Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (2023)

I can honestly say that I did not know what to expect when I set foot on board Marella Discovery for the day in Southampton. I’d heard mixed feedback about Marella Cruises, with many people likening the line to a lower end P&O Cruises. I can assure you it’s not. When I visited the ship, there were many similarities between the two cruise lines, but I would not say one was inferior to the other. In fact, I would set them on the same par in terms of standard and quality of the ships and service.

Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (1)

About Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises, formerly Thomson Cruises, is a British cruise line operated by TUI UK. The company should not be confused with the German operated TUI Cruises, which is a sister brand (think Mein Schiff). Marella Cruises is the third largest cruise line in the UK with an existing fleet of six ships, which is set to grow when Marella Explorer 2 launches in 2019.

Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (2)

The fleet has a varied itinerary, which takes in stops in Norway, Asia, North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. The line also operates a series of themed cruises, such as their Electric Sunsets series with Back to the 80s and Back to the 90s themes.

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The company is well known for its excellent onboard entertainment and British style of cruising, which get outstanding reviews from passengers. It also offers very good cruise packages – all tips and gratuities are inclusive of your fare. On Discovery, Discovery 2 and Explorer, selected drinks are included in the price of your cruise. Next year this will extend to Explorer 2, Dream and Celebration too. A premium drinks package can also be purchased at a very reasonable rate.

Marella Discovery

Marella Discovery was originally launched in the mid 90s as Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas. She is one of the largest ships in the Marella Cruises fleet, carrying 1830 passengers and weighing around 69,000 GRT. Despite her age, the ship has had plenty of money spent on her during refurbishments, which means her décor and façade haven’t dated too much.

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At the heart of the ship stands the magnificent five-storey atrium which has large windows, glass lifts and lots of light. There are a number of bars and onboard facilities situated around the atrium and the space is well-used in the evenings for cabaret performances and cocktail parties. I really liked the design of this area, which reminded me of similar atriums on Independence of the Seas and Oceana. It wasn’t too glitzy or American, but it did have a lovely feel about it.

Cabins

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There are several options when it comes to choosing a cabin on Marella Discovery. All rooms come equipped with a TV, tea and coffee-making facilities, a safe, hairdryer and hanging space. All of the cabins we looked at were spacious, clean and very comfortable. I wouldn’t have an issue staying in one, and even the inside grades had ample room.

If you are a fan of inside cabins, you can opt for 2, 3 or 4 berths which vary in style, price and space depending on which deck you are on. The inside plus will give you the most room to move around.

(Video) Marella Cruises | Marella Discovery FULL Ship Tour

Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (6)
Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (7)

Standard balcony cabins sleep up to two people in a twin or queen bed arrangement. Deluxe balcony cabins can sleep up to 4 (if a sofa-bed is used). Passengers also have the option to book outside and single occupancy cabins.

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If you want to splurge on a suite you have the choice of family, junior, grand, executive and royal suites. We had a look around two types of suite, both of which flowed really well. As well as a separate bedroom, there was a lovely lounge area and a large balcony, spanning the length of the cabin. Suite passengers get a number of additional perks such as express check-in, free pressing and the occasional free continental breakfast in bed.

Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (9)
Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (10)

A full list of accommodation options can be found here.

Dining

47°

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The ship’s main restaurant – 47° – is visually very lovely. Spanning two decks, the lower tier serves standard cruise ship fare, whilst the upper tier dishes out Italian cuisine with no booking required. The décor is a trendy blue, edged with dark wood on the lower tier, whilst the upper level’s beige seating is said to be inspired by the sunset. There are large floor to ceiling windows along each side, letting lots of light into the room. At the centre of the lower tier stands a piano and a glass chandelier. We didn’t eat in the main restaurant but I can imagine it’s got a great atmosphere in the evening.

