Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship Review
We cruised for 1 week on the Marella Explorer 2 in May 2019. This was our 4th Marella cruise, previously cruising on the Celebration, Dream and Discovery. In our Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship review, we show you around the bar’s, lounges, restaurants, pool decks and discuss the food and dining options. We also show you around two types of cabins, a balcony and outside cabin and inform you of the navigate app and discuss the different WiFi packages that are available on board.
So lets start where you will normally find us, in the bars and lounges.
Bars and Lounges –
The 19th Hole Bar
Found on deck 7 this golf themed bar is a new concept to Marella. This bar has memorabilia and trophy’s adorning the walls with the decoration resembling Ronny Corbetts trousers, think we are showing our age now! There is comfortable seating including two golf buggies that have been converted in to tables and chairs, where you can enjoy your speciality golf themed cocktails.
The big bonus for avid golfers are the two state of the art golf simulators, which include the longest drive, closest to the pin plus many more on the famous golf courses from around the world. Free demos were available or for a additional cost could be hired by the hour with the golf instructors.
We are not into golf but did try a few drinks in here and its fair to say its not like anything else we have encountered on a cruise ship, excellent service and a fun environment.
Flutes – The Champagne Bar on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship
If bubbles are your thing then you will love Futes! A very classy champagne bar with the the added bonus of the giant LED screen that stretches up from the floor below. The LED screen is mesmerising and when you add the classical pianist to the mix this is a beautiful place to sit and relax. This is also where you’ll find one of our favourite waiter’s Kamal, who provides exceptional service and has the biggest smile!
Found on deck 6, this is a great place for a pre dinner drink situated in between the speciality restaurants, Kora La and Surf and Turf. We were very well looked after by Alexandra here who we met on the Marella Discovery last year!
The Indigo Bar, Lounge and Casino
This was are favourite bar on the ship and where we spent a lot of time. Found right at the front of the ship on deck 12 the floor to ceiling windows offer you the best views. Spacious with lots of seating its a excellent place to literally watch the world go by.
In the mornings it is a quiet place to sit for a chat or just read your book and come the afternoon you can get some gentle exercise with line dancing classes or test your general knowledge with the daily quiz. Our favourite time was definitely sunset when the live musical entertainment kicked in. There is something very special about listening to great music while watching a beautiful sunset and we were treated to a few of these!
The standard of the the live entertainment in this lounge was excellent. We were treated to many performances and really enjoyed the variety that was on offer.
If you fancy a flutter its also the home of the casino situated to the right hand side of the lounge. Four tables and a dozen or so slot machines are there to keep you occupied. For all you night owls this is the place to be for a late night boogie with the resident DJ spinning your favourite tunes and is also the home of the silent disco which is hilarious. If you’ve never been to one its a must and we even managed to get Paul’s 84 year Dad John to give it a go, and he had a great time!
Squid and Anchor Pub
Marella call this the pub at sea and its easy to see why, a wide variety of seating from sofas to bar stools and a small dance floor. This is the home of band jam where all the musicians from around the ship come together to form a cruise super group sometimes with hilarious effect. They really are a very talented bunch, with musical director Tom Beech at the helm you know your in for a good time.
In here you will also find interactive game shows and quizzes, it can be a fun place to be. You will also find the Whiskey and Gin Bar which unfortunately is only included in the premium All Inclusive drinks package.
From here there is also access to an outside area at the aft of the ship, this is where you will find one of the smoking areas.
Here is an example of the standard drinks menu in the Squid and Anchor.
Broadway Show Lounge
This lavish Broadway Theatre had things we liked and things we didn’t. There were lots of steps so if you had mobility issues, as Paul’s Dad John does then you had no choice but to sit at the back. This was a real shame as the theatre shows are one of the things that John loves and you definitely do get a different experience if you are nearer the stage.
There is also no waiter service but you can collect drinks on the way in , drinks choices included bottled beer, presecco, some wines and a few different cocktails so not a brilliant choice. However, you could bring your drinks that you had ordered at the other bars and there were little tables in front of the seats so you could place your drinks there too.
Lavish costumes and a massive digital screen at the back of the stage really was impressive, as was the vocal and dancing performances of the show team.
Do also check out our Bars and Lounges guide here where we tour the areas described above.
Food and Dining Options
Latitude 53 Restaurant
The main dining room covers decks 5 and 6. Situated right at the back of the ship it offers excellent wake views. There is something very calming watching the wake of the ship as you enjoy your dinner. This restaurant is beautifully decorated with a winding staircase that links the two floors with a grand piano being the centre piece at the top of the stairs.
The food and service was excellent every time we visited and unlike some main dining rooms there was plenty of room between the tables. We really could not fault it here with the food high spots being an amazing lamb shank, a succulent beef wellington and an excellent selection of soups plus the best chocolate moose we have ever tasted!
The upstairs of Latitude, on the left hand side of the dining area converts into a Italian inspired restaurant in the evenings but we never managed to try it but were told by other passengers that it was very good.
We received our first invitation to the Captains Table on this cruise and had an amazing evening. Elaine the Social Hostess was a fabulous and Captain Richard Watkins was the funniest guy. He is an Essex boy with a brilliant sense of humour and was superb company and before we knew it 3 hours had passed. We had an amazing evening.
To be honest we were really nervous about sitting on the Captain’s table but ended up having one of the best nights. If you are ever invited then make sure you accept the invitation too!
