Sail Date: February 2007
****** IF YOU ARE UNDER 40 YEARS OLD DO NOT GO ON THIS CRUISE****** My wife and I (both 32 years old) were looking for a week away in the sun. Ideally we wanted to stay in a 5 star hotel, in an all inclusive location with good restaurant ... Read More
****** IF YOU ARE UNDER 40 YEARS OLD DO NOT GO ON THIS CRUISE****** My wife and I (both 32 years old) were looking for a week away in the sun. Ideally we wanted to stay in a 5 star hotel, in an all inclusive location with good restaurant standard food both at the hotel and in the area. After weeks of research i selected the Jazz Mirabel in Sharm el Sheikh. I went in to Thomson's and they gave me a real sales pitch on a cruise around the red sea. I asked if this dealt with my requirements as set out....they said absolutely, 5 star quality, excellent food, atmosphere etc. They even said that we could upgrade to a suite on board for an extra charge. "Imagine being on a 5 star cruise and staying in one of the suites on board, it's a once in a lifetime experience for about £100 more per person than what you were going to pay for the Jaz Mirabel". She then went on to say that if she had the choice she would have chosen the cruise "without thinking twice about it". It was an exclusive offer and it would be gone any second....i felt that I needed to make a decision quickly and went with their advice (i later found out, according the staff on the cruise, that they try to just fill the boat with anyone - regardless if it is right for them or not) We had never cruised before and I was unaware of anyone who had cruised in my circle of friends. She did a very convincing sales job and based on her information, sales pitch etc I went with the cruise. I paid for the upgrade, the airport lounge and champagne in our cabin...again she was an excellent sales person! We were very excited...and we asked about currency and were told that it was Egyptian pounds. We ordered some but later found out that the currency on board is English sterling, so we had to change our egyptian pounds to sterling and made a massive loss due to the extremely poor exchange rate. The cruise did not meet our expectations in anyway. The only good point was that the ships crew were cleaning constantly. Now for the downsides: 1) The ship was far from 5 star...more like 3 star...in fact after we returned I was looking for a gift for a friend of mine who is going on a cruise in Alaska next year and I found the Berlitz guide to cruising. How I wished I had found this BEFORE paying £1500 for the cruise. The guide rated it as a 3 star cruise liner ....and the most interesting thing that it mentions is that 90% of the passengers are 55 years old and older!!!!!!! As such (apart from the entertainment crew) we were the youngest people on the ship. 2) The itineraries on board all catered to older people....foxtrot dancing and ex veterans getting together for coffee mornings, and paper napkin folding to shows featuring the music of the war (vera lynne etc). My friends didn't believe me until I showed them the copies of 'cruise news' that we brought home. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 3) The ship is so old, and the generator on board vibrated 24/7...so much so that even if you were on the sundeck on deck 10 and were 'lucky enough' to have a sunbed you were physically vibrating all the time....all day...every day. A comedian came on board (she was the only highlight of the entire holiday) and she even did a sketch on this....everyone laughed, because they could all relate to it. It made my wife nauseous and she was in bed for 2 of the days feeling dizzy/sick (even though the vibrations did not stop when you went to bed to go to sleep!). 4) The food was extremely average....even the a la carte restaurant was just 3 star...everything was way below the standards sold to us. And we had to pay for all our drinks on top of this, at quite a markup! 5) The only escape were the expensive shore excursions...we went on one which was ok, and the tour guide was very knowledgeable. The ship was upto capacity (of pension age passengers) and it was extremely difficult to get a sun lounger unless you went out at 07.00am in the morning. We felt trapped and did not enjoy our time aboard at all. 6) The cruise was more a 'benidorm on a boat' than the 5 star experience we were expecting. Other things to mention that 'added' to our experience were the shows catered for elderly and were nowhere near WEST END standard (sold to us as such), lack of space for people to sunbathe (one day we found a wooden bench and had to sit on it all day),there was no casino or 'shop' whilst in dock (which was on several occasions), the 2 Jacuzzis on board were never working/never had water in them and were always covered and the 2 pools were freezing cold. On board we were stared at more by the pensioners on board than we were by the locals in Cairo (my wife is blonde so the Egyptian guys were constantly staring at her) - because we looked so out of place on the cruise!. We did discuss this with one of the reps on board (I don't want to mention his name as I don't want to get him into trouble) but he said that the reps at home are just focussed on filling the ship up to its full compliment and they have seen other couples who looked totally out of place like we did, on several occasions. We expected expertise and we became part of a sales target! Overall, it was the worst holiday experience we have ever had. To summarize - I went into the travel agents with the intention of spending £1000 on an a 5 star all inclusive holiday in Sharm El Sheikh, in the Jaz Mirabel where we could relax, eat the high standard food and mix with people of a similar age group (we met a couple in the airport home who stayed at the Jaz Mirabel who said that the food, entertainment etc had been first class - which added insult to injury to say the least!). What we came away with was a 3 star floating benidorm, where we paid £1400 plus £300 on drinks during the week, had poor entertainment catered for pensioners, substandard food (the food on the flight was better than the food on board ship). This expensive holiday was totally missold to us. I wrote to Thomsons and asked for the following: 1 An apology for being missold the cruise 2 Reimbursing for everything we paid for extra that we wouldn't have paid for at the Jaz Mirabel (which is £200 plus £300 drinks) 3 To feel rest assured that other younger couples are not being missold this cruise and that perhaps the berlitz guide (or any similar) is sent to each branch of Thomsons. At the very least send a briefing to all sales agents to advise that this cruise is suitable for over 50's only. It took several weeks and several follow up calls/letters to get a response and they advised that they would take no action at all. They looked at people who had gone on the same cruises before and had generally good feedback. If i was 60 years old, liked benidorm/blackpool, fry ups every day, chips and burgers for lunch, amateur shows, bingo etc i am sure i would enjoy it. But 2 professional, 32 year old, outgoing people with decent standards on food/entertainment - it was the worst place in the world we could have gone. Please be aware - we wasted our money - Thomsons didn't care - please don't waste yours. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
I thought I had to respond after reading the other review for the Celebration on this site. We spent a wonderful 7 days on this ship in June to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Yes I am 50 but can assure you very young for my age,a ... Read More
I thought I had to respond after reading the other review for the Celebration on this site. We spent a wonderful 7 days on this ship in June to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Yes I am 50 but can assure you very young for my age,a graduate and a senior health professional and wouldn't dream of holidaying in Benidorm! In fact on this ship we had a job keeping up with everything what with activities, entertainment, nightclub etc We had to go to bed after midnight every night in order to fit everything in! We were then up at 6-7 am to get breakfast before going out on excursions apart from the first day at sea. Food we found to be excellent. We ate in the lido restaurant for breakfast every morning but one when we had waiter service. There was a huge choice of fresh food every morning. We ate in the waiter service restaurant every evening, and can only describe the 5 courses each evening as excellent and varied. The service was faultless.The staff were wonderful, and have musical talents, giving people celebrating anniversaries and birthdays an impromptu rendition complete with guitar and a lovely performance on the last evening. When on board we ate lunch in the lido which is self service. There is a huge choice of food from salads to traditional fair to burger and chips if that is what you wanted, I didn't but others may have done.However my husband enjoyed his midnight feast of hotdog and chips before bed while I could only manage a cup of tea! We had a deluxe cabin on the top deck which was roomy, clean with a picture window. We had Tamit as our cabin man who was always cheerful and attentive but also very discreet. The cabins had everything you needed, they may look a little used but then they are used by someone everyday! The entertainment in the evening was very good, with something for everyone from musical shows (not music from the war) covering music from the west end,comedy and dancing. The cast were very good and a couple were excellent, should be on the telly. There was also a nightclub, quizzes,bingo, a piano bar a casino and quiet areas.The choice is there for the taking. The destinations were Villfranche, where we visited Monaco and Montecarlo, Livorno for Florence and Pisa, Rome, Sardinia, and Palamos, where we visited the Costa Brava. All excursions were very well organized, which is important when there are so many people and sometimes other cruise ships in port at the same time. The atmosphere on the Celebration was that everyone was on board to have a good time and we certainly did. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed this our first cruise experience and had booked another within 2 weeks of returning home, again with Thomson. Our cruise was adults only and we have chosen that again. We booked a cruise and stay, with a week in Majorca to follow which we used to relax and reflect and would recommend to first timers. Also we had an all inclusive upgrade which you can get when booking early, we didn't have to pay for any drinks, including wine, cocktails and very large gin and tonics! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
This was our first cruise and really did not know what to expect - but had a friend who had been on the Spirit - so she gave me a few tips. We arrived from Aberdeen to Palma - very efficient - on the ship very quickly with the luggage ... Read More
This was our first cruise and really did not know what to expect - but had a friend who had been on the Spirit - so she gave me a few tips. We arrived from Aberdeen to Palma - very efficient - on the ship very quickly with the luggage arriving almost instantly. We unpacked and dressed for dinner - we paid for all inclusive and I would say well worth it. Even for soft drinks through the day it adds up. We sailed from Palma at midnight and it is a long lasting memory - the band playing on deck and watching Palma cathedral lit up as we sailed into the night. The next day we had at sea and I really feel that it makes you relax. We mostly ate in the Lido buffet just because we like to be informal. We did one night try the dining room but unfortunately we had to sit beside what I can only describe as a prat - his wife was lovely and therefore it put us off. We did not find Horizons bar till later on in the week which was a shame as its was superb - sitting with your feet up and your drinks served to you - bliss. The entertainment was absolutely superb - the Thomson Team were fantastic - we went to every show and it was first class. We came off the ship in Tunis but did not realize that it was too far to walk to the main town. We should have asked the staff. We did not get off at Naples - just listening to the noise of the traffic put us off. I had been warned about the scooters. We loved Corsica - we took the little train - costs around 4euros - just enough to get a feel for the place - we really wanted to see Barcelona - we took the bus - which is just as you get off the ship went on the red line and then the blue line - we had to go to see Barca stadium - had a text from 23 year old son to see if I was excited - not exactly but I was there - loved the buildings and well worth going in the open topped bus. the places we visited were great but my best experience was be at sea and watch the sun going down on deck sitting with a drink in hand and a bowl of olives - you just help yourself. The food was superb - from the little man who used to make me an omelette outside in the morning to the staff in the Lido who were there every night working till late and then there again in the morning. The one bug bear I have is the smoking - there were designated areas but unfortunately there are really quite rude people who think it is ok to smoke at the sunbeds - if you are one please have a little respect. We did find that the cabin was a bit noisy but that was because we had the family from hell beside us - they chose to have the room doors open and run from cabin to cabin throughout the day and night and the staff are so nice they would have not said anything to them. But the news is we are off again this time we go on the Moorish Delights setting sail from Palma on the 18th July. As we booked before the 1st October we got all inclusive free saving us over £300. We are going on the spirit this time which we believe has had a refurb so I can't wait - the diet has already started. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
