119 Barbados First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Have just returned from our first ever cruise, Eastern Caribbean on P & O Azura. Everthing was perfect from cabin, to food, to entertainment, to staff. Flew on Thomson dreamliner to Barbados, had to wait a while for bags to arrive ... Read More
Have just returned from our first ever cruise, Eastern Caribbean on P & O Azura. Everthing was perfect from cabin, to food, to entertainment, to staff. Flew on Thomson dreamliner to Barbados, had to wait a while for bags to arrive on board but when there are 3000 odd passengers, hey what do you expect. Ate with freedom dining in Peninsular Restaurant, superb food, breakfast, lunch & dinner. Buffet was also acceptable and plentiful. Cabin on deck 10 with balcony. spacious and very quiet, was able to totally relax Entertainment varied and to all tastes. Also used well equipped gym Staff always pleasant and friendly Islands called at varied and interesting (but would like to avoid Martinique again), didn't seem like caribbean island, more south of France port town! Azura is large but at certain times and locations you felt alone, quite strange with 3000+ passengers, everything was clean, absolutely perfect, well done P & O Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
THE GOOD Thomas Cooke gave us an excellent meal on both our flights, we are vegan. Cabin (G508) was adequate for sleeping, beds were comfortable, bathroom compact and bijou and balcony superb for drying swimwear. The launderettes ... Read More
THE GOOD Thomas Cooke gave us an excellent meal on both our flights, we are vegan. Cabin (G508) was adequate for sleeping, beds were comfortable, bathroom compact and bijou and balcony superb for drying swimwear. The launderettes are a marvel and if you do your laundry in the early afternoon nobody is around. On board security is some of the best I have seen with facial recognition scans in place Our Steward was MAHENDRA and he was absolutely brilliant, we had clean everything every day, toiletries were all topped up daily. He made us laugh and helped make our holiday. SIDNEY and ANTONIO in the Meridian Restaurant were excellent and deserve a special mention. We had a splendid rapport going with them and all the Meridian staff. The lifts were not a problem you always eat far too much anyway, so some exercise is good for you therefore we always used the stairs. JULIAN SMITH. The man is a marvel, and not to be missed. I don't like the saxophone and I had no idea who he was, I don't live in the UK, but he was fantastic and I am now a card carrying fan, I bought all of his albums and he made my long 48 hour journey home a lot more bearable. MANUEL MARTINEZ. I'm not fond of magicians and I'd never heard of him but he was hysterical, the magic was basic but the delivery was first class, a very very funny act. Another must-see. The Fly-Rights were the only people to actually achieve audience participation, they were very good. The Studio showed some good films. The tender was really fast and we were ashore within 5 minutes, no waiting either end, brilliant. THE BAD After a 9 hour very turbulent flight we were herded into a large shed with no air conditioning. Embarcation took over an hour. My luggage did not arrive until gone 11pm. On our second day out one of the pools was drained to half way to 'accommodate those who cannot swim', (or so I was told when I asked reception) this pool was hardly used because people thought it was broken or being drained to clear the seepages from the nappies. Britannia has 3 pools all 15' x 30', hardly sufficient for 3,500 people. With a sign that states that only 24 may use the pool at any one time!!!!! We are both vegan and I told P & O this upon booking, still the only thing we were served on our first night was chips and a salad. Our second night was rice and noodles and our third noodles and rice. After complaining loudly I was introduced to Vani, a Head Waiteress who did not know what a vegan was until she googled it, and then after that the meals improved vastly. It was pointed out to me that the chef himself was a vegan!!! I have developed a taste for indian food that will remain. The spa is grossly over priced and the girls were always loitering, looking to drum up trade. THE UGLY People reserved sun loungers despite being asked not to, I swam everyday at 6am, and on the 3 at sea days people were there ready with their towels even before I arrived! They even got their own sun-loungers in place. Children in nappies were in the pools with the expected seepages, again nobody is there to say anything. Large inflatables made swimming in that pool impossible. There was a large group of about 20 who were loud obnoxious and used foul language all the time, they left food all over the place, split their drinks and even changed a nappy on the table, leaving it on the floor under the lounger, and whilst one picked the spots on anothers back, a third picked her peel and washed it off in the water!! When we were 'mustering' the lad who was supposed to be telling what to do in the event of an emergency, laughed and spluttered the whole way through his talk. Unacceptable. People were using the Horizon Buffet dressed only in bikinis/swimsuits with bare feet, no hand washing/sanitizing at all, but then there was no-one to tell you otherwise. Britannia is a lovely ship, with delightful, helpful ever-attentive crew. Unfortunately she is less like the 5 star Pride of the Fleet that was advertised, and very much more an enormous floating Butlins. Come on P & O you will have to do a lot better if you want to retain your good name. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Was a bit worried after reading a lot of the bad reviews on here and never been on a cruise before. However need not of worried had a fantastic holiday and this ship was amazing. Had a balcony canit which was great always cleaned to a ... Read More
Was a bit worried after reading a lot of the bad reviews on here and never been on a cruise before. However need not of worried had a fantastic holiday and this ship was amazing. Had a balcony canit which was great always cleaned to a very high standard. Yes the balcony is a little small but who cares. Food was excellent especially sindhu. Great shows in the theatre and never had any issues finding a seat. We were at the back of the ship and never had any issues with the lifts. Enjoyed all ports of call especially grand cayman and at marteen. Done some fantastic trips including the dunns river falls in Jamaica. Travelled with my partner who has been on other p&o ships and he also could not fault the Brittania. Please go with an open mind and ignore all of the negative reveiws. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I took an incredible first cruise from Basal, Switzerland to Amsterdam on the Viking Sun. It was a first class experience from the minute we stepped on to the ship until the morning that we left. Each included excursion ... Read More
My husband and I took an incredible first cruise from Basal, Switzerland to Amsterdam on the Viking Sun. It was a first class experience from the minute we stepped on to the ship until the morning that we left. Each included excursion was lead by knowledgable and personable guides. The extra excursion we chose was through a winter palace and hunting lodge and was equally well done. We can't praise all of the staff enough to do them justice. The captain was as friendly as all of his crew. We realize we were very lucky to have spectacular weather, but nothing will ever replace our memory of our morning of cruising past the castles on the Rhine. Thank you, Viking. We look forward to our next journey with you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
In the early stages of our cruise, we had a significant change of port time ashore in both Stornoway and Torshavn. The full day in each of Stornoway and Torshavn was reduced to just half a day and that was done without any on-board ... Read More
In the early stages of our cruise, we had a significant change of port time ashore in both Stornoway and Torshavn. The full day in each of Stornoway and Torshavn was reduced to just half a day and that was done without any on-board communication or more importantly, any explanation being offered. Whilst we understand that CMV need to get paying tour guests ashore quickly when at anchor (Stornoway), we think that the maximum number of tenders should be deployed in the early stages, until all passengers who want to go ashore are landed - then the number of tenders can be dropped back later on. We lost over an hour of our reduced time in Stornoway (seeing only 2 of 4 tenders in operation and that from a distant anchorage) and then we were asked back early too, which frankly rankled and made us feel "2nd Class". The lack of awareness and communication on-board by the cruise management team exacerbated the frustration felt widely on board. On a bridge visit, the Captain confirmed that he had not altered the port times in both Stornoway and Torshavn for any on-board operational or weather reasons. We lost confidence and our sense of relaxation early in the cruise about the rest of the itinerary being the one that was sold to us. It took time before that sense of being on a carefree holiday returned. Fantastic front line staff; excellent, courteous and friendly service. We liked the smaller ship and the friendly atmosphere on board and the itinerary proposed and sold to us. Conditions allowing MV Azores to get into Heimaey in the Westman Islands and docking in the tiny port, was the highlight of the cruise for us and an impressive bit of pilotage and ship handling, to squeeze in and come out again (unusually stern first all the way). I have posted a link below to the photos for the day at Heimaey: https://plus.google.com/photos/109375469948758953851/albums/6159112519882751617 The "middle management" on board was, regrettably, not of the standard set by the front line staff. We had to enquire and chase up several times, the Arctic Circle "crossing the line" certificates. In the end, we had to take a certificate out of a cardboard box and fill it in ourselves on the last day of the cruise! The Arctic Circle crossing was never announced or made anything of - a missed opportunity. The food standard was generally very high and we certainly ate our fill! A small matter of running out of butter and orange juice before the cruise ended, but we survived! The organisation of the hot and cold drinks together in the Lotus Grill needs re-engineering, as the existing poor layout caused constant "traffic jams", especially at breakfast on arrival days. We found 7 days of port arrivals in a row, pretty tiring. We would have paid more for a cruise where the ship stayed two days at both Akureyri (Capital of the North of Iceland) and Reykjavik (the actual capital). There is so much to do in both places, that one day wasn't enough and it would have been nice to have two days where a return to the ship had no pressure of missing a sailing time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
