Marella Celebration Cruise Ship Review

Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

Our Review

We joined the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship, one of Marella Cruises ships in Dubrovnik for a 7 night Adriatic Cruise. We had been recommended Thomson cruise via friends and really liked the Adriatic Affair itinerary. The cruise was visiting Croatia, Slovenia, and Albania all places that we had not visited before, and we were excited about that.

The Marella Celebration Cruise Ship is the smallest cruise ship that we have sailed on and we must admit we did have some reservations about that.

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Marella Celebration docked in Koper, Slovenia

We booked the cruise at the TUI travel shop only 4 weeks before the cruise and was very pleased with the service. Our flight from Birmingham Airport was straightforward and only 2 1/2 hours so before we knew it we were on the coach on our way to the port of Dubrovnik.

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Looking down onto Dubrovnik

The transfer from the airport to the port took 30 minutes. Tip – make sure you sit on the left hand side of the coach when leaving the airport, so that you can see the stunning views over to Dubrovnik and the Old Town, and you will have the first views of the ships docked in the port.

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Thomson Celebration docked in Dubrovnik

Embarkation on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

Embarkation was very easy. We entered the embarkation area and were given a cold drink along with our cruise card, then were asked to wait for the blue group to be called. After only waiting around 5 minutes, we were called and shown on to the ship. The cruise staff guided us to an area in the dining room where our photos were taken and synced to our cruise card. If you want to use the safe in your cabin this is where you purchase a safe key at a cost of 15 euros. The whole process was very easy and we headed straight to our cabin.

Our Outside Cabin on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

We normally book a balcony cabin but unfortunately this time this type of cabin was out of our budget, so we settled for an outside cabin. We were concerned that the cabin would be small. However we were pleasantly surprised, the cabin and the bathroom were bigger than expected.

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Towel art – Tortoise

Our cabin steward Melvin was superb, he was constantly around and we were not sure when he slept! He kept our cabin spotless and entertained us with some towel animals which was great.

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Our outside cabin with our towel dog!

The bed was comfortable with memory foam mattress and pillows and we slept extremely well during the whole cruise. This was probably helped by the selection of wines, ciders and cocktails too!

There was plenty of storage in the cabin. Our two cases arrived shortly after we joined the ship, we hadn’t seen them since Birmingham which was excellent and they fitted under the bed easily. There were two large wardrobes, a set of drawers, plus more drawers in the bedside cabinets.

The cabin was well equipped with an english 3 pin plug and 2 x european round 2 pin sockets, so charging gadgets and phones was not an issue at all. The electric did not go off when you left the cabin either which was helpful.

The bathroom was a decent size with again plenty of storage. The shower was adequate and shower gel and shampoo were provided, there was also a shaver socket too. Melvin ensured we were stocked with everything we needed.

Our cabin did not have a fridge which was the only disappointing feature, the mini bar was actually on top of the set of drawers. We didn’t use the minibar as it was an extra cost and even if we had wanted to the drinks would of been warm.

On all of our previous cruises the Sea Pass has always been both your ship identification card and your room key.

The first mistake we made was presuming this was also our door key. We noticed two other keys in the cabin but stupidly thought that this must be the master/spare key that the steward had for our cabin. It wasn’t long until we realised that we were now actually locked out! We explained to Melvin our cabin steward what we had done and he happily let us back into the cabin.

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Cabin keys on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

The Sun and Pool decks on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

There are two swimming pools on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship. The main Lido pool on deck 5 and the adult pool on deck 6. The adult pool was smaller and quieter than the Lido pool, a great place for a cool down and chat with fellow passengers. There were also great views from the back of the ship. The Lido pool was more lively with a selection of quizzes, demonstrations and live music in the afternoons. Bar service around both the pool areas was efficient and barmaid Matson was great fun.

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Adult pool

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Fabulous views from the Adult pool area on Deck 6

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The Lido deck and stage on the Thomson Celebration

There were plenty of sunbeds around and more on deck 7, we never experienced sun bed hogging which was a refreshing change. Here’s a short video showing you around the sun decks whilst we were tendered in Korcula.

If you want to have some quiet time, then head to Deck 6 the Promenade Deck. Here you will find sunbeds and chairs where you can relax and watch the world literally go by. We enjoyed a special evening here watching the sunset as we sailed from Koper in Slovenia to Venice, it was wonderful.

Our Sunset views from the promenade deck…..

