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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad ... Read More
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad decision. Must say the cabin is spacious and well furnished BUT the inescapable element is constant noise from the deck above. We noticed it initially during the first day, noise of furniture being moved and scraped along the deck. The first night we were woke at 5am, then at 1.30am second night. It appears the deck was being cleaned which needed furniture to be moved. Formally complained in writing, no one responded and had a third night of disturbed sleep. Altogether had to complain 3 times to the “hotel manager”, not impressed at all with the response. The cruise was spoiled by the noise as it is a constant irritant when in the cabin, even during the day. A number of other issues occurred such as on embarkation we were told there was an IT problem which meant long queues while dropping off luggage in the car park and within the terminal building. Luggage was not unloaded on time from the ship after disembarkation, again huge queues in the car park whilst fork lift trucks were coming and going delivering suitcases. The food generally in the restaurants is adequate, not of a high quality. Got the feeling that some of the crew were very inexperienced, and required further training. Overall, it is downmarket, it was a bad experience and will not be going anywhere near a Marella ship again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
What an awful experience, from the boarding debacle in Newcastle to the dire pub singer in the lounge it was one disappointment after another. Luckily the destinations more than made up for the forced jolity of the ship life. We were lucky ... Read More
What an awful experience, from the boarding debacle in Newcastle to the dire pub singer in the lounge it was one disappointment after another. Luckily the destinations more than made up for the forced jolity of the ship life. We were lucky to have a balcony which gave us some relief from the rampaging kids, vest adorned Neanderthals and screaming women. It was pot luck with the service, some very, very good but others couldn't care less. The shows were what you expect on a ship but there was no relief. There was no peace and quiet anywhere on the ship, if it wasn't for mediocre live entertainment it was piped musak. The ship does not have enough seating in the public areas so feels overcrowded. If you like the Communal Butlins style holiday go for it, but if you want the sort of holiday they are charging for don't use Marella. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we thought it would be hassle free travelling from Newcastle - How WRONG we were, after arriving at Cruise Terminal we queued for 2 hours outside on road&pavement)with all our luggage before it was ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we thought it would be hassle free travelling from Newcastle - How WRONG we were, after arriving at Cruise Terminal we queued for 2 hours outside on road&pavement)with all our luggage before it was taken from us, then we had to wait another 45mins to check-in. We booked this cruise 9 months before & paid full price for an inside cabin as they wanted double the price for an balcony cabin, in total we paid £3200. imagine our sheer disgust when we found out that inside cabins we on sale for £1600 half price and to add to our disgust balcony suites were on sale for £2400. Surely TUI should have upgraded the guests who had already booked & paid the full price(as is done on other cruise lines). Inside cabin very small we chose to have the double bed(2 singles put together)but had to have this changed as we discovered we both could not safely walk around either side of the bed to get in/out without bumping our legs of the furniture at the bottom of the bed. We were told we would have to pay extra for bottled water in our cabin but it was safe to use tap water(on 1st day discovered black bits coming out of tap)so every day we had to full empty glass carafe & kettle from water dispenser 1 floor up/down to drink & brush our teeth. Buffet restaurant chaotic at breakfast/lunch if you were lucky to get a seat/table it was then a battle to get clean cups/bowls/plates & cutlery & food was luke warm. Food in 47 restaurant could have been hotter and waiting staff were understaffed by 25 waiters. To top it all my husband had been ill on ship & is still ill 2 weeks later. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Seen an all inclusive cruise in TUI in Aberdeen and as we enjoyed the previous cruise with Barr head travel we thought we would enjoy this one been all inclusive we surmised we were getting a good deal. NOT. First we were given an inside ... Read More
Seen an all inclusive cruise in TUI in Aberdeen and as we enjoyed the previous cruise with Barr head travel we thought we would enjoy this one been all inclusive we surmised we were getting a good deal. NOT. First we were given an inside cabin but paid for an outside had to move the next morning. The Food was cold all the time we were on the ship. The ship was delayed going into 3 ports so we had less time in those city's. The pool was out of order every day bar the very last day and the weather was above 20 c most days. We all came down with bronchitis in the last week.. So we put in a compliant and at first we were offered £100 voucher as compensation we rejected this and e-mailed again. No answer so rang them again. It took 10 minutes to answer the phone then after speaking to someone put back on hold for 30 minutes then was reconnected to the wrong department who could not help us. He asked us to ring the number again and this time it was CLOSED. Worst experience of a cruise and worse experience of a holiday company. Do not use them we are never going to. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2008
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and have always been more than happy with the service that we have experienced, but had never cruised with Thomson before. On booking I was asked to state my preference on single or double beds, I ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and have always been more than happy with the service that we have experienced, but had never cruised with Thomson before. On booking I was asked to state my preference on single or double beds, I stated that we would like a double bed. On arrival onboard the Celebration we were shown to our cabin, only to find we had been allocated single beds and on checking our living quarters, we would have been willing to forfeit our cruise had we had been able to reclaim our luggage. The cabin itself was passable, but our toilet facilities were disgusting, our shower room was in a terrible condition. There was mold on the grouting of the tiles both on the walls and floor of the shower tray area, also in the corners of the tray. At the rear of the toilet there were tiles hanging off the wall and around the toilet between tiles was brown stains. On turning on the shower water started to come back up the drain and if taking a shower we would then be paddling in used water from the drain. We reported the problems to reception and requested a change of cabin and were told that all cabins were fully booked but that our complaints would be noted. On the following day, we returned to reception to see what progress had been made in resolving our problem and was told