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Just returned from Electric Sunsets the 1990s Music themed short cruise from Newcastle. I thought it was a very good cruise with one very big exception for me. I have cruised more time than I can remember on possibly a dozen different lines but only once with Thomson as it then was. Here is my mini review it is purely my personal perspective

 

THE SHIP. I thought the Explorer was wonderful and a massive step up from my previous cruise on Celebration.  Light, modern, comfortable, spacious and luxurious. I had single occupancy of four berth cabin on five decks was very pleasant. My only criticism would be because the upper births folded against the wall rather than in the ceiling they impinged on the cabin space.  Throughout the ship maintenance and cleanliness seemed second to none. 

 

SERVICE. With one exception I thought the service was very good.  I really do not think it could have been improved. I do not think the ship was full so I think that might have helped the crew. 

 

BUFFET.  The best shipboard buffet experience I have had in years. After the first meal I usually avoid the buffet but on this ship I went back for every breakfast and lunch. I found a wide choice, fresh and nicely presented food.  Tables were cleared quickly also and always seemed available. 

 

MAIN DINING ROOM. Sorry but my worst dining experience I have had on a ship ever.  The food was nice enough and some of it was very good but the service was poor. 

 

On the first night the restaurant was almost empty and our party was shown to a table of eight as requested. We were given menus for the wrong day. Mistakes happen but our waiter did not apologise and I was left felt I was the cause of his inconvenience. Throughout the meal the wrong food was delivered to the wrong people in the wrong order with some delays. The waiters did not seem to be coping and would rather we were not bothering them. 

 

On the third night we queued for a table at Vista to be told it had moved from the sign posted position so we had to queue again at a different entrance. Our table of eight turned out to be two separate tables of four despite at least three tables for eight in a not full restaurant being free. I think they were trying to close some sections. Reluctantly they eventual gave us a table for eight. Bread, wine, olives (one each only) just seemed vey difficult for them. Again the wrong food was given to the wrong people in the wrong order.  I noticed it was an hour from arriving, at a less than full restaurant, before we all had a starter.  Some had finished the starter before others arrived of course. 

 

By the way on the second night we went to Kora La which I very much enjoyed and could not fault the service or food. 

 

PASSENGERS. Everybody seemed very friendly and looking to enjoy themselves. I certainly saw no trouble and was not woken by noise in my cabin corridor. People were vaping discreetly in bars and corridors which surprised me but not bothersome. The F word was used as a normal part of speech. It was not offensive just unusual on a cruise. I suppose it was an adults only cruise. Lots of fancy dress including a few nuns.  Call The Midwife will not be quite the same for me again. Compared to my usual cruises the average was decades younger. 

 

THEME. I must say I had never heard of any of the groups but then the 1990s did pass me by.  Apparently many acts had a fewer members than in they did in the 90s but I do not feel that gives me grounds to ask for a partial refund on my cruise. I have done themed cruise before where only one venue is dedicated to the theme.  You can ignore the theme on those cruises.  This was a whole ship (and embarkation terminal) takeover. I enjoyed it in many ways and just went with it. 

 

VERDICT.  Would I do another cruise on the ship? Yes. Would I do another Marella cruise? Yes. I hope the main dining room would be better. Would I do another pop music themed cruise? Possibly. 

 

 

 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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Thanks for this Stephen, very interesting. I wonder if there had been a staff change? Not that this should be an excuse for poor service.  I must admit I personally  wouldn't choose this type of cruise. We are on Explorer 2 shortly so hope things are better then.

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38 minutes ago, dronnygirl said:

Thanks for this Stephen, very interesting. I wonder if there had been a staff change? Not that this should be an excuse for poor service.  I must admit I personally  wouldn't choose this type of cruise. We are on Explorer 2 shortly so hope things are better then.

 

I did wonder but staff change all the time on ships. After the evening I thought it was perhaps just a bad day for them. I hope you are fine on Explorer 2.  I cannot imagine it is like that across the rest of the fleet when everything else was really good. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

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We experienced similar slow service on our last cruise on the Celebration.

 

Previously there would be the Maitre D or a head waiter at the door to show diners to a table.  We stood for about five minutes before anyone approached us. We were then shown to a table but not given menus. After a short time a waiter came and asked us if we would like a drink. We ordered drinks but they didn't arrive.  We caught the attention of another waiter who again asked us if we would like a drink. We explained we had ordered drinks but were still waiting for them but we asked if he could give us a menu. Waited and waited for our drinks and someone to take our order. Eventually had to speak to the Head waiter who apologised and told us many of the experienced staff had moved to other ships to help train new staff and that some of the staff who were on the Celebration were still undergoing training.  Not having wine waiters now didn't help matters.

 

The MDR wasn't really busy but it still took just over two hours most nights to serve three courses.  We didn't wait for coffee.

 

The food some evenings was very disappointing.  The menus looked lovely.  Unfortunately the description on the menu did not match the reality on the plate and the food wasn't always as hot as it should have been.

 

The waiters were very pleasant and worked so hard. There just weren't enough of them.

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HIt does seem you had many similar problems to me in the main dining room. Lack of staff and perhaps poorly trained staff. I also thought that some of the menu descriptions were a bit over the top for what was served. 

 

It is a shame as it would put me off cruising with Marella next year. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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