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Denise W wrote a review Nov 2022
4 contributions4 helpful votes
Marella Discovery 2


Not a great cruise


29/10/22 Transatlantic Discoveries Cruise, 17 nights, Palma to Jamaica. Having cruised for nearly 20 years (& done several similar transatlantic cruises on both Thomson & P & O), sadly this was not the best cruise experience because of the 10 sea days, 6 days being consecutive. In the past we’ve found the sea days very relaxing but not this time because we experienced the worst daily sunbed scramble we've ever known; this happened every single sea day & it really spoiled our cruise. We don’t go on holiday to set our alarms or to get up early in order to get a sunbed, but if you didn’t join in with this unfair activity, then you were left with nowhere to sit outside, you had no alternative but to sit inside. Passengers were known to be out on deck trying to unstack beds as early as 5.30am & once staff put beds out on the top pool deck at 7am, they were pounced on immediately. Once you got a sunbed you were reluctant to leave it (even for the permitted hour) because you never knew what people would do while you were away & if your sunbed would still be available on your return. We saw passengers removing other people's belongings & also cramming other people's sunbeds closer together, (to give themselves more room) leaving no room to access the beds except to climb on the bottom & crawl up. There were rules but people ignored them & when approached by staff, became abusive & aggressive. We knew the rules about sunbeds & stuck to them ourselves but found our sunbed taken by someone else when we returned from a quiz. It transpired that the Passenger Relations Officer had removed our towels by mistake. Despite my protestations, she did not agree with us about the embarrassment & upset this caused, that we were left with nowhere to sit & it really did spoil our day (we had an inside cabin & the last thing we wanted to do was spend our days inside too). Consequently, we were reluctant to leave our beds on the other sea days in case it happened again. The Discovery 2 is not a tall ship & therein lies the problem, there is very little deck space so there were insufficient sunbeds & that resulted in the sunbed scramble. It didn’t help that some people who not only reserved beds (in the sun) but also reserved tables & chairs (in the shade) at the same time too.
FOOD: Choice was not as good as previous cruises but there was always something which appealed; depending on what you ordered, some portion sizes were very small although you could ask for more. Please be aware (gentlemen) that you “might” be turned away from the restaurant at breakfast time for wearing flip flops! A young woman requested my OH change his footwear so he obliged even though he had worn them everyday! When others were not turned away, I questioned this & was greeted with a blank expression. It transpired that staff approached some passengers but received short shrift so they allowed these passengers to do as they wished regardless of rules. We didn’t do any of the specialty dining. We were happy with the service at the 47, the Gallery 47 & The Glass House (which had huge portions)
ENTERTAINMENT: Very hit and miss. The Blues Brothers were amazing as was Brian Connelly jr. Dem Boyz were fantastic (the lead singer was phenomenal & probably the best frontman we’ve ever seen on a cruise). Vili was good too. The Band Jam was great & we enjoyed the farewell show in the Atrium. Unfortunately some of the other guest artists (magician) were poor - the show team worked incredibly hard & we found the shows to be ok but not as good as previous Marella/Thomson cruises. We took part in the quizzes but people were obviously cheating which amused us as the prizes weren’t brill, a metal straw or one size fits all flip flops 😂. We were particularly disappointed with the Great British Pub Night which lasted about 25 minutes & consisted of a single quiz, nothing more. P & O do a pub night which lasts most of the evening. The bar area being decorated with Union Jack bunting, passengers given flags, sing songs, quizzes, game shows, competitions & spot prizes etc
VENUES: We loved the Live Room but struggled to get a seat. We weren’t keen on the pub (Squid & Anchor) because it was more like a lounge with no atmosphere. The lack of a drinks menu was frustrating, the app worked well but it was tiresome having to keep opening it as different bars served different drinks.
CABIN: This was probably the best inside cabin we have ever had (apart from the dreaded shower curtain, the bruises from the oversized metal mattress frame & the cases not fitting underneath); we slept soundly every night, it was very quiet with no noise (from staff/passengers/machinery/vibration etc) to disturb us. It was tidied every day, our stewards were the best & we loved their towel folding skills.

We didn’t do any excursions. We have done them in the past but have always been disappointed so now we do things our way. Taxis are always available at ports & to keep costs down, we shared with other cruise passengers. We’ve had no problems doing this, we always agree a price upfront & always pay when the taxi returns to pick us up when we are ready to return to the ship.

