a very happy ship and we were very happy to have been on it. Booked again on Marella Explorer next year on the Land of the Midnight Sun cruise. Can't wait. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
As a first time cruiser and having read the many negative reviews of the Christmas cruise we were a little concerned about travelling on this ship but we had needn't have worried. We were greeted by the Port of Tyne team at the car ... Read More
As a first time cruiser and having read the many negative reviews of the Christmas cruise we were a little concerned about travelling on this ship but we had needn't have worried. We were greeted by the Port of Tyne team at the car park and our luggage whisked away to arrive in our room just 1 hour later. The ship was spotless with over 750 staff working tirelessly to keep the 1800 guests happy. Our balcony room was a great size on the starboard side and had everything we needed. It was about the size of a travelodge room so plenty of space.The cabin steward was fantastic and nothing was ever too much trouble. We had animal shaped towels most days on returning to our cabin The population on the ship were mixed with young honeymooners and those between 50- 75. There were only a few very small children (under 3) so it was almost an adults only cruise. The bar staff were attentive and plentiful and the restaurants always found a space for you to sit either as a couple or on a shared table. We were impressed that the dress code was enforced at dinner in the waited restaurants 47 degrees and gallery 47. The entertainment team were fantastic and we had 14 different styles of shows every night so there was something for everyone's taste. The two live bands B12 and Taylor Made kept us entertained throughout the evenings in other venues around the ship along with a talented pianist and saxophonist who would pop up at various times in the day. The escape room was excellent and the ships actors involved the crowd with murder mystery events. There was always something to do on board and if you needed peace the bar on deck 11 was a small sanctuary to have a quiet drink. The weather was fabulous for the whole cruise and the seas calm so the ship never seemed crowded and at times we had to check we were still moving! The ports we visited were fabulous- our favourites were Warnemunde- with its beach, Tallin and Stockholm. The all inclusive package which is standard is all you really need as the list of drinks and cocktails is extensive. There was some confusion over cola but as long as it is from a dispenser it is free. It is only extra if you want a can of Coke. The excursion were very good with english speaking guides at every port. Many of the European ports (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Wannemunde ) we did our own thing as the boat docked so close to the city. we felt thoroughly privileged and disappointed by the constant moans of the slightly older generation travelers who seemed to pick fault with everything. I would travel on this boat again and i am sure there are much more luxurious boats and posher dining but then we would have had to pay much more than we did. This is a casual cruise and ideal for first timers. You are not expected to dress up every night unless you want to and are not expected to tip which is also a positive. i would go again with TUI perhaps to cambodia next time in winter 2018 Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Primarily chose this cruise based on the locations visited, time of year with respect to weather averages and price. I'll say first off, the weather was unbelievably good, just like everywhere else in Europe as far as I'm ... Read More
Primarily chose this cruise based on the locations visited, time of year with respect to weather averages and price. I'll say first off, the weather was unbelievably good, just like everywhere else in Europe as far as I'm aware, and this obviously had a tremendously positive effect on the cruise. Anyway, the cruise itself. Embarkation was not good, this was the largest cruise ship to use Port of Tyne to date, and the port underestimated just how much effort was needed to handle almost 1800 passengers, not helped by everyone turning up at pretty much the same time, in future Marella & Port of Tyne should recommend staggered arrivals if possible, but I think the fundamental problem was PoT not having sufficient X-ray equipment to handle the amount of baggage. It wasn't bad but could have been better, I'd hate to think what it would have been like if it was raining! In contrast, when we disembarked it went pretty much like clockwork, I'd say lessons had been learned and acted on. We chose the cheapest cabins, inside lower decks, they were fine but if I could make the decision again I'd have paid the extra for an outside, or even a balcony (price dependent). I base this on the ports we visited, as they were beautiful and I'd have enjoyed being able to see them from the cabin. During the cruise we tried several of the eateries, but kept coming back to the Island buffet restaurant. It provided the best choice which suited my party. Didn't bother with the steak or sushi ones as the extra cost was not worth it for us based on our preferences. The Italian was good