Thomson Celebration Canary Island Cruise Review

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  • Food - quality & variety

  • Entertainment on board

  • Value For Money

Martin Waite's review of Thomson Celebration Canary Island Cruise

★★★★★

“Where do I start? ”

Written on: 15/11/2005 by Martin Waite (5 reviews written)

Good Points
Very friendly, efficient, helpful, Great food, great Filipino crew, great entertainment, great Ireland's, and great tours.

Bad Points
Agadir, Morocco.

General Comments
Where do I start?

Get yourself a cup of tea this might take a while.



Thomson celebration. 4th November 2005 - 11th November 2005



This was our first cruise. My wife and son saved for months to pay for a holiday of a lifetime, as this was going to be my 40th birthday surprise.



We arrived at Tenerife airport (Sofia Riena) late afternoon. We had a good flight from Cardiff. Bags took 20 minutes or so, and we were out through the door looking for our Thompson rep. All the searching in the world couldn't find her. At last I noticed a short woman having a breather up against the exit doors, far right as you exit the baggage hall. Everyone else had a card held high; she didn't even look like our rep.



Bad start



We boarded the coach and headed north. We had a quick journey to the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We were met by a young Thomson rep that boarded the coach and set out the following boarding procedure.



Things were looking up. He was friendly and precise, and pointed us to check in. We were met by a photographer, then passed onto the check-in girls (and very nice they were too).



We were given our boarding cards which would allow us to board the ship, and while on board would be the way to pay for all drinks, photos, excursions toiletries, buy chips in the casino (yes I was caught in there once, 04:35 isn't a good time to try and creep into your room), you must go and pay for all inclusive.



We walked a short distance to our home for the next 7 days and what a sight it was, "fantastic" my boy said out loud.



We were met by a load of boys off-loading our suitcases, all smiling, joking and very friendly (like to see that back home Ha!!!), the last we were to see of our luggage until we got to our room.



We I.D'd our luggage and was up the ramp onto the ship, through the airport type scanners and hand baggage conveyor belt. We were met by our escort who took us to the lift, deck 7 room 123, we had arrived.



Our bags were right behind us, within 5 minutes of arriving at our room Rio (as he asked to be called) introduced himself to us, "I am your room assistant for your stay, anything I can do to make your stay comfortable just ask"



WOW things are really good. Can this last?



We unpacked and decided to tour the ship, our first impressions were one of amazement, this was a ship impersonating a high street. Cinema, shops, bars, look out hear we come.



By now we were all very hungry, let's try the Lido restaurant AFT deck 5 (back of ship to you and me). Now this is where I always get disappointed on every holiday. Usually the food is good to not bad at all. Boy was I going to enjoy this holiday. Not to bore you too much (yer I know. Too late) the food throughout the ship was better than some 5 star restaurants I have visited (for you lot that live in Cardiff you'll know Gilby's Culverhouse or Porto's queen street), my boy hates food, but he liked the menu here.



After a bite to eat in the lido 24H restaurant, (yes 24 hour, try it I was eating a full chicken curry at 0300 one morning), we went out back (AFT) to see the Celebration leaving party. This was so exciting - singing dancing. I thought for a minute I was part of an MTV gig. The dancers were again fantastic (little did I know just how good they would be at the Broadway shows) after we left port, a quick pizza and a hot dog with my boy waving goodbye to Santa Cruz.



The first night was bad. Sorry Thomson not your fault, the Atlantic just wasn't on your side that night. We tried to sleep, or should I say my wife and I tried to sleep, as our little one was out of it all night every night without fail. You don't get sea sick, it's just the feeling that on deck 7 your moving around a bit, and this makes you disorientated, but it was soon to pass.



Saturday morning and what a sight. Looking out through our cabin window. We have arrived in Las Palmas.



After taking part in the safety rehearsal which is compulsory due to maritime law (my boy loved this, as you get to put on your life jacket and all hell breaks loose for 15 minutes).



We ate at the Lido restaurant, although you could have had waiter service in the Meridian restaurant (we only ate here once on the night of the captain's cocktail party, fantastic food and service).



