Having read the negative reviews just one month before we sailed my partner and our two friends were a little apprehensive to say the least. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth!
Let's start with the fact that this was our first cruise.....it won't be the last!
From arrival at embarkation to disembarking I have NOTHING but praise for the ship, the staff, the destinations.
The ship is huge! It is beautifully decorated and designed. We had a balcony cabin on the 12th deck which was spacious and well appointed. The views from our balcony, truly stunning.
The staff were nothing less than friendly, courteous and wonderful. As an early riser, I was regularly on the pool deck in the morning before the rest of the 'guests' had risen. I was often just myself and the (I suppose they could be called) 'deck hands'.
They do not have the most glamorous of jobs, but they do it with a professional air. They was one who 'swabbed' the decks at the smoking side of the deck (where I was always sat with my iPad) and his cheery disposition (under a wooly hat!) was really pleasent.
The breakfast buffet in the Inca and Maya bars was wonderful....if you bothered to go beyond the first bar!
It didn't take me long to work out that going to the stern of the ship in the Maya bar was the best thing to do. Simply because the vast majority of the passengers went to the first buffet service in view and milled around like sheep trying to find a table.
The choice of food was very good indeed. If you can't find something to your taste, then I'm not sure what you are looking for....
The food was ALWAYS hot and the staff refreshed empty spaces regularly.
I have read that the staff are rude.....sorry, but that title goes directly to the passengers!
Yes....we paid good money, but that does not excuse, what was nothing short of complete disregard for anyone other than themselves.
The evening sittings for the main meal were wonderful. The staff were friendly and efficient. Our 'waiter' Waldemar from Brazil was a joy! Always happy and willing to join in with any joking....thank you so much Waldemar! Enjoy your Xmas back home in Brazil!
The food was exceptional as was the choices. The theme nights were fun...if you bothered to join in! It didn't matter if you didn't, but I certainly enjoyed partaking.
In another review, someone mentioned the 'Allegrisimo' drinks package. We signed up for this during the embarkation procedure (which was fine!....look, you aren't just going to walk onto the ship straight away!). It costs 23 Euro per person per day. GET ONE!!!.....it is WELL worth it!
The bar staff were wonderful too (Thank you to Zhadko and her fellow bar staff friend in the Green Sax Bar (whose name I sadly can't remember! for the marvellous humour and superb Martini Classics.....)
They were courteous and smiling and above all....made wonderful cocktails!
I did not bother with the entertainment, but our friends went along to one in the main theatre and loved it.
The itinerary was great. If I did the cruise again, I might stay on board at Izmir. I found it to be just a city, but that may just be because we missed out on it's jewels.
Bari was a lovely place.
Katakolo was a quaint little Greek village, but a lovely experience.
Istanbul is magical!! The Blue Mosque and the Sophia Mosque a must visit! The Gran Bazarre is too much though! Far too big and I soon got sick of being bothered by vendors.
Dubrovnik is beautiful (or at least the old city is). I will certainly be visiting again!
In short.....please dismiss the negative comments!
The ship and crew are wonderful.
99.9 out of 100.
The .1 that is missing?......the charge for using WiFi is truly extortionate!.....and when you are in the middle of the Agean etc you can forget 3G!