32 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Family Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date June 2018
Just returned from a weeks cruise the explorer is lovely ship the cabins have been refurbished a decent shower and plenty of storage we had a small but adequate balcony.The main disappointment was the itinerary which we picked as we had ... Read More
Just returned from a weeks cruise the explorer is lovely ship the cabins have been refurbished a decent shower and plenty of storage we had a small but adequate balcony.The main disappointment was the itinerary which we picked as we had not visited several of the ports before having been on several cruises.Porto Torres was very disappointing 3 of the ports were industrial which meant a bus was needed to get through the port 2 were curtesy 1 was £7.Because the itinerary had been changed our first stop was on a Sunday and everything was shut.The restaurants were generally good the food in the Vista was excellent but the meal took 3 hours from start to finish.The Market Place is a bit like a canteen but a good choice of food.The trips were an absolute rip off we could have done them ourselves at a fraction of the price.The evening entertainment was very good they have tried to do things a bit differently which was not to everyone’s taste as some of the audience did walk out from some of the shows.The comedian was outdated and not very pc.The staff are amazing so friendly and accommodating can’t do enough for you.Personally I found the deck are around the pool very noisy the music was too loud it was often difficult to get a sun lounger round the pool area.I would cruise with TUI again but will research the ports Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise for a short break to the Mediterranean. Good flight to Palma as part of the deal, easy transfer to the ship and fast processing to get us on board. Our room was ready when we arrived at mid-day, clean but lacking any ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a short break to the Mediterranean. Good flight to Palma as part of the deal, easy transfer to the ship and fast processing to get us on board. Our room was ready when we arrived at mid-day, clean but lacking any character, no pictures, flowers etc. Great cabin service, very friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. The ship is advertised as “new” but when you read the paperwork in detail you soon find it has been in service since 1996 and has had various names. As seems to be normal now on cruise ships, doggy toilets often blocking but a first for us was the Captain putting out a message to stop putting foreign objects down the loo ....... Plenty of places to eat, all clean and well presented. We chose the formal dining but were disappointed with the lack of variety as only one or two items changed each day. Portion size was small but in fairness when we asked for more we got it, unfortunately that was usually after we had finished the meal. Waiters were friendly but service was slow and they were clearly over worked as many mistakes were made with the orders which was quite frustrating. Entertainment was very good and a pleasure to watch. The entertainment team worked incredibly had and put on a number of great shows. The visiting Comedian was great and very funny, his show also very entertaining. One grizzle, the age old sun lounger problem. So many loungers with towels left all day while genuine sun worshipers were left to hunt for a bed. There was a 45 minute rule for unattended beds but it was never used. All in all, good cruise,friendly staff but room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We decided to go on the Explorer's first voyage under the TUI flag. It was my 50th birthday, so my husband and grandchild came along with me. Embarking, we had no issues and since we had a "premier" suite we were allowed ... Read More
We decided to go on the Explorer's first voyage under the TUI flag. It was my 50th birthday, so my husband and grandchild came along with me. Embarking, we had no issues and since we had a "premier" suite we were allowed to skip waiting to board. Have to say there wasn't any queue anyway. We received a very warm welcome from the staff and crew and we were happy with our large balcony, complete with hammock, 2 chairs, table and 2 sunloungers. Our room was what we expected. Plenty of closet space, TV, tea/coffee facilities, safe, useless hairdryer (always, no matter what cruise line you use!) mini bar etc. We were perplexed about where to store our empty cases, so we stuck them out on the balcony. The socket for the kettle kept blowing. It worked once and then would blow again. Similarly, the loo kept breaking. There were problems the first day: 2 of our cards refused to go on the system, charged 3 times (refunded) for 1 ice cream, but again, we were expecting a few teething troubles. We were at sea the second day and the queues were unreal. Took over an hour to order a coffee in the nook, we left only to wait for 20 mins in a further queue for 2 cokes. Only one poor struggling barman with about 100 thirsty customers! This was soon resolved by the evening time. The food wasn't great. Basic "school dinners" in the market place. You had to bring