42 Marella Cruises Marella Celebration Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We needed to go to Barbados and this cruise came up - 7 day cruise - 7 day hotel stay - at a good price. Tui's organisation was fantastic. From check in at Gatwick to disembarking - all superbly organised. We had an inside ... Read More
We needed to go to Barbados and this cruise came up - 7 day cruise - 7 day hotel stay - at a good price. Tui's organisation was fantastic. From check in at Gatwick to disembarking - all superbly organised. We had an inside cabin which was in fact bigger than the one we had on the QM2! Yes there is a bit of a rumble when the engines are going but it actually rocked us to sleep! Deck 2 midships was a good location as not right over the engines. Captain was awesome - so approachable and freely gave his knowledge of the ship and our destinations. Staff very positive. Food average. Seemed to be a budget per course?? Can anyone tell me why ships run out of prunes?? They come in tins for god sake!! Sorry but found the entertainment a bit basic but on a 7 day cruise not really an issue. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We booked this cruise based on our experience on Marella Discovery which we really liked, and although we were aware that this was an older and smaller ship, thought that services and food would be of similar standards, how wrong we ... Read More
We booked this cruise based on our experience on Marella Discovery which we really liked, and although we were aware that this was an older and smaller ship, thought that services and food would be of similar standards, how wrong we were.There was evidence of penny pinching(or nickel and diming)as our American friends would say, as soon as we entered our cabin, which I must say was quite spacious (outside and upgraded) there was no hand soap only a soap dispenser, no face tissues and the usually free safe was chargeable, in my opinion the company did not operate a "duty of care" in respect of security as the door key was clearly labelled with the cabin number to which it related. We had purchased a cruise with an "all inclusive" basis-drinks and gratuities but found the choice very limited, the wine available was a house red, white or Rose with the former being particularly dry and vinegary, if you preferred a bourbon whisky the only option was Canadian Club, Jim Beam or Jack Daniels was not included. We did not enjoy much of the food on board, breakfast was the usual fayre, there was good variety but the quality was poor, lunch and dinner again offered a wide choice of vegetables but some strange combinations of dishes and it is not everyone's preference to have the vegetables al dente, we were surprised no salad cream on an English ship!. Service from the waiters, assistant waiters, and head waiters was excellent- polite courteous and helpful. I would like to single out Gamal one of the head waiters who was most diligent in accommodating requests and always delivered what you requested. Entertainment options were quite limited with a main show lounge, a cabaret type lounge and a piano bar, the production shows were average, the band who played a blues/rock type of music in the cabaret lounge were very loud and on one occasion so loud I found it painful, they also played on deck reggae type music which I found quite pleasant. We have visited most of the ports before and have our favourites this was our first visit to St Barths and found it very pleasant but relatively expensive. We took only two excursions one in Antigua - Sun and rum which was not as good as the previous one with Marella at this resort-very poor facilities! and the Rhum Runner which is our favourite party trip, happy-great atmosphere and good music and dancing. I am aware that this review may be seen as a litany of complaints, however it reflects our perception of this cruise, the point that I am attempting to make is that given the cost of this cruise which was very similar to others with similar itineries and inclusive arrangements but offers significantly less in terms of food quality,entertainment and facilities. We did speak to a few other passengers who did like what was on offer which illustrates the point that you can't please all the people all the time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I think the Marella Celebration should be renamed the Marella VIBRATION!!! Its 37 years old and should be decommissioned . Stayed one week on the Cruise ship on deck 1 at the back of the Ship and am convinced the Engine room was all ... Read More
I think the Marella Celebration should be renamed the Marella VIBRATION!!! Its 37 years old and should be decommissioned . Stayed one week on the Cruise ship on deck 1 at the back of the Ship and am convinced the Engine room was all around us and on average got 3 hours sleep per night , we did complain and tried changing rooms but was told the ship was at full capacity so had no spare rooms , even in the lido restaurant you could see a few of the Tables vibrate. Besides the vibration everything else was good, the food and especially the staff whether they were the Cleaners or bar staff were brilliant. The entertainment eventhough not professional singers was good and certainly hard working. Only booked one excursion through TUi before we left but sadly that got cancelled so quite a frustrating week. The Captain of the Marella needs a special mention as he was a real nice person and very jovial. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
the ship was lovely ,the crew were friendly ,couldn't do enough for yuri ,the food was hot and always plenty of it, we stayed in cabin 901 deck one which at first i thought we was in the lowest grade but after talking to people on ... Read More
the ship was lovely ,the crew were friendly ,couldn't do enough for yuri ,the food was hot and always plenty of it, we stayed in cabin 901 deck one which at first i thought we was in the lowest grade but after talking to people on upper decks e,g deck 5 upwards we probably had the better cabins ,there was not a lot of noise at all ,you could hear the engines but not enough to disturb your sleep ,yuri the cabin attendant was so nice and nothing was to much trouble for him as soon as you left your room he was in there cleaning it up ,felt very looked after ,chocolates left on the pillows every night .the local people were lovely too,if you get off in the port they will offer tpp take you on the excursions at sometimes half the price ,we did a mixture of tui excursions and using the locals. highly recommend the st lucia all day land and sea excursion .entertainment was good for a smaller ship ,everyone who we spoke to who was experienced cruisers also said they much prefer the marella celebration it was a more friendlier ship ,yes some things need modernising but on the whole our cruise was so good we are going to book again for next year , Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first cruise and it certainly won't be our last. After a great flight on the dreamliner we were whisked from Barbados airport to our ship - the Marella Celebration. Everything was extremely well organised and we were in ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it certainly won't be our last. After a great flight on the dreamliner we were whisked from Barbados airport to our ship - the Marella Celebration. Everything was extremely well organised and we were in our cabin in no time. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 - absolutely fantastic. It had everything you would need : toiletries, hairdryer, robes. Bed was very comfortable. The shower worked perfectly. Ronaldo our cabin steward was exceptional. He works very hard to keep everything in order. The restaurants were of really good quality. In the day we used the Lido - something for everyone here. In the evenings we mostly used the Meriden which is waiter service. Absolutely no complaints. It was great. Tried the Kora La once and it was OK. This restaurant has a supplement - probably wouldn't dash back. The bars are all well manned so depending what mood your in you can either dance the night away or watch a show or have a quiet drink. There's an outside bar on deck 6 outside Liberties which was a lovely place to sit and watch sail away. A big thank you to Bektur for keeping our glasses topped up!! The ports we went to were : St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, St Kitts, Guadeloupe and St Vincent & the Grenadines. We took an excursion with Tui from St. Vincent 'Mustique Magic' wow wow wow - well worth the money. It was fantastic. Wish we'd booked the Death in Paradise excursion whilst in Guadeloupe as this was the only disappointing port. Never mind there's always next time. The weather was amazing. Yes there is vibration on the lower decks but to be honest you do get used to it. I have absolutely no complaints - so much so we're booked on the same cruise next Jan but for 14 days this time - can't give a higher recommendation than that. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all ... Read More
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all day and most of the night service was excellent but they had far too many quizes on every topic, entertainment was excellent king in hemmingways was brilliant he will go far embarkation smooth and easy far too many photos at expensive prices we all have phones with cameras now do not need more paper photos shore excursions from ship expensive much cheaper to do it yourself but as long as you give plenty of time to get back to the ship and dont leave it till the last minute decide what time you are going and more important coming back some of the cruise terminal terminals are poor some like st vincent and tortola are excellent Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I could hardly express how great it was! It really exceeded my expectations. We were on the Caribbean Gems cruise. Indeed, the ship is old but does not ruin anything. The maintainenace is excellent, everything is cleaned every day ... Read More
I could hardly express how great it was! It really exceeded my expectations. We were on the Caribbean Gems cruise. Indeed, the ship is old but does not ruin anything. The maintainenace is excellent, everything is cleaned every day and every hour. We were in a cabin on deck one and it was quite rocky especially during the first night (it was the day at sea) but we got used to it quickly. The cabin was not very spacious but there was enough place for all our stuff. We were a little disappointed that we bed was not double and we had to sleep on separate beds. We had a window and could watch the waves crashing on the ship, it was fascinating.Our cabin steward was great, he cleaned the acbin twice a day and arranged the towels in the shape of animals :) The dining was perfect. Most of the dishes in Lido restaurant (the buffet) were not something really special but there was a great variety and the food was always available, fresh and warm. Mistal's restaurant provided excelent cuisine and service. The lobster and the beef were so delicious. Kora La was not as special as we expected - you could skip it. The entertainment was superb. There was something for everyone - live performances, singing, dancing, theathe, trivia, karaoke and so on. For me, the funniest moments were when the staff themselves were part of the show - they amused us a lot and you can tell that they enjoyed themselves. Speaking of the staff - they are thoroughly amazing and make you feel fantastic. Now that the cruise ended, I miss the ship, I miss the sea, I miss the staff, everything. this is definitely the worst part... Don't worry about getting seasick. I have problems when travelling by car and I often have nausea but I did not feel bad during the cruise. It is just as if you are a little drunk and cannot keep balance ;) The shore excursions were amazing too, especially Seven Sisters in Grenada and Swimming with stingrays in Antigua. The organization of embarkation, excursions and everything was punctual and smooth. All in all - it is soooooo good, do not hesitate to do it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Marella Celebration Caribbean Cruise Decided on a cruise and stay with friends starting with the 1 Caribbean Gems cruise on the 17 th January from La Romana in the Dominican Republic followed by a 1 week stay at the Riu Macao in ... Read More
