Marella Explorer 2

Former names: SkySea Golden Era, MS Century, Celebrity Century

Marella Explorer 2 current position

Marella Explorer 2 current location is at Adriatic Sea (coordinates 44.10033 N / 15.20971 E) cruising en route to Trieste. The AIS position was reported 3 minutes ago.

All Itineraries Current Position

Current itinerary of Marella Explorer 2

Marella Explorer 2 current cruise is 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights. Prices start from USD 1562 (double occupancy rates). The itinerary starts on 18 Jul, 2024 and ends on 25 Jul, 2024.

Date / TimePort
18 Jul 21:00    Departing from Dubrovnik, Croatia, Port Gruz hotels
20 Jul 08:00 - 17:00    Zadar, Croatia
21 Jul 07:00 - 19:00    Trieste, Italy
22 Jul 08:00 - 18:00    Ancona, Italy
23 Jul 08:00 - 17:00    Split, Croatia
24 Jul 08:00 - 17:00    Kotor, Montenegro
25 Jul 04:00    Arriving in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Port Gruz hotels

Specifications of Marella Explorer 2

Year of build1995  /  Age: 29
Flag state Malta
BuilderMeyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)
ClassCentury
Building costUSD 450 million
Engines (power)MAN B&W (29.3 MW / 39292 hp)
Speed22 kn / 41 km/h / 25 mph
Length (LOA)248 m / 814 ft
Beam (width)32 m / 105 ft
Gross Tonnage72458 gt
Passengers1814 - 2177
Crew780
Passengers-to-space ratio40
Decks13
Cabins907
Decks with cabins6
Last Refurbishment2023
Sister-shipsMarella Explorer 1, Mein Schiff Herz (TUI)
Former namesSkySea Golden Era, MS Century, Celebrity Century
Christened byMaria Chandris (Celebrity Century), Mary Moreno and Paula Clark (Marella Explorer 2)
OwnerTUI AG and RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd)
OperatorMarella Cruises (Thomson UK)

Marella Explorer 2 Itineraries

DateItineraryDeparture PortPrice from
2024 Jun 27 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1644
2024 Jul 04 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1586
2024 Jul 11 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1678
2024 Jul 18 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1562
2024 Jul 25 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1936
2024 Aug 01 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1788
2024 Aug 08 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1790
2024 Aug 15 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1675
2024 Aug 22 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1911
2024 Aug 29 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1660
2024 Sep 05 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $2107
2024 Sep 12 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $2047
2024 Sep 19 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1729
2024 Sep 26 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1782
2024 Oct 03 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1847
2024 Oct 10 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1644
2024 Oct 17 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1475
2024 Oct 24 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1404
2024 Oct 31 8 days, one-way from Dubrovnik to Santa Cruz de Tenerife Dubrovnik $1227
2024 Oct 31 9 days, one-way from Dubrovnik to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Dubrovnik $1378
2024 Nov 08 7 days, round-trip Canarian Flavours Santa Cruz de Tenerife $1245
2024 Nov 09 7 days, round-trip Canarian Flavours Las Palmas de Gran Canaria $1297
2024 Nov 15 7 days, round-trip Atlantic Islands Santa Cruz de Tenerife $1199
2024 Nov 16 7 days, round-trip Atlantic Islands Las Palmas de Gran Canaria $1189
2024 Nov 22 7 days, round-trip Canarian Flavours Santa Cruz de Tenerife $1148
2024 Nov 23 7 days, round-trip Canarian Flavours Las Palmas de Gran Canaria $1110
2024 Nov 29 7 days, round-trip Island Explorer Santa Cruz de Tenerife $1132
2024 Nov 30 7 days, round-trip Island Explorer Las Palmas de Gran Canaria $1054
2024 Dec 06 18 days, one-way from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to La Romana Santa Cruz de Tenerife $2272
2024 Dec 07 17 days, one-way from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to La Romana Las Palmas de Gran Canaria $2089
2024 Dec 24 7 days, round-trip Caribbean Classics La Romana $2302
2024 Dec 31 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $2205
2025 Jan 07 7 days, round-trip Tropical Treasures La Romana $1985
2025 Jan 14 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $2009
2025 Jan 21 7 days, round-trip Caribbean Classics La Romana $2133
2025 Jan 28 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $1974
2025 Feb 04 7 days, round-trip Tropical Treasures La Romana $1976
2025 Feb 11 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $1941
2025 Feb 18 7 days, round-trip Caribbean Classics La Romana $2193
2025 Feb 25 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $1897
2025 Mar 04 7 days, round-trip Caribbean Classics La Romana $2097
2025 Mar 11 7 days, round-trip Colours Of The Caribbean La Romana $1944
2025 Mar 18 14 days, one-way from La Romana to Palma de Mallorca La Romana $1904
2025 Apr 01 7 days, round-trip Treasures Of The Mediterranean Palma de Mallorca $1435
2025 Apr 08 7 days, round-trip Mediterranean Medley Palma de Mallorca $1459
2025 Apr 15 7 days, round-trip Treasures Of The Mediterranean Palma de Mallorca $1482
2025 Apr 22 7 days, round-trip Mediterranean Medley Palma de Mallorca $1435
2025 Apr 29 9 days, one-way from Palma de Mallorca to Dubrovnik Palma de Mallorca $1561
2025 May 08 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1549
2025 May 15 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1869
2025 May 22 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1727
2025 May 29 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1809
2025 Jun 05 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1893
2025 Jun 12 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1893
2025 Jun 19 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1916
2025 Jun 26 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $2046
2025 Jul 03 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1869
2025 Jul 10 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1869
2025 Jul 17 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1691
2025 Jul 24 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1833
2025 Jul 31 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1762
2025 Aug 07 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1762
2025 Aug 14 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1762
2025 Aug 21 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $1798
2025 Aug 28 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1680
2025 Sep 04 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $2093
2025 Sep 11 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $2028
2025 Sep 18 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1809
2025 Sep 25 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Affair Dubrovnik $1869
2025 Oct 02 7 days, round-trip Sail Three Seas Dubrovnik $2011
2025 Oct 09 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1822
2025 Oct 16 7 days, round-trip Greek Mystique Dubrovnik $1704
2025 Oct 23 7 days, round-trip Adriatic Delights Dubrovnik $1668

