10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Just returned from this cruise. We booked this for several reasons, a late cruise, visiting Sicily and Kefalonia, adults only, all on the fabulous Celebration, in my opinion, Thomson’s/Marella’s best ship. The ships specification is ... Read More
Just returned from this cruise. We booked this for several reasons, a late cruise, visiting Sicily and Kefalonia, adults only, all on the fabulous Celebration, in my opinion, Thomson’s/Marella’s best ship. The ships specification is well documented on the Internet so I won’t go into the details, suffice to say, the food, entertainment, information, cabin service, bar service and so on were all of a very high standard. The pre-booked excursion tickets were waiting for us in our cabin on embarkation and the embarkation and disembarkation procedures were incredibly slick, including the experience of parting with your luggage at East Midlands airport and not seeing it again until it arrived outside your cabin, without having to collect it at Dubrovnik airport. The same procedure (in reverse of course) on the return home. That’s progress. I few points about the ports of call. Messina, Sicily - a nice place but not a lot to do if you arrive on a Sunday so it may be worth booking a trip. Argostoli, Kefalonia - again, a pretty town but a bit sleepy. Worth having a walk along the front and across the causeway (which leads to the other side of the bay). Igoumenitsa, Greece - this is a port town, with ferries to Corfu and beyond. It has little historical interest. The Marella map shows a castle but all we found was a church, something that may have been lost in the translation? We actually booked a tour to Nekromanteio which is steeped in Greek mythology if you like that sort of thing, then onto the postcard-perfect village of Parga, and it really is very pretty. Not enough for us for a whole day but a couple of hours is perfect to climb up to the castle and take in the views. Kotor, Montenegro - this is a quaint but bustling town. Check beforehand how many ships are in on the day and it will give you an idea as to how busy it will be. There are loads of options for tours, including private taxi’s and hop-on, hop-off busses. As we had been before we did our own thing. I took on the challenge of climbing up to the fortress Castle of San Giovanni, approximately 1,200 metres high and approximately 1,350 steps to climb to reach the castle. €8 for the privilege and it is a seriously long climb, over uneven (and sometimes missing) stone steps, or, in parts, a steep slope. The view at the top is fantastic and worth the pull on your calf muscles and hamstrings for the next couple of days. In general, as we went in October, the on shore tour options may not all have been present as this is right at the end of the season. If you go earlier in the year, there may be more available. In summary, this is not an itinerary that jumps out at you. The is no “Venice” or Barcelona”, but the cruise does visit some quaint, pretty and interesting places, many with stunning scenery (the bay of Kotor in particular). Couple this up with the magnificent Celebration cruise ship and add in the food, drinks, entertainment, the attentive, hard working staff and being able to meet like minded people, this all equates to a complete cruise experience. I would wholeheartedly recommend this cruise to any prospective cruiser. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our first non-Disney cruise so we were not sure what to expect with regard to the differences between TUI and Disney. Overall we really enjoyed the experience both on the ship and at the ports of call. The Good... The ... Read More
This was our first non-Disney cruise so we were not sure what to expect with regard to the differences between TUI and Disney. Overall we really enjoyed the experience both on the ship and at the ports of call. The Good... The staff on board were all excellent and friendly. This ranged from service staff in the restaurants, the cabin stewards and the entertainment team... not a bad encounter during the whole trip! The ship was kept clean and tidy the entire time, including the restaurant areas and lounges. There was never a stack of empty glasses or litter left around. We chose to eat in the Lido Restaurant rather than the Meridian as we prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and the menus seemed to be the same but a buffet rather than table service. The food itself was very good with lots of variety and choice every day. Food was available from 6am through to around 2am so there was always plenty of opportunity to fit in a snack or three. There was a good choice of on-board entertainment to choose from. There were musical and comedy shows in the Broadway Lounge every night and quizzes, games and bingo in other venues throughout the day. Plenty to keep the guests engaged. We went on a shore excursion at each port of call and found the logistics of them to be very well organised. We will say more about the trips themselves a little later... The cabins we had were much better than we were expecting. They had plenty of space and lots of storage. The Bad... The Celebration itself is a small and rather old ship and it is starting to show. There was a constant vibration running throughout the ship even when docked in port that was very noticeable. Sometimes this vibration was enough to rattle glasses and make the stage lights