We’ve just returned from a really lovely Aegean Meze cruise on the Dream, staying in one of the new balcony cabins. We booked quite late for this holiday. Quite new to cruising, we have sailed with Celebrity in the past and very much ... Read More
We’ve just returned from a really lovely Aegean Meze cruise on the Dream, staying in one of the new balcony cabins. We booked quite late for this holiday. Quite new to cruising, we have sailed with Celebrity in the past and very much like it, but the Meze fitted in with our timescale. So it was our first cruise with Thomson/Marella, although we have in the past enjoyed excellent package holidays with Thomson. So in spite of some poor reviews of the ship (which all companies receive from time to time) we were quite confident of having a good holiday and went with an open mind.
Now we are back home we feel we would definitely sail with Thomson/Marella again and are reluctant to rule out the Dream, but sadly, next time we would probably look for a ship with a wider range and location of balconies. The Dream is a lovely, well maintained, older style ship and the crew are second to none, with good food and a great itinerary. The vast majority of people seemed to be having a wonderful time and so did we. I must emphasize how much we both enjoyed the cruise. But we always choose a balcony cabin, and the problem was that the new balcony cabins had been placed towards the back of the ship, presumably over where the engines are. That’s why we noticed a fair bit of vibration at night and this seemed to be amplified by the metal or whatever the fabric of the walls and ceiling was, which tended to rattle. My husband has hearing aids and once they were out the rattle did not seem to worry him, but I sometimes had trouble getting off to sleep. Noise from busy deck 8, where the shops and much of the entertainment is held, was not a problem because the cabins were down their own corridor, but the dividing walls of the balcony cabins were very thin and so it was possible to hear quite a lot from the next door cabins. I think that when everyone realised this, we all tried not to make much noise, so it wasn’t too bad. Also I am sure that there are people who have stayed in these cabins and who have not noticed any problem, but our experience is as above. Otherwise, the cabin had plenty of space and was clean and well kept.
It’s worth noting that towards the midship and the front, there was no vibration so I am sure that any cabins sited here would be better from the noise point of view, if you are not bothered about having a balcony.
A more detailed review is as follows:
BOOKING: We had booked by telephone, which brought us to the Manchester office and the girls there were really efficient! That was a really good first impression. If they had to find something out, they would ring us back which was most helpful. When booking cruises with Cebrity, we have had to hang on for ages while something was checked out, or be passed from one operator to another. Not so with Thomson. Everything was sorted out to our satisfaction and the paperwork received promptly. Wonderful. We would definitely book again with them!
TRAVEL: It was the first time we had done a fly-cruise as we normally sail from Southampton, but the journey went well. Living in Norfolk we could fly from Norwich, and found that at all stages of the journey to the ship there was a representative there to point us in the right direction. At Corfu we were directed to a coach straight away, handed over our luggage and were driven to the port terminus building where we checked in. We were on the ship less than an hour after the plane landed.
IMPRESSIONS OF THE SHIP: We had landed at dusk and it was dark by the time we approached the ship, which was all lit up and looking very attractive with its fairy lights. On entering we were greeted in a friendly way and the ship was spotless. We went straight to the cabin for a brief moment before heading off to the dining room and our cases were just arriving. We always choose to have a balcony as it gives us a bit of private space and we like to see the sea. So we had been delighted to be able to book one on the Dream as there are only a few of them. It was of a good size and very clean and sweet smelling, kept pristine by Bambang, our lovely and friendly attendant. The shower was of a good size and with a sliding door. The bed was large and there was plenty of hanging and drawer space. So far so good. There was a lot going on on the ship with a good band, the Top Men, playing for the sailaway, too loudly for us codgers but talented nonetheless. In the dining room and elsewhere we loved the older, retro type of fittings and brass light shades and fittings. In other reviews, remarks have been made about rust and smells, but to us the ship looked well maintained, spotlessly clean and not offensive to the nose. The ship appeared “old style” (rather than “old”, meaning past it, as some reviewers have alleged). There was also a lovely promenade deck to walk on. We did not use the pools or the sun loungers, but there appeared to be plenty of the latter around the ship. There was always cleaning going on and everything gleamed.
STAFF: I cannot speak too highly of the staff and the crew. Everyone was really lovely, friendly and helpful and intent on making our holiday the best. We would certainly sail with Thomson, or Marella, again for this reason alone, if not on the same ship.
OTHER PASSENGERS: Whereas on our Celebrity cruises we have sailed with a multinational crowd, which is also nice, on the Dream they seemed to be mainly Brits from all corners of the UK with a mixture of families, it being half term, younger and older couples. There was a really nice homely atmosphere and nearly everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were some issues, I understand with the toilets, but the staff seemed to be trying to put them right as quickly as possible.
FOOD: It being mainly for the Brits, the type of food did mainly cater for the British, with choices such as lasagne or couscous salad which are nowadays part of British fare as well as the usual British grub. We don’t have any special needs so I couldn’t comment on those; but I have to say that we did eat extremely well, and most of the time we enjoyed our food as much as we have done on the Celebrity ship that is renowned for its dining. We did note the absence of anything like a themed evening, for example for Greek or Turkish food during the cruise, seeing that we were visiting these countries, but we did come home several pounds heavier anway! We did not bother with any of the speciality restaurants, mainly eating in the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch (very good) where we always got a seat without any trouble and in the main dining room for most dinners, which were on the whole very good, the waiters working extremely hard.
ENTERTAINMENT: There is a lot of talent on board with the resident band, and the duos Two Intense and Heart to Heart, who performed around the ship. Also I really enjoyed the young singing/dancing group of 10 guys and girls, when they performed the show “Africa” on the last night in the theatre.
THE ITINERARY: The Aegean Meze itinerary was fabulous, and there were many great tours on offer which we thought were very good value and well organised. We visited Knossos on Crete, Delos from Mykonos, Ephesus and the House of Mary, from Kusadasi, and Athens from Piraeus, and they were all wonderful places. The weather was very kind to us, apart from thunderstorms on the morning we were in Kusadasi, but the rain soon cleared away. Our final stop in Katakolon we found to be really attractive and green, a good place to walk, with lots of interesting little shops and prices that were very reasonable to buy souvenirs.
We are back on Celebrity next year as we had already booked a cruise to the Baltic, however in the future I am sure we will be back on a Marella cruise. Read Less