We booked this cruise to see the sunset sailing out of Venice , unfortunately It was raining !!, but Venice still looked very nice.
Weather for the rest of the cruise was fantastic.
We were concerned about the freestyle dining. We found that there was nothing free style about it , you could'nt eat when you wanted , as they kept saying in the advert on the TV. They gave you a pager and told you when they would have a table .....at their time !!!!.I would also like to say that the Aliazar dining room was the worst for slow service and cold food , the Grand pacific was much better.
This was the only bug bare though , the rest of the ship , crew, service, cabins service and entertainment were all spot on.
Our first shore trip was Dubrovnik,We took the shuttle bus from the port. absolutely beautiful, great place to just wander round.
Next was Athens, We did the bus trip to the ruins and museum, which was greatly interesting , the Guide was very knowledgeable and her English was perfect.
We decided not to book anything for Izmir Turkey, we strolled into the town , which wasn't that interesting , but we just wanted to get the feel of the place.
Split Croatia is one for the most beautiful dockings I've seen, breakfast on deck just looking at the scenery was a pleasure in it's self , but the town is fantastic, the ruined palace , right in the centre is stunning , there is not many places where you get this free.The narrow winding streets full of little shops made for a enjoyable stroll.
We sailed back to Venice to find thick fog...which meant we never seen a sunrise over Venice either (we'll just have to do another Venice cruise ).
All in all We loved this cruise. I agree that the days at sea were a challenge to find a sun bed, and the business of the Garden cafe was certainly true , we tended to share a table most of the time , and found some lovely people to talk to, so it wasn't a bad thing.
We had never been with NCL before, not sure if I would go with them again , because of the free style dinning, we like the personal service with fixed dinning, and we at least know when we are going to eat, with freestyle you have to wait till they tell you when a table is available.
I know you have the option of specialty dinning...but at a cost
We did think the $12 per person per day service charge was excessive , but we negotiated a reduced price that seemed fairer to us , we tipped the cabin steward the most , because he did a great job.