Marella Explorer 2 Review

Review of Marella Explorer 2

The 1995-built (as "Celebrity Century") cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 was previously operated as "SkySea Golden Era". It is one of the Century-class vessels, with sisterships Mein Schiff 1 (former Celebrity Galaxy, since 2018 Marella Explorer 1) and Celebrity Mercury (fka Mein Schiff 2/Schiff Herz, since 2023 Marella Voyager). The vessel was sold to "Marella Cruises" (TUI's UK brand) in 2018.

The vessel (IMO number 9072446) is Malta-flagged (MMSI 249054000) and registered in Valletta.

History - construction and ownership

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises UK) is a British passenger shipping company and trademarked travel brand owned by TUI Group. The company entered the cruise market in 1973 via Thomson Holidays (now TUI UK), but due to rising fuel costs, this service was terminated in 1976. Thomson Cruises restarted passenger shipping operations in 1995. The Thomson brand was renamed to "Marella Cruises" in 2018. Marella's parent company (TUI Group) owns hotels, the sister-companies TUI Cruises, Marella Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the travel brands International Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, also aircraft and the airlines Corsair International (France), TUI Airways (UK), TUI fly Nordic (Sweden), TUI fly Belgium, TUI fly Deutschland, TUI fly the Netherlands.

Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship

This 1900-passenger ship was built for the Royal Caribbean's subsidiary company Celebrity Cruises, renamed to "Celebrity Mercury" in 2008 and joined TUI fleet in 2009 after an extensive drydock refit. The reconstruction project resulted in adding 314 cabin balconies, 14 new suites, 10 new cabins, new specialty restaurant (Murano, with glass-blowing performances), larger spa, upgraded (Millennium-class) shipboard amenities and services.

Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship (SkySea Golden Era)

The ship entered Marella's fleet (TUI's UK brand) in late-2018. In March 2018, TUI Group announced that to Marella UK will be transferred SkySea Golden Era (and not Schiff 2/Schiff Herz), with scheduled delivery in December 2018.