Marella Celebration Caribbean Cruise Decided on a cruise and stay with friends starting with the 1 Caribbean Gems cruise on the 17 th January from La Romana in the Dominican Republic followed by a 1 week stay at the Riu Macao in Bavaro. Flights on the Dreamliner once again could not be faulted with ample food, drinks and interactive entertainment on the monitor. Transfer to the Ship was extremely quick as all cruise passengers bypassed the arrivals hall and were transferred to the waiting coaches ( not even a passport check ) Were we actually in the Dominican !! Transfer time to the ship was only 20 minutes or so and the checking in process only took a matter of 20 minutes followed by welcome photos !! When you have been on the go since 5.00am in the morning do you really want photos before you get on the ship!! Our cases arrived within minutes of being shown to our cabins. We had opted for an upgrade to a level 7 Deluxe cabin with a large double bed, settee, bath/ shower and large windows and totally unobstructed views. We knew that our cabin had an interconnecting door to the adjacent cabin ( not our friends ) but had taken a roll of “ Gaffer Tape” as suggested on a trip advisor should noise be heard from the adjacent cabin, to tape up the door edge. As it was it happened it was easier to push folded newspaper into the gap - we didn’t hear anything from our neighbours the whole week. That evening for ease we dined in the Lido self service Restaurant and the choice of food was reasonable and overall of good quality. We also chose to dine there at lunch time and breakfast time with the breakfasts being exceptional. We dined in the Mistral Restaurant on an evening and this was a much better dining experience with a varied menu and exceptional service, also they have an open meal time arrangement where you just turn up at whatever time you want. We had decided not to go for the all inclusive drinks package as we were going to be fully all inclusive for our 2nd week at the Riu Macaoa Hotel and decided to “ take it easy “ on the ship! This we felt to be the right decision when we noticed that over 50% of drinks were subject to a supplement if on “ All Inclusive “ Typical Bar prices along with the supplements if on “ All Inclusive “ are Jonnie Walker Red £4.20 No Supplement Dewers White Label £4.30 All Inclusive £2.50 Supplement Zombie Cocktail £4.90 No Supplement Moscow Mule £4.90 All Inclusive £2.50 Supplement John Smiths Pint £3.95 No Supplement John Smiths 500mm Can £4.00 - All Inclusive Supplement £3.30 !!!!!! It should be noted that some water, coffees and soft drinks were also subject to a supplement. The evening entertainment in the main Broadway show lounge was of an extremely high standard. They advertise the shows as “West End Productions“ and they were, with all the animation crew giving 100%, the quality of their singing voices being exceptional. The entertainment in the various bars etc was equally good. As far as trips were concerned we did our own thing and used taxis which worked out at least half the price of the organised trips and visited exactly the same destinations. Worth a mention was George on St Lucia ( email georgietx479@gmail.com ) He was near the other terminal to where we docked ( past the glass pyramid building ) Also Glen Roy on Antigua ( email glenmon8@hotmail.com ) who gave us an incredible tour over to Nelsons Dockyard and surrounding areas, and was more interested in showing us the sights rather than watching the clock. He was quite a way up the main pedestrian street when you get of the ship. I can fully recommend them both and would suggest you email them first and organise a trip as you will not be disappointed with either of them - It will also save you “ running the gauntlet “ of 100s of taxi drivers and agents !! St Maarten was a beach day as it was only a 20 minute walk to glorious white sands and the warm Caribbean sea. As we were the only ship in that day we were able to secure some sun loungers and parasols for the day - if more than one ship is in I would suggest you take your towels just in case. Another ship, or should I say Yacht did turn up, this was the Eclipse belonging to Roman Abromovich with estimated costs following refits and addition of a submarine etc at 1.2 Billion Dollars - I don’t think their were any sun beds left for him though !! A word of caution on Guadeloupe - due to large Costa ship being in port at the same time their were very few taxis about, as such we ended up with a particularly bad taxi /driver / experience. Do not use a white 8/10 seater Reg BG424-EE, COQUASHANE Also note that on Guadeloupe they only accept the Euro. Overall an excellent Cruise with great ports of call and we would go on this smaller ship cruise again. I have posted a separate report on our stay at the Riu Macao Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was a great cruise, my first one! I am used to arranging holidays myself so to be honest i thought i would be bored but i was so wrong! There was plenty to do. First of all for what i paid for both of us, i was astounded at ... Read More
This was a great cruise, my first one! I am used to arranging holidays myself so to be honest i thought i would be bored but i was so wrong! There was plenty to do. First of all for what i paid for both of us, i was astounded at what i got for the price, i was even trying to work out how they made any money out of that once flights where taken off etc. The booking process was simple, the flight was clean, comfortable, well provided for and the process of getting to the ship was easy. Yes there are a lot of older generation people on the ship, i have no idea how people can moan about this in the reviews lol!, who really cares! everyone knows that demographically your retired and well off older people are going to be a likely target market for the cruise, it didn't bother me at all, why would it lol. I didn't spend the whole trip sat next to old people taking out their false teeth in front of me, they make it sound horrific lol. The ship is old. That is okay. Some people are moaning about this, believe it or not people are quite capable of doing their own research before hand, i googled the ship before hand, i could see it was an older ship, ships can be old, they are allowed to be old!, how can people moan that a ship is old! yes it is!, if they don't like it, don't go on that particular ship! what are the agents supposed to do? give it an age warning just in-case? people need to get a grip. It was an older ship yes, did the slight creaks bother me? no it didn't, absolutely fine. The entertainment was fab, a great variety, some people are moaning about this too, if i wasn't in the mood for a pop quiz i could simply walk away from it and sit at another pool or part of the ship, people do have free choice and cannot expect to have every aspect provided to their needs ALL the time, it drives me batty. I didn't expect to like much entertainment on board because i don't usually see shows etc, but i was pleasantly surprised and a great comedian too! The food was great, yes the all you can eat area might not have been fine dining but it was fine for me, and to be honest it was exceptional value for money, there was lots of choice, for what i paid for the cruise i had lower expectations, but there was nothing low about the quality of the food. The ports where great too, yes the British virgin islands had been damaged by the hurricane, i expected this, there had just been a hurricane, even then i had choices, go on one of the tours to get me away from the lesser damaged areas, or stay on the ship, i cannot moan at company for taking us their, they are one of the only ships that are still docking at tortola and giving well needed custom to an island that really needs our help. I could either 'moan that we shouldn't have gone there because aesthetically it didn't meet my needs' or go 'sod it, who cares, we are helping someone, if i am privileged enough to even go on a cruise, then some broken buildings and bent palm trees are not going to trouble me', and i made sure i give the local shops there my money too. We visited lots of beautiful islands. It was amazing and i swear every single member of staff greeted us and said hi, it was lovely. We had to see an on-ship doctor at one point, that was great too, yes i paid for the doctor, did i expect to get it free? no of course i didn't! i didn't mind paying either! someone was moaning earlier that the on ship doctor wasn't free, jesus christ! Sure there might be some luxury high end cruises that wrap the cost of this up in their ticket prices but it certainly wasn't going to be in a marella cruise ticket,it's a cruise not the ritz lol, of course its extra! doctors have jobs, incomes, families, he's probably contracted out by the company as well, hiring a doctor is not cheap!, everything needs looking after, it's so mean of people to say its a money grabbing exercise from the ship, well yes it is grabbing money, to pay the blimming doctors wages and keep it a high standard! thats how business works. I loved my cruise but some people want everything given to them and do not appreciate things. It was lovely!!!!! Our room cleaner was really great too! saying hi every single day! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Having sailed on this ship & other ex Thomson cruise ships is was quite obvious that not only has the name changed but so has everything else but not for the better. Swimming pool on lido deck billowed out black smoke and deck had to ... Read More
Having sailed on this ship & other ex Thomson cruise ships is was quite obvious that not only has the name changed but so has everything else but not for the better. Swimming pool on lido deck billowed out black smoke and deck had to be evacuated, pool out of action for 5-6days. Having booked and paid for a deluxe outside cabin next one along from last years we were unable to sleep for the musician and his synthesiser blasting out a monotonous drum beat until 01.00am from the Hemingway bar below us even the pillow vibrated. Having made a complaint we were told couldn't be moved to another cabin as none available suggested we were given earplugs. To quote Queen Victoria we were not amused. The quality of food was appalling completely tasteless and very often cold especially at the buffet.It has always been the norm that a 2 week cruise would have 2 formal nights so packed accordingly only to find second was turned into a dress to impress night for photo's instead very disappointing .On the six days at sea passengers were out at 05,00am reserving sun beds on sunny side of ship thus waking us up with moving of beds.. AS there were so many walking wounded on top of everything else did begin to wonder if I was on a jinxed ship.Is this another German ploy the British have lower standards than them. The crew as always were brilliant except for reception who were polite but cold & did nothing to alleviate any concerns. Designated smoking areas were a joke as people considered walking around the deck was the norm even smoking leaning over the rail while ship being refuelled .Consequently anyone wishing to enjoy a coffee on deck 6 outside liberties in a smoke free zone were unable to do so,Anyone flying into or out of La Romana aiport Dominican Republic should be made aware there is no ambilift so you have to be able to walk up stair to aircraft. Gill Clay cabin 0223 Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was a last minute booking for us so we didn't get to do a lot of research. We've cruised many times with larger cruise lines mostly American and family oriented. I am going to go over the first impressions first which ... Read More
This was a last minute booking for us so we didn't get to do a lot of research. We've cruised many times with larger cruise lines mostly American and family oriented. I am going to go over the first impressions first which weren't great but please read till the end. When we got to the ship we were really disappointed as it looked very dated. The cabins were small and my 14 year old daughter was upset as the average age of the vacationers on board was around 55 years of age. During the week we saw maybe 6 - 8 other kids who unfortunately were much younger. It was definitely an adult cruise. Not very kid friendly at all. No entertainment during the day or poolside. We initially considered leaving the ship before it left port and staying at a resort instead but that would have proved to be way too expensive so we stuck it out. I'm happy we did because we had one of the best experiences ever. The staff, the staff, the staff!!! I can not stress enough how amazing they were. From the waitresses, to the front desk, the waiters in the restaurant to the maintenance guys. Everyone was friendly, professional and helpful. They made us feel welcome and were there to help no matter what we needed. The big thing for me is that my daughter has a severe nut allergy. We are used to having to deal with this when we travel and when we mention it to those who deal with food services we get reactions from lack of understanding coupled with clumsy attempts to help to out right ignorance and lack of concern. This was the first time my wife and I were made to feel fully comfortable with entrusting the supervisors, chefs and food service personnel with the safety of our daughter. They asked the right questions, showed they were knowledgable and followed up with us daily on the breakfast, dinner and lunch menus. Making sure they made her food separately and had it preordered so there would be no issues. I want to specifically mention head waiter Svilin. Never has anyone done so much to make one little girls cruise go off without a hitch. In the end this ended up being one of our favourite trips and if they took this staff and transplanted them onto a more up to date ship this would have been a best cruise we had ever been on. Thank you Thomson staff and crew for saving our vacation. Other special mentions for excellent staff members our waiter Adan, Kadek his helper, our sommelier Alberto, our cabin man Yandy and once again the amazing incredible Svilen. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Ok, so we've been on a couple of cruises before (around the Aegean and Red Sea) and this was our 3rd time on the Celebration (have also been on the Majesty). We know what to expect on a Thomson cruise and we weren't disappointed. ... Read More
