Let me start by saying this was our honeymoon cruise and the first cruise my wife and I have ever been on, so I don't have another to compare it with,my views are as I found it.
This was from Birmingham direct to Barbados on the 787 dreamliner. This was an amazing experience, what a beautiful aircraft, roomy, plenty of entertainment on board and the seven and a half hour flight passed in no time at all.
TRANSFER TO SHIP.
Once the baggage was checked in at Birmingham, you don't see it again until it is placed outside your cabin door! so this was excellent. The 40 minute transfer from Grantly adams Airport to the ship was done on a coach that I honestly thought the gearbox was going to fall out of the floor at any moment! Each downward gear change was completed by an almighty CRUNCH! Very amusing!
Spotlessly clean, very well maintained, easy to move about, plenty of lifts, two jacuzzi's (outside) an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa room, a photographic studio and a gym. The ship also has an excellent medical/hospital facility as I found out when I unfortunately suffered quite severe motion sickness and dehydration. A real good doctor, and nursing staff. The ship has 11 floors in all, be careful which lift you get in though, as not all lifts cover all floors. My wife is registered disabled, and had no problem moving around the ship, we noticed several people in wheelchairs and using various walking aids with seemingly no problems, which is a credit to the ships layout. The only fault I could really find was that on the forth floor, where you have two bars, a theater and a restaurant there is NO TOILETS what so ever! and I do mean the entire floor including the bars/restaurant/theater, you had to go up or down a floor, which is really an astonishing over-sight!
Our cabin was on the second floor number 2552 which was an outside cabin (not a standard inside) It had plenty of wardrobe space and draws, a two seater settee, a nice sized TV which was on a bracket that could be pulled out and twisted, a good make-up lit up dressing table, good use of mirrors, a nice sized bed which was fairly comfortable. The shower/toilet room was a little on the small size, expect to make close personal friends with the shower curtain which stuck to you as soon as you touched it when wet! The room had good ceiling lighting and a nice touch was the overhead bed light strip and individual spot/reading lamps and wall bedside lamps both sides, which could be switched off either side of the bed. We had a lovely big window with a totally un-obstructed view of the sea just above the bed, it was lovely. Just one minor point though, on entering the room you will find a bottle of water, a small tub of pringles and a chocolate bar! my first though was "how thoughtful" but read the onboard booklet when you enter the room because you will find at the back of the booklet if you use the items you will be charged!!
DINING AND DRINKING.
We were on an "all inclusive" package, which I believe in July will be the standard. "all inclusive" covers the majority of drinks and available food but not all. I have two major issues with the package, the first one is, bottled water is NOT INCLUDED in the package, this means when you want bottled water you have to buy it. This is a cheap trick Thompson, here we were on a transatlantic cruise in hot temperatures, even in April, and was being charged for a basic essential such as bottled water. (The ships water contained chlorine which by law, it has too. personally I wouldn't drink it from the taps, and anyway, it's not really cold) Fancy an ice cream? you can get a free one between 12 noon and 2pm, otherwise again, you pay for it. Drinks not included in the package have a tiny (note tiny) * against their name, so you need to be careful on this one however, when ordering such a drink, you should be told by the server, that the drink is not included and you will be asked to sign for it, as it will go onto your ships account. There are many different bars with different themes. Some very relaxing, others have live entertainment, some have a disco. Finding something to your liking shouldn't be difficult. You will be offered on your first day a "drinks upgrade" which would in fact, cover all your drinks onboard, but I thought it was a ridiculous price and very unlikely worth the additional cost. Also be aware "all inclusive" is only from 10am to 2am, outside of these hours all drinks are chargeable.
Dining. The "islands" restaurant was a buffet style, which served breakfast, launch, afternoon tea and evening meal. Breakfast had a good choice of traditional full English, as well the continental type. The chief was also on hand to whisk you up an omelette of your choice. Dinner had a good selection of food and good variation from day, to day. Afternoon tea was very English, with scones, cream, jam, sandwiches and cakes. Evening meal also included a varied and wide selection of choice each day. A surprisingly big selection of tea's where on offer including the good old English, Yorkshire tea, as well as decaff tea and coffee throughout the day. Like all buffet style food, it's never really hot, but the plates were kept warm, and I noticed food regularly being temperature checked and replaced when out too long. I thought the food was actually quite good, and better than most buffet style you find in hotels.
"The snack shack" open from 07:00 - 10:30 and 11:00 - 18:00 is great for chips, burgers, fish bites, hot dogs, your general "junk food", but it was tasty. Sit down, or grab and go the choice is yours!
"Gallery 47deg on deck 5 is a waiter serviced Italian restaurant. I had the Lasagna. I have to be honest and say, if you are in anyway a connoisseur of good Italian food, you are going to be disappointed by this place, my Lasagna had the consistency of a suet pudding! but whilst on the subject of puddings though, the tiramisu consisted of 3 small glasses of different variations and styles of the desert, which in fact, were lovely. So there you go!
