Having cruised with Marella (Thomson) since 2011 we were looking forward to another excellent cruise. We did the same repositioning cruise last year, the only problem then was a squeaking from a ship structure which had broken loose and squeaked to the movement of the ship, we were in the same cabin this year and it had been fixed.
The cabin staff were excellent and helpful as usual, in fact all staff were always smiling and eager to ensure you had an excellent cruise.
Our first let down was the standard of food in the Meridian Restaurant for evening meal it was the worst we have ever encountered on a Marella (Thomson) cruise, our first two weeks were an excellent example on how to destroy food examples: rib eye steak tough and tasteless, chicken scallops dried out like crisp bread, veal cutlets you could have soled your work boots with, (totally un-edible could not even be cut with a knife). I had never seen so much food being left on plates, complaints regarding the standard of food was common place all round the restaurant. We were informed, but did not witness that there was an altercation between cruisers and kitchen staff, and apparently eight people were put of the ship in Madeira, if that was the case none was the chef as the food did not improve. Also it normally took two hours to serve three courses, it was not the fault of the staff, but the lack of staff, instead of two waiters and a runner there was only two waiters who were run off their feet.
On the third week we decided to try the Lido for evening meal, it was basically the same menu but help yourself, we could not believe we were on the same ship, the standard of food was excellent and cooked to perfection, the only problem was finding a seat as so many cruisers had given up on the Meridian Restaurant for the Lido, The only night the Meridian Restaurant was OK was Captains Night, maybe it was we were only a few tables from the Captain.
The second let down was disembarkation it was a total shambles, the first batch of passengers for embarkation was 08.00 the second batch was scheduled for 08.15. The first batch of passengers were still queuing in the stairways at 08.15, add the second batch and we had pandemonium, the lifts were unusable due to total passenger impasse on disembarkation deck, we were stuck on the stairwell for over an hour, it was so bad the elderly and infirm had to sit on the stairs.
Unfortunately we have booked a stay and cruise on Marella Celebration for October 2019, will review again when we return, hopefully things will be back to the normally good standard of service we have received from Marella (Thomson).