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23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The first thing to note is that whilst this ship is new to Marella it was built in 1994 and in places despite a refit is showing its age. You will need to travel on TUIs German Mein Schiff 1 & 2 if you want brand new ships! It is also ... Read More
The first thing to note is that whilst this ship is new to Marella it was built in 1994 and in places despite a refit is showing its age. You will need to travel on TUIs German Mein Schiff 1 & 2 if you want brand new ships! It is also a shame the all inclusive bit doesn't start when you step on the very old Boeing 757 plane but then i suppose prices would be higher. We booked a cabin with a balcony and were allocated right in the middle of the ship on the port side on deck 8 . It was about the size of a normal Travelodge room and had a nice sized shower cubicle which for a big chap is really welcome and had plenty of storage with the cases fitting under the bed. We heard many guests who were on deck 4 and near the back of the boat complaining of noise from the kitchens and vibrations when the boat was travelling, however this was not the case where we were situated. As always the cabin steward was very helpful and all the staff worked hard to ensure the guests had a great time.The only niggle we found was how thin the toilet paper was but other than that everything else worked well. It was great to have pool towels, TV, safe, hairdryer and a small fridge included in our cabin. We stuck with the standard inclusive package which is all anyone could ever need, although we noticed that since our last cruise on Discovery last year the choice of cocktails is less extensive than it was just 11 months ago - Not a major issue though. Similarly instead of waiter service at your seats in the Broadway show lounge they offer you a table of about 8 different drinks as you go in. Whilst it limited your choice of drinks it did stop constant chatting to the waiters during the shows. The entertainment was excellent in the evenings with 5 fantastic shows by the entertainment cast with fantastic use of technology and two guest slots the first were two comedians and the second an Elton John impressionist. There is always lots going on around the ship although we were a little disappointed that the movies by moonlight were started 30 minutes before the first evening ) show finished (and ended 30 minutes after the second show started) so you never got to see a film all the way through! Marella seem to be catering for a younger generation in its 50s (which we are) as we heard lots of grumbles from older passengers that there was no formal dancing available, dance lessons or classical music evenings which apparently is what they like to do! Dining is plentiful and to cater for 1800 plus people they do a great job. The buffet was always hot and plentiful of choice. The formal restaurants Lattitude and Vista were also great. We loved Nonna's an informal no frills Italian restaurant. which we went to a few times. We could not justify paying for the additional charge restaurants and don't think we suffered for not going there. For lunch we picked up sandwiches from the snack shack before heading out for the day. We did not use the pools or the spa.gym but it had lots of customers during the time we were there. The real joy was the itinerary. A different destination everyday with no sea days made it a great holiday for us. It was a great cruise which i would happily go on again. Hope you find his useful Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Booked under no illusion this would be like a Celebrity, Princess Cruise ect for the money paid, and that it was also an old shop which had been renovated rather than brand new. Overall impression public areas were clean and modern ... Read More
Booked under no illusion this would be like a Celebrity, Princess Cruise ect for the money paid, and that it was also an old shop which had been renovated rather than brand new. Overall impression public areas were clean and modern although there was a few snagging issues but this is to be expected and didn’t distract from our enjoyment while onboard. Food in the main dining room was really good, we had no complaints, and the a la cadre dining especially Surf and Turf was sublime. The only disappointment was the buffet restaurant which had limited choice at each meal time. Snack shack was good especially with the choice if having fresh salads and sandwiches available if you didn’t want to have a full blown meal. Entertainment was excellent, all performers were very professional and we enjoyed many a night in Squid and Anchor at the Gin bar listening and dancing to them. We was fortunate enough to have a Executive Suite, which was amazing, having usually booked a standard balcony. I read many complaints about size of cabins, beds against walls. For us we couldn’t complain. All in all we had a brilliant week, weather was also good for mid April in the Med, but having sailed on other cruise lines many of which are classed as ‘premium’ we knew not to compare, Marella target the U.K. market and the food and entertainment reflects this as does the price. Service was second to non and we would certainly travel on a Marella cruise in the future, however if you like the finer things in life maybe book another cruise line. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and ... Read More
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and we had one rainy morning. We flew from East Midlands to Palma and although check-in was slow arrangements went smoothly until check-in at the cruise terminal where things again were slow. This cruise was the second week since the ship had been refurbished and the quality of furnishings and fittings was exceptional. The lifts were spacious and quick. Without exception all the staff we met were friendly, welcoming and helpful. Eating was a delight with open dining in six restaurants and three a la carte which cost extra. Ten bars, one a pub and a coffee shop completed the arrangements. The talented Explorer 2 Show Team produced a number of top class shows in the Broadway Show Lounge that would rival any produced in the West End. There were lots of activities during the day and in the evenings. Pampering was available at Champney’s Spa a new venture. We visited three Countries, five towns and could either walk in or take an inexpensive shuttle bus to enjoy them. There were lots of excursions to places like Pisa, Florence, Genoa and St Tropez and lots of room for sunbathing. Departing the ship was an ordeal because of poor organisation and we were again held up by Border Control at East Midlands on return. An enjoyable cruise, a top-class ship, fine food and drink and an outstanding crew. And the bonus adults only. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to ... Read More
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to fly cruise via Majorca. We are less mobile than we used to be and assistance was booked but this seemed to exclude TUI staff. Help was needed with luggage not wheelchairs but airports do both not one. The ship was Explorer 2 which was undertaking its second cruise since being fully refurbished. The ship and staff are still having issues. However I feel that others might wish to learn that this ship is not up to the standard even of Discovery There is a reduction or omission in many areas offered in comparison * no maps of the ship in the cabin * no maps of ports visited * much lower mileage of cruising: we even left port about 6 pm to idle off the coast for several hours (presumably this saves on port charges?) rather than take off later poorer entertainment * no classical music whatsoever - all pop * no readily available deck games (hosted or otherwise) although the putting green (not golf) was on the top deck around the funnel and was unreachable when the wind was up as most of the time * library was a joke - just one small stand with charity shop books although a few board games were available and were well used as little else to do Add to this, we had issues with a stuck loo outlet switch, a broken safe causing us a loss of almost a days visiting - not expected on an expensively regenerated ship It felt that every attempt was being made to cut costs even at the expense of cruisers enjoyment Overall - a boring experience and not to be repeated Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We went on the 2nd sailing of Explorer 2. Collection at the airport went smoothly, we were given some information to read on the coach. The check in at the port was quick and easy. Was slightly disappointed that we were not given a map ... Read More
