1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises)
  4. Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) Cruise Reviews
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. ... Read More
This was myself and wife 15th cruise all with Marella and the 4th time on the Dream as it was !! Our favourite ship in the fleet. I’ll keep the review practical many frequent Marbella cruise travellers hopefully get the key points. The positives are its an older ship but has some great venues and bars which makes the personnel touches better than the bigger ships and it proved no different from our previous sailings. The services from the bars and restaurant staff were excellent. The professional entertainment was excellent although some of the best act were too late in the evening. We read on an informative letter in our cabin on arrival that they listen to the cruise feedback reviews. They had decided they would let children use the adult pools which I’m not sure was thought through. We like the lido pool on deck 9 it has a children’s pool but they all used the adult pool. Not supervised by staff and parents and just basic chaos all week. Jumping,pushing,shoving,inflatables the size of a person. Water guns the size of cannons firing all over the deck. We are not stick in the muds we have 3 children who don’t behave in this fashion. Three times we complained to reception and all we got back was they are the same throughout the ship. Ruined the holiday and experience. The sail away party the life and sole of these cruises was ruined by the life safety drill taking place at 10.00 in the evening which is unheard off. The food which was always the stalwart of the Dream has gone backwards!! Repetitive basis offering and the sweet selection was really poor. The Cruise Director spent more time trying to sell upgrades than actually information around the entertainment. The 2 hour flight delay coming and 5 hour delay going back didn’t help either. This is our 2nd Marella cruise this year which hasn’t come anywhere near expectations with delays and standards going backwards.one of the biggest frustrations is trying to get your voice heard. The Tui App on the ship is loaded with questions they want to hear rather than anything they don’t. The questionnaire they send you is just as frustrating and if you criticising too much will not let you complete. Prices going up and standards going down. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
After having a brilliant time on the Discovery last August we decided once again last minute to try the Idyllic Italia itinerary. As before this ship did not disappoint us, we had an inside plus cabin on deck 7 which was very spacious and ... Read More
After having a brilliant time on the Discovery last August we decided once again last minute to try the Idyllic Italia itinerary. As before this ship did not disappoint us, we had an inside plus cabin on deck 7 which was very spacious and kept spotless clean by the cabin staff. We did think about a balcony cabin as one was available but didn’t think the extra £600 for 1 week worth it. Maybe if we were on the ship for 2 weeks we would have thought about it. In all honestly we didn’t miss having a balcony as we only used the room to sleep and change in as there were plenty of excursions/ports to see. We had no problems with the food, used the Islands for breakfast and lunch, 47 and gallery 47 for dinner. We also tried the Glasshouse one evening for the tapas which was excellent. Only had to use the pagers twice and the wait was only about 10 minutes, didn’t even have time for a drink !! Went to Bar 11 every night after dinner, really enjoyed the ambiance there and all the staff were great. Always ended up sitting up at the bar chatting and having a bit of a laugh with the staff. Manuel, Maria and Ericka were delightful. Drinks were good and plentiful but slightly disappointed this year as the all inclusive cocktails had changed, last year there were a few rum based ones but this year only one, had to order a couple off the premium menu but only an extra £2.50 so not too bad. Went on 2 excursions with TUI -Pompeii and Taormina which were both very good, although when visiting Pompeii it was much to hot and there’s not a lot of shade so we were exhausted at the end but still worth doing. We met some nice people and never saw any rowdy or bad behaviour even the small amount of children on board were no trouble. The only time we struggled for a sunbed was on the sea day which was to be expected but we did see staff going round the decks putting notices on any sunbeds that were being reserved but no one on them. Loved the adult only veranda and that the Glasshouse pool also became adults only in the afternoon. Disembarkation was well organised but Corfu airport is still a bit of a nightmare, 45 minutes to check in, then 1hour queuing for security only just got through and the plane was ready to board. Not a fault of TUI but can only hope security can improve. Already looking at Discovery’s itinerary for next year but will do a last minute again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were ... Read More
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were well organised despite tender trouble in Stornaway. Excellent Captain who kept us well informed throughout – often very humerous The embarkation procedure needs attention. We had to queue for luggage labels despite our disability and that we had booked our cabin. Need more than 3 checking in We have some limitations on mobility and asked for help with our luggage when we arrived by taxi. None given - just a shrug. I am unable to lift luggage but able to walk with a stick. We are not wheelchair bound both but have difficulty walking. It appears that we are unable to get assistance unless we take to a wheelchair. Other cruise lines offer very much better assistance Staff worked very hard and were always pleasant with a smile. However, we learnt from one of the very good cabin staff that when he started 10 years ago he had 12 staterooms to oversee. Each now have 28. No wonder they were tired and used periods off to catch up with sleep Newcastle a good port for cruises for almost everyone we spoke to. However Marella need to sort the embarkation procedure out better as well as disembarkation Dining Dining was very slow initially in Latitude 53 but TUI did respond to complaints and service much improved after 3 nights Menu in Latitudes not as wide as in earlier years and sad to say the quality of the food was poorer which is different to my views on earlier cruises- More cost cutting? Had foul smell in shower room when we returned from a function - attended to 3 times but reappeared - was told that it was due to the ship being on rocky seas and the foul water was swishing into shower water - surely not on