1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Transatlantic Cruises
  4. Transatlantic Cruise Reviews
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery ... Read More
I booked this cruise back in December 2017. Having travelled on Tui Discovery2 in June and had a magnificent time, I persuaded my friends and son and partner to come on the Transatlantic voyage. The new Explorer is not a patch on Discovery 2 on many accounts and I feel you all need to know. The Market Place restaurant is typically a Spanish Hotel's 3 star Buffet junction - deplorable without question. Head chef should be sacked. The pay as you go restaurants were very nice but also very pricey as individuals but at £75.00 pp for 3 dinners OK. They reception staff are complete nonentities who didn't know what they were doing or how they were doing it and served up countless lies to my son, who received a note from his bank saying that they were charging him OD facilities as TUI started to take any fees immediately and not on cruise end. A breach of conditions! If you are a smoker, which I am not, you will get wet, have to sit on other knees and generally be treated like animals by the whole ship's company. They don't clean ashtrays on a regular basis. Moving on perhaps the worst single event was the Explorer talent show. They offered a prize of £250 as well as a recording date in Hamstead for the overall winner. A young man, who works for Jet 2 as a cabin steward won the competition. To everybody's shock the Captain and Entertainment Officer refused to pay out the £250 and offered him £50 and decided not to go ahead with the recording studio. He later was abused by the general manager for so called cheating as well as a member of the shows entertainment people. This is a disgraceful breach and needs to be dealt with by TUI. Finally the waiting staff and room attendants were absolutely brilliant, but beware of the management. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 2nd Marella cruise on one of their newer ships, having been on Discovery 2 in March. This was our first experience of a transatlantic crossing. Flights from Manchester to Palma were uneventful, however we arrived in ... Read More
This was our 2nd Marella cruise on one of their newer ships, having been on Discovery 2 in March. This was our first experience of a transatlantic crossing. Flights from Manchester to Palma were uneventful, however we arrived in pouring rain, thunder and lightening. Quick transfer from airport to port and easy embarkation process and we were soon on board and able to access our cabin immediately. We went exploring the ship and found most places quite easily, however without an atrium, it does make it a little bit harder. Our cabin was on deck 8, standard balcony cabin, midships, port side for the sun on our long sea days. Spacious, with plenty of storage space and very clean, and continued to be that way by the lovely Joel. The air conditioning was a little noisey, but we soon got used to it. We tended to eat in either Latitude or Vista at night, which did a lovely cod loin and a very nice sirloin steak, breakfast in the Marketplace. Food was plentiful, good choice and nicely presented. We ate in the Mediterranean most lunchtimes for lighter bites. We also ate here in the evening when one side was Tapas, and had to be booked, but was included, unless you had one of their Portuguese skewers, which were £9.95. We didn't try one of these, as we found the tapas enough, and if you wanted more, you only had to ask. We also ate in the Pizza and Pasta side at night and found this really good. Choosing your own pizza or pasta made to order and piping hot. Both of these restaurants are waiter service at night. Portions in the main dining rooms were plenty for us, but if you wanted more, you could ask for it. Service was quite prompt, and all the staff were very friendly and kept the wine flowing. We didn't upgrade our included drinks package, as there was plenty of choice for our needs. The Sauvignon Blanc was very palatable. Tanquery gin with slimline tonic [which was served from a can] and the occasional cocktail. Weather in Spain continued to be unsettled. Our ports of call being Cadiz, Cartagena and Malaga. The crossing to Madeira was in almost Force 10 gales. However, the weather was much improved in Madeira and the 6 day crossing was smooth and the sun shone most of the time. Our first port of call in the Caribbean was Antigua, where the weather was a little mixed, however we needed to get our land legs back, so we wandered around the town and made contact with home. St.Lucia was our next stop, where it poured all day. We shared a minibus with some other passengers and did a small tour of the island. Grenada was beautiful, hot and sunny, so we took the opportunity to go to a lovely beach. Barbados was our final stop where we disembarked. Unfortunately, the rain followed us here and although we didn't leave the ship until 3pm, we couldn't do any last minute sun bathing. We were glad we had decided to keep our cabin on our final day which was £35. Entertainment was very good. The show cast were very talented, and put on some very good shows and some of them had individual stints in Bar 53 early evening, which was lovely just before dinner. There were some guest artists, including 2 comedians, a magician and a trio of singers who sung Take That songs and were excellent. Overall, value for money this was a very good cruise, it was just unfortunate about the weather, but this cannot be helped. All the staff on board are the friendliest staff we have met and are a credit to Marella cruises. Would we do another transatlantic crossing? If the price was right, yes we would and with the same company. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We've been on many cruises with different cruise lines before, but we chose this one because we took one of our children's families on a Thomson's Cruise last year and were very impressed, and the timing was ideal as other ... Read More
We've been on many cruises with different cruise lines before, but we chose this one because we took one of our children's families on a Thomson's Cruise last year and were very impressed, and the timing was ideal as other child care duties were becoming slightly less pressing. We are not yet convinced by the freedom dining concept which means you don't easily build up contacts with staff and fellow travellers, and we felt that there was some evident cost trimming which meant that staff seemed more hard-pressed. We weren't sorry to lose some of the fringe activities like the chocolate festivals and ice-carving and we felt that fewer invited performers improved our entertainment enjoyment, because the young, 'resident' cast was excellent. TUI's general co-ordination was generally up to the level we experienced last year, but communications regarding the possible impact of the recent hurricanes was not ideal.We were surprised that passengers had to pay to join a passengers' choir. However, the food, service and entertainment were excellent, and the ship and our cabin were maintained meticulously. We couldn't have had kinder, more obliging cabin stewards than Milos and Ganna. The value, given the all-inclusive tariff and the fact that general gratuities were included, was outstanding. We liked the medium size of the ship and the show lounge and walking track in particular. The first time in the Eastern Caribbean and the weather was excellent. I found the islands fascinating and attractive in an uncoordinated way, my wife found them disorganised, impoverished, and sometimes intimidating. Most of the local people were charming. The destinations staff could have devoted a little time in their talks to advising those who who were going ashore on foot. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Originally selected this cruise because we had visited most of the other Caribbean Island's on our previous two cruises, and fancied St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and San Juan in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, due to the recent ... Read More
Originally selected this cruise because we had visited most of the other Caribbean Island's on our previous two cruises, and fancied St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and San Juan in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, due to the recent hurricane's, these two ports were dropped from our Itinerary and instead visited Pointe a Pitre in Guadeloupe, and Fort de France in Martinique. Both were nice but I think personally fairly pricey. That said I did not venture too far as I was slightly off-colour in Guadeloupe. Embarkation at the start of the cruise is always a timely process due to the number of passenger's boarding, this is one of the stages I don't enjoy much but I understand the reason. But in fairness, this year it was a quicker process, the previous 2 years we were on the Thomson Dream as it was known then before rebranding. The ship Discovery is a beautiful ship and I was impressed, this was our first trip on the Discovery, we had an outside cabin and found it to be smaller than that on the Dream and it had no fridge which we had on the dream, so I was a little disappointed in that respect as I had a few items of my own for the fridge. My view on this is that I think Marella, (as they are known now), are reducing the smaller details that can help make your cruise a more enjoyable experience as a way of cutting cost, unfortunately they are not passing it on to us the passengers. I also observed varying complaints from passengers that had voyaged on the Discovery before, mainly since their rebrand. The service overall was not bad from a personal point of view, but again I observed several complaints from returning passenger's. During my 15 days we only had bad service twice, once the meals for the whole table arrived cold and had to be returned and on the second occasion items were missing off the plates (maybe chef had got a roasting from his boss, who knows). Personally I understand that things will go array from time-to-time as we are dealing with humans, but it is the attitude it which it is rectified that leaves a lasting impression. The bars are stocked with a varied selection of Cocktails, Spirits, Red, White or Rose wines, not much of a selections on beers, depending on