After a hectic four days in Rome, we get to the port. Now, as far as my experience with embarkation goes, this was absolutely the best ever. We were done in five minutes from arriving at the port to getting on the ship and all that entails.
Our "little group" met up at the Sunset Bar for sail-away and that is where I met Octavius. This little guy was like my personal waiter for the entire cruise. He took great care of us and new what we drank and was on the spot for our drinks.
Maria, the bartender, also did a great job.
The deli: What can I say? Every day I had two or three awesome deli sandwiches. All three cooks took great care of us.
My wife enjoyed the Tandori Bar several times on the cruise and the food was well presented and very tasty.
Our bags arrived at a reasonable time and the "muster" went easier than any I've ever seen.
All of the public areas were spotless and everything was clean as could be and people were cleaning all over the ship every day.
Now, this is a suggestion: They need someone in each eating area to tell people to use the hand sanitizer. Every other ship I've ever been on this is customary. Without someone to ride herd on people, they don't use the sanitizers. Now, you may think this is petty. However, hundreds of people on the cruise got sick. I'm not talking Noro Virus. I'm talking about colds and flu. A lot of it could have been prevented with the use of the sanitizers. I used them religiously.
Now, let's talk restaurants: First would be the buffet on the Lido deck. Okay. I always expect cafeteria level food on a ship. Why? Because they are feeding five thousand people a day three or more meals a day. Hard to have gourmet food at every meal. So now you know the base. Back to the Lido Buffet, the food was well presented and appetizing. The brownies were awesome. The omelette bar was my favorite and the omelette cooks were a pleasure to watch in action. There was a good variety of well presented fresh food at the Lido Buffet.
Since I chose anytime dining we were assigned to the Crimson Restaurant. The team, for lack of a better word, made a good effort, but the cohesiveness just wasn't there. I think this is an area that needs some help and I think in time, it will be fine. The food was "no great shakes". It wasn't bad. It was cooked as ordered, but it wasn't anything special. I found this to be somewhat true in the other dining room as well. There is nothing major wrong, just the little things that come in time. Example: People would arrive at one table and ten minutes later a second table comes in. The bad part comes when the people at the second table finish their meal and the first table hasn't received the main portion of their meal yet. It is just a lack of cohesion and a lack of order. The food good have been better, but it was not bad.
Pizza Parlor: For a quick slice of pizza comparable to say Domino's, the pizza parlor did it's job. Only downside was the Caesar Salad had been sitting around too long a dressing used way too much anchovy. And I like anchovy.
Hamburger and hot dog joint: Hey for a light snack, this was hard to beat. Quick burger, some fries or nachos or chips, it can't be beat. The food is what it is. It was well presented and very efficient.
Pasta Bar: Well, it was okay, but that lack of cohesion showed up as people were being served way out of order and the basic concept needs some work. The food was quite good and worth the wait.
Chef's Art: Okay. Here's the one where they charge you to eat a fancy meal. The service was as a team. This time, they seemed to work a little better together. The food was cooked to order and was quite good. Was it worth the money? If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or a survival anniversary, then I would say yes. If you wanted to do it one time to try it, sure. Why not? I enjoyed my fillet mignon, but I would have been just as happy with a Reuban Sandwich. It met my expectations.
Next would be the public areas. I thought they did a nice job setting these up. There are activities all over the ship for just about anyone. The ship is clean. It really is a beautiful ship.
The shops are what they are. They are just about like every other cruise ship you go on. They have a liquor store and gift shop and jewelry (expensive) and then they have the ten dollar watches. Hey, you're on vacation and need a watch, the ten dollar one works as well and looks as good as the three hundred dollar watch.
The have some candy and camera parts etc.
The room stewards that I had were Jaime and Hazel. They did a great job on our cabin. They kept it clean and well stocked.