4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to go home shortly after boarding the ship. The only good thing I can take from this cruise is that the majority of the staff are very helpful and pleasant as one has come to expect from Thomson/Marella cruises. Although in ... Read More
We wanted to go home shortly after boarding the ship. The only good thing I can take from this cruise is that the majority of the staff are very helpful and pleasant as one has come to expect from Thomson/Marella cruises. Although in the minority, there were enough loud, drunk and foul mouthed party goers to ruin anyone's cruise. They made one hell of a noise in the early hours of the morning in the corridors. Drunk couples fighting and swearing at each other, loud drunks up at the bars, Broadway show lounge and out on the decks. Compared to other cruises there were just too many incidents for this to be a one off. It appears that this itinerary and low cost cruise has the ability to attract the above mentioned people unlike other cruises I have been on. The walls separating the cabins are paper thin. We were inside cabin so got constant noise (snoring, coughing, couples having sex, flatulence, opening and closing of drawers etc) coming through the walls on all four sides including the corridor. The cabin doors have a gap and let in all the noise and light from the corridors. The onboard entertainment was in my opinion well below average and musicians repeated the same songs night after night. The food in Lido's and the Meridian was below average and the vegetables always overcooked. The wok in Lido's was terrible and the person operating that should take a few lessons from the guy who does it on the Dream. The lobster down in the Meridian on the first Captains night was tough and overcooked. In the Meridian the catch of the day was so soggy and tasteless and the same applies to the bacon and hashbrowns in Lido's. Having said this, one could be selective at the buffet in Lido's and come away with a few appetising portions of food. This was the first cruise I have ever done where I came home lighter than when I left. In summary, on days at sea there are some loud drunk people at places on the decks so one has to be selective where one goes. On days when the ship docks, which is most days, one stands in the breakfast queue with others who cough all over you and also the food in the vicinity, then one eats a below average breakfast then goes out for the day. When one returns then one goes to the cabin to wash up along with all your neighbours and you get a chance to hear them using the toilet, showering, having sex, burping, flatulence, listening to music etc. Then one heads out for an overcooked meal but is selective and walks away with a few appetising items on the plate as if one is on diet. After this one heads to Broadway show lounge, only to walk out halfway during a lacklustre performance or because some really drunk person is spilling their drink on you or others in the vicinity, yet continues to be served alcohol. So then, not wanting to go down too early one heads to one of the bars to hear the same musician/s singing the same songs they sang the night before. Then one cannot help but notice the loud drunk people and the continuous flow of well behaved people sitting down in the vicinity of the loud drunks then getting up and leaving without even finishing their drinks. After a beer one decides enough is enough and heads off to the cabin early only to be kept awake most of the night by your snoring, coughing, neighbour and of course the foul and loud mouthed drunks socialising in the corridors outside your cabin when returning to their cabins in the early morning hours. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
All went wrong from the flight we took 7 hours 30 mins to get to Malaga we sat on granada runway for over two hours. We have not long come back from this ship Marella Celebration well where do I start the ship has paper thin walls I ... Read More
All went wrong from the flight we took 7 hours 30 mins to get to Malaga we sat on granada runway for over two hours. We have not long come back from this ship Marella Celebration well where do I start the ship has paper thin walls I could here the people in the next cabin snoring it was so bad and you can imagine what it was like when people came back from the casino or late night drinking. Also you sat in theatre/ show and you can watch everything vibrate It’s so bad people say you get use to it you don’t the ship is so old her sister ship has been scraped off I wonder why do not take children on this ship for me I would worry about them all the outside steps are so steep. You could not get a sun bed unless you get up at 6am just not enough they say they remove towels but they don’t Food very basic in self serving restaurant. Safe in room £35 for holiday I have never paid for safe on any cruise I’ve been on before WiFi nearly £50 which most of the time it did not work Another thing i was not feeling well at the end of cruise found my blood sugar very high (34) can’t be certain but I don’t think I was getting Diet Coke Good bit is the staff sorry not for me would try the newer ships but not this boat you will be sorry if you book look at newer ships this one is over 35 years old and her sister ship was scrapped I wonder why Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Recommended by travel agent as smaller, more intimate ship for our first cruise. We upgraded at a further cost of £394 to a deluxe cabin as I’m a bit claustrophobic. On an all inclusive basis. (Turns out that it’s not fully inclusive ... Read More
Recommended by travel agent as smaller, more intimate ship for our first cruise. We upgraded at a further cost of £394 to a deluxe cabin as I’m a bit claustrophobic. On an all inclusive basis. (Turns out that it’s not fully inclusive and you can pay a further supplement for premium all inclusive! What a rip off)! Cabin layout was fine but the large bed was two twins, joined together and mattresses rock hard. Pillows inside cases weren’t very clean. Cabin steward worked very hard so no complaints about general cleanliness of the cabin, although decor is slightly dated. Our main problem was location of cabin! When booking, we were advised by tui that no deluxe cabins were available on decks 6 or 8 so we thought we’d be obviously be on deck 7. Upon arrival, we were directed to cabin 236 on deck 6 which was the first cabin through the doors from the broadway show lounge!! The shows didn’t generally finish until after 11.30pm and the noise during the shows was terrible. When passengers later headed back to their own cabins, not many spared a thought for anyone sleeping and were extremely noisy passing by our door. Needless to say we got very little sleep during the trip. We couldn’t even have a nap on an afternoon as the entertainment team rehearsed!! (I use that term lightly too!) Very amateur productions to say the least! Upon complaining to reception about the noise, we were told it was out of their control if guests were noisy late at night and ship was full so we couldn’t be moved. They didn’t appear sympathetic at all! Ship is very shabby and at best I would say similar to a 2-3 star hotel. Food in the buffet Lido restaurant was awful. Overcooked vegetables (frozen), tough unseasoned meat, dirty crockery, instant custard with dry puddings, tinned fruit, need I go on? The meridian restaurant tried harder and it was smart dress with waiter service. Staff were attentive and wine / water glasses always topped up. We almost always had to wait for a table (around ten mins) as I refused to share a table with fellow passengers. Why would I want to share with strangers?? (Linen tablecloths and napkins always clean but again the food was such a let down. Meat tough, lobster tail ruined by overlooking and vegetables stewed to death! I ordered turkey with the trimmings one night and the chipolata sausage was totally raw as was the roasted potato. Upon mentioning it to the waiter, he took my plate away and returned to say the chef agreed with my view! Someone could have had a nasty tummy upset if it had been consumed. We did use the spa onboard and must commend Harry on his fantastic hot stone massage. 2 intense, the singers in the Horizons bar were also very good but their show was interrupted on one occasion by a very drunken passenger! I agree with other reviews that the ship is well past it’s sell by date and should be out of commission and felt that tui couldn’t care about the enjoyment and quality of your holiday once they had your money. It was like Butlins at sea!! Never again will Tui take money from me. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The ship is extremely dated and very shabby indeed. Its in a total need of refurbishment. Its such a mismatch. The vibration of the ship was terrible to the point where ladies earrings were swinging and glasses were shacking on the ... Read More
The ship is extremely dated and very shabby indeed. Its in a total need of refurbishment. Its such a mismatch. The vibration of the ship was terrible to the point where ladies earrings were swinging and glasses were shacking on the tables. Windows in the Lido Restaurant/buffet were extremely bad, very dirty and patched up where they needed mending......I could go on but I would be writing forever. Me and my friend were in a balcony cabin. However on day 2 of the cruise there was squeaking from two different areas of the ceiling. TUI obviously knew about this as there was bits of wood jammed between the ceiling and the wardrobe to stop the noise.. When I complained about this, they tried to say that I was the first to ever complain about the noise! Cabin was clean but extremely dated. Lots of wardrobe space. It was an OK size room. Lido - This was the buffet - I am a bit picky when it comes to food and to me it was substandard. Waiter Service Restaurant (Included in price) - Cant remember the name of this restaurant but it is on deck 4 - Waiters are in total confusion when its busy. Its certainly not silver service. On different occasions but each time eating at this restaurant there was always something wrong. For example, wine stained table cloths, water not given until half way through our food, Alcohol was the same, we were seated with no cutlery or if we were lucky some of the cutlery were present. Food was a bit hit and miss but it was OK for the price point. Marella/TUI are nowhere near close to food that I have eaten on other cruises. I suppose you get what you pay for. We only saw one show in the evening and that was enough, just a bit armature. The disco played the same music most nights. It was just recordings and no DJ. Service/Customer service on the ship was atrocious especially when you had a complaint. The reception/excursion staff try and make you feel that you are the problem. As mentioned above the cabin was squeaking and it was so loud that it was impossible to sleep. I had to request for someone to come to the room three times on three different days. When I had enough I complained to the reception and they then said they didn't have a record of my complaint and therefore I could not have complained.....Now is that Customer Service? The cruise itinerary had to be reversed due to weather and this did upset me as arranged meeting a friend in Malta. However I understand that due to weather etc itineraries would be changed but I was told by a member of staff at the reception desk that it was due to bigger ships paying more money to dock at certain locations and because the ship couldn't pay as much we were at the back of the queue! We went on two excursions one in Montenegro which was fine and worth the money and the other one in Sicily which would have been good value but wasn't. I understand that when you book excursions on the ship it is tough luck if you get bad weather. Well let me say the weather in Sicily was so bad, torrential rain , thunder and lightening. The local guide said that the ship said that the weather was going to be fine! Now with all that sophisticated machinery on the ship, is this really true? Anyway that's not the end of it. The guide stood outside a church shouting at the top of her voice in the rain thunder and lightening while a family were mourning taking a coffin out of a hearse. I asked her to stop but she wouldn't. Other people in our group were extremely embarrassed and either walked away or turned their back. By this time I was raging when I got back to the ship and the reply I got back from the manager of excursions was, wait for it........Other countries do not have the same traditions we have in the UK!!!! If that's not disrespectful, what is! I also wanted to comment that due to the adverse weather conditions that we should not have been climbing uphill due to the strong lightening strikes. She just said "You signed the booking form" Surely TUI have a duty of care to their customers. I just felt yet again that they put the fault back on us. Just one more thing, the tour guide wore sunglasses all the way through the tour, which was rude and even through we were in a bad storm. Plus no-one could understand her accent. Well as you can see we had two issues and it took six days to finally sort out. We received £250.00 in total off our onboard spend. Considering we were in a balcony cabin and we only got back 50% of our tour, I think it was unreasonable, especially having to chase them up everyday. So really we only had 1 night/day without hassle out of 7. We didn't bother with the drinks package as we like to drink branded alcohol and not the local stuff. Well I can honestly say that the Barcardi is really watered down. It was around £12.00 inclusive for two Barcardi and cokes, that's expensive for watered down drinks. I would like to see if TUI will reply to this. Lets see if they care! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
An expensive upgrade to a balcony cabin, first impressions was the damp and stained bedding, from mattress protector to sheets and pillows. Cabin very dated, shower curtain (why) with many occasions standing waiting for water to come ... Read More
