Marella Cruises (was Thomson)

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Thomson - Introduction

With routes to over 200 destinations, Marella Cruises (was Thomson Cruises) sails around the world with modern, friendly service and fun facilities like cinemas and climbing walls. Because Marella’s part of TUI, they’re able to sort out everything from flights to excursions and hotels to take all the guesswork out of booking your holiday. They also offer flights from 22 different UK airports, so you won’t have to travel far.

Popular Routes

It’s tough to find a part of the world that Marella doesn’t cover! This go-getter cruise line can take you to countries like Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand within Asia, or Mexico and Belize in Central America. Their Caribbean cruises are particularly popular, allowing you to soak up the abundant sunshine and visit idyllic beaches on islands like Bermuda, Turks and Caicos and Barbados. Enjoy the rich culture of European cities like Barcelona and Lisbon; or admire the spectacular landscapes of the Norwegian fjords. There are plenty of flight-free cruising options taking you around Europe, so you don’t have to deal with airports if you don’t want to.

Dining Options

All Marella ships include a minimum of three restaurants to ensure you’re spoilt for choice during your time with them. Dining options range from super chilled and laid-back to gourmet and formal. Typical dishes in the main dining room include continental favourites like French onion soup, beef carpaccio and mushroom risotto. There are plenty of snacks to keep hunger at bay as well, with a full afternoon tea service and midnight buffets for those feeling peckish in the evening. You can cap off your time spent with Marella with a fun, formal Captain’s Dinner including multiple courses of freshly prepared dishes and a chic, elegant setting.

  • Specialty Options

Specialty dining options vary depending on your ship, but you might find Italian options on one and upscale burgers on another. Kora La is Marella’s signature pan-Asian restaurant, which you’ll find onboard the Discovery cruises. It features the creations of chef Ian Pengelley such as Indonesian rendang curries and Indian spiced king prawns. If you have any special dietary needs during your cruise, let the crew know and they can whip up something tasty!

Drinks Packages

Drinks are included on many of Marella’s itineraries. Cruises on the Marella Discovery, Discovery 2, Explorer and Explorer 2 are fully all-inclusive. This means you’ll be able to enjoy selected wines by the glass, draught beers and ciders, spirits, aperitifs, cocktails, and soft drinks as you wish. If you want a wider selection, upgrade to a Premium drinks package on these ships for specialty coffee drinks, freshly squeezed juices, and top shelf cocktails


When the sun starts to set, Marella cruise ships start to heat up with a varied selection of entertainment to keep you on the edge of your seat. Visit the show lounges to see feather-clad showgirls, stand-up comedians, and West End style musical numbers in plush surroundings. Away from the official theatre, you’ll find live bands and cabaret shows popping up in public areas. Naturally, there are plenty of quiet bars and lounges to sit and enjoy a drink with fellow travellers, as well as big bands and solo DJs alike piping tunes onto the bustling dance floors. Practise your moves ahead of time with the ship’s ballroom dancing classes!

Some other unique forms of entertainment include weekly sports memorabilia auctions. These give you the chance to bid for winning boxing gloves and cricket bats, all autographed by luminaries from the sports world. Alternately, take part in a quiz to test your general knowledge, or visit the casino for a round of blackjack.

Amenities and Activities

There’s plenty of action taking place during the daytime hours as well, making days at sea fly by. The sports decks feature everything from shuffleboard to table tennis and basketball, and morning fitness classes get the day off to a great start with calming yoga and Pilates. Some ships even feature a rock-climbing wall and mini-golf course to keep you busy.

Guest lecturers give intriguing talks about each destination, or you could attend a cooking class led by one of the ship’s talented celebrity chefs. Indulge in a spot of wine tasting, learn how to fold the perfect towel swan, or indulge in a beauty treatment in the ship’s spa and salon. Body scrubs, shiatsu, and massages are all on the menu to leave you feeling pampered. 

You can also hit the shops with onboard boutiques, all fully stocked with loads of essential items and duty-free products like perfume and jewellery. And of course, the ship’s pool is hard to resist, ringed by sun loungers. Retreat to your cabin for a nap and you’ll enjoy all your in-room amenities, including a flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, an en-suite bathroom and air conditioning.

  • Family Amenities

Planning to bring the kids along? Marella Cruises offers plenty of perks for families, with interconnecting and family-sized cabins to keep you all comfortable. Buffet lunches feature plenty of kid-approved favourites like pizza and spaghetti, and there’s a full schedule of entertainment geared for children as well. Marella’s Kids’ Club keeps them busy with dressing-up, movies, pyjama parties and arts and crafts. They’ll make new friends while you enjoy some quality spa time!

Service Charges

Tips are included in the price of your Marella cruise, so there’s no need to budget for service charges on top of this fare! However, if you receive outstanding service you’re welcome to tip the crew if you wish.

Dress Code

Are you wondering what to pack? Marella’s broken down their dress code into three main types: beachwear, casual and smart.

  • Beachwear – When you’re relaxing by the pool or visiting the beach, dress for comfort in the swimwear of your choice. They do ask that you wear footwear of some sort for safety purposes.
  • Casual – For day-to-day activities on the ship, feel free to wear breezy sundresses or plain cotton tops and shorts.
  • Smart – Men can wear trousers with a shirt or polo shirt, while women can opt for smarter separates or dresses. Jackets and ties are optional! When you’re ready to get fully suited and booted, save it for the Gala Evening when you can go fully dressy with cocktail dresses, suits, and ballgowns.