We travelled to Mo'Bay on the Dreamliner from Gatwick Airport. After a lot of fluffing with the immigration cards the transfer to the ship was quick and getting boarding cards etc for the ship was easy too. A couple of members of the ... Read More
We travelled to Mo'Bay on the Dreamliner from Gatwick Airport. After a lot of fluffing with the immigration cards the transfer to the ship was quick and getting boarding cards etc for the ship was easy too. A couple of members of the Thomson Team (well, they were in uniform) were quite clearly in a relationship and behaving in an amorous way while working we didn't think was appropriate!
Anyway, we went off to find out room (on Deck 5) which was clean & serviceable. The Bunk beds were already made up for our children & our Cabin Steward Ariana was lovely. Muster drill takes place at 7pm local time (which by this point is 1am UK) so our children were already deliriously exhausted. We didn't attend the 'Sail-away' Party as it didn't start until 10pm - too late for us (with the long day of travelling and the time difference). We retired to our cabin shortly after the Muster Drill.
The next day was our youngest's birthday & we thank Ariana for his assistance in styling her bed & putting up with birthday balloons in the cabin while he did his job. This was a sea day so we set about familiarising ourselves with the ship.
The Itinerary was our primary reason for booking this particular cruise (Cuban Fusion) visiting Mexico, Cuba & Grand Cayman. We did book an excursion to Stingray City in GC. Although the representative on the ship twice got the different excursions wrong so we ended up getting an earlier tender to shore, then had to wait 45 mins in the port in the heat! That aside the excursion was lovely, different - although expensive, thoroughly recommend it! We did enjoy just wondering around Cozumel, although there is little there we were originally due to dock at Playa De Carmen but this was changed (Thomson finally got around to telling us this 6 weeks after we discovered the change ourselves!!)
Our children did attend kids club some times, but it is with the children that we felt the ship was lacking. Due to ratios of under 8's on busy days our children had to attend separate clubs, so as one would leave the kids club another would go (our children are 5 & 11) - not exactly what we had expected! The time of the sessions varied, but generally it was Breakfast Club 9-11am (apparently they would collect your children from the cabin), 2-4pm then again in the evening but not until 8-10pm. The kids club room was spacious and brightly decorated. But they were very much confined to the room which was on deck 8 at the rear of the ship. There was no 'Disco' for them, although they did once do a PJ Movie evening. I didn't see the kids club staff outside of the club (apart from when they were eating) there was no engaging with the children. getting the excited about events (what events?!) The kids club sessions didn't correlate with the shows on the ship (they didn't start until gone 9pm) which anyone holidaying with young children didn't stand a chance of seeing a show unless its with a cranky child wriggling on their laps. They did enjoy a trip to the bridge when we were in port in Havana.
No evening excursions for us in Havana either - nothing was child friendly. We chose to get a hop on hop off bus for $5 Cuban each which took us all around the city (about 3 hours)
The 'children's pool' at the Lido pool on Deck 9 at the rear of the ship was nothing more than a glorified foot wash (about 6 inches deep). This area itself was lacking in atmosphere - no quiz, games, music - nothing. A singer on the mezzanine at around 3pm in the afternoon was as good as it got. The Pool on Deck 11 (according to Thomsons own paperwork) is stipulated as a Adults Only pool, yet it is here that all the poolside daytime entertainment takes place - AND there were children in the pool, naturally as this is where the atmosphere is! We much preferred our days up here with our children (& yes, they used the pool).
I understand the shows are the Dream are to rival those of the West End, but it's very unfortunate that when holidaying with children 9/9.30pm is too late - for us anyway, our children don't lie in with the average day starting at 6/6.30am keeping them up late just results in cranky children. It's a shame there wasn't an earlier showing that perhaps the children could have enjoyed with us. As a result we didn't see ANY evening shows onboard, having to retire to our cabin to pop the children to bed.
Although the Dream is advertised as a 'Family Friendly' ship which it is to a degree, the children's entertainment & facilities are lacking & seem very much like an after thought - doing 'just enough' to reel in the family customer. If we were a couple travelling without children, we wouldn't have worried about the time of the shows, how happy our children were entertained, but we were and we felt that there needs were only just met - which isn't enough when spending £6000 on a cruise/stay holiday - our expectation was higher.
All in all, thanks primarily to the Itinerary, we enjoyed the cruise. Will we cruise again? Yes. Will we cruise again with Thomson? No. We'll be choosing a larger ship on a cruise line that knows how to look after children well. Happy Children = Happy Parents = Re-booking Parents! Read Less