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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First embarkation from Southampton for Discovery and we always wanted to visit St Petersburg, This is our second trip on the Discovery and weren’t disappointed with the ambience,food or entertainment. Embarkation was a piece of cake, ... Read More
First embarkation from Southampton for Discovery and we always wanted to visit St Petersburg, This is our second trip on the Discovery and weren’t disappointed with the ambience,food or entertainment. Embarkation was a piece of cake, straight through check in and luggage delivered to cabin by the time we had a coffee in the Snack Shack deck nine. There were six in our party( four plus two who had not been with Marcella before) but subsequent dining was a doddle ,it only took a couple of days to find a great waiter and team- table 29- in the 47# dining room. Entertainment by the resident troupe was very good, how they remembered all the routines, only disappointment was that there was only one guest act the whole cruise, though Sebby Mercury was a joy ( one of the troupe) Generally all the staff, front of shop and back room, were excellent and all attentive, and all team leaders were approachable and friendly. We visited Gothenburg Tallin Warnemunde Stockholm St. Petersburg ( two days) Copenhagen and Zeebrugge though not necessarily in that order A downside , though we had a larger cabin chosen from the ship’s deck plan on line, Deluxe on deck eight (8534) which was quite spacious,the floor to ceiling windows were grimy outside mainly because the window cleaner couldn’t reach and because the deck above (9) was the lounger and table area for the snack bar we had furniture movement at about 6am to 7 am and again about 9 to 10 pm The casino had only two tables, blackjack and poker, the roulette was an automatic one and very popular, and the slot machines plentiful and paid out quite well,!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
What an awful experience, from the boarding debacle in Newcastle to the dire pub singer in the lounge it was one disappointment after another. Luckily the destinations more than made up for the forced jolity of the ship life. We were lucky ... Read More
What an awful experience, from the boarding debacle in Newcastle to the dire pub singer in the lounge it was one disappointment after another. Luckily the destinations more than made up for the forced jolity of the ship life. We were lucky to have a balcony which gave us some relief from the rampaging kids, vest adorned Neanderthals and screaming women. It was pot luck with the service, some very, very good but others couldn't care less. The shows were what you expect on a ship but there was no relief. There was no peace and quiet anywhere on the ship, if it wasn't for mediocre live entertainment it was piped musak. The ship does not have enough seating in the public areas so feels overcrowded. If you like the Communal Butlins style holiday go for it, but if you want the sort of holiday they are charging for don't use Marella. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Embarkation: primitive, the Egyptians do it better. Ship: smooth, comfortable, very quiet, lots of public areas. Cabins: good size, well equipped, comfortable beds,plenty of storage. Crew: lovely! Really helpful and friendly, ... Read More
Embarkation: primitive, the Egyptians do it better. Ship: smooth, comfortable, very quiet, lots of public areas. Cabins: good size, well equipped, comfortable beds,plenty of storage. Crew: lovely! Really helpful and friendly, incredibly hard working. Food: the cheese was good, apart from that it was bland, repetitive, industrial cooking. Hot food wasn’t hot, fresh food wasn’t fresh, couldn’t even get a decent cup of coffee. Don’t bother with the two 49 degree restaurants, it’s the same food as the buffet but further from the kitchens. Entertainment: a different show every night, so kudos for that, but fairly low level club stuff and the MC/ cruise director was embarrassing. Destinations: Aarhus was a revelation, especially the modern art museum with its amazing Rainbow Skywalk, and Oslo was lovely;the Vasa museum in Stockholm was as stunning as ever, but Copenhagen has little to recommend it apart from the national museum, Tallin is disneyfied, and all those cobbles make walking difficult. It is probably the best place to buy amber jewellery. ( Whatever you do, don’t buy on the ship, you will pay double or more for an inferior product). Helsinki is probably worth visiting once, St Petersburg you will probably only see from the coach windows because of Russian visa restrictions. Overall: nothing done badly, but nothing done particularly well either. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We enjoyed our cruise and found the cruise itinerary to be very good, & found the ship to be spotless. The cleaning crew work very hard to keep every part of the ship gleaming. We always ate in the buffet restaurant and found ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise and found the cruise itinerary to be very good, & found the ship to be spotless. The cleaning crew work very hard to keep every part of the ship gleaming. We always ate in the buffet restaurant and found the food selections to be generally good. We found the Buffet Restaurant staff very courteous, polite & efficient, always smiling. The Buffet Restaurant could be a bit chaotic at times due to a shortage of tables when the ship was full, but this is mainly due to some guests hogging tables after they had finished their meals. I saw some guests using tables to read their Ships Newspaper, or hugging a cup of tea for an endless amount of time, which is most unfair to other guests when the restaurant is busy. It would also be nice if some guests tried to dress a bit smarter. I know we are all on holiday to relax, but surely an effort could be made to dress at least smart casual, instead of ragged shorts & tee shirts or jogging bottoms, there’s a happy medium. We had a Deluxe Balcony Cabin, 6628 & was happy with the cabin, it was very spacious with lots of storage space & all cabins have complimentary coffee & tea making facilities. Also provided in all of the cabins is a glass carafe to enable guests to fill up from water dispensers dotted around the ship, a good idea for those who don’t want to buy bottled water from their cabin Minibar. Our cabin also had a fridge. One bar of soap & 1 dispenser with body wash is provided in the shower room, but if you require a shower cap, you will need to take your own. Large fluffy bath sheets, handtowels & face cloths are provided. However, one disadvantage we had was, our balcony was directly above the crews smoking area & we experienced quite a bit of cigarette smoke while using our balcony, as we are both non-smokers, this experience was not nice for us. We also very often experienced loud noise coming from the same crew area, late at night, however, if you stay out late watching the entertainment, that may not affect you. I don’t know how the ship could get around that problem, as I realise the crew needs somewhere to have a break. Our Cabin Stewart Imelda, provided an excellent service. On the day of our Wedding Anniversary, Imelda had spotted our Wedding Anniversary cards to each other in our cabin, & she then made 2 towel swans with the necks shaped into a heart & placed them on our bed with our cards placed in front. When we returned to our cabin & saw what she had done, we thought that was a lovely & very thoughtful gesture for her to make, we were extremely pleased. We found all the stewards on deck 6 to be very friendly. Every time we passed them, they were always smiling & passed the time of day with us & shared a little joke with us too, so much so, we almost felt like mini celebrities! In the Broadway Show Lounge, most evenings we were served by Tetyana & we found her to be an absolute delight. She was very efficient, friendly & helpful & always remembered what drinks we preferred. The entertainment was good & the Show team did very well. However, although the Show team performed very well, we found that some of the shows were not to our taste, for example, Best of Broadway, Medieval Madness & Legends Live. We also thought that some of the interactive screens in the background tended to be distracting, we were watching the screen instead of the Show team, especially through Medieval Madness. Our favourite shows were Mr Wonderful & Sebby Mercury, we thought them excellent. We also frequented Venue on deck 5 most evenings & found the game shows enjoyable & the surroundings very comfortable. The entertainment team did their very best to ensure guests had fun. The bar waiters very pleasant & efficient & did a good job serving drinks to everyone. We found excursion advisor, Lindsay to be very helpful & efficient. When we had a problem at the destination kiosk, due to the required tour not showing on the system, Lyndsey did not hesitate to come to our aid & assist us & booked our tour manually in the back office. Lynsey also demonstrated on how to use the Kiosks. The excursion Legendary Town, Legendary Beer in Tallinn, was a superb tour with 2 excellent guides, providing great value for money, it’s one of the best excursions we have ever done. By comparison, the Carlsberg tour in Copenhagen we thought was poor. Warnemunde & Oslo were also very picturesque & well worth a visit. The excursions information was not quite accurate for St Petersburg. Spilled Blood Tour listed as Moderate & we think should be listed as Active as it was a very tiring tour. Also, it was not described as a walking tour in the itinerary & we did lots of walking which may not be suitable for some guests. The Hermitage building is very beautiful and full of wonderful works of art; however, it was so crowded, it was difficult to see exhibits properly. On the Carlsberg tour in Copenhagen, at the Little Mermaid stop, we acquired 2 extra passengers on our coach as our guide did not do a head count. When we got to the Carlsberg Brewery, the 2 passengers told the guide they had got on our coach thinking it was their shuttle bus! I don’t think these 2 passengers actually paid anything when they carried on the tour with the rest of us. The guide Jane, also only told us her name at the end of the tour when we were near the ship. I think she needs a bit more training. On embarkation day, when we arrived early at the Port of Tyne, it was wet & windy & seemed a bit disorganised. We drove to the car park & were told to remove our luggage & wait for someone to instruct us next. We waited quite a while only to be told to cross to the other side of the large car park & wait in a queue at a shed. We then received our documents & got on a coach. 