Palma airport was absolutely chaotic on arrival. About 6 Thomson flights all seemed to land within a short time frame. The information screens on the carousels was incorrect for two flights. Once we had our luggage we made our way to the arrivals area to find a Thomson cruise rep. We did. She shouted at us to go in single file to the coaches. Unfortunately she omitted to tell us where the cruise coaches were - there was only about 50 to choose from! Quick transfer to the port and very smooth embarkation procedure. Had to find our cases in a shed to stick the cabin numbers on. Again this was a bit chaotic. We boarded the ship and were shown to our cabin. First item of luggage arrived 2 hours later and 2nd item 2 hours after that!
Our cabin was on Deck 5 (5036) - an standard outside. This was very spacious, very clean with a nice modern shower room. It looked to have been refurbished quite recently. There was a wardrobe and a curtained off area that provided extra hanging space and room for shoes, bags etc. There were 5 drawers, a desk top area with TV and 2 small bedside cabinets. Air conditioning was not brilliant. We did report this 3 times but it never got much better - only downside of the cabin. Our steward was a lovely young lad who was terribly homesick. He did a brilliant job.
Dining - choice of two buffet restaurants both with lido areas and waiter service restaurant on deck 4. Good choice of good in all. Andromeda (deck 9) tended to get a bit busy and the lay-out is not great. We went to Sirens on Deck 11 - much better lay-out and not as busy.
Bars - there are many!
Entertainment - Atlante Theatre showing the usual good Thomson type shows and a very good guest comedian - Dave Kristian. Medusa Lounge - band and game shows, competitions etc. - not bad at all. Another 2 bars - one had a good trio on and the other a pianist A further lounge with classical duo Disco Card room library Kidzones (these were closed as in June no under 16's allowed)
Shopping - a little shop selling essentials, books etc, duty free shop and clothes shop.
Positives - the crew are exceptional. Everywhere you go is the same. No shortage of sun loungers.
Negatives - There was no doubt this ship has problems. We had two power cuts and there was a very unpleasant sewage smell particularly on decks 7 and 9. This did lessen as the week went on. There are leaks springing from the ceilings in random places. A couple in the Atlante Theatre which the guest comedian made great play on. In some areas there is a distinct musty smell.The air conditioning in our cabin as I have mentioned was not efficient at all and on the last night failed completely. We were sitting on loungers on Deck 11 before 5 a.m. as we couldn't bear the heat in our cabin any longer.
Both the pool areas are very cramped as there are so many sun loungers set out. However there are quieter areas with loungers. The deck stewards are also happy to move some round to the promenade deck if you ask them. We did this and it was a lot more peaceful.
Disembarkation again was very busy. A lot of flights leave within a very short time of each other so we had to queue on the quayside for a while waiting for a coach. At Palma airport again it was absolute chaos. About 8 Thomson check in desks all in a row. Nothing moved for about half an hour then we discovered that the conveyor had broken. Not a Thomson rep to be seen. Eventually got to the gate.
All in all we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and would sail on the Dream again.
In the afternoon we went on a Thomson trip to Lake Puccini and Pisa. This involved a short coach trip through some very nice Tuscan countryside to a small lakeside village where Puccini lived. The lake is called Puccini locally probably for tourist publicity. The trip advertised a leisurely cruise on the lake with commentary and Puccini's music to include wine and biscuits. The kindest way to describe the boat is "a bucket". The captain was a tad scruffy and pongy. The boat had some inside and outside seating. We sat on the outside on a white PVC garden bench which had seen far better days! We had a little bit of commentary and then listened to a soprano singing Puccini arias for 45 minutes whilst the boat chugged round the lake and as we were at the back we were treated to heavy diesel fumes - delightful. The "glass" of wine was in fact served in thimble sized polystyrene cups and tasted like cheap sherry. The "biscuits" were almond flavoured broken bits offered to us from a cardboard box. We then had a quick tour of Puccini's house (very small) and were ushered into the gift shop. Then on to Pisa. On arrival at the coach park surrounded by African hawkers. Quite intimidating. 15 to 20 minute walk into Pisa. Had an hour to take some pictures and a quick look around. I think this trip was about £34 each for 3.5 hours. A bit pricey for what we actually got. Not much mileage involved.
On previous visits we have stopped at Eze - a gorgeous resort on the way to Monte Carlo. Served by both train and bus. A lot less hectic than Monte Carlo with a very nice beach.
All in all a lovely day.