We were booked for the Taste of Health, Holistic Holiday at Sea which is a vegan/sugar free group. My husband and I are vegetarians and thought that being with this group would be a great experience. Here we were wrong. The food with this group was not what we had expected and there we were sadly disappointed. (they served miso soup for breakfast, seriously)
Once we realized that we could order from the regular menu we were quite happy with the food. The service was great. The waiters work very hard to ensure that you are happy and are ready to entertain you. Italian night was great fun in the dining room with the staff performing during dessert. Toga night was a blast. My husband had a costume toga and I used a bedsheet which was left for us in the room with an instruction sheet.
Our cabin was comfortable and always neat and clean. Our cabin steward, "Gusti" was very nice and polite. All of the crew that we encountered were polite and ready with a smile. No towel animals, but Gusti made us welcome with chocolates one night, cookies another night, etc.
We had read some reviews that said the ship was not easy to get around and we didn't find that it was difficult at all. Ship maps were all over the place, including right outside our room door. Just pick where you need to go and go straight to that elevator bank from your cabin deck. The only decks that you can't go all the way through are 3 & 4. Just go up or down a deck and walk straight through. When in doubt, check the map.
Going to port was always pretty simple as we didn't go during the rush. One tip is to go to the Rex Theater where they sell bottle water to take ashore for $2.00. We also grabbed some fruit from the buffet to take ashore so we wouldn't have to spend money for food. (We saw some clever ladies making sandwiches from the breads, cheeses and deli slices from the buffet before wrapping them in napkins and shoving them into their bags. Great idea, next cruise I go on I will have an insulated lunch bag packed with me for situations just like this. why pay for food ashore when you've paid for food already onboard ship)
The only complaint I had about this entire cruise was being an American on a ship full of Europeans. The announcements were in 5 languages, Italian and English were usually first. It seemed as if Europeans have no concept of personal space so expect people to bump into you or just shove their way through the buffet without the slightest "excuse me". While some of the Europeans were delightful, most of them were rude, pushy and selfish.
(I had this wonderful woman from Ohio, see me in distress over the rudeness and she just made life better with her kindness...thank you. You brought a smile to my face every time I saw you and I can't thank you enough)
On the days at sea, get up early and find a chair in the sun. If you wait until 10am to go looking for a chair, you'll be out of luck as people go up to the sun deck and save chairs for the rest of the family. We found tons of chairs that just had a spread towel and not one person near it, but if you try to sit down, you'll get yelled at in italian by the people holding the chairs. This was frustrating and made us VERY thankful to have our private balcony to enjoy the sun and surf and relax.
Just a note about the balcony doors. Our balcony door didn't seem to close securely unless you slammed it and locked it. Sometimes this made the wind whistle through the door, which can hinder sleeping. (I wear earplugs anyway, so I wasn't bothered in the least) Overall, having the balcony was worth a little whistle every now and then.
Overall we had a great time. The ports were wonderful and we had a lovely anniversary cruise.