119 Barbados First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

After reading some of the reviews on here we were a little sure what we had signed ourselves up for but I have to say we had the best week ever!! Ok, the ship is nowhere near as grand as one of the large liners but at the end of the day ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews on here we were a little sure what we had signed ourselves up for but I have to say we had the best week ever!! Ok, the ship is nowhere near as grand as one of the large liners but at the end of the day its a Thomson holiday and after all you get what you paid for! There was plenty to do and the ship was large enough for you to find your own space and sit and gaze out to the beautiful sea. We would definetely recommend purchasing the all inclusive option, in fact you would be mad not to as it is certainly worth the extra money. The staff are amazing and will go out of the their way to make sure you have an amazing time. The food and drink selection are second to none and the rooms are great, with a queen size bed and air con and they are kept immaculately clean by the house keeping staff. The only negative we could find would be the entertainment. We found that it was geared to the older generations and whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, for us it just didn't live up to our expectations. The onboard entertainment team were ok, nothing amazing but certainly not dreadful. Like I said earlier you get what you pay for. All in all we had an amazing time and we will certainly be booking again for next year, however next time we will be looking at a cruise and stay as one week just isnt enough in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
It was the first ever cruise I have been on and it sure wont be the last, to say we had the time of our lives is an understatement. Me and my (now) wife decided on this cruise as we wanted to get married abroad - to anyone thinking the ... Read More
It was the first ever cruise I have been on and it sure wont be the last, to say we had the time of our lives is an understatement. Me and my (now) wife decided on this cruise as we wanted to get married abroad - to anyone thinking the same I urge you to do this, it was the dream wedding for us. We travelled with our 2 kids and and 2 relatives who are seasoned cruisers, as the title states you feel like royalty. nothing is a problem and the staff and crew bend over backwards to make sure you are comfortable and having a great time. Every day we went back to our cabin there was a treat for us (wedding VIP)from horderves to champagne and sweets we must have had about 5 bottles of champagne given to us throughout the 2 weeks. The kids clubs are that good that I almost forgot I had children and it wasn't because we were palming them off onto the kids supervisors all the time, its because they were having that much fun (magicians, parties, pool games etc, etc) they didn't want us cramping their style - this gave us some nice relaxation time in the sun. The shows are first class although the ship is that big we didn't know much about them til the second week but it was the type of show you would pay decent money for in UK theatres. I really could go on and on but i'm going to say one thing - BOOK IT you wont regret it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Embarkation in Barbados was long winded and we feel a drawn out process. You had to wait far too long to get access to your stateroom. tateroom was very spacious and exceptionally clean. Rio the steward was excellent, excellent, ... Read More
Embarkation in Barbados was long winded and we feel a drawn out process. You had to wait far too long to get access to your stateroom. tateroom was very spacious and exceptionally clean. Rio the steward was excellent, excellent, excellent. Trouble with loudspeaker is that you cannot her announcements in your room. The food onboard was excellent but the buffet restaurant was an eye opener. I don't think I have ever seen people eat so much in all my life, gluttony was the name for the day!!!!!! Carnival do need to train their staff properly though. My husband and myself were given bar credits to use by our sons, you can use these towards a bottle of wine at dinner. Unfortunately the second night we tried to use them foir this the waiter did not know anything about them nor did the Maitre D. Really embarrassing moment so much so that we left the restaurant really upset. Complained to guest services who really weren't interested. Tried again third night with a different waiter .... no problem!!!!! So come on Carnival get your act together please. On the subject of the Maitre D, without wishing to be rude he is grumpy, unpleasant and acknowledges no one!!! The waiters on the whole are excellent , especially Dec. The ship is geared for Americans rather than any British holidaymaker. This is because the ship is loud and well you can gather the rest................. The ports of call were good but you could have done a lot of them yourself without the expense. As I said the loudspeaker system doesn't work in the staterooms so you do not always hear the messages. On disembarking in St Thomas we did not have our passports with us as we were not aware you needed them (you didn't need them in any other port apart from San Juan which is also American) and we tried to reboard but an officious twenty something American official would not let us on and proceeded to be rude, arrogant and totally up herself, in the end I had to say "well are you going to let us off or not?", she let one of us board to get our passports. We then went shopping and went via the other American official further up the port with no problem at all and a really pleasant young man! Whilst on the subject of American ports, San Juan is a nightmare. You are rtold by Carnival that it isn't a problem and you just get off for a while and then you can come back on without having to queue with all the new guests coming onboard - do not believe them this is totally untrue. The queues are unbelievable and even though you are a guest intransit they, the officials do not recognise this and are bolshey and rude. At this port Carnival also check you in differently, I myself wasn't going to be allowed back onboard as some young man didn't know what he was doing and although I had been onboard for 3/4 days already he wasn't doing his job correctly and had to ask for help, along comes a woman who knows what she is doing and states I am a guest intransit and was allowed to reboard. What a complete nightmare!!!!! The drinks are overpriced but the bar staff are brilliant, especially Simona and Hendrich!!!! If you intend to drink onboard buy credits its far cheaper. Regarding dining if you would like to be seated as a couple then firmly state it otherwise you will be placed with rather loud people!!! Also elegant night doesn't always mean elegant night, people wearing t shirts, shorts and polo shirts were allowed in the restaurant despite announcements to the contrary. Although it was our first cruise and we had problems it hasn't put us off cruising, we just wouldn't go with this company again as the English are made to feel in the minority. The company leaves a lot to be desired, lack of information, not being able to purchase bar credits online as they do not recognise our postcodes etc. If Carnival would like more English guests then they need to move up a notch. As we were going through immigration again in Barbados we heard the vast majority of our fellow cruisers were not enamoured with their experiences and were quite vocal about it, indeed one comment was "we will cruise again but onboard one with a little more intellect"!! As I have said it hasn't put us off cruising but would definitely try a company with a little more elegance. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We booked this cruise (our first) after many years of of persuasion and I don't know why we waited so long The Crew, food, entertainment,destinations and ship were wonderful We have traveled the world had beach/family and sightseeing ... Read More
We booked this cruise (our first) after many years of of persuasion and I don't know why we waited so long The Crew, food, entertainment,destinations and ship were wonderful We have traveled the world had beach/family and sightseeing holidays, but never had such a brilliant time as we did this trip December 2011. Anyone thinking about it don't wait too long just go a head and book it. We are no chickens and I'm not in the best of health but nothing was too much trouble I managed very well. We couldn't fault the food with several places to show off if you really want too. If we had to single any one place out it would be The Glass House with Al as the host, but every member of staff we came across were really nice and helpful our Steward Stanley was friendly without being forward and our cabin was all way's immaculate and well stocked. Prices on board were very reasonable, on a par with the local shop's in the UK and you could get away with spending very little money with free coffee and soft drinks and you needn't dress up if you don't want too but it is nice too do so. There will all way's be folk who complain I call them professional complainers and they just need to be noticed and think it's cool but they were embarrassing. I would say PO were brilliant and we only hope they appreciate their hard working delightful crew. The only criticism was the flights Thompsons was Ok but first choice was dreadful, coming back Christmas morning with not a bit of Christmas spirit wishing us Happy Christmas as an after thought, I have all way's wondered what it was like to fly Christmas day well know I know it was a horrible experience after such a lovely holiday choose another airline PO they really let you down. Pam Croll Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the ... Read More