Entertainment on board the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

After the bigger ship experiences with full size theatres we were worried than the standard would not be the same. We needn’t of worried as the entertainment on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship was excellent throughout the cruise.

Top Men Band

The resident band for our cruise was Top Men and they were superb. They played at different venues around the ship, and are definitely one of the best cover bands we have ever seen, playing anything from the Beatles to Bruno Mars and always had the crowd going. They were on for 30 minutes slots but we would of liked to see them do longer sets.

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Top Men Band – excellent entertainment on the Thomson Celebration


The comedian James Brandon performed twice during our cruise had us in stitches, he is a regular on the Thomson Fleet and definitely worth a watch.

Broadway Lounge

Considering there is only a small entertainment’s team on board they surpassed all our expectations. The production of My Fair Lady was top class.

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My Fair Lady Show on the Thomson Celebration

The Las Vegas Show showed some talented singers, and even Elvis was in the building!

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Las Vegas Show

The Captain was very visual around the ship and so were the senior officers, twice during the cruise he presented his staff and it was evident that he was very proud to be part of the Marella team.

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Captain and his Officers on the Thomson Celebration


Liberties was a great place to hang out, the entertainment team were always up to something here. Following the shows in Broadway the singers would then come and perform, the Diva’s show was superb. As well as the excellent music, there were quizzes, bingo, films, and game shows that were actually a lot of fun. Melissa and Kate the dancers were very sociable and talented, and great at getting the dance floor full. Must give a shout out here to Florence who was the waitress who looked after us extremely well.

Hemingway’s Bar and Casino

This is on Deck 5 and is a bar area which has a piano music as the entertainment. It also houses the small casino. We did not use these facilities as preferred the Liberties lounge, however it did seem very popular. Even if we did want to gamble, we could always do it on online sites like dominoqq anyway, as we have heard that this has become more popular recently. With the advancement of technology, it seems that more people probably decide to online gamble instead of going to casinos, as they have the same chance of being able to win money. This is why we decided to spend our time doing different things on the cruise instead of doing something that we could do at any time.

Formal night on board the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

This is the first cruise we have been on where we didn’t take all our posh formal wear and ironically we were personally invited by the Hotel Manager Grenville Cartledge to join him and Elaine Mittell, the social hostess for dinner as a 50th birthday treat.

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Dinner Invitation from the Hotel Manager

We were very nervous but had the most wonderful evening. They were great fun and the Lobster was amazing. It really has made this cruise special!

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Superb Lobster Dinner on the Thomson Celebration

Following dinner we were shown to the reserved VIP seats in the Broadway Lounge. We watched the Concerto Broadway show, which again was an excellent performance from the singers on board. We really were treated like royalty and it was a night we will never forget.

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Formal night on the Thomson Celebration

Food and Dining on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

The quality of food on the Marella Celebration was excellent both in the Lido buffet restaurant and the formal Meridian restaurant.

Dinner in the Meridian Restaurant is a great experience, you are not allocated any particular sitting and can go to the restaurant any time. You can ask for tables for two but are encouraged to share with other passengers. We enjoyed this part as we met some lovely people, particularly Peter and Leslie from Market Harborough who were great company and who we spent a lot of time with. Drinks were available throughout dinner and wine waiter Nikola was particularly efficient.

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Excellent breakfast in the Lido Buffet Restaurant

The Lido restaurant is situated on deck 6 and food is available from early breakfast through to 0100. The breakfast was superb catering to our british tastes with good thick bacon and black pudding available, in fact there was a great selection of different foods available throughout the day and evening. Afternoon tea from 1530 was a particular favourite, with a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam!

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Afternoon Tea in the Lido Restaurant

There are tables inside the restaurant and outside by the pool so you can eat inside or out. There is also a pizza and burger bar available by the pool area, so there is no chance you will go hungry.

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Fruit Carvings

Here’s a short tour around the Lido Buffet Restaurant and the Lido pool area…

There are other dining options available at a cost. We chose to treat ourselves to the Hot Stones Grill at an extra £15.95 each. The setting was outside on Lido deck 5, with the most stunning sunset.

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Sunset on the Lido deck on the Thomson Celebration

It included a 3 course meal and a choice of meat, I chose the lamb chops and Paul had the steak and we were not disappointed. The food was excellent, the service superb and eating out on the deck with the sun setting was perfect.

Drinks on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

We normally purchase a drinks package on our cruises. We are familiar with the Royal Caribbean Packages, and were interested to see how the Marella packages compared. Our cruise price included an all inclusive drinks package. This bar menu shows you whats included in that package, however, if you want any of the drinks with the italic next to it you had to pay a supplement.