2 passengers were rushing behind also to board our coach when our driver drove off, even though there were still vacant seats on the coach. We got through the check in at the terminal very efficiently, but when we left the terminal, we were waiting in another queue as it was discovered the passenger gangplank was to small & had to be changed. It would have perhaps been better to leave the passengers in the terminal till everything was sorted properly. After we boarded the ship, on past experience, we have always been taken to our cabin by a member of the crew. However, on this cruise, we found our own way to our cabin. There was however, members of crew stationed on various decks pointing directions should any guests get lost. On our return to the Port of Tyne on disembarkation day, there was a delay of half an hour in leaving the ship due to the volume of traffic. When left the ship, we were required to board a bus to the car park. When we got to the car park, nobody actually advised us where to collect our luggage. We had to watch other passengers & hope we were going in the correct direction. It would have been better if the Port staff could perhaps have given a bit more direction to help stop confusion. We did a Baltic Cruise from the Tyne in May 2014 on the Thomson Spirit & the organisational system was better at the Port of Tyne at that time. Perhaps they could review how they can carry out the procedures. We found all the crew that we came in contact with to be very friendly, courteous & polite. They are a credit to Tui & Marella Cruises Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My first time on Discovery and most enjoyable, the cities were exceptional and lucky with the weather. I was lucky to discover an art class on the first sea day as I attended a lecture which was very entertaining about Pirate Radio and ... Read More
My first time on Discovery and most enjoyable, the cities were exceptional and lucky with the weather. I was lucky to discover an art class on the first sea day as I attended a lecture which was very entertaining about Pirate Radio and Interviews with some Graffitti information, well worth the time. i found myself attending the class with a Robin who was an excellent teacher and very patient. I now have an artistic ability I never knew about. Bar 11 was super in the evenings an oasis on board to enjoy a drink with a great view and excellent staff. The Entertainment in the evenings was much the usual with themed shows and quality speciality acts, all very good. just a warning there are no toiletries in the cabins so take plenty, however the cleaning staff were top draw. I believe that Marella will make changes but hopefully not too many. There was a charge for Shuttle Buses but all excursions were good value. St Petersburg is stunning and Aarhus was special but of course visiting so many cities its difficult to be critical. Docking in Copenhagen was a way out of the city which meant you couldn't walk to the city, but as it was raining not a bad thing, dock in Oslo was great. All in all I hope to return. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First time cruiser and was in all honesty unsure if cruising would be my ideal holiday. Had spent a few weeks prior reading some reviews and Facebook group posts to learn what I could prior to departure and get some cruising tips. Some ... Read More
First time cruiser and was in all honesty unsure if cruising would be my ideal holiday. Had spent a few weeks prior reading some reviews and Facebook group posts to learn what I could prior to departure and get some cruising tips. Some proved useful, others although useful, turned out to be more personnal opinions so I’m sure some of my report will be the same to any readers of my review. Overall the organisation of the cruise by staff from embarkation at the port, to cabin staff, chefs, domestic staff, tour operators, bar and restaurant staff, everyone is fantastic. The only staff who seemed vague and less helpful were the Duty-Free personnel - they didnt seem as interested, more into selling, this is probably part of their job I guess, but I was less than impressed in this area whereas I was totally amazed by everyone else. A subject we all place high on our priorities is FOOD. Where do I start with food? I certainly can’t fault it. On board is the full range from casual snacks, to high end dining. Snack shack is so handy for lots of reasons – quick familiar food people are used to, ready when you need it and ranging from fast food pleasures including burgers, fried chicken, fish and chips there were also healthy options of fruit pots, granola with yougurt, salad boxes and a selection of sandwiches and wraps all available to eat in or to take away. Great for tours off ship. The Glass House during the day is pleasant and relaxed with a nice selection of salad, always a carving joint and snacks daily. The only thing that confused me here was the coffee normally in the All Inclusive - cappucino, latte was chargeable although I'd never seen anything to say this. It did have the standard coffee and tea machine available though. From 6pm a part of the Glass House becomes a pizza and tapas restaurant which are cool to share. Sharing plates of meats, cheese or a meat/cheese combo are an option and just be aware and you can order it all, not just a selection. Myself and husband enjoyed this location for food. It also extends its services at 21:30 to become the late-night food provider, again with a small but adequate choice of curry, chips and their accompaniment’s with salad and some sweet snacks too. 47 degrees - lovely a la carte restaurant with around half the menu as standard choices and the other choices varied over a period of time. It made it a nice dinner choice with waiter service and pleasant surroundings. It also served breakfast with a small buffet selection and a la carte choices including Full English, eggs and omelletes to order and varied cloices of french toast, pancakes etc. Breakfast seemed busy sometimes though, and sometimes, some, food arrived and wasn’t as hot as Id have preferred, but otherwise it was good and helps a bit with portion control as the food is plentiful from early till late. Gallery 47 degrees - Italian menu with probably less change on the menu selection, but we managed to go 4 times and had a lovely meal every time. The antipasti were amazing and I could have eaten this 3-fold with some of the delicious bread on offer and been happy that was my meal! Islands Buffet – The main restaurant and the busiest with the widest variety of food. I can only describe it as ‘standard buffet’ and don’t mean this in anyway derogatory. It offers what anyone who has been All Inclusive at a hotel on holiday would expect – lots of food choices to mix and match, salads, carved meat section, and a children’s selection, there was a station for dietary requirements which although I didn’t choose this food, looked to have at least a few choices every time I went past. Dinner time food seemed to have a theme that changed daily, from Mexican, Thai, Greek, Spanish and of course British with Roast Meat and all the trimmings. They also had an afternoon tea 3 – 5pm offering mini sandwiches and rolls with scones, jam and cream with cakes and desserts like crumble, strudel etc. I loved my scones from here. Something I noticed in the buffet was the plastic glasses were clean but so scratched that they never really looked that nice. Considering everywhere had plastic, the ones in Islands were by far in the worst condition, so much so, I didn’t have a drink in there but took a drink in with me from elsewhere. Now accommodation, I think overall the accommodation is basic but sufficient for the needs. We were basic so no frills whatsoever, but there was plenty of space to sleep, wash and changeover from one activity to the next. We never spend much time in our room on any holiday so basic was fine. If you wanted to have a drink or spend time with friends/family together in your room something less basic would be better so I think this is a very personal subject which people will choose and pay for within requirements and budget. Irrespective, they were maintained well, cleaned properly and nothing was a problem for the hard working cabin staff. The cleaning staff on board were always doing something, dusting staircases, polishing lift doors, stocking up on supplies and just keeping the ship in ‘tip top’ condition. All of them had a smile on their faces and never let you pass without a Good Morning/Afternoon or Evening. They are a credit to themselves. Drinks availability within the All Inclusive was excellent, as were the barmen who were constantly busy mixing cocktails and mocktails, pouring beers, soft drinks and coffees as well as clearing and cleaning up. They still managed to chat with the customers and get to know them. We had many a chat with Milos and Georgio at the Pool Bar and others who impressed us a lot were Anthony, Renalyn and Ogen, well done all of you! I used the Gym daily and it provided a very good service. Curtis who was the training professional on board put in lots of visibility to help gym users and also ran several classes – some complimentary, some chargeable and also seminars on several interesting topics these were held in the Live Lounge and were informative but laid back, he knew his trade