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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise primarily because of the destinations. We loved the locations that we visuted, but were disappointed with the overall on board experience. The food in the main dining room did not appear very imaginative, some nights ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the destinations. We loved the locations that we visuted, but were disappointed with the overall on board experience. The food in the main dining room did not appear very imaginative, some nights there was nothing that was very tempting on the menu. The best service that we received in the dinning room was from our sommelier who was fabulous. Most of the shows on board were entertaining and the resident band was good. All of the entertainment only lasted for 45 minutes, which meant that in the evenings we couldn't go to one place and enjoy ourselves for the night, it was all just short and snappy. They left the best dance music until the last night in the reflections. The service in the cabin was the worst we have had on any cruise, we constantly had to ask when we needed anything lije shampoo etc, there were absolutely no extras, we thought that once we started tipping the steward each day that he may improve, but that wasn't the case. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We wanted to see this part of the world. The ship needs a total remake. Our cabin was fine, our service in cabin and dining select was good. Food was overall good, they ran out of things twice. But the tour excursions are terrible, ... Read More
We wanted to see this part of the world. The ship needs a total remake. Our cabin was fine, our service in cabin and dining select was good. Food was overall good, they ran out of things twice. But the tour excursions are terrible, dangerous, they let local people selling things on our boat tour, the boat was filling the tank with gas as we went out to eke Fanta island.do not take the celebrity land tour excursions. The staff in shore excursions is not helpful nor understanding. This was to be the trip of a lifetime, but all shore excursions disappointed. We have traveled a lot, and cruised a lot. Dining service and cabin derive was very good, but the ships of this class need an overhaul and the shore excursions should either be redone or go away completely. Sometimes the air conditioning on the buses did not work and it was 99 degrees with 200 % humidity. The tour operators could barely speak English, if at all. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for the seadays. We did the same cruise in reverse in November 2015 on the Sojourn. We wanted to try out the larger ship, we also had sailed on the Odyssey last November. First impressions? it is a bigger ship. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the seadays. We did the same cruise in reverse in November 2015 on the Sojourn. We wanted to try out the larger ship, we also had sailed on the Odyssey last November. First impressions? it is a bigger ship. The ceilings seem a little lower, particularly in the Restaurant, the cabins a little narrower and the Club on Level 5 a little smaller with the casino now being exposed. Mind you we never saw the Casino being used. In fact the Restaurant seems much quieter so the lower ceiling may be there for a purpose. There is no laundry. However we were told due to demand one will be fitted. I hope given the size of the ship one means two. Within a few days we were won over. The ship has a classier feel. It never felt over crowded although the Colonnade and pool deck could get a bit busy. It was the atmosphere on the Encore and the magnificent staff that did it. Every single one of them was enthusiastic and helpful. We have never encountered such a team. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on the passengers. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and interacted well. Food throughout was excellent. The Thomas Keller is a better speciality restaurant than Restaurant 2. We ate at Thomas Keller twice. The menu does not change. However the food and service in the Restaurant is so good it is hard to imagine it being bettered. We often ate at night at the Pool Grill. Simple, informal and under the stars. We would generally have a pre dinner drink at the Observation Bar. Again good service with substantial finger food available. Breakfast at the Colonnade was always good with lots of choice. In part there was table service available. Entertainment. Probably the best we have had on any cruise. There were two shows nightly for forty five minutes. The "early" show at 8.45pm is a new time. The show repeats at 10.00pm. The guest lecturers onboard were the best we have ever experienced. Lots of lectures (called conversations by Seabourn) by very informative people. Generally the topics related to the history of the areas in which we were sailing Overall the Encore is an even better and classier ship than the older three. Perhaps, due to size, it is a little less personal, but the enthusiasm of the crew and service shine out. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be ... Read More
