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Room and facilities I had an outside cabin on deck 2 - 2026 There is much more storage everywhere - the wardrobe is a much better use of space on Marella as you have the big waste of space on most P&O ships. It is a Slightly smaller cabin but is suitable. The Shower was good with good pressure. There was a Sofa in the room. I do Wish I’d got a balcony now as I’m used to them but it was sufficient. The Safe was strange - credit card to open and close it but sufficient. Towels were poor quality compared to P&O and they threatened you with a £10 charge if they didn’t come back to the room. Bed is comfortable but the bedding is not as good quality. No toiletries except a hand soap and body wash - most hotels provide this as a basic. P&O offer designer White Company in all state rooms. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and body lotion however I accept that some people want to use their own anyway but it helps with luggage. I understand there are toiletries in the better cabins on Marella. I Liked the towel animals. Nice surprise. The Bathroom is a good size with plenty of storage space. Tea coffee good but no biscuits although to be fair P&O are getting worse for quality biscuits anyway. There was No fridge! but I suppose as AI you don’t really need one. Prefer P&O rooms by far - more luxurious and better facilities. Net curtain had blood on it so asked for it to be changed. It hasn’t come back since. Stains on bed sheets. Asked for them to be changed too. Seemed to be washed in. Food This is mixed. The MDR is better quality on P&O such as Cheese boards are silver service and there is six course menu. Steak is available every night. That sort of thing. However the Buffet food is better and more varied on Marella. Buffet set out better too. On Marella I waited ages every single time I ventured into 47. No service for about half an hour. I expect it’s because we’re in at the busy time and to be fair I’ve had poor service on P&O too when on freedom dining so I expect this is a freedom dining thing. I suppose I prefer club dining. I later found out that there are only 3 serving staff per 11 tables (wow) This would explain the slow service. There clearly is not as many serving staff in the restaurants compared to P&O and this is most obvious at the bars and restaurants. The food is ok but not well presented compared to P&O but there are available everyday options of chicken and fish. I would have liked to see steak as per P&O. Marella certainly had More places to eat like gallery 47 but we had poor service there. However the food was nice. Lunch in MDR. Slow service again for ordering. Food comes out quick but drinks do not. Then I discovered the Harvester style salad bar and all was forgiven Kora la sushi - amazing and worth the cover charge. Snack shack great, love the fish and chips! Surf and turf was so nice and worth the extra money. I ate here twice. Overall the buffet and specialist restaurants win on Marella. The MDR was far superior on P&O. Staff All smiling and friendly. Most on P&O are miserable looking. However there is a hell of a lot less on Marella than P&O. Approaching the bar on P&O is a no no and you can’t sit longer than two mins on a sun lounger before someone comes round saying drinks drinks. Saying that on Marella standing at a bar I always was served very quick. Loved the pop up bars too! Winner was certainly Marella for friendliness. Entertainment Saw the Charlie Chaplin show. It was ok but like a school performance. There was no glitz or production compared to P&O. The opera singer was fantastic leaving Venice. Really made the day. The entertainment team around the pool are much better than P&O. Not just quizzes but interactive game shows too. I enjoyed splash bingo and catchphrase. Sail away parties are much better on P&O as it’s a big thing every sail away but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The comedian Phil Milbourne was very good. I loved the murder game with interactive remote. The singing dancing group in the theatre was not very good at all compared to the headliners but it was the only thing. Winner Marella Captain Chris He seems very normal. Is it normal for the captain to be so informal? I’ve never experienced this before but I liked it. Every time we docked it was a ‘Bobby Dazzler’ lol I liked that you still got invited to dine with the captain something that is missing from P&O. Winner Marella Bars All really good. I think I miss the variety of bars that P&O have such as a pub, a posh bar, a piano bar etc depending on my mood but overall all lovely places to drink. I enjoyed listening to the lay playing piano every early evening. The AI option is great for most. I personally like to choose my own wine so difficult for me but plenty to choose from if wine isn’t your thing. Winner P&O The Ship You can tell it’s an old RCI. Worn in places but in better condition than Oceana imo. For a small ship there always seemed to be a seat everywhere. Nowhere was ever too busy. Sun beds were plenty. So easy to get a sun bed. I find people moan about sunbeds when they can’t get them next to the pool. I liked the deck patrol idea but I didn’t feel like she enforced the no reservation rule very often. It’s a small ship so it’s easy to find your way around. I have been on some whoppers so this was lovely and easy. Loved the interactive boards and penguins! Never had to wait for a lift. In fact I hardly used them as everywhere was so close! Liked water dispensers. That was so easy. Hated there was no laundry room. Running everyday produces smelly washing. Ship tours are a great idea and relatively cheap. The public toilets seem to be cleaned more than P&O but general cleanliness in public areas was better on P&O. Winner Draw. The P&O ships are newer but Marella was designed better. (Laundry room is missed lol) Kids club Poor compared to P&O. Probably my most scathing review. Three 2 hr sessions per day. What a Pain. I’m not one to get rid of my kids but my boy prefers kids club when we’re at sea or on the ship because he makes friends. It’s very restrictive and the rooms are not set out well or friendly looking. The activities were the same every night and there seemed to be no Program for the week. There is no night nursery either. When I was first cruising with a small baby this was so useful to get date nights. There’s other things to do as a family like the golf and climbing wall. It’s great but wears off pretty quick and the wall was only open a couple of hours a day. There are family sessions but no one uses them and seems pointless. Seems good for young ones as the entertainment staff dress up but any older than 7 they’re alienated. There is no provision for children over 11 so then people wonder why teenagers are hanging about. Grouping together 3 year olds and 10 year olds doesn’t work and then it closes at 10 so the kids end up in the bar or parents leave early so where’s the holiday in that! P&O in comparison have kids clubs open all day and your place is booked at the beginning of the cruise. None of this pre booking rubbish! The clubs are set in age groups up to 17 year olds and it closes at 1 am. There is a night nursery with pagers with cots and beds and more staff than on Marella. There are set times when it’s closed for lunch and dinner and there’s a kids tea. I much prefer this one. No set times which suits us. He isn’t in there all day by far but at least he gets to choose as and when he goes rather than the restrictions Marella have. I think they’ve based the clubs on the resorts which doesn’t work on ships. Overall I think Marella is great value for money, the ships are very well designed and there is always a good itinerary. However it lacks the finesse and service of a quality cruise liner. What saves it is that you’re in port everyday which limits your time on board. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I would come back if the itinerary was right but I think I would look at other cruise lines before this to see if the deal overall was worth it.

