Calypso
Ranked #30 of 133 cruise ships

Former Names: Sun Fiesta/ Canguro Verde, Durr, Regent Jewel, Ionian, Harmony This stylish little cruise ship provides a welcoming and friendly atmosphere and has a good range of public rooms.After refurbishment in 2006, it offers a British ambience with British style daytime and evening entertainment. Passengers on the Calypso tend to be mixed ages and European. When all cabins have double occupancy, the ship provides a space ratio of 23.5 tons per passenger and a crew to passenger ratio of one for every 2.2 passengers. At full capacity the space ratio is 18.7 tons per passenger and the crew ratio is one to 2.7 passengers.
5/5
Calypso Calypso is rated 5 out of 5 from 22 Reviews
73% of users recommend this cruise ship
Review Overview (22 reviews)

Cleanliness 4 stars
Entertainment  stars
Food 4 stars
Staff 5 stars

Calypso Reviews

5/5
5

ann miller cruised on October 2009
have just come back from a 7 night cruise on the CALYPSO, the cleanliness of the ship was superb, with a special mention to Henry for the funny animals which always gave us a smile and the kind regards he left for my birthday, which was on the first night on board, The food in both the restuarant and bistro was excellent , we (my sister and i) could not fault any of it. now for the staff, i have never been on any holiday where the staff were as friendly and helpful, as my sister had walking difficulties the staff helped in every way possible ...
to make her feel comfortable, especially erikk who was most helpful on one of our excursions ,, we had such a great laugh with all waiters and members of staff , the best entertainment was just having fun with everyone , both passengers and crew and we would gladly book with them again , but unfortunatly this was the last voyage so we won\'t be able to go again, We send everyone on board our best wishes and hope that one day we will meet again.

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Tour Operator: thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

gail cruised on August 2009
iv read some of the reviews and to be honest the ones that dont have a positive feed back must be so hard to please!!!!
the whole experience from going on board to comming off was so smooth.
ALL staff couldnt do enough for you. any thing you wanted to know if they didnt know they would find out for you
the intertainment staff were very good they dont have alot of room to do there acts but they manage very well indeed. we had a look around back stage and theres not alot of room there as well but asusal they manage no bother.
the waiting on staff and bar staff were the ...
same couldnt do enough for you and always with a smile on there face.
all in all i think the WHOLE cruise was exelent and yes it is a lot smaller ship but it makes it more friendly than some of the other larger ships.

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Tour Operator: thomsons

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

mr speechley cruised on September 2008
had a week on board it was plenty,it must have been a ferry because it is the most noisiest ship we have been on, you cant sleep or talk at a descent level in the small cabins or on the sun deck,its an adults only cruise [great idea]but the type of entertainment is more suited for the over60s, probably why 80% of passengers were over 60, the food, the crew,the itinerary were faultless,this ship is very small so unless you are of a pensionable age this ship is not for you, so come on thomson cater for the younger adults also. ...


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Tour Operator: thomson
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
2 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Alsacienne cruised on September 2008
We sailed on a 7 nights\' cruise called Crimean Discovery B, visiting Nessebar in Bulgaria, Sevastopol in the Ukraine, Istanbul in Turkey and Limnos in Greece, starting and ending our cruise in Thessaloniki.

It was our first cruise and we chose it for the itinerary. We were the only independent travellers on board, the rest all travelled by air from the UK with Thomson. This gave me a headache pre-cruise because the UK call centres could not answer my questions and insisted that they would be sending me tickets, even though I repeatedly explained that I would not be needing them as I was not flying to the embarcation ...
port with them!! Once on board, the patient and well-informed information desk told me everything I wished to know! Well done them!

Very easy embarcation, with a genuinely friendly welcome. The friendliness of the crew regardless of their rank or department persisted throughout the week and was very positive when you were stumbling about in search of that essential early morning cuppa!

Cleanliness aboard was impeccable - I was particularly impressed with the public toilets which received heavy use all day and night, but still remained clean and fresh. Our cabin too was spotless, and our cabin steward,Henry, could not do enough for us. A real gentleman. We were on deck 3 in an inside cabin and the cabin was sufficiently generously sized so that we didn\'t have to play sardines! Loads of hot water, and clean towels were standard. It was good to be able to see outside by using the TV for a bridge camera view and also when docking! Loads of hangers (unexpected!) and a full length wardrobe.

The catering on board is done in one galley, for both guests and crew. The cruise director on more than one occasion apologied for the fact that 24 hour dining was not available on this ship, but quite frankly there was always something available to eat, and although it was mass-catered, the quality was good and the quantity copious. Tea, coffee and water plus fruit was available 24 hours a day, and the plastic beakers provided were large enough to give you a goodly amount if you took them on deck. The waiters and bar staff were quick and efficient, where ever you chose to dine and drink, and they were very good humoured.

I remember reading reviews before sailing and thinking cynically \'they must be all after tips\' when I read about the friendliness of the Calypso staff. Well they WERE all friendly and tips had nothing to do with it!! All crew members from the Officers down to the Engine Room mechanics were very approachable, and it felt good when cheery voices asked after you, even when you got into the lift with \'below decks\' staff.

But there are two groups of staff that I\'d like to single out for particular attention. Firstly the multinational reception desk personnel who are on duty 24 hours a day, charming and gentle and cannot do enough for you, and the dedicated Thomson employees such as Paula (\'destinations manager\'), Debbie, her deputy and Lucy the social hostess.

But I cannot but express my admiration for the Entertainment Team, lead by the redoubtable cruise director Frank Hammond. These folk can dance, sing, act and teach (salsa, greek dancing and singing), AND they accompany excursions, greet you pleasantly at all hours of the day and night - they NEVER seem to be off duty - and play an important part in the Muster Drill. They work non-stop for 8 months and you would never know it, because they never put a foot wrong or sing a bum note! Frank is very professional, but friendly and approachable, and his commentary through the Dardanelles and during our passage through Istanbul at night was very helpful. His \'intellectual equal\', a retired architect called Alfred Rowe, presented three excellent talks with slides about the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign, the Crimean War and the Mosques, Minarets and Mosaics of Istanbul. I found these very interesting, and they should become a regular feature on all cruises.

There were plenty of daytime activities - I even learned how to fold a napkin into various shapes with varying degrees of success ...... though I can\'t remember now, 5 days later, what I actually did!! I didn\'t use the gym, but my son who did, was very impressed by the variety of machines and that they all worked!! He also spent some time - and money - using the internet!!

I was impressed by the ship\'s photographer, who took \'meeting the Captain\' and dinner table photos on the formal night, but there was no pressure to buy any of them, and his presence was blissfully low-key! I thought his pics were good, and of course bought them, but without any hard sell.

I would just add that I never got to visit Limnos. We hit rough seas and the Captain used his discretion and for safety reasons, decided to head back to Thessaloniki without trying to berth there. Very sensible, as it meant that we reached calmer seas much sooner than if we had moored there for the day, and the Entertainment Team rose to the occasion and provided a full day\'s varied entertainment programme almost at the drop of the proverbial hat.

