We have had a great time overall but thought we would share a few of our observations.
The one thing we both came back so impressed by was the level of service. The ship's staff were unbelievably professional and courteous. Although there is not set dining it doesn't take long for the wonderful Orion restaurant staff to recognise your face and we had the same waiter five out of our seven nights - they even reserved us a table on the last night. We were served with dignity, humour and such attention to detail. Although tips are 'included' we still felt we wanted to give a tip to Lito our waiter as well as our cabin steward, I Putu.
Food was wonderful. we ate in the Orion restaurant from breakfast and dinner - we can't understand why anyone wouldn't, but each to his own! The Lido buffet was a great way to grab a snack later afternoon (if we hadn't filled up on ice cream when ashore!). We also enjoyed afternoon tea in the Argo Lounge.
Cabins are in need of an More
upgrade. They are definitely very clean and were looked after impeccably each day, with beds turned down at night and tidied in the day. However there is a lot of dark wood, the clean bathroom was tired but more than adequate and it is a shame there windows are so small. Also, on Thomson Dream there are very few rooms with balconies and I think we would definitely book a ship with a balcony next time - if only to have our own private outside space away from some of the other passengers.
Entertainment was round the clock but we didn't find it varied enough. I think this is probably where Thomson loses out to other companies as the quality of the performance was rather varied and we would have liked a little less recorded background music with what were actually very talented musicians - Al the pianist would have been so much better if he had played on his own without a tape. We saw two shows in the Broadway Lounge - both were good but a think we thought overall the entertainment was a little 'cheesy'!
Sunny spaces on deck are busy and whatever the rules say there are the same passengers who each day reserve loungers in prime positions - equally spaced between bar and pool! - meaning the polite passengers lose out. There were inevitably a number of people who spent most of their time in the bar/pool areas and it was a much more pleasant space on the day of disembarkation when a lot of these people had left. Having said that there are lovely quiet niches at the sides of the ship, particularly on deck nine do if you just want to read and be out in the fresh air, not necessarily cooking a suntan, this is the place to go.
Photographers are everywhere! This is fun to start with but it was obvious people were avoiding them towards the end of thee week! However, you are under no obligation to buy and we did buy one lovely picture as a memento so no complaints there.
This cruise gave us a taste of places and we enjoyed all the excursions which were all different and had something to offer. Toulon is not listed below, so it is worth mentioning that we had a great day taking the cablecar high above the port with wonderful views and a walk.The Dream is a lovely old ship but has a very seventies feel about it and I think will really benefit from an upgrade. This was my husband's first cruise and my second (the first was on P&O). I think we would cruise again but I think we might choose a different ship next time - which is no reflection on the staff or Thomson but more our desire for something just a little more intimate and gentle. Less
Our cabin was 6048. Spacious with plenty of wardrobe hanging space, comfy bed, towels and bed linen changed as needed and of good quality. Very dark wood. Air con worked well. Window very small. Quiet location - could hear our neighbours but no other disturbances!
Barcelona itself is huge, hot and impressive. There was probably too much to do and we underestimated the distance between places and ran out of steam before we had done it all. My advice would be to use the public transport - metro or hop/off bus as we really wish we had. Having said that we did get to see the Sagrada Familia which was the most amazing building I have ever visited. It took 45 minutes of queuing to get inside but well worth it so don't give up! We wish we had made it to the Picasso Museum too. Final tip: take the Port Bus for 5 euros - it is a LONG walk just to get to the bottom of Las Ramblas!
Cannes was just as expected - lots of expensive fancy yachts, seafront bistros and a fairly busy but very pleasant, clean beach. we took a walk up to the cathedral and around the red carpet area, spotting the handprints on the pavement. The port looks lovely from the ship too - and many of them don't so it was great to wake up and see the view from our window.
We loved Corsica! This would be somewhere we would come back to for a longer stay. We took an open top bus tour which went around the main sights of Ajaccio and had English as well as French commentary. It also went further afield to the Sanguine Islands where we stopped for a short time. If you are interested in Napoleon there is lots to see, too. After a walk around the shops, we spent two hours on a beautiful sandy beach and swam in the sea. A wonderful first stop.
The actual port was Livorno and this was something of a disappointment - very busy, not much to see. However we used this as a base to go to Pisa and our rating indicates this. Pisa is wonderful. There are excursions you can book but we were able to get onto a bust trip at half the price - the only down-side being that we only had two hours at Pisa and four would have been better! The whole experience at Pisa was wonderful - beautiful buildings which were quite awe inspiring. We would like to have had time to do some tourist shopping here, too.
We didn't really get to see a lot of Palma. we were exhausted after travelling and didn't feel like setting straight out on an adventure on foot! Similarly, there wasn't time to look around on our day of departure. However, it all looked very pretty from the ship!