7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much ... Read More
After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much longer. This is not the first time - see reviews. Access to ship far too steep - why not a lower deck? Outside cabin ok but continual noise all night as ceiling panels vibrating so noisy - new ship? Seatings a problem everywhere - lounge, market place, indigo and theatre. Food fair in market place and 53. Found vista for last 2 days - much better. Staff in restaurants don’t seem to be allowed to be part of your holiday - Spirit was fun- Explorer dead pan waiters. Shows poor quality- team worked hard but material terrible - what was cogs all about? Far too loud-too much visual effects and flashing lights. Oh, Spirit was 10 out of 10. Did not participate in any of the daily activities other than walking ourselves around the deck! Days at sea were dead - why no speaker - why no play by show team? Met some of our old Spirit team - Spirit is still their ship- no further comment required. Out of control is the “show your appreciation to the magnificent crew” - how many times were we asked to applaud? Leaving the ship was just as bad. Group 8 had 1000 leaving at same time to queue, get transfer bus and finally find luggage. WHY not make groups of 300 max. So view of Marella is that they have totally lost the Thomson “spirit” that made cruising so enjoyable. Sorry Marella but it’s goodbye from us Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad ... Read More
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad decision. Must say the cabin is spacious and well furnished BUT the inescapable element is constant noise from the deck above. We noticed it initially during the first day, noise of furniture being moved and scraped along the deck. The first night we were woke at 5am, then at 1.30am second night. It appears the deck was being cleaned which needed furniture to be moved. Formally complained in writing, no one responded and had a third night of disturbed sleep. Altogether had to complain 3 times to the “hotel manager”, not impressed at all with the response. The cruise was spoiled by the noise as it is a constant irritant when in the cabin, even during the day. A number of other issues occurred such as on embarkation we were told there was an IT problem which meant long queues while dropping off luggage in the car park and within the terminal building. Luggage was not unloaded on time from the ship after disembarkation, again huge queues in the car park whilst fork lift trucks were coming and going delivering suitcases. The food generally in the restaurants is adequate, not of a high quality. Got the feeling that some of the crew were very inexperienced, and required further training. Overall, it is downmarket, it was a bad experience and will not be going anywhere near a Marella ship again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs ... Read More
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs and a hammock! It was ideal to get away from the hustle and bustle of the pool deck areas and really chill out. Okay the Marella explorer is not brand new and not as huge as some of the other cruise ships but for us it as just right. The main self service dinning room served a good range of hot and cold dishes which changed daily, and if you wanted a full English breakfast you'd have to go a long way to beat it, we also tried out the specialty restaurants, some you had to pay a cover charge for, but well worth it, and the all inclusive drinks package was the best we ever had, all the top and well known beers and spirits.We can't praise all the staff on-board enough, from the cleaners to the ships Captain, nothing was too much. Plenty of hand sanitisers' everywhere, entertainment and activities were suited to all age groups and were well organised, The only thing I would do differently next time would be to book shore excursions on-board the ship, yes they are more expensive than doing it yourself but it saves the hassle of being pestered by the hoards as you walk out of the port area into local towns, overall we had a fantastic first cruise experience and certainly do it all over again, especially on the Marella Explorer. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit ... Read More
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit chewy and tough. Having said that anyone who can't find something good to eat must be the most picky eater ever. Such a wide variety. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9, it was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The balcony had two chairs of reasonable comfort and a small table. There was a kettle and fridge in the cabin. Bath, hand and pool towels were provided along with face cloths. There were two pools, not large but big enough and quite deep. There was also 3 jacuzzi's. Plenty of entertainment to suit everyone. Good variety of drinks and cocktails included in the drinks package. Didn't bother upgrading to premier for more choices. There was enough. The premium cocktails were not that expensive at £2.50 a time. The champneys although expensive were fabulous. Paid to keep a room on last day at a cost of £ 35, wasn't really worth it, only allowed to have it from 10 til 1.30. better to pay £15 each and book into the spar where they have lockers sauna's steam rooms, hot seats, fresh air room and sleeping room. Fabulous place. Loved every minute. The shore excursions run by the ship were over priced. We tended to get the tours on shore from official operaters and taxi's. Much cheaper and really good value. The people on the islands we visited were really friendly. The only island we found that tended change prices at a whim was St Lucia but even there we enjoyed the tour. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels ... Read More
