We had great conversations with lots of other passengers but we couldnt help but spot the age differences on board.
Here's our casual observation of the diversification of passengers. We had a fairly sold out ship with occupancy rated at 2850. This is what we encountered during the embarkation, restaurants, buffet, pool area, shows, activities and walking around.
88% Ages 61-70
5% Ages 56-60
2% Ages 50-55
<1% Ages 45-49
<1% Ages 36-44
<1% Ages 25-35
<1% Ages 1-17 Yup. That means less than 30 onboard.
Ages 18-24. No more than 10.
95% American / European
3% Asian American / Asian
1% Latin American / Hispanic
1% African American / African
I've read plenty of reviews prior to our cruise and I'm happy to report that majority of the good reviews were true. I'll just talk about some of the little things we experienced differently.
Our itinerary included Barcelona, Spain; Nice (Villefranche), France; Florence, Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Naples, Italy; Kotor, Montenegro; Venice, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Barcelona, Spain. If you are not sure about which side to book, then book Port side. You can argue its equal coming and leaving a port, but we were able to see lots of land, mountain peaks and other interesting landmarks along the way which we enjoy much more than staring at water most of the time. Venice was the only day we walked up outside the gym area to view the starboard side on arrival. On our way out of Venice, we stayed on our balcony. Don't confuse this with a similar itinerary also called 12 Night Venice Overnight Cruise which has 2 sea days first heading to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
AquaSpa - Persian Garden felt meager and lacked in leisure amenities. 1- 6 person capacity steam room. 1 - 8 person capacity sauna room. Main room had 10 or so warm loungers. Relaxing except when someone uses one of the open shower areas or when people chat next to you, it's not. Open to everyone is a dry sauna room in the locker rooms. Not shared. Men and Women have their own sauna next to the showers. To me, the Men's locker room saunas were better than the one in the Persian Garden. There are 4 whirlpools on the ship but each lack good jets and not hot enough. Port side rooms ending in odd numbers are less of a walk up using the main stairways, unless you are the first few cabins at front of the ship then pass around the relaxation lounge and take the stairs up. Starboard side or even number staterooms are closer to a spiral staircase leading up into the Persian Garden/Aquaspa/Gym area.
Blu - Ate their about 5 times. Never left thinking it was a great meal. Never came back after ordering a rare Filet Mignon and inside was old brown. Not over cooked, but brown from nearing its expiration date. Ate at Tuscan Grill to try their Filet Mignon and same thing. Brown meat. Disgusting. My suspicions were answered when we took a behind the scenes tour of Murano. 2 out of 12 were very old brown and the rest looked okay. I don't think it's possible to have a great steak or seafood meal on a cruise ship especially if it has been frozen for the long journey. However, I've heard other diners talk how they just had the best meal in their life.
Onboard activates were not much fun. It's was common for any activity that the activity organizer never showed up or showed up late. Several activities never happened.
Corn hole or Baggo was terrible. Board was made of plastic, old and bent. Bags were lightweight and wind would change its direction. Not fun for a group activity. Definitely not an American Corn hole Board.
Basketball court was half court and pretty good. However, basketball had all but 1 leather panel peeled off and the rest of the ball was the inside weave or bladder. This was the poorest condition I've seen for a basketball.
Golf Putting was lame. You're putting on real grass except it's about 2-3 inches thick.
Bocce ball was good. Good group fun. Activity was organized well.
Art Auction was fun to watch and we made some bids but didn't win. Very cool collection from famous artists like Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. Mixed in were newer artists. Don't get suckered like one lady sitting behind us. During the auction, she was talking so much how she knew many of the artists and come to find out she attended an art seminar given by the auctioneers earlier. It sounded as if she got persuaded into bidding on a couple pieces from a new artist that she had never heard of until getting on board. Range of auction bids 1 or 2 items are $250-$500, 2 or 3 items are $750-$2000. The most were $4000-$35,000 and up.
Evening entertainment shows were okay, not bad. My wife and I left feeling disappointed. We've watched over a dozen Broadway and Las Vegas shows and these don't compare. In my opinion, it's not Broadway quality. It's not off-Broadway quality. It's not Las Vegas quality. Its not even Reno quality. To us, it appeared 1 or 2 had formal training and the rest had much less. However, we overheard people talking with our cruise director, on our way out, praising it was the best show they've ever seen.