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18 Aqaba (Petra) to Middle East Cruise Reviews

Having sailed numerous times with NCL, MSC, RCI and P&O I was more than happy with my recent cruise with Marella especially after reading some of the reviews. Flight, transfer and embarkation to our cabin was the best I have ever ... Read More
Having sailed numerous times with NCL, MSC, RCI and P&O I was more than happy with my recent cruise with Marella especially after reading some of the reviews. Flight, transfer and embarkation to our cabin was the best I have ever encountered, all well planned and trouble free. The ship is smaller than the others I have sailed on but every facility is available. The food was amazing, we ate in 47 and gallery 47 mostly but did try the island restaurant a few times for lunch. Choice of food was very good. The excursion were not too expensive although the one we were on to Bethlehem could have been better planned as we did not get to go to crypt due to delay in departing from the ship, this was very disappointing as other trips did get to see the crypt. Our cabin was a junior suite on deck 8 which was very spacious. One of the best features of this cruise was the entertainment, every night there was different shows in the theatre as well as an abundance of other bars for live bands and singers. We will most definitely be sailing with Marella again Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be ... Read More
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be as honest as I can. Sorry it is so long, there’s so much to say, but I have subtitled each section for ease of reference. * Outbound Flight – We flew early morning from Manchester to Aqaba, Jordan and the 5 ½ hour flight was hassle free. We were only 30 minutes late taking off and they gave us breakfast an hour in. Complimentary drinks were plentiful and they didn’t dawdle when serving them either. All flight staff demonstrated great customer service skills, politeness and efficiency. We collected our suitcases quickly and the bus ride to the ship was only 30 minutes. My only gripe here was we hadn’t been told we were getting the meal and spent £25 on breakfast at the airport. That said we also ate the inflight meal (“coz we’re on holiday”, lol). * Embarkation - Our first ever experience of the embarkation/registration process was like being on the boat ride in ‘Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory’, but in a nice way. It was all so very quick and well organised like a conveyor belt moving us from photograph taking, form checking, medical declarations signed, debit card registration, optional dining extras and handing us our cabin keys with great efficiency. Everyone was very ‘happy clappy’, we loved the excitement of it all and we came out the other side like kids in a candy shop. We went straight to our room to change into clothes we’d packed in our hand luggage and our suitcases were outside our room when we left it 10 minutes later. * Cabin - Deck 6 cabin 207 (Deluxe standard) – Reviewed below. * Food – We ate in the Lido restaurant mostly and never had a single item that wasn’t delicious. Breakfast they have back bacon, eggs done to perfection, omelettes made to order and pancakes to die for. Lunch and Evening Meal were equally good. Food was mostly English fare. We tended to not have an evening meal though as we were too full to enjoy the evening festivities, so we took to eating at around midnight before bedtime when there were curries, pizza, burgers and chicken strips to devour from the Lido. We enjoyed a few meals in the Meridian where the meals were more set and this was a great way to meet other cruisers as we always shared a table (in the Lido you tend to just sit on your own). We paid £47 each to eat in the Hot Stone Terrace, Mistrals and Kora La. All 3 were fabulous, lovely food, great service and well worth the money we paid. But if you’re on a budget, you won’t feel like you missed out if you don’t do these. * Bars/Entertainment – We tended to go to Liberties in the evening and joined in many of the quizzes, fun and games. The entertainment team really are 1st class in our view. Adam, Chris, Luke and Shaneece made a great holiday even better. We went to some of the Broadway shows and loved them all, even the 2 comedians and Braximusic (those guys were amazing). So we didn’t miss out we also did Hemmingway’s 2 evenings and Horizons 2 days, as well as the Coffee Port afternoon. There really is a bar to cater for ever preference on this ship. Drinks were always good, we stuck to the AI drinks and we had more than our money’s worth on this holiday (had we have paid for it of course). * Staff – Amazing people! They work their socks off these guys. The Lido Deck and Liberties bar staff/waiters were super quick and attentive to when your glass was empty. The other bar areas were pretty efficient too, but just not a quick as Liberties, which made us feel as if we were not getting the best service from them. Every member of the service or cleaning staff said hello when you passed them and always had a smile. They are really a credit to Thomson. I’ve been told we had new starters learning the ropes as the experienced staff has moved to the newer ships, but you can’t tell. The crew and captain are also very friendly whether on or off the boat. The entertainment team tend to be less friendly when not on official duties, or rather less welcoming if you say hello. I couldn’t help but feel like I was intruding if we tried to talk to them when they were having a drink on the Lido deck after a show. * Pools/sunbeds – They were cold and only a handful ventured in. I presume this will improve later in the summer season. We didn’t struggle for a sunbed, but usually went to the Lido sun deck rather than the cushioned ones on deck 9 (got these on last day and they are amazingly comfortable). * Photographs - There was an offer on the 1st day on official photographs. £70 for every picture they take, so we couldn’t resist. Again we were like little kids queuing for the ice cream man whenever we got off the ship and went for our evening meal. We’ve got over 100 pictures and they’re brilliant. So that’s the parent’s Christmas presents sorted this year. * Shops – Only a small number of shops, with a good variety of items from tobacco and jewellery, to clothes and souvenirs. We had no intention of buying anything but couldn’t resist it as the prices were very good. The cigarette offer we got were £25 per 200, the same in UK would have been £85 per 200. We only purchased 800 (I know the limit is 200 each) and we were lucky we didn’t have any taken from us in the UK as I know others did. We didn’t bother buying alcohol as they were all glass bottles that have to go into your hold luggage and the savings were only a couple of quid a bottle. Prices on some items did get reduced later in the cruise, so wait if you can till the last day but make sure it will opens as it only opens when ship is at sea. * Wi-Fi – Costs a fortune! We just got free Wi-Fi in port in any coffee shop. From official Thomson card = 1 hour (max 75mb) £8 – 1 day (max 300mb) £15 – 3 days (max 800mb) £25 – 1 week (max 1200mb) £49 – 2 weeks (max 2200mb) £90. * Disembarkation/Malaga Airport – Every flight but 1 was early morning, however all passengers have to vacate their rooms at 7am. You can pay £25 to keep your room if you’re on a late flight. Our bus was 8.10am, so we ate breakfast at 6am when the Lido opened to beat the rush. We left the room at 7am and waited by the door on deck 4 to get off as soon as it opened. That meant we were on bus 1 leaving the port first. That