22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be ... Read More
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be as honest as I can. Sorry it is so long, there’s so much to say, but I have subtitled each section for ease of reference. * Outbound Flight – We flew early morning from Manchester to Aqaba, Jordan and the 5 ½ hour flight was hassle free. We were only 30 minutes late taking off and they gave us breakfast an hour in. Complimentary drinks were plentiful and they didn’t dawdle when serving them either. All flight staff demonstrated great customer service skills, politeness and efficiency. We collected our suitcases quickly and the bus ride to the ship was only 30 minutes. My only gripe here was we hadn’t been told we were getting the meal and spent £25 on breakfast at the airport. That said we also ate the inflight meal (“coz we’re on holiday”, lol). * Embarkation - Our first ever experience of the embarkation/registration process was like being on the boat ride in ‘Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory’, but in a nice way. It was all so very quick and well organised like a conveyor belt moving us from photograph taking, form checking, medical declarations signed, debit card registration, optional dining extras and handing us our cabin keys with great efficiency. Everyone was very ‘happy clappy’, we loved the excitement of it all and we came out the other side like kids in a candy shop. We went straight to our room to change into clothes we’d packed in our hand luggage and our suitcases were outside our room when we left it 10 minutes later. * Cabin - Deck 6 cabin 207 (Deluxe standard) – Reviewed below. * Food – We ate in the Lido restaurant mostly and never had a single item that wasn’t delicious. Breakfast they have back bacon, eggs done to perfection, omelettes made to order and pancakes to die for. Lunch and Evening Meal were equally good. Food was mostly English fare. We tended to not have an evening meal though as we were too full to enjoy the evening festivities, so we took to eating at around midnight before bedtime when there were curries, pizza, burgers and chicken strips to devour from the Lido. We enjoyed a few meals in the Meridian where the meals were more set and this was a great way to meet other cruisers as we always shared a table (in the Lido you tend to just sit on your own). We paid £47 each to eat in the Hot Stone Terrace, Mistrals and Kora La. All 3 were fabulous, lovely food, great service and well worth the money we paid. But if you’re on a budget, you won’t feel like you missed out if you don’t do these. * Bars/Entertainment – We tended to go to Liberties in the evening and joined in many of the quizzes, fun and games. The entertainment team really are 1st class in our view. Adam, Chris, Luke and Shaneece made a great holiday even better. We went to some of the Broadway shows and loved them all, even the 2 comedians and Braximusic (those guys were amazing). So we didn’t miss out we also did Hemmingway’s 2 evenings and Horizons 2 days, as well as the Coffee Port afternoon. There really is a bar to cater for ever preference on this ship. Drinks were always good, we stuck to the AI drinks and we had more than our money’s worth on this holiday (had we have paid for it of course). * Staff – Amazing people! They work their socks off these guys. The Lido Deck and Liberties bar staff/waiters were super quick and attentive to when your glass was empty. The other bar areas were pretty efficient too, but just not a quick as Liberties, which made us feel as if we were not getting the best service from them. Every member of the service or cleaning staff said hello when you passed them and always had a smile. They are really a credit to Thomson. I’ve been told we had new starters learning the ropes as the experienced staff has moved to the newer ships, but you can’t tell. The crew and captain are also very friendly whether on or off the boat. The entertainment team tend to be less friendly when not on official duties, or rather less welcoming if you say hello. I couldn’t help but feel like I was intruding if we tried to talk to them when they were having a drink on the Lido deck after a show. * Pools/sunbeds – They were cold and only a handful ventured in. I presume this will improve later in the summer season. We didn’t struggle for a sunbed, but usually went to the Lido sun deck rather than the cushioned ones on deck 9 (got these on last day and they are amazingly comfortable). * Photographs - There was an offer on the 1st day on official photographs. £70 for every picture they take, so we couldn’t resist. Again we were like little kids queuing for the ice cream man whenever we got off the ship and went for our evening meal. We’ve got over 100 pictures and they’re brilliant. So that’s the parent’s Christmas presents sorted this year. * Shops – Only a small number of shops, with a good variety of items from tobacco and jewellery, to clothes and souvenirs. We had no intention of buying anything but couldn’t resist it as the prices were very good. The cigarette offer we got were £25 per 200, the same in UK would have been £85 per 200. We only purchased 800 (I know the limit is 200 each) and we were lucky we didn’t have any taken from us in the UK as I know others did. We didn’t bother buying alcohol as they were all glass bottles that have to go into your hold luggage and the savings were only a couple of quid a bottle. Prices on some items did get reduced later in the cruise, so wait if you can till the last day but make sure it will opens as it only opens when ship is at sea. * Wi-Fi – Costs a fortune! We just got free Wi-Fi in port in any coffee shop. From official Thomson card = 1 hour (max 75mb) £8 – 1 day (max 300mb) £15 – 3 days (max 800mb) £25 – 1 week (max 1200mb) £49 – 2 weeks (max 2200mb) £90. * Disembarkation/Malaga Airport – Every flight but 1 was early morning, however all passengers have to vacate their rooms at 7am. You can pay £25 to keep your room if you’re on a late flight. Our bus was 8.10am, so we ate breakfast at 6am when the Lido opened to beat the rush. We left the room at 7am and waited by the door on deck 4 to get off as soon as it opened. That meant we were on bus 1 leaving the port first. That also meant there were no queues at check in and as the Spanish don’t rush when checking you in, these can and did build up quickly. It also meant that we went through security without any delay either. The same cannot be said for anyone on buses 2 and above, they had a minor nightmare through check in and security, so I’m lead to believe. It wasn’t helped that we were all told to go to zone B for the gates, but the passport control box in zone B was unmanned for at the time we went through security, therefore it looked as though it was closed for the day. Luckily we knew this would open an hour before the first flight as we’d been through Malaga 6 months earlier, so we waited nearby and went through once it opened. Again we missed the major queues and our flight left on time from the gate announced. I appreciate others did not have the same experience, so can only attribute our luck to our early start before the masses and that our plane wasn’t delayed as others were. * Would I go again? – In a heartbeat yes. In short though I loved cruising and this won’t be my last. I will choose Thomson again and the Celebration will be top of my list. Why? The staff and other customers completely made this holiday the best I’ve ever had. Because the ship is not enormous we were able to meet many people who were so friendly. Of all the passengers we spoke to during our 13 days on board, only 1 couple said they wouldn’t do Thomson’s again and their reasons were that the food and entertainment is better on P&O. I would rather pay Thomson’s prices as I was completely happy with just about everything. * Excursions/ports of call Petra, Jordan – We did the Thomson excursion and it was worth every penny of the £120pp we paid. The bus ride took 2 ½ hours with one 15 minute stop off and you get 3-4 hours to view the site which is amazing, but a very long walk down to the main areas. We made it to The Treasury, Hadrian Gate and the Theatre and we walked for nearly 2 hours! There was lots more to see, but it would take us 2 hours to get back up to the entrance/exit, so we had to turn around and go back. If you stay with the guide it takes longer as they stop often to talk about everything. We followed another couple who’d been there before. You can get a horse or a pony and trap, but we slugged it out. The horses are whipped to death both up and down the hill and I didn’t trust the pony/trap drivers as there was a collision on the day we were there between 2 of these. You get a meal on this trip at a local hotel before you return home. It’s AI and satisfactory (but not a patch on the ship’s food). Chana, Crete – We did this ourselves using the map from Destination Services which is very useful. Short bus ride immediately off the ship’s gangway to the main street, then a leisurely walk around the harbour area and old town. Valletta, Malta – We did the 3 Islands tour with Thomson’s here. First off a speedboat ride over to Gozo. This was a white knuckle ride as the sea was choppy and it was pretty breezy. We loved it, but we’re 50 years young and there were people in their 80’s who weren’t as excited bouncing around at break neck speed. On Gozo we took to the road in jeeps, which were a little cramped in the back (I had a front seat lol). We visited some lovely areas, but The Azure Window (as seen in Game of Thrones) is no more as the sea took it away in early March. I was a little disappointed, but you can’t blame Mother Nature. We stopped at a beach café then back over to Malta, visiting the caves on Comino on the way. The weather was not good on this day, so this trip was slightly marred by that. However it’s still worth the £70pp we paid. Palma, Majorca – Again we did our own thing here. There is a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus immediately off the ship here, but it has a long queue when everyone gets off the ship first thing. It costs 18 Euros per person with headphones and we did a full round trip taking pictures of sites along the way. We got off at the shopping centre