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the size of Ventura when we first saw her.., wow! - In all the ports I had a great proud 'my ship's bigger than your ship' feeling! Get on board, hunt out your cabin, where there'll be instructions where to eat on the first night -no dress restrictions as they understand you may not get your cases in time. To avoid getting lost in the early days we used the two same decks 7 & 15 to get around and kept to the starboard side, where our cabin was. This helped a lot! TIP: all the lifts face forward. Plus the carpet is a different colour in each section (Forward, Mid and Aft). We found the booze in the bars and restaurants quite reasonable. Booze for your cabin and cigs (inc B&H) very reasonable; purchased at the shop on board. Smoking permitted on Deck 7 starboard side (where the Arena, Ramblas bar, Tamarind Bar and Havana nightclub is); only a few steps away, loads of chairs and you can take your drink, so very easy. Also smoking is starboard side on the open deck 15. I found it hard going with all the stuff to do -- when do you fit in time to sleep?! For all those with anti-social husbands, mine surprisingly loved every minute of it! No-one bothers with the taking time to get to know you thing; everyone just wades straight in, so you instantly have lots of new friends, though, we found it strange that no-one introduced themselves - we asked names when we met again! I did a few laps of deck 7 (outside) at about 7am, as the gym annoyingly didn't open until 8am. Deck 7 makes a nice walk too. Loungers at busy areas do get taken early, but we were happier out of the way on the high decks -do go looking round from one end of the ship to the other to choose your preferred location. We liked the area round the spa pool with Jacuzzi's as it was quieter. Pool towels provided in cabin. One day I got a workout moving my sunbed round as the ship appeared to keep changing direction interfering with my sun! The next day we discovered the cheeky captain, Charlie Carr from Wigan, had gone in the shape of a Xmas tree! You could see this on the map on the telly! I'm very pleased that on the last day we got a 'Cruise Log', summary of the entire trip as I was dying to know how many miles we'd done. Rather than Freedom dining (if you go at a busy time they give you a pager for when a spot becomes available) we decided on the more formal dining and chose 1st sitting 18:30 at the time of booking. NB. 2nd sitting was 20:30 I'd have still been too full for breakfast the next day, plus, we like a drink in the evening! We were in the Bay Tree, which had a slightly more formal feel than the Saffron (though it's the same two sitting affair). You sit with the same folk each night, so it's good to request a large table so that you'll hopefully have some good couples to chat with. We had plenty of time to have the four courses and a bottle of wine.., though if you don't finish the wine they keep it for you for the next day - fat chance of that happening with us! We'd then dash to the opposite end of the ship (5 mins max) to catch the first show 20:30 at the Arena (which is reminiscent of a picture house). This show repeated at 22:30. We ate at East and The White Room on a few occasions (cover charge applies), both were excellent. I used the 'Cruise Overview' in the cabin to plan which nights and rang the restaurants on the first night to make our reservations. We managed to get into The White Room again near the end of the cruise, so it's always worth a call to see what availability they have left. You can take breakfast where you like; we found a lot of folk went to the Bay Tree (waiter service) even though they weren't eating there at night. You're put on a large table, first come basis, so you get to mix with a variety of different couples. We went early. There's quite a selection for breakfast. If you don't get enough - ask for more! TIP: Use room service (mostly free): we used if we were going onshore early for a trip. Order via your telly, food delivered promptly. We took some plastic bags to take leftovers with us/keep in the fridge for when we returned. Or, go for Afternoon tea on deck 15 for sarnies etc from 3pm (very tasty!). Hygiene I noted is paramount and quite sensible when you think about it. Use the hand wash dispensers. There was a good looking young opera type singer Victor Michael in the Arena who was funny and got everyone involved. So I was looking forward to even better acts as we approached Xmas, but unfortunately, for my taste anyway, this didn't happen. I think I was expecting more quality acts, or perhaps they were aimed at the older generation. The acts etc in the Tamarind were the same, so it was then that we began to appreciate the Metropolis Lounge on deck 18; good to sit chatting with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (very reasonably priced at £37). It was nice to see that the majority of people dressed up for the black tie nights. Show off your outfits at the Captains Welcome evening, where there's complimentary drinks for an hour. Now that was the start of a good night! P&O onshore trips were very expensive, but we did the few you shouldn't miss, which were very good. On some islands, there are dedicated taxi's to take you to the usual spots. They've been doing this for years man, so there's no need to worry. For example, a couple who shared a cab to a beach with us in St. Vincent left his wallet in the taxi with £400 in. We thought we'd never see the driver again! No problem, he was even early! I was desperate to wave a tacky plastic Union Jack flag. These were finally given out at the Sail Away party from St Lucia. After their morning trips, most passengers spent the afternoon on the grass near the ship in the Rum Bar, so we were pretty popped up! I had a fabulous time! We received a couple of upgrades and ended up in an outside cabin P245 on deck 5 forward. These have a large window and although I didn't know it beforehand (first cruise), really appreciated the outside cabin as we could see the waves and I like to wake up early in the morning, so enjoyed the natural light. We didn't close the curtains! It was great to kneel on the bed and look out as we pulled into a new port. Cabin P245 was perfect for us; near to the forward lifts in a large hallway (rather than down a corridor) and next to the gallery. Very quiet. In the first hour aboard, my equilibrium was a little off, but as I didn't have my seasickness pills (we didn't have our cases at that time, so consider keeping them in your hand luggage), I had a couple of Mojito's as I heard mint (and also ginger) are natural seasickness remedies. Didn't suffer again and infact loved the way the gentle movement of the ship the ship lulls you to sleep, very comforting! There's loads of hanging space for all of your posh dresses! Service in all the restaurants and the bars (on deck 7) was excellent. We didn't really frequent deck 6 (where the pub and casino is). We heard a few people moaning about service, but found that as we were polite, we received excellent service. A smile goes a long way! I didn't think we'd use the cabin steward much but on the few occasions we asked for ice or a shoeshine kit etc, Umesh went out of his way to assist, and with the biggest of smiles. Being from Yorkshire, we aren't the most generous natured, but I parted with my tips quite happily! (P&O recommend that for 2 passengers on a 2week cruise its: £42 for the Cabin Steward, and £44 for two waiters). Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Ship In very good condition everywhere and kept very clean. Only complaint was that layout was not brilliant and we kept ending up in lobbies that were essentially dead ends and had to go up, along and down to get where we wanted to be. ... Read More
Ship In very good condition everywhere and kept very clean. Only complaint was that layout was not brilliant and we kept ending up in lobbies that were essentially dead ends and had to go up, along and down to get where we wanted to be. Shame the Promenade Deck doesn't go all around the ship. As others have said, sun beds were plentiful although reservation was still apparent and no action was taken despite repeated warnings in the ships daily guide - talk tough, act tame. We avoided the front pools area as this tended to be a bit like a crowded beach in Benidiorm and usually had loud music playing - not what we want on holiday. Cabin Had a top grade balcony cabin on Riviera Deck so we could give ourselves the best chance of enjoying our first cruise, and this worked. Midships cabin we had was under Venezia self-service restaurant and we had no noise from above or from adjacent cabins. We did have continuous air-conditioning noise, mainly from corridor outside room, but I have had worse in hotel rooms in hot climates and we did get used to it. Others we spoke to with cabins under the pools and boarded areas complained of noise from the deck above. One night we had a vibration in the room due to use of the hull stabilisers and this was quite unpleasant. Overall, very happy with cabin and balcony. Dining We had freedom dining and thoroughly enjoyed it; meeting mainly nice and interesting people over the two weeks, and having some great laughs. Service was excellent and the food was nice, but possibly a bit disappointing based on what P&O lead you to expect. We didn't sample the speciality restaurants, mainly because we couldn't see a point paying a cover charge when the silver service restaurants were so good. Self service dining was good and I can't see why other reviews have been so critical of it. I do however agree that it was in these dining areas that the less desirable elements of fellow passengers were most apparent - over indulgence, gross waste (eyes bigger than belly), messy eating, inappropriate clothing (sleeveless shirts, base ball caps, bare feet), contamination of servery food with dirty cutlery or returned food items. However, these people were in the minority. It does serve to illustrate a point that others have made, and that we observed, P&O seem to have gone down market and we were surprised how mainly 'bucket & spade brigade', 'Costa' tourists there seemed to be on the cruise - not what we imagined at all, so don't expect an oasis of calm and sophistication!!! Entertainment Apart form a couple of exceptions, we thoroughly enjoyed the Playhouse shows, and we attended nearly all of them. What a fantastic theatre the Playhouse is; 800 seats, all in comfort. The Headliners Theatre Company were fantastic considering the amount of material they had to learn and the frequency of shows. Cabaret acts in Malabar and Manhattan were a bit more variable but did provide reasonable entertainment. Sailaways at the Coral Pool were something we didn't attend, mainly because they seemed to consist of very loud music, much of which seemed to be exactly the same at each event. Glad we didn't have a forward cabin as noise must have been awful. There were a few lectures but I found the programme deficient; there should have been a greater number and variety of presentations for those of us interested in enlightenment as well as entertainment. Retailing Generally good choice (don't worry if you forget to bring some clothes, you can get almost anything on board) and prices not too bad either (although not sure about jewellery and watches). There was no pressure to buy from retailing and the staff we dealt with were very nice. The same can't be said of photography, they kept popping up everywhere and I felt there was too much pressure to have pictures taken. Fair enough it's up to the passenger to decide which, if any they buy, but the whole thing was way over the top (must make pots of money for P&O). We did buy a select few pictures and were happy with quality and cost. Excursions Did two P&O excursions and neither were worth the money -- if you can't be bothered to organise ones yourself and have pots of money, go with P&O as they are the most secure (getting back to the ship!). We preferred the ones we pre-organised independently (most of which included unlimited soft and/or alcoholic drinks) or the ones we picked up on the spot; always cheaper than P&O. Fitness The gym on Azura is fantastic and generally around late morning/mid day, no problem getting on the machines, of which there were a tremendous variety (don't miss the mountain bike trainers). Towels, hand sterilisers and wipes are all provided. We didn't sample the 'pampering' services but by all accounts they were very good (at a price!). However, I did note that much of the spiel at the presentations on fitness and health was not factually accurate and was definitely aimed at selling 'detox' etc treatments to gullible/ignorant (not meant to be derogatory) passengers -- but it's up to them what they spend their money on. Overall Excellent holiday with the only disappointments being the weather (often cloudy and some rain) and the bad flight back to Manchester with Thomas Cook Airlines (never again). Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it would have been equally special if we had sailed around in circles!!The ship definately made the holiday, what a fantastic experience. The size of the ship was the first shock, nothing could have prepared us for how vast it is. Secondly the security/organisation/and speed of boarding etc was amazing for almost 3500 passengers. No amout of reviews or photographs could prepare you for the facilities on board and the excellent staff who assisted our every need. The web site will tell you of all the restaurants/ bars/ entertainment available so I will just try to elaborate with some of our experiences. we had a super deluxe cabin which was far more somfortable than some expensive hotels we have stayed in. To sit on the balcony wearing our complimentary bathrobes, sipping complimentary champagne, overlooking the most fantastic sunsets I have seen conributed to the most relaxing holiday we have experienced. We chose to pre book 6 trips with P and O and were relly glad that we did. Yes, we could have had excursions in port that were cheaper , or taken local taxi's to a local beach etc, but I defy anyone to prove that they would provide such good value. We took one local trip with another group of people and had to agree that you need to be very careful about confirming what is included in the price. We specifically wanted to visit the live volcano in St Lucia...which we went to with the tour guide.However he omitted to inform us that the entrance fee for that and a botanical garden were not included!!!! So unless you merely want to visit a beach I would be wary. Our trips included swimming with Turtles and Stingrays which was a fantastic opportunity and experience, tubing down the Pagua river which was really good fun,a fantastice scenic trip on the Sugar Train,and a cycling trip around St Maarten which was probably the only trip we thought was overpriced. The onboard entertainment was amazing and our daily newspaper helped us to plan the day to suit ourselves.We usually opted for the early showing in the theatre before dinner, so that we could also manage to visit Havana for one of the tribute singers/ comedy acts. Each to their own but being bored was never an option. The restaurants are exceptional, and we personally preferred the buffet restaurants for breakfast or lunch only as the fine dining restaurants made the holiday even more special. The White room is a MUST to visit and East was a lovely change with beautifully presented food. My only criticism was that the 'towels on sunbed malarky' still existed and it was often very difficult to get near to the swimming pools. It is a good idea to enjoy the peace and quiet on 'Port ' days. I could go on and on about how fantastic it was but if I simply said that we very reluctantly left our cabin at the end of the trip vowing to return ASAP!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We were new to cruising so unsure of what to expect, a few reviews on here about the sea princess were not great and the panic set in! However we didn't need to worry as it was absolutely fantastic. Our room was spotless and our ... Read More
We were new to cruising so unsure of what to expect, a few reviews on here about the sea princess were not great and the panic set in! However we didn't need to worry as it was absolutely fantastic. Our room was spotless and our stateroom steward, Homer, was brilliant. The room was cleaned & towels changed twice a day, he always had a smile & spoke whenever he saw us. The ship itself was clean & food was plentiful. we chose anytime dining but to be honest only went to the restaurant 3 times as we preferred Horizon Court & their buffet. Every evening you are left with a Princess Patter which gives you all the information ready for the next day.The entertainment left a lot to be desired, if you want to hear singers that can't sing & comedians that are not funny then you'll be ok, also look out for alan & alana, they play piano & sing - they are just horrendous! We were looking forward to movies under the stars, however the films they were showing were mostly from the 1940's (my partner and I were born in 1979 & 1980) so they were not our cup of tea, one night we decided to watch a film that was out last year, there were only 6 people there ready to watch the film so we asked for our blankets, and they had run out, which was odd as there were only 6 people, then the popcorn machine had been abandoned, so no popcorn, then the movie started, although we couldn't hear it properly due to the bar being located right behind the seats, we gave up and left after half an hour! Alcoholic drinks are very, very expensive, so when you are in a port buy a bottle of wine and take it back on with you. You can take back a bottle each, saved us a fortune. also had a soda package for $73.These were the only down sides to it. The cruise itself was amazing, most of the ports were beautiful, Grand Turk in particular was the most stunning place we have ever seen. Grenada, Tortola & Trinidad felt very unsafe to us so we only went where the ship had sectioned off the border control & went back. Trinidad was only a port day so that the ship could re-stock but this port was by far the most dangerous, that day the ship was heaving! On sea days sunbeds were hard to get if you weren't out by 8am, one day we had to share a sunbed & another we put our towels on the floor. We did the zipline adventure in St. Lucia and that was out of this world, if you want to do any trips i would pre-book online before you go as it is a lot cheaper, the zipline trip if pre-booked was $79 if you booked on the ship it was $119! We really enjoyed our first cruise & it was made even more special as we got engaged while we were there! We are already looking at another princess cruise for next year & we haven't even been home a week yet! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We arrived at Bolton bus station at 7-15am in plenty of time to board an Eavesway coach to Southampton, the coach arrived at about 7-30 and we left 15 minutes late at 8-00am due to two people not turning up. Our driver was very informative ... Read More
We arrived at Bolton bus station at 7-15am in plenty of time to board an Eavesway coach to Southampton, the coach arrived at about 7-30 and we left 15 minutes late at 8-00am due to two people not turning up. Our driver was very informative and polite and the coach was very comfortable,we did one stop on the M6 toll for one hour and arrived at Southampton at 1-30pm to be met by massive queues , as we pulled up Carol Marlow boarded our coach and after introducing herself explained the reason behind the queues , the reasons being given were that the Aurora had arrived back in Southampton after a world cruise and there were over 7 thousand items of luggage to unload which took longer than expected and then once boarding started one of the photo machines had broken down, she apologised and wished us a pleasant cruise, it then took us two hours in a queue to board the ship. I suppose these things can happen and from the comments from other cruisers it was the first time it had happened to them so not a good start to our first cruise but thought that things can only get better.We had a Balcony cabin on A deck or deck 11 to give ti its proper title, the cabin was spotless,roomy , tea coffee making facilities and all the information we needed to know about absolutely everything on the ship.Then we explored the ship for a few hours, having to look at the maps on the walls at every other corner and was still having to check the maps at times two week later.It was now time to go back to our cabin to get ready for dinner for second sitting, we arrived at our table for eight and met our fellow table guests for the next 21 days and we could not of wished for three nicer couples for our companions.After a lovely first meal we gave the theatre a miss on the first night as we were told that it was mainly an introduction to the cast and just a little bit of a show so went to explore some of the bars with a drink in each one (why not) then retired to a very comfy bed after a tiresome day.Our first port was Ponta Delgada in the Azores, it is a very nice port and we got lovely weather but not a great deal to explore.A five day sail now to Tortola and the first day was quite rough but the captain did warn us three days before that this was going to be a rough day but the rest of the sailing was quite smooth and the weather got better and warmer each day.In Tortola now and this was also a nice port but cannot comment on the town itself as we went on a privately charted catamaran which was unbelievable with three stops at coral reefs for snorkeling and swimming amongst thousands of multi coloured fish (amazing), at one stop we also had lunch and drinks all included in the price, the weather was beautiful with no wind at all so we could,nt put up the sails (boo).Our next port was Antigua where we just explored the town and its culture which was eye opening at times, plenty of shops and cafes and even an hemp shop, another beautiful day weather wise.Our next port was St Vincent and I must say if you go here then book a tour as there is nothing at all at this port of call and if I went to the Caribbean again I would do a cruise which was not doing this port.In St Martin today, I went yacht racing I can highly recommend it, this was three hours long so explored the town for the rest of the day, there is a beautiful beach a short walk from the cruise terminal and bars all along the beach then behind the line of bars is the shopping centre with all the famous jewellery shops among them. My favourite island.Our last island in the Caribbean was Barbados, we booked another catamaran here and another amazing day swimming with shoals of thousands of fish again then onto another spot to swim with the turtles which came so close that you could stroke them, the weather could of been better but only a few heavy showers spoiled it, explored the town for a few hours and plenty of shops cafes and people.A six day sail now to Madeira, a very good crossing and plenty going on in the ship to see and do, my first time at all of these islands and what a beautiful place Funchal is and Madeira in general and another great day with the weather.If anyone is planning to go on the cable car then it is a nice pleasant walk to the cable terminal and just 15 Euros so much cheaper than the ship.The last three days sailing to Southampton was like sailing on a mill pond and was sun bathing right up to the last day.All in all a great ship , I would rate the food as good but could of been better, there was over one hundred kids on board but hardly ever seen them or heard them if I had any complaints it would be the age old one of the saving of sunbeds. A great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Transfer to the ship was very interesting going through Barbados, there was a mix of cultures and properties throughout the journey and would have loved to have stayed longer on the island to try out some of the local haunts. Luggage was ... Read More
