Review of “Highlights of the Aegean” Cruise on Thomson Celebration
We joined the ship in Marmaris after a four hour flight and two hour transfer from Dalaman. We had upgraded to a deluxe cabin on Deck 9 and were very pleased with its size and comfort.
We were also all-inclusive and there was a great choice of bars to suit all tastes, each offering different live music and styles. We favoured the Horizons bar, right at the front on the top deck for its panoramic views and a brilliant resident duo. Bar prices were about UK levels for those not on A/I.
The main restaurant was waiter-service breakfast and six-course table d’hote lunch and evening. The food was excellent and service/presentation faultless. Dress was smart casual, except for the second night, which was the Captain’s cocktail party, when gentlemen were invited to wear DJ’s or suits and it gave ladies an excuse to really shine. (about 50% of the men wore DJ’s and the others suits or blazer/flannels) We had most breakfasts and lunches from the 24 hour buffet, which had a wide selection and the option of taking it outside.
In addition to live music in the bars, there was a theatre with twice-nightly shows of a high standard and a further entertainment lounge bar. There was a daily activities programme for those who wanted it.
The ship sailed at 10 pm for Istanbul, with a deck party ‘til late. Day 2 was at sea all day, which did make for a shortage of sunbeds, the only day this was a problem.
We woke on Day 3 entering Istanbul. From a choice of excursions, we chose a half-day to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar, being back on board for lunch and an afternoon sunbathing.
We followed a similar pattern for Troy, (of wooden horse fame) Ephesus (ruins of one the original 7 wonders of the world), Athens (Acropolis, Parthenon etc) and Agios Nikalaos, Crete,(for Knossos) before arriving back in Marmaris on Day 8.
We had cruised before, but found the whole experience this time so much better. The atmosphere on the ship was lively without going over the top. Its relatively small size seemed to encourage more friendly relations between passengers than on larger ships or big hotels. The entertainments team were brilliant and seemed to have the touch to please all age groups. The multi-national crew were always friendly and the mainly Phillipino catering staff were permanently smiling and happy, many with a great sense of humour.
Overall a brilliant experience which we would recommend to anybody and will repeat (on a different itinerary) very soon.