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
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second cruise with Tui and once again was fantastic.Our first cruise was last year on The Discovery Ship. The Explorer was a bigger ship. The cabin was lovely and kept very clean by a lovely young man called Isaac who looked ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Tui and once again was fantastic.Our first cruise was last year on The Discovery Ship. The Explorer was a bigger ship. The cabin was lovely and kept very clean by a lovely young man called Isaac who looked after our cabin extremely well! The food and entertainment was super . We went on eccursions to Rome, Pisa and went ashore in Corsica which was beautiful. And also went ashore to St Raphael in France which also was a beautiful place. All the staff on board did an amazing job and were very friendly and helpful! If you are thinking of going on a cruise then I thouroughly recommend it! You will want to do it again and again because it really is that good that you get hooked :) It is a great way to see different countries in one whole week. Bon voyage! Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Sorry if the review is a bit TLDR.... The flights and logistics We had a slightly delayed departure from Leeds although this was not of Tui's making. Nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely deposited in Palma. The ... Read More
Sorry if the review is a bit TLDR.... The flights and logistics We had a slightly delayed departure from Leeds although this was not of Tui's making. Nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely deposited in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was seamless with some pre information to whet the appetite. On arrival at the port our cases were ferried from the coach by burly men and we picked up our cards for cabin 8183 and within 15 minutes we were on board and exploring the explorer (pun intended). First impressions There is not the wow factor of the Discovery with the multi storey atrium but they have managed to get a lot in the ship. Areas that felt a little small on the discovery e.g. Kora la have plenty of room to breathe. The ship is in lovely condition albeit there are perhaps a few blemishes which given more time in dry dock would have been resolved but nothing to fret over. Our cabin We were in cabin 8183 which is a standard balcony. It was immaculately presented and quite spacious. After an initial arm wrestle with Mrs D where I was only allowed 3 drawers, a shelf and two hangers we reached a more equitable distribution and all our 50kg of luggage had a home. The cases fit under the bed if you lift the frame to get them past the lip. Our cabin steward Basirun was a quiet chap but very polite and thorough. We were very content. One slight issue in the first two days or so was that people were getting used to the vacuum toilet system and twice our system (through no fault of our own must add!) lost its suction. It certainly wasn't built by Dyson. Captain John did seem to have become rather expert in the thoroughbred style fragility of the system as it regularly featured in his anecdotes. Having said that the person who reputedly flushed a breakfast sausage down there certainly needs an intervention. The bars/drink We decided not to get the premium Ai package. The house red was very pleasant as were the other wine options we tried. In terms of everything else the Ai suited us as it does contain main brands and we are not fussy over whether the gin is Gordon's or Bombay. It has much the same effect after sufficient numbers. Of the bars we tried squid and anchor, the lounge, indigo bar and the pool bar. We really liked s & a and also indigo was a good spot for a drink before the club started as it was quieter and had some of the best views on the ship. Places to eat/food For breakfast we tended to eat at the market place. The choice was plentiful and most days I managed to resist the temptations of the fried bread. Most days. There are good options jn terms of cereals, fruit, cooked and continental options. We had no issues in getting a table at any time. Lunches we used both the market place and the Mediterranean. The options in the market place were nice and fresh and had variety. In the med I had the bespoke pasta option. Taste wise it was very nice indeed although perhaps a little oily. For our evening meals we generally ate in latitude 53 but occasionally went to vista if the menu was not to our taste. We never had a poor meal with highlights for me being the beef Wellington, the lovely soups and the crepes suzette. We ate at kora la one evening and it was superb. If anything they've raised the bar further from D1. A brilliant evening. Service wise it was mostly excellent although you could be lucky or unlucky with who was looking after you. On one night it took 2 and a half hours to get through and the waiter was clearly confused and forgot orders. We aren't complainers and felt a little sympathetic to be honest as he was floundering a bit. The same night however showed some incredible service as said waiter's line manager was aware that things had not gone as they ought and was at pains to check we were okay and in subsequent nights made a point of checking that we had had speedier service. Her name is Princess Ann (great name) and she is an absolute credit to Marella. Ports/trips Propriano Its a sleepy sort of town but we spent an enjoyable few hours ashore and walked from one end of the town to the other and back. There are a few interesting shops and nice bars for a bit of liquid refreshment. Civitavecchia We did the Tui excursion Rome on your own. The coach dropped you outside the Palace of justice which is 700yds from St Peters Square. The map was very good. We did a whistle-stop tour of the sights