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Sail Date: December 2012
Boarded at Portsmouth in no time and luggage already at cabin.Cabins have been refurbed and it was sufficient for our needs and conveniently positioned near the spa.and lifts. Everyone on board seemed to contract the cabin cough, however, ... Read More
Boarded at Portsmouth in no time and luggage already at cabin.Cabins have been refurbed and it was sufficient for our needs and conveniently positioned near the spa.and lifts. Everyone on board seemed to contract the cabin cough, however, it was probably because we are not used to air conditioning. The crossing over was quite rough,but then it was fine for the rest of the time. Beds comfy, food very good indeed and waiters although they have more tables to deal with than on other cruises it went well and the steaks and fish were very nice. My husband contracted winter vomiting or norovirus on New Years day as well as bronchitis. Fred Olsen do NOT CHARGE for norovirus injections tablets etc but they DO charge for ordinary illness, eg bonchitis.The male nurse, in particular was very good indeed to my husband and we had to stay on board until everyone had left when we docked at Portsmouth. The ship was decorated and there were carol services and a Christmas service, which were well attended with the staff all on stage and the audience taking part. It was nice. There were the usual quoits shuffleboard, quizzes, bridge and various arty things as well as lectures if you wanted them. One thing that is needed for European sailing is heaters outside the lido bar on deck 7 (the only place smoking is allowed) it is freezing trying to smoke in a gale in evening dress. The automatic heaters they use in pub smoking places and Thomson cruises have them on Celebration would be nice and civilised. The entertainment was so, so. The dance crew need new costumes and the comedian and singer were ok, but the panto was absolutely awful, made you embarrasses to look at it, and the seating is bad in the theatre which is really a lounge not a theatre. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, ... Read More
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, quiet and comfortable with a working loo and air-con! The staffing on Thomson has changed quite a lot. Most of the staff we met, with the exception of those in the bar, were Eastern European and not really that cheerful or as accommodating. It does make a difference, and maybe cultural, but you go on holiday to relax. The food was pretty repetitive but to a good standard and the AI drinks not bad at all. We booked early so got it free - my wife can drink for England (probably Europe on a good day) and got through 105 double Malibu's in a week plus wine, Mojitos, and cleaning fluid - she read the bar tariff before the lifebelt instructions to make sure she could get what she wanted. I still reckon that her liver is a life force of its own. The AI list has shrunk from previous years and the only beer on draft is a lager, but its okay. The day before we got on the ship I had my wallet stolen. No problems getting cash from my bank but no replacement cards. I had to deposit £200 at reception, which was okay, but on the last day I wanted to nip ashore with my son to buy some presents - alarm went off when I handed my card to security and I had to go back to reception to settle my bill (they owed me £100) before I could go ashore. One very unhappy little bunny, who did not appreciate the snigger's from others getting off. Could barely understand the receptionist but got the message that they could have stopped me at the exit and held me while they called the purser? That would have been a better way then? It could just be my shifty look I suppose but I felt that this whole incident was poor customer service especially as my account was in credit and another member of my party, sharing a cabin with me, was still aboard. I know some people will say this isn't their fault etc but you had to be there! Must say that the fireworks in Maderia on New Years Eve were the best I have ever seen - worth the cost of the trip alone! Two formal nights - Captains Cocktail Party was attended by people in shorts and football shirts! Dress code does not, obviously, apply. Would I go with Thomson again? Yes, I probably would but they don't improve and after quite a few cruises with them, they are getting worse - price and the AI makes them look attractive. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We have cruised on almost every major cruiseline and heard many derogatory remarks regarding NCL. Last year we cruised on the NCL Jade twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We recently cruised on a B2B on the Spirit over ... Read More