Off to the beach. A short walk to a great beach, waves, food, beer and then off to the science museum opposite the port for an hour or two. Fantastic day out.



The evening was an eye opener. I posted last year a review of Alcudia's Condesa la Bahia. The shows reminded me of the Euro-vision song contest, no such rubbish here, FOSSE, WEST SIDE STORY, THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY, DISNEY/LION KING STORY. We will never forget the professionalism, fun and excitement we witnessed from these extremely talented people.



Every night was as the last. We would have a fantastic meal, an option of at least 5 meals per sit in, and these changed throughout the day/night. An evening show in the Broadway show lounge deck 5, onto Liberties deck 6 for Bingo, Disco's, fantastic quizzes (I hate quizzes but even I enjoyed the fun here.



I am going to skip La Palma and Madeira, not because they weren't up to the standards set up to now, but because I have a very worrying message to get across.



Morocco, Agadir.



DON'T GO. Stay on the boat. This place was so scary it effected the rest of our holiday. We had booked ourselves on many trips organized by Thomson over the last few days - all are highly recommended. La Palma's volcanic crater left us speechless; Madeira's Funchal is beautiful, relaxing, and what everyone should experience at least once. As for Agadir well!!!



We had booked ourselves onto the bridge tour on Wednesday at 14:00 while docked in Agadir. We didn't have enough time to take a Thomson tour so decided to catch one of the many taxi's that wait for you to go ashore. I asked the Thomson rep if we should be careful of anything as I was going to take my wife and child to the market advertised in the "Cruise news" newsletter posted through the door every evening. I was told to make sure I agreed a price before entering the cab. We did this - 8 Euros to the market. On our way the normal thing to happen is for the taxi driver to offer you a fixed price tour of the local amenities, this isn't a problem on any other island on the trip, we were offered a trip to see the Kasba, the camel ride, and the grand souk market.



We agreed a price 25 Euros for a two hour trip. First up the video camera was out for the view of the beach from high on the Kasba, then a short trip up the road to the camel ride. We were told not to pay no more than two Euros for a camel ride (cheap I know, but that's what we were told). My son and wife boarded the animal after I had agreed a price of two Euros. and off into the sunset they went. I was the only European there. As soon as my wife and son were gone I was surrounded by 6 Arabs. All VERY intimidating, and demanding 100 Euros each for my son and wife to return.



Each Arab added his price. One for interpreting for the other. A simple glance of the video camera over the Arab with the snake allowed him to demand 50 Euros. The Arab with the post cards of Kasba in ruins demanded 100 Euros because I glanced at him, all this time my wife and son were out of sight. I had a snake thrown around my neck, and then a demand for another 30 Euros. If I hadn't threatened the taxi driver with NO MONEY, I don't think things were going to get better. I eventually got them to bring my wife and son back to the top of the hill, still surrounded by 6 Arabs ALL demanding 100 Euros, and change was no good as they cannot exchange it for notes, so on they went with the demands. I eventually parted with 50 Euros just to get my family out of there. And I have it all on video.



We eventually were taken to the market, although we insisted we go back to the ship. We were lead to the market entrance where we were leaped upon by a "Salesman". We wanted to have a quiet look around, but that was not to be. We were again the only Europeans in the place with about 15 Arabs all over us, which was very intimidating.



I wanted to buy my wife a Rug from Morocco as she had always wanted one, and as it was our anniversary the next day 9th November we were going to spend a bob or two. Only we were put under pressure the whole time. We parted company with the "salesman" £160 less than when we arrived, before we could get in the taxi another £20 was taken from me as a "thank you" for giving us a great deal.



We still could not get back to the ship. The taxi drivers have ports of call, friends that you ARE going to visit before you are taken back, each with a price before you leave.



We didn't believe we would be taken back to the ship, even when we could see the ship 500 metres from us. I won't go on. Just to add we were verbally shouted at as we pulled up at traffic lights, and I believe we are not guests as in other destinations, we are money fodder there for the taking.