mainly walking but also used the metro to get to the colloseum. We fell in love with Rome and really want to go back for a long weekend. Fingers crossed that euro in the Trevi fountain works! It was a long day but so worth it. Marina Di carrara We again did a tour as the port itself is meant to be a bit bleak. Our tour was to santa marguerite and Porto fino. There was a boat trip between the two. I suspect that this is a trip that is very heavily dependent on weather but we had a fantastic time. The levels of opulence and wealth in Portofino are unbelievable. If Simon Cowell moved there they'd put him on income support. Our tour guide was also an absolute star. She seemed to have more fun than work and encouraged her colleague to sing and dance on the boat trip back. Saint Raphael This was a tender port. It is a lovely little town and tuns into The neighbouring town of Frejus. Lovely bars and cafes and some nice shops. We planned to have an easier day after two early starts. Naturally we did over 20k steps on this 'easier' day. Barcelona Simply stunning city. The shuttle bus from the port is well worth the price and drops you at the bottom of La Rambla. From there we meandered our way around and then after a quick beer had a long walk out to the sagrada familia. If you picture a sandcastle covered in fruit and pictures all of which are melting you get a fair idea. It is well worth the trek albeit it was a long walk from the main drag. Palma Doing a two week trip means you get to have palma as a port of call and it remains one of my favorite cities. Lot of great shops and bars. We walked to and from the town centre and it is a long hot walk. I was a soggy mess by time I got back to the ship. Palermo If this town were in UK we would think it was a bit grotty and steer away. As its in Italy it feels to have an earthy charm. Lovely architecture sits cheek to cheek with utter decay. The hawkers at the port are persistent although a firm no tends to work. Naples In Italy they say va fa Napoli to mean go to hell. We had done pompeii and sorrento previously so decided to do a different trip instead. We went to Capri. The trip was very well organised albeit we sacked off the walking tour to explore at our own pace. Marco the guide clearly had a lot of good connections as he could are age a meal, a boat trip and perfume discounts. We lived Capri. It is stunningly beautiful and has some wow type shopping. Based on the photos at restaurants keanu reeves and Beyonce agree as they seem to have eaten everywhere in that town. The hydrofoil to and from Capri was also great fun and it was well worth the excursion price. Livorno We got the obligatory port authority bus into town. We then walked to the station and went over to Pisa on the train for an extortionate fare of 2.6 euros. For a clean train as well. No where near as good value as our smelly old trains... Not. After some questionable photos we went back to livorno. The town centre is actually very nice and worth a visit albeit people normally use it as a base to go further afield. Villefranche We got an early tender then walked to the gare in order to get the train to Monaco. Nice few hours there including walking the full grand prix circuit. Back to villefranche and had a nice l lunch in the town before heading back on board. Its an easy trip to do yourself and much cheaper. Palamos Probably the weakest port of the cruise. Its a quiet fishing town and aside from a few bars and some shops there isn't much to do other than go to the beach. As it was overcast we chose not to do this. Still it's a pleasant place to spend a few hours. As it was our last day we weren't too worried that it was a quieter day. Entertainment and facilities The show cast are clearly very talented although some of the shows weren't our taste perhaps. The comedian Tucker was OK albeit a bit bland. Has to be fairly safe though. We did not use the spa although in the hope of fighting against the inevitable weight gain made a few visits to the gym. It's a nice part of the ship and we'll equipped. Whenever I was there it was quiet albeit I cant guarantee those two facts weren't linked ;). We also really enjoyed the quizzes and gameshows. Overall It was the best cruise we've had. So many great memories and places. We met some lovely people as well. The staff are exceptional (albeit some of the guests can verge on rudeness in their dealings with them at times) and the ship is great. It's definitely a grower. 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: August 2018
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs ... Read More
Lots of bad reviews noted before travelling but need not have worried. This was our third TUI cruise having previously been on the Dream and Discovery 2. The Explorer was larger than both the previous ships and displayed positive signs of the recent refurbishment. The Latitude 53 restaurant was very good and had enough of a menu choice to keep us occupied over a two week cruise, we dined in the speciality restaurant Kora La and Surf and Turf paying a supplement and both were well worth it. The Balcony cabin was ok, maintained very well by Andrew our steward who was perfectly discreet but kept an untidy bunch from making too much of a mess in our cabin. The kettle and fridge were a useful addition and despite the cabins being 16m sq it was just big enough for us to not be on top of one another. The service delivery throughout the ship was magnificent as always, every member of staff was polite, courteous and couldn't do enough for us wherever we went or whatever we did. Definitely the company's best asset. A special mention for the show cast who were Broadway standard every night and even the guest entertainment was very good. There is not much I could criticise but if pushed Marella should look to improve their ports of call, or indeed stop mooring in commercial locations. We didn't mind this too much initially but on two occasions there was a charge for the shuttle bus which we thought was taking liberties given the cost of the cruise. Propriano in Corsica was a very nice exception to this to be fair however. Our final comments have to go to the bike excursion team, in particular Nico and Ahsleigh for looking after us on our Rome trip - different class!. In addition head waiter Carlos and his team of Chris, Mark, Frank etc etc were amazing. A nice ship with great staff and magnificent entertainment - shame about Marellas first pub the Squid & Anchor which brought an all inclusive hotel clientelle to an otherwise perfect two weeks cruising, if you just don't go there then it doesn't impact on you too much. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a ... Read More
