Being seasoned P&O cruisers, it was with some anticipation that we boarded Thomson Dream after reading several adverse reviews. We chose Thomson as cruises into Cuba are extremely limited. The other two islands which we were also looking forward to visiting were, Samona, Dominican Republic, (which we did not get to) and Costa Mayo, Mexico, being two places where we have not visited.
On first impressions the ship is very tired and looks her age. We also noticed that she seemed to continually have a list to starboard side, even when in port.
The crew do keep her as clean as they are able.
Our cabin was an outside plus option and was very spacious, with both a bath and shower. Plenty of drawer and wardrobe space, although coat hangers were very sparse. Our cabin steward kept it spotless.
Our main evening meals were taken in the Orion restaurant. Although the menu was quite repetitive the food was very good. The portions were also quite small, which personally I think is a good thing. The waiters, without exception were exceptionally friendly, courteous, polite and helpful. As mentioned in other reviews we also found the Orion to have a musty smell.
Breakfasts were taken in Lido restaurant on deck 9. As we only have cereal for breakfast, we did not encounter queues. But we did find the upholstery very stained and dirty, you are all right if you sit on one of the cane chairs.
The buffet restaurant on deck 11, in our opinion is far nicer.
We really enjoyed the evening shows, perfomed by the Dream showteam, being fresh, modern and original. All the cast seemed to be exceptional vocalists, especially Mark, who we later found out is opera trained.
One of the comedians, on board was Les Bryan, whom we have seen many times before, but once again his show was fresh and very funny.
The captain, well where to begin? Every day he tells "one of his stories". When his voice came over the tannoy system ready to tell "his story of the day" you could hear the passengers groaning. It just seems to be a story about how self important he is, but the worrying part is, he seems to have had trouble on every ship he has captained !!!
As mentioned in earlier reviews the engines once again failed, we were left drifting in the Caribbean sea for 6 hours without engines. My wife and I were on deck 9 aft, when all of a sudden white smoke billowed from the funnel and the engines stopped. We resumed passage after 6 hours, but of course we then could not make our destination the following day, which was Samona, one of the places my wife and I had not visited before and one of the reasons this cruise was booked.
We also noticed the lack of deck space for sunbathing and lack of sunbeds. On a sea day you had to be up no later than 7.am in order to obtain a sunbed. Yes sunbeds were reserved, this was pointed out to the crew, who did nothing about it. One thing that I thought was totally unacceptable was during our additional day at sea, paying passengers were lying on their pool towels on the bare decks, perched on the boards around the pool, whilst two members of the entertainment team enjoyed the whole of deck 11 aft (which was cordoned off to paying passengers) to themselves. I also noticed 4 rows of sunbeds stacked 8 high on that deck.
A further major problem was on disembarkation day there was no water at all in cabins for 2 hours, from 9.am.
Again we noticed many passengers not adhering to dress code, we even noticed people coming into the buffet restaurant at lunch time barefooted and in swimwear, when there were notices posted asking passengers to cover up before approaching the food counters, for hygiene reasons. We also noticed passengers filling water bottles up from the chilled water stations, when notices were asking them not to. But then again it is up to the crew to enforce these things.
We paid £3,200 for this 2 week cruise, buying our drinks independently, as such we did not feel the cruise was value for money. Obviously people who paid considerable less will have a different perspective on things.
I would say Thomson Dream is a 2 star cruise ship.
All in all we did thoroughly enjoy our cruise, but this was more to do with the itinerary rather than the ship and Havana came up to and exceeded all expectations.