9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I just got back from cruising round Croatia and Italy this was my first cruise and I found the over all experience was totally amazing staff and crew bent over backwards to help you and the food was lovely always had a good variety to ... Read More
I just got back from cruising round Croatia and Italy this was my first cruise and I found the over all experience was totally amazing staff and crew bent over backwards to help you and the food was lovely always had a good variety to choose from even had burgers and snacks on if you just wanted something small to eat can't fault any part of my experience the bar staff where brilliant after a few days of being on board they knew what we wanted they where all very polite well mannered and would always try there best to get you what you asked for even though there was a language barrier however there where four bar staff on deck 6 (the promenade deck) there names are Arben, Zakhar,Dede,and Emillian they where a great bunch of guys who made my first cruise a memorable one as they all went that extra mile to help you and always made me smile no matter how I was feeling whether it was being hungover from the night before or just feeling tired they all brightened my day just by giving me a smile and basically doing what they are paid to do and that's to make sure the guests are happy and for that I would highly recommend the marella celebration cruise ship to my friends and family I will definitely be coming back on board again sometime . The cabins where spotless always kept clean didn't do any excursions as it was more of a relaxing holiday so my overall experience of my first cruise was 100% amazing Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
First time on a cruise & it certainly won't be the last. Our cases were taken at the airport & we didn't see them again until we got to our cabin. We were treated like royalty from the moment we got there. Short bus ... Read More
First time on a cruise & it certainly won't be the last. Our cases were taken at the airport & we didn't see them again until we got to our cabin. We were treated like royalty from the moment we got there. Short bus trip from airport to the ship & checking in was very swift & friendly. We were all inclusive & the drinks were plentiful so we didn't feel the need to upgrade our drinks package. The food was out of this world. We ate mainly in the Meridian Restaurant where the service was second to none. It was like dining in a very plush restaurant every meal time. The staff were a credit to the captain, so lovely & friendly and just wanted to ensure you were having the best time. There was one dessert we had that really was probably the most delicious desert that I have ever tasted & I told the waiter...only for him to bring me another one so I could enjoy it again! We had a few snacks in the Lido Restaurant which was their buffet eating area which was open pretty much all the time for food where you could eat indoor or outdoor. The food there was very good too with lots of choice. Hygiene was very important on the ship with hand sanitising machines in all the toilets, in the entrances to all the eating areas & dotted around the ship. We had a cabin with a balcony which was nice as we could retreat there & still enjoy the sun & also it was lovely to stand out there when leaving & coming into port. The cabin staff were brilliant too. Nothing was too much trouble, we had towel animals left each day which were really cute along with a chocolate on our pillow each night. We didn't do any of the planned excursions when in port, we just did our own thing, but it was pretty easy to have a "hop on, hop off" bus trip wherever we were. There was always plenty to do on board & I have to say the entertainment in the evening was out of this world, it was like going to a West End show every evening. Even the Captain was lovely. Made time to speak to any guests he met when he was around the ship. My only niggle (& it's a very small one) is that we had 2 photographs taken of us, one when we arrived on board & another taken of our group at the Captains meal & I decided it would be nice to buy them as a memento. We spoke to one of the photographers who was wandering around where the photos were displayed & said we'd like to buy the 2 photos, he told us we have to buy 3 photos as they're in a offer they were doing. I told him we'd only had 2 photos taken so there wouldn't be a 3rd we could buy & could we not just purchase the 2 we wanted & he told us we couldn't & walked off!!! I wasn't impressed as you know the photos are just going to be destroyed once we'd left so it seemed a bit mean we couldn't buy the 2 we wanted. He seemed very disinterested in us & had a "couldn't care less" attitude. Such a shame as everyone else on the ship was so friendly & helpful. We will definitely be booking another cruise with Marella & have been recommending them already. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Liked the itineray of this cruise, and it turned out to be OK. Trip to Etna dissapointing as 4 hrs in Bus without being able to see anything due to weather. Option of cancellation/ altered itineray would have been helpful. Nothing ... Read More
Liked the itineray of this cruise, and it turned out to be OK. Trip to Etna dissapointing as 4 hrs in Bus without being able to see anything due to weather. Option of cancellation/ altered itineray would have been helpful. Nothing much to see at Ignomemitsa, Greek mainland, ? why does it stop there. Kotor in Montenegro is beautiful, and sail in is stunning Staff very friendly, and food excellent, but dissapointed in speciaility restaurants. Booking was obviously misalid when we arrived, and as this was a 30th wedding anniversary treat, the extra paid was really not worth it . Engine noise quite noticeable on lower levels. Shows in Theatre are very good, make sure you get an early seat, and the bands in the bars also excellent. Staff are very friendly, and cabin staff did a great job of cleaning rooms. Couldn't quite fathom why you need a safe when it requires a fob( which you pay for), rather than putting in a code , as in most rooms. WI-FI also extra. Enjoyed cycling trip . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My Wife and I have been cruising for many years on Royal Caribbean, Princess and P and O.We decided to go on the Marella Celebration because of the itinerary. We booked a Balcony cabin and were delighted with the size of the room. They ... Read More
My Wife and I have been cruising for many years on Royal Caribbean, Princess and P and O.We decided to go on the Marella Celebration because of the itinerary. We booked a Balcony cabin and were delighted with the size of the room. They staff were the friendliest we have ever had on board a ship always smiling and friendly everyone of them that passed you said hello from the ships officers to painters . The reception staff were so pleasant and helpful rather than the stuffy approach we have experienced on other ships. Embarking the ship was really easy we were in our Cabin in minutes and our cases arrived within 30 minutes not the normal 4 hour wait. The all inclusive package had a good choice of lager beer and Cider with top shelf spirits not watered down as we have read on previous reviews, the drinks were so good we did not have to upgrade to the premium package. The food in the restaurants was excellent and the service could not be faulted, the buffet restaurant always had fresh supplies of food. We also visited the Asian restaurant this was as good as any Indian restaurant we have visited in the UK. The entertainment was superb with some of the best singers we have seen when cruising. We will certainly be cruising with Marella in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Chose this cruise as provided opportunity to visit new destinations, 3rd cruise with Thomson/Tui/Marrella, and standards of food and drinks have dropped each time. Service and cleanlinesscontinues be of a good standard, although cabins are ... Read More
Chose this cruise as provided opportunity to visit new destinations, 3rd cruise with Thomson/Tui/Marrella, and standards of food and drinks have dropped each time. Service and cleanlinesscontinues be of a good standard, although cabins are in need of upgrade. Had the AI package, but didn`t take the upgrade offered at £50 pp, spirits served were LIDL/ALDI own brand standard unless you specifically asked for the brand. Diet/Light mixers were from plastic bottles and usually flat, service in show lounge slow Entertainment team worked hard but surely time to refresh shows, Cabin beds feel as if they are worn out very uncomfortable, problem with shower draining Food quality in MR was lower than previous cruises but generally well cooke and served, wine by the glass in AI package was acceptable. Took two ships excursions, well organised and reasonable value Embarkation and disembarkation were fine, baggage delivered promptly Great atmosphere and company but may be looking elsewhere. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Always chose Tui, and been happy, now it seems it's all about the added extras and no customer service . Excursions range from good to very poor and a waste of money. Not enough seating outside x cheap alcohol so need to upgrade ... Read More
Always chose Tui, and been happy, now it seems it's all about the added extras and no customer service . Excursions range from good to very poor and a waste of money. Not enough seating outside x cheap alcohol so need to upgrade package , electrical problems, toilet issues. Overall managerial staff are poor, trained to say one thing - don't let it ruin your holiday ! But don't sort the issues. Celebration is getting tired. Don't like to moan but expect more from tui, waiters and cabin staff all lovely as usual . Coffee port was lovely and our haven on board. Mistrals restuarant was lovely but an added extra. Excursion team did not give you an accurate review on ports and led you to believe that you needed to do one of their trips when actually they are nice and trips can be done from the port alot cheaper and better or that the port is very nice Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I Recently cruised on Tui Marella celebration, this was my first cruise and I wasn’t disappointed The food was excellent and the staff couldn’t do enough for you, my cabin was clean and the bed was comfortable there was some ... Read More
