Just back from a week on D2. Have been cruising with Thomson for nearly 20 years, so have been on many of their older and smaller ships.
Will give what I hope is my balanced view.. was very excited about going on this bigger and newer ship and first time having a balcony, but left feeling a little underwhelmed.
The ship has a good layout- the main restaurant 47 is light and bright and has a good mixture of tables for couples and larger groups. I also liked Gallery 47, with its Italian themed food and nice to have an alternative without having to pay extra. The food in both was excellent and the service mainly good, but the pager (or ticket at breakfast) system didn't always work, as you'd be taken to a table that actually wasn't laid up ready. This happened more frequently at breakfast, so it then delayed getting teas & coffees as no cups were laid up, then the toast might come but you'd have no plates. Also, one morning in particular the tables around us just weren't cleared and there was a pile of dirty plates at one of the serving stations for the duration of our breakfast. This just wouldn't have happened in the days of a maitre d' such as Cesar (if any of you remember him). Whether this is due to cutbacks in staff I don't know?
We couldn't get in to the surf and turf speciality restaurant as apparently that was booked up within hours, but we did the hot stone, which made a change and was reasonable at £11.95. The snack shack was a neat idea which seemed to work quite well.
We did struggle to get drinks - the pool bar was always rammed and we couldn't understand why the bar on the next deck up didn't open until 12? There were always staff there well beforehand and there were plenty of people on that deck to use that bar, thus making the pool bar less busy and also saving customers having to walk up the stairs carrying drinks?
In the evening the quickest place to get a drink was the venue, but it lacked atmosphere. We tried the bar 11 a couple of times, but what was annoying was that you could hear 2 different types of music being played at once (presumably the 2nd music was from the speciality restaurants on that deck). The bar service in the theatre was actually pretty good and the pads that they took your order on and scanned your card, were a good use of technology.
The entertainment was good - a mix of different shows, quizzes, game shows, bands and individual musicians, so there was something for every taste. A special mention to the 2 show dancers, who were fantastic and who also seemed to mix well with passengers, dancing with partners from 8 to 80!
The idea of the touch screen technology around the ship is good, but they need to ensure it works. For example - there is a page entitled ''meet the team" which was blank for the duration of the cruise. We also pointed out some incorrect information on the ships registry and it turned out they'd just dumped the data from D1! This did get corrected quickly once we'd made them aware of this.
The shops have gone much more 'designer' - they used to have some affordable bits of jewellery and small mementoes such as key rings, playing cards etc, but no longer. So there's more shops, but less of interest personally.
There were a number of children on board, but many parents just seem to treat the ship as a giant crèche. There were signs and reminders in the cruise news that the hot tubs were not for under 13s - well for much of the time the majority of occupants were well under this age. Parents ignoring the health warnings about this. Also, whilst it was stated that unattended towels on beds would be removed after 45 minutes we never saw this happen. There's no point in these rules if they are not enforced.
So why, with all the extra facilities and undoubtedly a more modern and glamorous ship did we not enjoy our holiday as much as we'd hoped? We can only describe it as the ship not having the heart and soul that we have previously loved on Thomson's ships? Whilst there were some standout staff (loved April and Robert in 47 restaurant) there were definitely some who seemed to be just going through the motions?
I would also say some of the discipline has gone - a couple of years back the crew were only allowed to speak English in front of passengers- but this rule no longer applies. My husband also witnessed a rather shocking incident of a barman who thought he was not being watched necking a double measure of glenfiddich whilst on duty. Wonder whose card that was put against?
Some of the technology has replaced the human factor and the staff have always been such a key part of our holidays in the past. I don't want to appear a moaner, but hope some of this feedback may be helpful in addressing some of the issues and making improvements where needed.
Fair size, had kettle, but no fridge. Free safe. Plenty of storage but not much 'worktop' space