By far the best thing about Marella is their staff who, (with the exception of a minority) were absolutely brilliant, always smiling, always polite & working very hard to make your cruise an enjoyable one. Nothing is too much trouble, they are a credit to the company & we applaud them. 👏

To sum things up, the cruise was disappointing, it was ok but not great & this was the opinion of lots of people we spoke to, with many referring to it as a “booze cruise”. Despite what the Passenger Relations Officer said, the sunbed fiasco had a HUGE impact on our (& others) enjoyment & we will remember this holiday for all the wrong reasons. I think if we do another Marella cruise it will most definitely be a different ship, a different itinerary & a shorter duration with no sea days.
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Sail Date: October 2022
Cabin Type: Inside
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 2

304 reviews
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Itineraries for this ship


Passengers: 1,836   |   Crew: 771
Passengers to crew: 2.38:1
Launched: 1996   


Cabin size: 139 - 172 sq. ft.
Connected rooms: 54
Accessible rooms: 0
Maximum passengers: 4
Number of cabins: 268
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John G wrote a review Yesterday
Durham18 contributions33 helpful votes
My wife and I were first time cruisers so have no benchmark to compare the Marella Cruise 'Flavours of the Caribbean'. We enjoyed the experience but are unlikely to take another cruise. Mainly for the following reasons: a) Although the ship was large, facilities and entertainment excellent and all staff helpful, friendly and efficient, we still felt a little confined, looking at the Caribbean but unable to swim or enjoy the palm fringed beaches which we would have available in an hotel. b) We understand that there are circumstances where the itinerary may have to be changed, but we were told many weeks prior to the sailing date that the trip to Grand Cayman would not take place as the port was too busy on that day and that a visit to Ocho Rios would be included in its place. c) However, the visit to Ocho Rios turned out to be only a few hours on the morning of the first day, leaving no time to take any excursions, e.g. Dunns River Falls. Presumably this was due to the delayed arrival of our flight from UK. d) In addition, on boarding we were told that the visit to Mexico would not occur due to a problem with the ship being unable to manoeuvre in a small harbour. We were advised that this would now be replaced by a visit to Grand Cayman! We appreciate that this was arranged for a different day to the original date for the Grand Cayman visit. e) Because of high winds, the ship had to stay in Havana Port overnight instead of leaving in the afternoon, consequently arriving at Grand Cayman much later and thus shortening the visit. This meant that instead of the 3 excursions originally included in the itinerary, there was only one (the Havana visit) that was as advertised - and of the remaining two, Cozumel was totally cancelled and substituted by a few hours in Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman was cut short. Obviously not the cruise we had anticipated enjoying. To date, we have not been offered any discount for the loss of the Cozumel visit and its unsatisfactory replacement or for the shortened visit to Grand Cayman.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Denise R wrote a review 27 Jan
Dukinfield, United Kingdom15 contributions4 helpful votes
The boarding experience was long after a delay on the flight but once aboard that was well organised. We had a deluxe cabin which I’m glad about due to the size of the others and there was plenty of storage space. I met FALTON, our cabin worker on the 1st night and he was fantastic from the beginning . He remembered our names, he was there whenever we needed him, he put birthday banners and balloons in the room for my husband after seeing a card. He was extremely polite, friendly, attentive and good st his work the whole week. I was slightly disappointed with some of the food as I did expect 5 star but on some occasions it was just ok. The surf and turf restaurant was amazing though ( you have to pay 3xtra for that). I paid for extra drinks package but not sure it was worth it for us. It was also frustrating that no 2 drinks were the same, 1 night the cocktail was nice, the next it was awful! There was plenty to do throughout the days at sea, so much so that it was very loud with quizzes, shows, music bands etc that it was hard to read a book if you also wanted sunshine. I think we prefer land holidays but will probably do another cruise depending on where it’s going as some of the places we went to weren’t great. Friends we were with went on Marella 3 years ago and commented that the service and food wasn’t as good as it was when they travelled last time.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Helen P wrote a review 26 Jan
Swindon10 contributions7 helpful votes
We had planned and booked our cruise eleven months ago . The night before our departure while at the airport we were informed our cruise destination had completely changed. No option but to accept £200 pp compensation but devastated.The entertainment team did their best but every thing about the cruise was ruined. Not what we had booked at all. Will NOT be cruising with TUI 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.
Stephen M wrote a review 26 Jan
Amman2 contributions11 helpful votes
