We ended up with a cruise after a couple of other bookings 'fell through'.
Thank heavens they did fall through as our 14 night western med cruise on Oceana was fantastic.
The ship was great, although the size of the bathroom did take some getting used to.
The staff were fantastic. We were cruising with two children, aged 15 and 3, and we were a little concerned how well it would go down on formal nights, but the restaurant waiters couldn't have made us feel more welcome and allayed a lot of our concerns as soon as we arrived. To this day, how the Ligurian restaurant staff managed to maintain the very highest standards of food and service for the duration of the cruise remain a mystery.
The other passengers were on the whole very pleasant although we did witness a couple of stereotypical 'cruise passengers' during our holiday. There was a disappointingly small number of children on our cruise with the average age being about 60, but on the plus side the More
nursery was never full!
The cities we visited during our trip all had something to offer, although the trouble we went to making our own way to Rome from Civitavecchia wasn't justified for what Rome offered us.
Cadiz was a pleasant surprise, with the City Tour, hop on/off bus from outside the port gates a great way to see the city for anyone not doing an organised shore excursion.
Alghero was most definitely our favourite port of call and the shore excursion we went on, 'Gulf of Alghero by boat' was fantastic as was the guide, Dominic.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Pisa, with plenty of time for the obligatory photos holding up the tower etc. It being a lovely sunny day it was fairly busy so we didn't have enough time to take a trip up the tower before moving onto Florence.
Other ports we visited but would feel fraudulent reviewing were Barcelona and Gibraltar. For Barcelona we did our own thing as returning visitors and for Gibraltar we did a dolphin watching boat trip which meant the only part we saw was the port.
We didn't take full advantage of the evening entertainment, with some early nights required for our three year old. What we did sample, Andre and his magic show and Mark Walker. Both were very good as were the venues.
We had already booked a cruise on Oceana next year but I think we will now be making our annual holiday a cruise every year! Less
Quiet location with little to no passing traffic in the corridor. Very useful for anyone making use of the nursery as only one floor down, almost underneath the nursery. The cabin has a fixed 'bed' with three fold downs. The bathroom is A730 as in all similar grade cabins is very small but for the amount of time you spend in the cabin its not an issue.
We visited Florence as part of a long day on an organised shore excursion from Livorno, taking in Pisa first thing in the morning and then onto Florence arriving at lunchtime.
Florence was delightful. We were able to see the bits we had wanted to see with time to spare, wandering around other areas. The guide on the tour was very good, with recommendations for lunch etc.
On our day in Monaco, we went to Nice!
The plan was to do the shore excursion to Nice in the morning, and then wander around Monaco for the afternoon before returning to the ship.
Best laid plan etc etc. The coach was delayed coming back and dropped us at the end of a very long queue for the tender so we decided to board there and then and pass on whatever Monaco had to offer.
We visited Nice from Monaco, very pleasant it was too.
We took the little train shore excursion and it was one of our better ideas. A trip round the town, up the hill with time for a coffee and then a visit to the flower market.
We elected not to use one of the offered shore excursions as they didn't seem to offer very good value for money. With hindsight, maybe it would have been better for us than what we ended up doing.
The train station at Civitavecchia isn't as close to the port as we had thought, consequently we managed to arrive just as the express train to Roma Termini was leaving the station.
Two hours on a very hot, crowded train probably clouded our judgement of Rome so its best if I just say, we weren't too impressed with Rome.
It was also the only time it rained on our holiday so again maybe we're not being entirely fair in our assessment.