I travelled with my husband with 1 other couple (our best friends who are also married). We are all in our 30s. This was the best cruise ship we have done (our friends have been on at least 6 other cruises) and we all had an incredible time. Make sure you take small change Euros with you as you will need to use them for washroom breaks at the various ports (usually 25 Euros).
Probably the quickest and most smooth embarkation we have ever experienced. Very impressive. We got there somewhat early so we could get on the ship, explore and relax. We were in and through within 10 minutes.
This ship is a beauty with a nice new and modern design and feel. The doors to the washrooms were a bit confusing at first (you have to press a button on the side to lock/unlock some of them).
I can't remember the room number, but I believe we were on the deck 7. It was quiet and we had a balcony. I wish we had booked next door to our friends as I saw rooms that had adjoining balconies, which would have been fun for us and I know we would have used the balcony way more. The room was spacious enough for us and the bathroom was nicer than other ships we have been on. Lots of room for toiletries and enough closet space. I especially liked the basket under the bed as we used this for dirty laundry :)
We didn't take ANY excursions from the ship because we were travelling in a party of 4 and we planned our ALL of our day trips together. We saved money this way and saw WAY more.
We travelled from Canada and flew into Rome where we spent 3 nights before the cruise, which I highly recommend. It gave us time to explore Rome and get over any jet lag prior to cruising. Out of Rome we had a day at sea so we all relaxed by the pool and explored the ship a bit more. This was also our first formal night so we all drank too much (we upgraded to the premium drink package and certainly got our money's worth).
Santorini, Greece - tendered. We didn't get off until noon because we didn't get a tender ticket, but this still gave us enough time to get off and explore and have lunch on this beautiful little island. When we arrived on the island we took a small boat and got on a coach that went up the hill rather than taking the cable car (or a donkey which is also an option). I personally fell in love with Santorini and I found some beautiful jewelry for myself and my daughter here. We had lunch in a cute little restaurant and took in the views (although the wine was terrible... luckily we weren't there for the wine!). We stayed only a few hours because we were so late getting off the ship (if you want more time here make sure you obtain a tender ticket the night before as it is first come, first served). We walked around some more and finally decided to make it back to the ship. Rather than take the cable car (there was a huge line) we decided to take the steps all the way down, which wasn't as bad as I expected, but we are all really active in our daily lives and I wouldn't recommend for those with children, the elderly or the unfit. If you decide to walk down the steps wear good shoes as you will encounter lots of donkey poop (seriously.. lots) and you will encounter lots of donkeys coming up and down as you make your way down. The steps are slippery and it's a long way down. I observed a woman (I think she worked on the ship) walking down in wedge shoes.. it was definitely entertaining.. haha.
Day at Sea
Overnight in Istanbul, Turkey - wow what an experience this was and certainly not what any of us expected. We got off the ship around 11am and headed out to take in the sights. We got a cab and headed towards Blue Mosque and the typical tourist sights. When we got out of the cab we ran into men praying EVERYWHERE. It was incredible to see and hear the praying over the loudspeakers... it was breath taking to see. We kept walking and just kept seeing men praying... at the side walks, on the sides of the streets, in the mosques... literally everywhere. I will never forget this and it was amazing to witness. We tried to go into Blue Mosque, but the locals were still praying, so we walked around and headed over to another mosque. The one thing we didn't like about Istanbul is how pushy the locals are. You will be ushered into every restaurant as you walk past and asked to buy carpets every 5 minutes. We walked around and went to Grand Bazaar where we didn't even shop because we were so tired of them being so pushy, but in hindsight I really wished we had spent more time here as there was some amazing shopping. I won't lie, Western women are leered at in Istanbul and my friend and I found it a little uncomfortable (I was even covered up, but we still experienced this). Blue Mosque was really interesting.. we ended up paying and going front of line instead of lining up. Women and men in shorts do have to cover up here and they provide cloth in case you aren't dressed appropriately. It also smells of stinky feet, but still worth experiencing despite this :) By this time it was late afternoon and we had tickets to see the "Whirling Dervishes" that night, so we stayed off ship. I wish we had chosen turkish belly dancing or something more fun than the show we picked as the Whirling Dervishes was disappointing to say the least. After reading reviews online, we were expecting so much more and were shocked at what this show ended up being (an hour of men twirling around.. which yes is impressive, but we didn't really expect to a full hour of just this). The audience wasn't allowed to applaud at the end because it was considered a ceremony. It was so hot in there that people were falling asleep. I kept expecting belly dancers to come out any second... sadly it didn't happen and everyone in my group left feeling a bit ripped off. We decided to walk back to the ship and ate and drank in various restaurants on our way. When we got back to the ship we decided we had seen all of Istanbul that we wanted to see and stayed on the ship the following day (it was an overnight stay and the ship didn't leave until 1pm the next day). I would like to go back and give Istanbul another chance.
