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21 Marella Cruises Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

This was our 14th cruise and as we liked the look of the itinerary decided to give Marella a go after previously being loyal to P&O and Cunard. We did back to back Cuban Fusion and Exotic Explorer cruises so first the good points; ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise and as we liked the look of the itinerary decided to give Marella a go after previously being loyal to P&O and Cunard. We did back to back Cuban Fusion and Exotic Explorer cruises so first the good points; The Premium flight outbound was very good. The nightly shows were excellent. The staff were very good, especially Tamara , A Macedonian bar waitress. Negatives- where to begin? Cuban Fusion should have been called Fusion as we didn't actually get to Cuba - apparently the port was flooded and despite the annoyingly self-congratulatory captain Jason Ikiadis announcing he was confident we would get there, his next announcement overturned this and we were condemned to another boring sea day - more of those later - and an extra day in the sinkhole which is Jamaica. The food was distinctly average especially in the 47 degrees main restaurant where there was very limited choice. Even the Christmas Day gala dinner was disappointing - we were rushed in and out in an hour and didn't even get a mince pie! There was very little to do on board unless you were interested in seminars about back pain, metabolism, wrinkles, bad feet etc - all ending with a hard sell of course. No guest speakers, no lectures, very few quizzes and those that were put on were hosted by staff with excruciating senses of humour and an apparent inability to pronounce the simplest of words. There was a carol service on Christmas Eve but even this was ruined by some baffling readings/poems which bear no relation to Christmas. No religious service as the planned Boxing Day occasion was cancelled owing to a 4 hour anchored stop while the ship picked up 13 Colombian 'refugees' who were drifting in the sea. All well and good but there was an appalling lack of communication while this was going on - my wife suffers from anxiety and for all we knew these people could have been pirates. Still it was another excuse for a 'look how good I am' tannoy announcement from the captain. Worst of all was the behaviour of some fellow passengers. There was a fight on the pool deck on the first night then on Christmas Day we had the pleasure of the arrival of 2 families of what I am apparently forced to call 'travellers.' These people behaved like savages, 1 of them threatening to 'break the bloody back' of a fellow passenger by the pool, and the teenagers terrorising bar staff by swearing and shouting at them and demanding alcohol. Unfortunately 2 of these people were in the cabin directly above us and sleep was at a premium because of the disgraceful racket they created. Complaints to reception led to warning letters being sent to them but these had little effect as we had 4 security guards visit our cabin at 2 am on the final morning. The cruise director and his assistants were juvenile throughout and the shop staff were unhelpful and unsmiling. The shops stocked neither deodorant or toothpaste. I could go on but I'm depressing myself remembering it! If you're considering cruising with this line do yourself a big favour and think again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was ... Read More
This was my 33rd cruise and by far the worst , food was very poor the main restaurant very slow and presentation was like a cafe, quality of food like a back street pub, reception a total joke 5 times we requested certain things and was completely ignored, but the most alarming thing was the attitude of the general manager who accused me of cheating at the casino even after cctv showed I wasn’t and made of with £80 of my money ,i also got food poisoning on the 2nd day and was confined to cabin for 24 hours after the doctor was pretty sure it was food poisoning but again the general manager didn’t agree ,I sent a letter to the CEO of Marella Chris Hackney nearly 4 weeks ago, and still no reply, as I said in the heading ....Butlins at Sea ....but that’s probably unfair to Butlins Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions ... Read More
Went on this 'new' ship for the new year into 2019. The most boring cruise I'd ever been on. There was no laughs and no entertainment. Reality bands on a big screen every night. Same thing every evening. We had excursions booked for most early mornings so had to be in bed by 11pm and up early. So our routine was that after dinner each night we would head to the bars for a few drinks. But is was sooo boring. Nothing happening. Maybe a game of over priced bingo and then a reality band on the big screen. The same one that was playing the night before, and the night before that. Oh my god it was so boring on that ship. Nothing, just nothing went on. The Theater was dismal, I know them young people work very hard and they were pretty good but the shows were just rubbish. I couldn't work out what one or two of the shows was even about, seemed like a bit of a mishmash. Days at sea were unbearable. Just lay out on a sunbed bored to death and then in the afternoon someone who was unable to sing a note in tune would start playing acoustic guitar, they would come on and sing slow, slow, slow ballads.. It would make me feel like jumping overboard. The cruise was drinks all inclusive, so getting somebody to try and serve you at the bar was like waiting for a bus. There were no staff and on sea days if you were lucky enough to flag a waiter and order a drink, they would be 30 minutes coming back with it. On two occasions they didn't return at all and when I complained I was told it was probably because they had finished their shift or gone on their break. Kill me now, YES it really was that boring. We booked a cabin at the back of the ship. The cabin was terrible. The lampshade was hanging off, the walls were filthy, the mattresses had 'stains' on them, the shelves rattled about and the toilet was half way up the wall that I had to climb up onto it with my legs dangling in mid air whist I tried to do my business. I don't need to explain the difficulties in cleansing oneself! The shower was a disgrace. Was filthy dirty scum on the walls and mold all around the seals. Food was alright but nothing to get excited about. But better that some cruises I've been on. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have been cruising for the past 16 years and never had cause to complain to any of the companies we have used prior to sailing with Thompson's. When we boarded we were shocked by the bad ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have been cruising for the past 16 years and never had cause to complain to any of the companies we have used prior to sailing with Thompson's. When we boarded we were shocked by the bad odour and shabbiness of the ship. The furniture in the cabin was chipped and had seen better days. The bed extremely uncomfortable, pillows misshapen. We never had a decent nights sleep and woke with back ache every morning. The hot food in the sirens restaurant was barely warm. Food in the Orion restaurant was mediocre only the breakfast was enjoyable. We were on board 7 nights during that time my husband suffered GI and we were both in quarantine for more than 24 hours. Two days later I suffered the same illness and again we were in quarantine. So spent 3 days out of the 7 in quarantine. Resulting in us not seeing Panama or the second port in Colombia. The entertainment was amateur, not enough sun beds on the sun deck & no where to sit. We paid extra for premium seats on the plane. On our return journey we had to sit separate. We requested seats together but told the plane was full. However, a couple standing in the queue to board said they were awaiting to see if they could get an upgrade. To our horror this couple boarded once we were all seated and taken to seats along side each other at the front of the plane. I don't object to anyone having a upgrade, but I do when it's at my expense. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, ... Read More
My partner and I have cruised with several holiday companies before, both separately and together, so this is a reasonable and comparative review of our Thomson Celebration experience. Our intention here is to be fair and honest, explaining why certain aspects of the holiday were good and why others were appallingly bad … and ultimately why, taken as a whole, we would never consider buying another Thomson cruise package again. Everything that disappointed us during our holiday was entirely within Thomson’s control, which means they failed to meet our expectations on many occasions due to blatant incompetence, poor management, an inconsiderate attitude and a driven desire to put profit over customer satisfaction. The Holiday Booking Experience We booked our April 2015 cruise through a local Thomson travel-agent within six weeks of our departure date. We were informed we could pay extra there and then to book our seats on the airplane, but that we could also do it ourselves online from 14 days of departure. We weren’t bothered about getting premier extra-space seats, so chose to wait and do it ourselves later. This was a mistake! When we went online at the 14 day stage there weren’t any seats left where we could sit together. So, we were destined to undertake a 9 hour flight sat apart. We feel the booking agent failed to explain adequately that this could even happen, and she seemed rather more keen to stress we could pay for extra baggage allowance, travel insurance and extra leg-room, if we wanted. When we talked about the ship and cabin-type we wanted, we stressed we wanted to have a window or port-hole (an outside cabin), a cabin with a double bed (or twin beds that could be pushed together) and that we wanted to be on an upper deck away from the ship engines. Past experience has taught us inside cabins can be claustrophobic and lower deck cabins too close to the engines can be very noisy. The travel-agent explained we could pay substantially more for a balcony cabin, if we wanted, but as that wasn’t necessary for us, she booked us an outside cabin on deck 1 or 2 (she explained the actual cabin would be designated once we boarded the ship). This sounded fine – so we booked it. Another mistake! When we eventually boarded the ship, we were indeed given an outside cabin on deck 1, which we had assumed was the top