Small double cabin with balcony. Smallest cabin we’ve ever experienced on Thomson/tui/marella ships, and one of the most expensive for its size (full price was approx £5700 for 2 weeks) and WITHOUT A FRIDGE for the first ... Read More
Small double cabin with balcony. Smallest cabin we’ve ever experienced on Thomson/tui/marella ships, and one of the most expensive for its size (full price was approx £5700 for 2 weeks) and WITHOUT A FRIDGE for the first time ever which was a huge disappointment especially as it meant the bottled water provided (payable) was luke warm.
Limited storage with shoebox size drawers & shallow cupboards. I frequently cruise with a female friend & know both of us would have struggled with lack of storage for 2 weeks. Fortunately my husband travels lightly even with his evening suit & on this occasion we had to make do with what there was. (Skipped the formal suit on our 2nd week as many didn't bother & so many wearing shorts for the formal evening.)
Tiny shower/bathroom but spotless - apart from the smell/stench from drains throughout the 2 weeks.
Frequent deposits of soot on the balcony which was washed down once a week only.
Bed linen, towels etc. frequently changed and room kept tidy by hard working cabin stewards.
Noise at night from atrium events/singing/saxophone/jazz music etc.
Close to lifts and staircase. Handy usb ports in both bedside lamps for charging iPhone etc.
No news channels on cabin TV - advised there was a satellite problem they were “working very hard to address” but 14 days later still no news channels.
Reasonable selection of food in the Islands buffet restaurant on Deck 9 though we have noticed cut backs in many areas (cheaper cuts of meat, less choice of fish dishes / cold meats / salad selection / limited selection of cheeses). There’s an omelette station at breakfast where these were made to order.
Ran out of chicken at chicken stir fry station…. Continued serving chicken stir fry as just vegetables!
47 Degrees Restaurant breakfast is good & there’s waiter service here although we found the evening meals in 47 rather hit & miss, generally poor/average with very small main meal portions. Paper thin roast beef, couldn’t have been thinner, served as main course. Served custard in a chipped/broken glass. Mostly staff were attentive even though extremely busy and appeared short staffed.
Numerous gents admitted wearing shorts & flip flops for evening meals in the main 47 Degrees Restaurants, Surf & Turf Steakhouse restaurant, Kora La, & other speciality restaurants where most diners did make an effort to dress smartly/smart casual. Dress codes blatantly ignored by passengers and unchallenged by staff. Casual dress code is fine in the buffet restaurant. Speciality restaurants - Surf & Turf, Kora La, Hot Stone, etc - all charge various supplements (ranging from approx. £12 to around £29 per person)and were heavily booked throughout our 2 weeks so I would advise anyone considering a special evening meal in any of these to make their reservations as early as possible. Food was very good in these but it does come at a cost on top of what you’ve already paid for your all inclusive holiday.
No rushed panic in the morning for sun beds during our time onboard despite some very early rise & reservers, but unfortunately there was the usual hogging of beds. Many reserved beds with towels etc and abandoned them for several hours. There’s a 45 minute rule for unoccupied sun beds whereby towels & personal belongings will be removed but despite timed tickets being issued no action was taken to remove items to free up sun beds that had remained unused for over 3 hours! A covered, warm, adults only indoor pool and sun beds can also be found in the Glasshouse on deck 9, however there were a number of unsupervised children in the “adult only” indoor pool and jacuzzis. The main outdoor seawater pool for cooling off and a leisurely dip also has a shallow area sectioned off for children. Be aware that the main Pool depth is 5’ 6” approx throughout so depending on your height you may not be able to stand or touch the floor of it. Outdoor POOL CLOSED ALL DAY both arrival/departure days during our 2 weeks- so don’t expect to be able to use it at all during theses days. Pool water was keep clean throughout our stay.
There are varied daily activities around the ship but most we found uninspiring. Entertainment & events on weekly Arrival/Departure days are extremely limited so if you’re onboard for 2 weeks there’s very little and at times absolutely nothing happening on these days should you remain onboard.
All Inclusive drinks - DOES NOT include everything. Premium drinks, premium cocktails etc incur a supplement or you can pay extra to upgrade to a Premium package - this is stipulated in the booking but the majority of people don’t discover this until they’re onboard and wondering why they have to pay extra for drinks. The All Inclusive wine is cheap house wine - again further cut backs. Check drinks & charges at the bars before you order & decide whether or not its worth your while upgrading. Deck/Pool bars ran out of Sauvignon Blanc white wine & didn’t bother replenishing from other bars around the ship.
