We have cruised before with Thomsons on both Majesty and Celebration as well as cruising with P&O ships so consider ourselves to be seasoned cruisers. My friend is wheelchair bound (standard chair not electric) and is unable to get ... Read More
We have cruised before with Thomsons on both Majesty and Celebration as well as cruising with P&O ships so consider ourselves to be seasoned cruisers. My friend is wheelchair bound (standard chair not electric) and is unable to get out of it even for a few step. This has never stopped us cruising.
We have always had wonderful help from the crew embarking/disembarking, and from the Destination service teams in informing us what we could do at each port and assisting us to be independent, While we would love to go on some of the tours, unfortunately we have never found a tour bus which allowed wheelchair access. So with guidance we do our own thing and thoroughly enjoy our cruise.
Sadly our cruise with Thomson Dream was actually a nightmare. Don't take me wrong, we loved the ship and the crew couldn't have helped anymore if they tried, the ports weren't the best but we knew that before going, BUT...
Unlike all the other ships we have been on Thomson Dream does not have a ramp to get on/of the ship, it has stairs. On other ships crew members have always been trained in assisting wheelchair uses and they have generally always been available to help wheel the chair within a few minutes at our arriving at the gangway. On Dream due to it being stairs they needed 4 crew members to help with the chair, it was obvious right from the start that most who helped were not trained, and I constantly had to tell them which parts of the chair was safe for them to hold onto. She would often be swayed from side to side and it looked and felt extremely unsafe. At Colon we waited 40 minutes at the top of the gangway before they could find enough staff to assist and then 20 minutes at the bottom to embark, in intense heat, without shade or seating for me the carer. The crew were wonderful, always cheerful, but the organization was shambolics.
While the Destination Team may have been great helping those on tours, they had no idea for us the independent traveller. At Cartagena they suggested that we didn't go into town due to cobbles and that due to difficulties with taxi's we might not get back in time for departure, they also said that there was only a small café and Duty free shop at the port entrance so it might be better to stay onboard. Fortunately having by now lost any hope of them giving us relevant information, we decided to get of the ship and just have a walk around. At The back of the duty free shop was a wonderful nature park, with birds, iguanas and even a sloth. There was also a very large gift shop. We had a great time and passed this information onto others who were also unawares of this gem. At Colon we were told we could get taxis at the port gates, but what they failed to mention was that we were not allowed to walk through the port for safety reasons. We found that out by trying to and being stopped! We understand why we weren't allowed to walk through, but surely the Destination Team should have been aware of this!
We also had issues with the Reception who informed us that in order to get a wheelchair adapted taxi to get us back to the airport, all we had to do was go and ask them 30 minutes before the buses left. Knowing this was not how it was done on other ships I went back a further 3 times to be told the same. We arrived 1 hour prior to the buses leaving to be then told that the taxi should have been ordered days before.
Food good, entertainment (brilliant), crew extremely helpful. Organization hopeless, staff (those in destination services and on reception need training and different attitudes). My friend came away very upset, she felt that she was a burden to the crew and had felt humiliated. While going on/of other ships was done quietly, quickly and with dignity on Dream it was an absolute nightmare. Read Less