Marella Spirit Cruise Review by Lone Starr
- Sail Date: August 2012
- Destination: Baltic Sea
We'd not really considered that cruise holidays were for us, and I was actually looking online at ferry crossings to Scandinavia with the intention of taking the car over and spending a week driving around the sights. After seeing how expensive they were, I gave up! After that, I started to get "placed" adverts on other websites I visited, and that's when I saw the Thomson Cruises. One click led to another, and we'd booked our first cruise - Magic of the Fjords on the Thomson Spirit, August 2012.
We really didn't know what to expect from the cruise, so this forum proved very useful in giving us some background information. It has to be said that you can't really find very much from the Thomson website, and you feel "in the dark" about some of the deeper mysteries of cruises. So thank you to all the people who have left their most useful hints and tips.
We sailed from Harwich. The check-in process was so simple (as a frequent flyer on business, it was actually a pleasure). Once on board, we soon realised just how many staff they have to look after you. I didn't expect to be shown to our cabin (200, Promenade/deck 7), and this set the scene for the next 7 days.
So, the cruise itself. We visited Eidfjord, Flam and Bergen, with a day at sea at either end. At no stage did we find that we had nothing to do, and even our 12 year old son never got bored. The cabin was right at the front (just under the bridge) and looked over the bow. We had to have our window blinds closed each evening, so unfortunately we couldn't see out at night, but the cabin was cosy. Like many people, the only thing we think it lacked was a kettle, but we soon got used to going to the Lido deck for a cuppa and bringing it back to the cabin.
We didn't book any excursions, choosing to print out maps before we left and exploring the destinations on foot. Eidfjord had a lovely walk up to a lake (complete with beach and log cabin!), and into the countryside where you could see Viking burial mounds. Flam was our absolute fave - we walked up to the Brekkefossen waterfall which had spectacular views over Flam. And in Bergen we took the funicular up to the top of Floyen. I'll upload the photos to Flickr and post the link later.
The crossing back was choppy - force 8/9. We found that having a cabin at the front caused quite a lot of movement, but it was mainly during the night and we didn't notice it too much whilst we were asleep.
In summary, a superb introduction to cruise holidays, and we left feeling refreshed. Early this year, we booked again for the Thomson Spirit, this time going on the Fire & Ice 13-night cruise in July. We've opted for a deck 3 cabin (because we're told they are a bit more stable in heavy seas), and we should be somewhere midships as we have got a 4-berth cabin booked.
I'll be on the lookout for more hints & tips on your superb forums.
A third bed was put in (under the window) for my son - it was a simple camp-style bed and rather creaky, but sufficient for 6 nights.
Access was almost directly onto the Promenade deck, making it feel very special, though the doors were closed in heavy/windy conditions.
The only gripe is that being at the bow of the ship seemed to exaggerate the motion of the ship, and it felt like you were on a rocking horse whilst crossing the North Sea.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BergenWe docked at what looked like the goods shipyard. Thomson did provide a shuttle-bus service to the centre of town, which was frequent and good.View All 466 Bergen Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Bergen Cruise Port Review
FlamGreat port - very close to town.View All 168 Flam Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Flam Cruise Port Review