We embarked at Montego Bay but this port is not an option to choose so therefore used the disembarkation port of barbados We read all the reviews before we sailed and spoke to Thomson for the necessary assurances that our cruise to the caribbean would live up to our expectations. We knew the ship was not new and we did not expect the standards that we had enjoyed on the larger newer american ships. First impressions were of a tired ship showing her age. The ship did list and the air conditioning is not as efficient as it should be. We did experience sewerage smells in the lower corridors on several occasions although we had no problem with our suite and bathroom on deck 7. The toilets on deck 9 were blocked on one occasion and there was clearly a plumbing problem.
The captian is not freindly or aproachable and is rareley seen around the ship. In fact all the senior management were very low profile and were not seen round the ship meeting and mixing with the passengers. The captain made sarcastic comments at the captains cocktail party about passengers who had chosen not to queue to shake his hand - maybe he needs to remember who are the paying guests and who are the crew!
The good news is that the staff on this ship are excellent - all the staff are friendly and very welcoming. The shows are a very high standard with an excellent group of show team members, the Dream is very lucky to have such talent on board.
The food is very good and there was plenty of variety. Although one morning the bain marie was broken down and all the food was cold - I was concerned when they offered to reheat scrambled egg in the microwave instead of disposing of the food properly - they cannot take such risks with food in this type of environment.
Although Thomsons cannot be held repsonsible for the behaviour of their clients we were appualed that the dress code in the evening was not adhered to by some passengers who entered the dining room and a la carte restaurant in jeans, flip flops making no attempt to meet the suggested dress code and were not challenged to maintain any standards - there is a 24hr option available for people who want to dine in beach attire.
We have cruised on Thomson ships many times in the past and have always had good expereinces on board. Our return this year was purely for the itinerary as we wanted to visit Cuba, talking to other passengers we were not alone in this decision to cruise aboard the Thomson Dream. Given the standard of this ship we will not be cruising with Thomson again and will return to the larger liners where standards are maintained at the highest possible levels at all times.
Thomsons are careful with their exit questionnaires to ensure the high satisfaction rates they boast - easy with such loaded questions
If Thomsons want to be considered as a serious player in this market they must address these basic standards that their competitors insist upon. It is our opinion that Thomsons cruising is second rate cruising and not anywhere near 4 or 5 star cruising as they try to suggest. The prices charged are not reflective of the standard and I feel that we overpaid for the accomoodation we had including the flights which although we upgraded to premium class this was not truly a first class experience as the planes are as tired as the Dream.