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192 Spain Cruise Reviews

First time back on Aurora since the refit. Although we like the modern, larger ships, Aurora seems to draw us in. We had a fantastic time. We were allocated early dining on a table for eight. The first night we were alone so ... Read More
First time back on Aurora since the refit. Although we like the modern, larger ships, Aurora seems to draw us in. We had a fantastic time. We were allocated early dining on a table for eight. The first night we were alone so bagged the best seats near the window. The following night, 4 others joined us and we couldn't have wished for better table companions. We had some great laughs and good evenings together. Food was great in the mdr, good selection and always well cooked. The buffet had good choices but we only had the odd breakfast and lunch there, but was sneaking up for cheese and biscuits and hot chocolate to take back to the cabin. Service was very good in all areas, although I think their efficiency can sometimes be mistaken for trying to rush you. As soon as you finished, the dirty plate was gone and next course was on its way. Entertainment was great in general, although the house band were very poor and one of the entertainment team just didn't seem interested, reading her kindle in the DJ booth and sighing when anyone requested a song. The headliners were fantastic although not usually my thing but did enjoy their shows. Soul kinda wonderful, the Base Tones and Phil Melbourne had us dancing or laughing every night. In summary, despite her creaking and swaying, we still managed to have a fantastic holiday and can't wait to return. Andy Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I was celebrating a big birthday in April and our wedding anniversary in May so we decided to do something different - we usually do golfing vacations or visit family back in the U.K. So, we chose a 15 day cruise from Port Canaveral ... Read More
I was celebrating a big birthday in April and our wedding anniversary in May so we decided to do something different - we usually do golfing vacations or visit family back in the U.K. So, we chose a 15 day cruise from Port Canaveral finishing in Barcelona. I did extensive research and also found the Roll Call on Cruise Critic invaluable as other passengers had great information to share. There were negative remarks on the internet about the design of the cabins, the wavy walls and especially the bathroom set up so I looked up videos on YouTube - we did not have a problem with the design - both the toilet and the shower are in cubicles of frosted glass and there is a privacy curtain to pull across if needed. There isn't a lot of space between the bottom of the bed and the units making it impossible for 2 people to pass at the same time, but you organize yourself .. Plenty of storage space, I was surprised. We found the food to be excellent and liked the freestyle dining very much - you didn't have to sit at the same table at the same time every evening and they offered the possibility to share tables with others, which we found to be very enriching as we spoke with people from different parts of the world and it was a very pleasant way to spend most mealtimes. Entertainment catered for all tastes, although we understood from others that it was easier to see shows on smaller ships. We saw what we wanted to with the exception of a couple of things that we fully booked. On board is a "replica" of the Cavern Club in Liverpool - they have a Beatles tribute band playing there, so obviously only a very limited number of people can fit into it at a time, so they had the band perform one evening in the main theater which gave many more people the opportunity to watch and listen. There were activities, not that we participated much, although I used the exercise room every day and all treadmills and bikes look out to see, very pleasant. The pool wasn't very big but neither was it ever full, maybe different when the children are off school and on vacation. The service was great in every aspect, the crew extremely polite and pleasing. We were told there are 74 different nationalities on board. The itinerary is what attracted us to the cruise, we had been to some of the ports many years' ago and it was a delight to re-visit and see the changes. We only took one excursion, which was from Cadiz to Seville, the rest we did on our own, using the hop on hop off buses mainly. As far as embarkation and disembarkation were concerned, again, no problems. We stayed for a couple of extra nights in Barcelona, again to re-visit. As we live in Florida we did not explore the departure city. Wi-fi. We chose the most expensive option as we needed to remain in contact with our business and found it worked perfectly, we even streamed a movie one evening without interruption. One important thing to remember as far as we were concerned, the sea was calm for the entire duration of the cruise. This obviously influenced in our enjoyment level, because had it been rough and we'd been sea sick, we would not have enjoyed the culinary delights, especially the specialty restaurants, in the way we did. The whole thing for us, was a very positive experience and we have definitely made some beautiful memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen ... Read More
We choose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding Anniversary and the special offer price was too attractive to turn down. We were let down by Guest Services in Suffolk regarding this but the staff on board more than made up it. Stephen and Gustie in the Thistle were great. The food was better than expected with lots of choice. Our Cabin stewardess Patti offered service above expected and James in the Observation Lounge remembered our cabin number after the second visit to the bar. Jeffery in guest services sorted out head offices issues! In my opinion the art works left a lot to be desired. The one in our cabin was awful. It would have been useful to know that all the museums but one were closed In Lisbon on a Monday and Cadiz was closed on Sunday (the days we visited). The drinks package was good for adults but for anyone aged between 12-17 years it was a waste of money unless you were prepared to rot your child's teeth with at least 9 fizzy drinks a day. Yet you had to pay adult prices for the children if you had anyone of this age in your cabin. Very unfair Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices ... Read More
Previous wonderful experience with Fred Olsen over the past fifteen years. Sadly, will go with them no more unless they get back to their previous excellence. It appears that the ' Bean Counters ' have taken charge. Cruise prices have rocketed by up to 70% ( beware ' Anchor Fares ' you will be second class guests even having to pay a large sum for a couple of clicks on a computer to change your unfavourable dining time ). Quality of food has fallen dramatically, they used to have the very best food, now the meat is tough ( pork steaks, veal etc. ) Food in the self service buffets is always no more than very lukewarm, cold bacon, uncooked vegetables, far less than al dente, just dipped in warm water. The breakfast marmalade and jams are cheap, bulk bought and tasteless in open dishes rather than the tasty individual sealed packs and immediately adjacent to wheat bearing bagels so the crumbs can contaminate the jams with gluten. Scrambled eggs very cool and so runny they could be poured; horrid. Never once was steak or prawn cocktails on offer, unlike other cruise lines where they are staple every dinner. A New Maitre D' needed, bring back Mr Angel. Same guest artists twice each in 7 nights. Good theatre company, though. No interesting guest speakers Captain waiter in Palms never once spoke to us, not even a greeting. We ate there over 30 times. Dirty looking, food ingrained table mats in Palms restaurant, no doubt bacteria bearing. Mentioned this but they were only