This was our first time on a cruise. Myself my partner our 4 children ages 17,12,9,and 7
We flew to Venice via easy jet, private transfer to the port. We dropped our bags at the luggage drop off and was given a slip with a number on which was 22 and we then walked around the corner into the building to wait to board.
Now once inside the building it was utter chaos and we then spent 3 hours in a hot over crowed area where the only 3 food and drink machines were out of order no one knew what was happening and we had to repeatedly ask to find out where to go and what to do. When we were finally called it was then queue up show I.D then queue up again while we had hand luggage scanned and then queue again to board the ship!!!!
I would advise taking bottles of water with you.
We boarded the ship which was amazing once on board, went to our cabins we had 2 because there was 6 of us. Outside cabins. The cabins were lovely the windows in them were lovely and big so you had a lovely view out, the beds were comfortable and it was sparkling clean. Our room steward was a lovely woman.
The actual ship is beautiful, so much to do and see onboard and the staff were amazing and we didnt encounter one member of the staff that was rude or unhelpful. The people that were rude were a lot of the other passengers on board, especially the Italians who took to staring at us where ever we went during the first few days but we soon found standing and all staring straight back or even asking them if they would like to take our picture soon put that rubbish to bed!!!!
The food on the ship is ok. The lido bar deck 9 is where the buffet is located now in the mornings if you dont want to be pushed and shoved everywhere i would advise getting down for 7.30am or 9am inbetween these times you wont get a table. same for lunch and dinner. At the back of the buffet area is the end of the boat with a pool and bar and also a grill so food is served there too
The kids club called the SQUAK club on deck 10 was bloody fantastic!! our girls loved it:) they did partys.treasure hunts, and on deck 4 they have the babylon disco which is a little nightclub for the kids, its all safe and secure and they take the children to there at night, my girls did a show in the bel ami theater with the club on the saturday, they take the kids for food, they have massive tv in the club and play games it really is wonderful for the kids and safe!!!!
The cost of drinks onboard costs alot of money and i would advise defo buying a drinks package for the duration of the stay as the inclusive package does not include any beers, or soft drinks for the kids, all you get is tea and coffee and water!!! that part of it was annoying and they put charges on everything!!!
All in all our first time on a cruise we loved it!! all the ports were lovely, but it does cost a lot to buy anything on the ship. I would advise drinks packages, buy from the shops within the first 48 hours as they slash all the prices so you can buy some spirits, snacks, fags if you smoke and keep it all in your room and use throughout holiday:) also we discovered half way through that room service is only 2 euros for the service charge so you could order sandwiches,orange juices,cakes,pastas and it will cost you no more then 2 euros per room!!! this was great, you just ring down order what you like and its 2 euros
Don't expect there to be anything to watch on the tv unless you understand Italian as there is nothing. You can buy films though and they are 8 euros but you can save it and keep watching which i found good as 1 film lasted all week for my girls at bedtime:)
We didn't go into the posh restaurant for our eve meal that is included and it looked wonderful but our children wouldn't of eaten the food. The casino looked more like an arcade it looked very flash but was just like an arcade really. We loved the lido bar deck 9, lots of music big pool jacuzzi in front of massive screens, bars, and fun staff:)
outside up on the top decks you have lovely little area for the kids to swin and play which has high screens around it, thats more for younger children, theres a massive pirate ship play area, a full size tennis court, a big water slide another pool and jacuzzi , loads of deck chairs and sun beds to lie on.
I would advise reading the today newsletter every eve as it gives you full list of the next days goings on around the ship, it tells you what food will be served and what time, what deck, it tell's you about any fun activates going on throughout the day so do read it:)
We loved our hol and myself anf my partner have already booked to go back again in march next year just us 2 this time so we can enjoy the more adult side of the ship, its a wonderful ship, wonderful friendly staff, ignore the rude passage-rs and you will not be disappointed