We have cruised on almost every major cruiseline and heard many derogatory remarks regarding NCL. Last year we cruised on the NCL Jade twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We recently cruised on a B2B on the Spirit over Christmas. This is a very special ship - obviously not built to NCL's requirements, which showed in the placement of the Blue Lagoon. However, she has a most attractive Asian decor, with some interesting and unusual artefacts dotted around. The balcony cabin was on the small side, but perfectly functional, clean and pleasant. The staff are truly exceptional - very friendly and service oriented. The food was very good and well presented and we enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The Casino was very hot and smokey - which prevented us spending as much time there as we usually do, which was a pity, as the staff there were very attentive. We really enjoyed this ship - its the perfect size - not too large, but large enough to have all the entertainment facilities we needed. No climbing wall etc., but there was a very nice pool area for small children. The music on board was excellent - varied enough to suit most tastes. The senior officers were very approachable and, except for the Captain, very visible. We can't comment on the ports, as we spent sixteen days on board without getting off once!! We cruise for the ships not the ports. I can thoroughly recommend this ship - perhaps older in style than the new glitzy ships, but very elegant and offering a very enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not ... Read More
The ship was okay. Very clean and the staff helpful but I was left with a very poor image of the Company - Cruise and Maritime. Christmas was a big non event. The ship was barely decorated for Xmas. New Year was slightly better but not much. The ship advertises for the 60+ age group but realistically it is aimed at 80+ and all the events on board are aimed at this age group. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. I have not approached the company as I do not want recompense for my trip. I just want others to know what it is really like. The entertainment was average to poor. Imagine on New Year's Eve at 55 years to be given a song sheet from the first World War. A woman in our group nearly cried! I was not the only person feeling like this. I was told that 26 people had left the ship at various destinations on route. Some were ill but I was led to believe that most just could not stand it any longer. I met many people on the cruise and very few had a good word to say about it. Some may argue that I am moaning for the sake of it. No - I still work and work hard for my money and my time out, as does my partner. I have never been on a holiday before and not only wished the days to pass quicker, but did start to feel depressed and would have preferred being at work. If you are looking for a holiday with good food and entertainment, LOOK ELSEWHERE! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We have returned from the New Year 2012/3 cruise to the Canaries on the Thompson Majesty. The Majesty is Thomsons newest ship and having been many times on the other ships we were interested to try it out and see if it is better than the ... Read More
We have returned from the New Year 2012/3 cruise to the Canaries on the Thompson Majesty. The Majesty is Thomsons newest ship and having been many times on the other ships we were interested to try it out and see if it is better than the older ships, so when we saw it was in Madeira for new years Eve we jumped at the chance. The Majesty despite being a 'newer' ship is still old and in need of updating and the numerous failed glazing units spoil the appearance and despite being purpose built the design is poor. There does not seem to be a heart or outstanding feature such as atrium or staircase. The ship vibrated really badly when at low speed - which was most of the time at sea - which you could feel and hear particularly in the Jubilee Lounge near the stage area and also in some cabins. Although not a last minute booking all the outside plus cabins on decks 3-4 had gone so we had to take the basic outside cabin which is very small, but not as bad as we feared, just no spare space and have to take it in turns to move around. The cabin only had room for a 50cm wide chest of drawers and a single wardrobe, which was just big enough to accommodate clothes for a 1 week cruise. Although it could be configured as a double this would mean pushing the 2 beds together against the wall and climbing over each other so we left it as twin. The standard size shower room was fine. The safe took up valuable space in the wardrobe and the charge for this is excessive. I think the Plus cabins would be a lot better if you don't want to be so cramped. Our cabin was quiet and we had no problems with air-con, water temperature or blocked/delayed action toilets which plague the other ships but don't know if we were just lucky this time. There are two main restaurants - the Seven Seas and the smaller Four Seasons, both had a buffet and waiter service at breakfast, lunch was waiter or buffet service in Seven Seas only, evening