Marella Celebration Cruise Review by cruisergn
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: Caribbean
The cruise director Gavin Carroll was a joy, he was always smiling and friendly and always approachable, his team was always on hand and very friendly. The performers including guest performers were all brilliant and very professional, some of the very best we have experienced on ten different cruises (some not Marella) I disagree with other reviews who have hinted at miming!!!!
The cabin was dark but well maintained by the cabin steward Komang.
A person worthy of mention was Glynis's from Hemingway's bar, she was a star and remembered drinks, names and cabin numbers and always had a laugh and a joke with us.
Hygiene was well covered and the antibacterial gel was readily available at all relevant points.
Food in both the lido and the Meridian restaurant was always great, but breakfast service in the Meridian was always very slow and things were forgotten or not provided on several occasions.
The Itinerary was great one of the reasons we chose this cruise.
What didn't go so well: once onboard we were hassled by every waiter or person in blue trying to upswell drinks packages. Again on other cruises, we have been on, there have been points around the ship where this happens and hassling customers has not been an issue. Things said like: "don't you want quality drinks" and "nice wines instead of Spanish" and even one barman when seeing our card said "if you can afford a suite, you can afford to upgrade" it wasn't his place to think or say this, let alone in front of customers. I asked at reception to speak to the bar manager, he came out to see me and I told him of our experience, he was apologetic for the comments. I mentioned that we had chosen this cruise because it had everything included but were now being made to feel inferior by not buying the upgrade. He explained that many people were happy with the All Inclusive drinks, so suggested we try it and see how we go. He then told me that it would be £176 each to upgrade to premium drinks, which on top of what we had paid would be too expensive. I mentioned that my brother has been on Discovery twice and recommended Marella to us, he mentioned Casselero Diablo wine and Bells whiskey, which we regularly drink, so we were more than happy, only to be told by the bar manager that Discovery was a premium ship.
We were not given a safe key on the port when booking in as the people there didn't know how much to charge and were not aware of the 25 night cruise, we were told to go to reception, when we did go to reception they told us all the keys were in the port and could we come back. We finally were issued with a key later that evening, but staff couldn't tell us how much a 25-night cruise fee cost. When we tried to use the magnet key to open the safe, we discovered it was a digital safe and we didn't need a key, on returning it to reception, the receptionist said well you will still have to pay.
Although there were policies onboard about reserving sunbeds or seats, this clearly happened and was rarely addressed by Marella. On one occasion whilst looking for a sunbed we observed one person lying across a double sunbed, and over 100 sunbeds with towels on but no bums on the beds, this was infuriating and as we didn't want any hassle we left without a bed. This wasn't just a one-off but most days especially at sea and there didn't seem any staff readily available to address this with. Many times seats were reserved in the Broadway by a handbag on the seat or a mobile phone or scarf, with one person guarding many seats.
Our main gripe again was over the drinks, when ordering in the Broadway show lounge, the drinks were inferior and you could never taste the alcohol, (possibly because they drowned the drinks with ice and carbonated mixers) we were given drinks in strange glasses when we queried this,(a Baileys in a half pint tumbler) we were told there weren't any other glasses available, this also happened in Hemingways. We drank regularly in Horizons and Hemingways and on occasion felt the drinks didn't taste quite right, only to observe unbranded alcohol being provided when requesting gin or whisky etc. when we mentioned we were All Inclusive and expected branded drinks as per the drinks menu, I.e. Gordon's or Beefeater Gin, and J&B, johnny walker red label etc. This happened so often that my husband waited at the bars to be served to ensure we were getting what we asked for, this practice even happened when we asked specifically for Gordon's Gin or Red label whiskey, so we brought this to the attention of the bar manager on one of his fleeting visits to Horizons. He thanked us for bringing it to his attention and he would address it. We saw him enter the bar area and help clear glasses etc, he seemed to chat to staff, but we were not sure if he addressed the problem. We feel it was a wide-ranging norm on this ship, as otherwise why did they regularly stock the unbranded drinks.
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