Marella Explorer – Full Ship Guide

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Of the five cruise ships in the Marella fleet, one of the largest is Marella Explorer, and she’s a great option for adults or families who want to enjoy a relaxing all-inclusive getaway.

Marella Explorer Cabins

She has some fantastic accommodation options and features onboard, including some excellent places to dine and lots of fun activities.

In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Marella Explorer, so that you can prep for a fun-packed cruise onboard.

Discover some amazing cruise deals on Marella Explorer

Flights, tips and drinks all included – wow!

Marella Explorer – Facts & Stats

While the Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 ships are twins that are almost identical, the same can’t be said for Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2. The ships aren’t completely different, and they do have similar histories, but they aren’t cookie-cutter ships either.

She isn’t quite the biggest ship in the fleet though – that honour goes to Marella Voyager. But she does have the highest guest capacity by a small amount.

Here’s how Marella Explorer compares to the rest of the ships in the Marella Cruises fleet:

ShipYear BuiltYear Joined MarellaSize (gross tons)Passenger capacityLengthBeam/widthTotal Decks
Marella Discovery 21995201769,1301,836264m / 866ft32m / 105ft11
Marella Discovery1996201669,1301,830264m / 866ft32m / 105ft11
Marella Explorer1996201876,5221,924260m / 852ft32m / 106ft13
Marella Explorer 21995201971,5451,814248m / 814ft32m / 105ft14
Marella Voyager1997202377,3031,912264m / 866ft32m / 106ft13

Marella Explorer History

None of the ships in the Marella Cruises fleet were purpose-built for the cruise line. All have been purchased or transferred over from sister brands, but with careful and loving refurbishment.

Marella Explorer was first built for Celebrity Cruises, sailing for the line as the MV Galaxy from her debut in 1996 until 2007. At this point, Celebrity rebranded their ships, and for the next two years, the ship was rechristened Celebrity Galaxy instead.

She then joined TUI, and became the first of the Mein Schiff cruise ships. For a year she cruised as Mein Schiff, before becoming Mein Schiff 1 to help differentiate her from later ships in the fleet.

Then, as part of a modernisation programme, Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 were transferred over to Thomson Cruises in 2018, rebranded as Marella, and Mein Schiff 1 became the Marella Explorer, but only after a fantastic multi-million-pound makeover in Cadiz to make sure she was at her best for many years to come.

Thanks to this dry dock refurbishment, Marella Explorer is a beautiful ship that feels bright, modern and comfortable, and guests love the experience onboard.

Marella Explorer Cabins

There are 962 cabins onboard Marella Explorer. These include the typical range of Inside, Outside and Balcony cabins, as well as some beautiful and spacious suites that you can enjoy. These cabins have all been well maintained and offer modern furnishings.

Regardless of which category you choose, you’ll always get the staple amenities – a flatscreen TV, air-conditioning, a safe and a hairdryer. You also get tea and coffee facilities – Marella is aimed at the British market and could hardly leave those out of the rooms!

Here’s the full list of cabin options on Marella Explorer:

CabinSleepsDeck LocationsSize (square feet)
Inside Cabin2-44, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12172
Single Inside Cabin14, 5172
Family Inside Cabin58, 10205
Outside Cabin2-44, 5, 8, 9183
Single Outside Cabin14, 5183
Balcony Cabin2-38, 9, 10183 (not including balcony)
Balcony Cabin (Large Balcony)29, 10, 12172 (not including balcony)
Family Balcony Cabin with Suite Service58, 10215 (not including balcony)
Balcony Junior Suite310, 12237 (not including balcony)
Executive Suite410527 (not including balcony)

Premier Service with Marella Cruises

When you stay in one of the Suites on Marella Explorer (so that’s the Family Balcony Cabin, Balcony Junior Suite, and Executive Suite), you get to enjoy the Premier Service. That’s a selection of perks that guests in regular cabins don’t get to enjoy.

You get:

  • A free pressing service – up to 3 items pressed in your first 24 hours on the ship
  • Free continental breakfast in bed – one per week

Marella Explorer – Bars & Restaurants

You’ll never be short of dining options on Marella Explorer. There are 10 different restaurants on the ship, six of which have no additional charge so you can enjoy them as much as you want.

Plus, there are 10 bars, so you can never get bored of the same locations when enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail or unwinding after a theatre show.