deck. It wasn’t. It turned out the ship’s top-deck was deck 9. The one we were booked on was actually the bottom deck above the engines. Furthermore, we had been given a cabin with twin-beds that were on opposite sides of the cabin, bolted down (so unmovable). We feel the travel-agent seriously let us down on this as she clearly didn’t know what the layout was of this Thomson ship and consequently we ended up on a deck and with separate beds, both elements being things we had stressed we didn’t want. We weren’t the only ones to be severely disappointed about this … the reception area on the ship was swamped with hoards of disgruntled passengers that felt they had been sold something other than what they were getting, including a couple on their honeymoon that (like us) had actually been designated twin beds. Reception proved to be completely unhelpful, with some staff only just able to speak English. We were told by one of the reception staff that only about 10% of all requests made at the Thomson travel-agent booking stage were ever met … so bare that in mind if you make any special requests to Thomson before you leave for your holiday. We spoke to one passenger also at the Reception Desk who had paid an additional £1,000 for a balcony cabin, only to be given an outside cabin with no balcony – so even paying for the extras clearly doesn’t always prove fruitful. The Flight to Barbados We were lucky to be on one of Thomson’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the long haul flight. Despite the general monotony of such a long flight, this trip was actually bearable thanks to relatively comfortable seats, complimentary drinks, a decent meal (for me at least) and excellent in-flight entertainment via head-seat LCD displays. BUT .. my partner is vegan and we had booked a special vegan diet for the flight with Thomson and double-checked this requirement was recorded and confirmed on our booking E-ticket. When an ordinary meal was served to my partner, he explained it should be a vegan meal. The flight attendant investigated and returned some minutes later, somewhat embarrassed, saying there had been an error and there was no vegan meal on the airplane. He was then given an apple, a plum and a dry bread roll (there was no soya spread on board either). By pure chance, the cabin crew’s own meals were suitable for vegan and one of them consequently gave up their own dinner so my partner wouldn’t have to go nine hours without eating. This error by Thomson is quite unforgivable, but it pales into insignificance when all the other errors are stacked alongside it. Ship Embarkation The embarkation process was extremely poor. We were effectively corralled from the airport shuttle coaches into an open warehouse at the port side and then left to queue in twisting rows until a member of staff was free at the makeshift front desks. This process seemed to take forever and needs improving, particularly as most of us had just endured a very long day and a long flight. Eventually, we were issued with our ship boarding pass and were then left to our own devices to find our cabin. There was no one to show you your way, so most new passengers spent their first hour on board walking aimlessly up and down corridors deep in the heart of the ship. The Cabin The first impressions of our cabin (after the disappointment of finding it on the bottom deck) was that it was clean and of an adequate but not spacious size, but it looked ‘tired’. We were already aware the Thomson Celebration was an old ship (first launched in 1983). The Thomson website says this ship’s cabins have ‘a smart, contemporary edge’, which is stretching the truth somewhat. The laminated surfaces in our cabin (813) were worn and cracked, small sections were missing or otherwise needed replacing and the pop-up sink plug didn’t work. Other than that, it had everything we needed, including a flat-screen TV and a kettle with an adequate daily supply of tea, coffee and milk. Unfortunately, the TV was fairly useless, because the only channels available were SKY News and one other channel that occasionally showed films in English. One of the first things we wanted to do was plug in and charge our electric toothbrush into the socket in the shower-room, and the socket fell out of its fixing as soon as we tried. By this stage, we had just about given up complaining. Our expectations were lowering by the minute. The port-hole was at sea level and so far into the ship bulkhead that we had to climb onto a shelf above the bed to see anything out of it. We have already mentioned about the twin beds … while these appeared clean, they were also fixed into their position, so they could not be converted into a double bed (as some of the Thomson literature and promotional material suggest). There was a safe in the room – which you had to pay extra for, if you wanted to use it – but no fridge (as a diabetic carrying insulin that needs to be refrigerated, this was again very disappointing). There was a also a mini-bar of water, alcohol and chocolates. It rather surprised us that everything that made-up the mini-bar was charged as an extra, even though we had pre-paid for the optional all-inclusive drinks package at over £330 each. Clearly, if we wanted a drink, we would have to ascend 6 decks to get to one of the bars or pay extra on top of the drinks package fee if we wanted to use the mini-bar. The drinks and brands were the same, so we cannot understand why Thomson choose to charge for this convenience, other than to profit from it. The Celebration Ship itself The ship is old and was last partly refurbished in 2013 (mostly the public areas, not all cabins). It is small by comparison to many others sailing around the MED and Caribbean, but at face-value, its amenities seemed adequate for the 1,250 passenger capacity. In reality, Thomson’s bad management often means the ship is artificially reduced in size, because passengers find areas are closed off so they can be painted and/or varnished, which causes a shortage of sunbeds or drinking tables while everyone scrambles to find themselves a place. The small size of the ship does allow passengers to get to know one another much easier. We often found ourselves sat with people we had met a couple of times before and this made conversation easy and the atmosphere on-board quite sociable. Unfortunately, this close proximity and limited space also meant tempers and arguments sometimes erupted once large amounts of alcohol had been consumed. We witnessed at least one alcohol-fuelled near-brawl by passengers in Liberties on deck 6 one evening, reminding us that this was far from a 5-star cruise. The Dining Experience With four restaurants the ship offered a wide variety of cuisine, though two had a cover charge (so these were not really part of the all-inclusive facilities). We tended to use either the self-service Lido buffet-style restaurant or The Meridian, which is waiter-service. The ship also offered food and snacks throughout the day and evening and more than enough variety to satisfy anyone’s palate … unless, that is, you happen to be vegan. Since coming off the ship, my vegan partner has said he is probably the only passenger to have lost weight as a result of going on this cruise. His experience of the dining amenities was extremely disappointing. During the first two days he discovered almost all of the dishes on offer were made with meat or fish or included cream, eggs or other dairy or animal ingredients. He was therefore resigned to fruit, salad greens, rice or chips. Most of the pasta dishes had cream or other dairy or animal ingredients and the soups always had cream added. Although the ship carried soya milk (which had to be asked for), it didn’t have any soya spread for bread rolls at night or for toast in the morning and no soya meat substitutes of any kind for alternative recipes. The language barrier also made life difficult for my partner, because the mostly Filipino waiters and servers only had a command of tourist English. Asking what the ingredients were in each dish proved completely pointless, because they would simply point to the card in front of each dish that said “Lasagne” or “Stroganof” or whatever the meal happened to be. By the fourth day, my partner decided to try and talk to Reception to see if the head chef could prepare and make available at least one vegan dish for evening meals. The disappointing result of this meant a somewhat strange and largely inedible concoction of dishes became available (one each evening). These were invariably boiled rice or pasta based with a few rare exceptions. For example … spinach, mushrooms and sliced fried garlic combined together as a main meal and a bizarre baked dessert made up of sweet corn and flour. Given the number of chefs on the ship … these offerings seemed to lack any skilled knowledge about creating special-request dishes. What they prepared always seemed borne from panic and desperation with no consideration for presentation or taste. So, if you are vegan or have a dairy or other allergy … don’t expect a gourmet experience on Thomson Celebration. Actually, we advise taking 14 days worth of packed lunches, just to sustain you during the trip. The Drinks Package Like most cruises, there are no cash transactions allowed on the Thomson Celebration. At embarkation guests register a credit card, which is then linked to your boarding-card. This card is then used to buy everything you need on-board, whether it’s a drink from one of the bars or a hair-cut in the salon. Past experience has taught us the bar-bill can come as quite a shock at the end of a cruise, because drinks are always sold at premium prices and not many people maintain a running check on what is being spent as the days roll by. Although we are not big drinkers, we figured the 6-day transatlantic section of the trip (without being able to go ashore) might be costly, because we would have to use the ship’s bars for all refreshments during the day and night. The Drinks Package cost us a further £678 (£339 each), but seemed reasonable, given the circumstances. Not all branded wines, spirits or cocktails are included in the drinks package, but there was more than enough variety on offer to satisfy our needs. We had some suspicions about the quality of some drinks at one bar in particular (outside on deck 6), where some liqueurs seemed exceptionally thin. I am familiar with the taste and viscosity of Mallibu, for example, and my partner has 23yrs experience as a bar and restaurant manager, so he also knows when a particular drink doesn’t look or taste as it