Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We've done 20+ cruises on at least six different cruise lines but never Marella or Thompson . . . .  using P&O as a decent standard and Olsen as about as basic as we would accept where does Marella come in on the scale?

Link to post
Share on other sites

A matter of personal opinion, I suppose, but Which? recently put P&O and Marella on level pegging with an overall score of 71%.

 

I doubt there's much to choose between them these days, though not so long ago Marella would have been seen as very much a rung below. 

Edited by Harry Peterson
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Critique999 said:

We've done 20+ cruises on at least six different cruise lines but never Marella or Thompson . . . .  using P&O as a decent standard and Olsen as about as basic as we would accept where does Marella come in on the scale?

We tried them for a few cruises after they acquired RCI Splendour and Legend of the Seas, having been mainly with P&O for some years.

Initially we thought they were quite good but we felt let down on a couple of cruises when they cancelled key ports such as Havana and Bahamas 4 weeks before departure , and the next cruise broke down and we were kept in Dubai for 5 days before flying home.

They introduced all inclusive drinks which was quite good, but we thought the level of drink related bad behaviour increased, although it was only a small minority who seemed to abuse the package.

We returned to P&O, and won't return to Marella.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically more similarities than differences. Marella are less formal and many say their shows teams are more talented. With Marella it can depend on the ship. They have 6, Celebration and Dream are older but many prefer them. The two Discoveries and two Explorers have more facilities and IMO Explorer looks very modern. There is an extensive drinks package included in the fair and in my experience you see just as many drunks on P&O. Tips included as well. Their main market is fly cruises and many people prefer flying to the sun rather than having the long drag around Spain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way you will know is to try them.  Marella in some ways appears to be the 'marmite' of British cruising.  I have only done one cruise with Marella, two years ago on Discovery 2.  On the basis of that one cruise, I felt Marella were far inferior to P&O in most respects but particularly in respect of food and service.  Other P&O cruisers however feel they are very close.

In my experience, Marella is much more informal than P&O in respect of both passengers and some of the crew - again based on the sole cruise I have done with them.  If you have cruised mainly on P&O's larger ships, you may find the atmosphere is similar possibly.  As someone who sails on P&O's smaller ships I found Discovery 2 to have a very different ambience.

It would take an exceptional itinerary and a very good price to tempt me back.

But as I said at the top, you'll only find out if they are for you by trying them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of it depends on the ship you choose.

 

Personally  I would no longer travel on Tui,s older ships as they are well and truly past their best imo. The opposite of P&O where I prefer the atmosphere and service on the older, smaller ships.

 

The newer TUI ships compare to P&Os bigger ships, they are not as fresh or well furnished as P&O but they are perfectly fine for a holiday. TUI have some interesting balcony choices with the large (they are very large) balcony’s providing sunbeds, table, chairs and a hammock which is fun to lie and watch the world on.
 

I would say that TUI have the edge on included food as they offer a much more extensive choice at the buffet (including freshly made pizza and pasta) and a number of additional restaurant selections at no charge for example tapas and an Italian. I didn’t rate the food in the MDR however on a recent cruise we went to the Italian most nights which was good and had a wide choice from Italian regional food and the tapas was tasty too. The P&O MDR is more elegant.
 

P&O win for the extra pay restaurants with the excellent Epicurean and Sindu.

 

Tui have many more tables for 2 in the MDR if that is what you prefer. 

 

Entertainment is very subjective and both lines offer the same style of stage shows in the main theatres.
 

TUI offer participative entertainment in a separate venue which you will either love or hate eg hosted game shows. They also offer novelties like a silent disco which is actually great fun.  

 

P&O offer the second show as mainly tribute acts etc. P&O will also occasionally offer classical music though there is less of that now unfortunately.

 

The TUI ships are all inclusive so remember that when comparing the fares. The standard AI is fine but if you upgrade then the choice of cocktails and high end gins, whisky etc is very generous. P&O now offer a separate AI package so you can compare like for like by adding the cost of that to compare.

 

Tui is generally more casual than P&O when it comes to dressing for dinner but if you want to be dressy then you won’t feel out of place.

 

Both will offer you a good but different cruise experience, a lot depends on what your preferences are. Feel free to ask any questions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can concur with all the above. I think Marella win on choice of airports you can use in the UK and their ships are predominantly based in the summer in the med, Palma, Naples, Dubrovnik and Corfu. We personally think that they are a bit overpriced and you pay over the odds for AI example Sept 14nts Baltic cruise ex soton on Azura is £1357 OV same cruise Marella Ex2 AI OV £1803 for two of us thats an £892 price difference and theres no way we would spend that much on drink between us. 

Marella is very much a TUI land based AI just on a ship imho. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point from 2bacruiser re the choice of flights.

 

P&O is I am sure fine if you live near one of their standard airports, as I don’t they charge me an excessive amount on the odd times they offer a local flight. Our flights are schedule but we still have to go via P&O so they also make life very difficult for  booking or upgrading seats etc Due to delays in setting up the links to the schedule company.

