We are seasoned cruisers having enjoyed some twenty cruises with most of the big cruise lines. This was our first and last Thomson / TUI cruise. As soon as we checked in on line, we quickly discovered the first of many reasons why Thomson ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers having enjoyed some twenty cruises with most of the big cruise lines. This was our first and last Thomson / TUI cruise. As soon as we checked in on line, we quickly discovered the first of many reasons why Thomson /TUI is a cruise company to be very aware of.
On the outward flight, we were allocated acceptable adjacent aisle seats, one in front of the other. The Dreamliner aircraft has 9 seats across which does not divide evenly into travelling couples, this. therefore leaves odd seats which we had and accepted. However, for the return flight, we were allocated unacceptable separated seats on opposite sides of the aircraft. Although on the seating plan our same outward seats were available. When we made a manual request to change our seats to the acceptable outward seats, up popped a £30 charge which we found infuriating and unacceptable. We rang Thomson / TUI to complain and was told that the administration cannot override the computer system. If we wanted to change the seats we would have to pay. We refused to pay this charge and wrote to Thomson /TUI to complain. Thomson / TUI did not have the decency to reply. However on the return journey our separated seats, as indicated on our boarding-passes, were surprisingly taken. As the same two acceptable seats were still vacant, we were allowed to sit in them anyway. The steward checked our status and told us we had the acceptable seats all the time. On the face of it, Thomson /TUI tried to sell us our own seats back for an extra charge of £30!!
At the outward check in at Gatwick, I was misinformed by two check-in staff that I could not check in my wife's baggage without her presence. I arrived at the check-in early to beat the rush and my wife was still sleeping in the airport hotel. I was furious at the thought of having to return with my wife and join a long queue. Luckily, another check-in staff with common sense made an enquiry and confirmed that baggage can be checked in by a fellow passenger. The lack of training was obvious and infuriating.
On to the ship we were offered, and turned down an all inclusive drinks package for a whopping £199 per person per week. The package must be taken as a travelling couple. You would need to be an alcoholic or at least a heavy binge drinker to get anywhere near a value return. It should be called an exclusive drinks package as beers quoted at the same price, if bought separately, were charged £1.80 extra on the inclusive deal. There was a daily inclusive special for one of these exclusive beers. These beers were also offered at a 40p discount of £3,50 instead of £3.90. John Smiths and Carling lager, both at £3.90, were the only beers available on the inclusive deal.
In my opinion, Thomson / TUI encourage irresponsible drinking if you try to get money value for their drinks package.
On the positive side, the drinks prices were reasonable, but surprisingly, most passengers were on the inclusive deal which must have heavily subsided the individual prices.
We were offered and turned down a wine package of 7 bottles for £99. This equates to £14,14 per bottle of wine. Again, similarly priced wines were excluded from the package. However, I discovered that a bottle of good wine can be purchased at the table for £13.99. Interestingly, I noticed that the £13.99 wine was not included in the wine package and would be extra. Also there was a different wine offered at £13.99 daily. The wine package therefore offered a more expensive deal than buying individual bottles at the table, but you would not know this when you sign up.
We purchased a late booking discounted junior suite, which is one and a half size of a standard balcony cabin, for the same price of a standard cabin. The cabin was spacious, had plenty of storage, a fridge and a bath tub. The downside was that clatter noise could be heard from the above main top deck during the early hours cleaning.
We witnessed many complaints from other passengers about the standard balcony cabin having insufficient storage space and no fridge. We were told that clothes needed storing on a chair.
We had one day at sea and thought that it would be a good time to have a 24 hour internet package for £15. Full credit for a reception member who advised me that it was a poor deal because it is limited by data use that quickly gets gobbled up. Another Thomson / TUI poor deal I could have got sucked into.
Regarding the food. Breakfast choices were acceptable . The buffet lunch had adequate choices but no shellfish on offer that is usually normal on other cruise lines. There were plenty of unhealthy fast food choices.
Regarding the evening waiter dining. The food was basic and given fancy names on the menu but was well presented. The menus were below the usual standard of other cruise lines. Steak was offered on one evening only in the two weeks. It was labelled as aged Angus steak. My wife and I chose this but it was poor quality and tough.
For a quality steak, which is normally included with other cruise lines, you had to pay £25 per person supplement at the la carte restaurants.
The singing and dancing shows were of a very good standard, On one night each week, there was a comedian. One told jokes we already knew, the other mumbled so much he was difficult to understand. We think he may have been drunk. All the shows were performed by the ship's singers and dancers.
I did notice two obvious mistakes on my ships charge bill. Two drinks were overcharged. The first mistake was rectified no problem, the second took two visits to the reception to rectify. At the first visit I was told it would be sorted, but it was ignored. After the second visit a correction was made. With Thomson / TUI I would recommend that all receipts are kept in order to fully check your bill. I have never found a bill problem on previous cruise lines.
Where the ship was berthed had a pattern such that we were always the poor relation. Our ship was either berthed outside of town in a container depot requiring a shuttle, or in a less central position requiring a lengthy walk, or anchored offshore requiring tenders. In all cases the other cruise ships berthed at the same time were in a central convenient position, whereas our ship was always in an unfavourable position. (obviously cheaper berths)
I understand that from next year TUI Discovery will be all inclusive only. Whatever that means in reality given the excluded drinks.
The TUI Discovery is an outdated Royal Caribbean cruise ship that has accommodation shortcomings. Probably why it was sold on to Thomson / TUI. Another old Royal Caribbean, identical sister ship, has also been purchased by TUI and will be named the Discovery 2.
From speaking to a sample of fellow passengers, it strongly indicates that they are Thomson stereotypes who have stuck with the well known and popular holiday brand, but admit they have no other cruise experience to compare with.
I would not cruise with Thomson /TUI again because of:
- the poor deal profiteering methods one can easily get sucked into.
- the second class treatment and facilities.
- no response when you write to complain. Read Less