January 2014 news reports from France (including the CDF website) said Century will join the CDF fleet in 2015. CDF was an RCG-Royal Caribbean brand operating the French market with 2 ex-Celebrity vessels - MS Zenith and MS Horizon. The news said Century will replace Zenith, which will join Pullmantur (RCG's brand in Spain). For 2014, CDF expected to carry ~100,000 passengers, and with the Century they expected to serve ~120,000 customers in 2015. Program 2015's updates also included new shore excursion packages (3- to 5-tours, depending on itinerary) priced just EUR 100 per package.

Initially was announced that in March 2019, the old Schiff 2 (Herz) will be transferred to Marella and operated as "Marella Explorer 2". However, in March 2018 was announced that it stays in TUI fleet under the new name "Mein Schiff Herz" (announced in April).

Explorer 2 joined Marella's fleet as the 4th liner transferred from other RCG-owned brands. The vessel was preceded by Marella Discovery (2015, former Splendour of the Seas), Marella Discovery 2 (2017, former Legend of the Seas) and TUI Explorer, now Marella Explorer (2018, the old Mein Schiff 1).

Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship (Celebrity Century)

The ship features fleet's first kids' pool, innovative entertainment program, 10 dining venues. Another first for Marella is the tasting menu-type restaurant in one of the brand new yet-unnamed venues, described as "an intimate space, suited for couples or friends".

The Indigo flagship bar is ship's focal point. A new high-end London style bar venue (named Aperitif) links Kora La and Surf and Turf restaurants. Other features include The Scoops (ice-cream parlour with bicycle-themed quirky seating), The Lounge (new venue with colour-changing bar and brightly-coloured piano), Hot Stone Grill (specialty dining venue / at fee).

Decks and Cabins

Of all Marella Explorer 2 staterooms (907 total), ~40% have private steop-out balconies. All cabins are with individual air-conditioning, wardrobes, smart HDTV, hairdryer, tea-coffee-making facilities, en-suite bathrooms. Accommodation types include:

  • Indoor (16 m2, fleet's largest), Outdoor (17 m2), Single Indoor / Outdoor cabins (Decks 4, 5, 8, 9)
  • Balcony cabins (17 m2), 14x Family Balcony (20 m2; decks 9, 10, 12, each with 2 twin beds)
  • Suites - Balcony Junior Suite (22 m2) and Executive Suite (49 m2)

The boat has 13 decks, of which 10 are passenger-accessible and 6 are with cabins.

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

Marella Explorer 2 has a total of 10 dining venues, including Surf and Turf, Kora La, The Terrace, and Snack Shack. The Kora La features Oriental-style lanterns and paintings paired with a pan-Asian menu of noodle dishes and curries. This is a fine dining addition and there is a small premium to eat here.

Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship (SkySea Golden Era)

Dining venues onboard are located on decks 5, 6, 7 and 11. Follows the complete list of Marella Explorer 2 restaurants and food bars.

  • Latitude 53, situated on two decks, 5 and 6, is the main waiter service restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and gold-and-grey color scheme.
  • Vista on Deck 5, situated in Latitude 53. In the evening, it transforms into an Italian restaurant for regional favorites prepared with authentic ingredients.
  • The Dining Club on Deck 5 is a fine dining restaurant which serves experimental cuisine. There is a charge to dine here. In 2019 was introduced the "Great Musical Afternoon Tea" - music-themed dining experience that includes white-gloved waiter service, gourmet dishes and signature beverages. The menu includes items like tiger bread (aka Dutch crunch / Giraffe bread ), double-decker sandwiches, beef tenderloin, yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken), homemade desserts (scones, clotted cream, NYC cheesecake), 6 different brand teas, cocktails, champagne. Great Musical Afternoon Tea is at surcharge (GBP 15 per person) and reservations are required.
  • Kora La on Deck 7 has oriental-style lanterns and paintings paired with a pan-Asian menu. Passengers pay a cover charge to eat here.
  • Surf and Turf Steakhouse on Deck 7 specializes in all things meat. Its menu includes mains like lobster, grilled chicken, and pork chops, but the highlight is the 28-day-aged steaks. There is a chopping board artwork as well as leather booth seating. Cover charge is applied for dining here.
  • Snack Shack on Deck 11 is a laidback eatery featuring food stalls, oversized deckchairs, and beach huts. It offers grab-and-go snacks and lunches along with a drinks station.
  • The Market Place on Deck 11 is a buffet restaurant where guests can watch the chefs prepare dishes from around the world. It is made up of different food stalls.
  • "Beach Cove" serves barbecue specialties providing "on the beach" al fresco dining.
  • Nonna’s is an Italian trattoria (pizzeria-type restaurant) serving traditional made-to-order Italian pizzas (oven-baked) and pasta.
  • The Terrace (Deck 11).