Good holiday but Marella need to up their game in some areas

Marella Discovery 2 Cruise Review by Jonatey

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Room and facilities

I had an outside cabin on deck 2 - 2026

There is much more storage everywhere - the wardrobe is a much better use of space on Marella as you have the big waste of space on most P&O ships.

It is a Slightly smaller cabin but is suitable. The Shower was good with good pressure. There was a Sofa in the room. I do Wish I’d got a balcony now as I’m used to them but it was sufficient.

The Safe was strange - credit card to open and close it but sufficient.

Towels were poor quality compared to P&O and they threatened you with a £10 charge if they didn’t come back to the room. Bed is comfortable but the bedding is not as good quality.

No toiletries except a hand soap and body wash - most hotels provide this as a basic. P&O offer designer White Company in all state rooms. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and body lotion however I accept that some people want to use their own anyway but it helps with luggage. I understand there are toiletries in the better cabins on Marella.

I Liked the towel animals. Nice surprise.

The Bathroom is a good size with plenty of storage space.

Tea coffee good but no biscuits although to be fair P&O are getting worse for quality biscuits anyway.

There was No fridge! but I suppose as AI you don’t really need one.

Prefer P&O rooms by far - more luxurious and better facilities.

Net curtain had blood on it so asked for it to be changed. It hasn’t come back since.

Stains on bed sheets. Asked for them to be changed too. Seemed to be washed in.

Food

This is mixed. The MDR is better quality on P&O such as Cheese boards are silver service and there is six course menu. Steak is available every night. That sort of thing. However the Buffet food is better and more varied on Marella. Buffet set out better too.

On Marella I waited ages every single time I ventured into 47. No service for about half an hour. I expect it’s because we’re in at the busy time and to be fair I’ve had poor service on P&O too when on freedom dining so I expect this is a freedom dining thing. I suppose I prefer club dining. I later found out that there are only 3 serving staff per 11 tables (wow) This would explain the slow service. There clearly is not as many serving staff in the restaurants compared to P&O and this is most obvious at the bars and restaurants.

The food is ok but not well presented compared to P&O but there are available everyday options of chicken and fish. I would have liked to see steak as per P&O.

Marella certainly had More places to eat like gallery 47 but we had poor service there. However the food was nice.

Lunch in MDR. Slow service again for ordering. Food comes out quick but drinks do not. Then I discovered the Harvester style salad bar and all was forgiven

Kora la sushi - amazing and worth the cover charge.

Snack shack great, love the fish and chips!

Surf and turf was so nice and worth the extra money. I ate here twice.

Overall the buffet and specialist restaurants win on Marella. The MDR was far superior on P&O.

Staff

All smiling and friendly. Most on P&O are miserable looking.

