My wife and I have cruised before, many time on Ocean Village and we were looking for a reasonably priced cruise with informality. This ship and the cruise proved to fit both these. We took no part in the formal nights, nor did we eat in ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised before, many time on Ocean Village and we were looking for a reasonably priced cruise with informality. This ship and the cruise proved to fit both these. We took no part in the formal nights, nor did we eat in the formal dining room. That was our choice and suited us.
Overall the ship and the cruise was hard to fault. The cabin was very clean, comfortable and well maintained. The bathroom was a bit small and the loo itself was designed for a midget I think. There was a hairdryer supplied in the cabin and 2 electrical sockets (2 pin so adapters were needed) and a razor socket in the bathroom. There was plenty of drawer space and sufficient wardrobe space. Air con/heating worked. There was a safe in one wardrobe that you have to pay extra to use (sign of Thomson cheapness?). Our cabin steward seemed to work 24/7. If you left the cabin he popped in and changed the towels. He, and his colleagues were really friendly, always smiling. Nothing was too much, nor beyond them.
Food. Very important on a cruise. We ate mainly in the Lido which is a buffet service. No complaints about the food, except for the wife who would have liked a better choice of cold dessert. Fruit Salad for instance would have been nice, but that is only available at breakfast. as always, the staff are very quick, sometimes too quick, to clear away. It would be nice if they waited until both people at the table had finished a course before clearing rather than taking plates, cutlery, glasses away as soon as they touch the table.
We also ate in the Hot-Stones restaurant out side the Lido, which carries an extra charge. This is where you cook your own meat/fish on super-heated stones at your table. We enjoyed this. the staff were excellent, explaining everything and it was a great experience. The only complaint is the cost of a bottle of wine. £29 is a bit steep in some ways, but hey ho, we were on holiday.
We took the All-inclusive package at the time of booking. Upon arrival, there was a card in the cabin offering us an upgrade to AI Premium Package at another £70 PP per week. We declined. On checking the drinks menu, most of what we wanted was included in basic AI (bottled beers, bottled drinks, some premium brand spirits and cocktails were extra) and we certainly didn't go short. We had house wine by the glass with most meals and plenty of cocktails. Bar staff are great. That soon get to know you and your favourite drinks. If you are a smoker and are are a cruise which does not leave EU waters (our 2nd week for instance) they will try and sell you cigarettes (£4.50 for 200) as the ships Duty Free does not sell tobacco or spirits. Works out a good little earner for them.
The ship a a whole is very clean, maybe a little dated decor-wise in places, but otherwise very good. Plenty of toilets around the main public areas ( i noticed someone said there were too few) these were kept very clean. There were hand wash (gel dispensers) outside the toilets, and at the entrances to restaurants etc.
Sunbeds and Pools. There were 2 pools, 1 for Adults, and 1 for families (it was an adult only cruise), both small and this lets the ship down. They are surrounded by sunbeams, in fact all public open areas were jammed solid with sunbeams. The best ones were right up the top on decks 9 and 10. Be warned, unless you find one on the Promenade deck (deck 6) you have no chance of getting any shade.
Excursions. We only went on one, Venice Full Day, which we booked in advance. It rained that day, but that is not Thomson's fault. It was reasonably value for money. Thomson's let themselves down here as their website is inaccurate, there is discrepancy between the descriptions of excursions available and the actual booking part of the website. The staff on the excursion desk are keen to sell, but not really a lot of use for independent travellers. Come to that, nor are Reception. The printed info (ships paper and the destination maps) is adequate but could be improved upon. Most ports of call were easy going for finding your way around. Some involve a lot of walking up hill, some family flat. All had something of interest, except maybe Brindisi.
Entertainment. This is varied and you can take your pick.
Liberties (deck 6) had the Peakles, the ships resident band playing a lot of 60's, 70's and 80's music (Beatles, Blondie etc). They are pretty good. They also appear on the rear deck as well. Also Liberties is used for quizzes and game shows.
The Broadway is the ships theatre. Here you will see shows by the resident sound/dance troupe, and once a week a guest comedian. The shows are again pretty good, but not quite up to the billing given by Gavin the cruise director. My pet hate was his appearance at the end of every show, trying to make out that we had just watched the most fantastic show by the most fantastic performers in the whole of the universe. I for one do not need to be told to stand and applaud. If the show is good enough it will bring the applause it merits. Sorry Gavin, you are out of touch.
Hemmingways (the casino bar/lounge) is mainly used by the Pianist and the male singer - easy listening. Neither particularly talented, but they do a good job. As do the Duo in the Horizon Lounge on Deck 9. Inoffensive and makes good backgound music for an evening.
The other major gripe I have with the entertainment team id their lack of integration with passengers. You would often find them out on Deck 6 (Lido bar) where they would sit together. This includes Gavin and his assistant Paul and the other 'hosts' Only William who was new, seemed to want to sit and chat. The others just ignored the passengers other than when they were running a game/quiz. Best you got was a 'Hi, how's it going'' if you managed to catch their eye when passing.
We did not use the Gym or the Spa, nor did we use the Internet/Wi-Fi. Plenty of free Wi-Fi ashore.
Both embarkation and disembarkation were handled efficiently with minimum of delays.
Overall a good cruise, that suited our tastes and we would go again should the itinerary be right. That was the main reason for selecting this cruise, the itinerary was perfect. We love Croatia and Montenegro, especially Dubrovnik, and the wife wanted to see Venice. Read Less