very well and was clearly passionate about it. We did use the Oceans Spa although we hadn’t planned to. Top Tip – don’t go booking too early as they issue offers of varying choices as the cruise progresses. I choose a Top to Toe Massage when it was on offer and had the best deep tissue massage from Eka. Entertainment – There is a massive, diverse selection of entertainment on offer throughout the days. Something on for what must suit all age ranges and preferences frequently. It was a case of choosing what took your fancy and going along. I would say that on days ‘At Sea’ if the weather wasn’t warm there wasn’t too much for us once we had done the Climbing Wall, Crazy Golf and had a look in the Duty Free Shops. But that’s possibly our preferences and certainly not because there was nothing to do. Tours and Excursions – since this was our first cruise we decided to book our day trips by selection and in advance. The organisation on board meant this did work and getting information beforehand was available and getting on & off ship, using the transport and meeting guides was meticulously organised. On a couple of occasions we didn’t go back to the ship when the tour ended. Instead, after informing the guide that we weren’t going back, we did a bit of our own thing and went back on our own. This was in the locations where it was merely a shot stroll from the centre to the ship. I enjoyed this as it gave us a good mix of organised and ad hoc. Everyone to their own on how much they book and plan beforehand. I could type forever about the Cruise which in itself says a lot. I have glossed over some subjects because I didn’t want to be boring or voice my own opinion too much. A cruise is easily adapted to individual needs and requirements. I have decided that I would definitely do another cruise and most possibly with Tui/Marella. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Even before the cruise Tui behaved poorly. Tui claimed the Kremlin was shut due to an extra national holiday when in fact it is always shut on a Thursday. We cancelled that excursion as a trip to a convent really wasn't worth almost ... Read More
Even before the cruise Tui behaved poorly. Tui claimed the Kremlin was shut due to an extra national holiday when in fact it is always shut on a Thursday. We cancelled that excursion as a trip to a convent really wasn't worth almost £700 per couple. I am still waiting for a response two months after submitting a written complaint about the misleading information. Not everyone was informed of the changes, there were some irate travellers after the excursion. The destination services team were fantastic, helpful, responsive, so apologetic when circumstances outside of their control caused issues but most of all they were willing to put themselves out for you. The cities we visited, the excursions and the guides were first class. Getting on was fine if you had priority boarding, for those that didn't I was told it took some 2.5 hours to check in. The ship is tired, dated and in many places needs refurbishing. The staff are amazing, they work so hard (particularly the cabin stewards) even though several told us they were severely understaffed, we were told over 100 short on board. Getting drinks sometimes took 45 minutes and the 47 degree restaurant struggled at busy times. We were new to cruising and when we asked the receptionist for a map of the ship so we could orient ourselves on the first couple of days I was told I should have brought a brochure if I wanted a map of the ship, the same receptionist was particularly useless when we had a plumbing issue. He was the only staff member who was poor. The food in the restaurants was excellent, the Glass House tapas was superb. Some of the bad points; I witnessed one man tasting the food off the spoons in the Islands self service and putting them back in the food (I did tell the staff they needed to change the dishes). During the first England game no security was present in the bar and there were pensioners pushing and shoving each other, arguing over the crowds blocking their view of the screen. The majority of people on board were lovely and as a couple sitting on tables with 2 or 3 other couples at lunch and dinner provided some brilliant conversations. Some of the clientele were incredibly selfish, reserved seating signs for disabled people moved on coaches so the front seats were taken. Seating in the show lounge was limited so when it was busy people would leave gaps so they had more room and tell others that the seats were taken. The constant noise around the pool during the day was more like Butlins or a resort in Ibiza - not relaxing. Fortunately we were able to relax on our balcony. The all inclusive drink meant so many people went on the beer early and all day with the expected consequences. You need to be careful for the extra costs, tea and coffee isn't free everywhere on the ship. Besides the coffee shop there's also a cost from the bar in the Glass House. Some areas were so busy that there was no where to sit during the day or evening - see earlier point about seating. The painting of the ship during port meant that our cabin was unusable due to the xylene fumes, although we were offered a move we really didn't want to pack everything up so if you experience this be prepared to stay clear of your cabin for several hours. Some of the great points; The staff Excursions Food Show team Destinations Most of the people on board The cruise was summed up by a young couple we spoke to from Birmingham, it would be interesting to go on a more upmarket cruise to see the difference. In summary, we chose this based on destinations and we have travelled with Tui before to Orlando. As a first time cruiser it is not what I had expected from the discussions with friends who are regular cruisers on other cruise lines. In hindsight from my perspective Tui are not good at cruising and Marella is a low end product in the market, it isn't for me but it obviously is for a lot of people as they go back time after time and the all inclusive booze is a big factor for many of the people we met. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise as as our first ever because of its itinerary and price. The Baltic capitals trip was very enjoyable, well organised and delivered everything it promised. My wife and I simply walked around each stopping point (with ... Read More
We chose this cruise as as our first ever because of its itinerary and price. The Baltic capitals trip was very enjoyable, well organised and delivered everything it promised. My wife and I simply walked around each stopping point (with the exception of St Petersburg) .... regular buses were provided and transfers from boat to city were smooth and painless. The St Petersburg excursion (Peterhof Palace and Hermitage Museum - 9 hours with lunch included) was great but exhausting... more a criticism of our fitness than of the itinerary! The all-inclusive package was great. Food was well cooked and varied; drinks were easily available and very good. The service was simply excellent... Tui have certainly got their recruitment procedures right). A wide variety of activities were also available and easy to find out about and sign up for. Our holiday bonus was the "Passion for Dance" programme run by the wonderful Amy and Roland. These young dancers were brilliant teachers, unbelievable performers and simply wonderful, positive people. They taught a daily lesson (we now know 10 dances.... starting from zero!) and hosted a twice-nightly social dance in the "Atrium". In the second week we had to move into the "Venue" to accommodate the growing number of learner and experienced dancers. We smiled and laughed through every session... it was lovely.We would happily adopt Amy and Roland! The show team as a whole were splendid, producing spectacular shows.... different every night and displaying their brilliance in singing, acting and dancing. I've paid a lot of money to see shows in England which were nowhere near as enjoyable as those I saw on board. We had a basic inside cabin and it was fine... though dark rooms make it difficult to know what time it is in the mornings! It was kept spotless by the crew. We will be on board Discovery again next year. Thank you Tui, more making our first cruise so wonderful! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Just returned from 14 nights on the Marella Discovery, sailing from Newcastle to the Baltic Captials, and where the embarkation ran like clock work. We stayed in an outside cabin on deck 3 in cabin 3070. What a fantastic time we had ... Read More
