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35 Limassol to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Apologies in advance – this is going to be quite a long but hopefully balanced review. To cut it short, if I was asked about whether I’d cruise on the Spirit again, the answer would be ‘probably not’. Not because of the ship ... Read More
Apologies in advance – this is going to be quite a long but hopefully balanced review. To cut it short, if I was asked about whether I’d cruise on the Spirit again, the answer would be ‘probably not’. Not because of the ship itself - we knew it was older and would be a little worn in places, but it was charming. Rather, our reticence reflects some of the issues we experienced. Similarly, it would take some persuasion before we booked another Marella cruise unless we could be assured that their other ships had a rather better offering that that we experienced on the Spirit. There were plenty of positives so not all moans and groans. Our flights were on time and uneventful although the hand luggage allowance on TUI is unnecessarily low – lower than I’ve experienced on other airlines and something that lots of passengers similarly complained about. It’s certainly a budget airline with limited space and no frills but then we knew that. Things were well-organised on arrival and our embarkation to the ship was quick and hassle-free. The ship itself was charming. A nice size with plenty of space and facilities but without feeling like a characterless ocean-going apartment complex. We should also mention the shore excursions - these were well-priced and good value compared to other lines. Our suite (119) was large and comfortable with lots of storage space and a great bathroom (of which more later). Not sure why we could only have cream in the room with the tea and coffee making facilities though – milk would be much better for tea drinkers so we resorted to taking some from the Lido buffet each day and keeping it in the fridge. For those wondering about the suites, I’d say they are worth the price of the upgrade – very spacious and quiet. You get the safe included (rather than paying extra) as well as a few perks like quick check in, some ironing and a free room service breakfast. You also know you’re going to get a proper king size bed rather than risking an L shape twin configuration if that’s important to you. Elemis products in the bathroom were much nicer than a wall-mounted detergent dispenser. Our cabin attendants were great too – the ship may be old but the cabin was spotless and well-maintained. And we loved the nice line in towel-folding courtesy of Valentina. Shame that some of our towels were well past their use by date though - I didn't really want to receive a clean towel with someone's mascara stains on it. However despite the best efforts of the crew, there are some issues with the ship that require urgent remedial attention. The plumbing system is one – we were not impressed when we realised that when the people next door were showering, their waste water (and some lovely drain smells) was coming back up through the plug hole in our bathroom. If we put the plug in, the pressure was strong enough to move it out of the way so that didn’t work and the base of our bath near the plug hole was covered in dirt and scum after next door’s ablutions. Despite repeated attempts over a couple of days, the plumbers on board were not able to properly resolve this problem although to be fair the staff at reception were genuinely concerned and did what they could to try and get things sorted out for us. I don’t think our cabin was an isolated incident though. I’d read another review which mentioned a strong smell of urine when entering parts of the ship, which I had assumed was just an isolated complaint by someone who was particularly sensitive to such issues – but sadly I have to confirm they were right! We avoided one of the lounge areas completely for the whole cruise because of this. There must have been a previous leak on to the carpets in that area, but the clean-up had not successfully got rid of the underlying vague stale background smell – not a good first impression when we were wandering around the ship on the first night. Others have commented on the notorious shudder of the ship, even when docked. Well it was certainly noticeable - in particular in the Horizons Bar on the top deck - one of our favourite venues but you'd not want to go there with loose fillings! I suspect that whatever is causing this is too expensive to put right though, so if you want a completely smooth sail, go on another ship. Nevertheless we enjoyed some great company and met many lovely fellow passengers with whom we'll keep in contact. I wish we could say the same thing about some of the crew. We’d heard so many good things about how friendly the crew were on the Spirit and we did experience some of that; but on more than one occasion we encountered downright rudeness. Perhaps it was to do with being the final cruise of a long 9 month season, but we were surprised. Staff working in bar areas in particular seemed to be over-worked and weren’t at all friendly – perhaps they didn't have time to be given how few of them there seemed to be, but this was very different from our previous experiences on CMV (Magellan) and Cunard (Q Victoria). We were also surprised - and not in a good way - at the quality of the food, having read other glowing reviews. Our room service breakfast included croissants that had either been stored too long and gone off, or been made with rancid butter – very unpleasant indeed (again, to be fair, reception dealt well with this when we informed them). Forget healthy cereals for breakfast - there were no sugar free options. Dinners in the Compass Rose never quite hit the mark and although individual dishes were OK, we never had a complete meal that was good from start to finish. Sadly it was the mains that were usually the weakest link – cheap ingredients and gloopy sauces that gave off every indication of having come from a packet mix. A meal in Scirocco’s was similarly disappointing – I’d never before had a lamb shank that was tough and chewy with no sauce. But I have now. This was without doubt the worst food we’ve experienced on a cruise. We expected Cunard to be much better and it was – it should be given the price you pay – but we thought Thomson/Marella would be a match for CMV. Sadly we thought wrong – on the Magellan our meals were always at least good and sometimes surprisingly so; on the Spirit they were adequate, occasionally veering towards good in parts. The food was nowhere near as good as you’d get from a decent pub let alone a good restaurant. Suffice to say, the best food we had on this trip was the meals we ate off the boat. On board, it’s probably best to make wise choices from the Lido buffet rather than have high expectations from the restaurants. We had the AI drinks package that was included at the time of booking, and the house wines were good – the red in particular – so no problems there. House spirits were OK too, and you could always upgrade to something better for a small extra charge. People seemed less happy with the beer choices but that wasn't an issue for us. Cocktails were best avoided though – weak, watery and unimpressive, they were probably made with cheap mixes and were only vague approximations of what they could have been. There were some good entertainment options available. Strum Jam are very talented and I can see why they command such a following. Singers in the main shows were better than we’ve experienced on other cruises although the shows were let down by bland and unadventurous choreography – we got the sense that the team were talented dancers but they hadn’t been given the choreography to let them show off their skills. It’s a shame the shows were to backing tapes (again an area where CMV does better with a good live band in their main theatre) and the music offerings around the ship were limited to (mostly) rock and some jazz. An area with a bit of classical music like we had on the Magellan would also have been nice but that wasn’t on offer here. So, overall I can see why people love the ship – but it needs a bit of urgent plumbing work while it’s in dry dock over the winter. I don’t understand the comments about how good the food is though – it really isn’t. This felt like a cruise where costs had been cut to the bone and we were glad to get off after the week had passed. Thankfully we had another three days in Paphos in a lovely hotel (The King Jason, owned by the Louis company who ironically also run the Spirit on behalf of Marella) where we experienced the kind of service we’d hoped to receive on the ship. Hopefully our experience was unusual and perhaps affected by the fact that we were on the final sailing of a long season but, with regret, despite its charm the Spirit is probably not a ship we’d travel on again unless we knew that Marella had upped their game quite considerably. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
From the minute you embark to the moment of disembarkation the service exceeds your expectations. This is one of the most friendliest of ships and the crew go out of their way to ensure you have a good time. The ship is in much need of the ... Read More
From the minute you embark to the moment of disembarkation the service exceeds your expectations. This is one of the most friendliest of ships and the crew go out of their way to ensure you have a good time. The ship is in much need of the refit which is being undertaken over the next few months. The entertainment team are exceptionally good and the energy and enthusiasm is infectious. The food is varied and you have a choice of the Lido restaurant (for casual dining) and the Compass Rose for waiter service and then there is Sirocco's (a la carte and well worth the £20 supplement), we ate there 3 times in one week. Our cabin 201 was well serviced and in an excellent position facing forward and under the bridge on deck 6. We did this cruise not necessarily for the ports of call, as we had been to them before, but because it was the last Thomson cruise out of Limassol. Please come back soon we will miss you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
My wife and I plus our two children (aged 32 and 21) enjoyed an excellent cruise on this old ship in the second week of November. We flew from Bristol to Paphos and then visited Alanya, Marmaris (both Turkey), Heraklion (Crete), Ashdod ... Read More
