Skip to Content

Top 7 Reasons to Take a Cruise With Marella Cruises

Emma Cruises with Marella ship

Marella Cruises are a British cruise line who focus on friendly, straightforward cruising.

I’ve cruised on many different cruise lines, and I consistently recommend Marella to my friends and family.

If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos or have read any other posts on this site you’ll know that Marella is one of my favourite cruise lines.

Are Marella Cruises Good?

86% of people who have cruised with Marella rate them as being a good cruise line.

Guests enjoy the all-inclusive pricing structure and the onboard experience which is geared towards British passengers.

Passengers cruising with Marella range in age and they offers cruises all over the world.

The statistic above is taken in 2020 from a survey of our Facebook group members who have cruised with Marella. 

Marella Discovery Cruise Families

Marella is a great option for people wanting to take their first cruise as they really simplify the process of cruising. 

Reason #1: All Inclusive Pricing Structure

In May 2019 all ships in the Marella Cruise fleet changed to the All-inclusive pricing structure.

What’s Included on a Marella Cruise?


All tips/gratuities are included on Marella cruises and tipping extra isn’t actively encouraged.

Even the cruise cards have ‘the tips are on us’ written on them to remind passengers that they don’t need to tip extra.

On many cruise lines the daily gratuities can be around $20 per person per night – so this can add up extremely quickly.

Having this already included in the cruise fare makes it much easier and I personally much prefer this. I find it really awkward when tipping envelopes are handed out on other cruise lines, perhaps this is because I am British and we’re not used to tipping in the same way that people from the USA are.

When I cruised with Disney Cruise Lines, not only did I pay service charges, Disney left envelopes in our cabin to encourage us to tip the waiters with cash. I found the situation really uncomfortable!

Find out all about that cruise here:


There are hundreds of drinks included on Marella cruises, cocktails, beers and spirits are all included.

It is possible to upgrade to a ‘Premium’ Drinks package which gives you some extras such as speciality teas/coffees and premium spirits.

It only costs from around £70 per week/£10 per night to upgrade – so it may be worth doing this if you would like some of the things on the premium list.

On some cruise lines -like Norwegian – you’ll pay over £85/$109 per day for drinks package. These drinks are included with Marella!

You’ll find the full drinks list here: 

Marella Cruises All Inclusive Drinks List

Marella Cruises All Inclusive Drinks


Food is included on Marella cruises, as it is on most cruise lines.

The quality of the food has always been really good on the cruises which I have taken with Marella and I was very impressed with the number of free options onboard.

On most cruises, you’ll find that a buffet and main dining room is included – but there often aren’t usually many other options.

The Marella Discovery has 5 included options! The 47 Restaurant, 47 Gallery, Snack Shack, Glass House and buffet.

To find out more about what is included in a cruise as standard, check out this post:

 Are Cruises All Inclusive? Your Guide To What Is Included.

Reason #2: Budget Friendly

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.

It is possible to cruise for as little as £$130 per night but these cruises are usually out of season or start and end in different cruise ports.

Marella pool deck

Marella often has sales and frequently offers discounts.

I was able to use a discount code for £200 off the 90s themed cruise I booked recently.

The cruise came to just over £400 for a 3-night cruise which isn’t bad considering that I booked a THEMED cruise. Usually themed cruises are much more expensive.

Example cruise costs:

7 Night Mediterranean Cruise (including flights) – June 2024 – £1367 ($1728)
7 Night Caribbean Cruise (including flights) – January 2024 – £1536 ($1941)
7 Night Agean Cruise (Turkey and the Greek Isles) Including flights – July 24 – £1273 ($1610)

One of the best ways to get a Marella cruise at a reduced price is to book at the last minute.

At the time of writing this post, the below cruise is considered ‘last minute’ – and as a result, is much cheaper.

A cruise can be booked for next month (time of writing December 2023) for as little as £792/$1000 including flights and transfers.

Canarian Flavours

With Flights Included Visiting:

  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife
  • Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
  • Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
  • Arrecife, Lanzarote
  • Funchal, Madeira
  • San Sebastian, La Gomera
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife

If you are unable to book last minute another great option can be to book as soon as new itineraries or ships are announced – this could be 2/3 years in advance.