Just returned from 14 nights on the Marella Discovery, sailing from Newcastle to the Baltic Captials, and where the embarkation ran like clock work. We stayed in an outside cabin on deck 3 in cabin 3070. What a fantastic time we had during our cruise, ship was terrific, dining was extensive you wanted it you can get it. Our best dining was at No:47, can't comment on the pay for dining as we never used it. The entertainment was exceptionally good, all credit to the entertainment crew. Sebby Mercury was terrific, has was a tribute act to Queens Freddie Mercury, approx 45 minutes of non stop singing. 2 guest appearances were made from 2 comedians. There was plenty of activities going on at all times of the day during our cruise, so no time for boredom there. Service from the staff at restaurants / bars / cabin staff was to a high standard. All very friendly and always happy to help in anyway they could. We only did one organised excursion, and that was with ALLA TOURS in St Petersburg. Our guide for the 2 days was a lovely girl called Anya, very knowledgeable she was to. The tour that we undertook was called The Grand Tour, others are available. We travelled in a small group of 14 in a mini bus. On day 1 we had a 3 course dinner at a local hotel, it was excellent. On day two we had a loot to pack in so a packed lunch was also provided for us. Overall the 2 day Grand Tour was well worth the money BUT it is a long 2 days, but don't let that put you off. The visa for visiting Russia is also included in the price you pay. All other locations were done by ourselves, Gothenburg = Tallin = Helsinki = Riga = Rostock = Copenhagen = Oslo. If your a steam train fanatic then we recommend the train journey. Local train to Bad Dobran then board the steam train there to Mollie. This train goes straight through the town centre. Check it out on the web. It's not exspensive. Would I travel this cruise again, although we fully enjoyed our time on board and saw some fantastic places I feel that going back again would spoil it, but that's a personal view. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. Baltic on our bucket list! We were NOT disappointed. Loved the variety of ports of call. Tallinn, St Petersburg and Oslo our favourites. Copenhagen would probably have been on our favourite ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary. Baltic on our bucket list! We were NOT disappointed. Loved the variety of ports of call. Tallinn, St Petersburg and Oslo our favourites. Copenhagen would probably have been on our favourite list too if we hadn't taken the panoramic tour. Because due to the terrible traffic congestion we spent a long time in traffic jams. Suggest you walk in to centre, and get taxi back if you are tired! We were delighted at the free shuttle buses to the centre of town in ports where we were docked further out. We loved the ship. It is lovely. One of our favourites to date, after 5 other cruises with top cruise lines. Particularly loved the bright airy feel with the huge floor to ceiling windows in main dining room and atrium. Entertainment was wonderful in the theatre. A different show every night. The shows just kept getting better and better! Loved the Paris themed one. So original! the in house show team are amazing! Also enjoyed the performances in the atrium, particularly the vocalists Max and Brandi. Wonderful singers. Also the saxophonist Vernon and Morgan the singer from the show team were excellent. The food was very good. Ok, you don't have the option of sirloin steaks every night in the main dining room as in e.g Celebrity Solstice class ships but for the money the food was excellent and beautifully presented. A big step up from our previous cruise with the same company on Thomson Majesty a few years ago. Well done Marella. Half of the upper level of the dining room is Italian themed and we loved it too. also enjoyed the Spanish style tapas meal in Glass House. Spanish speaking Shennly from Dominican Republic enhanced the experience even further as she is so friendly and we love to practice our Spanish. The majority of the waiters in the main dining room were also extremely friendly, especially Yara, though one or two a little stiff. Sometimes service a little slow especially for desserts. There seemed to be an occasional bottleneck in the kitchen. Our only difficulty was finding a seat in the Atrium in the evening or finding a sunbed at the indoor pool area or in a sheltered place particularly on cooler or sea days. More seating could be added to the upper levels of the atrium as some of the levels had no seating and others very little. People had to stand to see the most popular performances in the atrium. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for its broad itinerary. Gothenburg, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, Rostock (surprisingly excellent), Copenhagen & Oslo. And it was perfectly topped off with great weather. We did several excursions (all ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its broad itinerary. Gothenburg, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, Rostock (surprisingly excellent), Copenhagen & Oslo. And it was perfectly topped off with great weather. We did several excursions (all MARELLA'S), and loved them all except for the canal and city cruise in Copehagen which unfortunately was hampered by severe traffic congestion, so we didn't get the best of that . St Petersburg was out of this world. Complimentary shuttle buses laid on (free to use) at ports where docking was out of town. Our cabin (junior suite) was excellent as was the food and entertainment. Great service by all staff we encountered. Well run ship by Captain Chris Dodds who was visible, sociable and approachable as were all his senior team. This was a very happy ship and we were very happy to have been on it. Booked again on Marella Explorer next year on the Land of the Midnight Sun cruise. Can't wait. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we thought it would be hassle free travelling from Newcastle - How WRONG we were, after arriving at Cruise Terminal we queued for 2 hours outside on road&pavement)with all our luggage before it was ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we thought it would be hassle free travelling from Newcastle - How WRONG we were, after arriving at Cruise Terminal we queued for 2 hours outside on road&pavement)with all our luggage before it was taken from us, then we had to wait another 45mins to check-in. We booked this cruise 9 months before & paid full price for an inside cabin as they wanted double the price for an balcony cabin, in total we paid £3200. imagine our sheer disgust when we found out that inside cabins we on sale for £1600 half price and to add to our disgust balcony suites were on sale for £2400. Surely TUI should have upgraded the guests who had already booked & paid the full price(as is done on other cruise lines). Inside cabin very small we chose to have the double bed(2 singles put together)but had to have this changed as we discovered we both could not safely walk around either side of the bed to get in/out without bumping our legs of the furniture at the bottom of the bed. We were told we would have to pay extra for bottled water in our cabin but it was safe to use tap water(on 1st day discovered black bits coming out of tap)so every day we had to full empty glass carafe & kettle from water dispenser 1 floor up/down to drink & brush our teeth. Buffet restaurant chaotic at breakfast/lunch if you were lucky to get a seat/table it was then a battle to get clean cups/bowls/plates & cutlery & food was luke warm. Food in 47 restaurant could have been hotter and waiting staff were understaffed by 25 waiters. To top it all my husband had been ill on ship & is still ill 2 weeks later. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Seen an all inclusive cruise in TUI in Aberdeen and as we enjoyed the previous cruise with Barr head travel we thought we would enjoy this one been all inclusive we surmised we were getting a good deal. NOT. First we were given an inside ... Read More
Seen an all inclusive cruise in TUI in Aberdeen and as we enjoyed the previous cruise with Barr head travel we thought we would enjoy this one been all inclusive we surmised we were getting a good deal. NOT. First we were given an inside cabin but paid for an outside had to move the next morning. The Food was cold all the time we were on the ship. The ship was delayed going into 3 ports so we had less time in those city's. The pool was out of order every day bar the very last day and the weather was above 20 c most days. We all came down with bronchitis in the last week.. So we put in a compliant and at first we were offered £100 voucher as compensation we rejected this and e-mailed again. No answer so rang them again. It took 10 minutes to answer the phone then after speaking to someone put back on hold for 30 minutes then was reconnected to the wrong department who could not help us. He asked us to ring the number again and this time it was CLOSED. Worst experience of a cruise and worse experience of a holiday company. Do not use them we are never going to. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The cruise got off to a bit of an inauspicious start when for whatever reason there was a big delay in dropping our bags off outside the port terminal before checking in, almost an hour queued to drop the bag off. After that checking in ... Read More
The cruise got off to a bit of an inauspicious start when for whatever reason there was a big delay in dropping our bags off outside the port terminal before checking in, almost an hour queued to drop the bag off. After that checking in was fine, usual process of waiting in the port terminal until your number was called. The boat was lovely, looked great. It was my first time on Discovery and it didn't disappoint. Well laid out, lots of seated areas. The Broadway show lounge was spacious and had plenty of leg room. The food in the main dining room got progressively better as the cruise went on, it started off not too great but there were some cracking dishes over the course of the two weeks. The menu was varied enough to keep me happy each meal time, I preferred the main dining room to the buffet as I found that a bit too cramped and busy. The staff on reception and destination services were attentive and quickly dealt with any queries I had. Bar 11 was a fantastic quiet spot during sea days to sit and read a book, however it didn't serve drinks until 5pm although it was easy enough to go to Deck 9 and take one back up. I found there was enough on during the sea days to keep me occupied and the evening entertainment, for the most part, was great although there were a couple of shows which missed the mark. I had booked a solo outside cabin which was spacious and had a large window that let in plenty of light. There was plenty of storage space between the wardrobe and drawers. Tea and coffee were always well stocked by the room staff. Only downside in the room was that the bed was a double bed with two single mattresses put together and they often moved apart during the night and I'd wake up finding myself sleeping in a bit of a dip! I went on an excursion through the ship at every port as being a solo traveller I wasn't confident enough to wander around the towns without a) getting lost b) being late, and c) knowing what I was looking at. Most of the excursions were as described however a couple of them were a bit misleading (Carslberg brewery tour is of a museum of the old brewery rather than the new one) and we missed seeing a couple of things in St Petersburg which was disappointing. Overall though I really enjoyed the tours. However there were some negatives. -The service was incredibly slow at times, I think they had taken on new staff who were being trained up. One evening a table of 5 of us waited 50 minutes until our starters arrived (fortunately the company at the table was good!) -The main pool was out of action for 13 of the 14 days which is incredibly inexcusable. -The boat had engine trouble which meant we had to leave Gothenburg early and arrived in Tallinn late so we had less time than originally planned in Tallinn. -Every morning at 8am there was incredibly loud clattering above the room. I never found out what it was but some of us think it's possibly crew moving deckchairs. I'd recommend a cabin a bit further down toward the middle of the boat. -One of the main atrium lifts broke leaving only one lift that went up to Bar 11 on the top deck, so if you wanted or needed to use it there was often a long wait. Overall it was a good cruise with a couple of disappointments. It wouldn't put me off cruising with Marella again but has made me a little apprehensive. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose Marella for the itinerary and we live 2 hours from Newcastle.We had great memory of Thomson Dream in the Caribbean. We chose Inter-cruise bus to get us to Newcastle.The sight at our arrival was like refugees with suitcases ... Read More
We chose Marella for the itinerary and we live 2 hours from Newcastle.We had great memory of Thomson Dream in the Caribbean. We chose Inter-cruise bus to get us to Newcastle.The sight at our arrival was like refugees with suitcases trying to escape.After 15 mins we were sent to a car park.Given our envelope with tags and cards.In the hall we were given a number.As we booked a suite we were priority boarding.In the noise of hundreds of passengers we heard the announcement ,we could go and register.It would have been helpful.if staff had been trained to advise customers about the announcements. No special dedicated lanes whatsoever. Discovery was suppose to leave at 4pm.We left at 8pm.BAD Once on board we were met by our great cabin attendant,from Nepal,Prakash. We had booked Junior Suite 8590.Back of the ship.Very spacious.Big bathroom with bath,Clarins toiletries,huge balcony.Tea and coffee machine as standard.Nice touch.Confortable bed.Safe and TV.Sofa and two small armchairs.GOOD We had problems with the water one night and it seems to resolve itself.Reception phoned two days later to check everything was OK and sent a bottle of bubbly at the end of the cruise.GOOD Unfortunately the cabin is under the Adult Veranda sun deck.Why put sun beds out at 6.30 am.Lots of rattling and thumping noises. We had spoken the Reception staff twice in the fortnight.Reception reaction,they would passed our comments on. The 2nd time, phone us and we will investigate.At 6.30am?BAD Discovery as an open dining policy.Restaurant47 and Gallery 47. The food is excellent.The Austrian executive chef does a great job.It is tasty,well presented,3 course menu.Vegetarien and allergy customers are catered for.The cruise is all inclusive and the wine is drinkable we like Sauvignon Blanc and it was good.You can also get breakfast.We had lunch at Island deck 9 at lunch time.Food again very good and varied.GOOD. Try to get 1000 pasengers in an 400 seaters restaurant.Does not work so you get a pager.Ready in 20mn they say.Fine you go to the bar order a drink and the pager goes after 5min.BAD A significant part of our cruise experience and enjoyment is the restaurant.We prefer to have the same station which enables us to develop a relationship with the hard working staff and this is reciprocated.The first week this was very difficult to achieve. One of the head waiters required a course at the" Charm School" , do as I say.Sorry ,I thought I was the customer.UGLY Our experience on the second week was vastly improved and thank you, Jose and Rubaih for looking after us.GOOD Surf and Turf is worth the money.Food is great.Wine by the bottle even better.GOOD Bar 11 with DJ Alasdair is a nice way to wind up the evening.GOOD. The two shows we went to see were good.Not our style but they were doing a good job.Nice to see Marella kept the staff show.GOOD A bit annoyed about having to pay to take shuttles bus in some ports as we we're not told it would happen.BAD Free water at the fountain in almost every decks.High standard of hygiene with antibacterial spray freely available everywhere.VERY GOOD We enjoyed our cruise,just thought I would point out the issues that need to be to be ironed out. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The Marella Discovery coming to Newcastle Port to sail the Baltic was a big promotion in April 2017 and a group of us booked straight away to choose the cabins we wanted. The embarkation was an absolute disaster. We were lucky we only ... Read More
The Marella Discovery coming to Newcastle Port to sail the Baltic was a big promotion in April 2017 and a group of us booked straight away to choose the cabins we wanted. The embarkation was an absolute disaster. We were lucky we only queued for one and half hours to hand our luggage over, some queued for three hours. ( if it rained ??? ). The Cruise itself was brilliant, visiting eight beautiful cites, using all of the ships facilities and enjoying the best weather in the Baltic Sea for 120 years. The cabin, dining, and service were above average with the entertainment superb. On shore, wherever possible, we used the Red Buses which provide great value and on the fourth trip in Stockholm it was Free. The ships excursions in St Petersburg were the identical ones that were available five years ago so there was not a great of choice for us but we had a brilliant time at Peterhof Grand Palace and Gardens, highly recommended. With the temperatures ranging from 22/27c for the cruise (until we got back to Newcastle) it was disappointing that the main swimming pool was out of action until the last day of the Cruise. The biggest disappointment of the whole cruises was the cost that we had paid a year in advance of the Cruise to those passages who booked only six/eight weeks before and paid half price for their cabins. So my main Advice to all would be never book a MARELLA CRUISE until SIX / EIGHT weeks before sailing as you will save a lot of money and enjoy the cruise even more. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our second cruise with Thomson and the appeal was particularly to see St Petersburg . Paid far too much by booking early and in fact, cancelled and rebooked about 12 weeks before departure and saved £500. Booked an ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Thomson and the appeal was particularly to see St Petersburg . Paid far too much by booking early and in fact, cancelled and rebooked about 12 weeks before departure and saved £500. Booked an executive cabin which was impressive / had a few issues which should have been picked up before we boarded eg: dripping tap, damaged glass on balcony and light not working but these were resolved . Cabin stewards were excellent- special mention of Ferdinand ! Good selection of restaurants though there were only 2 menus in Italian 47 over the 14 days so bit repetitive. Ship was clean and tidy. Entertainment was variable with curious sessions like “ Ask the acupuncturist” and a dreadful live band with a girl who could not sing but there was a talented saxophonist and a good pianist so you can pick and choose what suits you. Evenings spent on the balcony with a drink and incredible sunsets on calm seas takes some beating ! We paid extra for the premium all inclusive but it wasn’t really worth it although was handy to have daily bottled water delivered to the cabin and the coffees in the Coffee Port are lovely and popular. WiFi was really expensive onboard and there was no logic to usage allowances - costs £90 but we were charged £180 for very little access. Worth waiting to get off at a port to download data and access emails etc. Destination staff were friendly but knew little about practical issues in the ports eg: where to get taxis, cost etc. With limited mobility, this was important for us and was a real problem in Tallinn and Copenhagen where there were no taxis or shuttle buses and it was a very very long walk into the main areas. In terms of excursions, we only did a few as we prefer to see places independently but the St Petersburg city tour was good although we missed a couple of key places because of traffic delays . Avoid the ballet excursion - was terrible - in the Aurora theatre which was more like a civic centre under renovation and the St Petersburg ballet was so amateurish. There were 3/4 excellent dancers but the rest were poor and didn’t dance in time - reminded us of dawn french in vicar of dibley - very disappointing. Beware of rip off bicycle rickshaws in Tallinn’s central square. A taxi is supposed to cost 10 euros although there aren’t any - we effectively got mugged by a girl and her accomplice and had to pay 80 Euro’s to get away safely . Favourite ports were St Petersburg , Oslo, Stockholm and Warnemunde- really pretty tourist resort . Overall this was a lovely cruise with friendly staff and a good itinerary. Main advice would be to go for the best cabin you can afford and if possible, a balcony to get great views all the time . Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
As a first time cruiser and having read the many negative reviews of the Christmas cruise we were a little concerned about travelling on this ship but we had needn't have worried. We were greeted by the Port of Tyne team at the car ... Read More
