‘Marella Explorer’, the latest addition to the Marella Cruises fleet, was recently redelivered to the former Thomson Cruise brand, having been docked for a full upgrade at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz.
She was formerly ‘Mein Schiff 1’, ‘Mein Schiff’, ‘Celebrity Galaxy’ and built at Meyer Werft as the ‘Galaxy’ in 1996.
With just a four-week stay in drydock, around 1,600 people, from partners, contractors and the Marella Cruises team, undertook over 200,000 man hours to complete a multi-million pound makeover on the 76,988 gt cruise ship.
A total of 45 sq km of carpet was laid, along with over 60 km of data cabling and 650 Wi-Fi access points. Some 10 tonnes of Marella-branded items, including uniforms and 1,000 show team costumes were delivered to the yard.
In addition, tens of thousands litres of paint, 3 km of bathroom trimmings and miles of fabric were installed.
At 265.5 m long and 32.2 m wide, ‘Marella Explorer’ is the largest ship to join the Marella Cruises fleet. The 1,924 pax capacity ship (double occupancy) boasts 962 cabins, nearly 40% of which have balconies.
The main interior contractor was Trimline and based on the company’s previous work at Cadiz, the company was aware of the space constrictions at the yard. As a result, to maximise efficiency, a dedicated storage space was procured on site and a forklift truck was hired.
A specialist team of around Trimline 350 tradespeople carried out the interior refit, which included fully re-purposing some areas, as well as some significant turnkey bar and catering areas, such as Surf & Kora La.
Trimline was also involved structural steel work, electrical, HVAC, upholstery, plumbing, catering joinery, decoration, flooring, etc. All stairwells, landings and companion/alley ways were also re-carpeted to give the vessel a contemporary new look.
Two of the largest new features are Indigo – the ship’s new flagship bar, club and casino – and the first Champneys Spa at sea.
Indigo, also fitted by Trimline, houses the longest bar on the ship at 17 m. It is located at the forward end of the ship with wraparound sea views. It is also attached to the casino operated under a concession with OnBoard Leisure.
Trimline’s CEO, Michael Colebourn, said; “We were delighted to work with Marella Cruises again. Having carried out rebrands on ‘Marella Discovery’ and ‘Marella Discovery 2’, as well as refurbishments to the remaining Marella fleet, Trimline has unrivalled knowledge of the brand and our experienced team brought this knowledge to the ‘Explorer’ refurbishment.
“As with all of our refits, a lot of planning went into this project and we are delighted to have created such a stunning interior for the new ‘Marella Explorer’,“ he concluded.
Champneys Spa offers a full-service thermal suite, treatment suites with their own showers and mini saunas, a Finnish sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows, plus spa cabanas on the adults-only Veranda that come complete with thermal suite access.
A complete store refit programme was also undertaken in co-operation with Harding Retail. This involved 12 individual retail spaces covering 4,500 sq ft of space. In addition, around 216 sq ft is dedicated to special shopping concierge and a dedicated events area.
‘Marella Explorer’ is managed by Columbia Cruise Services (CCS), which was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary of the Columbia/Marlow group.
CCS currently handles 10 cruise ships for three companies. Two more are scheduled to join this year and next. The shipmanagement concern handles full technical management, crewing and hospitality services.