This was our 1st Cruise chosen for the ports of call-Puglia,Greece,Turkey (Istanbul) and ending in Dubrovnik Croatia.The cabin was 5 star with kingsize bed,balcony and good bathroom.The public areas are spectacular-all glitzy and shiny-the ship is only 1 year into service.We found the staff to be polite,multilinqual and well trained.The meals were Ok -nothing special and we included the basic drinks package which is really good value.We found the crowds too noisy -the buffet could be a nightmare at peak times,so we soon learned to avoid the buffet where possible and eat all meals in the two main restaurants,thus meeting some nice people-much more sociable.The are bars,dancing and a theatre show each night.The show is quite professional but much the same each time.
Smoking is allowed in the Casino and in open spaces-this is not unusual in European countries.We enjoyed our time on shore but must complain that as we were 2 hours late leaving Venice due to late arrivals the first shore trip in Barri to the Trulli houses that we had pre booked was cut short and we had paid 100 euros for less than one hour off the bus.Not happy -so after that experience we did our own trips ashore which was very easy with a little research.At each port there are taxis,buses etc to hire.In Istanbul we used the tram which glided past all the traffic jams.At Dubrovnik we arrived near midday and the whole of the passengers ,either on guided tours or self guided tried to leave at the same time -it was horrendous- with pushing and shoving in the heat-you will realise that the ship carries 3500 to 4000 people and t is impossible to have that many people all wanting to go ashore in the 4-5 hours allowed.
Overall we enjoyed most of the cruise-you must realise that they have to cater for all tastes and age groups-there were lots of children,teens,young adults and older clients as well so if you want a quite cruise this will not be for you.So many people confined even in such a large ship will annoy.We soon learned to cherry pick the areas we knew we would enjoy and then avoid the noisy buffet and pool areas.
The animation team have to try and entertain the younger element with loud music and jumping about so if this is your sort of thing go for it.We would probably cruise again but not on such a large vessel and not so young family orientated.
The sea was flat calm and no sea sickness-sleep quality was excellent-enjoyed sitting on our balcony watching the coast line etc.
This cruise would more suit the younger generation.