As a first time cruiser and having read the many negative reviews of the Christmas cruise we were a little concerned about travelling on this ship but we had needn't have worried. We were greeted by the Port of Tyne team at the car park and our luggage whisked away to arrive in our room just 1 hour later. The ship was spotless with over 750 staff working tirelessly to keep the 1800 guests happy. Our balcony room was a great size on the starboard side and had everything we needed. It was about the size of a travelodge room so plenty of space.The cabin steward was fantastic and nothing was ever too much trouble. We had animal shaped towels most days on returning to our cabin The population on the ship were mixed with young honeymooners and those between 50- 75. There were only a few very small children (under 3) so it was almost an adults only cruise. The bar staff were attentive and plentiful and the restaurants always found a space for you to sit either as a couple or on a shared table. We were impressed that the dress code was enforced at dinner in the waited restaurants 47 degrees and gallery 47. The entertainment team were fantastic and we had 14 different styles of shows every night so there was something for everyone's taste. The two live bands B12 and Taylor Made kept us entertained throughout the evenings in other venues around the ship along with a talented pianist and saxophonist who would pop up at various times in the day. The escape room was excellent and the ships actors involved the crowd with murder mystery events. There was always something to do on board and if you needed peace the bar on deck 11 was a small sanctuary to have a quiet drink. The weather was fabulous for the whole cruise and the seas calm so the ship never seemed crowded and at times we had to check we were still moving! The ports we visited were fabulous- our favourites were Warnemunde- with its beach, Tallin and Stockholm. The all inclusive package which is standard is all you really need as the list of drinks and cocktails is extensive. There was some confusion over cola but as long as it is from a dispenser it is free. It is only extra if you want a can of Coke. The excursion were very good with english speaking guides at every port. Many of the European ports (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Wannemunde ) we did our own thing as the boat docked so close to the city. we felt thoroughly privileged and disappointed by the constant moans of the slightly older generation travelers who seemed to pick fault with everything. I would travel on this boat again and i am sure there are much more luxurious boats and posher dining but then we would have had to pay much more than we did. This is a casual cruise and ideal for first timers. You are not expected to dress up every night unless you want to and are not expected to tip which is also a positive. i would go again with TUI perhaps to cambodia next time in winter 2018 Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Primarily chose this cruise based on the locations visited, time of year with respect to weather averages and price. I'll say first off, the weather was unbelievably good, just like everywhere else in Europe as far as I'm ... Read More
Primarily chose this cruise based on the locations visited, time of year with respect to weather averages and price. I'll say first off, the weather was unbelievably good, just like everywhere else in Europe as far as I'm aware, and this obviously had a tremendously positive effect on the cruise. Anyway, the cruise itself. Embarkation was not good, this was the largest cruise ship to use Port of Tyne to date, and the port underestimated just how much effort was needed to handle almost 1800 passengers, not helped by everyone turning up at pretty much the same time, in future Marella & Port of Tyne should recommend staggered arrivals if possible, but I think the fundamental problem was PoT not having sufficient X-ray equipment to handle the amount of baggage. It wasn't bad but could have been better, I'd hate to think what it would have been like if it was raining! In contrast, when we disembarked it went pretty much like clockwork, I'd say lessons had been learned and acted on. We chose the cheapest cabins, inside lower decks, they were fine but if I could make the decision again I'd have paid the extra for an outside, or even a balcony (price dependent). I base this on the ports we visited, as they were beautiful and I'd have enjoyed being able to see them from the cabin. During the cruise we tried several of the eateries, but kept coming back to the Island buffet restaurant. It provided the best choice which suited my party. Didn't bother with the steak or sushi ones as the extra cost was not worth it for us based on our preferences. The Italian was good but frankly we all preferred the informal buffet. The quality & service in all cafes & restaurants was excellent. The entertainment was an absolute revelation. I'm not a fan of stage shows etc. but even I thoroughly enjoyed both the formal and informal entertainment, they were very professional and much, much better than I expected.. The bars were very good and again the service excellent. In fact the service from all staff was impeccable, and along with the weather probably made the cruise so good. Our experience of the ports visited and the excursions we did was very good. Many of the destinations were within walking distance of the ports, and the few that were too far had buses arranged (at additional cost but very reasonable). Our party was made up of myself and my sister along with out mother who was celebrating her 80th birthday so we had to chose excursions with care as she does not walk too well. (Compared to many others on the ship she was spry and fit). Overall a good cruise and company which I'd have no hesitation in recommending. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our third cruise with Thomsons. We first sailed on this ship 8 years ago around the Canary Islands - a pleasant time enjoyed by all. Earlier this year we enjoyed a week onboard the Spirit around the Eastern Med area, again quite ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Thomsons. We first sailed on this ship 8 years ago around the Canary Islands - a pleasant time enjoyed by all. Earlier this year we enjoyed a week onboard the Spirit around the Eastern Med area, again quite a pleasant voyage including the Thomson flight from the UK. However this recent cruise around the Baltic states was really plagued with onboard problems. My wife and I along with a few hundred other passengers left the ship with unpleasant medical issues relating to poor hygiene and poor fresh air circulation problems. The quality of the food from a nutritional value was well below par, and when we asked for some fresh vegetables they turned up still bloody frozen in the middle!!. Our waiter had a terrible cold and was still working in the main restaurant. I followed one crew member out of the toilets who didn`t wash his hands and went straight to work in the bar area handling drinks glasses serving passengers. There was virtually no fresh air delivery in the cabins - just recirculated warm air carrying germs. We reported this issue three times but to no avail. Along with many others we talked to on departure morning - we couldn`t wait to get off. We are still ill to this day as I write this. Thomsons/TUI you really need to get this sorted or face legal challenges. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were two couples who choose this cruise because of destination ports. (St Petersburgh,Tallin, Copenhagen) and the embarkation port which is close to where we live. We decided to push the boat out (excuse the pun) and booked Deluxe ... Read More
We were two couples who choose this cruise because of destination ports. (St Petersburgh,Tallin, Copenhagen) and the embarkation port which is close to where we live. We decided to push the boat out (excuse the pun) and booked Deluxe balcony cabins with premier service and all inclusive. Now we didn't expect to dine every night with the Captain but we did think our on board psend would be at a minimum. but let me enighten you on just what all inclusive DOESN'T mean 1) Bottled water in cabin £2 a bottle 2)Cabin mini bar. Bar prices 3)Taking valuable jewellry? Cabin safe £25 per voyage. 4)Want to keep in touch with home? Wi Fi £8/hour 5)Fancy a coffee in the ship's coffee bar? £1.70 (A/I concessionary price) 6)Laundry. A carrier bag size bag which must be closed. Wahed and folded only£14.95 7)Fancy a tour of the ship (with a cup of tea with the Captain thrown in?) £49/head 8)A good programme in the show room and fancy a ringside seat? £8.95 9)The all inclusive drinks do not include the more expensive cocktails and spirits so there is a confusing list of what you have to pay extra for. 10)If you didn't have a drinks package and decide to have one anyway £199/week. and whar about your little darlings? A drinks package for pop,juise etc only £99/week An hours pampering in the beauty salon will cost £100 No wonder they boast that tips are included!! On the plus side the ship itself,although dated was immaculate. The cabins were large and pristine and all the crew pleasant and helpful. The ships dance team were brilliant and worked their socks off. Food was average and the choices limited. Even the specialist restaurants which again were between £17/20 head extra were nothing really special. All in all this company try to milk their captive audience even to the point of auctions of sporting goods and a permanent shop selling booze,trinkets jewellry etc. We have been on many cruises but this is the first with Thomson and it is surely the last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail from Newcastle and we liked the itinerary - we wanted to see both Tallin and Riga and also the small Danish island of Bornholm which not many cruise ships go to. We also wanted to try ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail from Newcastle and we liked the itinerary - we wanted to see both Tallin and Riga and also the small Danish island of Bornholm which not many cruise ships go to. We also wanted to try Thomson Celebration as we have previously sailed on Spirit and really enjoyed it. We were not disappointed with the ship, its the right size for us and we liked our balcony cabin. The food was good and the staff were very friendly. Entertainment was as good as on the Spirit, fabulous shows and singers. The ports of call were mostly good and getting through passport control at St Petersburg was easy. We thought it might be complex but it was fine. Don't be fooled about the visa situation though - you can still book independent tours who will provide the same group visa for you - some of our passengers had had some better tours than the Thomson ones so do your homework. Tallin is amazing! Don't miss this port, it is just gorgeous. Sadly we had a complaint - they took more money from our credit card than what we had actually spent and more than 2 months on we haven't even had a response and we are dealing with the complaint through our travel agent. Not happy! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My boyfriend and I booked our trip rather last minute and booked a lot of excursions too online before we left. On arrival at Newcastle port, it was a little confusing for us where we had to go as there was a queue to drop off your ... Read More
