My wife and I had promised ourselves a cruise around our Silver Wedding Anniversary and our wish was granted ! Having had a bilateral total hip replacement with my second op. just a couple of months prior to my travel and our horrid 2013 winter motivated us to book this Red Sea Cruise with a four night stay at a 5* Jaz Mirabel Beach Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh (SSK) The price was very reasonable.
The Thomson flight from London and the transfers to the ship were brilliant and extremely well organised. Almost all cruisers were British and the average age was around 55ish. The entrance to the ship was pretty ordinary and our luggage was taken to our suite. The room size was pretty generous and perfectly adequate for our needs with a full refrigerated supplies.
Our first meal was in a buffet section. We were not very impressed with the pretty ordinary looking food but once we settled down, explored all our options, all our concerns were alleviated after a chat with the Chef (Pablito) who assured us that the chicken and lamb was all halal and beef was stocked on board for the large number of muslim Indonesian crew. Pablito produced the halal labels on the boxes on request. The chef promised to prepare a halal fillet steak meal at our behest the following day in the A la Carte Restaurant (Highly Recommended ) and produced a meal of the highest michelin standard at no extra cost. We had most of our meals there since quality mattered more than quantity and the service was second to none. We made lots of friends there and were made to feel like "part of the family". Thomson go out of their way to ensure everyone on board has a wonderful time (of their lives!)
Friday sermon (Jumuah) was easy to get to by taxi and needed pre-planning
Food, snacks, tea,coffee and water is available 24 hours a day on most part of the ship.I had a bagful of snacks which were never used during our cruise. All Thomson cruisers get prepared to put on weight ! One fellow traveler put on a stone in just a week on a previous cruise, easily done!
Another fantastic aspect of the cruise was the butler who appeared like a gremlin and made the bed, tidied up the room no less than three times daily with ice in the ice bucket topped up a number of times daily. In a nutshell, you are treated like royalty whatever price you pay and whichever cabin you choose.
The entertainment every night was of West End standard and alone worth the price of the cruise. Since fellow travelers did not have to get drunk like the youngsters made the evenings a pleasure. There was no time to get bored.
The ports were not too great and used for access for excursions, we did venture out of the ship a few times just for for touring the surrounding areas.We were never disappointed but always glad to be back "home" on our ship.
Disembarkation was easy, luggage had to be left outside our cabins for identification on land beside the ship for taking to the coaches. Help was always available for those that required assistance.
In summary, a fantastic experience likely to make most cruiseaholics! Do enjoy your journey and please do not take food/snacks onboard !