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Marella Celebration Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
652 Reviews


Marella Celebration Cruise Review by joshuamcbuck

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2012
  • Destination: the Middle East

My wife & our boys aged 12 years & 9 years were on the Thomson Celebration Cruise during this Christmas in 2 nos. outside cabins on B deck.

The cabins were comfortable with adequate space to store cloths etc.

The food was acceptable in the buffet restaurant but could have been hotter. A microwave would sort this problem out.

The crew were both friendly & helpful.

The first port of call was Aqaba in Jordan. Thomson supplied a free shuttle bus to the centre of the town which was worth a walk around. Thomson were running a tour to Petra which they would charge my family £404.00. We arranged our own taxi & including the cost of entry tickets. Total cost £140.00, a saving of 65%.

The next port was Sokhna in Egypt. This port is a commercial one in the middle of nowhere surrounded only by factories. There is no town. Initially, we walked to find a taxi to take us to the Pyramids but were thwarted by the Port Authorities as they were not happy with Thomson passengers walking in their port. The Thomson representative tried to get us to return to the ship but when we refused found us a taxi. We assume that the Port Authorities complained to Thomsons which forced them to find us a taxi. We would have booked the Thomson Tour to the Pyramids if it had been reasonably priced, our cost including tickets was £150.00. Thomson were charging £320.00, a saving of 53%. If the passengers did not want to take the Thomson Tour they were kept captive on the ship, just like another day at sea.

The final port before returning to Sharm El Sheikh was Safaga, another commercial port with a cement factory at the quay side. When we arrived it was windy with cement dust blowing towards the ship which is a health hazard. The town is quite run down & not really worth a visit. We easily found a taxi to take us to the Valley Of The Kings which cost £160.00 including entry tickets. The Thomson cost for my family was £344.00 our saving 53%.

Thomson tours are grossly overpriced. I think that they are exploiting a captive market.

A week before the cruise set sail date Thomson informed us that the Sports Deck was closed due to upgrading the ship. Having 2 nos. boys that are keen on football & basketball this was not good news as it was difficult to keep the children occupied during the day at sea. As we only booked this cruise a month before the cruise would start, we consider it was deceitful of Thomsons to not tell us about the deck closure at the time of booking. we complained to Thomsons who so far have ignored us.

Finally, Thomson want to organise their airport departure procedures better. All their buses from the cruise & hotels arrive at the airport at the same time. This leads to massive unnecessary queues. All their planes were taking-off at short intervals which meant there were not enough buses at Sharm El Sheikh Airport to ferry passengers to the planes & when the planes were ready to take-off they were having to queue to leave. Our plane was 50 minutes late taking-off. This problem could easily be overcome by staggering the times that the buses arrive at the airport & leaving longer periods between flight take-offs.

joshuamcbuck's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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