If you (like us) have been on the big, plush ships that make up most of the cruise ships today, you will see this ship initially as drab when you first see the various parts. If it is important for you to be in sparkling, posh, glitzy surroundings, you will be disappointed with the 'Spirit'. HOWEVER, if you are like us who like to look on the whole package and not be fooled by superficial dazzles you should come away from this cruise ship having had an excellent holiday.
The name 'Spirit' is very apt for this lovely ship because, the crew and staff are absolutely fantastic and give this ship the heart and soul that out does all the fancy ships we have sailed on so far. In fact, my wife and I cannot think of how these crew/staff members could improve! They are all very friendly and go more than the 'extra mile' to make the cruising experience a wonderful one. Whether it be the restaurant, bar, house keeping, reception, entertainment team or crew, each and every one has a big smile and nothing is too much trouble.
On the subject of Entertainment, we were very impressed by the Spirit's team. They performed every night in some capacity with 6 out of 7 nights of shows. We have seen a lot of shows in our time; In the last 10 years plus most shows use a lot of pre-recorded backing music and vocals giving the audience an impression that what they hear being sung is all being performed by the stage performers, when all the 'live parts' are just one person (sometimes two). The Spirit's singers and dancers ALL sung live, all 10 of them on occasions. The harmonies when in full chorus was excellent and to sing and dance at the same time is very hard to do. Yes, there were moments that a few individuals got the note wrong, but it is LIVE music not pre-recorded and mimed (NOTE the backing instruments were all recorded, which is understandable because of the budget of having an orchestra would be huge). The shows were generally different from the usual middle of the road 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Cabaret' type presentations that you get on other cruise ships. Be prepared for something different and have an open mind. I did not recognize some of the songs but it was great to hear something unusual.
Other entertainment by the team was also good and a notch or two above the Thomson hotel entertainers. There were also professional live acts with a band called 'The Prime Men' who were excellent and 100% live playing hits from 50's to Lady Gaga of today.
The food in the restaurant was very good, but NOT excellent and some cruisers who are used to top quality may be disappointed, we were very happy with the food. The only complaints were heard were from a few people who ate at every meal in the buffet restaurant and complained about the same food all week. They should have used the main restaurant, it does not cost anymore!
We did the Red Sea Cruise taking in Egypt with excursions to Cairo (pyramids etc) and Luxor (temples) along with Jordan visiting Petra. With all the 'un-rest' problems we were concerned for safety. We had no problem at all, in fact because there are so many Countries not visiting, it made it quieter seeing the sites. I have a photo of my wife sitting at the bottom of one of the Great Pyramids, on a her own!
Our cabin was an outside deluxe on the 7th deck. It was bigger than I imagined it would be and was lovely for us. We had very little noise. There was some vibration whether in port or sailing. The only complaint we have is that the windowss were dirty on the outside.
IN SUMMARY: If you are considering a cruise on the Thomson Spirit and are not put off by superficial looks, you should be very pleased with the whole package. To us, it was the whole Thomson team and crew that made a very enjoyable holiday