1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises)
  4. Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) Cruise Reviews

27 Marella Cruises Dubai Cruise Reviews

We decided on the itinerary, Eastern sunrise,as india was a place we'd not visited, and, knowing the ship had formarly been one of Royal Caribbean, we figured it would be familiar. usually the buffet would be at the aft end of a ship, ... Read More
We decided on the itinerary, Eastern sunrise,as india was a place we'd not visited, and, knowing the ship had formarly been one of Royal Caribbean, we figured it would be familiar. usually the buffet would be at the aft end of a ship, but on discovery it was at the forward part. They had a good variety of dishes which would suit most people. We learned that the previous itinerary had experienced several ports being aborted dur to engine troubles. and our departure was some hours later than expected.We were told that the calls at mumbai and Mangalore would not take place because the ship needed to be in Cochin by a certain date, in order to get the problem sorted completely. The ship seemed to make better speed than expected; later the captain announced that things had improved and we would be able to stop at Mangalore after all. for the first time we had opted for an inside cabin, because there was such a huge difference in the prices of inside and outside, since we didn't intend staying in the cabin all the time. I think that when we'd passed inside cabins that had the door open, they didn't look too bad; but it slipped my mind that with no window, the room was almost pitch black,so the lights needed to be on at all times,unless we were sleeping. Our evening meals were in the main dining room,where there was an arrangement for sharing a table,and it was possible to meet up with different people each night. it wasn't until the end of the cruise we learned that some asked for a table by number,and kept it every evening. the menus were varied, but as we'd found on other ships the plates had a good portion of meat or fish, but only a small amoint of vegetables On the sea days there was a professor who gave a talk about the way the land masses moved over the centuries, creating continents and islands. There were the usual workshops covering different hobbies,and also an Indian group,showing how to dress in a sari, and learn some Indian dance steps.The evening shows were very good; but in the second week someone decided to increase the volume of the singers' mikes,so the voices were shrill screeches. Even with my hearing aide turned off,it was still deafening. A lot of passengers commented on how hard it had been to complete the indian Visa needed and even the transit one for Sri Lanka caused some problems; some people had paid for a visa,although the transit was free, and some didn't get a hard copy. This was where the confusion started. Each person on the Reception desk gave a different answer to questions asked by passengers. Written information said everybody must provide a copy of the transit visa, or entry would be denied. One told me I had to take my phone to the port terminal, link to a hot spot and go through my emails until I found the one that had a visa attachment; I was to forward it to the ship and then they would give me a print out. I told her I had checked my emails for over two weeks prior to joining the ship and knew there were no emails from Sri lanka officials. A different person at Reception said there were many others in the same position as we were, and they were talking to the authorities to get something worked out. we were given a form to fill in our details, together with copies of our passports. Later on we were told to take the forms back to reception,and when it came to going ashore,we sailed throughimmigration. on the morning of our departure from the ship we learnedthat Gatwick was closed,and various stories spread, First of all we were expecting to be calledwhen it was time to diembark, thenthe information said to wait anywhere around the ship, We decided to go down to the ganway to ask when we'd be called,and were told we could go straight off; our bus number wasn't going for some time, but we could get on another one, so we left earlier for the airport.procedure through customs and security was very quick and before we knew it we were in the departure area. The plane was late getting in,and it seemed a long time before passengers and luggage were unloaded. eventually we went on to the plane. Just before take off, there was a a chat from the chief pilot. due to Gatwick being closed down again,we had to make a detour. It was the first time the new route had been taken, and there would not be enough fuel to complete the journey,so we had to stop at Burgas in Bulgaria. Then it was hoped we'd be given the airport we had to go to, hopefully a London one. I guessed Stansted, which proved to be right. Our luggage took ages to come through the carousel and we heard an announcement telling us to go to the information desk. We didn't know where that was, sowe all made our way to the nothing to declare exit. there we found taxi drivers, arranged by Tui to take people to Gatwick where their transport had been parked.We set off, only to see notices that M25 south was closed. once again we detored along country roads, going over QE2 bridge,and up to the Gatwick junction. Luckily we had booked a room at a Premier Inn, and it was almost 5.30 am when we climbed into our beds for a couple of hours sleep.After breakfast at 9.0am we drove home.. I found an email from tui to give some feedback; so i thought I'd give my opinion about their admin,because whoever composed the information was not clear in the way it was put, and when i tried to send it in my email, there was something wrong with their site, which seemed on a par with the written info. We didn't see many dinner suits on the Gala night,and things were much more casual. Sadly, our opinion is that we won't be rushing to do another cruise on Discovery Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We joined Discovery at Dubai and left from Langkawi. We did not experience the long stay in Dubai and problems experienced by the passengers already on board - we did have an extra day at sea and missed out Mumbai for which we have already ... Read More
We joined Discovery at Dubai and left from Langkawi. We did not experience the long stay in Dubai and problems experienced by the passengers already on board - we did have an extra day at sea and missed out Mumbai for which we have already received 1/3 back of the cruise cost. We had a great time on the Discovery some excellent shore trips and a couple of poor ones but these were not Marella Excursions so not at all down to the cruise company. I am surprised by some negative comments I read on these reviews because having reaserched into what to expect from this ship we got pretty much what we expected and really enjoyed it. We found the food very good and at times exceptional. Our experiences in the Surf and Turf and Aisian fusion resteraunts were both excellent. The entertainment was plentiful and I believe should pretty much have covered all tastes. Opera singer - outstanding and brilliant entertainer. Piano player - same again as was the Boogie Woogie Piano player who joined in the second week. Punjabi Drum Troop - great touch and very entertaining (took their Drum class - brilliant). Two pairs of professional dancers (took a couple of their classes - Excellent). Two very good comedians. The onboard entertainment team carried out lots of shows and acts throughout the trip - things to suit all tastes and we enjoyed the ones we chose to go to. On sea days, hard to get a sun lounger unless you are pretty early but as with what we expected, 1800 folk on one ship, bound to have to queue at some stage, disembarking etc. The staff on board worked their socks off and should be commended. I read here someone saying shorter measures of drinks - we didn't find that - if so, just ask for a stronger one - we did'nt have to. All Inclusive package was excellent and no need to add to it unless you like specific Malts or coffees or cans of fizzy - but still very reasonably priced I believe. Two nights of "Dress to impress" to wear your Tux etc - some did, some didn't. We dressed reasonably smartly each night, some did, some didn't. This is not Cunard tho - so if you want Cunard dress regs then book with them. We had a very enjoyable time on the ship, met lots of interesting people and found the staff and crew very hard working, polite, helpful and informative. There were no children on this cruise - Would book again with Marella. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Flight delayed out from Glasgow.Booked in premium on 767 300.Premium cabin as expected,Arrived Dubai(The smaller airport)Through customs fairly quickly, and then the problems began.Airport very quiet.Only one other flight from ... Read More