I Recently cruised on Tui Marella celebration, this was my first cruise and I wasn’t disappointed The food was excellent and the staff couldn’t do enough for you, my cabin was clean and the bed was comfortable there was some slight vibrations but this is to be expected, it was well worth upgrading to premium drinks package however I would’ve preferred to be told about this option when booking online apart from this everything was perfect. The whole experience from start to finish was made simple for us we dropped our bags off at the airport and then was reunited with them on the ship , twice-A-Day the housekeeping staff would make up the room and leave a wonderful towel animal on the bed , there was plenty of choice of food to eat with menu that changed every day and three à la cart restaurants to eating at a slight additional cost which were all very good , The entertainment was fantastic really enjoyed the quizzes and the stand-up comedian . Overall I couldn’t ask for more I would like to thank staff and crew for fantastic time Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Chosen as interesting itinerary in the eastern Med. Flew Manchester to Dubrovnik and security tagged at the airport and sent straight to the cabin and vice versa on return. Very good service and all passengers pleased as not having to ... Read More
Chosen as interesting itinerary in the eastern Med. Flew Manchester to Dubrovnik and security tagged at the airport and sent straight to the cabin and vice versa on return. Very good service and all passengers pleased as not having to retrieve luggage at the airport and load on to the coach. Flew on the Dreamliner and pleasant experience all round. Dubrovnik airport was easy and coach to the ship. Picked up boarding cards and then had to register in on the ship - first time this has happened - and then to the cabin. All flights to the ship were early morning and by lunch everybody was on board. Equally on the last day everybody was off early and we left by 7.30. Some went off to the old City but there was an amount of hanging around until sailing at 9.00 pm. Another first was the SOLAS muster drill without having to take your life jacket. Odd I thought. Been on the Celebration before and easy to settle in and find your way around. CD was Adam Mustoe who we have seen elsewhere as an entertainment host. His parents were on board that week. Day at sea - usual port showcase and coffee's in the Coffee Port. Gala Night too but there was a change of Captain. New Captain had been delayed and old Captain sent his ceremonial uniform home.so the staff captain deputised. Quite amusing Malta - good weather and did the panoramic tour. Delay in leaving port as ship had lost some power. Messina - Late arriving at this industrial port and pulled in by 2 tugs. I suspected power issue with the thrusters which proved to be the case. Pleasant excursion to a winery on Mount Etna for a wine tasting afternoon. Excellent plate of cheese, olives salami etc. Argostoli - Late arriving and announced we had to tender. Not down as a tender port and whilst there was a large Costa ship berthed there was a view from the passengers that as the thrusters were dodgy and no tugs safer to tender. However not all the tenders were used and considerable delays in offloading passengers. Copious amount of complaints to Reception but to no avail as usual. In the end we gave up on going ashore due to the long delays. Igoumensita - not really a cruise destination port but probably a cheaper alternative. Had to pay for the shuttle bus and went into town. Average town and had coffee and ice creams etc before returning to the ship. Kotor - have been here before and there is a pleasant sail in. To be honest not a lot to see really. Went on the best excursion of the week to a Olive farm where the local farmer and his family made the group very welcome. Explained olive oil production and what to look out for when purchasing - always go for extra virgin olive oil. Absoulute superb lunch put on with plenty of wine. Note : Montenegro is not yet in the EU and all phone companies regard it as Rest of the World which makes it very expensive. Does accept the euro though. Entertainment - good though seen some show and games before. Won quizzes and choice of Octopus charger or notebook. Very good comedian called Terry Cotta. Had not seen him before but good act. Did not put champions league final on somewhere either. Food - excellent as usual and anybody who did not agree is a fussy moaner in my view Staff - excellent as usual and warm welcomes always given Loyalty - my bugbear !. Invited to meet the staff captain at a Discover your Smile party in Horizons. Glass of fizz and canapes together with a large Marella Celebration badge. Not sure of how we were were invited as in the past absolutely nothing. Couple next to us on their third Marella cruise and three different ships invited much to their amusement. Long rambling but good natured talk by the staff captain on the history of Marella cruises followed. Couple with the most Marella cruises given a bottle of wine. Though to be fair they were on their 82nd cruise. Taken this up with Tui on the social media site TUICares but clearly do not as their answer they do not have a loyalty scheme officially. Other cruise lines do and as the staff captain said 85% of passengers on that weeks cruise were repeat customers. All in all enjoyed the cruise and would go again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
was very dubious about cruising, but i must say i thourghly enjoyed my time aboard the celebration,,staff great,,food great..shows ..places..really relaxed...will defo do again.. most of the day was spent ashore and only travelling at ... Read More
was very dubious about cruising, but i must say i thourghly enjoyed my time aboard the celebration,,staff great,,food great..shows ..places..really relaxed...will defo do again.. most of the day was spent ashore and only travelling at night,,gave my wife and myself the chance to see if we liked cruising..liked the size and lay out of the celebration not to big nor to small..goldilocks ship..the shows on board were better than i expected........................ .........took out the al linclusive. didnt need anything else...everybody on board very very friendly...///////,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, might go a bit later than may next time, maybe second week in june................................... seen a few disabled /wheelchair passengers so mobility cant be much of a problem............ the restaurant and bars were more than capable in handling the amout of passengers on board very very rerely did i have to que long for anything..didnt go to the captains meeting bit to formal for me,like to relax. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
STAFF: The staff were all polite, well mannered, very customer focused, impeccably dressed, clean and easily identifiable. They could not do enough for us. We felt valued throughout. Some had more confidence than others but that all ... Read More
STAFF: The staff were all polite, well mannered, very customer focused, impeccably dressed, clean and easily identifiable. They could not do enough for us. We felt valued throughout. Some had more confidence than others but that all comes with experience. We felt that every single member of staff smiles’ were genuine. They looked like they enjoyed their work. We particularly enjoyed engaging with Pieterson who served our chosen area in the LIDO Restaurant. We cannot commend him enough and were quite sad that we didn’t see him on our last day on board to say goodbye. He was on duty after we had left. FOOD: The food was in abundance. So many choices of places to eat. So much choice in each restaurant. We could eat from very early in the morning until very late at night. We could eat as much as we wanted and there was definitely something for everyone. Cooked English breakfast, cereal, toast, omelette, fruit, yoghurts, pastries, continental, hot and cold. Unlimited tea and coffee. No one could complain. Lunch – many choices including burgers, pizza, panini station, noodle station, desserts galore. Afternoon tea with the best sausage rolls, sandwiches, biscuits and scones. Dinner – Choice of 5 restaurants with different types of food. As I said before, something for everyone. We wanted for nothing. And then finally the midnight buffet. We could have eaten 24/7 if we chose to. We all ate more than enough. It was great to have so much choice. Amazingly enough I even lost weight as I was eating more healthily. Although I enjoyed this, the food was of a lesser standard to a previous cruise we took 5 years ago with Thompson. CLEANLINESS: Everywhere we looked was clean. The facilities for public use was always clean and I bumped into the same cleaner on a few occasions in the ladies. She was very thorough. Our room was cleaned and tidied every day, twice a day. We are not messy people at all, but we still appreciated the effort that goes into keeping things just so. When the LIDO deck tables were in full swing, it did get a bit untidy, but things were soon cleared away once we asked. The staff were never just stood around doing nothing. ACTIVITIES: There was plenty of activities and choices of areas we could spend our time on board. We didn’t utilise everything because we were happy with the areas we did visit. We attempted a few quizzes and enjoyed listening to the singers in between activities. Personally, I found these could be a little loud at times and we could not converse with our friends during that time. I know there was a quiet area where people went to read but they would not appreciate us all chattering away in there. I ended up going back to the room for some quiet time leaving my husband on the LIDO deck enjoying the music and drinks. INFORMATION: Information was readily available either with the daily newsletter which I found very informative or by visiting reception and asking a member of staff. There was even a printout of crosswords and quizzes that was available each day. DESTINATION SERVICES: We went to the presentation for the daily trips out at the beginning of the week. Again, these were very informative, showcasing the best of what there was on offer in each destination. Im not sure I enjoyed the delivery style but every one likes something different. I did feel that listening about Morocco put us on edge a little bit with the feedback given on the day. I was prepared to go and do our own thing, but our travel companions were a little bit on edge about it and by the time the showcase was over they were definitely not going to get off the ship in Morocco if they were not on an accompanied tour. We ended up paying for the mosque tour. At this point I would like to say that I feel it would be prudent in future to advise passengers who book this tour that they will have to remove their footwear inside the mosque. None of us were prepared for this. Also, it is not suitable for people who are less able. One gentleman on the bus could not walk to the mosque and was in a motorised wheelchair. He got inside but then was unable to remove his shoes. I helped him as his wife also had a walking aid. He was only able to stand for a very short time and the guide was obviously talking to us all for quite a while. The gentleman had to go back to his wheelchair (which he was not allowed to take any further) and wait for us to finish the tour. He also could not go down the stairs into the ablutions area, so he didn’t see much at all. His wife struggled with the steps herself and I ensured that I stayed by her side to get up and down the steps. The gentleman did not get inside the RC Church with the stained glass as this too had multiple steps. In my opinion, passengers need to be advised of this prior to booking the trips. We were also led to believe that there would be some time to shop. The tour guide, although very informative about the various places we visited, insisted we go into a particular shop that he was going to show us – he advised us all that the shop was the only place that the argon oil face cream was certified by the factory. He said it was rubbish everywhere else. He also stated the saffron here in this shop was the proper stuff and that the saffron you get everywhere else is no good. So, we all traipsed into the shop behind him. We all duly bought the oils and saffron etc in this shop. Twenty minutes later we were told it was time to go. As we left, the guide went to the till and he was handed some money (I assume a percentage of what the bus tour occupants spent in the shop – obviously he is paid to take tour buses into that particular shop. Whilst I understand that this may be normal practice, I do think that the guide is out of order stating that all other places sell rubbish and not the real McCoy. We were not given any other opportunity to try the other shops. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment team did just that. They entertained us. Very professionally. We only missed one night in the showcase lounge. It got better and better as the week went on and saving the best till last. The Cameron’s Classics was worth waiting for. We also thoroughly enjoyed the guest comedian – not once but twice. PHOTOGRAPHS: We had our photos taken with the Captain. We felt rushed through and didn’t think the photos were very good. We had our photos taken at other places on the ship. We didn’t like these much either as they were posed. Unfortunately, we had our photos taken in the more informal setting on the deck and we loved these photos but not at the prices being charged for. I have a printer at home that I bought specifically to print photographs so asked if we could just purchase the disc with the 9 images on without the 9 prints. This was not possible it seems. I would have paid for the disc. Would it be possible to offer this service in future? I am sure that the ten minutes it took to take the pictures was worth £50. There would still be a profit made. Four couples over an hour would pay £200 an hour. I wish I could earn that kind of money. All of the above is my observation and thoughts. I do however have a complaint. My husband and I chose this particular cruise because we wanted to visit Marrakesh – this was the ideal way to do that. It meant we were on a bus trip, we were only there for a day and we could take all the photos we wanted at the same time of knowing we were not going to stray into unknown territory. You can imagine our disappointment that once we boarded, we were informed that there would no longer be a trip to Marrakesh due to the three-hour drive (surely when planning the destination and advertising the trips you knew it was going to be a long drive). Overall, we had a great time. Thank you for a lovely week’s holiday. We have come home exhausted and feel we could do with a week off. We may see you again Celebration. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was my first cruise and had been recommended by friends to travel with TUI as it's more relaxed. The ship operates a cashless system. You are given a card which is linked to your bank account. Be warned, as soon as you get on ... Read More
This was my first cruise and had been recommended by friends to travel with TUI as it's more relaxed. The ship operates a cashless system. You are given a card which is linked to your bank account. Be warned, as soon as you get on the ship you are being harassed in to photographs, massages, the payable restaurants etc. This was very annoying and not appreciated the moment you get on the ship. Service: Excellent. All the staff are very attentive and can't do enough for you. Dining: We mostly ate at the Lido. I liked the food very much, there was always plenty and was always tasty and plenty of choice. We also tried the Meridian, the food was nice but I prefer the casualness of the LIdo. They also have things like burgers, pizza and hot dogs out on the terrace too if you get peckish before dinner. Ports: I was not impressed with the ports. We called at Mahon, Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia and Cartegena. The only good one was Barcelona. We booked a tour for this at £32. On reflection I wish I hadn't booked the tour as Barcelona is very easy to navigate and everything was very rushed. I would also warn against using the shuttle service that was laid on at Marseille and Valencia. The shuttle bus service is BADLY organised. We waited 90 minutes for a shuttle bus in to Marseille and on a hot day this was unbearable especially with a lot of older people in the queue. TUI know how many tickets hey sold and should have arranged more buses! Same with Marseille, not enough buses and massive queues. Most ports have a bus service, Marseille and Valencia do. Cheaper and easier. Entertainment: The nightly shows were good. My favourites were Africa, Moulin Rouge and the west end one. The comedian/magician was awful. He performed two tricks and filled the rest of the show with old fashioned humour aimed at the 70 plus range. The only thing that really ruined the cruise for me was not being able to sleep at night. The ship was really swaying and the vibration was really hard to ignore and stopped me sleeping. Other than that, the cruise was good but i'm not sure that a cruise holiday is really for me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We went in April and with Spring being the windiest season of the year, I knew I needed to strap myself in for a bumpy ride. NOT what I was expecting. Embarkation: Really easy and stress-free. Check in at the airport was fine ( I ... Read More
We went in April and with Spring being the windiest season of the year, I knew I needed to strap myself in for a bumpy ride. NOT what I was expecting. Embarkation: Really easy and stress-free. Check in at the airport was fine ( I still dont understand why they dont just give us those Priority Cruise tags once we've landed, but anywho ) and we were on our way. There were a few long-ish queues to check into the ship, but that was to be expected. Staff were very friendly to us, helping us to where we needed to be. Overall, the most stress-free check in i've had in a long time. Food: This is an issue I've always had with Thomson ( Well, now Marella ) ... I've never found anything WRONG with the food, its just always been a little...boring? If meat and vegetables and roast dinners every evening is your thing, then fine. But I guess I'd prefer something from the actual country I'm visiting, not just British food. Obviously if you dont like that kind of thing, then you're in luck! The actual food isself was wonderful. Considering I only had 4 dinners out of a possible 7 ( More on THAT later... ) they were all in all, pretty good. Lunches were always lots of choice, paninis, burgers, hot dogs, salads. We ate in the main restaurant for lunch one day, would HIGHLY reccomend. Lido was okay, just seemed to get a little too crowded for my liking. Having the drinks machine in the food queue, NOT a good idea. Overall, was okay, but could be better. Entertainment: We only went to 2 shows ( I'll tell you the reason... its coming ) but my god were they GOOD. I love musicals and all things like that, was right up my street. You could see how much the entertainers enjoyed performing for us, which was lovely to see. And their talent was out of this world! Other members of our party didnt agree, not enjoying the musicals. Other entertainment was also available. Live singers were always a treat to listen to. Quizzes throughout the daytime, activities on the pool deck ( When it wasnt raining sideways ). Finally, there was a games room, a library and a coffee shop. If you enjoyed a quieter ride, you had someplace to go. Overall, spectacular. Theres something for everyone. Excursions: We did one excursion, in Casablanca. All in all, it was okay. We went to a Mosque, which was BEAUTIFUL. The biggest Islamic place of worship outside of Mecca. The rest was... eye-opening. We were taken through a traditional market, where we werent allowed to buy anything. Instead we went to a tacky tourist shop... Not really my idea of fun. We were also taken through a different market- again, couldnt stop or anything. Not really sure why? Overall, an okay tour. Seemed a bit underplanned. Cabin: We had a Deck 1 cabin, pretty much as midship as you could get. Inside cabin. Very spacious and kept pristine at all times by our wonderful room steward. We had a problem with the shower on the 2nd day. Someone came right to our cabin within minutes of reporting it and sorted it so we could be on our way. Another thing, we barely ever saw our room steward. Which to me, is perfect. Never seeing them, so you never feel like you're in their way or they're in your way. Yet after a long day of adventuring, our beds were made, those little chocolates were on our pillow and we could just relax... Disembarkation: Not much to say here. The exact reverse of embarkation, completely stress free. General: In general the ship was clean. It smelled very clean upon walking in on the first day. The pool deck got untidy ( On the rare days it was actually used ) and the waiters and waitresses were always ready to fix everything for us. None of the staff ever seemed like they werent doing anything ( Except for when we left the port, and we all retreated to our porcelain vomit-bags ) Everyone was so friendly. It was just... perfect. So yes. We had some bad weather. The first night was fine, you could barely tell you were on a ship. Then we got through the Gibraltar strait, and all hell broke loose. Okay, I'm being a BIT dramatic... but throughout the course of the day the seas got rougher and rougher. So finally, at around 7pm that night I hid away in my cabin for the next 14 hours. Oh no, it didnt just last for one night... EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Rock...and roll. Im not exaggerating, 3/7 nights were about bareable for me, only because we had the protection of the Med on 2 of those nights, and the Portugese coast on the other. But the crew... they were FANTASTIC. The captain was everywhere, reassuring passengers throughout the day, then battling the seas throughout the night. We had winds at the top end of storm force 11. Bear in mind the scale only goes up to 12, and thats a Hurricane! Our cabin steward brought us extra towels on nights we didnt leave the cabin, they even delayed the ship by a few hours on the 3rd night so we could all have a nice dinner! The best thing that happened was on the final night. Since hardly anyone turned up to the captain's gala ( Escpecially in the second sitting ) they had loads of the staff come onto the stage in the entertainment, a really great photo opportunity. Just a great experience all around. The captain gave an announcement on the last day, thanking us for our co-operation, which was lovely of him. It was the worst weather he'd seen on around 20 years of working on a cruise ship, and at times it was some of the worst sea he'd ever seen. I'll miss the ship, and I'll definitely go back. Probably not on that itinerary though... Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruise 2018: Spirit of Iberia cruise (https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/itineraries/Spirit-of-Iberia-055604) on Marella Celebration from Thompson, 8-16 April 2018. My wife and I took this cruise as our first experience of this type of ... Read More
