We looked forward to this cruise for several reasons but especially because it gave us the opportunity to cross off several "bucket list" items. The embarkation process in Rome was easy and quick. The ship, one of the newest in the fleet was beautiful and elegant as we expected.
We enjoyed the cabin with one drawback, we were located on deck 12 (top cabin deck) right under the Ocean View Cafe. It was noisy several times during the cruise (like sound of chairs being dragged across floor) during the middle of the night due to suspected cleaning. We booked the Concierge guarantee and therefore did not chose this cabin and I would recommend that anyone else assigned this cabin ask to be changed for the above described reasons.
The Captain on this ship was one of the most entertaining I have every had with a great sense of humor that endeared him to all. Comments such as: "In the event I become disabled then the staff captain will take over, in the event he also becomes disabled then another officer will take command, in the event he becomes disabled also, then you are really going to have a bad day!"
The food, entertainment and on-board events were first class and some of the best we have seen. A truly enjoyable experience.
We had select dinning as opposed to fixed time and this was never a problem being seated within minutes of showing up, reservations or not. The food in the Grand Cuvee dinning room was good and we ate there several times. The food in the ocean view cafe was not as good but not bad either.
The speciality dinning rooms were fantastic. Great food and service. We ate at Murano on the departure night (receiving a 30% discount) for that first night. We would liked to have gone back but time and our condition after long days touring didn't cooperate. I would highly recommend it. We also ate in the Lawn Club grill,Bistro on 5, Tuscan grill and Q-zine. The crepes at Bistro on 5 were fabulous and I miss them still. The Lawn Club Grill had a great tasting steak. We asked if we wanted to cook it ourselves I replied "I am on vacation, you cook it!", and it was cooked to perfection. Q-zine, I can't say enough about. We ate there twice and it is one of my favorites in not just this ship but in my entire dinning experience. They made it interesting and fum. My wife who loves Curry said the lamb curry in the Taj Mahal was the best she has eaten. We tried made dishes and the way they were presented made in fun.
As for the tours we took, some from the ship and others privately arranged with fellow Cruise Critic member, arranged on the roll call boards were great. We visited Egypt, Greece and Israel and never felt unsafe or intimidated. I could go on about the tours for several pages but won't here. Just know that if you get an opportunity to see the pyramids, the Cairo Museum (with King Tut's treasures), Jerusalem and swim in the dead sea, don't miss them!