However there is a hell of a lot less on Marella than P&O. Approaching the bar on P&O is a no no and you can’t sit longer than two mins on a sun lounger before someone comes round saying drinks drinks. Saying that on Marella standing at a bar I always was served very quick. Loved the pop up bars too!

Winner was certainly Marella for friendliness.

Entertainment

Saw the Charlie Chaplin show. It was ok but like a school performance. There was no glitz or production compared to P&O.

The opera singer was fantastic leaving Venice. Really made the day.

The entertainment team around the pool are much better than P&O. Not just quizzes but interactive game shows too. I enjoyed splash bingo and catchphrase.

Sail away parties are much better on P&O as it’s a big thing every sail away but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The comedian Phil Milbourne was very good.

I loved the murder game with interactive remote.

The singing dancing group in the theatre was not very good at all compared to the headliners but it was the only thing.

Winner Marella

Captain Chris

He seems very normal. Is it normal for the captain to be so informal? I’ve never experienced this before but I liked it. Every time we docked it was a ‘Bobby Dazzler’ lol I liked that you still got invited to dine with the captain something that is missing from P&O.

Winner Marella

Bars

All really good. I think I miss the variety of bars that P&O have such as a pub, a posh bar, a piano bar etc depending on my mood but overall all lovely places to drink. I enjoyed listening to the lay playing piano every early evening.

The AI option is great for most. I personally like to choose my own wine so difficult for me but plenty to choose from if wine isn’t your thing.

Winner P&O

The Ship

You can tell it’s an old RCI. Worn in places but in better condition than Oceana imo. For a small ship there always seemed to be a seat everywhere. Nowhere was ever too busy. Sun beds were plenty. So easy to get a sun bed. I find people moan about sunbeds when they can’t get them next to the pool. I liked the deck patrol idea but I didn’t feel like she enforced the no reservation rule very often.

It’s a small ship so it’s easy to find your way around. I have been on some whoppers so this was lovely and easy. Loved the interactive boards and penguins! Never had to wait for a lift. In fact I hardly used them as everywhere was so close!

Liked water dispensers. That was so easy.

Hated there was no laundry room. Running everyday produces smelly washing.

Ship tours are a great idea and relatively cheap.

The public toilets seem to be cleaned more than P&O but general cleanliness in public areas was better on P&O.

Winner Draw. The P&O ships are newer but Marella was designed better. (Laundry room is missed lol)

Kids club

Poor compared to P&O. Probably my most scathing review.

Three 2 hr sessions per day. What a

Pain. I’m not one to get rid of my kids but my boy prefers kids club when we’re at sea or on the ship because he makes friends. It’s very restrictive and the rooms are not set out well or friendly looking. The activities were the same every night and there seemed to be no

Program for the week.

There is no night nursery either. When I was first cruising with a small baby this was so useful to get date nights.

There’s other things to do as a family like the golf and climbing wall. It’s great but wears off pretty quick and the wall was only open a couple of hours a day. There are family sessions but no one uses them and seems pointless. Seems good for young ones as the entertainment staff dress up but any older than 7 they’re alienated. There is no provision for children over 11 so then people wonder why teenagers are hanging about. Grouping together 3 year olds and 10 year olds doesn’t work and then it closes at 10 so the kids end up in the bar or parents leave early so where’s the holiday in that!

P&O in comparison have kids clubs open all day and your place is booked at the beginning of the cruise. None of this pre booking rubbish! The clubs are set in age groups up to 17 year olds and it closes at 1 am. There is a night nursery with pagers with cots and beds and more staff than on Marella. There are set times when it’s closed for lunch and dinner and there’s a kids tea. I much prefer this one. No set times which suits us. He isn’t in there all day by far but at least he gets to choose as and when he goes rather than the restrictions Marella have. I think they’ve based the clubs on the resorts which doesn’t work on ships.

