This was our first cruise on with Thomson and over New Year. We had a very good flight on the Dreamliner and the queues in the “shed” at Barbados were not too bad. Actually I felt the whole thing was handled very efficiently. However, you are immediately asked if you want a safe and the wine package. It would have been good to actually get on the ship first!
Our first impressions of the ship were that it all seemed a bit tired, as others have said. Our cabin was OK and very clean, as were all areas of the ship, but the first thing we saw was the scruffy frame around the window. The toilet didn’t work, although that suddenly flushed shortly after we called reception. There were two sockets over the dressing table, one for 2 pin round and one for 2 pin flat. We later discovered that these only worked when the lights were on so not a lot of good for charging phones and cameras overnight – use the one for the kettle. The shower gave us a lot of entertainment. There is the bath, hand shower and overhead shower all on one control. By the end of the first week we had just about discovered how to use this without getting all three on at once and flooding the bathroom. Other people had the same problem so not just us being useless. As for the safe – our advice would be not to bother but lock valuables in your suitcase. Not only is £25 an extortionate amount for something hotels give free, but we had to call reception twice to sort it out as it refused to open. On the second occasion there was a delay in someone coming up as they were already attending three other cabins! We began to dread using it.
We used the Orion restaurant most of the time as we like to be served and it was a good chance to meet other people as sharing tables is the norm. There is quite a varied choice of food but the portions are not huge and some of the dishes seemed very tasteless although the soup and the fish were always good. The waiters and wine waiters are all really friendly and a few very entertaining. We would recommend afternoon tea in the Argo bar if you want a bit of class. Tea and cakes served nearly every afternoon while listening to a piano and violin.
We were in the Medusa Lounge to see in the New Year. Free champagne was being handed out but stopped about half way round. They had run out of glasses!! Now that is just bad management. Apart from that I suppose it was very much what you made of it. The party on the top deck was good fun – much what you would expect.
We did do a few tours on boats but they weren’t really good value for money. We never do tours of the islands though as it is always cheaper to hire a taxi and you go to all the same places. We had been looking forward to going to Mustique from St. Vincent but two days before this was cancelled. We had initially been lead to believe it was due to the weather but later we were told the island was “full” (of celebrities) and this trip has been cancelled before for the same reason.
The ship says there is Wifi – you have to pay of course, although that is something else usually free in hotels. Don’t bother – it didn’t seem to be available most of the time and is fairly available in bars and other areas around the ports. It is free and fast in Barbados cruise terminal.
We were in the unfortunate group travelling home to Gatwick. The flight, which should have taken off at 5 in the afternoon was delayed until 10, we were initially told, the following morning. We spent the night in a hotel and then were taken to the airport at 8 the following morning where we all stood waiting to check-in until the desk opened at 9 even though there were staff around. The plane eventually took off just after 12 arriving in Gatwick just after midnight. No trains running by then so another night in a hotel. We have asked Thomson to pay for this and our breakfast. We shall see.