that the matter had been reported. We returned to our cabin later the following day to find the bin full of old sealant which had been scraped up and sealant around the shower tray and floor had been renewed, however the mould was not removed and no attempt had been made to repair the sealant around the drain and the floor remained stained. The bathroom remained unhygienic and unfit for use. The life jackets that were assigned to this cabin were also so ingrained with grease and dirt that they were also unhygienic and unfit for use, my wife and I had to wear hand towels around our necks (so that they would not touch our skin) during the lifeboat drill. The quality of the bathroom linen during this cruise was less than luxurious; at best they were tired and worn, and at worst disgusting. The vibration that run through the whole of the ship 24/7 was unbearable and must be harmful to the health, my ankles were swollen the whole trip. The pool on the lido deck was taken out of use after the first couple of days and remained closed for the remainder of the cruise and both Jacuzzi's on board were not in use the whole trip. The hygiene in the deck showers was unsatisfactory and unfit for use. On the 15th we approached reception to find out why the pool was still closed and were treated very offhand and not given an satisfactory answer, so we requested an interview with the captain. We met with the captain the following day, we expressed our thoughts on all of the above and expressed our comments on the cruise in general. However the captain was unable to provide adequate reasons or solutions for or to our problems. We booked this cruise this cruise with Thomson because we believed British was best and feel we have been badly let down, the ship was far from luxurious and although the food was served in quantity there was very little quality even the milk served was UHT long life milk. We have contacted Thomson and supplied photographic evidence for all of our comments above, the reply from Thomson customer services was unsatisfactory. Photographs are available on request. If you have cruised with Thomson and have been happy, please try another company and you will pleasantly surprised at the difference. For the same the same price we could have booked with our usual company and had a luxury cruise. Please be aware - we wasted our money - Thomson didn't care - please don't waste your money. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal ... Read More
Never again will I sail with Marrella, from day one the drains stank and had to be treated daily, this permeates around the ship. The food in the main dining room and the cafe is substandard cheap rubbish, I've never sent a meal back on a cruise until this one. My wife got sick on day 7 with diarrhea, probably something she ate. I caught them replacing the premium ingredients of the premium all inclusive drinks menu with cheap alternatives. The entertainment is pretty much the same every day, singing and dancing with the same group of dancers, it's OK but after a week it's too much, too repetitive. Be warned if you sail from Newcastle with parking your car it takes two buses to get to the ship and likewise on return, this needs simplifying. The baltic itinery is great, however the tours are not so great, save yourself some money and spend it on a better cruise line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to ... Read More
we sailed on this cruise as we wanted to visit the amazing cities around the baltic 1st The good points. The Onboard staff were all amazing from the Cabin stewards to entertainment crew, all very friendly and helpful. But I have to make a special mention to 2 members of staff who did go that extra mile to make our cruise special Putra our cabin steward was exceptional in trying to sort out our many problems that we incurred and secondly Gregg from the Bar staff who was entertaining, friendly, full of happiness and good fun to be near. 2nd The bad points. We entered our cabin and found we had a paper thin mattress that when you just touched it with slight pressure you could feel through to the bed frame. 2 wooden boxes with sharp edges protruding from the space in the headboard where our heads went. Another wooden box protruding from the wall near the access to side of bed. Safe not working. Fridge not working. Air conditioning not working. welcome to marella explorer. after complaining we were told that it would all be sorted out and not to worry. the reception staff ended up coming down to cabin as they seemed not to believe what we were saying and took photo's. we were informed that there was no other cabins available and they would put an extra mattress on the bed and pillows to cover boxes on headboard, 3 days later safe is replaced, refrigerator is replaced, air con is fixed(ish). We were told that the protruding boxes would be removed the following day, 2 days later we were informed that the protruding boxes could not be moved, a sorry was issued in the form of a scribbled note on a bottle of prosecco with 6 chocolate strawberries and we would have to make do! ships layout is not great if you are in the theatre and want a drink you have to walk 3/4 the length of the ship then que for 20 minutes by which time the show is finished Also if you want to participate in the evening entertainment and watch the evening show you cant as they overlap by 15 minutes so you either miss the end of the entertainment or the beginning of the show .... very poor planning Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was awful. The embarkation in Newcastle took hours, shuttle buses overcrowded and we spent so much time queuing for everything. Once on board we were advised to upgrade to premium drinks package and after sampling the all inclusive drinks it was obvious why! The same applied to the quality of the food! We pre booked two excursions for when we were in St Petersburg and only did one because the first was such a let down. The overall standard of this ship is at best 2 star. We visited our local Tui branch to give our feedback and were told it couldn't be compared with the likes of Celebrity but this was not reflected in the price!!!!! We contacted the Tui post cruise help line 3 weeks ago and have not had a reply, we also tried calling but nobody picked up the phone. Absoluty disgraceful! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Even before the cruise Tui behaved poorly. Tui claimed the Kremlin was shut due to an extra national holiday when in fact it is always shut on a Thursday. We cancelled that excursion as a trip to a convent really wasn't worth almost ... Read More