the crew hospitality were excellent. I want to give big thanks to Mel and his team (name to long so Mel for short)for the excellent job there done in the room***** (big thanks Mel). The dining staff great people Rey, James, Alann and ... Read More
the crew hospitality were excellent. I want to give big thanks to Mel and his team (name to long so Mel for short)for the excellent job there done in the room***** (big thanks Mel). The dining staff great people Rey, James, Alann and Ruffeno and team ***** great set of people lovely personalities. Now to the cruised director Mr Fillippa (now sure if its the right spelling) but that man is the correct man for the job lol I will talk about him for years to come. Good job wow whooo lol. Now to the ship activities, lilo deck and all other things. I'll give it all 5 star. great set of people I will be back if the lord spear life fa sure. It was my first cruise and I love every day of it Woo Whoo. To the Capt thanks for a safe and fabulous sail. I enjoyed the food,activities and the crew. Great service Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my first cruise and I had a blast. We embarked from Barbados, the process was smooth and easy. The atmosphere from the port was upbeat. We got name tags and were sent on our way to the cruise ship. Being my first cruise the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I had a blast. We embarked from Barbados, the process was smooth and easy. The atmosphere from the port was upbeat. We got name tags and were sent on our way to the cruise ship. Being my first cruise the ship was beautiful so I cannot compare. After receiving our fun card, we traveled to our cabin; the lift, the lighting and ambience just oozed fun. People we calling our names and saying hi (at first I thought wow psychics, then I realized they were seeing my name tag lol). The cabin loooooovely, comfy and homey. It was a balcony and that made it even more pleasurable, despite us hardly being in it. The bath was adequate for us. The different towel creations were a joy to come "home" to each night. The service provided by our stewards was excellent. They were friendly and being fun loving people we enjoyed our daily meetings. Our waiter for the evening Guillermo was friendly and helpful, even though we only dined once, we would always look for him to say hi. I commend all of the cruise ship workers on their ability to remain being hospitable because they work really hard Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the first time I have been on a cruise, I boarded the ship in Barbados after a 4 night holiday there, I was a little bit apprehensive to do a cruise as I was travelling on my own as no one wanted to come with me, I don't no ... Read More
This was the first time I have been on a cruise, I boarded the ship in Barbados after a 4 night holiday there, I was a little bit apprehensive to do a cruise as I was travelling on my own as no one wanted to come with me, I don't no what I was worried about the whole experience from start to finish was incredible I only wish I had booked a longer cruise, I don't no how the cruise company put these holidays together every thing just seemed to flow effortlessly there was no queuing for anything my room was immediately available as soon as I entered the ship. the room was spacious plenty of room for all your clothes the room was very clean it was cleaned 2 times a day with clean towels and bed turned back in the evening with chocolates laid on the bed in the evening, there were plenty of restaurants to chose from so something for everyone, the main dinning in the evening was amazing I choose anytime dining plan and opted to sit at tables with other quests which was really nice to meet other people from different counties, the food menu was amazing something different every night the staff were amazing nothing was to much trouble they work incredibly hard, not only the restaurant staff but the staff in general all over the ship. There were many types of different entertainment going on and again something for everyone. I was worried about being bored and not having much to do on a ship how wrong was I, There was an extensive range of shore excursions I went on a different excursion every day , the ship stopped at a different country every day so there is no way you could be bored we only had 1 day at see and I bought a ticket for the "behind the scene's " we were split into 2 groups and got to see the every day workings of the ship this was very enjoyable and very interesting insight as to how much hard work goes on behind the scenes just to make our holiday more enjoyable, (spare a thought for the workers in the kitchens and the laundry rooms it's so very very hot down there) at the end we got to meet the captain on the bridge, which was something like out of star trek so many lights, buttons, clocks and dials were we had our photo taken with the captain , when I returned to my room the group photo was on my bed with a complimentary tray of cup cakes and chocolate covered strawberries and a goodie bag, later that afternoon I went to the spa. Last of all dis-embarkment I didn't want to get off in fact I could have done with a week at a hotel resort because I was exhausted from every thing I'd participated in. I am now a cruiser for life all my family now want to go on a cruise and I am now looking to book a cruise for next year. Last but not least I booked my holiday with Virgin and as usually !st class service as always with Virgin from the booking staff to cabin crew thank you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I have just returned from our two week Caribbean cruise on the Celebration. This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. We paid a lot of money for a deluxe cabin on deck 9, all inclusive with the ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our two week Caribbean cruise on the Celebration. This was our first cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. We paid a lot of money for a deluxe cabin on deck 9, all inclusive with the drinks package, etc, but we never really felt we got value for money. The ship is rather dated now and the decor a little run down, despite having been revamped recently. The food and drink were plentiful but at the same time rather plain. The staff were friendly and very helpful. We visited some great places and went on some great tours and enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing the whole cruise thing. People we met on board who have been cruising with Thomson for 15 years said that each year they had noticed a little erosion of standards, as Thomson try to appeal to the package holiday crowd. Most of the people we met were pleasant but there were a couple of large groups who were loud, raucous and didn't seem to care much about how they were affecting those around them. Usually to be found in the bars, the men were shaven headed with pot-bellies and lots of tattoos (sometimes on their necks and faces) while their wives looked like bulldogs chewing wasps while managing to hold a fag in their mouths. They would shout across to each other during shows in the Hollywood Show Lounge and run around shouting in the Meridian Restaurant while we were trying to have a nice meal. The only places I did not see them was at the Captain's Gala Reception (would have meant dressing up) or in the Browsers Corner - the ship's library - books presumably being to them what kryptonite is to Superman. Being on an all inclusive package I was not happy at having to pay for bottled water; despite the brochure saying that wifi is available in public areas (it is) it didn't say that this had to be paid for - and very expensive it was too for those that really needed to use it. These things we expect as standard these days. Most of us waited until we docked and would find a cafe with free wifi or hoped we would berth alongside one of the Costa ships which were flooded with free wifi which reached our cabin. Also there is a new coffee shop on deck 5 which for some reason is not included in the all inclusive package. All in all a nice introduction to cruising, but if we ever decide to do another one it will be with P & O or Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was out first cruise and we choose P&O because it had been recommended for the service and overall package for the price and that they target UK passengers We choose and inside cabin (as we didn't want to spend a fortune to ... Read More
