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470 Marella Cruises Barbados Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary as wanted somewhere warm .Having cruised many times before on different cruise lines ,we were a bit wary of Marella having read some of the reviews and my 3 girlfriends were very pro P and O . ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary as wanted somewhere warm .Having cruised many times before on different cruise lines ,we were a bit wary of Marella having read some of the reviews and my 3 girlfriends were very pro P and O . However that all changed as everything a bout this cruise was wonderful . We especially liked the all inclusive aspect, especially the drinks included part . This took away the constant bothering of waiters hovering over you all the time ,wanting you to order the very expensive drinks plus service charge , The entertainment was simply superb and we were lucky to experience the changeover of 2 troops of singers and dancers as one lot were finishing their 9 month contract, so were entertained by both . Our cabin was the best I have ever had with plenty of storage and a larger than average shower . There were plug sockets for both European and American plugs plus a very useful USB port above the bed ,so do take a UK converter Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Have just returned from two weeks cruise in the Caribbean. TUI flights were excellent with free drinks, meals and in-flight entertainment. Transfer to ship was easy - straight from the plane. Didn't see our luggage until we got to ... Read More
Have just returned from two weeks cruise in the Caribbean. TUI flights were excellent with free drinks, meals and in-flight entertainment. Transfer to ship was easy - straight from the plane. Didn't see our luggage until we got to our cabin. Cabins small but perfectly functional with plenty of hanging and drawer space, Kettle with tea/coffee etc. We were towards the bow of the ship and we never heard the engine. The cabins towards the stern were probably quite noisy as the engines were towards the rear. Staff friendly and helpful. I loved the fact that the captain was on the quayside every morning when passengers disembarked and was happy to speak to everyone. He was very approachable. We ate breakfast and lunch/tea in the Lido restaurant which is a buffet and every evening we ate in the Meridian Restaurant which is waiter service. The food could not be faulted. Excellent at every meal and beautifully presented. This is an all-inclusive cruise and you could upgrade but why anyone would want to I don't know. The all-inclusive package included cocktails, liqueurs, Irish coffees, soft drinks, beers, spirits etc. all day and drinks were served at all bars and restaurants. We never saw anyone drunk (which we had read before we went). The entertainment each evening in the Show Lounge was excellent. There are 10 young people, all very talented, who sing and/or dance. We didn't book any excursions from the ship. In every port we stopped in we were greated by plenty of local taxi and tour companies who were happy to offer the same tours as the ship but costing a lot less. Except for Guadeloupe, which uses the Euro, we were able to use US dollars in every port. And everywhere we went English was spoken. This was not an adult only cruise but the few children who were on the ship caused no problem at all. There were two nights when smart clothes were required for the captain's cocktail party - although obviously you didn't have to take part if you didn't want to. But for the rest of the evenings smart/casual was the order of the day. I would highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After encouragement from myParents that Marella cruises were not just for the over 50’s- I booked for me and my husband (both in early thirties) to celebrate new year in the Caribbean. Embarkation was seamless- very informative staff ... Read More
After encouragement from myParents that Marella cruises were not just for the over 50’s- I booked for me and my husband (both in early thirties) to celebrate new year in the Caribbean. Embarkation was seamless- very informative staff and our cars were at our cabin right after we left the muster station briefing. The food and drinks available are plentiful and something for everyone (inc fussy eaters like me) the premium drinks package wasn’t pushed on us and I didn’t feel the need to buy it due to the vast range available in the AI package We ate in the surf and turf restaurant one evening and it was well worth the additional charge- if your interested book early as there is limited space available. Our favourite restaurant was Vista and a special mention to Allen, Jonathan and Salvin who went above and beyond for us each time we visited!!! We booked one excursion with TUI to A private island in Aruba which was a great day out and good value for money. However, we saved $50 in BVI by booking our own trip to Virgin Gorda and it was the same trip! We arranged all our own island tours and beach transfers and this saved us a lot of money. Top tip- if you like animals stingray city in Antigua is amazing! You can’t book with TUI but the tourist information at the port can arrange it $50pp plus transport but an amazing place to swimWith the rays on a shallow sandbank The entertainment team were engaging and the broadway shows were brilliant! Great comedian in josh Adams My only niggle was that there was no ironing facilities available unless you sent out to the laundrette service. You can’t take an iron on board but on other cruise liners there have been ironing rooms- small issue but it didn’t affect the trip Wide range of passengers and the best new year celebrations I’ve ever had!!! Definitely looking at a marella USA cruise for Mardi Gras in 2021 Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Just come back from a christmas cruise. The ship was only refurbed in May 2019 and the communal areas show this. They are very tastefully decorated. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from on the ship. If you want to eat st ... Read More