but frankly we all preferred the informal buffet. The quality & service in all cafes & restaurants was excellent. The entertainment was an absolute revelation. I'm not a fan of stage shows etc. but even I thoroughly enjoyed both the formal and informal entertainment, they were very professional and much, much better than I expected.. The bars were very good and again the service excellent. In fact the service from all staff was impeccable, and along with the weather probably made the cruise so good. Our experience of the ports visited and the excursions we did was very good. Many of the destinations were within walking distance of the ports, and the few that were too far had buses arranged (at additional cost but very reasonable). Our party was made up of myself and my sister along with out mother who was celebrating her 80th birthday so we had to chose excursions with care as she does not walk too well. (Compared to many others on the ship she was spry and fit). Overall a good cruise and company which I'd have no hesitation in recommending. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My boyfriend and I booked our trip rather last minute and booked a lot of excursions too online before we left. On arrival at Newcastle port, it was a little confusing for us where we had to go as there was a queue to drop off your ... Read More
My boyfriend and I booked our trip rather last minute and booked a lot of excursions too online before we left. On arrival at Newcastle port, it was a little confusing for us where we had to go as there was a queue to drop off your luggage which you had to do first, before you proceeded to a check in signposted building - easily sorted no big deal A lot of people commenting on the standards of the ship, we found our room and the restaurant very comfortable, there are a few restaurants on board that you have to pay a subsidy for again - no big deal. The staff and food was fantastic, Johnny on reception and our housekeeper Dede were lovely, and the waiters were equally friendly and lovely people. The excursions again, all great, with really good knowledgeable guides The only down points..... - my boyfriend and I although on holiday need to keep connected with work, and so accessing emails, it was mentioned the internet connection was pretty slow - understatement, for the speed you get the price should be a lot lower, ranging from £8 for an hour, to £90 for 2 weeks per device, we were told we could connect multiple devices via one wifi connection purchase, but whenever we logged in from different devices it logged the other person off.....again no real big deal, but I think Thomson should charge a price in keeping with the poor connection Right......now what really bugged me, my boyfriend and I are in our 30s, when we told our friends and family we were going on a cruise the reaction was why?! because cruises seem to be appealing to passengers a lot older than us... This is where my temper was tested - As mentioned the cruise, destinations, the ship, the staff the food were amazing But the other passengers :| where do I begin……it seems the people this cruise attracts are plain idiots - I’m surprised how such an older generation is so rude, there is one buffet restaurant the Lido, where so many older people leaned over my tray to get to something, pushed in queue, can't you wait?! where's the fire?! to which I told a few to wait and not lean over my food - There is an Indian/Chinese restaurant on board where we ate on many evenings, there was a charge for this restaurant, but the food and the service made it worth it......in this restaurant there was an older gentleman and his wife (who were white and British - my boyfriend and I also white and British) shouting at the Indian waiter telling him they didn't know how to cook Indian food....really?! so an old rude white man knows more about cooking Indian food than an Indian chef?! I don't think so, he was moaning for ages, his wife telling him to shut up, but he persisted, pushing his food around his plate like a child having a tantrum, the only people’s meals you ruined were everyone else in that restaurant who had to listen to you speaking so appealingly to the waiter, absolutely disgusting and I hope you read this, you’re an absolute embarrassment - What else?....on some of the excursions, they were walking tours, WALKING being the give away as to what the tour would involve yet, again, lots of older people moaning about the walking In summary, a great cruise, great ship, staff, food, ports of calls and excursions, the only thing that ruined it for us, was the amount of moaning we had to endure from other passengers… Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We are 1st time cruisers, family of four, including two older teenage children. Everything went smoothly, journey and embarkation. Lovely welcome on board by staff. All staff were excellent their whole aim was to keep you happy and serve ... Read More