your taste. The Entertainment for me was good, the team work hard and put on shows to a high standard, again here I heard various opinions from other cruiser's, this is an area which will always be debatable as different people have different expectations. Shore excursions for me are overpriced with the company, some were enjoyable others were forgettable. We only did two with the company, the others we did with the locals which were cheaper and better value for money at a more relaxed paced. On the day of Disembarkation we had to exit our cabins by 8am and one person from the party had to take their passports and emigration forms to deck where the emigration processed was carried out on-board ship. We did not leave the ship until 12:30 for the airport. In summary; I had an great cruise, met some lovely people, the ship was nice and the majority of the staff were brilliant. I did encounter 1 bar staff member who was rude and abrupt which I had to report to his supervisor, but this was the only extreme negative. There were some minor issues but not enough to ruin my experience, and when dealing with people of varying origins there are always going to be difference of opinions at times. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We booked this cruise with the thought that this is as good as Tui cruises get , we were totally disappointed, from start to finish all we did was wait , we had to wait [a long time] to embark, wait for tables at dinner, wait for drinks in ... Read More
We booked this cruise with the thought that this is as good as Tui cruises get , we were totally disappointed, from start to finish all we did was wait , we had to wait [a long time] to embark, wait for tables at dinner, wait for drinks in fact a large part of our holiday was taken up waiting for every thing,we put it down to untrained staff as a lot of them had no idea why they were on the ship. The food was of a very poor standard and poorly served in all areas ,buffet ,M.D.R. Glasshouse and Italian, and the snack shack served the same food every single day. The entertainment was generally mediocre apart from a couple of shows by the ships company and a wonderful singer called Ben he was the highlight of our entertainment experience. The A.I. drinks package was good but you had to ask specifically for the drinks you wanted E.G if you didn't ask for a specific brand they would serve an inferior brand. We had a great time on this cruise but very little could be attributed to Marella as they now call themselves and most of our enjoyment was derived from the wonderful people we sailed with Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We had a deluxe balcony cabin which was spacious with plenty of space for clothes. The cabin was immaculate and it was kept like that all the cruise by Art who was the best steward we have had on any cruise. The ship was nice and public ... Read More
We had a deluxe balcony cabin which was spacious with plenty of space for clothes. The cabin was immaculate and it was kept like that all the cruise by Art who was the best steward we have had on any cruise. The ship was nice and public areas were kept clean. The all inclusive was very good with a lot of premium brand drinks. I'm afraid that is all the positives. On our first night we thought we would go to the Italian restaurant but there were no tables for 2 and a 15 minute wait for one. We decided to go to the other restaurant but there were no tables for 2 there either and a 20 minute wait so we decided to go back to the Italian but no tables for 2 so we joined with another couple but there were no tables for 4 either so we ended up at a table for 8. In the Italian there were empty tables for 2 but front of house said she was not given that information. 2 meals had to be sent back because they were cold. The food in the buffet restaurant was at best lukewarm. As time went by we were able to get a table for 2 in the main dining room. There were no wine waiters in the buffet restaurant so you had to serve yourself at the beer and wine pumps. When glasses ran out there was quite a long wait for clean ones to arrive. This was the poorest food on any cruise I have been on. Marella are cutting corners and it shows. The entertainment was also a weak point apart from Benjamin Moss and a few guest comedians. The service in the restaurant was hectic and you felt obliged to finish and get out. The Glasshouse was something else. You were allowed 3 tapas each and when they arrived they were the smallest portions I have ever seen. The late night buffet was awful with deep fried wraps being described as chapatis. We will never go with Marella again and a lot of passengers felt the same. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We were persuaded to go on this cruise by friends who had been on the transatlantic voyage several times with Thomsons. They too were extremely disappointed by this one. Where do I start? On boarding the ship on previous cruises we ... Read More