The Market Place – The buffet restaurant on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship
The Market Place can be found on deck 11 and is open from 6 30 am for breakfast right through to 1 am for your late night snacks. Breakfast options include a full English to continental. A tea and coffee station including juices is also available. The restaurant is very spacious with lots of seating and also has a lovely out side area called the Terrace for those that prefer to dine alfresco.
Even at the busiest times there were always seats available. Lunch and dinner offered a decent choice if you didn’t fancy the waiter service restaurant but do make sure you check out both sides as sometimes different options can be found. there is also a self service beer cider and wine dispenser if you fancy a little tipple with your meal, the night buffet had a selection of burgers fries salads and curries plus a few puddings to send you off to bed with a sugar rush.
We found plenty to eat here but did not feel there was the amount of choices that we have had on our previous Marella experiences.
The Beach cove
If cooked meats and a wide array of salads is your thing then the Beach Cove is definitely for you. There is also a selection of cakes and cookies for you to enjoy. This restaurant is on the pool deck in an enclosed glassed area, it has lots of seating and even swing sofas. It is a great place to sit to have your morning cuppa.
Nonna’s Pizza and Pasta Restaurant
Found on the pool deck in the opposite corner to the pool bar is Nonna’s. It is a pizza pasta restaurant with a difference. Open for lunch and dinner you can help yourself to slices of pizza from the the many on offer. You can then decide from the list provided what type of pasta dish you would like, just choose your pasta type, sauce and ingredients and within minutes you have a lovely fresh bowl of pasta presented to you. It really was excellent and is all part of the all inclusive. The only complaint we had is that we didn’t try this until near the end of our cruise and so wished we had found it earlier!
Found on the pool deck opposite the Beach cove, this snack bar offers traditional fish and chips, burgers and chicken wings. There is also a good selection of salads and sandwiches and fresh fruit which you can take away if you choose to do so. Set with a beach theme, tables are in beach huts it gives a real seaside feel, and the food is very good too!
There are 3 speciality restaurants on board the Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship. The Surf & Turf Steakhouse, The Kora La and the Dining Club and more information about these, plus a tour of the restaurants mentioned above can be found in our Food and Dining Guide here.
Pool decks on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship
The main pool deck can be found on deck 11. It has two pools separated by a small raised walk way which weather permitting is used for day time entertainment and sail aways. There is also a stage where the resident bands perform daily, again weather permitting. As well as the two pools you’ll find another raised area which houses the four hot whirlpools these always seemed popular regardless of the weather.
The pool bar has a large seating area that is in the shade and ideal place for those who are not so keen on the sun. The bar opened at midday and with plenty of waiters also around the pools it was never an issue getting a drink. There is a self service coffee and tea station to enjoy too.
You can also find Scoops on the pool deck that sells ice cream and waffles but this was at a extra cost and to be fair never seemed that popular. There were lots of sunbeds but as with any ship there never seems to be quite enough on a sea day but we always managed to get one when we wanted one. Come night fall and the movies under the stars kicks in with blankets and hot drinks on offer.
One floor up is the upper pool deck where you will find the smoking area and more sunbeds. Here is where you will also find the Shack Bar. Tucked away in the corner of the upper pool deck, it is bright yellow so hard to miss. Open during the day and an ideal spot for a sail away, we always had great banter with the staff here and watching them try to hone there juggling skills always made us laugh!
This is where you will also find the Veranda a quieter sunbathing area. Here you can book private cabanas via the spa for £99 a day for a couple which included spa access too. If you just want access to the spa for the day it costs £15pp per day but you can come and go as you please from 8am- 10pm.
This is where you will also find one of two cows on board!
The Promenade Deck on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship
One of our favourite places on a cruise ship is the promenade deck and this one did not disappoint. A quiet place in the day to sit and read your book and a perfect spot for a sunset at sea!
Deck 9 Balcony Cabin
We booked a balcony cabin and were allocated cabin 9194. Having a balcony cabin was a real treat and even though the weather was not kind to us on our cruise we spent a lot of time on our balcony. We were very happy in this cabin, watch our cabin tour video below to find out why.
Outside Cabin Deck 4
We were travelling with Paul’s Dad and Brother and they stayed in an outside cabin on deck 4. Watch our cabin tour here.
Reception and customer service
We can not fault the service we received on board and we must give a special mention to Stefan on reception who was very patient with us when we had issues with accessing our WiFi. As mentioned above Captain Richard was a real character and his nonchalant addresses did make us laugh. Elaine the social hostess was great fun too and the service we received in the bars and restaurants was excellent.
Cruise News and the Marella Navigate App
The cruise news daily paper is delivered to your room every day on the Explorer 2. However, there is also a App which is free to use called the Navigate App. This app is only available to download onto your phone or tablet when you get on the ship. Here we explain how it works.
If you want to stay connected at sea then there are a number of WiFi packages available on board. Here we describe the options available.
We would like to thank Marella for providing complimentary WiFi during our stay that enabled us to share our experience on all our social media channels.
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We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Marella Explorer 2 Cruise Ship. It is a great ship with a fabulous crew.
Our cruise was all inclusive which takes away the worry of going over your budget. We didn’t feel the need to up grade to the Premier all inclusive package but that option is available to you if you wish to do so.
We have booked our 5th Marella Cruise and we are back on the Discovery this November. We are booked on the Red Sea Quest 2 visiting Jordan and Dubai and pretty excited about visiting a new part of the world for us and also cruising the Suez canal.
For more information about cruising with Marella, check out our Marella Page here.
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