This was the most special trip imaginable. Most of us had cruised before (14) and we were all overwhelmed with the ship, the ports, the food, and the service. Our staff throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was delicious, plentiful, and their was variety at every meal. Dinner meals were high end featuring gourmet to comfort selections. The Italian restaurant was unique as we ate lunch there two days. We enjoyed our dinner staff so much, we did not want to leave our regular evening dining crew to go to the Italian restaurant or Steakhouse for dinner.
We could not select a favorite port as each stop offered its own special blend of local attractions and special moments. Our group booked private tours through local tour companies which was very affordable and we could personalize our tours.
Our staterooms featured US and Euro outlets, a safe, hair dryer, and an surprise supply of shampoo and body wash. Our group was located side by side and we were able to open our balcony doors for a nice three room open balcony space. The two rooms on the ends of our group were unable to open their balcony as they would be unable to exit their stateroom.
Our Cruise Director was none other than John Heald who was funny and informative throughout the 12 days. This was our third cruise with John and his evening show was the best evening entertainment to me.
We have typically cruised the Caribbean and this was a completely different experience. The amenities of this large, beautiful ship was impressive. There was something for every person, every age, every interest. A favorite happy hour spot for the adults was the Red Frog Pub. This was a new featured Caribbean-style pub. It seemed like just another place for beer, but RedFrog beer was featured along with the beer Tower. This was a fun location to hang out after a day's excursions and before getting ready for dinner or later for the guitar playing singer for late night entertainment.
If there was one thing I would recommend, it would be to have more washers/dryers. (Who does laundry on a cruise?) We did laundry onboard the ship, and so did many of the other 4100 passengers! There were about 12 washers and 24 dryers. Lines were long unless you wanted to do laundry early in the morning or stay onboard while others were in port.
I would recommend this cruise for families who want a nice sample of Europe (mostly Italy). What a perfect blend of luxury, variety, and economy.