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Eglesbrech

Negative Explorer Reviews - Fact or Fiction?

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I have been following all the reviews I can find about the Explorer (which we are considering) and some of it does not make for pleasant reading. Many of the negative reviews seem to centre around overconsumption of alcohol and “chavvy” people, their word not mine. Poor food and slow service in the MDR is a repeated theme along with loud music round the pool, overcrowding in the pub so no access to evening entertainment and the appearance / behaviour of other passengers.

 

Some of the reviews I have simply dismissed as snobbery given the tone and pejorative language used in them which says more about the writer than the fellow passengers they were targeting with their vitriol. That said is there truth in any of this: are there drunks roaming the pool decks and 40 minute waits between courses in the dining room for food that when delivered is inedible, is there lack of space in entertainment venues?

 

Have standards dropped significantly across the fleet in the last year?

 

Having travelled with Thomson/ TUI / Marella on and of for many years I personally start from a positive place having enjoyed many great holidays but reading all this negative stuff is a bit worrying. 

 

So what is the fact, what is the fiction, or is it something in between the extremes.

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1 hour ago, Eglesbrech said:

I have been following all the reviews I can find about the Explorer (which we are considering) and some of it does not make for pleasant reading. Many of the negative reviews seem to centre around overconsumption of alcohol and “chavvy” people, their word not mine. Poor food and slow service in the MDR is a repeated theme along with loud music round the pool, overcrowding in the pub so no access to evening entertainment and the appearance / behaviour of other passengers.

 

Some of the reviews I have simply dismissed as snobbery given the tone and pejorative language used in them which says more about the writer than the fellow passengers they were targeting with their vitriol. That said is there truth in any of this: are there drunks roaming the pool decks and 40 minute waits between courses in the dining room for food that when delivered is inedible, is there lack of space in entertainment venues?

 

Have standards dropped significantly across the fleet in the last year?

 

Having travelled with Thomson/ TUI / Marella on and of for many years I personally start from a positive place having enjoyed many great holidays but reading all this negative stuff is a bit worrying. 

 

So what is the fact, what is the fiction, or is it something in between the extremes.

you sure you are talking explorer 1 ,was on first sailing from newcastle and none of the above seems to match what i saw ,only downer as regards the ship was the absolutely chaotic embarkation

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eglesbrech said:

I have been following all the reviews I can find about the Explorer (which we are considering) and some of it does not make for pleasant reading. Many of the negative reviews seem to centre around overconsumption of alcohol and “chavvy” people, their word not mine. Poor food and slow service in the MDR is a repeated theme along with loud music round the pool, overcrowding in the pub so no access to evening entertainment and the appearance / behaviour of other passengers.

 

Some of the reviews I have simply dismissed as snobbery given the tone and pejorative language used in them which says more about the writer than the fellow passengers they were targeting with their vitriol. That said is there truth in any of this: are there drunks roaming the pool decks and 40 minute waits between courses in the dining room for food that when delivered is inedible, is there lack of space in entertainment venues?

 

Have standards dropped significantly across the fleet in the last year?

 

Having travelled with Thomson/ TUI / Marella on and of for many years I personally start from a positive place having enjoyed many great holidays but reading all this negative stuff is a bit worrying. 

 

So what is the fact, what is the fiction, or is it something in between the extremes.

 

Something I'd be very interested to know too since we've booked in the Autumn!  I think perhaps there may be a different vibe depending on itinerary, time and passenger profile.  Our friends after many years after their last Thomson cruise did a Caribbean one last winter.  They enjoyed it but from their description the passenger demographic was very different from that on our North Cape cruise in the Autumn.  I suspect it was an itinerary which attracted a different mix of passengers compared with the Caribbean. 

 

It was the first time we'd been on Marella after a long break.  That was on Discovery and apart from a rather more relaxed approach to the 'formal' night (dress to impress) there was little difference from our recent experiences of P&O, including food in the Mdr.  Except that the warmth of the crew and entertainment were markedly better.  11 shows in 14 nights - all superior to P&O was a real treat. (But we are fans of shows- not everyone is of course.)  We didn't witness any poor behaviour or over-indulgence. 

 

I must say poor reports of food in the Mdr is a concern to me.  We found the food good on Discovery so I'll be hoping this is not a continuing problem.

Edited by kruzseeka

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8 minutes ago, okavango said:

you sure you are talking explorer 1 ,was on first sailing from newcastle and none of the above seems to match what i saw ,only downer as regards the ship was the absolutely chaotic embarkation

Yes defiantly Explorer 1 which is seems was in a sunnier climate given the comments.

