Before we went on holiday we checked Cruise Critics for reviews of Thomson Dream. The reviews were mixed so we set off with an open mind, never cruised on Dream before but cruised Celebration 18 months ago. The flight was superb on the Dreamliner with ample room and less noise we anticipated our arrival at Barbados. Check in was quick and easy, having booked in at Manchester Airport and not seeing our luggage again until we reached our cabin.
We were in an outside plus cabin on deck 6 which had lots of space but soon realised that the cabins were not soundproofed as we could hear every conversation from the cabin next door. There was quite a bit of vibration in our cabin too. Our stewardess, Sri, was adorable and kept our room clean and spotless. Many of the Asian staff in all the bars, restaurants and cabins were always cheerful, polite and were ready to take time to chat to us.
Now for the not so good bits.. We paid £15 for a safe which was difficult to open (other people were heard to comment about this too) The food in the Lido restaurant was sometimes cold when we ate at lunch time.
The ship, even though we heard had gone through a refit, was old and tired. On open decks in certain places the seal had worn and when treading on them stagnant water oozed out which was quite unpleasant to say the least. The putty on outside windows had rotted away on most windows some of the seating in the bars was worn and shabby. We had 2 meals in the Grill restaurant, which were extremely good, but the charge for the meals was more than you would pay on a 4 star liner. If you wanted steak in the Orion restaurant a further charge was required. Unfortunately, we could only take a weeks holiday, but if a 2 weeks holiday had been taken, we could have gone on a 4 star liner with a balcony for not much more than we paid for 7 days.
There was a fiasco when we were given details to log onto the internet, Thomson's site, so we could download our boarding cards. Some people had tried for over 2 hours and failed. Why should we have to administer these things and waste our holiday time to cut down work for the Office staff on board. This was not a brilliant move that Thomson's made, I am sure.
All in all we enjoyed the days off ship, excursions arranged by Thomson were far too expensive, so we did our own thing, catching taxis to beaches or arranging a tour and sharing with other people. Most of the entertainment was good, the best being the night the talented crew put on a show.
When disembarking everything was well organised again, our luggage was taken from our cabin the night before and we next saw it at the airport when we arrived in the UK.
Upon reflection the itinery was superb, the staff attentive and helpful but the ship did not live up to expectations. The cruise, we feel was overpriced for a ship of that status. Upon saying that, if people are willing to pay, Thomson will provide such cruises on Thomson Dream.
Although we have cruised the Caribbean before, we had never called at St Barts. If ever you have the chance to call at this island we would suggest you do, especially if you like superb beaches. We did our own thing and after doing some "homework" before we left home, decided to catch a taxi and head for St Joan's Bay. The island is so different to the others we had called at. Oozing with wealth. with beautiful villas dotted around the cliff tops. We travelled to the beach in a Mercedes car and the driver explained various places of interest on the way to the beach. The currency is the Euro as the island is French and we were charged 20 Euros for the journey. There were 3 beaches at St Joan's Bay and we choose Nikki Beach, a shallow safe beach with palm trees and all the trimmings of paradise. The bar on the beach offered leather double sun loungers at a 100 euros ( yes this is an extremely expensive place) We declined the offer and placed our towels on the beautiful white sands. To spend time there was an experience and a half. We shared our taxi back to the port which halved the price we paid.
Alas, many shops were closed but the ones we went into were not for the likes of us. Designer labels and expensive clothes were in abundance.
The memory of that lovely day will linger in our minds for quite a while.