If you’re a fan of British cruising where the crew give the warmest of welcomes and have your best interests every step of the way, Marella Cruises is more than ideal for you!
It’s come a long way from originally being known as Thomson Cruises before Thomson changed to just Thomson, and Thomson Cruises re-branded as Marella…
Would you like to be able to fly from one of 21 different airports (and not be limited to Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester like some other lines)? How about all gratuities and service charges being included in your price so you carry no extra worries with you onboard?
Meet the Fleet
There are six current ships in the Marella fleet with one due to launch next year:
Marella Dream– A vessel with plenty of space and is great for families because of its wide range of entertainment options. She is the second largest ship at 54,763 tonnes and can carry 1,506 passengers.
Marella Spirit– The ship is the oldest ship in the fleet and has a great home-from-home atmosphere, with fine dining and elegant formal nights. The 33,930 vessel is home to 1,254 passengers and 530 crew, with her last voyage planned for 21st October 2018.
Marella Discovery– Previously Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, this ship is suitable for anyone! Marella have confirmed that they are keeping the majority of Splendour’s great features including the rock climbing wall and mini-golf. She is close to 70,000 tons and holds 1,830 guests.
Marella Discovery 2- Sister ship to Marella Discovery, the 1,836-passenger ship joined the line in summer 2017 and is another all-inclusive ship with an exciting array of itineraries and onboard features.
Marella Explorer- This is the largest ship in the fleet with the largest spa and wellness centre in the fleet too! Its modern and contemporary finish is a breath of fresh air aswell as its all inclusive food and drinks as standard.
Marella Explorer 2– This is Marella‘s ship launching in Spring 2019 which will be exclusive for adults! It will be all-inclusive and will feature a Champneys Spa, sunbathing area (The Veranda) and a big choice of bars and restaurants.
Want to see what a Marella holiday could be like? Watch the video below…
Is There a “Typical” Marella Cruiser?
Marella is, and always has been, a great holiday for families. In fact, they are one of the most family friendly cruise lines around! However, they also have an adult-only cruise ship (with another on the way) and are great for couples.
Marella are also ideal for first time cruisers, because you can combine a 7-night cruise with a 7-night holiday on land- perfect for those who aren’t sure if cruising is for them and want to dip their toes in the water first…
This popular option is called cruise and stay, but you can also “stay” on land first and then cruise afterwards if you’d prefer! We promise that almost everyone comes out of a cruise-and-stay holiday as a cruise convert!
Take a look at some of the cruise and stay destinations below:
Another unique feature for Marella cruises is that they have their own airline that you’re probably already familiar with. This means that you aren’t restricted to one or two UK airports when you need to catch a flight to your port.
These regional airports give you the chance to fly to your destination from your own hometown!
Thomson have awarding winning entertainment, and 96% of customers rate the ships entertainment as excellent! You can enjoy West End productions in the Broadway Show Lounge with shows including A Blast of Broadway and West End Whizz.
Special UK guests will often feature in shows and you can watch your entertainment team sing and dance- or even watch your crew swap their feather dusters for feather bowers in the crew show!
You can even have a go at performing yourself when the opportunity arises on a karaoke night…
When you join your cruise, you can expect a sail-away party where you can sip cocktails as you get to know your fellow passengers. There is also a weekly Captain’s Gala Reception and Dinner to look forward to.
If you’re feeling indulgent, swim in the pools, lounge on one of the many sun loungers, and follow the experience with a spa treatment in Ocean’s Spa and Health Club, or have your hair styled in the beauty salon.
If you fancy something more active, then head to the gym and try out the free-weights and state of the art machines.
There is also a sports deck on board all ships aside from the Majesty and Discovery, which has facilities for basketball, volleyball or 5 a side football.
You can learn a new skill with cocktail making classes or wine tasting classes- and you can even become Willy Wonka in a series of workshops called “the art of chocolate making.”
There is an on-board cinema, a library, a card room and some shops. You can also try your luck in the casino, with games of blackjack and roulette available. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before- the staff will show you the ropes!
Some cruises also run as themed cruises, for example Marella Dream runs a “big band cruise” featuring deck jam sessions and Celebration has a “soul and motown cruise” with a soundtrack of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five and many more!
Two themed Marella cruises also feature “The Comedy Store” which includes several different shows from acts that have included Michael McIntyre, Lee Evans, Sarah Millican and John Bishop in the past.
There will also be open-mic nights giving you the chance to perform yourself, as well as workshops and guest speakers on-board.
The entertainment on Discovery and Discovery 2 is in a league of its own, with rock climbing walls, mini golf, and indoor pool area (the Solarium) as well as various theatres and lounges. Facilities vary ship to ship, so check before you go!
Something that people often worry about cruise food is that there could be a lack of choice or you will end up stuck with the same people every meal… But Marella make sure you don’t have to worry about this.
