4 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
7 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
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group). Age range 50 to 60 This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand. Started back in June 1999 on the good old ... Read More
Birthday celebrations - group of 12. (First time cruisers for 4 of this group). Age range 50 to 60 This was our 15th Cruise with Thomsons/Tui/Marella. So obviously a fan of this brand. Started back in June 1999 on the good old Topaz and last sailing previous to this latest one, was on the Discovery (September 2017) The Journey... Upgraded to Premium seats for the first time on the flights, and well worth the extra we paid, service superb. Included lounge at Gatwick, niggle... was expecting the same on the return from Barbados, which didn't happen, we feel this should have been included, but apparently it is only BA passengers that are offered this facility. Must have been a mistake, but we had exactly the same films on the outbound and inbound journey. Extremely disappointed with the transport Marella laid on to get you to and from the ship, rust bucket of local buses, nowhere to put your hand luggage, very cramped, and somewaht dangerous...this is POOR Marella and not a great first impression and needs to be improved quickly. Embarkation at Barbados port was ok, although could have been more welcoming, (music etc) as per previous cruises. Accommodation.... Cabins on this ship are not the most exciting, we were on deck 10, extended balcony cabin. Very dull colour scheme and dated, Balcony was great very large. Our cabin stewards Cyrus and Patrick were FANTASTIC It is apparent that the big spend has been allocated to the public areas, which are really nice, the ship is absoutlely spotlessly clean. Entertainment.. The Broadway showroom is very impressive and the entertainment team are extremely talented, although I believe this was their last week on the explorer before moving on to explorer 2. Dining... The 1st week we dined in Latitude 53 3 times, food was fine but we felt the restaurant lacked atmosphere, Vista x 1, not a good experience, food cold, erratic service. Med Tapas x 3, which was our favourite dining area out of all of the all inclusive restaurants. Consistenly great food and service Market place very good for breakfast and lunch (if you were on board), but evening selection was quite poor, this didnt bother us very much as we prefer to be served, at dinner, rather than self service. The 2nd week, we took up 3 of the speciality restaurants, 1.The Dining Club, 2.Surf and Turf 3. Kora La WELL WORTH the £75 extra. The service and food, were absoulutely superb in all restaurants. The decor in the dining club was very special, hard to pick a favourite though, as all were so good. INSIDE BARS... Favourite bar was the Med/Tapas area inside and out on deck, the lovely young Darren was an absolute professional in taking and servicing our large order., he is a real credit to the team. We also used the Lounge bar quite a lot, very pleasant, great service and staff. Personally, not so keen on the squid and anchor, although this seemed very popular with many guests, too dark and karaoke etc not really our thing. NEGATIVES... 1. Booked the speciality restaurants at Guest relations area and the member of staff who carried out our bookings, was extremely sullen and certainly did not have the personality for this front facing role. 2. Day time snack shack and bar above, staff not so friendly and smiley and the ready mixed cocktails at this bar, were absolutley disgusting. 3. Champneys - beautiful, but why oh why so expensive, false economy, make the prices more attractive and perhaps your average cruiser may be more inclined to take up some of the treatments. IN CLOSING... Cannot praise the Staff enough, they are all so friendly and work so hard (apart from the odd 1 or 2) Captain John has a great sense of humour and mixes well with the passengers, often found myself laughing aloud at his amusing announcements and wit. Other officers, also extremely professional, yet maintaining a really friendly vibe. All round...It certainly came across that this is a very friendly, happy ship and a lovely team of people, who really do want you to have the best holiday. Ports of call on this Caribbean Cruise were absolutley fantastic and the weather and calm seas, were perfect. Still a fan of Marella and will definitely cruise again with them. May try Explorer 2 next year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Just returned today from a 2 week cruise with marella explorer in the Caribbean, a party of 6 adults.. We have been on about 12 Tui cruises and this one was very disappointing the food in the main restaurant in an evening was not as good ... Read More
