Vivacious Voyager: Getting onboard Marella Cruises’ brand new ship, Marella Voyager

As part of the first group of journalists to step onboard the brand-new Marella Voyager, Lucy Abbott reports what you can expect from the latest offering from Marella Cruises

As the clock strikes three in the morning, the beat pumps on in The Electric Rooms, Marella Voyager’s brand-new nightclub.

And I’m in the middle of the dance floor, which is lit up by impressive LED light displays, enjoying a crafted cocktail and in slight disbelief that I’m on a cruise ship, and not in a nightclub in central London.

After all, being onboard Marella Voyager’s first-ever sailing is a reason to celebrate, and the nightclub only marked the end of the evening celebrations.

I can’t help but let the feeling of excitement overcome me as I picture all the fun that is yet to be had onboard Marella Voyager – but first, more about my adventure…

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First impressions count

Previously known as Mein Schiff Herz, sailing for (what was then called) TUI Cruises and built in 1997, Marella Voyager has undergone a complete makeover from head to toe.

Stepping onboard for the first time, I wouldn’t have guessed that this isn’t a brand-new ship as I marvel at the endless eateries (10 restaurants and bars, to be precise), thoughtful spaces and elegant artworks.

The first thought that comes to mind is that this is a ship that really can please everyone – from families – with a kids’ club to suit every age (no, Susan, you can’t put your husband in it), to couples – with a romantic spa retreat, to solos – with dedicated solo cabins.

And I have my work cut out for me to explore it all, as Marella Voyager is the line’s largest ship yet, holding up to 1,912 guests spread across a total of 13 decks.

Our large balcony cabin onboard Marella Voyager. Credit: World of Cruising

But first, I decide to start at arguably the most important part of anyone’s cruising experience – the cabin.

As I open the door to my ‘Balcony Cabin (Large Balcony)’ I am welcomed by cool, wooden interiors, a plush queen-sized bed (that can also be separated to twin beds), a tea and coffee-making station and an en-suite bathroom featuring a shower.

But the real star of the show is the balcony. Stepping out onto the huge nine-metre squared platform, I audibly gasp as this is by far the largest I’ve had in a balcony-class cabin.

And that’s not all, at the end of the huge square balcony I find a hammock just calling my name to be used. So, I do just that and feel the gentle sway as the sun cascades across my face – I truly feel as if I’m on holiday now.

Marella Voyager's top deck, The Grave Boat in The Kitchen's and The Electric Rooms. Credit: World of Cruising

What new onboard Marella Voyager?

Getting the motivation to finally tear myself away from my hammock, I decide to explore the rest of the ship and see what it has to offer.

For those who have sailed with Marella Cruises before, I’m pleased to report that firm favourites such as Apertif – the gin and whiskey bar, the speciality restaurant Surf and Turf and the Squid and Anchor pub are all onboard Marella Voyager.

But, perhaps more excitingly, as I walk around the ship, I’m finding more and more new additions onboard.

The first I come across is the expansion of the spa onboard as, in fact, Marella Voyager features the biggest spa in the fleet – equipped with two whirlpools, water jets, a gym as well as an extensive list of treatments.

Feeling peckish, I decide to venture into the reimagined buffet dining hall, called ‘The Kitchens’. This takes the form of a large food hall housing eight different food stalls where you can indulge in everything from a roast dinner wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding to a bowl of delectable ice cream.

'Bamboo' in The Kitchens and the entry to 'The Exchange' onboard Marella Voyager. Credit: World of Cruising

I decide to opt for ‘Bamboo’ which serves up vegetable chow mein, ramen, sweet and sour pork as well as much more – after polishing off a bowl of delicious noodles I can safely say that it rivals my local Chinese takeaway with ease.

What stands out to me as I continue to explore ‘The Kitchens’ is the impressive range of vegetarian and vegan options onboard, which can sometimes be difficult to find when cruising.

Leaving the mouth-watering smells of the food hall behind, I go on to an exciting new concept onboard – ‘The Exchange’.

There’s not many a time where you need a password to access a bar onboard a ship, but I find myself uttering a secret password into a dial-up phone and stepping back in time to a 1930s speakeasy once granted entry into ‘The Exchange’.

In the spirit of not giving the magic away, all I will say is expect a dramatic, exciting and immersive performance by the talented team...

As the night comes to a close, the atmosphere is electric and there’s only one place to be of course – The Electric Rooms nightclub.

Lucky for you, Marella Voyager is sailing now, so why not book to experience all the fun onboard? Perhaps opt for the seven-night ‘Mediterranean Secrets’ itinerary departing August 12 and sailing from Southampton to Majorca. Prices start from £1159 per person.

Set sail onboard Marella Voyager

Find the best cruises onboard Marella Voyager

About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.