Ok, so here goes....This was a surprise cruise , (and our first one ) bought for us for our 30th wedding anniversary from our Son and Daughter. It sounded wonderful. It was a 7 day cruise - Egypt and the Holy Land! We were a little worried as it got close to departure date, as just a week before Thomson appeared on BBC Watchdog, but at least it was a different ship, the one on BBC Watchdog was the Dream and not the Celebration. On arrival at the suite we noticed there was a bottle of sparkling white wine, we then uncorked and poured out our drinks and sat to watch the video our children had taped for us. Well they were congratulating us wished us well and hope we liked the extra treats for us in the room..The bottle of sparkling white wine and the flowers...Flowers? . There was no flowers at all. I looked in the envelope our son and daughter had given us and..There inside was a receipt for the extras they had paid for - the sparkling wine and the flowers. We called down to reception and asked were was the flowers..they had no records of flowers ordered. I told the reception we had proof of purchase here . Now instead of reception telling us .no problem we will send someone up with flowers, and just take a look at the proof of payment for the flowers..no. They asked me to come down to reception with proof of purchase for the flowers! We had just travelled for over 12 hours and just enjoying our celebration drink, and now been told to come down to reception to prove we had ordered and paid for the flowers! So once down at reception with proof, the flowers were then sent up to the room
About 10 minutes later we I looked outside our suite to see our two suitcases had been delivered, brought them into the suite and to our horror, my wife's hard shell suite case had been completely smashed! We could not believe it. We had just picked the suitcases up from the coach and placed them in the pick up area for the ships staff to get and bring up to the room. The bags had travelled all this way without any damage, then just 500 yards or so from the coach to the ship it got smashed so badly.
So once again I called reception , told them the case was so badly smashed beyond repair and now we were worried as obviously we needed a case to return home. Expecting someone to be sent up to our room and to inspect and collect the case, plus possibly bring us a new one ...nothing of the sort.
I was asked once again to go to reception and bring the case with me! Once seen, I asked the receptionist what they are going to do about it. He asked where we insured!. I explained we were but the excess we would incur by the insurance company mean it would not be worth claiming , plus we needed a suitcase to get home as now we had nothing to pack my wife's clothes in on our return. The receptionist took the case and told us "they will see what they can do" The next day I went down to reception and again was told again "we will see what we can do" I explained, we needed to know are they going to replace the case as it is now all ready spoiling our holiday not knowing how on earth we were going to return home with all my wife's clothes and accessories without a suitcase. We were told to return to reception the following day. After our all day excursion we got a call from reception asking us to go down to see them, they had got us 2 small cases. I told them I would come down to see them but I don't think the hand held luggage type of case - even two of them would do.
I went down to reception and was offered 2 of the smaller size hand held luggage cases, I told them they were not big enough to fit my wife's clothes in, they just were not suitable. I asked are they going to get us a suitable size case or not? Again we were told.."we will see what we can do and come and see them tomorrow".
As you can imagine this was causing considerable distress to both of us, particular my wife.
The next day we took a tour to Cairo organised by Thompson. Even seeing these magnificent sites such as the Pyramids, my wife was still concerned about if she would get a case, this was now really spoiling the holiday all this worry. So, the first opportunity I got when travelling back to the ship, I bought my wife a suitcase. It cost $45 after having to spend 30 minutes bargaining the seller from $100. When we got back on the ship, I went straight to reception to show them I had now purchased a suitcase, the receptionist then told us he had now got us one and shown us indeed he had , I asked him why could not he just had told us right from the beginning something like " Don't worry whatsoever about the replacement , we will have you one suitable to travel back to the Uk to, instead of us having to worry about trying to find - replace our damaged suitcase. I also asked for a letter to confirm the damage to our suitcase which was provided (see enclosed)
The Suite it's self, we found to be of very poorly maintained. (see pictures enclosed) The first thing what hit us was the bathroom. All very reminiscent of the Destiny report on BBC Watchdog.
Around the bath and fittings was black mould growth. The Cabin Steward could not be blamed for this as no matter how much cleaning this would not come off. It needed to be removed, re - grouted and new silicone applied. It looked awful. Same around the sink too . Also the sink had a large chip knocked out of it which again looked very unsightly.
There was also, around the door frame to the bathroom was all chipped. The wardrobe had pieces of veneer missing around the bottom of the frame .
Then the ceiling was very unsightly Dented and dirty marks, Not very nice first thing in the morning to see!