Even before the cruise Tui behaved poorly. Tui claimed the Kremlin was shut due to an extra national holiday when in fact it is always shut on a Thursday. We cancelled that excursion as a trip to a convent really wasn't worth almost £700 per couple. I am still waiting for a response two months after submitting a written complaint about the misleading information. Not everyone was informed of the changes, there were some irate travellers after the excursion. The destination services team were fantastic, helpful, responsive, so apologetic when circumstances outside of their control caused issues but most of all they were willing to put themselves out for you. The cities we visited, the excursions and the guides were first class. Getting on was fine if you had priority boarding, for those that didn't I was told it took some 2.5 hours to check in. The ship is tired, dated and in many places needs refurbishing. The staff are amazing, they work so hard (particularly the cabin stewards) even though several told us they were severely understaffed, we were told over 100 short on board. Getting drinks sometimes took 45 minutes and the 47 degree restaurant struggled at busy times. We were new to cruising and when we asked the receptionist for a map of the ship so we could orient ourselves on the first couple of days I was told I should have brought a brochure if I wanted a map of the ship, the same receptionist was particularly useless when we had a plumbing issue. He was the only staff member who was poor. The food in the restaurants was excellent, the Glass House tapas was superb. Some of the bad points; I witnessed one man tasting the food off the spoons in the Islands self service and putting them back in the food (I did tell the staff they needed to change the dishes). During the first England game no security was present in the bar and there were pensioners pushing and shoving each other, arguing over the crowds blocking their view of the screen. The majority of people on board were lovely and as a couple sitting on tables with 2 or 3 other couples at lunch and dinner provided some brilliant conversations. Some of the clientele were incredibly selfish, reserved seating signs for disabled people moved on coaches so the front seats were taken. Seating in the show lounge was limited so when it was busy people would leave gaps so they had more room and tell others that the seats were taken. The constant noise around the pool during the day was more like Butlins or a resort in Ibiza - not relaxing. Fortunately we were able to relax on our balcony. The all inclusive drink meant so many people went on the beer early and all day with the expected consequences. You need to be careful for the extra costs, tea and coffee isn't free everywhere on the ship. Besides the coffee shop there's also a cost from the bar in the Glass House. Some areas were so busy that there was no where to sit during the day or evening - see earlier point about seating. The painting of the ship during port meant that our cabin was unusable due to the xylene fumes, although we were offered a move we really didn't want to pack everything up so if you experience this be prepared to stay clear of your cabin for several hours. Some of the great points; The staff Excursions Food Show team Destinations Most of the people on board The cruise was summed up by a young couple we spoke to from Birmingham, it would be interesting to go on a more upmarket cruise to see the difference. In summary, we chose this based on destinations and we have travelled with Tui before to Orlando. As a first time cruiser it is not what I had expected from the discussions with friends who are regular cruisers on other cruise lines. In hindsight from my perspective Tui are not good at cruising and Marella is a low end product in the market, it isn't for me but it obviously is for a lot of people as they go back time after time and the all inclusive booze is a big factor for many of the people we met. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our third cruise with Thomsons. We first sailed on this ship 8 years ago around the Canary Islands - a pleasant time enjoyed by all. Earlier this year we enjoyed a week onboard the Spirit around the Eastern Med area, again quite ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Thomsons. We first sailed on this ship 8 years ago around the Canary Islands - a pleasant time enjoyed by all. Earlier this year we enjoyed a week onboard the Spirit around the Eastern Med area, again quite a pleasant voyage including the Thomson flight from the UK. However this recent cruise around the Baltic states was really plagued with onboard problems. My wife and I along with a few hundred other passengers left the ship with unpleasant medical issues relating to poor hygiene and poor fresh air circulation problems. The quality of the food from a nutritional value was well below par, and when we asked for some fresh vegetables they turned up still bloody frozen in the middle!!. Our waiter had a terrible cold and was still working in the main restaurant. I followed one crew member out of the toilets who didn`t wash his hands and went straight to work in the bar area handling drinks glasses serving passengers. There was virtually no fresh air delivery in the cabins - just recirculated warm air carrying germs. We reported this issue three times but to no avail. Along with many others we talked to on departure morning - we couldn`t wait to get off. We are still ill to this day as I write this. Thomsons/TUI you really need to get this sorted or face legal challenges. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were ... Read More
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were well organised despite tender trouble in Stornaway. Excellent Captain who kept us well informed throughout – often very humerous The embarkation procedure needs attention. We had to queue for luggage labels despite our disability and that we had booked our cabin. Need more than 3 checking in We have some limitations on mobility and asked for help with our luggage when we arrived by taxi. None given - just a shrug. I am unable to lift luggage but able to walk with a stick. We are not wheelchair bound both but have difficulty walking. It appears that we are unable to get assistance unless we take to a wheelchair. Other cruise lines offer very much better assistance Staff worked very hard and were always pleasant with a smile. However, we learnt from one of the very good cabin staff that when he started 10 years ago he had 12 staterooms to oversee. Each now have 28. No wonder they were tired and used periods off to catch up with sleep Newcastle a good port for cruises for almost everyone we spoke to. However Marella need to sort the embarkation procedure out better as well as disembarkation Dining Dining was very slow initially in Latitude 53 but TUI did respond to complaints and service much improved after 3 nights Menu in Latitudes not as wide as in earlier years and sad to say the quality of the food was poorer which is different to my views on earlier cruises- More cost cutting? Had foul smell in shower room when we returned from a function - attended to 3 times but reappeared - was told that it was due to the ship being on rocky seas and the foul water was swishing into shower water - surely not on level 9 - as this means that both foul water and washing water are the same - this would be a very dangerous health hazard Entertainment We had a very good speaker and very well attended Broadway theatre full for 4 of the 5 talks (well done!) despite some issues not of his making. Entertainment apart from the talks was very poor - not aimed for all the generations on board. The shows were given by a well-trained and enthusiastic group of singer dancers. Mostly it was pop. However as someone commented, if we were watching on TV at home, we would switch off. Just one comedian in 14 nights – no other speciality acts. No classical music at all. The scheduled deck games were not hosted or hosts did not appear at all. Note to Marella - The limitation of some of these games issues could be overcome by utilising the space adjacent to the putting area as well as enforcing what we were promised. Also unhosted Bridge etc was scheduled at breakfast time. Tis did nt take