I would certainly travel on the Calypso again - there were folk aboard who voiced their negative opinions about the smallness of the ship but I found it adequate and comfortable for my needs. Mind you, I was still getting lost on day 5 and met a lot of very friendly folk in the process! It was a relief to have no under 16s aboard, and thankfully no one seemed to be on a mission to drink the ship dry of alcohol. There was NO silly behaviour and everyone maintained their dignity but had a lot of laughter as well. And there was no need to \'reserve\' a sunbed .... and there were always chairs available on deck.

I had a wonderful week that I will always remember with great pleasure (except for the choppiness on day 7) and look forward to cruising again on this ship.

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Tour Operator: Independent traveller

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Graham cruised on July 2008
Have just returned from a trip arond the Black Sea on the Calypso which was our first trip on this small but excellent ship.

Our cabin was on deck 6 and alough small was very clean and well maintained, as was the whole of the ship.

Most passemgers were in the older age group and with minor exceptions very polite and well behaved. They could drink, but I suspect due to experience held it well.

The evening dining was fixed seating and we had some excellent dining companions for the week.

Food was OK, well served, but the dining room at the rear of the ship lacked a little natural lighting.

In respect of the ...
ships staff these could not be faulted and most seemed to have a number of jobs. The staff were by far the most friendly of the Thomson fleet (we have travelled on all the other Thomson ships).

One extra on this trip was a guest speaker was well able to talk on the history of the area, and we had a very good talk when the ship passed through the fighting areas of the first world war. As my granfather had fought here with the East Lancashire Division it was even more relevent to me.

The on board entertainment was good with a variety of shows and a play.

The ship itself did not rock and roll, but to be fair we had few rough seas.

In all a good ship, with small cabins, able to reach a number of ports that other ships could not.

Reasonable value for money.

In the merger of First Choice and Thomsons the First Choice arm of Thomsons need to bring up the two Island ships up to the standard of the Thomson ships, but Thomson need to bring up the standard of Thomsonfly to that of Fisrt Choice Airlines. Prehaps then we can have the best of both forms of transport in a mass market.

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Tour Operator: Thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

judy morris cruised on June 2008
We returned last week from two weeks on Thomson Calypso around the Aegean for a week and then to the Black Sea for a week.

We had good Thomson flights both ways between Gatwick and Thessaloniki although they were a little delayed but nothing major. We were pleased to have 25 kgs luggage allowance which was a first! We have sailed with Thomson three times before and have always been very satisfied….we have also sailed with Princess twice, Costa twice and Discovery once and Thomson is by far our favourite.

The Calypso is an old ship, a converted car ferry, and the style is not the ...
same as the huge modern ships….she is small, just 430 or so passengers (adults only) which gives an intimate feel to her. As we have found with all our Thomson cruises, the food was excellent with a varied and beautifully cooked menu served piping hot in the main restaurant, we mainly ate there rather than the Bistro buffet because there was more selection. There was also a grill with salads, etc on the open deck at the rear of the ship by the buffet. Plenty of fresh fruit available in the buffet to take away with you if you wanted…also tea (herbal, fruit, earl grey etc) and coffee available at all times as was cold drinking water. The staff were mainly Phillipino in the restaurant along with Eastern Europeans doing various jobs and some Greek staff as well. It is fixed seating for dining which we don’t mind, but there is the buffet option if you don’t like to dress up a bit. One formal evening per week but most men wore lounge suits and tie rather than dinner jackets.

We chose our cabin on Deck 6 which was fairly small compared to lower grade ones on the lower decks which seemed more spacious…I shall be writing to Thomson to suggest they might reassess the grading of the cabins. We looked at some on Deck 3 which were very spacious and would be quite happy saving some money and having one of those next time!! However we were comfortable and the ensuite seemed quite new as did the soft furnishings…nice quality curtains and bed covers. We had a Ukranian cabin girl Olena who kept our cabin absolutely spotless and gave us the obligatory towel animals and chocs on the pillow!!! In spite of being on Deck 6 which is at the top of the ship, we had a very comfortable ride even in the choppy waters of the northern Black Sea!! My Stugeron remained in the packet. (had to take them on the Sea Princess which is 4 x the size, crossing the Bay of Biscay!!) The ship never felt crowded and there always seemed to be plenty of sunbeds available on the top sun deck. We chose to sit at the back of the ship or on the promenade deck.

The entertainment was superb considering the restraints of the ceiling height and small stage in the Festival Show lounge. The team put on some superb shows rangeing from Cole Porter to Abba, different every night for two weeks with two lighthearted plays on two of the evenings and a comedienne (Brenda Collins - excellent) and a comedian/magician on two other evenings….the remaining evenings were musical shows. The Cruise Director for the first week was Stephen Guy and for the second Keef Maynard…both excellent!!

The itineraries were both very good ….the first week calling at Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Mykonos and back to Thessaloniki and then the second week sailing through Istanbul at night (fantastic) then Nessebar, Bulgaria up to Sevastopol, Ukraine , back down to Constanta, Romania and then to Istanbul for the day. We finished up at Limnos another beautiful Greek Island before our return to Thessaloniki and the flight home. We chose the itineraries because we wanted to experience the Black Sea area and have a taste of Istanbul…although we probably wouldn’t want to revisit Ukraine or Romania it was interesting to find out a little of the culture and history. We loved Istanbul and would like to visit again. We didn’t do any organised trips on the first week as we felt comfortable ‘doing our own thing’ and it was easy. The second week we did excursions in Sevastopol, Romania and Istanbul.

The weather around the Greek Islands was absolutely perfect…the Black Sea was a bit changeable but only a shower now and again, nothing more than that. All in all we had a wonderful holiday on a lovely small ship, we had excellent service from a friendly crew and met some nice people.

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Tour Operator: thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Marie Kennedy cruised on June 2008
I have already written a review of my experiences on the Calypso in September 2007 and most of my comments from that review still stand. Once again I travelled alone (this time from Gatwick) and did the Ionian and Aegean cruises.

Slight problem when we arrived in Thessaloniki - there was a coach waiting for us but whilst it did have enough room for everyone it did not have enough room for all the luggage. This caused about a 40 minute delay at the airport and for some people seemed to start their holiday off so badly that they never recovered. The usual embarkation formalities which were efficiently ...
handled. The new Maitre\'d this year is very personable but on first meeting him in the cruise terminal I (wrongly) thought he was a miserable so and so.

My cabin was again on deck 2 and I had the same cabin stewardess - Violetta. Now some people believe that on cruises you are forgotten the minute you leave your tips and leave the ship. On the Calypso this is not the case. I was being shown to my cabin by one of the staff and Violetta was coming down the stairs and even though I recognised her I didn\'t let on initially. However she did a double take when she saw me and it was hugs and she insisted on taking over the showing me to the cabin. I don\'t think I tipped to such an excess last year or made such an impression that she would remember. However this recognition continued throughout the cruise. On the night of the first Captain\'s cocktail party I was waiting to have my photo taken and Paula the Destinations Services Manager was managing the queue and she also recognised me as did George, one of the Head Waiters, a number of the other waiters and Francis, Fletcher, Tasha and Oliexiy (sp?) in the bars. They didn\'t all remember my name but they did recognise me 9 months on (and I don\'t have any distinguishing features that I know of).

