Background Information: I'm very seasoned cruiser with over 30 cruises in past 6 years. Love cruising.
Hotel Info (if any): Stayed in Rome 3 nights prior to cruise at Hotel Cavour which was disappointing. Location was terrific very close to Rome Termini but room was not great & water was not hot during entire stay. Cannot recommend this place even for 50 euros per night. Stayed at better.
Travel To Port of Embarkation: No problems getting to port. Took train & walked to shuttle.
Ship Info: Ship was inaugurated summer of this year. Very well appointed with lovely art work throughout. This is one of the Solstice class ships & one on of nicest I've traveled on. Theater layout wasn't best I've experienced since they had tables in front set up like cabaret. This is main theater for ship not a cabaret. Other public areas were great & pleasant.
Activities: This area was a bit lacking on this vessel. They did have some port talks but not great. They had galley tour & bridge tour which were great but not too much else of interest to me. Mary O'Neill was good but not enough info on ports. Cooking demonstrations were more focused on promoting restaurants but OK.
Stateroom: Well appointed but a little tight around the beds. Bathroom lovely and overall decor was great. We had a partially obstructed view balcony (which was an upgrade - much appreciated) which we enjoyed. TV in cabins are nice but programming somewhat lacking. They have movies on demand but only 20 movies for a 12 night voyage is is bit skimpy. Rest of programming standard & nothing to brag about.
Dining: Food was very good to excellent throughout. They offer lemonade in buffet which is better than HAL but not as varied as RCCL. Food was tastefully presented a varied. They are cutting back on premium food items. Lot of meat dishes which were excellent.
Service: Staff were excellent throughout. Very helpful, friendly & attentive majority of time. Were always maintaining the ship. Cabin stewards did great job in keeping cabins clean & meeting our schedules. Buffet staff were great & hard working.
Entertainment: Production shows were good but have seen much better. Seems like they are cutting back on number of dancers. Rest of entertainment was good but also have seen much better. I usually go to every Showcase performance but didn't on this cruise.
Port & Shore Excursions: All ports were great except Ashdod, Israel. This is not a cruise ship port & transportation in and out is poor & expensive. I will never take a cruise that goes to this port again. Haifa was great & so were the rest of the ports. I don't partake on shore excursions. Do my own thing. Response from other passengers were very positive towards the shore excursions.
Summary: The is a delightful cruise overall. Enjoyed the ambiance of the ship, food, staff & fellow passengers who were interesting & well traveled. I would cruise on this ship again & highly recommend it to all. Just a side note, weather & sea conditions were best I've experienced on any cruise.
Disembarkation: This was really easy & well executed. Was off the ship in about 20 minutes without any hassles or problems. I had to catch a train to Northern Italy & had plenty of time.