Arrived Havana, Cuba on 27th Jan. Noticed a smell of sewage but thought the smell was coming from the dock itself. Told by passengers that the ship had experienced sewage problems recently and that this had been highlighted on TV on 'Watchdog'. My first impression of the ship was that it was tired and old looking. The cabin we were given was on Deck 7. It was extremely small but clean. On the first night the air conditioning was icy cold. The thermostat did not work and therefore we could not regulate the temperature. Reception promptly dealt with my complaint and the problem was resolved. The air conditioning throughout the ship varied. The public bars were extremely cold at night and the corridors and lower decks were very warm.
Some lifts were out of order for over a week. On two occasions passengers had been stuck in the lifts and one passenger told me she was stuck for 45 mins and the handset did not work so she could not alert anyone she was stuck in the lift. The lifts were slow, obviously due to the amount of people using the lifts that remained working.
On days when tenders had to be used to ferry passengers ashore, the process was slow and it was lunchtime before we managed to get ashore.
The self service restaurants were like motorway service stations and just as busy. The beverage dispensers were on one side of the restaurant and the food was on two different sides. There were no trays available so it was impossible to get food and drink in one go and then get a seat. Consequently, by the time you got your food and drink and sat down, the food was invariably cold. The food was good but in comparison to other cruises I have been on, the selection was ok and nothing special. There were some very large circular tables in the self service restaurants but a shortage of chairs. At busy times it was sometimes difficult to find a seat. On two occasions I had beef burgers from the BBQ on the sundeck. On both occasions I had diarrhoea for several hours afterwards. It was only on the second occasion that I realised it had been caused by the burgers.
Orion Restaurant was good. Service on the whole was good but on some occasions it was a hit and a miss. Food varied and of good quality.
On days at sea, unless you were up by 7.30am and had saved a sunlounger, there was none to be had. I was told by reception that sunloungers could only be saved for 45 minutes and if no-one had returned to their sunlounger by then, I could inform a member of staff who would remove towels and belongings and the sunlounger could then be used. This was not policed and apart from this problem there were not enough sunloungers or chairs for all the passengers on board.
Swimming pools are small. One extremely small. Smallest I have seen.
During the second week, many passengers had chesty coughs and on the flight home I was sat next to two elderly people who had been confined to their cabin for 9 days due to having pneumonia. They also had their cabin fumigated. Although I have only been home for 24 hours I now have a slight chest infection. Could this have been caused by the air conditioning? I think this is a strong possibility. Impossible to find out. Nobody tells you anything.
On a positive note, the ship is clean, the staff are polite and very helpful, the entertainment is fabulous. The entertainment crewe are very versatile, the dancers are excellent, particularly David (amazing), singers excellent and all shows are outstanding.
Enjoyed the itinerary although they changed one destination. Did not go to Columbia as we were told they had taken into account passengers comments and decided to take us to Margarita as it was a prettier island. Rubbish. Awful. Horrible place. Was this due to cost cutting? I suspect so. They could at least have been honest with us.
Went on the all inclusive package and this was worth the money. Could drink as much coffee, tea, cocktails (alcoholic and non alcoholic), soft drinks etc as we wanted. It all mounts up on holiday.
Shops excellent. Daily activities varied and interesting.
This is my first cruise with Thomson and I am sorry to say my last. Previous cruses with P&O, Star and Ocean Village were outstanding. Very disappointing indeed and I think Thomson need to take drastic action before obtaining money from unsuspecting holidaymakers. We have to work hard for these holidays and deserve better.