and had some lunch at a local bar then walked back to the ship. Cartagena, Spain – This is a beautiful town and you can do it yourself here. The main places to see are within a 10 minute walk of the ship. We saw the Amphitheatre, the Castle of Conception and the Bullring. The buildings are all amazing here. It was Bank Holiday so we were also treated to a parade by the local children in band uniform. Delightful. I spent nothing here as I’d inadvertently left my purse of the ship, but only realised when we went to buy a coffee and get some free Wi-Fi, lol. Gibraltar, UK – We did our own thing here. We walked into town rather than wait for the shuttle as the queue was very long. We wanted to do the cable car to the apes so we ignored all the tour guides in mini buses (Gibraltar Rock Tours or something) as they started off quoting 35 euros each to take the tour of the rock, apes, St Michael’s Cave etc. They also told us the cable car had 45 minutes wait and we would only save a few pounds, but it would take us 3 hours to walk through the reserve to get to the apes. We thought they were embellishing the truth a little to get our business, so we walked 30 minutes to the cable car only to find they were indeed telling us the truth. So we went outside to the nearest mini bus and paid £25 each for the tour. It was brilliant, he talked us through all the areas and gave us interesting facts along the way. We passed all the cable car walkers on the way up and back down and completed the tour in 90 minutes. He even dropped us in town so we could shop and buy some fish and chips for lunch, yummy. Most of the shops were offering discount for Celebration customers and I got a Pandora safety chain for £45 instead of £60. TIP - Do your research and only do the Thomson excursions that you’ll find difficult doing yourself or where you are worried about getting back on time. Our friends did a few Thomson excursions where they paid £36 each and ended up doing what we did for next to nothing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
I went on the 'Holy Lands' cruise, March - April 2013. It was fantastically good value and had the most wonderful time! I loved being on the ship, arriving at an exotic port at dawn, a days fabulous sightseeing,all extremely ... Read More
I went on the 'Holy Lands' cruise, March - April 2013. It was fantastically good value and had the most wonderful time! I loved being on the ship, arriving at an exotic port at dawn, a days fabulous sightseeing,all extremely well and comfortably organised. The best local restaurants booked for us at lunchtime, top-flight lecturers informing us on what we were seeing and about the countries we visited - an amazing education whilst being totally pampered. As the passengers never exceed 350, you never feel crowded. In fact, it's easy to be alone if you want to, and that's not just in your comfortable cabin. (I booked the cheapest) If you are a single passenger wanting to socialise, you're invited to join other passengers at tables at mealtimes; if not, no problem. It's a very friendly and respectful atmosphere. Again, for single passengers, a drinks party was arranged on the second evening on board to introduce you to staff and other singles. Minerva cruises attract intelligent people with curiosity/experience about their world. The mainly Philipino restaurant and bar staff were charming and the service 5 star, as was the food! (and I'm fussy) . On my second evening in the Verandah bar - lovely gentle, live music being played, the barman said: "Ah, Mrs Chadwick, will it be the gin and tonic again tonight?", Tony the barman had remembered me! Alcoholic drinks are very reasonably priced. The food is excellent with a choice of silver service dining, or the self-service restaurant with a cornucopia of choices, which you could take out, or have brought to you, on deck. Entertainments are fine, talented musicians of all persuasions are there for your enjoyment. I bopped away till the early hours! And then woke early for a good breakfast before the morning's excursion! On a budget, I stuck to the price included excursions, of which there was a daily choice. Though if you wish to pay a very reasonable fee you can explore further. I very much appreciated the company's concern for the welfare of staff- almost part of the family - evidenced in their cheerful good service. Cleanliness is excellent, scrupulous attention is paid to passenger comfort and health. I would recommend Minerva cruises very highly - it changed my life! I'm booked again this year. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife & I have just returned from the Red Sea Magic cruise on the Thomson Celebration and thought I would share my experience with you. In one word....EXCELLENT! This was our first cruise so remember that we have nothing else to ... Read More