I have cruised with Thomson 4 times previously and this was my first cruise on the Celebration which is identical to the Spirit, her sister ship. We flew from the north east on Thomsonfly, no problems, and were picked up quickly by Thomson ... Read More
I have cruised with Thomson 4 times previously and this was my first cruise on the Celebration which is identical to the Spirit, her sister ship. We flew from the north east on Thomsonfly, no problems, and were picked up quickly by Thomson reps and on board the Lido deck by 11.45- landed in Palma airport at 10.30 so embarkation was efficient and quick. Our luggage appeared in our cabin later, the luggage handlers are very efficient indeed! We selected certain excursions with Thomson as they did seem to be on the expensive side. Best were Monaco and Monte Carlo. We went to Tunis and quite frankly, although the guide was good, the place did not appeal to me at all- dirty and noisy and Hercules Cave- which could have been a wonderful visit since it is quite a remarkable cave, was full of peddlers selling their very cheap goods! Casablanca was the worst- ship docked in the industrial port which was quite ugly, we walked into town and were constantly harassed by pedlars- not pleasant at all! The ship was clean, efficient, plenty of deck space for sun bathing, and a variety of public rooms to suit every taste- quiet, lively etc. The entertainment was first class- on a 14 night cruise not one night was repeated, with the shows in the show lounge being the best. Staff were wonderful, attentive, always smiling and helpful. Food was varied and quality. We ate several times in Lido buffet but mostly in The Meridian waiter service restaurant on evenings. Food was very nice, tastefully presented and the service was excellent. Even in the 24 hour Lido restaurant, the food was good with plenty of variety and themed evenings. During the day there was plenty of choice on the open deck, inside, waiter service etc and of course the British tradition of afternoon tea with warm scones and cream! Most of the passengers were British but a minority of Russian guests- mind you they made plenty of noise! Children were in abundance but behaved fairly well and the ship has plenty of spaces to go to get away from them if you wanted to! Captains Cocktail, deck parties, sailing away party- all very enjoyable A very good cruise and such value for money Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2007
Recently returned from Thomson Celebration Piazzas and Pyramids cruise from Palma to Sharm el Sheikh ready for the Red Sea Magic winter cruises. Flights to Palma were good and embarkation was well organized and fairly quick. We booked an ... Read More
Recently returned from Thomson Celebration Piazzas and Pyramids cruise from Palma to Sharm el Sheikh ready for the Red Sea Magic winter cruises. Flights to Palma were good and embarkation was well organized and fairly quick. We booked an outside cabin on Deck 6 which was spacious with ensuite bath with shower over. All very clean and comfortable...the bed felt quite hard but we both slept very well all week. the soundproofing wasn't that efficient and we could hear coughs, sneezes, snoring and talking from either side and our neighbors on one side have not yet learnt to shut doors (cabin or wardrobe) quietly...even at midnight!!! Most of the staff were Filipino and very friendly, polite and always smiling. the food was excellent with plenty of choice ...we had buffet breakfast and lunch and dined in the Meridian restaurant in the evenings. The entertainment was superb (as we have found on each of the three Thomson ships we've been on) but that particular team came home with us and a new team was starting this week. We watched them rehearse a couple of times and they seemed quite good as well. We did notice quite a vibration at the rear of the ship which other passengers commented on...this did not affect us at night as we were forward of midships and never felt a thing! there was plenty of space on the open decks on sea days but you did have to look for it...the areas around the pools got very crowded but there are lots of different areas up on the sun decks which never got over crowded...the trick is to go up and forward!! Our cabin was on the Promenade deck so we could just go out of the nearest door and sit. The weather was unusually cold until we got to Malta where it soon warmed up and of course was in the 30s by the time we got to Sharm el Sheikh. Excursions were well organized but we try and do our own thing where we can...we did Rome by train (just over an hour) on our own for 9 euros each return which included the underground and bus tickets once in Rome. Very easy! and we don't speak Italian! Malta is easy on your own..bus to Valetta bus station right outside dock gate. Heraklion in Crete we walked into the town from the port about 20-30 mins level walk. We did notice that there seemed to be more people who just seemed to sit and booze all day long every day, some quite loudly.... and wonder if it's because Thomson do alot of All Inclusive deals!! (We got a free All Inclusive deal ourselves). It didn't affect us really as these people tended to congregate at the back of the ship around the pool areas, which is not somewhere we choose to be. We hadn't noticed this on our previous Thomson cruises. Overall we think Thomson give excellent value on their cruises and we are going on the Calypso next June to the Black Sea and Greek Islands. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
Joined the ship at Sharm el Sheikh and straight into dining room.As the Celebration operates an open dining system you can sit where and when you want either by yourself or join others (great way to make new friends).Sailed that night to ... Read More
Joined the ship at Sharm el Sheikh and straight into dining room.As the Celebration operates an open dining system you can sit where and when you want either by yourself or join others (great way to make new friends).Sailed that night to Aqaba and spent the next afternoon wandering around the place(ship provided free shuttle bus into town). Ship remained in port that night and the next day was the first of our 3 big excursions this one to Petra (fantastic) Next port was Port Sokhna for Cairo,second of the trip,mosque of Mohammed Ali,Nile cruise with lunch (and belly dancer!),then Pyramids and Sphinx (was offered 2000 camels for the wife - tempting! but refused) Last port Safaga for Luxor and the Valley of the kings,this was a very long day coach left the ship at 6:30 and not back until 10:15 but it was worth it.Valley of the king was good but Karnak was unbelievable! Next day back to Sharm and flight home. We had been on the Celebration before and this time was just as good,the food in the Meridian restaurant was very good although the Lido was a bit of a scrum at times especially for breakfast on excursion days (better to go to the Meridian where on those days they operate a buffet system. Cabin was just OK but the cabin steward was excellent and kept it spotless. Entertainment especially the shows was first class as were the lectures from the resident archaeologist. All of the crew from the captain down were very friendly and nothing was a problem for them. Overall a great holiday tiring but if you want to see the sites you have to put up with that. We have been on a range of cruise ships and enjoyed all of them some better than others but for friendliness I don't think you can beat the Celebration. Can't wait for the next cruise on the Celebration(the Baltic from Newcastle) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I travelled with my husband and 2 children aged 9 & 7 on Thomson Celebration departing on 3/1/08 on the red sea magic cruise. I would say this was a good but not excellent cruise. Ports were spot on for getting out sight seeing but ... Read More
I travelled with my husband and 2 children aged 9 & 7 on Thomson Celebration departing on 3/1/08 on the red sea magic cruise. I would say this was a good but not excellent cruise. Ports were spot on for getting out sight seeing but there were a series of minor niggles that added up to a disappointment. Our cabin was of a good size and well maintained with a large amount of storage space and enough bed height to get the cases under. We had a well appointed bathroom with shower loo and vanity sink. In the cabin there was both a european and an american plug socket and as we had both adaptors it meant we had plenty of points for recharging MP3 players, game boys and video cameras (all essential on the trips to both Luxor and Petra!) As we were cabin only embarkation and check in were painless and we were in our cabin for 12.07pm and luggage was with us 20 mins later (Unlike people who came in with flights and who had to queue to receive their documents and wait for their cases) We found the ship easy to navigate and well kept. Free tea and coffee was provided all the time on the lido deck and also in the buffet ~ a shame you weren't provided with a kettle in your cabin as on Ocean Village but it's not such a big deal. Food was of a fair standard similar to that of a mid class all inclusive hotel but no where near as good as that provided when we sailed on the Emerald (~ I am biased in this respect though being married to a chef who owns his own restaurant!. The menus in the restaurant were so so-so we only ate there 3 times all cruise and didn't bother on the formal night. On one occasion service was that slow that we left before desserts had been served. On the up side Ice cream is served all day in the lido buffet, there is a choice of 4 flavors and it is served either by the bowl or the cone. We had been upgraded to the all inclusive package as we booked a year in advance and this made life and drinking extremely easy. The bar staff and drinks waiters were all very friendly and once I got settled into hemmingways Angel made sure my friends and I were never short of drinks. However in the casino (6ft away) it was a different matter for husband and the table players, on frequent occasions I had to call someone over and ask them to go take an order on the blackjack table as no one was patrolling that area. The casino was a downside to the whole cruise ~ it is run by a concession and badly. On a few occasions one blackjack table was full but they would not open another table as "it is company policy only to use one"! They also shut rigidly at either 1am or 2am no matter how many people were playing. The slot machines were also very old. Glad to see the new smoking policy in place ~ smoking is only allowed on 1/3 of the open deck, along one side of promenade deck and in 1/3 of Liberties. Smoking on deck is not allowed at all in safaga as you can smell the diesel. Sun beds were easy to come by on deck 10 forward even on the sea days. Both of the pools were very cold and the jacuzzis were never filled. The sports courts were only available for use during organized activities but this meant that with a large number of children on board it was under utilized when it could have been used for a game of football or just to let them run around without disturbing other guests (As happened on Costa Concordia last year) The trip to Petra was wonderful but please bear in mind that it can get very cold at altitude and taking a jacket is a good idea! Luxor was again another great trip but the 4 hour journey does take it's toll! Prices were Petra £70 adults £35 children and Luxor £72 adults and £36 children. If you haven't got children and fancy arranging your own tours, a friend & his wife got a return taxi from aqaba to Petra plus entry for £40. So far less than the ships tour. Kids club was great they even picked the children up 2 mornings at 8.15 for breakfast which meant we could have a lie in. The children also enjoyed the cinema of an afternoon before dinner ~ they showed a variety of newish films i.e. Shrek 3, Harry Potter with popcorn provided in a dispenser outside. The in-cabin TV also had one childs film a day (ratatouille, The Reef) which was a good after supper treat. The launderette on deck 7 was the one where it was easiest to find and empty machine ~ deck 2's which was closest to our cabin was the smallest and very rarely unused. Washing liquid is automatically added so I didn't need the washing powder I had taken with me! All in all We found that Emerald even though it was a smaller, older ship was better overall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2008
