Thomson Destiny Mediterranean Renaissance Cruise

Holiday

I’ve actually been away from a computer for over a week – the sweating and shakes have just about subsided! The reason for my absence? My first ever cruise. Around a year ago some of my family decided to organise it and I couldn’t miss out, especially as it gave my four year old daughter her first chance to travel abroad. Here follows a brief review:

Thomson Destiny

All aboard!

We boarded the ship in Palma. First impressions were mixed, it seemed clean but dated and after heading straight to the pool/deck areas for the (all inclusive) bar there was somewhat of a Pontins on water feel. Loud entertainer and loud music. Thankfully the loudness subsided through the holiday and the deck became a joy to spend time on with an assortment of (quieter) entertainment – something to please everyone. Here’s a panorama of the deck at sunset:

All at Sea

Destinations for the cruise were Villefranche (Southern France), Marina di Carrara (Northern Italy), Civitavecchia (Near Rome), Olbia (Sardinia), Mahon (Menorca) and back to Palma. The first day was all at sea travelling from Palma to Villefranche. This gave us time to fully take in the ship and it’s many facilities. Whilst the ship was a bit dated, what really, really stood out were the staff. Quite a multi-cultural assortment of people united by their friendliness, attention to detail, manners and charm. They made the cruise. Facilities included shops, a casino, gym, kid-zone, medical centre and the usual assortment of evening entertainment.

Diet?

Several bars littered the ship, serving up all manner of cocktails and regular drinks. Beware that some drinks, even with all-inclusive, require a subsidy but these are clearly marked on the menu. The Lido cafe at the back of the ship served buffet food all day with a grill by the pools on deck providing burgers etc.. all through the day. With each day came a different theme for the aforementioned’s food. Dinner was a full 5 course affair every evening in the ‘Seven Seas’ restaurant below deck. All-inclusive here meant that if you liked something you could happily order more and the waiters would oblige accordingly. As a testament to the food, I gained nearly half a stone in weight in a week. It was fantastic. One night I managed a 10 course dinner, having already eaten a meal before hand as the Lido buffet was Indian that day – something I definitely had to ‘sample’.

Tripping

At each port, excursions were available at a further cost. Some of these were more expensive than I imagined, ranging from beach transfers around £20 to Rome tours over £100. We took advantage of a few trips:


Leaning Tower of Pisa


Colosseum, Rome


Trevi Fountain, Rome


Pantheon, Rome


Vatican, Rome

In general the trips were very well organised and whilst you could probably organise them for less, especially with a larger group, they provided guarantees that the ship would not leave without you – definite peace of mind. Rome was stunning although you really need more than a day to fully take it in – imagine trying to view all of London’s sites in a day. Beach visits in Sardinia and Menorca were both excellent with the chance to swim in the warm, crystal clear, Med – remember the sun-cream though, the sea breeze can make the sun’s heat deceptive! (Yes, I look like a lobster). My favourite port was Mahon in Menorca, less industrial than the rest:

All in..

..all it was a fantastic holiday. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone. One tip would be to make note of where the ship sails and book your room on the side of the ship that will see the most land. It’s truly amazing waking up every day to look out of the window thinking ‘where am I?’ and seeing the country you can spend the rest of the day exploring.

I would, and hopefully will, do it again.

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