also meant there were no queues at check in and as the Spanish don’t rush when checking you in, these can and did build up quickly. It also meant that we went through security without any delay either. The same cannot be said for anyone on buses 2 and above, they had a minor nightmare through check in and security, so I’m lead to believe. It wasn’t helped that we were all told to go to zone B for the gates, but the passport control box in zone B was unmanned for at the time we went through security, therefore it looked as though it was closed for the day. Luckily we knew this would open an hour before the first flight as we’d been through Malaga 6 months earlier, so we waited nearby and went through once it opened. Again we missed the major queues and our flight left on time from the gate announced. I appreciate others did not have the same experience, so can only attribute our luck to our early start before the masses and that our plane wasn’t delayed as others were. * Would I go again? – In a heartbeat yes. In short though I loved cruising and this won’t be my last. I will choose Thomson again and the Celebration will be top of my list. Why? The staff and other customers completely made this holiday the best I’ve ever had. Because the ship is not enormous we were able to meet many people who were so friendly. Of all the passengers we spoke to during our 13 days on board, only 1 couple said they wouldn’t do Thomson’s again and their reasons were that the food and entertainment is better on P&O. I would rather pay Thomson’s prices as I was completely happy with just about everything. * Excursions/ports of call Petra, Jordan – We did the Thomson excursion and it was worth every penny of the £120pp we paid. The bus ride took 2 ½ hours with one 15 minute stop off and you get 3-4 hours to view the site which is amazing, but a very long walk down to the main areas. We made it to The Treasury, Hadrian Gate and the Theatre and we walked for nearly 2 hours! There was lots more to see, but it would take us 2 hours to get back up to the entrance/exit, so we had to turn around and go back. If you stay with the guide it takes longer as they stop often to talk about everything. We followed another couple who’d been there before. You can get a horse or a pony and trap, but we slugged it out. The horses are whipped to death both up and down the hill and I didn’t trust the pony/trap drivers as there was a collision on the day we were there between 2 of these. You get a meal on this trip at a local hotel before you return home. It’s AI and satisfactory (but not a patch on the ship’s food). Chana, Crete – We did this ourselves using the map from Destination Services which is very useful. Short bus ride immediately off the ship’s gangway to the main street, then a leisurely walk around the harbour area and old town. Valletta, Malta – We did the 3 Islands tour with Thomson’s here. First off a speedboat ride over to Gozo. This was a white knuckle ride as the sea was choppy and it was pretty breezy. We loved it, but we’re 50 years young and there were people in their 80’s who weren’t as excited bouncing around at break neck speed. On Gozo we took to the road in jeeps, which were a little cramped in the back (I had a front seat lol). We visited some lovely areas, but The Azure Window (as seen in Game of Thrones) is no more as the sea took it away in early March. I was a little disappointed, but you can’t blame Mother Nature. We stopped at a beach café then back over to Malta, visiting the caves on Comino on the way. The weather was not good on this day, so this trip was slightly marred by that. However it’s still worth the £70pp we paid. Palma, Majorca – Again we did our own thing here. There is a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus immediately off the ship here, but it has a long queue when everyone gets off the ship first thing. It costs 18 Euros per person with headphones and we did a full round trip taking pictures of sites along the way. We got off at the shopping centre and had some lunch at a local bar then walked back to the ship. Cartagena, Spain – This is a beautiful town and you can do it yourself here. The main places to see are within a 10 minute walk of the ship. We saw the Amphitheatre, the Castle of Conception and the Bullring. The buildings are all amazing here. It was Bank Holiday so we were also treated to a parade by the local children in band uniform. Delightful. I spent nothing here as I’d inadvertently left my purse of the ship, but only realised when we went to buy a coffee and get some free Wi-Fi, lol. Gibraltar, UK – We did our own thing here. We walked into town rather than wait for the shuttle as the queue was very long. We wanted to do the cable car to the apes so we ignored all the tour guides in mini buses (Gibraltar Rock Tours or something) as they started off quoting 35 euros each to take the tour of the rock, apes, St Michael’s Cave etc. They also told us the cable car had 45 minutes wait and we would only save a few pounds, but it would take us 3 hours to walk through the reserve to get to the apes. We thought they were embellishing the truth a little to get our business, so we walked 30 minutes to the cable car only to find they were indeed telling us the truth. So we went outside to the nearest mini bus and paid £25 each for the tour. It was brilliant, he talked us through all the areas and gave us interesting facts along the way. We passed all the cable car walkers on the way up and back down and completed the tour in 90 minutes. He even dropped us in town so we could shop and buy some fish and chips for lunch, yummy. Most of the shops were offering discount for Celebration customers and I got a Pandora safety chain for £45 instead of £60. TIP - Do your research and only do the Thomson excursions that you’ll find difficult doing yourself or where you are worried about getting back on time. Our friends did a few Thomson excursions where they paid £36 each and ended up doing what we did for next to nothing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We have been on many cruises and cruise lines ,but when we looked at this one ,flights, All inclusive ,plus free drink package included ,and 14 nights cruising .it was one of the best ever. The food was lovely ,in both restaurants ,our ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and cruise lines ,but when we looked at this one ,flights, All inclusive ,plus free drink package included ,and 14 nights cruising .it was one of the best ever. The food was lovely ,in both restaurants ,our cabin was outside,our steward was 1st class , We got all our photos on deal,just £69.95 ,needed a case to bring them back. The entertainment as always with Thomsons was excellent ,there is nothing I can't say bad about this cruise,we loved the superb weather full 14 days in the 80s . The price was so good we came back home and booked a 14 day cruise on the discovery On the 8 th jan 2017. Well done on the Middle East cruise it was fab ,I hope the security allows you to have this cruise again ,it would be sad for many other passengers not to see these fantastic countries and very kind people ,just like ourselves just wanting to live in peace ,I'm sad I did not take family with us I know they would of loved it as much as we did. David & Maureen Blair , I would just finish saying Thomsons/ Tui. Being together sets you apart. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Went on the repostioning cruise sailing from Aqaba Jordan with six days at sea. This was the first repostioning cruise we had been on and was not sure what to expect. But it was a pleasant surprise. The ship we where formalia with, as ... Read More
