5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... this would made one think it would have been 4 star at least in my eyes. The food in the main restaurant was inedible, overcooked and hard to eat. It was so bad we decided to use the Market buffet the rest of the holiday. There were specialist restaurants but they wanted upwards of £30 per person per visit ( after having paid for food i felt the cover charge was over the top compared with being able to pay on the Celebration a sum of £10 per person to upgrade the main meal in the dining room to steak or lamb chops etc ) On speaking to people on the ship, nobody thought the specialty restaurants to be be good value. One of the nice things about a cruise is coming back to your cabin at night after dinner and finding your cabin news containing the details of the next days itinerary and a little bit about the ship and crew... nice bedtime reading and handy to take with you the next day on shore excursions as it always had the telephone numbers of the port authority etc in case you have any off shore difficulties etc. This is currently being replaced by an APP you must load on your phone and use the ships WiFi When I inquired if we could have a paper copy delivered to my cabin as before ( these are still available if you rush to reception in the evening) i was promptly and firmly told NO... i even offered to pay to have this and it was ignored. The APP is terrible only some of it is on the phone APP others and again not all are on the TV. The only way you could get the menus of the restaurants was from the flat touch screen terminals at the lifts (these sometimes lost the WiFi and didnt work either). It really ruffled my feathers when every day there was a channel on the TV where the Cruise Director would go over the highlights of the days activities and did it from the paper copy of the cruise news!! The ship is poorly covered by entertainment at night and it doesnt flow properly like the Celebration or other cruise ships i have used.. things finish in the middle of other items you may be interested in and you find yourself walking in on a half completed piece of entertainment upsetting the guests that managed to be there on time for it to start. The bars are mainly all too loud and mainly served by piped music with occasional live music... it seemed to be done on the cheap or not utilised properly. Staff on the ship are mainly unhappy and it shows to the customer. The biggest concern on the ship, i have left till the end.... the number of people i seen drunk in the early afternoon was high ( never before have i seen this on a cruise) between afternoon and evening it looked like the ship was a BOOZE CRUISE ... im certainly not impressed with the Explorer or Marriela / Tui.. and wonder if the Celebration is now been changed to feel and look the same... ( this was my favourite ship in the Tui fleet) It looks like we will need to use our other favourite ships like the NCL ( Jade/Pearl etc) In Conclusion .... if i was offered another week on the Explorer, i would decline it!! Read Less
6 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name ... Read More
After reading the previous reviews I was wishing I hadn't booked this cruise and when we finally went on the Explorer I agred with all the complaints. The check in at the port was very quick, you just went to the desk, gave your name and airport flown from and were given an envelope with your key cards in. Went through security and onto the ship and our bags were delivered within half an hour of boarding. We can cabin 9255 right at the back. We had a big balcony and the room was well appointed and the beds comfy. You could only get 3 tv channels. However our toilet blocked on 3 days. The one next door did too as I could hear the maintenance man trying to unblock it. Our sink plug didnt work either, it would not stay down. The public toilets by the buffet were blocked too. When we docked it was really noisy in our cabin and because we were docking early in the morning we were woken up by the engines about 6 am. We and my daughter both paid £49 each for 7 days wifi. After 3 days my daughters ran out. We went down to reception to query it and were told it had all been used up and would have to buy more days. How it could have been used up I do not know but the receptionist wasnt interested. She paid £25 for another 3 days and this ran out after 2 days, even though she barely used it and on one of those days we were on a 10 hour trip to Pisa so didnt even use wifi. We booked a full day trip to Rome which was described on TUI website as visiting the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps among other places. However the guide dropped us off at the Piazzo Navonna and said if we wanted to see the Fountain and the Steps we could make our own way there and it was a 20 minute walk. We were not given a map or directions. She then left us and said to meet back in 2 1/2 hours. As we did not have our phones with us we didnt know how to get there so ended up not seeing them. We spoke to another couple at dinner that night who had been on same trip but on another coach and their guide had taken them to those places and stayed with them the whole time. We did PIsa and Florence trip too but only saw 4 places in Florence, and only saw the leaningI Tower in Pisa. I did not feel they were good value for what we paid. The food in the buffet in the evening was the worst I've ever had on a curise ship and I've been on P&O, NCL, RCI and Carnival. If you were a vegitarian there was very little choice apart from steamed brocoli, carrots and cauliflower or salad. The food in the Italian was excellent but if you went between 7.30 and 8.30 there was a 40 minute wait. One night we went at 8 pm and she said there was an hours wait and they had run out of pagers. The food in the main dining room was good too. The cocktails were limited and there were only 2 creamy ones. I paid extra for a mudslide but it was very watery. If you wanted to pay for extra premium brands or other cocktails it was £2.50. I paid extra for a creamy cocktail in the Italian restaurant but when it came it just had a great big blob of cream floating in the middtle. The staff were lovely, we never had a problem getting sunbeds, the boat wasnt very busy seeing as it was school holidays and waiters were constantly coming round to take drinks orders. The lounges were spacious and you could always find a seat. We went to one show but it was very poor so never bothered going again. The ship never enforced using hand gel before entering the restaurants, unlike other boats I've been on. Hardly anybody used it. The gym was described as being state of the art but was tiny with limited equipment. There were free classes for half an hour (walk around the deck in the am) and 45 minute classes that cost £7. I paid for the 45 minute classes but they only ran for 30 minutes and that included a warm up and cool down. I did not feel as though I had had a full workout in that time. The instructor was good, just wish the classes had run for the advertised time. Our flight home was at 1.15 pm but we were taken to the airport at 9 am so had a long wait there. I will not be going with Marella next time, they have a long way to go before catching up with RCI and NCL Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We choose to do this cruise as we has been advised that it was family friendly with loads of activities for a three year. Not the case. The ship itself although spotless is a bit tired - I know it has been refurbished but there are ... Read More
