3 Marella Cruises Marella Celebration Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Middle East

Joined Thomson Celebration on 20th December 2012 for Red Sea Magic Christmas Cruise. Transfers from Sharm El Sheikh airport to port went smoothly and boarding process was straight forward. We had sailed on the ship before , normally on ... Read More
Joined Thomson Celebration on 20th December 2012 for Red Sea Magic Christmas Cruise. Transfers from Sharm El Sheikh airport to port went smoothly and boarding process was straight forward. We had sailed on the ship before , normally on deck 3 or 4, however, on this occasion we had upgraded to Deck 7. Stateroom slightly larger with bath and shower but otherwise no different from Deck 3 / 4 and would probably not upgrade again. Stateroom was clean and functional, stateroom attendant service was minimal. Food was to the usual high standard but sometimes warm with no evidence of food temperatures being checked at banmari in LIDO restaurant. Drinking water barrels were not on site and had been replaced with bottled water on request by the glass. We missed the water barrel and being able to top up our water bottle. Water from hot water urn for tea had strange taste and we never had a good cup of tea all week. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were ordered via waiter in any part of the ship. Waiting time to order and to receive drinks ordered certainly felt longer than any other time we have been on board, and sometimes it was difficult to catch a waiter to place your order. Ships staff generally helpful and friendly. Itinerary was limited to industrial ports where you could not disembark and just walk around. You always required to disembark as part of a rather expensive organised trip. Travel times to trip destinations, i.e. Caira, Petra, etc. were 2-3 hours making a day trip 10-12 hours. We spent six days on the ship looking at cranes, trains and industrial containers often with clouds of sand/cement billowing around. This did not stop us from taking full advantage of the ships facilities and we did eat, drink and were merry and relaxed, until we tried to find a sunbed. We would travel on The Celebration again but would not follow this itinerary again. Given that Thomson knew the limitations the itinerary ports offered, the number of passengers on board, and the number of passengers who would be off ship on trips, as well as the fact the weather in the region lent itself to sunbathing, we have to ask why were there so few sunbeds? Despite written and verbal communication from Thomson on being a courteous passenger and not reserving sunbeds, etc. inevitably selfish people did, causing ill feeling, frayed tempers and embarrassment as passengers could not even find a plastic chair to sit on never mind a sunbed. The one trip we went on was, as always with Thomson, well organised and enjoyable. Entertainment was very good, varied and well timed spread out over the two main entertainment areas. Thomson's might think on enforcing their "requests" such as no-one over 18 in the casino and no reserving on sunbeds rather than just lending lip service to this. Would have been good to have a child free area on the ship. Although the casino had signs to say that no-one under 18 should be in the bar, there were always children in that area. Similarly the Horizons Bar would have been a suitable spot for adults only drinks. Unfortunately another example of Thomson requesting parents take responsibility for their children and not enforcing their request as "groups" of youths and children roamed and ran unchecked and without any parental supervision. All in all an enjoyable Christmas on board The Celebration. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 13th cruise and was booked within the last 3 months. We normally travel with Princess and had never even considered Thomson, I suppose if honest, had made the assumption that it would be comparable to Butlins-on-Sea. How ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise and was booked within the last 3 months. We normally travel with Princess and had never even considered Thomson, I suppose if honest, had made the assumption that it would be comparable to Butlins-on-Sea. How wrong we were! We had returned from a Princess Med cruise in September and subsequently booked this to fit in with the New Year break. Having already cruised this area before we thought we would just remain on the ship, read, take in the sunshine and chill out. Since we normally choose a balcony and there being non on the Celebration, we managed to secure the last remaining suite. Check in at the airport was smooth and very efficient, the Thomson staff being so helpful this started the trip off well. Great flight only marred by the awful food which you were able to purchase, drinks seemed to be dearer than usual on flights as well. Good transfer to the ship and something we have never come across before, on boarding the ship you are personally escorted to your cabin. This is so appreciated because it takes a bit of time to work out where your cabin is in relation to where you board even if you've been on the ship previously. The suite was much larger than we imagined, very clean and tidy. Supposedly if you are in Premier Class (confirmed on your luggage labels) your luggage gets delivered first. Don't think I agree with this, it was about 2 hours which is quicker than Princess but hey its a relatively small ship in contrast. Our room steward made an appearance after about an hour and a half, pointed out the obvious things, where the air-con was, safe, tv etc. then left. Didn't really see much of him after that for the whole cruise, apart from him entering the room without so much as a knock when hubbie was on the loo, and no "Please make up the room" sign on the door. Very disappointed to find a towel