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

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Trying to decide whether or not to give Marella a go. Has anyone sailed with one of the big U.S. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess etc. as well as Marella / TUI. If so how do they compare? What’s better and what’s not.

 

 

Thanks in advance.

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We have ,did our first in feb on the dream for what we paid we really liked it have 2 more booked all ready

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Trying to decide whether or not to give Marella a go. Has anyone sailed with one of the big U.S. cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess etc. as well as Marella / TUI. If so how do they compare? What’s better and what’s not.

 

 

Thanks in advance.

Only done one Marella (Feb) and thought it was awful. Done some American lines like Royal Caribbean & Disney which are in a different league, the difference between them is like night and day. You can pay a bit more on board but quality and service is amazing.

 

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We have cruised with RCI. Food was exceptional but that was it IMO. Drinks were very expensive and crew were not as friendly as Marella. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. Everyone enjoys different things. You usually have more ports with Marella and we find a great atmosphere on board. The food is good and the speciality restaurants are extremely good. No cruise is perfect for everyone, and you speak as you find, but we have enjoyed Marella more than other lines.

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We have done 5 Thomson cruises in the past but switched to the American companies (Celebrity and Holland America) about 4 years ago when we retired because we wanted to go further afield (Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand etc. etc.) The ships are very modern and elegant and the food was mostly very good but we missed the great Thomson entertainment. We didn’t think we would ever go back because of the lack of balcony cabins. However now with the advent of Discovery & Explorer which have a great selection of higher grade cabins we have decided to give Thomson/Marella another go. I hope we will not be disappointed.

 

 

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Thanks for the replies. Should have made it clear that I've done about 15 cruises with the big US line and was wondering if it would feel like a come down switching to TUI / Marella

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Well size wise it will be. Marella ships are not enormous. The

Discoverys are around 70.000 I believe. Everything is well proportioned and as I have said before a very friendly crew and atmosphere. Good entertainment on board and good restaurants.

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Just back from Discovery 2 Cuban Fusion. As you can see from my signature I have done several different US cruises all on larger than Discovery 2.

 

First off let me say that I was one of the 120 Canadians on board last week amongst all the Brits. I think we had a fabulous time because it felt like we just fit in with the other passengers who were so friendly and easy to start a conversation with and we spoke with some several times over the week. Not like US passengers who sometimes wouldn’t give you the time of day. Maybe it’s was because the ship was smaller and you were in more contact with fellow passengers but can’t really say why we felt more comfortable on this cruise than in past cruises.

 

The show team/entertainment team are all young lads and ladies and very talented. They all sing,dance and act much more enjoyable than those entertainers on the larger cruise ships I’ve been on. The bands on board were excellent as well as the saxophone and the guitar and piano player.

The entertainment team got everyone involved around the pool and at night in the live room and venue room with quizzes,karaoke and other games.

 

I found this cruise to be the most friendliest from the crew,from the top down. Not one was ever without a smile and some took the time to have a conversation with you or asked how your day was going.

 

The food was good not what I expected. It wasn’t fancy but still enjoyable. Loved afternoon tea at 3:00 every afternoon.

 

I don’t have any complaints at all about this cruise and looking to book again next year.

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If you have done Royal Caribbean (I have done the big - Oasis, the techy new - Anthem, and the normal - Vision & Grandeur) and done Thomson/Marella as well in the past. What made me move was the lack of balconies. But by Summer 2019 they will have 4 bigger ships, that match Royal in the normal grade, I have booked to go back to them.

 

Now, this is where this excites me. The cabin and price. I would always do a balcony on Royal but my last cruise on Grandeur, I did a Junior Suite and it was massive and great. Now I want suites everytime I book.

When looking to book with Marella, for the same price as a Royal Junior Suite, I got an Executive Suite on Discovery 2.

Discovery 2 used to be Legend of the seas and is in the normal class and sister ship to Grandeur. The Executive Suite is the same as an Owners Suite. I would never be able to afford this with Royal but with Marella, I can.

You get fewer perks, but still some. But it's not about the perks, it's more about comfort and cabin size for me. Marella does also include a drinks package (you can upgrade to premium for £50 a week) and all gratuities in their price.

I did price up a no-fly on Independence of the Seas for the same time and the Junior Suite cost more than flying with Marella in an Executive Suite.