My partner and I chose this cruise/ship to celebrate my 65th birthday. Lovely, clean ship and could not fault the crew. Our outside cabin on Deck 5 was of ample size for the two of us and was kept clean twice daily with towels changed etc. We ate in the Market Place buffet restaurant on our first evening which, as with other Marella cruise ships, had very average fare. Our intention was to eat in the main dining room, Latitude 53, for the rest of our cruise. Oh dear. What a letdown. The service was appalling both nights we went and didn't go back. Therefore, we were limited for choice. As for the Broadway show lounge, we found the entertainment rather poor compared to other cruises we have been on. And the two guest acts - "comedians" - were woefullly dire. But the sun shone (mainly) and we didn't allow the downsides to mar our holiday. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I must say the standered of food in the resturant was good, and the Vista resturant very good, but the variety could have been more varied, the buffet resturant did not have choice of other cruise ships we have been on. The main resturant ... Read More
I must say the standered of food in the resturant was good, and the Vista resturant very good, but the variety could have been more varied, the buffet resturant did not have choice of other cruise ships we have been on. The main resturant was very random with service, one night 2.5 hours to get served the meal, another 1.5 hours to get first course, there was never any reason to it, some nights water and wine as you sat down other nights had to ask 4-5 times to get anything, many managers walking about but could not see the problems the waiters were having., each night was different with different problems, number of people complaining but no one seemed that bothered, that was the first time I have ever complained on a cruise. Pointed out the problems several times to resturant manager, and senior manger on ship, really made no difference. Went to the paying Asian resturant one night which was very good. Bars, on first day on board at sea there seemed to be no control on the amount of alcohol some people were drinking, which did result in several audications between passengers but any no one bothered. The entertainment team were very good and the shows excellent I must say we got on with the cruise and enjoyed our self, but having cruised with many companies we will not be sailing with TUI again, it has some way to go compete with the establish cruise lines. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second cruise with Marella, having been on a seven nights cruise to Jamaica on Discovery 2 last January. Our experience on board Explorer was very good. The staff were all amazing, very professional, friendly and nothing ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Marella, having been on a seven nights cruise to Jamaica on Discovery 2 last January. Our experience on board Explorer was very good. The staff were all amazing, very professional, friendly and nothing was too much trouble for any of them. A special mention to Yonique, Fernan and Vladimir in Vista, Ana (from the Dominican Republic in the Lounge, Mediterranean, Coffee Port and Broadway Show Lounge areas) and Flavia, our cabin steward. They all contributed in making our holiday very special, with their constant smiles, friendliness and great service. The standard of entertainment provided by the team in the Broadway Show Lounge was second to none. The variety of shows and high standards of singing, dancing and acting were absolutely amazing and something we looked forward to watching every night. We cannot comment on the comedy acts as we didn't attend any of them. The standard and variety of the food on offer in the main restaurants was very good. The only criticism would be a lack of consistency with some of the drinks, particularly those where mixers were involved i.e Bacardi and Coke, Gin and Tonic. Depending on the bar attendant, they could be either the correct strength or very weak. However, taking into consideration the fact that the cruise is all inclusive, the overall impression is that it is very good value for money. The port of calls were all absolutely fabulous with a good variety of excursions on offer. The outbound and homeward flights were on time, with great staff and onboard entertainment. Overall, the cruise was a fabulous experience and we wouldn't hesitate to book again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to visit the Caribbean islands offered on this cruise. We also wanted to go “all inclusive”. We chose back to back cruises Tropical Delights and Paradise Islands.We also wanted to avoid lots of “at sea” days. We flew ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Caribbean islands offered on this cruise. We also wanted to go “all inclusive”. We chose back to back cruises Tropical Delights and Paradise Islands.We also wanted to avoid lots of “at sea” days. We