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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Dave » 31 Dec 2018 16:56

We really thought the cruise on Marella Explorer that we returned from today would be our last cruise for the foreseeable future.

We've been doing other kinds of holiday that we've absolutely loved and which have involved none of the hassles of cruising. And let's be honest - cruising, and especially fly-cruising, does involve hassles. Limited luggage, airports, queues and delays, altered itineraries and missed ports of call, being turned out of your cabin on the final day at an unearthly hour, and other people - lots of them!

But almost as soon as we'd arrived in Barbados, our resolve began to weaken. And after a few days the pros were heavily outweighing the cons. Wonderful islands, hot weather and idyllic beaches made us want to return yet again, so we are! I should perhaps mention that cruising is the only realistic way (for us anyway) to visit several islands in one week, and that TUI / Marella is the only desirable company (for us anyway) with whom to do it.

We picked up a brochure from Explorer's Cruise Shop and found exactly what we wanted. TUI will be acquiring another ex-Celebrity ship (Celebrity Century) soon and she'll be named Marella Explorer 2. The itinerary in the period just before Christmas suited us perfectly:

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Marella's Caribbean cruises are based in Barbados and Jamaica. In our humble opinion, Barbados is brilliant and Jamaica is to be avoided at all costs, so that was a good start. We haven't been to Aruba or Bonaire, so that was great. And it'll be nearly ten years since we last visited Curacao and Grenada, both of which we really liked, so that was great too.

We were very happy indeed to see that Explorer 2 will be adult-only. There were hundreds of children (about 200?) on Explorer last week - I realise it was the school holidays and next year it'll be the week before schools break up, but I still expect lots of parents to be taking their children out of school for the sake of a cheaper holiday. And the week before Christmas is indeed cheaper! The clincher was realising that we could have an Executive Suite (almost 500sq.ft.) for just a couple of hundred pounds more than the balcony cabin we were in last week - we'd already decided that if we did another cruise, we'd want a bigger cabin!

So that's it... we haven't given up cruising after all. ;)

I suspect the 'image of Explorer 2' on the TUI website is a mock-up or perhaps it's of the bigger and slightly different Marella Explorer, so here's the ship in her Celebrity livery:

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(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Dave » 14 Dec 2019 17:28

How time flies... we're off early tomorrow on our (pre-)Christmas Caribbean cruise! 8-)

I'm still not convinced that TUI is using a photo of Marella Explorer 2 on their website, so I've copied the post I made almost a year ago showing the ship in her previous livery. It saved time too!

As usual, and if wi-fi connectivity goes to plan, I'll post regular updates to this topic from the ship. Bye for now... :wave:
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby judgegeoff » 14 Dec 2019 18:59

Have a great cruise Dave and Fred, I will be interested to read of what you think of the ship. :wave:
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Camela » 14 Dec 2019 22:41

Have a wonderful time and keep us posted Dave. I haven't been to any of those ports apart from Barbados (was actually there on honeymoon this time many years ago!!).
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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Re: To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Dave » 15 Dec 2019 09:05

Well, we're off to a good start... there were two premium seats available at half-price so we booked them. It's a first for us and we didn't realise that lots of perks came too!Image

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Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby bobbyoscar » 15 Dec 2019 09:23

Have a great time; look forward to the updates. :thumbup:
Cruises booked:
June 2020 Celebrity Silhouette
- Bergen - Geiranger - Flam - Stavanger CANX
Sept 2020 Celebrity Silhouette - Madeira - Tenerife - Las Palmas - Lisbon- Vigo CANX
May 2021 Celebrity Silhouette - ST. PETER PORT - CORK (COBH) - WATERFORD(DUNMORE E) - DUBLIN - GLASGOW (GREENOCK) - AKUREYRI - REYKJAVIK - BELFAST
Aug 2021 Celebrity Silhouette GIBRALTAR – CARTAGENA – BARCELONA – VALENCIA – CADIZ - LISBON
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Re: To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby hazel20 » 15 Dec 2019 15:33

Have a wonderful time!
http://www.hazeljgriffiths.net

Future Lecture Cruises:
2020 - Balmoral - USA in the Fall - a minimal chance
2021 - 2 legs of Spirit of Discovery to South America
2021 - Coastlines of Croatia - Sept SofD
2021 - Canaries - Nov SofA
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Re: To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Dave » 15 Dec 2019 20:55

It was our first experience of premium class and we liked it very much, although it was actually more expensive than we first thought because we'd already paid a fair bit to choose our original seats. Oh well.

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The cabin is very nice - a true suite with a big balcony. At the moment we're waiting for our luggage to arrive so we can dress in something cooler.

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Not visible in my photos is the huge walk-in wardrobe, the entrance hall, two large TVs and the unusual bathroom where the bath, shower and toilet are in separate compartments. :-)

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Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Gillzajoker » 16 Dec 2019 14:52

Have a wonderful time - Having had to cancel my next cruise, I am soooo jealous! :D
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Re: To the Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2

Postby Dave » 16 Dec 2019 19:32

Today we're in St Lucia. It's nearly 11 years since we were last here and although we clearly remembered the sail-in, we couldn't remember anything else about the island or what we did.

Anyway, this time we spent the morning at a wonderful beach where we lazed and swam in the perfect waters.

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Later, we simply strolled around the terminal area. Here's Explorer 2, which is almost identical to Explorer which we were on last year:

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There's only one other cruise ship here - a very cute old vessel named Freewinds (I think!).

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Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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