Ok, so we've been on a couple of cruises before (around the Aegean and Red Sea) and this was our 3rd time on the Celebration (have also been on the Majesty). We know what to expect on a Thomson cruise and we weren't disappointed. Some aspects were brilliant, others less so but our overall feeling is that we had the best holiday of our lives. Like some previous reviewers I will split comments into various categories. Departure Airport and Outbound Flight. Flew from Birmingham, no problem, flight left a few minutes early. Dreamliner is a nice plane but to be honest service and facilities/entertainment not as good as Virgin or BA transatlantic flights. Choice of films/touch screen entertainment not as up-to-date or intensive as other airlines though I still found enough to keep me entertained for the 8 hour or so flight. Cabin stewardess were a little miserable and I was disappointed with the meagre volume of tea I was served. It was in a tiny plastic beaker and only filled 1/2 way. When I asked if it could be filled up more I was told this was not possible due to overspilling of hot liquid if plane suffers from turbulence. Ok - fair enough. When I asked if I could have an additional cup this was refused, nor did the cabin crew come round and replenish. Felt this incredibly stingy. Disembarkation at Barbados, transfer and embarkation on ship. Excellent, straight from plane onto awaiting buses. About 30 minute ride to docks. Bit of a queue to check in and get room / key cards etc.. but no problem there. All in all no more than an hour from leaving plane to sitting in our cabin. Food and Drink The food is great! I don't get what some people complain about. There is enough variety to suit all tastes and diet, the only concern is that there is too much! This is not Heston Blumenthal cuisine, it has to cater for over 1200 guests for best part of 20 hours per day. if you are used to dining out, spending £50+ per head then you'll be disappointed, it is not that standard. However if you like your chicken, beef, lamb then there is enough choice with accompanying vegetables or salad to keep you more than satisfied. We ate in the Lido (self service restaurant) for breakfast and The Meridian (waiter service) in the evenings. The choice is generally the same in both restaurants, though in The Meridian it is generally presented and served in a more polished fashion. Also with a 4 course menu (3-4 choices within each course), there is no danger of you piling your plate upto the heights of Mount Everest that you tend to do in the Lido! We didn't upgrade to the drinks package but instead took advantage of the 5 or 7 wine bottle offer, mainly because we didn't really like the 'house' wines and preferred something better. One gripe I've heard is that you have to pay for water. You can if you want to, but try to be a bit smarter. Water is served with your evening meal in The Meridian and in the Lido it is available from dispensing machines as well as being brought round by the dozens or so catering staff. Though you are requested to otherwise, fill up a small plastic bottle (or 2 or 3) from the dispensing machines and take out with you on tours!) Finally we found the service in both the Lido and Meridian excellent. Entertainment Highlight of the day revolved around the showcase team in the theatre for the 8.30 and 10.15 shows. These kids are talented, no doubt with incredible effort and choreography. Clearly there are 6 better singers and 4 better dancers but they are all very versatile. Some shows were better and some songs were a bit duff, by hey Adele can have a bad night or two can't she! Elsewhere and throughout the day there are quizzes, carpet bowls and all sorts of stuff going on. It's a bit Hi-De-Hi at times but no pressure to partake at all. Finally, big thumbs up to the resident band 'Protege' who played in Liberties throughout the evening. Very, very good, especially their more upbeat songs! Cabin We had an outside cabin on deck 3 with a porthole. Could have been bigger but we are only there to sleep and get washed for the morning and evening. I looked at one of the deluxe suites etc.. why would you want a settee and armchair - and pay £500+ more for the privilege! Cabin stewards (we had 2 over the 2 weeks) were excellent. No complaints whatsoever. Tours/excursions Apart from the photography, this is the key area where Thomson try to make their money! Simply you have a choice. Pay their rather exorbitant prices but be assured that you are on a professional (and slightly plastic tour) that will do what it says on the tin and get you back in shed loads of time. Most of these trips were 3.5 to 4 hours only though. The other choice is to take a local tour. This represents far greater value for money, tends to be a bit more personal, certainly more fun and we felt gave us a greater flavour of the island and local people. BUT!!, you'll have to put up with incessant harassment from tour guides and taxi drivers at most port you dock in. This can be quite unpleasant. If you can hook up with another couple of 2 and negotiate a good price then you're laughing. What we did was to get a DK book on the Caribbean, read up on the island you're visiting the next day. Look at the Thomson excursions to see where they are going and read up on the cruise news the night before. Once you've made a plan on where you want to go, if your not willing to pay Thomson prices, go to the local tourist office (located in practically most ports) and ask their advice. On 3 occasions, we got the local buses and had the best 3 days of our trip! On Grenada for example, we did everything we could have done on a combination of 2 Thomson excursions and cost us about £20.00 between us. (Well over £100.00 through Thomson!) Of course it isn't all about the money we saved and you do need to be a little bit savvy, but the locals are incredibly friendly and helpful with no hint of crime that we came across. If you are to visit one place on one island, an absolute MUST SEE is the resort of Papillote Rainforest Restaurant and Gardens in Dominica. Hot springs in the middle of the rainforest so take your swim stuff (far better than Trafalgar Falls). BREATHTAKING. Get there early, ask at Dominica's tourist office and the lady gets her brother to take you on a tour. (Don't think Thomson go there). Photography Sorry, rip off. Even the offers they occasionally come up with are not attractive. Stupid really, with the 1000's of glossy photos they must print off each week of which they probably rip up 800, they could save so much money and make more attractive offers for their customers. Someone with a bit of nous needs to sort out this 'department' as its crazy. (In fairness, it's been like that for over 4 years now!) Blimey, I've been writing this for over 2 hours now and lost the will to live so will stop now but the islands are incredible, people amazing, sights breathtaking. If you are of the inclination where you want to find something to moan about or criticise then you'll find plenty - there always is. We found some but to us it really wasn't that important. Enjoy, relax, take everything for what it is, embrace the ship, crew, facilities, food etc.. and have a great time! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our second cruise, both with Thomson, the first being on the Thomson Dream last February. I'll break my review down into the following sections so you don't have to read it all if you don't want to (it's ... Read More
This was our second cruise, both with Thomson, the first being on the Thomson Dream last February. I'll break my review down into the following sections so you don't have to read it all if you don't want to (it's long but hopefully informative and funny in places): 1) Overall comment 2) Travel to and from the ship 3) The ship in general and its crew 4) Cabin 5) Dining and drinks incl packages 6) Entertainment 7) Port and shore excursions 8) Photography 9) Pre-travel Services from Thomson 10) Individual excursions 1) Overall Comment (4 stars) We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The Celebration is 31 years old but it has character and is well looked after. The Dream probably gets the edge as it is slightly larger which makes some of the public areas better. If you want a cross between battery hen living and a shopping trolley on water, then go for one of the huge liners. They're not for us. Going as a couple and not a group, you do people-watch more and it's quite fun! You could divide the cruisers into many groups but I think five groups covered most people - a) the friendly, polite, nice people who either want to keep to themselves or chat every so often. b) the professional cruisers / Thomson regulars who tend towards being boring know-it-alls. c) the groupie - kling-ons who have to hang around Thomson employees, particularly the entertainment team. d) the loud-mouths, some with added alcohol, some without e) the downright obnoxious, arrogant, self important types who deserve a spell on a life-boat being dragged behind the ship. Fortunately, the majority were in Group A, we were amused by and learned to avoid those in Groups B,C and D and only came across three in Group E - two incredibly rude, pompous mature ladies and one teenage brat who has got a lot of growing up to do. All in all, the Celebration came through for us and provided a great holiday. If you want to see the Eastern Caribbean Lesser Antilles Islands, this is a recommended way to do it. 2)Travel to and from the ship (5 stars) We flew from Birmingham. Got there early, baggage taken from us. Next time we saw it was outside our cabin. Embarkation on the ship took about 30 mins from arrival at the port. All in all - excellent Homeward bound - cases had to be left outside your cabin by 2am on day of leaving. Next time we saw them was on the carousel at Birmingham airport. You had to be out of your cabin by 9am but a few rooms were made available for changing in. Coach pick ups suit your flight time or there is an option to go on the "Farewell Barbados Tour" which lasts about 4 hours, costs £45 and drops you off at the airport. We went on the tour which took us around the centre of the island, included 3 overly long cultural stops and lunch - personally we would rather have seen more of the island. All in all - apart from the turbulence on the plane flight home, excellent organisation by Thomson. 3) The ship in general and its crew (4 stars) For us, the ship was well looked after and the crew / waiters / cabin team were polite at all times. Some of the Entertainment, Destination Services and Photographic staff could learn from the crew etc although I can understand why the Entertainment Team do shy away from talking to the Cruisers some of the time. If they didn't, they'd get no peace. The Captain had a great sense of humour and did two Q/A sessions while we were there. Mark, the "stand-in" Cruise Director took a bit of getting used to but when you got the hang of him, he was a credit to Thomson and hopefully will get a permanent senior position in due course. Due to the size of the ship, we felt certain public areas were limited. For us, the Broadway Show Lounge was very small, there was no large open room (with windows) to sit in and the Meridian Restaurant just didn't work for us. The Dream was better for all of these. 4) Cabin (4 stars) We were on Deck 3 with a porthole. There were two wall-hung beds in our cabin which suggests it could be used for a family. We had a double bed and plenty of storage. Our Cabin Steward was excellent and kept the room spotless - cleaned twice per day. Only negatives were that the toilet and shower curtain were incredibly close which sometimes proved challenging for the fuller figure and the "cistern" on our toilet was forever failing but was always fixed quickly by the maintenance dept. 5) Dining and Drinks incl packages (4 stars) Essentially, if you couldn't find food you enjoyed somewhere on the boat everyday, you need to get a life!! Food was available for the best part of 20 hours per day with different options and different restaurants (some at extra cost). We did not like the Meridian, many did though. We stuck to the Lido restaurant most of the time, only venturing into the Meridian for the Captain's Dinner. We never had a bad meal anywhere. We had the wine package at £99 for 7 bottles which appeared reasonable value for money. We did not take up the Drinks package as it was so expensive for limited drinkers. However, there were those on board who got it free in their overall package, others got it at less than a third of the price we were offered. One for Thomson to think about! 