We had a full day and night in Venice prior to embarkation, it is a magnificent city - completely different. We stayed in a hotel near Piazza Roma, which meant we were only 2 mins walk from the people mover, a monorail which for 1 euro took us to the port within 5 minutes. The ship has recently been refurbished and you can tell - it was fantastic. The staterooms were spacious and definitely bigger than we had expected. As we had our 15 year old daughter we had two adjacent rooms. Our attendant Jonathon, who was from the Dominican Republic was quite simply superb, he couldn't do enough for us.
We ate breakfast at Windjammer each morning and whilst busy, never had a problem getting a table. In the evening we had pre booked MTD. For us this worked very well indeed as we liked the flexibility, again the staff were always helpful and the quality of the food was excellent We didn't feel we need to use any of the speciality restaurants. The Park Cafe was a real find for salads etc at lunch and we would also recommend the superb chocolate brownies!
We pre booked 7 bottles of wine and wished we had booked the 9 package - although we are not big drinkers, it was quite easy to drink a bottle with dinner.
We booked 3 tours with RCI - Pompeii and Vesuvius climb, Private train to Rome (best move ever after seeing the rush at the station for the public train returning to the port) and a speed boat at Kotor (our favourite by far). As 1st timers, for us this was a great option and felt that they were all good value for money. We actually cancelled the trip to Florence as we didn't want to have three consecutive days of touring. The excurions desk were most helpful and refunded us without any hesitation as we cancelled more than 24 hrs in advance.
The entertainment was varied and suitable for all ages, Rico was a good host and was especially funny during "Mr and Mrs" - I haven't laughed so much for years!!. Susan MacColl was funny all week and was supported well by all her team. The bar in which the Karaoke was held was packed (in a nice way) every night which made for a good atmosphere.
Our 15 year old daughter simply loved every minute of the cruise - she went to the kids club on the first night and made some very good friends and a large group stayed together for the whole cruise. It was safe and as they were well behaved, the staff were brilliant with them later in the evenings.
There was never a problem getting a sunbed, even on sea days, you might have to walk around a bit, but we never had a problem with this.
Overall it was a brilliant vacation and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. We met some lovely people and wished the cruise lasted longer!!