We choose to do this cruise as we has been advised that it was family friendly with loads of activities for a three year. Not the case. The ship itself although spotless is a bit tired - I know it has been refurbished but there are areas that are needing a bit of TLC for example the showers needing new screens and not just cleaned, toilet roll holder holes not filled in correctly etc We had a room with a balcony and it was big enough although limited space and storage for three. The first night we arrive the only place opened with the Market Place and that was very limited. In all the food was disappointing particularly if eating here. It is very limited at times and all you can get to drink is milk, water or beer. The other restaurants that we tried including the pasta, tapas and steak are nice and worth waiting on a table. The snack shack at the pool is ok although you soon get fed up with chips. Ice cream should be included in the cost. The entertainment for families particularly with babies and toddlers isn't what we thought. We ended up at the Squid and Anchor every night for a drink and the quiz. During the day there was only the children's club which had a splash pool and some activities. The gym and spa was good a bit of time out and very competitively priced. The pools are very very cold and quite deep along with the fact that children are only allowed in at certain times. It is a nightmare to get a sunbed and even though there is a 45min rule for leaving them unattended I never saw anyone implementing this. The children's pool is a joke and takes you away from the crowd insulating you from any adult company. We had booked trips prior to arrival. When we arrived one had been changed and we specifically asked if it was suitable for us and a pram. We were assured it was. To be honest it was awful we could have done it ourselves for a lot these and had more time to explore. All trips were overpriced and not worth it. There is a lot more I could write about including the rip off cost of Wi-Fi we is extortion but these are the main points. I am very disappointed in the cruise I think it is overpriced and not worth the money Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First sailing Marcella Explorer 19th may 2018 We have looked forward to this weeks cruise with our family for many months, we saved hard and the time came. We chose Thomson (Tui) (Marella) because we had never been disappointed before. ... Read More
First sailing Marcella Explorer 19th may 2018 We have looked forward to this weeks cruise with our family for many months, we saved hard and the time came. We chose Thomson (Tui) (Marella) because we had never been disappointed before. We have cruised many times with Thomson before. Starting with the Destiny and on the spirit only last year. We recommended to our family that Thomson was the best for food, entertainment and friendly staff. And of course the all inclusive package was a huge bonus. First impressions of the ship was good. We made our way to the Mediterranean tapas bar for a well earned drink. We were offered an upgrade to the premium package and declined as we were happy with what was on the basic AI drinks menu. - [ ] We went to find our cabin. (Inside cabins 4171 4175 4179). They weren’t ready. We stated it wasn’t a problem. We would go for lunch and come back later. Which we did, he obviously hadn’t done anything else after we had come down the first time. The hangers were just thrown on top of the wardrobe. There was no soap/ shower gel in the dispenser in the shower. There were 2 pairs of safety goggles in one of the bedside drawers. Which had coffee stains on the top. Room 4175 had numerous receipts and other litter in the drawers. Room 2179 had a pair of dirty underpants in one of their drawers. Why was this not checked? - [ ] The cabin was not hoovered all week. With a new carpet the fluff coming off of it was of large quantity. The coffee stain was still there midweek so I ended up cleaning it myself. - [ ] The following day was a sea day. We were woken up by the loudest tannoy in the room. It was so loud it was uncomfortable. We held a pillow up to the speaker. It went on for a very long time. We asked at reception if it could be turned down but he didn’t understand what we were saying to help. - [ ] That evening we went to latitude 53 for dinner. We have always dined in the main restaurant on all of our previous cruises. The food choices were very poor. It appears a couple of courses had disappeared ie salad course and soup course. We don’t eat meat so the different course choices was one of the reasons why we picked Thomson. Our waiter offered us bread, when we asked for more from the same waiter. He didn’t know what bread was. - [ ] At 6am the following morning we wondered what was happening. Our room shook so much for about 20mins. There was things falling off the shelves. Our shampoo fell into the shower, the whole cabin was shaking. After speaking to our family in the other rooms they said exactly the same. Were on holiday, we didn’t want to be shaken about at 6 am every morning apart from sea day and the tender day. We were offered another cabin but it was over the corridor. It wouldn’t have made any difference. These cabins should not be used for guests. - [ ] As the weather wasn’t good we spent some time in the Squid and Anchor pub. There was very limited service staff. We went to the bar the whole afternoon. When I did manage to get a girls attention for a drink. I was told abruptly “I’ll be with you in a minute”, never saw her again. - [ ] Nights 3,4 and 5 we ate in the speciality restaurants. Umi sushi. Kora la and Surf and Turf. All very good and we enjoyed the food very much.. this was the kind of food and service we are used to on previous cruises. This cruise this service came at a high cost to us. - [ ] The entertainment lacked such a high standard too. I’ve always thought Thomson as being on par with west end shows, however I wasn’t impressed. Although the comedian was good and nice to see Lisa Riley of course. - [ ] The last evening we ate in the main dining room again, this time the food was cold. And actually left the room still hungry. - [ ] The bottom line is. The standards have dropped. The food was cold and unimpressive in the main restaurant. The service has lost its personal touch. So many eastern european staff who are very abrupt and really do not know enough English to do the job. The Philippine staff are always friendly and helpful. The eastern europeans really couldn’t give a damn when they didn’t understand and sometimes were quite rude. - [ ] A plus side was the bike tours. Gem and Michelle were very good and we thoroughly enjoyed the 2 rides we did with them. I was more stressed on holiday than if I had stayed at home Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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