I was surprisingly happy with this ship and this trip. If you wish to get a feel for the minutiae of this cruise, it’s well covered by other reviews; read them after this. By the way, the itinerary (Italy, Turkey, Greece) is interesting and educational. Herein, I’m having other observations: about guests, nationalities, drinking, entertainment, dancing and relaxing.
As a Canadian, I’m polite and easygoing. If you don’t know Canadians, sorry, it’s the national character. Personally, I’m gregarious and like to exchange conversation with people I meet. I seek this during my travels, and I was looking forward to meeting this challenge in Europe. In American waters, I meet plenty of nice and interesting people, English speaking, some even from the US. On this European vessel, “das ist” more fun, which I enjoy anyhow. Indeed we met nice and interesting people, both guests and hosts, of many languages and places, with whom we communicated as best we could, and that was “magnificent”. That is part of fun and charm of travelling for us, and I hope the same for them.
A new experience for me was hunting for language during lunch. I would promenade through the ship’s dining room (leaving the hostess behind) enquiring with guests at the tables whether they spoke English. Then I would politely ask if I could join them for lunch. How presumptuous? Well, I will confide that I enjoyed a couple of pleasant meals gathering with new people and making friends. I believe they did likewise.
On this European ship, I noted that beverages incur an additional cost, including water at supper (but not water at buffet). Well, Americans (herein I mean people from the eponymous continent) are I think not used to that. Be prepared. Actually, included with our cruise ticket were tokens for one bottle of water at supper. Still this did not deter people from drinking to their livers’ content. Sniff!
Also noteworthy is that waiters in the buffet (on this Italian ship) do not hover to refill your coffee. This staff work sufficiently hard that they should be relieved of this chore. Yes, get up from your chair, walk over to the coffee station, get in line again with your cup and refill yourself. Hint: get 2 cups right away.
Personally, though I’m more resourceful. Regarding several comments (in other reviews) about the scrum and lack of manners at the buffet, I walk a bit further to where the crowd is not and where the queue is short. I keep clear of hungry, rampaging foreigners. I content myself with foods that are currently accessible, and return for more when the frenzy subsides. What could be more courteous and safe? By the way, I liked the pizza.
We were partial to reading and sightseeing in the high atrium on the Positano deck where it was sunny and protected from the wind. But it was well nigh impossible to obtain refuge from people conversing loudly. Please excuse my peevishness on this matter.
About evening entertainment in the theatre … well we all have divergent taste in food, as in art. Like the waiters, these artists and singers, dancers, acrobats, really put their hearts into their work. If you can’t see that, you should not be in the theatre. Sure, they’re not all supremely talented, but many are, yes! I appreciate and applaud them. If you’re bored, bring your ipad to touch and read.
Further regarding entertainment, we really enjoyed dancing on board. This is a rather select activity which is infrequently mentioned, but we are ballroom dancers and we dance a lot. We liked meeting other dancers on the floor and getting acquainted. The music and musicians in several venues were all agreeable. We observed that Europeans get active and dance no matter how awfully they writhe, unlike their American counterparts who are mostly lazy and embarrassed.
Finally, about relaxing on ship. Get with the program! Don’t complain! Delight in your time away from routine and appreciate the journey. Smile, say “guten tag”, be friendly and polite. Do I have to tell you how to have good time. Puhleese.