7 Marella Cruises Marella Celebration Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

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
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
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
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
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
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
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 3.5
Family 3.0 3.5
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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