10 Marella Cruises Marella Discovery 2 Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

This wasn't my choice of holiday normally but I replaced someone who couldn't go. Overall it was a lovely holiday on a clean and comfortable ship but it was in need of a spruce up in placed particularly the glass house/indoor ... Read More
This wasn't my choice of holiday normally but I replaced someone who couldn't go. Overall it was a lovely holiday on a clean and comfortable ship but it was in need of a spruce up in placed particularly the glass house/indoor pool. Food was good with a variety of choice. Entertainment was good if not a but samey after a few nights shows were excellent with a talented bunch of people. Only problem was times of shows and dining if you wanted early show you had to eat early as restaurants closed when show ended as late night buffet was average. Staff were mostly pleasant and helpful but service did alter depending on where you sat in restaurant. Nice to return to cabin with towel animal, chocs and next day info. Excusions had a good choice and were well organised. Main issues were the quality of drinks. Cocktails were weak and soft drinks were of poor quality which spoils all the drinks which meant a lot got left which were a waste Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It was the first that I tried an all inclusive cruise and I was pleasantly surprised. I have cruised with several cruise lines and I loved the entertainment The crew did a fantastic job with songs from Broadway shows and they were all ... Read More
It was the first that I tried an all inclusive cruise and I was pleasantly surprised. I have cruised with several cruise lines and I loved the entertainment The crew did a fantastic job with songs from Broadway shows and they were all so enthusiastic My friends had never cruised before and they enjoyed their week away from Arctic weather so much that they can't wait to go on another cruise The specialty coffees were delicious and the waitress was so kind to prepare them the way we wanted. We had offers of alcoholic drinks in the Broadway theatre while we enjoyed the music and that was a welcome plus The Snack SHACK served delicious fish and chips and Phillip was around serving the beer and soft drinks with his Beep Beep cheery voice sharing the LOVE There was only 1 screening daily of movies which did not fit my schedule The ports were great and we had ample time to discover what they had to offer the tourists The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly I liked the idea of storing our luggage in the Venue room while we went to the port to look around before boarding our bus to transfer to the airport The tables around the pool were being used by smokers so avoid that if someone is sensitive to the smell of tobacco There was a variety in the Islands Restaurant and the Chef tried to make a different theme every night. All in all I would highly recommend MARELLA 2 discovery Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our 10th cruise with Marella (Thomson) and we have also cruised with NCL and Royal Caribbean. We really enjoyed our cruise on Discovery over Christmas 2017 and I suppose we were expecting this cruise to be as enjoyable. The ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise with Marella (Thomson) and we have also cruised with NCL and Royal Caribbean. We really enjoyed our cruise on Discovery over Christmas 2017 and I suppose we were expecting this cruise to be as enjoyable. The itinerary was Panama Canal and Cuban Fusion. The change to the port time in Cuba added effectively another day at sea so 5 days in total. The activities on offer were very poor, "medical"/ beauty seminars to sell things mainly. I did enjoy the two Ceilidh dance classes, they were fun. There is nowhere on ship to quietly read, Spirit had a rather nice reading room. Part of the problem was fellow passengers being rather loud with no regard for others so we often retreated to our cabin. The cabin 8076 was fine, spacious, quiet but the toilet stopped flushing every 3 or 4 days. Days in Jamaica were a trial. Food in the buffet was more awful than usual and the snack shack and 47 were not open for lunch. 2 of the main lifts were out of action for 13 days and it was a trial on changeover day to get anywhere with the remaining lifts being crowded with departing and incoming passengers and their luggage. There was also limited evening entertainment, no show or quiz, in fact evening quizes were every other night rather than every night and were interspersed with "Human Jukebox" which was lame. The Broadway Lounge shows were generally good apart from the guest comedian in the first week who would have been booed off stage at any Working Men's Club and the show with "virtual" Anton de Bec which is just a film. I enjoyed the actor hosts games and play, We normally enjoy the buffet but not on this ship, food was cold, tough, unappetising and it was a trial to get a table. We had debated upgrading to Premium drinks but decided against it. If you like a buffet be aware that you can't get Premium drinks there, you would have to get them from a bar and bring them in with you.Same if you want a G&T, Prosecco etc on the All- inclusive. There is no waiter service for drinks in this buffet, there is just a drinks station with John Smiths, Strongbow, Fosters and red and white wine on tap. My Dad drinks John Smith's all the time but he couldn't drink this, he said it was awful. I feel this is a downmarket move by Marella, saving them money on