Thomson Celebration Dining
Thomson Celebration offers a number of dining options. The main Meridian restaurant (Deck 4) is open for waiter-service breakfast from 7:30 until 10 a.m., lunch service from 12:30 to 2 p.m., and open-seating dinner is available between 6:30 and 10 p.m. On formal night (usually one on a seven-night cruise), two-seating service is offered at 6 and 8 p.m. The Meridian has tables for two, four, six and eight and has a relaxed, friendly vibe. The waiters are extremely attentive and helpful.
The second option is Zilli restaurant (in the space formerly known as Mistrals). Celebrity Chef Aldo Zilli owns a number of London-based restaurants, such as Zilli Fish, and he also provides the in-flight meals on Thomson's airline, ThomsonFly. This modern and intimate Italian-style restaurant is a real gem on the ship and serves sumptuous fish and meat dishes. The chocolate brownies are heavenly. Zilli is located to the rear of The Meridian Restaurant and is open from 7 to 10 p.m. It carries an additional charge of £19 per person for all courses, and you are recommended to book a table ahead of time.
Thirdly, there is the Lido restaurant, which offers 24-hour buffet service on a top deck. Situated at the stern of the ship, it's got a pianist and violinist playing by night, and the tables are laid with blue and white tablecloths. By day, it's the hub for hungry passengers, yet it still remains a light and airy space to eat. The food stations do become a little hectic during peak times, however. Dinner offerings include salad, soup, steak, a carvery option and a vegetarian dish. There is also an ice cream and dessert station.
Breakfast in the Lido restaurant runs from 6 to 11:30 a.m. (and yes, there is English bacon!), lunch is from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and dinner is from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Throughout the day, there is a pizza and snack station available outside the Lido restaurant, and in true British tradition, afternoon tea is on offer from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. (During my cruise, this was available in the Explorers Lounge.) From 11 p.m. until 2 a.m., there is a late-night buffet. From 2 to 6 a.m., a late-night menu is available.
Tea and regular coffee are available throughout the day -- a full selection of Twinings tea is on offer. If you wish to purchase espresso-based drinks from the bar, they will cost about £1.40.
Drink prices are pretty reasonable -- a pint of beer (Boddingtons, Stella Artois) costs £2.70, while most bottles of beer (Becks, Foster's, Heineken, Kronenbourg 1664, Budweiser, Corona and Bass Ale) cost £2.70. Others (like Guinness, John Smith's and Newcastle Brown Ale) will set you back £2.95 per bottle.
Wines by the glass range from £2.95 to £3.75. Cocktails start at £3.40, but watch out for specials each day, when selected drinks are offered for £2.95.
Thomson also offers an upgraded drinks package -- for £169 per person for a week, passengers will have all named drinks (draft beers, spirits, aperitifs, house wines and soft drinks) included. However, premium drinks are not included.
If you desire, you can dine in your room. Prices start at £4.50 for Continental breakfast, which is served from 7 until 10:30 a.m. Appetisers, salads and sandwiches are also available throughout the day.
For a special occasion there are a variety of options open to you. Offered are sparkling wine (£12), Champagne and Strawberries (£35), and a Champagne breakfast (£45) through the "Touch of Class" package, which includes flowers, wine, breakfast in bed, dinner at a senior officer's table, an announcement in the Cruise News daily paper, plus a celebration cake in the restaurant.