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Bar Menu on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

Paul likes a cider but is not a fan of Strongbow, which was the only cider available on the pre paid package. We decided to upgrade to the Premier Package which included Magners and a selection of wines rather than just house wine, at a cost of £10 extra per person per day. It also included the top shelf spirits as we do enjoy a grey goose vodka too! Bottled water is not included in the all inclusive which surprised us, however the premier package did.

Deck 5 facilities on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

Deck 5 includes the shopping area, Broadway lounge, Hemingway’s Bar and casino, coffee shop and shore excursions desk, here’s a look around…….

Final thoughts on our cruise on the Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

This was our lasting views of beautiful Croatia, this was taken from the coach on the way back to the airport. Tip – remember to sit on the right hand side of the coach to get the best views on the way back to the airport!

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Beautiful Croatia

We were sad to leave the ship and could of quite happily stayed for another week. We have been very impressed with the small and friendly atmosphere onboard, all grades of staff were excellent and couldn’t be faulted. From the booking to the flight home Thomson Holidays have impressed us. This was our first Marella Cruise experience and we know it will definitely not be our last!

Since this review we have also cruised on the Marella Dream Cruise Ship and you can read our review here and also cruised on the Marella Discovery and Marella Explorer 2

We have also cruised with other companies too so do check out our Cruising Page for more information and cruising reviews.

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Sunset on the Lido Deck

Thanks for reading!

This post is dedicated to our close friend Tim Shearman who was the friend who recommended we try a Thomson Cruise. He was on this very ship, 2 weeks before us and unfortunately passed away on the day we joined the ship. RIP our dear friend.

Have you cruised on the Thomson Celebration or any of the Thomson Fleet? We would love to hear your comments below!

To follow our journey and get more travelling information and tips, do sign up for our Monthly Newsletter here!

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Marella Celebration Cruise Ship

This post is part of a link-up #TheWeeklyPostcard and also part of the Feet do Travel community on Facebook. Feel free to join us for more inspiration from like minded travel bloggers!

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70 Responses to Marella Celebration Cruise Ship Review

  1. Karen k says:

    Great review thank you! We are going on this ship tomorrow.


  2. Wow, what a comprehensive review, you pretty much covered everything. I love cruising and would love to do this cruise. I usually go on Royal Caribbean but it sounds like this is just as good.

    You mentioned that bottle water was not included in the basic drink package – is the tap water safe to drink? And how many passengers did the ship hold?

    Thanks for linking up with #theWeeklyPostcard.

    • Thanks for your comment, the Thomson Celebration only holds only 1,254 passengers which is not many compared to others, we enjoyed the small ship experience. Regarding the water I am not sure, I presume it was safe as there was no indication or instructions to say not to drink it. Out of our 11 cruises 7 of them have been on Royal Carribean and our next one is only 6 weeks away. We are back on the Independence of the Seas, one of our favourite ships sailing around Spain and Portugal so excited about that! Good to be linked to #theWeeklyPostcard so thanks again! ~ Carole

  3. Michelle says:

    I love cruises but never know which ones I will like so I want to thank you for this review. It sounds like you were impressed with Thomson Cruise Lines. I usually try to get a balcony as well mainly for fresh air. I will definitely consider cruising with Thomson in the future.

    • Hi Michelle,
      We were very impressed with Thomson Cruises, and they certainly have a loyal following the majority of other passengers we spoke to had cruised multiple times with them. We are also a fan of Royal Caribbean and have had some fantastic cruises with them too. There is so much choice out there now as cruising has got much more affordable. It’s such a civilised way to travel and we just love waking up and exploring somewhere new! ~ Carole

  4. paul says:

    thanks for your review we are going on the Tomson celebration on the 22/09/2016
    were going on the Croatian classics
    we are looking forward to life on board
    any tips i.e. what cash to bring
    excursions is it best to book here or on ship
    thanks Paul and Pauline

    • Hi Paul and Pauline,
      Thanks for your comment! You don’t need cash on board as purchases will be put to your cabin account on your credit card everything is in pounds on the ship. Regarding booking excursions, we did not book any as we wanted to see what was near the ports. I would definitely take some Croatian Kuna for when you go ashore as not everywhere accepted Euro’s. Have a wonderful trip, we are sure you will have a great time!
      Paul and Carole

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  6. First, sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like you had a great time on the cruise and this sounds like a great review. Laurence and I are not exactly cruisers but we are talking about going back on the Queen Mary 2 again next year (hopefully for our anniversary). ~ Jessica
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    • Thanks for your comment and mentioning our friend, very kind of you, he loved cruising. We love cruising too and we are off again next week, this time on the Independence of the Seas. We had a short cruise of 2 nights a few years ago on the Queen Mary from Southampton to France, and really enjoyed it. Must say we are RCCL fans but after this Thomson cruise, we will definitely sail with them again.