both drinks and waiters. We ate mainly at 47, had great fish and chips at the Snack Shack and enjoyed the Glasshouse, the trio of Tiramisu's at Gallery 47 and one dinner at Surf and Turf. Food outside of the buffet was acceptable, nothing was delectable but we could always find something to eat. Excursions: The flavours of Colombia excursion in Santa Marta was good but there was far too much food. I believe it was authentic for the area but it wasn't really very nice. Cartagena we saw with Dora the Explorer private group trip. Panama tour by ferry was awful. Colon is decrepit, dirty and unsafe. We went by bus across the isthmus to Panama City where we boarded a ferry. the seats were just plastic or metal folding chairs and it was really crowded. Horrible sugary soft drinks included with the poor lunch of 4 tiny bits of chicken, cold pasta and veg and a piece of cake. We went through 3 locks and eventually disembarked at Gatun Lake for the bus back. It was a long, boring and uncomfortable day that was never worth £108. The only saving grace of Colon as a port is that there is a big supermarket very close to the dock where we were able to get drinks and snacks (they took dollars and gave change in dollars too) Costa Rica we did the Jaguar rescue Centre and Boat ride. Be aware that this is a 7 hour trip with no lunch included and nowhere to buy lunch. I can't understand the mentality of Marella contracting with an agency for a tour that doesn't make any provision for lunch. We had snacks and drinks we bought in Panama and we went to the snack Shack the day before the trip and took some sandwiches. There are notices all the time in the buffet & cruise news warning that it is illegal in some places to carry food off the ship and that you can be fined. We didn't take any fruit and the sandwiches were in sealed packets so we took the chance. The only place there could have been a problem was Cozumel in Mexico where all bags were searched on disembarkation. Grand Cayman we had to anchor away from the main town as it was too windy for the tenders. We got shared taxis into town but there were 6 cruise ships that day, there must have been 10,000 people on the streets and the queues to get the tender back to some of the ships were enormous and taking up all the pavement. Cuba was the best stop. I have been before but it was better than I remembered. We did a private tour with Fertours. 3 hours tour by convertible classic car to see Revolution and other squares, the neighbourhoods, the forts, Malecon and the army museum and a park. We went back to the ship for dinner then met our guide with driver and a hard-top classic car. We went to the National hotel and had a tour round and a cocktail on the terrace, this was the highlight of my holiday the hotel has so much history and atmosphere. We then went to the 9pm cannon shot ceremony which was much better than it sounds, the fort is amazing and the soldiers are dressed in old-time uniforms. The next day we had a 2 hr waking tour of Havana with our guide which was really nice. We saw 3 or 4 squares, Hemingway places, the Camera Obscura, churches, sculptures and learned a lot about life in Cuba and the difficulties they had when the Soviet Union collapsed. Havana is a lovely city, Highly recommended Cozumel: couldn't berth where supposed to because of the wind. Our tour to Tulum and Xel-Ha was cancelled as no ferries were running. It was Sunday so most of the shops were closed even at the cruise port because of course we weren't supposed to be docked in that place. Too windy to go to the beach so had a taxi tour round town and to nearby Mayan ruins. Cozumel is perhaps not an ideal port of call especially on a Sunday. Somewhere on the mainland would give more opportunities on shore. Overall the cruise was ok, no major disasters fortunately but I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend this itinerary. Regarding the ship there were enough niggles to make us question the direction Marella is going (downmarket it seems) and to make us disinclined to travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It was my 60th birthday and I bought packages for me and my three adult children. We are Canadian. I saved for months for this trip. It fell short by a long shot. In no specific order: First, the Santa Marta destination was cancelled ... Read More
It was my 60th birthday and I bought packages for me and my three adult children. We are Canadian. I saved for months for this trip. It fell short by a long shot. In no specific order: First, the Santa Marta destination was cancelled without explanation. This is an historic site in Colombia that we anticipated for months. We were given a paltry 40 british pounds credit per person and instead were offered an extra day in Jamaica. As Canadians, we have already seen all that can be seen in Jamaica over the years. This meant essentially we were in Montego Bay for about 3 of the 8 days. Second - the entire Marella entertainment was British based, the assumption being that only Brits were on the cruise. We were only asked our nationality from off-cruise excursion people. All trivia and other fun activities on board were exclusive to Brits: you needed to know their tv shows, their culture, etc. to participate in any activities. We were clearly invisible and insignificant to this cruise line. Third - excursion costs were too much! I can compare excursion rates at Montego Bay with those offered by MSC Divina which we cruised on last year. Way too much. Fourth - the casino slots were a joke - I've