10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for itinerary – two sea days in two weeks and a route covering a good contrasting area of the Caribbean such as the dry arid island of Bonaire to the green lush island of St Lucia. Also ease of access is a bonus ... Read More
We chose this cruise for itinerary – two sea days in two weeks and a route covering a good contrasting area of the Caribbean such as the dry arid island of Bonaire to the green lush island of St Lucia. Also ease of access is a bonus – checking in at our UK airport and not seeing our luggage again until it arrives at your cabin is a bonus as too is arriving at Barbados airport and just walking a few metres to your transfer coach. Our first Marella cruise, but have cruised with Celebrity, RCCL, Azamara and Cunard over the past 8 yrs. We chose Premium cabin seating, adding this on a couple of months before departure. The included Escape Lounge at Manchester was quite good, very busy though but was a good step up from Aspire which we have previously used. The flights were very comfortable and you would certainly not go hungry or be uncomfortable on the flight with popcorn/crisps, two meals, plenty of drinks and water, hot towels, spacious seating and relatively good IFE. The Explorer is 22 years old and feels and looks her age in most places, she has a wobble too and is not the smoothest of rides where ever you are on the ship, yaw movement as well as a pitch and roll even in light seas. Parts of the ship are art-décor style such as the MDR restaurant and parts are modern, light and airy such as the coffee port and the Mediterranean restaurants and bar areas. The Broadway show lounge hasn’t been touched in refurb, with some carpets and seating in poor condition, a gold ceiling and grab handles, illuminated side tables with gold coloured surround which are so dated. The Market Place Buffet is the least updated, the new dark grey carpet and probably original seating, tables, panelling and ceilings are unwelcoming and dismal. Walking through the area between service the area smelled of stale water and unpleasant odour. We only occasionally ate here as it was often busy and other guests rarely used tongs etc to handle food. There were people in swimwear too – many of these guests were dressed to impress with plenty of body artwork, obese in size and little clothing. Drinks included wine were on draft. Fruit juice was only served at breakfast and not available at other times. Tables were cleared quickly in here though. Our cabin a deck 10 junior suite was a good size with an immense amount of storage. House-keeping was some of the best we have experienced. The extras for booking this class of cabin were not enough however, they should have included the premium drinks package. The extras were: Three items pressed per person for the first 24hrs even returned and re-hung in our wardrobes. two mornings of complimentary room service breakfast (continental) – which was very good – lots too!, a Lavazza coffee maker in the cabin, Clarins toiletries which were pleasant to use and express luggage delivery with speedy check-in. We never had any problems with the toilets or smells that others encountered. This forward cabin was extremely quiet too and we never heard noise from docking etc. The bathroom was quite spacious with a glass door on the good-sized shower, washing line, lots of shelving. The balcony was large with a hammock – rarely used, two chairs and a table and two sun loungers. We used our balcony quite a lot as the sundecks are cramped and noisy. We could hear the music on the deck 11 pool deck from the balcony. Our main gripe is the poor quality of food and drink, Marella are really counting the beans here. The included wines were poor quality, most of the pre-made cocktails at events and the theatre were so watered down with ice they were tasteless. We don’t drink excessively and ended up upgrading to the Premium package for the second week, also to enjoy the lovely Lavazza coffees in the Coffee Port – the lovely Phillipino lady working here was excellent in her work. The dinner menus in Latitudes both in choice and presentation often resembled a meal in a supermarket café. Poor cuts of meat, tasteless bland food and a lack of presentation and service which took forever, sometimes 40-45 mins between courses! Wine and water not refilled, having to chase up with staff orders and refills should not be necessary. The Vista the lower floor of the MDR was an Italian with a slightly better menu that changed every other day, but was very popular, hence pagers were often used with waiting up to an hour, we managed to eat here early between 6.30 – 7pm or 8-30 onwards. Service was inconsistent, there was not enough staff. We enjoyed the Surf & Turf restaurant, the main course and deserts were very good, the starters not so. Not sure it was worth the cost again other supplementary restaurants on other ships at a a similar price though. We also ate a couple of times at Med Tapas, the food was quite tame with not enough flavouring used. The Portuguese Espetada skewers were very good but at a supplement of £9.95. The meat on these was excellent. On