Cruise 2018: Spirit of Iberia cruise (https://www.tui.co.uk/cruise/itineraries/Spirit-of-Iberia-055604) on Marella Celebration from Thompson, 8-16 April 2018. My wife and I took this cruise as our first experience of this type of holiday and as a special treat for our 30th wedding anniversary. Getting There & Arrival Flight TOM4796 from London Gatwick on 8th April, due to depart at 14:55 was delayed until 16:55. Aircraft Captain apologised profusely and explained that French air traffic problems caused the arrival of our aircraft to be delayed slightly but a company operational decision (not explained) to give our aircraft to a Tenerife flight instead caused the bulk of the delay. The delayed flight was without incident as was the airport transfer to our coach. • Reception in Port This was not very professional, indeed a confused affair. The young lady who met our coach and addressed us attempted to provide important boarding information in a breathless voice reading far too quickly from her clipboard and the microphone held too close to her mouth. If training in clear communication with customers and effective use of a microphone were given to her I suggest a refresher, if not I suggest the company provide such training. Important information is useless unless it is clearly given. The same situation with the same young lady occurred when we boarded the transfer coach for the homeward flight. • Check-in & boarding No issues with check-in, however we were given very little time to get onboard, find our cabin and get some food after our long delay before we were to attend a legally required safety briefing. Additionally, I discovered later that my wife’s photo had been tagged to the digital information relating to my boarding card. This meant that each time it was scanned leaving or returning to the ship my wife’s face was displayed instead of mine. I pointed this out but nothing was done and at NO TIME throughout the voyage did any of the ships security staff ever realise the mistake. • Safety Briefing This was simply shambolic. For such an important and legally required event its delivery by the Assistant Cruise Director was useless. He sat down on the stage in the Broadway theatre and proceeded to read, badly, from a sheet, with neither sufficient pauses to allow absorption of the information nor emphasis at suitable points. The demonstration on how to don a life jacket was disgracefully bad. Unclear and poorly executed. The same young lady who received us at the coach was unable to put her demonstration life jacket on properly but the Asst Cruise Director turned that into a joke. It could have been a comedy sketch, except it was important. • Ports of Call presentation On day one a presentation was given in the Broadway theatre/lounge on the ports of call we would make and what they offered. This was poorly presented in a faux chat show style with the Cruise Director obviously reading from a script. Destination Services staff showed poor audience presentation skills and poorly articulated what passengers could expect. The presentation, unfortunately, was not very professional and also seemed to focus largely on selling the expensive excursions. The Ship & Crew Marella Celebration, formerly the Nordam, is 34 years old yet quite well fitted out and comfortable. Dining and bar facilities are good, the top deck bar - Horizons - being an interesting place to drink. Our outside cabin on deck 3 was adequate with good enough facilities though an extra power socket would have been quite useful. Ventilation and heating were good yet what appeared to be a ships announcement speaker never worked. On board information sheets were good, well produced, informative and useful. Finding your way around was easy. All crew members I met were friendly, polite, helpful and approachable. I only had one problem on the second night when I asked a bar waiter for a glass of water for my wife who was feeling ill, to be refused because the bar did not open for a further 10 minutes! I had to make a complaint on one evening about a strong smell of engine exhaust in our cabin and all along our accommodation deck. This was sorted out after a time but never adequately explained. The ship had a constant wobbling motion/vibration through it, especially felt on decks 5 and 6, even when in port and engines idling. At night, engine/machinery noise permeated our cabin constantly. This could possibly have been mentally tuned out and not caused much annoyance had it not been exacerbated by the very rough seas we experienced in our Atlantic Ocean phases of the voyage. The heavy seas, heavy ship’s motion and machine noise made sleeping very difficult leading to 4 out of 7 virtually sleepless nights. Not pleasant. Marbella Cruises have no control of the weather however I feel the company should know their vessel’s comfortable sea state limitations in their role as cruise liners. Celebration is perfectly sea-worthy but not at all suited to ocean passage in such heavy sea conditions as we experienced which led to much discomfort and disappointment. I would NOT holiday on this ship again, or any other of similar dimensions and age, if the route involved any substantial sailing in open ocean. Entertainment Apart from the one show we were able to see (due to weather and illness) in the Broadway lounge, this was mediocre. Hemingway’s bar, for example, contained a beautiful (though covered up) white baby grand piano and a pianist playing on some nights was advertised. The pianist turned out to be an electronic keyboard player providing soundtracks via his laptop computer and singing not very well. Hemingway’s, a comfortable and pleasant bar, would have been vastly improved by a real pianist. Most other nightly music acts were second rate at best with very dated repertoire’s and not very entertaining. The Captain’s Gala Night was a huge disappointment. A gala evening implies a social occasion with special entertainments or performances, neither of which occurred. After half an hour of dismal musical entertainment the Captain introduced himself and spoke to us about the ship, itinerary etc and introduced key members of the crew. We then went to dinner in the Meridian restaurant but he didn’t reappear to chat with passengers and there was no further entertainment. Apart from an excellent meal with excellent service, it was all rather disappointing. Dining Meridian restaurant is excellent though service seemed slow sometimes. Very comfortable, lovely atmosphere, excellent food and wonderful, cheerful staff. The ribeye steak was definitely excellent and worth the extra £9.95 on the inclusive package. The Lido casual buffet had equally good food though it had the ambience of a school cafeteria with long queues at times, often caused by a shortage of cutlery or drinking glasses. The staff were excellent, very efficient, helpful and cheerful. Departure Although not having to depart the ship until 16:45hrs on the last day, we had to have our luggage packed and ready outside our cabin before 02:00hrs and vacate the cabin by 08:00hrs. This was especially annoying as we had suffered so much poor and fragmented sleep due to weather conditions and would have appreciated time to catch up on some of it. As it was we spent a little time in Malaga then returned and tried to rest onboard as best we could. Miscellaneous Shore excursions were quite expensively priced. A shuttle bus service was laid on by the ship at Portimao which cost £7 per adult return to the town or the beaches or both. This journey took no longer than 10 minutes so I feel it was vastly over-priced. In Malaga a port operated shuttle bus was provided, which was much more useful than that at Portimao, for a cost of €4. Casablanca could have benefitted from having a shuttle bus laid on also. There was constant selling on board which became quite tiresome. We were even charged £2 for two seasickness tablets, items that can be purchased in a pharmacy for much less. I felt this was simply taking advantage of people. Our all inclusive drinks package wasn’t quite all inclusive as, despite soft drinks supposedly being covered it didn’t cover soft drinks in cans as we were charged £1 each for six cans of Diet Coke. Some of the drinks for which a supplement was charged didn’t make sense to me. For example, Teacher’s scotch whisky, a mid-range blended whisky, was included within the package yet Bell’s, a similar quality whisky, commanded an extra charge of £2.50 as did Famous Grouse and Old Bushmills, both on a par with Teacher’s. Johnny Walker Red Label, generally considered a little more premium than either Teacher’s or ordinary Bell’s carried no extra charge. At the end of the cruise we felt that those passengers who were departing the ship became obviously less important than those newly arriving. This was displayed a few times in staff attitude and made us feel we were no longer of use as marketing targets. Conclusion Despite the poor weather and nighttime discomforts we did enjoy the adventure. We feel this holiday was overpriced and let down by the other aspects detailed above. We are not yet sure if we would cruise again. Probably we would when we feel we can afford it again but, although we felt we took great care on this occasion, we would take even more care about choosing the itinerary, ship and cruise company to hopefully gain maximum value for money and maximise our holiday experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
To be positive. Single cabin very clean. Medium sized bed. It also seemed to be good value for money for a single cabin (prior to boarding). No tips. Good and friendly cabin "porters". Negatives. Cabin decor dismal. Small. TV ... Read More
