This was a great cruise from the very start. We had arranged to park at Southampton Docks and this was very organised with plenty of direction. We had a short walk to the terminal, luggage trolleys were available if required, and were booked in very smoothly and quickly. Before we knew it we were on board and greeted at the entrance with smiles and directions. as it was lunch time we went straight to the Windjammer , where they had opened an extra seating area to accommodate the fact that a lot of people were arriving at once. We were still eating when it was announced that the staterooms were ready for occupancy so on finishing our meal we made our way to out room. We had booked an outside stateroom without a balcony, the room wasn't enormous but there was plenty of room for 2 of us and it was clean and comfortable. during the cruise the cabin attendant kept us clean and tidy, she was friendly and helpful at all times.
We ate all out evening meals in the restaurant where we had booked in under the "My Time" dining programme. We elected for a shared table each evening and any queues were quickly dealt with and we had the advantage of meeting some very interesting people over dinner each day. All our other meals were taken in the Windjammer. In both locations the food was always of a high standard with plenty of choice. Everything was clean and fresh and the staff couldn't have been more helpful.
We took very little part in any daytime activities as we were either on shore exploring or relaxing on a sunbed, but other people we spoke to had thoroughly enjoyed the numerous activities available. The Compass arrived in our room each evening with a timetable for the following day including arrival and departure times from destinations so we always knew exactly what was going on.
During the evenings it was difficult to fit in everything we wanted to do as there was so much choice, various bars with or without music of several different genres, stage show, ice show, dancing, shopping, the casino etc. There was even a cinema but we never even found that!
This was a cities tour and as such the ports visited were mostly commercial ports and some way from the town centre. we found the shuttle bus quite expensive and sometimes it was possible to walk or catch a local bus or tourist open top bus in stead. We used the open top bus in several cities as we decided it was a good way to see quite a lot in a very short time. At some ports the tourist buses are at the port at other you have to go into the centre first to find them. We did feel that the information given on board was a little sketchy and it wasn't really made clear what the options were which meant we paid the $10 each for a shuttle bus in some ports when we didn't need to.
This isn't a trip to get the feel of the Med as one city isn't really that different from the next and one lady on our cruise said that she had never been to the Med before and wouldn't be rushing back on the strength of this cruise, but it was what we wanted as we had holidayed in the Med quite a few times but in resorts without seeing the cities.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, the ship was clean and comfortable and all the staff friendly and helpful. However, when thinking of this type of holiday you do have to make allowances for the extras which in our case totalled a little over '1000.00 with drinks on board, shuttle buses and costs on shore.
We didn't eat on shore as we had a large breakfast and topped up when we boarded again, there was food available at all times on board. All tap water, coffee and tea are freely available on board and we are not big drinkers so didn't take out the drinks package.
we would definitely go again!!