We went on the 2nd sailing of Explorer 2. Collection at the airport went smoothly, we were given some information to read on the coach. The check in at the port was quick and easy. Was slightly disappointed that we were not given a map of the ship but there were screens and pictures around the ship that you could look to find your way around. The ship isn't perfect despite the recent refurb but its also not brand new and I think that is something people need to remember. It has been refurbished not ripped out and started again. So there were cosmetic things that were not in tip top shape. Was this a problem for us? No. There are some great features to it, the 19th Hole with its quirky buggies and golf simulators. Flutes where you can press the button and get more prosecco. The Squid & Anchor for quizzes, game shows, karaoke and Indigo where the nightclub is. Cabin - we had a balcony cabin on deck 9. It was really spacious. The wardrobes had plenty of hanging space and hangers. Then there were several drawers and shelves as well as the vanity table with drawers. The bathroom was decent as well and shower larger that other ships i've been on. Only negative the toilet wasn't working properly. We tried to ring Reception but our phone wasn't working either. Both were resolved fairly quickly after speaking with our Cabin Steward although the toilet did break 3 times that first day. We had a kettle & cups with tea bags etc which we were really pleased with. We were located near the stairs Aft (at the back of the ship) convenienty located just above Squid & Anchor and Latitude 53 and slightly below the Market Place. Dining - This for me was the most disappointing for me. We ate in all the free restaurants. I personally didn't feel there was as many options that we have had on previous cruises and wasn't very excited by the options given. We loved Nonna's which does fab pastas. Its worth noting that in the evening you get little breads and a small salad and slightly different choices on the pizza and the toppings for pasta. Definately worth trying in the day and evening. The Market Place has pretty much the same food as the Latitude restaurant. We enjoyed some meals in Vista which is the lower part of Latitude restaurant & has a bit of a Italian feel. We did not pay for any of the Speciaility Restaurants so I cannot comment on them. A nice touch was afternoon tea 3 - 5 that did sandwiches and scones. Food came out pretty quick and was well presented. The food at the Snack Shack and Beach Cove were about the same most days with a small varience. I really enjoyed the chocolate brownies. An added bonus was they had pre-packed salads and sandwiches and cookies. So if you wanted to take someting to your room for a snack later you could. The Coffee Port was set out really nice but I didn't use as I don't drink coffee and you had to pay extra for everything. We did go the the late night snack up in the Market Place most nights. Entertainment/Activities - The shows in the Broadway were pretty good. The main cast sing and dance very well but I didn't feel it was as good as some other ships. They were a 45 min set done twice a night. I felt sometimes the programme could have been done a bit better as some activities clashed with others so you missed out. Everyone has been raving about Revive, I didn't feel the story line was clear although the singing and dancing and costumes were great. I really enjoyed the Rockology and Soul shows. The Commedian was fantastic although if you are easily offended I wouldn't go. The Piano Man wasn't really to my taste but he was a good singer, his piano playing sometimes got lost in the backing tracks. Daytime Entertainment I felt was a bit lacking, we like to get involved in things and whilst looking at the Cruise News there seemed to be lots of things to do when you looked at what they were they were things like demonstrantions. Line dancing every day or signing up for golf simulator (which had charges). Evening Quizes were pretty good but we found it was the same people joining in all the time and audience particpation wasn't great. Indigo nightclub we went up a few times but it mainly was not many people in there, I think this was due to clashes with other activities and people not wanting to be up so late. Mini Golf is ok although the first game was the Sea Day when the waters were a bit rough so was a bit difficult but went back a few times. Pool Area - Plenty of sunbeds around the pool area and upper deck. There is also a veranda that you can use that has cushioned sunbeds and some nice little chairs. This is near the Cabana's but you have to pay for the Cabana's. There is always a man going around with a cart of certain drinks which delighted my husband. If you don't like anything on the cart though there was normally waiters around most of the time. Shore Excusions - we only did 2. We weren't going to bother as normally they are expensive but we booked one for Livorno before the Cruise and one whilst on it that were reasonable. The Livorno was the Canals but was pretty disappointed as out of 4 hours we were on the boat for about 40 mins then were left for an hour at a indoor market that sold fish, meat & cheese. None of which we could take back on the ship. The surrounding area wasn't the nicest and then we walked about 5 mins to the bus through a lovely little area that would have been nicer to sit and have a drink. The other was Sights in Barcelona. 3 hr tour to two mountains then a quick stop on the way back somewhere else. Enjoyed the tour. All ports were docked which is a lot easier when getting off the ship. Didn't have any problems with queing for getting on or off in a short amount of time. We bought photo's which was a pain because of how they have set up the offers. In the end we negotiated and got the photo's we wanted. You can buy photo's individually at a reasonable price which i haven't seen on other ships It felt very geared up for British Customers which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it has just been very different to the other cruises we've been on. All in all we had a great week, I'm not sure we'd go on Marella again as I don't feel it had the Wow factor hence the 4 star rating but we did have a great time and found the staff friendly and helpful in most cases. There were not that many public toilets and where there were some ie in the 19th Hole near the Show lounge there was only 2 cubicles. Should have toilets on every floor in my opinion. Thanks for reading if you made it to the end. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of ... Read More
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of the ships genuine age. Marella and TUI have been very upfront about the ships age, however some travel agents will say what they need to say to get the booking on! We stayed in the Royal Suite, which on first glance was amazing. After the first day we spotted some snagging that we attempted to get resolved with reception and our cabin staff but things didn’t get resolved. We escalated this to the guest relations manager who resolved it quickly and efficiently and showed a great deal of empthathy. Thank you Sam Hale, you’re a credit to Marella. The specialty dining was brilliant. Main dining was ok. I’d recommend the trio dining package for specialty resturants as it saves some money and brings the cost in at a quite reasonable price. We also paid extra for the premium drinks package. Being a wine drinker it was worth every penny, however many beer and spirits drinkers would be happy with the standard package. Overall it would have scored a 5 but the initial issues brought it down to a 4. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
At the time we booked the cruise because we thought we were going on a brand new luxury ship. Wrong. It is an old ship which has been refurbed once before. Some of the public rooms had had a make over and seeing them for the first time ... Read More