We are 1st time cruisers, family of four, including two older teenage children. Everything went smoothly, journey and embarkation. Lovely welcome on board by staff. All staff were excellent their whole aim was to keep you happy and serve in any way possible. The ship was very comfortable, cleaning was continual, everywhere so nothing was ever dirty or untidy. Rooms were made up twice a day, always clean towels. Cabin Steward Joko was very friendly helpful and pleasant. Ours was an outside cabin on deck 2 with the girls next door. These were not huge but were perfectly comfortable and kept clean and tidy. Food was fabulous we used a combination of the Lido and Meridian restaurants. Food was good in both but particularly in the Meridian Restaurant where we enjoyed excellent service from our waiter Alpin. We had a free upgrade at the point of booking to all inclusive, this was well worth it for a family party. After our evening meal we enjoyed the nightly shows in the Broadway Show Lounge, entertainment was very good and was enjoyed by the whole family. we also enjoyed the other entertainers around the ship performing in different bars and decks at various points throughout the day and night. We enjoyed all our destinations and ports of call. Being an active family we were happy to walk into many of the destinations on our own and found most walk in ports were about 20 mins on foot to get to the main points of interest. We did take a couple of payable shuttle busses in Stockholm and Helsinki as these were a longer distance and also a shorter amount of time was allowed in these two places as it was an early leaving sail time. We found this the only disappointing thing, that that some shore days were not as long as we may have liked. Excellent full day trip in St Pertersburg which included a guide who spoke excellent English, and a very good Russian meal, which we all enjoyed. All in all a good holiday with very good memories to take away. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My wife and I chose this cruise primarily for the ports of call which were varied but all interesting in their own ways. The smaller ports such as Fredrikstad and Aalborg were very welcoming and the larger ports such as St Petersburg and ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise primarily for the ports of call which were varied but all interesting in their own ways. The smaller ports such as Fredrikstad and Aalborg were very welcoming and the larger ports such as St Petersburg and the capital cities had much of interest. You can always find fault if you want to but for us this was yet another fantastic cruise. It was our first time on the Celebration but we preferred it slightly to the Majesty which we have cruised on twice previously (and loved). Our cabin was spotless and the dining and entertainment experiences were pretty much faultless. In our experience all cruises are of similar high standard so it's probably best to highlight the areas where this cruise exceeded expectations. 1. Thomson Show Team - who worked tirelessly throughout and delivered top quality shows and performances. Thanks to Nicky, Beth, Alice, Ewan, Alex and the others for making it so special. Even when one of the team was sick and unable to perform the others rallied round to ensure the show went ahead. 2. Dining experiences were generally excellent but our personal favourite was Manny's panini and tortilla bar at lunchtime on the Terrace poolside at the back of the Lido. A marvellous selection of snacks made to order. Lido restaurant coped well even when the ship was full and we loved Meridian for dinner. 3. The destination ports - where we took a tour in each port. All guides were incredibly knowledgeable and my personal favourite (in Helsinki) had a wicked sense of humour. Thomson maybe not quite as slick as others in terms of excursion organisation but the choice is extensive and I felt were greater value for money than other cruise companies. The only negative for us was the difficulty in securing a table for two at dinner in the Meridian restaurant which is our preference. Not a big issue though and we didn't mind the odd occasions where we had to share. In summary, great ports and excellent onboard experience plus top notch Thomson staff made this a cruise to remember. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have been on the Celebration before and we knew what to expect. The food in both the meridian and the Lido was excellent with a good choice always hot. The entertainment was not as good as our last cruise they had problems with the ... Read More
We have been on the Celebration before and we knew what to expect. The food in both the meridian and the Lido was excellent with a good choice always hot. The entertainment was not as good as our last cruise they had problems with the speakers on several nights. The comedian Josh Daniels was excellent and Ron Taylor who had worked at Granada Tv he had worked with many celebrities and was very interesting telling us all the amusing stories. The Cabin was kept spotless by Budi , The only downside was queing for shuttle bus tickets which you could only purchase the night before from the destination team many people were complaining about this. All the countries visited where very interesting especially St Petersburgh (except for long immigration ques) We would no hesitation cruising with Thomson again. I would not book next time till a month before as when we booked we could not take off the all inc drinks pakage as they said it was free several months later we could have paid half the price with no drinks package so dont know how they can say it is free when they reduce the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2008