Flight delayed out from Glasgow.Booked in premium on 767 300.Premium cabin as expected,Arrived Dubai(The smaller airport)Through customs fairly quickly, and then the problems began.Airport very quiet.Only one other flight from Birmingham.Got chatting to a lady from Solihull who told me she'd been waiting since 0900 for her luggage time now 1115.Cases were very sporadic, two would appear then nothing for ten minutes.Carousel stopped at 1125 and around 12 couples without luggage.Ironically it was the passengers who had paid for premium service. After a lengthy discussion with terminal staff,we exited the baggage hall at 1515 minus luggage. Great start Thomson after 8 hour flight. Embarkation process quick( probably due to all others onboard).Guest relations team went into well rehearsed mode, stating it wasn't their responsibility,as our gripe was with the airline.Im sorry Thomson, the Tui group i.e. Thomson, First Choice and Falcon are your responsibility.We were told cases could be still in Glasgow, or could be on their way to Manchester,as they could have been left onboard at Dubai ???No communication no answers.This is the Thomson way. We were eventually awarded £50 per person onboard spend to get some essentials.Having booked dinner in the Burj Kalifa (who enforce a strict dress code) I guessed jeans, trainers and a hoody wouldn't cut it. Cancelled dinner.Shirt cost £64 in shop onboard.So didn't buy.Went to cabin 054(Sir Robert Scott suite.) Clean and roomy although a tad dated.Ate at buffet and off to bed.Luggage arrived at 0910 next morn(apparently they'd been off loaded in Dubai and forgotten.) Decided to make the most of our cruise. Food onboard surprisingly good,reviews stating otherwise totally unfounded.Staff fantastic and work tirelessly. Range of drinks surprisingly good if on AI.Speciality dining nice but not worth extra cost given standard of food in MDR.Day four plumbing in cabin playing up(Thomsons fleet seem to be plagued by this problem.) When emptying wash basin raw sewage floods into bath.Disgusting!!Phoned reception assured problem would be sorted. Signs ship wide warning of washing hands,hygiene and norovirus(joke really)Problem seemed to settle,however returned with a vengeance three days later.Complained in person at reception to be asked by reception staff "Who do you want me to call?" What!, are they for real? Plumber?Ghostbusters? Magican? Witnessed plumber sort the problem this time.Given more compensation but had to sign disclaimer.Thomson simply not good enough. Cruisers to Thomson state "You get what you pay for" Well I don't buy into this as Thomson can be as expensive as 5* lines who give 5* experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My wife suffers from M.S. so we were a wee bit apprehensive as to how a cruise ship would suit anyone with a disability. Thomson were fantastic as we were provided with an adapted cabin with a wet room etc, with no extra charge. As 1st ... Read More
My wife suffers from M.S. so we were a wee bit apprehensive as to how a cruise ship would suit anyone with a disability. Thomson were fantastic as we were provided with an adapted cabin with a wet room etc, with no extra charge. As 1st time cruisers, we were very impressed with how easy it was for wheelchair users to get around the ship. The only gripe was that there was only 1 disabled toilet on board which was mostly used by able bodied folk who were too lazy to use the normal toilets!!!! Ok, getting that of my chest, the cruise itself was brilliant. the ship is a bit dated,but the service provided by "every" member of staff was 5 star. Cabin cleaned twice a day, food in all of the restaurants of a high quality. Entertainment was varied and mostly very good. To summarize, I would highly recommend the Thomson Celebration as it's not too formal and it certainly good value for money. The friendliness and the service of the crew made our 1st experience on a cruise ship a very memorable one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
bad bits first ... Do not get me started on the planes madagascar airline (from the film madagascar ) only thing missing was the hula girl on the flight deck dash not impressed one bit for a 8hr flight i plus others were appalled at ... Read More
bad bits first ... Do not get me started on the planes madagascar airline (from the film madagascar ) only thing missing was the hula girl on the flight deck dash not impressed one bit for a 8hr flight i plus others were appalled at being crammed in this plane cold food naff films naff games and.... Kids.... ! i know they have to fly in the cabin space but why shove them in the middle aisle near the back away from toilets why not take note of other airlines let them on first near the front near the toilets kids love toilets on planes for some reason and have to use them at least least twenty times and thats before we have left the shores of the uk. give then a goodie bag filled with crap for them to ferret through come on thomson wake up adults take kids on holiday now a days one film for kids whoop whoop that lasts what 1hr 20 minutes whoop whoop the flight was 8hrs long what they meant to do for the rest of the flight ....oh yeah use the loo !!!! The ship is a tired "Old Lady" Vibrated 24/7 Thomson staff ... Um no comment ! They where far to busy taking selfies and walking around ignoring the passengers no social skills what so ever ! Entertainment sorry but .. Not a good experience the show team thought themselves on a broadway stage ! Very " school production " one singer very out of tune bless her for trying . And one young man didnt sing he shouted out of tune very ouch to the ears ! Thomson did not have their thinking caps on when it came to the ports of call . But where very clever. Ports with nothing of interest got a free bus to the nearest town where as ports with loads of interests and where miles away from anything you had to get a taxi costing a fortune ! In dubai you do get a free bus to a boring non exciting mall ! Be warned taxi from port in dubai to dubai mall will cost you about £25 one way ! Trips are expensive but thats what holiday companies do look around on groupon before you go and get vouchers for your destinations loads of offers on there lot cheaper than what thomson charge plus you can get money off food in the places you visit and at the airport and cheaper parking ! shhh i didnt tell you all that x They love to Tart the "Old Lady" up and are always painting sanding and varnishing Everyday one morning starting at 5.00 am with a sander lol The smell of paint lingers muscat seems to be their favourite port to paint the side of the ship one side on week other side the next and it stinks . I know maintenance has to be done but when your covered in sun cream the dust sticks to you and you end up coughing with the dust flying around . You will have to fight for your sunbeds on the days at sea as in typical brit style as with our german counterparts we love to be up at the crack of dawn claiming our sunbeds with our towels . Due to the lack of space on favoured decks when everyone is laid out they all look look like sardines crammed in a tin ! ANNA'S GOOD BITS In flight safety video well done thomson youv'e got yourself a gold star brilliant only good thing about the flight ! 38+ sunshine in February / March Food hot and very good selection mr chief can cook the meat to perfection but the veg is a little on the shall we say crunchy side typical brits love their home comforts whilst away and hp sauce heinz sauce and good old pg tips tea is on offer as well as what i call posh tea cant comment on the coffee as the stuff should be banned vile stuff ! . Sadly mr chief can not cook scones and the cream is squirty type cream not clotted ( as i come from devon its a bit of a miff subject ) afternoon tea lovely posh cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off i might add . Sadly his cake making skills lack rise and moisture.. I was going to offer to show him how to make a good sponge cake but never did . Lovely meals every night salads that would make a bunny think they where in heaven and puddings omg the hot puddings and custard mine all mine .... Cabin cleaned everyday fresh bedding fresh towels but take your own if you love to wrap up after a shower as they are small not one size fits all type . Beds turned back with a chocolate left on your pillow every night ... Please remove as you get into bed ! Bars well stocked and very quick service well done to them running around in that heat Anna's over all view on this cruise ... Sorry thomson.... Its butlins on the sea ! Nothing wrong with the ship its staff the food the cabins thats all great ... Its the thomson staff and the entertainment needs a overhaul ... Its a shame because you've got a good product there it just needs tweaking in places and good team leaders on board to pull rank on the staff . And change the bloody planes on this long haul flight i know youve got dreamliners hidden somewhere ... Love Anna x Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was the first time we had been on the celebration, and it will be our last, having been with other cruise lines , this is the worst ship we have sailed on, it juddered all the time even when in port,towels thread bare , ship very cold ... Read More
This was the first time we had been on the celebration, and it will be our last, having been with other cruise lines , this is the worst ship we have sailed on, it juddered all the time even when in port,towels thread bare , ship very cold in the public rooms when we asked reception why is the ship so cold we were told that it was because it was a little cooler outside, when asked if they could turn the a/con down and put a little heating on to compensate for the weather we were told no. People were sitting in the lounges with their coats on or covered in blankets , food was ok but there was a surcharge of £9.00 for steak which is unheard of on other cruise lines, very few sun beds not nearly enough,people were putting towels on them at 7am in a morning then going back to their cabin, having said this our cabin was spotless ,the entertainment team were great , pity about the other entertainment as the singers were rubbish ,restaurant staff were great nothing was 2 much trouble,very few shops on board , overall we did enjoy our cruise around the Middle East great destinations especially Dubai, to see what Dubai has to offer u need at least 3/4 days there , we saw quite a lot on the hop on hop off bus which for £52 pp a day wasn't cheap . Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This is our second time on the celebration and will probably be our last. Some of the areas on the ship are looking very tired whilst other areas have been refurbished. I think moving the theatre to its current position was a bad move. The ... Read More