To be positive. Single cabin very clean. Medium sized bed. It also seemed to be good value for money for a single cabin (prior to boarding). No tips. Good and friendly cabin "porters". Negatives. Cabin decor dismal. Small. TV poor. Low deck. Bad noise and awful vibration from the engines; especially in port. This vibration affected the whole ship but because these single cabins are lower in the decks affect was much worse. I can only describe it like sitting on a washing machine. I was told (by customer service) this should have been pointed out at the time of sale - it was not! In fact, it was sold as a single cabin with external porthole e.g. outside. Reception/Customer Service was dreadful. I offered to pay for upgrade (of course this would have depended on value) given the manner of vibration I said I would sleep in the lounge if I wasn't given a change of cabin. Despite offers to review this I was effectively ignored and even when given deadlines for resolution none were forthcoming after 24 hours and I had to chase. Was told that rooms were full. Fortunately, the vibration was not as violent when the ship sailed and I did get more accustomed to it; but not good enough. I asked to speak to the reception manager and the staff effectively blocked this. I am sure the manager had told staff not to put complaints through to her. Ineffective manager. Probably afraid of dealing with complaints and, thus, pushes these to her staff. One central american girl was very good and tried her best but the rest ineffective. As a single traveller, I rely on the activities to meet other people. On other cruises, there have been choirs, dancing, crafts and daily single meets. Fantastic holidays for single people. On this cruise there were none (one line dancing class; one singles meeting in front of reception and I was the only one who turned up. Nobody asked me why I was sat there alone by reception staff so I left). Most of the activities were expensive tours; and mainly sitting on a coach. I did go on one horse riding tour in Menorca which was fantastic. I do not enjoy evening cabarets and tend to relax in my cabin in the evenings; what a joy given the ambience etc. of the cabin as described. The weather was not good enough to sit on deck so I was in my room from 7/8 each evening. The cycling tours appeared a good option. I am not a good cyclist which I discussed with the tour leader e.g. which was the best tour for an inexperienced cyclist not good with hills. Recommendation was Valencia tour. He asked if I could balance on a bike; which I can. On the day, he "assessed" my cycling ability (in front of the other cyclists) and as I could not use the gears properly he said I was not good enough and must return the bike to ship (with money refunded). I lost two hours that morning and the opportunity for other tours. I spent the day walking to Valencia and back; alone as I had no other plans and needed the exercise. When I suggested to him that he needed another assessment method his response was he could only do that by seeing people ride; and that 15 mile ride should have been indicative. I am fit and regularly walk 12 miles +. What about simply saying that only experienced cyclists can go! I enjoyed seeing the different ports and wide variety of food (although it was not hot and vegetables under-cooked for me), I did see cabins on other, higher decks, which were perfectly acceptable (although I know these would be more expensive). They had a seating area, for example. Check in and check out was great. Flights were extremely delayed but one in flight very good. The holiday overall could have been much better. Having a decent cabin would have gone a long way towards the other weaknesses. I could only class this as a budget cruise compared to other cruises. To be fair the price was less than my other cruises given that all cruises sting singles for high supplements. . As it was, I was glad to get home! I had seen other reviews about these issues but chose to ignore them because it had been recommended to me. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Right from the start this Cruise was a Ripoff. TUI changed flights from Glasgow from 7.30am to 2.30pm, lost 7 hrs straight away and gave us earlier flights on return, basically lost 2 days of our holiday.Said we could fly from Newcastle if ... Read More
Right from the start this Cruise was a Ripoff. TUI changed flights from Glasgow from 7.30am to 2.30pm, lost 7 hrs straight away and gave us earlier flights on return, basically lost 2 days of our holiday.Said we could fly from Newcastle if we wanted, but couldn't guarantee they wouldn't change these flights.Having been on Thomson Spirit the year before and received amazing service we expected this to be the same or better, boy were we about to be sorely disappointed. Most of the Eastern European staff were arrogant,ignorant and couldn't be ased doing anything, but why would they when they have a bar manager who never acknowledged passengers, never spoke, never smiled, wouldn't move out your way and was arrogant, ignorant and great role model for Staff.The Philippine staff could not have been any nicer, a credit to the company. Drinks were watered down, food was ok but nothing for youngsters.Perhaps a separate menu for under 10's Marella.Pizza,burgers and hot dogs every day get a tad boring.Did I mention that all the drinks are watered down. I was ill with your pork meatballs, most were undercooked.Service at meals could have been so much better, loads of times I had to go looking for spoons to eat my puddings or Brown sauce for my dinner and by the time I got back my meals were cold. Childrens entertainment was ok and the two staff tried there best, but you seriously need someone to show you how to work with kids and with over 20 years of experience of working with young people, I Do know what I am talking about.Happy kids make Happy Parents. The ship was noisy and I don't mean the engines, every night from 10.00 pm - 2.00 am what sounded like a train would roar by our cabins and wake us up, not happy and funnily enough wasn't mentioned in the brochure. Shore excursions were ok, but cancelling Portmao trip because of a Port workers strike and taking us to Helvua was a poor substitute...You knew about strike well in advance and could have offered us a tourist destination, Helvua was not a tourist destination. Have I mentioned the drinks were all watered down. The ship also charges for everything, visit to the deck to see captain, give us your money, momento of your miles travelled, give us your money, want to safely store things in your cabin,give us your money. I could go on and on and on, but basically this Cruise was a mini Blackpool at Sea, tatty and money money money and judging from other passengers complaints not a very good advert for Marcella. I Paid well over £6500 to take all my family on what I told them would be a brilliant Cruise. Never again will Marella Cruises be getting my hard earned money and never will I tell people how good they are...keep it up Marella, great way to go out of business. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise as it was a very good price and we needed to see some blue sky. I had read mixed reviews about the ship and was aware it was quite old and smaller than I had been on before, but it was truly lovely, the staff were ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a very good price and we needed to see some blue sky. I had read mixed reviews about the ship and was aware it was quite old and smaller than I had been on before, but it was truly lovely, the staff were wonderful, entertainment was great and and so was the food...no complaints at all. Sailed from Malaga and were able to have a good explore before we left as we didn't have until 10 pm and Malaga is compact. All ports of call were easy to explore on your own, although I would recommend a tour from Casablanca, we chose Rabat. The disembarkation always ran smoothly and without queues, one of the advantages of a smaller vessel. We travelled as a couple and had a cabin on the lower deck, mid ship, the beds were very comfortable and our cabin steward, Wilbur, was fantastic. We had a porthole window which I was fascinated by, it was a whole new perspective being right by the water, especially when the waves came over the window. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I decided on this trip as a way to see the Caribbean with my 77 year old mum and not have the overnight flight back to UK. The Thompson’s brochure states you can check in and drop your bags the day before, unfortunately this is not ... Read More
I decided on this trip as a way to see the Caribbean with my 77 year old mum and not have the overnight flight back to UK. The Thompson’s brochure states you can check in and drop your bags the day before, unfortunately this is not the case, however once you have dropped your cases you don’t see them again until they are delivered to your cabin (it’s worth having some suitable ‘hot weather’ clothes in hand luggage so you can change and make the most of the sun as soon as you arrive. There are only 2 formal dress evenings on this cruise, the Captains gala dinner and a dress to impress night. Of the 2 main restaurants the food was often better in the self-service Lido restaurant though getting a drink with your meal is a challenge and it’s best to take on in with you, often we had finished our main course before being offered a drink. In the Meridian restaurant some of the portions were tiny, particularly the starters (i.e 1 button mushroom!) but the service is good, if you don’t want to share a table you can request not to but may have to wait. On the transatlantic crossing there were some excellent entertainers, other activities were put on, water-colour painting, choir and a murder mystery, though this was done be fellow passengers. During the crossing the clocks were put forward most days by 1 hour at 12 noon, so lunch quickly followed breakfast!. On sea days it was difficult to get sun beds or chairs or seats inside when the weather wasn’t great. Most days the weather was good enough to sit on deck particularly in sheltered areas and sea was quite calm, even though it was quite windy at times light cardigan or jumper was needed at times. Disembarkation - cabins need to be vacated by 7am we found the lido restaurant was full and people in no rush to leave their tables, the Minstalls restaurant didn’t open until 7.30 so it was complete chaos particularly as the queues to get into the restaurant was blocking the gangway to get off the ship. Crew were very friendly and helpful. Excursions- nice free trolley bus into town in Curaçao hop on\off also local tour bus $20 was good value. Would recommend glass bottom boat in Bonaire and Catamaran to Pitons in St Lucia. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Don't be swayed by negative reviews, we've sailed with P&O, Fred Olsen etc and were a little dubious about this ship but decided to go with it as the itinerary for the caribbean suited us perfectly plus we prefer the smaller ... Read More
