Marella Celebration

Former names: MS Noordam, Thomson Celebration

Marella Celebration last position

Marella Celebration last location was at Aegean Sea (coordinates 38.01455 N / 23.52229 E) cruising The AIS position was reported 1 year ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Marella Celebration

Year built1984  /  Age: 38
Flag state Malta
BuilderChantiers de l’Atlantique (Saint-Nazaire, STX France)
Building costUSD 160 million
Speed21 kn / 39 kph / 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 Wallbake
OwnerCarnival Corporation & PLC
OperatorMarella Cruises (Thomson UK)

Marella Celebration Review

Review of Marella Celebration

The 1984-built Marella Celebration cruise ship (formerly "Thomson Celebration") is a leased vessel which current owner is HAL (Holland America Line, subsidiary of Carnival Corporation). The ship was built as MS Noordam and since 2005 is operated under a long-term charter (expiring in 2021) by the UK-based company Marella Cruises (fka "Thomson Cruises").

On April 29, 2020, Marella Cruises 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 cancelled and transferred to Marella Explorer 2.

When this announcement was made, the ship was located/anchored off Isle of Wight (England) - near the seaside resort Shanklin. Since April 2020, the vessel remained laid-up (at anchorage in Elefsina Gulf / Athens Metro area, West Attica Greece). According to rumours, the 36-year-old Marella Celebration is projected to be scrapped in Aliaga 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 the U.K. holiday giant's cruise division back in 2004, after sailing for Holland America as "Noordam". In the past 5 years, Thomson Celebration became a favourite with the ever-growing British source market, offering a really good service by friendly staff.

Though Marella Celebration was one of the older vessels afloat, the company invested in drydock refits. In 2008, Suites were renewed, Horizons Lounge redone, new carpets were put in across all stairs and landing zones, and all public toilets were replaced. In 2014 the ship was last refurbished and introduced into the Platinum collection of cruises.

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 dining options - Food and Drinks

There are three restaurants onboard Marella Celebration. The 600-seat Meridian has warm decor and operates in an open-seating arrangement. Most tables are for four, six, or eight. Dinners include a choice of 4 starters plus an alternative vegetarian choice. The small a-la-carte Mistral's (capacity 45 seats) is a specialty dining spot adjacent to the Meridian. There is 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 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).

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

Overall, Marella Celebration cruise ship is particularly great for first-timers, with amenities that clearly blur 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 lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.

  • 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 is based on Mediterranean cruises. During 2016-2017 winter season, the ship operated round-trip itineraries from homeport Dubai to ports in Bahrain, Oman, and UAE.

For summer 2018, the ship was relocated to homeport Dubrovnik for an adults-only cruise program with full day port stays in Bar, Korcula, Zadar, Venice, Trieste, Split. The ship also introduced 2 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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Marella Celebration cruise ship was built and launched as ms Noordam (link to the HAL ship) for Holland America Line. In 2005, the vessel was chartered to Thomson Holidays (in 2018 rebranded to Marella Cruises). Following an extensive drydock refurbishment in 2013, Celebration was introduced into Thomson's new "Platinum Collection" itineraries. The ship's godmother is Beatrijs van De Wallbake.

The ship was built in France and by design and specifications is 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 is Malta-flagged (registered in Valletta) and has max passenger capacity 1350 (plus 520 staff-crew) and 625 staterooms (on 9 decks). Its building cost (USD 160 million in 1984) equals 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).

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