Thomson Celebration Cruise Ship

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Thomson Celebration Cruise Ship
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Greedy and indifferent Thomson management

"We have just returned from the Thomson Black Sea cruise on the Thomson Celebration that should have visited three ports in the Ukraine – these unfortunately were cancelled owing to the current instability in that region. The alternative ports in Bulgaria, Romania, and Georgia were not to the same standard or appeal and Thomson suffered huge losses in revenue and prestige as a result of their decision to go ahead with the cruise rather than cancel completely (as the Costa line did). This was a PR disaster for Thomson as many passengers booked early believing they would be visiting the Ukraine’s prestige ports of Odessa, Sebastopol, and Crimea and the average price per person was circa £2000. Two weeks after the payment deadline (when the holiday had to be paid in full), Thomson slashed the advertised price to less than half and it dropped to £700 per person at one stage. The internet forums were white hot as disgruntled paid-up passengers argued that the three changes in port amounted to a major change in contract and, consequently, should have resulted in a full refund without penalty. Thomson argued that it wasn’t a major change and suggested that the only way to contest this was to take it through the courts. How very cynical of this Company who forever states that their primary purpose is to listen to what their customer’s have to say; what a load of tosh!!!

It’s a standing joke that British passengers on cruises tend to discuss the price they paid at some stage. We have to say that this subject came up during many, many evening meals in the Meridian Restaurant where diners tend to share tables and meet new fellow passengers each meal. Some seethed at the top prices they paid without refund while others took pride in how little they actually paid. We got the impression from such exchanges that most of the passengers booked during the last ten weeks of sale at a considerably reduced fare.

As for the actual cruise, we enjoyed the ship and the ports and some of the excursions that, surprisingly, were good value for money and would have been hard to beat if you chose to use alternative local transports. This is where good planning came into play.

The downside of the 15-day cruise was the Novo Virus that could not be eradicated from the ship. It affected all decks at some time or another and the dreaded sterilization trolley with the hazard bags and the masked crews who fumigated each affected cabin was a constant reminder of the virus striking down yet another unfortunate passenger.

The ship did try very hard to control the outbreak but were unsuccessful. Passengers who did not contract the virus were still considerably disrupted by the sterilization controls in place, for example the self-service buffets were no longer self service and it was like school dinners all over again. Scores of crew were recruited into ladling out each dish and many didn’t know the meaning of “no” or “just a little” so your plate rarely resembled what you intended to eat. The whole process at mealtimes was slower and queues were longer and food not as hot; it was not a happy ship for many passengers.

The Thomson Celebration has a good library – but not on this cruise! The virus closed the library for the full 15 days. The daily quiz sheets and Ship newspaper could only be obtained on request at the reception desk and were not generally circulated as on previous cruises – yet another virus prevention decision.

Would we travel on Thomson Celebration again (this was our third visit)? Yes – but never again would be book long-term, in future it will be last minute at the lowest price we can get! We are not alone in this policy for future holidays, it was said many times by many passengers and for this Thomson should really hang their heads in shame. Their greed to try and turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse failed terribly and they have lost a lot of customers because of their intransigent stance.

  • Holiday details: Oct 2014, booked with David Urquhart Travel
  • Advice: book last minute
by Mike M
5 / 10

8 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Caunos Gulet cruise turkey

"Terrible! Felt like I was kept a prisoner on this boat despite the itinerary stating we would get off to visit ancient ruins, picnic in the hills and visit mud baths? We did not get the opportunity to do any of these. We eventually got off the boat midweek for a 3 hour stop at Gocek which was the only stop in a whole week !! The trip was boring the only highlight being swimming. The boat never sailed very far just criss crossing from one bay to another and they all looked the same apart from the one where we were staring at a pile of rubbish for 24 hours. Complained to Thomson on my return but they have ignored me."

by Gina S
1 / 10

5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Caunos cruise turkey

"Terrible! Felt like I was kept a prisoner on this boat despite the itinerary stating we would get off to visit ancient ruins, picnic in the hills and visit mud baths? We did not get the opportunity to do any of these. We eventually got off the boat midweek for a 3 hour stop at Gocek which was the only stop in a whole week !! The trip was boring the only highlight being swimming. The boat never sailed very far just criss crossing from one bay to another and they all looked the same apart from the one where we were staring at a pile of rubbish for 24 hours. Complained to Thomson on my return but they have ignored me."

by Gina S
1 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Ancient Wonders & Black Sea Explorer May 2014 on the Celebration -

"I agree with so many of the critical comments already posted about this ship, cruise and company. If I could score it nil I would.