We were persuaded to go on this cruise by friends who had been on the transatlantic voyage several times with Thomsons. They too were extremely disappointed by this one. Where do I start? On boarding the ship on previous cruises we have always been escorted to our cabin. Not this time. We were put in the lift with several others and one member of staff who opened the door on the relevant floor and directed the guest in which direction to take, only to come running after us to tell us she had sent us the wrong way. The suite was fabulous but the sunbeds on the balcony were dirty but we couldn't fault the service we received from our cabin steward. We enjoyed our first meal but the next day was an eye opener. Having stood in a queue at the restaurant for a while we were given a pager with a 45 min wait. Of course we had given up our seats in the bar so had to wander the ship until our table was ready. The same thing happened the next night but when we asked to see the supervisor there was suddenly a table free. On entering the restaurant there were several tables set up but no staff to service them. When we managed to get a table on other nights we had to wait a long time between courses, so we were dining whilst a lot of the entertainment was occurring which we then missed. On several occasions the meal was inedible. We were offered an alternative but this isn't feasible when others on the table have their meal. OBVIOUSLY BOTH THE KITCHEN AND RESTAURANT WERE UNDERSTAFFED. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. The show team were great and put on some different shows but the last one was spoiled with technical breakdowns. Ben Moss and Peter Piper were excellent but the bands/soloists in the bars were a let down. The seating was also a problem as there was a shortage in all the bars (especially when approx. 30 entertainers/staff took up the whole seating in one area receiving waiter service whilst paying guest had to visit the bar to be served) and quite a few of the waiters were quite surly as though we were an inconvenience wanting service or there was a language barrier. We have never experienced this before. Having booked an Executive Suite with premier service we were disappointed with what the premier service consisted of. The consierge suite no longer exists so there was no complementary WiFi. There was no exclusive use of sunbeds on the veranda as this was available to everyone. We were informed we could stay in our cabin until 3pm on the day of departure (we were leaving at 12.30pm) but on returning to our cabin the night before we had received a letter stating that we had to move cabins by 10am. This didn't make sense to us. Why dirty another cabin for the sake of 2 hours so the poor cabin steward had to clean two cabins instead of one? We enjoyed the ports (two of which were changed once we were underway which they must have known before we sailed or if not just more incompetence). The scenic railway in St. Kitts is a must, never been on any thing else like it, what a way to see the island. We left the ship at the allotted time to be shown into a queue for buses in full sunlight with no shade at the hottest part of the day to wait for half an hour. Organisation was not one of the strong points of this ship. The staff shortages were obvious and the staff undertrained. Really disappointed with this cruise after spending over £4000 we expected the same service/food/entertainment we'd always had on Thomsons cruises. Unfortunately it all left a lot to be desired. We would always have chosen Thomsons over other cruise lines if the destinations suited us but our allegiance has been dented and we will now give other cruiselines a chance after this experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
From arriving in Palma, to disembarking in the Bahamas, the organization was amazing, it ran so smoothly and could not praise the staff/crew enough. the cabins where roomy and nipping clean, the cleaning crew worked so hard, cleaned ... Read More
From arriving in Palma, to disembarking in the Bahamas, the organization was amazing, it ran so smoothly and could not praise the staff/crew enough. the cabins where roomy and nipping clean, the cleaning crew worked so hard, cleaned twice a day every day. special shout out to Milford, one of our parties concierge, from towel art to de-stoning the cocktail cherries, nothing was to much trouble. the dining on board was fantastic, the buffet restaurant (islands) was busy at breakfast times but a little wait and a table could be found, wide range of choice and one of our party got the Saturday morning special which he highly recommends. there is two waiter serving restaurants, gallery 47 which serves Italian cuisine and 47, 47 is amazing, every meal 10/10 and the waiters very good, 47 is a must. there are two a la carte restaurants, a surf n turf and kora la which is fusion, we attended the surf n turf twice (£28 per head) it was out of this world, book early as its real popular, kora la (£15 per head) is also top quality food, be warned, its a night finisher, the portions are HUGE. the entertainment is first rate, led by Adam... aka rylan, the Broadway show lounge did amazing show's twice nighty from the full monty to simon/garfunkel to the can can all of which were amazing, it does get busy but a seat can be found, well there is always one that cant find his seat though. the activities on board are good and lots to choose from, there is a climbing wall which we all conquered, passing edmund hillary and sherpa tenzing on the accent, there are dance classes also, be wary though, one of our group went for an our lesson and came back and necked 2 prosecco and chambord followed by southern comfort and lemonade, it really was that vigorous. whilst on board the ship held a minutes silence for remembrance day, which was a great touch and impeccably reserved. all in all the marella and the whole crew are a credit to Tui and would recommend to anyone thinking of booking, to do so. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This review is about our tansatlantic cruise on the MEIN SCHIFF 3: General: TUI cruises has a fleet of 6 ships called "Mein Schiff" and offers premium all inclusive service, which means that beverages are included and that ... Read More
This review is about our tansatlantic cruise on the MEIN SCHIFF 3: General: TUI cruises has a fleet of 6 ships called "Mein Schiff" and offers premium all inclusive service, which means that beverages are included and that there's no service charge. The language on board is German. As English is definitely underrepresented, it is not advisable for non German-speaking people to go on a cruise with Mein Schiff. Embarkation and disembarkation worked perfectly - it was relaxed, fast and without any complaints. Cabins: I had the feeling that cabins are a little bit smaller than on American cruise ships, but the facilities are pretty much the same. One asset is the Nespresso machine every cabin has. Officially one capsule per day and guest is included but our experience was that the capsules where filled up twice a day without any additional cost. The glass bottle with mineral stones that can be filled at the water dispensers nearby the elevator is a great idea. Unfortunately there is no mini bar at the cabin, so we where not able to chill the beverages we brought onboard or purchased on deck. So we regularly had to order a bucket of ice. Btw, there are no regulations about bringing alcohol aboard for consumption on the cabin, so we brought several bottles of wine and had no problems about that. The cabin was cleaned up twice a day but the towels weren't changed everyday, although we threw them on the floor. Pool and pool deck: This pool is great!! It is 25 meters long and surrounded by foamed mats to lie on. Two bars are in striking distance to the pool. The indoor pool is comparatively small but there are lounge beds in this area if you want to relax and calm down. The noise around the outdoor pool can get pretty much sometimes (especially when the DJ is playing or when soccer fans are singing fan songs at the pool bar - and that happened really often, mostly in the morning). As Germans like to reserve their chairs, it can get really hard to find one - especially from morning to about 3 pm. No Go: There is a stand serviced by an employee where you can get towels in exchange for your towel card, but you only get ONE towel at a time. Entertainment and activities: Focusing on health and sports, there is a huge offer on fitness activities. There is an always crowded gym with cardio and weights equipment and a separate room for courses like jumping fitness. You can also join a daily spinning course on the basketball field, a running group at every shore excursion day and a wide range on fitness related shore excursions. Besides, the basketball field turns into a cinema on some nights, and there are two outdoor bars that are open every night. One of them is on the back of the ship and the atmosphere there was always very comfortable and relaxed. We only visited one show at the theater, the variety did not really please us. The casino isn't a casino, it is more a small room with three or four gambling machines and one table - good for us, because we aren't into gambling. There is also a small disco which was also always full. Food, beverages and service: Service could definitely be better. While the bar tenders and waiters in the specialty restaurants were friendly and accommodating, the cabin stewarts were a little bit sloppy and the waiters in the main restaurant were often uncoordinated and inattentive. The food was really excellent! The portions at the à la carte restaurant are relatively small, so you can have several courses without being overeaten. The restaurant is divided into a classic and a Mediterranean floor, both offered excellent dishes every night. The buffet restaurant has a separated part (called GOSCH) that is specialized on fish and seafood but where you can also order specialties at additional cost. For just 20 Euro each, we had a giant portion of snow crab legs which were remarkable. There is a ice cream and waffles stand by the pool, which was also included and always visited very well during our cruise. There are three specialty restaurants that are not covered by all inclusive, two of them are highly recommendable. Surf & Turf steak restaurant offers a exclusive variety of steaks from all over the world and the ambience at the terrace is great. Hanami is an Asian restaurant under the patronage of a German