We had a fantastic week at the Rey Don Jaime in Santa Ponsa to begin our holiday. We have stayed there before and would say that perhaps the standard of the food is not quite as good as it has been before, nevertheless, the food was fine and there was always something that we could find to satisfy our appetite! We were all inclusive. There were a few snacks in between meal times but we found we didn't really need them as we had plenty at other meal times. We had a lovely room which overlooked the front of the hotel and as we looked to the left we had a view of the sea. There is a storm drain along the road and when you pass it, it can be a bit smelly, but we didn't notice any smell as we stood on the balcony. Saying that, it was so hot we couldn't stand to be on the balcony for too long!
The staff were all very friendly and they had varied afternoon games in the water, and dingbats to test your brain! Max was just fantastic and got everyone going. We don't normally stay in the hotel in the evenings as we like to go to the pubs round the area, but we enjoyed the evening entertainment so we stayed until it ended then went out after that. One evening there was a snake charmer, this went on far too long and got boring after a while.
We would definitely stay at the hotel again if we come back to Santa Ponsa.
CRUISE - MOORISH DELIGHTS
This was our first time on a cruise and we had been persuaded to try one as everyone said we would just love it.
Our luggage was delivered safely to our cabin about 4 pm and we looked after by Don who was most helpful. Our cabin was made up and fresh towels put in by the time we had returned from breakfast every morning. We chose cabin on 7th deck and we were very pleasantly surprised as to how spacious it was really. We were not too bothered about having an outside cabin on this occasion, but we probably would if we cruise again - we spoke to a mum whose son was quarantined and I think if this happened its worth having a little window to look out of! Lovely towels and blue towels were provided to use by the pool so you don't have to take your own beach towels.
Apart from one evening we had our meal every night in the Orion, the a la carte restaurant. The food was excellent and served beautifully. We shared a table the first night, but the following evening we were given a table for two, and we got on so well with Dennis the waiter that we chose to sit at the same table every night after that. He was so funny and kept us entertained with his magic tricks and humour. Another waiter serenaded us with a song on his guitar three times which was nice. The wine waiter looked after us very well too.
At lunch times we usually had something from Sirens Bar. The food in Sirens and the Lido, both buffet style, is fine but not any better than we had in our hotel in Santa Ponsa, or other hotels we have stayed at. But it was ok and we always found something that we liked.
We had breakfast in the Orion one morning and enjoyed it very much, but the other days we just went to Sirens. It was very busy in Sirens though at certain times, people getting in each others way, you try to speak to some people and they just 'blank' you, look miserable and you wouldn't think they were on holiday!!!
All staff on this cruise ship were absolutely fantastic, they could not do enough for you and we enjoyed talking to them and hearing about their lives at home. Most of the staff we spoke to are from the Phillipines or Indonesian,they are such hard workers and always had a smile on their faces, and nothing was too much trouble. We can't compliment them high enough and they are a credit to the Thomson Dream staff.
We loved the Sail Away party on Sirens Deck on the first night, all the staff were joining in the dancing, very good fun.
We regret to say however, that we did not enjoy the entertainment in the Broadway at all. We expected real quality entertainment of West End material but sadly this was not so and it was very amateurish. We go to Benidorm a lot and some of the acts we see there would be better placed on this stage than the group of people who are the entertainers during the evening show. Don't get me wrong, we liked them all as people, but we didn't think they were West End material, which we expected because that it was people had told us to expect. So this was a disappointment to us and its doubtful therefore if we will come back on the Dream because of this. Not sure if the entertainment on all Thomson cruise ships is like this or not.
We enjoyed Maurice Grumbleweed, we saw both his shows and really enjoyed them both.
We therefore spent the evenings in the Ocean Bar and listened to a beautiful singer called Marissa accompanied by her pianist. She could sing ANYTHING at all and each and every song was perfect. She was 101% fantastic and we would love to see her again - this could be one reason as to why we MAY come back on the Dream! She deserves to go far.
There was always some form of entertainment at 3 pm on Sirens, ice sculpturing, napkin folding, things like that. We especially enjoyed watching the guys from the bars doing their cocktail shaking.
This was the issue that niggled us the very most. We joined the ship on the Saturday and got settled in. We were tired and slept in on Sunday morning, waking up about 9, then we attended the meeting by the Thomson reps who told us all about the trips we could book etc. By the time this was finished and we had queued up at reception to give them our credit card for bills, we had missed the breakfast slot. We went round the decks looking for a sun lounger but it was hopeless. All week people hogged their loungers all day and sometimes didn't even use them. It is so annoying. It is supposed to be monitored and if you don't use your lounger within 45 minutes you get a parking ticket, but this doesn't seem to happen. On the Sunday we both said this would be our one and only cruise, but as the week went by and we enjoyed the places we visited we might just be persuaded to try another - but something needs to be done about sun loungers!
We loved every place we visited.
We did our own thing at Gibraltar, walked into town, just paid 10 return to go up the cable car, had a look round, took photos etc and came back down again, then went for a few drinks. There were many taxi drivers trying to encourage you to use their taxis to take you round, and I think after speaking to other people afterwards this might have been a good thing to do and was value for money. But we enjoyed what we did.
We loved Cadiz. We paid 15 euros to take an open top bus ride round, but in actual fact we wish we hadn't bothered because we could have easily done it all without incurring that expense. Lovely place and would visit again if we get the chance.
This was the place I was least looking forward to as there was a lot of scaremongering going on, so we decided to book a tour with Thomson. We were not disappointed at all with this tour and felt it was really good value for money and would recommend the City Tour of Tangier. Having spoken to people after, they hired a taxi driver who took them to all sorts of different places and it didn't cost much at all. But we were apprehensive of doing this and chose to book a tour.
This is a small town and industrial around it, so we booked a Thomson tour again, to Granada, we really enjoyed it, but felt the Tangier tour was better value for money as we had a guide with us all the time there telling us things, whereas the guide in Granada just left us at the Post Office, told us where we can go, and we met back at the bus at an agreed time. The coach driver did take us to one of the highest points so we got a great photo of Granada from higher level. The Cathedral there is HUGE!!
This was also a very nice place just to walk into from the ship. Unfortunately the day we were there it was very very humid indeed and I did not feel very well, so we only had a short walk around and went back to ship so can't say any more about it.
No issues with this whatsoever, everything went very smoothly.