Find out when it is cheapest to cruise to your chosen destination here:

When is the Cheapest Month to go on a Cruise? (Real Examples) – Where and When I Travelled


Marella typically offers deposits of around £200-£250 per person per cruise.

This means that the rest of the cruise fare doesn’t have to be paid until closer to the cruise date.

Full payment is usually due 12 weeks before the cruise, so if you book within 12 weeks of the sail date you’ll usually have to pay in full.

If you do decide to later cancel your cruise you will have lost your cruise deposit.

Marella does occasionally offer £0 deposits- although this isn’t typical.

Marella Family Cruise

Reason #3: Family Friendly

Marella does offer some adult-only cruises but generally speaking, Marella is a family-friendly cruise line and I consistently recommend them to people cruising with children.

To find out which other cruise lines made my ‘best for families’ list, check out this post:

 Best Cruise Lines For Families (Tried & Tested, Pros & Cons!)

Kids Clubs

Marella offer complimentary kids clubs for children who are aged 3 – 12.

The main language spoken onboard Marella cruises is English so it is easy for the children in the clubs to make friends.

I cruised as a child and I used to love going to the kids’ clubs. I was able to make friends with people from around the world and I felt very grown up being able to walk around the ship by myself.

In the Kids clubs, the children often get the opportunity to do things in other areas of the ship – instead of being confined to the Kids club Area. These may include things like Behind-the-Scenes tours and Treasure Hunts.

Baby Centre

Marella does have ‘Baby Centres’ on their ships where parents and guardians can bring their babies to play.

These areas aren’t supervised and are more of just a baby-focused room. There will be lots of toys and soft play areas for the babies to enjoy.

This area is suitable for all babies under the age of 3.

Note: Babies must be at least 6 months old to cruise with Marella.

Teen Hangout

The ships also have a teen area where teenagers can hang out.

I remember cruising in my teens and I would spend quite a bit of time in the teen areas of the ship.

They are usually full of things like Video Games and are more of a place to ‘hang out’ than a place for organised activities like the kids clubs.

Marella Explorer Mini Golf

Flexible Dining

Marella don’t have fixed dining times and this is usually appreciated by people who cruise with children.

Not having to be at dinner at a set time means that the whole cruise experience can be much more flexible.

As mentioned above Marella also includes a lot of dining options which means that even the pickiest of eaters can find something that they like.

Marella also has children’s menus in their restaurants and are always happy to adapt dishes if required.

Find my full review of Marella’s food options in the article below:

Marella Cruises Food – PHOTOS, Menus and Honest Review

Formal Nights

One reason why I think that Marella are particularly good for families is that their formal nights are relaxed and the dress codes aren’t strictly enforced.

To learn more about Marella formal nights, including what you can and can’t wear, check out this post: 

Marella Cruises Formal Nights: Everything You Need To Know

Marella Discovery Formal Night Llama
The Llamas on Marella Discovery get dressed up for formal nights!

Reason #4: Variety and Quality of Ships

Marella doesn’t build their own ships, instead preferring to buy them from other cruise lines. There are currently 5 ships in the Marella Cruises fleet.

Discovery and Discovery 2

Discovery and Discovery 2 are sister ships. They were originally built for Royal Caribbean and the Royal Caribbean’s influence throughout the ship is evident in many ways.

Marella Discovery was Splendour of The Seas launched in 1995 and Marella Discovery 2 was Legend of The Seas launched in 1996. As far as the onboard experience goes the two cruise ships are almost identical.

Both ships were transferred to Marella and renamed in 2017.

The ships underwent a huge refurbishment at this time and it’s almost impossible to tell how old the ships are. I’ve cruised on much newer ships which appeared much older so I’d highly recommend a cruise on either of these ships.

I took a two-week baltic cruise on the Marella Discovery and she is my favourite cruise ship in the Marella fleet.

The ship has a big Atrium in the centre and an inside pool which I loved. I also really enjoyed the main dining room and the theatre was lovely too!

(I actually shaved my head on the stage of the theatre which is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing, to find out why I did it, check out the post I wrote afterwards here:)

Emma Le Teace – Head Shave

Explorer and Explorer 2

Explorer and Explorer 2 were originally built for Celebrity Cruises. Explorer was Celebrity Galaxy, built in 1996 and Explorer 2 was Celebrity Century built in 1995.

