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Cruise Blog

Thomson Cruises' Latest Ships

1st September 2017

Updated July 2019

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson) remains a very popular cruise line with British holidaymakers, and as such it should be no surprise to learn that their fleet is ever expanding in order to meet the needs of their customers. The last few years have seen multiple additions to the fleet; so we thought we should dive in a little deeper and take a closer look at Marella Cruises' latest ships. 


marella lifestyle


Of their fleet of six, the most recent four are the largest, providing more accomodation choices, dining options, and onboard activities. Another valuable aspect of cruising on these ships is that they are all All-Inclusive as standard. This means that all passengers can make the most of the included food, drinks, and facilities – including a range of cocktails, prosecco, and speciality restaurants.

Read on to find out more about each of these impressive ships.

Marella Discovery

Once part of the Royal Caribbean fleet, Marella Discovery was bought and refurbished by Marella Cruises in 2016. It can host 1,830 passengers, and consists of 11 decks and 915 cabins. Its considerable size also allows the cruise line to provide some fantastic facilities to their guests, our favourites being the brilliant outdoor movie screen, exhilarating climbing wall, and extensive array of dining choices.


marella discovery


Take a look at our range of upcoming cruises on Marella Discovery

Marella Discovery II

Also an ex-Royal Caribbean ship, Marella Discovery II is of a similar size to its namesake. The popularity of the first ship led to the demand of an additional one – which comprises most of the same features and amenities. These also have a range of 15 different cabin options, including the stunning Royal and Executive suites which offer new heights of luxury.


marella discovery 2


Browse through our cruises on Marella Discovery II.

Marella Explorer

There was much excitement among loyal Marella customers, surrounding this ship. It was previously owned by German cruise line TUI Cruises, under the name of Mein Schiff 1, and is now one of Marella Cruises’ largest vessels. With room for over 1,900 passengers, 13 decks, and 962 cabins, Marella Explorer also boasts 11 different dining options, a great selection of bars, and a fantastic range of different activities. In particular there are ample opportunities when it comes to sports – with table tennis and mini golf facilities, and even an entire deck devoted to outdoor sports such as basketball and football. There is also a jogging track on this deck.


marella explorer


See our available cruises onboard Marella Explorer.

Marella Explorer II

After Marella Explorer proved so popular, the cruise line decided to replicate the ship in the form of Marella Explorer II. However, there is one big difference; this one is reserved for adults only! This means that couples and singles looking for a relaxing holiday sans kids can enjoy the many attractive features and amenities in peace. This ship is ideal for those who want to socialise thanks to the many inviting venues and entertainment options, but likewise, the stunning Champney's Spa facilities mean it's possible to unwind and relish in some valuable 'me-time' too.


marella explorer 2


Have a look through the range of cruises onboard Marella Explorer II.


Each of these ships truly have some wonderful features that will be loved by all their guests. Not only the number of activity choices, but also the pools and spa which offer a chance to relax at the end of a day of excursions. Childcare options include kids clubs suitable for 3-11 year olds, and can be helpful should parents wish to have some time to themselves to enjoy the ship.

If you're still undecided about which ship is for you, see our entire range of itineraries with Marella Cruises instead.

All Inclusive Drinks Packages, Are They A Good Thing?

23rd August 2012

All-inclusive drinks packages are becoming increasingly popular onboard ships as cruisers look to keep tabs on their spending. But, are these packages value for money and good for cruising?

We now live in a society where responsible drinking is encouraged and getting legless on holiday is seen as crass, inappropriate behaviour. But will an endless supply of booze take us back to the Costa de Sol of the 90s, or will it mean people can enjoy their cocktails and cold beers in a more relaxed way?

Drinks Packages

Drinks packages on cruise ships are not a new thing — Thomson have been offering all-inclusive upgrades for years and sister line, Island Cruises, are going all-inclusive full stop come 2013. Most major cruise lines have offered soft drinks packages in the past, usually consisting of one price for a cruise worth of soda, fruit juice and mocktails. In general these deals aren't often abused and even if they are, the sugar wears off eventually. So, could the adult-only drinks deals offer a sensible, good value way to enjoy your cruise onboard?

At a glance the all-inclusive options range from ship-wide, to cabin. The per cabin deals usually stipulate everyone staying in the cabin has to purchase the package, and sometimes everyone in the party— this is to stop people trying to buy it once and then get drinks for several people, which is smart. The prices vary too, from £24 per person per day for wine and beer with your meals, to $71 pppd for unlimited premium drinks by the glass.

Value For Money?

Value for money really comes down to how much you would normally spend onboard, what you usually drink and how much you value not having to second guess your bar bill at the end of the cruise. Some people will happily enjoy a couple of glasses of wine during lunch, a cold beer by the pool, a couple more glasses of wine during dinner and a cocktail in the evening, and they will gain exceptional value for money.

The route Fred. Olsen has taken is to offer a selection of all-inclusive cruises, where house wine, beers and spirits are included. This is similar to Island Cruises, who will offer the same on all their cruises circa April '13. With the cruise fares not rising by huge costs, this amounts to great value as your only worries onboard are the shops, shore excursions and luxury drink items.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania and MSC Cruises have all gone down the route of offering cruise packages. MSC are the only cruise line offering the dinner only package, which is $24 pppd. The main packages include house wines, beers, house cocktails and spirits on an unlimited basis. So if you like a drink at $40-$50 pppd, these are good value, as five cocktails in a day can set you back nearly $50 and you are on holiday after all.

There are also a few premium packages, which don't include wine by the bottle, but do include more premium wines by the glass as well as premium spirits and cocktails, these usually give you 25% off decent bottle of wine or fizz. So if you prefer the finer things in life — in moderation of course — but don't want to scrutinize your bill at the end of the cruise, the $70-odd pppd, actually works out good value too — premium cocktails, such as a decent Martini, can cost your $15 a go onboard some ships.

Personally I think these packages are a good idea, and the next cruise I am on offering them, I will most likely be taking advantage. These deals aren't designed for people looking to "drink their money's worth", they are designed to help you kick back and relax on your cruise and are priced to reflect the quality of drinks you can enjoy, as opposed to the quantity.

Cruise lines are trying to appeal to the variety of audiences they have onboard these days, and during a time of supposed austerity, paying one price for a week's worth of drinks on your cruise is going to appeal to the mass markets. Well done to the cruise lines for recognising it, but fingers crossed the old Costa del Sol crew will stick to their cheap hotels, Linekar bars and Spanish beaches.

Here's a selection of 2013 all inclusive cruises, just in case they take your fancy.

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