 

Good to hear that you did not experience any of the issues, thanks for replying

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3 minutes ago, kruzseeka said:

 

Something I'd be very interested to know too since we've booked in the Autumn!  I think perhaps there may be a different vibe depending on itinerary, time and passenger profile.  Our friends after many years after their last Thomson cruise did a Caribbean one last winter.  They enjoyed it but from their description the passenger demographic was very different from that on our North Cape cruise in the Autumn.  I suspect it was an itinerary which attracted a different mix of passengers compared with the Caribbean.  It was the first time we'd been on Marella after a long break.  That was on Discovery and apart from a rather more relaxed approach to the 'formal' night (dress to impress) there was little difference from our recent experiences of P&O, including food in the Med.  Except that the warmth of the crew and entertainment were markedly better.  11 shows in 14 nights - all superior to P&O was a real treat. (But we are fans of shows- not everyone is of course.)  We didn't witness any poor behaviour or over-indulgence. 

I must say poor reports of food in the Mdr is a concern to me.  We found the food good on Discovery so I'll be hoping this is not a continuing problem.

 

We go on a number of cruise lines (including P&O) and funnily enough it was the new shows that attracted me, I have always enjoyed the entertainment on TUI. 

 

What you say re your friends ties in with the reviews for the Caribbean. Different groups for sun based cruises perhaps. We are looking at Northern Europe.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

 

We go on a number of cruise lines (including P&O) and funnily enough it was the new shows that attracted me, I have always enjoyed the entertainment on TUI. 

 

What you say re your friends ties in with the reviews for the Caribbean. Different groups for sun based cruises perhaps. We are looking at Northern Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we feel the shows are a great feature of Marella.  Hands down better than our recent trip on Oriana.  Were off to Iceland so hoping for some decent weather - and good food!! 🙄

Edited by kruzseeka

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I wonder how many of the very negative or very positive reviews and posts are actually genuine. I would not be surprised if some of the posters are in the pay of rival cruise companies. Then there are those posters who are wishing to provoke a reaction for their own pleasure, trolls I believe. I have a lot of experience of 2 cruise lines, P&O and Thomson/Marella so I can compare comments with my experience. All our expectations and experiences differ so a lot of it is a matter of personal preference but when I read a truly awful review which I know is not my experience of the ship in question I   check the reviewers posting history and if they answer any follow up questions from readers. A lot of posts are first time and you never hear from them again. Also a negative post usually results in a mini avalanche of similar replies.

 

Are the negative Explorer reviews fact or fiction?, almost all fiction in my opinion. You should see the pasting Explorer 2 got since joining the fleet.

 

Food - the newer ships have international cuisine, some people don't like this cos it is not meat and 2 veg. Time to eat the meal, some people apply the same timings as at home, starters arrive, eat it, 2 minutes later the main course, eat it, 2 minutes later the dessert, eat it, all with minimum conversation. A friend of mine has a French husband and now considers a couple of hours is reasonable!

 

Entertainment - It is not Abba/Andrew Lloyd Webber or even Vera Lynn on some P&O ships! Some people don't like this.

 

The ships is noisy or vibrates or whatever. All ships have noise and vibration

 

etc etc

 

Read lots of reviews and ignore the overwhelmingly good or bad ones. Then try the ship yourself

 

Dealing with the moaners you meet aboard daily. answering 'other cruise lines are available' sees them off.

 

 

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48 minutes ago, davecttr said:

I wonder how many of the very negative or very positive reviews and posts are actually genuine. I would not be surprised if some of the posters are in the pay of rival cruise companies. Then there are those posters who are wishing to provoke a reaction for their own pleasure, trolls I believe. I have a lot of experience of 2 cruise lines, P&O and Thomson/Marella so I can compare comments with my experience. All our expectations and experiences differ so a lot of it is a matter of personal preference but when I read a truly awful review which I know is not my experience of the ship in question I   check the reviewers posting history and if they answer any follow up questions from readers. A lot of posts are first time and you never hear from them again. Also a negative post usually results in a mini avalanche of similar replies.

 

Are the negative Explorer reviews fact or fiction?, almost all fiction in my opinion. You should see the pasting Explorer 2 got since joining the fleet.