This is the direst of organisations that actually don’t care about any negative comments you may wish to make and have no intention of ever taking any criticism on board as they consider themselves above any form of criticism whatsoever.

I wrote to them with my concerns and sent an email with a copy of the letter attached, which they denied receiving, in June. After many more letters, emails and phone calls they finally gave me an answer on 12 September, which surpasses their ‘we’ll investigate your complaints and reply within 28 days’. I have received nothing in compensation as, and I quote from Ms Jessica Lancaster's reply,

‘ it is difficult for us to comment on individual tastes or opinions’.

My complaints are too numerous to list here but were mostly around the appalling quality of the food; poached egg at breakfast that swam in water, all chips were frozen ones (the Maître D confessed this) , bacon that always had congealed fat/salt residue on it, but the Pièce de Résistance, a mixed grill that came with grilled tomato and fried egg with gravy poured all over it!

Yes you can hear next door stir a cup of tea, they do charge for safes, there was no fridge in our outside cabin (this on a ship that had recently been refurbished) , no shower gel in the cabin, the air conditioning was always going wrong so public areas were freezing on occasion, the adult pool is extremely small so no you cannot swim anything but one stroke in it, it took about 2 hours on the Captain’s Cocktail Party night to get through the queue and I declined to be photographed for the third time, once through we had one glass of Prosecco and no cocktail snacks. Afternoon tea is served in the self-service restaurant, so help yourself to your mug of tea from the geyser and drink it along with your supermarket ‘value’ type scones on your Formica top table, please don’t expect a table cloth or even a pot of tea. The only alternative restaurants all charge. If we had eaten in Mistral’s each night it would have added approximately £700 to our holiday.

I am appalled at the abysmal level of customer service this company has and the cavalier attitude in which they deal with complaints. I feel I may as well have dug a large hole and thrown £3500 in it.

My advice? Don’t go with Thomson ever and don’t set foot on The Celebration. If you have a complaint do write to Ms Lancaster or better still Mr Peter Long CEO, as I did, it was the only thing that eventually got a response.

  • Holiday details: May 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Avoid going on it.
by Miss Treated
1 / 10

6 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Celebration - Ancient Wonders & Black Sea Explorer May 2014

"I will be brief- mediocre and poorly prepared food – noisy cabins where you can hear your neighbors stirring a cup of tea –nowhere enough deck loungers – an adult swimming pool too small to swim in– chronic shortage of seating in public areas when there is bad weather (people sitting on the floor)-no courtesy buses from the ship to dock gates (let alone town centers) - napkin folding, teeth whitening and fruit carving considered as entertainment- and a customer service department that are rubbish and do not give a damn.

I enjoyed most of the ports of call and the excursions were well organized, but the ship was truly awful.

My advice is never ever go on a Thompson’s cruise – I will never use the company again.

  • Holiday details: May 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Book a cruise with another company
by Short Changed
1 / 10

8 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Get any promises in writing before you book

"I will review the ship after leaving a warning for anyone who is considering booking anything with Thomson holidays. If they make any promises, get it in writing and take it on your cruise with you. We specifically requested a double bed and were assured by the Thomson shop at Bolton that this had been done. On embarking the ship we were shown to our cabin and we had two single beds. We went to reception who simply said that if we didn't have it in writing we could not swap. There were dozens of other couples in the same position. Prior to the cruise, information was hard to come by unless they were trying to sell something like sitting with your wife on the plane, £38, choosing a cabin £42 etc etc. When we arrived at the airport in Dalaman there were no reps in the terminal and we had to hunt them down to find our coach for the 90 minute journey. At this point people were leaving the coach to find a toilet. Some advice up front would have been helpful. On completing the embarkation process we were told that a safe would cost £15 for one week ( free on the other 5 cruise lines we have been on). To compound this it was an electronic key system so you had to carry the key around with you. Loss of the key results in a fine of £40.

They also charged £7.50 if people wanted to sit in the front row of the shows.

The ship was clean and tidy but would benefit from more color because it's very drab looking. Water colors around the ship and in the cabins would be good.

There was no sanitizer near the outside hot drinks stations and the bins for the toilets were inside so after washing your hands and disposing of your paper towel you then had to touch the door handle with your bare hands. Little wonder there was an outbreak of GastroI ntestinal illness during the week.