We booked this cruise as it was a little different. A repositioning cruise from Sharm El Sheik to Palma aboard the Thomson Celebration. The flight from Cardiff was fine and due to the high tail winds, we arrive in about 4 hours and 40 ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it was a little different. A repositioning cruise from Sharm El Sheik to Palma aboard the Thomson Celebration. The flight from Cardiff was fine and due to the high tail winds, we arrive in about 4 hours and 40 mins. As ever, Sharm airport is a complete organizational nightmare. Basically everyone piles off the coach and instead of airport staff organizing people into queues your are just left to fend for yourself to get to a visa desk. Then the whole thing starts again as you try and get through passport control. As ever there are Egyptian staff taking 'Gifts' to get you higher up the queue. Once that cattle market was over, it was time to collect our bags and make our way to the bus. A short bus ride later and we were at the port. Check In was quick and simple. As the ship was some 700-800 yards away, you could either wait for the shuttle bus or take a stroll over. We decided to take the walk and it was longer than it looked. Meantime the coach that took us from the airport was already unloading the cases at the ship. Once on board, a member of staff showed us to our cabin which was up on deck 9 and was a premier outside cabin. Very spacious with 2 large windows with unrestricted views. Plenty of storage space with 2 large wardrobes. As we had not eaten for at least 3 hours, we went to the Lido for a snack. During this time, our cases arrived at the cabin, so we were able to unpack before lifeboat drill, which was nice. Lifeboat drill was at 9.30pm and we sailed at 10pm On board the Thomson Celebration, the staff are so friendly, always smiling and willing to get you anything you need from the bars or restaurants. By the time we got to the second day, all the staff in the areas we frequented already knew my wife and I by our first names, which was very nice. The next day we arrived at Port Sokhna, for excursions to Cairo. As we have been to Cairo several times before, we elected to stay on board the ship, it was quite nice as many people did go off to Cairo, the ship was half empty and you could sit wherever you liked. During the afternoon some dockworkers were knocked over on the quayside right next to the ship, they were rushed off to hospital in an ambulance. I hope they were ok. After a relaxing day in port, we headed off to the Suez Canal. The whole of the next day was spent transiting the canal arriving in Alexandria the next day. The remainder of the itinerary took us to Messina in Sicily and Naples on the Italian mainland before ending up in Palma De Majorca, from where we took a short flight back to Cardiff. Some Notes about our cabin: We like most mornings to have a lie on and we often take a nap in the afternoon between 3pm and 5pm - With this cabin that was impossible as directly above the cabin is a sun deck. Promptly at 8am staff start putting out the sun loungers , throwing and dragging them around the deck, needless to say in the cabin it sounded like a herd of elephants playing basketball. Then at around 4pm in the afternoon, they collect them all back up again. Also the cabin walls are so paper thin that we could hear everything that was being said in the cabin next door. We have stayed on this ship twice before on deck 8 and deck 7 and on both occasions we had a far more peaceful stay than this time. On about the third day, we noticed that the carpet in the cabin just in front of the bathroom was damp. We thought perhaps the cabin steward had tipped his bucket, but the wet patch started to grow, so we contacted reception who sent up guys with blowers to dry the wetness and 2 plumbers to look for a leak. They couldn't find a leak and the blowers dried the carpet. The next night reception sent us up a bottle of wine and 2 glasses, but no corkscrew? 3 days later, the water was back with a vengeance all one side of the cabin was soaking wet on the floor, luckily we did not have any bags, clothes shoes etc down that side so nothing of ours was spoiled but there was a damp dirty water smell, not nice. We did ask to be moved, but the only cabin they had available was a very small twin on deck 2 which I found very claustrophobic so we decided to stay in our cabin, especially as they were putting in a swimming pool for us ? One other thing about the cabin was the small flies that lived around the window area, we asked on 3 occasions for the room to be sprayed but they were still there. I am sure they were harmless enough but to be quite honest, my wife and I wanted our indoor swimming pool cabin to ourselves. For all the nonsense with the water and the flies, reception took £100 off our bill before we left which was a nice gesture. The last afternoon and night on board was very rocky as the ship sailed through a storm, we could have gone around it and I think the Captain did make some efforts to avoid the worst, but if we had gone much off course we would not have been in Palma in time to make our flights. A large number of people were seasick and the bars and restaurants were quite deserted on that last night. The food in the restaurants was very good but I think they need to make more healthy choices available like grilled fish, steamed veg etc - My wife does not eat meat and found that all the vegetarian choices were either fried or covered in cream or cheese. All in all we had a great cruise experience as we always do with Thomson, the staff, shows are all top class as yes we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2008
This trip was our 4th cruise. We had firstly been on the Ocean Village ship because it was billed as a cruise for 'people who don't do cruises' and as this was us (group of first timers - 4 adults and 1 teenager) we went. We ... Read More
This trip was our 4th cruise. We had firstly been on the Ocean Village ship because it was billed as a cruise for 'people who don't do cruises' and as this was us (group of first timers - 4 adults and 1 teenager) we went. We had a good time and were 'hooked' but decided to try a different ship the following year. So that led us to Thomson Emerald which we sailed on for 2 years and loved it - yes it was old but rooms were massive, food was good, crew and staff were lovely, but this year we tried a different ship as we wanted to cover other countries. So.....we booked on to the Treasures of the Baltic on Thomson Celebration this year - again I'm a worrier so I was a bit anxious about going to colder climes etc, but needn't have worried as I think it was probably the best cruise so far! Embarkation First time we had not flown to meet the ship as we wanted to sail from England and so we embarked at Newcastle. Although it was a 5 hour drive from us it was still worth not having to worry about getting to the airport, delays etc and was so easy. We got to the Port, joined the queue (last as usual) and after a brief drop off with the suitcase and through customs we were on the ship and in our cabin. Cabin Initially disappointed by the size of the cabin as Ocean Village didn't have a massive room but it was new and lovely, and whereas Thomson Emerald was older it was massive - with a bath (bliss)! However, so what about the size? We weren't going to spend a lot of time there, and it had plugs for the obligatory hair straighteners and mobile phones etc. Entertainment Call me old fashioned (although I'm only early 40's so not too loudly!), but I like the entertainment - it's great fun to join in with the quizzes and gameshows (if you want to) or just sit listening and having a laugh with a drink. The shows are nice to see after your meal and just about the right length. Yes, you do have to make a mad dash after your meal to get a seat but that's all part of the fun(!) If you get on well with your waiter he will reserve your seat (but don't tell anyone!!) A little request - has anyone who went on this cruise or a few weeks earlier got any pictures they can send me electronically or though the post (I'll pay p&p etc) of either the Summerland Band or the classical due Janos & Jozsef? I forgot to take any pictures. Excursions I enjoyed the excursions, probably because I hadn't been to any of these counties before ie: Finland, Denmark, Germany, Russia etc, and yes they are a bit on the pricey side, but we wanted to make the most of our time and holiday and we know from previous Thomson cruises how good the tour guides are and we wanted to learn more about the history of the countries, and the war and how communism had affected some of them. Anyway it was good and interesting. If we visit these parts again we would probably do more of our own thing now we have already visited some of the highlights etc. Conclusion I was gutted to come home last year from Thomson Emerald, but this year I was even more inconsolable and am still reliving it. I love the Thomson fleet (well the 2 I've been on) and hope we can go back on the Celebration next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2008
Well this was my first cruise so also my first time with Thomson and there ship the Thomson Celebration. We was both pleased on how easy getting your luggage from the car and on to the ship,it was so easy. We was given our ... Read More
Well this was my first cruise so also my first time with Thomson and there ship the Thomson Celebration. We was both pleased on how easy getting your luggage from the car and on to the ship,it was so easy. We was given our boarding/charge cards and after 5 minutes we was free to have a wander around the ship and find our cabin, We tipped our cabin boy straight away as a few people recommended this and I'm glad we did because our cabin was always kept spotless. The Food........ The food was 24/7 and always served with a smile and with great service. There was always a huge selection of food to choose from hot and cold. I always opted for a large cooked breakfast :)) then there was lunch again a wide selection of food. Most of the cruise we ate in the formal restaurant that offers a great selection and fab food (I recommend the Sea bass) Even 1-2am in the morning there was a food ranging from Burgers to Pizzas with fries. The Ship........... I had read a few forums where people had said the ship was rather dated, I would tend to agree that the ship is rather dated and the Lido restaurant reminded me of BHS food halls however I would stress although dated the ship was spotless. The Staff............... Wow the staff are out of this world and the service is fab fab fab they work such long hours and still find the time to speak with you and ask you how your day went :)) With Thomson Tips are included but I would personally stress that you tip staff at the end of your holiday because they are worth every penny. The Entertainment........... For me this was the only shortfall of our holiday :(( Although the youngsters do try there best it is still very second class acting and singing. There is also a band called "The summerland band" these are dreadful and are not even able to hold a note, the lead singer reminded me of Peters & Lee without the talent. There are a couple of entertainment staff that are great and manage to keep people laughing and smiling :)) Peewee Emma and Bren. In short if you are not worried or concerned about being entertained then this is a great ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2008
This was our fourth cruise with Thomsons and our second on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. Check-in was a fairly painless process and we were settled and unpacked by around 4 o'clock to see the ship leave a ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Thomsons and our second on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. Check-in was a fairly painless process and we were settled and unpacked by around 4 o'clock to see the ship leave a rather grey Harwich. So - onto the full cruise review! Ship Cleanliness. Our cabin was spotless and was kept nice and tidy by our cabin "boy", Husni, throughout the cruise. The ship itself is pretty clean but some of the carpets are a little worn. Ship maintenance is a never ending task and there was always something being painted or repaired. The inside smoking ban has helped to make the interior more pleasant with no more nasty stale tobacco smells. Crew What can you say? They bend over backwards to help and are always smiling and joking. Nothing is too much trouble for them. I cannot say a bad word about any of the crew. Ship Food We ate at both the Lido buffet and Meridian restaurant. The food was of a high quality at both. The buffet is not "help yourself" but the servers will put as much or as little as you want on your plates. Finding seats was a little trickier on this cruise, perhaps because the weather meant more people ate inside. The Meridian food is superb and as good as any hotel or restaurant I've eaten at. The service was fast and efficient and we had two very good waiters - Bem and Richie - who kept us entertained. Onboard Entertainment The quality of entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. I heard one person compare it to Butlin's in the 70's but as someone who used to holiday every year at Butlin's in the 70's, I can reassure people it isn't that bad. We didn't think the evening stage shows were very good this year and the quality of the singing in particular was poor. The evening game shows were generally good, but did get a little silly at times; the "Miss Celebration" contest was very cringeworthy, although my kids loved it. During the day there were plenty of games, quizzes, lectures and films to keep just about everybody amused. Now, let's deal with the ports of call: Stockholm Some problems with the weather meant we were late arriving at Stockholm and our visit there was cut to a little less than three hours. The journey in to Stockholm is a complete joy; a three hour trip through the small islands and inlets of the archipelago. Once in the city, we wandered around the old town and the Royal Palace and took a pleasant stroll along the water front. Helsinki The ship was forced to berth some distance from the city, probably due to our late arrival. A complimentary shuttle bus was provided to the city but the queues were horrendous and we had to wait 40 minutes before we caught the bus. Apparently only two buses were available. That was the only hiccup, though, but it did give the moaners a chance to air their voices! Once in the city we took the 3B tram which is a circular route taking in the main sites, wandered around the shops and watched some street performers that were quite entertaining. St Petersburg As you are not allowed ashore without a visa, we took three excursions at St Petersburg. These are not particularly cheap (£30 - £40 per adult) but there is a good selection. We went to the Hermitage which was OK, but very crowded and rushed. Our guide was very good. Public toilets are rare so take the opportunity to go when you get one! In the evening we went to the ballet, "Swan Lake". This was excellent. Getting out of the theatre was a farce; around a thousand people were funneled through two tiny exits. One shudders to think what would have happened had there been a fire. The other trip was a guided coach tour around the city with plenty of photo stops. Tallinn An absolute delight of a city, helped by the warm weather! The city is not big and it was easy to wander from the ship, through the cobbled streets to the main sites. We enjoyed a drink at the town square and visited the oldest pharmacy in Europe! Warnemunde This is a very pleasant seaside resort with frequent rail services to nearby Rostock. We spent the day wandering around Warnemunde, though, as there are lots of shops, bars and general "goings on" to keep you amused. Kalundburg The excursions to Copenhagen were fully booked so we decided to explore the town. We were pleased we did as there is loads to do. A shuttle bus dropped us in the centre, right next to a small flea market. The church is a short walk away and right next to that was a small museum. Entrance to this was free for cruise passengers and you got the impression that we were special guests at the town. They even provided a brass band to see us off! All in all it was a very good cruise. The weather wasn't brilliant but we didn't expect that for northern Europe. The sights and the enjoyable time onboard more than made up for it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2008