 

Food - the newer ships have international cuisine, some people don't like this cos it is not meat and 2 veg. Time to eat the meal, some people apply the same timings as at home, starters arrive, eat it, 2 minutes later the main course, eat it, 2 minutes later the dessert, eat it, all with minimum conversation. A friend of mine has a French husband and now considers a couple of hours is reasonable!

 

Entertainment - It is not Abba/Andrew Lloyd Webber or even Vera Lynn on some P&O ships! Some people don't like this.

 

The ships is noisy or vibrates or whatever. All ships have noise and vibration

 

etc etc

 

Read lots of reviews and ignore the overwhelmingly good or bad ones. Then try the ship yourself

 

Dealing with the moaners you meet aboard daily. answering 'other cruise lines are available' sees them off.

 

 

Thanks for yours comments. 

 

Interesting re the food being more international, that will suit us but you make a good point that if the reviewer is a meat and two veg person they would not be happy. 

 

All the comments in this thread are really reassuring so thanks folks.

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Have to agree with Dave above. After all the reviews i'd seen about Ex2 i was dreading going on especially as it was DH's first cruise and it had took me an eternity to persuade him to go so we went with a little apprehension and a very open mind. Apart from the embarkation debacle we had one of our best holidays ever, met some lovely people, saw some great shows, never had a bad meal (we only used MDR and Vista) and didn't want to come home.

Yes there were the moaners and whingers who imo would have done so wherever they were. 

So my advice would be to do as we did and have agreat time. 

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Thanks to Dave & 2BA  for posting sensible comments. We are off tomorrow so will give our views on return. Keep the good posts coming please.

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28 minutes ago, ormy said:

Thanks to Dave & 2BA  for posting sensible comments. We are off tomorrow so will give our views on return. Keep the good posts coming please.

 

Have a great trip - and I look forward to reading your comments on your return.  (Not that you'll be wanting to think about that just now!)

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Oh dear, I hope you all don’t jump out and bite me. A bit of fact, mostly fiction.

 

I did a two week Caribbean cruise on Explorer 1 in December 2018. Sadly I can confirm some of the negative points in your post. However I think these were the exception rather than the rule, I have booked another cruise on Explorer next year so if I thought it was that bad I would not be choosing Explorer again.

 

My impression was that it was a new Marella ship and the staff/crew/management were not yet “up to speed”.

 

Food: On one occasion I shared a table with a number of other diners. Four of us ordered the fish which arrived half cooked and looked like it had not been properly gutted. The other three diners walked out of the restaurant, so on my cruise the food could be bad. But apart from that one meal the food ranged from “just OK” to very good. The beer/wine dispensers in the buffet were not always working. So the Restaurant/Buffet knocked off brownie points for the Explorer.

 

Service: The service in the restaurant “could” be very slow, I wouldn't dispute the claim of a  40 minute wait between courses. As a result I gave up ordering a coffee, but this was variable and the service could be very good. Bar waiters were usually quick off the mark.

 

Newbie/under trained staff: Generally very good service but I got the impression the staff were new, struggling and seemed to lack training. One occasion a very confused newbie waiter was thrown in to help and didn’t know how to operate his I Pad order device, his colleague had to come out from behind the bar to help. Waiters seemed surprised that I was dining on my own and would place me on a table facing a wall, I had to ask to use the opposite seat so that I could see other diners.

 

Bars: Crowding and lack of enough free seats in the evening bars is not just confined to Explorer, it seems to be common across all of the ships. Just the way things are, everyone would like to watch the best group/singer.

 

Other People: No problems here, everyone quite decent and presentable. No bad behavior, didn’t notice any drunks.

 

Pool: I don’t like roasting in the sun, little experience here, but walking through the pool area I couldn’t see anything that would cause any offense.

 

Ship: My toilet failed to stop flushing at 2AM threatening to flood the bathroom and the air con failed. But the response was pretty quick, both fixed within 30 minutes. Cabin/Bathroom were very good. But overall I prefer Discovery 2.

 

Entertainment: Both theater and shows were very good.

 

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Posted (edited)

You have presented your opinions clearly backed up by examples and without hyperbole.  Thank you.  It is a pity when people get too polarised in their attack or defence of a ship which can then lead to unpleasant comments.  On any ship it's an 'on balance' situation weighing up the pro's and con's which of course to a large extent will be influenced by personal preferences.  But you have tried to be fair and whilst reporting some shortcomings, have given the benefit of the doubt. 