The staff were fantastic and the service in general very good. Drinks were priced reasonably other than fizzy soft drinks which were £1.80 for a small can.

There is no fridge in the cabin which isn't very helpful but there is sky news and sky sports news if you like to be kept informed of events at home.

The food was at least as good as any other ship we have been on in over 40 weeks of cruising and better than most and the entertainment was excellent. The show team put on some great performances and their were some great duos and a five piece band.

The deputy cruise director was quite good but he seemed to play a lot on innuendo against gays often passing comment about his fellow crew members. I wasn't offended by it but it was a little tiresome. However I'm amazed that Thomson allow this in this day and age.

The tips are paid up front so you don't have a choice but very disturbingly they also add a tip to everything you buy on board and you have no choice in this either. I asked reception what percentage was added and they refused to tell me. I am not American and we weren't in America so I'd like a choice of who and when I tip. Just to make this point clear, I have no problem with tipping the cabin steward and waiters etc and often give more, however I resent paying extra for everything I buy and this is the reason I chose an English ship.

At least the Americans are up front when they add 15% to everything

I hope this helps because despite the excellent food, entertainment and staff, many people were disappointed with the negative points outlined in this review.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Get any promises when booking in writing otherwise you've no chance
by Dook
7 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

2nd Time on Celebration Back for 2 weeks as enjoyed first so much

"We went on Canaries Colorful Coasts in March 14, my elderly Mum and I had a deluxe cabin on the 8th floor and it was spotless, our cabin lad could be found in our aisle any time at our beck and call, he was so hardworking. We enjoyed the Broadway entertainment, Top Men, outstanding, and Liberties a laugh. It rained everyday but because of the ship's waiters and staff and making friends with fellow passengers it didn't matter. I paid about £1300 for both inclusive. No drinks package.

SO decided to go again on one: This time chose Ancient Wonders, Holy Land and Aegean featuring Turkey and Greek Isles and Cyprus. Then Ashdod happened. OK so we would be mad to dock there. So they rearranged the itinerary to make it even nicer, stay out later and more Islands to see. This time my Mum insisted on a deluxe room and I had a friend down on two so thought price wouldn't be too bad. Knew there would be a charge. Actually, £6250!!! But out came the plastic and done

Then my autistic disabled son who can't come who has a respite carer could meet the dates due to unforeseen circumstances. We tried to change holiday but couldn't go forward due to her continued absence. So went backwards and found ourselves in peak time. No deluxe cabin tried to put her in Deck 2 or 1 absolutely not. I didn't mind deck 2 for me. But she is 93 and who knows if she can cruise for much longer.

They wouldn't give any money back for the fact we weren't having deluxe. And since I had found out internet deal price they wouldn't give any money back. Gave us £100 each booze package for an old lady and daughter. Then the big one Didn't go near Larnaca, Alyna, Rhodes and more discovered we were on Aegean and Black Sea cruise. OMG where I certainly didn't want to go and which was even a cheaper deal. We met two couples on board who had booked approx 10 days previously for £680 each per week! Last time I booked thru a call center and they were so helpful. Now you get passed to various Thomson shops that don't give a damn. I think the price was extortionate HAVE YOU NO HEART THOMSONS????????????? Money grabbers Not again any other line for me

  • Holiday details: Aug 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Entertainment in Broadway, Top Men Group, and attentive and lovely waiters and crew
by Sorrylovecrew
7 / 10

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Celebration/Thomson Standards

"Having browsed the reports of other travelers and with sufficient passage of time to allow for objectivity, I feel inclined to add to the comments, as follows: - My wife and I booked our 3rd cruise (with added stay) on the Celebration in June 2013. I would concur with some other cruisers that standards on the Celebration have indeed slipped. We could not get a table for two in the Meridian restaurant, despite - on one occasion - there being only one other couple present. Our eventual insistence on having a table for two led to some unpleasantness and resentment. We also noticed a great change in the attitude of staff in other areas - in Hemingway's' we were told we had to sit down before we could be served - despite the absence of available seating. In Horizons, we were served wrong drinks which were not replaced. Our cabin was not cleaned to the standard of previous cruises. Sun loungers were impossible to obtain - the majority occupied by those who appeared to spend every day on the boat. Not a very big issue with us as we cruise for the opportunity to see the different ports of call. We raised these issues on board and articulated them in writing on return to Thomson, but were - eventually - informed that customer feedback was positive i.e. no one else complained! Our "stay" which I will not elaborate on, was worse. This was also reported to Thomson. Our holiday overall cost us approx £3,000 - they offered a "without prejudice" £70 off our next holiday - which we returned to them. We have not booked with Thomson since."