My wife and I plus our two children (aged 32 and 21) enjoyed an excellent cruise on this old ship in the second week of November. We flew from Bristol to Paphos and then visited Alanya, Marmaris (both Turkey), Heraklion (Crete), Ashdod Israel (two days). THE SHIP This was our fourth Thomson Cruise (previous Emerald, Celebration and Sprit) so we knew what to expect. See my previous review of Canaries Cruise on Spririt in Nov 16. This is important because the experience is somewhat different from what you get on the big, new ships. Spirit is an old ship (it was due to be sold this year but is now being kept on another year) and you can see that in the somewhat tired décor (e.g. missing tiles around pool), small technical issues and noisy engines. If this sort of thing is important for you, look elsewhere. The positives for us: • The ship is smaller and hence easier to get around • Although the tight budget for meals shows in the sort of cuts of meat used , the food is good overall. • If you want a bit of luxury book the Sirocco Restaurant for just £20 each per night (menu there includes steaks, lobster and beautifully served). • Wonderfully friendly and helpful crew – and plenty of them so food and drinks also served quickly. • Good musicians in the two excellent house bands. Stage shows were to backing tracks though with good singers. Comedian was good. • Great value all inclusive package – we paid £650 pp for the week including flights from our local airport, drinks and one outside and one inside cabin on a mid deck. • Despite most guests being all inclusive, no sign of over indulgence or raucous behavior. Perhaps the average age helped here – most in their 50s/60s/70s. THE ITINERARY Knowing the ship, the most important issue for us was the itinerary. Positives for us: • SE Med gave us great weather with 23C or more every day and no rain over the week. • The ports were interesting Alanya (beautiful small Turkish resort), Marmaris (smart marina and interesting town, wonderful approach to the sheltered bay). Heraklion (for Knossos and wonderful archeological museum( and of course Ashdod in Israel (Jerusalem and Bethlehem first day, Masada and Dead Sea second day). • Apart from Israel, it is easy to organize your own excursions in port. We booked taxis in Alanya and Crete and in Marmaris just walked into the town – see below. THE EXCURSIONS Alanya – a lovely surprise. A beautiful small resort, just room for our ship to dock, glorious views from the castle high above. We walked into the two (50m form the ship!), ignored the taxis clustered there (who wanted Euro50 to take us up and back to the castle) and found a taxi driver in the town who did the trip for Euro30. He was brilliant stopping a couple of times on the way up for photos and then paid our entry fee into the castle. IMPORTANT TIP. Euros are widely accepted in Turkey but govt museums and other sites like this castle only accept Lira. Fortunately our driver paid for us to go in and we then gave him the equivalent Euros. On getting back in town we then wandered along the prom and sat on the very nice beach for a while. Marmaris. We had sailed from here before but this was the first time we were able to look around. A very smart port with a new marina and shopping centre but the old town within easy walking. TIP – again you need Lira to get into the small castle. Otherwise all shops take Euros. Heraklion. Rather than pay £45 each for an excursion we found a taxi driver who would take us to Knossos, wait an hour for us (which is long enough) and then take us to the archeological museum for Euros50 for the four of us. From there you can walk back to the port easily enough. This worked very well. Ashdod. Israel was clearly the highlight of the trip. We decided to pack in as much as we could and so opted for full day excursions both days. First Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Coach took us to Jerusalem (though heavy traffic), visited Gethsemane, then Mount of Olives then dropped us by Jaffa Gate for a walking tour which took us to Church of Holy Sepulchre, then down Via Dolorossa to Wailing Wall. The Churches are relatively small and PACKED as were the narrow streets of the city but a wonderful experience visiting these unique venues. The to Bethlehem we here we had lunch (excellent lunch in very nice hotel) and then to Manger Square and the Church of the Holy Nativity. Again pretty chaotic and massive crowds packed into a small Church (some of which was undergoing internal restoration so shrouded in scaffolding). Note that Bethlehem is within the West Bank so you go through a check point from Jerusalem. No issues though as you are on a bus with guides. Second Day. Long trip (2 hours) to Masada via Jerusalem (not stopping). Masada is the ancient fortress made famous in the film of the same name. This is reached via a modern cable car – very impressive and with incredible views. Then to modern resort hotel for excellent lunch and then a chance to “float” (you can’t swim) in Dead Sea. Unforgettable experience and great to have a luxury resort facilities of the hotel for changing, showering etc. Our children thought this excursion with best day. Note. The excursions were EXPENSIVE. C £104 pp per trip – so the four of us spent over £800 over the two days. Both trips involved quite a bit of walking and over uneven ground. Some guests organized their own trip to Jerusalem – you can catch the train from Ashdod – they saved quite a bit of money. We wanted the convenience of the tour, local guides were excellent, tours included areas where it would be difficult to go alone, lunches were great - overall not bad value. SUMMARY It was a great value cruise, at a good time (late Autumn) flying from our local airport on a ship we know and like and a brilliant itinerary. Thomson is now Tui and the cruise line is called Marella but I am sure we will be using them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have had several cruises including P and O and on Thomson, the Spirit offers good value which is spoilt by TUI/Thomson screwing every last penny form you. We had the drinks package and on previous ships to get a drink you showed one ... Read More
We have had several cruises including P and O and on Thomson, the Spirit offers good value which is spoilt by TUI/Thomson screwing every last penny form you. We had the drinks package and on previous ships to get a drink you showed one card. On this trip it was one card per drink, with thomson's little extra cost on many drinks. To cap it all they charged for water both in the cabins and in the bars. I found this most weird as spirits were free??? This fact wound most people up. The food was OK generally but i felt that the number of staff had been cut so service was slow. Open dining caused a problem every evening with huge queues at 8.00pm. Th al la carte was good value, we did it twice and found the second visit lower standard in the food quality. The ship is going out of service in November which is probably a good idea as she is getting a bit tired in the bar areas and generally in the cabins. The checkout at Limassol was poor with no staff to guide you to the cases but the worst part was at the airport where we had the passports checked 3 times before we got to the duty free area. i am all for security but this was stupid, and why do you need a boarding card to buy a newspaper? Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Cabin ok but we booked a sea-view we could see a lifeboat hull! Food average, too little choice for non-meat eaters, the service was good to ok outside restaurant, sporadic inside. Pools are minuscule and the jacuzzi was out of order all ... Read More
Cabin ok but we booked a sea-view we could see a lifeboat hull! Food average, too little choice for non-meat eaters, the service was good to ok outside restaurant, sporadic inside. Pools are minuscule and the jacuzzi was out of order all trip. Excursions not good value, the Alanya tour was a waste of time, best to do DIY, Same with Athens a taxi to the centre was 20 euros we saved around £100 and did everything. The entertainment was of a very amateur standard, I left the Blues brother tribute 10 mins into it, not good. Costly drinks of reasonable standard. DO NOT get the drinks package at £199 each, a rip off, there are cheaper packages available on the first day of the cruise (they don't they you that when you book!) The staff work their socks off and were generally excellent but slow service in the lido (busy), Wouldn't use Thompson again........... Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My mother in law, a wheel chair user chose this trip as we have travelled on the Spirit before and the cruise had some distinct advantages. The ship is generally wheel chair friendly, the wheel chair user cabins are spacious and are at ... Read More
My mother in law, a wheel chair user chose this trip as we have travelled on the Spirit before and the cruise had some distinct advantages. The ship is generally wheel chair friendly, the wheel chair user cabins are spacious and are at the front of the ship on deck 7 and command great views, none of the ports of call required a tender and most of all the Staff. All the staff are friendly and particularly Wally and Mido's with the lovely Lana serving drinks in the Compass Rose Restaurant. We booked the cruise on line whilst the drink's package was on offer within the price. I would like to commend Thomson's for organising the assistance - From East Midlands through to Paphos and return was excellent - Row 1 seats on the flight out and back, Taxi meeting us at Paphos with direct wheelchair access and taking all four of us to the ship and the return journey. The help offered on the ship on embarkation and disembarkation by the ships crew was excellent. The ship is small enough for Mum to self propel around. Wheelchair spaces are reserved in the Showlounge. The ship is getting to the end of her sell by date and will be returning to Celestyal Cruises - formerly Louse Cruises at the end of the year. That said the crew are constantly looking after her - from her teak decks to handrails to the passenger areas - she is in surprising good shape with vestiges of her original decor as the Nieuw Amsterdam with HAL. She has a judder - we noticed it less this time - we chose midships deck 7 rather than at the front. Thomson Cruises are rather like Premier Inns - good value for money. They know their market well and cater for the British and Irish market. Like Premier Inn - if