Exporing the Baltic: Thomson Spirit Cruise Review by gzerovti

Thomson Spirit 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Exporing the Baltic

Sail Date: May 2012
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Newcastle (England)
My wife and I were attracted to this Baltic cruise primarily because it sails from Newcastle so there would be no flying and hopefully no delays. We only have a one and a half hour drive from Wakefield to Newcastle so it is ideal.

The second reason was that the cruise itinerary was great, we were to visit 6 destinations in the Baltic including two days in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Thomson cruises we were not too sure about. We have been on two cruises in the past with Ocean Village and found the casual type of cruises to our liking.

We arrived in Newcastle by car and headed to the International terminal there we found everything signposted for Thomson Cruise and after minimal queuing we were shown where to drop off our luggage and then directed to the car park. From the car park to the check in desks was about a five minute walk. Check in was a fairly lengthy process bit we were soon processed and allowed onto the ship. At the ship's check in we registered our More credit card. Remember though that there is a 2.5% surcharge.

My first sight of Thomson Spirit was that it was quite a small ship but on boarding the ship I was pleasantly surprised how large it actually was.

We were shown to our cabin which was on deck 4 and was an outside cabin. The cabin had two single beds arranged in an "L" formation and a large porthole/window. The room was quite spacious,surprisingly bigger than our previous cruise ships. The wardrobe space was very good, two quite large wardrobes with plenty of coat hangers. Shelves above for small luggage and room for some luggage in the bottom. There is also a safe which has to be rented if required. There is also lots of room under the beds for suitcases etc.

There is a dressing table with three drawers each side and in one of the drawers there is a hairdryer. There is a 220V and a 110V socket above the dressing table. On the other side of the cabin were three large drawers and a container for wine or other bottles.

The cabin had a TV with Sky News, sports, two movie channels and some other channels.

The bathroom was very good with plenty of room and an easy to operate shower.

The only enhancement to the cabin would have been tea/coffee making facilities.

The cabin was kept very clean by our cabin staff Ana and Nouby. There was either an elephant or some other sort of animal made out of your towel on your bed when you retired for the night along with a chocolate.

Now to the dining rooms. There is the waiter service Compass Rose, Sirocco,s restaurant where you pay a supplement and the Lido which is self service buffet.

We ate only in the Lido as we prefer to eat when we want and to sit where we want. We found the meals to be of good quality and there was a good variety of food with evening themed nights. Similarly breakfasts had a good variety from cereals up to full breakfasts. The only problems occur when on days at sea the Lido tends to get very full but it is a matter of choosing your time. Of course there is always food around the clock so you will undoubtedly put on weight.

There were two formal Gala nights during the cruise but for those who prefer to be casual there is the Lido restaurant so no problems there.

Now to the entertainment. Remembering the entertainment from our previous cruises we thought the Thomson would have a lot to live up to. How wrong we were.

The entertainment for the whole cruise was great. The stage shows were really fantastic with themed shows. Even though the stage in the theatre was quite small the shows are spectacular. We thought the singers and dancers were very good with professionally choreographed shows. The Cruise Director Richard Grey was also very good and not only compared but also acted.

The actor Ian Lavender of Dads Army fame was on board for the whole cruise and on one evening we had "An Audience with Ian Lavender" which was very entertaining. I understand that there are to be a series of "Audiences with" during this season. We also had a UK comedian on a couple of nights and a very good guest lecturer Gordon Parr who kept us entertained with his lectures varying from Winston Churchill to Royal Scandals.

In all the bars there was some entertainment from Piano and Violin duet to guitar singers trio, caberets by the individual Thomson Spirit show team members, quizes, competitions etc. There is also a casino. There are even a couple of stage plays in the afternoon which are entertaining.

In the High Spirits bar, a group called the Beat entertained us and there was Karaoke for those who like this and of course a late night disco.

We found the staff to be very friendly and on our very first night in the High Spirits bar four members of the entertainment team just wandered up and introduced themselves and sat with us for a while to chat.

On the last night some of the catering and bar staff put on a little show which was great.

The trips that you can purchase are very good but beware some of the trips can be very tiring especially the full day trips to St Petersburg for example. Some shuttle buses were provided free of charge which is quite good as some cruise ships charge quite a lot.

The ship is very clean, all the staff work very hard to keep it this way and are very attentive to all your needs.

Disembarking was very easy. All luggage is left outside your cabin the evening before with a coloured label attached according to your cabin number and mode of travel, i.e. own car, coach etc. The luggage is collected and off loaded at Newcastle and you disembark at set times on arrival. Our time was 08.30 and we were taken by bus to the car park and the luggage was in a room adjacent to the car par. We were on the road in minutes.

