Firstly this is our 14th Thomson Cruise, but our first on the new type of Thomson ship (Discovery 1 or 2) and we were excited to see how the new generation of ship had changed. First impressions were excellent, the ships interior was very impressive and our deck six balcony cabin was clean, contemporary and had more than enough space. The balcony had a small table and two chairs, more than enough space for two people. One small gripe with the induction on the ship was that normally we would be met by a member of staff who takes you to your cabin, however we were left to try and find it ourselves, and as a result didn't even see our cabin steward until the second to last day!
Food :- The food was fantastic :) The best food we have ever had on a Thomson ship, We ate at the buffet at breakfast and lunch, and then in the restaurant in the evening. There was lots of choice for breakfast, you could have omelettes with anything you want on, different types of pancake, obviously all of your usual full English breakfast items, and continental. Dinner we had everything from Suckling pig, home made pies, and unusual ways to eat vegetables such as courgette pancakes which were lovely. There was also your usual chips burgers and pizzas in the main islands buffet. We met people who also highly rated the snack shack where they had fish and chips, hotdogs etc. but we never got round to going there. There was also proper whippy ice-cream served between 2 and 4 everyday which is highlight recommended! The evening meal was always fantastic. Lots of choice, and always high quality food. Our waiting staff Marco and Robert were excellent, and always put a smile on our faces every evening. They were so good, one evening I had a steak and as I cut into it he could see that it wasn't cooked to how I had asked (I would have just eaten it!) but before I knew it he had replaced I with another which was cooked perfectly.
Entertainment - Generally the entertainment was good, however this is where I start with a few gripes about the ship. We aren't one for the musicals so we tended to spend our time in the venue or live room. The entertainment compared to other ships was very hit and miss. Some nights we would have fantastic entertainment, fantastic game shows and the bands particularly sound wave was excellent. However one night the entertainment consisted of us being give voting pads so that we could choose a music video to be played - if I wanted to do this I would choose one I liked off my iPad and go back to the room! This was the main entertainment. Also there wasn't a quiz on in the venue every night as there had been on previous boats. This is strange as they seemed to have more entertainment staff than ever. Saying this we never went to the main Broadway lounge so that could have been excellent.
Itinerary - We did the Spanish sunsets itinerary, which consisted of Malaga, Palma, Almeria, Ibiza, Barcelona, Ceuta. To be honest you needed to do trips at everywhere bar Ceuta as we were always docked miles away. This is where my second gripe comes in. We docked miles away from the main ports (not our problem!) yet we are expected to pay 6 Euros each for a courtesy bus to make up for this, surely they should be provided for free. This was the case in Palma, Ibiza and Barcelona. if I would have known this in advance I may have chosen a different itinerary. Ceuta was beautiful however and well worth a visit. Almeria we did a lovely trip which took us to a lovely village called Aquadulce after travelling over the Sierra Nevada mountains - well worth the money.
Service - The staff were excellent, however there was simply not enough of them. They now have a digital system to take drinks orders, and for some reason Thomson now feel that they now need less staff. this resulted in the majority of people going to the bar to get there own drinks, which meant that they weren't able to make the drinks for the people who had ordered via the floor staff. In the end we ended up drinking on the deck which was much quieter and we never failed to get a drink. Again this wasn't the staffs fault, they were worked off their feet, I think it is more a result of Thomson's penny pinching.
Overall we had a lovely holiday, Captain Chris is a legend, and kept us entertained everyday with his witty comments. There were lots of kids on board, but to be honest we didn't find these a problem (when you go in the summer holidays you have to except this!) I do feel there are a few niggles that need ironing out, but the ship is beautiful, the staff are fantastic, and the cabins were excellent. Thomson really need to give the ships extra staff, pay for better docking positions or at least free courtesy buses, and iron out the entertainment niggles and this ship will be perfect :)
The cabin was spacious, clean, air conditioning was fantastic and bed very comfortable. Quite far away from the main staircases however so expect a walk!