swing, so it isn't a small problem. The deck areas were packed full of sunbeds, sometimes to the point of being a pain to get past, especially if guests were not being particularly considerate of others. In our cabins, the fridge wasn’t actually a fridge, but a box that sort of tried to keep things cold. It didn’t work very well. There could also be more power outlets in the cabins. One socket might have been sufficient 30 years ago when the Celebration was built but it’s far from adequate these days. Additional costs. This was particularly annoying as until we got onto the ship we had no idea that soft drinks were not included (even with meals). We booked as Full Board so was expecting a little more choice than Tea, Coffee or Water, but that is all we could have. There was an option to upgrade to the 'All Inclusive' drinks package at a cost of £200 per person for the week. This would have included soft drinks, but as we are not drinkers of Beer or Spirits it would have been an extremely expensive option. There was no option of a 'soft drinks' package. We also heard a lot of people who had purchased the all-inclusive drinks package complaining that not all of the drinks were included! There was another 'Premium' package that they could upgrade to for another £50 extra per person. Amazingly, this ALSO did not include every drink available on board, many had additional surcharges. It was all very confusing and annoying, as guests are not made aware of this before check in. This also meant that many drinks had various possible prices - full price, all-inclusive surcharge price and premium surcharge price. For example; a 200ml glass of Coke (but mostly ice) was £1.20, but is included in the all-inclusive package. A 330ml can of Coke was £1.90 but if you had the all-inclusive package, it was still an additional £1.00. Not very all-inclusive or straightforward!! If you wanted a steak meal in the ‘included in your full board’ restaurant, it was yet another additional charge. £9.95 this time. Wifi? £8 per hour! Want to use the safe in your cabin? £15 for the week. It was extremely annoying. General availability of information was a problem. We found that TUI were very bad at letting us know what to expect. They provide a service where once you drop your cases at the airport you don’t see them again until you get to your cabin. This is useful, but we didn't know about this until we were in the check-in line at the airport and were handed a label to put on our case by a TUI rep. Handy, but if we had anything in our cases that we wanted to use when we got to Dubrovnik before we got on the ship we would have been out of luck. We found the same with the shore excursions. For a start we had to Google how to book them as it isn't on the same web page as the cruise booking and nowhere had a link to the excursions sites. Once on board we found trips could be booked there, but many were sold out already and once again, we were not informed. The descriptions of the trip were also rather vague and in retrospect a bit misleading at times. For example on the Kefalonia Highlights trip in Argostoli, the tour we booked advertised "Next, it’s time for a visit to the island’s most photographed stretch of sand, Myrtos Beach. This mile-and-a-half-long curve of white pebbles is the setting for several scenes of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin." We carried around a bag with towels and swimming gear in all day only to find that this visit was a 2 minute stop at the top of a cliff to look down at the beach and take a picture. This particular tour was not a good pick due to the amount of time spent on the bus. In a five hour tour we had 20 minutes in a row boat (which to be fair was amazing) and 1 hour in a town called Fiskardo. It was very picturesque but we had no time to enjoy it before we had to head back to the coach. A couple of the tours we went on also had some very intense bouts of walking, either due to steep climbs or quick tour guides that had to be followed. This wasn't a problem for our group, but I would guess 75% of the guests on these tours were elderly and many had mobility issues. On one tour several people stayed on the coach as they couldn't do the walk to the Greek Ruins in Igoumenitsa. This could have been avoided by more information being given at the time of booking. In conclusion... We really enjoyed the trip but would not travel on the Celebration again, mostly due to the constant rumble and vibration being very off putting. We would also be hesitant about booking with TUI again due to the stream of additional charges and lack of provided information. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we chose the cruise for the itinary also because we love the celebration the ship is very clean a bit tired but you wouldnt notice the staff are brilliant always smiling and helpful the cabin we had a suite was spotless and rohman our ... Read More