Went on the repostioning cruise sailing from Aqaba Jordan with six days at sea. This was the first repostioning cruise we had been on and was not sure what to expect. But it was a pleasant surprise. The ship we where formalia with, as this was our fourth time on the ship. We had an inside cabin on the third floor. I have athritus in my knee and hips, there are plenty of lifts to use. The cabin had a double bed, we had plenty of storage. We did need more hangers but when we asked for more they where supplied straight away. The service is very good. I did notice that at the shows the staff where run of their feet, there did not seem to be anough of them. That is not their fault though. If there was anything to complain about it was about how the staff where treated. I noticed in the resturant the one in charge telling someone off in front of all the passangers. This to me is not good management. I was not the only one to notce this, others on the ship where on about it as well. But some of the passengers should be ashamed of themselfs, they say youngsters today have no manners. Well some of the older passangers had no manners at all, no pleases or thank-you's and leaving all their rubbish to be picked up. The staff are not survents. It's a shame I just found out that Thomsom will not be doing this trip again. It was out of this world, an eyeopener in Dubuia. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I went on the 'Holy Lands' cruise, March - April 2013. It was fantastically good value and had the most wonderful time! I loved being on the ship, arriving at an exotic port at dawn, a days fabulous sightseeing,all extremely ... Read More
I went on the 'Holy Lands' cruise, March - April 2013. It was fantastically good value and had the most wonderful time! I loved being on the ship, arriving at an exotic port at dawn, a days fabulous sightseeing,all extremely well and comfortably organised. The best local restaurants booked for us at lunchtime, top-flight lecturers informing us on what we were seeing and about the countries we visited - an amazing education whilst being totally pampered. As the passengers never exceed 350, you never feel crowded. In fact, it's easy to be alone if you want to, and that's not just in your comfortable cabin. (I booked the cheapest) If you are a single passenger wanting to socialise, you're invited to join other passengers at tables at mealtimes; if not, no problem. It's a very friendly and respectful atmosphere. Again, for single passengers, a drinks party was arranged on the second evening on board to introduce you to staff and other singles. Minerva cruises attract intelligent people with curiosity/experience about their world. The mainly Philipino restaurant and bar staff were charming and the service 5 star, as was the food! (and I'm fussy) . On my second evening in the Verandah bar - lovely gentle, live music being played, the barman said: "Ah, Mrs Chadwick, will it be the gin and tonic again tonight?", Tony the barman had remembered me! Alcoholic drinks are very reasonably priced. The food is excellent with a choice of silver service dining, or the self-service restaurant with a cornucopia of choices, which you could take out, or have brought to you, on deck. Entertainments are fine, talented musicians of all persuasions are there for your enjoyment. I bopped away till the early hours! And then woke early for a good breakfast before the morning's excursion! On a budget, I stuck to the price included excursions, of which there was a daily choice. Though if you wish to pay a very reasonable fee you can explore further. I very much appreciated the company's concern for the welfare of staff- almost part of the family - evidenced in their cheerful good service. Cleanliness is excellent, scrupulous attention is paid to passenger comfort and health. I would recommend Minerva cruises very highly - it changed my life! I'm booked again this year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We went on the Thompson Spirit on the 7th April 2011 sailing to Egypt and Jordan - Red Sea MagicWe found the food good and the service excellent and attentive, the waiting staff cannot do enough for you The ship is a little tired, but that ... Read More
We went on the Thompson Spirit on the 7th April 2011 sailing to Egypt and Jordan - Red Sea MagicWe found the food good and the service excellent and attentive, the waiting staff cannot do enough for you The ship is a little tired, but that did not bother us, if you want glitz do not go on a Thompson Cruise.The entertainment was good, and the staff did put their heart and soul into every production, (although not highly professional we found it very enjoyable.The cabin was very adequate and cleanAll in all a very enjoyable holiday - no complaints at all, and I would travel with them again. What upset us was on the last day my husband left his camera behind at breakfast in the self service restaurant, and when he came back it had been taken along with his PDA from his camera case. This has left us without any holiday photo's and really spolt the holiday. We have not had a good year as I had been made redundant, and my husband has taken early retirement, and we did not need this. I just hope the fellow passenger who did this can live with themselves. I expect sadly they possibly can The Benefield Family Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was my first cruise. I chose it as I wanted to visit Petra Jordan,and the Cairo museum,sphinx and pyramids.the ship was a little tired,but the cabin was adequate,if you can ignore the shower curtain sticking to you as you shower.the ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I chose it as I wanted to visit Petra Jordan,and the Cairo museum,sphinx and pyramids.the ship was a little tired,but the cabin was adequate,if you can ignore the shower curtain sticking to you as you shower.the food was adequate,but very repetitive and unimaginative.my friend and I tried the Compass restaurant but our main course was inedible -overcooked lukewarm marlin and soggy veg.we never returned and ate at the self service thereafter.the entertainment was third rate during the day and somewhat cringe inducing.we had to go to the top deck and compass bar to escape the noise.I cannot comment on the evening show as I did not attend as this type of entertainment does not appeal.the quizzes and on board activities were,I thought,worthy of a Butlins holiday camp.I paid for this cruise prior to the upheaval in the Middle East,and it was evident that many people had booked at the last minute at considerably reduced rates.this was reflected in the standard of behaviour of some of these passengers.a major bug bear was charging for bottled water despite the fact that I had paid £27 pound per day for an all inclusive drinks package.Also, the trips were very expensive,and I found it extremely irritating to spend as much time in the papyrus and gold shop where the guides get commission as I did seeing one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.on a shopping trip to Hurghada,12 of us on our small mini bus,10 of whom were women were left to fend off the unwelcome approaches of the bazaar holders who had been deprived of tourists due to the recent upheavals.it felt unsafe,was unpleasant and we reported back to destination services without any offer of refunds.the serving staff and chambermaids were delightful.extremely pleasant and obliging.All in all very disappointing.poor value for money,and has put me off ever going on a cruise ship again Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Although I have never been in a Butlins camp before, I have seen TV footage and this cruise seemed to match it. On a positive note, the ship was clean and we upgraded to an outside cabin which was impressively large for such a small ... Read More
