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Help please. Marella or princess

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Hi all please help. Am so stuck with a first world problem. We have 2 options and the price would be similar. What would you choose and why?

Flights gatwick to barbados return

Week in Barbados at St Lawrence gap area bed and breakfast

Week marella cruise on discovery with balcony

San juan
Charlotte amalie
St vincent


-week in Barbados included for very little upcharge turning it to a two week hol

-All inclusive cruise Inc drinks


-Older and smaller ship. No big wow factor

-Ports don't seem as appealing from researching Internet 


Flights heathrow to miami return

10 night cruise on enchanted princess Balcony

Princess Cays
St. Thomas
St. Lucia


-Bigger ship with more wow factor

-Better food shows and entertainment

-Better ports


-Shorter trip for same cost

-No stay before or after cruise

-No drinks package Inc but works out same cost as other trip if adding drinks package


Help please, what would you choose and why
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Don't be so quick to write off Discovery as an older ship with no wow factor.  Those older RCI Vision Class ships are beautiful with tons of glass.  Of those 2 choices, I think Marella would be my choice.  

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You would find Marella definetly british right down to steak and kidney pie in the MDR lol and with Marella no worries with flights as its all connected with TUI being the parent company.

A more cosmopolitan mix of clientele would be on Princess mainly US citizens poss. 

Sounds to me like you need the wow and Bling so i'd probably prod you in the direction of Princess. Enjoy whatever you choose. 

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Posted (edited)

Marella has older ships and a very down-to-earth but friendly British clientele.

The included drinks are rather average,

On-board currency is sterling, which is  easier than having to do mental arithmetic or pay credit card currency conversion fees.

(Which reminds me - near the end of any cruise, those whose home currency isn't the same as ship's currency will be asked if they want their card charged in their own currency "for their convenience" 🙄. DECLINE any offer to convert, your card supplier will convert at a much much better exchange rate.  Same with any purchases abroad, always - but always - keep the charge in local currency..)

We've sailed Discovery and a number of other Marella (used to be Thomson's) ships, enjoyed them all


Compared to Marella, Princess have the "wow" factor. Not the whistles & bells of a lot of US ships (or a " huge beastly ship with an amusement park" which Flatbush Flyer dislikes). In fact, compared to many other US & Italian cruise lines they fit Cruzaholic's "kinda vanilla in the wow category". But not as vanilla as even P&O, let alone Marella. You don't quote the ship, but it'll be better than Discovery - for instance the buffet on Discovery is rather canteen-like, and Enchanted Princess has "movies under the stars, complete with blankets and cookie & milk" which we've enjoyed on other Princess ships. Well we've splashed out on a "bucket of beers" rather than the milk 🍺

And of course they have the more cosmopolitan clientele that you're seeking.

If you've not sailed a US ship before Princess is a gentle introduction - they're kinda "mid-Atlantic".

We sailed several Princess ships, enjoyed them all too.


Marella's direct flight to is a big big plus. It's a chartered flight, most passengers will be on your cruise (the rest will be on TUI land packages) so your holiday starts at Gatwick. And a delayed flight arrival is no problem, the ship will wait if needed. Transfers to port included.

And on your last day, altho you'll have to vacate your cabin around 8,30 to 9am, you'll have the run of the rest of the ship, the restaurants, the bars, the pools etc until your chartered flight is called mid to late afternoon. By contrast, with Princess (and other cruise lines) you & your luggage will need to be off the ship by about 9.30am even though most flights to the UK are in the evening.


Bear in mind that on US ships a daily service charge will be added to your on-board account - and a percentage added to drinks prices.


But a big big  krunch that I see is the itineraries.

Princess' itinerary is decent if not perfect. Princess Cays is effectively a ship's beach day on the cruise line's beach and St Thomas is a busy busy busy shopping port, but the other ports are good - and St Lucia is a favourite of mine.

But Discovery's  is pretty poor, especially Guadeloupe and St Vincent.

You'll know that you need an ESTA to fly into Miami - but you'll also need one for Discovery's itinerary which includes the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rica.


Of the two, I'd plump for Princess.

But I agree with wowzz, P&O is a better bet.

Apart from the British clientele it has all the pros of both ships and the cons of neither.

And a far far fear better itinerary than both.


Just MHO as always


JB 🙂


Edited by John Bull
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