At the time we booked the cruise because we thought we were going on a brand new luxury ship. Wrong. It is an old ship which has been refurbed once before. Some of the public rooms had had a make over and seeing them for the first time raised expectations about the cabins. But looking around you realised many of the carpets had not been replaced in the upgrading. Unfortunately the cabins were shabby. The bathroom was grubby looking and I don't think it had been updated since it was new. There were none of the luxury touches I would expect of a 5 star holiday on land. No shampoo, creams etc. Just bog standard soap, and shower gel in a large container next to the shower. Our bathroom flooded one day when some valve broke, maintenance sent someone within half an hour who looked at it but the water stopped before he got there so he declared it fixed. Half an hour later it started flooding again and this time he had to replace the valve. I thought he would have sent a cleaner to clean up the water on the floor but I had to do that. Our safe did not work. There was only one electrical socket in the cabin. My room card stopped working and had to be replaced 6 times. We had a disabled cabin which was quite large, but the ordinary cabins were very small and had a step to the bathroom. One night the water was a bit choppy and the bathroom door kept sliding open and shut all night long as it didn't close properly. Food was OK but nothing great. Veg was frozen, including roast potatoes and chips. Not a lot of choice in the Market Place buffet, and no gravy with pie and mash.....! Premium restaurants were very expensive, ie £25 for the Indian restaurant. Very few people wanted to pay it so it was empty most of the time. On the last or second last night it was advertised in the notice put under your door every night as now being on offer at £19.95 after 9pm. Cocktails on the all inclusive were weak and made with a "mix" rather than real fruit juice so were very acidic. Staff were very friendly in the main, always saying hello when they passed by. However, some would say "sir" or "ma'am" and they often got the gender of one female guest with short hair wrong. We went on only one excursion which was OK. The entertainment was not our taste. Singers and dancers were young but quite good. The shows were not well written. Cinema was outside and the weather was poor. My mother had been looking forward to seeing a movie or two. You could purchase a movie package for the TV in your room but who wants to sit in their room on holiday. There was a couple of movie channels on the TV but they were often very old, or strangely for an adults only cruise, Disney style cartoons. Disembarkation was a fiasco. Your luggage was taken downstairs overnight you had to find it next morning using a colour coded label given to you the day before. The buses were late getting there so the queue of people with cases coiled in the hall. An expensive disappointment. My first and last cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural ... Read More
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural cruise?? However, advised to go to Pool Deck where food and drinks were available. That was fine but the toilets were blocked. No water for washing hands, toilet tissue, sanitiser. A recipe for passengers being stuck down with tummy bugs. Crew directed us to Deck 12. Same condition. Crew then shrugged shoulders. Problems with toilets blocking all week including on final morning. Customers were blamed for this which is never the best strategy to adopt. When the above situation was reported to Reception was told this was because vessel had been in dry dock. Wrong answer. Logistical management at best could only be described as poor. The cabin was fine and front of house staff worked very hard but lacked management back-up. Food was fine but service in main restaurant started off poor. Did improve during week and a couple of the Sections delivered a very good service in the end, one of which we reported on board. I will be critical but will also praise where praise is due. On one occasion, in Gents WC on Pool Deck water was coming through ceiling via light fitting. A bucket had been placed underneath but I advised the crew member present the water leak was the least of the problems as water and electricity was never a good mix. Think that went above his head. Code Victoria was called twice to my knowledge and it was not unusual to find blowers drying out carpets which ha£ been contaminated by flood water. Captain said on ore than one occasion they were having ‘teething problems’. These were not ‘teething problems’. A number of bits of kit failed to work especially in the buffet restaurant. Many did not have signs on. TIP: if going on. Cruise on this ship take some ‘out of order’ signs with you so you can help crew. Well, experience put me off cruising but experienced ‘cruisers’ reassured Us this was not a good example and recommended other Lines for us to try. We have decided to do this as we liked the experience of visiting different locations/ countries each day but this is down to fellow travellers rather than this experience. Such a shame as had terrific potential As stated above, in my opinion the ship was, simply, not ready. The Captain did state needed the passengers to fully test vessel. I don’t mind this providing I am given the choice before booking and do not pay full price. Oh well, bye, bye Marella. We could have had such a great future relationship if only, if only!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It was an anniversary cruise and we have sailed with TUI before and the Explorer 2 was supposed to have been refitted for this maiden voyage. We were given our cabin number at the airport and told our luggage would be taken straight to the ... Read More
It was an anniversary cruise and we have sailed with TUI before and the Explorer 2 was supposed to have been refitted for this maiden voyage. We were given our cabin number at the airport and told our luggage would be taken straight to the ship, this however was not the case, we were then told by the TUI rep on arrival we would have to get our cases ourselves. (For us not a big problem ) . Embarkation went smoothly and we found our cabin 9245 an aft balcony, soon we noticed the air con was not working, really cold cabin, the main cabin lights not working, wires hanging down from unconnected light, hole in roof panel where a vent should have been. All the above faults were reported immediately and again and again over the next few days, it was not until the 5th day of the cruise that they were all dealt with. Ours was not the only cabin to have faults and by the end of the cruise letters were posted under cabin doors offering compensation for the faults. The entertainment at nights was good but during the day was not as good as previous cruises we have done. Food was plentiful and OK in the main Market Place dining area, also in Latitudes but the vegetarian choice was very repetitive. Nonnas was worth trying for pasta. Shore excursions mixed reviews on these, Pompei and Vesuvius was good but that was only because we had Marios as a guide who was very passionate about the history. Disappointing to find out that most of the artefacts are on show in the City of Pompei museum and not on the actual archeological site. The opinion of several TUI staff on board was that the ship had not had long enough in refit process and we have to agree on that. Assume that most problems should have been dealt with by now but it’s a pity there were so many on a what was billed as a maiden voyage. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the ... Read More
We joined this ship on It’s maiden voyage following a major refit. Unfortunately the refit was not completed before the ship sailed. We arrived in our cabin to find no electricity, safe not working, old shower door stored on the balcony. The electricity and shower door were dealt with in a reasonable space of time. Someone came to fix the safe, told us it was new and they didn’t have a code and another person would come to fix. More than 24 hours later no one had come and we contacted reception again, after giving a report of the items that needed repairing the receptionist rolled her eyes to indicate she had enough of us. Another member of staff arrived to give us the same answer about the safe and left. It was eventually fixed after more than 24 hours on the ship. Once the electricity was back on we realised the television did not work. This was fixed on the second day. On the third night we came back from dinner to find we had no running water from the sink taps and reception was closed. We reported next day and it was repaired while we were on an excursion. That night after dinner we came back to find no water again until the next day when we reported again. At this time we asked for the general manager, to be told he’s usually around somewhere and no further indication that anyone would find him. Maintenance staff have called on three occasions to fix the air conditioning which has always worked and we’ve not reported any problems. Many of the dining areas incur a supplementary charge, not all. We went to Nanno’s (no charge) at lunchtime for pasta (45 minute wait), the Beach cove for skewers (1hr 10 minutes for main course), latitude for breakfast (dirty tablecloth, dirty crockery, toast with a 10 minute wait for butter). We decided to eat in the market place where there was a good choice of food and no waiting. My partner uses the gym most days and most of the electrical equipment and exercise bicycles do not work. Speaking to other guests it seems as if everyone has had issues with either their cabin, service or both. The staff are very friendly and are working hard but there is a sense that the processes in place are not working and a lot needs to be done to get this ship up to an acceptable standard. There is a real sales atmosphere on board, constant encouragement to upgrade to different packages. If you buy something there is a hard sell to buy more, we understand the need for companies to make money but it seems the balance is not right on this ship, and it can be uncomfortable at times and not relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Our reason for booking this Tui cruise was that we booked late and needed a disabled cabin, Tui were the only cruise line that could accommodate this at such short notice. We are not “seasoned” cruisers, this was only our fourth ... Read More