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and have always been more than happy with the service that we have experienced, but had never cruised with Thomson before. On booking I was asked to state my preference on single or double beds, I ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and have always been more than happy with the service that we have experienced, but had never cruised with Thomson before. On booking I was asked to state my preference on single or double beds, I stated that we would like a double bed. On arrival onboard the Celebration we were shown to our cabin, only to find we had been allocated single beds and on checking our living quarters, we would have been willing to forfeit our cruise had we had been able to reclaim our luggage. The cabin itself was passable, but our toilet facilities were disgusting, our shower room was in a terrible condition. There was mold on the grouting of the tiles both on the walls and floor of the shower tray area, also in the corners of the tray. At the rear of the toilet there were tiles hanging off the wall and around the toilet between tiles was brown stains. On turning on the shower water started to come back up the drain and if taking a shower we would then be paddling in used water from the drain. We reported the problems to reception and requested a change of cabin and were told that all cabins were fully booked but that our complaints would be noted. On the following day, we returned to reception to see what progress had been made in resolving our problem and was told that the matter had been reported. We returned to our cabin later the following day to find the bin full of old sealant which had been scraped up and sealant around the shower tray and floor had been renewed, however the mould was not removed and no attempt had been made to repair the sealant around the drain and the floor remained stained. The bathroom remained unhygienic and unfit for use. The life jackets that were assigned to this cabin were also so ingrained with grease and dirt that they were also unhygienic and unfit for use, my wife and I had to wear hand towels around our necks (so that they would not touch our skin) during the lifeboat drill. The quality of the bathroom linen during this cruise was less than luxurious; at best they were tired and worn, and at worst disgusting. The vibration that run through the whole of the ship 24/7 was unbearable and must be harmful to the health, my ankles were swollen the whole trip. The pool on the lido deck was taken out of use after the first couple of days and remained closed for the remainder of the cruise and both Jacuzzi's on board were not in use the whole trip. The hygiene in the deck showers was unsatisfactory and unfit for use. On the 15th we approached reception to find out why the pool was still closed and were treated very offhand and not given an satisfactory answer, so we requested an interview with the captain. We met with the captain the following day, we expressed our thoughts on all of the above and expressed our comments on the cruise in general. However the captain was unable to provide adequate reasons or solutions for or to our problems. We booked this cruise this cruise with Thomson because we believed British was best and feel we have been badly let down, the ship was far from luxurious and although the food was served in quantity there was very little quality even the milk served was UHT long life milk. We have contacted Thomson and supplied photographic evidence for all of our comments above, the reply from Thomson customer services was unsatisfactory. Photographs are available on request. If you have cruised with Thomson and have been happy, please try another company and you will pleasantly surprised at the difference. For the same the same price we could have booked with our usual company and had a luxury cruise. Please be aware - we wasted our money - Thomson didn't care - please don't waste your money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2008
This was the second cruise we had been on (hence the title !) and was a world apart from the luxury of the first, Royal Caribbean. We were well aware that there would be a significant difference, but didn't appreciate just how much of ... Read More
This was the second cruise we had been on (hence the title !) and was a world apart from the luxury of the first, Royal Caribbean. We were well aware that there would be a significant difference, but didn't appreciate just how much of a culture shock awaited.... Embarkation was well organized and bags arrived quickly at our cabin. We were a little disappointed that our cabin had single beds and not a double, but not the end of the world. All was clean and tidy and we remained well looked after throughout. The facilities onboard are basic but adequate, the days at sea can be long - there is only so many quizzes that any one person can cope with ! The crew were excellent and carry out there duties professionally. As other reviewers have already stated, the crew are very friendly indeed and I wouldn't make any comment against them. It's a tough job they have chosen to do ! It can't be easy entertaining and pleasing so many utterly demanding individuals (you know who you are !) I would however point the finger at "the management", with respect to a couple of matters. i. Our late arrival in Stockholm meant that, having organized tickets for the Absolut Ice Bar independently, as Thomsons didn't offer this trip, we forfeited them as we were 30 mins too late for our allocated time. This, despite our initial ETA only being delayed by 45mins which turned in 90mins which ended up 180mins. Strange as weather conditions were favorable the whole time. My guess is that, like flight arrivals, if you miss "your slot" the the ship incurs extra fees, so they take what is available to keep costs down (Thomsons, feel free to correct me on this point). So EUR60 down, we walked rather quickly around Stockholm before it was time to leave. ii. Helsinki. As a result of our delayed passage, our arrival at Helsinki was late also and taking a "cheap berth" miles from the town, meant an impromptu shuttle bus was required to transport almost the entire passenger list 800yards outside the dock area as we were not considered responsible or "grown up" enough to walk through a "dangerous" industrial area at a weekend when there was no traffic at all !!! The rest of the trip in the main was fine, ignoring the entertainment of an evening - I'm a grown adult for goodness sake, I DO NOT NEED Patronized in the name of having a good time. Leaving the ship was met with a certain element of disappointment - it had been a good trip all in all, but the sheer rage when Thomsons caused when we got ashore soon killed off any feeling of melancholy. During the process of being herded off the the ship and our baggage being removed, the rain started. Heavily. When we arrive at the car park we were to find our cases, bags, suits, dresses, lying on the ground, in the rain being stood on and run over be trolleys as people scrambled to recover there elegant and expensive belongings. This was the final straw. It seemed like a case of.....you've had your adequate holiday, we've had your money, see you later. Some small gazebo type structure would have avoided this completely, but that would have cost money. All in all, there seems to be considerable cost savings, or penny pinching as we would call it going on during the cruise and I will not be seeing Thomsons later, at all. That said, I should also add, that it is very family oriented, so if its your first cruise, and you have kids and no expectations, them go for Thomson. I'm sure you'll love it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
I should first of all inform you all that as veteran cruisers on many other cruise lines my wife and I have never found the need to put pen to paper in order to complain until our experience on the Thomson Celebration. Our cabin ... Read More
I should first of all inform you all that as veteran cruisers on many other cruise lines my wife and I have never found the need to put pen to paper in order to complain until our experience on the Thomson Celebration. Our cabin number 817 was at water level on deck 1 or deck C. The two different names for each deck we found very confusing, but the problems on this deck are: when the ship is moving you cannot see anything other than frothy seawater over the porthole. also we experienced persistent loud banging of the wash against the outer shell of the ship when the ship was moving at 14 knots or more overnight. This resulted in five sleepless nights out of the seven of our cruise. This double bedded cabin was quite spacious but very-very dated. We did on the second night move the bed-head away from the outer wall in an attempt to reduce the noise levels of the ship crashing though the waves. On doing so we revealed indescribable dirt and filth, toe and fingernails, human hair of all descriptions along the wall and floor. Photos of the mess will be found on the cruise photo page of this site should the powers that be allow publication of them. The air conditioning in our cabin was stuck on cold, in the evenings it was like living in a fridge. On complaining the first attempt to repair this was to block the vent with two layers of foam. This of course resulted in us unable to breath when the cabin door was shut. On the third repair attempt, we had no access to our cabin for a whole day at sea whilst it was fixed properly. The saving grace of the cruise was the high standard of the evening theatre entertainment and the friendliness of the restaurant and house-keeping staff. We found the attitude of the senior staff when we had the audacity to complain very rude and complacent. Sorry Thomson my wife and I know that no-one is perfect but your very poor and dismissive response to our letter of complaint through Cruise.co.uk will result in our determination never to use you again and we will inform others of our bad experience. We are The Paxtons Isle of Wight. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Having flew to Madeira to pick up the ship the transfer was fairly quick although we had to pick up our luggage from the airport and transfer it to the bus to transfer us to the ship. This was the first time on a cruise holiday we had to ... Read More
Having flew to Madeira to pick up the ship the transfer was fairly quick although we had to pick up our luggage from the airport and transfer it to the bus to transfer us to the ship. This was the first time on a cruise holiday we had to do this, usually it is delivered straight to the cabin from the flight. The Celebration was a small ship compared to most cruise liners and was easy to find your way around. Although at night the ship was quite creaky and clangy the cabin was big enough with plenty of draw space and a double wardrobe for each of us. The cruise offered freedom dining with waiter service and buffet as well and the food was EXCELLENT (5 star), having been on many cruises, including the QE2, we both felt that the food in the Maderian restaurant was the best we have every had. The shows every evening were different and mainly performed by talented singers and performers who were very adaptable in whatever they did. We never had a problem in finding a seat either inside or outside on deck as there was plenty to go round. Even the sun beds were available as there were many available on each deck. We docked most days and could walk of the ship and make our own arrangements to view the areas of Madeira, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran canaria and La Palma, I would not go ashore unless with a ships tour in Morocco. The ship was old in design but was undergoing some sort of refurbishment, certainly our on suite shower room was quite tired and needed bringing up to date. All the lounges and sitting areas were lovely and comfortable and there is no smoking in any inside areas which was brilliant, smokers were welcome to go outside and sit under heaters which many did and could sit on comfortable seats. Overall this was the best cruise we have ever had. Well done Thomsons and we will be back next year on the Celebration around the Red Sea. Diana Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We have just returned from our first ever cruise aboard the Thomson Celebration. We had a fabulous time and really for the price we paid, cannot praise Thomson highly enough for their professional but friendly management. We booked the ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise aboard the Thomson Celebration. We had a fabulous time and really for the price we paid, cannot praise Thomson highly enough for their professional but friendly management. We booked the "Colorful Coasts" cruise only 2 days before departure and got an online bargain at £409 each !!! We flew to Madeira on ThomsonFly and then joined the ship there. next day sailed to Morocco, then Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma and the back home from Madeira. Onboard the public areas were spotless and well maintained and we we greeted by some of the friendliest staff we have ever encountered whilst on holiday. 