Marella Discovery accidents and incidents

Marella Discovery cruise ship

Former names
TUI Discovery, Splendour of the Seas

Length (LOA)
264 m / 866 ft

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CruiseMapper's Marella Discovery cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2074-passenger vessel owned by Marella Cruises. Our Marella Discovery accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2015, 2019, 2023
  • propulsion/power loss - 2018 (Red Sea)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2005 (135 / 12)
  • deaths - overboard (2014), 2018 (diving tour in St Kitts)
  • injuries/crimes - overboard/rescued (2014), 2015 (crew drug bust), 2015 (21 with smoke inhalation during the fire)
  • medevacs - 2020 (crew)
  • boat rescue - 2019 (111 migrants off mainland Greece)

Previously, the vessel was operated under the names Splendour of the Seas (1995-2016 by Royal Caribbean), TUI Discovery (2016-2017 by Thomson Cruises/now Marella Cruises) and Marella Discovery (since 2017).

07 July 2023Fire Accident

In the early hours of July 7, 2023, while en route from Dominicana to Grand Turk Island (Turks and Caicos), the ship suffered an engine room fire. TUI UK announced that the fire originated in one of the five diesel engines and was quickly extinguished by the crew. No injuries or water ingress/pollution were reported.

While the vessel remained seaworthy, as a precautionary measure, it was escorted back to Dominicana (Amber Cove) for a thorough damage assessment and emergency repairs. To receive clearance to continue to sail, on Marella Discovery were conducted essential inspections by class-approved surveyors (flying to Dominicana) to reinstate and certify the firefighting system used to extinguish the fire.

As a result of the accident, the remainder of the voyage was canceled. All passengers were bused from Amber Cove to Puerto Plata's Gregorio Luperon Airport and flown back to the UK. The next scheduled voyage (departure July 9th, out of Port Canaveral) was also canceled.

As compensation, all impacted travelers were refunded (either fully or proportionally/depending on departure dates) and additionally received holiday vouchers (FCC/future cruise credits). Automatically were refunded all shore excursions booked for not visited ports.

The accident occurred towards the end of the 7-day "Sunshine State And Sands Cruise" (itinerary July 2-9, roundtrip from Port Canaveral/Orlando, Florida USA) with call ports in Florida (Miami/July 3), The Bahamas (Resorts World Bimini/July 4), Dominicana (Amber Cove/July 6) and Grand Turk (Cockburn Town/July 7th, canceled).

The next canceled voyage was the 7-day "American Dream Cruise" (itinerary July 9-16, roundtrip from Port Canaveral) with call ports Freeport (Bahamas), NYC (New York USA) and Charleston (South Carolina USA).

Marella Discovery resumed passenger shipping services on July 23rd, leaving from Port Canaveral.

21 November 2020Coast Guard Medevacs

On November 21, 2020, a 43-year-old male crew was medevaced from the ship anchored off Dorset England's coast (in Weymouth Bay, close to Isle of Portland). Reportedly, the man suffered from meningitis.

The medical evacuation was conducted by a Weymouth RNLI Lifeboat Station team. The crew was transported via lifeboat to Weymouth Harbour from where was ambulanced to a local hospital. The RNLI lifeboat was dispatched at 10:53 pm, arrived on the scene at 11:12 pm and returned back to Weymouth Harbour at 11:45 pm.

June 2020Other Incidents

In mid-June 2020, TUI UK (shipowner) extended Marella Cruises' passenger shipping suspension period (for the 4th time) through August 27. By this cancellation, Marella Discovery's entire summer season (all scheduled up to October 31st departures from homeport Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Spain) were canceled.

The Mediterranea program was based on 7-day roundtrip itineraries themed as "Highlights Of The Mediterranean", "Mediterranean Secrets" and Cosmopolitan Classics". The 9 canceled departures were scheduled for the period August 29 through October 24.