Just returned today from a 2 week cruise with marella explorer in the Caribbean, a party of 6 adults.. We have been on about 12 Tui cruises and this one was very disappointing the food in the main restaurant in an evening was not as good as on previous ships in fact we left our food on a few occasions because of the poor quality. Market street restaurant was ok but almost the same thing everyday. We did not go to the entertainment in the broadway show lounge every night but the shows we did go to were very good. Our cabin was a bit dated as all Tui ships are but big enough and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space and kept clean by housekeeping staff. The music and entertainment round the pool area was very very loud as was anything that was going on in the said and anchor pub but plenty of quiet areas if you wanted quiet. The itinerary was good and captain John and the crew were great as were most (not all) the staff Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & ... Read More
We did this cruise for my 50th birthday, Having previously cruised on the Marella Dream we had high expectations for the Explorer. The transfer & check in system from Bridgetown was excellent and we were aboard ship within 1 & a half hours of landing. We booked an inside cabin on deck 8 which was fine if a little on the small side, even though we had booked a larger 4 berth cabin, there is no way 4 people would manage. Plenty of wardrobe space, usual shower room my only complaint would be no iron in cabin. I spoke to head of housekeeping regarding this and was informed an iron is a fire hazard and any clothing requiring ironing would be sent to the laundry.... For a charge of course!! Dining ... We ate breakfast in the marketplace, perfectly adequate with an omelette station & poached eggs on request, along with all the usual buffet. Latitude was disappointing, tasteless food , the vista was far better quality so we ate here mostly. We didn't pay for any extra dining but did try the tapas which was nice but the portions for 2 were very very small & we felt rushed. The squid & anchor was like butlins, listening to Lisa from entertainment do a quiz with 2 other members running round cruisers for answers is not what you expect on a cruise. Nor karaoke!! Avoid at all costs.we liked the lounge for drinks with the piano and lovely singers, the beats, resident band were also very good. Broadway entertainment was mediocre, saw better on the dream. The first night was soul & Motown which was excellent but it went downhill from there, the entertainment team were doing a changeover & I must stress those that left were far better then the new members, a special mention to Tobias who was a fantastic singer, far better then the girls who sounded like they were in competition every night. The poolside quiz was fine but again mid afternoon was spoiled by Lisa who played music far too loud & liked the sound of her own voice. You can't fault the cabin staff or any of the bar staff or waiters they were all excellent. A special mention to Vanessa & Suzie who worked the bars & Joseph on the pool deck. We didn't book any trips & just did our own thing but couldn't fault any destination. Captain John was great & very informative with a great sense of humour. I'm no snob but some of the dress code should of been addressed, tracksuit bottoms in a restaurant should not be allowed, whilst smart casual is ok I think Marella need to look at listing what is acceptable. All in all a lovely cruise but could of been excellent if the niggle things were sorted. This is a Marella flagship but in my opinion the Dream was better. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First of all let me inform you that my husband and I have cruised many times with many of the main cruise operators.This is our opinion of our New Year Carribean cruise. The staff throughout the ship are pleasant and efficient. The ship is ... Read More
First of all let me inform you that my husband and I have cruised many times with many of the main cruise operators.This is our opinion of our New Year Carribean cruise. The staff throughout the ship are pleasant and efficient. The ship is clean and well maintained. The entertainment was good. The major issue with this ship is the food in Latitudes Restaurant and the Lido Buffet. In both of these eateries the quality and choice of food is poor. We visited Latitudes on the first evening of our trip and left very disappointed indeed.For the rest of our cruise we ate at Vista (Italian and included in fare) or at one of the speciality restaurants. To eat in the speciality restaurants, Kora La, Surf and Turf and The Dining Club cost us £220 but knowing that we were assured of a good meal made it well worth the price. The difference in quality is staggering and begs the question if Chefs can produce excellent meals in these restaurants, why is it not the same throughout the ship? The answer is obviously cost but in our opinion cutting costs with food is a big mistake and deters passengers from booking with Marella again. In the middle of the week all of the speciality restaurants were full, with people being turned away or put onto waiting lists should guests not turn up. Marella strongly encourage guests to pay for an upgrade in drinks, offering well known brands as opposed to local ones. Why don’t they have the good sense to put £100 pounds on each fare and up the quality of food? Marella you seriously need to up your game. Also there is no loyalty scheme for frequent sailors.Others offer free WiFi, laundry, mini bars and excursions. We are at the top of some loyalty schemes and have received all of these benefits. Where is our incentive to book again? We have been told by our local Tui branch that a loyalty scheme has been discussed several a times during the last few years. Remember, there is a lot of choice when booking a cruise. Food plays an important part in any holiday and the number of foodie programmes on TV , shows the appetite the U.K. public have for well cooked great looking meals ! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been ... Read More
