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This was our first non-Disney cruise so we were not sure what to expect with regard to the differences between TUI and Disney. Overall we really enjoyed the experience both on the ship and at the ports of call. The Good... The staff on board were all excellent and friendly. This ranged from service staff in the restaurants, the cabin stewards and the entertainment team... not a bad encounter during the whole trip! The ship was kept clean and tidy the entire time, including the restaurant areas and lounges. There was never a stack of empty glasses or litter left around. We chose to eat in the Lido Restaurant rather than the Meridian as we prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and the menus seemed to be the same but a buffet rather than table service. The food itself was very good with lots of variety and choice every day. Food was available from 6am through to around 2am so there was always plenty of opportunity to fit in a snack or three. There was a good choice of on-board entertainment to choose from. There were musical and comedy shows in the Broadway Lounge every night and quizzes, games and bingo in other venues throughout the day. Plenty to keep the guests engaged. We went on a shore excursion at each port of call and found the logistics of them to be very well organised. We will say more about the trips themselves a little later... The cabins we had were much better than we were expecting. They had plenty of space and lots of storage. The Bad... The Celebration itself is a small and rather old ship and it is starting to show. There was a constant vibration running throughout the ship even when docked in port that was very noticeable. Sometimes this vibration was enough to rattle glasses and make the stage lights swing, so it isn't a small problem. The deck areas were packed full of sunbeds, sometimes to the point of being a pain to get past, especially if guests were not being particularly considerate of others. In our cabins, the fridge wasn’t actually a fridge, but a box that sort of tried to keep things cold. It didn’t work very well. There could also be more power outlets in the cabins. One socket might have been sufficient 30 years ago when the Celebration was built but it’s far from adequate these days. Additional costs. This was particularly annoying as until we got onto the ship we had no idea that soft drinks were not included (even with meals). We booked as Full Board so was expecting a little more choice than Tea, Coffee or Water, but that is all we could have. There was an option to upgrade to the 'All Inclusive' drinks package at a cost of £200 per person for the week. This would have included soft drinks, but as we are not drinkers of Beer or Spirits it would have been an extremely expensive option. There was no option of a 'soft drinks' package. We also heard a lot of people who had purchased the all-inclusive drinks package complaining that not all of the drinks were included! There was another 'Premium' package that they could upgrade to for another £50 extra per person. Amazingly, this ALSO did not include every drink available on board, many had additional surcharges. It was all very confusing and annoying, as guests are not made aware of this before check in. This also meant that many drinks had various possible prices - full price, all-inclusive surcharge price and premium surcharge price. For example; a 200ml glass of Coke (but mostly ice) was £1.20, but is included in the all-inclusive package. A 330ml can of Coke was £1.90 but if you had the all-inclusive package, it was still an additional £1.00. Not very all-inclusive or straightforward!! If you wanted a steak meal in the ‘included in your full board’ restaurant, it was yet another additional charge. £9.95 this time. Wifi? £8 per hour! Want to use the safe in your cabin? £15 for the week. It was extremely annoying. General availability of information was a problem. We found that TUI were very bad at letting us know what to expect. They provide a service where once you drop your cases at the airport you don’t see them again until you get to your cabin. This is useful, but we didn't know about this until we were in the check-in line at the airport and were handed a label to put on our case by a TUI rep. Handy, but if we had anything in our cases that we wanted to use when we got to Dubrovnik before we got on the ship we would have been out of luck. We found the same with the shore excursions. For a start we had to Google how to book them as it isn't on the same web page as the cruise booking and nowhere had a link to the excursions sites. Once on board we found trips could be booked there, but many were sold out already and once again, we were not informed. The descriptions of the trip were also rather vague and in retrospect a bit misleading at times. For example on the Kefalonia Highlights trip in Argostoli, the tour we booked advertised "Next, it’s time for a visit to the island’s most photographed stretch of sand, Myrtos Beach. This mile-and-a-half-long curve of white pebbles is the setting for several scenes of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin." We carried around a bag with towels and swimming gear in all day only to find that this visit was a 2 minute stop at the top of a cliff to look down at the beach and take a picture. This particular tour was not a good pick due to the amount of time spent on the bus. In a five hour tour we had 20 minutes in a row boat (which to be fair was amazing) and 1 hour in a town called Fiskardo. It was very picturesque but we had no time to enjoy it before we had to head back to the coach. A couple of the tours we went on also had some very intense bouts of walking, either due to steep climbs or quick tour guides that had to be followed. This wasn't a problem for our group, but I would guess 75% of the guests on these tours were elderly and many had mobility issues. On one tour several people stayed on the coach as they couldn't do the walk to the Greek Ruins in Igoumenitsa. This could have been avoided by more information being given at the time of booking. In conclusion... We really enjoyed the trip but would not travel on the Celebration again, mostly due to the constant rumble and vibration being very off putting. We would also be hesitant about booking with TUI again due to the stream of additional charges and lack of provided information.

Sail The Three Seas - Marella Celebration with TUI

Marella Celebration Cruise Review by bartmossuk

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our first non-Disney cruise so we were not sure what to expect with regard to the differences between TUI and Disney. Overall we really enjoyed the experience both on the ship and at the ports of call.

The Good...

The staff on board were all excellent and friendly. This ranged from service staff in the restaurants, the cabin stewards and the entertainment team... not a bad encounter during the whole trip!

The ship was kept clean and tidy the entire time, including the restaurant areas and lounges. There was never a stack of empty glasses or litter left around.

We chose to eat in the Lido Restaurant rather than the Meridian as we prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and the menus seemed to be the same but a buffet rather than table service.

The food itself was very good with lots of variety and choice every day. Food was available from 6am through to around 2am so there was always plenty of opportunity to fit in a snack or three.

There was a good choice of on-board entertainment to choose from. There were musical and comedy shows in the Broadway Lounge every night and quizzes, games and bingo in other venues throughout the day. Plenty to keep the guests engaged.

We went on a shore excursion at each port of call and found the logistics of them to be very well organised. We will say more about the trips themselves a little later...

The cabins we had were much better than we were expecting. They had plenty of space and lots of storage.


The Bad...

The Celebration itself is a small and rather old ship and it is starting to show. There was a constant vibration running throughout the ship even when docked in port that was very noticeable. Sometimes this vibration was enough to rattle glasses and make the stage lights swing, so it isn't a small problem.

The deck areas were packed full of sunbeds, sometimes to the point of being a pain to get past, especially if guests were not being particularly considerate of others.

In our cabins, the fridge wasn’t actually a fridge, but a box that sort of tried to keep things cold. It didn’t work very well.

There could also be more power outlets in the cabins. One socket might have been sufficient 30 years ago when the Celebration was built but it’s far from adequate these days.

Additional costs.

This was particularly annoying as until we got onto the ship we had no idea that soft drinks were not included (even with meals). We booked as Full Board so was expecting a little more choice than Tea, Coffee or Water, but that is all we could have.

There was an option to upgrade to the 'All Inclusive' drinks package at a cost of £200 per person for the week. This would have included soft drinks, but as we are not drinkers of Beer or Spirits it would have been an extremely expensive option. There was no option of a 'soft drinks' package. We also heard a lot of people who had purchased the all-inclusive drinks package complaining that not all of the drinks were included!

There was another 'Premium' package that they could upgrade to for another £50 extra per person. Amazingly, this ALSO did not include every drink available on board, many had additional surcharges.

It was all very confusing and annoying, as guests are not made aware of this before check in.

This also meant that many drinks had various possible prices - full price, all-inclusive surcharge price and premium surcharge price.

For example; a 200ml glass of Coke (but mostly ice) was £1.20, but is included in the all-inclusive package. A 330ml can of Coke was £1.90 but if you had the all-inclusive package, it was still an additional £1.00.

Not very all-inclusive or straightforward!!

If you wanted a steak meal in the ‘included in your full board’ restaurant, it was yet another additional charge. £9.95 this time.

Wifi? £8 per hour!

Want to use the safe in your cabin? £15 for the week.

It was extremely annoying.

General availability of information was a problem.

We found that TUI were very bad at letting us know what to expect. They provide a service where once you drop your cases at the airport you don’t see them again until you get to your cabin. This is useful, but we didn't know about this until we were in the check-in line at the airport and were handed a label to put on our case by a TUI rep. Handy, but if we had anything in our cases that we wanted to use when we got to Dubrovnik before we got on the ship we would have been out of luck.

We found the same with the shore excursions. For a start we had to Google how to book them as it isn't on the same web page as the cruise booking and nowhere had a link to the excursions sites. Once on board we found trips could be booked there, but many were sold out already and once again, we were not informed.

The descriptions of the trip were also rather vague and in retrospect a bit misleading at times. For example on the Kefalonia Highlights trip in Argostoli, the tour we booked advertised "Next, it’s time for a visit to the island’s most photographed stretch of sand, Myrtos Beach. This mile-and-a-half-long curve of white pebbles is the setting for several scenes of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin." We carried around a bag with towels and swimming gear in all day only to find that this visit was a 2 minute stop at the top of a cliff to look down at the beach and take a picture.

This particular tour was not a good pick due to the amount of time spent on the bus. In a five hour tour we had 20 minutes in a row boat (which to be fair was amazing) and 1 hour in a town called Fiskardo. It was very picturesque but we had no time to enjoy it before we had to head back to the coach.

A couple of the tours we went on also had some very intense bouts of walking, either due to steep climbs or quick tour guides that had to be followed. This wasn't a problem for our group, but I would guess 75% of the guests on these tours were elderly and many had mobility issues. On one tour several people stayed on the coach as they couldn't do the walk to the Greek Ruins in Igoumenitsa. This could have been avoided by more information being given at the time of booking.


In conclusion...

We really enjoyed the trip but would not travel on the Celebration again, mostly due to the constant rumble and vibration being very off putting.

We would also be hesitant about booking with TUI again due to the stream of additional charges and lack of provided information.
bartmossuk’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 807
Plenty of space and storage. Comfortable beds.

Very thin walls, lots of bleed-through noise from surrounding cabins. Particularly snoring at night.

Only one power outlet for the room.
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