My boyfriend and I booked our trip rather last minute and booked a lot of excursions too online before we left. On arrival at Newcastle port, it was a little confusing for us where we had to go as there was a queue to drop off your luggage which you had to do first, before you proceeded to a check in signposted building - easily sorted no big deal A lot of people commenting on the standards of the ship, we found our room and the restaurant very comfortable, there are a few restaurants on board that you have to pay a subsidy for again - no big deal. The staff and food was fantastic, Johnny on reception and our housekeeper Dede were lovely, and the waiters were equally friendly and lovely people. The excursions again, all great, with really good knowledgeable guides The only down points..... - my boyfriend and I although on holiday need to keep connected with work, and so accessing emails, it was mentioned the internet connection was pretty slow - understatement, for the speed you get the price should be a lot lower, ranging from £8 for an hour, to £90 for 2 weeks per device, we were told we could connect multiple devices via one wifi connection purchase, but whenever we logged in from different devices it logged the other person off.....again no real big deal, but I think Thomson should charge a price in keeping with the poor connection Right......now what really bugged me, my boyfriend and I are in our 30s, when we told our friends and family we were going on a cruise the reaction was why?! because cruises seem to be appealing to passengers a lot older than us... This is where my temper was tested - As mentioned the cruise, destinations, the ship, the staff the food were amazing But the other passengers :| where do I begin……it seems the people this cruise attracts are plain idiots - I’m surprised how such an older generation is so rude, there is one buffet restaurant the Lido, where so many older people leaned over my tray to get to something, pushed in queue, can't you wait?! where's the fire?! to which I told a few to wait and not lean over my food - There is an Indian/Chinese restaurant on board where we ate on many evenings, there was a charge for this restaurant, but the food and the service made it worth it......in this restaurant there was an older gentleman and his wife (who were white and British - my boyfriend and I also white and British) shouting at the Indian waiter telling him they didn't know how to cook Indian food....really?! so an old rude white man knows more about cooking Indian food than an Indian chef?! I don't think so, he was moaning for ages, his wife telling him to shut up, but he persisted, pushing his food around his plate like a child having a tantrum, the only people’s meals you ruined were everyone else in that restaurant who had to listen to you speaking so appealingly to the waiter, absolutely disgusting and I hope you read this, you’re an absolute embarrassment - What else?....on some of the excursions, they were walking tours, WALKING being the give away as to what the tour would involve yet, again, lots of older people moaning about the walking In summary, a great cruise, great ship, staff, food, ports of calls and excursions, the only thing that ruined it for us, was the amount of moaning we had to endure from other passengers… Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Never been on an ocean cruise and choice this one because we had never been to any of the countries visited. When we booked the itinerary stated Copenhagen and Oslo as destinations but prior to the cruise we were notified of the itinerary ... Read More
Never been on an ocean cruise and choice this one because we had never been to any of the countries visited. When we booked the itinerary stated Copenhagen and Oslo as destinations but prior to the cruise we were notified of the itinerary and the ship did not dock in Copenhagen or Oslo! Both cities were available by a coach trip. The cabin on deck 2 was very comfortable and larger than expected and Joko looked after our room wonderfully. As we were at the bow end only the bow thrusts were noisy. Always had hot water for the shower and lovely clean towels. The service in the Meridian restaurant was very slow and we decided to eat in the buffet restaurant Lido. Food was plentiful and hot, the work station was excellent. Drinks were by waiter service and we often had finished our meal before a glass of wine arrived! Tea and coffee were self service. Water was only available in the Lido restaurant, otherwise it was to buy by the bottle. Both Horizon and Hemingingways had continuous piped music as did the outer Lido area. It was apparent that there were not enough seating areas for all the passengers on board, especially at night and if weather was not too good. Some of the evening shows were excellent whilst some were mediocre. The staff were very friendly and always offered a greeting. However, the drinks waiters quite often walked around looking at the floor. We enjoyed the cruise but it did not wow us to think Yes we will return. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Seeing St Petersburg and Tallin were on our wish list and with the ship sailing from North Shields (30 minutes from home), this was a no-brainer! Embarkation was a little chaotic with staff everywhere shouting out what to do and where ... Read More
Seeing St Petersburg and Tallin were on our wish list and with the ship sailing from North Shields (30 minutes from home), this was a no-brainer! Embarkation was a little chaotic with staff everywhere shouting out what to do and where to go. Hundreds of people milling around being told to 'move forward' over loudspeakers with no idea which line of passengers was being shouted at. A Thomsons flag outside the terminal suggested that we should use the right hand entrance which was entirely incorrect. From here cross the entire building through the hundreds sitting down, to join the end of the queue inside the other entrance. Bags were being taken at the end of this queue and boarding cards issued along with medical questionnaire. Fill in your medical questionnaire and cross the waiting hoards again to a desk to collect a coloured card. Then join the queue to hand in the questionnaire. Then find a seat and join the waiting hoards to be called via colour to the boarding desk. At least one desk could be eliminated. A family arrived at the front of the boarding queue to discover that they didn't have a coloured card because they hadn't handed in the questionnaire…. However, the whole process took under an hour so despite the confusion it was swift. Boarding and into cabin was done in the rain but that isn't Thomson's fault although the top layer in my suitcase got wet! I had two pieces of luggage. One was suit carrier because we fancied attending the Captain's Gala which we probably wouldn't bother with again because all the queuing and waiting around added over an hour to meal-time. So if you want to avoid dressing up you can eat in the Lido or if you want to dress up but avoid the waiting and photos you can book Al La Carte. The other suticase was way over the 23kg limit (only noticed when I read the rules again on the way back!) but no-one complained to me. The bags were all safely delivered to the room within 30 minutes of boarding. Cabin 145 is on the starboard side and is billed as a deluxe. I agree with many other comments that the ship is looking tired and old-fashioned but we have travelled on Celebration before and like it so knew what to expect. What I couldn't remember was the electrical socket layout so here is the definitive for this cabin: two sockets. One is continental round two pin at 220v and the other US two flat pins at (presumably) 110v. I presume this because a hair dryer ran much slower in the flat pin socket than the round pin. I believe the flat pin to be inherently less safe so I bought a 3 socket extension lead from home and used it with an adapter in the round pin socket. Cabin 145 is a deluxe cabin on deck 7. I booked it because of the position in relation to the rear staircase and deck 7 because it is not overlooked. Deck 6 is the promenade which is below and 8 the lifeboats. It is fairly large with a double rectangular window and was set up as a double for us. Plenty of storage with two wardrobes, 6 large drawers and bedside lockers with 2 drawers. There is enough spare room in the fridge for your own bottles. Tea and coffee facilites although never enough milk sachets, as normal. Fabulous service from Glenn, the steward who managed to tidy the cabin 3 times a day! The cabin does look a little tired now with brown and pine- fairly dark for today's tastes. But with the exception of the old-style radio built into the end of the desk, everything worked except the hair-dryer. We did not bother to report this because my wife bought one having learnt to never trust hair-dryers in ships and hotels!The TV reception is pretty poor in terms of picture quality but both