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

A couple of the largest new features aboard the 13-deck Marella Explorer 2 include the flagship bar, club and casino Indigo (situated at the top deck), and the first at sea Champneys Spa. Indigo is home to the longest bar onboard the ship and features the Broadway show lounge able to accommodate 1,000 guests. The Broadway street lounge is on Decks 6 and 7, which also house other entertainment facilities. The venue hosts cocktail-making sessions and demos. Entertainment facilities include Indigo Club with a DJ booth and dance floor, and Indigo Casino with card tables and slot machines.

Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship (Celebrity Century)

The swimming pool is on Deck 11, which also homes the Oceans Gym and Champneys Spa. The wellness complex also includes a Finnish Sauna (with floor-ceiling windows), full-service Thermal Suite, treatment suites (with showers and mini saunas), spa cabanas (on the adults-only Veranda Deck).

Follows the complete list of Marella Explorer 2 lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.

  • The Lounge (Deck 6) has a color-changing bar, ring-shaped seats, and hot-pink piano.
  • Bar 53 (Deck 5) is a bar situated next to Latitude 53, perfectly placed for pre-dinner drinks.
  • The Shack (Deck 12) offers cool-down drinks between sunbathing. It is above Snack Shack and overlooks the pool.
  • Indigo Bar (Deck 12) features fleet's longest bar. Cocktail-making sessions and flare demonstrations take place here.
  • "19th Hole" is a clubhouse bar with golf buggy-seating and two golf simulators. Here are served craft beers and golf-themed cocktails.
  • The sophisticated "Flutes" (bubbles bar) caters for Champagne and Prosecco wine lovers and is the best bar for pre- and post dinner cocktails.
  • "Broadway Show Lounge" is on two decks (6 and 7) and has a capacity of 1,000 people. It offers waiter service and brand-new shows.
  • Indigo Casino (Deck 12) is ship's gambling lounge fitted with gaming tables and slot machines. Indigo Club is in the middle of Indigo.
  • Aperitif (Deck 7) is a stylish bar with Champagne and Prosecco on the menu. It is a great spot to head for a drink before or after meals at one of the specialty restaurants.
  • "Squid and Anchor Pub" (Deck 7) is Marella's first ship pub. There are 2 bars to pick from, one of which deals in premium whiskies and gins, that are chargeable. The spot is home to quiz nights and a live band.
  • "Scoops" is a vintage-looking ice-cream parlor serving gelato. The seating is quirky and includes a collection of bike seats sit that face out to sea. A charge is applied here.
  • "The Coffee Port" (at a fee) serves Lavazza and gourmet sweets. It overlooks the Atrium and offers live piano performances.
  • "Movies by Moonlight" (Cinema) offers family-friendly movies, plus extra screenings during the high season.
  • "M Club" is ship's Kids Club, with games from M Crew (ship-exclusive character).
  • Broad Street Shops are ship's boutiques stocked with travel essentials, duty-free merchandise, perfumes and cosmetics, jewelry, gifts, and souvenirs.
  • Photo Studio & Kiosks (Deck 6) provides professional photoshoot. Photo kiosks allow passengers to view and buy photos made by the liner's photography team.
  • For "Champneys Spa" Marella Cruises partnered with Champneys Luxury Health Spa Resorts (UK brand). Passengers can book premium treatments (facials, body wraps, massages) and also use the Beauty Salon. Champneys Spa is Marella fleet's largest and also includes Relaxation Room, treatment rooms (with bathtubs), made-for-two suites, adults-only Sauna Room (with floor-ceiling windows), Steam Room, modern Fitness (Oceans Gym).
  • The outdoor swimming pool (Deck 11) is split in two by a show stage for live entertainment and other daily scheduled activities. Pool Bar serves the pool deck with various beverages (including frozen cocktails). Three whirlpools surround the swimming pool.
  • The Veranda is an adults-only venue and has Balinese beds and cocoon chairs.
  • At the Sports Court can be played basketball-volleyball and mini-football.
  • Minigolf and Table tennis is on the top deck (called Sports and Family Deck).