level 9 - as this means that both foul water and washing water are the same - this would be a very dangerous health hazard Entertainment We had a very good speaker and very well attended Broadway theatre full for 4 of the 5 talks (well done!) despite some issues not of his making. Entertainment apart from the talks was very poor - not aimed for all the generations on board. The shows were given by a well-trained and enthusiastic group of singer dancers. Mostly it was pop. However as someone commented, if we were watching on TV at home, we would switch off. Just one comedian in 14 nights – no other speciality acts. No classical music at all. The scheduled deck games were not hosted or hosts did not appear at all. Note to Marella - The limitation of some of these games issues could be overcome by utilising the space adjacent to the putting area as well as enforcing what we were promised. Also unhosted Bridge etc was scheduled at breakfast time. Tis did nt take place. The library (the Attic) was much better than on Explorer 2 although 3 of the 5 bookcases were emptied within 24 hours. Many more games provided compared Explorer 2 but no playing cards (unless they were taken by guests) The games were needed in view of the poor entertainment available. A request failed to see them arrive. However the Attic was a lovely quiet spot Scheduling was erratic – we did not see or meet the captain until the last night as it clashed Overall We felt that everything that could be cut financially, had been with the result that the cruise will appeal to a limited market covered by other cruise lines. We have cruised with Tomson/TUI/ Marella about 10 times but probably not again despite the convenience of the port Suggestions for Marella 1. Use the sheltered deck area adjacent to part of the putting/golf area. No doubt used for ship storage etc But consider adapting for eg quoits when not in use (it was not used throughout the cruise) 2. Can we have cards provided 3. Can you afford hosted bridge and whist etc as on other cruise ships 4. Can you afford hosted arts and crafts as many would follow this- On P & O, the number on the watercolour class filled the lounge Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Went on Discovery 2 last year - Eastern Med and loved it so tried Western Med this year. No complaints. Food excellent, staff superb. Relaxed cruise and would recommend. Entertainment hit and miss. Loved the comedian but didn't like ... Read More
Went on Discovery 2 last year - Eastern Med and loved it so tried Western Med this year. No complaints. Food excellent, staff superb. Relaxed cruise and would recommend. Entertainment hit and miss. Loved the comedian but didn't like the crew's musical. Squid and Anchor pub was a popular venue, got quite busy. Personally would only cruise for a week. We did cruise and stay and stayed in Sorrento after the cruise which was fab. Had an outside cabin with a window and it was more than adequate, not luxurious but you don't spend much time in your cabin. Discovery and Explorer quite similar. More restaurants on Explorer but missing the lovely Atrium on the Discovery. Swings and roundabouts really. If I had to pick a negative it would only be in relation to the ports on this cruise. They were all commercial ports and if you didn't choose to do the excursions on offer which were quite expensive you had to get a bus or taxi to get off the port. The ports of call we visited in the eastern med, we could just walk off the ship into town. Everyone - guests and crew were so friendly and if you had a problem they would sort it out for you. Wouldn't hesitate to book another Marella cruise. If you want a 'posh' cruise and wear your evening gowns and tuxedos every night this is probably not for you. We loved it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a fantastic cruise on board this ship the staff the itinerary were all great , all staff work hard to make ur cruise enjoyable the restaurants are great with great food and service we always went to the same tables round where ... Read More
We had a fantastic cruise on board this ship the staff the itinerary were all great , all staff work hard to make ur cruise enjoyable the restaurants are great with great food and service we always went to the same tables round where Charles and Arg served us they were brilliant Charles sorted out for my husband to have a menu delivered to our cabin each night to make sure my husband got his food free of cheese which was a great help to us they were pleasant friendly and went above and beyond to look after us . Great cabin staff reported a blockage in the bathroom and it was sorted with in 10 minutes couldn’t fault the response , shows were good ,entertainment in the atrium was great too . At the ports everything ran smoothly ,captain and his staff were approachable. Over all really enjoyed the cruise . Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and ... Read More
We were a group of four - a 50+ couple travelling with our 14 year old son and my 80+ mother (with limited mobility). We selected two, back to back 7 day cruises making a figure 8 from Palma de Mallorca around Portugal, Spain, Italy and Southern France. We chose the ship and Marella (Tui) because it went where we wanted to go when we were able to go - we haven’t cruised with Marella before. First - some shout outs to the exceptional service from our cabin staff - led by Faiden - who looked after us all with great care throughout our fortnight. We particularly enjoyed the e-bike excursions led by Niko and Ashleigh - they led us through the sights and the beaches of Portimao, Corsica and St Raphael. We also used some of the coach based excursions- which were comfortable and as expected. We appreciated the peace of mind of all inclusive drinks - the upgrade was not necessary- and saw no evidence of it being abused by our fellow passengers. We were keen patrons of the coffee port, where we always enjoyed friendly service from Tamara. We ended up consistently using the Islands buffet for meals, for the pure convenience and because we tended to be earlier to rise and to bed than most, so that we tended to want our meals earlier than the other restaurants opened. We had breakfast a couple of times in the waiter service 47 degrees dining room - and it was a better experience. Islands certainly has a variety of food, but it has to be said that some of it was not very tasty - which is probably an inevitable consequence of the cooking methods required to produce food on that scale. Nonetheless we opted for convenience and there was usually something memorable on our plate each night. We frequently used the gym and adjoining spa/sauna services which were well equipped and set up. We preferred the Glass house indoor pool area which was quieter and cooler than the main pool area. In summary, the cruise delivered the experience we had hoped for with some of the staff making it that little bit better than we had expected. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Previously sailed on Spirit so layout of ship identical. Seemed like the ship was shaking herself to bits. Vibration from engines was constant and on every deck and location of the ship. Last night in port I was unable to sleep because of ... Read More