Don't be swayed by negative reviews, we've sailed with P&O, Fred Olsen etc and were a little dubious about this ship but decided to go with it as the itinerary for the caribbean suited us perfectly plus we prefer the smaller ships. Admittedly on embarking the Celebration first impression weren't brilliant but all I can say is the ship's ambience and charm grows on you not to mention the crew..... Our spacious cabin on deck 1 was great - large double bed, double wardrobes (30 rigid hangers), tea/coffee facilities, hairdryer, more drawers than we could fill, flat screen tv with SKY sports/news , the usual small but manageable bathroom and the most wonderful cabin steward (Aris). The entire ship is kept absolutely spotless by the attentive crew including the outside deck areas which were cleaned overnight. The food was absolutely fine with several dining options, We loved the Meridian restaurant, open dining meant that we chose to sit with fellow passengers, meeting different people each evening - speed dating at sea!!. Drinks and wine packages available were very reasonably priced (if not on the all inclusive option) and we loved the coffee pot for our daily Lavazza fix with cake. I was a bit anxious about the atlantic crossing but the communication, visibility and professionalism of the captain and the officers put me at ease. Excellent Cruise Director who provided a variety of daytime enrichment opportunities - learn to dance, join a choir, murder mystery, quiz, bingo, table tennis, line dancing etc...we really wish we'd got off our sunbed and engaged more! Entertainment options were great and the live music provided in all bar areas was wonderful. Two form​al nights held whilst we were on board, one with drinks and the opportunity to meet the captain. Would say this ship is better suited to adults given it's size.....All in all this ship and crew far exceeded all our expectations and we will most definitely return. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have been on the Celebration three times before this cruise.Reading some of the reviews we were apprehensive about the way things had changed since we were on the ship in March 2017. We need not have worried we found that the ship was ... Read More
We have been on the Celebration three times before this cruise.Reading some of the reviews we were apprehensive about the way things had changed since we were on the ship in March 2017. We need not have worried we found that the ship was still as good as before with the same excellent service from all the crew.They really make this ship and cannot do enough for you and they are always cheerful. Cabin This was an inside cabin on deck 1 it was in a quiet location with not too much vibration.Our cabin steward Aris really looked after us and nothing was too much trouble for him.The cabin was kept very clean and although the towels we not the bath towel size we are used to they were thick fluffy and clean and changed twice a day. Food We used all the restaurants having breakfast and lunch in the Lido and our evening meal in the Meridian.We also dined in Mistrals.The breakfast was very appetising with a good variety of food.There was full English breakfast and continental style breakfast,plenty of choice for everyone.The staff were all very helpful and efficient clearing the tables promptly.There was also plenty of choice at lunch time both in the Lido and the Terrace Grill.The Meridian is waiter service and again the food was delicious and we were served by cheerful and efficient waiters.Mistrals was well worth the extra supplement,the meal was excellent and the waiters were very attentive.An enjoyable experience. We never had afternoon tea or the late night meals but the people who did have them said they were very good. Bars and entertainment We frequented both Horizons and Hemingways the service in these bars was very efficient Alex in Hemingways was a star he and his team Randy, Nosi and Glenys were extremely efficient and could not do enough for you they were always there to replenish your drinks as soon as you had nearly finished your drink they were there to take your order for the next one.They were always cheerful and enjoyed banter with the guests. The entertainment in this bar consisted of a young man with a guitar called King who has a beautiful voice and is an exceptional guitarist.There was another entertainer who played the electronic organ he did Reggae music.They were not too intrusive and you can carry on a conversation without having to shout. Irwin in Horizons bar was an excellent barman and always happy to serve you.The waiters Grace and Edward were brilliant and always happy to serve you too.The entertainment was a duo called 2Intense.They were really good and had a huge repertoire They too were very entertaining. The pool bar on deck 9 was run by Eferan and his team Geraldine and Jovan.They always had a smile and were happy to serve you even when it was blowing a gale one day. The ship may be old but it was clean the crew were cleaning all day every day and during the night too. As this was a repo cruise almost every one left the ship at the same time this disembarkation was managed very well by the crew. All in all this was an enjoyable cruise and we have booked to go on the old girl again in October . Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last ... Read More
Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last we saw of our hold luggage until it arrived at our cabin. We were greeted on the plane with a glass of bubbly before take off, we were glad to have booked premier as it was a 9 hour flight the longest we have ever done. There was plenty of room to move around in your seat, video's to watch and plenty to eat and drink. On arrival at the Dominican Republic, going through security was just as fast as check in at home, signing in at the ship was fast and straight forward, if you can travel premier when with TUI it saves a lot of time at check in's and security. Marella Celebration had not changed much from our last cruise her in October 2016, new carpeting and seating in Hemmingways and Horizons lounges. The standard of food on board was very good it was well cooked and presented in The Meridian Restaurant, in the Lido Buffet the standard was just as good with plenty of variety to suit every one. We tended to have breakfast and lunch in the Lido Buffet where there was always a large selection of both hot and cold foods along with a plentiful array of fruit, we were able to have as little or as much as we wanted. Our preference was to have evening dinner in The Meridian Restaurant served by waiters Iasury, Jaydeep and Katerina and wine by Kumar who did an excellent job keeping the glasses full. Health and gluten free meals were available on request in The Meridian Restaurant and on display in the Lido Buffet to help yourself. It was definitely an excellent change to our eating experience on Marella Dream in September 2017 where the food was just about as god as pub grub and dolloped on your plate. Being repeat Marella (Thomson) cruisers we had seen most of the shows/guest artists on previous cruises, so it would not be fair to make comment on any of the shows we attended. Being a repositioning cruise the cruise itinerary had 8 port stops and 9 days at sea this made the cruise very relaxing. After our first day at sea we arrived at Curacao, where we did the Discover Curacao Island Tour which started with a visit to Curacao Museum in Otrabanda, one floor is kitted out like a 19th century Curacao mansion, then on to the Hato Caves which have about 50 steps to enter and exit the caves which are full of stalagmites and stalactites, next we were on to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory where you can see where the islands Blue Curacao Liqueur is made along with a tasting. The caves make this trip unsuitable for wheelchair users or those with waking difficulties. Our next port of call was Aruba where we did the Aruba Off Road trip, starting with a visit to Casibari Rock a formation that is the result of the island’s trade winds, then on to the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins which operated in the 19th century, next it was on to the ocean carved Natural Bridge, followed by the Alto Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse which sits on the islands northwest tip, finally to the palm fringed white sands at Arashi Beach. This trip would be unsuitable to wheelchair users also those with back or joint problems and pregnant women due to the very rough and uneven terrain covered. Next was the island of Bonaire where we did the Bonaire Highlights & Culture Explorer tour. Our first stop was the village of Rincon at the Rose Inn to sample the locally Cadushy Liqueur made from cactus and lime, then on to the Mangazina di Rei Culture Park where The King’s Warehouse is the second oldest building on the island, finally to the Salt Flats and Salt Mountains where salt was mined by slaves in the 19th century, some of the old slave huts are still standing. This trip would suit most people looking for a relaxing non-energetic trip. Our second day at sea was a welcome break, there were plenty of activities organised if you were becoming bored with the sun bathing, but most cruisers were topping up on their sun tan. Our 4th port of call was Castries, St. Lucia, where we had booked the Scenes of St. Lucia tour, starting with a drive up the scenic Morne Fortune hillside, translated as “Hill of Good Luck”, it was a key battleground during colonial times, our first stop was at St Marks House, a colonial style house high in the hills where you have a panoramic view of Castries harbour and the Caribbean sea. Then it was on to St. Lucia’s one and only rum distillery, where you see how the spirit is produced, afterwards you have a chance to sample the produce, all 17 different rum’s, from double strength to crème liqueur varieties and it was help yourself, you were invited go round twice if you wanted, no one in our group was brave enough. Lastly it was a bit of retail therapy at Howelton Estate/Caribelle Batic which is famous throughout the Caribbean for it’s batic prints. This tour was easy on the legs and would be suitable for most people. The next port of call was St. John’s, Antigua where we went on the Highlights of Antigua, the first stop was The Blockhouse Fort ruins, perched 500 feet above sea level making it a great viewing platform for the island. Then it was on to Shirley Heights where during the 18th century soldiers used this as a lookout to spot their enemies and signal to near by forts. Finally it was on to Nelson’s Dockyard which is the world’s only working Georgian Dockyard still in use today, you are able to stroll through the Georgian buildings and visit the original Naval Officer’s house. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with walking difficulties due to the rough terrain under foot. Our final port of call in the Caribbean before 6 days a sea was Philipsburg, St. Maarten, where we did the Philipsburg by Trolley Train tour, our first stop was a short distance from the ship at a cheese outlet for free samples, most of the cheese on show was the same as home, but we did get a free tub of ice cream which was delicious, the trolley train then took us on a natural, cultural and historic landmarks trip through Philipsburg, stopping at two venues for a quick taste of flavoured rums. We then had a 30 min stop for shopping etc. before returning to the ship. This was a short easy tour which was suitable for most people. Our next 6 days at sea were spent relaxing, attending some of the activities arranged on ship, but mostly finding a nice quiet place to sit and watch time go by. After 6 days at sea our port of call was Funchal, Madeira, where some cruisers could hardly wait to get on terra firma. We had booked the Taste of Madeira & Cable Car, after a short coach run to the cable car station it into the cable car for the ride from Funchal to Monte where the panoramic views are superb. It was then decision time, go back down by coach or wicker toboggan. The toboggan won, it was a great experience sitting in the wicker toboggan sliding down hill guided by two drivers using their rubber soled boots as brakes, then it was on to the Botanical Gardens, unfortunately the weather had been unusually cold this year and plants were about a month behind normal so there was not much to see. The toboggan ride costs 30 euro per couple or 25 euro single, well worth the experience. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users and may cause problems for those with walking difficulties. Next it was our last lazy day at sea, by now it was a bit colder 18c and a bit chilly for sitting on deck. Our last port of call was Gibraltar, having been here many times we decided to do our own thing and walk into town for a bit of window shopping, have a coffee or two and people watch. Our disembarking port was Malaga, transfer from ship to airport was carried out very smoothly and efficiently, but not as quick as our outbound flight, overall it was another pleasant experience even though we had to carry our own cases this time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
