Great holiday so much better than expected. This was our first cruise with Thomson's and we were not disappointed. The weather was in the 30's, the only time we needed a cardigan/jacket was in Petra when it can be a bit chilly in the shade.
We left from our local airport, the plane was new and we felt had more leg room, we knew there would be no entertainment on board so accounted for this. I would advise purchasing food at the airport for the plane journey, as food on the plane is not good, little choice and dried up. Once at the Sharm airport we didn't encounter any problems we had reps to greet us and were on a coach quickly to take us the 30 min trip to the ship. Checking in was easy and we paid the extra 15 for a safe. The ship is cashless, everything goes onto your account which you can settle by credit card, cash or debit card. Credit card incurs a surcharge.
The ship is fairly small but very friendly and welcoming from the Captain down. The crew couldn't be more helpful and kept the ship spotless.
The drinks package is Â£199 if pre-booked and on board rises to Â£219. The shop on board sells clothing, bags, jewellery, alcohol, tobacco, sun-screen, perfume, aftershave etc. If you purchase alcohol in the shop it won't be delivered to your cabin until the evening before you leave to come home. We purchased duty free drinks at the airport and took them with us. One thing to mention is bottled water is an extra even if on the drinks package, and known brands of alcohol also incur a supplement. The ship docks at ports which can accommodate the size of the ship and which are the closest to either Petra, Cairo or Luxor therefore it may not always be very scenic on the quayside, but no different then docking at Southampton but once you leave the quayside and venture out it is completely different. On our last day we took a taxi into Sharm (Nama bay) which was 15 mins away. The Old Town is nearer and could possibly be walked to in 30 mins from the dock. The taxis outside the port are cheaper than the ones on the dock. In Jordan some people took the shuttle from the quay into the town which was nearby, Aqaba is the only place in Jordan which is tax free.
Trips -- if you only want to go on one or two trips then pre book before you leave as it is cheaper e.g. Cairo is 96 if pre-booked or 102 on board, Petra was 120 on board but if you intend to book 3 large tours e.g. Petra, Cairo and Luxor then you get a half day trip free. In my opinion the organised tours are well worth the money, the guides give you a taste of life in that country and the information given is informative, we also felt very safe. My only negative is the sellers which pester you directly you leave the coach, they are clever and will switch from Egyptian pounds to Sterling when giving you a price, and when they tell you something is only one pound trust me it never is! My advice is keep to Sterling this way you know what you are paying. We paid extra to go inside the Pyramid but a note of caution, the oxygen level in the air is not good inside and the climb down is quite steep and you have to stoop. Petra was amazing even though we had to wait for a VIP to leave before we could enter. Wear hardy trainers as I only wore flat loafer type shoes which were not suitable due to the stones. What a lovely welcome back we had from our trips and the hot flannel was a great touch.
The dress code was fairly relaxed except for the Captains Gala night when you are invited to drinks and meet the Captain and given a sitting to attend e.g. early or late, this is the only occasion where you are given a sitting time to eat. If you prefer not to dress up and I would say 80% were in black tie and long/cocktail dresses then the Lido has more informal dining on this particular night.
We were on deck 3 outside, our cabin had been updated e.g. new shower and vanity unit, and in the bedroom new curtains and headboard and flat screen TV. I can honestly say the vibration was minimal. The forthcoming kettle will be much appreciated.
We had a fantastic holiday and visited places we would not have dared to venture under our own steam so thank you Thomson's for making it so enjoyable and unforgettable.