This was out first cruise and we choose P&O because it had been recommended for the service and overall package for the price and that they target UK passengers We choose and inside cabin (as we didn't want to spend a fortune to fine we didn't like it). This was fine and we had all we needed (a safe, ample storage, kettle etc.). The shower room was very small but we were expecting that. The communal areas were all due for a refit and it was plainly needed as carpets etc. were very worn and faded, but overall the standard was fine. Food was plentiful and service was excellent at our main meal in the Oriental restaurant and our waiters could not be faulted. However, we booked a meal in Seventeen, the "fine dining restaurant" and couldn't have been more disappointed with the service and food. This has an additional cover charge of £28 each, so it should have been outstanding but it was completely substandard. We ended up leaving part way through the meal due to a number of issues. We reported this to the manager on site and reception. Reception asked the Restaurant manager to speak to us and he said he was ashamed at the number of issues he raised and would investigation and come back to us within two days. We asked at reception after not hearing anything for five days, and then I wrote a letter to the Captain on our last day on board. I has a call from Claire, the Customer Services Manager who said she would ask the Food and Beverage Manager to contact us ...... guess what? Yes we are still waiting ...... Terrible service and even worse response to it. It really tarnished the whole cruise for us. Other "moans" - do not go near the buffet areas unless you like fighting for food! It's full od old rude people who do not respect anyone's space. I though the English were supposed to queue, well not on P&O. Also if you fancy being a part of the basking seal brigade then you have to get up early for a sunbed!! Not for me thank you - rows of frying sausages all next to each other. There was no space around the sun beds at all. Also entertainment was a mixed bag. Some good acts like Tom O'Conner, who was actually brilliant, and some poor acts, one even being sacked (a drunk juggler who dropped everything). The Headliners act tried their best but my daughters school performances were as good! The films were old and repeated constantly, the games and quizzes were not great and the dance instructors were fine if you were old and liked being shouted at!!! Shops on board had a poor selection of overpriced non-luxury "luxury" goods. Drinks were not included, nor was there a drinks package. We did not like this as we always book all inclusive so we know we won't have to worry about a bill at the end All in all if you like your own company and can amuse yourself and are not a keen sun worshiper then you'll be fine on this cruise. We made the best of it. Credit where credit is due the embarkation process was excellent, however you did need to leave your cabin exceptionally early on the day of leaving and we had a later flight. We did like the fact that most days we were in a new place to explore so may cruise again just for this, but it will not be on P&O. We understand that mistakes can happen, but we do not appreciate the lack on response to addressing them. I hope this helps and first time cruisers. Basically do not waste your money on any of the extras. A lot of people that have been on P&O before were complaining that every time they go there is something else they need to pay for, such as wine with dinner, ice creams etc. There are no wine waiters now either.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just returned from a week on The Celebration. As we were unsure for many years about cruising, we chose The Celebration as it was smaller than a lot of the cruise liners and trusted the Thomson name. We were not disappointed. From ... Read More
We have just returned from a week on The Celebration. As we were unsure for many years about cruising, we chose The Celebration as it was smaller than a lot of the cruise liners and trusted the Thomson name. We were not disappointed. From booking to the end of our cruise it was all so easy and effortless. We upgraded to a deluxe cabin on Deck 6 and chose to pre book our cabin to avoid a life boat or gantry obstruction. We also bought the drinks package and that worked out fine as we found ourselves not worrying about how many cocktails we had and the costs ! We pre booked some excursions through Thomson which were fine.. Also took advise from other reviews about an excursion of St Kitts with a company called Royston's Tours ! What a good decision. He was a very nice chap took us all over his island, provided lunch, drinks and overextended our tour by three hours !! but always mindful of return time to ship. $45US each. Bargain ! check him out on the internet. No payment until the end of the tour either. On board we ate in the Lido self service restaurant as it suited us better. Other options are there if you want waiter service or pay a supplement for separate a La carte restaurants. The Lido was absolutely fine for us. Food was very nice, well presented and lots of choice. We chose to sit out on deck after dinner in the evening as it was so warm and relaxing. But there are many options for entertainment: Broadway show Lounge with nightly shows, Liberties for quizzes, bands and nightclub later on. Horizons on the upper deck for more intimate singers etc. Enjoyed the early morning island arrivals where we would get up and go straight to the bow to watch us docking. We will definitely cruise again especially with Thomson. Many other passengers who sailed with us commented that the really big hotel ships, while having the top name in luxury, didn't allow for seeing the same person twice ! We met many people and got chatting on board which had such a nice friendly informal atmosphere it also extended to the lovely staff without exception. Happy chatty friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. Well Done Thomson !!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
The cruise ship was dirty including a persisting smell of sewage on the 7th deck which we reported to the staff but was ignored, the fact that they were aware of this and did nothing has been admitted to us since the cruise. The overall ... Read More
The cruise ship was dirty including a persisting smell of sewage on the 7th deck which we reported to the staff but was ignored, the fact that they were aware of this and did nothing has been admitted to us since the cruise. The overall ship was dirty also. Hardly surprising then that there was a breakout of norovirus which I unfortunately contracted. Thus started my hell of quarantine in my cabin. Serviced daily by specialist cleaners humorously named "The hit squad" they could not speak English and ordered me around my cabin like cattle. I was provided the wrong room service menu while I was not allowed to leave my cabin and when I called up to make my order was told off for trying to order things I was not allowed. All inclusive cruise until you fall ill in which case if you want drinking water you better be prepared to pay. Charging ill people for clean water doesn't exactly scream luxury cruise to me. Plane changed for our return so we did not get the premium economy we had paid for so my husband who was still recovering from a stroke was forced to crowd into the regular seating, asked to speak with their representative in the airport, call went out no one ever turned up. Entered their complaints process on return, late with every single reply on their own timeline and all we ever received was an offer of a discount off our next cruise, but only if it was used within the next year. ABTA no help at all, left with the choice of expensive court action or cutting our losses. If your idea of a luxury cruise is a week of quarantine while you are treated like it is your fault, this is the cruise for you, otherwise I would recommend avoiding entirely. First and last cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount ... Read More
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount of legroom. I assume long haul flights always have personal tv's for entertainment? On arrival in the port in Barbados we were amazed by the cheerfulness of the security staff and those dealing with our ID cards, I asked the guy dealing with mine if I should smile for my photo and he said "Oh yes SMILE, it's good to smile"!. I fully agree with the continuous use of anti bacterial hand gel used before you step on board and in all the dining rooms, such a pity many people ignore it. I wish airlines would use it too! We found our way (eventually) to our cabin (C422) and were very pleasantly surprised with our large balcony whilst below us had half the size and the ones above were even smaller, their cabins were probably much bigger but we had ample space so were very happy!! The rooms are kept immaculately clean by the stewards, mostly boys who do an amazing job and work extremely hard 7 days a week, rooms are serviced twice a day and it's a lovely gesture to find little squares of chocolate on your bed at night. Towels are changed each day and personal flannels are replaced morning and night. Tea, coffee, biscuits etc replenished twice daily. We had a set table in the Bay Tree Restaurant. The menu wasn't particularly amazing but it was better not to have too much to choose from and the food was beautifully presented and very filling. Wine was very reasonably priced as was most of the drinks on board. The waiters were extremely efficient and very pleasant and I cannot fault the service in any way. Entertainment wasn't really to our taste but this is not a criticism. We read a review about sunbeds but although there wasn't supposed to be a shortage, on days at sea we couldn't find two together and it was very much 'sardines in a can', this part of the cruise we didn't like, also there were no sunshades with the sunbeds. We booked a trip for each island we stopped at as we didn't want to just wander aimlessly, each trip also gave us free time to look around the shops in the ports. It was really good to arrive in a different place (nearly) every day. Regarding tipping, we opted out of the compulsory tip charge because we wanted to know EXACTLY where our money was going. Ask at reception for a form if you wish to opt out. We always tip generously, but like to tip those we choose to tip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We're quite a young couple for cruises (24 and 28), but when an opportunity comes to see the Caribbean, we just couldn't say no! First of all, we were told there will be a balanced mix of passengers of different age. Well, yes, ... Read More