6) Entertainment (4 stars) There was always something happening somewhere and the entertainment staff really worked hard to provide a great deal of fun and enjoyment. The evening shows in the Broadway were a bit of a mixed bag, some excellent, some average but never was there a lack of effort. Most of it was down to the choreography, not the dancers etc themselves. Of all the shows though, a comedian called Carl Schofield was in a league of his own. He did two timetabled shows and some "off the cuff" singing and jokes sessions in Hemingways. Absolutely brilliant. Watch out for Hazel in the Crew Show. What a voice! 70 Port and Shore Excursions (2 stars) We had three excursions cancelled (the last three of our cruise). The one that we were most looking forward to was cancelled the night before. You must, therefore, read this section appreciating that we are not best pleased with those involved in this aspect of the Cruise. The Thomson excursions that we did will be rated individually in section 10. Thomson Cruises are basically not cheap but suit those who have concerns about going it alone. If you're happy to go it alone, value for money is generally better but you may miss out on some of the highlights of an organised tour. The Destination Services Team on the ship are very helpful if you are booking a tour, lack interest once you've booked it and have no real interest in your feelings when you've had a tour cancelled UNLESS, of course, you elect to book a replacement one. Whether this department is self-managing or is controlled from the UK, it needs to get its act together. PLEASE NOTE - if you do prefer to go it alone, be wary of the taxi drivers in Tobago. They are very "in your face" but we understand you can get good deals 8) Photographic (0 stars) Overpriced. Package deals are confusing. Photographic staff should join the pompous mature ladies mentioned above on a day trip on a lifeboat - perhaps Destination Services could organise this and charge them an arm and a leg so they can appreciate what it's like to bankrupt yourself buying one photo!! On a serious note, they need to stop taking photos of people who don't want them, stop printing off thousands of pictures and fridge magnets and concentrate on finding ways to reduce costs and therefore prices. Maybe showing photos to individuals on computer screens in lieu of printing them all off might help costs and prices. This system is used at other events I have been to. My score of one star for "enrichment activities" below is for the Photographic department. 9) Pre-travel Services from Thomson (1 star) I asked one question needing limited research by Thomson. After weeks of repeatedly asking, I was still being fobbed off except for one young member of staff in Thomson's Welsh Office who did his best to help me. I wrote to the Head Office and got a phone call back. I was given an answer which had no research behind it at all. This item was really concerning us but Thomson's Head Office made no effort to reduce this concern. Worse was to come - the lady running customer care services on the ship was apparently also unaware of what I was talking about. As soon as we went on tours, we were told what had been happening by the tour guides and locals. Fortunately the problem never affected our holiday. It just needed a bit of time and research by Thomson to allay our fears. Not too much to ask really. 10) Individual Excursions (our opinion) Pigeon Point Beach Break, Tobago - a lovely beach but with limited swimming areas due to water sports. You would not want to be on this tour if there is a second cruise ship in. The beach is small and they were running out of umbrellas with just our ship in port. Cruisers who ran the gauntlet of the taxi drivers got good deals to this beach. (3 stars) The Spice Island, Grenada - this is all about seeing the people, the island and some of its heritage and specialities - spices and rum. It's not about beaches and shopping at all. A meal in a wonderful location is included. Our tour guide was Rooster the Rasta - he was brilliant. Not a cheap tour but so enjoyable - maybe that was down to Rooster? (5 stars) Bequia Coastal Cruise - the best snorkelling we did on this cruise as part of a tour. Princess Margaret Beach and the meal we had there were very enjoyable. Bequia is a lovely island with limited commercialism and no dock for the ship so they use the lifeboats as shuttles. The tour was not cheap but made for a good day out. (4 stars) Dolphin & Whale Watch, Dominica - expensive for a 3 hour trip especially if you didn't see any wildlife. We were very fortunate to see about six whales, some breached and some dived showing their tails for the necessary photograph. The lads on the boat were very knowledgeable and made a lot of effort to find whales for us. No dolphins were seen. Recommend sea sick tablets for those who need them! NOTE - the International Jewellers shop in the port do some great deals - I bought a watch for a lot less than in England.(4 stars) Time at the Beach, St Lucia - you are taken by coach to a very nice beach (Reduit) where you are left for about 2.5 - 3 hours. You are given sunbeds and one free drink each but the umbrella costs $10. There are quite a lot of beach sellers here that do become a pain so prepare yourself to deal with them. The swimming area is again limited by water sports etc. Our tour guide on the coach was permanently stressed but kept telling us to "chill". Her only aim was to get us back to the ship. Not much fun. Consider a taxi to this beach (or another one if you prefer) but remember that you will have to pay for sunbeds and umbrellas if you want them. (2 stars) Carlisle Beach Break, Barbados - a 20 minute coach trip takes you to this beach where you get sunbeds, umbrellas and a drink for £20 per person. You're on the beach (with limited swimming areas) for about 2.5 hours. I went on a snorkelling trip organised at the beach. This was $25 for one hour. We swam around two ships wrecks where there were plenty of fish and then we swam with turtles. Best snorkelling I did. If you don't use sunbeds etc, probably best to consider a taxi.(3 stars) Tortola by Land & Sea - this was a 4 hour trip - about 2 hours on a boat where we saw many of the British Virgin Islands (not Necker - Richard Branson's Island) followed by half hour shopping in Soper's Hole and then 1.5 hours on a coach seeing the sights of Tortola. I would recommend you ask the driver which side of the bus gets the best views of the Atlantic Ocean - they are stunning. Not bad value for money. We preferred the time on the boat. (3 stars) Golden Eagle Catamaran Sail & Snorkel - about 4 hours including snorkelling, rum, swimming, rum, watching the planes pass low overhead into the airport, more rum etc. You get the gist. Although there was a sunken ship and helicopter where we snorkelled, it was such a limited area that it wasn't very enjoyable. The catamaran could not pull onto the beach where we swam so you had to be a reasonable swimmer to get there (or use buoyancy aids). The beach was very nice though. It was good to see the planes flying so low overhead but, in hindsight, I would either have taken a taxi to the airport beach or gone on a tour if it was available. That would have been excellent. (3 stars) St Kitts Scenic Railway - booked after the beach trip was cancelled. You are taken on a 45 minute coach tour of part of the island upto the start of the train trip. Once on the train, get on the upper level and make sure at least one of you sits on the coastal side of the train. The rum flows!! Non-alcoholic drinks available. The train trip is about 1.5 hours and goes through lovely parts of the island with locals all waving at you and the train. Very enjoyable and welcoming. The coach picks you up at the train terminus for a 10 minute trip back to the ship. (4 stars) Catamaran Cruise and lobster lunch, Antigua - booked when our tour to Crusoe Island was cancelled. If you like beaches, music, lobster, rum, dancing, laughing, go on this day out. It's not cheap but it's 6 hours of fun. The crew on the boat were excellent and we went to Deep Bay Beach which is the archetypal Caribbean beach. Best tour we went on by far. (6 stars) Aqua Terra, St Vincent - booked when our tour to Mustique was cancelled very late in the day and for all the wrong reasons. Quite honestly, this tour was a rush from beginning to end. The other half of our group were late back and delayed the ship from sailing. The trip involved a stomach churning 2.5 hour tour of the west coast of the Island on a coach, a very enjoyable drenching under a waterfall if you like that kind of thing which I do, lunch, a 2 hour trip back to the ship on a catamaran which included a quick visit to a black sand beach for a swim / snorkel. Not a great day. (2 stars) Farewell Barbados - I've made most of my comments earlier in this review. It got you off the ship on the last day but the structure of the tour was poor (2 stars) In summary, our holiday on the Thomson Celebration was really enjoyable. Yes there were moments, people and activities that could have been better but looking at the overall picture, we had a great time and we'd do it again happily. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We decided to try a cruise for the first time as we wanted to see more of the Caribbean, having loved Jamaica and Barbados when we had stayed there. I admit we were apprehensive, not about being at sea (I love the sea) but about being ... Read More
We decided to try a cruise for the first time as we wanted to see more of the Caribbean, having loved Jamaica and Barbados when we had stayed there. I admit we were apprehensive, not about being at sea (I love the sea) but about being restricted and regulated. This review can be split into two really: my opinions of going on a cruise and my opinions of the Thomsons Celebration ship and cruise. So first of all, this was my first cruise and will most likely be my last! All my misgivings proved to be true. Old people! I’m 60, and felt young! No disrespect to older people, as I am one of that group, but they were in the majority by far and that has an overall effect on general atmosphere. Lack of personal space! Just too many people, and particularly when getting on and off the ship. As far as the Thomsons Celebration Cruise is concerned, its saving grace was the staff, who were all really helpful and friendly. The islands we visited were brilliant and we loved each one of them, and our room was pretty good and kept spotlessly clean, but that’s about it. The food was very poor with the self-service feeling like a motorway service station and the main waiter service restaurant food was only marginally better but dressed up a bit. The bacon for breakfast in both restaurants was the fattiest I have ever had anywhere! Sunbeds and loungers were uncomfortable and on the sundecks they were reserved early, although we weren’t particularly bothered. Pools were very small and uninviting. Bar service was patchy, sometimes great and sometimes wait for 10 minutes to be served. Air conditioning was patchy too varying from non-existent to arctic chill. We had the all inclusive drinks package (not premium) and the drinks included were very limited, although house wines were reasonable. Wi-fi was extortionate! There seemed to be endless possibilities for Thomsons to make money out of its captive holiday makers i.e a trip behind the scenes of the boat (can’t remember exact price, but around £40 pp), towel art – we got back to the room one afternoon to find a towel monkey hanging from the ceiling and thought very nice and funny, then find a towel art book in the room which we could buy for £4.99!! We didn’t try the a-la- carte restaurants as we didn’t expect them to be much different from anywhere else on the ship but maybe even more pretentious, and of course cost extra. Entertainment was ok if you liked musicals etc, but we did enjoy the staff talent night. Gala night was ok if you want to dress up for no reason other than to have your picture taken with the captain! I don’t want to sound as though I am a grouch, I love to have fun at anytime and particularly on holiday but this just didn’t do it for me, and I am so glad we were going to spend a week in Barbados after our week on the ship. The excursions we booked through Thomsons were good, and suited us well and the transfer of luggage was efficient, although we were transferred to our hotel in Barbados for an arrival about an hour and a half earlier than check-in! I know lots of people love cruises, and perhaps it just wasn’t for us, but it could have been made a lot better! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Some friends asked us if we would like to cruise with them to the Caribbean . My partner had always said he would never ever cruise unless it was to the Caribbean . So we agreed to go , although it was 9 months away I was counting down ... Read More
