Sail Date: October 2018
It was a late decision as we already had another cruise booked for November. We saw that Marella Spirit’s last cruise was advertised as having a fireworks send off from Malaga. That was enough incentive so we signed up. Sailing at ... Read More
It was a late decision as we already had another cruise booked for November. We saw that Marella Spirit’s last cruise was advertised as having a fireworks send off from Malaga. That was enough incentive so we signed up. Sailing at ten in the evening meant that there was time for exploring the sights of the city. Malaga has improved dramatically over the last decade and the port area with shops and restaurants is a delight to walk around. The old city around the Alcazaba, cathedral and Roman amphitheatre is interesting too. The sailaway was on a calm, mild October evening. As we left the port entrance, cruise director Ted reminded everyone that Spirit had visited 41 countries and 213 ports whilst covering over 700,000 miles for Thomson/Marella over 16 years. There followed an impressive firework display to set the atmosphere for an amazing final week. Marella had laid on several ‘little extras’ and souvenirs to mark the occasion from a glass of sparkling at check in, a free arrival photo and special chocolates for this final cruise. First full day was a sea day and friends often say that we must be bored on a sea day on a cruise – far from it. There was plenty to entertain us from a talk about the ports to be visited, a backstage tour with the entertainments girls, cocktail demo, an afternoon play and music around the ship. This was also the day for the Captain’s Gala reception and dinner. Most people dressed to impress but sadly I found the meal itself somewhat under-whelming. This contrasted with otherwise excellent food throughout. Meals on Marella are tailored to British tastes with great cooked breakfasts and roasts at both lunch and dinner. There were plenty of alternative choices and vegetarian options too. Stage shows were high quality and they were complemented by good groups, pianist Alex and, particularly, saxophonist Callum Sweet. Comedian Phil Doyle was hilarious. Mark Labbett from ‘The Chase’ was a special guest and a great favourite for ‘selfies’ although at 6 foot 6 inches tall he towered over everyone. We found staff always helpful and cheerful in spite of many not knowing where their future lay at the end of the cruise. The crew show highlighted that many had been on the ship for ten or more years so the end of the Tui era meant a life-change for them. Most contracts seemed to be ending and many were returning home for a break and to seek new challenges. The captain in charge of the first sailaway in May 2003 was invited to take charge of the final departure from Cartagena – a nice touch. There were tears from many both on and off the stage after the last night’s show and final talks from cruise director Ted and Captain Kafetsis. Many passengers on the cruise had sailed multiple times on Spirit and knew the crew as friends. This was our first cruise on Spirit but we felt part of the ‘family’ by the end. We had visited all of the ports before but found something new in each. Barcelona never ceases to produce something fresh to see and we explored Toulon for the first time. The only excursion we took was in Valencia where we had an excellent guide and the ship’s price for the tour was good value for money. This was our third cruise with Thomson/Marella and we have always found a happy atmosphere on their ships. This was also the smallest ship we have been on and it was without the variety of the newer monster ships of other cruise lines but it meant we could get to know the entertainments team and had a great time. Thank you to all the Spirit team and we wish them all well for the future. Next week we are on Marella Discovery and looking forward to another interesting voyage – but no fireworks this time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We had to have one last Cruise on this ship. We have fond memories of cruises past and we were not disappointed with the service we received. Our destinations had to be changed due to predicted bad weather. Almeria was lovely but I'm ... Read More
We had to have one last Cruise on this ship. We have fond memories of cruises past and we were not disappointed with the service we received. Our destinations had to be changed due to predicted bad weather. Almeria was lovely but I'm afraid Casablanca did not do.it for us and a lot of fellow passengers. The show team worked tirelessly to entertain us in the evening. The ad hoc singing in Horizons was for us was the best nght. All the shows were great and the dancing was brilliant especially on the Moulin Rouge night. The food was excellent although it was noticed that there were less choices on the menu in the Compass Rose. The staff were so proffesional and most attentive. The whole crew contributed to a great cruise and will always be remembered for the unique "Spirit" of the Spirit. It is sad that the ship is going. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a ... Read More
We chose this 2 week cruise to say farewell to the ship. Very sadly we were not able to sail on the very last week which sounds as if it is going some farewell party. This was our seventh cruise on the spirit. The crew are the best like a big happy family who always make you fell welcome. Special mention to our cabin steward Regie and Salem for looking after us do well and the lovely towel animals. Thank you to Harly and Kevin in the compass rose every night they brought smiles to our faces. Thank you to Adrian the maitre d' and Mario and Kent our wine waiters. Yes the ship is a bit tired looking but I would choose her any day over one of the huge ships that are on offer today. I hope Marella don't go too big because there is a market for the smaller ships.we had a great holiday good food, great atmosphere and very friendly staff what more could you ask. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose a "cruise and stay" package from TUI/Marella/Thomson as we hadn't visited any of the ports (Gibraltar, Cadiz, Portimao, Lisbon and Porto) apart from Malaga itself, and because we fancied a week on the Costa Del Sol. The ... Read More