Back on board I was told the only reason Thomson go to Agadir is so sewerage can be let loose off shore, as long as we ship brings tourists to the country. I don't know if that's true, but ask anyone on this cruise about the fly epidemic that stays with you for the rest of the cruise. I also witnessed the crew fumigating the ship while I was having a 03:00 drink that evening/morning.



Back on course we headed to Lanzarote - what a fantastic island. The volcano trip was magnificent, and the tour guide was extremely helpful and friendly.



The Filipino crew are the friendliest people I have ever met. They are a credit to their country. I could name so many of them, and they all contributed to a wonderful experience.



On to our last day, Santa Cruz Tenerife - another great day walking the streets of the capital of Tenerife, with warm weather, friendly people, and lots of interesting things to do.



The last day was as organized as the first, and we didn't have to see our baggage until Cardiff, which meant we could turn up at the airport 30 minutes before our flight home.



Conclusion:-



Day 1 Tenerife. Thomson you were fantastic, we were very impressed.

Day 2 Las Palmas - Fantastic.

Day 3 La Palma - Fantastic.

Day 4 Madeira - Again fantastic.



This is where Thomson have gone wrong... You leave Madeira around 20:00, and you are at sea heading for Morocco, Agadir all night on Monday. At sea all day Tuesday. At sea all Tuesday night, and wake up in Morocco Wednesday morning. We feel we would have had a better holiday staying with the Archipelago, and not spending all that time in on a very choppy sea to meet very dangerous people.



Day 5 at sea was very choppy, but the crew were fantastic as usual. There was loads to do and see, and the captain's cocktail party was brilliant.

Day 6 - HELL on earth - never again. I could have gone on about that day for ever.



Day 7, Arrecife Lanzarote. The tour of the volcanos was spectacular.

Day 8 Santa Cruz Tenerife. A great place.



My final thought... Thomson ditch the Morocco trip and take me to another island. I won't book this trip again, as I see two days plus the return journey from Morocco as a waste of my holiday.



Change the route and I would give this cruise 100%. Keeping it as it is, I would give 85%, which is unfair as this trip was fantastic.



Martin Waite

  • November 2005

    Date of Cruise

  • 7

    Nights on board

  • Colourful Coasts

    Itinerary Name

  • Outside

    Cabin Type

  • Family

    Group description

  • Food - quality & variety

  • Entertainment on board

  • Value For Money

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Bertie's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 16/11/2005

That was a wonderful account of your holiday Martin, but I'm afraid your nasty experience with those Arabs would have put the mockers on the whole trip for me.
<br>
<br>I, too, think Thompson should change the cruise's itinerary.
<br>
<br>Just a query: what does 'great Ireland's' mean?

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 29/01/2009

Hi Carol
<br/>
<br/>It's a shame to think that after all this time the itinerary hasn't changed to accommodate the reviews held here and elsewhere on the net.
<br/>
<br/>Wake up Thomson!!!.
<br/>
<br/>We too are contemplating our next cruise - this time around the Med.
<br/>
<br/>
<br/>
<br/>Regards
<br/>
<br/>Martin
<br/>

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Carol Strutt's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 20/01/2009

I agree with this review because our experience in 2008/2009 has been very similar. I didn't think to mention Agider ( spelling?!!)but thoroughly agree with you. We would much rather have stayed longer at one of the Canary Islands and given Morocco a wide berth.
<br/>
<br/>Roll on next Christmas and our next Thompson cruise....

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Hazelf's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 03/02/2006

Hi Martin
I have just read through you review and comments and found them really interesting and useful. We are going on the Colourful Coasts cruise on 24th February and wondered if you could give me a bit info about ports of call if you do not want to take any of the trips. I know from past cruises that the trips can be expensive and we wanted to walk around ourselves if possible.
<br>Regards
<br>Hazel

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 31/01/2006

A family member, who spent the last 20 years on cruise ships, and has just returned from the Caribbean, said we must try the Aurora and soon, the stories of this ship are wonderful. My experience with Thomson was very good and I thank them for getting us into this type of holiday, now we look forward to the next level.
Kind regards
Martin

