We travelled from Manchester 17th Feb 2013 for 2 weeks. The flight to Barbados was good, just 8.30 hours there and a little shorter coming back.
I will concentrate mainly on reviewing the ship itself rather than the cruise ports, will post my info on the ports on the Thomson forum.
The ship is looking slightly better than last time we cruised on her in July 2012, the "platinum" upgrade has made some improvements but it is nothing more than what I would call routine maintenance. New carpets in some areas, flat screen TV's in the cabins that make them feel bigger than before, tea and coffee making facilities in the cabins, etc.
I did notice that the Grill restaurant has moved to the opposite wing of the Sirens restaurant. The canopy over the lido deck makes a good addition, along with an improved burger cooking station and a hot plate serving area where they just used to put tables of food out before. The furniture out here has been improved greatly, nice wicker chairs that the staff supplies with cushions around 5pm.
We enjoyed the itinerary, having been to all but 3 of the islands before we mainly did our own thing getting local buses etc, more detail on the forum when I get around to it. The weather was great, and the sea quite calm, the captain said some nights were force 8 but it didn't feel that bad to us.
We had cabin 6110, and on the first week we found it to have a few rattles when sailing to the north of Barbados, but as we sailed south and west to the latin islands it rattled a lot less, maybe something to do with the prevailing sea conditions?
The food was generally excellent; we ate in the Orion restaurant every evening and were waited on with impeccable service from Manny and Larry, with good service from Kurt the wine waiter too. The salads are great if you like lettuce and you can always find a main meal served with some kind of Spinach.... We ate Breakfast and Lunch in the Sirens as we prefer the atmosphere over the Lido, the only issue I had was the mushrooms were like rubber at breakfast, they were clearly tinned. I would think they would be hard pushed to find fresh ones in the Caribbean.
If you like Weetabix but they are not out on display ask for them, they keep them out of sight on some days. I asked if they were running out and was told not, they just kept them hidden for control purposes, sounds like they are running out to me....
They also serve at the buffet lines on the first day after embarkation, this slows the line down, but they do this as a control measure against norovirus. The days after that you can serve yourself.
The main reason that anyone would want to go on a Thomson cruise is of course the staff. They are wonderful. Everyone has a smile for you, and we liked the fact that many of the crew recognised us from our cruise last July.
Manny remembered we had a scoop of ice cream to go with our desserts, Ruffino still knew our order of G&T's before Dinner.
There are too many to name that we now think of as friends. The Crew show was brilliant, Ruffino doing his magic, Crew Cuts with the great dancing, Daniel just transferred off the Celebration signing My Way, and of course the wonderful Hazel, what a voice.
Something not to miss on the sea day is the cocktail flaring at the Sirens pool, Lorenzo and Ruffino are brilliant.
The entertainment was almost normal Thomson standard, the shows were good but not quite as good as last July, (can't put my finger on just why, maybe because we have seen most of them before) and certainly not as good as the shows on the Celebration.
We were disappointed to miss Darren's only singing spot as it really wasn't well publicised and in the middle of the day as well, we saw him on the Celebration last time, what a great voice.
Top Men were excellent as always, one of my friends on the same cruise said she didn't think they got the people up dancing enough, but I think it's just the type of audience in the Caribbean, there seems to be more atmosphere on the Med and Red Sea cruises in general.
The atmosphere on the deck party nights was good though, with loads up dancing.
We like the Dream and would sail on her again, however we find the Celebration a cosier ship and the crew are just as friendly, I would be hard pushed to say which our favourite is.