should. Maybe it was the heat of the Caribbean, maybe the Mallibu (like the gin) had been affected by other unknown factors … or maybe someone was watering bottles down or passing-off original quality liqueur for a substandard brand at this particular bar. We also witnessed staff at this bar regularly pouring short measures from virtually empty bottles, without changing the bottle beforehand (a practice that is illegal in the UK leisure trade). We really only have one major complaint about how the Drinks Package facility was operated by Thomson, which we believe means we ended up paying for some of those who had not purchased a Drinks Package. When anyone approaches a bar or asks a waiter for a drink, they present their boarding-card so the price of the drink can be recorded on their account. Those with a Drinks Package are not charged (unless it’s a premium chargeable drink), while others will find the cost on their account at the end of the cruise. We found it strange that – as a couple – we always ordered two drinks, but we were only ever asked for one boarding card to record the order. By day three, we became aware this was happening with everyone. As guests got to know one another, they started to form some large groups, particularly at the bars during the evenings. Some were ordering 2 drinks at a time for people in their party – but the bar-staff only asked for a single boarding-card from the person getting the round of drinks in. It quickly became apparent that many in the “group” of friends were on a pay-as-you-go regime … and were consequently getting their drinks “free” through Drinks Package passengers. So, one couple in a two-berth cabin would have two Drinks Package cards and each would use them to buy two drinks on each card … one for themselves and one for a “friend” (without a Drinks Package card). We reported this to the Reception staff … but the situation never changed, even up to and including the last day of our cruise. We believe this almost certainly creates an inflated Drinks Package price, because some of those like us that had it are clearly subsidizing some that don’t. Thomson could easily rectify this by insisting on a “one drink – one card number” rule and save honest customers a small fortune by slashing the Drinks Package cost. Sunbeds The Thomson Celebration has enough sunbeds for all 1,250 passengers … unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we always had a sunbed available when we wanted one. Thomson managed to obstruct hundreds of paying guests from this pleasure by undertaking a maintenance schedule during the most ridiculous times of day and on days when they knew sunbeds would be at premium demand. The (presumably routine) painting of railings and maintenance of deck timbers meant Thomson chose to close off one of the decks (sundeck 8) for almost the entire cruise, which meant all the sunbeds on that deck were stacked and unavailable. This wasn’t a huge problem while the ship was touring the Caribbean islands, because some passengers were off the ship on excursions or out roaming around the tourist areas. However, during the six days we were crossing the Atlantic, all passengers were on board – and that meant we all wanted to relax on a sunbed, if only we could all find one. Once the first deck had been completed, everyone sighed in relief … but this was short lived, because then more than half of another deck was shut off (deck 6). This occurred during the daytime. Passengers already settled at tables or on sunbeds were unceremoniously evicted from their positions, told to move to another part of the deck, sunbeds were stacked and ropes were quickly tied to cordon off the area. Thomson now had hundreds of unhappy customers scrambling for complaint forms, again!!! It is fair to say that we only ever had a sunbed in the sun for perhaps two hours a day, mostly towards the end of each day when other passengers were going back to their cabins to prepare for their evening meal. We may well have got more sunbathing done in our home town of Blackpool than on this cruise. Entertainment The entertainment on board was an odd mix of some excellent and highly professional theatre and deck-stage shows, combined with random and very basic Butlin’s style game shows and quizzes lending themselves more to a local pub than a cruise ship. Part of the attraction for us for this cruise was the “Motown and Soul” theme, which had been used to promote it. Roy G Hemmings (once of The Drifters) and his band and backing singers were on the ship and they put on three superb nights of Motown entertainment. Unfortunately, these were just about the only “Motown and Soul” entertainment evenings we had. Passengers were sufficiently disappointed to start a petition that went around the ship … when it was handed in, it transpired that some of the entertainment staff didn’t even know this was meant to be a themed cruise. What became very apparent very quickly was that the entertainment staff (mostly English) worked their socks off to try to keep everyone happy and occupied during the long days and nights of the transatlantic crossing. I cannot fault their efforts or their talents, but I do feel Thomson let us (and therefore them) down by not making the so-called Motown theme more prominent. Cabin Staff As on many other cruising ships, the cabin staff were mostly Filipino and were the hardest working and the friendliest of all staff on-board. No matter what time of day or night we went back to our cabin, our cabin-steward was always there on the corridor with a friendly smile asking if we had enjoyed our day or evening. Our beds were always made during the day, the cabin cleaned or tidied and our beds turned down at night usually with chocolates placed on our pillows. Thomson need to recognize the value of these staff members much more and reward them, because they rarely seemed to get any free time (other than to sleep) and were not apparently permitted on the upper decks. Flight Home Our last day on the cruise was expensive. Our Thomson flight wasn’t due to leave until 8pm in the evening, but the letter pushed under our cabin door the day before told us we were expected to vacate our cabin at 8am on departure day (our suitcases had to be packed and left for collection outside the cabin by 3am). So, we spent some hours trying to organize ourselves, keeping back some shorts for the daytime heat and a change of clothes for the flight and unhappily facing having to carry all remaining bags and possessions around with us for 12 hours. Reception explained that we could keep our cabin (or be issued with an alternative one) until 4pm on the last day… but it would cost us an extra £35 for the privilege. We resorted to paying the extra for the convenience (to be honest, we were by now getting used to Thomson fleecing us for more money at every opportunity). We also wanted to enjoy the “80s disco” in Liberties Lounge that evening without thinking about having to get up before 8am the next day to vacate our cabin, but as it turned out – the 80s disco was cancelled on the night in favor of allowing a member of staff (who was leaving the ship) to sing his favorite songs on stage. It was only after guests’ complained that anything was done to stop him singing and get the disco night reinstated. The flight home was just about the worst flight we have ever taken and a complete contrast to the outbound flight. The airplane was a standard 737 (not the nice shiny new Dreamliner that brought us out). During the four hour flight there were no meals served, no complimentary drinks and no entertainment systems operating. There was only one trolley service of drinks, tea, coffee or sandwiches throughout the uncomfortable flight – all charged – and nothing suitable for my vegan partner. Although this was a much shorter flight (4 hours from Tennerife) than our outward journey, it felt ten times longer. The impression we got was that Thomson had received our money, the holiday was over – and they just wanted to honor their obligation to get us home quickly and cheaply by offering as little as possible. In Conclusion In recent years, many people have opted to try cruising as a holiday. Unfortunately, Thomson seems to be trying to reduce the cost of these so-called luxury holidays and are putting profit over and above meeting the expectations of their customers. I would place the Thomson Celebration Transatlantic Moments cruise in the standard 3-star holiday bracket, according to our experience with other companies and other cruise ships. The ship is too old and too small and needs scrapping. The add-on costs are excessive and relentless. The cuisine variety is good, but only for those that do not have any special dietary requirements. Thomson’s management, maintenance and operational systems on-board need a complete rethink. Reception staff on-board need to be fluent in English and need the power to rectify problems on-the-spot, not just offer a complaint form to be handed in after the holiday is over (by which time the holiday is ruined). Neither I nor my partner would consider going on another Thomson holiday, based on this experience … we therefore could not recommend them or the Thomson Celebration ship to others. This was a very disappointing and expensive holiday (costing £3,000+ for two of us), occasionally enjoyed only because of some of the staff and the people we shared it with. We feel Thomson let us down from the moment of booking this holiday right up to and including our flight home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy ... Read More