you want good quality shampoo, conditioner and body lotion - bring your own, likewise with the hair dryer. What you will get though is tea and coffee making facilities in your room, you can go and buy a bottle of whatever spirit you fancy in the shop at duty free prices and drink it in your cabin. The entertainment is solid and there are plenty of quiz and games. Also lots of sitting areas inside and out for those who want to watch the outside world and a good games room for playing cards and board games. Like most cruise lines the excursions offered are not often wheelchair friendly so what we look for are long, flat promenade areas and reasonable wheelchair access in ports. Our first stop was Kusadasi - a lovely long promenade from where the ship docks to the Marina on the otherside of the bay. The bazaar area was also reasonably accessible. A good time was had by all - luckily my husband and I and our Aunt had already visited Ephesus - none of us thought it would be wheelchair friendly - so we stayed in Kusadasi. Try the Turkish Breakfast at Carpe Diem – the food just kept coming and at a very reasonable price. Next Athens - the highlight of the trip. We did think about using the hop on hop off bus as we were told they were wheelchair friendly - anyway the upshot of it was that we hired a taxi with an English driver who took us on a tour that was excellent - First stop the Acropolis and we were there before the crowds - You can get a reduced price if you are retired but take some proof. There is a lift that takes a wheelchair user and carer up to the top where there are fantastic views of the Parthenon and the other temples close up. The steps are slippery and there were lots of slip, trips and falls but luckily we all came down unscathed. We didn't have to queue for tickets but by the time we came down there was a very long queue. Next a visit to the Presidential Palace where we watched the changing of the guard - very flamboyant and our driver gave us an insight into the meaning of the Greek uniform. Then to the Temple of Zeus, Great views of the Parthenon in the distance and this time free entry for mum and husband who was pushing her. By this time I realised I had my E111 to proof my age so paid half price as did my Aunt. We went up to the highest spot in Athens for a fantastic vista and finished off at the Olympiad where the first modern day Olympic games was held. Great trip out. We paid €30 each and the trip lasted 4 hours. Easter Sunday spent in Ag Nik in Crete. The most holy day in Greece so not all the shops were open. Good promenade around to the Marina and small beach. We did walk up the hill to get a vista of the bottomless lake and ate at one of the restaurants above the lake. We didn’t venture further than Ag Nik as both my husband and I often holiday in nearby Elounda. Easter Monday in Rhodes - Entering the old town by the Mariners Gate meant that we could access the main old town shopping streets - we headed up the hill - with my husband pushing - left Mum and Aunt and walked to the Acropolis (about 20 mins from the old town) - very interesting and all the spring flowers in full bloom and scent. Last Day in Alanya - My husband and I weren't that impressed but Mum and Aunt went off and really enjoyed their day - they found the locals very happy to help with the wheelchair when needed and had a lovely meal - we ducked out - returned to the ship - ate in the Lido and spent the afternoon sunbathing on the top deck. We ate most of our meals in the Compass Rose - it is a lot easier to be served together rather than having to go and get someone elses food as is often the case in the Lido Buffet restaurant. We thought the food had improved since last time we were on the ship. We also ate in the Sirocco Restaurant and had an excellent meal - it was in high demand so book early if you want to eat there. It is free dining so you can eat when you want except on the one formal night. The Entertainment was OK, My husband and I are regular cruisers and I think there is a point when the show is something one can do without - however Mum and Aunt really enjoyed them. The comedian was OK too and knows how to make the majority of people laugh. The Service on this ship really is outstanding - the only person to let us down was the hostess who was supposed to be verifying the disabled disembarkation. It was OK in the end though - so overall no complaints. We stayed in Cabin 0143 a deluxe outside cabin on the deck 7 (Mariners). It was spacious. As an old HAL ship it has American and European plugs so adaptors are needed. The lights are a bit hit and miss to find and then to work out which switch does what - so all kind of lighting options. The TV is a bit of a joke - a big screen but very poor quality picture. There is a fridge and the bar is stocked - for payment - pity on a drinks package that they don't stock with the drinks you can get for free in other parts of the ship. The Spirit handled the high seas very well - on our sea day it was very choppy but she was very stable - it was easy to walk around the ship and I didn't see or feel any sign of sea sickness. Beware on deck though when sailing - there is little protection from the wind at the front of the ship on the promenade deck and I had to cling on to save myself from being blown off my feet. We were also mostly the only cruise ship in the ports - a change from the last time in Kusadasi when my husband and I were on the Queen Vic and there were 3 other ships in and we were the smallest!! So all in all an excellent cruise - great little ship, fantastic crew and staff and not bad value for money - though we worked out that we could have done a similar trip on one of the P & O ships and paid a similar amount would have had a balcony. The limited balconies on the Spirit are pricey and overlooked - so if you have booked one of them take a dressing gown! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This cruise ("Timeless Treasures - taking in Cyprus, Santorini, two stops in Turkey and Israel) was originally booked with my mother, but after a family emergency I instead went with my girlfriend. Firstly - the ports were all ... Read More
This cruise ("Timeless Treasures - taking in Cyprus, Santorini, two stops in Turkey and Israel) was originally booked with my mother, but after a family emergency I instead went with my girlfriend. Firstly - the ports were all interesting and the excursions (booked though Thomson) were pretty good. The experience on-board unfortunately was another matter. Both the cabin and the communal areas were dilapidated, and we encountered numerous issues. The (outside) cabin fixtures were very tired. Parts of it looked almost antique. Electricity would turn on and off randomly, sometimes the TV was not usable for hours. There was only one plug socket which was strangely positioned behind an old speaker making it hard to plug devices in. The mattresses were appalling, thin and uncomfortable. The toilet sometimes did not flush. Most significantly, my girlfriend was having a shower and the water turned black, leaving remnants of what appeared to be oil on her skin afterwards. The room was not at all airy and was quite oppressive. (On the positive side, cabin stewards were attentive, made nice towel animals and we did receive a bottle of wine having reported the oil incident). On to the boat itself. - The communal areas had a urine smell. It made it incredibly disheartening getting back on to the boat from the ports. - The cinema badly projects one of the TV channels (showing fairly dated films like Avatar, The Devil Wears Prada, The Day After Tomorrow). And even then only when it is working. (At first there was no sound and the lights were on for a full day. When we reported this the cinema was closed for another full day - before being opened again). - The (tiny) pool was a foul shade of green for a couple of days (remember the Olympic diving pool - like that but worse) - before being corrected. We saw a mother shouting at her child not to do in there, so alarming was the colour. - Food - whether at the buffet, Compass Rose seated restaurant, or "posh" restaurant with a surcharge (Sirocco's) - was almost universally poor. Everything was almost guaranteed to be executed badly and without taste - weird tasteless pizza, strange fake american cream, tasteless "strawberry sauce" instead of Jam on the scones, peculiar "baked" potatoes which seemed more like they were boiled (and not for long enough). The only things executed well were some parts of breakfast (hash browns, eggs, beans etc) and things they couldn't ruin, like yogurt pots or cheese. - We were on the "all inclusive" drinks package (we wouldn't have paid full price for this, but got some kind of deal). It wasn't at all all inclusive, as anything even a little bit nice was not in the plan. No coffees before 10:00am, no baileys, no cocktail that wasn't comprised entirely of fake sugary ingredients, no canned drinks, no water. We bought a few baileys outside of the all inclusive package and these were so watered down (or milked down perhaps) they were white not brown. I would only suggest the package to people who want to guzzle multiple Boddingtons or house wine all day. - The captains reception was just an excuse to make one queue multiple times for (bad) photographs. Seriously boring. - Interiors were just old and tired. No modern facilities. The wifi was a joke. It basically didn't work and was extremely expensive. The shops sold overpriced tat. - Public toilets were often blocked and half filled with excrement. On the positive front. The staff were a friendly bunch. Also the shows in the lounge were enthusiastically delivered. It seems like the staff were fighting a losing battle against a tired old ship and poor investment by Thomson. This experience would put me off ever booking with Thomson again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Sailed on the THOMSON SPIRIT for my husbands 65th Birthday in April. Fantastic first cruise! Smooth holiday from beginning to end. I booked a suite which was huge and clean! The cabin staff were very good they left my husband a ... Read More
