Firstly I need to admit one thing. We only paid 199 each for a balcony cabin having come upon a real bargain five night cruise on the Internet, sailing from Barcelona, so I shouldn't really grumble about the less positive aspects of the cruise.
We joined the cruise in Barcelona, stopping at Tunis, Valletta, Messina and Rome before heading back to the start port of Genoa.
The ship is great - well designed and it has that touch of Italian class you would expect. Likewise the rooms are well laid out. The ship and rooms are kept immaculately clean, almost to the point of obsession, but overall we have nothing negative to say about the ship.
Despite what others have said, we found the staff to be friendly and helpful when you needed it and our cabin attendant and table staff in the restaurant always had a smile for us.
Excursions - we only went on one to Rome, and this was what you expected. I did think that they were rather expensive, especially as most of the ports were made for independent exploration.
Eating - I can't criticise the quality of the food, although as has been previously stated it could have been warmer.One negative is that in the buffet restaurant I could not figure out what the Head waiters did as the approach to finding a table was to walk around until you found one and the distance from some of the food areas was rather long. However tea and coffee was available all day if you wanted it, although it would be good if you could make it it in your room. Also thanks to the family from Wales who we were seated with. Made dinner time a real pleasant experience.
Entertainment - The shows put on in the Theater were very good if a little short, so that they could get a game of Bingo in between first and second sitting, and yes it was funny to here each number called in several languages. The entertainment in the bars was highly professional and we particulalrly enjoyed the Jazz Quartet in the Manhattan Lounge, although the performers did seem to be going through the motions and didn't really engage with their audiance
I agree with the other reviewer that it was difficult to get used to a smokey environment in some of the bars, and its become easy to forget what it used to be like in the UK before the ban.
Drinks - This is the biggest negative. As we are charged 7 Euro each per day for tips, I did think it a bit much to also have a 15% service charge for each drink bought. It makes it rather expensive, although we didn't let it prevent us from enjoying ourselves. I do think a complimentary bottle of water would also be good to be provided with.
Disembarkation - this is my one real area of complaint. In general it operated as you would expect. However, asking guests to vacate their rooms by 7.00am is extracting the michael somewhat. Especially as we then didn't actually leave the ship until after 10.00am. That extra hour in bed would have made such a big difference to the journey home.
Overall we had a good time and it was interesting to experience a different style of cruising.