The Marella Discovery is part of the Tui Marella fleet and the sister ship to the Marella Discovery 2. The passenger ship was built back in 1996 and had a major refurbishment in 2016. Before becoming the Marella Discovery the ship sailed as Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas. She made her maiden voyage as the Discovery from Palma de Mallorca in June 2016 and was joined by her sister ship the Marella Discovery II in April 2017. The ship currently sails under the flag of Malta with her homeport being the beautiful Valetta.
Marella Cruises are booked through Tui and is a major UK cruise operator. Marella is a good budget cruise line and is very popular with first-time cruisers and returning customers. Their passengers are mostly from the UK and they have a wide demographic of passengers in terms of ages. The cruise line is pretty relaxed and is probably more of a modern cruise line than a traditional formal line such as Fred Olsen.
Key Facts of the Marella Discovery:
Decks: The Marella Discovery has an impressive 11 decks to explore.
Cabins: There are a total of 918 cabins including inside, outside and balcony cabins as well as suites and junior suites. There are also family suites and junior family suites which include a chalkboard and PlayStation.
Cruise passengers: The ship has a capacity of 1830 passengers.
Crew: 753 (plenty!)
Tonnage: 69, 130 – pretty damn heavy!
Length: 264 metres
Speed: 24 knots
Dress code: mostly casual. People do like to dress up for dinner but this isn’t compulsory. The main restaurant doesn’t allow shorts, vests or swimwear which is a good thing I think. The two a la carte restaurants requite collared shirts for men. We always like to have an excuse to get a bit dressed up and make an effort but not the pressure to go full ball gown and tux! Marella has a Dress to Impress night which is the most formal night on the cruise where there’s the captain’s dinner nad people tend to dress up more. If that’s not for you though you can visit the buffet restaurants that night instead.
Destinations: Western Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Canary Islands and Atlantic.
Ship Facilities :
This lovely ship has plenty of places to eat and drink – 7 restaurants and 7 bars in fact! More about these in the foodie section below!
At the heart of the ship is an impressive 5 storey atrium which is light, bright and beautiful! It has very fancy glass lifts, plenty of seating and many bars to keep you happy!
One place we do like to explore when cruising is the spa and the Marella Discovery is home to the Oceans Spa and beauty Salon which looks divine. Here you can opt for a range of spa treatments including massages, facials and manicures. There’s also the beauty salon for getting that perfect cruise hairdo – perfect for getting glammed up for the more formal dress to impress captains night.
For those that like to have a flutter, there’s the Live Casino which offers fruit machines, blackjack tables and a place to feel like you’re James Bond! We aren’t very good at gambling but like to place a few bets when on a cruise (in the hope of winning enough money to book another!). Next to the Live Casino is the Live Room which is an entertainment venue with live music to set the musical ambience for your betting experience!
As with all cruise ships the Discovery has the Broad Street Shops which are onboard boutiques offering a range of duty-free products such as clothes, souvenirs, jewellery and other bits you might need whilst on board. We always like to have a nose around the shops when on board but don’t often buy much due to the steep prices!
For those who enjoy gaming, there’s the Gamer Zone. Open to children and adults alike is this is a room full of game consoles. I bet there are more adults hiding out in there than you would think!
For the more adventurous there’s The Wall – an outdoor climbing wall offering a birds-eye view of the ship and sea beyond. All safety equipment is provided and it’s free to climb so you may as well give it a go if you’re brave enough!
Of course, no cruise ship is complete without a swimming pool and the Discovery is lucky enough to boast 2! There’s a sizeable outdoor pool with built-in whirlpool hot tubs. This is great to cool off during sea days and there’s always plenty of sun loungers around the outside to relax on after your dip. The Discovery also has an indoor pool which has a large glass canopy roof meaning it can be used even in poorer weather. I can imagine it is a real sun trap.
For those looking for a bit more piece and quiet and a place to fully relax on the ship then there is the Veranda – an adult-only sunbathing area. We understand that not all people have children or want to sail with other peoples children and so thunk its a nice touch to have an adult-only space to chill.
On deck 10 there’s the jogging track – for those who want to get some steps in during their cruise. The Oceans Gym is also available for passengers wanting to work out and burn off some of those cruise calories – this is often the quietest place on a ship! The Discovery boasts the largest fitness centre on the Marella fleet and includes a sauna too.
As with most cruise ships, there is the photo studio and gallery where cruise lines can charge extortionate amounts of money for photos of you posing in your finery! Photoshoots are not our bag so we wouldn’t frequent the Discovery’s Pure Portrait Studio but do always have a laugh looking at some of the ad hoc photos we are convinced into posing for when leaving for excursions or queuing for dinner on captains night!