What went well: The flight, crew, and service were excellent, safety was a priority. Transfers were good with no added delay other than the wings being deiced which was acceptable. No hassle, boarding the ship was easy and well managed ... Read More
What went well: The flight, crew, and service were excellent, safety was a priority. Transfers were good with no added delay other than the wings being deiced which was acceptable. No hassle, boarding the ship was easy and well managed with the exception of the booker not being aware of 25-night passengers. The cruise director Gavin Carroll was a joy, he was always smiling and friendly and always approachable, his team was always on hand and very friendly. The performers including guest performers were all brilliant and very professional, some of the very best we have experienced on ten different cruises (some not Marella) I disagree with other reviews who have hinted at miming!!!! The cabin was dark but well maintained by the cabin steward Komang. A person worthy of mention was Glynis's from Hemingway's bar, she was a star and remembered drinks, names and cabin numbers and always had a laugh and a joke with us. Hygiene was well covered and the antibacterial gel was readily available at all relevant points. Food in both the lido and the Meridian restaurant was always great, but breakfast service in the Meridian was always very slow and things were forgotten or not provided on several occasions. The Itinerary was great one of the reasons we chose this cruise. What didn't go so well: once onboard we were hassled by every waiter or person in blue trying to upswell drinks packages. Again on other cruises, we have been on, there have been points around the ship where this happens and hassling customers has not been an issue. Things said like: "don't you want quality drinks" and "nice wines instead of Spanish" and even one barman when seeing our card said "if you can afford a suite, you can afford to upgrade" it wasn't his place to think or say this, let alone in front of customers. I asked at reception to speak to the bar manager, he came out to see me and I told him of our experience, he was apologetic for the comments. I mentioned that we had chosen this cruise because it had everything included but were now being made to feel inferior by not buying the upgrade. He explained that many people were happy with the All Inclusive drinks, so suggested we try it and see how we go. He then told me that it would be £176 each to upgrade to premium drinks, which on top of what we had paid would be too expensive. I mentioned that my brother has been on Discovery twice and recommended Marella to us, he mentioned Casselero Diablo wine and Bells whiskey, which we regularly drink, so we were more than happy, only to be told by the bar manager that Discovery was a premium ship. We were not given a safe key on the port when booking in as the people there didn't know how much to charge and were not aware of the 25 night cruise, we were told to go to reception, when we did go to reception they told us all the keys were in the port and could we come back. We finally were issued with a key later that evening, but staff couldn't tell us how much a 25-night cruise fee cost. When we tried to use the magnet key to open the safe, we discovered it was a digital safe and we didn't need a key, on returning it to reception, the receptionist said well you will still have to pay. Although there were policies onboard about reserving sunbeds or seats, this clearly happened and was rarely addressed by Marella. On one occasion whilst looking for a sunbed we observed one person lying across a double sunbed, and over 100 sunbeds with towels on but no bums on the beds, this was infuriating and as we didn't want any hassle we left without a bed. This wasn't just a one-off but most days especially at sea and there didn't seem any staff readily available to address this with. Many times seats were reserved in the Broadway by a handbag on the seat or a mobile phone or scarf, with one person guarding many seats. Our main gripe again was over the drinks, when ordering in the Broadway show lounge, the drinks were inferior and you could never taste the alcohol, (possibly because they drowned the drinks with ice and carbonated mixers) we were given drinks in strange glasses when we queried this,(a Baileys in a half pint tumbler) we were told there weren't any other glasses available, this also happened in Hemingways. We drank regularly in Horizons and Hemingways and on occasion felt the drinks didn't taste quite right, only to observe unbranded alcohol being provided when requesting gin or whisky etc. when we mentioned we were All Inclusive and expected branded drinks as per the drinks menu, I.e. Gordon's or Beefeater Gin, and J&B, johnny walker red label etc. This happened so often that my husband waited at the bars to be served to ensure we were getting what we asked for, this practice even happened when we asked specifically for Gordon's Gin or Red label whiskey, so we brought this to the attention of the bar manager on one of his fleeting visits to Horizons. He thanked us for bringing it to his attention and he would address it. We saw him enter the bar area and help clear glasses etc, he seemed to chat to staff, but we were not sure if he addressed the problem. We feel it was a wide-ranging norm on this ship, as otherwise why did they regularly stock the unbranded drinks. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Firstly, this is a rather late review, as we cruised at the end of February/beginning of March. It will also be long, as I tend to waffle on. Sorry. Anyway. Having read numerous reviews on here before we went, we had all decided to go ... Read More
Firstly, this is a rather late review, as we cruised at the end of February/beginning of March. It will also be long, as I tend to waffle on. Sorry. Anyway. Having read numerous reviews on here before we went, we had all decided to go with an open mind, which to be fair, is our usual stance with holidays, as you really can’t please everyone! We were a group of four – my mum and her other half, and me and my uncle. We very much enjoyed our experience on the ship. We have only done one other cruise – back in 2016 on the Norwegian Spirit, and we really wanted to do another, but money was an issue. We paid quite a bit more for this cruise and stay than we did for the first cruise, but do feel we got our money’s worth for both the week on the ship, and then the next week at the hotel. Firstly, yes, the ship is old. I would assume if people have written a review on this website, then they likely also read reviews before they went, and would therefore know that the ship is not brand new, and will therefore not look brand new. Yes, it does vibrate and I can appreciate every comment on this. However, we went expecting it (from the aforementioned reading other reviews), and were lucky to find it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be (or more accurately wasn’t as bad as others seem to have experienced). Choose a seat carefully I would say  . It really didn’t bother us at all in the cabin, where we thought it would be the worst, so that was great, although we were on deck 4, so possibly is worse in the lower decks to be fair. The cabin was as spacious as it could be really, we found we had plenty of room to store everything without feeling cramped. Beds were better than expected. Nice to have tea and coffee in the room (although the sweeteners didn’t get replenished), as well as the big bottle of water a day, seen as bottled water is not included in the all inclusive, as many others have noted. Found the bathroom quite small compared to what we had experienced previously, but the bedroom was bigger, so there you go. We enjoyed having a porthole this time, was much easier to get up with natural light in the room and I would like to have this option again, if it is affordable. We also paid to pick our cabin numbers when booking, and liked our choices location wise. We had no problems with the buffet restaurant, and used this for most meals, as well as late night snacks (we drink too much, we know, don’t judge us!). We thought the food was of good quality, and a varied enough choice. We especially enjoyed the hot puddings and custard from a personal view. We liked that there was waiter service for drinks (Norwegian did not have this) and they appeared fairly quickly to take orders and then bring them as well. Glasses and cups were replenished pretty quickly, and tables were also cleared efficiently. There was a cook to order pasta and Chinese food station, also a panini station outside on deck, and afternoon tea most days which was lovely. We had no problems with the wine and beer provided in the all inclusive and enjoyed them extensively ;) Also I personally felt that there was an enormous choice of cocktails included, lots of people had previously complained there weren’t many, but really, there were LOADS. And they were also very enjoyable. Yes, there are a few that have supplements. Pay if you want that extra special one, but we found nothing wrong with what was on the included list. The only downside was that a bushwhacker wasn’t included (our favorite from Norwegian made with ice cream) but somehow we coped! We actually found the various bar staff also had no problems with trying to make anything you wanted cocktail wise (obviously don’t do this when there’s a massive queue, that’s just rude), and they were generous with their measures. We honestly thought all the staff on this ship were brilliant, they work horribly long hours, and you can understand why lots of them are grumpy at times and don’t want to smile and listen to you whine because they don’t have something you particularly want, but everyone on this ship was fantastic. Always smiling, making time to chat, but still managing to get everyone drinks quickly. Brilliant service. There was a fair amount of upselling going