TUI Marella Explorer Cabins – A complete guide to choosing a cabin with kids and without

If you are planning or taking a cruise with TUI Marella you may be wondering what the cabins are like on board their Marella Explorer or Marella Explorer 2 ships for families.

We have recently cruised with Marella on their Explorer ship around the beautiful Adriatic coast.

The Marella Explorer has 962 cabins which can accommodate up to 1,924 passengers, so its far smaller than some of the mega ships that have been launched in recent years from other cruise lines which can hold up to 5,000+ passengers.

In this guide we take a look at the range of different cabins available across its 10 cabin decks on the Marella Explorer:

Tip – Check the deck plans before you book as we were glad we did before we booked as not all cabins are the same and some locations and cabins in the ship are better than others.  Some cabins have bigger balconies than others whilst others can be located close to public spaces, restaurants etc which can be noisy. 

We paid the extra £50 per cabin to reserve our exact cabins of choice rather than have cabins allocated to us once we checked in and for a family we wanted to ensure that our cabins were adjacent to each other and not have our two cabins at different ends of the ship or across different decks.

Inside Cabins

As you will find on the majority of cruise ships, inside cabins are typically the cheapest and smallest cabins.  When looking for a cruise its usually the low headline price of these inside cabins that first captures your attention to look at a cruise in the first place.

The inside cabins on the Marella Explorer are on decks 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 12, measure 16m2 and as the name suggests they are on the inside of the ship, so there are no windows or natural light into the cabin.  However, through the clever use of large mirrors in the cabin make it seem more spacious.  Many people choose these cabins during cruising in colder climates where you might not use your balcony as much and save the typically £500-£700 upgrade cost from this cabin to one with a balcony.

There are three types of inside cabin available on the Explorer – the first can fit two passengers with two singles which can also be made into a queen bed.

For families they also offer a four berth cabin consisting of twin beds and extra fold down beds.  When we started our cruise search, we did nearly book this given the low cost but after seeing them I wouldn’t recommend these especially if you have a tween and teen like us.  You would literally have no space in your cabin and it would be quite claustrophobic for a 7 night cruise.  If your budget allows, there are a limited amount of interconnecting inside cabins on the Marella Explorer which would work out better for a family.

There is another alternative when it comes to inside cabins, on the Marella Explorer they also have family inside cabins located on decks 8 and 10 measuring 19m2 and can sleep up to five.  These cabins have a fixed double bed and a sliding door partition which leads to a double sofa bed and single fold down bed where the children would sleep.

Outside Cabins

Their outside cabins on the Marella Explorer are slightly larger at 17m2 than the inside cabins but what I liked was that they came with a porthole window on lower decks or picture window on higher decks, providing a view of the sea and natural light into the cabin.  These cabins can be found on decks 4,5, 8 and 9 with the cabins on the higher floors costing more.

For families they offer cabins that can fit four passengers with two twin beds which can be pushed together to make a queen as well as a sofa bed and an extra fold down bed.  Although Marella state these rooms can fit four people it would be a very tight squeeze similar to their inside cabins, especially with older children and you would literally be sleeping on top of each other.

The Explorer also offers a larger outside cabin on deck 8 and 9 which measure in at 20m2.  Strangely, although these are bigger rooms that their standard outside cabins they can only sleep 3 people consisting of a twin bed that can also be a double along with a sofa bed.

Balcony Cabins

If you are looking for some personal outside space on your cruise then the balcony cabins are for you – we are so glad we chose these for our first cruise with Marella and are worth every penny of the upgrade cost.

Within the balcony category there are three different cabins available, a balcony cabin, large balcony cabin and a family balcony cabin.

Standard Balcony Cabins

The standard balcony cabins are on decks 8,9 and 10 and are typically the cheapest of the cabins onboard that also provide some outside space.  At 17m2 square they are larger than the large balcony cabins but the balconies are smaller.  Inside the cabin you have a fixed queen bed and a sofa bed.

Large Balcony Cabins

We recently stayed in two large balcony cabins on the Marella Explorer on their Adriatic cruise, which are found on decks 9, 10 and 12.

Located on deck 10, I was really pleased with these cabins which I thought were perfect for families with older children.  What I really liked was that fact that the balconies in our cabins were interconnecting providing a huge amount of outside space and joining two cabins into one.  You can view a video tour of our large balcony cabins here.

Compared to booking a suite where the kids would have been sleeping on a sofa bed and we would all be sharing one bathroom, booking two balcony cabins came in at a much lower cost than booking one suite, so its well worth looking at this combination for a family.

Like the standard balcony cabins, these rooms can fit 3 passengers in either a twin or queen bed along with a single sofa bed.  Bathrooms are similar to what you would find across the rest of the cabins onboard apart from the executive suite.  What we did like and one of the reasons why we chose the Marella Explorer was that the showers had glass doors rather than the old fashioned shower curtains that can still be found in many cabin bathrooms across cruise lines.

Although the cabin at 16m2 is slightly smaller than a balcony cabin, what you are gaining is a significant amount of outdoor space offering lots of space to relax.  The balconies in these cabins will be some of the largest non-suite balconies that you will find on any cruise line.  Our balconies were large enough for 2 sunlounges, table and 2 chairs and a hammock.

Given the significant upgrade cost per cabin for a large balcony cabin – typically £700 it would have been a welcome addition if the bathrooms had the Clarins toiletries found in the suites instead of the cheap wall mounted toiletries found in the shower cubicle.

