We sailed from Rome for the 11 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise, and it was best cruise experience to date. Why?
Ship: brand new with just the right amount of public spaces
Ports of Call: Hugh variety
Food: Well above average
Our review may be biased because we selected the Aqua Class. Although this gives you access to the spa, the main benefit is that you get to dine in Blu, which offers better and more healthy selection in a more intimate environment. I think we paid about $200 extra/person, and it was well worth it.
We ate in Blu most nights and only ventured into other pay extra dining only 2 nights. You can book ahead, but don't bother. They offer great deals on a daily basis. We at the Lawn club because it is outside and weather was great We also ate at Qsine. I would recommend Qsine 1 night. We got a 2 for 1 special on the overnight in Istanbul. Otherwise, the additional charge is really a waste if eating in Blu.
Bathroom is larger than most ships as well as balcony. Otherwise it's a standard cruise ship balcony cabin. Other than sleeping at night, we were never in it, so who really cares. I am always amazed at people who pay so much extra for a suite. If you are on a luxury cruise line why would you sit in your cabin.
Amazing. Not one complaint. Based on the hours they work, it would be a sin to complain.
We went every night. Although good, it was not as good as some other ships. If the Reflection has a weakness, this is it. They change the shows all the time, so this will vary cruise-to-cruise
Good selection. The one issue is that the Reflection is so big, that sometimes you wind up pretty far from the city you are vistiting, especially in Rome and Athens.
Getting on and Off:
Best experience to date. It took 20 minutes to get on and 20 minutes to get off. TIP: we flew to Rome and took the train from Airport to port. You have to walk a few blocks, but otherwise it's easy. The fare from airport to Civittachia is on 11 Euros/person. Take train from airport towards Rome. The local train stops in Rome/Trastaverre. It runs every 15 minutes. From there catch a train to the Civittachia, which runs every 30 minutes. Trenitalia website has schedule. In Civitacchia You have to walk from station towards port where there are free busses to boat. It takes about 2 hours maximum from Airport to boat. Slightly more work, but we saved over $300.
We have strong bias against ship excursions based on expense and being herded around like sheep. At dinner we explained what we did to fellow diners, and most seemed jealous. We are healthy and in shape so we also have a bias towards hoofing it on our own. Overall, we spent only $120 on transportation off ship. Also most eating places have free wifi so bring your Ipad or phone and text and email for free. Just ask for password and login.
We waked up donkey path. Its kind of a hike, but not that bad. The experience of sharing the path with hundreds of donkeys was worth the experience. We ate in Santorini (boat leaves at 10 PM) and walked back down path. Bring a flashlight or use cellphone flashlight feature since path is covered in donkey poop. If you don't walk there is a tram.
Walked from ship to sights. It's not that far A cab will cost you about 20 Euros. There is also a trolley. The crowds were hugh which surprised me since it was October. I downloaded a map app (RMaps) for android phone that let me use phone as GPS even though I had no network connection. I used it to navigate streets. We went to Mosques and palace, as well as markets. We liked the spice market which is just across bridge from where ship docks.
Walked into town and got taxi to Ephesus. Cost was $80 for 2 ( you have to negotiate). They take you there and wait for you, and you don't pay till you get back to port. You don't have to worry about them leaving you based on that. Insist on this is arrangement.
Walked 100 yards from ship toward town and found a place to rent car for $45/day. We drove to Super paradise beach and spent day there. One of the best beaches on Island. Since it is an Island, its hard to get lost.
We walked from ship to train. Train runs from Piresus to Acropolis (Monastraki). Cost is 2 Euros, so our transportation cost was only 4 Euros. Again I had map application that let me use phone as GPS so could not get lost. If you are healthy climb Mount Lytvakos. The view is amazing. There is even a restaurant on summit. You can get Athens Subway map online.
Boat to Capri is only a block from cruise ship. Trip there and back really takes the entire day. Well worth the visit. You can try to do more, but 5 passengers would have missed ship if Captain had not waited 30 minutes to depart. Once on Capri, buy your return ticket before you do anything. I can't imagine why anyone would sign up for excursion here. Walk from ship to boat terminal. buy ticket, and go to Capri. Naples as a city is not really interesting.