Earlier this year, Jenny, our marketing assistant, set sail on Marella Cruises for a glorious week around the Mediterranean. Here’s what she got up to!
Journey to the Marella Discovery
I’m lucky enough to have cruised before, although this was my first cruise post-covid and I was curious as to whether my experience would be the same or not. I can confidently say that cruising is still absolutely fantastic, albeit, with a few safety measures in place, it was like nothing had changed!
Having never flown with TUI, nor sailed with Marella, I was very excited to see what the experience as a whole would be like! Flying with TUI was fast, easy and there were minimal queues at the airport. I was through the whole process in less than 30 minutes which gave me enough time to have a cheeky browse in duty-free and grab some breakfast – the perfect way to start a holiday!
I boarded the TUI Dreamliner, named Neil, and jetted off (in extra legroom seats!) to meet Marella Discovery in the beautiful port of Palma de Mallorca. We were met in the airport by TUI reps and taken on the coach to the ship. Here, a member of the crew came onboard to explain to us all about the new check-in and safety procedures. The check-in process was smooth and we then had a safety video presentation about muster stations in the theatre. Then, time to explore the ship!
Day 1 – Exploring the ship
I always find the first day of a cruise the most exciting. There is always so much to explore on the ship. The colourful beach huts of the Snack Shack caught my eye so I had a hotdog and chips around the pool. Of course, it would have been rude not to have a pint of lager too!
When sailing with Marella, a regular drinks package is included as standard, which gives access to wine, beer, spirits, selected cocktails, tea & coffee etc.. For a small charge you could upgrade to a premium drinks package to gain access to a wider variety: my personal favourite being the chocolate espresso martini, which quickly became an after-dinner staple!
After exploring the ship, I headed to my cabin to get settled in & my luggage had beaten me to my cabin! I was staying in an outside cabin and was mind blown at the size of the cabin! There was so much storage which was probably for the better given how many shoes I’d packed!
I spent the rest of my day wandering around the ship, playing mini golf & even had a quick dip in the pool! After getting ready for the evening, I headed to the sail away party on the top deck, where we had a sunset sail away from Palma.
For dinner, I was very lucky to experience the speciality restaurant Surf n Turf. This is an extra supplement but definitely worth it. It was my favourite meal of the entire trip. With a beef amuse-bouche to cleanse the palette, followed by pan-fried scallops & then the main event, a surf and turf of lobster tail & fillet of Angus beef medallion. I chose sides of onion rings, lobster mac & cheese and a vegetable medley. To finish off, I had a sumptuous chocolate brownie and caramel sundae. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
Day 2 – Day at sea
The next day was an action-packed sea day. I headed to the Islands Buffet for breakfast before making the most out of the entertainment facilities – rock climbing, beats bingo, an afternoon quiz by the pool & so much more!
That evening was the formal night onboard and so it was time to get glammed up! For dinner, I went to 47 Degrees which is the standard included restaurant onboard. I had French onion soup followed by a beautiful lobster souffle. There was an amazing selection of desserts onboard, however, I was celebrating! The team at Marella presented us with a personalised ‘Congratulations Jenny’ cake. This was a lovely surprise and such a lovely personal touch.
Day 3 – Cagliari, Italy
We arrived in Cagliari, Italy and it was absolutely stunning. I had a wander around Saint Remy Baston before an exciting excursion touring a bridge. I even got to try on one of the officer’s hats, but don’t worry, I didn’t press any of the buttons!
For lunch, I headed to the Glasshouse which offers pizza, pasta, salads and paninis as well as rotisserie chicken! I went for chicken, peri-salted chips and a side of the signature coleslaw – an absolute must-have.
47 Degrees was our restaurant for dinner before dancing the night away to the live bands performing on the ship and not to mention the silent disco.
Day 4 – A busy day in Sorrento & visiting Pompeii
Day 4 was our first excursion which was so exciting. As preparation for a busy day, I had a hearty fry up in 47 Degrees before we docked in Sorrento. Sorrento is best known for its abundance of bright yellow lemons, cobbled stone streets & picturesque views.
After stepping off the tender boat onto a coach, we were heading along the scenic coast to Pompeii, a town buried under ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. There would be too many facts about Pompeii to summarise in just one post! However, one fun fact I learnt was that there were 90 takeaways in Pompeii, you can even spot the counters of them in the ruins. After learning all about the rich history of Pompeii with the local guide, I grabbed a quick ‘slice’ of pizza & headed back to Sorrento for a wander around the cobbled streets before heading back on board.
For dinner, I visited Gallery 47 which is the Italian dining room on board Marella Discovery and is included as standard. There were Sorrento regional specials but I couldn’t resist the calamari & seafood pasta. After dinner was showtime, a Whitney Houston themed act, who was absolutely phenomenal!
Day 5 – When in Rome!
The next day Marella Discovery docked in Civitavecchia and I headed out on the Rome Explorer excursion. It was an early start with a few hours on a coach so I headed to the Snack Shack to get some pastry goodies. When in Rome, I visited The Colosseum, The Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, The Vatican City & a few more magnificent monuments! The fantastic tour guide Dave, took myself & my group around all day & even showed us where to go for his favourite pizza.
Did you know the Pizza Margarita gets its name from the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy & was designed to represent the colours of the Italian flag: tomato base for red, mozzarella for white & basil for green.
After a fantastic day, I headed back to the ship and enjoyed dining at Kora La, a speciality Asian inspired restaurant. The food was amazing and the view was absolutely breathtaking. Watching the sunset over the sea at dinner is something that you really can’t beat!
Day 6 – Relaxing in Corsica
Day 6 was a chilled day of wandering after such a hectic day yesterday in Rome. We arrived in Ajaccio, Corsica where there were lots of accessible activities to do such as visiting Napoleon’s House, take a short walk to the nearest beach or saunter around the historic market town.
Day 7 – Barcelona and time for home!
Barcelona day!! We docked in Palamos and got on a coach to the city centre and were free to explore. I saw all the well-known sights, did some shopping on Las Ramblas and was inspired by the architecture of Gaudi dotted around the city. Before heading home, I obviously had to have paella and sangria for lunch. After a lovely day in Barcelona, it was home time! The flight home on the TUI Dreamliner was effortless and the whole trip was seamless.
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