The check-in went well (we later heard that P & O Staf were hired in for this) and then it was downhil from then on. The 'bon voyage' bubbly & canapes that were supposed to be in our balcony cabin did not arrive until after dinner - we ended up throwing them away as we did not want them after dinner or for breakfast! The cabin was disappointing as it was about the size of a standard cabin with just the balcony as extra. This was the first time that we had a balcony stateroom and I am sure that they are a bit more special on other lines.Small touches like toiletry gift sets and even a good night chocolate on the pillow were all missing, in fact this ship was more like a ferry; picking up and dropping off at each port of call. The time allowed ashore was minimal with only 3-4 hours before sailing.
The food quality was poor and bland. I was actually sick after a dinner of lamb cutlets that were more fat than meat. Drink prices were extortionate with an extra 15% service charge added on top even if it was a soft drink. Excursion prices were also high considering how little time you were actually away from the ship. This ship also adds a whopping 7euros per person per night in gratuities which would add approx £150 to the cruise which was not worth it. The 'animation team' were very juvenile and the evening shows were only half an hour long - even the preceding bingo was slightly longer! We were told to vacate our cabins at 7 am on the last morning even though the ship did not dock in Venice until 9 am. After breakfast it was difficult to find a toilet that you could use before disembarking and when we found one it had no toilet paper or paper hand towels - not very hygienic at all!
The flight time back to London was 23.10 which meant having to take yet another expensive excursion and sitting for hours in the airport. Bearing in mind that I booked this cruise some 18 months prior to departure, I would have thought that I would have got a better flight time than someone who I met that had only booked four months beforehand. The ship itself was beautiful with its Art Deco decor, but that doesn't make up for the disappointment.