There are no set seats at dinner, giving you the freedom to sit with whoever you like. Every ship has between 3 or 7 restaurants, giving you plenty of choice. The menu’s also all change daily to give you some variety.
As well as the main dining rooms there is also a buffet and a range of a la carte options which includes: Mistral’s on Celebration (serving contemporary international cuisine) The Grill on Dream (which delivers steak and seafood cooked to order) Sirocco’s on Spirit (with a seven course menu) and Le Bistro on Majesty.
All a la carte menus are available for an additional cover charge. One restaurant on-board will also be formal and regular captains dinners give you the chance to dress to impress!
On Marella Celebration weekly “buffet Magnifique” offers entertainment with your food by providing ice sculptures, fruit carvings and much more.
Did you know? The dining on Discovery is the best to date, as there are 7 different dining options – including two a la carte restaurants, three informal restaurants and a snack bar.
Marella are ideal for families because of their range of entertainment and amenity options; children can enjoy the Kids’ Club which caters for 3 to 11 year olds.
They can spend their day enjoying arts and crafts, dressing up as superheroes, talent shows, mini discos, pj parties and going on treasure hunts. The club is split into two age groups of 3-8 year olds and 9-11 year olds, to make sure activities are tailored to their needs.
Best of all, the kids club is completely free, and it doesn’t stop there: teens can hang out in the games arcade, the internet room or disco. Or else they can enjoy the games room and play monopoly…or battle on Nintendo’s!
All excursions can be tailored to families, with options like interactive aquariums, action packed waterparks and like tours as well as once in a lifetime experiences such as swimming with dolphins.
Your kids can also enter stage school, (available an additional cost per child) which will provide a series of workshops to teach 9-16 year olds the tricks of the trade, from singing and dancing to acting. They will then have the chance to perform what they have learnt in a show.
The entertainment on board in the evening (such as the Broadway shows) runs twice nightly, meaning that your kids can see the show and then go to bed early! The buffet also had children in mind, with kids’ favourites like pizza and spaghetti bolognese on the menu.
On-board cots are free of charge and cruise & stay holidays options have plenty of children friendly hotels. For example, there’ll be child friendly environments such as crèches, playgrounds, kid’s pools and interconnecting cabins.
Children don’t pay adult prices or cabin supplements and there are special prices for those under two years old. Please note, Marella Celebration is an adult only ship!
Did you know? At the end of your cruise, your children will get to take part in a kids’ club breakfast – so that they can say goodbye to all the new friends they’ve made!
During the day, you are free to wear what you like! Smart casual wear is required in the evenings, which means full length trousers for men and an open necked shirt, and separates or dresses for women.
Once a week there will be a formal night, which is usually the Captain’s cocktail party. This is a great opportunity to get dolled up, by donning cocktail dresses and tuxedos, (but a suit and tie is just as acceptable!)
Also remember that some religious sites you could visit on excursions may ask for covered knees or shoulders.
The Definitive Guide To Cruise Ship Dress Codes Read on to find out what those pesky dress codes actually mean and how they’ll fit in to the cruise you choose, so you can be prepared for any occasion or night…
On-board there is an internet room and designated Wi-Fi zones while there is also satellite telephones and a fax available.
Each ship has a well-equipped medical centre staffed by an English speaking doctor. All guides are fully fluent in English and everything on board is priced in £ sterling.
There is a self-service laundry room on the majority of ships and room service is 24 hours, with an extra charge applying.
In each room there is a TV, hairdryer and a safe (which is available at an additional fee) with tea and coffee making facilities are also available.
Solo travellers have arranged get togethers such as coffee mornings and dinners and you can even ask to be sat with solo travellers at dinner; there are adapted cabins for those who are less mobile or disabled, just ask before you book!
If it’s a special occasion, such as an anniversary, you can have flowers, chilled Moet or chocolate covered strawberries delivered to your room. For birthdays, why not treat yourself to sparkling wine, a celebration cake or champagne breakfast?
The Social and Welfare hostess will arrange all of this for you if you ask, at an additional charge of course!
Did you know? Marella cruises are one of the most carbon efficient cruise lines in Europe. In fact, they won “contribution to the community award” at the TTG Travel Awards.
Staff & Gratuities
The staff to passenger ratio on average is 2.5 passengers to each crew member.
If you don’t want to leave at the end of your cruise (we’ve all been there!) then contact your Future Cruise Advisor on-board and you can book your next holiday – or even extend your holiday by booking yourself onto another itinerary.
Unlike many other cruise lines – Marella‘s gratuities are included in the price you pay! This means there are no added extras to worry about, and you can sit back, relax, and enjoy that mojito…
So has this convinced you to sail with Marella cruises? Have you already sailed with them? Which ship is your favourite? Are you waiting for Marella Discovery 2? Leave us your thoughts and comments below…
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