Previously sailed on Spirit so layout of ship identical. Seemed like the ship was shaking herself to bits. Vibration from engines was constant and on every deck and location of the ship. Last night in port I was unable to sleep because of the vibrations. Celebration needs to be retired. Staff are all excellent and food of a high standard particularly the Meridian restaurant. Didn't try the speciality restaurants. Lido restaurant always had a good selection of dishes, particularly liked the afternoon tea spread. Excursions were well organised but maybe allow for more free time to explore, find a cafe or W.C. Then hunt for souvenirs. Cabins were cleaned and refreshed regularly and any issues were addressed immediately. For us there were not enough dancing opportunities. Bands good but playing pop classics only suitable for “dad dancing” or as background music. No chance to do any ballroom or Latin dancing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have just returned from a fabulous 7 days. The whole thing was fabulous. A clean and lovely ship. The staff are excellent can’t do enough for you. Cheerful friendly and helpful. Our room was well looked after cleaned everyday. Top ups ... Read More
We have just returned from a fabulous 7 days. The whole thing was fabulous. A clean and lovely ship. The staff are excellent can’t do enough for you. Cheerful friendly and helpful. Our room was well looked after cleaned everyday. Top ups for tea coffee milk etc. Our cabin was a balcony deluxe and it lived up to its name.Chocolates on your pillows. Always an animal towel in your bed lol.The entertainment was professional and great to watch.A different show each night. We had waiter service in the bars for our wide selection of cocktails.Irish cream coffees Baileys etc. The food was great .A good selection and always hot. Salads were tasty and tempting. Breakfast has a wide variety of things From English breakfast to continental. Omelettes were delicious. The trips were long days but we made lots of memories. Just need extra stops on the Rome walking tour. We packed a lot in a week but was a great holiday. Can’t wait to go cruising again with TUI. Thanks to everyone. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My first cruise with my partner.Was nervous and apprehensive at first but put at ease with the experience.Security in this day and age are very important and the security unit certainly lived up to expectations.The room “Jnr ... Read More
My first cruise with my partner.Was nervous and apprehensive at first but put at ease with the experience.Security in this day and age are very important and the security unit certainly lived up to expectations.The room “Jnr Suit””was unbelievable,spacious,clean and well turned out.Balcony included was an extra advantage and welcome.Food was absolutely beautiful and well presented.The restaurant personnel were well turned out smart and very helpful.The shows which I can understand are not to everyone’s taste but that’s a personal choice.Shows we liked were ‘Cogs’ and the Comedian.The drinks were plentiful.We went on two tours ‘Barcelona’and ‘Rome’which were amazing and interesting (a bit hot though)lol.The Crew were polite and nothing was to much trouble for them,always there to help.I think a lot of people don’t appreciate the crew under working in the guts of the ship.As I said in the beginning,this was my first Cruise and I was to say the least apprehensive but having said that would I cruise again......yes most definitely. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
As a National Customer Account Manger of one of the UK leading holiday companies and having now complete 15 Marella cruises I like to give an honest rounded option on the experience. Whilst this isn't a new ship and other reviews I ... Read More
As a National Customer Account Manger of one of the UK leading holiday companies and having now complete 15 Marella cruises I like to give an honest rounded option on the experience. Whilst this isn't a new ship and other reviews I read before the cruise also stated its new to the fleet and its a nice ship. The positives. Nice ship with some really good venues, bars and restaurants. The customer service from all the staff from cabins to bars & restaurants etc is excellent and what you would expect from Marella. The negatives. This ships sail out of Naples the worst airport experience I've had in 40 years both on arrival and departure so beware when you book. An hour and a half to get you luggage, another 20 minutes walk up bank with your cases to the coach park and another 20 minutes queue for the bus. Not the best start to a holiday going back was worse. Food was well below the standard and the worst myself and wife experienced in all our sailings. Respective tough meat dishes, no roast of the day,Jacket, boiled or roasts and only chips twice in the week. The sweet selection was basic and the same every night. As we and others arrived late on the ship due to the debacle at Naples airport the lunch buffet was closed and limited food on offer. The late night buffet was really basic and not worth the effort. We paid £100 for the drinks upgrade on the first day as I would rather drink Heineken rather than Fosters and my wife Bulmer rather than Strongbow ( personal choice) Two of the main bars Pool bar and the Squid and Anchor didn't stock these. The entertainment was pretty dreadful. The two best acts on the ship were the crew show and the guest artist from the UK. The bands The Collective were great but the Vibe were awful and looked and sounds as if the got together 5 minutes before the ship sailed. The rest of the entertainment crew were the worst I've seen on any cruise or even in the UK. This was an Adult cruise and they fed us kid type games shows backed up with poor jokes, lousy singers on top. If the Cruise Director/staff spent less time talking about themselves and put more focus on the customers it would have been better. The ports of call were good but the usual information you got maps etc from destination services were none existent. I purchase the internet for work back home if you don't use your megabytes you loose them. Summarise. Great ship. Excellent service. Entertainment rubbish. Food Poor. Talking on a new ship to the fleet, sticking it dry dock for two weeks and getting it out on the ocean is always going to have problems. You might change the name but not the previous shame. Marella have built up loyal following myself and wife included. The have built up the fleet of good ships and created a brand in Marella. This ship is way off the standard of any of the others and needs some serious surgery. I would give this ship a wide berth for 12 months till they sort the basics of the food and the entertainment out. I like many others would never travel into or out of Naples airport again its an nightmare. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Have been on 10 Tui cruises in the past, and this cruise is likely to be the last one. The ship is quite old and dated, we knew this as had been on board 3 years ago. The atmosphere on board is good. On arriving in Palma, at the cruise ... Read More
