This is a sponsored post by Marella Cruises.
Interested in booking a Marella cruise holiday, but not sure which ship to pick, and whether it makes a difference?
In this handy guide, I’ll explain the difference between each of the ships, so that you can make your booking fully informed.
How many Marella ships are there?
There are five ships in the Marella Cruises fleet. They are Marella Discovery, Marella Discovery 2, Marella Explorer, Marella Explorer 2 and Marella Voyager. Marella Voyager is the most recent addition to the fleet, joining in June 2023.
Suggested read: Meet The Newest Marella Cruise Ship: Marella Voyager
The cruise line has existed for a long time – it was formed in 1973 – and so has seen a number of ships come and go.
13 ships have previously served for Marella Cruises before being sold or scrapped, with the first being SS Ithaca, and the most recent to be scrapped included the Marella Celebration and the Marella Dream.
Marella Cruise Ships By Size
The five ships sailing for Marella Cruises are roughly similar in terms of size – three are slightly larger, but not by an extreme margin.
However there is no clear biggest ship – it depends on the measurement you’re using. Typically people view the biggest ship as that with the most internal space – measured in gross tons – but you could also measure it by guest capacity or length too.
Here’s a list of the Marella Cruises ships ranked by size, from the highest internal volume to the lowest, so you can see what I mean...
|Ship||Internal volume (gross tons)||Length||Width||Number of decks||Guest capacity|
|Marella Voyager||77,303||264m / 866ft||32m / 106ft||13||1,912|
|Marella Explorer 2||76,522||260m / 852ft||32m / 106ft||13||1,924|
|Marella Explorer||71,545||248m / 814ft||32m / 105ft||14||1,814|
|Marella Discovery 2||69,130||264m / 866ft||32m / 105f||11||1,836|
|Marella Discovery||69,130||264m / 866ft||32m / 105f||11||1,830|
Marella Ship Facts
- The largest Marella ship by volume is Marella Voyager
- The longest Marella ship is Marella Voyager
- The widest Marella ships are Marella Voyager and Marella Explorer 2
- The Marella ship with the most decks is Marella Explorer
- The Marella ship with the highest guest capacity is Marella Explorer 2
At least when it comes to the smallest ship, the ranking is pretty easy – Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 are almost identical, but with a slightly higher capacity on Marella Discovery 2, you can describe Marella Discovery as the smallest ship.
Marella Cruise Ships By Age
None of the ships sailing for Marella Cruises were brand new when they joined the fleet. They’ve all sailed for other cruise lines previously – but they’ve been given a full and considerate refurbishment as they join the fleet, so that they have a fresh look and feel.
These aren’t ships on their last legs, far from it. The ships are wonderfully cared for, with modern furnishings, and they’re really comfortable. And all of the ships are pretty much the same age too.
Here’s a look at the Marella ships ranked by age, from newest to oldest.
|Ship||Year Built||Year Joined Marella Cruises|
|Marella Explorer 2||1995||2019|
|Marella Discovery 2||1995||2017|
It is a little odd that the Marella Explorer 2 and Marella Discovery 2 are actually older ships than the Marella Explorer and Marella Discovery, but that’s just how it fell in terms of when they joined the Marella Cruises fleet.
Marella Cruise Ships Dining
One of the biggest differences between the ships in the Marella Cruises fleet is the array of dining options.
Here’s a full list of the restaurants featured on each ship:
|Restaurant||Included in your fare?||Cuisine||Marella Discovery||Marella Discovery 2||Marella Explorer||Marella Explorer 2||Marella Voyager|
|Main Dining Room||Yes||Varied||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Buffet Restaurant||Yes||Various buffet stations||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Snack Shack||Yes||Poolside snacks||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|The Glass House||Yes||Deli/tapas platters||YES||YES||No||No||No|
|Kora La||Extra fee||Pan-Asian||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Sushi Bar||Extra fee||Sushi||YES||YES||No||No||No|
|Surf & Turf Steakhouse||Extra fee||Steaks and seafood||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|The Dining Club||Extra fee||Fine dining||No||No||YES||YES||No|
|Umi Sushi||Extra fee||Sushi||No||No||YES||No||No|
|Tapas @ The Mediterranean||Yes||Spanish tapas||No||No||YES||No||No|
|Italian @ The Mediterranean||Yes||Italian||No||No||YES||No||No|
|Nonna’s Pizza||Yes||Pizza and salad||No||No||No||YES||YES|
|Platter||Extra fee||Sharing platters||No||No||No||No||YES|
|Silver Fork||Extra fee||British Modern||No||No||No||No||YES|
As standard, you can expect every ship in the fleet to have a main dining room. It has a different name depending on the ship – Marella Voyager, Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 have Latitude 53, while the Discovery ships have 47°.