Sailed on the THOMSON SPIRIT for my husbands 65th Birthday in April. Fantastic first cruise! Smooth holiday from beginning to end. I booked a suite which was huge and clean! The cabin staff were very good they left my husband a birthday card and balloons on the bed nice touch! The ship was very big and took us some time to get our bearings. I sometimes went the wrong direction. There were lots of signs to guide you. We were All Inclusive that worked out to be the best! (even though my husband does not drink you still have to buy water and coffee!) There was so much food which we thought was good. You could choose where you ate. Restaurants to sit and be served or cafeteria type to help yourself. Some people seemed to be eating day and night. You could get dressed up or choose to stay in shorts depends how you feel. Where you wanted to eat was your choice! We did get dressed up for the Captains dinner which was very good. My husband wore his suit, not a dinner jacket which seems to be a concern for some people.There were 2 sittings, we went to the 6:30 sitting as my husband is diabetic.There was a photographer taking lots of photos!!! The entertainment WOW. We went to a show every night which we both enjoyed, particularly Musicals night. If you wanted to continue the night there were more bars to visit! The staff were all very friendly and helpful. There was always somebody walking around to get you a drink or ask if you were ok. We chose not to do the excursions as we felt not having been to any of these countries we would like to just find our own way at our own pace! You went to bed and woke up each morning in a different country. We had a leisurely breakfast and disembarked with our own personal boarding pass. The photographer was there again! We enjoyed the experience so much we are going on another cruise in July and staying in resort for the second week. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We booked this cruise a year ago in order to go to Israel Turkey and Greece and also because we could fly from our local airport at Bournemouth direct to Pathos Cyprus. We had a fantastic holiday and we really enjoyed all the excursions ... Read More
We booked this cruise a year ago in order to go to Israel Turkey and Greece and also because we could fly from our local airport at Bournemouth direct to Pathos Cyprus. We had a fantastic holiday and we really enjoyed all the excursions we did and the ship was just the right size for us. The weather was fantastic and we ate on the Lido deck for breakfast lunch(when on board) and evening meal as we just couldn't bear to go inside. Although we are a couple I have to commend all the children who were aboard as they were a delight and very well behaved. To the adults who insist on saving sun beds for over an hour while they go back in side shame on you. Thomson's need to sort this problem out as it is just selfish. One couple insisted on keeping four sunbeds for themselves so they could alternate between them!!! My only fault with the ship is that they do not clear away the tables outside very quickly and even when they do they do not wipe the tables and litter that is left on the tables then blows into the sea. The getting on and off the ship was the best we have ever experienced. The shows also were some of the best we have seen. Disappointed with Gala evening as we were subjected to five lots of photos before entering and then only received one glass of bubbly and even that had orange juice mixed in. However the main problem we faced was the Pathos Airport. We arrived after a four and half hour flight to be taken by bus and dropped off where we had to queue for nearly an hour in the sun, and when we finally reached the terminal building only to discover a very very very long queue which took another hour to reach the passport control. Then we had to collect our luggage and then get on the coach to transfer to the ship. This was all repeated for the journey back and we again had to queue (this time Thomson did put us all in the shade) but it took nearly two hours before we got through to the departure lounge and a much needed drink and sit down. This really has to be addressed as we were told that this only is like this on a WEDNESDAY!!! Well sort out the flights so they don't all come at once as the airport just cannot cope. I would not fly to Cyprus again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just completed our fifth cruise - each one has been different - ship, cabin, deck, big, small, destination and I can honestly say that the cruise on Thomson Spirit has been one of the better ones. In conversation only 2 couples ... Read More
We have just completed our fifth cruise - each one has been different - ship, cabin, deck, big, small, destination and I can honestly say that the cruise on Thomson Spirit has been one of the better ones. In conversation only 2 couples grumbled - they thought the singing was too loud in the evening entertainment in the Theatre but that did not deter them from going each evening. The movement of people from airport to ship and reverse was slick. The friendliness of all on board felt genuine. There was ample food. The cabin was smaller than we have been used to but we only slept in it and it was clean. The only complaint we had was that there was insufficient sound proofing between cabins. The excursions out of Ashdod to the biblical sites we thought were too long - 10 hours for some. As soon as the official tour buses left then the taxi drivers were offering much cheaper trips. We chose to visit Jaffa - this was a 5 hour excursion which we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all the information given by the courier Tal. While in port in Heraklion we chose to make our own way to see the ruins at Knossis - the direct bus stops at the entrance to the docks. One problem facing Thomson holidays is when their clients are using Paphos airport in the summer. Based on our experience of that airport in early April the staff could not cope with the number of people arriving and trying to depart not to mention the number of times we had to display our passports for inspection All in all we had a great time and we are already looking at destinations for a future cruise with Thomson Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have taken early retirement and now live in cyprus, a special 60th birthday needed to be celebrated. We have gone on many cruises with many different cruise lines. We booked this 23rd march till 30th march cruise very late, paid for ... Read More
We have taken early retirement and now live in cyprus, a special 60th birthday needed to be celebrated. We have gone on many cruises with many different cruise lines. We booked this 23rd march till 30th march cruise very late, paid for upgrade outsde deluxe cabin and allinclusive drinks package, it was well worth it. The cabin was 72 on deck 8, massive room comfy beds and fantastic room service. Every aspect of this cruise was great, because we were independent travllers when time to go home we could get off the ship any time, absolutely brill, we enjoyed extra hours eating and drinking. The ports of call were good, we needed longer in Rhodes. All in all so good we are booking again for next year and we will get free all inclusive if we book in the next few weeks. Yipeeeeee. Forgot to mention restaurants all superb good menus and delicious food. See you next year just wish there were more cruises out of limassol. Quickest getting on board of any cruise so far. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise was the Ancient Affair, 16th March - 23rd March. CABINS I paid extra to enable me to choose two cabins for our party. One of these cabins was 567 on deck 3. I found it very difficult to sleep, due to the engine noise and ... Read More
The cruise was the Ancient Affair, 16th March - 23rd March. CABINS I paid extra to enable me to choose two cabins for our party. One of these cabins was 567 on deck 3. I found it very difficult to sleep, due to the engine noise and vibration. Indeed I had to use ear plugs. I spoke with reception on the ship, but was told that there were no other cabins available. One of our party, is hard of hearing and despite this, both of us found that the constant noise and vibration interrupted our sleep, and made relaxation difficult. To hear the cabin tv, the volume had to be high. If I had been told when I paid extra to choose the cabins, that cabin 567 and those cabins in that area would be subject to constant noise and vibration, I would not have chosen the cabin. I feel that this should have been brought to my attention at the time of purchase. STAFF Always friendly and helpful. FOOD This was my second cruise, the previous one being with Fred Olsen. Whilst the food was good, it did not compare with my previous cruise. The choice and quality of all the courses on Fred Olsen made this aspect a no contest. ENTERTAINMENT The shows were reasonably good. Whilst the entertainers worked really hard, it had the holiday camp feel about it. There was not enough variety. There were plenty of quizzes during the day and evening, but again, felt a bit like a holiday camp. GYM/SAUNA/POOLS The gym was Small but good. Used it twice, no supervision during the time that I used it. The two swimming pools were small and not heated. I enjoy swimming but the water was very cold and salty. INTERNET Very poor, not worth the money spent. EXCURSIONS We only did the organised excursions in Israel. Masada was extremely interesting and well worth considering. The Dead Sea was a must-do, but access from the hotel we visited was a little difficult, as construction work was being undertaken. We also went to Jerusalem on our second day, visiting the Western wall, Gethsemane Garden, Mount of Olives and King Davids Tomb. We were fortunate enough to have the same guide both days, he was excellent. The excursions were expensive but in my opinion worth it. PAPHOS AIRPORT Poor. Upon arrival, had to wait nearly an hour to collect luggage. On departure at the end of the cruise, the airport could not cope with the large numbers, I understand from speaking to others that it is often the case at this airport. The departure lounge was very uncomfortable. I am not sure how they would cope with any sort of emergency. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked this cruise fairly last minute to celebrate my mum's birthday and got a really good deal. The flight from Glasgow to Paphos was on time and fine, some lovely views of the Alps flying over. Paphos airport is very small and ... Read More
