This was my first time on a cruise and by far not the last. I travelled with my wife and 2 sons, 16 and 14. We flew from Manchester and on arrival at Palma after a long delay with the luggage we were taken to the ship. On nearing the port I noticed a huge block of flats next to the Dream, but when we got nearer I realised that was the Norwegian Epic, complete with waterslides on the top deck! At that stage I was glad we had booked the Dream as the Epic would have been too over-powering as our first cruise. The checking in process was swift and we were soon issued with our boarding cards and shown to our cabin. We met Mostafa who looked after our cabin (Deck 6, inside) and did an excellent job in making sure we were happy with everything. When booking we were concerned as to whether we would have enough room in this size of cabin, as I am 6ft 4ins and my eldest son is also quite tall, however it was adequate for our needs.
We explored the ship and were happy with the amenities on board, choosing to relax on the sunbeds on Sirens Deck daily and met some really nice people.
On the first night we enjoyed the Killer Queen show by the Dream Show Team, which were amazing in my opinion, Paul the Cruise Director, along with Max, Brandi, James, Anna, Spencer and the awesome dancers must be congratulated for the effort and enthusiasm they put in to every performance. I did comment to the Cruise Director that people will pay good money in the West End to see such a performance. Then followed the sailaway party on Sirens Deck which was great fun, especially when I discovered that my eldest son had inherited some awesome dance moves (not from me!) and I knew then that the kids were going to enjoy the cruise.
We only booked 2 excursions ashore, Monte Carlo and Monaco (from Villefranche) and the Sporting Barcelona trip, although we did book the Pompei trip during the cruise. All the trips were great, and supported by knowledgeable tour guides who made it more worthwhile. I was surprised to find 'Explore Ashore' sheets available for each Port of Call to allow those who wished to explore alone to do just that, with useful information and a simple map of interest, this was a nice touch.
The food was varied and plentiful, being served for you during the first few days of the cruise due to hygiene standards and then it was help yourself once everyone was used to using the sanitisers. The portions were definitely not small (and I love my food) and if you wanted more they were happy to provide.
We were given the AI drinks package as a freebie due to booking early, and enjoyed many a tipple, our favourites being the extensive cocktail menu, along with Heineken and John Smith's on draught. The wine during mealtimes was equally tasty!
We met some great people during the cruise, and noticed several had cruised with Thomson's previously, and some had been on the Dream before, which speaks volumes for their experiences.
Finally I would like to mention the efforts of the remainder of the entertainment team, Suzy the Assistant Cruise Director, Shep, Lauren and Adam, all of who did a sterling job in running the events, of which all of them were top notch and aimed at the right level. The Cruise Director changed on our second week, and Steve Fisher took the helm in running the show, with his great personality and ending each speech with 'Ciao for now'. A credit also goes to Captain Torsten Olbrich, for his funny stories given daily over the PA system, with a comedy twist thrown in.
On the last night we took part in the farewell party on Sirens Deck, and as my eldest enjoyed demonstrating his dance moves so much, I arranged for him to dance with the show team, and they even provided him with a nice pink 'Deck Party' t-shirt (complete with glittery sequins on the back!) so he blended in with the team when strutting his stuff. It's things like this that make a holiday so memorable and we are already looking at booking the Dream for next year, hoping the same staff are still on board!
Well recommended and well done to all for a great first cruise experience.