we chose the cruise for the itinary also because we love the celebration the ship is very clean a bit tired but you wouldnt notice the staff are brilliant always smiling and helpful the cabin we had a suite was spotless and rohman our steward was very good and always had a smile for us the food is excellent as always the dining room waiters oung and alwyn were lovely and looked after us so well we sat at their table the whole fortnight wasnt impressed with the showteam they seemed to do a lot of screeching but all the others were good the horizans team was very good also the liberties team were very good we have been on four times now and have always enjoyed it and had fun we will book again hopefully next year if the itinary is what we want the dreamliner plane was superb Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I wanted a small ship experience and I was also keen to try out a French ship - I was travelling with my children and they all learn French at school and I thought it would be a good chance for them to practice with natives! And this was a ... Read More
I wanted a small ship experience and I was also keen to try out a French ship - I was travelling with my children and they all learn French at school and I thought it would be a good chance for them to practice with natives! And this was a family sailing too, so I thought there might be some other kids on board for them to befriend. In the event there weren't many other children (though there were some) but my children still spoke French to plenty of the adults who were very friendly and chatted to them in the tender boats or in the pool on the sun deck. It was lovely. And there were some English-speakers on the boat too, so that was fun and they were sat on the table next to us in the restaurant. What did we like about the cruise? We LOVED the food - it was 10/10 gourmet superb and mealtimes were an absolute delight. At first we thought it was too much having a 3-course meal for lunch as well as dinner, but we soon got used to it. And it ended up being much healthier, because none of us snacked between meals which is very unusual for my children! We also loved that the ship stopped in more than one port on some days and that we could just hop off and explore somewhere new for a couple of hours, get back onboard for lunch, then arrive at 2pm somewhere new for the afternoon. It was great fun and really diverse, especially as we loved all the stops. Mljet with its saltwater lakes was awesome. Hvar (like a French St. Tropez) was also great. Vis had a great beach. Split is awesome. Ditto dubrovnik and Kotor where we hiked up to the fortifications which was a real challenge in all that heat. And it was always nice to come back to our ship. The staff were all very friendly and one of our onboard higlights was the first show the staff put on for us! Another highlight was me winning a game played on sun deck whilst at sea. It was a fluke, but I got presented with a bottle of bubbly at dinner that night which was lovely! There was a pool and exercise bikes on the sun deck which was a bonus and suprise considering this is such a small boat. Back to the food - there were a couple of really special touches that I've never had on another ship. One was a BBQ on the sun deck for dinner, whilst we were docked in Split and the other was breakfast on sun deck as we sailed into the stunning bay of Kotor in Montenegro. We only did one shore excursion, preferring otherwise to go it alone, because I didn't think my kids would thank me for dragging them around churches/monasteries. The one place I was so grateful we went it alone was in Mljet where there are two saltwater lakes in the national park. Had we done the excursion there is would have cost about $250 for the four of us. Instead, I just paid for us all to enter the park ($50 approx) and then we walked by oursleves to the lakes where we swam for an hour and a half in one of the most stunning places I have ever swum. Had we done the excursion we wouldn't have had time to swim and would have just seen the glorious lakes and then taken a little boat to a monastery. The shore excursion we DID do was from Sibenik to the Krka National Park. Instead of doing the classic tour (really for the less unadventurous person) we did a new 'dynamic' excursion which was slightly longer, with lots of hiking throug this park which was STUNNING as well as time to swim in one of the park's famous waterfalls. This wasn't cheap this excursion, but it was worth every penny. We had a great day! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were ... Read More
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were small but comfortable, the beds were a little on the hard side for my taste but were still cozy enough to get a good night's sleep. The food on board was wonderful! The kitchen staff outdid themselves at every meal. I swear we barely ever stopped eating on board, as soon as breakfast was cleared, someone was out offering fresh slices of watermelon, then lunch, then a dish of sorbet on the sun deck, then an amazing dinner and cocktails, definitely overdid it but everything was impeccable. The cruise director was always knowledgeable about our ports, giving us plenty of insight on what to do while in each country (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece). I do think the excursions could be improved upon though, they only offered a couple excursions in each port, and they were participation based, so if the one you wanted didn't have enough guests, it didn't happen. That being said, the only port I think an excursion is truly necessary is Albania. My favorite stops were Korcula, Kotor, Anti-Paxos and Paxos (Anti-Paxos had the best beach and bluest waters I've ever seen in my life!). I would gladly travel with Variety in the future, and look forward to the day I get to sail with them again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I just got back from cruising round Croatia and Italy this was my first cruise and I found the over all experience was totally amazing staff and crew bent over backwards to help you and the food was lovely always had a good variety to ... Read More