never experienced such lack of even tiny wins. Fifth - several times I had to change cutlery at the ship buffets due to filth and crusted food. We were encouraged not to use straws but how else to escape the lipstick stains of dirty glasses. Sixth - the food was bland, and generic. Some Brit curries - also bland and few vegetarian options. I appreciated the attentiveness to germ control. Too bad the Brits continue to cough and sneeze everywhere and perhaps use their hands to then spread germs around. Finally this past Tuesday leaving the ship (April 3), we were warehoused in this hideous hotbox at Montego Bay consisting of hundreds of tourists waiting for one bus at a time. The apology is not sufficient, Marella. We were treated like cattle. I did not appreciate that Brits were "first on the buses" while Canadians were told to wait, even though our departures were of similar times. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise, we wanted to see the Panama Canal and we didn’t want to spend a huge amount as we were unsure how it would go. Unfortunately the reviews before we went were off putting but we actually feel that Tui did ... Read More
This was our first cruise, we wanted to see the Panama Canal and we didn’t want to spend a huge amount as we were unsure how it would go. Unfortunately the reviews before we went were off putting but we actually feel that Tui did exceptionally well, it was well Norganised and most definitely value for money. We expected to have huge queues when boarding, but all went well, as did all the excursions we went on. The dining choices were varied, which was good as you could snack, at snack shack and the glass house(during the day), go casual at the buffet anytime and of course enjoy the excellent restaurants during the evening. We found all the options had good food with plenty of choice. The numerous bars had an excellent choice of drinks and we felt there was no need to upgrade to a premium package. The encouragement to opt for this deal is probably a downside for Tui, as the crew were obviously told to sell this option. But this is a small niggle which is easily overcome. The entertainment on board was also plentiful and catered for all, we believe a huge amount of work and effort is put in from all the staff involved. The staff are their jewel in the crown, hopefully Tui will treat them well. We have let Tui know the names of some of their exceptional sfaff and raised our one negative comment that those suited and booted should have lessons in how to keep clients happy as well as your staff. Both of equal importance. We are not cruisers, and probably never will be, but we do recognise hard work and commitment, well done to all those we met, and keep up the good work Tui Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
chose this back to back cruise because of ports visited. Jamaica, belize, Honduras, quatamala,cuba.mexico. we were in an outside cabin on deck 3. the cabin was fine plenty of drawers and space. dining was good throughout the ship, with ... Read More
chose this back to back cruise because of ports visited. Jamaica, belize, Honduras, quatamala,cuba.mexico. we were in an outside cabin on deck 3. the cabin was fine plenty of drawers and space. dining was good throughout the ship, with good entertainment team and bar service. the ship was all inclusive for drinks [ except premier and certain cocktails ] very good service with attentive staff and plenty of seats. service by all staff in bars entertainment teams, officers, cabin stewards. everybody and a very good captain. I have cruised on quite a few cruises and the staff on discovery 2 were the best I have come across. no issues at all. the ports were typical for central America with a big difference in the standard of living. cuba was a great place to visit, we stayed overnight. on to cozumal, an Island off mexico. to get to the mainland you catch a ferry, but we were informed earlier in the week that all ship excursions to the mainland were cancelled [this was in line with other cruise companies as there had been a bombing onboard one of the ferries] which was disappointing but understanding given the circumstances. I spoke with many other passengers during the cruise and they agreed with myself and my wife, that the ship was very good after reading some previous reviews.and will definitely use again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We picked this cruise for the price, all-inclusive and itinerary. The arrival was smooth with an agent ready to direct us on the bus. From there we went to the port and once again very quick and smooth. The ship is small but had ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the price, all-inclusive and itinerary. The arrival was smooth with an agent ready to direct us on the bus. From there we went to the port and once again very quick and smooth. The ship is small but had everything we needed. A little rocky due to weather and the size of the ship. Captain always kept us well informed on weather conditions and arrival times. The rooms were small as most cruises. It needed fresh paint as you could see the yellowing on the ceiling. The mattress definitely needed to be replaced and 3 separate rooms all agreed. We dined almost the entire time in 47 on deck 4. We sat at table 42 with Julio and Mitsa as waiters. They made the dining experience absolutely perfect. Disappointed in upstairs Italian restaurant as the service was okay but food not great. The food is geared towards the Brits but lots of delicious options