Once again at short notice, we decided to take another shortish cruise relatively close to home. As this was during the school holiday period, we again went for a lower cost package with Thomson cruises, this time on the Thomson Celebration, calling at the following locations, most of which were new to us:
Istanbul - "Istanbul is like an intricately woven carpet, a subtle blend of eastern and western cultures" - Lets Go Turkey!
Dikili - for Pergamon and Asclepion, an ancient health spa!
Piraeus (for Athens) - "I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world" - Socrates
Patmos - the Island of the Apocalypse.
Bodrum - a Wonder of the Ancient World that is now a holiday resort.
This was a mixed cruise. The destinations were excellent, and we had sufficient time in all locations to get a good flavour of them. Flying from the small Bournemouth airport was much more relaxed, compared to the typical mayhem of Gatwick or Luton.
However, the Thomson Celebration herself is starting to show it's age. Although we had paid extra for a larger and theoretically nicer cabin on a higher deck (deck 8), we had continual problems with blowback and leaking pipes in the bathroom. These necessitated almost daily visits to the front office, and eventually resulted in a not insignificant credit being made to our onboard account as compensation. We also heard that a number of other people on the lower decks (decks 2 and 3) were dissatisfied with the overall mechanical noise in and around their cabins. The ship in general was not as well laid out as newer ships, and there was (as Dave described it) "a distinct whiff of car ferry" about the lifts! Whilst we would still use Thomson cruises again on the Thomson Dream, we won't sail on any of their older ships again.