I had my purse stolen on the short train journey from the airport. I could not praise the port staff highly enough for their help and lending me a phone so that I could cancel the cards. Thankfully I only lost a small amount of cash and not my passports which were beside the purse. It was my fault for not being careful enough...
Anyway we got over that crisis and got into our stateroom. This was our first cruise without our kids - how big the stateroom feels with only 2 in it!! We had a promenade view. It was very airy but we were right above the English bar and the noise when there was entertainment was annoying.
I had wondered how an internal would work out and if it would seem claustrophobic. Of course having your own balcony is fantastic - but given the difference in price I would not hesitate in getting an internal again.
The first thing I did was go an see the head waiter to change our dining reservation. We had first seating which is far too early for us. No problem changing and by the second night we were put on a table of couples of a similar age to us. They were all good company.
Malaga is a new port. The ship has attracted a high number of first time cruisers. We heard a few grumbles from other passengers but we were quite satisfied. Yes the Windjammer was jam packed if you went for lunch after 1.15 pm. The pool was not big enough to swim if you went in between 9 am and 9 pm. The ship is big and it was full!!
Possibly my biggest gripe was that there was a pool party on the same night as the second formal night. The suggested attire was white - I had nothing white to wear - and I was already dressed up, why would I change at that point? The party was crowded though, so I accept that I was in the minority.
We did not use the entertainment much, but there was plenty - I went to one show and the Ice Show and they were good - we never seemed to have time as we were just finishing our meal at 11.15, other table mates rushed off a couple of times but we were still talking. I went to a film which was a good way to spend an afternoon at sea and stay cool. If I had been bored there would have been a lot more to do. The point of my holiday was to relax so I didn't get around to it.
The ports were fairly low key - apart from Rome which is wonderful (we caught a local train in from Civitavecchia station), but they were all worth a wander around followed by a short dip in the sea. I could not have been able to join in a 'tour' - it was much too hot to stand around and listen to someone tell me about the birth of Napoleon or the Corsican fight for independence followed by a recommendation for which shop to visit.
The food all tasted good, but the cost of food has been lowered compared to our 2 previous cruises. The midnight buffet was nothing compared to last time. There were no lobsters or big steaks. I have still eaten too much. I never used the lift in an effort to keep fit - but have all my clothes suddenly shrunk ???
We used the bars on the Royal Promenade and the Cafe for late night cups of tea. They were never overcrowded - maybe because so many of the passengers were children. The drinks are not cheap but really our bill at the end of the week was not excessive. It would have been nice to have a big win in the casino to cover the bill, but I think that the machines were doing the most winning.
We then went downhill and walked round the bay to the left and found the first beaach. Not brilliant but a chance to swim.
We could see the ship and walked back. We enjoy walking so although it took just over an hour it was manageable. We could have found the bus if we had wanted.
There was an open top HOHO bus which was being well used. There were about 4 ships in port at the time. The bus took you up to the castle which looked nice simply for the views it offered.
As we left the ship there were tours on an open top bus - a friend used this and got to see the flamingoes which they enjoyed. There was a bus offering a trip to Poetta beach which would have been a good trip for families. They were charging 10 euro but I know that the local bus was much cheaper if you were willing to walk to find it - the ARST bus station was in view from the ship.