place. The library (the Attic) was much better than on Explorer 2 although 3 of the 5 bookcases were emptied within 24 hours. Many more games provided compared Explorer 2 but no playing cards (unless they were taken by guests) The games were needed in view of the poor entertainment available. A request failed to see them arrive. However the Attic was a lovely quiet spot Scheduling was erratic – we did not see or meet the captain until the last night as it clashed Overall We felt that everything that could be cut financially, had been with the result that the cruise will appeal to a limited market covered by other cruise lines. We have cruised with Tomson/TUI/ Marella about 10 times but probably not again despite the convenience of the port Suggestions for Marella 1. Use the sheltered deck area adjacent to part of the putting/golf area. No doubt used for ship storage etc But consider adapting for eg quoits when not in use (it was not used throughout the cruise) 2. Can we have cards provided 3. Can you afford hosted bridge and whist etc as on other cruise ships 4. Can you afford hosted arts and crafts as many would follow this- On P & O, the number on the watercolour class filled the lounge Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We liked the ports of call & the fact that we could leave from Newcastle. Having never sailed from there before we stayed in South Shields the night before to make the journey to the port easier. We had asked TUI about wheelchair ... Read More
We liked the ports of call & the fact that we could leave from Newcastle. Having never sailed from there before we stayed in South Shields the night before to make the journey to the port easier. We had asked TUI about wheelchair assistance to the ship & was told that Tui did not offer that service( at any of their ports worldwide) but we could take our own wheelchair. Arrived at the port around 10-30 to be told TUI had a policy of not letting passengers into the pre- booked parking area till 11-45 so we tried again at 11-35 to be in a cue of around 20 + vehicles, with nearly 200 already parked. In the embarkation hall there were wheelchairs available if required & early boarding. The boarding process was quite lengthy with periods of standing in line waiting for the shuttle bus to the ship. The ship was quite well set out & easy to get round. We used the main dining room most nights & the service ranged from very good to awful, sadly more awful times & the food choices terrible, no better in the buffet either. For us the entertainment was of a pretty poor standard, so we did our best to avoid it. Ports & shore excursions were very good & well organised. On the final 2 days my wife was feeling unwell( either a cold or flu ) we think due to the A/C mainly in the cabin. A couple of days after arriving home I also became unwell & 1 week later we are both under the weather & unable to go about our normal day to day activities. This was only our second TUI cruise & will be our last! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This is an extensive review...Bear with me, but this is our honest opinion and our personal view. Firstly, to put this cruise into context it will have been our 17th. We have enjoyed 3 previous cruises with 'Thompson', all of ... Read More
This is an extensive review...Bear with me, but this is our honest opinion and our personal view. Firstly, to put this cruise into context it will have been our 17th. We have enjoyed 3 previous cruises with 'Thompson', all of which have been fine and we thought good value for money. This was why we booked with their new branding 'Marella' and we were looking forward to going on the Explorer. The advertising and videos looked fine, and the Baltic was an area we had not cruised in but had been to independently previously. The port itinerary was great, Copenhagen, Warnemunde, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Klaipeda, and Fredericia. We had visited Tallinn and Riga both previously. The cruise did what it said on the tin, and destinations were not disappointing with no problems visiting the ports. All through the cruise, we were blessed with sunny weather and mainly calm seas. From this aspect, the voyage went well. Embarkation was good, as it was at the ports, and at the end of our cruise; well organised by the ship and no issues. Same in Russia, where good advice was given by destination services on procedure etc. There was enough time to organise and plan your own trips/activities if you had not booked ship ones, and what excursions we did take were reasonable and good. One issue which a number of people raised was the point that Marella no longer provides port maps in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and help the planet. Fine, but a lot of people were not happy accessing an online map version on the ship, and some are not IT savvy, so its a cheap cost-cutting exercise in our view. You can in most places get a 'hard copy' map from the cruise terminals at the ports you visit for free anyway. In Stockholm, we went to the ABBA museum and a walk around the old town. Probably as cheap to do this with the cruise ship excursion than independently. In St Petersburg, it was, as always busy but the Panoramic Tour we did with the ship excursion was very good. Our trip to the Ballet was also good. The second day we visited the Yusopov Palace and had a canal trip. It was somewhat chaotic due to road closures ( not Marella's fault ), and our guide was somewhat confused and our experience of Yousopof was marred by rude staff. The disembarkation from our canal cruise via an unstable and unsecured gangway was downright dangerous and a major health and safety issue, which we reported to Marella, and which they need to take up with the operator before someone is injured or worse. A number of passengers were phased by this incident on our trip. Those were the only organised trips we took, apart from a shuttle to enter Helsinki which Marella charged £5.00 return for. I am not sure if in the past with Thompson these were free. They are not now. However, now to comment on the onboard experience., the good and not so good. Let's start by saying the staff were polite and good-natured, and worked incredibly hard. Any queries we had were dealt with promptly but we had a number of issues. ( See cabin report ). From getting on the ship the hard sell started. I was asked almost straight away if I wanted a premium drinks package. We don't drink much, so it was of little use to us. The all-inclusive was fine, as there is no shortage of the stuff either !. I drink mainly wine, and the white, red and rose were perfectly acceptable, but cocktails are invariable too sweet ( depends on taste though ) and lacking in alcoholic 'punch'. Spirits were not of great quality. I suppose our biggest disappointment was food and service in the dining room. We felt that the quality of the ingredients had gone down from previous 'Thompson' cruises, and some of the meals over salty ( again, personal taste ). There was certainly less choice on the evening menu, and some of the meats were fatty ( lamb ) and poorly presented with bland and repetitive vegetables. The Latitude 53 dining room was very hit and miss. The evening meal was 3 courses, fine for us, but a few people were not happy, The Market Buffet was essentially the same with little change. There were no specific theme nights, a feature we have found on other cruises. The Italian option Vista was quite