As this was our first cruise we decided to go with the familiar, having been on Thomson Family Holiday's before. Also the itinerary around the Adriatic, was the one that appealed to us both. The itinerary was
-for embarkation/disembarkation. Went into two for a couple of hours on our return. Within 30 mins walk of the cruise terminal.
- first stop and the most disappointing. Ship docks alongside the town so we didn't go on an excursion, just walked into town. Didn't see a great deal so would probably recommend an organised tour to get the most out of this stop.
- reason we choose this itinerary was the call at Venice. We booked the full day/Gondola package at £100 for the the two of us. The Gondolier trip was probably the most disappointing part of the whole trip. We may as well have been on a theme park ride for all of the passion and interest shown by our Gondolier! he seemed far more interested in shouting across to his fellow Gondoliers than the people who were paying his wages for the next 20 mins.
Venice itself is beautiful but very busy. We walked away from the tourist traps and ended up by the fish market in the northern part of the city. It was a lot quieter around there and we found the process reasonable. By far and away the best part of the day (and the trip) was the sail into and out or the city. This takes you down part of the Grand Canal and past St Marks square. it was a truly fantastic view from the ship and the stand out moment on the cruise.
- We weren't sure what to expect of Split but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Split is a town of two parts. There's Diacletions palace and the roman ruins of the old city and the newer part with upmarket shopping and lovely promenade area on the sea front. All of the popular parts of Split are clean, well presented and have a good vibe. Well worth a visit.
- our favourite stop on the cruise despite a torrential downpour and thunderstorm!! Dubrovnik is a beautiful and well preserved medieval town complete with fully intact city walls. We walked the walls in the morning which costs 100 Kuna pp (about £10) but is well worth the price for the views alone. We took a taxi from the cruise terminal to the city for 13 euro but walked back due to the queues following the bad weather. This only took 30m mins and is pretty straightforward apart from a short stretch where the path runs out!
- Kotor is located on a Fjord in Montenegro. We booked the bike ride excursion on board which cost £31 pp. Whilst this was a little on the steep side it was well worth the early start and effort. The scenery is simply stunning and as town is in the early development of it's tourist industry, relatively quiet. We stopped halfway for a quick coffee which turned out to the cheapest on the cruise approx £1.20. Another sign that Kotor is still a little behind the main tourist trade.
Overall the cruise destinations can be summed up as:
Highlights - Entry/exit to venice. Dubrovnik and Kotor
Low Lights - The Gondola trip
Most Bizarre moment - Kopor. World Body Building champs were in town. The main square was covered in fine mist of spray tan!
On Board experience
apart from the first night we ate in the Piazza San Marco buffet restaurant. The food was plentiful and the offer extensive. Quality was OK but the 3/5 rating is down mainly to the temperature of the food and presentation. the hot food at times looked like it had been thrown into the dishes.
we used the Four seasons fine dine restaurant on the first night. This wasn't a great experience, as the waiter forgot two of our tables meals and also a couple of drinks. It was more a case of style over substance.
We opted for the drinks package. It appears the cost of the package depends on when you book it. we were told of three different prices for the same deal - FOC if booked while on your previous cruise. £100pp booked on line 6 months prior to your holiday and £215 pp if booked later. As we paid 3100pp the deal was well worth while and most of our preferred drinks were included in the deal.
The drinks service is waiter only. this works OK but be prepared for delays at busy times especially in the entertainment venues. Also the bar staff can appear surely and off hand.this can be off putting and is something that Thomson should look at.
All public areas were immaculately clean and well presented. Our cabin was cleaned every day and the staff came in to tidy and provided a turn down service at night.
There was a full programme of entertainment from mid morning until late at night. We really enjoyed the Motown and Mediterranean nights. Also the Comedy Night with Carl Schofield was excellent. However there is a reliance on west end/ broadway musicals on other nights and if this isn't your thing options are limited.
When booking on line we selected an outside cabin. This was a good choice and we were happy with the location and size. However the score of 2/5 refelcts the following:
Small shower room
Quality of towels and bedding
Overall decor was pretty poor. As mentioned elsewhere the ship is over due a refit
Hospitality tray poor- limited selection and quantity
Cruise terminal is close to town centre and within walking distance
Ship docks right next to the two and there's a lift unto town level.
Taxi not town costs 13 euro form the terminal. The walk back took approx 30 mins.
10 mile bike ride form the cruise terminal. well worth the effort!View All 3 Bicycle Rental Reviews