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MikeMontrose wrote a review Jan 2023
10 contributions3 helpful votes
Done many cruises and this was first time with TUI, I had read some negative reviews but that is the norm on everything, like to find out for myself. We chose this ship because of the itinerary and a minimum of sea days. We was slightly late on landing in Bridgetown but the disembarkation from the plane to embarking the ship was very efficient indeed.
Had a junior suite which was brilliant, big, spacious with plenty of storage, well pleased with the cabin. On the first night it was the usual exploring the ship & getting bearings, which on this ship is easy.
The service we received in all restaurants & bars was impeccable with no complaints what so ever. We was waited on hand & foot, didn't have to wait long for anything.
I did hear a lot of people moaning about food & other service of which we found nothing to moan about.
Hats off to TUI for an amazing 2 weeks.
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Sail Date: January 2023
Cabin Type: Suite
Type of Trip:
Destination: Caribbean
Pools & Sundecks
Onboard Activities
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
2 Helpful votes
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Marella Discovery

334 reviews
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Traveller (436)
Common Areas (114)
Dining and Bars (44)
Itineraries for this ship


Passengers: 1,830   |   Crew: 753
Passengers to crew: 2.43:1
Launched: 1996   


Cabin size: 139 - 172 sq. ft.
Connected rooms: 50
Accessible rooms: 0
Maximum passengers: 4
Number of cabins: 270
Traveller rating
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AJS1066 wrote a review 20 Mar
South Coast England226 contributions148 helpful votes
The cruise was great value for money and for that reason we couldn't fault it. We always went to the buffet and restaurants as soon as they opened (as we get up early and don't like eating dinner late) and got straight in. The buffet though a bit limited with options was well tended to. The 47 and gallery 47 were both very good, not quite top notch a la carte but what do you expect for the price. All restaurants though seemed to cater for the British palate which can be a good or bad thing. The Kora La was very good but I hoped for something more exotic and different, steak and the usual curries were the main things on the menu, we all had filet mignon steak which was excellent but not quite what you'd expect on a pan Asian menu. The all inclusive drinks package was very generous with plenty of drink options. All the staff were excellent. The entertainment is ok, they try their best but didn't blow our socks off, all depends on your taste. The reggae band which I guess was visiting was by far the best entertainment. We had a junior suite which was great value compared to other cruise lines. The immigration at Puerto Rico was efficient as it could be and took about an hour (it's the cranky immigration system at Puerto Rico, not TUI's fault). One thing TUI could improve upon is the messy checklist of paperwork and online forms to complete before you leave home and the fact that Marella and TUI airlines are like dealing with two completely separate companies. Overall would certainly sail with them again.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote
jgf123456 wrote a review 16 Mar
2 contributions4 helpful votes
We were on the maiden voyage to the US Virgin Islands and have not cruised with Marella before. Our cabin was compact (in line with other cruise lines) it had lots of storage, hairdryer, tea/coffee maker and safe but no fridge/minibar. Cabin steward kept it spotless. There was no guest laundry which was slightly disappointing. Food - you just need to pick the right place for you, we loved the Snack Shack for a quick breakfast or lunch, example bacon or sausage butties, fish and chips, sweet chilli chicken wings, sandwiches. The restaurant for breakfast was a little disappointing, the cooked breakfast was not great, service could be slow and if you asked for cereal many were out of stock (they did apologise) and it arrived with the milk already on it. We enjoyed lunch in the Glasshouse, fresh pastas, pizza, chips, chicken and paninis. The Islands buffet did not suit us, we don't really enjoy self service meals. We opted for sit down evening meals in the Gallery or Gallery 47, The food was excellent with steak on the Gallery 47 menu 3 night per week, we were disappointed that Gallery 47 had the same menu 4 nights running but we just went to the Gallery restaurant when we wanted a change, you don't need to book these 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting a table as we like to eat early. Drinks were of a premium quality, Gordon's. Smirnoff, Teacher's, Bell's, Jim Beam, Southern Comfort, Bacardi, Baileys, Prosecco. ava, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Guinness, Peroni, Sol, Strongbow, John Smith's, etc. We could see no point upgrading to Premium all-inclusive , service at the bars was generally slow so we found it much easier/quicker to as a waiter to get drinks for us. Entertainment was good, you have to remember that they are never going to please everyone, we love heavy metal music and know that they are never going to do shows that we'd love. They did a Diva show, Motown, Country and Western, songs from Musicals, all of these were high quality and their female singers are phenomenal. They brought on a couple of additional tribute/singers/comedian all of good quality. The exception was a very poor magician, though he did make the audience disappear. We tended to spend sea days in the Glasshouse (undercover pool) or the Verandah (adult only area) and rarely struggled to get a sunbed, these areas are quiet with no entertainment which suited us just fine. The outdoor pool had quizzes and games during the day. I was a little disappointed that they didn't show Premier League football (they have done on other cruise lines). I tried several times to use the steam room (free) in the Spa area but every time it was tepid, the staff suggested it was the right temperature. If you are going on the cruise taking in the US Virgin Islands and have a British passport you will need either an ESTA or a Visa to enter US waters, not everyone was aware of this and it caused quite a few problems which I assume will be ironed out on future cruises. Marella excursions were generally of high standard, very knowledgeable guides but a little on the pricey side. Overall I believe that we got excellent value for money, transport, transfers, accommodation, food, drink and tips all included in the price. Overall I
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2 Helpful votes
Andrew J wrote a review 13 Mar
Gateshead, United Kingdom21 contributions17 helpful votes
