Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Each cabin has a safe, mini-bar, hair dryer, flat-screen TV, two single beds that can be turned into a double, a writing desk/vanity with drawers, two bedside tables and a double wardrobe with a third door that includes drawers (and the safe).

Bathrooms each offer a shower stall with glass doors that open in and out, a toilet and a basin. (The higher category cabins have twin basins.) There are shelves above the basin and small cupboards below, including one where you'll find the bin. All bathrooms have a pretty ceramic dispenser hanging on the wall with body wash.

Marella Explorer has introduced a new Family Balcony cabin type and also has designated single cabins (both inside and outside), as well as a number of accessible cabins all on Deck 5, near reception and the lifts. It's worth noting that the corridor immediately leading to the reception is exceptionally wide -- ideal for wheelchairs. There are also interconnecting cabins across all decks and cabin categories.

All the cabins enjoyed a complete refurb when the ship became Marella Explorer, with new carpets, curtains, furniture, fixtures and fittings, so the cabins are, for all intents and purposes, brand new. The line has gone for an understated look and feel, with light browns, beige and burnt orange colour palette throughout. The result is elegant and stylish. The ship also, possibly to do with its age (22 years), is extremely generous with balcony sizes; in fact these are the biggest non-suite balconies we have seen on a ship.

Interior: Each inside cabin has a bed against the far wall with either a painting above or a mirror, as well as a large mirror on the wall. The wardrobe is to the left as you enter, with a vanity in the corner. There are 291 across the ship on all cabin decks. A number are configured as four-berth with Pullman beds. They are all 16 square metres. Marella has designated 15 of these on Decks 4 and 5 as solo cabins, which are, in fact, the same size and have the same layout and design, including two beds that can be converted into a double. These are liable to a supplement, but a reduced one.

There is one inside accessible cabin on Deck 5, which has a wide door, no lip, a spy hole at wheelchair level and is an L-shape. There's a bed against one wall with space either side wide enough for a wheelchair and a desk running the length of the other wall, with two double wardrobes at one end. There is also a pull-down bed. It has a bathroom converted to a wet room and includes hand rails for safety. It is close to reception and the lifts.

Oceanview: There are 202 outside cabins across Decks 4, 5, 8 and 9 that can sleep two, three or four people. They are all 17 square metres and come with a porthole or a picture window. All have two single beds that can be converted into a queen; the three-berth ones have a single sofa bed, and the four-berths have additional pull-down beds. There are also 15 designated as solos on Decks 4 and 5, which are the same size and come with a picture window.

There are seven outside accessible cabins on Deck 5, which have wide doors with no lip, a spy hole at wheelchair level, a bed below the picture window with space enough either side for a wheelchair, a pull-down bed above and bathrooms converted to wet rooms which include hand rails for safety. They are located close to reception and the lifts.

Balcony: There are two types of balcony cabins, one with a large balcony, which are new to the line and come in at 16 square metres apiece, each with a 12-square-metre balcony boasting a hammock, two loungers and a small table and two chairs. There are 178 of these cabins.

The regular-size balcony cabins are a touch bigger at 17 square metres, and there are 188 of them.

Some of both types sleep three people and include a sofa bed.

Family Balcony cabins and above enjoy what's called Premier Service, which includes the following perks: priority check-in, free pressing service (up to three items per person in the first 24 hours) and free Continental breakfast in bed on one day of the cruise.

Family Balcony: A new category for this ship is the Family Balcony. They are 20 square metres each, with a 12-square-metre balcony. There are 14 of them on Decks 8 and 10, all at the aft of the ship, meaning they enjoy wonderful views of the wake. Their layout is as follows: a bedroom, with a double bed against the wall and a writing desk opposite with a TV fixed above.

It's a snug fit, with the bed enclosed on three sides. There is a second area, sectioned off by a room divider, which includes a sofa bed and a pull-down bed with a little ladder. This area leads out onto the balcony, which has a hammock, a table and two chairs, and two loungers.

Junior Suite: There are 40 of these across Decks 10 and 12, and each suite measures 22 square metres, with enough room for three people, as there is also a sofa bed. Junior suites have a muted color palette of burnt orange curtains, light wood paneling, light coloured walls, chocolate coloured carpeting and ochre-brown furniture. The room also has a large mirror on one side of the bed. But the best thing about the design is that the beds face the balcony, rather than at right angles, so you wake to lovely views. The long desk and has two sets of drawers either side, a kettle and coffee machine, and a plug socket for European two-pin plugs, as well as a U.S. plug socket. There are two double wardrobes, one with drawers; the mini-bar is just outside the bathroom with more storage above and opposite.

The balcony is vast at 18 square metres. Double sliding doors lead out to the space, which includes a hammock strung across, a small table and two chairs, and two sun loungers with a small table. The balcony sticks out of the side of the ship, so you can sunbathe on it. A small note: It is overlooked from the deck above.

The Junior Suite balconies on Deck 10 have a slightly smaller square footage balcony and do not stick out.

The bathroom is lovely: all grey marble and sleek silver fittings. The tap pours along an open sluice, and a blue light glows when you turn it on. There is a ceramic soap dispenser. The shower has a glass door that opens in and out, a small shelf for products and a foot rest for shaving. It also has a large Hansgrohe shower head, provided in all rooms in this category and above.

Junior Suite passengers and above will also find wide-screen interactive TVs called "Navigate" which allow you to check your onboard account and book spa treatments and speciality dining. Suite passengers also get a lovely selection of Clarins toiletries in the bathroom.

Executive Suite: There are 10 of these on Deck 10, each one measuring 49 square metres with a 24-metre balcony. There are two separate rooms; as you enter, you walk into the living room area, which has the following: a dining table with four chairs; a bar area with kettle and coffee machine; and a living area with a sofa bed, two chairs and a coffee table. There are sliding-glass doors leading out onto the balcony.

The bedroom has a separate door leading to the balcony, which includes a table and four chairs, as well as two loungers and a hammock. The shower room has twin basins and a large shower area.

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