98% of the crew are from the Philippines, the Captain is Polish and the entertainers mainly English/European. Hygiene on board is a big priority and all around the ship, there are dispensers of hand gel to stop the spread of any bugs which may break out (bearing in mind that there have been incidents reported in the news before on other Cruises, this seems to be a sensible precaution) Not sure where to start, but seeing as most people think about food on holiday, lets start there !!! Breakfast was taken either in the Lido (Buffet) or in Le Meridian (Waiter). Buffet consisted of all cooked fare, such as bacon, eggs (numerous styles), sausages, black pudding, deviled kidneys, kippers, beans, mushrooms; Continental items included toast, crackers, crispbread, croissant, pastries, cakes, cold meats, cheese, an array of fresh fruit, figs, prunes, walnuts, yogurt, as well as cereals and porridge. If you prefer waiter service, Le Meridian is open from 8 am and serves similar fare; however you can also have Eggs Benedict, Smoked Haddock and Assorted Omelettes. Lunch could be taken "Buffet" style in The Lido with Soups, Salads, Roasts, Curries, Fish and Vegetarian Dishes. There were lots of desserts, jellies, fresh fruits and hot puddings with custard. They also have an ice cream bar where cornets or bowls of assorted ice cream are served. You may also have a "Sit Down" lunch in Le Meridian but we tended to save this for the evening meal. Outside on the "Deck" they serve additional hot food items such as baked potatoes, hot dogs, burgers and pizzas (home made and replenished all afternoon !!). If you have any room left before dinner time, then afternoon tea is provided, including home made scones with cream, sandwiches, pastries and Tea and Coffee (including Fruit/Herbal teas) are available all day, either inside the Lido or out on deck (Free of Charge). Evening meals again either in the Lido or down at Le Meridian. Le Meridian served wonderful 6 course dinners as good as any 4-5 star hotel, starters, soups, salads and mains ALWAYS included veggie choices, which for me is a big bonus as i sometimes struggle to get decent "Main Courses" as a Vegetarian, and often end up with a plate of veg and potatoes !!!!! My husband has declared the Lamb Shanks and Chateaubriand as "Mouthwatering". On Gala Night you dress up in nice dresses/tuxedo/suit and join the captains cocktail party. This was very nice, although due to the large numbers queuing, took almost an hour to get our picture taken and have a drink !! (They did this in 2 sittings but with 1200 guests on board, still a lot to get through!!) We then went through to the Meridian for a Gala Dinner. On the menu were Lobster Tails, Steaks, Salmon and Baked Alaska. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and ate and drank far too much !!! While on here I would like to say a big thanks you to Adrian, Lanz and Edwin who served us in Le Meridian all week. Their dedication and level of service was second to none and all with a smile and good humor, even when they were very busy. Entertainment of all sorts was available all day if you wanted, from Quiz Time on deck, Bingo, A Cinema (Free popcorn provided!), Table Tennis, Basketball, Gym, Library. There were also 2 small saltwater pools on board, although we did not use as water too cold !! In the evening there was a lovely trio playing jazz/easy listening in the Horizons Bar, Quiz "Shows" (eg Mr and Mrs/BigHeads (AKA Eggheads !!) Caberet or disco in Liberties, Casino and Bar in Hemingways and various "West End" type shows in The Broadway performed by the resident entertainments team and very professional. For Night Owls there is a late night food buffet in the Lido if you're still peckish !! We paid £160 each for all inclusive drinks but to be honest, the prices aboard are very reasonable, cocktail £3.40, Bacardi with Coke £2.85, Coke £1.25, Pint of Stella £2.70, so not sure if it was actually worth it? Maybe we would drink more on a summer cruise...... Our accommodation on level 1 (Outside) was clean if a little tired, but for the price we paid hardly worth mentioning. There were 2 wardrobes and more than enough drawers for all our clothes. Our cabin steward "Tamir" was amazing and made sure that every little detail was in place, including folding my nightdress and turning back the sheets every night with a bedtime chocolate on the pillows!One thing I must mention is that as "Virgin" cruisers we got caught out by the cold at night and didn't take warm clothes....won't make that mistake again, next time a fleece and warm socks in my case !!! There are a couple of duty free shops, selling perfume, drink, jewelry and clothing. We bought Bacardi 1litre and Absolute Vodka 1litre for £8.50 each, which was much cheaper than the airport. There is the Ocean Spa, which does beauty treatments, manicures, hairstyling etc if you wish to pamper yourself. I wanted to go for a treatment, but never found the time !! Excursions can be booked for all resorts but the only one we did was in Morocco, where we took the coach to Touradant, an old walled town about an hour from Agadir. This was like stepping back in time, with donkey carts, horses and a local market full of Colorful characters. The Celebration ship is sturdy, well maintained and although we had a couple of bumpy nights down near the engine room I didn't get seasick !! (Where you go when you book last minute bargain !!) All in All I would say that Thomson have got things more or less spot on with this Cruise. The crew are in a nutshell, AMAZING, the food is FANTASTIC and the cleanliness aboard is FAULTLESS. We shall definitely return with Thomson again and possibly try another in their fleet. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. ... Read More
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. On arrival in Funchal we were met by Thomson representatives and taken by coach to the Celebration. Before and during the journey we were given our boarding welcome packs including a map of the ship and details of the entertainment that night. Seeing our ship from a distance was a heart-throbbing moment. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The whole organization by Thomson was brilliantly done. Besides being security checked as we got onto the boat, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given handwash gel to cleanse our hands. Considering our previous concerns of stomach sicknesses on other cruises, this was a great reassurance. We soon found our way around the boat - the restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, gym, library, cinema, etc. Our cabin, an outside twin, was small, but we had all that was needed for our 1 week stay. A longer cruise would have required a larger cabin. Every evening the ship's newspaper was delivered informing us of the port of call for the next door, tours that could be booked, as well as activities and entertainment on board the ship. Also, theme nights in the restaurants were detailed. For example, the 24-hour restaurant hosted a British night, an Indian night as well as a Spanish night during the week. The food was very good, much varied and served with a smile. The staff on board worked incredibly hard, and the prices in the shops were surprisingly cheaper than those at the duty free shops in the airports or other shops at the ports of call. The arranged tours at the ports of call were generally interesting and varied, suitable for the energetic or less mobile ones. Value for money of the tours was variable, however. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2009
The ship is in very good condition although many of the public rooms still have a 'retro' look, even though the carpets and soft furnishings are contemporary. As you would expect there is no big atrium to greet you on boarding. ... Read More
The ship is in very good condition although many of the public rooms still have a 'retro' look, even though the carpets and soft furnishings are contemporary. As you would expect there is no big atrium to greet you on boarding. For those of you worried about the small ship experience, please rest assured that Celebration has all of the public rooms and facilities that most passengers will ever need. Accommodation It's important to note that all older ships do have their design and operational quirks. However these are often outweighed by the intimacy and charm. All of the cabins have a 'dated' look. This is because much of the fitted furniture such as wardrobes, dressing tables, wall and table lamps etc. are original dating back to 1984. The mattresses of the two twin beds in my cabin: number 476 (basic outside, deck three, amidships, one porthole) were very comfortable and obviously newish. The two beds were arranged in an L shape, one under the porthole and one along the length of the rectangular cabin. Some inside cabins also had the same layout. This is quite a common layout on older ships. The chair in my cabins, which could have easily been an original, was quite large for the room, heavy (so difficult to move) and its upholstery was looking a little tired. The bathrooms dEcor of pink tiles also looked original and tired, although the toilet was probably newer. The sink and toilet worked well. The shower was a little bigger than many on modern ships; therefore the shower curtain did not stick to your back. The shower controls were old and quirky, but they worked. Thomson provides complimentary tissues, bottled shampoo, soap bars and shower cap (non-branded), which is a nice touch for a 'budget' operation. A chocolate is still left on your pillow each evening, so no cut-backs there, either. To use the cabin safe, a 'special' electronic key has to be obtained from reception and a charge of £12 per week is added to your onboard account. Personally I think that making a profit from passenger's security is a little below the belt. Inconsistent air-conditioning on older ships is common. The air conditioning in my cabin worked to a fashion, but it was not very adjustable. A visit from an Engineer did not fully resolve my cabin air-con issue completely. The sound insulation between cabins is not great. It is possible to hear voices, the toilet flush or the TV from the adjacent cabins. The heavy draws and wardrobe doors can be heard slamming at times, too. In my experience, older ships always have some engine noise. Some quite obtrusive engine/generator noise could be heard at the aft end of each passenger corridor of decks 1, 2, and 3. This was present even when in port. I'd be amazed if at least some of this noise could not be heard within certain aft cabins. Entertainment The main two entertainment venues of the ship are the 'Broadway show lounge' and 'Liberties'. Although the lido deck and the Explorers bar were also used on occasions. The 'Broadway show lounge' is located on deck 6 with both fixed seating and many moveable tables and chairs. There is no raked seating and there are a number of columns, so sight lines were variable. There was also an upper mezzanine level with additional seating and a bar, which tended to get rather hot as the heat from below rose. The show lounge reminded me of the QE2's a little. Unfortunately just like the QE2, corridors passed thorough both levels of the lounge. However the doors were shut during show times to discourage passengers just passing through. Even though there were two performances of each show at 8.30pm and 10.30pm, you needed to arrive at least 15 minutes early in order to not get a restricted view seat. On a positive note the room was atmospheric, not being over large. The sound quality was always reasonable. 'Liberties' is a cabaret lounge located on the uppermost deck, deck 6. Although not a particularly attractive room as such, it was a functional one. It is a medium sized room with a bar, small stage and dance floor, which helped to make it quite an atmospheric room at times. Various quizzes, games shows, dance tuition, bands, singing, Karaoke and a disco all took place there regularly. Thomson's onboard entertainment team of ten young performers provide virtually all of the entertainment in the 'Broadway Theatre'. This is in contrast to most other cruise lines that hire an array of guest artists with just a few production shows per week. On Celebration the on board team provides six shows, with a guest magician on my cruise providing the seventh evening of entertainment. The team also performed an afternoon play and offered several 'sail-away' deck parties. In addition selected members often sang in 'Liberties' cabaret lounge late evening. The team were obviously very enthusiastic and energetic. However I though the team that I saw a on the 'Red Sea Magic' cruise (2006) were stronger in the vocal department. Unfortunately all of the music accompanying the performers was pre-recorded, rather than using a live band, although I doubt if there was much room on stage for a band, anyway. The ships lido deck is quite wide and there is a permanently located covered stage, behind the pool. This was used by bands and entertainment staff for participation games and quizzes. The cinema is a nice touch and is surprisingly large with proper raked seating. New releases are repeated three times per day. The same movies also appear on the cabin TV at times during the cruise. However the quality of the data-projection, is a little substandard. I'm please to say that Thomson have preserved many of the cruise traditions and manage to pack them all into one week. The amount of different activities and games offered daily was very impressive, these included: a crew show, Captain's cocktail party, midnight buffets, Gala diner, buffet magnifique, baked Alaska parade, two sail-away parties, six production shows, one play, DVD Concerts, new films in the cinema and on TV, quizzes, game shows, dance classes, napkin folding, bingo, spa seminars, port talks, fashion show, carpet bowls, fruit and vegetable carving, ice sculpture, various deck sports, carpet bowels, scrabble, jigsaw, bean-bag