Marella Vs the Big US. cruise lines. How do they compare?


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#21
Nottingham, England
2,204 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Great thread. I have been considering the newer Marella ships as they used to be Splendour of the Seas & the Celebrity Galaxy & I have sailed on both. Plus I always like to sail on a balcony & they were short of balconies on the older ships.

The itineraries on these ships do interest me but I am worried as I am a bit of a foodie that the food will disappoint me.
I was last on MSC & the MDR food was consistently cold or luke warm.
Have they changed the spa facilities on the newer ships?
Would be great for a comparison there too!


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#22
Epsom, England
1,132 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
The spa has changed on Explorer 1 & 2, they have Champneys Spa now. Very nice!
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Cruise History 123 Days Sailed
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#23
Nottingham, England
2,204 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by SausPud
The spa has changed on Explorer 1 & 2, they have Champneys Spa now. Very nice!


Sounds good. I have definitely seen some itineraries for next year that I am interested in!


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Britannia - P&O Cruises - Mini Cruise to Bruges - May 2017 - 2 nights - (Superior Deluxe Balcony)
REVIEW - http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2502268
Celebrity Reflection - Miami to Puerto Rico, St Thomas & St Maarten - April 2016 - 7 nights - (Aqua Class Hump Balcony)
REVIEW - http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/sho....php?t=2334071

NCL Escape - NCL - Inaugural Cruise from Hamburg to Southampton - Oct 2015 - 3 nights - (Spa Mini Suite Balcony)
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REVIEW! http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/sho....php?t=2230373

Azamara Quest - Azamara Club Cruises - Cruise to the Greek Islands and Turkey - June 2014
7 nights (Balcony)

REVIEW!
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2063572

Norwegian Jade - NCL - Eastern Med from Rome - March 2013 - 10 nights (Mini Suite Balcony)
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#24
9 Posts
Joined Sep 2017
We went on Marella Celebration in 2014 and Princess Sapphire in December 2017. Have to say would not recommend Princess and expected a lot more of them. The ship was tired and dated and the cabins were in desperate need of a refurb. The food and drink were good, however, the entertainment wasn't the best. We were also onboard on Christmas Day and feel they could have done more to make the experience more special especially with the dinner and the decorations. Some of the staff were friendly and some weren't. We also had one of our ports cancelled and feel it could of been handled better.

On the other hand we really enjoyed our cruise on the Celebration, our expectations weren't as high as they were for Princess. The food was good, the entertainment was fabulous almost West End standard, the staff were super friendly and accommodating. I have to say Marella is far better value for money and we enjoyed our experience more.
#25
Scotland
2,548 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I am a bit of a foodie that the food will disappoint me.
Opinions on food are as variable as our weather patterns - but we've never had the slightest cause for complaint on any of the ten TUI cruises we've been on.

The waiter will offer an alternative if you are unhappy with any chosen dish.
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#26
The West of Scotland
4,395 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I cannot comment on a Marella cruise as I haven`t as yet done one. Just about to book Dream with my friends. We usually have a week in the Canaries in November. The cruise is about the same price, All Inclusive. I have done many cruises on P&O, Princess, Cunard and Holland America. I am going into this one with eyes open. I don`t expect a brand new ship but the reviews are good and anyone I have spoken to tells me that the entertainment is sometimes better than the big cruise lines. I hope I won`t be disappointed.
#27
Teignmouth
435 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We've done 40+ cruises over the years and a couple of years ago decided to try Discovery 1 because we liked the light and airy Vision class ship's (Discovery 1 &2) and their balconies.
We find the Marella product on those 2 ships much to our taste in all areas.
We prefer junior suites which are a great size with balconies with sun beds.
We love the main dining room and great standard of food and service, as well as all other dining areas except the buffet, which is a bit of a rugby scrum.
We've just returned from 24 nights on Discovery 2 (Atlantic Discoveries + Iconic Italia) in an aft junior suite and it really was among the best cruises we have ever done.
Currently we wouldn't choose any one else as we think it's a great all round package.
#28
Romiley, Cheshire, UK
500 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
That’s really great to hear Jake! We are first timers on Explorer in 2 weeks time. Really looking forward. Line of choice so far Celebrity, will report back our experience
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#29
Swaffham, Norfolk
152 Posts
Joined May 2016
We mostly sail on Celebrity (and are shortly to embark with that line again) but last Autumn we took a cruise on Marella Dream. We were very happy on the Marella Dream for that week. If you choose a cabin towards the back you experience vibrations as we did, but we could not fault the service and enjoyed the food. There were mainly Brits on the cruise so the food was geared to them. The entertainment was variable, but you get that wherever you go. All the staff, without exception, were lovely. We do prefer a balcony so next time we would probably look for a suitable itinerary in one of the newer ships like the Discoveries, but we have many happy memories of the Dream and Marella and would definitely sail with them again in future.
#30
Huddersfield
1,112 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Jayneykul - as you will be on one Explorers first cruises with Marella please be prepared for a few teething problems - half the crew will be new and being coached by the experienced Marella crew
Have an open mind and have a great cruise
#31
Romiley, Cheshire, UK
500 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Thanks Vitalsign I'm sure we will!
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Celebrity Millenium 2018 Japan
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Celebrity Equinox 2017 ABC Caribbean
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P&O Britannia 2017 France & Spain
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Cunard Q.V. 2016 Mediterranean
Celebrity Summit 2016 Bermuda
Celebrity Equinox 2015 Panama & Colombia
Cunard Q.V. 2015 Mediterranean
Cunard QE 2014 Mediterranean
Celebrity Summit 2014 Bermuda
Celebrity Equinox 2013 Mediterranean
Cunard Q.V. 2013 Hong Kong & Singapore
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MSC Armonia 2012 Mediterranean
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NCL Pride of America 2006 Hawaiian Islands
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#32
270 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
I think that if you keep your expectations realistic, you could have a great time with Marella, but in my experience of 12 cruises with Royal Caribbean (on 5 ships) and 2 with Thomson (now Marella), if RCI is 4 star, Marella is 3 star in terms of what you get for your money.

We sailed on what was the Splendour of the Seas twice when it belonged to RCI, then again when it was bought by Tui and became the Discovery. Same ship, and to be honest not much difference in price. When RCI had the ship, the standard of food, service and entertainment was much higher, in my opinion. I think people often assume that the big ships will be much more expensive, but Marella cruises aren't cheap, so it can be worth looking at other options. RCI were also better at enforcing rules such as hogging loungers and hand sanitising etc. We have had some great times on Marella, but our expectations are lowered when we go, so we aren't disappointed. If you expect the same high standards as RCI or Celebrity, you might be.
#33
Leeds, England
152 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
OK so we’ve decided to take the plunge.
We’ve booked Explorer and the Caribbean Paradise Islands itinerary, for November.


Still a little apprehensive as we don’t normally do package holidays, one of the things I like about cruising is the experience of meeting people from different countries. Just hope it's not a Brits abroad type holiday/



Hope it’s not too formal, I can just about manage a pair of trousers or jeans and a decent shirt but I’m done with the all the DJs and suits.


Like to spend time on board and am looking forward to the entertainment and the overall vibe and a new experience.