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Marella Explorer 2

221 reviews
 All photos (165)165
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Traveler (139)
Common Areas (32)
Balcony Cabins (11)
Itineraries for this ship


Passengers: 1,814   |   Crew: 780
Passengers to crew: 2.33:1
Passengers to space: 0.03:1
Launched: 1995   |   Refurbished: 2019


Cabin size: 172 - 172 sq. ft.
Connected rooms: 0
Accessible rooms: 0
Maximum passengers: 2
Number of cabins: 0
Traveler rating
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darron w wrote a review 25 Nov
3 contributions
It was great to cruise again and everything was lovely under the circumstances . all the staff worked hard to make sure covid rules didn't impact too much . Food was great in all venues . Can't wait to go again
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TorranceTraveller wrote a review 17 Nov
Glasgow, United Kingdom281 contributions117 helpful votes
Mixed feelings...why? Though the value for money was undeniable , the cruise overall was a bit too much of a curate's egg for me. Whilst the hotel aspect of the holiday was fine ( cabin was spacious and after an initial disappointment with the apparent lack of recent cleaning when we got to our cabin) , and the food was generally good ( more on this later ), the general feel of the pool deck and buffet restaurant were a bit too Butlins-like for my taste. So be aware that the entertainment etc is a bit " race to the bottom" in nature . Food ( mostly eaten in the main dining room..... breakfast excellent with most tastes well catered for ( good bircher muesli which was a pleasant surprise, but rubbish toast ) , lunch was mostly off ship though I had 2 lunches in the MDR - one was fish ...a really nice piece of grilled ( hake?) so good I asked for and got a second piece, and a good gourmet beefburger ( such a contrast with the muck being served at the "Snack Shack" on the pool deck which would only satisfy the very least discriminating of customers ). Dinner in the MDR was generally very acceptable and of good quality - strictly starter, main, dessert format ..no separate soup or salad course though you could ask for more than one of the starters - this raises another point, which is portion control which I would say has gone too far.... a couple of times I asked for 2 starters knowing the portions would be too small . We also felt aggrieved at our treatment on the ship after arriving 4 hours late due to our TUI flight being delayed - this was never resolved despite a lengthy dialogue with TUI on the ship- we were not well looked after food wise at this point and no effective special arrangements were made for the late passengers to be provided an adequate late lunch, with this situation having left a sour taste in my mouth . The other black mark here is that TUI just kept arguing black was white over this matter and would make no compromise in a gesture to keep a customer satisfied , just not how to "do customer service" in my view and I have seen so many examples of doing this so much better. A real shame .
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Simon W wrote a review Oct 2021
Hebburn, United Kingdom48 contributions53 helpful votes
As Marella announced UK cruises for the summer, it was perfect to be able to join the ship just minutes away from home on the Tyne. First time on the Marella Explorer 2, having sailed previously on the Marella Discovery 2 around the Eastern Med. Firstly, the COVID safe measures were excellent - LFT at the port was organised very efficiently, and we were onboard the ship within 45 minutes of arriving at the port. Temperature had to be taken everyday by 4pm using the self-service machines and temperature was also taken before boarding the ship after excursions. Masks had to be worn inside when walking around and staff were all wearing masks at all times. Felt very safe throughout the cruise. The facilities onboard were excellent - most nights we ate in the main dining room, where the service and food were outstanding. We did eat one night in a special area in the Buffet Restaurant which was reserved for Tapas - not advertised, but amazing, and no extra charge. We ate breakfast most days in the main Dining Room where we were first served by the amazing Kathleen and we asked to sit in her section on other days. The shows in the main theatre were all excellent - great show cast that were better than West End performers. The Indigo bar was great for amazing views and a nice, warm atmosphere. All of the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional service. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 9 - good location, right opposite the lifts and stairs - although due to the weather, we did not make much use of the balcony, but it was still nice to get some fresh air into the room and see the views on arrival at the ports. We docked in three ports: Invergordon (where we did an organised coach tour into the Highlands), Lerwick in Shetland (where we took part in a guided walking tour of the town with an outstanding guide called Laurie, who we have since seen on TV on programmes about Shetland), and Kirkwall in Orkney (where we had a coach tour of the Northern parts of the main island and afterwards we took the free port shuttle into Kirkwall town which was a lovely place to visit). We had two days at sea, where it was nice to relax and not do much, the weather was not great so couldn't make the most of the outdoor facilities and there were only limited activities taking place indoors during the day. It would have been nice to just have one day at sea and squeezed in another port, as we actually arrived outside Shetland Islands with over 15 hours to spare until we docked and the ship just drifted for the day. This was a bit of a waste. There was a bit of movement on the ship, specially on the journey from Orkney back to the Tyne, but nothing too bad and we actually got used to it so didn't notice in the end. Overall, a wonderful chance for an unexpected summer cruise holiday and really enjoyed the whole experience. Marella is a great cruise line - not the newest, or biggest ships (the Marella Explorer 2 was showing its age in places - we much preferred the Discovery ships with the spectacular central atrium - atrium on Explorer 2 was just under utilised and the whole ship lacked a central area) - but perfect for an all-inclusive holiday where you can visit some exciting new places with excellent service.
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Ian F wrote a review Sep 2021
York, United Kingdom170 contributions109 helpful votes
Third time with Marella. Experienced "cruisers". We like the informality and "open" dining of Marella. Second time on this ship this year. Crew superb, unfailingly friendly and helpful. Food good to excellent depending on where you ate, lots of choice. We particularly liked Nonnas especially for service. Ship spotless although showing some signs of age. Cabin very good, bathroom a bit tight though. Lots of storage space and unusually lots of coat hangars ! Covid precautions both on boarding, on excursions and onboard excellent, felt safer on board than back in UK Now the down side - Lack of information prior to trip and lack of communication whilst on trip regarding testing. It is fortunate that we Brits are used to queueing as we had to do it for great lengths of time just to find out what was happening. Reception staff were very patient and helpful, senior ships officers noticeable by their absence particularly since it is they who are responsible for organising testing etc.. Marella should demote the lot of them and promote the reception staff in their place. Marella seemed to forget that the age range on this cruise was of the "more mature" variety many of whom have no understanding or experience of smartphones. The whole testing and location forms debacle took the edge of the cruise and I am sure will have put a lot of customers off sailing with Marella. I estimate that I "wasted" in total a complete day standing in queues and trying to get help with the process.
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Fif wrote a review Sep 2021
Croydon, United Kingdom1 contribution
Just returned from a fantastic cruise to Iceland. Marella made us feel Covid safe the whole time. We had to wear masks while walking around inside, but as we are very lazy spent most of the time without one. Food excellent, the Market place is what you expect ordinary everyday meals, but the specialty restaurants make the experience very special. We had a meal in the Dining Club on the last night which is French cuisine. Sumptuous. Iceland is a fabulous destination, with wild expanses of mountainous terrain. Trips are also safe, few people moaned about no social distancing on the coaches, but everyone had masks on even if some people still don't understand that the nose needs to be covered as well!! Staff on the Explorer 2 cant do enough for you, polite helpful and welcoming the whole time. We cant wait to go on our next Marella cruise. The Rockology show was one of the highlights of the trip.
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