Sky and BBC World news are available and normally the picture was viewable. The one fault that constantly annoyed me was the lack of of water pressure in the shower. Turning it full on and holding the head upside down resulted in a fountain less than an inch high...We spoke to other passengers and were assured that on deck 2 this was not an issue. The drain from the bath (shower is over bath) blocked one day and was cleared within minutes by an engineer. I would book this cabin again. We spoke to many guests who were in cabins on decks 1 and 2 and no-one seemed to have a problem with cabin size or facilities. One couple on deck 1 claimed to have more room because their cabin did not have a bath. Because of 'enhanced hygiene' the self service laundry was closed as was the library. Breakfast was served by staff at the servery rather than self-service. When we were last on Celebration the area outside the library and card room was a sitting area with a piano. It has now been turned into a coffee bar (Coffee Port) and the excursions desk. The whole area has been done very well indeed and the coffee is Lavazza which was very welcome. Whilst it is a premium price anyone on the all-inclusive deal does get a discount and so 2 cups cost less than £2.50 extra. I am not a huge fan of the Meridian restaurant where I find the menu rather unadventurous. We therefore booked a meal in each of the Al La Carte restaurants. We were impressed with Mistrals last time so were looking forward to eating there again and had read good reports about the Asian restaurant. By Tuesday the enhanced hygiene was over and everything back to normal. On the Tuesday night we ate in Mistrals. We booked all 3 restaurants as there was an offer of all three for £47.95 additional charge. The standard of both service and food was very good.. A total of 7 courses, with an amuse bouche and sorbet not on the menu. I had comments only about the lobster, which I would not normally choose and I found tasteless, and the coconut crème brulee which had no coconut taste whatever. The rest was superb including the escargots and the fillet steak. A word to the wise here- if you are on the Al Inclusive tariff then wine by the glass is included. Don't buy a bottle- the waiter will fill your glass all night long anyway. Another night we ate in Kora La, the Asian Al La Carte. This was wonderful as the main course is specified by yourself in terms of both meat and heat. My Wife loved this. The quality was good and the service fine until it got busy and then slowed down to a crawl. We booked again in here for the final night and the standard of the chicken had plummeted. First time it was great- second time it was stringy and obviously leg/wing meat. This was raised with the Head waiter who told us that they do NOT use breast meat. Conclusion- we had been lucky first time! The Hot Stone Al La Carte is set up on the Lido deck each evening. A VERY hot marble stone is presented to you with a small selection of raw veg and the meat/ fish of your choice. You cook it yourself. This sounds great in theory but we couldn't see how it would work in practice. I like a rare steak- my Wife a medium. Surf and turf involved lobster tail so that would be a third cooking time. Whilst my steak would take 7/8 minutes plus 5 minutes standing time, what would happen with the chips which were hot when bought to the table? Other guests confirmed that the whole thing was just too much bother and created worry about raw food. So we accepted the option to have the chef cook our steaks and then used the stone to cook the veg whilst the steaks stood. Then the stone came in useful for warming the chips and steaks as we sliced it up- great! We also couldn't understand why the menu included a choice of 3 sauces- wasn't that going to create quite a mess? But then they came in little dishes so were more of a selection of dips than sauces. It does seem to be a rule that if you book early you get the All-Inclusive deal thrown in, if you leave it later then the price goes down but the AI cost goes up. To the point where it costs £400 if you leave it until boarding (£200 a week each!) AI is definitely worth if you get in early. Without the AI a cocktail costs £4.50. Some drinks (Pint of Heineken, premium cocktails) incurr a small charge even to AI customers. It wasn't until the last day that we worked out that we could have a coffee (outside the meals) on AI if we asked. It was perfectly acceptable coffee although not as good as paying a small premium in the Coffee Port. The entertainment was great. The showteam, a group that travels round the fleet 'filling in' for the other teams, were incredibly hard working. Not just learning 10 different shows but also all the routines within those shows. I wasn't impressed at first but realised later that I disliked the Queen show so much not because of the showteam but because I don't like Queen! As the time went on I became more and more appreciative of their skills. Their Tamla Mowtown show and Moulin Rouge tribute were the highlights for me. A particularly 'brutal' staging of Roxanne with the boys throwing one of the girls around the stage was both disturbing and skilful and bought the audience to it's feet. One show that didn't work at all for me was the 'International Music Awards'- if you are going to sing the songs of the most successful female artist of all time then you probably shouldn't change her music and words around- Adele probably knows what she is doing. Ian Bagshaw, the Cruise Director is also a very fine magician! (But terrible comedian!) Showtime is ruined some nights by the people in first sitting simply not leaving. Those who come in for the second show have quite a problem finding seats on popular nights. We had a fascinating series of lectures by Robert Simpson about The Russian Romanovs and history that we greatly enjoyed. Robert is obviously very learned and didn't shy away from giving his opinions. He seemed permanently surprised to find himself lecturing to full houses and received gratitude with humility. Even if you think lectures are not for you this series was great background to what we were going to see in St Petersburg and the contrast between Robert's true and historical representation of the facts (Catherine The Great was really quite ruthless) and the glossing-over of the facts by our Russian Tour Guide was marked! As far as te guide was concerned the 1917 revolution was just a natural course of affairs- Robert's depiction of the Tsar's incompetent governance explained it and even hinted at how it might have been avoided. Well done Thomson for having him on. I can't judge Liberties or Hemingways at all- we never went in there! I did try the casino for the first time in my life and left with a 50% profit on the roulette... £5! We love Horizons and an ideal evening would be meal>show>Horizons Cocktails. Truth is we had such a laugh with the fellow cruisers that we ate with at the 'Captains Table' that we often ran out of time. It was incredible how many of our fellow passengers were repeat cruisers, and the majority on Thomson ships. The reason is the staff and crew and the training that goes into making them friendly and approachable. No passenger seems to treated differently. Deck 1 to deck 8 is all the same to the crew and no passenger gets priority over another. In this way there is no 'pecking order' such as on ships with exclusive restaurants for high-paying passengers. Thomsons acknowledge repeat passengers with a Captain's Reception and a little badge- just a 'thank you'. A quick summary of the ports (we did only 1 Thomson excursion- Copenhagen); Fredrickstad- Nice. Local people had set out a trail of yellow stars into town to their craft shops and cafes. Fabulous photo opportunities around the star-shaped town moat. Not a lot of chance to spend money! Walk in. Aalborg- 'Europe's Happiest City'. Well, yes, I'm sure it is. We walked to the Modern Art Museum which was fabulous. Stockholm- We got the free shuttle in and then joined the mile long queue for the free shuttle back as all those who hadn't paid used it to get back to the ship. Stockholm is lovely and perfectly walkable. We did the Vasa Museum (like the Marie Rose but better!) and then walked through the City centre. Tallinn- Unbelievable old town. Could not be more attractive if purpose built by Disney. Again, perfectly walkable from the port and no need for excursions at all. St Petersburg- Having checked out the Thomson excursions we realised that to see everything would be extortionate. So after some intense research I booked a 2 day tour with Alla Tours. Do not believe Thomson's constant lies about 'you are only covered by a group visa if you book with Thomson'. 'Your head will explode at immigration if you do not book with Thomson'. All rubbish! All you need is your passport and a valid excursion ticket. The guide then meets you on the other side of immigration and, in a party of just 16, you set off with your headsets for the most intense 2 days of sight-seeing ever! Full review on TripAdvisor! Helsinki- Why? I mean, why Helsinki? When the highlight of a 45 minute cruise around the bay is Finland's last remaining submarine (in dry dock) and the ice breaker ships (moored up and tied together, it being summer) and highlight of the market square outside the parliament is a line of ladies knitting hats, then you know that your City is maybe not a tourist hot spot. Copenhagen- Yes! Bloody difficult to get to from Kalundborg where the ship berthing fees are obviously much cheaper. Thomsons can then also get passengers to pay £6 each for a seat on a shuttle coach and make a profit on that as well. 90 minutes there and 90 minutes back. Once there we found that 14,000 passengers from 3 giant cruise liners had moored next to the Little Mermaid and blocked the streets with their coaches before we got there. Very inconsiderate. But the Havyn area for a meal (£48 for lunch....) and a wonder around was fabulous. Wouldn't do a 'tour' if there again. Read Less
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