I travelled with my wife two children aged 8 and 10, and mother and father-in law for a week on Thomson Celebration. We flew to Paphos and then transfered to the port of Limassol.The organisation was good and we were soon on the ship enjoying the food.THe ship is a little old but is very clean and well maintained. The staff are excellent especially the waiters and room staff for whom nothing is to much trouble.Our children enjoyed the Kidzone and made new friends. They could not wait to go to the next session and were really disapointed when they missed out due to us going on trips.The shows are of a good standard and varied. I personally did not like the UK comedian whose entire show was built around the theme of being drunk- a little to low brow for my liking but others certainly enjoyed him.My only negative comments are that the food did not seem as varied as we had tasted on the Spirit last year. Don't get me wrong its still good but not as good.Also there were a few problems with the toilet packing up.But these were soon fixed.The ports other than Alanya(Turkey) are all industrial. You can't really go far if you get off. You either take a trip or sit in the port watching ships load and unload.Overall we had a great time and would think about going back sometime to visit some of the places we missed out on.
There are some nice gardens in the Port and you can venture out but we decided to enjoy the sun.
We went on the trip to the Pyramids from Port Said.Their is a choice of three trips all that end up at the Pyramids. We went on the "easier" of the three. WE went on a convoy of about 12 coaches all with guards on board and with an escort. Don't be alarmed apparently its the norm. Its a three and a half hour trip to Cairo through loads of checkpoints which you just drive through. Cairo is one big traffic jam. We made our way to the Mosque of Mohamed Ali also the fort of Saladin. Its well worth a visit but ladies to have to cover their shoulders and tops of their arms or your not allowed in.
We then had lunch on a Nile cruiser. Lunch was a hot buffet and very nice.We were treated to belly dancing and a cruise up and down the Nile for about an hour.
Then we made our way to the Pyramids. They are awesome but are sadly ruined by the large army or rude locals who try to peddle their wares but won't take no for an answer. You say no thank you and they just keep going to the point that when you get to the next pyramid you don't want to get off the coach because you know whats coming up.This trip also included the Sphinx. You could pay an extra 6 pounds to go inside the smaller pyramid but the tunnel it is only about 3ft high and only wide enough for one to enter.
Haifa-Israel- again you can't get off unless you are going on a trip but with the trips on offer you would be daft not to do them. We chose the Jerusalem and Bethlehem trip which I have to say was the best part of the cruise.
We had a guide who was very informative and pro Israeli. He told us all about how the world misunderstood the occupation of Gaza.The trip to Jerusalem was just under two hours but I was struck by what a beautiful country Isreal is compared to Israel-quite green and ful of trees and crops.
We went to the Mount of Olives and then onto the garden of Gethsemane and the Church of all Nations. We then Followed the route Jesus took to Calvary walking up the stations of the cross until we arrived at The Church of the Holy Sepulcher.Even if you a not a great believer you cannot help but be moved by the whole experience.
We then went to the Wailing-Western Wall where we put prayers into the cracks. You must cover your heads to enter the area and we were provided with small caps free of charge .
We then got back on the coach and past through the Palestinian border and took the 5 mile trip to Bethlehem where we had a nice lunch in a hotel. We were then taken to a Christian shop that sold many souvenirs mainly made of olive wood produced locally by a co-operative of the few remaining Christian families left in Bethlehem.We were taken to Manger Square and went into the Church of the Nativity.These are places you see on television and seem a world away but we had the privilege to encounter them trouble free. The trips are on the expensive side about £80 per adult but when you consider all you get to see they are well worth it.