Joined Thomson Celebration on 20th December 2012 for Red Sea Magic Christmas Cruise. Transfers from Sharm El Sheikh airport to port went smoothly and boarding process was straight forward.
We had sailed on the ship before , normally on deck 3 or 4, however, on this occasion we had upgraded to Deck 7. Stateroom slightly larger with bath and shower but otherwise no different from Deck 3 / 4 and would probably not upgrade again. Stateroom was clean and functional, stateroom attendant service was minimal.
Food was to the usual high standard but sometimes warm with no evidence of food temperatures being checked at banmari in LIDO restaurant. Drinking water barrels were not on site and had been replaced with bottled water on request by the glass. We missed the water barrel and being able to top up our water bottle.
Water from hot water urn for tea had strange taste and we never had a good cup of tea all week. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were ordered via waiter in any part of the ship. Waiting time to order and to receive drinks ordered certainly felt longer than any other time we have been on board, and sometimes it was difficult to catch a waiter to place your order.
Ships staff generally helpful and friendly.
Itinerary was limited to industrial ports where you could not disembark and just walk around. You always required to disembark as part of a rather expensive organised trip. Travel times to trip destinations, i.e. Caira, Petra, etc. were 2-3 hours making a day trip 10-12 hours.
We spent six days on the ship looking at cranes, trains and industrial containers often with clouds of sand/cement billowing around. This did not stop us from taking full advantage of the ships facilities and we did eat, drink and were merry and relaxed, until we tried to find a sunbed.
We would travel on The Celebration again but would not follow this itinerary again.
Given that Thomson knew the limitations the itinerary ports offered, the number of passengers on board, and the number of passengers who would be off ship on trips, as well as the fact the weather in the region lent itself to sunbathing, we have to ask why were there so few sunbeds? Despite written and verbal communication from Thomson on being a courteous passenger and not reserving sunbeds, etc. inevitably selfish people did, causing ill feeling, frayed tempers and embarrassment as passengers could not even find a plastic chair to sit on never mind a sunbed.
The one trip we went on was, as always with Thomson, well organised and enjoyable.
Entertainment was very good, varied and well timed spread out over the two main entertainment areas.
Thomson's might think on enforcing their "requests" such as no-one over 18 in the casino and no reserving on sunbeds rather than just lending lip service to this.
Would have been good to have a child free area on the ship. Although the casino had signs to say that no-one under 18 should be in the bar, there were always children in that area. Similarly the Horizons Bar would have been a suitable spot for adults only drinks. Unfortunately another example of Thomson requesting parents take responsibility for their children and not enforcing their request as "groups" of youths and children roamed and ran unchecked and without any parental supervision.
All in all an enjoyable Christmas on board The Celebration.