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6th cruise with Thomson and 4th time on Celebration but am thinking this may be our last. First niggle was complete lack of info from Thomson prior to cruise. Maybe it was because we booked on line but prior information was scant bordering on non-existent. Yes we got our E-Ticket and maybe if we had waded through all 27 pages we may have found some pertinent info, but for new travellers on the Arabian Nights Cruise, the UAE Dirham is NOT accepted in all ports of call. Separate currency is required in Doha (Qatar) and Muscat (Oman). The latter, the ship didn't have any currency for! Also dress code. We all appreciate the need to modify dress sense when going to the Middle East but ladies (depending on where you visit) you'll need clothing that covers your wrists and ankles and guys, lightweight full length trousers should be packed as a precaution. Next and probably worst were the flights. Our fault, we assumed (don't assume anything with Thomson) that for an approx. 8 hour flight (we flew from Birmingham) that we'd be on the Dreamliner instead we were on the most ancient, cramped 767. Our overnight outward flight was the most uncomfortable, no leg room, ridiculous narrow widths meaning it was impossible to eat anything without elbowing people either side - just dreadful. I'd happily have swapped places with a sardine in a can! Going back on the Celebration (4th time now) was like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. However we soon discovered that our slippers were getting ragged, tatty, full of holes and seen better days. The ship was sailing pretty much close to capacity and boy did it show. Scramble for beds, long queues when dining and though all the waiters did their best there was such a long wait for dinner courses and drinks. The food was ok. I saw a previous review that said there was no red meat unless a surcharge was paid. Nearly every day there was a beef or lamb option plus plenty of chicken, turkey and pork. Yes if you wanted a premium cut of meat you'd have to pay a surcharge but we found the menu's perfectly acceptable. Sorry but entertainment was poor this year. Didn't recognise any from previous years and with the exception of Charlie, these guys can't sing. Yelling out chorus' is fine but any solo or melodic tunes was way below standard of previous years. Another place to avoid is Destination Services. We asked for a quote for a cruise in December and were given a written quote 3 TIMES more expensive than on-line. After much prodding they did reduce but didn't acknowledge they'd made a mistake. Another time my friend was told by DS staff that she shouldn't be working as it was 10 minutes past when her shift finished. That may have been true and I have sympathy if they are so short staffed but you do not SAY that to a customer. Shameful. The ports of call were ok with Dubai and Abu Dhabi the standard places. Spectacular. Our one big regret and this is a MUST for people who are staying over in Dubai is to visit the city at night time and experience the light shows, fountains, skyline etc.. We didn't since we were so knackered having arrived from an overnight flight on the Tuesday lunchtime. Russle up the energy and get a taxi or shuttle and visit the Dubai Mall at night. Our biggest regret we didn't. Look, we know where Thomson are pitching their cruises in terms of pricing, facilities, ships etc. We do not expect 5 star luxury, even 4 star in places. You get what you pay for so don't go expecting too much if you've paid £600 odd (plus/minus). Our feeling is that the best of the Celebration in terms of staff, talent, waiters etc.. have been cherry picked for the more illustrious in the fleet, Discovery etc.. and what's left is the 'B' team. They all do their best, are grossly under staffed and I'm sure that many of us have found absolute diamonds during our cruise. But there is a level of complacency set in amongst Thomson staff (not ship staff) where customer service (and loyalty for regular travellers) is no longer important. They don't seem happy and standards have definitely dropped. Enjoy your cruise but dampen down your expectation levels a notch or two.

One Celebration too many. (A long review - sorry!)

Marella Celebration Cruise Review by stevieshoe

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
6th cruise with Thomson and 4th time on Celebration but am thinking this may be our last.

First niggle was complete lack of info from Thomson prior to cruise. Maybe it was because we booked on line but prior information was scant bordering on non-existent. Yes we got our E-Ticket and maybe if we had waded through all 27 pages we may have found some pertinent info, but for new travellers on the Arabian Nights Cruise, the UAE Dirham is NOT accepted in all ports of call. Separate currency is required in Doha (Qatar) and Muscat (Oman). The latter, the ship didn't have any currency for! Also dress code. We all appreciate the need to modify dress sense when going to the Middle East but ladies (depending on where you visit) you'll need clothing that covers your wrists and ankles and guys, lightweight full length trousers should be packed as a precaution.

Next and probably worst were the flights. Our fault, we assumed (don't assume anything with Thomson) that for an approx. 8 hour flight (we flew from Birmingham) that we'd be on the Dreamliner instead we were on the most ancient, cramped 767. Our overnight outward flight was the most uncomfortable, no leg room, ridiculous narrow widths meaning it was impossible to eat anything without elbowing people either side - just dreadful. I'd happily have swapped places with a sardine in a can!

Going back on the Celebration (4th time now) was like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. However we soon discovered that our slippers were getting ragged, tatty, full of holes and seen better days. The ship was sailing pretty much close to capacity and boy did it show. Scramble for beds, long queues when dining and though all the waiters did their best there was such a long wait for dinner courses and drinks.

The food was ok. I saw a previous review that said there was no red meat unless a surcharge was paid. Nearly every day there was a beef or lamb option plus plenty of chicken, turkey and pork. Yes if you wanted a premium cut of meat you'd have to pay a surcharge but we found the menu's perfectly acceptable.

Sorry but entertainment was poor this year. Didn't recognise any from previous years and with the exception of Charlie, these guys can't sing. Yelling out chorus' is fine but any solo or melodic tunes was way below standard of previous years.

Another place to avoid is Destination Services. We asked for a quote for a cruise in December and were given a written quote 3 TIMES more expensive than on-line. After much prodding they did reduce but didn't acknowledge they'd made a mistake. Another time my friend was told by DS staff that she shouldn't be working as it was 10 minutes past when her shift finished. That may have been true and I have sympathy if they are so short staffed but you do not SAY that to a customer. Shameful.

The ports of call were ok with Dubai and Abu Dhabi the standard places. Spectacular. Our one big regret and this is a MUST for people who are staying over in Dubai is to visit the city at night time and experience the light shows, fountains, skyline etc.. We didn't since we were so knackered having arrived from an overnight flight on the Tuesday lunchtime. Russle up the energy and get a taxi or shuttle and visit the Dubai Mall at night. Our biggest regret we didn't.

Look, we know where Thomson are pitching their cruises in terms of pricing, facilities, ships etc. We do not expect 5 star luxury, even 4 star in places. You get what you pay for so don't go expecting too much if you've paid £600 odd (plus/minus). Our feeling is that the best of the Celebration in terms of staff, talent, waiters etc.. have been cherry picked for the more illustrious in the fleet, Discovery etc.. and what's left is the 'B' team. They all do their best, are grossly under staffed and I'm sure that many of us have found absolute diamonds during our cruise. But there is a level of complacency set in amongst Thomson staff (not ship staff) where customer service (and loyalty for regular travellers) is no longer important. They don't seem happy and standards have definitely dropped.

Enjoy your cruise but dampen down your expectation levels a notch or two.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 0696
Nothing wrong with cabin. Absolutely fine. No more and no less than we expected. Cabin steward Nia was excellent.
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