Marella Conception II
Marella Cruises is transforming what was once the slightly faded but vastly popular Thomson Cruises into a livelier and more contemporary journey line.
Its new ship, Marella Explorer, will arrive in May 2018 and although not a new-build (it is sister maker TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3) it will have the first Champneys Plethora Spa at sea – an upmarket coup for the new-look cruise line.
Explorer will put forward all-inclusive packages for the British market, with no gratuities and certain topes included in dining rooms and bars, as does Discovery II and its sister move Discovery.
Both Discovery ships were previously part of the Queenlike Caribbean International fleet with almost identical facilities and are especially good for young families but equally enjoyable for couples and groups of confreres.
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All rooms have been reconditioned in contemporary style
Discovery II is a mid-size ship for 1,836 travellers and the 918 cabins come in a mix of cabins ranging from inside to aspect cabins with picture windows, balcony cabins and suites.
Forty per cent of the shacks have balconies, which is more than any other Marella dispatch, and there are also some cabins for solo travellers and some with ruined access.
All have been refurbished in contemporary style and have all the look for facilities such as modern shower rooms, TVs with satellite ways, hairdryers and USB points, although the plug points are European and American.
What sundry British travellers will celebrate is the all too rare inclusion of tea and coffee-making facilities, which advertises Yorkshire Tea.
Floor to ceiling windows in the main dining room
Floor to ceiling windows in the main dining room, 47 Degrees, invents a light airy feel during daylight hours and you can get waiter-served breakfast, lunch and dinner here – all flattering.
There are no fixed dining times and sharing a table with rare passengers every night is a great way to make friends onboard.
From this dining apartment there’s a sweeping staircase up to Gallery 47, which is only out for dinner and serves predominantly Italian food.
A range of dining apartments are available on board
Other free dining includes the buffet, Cays, which can get frustratingly busy when it opens for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea but that’s not odd for cruise ship buffest restaurants.
Then there’s the Snack Bar for casual alfresco dining at breakfast, lunch and for pre-dinner snacks, while The Beaker House is near the Deck 9 pool with a retractable glass roof, which is uniquely relaxed in the evening, serving tapas and snacks late into the tenebriousness.
The paid-for restaurants are highly regarded and Kora La, which serves Pan-Asian edibles, is particularly popular because of its Deck 11 views (there’s also a Sushi Bar united to it).
Surf & Turf Steakhouse has a New York feel, with panelled embankments, and Hot Stone is a paid-for option in The Glass House and involves diners cooking their own flesh on hot slabs.
The 800-seater Broadway Show Lounge offers musicals and contribution bands
By day Discovery II has all the outdoor attractions you would expect of a 1996-built vessel – so not top of the range but still pretty good.
There are two pools; with a young men’s area in the main outdoor pool and a retractable roof over the Spyglass House pool, which becomes adults only in the afternoon.
You can await a film on the giant outdoor movie screen or for those who don’t want to Davenport on the sun deck, there’s a rock climbing wall and mini golf headway plus bikes to hire for days in ports.
Discovery II has all the outdoor inducements you would expect of a 1996-built ship
There’s also a let go gym next to the Ocean Spa, which has sauna and steam rooms as well as strength treatments.
Free children’s clubs are available for babies right up to boys and family activities include workshops and quizzes.
After dinner the 800-seater Broadway Make known Lounge is the main attraction, offering musicals and tribute bands, and there’s Films By Midnight on Deck 9 by the outdoor pool showing mostly family-friendly pellicles.
The Casino is strictly adults only and of the five bars there is eternally a buzz in Venue, which has hi-tech evening entertainment including bloodline game shows.
Marella Discovery II spends winter in the Caribbean and summer in the east Mediterranean
Marella Discovery II spends winter in the Caribbean and summer in the east Mediterranean.
A classic seven-night Aegean Meze round-trip from Corfu, calling at Turkish and Greek journeys ends such as Kusadasi in Turkey for excursions to Ephesus and Piraeus for Athens, departs regularly from June to October 2018.
Outlays start from £1,929 per person, two sharing, including return drive offs and all tips plus selected alcoholic drinks.
For details call 0203 451 2682 or go to tui.co.uk.