This is our second time on the celebration and will probably be our last. Some of the areas on the ship are looking very tired whilst other areas have been refurbished. I think moving the theatre to its current position was a bad move. The poor entertainers have to practise whilst guests are walking through. The all inclusive package is not all its meant to be . I like a glass of red wine yet I seemed to always get mine in a glass which is no bigger than a sherry glass. To upgrade to the premium package; we were told that both myself and my wife would both have to upgrade because both occupants of the cabin have to upgrade at the same time. Absolutely ludicrous because my wife was happy on her package. So that meant I had to persevere on my sherry glass of the house red which was very mediocre or pay the surcharge to upgrade so I could have a better quality and bigger glass of wine. I have to say that the majority of staff on the ship are excellent. Especially Julie and Rory in the Lido bar and all the staff in Hemmingways. I must also mention our cabin steward Adi who did a really good job of looking after us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our first cruise and we did a Thomson cruise and stay with 7 nights on the Celebration and then 7 nights in a Dubai hotel. We decided on a cabin with a balcony (Deck 9 Room 6) and were not disappointed with the choice. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we did a Thomson cruise and stay with 7 nights on the Celebration and then 7 nights in a Dubai hotel. We decided on a cabin with a balcony (Deck 9 Room 6) and were not disappointed with the choice. The cabin was quite large and the balcony fitted two chairs, a table and a sun lounger which came in useful when all the sun beds had been taken or reserved with towels. Flaverino our cabin steward looked after us really well for the week and the cabin was kept spotless. As first time cruisers we were surprised at some of the extras - £15 a week to use the safe, £49 each per week for wi-fi (we are both self employed and need to check and respond to emails at least once a day when away), £10 per day each for premium drinks (we didn't upgrade to this but just paid extra for a premium drink if we wanted one which worked out cheaper), £9.95 extra for a steak or lamb cutlets, £15 - £20 per head extra to eat in one of the a la carte restaurants. The paid wi-fi was only available in the bar areas and not in the cabin or restaurants which seemed strange. Before we boarded the ship we registered a Visa card and were told that the card would not be charged until the last day when we settled the account. On day four we were handed a note saying that the bank had declined our Visa card and would we kindly go to reception to either register another card or deposit cash for our account. On going to reception we found that although they don't physically take money off the card until you settle your account, each night whatever you have spent during the day is 'reserved with your bank on the card'. As we hadn't transferred funds onto the card believing that nothing would be taken from the card until the end it had been declined!! The moral therefore is ensure that there is sufficient funds available on your card for them to 'reserve' each day or it will be declined before you come to settle up!! The service we received was excellent and many staff would go out of their way to serve you. The food was pretty good and varied and we enjoyed chatting to other guests on the shared tables in the waiter service restaurant. Many of the more seasoned cruisers were disappointed with the Celebration as it didn't come up to the standard of many other cruise ships but as first time cruisers we were quite happy with the service we received and the facilities available as we had nothing to compare it with. We enjoyed the entertainment that we saw whilst on board as well as having a flutter in the onboard casino. We had prebooked three trips before we left home and they are cheaper booking and paying online than purchasing on board. We were disappointed with two of the ports of call, Manama in Bahrain and Khasab in Oman as there was very little in either place. We took the free bus into Manama and got straight back on the first return bus as we were that disappointed with the place. We did however enjoy the trips we did in Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi. We would definitely go on a cruise again and most probably do another Thomson cruise as we liked the fact that it was a smallish ship and you soon got to know other guests in the surroundings. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We wanted to go to the Middle East. Having travelled with MSC before, which was luxurious, this ship felt like we were on a ferry - very tired and not very impressive. The brochure states that there are dancing lessons.....there were ... Read More
We wanted to go to the Middle East. Having travelled with MSC before, which was luxurious, this ship felt like we were on a ferry - very tired and not very impressive. The brochure states that there are dancing lessons.....there were none. There were not enough sun loungers and one day the guests looked like sardines as they were packed together, some having to sit on chairs. The food was so basic that it was shocking. It seemed that some was recycled. The desserts were disappointing - just a few sponges with various flavoured toppings and jelly. The main courses included toad in the hole, which is a nice basic homely food but not what you would expect on a cruise. It seemed that Thomson were really penny pinching trying to charge for everything they could. They were even collecting pens up from quizzes as soon as the quiz was over and sending someone out afterwards to make sure they didn't miss any!! The excursion team were absolutely useless and seemed to enjoy telling untruths even when caught out! The entertainment team were great and two of the groups were good. The cabin crew were great and really worked hard. This appeared to be a very low class cruise and most of the guests looked thoroughly miserable!! It has put us off of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was my first cruise for me and my girlfriend. In our 30's, we decided to test the water with a 'cheaper' cruise instead of going all out. Going in Feb meant that we were limited to hot places, hence the Arabian Night ... Read More
This was my first cruise for me and my girlfriend. In our 30's, we decided to test the water with a 'cheaper' cruise instead of going all out. Going in Feb meant that we were limited to hot places, hence the Arabian Night tour. My first impression wasn't a good one when we boarded. After requesting (over the phone) a double bed in our cabin, we were greeted with 2 single beds that cannot be moved. Obviously the cruise was a sell out so no chance of moving. The ship was tired, rooms a bit tatty, roof looked like it would fall at any time and no mod cons. we spent a week shacked up in a single bed - romantic! The thing that made me angry was all the extras. Despite already buying the 'all inclusive' package, we were pushed to upgrade further to the premium deal. This is where they get you as the house wines arnt great, so you want to go premium. Wifi too was expensive when most ports were free. Bingo too wasn't the cheapest at £5 a ticket so add it all together and you start to feel annoyed at thomson. Thats the bad. After a drink on the first day, we decided to enjoy it to the full and the staff were EXCELLENT!!! this is what made the trip. THE STAFF. Anton, Jeffry, Risnillo, and pretty much everyone made this trip exceptional. The weather was rubbish all week but the food, staff, entertainment and facilities were brilliant. So, whats my verdict. would i do it again? Yes, i would! Not because this is the biggest, smartest ship, but the fact we had a week of laughing and felt totally at ease with everyone on the ship. TOP TIPS!! ASK FOR A DOUBLE BED AND GET IT IN WRITING!!!!!!!!! Take a strip extension gang as there are 2 measly plugs in the room. Take ear plugs as i dont care what people say, its noisey!! You either get waves, engine hum, party goers next door or keen sight see=ers at 530am getting up when you went to bed 2 hours before!! Get your sunbeds early on sea days! You wont get one Eat in the waited restaurant. Brilliant staff and food Enjoy yourself! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
6th cruise with Thomson and 4th time on Celebration but am thinking this may be our last. First niggle was complete lack of info from Thomson prior to cruise. Maybe it was because we booked on line but prior information was scant ... Read More
