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4 Marella Cruises Dubai Cruise Reviews

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
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
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 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
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