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Islands

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This is Marella Discovery’s buffet restaurant on deck 9. Like most cruise ships, food is split into sections making it easy to navigate your way between courses. I opted for some chilli, rice and chicken curry from the hot counter. If you wanted something less heavy, salad options were plentiful. The room was very busy as it was a turnaround day so lots of passengers were having lunch. I had no issue with my lunch, which was pleasant and tasted very much like P&O Cruises buffet food. I would say that the buffet menus on the two cruise lines are very similar, possibly because their target audience (the British market) is the same.

Snack Shack

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We walked past this outdoor snack bar which looked really fun, as seating is housed in colourful beach huts. Passengers can help themselves to a number of grab and go food options such as sandwiches, chicken wings and bacon butties. I could see myself using the Snack Shack a lot if I was staying on board.

The Glass House

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Next to the indoor pool you’ll find counters serving deli-style light bites during the day. When we visited, the area was very quiet as most people were eating in the main buffet. In the evening passengers can try tapas or steak on a stone for an additional supplement.

(Video) Marella Cruises | Marella Discovery or Marella Explorer - Which is Better?

Speciality dining

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Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (17)

The main cover-charge restaurants are housed together on deck 11. A bar links the two together, which is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink. To one side stands the trendy Surf and Turf Steakhouse. Passengers can sample an extensive selection of starters such as beef carpaccio, crab bisque and scallops. They can follow this with one of the restaurant’s signature steaks like a Tomahawk sharer or Angus fillet. The décor was dark but stylish and the restaurant felt very different to Kora La.

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Kora La lies opposite Surf and Turf. It serves pan-Asian food from south and east Asia. Tucked into one corner of the restaurant is a sushi bar, which has a variety of Japanese delights like sashimi and nigiri. Both restaurants charge a fee. I loved the panoramic views in Kora La, as windows run along the length of the restaurant. It was also very bright compared to the more sombre interior of the steakhouse.

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Entertainment

Broadway Show Lounge is Marella Discovery’s main entertainment space, with a seating capacity of 800. The ship operates 11 West-End style shows, which are shown at 8.15pm and 10.15pm each evening. As I mentioned earlier, Marella Cruises are known for the quality of their shows and their onboard entertainment programme. Obviously I didn’t experience this first-hand but I did get to meet a member of the entertainment team and I was impressed by his enthusiasm and passion for the ship.

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In warm weather, passengers can watch a film out on deck on the large outdoor cinema screen located on deck 9. Blankets are available when it gets chilly outside.

Bars and lounges

As previously stated, every passenger gets a selection of drinks included in their cruise fare on Marella Discovery. I am a big advocate of the all-inclusive package, providing it’s reasonable (and Marella’s are). Passengers wanting to upgrade to the premium package will have a wider selection of drinks on a daily basis, such as bottled water, branded fizzy drinks and champagne cocktails. However, the cost of drinks is very reasonable anyway, so it might be worth waiting until you are on the ship to see whether you want to upgrade. Here are a few of the main bars/lounges you’ll find on the ship:

Venue

This classic lounge plays host to a number of activities during the day including dance classes and Splash Live! In the evening it comes alive with high-tech entertainment shows.

The Coffee Port

Situated in the atrium, this coffee shop offers premium hot beverages and sweet treats which aren’t part of the all-inclusive package. A small library can be found on one side of The Coffee Port.

Live Room

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This colourful bar houses the ship’s largest selection of on-tap beers. The bright seating is very eye-catching, although the bar is a bit of a thoroughfare. A small casino can be found in one section of the Live Room. A combination of live music and DJ classics keeps the bar lively well into the night.

(Video) Life Onboard | Marella Cruises

Atrium Bar

This is a good spot to watch the evening entertainment in the atrium, or, simply people-watch during the day.

Bar Eleven

For the best views head to Bar Eleven on deck 11. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or dance the night away into the early hours of the morning.

Activities

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It’s very easy to keep fit on Marella Discovery. As well as an outdoor jogging track and well-equipped gym, there is a climbing wall and mini golf course for those feeling adventurous. Anyone familiar with Royal Caribbean will know these are features on most of their ships. I really liked the mini golf course and I think it’s something I would try out as a passenger.