good, and the Tapas evening restaurant OK. The major issue was service, so much so we complained and met the catering manager. In Latitude 53 we waited one evening 3/4 of an hour to obtain our starters and the next evening 1hr before receiving our main course, and we were not alone. A gentleman at the next table waited with us, only to be served cold soup after the wait. My wife is on medication before meals and needs to eat within a reasonable time after taking it, and such a long delay made her feel ill. Often the dishes were presented lukewarm. The catering services manager responded quickly and admitted there was a 'communication problem'. He offered us a complimentary meal in a premium restaurant, which was nice, but not the object of our exercise !. We did try both the steak restaurant and the oriental one and they were both good and worth the extra money. Over and above communication however, there seems to be a cost cutting exercise in staffing. The same issue was evident in the bars, where there was a lack of waiting on staff and it could take quite a while to order drinks from the bar areas. It got to such a state that we often ate in the Market Place Buffet where we were able to serve ourselves and eat in time for the first show in the evening which we liked to go to. That said, entertainment in the theatre was varied, and unfortunately, again not as good as on our other cruises. The entertainers were enthusiastic even if at times the quality was lacking. The theatre has good sight lines and is comfortable. The acts engaged were OK. A comedy duo and singer. We had an individual comedy entertainer ( forgot his name ) who we did not enjoy. The musician in the venues were Ok, apart from the piano player who was an expert at being out of tune. Sea days dragged ( there were not many, and we normally like them ). However, the activities were not well organised. No, I don't want to learn how to fold a towel or napkin. There were no talks or lectures as we have had on other cruises, only the destinations talk by the crew who were out to hard sell excursions. Such a shame as the lack of activity was commented on by more than ourselves. The gym was busy though and I got time to read two books !. The onboard cinema was a great idea if they had put more films on and not used it most of the day to flog acupuncture treatments and consultations with the onboard acupuncturist. There was such a lot we could have learned about the Baltic, and it was an opportunity missed. So of all the Thompson 'Marella' ships this has been the most disappointing in the entertainment offerings, surprising as Thompson were widely praised for their cruise ship entertainment in the past. The usual hard sell from the cruise ship shops was evident, but that happens everywhere. They were even trying to flog Bridge Tours at just under £10.00 !!. Did we enjoy the Baltic, yes the ports were fine and the trip went very smoothly As we said the staff were fine, but in our view, the management need to take a long hard look at the training and support they give and the quality of what they are delivering. Standards have undoubtedly dropped as prices have risen. It's a competitive market and people will not pay good money for 3rd rate cruise experiences. Would we cruise Marella again ??? I doubt it if this is what they are offering. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Was on this ship last September round Med couldn't praise it enough food/drinks/service but what a difference 12 months make. Easy check in but card readers called to reception to 're register them Cabin, paid for a delux ... Read More
Was on this ship last September round Med couldn't praise it enough food/drinks/service but what a difference 12 months make. Easy check in but card readers called to reception to 're register them Cabin, paid for a delux cabin first freezing cold sat with blankets round us which had to ask for bedding inferior sheets tied in knots at bottom duvet cover too big for duvet. Bathroom 1 tiny bar of soap body wash on shower wall and that was it. Food same quality ingredients, waiter dining room excellent but upstairs in the Zoo, sorry self service same quality food but ALWAYS overcooked, dried up and spoiled. DRINKS last year excellent quality wines, spirits, beers but this year what a change, NO chardonnay in wine choices quality of other wines like vinegar, only 2 beer choices spirits cheapest brands there is and you have to BUY bottled water, no wine waiter any more could pay £100 each for a drjnks package but stuff that. Had to pay £90 per cabin for WiFi no thank you. Money orientated trying to get as much out of you as possible Entertainment same shows as last year tweaked a little nothing outstanding. Trips destinations team not a clue wrong information on trips, one trip asked about was short walk through park to get to Church of Spilled Blood, a 3 mile yes 3 mile walking jaunt showing us completely insignificant buildings. bring bad on kegs with others the same NOT too amused. Overall a very dissspointing cruise and would aI sail with Marellw again NO NEVER. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This is a second hand ship so we had lowish expectations but it turned out to look quite good. We had an unassigned balcony cabin and it was midship on deck 6; could not have been better. Shortage of draws but adequate wardrobe space. The ... Read More
This is a second hand ship so we had lowish expectations but it turned out to look quite good. We had an unassigned balcony cabin and it was midship on deck 6; could not have been better. Shortage of draws but adequate wardrobe space. The cabin safe was difficult to use with a 10 inch tablet. Bed was comfortable and the room warm. The weather on the cruise was not brilliant so did not use the balcony much for sitting out but it was worth the extra money for the great views. All the staff we met were very friendly and professional. The theatre looked great and produced excellent shows every evening; can not praise the Broadway troupe highly enough. The cruise is all inclusive which we liked. The drinks package included was comprehensive (choice of Gins, numerous cocktails, soft drinks etc.) so there really is no need to buy in the expensive Premium drinks package. Our first disappointment came within minutes of boarding and was a persistent problem. There are simply not enough seats in the Island buffet room, every meal was a fight to secure a seat before attempting to find any food. Finish eating and go to one of the bars for a drink and you have the same problem, so the great atrium which looked so good was difficult to find seating in, this was no more apparent than when the captain gave us a welcome speech when the majority of people were left standing. The balconies overlooking the atrium were devoted to selling photos or bike rides rather than providing more seats which just shows the priorities of Tui. Mass catering is never going to be great so no surprises that the food was average, but not always as hot as it should be. Our first meal in restaurant 47 was a disaster and when we tried to give it a second try we were told there was a waiting time of one hour. We did get into 47 Gallery and the meal here was quite good. Snack Shack provided a quick bite especially coming back onto the boat after a shore trip. The Island buffet, the main eatery on board, was a perfect disaster of planning; having found a seat and leaving your partner to guard it you