We booked this cruise fairly last minute to celebrate my mum's birthday and got a really good deal. The flight from Glasgow to Paphos was on time and fine, some lovely views of the Alps flying over. Paphos airport is very small and lots of Thomson flights from other parts of the U.K. arrived around the same time so queues quickly built up. Our flight arrived at 16:15 but did not get our luggage until 17:45, then onto the coach. Once we were seated we were given a letter from a Thomson rep explaining that our itenary for the week's cruise had changed due to needing more time to prepare for immigration processes when arriving in Beirut. So, instead of Beirut being the first port of call it would not be the last. This meant that our days in Turkey and Israel were different and I heard some other passengers have to call their independent tour guides to re-arrange private shore excursions in Israel while on the bus. It didn't bother us as we had no private excursions booked. Arriving at the port in Limassol, again there were queues to get to one of the check in desks although staff from the ship were handing out cold drinks to make the process more comfortable. Once through check in there were desks selling safe keys £15 for the week, a small duty free shop and you get your photo taken by the ships photography team before you board. You are then taken right to your cabin by one of the stewards. I had a single outside cabin on deck 2 and my parents a deluxe cabin on deck 6. Both cabins had plenty of space for our needs and were kept spotless by our lovely cabin stewards. I had some engine noise in my cabin when sailing and struggled to sleep the first night but reception provided me with some ear plugs and always had a good sleep after this. It was also great having Sky Sports News in the cabin meaning I could keep up with the latest football scores! We thoroughly enjoyed the food and entertainment on board. We used the Lido buffet for breakfast each morning, and also the fresh pancake/waffle and omelette stations out by the pool. For lunch we predominantly used the Lido buffet, there was always numerous choices available and if you didn't like anything there, just head out to the pool side where there always had burgers, hot dogs and pizza available. We did eat in the main Compass Rose restaurant for lunch one day and service was quick and efficient and the portion size generous. There was also a pub lunch buffet one day in the Explorers lounge which we attended and they had a pub quiz to take part in while enjoying lunch. For dinner we ate in all 3 restaurants on board. We loved Sirocco's where we dined on my mum's birthday, the food was amazing, very well presented and tasty. There were only 2 other passengers in the restaurant that night so it definitely did feel extra special and was well worth the £19.95 supplement. The waiters presented my mum with a large birthday cake and sang a lovely song to make the evening a memorable one. On the other nights we ate once in the Compass Rose and the reminder in the Lido. Like at lunch there was always lots of choices available even for the most fussiest of eaters. We particularly enjoyed the fresh pasta dishes available at the chefs station by the poolside. One note of interest was that before the cruise we had decided not to bother packing formal attire for the formal evening as we have done this many times on other cruise lines in the past and were just looking for a relaxed informal 7 days this time. We were expecting the Lido buffet to be quiet on the formal evening but it was actually the busiest of all the night we ate there with lots of passengers not choosing to dress formal either so we certainly never felt out of place. The stars on the ship are definitely the staff who work really hard to ensure you have a great time. There was a varied entertainment programme headed by cruise director Lewis and his assistant Jake. Both were excellent, the fashion show in particular was hilarious. The show team were very talented and worked very hard to deliver some great shows. The male lead singer was Barclay Beales who was a former X Factor finalist from the group Stereo Kicks and he did a Michael Buble show one afternoon that was really good. We also loved William from the entertainment team who made the game shows in High Spirits enjoyable to watch. The crew talent show was also great fun! There were lots of trivia and bingo games daily and some sports competitions like putting, bowls and football. The guest comedian was Maxwell Plumm who was funny although some of his jokes have been going round for years. Of the bars we found the service better in some than others. Alexa in Raffles and Shine in High Spirtits were very attentive and fun to chat to. We were all inclusive so loved working our way down the cocktail list, we did find that measures were stronger when you tipped the waitress (no surprise there)!!! I'm not sure if the ship was full or not but it never felt crowded or busy and it was always easy enough to get a seat in a bar or a lounger in the daytime if you wanted one. I used the gym and sauna twice and both times I had the place to myself! Similarly I used the pool and whirl pool once, the water was very cold so never stayed in for long and never saw anyone else use the pool although the whirl pool was well used. We used the casino a few times and walked away with a small profit, although compared to other ships we have been on the casino area is very small with not a lot of machines available. I saw 2 films at the cinema which was comfortable although was expecting more recently released films as some of them showing were 20 years old! There was a fairly large card reading room that was always empty and to me would make more sense to turn this into something else but I understand the plan is to retire the ship in the next few years so that probably won't happen. Of the ports we went to we did our own thing in each port and never did any of the ships excursions, from speaking to the passengers who went to Jerusalem and Bethlehem they had a good time but it was a very long day travelling. In Haifa there is free wifi in the port terminal and a very cheap duty free shop even compared to the ship. Alanya was our favourite port, lovely sea front and beach and nice cafes to people watch in and get free wifi. There is a little train that takes you on a tour of the town for only 2 euro. Mersin did not look appealing to venture into so we stayed on the ship. The one disappointment was that we never got to go to Beirut which was the one port we had booked a ship excursion for. This was due to the port authorities in Mersin closing the port due to high winds. We were meant to leave at 5pm to sail to Beirut but ended up leaving close to 2am and it was a bumpy night sailing that night. In the morning it was announced that we would not make Beirut on time and given the lengthy immigration procedures necessary we would sail back to Limassol early and have an overnight in Cyprus on our last night instead. It was not Thomsons fault this happened and we were kept up to date frequently about what was going on. Disembarkation was by flight times and was all a bit stressful trying to find your luggage and get to a coach. More queues at this point. One interest if note is about customs. As the ship had started in a EU country, and had gone to a non EU country, we were advised each passenger can only take back 1 litre of duty free and 200 cigarettes and that luggage would be scanned in the port and if caught with more than your allowance you would have a large fine. In the end it was only spot checks and the vast majority of passengers including us were allowed to leave without luggage being scanned. I guess it is a chance you take if you are daring enough! Again arriving at Paphos airport the queues were huge although as we had booked assistance we were able to by pass most of these quite quickly. Flight home was also on time. All in all for a fairly cheap cruise we were all pleasantly surprised at how good it was and would definitely consider booking with Thomsons again. The staff are definitely the stars and deserve all the credit they get. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This cruise was booked by my husband as a birthday present for my 60th birthday and it could not have been any better, we were in cabin 360 deck 4, flight was a little late not the airlines fault and when we got to the airport the luggage ... Read More
This cruise was booked by my husband as a birthday present for my 60th birthday and it could not have been any better, we were in cabin 360 deck 4, flight was a little late not the airlines fault and when we got to the airport the luggage belt was broken so had to wait a while for cases, that made us a bit late for the ship and it was a long wait to get on the ship and made this a long day, we were taken to our cabin and our luggage was waiting for us. A big thank you to Ida and Cruz our cabin staff they were superb, and always had a few words with you asking how your day had been when they saw you and on my birthday there was a card from them and balloons on my bed when I got back to the cabin. Everything about this cruise was excellent, from the food, we ate in the lido restaurant every meal and we were never disappointed with the choice or the quality, the entertainment team were superb better than most shows I have seen and the guest artists were first class. We booked the all inclusive package before we went and was surprised by the quality of the drinks well worth every penny even if you are not a big drinker, again the bar staff were excellent. The only trip we did was Bethlehem and Jerusalem and yes it was a long day and quite a bit of walking but it does state this when you book, our guide advised us to wear hats and take water with us and I am glad we did, some passengers did not and were flagging by the end of the trip. We got off in every other port and walked around, some lovely places to visit. The staff on this ship go the extra mile to make sure you have a good time and we have booked to go with the Thomson spirit again in July, cant wait. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just back from a 7 night cruise on the Spirit, Due to safety concerns we never got to Beirut instead we went to Rhodes. Picked up from airport and taken to the ship and very quickly checked in and onboard, We have cruised with Thomson a ... Read More