Ports of call on the first week were Zante, Corfu, Itea, Piraeus (for Athens) and Volos. At about 4pm on the day at sea we sailed through the Corinth Canal which was amazing. I had passed over the Canal many times on trips from Zante to Athens but to cruise through it was amazing. In Zante I just did my own thing - went to the Church of St. Denis and lit a candle for one of the dining room waiters on the Emerald who sadly passed away during the winter. In Corfu there was a public transport strike and so all trips were cancelled. One of the Costa Ships was berthed behind us and I heard them announcing the same thing but an RCI ship was also in port and they had buses to take them around causing many on the Calypso to think this was some sort of a Thomson foul up. In Itea I did the trip to Delphi - a wonderful day out. Its an UNESCO World Heritage site and naturally no smoking, food or drink (apart from water) is allowed on site. I was particularly disgusted to see that the guest lecturer on the Calypso who was travelling with his daughter and just behind me most of the day smoked and discarded his cigarette butts without any regard to the rules.

In Piraeus I just wandered around the city on my own. One great thing about the Calypso this year is that Thomson gives fabulous information on going it alone in ports of call. There is no hard sell on the trips and Paula (and her assistant - Debbie (I think)-are only too happy to tell you how you can see the areas of interest at the least cost. Volos required a trip to see Meteora - the amazing rock formations with monasteries at the top. This was a full day excursion and we visited two of the monasteries and had lunch with a 2 hour drive through lovely countryside each way. Others did the Mount Pelion steam train excursion which most enjoyed.

The second week was my rest week. On the day at sea we cruised past the monasteries on Mount Athos. Then to Aghios Nikolaos in Crete which is a very pretty little town with some lovely shops. Next was Rhodes and unlike on previous cruises we berthed about one mile from the entrance to the old town so there were shuttle buses laid on. Next day it was Santorini. Lovely port but some people did not heed the warning about the queue for the cable car and so had to stand for an hour in the sun waiting. There were many complaints that night at dinner. After that it was Kusadasi which I don\'t particularly care for so I stayed on board. This was followed by Mykonos - my favourite Greek port (probably the Shirley Valentine in me). Then back to Thessaloniki. If anyone needs information on the ports of call or the excursions available I still have all the copies of the Cruise News and the excursion guide.

Fellow passengers - well mostly in their late 50\'s - early 60\'s and mostly well behaved. That is apart from a group of my fellow countrymen. There were 8 of them on the first leg of the trip and 4 on the second leg and they tended to look down on everyone else. However some of the conversations I overheard at the outside bistro area in the evening would make any Irish person ashamed - the language, the personal details, the names two of them called each other - obscenities which should not be used but certainly not when other people are within earshot. Yet they thought they were above everyone just because they gave the odd euro to the bar staff when they got their drinks. Enough said - they were disgusting. I sort of sensed what they would be like when on the first day at sea I saw them on the sun deck and with their belongings spread on 3 loungers facing the other way - just so they would not have to move the loungers in the afternoon and the sun\'s position had changed.

The ship is very very clean and there is always someone cleaning something. However this year I did notice on 2 - 3 occasions a smell of raw sewage in my bathroom. There was also a smell (one of my table companions likened it to a stink bomb) in the lower end of the dining room a couple of times. At first we though we imagined it but then we saw one of the dining room waiters walking around the area with a can of air freshener under a napkin and trying (and failing) to disguise what he was doing.

Food once again was excellent. Its hard to believe that the budget per passenger per day is only 5 euro (so I was told by one of the most established waiters). However the additional items served in dining room at breakfast such as kippers and eggs Benedict seem to be a thing of the past. People did complain that there was not food available 24/7 but between breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea (except in change over days) dinner, midnight buffets (or pass arounds in the lounges)one did not have to wait for long.

The staff were (as last year) excellent. They cannot be faulted in any way. The entertainment staff were also (mostly) excellent. I did not attend any of the shows but the Cruise Director (Stephen Guy) was a very personable man and his announcements were informative. The Gemini Band played easy listening music in the Captain\'s Club every evening and the Albert Duo (on piano and violin) played in the Plaza and the Tropical Lounge. The only really poor performer was one of the male entertainment staff who had a solo set in the Captain\'s Club late one night and he could not sing for toffee - it was not just the songs the guy could not sing. A number of people commented on this - forced performance, wrong songs and singing flat but others seemed to enjoy it. Why is it that some cruisers think its OK to be critical of the ship in general, the ports of call, meals, cabins, bar prices but to criticise any of the entertainment staff is tantamount to heresy?

Yes I will sail on the Calypso again. I believe Thomson are only chartering her for another year so I have booked for both June and October next year. I\'m still trying to get another week this year in either August or September but flights are not just suiting at the moment. However as I only returned yesterday and will talk to my boss tomorrow about the extra day or so off work it might be OK.

The Calypso is small, she is old, she does not have the bells and whistles of the huge modern ships but she does offer a fantastic holiday to beautiful ports with staff and crew who are a joy to cruise with.



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Tour Operator: Thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

carol godfrey cruised on October 2007
we have just returned yesterday from our 14 cruise our first on the calypso. we did the ancient empires i had read through the cruise reviews and my expectations of the ship were about 80% well having first hand knowledge i rate this ship, the staff, the entertainment, food,ship itself 150% this was the last week before it went into dry dock for 7 months and we thought as the staff had been working for seven months without seeing their families they would be a little less enthusiastic how wrong could i be even to departing the ship they could not do enough for you. the entertainment was fantastic ...
they are very talented Frank the cruise director worked so hard and each show they did they put a little of their own personalety into the shows,the food was out of this world for a small ship with one galley they produce food found in five star restaraunts. i read somewhere on reviews that the bar staff were slow well i never experienced this and had very good service. the only small complaint i do have is the cabin stewardess who could hardly understand English and on the last day walked into the cabin without knocking i was not amused.the entertainment was first class after the main show in the evening, we went to the captains club where there was an audience participation show which was very entertaining and then we went to the bistro lounge to listen to the pianist Robert and his female singer who were both fantastic in fact we have never been on any other cruise where we have stayed up so late for a ship that had been converted from a car ferry she is fantastic and as for another review writer saying about coat hangers we took some with us but ther was more than enough in the cabin if you are interested in other views on ports of call independent sightseeing dos and donts of cruising we have a web site all about our 14 ports of call it is www.worldbycruiseship.co.uk

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Tour Operator: thompson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

venables cruised on September 2007
Very good for the money.
but an old ship and noisy
some of the fellow passengers were rude, but we enjoyed it.

Tour Operator: thomson
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Graham Couch cruised on September 2007
My wife and I sailed on the Calypso on the 24th Sep 2007 on the Aegean Wonders, this is our 7th cruise and would rate it as one of the best we have ever had.

We sailed from Thesaliniki after a flawless journey from Manchester, first stop Nauplion, not a lot here though very pleasant and clean.

Next we stopped at Tinos, again very clean and apparently a very holy place; there are a lot of shops selling religious items and general tourist tat. Nice church at the top of the hill.

