By Leon Beckenham
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

The ship has 915 cabins, broken down into: 357 with balconies; 230 outside and 328 inside. There are numerous cabin types (seven in all) in different styles and layouts, including suites, solos, family and accessible. The percentage number of balcony cabins may not be high by modern-day cruise ship standards (39 percent), but it is very high for Marella -- the next highest, Marella Celebration, has just seven percent.

Standard cabins are comfortable and clean, and even the smallest have soft seating and desks with chairs; upgraded cabins add sitting areas with sofas and coffee tables. Storage space is generous, with plenty of hanging racks and shelves in the wardrobes, deep drawers and more shelves in the desks and bedside tables. All have also been refurbished and modernized in smart Marella colours (light blues and pastels), as well as splashes of turquoise and orange, patterned carpets, and contemporary artworks. However, although they superficially look and feel new, 21 years is a long time in the world of cruise ships, and there are aspects that feel dated. Some of the wood panelling and bathroom fittings look dated, while other aspects -- such as lack of keycard slots to activate lights -- feel old fashioned.

All cabins come with the following features as standard: air-conditioning, hairdryers; 32-inch flat-screen TVs; tea- and coffee-making facilities (with Yorkshire Tea teabags) and electronic safes. There are around a dozen TV channels that include Sky and BBC news, a couple of movie channels (with countdowns to the next showing), a few music stations, and a live video stream from the ship's bridge. Suites have a number of additional features (see below).

Compact bathrooms have ample storage in IKEA-style units, mosaic-backed basins, and large mirrors. While showers have excellent water pressure and temperature control, each has only one small shelf and the dreaded clingy plastic curtain -- which can also make for wet floors. Toiletries in most are limited to hand soap and wall-mounted generic 'body wash'; suites however feature a set of Clarins-brand products -- a surprisingly luxurious touch.

Plug sockets are U.S.- and European-style (not U.K.-three pin), so bring an adaptor. You'll also have to unplug either the kettle or minibar in some rooms to use the European sockets.

Note you can reserve a specific cabin for £45 on all Marella ships.

Inside: There are three types of inside cabins ranging from 12 to 15 square metres (132 to 165 square feet). The smaller ones are on decks 2 and 3 and sleep up to four people. They have twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed and a shower room. The three- and four-berth cabins have upper berths that fold down for extra sleeping space. At the upper end in terms of size are the Inside Plus cabins on decks 7 and 8. They have the same features but sleep just two people.

Outside: Outside cabins can be found on decks 2 and 3, and have a picture window or porthole. They have twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed, a sitting area with a sofa, and a shower room. The three- and four-berth cabins have upper berths that fold down for extra sleeping space. They are 14 square metres (150 square feet). The second Outside category is 'Deluxe', which are bigger (20 square metres or 215 square feet), and features a floor-to-ceiling window. They also have a sitting area with a sofabed and shower room. They sleep up to four people and can be found on decks 7 and 8.

Balcony: Standard Balcony Cabins are 13-14 square metres (139-150 square feet) and are located on Deck 6. They have a small sitting area, a shower room and a small balcony, big enough for two chairs and a small table. Deluxe Balcony Cabins are larger at 15-16 square metres (161 to 172 square feet) and are on decks 6 and 7. They have all the same features, except that if there are four of you, you'll also get a sofabed.

Suites

All suites enjoy a number of extra amenities and perks including coffee-pod machines and fancy bathroom toiletries; express check-in; priority luggage delivery; free pressing service (up to three items per person in the first 24 hours onboard), and free Continental breakfast-in-bed (one per person, per week). All suites also have bathrooms with tubs. Suite guests also have access to the Executive Lounge on Deck 8, which has concierge facilities and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Note: The Family Cabins are all classified as suites and so are entitled to suite perks.

Junior Suite: There are 67 Junior Suites on deck 8 which come in at around 21 square metres (226 square feet), and can sleep up to four people. As well as twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed, there is a wide sitting area, with a sofabed, two chairs, a circular foot rest and a coffee table, which leads out to a square-shaped balcony, wide enough for two loungers. Back inside, you get ample wardrobe space, two bedside tables, a minibar and a coffee-pod machine. There is also ample shelving for books/laptop charging etc. The bathroom has a tub with shower. There are some variations on the Junior Suites, including an aft Junior Suite, which is a square room with no corridor, but a bigger balcony.

Grand Suite: There are 12 Grand Suites measuring 32 square metres (355 square feet) which have a 10 square metre (114 square foot) balcony. They have the same features as a Junior Suite, but the extra space means there is more distinction between the sleeping and sitting areas, with an L-shaped sofa and a larger corridor/foyer area as you enter. There is also a large mirror behind the bed, and a raised bar area as you enter.

Executive Suite: There are five Executive Suites, which come in at a vast 47 square metres (505 square feet). They have a separate living area, divided by glass doors, and which features a queen-size sofabed, a fixed desk, numerous chairs and occasional tables and a glass wall leading out to the balcony. The sleeping area has a queen-size bed.

Royal Suite: The ship's top cabin on deck 8 at the front right is the aptly-named Royal Suite which measures up to the size of a small flat: 90 square metres or 990 square feet. It comes with a separate living room with a sofabed, a bedroom with a king size bed, and even a baby grand piano. The balcony is the size of an inside cabin -- 12 square metres (139 square feet) -- and the bathroom features a whirlpool tub.

Singles

Inside single: These come in at 12 square metres (132 square feet) and are on decks 2 and 3. They have exactly the same features -- and are in fact the same size -- as standard inside cabins, but are specifically for solo travelers (i.e. you don't have to pay the single supplement).

Outside single: These are on decks 2 and 3, and are specifically designed for solo travellers. A picture window or porthole offers sea views, and the cabin has twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed, a sitting area with a sofa, and a shower room. These cabins measure 14 square metres (150 square feet) and are the same size as a standard outside, you just don't have to pay the single supplement.

Family: There are two types of Family cabin: Family Junior Suite and a Family Suite, both with balconies. The Family Junior Suite is on deck 8 and is 39 square metres (419 square feet) and sleeps six. It has one bedroom with twin beds (which covert to a queen-sized bed) and a living area with a double sofabed and twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed. The Family Suite is a touch bigger (40 square metres/430 square feet) and sleeps seven people, in two separate rooms -- one with twin beds that convert to a queen-size double bed and another with a fold-down bed. There are two bathrooms, one with a shower, and one with a tub. Plus, there is a living area with a double sofabed.

Accessible: 12 cabins are wheelchair-accessible and available in two categories: insides (14 square metres/251 square feet) and outsides (slightly larger). They have open bed frames, wider entry doors, space to turn, lowered desks and wardrobe hangers, bathrooms with wide doors, roll-in shower with a fold-down bench, support bars, a raised toilet and a lowered sink.

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