4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Good value for money cruise, the ship although old was very well maintained and having already cruised on the Dream four months earlier I did not have to familiarise myself with the layout as they are virtually identical vessels. The ... Read More
Good value for money cruise, the ship although old was very well maintained and having already cruised on the Dream four months earlier I did not have to familiarise myself with the layout as they are virtually identical vessels. The cabin ( 899 ) was spotlessly serviced by Iana and Tanya, the cabin itself had plenty of room for storage and moving about in. I used the Lido restaurant for all my dining, the only problem here was the temperature of hot meals as most of the week food was rather cool, towards the end of the week the temperature of the ban marie seemed to improve but I suffered minor scalds on two occasions caused by escaping steam around the food pans! Entertainment in the Broadway Theatre was less than the best I have seen on a cruise, the exception being the comedian who was brilliant otherwise it limped from average to outright depressing. Service aboard ship was consistently good in all areas we used, our ports of call were good which pretty much made the tours unnecessary I did however venture on the Acropolis museum tour which proved to be a good investment. I enjoyed the cruise and will be using Thomson again perhaps in one of the other ships. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Recently my husband and I took a cruise on bi -lingual Europa 2 from Limassol to Dubai. Our interest was two-fold: we wanted to see Petra and transit the Suez Canal, and we wanted to experience the ship. We flew to Larnaca, Cyprus where ... Read More
Recently my husband and I took a cruise on bi -lingual Europa 2 from Limassol to Dubai. Our interest was two-fold: we wanted to see Petra and transit the Suez Canal, and we wanted to experience the ship. We flew to Larnaca, Cyprus where we rented an apartment for a few days, and then caught a cab to Limassol, our embarkation port. We arrived just before the posted embarkation time of 4PM, handed over our luggage, boarded, downed a fast glass of bubbly and went to our cabin. We were shocked (and pleased)to see that all our luggage was there — within 15 minutes of boarding. Our cabin was an entry level one. We had booked a guarantee and ended up on deck 7 in an ocean suite. This consisted of a room of 301 square feet, with a balcony of 75 square ft. I believe that about 80% of the cabins are this size. The bathroom had a tub and a separate shower (with built-in bench) and one sink. The walk-in closet had double hung bars and multiple drawers and shelves. In the cabin there was also additional storage space, a Nespresso machine, and a clever split door covering the make-up mirror, which lit up when opened. There was a complicated lighting/dimming system that required a booklet to explain — we did not attempt to learn this. Ditto with the phone system. The bed linens are top quality and changed every 3 days. Before dinner we took a stroll around the ship and were struck by how spacious it all felt. The 2 forward elevators are glass and the the elevator landings have large windows, which adds to the expansive feeling. Although the ship was not full (350 out of a possible 510), I could tell that this ship would never be crowded and there would never be jostling for deck chairs. The ship is decorated in muted shades of beige, cream and gray — quite a modern feel, yet soothing. Well, time for a pre-dinner glass of wine! And here we hit our first snag. The first bar we found was in the lobby. The is not the best location as the space is brightly lit, and offers an overly enthusiastic piano player. We wanted to sit at the bar, but found it too noisy so moved to the far side of the room. We wanted to order a bottle of wine, which we would then have had taken to our dinner table. Although we never got the full story, it seems that the only wine bottle storage is in the main dining, on deck 4. This means that a server has to physically retrieve your chosen (or partially consumed) bottle. This took a long time which is not the fault of the server but a design flaw in the ship. In fairness, I believe most Europeans have an aperitif or cocktail before dinner and this would not have been a service issue. Let’s go into dinner. We chose the main dining room, which is a stunning room with blown glass chandeliers. It was surprisingly quiet and I think that was because there are a variety of noise barriers — varying raised levels of seating and varying ceiling levels. What a pleasant evening! The next day we continued our exploration of the ship. There is a large area devoted to the beauty parlor, exercise room, steam room and massage rooms. We didn’t sample any of these. There is a library split into 2 — one side books, one side computers. Internet was not free. I was surprised at the excellent selection of English language books. There is an art gallery, complete with curator who gave tours of the extensive art collection on the ship. There is a teaching kitchen for passengers, although classes are only in German. However, Hapag-Lloyd has done a clever thing in that each voyage has an international hostess who is fluent in German and English and is available to translate in the kitchen, and anywhere else that is required. Ours was Angela Hidde, who was a gem. There is also a movie theatre where the English enrichment lectures (there were 3) were held. There are numerous bars, our favorite being the Sansibar. However, with the exception of the uninviting lobby bar, none of them had a bar and barstools — rather they were set up as cocktail lounges. So there was little chance to socialize with other passengers. Let’s talk about the food. In a word — spectacular -- from presentation to service