My three friends and I travelled to Majorca independently following many very useful tips by other Cruise Critic users.
We flew from Leeds/Bradford - the flight with Monarch was on time and very comfortable, although one of our number of various aged ladies was ill (Travel sick) on the way, but it did not dampen our spirits.
Upon arrival at Majorca everything went smoothly, bag retrieval was very quick, signs for taxi's very clear, and assistance excellent. We took a taxi from the airport to the docks which cost 25 Euros and took about fifteen/twenty minutes - after a quick pit stop for the still ill friend! We found our way to the Dream easily enough and were met by a member of the embarkation staff 'Charlotte' who was very helpful and friendly.
Boarding the ship we were greeted by Jay R who sang to us and could not be happier to show us to our cabin. We were very briefly introduced to our cabin steward, Lanang, before we went to explore.
The Dream is undisputedly an old lady of the sea but she has oodles of charm. She is cared for on a daily basis by a team who touch her up with a lick of paint here and there and the constant disinfectant rub down of all public areas to deter the outbreak of any infections. The staff who do this are hardly noticeable as they go around but their efforts go towards a happy cruise being had by all.
Our first Saturday was fantastic. We dressed for dinner and ate in the Orion Restaurant where the menu catered for all tastes, the service was excellent. Dino was the very attentive and friendly wine waiter who makes sure your glasses are never empty.
We watched the show team perform an excellent Queen show and then afterwards hurried to Deck 11 for the Sail Away party which was a blast. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn’t even know we had set sail.
Exhausted from the travelling and the days adventures we collapsed into our very comfortable beds at about 1am and slept like the dead! The following full day sail’ (Sunday) brought slightly heaving seas and two heaving stomachs into our ranks. We only have ourselves to blame as we were inadequately prepared. The reception gives out seasickness pills at a charge of £2 for six. A bargain! The travel sick friend’ however, had to have an injection to finally stop her misery " it cost £25 and was invaluable really. She picked up within hours and enjoyed the rest of the cruise without a hitch.
Our first port of call was Ajaccio. A lovely little quaint place with a nice beach where we took things easy while we recovered, large ice-creams " the size of your head " were devoured and the stroll set us straight for the next lap of the cruise to Civitavecchia.
Civitavecchia - We docked early and were taken by free shuttle to the dock gates where we ran the gauntlet of street traders - who are a blumin nuisance, just say No’ and keep walking! We finally got to the train station and got to Rome, again travelling independently " great fun! We did the hop on hop off open top bus tour which was great value for money 20 Euros per person. We selected to get off at the Trevi Fountain and the Colloseum (there is too much to see in depth in the few hours you have ashore) and we were not disappointed. The street statue’ we encountered was very abusive when we did not leave what he thought was enough for his time for photo’s. Needless to say he will not be in the album!
The train was a bit crowded on our way back to port but it was still good fun. As my feet were sore from walking I asked, tongue in cheek, at reception if I could have a bowl/bucket of water to soak them in. Within two minutes of getting back to our cabin Lanang appeared with a bucket and offered to fill it for me. I have to make special mention of him. He is one of a vast number of housekeeping staff and each one has their own special qualities but for us Lanang was exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble for him. Every time we returned to our cabin he had refreshed the towels and tidied up. I.e. Being four women in a constant hurry we would often leave straighterners lying around but Lanang would make sure the wire was wound up and placed neatly on our dressing table. I kept the bucket for the rest of the trip just in case I needed it again and when on one occasion I had hurried out without emptying it we returned to find it neatly tucked away under the sink. Lanang " or Y’Lang Y’Lang as we christened him - is an absolute treasure. If you are lucky enough to have him as your steward then you will be in good hands. He is a credit to Thomson.
A few more mentions here; Steve and Crispin our waiters in the Orion " very attentive and entertained us with their napkin folding techniques. Larry " who is one quarter of Fish N’ Chips’ and an excellent guitar player. Marlon " the drinks waiter in the Broadway lounge and all over the place during the day, what a cool smile he has, Jay R of course for his friendliness and humour. Denny, a waiter in Sirens and another quarter of Fish n’ Chips’.
From Livorno we got another train to Pisa and then a bus to the Tower. (Following a tip by a Cruise Critic member) What a fabulous day " we dined near the tower amid a demonstration of hooting and tooting from vehicles driving past. It added to the atmosphere in more ways than one. The weather was lovely so added to the experience. Our train back to Livorno was delayed by an hour and a half so we paid 50 Euros for a taxi back to the dock, split between five of us it wasn’t so costly really. Yes, our numbers increased as the week went on!
St. Tropez was a rest day for me but the others went ashore to explore. They met a lady walking her dog and chatted for a while and were then surprised to hear from the captain (over the tanoy) that Bridgette Bardo had been spotted walking her dog on the promenade. Fabulous skies here.
Barcelona was wet and we did nothing more than go into the shopping complex beside the docks just to stretch our legs. Would like to have seen more but will leave that until next time.
Onboard; we had no problems getting a sun lounger although some people are very critical and obsessive about the one they have.
The restaurants offered a great selection of food. We were never hungry. We ate in Sirens in the morning, the Lido at lunchtime and the Orion at night. The service was excellent.
The Cruise News kept us well informed. The reception staff members were mostly helpful. We didn’t get the upgrade we had hoped for but we soon got used to guessing what time it was from our inside cabin and it offered us total blackout at night. So some very good sleeps.
Hosted by Steve - who did a marvellous job throughout the ship - the Broadway Lounge offers some magical nights. The entertainment team are brilliant and there are some shining stars among them. Each and every one of them work so hard to bring the quality of a West End show. It pays off too. The singers and dancers are true pro’s and give everything of themselves to make you smile, tap your feet and go away with a feeling of total satisfaction of seeing some very talented individuals. The comments we overheard were all very positive and the seats were full night after night. Well Done Team.
Mark " the games host - has a wonderful sense of humour is a truly pleasant guy.
As old ladies go The Dream offers everything you could wish for " she is tired in places but this only adds to the affection with which we hold her. Overall, the experience was fantastic and we would not hesitate to go with Thomson again.