This cruise is known to us as the accidental cruise, due to the fact that until a week before departure we had no idea we were going on it! Our original plan was to spend a week in Syria, touring the various historical sites such as Damascus, Palmyra and Hama. However, about a week after we had booked, the first political rumblings in Syria began. As the situation and safety began to deteriorate, we had to wait until the Foreign Office declared that all non-essential travel to Syria was unwise before we could cancel without financial penalty. We then went to a local travel agent with one week to go and this cruise is what we came out with! The following links are to the various individual ports we spend time at.
Cagliari, Corsica - "As they say in Corsica... Goodbye" - Gene Wilder.
Naples, Italy - "I will quote from the last words of Cleopatra to Mark Antony: if you liked it, tell your friends. Saluté! " - Up Pompeii.
Rome, Italy - "Every one soon or late comes round by Rome." - Robert Browning Hamilton.
Ajaccio, Sardinia - "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." - Napoleon Bonaparte.
Palamos, Spain - "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since." - Salvador Dalí.
This was our first trip with Thomson cruises, and we had no real idea what to expect. We were aware of the slightly dubious reputation that the ship currently has, based primarily on a few scare stories in the British media. We decided to set our expectations based on what we paid, and they were more than met. Whilst the cruise was of a lower standard in some areas than, say, Celebrity, Princess or NCL, it was also only about half the price. The ship was clean, the food was adequate, the crew friendly, the onboard evening entertainment excellent, the destinations fun (with enough time in port) and the company was good. Another pleasant surprise was the reasonable charges for drinks (eg £3.20 for a draft pint of cider, the same as in my local) and shore excursions (all day Pompeii and climb Vesuvius was £50), and the fact that there were no additional daily service charges or expected tips. If we were to be critical, there were less on board activities compared to other ships (eg evening trivia in a smaller venue than the main lounge, etc). I also suspect that in school holidays the ship would have a large number of children on board, which would change the atmosphere somewhat!
Based on our cruise experience, if you set your expectations at the right level, you won't be disappointed. This is a 3* - 4* cruise, but at a 2* price. Slightly to our surprise, we would have no hesitation in cruising with Thomson again.