Expectation is the key to satisfaction (or not!) of the Thomson Dream. If you are hoping for a modern high-tech ship with a glitzy huge glass and marble atrium, then this boat is not for you. It doesn’t even have balconies! However, if you are looking for a smallish, homely style ship with a crew that thinks of itself as a family, then you have chosen well!
We chose this particular cruise simply because of the itinerary. We visited 6 islands in 7 days where other cruises had more days at sea.
Our cruise experience was very well organised from the minute we boarded the plane to Barbados. We didn’t see our luggage again until it arrived outside our cabin. Our embarkation and disembarkation was much quicker and easier than we have experienced before with previous cruise lines.
We liked the fact it was a small ship and we could quickly become familiar with the layout and see the same people (if you wanted to!) around and about.
Our cabin was on the 9th deck with window and we were reasonably pleased with the space and layout although it could have done with refurbishing.
All the crew were without exception chatty and friendly and seemed happy in their work. All seemed very hard working.
We particularly liked the attention to hygiene. A waiter was there with hand sanitizer as soon as you walked in to a restaurant. Also there always seemed to be a cleaner sanitizing the hand rails. Very reassuring!
The entertainment crew worked very hard and were of a higher standard than Thomson Gold/Platinum hotel entertainers. We particularly liked the ‘Pirates’ cabaret show and loved the Jack Sparrow impersonation! We also enjoyed the Bernie Flint Show very much, and we would have liked another act brought onboard during the week.
The excursions were very good and what made the cruise for us. They were expensive (but all cruise excursions are!) but they were all very well organised and we felt the local tourist guides were all very friendly and well informed.
Now the minus points.......
We pre-paid for the drinks package. IT IS NOT WORTH IT, unless you drink large amounts! But, be aware that so many of the drinks are supplemented. There is only a basic house wine, which frankly was very poor. Basic cocktails such pina colada and sex on beach and similar have a £1.25 supplement added. Also, particularly at lunch time, there is a shortage of drink waiters to order, then wait so long, so you have finished your meal before your drinks arrive.
The Orion ‘fine dining’ restaurant was a disappointment. The menus sound so appealing, but when the meal arrives.....it is just basic mass catering. The portions were small and we filled up on bread rolls.
The swimming pool area was also very poor and needed serious upgrading. Both were VERY small (the photos are very misleading) and looked poorly maintained. The whole area was cramped with row after row of sunbeds without a space in between. We never tried to relax there, but it was so overcrowded. In fact sun beds were in very short supply.