Just back from a 7 night cruise on the Spirit, Due to safety concerns we never got to Beirut instead we went to Rhodes. Picked up from airport and taken to the ship and very quickly checked in and onboard, We have cruised with Thomson a few times now but this was the first time on the Spirit yes she is getting old but kept very clean, our cabin was an inside on deck 2 unfortunately the walls are very thin and we could here everything from next door who liked to party all night but a quick call to reception and we were given a new cabin on deck 3. The beds are comfy and there is plenty of wardrobe space, the shower toilet area is very tired looking but functional there is a safe in the cabin but you need to pay for it which seems very mean to me. The food in all the resteraunts was very good and always plenty choice they even had a pub lunch one afternoon. We were all inclusive and found plenty of choice on the drinks package only 1 complaint is that you have to pay for bottled water. The entertainment was very good all over the ship and all off the entertainment staff are a credit to Thomson. Maurice Grumbleweed was the guest comedian and was fantastic. I can't fault any off the staff on the ship always smileing and chatting. All in all I would recommend the Spirit and will be booking again with Thomson in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Booked a week sailing the Aegean on Thomson Spirit, the flights and tranfers were very good and well co-ordinated at the port very quickly through check in and onto the ship. Yes the ship is old and some of the furnishing is a bit worn but ... Read More
Booked a week sailing the Aegean on Thomson Spirit, the flights and tranfers were very good and well co-ordinated at the port very quickly through check in and onto the ship. Yes the ship is old and some of the furnishing is a bit worn but not too an excess and everywhere was clean and tidy. The dining in the Compass rose was pleasant and the freedom dining was a new experience for us and nice to meet new people, the menu on some evenings was a bit limited and to order a steak was a £10 surcharge, but we managed and the food was well presented and hot. The lido is self service and we found the food in here very good with plenty of choice. Scirrocco,s is a separate restaurant with a £20 per person charge and we used this on our last night, the food in here was very good. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment from shows, comedian and the singers in the bars. We were all inclusive and expected the drink package to be of a limited choice, not at all, loads of choice and all quality brands. The bars on the ship were all nice and always managed to get a seat, The main show lounge was also ok except when they put another show on after the second performance from the onboard singers/dancers,you couln,t get back in as the audience just sat tight in their seats.The alternative show bar High spirits did like game shows and was also good. The ship has two small pools at the stern and you have to be quick off the mark to get a sun bed round the pools, but there was plenty of room on the sundeck, it was just away from daytime entertainment. The staff on this ship are some of the best i have come across they were brilliant,always a smile and nothing too much trouble. I read in a review that the waiters had stopped singing in the restaurant, but they sang after every sitting on our cruise. We did not take any shore excursions through the ship as we had visited these ports before so just did our own thing. We have cruised quite a few times and Thomson Spirit was no worse than some we have been on and i would certainly book another cruise with Thomsons and probably the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
i was the worst ship i hav ever been,its so old,just about to sink in the sea.the waiter service is horrible,as if a bunch of jokers in z restaurant,they don't know to talk nothing known as a simple good service,the maitre ... Read More
i was the worst ship i hav ever been,its so old,just about to sink in the sea.the waiter service is horrible,as if a bunch of jokers in z restaurant,they don't know to talk nothing known as a simple good service,the maitre d'hotel is just smiling like an ignorant fool seeing these ships serving food like novice,its people who is eating not animal.housekeeping is horrible,they don't hav any talking ethics,a small french speaking gurl when i asked her to give me some directions she just laugh am just turn her back to me,the bar service is like a market all bar waiters n waitress just gather n talking about the horrible ship they r working,a waiter who i met on the ship was telling me how dirty their cabin is and their bathroom is horrible,on top the food that they serving to guest are just so dirty,handle with dirty hand and serve in dirty plates,i even saw a waiter who just pick a dirty spoon n polish it then gave to z guest,i even heard that lobster shell they serving they remove it from the bin to use it again for the coming cruise.its a nightmare that ship Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
As someone who has travelled quite a bit I always dismissed cruising as for "old" people. However my good friend for many years mentioned that he was thinking "mmmmmmm-maybe". And so we decided to give it a try on a ... Read More
As someone who has travelled quite a bit I always dismissed cruising as for "old" people. However my good friend for many years mentioned that he was thinking "mmmmmmm-maybe". And so we decided to give it a try on a short cruise. So we booked the 5 night "Odysey" cruise in April 2015. We were 2 couples,the drinks package was thrown in but we added the balcony as an extra. All my clichés were blown away,it was fantastic! The staff are a delight,always happy to do all they can for you. Food great,cabin lovely and organisation spot on. I've come home with nothing but praise. Thankyou Thomson but especially your staff -treasure them Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Day One I started with such high hopes; well not high but with expectations. We knew the Spirit was a small and old ship. Everything went well at the beginning the flight was on time departing to Cyprus. The flight however was just one ... Read More
Day One I started with such high hopes; well not high but with expectations. We knew the Spirit was a small and old ship. Everything went well at the beginning the flight was on time departing to Cyprus. The flight however was just one big sales exercise by Thompsons. They first sold you drinks, then food then more drinks then duty free items (well discount items; perfumes, booze and such) and then scratch cards; they accepted English pounds, Euros, debit cards and credit cards (with a 2% charge). The rest of the flight was uneventful, apart from the usual lack of leg room. We arrived in Cyprus 5 minutes early. Going through customs was slow but uneventful and collecting the luggage was relatively easy. With the timing of the flights it left little time to get to the ship. We arrived at the ship at about 9:30pm the ship was due to depart at 10pm. Getting on the ship was easy but a bit disorganised. Once on the ship we were told to make our way to the cabin and get our life jackets and go straight to the muster stations. We went to the cabin and opened the door to be greeted by what I imagine as the smell of urine “NICE!!”. We couldn’t do anything about it then because the safety drill was about to take place. The Safety brief was chaotic our muster point seemed to be the worst. They left one Asian lady and a Polish Lady in charge of this muster point. They did not seem to be able to control the guests, they lacked any assertiveness, which wasn’t their fault just the person who allocated them this job. The ship departed 15 minutes late, which was good considering the poor flight timings. We went back to the cabin and rung room service to complain about the Urine smell and a flickering fluorescent tube. We then went to get something to eat in the Lido restaurant; the food was quite bland and cafeteria quality. Back to the cabin and housekeeping turned up sprayed some air freshener and left. I was not pleased about that and went to see reception, she was very helpful and came down to the room and agreed that it did smell, it was agreed that it would be sanitised in the morning. The electrician arrived and we agreed that he could finish the flickering tube in the morning. We got ready for bed and noticed the pillows were flat; we looked for more pillows and found 2 in the top of the wardrobe but they looked dirty. We rung customer service again and asked if we could have 2 more pillows; despite another couple of phone calls the pillows did not arrive. We ended up sleeping in a room that smelt of urine and no decent pillows. Day Two (Alanya) In the morning we woke up tried and stiff because of the lack of pillows. We rung again about the pillows, they eventually arrived in the evening after numerous calls. We went for breakfast in the sit down restaurant. We were shown to our table and they asked us what we would like to drink. They bought the drinks and went away. After a while we realised it was just a buffet restaurant and not a waiter service. Breakfast again was a bit tasteless. We spent the day in Alanya, it was like a posh Blackpool with good weather and great views; we had a good day walking around the town, however the shop keeper were constantly pestering us, which was extremely annoying and everything they sell is a fake (trading standards would have a field day in the UK) Went back on the ship and back to the cabin, on the way there one of the fire doors was jammed; we had to walk around to get to our cabin. We instantly reported it and nothing was done till the next day, despite many phone calls to reception. The receptionist spoke English but it was not her native tongue, despite telling her the seriousness of the broken fire door she did nothing. We even gave the number as on the door to help speed up the repair, It was only when I got to speak to another receptionist the next day that the seriousness of the fire door was taken into account. The toilet stopped in the morning, I reported it and they responded quickly, in the evening the toilet went again, this time flooding the bathroom. They came out quickly again. Once it had stopped the plumber came along and asked us to try the toilet, I explained that the bathroom was full off toilet water but he refused to go in. I ended up testing the toilet. The cleaner came out about 10 minutes later but did not have any mops with him and had to go back and find them. By this point I was not happy and wanted to speak to the customer service manager but she was not available and I arranged to speak to her at 6pm next day. The customer service agent offered to another cabin but it was 11pm at