We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. On arrival in Funchal we were met by Thomson representatives and taken by coach to the Celebration. Before and during the journey we were given our boarding welcome packs including a map of the ship and details of the entertainment that night. Seeing our ship from a distance was a heart-throbbing moment. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The whole organization by Thomson was brilliantly done.
Besides being security checked as we got onto the boat, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given handwash gel to cleanse our hands. Considering our previous concerns of stomach sicknesses on other cruises, this was a great reassurance.
We soon found our way around the boat - the restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, gym, library, cinema, etc. Our cabin, an outside twin, was small, but we had all that was needed for our 1 week stay. A longer cruise would have required a larger cabin.
Every evening the ship's newspaper was delivered informing us of the port of call for the next door, tours that could be booked, as well as activities and entertainment on board the ship. Also, theme nights in the restaurants were detailed. For example, the 24-hour restaurant hosted a British night, an Indian night as well as a Spanish night during the week. The food was very good, much varied and served with a smile.
The staff on board worked incredibly hard, and the prices in the shops were surprisingly cheaper than those at the duty free shops in the airports or other shops at the ports of call. The arranged tours at the ports of call were generally interesting and varied, suitable for the energetic or less mobile ones. Value for money of the tours was variable, however.