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Kathym's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 27/01/2006

You summed it up perfectly for a first timer. A great experience and one I would not have missed but save harder and go for a better class of ship next time. The Morocco trip was split between himself taking a Jeep Safari which he said was very good to be able to see part of the area that was uninhabited and lunch in a village excellent. I took the horse and carriage ride which was odd as it seemed to take the back areas and odd roads that were not at all as expected. The end of the trip was spent in the Medina which was very interesting and made up for the 'odd' journey in the carriage. Still a good little trip if you do not want to be thrown around in a jeep for 8 hours. I had the morning in the sun and the afternoon on the trip whereas he had to be up and out by 8am.
<br>The ship is old but was still kept in a good state of repair and again the staff were very helpful but like your self we only saw the Captain on the one night when he was put up against the backdrop for the customary photo session! Not a user friendly model... !!

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 26/01/2006

Hi Kathy
<br>
<br>I agree with your Comments. The experience was very good but "Could do better" was our opinion. The seasoned traveller who had travelled with P&O and other liners wouldn't be too impressed with Thomson. The ship isn’t as big as the rest, and although very clean & tidy suffered because of its age.
<br>
<br>I was very disappointed with the Captain, we expected the captain to mingle with the guests, to answer questions and generally be seen, and this NEVER happened and was a huge disappointment to us.
<br>
<br>I would still stand by my original view that for a first timer this was an exceptional holiday. It’s a bit like travelling on a Boeing 747, having a good transatlantic crossing in economy and then discovering there’s a first class option. Its not that the cruise is bad it’s just there's better to be had.
<br>
<br>I'm glad you replied, we were interested to see if your Moroccan experience was anything like ours?
<br>
<br>Kind regards
<br>
<br>Martin

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Kathym's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 25/01/2006

Hi Martin.
<br>I added a review on 12 Jan, it has come up as a second review rather than an added comment to yours. My experience was not so exciting as yours although a good holiday and a good way to experience a first cruise. I was disappointed with the dress code of some of the other guests - quite uninspiring - but the service from the ship staff was second to none. The Broadway team were excellent and really pulled out the stops. We usually went to the second shows and they did not seem at all jaded even though they had already performed it only an hour earlier. They certainly earn their keep!
<br>I will cruise again but will pay more the next time and go P&O or higher if possible, we did not feel Thomson were quite value for money and this was also the views of others who had cruised with other Ship lines, frequently, before. It seems Thomson are classed as the basic package - we were deck 6 deluxe, and this was the opinion of people who were further upgrades to us - I made sure as I did not want my review to be just my opinion as some people expect more to the pound than is really fair or feasible.
<br>The itinerary was good and the islands visited worth the journey. As you say you could spend a whole lot more on excursions so beware future travellers, save plenty of spending money to be able to really enjoy the experience.

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 23/01/2006

Your Going to love the holiday. My parents came over yesterday to see our Home video, they couldn't get over the hospitality on board.
<br>
<br>You wont need towels, they supply everything, even the pool side towels.
<br>
<br>Its a pitty KathyM didnt up-date us, as I would have liked to hear her views.
<br>
<br>Have a great time
<br>
<br>Regards
<br>
<br>Martin

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Janet1955's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 15/01/2006

Dear Martin thanks for your frank review. We are going on the Celebration 27th Jan sailing from Tenerife and your review helped me decide to book, so other than Morocco I hope we have as good a time as you. It is our first cruise as well, do we need to take beach towels? I have had a great day today my daughter has taken me shopping at tk max for my cruise clothes so I can dress up at night - I'm really looking forward to it. Best wishes Jan Wolverhampton

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 26/12/2005

I would be interested to know what the new Broadway team are like. our Broadway team left on the same day as us, we watched a new team rehearsing all week, although we never managed to see them as we left the ship the day of their first show.
<br>
<br>Have a great holiday
<br>
<br>Regards
<br>
<br>Martin.

