We had 1 night in Rome prior to departure which gave us some time to visit the sights of the city. We took the train from Rome termini to the port (Cittavecchia) on Sunday morning for a fare of 7 Euro's (First class -â€" worth it), a journey time of 1 hours. On arrival it was a 5 minute walk towards the Port entrance where free shuttle buses took us on a 5 minute trip to the ship terminal. There is no pedestrian access inside the port. Check-in was completed within 10 minutes and we were onboard having lunch soon after. We had been told that check-in was from 1 pm, but in fact check-in normally starts 2 to 3 hours before the advertised time, and it is usually far quicker.
The general decor of the ship was excellent, it had a "nice feel", beautifully decorated with two Atrium's and plenty of lifts made it very easy to get around. We had a large ocean view cabin on deck 7 facing the front of the ship giving us excellent views. Plenty of storage space, a decent size bathroom with a shower door and not curtains. The TV had plenty of channels, with many in English. We ate all our breakfasts & lunches in the Windjammer -â€" a wide variety of dishes, good quality, and plenty of it. Could get busy at times. All our evening meals were in the main restaurant (which went over three levels). The 8.30, second sitting, suited us and helped break up the evening nicely. Again an excellently dining room with good choice and quality. Service was a little slow and disorganized as our waiters who were nice and friendly but did not work together very well. We had pre-ordered the 7 bottle wine package and found it to be well worth it and cost effective. The cafe on the promenade was open 24 hours, was free, with a variety of hot drinks, cakes, biscuits, & snacks -â€" very popular.
We did use room service for a pre-breakfast tea/coffee and occasionally a mid-afternoon snack. This was excellent, and food and drink was delivered quickly and delivery was always preceded with a phone call to confirm our order and to tell us it was on its way. There were a variety of Bars for all tastes, but drinks were on the expensive side.
Entertainment in the main theatre was better than we anticipated having read previous reviews. The Ice skating was amazing and should not be missed. Also some of the entertainment on the promenade was quite enjoyable. The Casino is one of the Glitziest on-board Casino's we have seen -â€" very Las Vegas. As we had been to most of the Ports of call previously we tended to be independent. In Palermo we picked up a map at the information bureau on the wharf a got an excellent walking route that took us on an approximately 2 hour tour -â€"to places we would not have found. A great idea if the weather is good. In Athens, to get to the Acropolis, you can walk from Terminal B, keeping the Sea/port on your left, go for 10-15 minutes until you find a foot bridge with an escalator to take you over the main road and down to the railway station. Get two single 1.40 euro tickets (one for the return) and get off at Monastiraki. A journey of about 15 mins. And then follow the marked road up to the Acropolis entrance. (Entrance 12 Euro's or 6 Euro's for seniors).
At Kusedasi, if you haven't been to Ephesus, it's really worth taking the tour. Or you can get a taxi from just outside the port -â€" a good deal if there are four of you. Kusedasi itself is a great place for the shops. At Crete, Chania, there was a 3 Euro shuttle into town, very pretty with shops & cafes looking over the sea. We also took a taxi to the Souda War memorial cemetery (British & commonwealth soldiers from World War 2 ) a short trip around the bay the ship was in. The taxi waited for us for 20 minutes, cost 17 euro's.
A great cruise.