We're quite a young couple for cruises (24 and 28), but when an opportunity comes to see the Caribbean, we just couldn't say no! First of all, we were told there will be a balanced mix of passengers of different age. Well, yes, if you take the ages 50-80 ;). However, it completely doesn't matter, as we had the time of our life anyway! We are generally quite withdrawn, but the atmosphere on the Dream was so friendly that there was no way not to make some acquaintances. After all, cruises give a great opportunity to meet different people and hear their story. As to the ship, it's fabulous. I saw some reviews complaining that this or that is dated, and yes, the bathrooms have probably seen 80's and I've never seen anybody actually catching a lift, but I loved it. It has this old elegant charm and elegance about that I wouldn't change for anything modern. We booked the cheapest inside cabin and didn't even choose any particular one. On the arrival we found out we got a spacious cabin on deck 9, close to restaurant and with a window offering a lovely unobstructed view of the deck and sea! Now I'm not sure if all the cheapest cabins were taken or do we owe it to it being our honeymoon. Either way, we were over the moon. Also, due to our honeymoon/anniversary, a girl of heavenly voice sang for us in the Grill restaurant, which brought a tear to my eye. If that wasn't enough, the amazing band 'The Peakles' plaid 'Lady in red' specially for us in the Medusa. Unforgettable! The food. It was plentiful, fresh, tasty, in any of the restaurants on the ship. I find it funny that people praise Orion and slight the Lido, as they pretty much served the same food, the difference being that in Orion you had to choose one of each courses and in Lido you could stuff yourself with everything if you were indecisive (not saying we did ;). Perhaps it was not Michelin dining, but it was always very tasty and available pretty much 24/7. The service was outstanding, as everybody will agree. I'm rather unsociable and they even made me smile all the time and say hello to every person who passed me. For the ladies, if you have enough hair to play with, I compel you to go to the Oceans beauty salon and get Maja to do your Captain's Gala hairdo. Mine was mind blowing! Best ever thing I had done on my head. I would be very careful with the make up there though. Make sure you are given a mirror and check as you go along or you might end up with a look a' la Russian beauty pageant '87 ;). Finally, destinations. Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, Dominica, St. Bart's, St. Vincent. All absolutely stunning, each in a very different way! Some would not be worth staying for a long holiday unless you just like to frazzle, but that only makes the cruise so absolutely amazing. If I made it sound all too sweet, don't think I'm so easy pleased! The flight attendants on Thomson flight to Barbados were terribly lazy and you would wait eternity for someone to bring you water, let alone food. That, however, ends when you get off the plane. Also, be careful with money. Lots of overpriced services and shops on the Dream. You'll be better off doing shopping in Barbados airport or any other duty free. As to Thomson shore excursions, they ARE extortion overall, but sometimes they offer things you won't be able to get on shore (like catamaran cruise). If you want to see the dolphins in Tortola, book directly. We did Thomson excursion on our last day, to go see the green turtles. We had a lovely time on a shabby barge, with lots of drinks and rum punch and we even stopped on way back for a splash on a beautiful beach. That came out way too long, but I just had to share! Everybody should do this and enjoy every moment! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I booked our first ever cruise on the Thomson Dream, flying to Barbados and boarding the ship at the port in Barbados. After reading some negative reviews prior to this trip, I had one or two concerns before boarding. I.E. ... Read More
My wife and I booked our first ever cruise on the Thomson Dream, flying to Barbados and boarding the ship at the port in Barbados. After reading some negative reviews prior to this trip, I had one or two concerns before boarding. I.E. Cabin size, food and ship hygene. We had booked cabin 6087 which is an inside cabin on deck 6. The cabin was quite small, but the design has used the space to a premium. There was an adequate wardrobe, a four drawer unit, two bedside cabinets. There was a two seater sofa and table. There was another mirrored unit which hosted a kettle, two cups and coffee, tea etc. and a wall hung television. The double bed was really comfy and there was a small toilet/shower compartment that did the job. All in all the cabin more than met our needs. Although there was no window, I didn't see the point of paying a lot more for this when the ship sailed at night, therefore nothing to see and every other day we were disembarking the ship at different ports from approx 8.00am till 5.30pm. The cabin was spotless and maintained the same standard throughout the cruise, thanks to Andre, our young charming Philipino cabin steward. Most of the the crew are Philipino, who are the most friendly and courteous people I have ever met. Always smiling, like a joke or two, and nothing is too much trouble Any concerns about the standard of food was soon dispersed. Breakfast, lunch and evening meal had a great variety of food. I especially recommend the Orion restaurant for the evening meal. Waiter service, six courses of deliciously prepared food and the menu was changed every day. Never once was it repeated during the 14day cruise. The evening shows were excellent and very professional, but the highlight was the once a week crew talent show. Not to be missed. Tips:- Do not take the drinks package, not worth it. Dont buy the cruise ship excursions, grossly overpriced and can be bought at a fraction of the price at each port terminal.. To Summarise, The whole trip surpassed my expectations, hard to find any faults, and although the Dream is an old ship and one of the smaller Caribbean cruise ships, I would recommend it to anyone. Well done Thomsons, Good job.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just back from a week onboard the Royal Clipper, a 5 masted square rigged sailing ship [ apparently the largest in the world ]. It was an amazing experience to be on deck when the sails were unfurled each evening to the background sound of ... Read More
Just back from a week onboard the Royal Clipper, a 5 masted square rigged sailing ship [ apparently the largest in the world ]. It was an amazing experience to be on deck when the sails were unfurled each evening to the background sound of stirring classical music. The cabin, one of only 2 at deck level, a the stern end was very well appointed, all wood veneer pannelling and a huge bed. Although it was a bit of a tight squeeze and access to the bed was from one side only, so night time ventures to the loo involved clambering to the end of the bed to try and not disturb my good lady. The bathroom was quite large and well appointed with a big jacuzzi bath, a smaller bathroom and larger cabin might have worked better. Lots of soaps and lotions provided and a good sized cabinet for all our bathroom bits and bobs. The cabin had plenty of storage space for clothes and suitcases [ placed under the bed ], and access was from the deck so people would walk by throughout the trip, but we soon got used to this and it was nice to have the privacy of a cabin away from all the other accomodation. Cabin No.315. The food was excellent and the service first class, seating was as youplease so you get to meet different folks every meal if you choose. It was a very eclectic mix of passengers, Usa, Brits, Canadians, German and French made up the majority of the 220 onboard. A nice mix and most seemed friendly and happy to socialise. One thing to note, this is a sailing vessel NOT a mega liner so it moves about quite a bit. So if you suffer from sea sickness come prepared, my wife suffered quite a lot because of it, and we noticed that a few passengers had sea sickness patches on, worth considering. This was evident on the first night when our room steward raised a panel at the side of the bed to help prevent us falling out during the night. The voyage itself was great because, as this is a smaller vessel, it can get into places where the large vessels can't venture. Such as Ille Des Saintes a beautifull tiny French island. Apart from mooring at Martinique all other stops involve using the small tenders to get to and from the shore, these were well organised and seemed to run all day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and ... Read More