flew direct from Gatwick to Barbados. The flight was comfortable and the staff helpful. The transfer and embarkation process was smooth and uneventful and our cases were in our cabin shortly after we were. There was a good choice of restaurants and lots of food choices. My husband loved a cooked breakfast every day and there was lots of fresh fruit and lighter choices if you prefer. Dinner served in Lattitude was good. Interesting menu and plenty of choice. We ate at one of the special restaurants (small supplement) on a couple of occasions and were delighted with the food and service. There were a number of bars and even a pub on board. These offered entertainment and the cocktails were delicious. We would not recommend paying the supplement for the Premium drinks package. If you want Gordon’s gin instead of an imported spit it just ask as it’s included. Entertainment in the Broadway lounge was good overall. Every taste was catered for. Not everything was to our taste. We booked our trips in advance of our cruise and the tickets were delivered to our cabin. Overall the trips we took were very well organised and interesting. We have already booked for January 2020 for Flavours of The Caribbean and Pride of Panama. This time flying direct to Jamaica. Our Marella Cruise on the Marella Explorer was fun and great value. Thanks to TUI. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The Explorer having recently come into service with TUI is a larger ship than the Discovery. We paid extra for a Junior Suite which was worth every penny due to the size of the balcony which included 2 sun beds (this was great on sea days ... Read More
The Explorer having recently come into service with TUI is a larger ship than the Discovery. We paid extra for a Junior Suite which was worth every penny due to the size of the balcony which included 2 sun beds (this was great on sea days due the lack of availability on all decks of beds and the usual reserving) a full size table, 2 chairs and an hammock where included. The premier service included fast track check in which was very efficient, fast delivery of luggage (this was very poor with cases being delivered 2 hours later) 3 items of clothing pressed and breakfast in the cabin twice. The cabin has the most storage I have encountered on any ship with a vast amount of drawers and hanging space. The other facilities were a kettle, coffee machine and makings that were replenished daily. A flat screen TV, hairdryer and a double settee in addition to a good sized dressing table and chair and a safe was provided. The bathroom had a full size double shower with a glass door and bathroom liquids were replenished daily, the towels were changed regularly and were of good quality, in addition to 2 beach towels. The ship has a multitude of bars which are all tastefully decorated, the main restaurant is on a split level with an Italian menu downstairs and the food choice excellent. Other specialist restaurants were available as was a self service facility providing food most of the day. The All Inclusive drinks worked well with a good range of beer, wine, spirits and cocktails although coffee was not included and had to be paid for. The bar service was excellent, however, the service in the main restaurant was sporadic, the staff worked very hard but a lack of staff meant unacceptable delays and wrong food orders being delivered. Having been reminded of the need to fill in the post cruise email by the Captain we have never received any post cruise communication from TUI, we have contacted TUI previously on this subject and also brought it to the attention of the staff whilst on board, once again no opportunity to give feedback after this cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We ... Read More
We travelled on Thomson cruises many years ago and thought we would give the Explorer a try. The itinerary and timings suited us. We booked an inside cabin as we rarely use balconies preferring to spend time either ashore or on deck. We did upgrade to the premium class flights and a premium drinks package. The ship was extremely busy which we anticipated. However, we did not expect some of the children on board to be unsupervised by their parents/grandparents to such an extent as to make the cruise unpleasant. Despite 'No Diving' signs on the pools the children continued to do this which can be very disconcerting to older guests and also potentially dangerous. I rarely saw a lifeguard around the pool to stop this practice. As a vegetarian I found the food awful. For example, a vegetable pie with the crust extremely hard and the rest of it raw and uncooked. We did ask to see a chef and he did come down to see us but was not particularly helpful. What shocked was when he admitted he didn't taste any of the vegetarian dishes. A couple of the restaurant managers said the same thing. The vegetarian option for Christmas Day dinner was mushroom crepes. Surely something more seasonal and exciting could have been offered? Our inside cabin was perfectly acceptable and the steward worked very hard. The service in the dining room (other than the specialty restaurants) was extremely slow and the food usually arrived lukewarm at best. I do not think this the fault of the waiters simply that there are just not enough staff to properly offer a good service. We did not book any tours preferring to explore on our own so cannot comment on those. The Embarkation process was smooth and it was an added bonus to have luggage checked in at Gatwick and then be taken straight to the ship.T The Lounge bar is style over substance in my opinion. The design makes it difficult for the waiters to work in and there are far too few of the to cope with the needs of the guests. We did not see the shows so again can make no comment on them. The pool and deck areas are extremely busy and I did not once see the '45 minute rule' being implemented. Some chairs were left unattended for up to five hours and no effort was made to remove belongings or towels. We will definitely not be sailing on this ship again and probably not cruising on any other Marella vessel. