Having read many of the reviews just before we left, I was beginning to wish we'd saved our money, and even feeling apprehensive about the cruise. We're a couple in our sixties and we were travelling with our son, daughter and partner,who are in their thirties. I was quite anxious about the embarkation in Venice, not fancying trundling a heavy suitcase around a hot, crowded tourist hot-spot, but in fact, having done our homework regarding the hotel and parking for the week, we managed to embark on Sunday morning around 11.30 with no trouble at all.We didn't buy any drinks packs in advance, preferring to pay as we went along.
Our cabin was great, reasonably spacious and clean, but we all agreed we were glad to have upgraded to a cabin with a balcony, as we had somewhere quiet and private to sit and read in the sun and fresh air. The younger ones spent time sunbathing on the top deck but that was too hot and noisy for us oldies.
The ship itself was spotlessly clean and luxurious in decor, with many different lounges.The food was excellent and plentiful and we always managed to find somewhere to sit in the buffet restaurant.The evening meal was a pleasure with far too many courses and excellent service.
We didn't book any excursions but we did avail ourselves of the buses into the town centres.Our favourites were Mykonos, Corfu and Dubrovnik, although my daughter reckoned her favourite experience was the donkey ride up to Santorini.Glad I missed that one!
She also availed herself of the gym every day being quite a fitness fanatic, and was pleased with the facilities.
Three of us had massages in the beauty parlour, which were very pleasant, but expensive. We were annoyed to discover that these were being offered at half price on the Thursday!
We found the staff extremely pleasant and helpful. They all seemed to speak English, but we were fortunate that my daughter spoke Spanish as many of them came from South America.
I'd guess that most of the passengers were Italian, with few Brits or Americans. A lot of family groups, ranging from babies to teenagers, were on board and I found their behaviour much more polite than I'd expect from British youngsters.It's also pleasant to hear Italian being spoken rather than English.
We found the organisation excellent, whether embarking/disembarking, catching shuttle buses, doing firedrills.
As this was our first cruise, it's hard to know what else people would expect: for us, it was fantastic. Our son had done one previously in the Western Med with P&O which he enjoyed but thought this one was better.We all had a great time and would recommend it without hesitation.