Transfer to the ship was very interesting going through Barbados, there was a mix of cultures and properties throughout the journey and would have loved to have stayed longer on the island to try out some of the local haunts. Luggage was delayed getting to our cabin, which meant we had to go for our first dinner in the clothes we had been in since 2am that morning. Not a good start but didnt spoil our evening as we could see the staff putting all stops out to get this sorted for the 1800 passengers on board.       Childrens club looked like it was closed when we were enquiring, and a bit daunting for us as we were not sure who to contact as it was our first cruise. However once our son joined and was introduced to the team, they were so friendly and down to earth, he wanted to go there all the time. There was only 14 children on the cruise, most of the children under 5 which was disappointing for our 7 year old, but he enjoyed nevertheless. Our fault really for going out of season.       The service was fantastic in all areas of the ship, the staff always gave a smile and welcome whenever we bumped into them. They couldnt do enough for us. Thanks to our waiters for amazing service and attentiveness, well done.       We were on first sitting for evening dining, which we were not sure of because it was much too early to when we normally dine, so we decided to try the 6.30pm, and too be honest it worked out brilliantly for the varied age groups in our party. The choice of menu was fantastic, with up to 7 courses available. The food was always presented well, and cooked to perfection. For the amount of choice and the amount of diners that had to be served, I take my hat off to all the teams involved.       The plaza on Deck 14 was disappointing at breakfast time, too many people pushing and panicking, not the ships fault, just a lot of greedy and ignorant tourists. In the evenings it had everything there, good choice of food with great salads, main meals and desserts, but the quality of the food on the themed evenings was very disappointing especially the seafood evening.       The sailaway party themes were a little over the top, and a bit tacky, but my parents thoroughly enjoyed, along with a good percentage of guests. There is plenty of space to move away from this if it is not your thing, and I really enjoyed watching the views of the idyllic islands as we sailed away into the sunset, in a little more serence ambience which suited me. The staff and entertainment team worked really hard to try to encourage all types of customers to enjoy themselves. Was disappointed with the Assistant Entertainment Director, who never had a smile on his face, I think I smiled to him more than I got back........I thought he was in entertainment, could have fooled us!       The spa had a good choice of treatments, but found it to be quite expensive. Nevertheless we opted for the top to toe massage and it was fantastic. There was a few exercise classes arranged from 8am to 9am, but as this was to be a relaxing holiday and as I was a younger traveller on the ship, felt we could have had a bit flexibility on class times to suit all, not just the early risers.       Decor on the ship was dated, but everything was clean, tidy and I did not see any major issues as in previous posts. It is definately due for a refurbishment but it wouldnt stop us travelling again on the ship.       All in all we had a great holiday, everything was well organised. Thanks to all on the Oceana who worked exceptionally hard - we appreciated it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Being unable to get out preferred holiday to Cuba, the agents tempted us with a cruise. At less than half what the Cuba holiday would cost, we thought what have we got to lose.From check-in at Liverpool to embarkation in Barbados, ... Read More
Being unable to get out preferred holiday to Cuba, the agents tempted us with a cruise. At less than half what the Cuba holiday would cost, we thought what have we got to lose.From check-in at Liverpool to embarkation in Barbados, everythinh went like clockwork. The whole of the Thomson plane was laid out for premier seating,i.e. 2+3+2 across with p[lenty of legroom;films,games and TV shows were available on the in-seat TV, and with complimentary food and bar, what was not to like?No doubt familiar to regulars, leaving the plane and getting straight onto a bus, with cases being delivered to your cabin, took a lot of the hassle out of flying.Our cabin was as expected, sub Travelodge, but with everything that you needed.It was kept immaculate and tidy by our busy steward, Abdul. We were allocated to the Peninsular Restaurant, first sitting. The quality of food and the silver service was excellent; 6 courses (if you could manage them all), with at least 4 choices for each course. A good selection of wine was available from £10/11 to £16 a bottle.With the quality of food available, we did not see the need to pay the small supplement for select dining, but did try the Indian (Sindhu) for lunch, which was well worth the small(£5) cover charge. The buffet style restaurants which are available 24/7, had good quality, but the ambience was not up to the club dining. The amount of food available, meant that we did not try the afternoon tea nor the midnight snacks.The choice of entertainment was such that you could not fit in everything that you wanted to see, even when the shows/entertainers had 2 or 3 shows a night. The highlight for us was the Playhouse, whose production standards and ability was equal to any West End show. They did 9 different shows over the 2 weeks, with 3 shows a night. Day time activities ranged from Bridge to Bingo, historical talks to horse racing, and Art and Dance classes.Being first time cruisers, we booked our Island tours with P&O. We may have been able to do it cheaper ourselves, but we were happy with the quality provided. Our favourite island was St. Maartens, particularly the French side.We were pleasantly surprised at the prices of drinks in the bars and restaurants, and even with room service we could buy a litre of Baileys for £12. We could even bring drinks on-board, which I believe is almost unique to P&O. Negatives:- Too many toilets were out of order, which created queues, particularly of an evening when everybody was about. It was too cold to sit for 2 hours at the out door cinema on the top deck.Since we came back, we have been haunting our travel agent, to book another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Got on aboard the Azura,was amazed how big the ship was,clean and tidy,the room was suffifient,next time would have a balcony.The staff were absolutly brilliant,so hard working,some people took them for granted!Always had a smile on their ... Read More
Got on aboard the Azura,was amazed how big the ship was,clean and tidy,the room was suffifient,next time would have a balcony.The staff were absolutly brilliant,so hard working,some people took them for granted!Always had a smile on their faces,nothing too much trouble,esp in the dining areas,we had our two regular waiters.The food was excellent,so much choice and you can have as much as you want,the chefs work really hard behind the scenes. The entertainment was really good too,esp The Healiners,they work really hard and do 3 shows a night,Fudge and TJ had voices that you would expect to see in a west end show,!,we went to the 8.30 showing and found you had to queue to get a good seat! And some people just pushed in front of you! And had their regular seats! No manners at all!Jane curry was a singer and was really good,and Ricky K was very funny also,didnt think much to the rest of the live entertainment,esp the comedian!Now for the people on the ship! Very miserable,no manners,rude,arrogant,stern faced,if some forced a smile,they would crack their faces!,and considering the majority of the passengers were in their lates 70s they still manged to run and get seats for the next shows! Pathetic!The ship seems to cater more for the entertainment of older people,what about people between 40- 65?We spent 5 days at sea,and think it was far too long,would have liked to stop off at more ports.The excursions could have been longer also. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had never thought about cruising until we met a couple whilst on holiday in Cuba that had done a couple of cruises and got us thinking. We checked several travel companies for quotes and then went to our usual travel agent to see if ... Read More
We had never thought about cruising until we met a couple whilst on holiday in Cuba that had done a couple of cruises and got us thinking. We checked several travel companies for quotes and then went to our usual travel agent to see if they could match or better one we got off the internet, we wasn't disappointed when they came up with a Caribbean cruise with Princess cruises.We did as most people do check tripadvisor and other forms of reviews and to be honest some of them scared me and i was begining to wonder what we had let ourselves in for, but in hind sight i didn't need to worry.Our holiday started with our flight from Birmingham airport and we soon found out that everyone on our flight was going to be on the cruise aswell.The check in so quick the best we have ever experienced. We got chatting to a lovely couple at the airport that had done several cruises, they were also sitting by us on the plane.The flight was superb, staff very attentive and smiling, we had paid extra for premium upgrade but worth every penny. When we arrived at Barbados everything was done with military precision, from getting off the plane right through to boarding the ship and getting to our cabin and having our cases delivered to it. We have heard that other flights were not so lucky as us. We decided to familiarise ourselves with the ship rather than go back ashore and go round Bridgetown, plus we were not sure of the protocol at this point.The Sea Princess was beautiful, spotlessly clean very much a WOW!We had booked anytime dining and on the first night we went to the Rigalleto restaurant, we were taken to a table for 8 people and were not served until it was full which took a while and caused ourselves and others to miss the important emergency drill as we were told there would be another later but this wasn't true. We used the Horizon Buffet restaurant after this which we found fantastic, the service, choice of dishes etc, on a couple of times we used the Corniche when we fancied Italian.The entertainment was good and Marvin, Kez and the others worked hard to keep everyone entertained and boy did they entertain you, Marvin only had to give one of his looks or poses ( when he saw anyone with a camera) and you were in fits of laughter. The island party night they put on was out of this world with music from the ship's band 'Magnitude', we went to the theatre every night to see a show and was never disappointed especially the show the crew put on, although the DVD didn't sound anything like the actual show did.Our cabin steward was named Elric and he was always smiling and kept our cabin spotless and changed the towels twice a day. At night he always put 2 chocolates and the Princess Patter on the bed after he had turned it back, it's the little touches that mean so much.Most of our trips we did ashore except Jamaica as we were advised by others that had been before to book with the ship and go with them which we did. There were 2 places we didn't like and that was due to the locals pestering us and not taking no for an answer, at which they became a bit intimidating so we went back on board and spent the day on deck and in the pools. Our favourite place was Tortola and the visit to Cane Garden beach, although Tobago, Bonaire and ST Ktts was also lovely, Aruba was very cosmopolitan and very expensive mainly jewellery and designer shops, Grand Caymen was also very nice.The security on boarding and dissembarking the ship and around it at each port was first class. They seemed to take passenger safety very seriously as when we were in port they were always doing some drill or another with the crew and there was always someone painting the exterior of the ship.To sum this review up it was FANTASTIC and something we would definately do again. Our only downside for this review is that we were told that Princess cruises are no longer going from Barbados and that they are mainly going from Fort Lauderdale which we were told IS A NIGHTMARE, so we will not be doing that.One last thing you are given the option to opt out of the daily Gratuities except for hotel/bar bills which we did and just left tips for specific people you can save a fortune doing this and you know the ones that matter get their reward. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My husband and I sailed on the wonderful Thomson Dream on 3rd March 2011. The main reason for booking this was for the three days that we would be spending in Havana, Cuba, besides the many other beautiful Caribbean Islands also included ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the wonderful Thomson Dream on 3rd March 2011. The main reason for booking this was for the three days that we would be spending in Havana, Cuba, besides the many other beautiful Caribbean Islands also included in the two week itinerary. Having had such an amazing time on this ship, which was perfect for us, when we next cruise we will ensure that it is on Thomson Dream again. The staff are so friendly, polite and efficient; the nightly broadway theatre shows are outstanding; there are so many varied comfortable seating areas; and the tasty food is varied, plentiful and to a high standard. As for Havana if you are planning to visit this fantastic place, and you want to experience a city tour in your own classic car, look out for a bright pink Chevrolet. Roger, the driver, took us on a fascinating tour of old and new Havana. He stopped to let us take photos, and he also took many photos of us together. This one and a half hour tour was our Havana highlight, which we will always remember. Such happy memories of our Cuban Adventure on board Thomson Dream. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Myself, My husband and friends returned from a fantastic experience on the Thomson Dream, this was our first cruise where we had a great holiday, we did the Cuban Adventure. From the minute we started our holiday all of our needs were ... Read More
Myself, My husband and friends returned from a fantastic experience on the Thomson Dream, this was our first cruise where we had a great holiday, we did the Cuban Adventure. From the minute we started our holiday all of our needs were catered for, we took an all inclusive package which was excellent value for money, everything was great, the food was varied with a choice of buffet to silver service - we used both of these which we found to be excellent.The cabin was spacious and kept immaculately clean by our Cabin Stewardess, Leonor she was a fantastic lady who was always friendly and cheerful and treated us well throughout our holiday, at various times we had towels made up as elephants, mice, monkey's etc - this was lovely and made our stay personal to us - she was just great.The service in the bars, restaurants and poolside was second to none, all of the waiters and bar staff were great, by the end of the first week the waiters in The Medusa Lounge had my my husband and his friends drinks and seats ready and waiting for them, again Tony one of the Bar-tenders was so polite and courteous and had a great rapport with all of us along with the rest of the bar staff.The waitresses were great, special thanks to Sockie who was fab, she interacted with all of us and whenever she could see that we needed anything she was there and ready to get anything we required, this also went for Johanlynne and Carol - Great Work Ladies!The entertainment was fantastic, with the Broadway Show team performing some great shows throughout the two weeks of our holiday, this was like going to the theatre every night. The entertainment staff were approachable and friendly while we stayed on the dream.The Captains story's made you laugh these were something else. Overall, we had an absolute ball on The Dream, it was a dream holiday for us, we were celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary so we wanted something special and this certainly was a special holiday.The Ports that we visited were beautiful with the weather brilliant! My friend and I did a Dolphin trip in Honduras where we went in with the Dolphins - this is not to be missed "what an experience".As a group of four, we had read some of the previous negative comments from past passengers before we went on holiday, we were worried about these however for anyone who is going on The Dream in the future be assured you will have a fantastic holiday as we did, you will never please all of the people all of the time, some comments made are so negative, I really do not know what expectations some people have however ours were totally met!Thanks to all of the staff on the Ship - All of you made our holiday "Superb" absolutely "A Dream Holiday"!Lynne & Scott MushetHoliday: 03.03.2011 - 17.03.2011 Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was my first cruise and it did not meet my expectations in any shape or form. I travelled along with other family members, some who were first-timers and a few which had been on the Thomson Island Escape cruise previously. Those who ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it did not meet my expectations in any shape or form. I travelled along with other family members, some who were first-timers and a few which had been on the Thomson Island Escape cruise previously. Those who did previously cruise on the Island Escape had many positive things to say about it, so I expected The Dream to be even better and more exceptional. My expectations were however, a delusion. Now where do I start? Well, my family and I were told by Thomson staff that the The Dream was a completely new ship, when in fact it is an "old lady" still trying to stay on it's two-feet and is over 20 years old. That is anything BUT new for a ship! And it clearly showed how bad it was when we were cruising. The ship's stabilisers were clearly ruined and could not deal with the sea's waves making the journey to other islands a very unsteady and discomforting experience; put it this way, it was as though we were travelling in a rocking boat similar to that of The Pirates of The Caribbean. The flight experience was not a good one at all. There was a flight delay due to some maintenance problems this of course was very typical of Thomson as they are rarely on time, I know this from my previous experience with them. So, therefore, we were 2 hours late when we arrived in the Caribbean, missing 2 hours of our holiday which could have been spent by visiting Barbados. So the first port we visited was in Barbados, of course. Our experience in this port was nothing to boast about, being that we were literally pushed onto the ship due to flight delays stopping us from even experiencing anything off the port once we made our way there from the airport in Bridgetown, Barbados. The only thing I can say which was satisfactory, is that the ship left on time that night for its way to Grenada the following day. Once my family and I were beginning to make our way to the ship, a whole heap of other passengers practically pushed their ways onto the ship as quickly as possible as if the ship would leave without them! There was no clear order for passengers to embark the ship, it was basically a "dog-eat-dog" moment. When we finally got on to the ship we had to check-in and there was no clear order/queuing system in use, I was appalled by the check-in system as the check-in staff were allowing other passengers to push in front of others waiting before them and I happened to be one of those unfortunate people being ignored whilst other passengers were being told to come forward to check-in. Though, I believe it was due to my young-looking appearance (I'm 18), they maybe thought I was a kid in the way (so to say) but they could have inquired and not ignored me. There was definitely a lot of ageist discrimination from the staff on the ship (this excludes the cabin steward staff and MOST of the bar staff, not ALL). The check-in staff did not do their job well at all, when I finally managed to get someone who was willing to check me in along with some of my family, the check-in worker took a photo of each of us which would help to identify us with our security card we were about to receive however she got my sister and I's security/on board spend card mixed up and I didn't know of this until I was disembarking the ship one day where my card was scanned and my sisters image popped up instead for me and vice versa for her. This was very inconvenient as we got confused about who's card was who's and who had spent what amount of money on which card. I was quite disappointed that there was no welcome meeting when we first entered the ship, we were just expected to know it all straight away. The only help we received was from the polite cabin stewards who directed passengers to their rooms. There was nothing whatsoever for young children to do, particularly below the age of 12. The only area where children could play was in the dated games room which had mediocre old machine games which appeared as though they were saved from the 90's. Also I never heard, not even one announcement about children's activities. All the announcements I heard were for the Broadway Lounge's night shows which obviously was not aimed at young people but more specifically people over the age of 30 and particularly aimed at 50+ year olds. Announcements were made also for so called "Game Shows" and musicians in the Medusa Lounge, which again was aimed at an older group of people. The best part of the whole cruise experience was getting off the ship to visit islands, though we had disruptions in ports we were visiting and the captain was making some very silly decisions about which order to visit ports as he was going back on himself visiting an island which he passed already the previous day. Don't even get me started on the food! The food was nothing short of horrendous. Lacking taste and texture. The self service food on Deck 9 and 11(in the day) we're anything but tasty, you could be fortunate to find one thing at least that you may like but don't be expecting to like the majority. The Orion restaurant on Deck 4 looked the part but was very misleading as there was a high quality decor of the restaurant, leaving you to believe you were in for a treat but the food was very low quality and at times inedible. Also the stench on Deck 4 of raw sewage, added insult to injury when eating. Though, in the Orion, you won't be losing any money because thankfully it is free and so I should think so, due to the money put into the holiday in the first place! Now we take a worse turn with the Grill restaurant on Deck 11(at night). This is