An expensive upgrade to a balcony cabin, first impressions was the damp and stained bedding, from mattress protector to sheets and pillows. Cabin very dated, shower curtain (why) with many occasions standing waiting for water to come through, towels never looked clean and were rough to touch. When sitting anywhere on the ship to lying down there was constant vibrations from the engines and as we were on deck 9 it must have been hell for the lower decks. Food was okay, the lido restaurant just reminded me of the school canteen and even in the Al a carte restaurant my breakfast order was forgotten. Other restaurants were fine but they would be as you had to pay extra to use them. Not sure how often the pools were cleaned but there was often yellow scum floating on the surface with missing tiles and generally in need of major repairs. We had to throw away a bikini and swim shorts due to them being stained yellow from the pool. The sun loungers were dirty and torn. The entertainment was cheesy and boring due to the same show most evening which was just singing and dancing by the same guys. This ship is tired and in my opinion needs to be scrapped, it would be nice if TUI or Marella would contact with me as I have tried on many occasions to contact them regarding my expensive and very disappointing cruise. This was our first cruise and considering this terrible experience we would never cruise again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Our third cruise with Thompson, the first two very enjoyable, but this will be our last. If you want a time expired tatty ship and a company that wants to up sell the minute you are on board, this might be perfect for you. Upgraded to a ... Read More
Our third cruise with Thompson, the first two very enjoyable, but this will be our last. If you want a time expired tatty ship and a company that wants to up sell the minute you are on board, this might be perfect for you. Upgraded to a suite and inclusive drinks package. BIG MISTAKE. Suite: description - ‘view may be partly restricted by lifeboat’. Reality: hardly any view through two tiny windows, largely obscured by lifeboat. Very little natural light, dingey furnishings in shades of brown that made it a depressing place that we couldn’t use during the day. The lighting in the ‘suite’, (actually just a fractionally larger cabin) was so poor that even in daytime it was impossible to read a book unless right next to the window .The cabin noise was dreadful all night as the structure of the cabin creaked. Drinks package a waste of time, all the wine, red, white, rose, prosecco, of an undrinkable standard (previously very good), meaning that wine had to be bought from the special wine menu at full restaurant prices. Cocktails were frequently lacking the alcohol described - are the staff instructed to restrict it? THE TATTY SHIP! Oh my word, it just vibrated100 per cent of the time, even in port. When you look around you everyone is shaking in their seats, it looks like a ship of Parkinson’s disease sufferers. Even in bed you are stil being shaken. Nausea for the whole week and that had nothing to do with the action of the waves. Bad supervision of the sun beds at sea, people hogging beds all day with towels, most of the time less than 50 per cent beds occupied, while people were away for hours, hence lots of people couldn’t get one. AND THEN THE UPSELLING - starts the minute you are on the ship, £15 for use of your cabin safe, bad value excursions, £15 a day for internet that was patchy and could be used in reception or coffee shop, and the final insult, £2 a time for sickness pills that you only needed because of the ships vibration! Good point? The excellent, friendly, efficient, hard working staff (actually the only good thing about the cruise). Message to Tui Management: if your new business model is to rip off the customer with a sub standard experience and extract every penny you can from them while they are at your mercy onboard - you will get what you deserve. Among my family members we have between us 20 Thomson cruises. They have complained about similar attitudes on Discovery 2. You have seen the last of us, and advised our friends about our experiences. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
First of all this is not my first cruise my 3rd in the last 12 months Marella Celebration is a old ship and feels old passages are mostly 99 percent on all-inclusive and Are drinking most of the day and not even seeing the ports of ... Read More
First of all this is not my first cruise my 3rd in the last 12 months Marella Celebration is a old ship and feels old passages are mostly 99 percent on all-inclusive and Are drinking most of the day and not even seeing the ports of call. Let start of the food not the greatest food ever been severed on any ship lukewarm and just basic if you want to pay more and go to that paid restaurants then of course it ups its standards. Now the entertainment on board is where I have some real issues the leadership of the cruise director called Gavin is a lot to be desired when he's around the poolside doing games he makes ridiculous noises dogs other sounds and looks like a complete fool who is in charge of his team also I'm not a great lover of shows when you are never sure if the singers are really singing. The game show are great if you have been drinking all day and night because I have never had the pleasure of being to any holiday camps in the UK but I was told by most people sitting around me thats how they come across very poor and badly presented . The cabins are fine but any vibrations around the ship can be heard most nights. I will not be booking any more Tui ships in the future I understand that the company have new ships what I can't understand why they let This ship carry on in the fleet because it's a very poor example stay well clear of this company and its ships till they rethink their ships Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
First of all this was my 4th cruise in the last 16 months and thankfully I know there are better cruise lines & ships out there. Straight away after the captains reception you know this cruise is not going to be normal cruising ... Read More
First of all this was my 4th cruise in the last 16 months and thankfully I know there are better cruise lines & ships out there. Straight away after the captains reception you know this cruise is not going to be normal cruising the captain speech which is the most boring and longest I've ever seen on any ship in 5 years of cruising starts what really is a very poor week. Because the man who is the figure head for the ship tells awful corny jokes about all members and officers of his team as for the entertainment Onboard the shows are ok if you are not use to other ships which have a band play along side the shows which you are never sure if the singers are actually singing or miming . The games shows are some of the wrost I have seen on any entertainment venue anywhere in the world if you are drunk or have never watched any telly for 20 years they would be fine but all I saw were the hosts trying as hard as they can to make the games look good. The cruise director a Mr Gavin Carroll make the most. Ridiculous noises I've ever heard all around the poolside when he is hosting a game somebody or some drunk must have told this is funny at sometime. I watch the cruise director talk to his team several times in a manner that would not be acceptable in any shape or form of any business and comes across as someone who only cares about how he is doing as a performer not his team. The meals onboad are very basic not what you come to expect from any cruise ship nothing that's going to get you excited about entering the dining room . Most passengers that I watched aboard the ship with my husband were either drunk midday or very drunk at night the ship comes across as something you would expect to see in Benidorm or some low-grade hotel in Europe if you are somebody that cruise before like myself this is one ship to stay clear off because it is not anything you would expect to see on any other shipping company very low grade food and hospitality. cabins on board are okay big problem is the noise of the vibration of the ship Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The only good thing about this cruise was the single cabin - food available without having to pay was extremely poor choice and quality - entertainment was terrible unless you were drunk which many on ship were due to all inclusive package ... Read More
The only good thing about this cruise was the single cabin - food available without having to pay was extremely poor choice and quality - entertainment was terrible unless you were drunk which many on ship were due to all inclusive package - I have sailed on many cruise lines but first time with Thompson or Marella as it is called now and never again !!! Complete waste of money and a Christmas ruined !! The hotel after cruise made up for the terrible cruise but then extremely bad check in experience and late flight - replacement airline and no information given by Thompson then they have lost my luggage made this a holiday from hell when I was looking forward so much for a relaxing and enjoyable christmas and new year holiday - should have stayed home and saved myself over three thousand pounds !! Shall never use Thompson or Marella again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This cruise was the first for my partner and the third for myself. My partner has been put off for ever cruising again. This ship should of been weighed in along time ago, we were never told that the norovirus was present on the ship ... Read More
This cruise was the first for my partner and the third for myself. My partner has been put off for ever cruising again. This ship should of been weighed in along time ago, we were never told that the norovirus was present on the ship before we embarked, had we known we would not have went. You could not serve yourself at all to ANYTHING .. not even a glass of water. the food and service was terrible... over cooked / undercooked / small portions , it was awful, the waitress had a cold and was sniffing all over the place. they all looked miserable as hell and would ignore you most of the time. There was nothing to do on this ship due to virus even the pools were empty half the time. The excursions were expensive and all very samey, if you wanted to do your own thing there wasn't much going on in the ports obviously so you had to get cabs to get anywhere which is ok if you know where you want to go. The only thing that saved the day was the entertainment gang, they were fabulous and should be on a better ship as they are wasted on this one. Our inside cabin had paper thin walls and we could hear conversations and tv's on both sides of our cabin, at night the constant vibration of the engines did not let up and creaked and groaned all night long , the air condition was so bad that I felt I was suffocating by the early hours of the morning every morning, two days. before we disembarked I started to get a bad persistent cough and sore throat which developed into a cold and severe chest infection which spoilt the weeks holiday after the cruise, its the 4 jan 2018 as I right this and I'm still ill and only started to unpack today, we got home on the 28 dec 2017. I strongly strongly advise anybody to avoid this ship like your life depends on it...Thompson should be absolutely ashamed to advertise this old tub as a cruise ship, everything about it, its crew, amenities, restaurants etc is way over its sale by date... I could go on and on and on.... AVOID AVOID AVOID Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have done over 20 Thomson cruises and although most of the ship particularly the cabins are tired we have always enjoyed the entertainment and cruise. This one was shocking....the entertainment team spent more time on deck 6 smoking ... Read More
We have done over 20 Thomson cruises and although most of the ship particularly the cabins are tired we have always enjoyed the entertainment and cruise. This one was shocking....the entertainment team spent more time on deck 6 smoking than they did entertaining, they put on a deck party that lasted 35minutes where they just all danced together and did not involve any of the passengers and when were in dock there was no entertainment at all on the decks. All the shows were poor and pretty much everyone felt the same way one of the comedians thought it was funny to tell homephobic jokes and although we are not gay it was very uncomfortable. We were at sea for 6 days and they did nothing extra on the decks, most people had to make their own entertainment. I could go on and on about how disappointed we were and in fact couldn't wait to get off the ship and come home. There was no sail away party and even when the outside decks were full with passengers no extra entertainment was put on. If this is the future of the old Thomson cruises now called Marcella we certainly won't be doing another one Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We are retired,we holiday at least 6 times a year and at the Glasgow cruise show in 2016 we were taken in by this cruise as it was somewhere we had wanted to go for years it sailed from a port only 90 miles from our home and we had a free ... Read More