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Shopping

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I liked the design of Broad Street Shops. It doesn’t overlook the atrium but it is set off to one side. It has the feel of a small upmarket shopping mall (on one level) and is bright and tasteful in terms of its design. You’ll find your standard cruise ship shops selling perfume, souvenirs and jewellery.

Children’s facilities

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Children are well looked after on Marella Discovery. There is a baby centre, which has a dedicated feeding and entertaining space for little ones. There’s also babytainment classes for children under the age of 3. These are free activities like baby ballet and nursery rhyme sing-alongs.

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3-11 years olds can visit Kids’ Club and teens can hangout at the Hideout. In addition, there are various shows and challenges aimed at children, such as the Splash Live! interactive show, Gamerzone and the Breakout Challenge puzzle escape game.

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Swimming pools

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There are two main swimming pools – the family-friendly main pool and an undercover indoor pool with whirlpools. The latter is housed under a retractable roof by The Glass House. The area has a Romanesque feel to it, as large white columns surround the pool. This pool is open to adults only in the afternoon. The main pool has a splash area for children, two whirlpools and plenty of sunbeds.

(Video) Food and Drink Onboard | Marella Cruises

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Spa

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Oceans Spa can be accessed from The Glass House and it features treatment rooms and a beauty salon. Passengers can access a special relaxation sunbathing area through the back of the gym/spa.

App

Marella Cruises’ Navigate App is free to use when you are on the ship. All you need to do is switch your Wi-Fi on without having to pay to log-on to the internet. The app allows you to book excursions, meals etc., check your bill and opening times. I think this is a great idea and I can see it being very useful.

What I thought of Marella Discovery

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For me, first impressions of Marella Discovery and Marella Cruises were very good and I really liked the ship. As a regular P&O Cruises passenger, I would have no hesitation going on a Marella cruise, if the right itinerary came up. I felt very at ease with the British style of cruising, as this is what I am used to. The clientele was very similar to P&O Cruises’ and many of the ship’s officers were British. Everything is priced in pound sterling, so there’s no need to work out onboard exchange rates. There are no enforced formal dress codes, although many people still dress up for the Captain’s cocktail party.

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I’ve come across a lot of people who speak negatively about Marella Cruises (without having cruised with them) and I’m not really sure why. Some people see the cruise line as a poor man’s P&O Cruises, but this really is not the case! I would say both brands have a similar target audience and a similar product.

If you love the British way of cruising and good value cruise packages, then Marella Cruises might just be the cruise line for you! You can find out more about them via the official website. If you want to read more about Marella Cruises, don’t miss these posts on my blog.

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Cruise ship review: Marella Discovery, Marella Cruises (35)I have been shortlisted as ‘Favourite Cruise Blogger’ as part of World of Cruising’s Wave Awards 2019. Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the first round. Voting has started from scratch again, so any previous votes have been discounted now. If you enjoy this blog, or simply want to vote for your favourite cruise line, you will find the voting form here. I would love to make it as a finalist! If you enter, you will automatically be entered into a free prize draw to win a cruise.

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(Video) TUI Marella Discovery - Mediterranean Medley and Treasures Of The Mediterranean. 23rd August 2022 4K

FAQs

What's the best Marella cruise ship? ›

Is Marella Explorer a good ship to cruise on? Marella Explorer won 7 awards over the years, including Best for Cabins, Best for Embarkation and Best for Entertainment in 2019.

What are the cabins like on Marella Discovery? ›

These cabins feature twin beds that can convert to a queen-size double bed and an en suite with a WC and a shower. These cabins are on decks 6, 7 and 8, sleep two, and measure between 12 and 13 m². Inside Cabins on decks 7 and 8 have been newly refurbished, and cabins on deck 6, weren't part of the refurb.

What has happened to the Marella Discovery? ›

The current position of MARELLA DISCOVERY is at Caribbean Sea reported 9 hours ago by AIS. The vessel is en route to the port of Bridgetown, Barbados, sailing at a speed of 14.1 knots and expected to arrive there on Feb 9, 09:30.

