Mediterranean Tapestry from Athens to Barcelona - 10 days, departed on 5/2/12.
We are 46 and 59 years old; the average age seemed to be a little older, maybe mid-60's. We are both extensively traveled, including all continents, except Antarctica, but this was our first cruise of any sort.
We arrived in Athens three days in advance and made our own airline, transfer, and hotel arrangements there. At the end of the cruise, we made our own arrangements to stay for five days in Barcelona, including apartment rental, transfers, and return flight.
Embarkation was a breeze. The upper suites were allowed to board at 11am, and there was absolutely no line at all. We stayed in an owner's suite which was absolutely amazing. I've written a separate review for the suite itself, since it was the highlight of the cruise for us. As our first cruise accommodations ever, it set the bar very high for any future cruise.
The ship is beautiful, as described by everyone else and in Oceania's literature. Interesting contemporary art, both paintings and sculptures, everywhere, including the stairwells; all of it was original. The pool was small and a little over-heated, but there were adequate loungers around. The ship never felt crowded anywhere.
The dining was a bit of a disappointment, but I think that's because it's so over-hyped that the expectations are really high for everybody coming on board. All four specialty restaurants would have been essentially decent upscale restaurants, but they definitely fell short of routine upscale standards in Manhattan restaurants, for example. We were invited to a private dinner at La Reserve; twelve of us were there. This meal was more memorable than the others, including a fantastic Napoleon with the best mille feuille I've ever had. I thought that the food in the Main Dining Room was very good, again possibly because I expected less from the standard fare and was pleasantly surprised.
We weren't drawn to the cruise line or the boat by activities, and we didn't participate in any events or attend any shows; can't comment on the quality.
The staff was always pleasant. They were from a wide variety of countries, from Russia to South Africa to the Philippines. Their home country was on their name tags underneath their names -- a nice touch.
We arranged for our own excursions. For a fraction of the price of Oceania's excursions, we rented cars at three ports and drove ourselves into the countryside in Italy. It took a fair amount of work to make the arrangements for our own self-guided touring, so if you're looking for an easier trip, or if you have any limited mobility, it would make sense to go with Oceania's excursions.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We requested a late departure, were out of our suite at 8am, and off the boat at 9am, after a final leisurely breakfast in the main dining room.
All in all, a very pleasant experience. The true highlight was the owner's suite itself, which I've reviewed separately.