The ship also has all the other less interesting and standard facilities such as reception (for any ship enquiries during your stay), the medical centre (which we hope you don’t have to visit ) and destination services for all things excursions and exploring.
For the entertainment, of course, there are lots of places to find live music and have a boogie! Many of the bars will feature ship bands and singers and we always enjoy seeing them. We love chilling with a cocktail and watching the waves roll by as we .isten to the talented pianists on the ivories.
The Discovery offers movies by moonlight with their outdoor cinema screen. This is located on the pool deck and gives passengers the opportunity to draw up a sunbed and watch an outdoor movie under the stars. We love the sound of the complimentary blankets, popcorn and hot chocolate to go with it!
One of our favourite things to do on land during our free time is play mini-golf! We yes are true crazy golf fans and we’re not ashamed of it! It often gets very competitive between us though with the loser buying the ice creams! That great thing about being onboard though si the golf is included and the ice creams are free so there are no losers here! The Discovery has a 9 hole mini-golf course with awesome sea views – just be careful not to hit the ball too hard and out to sea!
My favourite place on a ship has to be the theatre and the Marella Discovery’s Broadway SHow Lounge does not disappoint! With an 800 plus capacity across multiple levels, this theatre is one to impress. We love nothing more than watching a broadway-style show and ordering a cocktail to our seats – there’s no better night out in my eyes! The Discovery currently has a programme of 11 entertainment shows ranging from plays, musicals and comedy nights. There’s also Beatz Interactive which is a futuristic, high-tech dance show featuring loads of funky lights and LED light costumes – one not to be missed!
Something quite new and exciting on cruise ships is the introduction of escape room challenges. The Discovery offers Breakout Challenge which is a real-life escape room where passengers need to solved puzzles using teamwork before the time (one hour) runs out and they are locked in! How fun does this sound! And there are two different escape challenges – The Detective Office and Spy Academy – so if you enjoy it then you can try both! There is an extra charge for this activity at £15 per person and there’s room for 5 people so if you are travelling as a couple then you are likely to be put inside with other passengers! The rooms can be hired on an exclusive basis for £75 but obviously, that does ramp the cost up quite considerably.
For the younger ones:
The Marella Discovery is a family ship and it does cater to families and those travelling with children.
The M Club is the kids club offered by Marella and is aimed at children aged 3 -11 years old. There’s plenty on offer including games, movies, tours around the ship and arts and crafts. I am sure knowing your children are well cared for, having fun and making friends makes relaxing all that bit easier! For babies and toddlers, there’s the Baby Centre which is a soft play area with toys and other bits to keep the little ones busy. Under threes can also benefit from Babytainment which offers classes for babies and their parents. Examples include ballet, nursery rhymes, sign and sigh and learning Makaton sign languages. Even better, sessions are free too!
Teens are catered too as well with the Hideout – a dedicated hangout spot for teenagers. Next to the Gamer Zone, the Hideout features various games and a karaoke booth too! We can’t be the only ones slightly disappointed that this space is for teenagers only!
There are plenty of dining options on the Discovery and you certainly won’t go hungry! From humongous buffets, the beautiful main dining room and various a la carte speciality dining options there’s plenty of choice and food for all tastes.
47° – Marella Discovery Main Restaurant
Found on deck 4 is the Discovery’s main dining room 47°. It boasts amazing floor to ceiling windows with incredible views out to sea and a grand double staircase. 47° is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and passengers are seated on a first-come-first-serve basis with no set times. It’s best to ask if you are a couple and want to sit alone to save time servers often place you on bigger tables with others which isn’t always to everyone’s taste.
The food on the other hand should be to everyone’s taste as there are a daily changing menu and plenty of options. There’s always a selection of options that are available every day so if you find a favourite in one of these you can guarantee it will be available each day. We love being able to try so many different types of food and of course have three-course every night!
On the second floor of the ships main dining room 47° is the delightful Gallery 47°. This is the ships Italian restaurant meaning it specialises in Italian food. There are pizza, pasta and calzones on offer as well as Italian cheeses and a trio of tiramisu! The restaurant has two alternating menus so make sure if you plan to visit more than once you check your days so you can try both menus! The same as the main dining room and Islands buffet, the Italian restaurant is induced in your cruise fee.
For more relaxed grab and go food then head to the Snack Snack. Located on deck 9 and open throughout the day it serves chicken ings. bacon butties, fish and chips, burgers and sandwiches. If you are heading out on an excursion then it is worth grabbing some cold food such as salads and sandwiches to take with you to enjoy whilst in port – this could save you some pennies. The Snack Shack has a seaside vibe with colourfully painted beach huts to sit and enjoy your food in. They make for a good Instagram pic too!