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and decided the large ships aren't our favorite. Vacation for us means getting away from it all and we just had the feeling on the big ship we were taking it all along with us. We had cruised on the late lamented Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and had a marvelous time but they departed the scene alas and we're a bit older than once we were. So when the combination of the destination (Barbados) and trying out an upscale cruise experience (my wife loves the idea of having a balcony as a refuge, a place to read, relax and get completely away from it all) presented itself with Silversea line's Silver Spirits cruise #5401, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, we jumped on. So to speak. It had the added advantage of happening in January, raising some concerns about the possibilities of weather interfering with travel, raising costs at the far end of the cruise (we stayed a week in Barbados after our cruise) but allowing us the chance to see it all during high season. Much of our previous travel to the region has been just outside high season, generally in mid-April including sailing around the BVI with a friend in his 35 foot sailboat, a Sabreliner. We looked over cruise lines, were highly intrigued by several especially Star Clippers, loved by friends of ours, and of course Seabourne. We had a fantastic vacation in French Polynesia a few years ago and realized after the fact that probably the best way to do that for the very first time would be to book on the Paul Gauguin, a gorgeous ship (we saw it a couple times on our trip there) and given that airfare is included a terrific way to see multiple islands in addition to experiencing the marvelous experience that ship offers. So when we came across Silver Spirit's itinerary and learned more about the ship itself, we were hooked. We flew out to Ft Lauderdale a couple days early just in case - the polar incursion that pretty much crippled transportation throughout the NE USA made that precaution seem quite a good choice; a number of passengers were delayed, some joining us in Puerto Rico on the third day into the cruise, others i presume not making it at all. Having time on our hands we spent a very pleasant day visiting Ft Lauderdale's fine art museum which happily had three exhibits up, each quite different from the other two, all of very high quality. We went down and strolled along the riverfront park area and wound up watching my alma mater's basketball team play (and happily win) a game at a sports bar quite near our at the port hotel which served excellent fresh fish as well. We took a cab over to the port on launching day - January 6th - and were very pleased with the process. There was little in the way of lines the ship's capacity being just over 500 passengers and the weather, as mentioned, having intervened even with that number. (i do believe we reached at or near 500 by the time we departed Puerto Rico so it wound up being a good test of the Silver Spirit experience.) We checked in and went to our suite (as the cabins are referred to) where we met our "butler" (seems to be what stewards are called on this line and perhaps others, i wouldn't know about that) - Rowena - and Larry who would be cleaning and tidying the suite throughout the cruise. They were very personable, very welcoming, quite professional. Rowena showed us around. Larry - who seems always to be smiling happily - was smiling happily and made us feel quite at home. The suite was beautiful. Lots of wood, mirrors in both the bed and sitting areas with television pictures as rectangles "embedded" in the center of each, a desk, writing desk and lots of cabinet space in the sitting room and of course the teak veranda/balcony beyond that. The bathroom was on our left in the narrow hallway as we entered and beyond it the walk in closest with lots of space, hangers and the room safe atop a chest of drawers at the far end. Plenty of room for the clothing we brought along - and we had three suitcases given the nine night cruise and our planned week-long stay afterwards on the island. i know, over-packing, but we hadn't been quite this way before and when all is said and done i prefer to work a bit harder getting somewhere than to find i have prepared inadequately for the bulk of my time. i figure i'll learn to conserve before we do this next time. We preferred to do our own unpacking - perhaps a mistake as i could take some lessons from Rowena who packs and unpacks on a professional basis - more on that later - but it's not much to do it oneself. We stowed two of the cases at the very back of the closet - lots of room; Rowena wound up putting the third simply under the bed, an easier solution. Having a bit of time we set off to explore our floating home for a bit before the required safety drill - attendance is taken - and departure from port which we watched from the deck off the Italian restaurant - La Terrazza - where we met a couple of passengers from Ireland in the process, mother and daughter, who quickly became our friends (and added to the family feel of our trip when we would run into them and join with them for a meal or a walkabout in one port or another). Okay, hint #1: at this time passengers have the opportunity to go to i think it was the Stars supper club (deck 7) to make dinner reservations at the various restaurants. The hint is do it as some of the restaurants are smaller and more intimate and if you don't make your reservation right at the start you might not get in. This is especially true for the line's well-advertised Le Champagne restaurant which holds about 20 people. By the time we thought to try to go there, we could only get on the waiting list and never did make it in. (Although some with whom we spoke were not all that impressed with it so we didn't worry too much about that.) Restaurants: there are several - we did not make it into all but next cruise we would try to do so. Le Champagne - deck 4 - intimate, highly advertised by the Italian cruise line, an elegant approach; there is a surcharge involved to eat here. Seishin - also deck 4 - also a surcharge to eat here. We did so twice. There are three options for dinner, each beginning with an amuse buche followed by a marvelous sashimi and sushi plate, the sushi chef located in the middle of the space preparing this, the tables - 7 or 8 iirc - around the edges of the room. At lunch there is the option of getting a bento (boxed) lunch; at dinner there are two three course meals dinners at a surcharge of $20 as well as a full 9 course degustation meal at a $30 surcharge. We tried both versions, the 9 course our first visit and the 3 course meals our second visit. We had marvelous service from MaryAnn assisted by Sharlotte and, our second visit, when i asked to have the first three-course menu but substitute the main course from the second MaryAnn just smiled and assured us it would be no problem at all. Nor was it. We very much liked this restaurant. The main restaurant is, naturally, called The Restaurant. It too is located on deck 4 (the aforementioned two flanking the entrance to the Restaurant.) We found this one good; not great, but quite satisfactory. We have some food restrictions - one of the joys brought by advancing years - which limited us just a bit in our selection but service was excellent, the surroundings fine - think upscale restaurant 'most anywhere, and the food good. We enjoyed it - but chose other options for the rest of the cruise rather than repeat this one. The aforementioned La Terrazza - being the Italian venue on an Italian-run ship - was quite good. Indoor seating is good and there is also the option of outdoor seating, delightful at breakfast and lunch. Starting with dinner, i found the pasta quite good; our new friend and fellow passenger Art said the lamb rack was outstanding. The wine selection was okay - and they were quite happy to offer an alternate selection such as the Bordeaux i preferred to the offered Burgundy. They would have been happier still to provide one of the for-purchase selections the prices of which were in the range of "if you have to ask the price, don't bother with these." We demurred and did just fine with the included selection, my wife especially appreciating the whites while i explored the reds. For breakfast and lunch, the buffets in the La Terrazza venue were marvelous. Can't think of anything they might have done to have made them more appealing to us. Our Irish friends took the culinary tour offered on board and came away very impressed that they prepare all of the bread and pasta offerings from scratch every day, even the bread sticks. They certainly succeeded with those and most passengers we got to know wound up eating breakfast and lunch at La Terrazza. The Show Lounge - deck 5 - served smaller platters and our friends Art and Cindy just loved it. We planned to make it but never did; we will do so on our next cruise on this line because of the raves about it. There was entertainment - and we simply opted for a quieter dinner experience this voyage. The experience that i loved was Hot Rocks. You need reservations though there is no additional surcharge. This is on the pool deck - deck 9 - at the Pool Grill area (there is also a pool bar of course) or at tables on deck 10 which overlooks the pool at The Grill. Hot Rocks is called that for the obvious reason: you order a steak or the huge (and delectable) shrimp or a combination of both and your server brings your entrée to you already cooking - searing - on a lava stone that has been pre- and slowly-heated to 900 degrees. The stone is about three inches thick and perhaps 12 inches square. The server places the stone on its platter in front of you leaving room for your dinner plate between it and you and then turns the meat over so it starts cooking on the other side. It's up to you when you want to remove it from the stone to stop cooking it. They advertise that it's perfectly done just for you every time, an element that is completely under your personal control. As we eat simply at home - and far less often - the chance for simpler fare was very appealing and as the dinner itself was outstanding, we ate there twice including our last night on board. Your platter comes with baked potato with a range of toppings, vegetables and salad first course. Desserts here and throughout the ship were also quite good. There's even a choice of sorbets throughout the afternoon on the pool deck. If i've forgotten other venues it is only because we failed to try them. There's only so much and so often a person can eat no matter the