After having read hundreds of great reports during the last years I decided that it is time to contribute to this great community, even if English is not my mother tongue and mistakes will be a constant feature of this and future reports. We (my wife and I) are a couple in our 30s, usually traveling with our 14 years old daughter and my parents (in their 70s). After having sailed NCL, Celebrity and RCCL we wanted to give a try to one of the Italian players on the market. Mid April we stumbled across a 7 night trip to the Western Mediterranean for an amazing price and booked spontaneously a Suite for 3. As we were not sure about the atmosphere on board and the quality of service we might expect for such small money we decided to let my parents at home, which turned out to be a wise decision.
To be on the safe side we decided to fly in one day before the cruise and have an overnight stay in Milano.After arrival at Milano Malpensa airport we took the public shuttle bus, which brought us for 5 Euros per person within 20 minutes to the main railway station of the city. There we had booked a room at the Splendido hotel, which is just a stone throw away from the railway station. After a good night sleep we took the next morning the train to Genoa.
We arrived at Genoa around 11.00 am and experienced a very well organized embarkation procedure. On the ship we were accompanied to our cabin by a friendly crew member. A promising start! The cabin was very nice, well maintained and with plenty of space for all the useless stuff, which my wife and my daughter usually take with them. Nice and fairly new furniture on the balcony made the good first impression complete. Things started going downhill with the first dinner. We asked for the second seating but received the first one. The table assigned to us was occupied by other people as one of the waiters guided them to the wrong place. After short discussions we sat down and were waiting for the waiter in charge. 15 minutes later I decided to ask the Maitre d' for help. In a very unfriendly way he told me that he will find a waiter for us. A couple of minutes later our waiter showed up- happily using a chewing gum and without any English. The absence of a common language did not hamper only the ordering process but made it also impossible to ask for some explanations or recommendations with regard to the food. Later I heard from people who spoke some Spanish that also a common language was not too helpful as many waiters were simply clueless about food.
The food itself was nothing to write home about, but at least in the main dining room ok. Prices for beverages were modest and selection good. Selection and food in the buffet restaurant was mediocre and the buffet restaurant itself far too small for the number of passengers. Just the pizza was like it should be on an Italian ship: great! Please note that there is no alternative dining at all and the very limited cabin service offers just a few sandwiches, which have to be paid additionally. I definitely recommend the warm croissants which are offered during morning hours in the coffee shop on deck 6.
The pool is refilled every morning. As the weather was not too good and sea temperature was quite low it was hardly possible to use the pool. The 2 jacuzzis were always occupied by dozens of children between the age of 3 and 17. Relaxation impossible. No inside pool or Jacuzzi and only a mixed sauna put additional limits to our options. The climbing wall was out of order during the whole trip; reception was not able or willing to give any explanation. Activities during the day were very limited and not to be compared with what we have experienced on the other ships. Our daughter enjoyed the shows in the evening. I only saw one and did not feel any desire to see a second.
All in all an experience which had not much to do with cruising but more with a low budget resort/club vacation. As we paid only 30 % of the brochure rate we were still more or less happy to get for 1 week away from work and home and to see exciting ports.