The ships joined the fleet in 2018 and 2019.

Last year I took a cruise on the Marella Explorer, she is a really lovely cruise ship.

I cruised on her for a 90s-themed cruise – and had so much fun that I booked another!

Marella Explorer Top Deck Cruise Ship

Marella Discovery – Marella’s Newest Addition To The Fleet

Marella Voyager joined the fleet in 2023.

The ship was originally built in 1997 for Celebrity Cruises as “MV Mercury.” She was renamed “Celebrity Mercury” in 2008.

In 2011 she joined TUI Cruises – who are owned by the same parent company (Royal Caribbean International) as Celebrity Cruises.

She was then renamed Mein Schiff 2. In January 2019 the ship was then renamed again and operated as Mein Schiff Herz.

There are 952 cabins on Marella Voyager. These include Solo Cabins, Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, and Suites.

To learn more about the fleet, including a little bit about the history of each ship, check out this post: Marella Cruises, Ships by Size: Photo Guide and Reviews

Reason #5: Itinerary Variations

Marella offer a variety of itineraries and it’s possible to book almost all cruises including flights directly from Marella.

As Marella are a British cruise line all cruises are priced in pounds and it is assumed that guests will be flying from the UK.

Marella Cruise To The Following Destinations:

Northern Europe and the UK

Most northern Europe cruises with Marella visit places like Belgium and the Netherlands.

These cruises tend to be relatively short and can often be less than a week long.

I’ve been on a number of northern Europe cruises, they are brilliant and usually quite cheap – although the weather definitely can be temperamental.

Marella change their Itineraries from one year to the next – so all itineraries won’t be available every year.

Fjords, Iceland and Arctic

Most Fjords cruises offered with Marella are 7 nights long although they do have some 14-night itineraries which cruise further into the Arctic Circle.

I did take one cruise into the Arctic Circle cruise “In Search of the Northern Lights” with another British Cruiseline, Fred Olsen. It was incredible. Find out all about that cruise here:


Baltic cruises with Marella visit places like Germany, Estonia, Sweden etc.

I took a two-week baltic cruise with Marella which was brilliant. There is so much to see and do in the Baltics but make sure that you bring an umbrella, it can rain a lot even in the middle of summer (it did for me!)

I have a blog series you can watch about that incredible cruise. Start here:

Eastern Mediterranean

Eastern Mediterranean cruises include places like Greece and Turkey.

These cruises are usually cheaper than many offers and as a result, you can find a week-long Eastern Mediterranean cruise in the summer with Marella for around £1273 ($1600).

Western Mediterranean

Western Mediterranean cruises are the most popular and visit places like France, Spain and Italy. Most western Mediterranean cruises with Marella are around 7 nights and they start in various ports.

To learn more about how much Mediterranean cruises actually cost (and how you can reduce the price) check out this post:

How Much Does a Mediterranean Cruise ACTUALLY Cost? (With 21 Examples)

North Africa and The Middle East

Marella offer a lot of itineraries in the Middle East – which isn’t common for most British cruise lines.


Marella has several Asian itineraries, most of which are 14 nights long.

There are a few which are 7 nights but I’d strongly recommend you cruise for longer if you can. I have taken two Asia cruises and they are the most interesting cruises I’ve ever been on.

Find out about my latest Asia cruise, Singapore to Tokyo here:

To learn more about cruising in Asia, check out this post:

 7 Asia Cruise Tips, Packing, Visas and More

Canary Islands and Atlantic

Canary Islands cruises are particularly popular because the weather is warm year-round.

Marella has a number of cruises which visit the Canary Islands, most are around 7 nights long and flights from the UK are included in the price.


Caribbean cruises are the most popular types of cruises and you have three main destination options when visiting the Caribbean.

Cruises to the Caribbean are split into Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean cruises.

Cruising to far-away destinations with Marella is great because the ship becomes your home from home. You’re very well looked after on a Marella cruise which makes travelling so much easier.

Reason #6: High Quality Entertainment

I’ve been on over 50 cruises to date and have to say that Marella provides some of the best entertainment that I’ve ever seen at sea.

They don’t have Broadway-style shows like some of the larger American lines but everything is consistently good.

Theatre Shows

Each night a different theatre show will be put on by the cruise show team. On many other cruise lines, the shows are repeated so all guests to be able to see the show.