Family balcony cabin

If you want to be all in the same cabin as a family and not be on top of each other, then it’s well worth looking at their family balcony cabins which are located on the aft (back of the ship) on decks 8 and 10.

At 20m2 they can sleep up to five people, although it would be more comfortable as four and feature a sliding door that divides the room for privacy.  If you are looking at these family cabins, then you will need to book early as there are only 14 cabins available and they tend to sell out quickly.  If you are travelling with younger children these cabins are also the closest to the children’s splash pool area at the back of the ship.

The family balcony cabins also offer additional perks including

  • Express check-in
  • Priority luggage delivery
  • Complimentary pressing service for up to 3 items per person in the first 24 hours after embarkation
  • In-cabin dining – complimentary continental breakfast in bed


You can tell the suites onboard the Marella Explorer as their cabin doors are different to the rest of the cabins onboard.  Once you step inside you can see they are a step up from the standard cabins and really spacious, which should be given the costs of the suites which can add an £1,700 upgrade cost for a family of four. Although the bathrooms are no bigger than what you would find in a standard cabin, they do feature upgraded toiletries –  Clarins, one of my favourites.

Like the family balcony cabins, the suites on board the Marella Explorer also offer additional perks including

  • Express check-in
  • Priority luggage delivery
  • Complimentary pressing service for up to 3 items per person in the first 24 hours after embarkation
  • In-cabin dining – complimentary continental breakfast in bed

Junior Suite

The junior suites are 22m2 and are found on deck 10 and 12 and can sleep up to three people in the twin or queen-sized bed along with a sofa bed. What makes the junior suites different to the other cabins on-board is that the bed faces the patio doors onto the large balcony.  Like the large balcony cabins, the balconies in the junior suites a fantastic, furnished with two sunbeds, coffee table and chairs and a hammock.

Executive Suite

The executive suites are the most expensive, spacious and most spectacular cabins on board the Marella Explorer – it wouldn’t look out of place in a hotel on-land.  These 10 executive suites are also by far the biggest rooms, measuring in at 49m2 ensuring that a family of four can sleep in this cabin and still have space to spare, the only downside is that the kids would be sleeping on a sofa bed.

The master bedroom features a queen size bed and separate walk in wardrobe.  The spacious living room contains the sofa bed and dining area.  The bathroom is just as spectacular and spacious with dual vanities and large walk-in shower.  Balconies are huge with padded sun loungers, table and chairs and a hammock.


Do The Cabins on The Marella Explorer have a fridge?

Yes, in our large balcony cabin we had a small fridge which was great for keeping drinks cool.

Do The Cabins on The Marella Explorer have air conditioning?

Yes, all cabins have air conditioning, although it was quite old fashioned with a manual thermostat in the cabin.

Do The Cabins on The Marella Explorer have a safe?

Yes, all cabins on the Marella Explorer have a safe which are free to use.  They are modern but a little on the small side so it would struggle to fit a small laptop.  Our safe was located in the wardrobe but on inside cabins they can be found behind the mirror above the desk.

Do The Cabins on The Marella Explorer have TVs?

Yes, all cabins have modern flat screen TV’s, ours was interactive showing the cruise map, lots of channels and information similar to what you would find on the Navigator app.

Do the cabins on have Kettles?

Yes, with Marella being a British cruise line all of the cabins come with a kettle and tea and coffee making facilities.

Do the cabins have hairdryers?

Yes, all cabins on the Marella Explorer have hairdryers although the quality is not the best so you may want to bring your own.

What plug sockets are in the cabins on the Marella Explorer?

Connectivity in the cabins in most of the Marella cabins is pretty poor, especially when most families have so many pieces of technology with them to charge.  In our cabin was a single EU plug socket in the corner shelving and one US plug socket on the desk and forget about USB sockets, there were none to be found.  So remember to pack an adapter, we took the EU/US adapters which also allowed us to charge multiple devices and also to charge via USB.

Do the cabins on have irons?

No, you won’t find any irons in any of the cabins on the Marella Explorer.  The ship does offer a competitively priced laundry service where they will press your clothes or if you stay in one of the cabins above with premier service you will get 3 items of clothing pressed complimentary.

  1. Very informative. Many thanks for posting 😊 we have booked two standard balcony room adjacent to each other. Would they be able to have the balcony’s connected? They are not interconnecting rooms?

    1. It depends on availability but an upgrade from an inside to balcony cabin is typically circa +£700, outside cabins a little less than this.

  2. Hi, we have booked a large balcony room on Deck 9, room 9096. Not keen on being opposite a linen/storage cupboard, does anyone have any idea where they are located? Many thanks

  3. We have just stayed for our 1st cruise on Marella explorer. Outside cabin on deck 4. It was absolutely beautiful, best holiday for years.

  4. I’m heading on your cruise in june9th, we fly from Dublin to Corfu, we have our tickets already, can I book a cabin now, and do I ring TUI in England

  5. Just back from my first ever cruise on Marcella explorer had the most fantastic time staff were so helpful and very nice didn’t want to go home saving for my next won can’t wait to go another won my husband had a wonderful time as well thank you for all the wonderful memories x

  6. Probably worth mentioning that not all cabins have fridges. Inside cabins only have them if you ask and need them for medications….

  7. We have just got back from our Cruise on the Marella Explorer. And the entire ship has a greqt amosphere. Very friemdly and helpful ceew.

  8. aim so looking forward to my trip on Marella explorer . As aim traveling on my birthday 20th January . aim 60 and my wife as never been on a cruse before so she side she would try it out just for me. ( I CAN”T WAIT )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.