for us Canadians. The daily entertainment was enjoyable around the pool but the evening staff entertainment was your typical cruise shows. Some nights better than others. At the end of each show always had a table of Champaign glasses waiting for you. Upstairs for Bar 11 was a great quiet place to watch the view, have a drink and listen to somebody play the Sax. The service was great. The waiters were fun to talk to and also very interesting. The excursions are all in Pounds so very expensive for us Canadians. We did do Gatun Lake Kayak in Panama through the cruise line and that was a blast. Less expensive option is to wait to port and get an excursion there. Over all it was an amazing time, love the small ship and would love to go back Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Having traveled on the discovery 1 last year I was looking forward to this trip, although the ship is identical the standards are very different, the staff working on the acomadation where fantastic and every time you left the cabin they ... Read More
Having traveled on the discovery 1 last year I was looking forward to this trip, although the ship is identical the standards are very different, the staff working on the acomadation where fantastic and every time you left the cabin they where in there working, it was spotless on each occasion Something had gone seriously wrong with the drinks on this trip as they where nowhere near as good as the 1, they just seems to be thrown together, there seemed far less bar staff on this trip, not that I drank a lot, we didn't upgrade to the premium drinks as most of the drinks on the standard menu seemed ok, and if you wanted anything off the premium list you could pay a supliment of around £2.50 which was more expensive than the discovery 1 Also for the food in the 47 & gallery 47 was ok tho a tad repedative I do understand keeping 2k people happy is a monumental task, ok as for the Asiain and Steak restaurants tui seem to have bumped up the price form what I paid in the summer the Asian (Kora-La) was £24 each and the surf and turf was £29 each perhaps the paint job in the name change cost them a few bob and they where trying to recoup the cost The entertainment was very good and the show team work very hard in delivering complex different shows each night As for the shore trips I felt like I was an audience member in a fourteen day infomercial you couldn't escape the continual sell, sell, sell, on every TV Chanel, they even put it on the jumbo screen round the pool area arghhhhhhhhhhh enough already Overall the holiday was good and this blip has not put me off sailing with tu-rella again Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our first holiday without the kids (both started Uni) so we were looking forward to a relaxing time. We flew from Birmingham Premium Class, everything ran smoothly from checking in to the lounge, then the problems start... ... Read More
This was our first holiday without the kids (both started Uni) so we were looking forward to a relaxing time. We flew from Birmingham Premium Class, everything ran smoothly from checking in to the lounge, then the problems start... Premium Class is just a decent economy with minimal extra room and no real support for your legs when reclined if you wanted a sleep, also we sat to the rear of premium (by the toilet) and we had a set of two couples who thought it would be a good idea to stand around this area and act like they were down the pub having no regard for other passengers and the flight attendants seemed oblivious to it and in the end I had to speak to them which is quite embarrassing my advice is save your money go economy and spend what you save on either upgrading your room or drinks package. On arrival at Montego Bay it was crazy we had to wait in a hot non air conditioned corridor for over an hour which we thought was for customs but actually was the lack of coaches to take us to the ship. At this stage people around us were getting irate (complaining, swearing being quite aggressive to airport staff) and all was adding to the stress levels which probably could have been avoided with a little communication to let everyone know the process. The bus journey was fine and when we arrived at the terminal it was chaos again no structure and people pushing in and nobody taking control. We finally got our cards and went to our cabin (without any guidance). We decided to go for a junior suite and were quite happy, it was clean and had reasonable space and the balcony was a god send with the table, chairs and sunlounger although rust could be seen all outside but it was during our two weeks a sanctuary to get away from the foul language and selfish behavior of some other passengers especially around the buffet area and main pool. After arriving onboard we were told that our itinery had been changed, this led to us going to the Cayman Islands first and due to the weather our excursion being cancelled and also the same in Mexico the excursion being cancelled and finally in Cuba I had to ring around to our excursion operator to reschedule (I booked independently) then on our second week one stop in Columbia was cancelled all together, they did have an extra stop in Jamaica to compensate. I understand that the weather can not be guaranteed and it was most unfortunate that we had just one of those bad weeks but I still think if our schedule wasn't changed we would of potentially not missed out on at least one of the excursions. Overall on board I would suggest the vibe of the ship is like a 3 