Just returned from a one week cruise around the Canary Islands on board the Thomson Celebration. This was the first time we had done a cruise like this and with all the recent negative reviews I was a bit apprehensive. We did not need to be worried. From the flight, the transfer to the ship and the check in procedure all was fine. Once on board we found our cabin to be spotless with plenty of room and more than enough storage space. Throughout the cruise our room was kept beautifully by our excellent cabin steward Suri. Yes she is an old ship but all of the public areas were clean and comfortable with the added bonus of an actual promenade deck!
We found all of the crew to be very hard working, cheerful and very helpful. We need to mention Manny in the Horizons Bar (I would buy your DVD!) and Adam from the Cruise team, you really made us laugh when we were ‘Straining the Brain’. In general the entertainment was very good, we did not go to all the shows but those we saw were very good and of course we need to mention Top Men and 2 Intense who were both excellent.
Food in the Meridian restaurant was very good with generally a good standard of service (it could be a little hit and miss sometimes but they were very busy). We ate in Mistrals on two evenings and could not fault the food and service at all. The waiters were excellent, as was the menu, and the food was cooked to perfection. Our only negative regarding the food was the Lido restaurant where the food was very repetitive and not very appetizing but you do not need to eat there at all.
We did find the ship to be very crowded but maybe that was just us as we have only cruised on much smaller ships previously with far fewer passengers. We also felt the photographers were over the top with pictures every time you left the ship and got back on, and the queue for the photographs on the Gala night was silly, we just bypassed it!
Our only other negative comment was the last day and the offhand way the passengers were treated. After we got on board the coach for the transfer to the airport we were given a very brief good bye and ‘look at the boards in the airport to find where to check in’. When we arrived at the airport the coach driver did not help anyone get their luggage out and there were a number of elderly ladies travelling who would have struggled had it not been for the other passengers helping them. Thomson you need to fix this as it very much appeared that the attitude was ‘okay we have got your money so now sort yourselves out’.
There were some nice ports of call but do make sure you do your homework on these as you can sometimes find that you are docked somewhere with not much to do. In Lanzarote I recommend the Fire Mountain excursion this was very good. In Funchal we did our own thing as we have been to the island twice before. If you are going up to Monte on the cable car, have a walk around Funchal first, then lunch and go in the afternoon when the queues have died down. If one of your ports of call is Puerto del Rosario in Fuerteventura then make sure you book to go somewhere else as there is very little to do there.
Overall we did enjoy our holiday but would we do another cruise like this? Probably not, but that is not saying there was anything that wrong, but it is just not for us.