Just come back from a christmas cruise. The ship was only refurbed in May 2019 and the communal areas show this. They are very tastefully decorated. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from on the ship. If you want to eat st surf and turf (payment) book early. We ate at the asian restaurant also for a payment and although we tried new items of food i would say the curry was average. The food all round was fabulous and we have no complaint. Xmas dinner was exceptional with a good choice to choose from. They waiters were also exceptional. The only downfall was the queue to book a christmas slot. This would have been better dealt with if people were not pushing in at the front of the queue which was in turn infuriating those who had stood for an hour. The rooms were very well kept by staff. Our young man was called Cyrus and he was fabulous. My only critism is thst these havent had a complete make over. Our drawers fell out. The tv was broke which was replaced straight away i may add. The front of the safe fell off. My daughters were in a room next door and their wardrobe door fell off. I feel a bit more money could be spent to update these. The entertainment was good. My only criticism is that they stopped a party on deck at around 11.15 for a carol service inside. We went to the nightclub in a hope to carry on partying. The DJ pkayed awful songs and the only reason we knew it had gon midnight is that we were waiting to sing happy birthday to our friend as he turned 50 xmas day. We never booked excursions except for the final day chosing to haggle with taxi drivers outside the port who take you to where ever you want to go for a fraction ofvthe price. We booked the 'Farewell to Barbados' trip costing £52.00 pp there were 10 of us so they had a fair whzck from us. The trip was boring with the driver poiting out his sister in laws house. We went to a plantation where we had lunch but we were segregared from anothet trip who appeared to have much nicer food than us. Keep your money the trip isnt worth it. On saying all this we had a great time and will definitely go back to the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we like to try different ships as deja vu sets in very quickly as we have found out. Ships staff excellent with a helpful attitude in all areas and kept the ship very clean. Food good in all locations especially in kora la , surf and ... Read More
we like to try different ships as deja vu sets in very quickly as we have found out. Ships staff excellent with a helpful attitude in all areas and kept the ship very clean. Food good in all locations especially in kora la , surf and turf, beach cove and nonnas. Main dining and italian particulary very good. Self service usual bun fight but better than discoveries. Bars are all good with aperitif at the very top due to the very cheery bar staff. We did not use 19th hole but used all the others, gin bar very good. We would recommend the all inclusive premium upgrade as it allows a greater variety of drinks. The standard a/l is ok if you like cheap booze, but you have to pay in the coffee port and dont get free water bottles in your cabin. The premium wine is far better than the standard offerings. The only negative is the entertainment which over fifteen cruises we have found is getting worse. Singers who clear a large proportion of a bar is not a good sign. One special act a week is less than the three or four usually tribute acts from only a few years ago. P & O are also guilty here, the old Ocean Village ships were much better here. The big question is would we go on her again as we like change every cruise we would depending on the itinery Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise to be away for Christmas for the first time. The ship is adult only and this suited us. The standards on board are very good, food, cleanliness etc. Our cabin was on deck 12 (1253) with Monna and Miller taking ... Read More
We choose this cruise to be away for Christmas for the first time. The ship is adult only and this suited us. The standards on board are very good, food, cleanliness etc. Our cabin was on deck 12 (1253) with Monna and Miller taking excellent care of us, we really cannot praise them too highly, polite, efficient with a great sense of humour. We would cruise on this ship again and if we were really lucky have Monna and Miller's care again. We can't give a review for Enrichment Activities, Fitness & Recreation or Shore Excursions as we did 'our own thing'. On Christmas Day the Cruise Director, Matthew Shaw, held a service in the main show lounge which was really enjoyable and marked the day. The other really nice thing about Matthew is that he wasn't over the top and 'in your face' as a lot of cruise directors are, some have to make everything about themselves. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Marella as we have now been on all the Marella ships and this particular cruise was around the Eastern Caribbean. Our TUI Dreamliner flight to/from Barbados was good and as before on a long flight we upgraded to the Premium ... Read More
We chose Marella as we have now been on all the Marella ships and this particular cruise was around the Eastern Caribbean. Our TUI Dreamliner flight to/from Barbados was good and as before on a long flight we upgraded to the Premium cabin for the extra room and comfort. It was great checking our bags in at Gatwick only to see them again outside our cabin after a speedy ships check in obtaining our ships security pass/cabin door key. The cabin was a balcony cabin mid ships with a reasonable size balcony with chairs. The cabin itself was good with plenty of storage space, a small settee and good bathroom with a glass shower screen. The only down side was the distance between the bed end and the wall but we soon got used to the fact that you could not pass one another. It was well maintained by the two cabin persons who were very pleasant and worked very hard. Food generally was of a reasonable standard both in the buffet where we went for lunch and in the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Like many hotels and cruise ships the food was not always very hot. The bars were all pleasant and again the staff were all very hard working and soon got to know your drinks which were all the very acceptable standard inclusive, the premium package we do not think is necessary. The 'Coffee Pot' coffee shop which is an extra charge is located in an area the size of a bar and which we found to be very big and not very comfortable, it does however have excellent friendly staff. Like most cruise ships the main pool deck was always very busy and the sun