sculpture secreted in the cupboard all ready for display, unfortunately this poor dog must have been created many months ago because it was filthy. We also found an abandoned sock down the settee, and a consistently empty ice bucket, but that is all we could find to fault as regards the room. As room stewards go we'd give ours 6 out of 10, normally we leave a thank you card containing £50, we didn't feel ours warranted this gift, first time ever we've done so. Food experience, well you won't go hungry but it is not the 5* dining experience that we have come to expect, however the friendliness of all staff and fellow passengers by far makes up for it. The shows laid on by the entertainment singers and dancers have to be the best we have ever seen, we normally give them a miss, especially on Princess as the shows leave a lot to be desired. Young team, great voices, enthusiasm and well choreographed. We paid for the drinks package but to be honest I don't think we even managed to drink our money's worth and we can certainly put a few away. Drinks are well priced with spirits 60% larger measure than normal, Gin and tonic £3.70, only Heineken and John Smiths but £3.50 so not bad for a cruise. The ports of Safaga and Port Sokhna are just that, ports and industrial at that. No shuttles to anywhere so if you want to get off, you need to do an organised tour, not a problem for us but be warned. Shuttle (free) available at Aqaba but it doesn't drop you off in the best place, quite a walk back to shopping area. Weather was a bit hit and miss, 3 and half days of sunshine, strong breeze, 3 and half days of overcast cold weather. Very poor tv reception throughout the trip, shops only open on about 2 occasions, take some books or entertainment for the daytime if not touring. Now for the absolutely best bit, departing. Yes you do have to leave your room at 9am but you can extend till 3ish for £30, we didn't bother. However your cruise card still works up until an hour before you get off the ship,the entertainment, food and drink still carries on, Thomson do remember you are still on holiday - take note Princess! Princess chuck you out of your room at 8, you gather in the dining room complete with chipboard tables after all cloths have been removed, and there you sit in silence and wait. As far as they are concerned you now don't exist and you've nothing to do, or eat/drink, until your coach comes to dump you at the airport with up to 8 hours (yes) before your flight, you can't even check in. Would we go with Thomson again, yes, we booked the Baltic Capitals whilst on board, saved £500. No tipping or 15% added to drinks prices either. Would we go back on Princess, probably not, even though we are Platinum members and have a future cruise deposit lodged with them. We were really pleasantly surprised and met some lovely people, great camaraderie all round and a wonderful start to the New Year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect but we were not disappointed. The ship was clean and comfortable although beginning to look it's age and some area's could do with refurbishment. Our ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect but we were not disappointed. The ship was clean and comfortable although beginning to look it's age and some area's could do with refurbishment. Our cabin was at the rear (sorry - stern !) of the ship just above the water line and we did find it to be a little noisy at times (engines) and throughout the ship, there seemed to be a constant vibration from the generators even when alongside the dock. The accommodation was very good and was kept very clean by the steward. There was plenty of storage space in the cabin. The bathroom facilities although functional, could do with an update though especially the grouting in the shower. The bed pillows were a bit small and the towels have seen better days but were clean. The food was very good indeed with something to suit every taste even if you are very picky like me. English style sausages, bacon and beans for breakfast was a bonus too and a baked sponge pudding every lunchtime ! I preferred the buffet style restaurant as you can choose what you want and also the quantity but we did try the waiter service restaurant and found that to be very good too. I have read reviews moaning about the fact that all the waiters and bar staff were Filipino but we found them to be all really good and they looked after us very well. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for them. As for the entertainment, we can't really comment as we only managed to fit in one show as we were tired after long days ashore on excursions and virtually went straight to bed when we got back. There was so much to do on board the ship, I don't know how people managed to fit it all in. Because of the Political situation that arose in Egypt after we had booked the holiday, it was obvious that we wouldn't do the published itinerary, which was a disappointment, but it was not Thomson's fault and they did a marvellous job at organising other trips and threw in a free trip to Jerusalem & Bethlehem for those who wanted to go. It was a very long day but very enjoyable. Under the circumstances, I think Thomson did a sterling job ! At the time we booked the holiday, we opted to pay extra for the 'all-inclusive' drinks package which in hindsight was a mistake as although we like to have a drink (or two), we probably didn't get our money's worth, but that was our mistake and it did save us getting a nasty drinks bill at the end ! Bottled drinking water was NOT included in the drinks package nor was the cabin 'mini-bar'. Also the safe in the cabin has to be paid for if you want to use it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
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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