boules, bridge, cards, Captains Q&A, cocktail demonstration, Wii games, deck quoits, and more. Dining There are four locations to dine onboard the Celebration. The Meridian dining room is the main dining room and it has plenty of space between all of the tables and chairs, which were very comfortable. The Meridian provides waiter service for breakfast, diner and evening meal. Open seating is offered at all times, and the dress code is smart-casual, apart from the formal Captain's 'Gala Diner' once per week, where guest are assigned an early or late sitting which ties in with one of two Captain's Cocktail party (held in the Broadway show lounge) and the after diner show. However, Brits being Brits, some passengers dressed up a little every evening. The waiter service was efficient and unobtrusive and the food was excellent. I don't know how Thomson achieved it, because the quality of dining room food definitely exceeded the fair that I paid. The meals had five courses. Luxury Items like Lobster Tail, veal, salmon, pork loin and beef were offered daily. The menu's also contained interesting international dishes such as paella and vegetable samosa/curry. As a comparison, the food was better than I had experienced onboard NCL's 'Norwegian Jade' (in the no-fee dining rooms) and better than the QE2 (Mauritania grade). The food was certainly no worse than I have experience with RCI and Fred Olsen, in fact many of the dishes were probably better. Once per week the Meridian hosts the 'Buffet Magnifique', a midnight food extravaganza complete with ice sculptures and fantastic vegetable and fruit carvings. The prices of the wines on the list were very reasonable, starting from around £10. Likewise the prices of bar drinks were on a par with the average UK pub. Thomson do NOT add a 15% service charge to drinks as many cruise lines do. An alternative dining option is 'Zilli's', which is an intimate 40 seat room at the rear of the starboard side of the Meridian. The dEcor is tasteful and modern. Booking is recommended and it carries an additional fee of £12.95 per person, for two courses and £16.95 for three courses. Zilli's menu is the same daily. I decided that I must try it. Being much smaller, the waiter service was more attentive than it the Meridian. The portions appeared to be minimalist, but the presentation was like a work of art. The appetizer: sautEed Mushroom with goat cheese was superb. The chilli Penne pasta appetizer was very passable, but not exceptional. The main course of lamb chops were excellent - in fact it was some of the best lamb that I have ever tasted. After finishing the second course I was surprisingly satisfied, so I passed on the deserts. So was the experience worth £12.95 each - yes it probably was. The Lido restaurant (a self-service buffet) is the other main dining option. The buffet was a true 'Lido' with doors that opened onto the stern of the ship. There were plastic tables where one could dine on deck, overlooking the pool. Pizza and burgers were also cooked and served from a small 'Terrace Grill' offering a third dining option. There was also a Lido bar which served this area. This deck area was very popular with the smokers. The 'Lido Restaurant' worked very well and had a right and a left entrance with duplicated food on both sides. Queues of more than a handful of passengers were rare. Even at it's most crowded one could easily find a table, unlike 'King Court' onboard the otherwise breathtaking Queen Mary 2, for example. There was a free 24 hour self-service tea/coffee station in one corner of the Lido which had the most comprehensive range of Tea bags that I've ever seen at sea, plus coffee. The Lido food was truly a 24 hour service. Breakfast began at 6.00am and merged into lunch, afternoon tea, then dinner, then midnight buffet, then the late night menu, through to 6.00am again. Diner theme nights were offered: 'Spanish', 'Italian' 'Great British' and 'Indian'. There were always a range of reasonable self-service food choices in the lido, although the variety was not as great as on a mega-ship. Soup, salad, breads, cheese, meats, vegetable dishes were always on offer. What was not usually on offer were the more exotic meats and seafood that you would expect to find on premium cruise lines. The sweets (or should I say 'puddings'), were very British and very popular, such as 'Bread & Butter' pudding, 'Pear & Apple Crumble' and 'Rice Pudding'. The cakes were particularly nice and included sugar free options. Porridge and American pancakes were often available for breakfast along with the de rigueur bacon, eggs and pastries. A self-service afternoon tea with delicious freshly baked scones, cream, preserves and finger sandwiches was held most afternoons. Room service is 24 hours and unfortunately carries addition fees, unlike most cruise lines where it is free. A continental breakfast, for example, is £4.50p. For this reason I did not see it being used very much compared to other cruise lines where it is free. Ports of Call In most cases the ship berthed near a town at each island, so it was possible to simply walk ashore. In Funchal, Madeira, I walked to the cable car in the bay and ascended to Monte, visiting two very extensive and very beautiful Botanical gardens. I took the traditional way down, riding a wicker sledge. Morocco was one port where I'd definitely recommend an excursion. Unfortunately, the Marrakech option involved a four hour journey on poor roads, which I considered too far in a day. (A new road will cut this time in half by 2010). Therefore I choose a shorter trip to 'Taroudant', an ancient walled city. Although only four hours flight from London, Morocco's 'souks' selling exotic spices, complete with donkeys pulling carts, felt like I'd travelled back in time. Tenerife had a very good Museum 'Museo de la Naturaleza y E Hombre' (Natural History) as well as much modern shopping. In Lanzarote I took a tour of the amazing 'Lunar Route', a road cut through the volcanic lava and rock. It was truly amazing and really did resemble the moons surface. Summary The internet is full of five star reviews of Thomson cruises from very satisfied customers. Cynical commentators have suggested that Thomson passengers are generally easily impressed because they are either cruise 'virgins' or have never cruised with other line to draw a comparison. Well there may be an element of truth in this, but this cannot account for all of the positive reviews. I have cruised with most of the major lines and I'm not easily impressed. Thomson's food and service is as good, and sometimes better, than many other mass market cruise lines. Thomson are not about impressive state-of-the-art ships. They focus on the onboard experience. If you are looking for a more intimate British experience with food and service at a quality which often seems to exceed the fare paid, look no further. Malcolm Oliver, April 2009 Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Interestingly this cruise was booked at the shortest notice that I've ever given (about one month ahead) and was the cheapest fare that I've ever paid. The ship is in very good condition although many of the public rooms still ... Read More
Interestingly this cruise was booked at the shortest notice that I've ever given (about one month ahead) and was the cheapest fare that I've ever paid. The ship is in very good condition although many of the public rooms still have a 'retro' look, even though the carpets and soft furnishings are contemporary. As you would expect there is no big atrium to greet you on boarding. For those of you worried about the small ship experience, please rest assured that Celebration has all of the public rooms and facilities that most passengers will ever need. Accommodation It's important to note that all older ships do have their design and operational quirks. However these are often outweighed by the intimacy and charm. All of the cabins have a 'dated' look. This is because much of the fitted furniture such as wardrobes, dressing tables, wall and table lamps etc. are original dating back to 1984. The mattresses of the two twin beds in my cabin: number 476 (basic outside, deck three, amidships, one porthole) were very comfortable and obviously newish. The two beds were arranged in an L shape, one under the porthole and one along the length of the rectangular cabin. Some inside cabins also had the same layout. This is quite a common layout on older ships. The chair in my cabins, which could have easily been an original, was quite large for the room, heavy (so difficult to move) and its upholstery was looking a little tired. The bathrooms dEcor of pink tiles also looked original and tired, although the toilet was probably newer. The sink and toilet worked well. The shower was a little bigger than many on modern ships; therefore the shower curtain did not stick to your back. The shower controls were old and quirky, but they worked. Thomson provides complimentary tissues, bottled shampoo, soap bars and shower cap (non-branded), which is a nice touch for a 'budget' operation. A chocolate is still left on your pillow each evening, so no cut-backs there, either. To use the cabin safe, a 'special' electronic key has to be obtained from reception and a charge of £12 per week is added to your onboard account. Personally I think that making a profit from passenger's security is a little below the belt. Inconsistent air-conditioning on older ships is common. The air conditioning in my cabin worked to a fashion, but it was not very adjustable. A visit from an Engineer did not fully resolve my cabin air-con issue completely. The sound insulation between cabins is not great. It is possible to hear voices, the toilet flush or the TV from the adjacent cabins. The heavy draws and wardrobe doors can be heard slamming at times, too. In my experience, older ships always have some engine noise. Some quite obtrusive engine/generator noise could be heard at the aft end of each passenger corridor of decks 1, 2, and 3. This was present even when in port. I'd be amazed if at least some of this noise could not be heard within certain aft cabins. Entertainment The main two entertainment venues of the ship are the 'Broadway show lounge' and 'Liberties'. Although the lido deck and the Explorers bar were also used on occasions. The 'Broadway show lounge' is located on deck 6 with both fixed seating and many moveable tables and chairs. There is no raked seating and there are a number of columns, so sight lines were variable. There was also an upper mezzanine level with additional seating and a bar, which tended to get rather hot as the heat from below rose. The show lounge reminded me of the QE2's a little. Unfortunately just like the QE2, corridors passed thorough both levels of the lounge. However the doors were shut during show times to discourage passengers just passing through. Even though there were two performances of each show at 8.30pm and 10.30pm, you needed to arrive at least 15 minutes early in order to not get a restricted view seat. On a positive note the room was atmospheric, not being over large. The sound quality was always reasonable. 'Liberties' is a cabaret lounge located on the uppermost deck, deck 6. Although not a particularly attractive room as such, it was a functional one. It is a medium sized room with a bar, small stage and dance floor, which helped to make it quite an atmospheric room at times. Various quizzes, games shows, dance tuition, bands, singing, Karaoke and a disco all took place there regularly. Thomson's onboard entertainment team of ten young performers provide virtually all of the entertainment in the 'Broadway Theatre'. This is in contrast to most other cruise lines that hire an array of guest artists with just a few production shows per week. On Celebration the on board team provides six shows, with a guest magician on my cruise providing the seventh evening of entertainment. The team also performed an afternoon play and offered several 'sail-away' deck parties. In addition selected members often sang in 'Liberties' cabaret lounge late evening. The team were obviously very enthusiastic and energetic. However I though the team that I saw a on the 'Red Sea Magic' cruise (2006) were stronger in the vocal department. Unfortunately all of the music accompanying the performers was pre-recorded, rather than using a live band, although I doubt if there was much room on stage for a band, anyway. The ships lido deck is quite wide and there is a permanently located covered stage, behind the pool. This was used by bands and entertainment staff for participation games and quizzes. The cinema is a nice touch and is surprisingly large with proper raked seating. New releases are repeated three times per day. The same movies also appear on the cabin TV at times during the cruise. However the quality of the data-projection, is a little substandard. I'm please to say that Thomson have preserved many of the cruise traditions and manage to pack them all into one week. The amount of different activities and games offered daily was very impressive, these included: a crew show, Captain's cocktail party, midnight buffets, Gala diner, buffet magnifique, baked Alaska parade, two sail-away parties, six production shows, one play, DVD Concerts, new films in the cinema and on TV, quizzes, game shows, dance classes, napkin folding, bingo, spa seminars, port talks, fashion show, carpet bowls, fruit and vegetable carving, ice sculpture, various deck sports, carpet bowels, scrabble, jigsaw, bean-bag boules, bridge, cards, Captains Q&A, cocktail demonstration, Wii games, deck quoits, and more. Dining There are four locations to dine onboard the Celebration. The Meridian dining room is the main dining room and it has plenty of space between all of the tables and chairs, which were very comfortable. The Meridian provides waiter service for breakfast, diner and evening meal. Open seating is offered at all times, and the dress code is smart-casual, apart from the formal Captain's 'Gala Diner' once per week, where guest are assigned an early or late sitting