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10 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 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
3 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our first & sadly our last cruise with Thomsons. We have cruised several times with a range of companies & had received lots of positive feedback about Thomsons "newer" ships so we were looking forward to our break. ... Read More
Our first & sadly our last cruise with Thomsons. We have cruised several times with a range of companies & had received lots of positive feedback about Thomsons "newer" ships so we were looking forward to our break. Unfortunately the ship is tired & many areas e.g Buffet, Live Room cannot accommodate the number of guests. We booked a de-luxe balcony & although the bathroom had been refurbished we still ended up being flooded & the rest of the cabin was under-whelming. Food & entertainment - mediocre. We also booked a 5 hour excursion to Sintra & Cascais with Thomsons at a cost of £72 for two and found ourselves spending 3hrs 30 minutes of it on the coach! The phrase " this tour will be mainly panoramic " ( which was not in the promotional literature) is enough to chill me to the bone! There are pros & cons to all cruise lines but for me NCL do much better all inclusive deal. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise as it was the newest of the TUI Ships. We are elderly aged 68 and 78 and slightly disabled. We had assistance at the airport, but struggled to get to the coach going to the port. The ship was medium-sized not quite ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the newest of the TUI Ships. We are elderly aged 68 and 78 and slightly disabled. We had assistance at the airport, but struggled to get to the coach going to the port. The ship was medium-sized not quite up to P & O standard.We chose a de-luxe balcony cabin on deck 7. Everything was spotless. Bathroom was new-looking but the step up into it was a bit difficult. All the linen and towels were changed regularly, no complaints here. We found the "hidden charges" a bit disappointing. £2 for a bottle of water. Also money for charities added which you can have removed if you can be brave enough to do, without having a guilt trip. You expect to have to pay for the mini bar, but water etc left on your table, we found a bit mean. We needed water to make tea and coffee. We only left the ship at one port as it was too far to walk off the ship to get on the buses. I made the mistake of booking this in school holidays and never used the pool as it was full of children (to be expected). Also children running up and down corridors after midnight. We enjoyed the cruise on the whole but a little more forthought on my part would have made it better. Probably wouldn't go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Had a very good offer on an inside cabin so booked..we are actually going on the transatlantic repositioning cruise next month as well. Room was a reasonable size with good storage space, lots of room for all our clothes. The bathroom ... Read More
Had a very good offer on an inside cabin so booked..we are actually going on the transatlantic repositioning cruise next month as well. Room was a reasonable size with good storage space, lots of room for all our clothes. The bathroom was a reasonable size. The main dining room was excellent, we had chosen 1st sitting, and our waiters were really good. The standard of meals in the Windjammer was typical cruise fare but ok. Now for the reason I only gave the cruise an average rating... Only soap in the cabin, no shampoo or conditioner...although you could buy it. For some reason our cabin steward made the bed with about 2foot at the bottom without a sheet. Our feet were then on the mattress protector and not on a sheet. The solarium was open to the elements, therefore rather chilly, we didn't brave the pool. The film was also on deck,open to the elements..again far too cold. Except for the day we were in Le Havre when it was being shown in the theatre at 1pm. No enrichment lectures at all, very disappointing. Not a great deal to do during the day on sea days. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Chose this cruise because we have been on this ship twice before. Western Med ( Spain and Portugal). 19th Sept - 2nd Oct 2016. Standards have slipped and prices have risen. A glass of wine was 10 -12 dollars each. A bottle of water ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we have been on this ship twice before. Western Med ( Spain and Portugal). 19th Sept - 2nd Oct 2016. Standards have slipped and prices have risen. A glass of wine was 10 -12 dollars each. A bottle of water was $5. 18% tax added onto all drinks. The cost of tours from the ship were outrageously expensive. They now charge £5 to £10 for shuttle busses from ship into town. Which they never used to do. We found that we got virtually the same tours on the RED open top busses at a quarter or less of the organised RC ttours. . Our cabin was 7550. No bath, but a very adequate shower. Lovely balcony. Very quiet but towards the front of the ship and a very very long way from the restaurants. Our bathroom had nothing but towels for the first 3 days. No shampoos, tissues, face flannels, shower gel, conditioner or shower gel for first three days. Had to keep begging for anything we wanted. The Windjammer restaurant was a nightmare. Self service. Too many people fighting for too few tables. Dreadful VERY LOUD music playing all the time Complained, but no use. . Unable to hear each other talk so everyone shouting. Only used it at the last possible moment for breakfast. However, the Romeo & Juliet Restaurant was excellent. Went there every evening.. Only went to theatre twice, first time a comedian so offensive, we walked out. Second time the musical, Grease. It was fabulous! The Royal Parade is a High street full of bars and shops. Great to shop and people watch. We booked through SAGA and got a free door to door taxi and free insurance AND it was cheaper than 8 other travel agents we tried. Don't think we would choose this company again as it charges extortionate prices for drinks ( including water) and trips. Royal Caribbean will automatically add a huge amount of money to your account for tips every day unless you tell reception you wish to pay them yourself in person at the end of the cruise. . Bay of Biscay very choppy. You can get sea sick pills from the Medical until ( If you can find it ). They are one of the two things that are free on the ship. Ice cream by the pool was the only other thing. This cruise is excellent for disabled people, there were a large number of wheelchair users on this ship. Read Less

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