Have been on 10 Tui cruises in the past, and this cruise is likely to be the last one. The ship is quite old and dated, we knew this as had been on board 3 years ago. The atmosphere on board is good. On arriving in Palma, at the cruise terminal, staff were in short supply, and transfer buses were stacked up waiting to offload passengers. We were the 3rd bus in the queue. It took 1.5 hours to embark the ship. First queue of over 100 people, to obtain labels to attach to your luggage - with only 2 staff members on duty. Labels attached then next long queue to obtain boarding cards and cabin keys - Only 5 members of staff on duty, with an extra desk for passengers who have a disability. Next queue was for the hand luggage scanner. Come on Marella, more staff needed, we had been on the go since 5 am, and could do without such lengthy queues. We prebooked an inside cabin on deck 7, the cabin we had before was booked and we were told the closest cabin was 7070. Cabin small but functional, pillows need replacing. Attempted to go to bed at 11 pm only to find that that we were below the dance floor. The cabin was not sound proofed, could hear the band singing, and dancers sounded like they had boots on. Phoned reception and told that the ship was full! Same again the second evening, complained again to an officer, who wrote a report - no help at all. On the 6th night it was rock n roll night, loud music n dancing right over our heads. Phoned reception, at midnight, and asked someone to come down and listen. Finally got a helpful receptionist, Rose, to do something, and we were given a different cabin on our final night. Not certain why we had 6 nights of being unable to sleep if they had a vacant cabin. In my opinion the quality and choice of food has fallen. Soup usually good. Toast was inedible, due to thin cheap bread. Lunch at Lido - choice of pollock, meat loaf or calves liver at lunch. Have never eaten as many cheese salads. Dinner was hit and miss in Orion, sent back roast beef - which was tough and dry, also chicken breast sent back - again very dry and tasteless. Fresh veg was in short supply, green beans most nights, but did get tinned carrots once. Entertainment was disappointing, and in my opinion it was the poorest we have ever seen. The comedian was very good, but the shows were a let down. It would appear that the entertainment team was made up of dancers, with a lack of stand out singers. The two groups on board were from Indonesia - not the best we have ever heard - they did try hard but sounded quite dated. The saving grace on the ship are the crew, hard working and good humoured, but thin on the ground again. Ports of call, all commercial ports, which you cannot walk through, so have to wait for shuttle buses. Guess Tui find it cheaper to dock in commercial ports. When we arrived at Santa Margherita, we had to use a tender to get ashore. Passengers booking tours get priority, everyone else has to queue up to obtain a ticket with a specific time. This caused mayhem, and many irate passengers. The ship is now all inclusive for every one. The choice of drinks is not as good as in the past. Great Gordon's gin, but you have to pay extra for a can of tonic, or be subjected to flat tonic from an open bottle. Cocktails made from syrup, far too sweet for our taste. If you drink whisky you may strike lucky, as several named brands available, but this is not a drink we like. The house wine is not good, choose wisely - at lunch in the Lido get your wine from the outside bar, as the self service wine indoors was very poor quality. On arrival back into Palma, it was chaos on the dockside. On past cruises luggage has been set out in rows with the coloured tags determining which line your luggage was in. Oh no Tui, you let us down yet again. Luggage was just lined up in no order at all, thousands of suitcases to hunt through to find your case. Have enjoyed many cruises with Tui in the past, but feel that they are now placing profits over the customer experience and will not be using them again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much ... Read More
After many cruises with Thomson on Emerald,Celebration and number one Spirit, we decided to see what a “new “ ship was like. One out of 5 is good. Newcastle was waiting for 2 hours after 4 hours of driving. (We were lucky- others much longer. This is not the first time - see reviews. Access to ship far too steep - why not a lower deck? Outside cabin ok but continual noise all night as ceiling panels vibrating so noisy - new ship? Seatings a problem everywhere - lounge, market place, indigo and theatre. Food fair in market place and 53. Found vista for last 2 days - much better. Staff in restaurants don’t seem to be allowed to be part of your holiday - Spirit was fun- Explorer dead pan waiters. Shows poor quality- team worked hard but material terrible - what was cogs all about? Far too loud-too much visual effects and flashing lights. Oh, Spirit was 10 out of 10. Did not participate in any of the daily activities other than walking ourselves around the deck! Days at sea were dead - why no speaker - why no play by show team? Met some of our old Spirit team - Spirit is still their ship- no further comment required. Out of control is the “show your appreciation to the magnificent crew” - how many times were we asked to applaud? Leaving the ship was just as bad. Group 8 had 1000 leaving at same time to queue, get transfer bus and finally find luggage. WHY not make groups of 300 max. So view of Marella is that they have totally lost the Thomson “spirit” that made cruising so enjoyable. Sorry Marella but it’s goodbye from us Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
20+cruises with thomson,1st on discovery great ship ,staff,and entertainment, one gripe Broadway lounge next to live room the noise could be heard in the atrium we're a singer was trying to perform right next door to the live room ,3 ... Read More