variety of choices and the quality of the offerings. So, overall - was this the quality of Carlos' in Highland Park north of Chicago? No, not quite to that standard imo. But very good - high quality - very happy with the variety and the quality offered. And as throughout the ship with the service. i should add that the bar (called The Bar) is located on deck 5 just beyond reception and the shore concierge desks. Quite attractive and this is where we all went on debarkation day, at least those of us leaving the cruise in Barbados. Voyage 5401 actually continued on to Rio, to Buenos Aires, around the horn and up the Pacific Coast of South America - Chile, Peru - and on through the Panama Canal and back to Ft Lauderdale and Port Everglades. Our new friends Art and Cindy were among those doing the entire cruise, a total of 66 days long. Others were going on as far as Rio or Buenos Aires. When we left in Barbados, others boarded for the next segment of the cruise. It was in all a lovely thought and we continue to mentally follow Art and Cindy and the others on their adventure. The first couple days of the voyage are at sea, a portion of the cruise we found to be our favorite. The TV screens in the suite had camera options that included a camera facing ahead which was very nice entering each port, a second that included the relevant ship's environmental information including temperature, wind velocity, ship's speed, ocean depth beneath us, course, etc. along with cameras that showed various views including one of the pool area. Then there was a selection of channels including CNN, BBC, Fox, i think they had MSNBC, international sports, ESPN Caribbean (lots and lots of soccer, a bit of cricket, we did get one of the NFL playoff games - but not the other), etc. The veranda (at the outboard side of the suite) got some use; the ocean was a fine companion; the ship was stabilized of course - there was a bit of rocking that didn't feel like that at all, it was just that at times you did need to watch your balance a bit. i noticed there were always waiters at the buffet to assist by carrying one's platter to one's table, a precaution perhaps more for the rest of the diners than for the person who would actually eat the food. We used the first day to visit the boutiques and were surprised to find the prices quite reasonable there. There were sport coats - a light colored one and of course a blazer - as well as more formal wear. The blazer - light colored - was $179 and seemed of a quality that made that a reasonable price for it. The exercise room was well equipped and very nice. We didn't use the spa services - massages and such - but have no doubt as to their high quality as well. In the suite, i should mention the bathroom. There is a tub which was of a generous size and the shower was well thought out and organized, encased in a clear plastic enclosure with a tight-closing door and both a rain shower head and a hand held - whatever your preference it was easily arrangeable. Hint #2: in our suite anyway the water temperature varied between the two shower heads. If you started with the rain shower head, directly overhead, and then wanted to switch to the hand held to direct the spray while you shampooed or such, the initial spray of water would be cold for a second or two and then significantly hotter than the rain shower. It was important to turn the temperature down before switching and then adjust a bit up after a couple seconds to feel. There is a sign posted that cautions you to always test the temperature before stepping in. If you're used to hots that don't really get hot, think again - when they say "hot" on the Silver Spirit, they truly mean hot. It was a marvelous surprise to us. Combine that with amenities by Bvlgari and the suite and bathroom were quite up with our anticipation of what such ought to be on a luxury cruise. The ship's shore excursions: we signed up only for two - the Rain Forest excursion in Puerto Rico and a snorkel and scuba excursion in St Barths. (see below) A separate word - from what i've written under port reports below about St Maarten. St Martin (smallest piece of land in the world divided between two nations: the port and Phillipsburg are in Sint Maarten and are Dutch; the northern area of the island are St Martin and are French. We spent a marvelous week once in the French Village of Grand Case and highly recommend that.) Phillipsburg is a duty free port with outstanding shopping particularly for jewelry and watches. Silver Spirit carries with it a designated ship's shopper. On our cruise it was Phillip. He's a Californian and he was expert, thorough and always available. Landing in Phillipsburg (a coincidence? well, okay, but it did seem rather apt), St Maarten, we cruised the shopping area and when anyone heard the name of our ship (they ask when you enter a shop such as Diamonds International) they would say, "Oh, you're with Phillip." Quoted prices dropped significantly once it was established that you were with Phillip and he made the rounds of the shops and seemed constantly available to consult or assist anyone from the ship. Prices in port seemed quite good for expensive items. But such items are individual enough i really couldn't tell you. Phillipsburg and St John Antigua however have widespread reputations for being excellent ports for the purchase of jewelry - especially diamonds - and watches if you are into such things. Phillip was definitely one of the ship's very useful features and a number of our shipmates commented very appreciatively about him and his services. Disembarking came. You can choose your preferred disembarking time but are asked to clear your suite (the ship is nearly entirely suites with verandas) by 8:30 in the morning. Rowena assisted with the packing - in my case she did a lot more than simply assist. We all applied the provided tags to our luggage - each color corresponding with the requested disembarkation time in what appeared to be half hour intervals - in the hallway outside our door when we went to bed, retaining only what we would need for the morning and our carry-ons. In the morning we left our carryons in the room while we went and settled up at the reception desk, reclaimed our passports, had a last breakfast at La Terrazza, reclaimed our carryons and joined our friends in The Bar area to await the call for our group to disembark and reclaim our luggage at customs. Disembarkation was easy and straightforward. A bus took you - again by color designation - to where your luggage was waiting and customs was quite a simple process. i'm sure i've forgotten something but that's a whole lot already up above so a short summary. My wife had wondered how she would like it, on the ship with 500 others, upscale food and service all the time, etc. Short answer, she loved it. Silver Spirit was about her favorite vacation ever - and when that includes 14 days in French Polynesia (Tahati and all that), that's saying something. The number of people was enough that we found great companions and i hope lasting friends - and enjoyed running into friends in whatever port we happened to be - and yet small enough that we rarely felt we were in a crowd. Food was very good, breakfasts and lunches superior. The suite was more than simply comfortable - we certainly do miss it. The service was wonderful - so many going out of their way obviously their hope was to please you. Lovely experience. Would we prefer one of the line's smaller ships? (Silver Spirit is their largest - others carry up to 380 or fewer passengers) Perhaps so. We look forward to finding out one day. But this was pretty terrific - and in our case the itinerary was perfect.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
As a first time cruiser I was really impressed with this ship. It was clean and well appointed, the food was good and the service prompt and friendly. Having booked at the last minute we got excellent value for money. The Thomson ... Read More
As a first time cruiser I was really impressed with this ship. It was clean and well appointed, the food was good and the service prompt and friendly. Having booked at the last minute we got excellent value for money. The Thomson Dreamliner flights were probably the most comfortable economy class flights we have had. The transfer was quick and easy. I was impressed with the infection control procedures, just a shame all passengers didn't follow them. Our cabin was small but well appointed, tea and coffee, a fridge with daily ice provided by our excellent steward and a very comfy bed. There was not much to watch on the TV. Lots of towels and you could take the blue ones ashore to use at the beach. All the staff were attentive. I was impressed with how quickly the tables were cleared. There was never any sign of litter and I only saw one fly in a fortnight! The food in the Beach house restaurant at night was our favourite. The freedom dining option was flexible, meaning that we could pick our entertainment and then fit dinner in to suit our itinerary. There was plenty of choice of entertainment and food venues. The drinks were not overpriced and the service charge was reasonable. The Sailaway parties were not my cup of tea, but you didn't have to go far to find a quiet spot to sit and watch the land disappear and the sunset. On sea days the decks are packed with sunbeds, some people had two each, one in the sun on in the shade, perhaps P&O need to employ a sunbed policeman. In conclusion two weeks in the Caribbean for £71.43 per person per night, including flights, can't be beaten. Two tips don't buy the bottled water, the tap water is fine. Do your own thing when ashore, it's cheaper.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We have been to the Caribbean on holiday before and on P & O before, but this was our first time on Azura. We were told t was the sister ship to Ventura, but somehow seemed easier to navigate than Ventura. We had a fitness walk on the ... Read More
