My wife & I really enjoyed our first cruising experience. The organisation, food, entertainment, ambience & service was all top class. We met interesting people and joined in many lectures/activities. The cruise Director Sue Denning was brilliant - seemingly everywhere ensuring all worked as scheduled!
We chose right to have booked a balcony Stateroom which had good use as we were blessed with sunny weather apart from a day in Florence when we got soaked! The only minor niggle was a need to rush the ending of our 8.30pm meal sitting to get to the 10.30pm show...it would be better if start time was 10.45pm for the nightly 45min shows. The shows were of good standard & variety with 3 formal shows plus individual artists. We particularly liked ‘showman’ pianist Perry Grant & attended his shows most evenings before dinner. He has many loyal fans who follow him on cruises over the years.The El Bacio coffee shop was one of our favourite haunts during the day...with tempting cakes always on offer! This venue could do with being enlarged to cope with demand.
We were on a fixed table of 8 for dining and had a nice mix of guests. Many of the Brits (70% compared to North Americans 30%) chose to wipe out gratuities and use envelopes on the final day. We felt this was unfair on many other staff around the ship who were truly superb…so we allowed the automatic $12 pp pd to stand. Although you can follow the progress of your onboard account on the TV…the accounting is confusing with a mirror of each person…and even the final printed listing doesn’t provide a full break down of exact drinks etc purchased.
Overall the cruise exceeded expectations. We have already booked a Carribean cruise in Jan 2015 on the same ship!