This review contains three parts, Hotel stay prior to cruise, cruise about ship, "tours on our own".
Prior 2 nights @ Hotel Aventino, Rome. Although this small hotel may seem out of the way, its pleasures out-weighted "being where its at". The arrival was greeted w/ juice and heated Danish, and @ a rate of 120 euro's per night the added costs of a cab to take you where you needed to be was still a bargain. A beautiful courtyard breakfast and a nice roof top terrace to enjoy our evening weather, (bring your own wine/drinks). Starting from around the corner to view "thru the keyhole" vision of the Vatican down the hill to Orange Park and the city landscape, to the Rose Garden and finally to Circus Maximus. All of Rome was available to us including the Metro, from the Vatican to the Spanish Steps (1 euro) we utilized many of the guide books walks and enjoyed our stay. Vatican tour and transportation to and from the Equinox by "All Around Italy."
Embarkation was a little slow but the room was available immediately.
The Buffet area is impressive, stations for Hot, Cold, Salads, Breads and Special order Grill with no lines, never more than three deep for Breakfast or Lunch, plenty of seating, the one exception was the drink area, the floors were always slippery and wet. The food was exceptional, we felt it was better then the Main Dinning Room
Main Dinning room, the impression of the wording on the menu did not live up to the actual plate, the table ordered more from the classic every night side then the changing menu, we did have a problem on the 3nd night with our table of 6 @ the late seating the main course was not served until after 10:45, the waiter was not there the 4rd night. A bottle of expensive wine accompanied the meal and helped calm our nerves except! The group of 6 as we are now known had a problem @ Tuscan Grill on the 2nd night, we ordered the Fried Calamari for 3 and 1 Steak Tartar, both did not live up to expectations, the salad course was requested for 4 and was very good. Now the problem, we started @ 8:30 and @ 10:30 we still did not receive our main course, 5 veal chops and one veal parm. The need to find the M'tra D and advise him of our problem resulted in 1 Chop as raw as I've every seen and the Parm was broiled at least twice, we paid for the 2 bottles of wine and left, they did rescind the prepaid meal. The other specialty restaurants were fine, especially the Murano
The cabin is very nice and well attended by the staff, the use of the "over the door shoe bag" made famous by CC helped as all the drawers are not large, the use of the over the bed closet made you climb on the bed for its use. Please be advised, we optioned for the 6th floor balcony w/obstruction, because of the price and the notation that the view is obstructed only looking down, wrong!, just sit in your chair and try to see the water, the only thing you see is the life boat top, you have to stand up to see the water.
The entertainment by the staff is great, by the "name entertainers" fair.
Naples, guide by AP tours, did Pompeii w/ guide, great, then Postitano, which I would now miss as it is too traffic congested and too many people, we were advised that Revello was too far, it was a shame as we were there before, a great little town w great gardens and views, then on to Sorrento our driver sent us to a wonderful Pizza restaurant, and a little shopping and then to the ferry back to Naples and the ship, a wonderful day , but needed more time.
Israel, our guide was on time efficient and cooperative, the problem was a Jewish holiday and the Old city was packed, we did not over night and now believe it was a mistake.
Egypt, Ramses Tours, very efficient toured Alexandria ½ day, would skip that, real 3rd world, next day Cairo and the Pyramids' , a long 2+ hours drive each way but worth it, be advised we meet many who over nighted and would not do it again, although they got the light show.,
Athens, we tried the public transportation and it was great, bus to train 1euro. Acropolis long and hard trip up the hill be advised that it was mobbed, we were the 2nd ship there and there must have been 4000 people there. Nice lunch at an outdoor restaurant and some shopping back to ship via the 1 euro transportation.
Corfu, been there done that.
Messina, Sunday the town was locked up tight, hired a cab that took 8 people @ 240 euro and went to Taormina, touristy but fun.
A beautiful ship, many nice people great Breakfast & Lunch, most drinks not outrages, Dinner must go Murano, enjoy.