"Mediterranean Secrets" itinerary

Date / TimePort
29 Aug 22:00Departing from Palma de Mallorca, Spain
31 Aug 08:00 - 18:00Portoferraio, Elba Italy
01 Sep 07:00 - 19:00La Spezia, Italy
02 Sep 07:00 - 18:00Monte Carlo, Monaco
03 Sep 09:00 - 18:00Toulon, France
04 Sep 13:00 - 22:00Ibiza Town, Ibiza Spain
05 Sep 06:00Arriving in Palma de Mallorca

"Cosmopolitan Classics" itinerary

Date / TimePort
05 Sep 22:00Departing from Palma de Mallorca
07 Sep 09:00 - 18:00Messina, Sicily Italy
08 Sep 07:00 - 16:30Naples, Italy
09 Sep 08:00 - 19:00Livorno, Italy
10 Sep 07:00 - 17:00Villefranche-sur-Mer/Nice, France
11 Sep 09:00 - 18:00Palamos, Costa Brava, Spain
12 Sep 06:00Arriving in Palma de Mallorca

"Highlights Of The Mediterranean" itinerary

Date / TimePort
12 Sep 22:00Departing from Palma de Mallorca
14 Sep 08:00 - 17:00Ajaccio, Corsica France
15 Sep 07:00 - 19:00Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy
16 Sep 07:00 - 19:00Carrara, Italy
17 Sep 07:00 - 17:00Saint-Raphael, France
18 Sep 09:00 - 18:00Barcelona, Spain
19 Sep 06:00Arriving in Palma de Mallorca

The ship's Caribbean winter program (December-January roundtrips from Montego Bay, Jamaica) was also canceled. Marella Discovery was scheduled to restart operations on February 3, 2021, with a Transatlantic repositioning cruise from Spain to Jamaica (Malaga-Montego Bay) prior to continuing with the Caribbean roundtrip Jamaica schedule on February 16.

April 2020Other Incidents

(Coronavirus issues) On March 14, 2020, following the shipowner TUI's decision to suspend fleetwide passenger shipping operations, Marella Discovery disembarked all its passengers in Phuket Thailand (March 14). None of the passengers or the staff-crew onboard tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Between April 2-6, the cruise liner was scheduled to dock and disembark some of its crew in India's ports Cochin, Mangalore, Mormugao and Mumbai. However, the ship was denied port entry and staff-crew debarkation. Finally, on April 23, a total of 146 Indian crew disembarked in Mumbai. The vessel remained anchored off Bombay's coast between April 14-22 as it was initially denied permission to enter Mumbai Harbour. The disembarked crew underwent medical checks and testing (at a separate terminal building) and were provided with transportation to get home.

12 December 2019Fire Accident

(CruiseMapper emailed accident report by a male British passenger wishing to remain anonymous) The ship suffered a fire in the engine room damaging a transformer and resulting in loss of power to one of the engines. This resulted in reduced speed and altering the itineraries significantly. Passengers missed originally planned stops (Koh Samui, Sihanoukville and Malacca were cancelled), were in ports for shorter times and spent longer at sea than expected when originally booking. This occurred in December 2019 and is expected to continue to 2020 February.

The fire didn’t result in any injuries or deaths, and was swiftly alerted to the Navigation Bridge and put out, without spreading to other areas. I’m unsure of the exact date, but it was the first week of December. The ship was on the way to Laem Chabang (Dec 12-13 overnight), so guests onboard missed their flights due to the slower speed and had to stay in hotels until the next flight (at the end of their holiday). The real trauma is to future guests, such as myself, as their itineraries have significantly changed with lost port days, shorter stays, longer sea times etc - whilst we were only offered GBP 250 refund (per person) plus GBP 100 in OBC (onboard credit).

(CruiseMapper update, January 2020) According to Marella Cruises, on December 9th the vessel suffered an electrical fault ("localized burning within the transformer housing" / engine room fire) approx 1 hour after the Singapore departure. Rather than returning to Singapore for repairs, the Captain decided to continue for Thailand (2 days away) at reduced speed. The speed was limited to ~9 knots (17 kph / 10 mph) instead of the max speed of 24 kn (44 kph / 28 mph). Passengers spent 2,5 extra days at sea, allowing to keep up with the schedule. Repairs were not conducted in Thailand and the damaged liner continued operations without full propulsion for 3 weeks. The shipowner (TUI UK) adjusted the ship's schedule by assuming it will continue cruising at a reduced speed until at least February 2020. From the planned itineraries were dropped the call ports Koh Samui and Malacca, while in other destinations were reduced the ashore times.

