Just back from our first Thomson cruise on the Dream following the Colourful Coasts itinerary. It was amazing and wonderful. Sorry if this sends you to sleep, it is long!
Leaving Gatwick on time and no issues. Very quick at Tenerife airport collecting luggage and on coach within half an hour. Embarkation was straight forward. Greeted with cooling drink. Waited in queue for only a few minutes before given cabin info and debit card swiped etc. There were plenty of signs up telling us what to have ready.
Went straight to cabin, got changed as we had brought a change of clothes in hand luggage and straight to the lido for lunch. It was busy, but no hanging around and drink waiters straight to us when we sat down. We only had salad, fish and rolls but this was tasty and plentiful.
For the first few days we were served by staff in the Lido and Sirens as the week before a family had been ill and had not taken notice of the Dr to stay in their cabin! The decision was made to take the self service away for a few days just in case. This really was not a problem and plenty of hand cleanser around. A few passengers did complain about this but I really could not see an issue and they really were very quick. Better to be safe than sorry!
The cabin was spotless, bed very comfortable and I slept so well while onboard. Yes I agree the bathrooms are a little dated, but they did the job, worked and were pristine. The cabin steward Sartina was a gem and always around if we needed her. The turn down of beds, chocolate, towel art and different shapes of the nightie were lovely touches.
As we had a blessing booked, we had to meet with Laura the social hostess who greeted us like long lost friends. She had arranged everything down to the tiniest detail for us. We had asked for the blessing to be done on day at sea to which Captain Olbrich had agreed. Laura had arranged for us to be on the Captain's table for dinner and also arranged for our friends to join us as well. This was a great evening getting to know him a few days before the blessing. He had Hazel (one of the waiting staff) come to the table and sing to us, which was stunning.
The day of the blessing came and we met with Laura in the Ocean Bar at 17.00 on a reserved table. Dean the photographer took us around the ship for pictures, then back to the bar for champagne and canopies. Laura had also arranged my flowers from Madeira and were beautiful. We were then taken to the bridge where the Captain was waiting along with a violin player and more champagne. The ceremony itself was short but emotional. We cut the cake which had been made for us and had more pictures taken. The captain then let my OH actually steer the ship. He took it off of auto pilot. If you could have seen my OH face! We had a table reserved in the Orion restaurant being looked after by Geoff and Ricky. They had requested to wait on us as we had met them previous nights.
Food in the Orion was very good and lots of choice. Previous reviews have stated small portions, but you get so many courses you don't need bigger portions. We couldn't manage desert many nights.
We normally had breakfast in Sirens which I preferred to the Lido. It had so much choice from fruit, cereal, to the full works, plus pancakes and fish. Twinning tea bags, all flavours were on offer. Nescafe sachets also on offer which was better than the coffee from the urns. Sirens also did a wonderful afternoon tea with all choices of sandwiches, cakes and scones, jam and cream. The outside grill also offered omelettes' at breakfast and pizza, burgers at lunch. You could also get ice cream cornets from here as well. Who needs a Ben & Jerry bar!
We ate at the Grill 2 nights. This was well worth the cover charge. Food and service spot on. They served Lobster, steak as some of the choice.
The canaries are quite good for doing DIY tours as most ports as close to the towns with the exception of Lanzarote and Agadir.
We did the volcano tour in La Palma which was good and worth the money. The guide was local and very passionate about his island. We did the star bikes in Agadir which was brilliant. It is a 3mile cycle out of the port and quite scary with the fishermen haggling with each other and shouting etc. I was glad we had Ash to guide and take care of us. The ride is just under 18 miles but the area is quite flat and was an easy ride. The bikes are very well taken care of which makes it easier. Ash took us to a local market which was an experience, pass the Kings Palace. We would not have seen all the different place doing another tour. The roads are quite an experience and you do need to have your wits about you. The locals were very good with us waiting etc if not with each other!
The cable car in Madeira up to Monte is well worth the ride and the basket sledging down fun.
Entertainment in the Broadway Theatre was superb and they work very hard. There is always something going on in the other bars as well, even if only music. The Argo lounge is great for peace and quiet. The staff on this ship just makes your holiday. They cannot do enough for you. I have never received this in hotels.
I used the spa for a massage and hair. This was very good. A little expensive, but to be expected on ships I think. The only thing that spoilt the massage was at the end they go into hard sell trying to get you to buy all the lotions and oils they have used.
Disembarkation was smooth as was the flight back to Gatwick with no issues.
I did hear a few moans from other passengers, ie the library did not open at 7 in the morning and people did not get sunbeds on sea day. We didn't find any probs as if we wanted a swim we could still do so and plenty of seating on the bench around the pool. We didn't want to sit around the pool all day anyway. I do think some people just have to moan about something.
The Dream is an older ship, but has so much character. She is due for a refit in Nov and I hope they don't change her too much. I did hear that it may only be the suites and deluxe cabins that get tea and coffee making facilities as the electrics may not cope with all of the cabins having kettles. I was worried about this before going aboard, but it was not an issue. Going up to deck and having an early coffee watching the ship dock with no one else around was really very nice. You can take drinks back to your cabin with you if wanted.
Well we are definitely hooked on cruising and looking a brochures for the next one!