We returned a couple of weeks ago and I'm still kind of upset about how badly we were treated whilst on board. The ship is a little down in the dumps and could likely do with some work. The information on the ship is pretty shoddy really, they did not tell us that half the space for sunbathing and sitting would be out of order due to 'refurbishment' of an outside deck into a sun lounge whilst we were on board. The port and Shore excursions are what has me most upset however. We booked brought eight trips before we left the UK with our Thomson rep at home, a lady we happen to trust because she's been doing our holiday booking for a long time. But this has by far been the most disappointing and unhappy time we've ever had while on holiday with Thomson. The Excursions team were rude, dismissive and in one case very condescending. The problem is that we missed a tour departure time in the morning from the port. We mistook our time to leave on one trip towards the end of our holiday, but having been on several trips by now it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. We'd waited around for half an hour after our departure time once for missing people. But when we got to the dock side, the rep there told us we'd missed our tour by an unbelievable one minute. Because the tours only ever waited five for people and we were six minutes late. The rep was condescending and blamed us for not checking our tickets properly with a shrug. When we later complained at the excursions desk the rep told us he'd seek out his manager, basically to get rid of us so people wouldn't hear us complain in public we presume, then we got a letter through the door that stated verbatim what that rep had told us to our face. That Thomson wouldn't be giving us our refund, that we were 'seven' minutes' late- which was an added minute they seem to think makes it better for them leaving us behind- That they were sorry we'd missed out tour but basically tough luck we've got your money and we're not giving it back. To say we were unimpressed is an understatement. We explained to the excursions team about how we waited well passed the five minutes every single time we went on a tour with them that fortnight, this being the last day it was not an exaggeration. They told us blatantly lying to our faces that this wasn't possible because they never waited passed five minutes for people. To compound our disgust in the excursions team we then found out while talking to people we met onboard that they too had problems with the excursions team. They went on a tour to a 'closed' attraction and were told they would not be getting a refund despite the fact that they were taken someplace closed and then brought back to the ship. I don't know what sort of scam Thomson are playing on people, but this is by far the most disturbing and absolutely disgusting experience I've ever had with them in my many years travelling with them. If it were just the excursions though i could let it go, I'd just go on hols with them and avoid their trips. But it wasn't. We encountered unhelpful staff at Reception who didn't seem to care if we were left stranded with no money as long as they didn't have to lift a finger, an entertainment team that has probably been targeting college drop outs because the performances were not exactly what I would call professional level. I'm not a very good judge of musicality but even I cringed when the guy croaked and cracked his way through Adele. There was also a disappointing lack of anything to do besides wallow through their shows of an evening. The ship is small I give them that, but surely they can think of something to do for entertainment that doesn't involve singing or bingo? As for the other facilities on board, well extortion is clearly a main motivator, because the photographers are either con artists or delusional about what their services are worth. I feel bad mostly for the service staff and the cabin stewards who are truly the only thing the floating help has going for it. We had a wonderful cabin steward and our waiters were always happy and helpful. I'm sure that they must be an aberration for this ship because they are certainly the only people who seem to know what customer service is. The only other comment I can really offer is that several people we spoke to questioned just why this was a so called "platinum' cruise when clearly it was bog standard and a little limp and lifeless. If it wasn't for the places we actually disembarked the entire thing would have been a holiday from hell. Thank God the Caribbean is a wonderful lush place full of life and excitement or I may have thrown myself overboard. I know at one point I certainly contemplated the chances of getting an earlier flight home. It makes me kind of angry when I look at this review because I sound like a horrible sarcastic person. But I work in the Hospitality business and I am very forgiving of most problems because I know what it's like not to be able to do anything with a bad situation. But I honestly can't even justify half of what went on with these people. I can think of absolutely no excuse for their lack or care or abysmal attitude. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this ... Read More
Our biggest complaint was with reference to the food onboard. This is the only ship amongst a number of cruises we have taken where we have not wanted to eat! We are not fussy eaters but we really DID NOT enjoy the food offered on this trip. Let’s start with the buffet/Lido restaurant. The breakfasts and afternoon teas were very repetitive and with little variations. The food was often oily, with the eggs being either over or underdone and only luke warm. The bacon and sausages tasted cheap. The cereals were mainly of the cheap sugar laden variety while the fruit was consistently melon and pineapple. Lunchtimes fared little better. The salad was only ever the following:- lettuce, cucumber, radish, grated carrot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, watery silverskin onions (no vinegar) and cheeses with no variations. The salad dressings on offer were poor, heavily oily and poor in variety. The mixed salads on the appetiser counter were laden with mayo or looked revolting. Hasn’t the chef heard of pulses, a variety of salad leaves etc? The main courses were equally bad in their look, smell and taste. So much so lunch often became hot dog and chips from the snack bar by the pool – something we never eat at home or on holiday. The sugar free sweets were also poor in variety, being mainly a creamy mousse or pastry with fruit, not helpful if one doesn’t like creamy mousses and can’t eat pastry! Additionally the sugar free was rarely labelled as such and one had frequently to ask if there were any sugar free. Afternoon tea was the same every day, sausage rolls, small sandwiches, trifle (not sugar free) scones, cake and biscuits (none of which were sugar free). In fact the sandwiches were often the best food of the day. The scones were also acceptable if one ignored the too high bicarbonate taste, but couldn’t cheese scones have been served occasionally too? The biscuits were the worst we have tasted – dry and tasteless regardless of flavour, too much flour and not enough fat to make them flavoursome and ‘short’ in consistency, in other words, they were cheap! Drinks in the Lido – the coffee was dire, bitter and totally unacceptable. I drank only tea for the duration of the cruise whereas my husband doesn't drink tea, coffee, milk or alcohol so his choice was nil for the entire cruise, bar water, since no alternative drink was on offer, unlike other cruises which still offer juice and iced flavoured teas at all meal times. Let’s now look at the food in the Meridian Restaurant. Breakfasts: Firstly, fruit juices served at breakfast were far too sweet. We think that they were fruit concentrates which hadn’t been diluted. We had to dilute it by 1/3 or ½ to make it drinkable. The fish for breakfast was often unrecognisable as such being dry and much over-cooked, so much so we stopped choosing the fish dishes before a few days had passed. The omelette I tried after the fish was almost inedible too, the taste and texture weren’t good. My husband concurred on the only day he chose omelette. The yoghurt with fresh fruit was always sugared therefore problematic for me, also the choice of fruit was always melon unless we stipulated otherwise and when we did ask for alternatives the waiters always looked surprised, although we did get our choices. We asked for water, only wholemeal toast and sugar free conserve each day, yet we always had to ask several times for what we required and sometimes it wasn’t listened too or took far too long to get. Many people gave up without a second tea, coffee or whatever. The staff weren’t particularly helpful or friendly. To be honest, my husband ate Weetabix followed by toast for the majority of the cruise. I, by contrast, resorted to porridge followed by Egg Benedict when available. Note I said egg not eggs Benedict – most ships give two, on this ship only one was ever given. Believe it or not, breakfast was probably our best meal of the day!!!! We didn’t eat in the Meridian for lunch. Dinners: The service was appalling. Several times we waited between 1hr and 1hr 30mins between the starters and the main courses and complained about main dishes being cold on more than one occasion. One day we actually saw the chefs, waiters etc. and baked Alaska presentation TWICE, without receiving our main course! The main course were poor in quality, often way too salty, bloody meats, lacking taste, having a horrible taste etc. etc. I even refused the Spaghetti Bolognaise. It looked like a poor tin or packet mix – short lengths of spaghetti mixed with the ragout sauce, not at all like proper Spaghetti Bolognaise. It tasted like it had lots of chemicals in it – really horrible, it was sent back, I was offered a second choice but by then I didn’t want to wait again and was put off by the first offering. A couple of evenings later we went to the Kora La, hoping for a better experience. I ordered the Beef Rendang and my husband ordered the Stir-fried noodles. Were these any better? Not on your life! Both dishes were so excessively salty we had the head waiter and the chef attend our table. We were offered alternatives but by now we were not in the mood to try yet more, rather we felt ill and disappointed. NEVER have we had such experiences on a ship. Let’s move to our cabin. To be fair our steward, was very friendly and helpful so no complaints here. Yes, the cabin was small but as we booked very late, this did not surprise us. However, what did surprise us was the lack of a refrigerator in the cabin. All of our previous ships have had in-cabin ‘fridges and we didn’t even consider the possibility that there wouldn’t be one. A ‘fridge is important to us since I have medication which needs refrigeration, so every day I had to go to reception to get and return my medication to them, waiting in sometimes long queues to get and then to return it – what an inconvenience! The television in our cabin was of poor quality, poor reception and a general lack of stations to watch. The safe had to be paid for separately! Never have other ships charged us for in-cabin safes because this is for your benefit as much as our’s – shocking and expensive! The facecloths in particular, were often grey and unhealthy looking. There was no complimentary dressing gowns and an elitist system for beach towels too – pale blue for the cheaper cabins, medium blue as one moves up the decks and royal blue, plush ones, for the better cabins. We were