ever wiped over with a damp cloth, and, to think, cruise lines worry about Norovirus !! Only place where good food available is The Grill, at £20,00 per person extra, but even that is over priced, no soup on menu. Only good coffee on the ship in there. We have recommended Olsen to many friends and obtained many customers for them but we can no longer do so as there is far better value on other cruise lines. We have three further cruises booked, none of them with Fred Olsen. Only consolation of this cruise was the wonderful staff (mostly ) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise. Our previous 3 cruises were with Royal Caribbean, and although we were reasonably happy with RC, we decided to give Marella cruises a try, because the price was good, and because they were going to ports we wanted to visit. We were a group of 6 people from 3 generations, all with inside cabins. We had the full board package rather than all inclusive, because we don’t drink very much and, at over £28pp per day, you would have to go some to get your money’s worth! Also, every person on the booking must buy the package, which is hardly fair when there are under 18s in the group. We flew from Edinburgh to Palma on Tuesday 9th Oct. Check in, flight, and transfers were seamless. No problems at all. Very well organised, with Marella staff on hand at every point to direct customers. Check in at the cruise terminal was relatively quick and again, very easy. We arrived at the ship around lunch-time and our cabins were ready. We went to have a look at the cabins then went for lunch. All staff on the ship were friendly and happy. They seem much more relaxed that RC staff, who seem to have supervisors on their back the whole time. We were very happy with the ship itself. There was of a good standard of cleanliness. I’ve read some reviews saying that the ship is old and tired and needs to be retired, but I wouldn’t agree. There were a few issues – especially leaks here and there when it rained, but generally it was pretty good. There seemed to be fewer blocked toilets than our other cruises with RC. We didn’t really use the lifts, but they did seem quite slow. One thing I thought was strange was that at night, there were no lights at the front of the promenade deck, which meant it was pitch dark at night, preventing everyone except the bravest from walking round the ship after dark. I’m not sure of the reason, but I’m assuming it’s because the bridge might find it more difficult to see if there are lights directly below them, but you’d think there could be some muted, low level lighting to allow people to have a stroll round the deck at night. There are lots of lounges and places to sit, so you never struggle to find somewhere to relax. There are the usual issues with sunbeds of people putting towels or belongings on them then disappearing for hours on end. This needs to be better managed The ship is apparently going into dry dock on 30th Oct for a week for repairs and deep cleaning. Dining: We ate mostly at Sirens for breakfast and afternoon tea, and the Lido or dining room for dinner. Dining positives:- In the main dining room, there are no set times for dinner. You can decide whether to share with others or have a table to yourself. You are seated immediately you arrive at the dining room -we did not ever have to wait in a queue to be seated. Afternoon tea in Sirens is fantastic, and was always very busy. Food was of good quality mainly and there was always plenty. Desserts in particular are much better than RC, who’s desserts are all very similar in consistency. Tables were kept clean and tidy by staff. Plates were cleared quickly and efficiently. Dining negatives:- Queues!!! British people become quite fierce if anyone tries to nip into a gap in the queue. The layout of the self service areas mean that if you only want something at the far end, you pretty much have to queue from the start. This was probably one of the only things that RC trumps Marella, as they have different stations for different food types. That said, the queues move quite quickly, so it’s not a major issue We didn’t try any of the a la carte restaurants as the food in the included restaurants was more than enough for us. Entertainment and activities:- We didn’t go to many shows in the theatre. We saw Stan John, the comedian, who was fine. Otherwise, we heard from others that the ships entertainment staff were decent for the first few nights but after that, it seemed to be too much of the same thing. There was a trio singing in the Waters Edge lounge, called Acoustic Soul, who were very good, but otherwise, we didn’t do many of the offered activities – although there was plenty to do. Service was good throughout the ship. Although I’d advise everyone to check their onboard account as we were double charged for use of the safe. Marella are much less pushy regarding selling extras than RC. Photo opportunities are there, but you are not bombarded every time you get on and off the ship etc. One major negative was that one of our cases was badly damaged being transferred from the ship to the cruise terminal at the end of the cruise, and the response to this was less than impressive. They tried to stick it back together with 2 small pieces of duct tape. We had to pay 10 euros at the airport to have it wrapped. I emailed Tui when I got home, but so far have had no response. Ports and excursions:- This is where Marella beats RC hands down, for me. The hours we were in port were much longer than RC. I suppose, in fairness, the ports we visited were relatively close together, but we were usually able to disembark around 9ish and didn’t have to be back on until 6 or 7pm. The ports we visited only twice had shuttle buses, which were £7pp (Portimao and Valencia) The shuttle bus in Valencia is unnecessary. Our teenagers wanted to go to the aquarium, so we didn’t get the shuttle bus. We left the port and got a local bus (number 95) to the aquarium. There are frequent buses numbers 95 and 4, which go to city centre from the port. They cost 1.50 each way. All in all, a great cruise. I would not hesitate to use Marella again, and would definitely choose them before Royal Caribbean next time Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Had a lovely time onboard the Explorer, the ship itself was very good and well organised. The cabin was of the usual cruise ship size but was cleaned to a very high standard. The food was very good in the many all inclusive/buffet ... Read More
Had a lovely time onboard the Explorer, the ship itself was very good and well organised. The cabin was of the usual cruise ship size but was cleaned to a very high standard. The food was very good in the many all inclusive/buffet style restaurants onboard. We went to two of the additional charge restaurants Surf & turf, and Kori la both were excellent and well worth the extra charges. The entertainment crews were very good and the Broadway shows were excellent. ALL the waiter, waitress, & bar staff were very friendly and always had a smile for us. All the crews work very hard and do deserve a tip although I think most people didn't tip, but in my experience good service deserves a tip whatever cruise company you go with. We didn't go on any Tui excursion as though they were on the expensive side although we went ashore in every port and did our own thing. I did read a few bad reviews about the Explorer prior, but to be honest this is a great ship with an excellent crews. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We really loved this Cruise Ship, having been on Majesty, Celebration, Discovery 1 and 2. All were very good , but we found there wasn't the atmosphere on the Discoveries with the crew that there was on Majesty and Celebration. On ... Read More