We are retired,we holiday at least 6 times a year and at the Glasgow cruise show in 2016 we were taken in by this cruise as it was somewhere we had wanted to go for years it sailed from a port only 90 miles from our home and we had a free few week, so why not!. Departure was a farse. Massive 'Q's' o get into the car park and no toilets. No bus to take us to the ship [it was only 100mts away but we were not allowed to walk so had to stand in the rain for twenty minutes]. When we finally got on the ship our luggage was waiting for us and the cabin 203 deck 6] was quite spacious, plenty of wardrobe space and two windows facing the front [sorry 'Prow'] pity they didn't leek like sieve]. first night crossing the north sea was a bit rough, force 9 gale as we crossed the north sea, but we are experiences cruisers so woke up and had a hearty breakfast in the 'Lido' restaurant. . Had lunch in the meridian restaurant nice staff and food I would compare to 'Witherspoon's, Ok but nothing exceptional and dinner was the same as were all the meals we had there except the 'Escargot' which would put most french restaurants to shame as was the 'Red Snapper', so they do have some exceptional chefs. The 'excursions Sales Pitch' was a wonder to behold. It was done like a 'QVC' questions & Answer session with the cruise director and other members of his team telling us why it we would be so much better to go on the organized tour rather than doing it yourself. First stop would be Flam and we could go on the official Thomason Carriages for £98 English commentary and that if we went ourselves it would be 150, What they did not tell you was the 150 was Norwegian currency [10.6 to £1] which was under £15 and that all carriages were the same and all got the english commentary. It was the same for all other excursions, over priced and over hyped. on night two after the storm had subsided I noticed a very distinct vibration in the cabin to the point that you could not drink a cup of tea without spilling it. Morning three I woke up thinking I had 'Parkinsons' as I had the shakes [and it was not due to drink, if only it was] it was due to the shake in the ship and as we found out it was worse when the ship was docked and the main engines shut down. I gave Thomsons the benefit of doubt that something had come loose or got damaged during the storm and that is what was causing the terrible vibration that went right through the whole of the front of the ship. I have since found out that this has been reported for over twenty years on this ship. During the cruise I got more & more tired because of sleep deprivation because of sleep deprivation as did others. Reporting the vibration got lots of engineers looking about our cabin, but no improvement. Entertainment: the comedian who was on two nights was great. The entertainment team I believe this was their first cruise and it showed, bit like a secondary school concert,a bad secondary school concert. During the cruise when docked the ship was told to turn the music and sound down because we were causing sound pollution as the entertainment director thought it appropriate to make the ship sound like an 18-30 Benidorm Hotel ans all of these beautiful tranquil & peaceful Norwegian towns should suffer his choice of 'Garage Music'. We were in a church service in Stavanger Cathedral and all you could here was the music coming off Thomson Celebration and I felt ashamed to be one of the passengers. Overall the main crew are fantastic and hard working, but they have the most arrogant European officers I have ever encountered in 40 years of cruising. he ship and it's sister ship have been reported for the vibration problem for at least 20 years but Thomson [now renamed TUI] have ignored it. IMO the Celebration should have been scrapped long ago. Not only does it give you the 'Shakes' the so called 'Deluxe cabins' the windows leek. Over the next 12 months I have 4 other cruises booked already, Luckily none with Thomsons. And have they replied to my complaints? Not a word or acknowledgment in any form. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We saw everything we hoped we would see and it was lovely. However, the ship itself was very poor. Within an hour of boarding the Captain informed us that there was a "level 3 sanitation" in progress. We soon discovered this ... Read More
We saw everything we hoped we would see and it was lovely. However, the ship itself was very poor. Within an hour of boarding the Captain informed us that there was a "level 3 sanitation" in progress. We soon discovered this meant complete shut down of swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzi, games room and laundrette. We were not informed of this problem before boarding but we had to sign that we had not suffered with any stomach problems up to two days prior to boarding. Surely, that should be obligatory on both sides. Our cabin stewardess told us that they had had a problem onboard for the previous two weeks. Unfortunately, because we didn't complain about this to anyone onboard at the time Thomsons have denied, verbally by telephone, that the ship had not logged any problems so therefore there hadn't been a problem and they didn't know what "level 3 sanitation" meant anyway. We did find it a bit strange that we could still pay to use the computers to access the internet which was next to the games room where all games were locked away. We have cruised on the Celebration a number of times and always been happy with everything but we are bitterly disappointed with the outcome of this cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We choose this cruise because of the ports of call, knowing the ship was old but had some very positive reviews. My goodness what a disappointment...total garbage. This ship just does not compare in terms of quality of cabins, food, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports of call, knowing the ship was old but had some very positive reviews. My goodness what a disappointment...total garbage. This ship just does not compare in terms of quality of cabins, food, entertainment and ship facilities to modern ships. If this had been our first cruise we'd never set foot on another cruise ship. The ship vibrates a lot and is not well maintained, the windows are extremely dirty, the mirrors and lamps in the Lido restaurant are covered in layers of dust. The food on board is rubbish, cold, bland, tasteless mush. There were very long queues in the Lido most of the time as they only had half the serving area open. The main dining room was awful, by a million miles the worst I've ever experienced on a cruise. Very limited choice, the food was terrible and the service slow and at times surly. For example I ordered a turkey schnitzel and potato wedges and what I received a very long time later was a very dry piece of turkey with two fat chips. We went to the Lido and they had the same choices as the MDR. This happened every night, all previous cruises I've been on the food in the MDR has been higher quality than the buffet. On Thomson you get the same rubbish in both. The ship lacks facilities which leads to overcrowding in the theatre and bars and on one night led to a punch-up between passengers over seats in the theatre. The shows on board were not worth fighting over. The standard of shows was poor, shouting is not singing. Some of the performers actually looked uncomfortable on stage, rabbit in headlights comes to mind. There was a guest comedian on board who was funny, a guest singing duo who were excellent and a guest magician/comedian who was poor. We had a first in the cabin, a safe you had to pay extra to use. The cabin steward was brilliant. The cabin appeared to have walls made of paper as we could hear every snore, burp and fart from next door. The bedding, mattress and pillows should have been discarded years ago. There was a show of hands one night in the theatre and I would estimate that 20% of the people in the theatre had sailed on this ship previously, about 90% had sailed previously with Thomson and about 5% had sailed with a different cruise line. We were also informed that the average age of the passengers was 66. We are well below the average age and we have sailed with several different cruise lines. It maybe due to demographics as Thomson obviously have a market and lots of repeat customers but they are not for me. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin ... Read More
Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin neighbours next to you. Food repeated and shows were boring after a few nights of watching them Excursions expensive for what you got. Sunbeds need replacing and you could never find one without a towel on. Unless you wanted to spend money on all the extras the basic price and drinks package didn't include very much. On a positive the staff were lovely and friendly. Just a shame Thomson sell an itinerary that won't be repeated because of safety concerns around the middle east. I will recomend anyone considering booking to not bother and choose a company that specialize in cruising! Have booked to go with celebrity x and their brand new ship Edge in two years time....can't wait! I liked cruising just not with Thomson! Their post customer service department is a joke and reply with a standard i'm sorry but nothing more. Avoid at all cost Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The cruise was billed as a luxury cruise, lovely ship and service. The opposite was true. Embarkation was easy and we were on in minutes, after a long flight (Thomson an hour delay too) we needed to rest. First impressions of the ... Read More
The cruise was billed as a luxury cruise, lovely ship and service. The opposite was true. Embarkation was easy and we were on in minutes, after a long flight (Thomson an hour delay too) we needed to rest. First impressions of the ship..tired and old and nothing very attractive about it..too little sundeck space so nowhere to sit or lie in the sun as beds literally crammed in. The ship has an almost constant large vibration you can feel no matter what deck you are on..and i mean it SHAKES you. Several people i spoke to had moved cabins as found it hard to sleep but found no resolution as the whole ship shook. Even the Captain at his cocktal party when asking if people enjoyed themselves so far got a booo when it came to asking about the ship and said 'yes shes old' or something to that effect! Anyway given one twin cabin one double which i was supposed to share with my 11yr old..asked for a change of cabin and told doubles are rare and in need so they will sort but it didnt happen so my husband shared with our 14yr old son in the double all week. The cabins were ok good size but tired, bedding and towels not a good colour of grey! You could hear people turn over in bed next door and coughing..all night. Or coming in from the bar at 3am fighting/screaming/shouting...The aircon didnt work and i assume they know this as they sent me a fan right away when i asked..no repair man first even..and the fan was broken i had to prop it with a box we had. The safety/muster talk went on for ages, even telling us to be careful on deck cos can be slippy..and to be careful as some doorways to the deck are raised and it can be breezy on deck etc..really? the longest most boring hot muster ever experienced. We quickly became aware of the boozy mentality of a lot of our fellow passengers...boasting they were 'all inclusive' drinks and at the bar at 10am with pints. We even witnessed the 'Captains cocktail party' people downing the champagne glass after glass and had the cheek to lean back and put the empties on our table! i mean to the point where the wife couldnt walk without holding her husband who had said loudly 'shes going for a beer' (champagne!) So many nice people who expected a civilised trip. We had feral teens with no adults (asleep in the cabin!) while they screamed, shouted and upset people with their language..dug their hands in food, removed baubles from the trees to use as footballs..left unchallenged til passengers actually took it on themselves to sort them. People were so angry. It was day 5 before they were told the adults with them needed to stay with them all the time for the remainder of the cruise. On each cruise we have been on my young for his age, but wise, 14yr old joins kids club with his 11yr old sibling, is no trouble to anyone and joins in the quizes and games but was refused even tho there were few kids in the club. I was told NO most def. Neither of them went to kids club after that.. Food selection was quite poor..a few evenings my son and i who dont like red meat ate crackers and cheese or made rolls..vegetarian options were thin on the ground. We asked for omelettes one day in the meridian but they were tasteless. Xmas dinner was the worst ive ever had..nothing that resembled gravy! no extras to make it feel special...oh other than a table with scattered 'quality street' on it! Entertainment wasnt my thing but my partner enjoyed it..its the same every evening but one, the thomson crew singing and dancing...on the one evening we had a comedy magician he wasn't much cop..expected better especially over xmas! A quiz each afternoon and a resident band singing on deck (her voice can clear your ears) was the rest of the entertainment for families. Staff onboard were lovely and service excellent (ship staff) we couldnt have asked for much more. Thomson reps were rude, and gave very wrong info to me on more than one occasions. Thankfully i got advice at the port and was put right. (they told me in Dubai you cant use public beaches with swimsuits on..and they would be too crowded!....we found a beach with no-one within 100yds of us and pure clear waters, and we bathed for 4hrs in our swimsuits! ) Made to disembark for the flight home at 5.45am but the coach sat there for 30 minutes before we left...got to the airport at 7am for the 9.15am flight..told it was delayed an hour..waited til 2pm before being told we werent flying. No info at all all day..told there was no public address system. After asking told to go to mcds for lunch-a queue of over an hour..eventually after waiting an hour for cases back and 90minutes in the foyer of the airport we left at 5.10pm to be taken to premier inn and arrive 3 coach loads taking almost 2hrs to check-in..my partner was given 3 lots of rooms! the first two he was given had people in them when he opened the doors! During all this time the Thomson rep avoided us and because no-one knew what was happening people were getting angry. We were told the flight was going to be 3am the next morning..so not even a nights sleep..ended up being 10am scheduled to another early start and even then it was delayed again. i was told groups of young adults were making a nuisance of themselves on deck 3 fighting and punched a cabin wall and cracked it, drunk and had even threatened to burn people out of their cabins. Staff refused to call police as said it would be too dangerous to put them off ship in the UAE! I could go on all day..but will leave you with this as it sums up their attitude to us. Quote of the day...one passenger asks 'is there water on the coach?' as we leave the airport at 5.10pm after being there since 7am...rep answers 'no' man says..'we have been here since 7am you know we need more drinks?' rep replies 'yeh so have i' Man (and several on the coach) YES BUT YOU'RE GETTING PAID TO BE HERE!! My best tip? dont ever book a thomson flight or cruise! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