The engine room fire accident occurred during the 14-day "Enchanting Far East 1" cruise (itinerary December 5-19) roundtrip from homeport Langkawi (Malaysia) visiting ports in Malaysia (Georgetown Penang Island, Port Klang), Singapore, Thailand (Koh Samui Island, Laem Chabang-Bangkok), Cambodia (Sihanoukville), Vietnam (Saigon) and Malaysia (Malacca).

20 July 2019Boat Rescue

On July 20, 2019, while navigating close to Greece's mainland, the cruise liner rescued 111 migrants from a disabled boat. The vessel was approx 75 km (45 mi) off Peloponnese Peninsula. Of the 111 rescued, 33 were children. All migrants were transported to Kalamata (Peloponnese's 2nd largest city - after Patras). Two of the migrant boat's operators were arrested by the Greek coastguard.

The incident occurred at the beginning of 7-day "Iconic Islands" cruise (itinerary July 19-26) roundtrip from homeport Kerkyra (Corfu Island, Greece) visiting the islands Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos, Crete (Souda-Chania) and Kefalonia (Argostoli).

28 November 2018Propulsion / Power Loss

(CruiseMapper emailed report by Kevin Stringer) On November 28, 2018, while navigating in the Red Sea, the liner experienced power problems ("technical issue with the electrical systems"), resulting in reduced cruising speed and a day late arrival in Port Muscat (Oman). In Port Dubai (UAE), the vessel remained docked for 2 days (waiting for parts and undergoing repairs).

The accident occurred during the 14-day "Authentic Arabia Cruise" (itinerary Nov 23 - Dec 7) Aqaba to Dubai, visiting Muscat Oman (scheduled for Nov 29-30 / overnight), Khasab Oman, Mina Salman (Bahrain), Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, and Dubai.

The next scheduled 14-day "Eastern Sunrise" voyage (December 6-20) from Dubai to Pulau Langkawi Island was also affected as the ship left Dubai on Dec 7 (at 3 pm). The list of scheduled for calls ports included Mumbai India, Mormugao-Goa India, Mangalore India, Cochin India, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Pulau Weh Island (Indonesia) and Phuket Thailand, to Pulau Langkawi (Malaysia).

In the revised "Eastern Sunrise" itinerary were dropped /canceled Mumbai (replaced with 3 sea days) and Mangalore (replaced with 1 sea day). The other call ports remained as planned.

(CruiseMapper email from Phil) They have removed the other earlier alert (at that advised of flight changes for Muscat. Ship's hotel services were also compromised due to lack of power (air-conditioning, elevators, laundry, etc).

(CruiseMapper email from Ian Burrows) We would like to inform you of the details on the breakdown of the TUI cruise ship Discovery during the Red Sea Cruise that took place at 2.30/2.50am on the morning of 28th November 2018. The information passed to us from the Captain was that a transformer in the engine room had exploded and after repairs in the engine room it left the ship without power to air conditioning units / electric hand dryers and other various services requiring electricity. The problem created the ship to run on only one engine until docking at Muscat and during the ship limping there at very slow speed, it took another full day at sea. The passengers had no time to see Muscat before being quickly loaded onto coaches and taken to the airport as soon as the ship docked. We were handed a copy of a letter from TUI (shipowner) on boarding the plane informing us of the time the ship was late by and that we could use it for compensation claims. I am sorry to say that TUI has responded to claims for compensation with excuses that do not relate to the situation in any way shape or form which raises another question of their accountability.

12 April 2018Crew / Passenger Deaths

On April 12, 2018, at !10:30 am, while the ship was docked at call port Basseterre (St Kitts), a 65-year-old male passenger died ashore. Together with his wife, the British man (Michael Henry Dunn) was on a snorkeling excursion in Shitten Bay.

Reportedly, while on the dive tour he surfaced gasping for air. He was taken on the tour boat and the crew administered CPR. The boat returned to Port Zante where was met by an ambulance; Unfortunately, the man was not breathing and at the hospital pronounced dead.

The incident occurred during 7-day Caribbean cruise ("Paradise Islands" itinerary April 8-15) roundtrip from homeport Bridgetown Barbados to St Maarten, Tortola, St Kitts, Antigua, St Vincent.

