We went on the Christmas Getaway sailing from Barbados. This was not a cheap option, but we chose it due to the excellent itinerary. The Thomson Dream is not as bad as I expected, but the holiday was let down by a number of factors, this was mainly the quality of the food, service and entertainment.
The good points first, the ports of call were fantastic and we arrived on tome every day and were not diverted or abandoned any ports. The check in process was fairly smooth and efficient, although we were delayed so I think this may well be why we did not experience any delays in checking in. The cabin was of a good size and clean and comfortable. The bathroom was pleasant and toiletries provided. The breakfast in Sirens was always well presented and hot as was lunch and afternoon tea.
The bad points, the entertainment was appalling, the main lounge had a group called French Melt, they were out of tune and the lead singer spoke broken English and sounded worse that a cat in agony. The Caribbean duo in the main lounge were good but sang exactly the same songs in the same order for 14 nights. In the Oceans Bar, the group were better but it was impossible to get a seat unless you missed meals and sat all night. The main show lounge did not live up to the normal Thomson standard, the shows were very boring and the performers appeared to be simply going through the motions. The guest acts were a joke, on a 2 week cruise they had 2 comedians, both as bad as each other. This was a disgrace on a special cruise. The food in the buffet restaurants was generally good, however, the selection available late at night was poor and the first week they served you everything and you felt a bit like Oliver Twist asking for some more. The main Orion restaurant was very poor in terms of quality of food and service. On New Years eve it took 30 minutes to get a drink, the staff were rude and unwilling to help. The food was very poorly described on the menus and often did not resemble the food you ordered. Steak was offered once in two weeks and it was more often pork or chicken, with a the over use of spinach. The size of the portions were what you would expect in an OAP home, not on a cruise ship, it was not like it was high quality food they were giving you!
I find it very difficult to believe that Thomson's do not enforce rules on their cruise ships, for example, on other cruise lines, under 18's have to be out of the public areas by a certain time, on this ship children as young as 4 or 5 were casing chaos in public areas after midnight.
On the days at sea it was a very boring experience, the day time activities were rubbish and every sun bed was reserved from the crack of dawn even if not used, no policy was apparent for resolving the reserving of sun beds, this must be looked at on a small ship with limited outside space.
The cabin had very poor air conditioning, I reported this to reception on 3 occasions and nothing was done about it, eventually they admitted a problem and gave us a complimentary bottle of cheap wine!
Watch your bill at the end of the cruise, they appeared to be giving people on board credit then taking it off in the second column of the bill, check it carefully before you leave the ship.