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it visited so many different places in the Caribbean - we only had one sea day in 2 weeks as we did a back to back cruise. When we landed at barbados we walked off the plane on to a waiting coach which took us straight to the cruise ship - we didn’t have to go through passport control or pick up our baggage which was a definite bonus. We must have been on the boat just over 3/4 hour after stepping off the plane and doing the necessary photo shoot etc. Brilliant service. The ship had been recently refurbished so was quite nice but not the best we’ve been on. The cabin was plenty big enough, as was all the drawers, wardrobe and storage space. More than we’ve had before. The bathroom was nice with the biggest shower we’ve ever had on a cruise Ship which was good. We enjoyed the food but my only complaint was the beef which was nearly always tough! I had two steaks which were both tough and the roast beef was a bit better but not tender enough for me. All the rest of the meats I had like pork and lamb were very tender. We ate downstairs in the Italian restaurant at no extra cost. We enjoyed the food down there. The staff in the dining room were brilliant and could not do enough for you, we never ever had to ask for our drinks topping up as the waiters were there topping you up before you had finished, or in my case, getting me another Fanta orange as soon as I had finished. Also I had a latte coffee after my meal on the first night and I never had to ask for another as it was always there waiting for me as soon as I finished my meal - though we always asked for the same table / waiters. The quantities were also bigger than you usually get on a cruise ship - that could explain the weight gain !!!! The singers in the theatre had brilliant voices, the dancing good, as were the costumes. Unfortunately what let them down was the production. They had a soul night one night, the next night a rock night. I love rock music but they sang songs we hardly knew ! Another night was west end musicals - they only sang two songs we knew ! Another night was called cogs - and that’s what it was about - cogs !!! The producer did some really ‘off the wall’ stuff. If they had sang songs we knew it would have been brilliant with their voices but it was spoilt ! We also went to see a comedian one night and he was absolutely rubbish! We didn’t laugh once. I wasn’t overly impressed with the singers around the boat, they were ok but not fantastic. We visited a lot of ports which were good but the excursions were quite pricey. We got taxis outside the port for a fraction of the price but even the taxi prices have gone up in the last few years. We did one excursion through the boat and we went kayaking in Antigua. Our guide was lovely and couldn’t have been more helpful, offering to take pictures of us or holding on to us when we were walking around the speedboat (stationary!). He was really pleasant and polite and at the end of the tour he whipped his hat off to reveal he was one of the theatre singer, Trez (pronounced Tray - however you spell it !) he was absolutely lovely, a credit to the team. We had to be out of the cabin at 8.00 am on the morning of disembarkation but we were allowed to stay on the boat all day and use the facilities. We’ve never had this on a boat before as usually we have to go straight to the airport in the morning, even if we’re not flying until the evening. We also booked a courtesy cabin and although we only had it for 20 minutes it was long enough to get a shower and changed. So all in all that was a bonus being allowed to stay on the boat for the day. Before we went we read reviews that although it was all inclusive you had to pay for water. That was certainly untrue. They poured water every night with meals, and topped you up. You could get water in the bars, around the pool, in the market place and there was a water machine outside cabins so you could fill your kettle. - first time we’ve ever had a kettle and tea / coffee in the cabin. I would definitely go on this boat again - as I would the airline - which was roomy and plenty of food and drinks on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was ... Read More
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was completely ignored, but the most alarming thing was the attitude of the general manager who accused me of cheating at the casino even after cctv showed I wasn’t and made of with £80 of my money ,i also got food poisoning on the 2nd day and was confined to cabin for 24 hours after the doctor was pretty sure it was food poisoning but again the general manager didn’t agree ,I sent a letter to the CEO of Marella Chris Hackney nearly 4 weeks ago, and still no reply, as I said in the heading ....Butlins at Sea ....but that’s probably unfair to Butlins 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
