This was our third time with Thomson. Our choice was based on price, ports, temperature and dates. We flew from Luton after parking in the pink long term parking. Transfer to the coach and then to the ship was very smooth.
We booked two basic outside cabins. We found them much the same as the Destiny and Island Escape. Twin beds, Air conditioning, safe (Â£15 a week).Very little hanging and storage space. Bathroom adequate with soap shampoo and shower gel on tap. Bathroom and pool towels provided. Lovely large bedroom windows on level 4.
The ship looked in very good condition and we saw someone painting something every day. The downside being you could always smell wet paint. Plenty of sun loungers but on our day at sea there were no spaces left to put a lounger down. Pools were small and very cold. Two Jacuzzis by the family pool were meant to be for age 16's + but was over run by kids and had a worrying brown tinge to the water.
We did find a lack of toilets on each floor a problem. On the pool deck there were two single cubicles and nothing on the lower floors when you were disembarking.
We ate in the Seven Seas for breakfast, the Cafe Royale buffet self service for our lunch, and the Four Seasons for our evening meal. All had their plus and minus points. The seven seas had a variety of place settings but as a group of four we were sat on our own rather than on a big table. Service was a little erratic when it came to being served juice tea and toast. The lunch buffet was good quality. You could choose to sit inside or on the deck. We liked the four Seasons as when we had a choice we could make up a larger table. However we often found ourselves in a queue and had to take what was offered. There seemed to be some underhand dealing going on with groups pre booking a particular table with the waiters. This meant that tables were left empty for favoured families. Very little waiter entertainment going on except for the formal night where they sang a few numbers.
The younger children looked very happy with the kids club however there was very little for my teenage boys. Maybe two activities a day always timed when we were on shore and normally Wii sport. Nothing in the evenings.
It was not always easy to get a drink on deck. The waiters would take your order and your card then disappear for 15 minutes before returning with your drinks. We had finished our lunch by then. It was the same during the evening entertainment but this wasn't so much of a problem. It was a different story in the Four seasons. They were offering us the wine list as soon as we sat down, and poured the wine throughout our meal.
The entertainment was of a high standard. The main shows in the Jubilee lounge were varied with a wonderful show team. In addition the band was brilliant and show within a show. The ballroom dancers Julian and Kalisa were out of this world. Phil Doyle was the UK guest comedian. We saw him on the Destiny and knew we were in for a treat. So talented he didn't need to resort to swearing or smut to get a laugh, let alone a fantastic singing voice.
Disembarkation was smooth as was our flight home. We had to be out of our room by 9am and picked up at 12pm. No delays either way.
port 4 is not on the list so I will write it here. Morocco.5+
After reading so many scare stories,we opted for a Thomson excursion called Fantasia and Souk. We saw a brilliant show of traditional dancing, music, snake charming and acrobatics. Not missing out the stampede of horses and guns. We were also offered Moroccan tea and biscuits. A lovely touch. We were then taken to the Souk - Market. As it was late in the day, it really was not crowded and we felt surprisingly safe. We enjoyed a bit of bartering. We spent euros. Only the biscuit stall couldn't take them which was a shame as they looked fantastic. The best way not to get ripped off is, only offer what you want to pay. If they don't like it, walk away with a firm no. We got a bit lost but guards directed us to the correct exit. We were last back to the coach as most people were too worried about wandering around without our guide. A great day for kids and adults.
In conclusion, the ship was a similar standard to our other cruises (Destiny and Island Escape). You get what you pay for. Those who had a free all inclusive upgrade had in fact paid more than Â£300 a person extra for their cruise. We were disappointed with the lack of Teenage activities considering it was Easter holidays but the boys enjoyed going ashore each day to explore. I would like to try a different cruise company next time but Thomson would be hard to beat for value for money.