Our reason for booking this Tui cruise was that we booked late and needed a disabled cabin, Tui were the only cruise line that could accommodate this at such short notice. We are not “seasoned” cruisers, this was only our fourth cruise in total and we have only sailed with P&O previously. We were nervous reading the reviews but have to say from the outset that we did enjoy our seven nights on Marella Discovery. I will try to make this review as fair and informative as I can. There are positives in that the ship was very clean, the staff (though mainly young and in lots of cases a bit inexperienced) were polite, friendly and very helpful. Discovery 2 isn’t massively impressive from the outside but the pretty atrium and public rooms on board are comfortably furnished and very welcoming and the vibe in the atrium bar is just lovely. I’m not sure whether this is down to the staff or the clientele but the atmosphere is very pleasant and relaxed. We met some lovely people on this cruise and didn’t find the snobby element you can sometimes encounter elsewhere. I need to say here that level 4 on the ship is the main “entertainment” area accommodating the theatre, a live-lounge (the clue’s in the name), a casino, the very popular atrium bar and the main dining room - BUT THERE ARE NO PUBLIC TOILETS ON THIS LEVEL!! You have to either go up one floor or down one floor to find a loo. Now this is fine if you, like me, are able bodied and can easily manage the double staircases (about 20 steps) to each level but, if you have to wait for a lift, it’s really unacceptable. This wouldn’t only affect the age demographic on this adult only cruise - I wouldn’t like to be travelling with children who, in my experience, nearly always decide they are desperately in need the loo when they sit down to eat. This really is my biggest niggle with Marella Discovery 2. As for eating, we personally used the main dining room, the Italian dining area, the Island buffet and the Snack Shack. The food in all dining rooms varied from perfectly acceptable to fairly good; there was lots of choice and you’d have to be a very fussy eater not to find something you’d like, however, we felt the dining room cuisine was not as good a standard as we have experienced on P&O. The temperature of the food served (on BOTH cruise lines we have travelled with) is never hot enough for British palates - we like hot food to be piping hot and this is something we rarely find in Mediterranean countries. Service in the main dining room can be a bit slow but we felt this could be improved either by better supervision, giving the staff more training or taking on more experienced waiting staff. That being said, the waiters/waitresses were all friendly and helpful. We were a bit worried about the “all inclusive” aspect of the cruise (which was adult only on our trip) and wondered whether people would be drunk by lunchtime. Again, we needn’t have worried, we didn’t see anyone taking undue advantage and going mad with the all inclusive drinks package. As for service of drinks, this was excellent with waiters/waitresses patrolling the pool area most of the day and checking whether you wanted anything from the bar and the same in the lounges in the evening. Drinks were served quickly and measures are European so more generous than in UK. We were asked if we wanted to upgrade to the premier drinks package but this really isn’t necessary and, though I’ve read in other reviews that people were pressured into purchasing the upgrade, we were not and we didn’t see anyone else being given the hard sell either. Our cabin was spacious, clean and comfortable. My only complaint was that drawer space was extremely limited. In an extra large, double cabin we had a wardrobe with plenty of hangers and only three very small drawers (I’m talking about 12” wide) built into a very small dressing table, though there was lots of space for a reasonable sized set of drawers. We do like the formality of P&O cruises (probably because that’s what we’re used to) and I wasn’t sure how we’d go on with a less formal approach. It’s a case of almost anything goes but most people seem to dress smart/casual. I didn’t take any “evening” dresses - I think I’d have felt a bit too “showy” if I had. Several men wore dinner jackets and a few of the ladies did wear evening dresses on the “Dress to Impress” night (equivalent of the Captain’s formal nights on other lines) but, in the main, most guests were smart but less formal. (Some men in lounge suits, some in shirts, ties and smart trousers and others in open neck shirts with smart, casual trousers; ladies in anything from long or short summer dresses, jumpsuits, and smart pants and tops). We didn’t see anyone looking scruffy in the dining rooms in the evening and found the less formal approach very refreshing. The shows we saw (4 in total) were all very professional and your enjoyment of these will really depend on your own taste. The theatre is very comfortable and drinks are not only served there by waiting staff but you can also pick up a drink from the makeshift bar outside each performance in your way in but soft drinks were not available outside the theatre. Poolside entertainment was limited but we didn’t mind that and it may be different in summer months or on family cruises. (To be fair, we only had one sea day and the weather wasn’t conducive to sitting by the pool (November) so we didn’t get to find out whether there’s a bigger range of “entertainment” on sea days). There were quizzes by the pool during the day and you could take part or not, as you wish. On the strength of this experience we have booked to cruise with Tui again later in 2019 - having checked that there are loos close to the main entertainment and restaurant areas first. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was ... Read More
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was only one person trying to sell extras as we embarked (premium drinks), which was also nice and the photographers weren't pushy either. We didn't need the extra drinks as the inclusive package had enough decent drinks to easily satisfy us and the quality of the house wines was plenty good enough. All the staff were absolutely excellent and caring. they were always helpful and polite, with a genuine smile (and the number of staff who said good morning to me at 06:00 was truly impressive). The reception staff were always polite and attentive, even during our issue with the cabin.The waiters in the main restaurant and Vista (table 118) were absolutely brilliant, for breakfast and dinner - with no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment was pretty good, we attended a few quizzes, but there was this and then bingo - which was not for us. The shows we saw were generally of high quality, though someone does need to explain the COGS concept to me as it was just confusing. Though the dancing was good the story was completely missing (e.g. girl called Celeste, but Roxanne was putting on the red light...) The food at breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant was of excellent quality and fresh/hot every time. Getting lunch in the Market Place was also easy and there were no queues when we went there, so no problems getting a place to sit and eat at all. Shore excursions were excellent (apart from Pisa and the wine trip associated, Pisa really crowded and the walk from the coach park too long and difficult, with street vendors trying to sell you tack for the last half a mile. The wine tour/tasting involved 2 minutes of talking then leaving us in a tent with nice food and reasonable wine for a long time). The Palermo wine tasting trip was brilliant and of much better quality (and so was the wine). The trip to Herculaneum was a real eye-opener and there is much more there than in Pompeii. The Pals village trip we really good and rice tour very insightful. Monaco was brilliant and though we didn't stay with the tour of the old part, we bused close to Casino Square (number 1 or 2) and then walked back down the F1 track to the star finish area, had a coffee then went back to the main road to catch the bus back up the hill, in time to rejoin the coach. Note there are ticket machines at major bus stations that allow you to buy tickets (1.5 euro's for 1 way) rather than 2 euro's on the bus and the screens for bus progress are excellent. Ticket machines with English annotation. Disembarkation was easy from off the ship and to the airport (it couldn't have been easier to find the luggage and get on the coach). The airport itself is chaos with late planes and too many people and not enough staff (not a fault of Marella). Overall this cruise and the staff exceeded my expectations and we would put Marella above MSC (terrible) and Royal Caribbean (good) based on this experience. The value for money and not having to pay for tips or drinks meant our bill at the end was 20 x what has been on other lines. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Our problems with Marella Cruises started just after booking: we didn't realise that when we booked through the cruise hotline we were automatically diverted to a store location (which was nowhere near us). Not only were the staff at ... Read More