It must be quite a task to launch a new ship and get everything up to speed from the get-go.   I suspect from what you say this could well be teething issues which hopefully have now been ironed out. As we're both booked to go on Explorer I'm sure we're both hoping that's the case. 

Edited by kruzseeka

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Thanks GOQ, what you are reporting is a more balanced version of some of the reviews I have looked at.

 

Quite a few said that people walked out of the restaurant because of the delay and quality of the food presented. Hopefully it was all just teething issues.

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Eglesbrech, I know you like Fred Olsen. We have sailed both Fred and Marella.  Pros and cons for each. We no longer sweat the little things, we are mostly now itinerary driven but still want a decent level of accommodation, dining, entertainment etc. I think you will find a broader demographic on Marella than you would on Fred ships. And if kids are not your thing, book an adult only Marella ship or travel outside of school holidays. We have rarely seen any children on Fred.

 

We were onboard late Nov/early Dec on a Caribbean itinerary.

 

Loved the actual ship, cabin etc, and were just lucky that the cabin we pre-booked was convenient for the gangway at each port. Meant we didn't need to walk the length of the ship getting off and on again. We would book that ship again, and book the same cabin too.

 

Decor and furnishings were modern and fresh looking. Shows were good. The singers could really sing and the dancers could really dance. That didn't always happen in the past. Loved having a fridge in the cabin, also loved a decent size shower, and even better, the glass door instead of the clingy curtain. Also liked the chilled water dispensers on each cabin deck. Excellent idea. Good selection of books, games etc. Dress to Impress Evenings saw many who were indeed "dressed to impress".

 

We think Marella do a good selection of food in every area where it is offered so never felt the need to pay a surcharge. That said, if the options in the MDR in the evening were not especially interesting for us, we opted for the no-fee Italian. This is half of one level of the MDR open in the evenings. Two menus, depends on the evening you go. We really enjoyed that. Ate there four times. Can really recommend it. The same arrangement exists on Discovery 2. Only faults with the MDR were that sometimes the food was not as hot as it could have been. Service on our sailing was not noticeably slow. The buffet was fine for breakfast and lunch, although a couple of times we got sandwiches or pizza from the area opposite and ate out on the terrace. This is a really lovely area. Tapas and pizza/pasta in the evenings.

 

As for the rest, what to say without offending someone? Yes, I would say that "warm water" cruising as opposed to "cold water" cruising attracted a different demographic. There were indeed many who appeared to eat and drink all day and evening-I think. They were also loud. They mostly hung out around the pool area and bars there. We heard a few stories but whether or not true we never found out.   We don't especially like the pool area on any ship as it is usually too noisy for us. Endless quizes, games, music of all types. Many people enjoy this, we personally do not. We prefer a quieter area. so we had minimal contact with them. The louder element we never saw in the evenings at all and we were off the ship most days. They didn't appear in the MDR or the show lounge or any of the quieter lounges/bars. I think they mostly just hung out around the pool bars. We liked the Squid and Anchor but in the evenings it was very crowded and very noisy, but there were alternative lounges/bars.

 

So, to sum up, you can make of it what you want. Our experience was very different from the experience of others. We enjoyed our version, they probably enjoyed theirs. Each to his/her own. Nothing wrong with that.

 

Sailing tomorrow on Explorer 2. First time for us. Will be interesting to compare.

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Posted (edited)

Not been on her yet but some friends of ours, first time cruisers, returned last week and had a fantastic time just could not believe how good the holiday had been they only did the week but did not want to come home. 😊

Edited by Pensioncruiser

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See you on board Edinburgher

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I love reading all the reviews, good or bad. But the facts are what surprise us all.

You have a ship with nearly 2,000 passengers on it. Half that for couples and people sharing cabins. So 1,000 per week. Do they all write a review, NO! Will 5% write something, probably, but if someone had a bad experience, they are the ones to write first. The really helpful nice people that had a wonderful time, will write something or post on here. So the other 85% or so that had a perfectly happy holiday and enjoyed their cruise and are booking to go again, don't bother to tell others online. 

It's like trip advisor, no place has a perfect 100% 5-star rating without someone moaning about something. You can't please everyone. I read one review, that everything was great but they only gave it 4 stars and not 5. Then after looking deeper as to why it was due to an excursion having a rainy day and traffic in the city centre that made it not so pleasing. Now how do you mark a cruise ship down a star for that?

 

So my advise is, don't read the bad, don't read the good (could just be the owners, crew, staff writing these to big up themselves) and look for the middle reviews to get a fair and true opinion of the cruise. 

