Like many people I read reviews about this cruise after I'd booked the trip and as a result of people's awful comments, I was very close to cancelling. Now I'm back, I'm very glad I didn't.
I'd cruised once before with Thomsons and was very aware that this was the least plush of their ships but, I'll admit I was sold on the all inclusive package, which would have cost me a further £200 per person if we'd gone on one of the other ships.
So, in a nutshell, I agree the ship is dated - but I knew that from other reviews, and I totally agree in that it was spotless and the staff were really helpful and friendly.
The food - well it wasn't brilliant, but it was fine. Plenty of choice (and I'm even one of those fussy vegetarian types!) and my only gripe is that it could have been warmer. We paid to go to the posh restaurant one evening which was good value for money and we booked to go again, however when we realised it was the same menu on offer all week in there, we cancelled. There was more choice for us in one of the other 2 restaurants.
The entertainment was as you'd expect on a cruise, tongue in cheek with a cruise band and game shows. A bit old fashioned for us, a couple in our 30's, but saying that, there were plenty of bars to go and choose from so if you didn't want to indulge, you didn't have to.
The excursions weren't cheap, we chose 2, Rome and St Tropez. That was nearly £100 each. We decided to give Pisa/Florence a miss and went to Livorno for the day, and realised there that you could get excursions off the boat for a fraction of the price. All in all, the excursions are well organised and you have the safety of knowing the boat wont go without you at the end of the day, but you can do themselves much much cheaper.
All in all I'd say the cruise was good value for money and I'd recommend adding a couple of days stay at the end to actually relax. If you are a seasoned "P&O cruiser" and want a formal, fancy, dressed up cruise, then stay on P&O. Don't go on this cruise which is informal, fun, down to earth, and essentially a nice way to see a lot of the med without packing your bag and travelling every day.
Some of the reviews on here are very unfair and seem to be written by people who expect 5* for 3* prices. If you go with an open mind and aren't a massive snob, then don't be put off this cruise. You'll have a great time.