We really loved this Cruise Ship, having been on Majesty, Celebration, Discovery 1 and 2. All were very good , but we found there wasn't the atmosphere on the Discoveries with the crew that there was on Majesty and Celebration. On Explorer it had all come back wtih the singing and music playing from the crew in the dining room. We loved our outside cabin and the bathroom had a proper shower cubical rather than a space with a curtain that has been on all the other ships The entertainment was really good with the crew and their shows and for two nights we had the brilliant finalist from 'Britain's Got Talent' a few years ago Jon Clegg. His comedy and impressions weregreat and went down really well. A chap that was singing in the lounge was really good and was playing many of the folk songs we used to sing when we first stated dating back in the early 70s. It brought back some lovely memeories. The food was really good and great sevice from the staff. On the night when they have a party for regular guests, we were approached by Richard the general manager and asked for our feedback on the new ship. I said we had a wonderful time, but to be really picky the Gluten Free bread and rolls they provide for my diet were pretty hard, like they are on all long haul airlines. We were very impressed that the next day Richard phoned me in the cabin and said he had looked at the bread and agreeing with me spoke to thechef. He said in future they would be getting freshly baked GF bread for the ship. Hober was our cabin man and he was as helpful and friendly as all the other crew. Looking forward to thinking about Explorer two due to be launched later this year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was ... Read More
The itinerary interested me, but expectations were low having read earlier reviews. I was attracted by the all-inclusive drinks set-up. My initial reaction having boarded was encouraging, embarkation was handled well and the cabin was clean, if a little scruffy in places. We were able to gaze out of our Deck 9 window between 2 lifeboats, not a problem. Seas were very calm and engine vibration was minimal. A toilet issue and an A/C problem were fixed in minutes. It proved there were very few English-speaking co-passengers, so opportunities to socialize were limited. The Spanish passengers were without the reservation or class-consciousness often experienced on other cruise lines. We almost exclusively ate in the Main Restaurant, the Buffet was great for snacks when needed between meals. In the Main Restaurant Breakfast was served Buffet-style, for Lunch the Main course was waiter-served, Appetizer and Dessert was again, Buffet-style. Buffet items were always of a good standard, with plentiful fresh fruit, cold meats and cheeses and dessert options. There were 2 sittings for Dinner, 7:30 and 9:45, with the evening entertainment sandwiched in between. Our sitting, the first, seemed slightly rushed. Food quality was OK, not gourmet, a little bland for my taste. Plenty of wine was available, again, by no means vintage. We enjoyed the Theatre entertainment, no doubt regular cruisers will have experienced many Abba and Rock compilations in their travels. It was also great to share a cocktail both pre and post dinner listening to the other musical entertainers. We took one excursion, crossing the border from Ceuta into Morocco to visit Tetuan. It reinforced my dislike of organized excursions, herding 40+ people through it's maze-like Medina was no easy feat. The multi-lingual guide and his local helper did a great job. There was an Officer on-board dedicated to assist the English speaking guests, she was a delight. Overall we both had a great time, but are likely to look elsewhere if and when we cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was ... Read More
It is an old style ship and quite tired by modern standards. We were on deck 8 front, there is vibration but it was not enough to spoil our holiday. You cannot fault the crew service, friendly, polite and efficient. The food was acceptable but not as big a choice as on most ships these days. There was only a little waiting to get a table for two at dinner. We thought the entertainment was good as is usual with Tui, excellent costumes and they certainly presented it with lots of enthusiasm every night. The ship leaves Tui this year and it is probably the right time as the trend moves to larger better fitted out ships. To the Irish couple who thought they knew us from somewhere else but none of us could figure where from. We checked our holiday photos and it was from a tour of Eastern Canada in 2016, small world - hope you see this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and having travelled with Tui previously we thought we were in safe hands. Some very good experiences onboard; the staff were excellent, the Tui excursions were well organised and guides very good. However the entertainment wasn’t for us, very Hi De Hi, they tried hard but lacked any sophistication. The food was plentiful though more canteen than cuisine. The ship was old and we were surprised Tui were associated with such a vessel; though we believe this is its last year - the paint work was awful, no straightlines to be seen! The continuous promotions to sell photos, treatments and items from the onboard shops was tiresome - shame on you Tui. The cycle tours were excellent and highly recommended. The cabin was shabby, though very well cleaned twice a day by the excellent stewards. In summary, if you want games, fun and frolics with like minded passengers this is the ship for you. If you want sophistication, an up to-date ship I’m sure Tui can do better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
So …….. For my Wife's Birthday I surprised her with the Spanish Delights TUI Cruise aboard the Marella Dream. Have Cruised with TUI previously so knew what to expect ( more or less ) - The Dream is an 'older' lady ... Read More
So …….. For my Wife's Birthday I surprised her with the Spanish Delights TUI Cruise aboard the Marella Dream. Have Cruised with TUI previously so knew what to expect ( more or less ) - The Dream is an 'older' lady however, the crew do an amazing job of cleaning / maintenance albeit often at inappropriate times ! Cabin: on deck seven ( 7139 ) highly recommended, our cabin steward was amazing! - aim for mid ships if you can, its nearer the restaurants / bars / show lounges. The air conditioning however is a nuisance, gave me endless sore throats. Food: ……. ah' the all important food was ………. appalling at times, forever cold / tasteless / 'odd' ! How bout' Beef Stroganoff cooked with whole lemons that were cut in half and then 'stewed'-in with the gravy !!! totally disgusting - off putting to say the least. I experienced raw bacon / stale bread / toast you could break your teeth on ! / The orange Duck was orange-less and tasted of ……. Nothing! The coldest 'cooked' glazed carrots ever, salad past it's sell by date / stay away from the Fish, Grey in colour and again tasteless & on & on. Lets talk milk, the milk onboard is the long life stuff found in cardboard boxes, it is NOT chilled prior to being 'served' to passengers - imagine my horror when first trying cornflakes for breakfast and the milk is unnaturally 'warm' - TUI, the majority of Brits. prefer cold milk on cereals !!! The dessert station was a disaster, very poor selection compared to say the TUI Celebration and again tasteless, the rice pudding for example so thick and stodgy you cement bricks with it ! and what was that watery custard all about! The food was overall dire - We spoke to senior ships crew member who disagreed with us! claiming it was a popular menu served on all TUI ships! My wife survived on a diet of watermelon for breakfast / Lunch / Dinner !!! Entertainment: was fab. don't believe other reviews that say the singers cannot sing! my own 40yrs on the 'road' tell me otherwise. Ports of call: All good with the exception of Portugal / Valencia. Both of these require a £7 pp Shuttle to get you to town. Totally disappointed with where we docked in Valencia - an industrial dockyard with nothing for miles should you want to stretch your legs and get off the