the paid restaurant of £20.00 per person. My family and I booked a table for the night and was completely disgusted with the food presented to us (and we were expected to pay for this rubbish!), 2 members (out of 11) of the family were physically sick and had to sleep it off, whilst others were just feeling nauseous. The outdoor eating area was also a big disappointment (outside Deck 9 & 11), the chefs were very impatient when making up cheeseburgers for customers so the meat was very rare and therefore not safely cooked, but if you look around the area where the food is served, it has a notice stating that as a UK health and safety issue the meat has to be wholly cooked, this of course was completely ignored by the chef when cooking burgers. I checked my own cheeseburger and noticed it was very pink so that of course was a waste of my time and a waste of food as I had to tell the chef to cook my meat thoroughly with a fresh new burger and this outdoor food area is aimed at young children! I would hate to think of any young children falling ill due to the impatience of the outdoor chef. As a summary for the food I will say: if anyone thinks the food on the ship tastes great, they clearly can't detect quality food. The cabins on the ship were very small along with VERY SMALL beds. The toilets were VERY easy to block with a slight amount of tissue and had to be fixed every 2 days, there were however fixed very quickly when reported to at reception. The entertainment on the ship is very dull and I don't recommend it to anyone who is used to viewing quality performances. The current actors and actresses are not very believable and appear to have as much knowledge on drama as a high school student for the first time. The game shows are very cheaply put together as a tacky slide-show and does not appeal to most as I could tell from my experience on the ship. Children's safety was not fully protected as a group of school children from Montego Bay (around 14-16 years old) came on to the ship snapping pictures of people which did include young children and is not acceptable as I was told by a rep on the ship that people younger than 18 cannot have footage or images of them taken without the permission of an adult if the footage/images will distributed outside the ship. I was very disappointed in the way the situation was dealt with as no one did anything to stop them taking pictures and I have no idea what could happen or be done with the pictures being taken without permission. The port and shore excursions were unbelievably expensive and not worth it. The locals on the islands pressure you into going somewhere just so they can get money and more than half of them cannot be trusted so you have to watch out who you decide to go on an excursion with. I wouldn't pre-book for a TOUR excursion from home because you can pay for them when you get to the island and it may be cheaper. I was not satisfied with most of the ports at all, for example we were at Montego Bay port at the wrong area, so you couldn't walk past the port area without having to be pressured to pay a large sum of money to go to the city area of Jamaica. Also it was free for the ship to dock there due to it being such a bad area for tourists. It was basically: the cheaper Thomson can dock for, the less suitable it was for it's customers. All Thomson are thinking about is how much money they can take from their customers and how much money they can save by docking the "Thomson Dream" ship in bad areas where there are little shops for tourists. Disembarking the ship was always a problem as I said earlier my sister and I's security/on board spend card was mixed up with the wrong picture for each others name. We reported the fault to reception but they had no clue what was going on. Though after 5 days our cards were fitting the same image for the same person's name, miraculously, but it wasn't the end of the card problem. When I finally was about to leave the ship for good (Thank God) my card was scanned and it showed up on the computer as "bill not settled" so I apparently owed money for something. The same thing happened with another family member of mine. We were both charged for drinks we did not consume, so be warned for the possibility of card cloning or incorrect bills being signed in your signature's font by the bar waiters. And make sure cabin stewards report to reception that you have removed all drinks from your mini bar in your room (if you choose to do so). The captain Torston Olbrich was anything but interesting when he droned about his sea stories. He was in his element when we were at sea and the sea was rough but not everyone was enjoying it, also he would slow down to make the journey longer so we were at sea longer which was very annoying. Most of the staff on the ship were friendly but there were the odd few who got impatient at times and could not handle serving 2 drinks for one on-board spend card which I found to be very inferior of skills. So if you wanted to order yourself and a friend or family member a drink from your on-board spend, the bar staff would be very confused in handling the situation. Don't get me wrong though, there were some very nice bar staff but then you had your stone-faced ones too. I'd say the male bar staff were much more kinder than the women with the exception of Monica, Cieva and Andrea who were very nice. The male bar staff who I found to be the most kind were: Lito, Mohammed, Benjamin, I Made, Enrico and Blanco. That's about it I believe or I have forgotten names but most of the ones I haven't mentioned, particularly the women did not have nice attitudes. To end it on quite a good note my cabin steward Ronald was exceptionally kind and attentive. I hope he gets paid enough for his hard labour. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our first cruise and after reading the other 2 reviews on the same cruise I felt that it needed a positive light thrown on it. We completely and utterly enjoyed the experience on the Thomson Dream. We tried to go on the trip ... Read More
This was our first cruise and after reading the other 2 reviews on the same cruise I felt that it needed a positive light thrown on it. We completely and utterly enjoyed the experience on the Thomson Dream. We tried to go on the trip without any pre conseptions of what to expect. Yes we read the good reviews and the bad but we always like to look at holidays from our own perspective. The ship - if anyone were to do their research it would tell them it is an older ship but we found that the cabin was v nice and modern and a decent size. I would agree with comments that the look around the rest of the ship was a little more dated but feel that it suits the age of the ship. Ultra modern wouldn't fit. The entertainment was on the whole very good and if anyone saw the Stephen Guy late night songs thing, I thought he was exceptional. The food on the ship was very good, you could choose the way you wanted to dine whether it be buffet or a sit down meal which gives u plenty of choice. I don't think there was any food that I put on my plate that didn't get eaten and my wife, who can be one of the pickiest eaters in the world, even enjoyed it. I think you have to remember that if you eat at the buffet you have to rate the food against other all inclusive resorts and for me it is right up there certainly comparable with the 5* Awali Heritage in Mauritius we stayed at last year (comparing the buffet restaurants). Just a note with the sunbeds if your up and about before 9 you shouldn't have a problem getting one, we didn't.Excursions - now I know these will come down to what if affordable and they things you like to do but for me these made the Holiday extra special and meant we got to see the islands. We did river tubing in Grenada, 4x4 tour in Aruba, Jet ski Adventure in Curacao and the Dunns river falls with zip line and bobsled. We had looked up before we went to what excursions could be done and budgeted for them. We did however overspend but we are so glad we did. The views, experiences and fun we had will live long in the memory.In summary I'm sure if like with any holiday if you look hard enough you can find problems and issues but for me this was certainly one of the best holidays I have been on!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Being first time cruisers my wife and I spent many hours researching seeking advice reading reviews on - time of year,area,length of cruise,cruise line and Ship.We settled on a Caribbean cruise in February on the Azura. The ease and ... Read More
Being first time cruisers my wife and I spent many hours researching seeking advice reading reviews on - time of year,area,length of cruise,cruise line and Ship.We settled on a Caribbean cruise in February on the Azura. The ease and speed of embarkation was incredible and our cabin with a balcony was very nice and as expected. The service we received in all areas was excellent and any more I would have felt uncomfortable and demeaning against the crew (but for the grace of God we could have found ourselves in their position) The choice of places to eat was varied- we however met a good crowd at set dinning for ten and stay with them.Overall the food was very good indeed. We were a little slow in trying to book the retreat on a sea day however with so much going on I think i would have found it difficult to to sit on a sun bed all day. Again varied entertainment which was excellent from the sail aways to concerts.How do the Headliners remember all their dance steps in some eight different shows and where do they put all their costumes and scenery? Prices very reasonable even the supplements for some dinning We went to dance lessons for the first time and a couple of the many lectures. Went to the gym a few times but could not use the running machine as at 6 ft 4 hit my head on the ceiling -thats my excuse anyway We planned the excursions from home and were pleased we did as this enabled us to get an over view of the many islands.However in future we would perhaps make our own arrangements at a couple of the ports. All 3000 passengers appeared to British and everyone we spoke to were very friendly.Yes it was a large ship but everyone could make their own different holiday from it. We will cruise again and if the Azura was the only ship to tick all the boxes then we would have no problem in sailing again on her Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Just returned 18/02/11 from the Thomson Dream and have had the most fantastic holiday. Being new to cruising we had no idea what to expect and after reading all the reviews since the day we booked in September 2010 we were travelling with ... Read More
