Arrived in Civi by train and made our way to the port bus that would deliver us to the ship. Embarkation was a 2-minute process and we were on our way to the ship. Apparently there were many noro-virus cases on the last sailing and cabins were not ready until 3:00. After Egypt, our cabin steward informed us that there we many cases on our floor so we increased our vigilance with hand washing even more. Thankfully no vacation time was lost due to illness for us. We did not eat any food in ports either. One lady commented that she spent too much on this vacation to take a chance getting sick and she did not partake of port foods either.
We had a standard balcony room and thought the room, storage, cleanliness, etc were excellent. The ship is clean, well laid out, lively, fun, well staffed...all that you would look for in a nice ship experience for your vacation. We had 2 formal nights and 1 formal/Halloween costume night. We saw one man turned away at lunch in the dining room for wearing a sleeveless shirt however we had one man in the dining room for dinner with a sleeveless shirt...so the rules were randomly applied and, as usual, by the end of the trip, everyone was so relaxed, anything would go.
We prepaid our gratuities and chose their "my time dining" option (a first for us). Now we will never choose anything else. Several days when we arrived back late from ports, we washed up and went straight to the dining room on deck 5 and ate right then. So much more flexible and relaxing for us than waiting for a scheduled time. That was great! But even better than that is we chose a table for 2 every night and never had the table of 8 strangers with small talk for 2 hours. We looked at our pictures on an ipad slideshow while we ate dinner and talked over the day. It was like having 13 date nights in a row. One more thing about the my time dining....you can chose your table and request that one every night. We never waited for our table more than about 3 minutes and had a table for 2 by the railing so the people watching was perfect and our assistant waiter, Giovanni, was a highlight of my evening. Only with RC 5 months but a perfect fit...lovely, lovely, lovely personality and impeccable service!!! Tables 511 and 515 are for 2 people; around the railing; good people watching; feels like you are not crowded in that location.
I really enjoy the show each evening regardless of what type of entertainment it is. The Emperors of Soul were a favorite as well as a female singer/comedienne who was wonderfully funny and talented.
The free coffee bar with snacks in the promenade was a favorite of the whole ship. I read reviews noting that the coffee was undrinkable but we would partake every day and did not find it to be bad on any day. My husband did ask how to read the timers on the carafes so we knew we were using the freshest one each time.
Shopping on board is the standard stuff...still feel the prices are too high for my taste. People seemed to buy and buy even if the item was not from ports we were visiting on this cruise. I have more books at home than the library had at the time. The attendant said many of the books had walked off the ship but they were to get a restock of books at the next US port.