3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were ... Read More
Was going to give them 3 stars for a cheap and cheerful cruise but you have to give TUI an extra star for the help and support we received from their staff. We took 3 kids, one only 8 months and most of the airplane and ship staff were brilliant. Positives: - Drop bags at check in and don't see them again until you're at your cruise ship cabin - Great airplane staff who can't do enough for you - Decent food and service on plane - Coach Transfer to ship waiting upon arrival and you're whisked off without going through all the hassle of the airport - OK sized cabin - Well stocked buffet with nice fresh (mostly) salads and plenty of choice, although does get a bit samey by end of 2 weeks - The free A La Carte restaurants of decent standard with good service - the paid-for ones were OK but you wouldn't miss much if you didn't visit those - Informal dresscode which was great (wish I knew this before I lugged a tux and a suit halfway round the world lol) - Impressive refurbed show lounge with comfy seats not-bad acts - Good selection of beers wines and spirits included - Great housekeeping staff who cleaned our cabin TWICE a day! - Friendly Captain who is often seen mingling with the passengers on the ship and enjoyed his morning announcements with the odd pun thrown in for good measure - No tips Negatives: - The staff must get commission for upgrading you to premium as they are on you as soon as you order your first drink. However, there's a decent selection of drinks included anyway and I reckon I only really made my money back on the premium drinks I had - Coffee from the machines on the ship is a bit naff but there is a coffee shop where you can get decent coffee for a premium. This is supposedly included if you have paid for premium however if you go before 10am you still have to pay! Come on TUI you must have a £billion turnover you can do without this penny-pinching - Watch out for the Narcissistic Cruise Director. Loves himself so much he even has his own TV channel featuring himself mainly, along with staff from different areas on ship. You'll just be starting to relax by the pool when his face will suddenly appear on the big screen and he'll be trying to flog you some SPA treatments or some other product they are finding difficult to shift - If you go to Indigo Bar give yourself plenty of time to get a drink. In fact take a drink with you from another bar to drink while you're waiting to be served a drink. They offer ridiculous cocktails like a 'Bathtub' that is a mini porcelain bathtub filled with spirits and mixers for 4 people - however only the head barman knows how to make it and it takes him half an hour. They call themselves the 'bar wizards' - Harry Potter morelike Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We’re experinced cruise holiday makers and feel qualified to make comparisons to previous cruises . Marella explorer is not a beautiful ship on either the outside or the inside . To my way of thinking she looks like a ferry. The ... Read More
We’re experinced cruise holiday makers and feel qualified to make comparisons to previous cruises . Marella explorer is not a beautiful ship on either the outside or the inside . To my way of thinking she looks like a ferry. The advertising suggested looking for a lean contemporary look but my feeling is they run out of money and didn’t have sufficient to buy artwork sculptures or anything that would inspire or and wander for the pain guest . if you are looking for a value for money package holiday experience then probably Marella explorer fits the bill however if you are looking for a value for money special experience in line with the amount of money you are paying then choose an alternative cruise line . I’m gutted to have to say this about this ship as in the past we have sailed on Thompson spirit and the now departed Emerald both of which had a certain level of sophistication and certainly charm but this was without doubt lacking in this new bath tub of a boat. I sense the amiable courteous and highly present captain is slightly disappointed by his crew as he asserts at every opportunity they are the happiest crew afloat and the best crew and one in which he is extremely proud to sail alongside our experience is that the majority of staff from all departments were indeed courteous but there were a significant number of waitresses in particular in latitude 53 the main dining restaurant who clearly have never ever been taught the slightest about customer courtesy in fact it became a bit of an in joke amongst our crowd to see if we could elicit a smile from one in particular . on the subject of the food one of the reasons my family and I started to cruise was because there is vegetarians in our party we were always able to have excellent dining experience however on Marella explorer dining experience was either exceptionally good in the Vista restaurant or at best average and below par at other times we were very disappointed with the cuisine overall . whoever is responsible for booking the lounge bar pianists needs to have a rethink about who is a book whilst it is without doubt the pianist could indeed play the piano they banged out the tune at maximum volume and sang so loudly it wasn’t ever a relaxing experience to go and listen to them in fact I claps the loudest when they eventually stopped . The theatre on-board explorer is magnificent with very good sightlines pretty much where ever you sat but what a shame none of the singers in the show cast