Our problems with Marella Cruises started just after booking: we didn't realise that when we booked through the cruise hotline we were automatically diverted to a store location (which was nowhere near us). Not only were the staff at Stockport ill-trained, but their computer system didn't even link up with the Cruise dept. I later had to give up adding an additional week hotel reservation because they could not provide live pricing and by the time they got back to me with details, the property had sold out - this happened 3 times over! I also believe the agent knowingly misinformed me about cruise details in order to secure a sale. We booked a week cruise for 7 people over 3 rooms. Even 10 months advance booking could not secure us a family room nor adjoining rooms, meaning our 10-year anniversary cruise had to be spent in separate rooms in order to chaperone the children. We decided to take our children on our anniversary cruise because the cruise was advertised as having Kids' Club from 9am until 2am each day, so we assumed we could have a couple 'date nights'. Once aboard we learned that the nearly fully booked ship considered the October school half-term break a low season, thus cancelling the vast majority of kids club. They offered 3 awkward 2-hour sessions instead of the original promise. As for other onboard offerings for children, there was a video game room which was unsuitable for our children (mainly too young to 'get it'), a 9-hole mini golf, a climbing wall (open 2hrs per day) and 2 swimming pools. Unfortunately we were not informed the the pools were re-filled with sea water each day, including the indoor one, making them far to cold for anyone to actually swim in. They were not heated in the meantime. Is this common practice on cruises? Within 3 days, our children were bored with the pathetic offerings onboard, and not able to spend entire days out at port. We found the ship clean and the food great. The ports were amazing, and obviously these can not be faulted. That said, Marella advertises Corfu as one of the ports on the itinerary, which is false advertising as they only flew us in at 10:30pm on embarkation day, and out at 10:30am on disembarkation day. Ridiculous. I might recommend this cruise to adults travelling unaccompanied by children, but it is certainly NOT fit as advertised, as Marella's flagship 'family' option. Very disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Why this Cruise? - Timing - We organised this trip to coincide with half term as one of our party is still of school age. The dates were correct for us and the relatively short haul flight to join the ship in Corfu made it viable. The ... Read More
Why this Cruise? - Timing - We organised this trip to coincide with half term as one of our party is still of school age. The dates were correct for us and the relatively short haul flight to join the ship in Corfu made it viable. The Ship - I am not complete convert to cruising, having only taken three cruises previously over a 30 year period. In that time the World of cruising has changed considerably. I did have concerns when reading reviews about this ship (Discovery 2) with some reports suggesting it was poorly maintained. Those reporting such things could not be more wrong. The ship was in immaculate condition with teams working to ensure it remained so. For those that chose to look closely there were signs that Discovery 2, whilst new to TUI did have a 22 year previous history with Royal Caribbean, but you would need to be picky. The Cabin - We considered the cost of the upgrade to an Executive Suite reasonable. The suite was large enough for two twin beds, a sofa and two arm chairs and was well presented. The balcony was large enough to accommodate one lounger, two chairs and a table. The bath and shower were comfortable and well kept. Room Service - Room Service has a limited menu, but is fairly priced. Wines are a little expensive, but the mini bar is pretty empty, and there seems little objection to you filling it with your own wine bought at each port. Dining - Dining was relaxed, with no fixed meal times and a fairly forgiving dress code. Restaurant 47 (degrees) is the nearest you get for formal dining, with a menu that changes daily. The food is well presented, and whilst the menu is not vast there is something to suit most tastes. The key alternative is the buffet which is comprehensive but a little bit samey. There a few speciality restaurants that do not come as part of the all inclusive package. We only tried one and found it a very pleasant experience. Entertainment - Some reports on this ship can be quite critical of the Entertainment on this ship, the term 'Butlin's on the sea' being a common expression. Whilst my experience of cruising is limited I suspect all ships can be accused of this to some extent. On this cruise a number of artists featured that in my opinion were extremely talented. If something does not appeal to you, the ship is big enough to offer plenty of alternatives. The ship has two pools. The outdoor pool tends to be a bit of a free for all and can get crowded, whilst the indoor pool is very quiet and filled with people who probably would prefer to be sailing under a Cunard flag. All Inclusive and Fellow Passengers - Whilst it was autumn half term in some of the UK, there were very few families (at least with children of school age). The majority of passengers would be over 40, with the highest percentage being 50 plus or retired. TUI is the dominant package tour operator in the UK, and has successfully expanded its market to include the packaged cruise. The cruise is now an alternative option to the four-star all-inclusive hotel, only this hotel tends to move about. Needless to say the vast majority are hard working people looking to enjoy a hassle-free holiday, but there will always be the odd one that sees all-inclusive as an challenge to drink the bar dry, and the odd complainer, who I am sure makes the ship's reception staff worth every penny they are paid. Be aware of the term all-inclusive. Whilst fruit juices is free, carbonated drinks such as Coke are not ,which somewhat negates the term all-inclusive in my opinion. You can upgrade for £50 a week to a higher drinks package, but this turns out to be £100 a Cabin as both parties in a Cabin have to take it. This is unfair if, as we were, one of our party is to young to drink. Unless you have real appetite for cocktails the upgrade seems rather poor value for money. Internet - not fit for purpose. Needs upgrading. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
A little apprehensive having read some of the reviews about Marella Dream we went with realistic expectations as it is a well travelled ship and not new, just out of the shipyard. We were very very pleasantly surprised at what we ... Read More
A little apprehensive having read some of the reviews about Marella Dream we went with realistic expectations as it is a well travelled ship and not new, just out of the shipyard. We were very very pleasantly surprised at what we experienced. Everything was squeaky clean, the crew and staff were there to make you feel valued and they did without exception. The food in the two buffet restaurants was ok, not brilliant, but in the Orion was very good with excellent choice. We even paid the little amount extra to eat in the 3 speciality restaurants and they were absolutely fabulous and well worth it. The standard all inclusive drinks package is also excellent, we couldn’t see why anyone would upgrade at huge cost as there were branded drinks in the standard one including in excess of 20 cocktails. Did a few excursions which if a little pricey we’re well organised and hassle free. We booked them before we went and one of them was not available on the day and we didn’t go to one port where we had one booked so I am hoping that the process for getting refunds is a smooth one. Entertainment was of a high standard with great variety and we loved listening to the resident New Generations band. We had one of the ten balcony cabins and honestly the price to upgrade to this was not worth it as the outside (and inside) looked absolutely fine. We were at the back of the ship which was close to the engines so if you can get a cabin further forward would suggest this. All in all an brilliant week and when compared to our previous cruise on P&O Ventura, we much preferred the smaller friendlier more personal service aspect of Marella Dream and would do another Marella cruise next time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