beds were all very close to one another. If you were happy to sit on other decks there was plenty of space and sunbeds. We cannot comment on the theatre entertainment as we rarely go to a show and would prefer the small amount of entertainment in the bars. The ships public rooms have fairly modern furnishings but the main atrium is quite disappointing compared with the Discovery ships. Also the bottom floor of the atrium, where dancing takes place in the evening, lacks furniture by day and has folding chairs put out by evening!!! Overall the cruise was very enjoyable, the ship is clean and the staff friendly and hard working and we met some very nice people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Boarding - We have cruised many times including two with Marella, on their smaller ships, so looked forward to this, the latest addition to the fleet. Boarding at Barbados was smooth, with up selling limited to the AI Premium pack, which ... Read More
Boarding - We have cruised many times including two with Marella, on their smaller ships, so looked forward to this, the latest addition to the fleet. Boarding at Barbados was smooth, with up selling limited to the AI Premium pack, which we already had. First impressions of the ship were disappointing, the general decor being a low key drab‘battleship’ grey and the main atrium area, though nicely decorated for Christmas, being soulless and more like a shopping centre, There is only one bar, ‘Flutes’, around the atrium, this is a pleasant place for pre-show drinks, but has a limited capacity. In my view too much space has been allocated to shops, that never seemed to have customers. Cabin - plenty of storage, very nice shower and useful customer features on the TV, though no music options. All the films were free. Space at the end of the bed is limited. We also found the bed uncomfortable, a thin mattress that felt lumpy. The room was kept immaculate by Maria, with fresh towels every day. Our cabin, 9211, was located opposite the cleaners store, so we were woken early most mornings as they parked the service trollies and got ready. Food - best described as mediocre in all the standard restaurants, we preferred Vista. The self catering is the usual free for all but ok if you go off-peak. The additional costs for the specialist restaurants are some of the most expensive we’ve seen across all lines. Surf & Turf, nothing special, but the Dining Club was lovely. Pool area - two nice pools and four jacuzzis. Sun bed hogging is endemic on this ship, particularly on sea days. Due to our circumstances we couldn’t get off the ship at several ports and witnessed people reserving beds in the morning and returning several hours later, in the afternoon, presumably after doing a shore tour. The staff did nothing about this. People with restricted mobility, unable to use stairs, should be aware they will not have access to the upper decks that have The Veranda and Sundeck, the lifts do not service these decks! It means you must sit around the pool area. This is were all the quizzes, live performances and discos take place. OK for a while, but for us there was no escape to a quiet area. Finally, the large poolside screen, it just shows adverts for cruises, trips and staff bio’s all day, why can’t they show a concert or similar during the day? There were a couple of films in the evening, but no comfortable seating available, sorry I’m being so negative, but we were trapped here for 12 days! Shows & Bars - nice theatre with some well produced shows. We enjoyed the comedian. My wife, due to an on shore accident, had to use a wheelchair throughout the cruise, giving us an eye opening insight into this aspect of cruising. The PRM (Persons of Restricted Mobility) seats are at the back of the theatre. Like the sun-beds, you have to get in early to secure one. Again, no staff oversight of this area, on one occasion we were told the seat was being reserved whilst the person ran to the toilet! Squid and Anchor, the Gin and Whisky bar is the highlight, but again, it’s like drinking on the moon, no atmosphere. It’s a general feature that the seating on the ship though it looks stylish is uncomfortable with few places to really relax. Finally - my fellow cruisers! We met some lovely people who enriched our experience. Equally there were some who were selfish, loud, boorish and occasionally outright drunk. There were a couple of dress to impress nights when some did make an effort, with long dresses and evening suits, making it so incongruous to see people in shorts, vests and flip-flops, mingling in the bars. Special thanks to Carol, from the ships welfare team, for her communication and invaluable assistance following our accident on Tortola. Overall though a really disappointing cruise and I doubt we will return to Marella. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Sold as “new” ship. Albeit a refurbishment. However very disappointed that my first impression of the ship was that our cabin and public areas were grubby, well worn and dated. So spent the remainder of 2 weeks making the most of the ... Read More
Sold as “new” ship. Albeit a refurbishment. However very disappointed that my first impression of the ship was that our cabin and public areas were grubby, well worn and dated. So spent the remainder of 2 weeks making the most of the less than luxurious surroundings. The Market Place & pool deck are the hub of catering and where most of day activities occur. The food is on par with hospital food and self service. Latitude and Vista offer a slightly better standard of food and waiter service. But still not that good. Premium drinks package not worth buying wish we hadn’t . Can’t get sparkling water without paying again on top of this. The pool deck entertainer made a joke that he was pleased to welcome aboard all of the cast of the Jeremy Kyle Show now that the show had finished. Except it isn’t a joke. It’s the clientele that let this holiday down. No one enforces the dress code. Even in the so called smart areas you will be sat dining with folk who think it ok to dine in swimwear, vests or shirtless. There is supposed to be rule that sun beds are not reserved. Unfortunately on the at sea days there are insufficient sun beds and many reserved by a towel yet unoccupied. The smoking deck is outside of both entrances to the main cocktail bar, Indigo. And consequently this bar stinks. Some of the on shore excursions by Destination Services not value for money at all. And are thinly veiled trips to stores/factories for a sales pitch. One of the TUI girls that accompanied us was next to useless she couldn’t answer any questions put to her on the excursion, Entertainment was appalling. Tried the show 3 times in 2 weeks but on each occasion walked out after 20 minutes. The so called comedians being an insult to one’s intelligence. But without exception the staff, particularly in housekeeping are an absolute credit to TUI and probably get paid the least. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Marketing suggested it was a new ship but turned out to be a 25 year old with limited refurbishment. There were many signs of ageing. Very misleading on the part of TUI marketing department but this is quite common with TUI. Food was ... Read More