ship for 10minutes. Our view, no matter where we stood on the ship - Steel yards / Cranes / Container ships / Industrial noise. this for 8 hrs plus the horrendous smell of refuelling the Dream. Whilst docked and if you preferred to stay onboard - you endured maintenance inc. angle grinding noise and the worst lead paint smell ever ! as the crew set about set about their task of 'keeping the Dream afloat' ! All whilst you tried to relax on the 'tired' / mostly unclean sunbeds! Staff: For us - the restaurant staff saved the day ( saved the holiday / My wife's birthday surprise from being a disaster ) Big shout out to Daisybel and Marley who were more like friends than ships crew, made our day/s as we would often seek them out to cheer us up! and cheer us up they did with their infectious smiles / quick wit / singing! Would we go TUI Cruising in the future? Unlikely, Absolutely poor value for money in this modern day age of cut backs - clearly TUI have had their annual board meeting and decided the cutbacks need to come from the all important food ! I'll wager TUI's CEO's wouldn't eat some of that slop served to us! And don't tell me I'm the only passenger to air concerns - We chatted to another hundred + passengers who felt exactly the same - inc. a family of 5 who chose to eat off the ship each time We docked! I suggest if you do not have children - pick an adult only cruise, a small number of the 'kids' on our cruise were disrespectful, roaming the corridors / bars mocking passengers who were dancing for example, quite intimidating at times and why did the angry young man need to repeatedly kick the lift doors. On-board, TUI suddenly turn into 'double-glazing' salesmen and women, every opportunity they get - they are trying to 'sell' you a package this / package that! ** Be careful with the Cocktails from the bar/s …….. whilst they look enticing - they are actually nothing but 'coloured' mountains of ice - We ordered 2 large cocktails first night only to find after a couple of sips the actual liquid content had been consumed leaving behind a mountain of ice !!! When ordering cocktails - stand firm and demand less ice ! ** TUI - I want a refund for the food at least !!! Please be aware that a formal complaint is headed your way.​ Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Just returned from a week onboard the Marella Dream with my husband and here is my review the good and the bad. The Ship itself is very good - a little tired in places but was being tidied up (painted) whilst we were onboard. Cabins ... Read More
Just returned from a week onboard the Marella Dream with my husband and here is my review the good and the bad. The Ship itself is very good - a little tired in places but was being tidied up (painted) whilst we were onboard. Cabins - we had a standard inside cabin on deck 7 midship the cabin was a good size (for the 2 of us) we had a double bed (not 2 singles as we have had previously on the Thomson's Majesty) The cleanliness was brilliant cannot praise the staff who serviced our room enough and had a lovely towel animal left on the bed every evening. Dining/restaurants - There are 2 Buffet restaurants on the ship and a main dinning room along with Speciality restaurants. We mainly dined in the Lido restaurant Buffet on deck 9 for Breakfast and Lunch and the food was always warm with a good selection/choice and very clean, Sometimes it is very busy and trying to get a table can take a little while but you get on in the end. There is also a Lido Grill outside which serves Burgers fresh to order and also you can get a sandwich/panini made freshly at lunchtimes. The pudding selection is also very good with a great variety. The Orion Main dinning room - we dined here every evening, We generally ate about 6.30-7 and found that this was a good time as you could walk straight in and get a table for 2 no problem. only on one occasion did we have to que for about 5 minutes for a table and we were asked if we minded sharing with others (which we were fine with). The food was very good also and always arrived pipping hot and very well presented. All of the Staff were very friendly and polite. Bars/Coffee Port (Explorers lounge)- Tides - The staff here were lovely always happy and smiling and come over straight away to serve you. The singers in the evening here were ok as well. Medusa Lounge - we never sat in this bar as there was never a table free always busy The Waters Edge - Loved this bar was at the back of the ship and you can sit here in the evening listening to the Amazing Acoustic Soul Brothers cannot praise these 3 enough they are lovely always smiling and happy and there music is brilliant. You can also watch the sunset from here whilst listening to the band. My only issue with this bar is there is bar far not enough seats this is a very popular bar (I guess due to the band being so good/or could be that the smoking area is directly outside) this bar definitely needs more seats as if you did not get there early you would not get a seat at all. Also due to how busy this gets it can take ages for you to get a drink. One night I waited about 30/40 minutes for my drink to arrive and then when it did it was not what I had ordered. In the end my husband would walk down to the Tides bar and get our drinks and walk back with them as it was quicker. ( he also said the barman in the Tides bar made the best long Island iced tea and would only get this from him) - again the staff are happy and polite but they do have to work hard and I think they need more of them or extra staff behind the bar to keep up with the drink orders. Explorers lounge - Really not impressed with the staff members in here. On our first night on board (after arriving late we did not get on the ship until 8pm) and being tired we went into here to get a coffee as it looked like a lovely place to sit and relax with a nice coffee. We had booked the All inclusive package when we booked the cruise. We walked into this bar and the guy in here asked us what we would like as soon as we walked in a and before we had even sat down, we said that we would just like a latte coffee. He straight away said these are chargeable and you will have to pay for them unless you buy the drinks package, we explained that we had already purchased the All Inclusive package and showed him our cruise cards which show this. He said no, no your not entitled to these coffees in here you have to upgrade your package which is £50 per person, Before we could say anything he had taken our cards and started filling in paperwork to upgrade us. I was a little confused as we only wanted a latte coffee, I asked the girl who was also working in here why I was having to pay a extra £50 just to get a latte she said you can get a latte just not from this bar as we use a different type of coffee and explained that we would also get all of the top branded spirits. I told her that I was not prepared to pay £50 extra if I could go to the bar next door and get one for nothing and we are also not big drinkers and were happy just with a couple of cocktails she then told the guy that we were not going to upgrade and he just huffed and ripped up the piece of paper he had been filling in and threw back our cards at us. We never went back into this place again. Entertainment- We went to a couple of shows in the Broadway show lounge - the lounge is very nice with comfortable seats- We went to a show (I think it was called the oscars) which was were the entertainment staff sang/danced to recent music and impersonated these Singers they were ok. We also went to a show were they sang songs from Musicals - this was very good and much suited their voices. Ports/excursions - We visited the following ports - we didn't book any excursions as we like to do our own thing. Cadiz - (Spain) - a lovely stunning place to visit as soon as you step of the ship you can just walk around and see beautiful buildings and gardens. Portimao- (Portugal) - This we were told we would