After a pretty miserable year we decided to treat our grown up children and their partners to a break to bring in the New Year. We wanted something to include good food, entertainment, and the opportunity to have all inclusive drinks and be able to absorb some sunshine. We thought a cruise would be perfect. Our only mistake was to put our faith in Thomson.
All three cabins requested to be double beds turned out to be singles and could only be described as a notch above camp beds. Under no circumstances should cabins 604, 608 or 620 be allocated to fare paying passengers. They are NOISY and UNCOMFORTABLE and you can hear every action of the engine room and every wave that hits the ship. Many other passengers experienced the same problem.
The ship was advertised as being refuArbed to platinum standard. It was blatantly obvious that no improvements had taken place in these cabins for many a year with formica walls and very tatty fixtures. It became obvious to us on the morning that we disembarked that when passing all the open doors of vacated cabins that in fact many had been refurbished and that such a programme had not reached our corner of the ship. No way should Thomson have expected any passenger to endure such second rate accommodation. Any first time cruiser would have been put off cruising for life. After accepting our fate with the accommodation we decided to make the best of it............................we wish
Thomson cannot be blamed for the sea conditions but the ship could not cope and the banging jolting immense noise and rolling confirmed no sleep would be gained and sea sickness was guaranteed. When my son and partner were in trouble during the night with sickness help was not forthcoming and was told to deal with their problem themselves. Eventually sense prevailed and the sick bags were removed.
The food did not come anywhere near the standard of any of the other companies we have sailed with (which are many) with presentation not being on the list of priority. The menus were ok but very average. The specialist restaurant provided to be a much better quality but nothing more than should have been offered in the main dining room. NEVER have we ever been expected to pay for a simple steak in the dining room if there was nothing on the menu that you fancied. All companies offer a standard steak chicken or fish dish that is available every evening at no extra cost not. Thomson....no make them pay!
One positive point is that all the waiters and bar attendants etc was very good and became the saving grace of the holiday. The on-board entertainment was good but too much of 50s -70s music most definitely needs bringing just a little up to date with a little more variation. The musicians too were also very good and made for a good atmosphere when performing.
Two other big gripes was the charge placed on the safe in the cabin. Again never have we ever had to pay extra for that and the final straw came when if you wanted a towel sculpture on your bed you had to pay for it. In my opinion, Thomson has lost the plot when it comes to providing the real cruise experience. Small things like towel sculptures may seem trivial but these are the treats that make a cruise different. Any new cruiser would not even know what a towel sculpture was and would never order one so straight away they have lost out on that experience.
New Years Eve proved to be a total fiasco leaving many passengers who had been requested to arrive for dinner at 8.15 to come back at 9.45. This was as a result that many passengers from the first sitting decided to arrive for second leaving people who had booked for second high and dry. As a consequence all the New Year entertainment went ahead without us as and others, as we were all still eating ......................The high spot of the evening was a party popper going off at midnight quite spectacular .....I think not
I could go on but I won’t. I have left it this long before reviewing as I did write to Thomson very clearly stating facts where I thought they were letting their passengers down. The reply took one month and basically said because the overall response on customer feedback forms said that the cuisine and service rated highly they were sorry if we had been disappointed and that they would pass my observations onto appropriate management. Nice standard reply I feel for any complaint. I was amazed at such an analysis. I did telephone the customer services to ask to discuss my concerns but was told that they felt my dissatisfaction had been dealt with. Quite clear she was speaking from a script. So add customer service to the list of poor show. I will make it my business to discourage any family friend or colleague to ever waste their money with Thomson and to choose a company that knows what cruising is all about. Very sad because they used to be good.