After reading some negative reviews of this ship and the cruise line we were a little concerned - but need not have worried.
We sailed from Venice Oct 2010 to Bari, Katakalon, Izmir, Istanbul, Dubrovnik & returned to Venice.
Embarking was quite easy and the usual 30-40 minute wait after checking in until you are on board - but we could go straight to our cabin and then buffet lunch with a glass of reasonably priced wine with views of Venice.
The ship is quite large but very smart and stylish art deco design, yet some cosy areas with cabins very comfortable - the design was very impressive.
Food is good and tends to be slightly better at lunch (which is worth staying on ship for) with the evening food good, but not fantastic. Buffet self service is good and it's here you can get filtered water to drink free from the machines (not available in the dining rooms with waiter service or in the gym!). We ate mostly in the waiter dining on second sitting (which was a little late). The evening food was themed around Italian regions. There was an excellent selection of interesting Italian Wines.
You have to pay for ALL drinks on board but not too expensive and they do house wines by carafes if you check the rear of the wine menu.
A lovely feature was the live music/quartets in the open foyer near the restaurants where you can order an aperitif with complementary nibbles prior to dinner.
Facilities good and not a problem finding a sun bed.The sun beds were really well designed with an adjustable head shade.
As an Italian ship the first announcement (there aren't too many) is in Italian then then the other main languages. The Italians are usually polite and patient but can occasionally jump the queue (there weren't many) but they are never rude. There were all ages on the ship and there was an uplifting atmosphere without the dominance of moaning mid range tabloid reading British People.
Tipping - you pay a tip/charge on ALL bar drinks and you will be charged 7 euros per person per day also - but if you ask the cruise director nicely - they'll reduce this as you are not supposed to tip your cabin person or other staff (but we did).
We thoroughly enjoyed this ship and we are booked on MSC (different ship) early next year.
If you want an all English speaking ship this is not for you but if you want a Mediterranean experience with nice food and a relaxing time (with enough to do if you want to) this is for you.