I just got back from cruising round Croatia and Italy this was my first cruise and I found the over all experience was totally amazing staff and crew bent over backwards to help you and the food was lovely always had a good variety to choose from even had burgers and snacks on if you just wanted something small to eat can't fault any part of my experience the bar staff where brilliant after a few days of being on board they knew what we wanted they where all very polite well mannered and would always try there best to get you what you asked for even though there was a language barrier however there where four bar staff on deck 6 (the promenade deck) there names are Arben, Zakhar,Dede,and Emillian they where a great bunch of guys who made my first cruise a memorable one as they all went that extra mile to help you and always made me smile no matter how I was feeling whether it was being hungover from the night before or just feeling tired they all brightened my day just by giving me a smile and basically doing what they are paid to do and that's to make sure the guests are happy and for that I would highly recommend the marella celebration cruise ship to my friends and family I will definitely be coming back on board again sometime . The cabins where spotless always kept clean didn't do any excursions as it was more of a relaxing holiday so my overall experience of my first cruise was 100% amazing Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
First time on a cruise & it certainly won't be the last. Our cases were taken at the airport & we didn't see them again until we got to our cabin. We were treated like royalty from the moment we got there. Short bus ... Read More
First time on a cruise & it certainly won't be the last. Our cases were taken at the airport & we didn't see them again until we got to our cabin. We were treated like royalty from the moment we got there. Short bus trip from airport to the ship & checking in was very swift & friendly. We were all inclusive & the drinks were plentiful so we didn't feel the need to upgrade our drinks package. The food was out of this world. We ate mainly in the Meridian Restaurant where the service was second to none. It was like dining in a very plush restaurant every meal time. The staff were a credit to the captain, so lovely & friendly and just wanted to ensure you were having the best time. There was one dessert we had that really was probably the most delicious desert that I have ever tasted & I told the waiter...only for him to bring me another one so I could enjoy it again! We had a few snacks in the Lido Restaurant which was their buffet eating area which was open pretty much all the time for food where you could eat indoor or outdoor. The food there was very good too with lots of choice. Hygiene was very important on the ship with hand sanitising machines in all the toilets, in the entrances to all the eating areas & dotted around the ship. We had a cabin with a balcony which was nice as we could retreat there & still enjoy the sun & also it was lovely to stand out there when leaving & coming into port. The cabin staff were brilliant too. Nothing was too much trouble, we had towel animals left each day which were really cute along with a chocolate on our pillow each night. We didn't do any of the planned excursions when in port, we just did our own thing, but it was pretty easy to have a "hop on, hop off" bus trip wherever we were. There was always plenty to do on board & I have to say the entertainment in the evening was out of this world, it was like going to a West End show every evening. Even the Captain was lovely. Made time to speak to any guests he met when he was around the ship. My only niggle (& it's a very small one) is that we had 2 photographs taken of us, one when we arrived on board & another taken of our group at the Captains meal & I decided it would be nice to buy them as a memento. We spoke to one of the photographers who was wandering around where the photos were displayed & said we'd like to buy the 2 photos, he told us we have to buy 3 photos as they're in a offer they were doing. I told him we'd only had 2 photos taken so there wouldn't be a 3rd we could buy & could we not just purchase the 2 we wanted & he told us we couldn't & walked off!!! I wasn't impressed as you know the photos are just going to be destroyed once we'd left so it seemed a bit mean we couldn't buy the 2 we wanted. He seemed very disinterested in us & had a "couldn't care less" attitude. Such a shame as everyone else on the ship was so friendly & helpful. We will definitely be booking another cruise with Marella & have been recommending them already. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
It was mine & the wifes 1st cruise & we wasn't dissapointed, from the lovely suite on the 8th deck, to the 2 cabin stewards Bert & Randy who just couldn't do enough for us, to the entertainment in the Broadway suite ... Read More