Although I have never been in a Butlins camp before, I have seen TV footage and this cruise seemed to match it. On a positive note, the ship was clean and we upgraded to an outside cabin which was impressively large for such a small cruise ship...yes that's it for the positive. Negative: Everything else. There was an area at the rear of the ship (called Lido I think), which was packed every day with a heaving mass of excess blubber sunbathing,and people drinking alcohol from breakfast to bedtime. (The Gym attendant told me that many people actually had the nerve to say the sun loungers were too small, only because they couldn't fit their bulk onto them!).... and yes, the Gym was always empty! There was a dress code for the eating areas (cover up please)... which many refused to follow and the staff would not enforce. This led to us having to eat with half naked people who wouldn't look out of place in a rundown Seafront fish and chip shop. It's interesting to note that they all seemed to like it there. Needless to say we very quickly learned to avoid that area. There was a better restaurant in another part of the ship, and that was fine. The waiters were very cheerful and attentive, but that soon changed at the end of the cruise if no extra tip was forthcoming. (tips are included on Thomson cruises so they shouldn't expect more...but they do) We were looking forward to the Captains cocktail party and had the required Dinner jacket and glittery dress for the occasion. BIG MISTAKE. We expected the usual cocktail party with drinks and a mingle with staff and other passengers with gentle music playing in the background. What we actually got was an hour of queuing to have a photograph taken with your partner. Then more queuing to have your photo taken with the Captain (why?...as we don't know him!). Then in to the entertainment area to be given one drink (very strict on the ONE drink) and told to sit down. When all guests were in, the Captain got on the stage and introduced the heads of staff for each department and it was over! We sat there waiting for the actual cocktail party to begin, until the place emptied and we realized that it was over. It was an outrageous joke and a complete waste of our time. The entertainment was very amateurish and on par with a karaoke evening, even though it's advertised as similar to West End shows .... and I admit I have seen some very dire shows in the West End, but never as bad as they were. The excursions were very expensive and very rushed. We particularly wanted to see the Pyramids, but they did not allow any time to wander around. The moment we arrived we were told to be back on the coach in half an hour. The whole Giza area is very large and needs at least 3 hours to appreciate. Many people on cruises are elderly and cannot walk fast, therefore they hardly had time to walk to the nearest Pyramid before having to rush back to the coach. Hint: Avoid the drinks package! Very expensive and to get value for money, you would have to get drunk every night. That might seem like an attractive proposition for some (and it was with many on the ship) but not us. The drinks are regular pub prices and easily affordable without having to skimp. We would have a bottle of wine with dinner and two or three Gin & Tonics, and the occasional cocktail every day.... and it still cost half of the drinks package deal for the week. One strange and unexpected anomaly were the children on the cruise.... who turned out to be better behaved than the adults. Now I do realise that there are some of you reading this who are thinking it all sounds great, and you will go and book a cruise on the Thomson Spirit tomorrow...... but this review is aimed at the majority who will hopefully be just as appalled as we were. ......And don't even mention the food on the plane which is over priced and underwhelming. Take sandwiches! We would like to cruise again, but are now very wary, so will have to read many reviews before deciding. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just returned from our first ever Thomson Cruise. How did it compare to previous cruise ships? Well firstly, and as expected, it wasn't as plush or as large as say P & O, or Princess Lines, but although a lot smaller than other ... Read More
Just returned from our first ever Thomson Cruise. How did it compare to previous cruise ships? Well firstly, and as expected, it wasn't as plush or as large as say P & O, or Princess Lines, but although a lot smaller than other cruise ships and being older etc., (it had been refurbed in late 2008) it was certainly clean, comfortable and the food and entertainment were good. However that said I must say this is the most noisiest ship I have been on; and whether in the bar or the Broadway lounge or wherever, there was constant noise and vibration - definitely a case of the ship showing its age. The pools/jacuzzis were of little or no use being so small; and it was often impossible to get a sunbed on deck (especially sea days)- something again I have never experienced on board. The cost of drinks (approx £3.50 or more were exorbitant).. certainly a good deal dearer than P & O and often seemed to be 'watered down'. The staterooms were okay - although showed their age, and again were very noisy (the walls being so paper thin you could actually hear what was being said in the cabin next door!- again something never experienced before). The bathroom was definitely in need of a refurb. The hand towels were very very poor and quite frankly not fit for purpose - being small, hard, grey coloured and 'well past their sell by date'. (Indeed I have never encountered such poor quality linen when on board ship) - luckily I took my own! The staff and service were good, BUT I personally felt this to be what can only be described as a 'BUDGET' holiday - but with top dollar prices (as witness the cost of drinks etc). The cost of trips were again exorbitant (approx £600 for myself and husband for 3 trips - again costing far more than on other lines. Would I go Thomson again - NO. Too pricey by half - for what is effectively a very budget type holiday! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Afer using cruisecritic forums and trip advisor for months ahead, there were no real surprises. Embarkation and disembarkation quick and efficiently handled by Thomson. The ship, Celebration, was as most people say - dated and in ... Read More
Afer using cruisecritic forums and trip advisor for months ahead, there were no real surprises. Embarkation and disembarkation quick and efficiently handled by Thomson. The ship, Celebration, was as most people say - dated and in need of a refurb but very clean, service very good, activities suitable for most people most days. One real gripe we had was the the thin,old towels in the bathroom and the old lumpy pillows - all needed to be thrown out. The food was good although the Lido was a bit hectic at times and a bit 'canteen' like. The Meridien restaurant was more civilised and most nights we were put on a shared table where you could chat to other passengers. We had a good deal with the AI drinks passage but thought prices were good anyway.The bars were nice and we particularly loved the Horizons bar above the bridge. The Ports of call were as described - industrial and definitely not pretty. Unless you were on an organised trip there was little chance of getting off the ship and in fact, due to an oil slick supposedly caused by our ship, we spent 2 whole days in one port with little or nowhere to go. We had no trouble finding a sunbed and space even on sail days. The service on the ship is better than the other 2 cruises we have been on. The crew are genuinely friendly and the shining light is the entertainment team. They worked all day mixing with passengers in various areas and at night put on amazing tip top shows - really excellent! The last morning was disturbed by a real emergency drill due to a boiler overheating in the engine room which was eventually sorted. I did come down with a stomach bug on the last day (found out later that more people did as well despite the ships good sanitization care). Overall a good cruise and would definitely recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
