Red Sea Magic on the Celebration: Thomson Celebration Cruise Review by verian

Thomson Celebration 5

Overall Member Rating

Red Sea Magic on the Celebration

Sail Date: November 2009
Destination: Middle East
Embarkation: Other
Port of embarkation was actually Sharm el Sheikh but this isn't on Cruise critic's list. This was our second time aboard the Celebration so we knew what to expect. Ship has had a bit of a refurbish since last time so was fresh and clean (although some of the colour schemes are a bit odd!). We had a spacious outside cabin that was kept squeaky clean by Ary. We flew out of cold, wet Britain into hot, sunny, splendid weather. Sea was like a mill pond throughout. There are plenty of places to sun bathe on board, although there is still an ongoing problem with people 'reserving' their sunbeds by putting towels out at crack of dawn. Food was excellent and catered for all tastes, we breakfasted in the Lido and generally ate other meals in the Meridian restaurant as we enjoy the waiter service. Food was hot, tasty and there was always plenty of it, including hot dogs at midnight. We were on the all inclusive drinks package, which we got free by booking early, I probably wouldn't pay for More it as we are not big drinkers, but its very convenient and covers most of the drinks on board including a great range of delicious cocktails. Bar prices are roughly the same as UK and there are no hidden extras. All the entertainment we saw was excellent, the singers and dancers in the Broadway show lounge put on different, lively and well rehearsed shows every day. The duo in the Horizons bar were really outstanding with a gentle jazzy style. Can't comment on the Liberties lounge as we didn't go - but it was very popular, so assume it was OK. We didn't attend the captain's dinner, but many did and it was lovely to see everyone all dressed up. This is the only formal night (and you can opt in or out), otherwise you can generally wear what you like, although it is expected people dress at least smart/casual in the Meridian or Mistral restaurant for dinner, e.g. long trousers for gents with a collared shirt.

We only did three trips as we had already seen Luxor on a previous trip to Egypt. Petra was exhausting but exhilarating, this place is magnificent - in spite of hot weather, sand, dust, hawkers, it was still a great day. Definitely a 'must do' trip. Be warned though, its not at all suitable for anyone with walking difficulties, the ground is uneven, broken up and/or sandy and makes for difficult walking. You can get a horse, camel or a carriage both up and down if you fancy it but even this looks like hard work. Cairo is scary with drivers, pedestrians and various animals dicing with death on chaotic roads. The main reason for booking this cruise was to do this trip to the pyramids, and we weren't disappointed, they are, of course, incredible. We visited the Solar boat too, which is quite awesome. A surprising hit of the week was a trip in a submarine boat to view the fish and coral reefs at Hurgada. This gave us an amazing view with many species of fish and coral - no wonder divers believe this place offers the best diving in the world. Booking trips was easy and prices were reasonable when you consider what you get at around £80 for the full day tours to Petra, Cairo and Luxor. All the trips were very well organised with informed and friendly guides, although there is always the obligatory shopping trip, which is fine if you like tourist shopping without the usual haggling. Every passenger was provided with a snack bag to take with them and lunch at Cairo and Petra was provided by a good quality hotel.

Good bits - efficient and friendly staff, a great bunch of passengers, glorious weather. A whole week of being waited on hand and foot - what's not to like? Bad bits. The people in the next cabin smoking so that smoke drifted through the air-con into ours, making it smell like a stale ashtray. VERY SELFISH of them, not to mention dangerous. Stupid people set off the smoke alarms and even that didn't stop them. Less

Published 11/16/09

Cabin review: 082

Spacious cabin on deck 8, twin beds, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space for two people. Mini-bar, phone, TV. Bathroom adequate, has bath with shower over.

Port and Shore Excursions

Moored here for 2 days to visit Petra + a few other trips. Aqaba is a work in progress, lots of building work. Is trying hard to be an international holiday destination but not got there yet. Shuttle bus delivers passengers into the town centre, where there is a small selection of shops, bars and hotels. Jordanians are very friendly and proud of their city. Most speak English as it is considered their second language. Plenty of taxis if you want to explore the city.
Read 44 Aqaba Reviews

Typical Red Sea resort, some hotels, bars, not much of interest though.
Read 47 Safaga Reviews
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