Left the snow behind for the Latin Gems Caribbean cruise in the Dream.
Brilliant check in at Manchester - cases sealed and cabin numbers attached - we next saw them outside our cabin. In reverse, cases left outside cabin, next day asked to identify them in specified area and next saw them in our hotel. Flawless service.
Our outside plus cabin very roomy with more than enough hanging/drawer space. There was a settee and ample room to store cases. Noticed decor had changed from last year and now a flat screen TV. Charge for safety deposit as in a lot of hotels - not exorbitant. Our cabin kept immaculate by our pleasant hardworking steward. Towels changed each day.
The cleanliness throughout the ship was excellent. There is ongoing maintenance, for example varnishing of ship's rails, but it did not interfere with us.
Staff were doing their utmost to avoid an outbreak of nora virus, even to the extent that "buffet" food was being served by staff -- no problem, you could have as little or as much as you wished. If there was an outbreak it would have been totally down to clients -- yet again we saw people leave the loos without washing their hands and they did not use the antiseptic hand wash outside each restaurant and loo -- can't understand their mentality.
Library/games room excellent -- if you like doing jigsaws you don't be disappointed and lots of books to choose from should you wish. Many activities we did not take part in but, with trips, time was limited.
Duty Free cheaper on board than airport and they had two extra discount days.
Downside was the crowded beds round the two small pools, with people putting towels down and not using the beds. No brollies, but it is a ship-- that said you could always sit on ordinary chairs under cover in the shade. We did trips each day, so not really a problem and this would certainly not put us off another cruise on the Dream.
The Dream is an old ship and has the promenade deck which we found ideal, not sure we would like to have gone on one of the larger ships we saw in port, quite liked the configuration of the Dream. All the staff extremely friendly, helpful and cheerful despite their long working hours.
We tried the Lido on the first evening as we wanted a quick meal before retiring early after the long flight. Did not enjoy the canteen atmosphere and seeing people eating off trays.
After that we took breakfast and evening meals in the Orion, as we prefer the water service, good food with a varied choice, although vegetarians could have a problem. Once again friendly, helpful staff. We took lunch in the Sirens as this seemed to have a better atmosphere than the Lido.
Disappointed with the quality of the drinks, having sampled Rum Punch throughout the world would have to say I think the rum walked past the glass without stopping! Tried several types of drinks and they too were found wanting. Twelve drinks on the Dream and you would still pass a breath test.
Enjoyed the shows and the entertainment team gave their all. Nice that they have two separate shows so you can choose early or late. Excellent seating in the theatre.
This year Captain Roy did a session regaling us with tales of his long and varied career, very interesting indeed. Great shame he is retiring and we hope he makes his trip on the narrowboat and also makes it to Vancouver.
Once again Thomson oversold their trips -- they should be more truthful about the content. We went to see a feature in Aruba which had collapsed some eight years ago!
Luckily we booked Thomson for the Jeep tour in St. Margarita as we were held up returning to the ship by protesters blocking the road -- we were late back but the ship waits for Thomson tours, had we booked locally I dread to think what the outcome would have been.
Overall an excellent cruise experience, a friendly ship, bit old-fashioned but having seen the much bigger modern ones in port, we were glad we were on the Dream which looks like a ship rather than the others which look like hotels on water. Not snobbish at all and a good way to see more of the world. May try the Med next.