A Great Little Ship!: Thomson Celebration Cruise Review by jocap

Thomson Celebration 5
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A Great Little Ship!

Sail Date: February 2010
Destination: Middle East
Embarkation: Other
We're really BIG SHIP lovers, but had seen so many good reviews of Thomson that we were determined to try the Red Sea, where OH learnt to dive many years ago. We had a stress-free flight from Doncaster, mainly because the airport is so quiet, and the staff so helpful, that the usual fear of airports was missing! Once you're on board, you're in Thomson's hands till you return, and it was seamless.... The airport at Sharm el Sheikh is another matter, but they'd just had a major storm which closed one terminal. Our first week was in a hotel, the Baron Palms, which, like all the major hotels, is 5*. Again, we were well looked after by our T rep, Julie.

Our 1st sight of Celebration didn't give us the wow factor....we were on Ventura4 months before, so the contrast was strong. However, we'd come for snorkelling and entertainment, and certainly got both! The entertainment team, under the brilliant Keith Maynard, were the greatest, funniest, most rehearsed and personable group we have More ever seen before. Some of them were somewhere, being busy, at all times. As a couple, we had to split up to fit in as much of the entertainment as we could.There was a wonderful Q&A session with them, when they described their weeks of rehearsal before joining....and it showed! The evening shows were often fast and glitzy, with many changes of clothes; The voice trainer Corea, could sing in any role- and act, for a play was produced one aft. We were so busy that one of the main reasons for taking this cruise passed us by....the trips to the fantastic sights. Instead, it was an all-snorkelling cruise for us- and where better in the winter months, than a 5 hr flight to the Red Sea? It was our first try in an inside cabin- large, loads of storage....we knew it would be dated, but it was clean and well cared for. We were close to a laundry, which was handy after our stay in a hotel. The passengers were mainly British, some there for the swimming, but mainly for the tours, which had preparation lectures NOT SELLING ONES! There was very little hard sell on board....no scratch cards in the theatre, no $15 dollar events- even the Bingo started at £5. The crew we met were friendly- one learned our names in the 1st hour, and called us wherever we were. The difference between a crew working for tips, and this tips included cruise was obvious, as staff were friendly and not subservient. We wondered whether the ship being flagged to Malta made a difference to the pay they received, being under EU minimum wage laws. A fine cruise; a different cruise; an entertaining one with vast amounts to do.Again, seamless transfers in the late afternoon from the ship to the airport. We'll draw a curtain over that bit....Sharm is chaos! A good flight home to snow and ice. We'll be back!- Jo. Less

Published 02/27/10
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Cabin review: ins815

Cabin 815 is an inside on the bottom deck (1), forward. It is extremely spacious, large double bed and as much storage as the main bedroom at home- many unfilled drawers! As it is an old ship, it is tired, but clean. It is on the corner of a cross corridor, with a lift then a laundry behind, ie, only one set of neighbours, and the laundry's locked at 8pm. Handy for the front of the ship.

Port and Shore Excursions

This is the main port for Petra, and 20 or so coaches left. We were booked for the snorkelling trip here, which was cancelled, as strong winds were about. Next time, we'll go with the crew, who have their own contacts in Aqaba. Beware of being underdressed here- 2 pax who thought it OK to go past a mosque on the holy day (Friday), were shouted at, and allegedly spat at, for being dressed in shorts and skimpy tops. This wear is fine on the beaches, but not in the town centre.

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