Same day we arrived at Santorini or Thora as it is now called, and wow, this is the most dramatic landscape ...
I have ever seen, you actually sail into a caldera, or an extinct volcano, there were about 5 other ships in there as well, Santorini town was up on the side of the cone of the volcano, the only way to get up it though is either walk, ride on a donkey or up on a cable car, the cable car having a 1 hour queue, but worth it.

The town up there is breathtaking as are the views over the volcano, and we saw the most dramatic sunset ever, there are plenty of restaurants which actually hang on the very edge of the long drop down, yikes!! Coming down was so funny, we decided to walk because of the queues, it took an hour to get down in the dark and walking slowly through masses of manure, I was picking up pensioners left right and centre, who were slipping over everywhere, oh and you had to run to one side when the huge donkeys came running up and down, one woman screamed all the way down on the back of a donkey, so funny.

Next stop Marmaris, Turkey, very nice, lovely marina and harbour, but beware you will be pestered from the beginning, relentlessly, they must rub their hands when they see a cruise ship coming and they are experts at extracting money off you, do not stop to talk or accept any offers from anyone, they will be ripping you off, watch for the grapes seller he will place trays of grapes and ask for money then give you change in Turkish Lira to confuse you, just ignore him and walk past.

This place has many shops and bazaars, markets to us, but remember it is all fake and generally rubbish, so haggle, offer at least a quarter of the asking price.

Next is Kusdasi, slightly better than Marmaris, but we went horse riding to the beach here which was fantastic, well worth doing.

Last but not least, Mykanos, we have stayed here for week once and we really like it, not much to do but it is very pretty, can be windy and the prices of the bars is very high, expect to pay 6 Euros for a beer and about 5 for a coffee.

We got back to thesaloniki and spent a few hours there; it is a very big noisy city but has some very chique shops and bars, quite nice really.

About the Calypso, it is very small but this did not deter us from having a great cruise, it is old but I like older ships they have character and charm and the staff are great.

The cabin was a superior outside (506) but had a restricted view, be careful of this you need to specify this when booking, they will charge you to pre-book it, a bit naughty really, and I have sent a letter of complaint about it.

The food, entertainment, all good, good tip though if you are getting a hot buffet ask for a hot plate as there are a lot of salads and the plates are cold.

Frank Hammond is the cruise director, a nice chap from Sheffield; he is married to Dominique, one of the entertainers. These 11 entertainers really need a mention, they can all sing, dance, act, and they perform plays, and do all the evening shows, nothing too glamorous because the stage is so small, but they are all very talented.

The “Happy band” play easy listening music in the captain’s bar, which is quite pleasant.

One let down is that there are no deck parties because of the lack of space, I like having a boogie on the deck in the evening, so I missed this, the pool is so small it is unusable really, but all in all it was a great cruise and I would recommend it to anyone.

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Tour Operator: Thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Marie Kennedy cruised on September 2007
Just returned from 2 weeks on the Calypso - 24th September to 8th October doing the Crimea and Aegean. Early morning flight from Luton. The weather was awful and as the plane was still climbing it suddenly lost altitude. After the nervous giggles stopped and the plane continued its climb it started to shake from side to side. Afterwards I heard that there was a hurricane/tornado over part of England.

Arrived in Thessaloniki around noon and the reps were on hand to guide us to the coaches. Journey to the ship took about 45 minutes through down town Thessaloniki and its traffic. Arrived at port and ...
could just see the upper decks of the ship over the port buidings - it looked even smaller than I expected. The usual formalities took place in the port buildings. Its two years since I have cruised with Thomson\'s and on this occasion they did not retain the passports and the credit card registration took place prior to embarkation. The usual table assignment and then onto the ship for the embarkation photo and shown to the cabin.

Although travelling alone I was given a four berth cabin on deck 2 (inside). This was spotlessly clean and had the usual TV, air con, safety deposit (12 pounds per week rental - non refundable and I think 48 pounds if you lose the key). Pool towels are provided as well as a few shower gel/shower caps etc. Even though my cabin stewardess (Violetta) knew I was alone there were towels for 4 in the bathroon.

The overall cleanliness of the ship was excellent. Because it is a small ship you could leave your cabin in the morning and find one of the senior housekeeping staff giving the morning insructions/pep talk to her staff. I was also happy to see that not only were hand sanitisers at the entrances to both the restaurant and the bistro they were also at the gangways and were used by everyone.

The ship is still carrying out a refurbishment programme - a couple of times during the first week there were carpets being fitted on corridors. However this caused no problems for passengers that I could see - if you came to an area being refitted the work would stop and the workmen would assist you safely accross.

The food was excellent - better than the Emerald which was the last Thomson ship I cruised on and 50 times better than that served on the Island Escape when I cruised on her earlier in the year. Breakfast was served in either the Bistro or the restaurant. The additional items in the restaurant were things like kippers, poached eggs, eggs Benedict etc. There were pastries, full English, pancakes, fruit and cold meats and salads. Morning coffee in the bistro was pastries and muffins. Lunch comprised of salads, cold meats, soup, a roast, vegetables, pasta/rice/potatoes, fabulous deserts and fresh fruit. Afternoon tea in the bistro was the usual sandwiches, scones (unfortunately due to the heat they had to use the spray \"cream\" fron a can. Dinner comprised of a choice of 3/4 starters, 2/3 soups, salad, main course, pasta, vegetarian option and desert/cheese and biscuits plus tea/coffee. Every few nights there was a themed buffet in the bistro - Indian, Mexican, Italian and once a week there was a Buffet Magnifique in the restaurant. On the nights there was no buffee finger food was passed around in all the bars.

There was no way I could find fault with any of the staff. They were polite, efficient, friendly without being over friendly and seemed happy in their jobs. Many had worked on other Thomson ships and said they preferred the Calypso. One young lad from Romania seemed to have no end of jobs. He was assisting the wine waiters in the restaurant in the evenings, he was seen carrying luggage on change over days, he was seen taking out the rubbish one day in port and was even assisting the carpet fitters. However the behaviour of a number of passengers towards the crew left a lot to be desired. On one evening I went to the casino area for a pre dinner drink and a smoke. The area was quiet and as Francis (bar steward) was brining me my drink a man arrived. Francis went up to him and asked him if he would like a drink. The man actually turned his head to look away from Francis as he curtly told him to come back in 5 minutes - that he was waiting for his wife. 5 minutes later Francis obviously recogninsed the man\'s wife and when she had seated herself he appeared and again asked if they would like a drink. The man said \"yes\" and naturally Francis asked what he would like to drink. The woman\'s response was \"You should know by now - why don\'t you\". I felt like going over to them and suggesting that they should know Francis\' name by now and use it.

I didn\'t go to any of the shows but by all accounts they were enjoyable. The one thing I noticed about this team was their lack of arrogance. They have some talent, were all very good looking and may have a future in the industry but they were not so full of themselves as entertainment staff I have previously encountered. Frank Hammond, the cruise director, is a very nice man and has a reasonably good voice but on the night in Istanbul when he did a set in the Captain\'s Club he really picked the wrong songs for his voice.

