It all started at the NEC Cruise Show in September 2016. Before 2016 we were cruise virgins. Let me just clarify that a friend strongly recommended we try cruising and in Jan 2016 we picked the Celebrity Reflection based on nothing but the itinerary. Needless to say we loved it, so much so we promptly booked to go with Celebrity again in June 2016 on the Equinox, followed by Cunard on the Queen Victoria in October.
At the NEC we went onto the Thompson stand as we had already spotted that their Fly Cruise deals were priced very attractively. After returning from our Cunard October cruise we saw an offer on Thompson Cruise’ website which was very hard to pass up. Thompson provide Flight, transfers and all inclusive for undeniably low prices. So we booked a cruise flying from Bristol to Grand Canaria sailing around the Canary Islands and Madeira. We chose a standard cabin with a large window and Thomson’s threw in a drinks package, which we welcomed. The ship was the Majesty, which we had read was “a little tired” and it is, but bearably so.
OK the good points are these, it was very cheap, the cost of flights alone and drinks packages with other cruise lines would have exceeded our total bill. The room stewards and bar staff were hard working friendly and in our experience very good. The food was perfectly edible, although there was limited choice and compared to the other ships we had been on their buffet was considerably more like school diners in presentation. The room was as small as we expected, but the shower was unbelievably powerful which was a plus. There was no wow factor about the ship, but at the price, what can you expect.
Now the not so good points, the daily list of possible activities paled in comparison to our other experiences. The choice was limited and linear, if you didn’t want to partake in the daily bingo, each afternoon, there was not a full schedule of alternative activities offered. The ships theater was akin to the Wheel Tappers and Shunters social club, on a single level with a dome above the stage which allowed the dancers to be lifted up, but the audience in most part then couldn’t see their heads. The dancers and singers gave it their all, but when I say they attempted Les Miserables one evening and a Queen medley the next, you can see how it could be conceived their ambition would always exceed delivery. The other passengers had an add hock attitude to formal dress, which was breathtakingly varied to be polite.
Finally a fellow guest at dinner described the venture as “Council House Cruising” and when asked her to explain she went on to stress that if you wanted a prime rib steak you wouldn’t go to McDonalds, but for £1.00 McDonalds would still fill you.
I have to say that upon return home we immediately booked another cruise with Celebrity. Personally I would rather pay more and buy the steak.