But the experience is similar in both – you’ll be able to enjoy table service for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a wide-ranging menu that changes every day, so you don’t get stuck with the same choices.
There’s also a casual buffet restaurant with different stations. Again the options do vary by ship, but expect to be able to enjoy pastas, salads, carving stations and more along with classic British favourites.
The other constants are the Snack Shack, a poolside snack bar, Surf & Turf steakhouse, and Kora La, the pan-Asian restaurant.
But then each ship has different options, including Italian restaurants, venues serving fine dining, sushi bars and more. Depending on your favourite cuisines, you might want to look for a cruise on a certain ship.
Marella Cruise Ships Facilities
One of the more consistent elements of Marella’s fleet is the onboard entertainment and facilities. A lot of similar options are available across the fleet.
Here’s a look at the facilities on each ship:
|Facility||Marella Discovery||Marella Discovery 2||Marella Explorer||Marella Explorer 2||Marella Voyager|
|Swimming pools||2 (Indoor and outdoor)||2 (Indoor and outdoor)||1 (Outdoor)||1 (Outdoor)||1 (Outdoor)|
|Spa and beauty salon||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Broadway Show Lounge||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Hideout Teens Club||YES||YES||YES||No||YES|
|M Club (Kids’ Club)||YES||YES||YES||No||YES|
|Virtual Reality Experience||No||YES||No||No||No|
There are some subtle differences between the ships, but the main one is with Marella Explorer 2 – this is the only ship in the fleet to be adults-only and so it is missing the kids’ clubs that you’d find on other ships in the fleet.
Instead, it has a wider choice of bars and open spaces where you can relax. If you want a quieter cruise and you aren’t travelling with kids, this may be a better choice.
Which is Marella’s best ship?
While the Marella Cruises ships are all similar, the best is Marella Voyager – she has the most recent renovation, along with the favourite restaurants from prior ships and some excellent new options. If you want an adults-only cruise you may find that Marella Explorer 2 is the better ship.
The difference in experience between the ships isn’t huge, so while Marella Voyager is slightly newer and feels a bit more modern, you’ll have a great time on any of the ships in the fleet.
Marella Ships FAQs
Only one ship in the Marella Cruises fleet is for adults only, and that is Marella Explorer 2. All of the other ships welcome families and have kids’ clubs to entertain younger guests. Guests can also book cruise and stay options at adults-only hotels if they prefer.
The smallest ship in the Marella Cruises fleet is Marella Discovery 2. Technically it is the same physical size as Marella Discovery, in terms of dimensions and internal volume (gross tons) but due to the cabin availability it has a marginally lower passenger capacity.
Marella Voyager is the newest ship in the Marella Cruises fleet, both in terms of the year she was originally built (1997) and the year she joined Marella Cruises (2023). As such she has the most modern decor and style, thanks to her refurbishment taking place most recently.
In terms of internal volume – the typical standard measurement for cruise ship sizes – Marella Voyager is the biggest ship in the fleet, but only marginally. However, the ship with the highest passenger capacity is Marella Explorer 2, being able to accommodate 12 more guests than Marella Voyager.
Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 are not identical ships. Marella Explorer 2 is slightly larger, and it is an adults-only ship, whereas Marella Explorer welcomes families and has suitable entertainment onboard for children. It also has one more deck, despite being smaller overall.
Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 are very similar ships, with identical physical dimensions including length, beam and gross tonnage. Marella Discovery 2 can host a handful of extra passengers due to the cabins that are available onboard, but otherwise, they are pretty much the same ship.
Now you’ve got an idea of what makes each Marella Cruises ship different (and how they are so alike in general), you can make sure you choose the right one for you.
Across most of the ships you’ll get a very similar experience, although if you want the newest-feeling ship, it’s worth choosing Marella Voyager. And if you want to avoid kids in the pools, that’s only guaranteed with Marella Explorer 2.
Make sure you check out my guide on what’s included with Marella Cruises too, so you can see just how much you get with your cruise fare.
When choosing accommodation on board, be sure to check out my Marella Cruises cabin guides:
- Marella Discovery Cabins
- Marella Discovery 2 Cabins
- Marella Explorer Cabins
- Marella Explorer 2 Cabins
And if you’d like more info about each ship, you can visit the Marella cruises website.
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