So here is my review of my first ever cruise on the Thomson Celebration (Mediterranean Sunrise). Obviously I have nothing to compare it with as I have never sailed before, but I have stayed in dozens of hotels worldwide so I will try to be as honest as I can. Sorry it is so long, there’s so much to say, but I have subtitled each section for ease of reference. * Outbound Flight – We flew early morning from Manchester to Aqaba, Jordan and the 5 ½ hour flight was hassle free. We were only 30 minutes late taking off and they gave us breakfast an hour in. Complimentary drinks were plentiful and they didn’t dawdle when serving them either. All flight staff demonstrated great customer service skills, politeness and efficiency. We collected our suitcases quickly and the bus ride to the ship was only 30 minutes. My only gripe here was we hadn’t been told we were getting the meal and spent £25 on breakfast at the airport. That said we also ate the inflight meal (“coz we’re on holiday”, lol). * Embarkation - Our first ever experience of the embarkation/registration process was like being on the boat ride in ‘Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory’, but in a nice way. It was all so very quick and well organised like a conveyor belt moving us from photograph taking, form checking, medical declarations signed, debit card registration, optional dining extras and handing us our cabin keys with great efficiency. Everyone was very ‘happy clappy’, we loved the excitement of it all and we came out the other side like kids in a candy shop. We went straight to our room to change into clothes we’d packed in our hand luggage and our suitcases were outside our room when we left it 10 minutes later. * Cabin - Deck 6 cabin 207 (Deluxe standard) – Reviewed below. * Food – We ate in the Lido restaurant mostly and never had a single item that wasn’t delicious. Breakfast they have back bacon, eggs done to perfection, omelettes made to order and pancakes to die for. Lunch and Evening Meal were equally good. Food was mostly English fare. We tended to not have an evening meal though as we were too full to enjoy the evening festivities, so we took to eating at around midnight before bedtime when there were curries, pizza, burgers and chicken strips to devour from the Lido. We enjoyed a few meals in the Meridian where the meals were more set and this was a great way to meet other cruisers as we always shared a table (in the Lido you tend to just sit on your own). We paid £47 each to eat in the Hot Stone Terrace, Mistrals and Kora La. All 3 were fabulous, lovely food, great service and well worth the money we paid. But if you’re on a budget, you won’t feel like you missed out if you don’t do these. * Bars/Entertainment – We tended to go to Liberties in the evening and joined in many of the quizzes, fun and games. The entertainment team really are 1st class in our view. Adam, Chris, Luke and Shaneece made a great holiday even better. We went to some of the Broadway shows and loved them all, even the 2 comedians and Braximusic (those guys were amazing). So we didn’t miss out we also did Hemmingway’s 2 evenings and Horizons 2 days, as well as the Coffee Port afternoon. There really is a bar to cater for ever preference on this ship. Drinks were always good, we stuck to the AI drinks and we had more than our money’s worth on this holiday (had we have paid for it of course). * Staff – Amazing people! They work their socks off these guys. The Lido Deck and Liberties bar staff/waiters were super quick and attentive to when your glass was empty. The other bar areas were pretty efficient too, but just not a quick as Liberties, which made us feel as if we were not getting the best service from them. Every member of the service or cleaning staff said hello when you passed them and always had a smile. They are really a credit to Thomson. I’ve been told we had new starters learning the ropes as the experienced staff has moved to the newer ships, but you can’t tell. The crew and captain are also very friendly whether on or off the boat. The entertainment team tend to be less friendly when not on official duties, or rather less welcoming if you say hello. I couldn’t help but feel like I was intruding if we tried to talk to them when they were having a drink on the Lido deck after a show. * Pools/sunbeds – They were cold and only a handful ventured in. I presume this will improve later in the summer season. We didn’t struggle for a sunbed, but usually went to the Lido sun deck rather than the cushioned ones on deck 9 (got these on last day and they are amazingly comfortable). * Photographs - There was an offer on the 1st day on official photographs. £70 for every picture they take, so we couldn’t resist. Again we were like little kids queuing for the ice cream man whenever we got off the ship and went for our evening meal. We’ve got over 100 pictures and they’re brilliant. So that’s the parent’s Christmas presents sorted this year. * Shops – Only a small number of shops, with a good variety of items from tobacco and jewellery, to clothes and souvenirs. We had no intention of buying anything but couldn’t resist it as the prices were very good. The cigarette offer we got were £25 per 200, the same in UK would have been £85 per 200. We only purchased 800 (I know the limit is 200 each) and we were lucky we didn’t have any taken from us in the UK as I know others did. We didn’t bother buying alcohol as they were all glass bottles that have to go into your hold luggage and the savings were only a couple of quid a bottle. Prices on some items did get reduced later in the cruise, so wait if you can till the last day but make sure it will