We sailed on 14th December from Barbados. The ports were great. We especially liked the Dutch ports. They seemed a lot cleaner and the beaches etc. were well laid out. Having Dutch relatives and being able to eat Dutch food while we were ashore was great. We did tours ourselves which we booked before we went. In Bonaire we used Bonaire Vista which was good. In Curacao we used Irie Tours which was also good. Bernards was the tour we used in St Maarten. Cosol Tours in St Lucia. They were all great and good value for money. No problems with booking by email. Everything went like clockwork.
We had a cabin on deck 7 midships which was very quite and not far to go as all the entertainment was on deck 8.
We would have liked to have been on board Christmas Day but we were at sea. The itinerary was different from the brochure. We especially liked Mayreu Island which was Christmas Eve. The island has no shops or hotels. There are only 200 people on there. The crew went ashore at 5.30 in the morning to get the bar and barbeque ready and then majority went ashore by tender. It was all well arranged. Steel band and sunbeds and decorations on the palm trees made it special. Even when we left the island there were crew members with white flannels to freshen up. An excellent touch I thought.
We were All Inclusive and we usually do go AI but we are beginning to think it is not good value for money. The house wine was disgusting and I was reluctant to pay a supplement when we had already paid £199 per week. If we ordered a bottle of wine (not house wine) they knocked us a measly £2 off. The wine waiters in the restaurant were very thin on the ground. I asked a waiter if they were short staffed and he said they weren't. One night we were 2 and a half hours getting our meal and the wine waiter only came to the table once. Very disappointing. Service in the Ocean Bar was slow, especially when the deck fest was on.
Entertainment was good, but disappointed when Killer Queen was repeated in the second week. Man in the Mirror was fantastic but they only did one sitting so you had to be in there early to get a seat. Having been on the Dream before we were very disappointed with the Ocean Bar. In April the band was Elegant Touch and they played allsorts to suit all tastes. Passengers were up dancing every night and great atmosphere but this time the first week was dead. The Duo playing in there were very good but the first week they tended to sing songs that weren't very familiar. We like a bit of ballroom dancing and in the cruise news it was stated that there was ballroom dancing in the Waters Edge between 6 and 7. The first night we went and there was only one couple there. The music was piped and not one member of staff on even to get a drink. How do they expect to create an atmosphere like that. The couple who were in were very disappointed as like us they had been taking lessons and were keen to try their dancing out. We said we would go down the next night and when we turned up another family were there and nobody had even bothered to put the piped music on.
The second week in the Ocean Bar livened up a bit. The Duo seemed to change they style of music. I did have a word with the Cruise Director about my point of view and he said that we were comparing this cruise against the transatlantic cruise we did in April. He said you get different clientele on a 14 day cruise. Can't see the difference myself.
The food was excellent. The staff were all great, but I felt that they had just had a crew change and they had not settled in properly. They all work really hard and always have a smile on their face even early in a morning when they have probably been working till late the night before.
We really enjoyed the cruise and met some very nice passengers.
We have done Thomson Cruises on numerous occasions but we only got a 20% discount card for the al a carte restaurant. Some passengers got a bottle of wine in their cabin. Maybe we don't qualify!