We found this cruise lived up to reviews posted by others.
Main reason for booking was the connecting flights to Southampton and coach shuttle provided. This worked well in both directions - excellent for those based in Scotland. We also utilised again The Baggage Handling Company in Southampton and sent a couple of suitcases in advance, these were waiting on arrival in the cabin. On return they met us outside of the baggage hall and took away the suitcases.
On minor point we were given an extra us$300 on booking making a total of us$800 - but this amount was not added until shortly before departure. Consequently several emails to the agent.
The cabin was excellent and we were on the hub just near the aft lifts. A good choice with a larger balcony. However for those of above average height the curved foot of the beds is a bit awkward for sleeping. The tea tray was useful, but recommend taking a carton of milk from the cafe to use for the tea and store it in the fridge.
The tv was good with a number of free and pay to view films, also useful for viewing your account. For those that use a pad and have it loaded with films, there is a hdmi slot and just press source on the side and up will come hdmi 3 . we connected a couple of occasions to watch films we had loaded.
The staff on this ship are really outstanding and well worth the remarks made by others.
The ocean view cafe had many food stations and caused no problems with traffic flow. The icecream selection was excellent also. However we tried the curry on a couple of evenings and these were the worse we have experienced at sea.
We used two excursions. One to Rome via train - 0n your own. Note that tickets for the sistine chapel are sold on this and provide a timed entrance and charged to your account. However if I was to do this agian I would book on the next as the train gets to St Peters Station by 10 am - allowing plenty of time for a 11 am entrance.
We also went to Pisa and Florence on your own and were allowed an extra hour due to the cycling championships. In the other ports we did our own thing with absolutely no sign of pickpockets. Incidentally I thought the gold choice and cost was better in Florence than in Gibraltar.,
Booze - many have posted re taking on board. We put a carton in our suitcase with no problem and to prove a point I carried back aboard a bottle from three ports - discretely put in my rucksack though. In Gibraltar they had all the staff out taking booze off those who had purchased ashore.
Entertainment - a bit hit and miss but you cannot expect to enjoy all . we thought the trapeze show dreadfully boring, but others liked it. the main disappointment was the extremely poor on board lecturer on Rome she just read a presentation - easily the worse I have sat through anywhere.
Passengers some seem to have moved over from P & O most were white middle england between 55 - 65 and on annual holiday. But we did see more obese people than on other cruises. We did have some 20 Americans on board - they are so load - we had one on the next table who talked at great length and very loudly every evening, not conducive to enjoying dinner. On table for two was very near the next table for two, which seems to be common on ships.
This is a very very slick and compared to P & O is 5 star to 3 star. Would we go on her again, definitely yes, but unfortunately their cruises tend to be repetitive each year to the same ports.