We have just returned from an absolutely fantastic holiday where we spent 14 days cruising around some Caribbean Islands aboard the Thomson Dream. I will say at the outset, that when we first embarked on the holiday we went with some worries after having read some awful reviews that had been posted on the days prior to our holiday starting. Let me say, I can only think the reviewers were actually on another ship and for those of you who have booked the Dream, go with an open mind because you too will have a memorable holiday and have nothing at all to worry about. Over many years now, we have stayed in top 4 and 5 star hotels in Europe, the Caribbean and Africa, had only a couple of cruises before (including Thomson), but expect value for money and good service, so hopefully this review is balanced and fair.
I will first get the negatives out of the way, as they are few and will take no time at all:
All inclusive drinks package….don’t bother. It is way too expensive. We did not stint on our drinks and had exactly what we wanted. We are normal holiday drinkers and our drinks bill was only around half the cost we would have spent on the package. Bar prices are reasonable. If you take out the package, to use your allowance would mean you would have to be pretty ill for the duration and would no doubt miss part of your holiday!
Sea days and sun beds…….We have to be very early risers at home and find it hard to lay in on holidays, so we had no problems getting a sunbed, but others struggled. It is hard to see a huge space unused most of the time in the form of the sports deck and we could not understand why this is not used at least during sea days as a sunbed area. Of course, there may be a simple explanation such as they would harm the surface, but surely something could be done?
So there we are, two negatives - now the rest.
Cabins: We had an outside plus which was spacious, kept spotlessly clean and had a comfy bed. Would be nice to have had a British TV channel showing something other than new and sport though.
Crew: This is Thomson’s selling point, a friendly crew with an excellent service record and this was evident on the Dream. The crew are wonderful and certainly enhance your holiday.
Food: We never had a meal served cold. The Orion offered a good selection in their menu at night and apart from one very busy evening when service was a little slow we had no complaints at all. We ate in the Sirens for breakfast and lunch if we were on ship. Food is good quality and tasty. We had every kind of meat on offer and although some reviews mention a shortage of beef we did not experience this at all. Yes, steak is extra, but unlike our last cruise on NCL, when to get a decent meal we had to pay for it in the specialty restaurants, on the Dream it was as it should be. You paid for a meal if you wanted something a little different. We had ‘Steak under the Stars’ and this was lovely.
Entertainment: Now, this is where I REALLY speak my mind! Although accepted, people have an entitlement to their opinions, I cannot believe some of the pompous remarks of some reviewers on this subject. The entertainment team are young – so what? I would like to bet these individuals have more talent in their little fingers than most of us have in our entire bodies. They are professional, talented and work their butts off. Not only did we never witness anyone walking out of a show, we saw the opposite. People took their seats at least 30 minutes before a show to get a good position, and several shows were rewarded with standing ovations. Shows were the highlight of each evening and were as good as anything we have seen on a holiday before. Steve Johnson the Cruise Director was also on the Thomson Celebration when we sailed on her last year, and he also has an amazing singing voice. Speaking to one the team, we learned just how rigorous the recruiting process is which Thomson uses for employing people in their shows and this would explain why these youngsters really are so skilled. If they were not talented they would not be on board.
Itinerary: Honestly, what can you say; Antigua, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Vincents, the list goes on. Exotic, beautiful places we have visited and will remain in our memories forever. I just want to do it all again…
The Dream is a ship which is getting old and most of us will have known that when we booked, so when people show surprise that it is not pristine and looking like new I can only feel a little confused. She is kept clean and sparkling and the public areas are comfortable and with obviously new carpets and furnishings and fittings. So not sure what ‘looking tired’ means.
One last thing to mention is the Captain. He relates a little story over the speaker each night. At first we could not make up our mind whether he was funny, interesting or just nutty as a fruit cake! We settled on endearing, memorable and certainly unique.
So, to all you lucky people who are booked on the Dream and have a holiday to look forward to……do just that. Look forward to it as you will have a truly wonderful time!