Our family came back last week from the Pharaohs and Promised Land cruise on Thomsons Spirit. My husband and I are in our 50's, son is 29, daughter 28 and mother 81. After a break of 10 years without the "kids" we have had two cruises together and they are such a success that they are back this time. All of us have our own way of relaxing and enjoying the holiday and this cruise kept us all happy. My mother potters about and chats with everyone including the friendly staff, who always take time with her. The younger ones usually hit the gym first thing, (its well kept and everything they needed), then relax if the sun is shining. There were 3-4 days when this was possible albeit a stiff breeze was with us most of the time and when too cloudy the afternoon Skyfall and Loopers films were ideal for a few hours before the evening meal. On both pool decks we found the sun beds quite close together and if you're on deck 8 waiters don't seem to come passed very often, (but there are toilets in the gym area whereas on deck 5 you have either a walk to midships or up the outside stairs- too steep for mother).
Be prepared for Muster drill at 9.30pm on the arrival day. After a 5am start to our day this was the last thing we wanted and unlike the Dream or Island Escape this is held on deck, in the breeze.
Mother and I love the live dancing/singing shows- although really good as always the entertainment staff were too much over the top with cheesy grins- so I missed a couple of the shows this time. The Raffles bar has an excellent pianist/singer and this was our usual haunt in the evening. The High Spirit entertainment is where I'm sure other reviewers compare the cruise to Butlins and although good for a laugh I could not go there every night! The casino is at Raffles and we do like a flutter. Due to the unrest at Port Said we spent two nights in Alexandria and two in Ashdod. While in port the casino and shops do remain closed.
After cruising the Med a few times we thought this cruise would be different but it was a step too far. We missed the freedom of being able to come and go in port with no passport or currency worries. I would not have been happy for my two to travel independently in Egypt or Israel the way they did to Rome, Pisa and Florence last year. As a result we paid Â£102 each to go to the Cairo Museum and the Pyramids. A very early start, meeting for 6.15am but thought during the 3hrs travel we could catch up on sleep. Our guide however talked for the entire duration. She was so so knowledgeable and when at the museum it was clear we knew which Pharaoh did what etc from the previous chat. So although we would have liked a quiet spell, it did help understanding/insight at the museum. The Pyramids were totally awesome. Do heed the warnings on how to ignore the barrage of sellers. This was when we noticed the guard who travelled on the coach keeping an eye on our group and when someone wandered onto out of bounds rocks ushered them to a safer route.
Food choices were immense. Although we felt from the last time on the Spirit the quality in the Lido was not as good. However you could always find something to your liking- the food stations where the chefs prepare the food as you wait were the best. Evening meal, if you are not on excursion must be the waiter service in the Compass Rose. Here the quality and choice is similar to a top restaurant- we loved it.
There was a slight problem with the power points being too low to the dressing table for phone/camera chargers etc. Most plugs could be pushed in except my daughters hair strengtheners- This was overcome by moving the TV slightly and using that plug.