opens as it only opens when ship is at sea. * Wi-Fi – Costs a fortune! We just got free Wi-Fi in port in any coffee shop. From official Thomson card = 1 hour (max 75mb) £8 – 1 day (max 300mb) £15 – 3 days (max 800mb) £25 – 1 week (max 1200mb) £49 – 2 weeks (max 2200mb) £90. * Disembarkation/Malaga Airport – Every flight but 1 was early morning, however all passengers have to vacate their rooms at 7am. You can pay £25 to keep your room if you’re on a late flight. Our bus was 8.10am, so we ate breakfast at 6am when the Lido opened to beat the rush. We left the room at 7am and waited by the door on deck 4 to get off as soon as it opened. That meant we were on bus 1 leaving the port first. That also meant there were no queues at check in and as the Spanish don’t rush when checking you in, these can and did build up quickly. It also meant that we went through security without any delay either. The same cannot be said for anyone on buses 2 and above, they had a minor nightmare through check in and security, so I’m lead to believe. It wasn’t helped that we were all told to go to zone B for the gates, but the passport control box in zone B was unmanned for at the time we went through security, therefore it looked as though it was closed for the day. Luckily we knew this would open an hour before the first flight as we’d been through Malaga 6 months earlier, so we waited nearby and went through once it opened. Again we missed the major queues and our flight left on time from the gate announced. I appreciate others did not have the same experience, so can only attribute our luck to our early start before the masses and that our plane wasn’t delayed as others were. * Would I go again? – In a heartbeat yes. In short though I loved cruising and this won’t be my last. I will choose Thomson again and the Celebration will be top of my list. Why? The staff and other customers completely made this holiday the best I’ve ever had. Because the ship is not enormous we were able to meet many people who were so friendly. Of all the passengers we spoke to during our 13 days on board, only 1 couple said they wouldn’t do Thomson’s again and their reasons were that the food and entertainment is better on P&O. I would rather pay Thomson’s prices as I was completely happy with just about everything. * Excursions/ports of call Petra, Jordan – We did the Thomson excursion and it was worth every penny of the £120pp we paid. The bus ride took 2 ½ hours with one 15 minute stop off and you get 3-4 hours to view the site which is amazing, but a very long walk down to the main areas. We made it to The Treasury, Hadrian Gate and the Theatre and we walked for nearly 2 hours! There was lots more to see, but it would take us 2 hours to get back up to the entrance/exit, so we had to turn around and go back. If you stay with the guide it takes longer as they stop often to talk about everything. We followed another couple who’d been there before. You can get a horse or a pony and trap, but we slugged it out. The horses are whipped to death both up and down the hill and I didn’t trust the pony/trap drivers as there was a collision on the day we were there between 2 of these. You get a meal on this trip at a local hotel before you return home. It’s AI and satisfactory (but not a patch on the ship’s food). Chana, Crete – We did this ourselves using the map from Destination Services which is very useful. Short bus ride immediately off the ship’s gangway to the main street, then a leisurely walk around the harbour area and old town. Valletta, Malta – We did the 3 Islands tour with Thomson’s here. First off a speedboat ride over to Gozo. This was a white knuckle ride as the sea was choppy and it was pretty breezy. We loved it, but we’re 50 years young and there were people in their 80’s who weren’t as excited bouncing around at break neck speed. On Gozo we took to the road in jeeps, which were a little cramped in the back (I had a front seat lol). We visited some lovely areas, but The Azure Window (as seen in Game of Thrones) is no more as the sea took it away in early March. I was a little disappointed, but you can’t blame Mother Nature. We stopped at a beach café then back over to Malta, visiting the caves on Comino on the way. The weather was not good on this day, so this trip was slightly marred by that. However it’s still worth the £70pp we paid. Palma, Majorca – Again we did our own thing here. There is a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus immediately off the ship here, but it has a long queue when everyone gets off the ship first thing. It costs 18 Euros per person with headphones and we did a full round trip taking pictures of sites along the way. We got off at the shopping centre and had some lunch at a local bar then walked back to the ship. Cartagena, Spain – This is a beautiful town and you can do it yourself here. The main places to see are within a 10 minute walk of the ship. We saw the Amphitheatre, the Castle of Conception and the Bullring. The buildings are all amazing here. It was Bank Holiday so we were also treated to a parade by the local children in band uniform. Delightful. I spent nothing here as I’d inadvertently left my purse of the ship, but only realised when we went to buy a coffee and get some free Wi-Fi, lol. Gibraltar, UK – We did our own thing here. We walked into town rather than wait for the shuttle as the queue was very long. We wanted to do the cable car to the apes so we ignored all the tour guides in mini buses (Gibraltar Rock Tours or something) as they started off quoting 35 euros each to take the tour of the rock, apes, St Michael’s Cave etc. They also told us the cable car had 45 minutes wait and we would only save a few pounds, but it would take us 3 hours to walk through the reserve to get to the apes. We thought they were embellishing the truth a little to get our business, so we walked 30 minutes to the cable car only to find they were indeed telling us the truth. So we went outside to the nearest mini bus and paid £25 each for the tour. It was brilliant, he talked us through all the areas and gave us interesting facts along the way. We passed all the cable car walkers on the way up and back down and completed the tour in 90 minutes. He even dropped us in town so we could shop and buy some fish and chips for lunch, yummy. Most of the shops were offering discount for Celebration customers and I got a Pandora safety chain for £45 instead of £60. TIP - Do your research and only do the Thomson excursions that you’ll find difficult doing yourself or where you are worried about getting back on time. Our friends did a few Thomson excursions where they paid £36 each and ended up doing what we did for next to nothing. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We purchased a package from Imagine Cruising which involved a 3 night pre cruise stay in the Atlantis Palm Dubai. We were unlucky with the weather as for 2.5 days we had cloud wind and surprisingly for the desert, some rain. It was even ... Read More
We purchased a package from Imagine Cruising which involved a 3 night pre cruise stay in the Atlantis Palm Dubai. We were unlucky with the weather as for 2.5 days we had cloud wind and surprisingly for the desert, some rain. It was even too cold to use the waterpark which was attached to the Hotel. The cruise overall was reasonable as food and drink were good as was most of the entertainment. The ship has seen better days but the price reflected this I believe. The cabin was satisfactory. The ports in Oman were disappointing which left Abu Dhabi and a return to Dubai. My illness began during the second night on board and continued until the airplane journey home. I don't know if anyone else on board suffered but i have never experienced anything quite like that. I was confined to room for 24 hours which meant missing a prepaid excursion and I felt too poorly to avail myself of the drinks package I had shelled out for. I contacted Royal Carribean CEO and received a prompt call back. They offered me 40 pounds off my next cruise. Most disappointing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We arrived in Dubai the day before the cruise an hour late as usual because of the Emirates flight yet again been late leaving Manchester? EK22 is never on time! Arrived at the Hyatt Regency Deira (after the idiot Taxi driver took us to ... Read More
We arrived in Dubai the day before the cruise an hour late as usual because of the Emirates flight yet again been late leaving Manchester? EK22 is never on time! Arrived at the Hyatt Regency Deira (after the idiot Taxi driver took us to the Hyatt regency Dubai Creek? Clearly he did not know his way around.) Cost 70aed all in all. The Hyatt staff did everything possible to look after us even getting me a cake as it was my 50th Birthday and a top floor room overlooking the Gulf. In the morning got a taxi to the port (25aed) and check in at the pier was a breeze and we was sat on the deck by 12 having our first beer of the day. After reading previous reviews we did not know what to expect, but after been on the Splendour last year doing the same itinerary we was ready for anything, as that was simply the worst cruise we have ever been on, and we let RC know that. But we did not have to worry our room was spot on, inside on deck 8 good size and good configuration (for the size of the ship), Antonio our room guy was excellent, food in My time dining was spot on always hot and served professionally by Joel and Sandee always with a smile and a bit of Banter, and our reservations (which we booked beforehand) were always ready for us and at the same table which was a bonus. The maitre de every evening came to speak to us every night which was lovely. Entertainment was surprisingly pretty good day and night (after been starved of it last year, The revolvers were pretty good as was the Boogie Wonderland night. Drinks were very expensive and we did not get what we asked for in some cocktails as they did not have the correct ingredients and were substituting them for cheap alternatives which we caught then doing and complained about, as the bar menus said what ingredients needed to be in them. Luckily we had the drinks package but if we did not then our combined bar bill would have been over $1900 which is ridiculous, even water is $4 a small bottle, so 5 bottles each there is $40 gone. Bar staff were a bit abrupt and unfriendly and there was not many of them, but the guys and girls walking around getting you drinks were superb. We thought the ship was pretty tidy, ok it is older and smaller and if you have been on the big ones it is not going to compare, but we was well happy. We met a lovely American couple (Steve and Kathleen) who lived in Costa Rica who got us a cake one night in the dining room for our Anniversary, which was amazing and totally unexpected, if your reading this thanks again. For a small ship give it a go the ports are pretty good, some are not, but hey that's cruising. Disembarkation was a disaster, what a scrum this needs sorting. We would do it again so that says it all. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Stayed in Dubai pre and post cruise, embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. We had a large interior cabin and had to ask for the bed to be split so that it was easier to get into the beds through the middle rather than the side.The ... Read More
Stayed in Dubai pre and post cruise, embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. We had a large interior cabin and had to ask for the bed to be split so that it was easier to get into the beds through the middle rather than the side.The cupboard doors and the drawers need updating, very noisy when opening and closing. We could hear the cupboard doors shut and open in the cabins either side of ours. The food in the main dining room was ok, for 2 days running we were served cold food, noticed on the second day that the waiter took everyone's orders first and than returned from the galley with all the starters, sometimes 20+, by the time we received ours they wee cold. After this we decided to dine in Windjammers were the choice of food was good. We spent most of our day time in the Solarium, although for adults only children were in the pool and jaccuzi until there were asked to leave by the staff. We also noticed that some smokers were smoking in areas which were not the designated smoking area, RC need to monitor and manage this accordingly. Overall the service was good, the ship definitely needs a good makeover but I would not cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We did a weeks cruise from Dubai getting on the ship was easy and we were on for lunch time The cabin was ready B3019 plenty of hanging space and a good size all I would say was the shower was small but not a problem.We found the food ... Read More
We did a weeks cruise from Dubai getting on the ship was easy and we were on for lunch time The cabin was ready B3019 plenty of hanging space and a good size all I would say was the shower was small but not a problem.We found the food very good with plenty of choice and hot the service in the dinning room was also good.The food up on deck 9 was good with plenty of choice. All the staff were very friendly and polite.Khasab was our first port and we got the free bus to town but not a lot to see. Second was Muscat with an over night stay and we walked into the souk.Abu Dhabi we had a free bus to a mall.And as we were staying in Dubai we stayed on board We had no trouble with sun beds and on the sea day the staff did take things of beds that had been on for a long time.We really enjoyed the cruise and wouls use them again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We booked this cruise on the itinerary alone, being a part of the world we had never seen. We were without kids on this trip and having never cruised before on such an old and comparatively small ship we did have minor reservations about ... Read More
We booked this cruise on the itinerary alone, being a part of the world we had never seen. We were without kids on this trip and having never cruised before on such an old and comparatively small ship we did have minor reservations about this when booking - although being RCCL 'veterans' we had a good idea what to expect! At this point I have to say (and not for the first time) that those who continue to describe ships of a certain age as 'tired' or 'showing their age' are clearly not researching what exactly they are booking. In this day and age all the information you require about anything is easily available so if you don't bother to check it out before you go and adjust expectations accordingly you've only yourself to blame. Making comparisons with Anthem or Oasis or Freedom is just plain ridiculous. In my opinion it's a little harsh to criticise upon your return. First impressions of the ship as you approach her are indeed of a vessel that has been in service for almost 20 years. Once inside however, it is standard Royal Caribbean throughout with all public areas looking pretty damn good after the refurbishment of a few years back. That said, the Solarium if you look closely is in need of a tidy up in places, but we thought everything else was absolutely fine. Our cabin on deck 8 had what looked like a new bathroom and a new mattress and we had no issues with it whatsoever other than some occasional noise from the pool deck above - which we half expected ( research again! ). What really left an impression on us were the crew. Our steward Antonio was possibly the best we've had, whilst Carolina and Vasyl in the dining room were top notch - the latter the best assistant waiter of our 15 cruises. Food in the main dining room was also as good as any we'd had previously, and Giovannis in particular was excellent. For this cruise I'd mark the Windjammer down a notch though, perhaps due to the local availability of certain ingredients. To sum up, we were pleasantly surprised by this ship and if you like cruising and are going on holiday with the intention of relaxing and enjoying yourself then you'll have a good time on the Vision. We will certainly consider another ship of this size for future cruises. Read Less

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