Some friends asked us if we would like to cruise with them to the Caribbean . My partner had always said he would never ever cruise unless it was to the Caribbean . So we agreed to go , although it was 9 months away I was counting down the days (like a kid at Christmas ). It was decided to go with Thomson Cruises. For a first time cruiser it was brilliant . From flying with the Dreamliner , fantastic !! from when we left the plane to when we got to our cabins it was no more than 40 -45 minutes . The cabins were clean & tidy if a little tired, but there was plenty of space for clothes and everything you needed to hide . The food was top notch in the restaurants.All the staff were all brilliant , and everyone smiled at you no glum faces any-where. The entertainment was very good and the staff productions were brilliant . We only used taxies what ever port we stopped at , they took you wherever you wanted to go (normally the beach ) for a fixed fee of 14 dollars . On the day of departure our plane was not due to leave un till 6.00 p.m .but we were allowed to stay on board until we were due to leave for the airport .,which I thought was very good customer service. For our second cruise we wanted to try a bigger ship, so we are going NCL Epic at the end of September for a Mediterranean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My wife and I have just returned from a stay/cruise at Sandals Barbados and the Thomson Celebration cruise ship. We booked this separately because Thomson do not do a cruise/ stay with Sandals and I can see why. After a stay at Sandals you ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a stay/cruise at Sandals Barbados and the Thomson Celebration cruise ship. We booked this separately because Thomson do not do a cruise/ stay with Sandals and I can see why. After a stay at Sandals you will never cruise with Thomson again. Let me explain. Everything at Sandals was excellent and all in. All premium drinks, certain water sports, two or three trips out and even a free room safe to the extent that we didn't spend a bean in the resort. Not a penny. Compare this with the Thomson Celebration. Now we hadn't booked the Royal Yacht Britannia but from the very outset the Thomson staff were squeezing us for money. I spent £15 on a cabin safe before we even embarked. Our stay wasn't improved by the pokey cabin, the inadequate cabin air conditioning, the lack of sleep from the constant noise and vibration of the ship (when one lady complained about the noise she was offered a set of ear plugs), the smell from the cabin bathroom and the ship toilets backing up. We complained about certain things but to no avail. Then we get to the on board drinks. If you aren't offered the drinks package for free then don't get it. It's a rip off. A glutton couldn't get his moneys worth. An example being, a bottle of Corona on board was £3.70 without the drinks package, £2.00 WITH the package. You could get a bottle on shore at most bars for 2$US (£1.40). And watch what you are doing when it comes to the trips. We booked a Sun and Rum trip in Antigua for £27 each because we had booked it before and enjoyed it. Previously we had been taken to a lively beach ironically with a Sandals hotel on it but this time we were taken to a deserted beach that we had walked from the port to before. We ended up paying £57 for two plastic chairs (umbrellas were 10$US extra) and half a dozen cups of cheap rum punch.Rip off. It's not just the £54 that matters but the fact that we wasted a day of an expensive holiday. If somebody hadn't been to Antigua before and were taken there then they would never go to the island again. We will probably return but not with Thomson. As I said, I never spent anything at Sandals but I was spending nearly £100/day on the ship. You may pay a little more for a stay at Sandals but my view is that when I travel all the way to the Caribbean I would like a bit of quality and when you take everything into account Sandals doesn't work out much more expensive anyway. I suppose i shouldn't be annoyed with Thomson because I was becoming a little tired of cruising anyway and they have just made my mind up for me. And so from now on it's bye bye Thomson, hello Sandals for me. Much better value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
As a couple in our 30's, this holiday suited us brilliantly. This was our 2nd visit on the Celebration. Yes, the ship is tired in places and doesn't have many venues to spend the evenings, but I'd recommend the ship to ... Read More
As a couple in our 30's, this holiday suited us brilliantly. This was our 2nd visit on the Celebration. Yes, the ship is tired in places and doesn't have many venues to spend the evenings, but I'd recommend the ship to family and friends. Our Steward, Jaya, was pleasant and helpful, friendly and very good at not disturbing us during our stay. The cabin was cleaned daily and couldn't fault his hard work. We ate mainly in the Lido and the food is varied, plentiful and the buffet was open 19 hours daily. Rey/Ray who manages the Lido, works extremely hard making sure the restaurant was clean, tables cleared and working like clock-work. Well done Ray!! Paul Evans, the Cruise Director, made us laugh every day and we always looked forward to his announcements and good Bolton humour. We only wish he had have participated in the 'male ballet dancer' section of one the shows, it would have been more funnier!! Paul get your tights on next time!! Excursions are very expensive and not really good value for money, much cheaper to organise taxis. Having said that, Thomson run trips take away the stress and hassle. In conclusion, we're currently looking for Christmas cruises on the Celebration for next year Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I was not going to do a review of this cruise but having read some of the comments on here felt that I had to. We have done 20 cruises on various cruise lines now but we started our cruise adventures back in 1997 on the Thomson Sapphire ... Read More
I was not going to do a review of this cruise but having read some of the comments on here felt that I had to. We have done 20 cruises on various cruise lines now but we started our cruise adventures back in 1997 on the Thomson Sapphire and over the years have done 9 Thomson cruises. Like every cruise line there are pros and cons but without any shadow of doubt the one thing that Thomson do better than any other is entertainment (IMHO). The shows put on by the show team were wonderful and the final show Africa honestly nearly brought me to tears it was so uplifting. These girls and boys have actual talent and could grace any West End theatre. On some of the American ships we have found the singers to be 'shouty and screechy' but these kids could sing and dance. I would certainly advise anyone going on a Thomson ship to see the evening shows. There are always things that could be improved and I was not really impressed with the idea of paying £8.95 to reserve a seat on the front row. We never did this yet every night we sat on either the front or second row. If Thomson intend to carry on with this reservation idea then they need to organise it better as we saw a few arguments caused by confusion with the system. I would agree that the quality of food in the main restaurant has deteriorated since our last Thomson cruise - there was always something we could eat but the presentation and quality was sometimes quite poor. There is always the option of a steak on the menu but we were quite shocked that there was an additional charge of £10 for this. The food in the Lido buffet was excellent with lots of choice. I require gluten free food and this was catered for very well. For afternoon tea I was pleased to see a little section of GF food but the so called scones but unbelievable - like a little biscuit the size of a 50p with no fruit. My husband just had a word with Executive Chef Stuart and the next day I had lovely scones. That is a big well done for listening to passengers and acting accordingly. There was a self serve laundry which was free to use - you do not find that on many other cruise lines. The ship does not have the wow factor of the bigger ships with their beautiful atriums but what it lacks in that area it makes up for in atmosphere. The staff on the ship are second to none in terms of friendliness and a desire to please and they take huge pride in remembering little details about you. The ship does have a constant vibration and whilst this did not bother us some did find it annoying. Browsers Corner has a fantastic range of books to borrow so you don't need to take any if you are a reader. The Spa does have some excellent offers during the cruise so don't book anything too quickly as it is better to wait and see what offers they do. We did not do any excursions as we had visited all the islands before so were confident about doing our own thing. The people of the Caribbean are wonderfully welcoming and take such pride in showing off their beautiful islands and we always feel very safe there. One of the things we really appreciate is that there are no compulsory 'gratuities' as these are always a bone of contention on other lines. Also good is no added service charge for every drink you buy - this is an extra 18% on many lines. I do think that the drinks packages are shockingly priced but as we are not really drinkers we never bother with these. So would we do Thomson again? If the right deal to the place we want to visit comes up then yes definitely Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first cruise and I was a little apprehensive but there was absolutely no need. Thomson could not have looked after you better. Yes the décor is a little dated and could do with a refurb but it still has a certain charm. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I was a little apprehensive but there was absolutely no need. Thomson could not have looked after you better. Yes the décor is a little dated and could do with a refurb but it still has a certain charm. The food was exceptional and you will grow outwards! The choice and variety each day was amazing. Look out for the fruit and veg sculptures! The puddings were beautiful and you couldn't ask for anything more. You have the choice of 3 restaurants - we tried Meridian and the Lido. The staff work incredibly hard and are a real credit. Now the entertainment team - Jake, Jack, Keiron and Laura are a certain phenomenon!! They bounce of each other very well and are cringingly funny. Again very hard working, friendly and engaging. We loved the different bars and areas you could sit. If you wanted to sit quietly, you could. The shows in the Broadway bar were good although a couple could have been better. The comedian was very good. The band Protege who played mainly in Liberties bar are wonderful and how they haven't yet made there own CD I don't know. If you worry about feeling sea sick - don't be. The only night it was a little choppy was the last night but nothing major and apart from a gentle rocking, you don't really know you are on a boat. The Caribbean is absolutely stunning. We booked 3 excursions. The first was the glass bottom boat at Pigeon Bay. The bay itself is stunning BUT the boat leaves a lot to be desired. A small fishing boat with a bit of glass in the hull. It was quite choppy in this and a few of us felt quite unwell. We were allowed to snorkel further out but when you try it was really too choppy and dangerous. A lot of money for what it was. We hardly saw any fish and would have preferred to stay on the beach. Our next trip was the Rum Runner. If you do one trip - you must do this one!! It was fantastic! Plenty of rum, an amazing funny crew and a beautiful beach to stop and snorkel from. Sean even bought us rum whilst we were swimming. There was a great calypso band and an attempt at limbo dancing. A really great fun trip. Our third trip was to Trafalgar falls - which is a bit of a walk but worth it. We visited Tobago. St Vincents, Grenada, Dominica and St Lucia. Just be aware if you choose to walk around the towns, not to go too far off the main roads.A little disappointed that we didn't see any of the beaches in St Lucia but this was due to the port stop and taxis charging $25 each way but the shops are quaint and lovely. Thank you Thomson for such a great holiday where we truly felt rested and looked after. The organisation is second to none. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, ... Read More