There was the usual game shows - I understand Mr & Mrs was particularly embarrassing both for those taking part and those watching. There was bingo in the late afternoon, a duo (SP3)in the Tropical bar next to the bistro - the girl had a particularly good voice. There was a duo (Ebony Duo - piano and violin) in the plaza with light classical and other favourites. The Happy Band from South America (Brazil?) played in the Captain\'s club - jazz/blues, dance music etc - very versatile and talented but did not look all the happy.

The Casino had two games tables - roulette and poker/blackjack and about 20 slot machines but a number of these were not in use due to some Greek regulations.

There was a small library (a couple of bookcases) but a surprising variety of books, board games and about half a dozen computer terminals - internet access was down for most of the first week.

The only indoor smoking area is in the casino. Smoking is permitted but not encouraged in the cabins. Smoking is also permitted on the starboard side of the open decks.

Sunbed space is at a premium and far too many beds were crammed into the limited space. People did their usual reserving of beds and their belongings were not removed. However there was a tendency of others to move the beds and belongings to parts of the deck which did not get much sun or cram them so close together that it was impossible to reach them on return.

The pool is tiny but was used reguarly during the two weeks I was on board. There was a selection of gym equipment and saunas but I didn\'t investigate these. The shops sold the usual duty free items - be warned there are spot checks at the Port of Thessaloniki on disembarkation. I was luck with the duty free cigarettes - 22 pounds sterling for 400 (5 pounds discount if you bought 400). That works out at approximately 16 euro for 200 compared to 67 euro at home.

In relation to Euro - even the Bulgarian and Ukranian ports seem to prefer these to the pound. The only places where local money was required was getting into the Panorama building in Sevastopol and the Topkapi and Aya Sophia in Istanbul.

Travelling alone and having done all the ports of call before I did a few trips - Gallipoli from Canakkale, Khans Palace from Sevastopol and Epidauros from Nauplion/ All trips offered were good value for money and the destination services staff were only too happy to answer queries from those wishing to go ashore and tour independently. Constanta in Romania was removed and an overnight in Istanbul was put in its place. This appears to be as a result of negative feedback from passengers on the port of Consanta and a night in Istanbul was not something most of us were going to complain about. However a number did because the casino and on board shops are closed when in port.

Most people seemed to have the all inclusive option - on this ship they don\'t take your card from you and scan it thus speeding up the drinks service. I did hear comments that the draught beer and the spirits were waterered down but I can\'t say I noticed that. There were a few of the moaners on board, a few snobs and a few yobs who were determined to drink at least up to the value of the all inclusive (despite having got it free as an early booking incentive). However the bars closed reasonably early - the exception being the Captain\'s Club which served the disco and I didn\'t see any real drunken behavour. The age profile was in the late 50s and most people were friends. There was only a handful of people under 30 and thankfully no children (again I had enough of the little darlings on the IE earlier in the year).

There were many highlights to the cruise and one was when the Calypso and the Emerald were both in Thessaloniki on the same day. I met up with some friends working on the Emerald. Some of them are hoping to join the Calypso next season.

My only complaint throughout the entire two weeks is the changing of dining room waiters and bar staff on a weekly rotation. I\'m used to having the same waiters for the duration of a cruise. When I queried the reason I was told that it was a management decision but the real reason is that waiters in the bistro rarely receive tips and waiters in certain bars receive more tips than others. So to ensure that everyone gets a chance to maximise their tips they are moved around. I know a lot of people did not tip - indeed the dining room on the last night was particlarly empty - people decided to eat in the bistro in order not to have to tip their waiters. Basic tips are of course included but given the level of service I received there was no way I could not have given a little extra to a number of the staff.

Would I travel on the Calypso again - the answer is yes. I have already booked to do the Ionian leg (through the Corinth Canal) and repeat the Aegean on 2nd June 2008 and I\'m counting down the days. Since coming home I re-read the earlier negative reviews and indeed spoke to a Cypriot couple on board who were on the first cruise of the season. Thomson and the Calypso really seem to have gotten their acts together and the ship is now unrecognisable from what it was then. Finally I did read in some review that the Captain had limited English and this caused concern for people given the tragedy at Santorini earlier in the season with another Louis ship. To put people\'s minds at rest I was introduced to the Captain by some of the senior staff I knew on the Emerald and had a number of brief conversations with him. His English is excellent and his attitude towards safety and the welling being of crew, staff and passengers is evident.

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Tour Operator: Thomas Cook

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

briansintouch cruised on September 2007
last sailed on Calypso in Sept 07 and re booking

Great to see good comments for this boat , yes it is small but alot friendly, we met alot of different passengers each meal and by the end of the week could say we talked to best part of them,

here is a link for future passangers plenty of photos etc, and information, remember the boat is chartered to thomson only the funnel has changed colour,

http://www.dolphin-hellas.gr/Cruises/Louis-cruises/Ships/cruise-vessel-Calypso.htm

Tour Operator: thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

denise cruised on August 2007
I have just returned from a weeks cruise on the ionian treasures. The ship although small had all the necessary amenities.
The ports were good although the weather extremely hot in Athens.
The entertainment staff worked very hard although I thought some of them very immature.
The food was excellent in bistro and restaraunt.
The ship was slightly noisy but didny stop us sleeping.
The swimming pool is wrongly placed amongst the tables in the outside bistro, it would be more suited to the sun deck where all the sun loungers are.
Overall a good all round value for monry cruise.

Tour Operator: thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Kate cruised on August 2007
I will start with the itinerary- Crimean Discovery followed by Ionian Treasures. It was like 2 different holidays, as the ports, passengers and atmosphere were quite different from one week to the next.
It was a truly wonderful mix of ports, and even when sailing there was nearly always something to see. The sea day on week 1 was made extra special by the Cannakale straits (Dardanelles) by day and Istanbul by night. On week 2 sea day we had the Corinth Canal which was a great experience, and then there were lots of islands we sailed past.
Owing to some very stormy weather we were 4 hours late getting ...
to Sevastopol, and fearing we wouldn\'t have time to do what we wanted to do independently, we were luck to jump on a trip at the last moment. This was a very good move. The Ukraine is not really geared up for independent tourists yet, and the trip was excellent. Do not miss the Panorama museum- I have never seen anything like it.
Istanbul and Nessebar were easy to do on our own. In Cannakale we just got the transfer into town, saw the wooden horse, ambled around. It was Sunday so fairly quiet, some shops etc open. We went on a wine tasting trip in Constanta based on poor reports of the port we read here, and it was enjoyable but not wonderful.
In week 2 we went on a beach trip in Corfu and a train ride in Volos. Both were well organised and good trips. Elsewhere we made our own way independently. Parga was lovely, and we were pleased with the last minute change which took us to Kotor in Montenegro instead of Durres Albania. The scenery was fantastic. Paula the destinations manager was superb at her job, and gave really good information for DIY as well as trips. Particularly useful was all the port information on the excursions tv channel.
Much has already been said about the ship, we found it fine on a rather small scale, but you wouldn\'t choose it if the facilities were more important than the ports. The cabin on deck 6 at the front was clean and bright, a bit short on drawer space but otherwise plenty of room, and the shower room was the best we have had so far. We tool round and flat pin adapters, both worked in the sockets, and although others reported difficulties with chargers ours worked fine.
In places the ship is very noisy, outside and inside. It certainly didn\'t ride the force 7 storm very well, and only about 1 in 10 made it to dinner that night. Our cabin stewardess was on her hands and knees in the corridor crying and being sick!
Food was mainly good quality, but because it only has one galley, they can\'t provide 24 hour dining, and there were times when you might miss lunch and afternoon tea, and have a long wait for dinner! Second sitting is a bit late at 9 pm. Sometimes we didn\'t get out till 11, but it suited us better than 1st.
Entertainment was varied- plays, lectures and classical music as well as game shows, dance band, quizzes, guest comedians and musical shows.
All the staff and crew were friendly, helpful and polite (even on reception!) The captain treated everyone to a glass of wine one night in the restaurant- that was a first! Customer service is excellent on this ship, and when one of our table companions needed medical treatment, the attention he recieved from the doctor and guest relations manager was really good and caring.
On a less positive note- we were amazed that the ship sailed without 39 people who were on a delayed flight- a Thomson flight too. They had to catch us up 2 days later in Corfu. Apparently it was to do with the length of the delay and the need to get to Corinth Canal for a specific time. However, I would have been really upset if it had happened to me, and hope they get some decent compensation.
It\'s not the smartest ship in the fleet, but if itinerary is important to you, the fact that it can go places bigger ships can\'t will make up for any lack of glitz.

