6 Marella Cruises Marella Explorer Romantic Cruise Reviews

My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we'd been to the Caribbean before and wanted to do different islands and this cruise fitted the bill. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 mid ship which was very good, only downfall was that it had 2 fold down beds above where we slept which restricted our move ability when getting in/out of bed. The cabin was ample size for 2 people, there was a dressing table/stool which was a good size with drawers on both sides, a double wardrobe with plenty coat hangers, shelves and drawers. Bathroom was fitted out well with a shower which had a glass door also shower gel dispenser on wall, toilet and fitted units throughout. Air con control on wall. TV with various channels along with cruise ship info. Our steward was very attentive and cleaned our cabin twice a day with towel change twice a day if needed. We had 2 pool towels which could be changed at any time. The easiest boarding we've had on a cruise (& we've been on a few!) when our plane landed at Barbados we got off the plane and straight onto a bus on the tarmac which took us to the port for embarkation which was quick and easy. On our last day we booked a courtesy cabin to shower and freshen up before our flight home. You are allowed to use all the facilities on board including the AI right up until your bus comes to take you to the airport, which is great which means you can stay on the ship or go ashore & back on board if you want. Other cruise companies we've sailed with don't let you do this, it's off at 8am unless you've booked a tour to fill in your day till you go to the airport!! On board facilities include AI ( you can upgrade to Premium AI but personally I don't think it's worth it, unless you like posh coffees ) even champagne is extra on the P. AI. Food is plentiful with the Market Place Cafe - buffett restuarant which is lovely, you have other serviced restuarants to choose from : Vista, The Mediterranian,,Tapas, The Snack shack also Latitude 53. There's other restuarants that you can pay a cover charge for but we didn't use these as found eating places ample for what we needed. You'll never go hungry as it's breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea then evening meal. I didn't use the spa so can't comment. 2 pools with 3 hot tubs, busy around pool for sunbathing but there's lots of other places to sunbathe which are quieter. Indoorr and outdoor cinema. Theatre on board lovely and plenty of seats, although the entertainment wasn't the best we'd seen but this didn't spoil our cruise as there's so much going on you can choose where you can go. Christmas Eve on board was great, from drinks in the bar, a silent disco (good fun) to Carols on the stairs, there wasn't a shortage of things to do. It was buzzing with excitement from young and older alike. We didn't do any shore excursions with the ship but did have a couple of trips on local buses/taxis Cost $20 pp in a bus 2 hours takes you on an island tour Tortola, also $25 pp in a mini bus taxi in Antigua (3 couples) driver gave an island tour to Nelson's Dockyard, beach & other attractions, well worth it took around 3 hours, plenty of time to get back to ship . We also walked to places as most amenities are quite close by. All staff on board very helpful couldn't do enough for you and nothing was too much trouble. Captain John was great (told some corny jokes but still made me laugh) kept you informed of what was going on with passages/weather etc. Cruise director very good as well. Would like to go on one of the Discovery ships as heard good reviews about them from friends. Looking to book another Marella Cruise for next Christmas/New year. A very enjoyable holiday from boarding our Dreamliner flight in Manchester, to boarding our lovely cruise ship Marella Explorer, to coming home a week later...Plain sailing! Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date August 2018
Chose this cruise as it coincided with a special anniversary. It also visited ports that we were interested in. Plenty of restaurants and activities day and night if you chose to do that. We were only at sea for one day so every other day ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it coincided with a special anniversary. It also visited ports that we were interested in. Plenty of restaurants and activities day and night if you chose to do that. We were only at sea for one day so every other day was taken up with shore excursions. Although TUI reps were very informative on these excursions we found that they were very over priced. Friends went off on their own and paid a fraction of the price we did by using taxi or bus. We also found the speciality restaurants quite expensive considering we were only paying a supplement of an all inclusive cruise. However the dining club experience was to die for. One of the best meal experiences we have ever had. About six small courses with wine to compliment each course. Finishing with a brandy and port costing over £90.00. Surf and Turf restaurant was excellent too with a charge of £47.00 including a glass of wine each. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We selected this cruise as it was our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We always fancied trying a cruise but were apprehensive about it being a bad experience. Since we normally holiday with Thomsons (Tui) ... Read More
