Marella Celebration

Former names: MS Noordam, Thomson Celebration

Specifications of Marella Celebration

Year of build1984  /  Age: 38
BuilderChantiers de l’Atlantique (Saint-Nazaire, STX France)
Building costUSD 160 million
Engines (power)Wartsila-Sulzer (21.6 MW / 28966 hp)
Speed21 kn / 39 km/h / 24 mph
Length (LOA)214 m / 702 ft
Beam (width)27 m / 89 ft
Gross Tonnage33933 gt
Passengers1262 - 1350
Passengers-to-space ratio27
Decks with cabins9
Last Refurbishment2014, Aliaga-scrapped in 2022
Sister-shipsThomson Spirit
Former namesMS Noordam, Thomson Celebration
Christened byBeatrijs van De Wall Bake
OwnerCarnival Corporation & PLC
OperatorMarella Cruises (Thomson UK)

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Review of Marella Celebration

The 1984-built/2022-scrapped Marella Celebration cruise ship (formerly "Thomson Celebration") was a leased vessel whose last owner was HAL-Holland America Line (subsidiary of Carnival Corporation). The ship was built as MS Noordam and between 2005-2021 was operated (under a long-term charter) by the UK-based company Thomson Cruises/now Marella Cruises).

Marella Celebration's AIS reported for the last time on July 20, 2020 (at 7:42 UTC) showing the boat en route to Port Eleusis/Elefsina. The last shipowner was ROTA SHIPPING INC (Turkey).

For Marella, the vessel (IMO number 8027298) was Malta-flagged (MMSI 249544000) and registered in Valletta.

History - construction and ownership

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises UK) is a British passenger shipping company and trademarked travel brand owned by TUI Group. The company entered the cruise market in 1973 via Thomson Holidays (now TUI UK), but due to rising fuel costs, this service was terminated in 1976. Thomson Cruises restarted passenger shipping operations in 1995. The Thomson brand was renamed to "Marella Cruises" in 2018. Marella's parent company (TUI Group) owns hotels, the sister companies TUI Cruises, Marella Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the travel brands International Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, also aircraft and the airlines Corsair International (France), TUI Airways (UK), TUI fly Nordic (Sweden), TUI fly Belgium, TUI fly Deutschland, TUI fly the Netherlands.

Marella Celebration cruise ship (Thomson Celebration)

The 1250-passenger ship Marella Celebration joined Thomson Holidays UK's cruise division in 2004, after sailing for Holland America as "Noordam". Thomson Celebration became a favorite boat on the ever-growing British source market, offering a pretty good service by friendly staff.

Although Celebration was one of the industry's older vessels still in operation, the cruise charter company invested big money in drydock refits and refurbishments. In 2008, all Suites were renewed, Horizons Lounge was redone, all stairs and landing zones received new carpeting, and all public toilets were replaced. The liner was last refurbished in 2014 (by Thomson) after which introduced Thomson UK's Platinum Collection of voyages.

On April 29, 2020, Marella UK officially announced that the Celebration ship will be retired (either sold or scrapped) after 15 years of service with Thomson-Marella UK. The cruise liner was scheduled to be homeported in Dubrovnik Croatia (June through October 2020, and May through October 2021), in Limassol Cyprus (Nov-Dec 2020, and March-April 2021) and in Dubai UAE (Dec 2020 through March 2021). All these voyages were canceled and transferred to Marella Explorer 2.

When this announcement was made, the boat was at anchorage off Isle of Wight (England) - near the seaside resort Shanklin. Between April 2020 and September 2022, the vessel remained laid-up/at anchorage in Elefsina Gulf (Athens Metro, West Attica Greece). )n Septemeber 16, 2022, were confirmed the rumors that the 38-year-old vessel is towed/heading to Turkey and soon to be beached and dismantled/scrapped at Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard.

Decks and Cabins

Marella Celebration staterooms (625 total, in 9 grades) include 20x Suites, 26x balconies, 416x Oceanviews, 209x Inside, 15x Single cabins. Most staterooms are sized 140-170 ft2 (13-16 m2). Only 4 cabins are wheelchair-accessible. The largest accommodations are the Window Suites (280-290 ft2 / 26-27 m2).

The boat has 9 decks, all of which are with cabins.

Shipboard facilities and amenities

The liner had three restaurants. The 600-seat Meridian has warm decor and operates in an open-seating arrangement. Most tables are 4-, 6-, or 8-seat. Dinners include a choice of 4 starters plus an alternative vegetarian choice. The small a-la-carte-priced Mistral's (45 seats) is a specialty restaurant (adjacent to the Meridian) with a per-person cover charge. The Lido Restaurant is open 24 hours a day in an open-seating arrangement. A themed buffet may be offered each week. However, self-serve buffets are repetitive. On the Lido Deck, the Terrace Grill provides fast-food items, pasta, and pizza.

Marella Celebration cruise ship (Thomson Celebration)

Follows the complete list of Marella Celebration's restaurants and food bars.