It was mine & the wifes 1st cruise & we wasn't dissapointed, from the lovely suite on the 8th deck, to the 2 cabin stewards Bert & Randy who just couldn't do enough for us, to the entertainment in the Broadway suite which was top class, Tom Evans & all the team did a different show every night, & every show was a delight to sit & watch, they deserve all the praise they get, well done guys, to the resident band Strumjam, they were awesome & it was a pleasure to sing with them on a bandioke night, & to all the staff & crew they all work so very hard & some get so little sleep, to the Lido Restaurant with great food every day, to the Compass Rose Restaurant & the fantastic waiter service, to the waiters & waitresses that served our drinks, to the captain & his crew for getting us to our destinations, so thank you all for a awesome 2 weeks aboard the Thomson Spirit.. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise because of its destination, the size of the boat and the fact that it was vetted by Wilderness Travel, an excellent US travel company. Eight of us traveled for a week along the Dalmatian coast and had a wonderful time ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its destination, the size of the boat and the fact that it was vetted by Wilderness Travel, an excellent US travel company. Eight of us traveled for a week along the Dalmatian coast and had a wonderful time thanks to the great crew and the really nice ship. The embarkation was the only little problem we encountered: no one answered the phone earlier that day so we did not know where to go on the pier. Turns out you have to go through a customs office first, which was not mentioned in the instructions. But everything after that was great. All of us would recommend this heartily for people who like low-key vacations in smallish vessels. The only reason some of the ratings below (Enrichment activities, Entertainment, Fitness & recreation) do not get "excellent" is that they refer to large cruise ships and we were very very glad not to have them available. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this particular cruise for its destinations as our son lives in Malta and we hadnt visited any of the other ports before. After a perfect flight and transfer we arrived at the ship around 10am expecting the usual delays in ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for its destinations as our son lives in Malta and we hadnt visited any of the other ports before. After a perfect flight and transfer we arrived at the ship around 10am expecting the usual delays in processing documentation and long wait for our cabins, however all was processed quickly and we were shown stright to our cabins, they were still being prepared so we took advantage of the gorgeous weather on deck while we waited for them. We had read reviews and knew that the Spirit was going out of commission in November and was a little 'tired' in places. This was most evident in the cabins which were quite shabby with old shower rooms, weak showers and loose floor tiles, however it was clean and housekeeping couldn't be faulted with their twice daily visits. We had chosen an outside cabin with a porthole, which was sufficient for us in comparison to an inside with no window. We didn't read the reviews properly when selecting cabins however and ended up at the rear of the ship on deck 2 ( despite asking the Thomson's agent to select 2 together in a decent location). The noise & vibration at this position was quite bad and we only had a good sleep with the aid of few drinks and my trusty earplugs! As it's a smaller ship than most there are fewer restaurants, the Lido is self service buffet style, good for breakfast if you're heading out early or lunch. We found plenty of options with a great variety of salads and hot food. Afternoon tea was served from 3 which we didn't get round to trying as we never felt hungry! Due to an outbreak of gastric symptoms on the previous cruise Norovirus precautions were in place all over the ship with assisted service in the buffet restaurant but this, if anything, improved the service in our opinion! We ate in The Compass Room restaurant most mornings and evenings, here we found lovely food with excellent waiter service, some queues developed around 8pm most nights but there were quickly & efficiently cleared. There was a snack bar poolside serving food all day until 1am if you wanted it. Due to the precautions the pools were closed most of the week, only opening for the last 2 days. The entertainment was where this cruise really excelled. The Broadway lounge presents a different show each night, it's only an hour long but is repeated later in the evening so everyone has a chance to see it. All of the shows were worthy of the the west end and definitely not to be missed. There was something to do all day if you wanted it, quizzes, games, demonstrations, talks, & of course the essential bingo! We booked 2 excursions, Taormina & Montenegro which were excellent, deciding to do our own thing in Taranto, Malta and Igoumenitsa. I wouldn't recommend going alone in either Taranto or Igoumenitsa, we walked quite a distance (in temperatures around 32°) in both ports before reaching the tourist areas and in hindsight should have booked excursions or stayed on ship. Shabby cabin aside we couldn't fault this cruise, a first for my husband's 83 year old mother who thoroughly enjoyed it. We were all inclusive which avoided large bills and tips were included in our price ( although we did tip our favourite waiting, bar and housekeeping staff on the last night). Having cruised several times before I can honestly say that Thomson's surpassed all our expectations and we'll definitely choose them again! Read Less

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