on arriving at the port of rome, full of expectation and non-relaxed, we quickly and painlessly went through proceedures and were soon in our cabin on deck 8; opened the door and felt we were in such a small cabin for a cruise - it looks bigger from photos, but it was well equiped and smart with a good sized balcony. there was sparkling wine !! we were totally unprepared for what it was all about, poeple were everywhere. we didnt feel happy!
on arrival at the first evening dinner i had confrontation with the maitre d as we had asked to sit with other poeple (8) but were offered a table for 2 or possibly 4. i questioned him but he fobbed us off with "many poeple want to sit together"; it was take it or leave it - not a caring attitude towards first time cruisers! to add insult to injury, 2 nights later when we had gotten used to our very good waiters, we were asked to move to a worse table near the entrance for a group of 4 who wanted to sit together - i would not move!
at the captains cocktail party the "known croud" gathered in the centre of the room showing off, we were never spoken to, had our photo taken or made to feel welcomed. the english guests were so snotty generally and could be quite above themselves whereas the new zealanders, australians, canadians,some americans were more friendly. it was very pretentious for what it was. the staff were great, especially the waiters,sportspoeple,bar staff and stewards.
food was plenty and varied, the lido restuarant was good for self service but we went for luxury and the food in the huge brittania restaurant was good but nothing very special.
too often in the ports of call there was not the onshore time available to see enough especially istanbul, but it was nice. the entertainment was excellent and a good mix, victoriana night was fabulous - well done amanda! the trip was good and relaxing but it wasnt fabulous. on arrival at venice we were sent off the cruise ship 2 hours too early for our transport (no seating here) had to wait at airport from 10am to 4-50pm!!! overall the cruise was good ( with some notable exceptions ) tea and cakes in the Queens room each day was lovely - great service and delicious cakes. the most wonderfull arrival was into venice by the grand canal. the theatre is exceptional as were many of the shows, and the entertainers in the other areas were excellent if unthanked, as they were just "there". bathroom small but very adequate and nicely equiped with toiletries. we would have been much happier if there was more of a welcome for first time cruisers who dont know what to do or expect and a little less of a pecking order amongst guests!