We traveled on the Thomson Majesty 17th-24th July 2015, on the itinerary ‘Adriatic Charms’. Firstly I must point out, this review is long, however especially useful for anyone matching my criteria of being a first time cruiser, with an ... Read More
We traveled on the Thomson Majesty 17th-24th July 2015, on the itinerary ‘Adriatic Charms’. Firstly I must point out, this review is long, however especially useful for anyone matching my criteria of being a first time cruiser, with an 8 month old baby, who gets travel sick (not on here!) and also vegetarian!
For a long time I was put off cruising because of worries of sea sickness (I have travel sickness), viruses, and other scare stories. However my wife persuaded me to eventually go ahead and try, so we did. We are a young-ish couple (early thirties/late twenties) and also had an 8 month old baby, which we thought would be an issue (but wasn’t). Instead of splashing out thousands of pounds on a fancy cruise (no offense to Thomson) we thought we would try this one because of the worst case scenario I would be sick and not enjoy it. After a week on board, I never felt ill at all, and couldn’t feel the ship moving unless outside, where you could just about feel it at times (even though very gentle).
We arrived at Corfu airport and promptly met by Thomson reps who gave us some initial info on our cruise along with the keys for our cabin, and luggage tags for our bags. The bags and cases were then put on our coach, where we then drove to the ship (about 15 mins drive only). Thankfully during our stay, I had asked Thomson to help reserve front seats on the coaches we would take (as we planned to take trips every day of our cruise), and this was done on all but one of the trips which was very good, as sitting near the front helps prevent me feeling ill. Anyway, once we arrived at the cruise terminal, everything continued smoothly, and once through security you go through a small duty free area where we stocked up on very cheap drinking water, knowing that once on board bottled water would be expensive. We bought a big pack of six 2 litre bottles for about 2 Euros! Bargain, so I recommend you do this especially if you have a fridge in your cabin. By the way, we booked an Outside Plus room which was much bigger than I thought (726). We arrived at our cabin to find out luggage was already there for us, and a cot in the room for our baby that we requested (although when I rang to book this, they had automatically done this because they knew we were booking a baby too – which was no extra cost). We had previously read reviews that there was issues with ‘fumes’ in this room, but we never had a problem.
The ship itself is great, and I cannot understand why a lot of people complain about the condition etc of it, because we found no issues really at all. I can only suggest there are some very very picky people who may well be used to spending big money on the more ‘posh’ ships! I myself am far from a snob, but even I have stayed in 5 star hotels and resorts in the past, and cannot complain at all about this ship especially with the cost you’re paying. Anyway then, our cabin was a reasonable size as I said, and the window was much bigger than I thought it would be too, and this one didn’t have a restricted view which was great - just have to accept that on deck 7 there are people walking around a lot, but they can’t see into the room as long as you don’t turn the light on as they are darkened windows. We had a fridge as well as tea/coffee facilities which I understand are not included in some of the other cabins, so you need to check that. The beds were 2 singles, but someone quickly adapted them into a double for us which was great. Yes the bathroom is small, but adequate for most people I’m sure. Was a little tricky to give our baby a shower, but it worked out okay for us.
I am a vegetarian, and can find this a problem at a lot of hotels and resorts, but there was an abundance of food suitable for me at all the restaurants and snack bars, and never found food to be cold as some have suggested. In fact the food was constantly being replaced with new hot supplies. Absolutely loads of food for all meals.
Since we were travelling with a baby, we didn’t do anything in the evenings such as entertainment etc, so I cannot comment on this at all. Our entertainment was spent trying to get our baby to sleep!!
As I mentioned earlier, we took trips every day we were at port (6 out of 7 days as one was spent at sea). I will go into some details now on each trip in case you are planning any. Now I know some of the trips may seem expensive, but it’s a real shame I think when you go on a cruise visiting all these countries and you just stay on the ship, as many people seem to do. I thoroughly recommend you taking trips, or at the very least explore some of the ports on your own (some easier than others).
Port 1 - Italy, Ravenna – we actually took the exciting chance to visit an extra country whilst at this port, we did the trip to San Marino! It’s a 1hr30 coach trip to get there, but well worth it. The views from this small country (mostly situated on a mountain!) are amazing, and a very interesting culture all of their own. Lots of interesting things to see here, with plenty of small cute shops and restaurants too. You only spend about 2 hours here, because of the time it takes to get there and back, however this is enough time really as you get an hour or so with a guide, followed by some free time to explore.
