We booked our cruise on the Thomson Dream in December 2009 and have been watching the news and reviews with cautious apprehension.
Our cruise commenced in Montego Bay and taking in a wonderful itinery including two nights in Cuba. (Short port review to follow)
Firstly we are wondering if we went on the same ship as many of the reviewers on here, we appreciate that there have been problems but it is not a dirty smelly ship,it is simply older and a little tired in places , carpets for instance .
The Thomson Dream is not new, it has been leased from Costa and this has never been made a secret. With this in mind we were expecting a comfortable and clean ship, but not a brand new one. We were not disappointed.Our cabin was on the infamous deck five. It was more spacious than some we have experienced and there were no problems with the air conditioning or the plumbing.
The staff cannot be faulted, they went out of their way to ensure that our honeymoon was a happy and memorable one.Many knew us by name withing days, especially the adorable Miss Andrea( waitress). The food was tasty and well presented and as always plentiful.
The entertainment was excellent, the team were extremely hard working and always looked as if they were really enjoying every perfomance.
We dined mostly in the main table resturant and though slow on a couple of occassions had a lovely friendly feel
sun beds were a problem on sea days ( though that is the case on all cruise ships ) with people getting up at dawn to reserve their spot . Overall it may not be as big and grand as other lines but its staff, entertainment and friendliness puts itself up there with its more costly rivals . Once you - and thomson- accept that it not a five our four star ship then you will have a fantastic cruise , trust me!.
So to the port reviews.
Grand Cayman - very pretty port area though somewhat americanised with its fast food outlets,hotels and diamond shops. Best trip by far- swim with stingrays . this can be booked once ashore for half the ship exursion cost. You will be approached by many people offering the trip on the quay so just go with it and you will have a great time
Roatan - jump into a taxi head to west bay beach and you will find a picture perfect beach and fantastic snorkling ( reef left hand end of beach ) . There port area is fine for a beer if you have an hour to kill but not much else of interest - just get to west bay !
Cozumel - we were meant to have two days here however due to engine failure only had the one . Unfortunately we had pre booked tour to the Tulam ruins - they were OK if you really need your history and culture fix and the are situated in a gorgous location however we felt we could have better used our time and money either at one the water parks( chankanab got good reviews and can be done by taxi ) or cycling- now offered on ship £34 . You can walk into town however it is just an over built array of diamond shops and bars, didnt hear anything nice said about it .
Cuba - We like walking so just get out there and explore ! . the contrasts betweeen rich and poor can be extreme if you venture into the suburbs but is fascinating. you can also take an open top bus for a few pasos so no need to book a trip . we did do the evening tropicana excursion which is expensive but very colourful and lovely to see . overall, you wont run out of things to see
Dominica- Samana - a bit of a surprise as we werent expecting a great deal here however we found a lovely little beach 15 minute walk from jetty( tender which is very slow). the beach is below the big hotel on the left that you will see on the hill where the bridge starts( trust me you cant miss it) you can snorkle and catch star fish then walk the length of the bridge - very pretty indeed .
Tortolla - we booked the virgin gorda trip - absulutely gorgous with fantastic snorkling and beach. we would do it again even though you only got a couple of hours on the beach. Note you can get a ferry locally cheaper but its a long way and if you miss it back youve got problems!
Antigua. weve been there before and done the sights by taxi which is nice with a stop on the beach for an hour or two . however theres no snorkling here and you can get bored after an hour or two just laying on the beach so suggest you go cycling with the ship excersion- You park up in town so can walk off but to be honest its just a typical array of tourist tat and very grubby looking local shops
St lucia - Pigeon island without a doubt. its set in a national park so you have to pay to get in 5 dollars. very scenic and you can climb upto an old fort which will give you great views of the island then walk around the grounds before settling onto its private beach for a bit of snorkling - perfect day . Its not actually an island so can be done by taxi. You can book an exursion to here but you wont get enough time to climb upto to the fort.
well,overall we had a geat time and so will you, have a loveely holiday