one occasion, our two main courses arrived 30 mins apart! We were not charged the supplement. The entertainment was adequate, the shows we gave up on and were not of interest to us. The two girl entertainers flown in called Union Avenue were very good up in Indigo, with a couple of singers and guitarists around the ship very good too – vocally most were very good and extremely hardworking. We avoided the pool sailaway parties and BBQ’s – we like a good time but to see a 20 stone tattooed woman with a pint in her hand dancing dancing to calypso and reggae music is not a pleasant sight and multiply this by the other chavs (around 25% of the cruise guests) it was a low grade holiday camp. The staff themselves from Captain Peter who was very personable yet showed he was in authority and was always visible around the ship, I don’t know when he slept! (he needs to work for Azamara as they have great captains too!) were really friendly, welcoming and there was always a hello when walking about, yet the waiting staff in the bars and restaurants lacked training and service was totally inconsistent, yet you cannot fail to like them for they work long hours on eight month contracts. As mentioned the house keeping staff we had were some of the best we have experienced. The TUI-navigate app was very useful it uses the ships wifi (without charge as not connected to the internet) and you are able to access your onboard account, book restaurants, check your itinerary and book excursions, You can also buy internet use - which is very expensive, slow and not worth the money. On a final note and not many people that are booking may not be aware of is that you have to vacate your cabin by 8am on your last morning, this is fine if you are on a lunch time flight, however if you are not flying until early evening as many of the Barbados flights do then you will have to either try to book a limited number of courtesy cabin @ £35 or hang about the ship and book a slot in a cabin to use the shower. There is secure storage for hand luggage and your suitcases are taken from you the evening before departure. We managed to retain ours however I had asked on our arrival day. We would not return to Marella, the cruise cost over £3000 per person and for that money we expected more, especially in food and drink quality. My title R&R could mean.... 'Rough and Ready' are guests and ship in place. Rum & Reggae- order double to taste the cocktails and be fed up of hearing Mysterious girl, Red, Red Wine each day reggae style and it could mean Rest & Relaxation - yes in places, our balcony was quiet, parts of the ship were too, mostly not though. It is entry level cruising and for those loyal to the brand they need to experience other lines. Also, for those loyal to Marella they need a loyalty scheme. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I don't have any other cruises to compare it with but we found the marella explorer to be brilliant value for money . We stayed in a suite number 10041. Fantastic cabin with a separate living room and bedroom . Plenty of storage space and ... Read More
I don't have any other cruises to compare it with but we found the marella explorer to be brilliant value for money . We stayed in a suite number 10041. Fantastic cabin with a separate living room and bedroom . Plenty of storage space and the cabin got cleaned twice a day . The balcony was huge with and it had plenty of seating plus a hammock . We upgraded to the premium all inclusive . This was £200 overall for the two weeks for 2 people . The main reasons for the upgrade where the extra selection of gins and whiskys on offer . Plus the coffee is free in the coffee port . You also get bottled water delivered to your cabin as well as access to soft drinks on the bars . On top of all this there is a better selection of cocktails and beers/ciders and wines. We found this upgrade very useful . The food is the free restaurants was a little disappointing compared to all inclusive hotels I've been to . The market place is good for a quick meal and the MDR is nice but the portions are small and you can wait a long time for your food . Our favourite was vista. We also tried the sushi and the surf and turf which are paid restaurants . Both excellent and worth the money especially the sushi . We only went to a couple of shows and we enjoyed them . The comedians they had on weren't to our taste, very old hat . We did all our excursion through TUI which in hind site we should have done more local tours . They are a lot cheaper . This is the a list of the excursions we did so if you want to know more just contact me : ARUBA SIGHTS AND BEACH BONAIRE 4X4 GRENADA RUM RUHNER ST LUCIA ULTIMATE LAND & SEA BARBADOS TURTLE ENCOUNTER ANTIGUA CRUSOE ISLAND ROAD TOWN CANE GARDEN BEACH The only negatives about the cruise was the lack of space on the main deck during the sea days . You had to be up really early to get a bed . The food wasn't the best and it would be nice if they had better quality wines available . Overall we had a very enjoyable experience and we will defiantly cruise again with Marella Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we went on a 16 day cruise round some of Spain then onto Madeira, then 6 days at sea over to the Caribbean. We cruised the year before with P&O and we thought the service we received was as good. we loved the ship even if it n't as ... Read More
