Exciting times ahead for Marella Cruises, although I still struggle with that, so I quite often refer to them as Thomson Cruises. I still don’t really see why they rebranded although I will say since being named Marella – I am not getting the same ‘Oh no, we don’t want Thomson’ like I did when they had been under the Thomson name, so I suppose that may have been part of the reason for the change of name.
Since they have taken over the Thomson Discovery 1 and 2 the reviews have been extremely good, in fact, some have said that the experience with Marella is better than when they had been under the Royal Caribbean name, as you may or may not know – Thomson Discovery was the Splendour of the Seas and Thomson Discovery 2 was the Legend of the Seas.
Last Wednesday saw the addition of the 3rd New ship to enter under the Marella fleet in as many years as the Mein Schiff 1 from the German Cruise brand TUI entered a four-week dry dock where she will be transformed to the Marella Explorer.
The Marella Explorer will take over the Discovery ships and take pride of place as the flagship of the fleet, she is also the larger ship in the Marella fleet coming in at just under 76,000 gross tons but just 1924 passengers, whereas the Marella Discovery is just under 70,000 gross tons and 2076 passengers – not a lot in it I know.
However what I have found really interesting and that passengers that have sailed on board is the likeness of the Mein Schiff brand to that of Celebrity, if you look at the outside of the ship and the interior area’s it definitely has a more Celebrity feel, the bigger newer Mein Schiff ships are very much based around the Celebrity Solstice Class foot plan, and Celebrity has always had fewer passengers on board that ships in other fleets of the same size so I think the Explorer is definitely a contender for Marella to bring a more diverse range and attract more experience cruisers on board.
She will launch on the 19th May from Palma, Palma will be the homeport for Marella Explorer whilst in the Mediterranean for the Summer months operating Western Med Cruises.
Marella Explorer will undergo a major refit which includes the majority of all the carpeting replaced, 650 Wi-Fi Access points will be added, as Wi-Fi has become more of a must have even at sea, and thousands of litres of paint to give her a new ship feel. Public areas and the Staterooms will all have a going over to give her the tradition Marella Feel.
The ship is also said to have received 10 tonnes of branded items including 1000 costumes for the ships cast, which will have a massive 13 different shows to perform on board.
Marella Explorer will boast 10 onboard restaurants including tapas, pizza and sushi venues. For those lazy afternoons there is an ice cream parlour and on deck areas to sit back and soak in the sun, there is a new concept for Marella too – Indigo – a first for the brand, it combines the casino with a bar and nightclub, offering panoramic wrap-around sea views and a High-tech DJ Emulator which projects music videos as songs are being played – not to sure about this – is it needed?
She will also have a diverse range of accommodation including family-focused Balcony rooms added.
For those that want pampering, Marella have teamed up with Champneys, known for being a luxury Spa brand and will have a full service thermal suite, an array of treatment rooms which will have mini saunas and showers in each of the rooms, and a Finnish sauna which will have floor to ceiling views of the ocean and beyond. She also will feature a adults only veranda deck with spa cabana’s – access to this will also include thermal suite access – so similar to the Retreat or Sanctuary on Princess and P&O.
In keeping with the traditions of Marella/Thomson Cruises, the Godmother, well Godmothers as there will be two, will be named by Sue Stewart who is Hotels Operations Manager for Marella and a retail agent Mandy Galloway based on the commitment to Marella and Customer Service.
So what do we all think?