We chose a "cruise and stay" package from TUI/Marella/Thomson as we hadn't visited any of the ports (Gibraltar, Cadiz, Portimao, Lisbon and Porto) apart from Malaga itself, and because we fancied a week on the Costa Del Sol. The destination ports were absolutely brilliant and we couldn't have asked for more in 7 days. The staff, almost without exception, were attentive, courteous and friendly. The entertainment was in parts good, though rather 'samey' for our liking, not being into musicals or MOR music. The biggest negative of all was the food on board which overall was appalling. The self-service restaurant ('The Lido') was the usual bear-garden on a cruise ship; the waiter-service ('The Compass') was pretty bog-standard,and somewhat cramped. No compaints about the cooking, but the quality and choice of food was more reminiscent of a M1 service station or a works' canteen than a cruise ship. For example, in 'The Compass' the standard alternatives to the daily main 'specialities' were hot dogs or cheeseburgers. The chefs' parade was celebrated around the trumpeted 'baked Alaska' which turned out to be no more than a slice of (Walls'?) Neapolitan ice-cream with a blob of meringue sitting on top like a pea on a drum. Some of the meat should have got got Michelin stars - but from their tyre division as I could have run my Nissan on it. Much of the fruit & veg tasted tinned or frozen. 'Marella Spirit' was on one of its last few journeys, but to be honest, it shouldn't have got this far. It vibrated more than Greek plumbing and was dated and drab. Some loyal passengers will no doubt call these features 'character' or 'atmosphere' and their resilience and stoicism has to be admired. Personally, we would not go near a Marella cruise again unless the standards improve dramatically. GET NEW SUPPLIERS/BUYERS, Marella and give your exceelent staff something to be proud about. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Just returned from 2 weeks on Marella Spirit and i must say we had a great time. Couple of issues but the staff who work tirelessly really made the holiday. From the first class service in the Compass Rose to the two wonderful cabin ... Read More
Just returned from 2 weeks on Marella Spirit and i must say we had a great time. Couple of issues but the staff who work tirelessly really made the holiday. From the first class service in the Compass Rose to the two wonderful cabin stewards Samir and Milo. The only negative would be the shows in Broadway. The team worked hard but it the shows were not as professional as I have seen on the Majesty and The Dream. The ship certainly had character and its a shame that Marella are taking her out of service. It seems Marella want to compete with the big boys, but there is a big market for the smaller ship which has a lot more character. During our holiday we had the opportunity to tour the Explorer which was docked in Gibralter. Very impressive ship but much to big with no atmosphere. All the very best to all the staff from The Spirit Sue Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was ... Read More
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was acceptable but not as big a choice as on most ships these days. There was only a little waiting to get a table for two at dinner. We thought the entertainment was good as is usual with Tui, excellent costumes and they certainly presented it with lots of enthusiasm every night. The ship leaves Tui this year and it is probably the right time as the trend moves to larger better fitted out ships. To the Irish couple who thought they knew us from somewhere else but none of us could figure where from. We checked our holiday photos and it was from a tour of Eastern Canada in 2016, small world - hope you see this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the entertainment wasn’t for us, very Hi De Hi, they tried hard but lacked any sophistication. The food was plentiful though more canteen than cuisine. The ship was old and we were surprised Tui were associated with such a vessel; though we believe this is its last year - the paint work was awful, no straightlines to be seen! The continuous promotions to sell photos, treatments and items from the onboard shops was tiresome - shame on you Tui. The cycle tours were excellent and highly recommended. The cabin was shabby, though very well cleaned twice a day by the excellent stewards. In summary, if you want games, fun and frolics with like minded passengers this is the ship for you. If you want sophistication, an up to-date ship I’m sure Tui can do better. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Have been on marella cruises before and have generally enjoyed them although have never been on spirit before. Chose this cruise as the itinerary was less arduous than others we had been on. The ship yes is a little dated but only adds to ... Read More