meal was waiter service only, the same menu in both. The standard of food was good, but was not exceptional, generally hot/luke warm (though unfortunately at the gala meals both the lobster and salmon were cold - should have sent them back), what you normally receive at 3 to 4 star hotel. You could upgrade to a steak for £10 or visit the speciality restaurant for £19 for a special meal, but we didn't try it. We used the Four Seasons for evening dinner on most evenings, going early to miss the busy time when guests often had to wait to get a table in both venues. Breakfasts had a good choice, especially if you like a full English. Lunch in 7 Seas was either served or take pot-luck on the buffet as not on menu, but always a good salad and hot meal. The service varied between barely adequate and good depending on table. Other venues for food were the 24 hour Cafe Royal Buffet which changed the menu daily dependant on time of day, with a lunchtime grill serving outside by the pool. The Piazza San Marco Pool Grill open from lunch through afternoon serving freshly made pizza, and burgers, sausages and salads. The main entertainment location is the Jubilee Lounge, not a theatre and no head room for the usual head-dresses and lifts in the dancing, so it is only suitable for cabaret acts and small group entertainments, so not the West End type entertainment which we like on the Thomson ships, though they did manage to stage a very good Moulin Rouge show. The stage is raised but there are a lot of support columns in the lounge to restrict a good view of the dance floor. The band which played before and after each show were quite good. Also UK comedian and a singer twice weekly, and professional dance couple, so there was plenty of entertainment. All the venues air conditioning seems to be set very cold especially here. The Royal Fireworks Lounge had a small stage for band or singers and a small dance floor, this was also used for bingo and the usual quiz and light entertainment shows such as Mr and Mrs etc which are always fun, and a band plays in the evening. There are other musicians performing around the ship. Plenty of bars and good service in the lounges. Drinks are not cheap - the prices steadily rise, but only about what you would expect to pay in a 4* hotel, and no 15% service + tip to pay makes them quite reasonable. The ship was still nicely decorated for Christmas, including some huge gingerbread houses made by the crew. New Years Eve docked in Funchal Madeira with numerous other cruise ships was really nice and never to be forgotten, pleasant for wandering around and the Christmas Markets still in full flow. The ships all played a specially prepared ships horn tune in the evening, but we couldn't make out a tune, maybe onshore away from the ships. The gala meal menu was good (though no Haggis for New Year!), hats and balloons for everyone. The Funchal New Years fireworks are rated amongst the finest in the world, and was about the best I have seen, the atmosphere on the ship was very good with explosions all around and a glass of bubbly provided, and mega part-poppers but despite the great efforts of the entertainments team round the pool the deck party after was a bit subdued with not enough room to dance and celebrate. Most of the Ports in the itinerary were a bit of a walk away but still handy to wander around. The weather was not too hot but dry and was fine for January. Overall: Good points - the Thomson formula that we like - maybe not the best but good atmosphere, good food, good entertainment, all Brits, good price - tips and service included etc. Bad points - the ship just seems to be missing something, no wow-factor - there is no 'heart' or outstanding feature such as atrium or staircase. Basic cabins are VERY small, and no balcony cabins Dining rooms too small for open sitting, indoor buffet area too small for cold or wet days. No room for a decent deck party or deck entertainment area, other ships have a stage and space to dance and to watch activities, no sunbeds round pools, and sunbathing area too small (which is always the case) and very cramped. No theatre, Jubilee lounge has no proper stage and is too small to stage the big shows, and still lots of pillars to restrict view. We enjoyed our New Year cruise and there is a good atmosphere on board, but overall I think the Thomson Majesty ship is the poorest of the Thomson fleet, we would go on her again, but only for a really special itinerary like this one and otherwise would choose to return to the other ships. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Embarkation, after a taxi from Barcelona Airport (half the price of NCL bus!), took merely minutes and we were on board before cabins were available - so we took advantage of lunch in Blue Lagoon, a 24/7 cafe. The cabin was beautifully ... Read More