20+cruises with thomson,1st on discovery great ship ,staff,and entertainment, one gripe Broadway lounge next to live room the noise could be heard in the atrium we're a singer was trying to perform right next door to the live room ,3 venues right next to each other crazy!.the slug and lettuce pub was only used for quizzes and sometimes a group, good bar to meet and have a talk with people instead of daft quizzes and noise,perfect for background music and relax. Plus disappointed with no group or singer on stage in the afternoons when people get back on the ship ,we used to look forward to hear them on deck before the afternoon trivia questions. All in all great time had by all nearly!we must mention our room cleaners Rhea and Eddi very polite and always smiling made everyday a happy one thanks to them and all the bar staff and waiters for there hard work .corfu airport is a joke,waiting outside in a queue about 100 yards long in the heat waiting to put our cases in to the check out,sorry but not much help or info from tui staff.the much liked crew show was pathetic the backgroud pictures of the singer/artist took longer than the person singing,we are all for a bit of background on their lives but come on! maybe thats why there was only 4 crew members chose to sing,usually they put on a great show and receive the loadest cheers of the night.i hope this is a fair review and we will pick marella cruises again, thanks again to all the staff for a great cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad ... Read More
Liked the look of the cruise itinerary, and departing from Newcastle is more convenient and an easier port to get to than other ports. Booked an executive suite which are supposedly the best cabins on board and are on deck 10. Bad decision. Must say the cabin is spacious and well furnished BUT the inescapable element is constant noise from the deck above. We noticed it initially during the first day, noise of furniture being moved and scraped along the deck. The first night we were woke at 5am, then at 1.30am second night. It appears the deck was being cleaned which needed furniture to be moved. Formally complained in writing, no one responded and had a third night of disturbed sleep. Altogether had to complain 3 times to the “hotel manager”, not impressed at all with the response. The cruise was spoiled by the noise as it is a constant irritant when in the cabin, even during the day. A number of other issues occurred such as on embarkation we were told there was an IT problem which meant long queues while dropping off luggage in the car park and within the terminal building. Luggage was not unloaded on time from the ship after disembarkation, again huge queues in the car park whilst fork lift trucks were coming and going delivering suitcases. The food generally in the restaurants is adequate, not of a high quality. Got the feeling that some of the crew were very inexperienced, and required further training. Overall, it is downmarket, it was a bad experience and will not be going anywhere near a Marella ship again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy ... Read More
We picked this cruise for price and destinations and it delivered on both, I was thinking there was no way this cruise would be great as it was so cheap, flights from UK to Naples then onto Split, Croatia Venice, Italy Ancona, Italy Dubrovnik, Croatia and Sicily and back to Naples 7 nights all-inclusive for under £800 WOW The dining in the main restaurants was superb and the food choice was excellent, onboard activities I must admit apart from a quiz or to we didn't do much but from the list provided every day there was lots to do in the day time if you wanted it, the service from the staff was very good and they were all too keen on doing anything you asked of them, the evening entertainment was good, all be it same type each evening musical and dance apart from a comedian one night, Food and drinks during the day was very good overall the cruise was very good but not as good as cruises costing twice as much we have been on but you can't expect it to be but we were both very pleased with everything on board and would recommend this cruise to everyone wanting to cruise on a budget. We went on trips to the waterfalls from split and the caves from Ancona both good value trips we felt, but both had long coach trips over 1.5 hours but comfortable coaches help and both trips had a lot of walking so keep that in mind if you not good in your feet. We did have a issue in Naples unfortunately due to the port powers to be not letting us on board because if a sickness but for 8 Very long hours with no food or drinks supplied by Tui they did let us down there but they were on top of it once on board as we believe it had run the course. If it wasn't for that they would have got 5stars for everything. Word of warning !!!! Don't use the so-called duty free on board unless you know in advance how much the item you are buying is back home as like we found out it is not cheaper than back home and they will not honor their price match promise unless you tell them while on the cruise so they refused to give me a refund because I didn't find out until I was back in the UK, Tui isn't running the duty free I believe the company is called HARDING BROTHERS RETAIL Ltd well that's what it says on the receipt Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and ... Read More
chose this cruise as I had never tried a marella cruise before. previously sailed with p and o , princess and Azamara. liked the destinations offered for a 7 night cruise.. booked a deluxe cabin on deck 9 or 10 at cost of £2460 and paid for this in february. on arrival at airport handed cabin labels for a deck 8 cabin. told rep incorrect as no deluxe cabins on that deck. was told do not worry as she would email ship and rectify. arrived at naples and cabin type not resolved complained at booking hall and told to go to reception. went to reception at 13.00 and told to come back at 15.00. at 15.00 told do not worry cabin will be sorted but officer who could resolve issue was sorting out lost luggage. when asked why not resolved from our 4.00a.m query at airport was told officer was dealing with medical emergency. went back 2 hours later and maria the customer service supervisor told us not to worry that it would all be sorted.at18.00 as the ship was sailing from naples harbour was informed that TUI had changed the cabin type and refunded money to our booking agent. was told no deluxe cabin available and would have to keep the cabin allocated.i had no communication prior to the cruise about any change to the cabin type ,i received my etickets in april stating a deluxe cabin. no refund was received prior to the cruise date. if my booking was changed why was I not notified and why was I not given the chance to cancel and get a refund. the cabin booked was a deluxe cabin with a queen bed. we