We have been to the Caribbean on holiday before and on P & O before, but this was our first time on Azura. We were told t was the sister ship to Ventura, but somehow seemed easier to navigate than Ventura. We had a fitness walk on the promenade each morning, which sadly was also the smoking area, so our lungs while exercising where filling up with the smoke fumes, from out fellow unfit passengers. Mad to have that mix on the same deck. Our room was restricted view, but actually I prefer an inside cabin, it's more private, as at every port we were next to another cruise ship, and could see into their cabins and them ours, so if you wanted privacy, you would have to close the curtains. We had seen most of the shows before on other cruises, so we didn't go to them all, but the ones we did go to were really excellent, I couldn't fault one of the singers or dancers. There is normally one or two who don't quite make the grade, but I was very impressed with these performers. I didn't enjoy the celebrity impersonators and the venue isn't big enough, They should have been performing in the theatre. There was a local band playing, but the music was a bit middle of the road, I'd liked to have heard some songs that have been released in the last 18 months, not stuff from the 60's and 70's that I don't remember Such a shame, we watched two films outside along with about 6 other passengers, it wasn't a popular attraction. We had blankets if we needed them. When it's a black tie night, I am very disappointed that there are so many lounge suites, it spoils the specialness of the evening, I don't like that standards are allowed to be lowered. The women mostly make an effort, and I think the men should too, it's only respectful. Don't book a holiday with rules and expectations, if you don't want to abide by them, there are plenty of other places you can go, and the ship does sell dinner suits so there is no excuse. I've noticed that people don't abide by the no reserving of seats rule. I just throw their towel or whatever off, if they are not there, and sit on the chair, staff should monitor this more, and not leave it up to the passengers to fight over. It clearly says no reserving of seats, and that applies to the theatre and bars in the evening, if you are not there tough. The only time I think it's ok is if you have gone for a swim and leave your stuff on your chair, but doing this and going for lunch is just selfish and greedy. Please think about others and we can all have a nice holiday, not just you. Service in the restaurants was excellent, but the standard of the food has gone down. I expect they are 'nicking' it off the plate, as seems to be the norm these days. It's very difficult to get anything different at any speed. At breakfast I have hot water and lemon and my husband has cream in his coffee, every morning we had a long wait for both. We were on Freedom dining, which means you are not stuck with the same old people every night, which is such a joy, for them and me. There is only so much you can talk to complete strangers about night after night. The reception staff were really helpful One member of staff manning the library and also having to help with internet problems is not enough, nearly everyone had a tablet or lap top these days, so that really needs addressing. I liked the idea of extra perks once I had bought my internet package. Beware the internet is very slow, especially if you are attaching a picture. I had my hair cut on board, it is one of the best cuts I've had, and for a very reasonable £30. Do be careful in the Caribbean, some passengers had watches and necklaces taken off them, the people are poor and we look very wealthy to them, saying that I didn't wear any jewellery , and didn't feel afraid. We went on local transport except for one port where we took the trip to Virgin Gouda, a really excellent trip, but on the whole we like to integrate and give our money to the locals. We went in Maxi taxi's for the most part, and the drivers are so proud to show you their islands. Barbados was the worst embarkation I've ever had. We were met on the tarmac of the plane, so no customs- the bane of all our lives. We got onto tiny coaches with no place for the luggage except our laps, which is not good for our legs after a 9 hour flight. I wouldn't recommend the Thompson flight either, with a choice of 4 films all on at the same time, so you can't watch them all, and there was no way of pausing the screen. We did pay for an upgrade, which wasn't worth it. My gluten free meal wasn't put on the plane both ways, the stewards were lovely, really really lovely, they explained I was down for a GF meal, but it wasn't on board, so they cobbled together a lovely meal for me, but if you have a dietary requirement, you could starve, if you don't bring your own food on board. Be warned. We are trying Cunard for the first time this May 2014, no flights, sailing from Southampton   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
After the awful flight and arrival at the dream if we had been asked if we would like to go home we would have been first on the plane home. Muster drill was not until 8pm and by this time our stress level was through the roof. After a ... Read More
After the awful flight and arrival at the dream if we had been asked if we would like to go home we would have been first on the plane home. Muster drill was not until 8pm and by this time our stress level was through the roof. After a good nights sleep deck 4 as never cruised before and just got given this room by Thompson not knowing we could book rooms! Got up at six and the holiday started. Had no problem with the room very comfortable and didn't notice any noise.(Friday night the waves swept over the porthole brilliant) Had the most fantastic time and will be booking next year, Loved deck 10 staff great and being in the fresh air in the evening WOW. Food was good tried the Orion and although had to pay for steak it was so nice had no complaints. We never used deck 11 after the first night although must say speaking to Adam from entertainment helped us calm down. We did not use the indoor bars as we do like being outside. Our steward Sauib was great and I learnt to make towel animals. All the staff we found polite and nothing was any trouble. Booked trips on the ship and although pricey felt safer being our first time. Loved them all. The one moan at the end was having to queue at reception for 30 mins to find out what time to leave the ship to pick up the coach for the airport, maybe when they put our paperwork in the room they could have put the time in the instructions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I was a reluctant cruiser. The thought of being inactive and surrounded by people and food did not impress me. I had enjoyed the intimate river cruises with Viking for the last 3 years and needed a winter break somewhere warm at a more ... Read More
I was a reluctant cruiser. The thought of being inactive and surrounded by people and food did not impress me. I had enjoyed the intimate river cruises with Viking for the last 3 years and needed a winter break somewhere warm at a more affordable price than Viking have now become. We booked 5 weeks before on a getaway deal. We were impressed with the balcony room on B deck. The balcony was just big enough for 2, 4 at a push when our daughters joined us if they sat on the foot stool and table. Small shower room though. My parents paid £200 more each for a deluxe balcony room with a bathroom and a living area with a 4 seater sofa and chair in their larger room. They also had a bigger balcony and were on D deck., but it was overlooked by all the decks above ( As are the balconies on C deck). No privacy if you want to sunbathe. The ship is cleverly designed. Adults in the front, kids at the back, noisy pool with dj in the middle. The food in the restaurant was lovely and varied. The service was exceptional. The staff were friendly and the captain a delight to talk to. We were tempted to eat elsewhere one night and pay the extra cover charge, but we didn't want to abandon our waiters or the food and stayed loyally eating at the 6.30pm sitting. Prices on the ship were reasonable. £15 for a bottle of wine, £20 for a trip to the beach, more for more exotic excursions. We went Whale watching for £55 each, Kayaking and snorkelling £46 each. On other days we organised our own taxi tours that were plentiful and competitively priced. The cruise island itinerary was good ( Barbados, Granada, St Lucia, Dominica, St Maarten, St Kitts, Tortolla and then our favourites Curacao and Bonaire (Little Gems),. There was a good blend of island days and sea days to relax. Good idea to have 2 sea days to take us back to Barbados where we chilled and relaxed by the endless pool, It was not boring and neither was it like Butlins I am really glad I took the leap. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My partner and I decided to try a cruise for the first time not really knowing what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. We embarked on the Thomson Dream at Bridgetown, Barbados for a two week cruise of the ... Read More