Just returned 18/02/11 from the Thomson Dream and have had the most fantastic holiday. Being new to cruising we had no idea what to expect and after reading all the reviews since the day we booked in September 2010 we were travelling with a little trepidation but being in the holiday accommodation business and subject to Tripadvisor reviews ourselves we are well aware of how diverse guest expectations can be. Our arrival in Barbados went smoothly and we were soon aboard the Dream and settled into our cabin (without our luggage but this didn't stop us heading out to explore). First impressions, ship immaculate, no strange smells, (ever)!, no fraying or thin/worn carpets, some were brand new. Cabin 9024 Outside Plus Deluxe, ideal position on ship, large picture window with unrestricted view, privacy film so other guests could not see in, spacious, plenty of storage, bathroom with bath, power shower and large vanity unit with shelf to keep toiletries tidy. Washing line (handy for drying hand washed clothes). Large mirrors and comfortable seating areas. The king sized bed with crisp clean cotton bedding and 6 large pillows turned out to be one of the best we have ever slept in. Storage for suitcases and long evening dresses. Plenty of good quality towels . Air con worked perfectly and was not as noisy as some we have come across. Due to the travelling we were tired so retired for an early night, our luggage arrived at our cabin at 9pm - 7 hrs after us, this didn't cause much of an issue except you may want to pack some light clothing in your hand luggage. Needless to say the next day we were up bright and early giving us time to explore the ship. Grenada - Arrived 1 hour later than planned because of the late arrival of luggage, Barbados authorities fault not Thomson. We had booked a tour independently with Grenada Seasafaries after informing them we would be late they said they would ask the other customers booked on the trip if they would mind waiting for us (guests from American Cruise Liner) but due to time restraints they couldn't. However Suzanne one half of the husband and wife team hung on to meet us and offer her advise for alternative things to do. They do run 2 trips a day but as there were only 2 of us the afternoon trip wasn't feasible. She approached a local taxi driver to book us on a short tour of the island then a trip to the beach, however the amount he wanted to charge was she exclaimed, too excessive, although you can haggle the cost down, but she kindly offered to drive us to the beach via the scenic route. Further into our conversation we found out that her husband was from a town 4 miles away from our home town prior to them emigrating to Grenada 5 years earlier. After a fascinating short tour she dropped us at a wonderful scenic beach with sun loungers and umbrellas to hire at $5 each for the day. She recommended sitting on the beach opposite a restaurant called 'Umbrella' (that she said served fantastic food). It was our intention to have lunch here until we received a text message saying that they would run the tour at 1pm for us that day. And pick us up from the jetty off the beach. And WOW! what a start to our holiday if you enjoy a thrilling speed boat ride coupled with information about the islands history, vegetation, wildlife etc and snorkelling around the underground sculpture gardens (fascinating, think Anthony Gormley sculptures but underwater and more) we also had the added bonus of the artist of a couple of the sculptures giving us a personal tour. Just by chance he had asked to go out to inspect his sculptures that day. A perfect tour with such friendly people strongly recommended. www.grenadaseasafaris.com Back on board that evening we decided to dine in Orion. Throughout our cruise we sampled all the dining options (oops back to the gym tomorrow) * Breakfast Sirens or Lido loads of choice of everything from teas and juices, fresh fruits, cereals, continental and cooked breakfasts - no complaints * Also great for lunch (Freshly cooked pasta station, sauces cooked to your liking) a particular favourite with fresh salads and tasty baked potatoes. * Orion - Evening dinner choice of 5 courses small portions so you can manage all 5 with great service and plenty of choice. You can build up a great rapport with the staff here and they will reserve a table for 2 if you prefer to eat alone. Thanks to Hermie food waiter and Jess wine waiter, * Grill - Ate here twice I would say it was worth the extra, only if celebrating or if you prefer a smaller more intimate dining experience. The food was delicious but not a massive difference to Orion. Entertainment - As said many times before just amazing, talented team, don't miss the Dreams got talent nights - Wonderful! All inclusive - In our opinion well worth the extra, branded sprits 40ml measures, house wines, cocktails and attentive, constant service with a smile at all times. Gym - Oh yes we did!! Great selection of CV and weight res equipment. Classes and lectures on health and fitness available, sauna good. Internet - Used the computers in the Library £4 - 15 mins £13 - 60 mins need not be used in one session. Back to our itinerary we just loved waking up somewhere different and exploring the Caribbean. To summarise: Curacao - First port that is geared around shopping - explored the main street and back streets which showed a truer picture of how the locals lived. Not particularly impressed and took just a couple of hours at the most to see everything. Aruba - Dutch roots as above but much prettier and somewhere we could have spent more time. Same shops but with more variety and better quality. We spent the morning shopping and the afternoon on the beach. Walk to the right when you get to the high street and along to the Marina then to the waters edge here you will find the iguanas basking on the rocks and a hotel owned beach with swimming pool and sun loungers that you are free to use. Nice swim up bar in the pool but don't swim in the man made lagoon it is dirty and slimy thanks to the non flowing sea water. If you walk further along the shore there is a lovely beach with loungers to rent but we stayed and used the hotel's facilities. Columbia - Missed out - reason given, past customer preference and feedback that Columbia was disappointing whether or not this was correct we were unsure, lots of differing reasons given by other guests. However in our and many other guests we spoke to there was nothing at all to do at Margarita Island which is where we stopped instead and their preference would have been Columbia. Jamaica - Did the hot spots bus tour where you can jump off and on the bus at 4 stops. Did the first 3 and ventured into town alone but did feel a little inconspicuous and nervous and we were pestered quite a bit putting us off looking at the shops and stalls. If only they realised that if they were less demanding we would most likely buy instead of walking away. There is a lot of poverty and we were offered marijuana more than once (we declined!) the air is thick of the smell of it in places even on the popular tourist beach where we spent the afternoon. The bus ride back to the boat was fun with raucous singing along to the loud reggae music with the driver and our fellow American passengers. Grand Cayman - Loved it and the second place we had booked a tour, this time independently with Fat Fish Adventures. Jet skiing out to Stingray City where we swam and fed the Rays this was a fabulous experience, then off to a snorkelling site full or colourful tropical fish, more rays, lobsters etc. Finally a good blast through the ocean and then a quiet amble through mangroves. This was well worth the money $165 for the 2 of us and was professionally run by experienced guide Ryan. Back into town in the afternoon stopped of at KFC these are a prominent feature on all the islands so we had to try one! Delicious and whilst eating in the shop front seating area we were accompanied by a mother hen and her chicks!!! They were tapping on the door with their beaks! then a local TV news crew turned up and filmed us all. Can't get much fresher than that! Shopping here best so far and Margarita Bar well worth a visit, great atmosphere and even a swimming pool and slide to cool off in. Will be returning as the beaches are picture perfect and the diving is supposed to be the best in the Caribbean. Honduras - Our final pre booked day out at the wonderful, heavenly Sante Wellness Spa, a private house on Parrot Cay Island in the most beautiful setting where we received a fabulous massage, facial, hand and foot treatment, delicious lunch and the chance to spend a few hours relaxing on their private garden paradise overlooking the sea. Bliss!! and we had the place to ourselves! Costa Maya - Great Port with shops, bars and swimming pool, lively friendly atmosphere. We booked onto a tour to the Mayan Ruins in the morning with a tour operator in the port for $30 per couple well worth the money, (smother yourself in mosquito repellent) In the afternoon we enjoyed a few hours at the fun packed Senior Frogs, the staff were crazy and very friendly and we had a hilarious time however I recommend you just order the nachos as the portion is massive and enough for two. We ordered a chicken platter and the food was deep fried and not up to much plus we were ripped off when paying by dollars as they convert it into their currency and the rate was extortionate!! Shame. Cozumel - This port was excellent and again we will return, it was more authentic and gave a good insight into Mexican life. Shopping tourist driven again but some good quality shops. We also found a family run Mexican restaurant, Casa Denis, the food here traditional and delicious. It is to the rear or the main square where there is a stage in the middle for evening entertainment. Apparently there are some gorgeous beaches and fantastic snorkelling opportunities here also. And Finally Havana - Funny one this, fascinating, eye opening, but strange, modern expensive cars alongside the old Cuban ones, desperately rundown areas, and on the outskirts larger luxury properties, not quite what you expect. We met some friendly people but some scary con artists that wouldn't leave you alone until you bluntly told them to. The black market is rife and we got the feeling of imminent change and rebellion against the communist regime. There is the feeling of anger and resentment of the freedom of tourists from some locals we met. At night Havana felt very safe and we found a great little traditional bar and restaurant La Bodeguita Del Medio a short walk from the port. Days at Sea - Yes its true you have to get up fairly early for a sun bed but your OK till about 10am there are still beds to be found and the staff will try hard to get you a sun bed. Guests are told not to reserve beds then not use them. There are plenty of activities and no reason to be ever bored. We can honestly say that we did not come across one of the complaints raised by past guests and realised that some comments are unjustified and simply ridiculous. Whilst at the same time we appreciate that past reviewers may have contributed to the present conditions on the Dream as staff members did admit to certain problems in the past, but we can assure you that they have worked hard to overcome these with success. We would not hesitate to recommend The Thomson Dream. Oh and many thanks to Kruzseeka we printed off your recommendations (forum) and they were very useful. Any questions we will be happy to answer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Due to a delay at Exeter we flew direct to Barbados which was a plus, we arrived at the due time despite the delay, it was nice to just get off the plane and be taken direct to the port at Bridgetown. On arrival we were pleasantly ... Read More
