We loved our itinerary and ports of call. We had private excursions arranged by a travel agency so I can't speak to excursions made through the ship.
For the most part, the crew was very helpful and friendly. I had a suitcase not make it to Rome with with me and it didn't catch up to me for 5 days. The ship kept me notified of where the suitcase was and when I could receive it. We were very impressed with how multi-lingual the crew was.
Multiple languages was sometimes a problem because, by the time they got to the English version, we weren't listening or didn't recognize it as English until they were two sentences into the announcement. It helped that we were traveling in a group of 78 so we had others to speak English with. We met a couple from Canada who were seated at a table for dinner with no one else who spoke English. Surely the cruise line could seat people by language so they could communicate!
This ship had TWO safety drills--I'm sure because of the Costa Concordia disaster--but it was obvious they still didn't know what they were doing. The second one was run a little better than the first.
Unlike reviews of the Western Med cruises, we didn't have people embarking and disembarking at every port so we weren't dealing with a lot of luggage in the halls. I guess we had a smaller number get on with us in Rome, so it was very easy getting on and off there.
This is the largest cruise ship we have been on and it didn't seem any more crowded than the smaller ones. We didn't encounter any more long lines than on other cruises.
Breakfast was the only meal we really enjoyed on the ship because we could have them make omelets the way we wanted them. We have loved the food on the Celebrity ships we have been on and the food on the Norwegian ships have been quite good. We found little at the lunch buffet or on the dinner menu that appealed to us. It was obviously geared toward European taste.
For the most part, the passengers were friendly--unless you were in front of someone from a certain country in the buffet line. I had to elbow people from pushing me or reaching over my shoulder. They don't believe in standing in line a lot, and would walk down the outside of the buffet line and then cut in front of you when they see something they want. The dinner staff seemed very competent so we don't relate to the comments by other reviewers. We enjoyed everything about the dinners except most of what was on the menu. The buffet is not open during dinner, which is different from our experience on other ships.
We had a veranda stateroom and I think this is the largest one we have had. It was very adequate for our 11 nights there. I did miss the towel animals other cruise lines put on your beds at night.
I think we only stayed all the way through two of the shows at night.
Overall it was a pleasant experience and very multi-cultural. I found that people of all nationalities responded to a smile and hello.
I was surprised at how few shops they had for such a large ship. Shopping was VERY limited.
Their fitness room was large and well equipped. We always went early and had no problem getting the machines and weights.
The daily information sheet was not as informative as other cruise lines.
Really, our only disappointment was the food.