6th cruise with Thomson and 4th time on Celebration but am thinking this may be our last. First niggle was complete lack of info from Thomson prior to cruise. Maybe it was because we booked on line but prior information was scant bordering on non-existent. Yes we got our E-Ticket and maybe if we had waded through all 27 pages we may have found some pertinent info, but for new travellers on the Arabian Nights Cruise, the UAE Dirham is NOT accepted in all ports of call. Separate currency is required in Doha (Qatar) and Muscat (Oman). The latter, the ship didn't have any currency for! Also dress code. We all appreciate the need to modify dress sense when going to the Middle East but ladies (depending on where you visit) you'll need clothing that covers your wrists and ankles and guys, lightweight full length trousers should be packed as a precaution. Next and probably worst were the flights. Our fault, we assumed (don't assume anything with Thomson) that for an approx. 8 hour flight (we flew from Birmingham) that we'd be on the Dreamliner instead we were on the most ancient, cramped 767. Our overnight outward flight was the most uncomfortable, no leg room, ridiculous narrow widths meaning it was impossible to eat anything without elbowing people either side - just dreadful. I'd happily have swapped places with a sardine in a can! Going back on the Celebration (4th time now) was like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. However we soon discovered that our slippers were getting ragged, tatty, full of holes and seen better days. The ship was sailing pretty much close to capacity and boy did it show. Scramble for beds, long queues when dining and though all the waiters did their best there was such a long wait for dinner courses and drinks. The food was ok. I saw a previous review that said there was no red meat unless a surcharge was paid. Nearly every day there was a beef or lamb option plus plenty of chicken, turkey and pork. Yes if you wanted a premium cut of meat you'd have to pay a surcharge but we found the menu's perfectly acceptable. Sorry but entertainment was poor this year. Didn't recognise any from previous years and with the exception of Charlie, these guys can't sing. Yelling out chorus' is fine but any solo or melodic tunes was way below standard of previous years. Another place to avoid is Destination Services. We asked for a quote for a cruise in December and were given a written quote 3 TIMES more expensive than on-line. After much prodding they did reduce but didn't acknowledge they'd made a mistake. Another time my friend was told by DS staff that she shouldn't be working as it was 10 minutes past when her shift finished. That may have been true and I have sympathy if they are so short staffed but you do not SAY that to a customer. Shameful. The ports of call were ok with Dubai and Abu Dhabi the standard places. Spectacular. Our one big regret and this is a MUST for people who are staying over in Dubai is to visit the city at night time and experience the light shows, fountains, skyline etc.. We didn't since we were so knackered having arrived from an overnight flight on the Tuesday lunchtime. Russle up the energy and get a taxi or shuttle and visit the Dubai Mall at night. Our biggest regret we didn't. Look, we know where Thomson are pitching their cruises in terms of pricing, facilities, ships etc. We do not expect 5 star luxury, even 4 star in places. You get what you pay for so don't go expecting too much if you've paid £600 odd (plus/minus). Our feeling is that the best of the Celebration in terms of staff, talent, waiters etc.. have been cherry picked for the more illustrious in the fleet, Discovery etc.. and what's left is the 'B' team. They all do their best, are grossly under staffed and I'm sure that many of us have found absolute diamonds during our cruise. But there is a level of complacency set in amongst Thomson staff (not ship staff) where customer service (and loyalty for regular travellers) is no longer important. They don't seem happy and standards have definitely dropped. Enjoy your cruise but dampen down your expectation levels a notch or two. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin ... Read More
Wouldn't book a Thomson cruise ever again! Poor flight, horrible airport miles from the port as they don't fly to the nearest international one. Very old ship, very noisy and bathroom in badly need of updating. Can here cabin neighbours next to you. Food repeated and shows were boring after a few nights of watching them Excursions expensive for what you got. Sunbeds need replacing and you could never find one without a towel on. Unless you wanted to spend money on all the extras the basic price and drinks package didn't include very much. On a positive the staff were lovely and friendly. Just a shame Thomson sell an itinerary that won't be repeated because of safety concerns around the middle east. I will recomend anyone considering booking to not bother and choose a company that specialize in cruising! Have booked to go with celebrity x and their brand new ship Edge in two years time....can't wait! I liked cruising just not with Thomson! Their post customer service department is a joke and reply with a standard i'm sorry but nothing more. Avoid at all cost Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Very good cruise, love that Thompson are very organised and have excellent staff, from Airways to Cruise. Everything was as planned. Description of ports and itinerary was clear. Celebration is an oldish ship but has character and I ... Read More
Very good cruise, love that Thompson are very organised and have excellent staff, from Airways to Cruise. Everything was as planned. Description of ports and itinerary was clear. Celebration is an oldish ship but has character and I enjoyed the experience. I felt the itinerary of the cruise was worth it. One thing I would like though is white fluffy towels which, all American Cruise lines have. Thompson please ditch those towels, they should have gone in the bin a long time ago. Once I book a Thompson cruise I know I am in good hands. Lots of options on ship, which I like. Another suggestion I would make, which other cruise lines are now doing, is checking on unoccupied sun loungers where towels have been left on the sun beds. Unbelievably some people put their towels on the sun beds then go on excursions for a couple of hours. A member of Staff goes around and puts a note on any unattended sun beds, with the time on it and advises that if not occupied within 30-40 minutes the towel will be removed. This is only fair. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had a party of 12 family members cruising the ‘Cities of Gold’ end of January / start of February. This included Dubai; Bahrain; Oman (Muscat and Khasab); Abu Dhabi and back to Dubai (with an overnight stay). We flew from ... Read More
We had a party of 12 family members cruising the ‘Cities of Gold’ end of January / start of February. This included Dubai; Bahrain; Oman (Muscat and Khasab); Abu Dhabi and back to Dubai (with an overnight stay). We flew from Manchester on a 767 – comfortable overnight flight of just under 8 hours. When we checked in at Manchester there was a desk for cruise passengers providing luggage labels for cases and instructions confirming that we DID have to collect our cases from the carousel on arrival and transfer them to the coach. Would have been nice if they were transferred directly – but no big issues, and it was all made very clear. We flew to Dubai - Al Maktoum airport – which is about an hour outside of Dubai. Although the airport is brand new and state of the art, it still took 1.5 hours from landing to getting our cases. After loading cases to the coach the next we saw of them was when they were delivered to our cabins. This was really smooth – only about an hour after boarding. Check in at the cruise terminal was smooth. We were provided with our ship’s card, and waited no more than ten minutes to have a picture taken and provide credit card details. Actually – debt card – Thomson made it very clear that they charged a supplement/charge of 1.5% for credit cards. The straight onto the ship. And what a delight. Yes, the celebration is an older ship – she’s been around for over 30 years under various names and line. She’s “traditional”; teak promenade decks and a capacity of around 1200 – a change from my last cruise on NCL EPIC huge at over 4000 passengers and almost all decks surrounded with Perspex (great for stopping the wind, but deprived of that outdoor, cruising feeling of resting against a balustrade and watching the sea…..but I’m getting poetic!) Cabin. I had an interior cabin. Large, very comfortable double bed (and a proper double, not two singles stuck together); Desk/dressing table; tea/coffee facilities; mini bar; more than ample cupboard/wardrobe space and adequate shower room. All perfectly clean, comfortable and in good order. It was not the most modern room ever, and would benefit from some redecoration – but overall, a great room for my week’s cruise. The cabin steward, Joseph, introduced himself within minutes and was at always at hand for the week, if needed. He did a smashing job of keeping the cabin clean and tidy. He had the perfect balance of being available but unobtrusive. Thank you Joseph. There is one Main Dining Room – The Meridian. We had accepted that with open seating the chances of all of our party getting a table together was slim. We were wrong. On the first night we were asked if we would like them to arrange a table for 12 (yes please!). Not only that but they reserved this table for u all at the same time every evening of the cruise. Now that’s service. We can’t give enough thanks to Benji, our head waiter, and our main table waiters Noel and Patrick, for the superb service we received throughout the cruise. They made dining a pleasure. Well – the food also helped…this was excellent – not a negative comment all week. There was sufficient choice to suit a variety of tastes, and after soups, starters, main, deserts, cheese, and coffee (and of course sufficient wine to accompany the food) we were nothing but spoilt. We all left the cruise a good half stone heavier than when we arrived. There were two specialist restaurants positioned just off the MDR, but we didn't try these. With the quality in the MDR we didn't need to ! For breakfast and lunch we used the Lido buffet. Great selection of well-presented and tasty food. Just outside of the buffet on deck more food