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, explaining why certain aspects of the holiday were good and why others were appallingly bad … and ultimately why, taken as a whole, we would never consider buying another Thomson cruise package again. Everything that disappointed us during our holiday was entirely within Thomson’s control, which means they failed to meet our expectations on many occasions due to blatant incompetence, poor management, an inconsiderate attitude and a driven desire to put profit over customer satisfaction. The Holiday Booking Experience We booked our April 2015 cruise through a local Thomson travel-agent within six weeks of our departure date. We were informed we could pay extra there and then to book our seats on the airplane, but that we could also do it ourselves online from 14 days of departure. We weren’t bothered about getting premier extra-space seats, so chose to wait and do it ourselves later. This was a mistake! When we went online at the 14 day stage there weren’t any seats left where we could sit together. So, we were destined to undertake a 9 hour flight sat apart. We feel the booking agent failed to explain adequately that this could even happen, and she seemed rather more keen to stress we could pay for extra baggage allowance, travel insurance and extra leg-room, if we wanted. When we talked about the ship and cabin-type we wanted, we stressed we wanted to have a window or port-hole (an outside cabin), a cabin with a double bed (or twin beds that could be pushed together) and that we wanted to be on an upper deck away from the ship engines. Past experience has taught us inside cabins can be claustrophobic and lower deck cabins too close to the engines can be very noisy. The travel-agent explained we could pay substantially more for a balcony cabin, if we wanted, but as that wasn’t necessary for us, she booked us an outside cabin on deck 1 or 2 (she explained the actual cabin would be designated once we boarded the ship). This sounded fine – so we booked it. Another mistake! When we eventually boarded the ship, we were indeed given an outside cabin on deck 1, which we had assumed was the top deck. It wasn’t. It turned out the ship’s top-deck was deck 9. The one we were booked on was actually the bottom deck above the engines. Furthermore, we had been given a cabin with twin-beds that were on opposite sides of the cabin, bolted down (so unmovable). We feel the travel-agent seriously let us down on this as she clearly didn’t know what the layout was of this Thomson ship and consequently we ended up on a deck and with separate beds, both elements being things we had stressed we didn’t want. We weren’t the only ones to be severely disappointed about this … the reception area on the ship was swamped with hoards of disgruntled passengers that felt they had been sold something other than what they were getting, including a couple on their honeymoon that (like us) had actually been designated twin beds. Reception proved to be completely unhelpful, with some staff only just able to speak English. We were told by one of the reception staff that only about 10% of all requests made at the Thomson travel-agent booking stage were ever met … so bare that in mind if you make any special requests to Thomson before you leave for your holiday. We spoke to one passenger also at the Reception Desk who had paid an additional £1,000 for a balcony cabin, only to be given an outside cabin with no balcony – so even paying for the extras clearly doesn’t always prove fruitful. The Flight to Barbados We were lucky to be on one of Thomson’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the long haul flight. Despite the general monotony of such a long flight, this trip was actually bearable thanks to relatively comfortable seats, complimentary drinks, a decent meal (for me at least) and excellent in-flight entertainment via head-seat LCD displays. BUT .. my partner is vegan and we had booked a special vegan diet for the flight with Thomson and double-checked this requirement was recorded and confirmed on our booking E-ticket. When an ordinary meal was served to my partner, he explained it should be a vegan meal. The flight attendant investigated and returned some minutes later, somewhat embarrassed, saying there had been an error and there was no vegan meal on the airplane. He was then given an apple, a plum and a dry bread roll (there was no soya spread on board either). By pure chance, the cabin crew’s own meals were suitable for vegan and one of them consequently gave up their own dinner so my partner wouldn’t have to go nine hours without eating. This error by Thomson is quite unforgivable, but it pales into insignificance when all the other errors are stacked alongside it. Ship Embarkation The embarkation process was extremely poor. We were effectively corralled from the airport shuttle coaches into an open warehouse at the port side and then left to queue in twisting rows until a member of staff was free at the makeshift front desks. This process seemed to take forever and needs improving, particularly as most of us had just endured a very long day and a long flight. Eventually, we were issued with our ship boarding pass and were then left to our own devices to find our cabin. There was no one to show you your way, so most new passengers spent their first hour on board walking aimlessly up and down corridors deep in the heart of the ship. The Cabin The first impressions of our cabin (after the disappointment of finding it on the bottom deck) was that it was clean and of an adequate but not spacious size, but it looked ‘tired’. We were already aware the Thomson Celebration was an old ship (first launched in 1983). The Thomson website says this ship’s cabins have ‘a smart, contemporary edge’, which is stretching the truth somewhat. The laminated surfaces in our cabin (813) were worn and cracked, small sections were missing or otherwise needed replacing and the pop-up sink plug didn’t work. Other than that, it had everything we needed, including a flat-screen TV and a kettle with an adequate daily supply of tea, coffee and milk. Unfortunately, the TV was fairly useless, because the only channels available were SKY News and one other channel that occasionally showed films in English. One of the first things we wanted to do was plug in and charge our electric toothbrush into the socket in the shower-room, and the socket fell out of its fixing as soon as we tried. By this stage, we had just about given up complaining. Our expectations were lowering by the minute. The port-hole was at sea level and so far into the ship bulkhead that we had to climb onto a shelf above the bed to see anything out of it. We have already mentioned about the twin beds … while these appeared clean, they were also fixed into their position, so they could not be converted into a double bed (as some of the Thomson literature and promotional material suggest). There was a safe in the room – which you had to pay extra for, if you wanted to use it – but no fridge (as a diabetic carrying insulin that needs to be refrigerated, this was again very disappointing). There was a also a mini-bar of water, alcohol and chocolates. It rather surprised us that everything that made-up the mini-bar was charged as an extra, even though we had pre-paid for the optional all-inclusive drinks package at over £330 each. Clearly, if we wanted a drink, we would have to ascend 6 decks to get to one of the bars or pay extra on top of the drinks package fee if we wanted to use the mini-bar. The drinks and brands were the same, so we cannot understand why Thomson choose to charge for this convenience, other than to profit from it. The Celebration Ship itself The ship is old and was last partly refurbished in 2013 (mostly the public areas, not all cabins). It is small by comparison to many others sailing around the MED and Caribbean, but at face-value, its amenities seemed adequate for the 1,250 passenger capacity. In reality, Thomson’s bad management often means the ship is artificially reduced in size, because passengers find areas are closed off so they can be painted and/or varnished, which causes a shortage of sunbeds or drinking tables while everyone scrambles to find themselves a place. The small size of the ship does allow passengers to get to know one another much easier. We often found ourselves sat with people we had met a couple of times before and this made conversation easy and the atmosphere on-board quite sociable. Unfortunately, this close proximity and limited space also meant tempers and arguments sometimes erupted once large amounts of alcohol had been consumed. We witnessed at least one alcohol-fuelled near-brawl by passengers in Liberties on deck 6 one evening, reminding us that this was far from a 5-star cruise. The Dining Experience With four restaurants the ship offered a wide variety of cuisine, though two had a cover charge (so these were not really part of the all-inclusive facilities). We tended to use either the self-service Lido buffet-style restaurant or The Meridian, which is waiter-service. The ship also offered food and snacks throughout the day and evening and more than enough variety to satisfy anyone’s palate … unless, that is, you happen to be vegan. Since coming off the ship, my vegan partner has said he is probably the only passenger to have lost weight as a result of going on this cruise. His experience of the dining amenities was extremely disappointing. During the first two days he discovered almost all of the dishes on offer were made with meat or fish or included cream, eggs or other dairy or animal ingredients. He was therefore resigned to fruit, salad greens, rice or chips. Most of the pasta dishes had cream or other dairy or animal ingredients and the soups always had cream added. Although the ship carried soya milk (which had to be asked for), it didn’t have any soya spread for bread rolls at night or for toast in the morning and no soya meat substitutes of any kind for alternative recipes. The language barrier also made life difficult for my partner, because the mostly Filipino waiters and servers only had a command of tourist English. Asking what the ingredients were in each dish proved completely pointless, because they would simply point to the card in front of each dish that said “Lasagne” or “Stroganof” or whatever the meal happened to be. By the fourth day, my partner decided to try and talk to Reception to see if the head chef could prepare and make available at least one vegan dish for evening meals. The disappointing result of this meant a somewhat strange and largely inedible concoction of dishes became available (one each evening). These were invariably boiled rice or pasta based with a few rare exceptions. For example … spinach, mushrooms and sliced fried garlic combined together as a main meal and a bizarre baked dessert made up of sweet corn and flour. Given the number of chefs on the ship … these offerings seemed to lack any skilled knowledge about creating special-request dishes. What they prepared always seemed borne from panic and desperation with no consideration for presentation or taste. So, if you are vegan or have a dairy or other allergy … don’t expect a gourmet experience on Thomson Celebration. Actually, we advise taking 14 days worth of packed lunches, just to sustain you during the trip. The Drinks Package Like most cruises, there are no cash transactions allowed on the Thomson Celebration. At embarkation guests register a credit card, which is then linked to your boarding-card. This card is then used to buy everything you need on-board, whether it’s a drink from one of the bars or a hair-cut in the salon. Past experience has taught us the bar-bill can come as quite a shock at the end of a cruise, because drinks are always sold at premium prices and not many people maintain a running check on what is being spent as the days roll by. Although we are not big drinkers, we figured the 6-day transatlantic section of the trip (without being able to go ashore) might be costly, because we would have to use the ship’s bars for all refreshments during the day and night. The Drinks Package cost us a further £678 (£339 each), but seemed reasonable, given the circumstances. Not all branded wines, spirits or cocktails are included in the drinks package, but there was more than enough variety on offer to satisfy our needs. We had some suspicions about the quality of some drinks at one bar in particular (outside on deck 6), where some liqueurs seemed exceptionally thin. I am familiar with the taste and viscosity of Mallibu, for example, and my partner has 23yrs experience as a bar and restaurant manager, so he also knows when a particular drink doesn’t look or taste as it should. Maybe it was the heat of the Caribbean, maybe the Mallibu (like the gin) had been affected by other unknown factors … or maybe someone was watering bottles down or passing-off original quality liqueur for a substandard brand at this particular bar. We also witnessed staff at this bar regularly pouring short measures from virtually empty bottles, without changing the bottle beforehand (a practice that is illegal in the UK leisure trade). We really only have one major complaint about how the Drinks Package facility was operated by Thomson, which we believe means we ended up paying for some of those who had not purchased a Drinks Package. When anyone approaches a bar or asks a waiter for a drink, they present their boarding-card so the price of the drink can be recorded on their account. Those with a Drinks Package are not charged (unless it’s a premium chargeable drink), while others will find the cost on their account at the end of the cruise. We found it strange that – as a couple – we always ordered two drinks, but