Marketing suggested it was a new ship but turned out to be a 25 year old with limited refurbishment. There were many signs of ageing. Very misleading on the part of TUI marketing department but this is quite common with TUI. Food was very basic and could be easily be compared with pub grub. Only decent food was to be found in the extra cost venues. The cleaning standards were very superficial, especially in the main buffet restaurant. With the exception of the reception staff who were obnoxious, rude and unhelpful, the other staff were pleasant helpful and very willing. A special mention for Stevan from Serbia and Erald from Albania who were both very helpful, knowledgeable, and professional waiters. I gained the distinct impression that this was mostly a booze cruise. Great for those who want that but not for me. This was my first, and probably last, cruise based on my experience on TUI Marella Explorer 2. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my partner and we both had an amazing holiday. From landing in Barbados a smooth transition on to the ship and from there a fab holiday began. We had an outside cabin which had plenty of room, ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my partner and we both had an amazing holiday. From landing in Barbados a smooth transition on to the ship and from there a fab holiday began. We had an outside cabin which had plenty of room, bathroom was big enough with a lovely shower that was always hot! The food was great whichever place we chose to eat so cant single any one in particular however the staff in Latitude and vista are a credit to the ship. Drinks were amazing, we upgraded to the premium namely for the gin and whisky bar and we found this well worth it. Special mention to Illeas in the gin bar who is one of the best bar tenders we have come across. Entertainment was really good some nights better than others - the rockology, movies, soul and motown were all fab and the entertainment in the squid and anchor was also good - the effort the full team put in is phenomenal. As this was our first cruise we had people commenting we were too young to be going on this type of holiday but I'm thrilled we did and we are already looking again for next year! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose the cruise because it was All inclusive, Adults only, All gratuities were included, the Caribbean destination, suitable dates, not too formal and a reasonable price., The holiday started from Birmingham Airport a much better ... Read More
I chose the cruise because it was All inclusive, Adults only, All gratuities were included, the Caribbean destination, suitable dates, not too formal and a reasonable price., The holiday started from Birmingham Airport a much better experience than Gatwick or Heathrow. The Dreamliner airplane was the best I have flown in, in terms of comfort ie legroom, seat size, high ceiling, inflight entertainment and food. Yes it was standard class but I have flown standard class all around the world. Transfer from the Birmingham airport to the ship in Barbados was seamless. Embarkation to our Balcony cabin was quick and went without a hitch. Without exception all the crew/staff were very friendly and our cabin staff treated us like old friends. The food options were as described and expected and were plentiful and of good quality and variety. We never felt we needed to attend the Premium eating restaurants. We used both waiter and self service meal options as they suited us and found both excellent. The Theatre entertainment was excellent and very professional. The "during the day" options ie, talks,hobby type clubs, could have been better but with so much scenery and good weather to enjoy it was sufficient. To be able to choose food and take it out on deck and eat in the sun deck area and look out to sea was a pleasurable experience. To meet and chat with generally like minded people who were happy to be friendly and enjoy meeting new people made the holiday experience very good. If you wanted to simply lay on a sunbed and soak up the sun it would have proved difficult with the limited sunbeds and room to do so. If you wanted to drink as much as possible that option was there. By being a little brave and being prepared to go ashore and "arrange" your own trips, you could save a lot of money and tailor your trips to do exactly what you wanted. This included going with other passengers and enjoying group excursions or simply on your own. The journey home was as good as the journey out (except the holiday was nearly over) Would I go on a TUI or Marella holiday again? Yes without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Adults only. Senior cruise. The staff were 100% attentive with courteous and friendly smiles every day. They work extremely hard and should receive MORE tips from all clients. (The pool area bar service from these hard working people ... Read More