snack type food was available – e.g. pizza or panini. No-one went short of anything to eat all week. One evening we paid the (modest) extra amount – about £15 each) to have to experience of the ‘hot stone meal’ on the deck. This was an enjoyable evening – but we all drew the conclusion that having to cook your own food was not what restaurant dining is about. Fun – but the food didn’t benefit, so won’t be repeating. However, our waiters (Noel and Patrick) from the MDR came to see us on deck to say hello and make sure we were enjoying ourselves. How friendly – above and beyond what I would expect. Throughout the ship is a selection of lounges and bars which each have their own character. Some of the ones we visits were: Broadway show lounge – quiet during the day, big picture widows to the outside, can sit and relax. Sometimes could also watch rehearsals for future evening entertainment being conducted on the stage. At night there was a selection of musical revue style shows (e.g. a Michael Jackson show; and a show with selections from the musicals produced by Cameron Mackintosh). Coffee bar – bright and modern seating area proving coffee and cakes. There was an extra charge for the coffee here – but it was modest – and certainly less than most high street chains Horizons – probably my favourite. At the front of the ship (and took a little finding) on deck 9. Lots of wing chairs facing picture windows so you can watch out to see. During the day, very quiet and peaceful. In the evening the bar had live music (e.g. vocalist/pianist) and became a classy cocktail bar – ideal for a pre-dinner drink. Lovely. Liberties – we only went here in the evening. Late night cabaret/night club. Loud, but good atmosphere – nice way to end a good night out. Service at all of the bars was excellent. We were on an all-inclusive drinks package (highly recommended) – but the drinks were at a very reasonable price for those who were paying on the ship. Ports of call Bahrain – nice to say I’ve been! Could have been any town in that part of the world. For me, had little character and I won’t be hurrying back Muscat (Oman) – what a delight. A free courtesy bus takes you to the port gates then a five minute walk from the port takes you to the town. We walked around the bay, the main roads were planted with an abundance of colourful flowers. In the town there a wonderful souk. And everyone was so friendly. Everywhere we were greeted with a smile and warm welcome. Some of our party hired a minibus/taxi at the port gates and paid for a two hour tour around Muscat. Cheap way to do an excursion – and comes highly recommended. Khasab (Oman) – a free tender from the ship takes passengers to Khasab – then a 15 minute walk to the town. There is very little here, except a fort (with museum – which was really interesting), and a huger hypermarket (bizarre, middle of nowhere, no one around, but a massive shop!). However, I was lucky enough to get the last place on a Thomson organised cycle trip from the tender port. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the week. The tour gave the opportunity to go up into the stunning mountains and ravines, see wonderful lakes, tiny villages, cave paintings, beaches, and travel back down to the town to visit the fort (and the hypermarket!). This was well organised with frequent stops and an informative and personable guide. You’d need to be a reasonably proficient cyclist. I would definitely take another cycle tour. Brilliant day. Abu Dhabi – We took a Thomson excursion of a city tour and a visit the Grand Mosque. What a stunning place. There were dress restrictions (strictly enforced) so everyone complied with the cultural requirements of the mosque – and we had been informed of these when we booked (e.g. long trousers, long sleeves, and ladies covering their hair). The Mosque can hold 40000 worshipers – you can imagine its size. Wonderful building in white marble. Breath-taking and very spiritual place – and as with everywhere we visited, a warm and friendly welcome. Our coach took us along the promenade in Abu Dhabi – this looked delightful walk (I’d have liked another cycle ride down here), but we didn’t get a chance to get out. Perhaps another visit is calling! Dubai – Huge sprawling city. The buildings are spectacular and completed to standards approaching perfection. We visits a 5* hotel from a family birthday meal – what wonderful experience that was. This place is about money. And displays of money. Decide for yourself if that’s for you. Other comments Some other reviews had mentioned things like ‘the dreadful vibration’ of the ship. Nonsense. You could tell you were moving – same as you can in a car or a plane – but that’s never described as a dreadful vibration. It was actually a bonus; it made you feel like you were cruising, not just in some isolated floating hotel. It had no negative impact at any time, and in no way affected sleep. Cabin walls might have been thin, or the people next door had load voices and an inability to speak quietly and respect their neighbours (I expect the latter) - and I could hear pretty much everything next door. Sunbeds. Barely enough and the sun decks got very packed. There must be some way to stop the sunbed hoggers who put towels on the beds then disappear? The ship is in excellent order, spotlessly clean and the public rooms welcoming and well decorated. Overall – a wonderful cruise. The Celebration might be an old lady of the sea, but let’s think of her as motherly. The staff were warm and friendly. I would be more than happy to cruise with Thomson again…might try the Discovery. A slightly larger ship, with perhaps more sun beds would be great. But I will take with me fond memories of a terrific week on Celebration. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise as the dates worked for us, the weather and the places that it visited. These cities were ones that we hadn't visited before but were intrigued by them. This was our first cruise and thought a week would be ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the dates worked for us, the weather and the places that it visited. These cities were ones that we hadn't visited before but were intrigued by them. This was our first cruise and thought a week would be good for a first one. The flight was over night and it seemed to take a long time to get on board. We had an extra day in Dubai before we sailed, so we got to spend some time in the city. However, there was lots we couldn't do as we had to be back on the ship. The boat had obviously done a few miles and was looking a bit ragged round the edges, but we had a great cabin, quite high up and semi- detached'. The cleanliness was great and the housekeeping chap was very attentive. Overall, the food was good but very British. One thing I really missed from this experience was not being able to take in the cities in the evening, find a nice restaurant and people watch, as we always had to be on the boat to sail to the next port. My biggest complaint was the comic they had one night, he was awful, stuck in the 70's with attitudes to match. Very offensive! I don't think that we will be going on a cruise again any time soon. Also it felt like everything was an excuse to get you to spend more money, we had got the drinks package, but would still have had to pay extra for coffee in the code lounge, certain cocktails, then the excursions, then some of the activities, the list goes on. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
this was a typical thomson cruise great staff great food , the ship is just showing it's age . cabins old the pa cannot be heard in the cabins . having said this the cruise was great because of staff on board nothing was to much ... Read More
this was a typical thomson cruise great staff great food , the ship is just showing it's age . cabins old the pa cannot be heard in the cabins . having said this the cruise was great because of staff on board nothing was to much trouble Mario and robins where the best bar staff on the cruise. We were at the front of the ship and got most of the beating when the sea was rough. The ship judderred all night therefore not much sleep. The Celebration is a lovely ship with down to earth wonderful people however she is getting tired. We have cruised on her before and she was wonderful. Cruise Itinery we boarded the ship at Dubai everything was fine cases arrived on time at our cabin, the bar was open, the food was being served. Happy days just as we expected. We then went to bed and woke up in Doha Qatar. Got the free shuttle to the local market the city was spotless the market was friendly with no hassle a great free excursion. Then we sailed to Muscat Oman. This is a dry state so we stayed onbourd all day at the bar. Khor Fakkan. This port is on another planet all the passengers had to disempark walk through a tent and pressent passports then go back onbourd. This was not the fault of Thompson but this port was a cargo port. Another day at the bar. Next day at sea and the drinks were flownig. Wonderfull. Day 4 we woke up in Abu Dhabi, this was a great place to stop with loads to do, we got the free shuttle to the shopping Mall and went on the ferris wheel and took loads of pictures lots of window shopping and even bought a Mc Donalds which we never eat at hime. Back to the ship and the bar.Last day Dubai fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 18th cruise, we even did the Thomson inaugural cruise and Thomson is my ‘go to’ cruise line mainly because of the drinks pricing, many cruise lines charge a 15% service charge for every drink which soon mounts up and also ... Read More