Port 2 – Italy,Venice – there isn’t much to say about Venice, you kind of get what you get expect here. However we found it slightly disappointing due to so many tourists (it was height of summer I know) packing the streets. Also we didn’t realise that since there are so many bridges connecting all the small ‘islands’, we spent what seemed like hours in the heat lifting our buggy up and down bridges as they are all steps with no ramps. Not an issue for most people, however expect to do a lot of walking here. We took the ‘full day with gondola’ trip, but we found it slightly disappointing that the time spent on the gondola was only about 20 mins! But anyway, it was worth the experience. You arrive in Venice via a boat which you board directly from the cruise ship, and you return to the ship the same way. You can also walk from the ship, but it’s a long walk into the centre I understand (30-45 mins I think).
Port 3 – Croatia,Rijeka – one of our favourite places here. We did the trip ‘Opatija & Kastav’, which takes you to 2 places. This was a great trip, starting in Opatija which is a beach resort area, with really nice water and scenery, you get a small guided tour and then some free time. Then on to the next stop Kastav which is up a hill (small mountain even), this place there are great views of Opatija and other country side around. Again a small tour here followed by some free time. We really liked this trip, seeing 2 places with the whole trip being only 4 hours. It then allowed us to have some time in Rijeka too. Please note, since Croatia isn’t part of the EU, Euros are not widely used, but it’s easy enough to take local currency out from cash machines. We found Croatia as a whole to be very cheap, so you do not need to take loads of money. For example, a large ice cream cone was about 70 pence!
Port 4 – Croatia,Dubrovnik – again lovely part of Croatia, full of history. We did the ‘City Walk & Cable Car’ trip. A short drive to the starting point, which is the base of the cable car station. There was a long queue here in heat of about 37 degrees which wasn’t great especially with a baby (but we managed in shade). Once at the top of the mountain, there are fantastic views of the old city below, especially if you go on a clear day. There is small shop and big restaurant up here, though you don’t get a lot of time up there. When you go down again, you have a small walking tour of the old town, followed by an hour or so of free time to explore the old town. There is plenty to see here, and lots of shops and restaurants. Really lovely place.
Port 5 – Albania,Durres – perhaps an odd stop, however it’s a good chance to see what is really a developing country still. If you’re aware of the troubles here in the past, it’s good to see how things are rebuilding. We didn’t spend any time in Durres itself, as we did the ‘Historical Albania’ trip which takes you to both Kruja (a very old town up in the mountains) and the capital itself, Tirana. Kruja was very interesting, and again great views from up high. Once finished here, you go on to Tirana which was a little disappointing due to the disorganisation of tour guide, so it was all a bit rushed as you go round a museum. We then had lunch (included) which was quite nice, but I don’t think Albania is a great place for vegetarians (potatoes and vegetables I was given!). Be careful when you’re offered a drink though at the restaurant! We assumed it was included, but at the end we were given a bill! I think it’s a shame really we were not informed of this before we were offered a drink. We asked for any dietary needs near the start of the tour, so they ring the restaurant ahead of time to organise this, but if you don’t get asked you should ask early just in case). Still, it was a good opportunity to various parts of Albania. Again Albania doesn’t highly accept Euros, so you can take cash out of cash machines. Again quite cheap here, so you don’t need much cash anyway, only for souvenirs and drinks.
Port 6 – Corfu – we arrived back where we started, after a great cruise. We found out during the cruise that once we arrive at Corfu we would need to vacate rooms by about 9.30. This was much earlier than we thought, especially when we had a baby and that we were not due to leave for the airport until 12.45. We were told that it would be possible to hire a cabin for a few hours though. Given the choice of that, or the chance to do one more trip (Bella Vista), we chose the latter since being told we would have enough time to do the 4 hour trip (8.30-12.30). Knowing we didn’t have much time, and the assurance we were given that we would be back in time, we did this. Just to mention, prior to this, you have to pack all your luggage and leave outside your cabin by midnight the previous night (i.e. Thursday night, 12am Friday). This means you need to have everything you need for the next day. You can access your luggage though in an area outside the cruise ship if needed before leaving for the airport. Anyway, so back to our trip, the Bella Vista trip was again great with fantastic views and an additional boat ride into some caves which was okay (and only about 8 euros each I think). You visit 2 other places on this short trip, however on the way back we realised how close we were to missing our deadline. When I asked the tour guide if we will be back by 12.45 she told me unlikely! I then began to worry as I explained we are supposed to leave on our coach at that time. Luckily she called ahead, and Thomson confirmed that they wouldn’t leave before we got there, and besides the coach was running late anyway. We were not that late back in the end, but felt a little rushed to get off one coach, collect our luggage, and get on to another coach. It was only 10 mins late, but felt more. We then took the 15 min drive back to the airport and continued on home. The airport though is quite small, only a few shops and small place to get food, was also quite hot there especially as it was packed. Anyway can’t help the airport.
Overall then, great holiday, and would highly recommend the Thomson Majesty, and can definitely recommend this particular itinerary. It’s funny how I went from worrying about cruises, to now wanting to cruise again ASAP! The ‘cruise bug’ is real ! Read Less