We have cruised with Marella in the past and have enjoyed the experience, this time however there were a number of significant issues which marred the experience: - Before we even left the country, we received an email to say that the cabin we had had reserved for 18 months was no longer available so we would be moved. The email was very unhelpful, didn't explain at all what the issue was and felt abrupt and patronising. We were told that it was too late to change baggage labels to the cabin we had been lumped with so we would have to cross out the cabin we had reserved and write on the new cabin. We were also told that the £50 fee to reserve a cabin would be refunded onto our ship account and we would have to go to Reception to ask for it to be refunded back via the payment method used to book the holiday. There was no offer of compensation in any form. - Our cabin had been refurbished to a high standard which was great however it was extremely noisy so we think the previous occupants had asked to be moved to the cabin we had reserved, hence us being lumped with the noisy cabin. We would wake up every morning at 4.30 due to a lot of noise coming from above us. - The check in at the port was terrible, we had to queue outside in the sweltering heat to complete check in inside of the ship. The arrangement of the check in wasn't great either, we had to go from place to place to complete different elements of the check and it wasn't clear where we needed to go next, nor was it clear when we had completed check in and could go to our cabin. Really badly organised. To add insult to injury there were the usual people who push in as they think they are more important than the rest of us. - The staff were great; the housekeeping team (Robert, Angel and Joy) as well as Royston in the Squid and Anchor and Muhammed in The Glass House bar really made the experience special. Unfortunately there seemed to be a lack of staff, particularly around the pool as it took a very long time to get served for a drink. The staff themselves are amazing, there just aren't enough of them. - The food was hit and miss. We enjoyed some meals in the main dining room, the buffet and the Glass House as well as enjoying all of the speciality restaurants however were disappointed by Gallery 47 and the chargeable menu in the Glass House which didn't seem good enough to apply an extra charge for. The quality of the food in the main dining room (47 degrees) was either fantastic or terrible. The tiny breakfast portions in the main dining room were verging on ridiculous. - We had an issue towards the end of the cruise with a group of people using homophobic language and then directing homophobic abuse at us. I reported this to Reception who were very helpful and put my mind at rest, the member of staff who helped me checked in just before I'd left the ship to make sure I was okay, I really appreciated this. - The ship supposedly has staff that will check sunbeds routinely to ensure they aren't being taken by guests then left unused. I didn't see a single person carrying out this task over the whole two weeks, particularly bad when it was nigh on impossible to get a loungers, even when getting up very early to secure one. - The Squid and Anchor was great as always however in the first week it was very quiet as it felt under-utilised. Our experience of this bar on the Explorer a few years ago was better due to there always being something on - even playing music instead of forcing people to sit in silence after the entertainment had finished. - We visited the Broadway Show Lounge once during our holiday as the entertainment was awful. Though there are a number of performers who can sing very well, the arrangement of the shows and the choreography were really bad. This was a shame as the theatre itself is lovely. Overall we did enjoy elements of the holiday and loved the itinerary, it just felt as though there were a number of easy to fix areas that were ignored. With this experience in mind I would find it difficult to recommend Marella Cruises to a friend or relative.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
David and liesl wrote a review 12 Mar
United Kingdom8 contributions9 helpful votes
This was our 7th Tui/Marella cruise - all previous cruises we have given 9/10 and have for years recommended them to all our friends - Not any more. We cruised on the Discovery 12 months ago and it was amazing in every aspect food/service/drinks/entertainment/etc. This time we were shocked by the drop in standards - the food was (with exception of the glasshouse)ordinary and best and at times pretty dreadful - one nigh in main restaurant banoffee pie was on the menu - when we asked for it we were tole there were no bananas but they had made it anyway without them - pretty much summed it up. We paid for the premium drinks only to spend the whole 2 weeks being told that the drink we wanted wasn't available or they had run out e.g first week there was no fresh mint on ship to make mojitos, second week there was no IPA beer available - it was a complete waste of money. Service (with notable exception of bar 11 and glasshouse) was extremely slow and haphazard - main restaurants have had a massive staffing reduction and couldn't cope. Entertainment was awful - a piano player who couldn't sing - a sax player who only seemed to play self indulgent jazz - main shows were no better that a high school end of term play. Our first stop was Puerto Rico - Marella hadn't arranged sufficient immigration staff and it took us over 5 hours to clear immigration - we eventually got off to this lovely place at 2.30pm - to make it worse from 9am were were stuck on the sun deck due to a safety drill in the atrium with no food or drink available (bars all shut for drill and even worse no information as to what was going on and a distinct lack of any apology from Marella. Senior staff were almost invisible and when you did spot them were stand offish and didn't want to engage - passengers seemed like an annoyance and irrelevance to them. Cabin cleanliness was ok but we did have to ring to get bedding changed one night due to what looked like blood stains on sheets and pillows (not ours!) As always there were some individuals working hard to deliver customer service but they were to few and far between and lacked the support from management that they needed. We did 2 excursions through Marella - catamaran and snorkelling and the whale and dolphin watching - to be fair both very good. Such a shame because the places we visited (with exception of Point a Pitre Guadeloupe ) were lovely We have been loyal Marella customers over recent years and have recommended to friends and family but not any more - such a shame - unlikely we will be back on a Marella ship anytime soon.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Lindsey K wrote a review 12 Mar
Rye Foreign, United Kingdom5 contributions5 helpful votes
The islands were fantastic and beautiful, the marella Discovery ship was disappointing the food was bland and no flavour the entertainment was dreadful More like a captive holiday camp
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
1 Helpful vote