At the Island buffet restaurant, guests can help themselves to Fosters larger, John Smiths, and Strongbow Cider - all available at self serve taps, as well as house white/rose/red wines - again on tap which we felt was a great idea.
Docked at an industrial port in Chaina, Crete, not as previously, but did put on shuttle buses which passengers had to pay for. We felt the ship was being docked more frequently at industrial ports and again we believe this is further cost cutting by Marella as no doubt the docking fees are less at these.
Never seen the Captain once around the ship but did hear he joined some passengers for their evening dinner. Did spot an occasional senior officer.
Repeaters (now TUI smile) meeting - no count nor recognition of how many cruises passengers had completed & now a simple draw for a bottle of fizz. No canapés provided / yet more cut backs???
Clash of suits -v- shorts & flip flops on dress to impress (formal) evening.
We felt Discovery 2 was struggling to achieve the fun, friendly, atmosphere that has been synonymous with so many of the Thomson ships over the years, but failing miserably to achieve that of its predecessors.
Unspectacular & mostly boring entertainment. A number of other guests we met felt likewise (and had worse comments to make regarding the entertainment onboard but which I don’t feel could be repeated here !!!).
The atrium was used far too much as a main venue for jazz, operatic singing, saxophonist, formal dance displays, guitarist/singer. Vocals ranged from rear shattering screeching to hoarse… and if your cabin is located mid ship you’ll hear it all & it can be quite noisy & disruptive. A pre-recorded “virtual” band is used as a filler + main event on a large screen in areas such as The Venue & at the poolside but with the songs & music completely different to & miss-matching the bands mime.
Ships bands “Banda Certa” and 4Tunes are good but venue doesn’t do them justice.
Rather watch paint dry than listen to an Audience with Martin Daniels - utterly boring and another time filler.
Same old, same old, usual stuff for sale in the shops.
Theatre Shows were well below Thompson’s usual standard which we’ve previously always found to be excellent - not on this ship though. We witnessed a number of people leave during the shows…
Beware the Ships spa free demonstrations which turn out to be a hard pressure sale event to buy their expensive products and services. One young lady was particularly persistent to sell expensive products with an expectation that because you had attended a free talk or consultation, you were bound to make a purchase. Some examples : skin analysis, hair analysis, wrinkle solutions, puffy/dark circle eye treatments, acupuncture, back problems, foot problems etc. to name but a few - all honey traps to buy expensive products or services, however the choice is yours if thats what you want and have lots of cash to splash.
Some decks (not all) do have water dispensers located on them - noticeably one is located immediately outside the door to the ladies public toilets on level 3/4. I cant help but contemplate: hygiene / drinking water / public toilets . . .
Having cruised many times with Thomson (now Marella) over the past 20 years, our overall feeling is of a downgraded cruise experience with every means possible to extract more money from passengers. There is even a small charity donation automatically added to everyones bill at the end of your cruise. While minimal, it is nevertheless a bit of a liberty especially when this totals several thousands of pounds each week taken automatically from guests although there is of course an option to have it credited back to you account but of course you’d have to queue at reception to have this arranged.
Great staff from previous Thomson ships have now been dispersed throughout the most recent additions to the Marella fleet - I wont call them their “new” ships as they are clearly not new - they’ve already been around for quite a while before being acquired by Marella. These experienced staff are key to the success of these ships but they are thin on the ground, with staff shortages and inexperienced staff evident. Bar & restaurant staff in particular appeared to be under pressure with only 1 bar person to serve customers 3 deep at some of the bars and frayed patience being evident as a result of out of turn ordering/serving.
Our whole experience on Discovery 2 was quite different from that of previous Thomson cruises and their ships full of character and their more friendly, more personal, experience with their wonderfully friendly staff and great entertainment package. Discovery 2 fell very far short of this. We feel it has lost a lot of what Thomson built up over the years. While appreciating everyone has their own individual expectations, these are our personal findings from our recent 2 weeks cruise on Discovery 2 and unless things improve significantly with Marella, which we sincerely hope they do, we shall probably consider booking elsewhere in future as there are plenty of other cruise lines in this price range to chose from. We’ve had many happy years on the waves and hope that whoever you chose to sail with, that you will enjoy your experience. Read Less