received a bed that had walls / petitions on 3 sides. to get out of the bed you could not walk around the bed but had to climb over the other person. after the first night my husband slept on the settee so as not to disturb me. hardly a deluxe holiday experience. food on cruise was okay but nothing special . tried speciality once but not worth the premium charged. best place for eating was nona for pizza and fresh pasta. on arrival in Dubrovnik went to customer service and asked about shuttle buses into the old town. told not allowed to provide as local bus companies do not allow it.azamara supplied shuttle buses when i went to dubrovnik with them. feel like customer service staff lie to your face in the hope that they will just get rid of you . it is now over 2 months since my cruise and i have still not had an explanation or apology from TUI. at the end of june they refunded £294 for the difference in cabin prices Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise to allow us to visit Petra in Jordan*, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, it also called in at Kefalonia, on the Petra return the driveshaft went on the bus delaying us for almost 2 hours. The weather was hot in Jerusalem and ... Read More
We chose this cruise to allow us to visit Petra in Jordan*, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, it also called in at Kefalonia, on the Petra return the driveshaft went on the bus delaying us for almost 2 hours. The weather was hot in Jerusalem and more so in Jordan, but later in the cruise after traversing the Suez canal we had two days of high winds and grey skies that not only kept you from sunbathing, but kept you off the top deck completely. Half way through the cruise at around 07-00 there was a 'machine labouring' noise, the cabin lights went off, and the ship stopped for 15 or 20 minutes the 'claim' being 'dirty fuel', although I find it difficult to understand that dirt in a ships fuel would cut everything off completely at the same time with no back up, fortunately for us we carry a battery lamp. Those who had been on for two weeks said the ship had suffered an 'air conditioning' breakdown the previous week and had to pull in for repairs, thus delaying people on the following onshore trips. The food onboard was fine generally, and the cabin steward and cleaning lady were excellent as usual. The entertainment was rather drab, we were on this ship 2 years ago, and the 'Broadway show lounge' shows were still exactly the same routines and songs as they had been. The music played in all the bars, disco, and entertainment parts of the ship was ranging from the early 60's to early 80's (it seems Marella believe music stopped in the early 80's, and nothing has been produced since). The one exception to the drab entertainment rule was a guy on a guitar singing Irish songs. On departing the ship in Corfu, we were stood waiting outside the airport in a queue of some 100 meters for more than an hour, with no explanation of why, or as to how long we would be there until someone challenged one of the TUI staff over the matter. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise was a belated birthday present for my wife. She had always wanted to visit Jordan, and I wanted to visit the Suez Canal, so when I spotted the itinerary for this cruise it was a no-brainer. It suited that we did the ... Read More
This cruise was a belated birthday present for my wife. She had always wanted to visit Jordan, and I wanted to visit the Suez Canal, so when I spotted the itinerary for this cruise it was a no-brainer. It suited that we did the longhaul flight out first to Muscat in Oman to join the Discovery and only had a short flight home from Corfu. On this ocassion embarkation was a little hetic as our flight out of Manchester was delayed by nearly an hour which caused a bit of chaos for the crew to get our baggage onboard and the passenger's checked in. We were sailing within an hour-and-a-half, which was a shame as we would liked to have had a walk around Muscat before sailing. We were not new comers to the Discovery as we had sailed on her some 18 months previous. On this occasion we had an inside cabin, not recommended as it was dark and you felt like it was night all the time, however, the bed was comfy and the cabin staff did a wonderful job of keeping it clean and tidy and I also kept updated with the football results from the TV in the cabin. A major improvement in the restaurant's this time was that the food was always hot and not luke-warm like the last time, the service seemed to have gone up a notch too, so all-in-all it made for a great experience. We spent the first at at sea before stopping at Salalah in Oman. Because we had already pre-booked a few excursion we did not get off at Salalah, plus you had to either get a bus or taxi as Salalah was about 40 minutes away, and if you did your own thing you were advised to agree your fare before getting in the taxi, and also not to pay until you return otherwise you risk being left by your driver, this was slightly unnerving to say the least. Aqaba was our next port of call, here we had an excursion to Petra The Rose Red City which was well worth the money. We walked in the footsteps of Indiana Jones and discover the city that was lost to the world for over 1000 years. Petra is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites with 2000 years of history and 800 monuments still standing, well worth the visit. The icing on the cake for me was travelling through the Suez Canal. It is a sight you have to see for yourself just to grasp the scale of the project undertaken to land cut the Canal. I have to leave wit a word of warning, please ensure you cover yourself in sun screen before leaving your cabin. The temperature was always in the 40's and with the breeze whilst sailing it's like being in a fan oven. Many passenger's had the misfortune of being badly sun burnt on the first day, and spent the rest of the cruise looking like mummies. Don't make any sense to spend a couple of grand on a cruise holiday only to spend probably three times as much in doctor's fee. And another thing, some of the places you visit on your excursion, you have to cover your shoulder's and knee's especially if you wish to visit places of worship. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and ... Read More