standards are dropping as they are returning the ship to the owners in Sept 2017.It appears no maintenance is being done. No hot water for 3 days. Toilets blocked. No one is interested in your cabin problems. No matter how many times we ... Read More
standards are dropping as they are returning the ship to the owners in Sept 2017.It appears no maintenance is being done. No hot water for 3 days. Toilets blocked. No one is interested in your cabin problems. No matter how many times we asked at reception when the hot water would be back on no one knew or cared. Paid for an outside cabin on deck 9 but got a "restricted view" ie no view at all Been with Thomson cruises 14 times but never again.Staff worked very hard. Cabin very well looked after. Food choice was very good but meals not hot. Entertainment staff worked very hard but not up to usual standard, Seen some of the shows on previous Thomson cruises. Many of the ports stopped well out of the centre. One stop was 45 minutes from the centre and they had the cheek to charge us £5 to bus us in !! Long wait to get checked onto ship. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The Cruise was meant to be a 5 star cruise. What a joke. The room had light fittings that did not work, the shower flooded, the "entertainment" was totally rubbish - the only thing funny about the comedian was leaving the ... Read More
The Cruise was meant to be a 5 star cruise. What a joke. The room had light fittings that did not work, the shower flooded, the "entertainment" was totally rubbish - the only thing funny about the comedian was leaving the room. The main restaurant expected you to queue for 30 minutes before being seated and you were served drinks sporadically. That brings me on to my main gripe - paying before going on board for a drinks package. We paid before going on board and then found that the majority of both non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks were not included in the drinks package. Similarly, don't think the food is included in your all inclusive package. There are additional charges for many meals including steak. They give you a card and bill as they go, so you end the holiday with a credit card bill which they automatically debit. Now for the offshore trips. I was travelling with a disabled passenger and only booked excursions where little walking was involved. Not only did each trip involve substantial walking and steps, Thomson even had the cheek to change our excursion from Venice (While docked in Venice) to Verona in Italy even though we pre-paid the trips in the UK. I thought this was a one off mistake, until I learned on the bus to Verona that this had also happened to 10 other couples. We each received our tickets in the room, with no explanation and had not realised the deliberate Thompson mistake until we were given the ultimatum - "Go to Verona, or loose your money and stay on the ship". No apology given. To top it off, it was a walking trip, where I warned the lady that my partner could not walk, only for the condescending donkey to single her out at each opportunity and make her feel awkward and uncomfortable. Overall, if you want a terrible trip, book this. However, if you still think it's 1970 and want to burn yourself to a crisp in lard and not go on any excursions, you will be in good company with your Butlin friends, so long as you have the right colour towel (this is based on how much you paid - cruise towels only) and rush to the deck at 6am to reserve your burning bed - You won't find Germans - They have taste. I'M NEVER TRAVELLING TUI AGAIN. Even their planes are from the dark age and the service is considerably better on Ryanair and Easyjet. I've just travelled with Qantas and the cabin crew, service and aircraft are second to none unlike the rubbish Thomson offering. Don't expect food on your flight or a 1980's wet blanket. As for entertainment, that'll depend on your cabin crew arguing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I have been used to sailing on large ships but thought we would go on the Celebration for a change of destinations etc. We joined the ship in Dubrovnik. As we embarked I could smell something like musty books, it ... Read More
My husband and I have been used to sailing on large ships but thought we would go on the Celebration for a change of destinations etc. We joined the ship in Dubrovnik. As we embarked I could smell something like musty books, it wasn't a very pleasant smell at all. We were taken to our cabin and as soon as I entered my heart dropped. It was hot, the carpet looked filthy as in old looking. We had been told in the Thomson shop the plugs were English, NOT they were American. There was no fridge, the air con did not work, it was making all the right noises but nothing was happening. I looked in the bathroom and the towels were to say the least grey white. The port hole looked like it was just about ready to drop out with rusty marks on it. The cabin steward knocked on the door and was good enough to go and get a huge fan, an adaptor for the plug and an ice bucket full of ice which he changed twice a day. I had medication cream which was supposed to be kept in the fridge , nothing I could do about it, the offer was to take it to reception and fetch it every time I wanted it... what? I would have thought that in this day and age, all cabins should have a fridge. The floor was hot because were were on deck 1 cabin 905 which is what I would imagine hell to be so, not only did we have the noise of the air conditioner even though it didn't work but we had the noise of a fan too whiring and clunking. We went down to the cabin one day and the whold of deck 1 smelled of petrol/engine fumes, I did report it to reception and it was rectified but surely this should not happen at all. There was something outside the cabin on the outside of the ship which was constantly clanging on the side of the ship. The lamps above the bed on the wall rattled, well mine did. There was a rumbling sound from the engine 24/7 and when the ship was stationary the vibration through the whole of the ship was unbelievable. I will even say that, because the carpet looked so dirty, when I had a shower I put my shoes outside the bathroom so I could step into them because I didn't want to put my feet on the carpet. I believe this ship had been "done up" late last year. All I could say is goodness knows what it was like before, I would love to know. In fairness, our steward was lovely and worked hard, also the waiters in the restaurant were great. It seems to me though, Thomsons wants money money money, there was an elderly couple on our table one night who had been on the ship before and the gent said how Thomsons are doing more "money money money" grabbing, the new so called Asian restaurant is one in which they charge. There are lots of things on this ship which you have to pay for. The entertainment wasn't bad but nothing out of this world, we have been on cruises with other companies and they had different entertainers on all week, although I am sure, they entertainment group work hard, I think its a case of cheapness, not having to bring in outside entertainers. Now, on to the excursions. Because I only have 1/3 of one of my lungs, I find it hard to do a lot of fast walking and hills etc. We booked a tour Istrian Hilltops Jewels. It said nothing of walking uphill, we had a run around in the coach and then taken to a dusty road where we were hearded into a rattling hot bus with no air con, we were then "dropped off" and were taken up a huge slope of a road made of cobbles, dusty, and uneven. Nothing of this was mentioned in the ad for the tour, this is why I booked it. I could go on and on and on, there is so much I could say I would be here for another couple of hours. Would I go on this ship again, NO WAY, WOULD I GO WITH THOMSONS AGAIN? NEVER. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, ... Read More
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, explaining why certain aspects of the holiday were good and why others were appallingly bad … and ultimately why, taken as a whole, we would never consider buying another Thomson cruise package again. Everything that disappointed us during our holiday was entirely within Thomson’s control, which means they failed to meet our expectations on many occasions due to blatant incompetence, poor management, an inconsiderate attitude and a driven desire to put profit over customer satisfaction. The Holiday Booking Experience We booked our April 2015 cruise through a local Thomson travel-agent within six weeks of our departure date. We were informed we could pay extra there and then to book our seats on the airplane, but that we could also do it ourselves online from 14 days of departure. We weren’t bothered about getting premier extra-space seats, so chose to wait and do it ourselves later. This was a mistake! When we went online at the 14 day stage there weren’t any seats left where we could sit together. So, we were destined to undertake a 9 hour flight sat apart. We feel the booking agent failed to explain adequately that this could even happen, and she seemed rather more keen to stress we could pay for extra baggage allowance, travel insurance and extra leg-room, if we wanted. When we talked about the ship and cabin-type we wanted, we stressed we wanted to have a window or port-hole (an outside cabin), a cabin with a double bed (or twin beds that could be pushed together) and that we wanted to be on an upper deck away from the ship engines. Past experience has taught us inside cabins can be claustrophobic and lower deck cabins too close to the engines can be very noisy. The travel-agent explained we could pay substantially more for a balcony cabin, if we wanted, but as that wasn’t necessary for us, she booked us an outside cabin on deck 1 or 2 (she explained the actual cabin would be designated once we boarded the ship). This sounded fine – so we booked it. Another mistake! When we eventually boarded the ship, we were indeed given an outside cabin on deck 1, which we had assumed was the top deck. It wasn’t. It turned out the ship’s top-deck was deck 9. The one we were booked on was actually the bottom deck above the engines. Furthermore, we had been given a cabin with twin-beds that were on opposite sides of the cabin, bolted down (so unmovable). We feel the travel-agent seriously let us down on this as she clearly didn’t know what the layout was of this Thomson ship and consequently we ended up on a deck and with separate beds, both elements being things we had stressed we didn’t want. We weren’t the only ones to be severely disappointed about this … the reception area on the ship was swamped with hoards of disgruntled passengers that felt they had been sold something other than what they were getting, including a couple on their honeymoon that (like us) had actually been designated twin beds. Reception proved to be completely unhelpful, with some staff only just able to speak English. We were told by one of the reception staff that only about 10% of all requests made at the Thomson travel-agent booking stage were ever met … so bare that in mind if you make any special requests to Thomson before you leave for your holiday. We spoke to one passenger also at the Reception Desk who had paid an additional £1,000 for a balcony cabin, only to be given an outside cabin with no balcony – so even paying for the extras clearly doesn’t always prove fruitful. The Flight to Barbados We were lucky to be on one of Thomson’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the long haul flight. Despite the general monotony of such a long flight, this trip was actually bearable thanks to relatively comfortable seats, complimentary drinks, a decent meal (for me at least) and excellent in-flight entertainment via head-seat LCD displays. BUT .. my partner is vegan and we had booked a special vegan diet for the flight with Thomson and double-checked this requirement was recorded and confirmed on our booking E-ticket. When an ordinary meal was served to my partner, he explained it should be a vegan meal. The flight attendant investigated and returned some minutes later, somewhat embarrassed, saying there had been an error and there was no vegan meal on the airplane. He was then given an apple, a plum and a dry bread roll (there was no soya spread on board either). By pure chance, the cabin crew’s own meals were suitable for vegan and one of them consequently gave up their own dinner so my partner wouldn’t have to go nine hours without eating. This error by Thomson is quite unforgivable, but it pales into insignificance when all the other errors are stacked alongside it. Ship Embarkation The embarkation process was extremely poor. We were effectively corralled from the airport shuttle coaches into an open warehouse at the port side and then left to queue in twisting rows until a member of staff was free at the makeshift front desks. This process seemed to take forever and needs improving, particularly as most of us had just endured a very long day and a long flight. Eventually, we were issued with our ship boarding pass and were then left to our own devices to find our cabin. There was no one to show you your way, so most new passengers spent their first hour on board walking aimlessly up and down corridors