My wife & I have just returned from the Red Sea Magic cruise on the Thomson Celebration and thought I would share my experience with you. In one word....EXCELLENT! This was our first cruise so remember that we have nothing else to compare it to, but it food, accommodation, cleanliness & entertainment were all fantastic so I can't see how it could be improved? As it was our first cruise we decided against any trips (besides, we have been to Egypt before) so we stayed on board for the full week. (I heard nothing but good things about the trips, although many people did say that they were long, exhausting days with several hours spent on the coach and plenty of walking when you got there) The food was out of this world, and you will come back two stone heavier! There are 3 eating places on the celebration; 1) The Lido; this is the buffet restaurant where you help yourself. In between breakfast, lunch & dinner they have afternoon teas, snack bar, and late night buffet and so this is running 24 hours a day. Very informal you can come straight in from the pool deck in shorts, T shirts & flip flops. 2) The Meridian; this is the waiter service restaurant and they have a stricter dress code. Described as "smart casual" I got turned away once because my shirt didn't have a collar! (Just a Polo shirt is fine; you don't need shirt & tie every time you want breakfast!) Waiter service is provided for the 3 main meals each day. Food is tremendous but portion sizes quite small so most people tended to have an appetiser PLUS a soup PLUS a salad in addition to the entree & desert. 3) "Mistrals"; This is the small, intimate "a la carte" restaurant where an additional £19 per person is payable (£15 if you do it on Thursday night when you first arrive) Like me your first thought may be: "Why pay £38 extra for a couple if the food in the Meridian is that good?" but trust me it is worth every penny! From beautiful presentation to immaculate service it is probably one of the best meals I have ever had in my entire life! (CruiseCritic makes reference to the celebrity chef Aldo Zilli but his name was not mentioned anyway on board so I don't think he is associated with this cruise ship anymore?) The entertainment is as good as the food! The "Broadway show lounge" performed a show twice a night (usually 20:45 & 22:30) and these were very polished, slick productions by the clearly very talented show team. Whilst the theme of the show changes (There was an "Elton John" showcase, an "Africa" themed one, 70's "Car Wash", etc) it can get a bit "samey" if you want to be a bit picky and is essentially a group of 8 performers singing & dancing. (One night they had a comedy guest called Brenda Collins....well I say comedy...her jokes were hardly cutting edge and thought she was terrible but I assume that when Thomson are booking a comedy act they have to play it safe and book someone who appeals to a broad range of people right?) After the show lounge the other main area tended to be the "Liberties" nightclub with game shows, quizzes, and cabaret, although sometimes the entertainment switched to the Lido pool deck. (Look out for the very talented band "Top Men" who can sing & play songs from virtually every genre!) In addition to these you have "Hemmingways" bar but personally I would check out "Horizons" on deck 9; a lovely place to sit and have a cocktail with ambient mood lighting and the wonderful singing duo "Too Intense" providing a beautiful acoustic set with Tomas on guitar and Maris on vocals -- enchanting! I'll mention the drinks; we were full board so basically all the food was included, but they wanted an extra £199 PER PERSON to upgrade to all inclusive. This seemed terribly expensive and I'm glad we didn't pay another £398! I suppose it all comes down to how much you drink but a pint was £3.50 so a couple would have to drink roughly 16 pints a day between them in a week to break even! Tea, coffee & water are free all day long, and fruit juices are provided anyway in the Lido up to 11am so I'm not convinced that the drinks package was value for money. (Some items carry an additional surcharge anyway!) Couple of other things to note about the drinks package; If you decide to take it out ALL guests in a party have to have it, not just one person, so no sneaky paying for just one all inclusive drinks package and both of you using it! Also, you cannot upgrade once on the ship (I thought I might get a reduced bargain!) I did like the cashless system on board; there were no errors with my purchases and you get an itemised bill regularly during the trip. I also felt no pressure to tip as this is included on the prices, and with it being a cashless system then you didn't feel obliged to say "keep the change"!! Now while we're talking about money I'll tell you what we paid for this cruise (no-one seems to like saying how much they paid but I know it's a thing we all want to know!) I booked 2 months in advance and paid £1440.00. This was for 2 adults, full board, with all flight supplements & extras included plus a cabin upgrade. At the time the implication was that this was a massive saving on the regular prices but unless you know for sure what the regular price is then it's hard to assess. Our cabin was really nice (we upgraded to a Deluxe one on a higher deck and we briefly popped in a basic one left open on deck 8 and I'm glad we upgraded; bigger, brighter, and spacious with a proper bath! Money