can sing; they can shout but they cannot sing. the dancers were good but not great and the choreography repetitive . We did however thoroughly appreciate the room we had on deck 8. our balcony cabin 8099 had excellent storage facilities, was very clean and our steward was always willing to help. the balcony was bigger than average and actually was one of the pleasing parts of the ship. In addition The Champneys spa is an absolute gem and staff there are certainly extremely welcoming I enjoyed the Marella explorer massage which was wonderful; I highly recommend it - especially if Alex is peoviding the treatment. I also enjoyed a very very good pedicure by Angela which was very pleasing and has lasted well. The ports of call were excellent and some of the tours and excursions offered by the ship as a family we all thoroughly enjoyed particularly the best of Barbados which took in the wild Orchid farm and the Sunbury house plantation I would highly recommend both of these we also enjoyed the zip lines in Saint Lucia. I wish Marella Explorer well but hope the people that hold the budget pump in some cash to put some much needed style on this vessel and appoint a cruise director who has more than four ‘jokes’ in his repotoire. If the jokes could be funny that would also be great. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star ... Read More
If you are looking for a formal 5 star cruise on a traditional decor ship with excellent food , west end shows and quiet relaxed surroundings then this cruise is not for you. If you are looking for an informal all inclusive 4 star cruise with modern decor , good food , a lively friendly atmosphere and great staff to look after you then this is the one you should book. Flight on TUI dreamliner was very good both ways and really liked that your luggage was delivered straight to your cabin from the airport on arrival and collected from your cabin and sent to the airport on departure. Large balcony cabin had lots of storage space and walk in shower and was kept very clean by cabin staff who always went above and beyond to ensure that you had a great experience.It was my wife's birthday whilst on board and they decorated the room with banners,balloons and a special card from all the staff. Every time you passed a member of staff they were always friendly and polite. Food was good but was excellent in the ones where you paid a supplement and well worth the extra,we bought a trio deal which was good value. Drinks choice was very good with all the popular beers and spirits included so no need to book the premium package. Service at the bars was very quick and you did not need to leave your seat if you wished as drinks waiters were constantly available. Entertainment was not west end standard but was varied and entertaining and always a great night in the sqid and anchor pub. We visited 10 different ports with the tender used only once and saw some great islands. We booked some TUI excursions and did some others ourselves and although ship excursions were not overpriced think doing it yourself via local taxis is better value and a better overall experience. On the down side TUI need to get their act together on their systems as this is having a detrimental effect on the booking experience. If you pay for a certain cabin then you should be allocated it or be able to cancel or get substantial compensation. We went with another couple and it took us ages at the store to book cabins next to each other which we paid extra for only for our friends to be told 2 days before we went that they had been moved to a different cabin due to double booking. On talking to other people on board this had happened to a lot of people. Think overall and especially on board it was a great, good value holiday experience and we would go again but please TUI get your act together and update your systems. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, ... Read More
Everything was perfect, You walk off the plane and onto a coach where you’re taken straight to the ship where our bags were waiting for us at our cabin. On return you see the immigration officers onboard, the queues move very fast, no standing still. Then we were taken from the ship to the airport and our cases were sent to the plane ahead of us so we didn’t have to carry them around with us, they will also look after your hand luggage for you from when you leave your cabin until you depart the ship, they give you clean towels and an option to use a cabin to freshen up before your flight. Completely hassle free. Cabin was very comfortable and quiet, spotlessly cleaned twice daily and the cabin stewards were so friendly and kind. Fantastic staff, so attentive, friendly and really make you feel valued. Delicious food with plenty of options. The restaurants were very nice and in the buffet you have tons of options, you have fresh food cooked to order including omelettes and create your own stir fries, pastas and pizzas where you can choose exactly what ingredients they put in your meal. The fresh salad bars were so good too with freshly made potato salads, coleslaws and bean salads to name but a few. They had branston like pickle, piccalilli, chutneys and all the usual condiments including HP sauce, Branded drinks and a great choice of cocktails. Even without the premium drinks upgrade. Twinings breakfast and Yorkshire tea and many other kinds of herbal teas, delicious fresh sweet pure orange juice. The snack bar by the pool had freshly prepared salads (Caesar, Greek, Asian, curried chicken, avocado, salmon and