After going into dry dock for a fix up, refurbishment and two new thrusters, we saw a late booking price and took the plunge once again!
The ship has greatly improved. There is little to none smell of diesel when departing for port any more, and the Lido Restaurant (last year named the Andromeda) has been fixed. Thanks to on board water sanitisation tanks that were fitted, we also didn't miss any ports this year!
It's not only the ship that had improved. The crew were still amazingly friendly however not as intrusive as last year, and the bar service in restaurants has sped up significantly. There's also a brand new show team which I feel was better than last year's. One other thing to note is that our cases arrived in well under 2 hours of us embarking the ship, which is a huge improvement on last year. You might say I'm pointing out small details but that's because the ship was great last year anyway!
I'm sure you know - the Thomson Dream is famous for its crew. Always smiling, happy to help, talented and genuinely awesome people that really looked after us on our cruise. We would dine every night in the Orion restaurant on Deck 4 in the same area served by Hermie.
Our cabin steward Tulus surprised us each night with wonderful towel folding art, including an elephant, frog, dog, swan and love heart (on the last night of our cruise, no less!) and kept the cabin wonderfully clean.
The ports of call this year were good (Itinerary titled: Mediterranean Medley) with Pisa being the highlight thanks to an awesome tour guide. "Scenic Sete and the Thau Lagoon" excursion was a disappointment however. Good independent advice was given to us and detailed maps for Corsica, where we just walked to the beach, and Barcelona, where we had been last year and thus just walked up Las Ramblas.
Two tender ports was quite an excitement! They made up for it at Barcelona however by docking right next to the city, "World Trade Centre" so that we did not need a shuttle bus, and could walk straight into the city.
Food & Drink - There is no such thing as hunger on here. Dine in the Orion restaurant at night for amazing food and service with a smile. (Note, the buffet resturant on Deck 8 has had a name change "Andromeda Restaurant > Lido Restaurant". Sirens buffet for breakfast was preferable as its nice and quiet.
Excursions - Good, with the exception of Sete.
Entertainment - Amazing show team that improved on last year's shows. The highlight being the Queen show that included a large amount of acting, which was different and well done. And of course the unique crew show. Note, the theatre has had a name change "Atlante Theatre > Broadway Show Lounge".
Accommodation - We were above the Medusa Lounge which meant we could hear the music from below but to be honest we were so worn out each night from all the activities that we slept through it. Cabin was fantastic.
Overall, another brilliant cruise on board the Thomson Dream. We were first time cruisers on the Dream last year and we love it! We're even thinking of returning next year for the Winter 2012 season.
(Ports not listed in port view section)
Rapallo, Italy (for Genoa)
This was a changed port from the advertised excursion however only slightly so. A tender port it was exciting to go ashore on tenders. The excursion was Portofino & Santa Margarita by boat, which was lovely.
Two of us went on the excursion to Pisa which was fantastic, the guide was very informative and funny and the excursion was good value for money. The other went on the Star Bike tour which was also very good.
We had been on a good excursion last year (Aquarium and Par Guell) so this year we just explored Las Ramblas on our own, the the same / similar excursions were offered.
It was somewhat fun to see the three-cup-ball scam being played, to study the assistants in the background and then how smoothly they blend into the crowd once they ripped someone off or the police were headed their way. Lovely shops all around selling all sorts of things, and a very interesting street performer (the ones that stay still until you give them money) who was stuck in some wind and thus had a blown-back tie and jacket, gelled-back pointed hair and wind-blasted expression on his face. Classic!
A brilliant market was tucked away on the left at under half way up the street, which sold a huge variety of sweets, meat, fish, fruit etc. It makes the markets in England look boring!
It was a grey day which didn't help.