By Kelly Ranson, Cruise Critic contributor
Thomson Celebration Overview
Thomson Celebration joined the U.K. holiday giant's cruise division back in 2004, after sailing for Holland America Line as Noordam. In the past five years, it has become a firm favourite with the ever-growing British cruise market. While it's not big and brash, and it doesn't have the "wow" factor of many of the new mega-ships taking up residence in the U.K., what it does have in abundance is friendly staff that provide a wonderful service so British travellers can sit back and enjoy their holidays.
This aside, there are some nifty standout features, such as celebrity chef Aldo Zilli's Italian-style Zilli restaurant, which was introduced to the ship in 2007. It's a brilliant alternative dining offering and adds a modern touch to the older-style ship. Currently, it's the only ship with an Aldo Zilli restaurant.
One thing that surprised and pleased me was the amount of open space on the top decks aboard Thomson Celebration. The teak promenades add a lovely touch, and its wrap-around promenade on Deck 6 is a great place to sit or stroll.
Though Thomson Celebration is one of the older ships afloat (originally launched in 1984), the company has invested in refurbishments. Most recently, in 2008, suites were revamped, the Horizons Lounge was redone, new carpets were put in across all stairs and landing areas, and all public toilets were replaced.
Overall, Thomson Celebration is an especially great hit for first-timers, with facilities that clearly blur the gap between land-based and sea holidays. One such example is the Lido Bar and Restaurant's outdoor seating area -- sitting out on deck, sipping a cocktail or beer and watching a show on the stage across from the pool is something that reminded me of a typical resort-based hotel in the Mediterranean.
Thomson Celebration Fellow Passengers
The majority of passengers were made up of Thomson's bread-and-butter clients -- British couples, aged 55 to 75. But, there were also a number of groups and families onboard.
Thomson Celebration Dress Code
A dress code, albeit a relaxed one, does apply onboard. In the evenings, it is said to be smart casual, and women will wear dresses or smart trousers or tops, while men will wear trousers, shirts and often dinner jackets.
Thomson Celebration Gratuity
As this is a British cruise line, tips are already included in the cruise fare. The currency onboard is in pounds sterling.
My wife and I took the Thomson Celebration Colourful Coasts cruise, embarking 21 March 2014 and occupying a Deluxe Balcony Cabin on Deck 9 forward on the ship.
The cabin was indeed one of the high spots of the cruise. There was more space ...continue
I booked this cruise as a 50th for my partner. Booked a deluxe cabin with a balcony. Room was good.
The entertainment was average, the guys really tried but the best I could say about them was average. One night they appeared in the night ...continue
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We have previously sailed on the Destiny and the Spirit, and in agreeing with others, the Celebration is a bit of an old lady of the seas but she still has character even if she doesn't have all the chrome and glass the newer ships ...continue