SAIL THE THREE SEAS the itinerary that called me to sail on the Marella Celebration, reviewed separately. For me it all started with a 45 mile drive down the A1 at silly o’clock for the 06:50 Boeing 737 from Donny (DSA) to Dubrovnic ... Read More
SAIL THE THREE SEAS the itinerary that called me to sail on the Marella Celebration, reviewed separately. For me it all started with a 45 mile drive down the A1 at silly o’clock for the 06:50 Boeing 737 from Donny (DSA) to Dubrovnic (DBV) and a half hour coach transfer along the stunning Dalmatian coast. I must at this point thank all the other reviewers who said SIT ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE COACH. As the port cam into sight Cele was dwarfed by the MSC Lirica and Aida Blu The sail away form Dubrovnic was accompanied by music form the outrageously talented MUSIK UNLIMITED for a day at sea down to Celebrations flag port of Valetta, Malta I was pre-booked one both Malta Highlights tour which was a little disappointing due to quite heavy rain. Seabourn Odissey in Port Day 4, Messiina Sicily and the trip of the day was the Godfather Villages for me and I bought an umbrella opposite the world famous Bar Vitelli a today it was torrential. Day 5, Argostoli, Kefalonia, no trip today I decided to have a port day and just mooch around I caught the Red Train for a tour of the city. Weather was overcast but warm and more importantly DRY Day 6, Ingoumenitsa, Greece a glorious day and trip 3 to Necromantia and Parga in. My opinion we would have been better going straight to the picturesque Parga and having more time to explore and enjoy Day 7 up at 5 o’clock for the sail into Kotor in Montenegro - well I say five o’clock my iPhone had not changed the time from Greek so up at four it was then and failed to see the German U-boat pens, breakfast and off on the full day tout Highlights of Montenegro the highlight of which was transiting the road known as the 25 serpents. What a stunning country Day 8 wake up and we are back in Dubrovnik The ret of the time aboard being taken up eating, drinking and watching the excellent productions put on by the show team, I must say my favourite was the Broadway Shows extravaganza the finale being from Les Miserable and the last time I had seen it sung was by the Barricade boys, all of whom have sung the part in the West End, The Marella show team rendition was certainly equal to that Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Have previously only cruised with Celebrity and P&O, but we fancied a short break in the sunshine at the last moment and this cruise fitted the bill. We've taken several TUI package holidays to the Canaries so we knew we were ... Read More
Have previously only cruised with Celebrity and P&O, but we fancied a short break in the sunshine at the last moment and this cruise fitted the bill. We've taken several TUI package holidays to the Canaries so we knew we were happy to go with them. Booking was straightforward, apart from having to phone to find out which cabins were available, as we like to choose where on the ship we'll be. After an early morning flight, we were directed through Palma airport by several TUI staff to the waiting coaches. This was done very efficiently and as soon as one coach was full, off it went with no waiting around. On arrival at the port, we were registered and checked in very quickly. The whole arrival operation was very smooth, and we were soon on board enjoying an early lunch in the buffet. Any misgivings we had about lower standards on an older ship were soon dispelled. The refurbishment had been done extremely well. All the public rooms were light and welcoming and the ship was clean throughout.(Lots of cleaning going on all through the cruise). We ate breakfast in the buffet - always a good selection of hot and cold food. Lunch was sometimes taken there - again plenty of choice, or out on deck from the Snack Shack. Evenings we used the MDR - food was always nicely prepared with a reasonable choice of meat or fish dishes. The included house wine was always regularly topped up by the willing and friendly waiting staff. We ate in Surf & Turf once - very pleased and wanted to use it again but it got fully booked up very quickly. Our balcony cabin was spacious and comfortable with more than enough wardrobe and drawer space and was kept very clean by the cabin steward Akash.( Different towel animals each day). The bathroom wasn't large but the shower cubicle was a good size and the towels were changed frequently. We went on two excursions - again the organisation was very good and the guides were excellent. Positives - The friendly atmosphere on board, sunbeds always available even on sea days, the quality and choice of the food, the value for money. Negatives - Purely personal, but the entertainment wasn't our cup of tea. This certainly won't be our last Marella cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Choose this cruise as flying time to Majorca is ok. Weather was excellent through out the 7 days.As usual the crew were excellent . Food is always subjective !!,but I thought it was just average in the MDR,some nice meals some not so ... Read More
Choose this cruise as flying time to Majorca is ok. Weather was excellent through out the 7 days.As usual the crew were excellent . Food is always subjective !!,but I thought it was just average in the MDR,some nice meals some not so nice,choices poor as well,servings were poor as well.MARELLA !! TAKE NOTE it,s hardly AI if you got to pay for the ice cream on deck 11,Breakfast was very good,even the juice was not watered down !! Only went to 2 shows,singing and dancing to loud,boring !! ,Comedian was good. Gave up on cocktails ,all fruit juice !!! Outside cabin on deck 5 good,best shower i've had on Thomson ships.cabin was spotless every day. Can,t say anything about the tours as I did'nt go. Probably wont go on Marella again as they have made all ship's AI,i THINK EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE NOT EVERYBODY WANTS A DRINK PACKAGE !!!. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Recommended by travel agent as smaller, more intimate ship for our first cruise. We upgraded at a further cost of £394 to a deluxe cabin as I’m a bit claustrophobic. On an all inclusive basis. (Turns out that it’s not fully inclusive ... Read More
Recommended by travel agent as smaller, more intimate ship for our first cruise. We upgraded at a further cost of £394 to a deluxe cabin as I’m a bit claustrophobic. On an all inclusive basis. (Turns out that it’s not fully inclusive and you can pay a further supplement for premium all inclusive! What a rip off)! Cabin layout was fine but the large bed was two twins, joined together and mattresses rock hard. Pillows inside cases weren’t very clean. Cabin steward worked very hard so no complaints about general cleanliness of the cabin, although decor is slightly dated. Our main problem was location of cabin! When booking, we were advised by tui that no deluxe cabins were available on decks 6 or 8 so we thought we’d be obviously be on deck 7. Upon arrival, we were directed to cabin 236 on deck 6 which was the first cabin through the doors from the broadway show lounge!! The shows didn’t generally finish until after 11.30pm and the noise during the shows was terrible. When passengers later headed back to their own cabins, not many spared a thought for anyone sleeping and were extremely noisy passing by our door. Needless to say we got very little sleep during the trip. We couldn’t even have a nap on an afternoon as the entertainment team rehearsed!! (I use that term lightly too!) Very amateur productions to say the least! Upon complaining to reception about the noise, we were told it was out of their control if guests were noisy late at night and ship was full so we couldn’t be moved. They didn’t appear sympathetic at all! Ship is very shabby and at best I would say similar to a 2-3 star hotel. Food in the buffet Lido restaurant was awful. Overcooked vegetables (frozen), tough unseasoned meat, dirty crockery, instant custard with dry puddings, tinned fruit, need I go on? The meridian restaurant tried harder and it was smart dress with waiter service. Staff were attentive and wine / water glasses always topped up. We almost always had to wait for a table (around ten mins) as I refused to share a table with fellow passengers. Why would I want to share with strangers?? (Linen tablecloths and napkins always clean but again the food was such a let down. Meat tough, lobster tail ruined by overlooking and vegetables stewed to death! I ordered turkey with the trimmings one night and the chipolata sausage was totally raw as was the roasted potato. Upon mentioning it to the waiter, he took my plate away and returned to say the chef agreed with my view! Someone could have had a nasty tummy upset if it had been consumed. We did use the spa onboard and must commend Harry on his fantastic hot stone massage. 