Cruise Ship Review: Marella Discovery

by ontravelx

The ideal ship for sunny, all-inclusive vacations from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean is a cozy, simple-to-navigate ship with a vibrant, contemporary makeover.

A cruise on this elegant ship will satisfy your desire for a relaxing vacation without the gimmicky extras seen on some newer ships. When cruise ships became larger and brasher, Marella Discovery made the switch from Royal Caribbean’s Splendor of the Seas. She’s chic, she’s not too huge (1,800 people), and she’s a floating oasis where you can relax at sea.

The ship’s rock-climbing wall is its crowning attraction, but there are also indoor and outdoor pools, a mini-golf course, and an outdoor cinema.

Although the whole Marella Discovery was given a makeover in 2016, the glass-roofed indoor pool area known as the Glass House has had a makeover during the lockdown, complete with chic beach club furnishings including cabana-style sunbeds, sun loungers, dining tables, and couches. As soon as dinner time rolls around, the diners leave and the restaurant transforms into a peaceful space serving a small meal.

Who for?

Marella is a part of the Tui holiday empire, thus its passengers tend to be younger and more like those on a typical package trip than those on a typical cruise. Even though the cruises include flights and, most crucially, all-you-can-drink, the rates are far more in line with vacations. Seven-night Caribbean cruises can be booked for about £900, and there are no mandatory tips to be given (which can add a significant amount to the price of many cruises).

Your room

The glass wall of my junior suite opened onto a balcony with sun loungers and a table and chairs, making it larger and broader than many other rooms I’ve experienced on other ships. There are 328 inside accommodations, 230 with windows, and 357 balcony cabins ranging from ordinary to suite.

Rooms for individuals and families are also offered. As the majority of visitors are from the United Kingdom, each accommodation is equipped with a tea and coffee-making facility (including a pod coffee maker, as was the case in my room). A nice medley of blues, browns, and grays is used in the décor. The showers aren’t great, but the bathrooms are small.

The cruises

Aerial View of Dubrovnik Bridge and Cruise Port at SunsetImage source: Dave Z/

The Marella Discovery likes bright, sunny days. We spent the late summer of 2021 sailing from Corfu to the other Greek islands. After leaving Barbados, the ship set sail towards the Caribbean, where it would spend the winter and spring months offering cruises. Traveling to the Mediterranean Sea from Palma de Mallorca is a popular activity throughout the summer and fall months.

Eating and drinking

Quite a few dining options to choose from. The major one is called “47,” and it serves rather good appetizer-main-dessert meals (with seafood, beef, vegetarian alternatives, and even steak on gala nights). Gallery 47, an Italian restaurant, has a balcony with outside seats. Starters, skewers (salmon and prawn, Mediterranean vegetable, etc.), pizza, and pasta are served in a cozy setting at The Glass House, which is located in the pool area of the glass-roofed winter garden. Discreet and peaceful, although its limited size means that walk-ins have just a slim chance of getting a seat.

Breakfast (cereals, fry-up, and omelette station) and lunch are available at the Islands buffet restaurant on the pool deck. The Snack Shack, a well-staffed takeout that serves delicious battered fish bites, burgers, and chips, as well as packaged salads and simple sweets, is a great option for those in a hurry. The outside tables, framed in pink and blue to match the beach huts, are the perfect spot to have your meal.

As is the case on modern cruise ships, you can spend about £30 per person on meals at one of the ship’s à la carte restaurants. When you dine at the Surf and Turf Steakhouse, you may mix and match your entrees to your liking, such as half a lobster tail with your choice of steak, chicken, or lamb.

The menu at Kora La was created by renowned British Pan-Asian chef Ian Pengelley, whose previous ventures in London included Pengelley’s, a collaboration with Gordon Ramsay, serving a fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisines like curries and braised sea bass in bamboo leaves, as well as plenty of samosas, dumplings, and dal. In one section of the restaurant is a sushi bar with its own unique dinner selections. All three are located on Deck 11 near the secret Bar Eleven bar, which has rounded windows and a breathtaking view of the sunset.

Islanders are welcome to enjoy free machine coffee all day long, and the Coffee Port café serves excellent baristas along with cookies and cake in a cozy setting next to the library, which is stocked with donated mysteries from other visitors. The Pool Bar, one of six bars, is open and inviting.


A large pool is available for lounging and swimming a few laps, and there are hot tubs off to the side. The sun loungers have been replaced with tables where guests can enjoy their meals from the Snack Shack or the Islands buffet. The latter has its own set of tables surrounded by brightly colored beach cabanas. There’s a free, glass-enclosed fitness center, and spa services at the nearby Oceans Spa are affordable.

Even though it was bright and sunny outdoors, many passengers on our trip chose to spend their time in the Glass House, where the pool was rarely crowded and there was plenty of natural light.

Though a few individuals enjoyed themselves at the crazy golf course, we didn’t see anybody even considering scaling the climbing wall.


On the first night, guests were treated to a Sail & Shine party on the pool deck, where Filipino band The 4 Tunes played a variety of rock and roll standards and more offbeat tunes. Thereafter, they were regulars at the Live Room, day and night poolside events, and the Squid & Anchor, which is billed as a bar but is really a lounge.

The Collective, a more traditional rock band with a female singer, also made an impact at many events.

Those of a more mature demographic frequented the Broadway Show Lounge, which had all-singing, all-dancing, middle-of-the-road entertainment. A soul music medley depicting Elvis’s life.

The cruise director, Matthew Shaw, added a very British flavor by singing, dancing, and staging other activities, including quiz game shows like Love & Marriage, a wacky spin on Call My Bluff. Laugh a minute with quizzes, silent discos, and late-night discos.

Everyone is in a good mood since the bartenders are providing free drinks (save for expensive labels and wine by the bottle).


Taking it easy on the open road. The ship isn’t brand new, but it’s been meticulously renovated into a cheerful floating resort for individuals who like to kick back and relax, see interesting cities, and end each day with a drink and maybe a party. And at an exceptional value for the money.


From May 24th, 2022, you can take a seven-night cruise across the Mediterranean, seeing Spain, France, and Italy, and pay as little as £921 (including flights).

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