Staff: We found the staff very friendly and helpful. The only exception was trying to get info on doing things on your own and the overall lack of knowledge of Cartagena.
Food: Food was excellent, but lobster is no longer served on this cruise. Large prawns are served instead, and they did not meet the quality of the other meals we enjoyed.
Activities: There were plenty of activities available. We enjoyed the Trivia, Name that Tune, and other such choices. Rock climbing is available on this ship and was very popular.
Cabin: Our cabin had a full picture window on deck 3 (class H), centrally located. It was well maintained, but amenities are few. The TV is old, with few stations and limited American news and sports. There is also no daily newspaper on this ship to help keep you current with the world activities.
Entertainment: The shows were all very well done. There was a magician/comedian that we found to be especially funny because he was so different from other acts we had seen. The Beatles Impersonation act was also terrific.
Excursions - We did not use any ship excursions, preferring to do our own planning and adventures. See our port reviews for our activities. I was disappointed that the ship had little info on Cartagena.
Disembarkation Day - Venice 9/24 - The disembarkation process went well. We were off the ship by 9 AM and spent an overnight in Venice and left the next day.
Overall: We had a great cruise with a terrific itinerary. The ship is getting old and needs to be refurbished. The cabins need updating with more modern TV's, expanded stations, and other upgrades. I would still take this ship again, because the staff were great and the ports were wonderful.
Malaga, Spain - Saturday - 9/18
Our ship docked far from town, but they provided a free shuttle to the cruise terminal, where you could pick up a shuttle to town for $6/$12 roundtrip, or walk the mile. It was a beautiful, warm day so we walked. The town is very interesting and was busy. There is also a beach near the port entrance. A Hop-On-Hop-Off bus is available for 15 euros. You can walk to most of the sites that we visited (The Malaga Cathedral, Alcazaba and Roman Theatre, Picasso' Birthplace, Picasso Museum, bullring, etc.). If you choose to visit Castle Gibraltar (great views and pictures from here), take Bus 35 (1.1 euros each way). You get the bus on Alameda Principal almost opposite City Hall. The Castle is a steep, long climb, and the euro's were well spent taking the bus. There is an internet cafe opposite Picasso's Birthplace that only cost 2 euro's per hour. As you walk the city, there are plenty of small stores and restaurants to have something to drink or eat.
Cartagena, Spain - Sunday - 9/19
This was first time this ship and crew visited this port. Neither the Cruise Director or his staff had much information about the port. Since it was also Sunday, we were warned that many places could be closed. To our surprise, the town had started a 9 day celebration on Sept. 17th (the Romans versus Carthaginians Festival). People were dressed in costumes appropriate to both groups and there was music, dancing, fireworks, etc. to entertain everyone. We visited the Roman Theatre, Church of El Carmen, ruins and Carlos III Rampart near the Interpretation Center, and other nearby sights. There really is not much to do in this town, but we enjoyed seeing the people (who were very friendly) dressed in costume and we had some terrific sangria. If we stopped here again, I would probably look for a beach or something outside the city. Below, is the link to the town's brochure.
Brugge was a wonderful city. Many beautiful sights, churches, and lots of great beer and chocolate. There are many internet walking tours, etc. that you can research. We did our own plan and started at Minnewater Park, then the Beguinage, St. Salvador, Church of Our Lady, Grote Market and Belfry, and the Chapel of the Holy Blood. Make sure you check your times. The Chapel was closed between 12 and 2 PM. We stopped and had a beer at Bierbrasserie Cambrinus and bought chocolate at the Chocolate Line store. We did not have enough time to take the Brewery Tour at De Halve Maan Brewery. Hope to get back to Brugge again.