This was a very last minute holiday for us and we were pleased with how the travel agent made sure we got on this cruise. We got it at a very reasonable price and got an upgrade to an outside cabin which was great. Couldn't complain about embarkation as that was quick and efficient and our cabin was fine. Our luggage arrived almost immediately and we were unpacked and ready for an explore in next to no time. Great start!
Well, things went down hill after that. The ship itself is fine, nicely decorated lounges and bars. The pool area is rather bland and well worn but given how many Italian kids were on board, we didn't spend any time there.
We were appalled by the lack of hygiene in the buffet restaurant. There was hand gel but no one insisted you use it so nobody did. There was always food on the floors and tables were left with dirty dishes and not wiped down. The same food was served every day and my biggest disappointment was the salads. I thought Italians would serve really good salads but every day there was chopped iceberg, a few tomatoes and nothing much else. At breakfast the same foods again and nothing appetizing. The cooked food was awful and the scrambled egg looked like vomit. But the worse of all was the horrible plastic blue mugs to drink from. First thing I did was to buy a china mug from our first port of call.
The majority of the passengers were Italian and we have never met such rude and obnoxious people in our lives. They have no sense of personal space, push in front of you as they obviously don't believe in queueing or allowing you room in the lifts. And they are so loud, shouting at each other and arguing.
We had second sitting for the evening meal which wasn't till 9:30 and the food served there was really poor. This is the first cruise we didn't put any weight on. There was no water served at the table and no coffee after the meal. These had to be bought at extortionate prices. The wine list was so expensive that we didn't bother with buying a bottle but stuck to the half carafe of the house red which was OK. Our table waiter was on his own and had five tables to serve. All the tables sat 6 or more and he worked very hard and with a smile at all times. Him and our cabin stewardess were the friendliest crew members and they weren't Italian.
Because we had a late sitting, we had to see the shows before we ate. They were very good especially the guy with the cardboard costumes and the 2 jugglers.
Drinks on board are very expensive and there is a 15% charge on every drink, not to mention the 7 euro each per day service charge that gets whacked on your bill. Trying to get this removed is an ordeal and unfortunately it is the likes of our cabin steward and table waiter that have their wages docked if you do manage to get it taken off. Money tips to individuals are not encouraged.
The best part of the cruise were the ports although we were only in them for half a day. We've been to most of them before so knew what to expect. The last port was definitely the best. Kotor in Montenegro is so beautiful, the old town, the scenery and the friendly natives were wonderful and sailing out through the windy inlet was magnificent.
Disembarkation was a disgrace. We felt that now that we'd paid our money they just wanted rid. We had to be off the ship really early and expected to take an expensive tour which took you to the airport after it was over about 3pm.
Our flight was not till 11:30pm so we did not want to be at the airport so early. There was no information for our disembarkation, no idea when a shuttle bus would be available to transfer us and we had to have it out with the reception staff which was very difficult. In the end we decided to do our own thing. We bought a shuttle boat ticket that stopped at several places in Venice and gave us a pleasant hour and a half on the boat before dropping us off at the airport. We put our luggage in the baggage hold for 6 euro a piece and jumped on the bus back to Venice for an afternoon of sightseeing and a meal.All this was cheaper that the organised tours off the ship.