This is the first cruise my husband and I have been on! But it will not be our last. We booked this cruise late at an excellent price, though after reading some of the reviews we were a little nervous but we need not have been.
Embarkation required waiting for some time but several flights arrived in Cyprus at the same time so there were large numbers waiting. However once through immigration we found our cases had preceded us and we were quickly able to settle into our room. The rooms are small and I think paying for the plus cabin would have been worth it. However in spite of this we were able to pack everything away without too much trouble. The cabin while small, was clean and comfortable, the bathroom tiny but the shower was hot and powerful.
I can only repeat what other passengers have said about the restaurants,the food was excellent with more than sufficient variety. The service efficient and although we intended to use the bistro we did not in the end, as the food in the main restaurants was so good. The buffet also offered excellent, though simpler choices. Tea, coffee and water was also freely available on the top deck in the buffets, as well as in the restaurants during meals. It is true we were often sat at tables of 6 or 8 with strangers, but for us this was part of the charm.tables for two were available on request.
The entertainment was outstanding and we often stayed to watch the main event twice. In the royal observatory (one of the many bars) we listened to a wonderful violinist and pianist called the Budapest duo. I could mention so many of the entertainers, singers, dancers and musicians, they were all wonderful and very enjoyable. There was always live music going on somewhere and when everything else had stopped there was the late night disco.
The cruise news listed all events.
In every part of the ship we were welcomed and assisted by a very able and friendly crew. The waiters, bar staff, reception and pursers were excellent. Housekeeping was superb and kept our rooms spotless, cleaning and tidying them at least 3 times a day.
I do have a criticism about the sun beds, they were often left empty but reserved for long hours, and although we were told policing would take place I certainly never saw any.
Trips off the boat were run efficiently, but were expensive. £98 each for a day out to Jerusalem, (which admittedly was 10 hours long and included a short trip to Bethlehem and lunch,) seemed like a lot as their were no admission prices. And the shop we were taken to offered outrageous prices, a medium sized olive wood crib with figures. $4000.00. I had bought shekels in England, I needn't have bothered € and $ were all they were interested in. And while there were many other shops I would have liked to have shopped in, we were told very firmly we could not shop anywhere else. There was no time. A trip to the Dead Sea was the same price, though this included a trip to Masada, lunch and use of hotel facilities.
Overall I would say that while the ship maybe an older lady, she is a grand lady and her staff are wonderful. I had an amazing time, saw some wonderful sites and met many interesting and friendly people. I would recommend this ship.