The ship was very comfortable, even in a force 6 weather on leaving Newcastle. The safety procedures were very good with an excellent evacuation drill. The Captain was very approachable and chatted with us on the stairs one afternoon and told us about our course etc.

Thank you Thomson for a great cruise, thank you to all the staff seen and unseen we will certainly be back.

Well recommended. Less

Published 05/24/12
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: 34o

our cabin which was on deck 4 and was an outside cabin. The cabin had two single beds arranged in an "L" formation and a large porthole/window. The room was quite spacious,surprisingly bigger than our previous cruise ships. The wardrobe space was very good, two quite large wardrobes with plenty of coat hangers. Shelves above for small luggage and room for some luggage in the bottom. There is also a safe which has to be rented if required. There is also lots of room under the beds for suitcases etc. Walls are very thin so be careful when watching TV in the evening or talking loud. No noise from other areas of the ship. Our cabin was one deck below the Broadway area with the shops, Theatre. Lido etc.

Port and Shore Excursions

We did not see much of this port as we went on an organised tour to Silkeborg and to see the Tollund Man. You can take flash photos here. The port is quite modern and the town is within walking distance of the ship and according to friends we met on board ship there is good shopping and nice bars/restaurants. There was a local youth band playing as we boarded the ship to leave.
Read 74 Aarhus Reviews

We actually docked in Kalundborg but took a trip into Copenhagen about one and a half hours away. We picked the day of the Copenhagen marathon but it did not inconvenience us. We were taken to see the little mermaid, Royal Palace and we stopped for coffee and a Danish pastry. Then we went on the canal cruise which was very good. We had an hour on our own to wander around Nyhaven looking at the shops, boats, bars and restaurants etc. When we returned to the ship the local band played us out. Friends walked into Kalundborg from the ship and were greeted with such hospitality it was amazing. Even though it was Sunday they had opened all the shops. Copenhagen well recommended.

Again a free shuttle into the city from the ship. We walked around the city and especially liked to south harbour area right in the heart of the city with market stalls selling all sorts of things from wooden souvenirs to food. It s a really nice atmosphere. There are nice shops, cafes, bars etc and lovely buildings and parks. Not a big city so easy to get around.
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Amber Room

We were lucky that we were allowed in that day. No photographs allowed in here. Absolutely spectacular room that has been reconstructed after war damage.

Catherine Palace

A superb palace with unbelievable gold decorations and paintings. Quite a spectacular ride out to the palace which is some way due south of the city. You pay 5 Euro to take photos here. We also had lunch on this tour. Salad, cream soup, beef Stroganov, raspberry tart and coffee. A choice of Vodka, Champagne or water with the meal. Well recommended.

City Tour

The city tour formed part of the day tour including Catherine Palace. Absolutely spectacular driving around the very hectic city.

Hermitage Museum

Spectacular but you only see a limited amount due to the tour timings. A local museum guide joined us in the gold room which gave us more information. No photos to be taken in the gold room. You pay 5 Euro to take photos here. Well recommended.

Pavlosk Palace

The highlight of the cruise. Lots to see but very tiring if you take the full day tours. St.Petersburg is an amazing city and well worth seeing. The places we saw from the list says it all. History and culture, amazing sights everywhere. We even went to see Russian dancing in the evening, fantastic. Passport control is strict but once you are thought there is no problems for the second day.

Peter & Paul Fortress

Truly memorable as here you see the graves of the Tzars including the last Tzar and some of his family.

Russian Ballet Show

Taken into St.Petersburg to a small theatre where we saw the Russian Army singing and dance troupe. Champagne in the interval. What an evening and after driving back late at night though the city and it is still light at 11.30 pm. Well recommended.

One of the highlights of this port was the three hours it took to get into the port from the open Baltic sea. The ship navigates a narrow channel between islands with little houses, spectacular. In Stockholm we opted to go on our own and took free shuttle from the ship into central Stockholm, then the hop on hop off bus which visits most of the major sights. The cost was 50 Euros for two but we traveled twice around the city. We saw the Vasa ship which was well worth a visit. The hop on hop off bus actually stops in front of the ship so you can get on and off there if you wish. A great city.

Very easy walk from the ship. Head to the medieval city with its winding streets and squares. Lots of great shops especially for Amber, and bars and restaurants. Most shops open up about 10.00am. Great photo opportunities here. Recommended.
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