After getting off the plane we collected the cases carrying them to the waiting coaches, then at the port had to drag them in the dark from passport control down steps to the ship ourselves. As we arrived late in the evening we had missed ... Read More
After getting off the plane we collected the cases carrying them to the waiting coaches, then at the port had to drag them in the dark from passport control down steps to the ship ourselves. As we arrived late in the evening we had missed the sit down meal and the show.The cabin had a blocked toilet and smelt of sewage, deep mould in the shower which was a tray and shower curtain next to toilet.We had to pay £12 for the use of the safe and that was not even fastened to anything. No fridge or drink making. Could not join the beds together as the room was long and narrow. Charge for towels if you leave them by swim pool.The vibration from the ship was 24/7 in port or at sea which shook everything and made it hard to sleep. Did not matter where you were on board you felt it.Family swim pool was 7 foot 6 deep. Was drained so they could put balloons in it for New Years Eve party. Life boat drill was two days after we sailed and jackets were thirty years old some with out lights or whistles.All the trips were over twelve hours and around £100 each, we spent £600 on 3.On the days afloat we had the diesel smoke and smell of sewage to put up with.All the ports were industrial working with the dust and noise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I booked the holiday as I wanted to see Egypt and thought staying on a cruise ship would be safer - it was!! The room - I was surprised that the bed was a double and the room was very spacious. Loads of storage space, flat screen ... Read More
I booked the holiday as I wanted to see Egypt and thought staying on a cruise ship would be safer - it was!! The room - I was surprised that the bed was a double and the room was very spacious. Loads of storage space, flat screen tele and of course shower room. The only critisim I have is that the shower area was a little tired. However the room was fantastic. I opted for a port hole and was not disappointed with the view that I had. The dining area. I opted for most of my breakfast and dinners the main restuarant. You would not be disappointed. William (the head waiter) and Chris (appointed waiter) always greeted me and asked if I wanted to be on my own or with people - they always found me lovely people to sit next to and found I was sitting there for about 2 hours - chatting!! I did go into the buffet area one evening and found it very quiet but did opt for my lunches in there and found it sufficient. The free ice creams for every one were fantastic and the outside burgers/chips were great (although i did not try them). The upgrade restuarant I never opted for as I found the standard of food was fantastic. Celebration package. I had flowers, champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in my room when I arrived - fantastic. They were there to greet me and the champagne was Moet and in an silver bucket with ice - very welcoming. Breakfast. They did unfortunately forget but once I rang I to the main reception I had the main reception and waiter come to my room with my order and apologised for the delay. They later rang to see if I wanted anything else. Reception - fantastic. Very helpful. Solo breakfasts. I think the main receptionist was called Gemma. She informed us of how the ship works and general information. The best thing was she remembered us. Staff. ALL staff were very friendly but not gorping or seedy. It felt if you asked for anything they were only too happy to help. Spa. I had 3 treatment in the spa area and loved every single one of them. Only downside is if you have caught the sun having a massage can hurt a little but they do direct you. Ladies evening. I think this was only £10 and was fantastic. We had a bottle of champagne and the spa lady showed us their ointments and applied. Only downside was I was covered in oil and had my hair in conditioner - downside was I had to glam up for dinner! Swimming pool. Not many people were in the swimming pool which was diappointing. Sunbeds. What is it with the English. There were enough beds for those sunbathing as there are loads of decks. Either that or just sitting by the railings reading a book was just as good. Excursions. This was where I was worried about but found that I didnt need to be. There was a tour guide, armed guard (just for safety) and sanitisation crew. The tour guide was very informative and if we had any problems he sorted it out! The ship arranged for snacks and drinks enroute plus on full day excursions we had lunch in a 4 star hotel! When you come back from a full day the waiters greet you with their live band and you have sanitisation crew with hot cloths and drinks - you go through the scanner and checked back in on the ship. A few of us ordered some jewellery which arrived alongside the ship. We felt safe as security were aware and kept an eye on everyone - so safe and not over the top. Other passengers: I found they were so relaxed I made friends with loads of people. People were looking out for each other too - even one lady gave me some of her sun lotion. Others we took turns in taking photos and one offered to lend me some money when I was on a trip to Petra so I could buy a book. So you see everyone was so relaxed but still looking out for eachother it was very comforting. Captains night. I offered to go with another single passenger who wasnt too keen to go. Unfortunately he stuck to me all evening but soon got the message. Afternoon Tea: well you can eat and eat and eat. They do mid-afternoon tea with cream cakes etc... if you go into the library/quiet seating area you get a waitress. Cinema - has fresh hot popcorn waiting outside. Cabin Stewards - Fantastic job and very helpful. Dress code: in the main restuarant it is just smart except for the Captains evening. If you didnt want to opt for that then the buffet area you could wear whatever you want - although they do ask that you cover up. Ship condition. Well it was my first cruise and loved it! I could not grumble about anything and loved it so much I have booked another - albeit with someone else - to get the variety. I think that was all but as you can see I loved my trip. I will definitely do it again as I didnt opt to do all the excursions as I didnt want to cram it all in plus gives me an opportunity to do the trip again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The ports of call are not attractive and I do not recommend this as a first cruise, we were very disappointed that it was not easy to get off the ship and explore on our own. This is a cruise for people who plan to get off the ship on ... Read More