This is only our fourth cruise and we wanted a cruise that visited interesting places in the Mediterranean and was only a short flight from home. Mornings and evenings were cool but temperatures in the day around the low 20 degrees C and we had one rainy morning. We flew from East Midlands to Palma and although check-in was slow arrangements went smoothly until check-in at the cruise terminal where things again were slow. This cruise was the second week since the ship had been refurbished and the quality of furnishings and fittings was exceptional. The lifts were spacious and quick. Without exception all the staff we met were friendly, welcoming and helpful. Eating was a delight with open dining in six restaurants and three a la carte which cost extra. Ten bars, one a pub and a coffee shop completed the arrangements. The talented Explorer 2 Show Team produced a number of top class shows in the Broadway Show Lounge that would rival any produced in the West End. There were lots of activities during the day and in the evenings. Pampering was available at Champney’s Spa a new venture. We visited three Countries, five towns and could either walk in or take an inexpensive shuttle bus to enjoy them. There were lots of excursions to places like Pisa, Florence, Genoa and St Tropez and lots of room for sunbathing. Departing the ship was an ordeal because of poor organisation and we were again held up by Border Control at East Midlands on return. An enjoyable cruise, a top-class ship, fine food and drink and an outstanding crew. And the bonus adults only. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to ... Read More
We have been with Mariella (Thomson) several times including Baltic capitals this last August on Discovery -which encouraged us to go again with this company. As we wanted to avoid the Bay of Biscay and have limited mobility, we opted to fly cruise via Majorca. We are less mobile than we used to be and assistance was booked but this seemed to exclude TUI staff. Help was needed with luggage not wheelchairs but airports do both not one. The ship was Explorer 2 which was undertaking its second cruise since being fully refurbished. The ship and staff are still having issues. However I feel that others might wish to learn that this ship is not up to the standard even of Discovery There is a reduction or omission in many areas offered in comparison * no maps of the ship in the cabin * no maps of ports visited * much lower mileage of cruising: we even left port about 6 pm to idle off the coast for several hours (presumably this saves on port charges?) rather than take off later poorer entertainment * no classical music whatsoever - all pop * no readily available deck games (hosted or otherwise) although the putting green (not golf) was on the top deck around the funnel and was unreachable when the wind was up as most of the time * library was a joke - just one small stand with charity shop books although a few board games were available and were well used as little else to do Add to this, we had issues with a stuck loo outlet switch, a broken safe causing us a loss of almost a days visiting - not expected on an expensively regenerated ship It felt that every attempt was being made to cut costs even at the expense of cruisers enjoyment Overall - a boring experience and not to be repeated Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside ... Read More
We have done almost 30 cruises with Thomson/Marcella and this was the most luxurious ship we have been on. Yes we did have problems with our cabin - no safe working all week, no light in the bathroom but this was soon repaired. The inside cabin at the front of deck 9 was was comfortable, quite spacious with a well designed bathroom, plenty of storage space and very quiet. Daytime activities were limited and quizzes almost all music questions. However the breakfast and lunchtime buffets in the Marketplace was very good and evening waiter service along with the food in Latitudes were also very good. The shows in the Broadway were often excellent, but the evening entertainment in the Squid and Anchor was variable and often a bit chaotic, however since this was a maiden cruise it should improve as the entertainment team ' come to grips with their roles'. The crew are a major asset of the ship since they were invariably friendly and helpful. We knew the shore excursions can be expensive and since we had visited all the ports before only did one to Rome. It was The Easy Rome and was ok but did not leave the ship until 12pm. We arrived on the ship after 6pm so missed the lifeboat drill and never did one - this oversight must be sorted out. Yes we were aware of other problems around the ship but overall we enjoyed the cruise and are sure Marcella will sort them out and we recollect the Marcella Dream had host of problems when she first came into service with Thomson's. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural ... Read More
Couldn’t get no worse!! First ever cruise and what a let down. We were on the inaugural cruise from 2 April 2019. In my opinion the ship was just not ready. Arrived on board before midday and cabins not ready. On an inaugural cruise?? However, advised to go to Pool Deck where food and drinks were available. That was fine but the toilets were blocked. No water for washing hands, toilet tissue, sanitiser. A recipe for passengers being stuck down with tummy bugs. Crew directed us to Deck 12. Same condition. Crew then shrugged shoulders. Problems with toilets blocking all week including on final morning. Customers were blamed for this which is never the best strategy to adopt. When the above situation was reported to Reception was told this was because vessel had been in dry dock. Wrong answer. Logistical management at best could only be described as poor. The cabin was fine and front of house staff worked very hard but lacked management back-up. Food was fine but service in main restaurant started off poor. Did improve during week and a couple of the Sections delivered a very good service in the end, one of which we reported on board. I will be critical but will also praise where praise is due. On one occasion, in Gents WC on Pool Deck water was coming through ceiling via light fitting. A bucket had been placed underneath but I advised the crew member present the water leak was the least of the problems as water and electricity was never a good mix. Think that went above his head. Code Victoria was called twice to my knowledge and it was not unusual to find blowers drying out carpets which ha£ been contaminated by flood water. Captain said on ore than one occasion they were having ‘teething problems’. These were not ‘teething problems’. A number of bits of kit failed to work especially in the buffet restaurant. Many did not have signs on. TIP: if going on. Cruise on this ship take some ‘out of order’ signs with you so you can help crew. Well, experience put me off cruising but experienced ‘cruisers’ reassured Us this was not a good example and recommended other Lines for us to try. We have decided to do this as we liked the experience of visiting different locations/ countries each day but this is down to fellow travellers rather than this experience. Such a shame as had terrific potential As stated above, in my opinion the ship was, simply, not ready. The Captain did state needed the passengers to fully test vessel. I don’t mind this providing I am given the choice before booking and do not pay full price. Oh well, bye, bye Marella. We could have had such a great future relationship if only, if only!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs ... Read More