The Glass House
The Glass House is a mixture of venues. Located by the indoor poor it has a relaxing vibe to it. During the day passengers can get light bites and simple snacks along with fresh juices and a tea and coffee station. During the evening The Glass House opens as a tapas-style restaurant with full waiter service. On the menu, you will find classic tapas dishes such as patatas bravas and gambas alongside flatbread pizzas and fancy sharing boards. There is also the option to cook your own steaks on hot stones too for an additional charge – we did this on the Marella Dream and it was super fun!
The Glass House is also the place to come for late-night snacks with it staying open till 1 am – perfect for a quick slice of pizza before bed!
Surf & Turf Steakhouse
Situated on deck 11 at the top of the ship is the Surf & Turf Steakhouse, one of the Discovery’s speciality restaurants and it is super luxurious! Here you will find posh food choices such as lobster tails and signature steaks. We aren’t huge fish or seafood lovers and so the turf element of this restaurant appeals to us more and we like the sound of the 32oz Tomahawk rib-eye steak that’s on offer! There’s plenty of starters, sides and desserts to choose from as with all of the restaurants and you won’t leave here feeling hungry!
With this being a speciality restaurant there is an additional charge to dine there and its good to book in advance as places are limited. At the time of researching it cost £28.95 each to dine here although Marella often offers discounts on sea days or speciality dining packages where you save quite a bit of money so do look out for these if you want to try more than one of the speciality eateries.
The second speciality restaurant onboard ins the Sushi Bar. Here as the name suggests passengers can indulge in some tasty sushi as well as beers from all over Asia. As mentioned previously we aren’t huge seafood or sushi fans but that’s no problem as there are meat options available too.
Kora La is one of our favourite Marella speciality restaurants. It is a pan-Asian restaurant that offers tastes of south and east Asia and some real Indian and Indonesian delights. Again there’s plenty of choice for meat-eaters and vegetarians and plenty of courses to fill you up.
We loved the choice of fancy teas at the end of the meal and the satay chicken is not to be missed! There is an additional fee to eat here (£22.95) but it is well worth it! Located on deck 11 with impressive views across the pool deck this is the great place for an additionally romantic night with your loved one.
On deck 9 you will find the buffet restaurant with numerous stations offering various foods from around the world and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between! There’s the carvery roast station, omelette station, ice cream machines, burger bars and all sorts! I challenge anyone to go to a Marella ship buffet and not find something they want to eat!
We love going to the buffet for breakfast as there is always so much on offer. You can get your classic English cooked breakfast (with the best hash browns ever!) followed by a continental selection of meat cheese and fruit. IF that’s not enough then there’s endless cereal options, bread, pastries and even a waffle station! Be sure to visit the omelette one morning for an omelette made fresh in front of you.
Lunch is served between 11.30 am to 3 pm and offers a huge range, we like to grab a burger and fries followed by ice cream if we are on the ship.
If you’re not full up come mid-afternoon then there’s always afternoon tea which is served daily from 3 pm – 5 pm which sees a plethora of delights offered including finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, fruit, cakes and scones with cream and jam – yum! We really enjoyed spending the morning on land exploring a port then coming back onto the ship for a cheeky scone or two – literally the dream!
Dinner is offered from 6 pm to 9.30 pm and there are always tonnes of choice with many dishes changing daily. Sometimes AMrella does theme nights too such as Mexican so look out for these too! We like the laid back feel of the buffets on the Marella ships and the fact you can sit where you want and eat as much as you like! It will be interesting to see how Marella adapts to the Covid-19 challenges for keeping us fed!
There are plenty of places to grab a drink on the Marella Discovery and with included drinks passengers are free to try them all!
The Atrium Bar is not to be missed! Situated in the five-storey atrium this bar has great views of everything going on in the atrium and a great place to people watch!
The Live Room is the Discovery’s flagship bar and has a large selection of on-tap beers. There’s plenty of space here to grab a seat and enjoy a few drinks and in the evenings there’s often live music or a pianist playing on the big yellow piano.
When you’re taking a dip in the pool or sunbathing then the deck bar on decks 9 and 10 is a good place to grab a drink to cool you off.
If you’re missing home and the familiar feel of the pub then alas no more – the Discovery has its own pub at sea! The Squid and Anchor has plenty of drinks on offer and is home to pub quizzes and game shows.
Bar Eleven, situated at the top of the ship n deck 11 is a fancy cocktail bar where of course cocktails are on the menu. This modern-looking bar also becomes a late-night disco later on in the evening. Perfect if you fancy a boogie after the dutch courage cocktails!
We hope that our ship guide for the Marella Discovery has been useful if you are planning to cruise or her. There’s plenty to do onboard with lots of dining options and entertainment to keep you full and happy. Do let us know in the comments below if you have cruised on the Disvcery and what you thought of her!