then went to a series of islands to prise out a plate from the heated servery and then had to visit three different islands to get a main meal! The islands had an eclectic mix of fruit, chips and beans (green beans were available for every lunch or dinner we had !), move to another island to find salads and hot vegetables, curry and mashed potatoes; bizarre. Another thing we could not understand was having roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets and then having chips or mash as the potatoes served with it; next morning roast potatoes were served with the eggs!! . . this happened on more than one occasion. Want a croissant? you will not find them on the 'Bakers Dozen' island. The fruit juice, available only at breakfast time, turned out to be far too sweet for most peoples taste. We were encouraged to sanitise our hands on the way into the restaurants but the tables were rarely wiped and we never saw disinfectant used on the tables at all. On a sea day the heating in the Glass House/ indoor pool failed so people either wrapped up in towels or tried to find seating elsewhere, there was also an issue with lifts not working. The joining instructions from Tui were clearly written some time ago and have been added to over the years so that they no longer make sense, they tell you the ship sails at 15.00 and also at 16.00, they also say you can board from 13.30 until 14.00 or maybe 15.00; quite confusing. A very friendly ship that with a bit of reorganisation could be good. We would have to think carefully before booking with Tui again, but would not rule it out. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Embarkation: primitive, the Egyptians do it better. Ship: smooth, comfortable, very quiet, lots of public areas. Cabins: good size, well equipped, comfortable beds,plenty of storage. Crew: lovely! Really helpful and friendly, ... Read More
Embarkation: primitive, the Egyptians do it better. Ship: smooth, comfortable, very quiet, lots of public areas. Cabins: good size, well equipped, comfortable beds,plenty of storage. Crew: lovely! Really helpful and friendly, incredibly hard working. Food: the cheese was good, apart from that it was bland, repetitive, industrial cooking. Hot food wasn’t hot, fresh food wasn’t fresh, couldn’t even get a decent cup of coffee. Don’t bother with the two 49 degree restaurants, it’s the same food as the buffet but further from the kitchens. Entertainment: a different show every night, so kudos for that, but fairly low level club stuff and the MC/ cruise director was embarrassing. Destinations: Aarhus was a revelation, especially the modern art museum with its amazing Rainbow Skywalk, and Oslo was lovely;the Vasa museum in Stockholm was as stunning as ever, but Copenhagen has little to recommend it apart from the national museum, Tallin is disneyfied, and all those cobbles make walking difficult. It is probably the best place to buy amber jewellery. ( Whatever you do, don’t buy on the ship, you will pay double or more for an inferior product). Helsinki is probably worth visiting once, St Petersburg you will probably only see from the coach windows because of Russian visa restrictions. Overall: nothing done badly, but nothing done particularly well either. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The cruise got off to a bit of an inauspicious start when for whatever reason there was a big delay in dropping our bags off outside the port terminal before checking in, almost an hour queued to drop the bag off. After that checking in ... Read More
The cruise got off to a bit of an inauspicious start when for whatever reason there was a big delay in dropping our bags off outside the port terminal before checking in, almost an hour queued to drop the bag off. After that checking in was fine, usual process of waiting in the port terminal until your number was called. The boat was lovely, looked great. It was my first time on Discovery and it didn't disappoint. Well laid out, lots of seated areas. The Broadway show lounge was spacious and had plenty of leg room. The food in the main dining room got progressively better as the cruise went on, it started off not too great but there were some cracking dishes over the course of the two weeks. The menu was varied enough to keep me happy each meal time, I preferred the main dining room to the buffet as I found that a bit too cramped and busy. The staff on reception and destination services were attentive and quickly dealt with any queries I had. Bar 11 was a fantastic quiet spot during sea days to sit and read a book, however it didn't serve drinks until 5pm although it was easy enough to go to Deck 9 and take one back up. I found there was enough on during the sea days to keep me occupied and the evening entertainment, for the most part, was great although there were a couple of shows which missed the mark. I had booked a solo outside cabin which was spacious and had a large window that let in plenty of light. There was plenty of storage space between the wardrobe and drawers. Tea and coffee were always well stocked by the room staff. Only downside in the room was that the bed was a double bed with two single mattresses put together and they often moved apart during the night and I'd wake up finding myself sleeping in a bit of a dip! I went on an excursion through the ship at every port as being a solo traveller I wasn't confident enough to wander around the towns without a) getting lost b) being late, and c) knowing what I was looking at. Most of the excursions were as described however a couple of them were a bit misleading (Carslberg brewery tour is of a museum of the old brewery rather than the new one) and we missed seeing a couple of things in St Petersburg which was disappointing. Overall though I really enjoyed the tours. However there were some negatives. -The service was incredibly slow at times, I think they had taken on new staff who were being trained up. One evening a table of 5 of us waited 50 minutes until our starters arrived (fortunately the company at the table was good!) -The main pool was out of action for 13 of the 14 days which is incredibly inexcusable. -The boat had engine trouble which meant we had to leave Gothenburg early and arrived in Tallinn late so we had less time than originally planned in Tallinn. -Every morning at 8am there was incredibly loud clattering above the room. I never found out what it was but some of us think it's possibly crew moving deckchairs. I'd recommend a cabin a bit further down toward the middle of the boat. -One of the main atrium lifts broke leaving only one lift that went up to Bar 11 on the top deck, so if you wanted or needed to use it there was often a long wait. Overall it was a good cruise with a couple of disappointments. It wouldn't put me off cruising with Marella again but has made me a little apprehensive. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were two couples who choose this cruise because of destination ports. (St Petersburgh,Tallin, Copenhagen) and the embarkation port which is close to where we live. We decided to push the boat out (excuse the pun) and booked Deluxe ... Read More