on during the first few days of staff trying to get everyone to “upgrade” which was a bit annoying, but I suppose some people may have appreciated the available options. We did eat breakfast in the Meridian a couple of times. Would say service is very “relaxed” in here, but food lovely and makes a nice change to just sit and be waited on, rather than dashing around and standing in queues waiting for eggs and toast etc. We thought the gala evening was fun, and again enjoyed the food, as well as the ample wine which somehow mysteriously kept getting topped up every time I was talking to someone and not looking… Sunbeds were an issue, yes. They always are going to be when its predominantly us Brits around. Sorry, but I think we have topped other nations now, with our bad habits of sun bed hogging. However, we found we liked to sit along the side of the ship as there was some shade around rather at the front or back, and we could usually find beds there. The staff did go round and leave notes on beds which had been unoccupied for a while as well, saying that the stuff would be removed. Played bingo a few times. Much more reasonably priced than Norwegian and much difference between prize money as well. We also joined in a couple of quizzes and even managed to win one, which is unheard of for our group! Found the entertainment to be of high quality, good singers and dancers. I didn’t find the comedian to my taste, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it, and its still nice to see something different. We enjoyed Hemingways Bar and Horizons as well. My mum and I both suffered fairly badly with sea sickness on our first cruise, and had to always sit in the middle of the ship so didn’t get to enjoy a lot of places on the Norwegian ship, but we were much better on the Celebration (yes even with the vibrations haha!) and did really enjoy the Horizons bar in particular, especially late afternoon for a quick cocktail (or three – stop judging!) after sunbathing and port walking. I only had one night where I was particularly ill and had to take nausea tablets, and when I managed to get up later in the evening and was wobbling about trying to get some fresh air, the staff were great at noticing and bringing me some ginger ale to help settle my stomach. It does help in case anyone who hadn’t tried it wondered! Also, plain crackers are good to settle a stomach as well. We thought everyone was so friendly on this cruise, everyone chatted to everyone and were all really nice people, all there to enjoy themselves. People also seemed to dress up nicely in the evenings as well which was great to see. We always found seating where we wanted which was good. Thought Marella handled the transfers to and from port and hotel very well, although our transfer time was more than double what we were told it would be, and a guy came onto our minibus and gave a really hard sell for mosquito bands, which although they were useful, I didn’t really need to hear all about mosquitos and their habits on a long bus trip right before the next part of my holiday! They also really really stank, and as we were on a small bus, wasn’t particularly pleasant! We found embarkation and disembarkation (in the Dom Rep) a smooth process. We didnt do any excursions so cant comment. All in all, we had a really great trip and wouldn’t hesitate to book another Marella cruise if the price was right. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Check-in Process: I booked a cruise holiday simply enough on the website and had confirmation emails. As part of my booking documentation it clearly states: “You’ll be able to check-in online from 7 days before your departure date ... Read More
Check-in Process: I booked a cruise holiday simply enough on the website and had confirmation emails. As part of my booking documentation it clearly states: “You’ll be able to check-in online from 7 days before your departure date and once you do, you’ll automatically be allocated your seats on the plane” That’s simple to understand, However….. When I proceeded to check-in online the following error message appeared: “We're currently unable to offer you online check-in for your flight. Don't worry, you can proceed to TUI Airways bag drop desk at the airport on your day of departure where check-in will be completed for you and your boarding passes will be issued.” I thought this was strange so I ask TUI customer service why I could not check-in online and this was their response: “Online check in it is a complimentary service that we offer. We only allow 70-80% of our customers to check in online” This is information is not mentioned on the TUI website, Terms & Conditions’ or my booking forms so basically rather than being up front so I could make an informed decision before the check-in date, I am now stuck with the hassle of check-in at the Airport with no way to avoid it. This is before my holiday begins, so, who knows what else TUI will fail to mention. Airport: So got to Gatwick the day before the flight and despite advertising "day before bag drop" on their website, I could not use this service on a TUI Fly/Cruise holiday. Great Check-In on the day: This was actually good. Bags get taken straight to the ship so no need to collect at the Airport which is a nice bonus. Please note they do weight your "hand/cabin" luggage as well as your hold luggage. Make sure you don't go over your limit otherwise they will definitely charge you. The excess baggage charge for long haul is £17 a Kilo Arrival: The arrival at Dominican Republic Airport was excellent, got on coach straight after arrival, received a welcome drink and on-boarding onto the ship was very quick. Accommodation/cabin: This was basic but the bed was comfortable and shower was good. Only problem was that they charge you £15/£25 to use the in-room safe. No not a deposit, they actually charge you. wow Inclusive Package: They advertised as an all-inclusive cruise however the drinks are limited and extremely watered down (Many other guests said the same thing). Note Bottle water is not included or premium drinks such as JD etc. If you pay another £50 Per person you can get premium drinks but this still does not include bottle water (except one bottle a day in you cabin). Also if you want to have the odd premium drink with the basic all-inclusive you can pay a supplement but that is nearly the cost of the drink (Example Heineken supplement is £3.00 when the drink cost £3.90). Tours: Excellent tours and good trips. A really positive. Staff: The best thing about the cruise was the staff. They were excellent, very helpful and always attentive. Food: Lido Restaurant was nice but limited range of food. Terrible pizza and Burgers in the outdoor lido, funny considering this a basic on most cruises. Main Restaurant was excellent (£10 Steak supplement was very good) but Gala Night was a bit disappointing. Went to the one of the three paid restaurants, food was good but not worth £35 Supplement (For 2). Activities: Absolutely awful, there were seminars on water retention, bingo (£5 ago), table tennis and quiz's. There were two pools and one Jacuzzi's on board and on the only day at sea one pool and the Jacuzzi was closed. There were no movies or sports TV's in the bars or theatre and no real stand out activities. Rubbish Shows: The show team were enthusiastic and lovely people but the shows were terrible. Nothing much to write home about except the comedian shows which saved it for me. Overall, good holiday but it would be 50/50 on whether I would use TUI/Marella again. Everything comes with supplement rather than being a true all-inclusive cruise (as advertised) and food/activities/shows very underwhelming. The staff and tours saved it for me but not enough to fully recommend. If you do book with TUI, be prepared for some hidden surprises and factor this into the cost. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We enjoyed our week long cruise on Celebration. It's an old ship and showing it's age but kept clean. There was some vibration and the movement of the ship was felt which isn't as evident on the larger, newer ships. We ... Read More
We enjoyed our week long cruise on Celebration. It's an old ship and showing it's age but kept clean. There was some vibration and the movement of the ship was felt which isn't as evident on the larger, newer ships. We dined in the main restaurants but also tried the 3 speciality restaurants, The food in the main restaurant was comparable to P&O and Celebrity and we found this good, the speciality restaurants were OK we enjoyed Mistrals the best, the hot stone was good but due to it's location it wasn't a "special" experience it's outside next to the buffet so although an effort was made to make it different there was limited partitioning so the tables nearby were used for people having the buffet. We didn't really enjoy the Asian restaurant, food was not as good as our local Indian restaurant service was poor we didn't really think it was worth the extra charge. The entertainment was excellent we have cruised with P&O, Celebrity, NCL, RCI and Holland America and we thought the shows were the best we have seen. During the day there was a good mix of quizzes and games but there weren't any talks like other cruise lines offer. There is a choice of bars in the evening some lively and some more relaxed which suited different tastes. We did one shore excursion - Deep Martinique we thought this was very good value for money and had an excellent guide and we had a very enjoyable day there were only 15 on the tour. This was our first cruise with Marella (Thomson's/TUI) we probably wouldn't go on Celebration again (unless we got a good deal) due to the age and size of the ship. Due to the size, age of the ship and the choppy sea we felt queasy and this is the only reason we would probably not go on Celebration again however would happily look at cruising with Marella on one of their newer larger other ships. On the whole we had a good time we were apprehensive before going due to some of the negative comments about Marella Cruises on cruise critic but other than the age of the ship I think it is similar to P&O and value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all ... Read More
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all day and most of the night service was excellent but they had far too many quizes on every topic, entertainment was excellent king in hemmingways was brilliant he will go far embarkation smooth and easy far too many photos at expensive prices we all have phones with cameras now do not need more paper photos shore excursions from ship expensive much cheaper to do it yourself but as long as you give plenty of time to get back to the ship and dont leave it till the last minute decide what time you are going and more important coming back some of the cruise terminal terminals are poor some like st vincent and tortola are excellent Read Less
Marella Celebration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.6
Enrichment N/A 3.3
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.9

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