2 intense, the singers in the Horizons bar were also very good but their show was interrupted on one occasion by a very drunken passenger! I agree with other reviews that the ship is well past it’s sell by date and should be out of commission and felt that tui couldn’t care about the enjoyment and quality of your holiday once they had your money. It was like Butlins at sea!! Never again will Tui take money from me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and myself went on a 2 week cruise aboard the above named ship and prior to going upgraded to a superior room at a cost of almost £700.00. When we arrived on board we didn't even have a double bed. The ship is in dire ... Read More
My wife and myself went on a 2 week cruise aboard the above named ship and prior to going upgraded to a superior room at a cost of almost £700.00. When we arrived on board we didn't even have a double bed. The ship is in dire need of a makeover, the pools (if you could call them that) were closed for almost the entire duration of the cruise. The entertainment was very poor and at best amateurish. This was our first time on a TUI cruise and it will be our last. The food was nice most of the time but there seemed to be a significant wait every evening if you wanted to dine in the restaurant. We had 3 or 4 days of poor weather in the first week and there was very little to do, you would have thought there would have been some activities in place for when the weather was poor. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My mother and I have been on several cruises (Mom far more than I) with various cruise lines; Costa, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Cunard. Last year we decided to try Thomson Cruises (now called Marella). We knew it was a more ... Read More
My mother and I have been on several cruises (Mom far more than I) with various cruise lines; Costa, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Cunard. Last year we decided to try Thomson Cruises (now called Marella). We knew it was a more 'budget' line and we sailed the Canary Isles on the Marella Spirit. It was adequate albeit dated with limited entertainment and variety of facilities than the cruise lines previously experienced. On the back of that we decided to give it another go and this year chose the Mediterranean Medley itinerary sailing from Palma de Mallorca. The booking process was straightforward although between booking and receiving the final documentation Thomson decided to marry me off as everything was either sent to Mrs or even had a mixture of Miss and Mrs within the same email! Distinct lack of attention to detail here. The supplement to fly from our local airport was very reasonable and the transfer upon arrival and initial boarding was well done. 'Budget' doesn't begin to describe the Marella Dream; dreadful ship. For anyone who has cruised before this is NOT a cruise ship. Very poor selection of food and some of the quality was dubious; limited facilities and the entertainment was... oh crikey, there are no words. I ordered a cocktail one evening and it arrived looking like orange squash in a high ball glass; nothing to suggest it had been mixed properly and certainly not presented as a cocktail. Food was inadequately labelled, and sometimes not labelled at all in the Lido restaurant. For £200-£300 more you could have a real cruise with any other line and receive much more than £200-£300 worth of value. The difference is staggering; our cruise was like taking a ferry between the stops. For those wanting a smaller cruise ship, and not the ‘floating block of flats’ there are still better value deals out there on the smaller ships of the standard cruise lines which still provide the variety, standards and quality of a cruise ship. The crew are very pleasant, courteous and hard-working but those in charge of organisation need some lessons. Check your bill as mistakes were made and we didn't receive our final statement in our cabin on the last evening as is standard practice and what their literature stated would happen. I had to chase it up and then deal with the mistake (overcharged). There was clearly no communication between the tender and the dockside as we were left drifting and bobbing on a fairly choppy sea unnecessarily whilst waiting for the last tender to leave the dockside. The literature that is delivered to the cabin in the evening (usually done while you're at dinner and ready for your return) wasn't delivered until very late in the evening, too late to know what the arrangements were for the next day ie time of docking and details of the port of call so difficult to plan for the next stop in plenty of time. The ships is incredibly tired and run-down; there was a lift which was out of order for the entire duration of our trip and those who we spoke to who had been on board the previous week said that it had been out of order then too. The other lifts were desperately slow and there was a point when every single lift was out of order. Not acceptable for anyone with mobility problems. Quite frankly for those who have never cruised before; I strongly advise you NOT to choose this ship it will not give you a real cruise experience. This ship is not fit for purpose and is definitely not worth the money. It's Easyjet on sea!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to ... Read More
We arrived at the ship after our flight from Leeds/Bradford first impressions were wow what a ship how large it was, suppose it had to be with around 1800 passengers, check in airport security style, got a plastic card which was key to cabin, card for drinks food etc, and boarding card, got to out cabin 9100 which was deck 9, reasonable size with a large balcony with chairs table and a hammock, beds were ok, Bottled water-small bottles of wine, biscuits on what we thought was a complimentary tray, later discovered all that was chargeable, at an exorbitant rate. This is where it all started to go wrong, we booked as "All inclusive", turns out not as all inclusive as you think. In the coffee pot lounge you were charged for coffee, several other places, bars and restuarants had a charge, and not cheap. So we set sail had our first nights meal in The Market Place, which was very basic cafeteria food, which was ok, self serve pumps of red/white wine and fosters lager, this was free. had a wander around the ship seemed quite well appointed, eventually went to bed around 11pm quite a tiring day... didnt sleep at all well as above the twin beds was the air conditioning unit very noisy all night slept badly, woke tired. complained to reception asked if it could be turned off, very curtly told no, reception staff not very helpful, after talking to other passengers who also agreed they had problems with reception. tried other restuarants Meditteranean pasta and pizza, average, latitude 53 was ok, but not exactly what we would expect from a restuarant that appeared to be a bit more upmarket than others. drinks were free, rather most drinks were free, could drink oneself silly as a lot did especially on the pool deck Entertainment was somewhat amatuerish, girls and guys prancing around and trying to sing, more like yelling, too loud afoten had no idea what they were singing about, the best night was when they had the comedian steve? terry he was very funny. Excursions to Rome-Florence-Pisa etc were very expensive almost £200.00 per couple, and those places would be jam packed with tourists, All in all for us was not a good experience, could, and should have spent our money elsewhere .not on a cruise, we agreed that it was an experience not a good one and we would never ever go on a cruise again, although there was one guy who had done 54 cruises in 7 years (must have been insane) The plus side was our cabin staff were absolutely amazing Madelyn and ? cannot remeber his name nothing too much trouble. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife is celebrating her 50th birthday and wanted to cruise. We had a wonderful time. The passengers we met really made this cruise unforgettable, especially Pat and Derek, who celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on board. We spent ... Read More