06 April 2017Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(TUI Discovery) On April 6, 2017, horrified passengers from the Thomson cruise ship witnessed the killing of 2 orcas (aka killer whales) off St Vincent Island's coast. During the incident, the cruise ship was docked in call port Port Elizabeth (Bequia Island, Grenadines).

In response to the incident, Thomson Cruises canceled all its whale and dolphin watching tours on the island,

The cruise passengers, while on a Fantasea Tours boat (whale and dolphin excursion), first sighted a pod of 4 orcas. Followed a bloody tragedy as 3 fishermen (on a local fishing boat) slaughtered 2 of the whales with a modified shotgun (bow-mounted harpoon).

Note: St Vincent and Grenadines is one of the world's few countries where the whaling practice is still legal. It is permitted by the International Whaling Commission as part of a clause allowing "whaling on otherwise protected animals when it is conducted by certain indigenous people to satisfy subsistence needs".

22 October 2015Fire Accident

(Splendour of the Seas) On October 22, 2015, at ~8 am, the vessel experienced an engine room fire accident that lasted for ~2 hours. The fire was contained and extinguished by the onboard fire suppression system. During that time, the ship lost power and was drifting at sea. All passengers from cabin decks 2 and 3 were mustered to lifeboat stations, with their life jackets on.

The incident resulted in reduced cruising speed (running on 1 engine only) and itinerary change (call port Argostoli Greece was dropped). Serious smoke damages suffered crew areas (on service deck 1) and public areas and passenger cabins on the two lower decks (2 and 3). Royal Caribbean officially reported 1 passenger and 20 crew members suffering from smoke inhalation. They were treated at the onboard infirmary and later released.

Unofficially, passengers on board reported an intense smell of burning rubber and plastic throughout the whole ship, and that decks 2-3 were completely evacuated due to “choking smoke”.

The incident occurred while the ship was en-route from Mykonos to Argostoli (Kefalonia island) on 7-day Eastern Mediterranean / Greek Isles cruise (itinerary Oct 17-24) roundtrip from homeport Venice Italy with call ports in Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece (Corfu, Piraeus-Athens, Mykonos, Argostoli).

22 March 2015Drug Smuggling

(Splendour Of The Seas) On March 22, 2015, while the ship was docked in Buenos Aires Argentina, local police arrested two male crew (a Croatian and a Chilean in origin). They were charged for drug smuggling of a total 15,8 kilos of cocaine. Both men had drugs taped to their bodies, some hidden in a backpack. A large number of drugs was found in their cabins using 8 sniffer dogs. The drugs worth was ~EUR 1 million. The ship had arrived in Buenos Aires from Punta del Este, on scheduled Transatlantic repositioning crossing from Brazil to Europe.

13 June 2014Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(Splendour Of The Seas / overboard) On June 13, 2014, the ship was on 7-night Mediterranean cruise (itinerary June 7-14) roundtrip from homeport Venice to Greece and Turkey when a male passenger jumped overboard. The vessel sharply turned (listed badly). A rescue boat was lowered and the man (in his 20s) was successfully rescued. He was traveling together with his parents and brother.

Investigation showed the extremely inebriated young man first tried to start a fire. Security was called, and when they arrived he ran and jumped over the railing at ~4:30 am (June 13). The code “Oscar” 9 (man overboard) was called out by the security staff. The man was held in the infirmary until the arrival in Venice.

07 February 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Splendour Of The Seas / overboard) On February 7, 2014, a 47-year-old male passenger jumped overboard and died when the ship was in Uruguayan waters. The body was recovered. The man (of Brazilian origin) was in a life jacket when jumped from Deck 7 into the water.

06 April 2011Structural and Technical Issues

(Splendour Of The Seas) On April 6, 2011, the ship arrived as scheduled in call port Gibraltar (UK territory), but the Captain decided not to disembark passengers due to safety reasons (high waves). The port was left ~3 hours later due to problems with the vessel’s refueling.

November 2005Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Splendour Of The Seas) In November 2005, CDC reported on itinerary Nov 12 to 26, a major Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected a total of 135 passengers (out of 1592, or 8,5%) and 12 crew (out of 729, or 1,7%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (symptoms (headache, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on a 14-day cruise from homeport Galveston Texas.

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