Just come back from 14 nights on the supposed best ship in the Thomson fleet, and our first experience of cruising, from Barbados around the Carribean (St Lucia, Antigua, St Barths etc). Decided to go for broke and spent an additional £5000 on booking a grand suite with veranda. We were not informed that the veranda was surrounded by 4 foot high metal and therefore blocked out the sun for most of the day ! The whole ship has a very dated feel to it and seeing the clear glass verandas on a number of other modern ships e.g P.O.Ventura did not make us feel any better.The food was acceptable and the service very good generally. However the additional "selling point" of having to pay no tips/gratuities is nonsense. Tables in the waiter service restaurant were clearly being booked by paying someone (the maitre de?) so that asking for a table for two without paying up was met with disapproving frowns !
We were one of only 6 cabins/suites on the top (Sirens) deck "away from the hurly burly of the main living areas" and for 6 nights had to suffer a japanese pop band and other loud music until well past midnight approx. 100 feet from the cabins. Our complaint to the Manager Steve Johnson was completely ignored.
Tender service to and from certain destinations was generally good but final disembarkation was chaotic with people standing around on the quayside long before they needed to be there.
My advice to anyone thinking about giving cruising a try is choose another line.