Lets start with the positives. The embarkation, cabin(apart from its location) food and the itinerary were all of the usual standard for Thomson Cruises. The two negatives were the entertainment and bar staff.There was little in the way of a daytime entertainment programme. Music started by the Lido pool about 1pm followed by a quiz at 2 pm. More music at 230pm followed by a demonstration ( towel folding ice carving etc) at 3pm. I wasn't aware of any games ( pool darts table tennis) which was standard on other cruises that I have been on. The entertainment team appeared to be going through the motions. There didn't seem to be any attempt made by them to engage with passengers. The cruise director was conspicuous by his absence. He hosted the lock in at Liberties which was the only time that I saw him. The evening entertainment programme was tired and dated( Michael Jackson Motown and Queen tributes for example) Even Topmen who we had seen on the Spirit seemed to follow the safe route with their song choices rather than the versatility they had shown before. The Comedian's jokes must have been 30 years old but in fairness his story telling and banter with the audience was quite good. I suggest that the entertainment team take a lesson from the Island Escape team from 2012. Lewis the assistant cruise director was the exception on this cruise. He was very good and seemed to enjoy his job unlike the rest of the team.
The bar waiting staff didn't win any medals. It seemed very difficult to get their attention and when you eventually did you often had to wait for more than 15 minutes for it to arrive. A couple of the girls in the Lido. Liberties and Hemmingways were ok but the rest seemed off hand. Could the all inclusive packages on offer be a factor in this. None of the bar staff stood out and as a result this was the first time that I haven't tipped some of the bar staff.