to taste. In the morning you could eat in the partially open air Yacht Club, the main dining room, or have room service. Breakfast was similar to that of other luxury lines,but offered more cured meats, cheeses and smoked fish. One morning I asked for Eggs Benedict and was told I could not get them until 8am — I don’t know why. When the main breakfast was over you could have late riser’s breakfast in Sansibar. Then at about 11am it was time for bouillon by the pool. Lunch could be taken in the main dining room, selected specialty restaurants or the Yacht Club. We always ate at the Yacht Club since the weather was so nice. Here, I was knocked out by the selection, beginning with 8 kinds of lettuce for salad, a whole prosciutto plus other cured meats, numerous hot dishes and aterrific selection of cheeses. The Food and Beverage Manager told me they had 80kinds of cheese, and 40 kinds of fish (not counting shellfish). Then it’s waffles by the pool and/or tea in the Belvedere lounge. At dinner the specialty restaurants required reservations for the evening, but no stated time — your table was yours for the evening. The main dining room and the Yacht Club did not required reservations. The menu selections in all the restaurants was not large, but quite variedand I always found more things to order than I could possible consume. The Yacht Clubhad an amazing array of cold lobster, oysters, mussels and shrimp every evening. Next is entertainment. First — the theater. It is on 2 levels with about 2 feet between each row of swivel chairs — very comfy. We were lucky to have aboard a classical music group called Ensemble Mini who put on three shows. Another night there was a acrobatic show and one we missed that featured performers on roller skates. There was also a 2 part tribute to Simon and Garfunkel. We thought the entertainment was terrific — and we are people who generally skip the entertainment on other ships. In the Jazz Club I caught a good trio and I heard there was a great Sinatra impersonator. The was not a port intensive trip, but for each port there was at least one tour in English. The tours were good and priced similarly to other luxury lines. On our last day we had to disembark very early in the morning, as did other passengers. I was stunned to see that the main dining room was open for a full breakfast at 4:30am. There was also a continental breakfast in the lobby. As we reluctantly walked down the gangway we saw all the officers bidding farewell to the passengers. Regarding costs, we paid for the trip in Euros and it cost us about the equivalent of $12,000. Drinks are not included, but when you order anything alcoholic you just give the server your cabin number -- no need to show your room card. In fact, you do not even give the ship your credit card until a day or so before the end of the cruise. Final thoughts. This is not a ship where you will make new friends. Although most of the German speaking passengers speak English and were cordial, they were not very outgoing. They did not seem outgoing even among themselves. The bars do not lend themselves to socializing and I assume this is a cultural preference. I think that once Europa 2 attracts more English speaking passengers this will change. On our cruise there were 14 English speaking guests; we were the only Americans. Would I go back? In a Hamburg minute! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Just got back from another week on the Thomson Spirit – this being our 6th time over the years. Really love this ship and the friendliest crew in the fleet; however, the standards seem to be going back generally throughout the ship. ... Read More
Just got back from another week on the Thomson Spirit – this being our 6th time over the years. Really love this ship and the friendliest crew in the fleet; however, the standards seem to be going back generally throughout the ship. Most noticeably in the Compass Rose Restaurant where many of the same staff are now serving many more tables and they do not have time for the pleasantries or paper roses and serenading that was an everyday part of previous cruises. The food on this cruise was not as varied as on earlier sailings – on the last night for example there were three fish-themed main courses (fish and chips, seafood thermidor, or shellfish linguini) and the long wait between courses on every evening meant that a lot of passengers did not stay for desert or coffee if they wanted to catch the first show in the Broadway Lounge. This is an unacceptable delay and Thomson should take note but they probably won’t !! We only have one warning for anyone who chooses not to visit the Holy sites when staying in Israel; if the docking port is Ashdod then save yourself the bother of getting the shuttle bus into the nearby town as it is very very poor in terms of shopping. If you decide to ignore this and make the trip, then don’t bother to take your camera as it is not photogenic in any shape or form. If your pastime is sunbathing you will be disappointed by the quality of the sunbeds on the main Lido deck: they are worn out and dirty and badly need to be replaced – but once again Thomson will opt to ignore the complaints and just keep taking your money. Drinks were reasonable and it would take a seasoned hard drinker to get value for money on the drinks packages on offer. We didn’t skimp on our drinks and only spent half what it would have cost us if we had chosen the all-inclusive options. That is something to think about as many of the drinks from the bar incur an additional charge even on the all-inclusive package. Will we continue to book on the Spirit? Yes – but there is a limit to what we will tolerate and Thomson could be close to that limit this year. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
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

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