really disgusted at this – deliberately singling out what class of passenger one is – shame on you Thomson! This too NEVER happens on other cruise lines. On the subject of sunbathing, we have a further complaint. The front of the top deck of the ship was often closed off due to ‘high winds’. Frequently this wasn’t the case but still we couldn’t use that area. The middle section was currently being refurbished; I say currently but in fact no work was done on this section all the time we were on board. We were all jammed on a small section, jammed in like sardines on the two sea days, most unpleasant. We heard this section had been shut since the start of the season. Furthermore, there are no toilets in this area. Lastly, the deck hands were regularly clearing away the sunloungers by 5pm even though the sun didn’t go down for another hour to hour and a half. They often asked passengers to get up so they could pack away. How unwelcoming! Of course this also meant there were no seats outside if one wished to sit out and peruse the stars on the warm Caribbean evenings. We’ve not seen the like of this previously either. Our final complaint is in regard to returning to the ship after a day on shore. Actually, the staff on duty at the gangplank both going and coming, were humourless and unresponsive. There was no canopy on the pier, no welcoming drink, indeed no welcome. We were the poor relations of the cruise world as compared to the other ships we were docked alongside. Lastly, the security on board was a laugh, we could have brought all sorts on board. They rarely had the X-ray working. Is this a Platinum Cruise as advertised ? – No way!!!! We consider it to be a poor cast iron level. Would we cruise with Thomson again? A resounding No! We’re so pleased we got a cheap, last minute deal. If we had paid the brochure price we would have been stomping by now and probably we be consulting with a solicitor. A shockingly, bad experience and one never to be repeated. Added to the general insult of actually being on board, on return and wishing to complain we filled in the on-line booking complaints form - it doesn't send and we have tried it on several occasions. A letter of complaint did receive the customary general reply, saying we would hear within a month. It's two months now and still no response and you can't get anyone on the phone either. We read reviews and decided to still give Thomsons a go. Warning, book at your peril - you have been warned. Our advice - try another company, any other company which isn't owned by Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Thomsons and probabley the last. We went for an inside cabin on deck one because of the price. We have paid the same for a balcony cabin with another cruise line in the past. This was the worst cabin we have ever had, the cabin rattled and rolled all the time and the beds were hard and the pillows were cheap and nasty. We are both non smokers and we had trouble finding sun beds away from the smoke. We did complain 3 times at reception but they didn't seam to think that the lack of no smoking signs was a problem. This is the reason that we will not be cruising with Thomsons again. Usually the entertainment on Thomson cruises is excellient, but on this ship sadly not, in the Broadway show lounge it was repetative so say the least. We thought the standard of food was not much better than a moterway cafe, with the exception of the a la carte restaurants but we pay a hefty surcharge. We visited these restaurants four times to get a decent meal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Simply the worst cruise we’ve been on from start to finish. Despite the generally excellent staff and ok food the overall standard was dreadful. Cramped down at heel cabins (and we paid for an upgrade!), downmarket facilities, old ... Read More
Simply the worst cruise we’ve been on from start to finish. Despite the generally excellent staff and ok food the overall standard was dreadful. Cramped down at heel cabins (and we paid for an upgrade!), downmarket facilities, old fashioned Butlins style entertainment hosts, overpriced excursions, etc. A service approach focused on extracting as much money as possible rather than your cruise enjoyment. Don’t be fooled by the Thomson “value for money” line – have been on infinitely better cruises with P & O and Voyages of Discovery and the actual cost is similar for far superior facilities. During the holiday my wife made me promise to never book another Thomson holiday, let alone a cruise. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
arrived in Jamaica, stood in narrow hallway for three and a half hours, no water, 40degree heat. With +- 750 people waiting for coaches to transport us to the ship.. thomsons had forgotten to lay on coaches. this was the reason the rep ... Read More
arrived in Jamaica, stood in narrow hallway for three and a half hours, no water, 40degree heat. With +- 750 people waiting for coaches to transport us to the ship.. thomsons had forgotten to lay on coaches. this was the reason the rep gave us at the airport, before phoning London to sort out the coaches... they later claimed, on response to our complaint back in London that there was a traffic problem.. it was tops 20 minute journey to ship from airport... they also said there was water provided, outside the terminal!! we were not allowed to leave the terminal.. the ship itself is in a poor state, constant flooding in our bathroom..( towels thread bear). our cabin was in need of major repair.. the waiters in restaurant, and the room porter were very good, but certain bar staff were downright rude and insulting.. the food was not bad, but very repetitive .. the excursion trips were a con, not a Thomson rep to be seen once they got you onto the coaches.. took a trip to Tulum, we spent one and a half hours at the site, then we were driven to a restaurant on the beach, given a Luke warm buffet lunch and had to spend the rest of the day on the beach..we could have arranged our own beach trip at no expense.. every single passenger we spoke were complaining, some of these people had been cruising with thomsons for years, but all said they were never cruising with them again.. the entertainment, well it was the theatre or quizzes, the theatre troupe tried there best, but most times you felt you were on a floating butlins.. I feel that this company is not set out for cruising!! they give cruising a very bad name.. disembarkation was a shambles.. never will we be using this company for any of our future holiday plans, be it on land, and especially not at sea.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The holiday did not start well when we arrived at a suffocatingly hot airport and there were no buses available to transfer passengers to the ship. This resulted in a long, standing, wait in a huge queue in temperatures that are alien to ... Read More
The holiday did not start well when we arrived at a suffocatingly hot airport and there were no buses available to transfer passengers to the ship. This resulted in a long, standing, wait in a huge queue in temperatures that are alien to the average Brit dressed for a journey from a cold climate. No drinks were offered. There were no reps there to tell us what was going on, or how long the buses might be. When we were eventually transferred to the ship on a boneshaker of a bus, embarkation was less than smooth. The reps were asking us to 'smile' for the camera that recorded your image for verication of your ship's card.... after a two hour wait in a sweatbox!! Not exactly how you want to be seen for the duration of your holiday! Our cabin was a couple of doors from the back of the ship. Now I know someone has to have these cabins, but they are extremely noisy and vibrate vigorously. On docking and casting off, you are lucky to hang on to your fillings! In our opinion, the food in the self service restaurants was not up to standard. It was constantly cold, repetitive and of poor quality. Definitely not a good dining experience. The Orion restaurant was marginally better. Drinks in the bars were expensive and some were positively undrinkable. Unless it came out of a can it should be avoided. The swimming pools were not inviting. The one on Deck 11 reminded me of a sheep dip. Our cabin steward was as usual, good. We also contracted the 'cruise cough'. The reps and reception staff on board were evidently receiving a lot of complaints, and some were short tempered and unprofessional when dealing with passengers, even when they weren't complaining. All in all, a not to be repeated experience. Certainly not on a Thomson ship. Its next port of call should be the breakers yard!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with a cruise and stay holiday. It begins - We booked a week at Calize Island in turkey followed by a weeks cruise from Mamaris we later had to change the week to the Montana ... Read More
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with a cruise and stay holiday. It begins - We booked a week at Calize Island in turkey followed by a weeks cruise from Mamaris we later had to change the week to the Montana pine resort owing to a friends wedding. At the time of the booking we was told that they would include a drinks package,hotel the night before and free parking as well as showing us our cabin in the middle of deck 3/4. when we moved the stay part of the holiday we was told that they would have to start the booking again and the offer on the drinks package is no longer included we questioned this saying that we have not moved the cruise but to no avail. We then asked if every thing else was the same our room double bed etc and was told yes not to worry. A few months later we received our tickets but for a totally different cruise on a totally different date.We then returned to the agents after being told that the hotel that we was due to stay in had gone bust and we will need to now pay for the parking and make other arrangements at our own expense. They then changed the cruise ensuring us that every thing was exactly the same. After boarding we found our cabin 2 single beds a port hole that you had to climb onto a shelf and crawl 5 feet into a alcove to see straight down into the sea this sea-view when booked cost £160, As it was our wedding anniversary i asked for a double bed every time we went into the shop and was on 3 occasions told that we had one. we complained to reception and was offered to upgrade at an extra cost. The first day was at sea so we made the most of a very poor ship dark and dingy and places where closed owing