more) sandwiches, wraps and burgers, hotdogs, fries etc to grab and go. Excellent entertainment with so many different options to choose from each day and night, something to do whatever your mood. The Collective were absolutely fantastic and got everyone rocking! Plenty of fun, lively areas with great music and entertainment and also calmer areas if you want some peace and quiet to just chill out and enjoy the moment. Didn’t feel at all overcrowded, even at the busiest times there was always somewhere to sit in the shade or in the sun. You can dress to impress if you like which meant I got the chance to wear some evening dresses but if you don’t feel like dressing up you don’t have to. You’re treated beautifully whatever you wear. Unlike other holidays I’ve been on (where drunken idiots have spoiled it for everyone else with their bad behaviour and they’ve been allowed to remain in the hotel and carry on their behaviour for the whole holiday) if someone gets out of hand they are promptly removed from the ship, they have zero tolerance of violent or abusive behaviour, Brilliant! Like staying in a 5 star hotel where the view changes daily. I can’t see how they can improve this ship and it’s staff. We don’t know how they manage it but even on a ship with so many other people on board you are made to feel special, the staff remember you and treat you very well. We will definitely be booking with TUI / Marella again. Everything really was perfect. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very ... Read More
We"d never done a cruise before and wanted to do something special for our silver wedding anniversary so we decided to book a cruise around the Caribbean. We also booked to renew our wedding vows and we'd just like to say a very big THANK YOU to Amanda Hudson the social host and our captain Peter Harris for sorting everything out so that we could do it on our wedding anniversary. We had a lovely day thanks again to Amanda Hudson for everything that you did to it happen it's very much appreciated. The ship is lovely all staff very friendly and work very hard food lovely as well will definitely be coming back. All the staff are really friendly and work hard food was excellent we had an invite to join the captain at his table as well which was lovely couldn't of asked for a better 25th wedding anniversary cruise we've got lots of wonderful memories and photos Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking ... Read More
We chose this cruise after a good cruise on the old Thompson Spirit. We have cruised a few times with many cruise lines and saw this trip in a local agent .not a cheapo late deal so planed out 9 months in advance. My wife was real looking forward to trip. Perfect start great to leave luggage at Gatwick and see it next in our cabin. I do have limited mobility so arranged an adapted cabin which turned out good ; Sorry down hill from here on THIS ship and MOST of staff are not aware or interested in the disable / less mobile customer. The ship has NO disable seating in restaurants or bars and you are on your own with getting help from staff to get seated . the stock reply seems " we are busy ", " try another restaurant " ; Try another time. The theater is not a lot better . Yes there are a few disable seats but so poorly signed again it is free for all, so do not expect to get one unless you get to show about 45 minuets early. We did eventual get the welfare dept to put out some signs in the Cafeteria just 8 seats which considering the amount of wheel chairs/ scooters ect on board was no where enough . To cap it all I was told by a manager in the Theater he could not ask people to move from disable seats and I should walk down the stairs to front . The shows in all are ok not up to a professional standard more a good local theater group. The excursion ok but again not good for less mobile , we invested in a special light weight wheelchair so I could enjoy the trips but nearly all the trips state on the day that no wheel chairs or buggy's can be accommodated so yes got on the trips but did not see much of the sights except from the transport windows . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Previously cruised on the Royal Clipper (twice) and Norwegian Star (not the best experience), so we have been on small and larger vessels. Tui package holidays have always been consistent for quality, so it was interesting to try their ... Read More
Previously cruised on the Royal Clipper (twice) and Norwegian Star (not the best experience), so we have been on small and larger vessels. Tui package holidays have always been consistent for quality, so it was interesting to try their cruise option. Flights - very good, the system of leaving luggage at Manchester airport and not having to handle it again until it arrived at the cabin worked extremely well. The Dreamliner is an excellent aircraft, in our opinion better than Airbus offerings. Apart from some slow service on the plane (don't think there were enough cabin crew) and not much variety in inflight entertainment all went well. Very comfortable flights both ways. The ship - excellent all round. Large balcony cabin has plenty of storage and well laid out. Didn't find the small number of power points too much of an inconvenience, we always seemed to keep our smart phones and iPad charged. No other reviewers have mentioned a super innovation on this ship - the Navigate app. for smart phone or tablet. Much better than reams of paper daily news letters cluttering the cabin. Reception service was excellent, always