Marella Cruises, a cruise brand of UK-based travel company TUI Group, has deployed its 1,800-guest Marella Discovery to Port Canaveral for a series of summer and fall sailings to the Bahamas as well as to US ports. The ship embarked on her inaugural cruise from the Florida Space Coast port on May 7, 2023.
Marella Discovery Begins Inaugural Cruise From Florida
Port Canaveral celebrated the inaugural cruise of Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery, which is homeporting at the Space Coast port several times this summer and fall season. The port staged a festive sail-out event with a water salute from two tugboats as the ship embarked on her first voyage, a 7-night cruise calling at Tampa, Florida, and Bimini, The Bahamas.
Port officials invited local residents to watch the sail-out on Sunday, May 7: “Come wave out the inaugural sailing of the Marella Discovery as she sails out of Port Canaveral with a water salute from our 2 tugs from Seabulk and E.N. Bisso and led by Fireboat 2.”
Marella Cruises markets primarily to UK vacationers, offering all-inclusive fares and packages that include air travel to the ship’s embarkation ports.
Marella Discovery has several itineraries operating from Port Canaveral this summer and early fall. Some cruises, including the inaugural sailing, call at Fort Lauderdale and Bimini, then feature an overnight in Tampa before returning to Port Canaveral.
Tampa also is hailing the ship’s visit this week, with Port Tampa Bay announcing her arrival on Twitter: “Port Tampa Bay is proud to welcome Marella Cruises Discovery on her inaugural port of call to Tampa. The Marella Discovery will visit Tampa 3 times this Summer & will bring 1,800 visitors to explore beautiful Tampa Bay each visit.”
Other cruises the ship is sailing roundtrip from Port Canaveral include the 14-night “Sunshine State and Sands” voyage that calls at Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Key West, and Miami. Another 7-night cruise, “American Dream,” visits Charleston, S.C.; New York, and Freeport, Bahamas.
Fall cruises include an 11-night “Stateside Discovery,” with a November departure from Port Canaveral that visits Miami, New Orleans, and Amber Cove, before concluding in Barbados. The repositioning cruise will set the stage for the ship’s series of winter cruises from Barbados, from December 2023 to March 2024.
The ship also will operate several itineraries this summer from ports in the Caribbean. Her 7-night “Cocktails and Coconuts” cruise sails roundtrip from Barbados and calls at Antigua, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, and Guadeloupe. Additionally, Marella Discovery has a 7-night itinerary roundtrip from Jamaica that visits Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
Ship Formerly Sailed for Royal Caribbean
The 11-deck Marella Discovery is the former Splendour of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, which sold the ship to TUI in 2016. She initially sailed for TUI brand Thomson Cruises, which later changed its name to Marella Cruises.
The ship offers seven dining venues, including Surf and Turk Steakhouse, Sushi Bar, and Kora La, an Asian specialty restaurant. It has seven bars and lounges, along with an outdoor theater and two pools. The ship caters to families with Family Suites and Family Junior Suites. It also has Grand, Executive, and Royal suites, all with separate living areas. The Royal suite features a baby grand piano.
Marella Discovery’s deployment to Port Canaveral comes after the port recently took the lead as the busiest cruise port in the world based on passenger traffic. In 2022, Port Canaveral recorded 4,072,396 cruise guests, just slightly over PortMiami’s 4,022,544 guests, shifting PortMiami into the No. 2 slot for busiest cruise port.