star Costa Brava All Inclusive Hotel so if that is not your thing (it isn't mine) you are not really going to enjoy or going to get value for money as I cannot believe that anyone who hasn't been on the beer all day can enjoy the food and entertainment provided. The flight home was better without any issues (except if you fly premium from Montego Bay you can't use the lounge unless you pay more!!!!! never know that). THE SHIP: Little tired in places I suggest a rushed refit (rust on paintwork virtually everywhere) but overall it is hard complain. CABIN: We had a Junior Suite and was so pleased we upgraded as when walking past others (Balcony / inside cabins) I don't think I would of lasted the two weeks onboard. The lounger on the balcony got plenty of use. DINING: Simply terrible, the buffet was like a war zone survival of the fittest, Main & Italian Restaurant poor service and the food had no taste and all the cuts of meat we the cheapest we tried each twice to give the benefit of the doubt but there was not doubt it was pretty much awful, the best free restaurant in the evening was the Glass House, this was because they did pizza and nobody can mess a pizza (saying that I probably won't have another this year after 7 you do get fed up. We ate twice at the Asian Restaurant, the food was good (not sure if that was because the other food onboard was so bad so our taste buds had been shot) service was poor unless you were in a big group or had a Birthday (Waiting on staff seemed more interested in singing "Happy Birthday" instead of looking after diners) numerous times I had an empty glass for over 5 minutes and I only got a refill after calling the waiter over. Drinks, we upgraded to the premium package, it was well worth it as the brands offered on the all inclusive were not what I would normally drink, also you have a 1.5ltr bottle of water delivered to your room every day so you don't have to drink the fountain stuff!!! plus you get coffee & tea from the coffee bar included, soft drinks like coke you can ask for a cans also asked for canned mixers with your spirits (normally an extra £1.00) instead of drinking the flat bottled coke / lemonade they serve (believe me it does make a difference). ENTERTAINMENT / ACTIVITIES: The shows in the main theatre were extremely poor they had lots of energy but no direction I am sure if they listened to the shows themselves they would be distraught on how bad they sounded. Each week they had a comedian which was really the only decent entertainment over the two weeks. Resident musicians were ok Activities - Don't bother!!! SERVICE: Our Cabin Boy Carlos was fantastic on the first two days he was for ever trying to please and I like my privacy and said to him that I know he was only trying to impress but I enjoy our space after that he respected that and was first class efficient and did what ever we asked and the room was always cleaned properly. Other staff were poor in the main not sure if they had not had the correct training or that they just could be bothered. Captain Chris and The Entertainment Directors daily announcements were mainly annoying (Captain was either Bobby Dazzler or Cracking sure he thought it was endearing but just got on your nerves after three days) The daily news was a joke also what a waste of paper never changed other than a few lines about the next port of call, one thing that did entertain us was they had one section about different craft beers they had changing every day as a special, every day we would check and day one Hobgobblin day two Hobgobblin yes you have it everyday. PORTS & EXCURSIONS: We had three excursions cancelled due to weather / not going to port of call, which is understandable but annoying as was down to the change of schedule possibly?? The shore excursions that we did manage to go on were mainly booked through the ship and I have to admit they were very good and we felt extremely good value for money and would recommend if anyone goes to Costa Rica to do the Zip Wire tour we did it in torrential rain but it was still amazing and the photo / video package they offer after is really fairly priced. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The crew was very cooperative, humble, polite and made us feel like home. They accommodated special requested meals (WOW! The Indian meals were amazing!!!). In addition, everyone was very welcoming and treated us like their very own. ... Read More
The crew was very cooperative, humble, polite and made us feel like home. They accommodated special requested meals (WOW! The Indian meals were amazing!!!). In addition, everyone was very welcoming and treated us like their very own. Huge shoutout to the cabin and the restaurant crew for always looking after us, and treating us like special guests. The cabins were always spic and span, no matter when we entered the room and the Indian food was great as well! With regards to the on-board activities, the cruise offered a variety of entertainment from day time sporting events to night time live music and shows. The ports were absolutely stunning as well, from Costa Rica, to Colombia, all the destinations visited were ones to never forget. All in all, this was one of our most favourite vacations and is one to never forget. I would definitely recommend it to everyone !!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Marella Discovery 2 Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.7
Family 3.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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