Embarkation, after a taxi from Barcelona Airport (half the price of NCL bus!), took merely minutes and we were on board before cabins were available - so we took advantage of lunch in Blue Lagoon, a 24/7 cafe. The cabin was beautifully clean and well presented. Cabin steward was courteous, friendly and efficient. It was a delight to get reports from the bridge over the PA, and the Finnish captain was friendly and kept us regularly informed (whereas with MSC we never heard from the captain, and feel he may not have sailed with us!) DINING was a delight, and better than we experienced on Jewel or Jade. Using mainly the free dining rooms (Alizar and Grand Pacific) for dinner each evening, service was excellent, menu selection was good, and food was produced quickly, beautifully cooked and well presented! The Brazilian diner was an extra cost restaurant - but was worth the $20 surcharge for the different dining experience! As on other NCL ships, the Garden Cafe buffet was exceptionally good, with great variety, and only modest quantities being on display (to prevent drying out), but topped up continually! Always courteous friendly service ... And an exceptional attention at all times and in all dining rooms to passengers being made to use hand sanitizer! Sincere congratulations to the head chef for his superb food! DRINKS on this ship the bar service was less high pressured than on Gem or Jewel, waiters were around when required and service was great. Sadly, prices were rather high (especially wines at dinner), and whilst adding 15% is tolerable for waiter service, I deeply resented going to the bar to get a dring, and still getting a 15% surcharge for self service! ENTERTAINMENT ... The best of any ship I have been on! Frequently full houses for both shows each evening, and variety, polish and presentation were excellent! Shows ran for at least 45 min. And the star show 'Elements' was a breathtaking tribute to Cirque du Soleil, mixed with magic and live music! Better than brilliant!!! ...and almost 75 mins! ... And the technicians who 'operated' the theatre deserve great credit for their skill and professionalism, changing lavish 'sets' each day ... And never a slip in their presentations! (again, on MSC a lavish theatre seemed to have one amateur operator, and one show was only 12 mins!) On the down side, the shore excursions seemed expensive, but in most ports, busses operated free or for token charges into the towns, and the hop-on hop-off City Tour busses were great for getting round the towns (Funchal, Teneriffe, Lanzarotte and Malaga). Yes, as reported in another review, bags were x-rayed, but NCL seem very security conscious - and I thank them for that! Altogether, FREESTYLE cruising (formality optional and not essential) works well for me! The lack of tipping (daily cabin surcharge) means the staff are friendly and efficient ... Great food, great entertainment, it all made it a great holiday for me! Thanks NCL! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We booked this cruise extremely last minute as the cruise we had originally booked on was cancelled a few days before we were due to sail!! Boudicca was sailing in and out of Portsmouth and within easy distance to our home, managed to get ... Read More
We booked this cruise extremely last minute as the cruise we had originally booked on was cancelled a few days before we were due to sail!! Boudicca was sailing in and out of Portsmouth and within easy distance to our home, managed to get a superior cabin (which glad we chose)and one of the stops was Madeira - for the fireworks (something that has been on our must-do list) Embarkation was easy, we did arrive a bit earlier than stated, but found did not have to queue to check-in, although did have to wait about an hour before we were called to embark. Once aboard we went directly to our cabin which was on the Lido deck, and first time ever, our luggage was there :-) We did expect that we would have found some sort of lunch available - even tho it was a bit late for that.A disappointment! But we went to the Secret Garden and had Tea with a roll etc. which we managed to survive till 8.30 (second sitting.) The ship we found was easy to get around, as we were on the Lido deck (7),reception, shops on 5, the Neptune lounge, dining rooms,swimming pool etc. being one below on 6, library, Internet and Lido lounge on 7, Observatory "lounge" which we used a lot on 9. The ship being a "mature" lady we found her similar to a welcoming comfortable friend, like an old English established hotel, with regular clientele - it has apparently been "upgraded" beginning of 2011, not quite sure what, apparently the gym was on deck 4 and now top of the ship!! New carpets, not sure about that, but reserve judgement. We did find her rather "tired" but that is our humble opinion. Our cabin was a very good size (200 sq ft)An extremely comfy mattress, the shower was over the bath, personally would have just preferred a shower cubicle! Our windows looked out to the Promenade, but did have a coating on the windows. The food, we feel, was the best we have had on any