Kusadasi, Turkey - We got off the ship and got a cab to see Ephesis, which to us was the most impressive of all the ruins we saw this whole trip. It was about 30-45 minutes away and the ruins were amazingly preserved. We spent the whole day here and then got a cab back and went for lunch by the side of the ocean. We didn't shop here, although I wished we had explored this a bit more.
Athens, Greece - We got off the ship and were going to get the train to visit the ruins, but ended up meeting this wonderful cab driver who offered to do a full tour of the sights in Athens for the day for 80 Euros, so we split it between us. He was basically our own personal tour guide and his English was really good. He dropped us at the Acropolis and waited for us. It was an impressive sight, but very busy. We then went to several other historical sites around Athens and saw Changing of the Guard at the parliament building which was interesting to see, especially in that heat! Our "guide" dropped us off for la late unch, but we had to leave right after because of protesting that was about to start. We didn't want to get caught in that so we headed back to our ship.
Mykonos, Greece - Another tender so we got off the ship late again. We just wanted a beach day, so we walked into the town and found a bus to the beach where we spent a few hours lounging around. It was really nice to just relax and do nothing for the day. Mykonos is a beautiful island, and we really enjoyed it there.
Day at Sea
Naples, Italy - This was our busiest stop of all. We wanted to see Pompeii, Sorrento and the Island of Capri so we got off the ship somewhat early as we had a busy day ahead (9am) and got a cab to Pompeii. After Pompeii we got on a train and went to Sorrento, which was a few stops away. We went for lunch and did some shopping. This is a beautiful area and a must see for anyone visiting Naples. We then got on a boat and went to Capri Island. We didn't have much time here, but we still had a little tour around. We purchased our return tickets back to Naples.
We used the gym 4-5 times, but it was very crowded each time. There are lots of treadmills and elliptical machines, but they were usually taken. There were lots of free weights too. Apparently we cruised with fellow gym fans on this ship as this was the busiest any of us have ever seen a gym on a cruise!
There were lots of pool loungers for everyone, although some days at sea it was too windy to be up top so we used the adult pool a lot as it was covered. There were hot tubs in there too and no kids allowed under 16.
My only disappointment on this ship was with the spa onboard and in particular the massages I had. At the prices they charge, I wouldn't bother again as it wasn't worth the money. As a Massage Therapist myself I felt the massages were not done by staff who knew remedial massage techniques (unless this is done on purpose...). I was disappointed.
We especially enjoyed the sunset bar at the back of the ship and it was our hang out during sail away from port and the bar staff were lovely and super friendly. Another must experience for any beer lover is Michaels lounge which became another local hang out for us, although we thought it must have been somewhat of a hidden gem as there was hardly anyone in there (which we also liked.. haha). We loved Mikaela who was the beer sommelier there :-) We didn't miss the fact that there was no nightclub on this ship as the observation lounge turned into a club later evenings. We only went a few times as we weren't that impressed. The martini lounge was really nice with ice around the outside of the bar. It was usually our meeting place for a martini or champagne before dinner.
We enjoyed dinners on this ship and we opted for Select Dining, which we loved as we were not tied to a time each night. We maybe had to wait for a table twice in the eleven nights on this cruise, so totally worth it. We tried the specialty restaurants which were really nice and we especially enjoyed Murano. We also tried Tuscany which was really nice. We hardly ate at the buffet because we liked the sit down and service aspect of eating. We at at the buffet for breakfast and only twice for dinner during the eleven nights and every time the food was awesome.
The shows were really good on this ship. We missed a few, but the ones we did see were impressive. Great singing and great dancing. Towards the end of the cruise the shows got a bit more Cirque du Soleil which we loved.