need to book a shuttle bus at £7pp for a return ticket as the port was quite a walk away from anything, We booked the bus and this had two drop of points - the first was supposed to be the old town but when the bus stopped it looked like the middle of nowhere and not very inviting so we gave this a miss and carried on to stop 2 which stopped just in front of the beach. The beach was beautiful and there were some shops you can also have a look around. Gibraltar - We got of the ship and walked into the town area (quite a walk) we also walked around a place called the Ocean village which is just being built but is definitely worth a walk around and lots of eating places. and worth a look at the Sunborn Yacht hotel Cartagena - (Spain) - another nice place just to get of the ship and have a little walk around not far until you are in the shops. Valencia - (Spain) - This is another stop that requires you to book the shuttle bus service and this then drops you outside the castle gates a beautiful place to walk around with beautiful stunning buildings everywhere. Swimming Pools- this is my biggest problem they are not very big and you cannot get a sunbed around them at anytime because everyone even if they are getting of the ship will put out there towels first thing in the morning. Disembarkment - Luckily we have cruised before so we know that you need to leave you luggage outside your room the night before you disembark but we had no information about the time it needed to be left outside by or what time we could get of the ship for our pick up. We went to the reception desk to ask and was told we should have received this information to our room (this never arrived) he passed me a leaflet which contained our pick up time/time to leave the ship and also what colour luggage labels we should have, ours should have been chocolate colour but unfortunately we had been given purple ones in our envelope on arrival, I went back to the reception to ask about this and was told no they should be chocolate and was given two of these for our cases. I'm glad we asked otherwise our cases may of ended up in Cork and not Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic ... Read More
This was our first cruise and We Were not sure what to expect. The whole experience from start to finish was memorable. What an amazing ship with the most friendliest staff and crew you could ask for. Food and entertainment was fantastic and our rooms although dated were spotless. Henry and Rocky were fantastic cabin stewards with the most loveliest smiles for you every time they saw you . I can’t believe waiter staff knew our names after only a couple of days . Service was fantastic. Absolutely gutted this is the ships last year sailing . Only downfall was that there was only one charging socket for phones etc .And WiFi not so good although it was £49 for 7 days per person . The entertainment team were amazing as was the compare who was very funny. Shops ok but not much to purchase would have liked a little more choice Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose this cruise because many of the places we hadn't visited before and also the ship itself, been on Spirit 4 times before and it never disappointed we liked the layout of the ship the crew and all the staff were top rank always ... Read More
Chose this cruise because many of the places we hadn't visited before and also the ship itself, been on Spirit 4 times before and it never disappointed we liked the layout of the ship the crew and all the staff were top rank always pleasant and helpful which to us was the most important criteria for a good cruise. Now from here we go downhill Marella as it's now called seem to be trying to cheapen it as much as they can because what there giving you is just unacceptable, the so called drinks package was just not worth it I am not a big drinker nor my wife so we just had a few gin and tonics but quite honestly we could not taste anything only the tonic which had too much ice in it also my wife tried the cocktails them were also tasteless. I would say to anyone going on this ship don't bother with any drinks package just pay as you go for drinks, it's sad really because on previous cruises on Spirit it was so much better, I personally think that Marella have missed a trick because they could have made this a memorable cruise and I don't think I'm the only one who's disgruntled with Marellas cheapskating I certainly won't be taking any more cruises with Marella. The dining experience whilst being adequate was not up to previous cruises on Spirit, it felt in our opinion a bit like a canteen rather than a restaurant with very basic menus. But I have to say it doesn't reflect on the dining room staff who did a really good job both the service and the smiles. Our cabin on deck 4 was superb as usual and we were well impressed with the 2 lads that looked after us they kept the cabin spotless a nd tidy at all times. Entertainment was ok but not brilliant,they worked very hard to put on the shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
we chose this cruise as we had never been to Portugal before. The ship is getting a bit tired but its still fantastic ,FOOD is fabulous loads of choice ,breakfast and lunch is the best in our opinion :) almost like a English full breakfast ... Read More
we chose this cruise as we had never been to Portugal before. The ship is getting a bit tired but its still fantastic ,FOOD is fabulous loads of choice ,breakfast and lunch is the best in our opinion :) almost like a English full breakfast mmmm. Drinks ...cocktails are lovely my fav is Long island iced tea ,wine and beers are lovely also. Entertainment was ok could have been better if the sound was turned down a bit. Ship staff are all fabulous :) :) :) so helpful, polite every day ,they never stop working always cleaning and asking how you are doing. Collis are room steward ,made me a towel animal every day they were fantastic , room was kept clean and very tidy.always asking did we need anythink ,and have a nice day .we had a balcony room 8014 fantastic room. ONLY issue with this hoiliday was the Ship had docked up in Palma so far away, it would have been a verylong walk just to get off the docks and then to the town center.we are both walkers but this was too long . we found this happened a few times but they but shuttle busses on for £7pp on theses other days . OVER ALL FABULOUS ....we will be back xx Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been ... Read More
The food and entertainment were excellent. The shows (including (Gareth Gates) were west end standards and the ships band were the best. A good choice of food was always available as was the ice cream, unlike P & O! We've been on most of the cruise lines before, including a previous Princess, but this has to be one of the best ships. The cabin steward, bar staff, restaurant staff, were so polite and obliging. The ship itself, although built in 2004, had obviously had a recent update. The bed in our cabin was king size and very comfortable. The only negative thing I could find was the choice of beers! All lager types apart from Bass (brewed in USA!!!) and the tasteless John Smiths and Boddingtons. Here's where P & O score points as they have a good choice of British Beers. Princess, take note!!! Definitely go with Princess again though. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was my first cruise and had been recommended by friends to travel with TUI as it's more relaxed. The ship operates a cashless system. You are given a card which is linked to your bank account. Be warned, as soon as you get on ... Read More