Since November 2022, Marella UK (via partnership with OneSpaWorld Holdings/health and wellness company) provides ocean-inspired wellness products and services on all its ships. The range of OneSpaWorld's services includes Ocean Body Treatments (massages and polishes), Ocean Facial, Ocean Salon Services. On Marella ships, OneSpaWorld uses premium beauty brands like Elemis, L'Oreal, Kerastase. The brands owned by OneSpaWorld include Mandara Spa, Bliss Spa, Chavana Spa, Glow Spa.

Itineraries

Marella Explorer 2 itinerary program was initially based on Adriatic and Mediterranean 7-day cruises leaving roundtrip from homeport Naples Italy.

During winter 2019-2020, the liner was deployed to the Caribbean and homeported in Bridgetown (Barbados) with 3x roundtrip itineraries visiting the islands St Lucia, Aruba, Saint Vincent.

Following the Coronavirus crisis, in 2021 Marella Explorer 2 was scheduled to restart operations in July (2021) with homeporting in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and itineraries themed as:

  • 3-night "A Taste Of Scotland" (cruise to nowhere/coastal navigation/portless itinerary)
  • 6-night "British Treasures" (Invergordon, Lerwick, Dundee)
  • 7-night "Gaelic Getaway" (Belfast, Greenock-Glasgow, Kirkwall, Dundee)
  • 7-night "British Delights" (Greenock-Glasgow, Holyhead Wales, Dundee, Edinburgh)
  • 8-night "Celtic Explorer" (Belfast, Greenock-Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh)
  • 11-night "Coastal Charms" (Dover, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Belfast, Torbay, Le Havre-Paris)
  • 12-night "Icelandic Adventure" (Lerwick, Iceland - Reykjavik, Isafjord, Akureyri, and Kirkwall)

Followed the winter 2021-2022 Caribbean season with homeporting in Montego Bay Jamaica.

For 2022, the ship was homeported in Dubrovnik Croatia for 7-day roundtrip itineraries:

  • "Adriatic Affair" (Rijeka Croatia, Ravenna, Koper Slovenia, Venice, Split Croatia)
  • "Adriatic Delights" (Zadar Croatia, Trieste, Venice, Ancona, Split Croatia)
  • "Sail Three Seas" (Valletta Malta, Messina Sicily, Taranto, Corfu, Kotor Montenegro)
  • "Greek Mystique" (Chania Crete, Piraeus-Athens, Katakolon-Olympia, Corfu, Kotor Montenegro)

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The ship's powerplant is based on MAN B&W marine diesel engines (models 9L48/60 and 6L48/60) with combined power output 29,25 MW (39225 hp).

The vessel has Meyer Werft Papenburg yard/hull number 637, volume 72458 GT-tons, DWT-deadweight tonnage 7260 tons, max draught 8,1 m.

In the period 2015-2018, the ship (named "SkySea Golden Era") served the newly-established China-based company "SkySea Cruise Line" (a joint venture of the RCCL-Royal Caribbean and Ctrip International Ltd). In late 2014, RCCL decided to sell the vessel to Ctrip for USD 157 million. The ship was transferred in April 2015 and started operations in China. In the period 2015-2018, the liner completed nearly 300 voyages and carried around 0,5 million passengers.

The Marella ship Explorer 2 was christened on March 30, 2019. The naming ceremony was held in Port Malaga (Spain). Vessel's godmothers are Mary Moreno (executive chef with TUI-Marella since 2015) and Paula Clark (cabin manager with TUI Cruises since 2004). The newly refurbished liner started its Inaugural Cruise (for Marella) from homeport Palma de Mallorca on April 2 (2019).

Next table shows maiden voyage's itinerary (7-day "Treasures Of The Mediterranean") as port sequence and arrival/departure times.