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First time cruising and we both loved it from day one the party atmosphere when we set off was really good we knew then we were in for a good time as the second day came around the crew were so polite and helpful. Right let's get onto ... Read More
First time cruising and we both loved it from day one the party atmosphere when we set off was really good we knew then we were in for a good time as the second day came around the crew were so polite and helpful. Right let's get onto the cabins they are a little small but clean and tidied twice a day at the end of day you only sleep in them we were out everyday soaking up the atmosphere on pool deck with waiter service giving ice cold drinks bottles corona San Miguel or peroni lager or if you want strongbow John smiths or even cans draughts Guinness just a sample of what you can have not to mention cocktails ha the food was always a good quality and plenty to choose from your never go hungry even in night time after a night out the market place is open for a scoff we did do trips out won't mention that as others have said anyway overall like I said first time on the waves we both have different views on cruising and will be going again Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 ... Read More
Last minute booking was a little dubious as had sailed with TUI before and was disappointed with the state of the ship (celebration)old and shabby looking.. I needn't have worried as Marella Explorer is stunning launched in May 2018 it is jam packed with all the things you would expect and much much more, beautiful public areas, cabins and large pool area, first class entertainment, show lounge is more like West end theatre and shows are breath taking, nice adult only deck to escape the lively pool area if needed, plenty of choice of food which was amazing. Had last meal at Kora Li Asian infusion restaurant, paid extra but so worth it, food, presentation and service were excellent. All the staff were verý friendly, welcoming and helpful, amazing cruise, amazing ship, would highly recommended. Fantastic value for money. Would definitely book with Marella again. My only criticism would be the high prices in the on board Champneys spa. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Marella Explorer and the crew were absolutely first class. Waiters in the eateries were all very polite, and Geronimo and his merry band were very entertaining. All of the staff were very attentive, always smiling giving a happy relaxed, ... Read More
Marella Explorer and the crew were absolutely first class. Waiters in the eateries were all very polite, and Geronimo and his merry band were very entertaining. All of the staff were very attentive, always smiling giving a happy relaxed, laid back atmosphere throughout, not stuffy at all. Food was brilliant, everything was immaculately clean in all public areas. Cabin was spacious, balcony was a bonus. Make use of the safe ! Everyone was so friendly, and chatted and passed on advice to each other. My advice would be to research and plan excursions before you go, coaches don't have a toilet and can spend a lot of time in traffic queues, restricting sight seeing time. A rickshaw in Barcelona was recommended, instead of bus. Elaine the welfare officer was very helpful, lovely person!! Receptionists weren't always helpful, a little standoffish at times. Latitude and the Market Place were my favourite places to eat. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 15th cruise with Tui/Marcella and it was the best. It was wonderful to have a door on the shower instead of a wrap around curtain. All members of the crew were great, but as usual the attention of some need a mention. ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise with Tui/Marcella and it was the best. It was wonderful to have a door on the shower instead of a wrap around curtain. All members of the crew were great, but as usual the attention of some need a mention. Jesus,Walito and Tamara in the restaurant and Naren in the Market Place all of whom gave such incredible attention to detail. The ship was great, even better than Discovery2 The cabin was better than any we've had before. The food was super with plenty of choice. The broadway shows were fantastic but as one reviewer mentioned no one came round with drinks while the show was on,our take on that was you could pick up a drink as you walked into the theatre our bring in the drink or drinks of your choice and the show was never spoiled by someone standing in front of you. We found all service excellent. All transfers and flights were good. We are hoping to go on the explorer again this year loved it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. ... Read More