well spent I thought!) The ship itself is lovely, yet after chatting to other more experienced travellers some did comment it looked a little "tired", and yes, signs are there if you look for them; if you want to inspect the grouting in the bottom corner of the bathroom, or study the bottom of the posts & handrails on deck for blistering or peeling paintwork, and look at the silicone sealant between the decking then you can see signs of fatigue, but trust me, it is kept immaculately clean throughout. As you can see this review is very positive, but if I had to find fault, it would be with the nature of the ports; big, barren, dusty wastelands full of containers and empty of character. In my mind a ship should dock and everyone can simply walk down the gang plank and visit the fish market and little shops and stall....this is NOTHING like this! OK....we never got off so I guess it didn't really matter but if I did another cruise I would look at the ports of call a bit closer! This review is going on a bit longer that I expected but it wouldn't be complete without saying just how lovely everyone was! There was a real GENUINE feeling of warmth & friendliness, and I think the Captain summed it up nicely when he said "We might not be the biggest ship, or the newest, but I believe we are the friendliest" and I have to woleheartedly agree! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2011
Although I have never been in a Butlins camp before, I have seen TV footage and this cruise seemed to match it. On a positive note, the ship was clean and we upgraded to an outside cabin which was impressively large for such a small ... Read More
Although I have never been in a Butlins camp before, I have seen TV footage and this cruise seemed to match it. On a positive note, the ship was clean and we upgraded to an outside cabin which was impressively large for such a small cruise ship...yes that's it for the positive. Negative: Everything else. There was an area at the rear of the ship (called Lido I think), which was packed every day with a heaving mass of excess blubber sunbathing,and people drinking alcohol from breakfast to bedtime. (The Gym attendant told me that many people actually had the nerve to say the sun loungers were too small, only because they couldn't fit their bulk onto them!).... and yes, the Gym was always empty! There was a dress code for the eating areas (cover up please)... which many refused to follow and the staff would not enforce. This led to us having to eat with half naked people who wouldn't look out of place in a rundown Seafront fish and chip shop. It's interesting to note that they all seemed to like it there. Needless to say we very quickly learned to avoid that area. There was a better restaurant in another part of the ship, and that was fine. The waiters were very cheerful and attentive, but that soon changed at the end of the cruise if no extra tip was forthcoming. (tips are included on Thomson cruises so they shouldn't expect more...but they do) We were looking forward to the Captains cocktail party and had the required Dinner jacket and glittery dress for the occasion. BIG MISTAKE. We expected the usual cocktail party with drinks and a mingle with staff and other passengers with gentle music playing in the background. What we actually got was an hour of queuing to have a photograph taken with your partner. Then more queuing to have your photo taken with the Captain (why?...as we don't know him!). Then in to the entertainment area to be given one drink (very strict on the ONE drink) and told to sit down. When all guests were in, the Captain got on the stage and introduced the heads of staff for each department and it was over! We sat there waiting for the actual cocktail party to begin, until the place emptied and we realized that it was over. It was an outrageous joke and a complete waste of our time. The entertainment was very amateurish and on par with a karaoke evening, even though it's advertised as similar to West End shows .... and I admit I have seen some very dire shows in the West End, but never as bad as they were. The excursions were very expensive and very rushed. We particularly wanted to see the Pyramids, but they did not allow any time to wander around. The moment we arrived we were told to be back on the coach in half an hour. The whole Giza area is very large and needs at least 3 hours to appreciate. Many people on cruises are elderly and cannot walk fast, therefore they hardly had time to walk to the nearest Pyramid before having to rush back to the coach. Hint: Avoid the drinks package! Very expensive and to get value for money, you would have to get drunk every night. That might seem like an attractive proposition for some (and it was with many on the ship) but not us. The drinks are regular pub prices and easily affordable without having to skimp. We would have a bottle of wine with dinner and two or three Gin & Tonics, and the occasional cocktail every day.... and it still cost half of the drinks package deal for the week. One strange and unexpected anomaly were the children on the cruise.... who turned out to be better behaved than the adults. Now I do realise that there are some of you reading this who are thinking it all sounds great, and you will go and book a cruise on the Thomson Spirit tomorrow...... but this review is aimed at the majority who will hopefully be just as appalled as we were. ......And don't even mention the food on the plane which is over priced and underwhelming. Take sandwiches! We would like to cruise again, but are now very wary, so will have to read many reviews before deciding. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