night but me and my wife were in no mood to move at that time of night. Day Three (Rhodes) Toilet broke again, reported to reception and got a lecture about how they were resetting the system. We went out at 9am in the morning and had a great day in Rhodes. This is a wonderful place with the old city walls circling the market shops and the historical sites within. This was by far our best day beautiful city with lots to see and do. This should have been the day of the excursion that was cancelled, so glad it was. Our excursion was booked in advance online however Thomson did not realise that 1st May was a public holiday this is a bit worrying for a holiday company, and some of the shops etc would be closed excursion was cancelled on the day we arrived after payment being n their bank for about a month Day 4 (Bodrum) Day of excursion (Panoramic Bodrum); Well what can I say £30 each to see rubble, building sites, information about where the nice hotels were and 1 hour 15 minutes in the shopping district near the harbour. Came back on the ship and rung customer service and spoke to an agent called Hari who was the only one who made anything happen. He arranged for a room swap, which was what should have happened on day one. At 6pm we met with the customer service manager who was polite and apologetic but systematically blamed the other departments. I point out that although her staff at customer services spoke English they did not understand and this was where most of the blame lay. She offered us nothing for the issues we had which I believe should have been the least she should have done. She seems to think by apologising all the time this puts things right. I pointed out that the sign of a good customer service is not when things are going right, it is about when things go wrong what you do to put it right; Sadly Thomson have failed miserably. The toilet in the new room almost flooded twice and we notice what looked like black mould at the side of the sink in the bathroom. The black stuff turn out to be scorch marks from a plumber welding torch. Day 5 (Mykonos) Good day had. No further issues. Conclusion. The good stuff Lido deck restaurant never over busy. Destinations were very good apart from Bodrum The Weather The price of the drinks were very reasonable The food was nice and well prepared (however lacking real flavour) The main public areas where they make money are nice. Good value for money (for what we got 5 night, transfers and flights) Tea and coffee facilities in room Able to buy duty free and keep it in your cabin and not have to collect it at the end of the cruise. Bad stuff The ship is dated and in need of a lot of money being spent to compete in this market The cinema which was advertised in the brochure as one of the features was closed for all 5 days not good enough Thomson Issues with the plumbing Public toilets are dirty Terrible customer services Ship looks like a royal navy destroyer from afar. Entertainment appalling (shows are like poor karaoke). The last night’s show was a bit better (Although Show tunes aren’t hard to sing and make a mess of). There was very little entrainment throughout the day if you had kids not sure what they would do. No entertainment on the flights The guest comedian was poor, spent most of the show we saw talking about different clubs and the time he was semi famous (Maurice Gumbleweed). He even admitted that he was using some of his old stuff. Time to retire Maurice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not saying we had a bad time we didn’t. If you can get a cheap cruise with these then they are worth the money. However they are not in the same league as the giants of the industry (Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise line). Everything is second class with Thomson from the bed linen to the entertainment. They need to invest a lot of money bring this ship up to the standards of the other cruise lines (especially the plumbing). We were asked to fill a survey with a chance of winning a holiday the competition ended November 2014, it is now May 2015. The last parting gift from Thomson was they damaged a new suitcase (bent the wheels) Marks out of 10 Overall 6 Rooms 5 Food 7 Customer Service 2 Entertainment 4 Staff (apart from Reception) 7 Excursions 2 Overall value for money 7 (this was heavily discounted, thus high mark) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I am not going to drone on too much about the food, entertainment etc. Quite simply, the check in and flights from Gatwick were fine. No delays other than some clot who checked their bags but then showed up late for the flight!! Yes ... Read More
I am not going to drone on too much about the food, entertainment etc. Quite simply, the check in and flights from Gatwick were fine. No delays other than some clot who checked their bags but then showed up late for the flight!! Yes the ship is old and consequently there are things that look used. e.g., where over the years, the stewards toilet brushes had rubbed the bowl, there was a grey scuff mark just above the water line. Having said that, the ship has been refurbed and the cabin wasn't noticeably more worn than say the cabin we had on P and O's Ventura. Do wish Thomson's would make it clear when a window is a porthole however. The ship trembles all the time even in port due one assumes to the machinery that keeps everything running. Some people would hate it. Personally I found it somewhat charming. She feels like a ship ought to. Alive. You can actually see the guys using the winches to moor and cast off rather than on the big modern ships where everything is hidden and it feels as though some automaton is controlling everything. She's small, so only a moderate choice of bars and restaurants, the food is average and as with all cruise lines, shore excursions are extortionate. So why did we enjoy it so much. The sheer atmosphere created by all crew members. They are SO friendly, happy, helpful and approachable, be they the cruise director, waiters, stewards, bar staff, entertainers or officers. The crew evening show was a hoot. So different from the polite but distant attitudes we have encountered, particularly on the larger ships. I hope that Thomson are VERY aware that these people turn what could be a VERY average cruise into an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our third cruise on the Spirit and our eighth with Thomson. Quite simply you get what it says on the tin....The Spirit is not a floating theme park or a 5 star floating hotel....it is a cruise ship that delivers a level of ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Spirit and our eighth with Thomson. Quite simply you get what it says on the tin....The Spirit is not a floating theme park or a 5 star floating hotel....it is a cruise ship that delivers a level of service, comfort and entertainment well above the price tag you pay. It is true that the Spirit is a bit dated but she is a grand old lady that still delivers the goods. The ship is immaculately clean, the crew work hard to make sure it stays that way, the communal areas are comfortable and there are plenty of areas to relax in. Cabins, again perhaps a little dated are in the main spacious, always clean and comfortable. The food is good and varied, lots of choice to be had in both the Lido or the Compass Rose or for that special meal the Sirocco (at an extra charge). The staff have always got a smile on their faces and they provide an excellent level of service...some of the best I have experienced anywhere. Drinks packages can be expensive, especially if purchased on the ship, although the wine package is good value for money....we tend to book the AI drinks package when we book, the drinks included are more than fit for purpose, although you can "upgrade" at a small additional charge. The jewel in the crown is the entertainments team, they quite simply work their socks off and the quality of work they produce is nothing short of outstanding, on our 14 night cruise we had a different show almost every night. Excursions are varied and whilst can seem to be on the pricey side are I believe worth the expense, there is also a bike trekking team on board who offer rides in each port of call. The destination team is extremely knowledgable and helpful..a special mention for "Sammy Jo" Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
It was me and my wifes first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff stood out the most as they made you feel like you was on holiday. They were always helpful,smiling,funny and exceptionally attentive. Constantly attending to ... Read More
It was me and my wifes first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff stood out the most as they made you feel like you was on holiday. They were always helpful,smiling,funny and exceptionally attentive. Constantly attending to all your needs,fantastic staff from the waiters to the cleaners they made this cruise special. We upgraded to a de-luxe cabin which wasnt very modern but was clean and functional,i wouldnt describe it as de-luxe. But everything else was bang on. Lots of good entertainment,the comedian was called fergal foggerty or something like that and he was fantastic,and ive seen john bishop,peter kay etc and this guy for me was better. Food was fantastic in lido and the globe and the barbys great. We also met a lot of great people on the cruise and we became goods friends with them all. The whole trip was spot on and if anyone can find reason why they didnt enjoy this cruise there either to snooty to appreciate what is on offer or they need to see a doctor and start taking some form of personality tablets. If you seriously look for flaws you will always find one. As i said our cabin was ok but it doesnt spoil anything. Get on board and enjoy !!