My wife and i were 1st. time cruisers on an Eastern Med. cruise on 7 Sep. Had a pleasant flight out of Dublin to Venice and private transfer to the port terminal. Received a warm greeting with refreshments and embarkation took about 50 mins. Was most impressed with a stroll round the ship to get our bearings.
Then met up with some friends from the roll call in the cocktail lounge and toasted the beginning of the cruise.( cc roll call is a very good forum ) We watched the ship sail out of Venice from our balcony as the sun was setting and it was a magical experience that will stay with us for a very long time.
The balcony suite 9518 we found large enough for the two of us and had plenty of storage space for our needs. the bed was large enough and comfortable. We had no problem sleeping. The safe was very handy to have.The bathroom, sink and shower area were fine with liquid soap and shampoo supplied but the toilet area was a bit cramped and we are not large people by any means.
Our cabin steward Kurt was hard working helpful and always pleasant and bubbly. My wife enjoyed the towel animals and especially the mouse under the turn down lol.
The pool deck and sun terraces were very good and many a happy hour was spent enjoying the warm weather and the light refreshments on offer. I enjoyed the pools, plenty of room for a swim and the water was not cold. It was not difficult to get a lounger at any time during the day.
The dining options and choice of foods was a joy. On occasion it was a bit difficult to get seated in the buffet, but the selection would cater to all but the fussiest diner. The Blue Lagoon was a fantastic place of peace and quiet for breakfast, lunch and even a late snack with such pleasant staff. On a couple of occasions we dined in the Moderno restaurant. Another great experience for all meat lovers. We found it nice to dress up a bit at night and dine with friends in one of the main dining rooms also.
We enjoyed the shore excursions which we arranged ourselves. The old city of Dubrovnik is a gem and well worth a visit. A short 5 minute taxi ride away. We walked the old city walls. It cost about 9 or 10 euro each. There are plenty of steps (over a 1000 i believe) and in the noon heat it was a bit of a trial, but well worth it for the scenery and the views of the harbor. The old city itself is so pleasant to stroll around and wander down the cobbles of the back streets and alley ways.
Ephesus is such a special place with its ancient ruins and history. To get a glimpse of how the people lived over 2000 years ago and visit their homes (terrace houses) was a privilege and an insight into ancient civilizations. A private tour cost us 45 euro pp. We also visited Piraeus (Athens) and Split but only walked round ourselves taking in the sights.
All the entertainment we seen and heard seemed first class. There is a wide choice to pick from, but if there is something you like get there early to ensure a seat.
Disembarkation is well organised but was a bit slow and tedious.It was easy to find your baggage once in the terminal.
Cruising was a wonderful experience and one which we will repeat again having already booked the next cruise. We were also most impressed with the standard of service provided and indeed the cheery nature of all the crew. they are indeed a credit to themselves and NCL.