Adults only. Senior cruise. The staff were 100% attentive with courteous and friendly smiles every day. They work extremely hard and should receive MORE tips from all clients. (The pool area bar service from these hard working people should not go unrecognised). The cabin was very clean and tidy but we had to negotiate who was going where around the bedroom area. Food, Market Place was for quick and easy breakfast but we opted for Latitude if we dressed accordingly unlike some who still thought Football shirts and vests were OK for evening attire. The Beach Cove and Surf & Turf were excellent even though there was an additional charge; But we were on holiday. Pool deck. Get up there early to place your towels out to get a sunbed especially on at sea days. It was very crowded. (a bit like God's waiting room) and one can only say that there were far too many quizzes? After speaking with loads of guests who were ALL saying we want it more lively with Sail Away parties and foot taping music for the afternoon? There was only so much tiny winey from The Collective who sang the same set every day (Great band though). Us seniors do not want afternoon naps? Tours; Do not go on the island tours around Bonaire and Curacao? total waste of money and being given 15 min's to visit the so called stops??? By the time the frail and elderly got off the buses it was time to go. Cheaper to do it yourself. This was The Explores 2 first Caribbean so there were loads of creases to iron out. The entertainment staff should also stop talking over the records and Matt (you really can not sing like Freddy Mercury) Let the record play and people around the pool do their own thing. The main show in the evenings; Well done to ALL the staff and entertainers who work really hard to put on different shows every night (twice nightly). Would we re-book this ship? At the moment No. A lot of people who were on these two weeks felt the same.Lets see how it goes next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because it departed from Barbados and because we have cruised with Thomson/Marella before and have always had an enjoyable time. We cruised November 17-24 and travelled the southern Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it departed from Barbados and because we have cruised with Thomson/Marella before and have always had an enjoyable time. We cruised November 17-24 and travelled the southern Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grenada and St Lucia. On Explorer 2 it was good to have more options to eat from and lots of different lounges to relax in. The crew has to be some of the friendliest ever. Our cabin was comfortable with lots of shelving, drawers and hanging space and a big plus was the shelving behind the mirror. The shower had glass doors and was very spacious. Our cabin steward was very thorough and kept our cabin spotless. Although face cloths are not usually supplied, I asked for them and they were provided.:) The bed was very comfortable. We ate breakfast in the MDR Latitude mainly because they offered smoked salmon and had daily specials. At lunch we normally had a snack from the Snack Shack together with selection from The Marketplace. Our evening meals were in Vista, the Italian part of the MDR. We had flavourful and mouthwatering dishes with a selection of quality wines always followed by gelato and sorbet and a cappuccino. The Vista had a gourmet feel about it. Needless to say we had excellent service provided by Eugene, Martin and Faye. We enjoyed the very talented Caribbean live band, The Collective, who played a wide range of reggae and calypso music. We also enjoyed Derek Dishington, a keyboardist and the comedian on the Comedy Night was very funny. We have visited the destinations many times before but we still enjoyed a few tours. In Aruba we did an island tour in the morning with a private taxi and had a very entertaining driver/guide.and then did the free trolley ride through the town centre. In Curacao we walked around the old the port and had a "ride" on the swing bridge. In Bonaire we did a very interesting south island tour to the salt flats and slave huts and saw lots of flamingos too. In Grenada we went to Grand Anse and in St Lucia we just walked around the town centre. Yet another enjoyable cruise. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We found the arrival very easy,straight off the plane on a bus and on to the ship. The ship itself was not my favorite, not easy to navigate around. The seating in some of the public areas was very uncomfortable( the brown sofas in the ... Read More
We found the arrival very easy,straight off the plane on a bus and on to the ship. The ship itself was not my favorite, not easy to navigate around. The seating in some of the public areas was very uncomfortable( the brown sofas in the Squid and Anchor need throwing over board!) The resident entertainment was very good.Some of the guest shows on the other hand went from excellent to awful. The ship was kept very clean and all the staff worked very hard and were very friendly. The food was lovely, we always managed to get a seat or table without any problem. Plenty of places to sun bath ,either quiet or lively by the pool. The cruise itinerary was the reason we choose this particular holiday. We decided to stay on from Southampton to cruise up to Newcastle as it was easier to get home from Newcastle. WERE WE SORRY!!!! From what we heard 600 passengers disembarked, and 400 Tui reps and their family's embarked.( Bearing in mind the average age on the cruise was about 65 and the new passengers where younger ) the lovely cruise was spoiled by the new passengers. They were on for one thing, to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible, resulting in us not being able to get served for over half an hour at some of the bars and having to suffer drunken behavior from quite a few on them. Not the staffs fault I mite add, purely how fast they where drinking. there were scuffles in the disco and security had to be called. People where also inconsiderate when returning to there cabins.The result was a lot of the original passengers where not very happy. This has ruined the memory of what was otherwise a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great ... Read More
