This was our very 1st cruise and we didn't really know what to expect. Other guests we spoke to on board seemed really surprised that it was our 1st time: it would seem that once you've got the bug you become addicted, and I can really see why ! I went with a friend who I don't see very often. We are both in our 50's. We chose this cruise because of the small size of the ship and the long time in ports of call: we wanted to have enough time to discover the places and not be in a great rush. The cruise was really great for that and we never felt frustrated at having to get back, especially as we booked 1 extra night in hotels in Athens and Istanbul at start and end of cruise. One complete day at sea was a nice experience though we wouldn't have wanted more ... despite it being so great on the ship, my idea of a cruise is to discover the destinations. The ports of call were mostly fascinating: I found Nauplion slightly disappointing and Bodrum not quite so interesting, but Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos. Ephesus and Istanbul were all brilliant places to visit, We hired a car in Santorini which was such a perfect day, did private taxi tours in Athens, Ephesus and Istanbul, caught local buses in Mykonos, and just walked around Rhodes with a map in hand.
The size of the ship was perfect. As there were "only" about 500 guests we never had problems of queues for anything. The staff were ALL wonderful, from the cheerful and enthusiastic captain to the lowliest of the cleaning staff, and certainly not forgetting the restaurant and entertainment personnel: friendly faces everywhere, always helpful but never obsequious. I cannot understand why some reviews slate the food. We found it extremely good in both the Discoveries restaurant, where we hardly ever got to try the basic menu as the days specials were always so inviting, and the Windows café (buffet) where we often went in order to to eat outside. The service was so good, with explanations where asked for and wine and water topped up constantly.
We had a veranda stateroom, which was comfortable. We didn't feel squashed although it wasn't huge. We got to the chance to look around the other types of stateroom, and although the suites were a dream, I think our choice was the good balance of value for money: even though we spend little time on the veranda it was really nice having it. I think the only slightly disappointing thing on the ship was the pool which was really small. The other guests all seemed to be from English-speaking countries, I think mostly Americans, though also a fair number of British and Australians and smaller numbers from other places. Ages varied, but mostly adults. Few children and adolescents despite being in holiday time, and I don't think it would be much fun for them unless they were happy to spend all their time with parents etc. Most people were couples: a woman accompanied by her 3 children mentioned she felt rather "different" from everyone else. We didn't see much of the entertainment: having been out all day, after a leisurely evening meal, we just wanted to chill out in the evening, but I gather the quality was good. We did see the show with singer Helen Jayne who was excellent, and also enjoyed the 2 folklore evenings once Greek and once Turkish, with dancing & singing.
I would certainly not hesitate to recommend this cruise and have excellent memories and hundreds of photos to remind me !