MS Marella Dream | Activities, cabins, deck plans, reviews | CruiseBe
Average: 6.5 (4 votes)

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MS Marella Dream

243.2 m
First voyage

MS Marella Dream is a cruise ship owned by TUI UK Ltd. and operated under charter by Marella Cruises. She was built in 1986 at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, West Germany as MS Homeric for Home Lines. In 1988 she was sold to Holland America Line and renamed MS Westerdam. In 1990 she was lengthened by 36.9 m (121 ft 1 in) at Meyer Werft. In 2002 she was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises and renamed MS Costa Europa. In April 2010 she left the fleet of Costa Cruises on... Read more

MS Marella Dream

Capacity (DO): 
243.2 m
32 m
First voyage: 

MS Marella Dream is a cruise ship owned by TUI UK Ltd. and operated under charter by Marella Cruises. She was built in 1986 at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, West Germany as MS Homeric for Home Lines. In 1988 she was sold to Holland America Line and renamed MS Westerdam. In 1990 she was lengthened by 36.9 m (121 ft 1 in) at Meyer Werft. In 2002 she was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises and renamed MS Costa Europa. In April 2010 she left the fleet of Costa Cruises on a ten-year charter to Thomson Cruises, under the name MS Thomson Dream. She is the last new build for Home Lines to remain in active service.

Following the announcement on the 9th October 2017, that Thomson Cruises would be renamed Marella Cruises, TUI Group also announced that Thomson Dream would adopt the name Marella Dream at the end of October 2017.

Concept and construction

The Homeric was planned during the first half of the 1980s as a replacement for the aging SS Oceanic in the Home Lines' fleet. Meyer Werft in Papenburg, West Germany was chosen as the shipyard to build her. The ship was named in honour of the company's earlier SS Homeric, a popular ship that had been destroyed by a fire in 1973. The new Homeric was launched on 28 September 1985. She performed her sea trials between 26 December and 30 December 1985, but she was not delivered to Home Lines until 6 May 1986.

Following the sale of the ship to Holland America Line (and the sale of HAL itself to the Carnival Corporation), the ex-Homeric, now named Westerdam, returned to Meyer Werft on 30 October 1989 for a $84 million refit. The ship was lengthened by36.9 m (121 ft 1 in) and many of her interiors were rebuilt. The refit was completed on 12 March 1990.

In 2002, prior to entering service as Costa Europa for Costa Cruises, the ship received a £5 million refit, with some of the public rooms redecorated and six balcony suites added.

Service history

1986—1988: Homeric

During her service with Home Lines the Homeric was used for cruises from New York to Bermuda during the northern hemisphere summer season and cruises in the Caribbean during the rest of the year. The success of the Homeric in service with Home Lines has been questioned, with one author describing her as the "giant swan song" of the company. Whether the fault of the ship or something else, Home Lines was purchased by the Holland America Line in 1988.

1988—2002: Westerdam

In November 1988 the Homeric joined the fleet of Holland America Line and was renamed Westerdam (different sites state different dates for her transfer to the HAL fleet). In service with her new owners, the Westerdam cruised to Alaska during the summer season, returning to the Caribbean for the winter. Soon after Home Lines had been purchased by Holland America, HAL itself was purchased by the Carnival Corporation. HAL's new owners decided to invest heavily in the fairly new Westerdam, and between October 1989 and March 1990 she was extensively rebuilt and enlarged at Meyer Werft. When the Westerdam entered service for HAL, she was registered in The Bahamas, but in 1996 she was re-registered to the Netherlands.

In 2002, following the delivery of several newbuilds for Holland America Line, the Westerdam was transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises.

2002—April 2010: Costa Europa

Following the transfer to Costa Cruises in April 2002, the Westerdam was renamed Costa Europa and re-registered in Italy. On 27 April 2002 she started on her first cruise for her new owners from Genoa, subsequently being used for cruises around Europe.

April 2010 onwards

Costa Europa left the fleet of Costa Cruises in April 2010, being bareboat chartered to the United Kingdom-based Thomson Cruises for ten years. The charter agreement also includes an option for Thomson Cruises to buy the ship after five years. The ship was renamed Thomson Dream for her service with Thomson. Thomson Dream received a refurbishment at the end of 2012 and introduced into the Platinum collection of cruises.


Exterior design

The Homeric was built with a terraced forward and rear superstructure, with lifeboats placed fairly high. She had a relatively large funnel, with a large arch behind it to deflect some soot away from the rear decks. In original Home Lines livery she had a white hull and superstructure, with a blue decorative riband separating them. Her funnel and radar mast, the structures immediately below them and the cranes on her forward deck were painted yellow. The ship's name was painted in tall letters on the side of the superstructure below the radar mast.