Date / TimePort
02 Apr 22:00Departing from Palma, Mallorca Island, Balearic Spain
04 Apr 08:00 - 17:00Olbia, Sardinia, Italy
05 Apr 08:00 - 18:00Naples, Italy
06 Apr 07:00 - 19:00Civitavecchia-Rome, Italy
07 Apr 08:00 - 15:00Ajaccio, Corsica Island, France
08 Apr 09:00 - 17:00Palamos, Costa Brava, Spain
09 Apr 06:00Arriving in Palma de Mallorca

Godspeed!

Marella Explorer 2 refurbishment 2019 review

The ship's last drydocking was in 2023 (October 31 to November 26) and was conducted at Navantia (Cadiz). The project was for general maintenance works, class inspections, and technical overhauls.

The drydock conversion of SkySea Golden Era into Marella Explorer 2 was done at Navantia Shipyard (Cadiz Spain) in the period January 26 - March 27 (2019). Before that, the vessel visited COSCO Shipyard (Zhoushan China) for general maintenance before the 1-month long repositioning (via Suez Canal) to Europe (Mediterranean).

 

The 8-week drydock project involved ~1520 people (contractors, partners, Marella's crew, ~300 Trimline specialists) and 190,000+ manhours. The project included new carpeting shipwide (~43 km2 / 16 mi2 carpets were laid), ~70 km (43,5 mi) of network cables, installing a total of 640 WiFI points, complete repainting (hull and superstructure), glass refurbs, cabin upgrades, rebranding. The liner was also loaded with 9,5 tons of Marella Cruises-branded merchandise and ~1000 crew uniforms and show costumes.

New (added during the refit) venues were Clubhouse Bar, 19th Hole (two golf simulators, golf buggy-seating, craft beers, golf-themed cocktails), Flutes (wine bar), Nonna's (Italian trattoria for traditional pizza and pasta), The Beach Cove (BBQ dishes). Topdeck's Veranda (VIP sunbathing area) was doubled in size (in comparison to the sistership Marella Explorer 1). A new cabin category was also introduced (Royal Suite, sized 102 m2 / 1100 ft2).

The 2019 drydocking project was managed by Trimline Ltd (marine interior refurbishment specialist) and also included the redesign and refreshing of most onboard venues and public areas - Lido Marketplace (restaurant), Indigo Club, both Coffee Ports (USB ports added), Squid and Anchor Pub, Broadway (show bar lounge), Latitude 53 (restaurant), Vista (MDR/dining room).

Since January 26, 2019, ship management services are provided by the Hamburg-based company CCS (Columbia Cruise Services Ltd).

During drydock 2020 (done at Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam by Trimline), all staterooms were renovated (ceilings and walls repainted) including their bathrooms. Some Suites received new wood floorings. Market Place Buffet Restaurant (Deck 11) was updated with a new, more durable resin flooring.

SkySea Golden Era ship review

Starting roundtrip itineraries from homeports China in May 2015, Celebrity Century became "SkySea Golden Era" - fleet's first (and only) vessel. In 2018, the liner was homeported in Xiamen and Shanghai, operating on roundtrips to Japan (visiting Miyakojima and Naha Okinawa), Vietnam (visiting Da Nang and Halong Bay) and the Philippines.

On March 29, 2018, SkySea Cruise Line announced the boat's last voyage. The 4-night (roundtrip Shanghai itinerary August 29 - September 2, 2018) visited Japan (Hakata-Fukuoka City). The last cruise featured unique onboard events, including Champagne Reception party, Farewell Dessert, commemorative gift (for each passenger), onboard discounted shopping coupons, 10% booking discount for past passengers. "SkySea Voice" (shipboard singing competition show) had its grand finale on the 4-day voyage August 25-29.

SkySea Golden Era had a total of 907 cabins, of which 75 were Suites. The cabin grades were 26. Dining venues included The Grand Restaurant (main dining room), The Murano Restaurant, The Islands Cafe (Lido buffet restaurant), Veranda Grill (poolside grill bar), Sushi Bar, Sunset Bar. The list of lounges and bars included Rendezvous, The Crystal Room (disco nightclub), Cova Cafe, Martini, Michael's, poolside bars, Hemisphere (nightclub). The ship had Aqua Spa, 4 jacuzzis, 2 swimming pools.