 

P&O are much more efficient in the Uk when compared to TUI (but not RCI etc) the TUI set up at Newcastle is painfully slow both getting on and off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having done cruises last year on both Arcadia and Explorer 2  and got cruises booked with marella and P&O this year I think I am better placed in answering the question, first ignore Harry and his which report which did not give an accurate survey both cruise lines are not aimed at the same market, Marella with the all inclusive deals are well worth the money if you add in the premium drinks package is excellent.

P&O is aimed more for the older cruisers but with there new ships that might be changing, Marella is far more family oriented we found the entertainment to be good on Explorer 2 but the bars were very quite, the food on both was good but Arcadia was better in the selection they had on offer.

The lack of a dress code on marella for dinner was a shame some made the effort the lady on the table on my left had tracksuit bottoms on and tee shirt,the lad on the table next to us had his best Man Utd top and shorts on but his partner was dressed to the nines.

Arcadia was a different league than Explorer 2 but price wise and itinerary I would still sail on Explorer 2.

just a footnote I never saw any bad behaviour on Explorer 2 because of the free drinks but what I did see on both ships was how people dodged using the hand spray in the restaurants.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bazrat said:

Having done cruises last year on both Arcadia and Explorer 2  and got cruises booked with marella and P&O this year I think I am better placed in answering the question, first ignore Harry and his which report which did not give an accurate survey both cruise lines are not aimed at the same market, Marella with the all inclusive deals are well worth the money if you add in the premium drinks package is excellent.

P&O is aimed more for the older cruisers but with there new ships that might be changing, Marella is far more family oriented we found the entertainment to be good on Explorer 2 but the bars were very quite, the food on both was good but Arcadia was better in the selection they had on offer.

The lack of a dress code on marella for dinner was a shame some made the effort the lady on the table on my left had tracksuit bottoms on and tee shirt,the lad on the table next to us had his best Man Utd top and shorts on but his partner was dressed to the nines.

Arcadia was a different league than Explorer 2 but price wise and itinerary I would still sail on Explorer 2.

just a footnote I never saw any bad behaviour on Explorer 2 because of the free drinks but what I did see on both ships was how people dodged using the hand spray in the restaurants.

 

Well Marella have peed me off and I have not cruised with them yet. I have a 7 night, taster booked and then they go back to all fly cruising. Well thank you.

 

10 minute taxi ride looked ideal. Their loss considering the number of times we cruise.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, daiB said:

Well Marella have peed me off and I have not cruised with them yet. I have a 7 night, taster booked and then they go back to all fly cruising. Well thank you.

 

10 minute taxi ride looked ideal. Their loss considering the number of times we cruise.

We flew to Naples to pick the ship up it was a long walk lugging cases from the airport to catch the bus to the ship, there was also no duty free shop on ship apart from that it was good.

Edited by Bazrat
Link to post
Share on other sites

The walk from the airport to the coaches is about 300 yards, 12 yards more than the length of the ship, no nearer because coaches are not allowed to pick up outside the terminal.  No UK cruises in 2021 because of new Norwegian environmental restrictions in the fjords although Marella would not admit it if you asked them.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

2BA, I am assuming both cruises you are quoting prices for are both ex s/ham ?. Also, they are just snapshot prices; both could go up or down. 

We are just back from 14N Marella Explorer 1 Canaries fly-cruise.

We paid £1345 each , this includes selecting inside cabin number and extra space seats ex Newcastle.

Last year, did same to Caribbean at a cost of £1650 each.(Standard seats)

Considering the flight element both are good prices.

Agree with other pists, we had our best clobber on for the formal nights; waste of time.

We are early risers , buffet was quiet for breakfast and we were early in at lunch time also quiet. Good standard was good for breakfast and lunch. Evening we typically went to MDR between 7 and 8, easy to get seated; service was always quick and good quality was generally OK.

People did dodge using the gel, also the wash basins !!!(toilets).

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, davecttr said:

The walk from the airport to the coaches is about 300 yards, 12 yards more than the length of the ship, no nearer because coaches are not allowed to pick up outside the terminal.  No UK cruises in 2021 because of new Norwegian environmental restrictions in the fjords although Marella would not admit it if you asked them.

 

Sorry did not measure it but it was hot and sunny and the pavements were uneven plus the fact you had to cross roads, it felt a lot longer than 300 yds but like I said it felt a lot longer distance than you mentioned.

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, oxygenbanditnot said:

2BA, I am assuming both cruises you are quoting prices for are both ex s/ham ?. Also, they are just snapshot prices; both could go up or down. 

We are just back from 14N Marella Explorer 1 Canaries fly-cruise.

We paid £1345 each , this includes selecting inside cabin number and extra space seats ex Newcastle.

Last year, did same to Caribbean at a cost of £1650 each.(Standard seats)

Considering the flight element both are good prices.

Agree with other pists, we had our best clobber on for the formal nights; waste of time.

We are early risers , buffet was quiet for breakfast and we were early in at lunch time also quiet. Good standard was good for breakfast and lunch. Evening we typically went to MDR between 7 and 8, easy to get seated; service was always quick and good quality was generally OK.