We were two couples who choose this cruise because of destination ports. (St Petersburgh,Tallin, Copenhagen) and the embarkation port which is close to where we live. We decided to push the boat out (excuse the pun) and booked Deluxe balcony cabins with premier service and all inclusive. Now we didn't expect to dine every night with the Captain but we did think our on board psend would be at a minimum. but let me enighten you on just what all inclusive DOESN'T mean 1) Bottled water in cabin £2 a bottle 2)Cabin mini bar. Bar prices 3)Taking valuable jewellry? Cabin safe £25 per voyage. 4)Want to keep in touch with home? Wi Fi £8/hour 5)Fancy a coffee in the ship's coffee bar? £1.70 (A/I concessionary price) 6)Laundry. A carrier bag size bag which must be closed. Wahed and folded only£14.95 7)Fancy a tour of the ship (with a cup of tea with the Captain thrown in?) £49/head 8)A good programme in the show room and fancy a ringside seat? £8.95 9)The all inclusive drinks do not include the more expensive cocktails and spirits so there is a confusing list of what you have to pay extra for. 10)If you didn't have a drinks package and decide to have one anyway £199/week. and whar about your little darlings? A drinks package for pop,juise etc only £99/week An hours pampering in the beauty salon will cost £100 No wonder they boast that tips are included!! On the plus side the ship itself,although dated was immaculate. The cabins were large and pristine and all the crew pleasant and helpful. The ships dance team were brilliant and worked their socks off. Food was average and the choices limited. Even the specialist restaurants which again were between £17/20 head extra were nothing really special. All in all this company try to milk their captive audience even to the point of auctions of sporting goods and a permanent shop selling booze,trinkets jewellry etc. We have been on many cruises but this is the first with Thomson and it is surely the last. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Never been on an ocean cruise and choice this one because we had never been to any of the countries visited. When we booked the itinerary stated Copenhagen and Oslo as destinations but prior to the cruise we were notified of the itinerary ... Read More
Never been on an ocean cruise and choice this one because we had never been to any of the countries visited. When we booked the itinerary stated Copenhagen and Oslo as destinations but prior to the cruise we were notified of the itinerary and the ship did not dock in Copenhagen or Oslo! Both cities were available by a coach trip. The cabin on deck 2 was very comfortable and larger than expected and Joko looked after our room wonderfully. As we were at the bow end only the bow thrusts were noisy. Always had hot water for the shower and lovely clean towels. The service in the Meridian restaurant was very slow and we decided to eat in the buffet restaurant Lido. Food was plentiful and hot, the work station was excellent. Drinks were by waiter service and we often had finished our meal before a glass of wine arrived! Tea and coffee were self service. Water was only available in the Lido restaurant, otherwise it was to buy by the bottle. Both Horizon and Hemingingways had continuous piped music as did the outer Lido area. It was apparent that there were not enough seating areas for all the passengers on board, especially at night and if weather was not too good. Some of the evening shows were excellent whilst some were mediocre. The staff were very friendly and always offered a greeting. However, the drinks waiters quite often walked around looking at the floor. We enjoyed the cruise but it did not wow us to think Yes we will return. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We had wanted to do a Baltic cruise so the chance to sail from Newcastle was too good to miss. Very handy and well organised. However ough we'd sailed on Celebration two years ago, standards have dropped, in food, service and ... Read More
We had wanted to do a Baltic cruise so the chance to sail from Newcastle was too good to miss. Very handy and well organised. However ough we'd sailed on Celebration two years ago, standards have dropped, in food, service and entertainment. We had upgraded to a deluxe outside cabin and the walls were badly insulated to the extentar we could hear conversations on either side of us. The room was well maintained by our cabin boy but the ship is very weary. Poor bathrooms supplies with soap and body wash dispensers. No shampoo etc. The staff were generally very helpful though getting top ups of drinks in the main dining room was hit and miss. The food wasn't always hot, small portions and no luxury offerings, except lobster Thermidor which was frozen and bland. We paid to eat in the three speciality restaurants but Mistrals was not as good as on previous ships. The hot stone was just outside the lido so not a particularly good spot. The best of the three was definitely Kora La which was splendid. The ship seems to dock in cheap moorings well away from the main highlights more often so we had to walk taxi or pay for the Thomson shuttle. The sun lounge is a nice location if you want a more comfortable sun bed away from the noise of the lido. The entertainment staff worked hard but the shows have been around for some years on Thomson ships and need updating. It was also hard to get a drink in the show bar at night- we'd place an order then never see it or only part of the order arrived. The gym was totally unsupervised and people were using machines wearing flip flops and totally inappropriate wear. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Six of us joined the cruise at Newcastle Port on 15 July 2017. Embarkation was easy; we had booked a suite so we got priority boarding but there was a large queue of people awaiting their ticket colour being called. Our cabin was ... Read More
Six of us joined the cruise at Newcastle Port on 15 July 2017. Embarkation was easy; we had booked a suite so we got priority boarding but there was a large queue of people awaiting their ticket colour being called. Our cabin was excellent, it had a bath, which was a bonus and the cabin steward introduced himself and did a fantastic job for the fortnight. The itinerary was the main reason we booked and we weren't disappointed in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg etc - amazing places to visit if even for a short time. Why such a small ship docks in Kalundborg rather than going straight into Copenhagen like the rest of the ships, I'm unsure; it may have something to do with the cheaper docking fees and the fact that Thomsons can then upsell a trip for an extortionate price. The ship was in a state of 'increased hygiene' for the first 4 days of our trip, no explanation was forthcoming from Thomsons; one thing their PR department do really well is ignore negative issues rather than explain them to their paying customers. The swimming pools had no water in them, no self service food or drinks, library, games etc closed off. This all changed after 4 days - no explanation was forthcoming. The food was mediocre. Service in certain areas, especially behind the bar in Hemmingways (not the waiters) was terrible, the less said about the 'show' team the better. Our little one loved the kids club so that was a real positive, the 2 girls who ran it, Rachel and Laura, were superb. This has been our 4th Thomsons cruise as a group and this has been the worst service we have ever experienced. I doubt we'll be back. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have been cruising with Thomson since the mid nineties and have always found them very good value for money and excellent service, but on this occasion they seemed to be sadly lacking. There had been an outbreak of Noro virus on the ... Read More