My partner and I decided to try a cruise for the first time not really knowing what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. We embarked on the Thomson Dream at Bridgetown, Barbados for a two week cruise of the caribbean visiting eleven islands, St Kitts, St Maarten,Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Antigua, Dominica, Margarita Island (Venezuela), Tobago, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia and Barbados. we had an outside plus cabin with WC, wash basin, bath and shower on deck 6 near the lifts. We used the Orian Restaurant each day as this provided excellent waiter service. The food, service, friendliness of staff, facilities on board ship, cleanliness, attention to detail, the Thomson excursions were all excellent. We attended two Captains cocktail parties and gala dinners where we dressed up in our formal attire. We wore cream tuxedos for the first one on our black dress suits for the second. The cabins were cleaned to a high standard and beds were turned down each night. The check in process was easy and the cashless system on board was good in that you charged everything to your on board account. We absolutely loved it and every day between the 31st March and the 14th April 2013 was special to both of us. We have certainly got the cruise bug now and although we have no comparisons to make with other cruise lines, we would certainly travel on the Thomson Dream again. If I had one criticism it would be that there were insufficient sun beds on the decks. As I am not a sun worshipper it did not really bother me but following a day on the island we were visiting my partner did like to relax on a sun bed. This was particularly important for him when we spent two days at sea. All in all we loved the experience and would highly recommend this ship to anyone considering a cruise for the first time. The staff were wonderful, so polite, pleasant and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them. We also came away with lots of colour photographs which will be lasting memories of our wonderful holiday. thank you Thomson for introducing your cruises to us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were delighted with the way that our cases were taken from us in Manchester and didn't see them again until they arrived in our cabin, which was a Superior Deluxe outside on Deck D.The cabin steward was superb in looking after us ... Read More
We were delighted with the way that our cases were taken from us in Manchester and didn't see them again until they arrived in our cabin, which was a Superior Deluxe outside on Deck D.The cabin steward was superb in looking after us and ensuring we had everything we needed. He worked very hard and came into the cabin 2-3 times per day. However I got the impression that some of his customers didn't treat him as well as they could have done (more later about these types. We generally ate in the Saffron and Bay Tree and the service was both unhurried and very professional with our usual 2 waiters being absolutely brilliant. We thought the standard of food was very good indeed on every visit with plenty of choices available.We also used the self service a couple of lunchtimes and found the standard of food good, the only problem was in finding a table that was being reserved by people who wanted to eat by themselves. So selfish. The entertainment in all theatres and bars was very professional. We were particularly impressed with the resident Headliners Theatre Group who worked very hard to present 6 different shows during the 14 days. We also enjoyed the soul singer Clem Curtis, Tucker a great comedian, Gareth Oliver a superb comedian and ventriloquist,speaker John Lyons (from a Taste of Frost).We also enjoyed the daily quiz in the Exchange Pub after the main shows. We booked 8 trips with P & O to different islands and enjoyed them all. Yes you do pay a few pounds each for the trips but we felt they were well organised trips with a guide who explained all about their island. It was difficult to get a sunbed on the days the ship was at sea, because everyone was on board, but on days in port there was plenty available. The trips generally lasted up to 4 hours so you could lay in the sun in the afternoons. Our main complaint is against some of the cruisers on the ship.I have to stress that the majority of people were very nice and would talk or pass the day with you but there was a small minority who thought they were above most people and would insist on trying to outdo anyone with stories of how many times they have cruised or their villas in the south of France.They looked at people as if they had stepped on something in the road and they couldn't even speak to each other in a civil way.Then they would turn up on formal nights in their fifteen year old dresses and Tuxedos thinking they were the bees knees. They definitely introduced us to a new level of pompousness and snobbery that we have never witnessed before. They talked about P & O standards dropping, I presume they mean with these lower classes being allowed on board, but lets face it without these customers booking with P & O the ship wouldn't sail at all. Overall a very good holiday, a lovely ship, great entertainment and some lovely people. Just a shame about the snobs on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Well what can I say this was our first Cruise and what a cruise it was . From the start it was great we were taken to our Cabin 5066 and there met a young man called Hansdoto whom said he was to take care of our needs and clean the room ... Read More
Well what can I say this was our first Cruise and what a cruise it was . From the start it was great we were taken to our Cabin 5066 and there met a young man called Hansdoto whom said he was to take care of our needs and clean the room and anything else we need while on board the ship.we took a look around the ship after we had done our safety drill,it looked like the food was plentiful and very nice there were many different areas where you could eat and we ate in all of them to see the difference ,the food was very nicely laid out and served by happy smiling staff nothing was to much trouble for them . The entertainment was brilliant all over the ship something different every time ,(Thomson is known for being the best for that )everything on board was nice and clean and yes some-thing's are still being updated but everything takes time but overall it was fine .We did have a couple of hours when you could smell something nasty some stupid person put a sanitary towel down the toilet (they have bags for that)but that was sorted out within a couple of hours .most people on board were great fun to be with but you had a few that were there I thought just to complain about anything they could .We had AI for the drinks which worked out well for us but some people moaned about they couldn't get some drinks on it (speckeld hen )but that was in the agreement so they should have read it before coming on the cruise ,you could get lots of different drinks for free ,you paid maybe a couple of pounds for the other drinks extra if you wanted them . The few Excursions that we went on were great ,in Aruba we did our own thing and got on a bright yellow bus with no windows in and music playing and a tour guide called Tito ,he was brilliant taking us around the island and telling us all about the history and what they have or don't have but like a lot of these island there is a lot of poverty and as you drive around you cat help but notice it ,most of the people rely on the tourist for there money. We also went on some of the Thomson trips we went to places like St Kitts on the scenic railway train we had rum punch for free ,another day we got a boat across to Virgin Gorda island where we went into some caves to get to a beautiful little beach on the other side ,we also had a day on the beautifull small island called Crusoe (59 on this trip) the tour guides also had lunch for us made by the locals ,you could walk out for ages up to your waist and see all the fish swimming next to you it was so magical would love to have stayed for a few days on there .Another of our trips was to see the beautiful waterfalls (Trafalgar falls)and get to swim in the Emerald pool at the bottom of the rain forest.Another trip was to see Harrison Caves in Barbados and to go to one of their beautiful beaches called Carlisle were we swam with the Turtles under water .there was lots more that we had seen and done but I could be here all day telling you about them ,it's better if you see them yourselves. This was a holiday of a lifetime and a belated honeymoon for my Husband and myself and I am glad we did it and not be put off by any of the negative reviews we had read on here. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My wife & I have just returned from our first ever cruise.we were recommended the Azura by my son who bad been on it brfore.He & his wife travelled with us. We had a wonderful time.The choice of food in the Peninsular restaurant ... Read More
My wife & I have just returned from our first ever cruise.we were recommended the Azura by my son who bad been on it brfore.He & his wife travelled with us. We had a wonderful time.The choice of food in the Peninsular restaurant was outstanding(up to 5 courses).Our waiters Nichil & Sachin attended to our every need,always with a smile on their faces.On our last night The head waiter organized several others to gather round our table,to sing Congratulations,as we were celebrating our %0th wedding anniversary(but not until 23rd of March) If you didn't want to eat in your allotted restaurant,as there was a dress code each evening,then you could eat at one of the self service restaurants.The choice of food in these was excellent too.During the day we used these for breakfasts & lunches. The entrtainment in the evening was excellent with a choice of venues.The playhouse theatre put on the big shows,but you could watch other entertainers in the Manhattern, Malibar,etc.Dancere were accommodated in the Atrium,with professional instuctors to help. If it got too hot on deck,there were always top films being shown during the day in one of the air conditionred venues,as well as the huge screen,at the end of one of the swimming pools. The islands visited were all a bit different,with a choice of trips round with one of the numerous taxi drivers,or to one of the beautiful beeches All in all,this is a wonderful choice of ship which I would recommend to anyone. February/March is probably best for people in our age group. Well done P&O for a magnificent time Read Less
Sail Date February 2013

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