I booked the holiday as I wanted to see Egypt and thought staying on a cruise ship would be safer - it was!! The room - I was surprised that the bed was a double and the room was very spacious. Loads of storage space, flat screen ... Read More
I booked the holiday as I wanted to see Egypt and thought staying on a cruise ship would be safer - it was!! The room - I was surprised that the bed was a double and the room was very spacious. Loads of storage space, flat screen tele and of course shower room. The only critisim I have is that the shower area was a little tired. However the room was fantastic. I opted for a port hole and was not disappointed with the view that I had. The dining area. I opted for most of my breakfast and dinners the main restuarant. You would not be disappointed. William (the head waiter) and Chris (appointed waiter) always greeted me and asked if I wanted to be on my own or with people - they always found me lovely people to sit next to and found I was sitting there for about 2 hours - chatting!! I did go into the buffet area one evening and found it very quiet but did opt for my lunches in there and found it sufficient. The free ice creams for every one were fantastic and the outside burgers/chips were great (although i did not try them). The upgrade restuarant I never opted for as I found the standard of food was fantastic. Celebration package. I had flowers, champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in my room when I arrived - fantastic. They were there to greet me and the champagne was Moet and in an silver bucket with ice - very welcoming. Breakfast. They did unfortunately forget but once I rang I to the main reception I had the main reception and waiter come to my room with my order and apologised for the delay. They later rang to see if I wanted anything else. Reception - fantastic. Very helpful. Solo breakfasts. I think the main receptionist was called Gemma. She informed us of how the ship works and general information. The best thing was she remembered us. Staff. ALL staff were very friendly but not gorping or seedy. It felt if you asked for anything they were only too happy to help. Spa. I had 3 treatment in the spa area and loved every single one of them. Only downside is if you have caught the sun having a massage can hurt a little but they do direct you. Ladies evening. I think this was only £10 and was fantastic. We had a bottle of champagne and the spa lady showed us their ointments and applied. Only downside was I was covered in oil and had my hair in conditioner - downside was I had to glam up for dinner! Swimming pool. Not many people were in the swimming pool which was diappointing. Sunbeds. What is it with the English. There were enough beds for those sunbathing as there are loads of decks. Either that or just sitting by the railings reading a book was just as good. Excursions. This was where I was worried about but found that I didnt need to be. There was a tour guide, armed guard (just for safety) and sanitisation crew. The tour guide was very informative and if we had any problems he sorted it out! The ship arranged for snacks and drinks enroute plus on full day excursions we had lunch in a 4 star hotel! When you come back from a full day the waiters greet you with their live band and you have sanitisation crew with hot cloths and drinks - you go through the scanner and checked back in on the ship. A few of us ordered some jewellery which arrived alongside the ship. We felt safe as security were aware and kept an eye on everyone - so safe and not over the top. Other passengers: I found they were so relaxed I made friends with loads of people. People were looking out for each other too - even one lady gave me some of her sun lotion. Others we took turns in taking photos and one offered to lend me some money when I was on a trip to Petra so I could buy a book. So you see everyone was so relaxed but still looking out for eachother it was very comforting. Captains night. I offered to go with another single passenger who wasnt too keen to go. Unfortunately he stuck to me all evening but soon got the message. Afternoon Tea: well you can eat and eat and eat. They do mid-afternoon tea with cream cakes etc... if you go into the library/quiet seating area you get a waitress. Cinema - has fresh hot popcorn waiting outside. Cabin Stewards - Fantastic job and very helpful. Dress code: in the main restuarant it is just smart except for the Captains evening. If you didnt want to opt for that then the buffet area you could wear whatever you want - although they do ask that you cover up. Ship condition. Well it was my first cruise and loved it! I could not grumble about anything and loved it so much I have booked another - albeit with someone else - to get the variety. I think that was all but as you can see I loved my trip. I will definitely do it again as I didnt opt to do all the excursions as I didnt want to cram it all in plus gives me an opportunity to do the trip again!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
