I sailed with my wife and my 4 year old daughter. Boarding the ship took about one and one-half hours. I had arranged for our stateroom to be decorated for my daughters birthday and our anniversary. We arrived at our stateroom to find it beatifully decorated with a not for my wife and daughter from me. A great way to start the trip. I have been disappointed in the past by other cruise lines. Our cabin steward, Golda was outstanding. During our trip she made a different towel animal every night for my daughter, she was very easy to work with, if we were not out of our cabin by the time she finished working she offered to come back when we were ready. Our room was always immaculate, a very difficult task considering we have a 4 year old. We ate at Portfino the first night, the food and the service were outstanding. We said we would go back another night. The crew on the ship is extremely friendly, not once in 15 days did I pass a crew member and not get at least a greeting.
We saw several shows while onboard, the juggler was funny and included my daughter in the show, so that was one of my favorites. But, the ice skating show is not to be missed. The other shows we saw were good, nothing great.
The food outside of the pay restaurants was also very good. The main dining room always had something very good on the menu. The night they served lobster I was very skeptical to even try it, because I am from Maine and I am almost always disappointed with cruise ship lobster. Our waiter convinced me and I am glad he did, it was very good. My only complaint would be at the buffet for breakfast, it did not have the variety that I have had on other ships. Our waiters in the main dining room were exceptional. Fahmi and Christian could not have been better. They were always right there to meet any need you had. They were also very fiendly. If I took another cruise on this ship I would want them back to be my waiters. The head waiter Leslie, was also excellent. He always took the time to stop and say hi, on several nights he made my daughter napkin animals. He also brought her plates of beef carpaccio that he found out she liked.
We took shore excursions in Ponta Delgada, Toulon and Livorno. The excursion in Ponta Delgada was good, but it was not a very nice day. The tour guide was knowledgable and friendly. I could have lived without the Pineapple plantation. If I had to do it over again, I Probably would have done a different tour. In Toulon we went to Aix. I really just took this tour for the ride to Aix, I did not have any interest in following the tour once in Aix. I guess this somehow offended our tour guide, he was a complete jerk to me and my wife. We still had fun in Aix and I complained about him once back on the ship. The tour in Livorno was very good. We went to Pisa and Florence on our own, Lisa our guide was very knowledgble about the areas and gave us some great tips for getting around and what to do.
On the sea days there was always plenty to do, miniture golf, rock climbing, trivia, bingo, ice skating, or just hanging out at the pool. The first few day of the trip we did not put our daughter into the kids club, because I enjoy spending time with her. But, I started to feel guilty and selfish, as I had heard other kids were having a great time. We finally decided to let her go and she didn't ever want to leave. The staff was very friendly and always had something fun planned for the kids to do. She also met many new friends in the kids club, I was happy we decided to send her.
I think the ship is due to be refurbished soon, which is fine as long as they keep the Captain and crew. Overall the crew was outstanding!