attended to quickly and with a smile. Not many children on this cruise, almost adults only. No issues with food and drink on board, mainly used Lattitude 53 for breakfast and dinner and the Market Place for lunch. Tried Vista one night, the only time we had to wait for a table, but no real inconvenience, the food was worth the wait - the Parpadelli Carbonare was superb! Visited Surf and Turf once, again a real treat, the fillet steak and lobster combination was to die for, well worth the extra. Generally the food was far superior to Norwegian and on a par with Royal Clipper ( a totally diffent cruise experience). Didn't bother with the Premium upgrade, didn't spend anywhere near the £100 it would have costs, the standard offerings were fine. Service was always quick and efficient, we had no problems on this cruise. Entertainment was good, with enough variety for us. No problems with sunbeds as we don't like being too near the pools (too noisy). Always found a quiet spot, the Veranda wasn't all that busy and we could retreat to the cabin and the large balcony if we wanted. Just a mention for Alan and Linda - you've stirred my interest in ballroom dancing and am looking to take some lessons ashore, many thanks. Shore excursions - only tried two. St. Maarten got off to a bad start, over 30 minutes late starting and the tour didn't show off the island in its best light. We walked into the town in the afternoon and we saw a much better side. The Tortola land and sea exclusion was in total contrast, gave us a real taster for the BVI. Otherwise we did our own thing at the other ports (have been to St.Kitts, Antigua and Bequia on previous holidays, so knew our way around). All in all an excellent holiday, Marella must be doing something right as we are about to book another cruise on the Explorer 2 next March to see some other islands we haven't yet visited. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the cruise to celebrate some special birthdays somewhere hot and sunny! We have previously travelled with Marella on their other ships and with P & O. Embarkation was super quick - off the plane in Barbados, straight on a ... Read More
We chose the cruise to celebrate some special birthdays somewhere hot and sunny! We have previously travelled with Marella on their other ships and with P & O. Embarkation was super quick - off the plane in Barbados, straight on a coach and to the ship. The Explorer is a nice ship but lacks any wow factor. There is no central atrium which other ships have and we found this ship awkward to navigate as you have to go up/down a floor to get to some areas and remember what colour staircase you need to take! All areas of the ship were kept clean. Staff were always friendly and polite. Food in the dining rooms was absolutely lovely with a good variety and waiters were friendly. Only niggle with dining in the main restaurants was if you had to have a pager and wait for a table to be ready you could only wait in a small bar area as we were told the pagers would not work further away. This was crowded at times with very little seating so mostly standing while waiting for a table, so not overly comfortable. We have no problem waiting for a table but on other ships you could take the pager anywhere, so not all herded together! The Market Place was often really crowded at peak times (breakfast) and not always easy to find a table but food was generally good. Our balcony cabin was comfortable and kept really clean by our cabin stewerd who was always ready with a greeting and smile. The shows were very good but a little 'samey'. Felt there had been more of a variety on other ships. We booked some excursions through Marella which were as described and we were happy with what was offered. At some ports we took taxis which were a lot cheaper than a Marella excursion. Overall Marella offers really good value, you can do as little or much as you like, all staff generally seem happy and we would definately book again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the back of many great cruises on the TUI Celebration as our celebration of 40 year of marriage. We took our only son with us as it was a family celebration. The whole trip including excursions was over £10k ... this would made one think it would have been 4 star at least in my eyes. The food in the main restaurant was inedible, overcooked and hard to eat. It was so bad we decided to use the Market buffet the rest of the holiday. There were specialist restaurants but they wanted upwards of £30 per person per visit ( after having paid for food i felt the cover charge was over the top compared with being able to pay on the Celebration a sum of £10 per person to upgrade the main meal in the dining room to steak or lamb chops etc ) On speaking to people on the ship, nobody thought the specialty restaurants to be be good value. One of the nice things about a cruise is coming back to your cabin at night after dinner and finding your cabin news containing the details of the next days itinerary and a little bit about the ship and crew... nice bedtime reading and handy to take with you the next day on shore excursions as it always had the telephone numbers of the port authority etc in case you have any off shore difficulties etc. This is currently being replaced by an APP you must load on your phone and use the ships WiFi When I inquired if we could have a paper copy delivered to my cabin as before ( these are still available if you rush to reception in the evening) i was promptly and firmly told NO... i even offered to pay