We have stayed in the Canaries many times, and have also cruised there before, so the idea of doing them again was to get some winter sun without having to bother with too many excursions.
Weather in and around islands can be unpredictable, the rain started just as we left the terminal in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and it’s about 200m to the ship. We have used the Thomson Celebration twice before and were looking forward to seeing what improvements had been made.
On checking in we were advised that paying for our onboard spend by credit card would incur a 2% service charge, this was an unpleasant surprise and not well publicised in the precruise information.
Celebration is an older ship but has a great crew with a fantastic atmosphere.
The cabin was well laid out with the beds in an L shaped configuration, this is very space efficient. The ocean view was through a single porthole, and when it got rough did look like a washing machine. There is under bed storage for luggage and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The bathroom again has plenty of storage, and although small works well. Soundproofing between cabins is not great; we could hear the neighbours snoring. There are icemakers around the ship so you can always fill you ice bucket. Our cabin steward Arif was very attentive and efficient.
We chose to eat most of our meals in the Meridian (MDR), its open dining suits us as fixed dining tends to be either too early or too late. The food is served plated and comes reasonably quickly. We found that the menus were varied and there was plenty of choice. The wine list has some reasonable wines around the £15 price point.
One evening we tried the Mistral’s a la carte, this was a nice experience but the menu does not change during a cruise. There is a charge of £19.95 which is a little on the high side. The food is prepared and cooked individually.
We did not use the Lido self service, partly because this can become very busy.
A new option was the Coffee Port, a nice airy space serving speciality coffee (at a price). This space also hosted the Destination Services desks. As a space it did not seem to work very well and tended to be used as a reading lounge with not much coffee being purchased.
Our two main haunts were Horizons for predinner drinks and canapés, service was cheerful and efficient with a great view. After dinner we enjoyed Hemmingways, which could become very crowded, but Florence always managed to find us a seat, even when there wasn’t one! A problem in this bar is that some of the floor is now given up to the entertainers, who are good if a bit on the loud side.
Celebration is an old ship, but with a round hull does give a good ride, it needed to. We suffered four nights of fairly rough seas, one night it was up to force 6. The ship did not roll very much but there was a notable pitch, it is the Atlantic after all!