This was our 18th cruise, we even did the Thomson inaugural cruise and Thomson is my ‘go to’ cruise line mainly because of the drinks pricing, many cruise lines charge a 15% service charge for every drink which soon mounts up and also the tipping which is included but we did tip as we felt fit. The atmosphere on the ship in the restaurant was very serious not at all like the other ships which is a big part of my cruise, when the dining room staff do the baked Alaska dance and staff perform during dinner-always well appreciated. One of the managers in there was so serious faced-I never saw him smile once and seemed to be watching the staff intently and made a pleasurable fun time very serious and I was loathed to speak to the waiters in case they got in trouble for talking too much. The cleanliness and food in all areas was faultless, as was the entertainment and people went into the theatre early as it was quite small but then there was an opportunity to buy the best seats, which I thought was a bit much. The sound from adjoining rooms was loud (at night) especially as there were many people with bad coughs etc. which added to the problem but the cabin was very clean and tidy. The duty free prices for alcohol on see days was excellent- 2x1l bottles of Gordons gin for £16. The internet pricing was very expensive but most of the ports had free wi-fi and everybody including staff used this. The excursions were pricey but prices in the Emirates seemed expensive anyway. My main gripe with Thomson is their flexible pricing-so watch the prices before you book as they vary a lot. I booked almost a year in advance and paid over the top but sometimes the all-inclusive prices seemed to rise when the basic price dropped so I would like to see past customers (and there are a lot of people that sail with Thomson all the time-almost like a club) get the best price prices-like frequent flyer tiers without the worry of it being cheaper at another time. I even wrote to the CEO but never got a reply. I have been on the Royal Caribbean ships that Thomson have bought and am sure they will add to Thomsons popularity-hopefully with plenty of sunbeds as it always seems a general cruising hassle. I was disappointed as the flight landed at another airport which was about an hours drive-shame really as the main airport in Dubai is awesome and this one wasn’t very good at all. The itinerary was good and I enjoyed the cruise but will definitely make sure I book another cruise after carefully monitoring the prices. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have travelled on Thomson's ships several times over the years and liked the idea of a cruise from Dubai. Prior to sailing however I checked out some of the recent reviews on the Celebration and travelled expecting the ship to ... Read More
We have travelled on Thomson's ships several times over the years and liked the idea of a cruise from Dubai. Prior to sailing however I checked out some of the recent reviews on the Celebration and travelled expecting the ship to have gone down hill since we were last on it. However I am pleased to report the ship is still one of the best in terms of atmosphere, service and value. I genuinely don't know what some people have got to complain about. it is not a 5 star ship but doesn't pretend to be and you get, in my view, more than you pay for. The information provided by Thomson prior to the cruise was scant to say the least and we were left wondering about visa requirements and currencies. Future passengers should note that NO visas are required and that the United Arab Emirates Diram is accepted in each of the countries visited on this cruise. American Dollars are also accepted in some places. We flew from Glasgow to Al Maktoum airport with a transfer time of around an hour, that was a bit disappointing. Check in at the port was easy and quick, We were in cabin 666 (don't say it!!) on deck 2. Size wise the cabin was perfectly adequate with lots of hanging space for clothes. Shower room is small but serves it's purpose. The food on board, both in the formal dinning room and the buffet restaurant, was very good with a wide variety to choose from at each meal. Again if you want 5 star fine dining then this is not the cruise ship for you, The entertainment in the main show lounge was magnificent, some of the best singers and dancers I have seen on any cruise ship. A real joy. The only disappointment for me was the weather, early 20's in the mornings but it got cold and windy from about 3pm onwards. Take a jumper or cardigan if you want to sit outdoors. Each of the ports of call were well worth a visit, make full use of the free shuttle buses on offer, some are mandatory if you are getting of the ship. Disembarking the ship was again easy and straightforward. Now the downside, the return transfer to the airport. Al Maktoum is undergoing a massive renovation and only sections of it are open. The transfer to the airport took just over 1 hour and then we had to wait on the coach for a further hour just outside the terminal, no explanation was given for the hold up but we subsequently found out the airport authorities only allow 2 coaches to unload at the terminal at any one time. We then queued for a further hour to get our boarding passes. No doubt this will be sorted out at some point in the future but it's something passengers should be aware of. All in all a very pleasant experience and not one that bears any relation to the poor reviews some people have given previously. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Have been on a few Thomson cruises which we have enjoyed, this was the first time on the Celebration. We had a disabled room , cabin 100, which was a double, we had ordered a twin, so the steward brought us a very low put me up bed which ... Read More
Have been on a few Thomson cruises which we have enjoyed, this was the first time on the Celebration. We had a disabled room , cabin 100, which was a double, we had ordered a twin, so the steward brought us a very low put me up bed which neither of could use so in the end shared the double, the disabled wet room was very good. We enjoyed the food in the Meridian most evenings meeting some lovely people to chat to, however the Lido buffet resembled a factory canteen with not much main course choice. The food in the Lido on formal night was very poor, surely the menu should be the same in both restaurants whether you want to dress up or not.. The entertainment was ok, nowhere near as good as the Dream last Summer, the show team were often out of tune and appeared to struggle. Enjoyed Dubai and Abu Dhabi, not keen on the other stops, Muscat was a no no with many people we spoke to. So all in all, it was ok, could have been better. The staff, as on all Thomsons ships were brilliant but as someone else said, its time this vibrating old ship got replaced. I believe the Discovery is wonderful, so the sooner they get the other Discoveries, the better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Cities of Gold Thomson Celebration 10/01/17 to 18/01/17 We had our best ever transit through Gatwick with Cathy in wheelchair and Dariusdave limping alongside. Our only disappointment was that we would not be flying a “Dreamliner” ... Read More
Cities of Gold Thomson Celebration 10/01/17 to 18/01/17 We had our best ever transit through Gatwick with Cathy in wheelchair and Dariusdave limping alongside. Our only disappointment was that we would not be flying a “Dreamliner” to Dubai. Seats in the old Boeing felt cramped but night flight uneventful. Transit through Dubai was good, a decent pusher looked after Cathy and eventually our two cases appeared. We were helped to our coach and Dariusdave enjoyed our journey from airport to Cruise terminal and Celebration. This would be our third Celebration cruise, pre-boarding procedures were smoothly accomplished. We were greeted as old friends as we boarded and escorted to our “accessibility cabin” 103. Well Celebration is an ageing French lady with all the idiosyncrasies and temperaments one might expect. We selected this cruise as a first trip to The Gulf hoping the sun would help our arthritic joints. Cabin 103 Our cheerful cabin boy guided us to cabin 103 and despite a few sharp turns and narrow corridors we encountered our first Celebration idiosyncrasy, the cabin door was too narrow for Cathy’s chariot. So our response was simple, for the remainder of the cruise, Cathy would stand open the door Dariusdave would fold the wheelchair then enter. Cabin 103 was fascinating. The bathroom door was wide enough to allow the wheelchair to enter. But to create a decent wet room the floor had been raised hence there was a steep “ramp” from bedroom to bathroom. Fortunately Cathy could walk up and down this ramp. Otherwise the bathroom was good possessing many grab rails, a loo that vacuum flushed, a fine basin and a shower with a seat and again plenty of grab rails. All worked well. Our bed was comfortable, had room underneath for our cases. There was plenty of wardrobe space with quality hangers. There were chests of drawers a writing desk and flat screen television, kettle with tea and coffee making facility. Dariusdave found a 13 square pin plug for his sleep apnoea machine. We managed to move around and store Cathy’s chariot. Yes there was a safe and we paid knowing our insurance would cover its contents cameras, I-pad, passports, phones etc. As Celebration returners we were used to the vibration particularly in port where Dariusdave has previously mentioned that the rubber mountings for the generators had perished years ago. Food Glorious Food Times have changed aboard Celebration since our previous visit. A humorous Spanish waiter was stationed near the lifts with poster, table and tickets flogging a meal deal. Celebration was, for a fee, offering Hot Stone Steaks (on deck back of Lido Restaurant), Curry