This was a last minute deal and we decided to go on this cruise as it went to several ports that we had not been to before. Having read the reviews on this web site before we went we were a bit worried about what we were letting ourselves in for? We are pleased to say that many of the reviews were overstated in their criticism.
The ship is quite small compared to many that now ply the waters but we found it to be a friendly ship with a good atmosphere. We also discovered that most of the guests on board had been on the ship on multiple occasions and if we heard once we heard a thousand times the number of people saying they would be back on in six weeks when it got to Newcastle!!!! Being small it also means that it was never very far to get anywhere.
The ship was looking a bit tired in places and a bit of a make over wouldn't go amiss. There was plenty of space for everyone. Unless you are the type who has to be by the pool all day. In that case its all very close, but if you want some space and a decent sun bed to lay on go to the upper decks.
We had a deck 2 inboard cabin. Right in the middle of the ship and very low, so movement was at a minimum, but being that close to the engines there was a bit of a throb going through us at times. The cabin was quite spacious with single, one along and one across beds, plenty of cupboard space and ensuite shower room. There was also a mini bar, but we did not have a fridge.
There was freedom dining in that you could go to the main sit down restaurant at any meal time, or go to the free for all canteen. The food was of a good quality and plentiful, and available all day, from 0700 until past midnight. Although nice we thought it lacked a little bit of flavour but couldn't quite work out what was missing, perhaps some more seasoning or something?? There were also pay for restaurants. Although we never went to any, those we spoke to who did said that it was very nice and on average about £20pp extra.
Bar prices were also reasonable. We didn't have the drinks package but it would appear that premium brand drinks did not feature in the deal. Lots of nice bars to go to depending on your preference. Noisy like the Liberty bar or nice and peaceful like the Horizons bar, the in-between bar being the Hemingway Bar. Entertainment in the form of musicians, singers or band periodically throughout the day.
There was a show team who put on a show or cabaret every night. There was also a comedian called Buster who was drafted in and did 2 shows on 2 separate nights. Seems he has been working Thomson ships for 10 years and was quite good. Second shows were not suitable for younger people!!!!!
Good service throughout the ship from cabin staff to bar staff and the captain. All of the crew were absolutely charming and very good with the children that were on the ship and the older people who struggled a bit as well.
Some of the ports we visited were a bit away from the town/cities and it was necessary to get bussed into the centres. This was chargeable, about £5 each on average or it was a long walk or taxi.
We didn't do any of Thomsons trips but we did do 2 cycle trips in Marseilles and Valencia. We can recommend the cycle trips. Jonty the guy who does them has a route for each stop. He is young and fit and leads from the front but did go a little fast for some of us older people. But great fun and you do get to see sights that you can't on coaches or by foot. Each ride was about 30-40Km and they were a full on day out.
Over all it was on Alright Cruise. There was nothing to make us go WOW but on the other hand nothing to say it was dire and generally we were pleasantly surprised and it was much better than some of the reviews would have us believe.
The only really bad thing was the state of the sun beds. They spend hours cleaning the ship but the one thing most people spend most of their time on (the sun bed) was completely ignored and most of them were very dirty and stained and let the ship down.
But the acid test has to be whether we would go back on the Celebration again and the answer would be yes. Especially if we got it for the last minute bargain price we got it for this time.
Single beds, one along and one across the room. ensuite shower room. Plenty of storage and cupboards. Mini bar but no fridge. Spotlessly clean. Towels a bit thin and rough.