Best TUI Family Friendly Marella Cruises in Europe

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Last Updated on July 23, 2023 by Suzy

Cruising as a holiday choice is finally starting to leave behind the reputation of only being suitable for older travellers. That is thanks to the introduction of more exciting itineraries, magnificent ships packed with extraordinary facilities and cabins designed with families in mind. 

The TUI Group is a company that totally nails family holidays on land, and it is also worth knowing that they also have a family cruise holiday down to a fine art too. Kids will find the whole concept of cruising exciting. From the glamour of embarkation, watching the land disappear and new lands reappear, going to bed and waking up with a view of the ocean and the shore excursions at a new magical land; cruising really is the real deal. 

A Marella cruise ship has everything and more on board for the whole family. Marella ships will often have swimming pools, indoor cinema with movie nights, theatres and live shows including live music. With dining options for the fussiest eaters including fine dining plus kids’ clubs and family cabins including the possibility of booking a balcony cabin. If you click on a link in this piece, we may earn affiliate revenue.

There are a few different cruise ships in the TUI fleet.

1. Aegean Jewels ( Turkey/ Greece)

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Ship: Marella Discovery 
Ship Information – This supership offers a superb dining scene that features a West End-style lounge and seven bars all with a different vibe. Families will love watching their favourite films under the stars at the outdoor cinema, testing their courage at the rock-climbing wall and challenging each other to some mini golf. 

Marella Discovery is the sister ship to Marella Discovery 2, so you can expect nearly all of the same facilities, such as a superb dining scene that features a West End-style lounge and seven bars all with a different vibe. There are seven bars and seven restaurants, plus you can watch movies under a star-lit sky at the ship’s outdoor cinema. Indoors, there are nightly shows in the Broadway Show Lounge, and pianists and acoustic musicians take to the stage in the five-storey atrium, an elegant space that changes colour when the sun goes down.  

Families are well catered for on this ship. Family Suites and Family Junior Suites are kitted out with a chalkboard and a PlayStation 4, plus there’s a rock climbing wall, a minigolf course and children of all ages will love the two swimming pools onboard, one of which is indoors. The outdoor swimming pool has a hot tub. Kids will love the Snack Shack with iconic British beach huts. Children can have fun at the kids’ club with sessions, especially for younger children. There is also a kids club for ages 3-11.

Cruise Itinerary – Turkey and Greek Islands

Day 1 ~ Marmaris, Turkey ~ An elegant promenade overlooking the beach and ocean, packed with cafes, shops and restaurants

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Enjoy the spectacular facilities on board

Day 3 ~ Piraeus (for Athens) ~ Greece ~ A cultural treat where you can discover history

Day 4 ~ Souda (for Chania) ~ Crete ~ Enjoy the harbour, picturesque towns and laid-back feel

Day 5 ~ Mykonos ~ Greece ~ The famous whitewashed town is a masterpiece against the royal blue of the ocean

Day 6 ~ Kusadasi ~ Turkey ~ Beautiful beaches and ancient ruins await you

Day 7 ~ Thira ~ Santorini ~ Greek charm in abundance with bright white and stunning blue buildings

Day 8 ~ Marmaris ~ Turkey ~ Disembark

2. Discover Iberia

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Ship: Marella Discovery 2 
Ship Information – Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery, which means it shares most of the same top-notch facilities. These include an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and a minigolf course. Not to mention the two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There are seven restaurants and a spa. Plus there are Broadway-style performances every night in the show lounge.

The Venue plays host to family-friendly game shows and performances from virtual bands. Movies by Moonlight takes over out on deck, while live musicians showcase the acoustics in the Atrium Bar. Older kids have a made-for-teens hangout spot conveniently located by the games area and they even have an on-board VR experience. Families of all ages will love the family suites with a balcony and suite service. It is a great family-friendly cruise.

