We were never one of those families who go on a cruise ever year until my parents suddenly caught the bug a few years ago. This autumn a friend and I joined them for a week-long trip around the Mediterranean on the Thomson Dream. This ship may not be the newest on the seas but it has been refurbished to an excellent standard and given the price you pay (generally a fraction of some higher range cruise lines) it’s absolutely worth it. If you want to have a taste of a variety of cities, be surrounded by friendly and fun staff and enjoy fabulous food on board then a Thomson cruise is definitely something you should consider!
The route our cruise took was Treasures of the Mediterranean, starting in Palma (Majorca) and passing through Sorrento, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Corsica among other places. Each location was stunningly beautiful, and even in the autumn had far more sunshine than I could ever hope for in the UK!
Compared with other cruise ships, the Thomson Dream is relatively small, which I found to really improve the whole cruising experience. I’ve been on board enormous boats, with thousands and thousands of guests and something gets lost at that level, whereas on board the Dream we found ourselves recognising, and being recognised, by bar and entertainment staff, we made friends on board which we ran into regularly and that made the whole experience a little more homely. Whilst a cruise will never be a full cultural experience of each location you visit, they’re a little culture of their own, and Thomson seem to really have mastered the friendly atmosphere that makes them such a great, relaxing break.
The only thing you do need to watch on board cruises is the additional expenses. Do you desperately need coke, beer and wine on tap or can you cope without? Tea, coffee and water are available in the buffet restaurants and at breakfast you can have as much juice as you require. Plus, on the odd night you might be treated to a complimentary drink at the Captain’s Gala or similar.
Cabins are generally smaller than most hotel rooms but you’ll get used to it, I promise. The Thomson Dream does not offer balcony cabins, but there are a couple of different sizes of window. Personally, I don’t spend a huge amount of time in my cabin other than sleeping and getting ready for the day and dinner, however, if you think you’ll want a bit more room to move around in your personal space then it may be worth splashing out.
Entertainment on board the Thomson Dream was, well, a dream. The general entertainment staff were incredibly friendly, helpful and up for a laugh. It must be a difficult line to tread, as you remain professional but also want to ensure the guests enjoy themselves. However, the staff on board Thomson Dream managed this expertly, and I was very impressed at some of the dance moves on display. Across the ship each evening you’ll find a mix of duos, party bands and discos to keep you singing, dancing and drinking into the night. Each night there were also two shows in the main theatre, most put on by the in house cast and some featuring special guests. A highlight was the crew talent competition which was great fun, especially the brilliant One Direction dance routines.
Excursions can eat into your budget quite a lot, so I’ll do another blog post on the best ways to see the sights whilst on a cruise another time!