master chef. Richards is a classic fine dining restaurant - the dishes were good but uninspired and not worth the money. Although beverages are included, variety and quality were excellent and serving size was generous. By the pool, beer is often available for self-service. Ports and shore excursions: As there is a focus on sports on the ship, you can join a running team at every stop and there are many sportive shore excursions you can book. Shore excursions in general are well organized and most of them are accompanied by a member of the shore excursions team. To be sure you get the excursions you want, you should book them well in advance. Two weeks prior to embarkation, most of them were already fully booked. I would definitely go on a Mein Schiff cruise again, because value for money is unbeatable. My only wish would be that staff is more service oriented and the guests behave better. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
After over 12 previous cruises with Thomson 3 being transatlantic the Discovery was what we expected, being on deck 2 inside was very good, clean and cabin staff very good. The restaurant was a big disappointment, even at a quieter times ... Read More
After over 12 previous cruises with Thomson 3 being transatlantic the Discovery was what we expected, being on deck 2 inside was very good, clean and cabin staff very good. The restaurant was a big disappointment, even at a quieter times it took up to and over 2 hours the serve a 3 course meal. One evening the whole experience was a disaster from start to finish, as there aren't any wine waiters anymore our waiter brought the wrong drink that was ordered, mixed up the starters and when we had to send 3 sirlon steaks back as they were so tough it was hard to cut and even harder to chew, as an alternative we ordered turkey scallops in breadcrumbs with pasta, the pasta was dry and under cooked, the turkey looked like it was bought from Iceland to be cooked in a microwave when we complained the head waiter apologised took our cabin numbers but we had no feedback. The buffet lunch time meals were okay if you enjoy pies made with what was left from the night before, the evening buffet meal was better with a good selection apart from the pasta alternative that was spaghetti or pasta shells with tomato or white sauce very day. There was one good point the all inclusive drinks package was the best we have had on any other Thomson ship. . Entertainment, the Broadway shows were good but the other entertainment was not up to the Thomson standard, don't think we will be on the Discovery again Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Just back from an atlantic crossing that we truly enjoyed. But please bear in mind that this has been my first cruise so I have no other point of reference. Mein Schiff 4 All of TUI cruises ships are named "Mein Schiff" and ... Read More
Just back from an atlantic crossing that we truly enjoyed. But please bear in mind that this has been my first cruise so I have no other point of reference. Mein Schiff 4 All of TUI cruises ships are named "Mein Schiff" and number 4 is the second newbuilt in the fleet. Since entering service in May 2015 the ship has been kept in top condition. The design is modern and pleasing to the eye. The dresscode is casual and there are no formal nights. "Premium All-Inclusive" TUI follows a concept were drinks and gratuities are included in the fare. This includes not only water or sodas but beer, wine, liqueur and cocktails. Alcohol at the bars is usually from household names in Germany and not no name alternatives. Of course you can pay for higher quality exclusive wines and liqueur, which are offered for reasonable prices, or choose one of the for pay specialty restaurants. But for us it makes for a more relaxing experience when you need not think about money when ordering a drink and presenting your card or signing receipts all the time. Junior suite and associated perks Junior suites are roughly 1.5x the size of a standard balcony stateroom at 26 m2 plus a balcony of 8 m2. We liked that all of the suite felt spacious, including the bathroom and the veranda. On top of that extra space suite pax get a couple of perks, some of which we liked a lot: - priority counter at embarkation, bypassing the queue. There has been no difference regarding disembarkation - access to the X-lounge & X-sundeck, see below - a complimentary mini-bar which is restocked twice a day plus unlimited capsules for your personal nespresso machine - free unlimited Wi-Fi, quite nice considering the current price of online packages aboard Mein Schiff - reception with the Captain and a number of officers on the first evening The X-lounge features both an indoor and outdoor area, facing to the bow of Mein Schiff 4. A concierge is there to help you including booking excursions and you'll find freshly printed german newspapers right on time for breakfast. Service is charming and unobtrusive, though not flawless. A nice buffet with snacks on small plates & fresh fruits is available all during the day, including complimentary caviar and champagne (Pommery). The lounge opens for breakfast which is available from 7 to 10 