  • Holiday details: Jun 2013, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Take the trips
by The Thursdays
3 / 10

9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Fantastic holiday on the Celebration

"We have just returned from what we can only describe as a truly fantastic holiday aboard the Thomson Celebration for the Black Sea Explorer. This was our first cruise experience and we had a wonderful time. Our cabin was half inside on deck 2, which meant we had a porthole window. The room was very clean, comfortable and plenty of storage space. Our cabin attendant was very efficient and attended to our room twice a day, something we have never experienced when staying in hotels. Fresh towels were provided whenever we needed them, our bed was turned down each evening with a complimentary chocolate left on the pillow. So Puto our cabin attendant gets 10/10 from us, as do the rest of the crew. For the entire stay we were made to feel very special, the crew are so polite and work incredibly hard to ensure that guests have a great time. They really are amazing. The entertainment team are equally impressive, they also work very hard providing entertainment throughout the day. The Broadway show in the evening was exceptional, with a different show every night. I have seen numerous professional shows and the on board shows were equally impressive. There are plenty of food options on board and we felt they catered for most tastes, the restaurant and bar staff can't do enough to help you and the food was always very good. We were able to get sunbeds whenever we wanted one, you never have to go to the bar as the crew attend to you, politely referring to you as Sir & Madam when they do so. Every moment spent on board was an enjoyable one. The only negatives relate to going ashore and the transfer to the ship. On arrival at Dalamen a coach took us to Marmaris, a 2 hour transfer. There was no air conditioning and it was extremely hot with no comfort break on route, the driver did stop to hose the coach to cool the engine, whilst we baked inside. The ship docked in Bourgas, Bulgaria. The port was a dock yard surrounded by cranes and freight ships, far from picturesque, we went ashore and from the moment we stepped off the bus we found the whole place dreary and depressing. It is very run down with absolutely nothing to see bar normal shops, its scruffy with people begging and pestering you for money. We walked through the park which was nice enough and there is a beach in Buton the whole its not what we would consider a suitable stop for a holiday cruise, Thomson, please take note, give it a miss in future. We also went on excursions in Istanbul and Romania which we really enjoyed, the tour guides knowledge greatly contributed to this. Constanta is also very run down in parts but we enjoyed the trip to the wine tasting and folk dancing. Overall we had a great holiday and would certainly go back on the Celebration."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014
  • Advice: dont go ashore at Bourgas, its rubbish
by bandit4691
9 / 10

12 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

3rd and last time on Celebration ( & Thomson)

"Our first time aboard Celebration was wonderful, the 2nd time we noticed standards were slipping, this 3rd time will be our last on board this ship & our last holiday with Thomson.

Our first night on board was marred by a head waiter who told us we couldn't have a table for two, we had to share a table. It was 9.30pm, the restaurant was half empty and there were many tables for two available. So Rolando.... you get a big thumbs down from us for trying to ruin our first night.

In our cabin was a fridge & mini bar containing bottles of beer.... but no bottle opener. We rang reception who said they would sent someone from house keeping. They arrived to ask what we wanted then off they went. 10 minutes later he arrived back with a cork screw..... i explained I needed a bottle opener not a corkscrew, he said they didn't have one.... so why put bottles of beer in the mini bar ?

The next day we were very hot and the AC didn't seem to be working, we reported it to the cabin boy who told us we hadn't set the AC properly.... no change when he 'set' it. We also noticed the fridge wasn't cold & reported that to him too.