This was our fourth cruise with Thomsons and our second on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. Check-in was a fairly painless process and we were settled and unpacked by around 4 o'clock to see the ship leave a ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Thomsons and our second on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. Check-in was a fairly painless process and we were settled and unpacked by around 4 o'clock to see the ship leave a rather grey Harwich. So - onto the full cruise review! Ship Cleanliness. Our cabin was spotless and was kept nice and tidy by our cabin "boy", Husni, throughout the cruise. The ship itself is pretty clean but some of the carpets are a little worn. Ship maintenance is a never ending task and there was always something being painted or repaired. The inside smoking ban has helped to make the interior more pleasant with no more nasty stale tobacco smells. Crew What can you say? They bend over backwards to help and are always smiling and joking. Nothing is too much trouble for them. I cannot say a bad word about any of the crew. Ship Food We ate at both the Lido buffet and Meridian restaurant. The food was of a high quality at both. The buffet is not "help yourself" but the servers will put as much or as little as you want on your plates. Finding seats was a little trickier on this cruise, perhaps because the weather meant more people ate inside. The Meridian food is superb and as good as any hotel or restaurant I've eaten at. The service was fast and efficient and we had two very good waiters - Bem and Richie - who kept us entertained. Onboard Entertainment The quality of entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. I heard one person compare it to Butlin's in the 70's but as someone who used to holiday every year at Butlin's in the 70's, I can reassure people it isn't that bad. We didn't think the evening stage shows were very good this year and the quality of the singing in particular was poor. The evening game shows were generally good, but did get a little silly at times; the "Miss Celebration" contest was very cringeworthy, although my kids loved it. During the day there were plenty of games, quizzes, lectures and films to keep just about everybody amused. Now, let's deal with the ports of call: Stockholm Some problems with the weather meant we were late arriving at Stockholm and our visit there was cut to a little less than three hours. The journey in to Stockholm is a complete joy; a three hour trip through the small islands and inlets of the archipelago. Once in the city, we wandered around the old town and the Royal Palace and took a pleasant stroll along the water front. Helsinki The ship was forced to berth some distance from the city, probably due to our late arrival. A complimentary shuttle bus was provided to the city but the queues were horrendous and we had to wait 40 minutes before we caught the bus. Apparently only two buses were available. That was the only hiccup, though, but it did give the moaners a chance to air their voices! Once in the city we took the 3B tram which is a circular route taking in the main sites, wandered around the shops and watched some street performers that were quite entertaining. St Petersburg As you are not allowed ashore without a visa, we took three excursions at St Petersburg. These are not particularly cheap (£30 - £40 per adult) but there is a good selection. We went to the Hermitage which was OK, but very crowded and rushed. Our guide was very good. Public toilets are rare so take the opportunity to go when you get one! In the evening we went to the ballet, "Swan Lake". This was excellent. Getting out of the theatre was a farce; around a thousand people were funneled through two tiny exits. One shudders to think what would have happened had there been a fire. The other trip was a guided coach tour around the city with plenty of photo stops. Tallinn An absolute delight of a city, helped by the warm weather! The city is not big and it was easy to wander from the ship, through the cobbled streets to the main sites. We enjoyed a drink at the town square and visited the oldest pharmacy in Europe! Warnemunde This is a very pleasant seaside resort with frequent rail services to nearby Rostock. We spent the day wandering around Warnemunde, though, as there are lots of shops, bars and general "goings on" to keep you amused. Kalundburg The excursions to Copenhagen were fully booked so we decided to explore the town. We were pleased we did as there is loads to do. A shuttle bus dropped us in the centre, right next to a small flea market. The church is a short walk away and right next to that was a small museum. Entrance to this was free for cruise passengers and you got the impression that we were special guests at the town. They even provided a brass band to see us off! All in all it was a very good cruise. The weather wasn't brilliant but we didn't expect that for northern Europe. The sights and the enjoyable time onboard more than made up for it! Read Less
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