holiday - and we have travelled quite extensively. To have Beef of such a wonderful quality in the dining room!!! The was a very good choice for Vegetarians, fish eaters etc. The entertainment was pleasantly acceptable, a very good Jazz sextet, Classical guitarist, Male & female singer, comedian, together with various pianists trios, duos round the ship, together with 7 young dancers/singers who also doubled as "cruise helpers" round the ship. We enjoyed the ports the first being Casablanca and then 5 islands of the Canaries and finally Madeira. We found the port info given was not good enough, yes I know all cruise companies want to sell their tours, but today many more passengers, like to do their own thing. To offer shuttles at ports at £5 per head, when able bodied people can easily walk, is not on. Yes offer the shuttles for those who want them, but.... We only used the shuttle at Casablanca, but then needn't have!! Unfortunately the crossing of the Bay of Biscay upon our return I found a bit too uncomfy, and were grateful for the tablets I had taken - that can happen on any ship! The day before we were due to return, we were advised by the captain that we would be returning to Southampton and not Portsmouth, as the weather was not good and too windy etc. etc For us it was not a problem. All passengers were offered a free 5 min call or Internet access to change arrangements. Those passengers who had left their vehicles in Portsmouth were coached back complimentary. Most of the passengers we chatted to we found only travel Fred Olsen and are a mature age, but still knew how to enjoy themselves. Constructive criticism, no Tea Pots , we don't like Tea poured out of a "Thermos" Even tho we had an enjoyable and restful cruise, not sure we would sail with FO again, maybe just a bit too old fashioned for us. Would definitely recommend the ship for the "food" - great Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first experience with an American ship.We expected it to be large, but it didn't seem to be when we went to embark. We were forward, and the dining room was aft, so there was always quite a walk there and back,either ... Read More
This was our first experience with an American ship.We expected it to be large, but it didn't seem to be when we went to embark. We were forward, and the dining room was aft, so there was always quite a walk there and back,either along the corridor then up 2 decks, or going up then walking through the pool areas. We had no problems finding a table, and there was a varied choice in the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch.The downside was that there were no trays to carry the food to a table. We chose first sitting and were placed in Romeo and Juliet, on deck 3. On the whole we both said that P&O dinners were better.Independence served a set amount on the plate; if you wanted extra vegetables you have to ask for them.The dining room crew were really great, doing everything possible, and very friendly.There wasn't always much variety in the dishes offered.The evening shows weren't bad, though one "comedy" act was shades of Norman Wisdom/Tommy Cooper,but not really funny. Prices in the bars were very expensive, having 15% added as tips.Quite a lot of people talked about the way the options for tipping were continually advertised.Much was said about pre- paid tips, which took a set amount from each passenger.Vouchers were given to cabin steward and dining room waiters and head waiter at the last night. It was suggested that the amount those crew received was not the whole amount that had been quoted. Some staff said it was important that they were described as "excellent" in the questionnaires, otherwise they might not be taken on again for a future voyage.The whole subject of tipping was controversial. If it is expected, and deducted from the passengers' accounts, then it is not a discretionary amount given as a mark of appreciation for exemplary service; rather it could be construed as a subsidy to the crew's wages. There is a jogging/walking track on deck 12, though the distance of 3 laps making 1 kilometre and 5 laps making a mile doesn't equate.5 miles equals 8kms.Sometimes in the early mornings it was very windy, but the fitness centre has plenty of treadmills to use without a fee, so it was still possible to get some exercise. P&O give more information in their daily programme of events. We didn't find any list of channels for the cabin TV.You had to scroll down to find out what there was. The lifeboat drill wasn't really much use. Some P&O ships had the drill outside with lifebelts and you were shown how to put them on. On the Independence, you went to the designated station, but didn't have to take the lifebelt with you.If you want to look round the galley, you have to pay. There were some events in the Royal Promenade running the length of deck 5,and they were colourful.New Year's Eve was fun.However, with such a large crowd an emergency could have