which ties in with one of two Captain's Cocktail party (held in the Broadway show lounge) and the after diner show. However, Brits being Brits, some passengers dressed up a little every evening. The waiter service was efficient and unobtrusive and the food was excellent. I don't know how Thomson achieved it, because the quality of dining room food definitely exceeded the fair that I paid. The meals had five courses. Luxury Items like Lobster Tail, veal, salmon, pork loin and beef were offered daily. The menu's also contained interesting international dishes such as paella and vegetable samosa/curry. As a comparison, the food was better than I had experienced onboard NCL's 'Norwegian Jade' (in the no-fee dining rooms) and better than the QE2 (Mauritania grade). The food was certainly no worse than I have experience with RCI and Fred Olsen, in fact many of the dishes were probably better. Once per week the Meridian hosts the 'Buffet Magnifique', a midnight food extravaganza complete with ice sculptures and fantastic vegetable and fruit carvings. The prices of the wines on the list were very reasonable, starting from around £10. Likewise the prices of bar drinks were on a par with the average UK pub. Thomson do NOT add a 15% service charge to drinks as many cruise lines do. An alternative dining option is 'Zilli's', which is an intimate 40 seat room at the rear of the starboard side of the Meridian. The dEcor is tasteful and modern. Booking is recommended and it carries an additional fee of £12.95 per person, for two courses and £16.95 for three courses. Zilli's menu is the same daily. I decided that I must try it. Being much smaller, the waiter service was more attentive than it the Meridian. The portions appeared to be minimalist, but the presentation was like a work of art. The appetizer: sautEed Mushroom with goat cheese was superb. The chilli Penne pasta appetizer was very passable, but not exceptional. The main course of lamb chops were excellent - in fact it was some of the best lamb that I have ever tasted. After finishing the second course I was surprisingly satisfied, so I passed on the deserts. So was the experience worth £12.95 each - yes it probably was. The Lido restaurant (a self-service buffet) is the other main dining option. The buffet was a true 'Lido' with doors that opened onto the stern of the ship. There were plastic tables where one could dine on deck, overlooking the pool. Pizza and burgers were also cooked and served from a small 'Terrace Grill' offering a third dining option. There was also a Lido bar which served this area. This deck area was very popular with the smokers. The 'Lido Restaurant' worked very well and had a right and a left entrance with duplicated food on both sides. Queues of more than a handful of passengers were rare. Even at it's most crowded one could easily find a table, unlike 'King Court' onboard the otherwise breathtaking Queen Mary 2, for example. There was a free 24 hour self-service tea/coffee station in one corner of the Lido which had the most comprehensive range of Tea bags that I've ever seen at sea, plus coffee. The Lido food was truly a 24 hour service. Breakfast began at 6.00am and merged into lunch, afternoon tea, then dinner, then midnight buffet, then the late night menu, through to 6.00am again. Diner theme nights were offered: 'Spanish', 'Italian' 'Great British' and 'Indian'. There were always a range of reasonable self-service food choices in the lido, although the variety was not as great as on a mega-ship. Soup, salad, breads, cheese, meats, vegetable dishes were always on offer. What was not usually on offer were the more exotic meats and seafood that you would expect to find on premium cruise lines. The sweets (or should I say 'puddings'), were very British and very popular, such as 'Bread & Butter' pudding, 'Pear & Apple Crumble' and 'Rice Pudding'. The cakes were particularly nice and included sugar free options. Porridge and American pancakes were often available for breakfast along with the de rigueur bacon, eggs and pastries. A self-service afternoon tea with delicious freshly baked scones, cream, preserves and finger sandwiches was held most afternoons. Room service is 24 hours and unfortunately carries addition fees, unlike most cruise lines where it is free. A continental breakfast, for example, is £4.50p. For this reason I did not see it being used very much compared to other cruise lines where it is free. Ports of Call In most cases the ship berthed near a town at each island, so it was possible to simply walk ashore. In Funchal, Madeira, I walked to the cable car in the bay and ascended to Monte, visiting two very extensive and very beautiful Botanical gardens. I took the traditional way down, riding a wicker sledge. Morocco was one port where I'd definitely recommend an excursion. Unfortunately, the Marrakech option involved a four hour journey on poor roads, which I considered too far in a day. (A new road will cut this time in half by 2010). Therefore I choose a shorter trip to 'Taroudant', an ancient walled city. Although only four hours flight from London, Morocco's 'souks' selling exotic spices, complete with donkeys pulling carts, felt like I'd travelled back in time. Tenerife had a very good Museum 'Museo de la Naturaleza y E Hombre' (Natural History) as well as much modern shopping. In Lanzarote I took a tour of the amazing 'Lunar Route', a road cut through the volcanic lava and rock. It was truly amazing and really did resemble the moons surface. Summary The internet is full of five star reviews of Thomson cruises from very satisfied customers. Cynical commentators have suggested that Thomson passengers are generally easily impressed because they are either cruise 'virgins' or have never cruised with other line to draw a comparison. Well there may be an element of truth in this, but this cannot account for all of the positive reviews. I have cruised with most of the major lines and I'm not easily impressed. Thomson's food and service is as good, and sometimes better, than many other mass market cruise lines. Thomson are not about impressive state-of-the-art ships. They focus on the onboard experience. If you are looking for a more intimate British experience with food and service at a quality which often seems to exceed the fare paid, look no further. Malcolm Oliver, April 2009 Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
This was our 4th cruise and our son's first. Having being worried that he'd be bored or wouldn't find enough to do, we were so wrong. In fact he enjoyed it so much and made so many friends that he can't wait for the ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise and our son's first. Having being worried that he'd be bored or wouldn't find enough to do, we were so wrong. In fact he enjoyed it so much and made so many friends that he can't wait for the next one. Let's start with the flight - the only thing that let down the holiday. We booked a Thomson -package to receive the tickets to find that we were on a Thomas Cook flight and they only gave us 20k allowance when the brochure is 25k (we flew from Humberside). The leg room was 28inches - with 2 passengers over 6ft 3in - I can assure you it was a very long uncomfortable 4 hour trip in a dirty plane - we had to brush and pick the sweets off the seats before we sat down (no excuse as the plane had been sat on the runway 3 hours before we took off) Now the good bits - Thomson Celebration deserve an award. It isn't a very big ship but plenty big enough for a fantastic holiday. The food and service was impressive, falling over themselves to assist in any way they can. Our cabin was immaculate and the beds very comfortable. The rest of the ship was clean and there were continuous cleaning, washing and sprucing throughout to keep it this way. The shows were very good, singing, dancing and acting all good - with a mixture of mediterranean, african and New York style shows and a crew talent show and it matches the quality on the much bigger ships in fact beats many of them. The entertainment staff were excellent too and worked hard on all levels - including getting a great relationship with the teens and making them feel involved. The kids club goes upto 12 with a large array of entertainment and fun and the brochure doesn't mention teenagers but there is plenty of organized events with their own Teen Extreme section, organized sports, WII challenges and a daily change of film in the cinema and two new films each day on cabin TV. Our son ended up in a group of 13 teenagers and they are all safe on board and you can feel secure in allowing them to wander off as they can't go missing and can't be served alcohol (unless you buy it for them) Yes the ship does have a vibration and although some say it ruined their trip - you get used to it and if you dance or move your feet when sat down you don't notice it. We did Colorful Coasts - Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote, Madeira and Morocco. All except Agadir and Lanzarote, you can walk off and be in the centre within 10 minutes. Lanzarote lays on a coach for £4 return or £7 return into Costa Teguise. Madeira is stunning, I recommend the cable car and botanical gardens trip with plenty of time to spend in Funchal on your own. Don't do Agadir on your own - it's 45 min walk to get out of the port - use an organized trip, if you get off at all. The waiter service meridian restaurant was used every night, with upto 5 courses available and they'll even go and fetch the pudding from the other restaurant if you ask. You are very well looked after in there - our tip is to arrive before 7.30 to ensure you don't need to wait and we decided to go back to the same waiter each evening as they got used to who liked what. The Lido buffet is excellent for breakfast and lunch, plenty of choice and the outside grill does everything from antipasta, jacket potatoes through to pizza, burgers etc. Free coffee, tea and water available all day outside on the Lido Deck - take a large thermos cup with you as you can easily take it anywhere on the ship. No kettles in the rooms though so the thermos came in handy. The drinks are an ok price, £2.70 a pint and £1.25 for a soft drink but they don't charge for mixers - less than you'd pay on shore. The cocktails were a little hit and miss - some extremely strong and others not - but point it out and it's soon fixed. Shore excursions! - The only let down for me other than the flight - What they advertise is not necessarily what you get. e.g 4 hour trip was 3 hours and we got 50 mins in a market of 6 stalls in agadir followed by 50 mins in a market that was 500 stalls - they should drop the first one off (not worth the money). Well, we will certainly be using Thomson again - those that we spoke to that had done upto 12 Thomson Cruises said Celebration was their favorite ship and we can see why. It was our second time. last time in 2006 and we thought it was good then - this time was even better. Well done Thomson Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We have just returned from The Pearls of The Aegean cruise, on the Thomson Celebration, and yet again, Thomson Cruises have excelled themselves in every department. The flight out was efficiently on time, despite thunderstorms in Corfu, ... Read More
We have just returned from The Pearls of The Aegean cruise, on the Thomson Celebration, and yet again, Thomson Cruises have excelled themselves in every department. The flight out was efficiently on time, despite thunderstorms in Corfu, maybe there was an element of luck in the timing here, as others were significantly delayed. The embarkation was fine, despite getting accustomed to the heat. Everyone seemed to be processed quickly and there was an ample supply of chilled fruit juice, to cool everyone down. The luggage system works well too, as ours arrived in our cabin within ten minutes. The cabin we selected was 002, on the Eagle Deck, and it was huge by Thomson standards. Having noted that this location was The Presidential Suite on the Thomson Spirit, and on Celebration was a normal de-luxe cabin, we chose it on purpose, and it turned out to be all that we expected. Yes, the layout is 1980s, but the decor has been updated, and much of the general ship has been refurbished, with new carpets etc., making it good for a few more years yet. We didn't think much of the Corfu docks area though, as our short walk-about didn't find us any gems of Corfu, only the occasional Greek rat!!! So it was back aboard quickly, to settle into the routine. Having sailed on the Spirit previously, we knew where everything was located, but it was amusing to see others doing as we had done last year, poking their heads out of the lifts, with various comments about where they were rather than where they wanted to be!!! The sail-away Party happened, but we didn't sail, as there were still others to arrive who had been delayed by the storms earlier in the day. So, apparently we sailed at 01:30 a.m., but that was not an issue. Next day dawned with a medi-vac emergency trip into Katakolon, as a passenger with a medical condition required to be taken off. Again, handled with a quiet efficiency and we believe that all was well, eventually. So on to Aghios Nikolaos, with our day "at sea". The crew make this ship what it is, not the elderly metalwork, and the mainly Philipino crew are amazing in their care, good humour and friendliness, never over the top, always just right. We did note some other nationalities in the passenger-facing crew, who were perhaps not so friendly, but we managed to get by without their support, in the main! The food was excellent in every location, whether in the more formal Meridian Restaurant, or in The Lido Restaurant (never tried Zilli's), with ample choices each day, to suit all palates. The Captain's Gala Dinner was very well handled, considering the numbers involved, and it was great to have a Master with a sense of humour, even if he probably told the same stories every time (they should get him on the Crew Show!). He and his senior officers were always to be seen around the ship, and were all very approachable. The young Show Team worked their socks off (literally), to bring two shows every evening, and to those who appear to knock them on this website as amateurish, I say ...."you try it every day, with exercises to maintain fitness, then rehearsals (when your audience are lying in the sun), followed by two shows every night, to an often less than responsive audience" ...and you will come to recognise the professionalism of these young people, often just out of stage school etc.. The other members of the entertainment team, the band, the classical musician duo, and the jazz pianist were just as professional, but often to a much smaller audience. Of the locations visited, Santorini was by far the most scenic, a beautiful group of small islands clinging to existence on the wall of a not so extinct volcano. Clean, picturesque and great for pictures. We used the cable car, instead of the donkeys, as a matter of principle, and also personal comfort! At the Athens stop, the trip to the Corinth Canal, although a longish coach journey, was a welcome alternative to cultural Athens, although I never did understand the guide's comment about watching out for pick-pockets when taking photos, "but they only come out when it's overcast and cloudy"??!! We also decided to give Ancient Olympia a miss, and took the alternate tour to the Mercouri Winery, where a splendid few hours were spent tasting wine, in the company of a Scottish Guide from Glasgow, who supplied his own brand of humour into his tour. If you go there, check out the "Psycho House" where the owner's 91 year-old great-aunt lives, amidst over 40 peacocks. I should probably not mention "the opposition" here but while in Kusadasi Turkey, we were moored alongside The Wind Star Cruise ship. Now that was different, a sailing cruise ship with very few passengers, and the ability to climb the mast!?! if desired.   