Due to a delay at Exeter we flew direct to Barbados which was a plus, we arrived at the due time despite the delay, it was nice to just get off the plane and be taken direct to the port at Bridgetown. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the check in was, and we were shown to our cabin directly. We had an outside cabin on deck 7 which exceeded our expectations, it was very spacious with enough drawer space and wardrobes. As we were tired we did not get off the boat when it docked the next day in Grenada. We liked the ship, we ate mostly in the Orion in the evening, we had lovely waiters Jeff and Lawrence who looked after us very well. We always headed for their corner of the dining room. We enjoyed the food very much, especially when we had the lobster at the gala evening meal. Ben our wine waiter was never far away, to top up our glasses when necessary. We did go to some of the shows, but we found them a bit loud, we did see two comedians, which we enjoyed. The best night by far was the Crew Show well worth going to, the dancers are brilliant, Hazel had the most amazing voice, but the star of the show for us was WILMAR! he has such a talent, we were in stitches, and even when we saw him at breakfast, he always had time to talk and make us laugh. The only downside for us was that we had to move cabin as ours had a leak, and we had no choice but to move out so that it could be repaired. We ended up on Deck 6 right at the back of the ship which was extremely noisy, our steward did manage to get the air conditioning turned down, but it was engine noise really that was overpowering especially when docking. We were determined not to let this spoil our holiday. We met some lovely people on our cruise, and we would not hesitate to cruise again, even on the Dream, we really enjoyed it. On disembarkation at Havana we were astonished to see the police outriders escorting us to the airport, quite amazing, we were going at some considerable speed throughout the journey and all the coaches were in convoy. Quite a sight. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Like many we flew out from East Midlands Airport with apprehension due to the mixed reviews received of the Thomson Dream - how wrong we were. 1st class entertainment every night (Steven Guy and his team deserve all the plaudits. ... Read More
Like many we flew out from East Midlands Airport with apprehension due to the mixed reviews received of the Thomson Dream - how wrong we were. 1st class entertainment every night (Steven Guy and his team deserve all the plaudits. Dancing & Singing in the Broadway Theatre, and late night deck parties which our teenagers thoroughly enjoyed. Food was also excellent, particularly in the Orion where we had a great waiter each night called Kreuger. He often offered 2 helpings per course or extra ice cream etc. Similarly, our housekeeper Mary couldn't be faulted. The mainly Filipino crew were generally very courteous & friendly. The ship itself still needs some work doing on it - listing on the Atlantic coast of Cuba (where time was lost and caused Dominican Republic to be missed) and engine failure a little later when it looked like we may miss Tortola too but this time was recovered. Otherwise, the cabin was fine & spacious, everywhere was very clean and only picked up a sulphur-like smell on 1 evening. Would definitely try another cruise, maybe this time in the Med. The dream has an excellent team which I hope it manages to keep together. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
For many years my husband has wanted to try a cruise however I have not really fancied it, so it was the usual Caribbean/Med beach holiday 2/3 times a year. Our friends who have cruised on many occasions finally persuaded me that I ... Read More
For many years my husband has wanted to try a cruise however I have not really fancied it, so it was the usual Caribbean/Med beach holiday 2/3 times a year. Our friends who have cruised on many occasions finally persuaded me that I would enjoy the experience....and so we booked the Azura with them. We have just got back from a simply amazing holiday. From the very beginning at Exeter airport where we said goodbye to our luggage [we saw it again in our cabin] to the wonderful flight..we flew economy but the seats and leg room were the same size as previous times when we have upgraded, so well done Thomson's. Also all meals and drinks on board were free. We landed at Barbados and went through customs quickly then onto a coach and to the ship. Boarding was done in the most effortless way and as we only carried hand luggage it was so easy. FOOD... Simply fantastic....breakfast was served to you in dining room or help yourself in other dining areas. Everything for every body. Plenty of it. Food is available nearly all the time, from fruit, yogurt, to salads or hot. you also have grill bars and pizza bars all cooked fresh for you.. Bars/entertainment....So much to do if you wanted to on board, there is a full itinerary for all even if you did not want to disembark and see the various Caribbean islands [we visited all 8 islands] and it was superb. STAFF From your cabin attendant to your waiters and bar staff...these people work so very hard and they are cheerful and polite at all times. The entertainment staff are amazing and involve you in everything if you want to be involved. We saw shows, dancers, comedians plus did lots of quizzes etc etc ...too many to mention. We had a Caribbean night where we all dressed up in bright colours, also a 60s/70s night. Too many great nights to put here. SUMMING UP All in all we had a truly fantastic experience and we are looking forward to the next brochure coming out in April...[we paid £50 each on board to pre book another holiday with P & O ] this gives us extra on board spending which is a great help..also if, like me, you thought the drinks on a cruise ship would be very high, well let me tell you, they are on a par with most pubs. Hope this has helped any body who is a little unsure about cruising. We booked through Bath Travel who were wonderful.. Linda & David Woodward Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Being first time cruisers and also quite young we were unsure if cruising was for us so boarded the ship excited yet apprehensive. The procedure to check us in was straight forward and before long we were in our lovely cabin. We ... Read More
Being first time cruisers and also quite young we were unsure if cruising was for us so boarded the ship excited yet apprehensive. The procedure to check us in was straight forward and before long we were in our lovely cabin. We weren't expecting too much from our inside cabin but we were both very pleasantly surprised. The cabin was small but with careful use of all the space available,we had no problems. Everything was functioning and we had a great powerful shower and the lighting was homely. The itinerary that we followed was great, and despite a change half way through,this did not affect our enjoyment at all. The onboard facilities were fantastic - 2 lovely saltwater pools, 5 bars and restaurants and loads of activities and displays during the day and night. It has to be said that the cruise is made by the staff. They were simply fantastic. Our cabin steward was attentive and friendly and we had our room serviced twice a day. The bar staff are a huge asset - always friendly,smiling and completely dedicated to serving the passengers. The food was always tasty, varied and plentiful. There was always a show or a game to join in , or loads of different bands in each bar so something to suit everyone. I would highly recommend to THOMSON DREAM to anyone without a shadow of a doubt. My trip was already going great and then was topped off by a proposal on the bridge, okayed by the very approachable captain. While some more seasoned cruisers felt this boat was a little old and small we had absolutely NO complaints whatsoever. Do it- you'll love it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Having spent the previous four months planning our honeymoon and dreaming about it every minute of every day, I was sure that the SPV Royal Clipper could not live up to my very high expectations. Three days later I still have a high (as ... Read More
Having spent the previous four months planning our honeymoon and dreaming about it every minute of every day, I was sure that the SPV Royal Clipper could not live up to my very high expectations. Three days later I still have a high (as well as sea legs!) We spent our final night in the Executive Suite at the Barbados Hilton, and all we did was wish we were still on the ship. (P.S.The Hilton is very nice, though. I do recommend them as well.) Before I left, I had some concerns, so I'll address them as I imagine many of you reading this are in a similar age group or circumstance: Average age: Since my wife and I are 25 and 31 years old, we feared getting on a ship where the average age is (at least) 65. Truth be told, it was the best thing we could have done. There were several young couples on the ship and we formed close bonds, but we also found that we very much enjoyed hanging out with the older couples. They had much more in the way of interesting life stories, and all of them had very healthy marriages and very positive outlooks on marriage. You don't notice how down most people are on marriage until you're around people who treasure their own. It was very encouraging. These people are also not your standard cruisers. Each were adventure travelers and had no interest in being trough-fed on a huge floating Las Vegas. Eating with others: See above. We LOVED sitting with our new friends that were our age, but hearing about the adventures of our older counterparts and getting good solid advice from people who have made marriages work left us dreaming about what stories we'd have to tell when we reached retirement.Not to mention - older people like to buy younger people drinks. Sea sickness: On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd say most people at some point reached at least a 3, a few people got to a 5 or 6, and some people were full-blown 10s. HOWEVER, I would bet a lot of money that even the people who got the most sick would not even mention it in the conversation when asked about the cruise. It just wasn't a big deal at all. Make sure to bring some over the counter seasickness pills (NOT the prescription kind, which are gel bandages you put on your neck. They fall of when swimming.) Drinking/Nightlife: About 30% of the people on board are Brits, and we made quick friends as we defended our countries' honor by trying to hang with them. (We did.) You won't have any 3:00 AM parties, but I'd say there are at least 15 people out in the Tropical Bar until after midnight. Shopping: There weren't as many opportunities to shop as my wife would have liked. Most of the time we anchored off of a remote shore - most of the good shopping in located near major ports. Adventure/activities: Adventure is built into the ship. You can't help but feel like Jack Sparrow when the sails are up. Beach activities were great. Most people just laid there sunbathing, but many others went exploring (very remote beaches) or snorkeling either by themselves or with the resident Marine Biologist, Mariano. That was great because even an ordinary day of snorkeling was fascinating when he explained the details of seemingly trivial ocean creatures. Snorkeling on most days was fantastic, though! There were many other wonderful features of the honeymoon on-board the Royal Clipper in the Windward Islands, but I can't write about them all. Please contact me if you have any questions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011

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