Are Marella cruises good value? ›

Marella Cruises Offers Excellent Value for Money

All gratuities and drinks, including non-premium alcohol and soft drinks, are also included in the cruise fare. For fly-cruises, flights and transfers are included.

Is Marella a luxury? ›

What started out as a small collection in 1976, became a luxury fashion house by 1988 as Marella. The label takes pride in its selection of simple everyday pieces, a perfect mix of Italian elegance and effortless style.

What is the number 1 cruise ship? ›

Wonder of the Seas

Is there a formal night on Marella Discovery? ›

How Many Formal Nights Do Marella Cruises Have? Marella has one formal night on every 7 night cruise. A 14 night cruise would include 2 formals nights and cruises shorter than a week may not have any formal nights.

What are the best floors to stay on a cruise ship? ›

You want to be as close to the pivot point as possible to feel the least movement. Avoid cabins near the front (bow) or back (stern) and on decks higher than the middle deck of the ship. So, on a ship with fourteen passenger decks, your best options are below deck seven.

Are there fridges in cabins on Marella Discovery? ›

yes the deluxes and junior suites upwards have fridges.

Has Marella Discovery been repaired? ›

The refit and refurbishment of Marella Explorer in Spain has been completed, with UK interior design firm Trimline having acted as the main outfitter for the project.

Is Marella Discovery Adults Only? ›

Marella Adults Only Cruises

Whether you're looking to sunbathe, soak in the culture or try new dishes, we've got an itinerary to suit.

Are Marella Discovery Cruises cancelled? ›

Marella Cruises has extended its cancellations into 2022 owing to concerns about a resumption of cruising owing to the Covid crisis. Planned sailings onboard Marella Discovery 2 from 1 November to 30 April 2022 have been cancelled.

Who are Marella Cruises aimed at? ›

Marella Cruises 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.

Are gratuities included on Marella Cruises? ›

On all Marella Cruises, everything from meals and snacks to flights, transfers and tips is all included as standard in the price of your holiday.

Which cruise line is best? ›

The best cruise lines in the world 2022
  • Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 78.98. MSC Cruises. ...
  • Royal Caribbean International. Score 72.49. Carnival Cruise Line. ...
  • P&O Cruises. Score 76.61. Azamara. ...
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Score 76.63. Star Clippers. ...
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line. Score 89.47. ...
  • Atlas Ocean Voyages. Score 88.78.
Oct 4, 2022

Are drinks limited on Marella Cruises? ›

Did you know that every Marella Cruise ship is All Inclusive as standard? That means that you can focus on the important things, like enjoying yourself. A selection of hot drinks, soft drinks, cocktails, mocktails, beers, and wines are included in our standard All Inclusive packages.

What does All Inclusive mean on a Marella cruise? ›

From onboard entertainment to service with a smile, we take care of everything. Plus, our fleet of ships are All Inclusive as standard, meaning meals, snacks and drinks are included in the price. So, read on to discover why you should choose to sail All Inclusive with Marella Cruises…

What was Marella Discovery before? ›

Formerly operating as the Splendour of the Seas, the Marella Discovery is one of the biggest ships in the Marella fleet, with highlights like an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall, a mini-golf course, five-storey atrium and an indoor pool.

Which is the best side of a cruise ship to be on? ›

starboard side of the ship is best to stay on. Your decision will depend on a variety of factors, from your stateroom type to your cruise itinerary. Here are helpful tips for choosing which side of the ship will suit you best.

What is the most recent cruise ship to sink? ›

Costa Concordia disaster
Aground with rigid lifeboats in foreground and inflatables hanging from the side of the ship
Date13 January 2012
CaptainFrancesco Schettino
OperatorCosta Crociere
SalvageFuel and oil extraction: March 2012 Righting: September 2013 Refloated and towed: July 2014 Scrapping finished in July 2017
8 more rows

Is there free wifi on Marella Discovery? ›

Is Wi-Fi free on Marella Cruises? Wi-Fi is not free on Marella Cruises – internet access is charged to your cabin at the rate advertised onboard, so do check when you embark!