Have been on marella cruises before and have generally enjoyed them although have never been on spirit before. Chose this cruise as the itinerary was less arduous than others we had been on. The ship yes is a little dated but only adds to its charm and yes it does vibrate but it didnt really bother us. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was spacious clean and constantly maintained by our lovely stewards. It was close to horizons bar which is relaxed comfortable bar great fir a pre dinner drink with amazing views. We never had any disturbance from the close proximity to the bar Food great we ate in the compass rose and had excelent meals every night. Food was hot well presented and tasty. We also ate in sirroccos one night. This was brilliant lovely food excellent service and plenty of good wine. The show lounge we went for the 10.30 shows. Not really West end standard ..but we didnt expect that and enjoyed them all. The staff on board were great really friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy their work. They performed in a talent show and it was great fun. Ports of call .mahon easy access just a stroll of the ship and then bit of a steep climb up to the town. Barcelona as we have been many times before went i nstead to the nou camp stadium tour which was excellent. Toulon lovely place got the little road train for 3 euros and went to the beach area then back to the marina lovely day. Valencia got the shuttle bus into valencia then open top bus trip. Not that keen on this place big city bit a huge amount to sight see. Cartagena very pretty again easy stroll from ship nice shops and cafe culture. Back to malaga where we transferred to our hotel for a week would like to add to the twit that managed to take our case with our cabin number clearly on it to Malaga airport.. really !! Thanks for that. But a big thank you to the TUI team who got it back to us that night. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Before I start the review just want to say we are a couple in our mid-20s and recognise that our review may not be reflective of every bodies experiences!! The ship The ship is very old and dated. This has been stated in previous ... Read More
Before I start the review just want to say we are a couple in our mid-20s and recognise that our review may not be reflective of every bodies experiences!! The ship The ship is very old and dated. This has been stated in previous reviews so possibly our fault for not researching better. This means there’s not a proper mini fridge in your room, the boat is REALLY shaky (we only have celebrity cruises to compare to) and I felt like I was on a little fishing boat some nights with how much we felt the sea. In our cabins but mainly at dinner and in the evening entertainment. Really bad vibrations! We thought we were staying in a double room but we got a twin bed. Usually would have been fine but told on the first night the beds don’t push together so we slept separately and at opposite sides of the cabin for the whole trip which was not great. Only one plug in the whole room and too low to plug my hair dryer or straighteners in...! Bathroom is fine but again a bathroom you’d expect on a tiny/old boat - not a Tui cruise ship. Food Some nights we ate just fries. The food in the al a carte and buffet restaurant is mainly the same every night. If you ask to sit alone at a table for 2 you will likely still be joined by other people once you have sat down. We enjoyed the 6 course restaurant on ship and felt this was great value for just £20pp. The food in the 6 course was of the same standard as the a la carte on celebrity or royal carribean. Staff Amazing! Really friendly. Really enjoyed the quizzes and evening entertainment. For us we didn’t enjoy the broadway shows as much but we are used to celebrity cruise where they fly in West End/BGT contestants often so perhaps unfair to compare the entertainment. We did see a British comedian that flew in for the night who most people found very funny and enjoyable. Pool The pool cannot be called a pool. It’s more like a bath. Most of us were disappointed by the pool, which looks bigger in photos. The water looked dirty and is definitely not big enough for everyone. We are usually big pool lovers - but we didn’t go in once on our holiday. Overall we wouldn’t recommend cruising on the Marella spirit. Without question, staff were friendly and always professional and attentive. But the ship is just too old/shaky (often felt unsafe) and the facilities and food is not of the standard that we look for in our holidays. We paid the same for our Spirit 7 night as we did for our 10 night Celebrity Reflection - both around the med - and cannot be compared! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our second time on the spirit and again really enjoyed every moment. Had a balcony suite so it was really lovely to sit on the balcony after a long day of walking. Every one was so kind, cheerful and helpful. Made lots of friends as we ... Read More
Our second time on the spirit and again really enjoyed every moment. Had a balcony suite so it was really lovely to sit on the balcony after a long day of walking. Every one was so kind, cheerful and helpful. Made lots of friends as we were in the Compass Rose every evening and sat with different interesting people. One evening as we were eating, a pod of dolphins and tuna swam past, and the ship slowed down so that everyone could enjoy seeing them- I doubt if the bigger cruise ships would do that! The ship is extremely clean and the food isn't cold as some reviews said. Enjoyed the entertainment every evening and the team are so enthusiastic and give 100%. We went on two trips- the tuk-tuk and Gibraltar on tour own, but you could do both on your own really because the tuk-tuks are waiting for you in Lisbon and you could walk really early to the cable car in Gibraltar and no queuing. Porto itself was very disappointing but the beach was lovely. Gibraltar- be warned some of the shops close early on the Saturday., Read Less
Marella Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 4.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 2.0 3.7
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates N/A 4.0

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