We sailed on the 12 day Eastern Med cruise in April from Barcelona return and loved every minute of it. We were celebrating a major anniversary and hoping for something special and it didn't disappoint.
We stayed 4 nights prior in Barcelona at the Regina which is a modern hotel centrally located near Las Ramblas and Placa de la Catalunya. It had everything we needed - a restaurant, bar, and free internet. Staff all spoke English and were very helpful. Barcelona is a great city and you will need at least 3 days to do it justice. We also went to the big soccer game before the cruise but I had my pocket picked on the crowded Metro - be careful with valuables in Barcelona.
Embarkation was smooth and stress free. We took a taxi from the hotel and they dropped us off literally at the gangway to the ship. Once on the Jade we chilled out and explored - there seemed to be special offers for stuff like the gym if you signed on early. It's a good time to see what the ship has to offer.
Overall, the food and service were very good. The ship was spotless but as other critics have commented the decor was over the top but we stopped caring after a while. Our room was small but comfortable and since we had a balcony we didn't feel too cramped and the views were magnificent.
We didn't participate in many activities - it seemed you had to pay for most things even bingo. We played cards with a regular group and had fun that way. My husband was a bit more adventurous and left half our savings at the casino (just kidding).
We avoided the ship's own shore excursions which we considered pricey and instead took advice from the cruise critic forums which worked out well.
We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants - maybe if we were on a longer cruise we might but it didn't seem right that we had to pay extra and other passengers didn't seem to rate them very highly except maybe Le Bistro. On sea days we did appreciate the Margarita happy hour after two hours of hectic card play.
I was disappointed that most of the entertainment shows I wanted to see began at 9.30pm which is a little late for this duck. But then they replayed some of the shows on the tv and I don't think I missed much.
Since we were visiting some of the world's great cities and most famous archaeological sites I rather expected that the ship would have some expert presentations from highly qualified lecturers. However they were very amateurish.
Disembarkation was smooth but we would have liked a little more time on the ship as we had another night in Barcelona before flying out; 9.45am seemed a bit early for last call to disembark.
Overall we had a fantastic time and it's a great way to see 5 countries stress free. We chose this itinerary as it allowed for relaxing sea days between most of the ports and usually a full day or two at each port. By the end of the cruise my husband was ready to get off but I would have loved to have stayed on for another adventure.