Do you get toiletries on Marella cruise? ›

Packing for a cruise is just like packing for any other holiday, but there are a few things to bear in mind. Hairdryers and all towels – including pool towels – are provided. And don't panic if you forget any essentials as our onboard shops stock things like toothpaste and other toiletries.

What currency do you use on TUI Cruises? ›

All of our ships have a cash-free system, so while you're onboard you don't need to carry any money with you. Everything is priced in sterling and charged to your cabin account, which you can settle at the end of your cruise in cash, travellers' cheques or by debit or credit cards.

Where should you not stay on a cruise? ›

Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid
  • Cabins with obstructed views. ...
  • Cabins with a connecting door. ...
  • Those that are close to the lifts or stairs. ...
  • Staterooms that are too far from the lifts or stairs. ...
  • Cabins near the laundry room. ...
  • Beware of cabins with little privacy. ...
  • Staterooms directly below public and entertainment areas.
Jan 17, 2023

Is it worth getting a balcony on a cruise? ›

Balcony cabins are great for giving you that much needed bit of personal space when you're both in the room. If he wants to nap but you're wide awake, a balcony offers you a place to hang out without worrying if you're making too much noise or using too bright lights.

What is the quietest room on a cruise ship? ›

Rear-facing balcony cabins are among the best balcony cabins on any ship. Often, their balconies are bigger than balconies on side-facing cabins and they also feel quiet. There are far fewer balcony cabins at the back of a ship than on the sides of a ship, so you don't hear a lot of noise from your neighbors.

Can I upgrade my cabin on Marella Discovery? ›

A Marella Cruises holiday comes with an Inside Cabin on Deck 2 or 3 as standard, and you can pay extra to upgrade to a cabin or suite that's perfect for your needs.

What are things you Cannot bring on a cruise? ›

Prohibited items:
  • Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
  • Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. ...
  • Illegal Drugs & Substances.
  • CBD Oil / CBD Products.
  • Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. ...
  • Hoverboards.

What plugs do you need on the Marella Discovery? ›

The Marella Cruises fleet plug sockets are for European or US 2-pin plugs.

Why are Marella Cruises Cancelled? ›

Marella Cruises has cancelled Marella Discovery 2's upcoming sailing after a technical issue in the vessel's catering area was identified.

Are Marella Discovery and discovery 2 the same? ›

Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery, which means it shares most of the same top-notch facilities. These include an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and a minigolf course. Not to mention the two pools – one indoor and one outdoor – plus, seven restaurants and a spa.

Are Marella cruises going ahead 2022? ›

In summer 2022, Marella Discovery is to be homeported in Palma de Mallorca (Majorca Island, Balearic Spain) with a special itinerary sailing from Barbados to Palma, visiting the Azores.

How many pools does Marella Discovery have? ›

The boat has 11 decks (10 passenger-accessible, 5 with cabins), 8 restaurants, 8 lounges and bars, 2 swimming pools, 4 Jacuzzis (outdoor whirlpool hot tubs), 9 elevators.

Does Marella Discovery have silent disco? ›

Most of the nightly entertainment is contained within the ship's venues, though there's a Sail Away party, Movies by Moonlight open-air cinema and the Silent Disco that sometimes takes place on the Pool Deck.

Will Marella Cruises Resume 2022? ›

Marella Cruises is offering a complete four-ship summer season in 2022. Building on its fly-cruise concept, the British brand will offer a program of seven-night cruises in the Mediterranean.

Which is the biggest Marella cruise ship? ›

The largest ship in the fleet, Marella Explorer serves up brand new eateries, a large spa, unmissable entertainment, and a swanky bar, club and casino space – all polished up with a modern, contemporary finish.

Has 2022 Cruises been Cancelled? ›

Unfortunately, there are still cruises being cancelled in 2022 due to Covid-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it. The pandemic has not ended, and some sailings have been cancelled due to too many Covid-19 cases onboard. The good news is that there are not the mass cancellations we saw in 2020.

