We are seasoned cruisers but had never done a European cruise. The cruise departs from Venice, Italy so we decided to arrive 3 days early to explore Venice. Stayed at Hotel Olimpia which is very conveniently located near the Piazzale Roma and the People Mover to the port. Well worth the price.
The port is pure chaos on departure day as there are no less than 5 major cruise lines using Venice as a starting point! The People Mover helps but be prepared to walk a long way to your ship. There are vans provided by the cruise lines for people with limited mobility.
The ship is very nice and has the obligatory spa and casino. There were lots of activities on board. The cruise director, Gary, was phenomenal. He speaks 5 languages fluently! Our balcony cabin was comfortable. The crew is international (as are the passengers) and they were very friendly. They set up cool towels and water for us when arriving back at the ship after a hot day sightseeing. A nice touch I haven't seen on other lines.
The on board entertainment was either really awesome or really ordinary. The production shows were great, the Polish acrobats were phenomenal, the magician was mediocre.
The reason we chose this itinerary was the ports to be visited and we were not disappointed! We booked a private tour through Trip Advisor in Dubrovnik and Izmir, rode the hop-on/hop-off bus in Athens and went to the beach in Split.
We did not visit any of the specialty dining venues or the formal dining room. We preferred to do the buffet and sit on the aft deck enjoying the night air. The best part was the crepe station!