Onboard entertainment was of good quality and adult-oriented. Inaugurated on January 24, 2018, the SAMAJAM was a new music show introduced on the ship. It was interactive (allowing audience participation) and allowing private booking (providing customized performances during corporate events at sea / held on the ship). The new show was scheduled on every SkySea cruise in 2018.

Celebrity Century's first cruise was on December 20, 1995, initially named "GTS Century". In April 2006, the ship stayed 5 weeks into drydock at Fincantieri's shipyard. This was the company's most expensive refurbishment (refit and upgrade). During the refit, the vessel received 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms and to 314 rooms were added balconies. The ship also received its "Murano" specialty restaurant (French cuisine) and the spa complex was expanded.

Prior to the SkySea service, Celebrity Century was refitted and refurbished in Singapore. Among the changes done was renewing the ship's restaurants (to offer meals more appetizing to Chinese tourists), new trampoline, mini-golf course. The ship had fleet's only "AquaSpa Cafe" (healthy food choices). Fun fact is that the liner was the setting for the episode "Ship of Fran's" from the series "The Nanny" season 3.

Celebrity Century was the first cruise ship with an ice bar - called "Martini Bar and Crush". It's very attractive with a liquid wall that freezes (forming a crystalline appearance) and the bar counter freezing into stone. The liquor behind the bar is in a solid ice block. Century also has a cigar bar and the Michael's Club - with hand-rolled cigars, port wine, and fine cognacs.

Celebrity Cruises parent company RCCL (Royal Caribbean) sold at the end of 2014 the ship to the Chinese travel company Ctrip for the price of USD 157 million. The ship joined the fleet of Exquisite Marine (a Ctrip Holdings subsidiary) in April 2015. Among the deckplan changes on the "Chinese ship" were new restaurants, new ice bar, added trampoline and a mini-golf course.

Ctrip is China's leading travel agency, and also one of the largest travel brands in the country. The company's business is in transportation ticketing, accommodation reservation, travel tour packages, corporate travel deals. Ctrip is also a cruise booking agency, holding over 10% of China's cruising market.

SkySea Holdings was founded in 2013 with Stone Capital - a Shanghai-based private equity company that invests for China's wealthiest families and entrepreneurs. However, the company was not announced until the RCI partnership. Both RCCL and Ctrip each have a 35% stake, while the remaining 30% is held by Stone Capital. SkySea Cruises is managed by Min Fan (Ctrip's Vice Chairman, President, and co-founder) who is the company's CEO and Chairman. Management staff comes from both RCCL and Ctrip. Ctrip provides the marketing network, technical expertise, customer base and travel agency services, while RCCL handles cruise operations and crew management.

RCCL's SkySea brand targeted China's middle- to high-level cruising market, focusing on 30- to 60-year-old consumers. The company had plans to add a ship a year (acquiring older vessels from other companies) and eventually to order a newbuild. In 2014 (1 year before SkySea Cruises started operations) the number of Chinese cruise ship tourists reached 90 million.

In Spring 2017, SkySea Cruise Line added South Korea as a departure port option to ship's Shanghai homeport program. Passengers had the option to board the ship in Busan, cruise to Japan, disembark in China (Shanghai) and from China take a home flight back to South Korea.

SkySea Golden Era refurbishment 2017 review

On November 16, 2017, SkySea Cruises announced the completion of the ship's drydock (October 25 through November 11) done at COSCO Shipyard (Zhoushan, China). For this renovation project, SkySea partnered with CSSC (China State Shipbuilding Corporation) and G-Art (interior design and renovations).

  • The dry-dock included routine maintenance works, as well as adding 2 new conference halls (meeting rooms) on decks 7 and 12.
  • "SkySea Board Room" (Deck 7) has max capacity 50 seats.
  • "SkySea Conference Room" (Deck 12) has capacity 100 seats.
  • Grand Restaurant was renovated with a new Chinese theme.
  • A new beauty salon was opened via a partnership with PhiSkin. Ship's retail shops were expanded. A new pharmacy was added as a retail offering.