5 weeks before sailing the cruise was on offer at a good price.Got off to a great start when allocated our outside cabin which was huge! (9006) After that things went downhill a bit. First let me say the ship itself was hit and miss. Great theatre with good sight lines. A decent sized cinema.But as a cruise experience did not live up to the standard we have become accustomed to with P@O. On sea days the main pool area was a no go for us,with its loud music,that was not even catered to the average age group of around 65 (it was an adults only cruise).Felt like we were back at Butlins.For anyone who likes to dance the Indigo disco with its small dance floor and no seats was a waste of time.What would on other ships be known as the crows nest was a strange layout and doubled as the casino.It was difficult to get a seat in the squid and anchor pub which was incredibly noisy and consisted of mainly childish game shows.And finally the food.Again hit and miss.as was the service.We finally cottoned on to two excellent waiters Maiko and Benjie one in the vista and one in the latitude restaurants. Service in the tapas and pizza restaurants was good.The staff were more multicultural than on any of our 18 or so other cruises.Some of the entertainment in the evening was good some not so good.Very little in the way of entertainment during the day,no lectures or talks just films in the cinema that tended to repeat.Spoke to people who had cruised on Discovery and much preferred it.All in all,in my opinion a long way to go to match P@O. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were ... Read More
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were brilliant. Positives: - Drop bags at check in and don't see them again until you're at your cruise ship cabin - Great airplane staff who can't do enough for you - Decent food and service on plane - Coach Transfer to ship waiting upon arrival and you're whisked off without going through all the hassle of the airport - OK sized cabin - Well stocked buffet with nice fresh (mostly) salads and plenty of choice, although does get a bit samey by end of 2 weeks - The free A La Carte restaurants of decent standard with good service - the paid-for ones were OK but you wouldn't miss much if you didn't visit those - Informal dresscode which was great (wish I knew this before I lugged a tux and a suit halfway round the world lol) - Impressive refurbed show lounge with comfy seats not-bad acts - Good selection of beers wines and spirits included - Great housekeeping staff who cleaned our cabin TWICE a day! - Friendly Captain who is often seen mingling with the passengers on the ship and enjoyed his morning announcements with the odd pun thrown in for good measure - No tips Negatives: - The staff must get commission for upgrading you to premium as they are on you as soon as you order your first drink. However, there's a decent selection of drinks included anyway and I reckon I only really made my money back on the premium drinks I had - Coffee from the machines on the ship is a bit naff but there is a coffee shop where you can get decent coffee for a premium. This is supposedly included if you have paid for premium however if you go before 10am you still have to pay! Come on TUI you must have a £billion turnover you can do without this penny-pinching - Watch out for the Narcissistic Cruise Director. Loves himself so much he even has his own TV channel featuring himself mainly, along with staff from different areas on ship. You'll just be starting to relax by the pool when his face will suddenly appear on the big screen and he'll be trying to flog you some SPA treatments or some other product they are finding difficult to shift - If you go to Indigo Bar give yourself plenty of time to get a drink. In fact take a drink with you from another bar to drink while you're waiting to be served a drink. They offer ridiculous cocktails like a 'Bathtub' that is a mini porcelain bathtub filled with spirits and mixers for 4 people - however only the head barman knows how to make it and it takes him half an hour. They call themselves the 'bar wizards' - Harry Potter morelike Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Having cruised with Marella (Thomson) since 2011 we were looking forward to another excellent cruise. We did the same repositioning cruise last year, the only problem then was a squeaking from a ship structure which had broken loose and ... Read More
Having cruised with Marella (Thomson) since 2011 we were looking forward to another excellent cruise. We did the same repositioning cruise last year, the only problem then was a squeaking from a ship structure which had broken loose and squeaked to the movement of the ship, we were in the same cabin this year and it had been fixed. The cabin staff were excellent and helpful as usual, in fact all staff were always smiling and eager to ensure you had an excellent cruise. Our first let down was the standard of food in the Meridian Restaurant for evening meal it was the worst we have ever encountered on a Marella (Thomson) cruise, our first two weeks were an excellent example on how to destroy food examples: rib eye steak tough and tasteless, chicken scallops dried out like crisp bread, veal cutlets you could have soled your work boots with, (totally un-edible could not even be cut with a knife). I had never seen so much food being left on plates, complaints regarding the standard of food was common place all round the restaurant. We were informed, but did not witness that there was an altercation between cruisers and kitchen staff, and apparently eight people were put of the ship in Madeira, if that was the case none was the chef as the food did not improve. Also it normally took two hours to serve three courses, it was not the fault of the staff, but the lack of staff, instead of two waiters and a runner there was only two waiters who were run off their feet. On the third week we decided to try the Lido for evening meal, it was basically the same menu but help yourself, we could not believe we were on the same ship, the standard of food was excellent and cooked to perfection, the only problem was finding a seat as so many cruisers had given up on the Meridian Restaurant for the Lido, The only night the Meridian Restaurant was OK was Captains Night, maybe it was we were only a few tables from the Captain. The second let down was disembarkation it was a total shambles, the first batch of passengers for embarkation was 08.00 the second batch was scheduled for 08.15. The first batch of passengers were still queuing in the stairways at 08.15, add the second batch and we had pandemonium, the lifts were unusable due to total passenger impasse on disembarkation deck, we were stuck on the stairwell for over an hour, it was so bad the elderly and infirm had to sit on the stairs. Unfortunately we have booked a stay and cruise on Marella Celebration for October 2019, will review again when we return, hopefully things will be back to the normally good standard of service we have received from Marella (Thomson). Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We’re experinced cruise holiday makers and feel qualified to make comparisons to previous cruises . Marella explorer is not a beautiful ship on either the outside or the inside . To my way of thinking she looks like a ferry. The ... Read More