My wife is celebrating her 50th birthday and wanted to cruise. We had a wonderful time. The passengers we met really made this cruise unforgettable, especially Pat and Derek, who celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on board. We spent most of our time at the lido restaurant and bar by the stern pool on deck 9. There we met Charlie, one of the waiters, who was absolutely fantastic. His professionalism and personality is second to none. Look for him when you cruise. I would recommend that you sit and eat breakfast in the Orion restaurant rather than any of the buffet restaurants and the same goes for evening dinner. Lunch, snacks and lighter bites are good at all the buffet restaurants but for the main meals we preferred the Orion. We didn’t eat at any of the themed restaurants so I cannot review them but any of the other passengers who ate there were delighted with them. We went on one excursion, to Capri. It was really nice. At the other ports we stayed on board or went for a stroll about. We went to one evening show, ABBA, which was very entertaining. To finish I would highly recommend this cruise and ship for anyone looking to cruise for the first time. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our first cruise was chosen as our honeymoon. Embarkation went smoothly and our hold luggage didn’t take long to follow us to our rooms. Had read other reviews just before departing and made sure swimming essentials were packed in ... Read More
Our first cruise was chosen as our honeymoon. Embarkation went smoothly and our hold luggage didn’t take long to follow us to our rooms. Had read other reviews just before departing and made sure swimming essentials were packed in hand luggage, but as it so happens didn’t need them. First thing to point out is that only British money is needed on board. You can pay for any extras one of two ways. Either hand over debit card details, and any extras will be charged to that, or use cash. If using cash, you must ensure that there is always a positive balance of £200 on your account. I opted for the debit card and lowered the outstanding balance to be taken by paying some of it off with the cash I had taken. They have an app (doesn’t require internet access) which shows the balance of your account amongst other information (absolute must get when you first board). Each time you order/make a purchase they scan your cabin key and the account is updated immediately (mostly with £0 as its all inclusive. Second thing I wish I had known or thought about was the positioning of the cabin. Unfortunately chose an inside cabin and didn’t pre book a cabin ( novice mistake). We were given deck four towards the aft of the boat and the noise of the engine meant sleeping was very difficult for a couple of nights. Even once, we had got used to it, when the boat was put in to reverse to dock we were up like a shot, the whole cabin shook and noise was horrendous - PRE BOOK YOUR CABIN IS A MUST. As for the cabin itself, was tidy and only possible negatives were the lack of an iron or enough hangers. Wife was glad she took her own hairdryer as said the one provided wasn’t good enough. Toilets are vacuum based and ours only blocked once on the trip which was soon rectified. Wet wipes seem to be the main culprit despite constant messages about not flushing them. Wi fi needs to be paid for £50 for 1200Mb for the 7 days. Remember that on a ship you do not get the same rates as at home or when travelling in Europe. So basically saved using mobile data until on shore. That’s the only negatives. Didn’t need to use the premium restaurants or drinks as the normal restaurants were excellent and offered a good variety. Only premium items bought were ice creams. Didn’t have any problems getting a table. Some restaurants require smart clothing but this does not mean tux or even a suit. Chinos and shirts seemed to be popular choices for men. Visited the broadway show lounge most nights and entertainment was of good quality, but then it was throughout the ship. The service was nothing short of excellent and would be hard to find on any other holiday. Can’t praise this enough. We took a shore excursion on every day, and if you don’t know the cities then would recommend using one of their excursions. These can be pre booked before you travel or whilst you are on board. Palermo - opted for half day excursion (allowed us time to get back on board and get some sleep before we set sail again) to Santa rosarios grotto and morello beach - didn’t think much of this at all. The most interesting bit was seeing if the coach driver was going to manage to get the coach up the steep windy hills. Naples - full day excursion to climb Vesuvius and a guided tour around Pompei. Absolutely excellent. Having such a knowledgable guide for Pompeii was a must. Livorno - full day excursion to Florence and Pisa. Both require some time on the coach. Florence is a beautiful city and days are needed here rather than hours but the tour gives you an excellent feel for the city. Pisa was worthwhile if you have never been there before, but it is a once and done place unlike Florence. Good day. Villefranche - took half day excursion to Monte Carlo and Monaco. For those that might want to, you can’t gamble in Monte Carlo casino as is not permitted before 2 pm, but you do have time for a tour €17. For those that want to be able to say they have gambled in Monte Carlo, you can gamble in the cafe du Paris for a €5 entrance fee, but will need your passport (this is cheaper than a coffee at the same cafe which is €8). Monaco is a lovely place, coach drives along the start/finish line of the f1 track and you get to walk some of the course (an absolute must if you are an F1 fan). Again though, a once and done excursion. Barcelona - had the half day Barcelona Explorer excursion. Big mistake, wish I had chosen a full day one. Another city that requires more than one day. Would I do it again. Most definitely but probably for 14 days instead. The issues were minor and were novice mistakes. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had heard a lot of positive feedback about Thomson cruises in the past and thought we would try them now that they are updating their fleet. Having used various cruise lines in the past, it exceeded our expectations in comparison. The ... Read More
We had heard a lot of positive feedback about Thomson cruises in the past and thought we would try them now that they are updating their fleet. Having used various cruise lines in the past, it exceeded our expectations in comparison. The whole experience on board was positive, however we feel that the excursions we booked could have been better. The food was very good and there was an excellent choice of venues that were included. We used Vista twice, the Tapas bar twice and Choose your own Pasta and Pizza. on three nights. Latitude 53, the main waiter service restaurant was well laid out with plenty of tables for 2 and spacious. The food and service was also good. The food in the self-service restaurant was good and a good choice, in particular for lunch and dinner. The service points were well laid out and no trouble getting a table. We tried the "Surf and Turf" speicality restaurant for our anniversary, but it was the worst meal we had on board. The food arrived cold and we were placed under an air conditioning vent. The food was replaced but that spoiled the occasion. It was not value for money for the £28.95 that we paid We were all inclusive and their was no need to upgrade to the Premium package as the choice was good. It was good service and the waiters in the restuarants always made sure your drinks were refilled The cabin was very comfortable and well organised with plenty of storage and hangers. It was kept spotlessly clean by Madelyn and Dimitro who were very friendly and helpful. The toliet only blocked once however it was sorted within 15 mins and housekeeping came and sanitised the bathroom. Entertainment in general was very good. The evening shows in the theatre were mainly done by the Show Cast and were very professional using a lot of modern technology and well produced. The Broadway Show Lounge is the nicest and most comfortable theatre we have experienced. There was plenty of leg room and tables provided. The seating capacity was large and easily accomodated all the passengers over the two shows. We feel that the excursions could have been better. They were too early in the day, too short and did not give much time to explore the destinations. Some of the information was not accurate enough - for example at Monreale it said some steps and a hill to the cathedral when there was in excess of 90. We would definitely cruise with Marella again. A very positive experience having previously cruised with P and O, Celebrity, NCL and MSC. Read Less
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