The ports of call are not attractive and I do not recommend this as a first cruise, we were very disappointed that it was not easy to get off the ship and explore on our own. This is a cruise for people who plan to get off the ship on Thomson Excursions to Luxor and Cairo and not a itinerary for those who want to try out cruising for the first time just to be on the ship for the experience. The ports are scruffy and very industrial, Only Agaba was the close to being a nice place to berth, the last port at safga is next to a cement factory and we were berthed that close we could of crossed over and started work. We had this view for 2 days However these are the nearest ports to do the tours of cario and luxor unless you cruise the Nile. Thomson do need to advise you in there info that you cannot walk on some of these ports, nor can taxi's come into the ports, so you are stuck unless you use their transport or excursions The pools are small, the sunbeds are very close to each other and when at sea, a seat was very hard to find, never mind a sunbed,people were saving the benches & chairs with their towels!!! folks do save sunbeds with towels from early morning and because the sun is usually only on one side of the ship it can get busy on the top decks, but there is no shade on the top deck..so if one of your party is a sunlover and one needs the shade, there is not a happy medium and you end up sunbathing in different places Because thomson sell the All Inclusive drinks package from rates of £49 per person to £160 per person there is alot of choice of branded drinks on offer on the all inclusive, The problem is that EVERYONE has to use the boarding card to order a drink, the waiter takes your card, takes your order and then disappears for up to 20 mins...you cannot get up and walk to another bar because without your boarding card you cannot get a drink. This spoilt our enjoyment of this service and don't ask for a latte in Liberties, the bar staff do not want to serve you this, even though the machine is next to them, I had my boarding card thrown at me to sign a few times for daring to ask for a latte. The problem is that the drinks waiters do not just take your order, go and get it and bring it back. they walk around taking lots of orders, so if you ordered first, you can be waiting for a long time to get your drink because the waiter than has to go and get All the drinks, print out the receipts that match the cards, bring the drink, you have to sign for the drink and they hand you your card back... This system slows the service down and creates frustration.. we often ordered our drinks when we sat down in the restaurant to have them delivered by the time we had our sweet...in the end we admitted defeat and went to the bar ourselves and took our drinks to our table and then got up and went to the bar if we needed another one inbetween courses On the last day in safaga the crew decided they would paint the ship so moved some of the sunbeds on deck 6 at 9am - you just got yourself comfy when another crew member came and said they were closing Deck 6 for a drill at 10am - which actually began at 10.40am..by which time they cleared the sunbeds into stacks including the guests belongings in between each bed...this went on until around 12pm, by which half the ship were waiting to get a bed in the sun...so I had no chance of regaining my sunbed and ended up sitting in the shade all day. On the same day, they started to close part of deck 6 at 5pm..moving all the chairs and beds out of the area, then they closed some of the bar area while they lifted crates down to store our luggage..which was due to be stored at 2am??? This last day was very frustrating and seemed to disturb the guests quite alot..plus dont forget were were on a port next to a cement factory and no where to walk to.. I have since learnt that there was a public beach 15 mins away, why couldnt they have put on a shuttle bus to there? I would of paid had I the option a small price, they were charging £20 each to transfer to a hotel for 4 hours to use their pool/beach...no drinks or food were included. We had to have our luggage ready for collection by 2am, outside your cabin door, this was then stored overnight on deck 6. We could hear the crew members during the night transporting the luggage. We had to be out of our room by 9am the following morning. You could pay for the use of a room between 10am - 4pm for £25.00 A few guests asked reception for complaint forms and were given a blank piece of paper to fill in, I was told I would be given a form to fill in - it was a standard survey that wanted to know when my internet expired, who my car insurance was with - not exactly a complaint form. Good The food is excellent and a choice to suit all in tastes in the different restaurants. The ship is clean and our cabin was lovely and spacious, we had a deluxe cabin on the 7th deck. Everyone seemed to enjoy the musical entertainment, but they were not shows as such, just songs from shows that have been on the west end?? you will make lots of friends and will never be lonely, lots to do on the ship even if they don't do everything they advertise.. I am still waiting for my popcorn from the trip to the cinema and if you won a competition this week, no chance of a prize because they hadn't been delivered... The captains cocktail party was worth the queuing up for, you have to pass 3 lots of photographers with different back drops before you allowed into the cocktail party..the photographers didn't really care if you had your eyes open or shut and our photos were poor standard. You then sit in the broadway show lounge for an hour with a drink, listen to the band and then the captain does his speech, introduces everyone in his team and then you go to the Meridan for a gala dinner, the food and service in the Meridan was excellent. Photos are from 10.99 to 20.00 and there is a Cruise DVD for £24.00 which was on one of the tv channels while it was being made so if you spotted yourself on it, you could order it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Having cruised previously with Royal Caribbean my daughter and I were a little apprehensive about the Red Sea Magic Cruise. However, we booked as we wanted the excursions offered. What a fabulous surprise, we had the best of holidays. ... Read More
Having cruised previously with Royal Caribbean my daughter and I were a little apprehensive about the Red Sea Magic Cruise. However, we booked as we wanted the excursions offered. What a fabulous surprise, we had the best of holidays. Our cabin was basic but clean and comfortable with plenty of storage. Do not forget to look under the bed. Like most hotels not enough hangers, so if you have enough room, take your own. The bathroom was basic but the shower worked perfectly. We had a porthole, which seemed under water at some times, with the waves crashing against it, but we found it hilarious and had no problem with noise or vibrations. We found the food to be excellent and drinks were priced about the same as UK. Staff were friendly and helpful, especially Melanie, Jerry and Yelland in the restaurant and Harold in self-service. We found the entertainment on board excellent. We had no problem with finding somewhere to sit and relax on the decks. We were not there to sunbathe after all! We found the ship small and friendly and we met some really nice people who hopefully we will keep in touch with. Would recommend the Wadi Rum 4x4 desert adventure on Day 1. We had a great time, including our jeep getting stuck in the sand which was really good fun. Enjoyed the camel ride (not expensive but