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We have yet to book a Marella cruise and have heard lots of reports (both good and bad). Apart from:

1 having to pay for the safe;

2 not having a fridge in every cabin at every grade; and

3 the all inclusive offering

what other differences are there between, say, P & O and Marella?


We are in particular interested in a 7 night cruise in September 2019 to the Mediterranean. However, at present, the cost of this is £1139 per person. This seems pretty high for a week, despite the all inclusive (and bearing in mind that P & O are removing the daily service charge, so you will only have to pay for your drinks). For another £400 we could go to the Caribbean!

Any thoughts welcome.

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We prefer Marella to P&O because it’s friendlier and a little more lively! Not rowdy, just that we found P&O very drab in the evening.


The entertainment on Marella is brilliant and we found the entertainment staff to really make an effort. The fellow passengers were friendly too.


We much preferred the Marella buffet to the P&O offerings (which we found very limiting). Although the MDR provisions are not as fine dining, but they were still good.


The Marella prices do seem to fluctuate massively though, I think it’s a good idea to watch pricing as some cruises do seem quite hefty in price compared to others!

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Marella is port intensive unlike P&O who usually have more than one sea day There are no tips they're included in the price and your drinks bill could be £200+ for a week

I'm not surprised you could go to the Caribbean for an extra £400 who would want to go in September it's still the hurricane season!

For what you get on a Marella cruise £1100 is cheap you will only have to pay for whatever you do off ship

The safes are free on the Discoveries and Explorers

We have never needed to use a fridge even when we have had one Your cabin steward will supply you with ice whenever you need it and as you can get drinks to take back to your cabin you don't need to drink your own bought drinks

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The safes are free on the Discoveries and Explorer plus I presume Explorer 2 next summer when she joins the fleet.


All cabins on Explorer have a fridge


The Discoveries and Explorer have a good drinks package included in the fare and a Premium upgrade for £50 per person per week.


From next summer all ships will have the included drinks package.


The Discoveries have more dining options than the mid sized P&O ships and the Explorer is even better.

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Marella is far better than P&O (IMHO) the drinks package is excellent, the upgrade to premium a steal for £50, the entertainment fabulous, service in the dining room, friendliness of the staff. Only been on Britannia to be fair but wouldn’t ever go back on P&O whereas 1 trip on Marella and booked future cruises



Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Thanks for all the different responses. Of course, I wouldn't dream of cruising the Caribbean in September! It was just a loose comparison. Will keep monitoring the prices for our particular preference.

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I have only done one Marella cruise so can only base my opinion on that. It is a very different style to P&O and until you try them both personally, it is difficult to know what you prefer. Theatre-style entertainment is similar in style to P&O but lounge/bar entertainment very different. Food is very subjective but I felt the food on Discovery 2 in both MDR and Buffet was very poor in comparison to P&O.

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The one big advantage is that TUI fly you to the 'Sun' - P&O mainly sail from Southampton and that means at least 3 days, there and back, before you reach warmer shores. We have done both and prefer TUI - food wise there is not a lot to choose between the two, P&O ships probably a little grander, but TUI now have four modern ships so the gap closes.

It will always be a personal choice in the end.

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Thanks for all the responses. On a slightly different topic, I have just read a review of Discovery 2 which states that on the port days, the ship's pools were out of bounds. Is this the case on all of the fleet? I have heard of this being done on smaller/cheaper cruise lines to cut costs (there are special filters which have to be used while in most ports and this of course costs money). Does anyone have experience of this? It would be a real shame, because one of the things we like to do is have a quick dip in the pool after a long, hot day walking around on shore.

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I was on Discovery 2 for 3 weeks in April and 1 week in June and the pools were never closed and never known it on the other ships unless the sea was particularly rough which obviously wouldn't be the case in port They close the jacuzzis if there has been an outbreak of Norovirus but not the pools

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