The ports of call are not attractive and I do not recommend this as a first cruise, we were very disappointed that it was not easy to get off the ship and explore on our own. This is a cruise for people who plan to get off the ship on ... Read More
The ports of call are not attractive and I do not recommend this as a first cruise, we were very disappointed that it was not easy to get off the ship and explore on our own. This is a cruise for people who plan to get off the ship on Thomson Excursions to Luxor and Cairo and not a itinerary for those who want to try out cruising for the first time just to be on the ship for the experience. The ports are scruffy and very industrial, Only Agaba was the close to being a nice place to berth, the last port at safga is next to a cement factory and we were berthed that close we could of crossed over and started work. We had this view for 2 days However these are the nearest ports to do the tours of cario and luxor unless you cruise the Nile. Thomson do need to advise you in there info that you cannot walk on some of these ports, nor can taxi's come into the ports, so you are stuck unless you use their transport or excursions The pools are small, the sunbeds are very close to each other and when at sea, a seat was very hard to find, never mind a sunbed,people were saving the benches & chairs with their towels!!! folks do save sunbeds with towels from early morning and because the sun is usually only on one side of the ship it can get busy on the top decks, but there is no shade on the top deck..so if one of your party is a sunlover and one needs the shade, there is not a happy medium and you end up sunbathing in different places Because thomson sell the All Inclusive drinks package from rates of £49 per person to £160 per person there is alot of choice of branded drinks on offer on the all inclusive, The problem is that EVERYONE has to use the boarding card to order a drink, the waiter takes your card, takes your order and then disappears for up to 20 mins...you cannot get up and walk to another bar because without your boarding card you cannot get a drink. This spoilt our enjoyment of this service and don't ask for a latte in Liberties, the bar staff do not want to serve you this, even though the machine is next to them, I had my boarding card thrown at me to sign a few times for daring to ask for a latte. The problem is that the drinks waiters do not just take your order, go and get it and bring it back. they walk around taking lots of orders, so if you ordered first, you can be waiting for a long time to get your drink because the waiter than has to go and get All the drinks, print out the receipts that match the cards, bring the drink, you have to sign for the drink and they hand you your card back... This system slows the service down and creates frustration.. we often ordered our drinks when we sat down in the restaurant to have them delivered by the time we had our sweet...in the end we admitted defeat and went to the bar ourselves and took our drinks to our table and then got up and went to the bar if we needed another one inbetween courses On the last day in safaga the crew decided they would paint the ship so moved some of the sunbeds on deck 6 at 9am - you just got yourself comfy when another crew member came and said they were closing Deck 6 for a drill at 10am - which actually began at 10.40am..by which time they cleared the sunbeds into stacks including the guests belongings in between each bed...this went on until around 12pm, by which half the ship were waiting to get a bed in the sun...so I had no chance of regaining my sunbed and ended up sitting in the shade all day. On the same day, they started to close part of deck 6 at 5pm..moving all the chairs and beds out of the area, then they closed some of the bar area while they lifted crates down to store our luggage..which was due to be stored at 2am??? This last day was very frustrating and seemed to disturb the guests quite alot..plus dont forget were were on a port next to a cement factory and no where to walk to.. I have since learnt that there was a public beach 15 mins away, why couldnt they have put on a shuttle bus to there? I would of paid had I the option a small price, they were charging £20 each to transfer to a hotel for 4 hours to use their pool/beach...no drinks or food were included. We had to have our luggage ready for collection by 2am, outside your cabin door, this was then stored overnight on deck 6. We could hear the crew members during the night transporting the luggage. We had to be out of our room by 9am the following morning. You could pay for the use of a room between 10am - 4pm for £25.00 A few guests asked