I do like going to the theatre each night so don’t really like it when the shows are repeated.

I was incredibly impressed by the Marella Discovery show team who put on shows averaging around 45 minutes each night.

Every evening the theatre show would happen twice meaning that I was always able to fit in the show around dinner.

Marella Discovery Showteam

Other Entertainment

On Marella cruises you’ll find a busy schedule of entertainment every day.

Trivia, Gameshows and live music are always happening somewhere. The ships aren’t quite as busy & loud as the big American cruise lines but still have a friendly and relaxing atmosphere.

The newer ships have things like rock climbing walls and mini golf courses if you’re into that kind of thing.

I did find myself giving the golf a go – although the rock climbing wall looked terrifying so I didn’t bother!

Marella Have Themed Cruises

90s Cruise

On themed cruises, cruise lines tend to go “above and beyond” with the entertainment offered onboard.

I have taken two 90s-themed cruises with Marella. The last one was on Marella Discovery 2.

On my last Marella “Themed Cruise” I took five non-cruising friends along with me – it was quite a lot of pressure, but Marella didn’t let me down!

It’s always a big thing for me to introduce new people to cruising, but I was confident that a Marella cruise is a good place to start.

There were 90s bands, tribute acts and lots of other entertainment going on too.

Find out all about that cruise here:

Reason #6: Reasonable Excursion Prices

Cruise line excursions can be very expensive.

On some cruise lines, it’s not uncommon to find that the excursions start at around £50 ($65) per person for a tour which only lasts a few hours.

Most Cruise line excursions cost a few hundred pounds for a full-day tour. On Marella, they are far cheaper than on most American Cruise Lines.

On my Marella cruises I was incredibly impressed by the prices of the excursions offered.

We managed to book multiple half-day tours for as little as £35 ($45) per person.

Bike Tours

Marella also offers bike tours on some of their cruises.

We decided to take a bike tour when we visited Tallinn, and the route was around 20 miles.

Unfortunately, it rained the entire time and we got completely drenched. Despite this, I’d still recommend a bike tour with Marella to anybody who doesn’t mind a bit of exercise on their cruise.

Our guide was knowledgeable and helpful and although I hadn’t ridden a bike in a few years I still managed to keep up with the group.

Marella Discovery Bike Tour

Since taking that bike tour, i have become a bit of a fan of exploring places by bike.

I recently took twos “Barge and Bike” tours of Germany. They were unlike any other cruise i have ever taken!

Find out about Barge and Bike tours here:

Booking Excursions

Marella Cruises has an App on which you can book excursions. The same functionality is offered by big screens which are located around the ship.

We found the process of booking and cancelling excursions extremely easy.

If you are cruising with Marella make sure that you download their App. It makes it easy to keep track of what you are spending, and it allows you to see what is going on around the ship.

You don’t need to buy the cruise ship’s WiFi to use the App, find out more about that here:

You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

When you arrive there is normally a booklet of cruise excursion information in your cabin. We have never had any trouble booking the excursions whilst onboard and haven’t found that any that were fully booked.

It is also possible to book cruise line excursions before the cruise if you are somebody who likes to pre-plan things.

Who Would I Recommend Marella Cruises To?

I seem to recommend Marella Cruises to almost everybody!

Marella cruises are great for families and young cruisers as well as older passengers. The atmosphere onboard is relaxing but fun and I can’t wait until my next Marella cruise.

Find out more about Marella Cruises here: (affiliate link)

Tui River Cruises

Marella’s parent company also offer budget river cruises under the name Tui.

Tui River Cruises are far cheaper than most river cruise companies. I have taken two river cruises to date with Tui, and enjoyed both very much!

Our TUI River Cruises are adults-only and set sail on Europe’s famous waterways – the Rhine, the Main, the Moselle, the Danube and the Dutch and Belgian waterways.

Tui River Cruises

Find out about the River cruise I took from Budapest here:

Find out about the range of Tui river cruises on offer here: (affiliate link)

Before You Go

Find out the differences between Marella and another British Cruise Line, P&O in the article below:

P&O Cruises vs Marella – 6 HUGE Differences

Ever wondered why River Cruising is so much more expensive than Ocean Cruising? Find out why here:

Why Are River Cruises EXPENSIVE? – The Truth Behind The Price

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.