This was my first time to Europe and longest cruise to date. We arrived in Rome 2 nights early and very glad we did there was a little adjustment needed to the time change. Stayed in the heart of Rome at the Cosmopolita Hotel and enjoyed it allot best thing was by far the location.
Took a private car from Rome to the airport as there were 5 of us and well worth the money. Arrived at the port about 1pm and boarded quickly without problems were able to go straight to our rooms, where thanks to our family and travel agent champagne awaited us.Had a little champagne and checked out the balcony very nice,then grabbed a bite of lunch at the windjammer although it was full were able to find a table without problems. We then explored the ship a little and went to muster stations (muster was very formal and informative) after that we looked for other cruise critic members( we all were wearing mardi gras beads) only found a few but proceeded to the deck for the sail away. Then back to our rooms to unpack(our luggage was waiting for us no problems, as was Jimmy our room steward, I can not say enough about Jimmy he kept us and our other cruise mates organized and assisted us even when we did not realize we need assistance. Dinner for us was late seating there were 5 in our group with 6 chairs the 1st night that was removed for the remainder. I am gluten free due to a sensitivity not allergy and as soon as I mentioned it to Bovino it was if they fell over backwards to accommodate me. The Maitre D would arrive at the end of the meal every night to go over the next nights offerings and let me know if they could make the choices gluten free or not. I had a plate of gluten free bread brought to me every evening. By far the best though was when I saw Chocolate Souffle on the menu the Maitre D was not sure if they could make it but said they would try, to my surprise the next night I received 2 very hot absolute perfect souffles the best I have ever had. My table mates even felt mine were better than theirs. Needless to say we had no complaints about the food or dinning room service at dinner also did go to the dinning room for breakfast and lunch when we could again food was great and all except our last day at sea service excellent the last day they just seemed inattentive and rushed no specific complaints.
On to excursions I took 3 excursions through the ship all were well organized and efficient I did find the buses cramped (leg room impossible for me 5"8" sister and the sights especially in Sicily were over run by buses from multiple cruise lines. Our Crete tour with the ship was not as crowded and took us a little more of the beaten path. My favorite excursion and port was Turkey we were on a private tour with others from our cruise critic message board and it was very nice to only have 11 of us in a van much more personal. I loved all the places we visited but was most impressed with lunch and the Terrace houses. Even a sudden thunder storm and getting lost and soaked did not change my opinion especially with the wonderful assistance we got getting re-connected with our tour group.
As far as events o the ship we saw the ice show and 1 other show only. There is so much more to do than we had the time or energy for. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who want to get a "taste of the Med" all the tours we choose were taste of and that is what they were they gave us a taste to let us know what we would like to visit in the future. I would recommend this cruise and these dates to anyone the weather was neither hot or cold, I found everyone on and off the ship to be very friendly and helpful. Cannot wait to go again.