am. While most of it is buffet style your omelett, eggs benedict etc. will be served. The X-lounge used to close at 7 pm but a dinner option with four courses has been introduced just a couple of month ago which we often chose if we had no reservation for one of the specialty restaurants. You choose the main course which is served at your table whereas starters, soup and desserts are buffet style. Passenger information system & WiFi The on board information system can be accessed once you connect to the ships WiFi network. This web based system is free of charge so all your devices from smartphones to notebooks are good to go without downloading any apps. You get the same information as on the TV in your stateroom but we found it far easier to use via browser. Booked excursions, account balance etc. are password protected. Signal quality is good throughout the ship including outside areas and even our suites balcony. Good handover between access points without the need for a new login. BUT logging into the internet is cumbersome and has you clicking through five screens even if your browser fills in your credentials. That would be ok if afterwards you could surf for as long as you'd like. However, there is a forced logout roughly every 45 minutes with you having to repeat this process over and over again. This occurs at fixed times so it may happen just a few minutes after logging in that you are kicked out again. It is terribly annoying. Food & drinks According to my wife (I drink tea only) the machine made "coffee" in the self serving restaurant Anckelmannsplatz as well as the 24h cafeteria does not deserve its name. A different type of machine at the bakery station ("Backstation") brews a drinkable alternative. Good coffee is available in the serviced restaurants and bars, but the best has been served in the X-lounge. She did not try the for pay coffee lounge. We rate the quality of the food and of the service at the three serviced restaurants as (very) good but not excellent. The food in the buffet style restaurant was good as well but we found it to loud and did not like the atmosphere. The quality of the food is notably better in the for pay restaurants. This holds true for the service as well, to a large part probably due to a better staff-ratio. - "Richard's feines Essen" is a gourmet style restaurant. While service was impeccable and food great we prefer a more down to earth atmosphere. - Despite being advertised as japanese "Hanami" does offer dishes not only from Japan but a mix of asian cuisine. We thought that some of the dishes were tuned too much towards a german/western taste. Sushi was excellent though. - We liked the "Surf & Turf" steakhouse best with its diverse meat offerings on display for you to choose from, the perfectly done steaks and other dishes as well as the excellent service. The atmosphere created by the whole team made it so much more enjoyable to eat there. Please note that some of the hot starters are nearly enough for a main course. If you sample just one of the for pay restaurants, we strongly recommend you visit Surf & Turf. Weather permitting we found the outside tables to be an additional plus. There is a gourmet package available for 75 Euro per person to sample each of the specialty restaurants. Included are a four course dinner in both the Surf & Turf and the Hanami and a six course meal at Richard's. Signature dishes in each of the restaurants demand an extra fee, ie. Shabu Shabu in Hanami and Wagyu beef at the steakhouse. Drinks are not included in any of the specialty restaurants. We do not drink wine but liked the cocktails. The included alcohol for example Jim Bean or Johnnie Walker are usually household names in Germany. High quality liqueur is available and reasonably priced like 4 to 6 Euro for a good single malt scotch (4 cl). Have a look at the different bars as there are some whiskys available which are not included on the standard bar menus and not all venues carry the same bottles. Spa & pools There are several saunas with different temperatures available, some of which feature big one way mirrors for a great view. Use of them is free of charge. The relaxing area is facing to the bow and has outside loungers as well. This being a predominantly german ship you should be aware that people are naked in the mixed saunas and some like to tan in the nude while relaxing outside, too. Massages have been a mixed bag. Both my wife and I had three massages each and both of us like them to be done as close to medical standards as possible as opposed to just a caressing with annoying spherical music in the background. She can recommend Gernot, who did a good one and seems to have taken a comprehensive education to give medical massages. Another one of hers was ok and one not so good. For me it has been two ok ones and one miss. We did not try the gym, courses or beauty parlor. The longest pool at sea is great for swimming laps at off times but can be crowded during the day. On sea days it can be challenging to find free outside deckchairs unless you arrive early, especially when looking for ones in the shade, but you could always find a place in one of the two hot tubs without them