First impressions after flying from Birmingham to Palma de Mallorca:
The checkin process to board the ship went smoothly, we didn't feel like we were being herded and the staff were quick and friendly.
Once aboard we went straight to our cabin which seemed clean and surprisingly spacious. First impressions of the ship were very positive albeit a little dated in places, the most obvious of which was the Lido restaurant, although don't let this put you off as you won't notice as you start to get into your holiday. Also, the ship is due for a face lift later in the year so perhaps this is an area they will improve.
One thing worth mentioning is the size of the ship, I think being on a midsized ship isn't a bad thing. The ship has more of a familiar feel to it than that you may get of some of the larger ships. If you meet people during your holiday
you're always likely to bump into them again so if you do make friends meeting up isn't a big issue, likewise if you want to avoid people you don't like the ship is big enough to do that as well!
The food was pretty good, there was always a good selection in the lido restaurant which operates a serve yourself buffet and the food in the main waiter serviced Orion restaurant was always very appetising. It was impressive that there was such a wide and varied selection throughout the day that catered for so many different tastes. We didn't try The Grill but heard that it was well worth a visit for an extra Â£20 per head.
The staff are fantastic, they make your holiday! They are very polite and attentive and they also have a few tricks up their sleeves in terms of entertaining the passengers, quite a number in the Orion restaurant will sing and play the guitar which always creates a buzz amongst the passengers.
Whilst we were onboard we saw a variety of shows in the main theatre. The west end style shows were entertaining without being too long. Shows typically last 30-45 minutes with two sittings a night, with themes such as songs from the musicals to performances of Beatles. The resident band are also very good, I get the impression most may be former crew members who have shown a talent for singing a playing so have made it into the band. In a nutshell there is plenty to do on board in the evening and you can have any type of night you fancy.
The excursions we did were really enjoyable. We did two bike rides which were very tiring but worth it. One in Sicily (Trapani) and one in Corsica (Calvi.) I think some of the group felt cycling along certain roads was a little unnerving to those not used to road cycling, although I'm not sure how they would get around this, also you do need to be able to get up hills so a certain amount of fitness is advisable!
The tour in Trapani involved getting a cable car to the top of mount Erice. The views were fantastic and the cycle down the mountain was brilliant.
The cycle in Calvi was great, although we did have a fairly long climb on the way to a beach where the tour stopped for an hour or so. It was well worth it but a few in the group perhaps found it quite difficult on the way there.
We also did a tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius which was very enjoyable. Rome was an impressive visit too, although it is far too much to do in a few hours, so pace yourself! On both of these trips, the Guides were fantastic.
The only disappointment was the trip to Barcelona (from Palamos). The transfer took around two hours which is a little bit too long. I think if we'd have known this we would have gone for something else as Palamos itself looks quite nice and also has a Water Park nearby which would be a nice day out, especially if you have children.
Overall I'd say we had a great break and will definitely be cruising again in the near future.