We’re experinced cruise holiday makers and feel qualified to make comparisons to previous cruises . Marella explorer is not a beautiful ship on either the outside or the inside . To my way of thinking she looks like a ferry. The advertising suggested looking for a lean contemporary look but my feeling is they run out of money and didn’t have sufficient to buy artwork sculptures or anything that would inspire or and wander for the pain guest . if you are looking for a value for money package holiday experience then probably Marella explorer fits the bill however if you are looking for a value for money special experience in line with the amount of money you are paying then choose an alternative cruise line . I’m gutted to have to say this about this ship as in the past we have sailed on Thompson spirit and the now departed Emerald both of which had a certain level of sophistication and certainly charm but this was without doubt lacking in this new bath tub of a boat. I sense the amiable courteous and highly present captain is slightly disappointed by his crew as he asserts at every opportunity they are the happiest crew afloat and the best crew and one in which he is extremely proud to sail alongside our experience is that the majority of staff from all departments were indeed courteous but there were a significant number of waitresses in particular in latitude 53 the main dining restaurant who clearly have never ever been taught the slightest about customer courtesy in fact it became a bit of an in joke amongst our crowd to see if we could elicit a smile from one in particular . on the subject of the food one of the reasons my family and I started to cruise was because there is vegetarians in our party we were always able to have excellent dining experience however on Marella explorer dining experience was either exceptionally good in the Vista restaurant or at best average and below par at other times we were very disappointed with the cuisine overall . whoever is responsible for booking the lounge bar pianists needs to have a rethink about who is a book whilst it is without doubt the pianist could indeed play the piano they banged out the tune at maximum volume and sang so loudly it wasn’t ever a relaxing experience to go and listen to them in fact I claps the loudest when they eventually stopped . The theatre on-board explorer is magnificent with very good sightlines pretty much where ever you sat but what a shame none of the singers in the show cast can sing; they can shout but they cannot sing. the dancers were good but not great and the choreography repetitive . We did however thoroughly appreciate the room we had on deck 8. our balcony cabin 8099 had excellent storage facilities, was very clean and our steward was always willing to help. the balcony was bigger than average and actually was one of the pleasing parts of the ship. In addition The Champneys spa is an absolute gem and staff there are certainly extremely welcoming I enjoyed the Marella explorer massage which was wonderful; I highly recommend it - especially if Alex is peoviding the treatment. I also enjoyed a very very good pedicure by Angela which was very pleasing and has lasted well. The ports of call were excellent and some of the tours and excursions offered by the ship as a family we all thoroughly enjoyed particularly the best of Barbados which took in the wild Orchid farm and the Sunbury house plantation I would highly recommend both of these we also enjoyed the zip lines in Saint Lucia. I wish Marella Explorer well but hope the people that hold the budget pump in some cash to put some much needed style on this vessel and appoint a cruise director who has more than four ‘jokes’ in his repotoire. If the jokes could be funny that would also be great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We needed to go to Barbados and this cruise came up - 7 day cruise - 7 day hotel stay - at a good price. Tui's organisation was fantastic. From check in at Gatwick to disembarking - all superbly organised. We had an inside ... Read More
We needed to go to Barbados and this cruise came up - 7 day cruise - 7 day hotel stay - at a good price. Tui's organisation was fantastic. From check in at Gatwick to disembarking - all superbly organised. We had an inside cabin which was in fact bigger than the one we had on the QM2! Yes there is a bit of a rumble when the engines are going but it actually rocked us to sleep! Deck 2 midships was a good location as not right over the engines. Captain was awesome - so approachable and freely gave his knowledge of the ship and our destinations. Staff very positive. Food average. Seemed to be a budget per course?? Can anyone tell me why ships run out of prunes?? They come in tins for god sake!! Sorry but found the entertainment a bit basic but on a 7 day cruise not really an issue. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star ... Read More
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star cruise with modern decor , good food , a lively friendly atmosphere and great staff to look after you then this is the one you should book. Flight on TUI dreamliner was very good both ways and really liked that your luggage was delivered straight to your cabin from the airport on arrival and collected from your cabin and sent to the airport on departure. Large balcony cabin had lots of storage space and walk in shower and was kept very clean by cabin staff who always went above and beyond to ensure that you had a great experience.It was my wife's birthday whilst on board and they decorated the room with banners,balloons and a special card from all the staff. Every time you passed a member of staff they were always friendly and polite. Food was good but was excellent in the ones where you paid a supplement and well worth the extra,we bought a trio deal which was good value. Drinks choice was very good with all the popular beers and spirits included so no need to book the premium package. Service at the bars was very quick and you did not need to leave your seat if you wished as drinks waiters were constantly available. Entertainment was not west end standard but was varied and