we went on a 16 day cruise round some of Spain then onto Madeira, then 6 days at sea over to the Caribbean. We cruised the year before with P&O and we thought the service we received was as good. we loved the ship even if it n't as posh as P&O. we thought the food was very good in the restaurants Latitude & Vista and didn't feel the need to spend money in the others. The service from all bar staff was very good and the all inclusive package was excellent for us. The only two negatives are...… we find the staff in the retail shops to be really rude and unfriendly . we thought the prices changed for internet was far too expensive and lots of people had bad experience using it. overall a great cruise and we would 100% go on the ship again. The embarking & Disembarking was fantastic and well organised. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their ... Read More
The ship as a whole is good, plenty of bars to visit, but my main concern with all the Marella ships that they have acquired in the past few years is the entertainment. The standard is very poor, this year was the worst it has been. their specialty acts they brought on for the duration of the Atlantic ocean was to be honest DIRE. I have seen better acts on my local social club, a tribute Take That act that said they were not a tribute act but like to sing their songs. well I did not pay a lot of money to listen to a Karaoke night as a show night. There were two so called comedians who were in my opinion as funny as a funeral and as for the resident acts, so boring, no life at all no chance of dancing to any of it apart from the disco on the 12th deck. The Celebration is an older ship but I never had a better time than on there. Finally the Shows on the Broadway Theatre, singing and dancing shows virtually every night, no West End musicals like they used to be I would say that they have drastically cut there entertainment budget but increased their prices for maximum profit. This may sound like Victor Meldrew but after talking to many passengers during the cruise we were all of the same opinion. Goodnight and happy cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like I've ... Read More
The flights and logistics We had a delayed departure from Gatwick 20mins nevertheless after a comfortable flight we were safely in Palma. The process of getting from baggage claim to the coach was not great as it was raining (like I've never seen rain like it before) On arrival at the port our cases were ferried from the coach (A little Wet) and we picked up our boarding cards for cabin 9176 and within 20 minutes we were on board and exploring. First impressions There is not the wow factor of Indy with the multi storey atrium but they have managed to get a lot in the ship. Areas that felt a little small to start with then we noticed how much more room you have per person we had, but the ship is in lovely condition albeit there are perhaps a few blemishes but we were more than happy. Our cabin We were in cabin 9176 which is a standard balcony. It was immaculately presented and quite spacious. where I was only allowed 3 drawers, a shelf and two hangers we reached a more equitable distribution and all our 40kg of luggage had a home. The cases fit under the bed if you lift the frame to get them past the lip. Our cabin steward Roberto was a handsome young chap and very polite and thorough. We were very content. The bars/drink We decided not to get the premium Ai package. The house red was very pleasant as were the other wine options we tried. In terms of everything else the Ai suited us as it does contain main brands and we are not fussy over whether the gin is Gordon's or Tanqueray . It has much the same effect after sufficient numbers. Of the bars we tried squid and anchor, the lounge, indigo bar and the pool bar. We really liked the lounge and also indigo was a good spot for a drink before the club started as it was quieter and had some of the best views on the ship and a thank you to Imer,Rita and Anna for great service. Places to eat/food For breakfast we tended to eat at the market place. The choice was plentiful and most days I managed to resist the temptations of the fried bread. Most days. There are good options jn terms of cereals, fruit, cooked and continental options. We had no issues in getting a table at any time. Lunches we used both the market place and the Mediterranean. The options in the market place were nice and fresh and had variety. In the med I had the bespoke pasta option. Taste wise it was very nice indeed although perhaps a little oily. For our evening meals we generally ate in latitude 53, We never had a poor meal with highlights for me being the beef Wellington. Service wise it was excellent but we had some incredible service from Annette and Capella and they are an absolute credit to Marella Explorer . Entertainment All of the entertainment from the quizzes to the meditation classes were excellent and the show cast were all very talented and excellent individuals singing at the piano including Matt CD Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was ... Read More