Marella Explorer I’d like to say this cruise was fantastic, we’d been on a Caribbean cruise last year, and hoped this would be as good. I’m pleased to say it was not just as good but actually better. First the positives: 1. We had a great cabin on deck 10, it had a large balcony with a hammock, sun lounger and table and chairs, the shower room was lovely, and on the whole it was kept very clean. Plenty of hanging space and drawers for our clothes. 2. The restaurants were clean, tidy and plenty of choice. The dress to impress evening was lovely and we met some really nice people that shared our table. 3. The front of the ship had an adults only area, it was quiet with waiter service, we always managed to get sun loungers, what a bonus. 4. There was a huge screen on the pool deck. Lots of guests watched the football. 5. The excursions were definitely worth the money. We can’t comment on the excursion for Rome as we cancelled it. 6. There was always seats in the theatre, and we attended a few of the shows, they were quite good, 45 minutes was long enough. 7. The food was very good, even fussy eaters would have found something, there was plenty of choice. The negatives: 1. We feel the ship is understaffed, on our first evening we waited 30 minutes for a starter, we were brought the wrong drinks 4 times, we actually felt sorry for the waiters, who were almost running between tables, one of them informed us that he on previous cruises looked after 5 tables, on this cruise he was looking after 13. Often there were only 2 bar staff, with up to 20 to 30 people waiting to be served, it was actually quicker to go into the buffet restaurant and pour yourself a drink. On the subject of drinks, bizarrely all wines, larger and soft drinks were freely available in the a la carte resteraunts, but in the buffet restaurant you couldn’t get a soft drinks, and at the bars you had to pay for water! 2. BEWARE this is not an all inclusive cruise, you have to pay in most of the restaurants , a steak meal on dress to impress evening incurred an additional £100 approx. 3. You had to pay for ice-cream, and coffee in the coffee lounge. 4. To exchange beach towels you had to leave them in your room in the evening when the cabin boys came into check the cabins, usually this was around 6ish when we were trying to get ready for dinner. 5. Items from the mini bar had to be paid for, NOT all inclusive. 6. Children were allowed to jump in and out of the jacuzzis completely unchecked by staff and parents, it stated clearly next to the jacuzzi children under 13 were not allowed in it, children under 16 needed to be supervised by an adult. On one of these occasions one young girl around 4 years old urinated in the jacuzzi, we found this completely unacceptable also their parents whilst sat in the smoking area were passing food to the children. This seriously needs addressing. We did actually complain to reception, they said to call security if it happened again. 7. Our holiday was cruise and stay, our disembarkation was an absolute shambles, as the TUI staff didn’t seem to have any idea, where people should queue for their specific coach. 8. WiFi is very expensive, and you can’t use 3G or 4G on board. On the whole we had a lovely time and have booked another cruise next year. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was only the second cruise my husband and I have been on and were so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse including our dealings with the provider TUI. We had booked a balcony cabin as we have in the ... Read More
This was only the second cruise my husband and I have been on and were so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse including our dealings with the provider TUI. We had booked a balcony cabin as we have in the past but although the room was pleasant, it certainly wasn't the standard we expected. There was a dummy dial (did not work) on the wall for the air-conditioning but it did not control anything so all day and all night we had cold air blowing directly on to our bed for the whole week. We went on the second sailing for this cruise ship and it was quite obvious, that things were not what they should be. Many of the staff, although always polite and helpful, ran around like headless chickens and it was obvious that management had not completed training of the staff. The food was OK but not as good as we had had on a previous cruise ship with a different company. I think that probably the worse problem was with the toilets. The public toilets were constantly having to be closed as the sewerage was overflowing and floating which smelt dreadful at times. Staff tried their best to keep on top of the problem but it is obvious that this old refurbished ship was not fit for purpose and was not able to take the volume of passengers. I can understand why things such as norovirus can spread quickly on a ship. There were many other issues which are too many to mention but I think what I am most annoyed about is that on the day after our return to the UK, I emailed TUI to outline all my concerns and problems. They did not respond so after 28 days I had no option but to contact ABTA who are no handling the complaint. A simple apology from TUI with acknowledgment of the problems the ship was having would have been sufficient but it has now angered me that they didn't even have the common courtesy to contact me following my email. I now have to wait a further 28 days for ABTA to try and resolve the matter but if nothing is forthcoming, I shall pursue the matter further TUI ..... (from a very annoyed TUI customer) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and our second with TUI and our first visit to the Eastern Med, The whole of the journey from Belfast to Palma went smoothly, The return flight home was delayed by 2.5 hrs