We have been cruising with Thomson since the mid nineties and have always found them very good value for money and excellent service, but on this occasion they seemed to be sadly lacking. There had been an outbreak of Noro virus on the previous cruise and many of the restrictions where still in place, we only had one day when they were partially lifted. The Lido was not self service and all food was over cooked to stop any possible problems, passangers were unable to serve themselves, we were also not allowed to serve ourselves with tea or coffee. No Drinks Menus were on show for the full 14 days and no other information given to passengers regarding pricing for bar drinks. The passenger Laundry and Libary were also closed for the two weeks. Service was very slow all over the ship and especially in the main dining room. The meals generally were average and the only the soup was hot. The entertainment was at best average with the exception of the comedienne ( Brenda Collins.) We had no cinema showings even though they were advertised in the brochure. The ports of call were brilliant as were the tour reps in St Petersburg. We went on three bike tours with Martin of Star bikes which where very enjoyable and would fully recommend them. The only disappointment was that due to high winds we were unable to call at Stockholm. Would I go on the Celebration again ? Well at the moment no, I have booked Discovery 2 for next May and that will be the deciding factor whether I continue with Thomsoncruises in the future. The above is obviously my view and some first time cruisers may have thought this standard is the norm. I have sailed 16 times with Thomson and have never been dissatisfied until this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Ports of call were great to visit with St Petersburg been the pick (overnight wasn't long enough). Did a private tour on day one with St Petersburg travel which was well worth the money visited Winter Palace/Hermitage, Church of ... Read More
Ports of call were great to visit with St Petersburg been the pick (overnight wasn't long enough). Did a private tour on day one with St Petersburg travel which was well worth the money visited Winter Palace/Hermitage, Church of spilled blood, Si Isaacs Cathedral as well as stop offs at other places of interest.Tallin and Wismar old towns were very picturesque. Gothenburg,Helsinki and Oslo were also very interesting. Ship is very dated and when we were on board the ship the Lido buffet restaurant was under restrictions because of stomach upsets this was only lifted for a couple of days and then had to be reintroduced. Announcements were made continuously regarding passengers sanitizsing hands but Thomson need to get this message over to their staff as well based on what I witnessed. Entertainment was very average (resident singers and dancers) comedians were good.Which was a major disappointment because on previous Thomson cruises it has been as good as if not better than other cruise lines. Cruise was poor value for money compared with higher rated cruise lines eg Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Overall the cruise was good, the Staff onboard could not do enough to help, service was excellent from the majority of crew members always went the extra mile to accommodate guest needs and answer and resolve any queries or problems. ... Read More
Overall the cruise was good, the Staff onboard could not do enough to help, service was excellent from the majority of crew members always went the extra mile to accommodate guest needs and answer and resolve any queries or problems. The ship is looking a little tired particularly in the main seating areas where the seats could do with a good squirt of fabreeze! Our cabin suite was roomy for two people but if there had been four of us it would have been a squash, but we were happy with it, the cabin steward was very friendly and cheerful. Food in all area's good but not exceptional but they did cater for Vegan, GF Veggies. The Entertainment Team was good but nothing to shout about some shows not really for the type of guests on board indeed on "Sea Days" ( especially the ones when the weather was poor) no extra shows were put on in the afternoon and the games of quiots, skittles etc only had very few participants - which to me should send a message to Thomson's that they need to review and update the entertainment when guests are stuck onboard and inside. BE AWARE firstly the "All Inclusive" is not is includes certain drinks but not water which was charged at a premium as was coffee in The Coffee Pot, we were charged £1.40 for a pint of beer shandy lemon (the beer was in the dea)l plus several other bits and pieces. There were other charges we had not expected, it does seem that Thomson are looking to squeeze every penny from their guest. There was lots of "Up Selling" for shops, Beauty Salonn and photo's BUT the worst thing was getting up at 5.30AM because the times of the excursions had been changed, when I spoke to the Destinations Team they said it was due to queues I would suggest this was more about convenience for Thomson's than guest ( part of going on the cruise was to visit these places) One day we had to get up early and were back on the ship by 11.00AM. Other trips were very very long 8/9 hours. Not for the faint hearted or guests that need a bit longer to get ready. We had a good time but I feel that Thomson's need to up there game, would I go again with them probably not which is a shame for all the effort made by other staff. Oh and one more thing, great thing on board about sanitizing hands saw several younger staff with Thomson uniform on not using it and one woman came out of toilet and did not even wash her hands!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Choose this cruise due to the itinerary and we had cruised with Thomson before and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Felt that the holiday was spoilt by the constant push to upsell. Even before we got to the cabin we had spent £99 on wine. ... Read More
Choose this cruise due to the itinerary and we had cruised with Thomson before and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Felt that the holiday was spoilt by the constant push to upsell. Even before we got to the cabin we had spent £99 on wine. Then you were encouraged to use the restaurants where you had to pay a supplement of up to£20 which I thought was a bit much when you had already paid for food and even when you dined in the main restaurant the recommendation was a steak but that came at a £10 supplement. Then one evening we returned to the cabin to find a letter saying there would be a charge added to your account as a donation to a charity. Can't remember the name of it but it read to me like a chance for Thomson to fill the unsold cabins. Yes it was only £1 per person but surely you should opt IN rather than having to opt out. Try taking money off your account and telling them you will pass it on to your favorite charity and see how far you get. Then 2 days before we docked in Wismar Germany we were informed we would be docking in a commercial area and would not be allowed to walk off the ship. If we wanted to go into Wismar (a lovely town by the way) we would have to use the shuttle bus for which there was a charge of £6 pp. After an uprising by some passengers this charge was cancelled. Read Less
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