We have recently returned from three weeks in the Caribbean to celebrate our retirement. We spent the first week exploring Barbados, the second week on Thomson Dream and the third week in St. Lucia.
I can honestly say we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We were a little worried having suffered at the hands of a Carnival cruise in the past and all the "bad reviews" we read on this site before we went about the Dream. We had no problems embarking the ship as we made our own way there mid afternoon from our hotel in Barbados. We were shown to our Grand Suite and were thoroughly impressed with what we saw. Ronaldo Q our steward could not do enough for us. Ok we paid extra for the suite but as it was a special celebration we decided to "Splash the cash" for once and at least we were guaranteed a sun bed on sea days.
We found the restaurants, especially the Orion, excellent and it gave us a chance to meet people by table sharing. For breakfast we usually used the Lido restaurant and found the quality of the food here to be ok taking into consideration they were providing for the masses.
We enjoyed some of the shows on offer in the Broadway Lounge and also the guest comedian who appeared towards the end of the week.
I agree there is a hard sell policy as regards drinks packages, trips etc. but other than one five bottle wine package we just bought as we went along as the all inclusive drinks package was extortionate and to get your money's worth from that you would need to be permanently trollied. We did have a go at the wine and cheese tasting on one of the sea days and everyone at this event thoroughly enjoyed it (and the wine). We also did the casino taster which entertained us for a couple of hours without losing more than a fiver each.
We did not book any of the Thomson trips as there is plenty of opportunity to do something at the ports visited. At Bonaire we took a water taxi to Klein Bonaire so that my husband could snorkel and this he says was fantastic. The water taxi was also at a fraction of the Thomson excursion price. At Aruba and Curaçao we just went our own merry way exploring as we went along and then in Grenada we shared a mini bus taxi with two other couples and for 20 usd for the two of us we had a tour of the rainforest,spice tour and waterfall and tropical gardens and then to cap it off the view from the old fort over the town was breathtaking.
I would certainly cruise with Thomson again. All the staff were friendly, they could not do enough for you. Yes there were some down sides but when you are catering for the masses, I guess there are always going to some who cannot be pleased however hard you try.