We booked this cruise with Thomson as we really liked the itinerary. We had not previously considered sailing with Thomson but we had read that Thomson Cruises were now Platinum and that the ship had been in dry dock for refurbishment. (Frankly, I would hate to have seen it before the refurbishment.) I really don't think the ship is worthy of the Platinum rating. Obviously from the reviews a lot of people love Thomson cruises and return again and again. I think we made totally the wrong choice for us. However, some passengers said that they had sailed with Thomson before and that they were extremely disappointed. I know it is not as expensive as some cruise lines but it still cost a significant sum of money.
There were positives as well as negatives and the flight was OK although we had a really long wait for the food to be served which was apparently as they wanted the meal to be served at what would be lunchtime once we reached the Caribbean! That's fine but our stomach's didn't agree with this approach. The embarkation procedure was well organised and we had a very short wait before we boarded the ship.
The ship was OK but looked a bit tired and shabby. The windows on Deck 8 where the shops and bars are were absolutely filthy and streaked. It really spoiled the first impression of the ship. Also there was a disgusting smell in the ladies toilet by the theatre.
Our cabin was a decent size and was fine but the cleaning left a lot to be desired as the surfaces were covered with dust. Our toilet kept getting blocked, which was rather embarrassing.
The ship felt quite rocky and I did feel seasick quite often along with a number of other passengers.
The house band Top Men were excellent and very enjoyable. However, the evening shows were a bit repetitive for my liking. There was a comedian brought on to the ship each week. The jokes were VERY old and their was not really much original material in the acts.
We were rather disappointed that instead of the full day in Aruba which was advertised as 9.00 am we didn't dock until approximately 2.00 pm. Also we were unable to dock at Grenada which was a shame as we were really looking forward to visiting.
We went on two trips with Thomson and they were both excellent. However, we found that the staff in charge of the trips etc were only helpful if you were purchasing a trip. When we visited them to ask advice about where was good for snorkelling, the member of staff said "I don't know - I don't snorkel"!
Our main complaint, however was the food. The quality of the food was at best adequate and often appalling. We spoke to a number of people and nearly all of them were complaining about the food. On one occasion my husband's meal was so poor he could not eat it - the response from the waiter was "better luck tomorrow!". I have heard people say that you can average half a stone weight gain per week on a cruise. I came home the same weight as I was before Christmas. The salad course in the Orion restaurant was a joke - a few leaves of iceberg lettuce with the odd bit of something thrown on with a couple of teaspoons of dressing. The waiters were very friendly but personally I prefer the unobtrusive approach and can live without the waiter practising his one song every night while resting on the chair next to me! My husband did complain about the food to the Head Waiter and I thought he might collapse with shock. He looked genuinely surprised. He didn't seem quite so friendly after this. When we ate in the buffet restaurants, I struggled to find anything appealing. I am not a lover of "everything fried". There was a small salad section but it was not very interesting and there wasn't much variety to go with it.
We made the best of things and overall had a nice holiday but we would not consider another Thomson cruise. All in all it was a costly mistake for us.