The cruise overall was great. Compared to other ships and companies the price was very low and we knew to expect a 12 year old ship. We were a little worried about some bad reviews concerning the "rude" Spanish and their love of smoking. The smoking wasn't too bad. We're both non smokers and didn't feel bothered. What to say about the Spanish? Just to call them rude is wrong. Let's put it this way-- their way of interacting differs quite alot from our opinion on how politeness works. But for them this is normal polite behaviour. They don't mean to offend anybody. Shoving into a crowded elevator without letting people get off is okay for them surely they believe you would shove them away as well if you wanted to get off. They shove, they get shoved...totally normal, no bad feelings. Quite strange for a northern European to grasp. Also the habit of travelling in groups. The usual pack of people to be seen on this cruise is 08 - 12 Spanish people mixed all ages, roaming loudly (happily) around the ship. I guess we're pretty seclusive up north. They loved being together and to interact vividly.
The food in the main dining room was wonderful, could use some more choices at the end of the week though. We only ate in the main dining room apart from one time Winjammer... never again. You do get your fill of immense amounts of food there...but that's about it. The noise level there is unbelievable, kids running around chasing each other, it's totally crowded. The food is cantine food. There is something for every taste, as long as you don't have high expectations. No, as long as you can eat at the main dining room, we didn't see any reason why we should rather go the the buffet. We did like the Cafe Promenade though, since you could always go there to grab a coffee or a snack for free.
The ice show is really nice. The other shows -- well, not really worth going. We didn't go to the quest show, since we could only imagine how the spanish way of life would be unleashed there. We did the wine tasting in the main dining room which was very nice. We absolutely loved the guitar player Pedro. He's fantastic -- (plays in the promenade and in the schooners bar sometimes)
We did all ports on our own. Totally unneccessary to book any tour! Just a little preparation before the cruise and off you go!
The only awful moment was the shuttle bus back to the ship in civitavecchia... an hour wait in sizzling heat! ( In that time you could have walked to distance to the ship -- which we did anyway on our way to Rome early in the morning, since there was nobody there to check on you yet)The only good thing was that the cruise direktor was present to cheer people up and to attempt hostile takeovers of other companies busses :-). It was quite amusing.
We had some rocky nights, since the ship was movin quite a bit because of a lot of wind. The captain called it "motion in the ocean" well, it made me a bit uneasy. other than that everything was just fine.
The inside cabin was perfectly okay. Our attendant Simeon was super. All other staff was very friendly as well.
The check in was only a couple of minutes when you had your baggage tags already printed out and attached to your luggage. Check out was as good. We took the subway to the airport , which costs only 1,60 per person. Works great!