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1 hour ago, SausPud said:

I love reading all the reviews, good or bad. But the facts are what surprise us all.

You have a ship with nearly 2,000 passengers on it. Half that for couples and people sharing cabins. So 1,000 per week. Do they all write a review, NO! Will 5% write something, probably, but if someone had a bad experience, they are the ones to write first. The really helpful nice people that had a wonderful time, will write something or post on here. So the other 85% or so that had a perfectly happy holiday and enjoyed their cruise and are booking to go again, don't bother to tell others online. 

It's like trip advisor, no place has a perfect 100% 5-star rating without someone moaning about something. You can't please everyone. I read one review, that everything was great but they only gave it 4 stars and not 5. Then after looking deeper as to why it was due to an excursion having a rainy day and traffic in the city centre that made it not so pleasing. Now how do you mark a cruise ship down a star for that?

 

So my advise is, don't read the bad, don't read the good (could just be the owners, crew, staff writing these to big up themselves) and look for the middle reviews to get a fair and true opinion of the cruise. 

Good advice and I do tend to ignore the obviously overblown reviews - positive or negative.

 

What concerned me about what I was reading was the frequency of the same complaints, even from otherwise fairly positive reviews (drunks, poor food / service in the MDR etc).

 

I know that no cruise will ever be perfect and what someone else loves I might hate. I suppose I will just have to give it a go, see for myself and then report back here.

 

It has been really helpful to have the sensible input from posters here on CC, always a useful resource.

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I think the above advice is spot on - ignore the madly negative reviews and the madly positive ones and look at whats in between, and do bear in mind 95% of people dont otherwise leave a review so it should be assumed they were generally happy.

 

I do love reading the reviews though - i saw someone mark down a Marella cruise because there was "no classical music" and "there were no port lectures".  

 

There was also a review of Explorer 2 at one point by "an experienced cruiser" which was very critical of the ship and his cruise on it - some three months before it was launched, though i see now that has been removed.

 

 

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Was on Explorer last summer, never saw any chav's drunk or had a bad meal. We had a superb time, I really do think certain cruisers do not like certain other people, being able to go on cruises.

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I did the Transatlantic Homecoming Barbados To Southampton this May and can honestly say it was the best cruise I did this winter and I am a fan of P&O.  Explorer has the friendliest crew at sea.  Mix bag of passengers.  Did not see any drunken behaviour but likewise I did not use the Squid & Anchor pub so cannot comment on that.  The friendliest Spa staff I have met.  I will not hesitate to sail on Marella again it is the best value for money at sea.

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10 hours ago, Clipper Chick said:

I did the Transatlantic Homecoming Barbados To Southampton this May and can honestly say it was the best cruise I did this winter and I am a fan of P&O.  Explorer has the friendliest crew at sea.  Mix bag of passengers.  Did not see any drunken behaviour but likewise I did not use the Squid & Anchor pub so cannot comment on that.  The friendliest Spa staff I have met.  I will not hesitate to sail on Marella again it is the best value for money at sea.

 

We also did that trip and it was perhaps the best cruise yet. No complaints about anything really, The food was hot, the drinks were cold and the other passengers were great, we met so many friendly people. Also as usual the staff were outstanding.

 

our one minor gripe was the engine noise, usually first thing in the morning when the ship was travelling slowly or when docking it was horrendous, but I think it was a mechanical problem also we were right at the back of the ship in a cabin that we had reserved so you get what you pay for.😄

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We didn’t see any of the bad behaviours mentioned on Explorer 2. We had maintenance issues with our cabin which were dealt with really efficiently, better than on Cunard or Celebrity. We did have 1 bad experience in the MDR on the last night but nothing that would cause a poor review from us (unlike P&0). Entertainment best we have had. Hope you have a fabulous time 

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We have recently returned from the midnight sun voyage on the Explorer, having done the Transatlantic Homecoming as well. I think we are well placed to say that having spent 5weeks on board we never saw any drunken behaviour.

We ate in all the restaurants that were included in the AI package and also paid extra to try all the speciality restaurants. We had no complaints with the food in any restaurant. Service we found was mainly fast, with the exception of the Dining club where we did wine pairing and which we were told at the outset it would be around a three hour meal. The main dining could be a little slow between main course and desert, and on occasions we chose not to have coffee in there due to this, this may have been down to the time when we were in the i.e at the beginning of service when they would have been busy.

 

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