due to a bird strike on the aircraft the day before, The information given to us at Palma was "You know as much as we do" which wasn't very helpfull. This was advertised as Marella Explorer first sailing? The ship was launched in May 1996?? I would rank it as a average cruise ship with nothing exceptional or nothing really bad apart from the things below. Bars -- I found that in all the bars I visited that the staff were very obliging but were very inexperienced The waiter service was slow and that orders were frequently wrong, The bar & waiting staff were also not familiar with the computer terminals that they were using that led to ques forming, on one occasion I noted that there were five staff behind the bar and only one serving and on another I asked for my usual drink and was told that it was not on the all inclusive package and that I would have to upgrade to get it, after I was told this I went to reception to check this out and was told that the bar staff were mistaken. Restaurants Market place- Only ate here a few times and found that the food was genrally good but was let down by food being slowly replaced when required and that some hot food was only luke warm. On one day the only plates that were available for salad and cold meats were just out of the dishwasher and were hot. Latitude 53- The food at latitude 53 was good where we mostly ate Most of the staff here seemed experienced and most orders were served correctly but one lunch time I made the mistake of ordering a Vegeterian Burger after a 20 min wait the waiter apoligised for the delay and said the chef was making it from scratch when it arrived 15 min later I was disappointed to find that it was just fried cooked lentals with a sice of tomato in a burger bun, Definitely not Restaurant quality. Broadway Show lounge The entertainment in the Broadway Show lounge was good and varied we were able to get seats on all the nights we went there except one where we had to stand for half of a poular show, On this night there was a portion of the seating cordoned with a sign saying reserved seating, the next day I questioned this at reception and was told that "It is not possible to reserve seating" I then asked why there was reserved seating the previous night? The receptionist took my cabin number and told me that she would list it as a complaint and get back to me. 10 hrs later I had herd nothing and went back and saw another person and was told that there was no complaint noted and that she would try and find out for me about the reserved seating, After consulting with someone in the back office she came back and said that the seats were probibly reserved for crew members as it was captains night and that if I wanted to see a show that I should arrive earlier to which I replied "Is it TUI policy to put the crews comfort above there passangers" To which there was no reply So I can only assume that this is the case. At 07:00 one morning the captain came over the PA to tell us that we had docked and that we were free to go ashore I asked at destination service (There was a que at reception) why there was a need to make the announcement so early and was told that it was for the benifit of the passengers going on excursions to which I pointed out most were not and what about them, I did not receive a reply. I was considering going on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords next year but it will not be on the Marella Explorer, Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting ... Read More
This cruise was suggested to us by our local Tui store so we went ahead keeping an open mind. We didn't realise this was the inaugural sailing of the Explorer, and were pleasantly surprised at the generous promotional gifts waiting for us in our cabin. Embarkation was easy and the systems employed throughout the cruise proved efficient. We had mixed feeling about the increased balcony space at the expense of stateroom floor-space. The hammock and lounger were useful.... but so would have been the space in the room: you can't have everything so it was what it was. Our room attendants were superb - always friendly and helpful and a credit to the ship. It would be remiss not to mention the first morning's confusion, but suffice to say, from then on, everything on the ship appeared to run smoothly. We chose to eat in the dining room and one has to say the food was superb. My only criticism was that although wine and beer were available with the meal, spirts were not. On the subject of wine, the quality of the wine on tap in the Market Place was awful. Not only could I not drink either red or white, I saw countless glasses of unfinished wine on tables left by others doubtless of the same opinion. The theatre and entertainment by contrast, were fabulous (no other word for it). The dancers were so professional and "together", they could have been on the West End stage. The musicians were equally as good (as well as those throughout the ship). The theatre was as good as I have ever been in: the seats were well placed. with lit-up tables and efficient waiter service. The captain was ever present and approachable: we managed a bridge tour where we enjoyed his hospitality and shared some of his experiences. A big thank you the crew who made or cruise as enjoyable as it was 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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