Did not know what to expect on this our first cruise as we had read so many varied reviews, but we could not fault our cruise experience, we booked a large balcony cabin and it was perfect, we had our own sun lounger, table with 2 chairs and a hammock! It was ideal to get away from the hustle and bustle of the pool deck areas and really chill out. Okay the Marella explorer is not brand new and not as huge as some of the other cruise ships but for us it as just right. The main self service dinning room served a good range of hot and cold dishes which changed daily, and if you wanted a full English breakfast you'd have to go a long way to beat it, we also tried out the specialty restaurants, some you had to pay a cover charge for, but well worth it, and the all inclusive drinks package was the best we ever had, all the top and well known beers and spirits.We can't praise all the staff on-board enough, from the cleaners to the ships Captain, nothing was too much. Plenty of hand sanitisers' everywhere, entertainment and activities were suited to all age groups and were well organised, The only thing I would do differently next time would be to book shore excursions on-board the ship, yes they are more expensive than doing it yourself but it saves the hassle of being pestered by the hoards as you walk out of the port area into local towns, overall we had a fantastic first cruise experience and certainly do it all over again, especially on the Marella Explorer. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit ... Read More
This ship is a real asset to the Marella line. It is really well run, spotlessly clean and comfortable. The crew are happy to help with a smile. There is a great choice of food, my only criticism is that a lot of the beef dishes were a bit chewy and tough. Having said that anyone who can't find something good to eat must be the most picky eater ever. Such a wide variety. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9, it was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The balcony had two chairs of reasonable comfort and a small table. There was a kettle and fridge in the cabin. Bath, hand and pool towels were provided along with face cloths. There were two pools, not large but big enough and quite deep. There was also 3 jacuzzi's. Plenty of entertainment to suit everyone. Good variety of drinks and cocktails included in the drinks package. Didn't bother upgrading to premier for more choices. There was enough. The premium cocktails were not that expensive at £2.50 a time. The champneys although expensive were fabulous. Paid to keep a room on last day at a cost of £ 35, wasn't really worth it, only allowed to have it from 10 til 1.30. better to pay £15 each and book into the spar where they have lockers sauna's steam rooms, hot seats, fresh air room and sleeping room. Fabulous place. Loved every minute. The shore excursions run by the ship were over priced. We tended to get the tours on shore from official operaters and taxi's. Much cheaper and really good value. The people on the islands we visited were really friendly. The only island we found that tended change prices at a whim was St Lucia but even there we enjoyed the tour. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We booked this cruise based on our experience on Marella Discovery which we really liked, and although we were aware that this was an older and smaller ship, thought that services and food would be of similar standards, how wrong we ... Read More
We booked this cruise based on our experience on Marella Discovery which we really liked, and although we were aware that this was an older and smaller ship, thought that services and food would be of similar standards, how wrong we were.There was evidence of penny pinching(or nickel and diming)as our American friends would say, as soon as we entered our cabin, which I must say was quite spacious (outside and upgraded) there was no hand soap only a soap dispenser, no face tissues and the usually free safe was chargeable, in my opinion the company did not operate a "duty of care" in respect of security as the door key was clearly labelled with the cabin number to which it related. We had purchased a cruise with an "all inclusive" basis-drinks and gratuities but found the choice very limited, the wine available was a house red, white or Rose with the former being particularly dry and vinegary, if you preferred a bourbon whisky the only option was Canadian Club, Jim Beam or Jack Daniels was not included. We did not enjoy much of the food on board, breakfast was the usual fayre, there was good variety but the quality was poor, lunch and dinner again offered a wide choice of vegetables but some strange combinations of dishes and it is not everyone's preference to have the vegetables al dente, we were surprised no salad cream on an English ship!. Service from the waiters, assistant waiters, and head waiters was excellent- polite courteous and helpful. I would like to single out Gamal one of the head waiters who was most diligent in accommodating requests and always delivered what you requested. Entertainment options were quite limited with a main show lounge, a cabaret type lounge and a piano bar, the production shows were average, the band who played a blues/rock type of music in the cabaret lounge were very loud and on one occasion so loud I found it painful, they also played on deck reggae type music which I found quite pleasant. We have visited most of the ports before and have our favourites this was our first visit to St Barths and found it very pleasant but relatively expensive. We took only two excursions one in Antigua - Sun and rum which was not as good as the previous one with Marella at this resort-very poor facilities! and the Rhum Runner which is our favourite party trip, happy-great atmosphere and good music and dancing. I am aware that this review may be seen as a litany of complaints, however it reflects our perception of this cruise, the point that I am attempting to make is that given the cost of this cruise which was very similar to others with similar itineries and inclusive arrangements but offers significantly less in terms of food quality,entertainment and facilities. We did speak to a few other passengers who did like what was on offer which illustrates the point that you can't please all the people all the time. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

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