make sure you have some money suitable for Jordan) Petra was fabulous. The walk down is easy but a bit harder coming back, though well worth the visit. Look for the "Jack Sparrow" look-a-like on a camel, you really will believe it is Johnny Depp. Prepare to be approached by children selling postcards. As these literally only cost a few pounds would suggest buying some straight away and then you will not be asked any more. We also gave them some sweets we had with us. Pyramids and the Sphynx - sights to behold. Again be prepared to be hassled to buy things here - it can be quite persistent. Would recommend the Semi-Submarine glass bottomed boat in Safaga, as the coral and fish are fantastic, but perhaps not for those who may suffer from sea sickness. The following trip into Hurghada city centre was good as we were able to browse shops at our leisure without being hassled to buy things. Luxor - Karnak & The Valley of the Kings was fabulous. Well worth seeing Tutankamun's tomb (costs extra so make sure you have enough money with you) We went in 15 minutes before closure and as there were only three of us there it was quite awe-inspiring. Be aware, that if anyone offers to take your photograph, have their photograph taken with you or gives you some information, they will expect something in return. Again, this can be just a few pounds and it is just like tipping in the UK. A very nice touch on returning from excursions was being met by a band and the crew with hot towels and refreshments. A good ending to a good day. Overall - yes the trip is busy and can be tiring, but that's what you are there for to see as much as you can in the time available. You are there to have a good time, so forget the "moaning Brits" and go with the flow and enjoy it all!!! P.S. make sure you have some comfortable shoes for walking Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our seventh time on a cruise ship and it more than met our expectations. We chose the Celebration on a nostalgic whim having sailed across the Atlantic seven years ago on the same ship when she was called the Nordam and was ... Read More
This was our seventh time on a cruise ship and it more than met our expectations. We chose the Celebration on a nostalgic whim having sailed across the Atlantic seven years ago on the same ship when she was called the Nordam and was sailing under the Holland America flag. Mostly the bars were the same, only the names had been changed, the character remained. We arrived at Sharm el Sheik after an uneventful flight (apart from the fact that we had booked extra leg room seats and didn't get them!) and were delighted to see the 'middle aged lady' (the Captain's words describing the ship) looking so spick, span and shiny in the dock lights. We were welcomed into the reception area on the dock and the process of creating our credit cards for the ship went smoothly and quickly. Soon we were shown to our cabin by a friendly steward and were very pleased with the one that we had chosen. It was spacious, very clean and the bathroom was bigger than we expected. The toiletries were a nice touch. The storage space in the cabin was excellent and the 'dressing table' area was like that in a first class hotel. After a quick drink outside Liberties Bar we made our way to the Meridian Restaurant and had an exceptional five course dinner. We were all inclusive and the meal was washed down with copious amounts of wine, the glass was never empty. Our waiter, JoJo, was very attentive and we booked to sit on his table for the rest of the cruise. Unfortunately he was taken ill in the middle of the cruise and had to be flown home but Michael Wright, his replacement was equally efficient. Leo, the assistant waiter, and Zenny the wine waitress (and Tony for the second week) were brilliant, efficient and friendly. We were very disappointed to find that the advertised Italian restaurant didn't exist and the alternative restaurant (you had to pay a bit more) had food that was no better than the Meridian. However, when we did eat in there and didn't enjoy it, we told our assistant waiter that we wished we had stayed in the Meridian instead and unbeknown to us he informed the Maitre d' who sent us a bottle of Prosecco and some chocolate covered strawberries with his profound apologies and the cover charge was waived. That was a small example of how excellent we found the service in all departments. During the day we tended to eat in the Lido restaurant which was buffet style. The food was good and there was a huge selection including usually some food of local flavour. The waiters throughout the ship were friendly and efficient and had learned our names by the evening of the first full day. I did take advantage of the Spa facility on the ship and cannot commend the Spa staff enough for their efforts to make me beautiful for the Captain's Cocktail Party and for subsequently spoiling me rotten. My heartfelt thanks go to Erika, Chelsy, Pedrag and Grace for their friendliness and patience with me. I wish they could have come home with me!! Having been on a ship before we quickly settled into the daytime entertainment, trivia quiz and bingo!, when we were'nt on a tour, and they were ably run by Anglela and Lee. The evening shows were not really shows but more like cabarets and the second week was better than the first as if they had had more practice! The highlight of our evening entertainment for both weeks was the Crew Talent Show and also the Sailaway Nights as we were leaving Sharm el Sheik. The band Ocean Vibe was excellent. Because we had two weeks on the ship we did not need to do all the excursions in one week and we found spreading the load more relaxing. On the days when everyone else was away on excursions the ship was almost empty, very quiet and absolutely beautiful! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
first off,i'm not a "cruiser" but can't resist an itinerary which takes you to places you might not otherwise go to and thomsons do some cracking itineraries with the minimum of seadays.they also provide a complete ... Read More
first off,i'm not a "cruiser" but can't resist an itinerary which takes you to places you might not otherwise go to and thomsons do some cracking itineraries with the minimum of seadays.they also provide a complete package; flights, transfers,gratuities and all-inclusive so that you know what you're letting yourself in for cost wise and can relax. the price? well, they use older ships with amenities which look very basic compared to the new boys. flight to/from uk; with thomsons,seat space adequate,meals and drinks payable,sharm-el-sheik airport (not aqaba,but no option in the tick box!) ok coming in but awful coming out.suspect delays are standard.note; you can take a bottle of water thru' security and it's a rip-off the other side. thomson celebration; oldish and small compared to many cruiselines,cinema,show lounge,disco lounge, casino,cinema,spa facilities and gym,bars,a couple of shops and plunge pools.you will feel vibration in certain parts of the ship. the cabin; outside with picture window near sealine and quite a good space.looked a bit tired but very clean and cabin steward kept it that way.shower cubicle a bit tatty but it worked.safe; extra charge £12 per week,television showed different films every day,no fridge or teamaking,plenty of hanging space and bed comfy. meals; a waiter service restaurant and a self-service restaurant opening onto the deck area (smoking allowed outside on port side!).plenty of food and the quality is average,thomsons is not for gourmets!free tea and coffee available all day from urns, quality;drinkable!drinks