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Tour Operator: Portland

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Carol & Danny Foote cruised on August 2007
Dont\' hesitate to take a trip on the Calypso, we had a week - Ist week in August, to the Crimean Discovery and enjoyed every minute of it, wished we\'d booked second week. Thanks to all at Thomsons and particularly Frank and his entertainments team!


Tour Operator: Thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Fullbrook cruised on June 2007
Having read previous reviews on how bad the ship was I was pleasantly surprised to find that things were not as bad as made out.
Yes she is a small ship but there is a surprising amount of public spaces to have a drink or just to sit quietly and relax, there are plenty of sun lougers but she does lack decent seating on the prom deck.
We occupied an inside cabin on deck 2 and the cabin was of a standard to be expected on a ship of this size and type and the stewardess keep the cabin very clean and well stock with towels and toiletries, overall the ship was ...
kept very clean.
The food was good quality and the waiter service was reasonable, the buffet on the bistro was good quality but had a tendency to cool quickly due to the open deck area outside and the through draught caused by the open doorway.
The entertainment was some of the best that I have seen on a cruise ship and the cast did two plays and a song and dance routine feature stage musicals etc in my opinion a first rate team.
The cruise was \"The Crimean Discovery\" and the only disappointment was the port of Constantana in Bulgaria, all the other ports were great and well worth a visit, especially Sevastapol.
I have had the pleasure of cruising with P and O and on other Thomson boats and I have no hesitation in recommending this boat to any one.

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Tour Operator: Thomson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

John Smith cruised on June 2007
Can\'t say enough good things about our holiday aboard The Calypso,
14 days aboard ,enjoyed every minute.
Cruise direcvtor,Frank and all his team,I think there were about twelve of them,worked very hard keeping us happy. The shows were excellent and well performed. we even had two plays,\"Blythe Spirit\" and The Classic \"Hobson\'s Choice\". Full Marks to them.
Our cabin was kept clean and well stocked with clean linen,thanks to the cabin staff.
Food,,dangerously good and well served,again by perfect staff The Matre de. made sure everything was perfect.
I could go on forever,praising individuals, but let\'s say
A superb Holiday was had by all

Tour Operator: Thompson

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Tony Murphy cruised on May 2007
After reading other reviews Re; \"Rock & Roll\" I opted to prebook a cabin (264) on deck two- BAD MOVE !. The worst aspect of this ship is the noise. It is Inescapably a converted car ferry. Engine noise is especially bad down on decks 2/3. Also on deck 2 a door to below decks is sometimes wedged open by the crew resulting diesel smell from the engines creeping into my cabin. I overcame the noise by using wax cotton ear plugs.Other couples seemed ok with noise above deck 3. This cruise ship is definately for the 50+ aged group ( I was OK I,m an oap) but younger couples ...
may enjoy another cruise in this regard.
I did the Ionian treasures and for the last three days we had adverse weather resulting in a late departure from Durres in Albania & unable to use the tender to go ashore in Parga which , after dropping anchor for about three hours the Captain decided to continue on to Pireus (Athens)I have to say, none of these conditions resulted in any significant rolling and as far as I know, no one suffered sea sickness.

Now for the good bits. The Corinth Canal was something not to be missed, 1½ feet spare each side & two hours to slowly cover about 3 miles, touched the side twice! but no danger & very exciting. Great atmosphere on the ship for us \"Oldies\"\" something happening most of the time. Entertainment was enjoyed my most. Food was OK.The Thomson staff/ bar staff & waiters were of the highest order. The coach excursion to Durres/Tirana was an eye opener, dont expect sightseeing & souvenier hunting, etc. Albania is still recovering from the communist regime, is very poor and, although safe, is to be expierenced rather than enjoyed.
Volos was OK once you walked through two miles of container port & some slums! Made worse in our case by rain. All the other ports were excellent.
Overall a mildly enjoyable cruise but I definately will not do The Calypso again.

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Tour Operator: IGLU
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

3/5
3

s dawkins cruised on April 2007
We have just returned from the first Thomson Calypso cruise. It is certainly not like any of the other Thomson ships. Thomson advertised this ship as \'refurbished\'; well the cabins that I saw had certainly not been refurbished. The carpets were dirty; the curtains stained and threadbare; the furniture old and scratched; drawers didn\'t open properly; no coat-hangers; no bins; dust everywhere; some portholes leaked. The cabin was not vacuumed or dusted all week. I even had to take a toilet roll from one of the \'public\' toilets. Towels were also not always replaced when they were dirty.

On the first day at sea most people were sick as it ...
was very rough; only thirty people out of 486 attended the captains dinner and most of them lduring the meal. In Thomson\'s defence, they did reschedule the captains meal for later in the week but most people by then had had enough and many didn\'t attend.

There were not enough drinks waiters; we often waited more than half an hour for our drinks to arrive after ordering. The food was of extremely poor quality and was mostly served cold-that\'s when you managed to get it after queuing for sometimes more than fifteen minutes. The entertainment during the day was non-existent and was only of a satisfactory standard in the evening - the resident band sang the same songs all week!

Most people on board were very unhappy with their holiday; some even set up a committee to complain. The staff were very friendly but seemed powerless to improve anything. Some people that had booked a two week cruise transferred their second week to a hotel - Thomson tried to charge them for doing this!

All I can say is that you will only travel on this ship once - I doubt that there will be any returning passengers. I would only rate this cruise a 2 out of 10.