We booked a TUI for the selection of destinations and not as a traditional Caribbean cruise. However, the ship has a technical problem, making it not so manoeuvrable during windy conditions, which has been apparently broken since last year. We were only informed that our original planned itinerary was changed whilst onboard and only offered a £200 pp goodwill gesture on a holiday that cost nearly £6000. However, looking at past reviews, this was the same experience for other travellers. Therefore why are passengers not informed in advance as I would have cancelled this cruise? I cannot express our disappointment on this overrated TUI cruise, especially when we specifically booked expecting to visit Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize and not to spend most of the time in Cuba and Jamaica. I advise anyone looking for a cruise to select a more reliable and honest cruise line. This has put me off selecting TUI for any holiday destination in the future.
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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
Kevin W wrote a review 20 Jan
Cambridge, United Kingdom96 contributions60 helpful votes
Basically I agree with previous reviews. We travelled on Discovery 2 on Dec 27th for 2 weeks picking the ship up at Montego Bay. First week FLAVOURS OF THE CARIBBEAN GEORGE TOWN GRAND CAYMAN- Tendered into a dock that had a few shops, area wasn't very impressive. DAY AT SEA- getting a sun bed was impossible. HAVANA- for 2 days Docked right near the main attractions of town. Be warned, lots of people wanting money if you take a photograph. Next day should have gone to MEXICO but this was cancelled, (something to do with the ship) so all passengers received £100 each on board spend. Instead we had another DAY AT SEA, and again not able to get a sunbed. MONTEGO BAY for turn around. PRIDE OF PANAMA DAY AT SEA CARTAGENA COLOMBIA - this was the only place we were unsure of going to ,yet it was the nicest and friendliest . You actually dock in a beautiful area with birds of prey, parrots, peacocks etc and it is completely free to walk around, well worth seeing. We then got a taxi to visit the surrounding area to fill our day ( $20 each.) we were taken to see some amazing beauty spots and we were completely safe at all times. COLON PANAMA- AVOID AT ALL COSTS- This was a real eye opener. all the passengers were returning back to the ship within 10 mins due to the hassle and feeling un-safe. 4 of us walked pass the locals and got into a taxi asking to go to the centre to see things of interest, $3 each was all he asked for. He took us way out to a shopping outlet . We told him this isn't where we asked to go. After a lot of arguing as he wanted us to pay $120 to go to somewhere, we insisted he took us straight back to the ship. We were all relieved to be back on ship. To see the Panama Canal is about 90 mins drive away, we didn't book the trip, so it was another day on the ship as nothing else to do in Colon. PUERTO LIMON COSTA RICA- Did a day trip with other cruise people from one of the coach companies that are stationed on the docks. $20 and we saw several things and ended up at a lovely beach that was free to use, the waves are amazing, then brought back to our ship. DAY AT SEA- Managed to get a sunbed as I set my alarm for 6 am. If you can't beat them, join them. You are warned not to reserve the sunbeds, but no-body took any notice, and after 8 am they have more or less been taken. PORT ROYAL JAMAICA- Tender to shore. An absolute waste of time getting off the ship as nothing there except a run town small area with a place to get a drink and a ATM machine that didn't work. I asked a policeman about the area and said we wanted to see a place with history etc. He kindly offered to take the 4 of us into Kingston town accompanied by two policemen to a reputable taxi man. He took all our details and the taxi mans details for safety reasons. The policeman even stopped in a town for us to use the ATM machine with him guarding us, due to the area not being safe. We arrived at Kinston and there was our taxi waiting for us. The two policeman exchanged paperwork and a price was agreed for the day $15 each. We were shown around making a few stops with him with us and later returned to the dock, it was then that we paid him. If we hadn't have done this then we would have had another boring day on the ship fighting for a sunbed. Caribbean cruise? "No way". I'll stick to the beautiful Caribbean island cruises from Barbados, where every day you are docked in stunning scenery. CABIN- We asked to be moved after our first night, due to the noise above us and from the cleaners at 5am. We were in 3537 inside deck 3. We were given FOC an outside cabin 2006 on deck 2 which was a much bigger and better cabin. ENTERTAINMENT- Wasn't good apart from a group called Dem Boyze, and the ships staff entertainment show in Squid and Anchor. Better singers from the kitchen or engine room than the booked acts. Comedian we didn't find funny. Cog show we had seen before on Marella years ago. Squid and Anchor entertainment was good but impossible to get a seat and only lasted for 25 - 30 mins. Entertainment around the pool was ok during the day with quiz's . Films on pool deck was far too loud it was unbearable. Latitude 47 slow service. New Year was ok but no party hats or streamers. Sail away party wasn't as good as Marella. Some of the passengers were a bit rough and more interested in drinking all day and causing a scene which wasn't pleasant to see. We paid good money for this cruise and wanted to come home relaxed , hence it didn't happen. All in all I wouldn't go again on this cruise due to how it has shown lots of cut backs in food ,staff and entertainment, and the places we docked at. Jamaica is a lovely place but unfortunately where we docked we didn't see it.
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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