There are currently 4 cruise ships in the Marella Cruises fleet. I’ve cruised a number of times with Marella and during this post, we’re going to look at the positives and negatives of each ship. We will be looking at the ships by size, starting with the smallest and working our way up to the largest.
Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2
Next, we have the Marella Discovery and her sister Marella Discovery 2. The ships were both built for Royal Caribbean and were built to the same design. For the purpose of this article, I will be talking about the two ships together since there is very little which differentiates the two.
Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 History:
The Marella Discovery was built in 1996 as Splendour of the Seas for Royal Caribbean. The Marella Discovery 2 was built in 1995 as Legend of the Seas for Royal Caribbean.
At the time of launch, the cruise ships were some of the biggest and most exciting cruise ships at sea. She was over twice the size of any other Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing in Europe at the time but by todays standard the ships are mid-sized. There are some features onboard which are very Royal Caribbean like and will be evident to anybody who has cruised with Royal Caribbean before. The bar around the funnel is a great example of this.
The below commercial from the 1990s shows the cruise ship as she originally was designed. I love the outfits and hairstyles in this video!
Cruise Ship Stats:
Marella Discovery and Discovery 2 Onboard Experience:
Despite the fact that the cruise ships are from the 1990s the experience onboard is like that of any other modern cruise ship. Marella has an ‘all inclusive’ pricing structure that means that gratuities and drinks are included in the price. The approach to cruising is generally pretty relaxed and Marella are popular with families, young cruisers, and older passengers too!
The cabins are the only area where I felt the age of the cruise ship. They just felt a little smaller to me than other cruise ships. That said, the cabins had been refurbished to a really high standard and I had a great time onboard.
The ship has an outside pool, inside pool, golf course, and all other amenities which you’d expect to find on a cruise ship. I spent 2 weeks on the Marella Discovery cruising the Baltics and I was incredibly impressed with the ship. It felt remarkably spacious, the food and service were brilliant and I loved the laid back approach to dining and dress codes.
To learn more about what to expect from a Baltic cruise, including what to make sure you pack, check out this post: Baltic Cruise Tips: Your Biggest Questions Answered
Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2
Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 are the biggest cruise ships in the Marella fleet, both are still ‘mid-sized’ by todays cruise ship standards. The two ships are sisters meaning that they were built to the same design. For the purpose of this post, I will be talking about them both in this section since very little separates them.
Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 History:
The Marella Explorer was built in 1996 as Celebrity Galaxy for Celebrity. The Marella Explorer 2 was built in 1995 as Celebrity Century for Celebrity. The Marella Explorer was also owned by the german TUI cruise line between the years of 2009-2018.
Fun Fact: In 1998, Galaxy was the setting of BBC television’s docusoap The Cruise, which made Jane McDonald famous. – source.
Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 Onboard Experience:
The experience onboard Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 is very similar to that of any modern cruise ship. Despite being from the mid-90s there are no tell tale signs of the ship’s age. I’ve been on cruise ships which are only 5 or so years old which look and feel MUCH older than the Marella Explorer.
I took a 90s cruise on the Marella Explorer last year. Although this wasn’t a typical Marella cruise I did manage to film a full ship tour which you will find below:
The ship has multiple big restaurants, a multi-level atrium, a HUGE theatre, and a promenade deck which I love. The ship has been refurbished multiple times since she was originally built and it is evident onboard.
Which ship should I choose?
I personally would always recommend a cruise on the Marella Explorer, Explorer 2, Discovery, or Discovery 2 over the Celebration or Dream. Marella Celebration and Dream have been well looked after by Marella but for me personally, I prefer cruising on bigger newer cruise ships.
If you would like to relax on a traditional small cruise ship then Marella Celebration and Dream may be perfect for you. The ship has been looked after to a high standard and by all accounts the food and service on board is spectacular.
If you would like a more modern cruise then Marella Discovery, Discovery 2, Explorer, or Explorer 2 would be the cruise ships that I would recommend.
It is worth noting that because the Marella Celebration and Marella Dream were built in the 1980s the majority of cabins do not have balconies. Back in the 1980s, this wasn’t a priority for the passengers in the same way that it is today.
The majority of cabins on Marella Discovery/Discovery 2, Explorer/Explorer 2 have balconies.
Why choose Marella?
I personally am a BIG fan of the relaxed atmosphere on board, the included drinks, and the budget-friendly prices. To find out more about the cruise line, and who I’d recommend them for, check out our recommended cruise lines page here:
If you are considering a Marella cruise you may be wondering what the ‘all-inclusive’ cruise fare actually includes. SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t include everything! All-inclusive very rarely ever does. To learn about what is actually included, check out this post: Marella Cruises, what does ‘all-inclusive’ include?