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Sail Date: August 2011
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. ... Read More
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin -- we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food -- Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else -- breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Excursions : it's better to cotact the local tour companies , we booked 2 excursions in Morocco. Casablanca : booked with Ecolodge Adventures ,we explored the city , our guide spoke a fluent english , it was the first time eating the real and pure olive oil . well i rate them 5/5 . Agadir : booked with Sud Aventures Tours , we went to Taroudant city (the samll Marrakech ) , apital of Agadir is the capital of arga oil in Morocco , we stopped twice 1- taking pictures to goats on the argan trees 2- taking pictures to camels on the road . Taroudant city worth really a visit while you stop in Agadir city port . other wise we ate the best Moroccan food ever ( tagine + couscous ) in Tiout oasis (palm trees oasis) it was our first donkeys ride ever . we enjoyed a lot , that's why i'm gonna rate them 5/5 , thanks for our tour guide hicham and the driver (forgot his name), the price of the excursion was 550 Moroccan Dhs (70$) , new transport +climatisation + experienced driver + fluent english speaker . Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
THE CRUISE LINE Expensive and nasty. We paid £1,000 a head including Thomson charter flight. We had to pay extra for: • A double bed • Room service including breakfast • Transportation at ports away from their entrances ... Read More
THE CRUISE LINE Expensive and nasty. We paid £1,000 a head including Thomson charter flight. We had to pay extra for: • A double bed • Room service including breakfast • Transportation at ports away from their entrances Mainstream cruise lines would not dream of charging for these basics. Ryanair you are being out cheapened! The itinerary had to be reversed for good reason [a public holiday in Jerusalem]. This would have been known for some time but the first time passengers were notified was on arrival on the vessel. This caused a great deal of problems for those that had made independent tour arrangements. Such inconvenience could have been avoided by a simple courtesy of advising customers sooner. Clearly good manners are beyond Thomson. THE VESSEL Substandard for a ferry let alone a cruise ship. It is very old; for instance hot water was not available for periods and the air conditioning only worked intermittently. This is not acceptable. I saw two staff lifeboat drills in a week [in addition to the mandatory passenger drill] and figure the crew have little faith in the vessel. In our cabin's bathroom the wc was stained because the enamel had been scrubbed off and the enamel was also missing from soap holders. THE CREW A very surly bunch delivering a very poor standard of service. They would not say good morning, they cut in front of passengers and at times it was far quicker to go to the bar than wait for service at a table. This is in marked contrast to other cruise lines. I suspect the reason for this is that their tips are included in the cruise price so there is absolutely no incentive for them to provide anything more than minimal service. FOOD Good in a works canteen sense! Steak and kidney pie and all day breakfast are not what I would expect to see as entrees for dinner! It reminded me of a night at my local JD Wetherspoons! ENTERTAINMENT Pathetic. Quizzes, bingo old 1970s game shows reminded guests of a Saturday night at the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. The shows were a bad joke. The cast were on par with a poor local amateur dramatics society but in snazzy costumes. The funniest thing is that they think they are good! Well perhaps there is a TV show for them "Britain Hasn't Got Talent". THE CABIN Comfortable bed, plenty of storage, a tv screen that seemed to have been taken from a twenty year old personal computer. As previously mentioned, the bathroom was unacceptable. The towels were nearly as thin as tissue paper. It seems they were purchased at a cruise association jumble sale. BEVERAGES Expensive in comparison to pub prices but cheaper than other cruise lines, Thomson offers an expensive all in package but for many drinks an additional charge was still payable but if you like cheap and nasty draught Heineken or John Smiths and drink twenty pints a day go for the package. Thomson also work another nasty con with beer. They say they are selling you a pint [568ml] but in fact you only get a half litre [500ml]. Beware. THE PORTS Excellent. Worth taking the cruise despite all the failings of the line. FELLOW PASSENGERS Many first time Thomson cruisers shared my views on the failings identified but most passengers seemed to not only be repeat Thomson cruisers but also repeat Thomson holidaymakers. Having started at Blackpool, they progressed to Butlins and then to Torremolinos with Thomson and now they are loyal Thomsonites and prepared to happily accept whatever is put on their plate. OVERALL We enjoyed the cruise despite of the cruise line and its vessel. As I said before, we went to some fantastic places. Thomson have carried on from where they started packaging sub-standard accommodation in Benidorm to a clientele that don't know and don't want to know any better and this is a surprisingly large niche market. If you are slightly discerning or live south of Watford Thomson are unlikely to be for you unless the itinerary woos you like it did us. There are far better cruising experiences at better prices to be had with other lines. 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
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
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