There were several other cruise lines I preferred to go on but there were no regional flights left as the Royal Caribbean's £99 offer had used them all. All that was left was a Thomson Cruise package. I had done my homework and read all of the reviews good and bad, and decided there were many more good, including the professional review - we booked.
Flights good, transfers good, all the staff warm, friendly and helpful, some times a bit cheeky and too friendly with customers. The cabin was clean and tidy and what we would expect of an inside cabin, having only traveled in an inside cabin on every cruise. There was a safe in every room but they wanted you to pay £15 pounds non-refundable to use it! Never known this on other ships.
The ship was old and tired, basic, no glitz or glamour, no atrium or central meeting area, pool areas old with tiles missing, some areas smelt of moth balls.
We never saw ship officers in any areas of the ship ensuring standards were kept, and in our opinion, the standard was sloppy and make do, especially for our muster on second day. We all had to take the old style tie-on life jackets with us, which were difficult to put on and dangerous to wear if on incorrectly and many were. One person was calling cabin numbers (and not names) for her section only, an officer's voice came over on the loud speaker, and then muster had finished. The majority of us never had our number called.
The most disappointing thing for us was the food. Many people loved the food with their plastic plates piled high. We on the other hand had difficulty selecting anything to eat.
Breakfast buffet was in two dining rooms (level 9 and 11) in which you had to queue, collect your plastic plate and cutlery and stand in line. First was cold meat and cheese (salami, sandwich ham, various luncheon meats, pre-packed various cheese slices), bread rolls, fresh fruit (melon and pineapple), selection of pastries (not freshly baked), porridge, hot milk, black pudding and fried breakfast selection, small selection of packet cereals, freshly cooked pancakes and syrup. Pineapple or orange juice. You could go to the main dining room (level 4) for a waiter service breakfast, but we never tried it.
Lunch Buffet was in the same rooms and so you had to queue with your plastic plates. Cold meats and cheese as above, bread rolls and crackers, 5-6 bowls of salad (peas, sweetcorn, olives, potatoe, coleslaw, runner bean/artichoke etc), rice, mash or fried potatoes, sometimes pasta in a sauce, gravy. Meat dishes were beef stew, liver and onions, cottage pie, chicken curry made with wings, lasagna, fried white fish, vegetable stew, turkey or chicken slices in gravy and small piece of roast meat carved. There was a pasta station where they will add things to their pre-made sauce from tomato, cheese bolognaise.
Dinner in restaurant 6 courses. Selection of 3 appetizers, 2 soups, 2/3 salads, main meat or fish course, dessert, coffee/tea. Good job there were 3 appetizers and 2 soups as it increased the choice. We tried to select 1 from this choice, my husband usually going for the soup. I tried a fish cake - small but ok, fruit salad - lettuce and rocket with one segment of mandarin, one segment of pink grapefruit and teaspoon of cottage cheese! The main course was basic meat or fish, with potatoes/rice, veg and gravy with a sauce. Nothing special.
Desserts - sorry for all those sweet-tooths- the desserts were awful. In the chill cabinet was an upturned jelly made in a bowl with a bit of swirly cream, or you could have an individual jelly. Fresh fruit salad made from what is left from breakfast, many small cakes with different names, but they're all made with thin sponge and layered with flavoured thickened gelatinized creams. Always a hot dessert - crumble and custard made with water (the fruit again is solid because of the gelatin), long grain rice pudding not made with milk but held together with a sweet sticky something. There was a sticky toffee pudding that tasted good (not sticky toffee pudding good).
Afternoon Tea how could I forget. Tiny sandwiches made from all of the leftover meat and cheeses, turkey, chicken and beef liquidized and bound with mayo, all prepared beautifully. Plain and fruit scones (not fresh) with canned whipped UHT cream. Tea and coffee and water available all of the time.
As you can tell we were really disappointed with the food however we enjoyed the holiday just because we love to cruise and all of the stops were amazing. We didn't pay to go on any of the shore excursions as we were happy to do our own thing having been to these places before.
Entertainment Thomson Dream have got a great troop of 5 women and 5 men calling themselves concerto. THEY WERE AMAZING IN OUR OPINION. They could all sing, dance and act. They put on a great show most nights, with a selection of modern songs, broadway, Moulin rouge, 80's schools out night and musicals. One night was a UK comedian who was also really good.
I don't mean to offend other cruisers. Many people loved this ship, some having only cruised with Thomson, or first time cruisers. This is only our opinion.