We flew from Manchester on the plane that came up from Bristol, there was a 3 hour delay, but given the weather conditions a few days earlier this was quite acceptable.
It was nice to see Bridgetown illuminated at night, previously we have only seen the town by day.
The issuing of the ships cards was well organized, we have previously queued for up to an hour to get the cards when traveling on Ocean Village.
Our inside cabin was adequate,(better than Destiny), but lacked storage space, three small drawers (5 if you include the drawers with the bibles in)
Plenty of hanging space, but few coat hangers, this was quickly rectified by our attentive steward, Edy.
The room temperature was just right, I know a lot of people had problems with the air con, fortunately we did not.
The food we got from the three areas we visited was good, my wife is veggie and she was generally well catered for, although we could not see how Chicken and Leek soup could be veggie!!
Yes, there were nasty niffs in certain area at certain times, but having spent time holidaying on trawlers converted into dive boats, the niffs were brief and localised.
The 'offered at the harbour gates' trips were better value than the ones organised by the ship.
We enjoyed our time in Grenada, Curacao and Aruba.
The early evening departure from Curacao enabled us to see have a drink in the town in the early evening.
Our visit to Columbia was to say the least 'educational'.
The birthing area in Santa Marta was to put it mildly 'scenic', being alongside a coal distribution plant,
I objected to having to walk through, and queue in the local sales marquees before getting onto the complimentary transfer mini buses.
The items being offered were over priced, and not inspiring, $25 for a clay pint pot? !!
They tried to make a chap with a walking stick walk back the same way, then thought better off it, good move, I could see that stick being introduced with tender parts of the security guards anatomy!
Outside the harbour gates we had to cross an open sewer, on pallets to get to the town, here we were accosted by people selling beads etc. and for the first time USB memory sticks
(did anyone actually buy one? did it work?
We walked to a new building development, then quickly back, we whilst we did not feel un-safe, we were not enjoying our walk, you can only say ' no thank you' politely for so long.
We then looked at going on a trip, we passed on the open former school bus that the occupants were being encouraged to help to push start.
We doubted it would ever start, let alone get back on time
Instead we opted to travel in an air conditioned (well it had large fan), with 6 others.
Initially it started off as driver and guide, both of whom have limited English, we then gained a young lady with bongo’s,(this added to the mood initially, but she became a pain, in the ear hole)
Later we gained a guide, complete with mic and body mounted PA system, who could not speak much English.
The site seeing tour was good, but was spoilt at the end by the two un invited locals demanding tips
(we have a tip for them - do not try to lift the leg of a Yorkshireman).
So it was back to the boat, via the stepping stones over the 5H1t creek.
Our day on Jamaica was brilliant, we got on a mini bus professing to take us into town or the beach for $5,
The guide then offered to take us on a sight seeing tour around the town for a further $5, then to wait for us, and return us from the beach for a further $5.
She took us to the beach, via the Pork Shack where I enjoyed a beer and some jerk chicken.
The 'code Bravo' 'code Charlie' was handled well by the captain and the crew, too much information would have caused mass panic.
It’s the first time I have seen a Philipino steward go white with fear!
Grand Cayman was expensive, $5 for a bottle of beer.
We enjoyed the alternative cruise ship terminal on Honduras, leaving the bar on the terminal pier at 4:29
Shame we did not get to see Costa Mayo.
No major problems with the plumbing, the loo generally flushed on the first push, and a slight leak under the sink was sorted out promptly.
We always had hot water in the shower.
We did not suffer any long queues at meal times, we found the ice cream machines on the second week, generally they were both working, but at some times one was covered
When the iced water machines were out of action, water in iced jugs was available.
Why were the British Special Breakfast(red)Tea Bags hidden under the table most of the time, we do not do posh teas!
The food in the Orion Restaurant was good, but we missed the singing waiters and the black pepper mill offered on every course, that we had enjoyed on The Destiny.
On the last day we experienced a six hour delay, before leaving the ship, we made the most of it and walked around the back streets of Havana, calling in for several beers.
Our departure from Cuba could have been better, our Police escort to the airport was a farce,
They did more harm than good, the oncoming traffic generally ignored them.
The coaches into normal traffic would have got through in half the time, why did we need the escort? We went through immigration control off the boat, into Cuba, then again at the airport, then again at Bristol, but that’s another story / farce.
It was a bit of excitement for the local plod, they cannot sit and watch the paint dry when bored, Havana has not seen any paint since the 50's.
I do not recall being advised by the Thomson travel agent of the $17 levy to leave Cuba, was anyone else not advised at the time of booking?
The biggest farce was having to get off the plane at Bristol, walk 1/4 mile to have our hand luggage x-rayed for the 3rd time of the day, then walk back 1/4 mile to the aircraft, only to be asked to identify our cases, on the tarmac, by the plane, in the rain.
Any drinks etc, purchased after passing through customs in Cuba, would have been confiscated.
We arrived into Manchester 14 hours later than scheduled.
We have booked to return to the Thomson Dream next Christmas, let’s hope we get a decent cabin, without running hot and cold water, on the carpet, and no nasty niffs, next Christmas.