This was my first cruise and had been recommended by friends to travel with TUI as it's more relaxed. The ship operates a cashless system. You are given a card which is linked to your bank account. Be warned, as soon as you get on the ship you are being harassed in to photographs, massages, the payable restaurants etc. This was very annoying and not appreciated the moment you get on the ship. Service: Excellent. All the staff are very attentive and can't do enough for you. Dining: We mostly ate at the Lido. I liked the food very much, there was always plenty and was always tasty and plenty of choice. We also tried the Meridian, the food was nice but I prefer the casualness of the LIdo. They also have things like burgers, pizza and hot dogs out on the terrace too if you get peckish before dinner. Ports: I was not impressed with the ports. We called at Mahon, Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia and Cartegena. The only good one was Barcelona. We booked a tour for this at £32. On reflection I wish I hadn't booked the tour as Barcelona is very easy to navigate and everything was very rushed. I would also warn against using the shuttle service that was laid on at Marseille and Valencia. The shuttle bus service is BADLY organised. We waited 90 minutes for a shuttle bus in to Marseille and on a hot day this was unbearable especially with a lot of older people in the queue. TUI know how many tickets hey sold and should have arranged more buses! Same with Marseille, not enough buses and massive queues. Most ports have a bus service, Marseille and Valencia do. Cheaper and easier. Entertainment: The nightly shows were good. My favourites were Africa, Moulin Rouge and the west end one. The comedian/magician was awful. He performed two tricks and filled the rest of the show with old fashioned humour aimed at the 70 plus range. The only thing that really ruined the cruise for me was not being able to sleep at night. The ship was really swaying and the vibration was really hard to ignore and stopped me sleeping. Other than that, the cruise was good but i'm not sure that a cruise holiday is really for me. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise as it was a very good price and we needed to see some blue sky. I had read mixed reviews about the ship and was aware it was quite old and smaller than I had been on before, but it was truly lovely, the staff were ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was a very good price and we needed to see some blue sky. I had read mixed reviews about the ship and was aware it was quite old and smaller than I had been on before, but it was truly lovely, the staff were wonderful, entertainment was great and and so was the food...no complaints at all. Sailed from Malaga and were able to have a good explore before we left as we didn't have until 10 pm and Malaga is compact. All ports of call were easy to explore on your own, although I would recommend a tour from Casablanca, we chose Rabat. The disembarkation always ran smoothly and without queues, one of the advantages of a smaller vessel. We travelled as a couple and had a cabin on the lower deck, mid ship, the beds were very comfortable and our cabin steward, Wilbur, was fantastic. We had a porthole window which I was fascinated by, it was a whole new perspective being right by the water, especially when the waves came over the window. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it covered the destinations we wished to see. Unfortunately a Pilot strike at the Portugase ports prevented us from docking at Porto.so we only docked at 3 instead of 4 destinations. Not the fault of Fred Olson. Fred Olson passengers must be some of the most loyal and supportive of any customers in any business in the world. I never heard any compaints at all. My compaints cover penny pinching:- 1. I am diabetic so upon boarding the ship i needed a sandwich at around 4 pm to last me to 8-30 dinning. I was sent to Palm cafe and was given the most disgusting cheese and ham sandwiches. both the cheese and ham were cut so thi that you could not tast them. 2. Both my wife and I paid £150 each for the drinks package. I am diabetic so drink diabetic drinks such as Diat pepsi or diet lemonadw. the first time I asked for a pint of diet Pepsi. Answer came back you can have pints of beer or larger but only halves of diet drinks. Ok I said I will have 2 halve. No was the answer you must drink one then ask for another. . It is in the small print rules. I would have been happy to drink just the diet drinks on the full cruise but to get my own back ordered enough wine each evening to use a full bottle each night. 3. I am an International Director of Operations and use a vodafone IPAD whenever I am overseas. I paid £50 for 5 nights up front. For 2 nights I could not send emails and on the third Fred Olson lady linked me to Google to send messages. My advce to people would be purchase 1 days WIFI and check first. My advice to Fred Olsen would be to do the same as most hotels these days and give free access to WIFI on board your ships. I started my working life as an Accountant with Glaxo, British Oxygen working my way to Finance director. I then became MD and CEO of an Anglo/American company. The reason I mention this is that I started off looking for pennies to turn into pounds of saving but as an MD I learnt to make judgements on how to make savings that were not petty and would harm the company reputation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were ... Read More
My elderly mother cannot fly because of health issues and wanted to visit her home country.This was the only cruise that called at ports we wanted to call at. Our experience of the cruise started poorly when initial arrangements were badly handled and information had to be submitted several times.I let that go as one of those things. Once on board , every time I bought anything whether in the restaurants , shops ,bars etc the bill presented left a line for adding a tip. This despite having prepaid gratuities as recommended by the cruise line. That is appalling. The cabin service by the stewardess was efficient. The room service orders arrived prompt ,served efficiently and by nice staff. The waiters allocated to our table were excellent ( so I tipped generously). Otherwise, things are not good. The food was indifferent, sometimes the portions were meagre . Classic dishes were often spoiled , being accompanied by a bit of boiled vegetables. Appetisers were particularly bad, better to have none at all. The buffets were of inferior cafeteria standard. The breakfast buffets were basic and tired , the bread available dreadful. As for the coffee throughout the ship (in the restaurants, the buffets, breakfast ,etc it was dire, dreadful, weak, thin . Similarly with tea , the water for which was never hot enough. So weak tea was served throughout. The only way to have decent tea or coffee was to buy and pay for it in a specialist coffee shop. The wine lists were absurd. At the beginning of the wine list 5 recommended fine wines were listed. When ordering one of these , after waiting 10 minutes, I was told they didn’t have it. So I chose an alternative, that was also not available and so on with 4 of their own recommended wines! The wine waiters didn’t know much about wine. So nothing on this ship for wine lovers. The entertainment on board was basic holiday camp fare, except for two excellent guitarists often playing some of the lounges. The activities available were standard fare. The gangways at most ports were badly arranged - given that they knew most passengers were elderly - steep stairs were in use. Bad enough for many to struggle descending , much worse when ascending on returning to the ship. Claims that they were restricted by the tides did not check out, as they could ramp or extend the steps to make them easier. Overall, the ship has a downmarket feel and the cruise line seem unmoved by making life better for its customers. I shall not be using it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Reviews were mixed but we took a chance as we’d been on 4 Thomson cruises before, although the last one was 8 years ago. What a mistake. The Lido buffet restaurant was awful, horrid seating, massive queues and mediocre food. The Sirens ... Read More