deep in the heart of the ship. The Cabin The first impressions of our cabin (after the disappointment of finding it on the bottom deck) was that it was clean and of an adequate but not spacious size, but it looked ‘tired’. We were already aware the Thomson Celebration was an old ship (first launched in 1983). The Thomson website says this ship’s cabins have ‘a smart, contemporary edge’, which is stretching the truth somewhat. The laminated surfaces in our cabin (813) were worn and cracked, small sections were missing or otherwise needed replacing and the pop-up sink plug didn’t work. Other than that, it had everything we needed, including a flat-screen TV and a kettle with an adequate daily supply of tea, coffee and milk. Unfortunately, the TV was fairly useless, because the only channels available were SKY News and one other channel that occasionally showed films in English. One of the first things we wanted to do was plug in and charge our electric toothbrush into the socket in the shower-room, and the socket fell out of its fixing as soon as we tried. By this stage, we had just about given up complaining. Our expectations were lowering by the minute. The port-hole was at sea level and so far into the ship bulkhead that we had to climb onto a shelf above the bed to see anything out of it. We have already mentioned about the twin beds … while these appeared clean, they were also fixed into their position, so they could not be converted into a double bed (as some of the Thomson literature and promotional material suggest). There was a safe in the room – which you had to pay extra for, if you wanted to use it – but no fridge (as a diabetic carrying insulin that needs to be refrigerated, this was again very disappointing). There was a also a mini-bar of water, alcohol and chocolates. It rather surprised us that everything that made-up the mini-bar was charged as an extra, even though we had pre-paid for the optional all-inclusive drinks package at over £330 each. Clearly, if we wanted a drink, we would have to ascend 6 decks to get to one of the bars or pay extra on top of the drinks package fee if we wanted to use the mini-bar. The drinks and brands were the same, so we cannot understand why Thomson choose to charge for this convenience, other than to profit from it. The Celebration Ship itself The ship is old and was last partly refurbished in 2013 (mostly the public areas, not all cabins). It is small by comparison to many others sailing around the MED and Caribbean, but at face-value, its amenities seemed adequate for the 1,250 passenger capacity. In reality, Thomson’s bad management often means the ship is artificially reduced in size, because passengers find areas are closed off so they can be painted and/or varnished, which causes a shortage of sunbeds or drinking tables while everyone scrambles to find themselves a place. The small size of the ship does allow passengers to get to know one another much easier. We often found ourselves sat with people we had met a couple of times before and this made conversation easy and the atmosphere on-board quite sociable. Unfortunately, this close proximity and limited space also meant tempers and arguments sometimes erupted once large amounts of alcohol had been consumed. We witnessed at least one alcohol-fuelled near-brawl by passengers in Liberties on deck 6 one evening, reminding us that this was far from a 5-star cruise. The Dining Experience With four restaurants the ship offered a wide variety of cuisine, though two had a cover charge (so these were not really part of the all-inclusive facilities). We tended to use either the self-service Lido buffet-style restaurant or The Meridian, which is waiter-service. The ship also offered food and snacks throughout the day and evening and more than enough variety to satisfy anyone’s palate … unless, that is, you happen to be vegan. Since coming off the ship, my vegan partner has said he is probably the only passenger to have lost weight as a result of going on this cruise. His experience of the dining amenities was extremely disappointing. During the first two days he discovered almost all of the dishes on offer were made with meat or fish or included cream, eggs or other dairy or animal ingredients. He was therefore resigned to fruit, salad greens, rice or chips. Most of the pasta dishes had cream or other dairy or animal ingredients and the soups always had cream added. Although the ship carried soya milk (which had to be asked for), it didn’t have any soya spread for bread rolls at night or for toast in the morning and no soya meat substitutes of any kind for alternative recipes. The language barrier also made life difficult for my partner, because the mostly Filipino waiters and servers only had a command of tourist English. Asking what the ingredients were in each dish proved completely pointless, because they would simply point to the card in front of each dish that said “Lasagne” or “Stroganof” or whatever the meal happened to be. By the fourth day, my partner decided to try and talk to Reception to see if the head chef could prepare and make available at least one vegan dish for evening meals. The disappointing result of this meant a somewhat strange and largely inedible concoction of dishes became available (one each evening). These were invariably boiled rice or pasta based with a few rare exceptions. For example … spinach, mushrooms and sliced fried garlic combined together as a main meal and a bizarre baked dessert made up of sweet corn and flour. Given the number of chefs on the ship … these offerings seemed to lack any skilled knowledge about creating special-request dishes. What they prepared always seemed borne from panic and desperation with no consideration for presentation or taste. So, if you are vegan or have a dairy or other allergy … don’t expect a gourmet experience on Thomson Celebration. Actually, we advise taking 14 days worth of packed lunches, just to sustain you during the trip. The Drinks Package Like most cruises, there are no cash transactions allowed on the Thomson Celebration. At embarkation guests register a credit card, which is then linked to your boarding-card. This card is then used to buy everything you need on-board, whether it’s a drink from one of the bars or a hair-cut in the salon. Past experience has taught us the bar-bill can come as quite a shock at the end of a cruise, because drinks are always sold at premium prices and not many people maintain a running check on what is being spent as the days roll by. Although we are not big drinkers, we figured the 6-day transatlantic section of the trip (without being able to go ashore) might be costly, because we would have to use the ship’s bars for all refreshments during the day and night. The Drinks Package cost us a further £678 (£339 each), but seemed reasonable, given the circumstances. Not all branded wines, spirits or cocktails are included in the drinks package, but there was more than enough variety on offer to satisfy our needs. We had some suspicions about the quality of some drinks at one bar in particular (outside on deck 6), where some liqueurs seemed exceptionally thin. I am familiar with the taste and viscosity of Mallibu, for example, and my partner has 23yrs experience as a bar and restaurant manager, so he also knows when a particular drink doesn’t look or taste as it should. Maybe it was the heat of the Caribbean, maybe the Mallibu (like the gin) had been affected by other unknown factors … or maybe someone was watering bottles down or passing-off original quality liqueur for a substandard brand at this particular bar. We also witnessed staff at this bar regularly pouring short measures from virtually empty bottles, without changing the bottle beforehand (a practice that is illegal in the UK leisure trade). We really only have one major complaint about how the Drinks Package facility was operated by Thomson, which we believe means we ended up paying for some of those who had not purchased a Drinks Package. When anyone approaches a bar or asks a waiter for a drink, they present their boarding-card so the price of the drink can be recorded on their account. Those with a Drinks Package are not charged (unless it’s a premium chargeable drink), while others will find the cost on their account at the end of the cruise. We found it strange that – as a couple – we always ordered two drinks, but we were only ever asked for one boarding card to record the order. By day three, we became aware this was happening with everyone. As guests got to know one another, they started to form some large groups, particularly at the bars during the evenings. Some were ordering 2 drinks at a time for people in their party – but the bar-staff only asked for a single boarding-card from the person getting the round of drinks in. It quickly became apparent that many in the “group” of friends were on a pay-as-you-go regime … and were consequently getting their drinks “free” through Drinks Package passengers. So, one couple in a two-berth cabin would have two Drinks Package cards and each would use them to buy two drinks on each card … one for themselves and one for a “friend” (without a Drinks Package card). We reported this to the Reception staff … but the situation never changed, even up to and including the last day of our cruise. We believe this almost certainly creates an inflated Drinks Package price, because some of those like us that had it are clearly subsidizing some that don’t. Thomson could easily rectify this by insisting on a “one drink – one card number” rule and save honest customers a small fortune by slashing the Drinks Package cost. Sunbeds The Thomson Celebration has enough sunbeds for all 1,250 passengers … unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we always had a sunbed available when we wanted one. Thomson managed to obstruct hundreds of paying guests from this pleasure by undertaking a maintenance schedule during the most ridiculous times of day and on days when they knew sunbeds would be at premium demand. The (presumably routine) painting of railings and maintenance of deck timbers meant Thomson chose to close off one of the decks (sundeck 8) for almost the entire cruise, which meant all the sunbeds on that deck were stacked and unavailable. This wasn’t a huge problem while the ship was touring the Caribbean islands, because some passengers were off the ship on excursions or out roaming around the tourist areas. However, during the six days we were crossing the Atlantic, all passengers were on board – and that meant we all wanted to relax on a sunbed, if only we could all find one. Once the first deck had been completed, everyone sighed in relief … but this was short lived, because then more than half of another deck was shut off (deck 6). This occurred during the daytime. Passengers already settled at tables or on sunbeds were unceremoniously evicted from their positions, told to move to another part of the deck, sunbeds were stacked and ropes were quickly tied to cordon off the area. Thomson now had hundreds of unhappy customers scrambling for complaint forms, again!!! It is fair to say that we only ever had a sunbed in the sun for perhaps two hours a day, mostly towards the end of each day when other passengers were going back to their cabins to prepare for their evening meal. We may well have got more sunbathing done in our home town of Blackpool than on this cruise. Entertainment The entertainment on board was an odd mix of some excellent and highly professional theatre and deck-stage shows, combined with random and very basic Butlin’s style game shows and quizzes lending themselves more to a local pub than a cruise ship. Part of the attraction for us for this cruise was the “Motown and Soul” theme, which had been used to promote it. Roy G Hemmings (once of The Drifters) and his band and backing singers were on the ship and they put on three superb nights of Motown entertainment. Unfortunately, these were just about the only “Motown and Soul” entertainment evenings we had. Passengers were sufficiently disappointed to start a petition that went around the ship … when it was handed in, it transpired that some of the entertainment staff didn’t even know this was meant to be a themed cruise. What became very apparent very quickly was that the entertainment staff (mostly English) worked their socks off to try to keep everyone happy and occupied during the long days and nights of the transatlantic crossing. I cannot fault their efforts or their talents, but I do feel Thomson let us (and therefore them) down by not making the so-called Motown theme more prominent. Cabin Staff As on many other cruising ships, the cabin staff were mostly Filipino and were the hardest working and the friendliest of all staff on-board. No matter what time of day or night we went back to our cabin, our cabin-steward was always there on the corridor with a friendly smile asking if we had enjoyed our day or evening. Our beds were always made during the day, the cabin cleaned or tidied and our beds turned down at night usually with chocolates placed on our pillows. Thomson need to recognize the value of these staff members much more and reward them, because they rarely seemed to get any free time (other than to sleep) and were not apparently permitted on the upper decks. Flight Home Our last day on the cruise was expensive. Our Thomson flight wasn’t due to leave until 8pm in the evening, but the letter pushed under our cabin door the day before told us we were expected to vacate our cabin at 8am on departure day (our suitcases had to be packed and left for collection outside the cabin by 3am). So, we spent some hours trying to organize ourselves, keeping back some shorts for the daytime heat and a change of clothes for the flight and unhappily facing having to carry all remaining bags and possessions around with us for 12 hours. Reception explained that we could keep our cabin (or be issued with an alternative one) until 4pm on the last day… but it would cost us an extra £35 for the privilege. We resorted to paying the extra for the convenience (to be honest, we were by now getting used to Thomson fleecing us for more money at every opportunity). We also wanted to enjoy the “80s disco” in Liberties Lounge that evening without thinking about having to get up before 8am the next day to vacate our cabin, but as it turned out – the 80s disco was cancelled on the night in favor of allowing a member of staff (who was leaving the ship) to sing his favorite songs on stage. It was only after guests’ complained that anything was done to stop him singing and get the disco night reinstated. The flight home was just about the worst flight we have ever taken and a complete contrast to the outbound flight. The airplane was a standard 737 (not the nice shiny new Dreamliner that brought us out). During the four hour flight there were no meals served, no complimentary drinks and no entertainment systems operating. There was only one trolley service of drinks, tea, coffee or sandwiches throughout the uncomfortable flight – all charged – and nothing suitable for my vegan partner. Although this was a much shorter flight (4 hours from Tennerife) than our outward journey, it felt ten times longer. The impression we got was that Thomson had received our money, the holiday was over – and they just wanted to honor their obligation to get us home quickly and cheaply by offering as little as possible. In Conclusion In recent years, many people have opted to try cruising as a holiday. Unfortunately, Thomson seems to be trying to reduce the cost of these so-called luxury holidays and are putting profit over and above meeting the expectations of their customers. I would place the Thomson Celebration Transatlantic Moments cruise in the standard 3-star holiday bracket, according to our experience with other companies and other cruise ships. The ship is too old and too small and needs scrapping. The add-on costs are excessive and relentless. The cuisine variety is good, but only for those that do not have any special dietary requirements. Thomson’s management, maintenance and operational systems on-board need a complete rethink. Reception staff on-board need to be fluent in English and need the power to rectify problems on-the-spot, not just offer a complaint form to be handed in after the holiday is over (by which time the holiday is ruined). Neither I nor my partner would consider going on another Thomson holiday, based on this experience … we therefore could not recommend them or the Thomson Celebration ship to others. This was a very disappointing and expensive holiday (costing £3,000+ for two of us), occasionally enjoyed only because of some of the staff and the people we shared it with. We feel Thomson let us down from the moment of booking this holiday right up to and including our flight home. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
(A review of our Transatlantic Moments holiday) My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our ... Read More
(A review of our Transatlantic Moments holiday) My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, explaining why certain aspects of the holiday were good and why others were appallingly bad … and ultimately why, taken as a whole, we would never consider buying another Thomson cruise package again. Everything that disappointed us during our holiday was entirely within Thomson’s control, which means they failed to meet our expectations on many occasions due to blatant incompetence, poor management, an inconsiderate attitude and a driven desire to put profit over customer satisfaction. The Holiday Booking Experience We booked our April 2015 cruise through a local Thomson travel-agent within six weeks of our departure date. We were informed we could pay extra there and then to book our seats on the airplane, but that we could also do it ourselves online from 14 days of departure. We weren’t bothered about getting premier extra-space seats, so chose to wait and do it ourselves later. This was a mistake! When we went online at the 14 day stage there weren’t any seats left where we could sit together. So, we were destined to undertake a 9 hour flight sat apart. We feel the booking agent failed to explain adequately that this could even happen, and she seemed rather more keen to stress we could pay for extra baggage allowance, travel insurance and extra leg-room, if we wanted. When we talked about the ship and cabin-type we wanted, we stressed we wanted to have a window or port-hole (an outside cabin), a cabin with a double bed (or twin beds that could be pushed together) and that we wanted to be on an upper deck away from the ship engines. Past experience has taught us inside cabins can be claustrophobic and lower deck cabins too close to the engines can be very noisy. The travel-agent explained we could pay substantially more for a balcony cabin, if we wanted, but as that wasn’t necessary for us, she booked us an outside cabin on deck 1 or 2 (she explained the actual cabin would be designated once we boarded the ship). This sounded fine – so we booked it. Another mistake! When we eventually boarded the ship, we were indeed given an outside cabin on deck 1, which we had assumed was the top deck. It wasn’t. It turned out the ship’s top-deck was deck 9. The one we were booked on was actually the bottom deck above the engines. Furthermore, we had been given a cabin with twin-beds that were on opposite sides of the cabin, bolted down (so unmovable). We feel the travel-agent seriously let us down on this as she clearly didn’t know what the layout was of this Thomson ship and consequently we ended up on a deck and with separate beds, both elements being things we had stressed we didn’t want. We weren’t the only ones to be severely disappointed about this … the reception area on the ship was swamped with hoards of disgruntled passengers that felt they had been sold something other than what they were getting, including a couple on their honeymoon that (like us) had actually been designated twin beds. Reception proved to be completely unhelpful, with some staff only just able to speak English. We were told by one of the reception staff that only about 10% of all requests made at the Thomson travel-agent booking stage were ever met … so bare that in mind if you make any special requests to Thomson before you leave for your holiday. We spoke to one passenger also at the Reception Desk who had paid an additional £1,000 for a balcony cabin, only to be given an outside cabin with no balcony – so even paying for the extras clearly doesn’t always prove fruitful. The Flight to Barbados We were lucky to be on one of Thomson’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the long haul flight. Despite the general monotony of such a long flight, this trip was actually bearable thanks to relatively comfortable seats, complimentary drinks, a decent meal (for me at least) and excellent in-flight entertainment via head-seat LCD displays. BUT .. my partner is vegan and we had booked a special vegan diet for the flight with Thomson and double-checked this requirement was recorded and confirmed on our booking E-ticket. When an ordinary meal was served to my partner, he explained it should be a vegan meal. The flight attendant investigated and returned some minutes later, somewhat embarrassed, saying there had been an error and there was no vegan meal on the airplane. He was then given an apple, a plum and a dry bread roll (there was no soya spread on board either). By pure chance, the cabin crew’s own meals were suitable for vegan and one of them consequently gave up their own dinner so my partner wouldn’t have to go nine hours without eating. This error by Thomson is quite unforgivable, but it pales into insignificance when all the other errors are stacked alongside it. Ship Embarkation The embarkation process was extremely poor. We were effectively corralled from the airport shuttle coaches into an open warehouse at the port side and then left to queue in twisting rows until a member of staff was free at the makeshift front desks. This process seemed to take forever and needs improving, particularly as most of us had just endured a very long day and a long flight. Eventually, we were issued with our ship boarding pass and were then left to our own devices to find our cabin. There was no one to show you your way, so most new passengers spent their first hour on board walking aimlessly up and down corridors deep in the heart of the ship. The Cabin The first impressions of our cabin (after the disappointment of finding it on the bottom deck) was that it was clean and of an adequate but not spacious size, but it looked ‘tired’. We were already aware the Thomson Celebration was an old ship (first launched in 1983). The Thomson website says this ship’s cabins have ‘a smart, contemporary edge’, which is stretching the truth somewhat. The laminated surfaces in our cabin (813) were worn and cracked, small sections were missing or otherwise needed replacing and the pop-up sink plug didn’t work. Other than that, it had everything we needed, including a flat-screen TV and a kettle with an adequate daily supply of tea, coffee and milk. Unfortunately, the TV was fairly useless, because the only channels available were SKY News and one other channel that occasionally showed films in English. One of the first things we wanted to do was plug in and charge our electric toothbrush into the socket in the shower-room, and the socket fell out of its fixing as soon as we tried. By this stage, we had just about given up complaining. Our expectations were lowering by the minute. The port-hole was at sea level and so far into the ship bulkhead that we had to climb onto a shelf above the bed to see anything out of it. We have already mentioned about the twin beds … while these appeared clean, they were also fixed into their position, so they could not be converted into a double bed (as some of the Thomson literature and promotional material suggest). There was a safe in the room – which you had to pay extra for, if you wanted to use it – but no fridge (as a diabetic carrying insulin that needs to be refrigerated, this was again very disappointing). There was a also a mini-bar of water, alcohol and chocolates. It rather surprised us that everything that made-up the mini-bar was charged as an extra, even though we had pre-paid for the optional all-inclusive drinks package at over £330 each. Clearly, if we wanted a drink, we would have to ascend 6 decks to get to one of the bars or pay extra on top of the drinks package fee if we wanted to use the mini-bar. The drinks and brands were the same, so we cannot understand why Thomson choose to charge for this convenience, other than to profit from it. The Celebration Ship itself The ship is old and was last partly refurbished in 2013 (mostly the public areas, not all cabins). It is small by comparison to many others sailing around the MED and Caribbean, but at face-value, its amenities seemed adequate for the 1,250 passenger capacity. In reality, Thomson’s bad management often means the ship is artificially reduced in size, because passengers find areas are closed off so they can be painted and/or varnished, which causes a shortage of sunbeds or drinking tables while everyone scrambles to find themselves a place. The small size of the ship does allow passengers to get to know one another much easier. We often found ourselves sat with people we had met a couple of times before and this made conversation easy and the atmosphere on-board quite sociable. Unfortunately, this close proximity and limited space also meant tempers and arguments sometimes erupted once large amounts of alcohol had been consumed. We witnessed at least one alcohol-fuelled near-brawl by passengers in Liberties on deck 6 one evening, reminding us that this was far from a 5-star cruise. The Dining Experience With four restaurants the ship offered a wide variety of cuisine, though two had a cover charge (so these were not really part of the all-inclusive facilities). We tended to use either the self-service Lido buffet-style restaurant or The Meridian, which is waiter-service. The ship also offered food and snacks throughout the day and evening and more than enough variety to satisfy anyone’s palate … unless, that is, you happen to be vegan. Since coming off the ship, my vegan partner has said he is probably the only passenger to have lost weight as a result of going on this cruise. His experience of the dining amenities was extremely disappointing. During the first two days he discovered almost all of the dishes on offer were made with meat or fish or included cream, eggs or other dairy or animal ingredients. He was therefore resigned to fruit, salad greens, rice or chips. Most of the pasta dishes had cream or other dairy or animal ingredients and the soups always had cream added. Although the ship carried soya milk (which had to be asked for), it didn’t have any soya spread for bread rolls at night or for toast in the morning and no soya meat substitutes of any kind for alternative recipes. The language barrier also made life difficult for my partner, because the mostly Filipino waiters and servers only had a command of tourist English. Asking what the ingredients were in each dish proved completely pointless, because they would simply point to the card in front of each dish that said “Lasagne” or “Stroganof” or whatever the meal happened to be. By the fourth day, my partner decided to try and talk to Reception to see if the head chef could prepare and make available at least one vegan dish for evening meals. The disappointing result of this meant a somewhat strange and largely inedible concoction of dishes became available (one each evening). These were invariably boiled rice or pasta based with a few rare exceptions. For example … spinach, mushrooms and sliced fried garlic combined together as a main meal and a bizarre baked dessert made up of sweet corn and flour. Given the number of chefs on the ship … these offerings seemed to lack any skilled knowledge about creating special-request dishes. What they prepared always seemed borne from panic and desperation