For a special birthday pressie,my daughter asked for a holiday, but where do you take a club loving, lively young woman who is easily bored, with the biggest criteria not to be bored yourself or more importantly an embarressment to her. A cruise seemed the best option and so it proved to be. the cabin was bigger that some hotel rooms that she had stayed in and the ship was impressive in its public areas, full of gilt and chandaliers. first impressions count. the food was plentiful and of a high standard catering for even my daughters often bland taste. the fact that she could reorder in the restaurant or go to the buffet and eat something else led her to be quite adventruous and try something new everyday. The windjammer buffet restaurant was always busy and this could lead to problems in getting somewhere to sit. on one occassion my breakfast was cold by the time i could sit somewhere. We went my time dining which meant we were not tied to specific mealtimes but again this meant yu either had to reserve a table the day before hand or queue while waiting for a table to be free. however this was never longer than 20 minutes. the staff weere always friendly and reasonable attentive. being my time meant we never saw the same table waiting staff, so as you prepay the tips, i felt no obligation to add xtra.
the entertainment on the ship was wide and varied. two swimming and sunbathing areas (one for over 16s only) and we had no problems getting sunbeds. bars for all moods, shows games sports tournaments and quizzes. we paid extra for the murder mystery night which was great fun. this involved a small amount of audience participation but was very successful in meeting other passengers on the ship and making friendships. you also get to eat in one of the upgraded restaurants that normally charge you extra ($20 a person) but the food is really good and the wine flowed. (a major bonus given the price of alcohol on the ship) the mystery itself is rather silly but done with great gusto and fun and large amounts of ham acting. (by the way we did guess the correct murderer - always follow the money!!!) I have a feeling that the enjoyment of the evening was greatly enhanced by the really lovely people on our table.
late night entertainment also included a large casino with craps, roulette poker, blackjack and slot machines which ranged in price from 5 cents upwards. we made great use of the nightclub - The Dungeon- which played all sorts of music, though my daughter assured me she was the only one dancing to Dizzy Rascal as the americans don't yet know him.
we used the boat for 2 tours. one in Genoa of the aquarium (much better than i anticipated) and city. you could do the aquarium yourself for much less money and the city is small enough to walk around with reasonable confidence though of course you may nt know what you are looking at. at we did a segway tour of Palma. really you are just whizzing around and dont really have chance to see much and the guides did not seem to know anything of the history of their city. again quite expensive.
The biggest compolaint of the cruise would be the extortionate prices of alcohol. the cheapest glass of white wine was $9 a glass and spirit measures started at $6.50 without mixer. We did the soda fountain package (unlimited amounts of coke cola and sprite in both full fat and diet varieties. however quite often they were weak and flat. The other problem is that if yu go ashoure and buy alcolhol you can not bring it aboard to drink. it is confiscated until the end of the voyage. only they're alcohol can be consumed on the ship.But despite all this if you are not a major drinker this should not be a deterrent.
On the whole I would have no hestitation in recommending this ship and cruising to any person trying to marry up the diverse needs of a group, family or even couple. food caters to most tastes and indeed dietary needs (cealiacs, vegatarians, diabetics etc), entertainment can be noisy or quiet, and you choose the level of participation. tours can be taken privately or in organised groups. the gym was large and well stocked with different equipment and there was also a rock climbing wall, a running track ice skating rink and sports courts for basketball etc. we did not use the childrens clubs but the kids around looked happy and busy and rarely impinged upon our radar. always a sign of contentedness! the ship was kept scruppilously clean and our cabin steward was a treasure. (despite tips being prepaid we were happy to add a little extra) . My daughter reckoned it was the best holiday she had ever had and I guess i cant ask for more than that.