Very Disappointing, having previously cruised with Thomson's and been delighted with the ship, staff, service & entertainment the new addition to the cruise fleet "Explorer" the overall experience certainly has been disappointing and NOT up to the standard of previous Thomson cruises. Firstly, the Explorer, although it may be considered that the Atrium of the ship is a waste of space it creates an outstanding focal point, a hub usually with pleasant bars, music & conversation. This is missing on the Explorer and the redesigning of the ship is a miss-match with speciality restaurants being created from corridors and even the Shushi restaurant has a walk-way (corridor) going through it. The Casino is tucked away in a corner (a little like an after thought stuck in a corner). You have to walk through the buffet restaurant to reach alternative bars with lots of people walking in swimwear (very unhygienic). The food although served hot, in the main restaurant lacked variety, bars are under staffed and public areas are left uncleaned, with dirty glasses, tables and bins overflowing. There is certainly a lack of staff and some border on uninterested, compared with some who are outstanding. The entertainment programme was poor with one professional act within 7 days and the Thomson entertainment staff where also very poor (something which previously on Thomson's cruises has been exceptional) although the resident band "the Beats" where enjoyable. On the sea day the entertainment team were happy to play a film out of deck, in fact every day at least one film was shown (really entertainment?!). Our cabin was pleasant (our Cabin stewards outstanding), but by the 5th day the bathroom smell was overwhelming and a trip to reception to complain was necessary and the smell/fault was resolved for 2 days until the 3rd day when the smell came back in fact the whole ship smelled (sorry). There is no indoor pool & although Thomson promote that one of the outdoor pools during a period of day is purely for adults this was never enforced, nor was the smoking/vapouring policy with vapouring on decks & bars. The All Inclusive drinks menu has also been revised with many of the cocktails being removed or now on the premium drinks menu. If you have cruised with Thomsons before you will be disappointed, if you haven't cruised with Thomsons then don't do the Explorer! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Ruby anniversary, and wife's 75th birthday. Upgraded seating on plane, luggage allowance, and to a extra large balcony cabin. Start with the cabin. You can't control the air con. It is either hot or cold. everyone had dry cough's, and colds. The bathing area is at least 8 inches higher than the cabin floor. This is awkward, and dangerous at our age. The toilet is a joke, you sit on the toilet with your left arm on a sink, and your right arm on a toilet roll holder. The cold water is warm, and the shower door only get by at a squeeze. The wardrobe doors are directly outside the bathroom door. So be careful. The gap at the bottom of the bed is about 18 inches wide. With a tv sticking out. Watch your shoulders. The bed is metal framed, and the mattress was in need of being replaced. Not packed up with blanket, and mattress protectors. The food choice in the market place was repetitive, poor quality, and cold. The entertainment was abysmal. In the Squid & Anchor you had a quiz, followed by virtual reality entertainment. In other words a projector screen with musicians on. This was repeated on deck 11. The lounge had a piano with a couple of singers. Heard better in the local. The broadway had such as an illusionist. Who just did card tricks. And what shows they did, where performed by the entertainments team. They put enough ice in the drinks to sink the titanic, and it took you half an hour to get served. You had to pay in the coffee shop, and if you went before 10-00 it was double the price. You could only smoke in 3 places on the ship, outside the squid and anchor at back of ship on deck 7, Outside the coffee port on deck 6, if it was open. And on deck 12 between 10-00 and 03-00. Weather permitting. So you have to leave your partner, if they don't smoke. Whilst you went up and down the ship. There are different levels to gain access to certain venues. This is because the middle of the ship is not open. It gets confusing, and tiring. The lifts sometimes close their doors on you. I have bruises to prove it. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 3.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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