People did dodge using the gel, also the wash basins !!!(toilets).

 

The Marella cruise was very good value for money we had no real problems so we are using them again,but leaving the suit at home next time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, davecttr said:

The walk from the airport to the coaches is about 300 yards, 12 yards more than the length of the ship, no nearer because coaches are not allowed to pick up outside the terminal.  No UK cruises in 2021 because of new Norwegian environmental restrictions in the fjords although Marella would not admit it if you asked them.

 

It’s a pity they don’t use some imagination and do some alternative ex UK cruises. Lots of ports are well within the reach of Newcastle.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, oxygenbanditnot said:

2BA, I am assuming both cruises you are quoting prices for are both ex s/ham ?. Also, they are just snapshot prices; both could go up or down. 

 

Yes both ex s'ham 2 days apart, prices current on an 'out of this world' & 'gold coin' TAs 😉

As you says prices will fluctuate but we as a rule dont drink that much maybe a pre dinner g&t and bottle wine with dinner, we found that on Ex2 we were having 4 pre dinner drinks, two bottles wine along with beers by the pool during the day just for the sake of getting our moneys worth. Came home nearly a stone heavier lol.

We also were disappointed on both Ex2 and particularly Discovery 2 with dress to impress some did take part including us but felt a bit of a tit sat in my finery next to a bloke in shabby shorts and a mangy t shirt lol 

We are currently looking at Baltic either Azura/ Arcadia or possibly Cunard QV later in year to get a taste of cruising as we belive it should be!

Edited by 2BACRUISER
Link to post
Share on other sites

We haven't tried Marella yet, wouldn't rule it out, but P&O wins for us at the moment as plenty of choice from Southampton. 

We also like the formal nights, so as P&O reduce them, we would probably look for another line that still upholds them. 

That said, I do see the attraction of Marella and their clear objectives would obviously interest me if I wanted a more laid back, all inclusive type holiday. P&O seem a bit torn and want it all, fine if they can pull it off. 

Andy 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, 2BACRUISER said:

Yes both ex s'ham 2 days apart, prices current on an 'out of this world' & 'gold coin' TAs 😉

We also were disappointed on both Ex2 and particularly Discovery 2 with dress to impress some did take part including us but felt a bit of a tit sat in my finery next to a bloke in shabby shorts and a mangy t shirt

We even felt overdressed on normal smart casual evenings on Marella when we dressed as we would on P&O.

Recently been to a couple of H10 hotels in Spain and Tenerife where the dress code was far stricter than Marella, even during the day when bare chests were forbidden (even for men!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

We haven't tried Marella yet, wouldn't rule it out, but P&O wins for us at the moment as plenty of choice from Southampton. 

We also like the formal nights, so as P&O reduce them, we would probably look for another line that still upholds them. 

That said, I do see the attraction of Marella and their clear objectives would obviously interest me if I wanted a more laid back, all inclusive type holiday. P&O seem a bit torn and want it all, fine if they can pull it off. 

Andy 

 

 

I think you are right with the “bit torn”, P&O are trying to be all things to all people at the moment and so there is a bit of a culture clash. That said the quote from the CEO on another thread seems to indicate that they are beginning to be more targeted at a specific market (Saturday TV audience quote refers). 
 

Marella are unpretentious and don’t offer any more than a cruise with reasonable food, entertainment and AI thrown in. They offer some interesting fly cruises from local airports which for those of us far from Southampton is useful, particularly during the winter. I envy you your access to ships (but not the southern traffic!)


Formal dress is going the way of the dinosaurs unfortunately. Even on lines that advertise that they still do it are becoming more and more lax. I still dress for dinner on Marella and don’t feel out of place, there is just a more eclectic mix than on P&O.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Eglesbrech said:

I think you are right with the “bit torn”, P&O are trying to be all things to all people at the moment and so there is a bit of a culture clash. That said the quote from the CEO on another thread seems to indicate that they are beginning to be more targeted at a specific market (Saturday TV audience quote refers). 
 

Marella are unpretentious and don’t offer any more than a cruise with reasonable food, entertainment and AI thrown in. They offer some interesting fly cruises from local airports which for those of us far from Southampton is useful, particularly during the winter. I envy you your access to ships (but not the southern traffic!)


Formal dress is going the way of the dinosaurs unfortunately. Even on lines that advertise that they still do it are becoming more and more lax. I still dress for dinner on Marella and don’t feel out of place, there is just a more eclectic mix than on P&O.

See, if I did go on Marella, I would not dress (formal) for dinner as I really wouldn't want to be done up to the nines next to a bloke in shorts, I would probably stick to smart casual. 

I think the formal nights still have a massive place in the cruise market, not for the masses maybe, but cruising never used to be for the masses. 

I'm hoping for a split, with plenty of choice for both types of cruiser. 

We are relatively new to cruising, but still prefer a slightly more formal atmosphere for a couple of nights. 

Andy 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with Chris Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises!
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Royal Caribbean
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...