Absolutely lovely cruise.... staff from room cleaners through to management were excellent... bar staff fab.. Anthony in the squid and anchor and lllian in the whisky and gin bar were fantastic.. Clifford our brilliant house keeper was tops never a problem to do anything for u... food choices galore restaurants staff amazing... these guys work long hours but are always polite and give u the time of day... would 100% book with marella explorer again... had a problem with our room nothing major.. but the ship manager got us moved straight away.... fabulous time couple of days a bit wet but hey 15 nights without cooking makes up for that... entertainment good.. broadway show room is like going to London except in London u don’t get complementary drinks... ship was very clean literally inside and out were kept clean daily and more than once a day... couldn’t ask for a better first time cruise The 6 days going across to the Caribbean were long but hey we knew wen we booked... oh and the guys at the Lavizza coffee port loved seeing me at 7am every morning Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery ... Read More
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery 2 on many accounts and I feel you all need to know. The Market Place restaurant is typically a Spanish Hotel's 3 star Buffet junction - deplorable without question. Head chef should be sacked. The pay as you go restaurants were very nice but also very pricey as individuals but at £75.00 pp for 3 dinners OK. They reception staff are complete nonentities who didn't know what they were doing or how they were doing it and served up countless lies to my son, who received a note from his bank saying that they were charging him OD facilities as TUI started to take any fees immediately and not on cruise end. A breach of conditions! If you are a smoker, which I am not, you will get wet, have to sit on other knees and generally be treated like animals by the whole ship's company. They don't clean ashtrays on a regular basis. Moving on perhaps the worst single event was the Explorer talent show. They offered a prize of £250 as well as a recording date in Hamstead for the overall winner. A young man, who works for Jet 2 as a cabin steward won the competition. To everybody's shock the Captain and Entertainment Officer refused to pay out the £250 and offered him £50 and decided not to go ahead with the recording studio. He later was abused by the general manager for so called cheating as well as a member of the shows entertainment people. This is a disgraceful breach and needs to be dealt with by TUI. Finally the waiting staff and room attendants were absolutely brilliant, but beware of the management. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Having cruised with Thomson (Marella) a few times we decided to try one of the new additions to the fleet and the ship itself is very nice at first glance and is well laid out. The market place buffet is typical of modern cruise buffets ... Read More
Having cruised with Thomson (Marella) a few times we decided to try one of the new additions to the fleet and the ship itself is very nice at first glance and is well laid out. The market place buffet is typical of modern cruise buffets areas quite a good choice of foods but badly laid out causing a lot of queuing problems especially at peak breakfast times. The resteraunt is a different problem choice of food is not great but adequate but the lack of staff is not acceptable to slow a service. The spa is a massive space and is not overly expensive but has one major fault there is no indoor hydro pool and this is a shame because all class spas have them. Our cabin was cabin number 10103 a large balcony cabin and yes it is a large balcony but the room is far to small and the bathroom had a very bad smell all week which after talking to other guest they had the same problem so again a Marella cruise has problems with the santitacion side.one great addition to the balcony was the hammock that was very comfortable and nice for a lazy afternoon kip. The squid and anchor bar was very nice and in one corner it has the premium gin and whisky bar and that is a nice area with access to the outside smoking area which was always well used a lot of smokers were on this cruise. The casino area which incorporated the indigo nightclub was a good concept with two blackjack tables and one five card stud table plus live roulette it was adequate in size for the ship. But because the ship was all inclusive it attracts a lot of non cruise tramps at sea who think that getting dressed up is to wear scruffy t shirt shorts and flip flops, and drink to ecsess ignorant rude people who really should not be on this type of holiday they should stick to Benidorm. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was ... Read More
