Access improvement data and online Access Guides - Marella Cruises (TUI)

Marella Cruises is a British cruise line operated by TUI UK, offering cruise holidays around Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia. From ancient cities to the Caribbean’s beaches, you can explore over 120 destinations. Their growing fleet covers off everything from family-friendly to adults-only ships. A key aim is to ensure a consistent high level of service on all ships.

Marella cruise ship

The Challenge

The Marella fleet has an average age of 25 years with the vessels constructed based on guidance and requirements of the early nineties, though during that era eternal non compliance areas such as accessible cabins and the like were limited. Over the years retro-fitting across the piece has taken place by previous owners who operated in the North American market where the requirements differ and tend to be applied as a compliance piece rather than for the benefit of guests and crew.

Marella’s engagement and partnership with AccessAble was to take a holistic approach across the piece, firstly to understand the risk of the status quo i.e. doing nothing, then subsequently with cooperation, preparation and open communication to prioritise areas that required attention.

The Solution

AccessAble worked with Marella to set out a comprehensive survey programme for each ship, reviewing all public access areas. The surveys needed to provide information that could be developed into online Access Guides to be shared through and also via Marella’s own web-based information. The survey also needed to produce information that could be developed into specific insight reports that would enable Marella to target key areas that could feed directly into their refurbishment projects.

What was also important, was being able to schedule surveys aboard ships that were almost constantly in use across Europe. This meant AccessAble needed to fly in and out of different airports to meet the ships at various docking points along their journeys. Those surveys needed to be conducted with minimum disruption to the ships staff and to the guests onboard. Specific tablet hardware with AccessAble’s unique surveying tool technology were used to record the information ensuring the process was delivered efficiently and with minimal visible impact.

A process of submission and review was established to ensure the various information could be approved on a ship by ship basis as quickly as possible in order to set live on the website.

Since the production of the information, the Guides have been shared via the websites to more than 5 million people (2022). The guidance reports have been aligned directly with the fleet refurbishment project, this is now the practice going forward and in partnership between Marella and AccessAble, future projects are discussed so adjustments to inspection visits can be made.


"The surveys conducted are extremely thorough with their content and supporting documentation clearly support the need for an independent view with the technical knowledge of the requirements and offer the consistency needed across the fleet. The three-tiered output of web, matrix and detailed works well and enables the teams to plan refurbishment projects in line with the required standards, examples being accessible toilets, restaurant seating and upcoming cabin refurbishment project.

The working relationship has been a high-quality experience with a flexible but proactive approach to vessel visits, report completion and quality exceeded our expectation, The initial six ship survey piece was delivered in a timely manner and the web content has become a valuable resource for potential and current customers alike. The onboard teams have found the surveyors presence onboard informative, and they are always willing to explains an points raised."

Sean McCarthy

Marine Safety Manager, Marella Cruises