prices v. reasonable; glass house wine,pint of beer £3 each,no service charge.staff pleasant and hard working. entertainment; a variety of british entertainment; quizzes,bingo also some very informative lectures on ancient history of area. in-house shows given with a lot of enthusiasm and good comedian.cruise director,keith maynard, does a good job. ports; sharm el sheik,aqaba,saffaga and port sokhna; the last two are awful and really meant for industrial use, thomsons use them because of closer access to sights.this didn't bother us because we did the cruise to see jordan/egypt. excursions; thomsons excursions reasonably priced.we did the following; aqaba; 4x4 jeep safari, great fun but health and safety? aqaba; petra,a bit busier than when indiana jones went. lovely,some walking on rough ground so some people use a donkey/carriage; your guide will help. cairo; museum and pyramids.long day but worth it, tut's exhibits in museum, pyramids and Sphinx great.also great to see how other people live and drive!packed lunch and sit down meal included. not good; hawkers etc. at great pyramid. luxor; we chose to do the overnight stop with lightshow at luxor temple.well worth the extra money to see sunset and sunrise over the nile.also nice to have a break from the ship in a good hotel with interesting food.once again, long journey. conclusion; loved it! saw some fantastic sights.it's almost too much to take in in a short length of time and you might need a holiday afterwards! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Thomson Celebration. Red sea. Jan'.10. Flight from B'ham. On Time. Cramped seats, poor meal, should use larger aircraft, to my mind 6 hours odd is longhaul. Embarkation: Smooth, Good. Ship, General: Showing it's age in ... Read More
Thomson Celebration. Red sea. Jan'.10. Flight from B'ham. On Time. Cramped seats, poor meal, should use larger aircraft, to my mind 6 hours odd is longhaul. Embarkation: Smooth, Good. Ship, General: Showing it's age in places but spotless throughout and kept that way at all times. There is some vibration mainly towards stern in area of Lido. It was no problem to us. Crew: Excellent from cabin staff to Captain. Thank you all. Thomson staff on board. Fair, sometimes good. Cabins: Small but quite adequate. Food: Good, sometimes excellent. Formal dining Excellent. Public areas: Good. Selfish people do try to hog sun beds despite efforts of crew. Entertainment: Fair to good. Crew show excellent. Safety: Very good. Excursions: Fair. Docking: Industrial with little available without tours except at Sharm. Complaints. To be taken in context of an overall good to excellent experience. I would like at least one free bottle of water per day in cabin, a fridge and for free tea/coffee in more than one place. You need to allow 50% extra on top of holiday cost for drinks and excursions etc. Petra and Cairo excursions fair value. Would have liked more time in wonderful but tatty and rather dirty chaotic Museum and less on usual papyrus & gift shops. Guides keen on selling, as usual in most tours. Sol y Mar trip poor value, don't bother. You can walk to Sharm old town in ¼ hour from dock. Petra well worth visiting and good lunch. Did Luxor etc on Nile cruise (twice) so did not go this time. Advice and Info. Jordan more laid back than Egypt but we like both countries. Tips: UK coins worth half face value to locals. Agree firm price, in detail, for everything before buying. Do not accept "gifts". Distortion of truth is acceptable and to be expected in middle east selling ethic. Buyer beware. Smokers. You can buy 200 Egyptian Cleopatra cigs for £5 standard quality or £10 extra quality on shore in local shops. Egypt has two tier pricing, one for locals and one for tourists, this is fixed by government and is not negotiable. You do not have to pay to use public toilets but take some paper with you ! Give small tips for small favours. Please respect local dress codes etc off ship. Say no thank you firmly but politely if you don't want something. Arabic is "le-a Shucran". Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My fiance booked this cruise by chance - we needed a holiday - he'd just come into some compensation, so we thought we'd try something new. We chose the red sea as I am a bit of a sun worshipper and wanted somewhere still hot ... Read More
My fiance booked this cruise by chance - we needed a holiday - he'd just come into some compensation, so we thought we'd try something new. We chose the red sea as I am a bit of a sun worshipper and wanted somewhere still hot around the time of the cruise! Our cruise was a fly cruise from manchester, I wont go into details about the flight as I am not good with flying anyway, but things ran smoothly, with no delays (we usually have the worst of luck with delays). When we arrived at Sharm el Sheik airport there were thomson reps guiding us to the bus. It was probably an hour- 2 hours from landing until we were onto the ship. However the only complaint we did have was that we had put all our spending money onto my fiance's card as it uses a cashless system (a good idea) but when we went to register his card they advised us they didnot accept visa electron, so we then had to register my vard which had no money on it, and then had to phone home to get my parents to transfer all the money in his account into mine, as the ships internet connection didn't work on the first day! But once onboard our cabin was spacious and clean, with flowers, chocolates and champagne in there as it was my birthday mid cruise! They didnt cost the earth either as on some of the cruiselines. The decor and clenliness on ship was spot on too, it was like a 5* hotel!! Ages ranged from children to couples in their 70s+. What i particually liked was that there was an all inclusive option on drinks which we added at the time of our booking for about £100 for a week, which included most drinks apart from bottled/ imported beers. But there was always something to drink!! We are going on a princess cruise and are already weary of the price onboard, as an option like this is not fully available on the princess liners. The excursions were brilliant. Being in Egypt we had to go to Cairo and the pyramids and sphynx. We chose not to go in the pyramids just look outside which i regretted. It was good to see them and the sphynx - however dont think id go again, as they were a bit bland (what you see in the pictures is what you get!) But definatley worth going just to say youve dont it!! Also a word of warning: locals try and sell you things and buy you! My fiance was offered 2million camels and a chicken for me, which I found amusing although a bit intimidating when they tried stroking my hair!! Cairo museum is amazing, apolutly packed but well worth the visit! You need a few days to go round it though! We also went to Petra - again brilliant, i had no idea what to expect but i thoroughly enjoyed it! We also did quadbiking when we returned to sharm el sheik which was good through the desert! Dining was ace with a wide range of options, however we chose the buffet most nights as we are fairly fussy eaters and the restaurants are rather upper class, and felt we may not fit in, however when we did dine there we did feel very welcome! I would recommend Thomson to anyone, the service we recieved was on par to the bigger more expensive cruise lines at half the price. As i previously mentioned we are going on a princess cruise in october, and are already a bit nervous. But Thomson were brilliant!! Well Done :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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