We're really BIG SHIP lovers, but had seen so many good reviews of Thomson that we were determined to try the Red Sea, where OH learnt to dive many years ago. We had a stress-free flight from Doncaster, mainly because the airport is so quiet, and the staff so helpful, that the usual fear of airports was missing! Once you're on board, you're in Thomson's hands till you return, and it was seamless.... The airport at Sharm el Sheikh is another matter, but they'd just had a major storm which closed one terminal. Our first week was in a hotel, the Baron Palms, which, like all the major hotels, is 5*. Again, we were well looked after by our T rep, Julie.
Our 1st sight of Celebration didn't give us the wow factor....we were on Ventura4 months before, so the contrast was strong. However, we'd come for snorkelling and entertainment, and certainly got both! The entertainment team, under the brilliant Keith Maynard, were the greatest, funniest, most rehearsed and personable group we have ever seen before. Some of them were somewhere, being busy, at all times. As a couple, we had to split up to fit in as much of the entertainment as we could.There was a wonderful Q&A session with them, when they described their weeks of rehearsal before joining....and it showed! The evening shows were often fast and glitzy, with many changes of clothes; The voice trainer Corea, could sing in any role- and act, for a play was produced one aft. We were so busy that one of the main reasons for taking this cruise passed us by....the trips to the fantastic sights. Instead, it was an all-snorkelling cruise for us- and where better in the winter months, than a 5 hr flight to the Red Sea? It was our first try in an inside cabin- large, loads of storage....we knew it would be dated, but it was clean and well cared for. We were close to a laundry, which was handy after our stay in a hotel. The passengers were mainly British, some there for the swimming, but mainly for the tours, which had preparation lectures NOT SELLING ONES! There was very little hard sell on board....no scratch cards in the theatre, no $15 dollar events- even the Bingo started at £5. The crew we met were friendly- one learned our names in the 1st hour, and called us wherever we were. The difference between a crew working for tips, and this tips included cruise was obvious, as staff were friendly and not subservient. We wondered whether the ship being flagged to Malta made a difference to the pay they received, being under EU minimum wage laws. A fine cruise; a different cruise; an entertaining one with vast amounts to do.Again, seamless transfers in the late afternoon from the ship to the airport. We'll draw a curtain over that bit....Sharm is chaos! A good flight home to snow and ice. We'll be back!- Jo.