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Sail Date: February 2009
We have just returned from our first ever cruise aboard the Thomson Celebration. We had a fabulous time and really for the price we paid, cannot praise Thomson highly enough for their professional but friendly management.

We booked ... Read More
We have just returned from our first ever cruise aboard the Thomson Celebration. We had a fabulous time and really for the price we paid, cannot praise Thomson highly enough for their professional but friendly management.

We booked the "Colorful Coasts" cruise only 2 days before departure and got an online bargain at £409 each !!! We flew to Madeira on ThomsonFly and then joined the ship there. next day sailed to Morocco, then Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma and the back home from Madeira. Onboard the public areas were spotless and well maintained and we we greeted by some of the friendliest staff we have ever encountered whilst on holiday. 98% of the crew are from the Philippines, the Captain is Polish and the entertainers mainly English/European. Hygiene on board is a big priority and all around the ship, there are dispensers of hand gel to stop the spread of any bugs which may break out (bearing in mind that there have been incidents reported in the news before on other Cruises, this seems to be a sensible precaution) Not sure where to start, but seeing as most people think about food on holiday, lets start there !!!

Breakfast was taken either in the Lido (Buffet) or in Le Meridian (Waiter). Buffet consisted of all cooked fare, such as bacon, eggs (numerous styles), sausages, black pudding, deviled kidneys, kippers, beans, mushrooms; Continental items included toast, crackers, crispbread, croissant, pastries, cakes, cold meats, cheese, an array of fresh fruit, figs, prunes, walnuts, yogurt, as well as cereals and porridge. If you prefer waiter service, Le Meridian is open from 8 am and serves similar fare; however you can also have Eggs Benedict, Smoked Haddock and Assorted Omelettes. Lunch could be taken "Buffet" style in The Lido with Soups, Salads, Roasts, Curries, Fish and Vegetarian Dishes. There were lots of desserts, jellies, fresh fruits and hot puddings with custard. They also have an ice cream bar where cornets or bowls of assorted ice cream are served. You may also have a "Sit Down" lunch in Le Meridian but we tended to save this for the evening meal. Outside on the "Deck" they serve additional hot food items such as baked potatoes, hot dogs, burgers and pizzas (home made and replenished all afternoon !!). If you have any room left before dinner time, then afternoon tea is provided, including home made scones with cream, sandwiches, pastries and Tea and Coffee (including Fruit/Herbal teas) are available all day, either inside the Lido or out on deck (Free of Charge). Evening meals again either in the Lido or down at Le Meridian. Le Meridian served wonderful 6 course dinners as good as any 4-5 star hotel, starters, soups, salads and mains ALWAYS included veggie choices, which for me is a big bonus as i sometimes struggle to get decent "Main Courses" as a Vegetarian, and often end up with a plate of veg and potatoes !!!!! My husband has declared the Lamb Shanks and Chateaubriand as "Mouthwatering". On Gala Night you dress up in nice dresses/tuxedo/suit and join the captains cocktail party. This was very nice, although due to the large numbers queuing, took almost an hour to get our picture taken and have a drink !! (They did this in 2 sittings but with 1200 guests on board, still a lot to get through!!) We then went through to the Meridian for a Gala Dinner. On the menu were Lobster Tails, Steaks, Salmon and Baked Alaska. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and ate and drank far too much !!! While on here I would like to say a big thanks you to Adrian, Lanz and Edwin who served us in Le Meridian all week. Their dedication and level of service was second to none and all with a smile and good humor, even when they were very busy.

Entertainment of all sorts was available all day if you wanted, from Quiz Time on deck, Bingo, A Cinema (Free popcorn provided!), Table Tennis, Basketball, Gym, Library. There were also 2 small saltwater pools on board, although we did not use as water too cold !! In the evening there was a lovely trio playing jazz/easy listening in the Horizons Bar, Quiz "Shows" (eg Mr and Mrs/BigHeads (AKA Eggheads !!) Caberet or disco in Liberties, Casino and Bar in Hemingways and various "West End" type shows in The Broadway performed by the resident entertainments team and very professional. For Night Owls there is a late night food buffet in the Lido if you're still peckish !! We paid £160 each for all inclusive drinks but to be honest, the prices aboard are very reasonable, cocktail £3.40, Bacardi with Coke £2.85, Coke £1.25, Pint of Stella £2.70, so not sure if it was actually worth it? Maybe we would drink more on a summer cruise......

Our accommodation on level 1 (Outside) was clean if a little tired, but for the price we paid hardly worth mentioning. There were 2 wardrobes and more than enough drawers for all our clothes. Our cabin steward "Tamir" was amazing and made sure that every little detail was in place, including folding my nightdress and turning back the sheets every night with a bedtime chocolate on the pillows!

One thing I must mention is that as "Virgin" cruisers we got caught out by the cold at night and didn't take warm clothes....won't make that mistake again, next time a fleece and warm socks in my case !!! There are a couple of duty free shops, selling perfume, drink, jewelry and clothing. We bought Bacardi 1litre and Absolute Vodka 1litre for £8.50 each, which was much cheaper than the airport. There is the Ocean Spa, which does beauty treatments, manicures, hairstyling etc if you wish to pamper yourself. I wanted to go for a treatment, but never found the time !! Excursions can be booked for all resorts but the only one we did was in Morocco, where we took the coach to Touradant, an old walled town about an hour from Agadir. This was like stepping back in time, with donkey carts, horses and a local market full of Colorful characters. The Celebration ship is sturdy, well maintained and although we had a couple of bumpy nights down near the engine room I didn't get seasick !! (Where you go when you book last minute bargain !!) All in All I would say that Thomson have got things more or less spot on with this Cruise. The crew are in a nutshell, AMAZING, the food is FANTASTIC and the cleanliness aboard is FAULTLESS. We shall definitely return with Thomson again and possibly try another in their fleet.

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Sail Date: February 2009
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. ... Read More
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. On arrival in Funchal we were met by Thomson representatives and taken by coach to the Celebration. Before and during the journey we were given our boarding welcome packs including a map of the ship and details of the entertainment that night. Seeing our ship from a distance was a heart-throbbing moment. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The whole organization by Thomson was brilliantly done.

Besides being security checked as we got onto the boat, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given handwash gel to cleanse our hands. Considering our previous concerns of stomach sicknesses on other cruises, this was a great reassurance.

We soon found our way around the boat - the restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, gym, library, cinema, etc. Our cabin, an outside twin, was small, but we had all that was needed for our 1 week stay. A longer cruise would have required a larger cabin.

Every evening the ship's newspaper was delivered informing us of the port of call for the next door, tours that could be booked, as well as activities and entertainment on board the ship. Also, theme nights in the restaurants were detailed. For example, the 24-hour restaurant hosted a British night, an Indian night as well as a Spanish night during the week. The food was very good, much varied and served with a smile.

The staff on board worked incredibly hard, and the prices in the shops were surprisingly cheaper than those at the duty free shops in the airports or other shops at the ports of call. The arranged tours at the ports of call were generally interesting and varied, suitable for the energetic or less mobile ones. Value for money of the tours was variable, however.

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