My parents organized this trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. My husband and I brought our two children, ages 9 and 12, and my brother and his wife brought their two children, ages 3 and 5. Some aunts and uncles came, and my 21-year-old cousin, for a group of 15 people.
This cruise turned out to be a great way to entertain all those people of different generations. We had opportunities to do things together, but it was also easy to split up and do things in small groups or individually. Our kids did not use the children's program a lot, but when they did go they enjoyed it. The staff seemed to do a good job of making the kids feel comfortable and have fun. My 12-year-old could have joined the teen club, which concerned me a bit because the 12- to 17-year-olds were all combined for this trip. She preferred to be with her family or read on a deck chair, so she never joined the teen club.
Our room, a balcony room on deck seven, was bigger than I expected, clean, and fairly quiet (we were about halfway down the hall from the Centrum.) One relative on deck eight was annoyed by noises from the pool deck above late at night. I loved having a balcony and spent a lot of time sitting out there, reading or enjoying the view. We also brought a travel clothesline and used the balcony to dry laundry and swimsuits. We splurged and put our kids in a separate room across the hall. If all four of us had been in the same room, it would have been very crowded. The interior room seemed to be a mirror image of the balcony room, only a tiny bit smaller.
The food was good and there was plenty of variety. I only had one dish that I disliked (greek salad) and one dessert that I didn't like enough to eat the extra calories (I think it was the savarin.) My brother and I shared the platinum wine package and we enjoyed all the wines that we tried. It was $225 for seven bottles. My husband and I tried the main dining room for breakfast once, but the service was ridiculously slow. I didn't mind waiting for my food, but 20 minutes to get my tea is not okay. After that we ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and all dinners in the main dining room. We occasionally had snacks from the hot dog stand or the Park Cafe.
The entertainment varied a lot. I found the music in the Centrum to be pretty awful, both in choice of music and in level of performance. The singers and dancers in the theater were very talented, doing acts that were cheesy but fun. I was very disappointed in the aerial show in the Centrum because they did not use aerialists, just the dancers from the theater. Mostly they were strapped into harnesses and waved their arms and legs gracefully while the stage crew moved them up and down, or they bounced around on bungee cords.
The gym was a decent size, with a nice mix of equipment. I never used the spa, but my mom had her hair done one day and it looked great. The pool areas could get crowded but the only day we had trouble finding chairs was the at-sea day. In general the ship was very clean and the staff was friendly and helpful.
I'll review the port separately but they were great!
Sailing in and out of Venice was wonderful. Such gorgeous views!