reception for complaint forms and were given a blank piece of paper to fill in, I was told I would be given a form to fill in - it was a standard survey that wanted to know when my internet expired, who my car insurance was with - not exactly a complaint form. Good The food is excellent and a choice to suit all in tastes in the different restaurants. The ship is clean and our cabin was lovely and spacious, we had a deluxe cabin on the 7th deck. Everyone seemed to enjoy the musical entertainment, but they were not shows as such, just songs from shows that have been on the west end?? you will make lots of friends and will never be lonely, lots to do on the ship even if they don't do everything they advertise.. I am still waiting for my popcorn from the trip to the cinema and if you won a competition this week, no chance of a prize because they hadn't been delivered... The captains cocktail party was worth the queuing up for, you have to pass 3 lots of photographers with different back drops before you allowed into the cocktail party..the photographers didn't really care if you had your eyes open or shut and our photos were poor standard. You then sit in the broadway show lounge for an hour with a drink, listen to the band and then the captain does his speech, introduces everyone in his team and then you go to the Meridan for a gala dinner, the food and service in the Meridan was excellent. Photos are from 10.99 to 20.00 and there is a Cruise DVD for £24.00 which was on one of the tv channels while it was being made so if you spotted yourself on it, you could order it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
My fiance booked this cruise by chance - we needed a holiday - he'd just come into some compensation, so we thought we'd try something new. We chose the red sea as I am a bit of a sun worshipper and wanted somewhere still hot ... Read More
My fiance booked this cruise by chance - we needed a holiday - he'd just come into some compensation, so we thought we'd try something new. We chose the red sea as I am a bit of a sun worshipper and wanted somewhere still hot around the time of the cruise! Our cruise was a fly cruise from manchester, I wont go into details about the flight as I am not good with flying anyway, but things ran smoothly, with no delays (we usually have the worst of luck with delays). When we arrived at Sharm el Sheik airport there were thomson reps guiding us to the bus. It was probably an hour- 2 hours from landing until we were onto the ship. However the only complaint we did have was that we had put all our spending money onto my fiance's card as it uses a cashless system (a good idea) but when we went to register his card they advised us they didnot accept visa electron, so we then had to register my vard which had no money on it, and then had to phone home to get my parents to transfer all the money in his account into mine, as the ships internet connection didn't work on the first day! But once onboard our cabin was spacious and clean, with flowers, chocolates and champagne in there as it was my birthday mid cruise! They didnt cost the earth either as on some of the cruiselines. The decor and clenliness on ship was spot on too, it was like a 5* hotel!! Ages ranged from children to couples in their 70s+. What i particually liked was that there was an all inclusive option on drinks which we added at the time of our booking for about £100 for a week, which included most drinks apart from bottled/ imported beers. But there was always something to drink!! We are going on a princess cruise and are already weary of the price onboard, as an option like this is not fully available on the princess liners. The excursions were brilliant. Being in Egypt we had to go to Cairo and the pyramids and sphynx. We chose not to go in the pyramids just look outside which i regretted. It was good to see them and the sphynx - however dont think id go again, as they were a bit bland (what you see in the pictures is what you get!) But definatley worth going just to say youve dont it!! Also a word of warning: locals try and sell you things and buy you! My fiance was offered 2million camels and a chicken for me, which I found amusing although a bit intimidating when they tried stroking my hair!! Cairo museum is amazing, apolutly packed but well worth the visit! You need a few days to go round it though! We also went to Petra - again brilliant, i had no idea what to expect but i thoroughly enjoyed it! We also did quadbiking when we returned to sharm el sheik which was good through the desert! Dining was ace with a wide range of options, however we chose the buffet most nights as we are fairly fussy eaters and the restaurants are rather upper class, and felt we may not fit in, however when we did dine there we did feel very welcome! I would recommend Thomson to anyone, the service we recieved was on par to the bigger more expensive cruise lines at half the price. As i previously mentioned we are going on a princess cruise in october, and are already a bit nervous. But Thomson were brilliant!! Well Done :) Read Less

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