I give this five stars for a four star cruise.I did some research and therefore did not get on board expecting a five or six star cruise on this Italian luxury operator.I was therefore not disappointed by the ship but pleased and surprised.
There are many many things this line and this ship did get right.
First, the itinerary was excellent, better,more adventurous ,varied and interesting than others on offer departing from Fort Lauderdale in peak December season.Stopping in four ports in West Indies, and Caribbean.
The ship was by far the most elegant in Port from the outside, and many of the interiors were also elegant,stylish and interesting. I enjoyed the prints on the wall in my cabin, a lot more depth and taste to them and less gaudiness than on some more upscale cruise lines.
Another big plus was that there wasn't blaring mind numbing pop music from the deck from 6am. The ship started music at a respectful 7.30am and a varied selection of opera, classical, Latin, salsa,spiritual , soothing choral, and interesting bits and pieces. This was a big plus for me - not to have a cruise ruined by distasteful loud bland commercial pop music.
Another big plus was the selection of games..they actually had scrabble, chess,monopoly...all the good old fashioned wholesome games voyagers of old use to play,and I know at least one mother on board who said it was much better and more interactive for her kids.So its a good ship.
As it is a European cruise line there's delight in being surrounded by a diverse mix of people from all cultures too and who doesn't like the sing song of Italian voices as well in some of the staff.The diverse staff were excellent.No problems whatsoever.Almost everyone went out of their way to try and resolve any issue.The ship was extremely clean,another big plus.The crowd was mostly families,as kids travelled free, but there was still a diverse crowd and space to get away,though a mid sized ship.A few little quirks,and really the only things that give it Four Stars Rating as a ship...there was a minor crack between the two single beds to form a double.The food in the public formal dining rooms was certainly varied but fell short of being great or excellent.It was adequate to good at best..but plenty of it and everyone ate with gusto.
The buffet areas were actually good.I enjoyed fare I wouldn't get on other cruise lines such as smoked herrings for breakfast and grilled half tomatoes.The on board bakery was excellent with a wide selection of grain and health breads as well as variations on white breads. They went to special effort for Christmas with such a wide selection of desserts,from all over the world.
The dancers were shocking as professional dancers,but the acrobats were great.One of the opera singers was not good,but the male opera singer was fantastic.The cruise could have done with more lectures and made use of the outdoor cinema screen in the evening more,so be happy entertaining yourself and taking a good book,if you even have time to read.
The onboard spa is five star and excellent! Look their were some minor quirks..but they are trying, and overall great service, great itinerary, great fairly simple but elegant ship and great value for money.Get an ocean view or balcony room.Don't expect hot dogs and a chocolate on your pillow every night, and you will love it.