Cruise Itinerary – Spain and Portugal

Day 1 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Stylish shopping, eating and entertainment await you at Palma

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Enjoy the super onboard facilities 

Day 3 ~ Cadiz (for Seville), Spain ~ Here you can wonder at the Moorish ruins, enjoy the harbour and enjoy excellent authentic Spanish food

Day 4 ~ Lisbon ~ Portugal ~ Visit the vibrant capital of Portugal 

Day 5 ~ Gibraltar ~ Enjoy exploring the quirky and unique rock of Gibraltar

Day 6 ~ Malaga ~ Spain ~ Arguably the best beaches in Spain are the perfect spot to soak up the sun

Day 7 ~ Cartagena ~ Spain ~ Rich with history and packed with a whole array of medieval wonders 

Day 8 ~ Palma ~ Disembark 

3. Adriatic Explorer

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Ship: Marella Explorer
Ship Information – A later addition to the Marella Cruises fleet is the Marella Explorer. It has 10 restaurants and 10 bars. There are fleet favourites like Snack Shack and Kora La, plus brand new spaces like The Dining Club for foodies and a swanky bar, club and casino. 

The highlights don’t stop at food and drink, though. There’s also an indoor cinema, a Sports & Family Deck and a spa, where you can sign up for everything from body-balancing acupuncture and slimming treatments to body wraps and facials. Families of all ages will love the family suites with a balcony and suite service.

Entertainment includes the biggest ever Broadway Show Lounge plus there is the flash, a new Indigo bar, club and casino. Alternatively, you can listen to live music in The Lounge, a stylish space with a bright-pink piano and a colour-changing bar. Children can head to the Kids’ Club, Hideout or go for a game of mini golf, while grown-ups can sink into Balinese beds at The Veranda or book in for pampering at the spa. 

The outdoor pool even has a pool bar and a trio of whirlpool baths sit next to the main pool. Other facilities include a sports court, a jogging track, a pool deck, gamer zone, plus with older kids and teens in mind there are games consoles, air hockey and comfy seating. This is certainly one of the best Marella family cruises with lots to see and lots onboard.

Cruise Itinerary – An Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

Day 1 ~ Corfu Town ~ Corfu ~ Corfu Town is vibrant, colourful and beautiful. The perfect place to explore charming streets and golden sandy beaches

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Enjoy the facilities on board 

Day 3 ~ Koper ~ Slovenia ~ A medieval town that effortlessly combines the beauty of ancient buildings with the style of more modern ones

Day 4 ~ Trieste (for Venice) ~ An Italian delight filled with charming cobbled streets, picturesque chapels and authentic cafes

Day 5 ~ Split ~ Croatia ~ The buzzing city of Split gives you a real taste of Croatian life while providing familiar comforts too

Day 6 ~ Dubrovnik ~ Croatia ~ All the charm of Dubrovnik, with its award-winning restaurants, rich history and superb shopping opportunities 

Day 7 ~ Kotor ~ Montenegro ~ Montenegro is a hidden gem, untrodden by the crowds but with so much to offer families looking for quiet beaches 

Day 8 ~ Corfu Town ~ Corfu ~ Disembark

4. Mediterranean Medley

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Ship: Marella Discovery 2 
Ship Information – Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery, which means it shares most of the same top-notch facilities. These include an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and a minigolf course. Not to mention the two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There are seven restaurants and a spa. Plus there are Broadway-style performances every night in the show lounge.

The Venue plays host to family-friendly game shows and performances from virtual bands. Movies by Moonlight takes over out on deck, while live musicians showcase the acoustics in the Atrium Bar. Older kids have a made-for-teens hangout spot conveniently located by the games area and they even have an on-board VR experience. Families of all ages will love the family suites with a balcony and suite service. It is a great family-friendly cruise.

Itinerary – A Western Mediterranean Cruise

Day 1 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Stylish shopping, eating and entertainment await you at Palma

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Make the most of the excellent onboard facilities 

Day 3 ~ Livorno (for Florence and Pisa) ~ Italy ~ Discover all the historical and cultural riches of these amazing Italian cities 

Day 4 ~ Villefranche (for Monaco and Nice) ~ France ~ One of the most glamourous ports in Europe, Villefranche is chic and impressive

Day 5 ~ Toulon (for the Cote D’Azur) ~ France ~ Charming and authentically French Toulon is a great stop to experience superb food and wine from the region 

Day 6 ~ Barcelona ~ Spain ~ A stop at vibrant and exciting Barcelona is the ideal spot for shopping and dining at the very best places 

Day 7 ~ Valencia ~ Spain ~ The city of Valencia is a jewel in the Spanish crown, impeccably kept, offering stunning beaches, a charming port and vibrant city life

Day 8 ~ Palma ~ Spain ~ Disembark 

5. Highlights of the Mediterranean

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Ship: Marella Voyager 
Ship Information – As the newest member of Marella’s fleet the Marella Voyager’s facilities are fresh out of the wrapper. There are 10 restaurants onboard as well as an indoor cinema, a pool deck complete with a big swimming pool and whirlpools plus a big show lounge. There are plenty of places where you can take in the sea views, too, from the mini golf course at the top of the ship to The Veranda, where cosy Balinese beds point towards the big blue.