Is Marella owned by Royal Caribbean? ›

Marella is considered part of the Royal Caribbean conglomerate because it's part of the TUI Group, in which Royal Caribbean owns 50% of its shares. All ships on the current Marella fleet came from other cruise lines, mostly Holland America Line, TUI Cruises and Celebrity.

Is TUI owned by Royal Caribbean? ›

TUI Cruises is a cruise line based in Germany. It was formed in 2007 as a joint venture between the German tourism company TUI AG and the American cruise line operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., both of whom hold a 50% stake in the company.

Are Marella Cruises good for families? ›

Like you would find on other family friendly cruise lines, Marella offers a variety of kids clubs with programmes of entertainment and activities that appeals to children of all ages – from infants to tweens and teens during high season.

What happens if you don't tip on a cruise? ›

When you forego tipping on your cruise, you aren't hurting the corporation. You're just lowering the pool of funds that hard-working service employees share at the end of the journey. Automatically added gratuities take the confusion out of tipping on your cruise.

How much do you tip on a 7 day cruise? ›

How much should I tip? Most cruise lines suggest tipping $10 to $12 per day per passenger (not per couple), regardless of age. For a seven-day cruise, this means each cruiser should budget at least $70 for gratuities, or $140 per cabin for two people. How do I pay the gratuities?

Who is the No 1 cruise line in the world? ›

1. Large Ship Line: Norwegian Cruise Line.

What is the #1 cruise line in the world? ›

Princess is the world's leading international cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of modern cruise ships, renowned for the innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities.

Which is the newest Marella ship? ›

As the newest member of the Marella Cruises family, Marella Voyager's facilities are going to be fresh out of the wrapper. It'll set sail in June 2023 with a bar and restaurant offering that counts up to 10, as well as an indoor cinema, a pool deck – complete with a swimming pool and whirlpools – and a big show lounge.

How many luxurious ships do Marella Cruises have? ›

Our fleet packs in five first-class ships, all of which are loaded with everything you need for a laidback sailing to some of the world's dreamiest destinations.

What is the highest quality cruise line? ›

The best cruise lines in the world 2022
  • Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 78.98. MSC Cruises. ...
  • Royal Caribbean International. Score 72.49. Carnival Cruise Line. ...
  • P&O Cruises. Score 76.61. Azamara. ...
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Score 76.63. Star Clippers. ...
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line. Score 89.47. ...
  • Atlas Ocean Voyages. Score 88.78.
Oct 4, 2022

Has Marella Discovery been refurbished? ›

Our Deluxe Cabins are getting a full refurbishment in November 2022. The first picture shows the planned appearance after the refurb, the other pictures show the cabins for sailings up to October 2022.

How old is the Marella Discovery? ›

Marella Discovery is not a new-build however, but a well-seasoned (1996) ship that had previously been sailing as Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas.

Are Marella Cruises expensive? ›

Marella Cruises aren't a budget cruise line but their cruises do offer brilliant value for money. I would class Marella as being a mainstream cruise line with their cruises typically costing between $150-$200 per night.

Are Marella Discovery and Discovery 2 the same? ›

Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery, which means it shares most of the same top-notch facilities. These include an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and a minigolf course. Not to mention the two pools – one indoor and one outdoor – plus, seven restaurants and a spa.

Is it better to be low or high on a cruise ship? ›

The higher you are on a cruise ship, the more motion you'll feel. If you're trying to avoid elevator rides or too many stairs, keep in mind how many decks there might be between your cabin and the main areas of activity (dining rooms, theater, atrium, etc.).

What is the best month to go on a cruise? ›

If you want to avoid crowds, cruise in early May or late August. April, September, and early January. Some lines offer longer repositioning cruises in May and September; if you can spare the time, these are the best per diem deals anywhere.

Videos

1. I Took My First FLY Cruise Since The Pandemic
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