to have this and it was ignored. The APP is terrible only some of it is on the phone APP others and again not all are on the TV. The only way you could get the menus of the restaurants was from the flat touch screen terminals at the lifts (these sometimes lost the WiFi and didnt work either). It really ruffled my feathers when every day there was a channel on the TV where the Cruise Director would go over the highlights of the days activities and did it from the paper copy of the cruise news!! The ship is poorly covered by entertainment at night and it doesnt flow properly like the Celebration or other cruise ships i have used.. things finish in the middle of other items you may be interested in and you find yourself walking in on a half completed piece of entertainment upsetting the guests that managed to be there on time for it to start. The bars are mainly all too loud and mainly served by piped music with occasional live music... it seemed to be done on the cheap or not utilised properly. Staff on the ship are mainly unhappy and it shows to the customer. The biggest concern on the ship, i have left till the end.... the number of people i seen drunk in the early afternoon was high ( never before have i seen this on a cruise) between afternoon and evening it looked like the ship was a BOOZE CRUISE ... im certainly not impressed with the Explorer or Marriela / Tui.. and wonder if the Celebration is now been changed to feel and look the same... ( this was my favourite ship in the Tui fleet) It looks like we will need to use our other favourite ships like the NCL ( Jade/Pearl etc) In Conclusion .... if i was offered another week on the Explorer, i would decline it!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive ... Read More
Previously cruised with TUI in the Med & decided to branch out to the Caribbean for a 14 day back to back cruise. We flew from Manchester on the very impressive TUI Dreamliner where the flight went very smoothly due to attentive crew & FOC meals/refreshments. The transfer from the airport to ship was also very smooth & embarkation quick & efficient. Our luggage was with us within the hour which allowed us to explore the ship. The ship, as many people have mentioned, is merely new to Marella & is about 20yrs old. That said, the fact that she is not a new “block of flats” on a hull adds to the appeal & we were very impressed with the look, feel & layout. Yes, there are a few signs of age, but on the whole one could have no complaints. Word is she is going back into dock late this year to have further improvements made which shows the investment & faith TUI have in her. We booked a cabin with a large balcony & I have to admit that the hammock, sun lounger & chairs were well used, especially for an afternoon nap before food & drink! The cabin was spacious enough with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was far better than experienced on the Dream, with walk in showers a bonus. We experienced no issues with either the toilet or A/C & the cabin was kept spotless by Romric, a gem of a cabin steward! Make use of the plug for the kettle & take a double European adaptor, it helped a great deal when charging phones & i-pads through out the night! The food & drink on board was bountiful, lets say that, & to a very high standard in general, especially Vista, the Mediterranean tapas & Italian pizza & pasta eateries. The breakfasts in the self service buffet were outstanding, but where the previous contributor, LHMS, got his fresh, sweet orange juice from remains a mystery to me & my wife! The service in the MDR was sluggish at times with portions a little on the slim side, but no real issues. We tried all the surcharge restaurants & found them all excellent. Take a tip, if you are on a 2 wk cruise, book 3 for £75 & save!!! We upgraded to premium AI during the second week, mainly for the Coffee Port (which is excellent) the gin & whisky bar (in the Squid & Anchor) & for my fix of Strongbow Dark Fruits (sad!). There was no issue at all with the choice or service of the standard AI, in fact, the attitude & enthusiasm shown by all the bar & waiting staff could not be faulted, especially in S&A & Indigo. Yes, some fellow cruisers over-indulged & perhaps were a little loud & irritating, but so what, they are allowed to & i didn’t have their headaches the following morning! We attended 7 shows in the Broadway show lounge during the 2 weeks & thoroughly enjoyed all but 1, which is a pretty solid hit rate. I’m not sure what previous contributors expect for their money, the West End it isn’t, but they are great ways to spend an hour being entertained. The ports of call were all diverse, especially the difference between the volcanic ABC islands & the more traditional Caribbean islands of BVI, St. Kitts & Genada. Every island was welcoming & we were never over-hassled by the locals selling tours, when haggling over price is half of the fun! We always booked when we got off the ship. It’s cheaper & less “sanitised”! The whole experience was topped off by Captain Peter Harris. The guy has the driest of wits, is very approachable but there is no doubt he is in charge. Very re-assuring. 5/5 the Explorer isn’t, but she is a lot better than a 4 & we will be booking the Far East or Cannaries for 2020. One last plea. TUI, look to a loyalty scheme. Other lines are moving more towards the offer Marella exceed at & are becoming increasingly attractive!!!!!! Read Less
Marella Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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