we were only ever asked for one boarding card to record the order. By day three, we became aware this was happening with everyone. As guests got to know one another, they started to form some large groups, particularly at the bars during the evenings. Some were ordering 2 drinks at a time for people in their party – but the bar-staff only asked for a single boarding-card from the person getting the round of drinks in. It quickly became apparent that many in the “group” of friends were on a pay-as-you-go regime … and were consequently getting their drinks “free” through Drinks Package passengers. So, one couple in a two-berth cabin would have two Drinks Package cards and each would use them to buy two drinks on each card … one for themselves and one for a “friend” (without a Drinks Package card). We reported this to the Reception staff … but the situation never changed, even up to and including the last day of our cruise. We believe this almost certainly creates an inflated Drinks Package price, because some of those like us that had it are clearly subsidizing some that don’t. Thomson could easily rectify this by insisting on a “one drink – one card number” rule and save honest customers a small fortune by slashing the Drinks Package cost. Sunbeds The Thomson Celebration has enough sunbeds for all 1,250 passengers … unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we always had a sunbed available when we wanted one. Thomson managed to obstruct hundreds of paying guests from this pleasure by undertaking a maintenance schedule during the most ridiculous times of day and on days when they knew sunbeds would be at premium demand. The (presumably routine) painting of railings and maintenance of deck timbers meant Thomson chose to close off one of the decks (sundeck 8) for almost the entire cruise, which meant all the sunbeds on that deck were stacked and unavailable. This wasn’t a huge problem while the ship was touring the Caribbean islands, because some passengers were off the ship on excursions or out roaming around the tourist areas. However, during the six days we were crossing the Atlantic, all passengers were on board – and that meant we all wanted to relax on a sunbed, if only we could all find one. Once the first deck had been completed, everyone sighed in relief … but this was short lived, because then more than half of another deck was shut off (deck 6). This occurred during the daytime. Passengers already settled at tables or on sunbeds were unceremoniously evicted from their positions, told to move to another part of the deck, sunbeds were stacked and ropes were quickly tied to cordon off the area. Thomson now had hundreds of unhappy customers scrambling for complaint forms, again!!! It is fair to say that we only ever had a sunbed in the sun for perhaps two hours a day, mostly towards the end of each day when other passengers were going back to their cabins to prepare for their evening meal. We may well have got more sunbathing done in our home town of Blackpool than on this cruise. Entertainment The entertainment on board was an odd mix of some excellent and highly professional theatre and deck-stage shows, combined with random and very basic Butlin’s style game shows and quizzes lending themselves more to a local pub than a cruise ship. Part of the attraction for us for this cruise was the “Motown and Soul” theme, which had been used to promote it. Roy G Hemmings (once of The Drifters) and his band and backing singers were on the ship and they put on three superb nights of Motown entertainment. Unfortunately, these were just about the only “Motown and Soul” entertainment evenings we had. Passengers were sufficiently disappointed to start a petition that went around the ship … when it was handed in, it transpired that some of the entertainment staff didn’t even know this was meant to be a themed cruise. What became very apparent very quickly was that the entertainment staff (mostly English) worked their socks off to try to keep everyone happy and occupied during the long days and nights of the transatlantic crossing. I cannot fault their efforts or their talents, but I do feel Thomson let us (and therefore them) down by not making the so-called Motown theme more prominent. Cabin Staff As on many other cruising ships, the cabin staff were mostly Filipino and were the hardest working and the friendliest of all staff on-board. No matter what time of day or night we went back to our cabin, our cabin-steward was always there on the corridor with a friendly smile asking if we had enjoyed our day or evening. Our beds were always made during the day, the cabin cleaned or tidied and our beds turned down at night usually with chocolates placed on our pillows. Thomson need to recognize the value of these staff members much more and reward them, because they rarely seemed to get any free time (other than to sleep) and were not apparently permitted on the upper decks. Flight Home Our last day on the cruise was expensive. Our Thomson flight wasn’t due to leave until 8pm in the evening, but the letter pushed under our cabin door the day before told us we were expected to vacate our cabin at 8am on departure day (our suitcases had to be packed and left for collection outside the cabin by 3am). So, we spent some hours trying to organize ourselves, keeping back some shorts for the daytime heat and a change of clothes for the flight and unhappily facing having to carry all remaining bags and possessions around with us for 12 hours. Reception explained that we could keep our cabin (or be issued with an alternative one) until 4pm on the last day… but it would cost us an extra £35 for the privilege. We resorted to paying the extra for the convenience (to be honest, we were by now getting used to Thomson fleecing us for more money at every opportunity). We also wanted to enjoy the “80s disco” in Liberties Lounge that evening without thinking about having to get up before 8am the next day to vacate our cabin, but as it turned out – the 80s disco was cancelled on the night in favor of allowing a member of staff (who was leaving the ship) to sing his favorite songs on stage. It was only after guests’ complained that anything was done to stop him singing and get the disco night reinstated. The flight home was just about the worst flight we have ever taken and a complete contrast to the outbound flight. The airplane was a standard 737 (not the nice shiny new Dreamliner that brought us out). During the four hour flight there were no meals served, no complimentary drinks and no entertainment systems operating. There was only one trolley service of drinks, tea, coffee or sandwiches throughout the uncomfortable flight – all charged – and nothing suitable for my vegan partner. Although this was a much shorter flight (4 hours from Tennerife) than our outward journey, it felt ten times longer. The impression we got was that Thomson had received our money, the holiday was over – and they just wanted to honor their obligation to get us home quickly and cheaply by offering as little as possible. In Conclusion In recent years, many people have opted to try cruising as a holiday. Unfortunately, Thomson seems to be trying to reduce the cost of these so-called luxury holidays and are putting profit over and above meeting the expectations of their customers. I would place the Thomson Celebration Transatlantic Moments cruise in the standard 3-star holiday bracket, according to our experience with other companies and other cruise ships. The ship is too old and too small and needs scrapping. The add-on costs are excessive and relentless. The cuisine variety is good, but only for those that do not have any special dietary requirements. Thomson’s management, maintenance and operational systems on-board need a complete rethink. Reception staff on-board need to be fluent in English and need the power to rectify problems on-the-spot, not just offer a complaint form to be handed in after the holiday is over (by which time the holiday is ruined). Neither I nor my partner would consider going on another Thomson holiday, based on this experience … we therefore could not recommend them or the Thomson Celebration ship to others. This was a very disappointing and expensive holiday (costing £3,000+ for two of us), occasionally enjoyed only because of some of the staff and the people we shared it with. We feel Thomson let us down from the moment of booking this holiday right up to and including our flight home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have just returned from a lovely holiday in the Caribbean aboard Thomson Celebration. We flew out on the Dreamliner and enjoyed the flight. The extra legroom and wider seats really make a difference, after a long flight we still felt ... Read More
We have just returned from a lovely holiday in the Caribbean aboard Thomson Celebration. We flew out on the Dreamliner and enjoyed the flight. The extra legroom and wider seats really make a difference, after a long flight we still felt quite perky after an eight hour flight. Yes the Celebration is an old ship, she cannot match up to the newer more modern ships, but you are not paying their prices. We have sailed on Celebration several times and this cruise we thought that Thomson had upped there game. You could not fault the cleanliness of the ship in all areas, the public areas and cabins were spotless. The staff are wonderful they always have a smile for you and leave you feeling that nothing is to much trouble. We were on deck 6 and did not experience any cabin noise or any nagging electrical faults. The food this cruise was very good both in the Meridian restaurant and the Lido self service restaurant there was plenty of choice to suit all tastes. The entertainment team did a good job and Ben Moss the very talented singer in Hemingways was excellent. We booked two trips with Thomsons and they may be a bit over priced but we did our own thing and saved money on other days. Transfers to and from the port were excellent with no delays. We thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this ... Read More
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this trip. Let’s start with the buffet/Lido restaurant. The breakfasts and afternoon teas were very repetitive and with little variations. The food was often oily, with the eggs being either over or underdone and only luke warm. The bacon and sausages tasted cheap. The cereals were mainly of the cheap sugar laden variety while the fruit was consistently melon and pineapple. Lunchtimes fared little better. The salad was only ever the following:- lettuce, cucumber, radish, grated carrot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, watery silverskin onions (no vinegar) and cheeses with no variations. The salad dressings on offer were poor, heavily oily and poor in variety. The mixed salads on the appetiser counter were laden with mayo or looked revolting. Hasn’t the chef heard of pulses, a variety of salad leaves etc? The main courses were equally bad in their look, smell and taste. So much so lunch often became hot dog and chips from the snack bar by the pool – something we never eat at home or on holiday. The sugar free sweets were also poor in variety, being mainly a creamy mousse or pastry with fruit, not helpful if one doesn’t like creamy mousses and can’t eat pastry! Additionally the sugar free was rarely labelled as such and one had frequently to ask if there were any sugar free. Afternoon tea was the same every day, sausage rolls, small sandwiches, trifle (not sugar free) scones, cake and biscuits (none of which were sugar free). In fact the sandwiches were often the best food of the day. The scones were also acceptable if one ignored the too high bicarbonate taste, but couldn’t cheese scones have been served occasionally too? The biscuits were the worst we have tasted – dry and tasteless regardless of flavour, too much flour and not enough fat to make them flavoursome and ‘short’ in consistency, in other words, they were cheap! Drinks in the Lido – the coffee was dire, bitter and totally unacceptable. I drank only tea for the duration of the cruise whereas my husband doesn't drink tea, coffee, milk or alcohol so his choice was nil for the entire cruise, bar water, since no alternative drink was on offer, unlike other cruises which still offer juice and iced flavoured teas at all meal times. Let’s now look at the food in the Meridian Restaurant. Breakfasts: Firstly, fruit juices served at breakfast were far too sweet. We think that they were fruit concentrates which hadn’t been diluted. We had to dilute it by 1/3 or ½ to make it drinkable. The fish for breakfast was often unrecognisable as such being dry and much over-cooked, so much so we stopped choosing the fish dishes before a few days had passed. The omelette I tried after the fish was almost inedible too, the taste and texture weren’t good. My husband concurred on the only day he chose omelette. The yoghurt with fresh fruit was always sugared therefore problematic for me, also the choice of fruit was always melon unless we stipulated otherwise and when we did ask for alternatives