your drinks in with you. Only beer, wine, water or milk available and no waiters. Quite a long wait for dinner in latitude 53. Also, I asked if I could do without the sauce on the steak and was told no. Only one potato at dinner and a small spoonful of veg. I had 3 green beans... We dined there 3 times, same every time. Again drinks are an issue if you don't drink wine. Kid's club was fantastic to the extent that my grandson huffed if it wasn't open. The staff are amazing, and my husband and I enjoyed the peace very much! Champneys spa and gym were fabulous. Cost the same for make-up as a blow dry. Thought £50 was a little steep for a blow dry but my hair looked great as did my make-up. The photographers were brilliant and we came home with some very nice shots. Entertainment was good. There was a celebrity on board. Unfortunately I didn't know who they were, but I rarely watch television. Says more about me than TUI! The excursions seemed to be well planned. We really enjoyed ours. Our guides were good and enthusiastic. Going home we were told in advance about departure times, where to disembark and get our cases/transfers. It went very smoothly for us. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves and have great faith the hiccups will be addressed with time and experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 1st cruise with a view to a Carrabean cruise next year and were glad we chose Marella to sail with especially the new ship to the fleet the Explorer, our 1st impressions weren't great our Cabin was not ready when we ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with a view to a Carrabean cruise next year and were glad we chose Marella to sail with especially the new ship to the fleet the Explorer, our 1st impressions weren't great our Cabin was not ready when we arrived, the former occupants had left a mess in the room, mucky cups, dirty beds and dirty bathroom. We informed the cabin staff who informed us there had been 900 reps on the launch party and they had left a mess. We were told to grab a drink and it would be ready in 30 mins, we also had problems with the safe and toilet not flushing, but nothing that was not fixed and spoilt our Holiday, after that it was plain sailing literally, we had a Balcony cabin (8199). It was amazing waking up in a different location every day, the Food was delicious in every restaurant and the beer was cold in every bar, we didn't opt for the AI drinks upgrade as I drink Corona, bud and Peroni at home so why would you, the wine was good and all spirits we liked were branded Bailey's, Gin and Amarreto so why would you, we tried the Surf and Turf and it was worth the money it was High end food, the only thing we had a problem with was the trip Naples + Pizza, it was described as a moderate walk around Naples with lunch. In fact it was an 8.5km speed March in 26° temperature. We lost 6 people in 1st hour as the couldn't keep up. We complained and was refunded 25% each. The cost was £74 Not cheap for a workout and a Pizza lunch. Would o go back he'll yes, would I use Marella again Yes. It was the maiden voyage and a lot of the staff were new and learning and we expected teething problems. We were lucky to have amazing crew and staff on board and guests like Lisa Riley and the Overtones. Read Less
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
Sail Date May 2018
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The ... Read More
My family and I have cruised with Thompsons many times in the past and we have always had a fantastic experience. I thought the change of name to Marella was quite simply that, a name change, but that is obviously not the case. The entertainment on board is the worst I have ever experienced on any cruise, its Butlin’s at sea, cheap and extremely irritating. The team responsible for your entertainment can easily be found in the smoking areas of the bars, drinking, smoking and entertaining each other. The food is reasonable, however the service is painfully slow and you can expect to be spending a great deal of time waiting between courses for your meals to be served. The specialist restaurants that incur a supplement are still painfully slow from a service perspective, the food is nothing special and certainly not worth the additional cost. The icing on the cake came during our second week when we rounded a corner on deck 7 to find human excrement on the deck, a crew member was placing a chair over the turd to prevent anyone walking in it and he smile and said “someone had relaxed too much on their holiday”. I'm no snob, I like a drink and a good laugh as much as anyone, howsever the calibre of guest on this cruise left much to be desired. . The excursions are over-priced, but they always are on cruise ships and in fairness we enjoyed them all. On days where we had no excursions booked we couldn’t face staying on-board with the drunks staggering around so we left the ship and got Taxi’s to the nearest beach. My advise to anyone considering booking with Marella is simple, DON'T. Maybe we were just unlucky, but I will never cruise with Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
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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