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  8. Karen Whitfield says:

    I did two weeks on Thomson Celebration Adult only cruise – 1st week as above – second week Sicily, Italy, Malta, Montenegro also – It was fantastic – We went in October so it was nice to get some sun and visit the really interesting places. After a really bad experience the year before on P & O Ventura – This smaller ship was a much better Experience and the food on Thomson was far superior, the staff friendlier and the whole holiday 100% nicer than the Ventura where you are just another number among far too many and not pleasant at all. We travelled on a smaller Thomson ship years previously and the smaller ships are so much more personal and the staff far more friendly. I would definately recommend Celebration as one of the best ships we have been on.

    • Funny you should mention the Ventura we had a 2 day taster cruise and did not have a good experience either. Shame really as it has put us off going with P&O which do some great itineraries out of the UK. We have done many RCCL cruises but this was our first Thomson Cruise and it was brilliant. We really enjoyed the small ship experience, and we will definitely be cruising with them again. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Looks like a great cruise. We don’t usually do cruises but we are considering one in January. Glad to see you had a great time on a smaller boat. #Theweeklypostcard

    • It really was a fantastic cruise, would definitely recommend this type of holiday. We love waking up somewhere new everyday, it gives you a taste of a place to see if you would like to return in the future. Thanks for your comment 😀

  10. Emma leteace says:

    I never would have considered Thompson for a cruise, not sure why…

    But after reading this review I definitely would! That room looked lovely.

    • We hadn’t either until our friends recommendation but so glad we did. Different experience from our regular favourite which is RCCL but have now got the thirst to try some other smaller ships. Thanks for your comment, looking forward to checking your NCL posts out as we have not cruised with them.

  11. Garth says:

    We’ve never done a cruise, not yet anyway. This is so comprehensive, gives me a real flavour of what life is like on board. Cant believe that pool was freezing! We’re hoping to visit Dubrovnik soon too. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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    • It is a long post but one where we wanted to get the whole cruise experience over so glad it gave you a taste of what cruise life is like. I don’t think we have ever been in such a cold pool and the weather was so hot too, but didn’t seem to warm it up at all. Thanks for your comment!

  12. I love the ocean and trying different ways to explore the world is important to me. Your post has really inspired me to try a cruise now so thank you!

    • It is a great way to travel waking up somewhere new to explore is one of the many reasons we love cruising. Good to hear we have inspired as that was our intention. Thanks for your comment! 😀

  13. I thought I left a comment on this post before but I’m not seeing it. So, I will leave another one just in case. 😉 This looks like a very fun cruise with yummy food. I have only been on a dinner cruise before. But, I’m looking at in the next couple of years going on a week long cruise. I will keep this cruise ship in mind. 🙂
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  14. We have only been on one cruise around the Caribbean and the ship was far too big so I always find it interesting reading other people’s experiences. This is a lovely thorough review which gives us a wonderful insight into this cruise and also Thomson. Great tips, thank you for providing so much information. #feetdotravel

    • Ships are getting bigger and bigger and that doesn’t suit everyone. We really enjoyed the smaller ship mentality and would cruise with Thomson again. The post is a long one but we wanted to try and get across the whole experience. Thanks for your comment! 😀

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  16. Midori says:

    I’m not a big fan of cruises, but definitely in your post is really well covered! thanks

  17. Travel Lexx says:

    Great review and hope you had a great time in one of my favourite regions of the world. Croatia and Slovenia are both stunning! Thanks for sharing

  18. I haven’t been on a cruise in the longest time! I used to go a lot when I was younger and my mom worked in the travel industry. You’ve reminded me how much I enjoy cruises.
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  19. We’ve seen the Thompson ships in port, but had never been aboard. Thanks for the peek inside!
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  20. Kreete says:

    What a great review! How awesome you guys got invited to a formal dinner! This must have felt really special! I love the videos you guys make too! It gives the whole post a whole other dimension. I have never been to a cruise over that way apart for our yearly booze cruise from Estonia to Finland and Sweden, so I will definitely keep this one in mind. How much did you end up paying for it all up?
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    • Thanks for your lovely comments! Not normally lovers of the formal thing but had a fantastic time. It cost just under £800 each for inclusive and flights from UK so we were pleased with that 😀

  21. I’ve never done a cruise, but this looks nice! 🙂

  22. Helena says:

    This looks amazing! I love a good cruise but it has been a few years since I was on one. I like how you went through all of the entertainment and the drinks as well. It’s good to hear that the Captain enjoyed cruising around the ship and mingling. The fruit carvings were cool too 🙂

  23. David says:

    Taking a cruise seems like a great way to see some of the Adriatic Sea. I’ve never travelled through it by water but it is a stunning region. Looks like you were well covered with entertainment, activities and food. Seems like a quality cruise vacation!

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  28. Emma Leteace says:

    Such a detailed review! I had never really considered Thompson but it looks amazing.

    Thanks for sharing, I definitely would consider a cruise on this ship now.

    • Thanks for your comment. We loved our cruise on the Celebration, the ship is older and smaller than the modern ships however still has lots to offer. We enjoyed it so much we are booked on the Thomson Dream in June!

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  32. Danielle says:

    This is a great review! My friend and myself are going on this ship at the end of November for 2 weeks in the Caribbean. After reading this and watching the videos I am a lot more excited about this trip. I would not have thought I would do a cruise as I thought it would be small and compact, but my friend persuaded me to join her and after reading this review I’m looking forward to it more now!

    • Ahh thanks Danielle glad you liked it. You will have an amazing trip. We are in the Caribbean too trying our first MSC Cruise on the MSC Opera, so if we pass the Thomson Celebration we will wave lol!

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  35. I have just read through your fantastic blog about the Adriatic cruise you were on.
    I am going on this cruise soon, and so looking forward to all the destinations.
    The blog provided me with loads of information and ideas about this particular ship and cruise.
    I have been on a few cruises and loved them all.
    I look forward to reading many more of your great blogs.

    Warmest regards.

    • Thanks Patricia, so glad you have found them helpful. We are on the Marella Explorer 2 next month so looking forward to that and will be sharing lots here and on our Facebook page. Have a fabulous cruise!

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  37. Noel says:

    Hi Paul and Carol, We are about to book the Marella Celebration for a 14 day trip from Dubrovnik visiting Croatia, Malta Italy etc. I’ve been researching the boat for a few days and seen plenty of positives and a few negatives, ( those being age of ship, ship looking tired, vibration noises etc.) I too travelled last year with Royal Caribbean and was impressed with the ship, service, food etc. Therefore I was worried about booking this smaller ship as I didn’t want to spend the holiday comparing companies. However your excellent blog has convinced me to book for next May. One question which may seem strange. Is there a particular side of the boat that is best to have your cabin on? This is more for “docking” at all the various ports. Or is it a bit of a lottery depending on the port itself. Just thought it would be nice to wake up on the side where the boat is docking. Many thanks for all the information

    • Hi Noel, Thanks for reading our blog. The Celebration is old but full of character and as long as you realise it isnt RCCL then you will be fine. The newer Marella ships are a similar standard to RCCL the Discovery and Explorer and we are back on the Discovery in November. In fact the Discovery is the old Royal Carribean Splendour of the Seas. Regarding best side difficult one as each port is different so unfortunately that is a gamble unless you research each port and see if you can make an educated guess!

  38. Noel Gubbins says:

    Hello Paul and Carol,
    I hope you are both well,
    Our recent Marella Cruise to has obviously been cancelled as you can imagine. We are going to take TUI up on their credit note with 20% incentive. We fancy a Marella cruise in Florida next year on the Marella Discovery and fancy a junior suite with balcony. Your you tube video of your junior suite 8552 is so helpful and informative. Could I ask one question please. Did you find there was much noise from the indoor pool deck above (looking at the deck plans). During the day and at night? Booking this room, like yourselves, is a special treat for us and any information to assist selecting a particular junior suite would be most welcome. Keep up the excellent work. Many thanks. Noel

    • Thanks Noel glad you found it helpful! We had no noise at all from the deck above as it is under the Snack Shack end which has no moveable chairs. Would happily stay in this cabin again. The USA itineraries look fabulous! 😁

  39. Noel says:

    Paul and Carole, (apologies for spelling your name wrong Carole on previous posts)
    many thanks for the prompt reply and very useful information.



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