the waiters always looked surprised, although we did get our choices. We asked for water, only wholemeal toast and sugar free conserve each day, yet we always had to ask several times for what we required and sometimes it wasn’t listened too or took far too long to get. Many people gave up without a second tea, coffee or whatever. The staff weren’t particularly helpful or friendly. To be honest, my husband ate Weetabix followed by toast for the majority of the cruise. I, by contrast, resorted to porridge followed by Egg Benedict when available. Note I said egg not eggs Benedict – most ships give two, on this ship only one was ever given. Believe it or not, breakfast was probably our best meal of the day!!!! We didn’t eat in the Meridian for lunch. Dinners: The service was appalling. Several times we waited between 1hr and 1hr 30mins between the starters and the main courses and complained about main dishes being cold on more than one occasion. One day we actually saw the chefs, waiters etc. and baked Alaska presentation TWICE, without receiving our main course! The main course were poor in quality, often way too salty, bloody meats, lacking taste, having a horrible taste etc. etc. I even refused the Spaghetti Bolognaise. It looked like a poor tin or packet mix – short lengths of spaghetti mixed with the ragout sauce, not at all like proper Spaghetti Bolognaise. It tasted like it had lots of chemicals in it – really horrible, it was sent back, I was offered a second choice but by then I didn’t want to wait again and was put off by the first offering. A couple of evenings later we went to the Kora La, hoping for a better experience. I ordered the Beef Rendang and my husband ordered the Stir-fried noodles. Were these any better? Not on your life! Both dishes were so excessively salty we had the head waiter and the chef attend our table. We were offered alternatives but by now we were not in the mood to try yet more, rather we felt ill and disappointed. NEVER have we had such experiences on a ship. Let’s move to our cabin. To be fair our steward, was very friendly and helpful so no complaints here. Yes, the cabin was small but as we booked very late, this did not surprise us. However, what did surprise us was the lack of a refrigerator in the cabin. All of our previous ships have had in-cabin ‘fridges and we didn’t even consider the possibility that there wouldn’t be one. A ‘fridge is important to us since I have medication which needs refrigeration, so every day I had to go to reception to get and return my medication to them, waiting in sometimes long queues to get and then to return it – what an inconvenience! The television in our cabin was of poor quality, poor reception and a general lack of stations to watch. The safe had to be paid for separately! Never have other ships charged us for in-cabin safes because this is for your benefit as much as our’s – shocking and expensive! The facecloths in particular, were often grey and unhealthy looking. There was no complimentary dressing gowns and an elitist system for beach towels too – pale blue for the cheaper cabins, medium blue as one moves up the decks and royal blue, plush ones, for the better cabins. We were really disgusted at this – deliberately singling out what class of passenger one is – shame on you Thomson! This too NEVER happens on other cruise lines. On the subject of sunbathing, we have a further complaint. The front of the top deck of the ship was often closed off due to ‘high winds’. Frequently this wasn’t the case but still we couldn’t use that area. The middle section was currently being refurbished; I say currently but in fact no work was done on this section all the time we were on board. We were all jammed on a small section, jammed in like sardines on the two sea days, most unpleasant. We heard this section had been shut since the start of the season. Furthermore, there are no toilets in this area. Lastly, the deck hands were regularly clearing away the sunloungers by 5pm even though the sun didn’t go down for another hour to hour and a half. They often asked passengers to get up so they could pack away. How unwelcoming! Of course this also meant there were no seats outside if one wished to sit out and peruse the stars on the warm Caribbean evenings. We’ve not seen the like of this previously either. Our final complaint is in regard to returning to the ship after a day on shore. Actually, the staff on duty at the gangplank both going and coming, were humourless and unresponsive. There was no canopy on the pier, no welcoming drink, indeed no welcome. We were the poor relations of the cruise world as compared to the other ships we were docked alongside. Lastly, the security on board was a laugh, we could have brought all sorts on board. They rarely had the X-ray working. Is this a Platinum Cruise as advertised ? – No way!!!! We consider it to be a poor cast iron level. Would we cruise with Thomson again? A resounding No! We’re so pleased we got a cheap, last minute deal. If we had paid the brochure price we would have been stomping by now and probably we be consulting with a solicitor. A shockingly, bad experience and one never to be repeated. Added to the general insult of actually being on board, on return and wishing to complain we filled in the on-line booking complaints form - it doesn't send and we have tried it on several occasions. A letter of complaint did receive the customary general reply, saying we would hear within a month. It's two months now and still no response and you can't get anyone on the phone either. We read reviews and decided to still give Thomsons a go. Warning, book at your peril - you have been warned. Our advice - try another company, any other company which isn't owned by Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy ... Read More
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy really, they did not tell us that half the space for sunbathing and sitting would be out of order due to 'refurbishment' of an outside deck into a sun lounge whilst we were on board. The port and Shore excursions are what has me most upset however. We booked brought eight trips before we left the UK with our Thomson rep at home, a lady we happen to trust because she's been doing our holiday booking for a long time. But this has by far been the most disappointing and unhappy time we've ever had while on holiday with Thomson. The Excursions team were rude, dismissive and in one case very condescending. The problem is that we missed a tour departure time in the morning from the port. We mistook our time to leave on one trip towards the end of our holiday, but having been on several trips by now it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. We'd waited around for half an hour after our departure time once for missing people. But when we got to the dock side, the rep there told us we'd missed our tour by an unbelievable one minute. Because the tours only ever waited five for people and we were six minutes late. The rep was condescending and blamed us for not checking our tickets properly with a shrug. When we later complained at the excursions desk the rep told us he'd seek out his manager, basically to get rid of us so people wouldn't hear us complain in public we presume, then we got a letter through the door that stated verbatim what that rep had told us to our face. That Thomson wouldn't be giving us our refund, that we were 'seven' minutes' late- which was an added minute they seem to think makes it better for them leaving us behind- That they were sorry we'd missed out tour but basically tough luck we've got your money and we're not giving it back. To say we were unimpressed is an understatement. We explained to the excursions team about how we waited well passed the five minutes every single time we went on a tour with them that fortnight, this being the last day it was not an exaggeration. They told us blatantly lying to our faces that this wasn't possible because they never waited passed five minutes for people. To compound our disgust in the excursions team we then found out while talking to people we met onboard that they too had problems with the excursions team. They went on a tour to a 'closed' attraction and were told they would not be getting a refund despite the fact that they were taken someplace closed and then brought back to the ship. I don't know what sort of scam Thomson are playing on people, but this is by far the most disturbing and absolutely disgusting experience I've ever had with them in my many years travelling with them. If it were just the excursions though i could let it go, I'd just go on hols with them and avoid their trips. But it wasn't. We encountered unhelpful staff at Reception who didn't seem to care if we were left stranded with no money as long as they didn't have to lift a finger, an entertainment team that has probably been targeting college drop outs because the performances were not exactly what I would call professional level. I'm not a very good judge of musicality but even I cringed when the guy croaked and cracked his way through Adele. There was also a disappointing lack of anything to do besides wallow through their shows of an evening. The ship is small I give them that, but surely they can think of something to do for entertainment that doesn't involve singing or bingo? As for the other facilities on board, well extortion is clearly a main motivator, because the photographers are either con artists or delusional about what their services are worth. I feel bad mostly for the service staff and the cabin stewards who are truly the only thing the floating help has going for it. We had a wonderful cabin steward and our waiters were always happy and helpful. I'm sure that they must be an aberration for this ship because they are certainly the only people who seem to know what customer service is. The only other comment I can really offer is that several people we spoke to questioned just why this was a so called "platinum' cruise when clearly it was bog standard and a little limp and lifeless. If it wasn't for the places we actually disembarked the entire thing would have been a holiday from hell. Thank God the Caribbean is a wonderful lush place full of life and excitement or I may have thrown myself overboard. I know at one point I certainly contemplated the chances of getting an earlier flight home. It makes me kind of angry when I look at this review because I sound like a horrible sarcastic person. But I work in the Hospitality business and I am very forgiving of most problems because I know what it's like not to be able to do anything with a bad situation. But I honestly can't even justify half of what went on with these people. I can think of absolutely no excuse for their lack or care or abysmal attitude. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ever had, the cabin rattled and rolled all the time and the beds were hard and the pillows were cheap and nasty. We are both non smokers and we had trouble finding sun beds away from the smoke. We did complain 3 times at reception but they didn't seam to think that the lack of no smoking signs was a problem. This is the reason that we will not be cruising with Thomsons again. Usually the entertainment on Thomson cruises is excellient, but on this ship sadly not, in the Broadway show lounge it was repetative so say the least. We thought the standard of food was not much better than a moterway cafe, with the exception of the a la carte restaurants but we pay a hefty surcharge. We visited these restaurants four times to get a decent meal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
old, outdated (apparently re-furbed in 2013) and riddled with faults. however cannot fault the staff especially the bar staff and housekeepers. the excursions were a bit over priced. the faults were continuos starting with the socket in ... Read More
old, outdated (apparently re-furbed in 2013) and riddled with faults. however cannot fault the staff especially the bar staff and housekeepers. the excursions were a bit over priced. the faults were continuos starting with the socket in the room didnt like any adapter put in it. next the engine wasnt working properly and we had to stay overnight in st. kitts and miss antigua. the toilets kept blocking up, causing less abled people to travel half way round the ship to find a toilet. by the next week of our stay the engine still wasnt fixed and we had to miss another port (grenada). the caberet team we awful and planned our nights to avoid them, we usually went to liberties and listened to the peakles which we pretty good. the lights in our room kept breaking and had the same light fixed 3 times. the drink packages seemed a waste of time concidering you had to pay a surcharge on about 70% of them and pay £400 for the package.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Marella Celebration Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 3.8
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.6
Enrichment N/A 3.3
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.9

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