with no consideration for presentation or taste. So, if you are vegan or have a dairy or other allergy … don’t expect a gourmet experience on Thomson Celebration. Actually, we advise taking 14 days worth of packed lunches, just to sustain you during the trip. The Drinks Package Like most cruises, there are no cash transactions allowed on the Thomson Celebration. At embarkation guests register a credit card, which is then linked to your boarding-card. This card is then used to buy everything you need on-board, whether it’s a drink from one of the bars or a hair-cut in the salon. Past experience has taught us the bar-bill can come as quite a shock at the end of a cruise, because drinks are always sold at premium prices and not many people maintain a running check on what is being spent as the days roll by. Although we are not big drinkers, we figured the 6-day transatlantic section of the trip (without being able to go ashore) might be costly, because we would have to use the ship’s bars for all refreshments during the day and night. The Drinks Package cost us a further £678 (£339 each), but seemed reasonable, given the circumstances. Not all branded wines, spirits or cocktails are included in the drinks package, but there was more than enough variety on offer to satisfy our needs. We had some suspicions about the quality of some drinks at one bar in particular (outside on deck 6), where some liqueurs seemed exceptionally thin. I am familiar with the taste and viscosity of Mallibu, for example, and my partner has 23yrs experience as a bar and restaurant manager, so he also knows when a particular drink doesn’t look or taste as it should. Maybe it was the heat of the Caribbean, maybe the Mallibu (like the gin) had been affected by other unknown factors … or maybe someone was watering bottles down or passing-off original quality liqueur for a substandard brand at this particular bar. We also witnessed staff at this bar regularly pouring short measures from virtually empty bottles, without changing the bottle beforehand (a practice that is illegal in the UK leisure trade). We really only have one major complaint about how the Drinks Package facility was operated by Thomson, which we believe means we ended up paying for some of those who had not purchased a Drinks Package. When anyone approaches a bar or asks a waiter for a drink, they present their boarding-card so the price of the drink can be recorded on their account. Those with a Drinks Package are not charged (unless it’s a premium chargeable drink), while others will find the cost on their account at the end of the cruise. We found it strange that – as a couple – we always ordered two drinks, but we were only ever asked for one boarding card to record the order. By day three, we became aware this was happening with everyone. As guests got to know one another, they started to form some large groups, particularly at the bars during the evenings. Some were ordering 2 drinks at a time for people in their party – but the bar-staff only asked for a single boarding-card from the person getting the round of drinks in. It quickly became apparent that many in the “group” of friends were on a pay-as-you-go regime … and were consequently getting their drinks “free” through Drinks Package passengers. So, one couple in a two-berth cabin would have two Drinks Package cards and each would use them to buy two drinks on each card … one for themselves and one for a “friend” (without a Drinks Package card). We reported this to the Reception staff … but the situation never changed, even up to and including the last day of our cruise. We believe this almost certainly creates an inflated Drinks Package price, because some of those like us that had it are clearly subsidizing some that don’t. Thomson could easily rectify this by insisting on a “one drink – one card number” rule and save honest customers a small fortune by slashing the Drinks Package cost. Sunbeds The Thomson Celebration has enough sunbeds for all 1,250 passengers … unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we always had a sunbed available when we wanted one. Thomson managed to obstruct hundreds of paying guests from this pleasure by undertaking a maintenance schedule during the most ridiculous times of day and on days when they knew sunbeds would be at premium demand. The (presumably routine) painting of railings and maintenance of deck timbers meant Thomson chose to close off one of the decks (sundeck 8) for almost the entire cruise, which meant all the sunbeds on that deck were stacked and unavailable. This wasn’t a huge problem while the ship was touring the Caribbean islands, because some passengers were off the ship on excursions or out roaming around the tourist areas. However, during the six days we were crossing the Atlantic, all passengers were on board – and that meant we all wanted to relax on a sunbed, if only we could all find one. Once the first deck had been completed, everyone sighed in relief … but this was short lived, because then more than half of another deck was shut off (deck 6). This occurred during the daytime. Passengers already settled at tables or on sunbeds were unceremoniously evicted from their positions, told to move to another part of the deck, sunbeds were stacked and ropes were quickly tied to cordon off the area. Thomson now had hundreds of unhappy customers scrambling for complaint forms, again!!! It is fair to say that we only ever had a sunbed in the sun for perhaps two hours a day, mostly towards the end of each day when other passengers were going back to their cabins to prepare for their evening meal. We may well have got more sunbathing done in our home town of Blackpool than on this cruise. Entertainment The entertainment on board was an odd mix of some excellent and highly professional theatre and deck-stage shows, combined with random and very basic Butlin’s style game shows and quizzes lending themselves more to a local pub than a cruise ship. Part of the attraction for us for this cruise was the “Motown and Soul” theme, which had been used to promote it. Roy G Hemmings (once of The Drifters) and his band and backing singers were on the ship and they put on three superb nights of Motown entertainment. Unfortunately, these were just about the only “Motown and Soul” entertainment evenings we had. Passengers were sufficiently disappointed to start a petition that went around the ship … when it was handed in, it transpired that some of the entertainment staff didn’t even know this was meant to be a themed cruise. What became very apparent very quickly was that the entertainment staff (mostly English) worked their socks off to try to keep everyone happy and occupied during the long days and nights of the transatlantic crossing. I cannot fault their efforts or their talents, but I do feel Thomson let us (and therefore them) down by not making the so-called Motown theme more prominent. Cabin Staff As on many other cruising ships, the cabin staff were mostly Filipino and were the hardest working and the friendliest of all staff on-board. No matter what time of day or night we went back to our cabin, our cabin-steward was always there on the corridor with a friendly smile asking if we had enjoyed our day or evening. Our beds were always made during the day, the cabin cleaned or tidied and our beds turned down at night usually with chocolates placed on our pillows. Thomson need to recognize the value of these staff members much more and reward them, because they rarely seemed to get any free time (other than to sleep) and were not apparently permitted on the upper decks. Flight Home Our last day on the cruise was expensive. Our Thomson flight wasn’t due to leave until 8pm in the evening, but the letter pushed under our cabin door the day before told us we were expected to vacate our cabin at 8am on departure day (our suitcases had to be packed and left for collection outside the cabin by 3am). So, we spent some hours trying to organize ourselves, keeping back some shorts for the daytime heat and a change of clothes for the flight and unhappily facing having to carry all remaining bags and possessions around with us for 12 hours. Reception explained that we could keep our cabin (or be issued with an alternative one) until 4pm on the last day… but it would cost us an extra £35 for the privilege. We resorted to paying the extra for the convenience (to be honest, we were by now getting used to Thomson fleecing us for more money at every opportunity). We also wanted to enjoy the “80s disco” in Liberties Lounge that evening without thinking about having to get up before 8am the next day to vacate our cabin, but as it turned out – the 80s disco was cancelled on the night in favor of allowing a member of staff (who was leaving the ship) to sing his favorite songs on stage. It was only after guests’ complained that anything was done to stop him singing and get the disco night reinstated. The flight home was just about the worst flight we have ever taken and a complete contrast to the outbound flight. The airplane was a standard 737 (not the nice shiny new Dreamliner that brought us out). During the four hour flight there were no meals served, no complimentary drinks and no entertainment systems operating. There was only one trolley service of drinks, tea, coffee or sandwiches throughout the uncomfortable flight – all charged – and nothing suitable for my vegan partner. Although this was a much shorter flight (4 hours from Tennerife) than our outward journey, it felt ten times longer. The impression we got was that Thomson had received our money, the holiday was over – and they just wanted to honor their obligation to get us home quickly and cheaply by offering as little as possible. In Conclusion In recent years, many people have opted to try cruising as a holiday. Unfortunately, Thomson seems to be trying to reduce the cost of these so-called luxury holidays and are putting profit over and above meeting the expectations of their customers. I would place the Thomson Celebration Transatlantic Moments cruise in the standard 3-star holiday bracket, according to our experience with other companies and other cruise ships. The ship is too old and too small and needs scrapping. The add-on costs are excessive and relentless. The cuisine variety is good, but only for those that do not have any special dietary requirements. Thomson’s management, maintenance and operational systems on-board need a complete rethink. Reception staff on-board need to be fluent in English and need the power to rectify problems on-the-spot, not just offer a complaint form to be handed in after the holiday is over (by which time the holiday is ruined). Neither I nor my partner would consider going on another Thomson holiday, based on this experience … we therefore could not recommend them or the Thomson Celebration ship to others. This was a very disappointing and expensive holiday (costing £3,000+ for two of us), occasionally enjoyed only because of some of the staff and the people we shared it with. We feel Thomson let us down from the moment of booking this holiday right up to and including our flight home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this ... Read More
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this trip. Let’s start with the buffet/Lido restaurant. The breakfasts and afternoon teas were very repetitive and with little variations. The food was often oily, with the eggs being either over or underdone and only luke warm. The bacon and sausages tasted cheap. The cereals were mainly of the cheap sugar laden variety while the fruit was consistently melon and pineapple. Lunchtimes fared little better. The salad was only ever the following:- lettuce, cucumber, radish, grated carrot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, watery silverskin onions (no vinegar) and cheeses with no variations. The salad dressings on offer were poor, heavily oily and poor in variety. The mixed salads on the appetiser counter were laden with mayo or looked revolting. Hasn’t the chef heard of pulses, a variety of salad leaves etc? The main courses were equally bad in their look, smell and taste. So much so lunch often became hot dog and chips from the snack bar by the pool – something we never eat at home or on holiday. The sugar free sweets were also poor in variety, being mainly a creamy mousse or pastry with fruit, not helpful if one doesn’t like creamy mousses and can’t eat pastry! Additionally the sugar free was rarely labelled as such and one had frequently to ask if there were any sugar free. Afternoon tea was the same every day, sausage rolls, small sandwiches, trifle (not sugar free) scones, cake and biscuits (none of which were sugar free). In fact the sandwiches were often the best food of the day. The scones were also acceptable if one ignored the too high bicarbonate taste, but couldn’t cheese scones have been served occasionally too? The biscuits were the worst we have tasted – dry and tasteless regardless of flavour, too much flour and not enough fat to make them flavoursome and ‘short’ in consistency, in other words, they were cheap! Drinks in the Lido – the coffee was dire, bitter and totally unacceptable. I drank only tea for the duration of the cruise whereas my husband doesn't drink tea, coffee, milk or alcohol so his choice was nil for the entire cruise, bar water, since no alternative drink was on offer, unlike other cruises which still offer juice and iced flavoured teas at all meal times. Let’s now look at the food in the Meridian Restaurant. Breakfasts: Firstly, fruit juices served at breakfast were far too sweet. We think that they were fruit concentrates which hadn’t been diluted. We had to dilute it by 1/3 or ½ to make it drinkable. The fish for breakfast was often unrecognisable as such being dry and much over-cooked, so much so we stopped choosing the fish dishes before a few days had passed. The omelette I tried after the fish was almost inedible too, the taste and texture weren’t good. My husband concurred on the only day he chose omelette. The yoghurt with fresh fruit was