to a outbreak of the nureon virus the week before there was a further 3 cases whilst we was on board we went to bed at pm.The next morning at 5.30am we was woken up docking in Istanbul by the anchor dropping outside our room a experience we had everyday so we started going back to our single beds at 10 pm to get some sleep. On the 5th night we was woken at 1am by what sounded like a plane starting in our room we thought the ship was sinking it was the stabilizer this went on for several hours we could not sleep so at 4am we took our quilts and pillows and slept for a hour in reception there was already several customers there asleep. After returning to the Uk we have since complained to Thomsons about the room the view etc and to our utter amazement they have said that they are in no way responsible and that we did not pre book our room it is in the A to Z guide and we should have read it i pointed out that on 3 separate occasions we asked for double bed and was assured that this was the case I have since received a email apologizing for not being offered this service in the shop they forgot. The sea view was stated and we received a sea view although we had to do a assault course to vies the oily sea.They are also sorry that we was woken up early every morning and a very concerned that we was forced to sleep in reception. The staff overall worked very hard and where all polite and well presented the food was average and the Mistral restaurant was over priced the drinks where expensive and watered down in many cases there is not enough seats or sunbeds and if you like waiting in line this is the cruise for you. The only time to celebrate on the celebration is when you get off never again will we go with Thomson and i will actively try to persuade any one not to use them.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
If you are expecting the dream cruise then im afraid you would be mistaken. Checking into the ship in Barbados was slow and they tried to sell me wine packages non stop and before you board the ship the ships photographer wants a photo of ... Read More
If you are expecting the dream cruise then im afraid you would be mistaken. Checking into the ship in Barbados was slow and they tried to sell me wine packages non stop and before you board the ship the ships photographer wants a photo of you and are pretty much made to have the photo taken even though you've been travelling and not feeling or looking your best. Cabin was at best a 2 star turkey special very dated 80s style, toilets stopped working 8 times within the 2 weeks we were onboard! Cabin steward was very good and all the crew were friendly and hard working but think like most these ships Thomson take the piss out of the Asian hard workers on board. Entertainment on board was aimed at the older cliental with bingo galore and what I would describe a bad pub quizzes, we saw a show one night queen tribute and it wasn't what I was expecting wasn't very long and just aswell as they murdered some great songs! Trips booked through Thomson were expensive but very safe but only cared about numbers so you couldn't get that nice picture you wanted without half the ship in the back ground. On holiday we like to have nice food but this ship will offer nice food for an extra £20 per person for Asian or French in the grill, or steak under the stars for another £13 per person, Orion restaurant wasn't very nice,buffet on deck 9 was where we ventured most nights for random dinners a real mish mash of foods. Drinks are a real rip off all inclusive that isn't all inclusive n having to pay £1.80 for bottled water is a joke. The places we visited made the holiday the ship definitely didn't, spend a bit more money and go on royal carribean where they will cater for younger passengers as well and at least have more variety of food and activities.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our cruise got off to the worst start by having to stand in a prison-like queue for 15 mins to reach the food for our first meal on board. During the cruise there was pandemonium when people tried to disembark because no announcements ... Read More
Our cruise got off to the worst start by having to stand in a prison-like queue for 15 mins to reach the food for our first meal on board. During the cruise there was pandemonium when people tried to disembark because no announcements were made to explain the reason for the delay in being permitted to leave the ship. On the day of our departure we were promised the use of a courtesy cabin for which we were told all that was required was to ask at reception when the cabin was needed. When we asked for a courtesy cabin 45 mins before our allotted departure time we were simply given a slip of paper with 8 cabin numbers on 3 separate decks. Having tried all the cabins we realised that they were all occupied and none would be available for at least 15 mins. We returned to Reception Desk on another deck level to request a cabin that was not occupied and was told only 8 cabins had been allocated for the 1400 or so passengers leaving that day. The receptionist then smugly told us we should have paid an extra £35 if we wanted somewhere to change our clothes before flying home. When we became increasingly annoyed and distressed the receptionist threatened to call their Security Team to have us removed. We were then compelled to change in a nearby dimly lit bar along with several other passengers. This was the worst experience that we have ever suffered on a Thomson cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I sent a seven page letter of complaint to Thomson along with supporting photographs regarding our cruise in February this year, a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate our wedding. Well do not go if you are expecting a as sold Platinum ... Read More
I sent a seven page letter of complaint to Thomson along with supporting photographs regarding our cruise in February this year, a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate our wedding. Well do not go if you are expecting a as sold Platinum Holiday because it is anything but. In fact why right a review when I can put the details of our letter below but I would seriously think long and hard before booking a cruise with Thomson. The room itself was dated, tired and not to the platinum standard which we was lead to believe it would be, we have stayed in better 3 star rooms in hotels and even B&B’s than the room provided on-board. We was informed if we wanted to move we could do so by upgrading at an additional charge, something we do not expected from such a trusted holiday company. • The carpet was stained in several places. • The kettle provided was full of limescale and looked disgusting. So we did not use it. • The furniture had marks and the woodwork was chipped and scratched. If this is platinum, we are glad we did not travel on your cheaper ships. • We were informed there was an additional charge to use the safe in the room, however we were told that they only worked sporadically by other guests and a member of staff. • The light fixtures above the beds rattled, as they were loose, although Marie informed us on reception that the light fixture was fine and the noise from the bow thruster’s was normal and there was nothing that could be done. However, from one of our pictures you will see that stuffing a towel between the light and the ceiling easily fixed the problem. I am sure that an on-board maintenance person could have tightened the bolts and stopped this noise. Previous guests had also suffered from rattling fixtures as we found cardboard stuffed behind a light and other items.The bathroom continued the theme of the room, in that it was far bellow a platinum standard. • We found mould growing in the tile grout. • The sink was chipped. • Taps were tarnished and the waste pipes leaked. • The bathroom stall was rusty. • The shower curtain was dirty and only held up by a few hooks. • The toilet seat, despite asking for it to be repaired twice, moved constantly with the rocking of the ship. It was eventually tightened but the once again worked its way free again. • Whilst taking a shower the water would go down the shower drain only to re-appear from the drain next to the toilet, flooding the bathroom but with water from where else? • On several occasions the temperature would change dramatically and on one occasion both of us were scalded. When reported, the reception desk informed us that if the person in the adjoining cabin was showering, the temperature would fluctuate. When I showed her the mark from the scald she said it was not an emergency and to visit the medical center that afternoon if I wished. The medical center opened at 5pm some 7 hours later and we would have to pay to see the medical team. • Upon returning to our room later that day, we found an engineer had visited the cabin and replaced the control unit of our shower, this shows there was clearly a fault with the shower control unit in the first place, and not the fault of others using their showers. • We did have to ask for soap and shower gel to be replaced and refilled several times before it was. The Ship • The internal panel above the door of the starboard side lift was held together with cable ties and only stopped on a selected floor when it wanted to. We found the port side A-stairs lift would not always open at deck 7. A sign said max of 10 passengers, the lifts refused to work at 6 persons, and that was full. • Lido pool area had tiles missing from the side of the pool and a green substance was growing around the edges. We understand the reasoning behind using seawater to fill the pools however what we don’t understand is why the water was not filtered during the day. During the days at sea the pool developed a film of suntan lotion over it. Thus making it extremely difficult to exit the pool using the stainless steel ladders, as they became very slippery. The tiles around the pool area became too hot to tread on as the sun heated them, and were slippery but not cleaned during the day so there would be a build up of suntan lotion people were slipping where they had to walk quickly over them. On days at sea there were not enough sunbeds thus causing many arguments and unease amongst guests. The wooden decking was starting to rot at the ends and were loose, the stagnant water would ooze upwards at you as you walked over the boards. • The Jacuzzi’s were overdosed with chlorine to the extent that our shorts were discoloured, as was our skin leaving a white powder over us as we dried. There was a line of slime around