We paid extra for an outside cabin (857 on deck 8) which had a good view of sea and landfall.
The drinks package was included as a 'freebie' in our original booking
Before boarding the ship passengers are required to register a debit or credit card against which all purchases are charged. If you don't have the drinks package you will be charged for all alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and juices, and in some parts of the boat, for coffee and tea. Excursions and duty free purchases etc will also be charged to you card. Duty free can be exceptional value. For example a one litre bottle of Smirnoff is £7.60
Even if you buy the drinks package some 'premium drinks' will be charged, for example spirits such as single malt whiskies and some cocktails incur a small surcharge. Thomson regards bottled water as a premium drink.
You will be given a breakdown of all purchases and the amount to be debited to your card prior to checkout. Credit cards incur a 2.5% surcharge - debit cards don't.
Our cabin had two single beds which I recommend so that you don't have to climb over each other to go to the bathroom! Also a better night's sleep! There was sufficient storage space (for us); a TV with BBC news and two movie channels, and a hairdryer. Also various snacks and water at airline prices (eg Pepsi and Fanta £1.80 per can)
The WC and shower room is a 'wet room' with plenty of space even for a big guy like me!
We thought the food was good - excellent with plenty of choice from buffets to more formal waiter served dining at no extra charge.
We thought that the entertainment was fine with something for everyone - quizzes; cabaret; game shows etc. Or you can just sit and have a quiet drink
There is a daily 'cruise newsletter' which provides information about the port of arrival, entertainment and dining for the day. This is very useful.
We thought that all staff were attentive and happy to stop and chat. Excellent service was noted throughout!
Excursions - be warned! If you travel independently and don't get back to the boat on time, it will sail without you! So leave plenty of time!
Koper - we went on the caves and castle excursion which we thought was excellent. Although a train takes you deep inside the cave, there is still a lot of walking (about 2km) some of it quite steep. There are plenty of cafes and toilets in the area. (See http://www.park-skocjanske-jame.si/cgi-bin/newseng.cgi?action=detail&id=4&kajje=1)
Venice - We travelled independently. It's about mile from the dock to the monorail station where you can buy a ticket to Piazza Roma for 1 euro.
You can buy a day pass for the Vaperetto (water bus) for 18 euro at one of the many ticket offices and make your own way to St Mark's square and also see other sites and sights on a 'hop on, hop off' basis.
In our view, Thomson should arrange transport from the dock to the monorail, even if there is a small charge for it. I'm sure people would pay up to 5 euro to save this long walk in the heat.
Sibenik - Wow! The Krka National Park with its superb waterfalls just has to be seen! Thomson charge £46 for this excursion, which also includes a guided tour of Sibenik old town. The drive to the Krka is very scenic. However, there is a lot of walking and steps to climb at the end. Take your 'cozzie' and a towel as there is time to swim beneath the waterfall!
It is possible to travel to the Park independently. The admission fee is 90 kuna
(about £10) and there's a regular bus service from Sibenik.
Dubrovnik - We decided to make our own way from the dock to the old town. There's a bus stop by the docks but you have to pay in Croatian Kuna. Taxis and most restaurants and shops accept the euro. Taxi fare is 10 euro. For 50 euro, our driver took us across the large suspension bridge, stopping for a while for pictures overlooking the bay and harbour. He then took us to the top of the mountain where there were superb views of old town, walls, harbour and islands. This is the view that you might get if you took the cable car. However, the cable car costs around 10 euro per person and if it's busy, you can be packed like sardines (I'm told)!
So for 50 euro, we thought it was exceptionally good value, especially if there are 3 or 4 of you. Our driver - Romano Pikunic - spoke good English and also gave information about local geography and recent history, including the Croatian war of independence.
He dropped us off at the old town, which is full of character, with street musicians, restaurants and historic buildings.
For 10 euros you can take the glass bottomed boat on a circular tour from the harbour along the city walls, forts and on to the island of Lokrum.
Dubrovnik is an excellent place so make the most of it!
Kotor - It's a short walk from the port to the old town to the old town. There's a 'hop on hop off' bus that takes you along the coast which we thought was good value as it also includes a tour of the old town on return. Another excellent place and not enough time!
Corfu Town- In my view, compared with the other ports that we visited, Corfu town is without charm - dusty and busy with a general feeling of neglect.
The taxi ride from the port to the old town costs 10 euro
Conclusion - a well organised, good value cruise with attentive staff, good food and entertainment and some great ports of call. It would be even better if Thomson were less motivated by profit and paid more attention to things such as a shuttle bus in Venice, cheaper excursions and not regarding bottled water as a premium drink.
My other and final comment is about Thomson's flawed 'Your Opinion Counts' survey. Why do they provide the questionnaire to everyone on the flight, yet only one per cabin when there are two people sharing? They also reserve the right to 'modify' what we put down. Also, your questionnaire will not be entered into the prize draw unless it's fully completed and you provide information about your mortgage, mobile phone provider and credit cards etc. So it's more of a marketing exercise and if you are not careful the information will be passed (sold?) to third parties.
Come on, Thomson - you can do better than this.