Following a multi-million pound refurbishment Marella Explorer, the newest ship from Marella Cruises, made its debut with a glittering launch party in Palma featuring an exclusive performance by Craig David. Here Cruise International Contributing Editor Becky Wiggins gives her verdict
Marella’s biggest ship to date offers 962 cabins spanning 13 decks and the fresh facelift means you’ll find contemporary Mediterranean-inspired outdoor spaces with vivid pops of colour (we loved the pretty poolside beach huts and colourful cabanas). There is new customer-focused technology including the onboard Navigate app plus touch screens throughout the ship, both of which can be used to book speciality dining, spa treatments and excursions, as well as allowing passengers to give instant feedback.
New features include the first Champneys Spa at sea, a luxurious space including bright, ocean-facing treatment rooms (with prices are the same as in Champneys resorts, making them surprisingly affordable), elegant couples suites with steam rooms and saunas, a sophisticated thermal suite boasting the largest sauna at sea, as well as an unusual blue light relaxation room. The spa also houses the largest gym on the fleet offering state of the art equipment and a range of complimentary and fee-paying classes.
If you splash out on one of the top 100 cabins, bathrooms contain complimentary Clarins toiletries, but all the cabins on board have had a modern makeover and new cabin classes include the stylish large balcony cabin, complete with quirky balcony hammocks, perfect for lounging in the sunshine.
With a choice of 10 restaurants, it’s possible to dine around the world, with new additions including speciality restaurant Umi Sushi, contemporary Italian Vista, and The Mediterranean, a laid-back tapas restaurant with a retractable roof, perfect for balmy evening dining. With its sequin-clad shimmer wall, Bar 53 is an elegant choice for pre-dinner drinks, and Explorer also debuts funky Indigo, the flagship combined bar, club and casino offering a creative new range of Instagrammable sharing cocktails (classes are available for wannabe mixologists) and The Emulator, an interactive touch screen DJ deck.
The Broadway Show Lounge offers some proper toe-tappers, with 12 brand new shows including Bud’s Diner: a whimsical, 50s-inspired trip down memory lane, and wear your ripped denim to Rockology, bringing the history of rock to life with live performances of classic hits.
Marella Explorer will be cruising the Med this summer before heading to Barbados to homeport over the winter. And with her fresh and funky new look, this ship is bound to prove popular.
GETTING THERE: Marella Cruises offers a seven night Cosmopolitan Classics cruise on Marella Explorer from £1210 per person. This cruise departs from Palma, Majorca and visits Palermo, Sicily; Naples Italy, Livorno Italy, Villefranche France and Palamos Spain. Based on two adults sharing a deck 4 or 5 inside cabin on an all-inclusive basis, this cruise departs on 6th October 2018 from London Gatwick airport. Price includes return flights, transfers, port taxes, tips and service charges. For more information or to book go to https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/, visit your local TUI holiday store or call 0871 230 2800.