  • The Meridian restaurant (offers breakfast, lunch and 6-course dinner; all meals are served as open seating; once per week hosts the Captain's Gala Reception and Gala Dinner)
  • Mistral's restaurant (a la carte restaurant with the cover charge applied and required onboard reservations; open for dinner only between 6:30-10 PM)
  • Kora La Restaurant (Asian restaurant for Lunch and Dinner, complimentary; reservations are recommended)
  • Lido restaurant (with al-fresco dining area and self-service buffet, open 24 hours a day; twice a week international theme nights are held)
  • Terrace Grill (the place for pizzas, pasta dishes, specialty salads, served in the sunshine).

Overall, the Celebration ship was particularly great for first-timers, with amenities that clearly blures the gap between land-based and sea holidays. One such example is the Lido Bar and Restaurant's outdoor seating zone - sitting out on deck, sipping a cocktail or beer and watching a show on the stage across from the swimming pool is something that reminds of a typical resort-based hotel in the Mediterranean.

Marella Celebration cruise ship (Thomson Celebration)

Follows the complete list of Marella Celebration's lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for adults, teens and kids.

  • Broadway Show Lounge (600-seat, features grand production shows with dance, acrobatics, comedy, and games); Broadway Lounge Bar
  • Broad Street Shops (duty-free shopping arcade with boutiques selling watches, fine jewellery, Marella Cruises logo merchandise, luxury perfumes, fashion clothes, liquor, tobaccos, convenience goods); Boutique (luxury Spa cosmetics, beauty products)
  • Photo Gallery & Shop; Card Room; Library with Internet access
  • Explorers Lounge (features live piano music and daily Afternoon Tea; home to The Coffee Port bar for specialty coffees and teas served with complimentary desserts; wi-fi hotspot)
  • Casino (served by its own Bar)
  • Mezzanine Bar & Lounge
  • Hemingway's Bar (live piano performances, large windows for panoramic sea views)
  • Lido Bar (open 11:30 AM - 7:30 PM, serves the pool deck area)
  • Liberties (disco nightclub, with its own bar, a stage for live performances, dance floor; offers live music, film screenings, game shows, and dancing classes during the day)
  • Main Pool area (paddle pool for kids, swimming pool, sunbathing area; served by an alfresco Pool Bar)
  • Marella Kids Club (play area, complimentary; offers supervised age-appropriate activities for kids 3-11 yo); Video Games Arcade
  • Oceans Spa & Gym (Wellness Centre: Treatment Rooms, Massage Rooms, Saunas, Beauty Salon, Relaxation Area; The Gym has a separate Aerobic Studio)
  • Adults-only pool deck area (swimming pool, whirlpool, sunbathing area)
  • Horizons Lounge & Bar (observation lounge with panoramic sea views; has a dance floor and offers live classical music and jazz performances, as well as cabaret performances in the evening)
  • The Sun Lounge (outdoor adults-only relaxation area with luxury daybeds; served by its own bar).


Marella Celebration itinerary program was based mainly on Mediterranean voyages. During 2016-2017 winter season, the ship operated roundtrips from homeport Dubai UAE visiting ports in Bahrain, Oman, and UAE.

For summer 2018, the ship was relocated to homeport Dubrovnik Croatia for an adults-only cruise program with full-day port stays in Croatia's port cities Bar, Korcula, Zadar, Split, as well as Italy's Venice and Trieste. The boat also introduced two new 7-day itineraries themed "Sail Three Seas" (Valletta Malta, Messina Sicily, Cephalonia Island, Igoumenitsa, Kotor) and "Greek Mystique" (Chania Crete, Piraeus-Athens, Kalamata, Corfu Island, Kotor).

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The ship's powerplant is based on Wartsila-Sulzer marine diesel engines (model 7RLB66) with combined power output 21,6 MW (28965 hp).

The vessel has Chantiers de l’Atlantique yard/hull number A360677, volume 33933 GT-tons, DWT-deadweight tonnage 4243 tons, max draught 7,7 m.

Marella Celebration was built/launched as ms Noordam (link to the HAL ship) for HAL-Holland America Line. In 2005, the vessel was chartered to Thomson Holidays (in 2018 rebranded to Marella Cruises). Following an extensive drydock refurbishment in 2014, Celebration was introduced into Thomson's new "Platinum Collection" itineraries. The ship's godmother was Beatrijs van De Wall Bake (descendant of the Van den Wall Bake/De Menthon Bake family which is originally from Germany/Bremen).

The boat was built in France and by design and specifications was sister to Thomson Spirit (originally launched as "ms Nieuw Amsterdam" for HAL in 1983). The Apollo Group company was contracted for providing all Marella ships with the entire onboard hotel product and services. This includes administration, food staff (preparation and serving), housekeeping staff, also the vessel's provisioning and crewing. Other luxury brands served by Apollo are the NCLH-owned subsidiary companies Oceania and RSSC-Regent Seven Seas.

During its winter 2016-2017 season, Marella Celebration was homeported in Dubai UAE operating 7-night roundtrips to ports in UAE, Oman and Bahrain.

Marella Celebration cruise ship (Thomson Celebration)

The vessel had max passenger capacity 1350 (plus 520 staff-crew) and 625 staterooms (on 9 decks). Its building cost (USD 160 million in 1984) equaled in 2020 ~USD 406 million (annual inflation rate over the 1984-2020 period ~2,6%). The shipbuilding company was Chantiers de l’Atlantique (shipyard in Saint-Nazaire France).