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My husband chose this cruise as a present for me and because it left from Limassol, Cyprus and visited Santorini and Israel (Ashdod). We live in Cyprus and parking at the port is easy because the large car-park was directly opposite ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise as a present for me and because it left from Limassol, Cyprus and visited Santorini and Israel (Ashdod). We live in Cyprus and parking at the port is easy because the large car-park was directly opposite check-in. It cost us €63 for a week. We had not great expectations because the Thomson Spirit is the oldest ship in the fleet and we expected it to be showing its age. Also, this was the first cruise of the season so it was reasonable to anticipate some inexperience amongst the staff. Actually we were pleasantly surprised. We ate most main meals in the Compass Rose Restaurant. The waiting staff were friendly. There was some inexperience at the beginning of the week but this improved as the week went on. The menu was varied and good. We have food allergies and these were recognised without fuss. We did feel that the chef lacked imagination, particularly for soups - consomme or cream soups that used up the previous day's ingredients. Also, I had the same apple pie as a sugar-free dessert on three separate meals. Desserts in general were too sweet for our taste, whether they were sugar-free or not. There was a good range of choices for breakfast in both the restaurant and the self-service, with cereals, porridge, fresh fruit salad, a range of cooked breakfast options, toast and rolls. On the Lido deck there were also waffles and pancakes. A variety of teas, coffee and water were always available without charge. The ship is well taken care of and seems to have been renovated relatively recently. The only area that we felt could do with upgrading in particular, were the toilets on deck 5. There are a number of lifts that worked most of the time. We boarded and disembarked via deck 2. The ship seems to be suitable for disabled people and there were a number of wheelchairs in use on board. Any short-comings helped by willing ship staff, we were told. We stayed in cabin 67, on deck 8. This cabin is rated the same as a deck 3/4 because it is beside lifts and the floating pontoon is stored outside. The room had twin beds in an L shape. The only disadvantage was that one bed was directly under the television...this was not a problem for us. The cabin seemed a reasonable size and the bathroom seemed no smaller than other cruise lines. The cabin was quiet and had a good view through a small square/picture window. We heard no noise from the lifts and were not disturbed on the day that the pontoon was lowered for tendering. Our Cabin staff, Natali & Christine, were excellent. They responded to requests quickly and efficiently and in some cases, spotted problems before we did! We particularly liked the towel arrangements and chocolates on the pillow at night. We enjoyed the evening entertainment. Bernie Flint, a winner on the show Opportunity Knocks, was a guest comedian and absolutely hilarious. I have not laughed so much in years. The young dancers and singers were very good too. Although they had some difficulties with the routines at the beginning of the week, they improved and became very good by the end of the week. We also joined in with trivia quizzes and bingo during the week. There were a number of other musical groups that entertained during the week and we heard no complaints about them. I am disabled and like many of my fellow passengers, I was disappointed by the range of excursions on offer. I think there was only one that was rated as 'easy' walking and I don't remember seeing anything that was wheelchair-suitable on offer. Whilst there were many fit and able passengers, over half were in their late 50s or older and many had walking sticks or difficulties. I heard of a number of couples who did not leave the ship because suitable excursions were not available. A number, like us, resorted to making successful private arrangements with taxi-drivers in port. I do believe that this is an area where the excursions team, who did not encourage private arrangements, could do better. With a little imagination and some advice from disability groups I'm sure more appropriate excursions could be made available. We also found that, in most ports we were able to arrange equally good, if not better private tours, and cheaper than the ship's ones, using local taxi drivers. We discovered in Ashdod, that many local taxi drivers are available, at the cruise terminal, who have permission to come and go within the port. Some also have authority to drive within the old city. A taxi to Jerusalem, that will stay with you all day and take you back to the ship should cost no more than €200. We chose to go a little further than this basic trip. For £250 in total for four of us, we got a taxi that took us from the ship, into the old city and gave us a more extensive private tour than the excursion offered through Thomson. The driver showed us around Jerusalem and we had a brilliant, if tiring day. Disembarkation was easy for independent travellers. The suitcases were collected from the outside the cabin the night before we docked. In the morning we had docked before we woke and were free to walk off the ship after 9am. We were worried about the security situation in Israel, and Jerusalem in particular. I am pleased to report that we had no difficulties. At no point did we feel threatened or at risk. There were some persistent street vendors but most left us alone when told firmly, that we were not interested. One that was particularly persistent was dealt with by our taxi driver politely and without fuss. We had a very good cruise and would go with Thomson again. We would also like to go back to Israel to see other sights. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This cruise was apparently the first of the season for Spirit: from Cyprus via Turkey and Greece (Santorini) to Israel before return to Limassol. The weather was poor until Israel, something to consider in future for this area. ... Read More
This cruise was apparently the first of the season for Spirit: from Cyprus via Turkey and Greece (Santorini) to Israel before return to Limassol. The weather was poor until Israel, something to consider in future for this area. Embarkation took an age; very few staff to cope with the long queues waiting in the wind and rain. There is no getting away from the fact that the Spirit has seen better days. It is an old workhorse being flogged to death, and you can only paint over the rust so many times. The crew never stop, seeming to be on duty practically every hour of the day. They do their best, but it is obvious they are working within very limited budgets. Food is basic, nothing of note apart from in the small Sirocco a la carte restaurant attached to the Compass Rose dining room. Meals in the Sirocco are £19 a head extra, well worth every penny. The menu is the same every day. The menu in the Compass Rose is pretty much the same as in the Lido restaurant, the self-service canteen. In many ways, apart from no tablecloths, the Lido offers diners a more interesting choice of food because they can mix and match whatever is available. Salads were plentiful, but daily offerings of cheap luncheon meat, broken up fish bits or cheese slices were not appealing. The extremely limited food budget was most noticeable towards the end of the voyage, where the menu was obviously a "use up" concoction of whatever was left in the galley storeroom. Chefs can only work with what they have. The destinations team needs to get its act together, and perhaps it will as the season progresses. Elderly and no-too-fit passengers were misled by information about trips: some people on the Hidden Santorini trips had real difficulties coping with a steep one-way tour. Information suggested only a short steep stretch near the cable car. A trip to the Dead Sea raised questions about changing and showering facilities. The information given was that the trip used a plush hotel with sunbeds, massages, and good showers. There was a bar, a few shops/stalls, communal changing, and chain-pulled showers on the beach. On the final day, at Limassol, passengers had to vacate cabins by 9am, and, obviously, many headed into town for a mini-outing before their flight home. The destination team had no idea - or failed to mention - that April 1st is a national holiday, so everything was closed. Cabins varied enormously, but always clean. Ours, on Deck 8, was always immaculate. Only a few cabins, on Deck 9, have balconies. These were overlooked by smokers on the sun deck. The evening entertainment showtime team were a young talented group with slick performances certain to be outstanding by the end of the season, and music at venues around the ships performed solo artistes and a combo was always well done. Much of the daytime "entertainment" was dire. Enrichment was a vegetable carving display, well done, but hardly mind-stretching. Public rooms varied; a couple of lounges were light and airy, but a huge opportunity is missed in the Horizon bar. It has the potential for panoramic views but is dark, dingy. A lick of light paint would do wonders. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had never cruised before and whilst I love to dress up and enjoy formal events there was never any pressure to do so, although a shirt and tie at dinner was a welcome sight. One concern we had was that cruises would be just too " ... Read More
We had never cruised before and whilst I love to dress up and enjoy formal events there was never any pressure to do so, although a shirt and tie at dinner was a welcome sight. One concern we had was that cruises would be just too " nobby" with a boat full of overbearing, pretentious and generally rude people. How wrong we were. Please don't get me wrong. The Spirit cannot be compared to one of the giant liners from the land of the dollar, except in positive terms. There are no brash size xxxl families, speaking in drawl, demanding this and that and demeaning the staff. The Spirit is a family and the passengers and crew work together to create such an atmosphere that gives you a warm feeling of security. My wife and I were diagnosed as unlikely to make another holiday together but we have done and have reversed medical oplnlons, so where else to go to find the friends you don't yet know but will enjoy when you do. This time we have booked early and received the complimentary drinks package, a huge saving and stress free addition to the overall cost. I admit that a last minute deal, minus drinks, is a good saving but not as good. Remember that dehydration can be a killer! The Compas Rose serves great food in an environment that caters for everyone and I hope to try Scirroccos this time. I could witter on all night but don't let me spoil any dreams. This Ship and everything it stands for is set up for the enjoyment and relaxation of sensible members of our "Sceptered Isle" Tony and Sue. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014

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