we chose this ship because we have always went with tui before and we wanted to try the latest ship.although it is not like any other tui ship overall the food and entertainment were good there are two many places where you have to pay a supplement for food and it does not come cheap up to £49 per person.and it is no better than the food supplied indeed we had to walk out of the Asian restaurant as it was grossly overcooked.whoever designed the pub the squid and anchor should be told are you having a laugh hardly any seats and half of them face the bar away from the stage.i spoke to the manager and the cruise director about this and they totally agreed and said it would be changed in January I hope so as we like a game show but if you go to the second show in the broadway forget about a seat and getting a drink to busy and not enough staff on.overall we loved the cruise but some of the ports are industrial and you can only look at so many cranes and containers and at a couple of ports tui have a cheek to charge you £7 return on there shuttle bus get a grip tui and take us to some nice ports Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was ... Read More
Spent a week on the Marella Explorer at the end of July/beginning of August with my partner and our youngest (aged 9) and, all in all, had a good holiday. I have had two cruises with Marella previously which I had enjoyed - this one was not quite as good as these previous ones, but was still enjoyable. Firstly the positives: Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and quick Ship well laid-out and easy to navigate Cleanliness of cabin and general areas very good and housekeeping attentive All staff friendly, polite and helpful Kid’s club very good All the shows in the theatre (bar one that did not work well at all) were very good Bands/musicians excellent Bar drinks/service excellent and inclusive drinks more than plentiful in choice Availability of sun loungers/hammocks good (especially on upper decks above pool) apart from sea day when it did take some time to find somewhere. Plentiful supply of water dispensers around ship very useful Proper shower screen instead of curtain Loved the cream teas! Now for the negatives: FOOD: – In general the food was not as good as we have had on previous cruises (included Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2). It was acceptable, but nothing particularly special and seemed to have been tailored for a bland, “safe” palate (on one occasion we ordered the “vindaloo” which was nothing more than a risotto with no spice or any heat at all – it would not even have passed as a biriyani!). The buffet had a good selection (but not as varied or extensive as previous cruises and again, fairly bland) and the ice-cream machine rarely worked properly as it was not freezing correctly. In addition on days when we returned from trips sometimes they were in the middle of changing from one meal to another so vast areas were shut with little choice of anything to eat. The pasta/pizza/tapas restaurant was mediocre and limited (although the idea of selecting ingredients for your pasta/pizza was an interesting concept). The snack shack sandwiches were OK but the salads were mainly lettuce and the burgers and hotdogs of very cheap quality. The menu selection in Latitude 53 was pretty limited (and two of the items were exactly the same every night) and most of the starters were very small portions, more like an “amuse bouche”. At Vista (the Italian) they offered the same, fairly uninspired, menu for 3 nights then changed it for the last 4 – the Italian on both Discovery ships is much better, with more selection, more courses and more changes) so we did not even bother eating here. I got the impression that they were pushing people to pay extra to eat in their speciality restaurants (as they were constantly plugging this over the tannoy system and in the Cruise News) and I believe that is why less effort was given to the inclusive restaurants. In addition the inter-active screens did not display the correct menus for the 2 waiter restaurants – it always showed the menu from the day before, which was of little use (I used to use this a lot on previous cruises to decide where to eat) They did not even display the menus outside the restaurants (again on previous cruises they were outside) so every night I had to go to the restaurants as they was opening to ask to see the menus (by the end of the cruise Latitude 53 was putting some menus out on a table in front of the restaurant about 15 minutes before it opened so people could have a look). The service in the main restaurant on our first two nights was ridiculously slow – on the first night it took over 2 hours to be served 3 courses (we missed nearly all of the show due to this), in addition to which our deserts (which should have been hot) arrived virtually stone cold – on the second night it took almost 2 hours to be served 2 courses so we decided to skip the 