Diary of a Thomson cruise: Exceeding expectations
I’ve already written about our first few days at sea with Thomson Cruises here. In this second piece about our 7 night cruise we visit two more countries, Croatia and Montenegro, enjoying a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik and an off road tour in Montenegro; both worth trying!
A day in Split
Our only regret of the week. We didn’t organise a walking tour of Split. Don’t visit this UNESCO World Heritage old town without a tour. Steeped in Roman history, Split old town is dominated by the spectacularly preserved Diocletian’s Palace, built for the Roman emperor in the 4th century. The fortress like palace surrounded by towering walls is a network of breathtaking narrow Roman streets which no photograph I took did it any justice. Split should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit. And if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Split doubles as Mereen.
The Dragons Dungeon Tour from our Thomson Dream was £38 and it tours a number of GoT filming locations, and also offers a history of the city during the 3 hour tour.
Speciality dining in Kora La
Our third speciality dining meal was in Asian themed Kora La. Set off to the side of the main dining room Orion, Kora La is the newest dining option of the three Thomson Dream speciality restaurants. The menu offers four starters and four mains, and an option to create your own meal from three options, Kashmiri, Vindaloo and Madras with a variety of meats or vegetables and a spiciness to suit your personal taste. As always, the surcharge is worth the extra money as the quality and standard is up a notch from the buffet and main restaurants. Book yourself in for an exotic journey.
Kora La speciality dining surcharge is £17.95pp
Game of Thrones walking tour of Dubrovnik
Leaving the ship to board the coach by 9.30, we made the short trip to the walled city of Dubrovnik to visit a number of filming locations for Game of Thrones.
We specifically chose this tour for its Belfast connection, and right on cue at the start of the tour, our guide talked about the majority of the Game of Thrones series being filmed in Belfast.
The tour starts with a walk on the Dubrovnik wall as filming locations were pointed out. Our guide told us about indoor filming happening in Belfast and outdoor scenes in the streets of Dubrovnik. One particular outdoor scene which has become as popular a tourist attraction as our Dark Hedges, are the steps where the Walk of Atonement took place. Allegedly it’s become so popular that the city has introduced a fine for anyone attempting to recreate the walk…
Another popular spot was the external walls of the brothel. Filmed inside at Belfast Titanic Studios, with outdoor scenes shocking and surprising extras during recording as they weren’t expecting naked men to be filmed out in the street.
An interesting tour with an hour or so of free time at the end of it to explore the city at leisure.
Off road in Lovcen National Park, Kotor, Montenegro
What an adventure and not for the faint hearted because you’ll be in a 4×4 which travels inches from the edge of the mountain, 1200 metres above sea level. It’s a hair raising drive up the mountain towards Lovcen National Park, where en route you get a few opportunities to get out and enjoy the spectacular and awesome view. Our first stop at 800m happened as we made our way up the 25 hairpin bends. Looking over the edge our ship and our cruise buddy Regency ship were tiny dots in port below. Kotor is in the most southerly European Fjord which gives a taster of what to expect on a Norwegian Fjord cruise. It was the most spectacular scenery of the cruise.
We then went further up to 1200 m, passing little villages, forests and limestone landscapes to stand right at the top to look out at the world below. Wow!
At £70 it’s the most expensive of the Kotor trips, and I thought it was maybe a bit overpriced, but maybe you can’t actually put a price on a view like that, because it’s definitely one I’ll never ever forget. Kotor, you surpassed all our expectations with your picturesque walled city, impressive Fjord and majestic mountains.
Enjoy the best view on board with the VIP Sailaway while sipping a glass of sparkling wine and canapés. For £13.95 pp, this is a special way to enjoy Sailaway from a number of select ports. Our chosen Sailaway was to happen as we cruised out of Europes most southerly fjord at Kotor, Montenegro. But the rain got in the way!!
Our VIP Sailaway was cancelled, so we did our own; two glasses of prosecco standing on deck at the front of the ship right under the bridge. A similar experience for free!
And so our last night on board began. A mini pub crawl around the ship, visiting bars, lounges and venues, we made the most of our last hours on Thomson Dream. No longer the cruise snobs we’d boarded as, and fully embracing the Thomson cruising experience, where the motto is you’re here to have a holiday. And that’s exactly what we had; a bloody good holiday.
Like Kotor, Thomson surpassed all our expectations, actually, it completely changed our opinion and already we are planning another Thomson cruise again in the next year or so, and so should you!
The crew; what a happy and fun bunch who’s goal was to give you a holiday
The bike tour; An energetic and alternative way to see each port
Speciality dining; worth paying the extra for such great food!
Split; much much more than we expected
The Lovcen mountaintop view… wow!
Extra legroom on the Thomson flight. If legroom is one of your needs on a flight, splash out on the extra few inches, you won’t regret it.
Speciality dining special package for all three restaurants is £47.95 per person and it’s very very worth it!
Drinks package for our 7 night cruise was £230 for the basic package and £300 for premium.
A friend recently booked a 7 night Thomson cruise on the Med for £850 for cruise, drinks, tips, flights and transfers.
Happy cruising and as Thomson airways motto says, Discover your smile.
Read the first part of this cruise journey here