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Our flight to Dubrovnik was good and on arrival we were transferred quickly to the ship. Check in on board was fairly smooth but it was a bit annoying having a photographer line you up for photographs when you have just come off a flight. Our cabin was a disappointment. It was small, but sufficient for our needs. We were lucky that the weather was good during our stay as I would not like to have spent a lot of time in it if the weather had been bad. The furniture was basic and in need of a refurb and the electrics were pretty wonky with a lack of sufficient points for charging phones, tablets etc or using the hairdryer. Also, there was a distinct sewage smell. My wife refused to unpack and we went to reception to complain. They said that they would send someone to inspect it but because everyone was busy with check in it would be several hours before anyone could come. We then discovered that several people on our deck (No 1) had the same problem. Someone came down at night to check. They sprayed the room and said that they would work on resolving the problem, which in fairness did improve as the week went on. However, my wife was still not happy, after all, you would not put up with a smell at home. We asked to be moved but were told that there were no cabins available. There was no place to sit other than on the beds and from one bed you could see the television but from the other you couldn't. In the free self service laundrette on our deck one of the available driers was out of order for the duration of the cruise, and also the iron did not work. I wonder if there had been a charge for this service whether the broken equipment would have been fixed sooner rather than later. Despite some reservations I would say that overall the cruise was excellent and good value for money. The food was excellent with a great selection in both the dining room and the self service cafeteria. We used the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch and there was a large enough selection to cover a huge variety of tastes with an omelette bar at breakfast and pasta and sandwich bars at lunchtime, as well as a huge selection of hot and cold food. The dining room was great with a choice of a four course meal which changed every evening . We had intended visiting one of the speciality restaurants but didn't bother as the food in the main dining room was so good. The choices included Steak, Lobster, Chicken, Salmon and Lamb as well as a selection of lovely soups, salads and deserts. It is also worth saying that the staff in the dining rooms were excellent. All very friendly and good natured. The entertainment in the theatre was terrific, but not so good in some of the bars, although the ships resident band were very good. We went to the theatre three times during the week and we saw the Brit Awards Show, the Tribute to Cameron Mackintosh show, and the comedian Stan James. All were very high quality shows, pretty much West End standard and very unusually, I had not heard any of the comedians jokes before. It is also worth paying tribute to Jake the cruise director, who put his heart and soul into everything and even appeared in one of the shows. I don't know when he managed to sleep. We had bought a drinks package and this was my biggest issue. We did not realise that you could buy bottles on board and take them to your cabin. We paid £360 for the package but I would certainly not buy it again. It annoyed me having to sign for every drink that you bought. When we cruised previously with Celebrity you were issued with a smart card, which the barman simply swiped to automatically charge your account. The biggest issue with the bars though was the APPALLING service. On entering a bar, particularly Hemingways or Liberties, the waiters would studiously ignore you and you could easily wait for 10-15 minutes before someone took your order. I tried going up to the bar but they asked me to sit down and someone would come to take my order. It would often then take another 15-20 minutes before the drinks arrived. It was so bad that on a couple of occasions I actually went up to the bar and took the drinks from the waiter and got them myself. This happened so often that I am convinced that it was Thomsons policy to ensure that they profited from the drinks packages. I'm quite sure that had we been paying for every drink, the service would have been a heckuva lot quicker. I also noticed that if you did not specify a proprietary brand, you were given a local spirit. Another way for Thomsons to maximise their profits. If I had known then what I know now I would certainly not have bought the package. If this is not Thomsons policy then they really need to retrain their bar staff or employ some new ones. The destinations which we visited were on the whole excellent, particularly Dubrovnik and Kotor, although we did these on our own as the tours were pretty expensive. We walked into Dubrovnik from the ship which took about an hour, although we were just dawdling along, so could have done it much quicker. We shared a taxi back which was only 7 Euros. Kotor is very accessible and you can walk in in a few minutes. We took a taxi from Corinth to Delphi, which was 30 Euros each way, but still cheaper than the tour (especially if you share). We took the tour of Athens because it was an hours journey from Itea to Athens. We enjoyed seeing the Parthenon and The Acropolis as well as the Olympic Stadium. Again, it was fairly expensive but we felt worth it. In summary I would say that this cruise is excellent value for money, despite the problems with the cabin and the drinks package. I would certainly do it again but would not buy the drinks package, and would probably go for a higher specced cabin

MAINLY EXCELLENT BUT A FEW DRAWBACKS

Marella Celebration Cruise Review by CHIMOK

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Our flight to Dubrovnik was good and on arrival we were transferred quickly to the ship. Check in on board was fairly smooth but it was a bit annoying having a photographer line you up for photographs when you have just come off a flight.