Wanted to go to different places in the Western Med (as been to all the main sites). Embarkation was excellent all the way from off the plane to arriving at our cabin (comments on cabin below). Everything was easy and smooth. There was only one person trying to sell extras as we embarked (premium drinks), which was also nice and the photographers weren't pushy either. We didn't need the extra drinks as the inclusive package had enough decent drinks to easily satisfy us and the quality of the house wines was plenty good enough. All the staff were absolutely excellent and caring. they were always helpful and polite, with a genuine smile (and the number of staff who said good morning to me at 06:00 was truly impressive). The reception staff were always polite and attentive, even during our issue with the cabin.The waiters in the main restaurant and Vista (table 118) were absolutely brilliant, for breakfast and dinner - with no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment was pretty good, we attended a few quizzes, but there was this and then bingo - which was not for us. The shows we saw were generally of high quality, though someone does need to explain the COGS concept to me as it was just confusing. Though the dancing was good the story was completely missing (e.g. girl called Celeste, but Roxanne was putting on the red light...) The food at breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant was of excellent quality and fresh/hot every time. Getting lunch in the Market Place was also easy and there were no queues when we went there, so no problems getting a place to sit and eat at all. Shore excursions were excellent (apart from Pisa and the wine trip associated, Pisa really crowded and the walk from the coach park too long and difficult, with street vendors trying to sell you tack for the last half a mile. The wine tour/tasting involved 2 minutes of talking then leaving us in a tent with nice food and reasonable wine for a long time). The Palermo wine tasting trip was brilliant and of much better quality (and so was the wine). The trip to Herculaneum was a real eye-opener and there is much more there than in Pompeii. The Pals village trip we really good and rice tour very insightful. Monaco was brilliant and though we didn't stay with the tour of the old part, we bused close to Casino Square (number 1 or 2) and then walked back down the F1 track to the star finish area, had a coffee then went back to the main road to catch the bus back up the hill, in time to rejoin the coach. Note there are ticket machines at major bus stations that allow you to buy tickets (1.5 euro's for 1 way) rather than 2 euro's on the bus and the screens for bus progress are excellent. Ticket machines with English annotation. Disembarkation was easy from off the ship and to the airport (it couldn't have been easier to find the luggage and get on the coach). The airport itself is chaos with late planes and too many people and not enough staff (not a fault of Marella). Overall this cruise and the staff exceeded my expectations and we would put Marella above MSC (terrible) and Royal Caribbean (good) based on this experience. The value for money and not having to pay for tips or drinks meant our bill at the end was 20 x what has been on other lines. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had a fantastic time on this cruise. Our balcony cabin on deck 9 was spacious and had plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. We upgraded to the premium drinks package which was an extra £50 and although not necessary you can then ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on this cruise. Our balcony cabin on deck 9 was spacious and had plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. We upgraded to the premium drinks package which was an extra £50 and although not necessary you can then have special cocktails, gins etc and your soft drinks are cans also 1.5 litres of water in your cabin every day. You can also have a lovely coffee in the Coffee Port which would be an additional cost otherwise. Vista was our favourite restaurant due to the food choices and also we found the waiter service there was even better if that's possible. As it was a special occasion we paid £35 each to eat in the Dining Club which was a great experience as the food and service were exceptional. We also paid an extra £27 for Surf and Turf restaurant and the food was first class. It's not necessary to do this, you could easily have a wonderful time on board without any upgrades. The waiters work so hard and are so friendly and helpful. Many of them are away from home for 8 months at a time but still managed to make us laugh. Entertainment in the fantastic show lounge was OK and we also had a choice of other singers in the various lounges. The one negative experience happened when we got home and I believe has nothing to do with the staff on the ship. Our bill was paid in full and the money deducted from our Bank account however we still have a "pending" amount of £335 which is restricting access to our funds. I've emailed Marella but it's still to be resolved. I don't have a lot of faith in Tui's customer service due to previous experience and feel this may drag on. I hope I'm wrong as apart from this we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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