Reviews were mixed but we took a chance as we’d been on 4 Thomson cruises before, although the last one was 8 years ago. What a mistake. The Lido buffet restaurant was awful, horrid seating, massive queues and mediocre food. The Sirens was a lot better for breakfast and lunch. The food was just ok but the choice in the self serve was disappointing,the drinks prices were expensive and the quality of the beer was very hit and miss,the serving staff were excellent as we expected from tui cruises. This ship is ideal for smokers and young families, but not for us. TUI is definitely the bottom end of the market. Everything is always to pay extra for learning how to play poker to a visit to the bridge its pay pay pay more more more . The ship is very out dated. We did not feel that we had value for money and the experience was not one we would repeat Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the Melia Sevilla was substandard, undergoing renovations and had a lack of food outlets. Not everyone wanted to go out after a day sightseeing. I cannot fault the staff on the ship. Excellent service and sailing down the river after leaving Seville was very pleasant. A visit from a flamenco group was a nice surprise as was the sangria provided.The excursion to Jerez from Cadiz was well run and well organised. Good tour of the bodega, generous sherry tasting and lots of tapas. So apart from the noisy cabin issues ( see cabin review ) I was a happy sailor. Good company from fellow passengers, an interesting, well travelled lot. Then came Morocco and Mourad, the tour guide from hell. We got a detailed and boring rave about the different Moroccan ethnicities, all the way to Marrakesh. Lots of repetition. Lunch at the Grand Savoy was OK and then we set out for the Medina where he literally raced through all the lanes, no stopping to point out or explain items on sale. At the Ben Yousefa Medrassa we were treated to a long rant about the 5 pilars of Islam. At this point I complained to our VTA escort and here I need to note that Mourad was incredibly rude to this nice young man, constantly screeching 'Harry count!!' Finally reached the square exhausted. Back at the hotel, some room keys, mine included, took over 45 minutes to arrive. Poor. I skipped the included dinner and show and had room service. By the way this hotel, the Grand Savoy, was not the hotel advised in a last minute pre cruise email. The next day we could not visit the Bahia palace (a film crew were there) so went to the Saadi tombs near the Kasbah. A visit to the Majorelle gardens was a pleasant reprieve, but not worth an hour stop. Lunch was at a lovely riad. Nice surroundings but very average food and only 2 loos for the ladies. You can imagine the queue. I had asked Mourad that morning, before leaving the hotel to slow down. He didn't. When I spoke to the excursions manager I was told that there would be another guide for Rabat and Fes. I hope so but I did not find out as I came down with a really nasty bug despite hand washing and sanitizing. I must say the crew, medical staff and reception were incredibly kind and professional. I have done overland excursions , Petra, the Taj Mahal, Machu Pichu, from cruise ships before. I expected VTA to provide a superior product. It didn't. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ... Read More
We've traveled with Ponant ships on a number of trips. The cabins have amble room and storage. Essentially the same layouts on levels 3, 4 and 5. The toilet is in a separate area from the sink and shower. Great water pressure. The ship staff seems to truly enjoy what they do and seem to work together under the guidance of a ship captain who seems to foster a sense of family for all onboard. Guests and workers. You will find the ship impeccably clean. Lots of places to relax and enjoy (and drink). Indoors and out of doors. The bread/pastries/dessert are fantastic. Pastry chefs gets a gold star. Where there is need for more attention is the food -- lacking choice, laden with fats and gluten, overcooked, uninspiring. Not keeping with European and American current food trends. Also the captains evenings are very old school. Too much pomp and circumstance. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Only write a review when something has been really excellent or really poor. We've done 9 previous cruises all with Thomson in the last 5 years - the Spirit, Majesty, Island Escape, and our very favourite the Dream (4 times) and ... Read More
Only write a review when something has been really excellent or really poor. We've done 9 previous cruises all with Thomson in the last 5 years - the Spirit, Majesty, Island Escape, and our very favourite the Dream (4 times) and always had a great time. We don't ask for much - it doesn't spoil our holiday if I miss out on towel animals or chocolates on the pillow. All we want is a seat to eat decent meals at, clean accommodation and a bit of a drink and a dance at night. On the Discovery 1 this was extremely difficult to achieve. First the positives - the ship itself is stunning and spotlessly clean. The central atrium has the wow factor. The deck 3 outside cabin was the best we've ever had - light and airy décor, the largest window ever and the best air-con and shower ever - very comfortable. Our lovely cabin steward Agnes was happy, polite and professional. In fact as usual all the crew were brilliant as well as the entire entertainment team - they are always the best asset Thomson has - working exceptionally hard to keep 1800 passengers happy. Now the negatives - we always eat in the buffet restaurant but no matter what time we went it's only possible to get a seat by first walking all the way through twice and then perching on the end of a table for 4 (not a problem) or on a bar stool at a shelf. Most days we found seats outside but the weather was a bit chilly some days. In Gibraltar a young couple were standing up next to us eating their cereal outside in the cold and dark (not what you expect after paying £2000 for a week). For some reason (I heard it was staff shortages) the waiter service restaurant closed every day at 9am? The 'Island' serving stations look pretty but just aren't practical. Passengers walk backwards and forwards looking for what they need whilst staff rush backwards and forwards from the kitchens with trays of food to replenish them. It's just VERY HARD WORK. The food is ok apart from the disgusting bacon every morning that they steam so it looks like a pile of white fat - most passengers gave it a wide berth! One evening the carvery was meatloaf served with sweet and sour gravy?? The evening menu was always the lunch menu still up there at 7pm- everyday - just to confuse! The labels over the food were muddled, again some left from lunch...still it kept us on our toes! One day I was half way round the hot 'island' with half a plate of breakfast when a manager closed it with a rope - "this now closed - not fresh food - use other island". I went to the other island with my food going cold to find "this island not yet open - must wait" ?? One evening hubby got his meal and wanted a few French fries - none left on that 'island' so went to the other one - happy days lots of fresh hot chips but no serving tongs. He politely asked for them "this not yet open, no tongs". He explained his food was going cold but they still refused. Completely fed up he borrowed fresh tongs from the gateaux island and used those along with 8 people now behind him also wanting a few chips. After 2 week of buffets I wanted to make a main meal from the afternoon tea so went along expecting it to be like the Thomson Dream - lots of sandwiches, various fresh salads, pasta salad, rice salad, bit of coleslaw, hot sausage rolls etc. Got a big shock - only one 'island' open with teeny tiny finger sandwiches with a thin sliver of cucumber and nothing else and small triangles filled with cheese and tomato, neither of which was actually visible! A manager asked if he could help. Yes I'm just looking for the salads and hot pastries? 