The Thomson Dream is quite an old lady in a state of faded elegance. The public areas and bars are tastefully decorated in Italian style. On arrival we were shown to our cabin which was very spacious, again the light fittings and wall decorations were in Italian style. The double bed was a roomy, comfortable affair. There aren’t many balconies on the Dream but we found that having a picture window in an outside cabin on the sixth floor served us well. We chose a cabin near the back of the ship just four doors up from the one we stayed in the previous year. The fizzy wine that we had pre-ordered was chilled and waiting for us when we arrived and we were soon bathed in a self satisfied glow and a feeling of “coming home” while we waited for our bags to be delivered.
Not being “cruise people”, or so we thought, we were attracted to Thomson’s by the suggestion that it would not be too stuffy and more relaxed than we had envisaged a cruise to be. There was a choice of dining arrangements available. Many people enjoyed the formality of the Orion Dining room, here we were not confined to an allocated set time so we could turn up at any time during dining hours, and we were waited on by courteous and entertaining staff. We found the intimate nature, and good food of the a la carte grill worth the extra cost for a special occasion (or just because we fancied it). But, more often than not, we used the Lido self-service restaurant as there was food was always good and hot, and there was plenty of variety with themed nights. During the afternoon, Sirens restaurant served similar food to the Lido but the atmosphere seemed much calmer.
We preferred self service because it allowed us time to stay up on deck to watch the sun go down and enjoy the sail away – one evening we were presented with a rather spectacular shooting star. It also meant that we did not miss the excellent onboard entertainment. There really is something for everyone. There were well choreographed shows, TV style game shows and resident bands to dance to, a carribean duo and a piano player, a British comedian and it was great to see Bernie Flint, of Opportunity Knocks fame.
The beauty of a Thomson Cruise is that it is a package holiday, and although we have often enjoyed planning our own trips in the past, it was nice to sit back and have everything taken care of for us. We bought some of the organised excursions, and some were very good, others not so good. But you could easily, as many did, make your own way to beaches or organise your own trips from the ports using local taxis. The holiday started from our local airport, and we felt more relaxed knowing that the boat would wait for the aircraft if there was a delay. The aircraft was comfortable with plenty of leg room. The service on board was good and I must congratulate the cabin crew on our flight back who dealt remarkably well with a medical emergency. They were professional and compassionate.