Holiday 23rd Dec for 14 nights
Having sailed on the DESTINY last year and the CALYPSO the summer before, (both great holidays apart from the sizes of the cabins) I had high expectations for the DREAM but having read some of your members reviews I think I must have been on a different ship altogether, people seem to have either loved it or hated it, even people with flooded cabins and no Air/Con seem to rate this ship very highly so for what it is worth here is my tuppence worth (i'll try and go easy on the melodrama. SEE REVIEWS)
General problems on the ship:
Firstly The ship had a number of problems below deck which mean't that we either arrived late in port the next day or we just skipped the port and headed off elsewhere. The first problem was a boiler broke down in the evening causing a delay on arrival in Grenada.(we arrived at lunchtime)
The 2nd delay was caused by a fire in the engine room (sorry this is where the melodrama comes in) I was seated on the lido deck right next to the bar area when a code Bravo was sounded, I said to my girlfriend this does'nt look good have a look at the barstaff's faces, the entertainment team were just finihing their show and the band were about to start up, the next thing I heard code Charlie over the tannoy and I kid you not the waitresses started screaming and with their fellow waiters ran from the pool area and started grabbing lifejackets from a cupboard in full view of the passengers,(the words headless and chickens come to mind) the band played Bob Marley, 'Don't worry about a thing' then packed up their equipment, now I know that muster stations need to be manned but every single member of staff disappeared from the deck, it was about 10 minutes before 1 member of staff appeared back on the deck, everyone remained calm but there were a few youngsters that were scared out of their wits, I think a few more announcements and a bit of live music might have helped.
Due to the fire there was a delay on arrival in Grand Cayman, the first passengers that were allowed off ship were tour passengers (and rightly so)
but as I had not booked a tour and it was a tender port the first tender for non-coloured tickets arrived ashore at 2.50pm, the captain said we could have an extra 2 hours on shore, brilliant except for one small problem, it was new years eve and we had to be back on board early for fixed seating arrangements,
also all of the shops shut at 5.00pm for obvious reasons.
The next delay was ridiculous, we could not stop in Costa Maya as they never had any drinking water for us to pipe on board, the upside of this is that we got an extra day in Cozumel.
The description in the Thomson brochure for Santa Marta, Colombia and I quote:'The first thing you'll notice is the picture-perfect coastline. Cue ice-white sands and glass-clear waters' yeah right, the first thing I noticed was the Coal refinery about 50ft from the ship with someone hosing it down all day.
On a more personal level my A/C was also playing up the first week, I also had to call out the engineers twice on the same evening as my toilet was blocked, what I did not expect was the plumber (his title not mine) to blame the reception and the electrician for getting their wires crossed and then tipping the contents of the toilet all over the bathroom floor instead of into the bath. Who's to blame?
My cabin was on level 5 right next to the staircase leading down to the Orion restaurant and believe me in the corridors and on the stairwells there were disgusting intermittent smells for the whole of my cruise.
The breakfast in the Orion leaves a lot to be desired, I tried it 2 mornings running but the orders were either wrong/slow or served at different times we saw a number of fellow passengers get up and leave after waiting so long,
I would'nt mind if it was busy but there were more staff than passengers.
The Enertainment was very good, excellent dancers and a good comedian.
The bars were also pretty good but the barstaff could do with some cocktail training, there was no continuity with the drinks, each waiter seemed to have his own agenda, small glasses, large spirits, litte room left for ice. Also the entertainment in the bars was the same night after night.
The food in the self service restaurants was ok but very badly laid out dining areas.
The Orion restaurant was average with different levels of service and friendliness depending on where you sat, the Maitre'D did his best but the body language from a lot of the staff told a different story
I cannot comment on the tours as I usually do my own thing (much cheaper).
Having said all that, I had a very good relaxing holiday but you cannot paper over the cracks with humour and 'good old British spirit' this ship is not seaworthy and should be given back to Costa Cruises, I had to laugh when a luxurious looking Costa ship berthed right next to the Dream Bucket talk about adding insult to injury.