We selected this cruise as it was our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We always fancied trying a cruise but were apprehensive about it being a bad experience. Since we normally holiday with Thomsons (Tui) we felt we would be in good hands and this was a good decision. Overall I can understand how people choose to go on cruise holidays as the overall experience was fantastic. We stayed on in Mallorca for another 3 nights which was a lovely end to our holiday. I could nit-pick like the next one, but nothing is ever perfect and you adapt. Flew out to Mallorca, travelled by coach to the ship and the embarkation process was so well organised it was over in a couple a minutes. Went onboard and headed for our cabin. Within 15 minutes we had our luggage delivered to our cabin. The accommodation was spacious and as I said previously we had a balcony. The bathroom/shower was a little bit underwhelming. The shower looked a bit grubby and small. However the facilities are done to maximise the living space in the cabin and the shower was powerful and always gave me hot water. We slept well in our bed as the mattress was soft and very comfortable. With the gentle rocking movement of the ship as she sailed through the night gave us an excellent sleep. The bars were excellent, with the exception of the Indigo Lounge, which would be better named the Moon Bar as it lacked any atmosphere. The entertainment was very good. Some entertainers was better than others, but on the hole it was a very good standard. The staff were exceptional. They were so friendly and tried to enhance our holiday experience and nothing was a problem to them. The staff were a credit to the ships company and the greatest asset of the ship. As always there is an exception to this and we managed to find one bar waitress called Mansot who needs to go back to finishing school as she was aggressive and abrupt when we dealt with her. But that was easily sorted as there were plenty of staff to attend to us. Our first port was Palermo in Sicily. When we disembarked it was like running the gauntlet with the locals trying to sell their trips. A simple thing like get a taxi into the centre turned into a pressure sale to take a full tour for exuberant prices. We ended up walking into the centre, a walk of about 15 minutes. This set us up for what to expect at the remaining ports, but none were as bad as Palermo. We booked an excursion which was described as Discover the Canals of Livorno. It cost 76 pounds for two and was sold by the ship. It was very disappointing. We were never more than 10 minute drive away from the ship. We were dropped of at a smelly fish market and told we had an hour to explore, but warned that pick pockets operate in this area. My head was on a swivel the whole time When we returned to the ship I was annoyed to learn that passengers had walked off the ship and bought the same excursion for 12 Euros. The excursions I felt were expensive and were all much of a likeness. There was nothing that was exciting like snorkeling, scuba diving or zip wire adventures. The port of Villefranche was beautiful. We wanted to get the train into Monaco, but it was Bastille day which meant the trains were running on a limited service. However we decided to stay in Villefranche and it was an excellent day. So pretty and the quaint cobbled back streets were lovely. The ship was not alongside and we were taken ashore on the tenders. That was an experience. The food onboard was as I would have expected. A very high standard and even the market place which is the buffet style restaurant was very good. I certainly always found that there was plenty to choose from and I was never hungry. And I never had a dicky stomach either. The All Inclusive drinks package was very good and it was unlimited quantities of named branded spirits and beers. I was very happy with my lot. On the first night we went to the live show which was called Rockology. The singers and dancers were very talented and sang well. However I never got the theme of the the show. It was random songs being sung. Good show but lacked production to give it some meaning. We never went back but there was entertainment in every bar and lounge which suited our needs. Our last day was in Barcelona. We had a great day around the pool and the entertainment team provided a great pool party atmosphere. Overall it was a great holiday and experience which we will do again, without a doubt. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this ship because it was being re-launched with a new look. In hindsight we should not have gone on the 1st week as there were teething problems, but nothing worth writing home about. First reviewer has pretty much covered ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was being re-launched with a new look. In hindsight we should not have gone on the 1st week as there were teething problems, but nothing worth writing home about. First reviewer has pretty much covered everything although I would disagree with the standard of food in the all-inclusive restaurants. We had a bad experience in the Vista (Italian) which we obviously spoke to the waitress about at the time. Wrong order arriving, poor lasagna which resembled something out of frozen microwave box and came in the same looking container dish ...... not good. Diners to my right refused to eat the carbonara, TWICE. I really REALLY got the impression they were trying to steer diners towards the restaurants with cover charge. We encountered this on the Marella Dream but maximum cost was £20 per head. I think having 5 out of 10 eateries with additional cover charge is too much. Especially as the remaining all-inclusive 5 are really only 3, as 2 are combined within other areas. Vista being part of Latitude and the Tapas and Pizza places both being in the Mediterranean area. Don't get me wrong, everyone was trying really hard to make sure guests had a great time, especially Captain Peter and we did have a lovely cruise! PS - I wish I'd known in advance about the free fitness classes at Champneys, I'd have taken my gym gear. Although I did book a lovely treatment. Read Less
Sail Date May 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 3.7
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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