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Marella Spirit Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
365 Reviews

Life and Times Aboard the Thomson Spirit

Marella Spirit Cruise Review by mcfccruiser

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2015
  • Destination: the Eastern Mediterranean

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.


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)

mcfccruiser's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1/2 outside cabin 548

poor. issues with plumbing and outdated. Also first cabin we had smelt of urine

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