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Tour Operator: thomson
Review Rating

Cleanliness
3 stars
Entertainment
2 stars
Food
1 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Nick C cruised on April 2007
Rock and Roll on \"The Calypso\"

Inaugural Cruise for Thomsons

\"Ancient Empires\" - 31 March to 7 April 2007

INTRODUCTION

\"The Calypso\" was built as a car ferry in 1968, converted to a cruise ship in 1994. She has a flat bottom, and at just over 11,000 tonnes she is a third of the size of Celebration or Spirit. She rides badly even in slight seas. Compared to Celebration/Spirit, cabins are small with limited storage space (135 – 244 sq ft, cf 150 – 296 sq ft), although according to the \"Berlitz\" guide the smallest cabins are bigger than their equivalent on Emerald and Destiny. Berlitz rated her as **+ when operated by Louis, ...
compared to ***+ for Celebration/Spirit.

ARRIVAL

Arriving at Pathos airport, passengers had to collect their luggage and take it to the transfer coaches. This was offloaded at the port by cruise staff and taken to the quayside for identification, then delivered to the cabins.

Arriving at the port of Limassol, there was a short queue while we waited to check in at the cruise terminal. Thomson staff were working the queue explaining the procedures, and were friendly and welcoming. Credit card details were taken and the cruise boarding cards, which double as charge cards, were issued. We then proceeded to the Maitre d’s desk for a table allocation for dinner. After identifying our luggage, we climbed a steep narrow gangway to deck 4. Quayside was at the level of deck 2, and an entrance on deck 2 was available to passengers with limited mobility (and to all passengers later in the Cruise, as we found out on our last day!)

On board, after the obligatory photo, we were personally escorted to our cabin by a steward who unfortunately didn’t know where it was, and got slightly lost.

We started to hang our clothes and realised there were very few coat hangers. I went out to the corridor and asked a steward if I could have some more coat hangers. They didn’t understand me. A second steward understood, but said it was not possible.

When we were ready to leave the cabin we realised that it had old-fashioned keys, and we had to return to reception to ask for them. We also got for a key for the in-room safe, which cost £12.00 for the week. At reception, a number of people were complaining about their cabins (some people felt the brochure pictures were misleading).

CABINS

Knowing that this ship was small with limited facilities, we upgraded to a Premier cabin (Louis sell these as Junior Suites). Cabin 645 on deck 7 is spacious. The beds can be curtained off; the cabin has two large windows, two sofas, a round table, and a minibar. However, the minibar was not turned on or stocked all week. Bathrobes are provided, but not slippers. An arrangement of fresh flowers was on the table. The quality of the toiletries and towels (new but rough and poor quality) was the same as for other cabins. Shampoo and soap were provided, but not shower gel. Face cloths were not provided. The cabin was generally very clean (although there was a rather nasty stain on the side of one the sofas); carpets and curtains appeared to be new. (I believe the ship was redecorated after last year’s fire in the English Channel, and had a further refurbishment this winter before starting its Thomson’s charter. The ship is in very good condition throughout).

Towels were changed twice a day, and pool towels were left in the room and changed daily. We got a turndown on nights 2 to 7, and chocolates on the pillow on nights 5 and 6 only.

The sleeping area for 645 is at the entrance to the cabin, so one bed is almost in the middle of the ship, and the beds lie aft-stern along the line of the ship rather than at right angles to the outside wall. Although high up on deck seven, we felt the cabin layout helped us to cope with the terrible ride on this ship. The ship is more comfortable towards the back than at the front. The TVs in all the cabins and suites are small and immovable (they need to be as we were soon to find out). We could only see the TV from one of our beds.

On the last day, I looked at suites 653 and 660. Although larger than our Premier cabin, these had only one window. Because the seating area was in a small partitioned area by the window, the main part of the cabin was very dark. We also looked at premier cabins 651 and 658, and these also had one window. I can recommend 645 and 509 (which I didn’t look at, but its immediately below and I assume is the same).

The route to cabins on decks one and two at the front of the ship felt very claustrophobic, and to reach the cabins at the very front one has to step through waterproof doorways and go down a level.

All cabins have telephones, TVs and safes. TVs show “a view from the bridge” (so you can see where you are even in an inside cabin), CNN, Discovery, and two movie channels each showing one movie 6 times a day.

Room service is available at additional cost.

The \"do not disturb\" sign was routinely ignored. When our steward saw us go to breakfast, she would make up our room regardless of the sign. She also came in to the cabin once without knocking, as did a maintenance man. When the cabins are locked from the inside, they can still be opened from the outside with a key – there is no bolt.

She did a good job of cleaning the cabin, and she folded my pullover neatly and left it on the bed when I left it thrown on the sofa.

RESTAURANTS

The main restaurant is low down at the back of the ship on deck 3. It is on two levels. Entering the restaurant, the first section is long and narrow with three columns of tables. This section of the restaurant has proper windows, although many of the \"window\" tables do not line up with the windows. If you are going on The Calypso, try to get a table in this section of the restaurant. I would recommend that you print off a deck-plan from the Thomson website and use it when booking your table. (http://www.thomsonbeach.co.uk/th/cruise/viewShipDeckPlans.do) This section of the restaurant is closer to the middle of the ship.

The lower, and main part of the restaurant is at the VERY back of deck 3, above the propellers. This part of the restaurant has portholes instead of windows. Tables \"by a window\" are by a porthole that is high up and have no view. The square back of the ship betrays its origins as a car ferry – yes, you are eating on the car deck!

When at sea, this part of the restaurant can be very noisy (being over the propellers) and you get a very rough ride if the sea is anything other than calm.

Mirrors are in abundance throughout the restaurant, to compensate for the lack of natural light.

Tables are for 4, 6, or 8 (mainly 6), and are very close together. The fixed sittings for dinner (6.30 or 8.30) mean that the waiters are trying to serve everyone at the same time. Service suffers as a result. Having previously been on “Celebration”, we had experienced elegant service; chairs pulled out/pushed in for you, napkin on the lap, the pepper mill always coming round, this does not happen on Calypso – the waiters do not have the time. Nor do they have time to entertain guests the way they do on Celebration with their \"party tricks\", although they do sing if someone has a birthday.

On our first night, the ship was not due to sail until midnight, and some passengers arrived very late, so dinner was open seating. Even with open seating, you are placed on large tables, and each table is filled up. The waiters serve everyone at the same pace, so a couple having three courses will sit there for the same time as a couple at the same table having all five.

As \"anti social\" cruisers, we thought we would get some privacy at breakfast and lunch, and were prepared to put up with sharing a table at dinner. In fact, dinner was the most comfortable of meals as we always had the same companions. Breakfast and lunch however were always with different people, which started to feel like hard work after a while!

Dinner on the first night and lunch on day 2 (a sea day) were both pretty awful. The food was definitely canteen rather than restaurant standard. Dinner on day 3 was better and continued to improve as the week went on, and some of the meals were quite enjoyable. Dinner on day 6 would have been excellent if we had had the sense not to order pre prepared Crepes Suzette, which were ghastly. As the week wore on, we particularly enjoyed some very good homemade soups and fresh salads, and some interesting starters. From day 4 when we had a regular table for dinner, we would arrive to find our favourite wine chilled but unopened in a cooler on our table.