been chaotic.All entrances to public rooms have hand sanitisers. In the lifts the voice is English, but in the toilets, the reminder to wash your hands is American.Under 21s aren't allowed alcohol, and there is a 1.0am curfew for young people. We hope to use P&O again,but aren't too sure about Royal Caribbean, but that is just our opinion. We had done this destination some years ago, so we just explored the ports of Vigo, Lisbon and La Corunna. Lisbon on New year's Day and being a Sunday, nearly everywhere was closed.surprisingly the previous evening's revellry left the streets in a mess, rather like it often is at home.If using a shuttle at the ports expect to pay 10 dollars round trip.La Coruna Spain This was the final port. It was built on an isthmus, and is sheltered. We had a walk round some of the streets. One or two shops were open on a Sunday, but most were cafes and restaurants. There was quite a large marina, and there was a very large square with some imposing buildings. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. ... Read More
We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 girls aged 16 & 12. Embarkation was good we were on board 20 minutes after handing over our luggage. We did speak to others on board who took longer due to several coaches turning up at once. Windjammer food was overall good but breakfast items like bacon, sausages etc were only ever warm and cold after 5/10 minutes on the plate. Several days I opted for a freshly cooked omelette which was always piping hot. Variety at other mealtimes was very good I found the chicken coconut curry especially nice. We used the main dining room most nights where the food was fine but lacked much variety perhaps we expected too much. The staff were nice, friendly great with the girls but not as professional as we had encountered on Adventure and Voyager. Cutlery for different courses had to be asked for a couple of times, we weren't always told what the recommended dishes were and they were unable to answer fairly basic questions about the ports despite being on board for a few months. They announced during the cruise that our dining room staff had won the best in company award for 2011 so we may have just been unlucky or spoiled previously. I opted for the basic beer package which included house wines for $39 per day, it also allows 20% discount on any other drinks purchased so I used it as a way to buy reduced priced drinks for my wife who was in our second cabin. No additional tip is added. Overall it was good value and I will use it again. Our children had soda fountain packages. Room stewards were very good and worked around our erratic timings. The mini bars were emptied on request and fresh ice was supplied every day. The entertainment was good not great apart from the ice show which was very good.We tried mystery theatre and that was good fun. New year Eve was very busy especially on the promenade but was no different from most town centres at this time of year. Countdown had everyone joining in, decked out in the hats, beads and rattles supplied by RCI. Our children loved the Living Room and made many new friends doing all the activities arranged by the staff. Living room staff do a difficult job dealing with teenagers remarkably well. We didn't pay much attention to the Lisbon or Vigo preferring to spend time off ship at the Canaries and Madeira. We did get off at La Curuna for a wonder round. Madeira was our favourite port probably due to tobogganing. The mix of passengers was overwhelmingly British with a sprinkling of American, European and few South Americans. Overall an enjoyable cruise were we met lots of friendly folk including a few from our home town! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our ... Read More
My husband booked this cruise to celebrate my 65th birthday and we had reservations about cruising with RCI before we booked. We could not fault the ship it was beautiful and our cabin steward one of the best we have encountered. Our only real complaint was that we had asked for a special menu as I am diabetic and also have raised cholesterol. In spite of asking several times no special menu was forthcoming and I was told by the waiter to choose from the Vitality menu. This rather spoilt the cruise as I wasn't sure what the ingredients were in the dishes. Before we cruised my children tried to arrange a Celebration package for me and early in December rang RCI office in England. The member of staff didn't seem to know much about this and told them to ring again after Xmas. They did and were told it was too late now to arrange anything. Unless you were very keen on quizzing there was very little in the way of daytime entertainment except for some excellent lectures on the Ports of Call. The evening entertainment was a but hit and miss the comedy magician was awful as was one of the comedians and the Productions shows were tedious. Read Less

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