Booked the 21 day B2B against my travel agent recommendation so was somewhat apprehensive of what to expect. We are experienced cruisers with 50+ cruises from mainstream (RCL, HAL etc) to boutique (Silversea, Azamara) cruise lines. We were sold on the itinerary and price and booked 2 months prior to departure as part of a 3 month European vacation starting on Jan 1 and ending on April 1.
Boarding in Rome was efficient and fast. The cab ride arranged by the Courtyard Marriott hotel was a ridiculous 150 euros, I should have pre arranged this but a lesson was definitely learned. We had a balcony cabin for the first segment and an interior for the second. We were very fortunate with the weather and never experienced rough seas. I found the crew professional and engaging. It was very nice to be recognized by name by many members of staff after just a couple of days on board.
We only ate in the main dining room and found the food better than expected. Once the hand washing and compulsory staff serving in the buffet was introduced due to some passengers coming down with norovirus, I tried some of the breakfast items and particularly enjoyed the chocolate croissants. I also enjoyed the traditional afternoon tea each day.
Excursions were arranged through the ship and privately and were all of a decent standard with informative guides. I could love without the carpet demonstrations in Turkey and Tunisia having already lived through those sales tactics on previous cruises.
Entertainment was available every night in the theater with production shows, magicians, ballet/acrobats and singers. I did enjoy 4 male singers performances of opera to Bohemian Rhapsody.
I was disappointed that there were no guest lecturers on board offering enrichment lectures since we were visiting so many historic and cultural ports of call.
Disembarking was stress free and I booked a shuttle back to Rome for 75 Euro.
We then spent 2 weeks in Andalucia and have been in England for the last 2 weeks dealing with cold and miserable weather. I found another bargain on the NCL Spirit departing Mar 10 for 9 nights and just booked an inside cabin.