3rd course so that we could dash to the theatre just as the show was starting. Both these nights we were at the restaurant at 6.45pm (we did not really want to go any earlier as it would be too early to eat and by the time our son came back from kid’s club at 6.30pm, showered and got changed this was the time we could go). Another annoyance was that my partner asked for Peronni on the first night (which was freely available at all bars and was also brought round during the day on trolleys and is included as part of the all-inclusive) but was told they did not have any in the restaurant. He told them that the bar (literally opposite the restaurant) served it so could they not get one from there – they said they would check and after about 20 minutes my partner asked again and finally a further 15 minutes later they brought him a bottle. On the second night the same thing happened and my partner said it would be quicker for him to have just got up from the table and walked to the bar himself. By the third night, as there was a Barbecue on the pool deck, we decided we would try that as it might be quicker. Yes, it was quick, but all the food was stone cold (I mean everything – totally cold) even when new items were being put out they were already cold by the time we put them on our plate and sat down!! (I did complain about the service and cold food – see further down review for the ship's reaction). SOCKETS IN CABIN– there was only one socket (two if you unplugged the kettle and balanced your item on the tea/coffee making items) which, for a cabin for 3 of us, was really not enough when trying to charge phones, i-pads, kindles, cameras etc. DRESS TO IMPRESS – so few people bothered which made it a real shame as we really enjoy this night. The main restaurant had some people in ball gowns, cocktail dresses, three piece suits, tuxedos and even dress kilts, whilst others were just turning up in casual shorts and t-shirts! Firstly Marella/Tui should maybe make people aware of this night prior to their holiday by including a note about this before people leave the UK or add it to the information they provide or even send an email (I spoke to two families who had never been on a cruise before and they had no idea that there was a formal night and had not brought anything with them. They both said that, had they known, they would have loved to have packed something special to wear). Secondly, seeing as the main restaurant is on two floors, why can’t the staff direct those in formal attire to one floor and those in casual dress to another? My partner was in tuxedo and bow tie, my son in three piece suit and bow tie and I was in cocktail dress, so we felt a little uncomfortable as several of the tables seated around us were in t-shirts or casual polo tops! (I would suspect that, likewise, people turning up in casual day wear might feel awkward seated amongst people in full Black tie attire!) KID’S CLUB DRESSING UP PARTIES: This also applies to the kid’s club as there was a fancy dress night and also a super heroes night (had we known in advance we would have packed something for him to wear – as it was I did not bring him any fancy dress outfits!!). BRIDGE TOUR KIDS CLUB; this was my son’s 3rd cruise and both times before he has not made the bridge tour, as we had been off the ship on booked excursions, so he was very keen to do it this time. Therefore, on the first day when I registered him I asked about the tour and was told that a note would be put on the door to inform us of when it would take place. We checked every day, but saw no note so no idea if this ever took place – he was a little disappointed. REPEAT CRUISER'S DRINKS NIGHT: the cruise news asked for anybody who had sailed before with Tui to contact the reception. I did this and my name and cabin number were taken and I was told we would be invited to a drinks party with the Captain near the end of the week. I asked if they knew which night but was told I would be informed by way of an invite. We waited for an invite and by the last night had not received anything. When I went to investigate I was told that they did have our name but that we had missed the party as it was the night before and that the invites were given to housekeeping to hand out so there was nothing they could do but they would send us “pins” to our room (which we received in an envelope on the last day with a letter apologising) – strangely exactly the same thing happened when I sailed with them last time, when they again forgot our invite!! BILLS: I was charged for a drink that I did not have and had to go to reception to have this removed from my bill - again the same thing happened on my last cruise (so I would advise people to check their statements daily!). As mentioned above, re my complaints, a comments card had been placed in our room so I did fill it in with some positive comments but also mentioned that service in restaurants was too slow, food (in particular at barbecue) was cold and menus on interactive screens were out of date. And, to their credit, the next day I was approached during lunch by a member of staff who thanked me for bringing this to their attention, apologised profusely and said that they were looking into the slowness and that they were trying to work out a way of keeping the barbecue food hot (although I’ve had barbecues on cruises before and they have managed to serve hot food, so they must have experience of how to do this). In addition the following day a note was put in my room to say the head waiter would speak to me regarding my comments (but as I had already had the discussion with another member of staff I did not feel a further discussion was necessary). On the fourth night we finally received excellent service – and I must mention and thank Rajesh, who provided a most attentive, friendly and