'This is our selection Ma'm', whilst pointing to the one island. They had crab rolls but there was none left and as it was 20 minutes to closing time they advised they were none coming. So a headed for the only other open savoury island which was gluten free. Here were 5 trays of sandwiches, including the missing crab rolls, they would throw away in 20 mins time. I picked up the serving tongs. 'Sorry Ma'm are you gluten free?' 'Excuse me?' 'passengers cannot have these unless they are gluten free' I'm only 8.5 stone I didn't want 5 trays just a couple of the crab rolls but I literally wasn't allowed. They'd had complaints that there wasn't enough gluten free food so instead of making a few more sandwiches they put a waiter/security guard to guard what they did have!! One morning we had no water at all on the entire ship. We were in the cabin so didn't hear the announcement so went to the buffet as usual. Once there no one could have tea, coffee, cold water or orange/apple juice as the machines were all turned off. We could, however, pay £1.50 for a bottle of water or £1.95 for freshly squeezed orange juice. They even went round selling the captive audience ridiculously priced spa treatments whilst they were trying to eat their breakfast! Sadly the negatives continue. Again it's impossible to get a seat in the Atrium or the Live Room after 8.30pm. We usually stood at the counter or perched in the window sills. They have a huge cabaret lounge - The Venue but only use it for bingo at 6.30 and quizzes - every night at 11.20 after the second theatre show finished they were vacuuming it - so 800 people then stood around in the Live Room as there are simply not enough seats. Bazaarly they hold the Dress to Impress night and Final Farewell in the Atrium - the smallest area of all with seating for only 50 - the other 1750 have to stand without a drink - that's if they manage to get through any of the doors which we didn't manage at all the first week. Deck 4 which has the Atrium, Live Room, waiter service restaurant and Theatre has no public toilets whatsoever. You go down one deck for 5 ladies cubicles or up one deck for 2 ladies cubicles. Needless to say queues 30 strong all across the corridor. It's an all inclusive ship but they WILL NOT let you see an all inclusive menu. Their reason is that passengers take them off the ship. Strange how they don't take any of the payable drinks menus off the ship and strange how they have menus on every table on all other Thomson ships - where passengers pay for their drinks unless they have the drinks package? You can't help yourself to an ice cream cornet - they station a waiter there to serve it to you - and you can only have one between 12-2pm - they then throw it all away. Again on the Dream you just help yourself all day long. I don't eat it much but hubby wanted a bit of ice cream with a couple of cakes after his evening meal - not possible! The final straw came in Tarragona where we were literally held hostage on the ship. We docked at 10.30. They told us to go The Venue for a shuttle bus ticket at 10.45. They then told us to come back at 11.30. I asked the delightful lady from Liverpool on Destination Services if they were any taxis. She told me very abruptly there were none and I must get the shuttle bus. Their own map/description of Tarragona advised there are taxis at the quayside. I queried this and she said it was the Majesty's sheet not theirs?!! We counted 24 taxis at the side of the ship so went down to the gangway, but we couldn't get off without a shuttle bus ticket? Why not - it was 15 euros into the city by taxi? So we waited like prisoners of war for a ticket. Eventually we got off at 12pm and lined up outside for coaches for a further 20 minutes. Then we got on the coach, they told us to get off - it was the wrong coach! We eventually got to Tarragona at 1.30pm. We heard when we got back most passengers threw their tickets onto the tables and completely gave up on the idea of ever getting off the ship. By 2pm with still hundreds in the Venue this wonderful Liverpool lady (who needs serious training in customer service) announced there were several taxis available at the side of the ship if anyone wanted to go independently!! One poor man told us later he'd been cruising for 25 years with every company you can think of and had never been spoken to so rudely ever before. He reported the lady from Liverpool to reception. We're not moaners, we still had a good holiday and it won't stop us cruising with Thomson, but TUI need to look at their reviews for this ship and make some serous changes before we ever think of going back on it. From now on we'll stick to the Dream - it's cheaper and much better value for your money. First time cruisers loved it, but everyone else who had something else to compare it to all said they'd stick to the older Thomson ships, P&O or Royal Caribbean. Just hope TUI don't change the Dream!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The itinerary from Malaga to Lisbon, Portugal appealed to me and my sister. Additionally, we hadn't cruised on a small ship before. The best things were the informality of it, the personal attention of crew, and the lively ... Read More
The itinerary from Malaga to Lisbon, Portugal appealed to me and my sister. Additionally, we hadn't cruised on a small ship before. The best things were the informality of it, the personal attention of crew, and the lively interactions with other cruisers, and of course, Spain and Portugal! Things work differently when there are less than fifty passengers on a cruise. When a port change was necessary due to weather, the captain gathered us in the lounge and explained wave height, etc. From our last port (in the Algarve) we were bussed a few hours into Lisbon instead of enduring a gruelling overnight trip around the coast. I am not sure that I would want to cruise out into the Atlantic on a ship that size. I didn't have any trouble with seasickness on the other legs of the journey, but I could feel the rocking. The crew was friendly and personable. My sister got an impromptu galley tour when she looked at the inside dining room. We chatted with the captain on several occasions. We were only 35 cruisers on that trip so the ratio between crew and cruiser was great! Dining was on a sheltered deck with several large shared tables. Seating was not assigned. The food was okay with a choice between two main courses (fish or meat). On a couple of evenings, there were self-serve buffets with a wide range of food choices. Desserts were not the chef's strong suit, but fruit was available. The ports were well chosen. I particularly liked Cadiz, a charming small city. We overnighted at most ports of call so evenings out was a possibility and no fear of missing the ship. We took the train into Seville on our first day in Cadiz and visited the royal palace. There was a ship's tour on offer but we opted for the lower cost do-it-yourself option. We only took one ship's tour - to Ronda. We enjoyed the international crowd on the ship. We had informal dancing on the deck a couple of times. The only other entertainment - some board games in the lounge, movies, and swimming (once) off the back of the ship. We didn't miss shows, etc. because many of our fellow cruisers were well-travelled and we enjoyed good conversations. The cruise would not work for people with more than minor mobility issues. One port required tendering - but in a Zodiac with PFD's on! The stairs to the lower deck was very steep. The ship would particularly appeal to groups of friends travelling together and to gregarious people. It works well for fine weather cruising since there is not a lot of indoor common space. And we had fine weather! It was disappointing though that the sails were only put up once, just as a demo / photo opp. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017

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