The Broadway Show Lounge is big enough to rival the theatres you’d find in London’s West End and the shows are best-in-class. The ship has 11 shows for you to watch throughout your cruise, with a couple of showings every evening. 

Little cruisers have the game-filled M Club to kick back in, while older kids and teens will have the Hideout which is loaded with game consoles. Elsewhere, grown-ups can unwind during a pampering session at the spa and beauty salon. The whole family can make the most of the crazy golf course and pool deck. Especially for families, there are inside family cabins, family balcony cabins with suites or you could book 1-2 cabins with twin beds. 

Itinerary – Western Mediterranean Cruise

Day 1 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Stylish shopping, eating and entertainment await you at Palma

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Explore the excellent facilities aboard the ship 

Day 3 ~ Ajaccio ~ Corsica ~ Corsica is a lesser-known jewel in the European crown where you will find breathtaking countryside, gorgeous beaches and charming villages 

Day 4 ~ Civitavecchia (for Rome) ~ Italy ~ Rome needs no introduction and is considered by many to be the ultimate destination when exploring Europe

Day 5 ~ Livorno (for Florence and Pisa) ~ Italy ~ Discover all the historical and cultural riches of these amazing Italian cities 

Day 6 ~ St Raphael (for St Tropez and Cannes) ~ France ~ St Raphael is the quiet and more laid-back version of the vibrant buzz of St Tropez and Cannes 

Day 7 ~ Barcelona ~ Spain ~ A stop at vibrant and exciting Barcelona is the ideal spot for shopping and dining at the very best places 

Day 8 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Disembark 

6. Iconic Islands

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Ship: Marella Explorer
Ship Information – A later addition to the Marella Cruises fleet is the Marella Explorer. It has 10 restaurants and 10 bars. There are fleet favourites like Snack Shack and Kora La, plus brand new spaces like The Dining Club for foodies and a swanky bar, club and casino. 

The highlights don’t stop at food and drink, though. There’s also an indoor cinema, a Sports and Family Deck and a spa, where you can sign up for everything from body-balancing acupuncture and slimming treatments to body wraps and facials. Families of all ages will love the family suites with a balcony and suite service.

Entertainment includes the biggest ever Broadway Show Lounge plus there is the flash and new Indigo bar, club and casino. Alternatively, you can listen to live music in The Lounge, a stylish space with a bright-pink piano and it is a colour-changing bar. Children can head to the Kids’ Club, Hideout or go for a game of mini golf, while grown-ups can sink into Balinese beds at The Veranda or book in for pampering at the spa. 

The outdoor pool even has a pool bar and a trio of whirlpool baths sit next to the main pool. Other facilities include a sports court, a jogging track, a pool deck, gamer zone, plus with older kids and teens in mind there are games consoles, air hockey and comfy seating. This is certainly one of the best Marella family cruises with lots to see and lots onboard.

Itinerary – Greek Islands

Day 1 ~ Corfu Town ~ Corfu ~ Corfu Town is vibrant, colourful, and beautiful. The perfect place to explore charming streets and golden sandy beaches

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Enjoy the super onboard facilities

Day 3 ~ Thira ~ Santorini ~ Greek charm in abundance with bright white and stunning blue buildings

Day 4 ~ Rhodes Town ~ Rhodes ~ At Rhodes you can look forward to exploring sandy beaches and ancient ruins 

Day 5 ~ Mykonos Town ~ Greece ~ The famous whitewashed town is a masterpiece against the royal blue of the ocean

Day 6 ~ Souda (For Chania) ~ Crete ~ Enjoy the harbour, picturesque towns and laid-back feel

Day 7 ~ Katakolon (for Olympia) ~ Greece ~ A tiny port town bursting with life and the gateway to popular landmarks 

Day 8 ~ Corfu Town ~ Corfu ~ Disembark 

7. Coastal Gems

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Ship: Marella Discovery 2 
Ship Information – Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery, which means it shares most of the same top-notch facilities. These include an outdoor cinema, a rock climbing wall and a minigolf course. Not to mention the two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There are seven restaurants and a spa. Plus there are Broadway-style performances every night in the show lounge.

