Not a good start, 2 hour delay owing to a fault with the aircraft at Manchester airport hence we arrived late so were unable to look around Barbados!!
CHECK IN: Bit like a rugby scrum, too many people trying to get on and off the ship at the same time. Entered the ship at deck 4, check in: deck 8!! The lifts are not good on the Dream so we walked up, not what you want after a 9 hour flight!! No welcoming drink! Far too many people so the personal service was awful!!
Luggage took about 3 hours to arrive in our cabin so we got to know the ship and enjoyed a glass of wine or two while we waited.
THE SHIP: Yes, she is old, yes she needs some tlc and updating badly.
THE CABIN: (6205) Kept spotlessly clean by Saleh our cabin steward. Enough space and wardrobe/drawers for what we needed. The bathroom, again spotlessly clean but dated. The shower was useless, either scalding hot or freezing cold, no happy medium!
THE RESTAURANTS: The food was very typical in the buffet restaurants and ok for breakfast and lunch. The Orion (Waiter service) for evening dinner was nice enough, again the food was very typical. We ate in The Grill on my husbands birthday, this is the one of the buffet restaurants converted to the al a carte. The food was nice (but nowhere near as good as Mistral's on the Celebration), the ambience none existent as when all said and done, it is the buffet restaurant. People wandered through most of the evening!!
THE ITINERARY: Barbados, as previously stated, only saw it on the way to the ship owing to delay in arriving. Grenada, loved it, very untouristy and typically Caribbean, friendly local people who didn't push you to buy anything. Aruba, pretty but arrived on a Sunday so everything was closed. Curacao, busy and very touristic. Jamaica, hard sell from locals.
We did not go on any of the trips as we felt they were very expensive and in our experience on other Thomson cruises, not good value for money. We prefer to do our thing when we get off the ship for a fraction of the cost!!
EVENING ENTERTAINMENT: I'm sorry I can't comment on this as we did not see any of it as it is not our thing, we prefer to have our evening meal later then find a quite area to have a drink.
DAYTIME ENTERTAINMENT: What we saw or heard was fairly typical, cocktail demonstration, lunchtime quiz, ice/fruit/vegetable carving.
THE STAFF: The captain is a strange one, telling a story every day that lasted about 15 minutes!!!! On the whole the bar/restaurant staff are friendly and polite, there will always be the odd one who needs some customer care training!!
The weather was gorgeous and we had a nice relaxing break (just what we needed) and we did on the whole enjoy our holiday but I feel that Thomson need to take on board the following comments:
* The ship badly needs to be updated throughout, she is very very tired. I realise that this will be very costly because she will need to be taken out of service but it is a must!!!
* Convert part of the ship into a separate a la carte restaurant, it is big enough!!! This could easily be done as part of the refurbishment programme! A £20 cover charge is far too much to pay to sit in a buffet restaurant with all lights blazing creating no ambience and people wandering through!
* The Cruise Director Stephen Guy needs to shadow Keith Maynard (from The Celebration), Stephen is cool, aloof and cannot be bothered to talk to anyone. If he spoke once a day, explaining the activities that is pushing it. Anyone who has been on the Celebration with Keith will know how informative, friendly and approachable he is.
* Ship at Sea day, it is impossible to get a sunbed and the towels on sunbed policy is not adhered to at all.
* The Dream does not seem to have the friendly feel of The Celebration, maybe this comes from the top down............mmmm, just a thought!!!
Would we go on the Dream again???? Yes I would, when it has had a re-fit. And just for your information, there was no sewer smells on the ship at any time during our week there.