In summary another excellent Thomson Cruise.   To those of you who are still considering cruising for a first time, if you want a "floating city" with climbing walls and surf riders, then Thomson is not for you, but if you want a very friendly crew and ship which looks like ship (with a sharp end and a blunt end) then give them a go!!! You will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
This was aour first cruise so didnt know what to expect although lots of people said it will be the best holiday you will ever have!We decided to cruise the Western Med for 1 week and then stay in Corfu for one week. The processing from ... Read More
This was aour first cruise so didnt know what to expect although lots of people said it will be the best holiday you will ever have!We decided to cruise the Western Med for 1 week and then stay in Corfu for one week. The processing from flight to Ship was fine very efficient and were on the ship for lunchtime, the ship was vibrating a lot but thought when we set sail this would ease,  how wrong were we we booked a deluxe cabin on the Eagle deck (Top) thinking it was the best thing to do, it was small cluttered outdated and needed updating desperately,  the bathroom was poor and the toilet flushed when it wanted and sometimes overflowed due to the vacum system we were told.The food was excellent, plenty of choice and fresh at every mealtime, served by polite helpful staff, the dinning room did get crowded at certain times but idf you avoided peak times you were Ok.The entertainment was very Butlins Bingo Mr & Mrs and junior showtime entertainment which you had to fight for a seat to see, so only went twice.The ports we visited were lovely but we could not go to Santori as it was to windy for the tender to transport us to shore so had another day at sea and the vibrating continued! we could not go on the organised trip in Piraues one of thesites we most wanted to see as the tour guides were on strike so it was a short trip ashore and return to the vibrating noisy ship.At the end of the 7 days we couldnt wait to disembark although it took us two days to get over the moition sickness from the constant vibrating of the ship!For us this has been a very bad intro to cruising but I will try another ship perhaps on a newer larger ship but will be very wary! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
This was our fifth cruise with Thomsons and our third on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. What we didn't expect was the eight hour delay at Luton Airport on our outward flight. Virtually no information was ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Thomsons and our third on the Celebration so we had a good idea what to expect. What we didn't expect was the eight hour delay at Luton Airport on our outward flight. Virtually no information was provided by the Information Desk - they were clueless and couldn't even tell us if the plane would be flying at all. Whatever the problem was eventually sorted and we got to the ship around 22:30 local time, having already missed half a day from our holiday. Not a good start! Fortunately, that was the only problem. Here's the full review:    Ship Cleanliness. The cabin was small but functional. It was also kept spotlessly clean by our cabin boy, Made. Some of the ship's public areas had been refitted over the winter and new carpets were evident on the stairwells and corridors. There was always somebody cleaning or polishing some area of the ship to keep it "ship shape". Crew As ever, no complaints here. There were a few Greeks in amongst the usual Indonesian and Pilipino crew members but they still offered the same level of excellent service. A few of the waiters recognised us from last year which was nice. Ship Food We ate at breakfast and lunch at the Lido buffet and dinner at the Meridian restaurant. You could "help yourself" to the buffer which was different to last year and many people were taking far more than they could eat, resulting in rather a lot of waste.. The Meridian food was as good as it's always been - the steaks were the juiciest I have ever eaten! There was a midnight "chocaholics" buffet one night where, unsurprisingly, everything was made or covered in chocolate. Have to say that this looked far better than it tasted - I don't think the chocolate was the best quality. Onboard Entertainment Fewer people seemed to take part in the sporting activities than previous cruises. My lad and I were the only ones who turned up to a shuffleboard game. As for, the evening entertainment, most people know what to expect. The games were rather tacky in my view but my kids and the majority of the passengers seemed to enjoy them. The Broadway shows were good but the guest comedian was poor; most of his jokes I remember hearing when I was at school! Now, let's deal with the ports of call: Koper Very pretty Slovenian town and easy to walk to from the ship. We paid to go on a speedboat trip along the coast which was very good, albeit a little expensive. Venice First time in Venice and I was stunned - a lovely city but very crowded. We shared a gondola ride with another couple and then spent a couple of hours trying to get lost around the narrow city streets. St Mark's Square was heaving and it would have been pointless trying to queue to get in anywhere - people were waiting for hours. The cruise out of Venice was spectacular.   Split As this was a tender point we decided to wait until the afternoon until going ashore and thus avoid the crowds. The town is very nice and we walked around the castle and indoor market for a couple of hours. Not sure as you could fill a day here although there was a selection of good, but pricey, excursions available.   Dubrovnik We had heard the old town was a must see and decided to follow the advice given out at the port exit and take the half an hour walk into town. After three quarters of an hour's walking in 30 degree heat and no sign of an old town anywhere, we gave up and decided to walk around the harbour instead. The moral? Take a map! Kotor The captain had recommended an early rise for this port to witness the journey through what he described as the "mini fjords". Quite a lot of passengers had taken his advice as there was little room on deck at a quarter to six. The journey was indeed impressive - perhaps not quite as good as the trip through the archipelago to Stockholm but well worth being up for as the captain gave us a running commentary. Kotor itself is another small town with lots of nooks and crannies that are easy to walk around in a couple of hours. Corfu Town Foolishly we booked a trip on a glass bottomed boat for the morning, costing £20 each. Had we taken the twenty minutes walk from the ship to the quay, we could have booked it ourselves for around half this price. Tut tut, Thomsons! The boat trip was pretty good and the divers encouraged fish and other sea life to approach the boat. The boat also stopped to allow us to see some performing sea lions that are held in a netted off area off-shore. I've never liked watching performing animals and thought they looked rather sad.    All in all it was a very good cruise, notwithstanding the delay on the flight out. With daytime temperatures never dropping below 30 degrees, we could hardly complain about the weather. Time to plan next year's cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We embarked from Corfu for this cruise and were recommended by friends. Big mistake we had cruised before on Princess and Royal Caribbean and found the Thomson Celebration a very, very old ship. The Ship The rooms were very dated and ... Read More
We embarked from Corfu for this cruise and were recommended by friends. Big mistake we had cruised before on Princess and Royal Caribbean and found the Thomson Celebration a very, very old ship. The Ship The rooms were very dated and the bathroom horrible although clean. The towels were awful, thin and grey. Very noisy in our cabin too from above deck and vibration on the ship. The deck space was inadequate for the amount of people and sunbeds were at a premium on a cruise day. The swimming pools very small and really unhygienic for the amount of people using them. The public rooms were adequate although the stage had limited viewing unless you were right at the front or on the balcony (which had less seating. We were very disappointed as we booked a supposedly deluxe room at the top of the ship they fell far short of deluxe. We though we would not miss a balcony (there are none on this ship) but it also was a mistake we missed it greatly especially on sea days. Entertainment The entertainment was good although a little Butlin like. The entertainers worked very hard with an old format. There was a differently themed show every night but all mostly based on stage musicals. A very good comedian on two nights. Service You can only say the service from the mostly Filipino staff was fantastic, although they seemed to work them to death. 11 hour days we were told some not looking too happy. They were attentive, never rude, made us laugh and feel comfortable. I think Thompson has let them down with this ship, put them on a newer one and what a fantastic cruise you would have. Food Every meal we had was excellent and a good choice of dishes especially in the buffet restaurant. We dined in the service restaurant in the evenings and that also had a good choice. Excursions Our excursions were OK not the best we had been on. Our guides all seemed to have very accented 'English' so sometimes it was hard to understand. We went to Ephesus which was fascinating (could have been better with a clearer guide). Panoramic Crete was OK. We never got to Santorini going the Samos instead. Apparently it was to risky to use the tenders there. Samos was a lovely little day stop so no complaints. Panoramic Athens was a complete waste of time. We stopped at the old stadium in Athens then seemed to skips everything in-between. ending up at the bottom of the acropolis no time to go up to it and then were dumped in a shopping area for an hour where the shops were mostly closed anyway. I have to recommend the Museum and winery tour in Katakolon Greece. We saw a fantastic museum in the little village of Olympia were the games first started and then on the a lovely old vineyard where we toured the plant and then sat on the back lawn with tapas and wine we could have sat there all day, this guide was excellent! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
The embarkation process was quite slick and organised and we were on the ship in no time at all being promptly escorted to our cabin on Deck 2 - luckily on the same deck where we accessed the ship. The cabin was of an excellent size ... Read More
The embarkation process was quite slick and organised and we were on the ship in no time at all being promptly escorted to our cabin on Deck 2 - luckily on the same deck where we accessed the ship. The cabin was of an excellent size which we were expecting as we'd paid an extra £35 to select it. It was very clean with an acceptable bathroom however the dEcor was a little tired. The only issue we had was with the air conditioning.... It didn't work! We reported it several times but they were unable to fix it - as an apology we were give a bottle of champagne and chocolate - nice touch! The entire ships dEcor was a little dated. Having said that though the ship was lovely as were the staff on board - always polite and attentive and happy to help. The food was excellent with plenty of varied choice (especially the midnight buffet) and drinks on board, including cocktails, were very reasonably priced. We went on excursions to Petra (this is a must) and visited Cairo and the Pyramids both were well organised and value for money. We decided against the trip to Luxor in view of the extremely long coach transfer. Again we felt that the trips offered were definitely good value for money. Overall, this was an excellent first cruise, not stuffy or formal with a great atmosphere..... Good old Thomson! 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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