House (Kora La) and a Fine dine at Mistral’s. Well Dariusdave is succour for bargain dines so we bought the package. Except for the last breakfast and our three dinner packages we wined, dined and breakfasted at The Meridian Restaurant. Seasoned third world travellers we enjoyed every meal. We had plenty of choices and compared to Thomson’s Spirit the service was always “Ship shape and Bristol fashion”. Rather like “Are You Being Served” the crew’s rank was reflected in their uniform, but we were delighted the way a pair of young Officers (one male, one female) always welcomed us and prepared a table where Cathy could sit with dignity. Celebration’s Meridian Restaurant crew worked as a team, there was a spirit of helping guests creating a relaxed atmosphere conducive to friendly conversation. Evenings we regularly dined with a Lancastrian couple retired publicans who had a cricketing son and a Yorkshire couple. The Yorkshire couple proud of their arranged marriage one Sikh, one Hindu, the retired teacher knew our daughter’s school. Diversity amongst pensioners was one of many enjoyable aspects to this cruise. Entertainment It has to be said we really missed Maris & Thomas Intense singing on deck 9 Horizons Bar and before Captain’s Welcome evening speech. We always loved Maris & Thomas who were friendly, professional singers who entertained bantering with their adoring audience. Regret Thomson need to send out the talent scouts as replacements on Cities of Gold Cruise were like watching a coarse rugby team when used to being entertained a Premiership team. However our dining friends kept inviting us to join them in the Broadway Show Lounge. Now Dariusdave a regular to London’s Westend (Mowtown my birthday treat in April) has been a tad critical of shows on previous cruises. Cities of Gold Jan 2017 was a great improvement, Cathy loved these shows even when watching from her chariot which sometimes offered a restricted view. Yes we were entertained so let’s say a big thank you to the Show Squad. Trips We came to see The Cities Of Gold, we had booked “panoramic” trips for every port. Yet again Dariusdave’s theory that cruise ships attract first class guides was confirmed. Every trip was a delight frequently with bonus items. 12th Jan Manama Bahrain what should have been a quick photo stop turned into a guided tour of the Al Fatah Grand Mosque. Men were invited to wear a Dash, our Lady Guide dressed in Hajib was informative mentioning at least 12 times ”our creator God” and readily responded to questions. Dariusdave at the end of the tour sought explanations regarding Mary the Mother of Jesus. Our Guide detailed what Dariusdave had heard at Sultan Ahmet (Blue Mosque) Istanbul, that Mary is the most important lady on earth, more important than the guides mother or daughter that Mary is mentioned more often in The Koran than the four Gospels. Dariusdave was first given Chapter 19 from The Koran “Maryam” and later an English translation for The Koran. Our guide and other official helpers at “The Book Table” kept repeating that there were no charges in this or any other Mosque. As an Ecumenical Anglican I wish our Senior Clergy Deans and Bishops could learn from these sincere folk when imposing charges to visit or pray in English Cathedrals. Dariusdave was worried when rumour suggested that the Khasab trip would require tenders. Would Cathy be able to go ashore? Questions were put to the Thomson trip team located by The Coffee Port. Delighted to be assured that if Cathy could descend a few steps Thomson crew were proficient and experienced at transferring mobility challenged passengers to tenders. Yes they succeeded with dignity. Interesting while we were waiting Captain Krzysztof was “prowling around” very hands on making sure that all was well and safe. We felt the Khasab trip was exceptional, possibly the best. Our Egyptian Guide was most informative. We enjoyed his tales about the “smugglers” how most days 30-50 speedboats equipped with large Yamaha outboard engines speed across The Straits of Hormuz from Iran bringing livestock and Saffron, returning with electronics (flat screen t.v’s, computers, Marlborough and heaven forbid Johnnie Walker). So much for United Nations or E.U. sanctions from our coach we saw the smugglers fleet leaving Khasab a most impressive flotilla. We were amused with our Abu Dhabi trip; we passed through a “duty free” area with free Wi-Fi. It seemed most the crew were here communicating with their families and perhaps taking advantage of the posters offering free money transfers to Philippines. The highlight of this trip should have been The Gold Souk; Dariusdave was under pressure to purchase a Sapphire treat for Cathy to commemorate 45 years marriage. No luck, our Yorkshire friends (call a spade a spade) suggested on our return there was nothing they would want to be seen wearing in England. Conclusions We kept mentioning to crew how much we were looking forward to re-joining Celebration in August to cruise from Newcastle to St Petersburg. Cities Of Gold was a wonderful much enjoyed cruise, most aspects were sheer delight. Sad to report Celebration this grand old French lady is doomed; the TUI accountants had already decided not to return to Cities Of Gold winter 2018. But even worse have decide like a Dr Beeching in the steam era, to take this popular much loved lady out of service. Steam train Tornado puffed through Swindon bound for Cardiff St David’s day 2017. Every bridge, every safe photo position and station platforms were crowded with old steam train enthusiasts. The same people who would happily ignore a frayed carpet or worn joinery item so they could celebrate an old fashioned little liner Celebration cruise with friendly fellow passengers and cheerful crew. Footnote I treasure an official photo dated 16. 01. 2017 Abu Dhabi UAE Thomson Celebration. It shows Dariusdave pushing Cathy in her chariot both of us smiling happy as can be alongside Celebration. Sunday 22 January we retired to bed together, sadly The Grim Reaper called before sunrise Monday 23 January our 45 year marriage unexpectedly ended no more cruises or holidays. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise as something special for our golden wedding anniversary. When we booked it at our local Thomson shop we told them why we were booking it, and they said they would inform Thomson of our special day. We have only ever ... Read More
We chose this cruise as something special for our golden wedding anniversary. When we booked it at our local Thomson shop we told them why we were booking it, and they said they would inform Thomson of our special day. We have only ever sailed with Thomson many many times but this one might just be our last. The ship itself is past its sell by date, the noise and vibration seems to get louder and louder. Yes the cabins are quite large enough, reasonably comfortable and well attended to by happy hardworking cabin staff. The food is quite good, excellent service in the Meridian Restaurant, but tends to be just lukewarm in the Lido. The show team are very good putting on quite high standard shows most nights. On our special night we were in Muscat and what did Thomson do? Nothing!! We had traveled with friends and they mentioned this to our 2 waiters who immediately recruited a guitarist and sang a couple of songs to us Brilliant. There is nowhere on the ship to sit with friends and enjoy a quiet drink and a chat without loud music of some description being played. One of our friends spent 3 days in her cabin after catching the flu bug that was going round the ship, not only affecting passengers but a lot of the crew as well including the Captain who had to postpone his reception due to illness. The ports visited were so vast it was almost a military operation just to get ashore, in Dubai there was £6 on the taxi meter and we had only just got to the port gates.. All in all a very disappointing cruise as this is not an itinerary where you can easily get ashore and spend a pleasant day wandering around as most of the places visited are massive cities where you cant walk and have to go from place to place via taxi. Its sad to say but Thomson cruises are becoming the Butlins at sea, as a large number of passengers just seem quite content on all inclusive to sit all day long drinking themselves senseless, wandering around the ship, especially in the Lido restaurant, in swimwear, with crew on duty turning a blind eye. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Everything about our time spent on the ship was great - couldn't fault the staff, food, entertainment and cleanliness of all areas. The cabin was very spacious and catered adequately to our needs with plenty of wardrobe space, ... Read More
Everything about our time spent on the ship was great - couldn't fault the staff, food, entertainment and cleanliness of all areas. The cabin was very spacious and catered adequately to our needs with plenty of wardrobe space, hairdryer, safe (which you could use for a fee) & on-suite shower. There was an abundance of delicious food in the buffet restaurant and out on deck - it was always well cooked and hot. This was our first cruise and we booked it at a very reasonable price (all inclusive). However, once on board we were to discover that not everything was included - if you wanted a premium drink (my husband only drinks Guinness) this would mean that we had to pay another £70 each for the upgrade to premium (even though I was happy with the drinks included in the all inclusive deal, because we were sharing a cabin this meant that I also had to pay for the upgrade = £140 on our price. The Costa Coffee shop on board was not included in the all inclusive package - so this meant that if you fancied a Costa Coffee/hot chocolate etc. you needed to pay for it!!! Also, if you wanted to eat a la carte at one of the restaurants you needed to make a booking and pay for your meal. Be aware that the Thomson excursions are pretty expensive and we found it much better to arrange our own. I think we would do a little more research before booking another cruise - as to what exactly is included in the all inclusive and the price of excursions with the company. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
