My husband and I have just returned from a 1 week cruise on the Thomson Spirit. We booked the cruise less than 2 weeks before departure and paid less than half the advertised price. We departed from Limassol and visited Alanya, Marmaris, Crete and spent the last 2 days in Israel. This was our 5th cruise, but our first with Thomson.
The ship is one of the smaller and oldest in the fleet and this is reflected in the décor which is a little outdated and would benefit from an update in the near future, the service on board the ship is excellent and very friendly. Our cabin was on level one and on the port side at the front of the ship cabin 812. Our cabin was quite large and the storage space was excellent, the room attendants were very good and quick at cleaning the rooms and any requests were dealt with efficiently. We were worried we might experience a lot of movement being so low down on the ship, but it was actually the cabins higher up who experienced the most movement of the ship. There are no balcony cabins on the spirit, so I personally wouldn't pay the upgrade for a cabin on a higher floor.
The food on board was of a good standard, not the best we have had on a cruise, I would probably rate the standard as a good 3 star, but for the price we paid it represented good value for money. We didn't pay for the all inclusive drinks package as this was expensive at £200 each and you were limited to the drinks you could choose from.. If you can get the cheaper all inclusive option which I believe some people paid around £80 for it might be worth doing. A class of wine is around £4.40, cocktails around £4.60 and cider around £4.50, a decent bottle of white wine was around the £20 mark.
The atmosphere on board was very friendly and we ate in the main restaurant for breakfast and in the evening, it was great to be able to just pop down to the restaurant when you wanted between the opening times, rather than have to stick with set dining times. We chose to be seated with different people each night and at breakfast and met some lovely people. We had lunch and afternoon tea in the Lido restaurant and the food was of a good standard with plenty of variety for everyone.
The entertainment team worked very hard and had a number of different roles on the ship. The standard of entertainment was very good and there was a good variety of entertainment in a number of the bars and main theatre.
For the majority of the cruise the ship docked in ports near to the centre of the resorts which meant you could just walk into town. We did a number of trips, 1 in Crete to the leper colony and a combined trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jerusalem was very interesting but Bethlehem was a bit of a let down, apart from the church built on the site of the birth of Jesus, there is nothing else to see and the queues were too long for us to visit the actual site of his birth, which was a little disappointing. Our guide was very good but we didn't get the opportunity to have a look around the wonderful bazars in Jerusalem, but had to spend an hour in a very expensive gift shop in Bethlehem recommended by Thomson which was a complete waste of time.
Would I travel with Thomason cruises again? At the right price a definite yes.
A great cruise line for those not wanting a formal cruise atmosphere.