Overall I think Marella is great value for money, the ships are very well designed and there is always a good itinerary. However it lacks the finesse and service of a quality cruise liner. What saves it is that you’re in port everyday which limits your time on board. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I would come back if the itinerary was right but I think I would look at other cruise lines before this to see if the deal overall was worth it.
Jonatey’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin 2026
I had an outside cabin on deck 2 - 2026
There is much more storage everywhere - the wardrobe is a much better use of space on Marella as you have the big waste of space on most P&O ships.
It is a Slightly smaller cabin but is suitable. The Shower was good with good pressure. There was a Sofa in the room. I do Wish I’d got a balcony now as I’m used to them but it was sufficient.
The Safe was strange - credit card to open and close it but sufficient.
Towels were poor quality compared to P&O and they threatened you with a £10 charge if they didn’t come back to the room. Bed is comfortable but the bedding is not as good quality.
No toiletries except a hand soap and body wash - most hotels provide this as a basic. P&O offer designer White Company in all state rooms. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and body lotion however I accept that some people want to use their own anyway but it helps with luggage. I understand there are toiletries in the better cabins on Marella.
I Liked the towel animals. Nice surprise.
The Bathroom is a good size with plenty of storage space.
Tea coffee good but no biscuits although to be fair P&O are getting worse for quality biscuits anyway.
There was No fridge! but I suppose as AI you don’t really need one.
Prefer P&O rooms by far - more luxurious and better facilities.
Net curtain had blood on it so asked for it to be changed. It hasn’t come back since.
Stains on bed sheets. Asked for them to be changed too. Seemed to be washed in.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    We took a cab to Aqua Land from outside the port. €30 each way but to be fair I’ve had more expensive cabs in Essex. Easy journey, fab day on the slides and the cab driver picked us up at an agreed time. We then took the blue bus into town €1.70 each way and had a lovely meal at a restaurant called Avli. What an amazing meal and so cheap. 3 people 3 courses plus drinks €57! We then decided to walk back.
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  • Crete (Heraklion)
    Well we had an absolute ball in Crete. Docked at Chania and took the bus just outside the port doors to town for €3.60 return. At the ticket booth there is a map with bus routes. Once we got to town we followed the map and got bus 21 over the road to Apostoloi beach. It will be on the front of the bus so just ask for ticket to beach. €2.40 return. This is in a small cove and is pretty much only used by locals. It was empty when we got there but filled up with locals as we left at 1. €9 for two sunbeds and parasol. There is a bar and changing rooms and toilets. It’s surrounded by hills and caves and as a bay it is calm for swimming. Golden beach is next door so the stop before but don’t get tempted to get off there as it’s packed!
    After this we returned to town. Each bus is only about a ten minute journey. In town we walked about and had a lovely meal overlooking the old harbour then we took a horse and carriage ride for 30 mins for €30 which was worth it as we got to see a bit more plus the driver let my son hold the reins and guide the horse so he was really happy.
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  • Dubrovnik
    Beautiful Dubrovnik and what a ‘Bobby Dazzler’ as Captain Chris would say. We took the taxi straight off the ship into town which was 95 kuna or €13 each way. Went into the old town and from the internet and using the tour map designed my own Game of Thrones tour and it didn’t cost me a penny apart from the entry fee onto the walls (150 kuna). Walked the whole wall which has loads of steps but great views and got my steps super up! Walked through the beautiful town and saw the sights before walking to the cable car. After dealing with a ‘pusher in’ type (I’m used to challenging those in theme parks) we took the cable car to the top. Purchased the tickets at a vendor (150 kuna) small que. amazing views (Tip - if you’re going to have refreshments go to the indoor bar. It has panoramic views and no one goes in there but there’s a waiting list for outside. Entrances are separate)
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  • Koper
    First stop with Disco 2 is Koper, Slovenia. A place I never thought I’d visit. I’m glad I did. We had a lovely walk around Koper then we went to the bus station and got the bus to Piran which cost €2.60 each way (so a lot cheaper than the tours being touted at the start) Got to Piran and we went to the seafront, past the church, up the bell tower at midday to hear the bells €2 entry then to the wall €2 entry. Finally having a lovely lunch before getting the bus back again. A lovely day
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  • Kotor
    Wow Montenegro. We had no internet in Montenegro as you can’t use your inclusive data there.
    Got up at 6am to watch the sail in along with quite a few others! One of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. We then walked around the old town, spent some time at the beach and made our way back again. We wanted to do a trip by due to a number of other cruise ships we lost out and also lost the earlier trip at 9 as we were late off. Still had a great day though! Sail away was great too.
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  • Kusadasi
    Kusadasi, Turkey absolutely amazing day. We were toying between going horse riding or going to Ephesus. We decided on the latter and we wasn’t disappointed. We took a private tour from outside the port for €140 total so I guess if more of you it’s cheaper but we were by ourselves and had a fabulous guide all the way through. We then went to see other sites including The Temple of Artemis, Seven Sleepers plus others. We stopped at a pottery barn and saw a demonstration. Such a fab day
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  • Split
    Beautiful Split in Croatia. We decided to stay and walk around. Glad we did. Visited the palace for 45 Kuna each then walked through the market and old town. Popped in a little restaurant and had a glass of wine, beer and apple juice for £8 wow!
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  • Venice
    Venice oh beautiful Venice. Such a wonderful time here. Got a water taxi straight outside the ship €15 return which took us right to the centre. We went up Campenile de San Marco for €8 which was a lift all the way. Did a gondola ride €80 total. (Tip: get one from a side alley where there’s no que) Went into San Marco basilica then went round the shops. Had a lovely pizza at Rossopomodoro then back to the ship.
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