On entering service with Holland America Line, the Westerdam received HAL's dark blue hull colours, with her funnel and radar mast painted white. The 1989-1990 lengthening altered her exterior appearance somewhat. The windows of the added section are larger than those forward and aft.

As Costa Europa, the ship was painted all-white, with a yellow funnel and a small flag of the EU painted on the side of the superstructure.

As Thomson Dream the ship retains an all-white livery, but with a blue funnel bearing the TUI/Thomson group logo.

Interior design

Unusually for a cruise ship of her time, the Homeric was built with a somewhat ocean liner-like layout, with her dining room in particular reflecting liner-like design, being located on a lower deck. She was also built with a sizeable promenade deck and a one-deck-high theatre. She was built with two swimming pools, one to the rear of the ship and another amidship which was covered with a magrodome.

During the 1989-1990 refit, two lounges in the forward section of the ship were combined to create a large two-level theatre, with the original theatre retained as a cinema. In HAL service, she was decorated with artworks drawing on the history of the Dutch Empire. On entering service with Costa Cruises, the ship was refurbished, with some of the interior decorations changed to brighter and more European style. The original theatre was built in with six balcony suites, and a new ballroom with a hardwood dance floor replaced an earlier lounge. Despite the refit, most of the ship's decorations have been retained from the HAL days, resulting in the Costa Europa having somewhat different interior decorations from her "Italian-style" fleetmates.

Decks and facilities

  1. Tank Top - Laundry, engine room.
  2. C - Crew cabins, engine room, stores.
  3. B - Crew cabins, hospital, tender embarkation area, engine room, garbage area, stores.
  4. Orion deck - Orion restaurant (main dining room), inside and outside cabins, main galley, crew messrooms.
  5. Pegasus deck - Inside and outside cabins.
  6. Perseus deck - Inside and outside cabins.
  7. Auriga deck - Suites, inside and outside cabins.
  8. Hercules deck - Theatre (lower level), Medusa ballroom, Ocean bar, Argo lounge, lecture room, card room, library, shops, games arcade, beauty salon, casino, discothèque, Kidzone.
  9. Andromeda deck - Theatre (upper level), buffet restaurant, outside cabins, sun deck, swimming pool. The two muster stations (A and B) are located on this deck.
  10. Cassiopea deck - Bridge, fitness center, outside cabins, officers' cabins, sun deck.
  11. Sirens deck - A la carte and buffet restaurants, sun deck, magrodome covered swimming pool, suites.
  12. Centaurus deck - Tennis courts, crew sunbathing deck, funnel, pool deck upper level open top sun deck

Media appearances

MS Westerdam was featured in the 1997 comedy film "Out to Sea" with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

The ship appeared on BBC One Watchdog during an investigation into customer complaints: the report found broken airconditioning units and sewage and plumbing problems during the first few voyages with Thomson. The company were also criticised for broadcasting "misleading" advertisements, claiming the ship was "luxury, brand new and 5*" when in fact it was over 24 years old.


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Attractions on MS Marella Dream

The Sun Lounge

Average: 10 (1 vote)
This sunbathing area has a beach club-style feel, with comfy daybeds as standard and a bar.

Mistral's Restaurant

Average: 8 (2 votes)
When it comes to extravagant dining, this place is a real gem. Pick the likes of lamb rack from the ? la carte menu, and enjoy attentive waiter service in contemporary surroundings. Just so you kno...

Pool Bar

Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
Al fresco drinks are served at this poolside bar.

Coffee Port

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This cosy coffee shop is located in Thomson Dream's Explorers' Lounge. By day, it's the place to grab cappuccinos, cake and ice-cream. At night, meanwhile, it turns into a cocktail corner.

Lido Bar

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Set next to the pool and restaurant, there are chairs and tables here for al fresco eats and drinks. It makes a great space for cooking demos and games, and there’s usually a bit of live music in t...


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Set in the centre of the ship, this is a convenient place to meet friends. Of an evening, the grand piano gets an airing and singer soloists will draw you towards the dance floor.

Main Pool

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Head to the rear of deck 9 for a relaxed pool scene. It’s one for all the family and comes with fantastic sea views.

Explorers Lounge

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Huge table lamps and big solid tables set the scene here. By day, it’s a low-lit spot for relaxing over cappuccinos and quiet chitchat. It’s also one of the ship’s Wi-Fi zones. By night, the tempo ...

Kids Pool

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The kids’ pool is next to the Main Pool on deck 9.

Card Room

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The wood-panelled card room is stocked with playing cards and board games like Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. It’s light and bright, with a dozen or so tables and chairs with chequer-board backs.