the edge of the Jacuzzi’s and what looked like algae was forming on the rim. • There were areas on the outside decks where rust had created holes, these holes had been painted over, but still looked unsightly. • The sirens pool had water jets in place, however these were never used whilst we was on-board, nor witnessed by anyone we asked. • You can imagine our shock when we sat next to a window that was being held together with masking tape in the sirens restaurant. We have attached a picture. • It was expected for us to use the sanitising gel dispensers, however most times they were empty. And we had to find someone to provide us with the gel for our hands. • Although it was very nice to hear from the Captain every day, it was not a joyous experience to hear him dribble on about burials at sea and encounters with pirates. We did not appreciate the Captains joke at the gala event when he asked the difference between a container ship and a cruise ship, the response was; that containers don’t answer back. • At every turn in the evening the photographers would be there asking us to have a photo taken, I for one did not want my picture taking with a backdrop of the main staircase from the HMS Titanic. We felt this was in extremely very poor taste. • The Sirens and Lido restaurants looked like canteens, with dried bread displays which looked months old. World Class Food? • We certainly found food that we had never seen anywhere else in the world. I am not sure if anyone else would have either. • World class food should not include the following items o Hard boiled eggs battered and then deep fried o Half a apple stuffed with mashed potato and beetroot o Boiled eggs and vegetables in an aspic jelly o Deep fried battered pizza bread o Minced veal roll o Broccoli salad - grey boiled cold broccoli, that was it... o Curried cauliflower salad - boiled cauliflower with curry powder o Bean sprout and pea salad, sounds lovely but when using frozen peas and a ratio of 97:3 pea: bean spout mix, it is not very appealing especially when the peas had been cooked to death o Key lime tart made with mousse, green food colouring and a slice of lime on top, to be fair, I think that is how all the desserts were made. o Hot pudding and custard every night, which reminded us of a school dinner. o The majority of vegetables used were frozen, despite us stopping in port every day (except the two sea days). • Little or no local cuisine on the menus at any of the food outlets. • It appeared that the only way to get a platinum class meal was to pay to visit the grill. • The waiting staff in the Orion restaurant were sullen and slow and the appearance of the restaurant was sadly lacking from that of the cruise memories DVD, which showed polished glass, cutlery, brass and clean table cloths that had been pressed. Not what we experienced. • All the food was very bland and repetitive, one evening in the Orion Restaurant we was offered Pork Won Ton, the next evening in the Lido Restaurant we was offered cold Pork Won Ton with sweet chilli dip – leftovers? • The fish was always fried and almost always in a batter. The potatoes were always fried, and sometimes blackened and not from cooking. • The toast was always cold, and the butter was always rock hard. When asked for soft butter the serving staff said it was unavailable. • Juices provided were of a very low quality; most of the time it was very weak. • The mass produced coffee was vile. You had to pay extra for a nice cup of coffee. • Fried tuna flakes for breakfast were a surprise too. Needless to say that in the evenings fried tuna flakes made an appearance in the salad selection for the evening meal. • We found the food portions in the Orion restaurant to be extremely small on the first week, but improved slightly with the arrival of the Thomson head office staff the second week. One night we ordered chicken wings and we were presented with one wing cut in half minus the actual wing and it appeared as if from a sparrow. • The food was not as well presented, as you would expect from an A la Carte dining experience on a platinum holiday. • During sea days we had to be served to cut down the risk of contamination? On-board Entertainment When Kelly sold us on this holiday it was made very clear to her that my partner finds it difficult to keep himself occupied, her response was that he would find it impossible to get bored on the ship as there was too much to do. This is why we only booked two excursions with Thomson. If your idea of entertainment is bingo, cards, scrabble, or puzzles and newspaper Sudoku and crosswords, then this is for you. During the day we could • Have a talk on tanzanite, and where could buy it • Play football in the heat • Take part in quizzes aimed at the over 60’s The team did their very best to make the evening entertainment as good as possible but unfortunately it was sadly lacking. If you gamble then the casino was available. The show team, while very talented, were hardly west end calibre, and the shows seemed rushed and under rehearsed. I feel the “guest comedian” on the second week summed the passengers up very eloquently – “Wow it is like the cast of Cocoon in here,” and “Did you meet Elvis? Don’t worry wont be long now” This was aimed at the demographic of the cruise that put the average age around 60+. I am sure that they felt this was an adequate level of entertainment, but anyone younger would be finding it frustrating as we did. Many guests shared our view of the entertainment, one woman even ordered her husband to get her out of the lounge at the start of a quiz saying, “This is too much like Benidorm”. We joined in with some quizzes and game shows or we would have gone mad or spent a fortune in the Casino. It was that or stay in our cabin, this was not an option. Guest services The reception desk staff were extremely unhelpful, Marie in particular we found was rude to us. Peter even put in an official complaint regarding her disgusting attitude towards an elderly passenger. We booked two excursions with Thomson prior to the holiday and were told we would receive our tickets on-board. The first of our excursions was the St Kitts scenic railway, because we had not received our tickets by the day before the planned trip we went to the shore team to ask. We were told that it was a good job we asked because there were only two slots available for the afternoon excursion. It turned out that our booking had not been processed. In our second week we were informed that we needed to use the ships computers to check in. Thankfully it was complimentary as 180 minutes of Internet access was £18, the signal was so poor that by the time you logged into check emails 10/20 minutes had passed and you would be logged off without warning. We feel totally let down and disgusted by the way we have been treated and poor standard of service received from Thomson on this cruise. This holiday was to be a celebration for us to remember but it has been anything but and has left us with a poor view of Thomson after being loyal customers for many years.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just come back from 14 nights on the supposed best ship in the Thomson fleet, and our first experience of cruising, from Barbados around the Carribean (St Lucia, Antigua, St Barths etc). Decided to go for broke and spent an additional ... Read More
Just come back from 14 nights on the supposed best ship in the Thomson fleet, and our first experience of cruising, from Barbados around the Carribean (St Lucia, Antigua, St Barths etc). Decided to go for broke and spent an additional £5000 on booking a grand suite with veranda. We were not informed that the veranda was surrounded by 4 foot high metal and therefore blocked out the sun for most of the day ! The whole ship has a very dated feel to it and seeing the clear glass verandas on a number of other modern ships e.g P.O.Ventura did not make us feel any better.The food was acceptable and the service very good generally. However the additional "selling point" of having to pay no tips/gratuities is nonsense. Tables in the waiter service restaurant were clearly being booked by paying someone (the maitre de?) so that asking for a table for two without paying up was met with disapproving frowns ! We were one of only 6 cabins/suites on the top (Sirens) deck "away from the hurly burly of the main living areas" and for 6 nights had to suffer a japanese pop band and other loud music until well past midnight approx. 100 feet from the cabins. Our complaint to the Manager Steve Johnson was completely ignored. Tender service to and from certain destinations was generally good but final disembarkation was chaotic with people standing around on the quayside long before they needed to be there. My advice to anyone thinking about giving cruising a try is choose another line.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Having travelled around the world and seeing that Thomson have gone Platinum, well wow . Wikipedia."Platinum awards" are the second highest possible, ranking above "gold", "silver" and "bronze".. ... Read More
Having travelled around the world and seeing that Thomson have gone Platinum, well wow . Wikipedia."Platinum awards" are the second highest possible, ranking above "gold", "silver" and "bronze".. Having had a little cramped and less than eventful flight we eventually arrived at the cruise terminal. The ship did not look as if it had the wow factor but we weren't going to judge a book by its cover. The cabin was the first thing to be seen as we boarded and an inside plus, OK but I was Not seeing Platinum and this was the best part of this review. It was a start of complete disappointment on our and a lot of others we spoke to holiday. The day time entertainment was actually rubbish and repeated every day and the night time just as bad, The Entertainment was all on one level on Deck eight. It just did not work and made the ship looking very dated. Thank goodness we could get of most days! We really enjoyed the time on the Islands and a fantastic break form the Dream ( Where did they get the name ). The food was dire often cold and served in such small portions a five year old would go hungry. The service was very slow, water served warm, not a sight of a wine waiter some nights and forty-five minutes to wait for mains after starters? The bar service was almost none existent except the selling of wine packages. Having said a bout selling, everything seemed to have a surge charge. The table wine and also beers were of poor quality. Platinum??????? We really expected more from the description of the cruise the consumer rights comes to mind? The Sale of Goods Act 1979 makes it an implied term of the contract that goods be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. Don't book it or you might just shoot your self in the foot.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Well, where shall I start! After a long flight and arriving at terminal, saw the ship and immediately was taken back by the drab look of the ship. As we started to board the guests who we're leaving as we were arriving looked ... Read More