getting crowded. There is a smaller indoor pool which we did not use. On-board activities - Sushi workshop: a lot of work had already been done for you. All ingredients had already been cut and were beautifully layed out and you were guided through the process of assembling your own california roll, maki roll and two nigiri. The presentation has been a little lacklustre and not much information was given on top of the necessary instructions. - Cocktail workshop: contrary to the sushi one this was very good and entertaining thanks to Mehmet and Edim. It is aimed at beginners though. - Whisky tasting: with proper nosing glasses, dark chocolate and water the tables had been set up well for seven single malt whiskys covering most of the Scottish whisky regions. We would have liked more peated ones in the sample, but were clearly part of the minority as reactions to the Lagavulin showed. This tasting is aimed at participants who are new to the world of whisky but Julia has been an enthusiastic presenter and it was a very entertaining crowd. Recommended. Entertainment The Klanghaus, advertised as the only concert hall at sea, is a really nice venue. I listened to a piano trio there and the sound is very good indeed. The main act during this cruise was solo pianist Joja Wendt who performed for one evening. His show in the main theater was quite entertaining and he did a good job of working with the audience, but he included many popular pieces and would be the wrong choice if you mainly wanted to listen to classical piano pieces only. The only other show we saw in the theater has been the crew show which we liked a lot. More seasoned travellers mentioned that the number of acts used to be higher on past cruises but that did not spoil things for us. Cruise director Stephan Zimmermann did a tremendous job as a host. Itinerary We had chosen this Atlantic crossing from Mallorca via Gibraltar and the Canary Islands to the carribean specifically to include a lot of sea days and for us this has been the right decision. The choice of ports (Domenica, St. Kitts / Nevis, St. Maarten, Tortola) were interesting to us but this being our first time to the carribean everything was new and exciting anyway. Excursions Being lazy we did not venture on our own and had booked excursions at all ports. We feel that on average they were neither cheap nor a rip-off but bear in mind that we did not research local guides and tour operators and thus cannot judge prices in comparison. All in all we were satisfied with the tours with the exception of the tour by cable car to the top of Mt. Teide on Tenerifa. Upon approaching the valley station we were told that it could not operate due to wind conditions. That would have been ok if it just happened. But later we learned that this information had already been available at the time our trip was about to start. The main reason for choosing that trip forfeited before we got rolling we would have liked to be given the chance to decide for something different than an artificially elongated bus ride trying to make up for the time usually spent on Mt. Teide. Not only us but a lot of the participants of this trip complained and it seems the fare of the cable car tickets got reimbursed to at least all who did. Fellow travellers on our Atlantic crossing started with toodlers but the majority of guests were 50+. There were only a small number of kids aboard for a ship of this size all of which seemed to be younger than six years as there were no school holidays in Germany. I can't judge whether TUI cruises is especially LGBT friendly, but there have been a number of gay and lesbian couples on board. Most of the travelers being germans acted true to the cliché and on average weren’t overly outgoing types. To wrap things up: Is it worth the money? Would we recommend it for someone who does not speak german? TUI markets Mein Schiff as premium but not luxury and in our view this is exactly what you get, with the X-lounge and the specialty restaurants being above average. We would expect service to have fewer glitches, better food in the buffet restaurant and generally some more bells and whistles on a true luxury cruise. Having said that, we truly loved our time aboard and think that it is worth its price. The same holds true for our junior suite with its included perks, which we found very nice indeed. The Mein Schiff fleet caters almost exclusively to cruisers who speak german. We have not seen any information in english with just two exceptions during our cruise. The first one being english language subtitles in the emergency drill video and the second one an announcement via PA for a crew drill. However, you would not expect information in english to be available everywhere when travelling in Germany on your own either. I suppose your experience on board would be similar in a way. The staff usually speak english as a second language at least and with some of them it is better than their german. Many germans can speak at least some english, too, and are happy to practice when being approached. But do not expect to find someone to exchange witty remarks with easily. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise