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9 Marella Cruises Africa Cruise Reviews

Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin ... Read More
Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin neighbours next to you. Food repeated and shows were boring after a few nights of watching them Excursions expensive for what you got. Sunbeds need replacing and you could never find one without a towel on. Unless you wanted to spend money on all the extras the basic price and drinks package didn't include very much. On a positive the staff were lovely and friendly. Just a shame Thomson sell an itinerary that won't be repeated because of safety concerns around the middle east. I will recomend anyone considering booking to not bother and choose a company that specialize in cruising! Have booked to go with celebrity x and their brand new ship Edge in two years time....can't wait! I liked cruising just not with Thomson! Their post customer service department is a joke and reply with a standard i'm sorry but nothing more. Avoid at all cost Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our first cruise and what an experience. Such a friendly ship, the staff and crew could not do enough for us from the cabin stewards to the waiters in the restuarant and Bar. The food was excellent and you must try the food in ... Read More
This was our first cruise and what an experience. Such a friendly ship, the staff and crew could not do enough for us from the cabin stewards to the waiters in the restuarant and Bar. The food was excellent and you must try the food in Mistrals, excellent and well worth the extra £19 you pay. The entertainment was top class, a different show by the show team every night such a talented bunch of individuals. Working so hard to ensure we all enjoyed ourselves, the only exception was the Cruise Director, the only time you saw him was for the applause at the end of the, which was a shame as friends had told us that the Cruise Directors w. The alternative entertainment in liberties was refreshing and so funny the guys up there did not fail to entertain us and make us laugh. Emma the entertainment host made sure that we were always enjoying ourselves and got us up to dance at every opportunity. Mr and Mrs was great fun. We would have liked to have expressed our thanks to the Cruise Director, but he was never anywhere to be seen apart from the applause at the end of the shows but never available to speak to. The Trips were expensive so we only did the two Petra and the Pyramids but i would not have missed them, a once in a lifetime visit. I will certainly travel with Thompsons again Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We booked the cruise primarily to visit Petra and also to get some sunshine! Ship: - We had not been on a Thomson ship before so we specifically booked a Deluxe Cabin (011 on Deck 9). We were impressed by the size of the cabin which had ... Read More
We booked the cruise primarily to visit Petra and also to get some sunshine! Ship: - We had not been on a Thomson ship before so we specifically booked a Deluxe Cabin (011 on Deck 9). We were impressed by the size of the cabin which had a double bed, couch, two double wardrobes, lots of drawers, a fridge and a bathroom with a bath. The bed was under the window and you had to climb over the couch to get onto it on one side but it wasn't a problem for us. We paid £15 extra for the safe which we thought was quite pricey. Each day there were 2 visits from the steward including an evening turn down service. The ship was kept very clean throughout. We used to go on Ocean Village cruises in the Med and think the Thomson Celebration is comparable and in some ways better than the OV ships were in that the shops are better and there is waiter service in the main restaurant rather than all self service. There were mainly British/Irish on board - average age I would say as 50. The crew were very friendly and there seemed to be lots of them - they genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs so well done to Thomson for keeping their staff well motivated. Meals: even in the self service restaurant the food was served by the chefs. We ate in all the restaurants. The Mistral was excellent (£19 each surcharge) and we enjoyed the Tournedos Rossini and the Lobster Thermidor. We mainly ate in the Meridian and particularly enjoyed the full breakfasts and the Beef Wellington on formal night. Places visited: - we booked all our trips with Thomson and Petra was fantastic - 4 hours of walking but well worth it. A very nice lunch included at a 5 star hotel. We also enjoyed the 4 wheel drive through Wadi Rum (but make sure you take a hat as you are on the back of a jeep rather than in it) and a trip to Hurghada for shopping and then a snorkelling trip. Weather: - we had good weather and it was lovely to have some sunshine! The seas were mainly calm with a short spell of moderate. Overall: - a good value cruise which exceeded our expectations and we would do that cruise again and also look to do other Thomson cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first proper cruise, we had been on a Nile Cruise a few years ago, and we were not disappointed. The ship - Well presented and maintained, the crew were always working away painting the external areas and generally keeping ... Read More
This was our first proper cruise, we had been on a Nile Cruise a few years ago, and we were not disappointed. The ship - Well presented and maintained, the crew were always working away painting the external areas and generally keeping things up together. The interior has been refurbished and apart from the sports deck and some cabins the work is complete. Our cabin was good but the kettle and flat screen had not yet been installed. A kettle makes a big difference to us so we really missed it. The crew - They couldn't be faulted and were endlessly helpful. The itinerary - Although the trips were expensive they were well organised and interesting. The snow and cold on the Petra excursion were a bit of a surprise but this did not detract from the enjoyment. Food & Drink - We did not go for the drinks package as we could never have drunk over £400 of alcohol in a week. Not all the drinks are included in the package and the premium brands often have a surcharge on top. The food was very good in all the restaurants and one night we paid to eat at 'Mistrals' the a la carte restaurant and it was worth the extra money. Entertainment - Not really what I go for but the various shows and musical events were all good. One slight negative that others have mentioned is the sun bed situation. People were leaving their towels on the beds and reserving them for long periods when they went off to do other things, this meant that it was often difficult to find one. The crew were trying to address the issue but they were fighting an up hill battle! The Celebration crew worked hard to ensure the Noro Virus did not strike by making sure that everyone used anti-bac gel and the staff served the food in the 'self service' Lido Restaurant. All-in-all a very enjoyable week with no problems and some winter sun; very good! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We took this cruise from Sharm El Sheikh on the 21st February.The ports we called at were industrial but a gateway to the sights. The ship was in the middle of a refurbishment which fortunately didn't interfere with our enjoyment.The ... Read More
We took this cruise from Sharm El Sheikh on the 21st February.The ports we called at were industrial but a gateway to the sights. The ship was in the middle of a refurbishment which fortunately didn't interfere with our enjoyment.The sports deck and some cabins were out of action.We had chosen a deluxe cabin which had been refurbed.Very comfortable,clean and had a full size bath although the water was a yellowish colour. All the staff were excellent,friendly and polite.Never any problems getting drinks which were good quality. .Sunbeds were in demand on sea days so if you wanted one you would need to be an early bird.I did see staff removing towels if beds had been reserved then unused for some time. Entertainment was excellent.The 'house band' Mitch and the Peakles were very easy to listen too.Comedienne was great and some of the waiting staff had hidden talents.Casino small but friendly. The buffet restaurant served very good quality food and were very strict on hygiene.Several themed nights and delicious roast beef and yorkshire puddings!Plates cleared away very quickly. Altogether the atmosphere on the ship was friendly and jovial.We enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
After reading a couple of bad reviews before we left i was very dubious about this cruise, but from the minute we stepped foot on the ship to the minute we stepped foot off the ship i could not of found one fault, the food, drinks, staff ... Read More
After reading a couple of bad reviews before we left i was very dubious about this cruise, but from the minute we stepped foot on the ship to the minute we stepped foot off the ship i could not of found one fault, the food, drinks, staff entertainment was fantastic, we went on the cruise purely to see Petra, The Pyramids & The valley of the kings. people comment on how expensive the trips are but your getting transport, a guide, an armed guard, lunch which was in a 5 star hotel, a snack box for on the bus & your entry into the sights which when you break it all down probably isn't a bad deal. We had our teenager with us and she made friends straight away & had a ball. The hasslers trying to sell you things are very intimidating & off putting they tend to spoil the excursions alot its about time something was done as this has put me off returning to the country again. driving through Cairo & Luxor again was an eye opener & pretty scary at times, but the driver & guide we had were excellent. i would definitely cruise again with Thompson, we never once had a bad meal & nothing was to much trouble, our suite didn't seem to have had its upgrade but it was still fine, the bars were always kept immaculate as were the food areas, hand sanitation was always available but quite a few people never used them!! sunbeds were a problem it was the same old faces that got up early & hogged them all day.we didn't see a great deal of the night time entertainment but we always heard good things about it. massive choice of food & drinks there will never be anything you cant find to eat & the selection of drinks couldn't be faulted either, we seemed to have a good deal with our drinks package but every time my husband wanted a drink there was a £2.00 surcharge as the only lager available was Heineken. I feel from speaking to others Thompson is a very laid back ship but you still get the service you would get on any other. I cant wait to book my next one!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Thomson celebration jan 31st -- feb 7th Although a cruise virgin & nothing to compare with except for hotel holidays I can only say it was exceptional from start to finish. Everything neatly planned by Thomson's at arrival ... Read More
Thomson celebration jan 31st -- feb 7th Although a cruise virgin & nothing to compare with except for hotel holidays I can only say it was exceptional from start to finish. Everything neatly planned by Thomson's at arrival in the airport to transfer to ship. A warm welcome with a band playing & drinks offered. Even our departure was fully planned -- we were not flying until 8pm but Thomson's gave us the option of a further excursion in sharm or to stay on the ship until 6pm when the coach left. They also provided a complimentary room for half hr sessions to get showered/changed before we departed ship (you have to give up your room at 9am) All staff polite, helpful, always smiling & could never do too much -- drop a knife & they'll be there to pick it up for you. They clean the tables as soon as you leave so dining/drink areas always spotless -- you never sit at a dirty table, ever. Food was fantastic throughout with a large variety from different restaurants to the outdoor food bar serving snacks throughout the day (food available 24/7) and always looked & tasted freshly cooked. Never seen so much time & energy from the staff go into the Entertainment, right down from the rehearsals for the big shows to the comedian, the bingo & quiz competitions to name a few. Always something to do on-board, including lessons in the casino to learn how to play the various games. (The casino & on-board shops are only open when at sea). The excursions were planned to a 't' -- never felt safer & didn't even think about any demonstrations or security issues -- only went to the pyramids & sphinx which were amazing with 1 beach excursion to a 5 * hotel which was great. Others said the valley of the kings was the next best (from Luxor) then petra (from aqaba). Long journey(s) but didn't seem to take that long to the pyramids (2.5hr) as there was always something to look at, ie cairo streets/buildings, going over the nile, points of interest. Ship had two small pools (sea water) which were quite adequate & sunbeds never seemed a problem to get hold of, only occasion maybe when at see for a whole day, but I don't think they could physically fit any more sunbeds on. Deck 6 was a lovely decked area with sunbeds neatly put round the perimeter & you could run the entire deck 5 times I think to get a mile. Great experience at sea at the rear of the ship looking out at the wash & coast lines of the red sea (can see both sides for the majority & look spectacular.) Weather started pretty average (approx 18 deg 1st day -- still t shirt on) then rose to a max of 27 deg by the time we disembarked. Even night times never seemed that cold. If you sat out side under the parasol it was lovely & warm all night or if you went up 1 deck to the rear there were ceiling bar heaters which were lovely to sit under (this was a smoking area thou) & if all else fails they did provide blankets to put over your shoulders. Sun comes up very early at about 6:30 & goes down around 5pm (sunbathing weather to around 3/4pm). Ships bars were also nice, especially the horizons bar at top deck (if you can find it) looking out over the front of the boat in panoramic views (like the star ship enterprise) Discos etc are also fun. A few of the ports are industrial but this didn't put us off one bit - they were still clean areas with the mountains further out, so if you looked over the industrial areas there was still something to look at -- if you sat facing out to sea the views were magnificent. Even in safaga there was a sandy peninsula creating part of the port which looked lovely when the sun was glistening off it. -- don't be put off by the reports on the ports they aren't that bad & I still enjoyed pulling into them (I like to take my binoculars while on ship) Did see large turtles swimming past ship while in port, which indicates sea nice & clear & not polluted. Overall great value for money & would recommend to anyone (if you are flexible on dates may be worth booking last minute for cheaper deal). However you don't get the free drinks package inc. they charge £199 per person per room if you want the package last minute. Drinks cost about the same as an English hotel so don't worry too much about prices, we only spent £150 or so on drinks for week, but then not big drinkers -- free tea/coffee all day with fruit juices at breakfast. Also a few niceties was the 'tea room' where they served afternoon tea's & selection of cakes (exceptional) - Nice to get a few ice creams when open at lunch! Rooms fine -- we got 2 single beds but don't know if that's the norm -- plenty of storage & cases fit under beds. TV with sky news & films. No noise & slept well through out. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Booked a week on the Thomson Celebrity as a last minute offer instead of our usual Canaries winter sun break. Our first cruise and now the first of many.......... Thomson's appear to have made a lot of effort with customer focus ... Read More
Booked a week on the Thomson Celebrity as a last minute offer instead of our usual Canaries winter sun break. Our first cruise and now the first of many.......... Thomson's appear to have made a lot of effort with customer focus and it is now paying off. From our first phone call to book the holiday to our final time on board the coach back to the airport, every one was very friendly and helpful. We were even met at the departure airport and from that point on it just got better and better. The service and staff on board are excellent and the weather superb. The cabin (deck 7)was looked after by 'Benni' our Housekeeper at least twice a day (although you never see him). It had lots of space as did all the public areas. Food and entertainment were first class and catered for all types. The Ports visited are purely that (chosen for access to historic sites rather than views)so do do not expect daily vistas. We decided not to join any of the excursions and just chilled out either by the pool with the daily entertainment or on the promenade deck for a peaceful afternoons reading. Overall, the best winter sun break we have ever experienced - well done Thomson's and see you next year Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. ... Read More
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin -- we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food -- Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else -- breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Excursions : it's better to cotact the local tour companies , we booked 2 excursions in Morocco. Casablanca : booked with Ecolodge Adventures ,we explored the city , our guide spoke a fluent english , it was the first time eating the real and pure olive oil . well i rate them 5/5 . Agadir : booked with Sud Aventures Tours , we went to Taroudant city (the samll Marrakech ) , apital of Agadir is the capital of arga oil in Morocco , we stopped twice 1- taking pictures to goats on the argan trees 2- taking pictures to camels on the road . Taroudant city worth really a visit while you stop in Agadir city port . other wise we ate the best Moroccan food ever ( tagine + couscous ) in Tiout oasis (palm trees oasis) it was our first donkeys ride ever . we enjoyed a lot , that's why i'm gonna rate them 5/5 , thanks for our tour guide hicham and the driver (forgot his name), the price of the excursion was 550 Moroccan Dhs (70$) , new transport +climatisation + experienced driver + fluent english speaker . Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
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