The Venue plays host to family-friendly game shows and performances from virtual bands. Movies by Moonlight takes over out on deck, while live musicians showcase the acoustics in the Atrium Bar. Older kids have a made-for-teens hangout spot conveniently located by the games area and they even have an on-board VR experience. Families of all ages will love the family suites with a balcony and suite service. It is a great family-friendly cruise 

Itinerary – Western Mediterranean 

Day 1 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Stylish shopping, eating and entertainment await you at Palma

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Make use of the ships’ onboard facilities 

Day 3 ~ Propriano ~ Corsica ~Nestled between Sardinia and the top of Italy Propriano is a quiet fishing village packed with charm 

Day 4Piombino (For Siena and Pisa), Italy ~ This area of Italy incorporates award-winning restaurants, medieval history and far-reaching sea and mountain views

Day 5 ~ Cannes ~ France ~ Cannes is renowned for being a party hub and is a great spot for enjoying shopping and family beach time 

Day 6 ~ Marseille ~ France ~ Marseille is a striking and diverse port city featuring bohemian buildings and trendy apartments 

Day 7 ~ Ibiza Town ~ Ibiza ~ The buzzing party capital! Renowned for being the island that never sleeps there are also quiet and charming parts to this exciting dock 

Day 8 ~ Palma ~ Majorca ~ Disembark 

8. Ancient Icons

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Ship: Marella Discovery 
Ship Information – This superb ship offers a superb dining scene that features a West End-style lounge and seven bars all with a different vibe. Families will love watching their favourite films under the stars at the outdoor cinema, testing their courage at the rock-climbing wall and challenging each other to some mini golf. 

Marella Discovery is the sister ship to Marella Discovery 2, so you can expect nearly all of the same facilities, such as a superb dining scene that features a West End-style lounge and seven bars all with a different vibe. There are seven bars and seven restaurants, plus you can watch movies under a star-lit sky at the ship’s outdoor cinema. Indoors, there are nightly shows in the Broadway Show Lounge, and pianists and acoustic musicians take to the stage in the five-storey atrium, an elegant space that changes colour when the sun goes down.  

Families are well catered for on this ship. Family Suites and Family Junior Suites are kitted out with a chalkboard and a PlayStation 4, plus there’s a rock climbing wall, a minigolf course and children of all ages will love the two swimming pools onboard, one of which is indoors. The outdoor swimming pool has a hot tub. Kids will love the Snack Shack with iconic British beach huts. Children can have fun at the kids’ club with sessions, especially for younger children. There is also a kids club for ages 3-11.

Itinerary – Turkey, Israel, Cyprus & Rhodes

Day 1 ~ Marmaris ~ Turkey ~ At Marmaris you will find a stylish promenade overlooking the beach and ocean, packed with cafes, shops and restaurants

Day 2 ~ At Sea ~ Explore all the facilities aboard the Marella Discovery 

Day 3 and 4 ~ Haifa (For Nazareth and Galilee ~ Israel ~ Enjoy a mini pilgrimage around these extraordinary areas of Israel 

Day 5 ~ Limassol ~ Cyprus ~ Explore this picturesque seaside town where new meets old 

Day 6 ~ Alanya ~ Turkey ~ This stunning part of Turkey is known mostly as an area frequented by Queen Cleopatra. There are also beaches, shopping streets and top restaurants

Day 7 ~ Rhodes Town ~ Rhodes ~ Greece ~ Rhodes offers sandy beaches, ancient ruins and much more 

Day 8 ~ Marmaris ~ Turkey ~ Disembark 


Please conduct your own research through reviews and the company’s websites with regard to the facilities, the rooms and the upkeep of the above hotels. The above information is for reference only. Please also check their cancellation policies with regard to any current travel restrictions.

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