 

As others have mentioned, the service and entertainment are excellent. I preferred Royal's ships but Marella's experience. Now with Discovery ships, I get best of both.

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Thanks for the replies. Should have made it clear that I've done about 15 cruises with the big US line and was wondering if it would feel like a come down switching to TUI / Marella
I can only use my first Marella cruise to compare and like you have done the American lines as well as other 'British' ones and I found it a massive comedown. From poor food and general service, and the so called excellent entertainment was such a big letdown. Singers couldn't sing and performances were very Amateur but that's just my view. Still it's put me off cruising with that line.

 

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I can only use my first Marella cruise to compare and like you have done the American lines as well as other 'British' ones and I found it a massive comedown. From poor food and general service, and the so called excellent entertainment was such a big letdown. Singers couldn't sing and performances were very Amateur but that's just my view. Still it's put me off cruising with that line.

 

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When did you do your Marella Cruise, as your signature doesn't show one?

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When did you do your Marella Cruise, as your signature doesn't show one?
Hi, February on the Dream, (think our was the 2nd to the 9th)

 

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Hi, February on the Dream, (think our was the 2nd to the 9th)

 

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So the bad experience means it doesn't get added to your signature, lol.

I did the dream and it is a small ship. She is also going soon and that could have reflected on your time onboard.

 

But a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work!

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So the bad experience means it doesn't get added to your signature, lol.

I did the dream and it is a small ship. She is also going soon and that could have reflected on your time onboard.

 

But a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work!

Lol, I thought I had added that to my signature but it must be my subconscious in control. Honestly I was so disappointed as I very much wanted to enjoy Marella as they sail from my local port (Newcastle) so I went on board with a positive and forgiving attitude but came away so gutted. I mean I had a decent time as I was with my wife and was celebrating my 50th but never again. Maybe Thomson does things different on other ships but if the Dream is any indication I'll give them a miss. The overall feeling is that it's just not like a normal cruise (whatever normal is I suppose) but having been on Disney (my favourite) RC, P&O and a couple of others i found it completely different and very very basic.

Cheers.

 

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Maybe give Marella another chance in Summer 2019 on Explorer 1 from Newcastle. They even have hammocks on some balcony grades. Bigger ship and a proper theatre for evening shows.

And update your signature, I've just changed mine (stole your idea, cheers)

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Maybe give Marella another chance in Summer 2019 on Explorer 1 from Newcastle. They even have hammocks on some balcony grades. Bigger ship and a proper theatre for evening shows.

And update your signature, I've just changed mine (stole your idea, cheers)

Thanks but no thanks, but your welcome to steal whatever you want.

 

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Thanks but no thanks, but your welcome to steal whatever you want.

 

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Oh and signature updated!!

 

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Thanks for the replies. Should have made it clear that I've done about 15 cruises with the big US line and was wondering if it would feel like a come down switching to TUI / Marella

 

It's different, however that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable.

 

We've done 3 cruises with Princess and 10 with Thomsons (as was) - would have no hesitation in recommending either, based on our experiences.

 

It Thomsons/Tui/Marella are getting things wrong - then it's not obvious to thousands of repeat clients, and as evidenced by newer ships being added to the portfolio.

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It's different, however that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable.

 

 

 

We've done 3 cruises with Princess and 10 with Thomsons (as was) - would have no hesitation in recommending either, based on our experiences.

 

 

 

It Thomsons/Tui/Marella are getting things wrong - then it's not obvious to thousands of repeat clients, and as evidenced by newer ships being added to the portfolio.

 

 

 

We are almost entirely itinerary driven. As long as the ship is clean and modern and we have our own personal outside space we set sail with a positive attitude determined to enjoy the experience. Should also have added that though I love children (a teacher for 35 years, parent and grandparent) I prefer to travel in a mainly adult environment and would therefore not consider Royal Caribbean or Disney. I have every confidence that my trip to the Baltic (outside school holidays) with Marella will fit the bill. If not we have South America with our hitherto preferred cruise line, Celebrity, to look forward to.

 

 

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We are on Discovery in August after doing 5 cruises with RCI. We were a little bit hesitant when booking but the fact it's an ex RCI it's all inclusive and we leave from Newcastle pushed us to book in the end. Fingers crossed.

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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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The spa has changed on Explorer 1 & 2, they have Champneys Spa now. Very nice!

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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