Thomson Cruises: Pros and Cons

How good are Thomson Cruises? What are the pros and cons of holidaying with this very British cruise line.

Thomson Cruises - Cruise Boats in Harbour
Cruise Boats leaving harbour

I’m not really a cruise person. I’m too used to planning my own travel and swapping and changing when the mood suits me. I’m a senior traveller who doesn’t like being organised and I’m not that keen on large groups and being shepherded around.

But, I was looking for sun in February and the Caribbean seemed the perfect destination. I also wanted to travel around a bit whilst in the area, rather than just stay on one island. The answer seemed to be to take a cruise.

I had been on just one cruise before. That was a very memorable trip up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. However, the boat was quite small and it was only for three nights. To take a Caribbean cruise for a reasonable price meant a large cruise boat and the cruise would be for seven days minimum.

Out of all the cruise lines operating in the area, I chose Thomson (now TUI) Cruises for various reasons.

Pros for Thomson Cruises

Treasures Cruise - Visit to Tulum, Mexico
Tulum, Mexico can be visited on the Mayan Treasures Cruise

• Thomson Cruises have some very interesting itineraries, including visits to Cuba, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Panama as well as the usual selection of small ‘paradise’ islands.

• Thomson Cruises have a no-tipping policy. Many cruise lines add on large amounts to your prepaid fare in compulsory tips.

• The drinks on board are much the same price as you would pay in a pub in the UK, rather than being ridiculously inflated as with many cruise lines. Thomson Cruises also allow you to bring your own drinks on board to drink in your cabin.

So those are some pros for Thomson Cruises, what about the cons? These started to appear when I booked their Mayan Treasures cruise, ostensibly from Jamaica, to Honduras, Belize and Mexico.

Cons for Thomson Cruises

• The website is a nightmare! Prices are not added up correctly for the options offered, and halfway through your booking process you may well get a message stating that the price has increased. This seems to relate to how long you are on the website rather than to real time price changes. Flight availability from your preferred airport seems to vary according to which cruise you choose.

If you ring  the helpline number given, you will get through to a Thomson Travel Agency shop who want an extra £25 to book the cruise for you!

• The cruise itineraries are unclear and seem to change willy-nilly. I thought my Mayan Treasures itinerary included a stop in Belize. Certainly this was shown on the large route map on the website. However my booking confirmation indicated that Belize has been replaced by a second stop in Honduras. Some friends currently on a Thomson Cruise were informed halfway through the cruise that the stop in the Cayman Islands had been cancelled.

• Use of Wi-Fi incurs an extra charge. It costs virtually nothing to provide Wi-Fi, so charging is just adding a tax for customers. Almost all hotels now have free Wi-Fi, so why not cruise boats?

So there’s the pros and cons for Thomson Cruises. Keep checking here to find out how good – or otherwise – the actual cruise turned out to be!

See also a previous report on a Thomson Holiday: Thomson’s Yucatan Explorer Tour of Mayan Sites in Mexico

POSTED 21st JANUARY 2016 by STEVE HANSON. The first photograph was taken by JOHN ESSER, the second by TONY TAYLOR.