"47deg on deck 4 is also a waiter served restaurant, with a la carte menu, but as we didn't get around to trying this restaurant, I can't comment on it. Both this and the one on deck 5 is free to use, on the all inclusive package.
"surf and turf restaurant cost £25.00 a head. Kora La, an Indian restaurant, costs £19.00 a head. The Sushi bar is also a restaurant which is chargeable to your ship account. Non of these restaurants were tried, so again, it would be unfair to comment on them.
Fancy a fancy coffee? then the coffee bar is for you, but note it's chargeable to your account. (untried).
If you are feeling lucky, or wish to be parted from your money rather quickly, there is a casino you may wish to try.
If you are expecting West end shows with big household name's you are going to be extremely disappointed. The ship has a great theater with stepped up seating from row to row, so you can see the stage from anywhere you sit. The ships entertainment team but on two shows a night (choose whether you want to go to the early or later show there both the same) each night had a different show on for example songs from the musicals, former rock star legends, a medieval show (very funny) operatic, dance shows of various kinds. The show team I found, were talented, and eager to please, with good voices and dance routines well choregraphed. great costume design and set, along with excellent lighting, sound system and special effects made each performance give a professional feel to it. My only thought really was, once you had seen three shows and was familiar with each performers individual talents, the only thing that changed from night to night was the actual show they did, but maybe that's a bit harsh on the team who were very enjoyable to watch.
There is a piano bar with a good player and a reasonable voice, a great saxophonist, a good lively group called B12, another good group were "vitality." there was a disco bar, occasional karaoke, a moonlight outdoor cinema show, throughout the day there was quiz shows. Generally there was something going on somewhere on the ship both day and into the early hours.
Well, where do I start, a climbing wall, a mini golf course, a room where you have to solve puzzels to break out within an hour, dance classes, learn to play a ukulele, a gym, a running track which covers the perimeter of the ship, four laps and you've done a mile! a shuffle board, slot machines, games room, there really is something for everyone.
This is where this ship scores massively. Everyone from the chambermaids who clean and tidy your room twice a day, the general cleaners who clean the public area's, the bar staff, the waiters, even the senior ships officers and the captain himself all greet you with a big smile, a cheery "good morning/afternoon/evening/night" everyone who is part of this ships staff, whatever roll they provide are a credit to Thompson's. Now I am aware, people have commented differently, but I can only say as I found. Everyone seemed perfectly honest, wanting to please, and willing to go that extra mile to make your stay as enjoyable and comfortable as they possibly could, and I do mean literally all staff.
PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS
We boarded in Barbados then went to St Lucia, Antigua, Funchal, Malaga, Ibiza and our journey ended in Palma Majorca. At each of the stops a varied program of excursions were available, the excursions team were happy to explain about each event and most important to us, the suitability of it taking into account my wife's disabilities. At a lot of the ports they even had a free bus which would take you into the center of the resort and make return journeys every hour, a lot of people took advantage of this preferring to do there own thing, rather then stick to a set pattern. I feel I must point out one thing. When we were in St Lucia, non of the organised events were suitable for us grabbing a wheelchair, I decided to take us for a little stroll a few blocks beyond the port. We walked through a shopping center and onto the street. This seemed a poverty stricken shanty town. We were immediately hassled by locals wanting to take us places or buy there cheap unattractive gifts. We crossed a road onto another even worse looking area, we only good a few yards when we were stopped by a local woman police officer who showed us her ID card she said and I quote, "It's not safe around here, I would strongly advise you to turn back" seeing the frightened look on my wife's face she said "don't panic, I'll walk you back to the shopping center from there you can go back to your ship"
we needed no second invitation. Thomson's do your home work, if you know an area isn't safe then warn people about it please.
This was some sort of sick joke. The night before you were given luggage labels and told to put your name, cabin number and return flight number number on it, you were also given some vert sticky security tape to stick over the zip opening of your case, and leave your case outside your cabin by 3am so it can be removed by the departure staff.
Well when we got off the ship in the morning, all the suitcases were outside in a big parking lot. Now different flights had different coloured labels, but three different flights had the same colour code! Now there was 1'600 passengers on this ship, a heck of a lot of labels had been ripped off or fell off moving them, the departure crew didn't seem to know what was happening and couldn't direct people to where they thought their case might be, it was absolute chaos and confusion.
This was possibly not the best cruise to pick for our very first cruise experience. Crossing the Pacific ocean at 18.5MPH taking 6 whole days at sea without stopping of course, seemed like a romantic honeymoon dream. The reality was very different, at times the Pacific can be choppy, especially at night. Some parts of this cruise were indeed good, others parts left a lot to be desired. Read Less