always sugared therefore problematic for me, also the choice of fruit was always melon unless we stipulated otherwise and when we did ask for alternatives the waiters always looked surprised, although we did get our choices. We asked for water, only wholemeal toast and sugar free conserve each day, yet we always had to ask several times for what we required and sometimes it wasn’t listened too or took far too long to get. Many people gave up without a second tea, coffee or whatever. The staff weren’t particularly helpful or friendly. To be honest, my husband ate Weetabix followed by toast for the majority of the cruise. I, by contrast, resorted to porridge followed by Egg Benedict when available. Note I said egg not eggs Benedict – most ships give two, on this ship only one was ever given. Believe it or not, breakfast was probably our best meal of the day!!!! We didn’t eat in the Meridian for lunch. Dinners: The service was appalling. Several times we waited between 1hr and 1hr 30mins between the starters and the main courses and complained about main dishes being cold on more than one occasion. One day we actually saw the chefs, waiters etc. and baked Alaska presentation TWICE, without receiving our main course! The main course were poor in quality, often way too salty, bloody meats, lacking taste, having a horrible taste etc. etc. I even refused the Spaghetti Bolognaise. It looked like a poor tin or packet mix – short lengths of spaghetti mixed with the ragout sauce, not at all like proper Spaghetti Bolognaise. It tasted like it had lots of chemicals in it – really horrible, it was sent back, I was offered a second choice but by then I didn’t want to wait again and was put off by the first offering. A couple of evenings later we went to the Kora La, hoping for a better experience. I ordered the Beef Rendang and my husband ordered the Stir-fried noodles. Were these any better? Not on your life! Both dishes were so excessively salty we had the head waiter and the chef attend our table. We were offered alternatives but by now we were not in the mood to try yet more, rather we felt ill and disappointed. NEVER have we had such experiences on a ship. Let’s move to our cabin. To be fair our steward, was very friendly and helpful so no complaints here. Yes, the cabin was small but as we booked very late, this did not surprise us. However, what did surprise us was the lack of a refrigerator in the cabin. All of our previous ships have had in-cabin ‘fridges and we didn’t even consider the possibility that there wouldn’t be one. A ‘fridge is important to us since I have medication which needs refrigeration, so every day I had to go to reception to get and return my medication to them, waiting in sometimes long queues to get and then to return it – what an inconvenience! The television in our cabin was of poor quality, poor reception and a general lack of stations to watch. The safe had to be paid for separately! Never have other ships charged us for in-cabin safes because this is for your benefit as much as our’s – shocking and expensive! The facecloths in particular, were often grey and unhealthy looking. There was no complimentary dressing gowns and an elitist system for beach towels too – pale blue for the cheaper cabins, medium blue as one moves up the decks and royal blue, plush ones, for the better cabins. We were really disgusted at this – deliberately singling out what class of passenger one is – shame on you Thomson! This too NEVER happens on other cruise lines. On the subject of sunbathing, we have a further complaint. The front of the top deck of the ship was often closed off due to ‘high winds’. Frequently this wasn’t the case but still we couldn’t use that area. The middle section was currently being refurbished; I say currently but in fact no work was done on this section all the time we were on board. We were all jammed on a small section, jammed in like sardines on the two sea days, most unpleasant. We heard this section had been shut since the start of the season. Furthermore, there are no toilets in this area. Lastly, the deck hands were regularly clearing away the sunloungers by 5pm even though the sun didn’t go down for another hour to hour and a half. They often asked passengers to get up so they could pack away. How unwelcoming! Of course this also meant there were no seats outside if one wished to sit out and peruse the stars on the warm Caribbean evenings. We’ve not seen the like of this previously either. Our final complaint is in regard to returning to the ship after a day on shore. Actually, the staff on duty at the gangplank both going and coming, were humourless and unresponsive. There was no canopy on the pier, no welcoming drink, indeed no welcome. We were the poor relations of the cruise world as compared to the other ships we were docked alongside. Lastly, the security on board was a laugh, we could have brought all sorts on board. They rarely had the X-ray working. Is this a Platinum Cruise as advertised ? – No way!!!! We consider it to be a poor cast iron level. Would we cruise with Thomson again? A resounding No! We’re so pleased we got a cheap, last minute deal. If we had paid the brochure price we would have been stomping by now and probably we be consulting with a solicitor. A shockingly, bad experience and one never to be repeated. Added to the general insult of actually being on board, on return and wishing to complain we filled in the on-line booking complaints form - it doesn't send and we have tried it on several occasions. A letter of complaint did receive the customary general reply, saying we would hear within a month. It's two months now and still no response and you can't get anyone on the phone either. We read reviews and decided to still give Thomsons a go. Warning, book at your peril - you have been warned. Our advice - try another company, any other company which isn't owned by Thomson. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy ... Read More
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy really, they did not tell us that half the space for sunbathing and sitting would be out of order due to 'refurbishment' of an outside deck into a sun lounge whilst we were on board. The port and Shore excursions are what has me most upset however. We booked brought eight trips before we left the UK with our Thomson rep at home, a lady we happen to trust because she's been doing our holiday booking for a long time. But this has by far been the most disappointing and unhappy time we've ever had while on holiday with Thomson. The Excursions team were rude, dismissive and in one case very condescending. The problem is that we missed a tour departure time in the morning from the port. We mistook our time to leave on one trip towards the end of our holiday, but having been on several trips by now it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. We'd waited around for half an hour after our departure time once for missing people. But when we got to the dock side, the rep there told us we'd missed our tour by an unbelievable one minute. Because the tours only ever waited five for people and we were six minutes late. The rep was condescending and blamed us for not checking our tickets properly with a shrug. When we later complained at the excursions desk the rep told us he'd seek out his manager, basically to get rid of us so people wouldn't hear us complain in public we presume, then we got a letter through the door that stated verbatim what that rep had told us to our face. That Thomson wouldn't be giving us our refund, that we were 'seven' minutes' late- which was an added minute they seem to think makes it better for them leaving us behind- That they were sorry we'd missed out tour but basically tough luck we've got your money and we're not giving it back. To say we were unimpressed is an understatement. We explained to the excursions team about how we waited well passed the five minutes every single time we went on a tour with them that fortnight, this being the last day it was not an exaggeration. They told us blatantly lying to our faces that this wasn't possible because they never waited passed five minutes for people. To compound our disgust in the excursions team we then found out while talking to people we met onboard that they too had problems with the excursions team. They went on a tour to a 'closed' attraction and were told they would not be getting a refund despite the fact that they were taken someplace closed and then brought back to the ship. I don't know what sort of scam Thomson are playing on people, but this is by far the most disturbing and absolutely disgusting experience I've ever had with them in my many years travelling with them. If it were just the excursions though i could let it go, I'd just go on hols with them and avoid their trips. But it wasn't. We encountered unhelpful staff at Reception who didn't seem to care if we were left stranded with no money as long as they didn't have to lift a finger, an entertainment team that has probably been targeting college drop outs because the performances were not exactly what I would call professional level. I'm not a very good judge of musicality but even I cringed when the guy croaked and cracked his way through Adele. There was also a disappointing lack of anything to do besides wallow through their shows of an evening. The ship is small I give them that, but surely they can think of something to do for entertainment that doesn't involve singing or bingo? As for the other facilities on board, well extortion is clearly a main motivator, because the photographers are either con artists or delusional about what their services are worth. I feel bad mostly for the service staff and the cabin stewards who are truly the only thing the floating help has going for it. We had a wonderful cabin steward and our waiters were always happy and helpful. I'm sure that they must be an aberration for this ship because they are certainly the only people who seem to know what customer service is. The only other comment I can really offer is that several people we spoke to questioned just why this was a so called "platinum' cruise when clearly it was bog standard and a little limp and lifeless. If it wasn't for the places we actually disembarked the entire thing would have been a holiday from hell. Thank God the Caribbean is a wonderful lush place full of life and excitement or I may have thrown myself overboard. I know at one point I certainly contemplated the chances of getting an earlier flight home. It makes me kind of angry when I look at this review because I sound like a horrible sarcastic person. But I work in the Hospitality business and I am very forgiving of most problems because I know what it's like not to be able to do anything with a bad situation. But I honestly can't even justify half of what went on with these people. I can think of absolutely no excuse for their lack or care or abysmal attitude. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ever had, the cabin rattled and rolled all the time and the beds were hard and the pillows were cheap and nasty. We are both non smokers and we had trouble finding sun beds away from the smoke. We did complain 3 times at reception but they didn't seam to think that the lack of no smoking signs was a problem. This is the reason that we will not be cruising with Thomsons again. Usually the entertainment on Thomson cruises is excellient, but on this ship sadly not, in the Broadway show lounge it was repetative so say the least. We thought the standard of food was not much better than a moterway cafe, with the exception of the a la carte restaurants but we pay a hefty surcharge. We visited these restaurants four times to get a decent meal. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Better late then never... My Husband and I took a Cruise on the Thomson Celebration ship ! Believe me there were NOTHING to celebrate about !! We were told the ship had recently been refurbished but there were ABSOLUTELY no evidence ... Read More
Better late then never... My Husband and I took a Cruise on the Thomson Celebration ship ! Believe me there were NOTHING to celebrate about !! We were told the ship had recently been refurbished but there were ABSOLUTELY no evidence of this !! Every bit of furniture had a worn off look. I have just read some reviews and agree that this ship is over due for the scrap yard !! I have been on 20+ cruises with various cruise lines and NEVER have I had to endure such a tiny bathroom (approx. 1 meter square) in which you will have to manoeuvre between the sink/shower/w.c. We had a 4 births room but only 1 chair to put our clothes at night before going to bed. The top bunk beds were rattling and kept us awake, the very old lamps on the work top were fixed there consequently the work top could not be used properly/ it was nearly impossible to see through the port hole as it was above one bed instead of being in the middle of the cabin!! THIS SHIP IS ONLY SUITABLE as A FIRST CRUISE FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW ANY BETTER. A Friend , who lives in Trinidad, organised to fly over to Tobago to see us (we were due to stop for one day in Tobago). The SHIP ENGINE BROKE DOWN just as we were approaching Tobago and when the engine was restarted the Captain decided NOT TO STOP IN TOBAGO but to go straight to Barbados. I wrote the Captain requesting to meet him any time of his choice for a chat but he wrote back completely ignoring my request. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE PROMISED EACH OTHER THAT NEVER AGAIN WILL WE GO ON A THOMSON CRUISE AGAIN !! The entertainment was far TOO LOUD so we had to spend our time trying to avoid it, which was a shame as if it had been not so loud it might have been enjoyable.....this we will never know. When I mentioned this to the Cruise Director (who thought he was very important) he told me that in his opinion "it was not too loud" The Filipino crew were great and the food. 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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