Breakfast was a confusing affair. Initially offered only as a buffet, later in the week an à la carte option was offered on some days in the top part of the restaurant with options for omelettes cooked to order, Eggs Benedict, and kippers. The buffet breakfast was generally good. However, coffee (although a good brand – Douwe Egberts) was hopelessly weak and sometimes only luke warm, and the \"orange juice\" was disgusting and tasted as it was made up from a powder. Apple and Pineapple juices tasted better. The fresh fruit was very good. Breakfast was generally 7:30 to 9:00 in the restaurant, with long queues for breakfast in the small buffet after 9am.

Later in the week we met the Chef, who told us he was only fully staffed from day 4 when some of his team joined the ship in Athens. He also explained that the Calypso has only one galley to serve the main restaurant, buffet, and crew, and that some of his team who had come from other Thomson ships were alarmed at how small the galley was. The team had not worked together before, and are multi national. We saw improvements in the standards during our week on board, and would expect standards to continue to improve as the new Chef get his new team in shape. The Chef seemed dedicated (we saw him at quayside checking the quality of produce being loaded) and has previously worked for Cunard (as well as on other Thomson ships). Menus are set corporately by Thomsons.

We spent most days ashore, but on day 7 we had afternoon tea which was very enjoyable. Delicious home made scones with jam and lots of cream, and some very good buttery crumbly biscuits. On day 8 we had “elevenses”, with a good selection of freshly baked Danish pastries.

The BUFFET is very small with only 11 tables for 4. It is at the back on deck 5, and food can be taken out on deck where there are plenty of tables and chairs. However, the weather was cold for most of the week, one needed a jacket (and sometimes a pullover as well) to sit on deck. The buffet has a canteen feel to it – the tables are not dressed in the evening, the napkins are paper. There is no waiter service, but it is next to a bar so I suppose it might be possible to get a bottle of wine.

ROCK AND ROLL

Day two was a day at sea on the way from Cyprus to Crete. The sea was choppy, and some people were feeling unwell at lifeboat drill at 10:30am. We were fine, and went to lunch around one. We were seated at the very back of the restaurant which was noisy and bounced up and down a great deal. The sea got rougher in the afternoon, with force 5 winds, and sickness bags appeared all round the ship. That evening was the formal night – the Captain’s cocktail party and Gala Dinner. We went to the Cocktail Party in the \"Festival Lounge\" which is at the front of the ship on deck 4. The pitching and rolling was very severe, and after a few minutes my partner left. The Cocktail Party was meant to be 7:30 to 8:30. A pianist was playing and drinks and canapés were brought round. The sparkling wine was pretty awful. I am never sea sick, and actually enjoy rough seas, but by 8:10 after 40 minutes bouncing around in this overheated lounge I started to feel uncomfortable and left, so I never actually heard Captain Vakondios introduce his officers. I understand from fellow passengers that he speaks limited English, which is a slight concern as I understood it to be the international language of the sea. This is probably why he did not make any announcements during the entire week (in contrast to the personable Geir Larsen who entertained us with a couple of announcements every day about the weather, route etc when we were on Celebration two years ago).

We tried to go to dinner, but our reserved table was at the back of the restaurant. We went to the restaurant around 8:40 and asked the Maitre d’ if he could move us to a table in the upper level of the restaurant. He said this was impossible, that all tables were reserved and that he could not move people. He suggested that we go and eat at the buffet! (Rather annoying, as we had taken formal clothes and dressed for the dining room). We found out the next day that the restaurant was about 20% full for the Gala Dinner, and there were many couples sitting alone at tables for six.

In the middle of the night, not being able to sleep as the ship was pitching and rolling, and feeling that we would never get a decent meal on this ship, I went to the Internet Café to try to find the price of a flight home from Crete. The PCs had a Louis Cruise Lines logon screen, and when I swiped my charge card I could not log on. I reported this to reception, who said the internet was not working because of the bad weather and being at sea (which seemed odd as I had a signal on my mobile). Early the next morning, after we docked in Heraklion, I again tried to use the internet to find out about flights home, and it still didn’t work. I went back to reception who said they would get someone from IT to look at it. That evening, the logon screen had been changed to Thomsons, and it worked. It would seem the internet café had just not been set up properly.

When we went to Dinner on day 3, the Maitre d’ apologised for turning us away the previous night, and said he had sent staff to look for us afterwards. (They would have found us in the buffet having a bowl of soup if they had looked). We were then shown to our table, to find another couple had been moved to our seats – so much for being told it was impossible to move people! We were found a new table, which we stayed on for dinner for the rest of the week.

We had had breakfast on morning 3 with a couple from Cyprus. They persuaded us that such rough seas and bad weather were extremely unusual for this time of the year, and we decided to stay at least one more day. After Cyprus, we were in more sheltered waters, and the seas were much calmer. On day 5 the sea felt quite choppy and the ship was rocking quite a lot. We went on deck after dinner and stood at the front of the ship for some air. We were surprised at how calm the sea looked, yet the ship was pitching quite badly.

Because so many people missed the formal night (half the entertainments crew were also sick!), a second formal night was arranged for day 6. One of the main course options was Beef Wellington, which according to the menu was served medium or well done. The waiter did not ask anyone how they would like their steak. I asked for mine rare, which was noted down. They all arrived well done. Most of the steaks were tough – certainly not fillet – although one of our party had a good one. The paté was not pleasant and the pastry was soggy. The evening also featured a Baked Alaska parade. Other deserts were on the menu as an alternative to Baked Alaska, although everyone got the Alaska regardless of what they ordered. The ice cream was good, the meringue was soft and runny.

MISCELLANEOUS

I only saw half of one show, which was very good (a tribute to Cameron Macintosh). Waiters served canapés in the show lounge after the show. I heard from companions that waiter service was often slow, particularly at the far end of the lounge.

All the Ents staff and Thomson Staff were very friendly and helpful, as were the reception staff, and the hotel manager. The cabin stewards were mainly from Eastern Europe, and seemed to have limited English. We generally got a warm and friendly welcome on entering the dining room. Some waiters were very good, others not so.

A very good 80-page guidebook was provided in our welcome pack, covering all the ports of call.

The Ports Showcases were well presented (a mixture of short films and talks). The Destination Services Manager, Paula Almonte, had first hand experience of all the destinations from The Emerald last season. The team also ran some Ports Showcase talks for independent travellers, and were very helpful with advice about prices for taxis, public transport etc.

I went to the first lecture, which was disappointing. I was expecting to hear about the history or culture of the places we were to visit. Instead it was more like a continuation of the port showcase, with a guy showing pictures of the places we were to see and talking about what we would see rather than the context.

We didn’t use the lounges. The Calypso does not have an inside bar with a good view. It has excellent outside deck space and given calm seas and good weather could be most enjoyable. However, because of the instability of this ship even in slight seas, caused by its small size and flat bottom, I would not recommend the Calypso unless you are a very good sailor and enjoy a rough ride.

Despite the best efforts of many of the crew, the ship feels more like a ferry than a cruise liner.

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Tour Operator: Thomson
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
2 stars
Staff
 stars
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