I took picture of all this and snt them along with a letter to Thomson customer complaints
My wife and I took an organised tour every day ..well every day we were at shore. I felt as did 95% of the people who took the tours , there was far too much information given. Most tour guides gave talks on the coach on the way to the site we were going to visit. But also once at the site again, babbled on far too much. This not only was far too much information even for a classroom, but in the heat , it was just too much. Plus this time eat into the time we were allowed on our own around the site, we felt rushed at the amount of time we had to discover the site. And photograph opportunities were missed. One particular tour the whole coach was very disappointed with the tour guide. We were taking the trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. As stated in the Thomson tour guide "In Bethlehem, meanwhile, don't miss the Church of the Nativity, built on the spot where Jesus was born."
Now to me and all of the coach we actually thought we would see the site were Jesus was born.
The tour guide talked a lot about the politics of Israel and Palestine on the coach. Very little about the Jesus and Christianity. I think most who take this Holiday are interested in the Bible stories, not war and politics. The tour guide, because so little information had been given on the coach about the biblical side of the tour, he then spent a lot of time ..Again in the midday heat talking about Jesus and the bible. This tour was very rushed, again very little time for photo opportunities or shopping..in fact none for shopping (more later) We were so rushed though the walk of the old city were Jesus carried the cross, it was appalling. I acted as spokes person for the coach ,as nearly all wanted to have time to shop in the bazaars (again as advertised by yourselves)
I asked the tour guide could he give us 15 minutes shopping time as there were quite a few of us who wanted to shop and take in the ambience and feel of the place were Jesus had carried the cross. I was told no...Because of security. This of course was rubbish as most of the time he was at least 100 yards ahead of the last in the group. To top it all, none of us got to see were Jesus was born! In all honesty this is the one site that everyone wants to see when they visit Bethlehem. What made it even worse, when talking to others from other coaches from our ship..There tour guide even mentioned to them,"I will make sure you see were jesus was born , as I would not come all this way , pay all this money and not see where he was born."
Also, on the day we docked at Cairo, I was awoke by a very pungent smell, basically sewerage. This lasted ALL DAY, no matter what t deck you were on, including the restaurants and eating areas and of course outside on deck (not many sunbathing that day, everyone was disgusted with the smell. It was I believe the sewerage from the ship getting emptied..yet it lasted all day.
On the day of leaving we packed our bags and left them outside the cabin as requested. We were to pick them up just off the ship in the coach park to put on the coach. When approaching we noticed one case face down on the pavement. Wheels and stand missing. Yes. It was our brand new one we had bought in Cairo because of the damaged caused by Thomson!This was unbelievable as both cases were damaged just yards from the ship!
Well as you can imagine, this Holiday should have been the holiday of a life time, unfortunately because of all the above, it has been far from it.
So..I had written to Thompson, told them all of the above and in a nutshell they have offered us...a £100 voucher to be spent with them. They tell us they are very sorry , but this is all they are prepared to offer. (now on my 4th letter to them)
If you have booked with them, it is not all doom and gloom.
The food was fantastic!, The staff Brilliant!(except the reception staff) The entertainment - Excellent!
All I would say is...Before you book a tour, make sure you ask would you definitely see the sites you want to see, if not maybe just meet back with the coach and do you own thing (wish we had done that) Also I can't comment on the cabins but in all honesty when you are booking a Suite we all have preconceived ideas on what a suite should be...Well, we were so disappointed. Also. If anything gets lost stolen damaged even if Thomson admit it...you are unlikely to get any compensation from them. I will update this post and keep you posted what the end result is with Thomson. UPDATE.- Well Just thought I would update on the situation with Thomson. I have now received another reply from Thomson...And here is what they say.. Dear Mr Singleton Thank you for your further letter regarding my previous responses. I\'m truly sorry you still remain unhappy. As previously mentioned, unfortunately I won't be offering any compensation and only a gesture of good will because of the photos supplied. again, if I can refer you to your holiday insurance company regarding your suitcases and if you're unhappy with this outcome then it is at your discretion if you wish to peruse this matter further. Thanks again for getting in touch. Jade Simpson. I have been in touch with BBC Watchdog about this awful treatment by Thompson, just awaiting the reply, also have been in touch with Consumer Direct, and they feel I have every right to compensation as Thomson are in breach of contract -the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, which states that any service must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time, and for a reasonable price, unless otherwise agreed. Any goods provided under the service must also be of a satisfactory quality, fit for their purpose and as described. If any of these requirements are not met, you may be able to hold the trader in breach of contract, seek to have any faults rectified to a satisfactory standard, or claim damages for any losses incurred as a direct result of breach of contract So ..watch this space, as I have now started court proceedings against Thompson. Unfortunately I have had to go down this road before..it is relatively simple but a little lengthy,....so watch this space! Alan Singleton