we had been on the celebration before , we like to go away for new years eve ,when Dubai came up we jumped at the chance the flight out was brilliant staff attentive as alw. Once onboard our ship we had booked our room and we were not ... Read More
we had been on the celebration before , we like to go away for new years eve ,when Dubai came up we jumped at the chance the flight out was brilliant staff attentive as alw. Once onboard our ship we had booked our room and we were not disappointed comfortable bed with lovely linen and those pillows wow , I am fussy with pilllows . T he restaurants bars are so attentive to you, the food was exceptional something for everyone ,, the waiters in meridian were first class , my husband got some sun cream in his eye and down at the bar on the sundeck a lovely waiter brought him some ice in a plastic bag ,, and hey presto husband eye felt a lot better , the broadway show bar was great with some really good shows ,, I could go on and on but I will say one thing if you dont want to go to some noisy places there is always somewere quiet you can find loved it ,, if you are thinking of going on this cruise jump to the chance there are some really great deals on at the minute also you get a couple of courtesy drinks on the plane by the way ,, I have been on 3 royal carribean ant they are beautiful ships , but personally I would go back on the celebration some people write some reviews but all I can say , try it you wont be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Retirement present for self and Husband. Never been on a cruise before, went with another couple who were seasoned at cruising. Staff on ship friendly, but lack of contact communication from Thompson reps, seemed to walk past the ... Read More
Retirement present for self and Husband. Never been on a cruise before, went with another couple who were seasoned at cruising. Staff on ship friendly, but lack of contact communication from Thompson reps, seemed to walk past the passengers without any communication. Cabin staff worked very hard, and keen to please, our. Cabin was on the outside, but spoiled by air conditioner and engine noise, and vibration at all times Fantastic food, available at any time Great not to have to worry about cash as all inclusive, but this lead to abuse of alcohol especially with youngsters. Great New Year Party organised. Despite an adults only pool, children were often the occupier of this facility. The ship did look dated and tired, but not too big which made getting about easy. Trips, especially the 4 x 4 into the mountains was a complete waste of money, -driver couldn't speak any English, and the entire journey was in silence, photo stop on way back for electric pylon!!- what is that about??- should have complained but just glad to get back to ship.Sight seeing trip in Dubai was also a disaster due to fog- in realty saw absolutely nothing- pity there was no provision when the trip organisers knew the weather was against what the aim was. Unsure if I would cruise again-didn't float my boat! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The cruise was billed as a luxury cruise, lovely ship and service. The opposite was true. Embarkation was easy and we were on in minutes, after a long flight (Thomson an hour delay too) we needed to rest. First impressions of the ... Read More
The cruise was billed as a luxury cruise, lovely ship and service. The opposite was true. Embarkation was easy and we were on in minutes, after a long flight (Thomson an hour delay too) we needed to rest. First impressions of the ship..tired and old and nothing very attractive about it..too little sundeck space so nowhere to sit or lie in the sun as beds literally crammed in. The ship has an almost constant large vibration you can feel no matter what deck you are on..and i mean it SHAKES you. Several people i spoke to had moved cabins as found it hard to sleep but found no resolution as the whole ship shook. Even the Captain at his cocktal party when asking if people enjoyed themselves so far got a booo when it came to asking about the ship and said 'yes shes old' or something to that effect! Anyway given one twin cabin one double which i was supposed to share with my 11yr old..asked for a change of cabin and told doubles are rare and in need so they will sort but it didnt happen so my husband shared with our 14yr old son in the double all week. The cabins were ok good size but tired, bedding and towels not a good colour of grey! You could hear people turn over in bed next door and coughing..all night. Or coming in from the bar at 3am fighting/screaming/shouting...The aircon didnt work and i assume they know this as they sent me a fan right away when i asked..no repair man first even..and the fan was broken i had to prop it with a box we had. The safety/muster talk went on for ages, even telling us to be careful on deck cos can be slippy..and to be careful as some doorways to the deck are raised and it can be breezy on deck etc..really? the longest most boring hot muster ever experienced. We quickly became aware of the boozy mentality of a lot of our fellow passengers...boasting they were 'all inclusive' drinks and at the bar at 10am with pints. We even witnessed the 'Captains cocktail party' people downing the champagne glass after glass and had the cheek to lean back and put the empties on our table! i mean to the point where the wife couldnt walk without holding her husband who had said loudly 'shes going for a beer' (champagne!) So many nice people who expected a civilised trip. We had feral teens with no adults (asleep in the cabin!) while they screamed, shouted and upset people with their language..dug their hands in food, removed baubles from the trees to use as footballs..left unchallenged til passengers actually took it on themselves to sort them. People were so angry. It was day 5 before they were told the adults with them needed to stay with them all the time for the remainder of the cruise. On each cruise we have been on my young for his age, but wise, 14yr old joins kids club with his 11yr old sibling, is no trouble to anyone and joins in the quizes and games but was refused even tho there were few kids in the club. I was told NO most def. Neither of them went to kids club after that.. Food selection was quite poor..a few evenings my son and i who dont like red meat ate crackers and cheese or made rolls..vegetarian options were thin on the ground. We asked for omelettes one day in the meridian but they were tasteless. Xmas dinner was the worst ive ever had..nothing that resembled gravy! no extras to make it feel special...oh other than a table with scattered 'quality street' on it! Entertainment wasnt my thing but my partner enjoyed it..its the same every evening but one, the thomson crew singing and dancing...on the one evening we had a comedy magician he wasn't much cop..expected better especially over xmas! A quiz each afternoon and a resident band singing on deck (her voice can clear your ears) was the rest of the entertainment for families. Staff onboard were lovely and service excellent (ship staff) we couldnt have asked for much more. Thomson reps were rude, and gave very wrong info to me on more than one occasions. Thankfully i got advice at the port and was put right. (they told me in Dubai you cant use public beaches with swimsuits on..and they would be too crowded!....we found a beach with no-one within 100yds of us and pure clear waters, and we bathed for 4hrs in our swimsuits! ) Made to disembark for the flight home at 5.45am but the coach sat there for 30 minutes before we left...got to the airport at 7am for the 9.15am flight..told it was delayed an hour..waited til 2pm before being told we werent flying. No info at all all day..told there was no public address system. After asking told to go to mcds for lunch-a queue of over an hour..eventually after waiting an hour for cases back and 90minutes in the foyer of the airport we left at 5.10pm to be taken to premier inn and arrive 3 coach loads taking almost 2hrs to check-in..my partner was given 3 lots of rooms! the first two he was given had people in them when he opened the doors! During all this time the Thomson rep avoided us and because no-one knew what was happening people were getting angry. We were told the flight was going to be 3am the next morning..so not even a nights sleep..ended up being 10am scheduled to another early start and even then it was delayed again. i was told groups of young adults were making a nuisance of themselves on deck 3 fighting and punched a cabin wall and cracked it, drunk and had even threatened to burn people out of their cabins. Staff refused to call police as said it would be too dangerous to put them off ship in the UAE! I could go on all day..but will leave you with this as it sums up their attitude to us. Quote of the day...one passenger asks 'is there water on the coach?' as we leave the airport at 5.10pm after being there since 7am...rep answers 'no' man says..'we have been here since 7am you know we need more drinks?' rep replies 'yeh so have i' Man (and several on the coach) YES BUT YOU'RE GETTING PAID TO BE HERE!! My best tip? dont ever book a thomson flight or cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click