Our cabin was a disappointment. It was small, but sufficient for our needs. We were lucky that the weather was good during our stay as I would not like to have spent a lot of time in it if the weather had been bad. The furniture was basic and in need of a refurb and the electrics were pretty wonky with a lack of sufficient points for charging phones, tablets etc or using the hairdryer. Also, there was a distinct sewage smell. My wife refused to unpack and we went to reception to complain. They said that they would send someone to inspect it but because everyone was busy with check in it would be several hours before anyone could come. We then discovered that several people on our deck (No 1) had the same problem. Someone came down at night to check. They sprayed the room and said that they would work on resolving the problem, which in fairness did improve as the week went on. However, my wife was still not happy, after all, you would not put up with a smell at home. We asked to be moved but were told that there were no cabins available. There was no place to sit other than on the beds and from one bed you could see the television but from the other you couldn't.

In the free self service laundrette on our deck one of the available driers was out of order for the duration of the cruise, and also the iron did not work. I wonder if there had been a charge for this service whether the broken equipment would have been fixed sooner rather than later.

Despite some reservations I would say that overall the cruise was excellent and good value for money. The food was excellent with a great selection in both the dining room and the self service cafeteria. We used the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch and there was a large enough selection to cover a huge variety of tastes with an omelette bar at breakfast and pasta and sandwich bars at lunchtime, as well as a huge selection of hot and cold food. The dining room was great with a choice of a four course meal which changed every evening . We had intended visiting one of the speciality restaurants but didn't bother as the food in the main dining room was so good. The choices included Steak, Lobster, Chicken, Salmon and Lamb as well as a selection of lovely soups, salads and deserts. It is also worth saying that the staff in the dining rooms were excellent. All very friendly and good natured.

The entertainment in the theatre was terrific, but not so good in some of the bars, although the ships resident band were very good. We went to the theatre three times during the week and we saw the Brit Awards Show, the Tribute to Cameron Mackintosh show, and the comedian Stan James. All were very high quality shows, pretty much West End standard and very unusually, I had not heard any of the comedians jokes before. It is also worth paying tribute to Jake the cruise director, who put his heart and soul into everything and even appeared in one of the shows. I don't know when he managed to sleep.

We had bought a drinks package and this was my biggest issue. We did not realise that you could buy bottles on board and take them to your cabin. We paid £360 for the package but I would certainly not buy it again. It annoyed me having to sign for every drink that you bought. When we cruised previously with Celebrity you were issued with a smart card, which the barman simply swiped to automatically charge your account. The biggest issue with the bars though was the APPALLING service. On entering a bar, particularly Hemingways or Liberties, the waiters would studiously ignore you and you could easily wait for 10-15 minutes before someone took your order. I tried going up to the bar but they asked me to sit down and someone would come to take my order. It would often then take another 15-20 minutes before the drinks arrived. It was so bad that on a couple of occasions I actually went up to the bar and took the drinks from the waiter and got them myself. This happened so often that I am convinced that it was Thomsons policy to ensure that they profited from the drinks packages. I'm quite sure that had we been paying for every drink, the service would have been a heckuva lot quicker. I also noticed that if you did not specify a proprietary brand, you were given a local spirit. Another way for Thomsons to maximise their profits. If I had known then what I know now I would certainly not have bought the package. If this is not Thomsons policy then they really need to retrain their bar staff or employ some new ones.

The destinations which we visited were on the whole excellent, particularly Dubrovnik and Kotor, although we did these on our own as the tours were pretty expensive. We walked into Dubrovnik from the ship which took about an hour, although we were just dawdling along, so could have done it much quicker. We shared a taxi back which was only 7 Euros. Kotor is very accessible and you can walk in in a few minutes. We took a taxi from Corinth to Delphi, which was 30 Euros each way, but still cheaper than the tour (especially if you share). We took the tour of Athens because it was an hours journey from Itea to Athens. We enjoyed seeing the Parthenon and The Acropolis as well as the Olympic Stadium. Again, it was fairly expensive but we felt worth it.

In summary I would say that this cruise is excellent value for money, despite the problems with the cabin and the drinks package. I would certainly do it again but would not buy the drinks package, and would probably go for a higher specced cabin
CHIMOK’s Full Rating Summary
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