entertaining and always a great night in the sqid and anchor pub. We visited 10 different ports with the tender used only once and saw some great islands. We booked some TUI excursions and did some others ourselves and although ship excursions were not overpriced think doing it yourself via local taxis is better value and a better overall experience. On the down side TUI need to get their act together on their systems as this is having a detrimental effect on the booking experience. If you pay for a certain cabin then you should be allocated it or be able to cancel or get substantial compensation. We went with another couple and it took us ages at the store to book cabins next to each other which we paid extra for only for our friends to be told 2 days before we went that they had been moved to a different cabin due to double booking. On talking to other people on board this had happened to a lot of people. Think overall and especially on board it was a great, good value holiday experience and we would go again but please TUI get your act together and update your systems. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very ... Read More
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very big THANK YOU to Amanda Hudson the social host and our captain Peter Harris for sorting everything out so that we could do it on our wedding anniversary. We had a lovely day thanks again to Amanda Hudson for everything that you did to it happen it's very much appreciated. The ship is lovely all staff very friendly and work very hard food lovely as well will definitely be coming back. All the staff are really friendly and work hard food was excellent we had an invite to join the captain at his table as well which was lovely couldn't of asked for a better 25th wedding anniversary cruise we've got lots of wonderful memories and photos Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, ... Read More
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, no standing still. Then we were taken from the ship to the airport and our cases were sent to the plane ahead of us so we didn’t have to carry them around with us, they will also look after your hand luggage for you from when you leave your cabin until you depart the ship, they give you clean towels and an option to use a cabin to freshen up before your flight. Completely hassle free. Cabin was very comfortable and quiet, spotlessly cleaned twice daily and the cabin stewards were so friendly and kind. Fantastic staff, so attentive, friendly and really make you feel valued. Delicious food with plenty of options. The restaurants were very nice and in the buffet you have tons of options, you have fresh food cooked to order including omelettes and create your own stir fries, pastas and pizzas where you can choose exactly what ingredients they put in your meal. The fresh salad bars were so good too with freshly made potato salads, coleslaws and bean salads to name but a few. They had branston like pickle, piccalilli, chutneys and all the usual condiments including HP sauce, Branded drinks and a great choice of cocktails. Even without the premium drinks upgrade. Twinings breakfast and Yorkshire tea and many other kinds of herbal teas, delicious fresh sweet pure orange juice. The snack bar by the pool had freshly prepared salads (Caesar, Greek, Asian, curried chicken, avocado, salmon and more) sandwiches, wraps and burgers, hotdogs, fries etc to grab and go. Excellent entertainment with so many different options to choose from each day and night, something to do whatever your mood. The Collective were absolutely fantastic and got everyone rocking! Plenty of fun, lively areas with great music and entertainment and also calmer areas if you want some peace and quiet to just chill out and enjoy the moment. Didn’t feel at all overcrowded, even at the busiest times there was always somewhere to sit in the shade or in the sun. You can dress to impress if you like which meant I got the chance to wear some evening dresses but if you don’t feel like dressing up you don’t have to. You’re treated beautifully whatever you wear. Unlike other holidays I’ve been on (where drunken idiots have spoiled it for everyone else with their bad behaviour and they’ve been allowed to remain in the hotel and carry on their behaviour for the whole holiday) if someone gets out of hand they are promptly removed from the ship, they have zero tolerance of violent or abusive behaviour, Brilliant! Like staying in a 5 star hotel where the view changes daily. I can’t see how they can improve this ship and it’s staff. We don’t know how they manage it but even on a ship with so many other people on board you are made to feel special, the staff remember you and treat you very well. We will definitely be booking with TUI / Marella again. Everything really was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking forward to trip. Perfect start great to leave luggage at Gatwick and see it next in our cabin. I do have limited mobility so arranged an adapted cabin which turned out good ; Sorry down hill from here on THIS ship and MOST of staff are not aware or interested in the disable / less mobile customer. The ship has NO disable seating in restaurants or bars and you are on your own with getting help from staff to get seated . the stock reply seems " we are busy ", " try another restaurant " ; Try another time. The theater is not a lot better . Yes there are a few disable seats but so poorly signed again it is free for all, so do not expect to get one unless you get to show about 45 minuets early. We did eventual get the welfare dept to put out some signs in the Cafeteria just 8 seats which considering the amount of wheel chairs/ scooters ect on board was no where enough . To cap it all I was told by a manager in the Theater he could not ask people to move from disable seats and I should walk down the stairs to front . The shows in all are ok not up to a professional standard more a good local theater group. The excursion ok but again not good for less mobile , we invested in a special light weight wheelchair so I could enjoy the trips but nearly all the trips state on the day that no wheel chairs or buggy's can be accommodated so yes got on the trips but did not see much of the sights except from the transport windows . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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