Marella Dream Cruise Review by Gixxer1000K5
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: Mediterranean
Checking in at the airport and on ship was quite well organised, the ship itself can only be described as tired, from both my perspective as an technical engineer and in line with the reviews that we had read. We suppose that TUI can only do so much though with what they have, the ship being a "few" years old" and having had multiple previous owners along with refits.
Our cabin was good, but we had paid for an outside plus. The young lady who tended the room was always pleasant and polite and a credit to her role in the excellent way she serviced the cabin. She was suitably rewarded for this on our departure.
The food on board was plentiful and varied meaning that even the most selective could find something adequate to eat in the buffet restaurant areas. The omelette bars at breakfast were good on Decks 8/9 as they were made to your own specification. These bars also served pizzas at certain times during the day as snacks
We chose to eat in the Orion served restaurant for our evening meals, the menu choices were fine and again the food was acceptable, but the service was varied across different areas in the restaurant. We had what we considered was good service on only two out of all the evenings that we dined. We had paid for the all inclusive drinks package and on most occasions we had to ask multiple times for wine glasses to be refilled during meals, something that had been reflected in reviews that we had read. I tried the white wine on the first night, after that I stuck to the red which was slightly better and my wife had the rosie.
Having read reviews prior to departure we had discussed cancelling the pre-booked drinks package, our advice is look into it closely as what you think your going to get is not always what you are going to get, after all it's all about making money. Local drinks only...Greek Islands Cruise...no Ouzo???. (No worries bought a 1l bottle at the first port 9 euros). If your a big drinker you'll no doubt drink your fill, if your an average drinker you'll probably cover your cost. Again this reflected the reviews we had previously read.
We enjoyed the shows in theatre on most nights, some nights were better than others and most of the bands were quite entertaining. Be prepared to get to some of these areas in good time as the best seating was often a premium. During the day some of the daytime entertainment and quizzes were a laugh if nothing else...some people are so competitive.
Waiter service to get a drink was inconsistent being good in some areas and poor to non-existent in others, we certainly fetched more drinks than we were served something again that was reflected in reviews we had read after booking. In fact we were asked and served with a drink only twice when by the pool during our week cruise. On another point concerning service we found it annoying as non smokers to be constantly asked if we wanted to buy cheap cigarettes whilst by the pool or on the sun loungers, again this had been commented on in reviews. Towels on sunbeds by the pool is supposedly not permitted, we witnessed this policy enforced only twice during our time on ship, after having seen someone make complaint. A note was left stating that if the lounger was not occupied within the next 30 minutes the towel would be removed, freeing the lounger for use.
We enjoyed all the ports of call choosing to do our own thing, with the exception of Kefalonia where we booked a shore excursion "Highlights of Kefalonia". Our advice would be check in detail before considering booking and find out exactly what you are getting as a vist to Melissani Lake, Fiscardo & finally Myrtos Beach turned out to be around six hours on a coach with a couple of toilet stops. Total just over one hour actually off of the coach. No fun for anyone especially the family with two young children who were on our coach and like ourselves had expected time on the beach and not to photograph it from a camera view point 300m above. So the description of the excursion was not particularly accurate. Had it been we would not have booked it, we did receive a gesture of good will on board ship having complained about this. On returning home we decided against writing a further letter to TUI as from past experience any negative contact to their customer services falls on deaf ears.
We would advise and early breakfast on the final morning before disembarkation as we struggled to find anywhere to sit and have breakfast, this was around eight o'clock in the morning having checked and settled any outstanding bill before.
This was our first cruise to test out the water and we must say we do not see anything not to like about cruising, leaving from one port of call and arriving in another and then an opportunity to explore. We spoke to many seasoned cruisers whilst on ship and their perception of this cruise was less complimentary than ours. Quite a few of them had been on other Thomson Cruise Ships and rated them fair more highly than this vessel so we can only assume that something is missing in the running of things aboard ship, that is down to the TUI management team to sort out.
Was it value for money..."well may be bordering on not"...But hey, we read the reviews having booked, we half expected them to be correct and guess what they were. Will we cruise again...?...Most certainly yes, but not on this ship and probably not with Thomson.
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