Well, where shall I start! After a long flight and arriving at terminal, saw the ship and immediately was taken back by the drab look of the ship. As we started to board the guests who we're leaving as we were arriving looked miserable and one lady remarked it's not what they expected, which had us fearing the worse. We got to our cabin which to be fair wasn't too bad as we opted for an inside cabin. We went to explore the ship and knew straight away that it wasn't going to be upto the standard we have experienced on other liners. Entertainment was crap was sick of the same band day and night. The crew sung and danced every night, but was almost the same thing every night, they were like red coats at butlins, it was more like kids entertainment. Food! Again butlins queuing all the time and the food was dire. They hid flavoured yogurts, bananas and oranges, it was really budget food, who wants vindaloo, stews and curries on a Caribbean holiday? Deserts was none existent. There was no Caribbean atmosphere at all. Captain of the ship around 4.30pm every night bored us to death with his stupid long winded tails which you couldn't escape from not even to your room as the tv sound went off so you could hear him. Excursions where a rip off too, we went for the glass bottom reef tour, we saw a couple of pretty fish and a load of brown coral for £74 very disappointed. If your thinking of going on the the Thomson Dream then please think again! We have renamed the ship to Thomson Nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Booked this ship with thomson as we have been cruising with them many times before , but never again This was a cruise and stay holiday we booked for Christmas and my birthday , we Went as 2 couples me and my other half and my parents , ... Read More
Booked this ship with thomson as we have been cruising with them many times before , but never again This was a cruise and stay holiday we booked for Christmas and my birthday , we Went as 2 couples me and my other half and my parents , spent a lot of money as it was Christmas but thought it would be worth the money how wrong we were. The food was appalling ,cold not enough and a rubbish choice but if you like sprouts you will be fine the resturant service was terrible the anytime dinning didn't work on this ship , I felt sorry for the waiters so many people were not happy. The cabin was clean and just about functional but very small , the cabin staff were great thought. We were charged 2 weeks use of the safe,which we didn't use and we were only on for a week. The sun beds were a joke a lot of them were broken and thomson tried to squeeze too many in ,people couldn't move Not impressed with thomson it has been upgraded to a platinum ship I don't know where they spent the money I won't be going with them again Our only saviour was we got off after a week some other poor sod's had another week Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
having cruised before on the dream it is difficult to notice how the refit has improved matters or what they spent the money on? Flight - awful service and food, breakfast on the way home to Manchester was inedible, there might be ... Read More
having cruised before on the dream it is difficult to notice how the refit has improved matters or what they spent the money on? Flight - awful service and food, breakfast on the way home to Manchester was inedible, there might be reasonable leg room but width was very limited, also we sat near the toilets and could hear every "movement" as well as the constant banging of the doors. Drinks very expensive (I have flown long haul on 8 occasions this year but this is the first one I have been charged for drinks). Food - the menu in the Orion was OK but the food did not live up to its billing, and in our opinion was bland, poor quality, and definitely not as good as before. Very repetitive in the buffets. Service whilst mostly with a smile was slow on most evenings (staff budget cuts?) but when we ate on a formal night 1st sitting they obviously wanted us out as I was still eating a salad when they were putting out the main course. The late night buffet closed at 1am Entertainment - this was very poor and very similar most night (quiz,bingo, band, contrived and often juvenile game show more commensurate with Butlins, then same band yet again often having seen them in the afternoon round the pool, some talented shows but not much variety which was a shame as both comedians were quite good, not so much, the majority of the crew in their show which we saw twice (top class entertainment the brochure says) the staff were affable but which side of the pool deck can sing or shout the loudest is not good enough. New year's eve was very disappointing, Karaoke, dvd's of live aid or some other band, and a few large party poppers absolute rubbish!!! Ports of call - its the Caribbean excellent apart from Dominica Trips - another Thomson rip off v expensive! Do your own preferably with a group of friends. We did whale and Dolphin watch for a £100, only to be told on board the tour boat "it is not really time of year for whales there are no guarantees" no refunds either!! Didn't see so much as a Pilchard. Value for money - Thomson never pass up the chance to charge extra with £10 for a steak, most drinks on the AI either crap or subject to a surcharge, £15 for steak under the stars £9 for "VIP" seats in the theatre, muffins in the medusa lounge, ridiculous photo prices, bingo, etc etc etc All in all enjoyed the cruise for the ports, and the company but Thomson HAVE to improve It was not acceptable to have small children running around the cabaret v late at night. Finally we were going to book again for next year for the same time but with an more exciting itinerary but need assurance the Thomson have upped their game or will go elsewhere   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this cruise with Thomson as we really liked the itinerary. We had not previously considered sailing with Thomson but we had read that Thomson Cruises were now Platinum and that the ship had been in dry dock for refurbishment. ... Read More
We booked this cruise with Thomson as we really liked the itinerary. We had not previously considered sailing with Thomson but we had read that Thomson Cruises were now Platinum and that the ship had been in dry dock for refurbishment. (Frankly, I would hate to have seen it before the refurbishment.) I really don't think the ship is worthy of the Platinum rating. Obviously from the reviews a lot of people love Thomson cruises and return again and again. I think we made totally the wrong choice for us. However, some passengers said that they had sailed with Thomson before and that they were extremely disappointed. I know it is not as expensive as some cruise lines but it still cost a significant sum of money. There were positives as well as negatives and the flight was OK although we had a really long wait for the food to be served which was apparently as they wanted the meal to be served at what would be lunchtime once we reached the Caribbean! That's fine but our stomach's didn't agree with this approach. The embarkation procedure was well organised and we had a very short wait before we boarded the ship. The ship was OK but looked a bit tired and shabby. The windows on Deck 8 where the shops and bars are were absolutely filthy and streaked. It really spoiled the first impression of the ship. Also there was a disgusting smell in the ladies toilet by the theatre. Our cabin was a decent size and was fine but the cleaning left a lot to be desired as the surfaces were covered with dust. Our toilet kept getting blocked, which was rather embarrassing. The ship felt quite rocky and I did feel seasick quite often along with a number of other passengers. The house band Top Men were excellent and very enjoyable. However, the evening shows were a bit repetitive for my liking. There was a comedian brought on to the ship each week. The jokes were VERY old and their was not really much original material in the acts. We were rather disappointed that instead of the full day in Aruba which was advertised as 9.00 am we didn't dock until approximately 2.00 pm. Also we were unable to dock at Grenada which was a shame as we were really looking forward to visiting. We went on two trips with Thomson and they were both excellent. However, we found that the staff in charge of the trips etc were only helpful if you were purchasing a trip. When we visited them to ask advice about where was good for snorkelling, the member of staff said "I don't know - I don't snorkel"! Our main complaint, however was the food. The quality of the food was at best adequate and often appalling. We spoke to a number of people and nearly all of them were complaining about the food. On one occasion my husband's meal was so poor he could not eat it - the response from the waiter was "better luck tomorrow!". I have heard people say that you can average half a stone weight gain per week on a cruise. I came home the same weight as I was before Christmas. The salad course in the Orion restaurant was a joke - a few leaves of iceberg lettuce with the odd bit of something thrown on with a couple of teaspoons of dressing. The waiters were very friendly but personally I prefer the unobtrusive approach and can live without the waiter practising his one song every night while resting on the chair next to me! My husband did complain about the food to the Head Waiter and I thought he might collapse with shock. He looked genuinely surprised. He didn't seem quite so friendly after this. When we ate in the buffet restaurants, I struggled to find anything appealing. I am not a lover of "everything fried". There was a small salad section but it was not very interesting and there wasn't much variety to go with it. We made the best of things and overall had a nice holiday but we would not consider another Thomson cruise. All in all it was a costly mistake for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
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