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Kathym's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 24/12/2005

Martin thank you very much for coming back with a reply. I somehow managed to get the same comment on twice as I did not think the first one had registered - fool.
<br>I will definately put a review on after our return as I think it is a great help to people for forward planning. The suit will now be packed...

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 20/12/2005

Hi Kathy
<br>No, you don’t have to wear a dinner suit; you’ll find a casual, smart dress attitude throughout the ship, at all times. I would suggest he takes his Dinner suit with him especially for the Captains cocktail party. You don’t have to go to the party but if you miss this, you really have missed a highlight of the trip, keep your video/cam at the ready.
<br>
<br>I was in the travel agents today looking at our next cruise. I was told by the agent a few more people have commented on “their MOROCAN experience”. Word of mouth seems to suggest this location isn’t bad if you stay within your hotel grounds, once outside, well who knows what could happen. I would go again, only this time with a tour bus and not with the many taxi’s awaiting your business on the dock.
<br>
<br>My advice with the money situation, take only what you want to spend, make sure you know how much money you have for each beggar (no-one will accept coins, only notes) we paid 160 Euro for our rugs which we bought from the Grand suke market they started the bidding at 350 Euro. http://www.aroussat-eljanoub.com/eng/Intr.htm be aware on departing the market, you will probably be asked for a back hander for the “boys upstairs” who earn very little, I wasn’t expecting this and clumsily brought out sterling, I wasn’t allowed to take the money up to the boys either, so the tip went to the salesmen.
<br>
<br>Hope you enjoy the flies.
<br>
<br>Just a thought, if you want to remember your holiday, you can buy a DVD of your trip at the photo counter its expensive as are the cocktail party photos so take plenty of cash for those if you want them.
<br>
<br>I am very jealous; I would love to go back on board. I look forward to reading your review on your return
<br>
<br>Say Hi to Ade on the mezzanine floor of Broadway, he is quietly spoken and seems a little shy but the man couldn’t do enough for us.
<br>
<br>Regards
<br>
<br>Martin Waite

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Kathym's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 16/12/2005

We will be taking the same cruise on 30 December and will make sure we are very careful on the Morocco section. Depending on the advice from the staff we may even skip this one out. He has already considered just sending me and not worrying about paying the ransom.
<br>Can I ask please do many people wear dinner suits in the evenings? I am wondering about New Years Eve and although he has reluctantly agreed to pack the suit he would prefer to leave it at home!

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Kathym's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 15/12/2005

Hi Martin
<br>I am going on this cruise on 30 December and will remember your advice regarding Morocco. When you dined in the evenings did you at any time need to wear an evening suit?? My other half is moaning as I think he will need one for New Years Eve...
<br>Thanks
<br>Kathy.

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 21/11/2005

Hi Bertie
<br>
<br>I never thought of you as a medical man until now.
<br>
<br>My wife and I have been looking through the pages here on reviewcentre. We are planning our next voyage and adventure (although you can bet we will leave out Morocco)
<br>
<br>Never a better time then, than to become a member of reviewcentre.
<br>
<br>Regards
<br>
<br>Martin

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Bertie's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 17/11/2005

Thanks for the explanation, Martin - I suspected it was a typo or some such and I should know about being distracted by youngsters as I have 14 grandchildren. (Fecundity is the name of the game in this family).
<br>Don't get me going on the state of the nation as I've been known to 'wax lyrical'* on the subject .
<br>
<br>*A euphemism for apoplexy.

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Jo Manuel's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 17/11/2005

Excellent review, it is a shame you had such a bad experience, especially when travelling with a child. At least you didnt let it spoil the rest of your holiday.

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Martin Waite's Response to Martin Waite's Review

Written on: 16/11/2005

Hi Bertie
<br>
<br>I am sorry I made no sense. I had my boy along side me as I was putting the review together.
<br>What I meant to say was the Canary Islands were fantastic.
<br>I commented on my return to the UK how funny life is. we work hard for eleven & half months of the year to pay for two weeks holiday on beautiful volcanic islands like these. the local people may not have the so-called life style we have in the UK, but I believe they certainly have the better life. we are definitely not the country we like to think we are.

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