professional approach – the food came swiftly, the bottles of Perroni were flowing and he constantly checked on us. Likewise, Dimitri, who also served us, was most attentive and efficient. From then on we always asked to be seated in the area staffed by Rajesh and Dimitri and have to say the service for these meals could not be faulted. Also, on the morning before last, as we were in no rush to get off the ship, we ate breakfast in Latitude 53 and the service was swift and attentive and the food hot. We took three organised tours through Marella (which I had booked in advance) which were well arranged and enjoyable. Half-day tour of Pompeii; Inside the Tower of Pisa; Nice tour and little train. The other three days we explored shore on our own. Palma was a bit awkward as there was a taxi strike (although Marella staff did not seem aware and were not that helpful in suggesting other routes into town, they just kept telling us where to get taxis – even though we kept going back to tell them that there weren’t any – we eventually found a public bus). at Palermo we just walked into town and got a taxi back. At Palamos we used the shuttle bus. In summary this was a decent and enjoyable cruise for the money. If they can sort out the temperature of the food, provide a slightly better menu and improve the speed of service provided by all staff in the main restaurants then this would help immensely. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning ... Read More
We have just returned from a fabulous 14 day Mediterranean Cruise on Marella Explorer – our 10th cruise and second with Tui Marella. The crew were welcoming and hospitable from the Captain to the young man from Jamaica who was cleaning toilets on decks 5/6. The staff go out of their way to build a good rapport and to make you feel valued, particularly in the Squid & Anchor!! We enjoyed the size of the ship and found it so much better than the extra large super liners than we have experienced in the past, particularly on tender days. The entertainment was varied and high quality as was the food in all restaurants. Our junior suite had an amazing view, extra large balcony with hammock. By comparison, this cabin would have been so much more expensive on other ships. We very much enjoyed the excursions and the 12 port stops out of 14 days. The contrast of cities, beaches, towns was just perfect. Negatives – there was a slight sewage aroma which occasionally filtered into our cabin. However this was not too much of a problem as to spoil our holiday. Pricing – we enjoyed our Caribbean cruise in April 2017 so much that we booked this holiday on return. However, in March 2018, we checked availability and we could have bought the identical cruise for £600 cheaper and there was full availability. We therefore believe that there should be a price promise recognition for those who book particularly early. We have earmarked a cruise for 2019 but will not now book this until next year. All in all, we are very much looking forward to booking another Tui cruise. The All Inclusive is most definitely a plus. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were excited about the prospect of seeing a bit of the med via a family orientated, sparkly new cruise ship. We were disappointed from the start. The welcome was lack lustre and as a result we had no idea where to go or what to do while we waited for our cabin. Our cabin (a junior suite with balcony) was nice until night came. We were directly above the Squid and Anchor “pub” and our bed pulsated until the early hours to the beat of the music downstairs. After much complaining we were moved for our second week. This time to the tenth floor. This room whilst quieter was slightly smaller and had a much bigger problem. Every day, without fail, the toilet would block..... often while we were out..... the shared vacuum system is horrid and I saw over flowing toilets on more than one occasion. The housekeeping staff were fantastic and extremely hard working, some of the bar staff however (coffee port) were pretty miserable. The evening shows were fantastic and a real highlight!!!! The food was good but the selection could have been better, I’ve been on all inclusive holidays with Tui in the past year with much better food selection. Probably my biggest problem with this cruise though was that it is advertised as All Inclusive..... this is not! WiFi is extra and expensive, drinks before 10 are extra, ice cream..... extra. It just feels like they are trying to squeeze money out of you at every opportunity. Please note this ship is not new, it has been revamped, and well, but it is a bit rough around the edges. The gym is run by Champneys and is the best equipped gym I have ever seen in any holiday resort. Some of the classes cost extra. The 45 minute ‘no leave’ sunbed rule is not enforced and finding sun beds on a sea day is very challenging. This is branded as a family cruise ship but as our kids are at private school their summer holidays start 2 weeks before state schools. The first week we were cruising was mostly adults.....OAPs to be exact and there was a distinct feeling the kids were not welcome. The second week was better but I still heard older people joking how there seemed to be a lot of kids skipping school! In conclusion I definitely think I will cruise again but it’s unlikely we will cruise with Tui..... I will be looking for a higher end cruise with less child intolerant fat old people..... if such a thing exists. 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
6 Helpful Votes
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
14 Helpful Votes
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
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
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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