The next day AC still not working also fridge still not working, we reported it at reception. After our day ashore we returned to a stifling hot cabin, we reported it again. We left to have our evening meal. On our return the fridge had been removed but not replaced. The cabin again far too hot. I was now very angry. Having had to sleep with the balcony door open for 2 nights so we had some air to breathe and try to cool the cabin down, I had been bitten by mosquitoes. The curtains blew about too much to have them drawn, so had to be fastened back which meant the room was fully illuminated by the lights on the deck below, it was like trying to sleep in a disco. I contacted reception again & a fridge was brought to us ( we had an early start the next day and wanted to have an early night)but it was now quarter to one in the morning. We were told to check the fridge in an hour to see if it was working..... The AC was still not working. Reception told us they would sort it out while we were out on our trip. On our return we had another fridge.... No.3 which was working hooray, but NOTHING had been done about the AC. This time I went in person & demanded to see the head receptionist. She wasn't on duty for another hour & I was told to wait in my cabin..... my answer was it was too hot to wait in it. The head receptionist didn't contact me or call to see me. This time I was furious and demanded to see her superior and also I learned missing from reception until I had seen her. She usually arrived and I received my fourth explanation about why it wasn't working. I told her she needed to get her story straight as I had already been told that all the AC was having problems from day two, that it was just us, an isolated incident, that it was just a couple if cabins on the top floor and that it happens when the ship is in port..... lies, lies and more lies. They took the temperature and said it was 22degrees as it came out of the AC unit and 29 degrees on the bed, but when we were absent it was 16 degrees..... we bought our own thermometer which showed it never dropped below 27degrees.

We were in cabin 021, we paid a huge amount to have a balcony and it certainly wasn't worth it. There is no shade from the sun above the balcony, which means without AC we had ti have the curtains closed all day. With the sliding door open we became the side show. People on the deck above leaning over & staring at us, we also had a drink split down on us, a hat blown down on us and someone smoking above us & ash blowing all over us.

We received £400 in compensation while on board but unless you complain to someone who can actually get something done about it you are wasting your time. We were not the only ones complaining about the AC but I was persistent and refused to go away and also I was very vocal refusing to be quietly sat down away from reception where others couldn't hear.

in the last 4 years we have been on 5 Thomson cruises and each time they have gotten worse. The standards have slipped and now I wouldn't go on another if they paid me too. It was nothing but hassle and aggravation

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: dont bother
by BeauBeau
1 / 10

21 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes


"We where a Party of 5 females traveling on the celebration cruise...,!!!

The 2 pools one was mostly where the kids went, the other was the size of a postage stamp( salt water) which was not stated, the tiles round the pool where falling of with a lot missing.

The food was bland...! Totally tasteless

The mattresses where old and filthy

The entertainment wasn't great.

Most of all one member of staff stole my sisters iPhone .....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The staff member photo a photo of himself on an app called what's up... This is how we caught him

On return from our cruise I contacted Thomson and was informed I would have to write an email, confirming this, I wrote to them with my complaint about the ship and the phone. After a few weeks I contacted them, there response was the had 28 days( only as a guide line) I informed them this wasn't good enough, I then received a call from the complaints department, we are sorry to here you didn't enjoy you cruise, however I have been on this cruise and found it satisfactory.

So basically it fell on deaf ears. What a joke. I then asked about the phone and thief????

There response was can you tell us again what happened.... Really Thomson

I've sent you numinous emails and photographic evidence

A few days ago the got in touch via phone call

We have found your phone in the cabin members cabin, and he's being spoken with, as a good will gesture we would like to give you £50 voucher, and your phone will be returned when a member of Thomson staff go on board which could be several weeks...

We feel as if it's a very matter of fact that the phone was stolen.

It's a criminal offense and should have been dealt with more professional in our opinion

We will never travel with Thomson again.....!!!!

  • Holiday details: May 2014, booked with Thomson
by Catholics
1 / 10

11 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Thomson Celebration Canary Isle Cruise. March 2014

"We have cruised Thomson many times in the past though never cruised for years till March this year on the Celebration, we hadn't been on this ship. I have to say that apart from the entertainment which we thoroughly enjoyed, and the entertainers worked extremely hard, we were disappointed with most other things, our outside cabin had a tiny porthole with the window set right back, we looked out onto a harbor wall most of the time, just the luck of the draw it seems. We found the standards in the Lido restaurant had dropped, I couldn't get a sun lounger after trying lots of areas, people just reserved them with towels for hours on end. Dining areas weren't as clean as you would expect either. On the special night the service was a bit rushed. On returning home I found that two expensive items of cosmetics were missing, it was a short while after returning when I came to need them I realised this. I had read on a forum that someone had mentioned to be careful on the last night with your packing as they had things taken, too late was the cry"

  • Holiday details: Mar 2014
  • Advice: Choose another ship
by Seasonedcruiser
4 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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Average rating

7.5 / 10
(492 reviews)
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Ratings summary


Rating by feature

Room: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Value: 6.5/10
Cleanliness: 7.5/10
Location: 7/10

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