Here’s a look at the restaurant options on Marella Explorer:

Latitude 53

Latitude 53 is the main dining room on the ship, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Expect traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, with something for every palatte.

The Dining Club

Marella Cruises The Dining Club

The Dining Club is a fine dining restaurant that serves special, high-end cuisine. Reservations are recommended and there is an extra charge to dine here. This is also where you can enjoy The Great Musical Afternoon Tea, with dishes inspired by classical West End shows.

Umi Sushi

Umi Sushi offers a wide range of sushi options, including non-fish dishes if you aren’t a seafood fan, as well as dim sum and other menu choices. This is another speciality restaurant so there is a fee to eat here, and reservations are recommended.


Situated within the Latitude 53 restaurant, this is a specialist area that serves Italian favourites during the evening. It’s included in your cruise fare.

The Market Place

The Market Place is the ship’s buffet, with a variety of food stalls serving all kinds of delightful casual options. Enjoy a fresh pizza, a panini made to order, or design your own stir-fry.

Kora La

A favourite of the fleet, Kora La is a pan-Asian speciality restaurant serving an extensive selection of dishes from across the continent. An extra charge applies.

Snack Shack

Open throughout the day, the Snack Shack offers various snack dishes. It’s situated poolside so you don’t have to give up your lounger to get a bite to eat.

Surf & Turf Steakhouse

Surf & Turf is the ship’s main steak and seafood restaurant, also serving a selection of chicken and lamb dishes. Reservations are recommended, and an additional charge applies.

Tapas @ The Mediterranean

Marella Cruises Mediterranean Restaurant

The Mediterranean is an included restaurant open for lunch and dinner, split between Spanish and Italian cuisine. For Spanish dishes, enjoy all your tapas favourites, along with some menu items inspired by Portuguese cuisine too.

Italian @ The Mediterranean

In the Italian part of The Mediterranean, you can enjoy freshly-made pizza and pasta dishes, including the option to design your own pizza from a wide range of toppings.

Marella Explorer – On Board Activities

While most Marella cruise itineraries offer very few days at sea, there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day on Marella Explorer should you want to stay onboard, along with a host of evening entertainment.

During the day you can enjoy:

  • An outdoor pool with whirlpools
  • Mini golf on the top deck
  • Sports court and table tennis
  • Shopping, including jewellery, fashion and souvenirs
  • Jogging track
  • Photo studio
  • Arts & crafts activities
  • Spa and beauty salon treatments
  • A fully-equipped gym
  • Gamer Zone with new and old video games

And at night, you can look forward to:

  • The Broadway Show Lounge, with two performances every evening
  • Interactive games, quizzes and music performances at the Squid and Anchor British pub
  • The Casino, with fruit machines and card tables
  • Indoor and outdoor cinemas, showing Hollywood classics and the latest releases
  • Relaxing bars to enjoy a quiet drink

Marella Explorer is family-friendly and does have dedicated spaces for children, including the M Club kids’ club for children aged 3 to 11, and the Hideout, perfect for teens.

Marella Explorer – Itineraries

There are some fantastic itinerary options available on Marella Explorer throughout the year.

She sails across the Mediterranean, including itineraries on the western side of the ocean for ports in Spain, France and Italy, and cruises in the east if you’d prefer to explore the Greek Isles.

Canary Islands cruises are also popular during the winter months, since they offer a relaxing beach getaway in warmer climates – perfect for escaping the chilly and miserable weather at home.


Is Marella Explorer a big ship?

Marella Explorer would not be considered a big ship in the cruise industry. With a gross tonnage under 100,000 and a passenger capacity under 2,000 guests, she would be considered a smaller mid-size ship. She has plenty of space for all guests and a good variety of bars and restaurants.

Is Marella Explorer adults-only?

Marella Explorer is not an adults-only ship. Some itineraries may be marked as being for adults only, but she typically welcomes families. Sister ship Marella Explorer 2 is the adults-only ship in the fleet.

To Conclude

If you like the idea of a fun-packed family cruise that offers amazing value, or you want a quiet escape to the Canary Islands or the eastern Med, then Marella Explorer can do it all, and in some style.

She has some of the most varied dining choices of the Marella fleet, and her tasteful renovations ensure she offers a fabulous experience for all who board.

Discover some amazing cruise deals on Marella Explorer

Flights, tips and drinks all included – wow!

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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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