Corinthian II Entertainment
The main entertainment onboard is outstanding lectures given by visiting professors -- as well as journalists, authors, diplomats and artists -- in the sunny Deck 3 Lounge. The space features a small stage with lectern and piano, love seats, club chairs and small coffee tables. Picture windows are framed by gold balloon shades. Lecture topics on a cruise in southern Spain and Morocco included democracy in Morocco, hallmarks of Islamic art, Matisse in Morocco, and the ancient Jewish communities of North Africa -- all followed by spirited question-and-answer sessions. On a Greece and Italy cruise, lecture topics included the Roman Empire, Thucydides, Oedipus the King, the Greek philosophers, history of the Mediterranean, and the European Union. The talks were so interesting that even the teens onboard showed up.
On some cruises, the cruise director also leads popular stargazing sessions. With the ship lights turned off, passengers sit back and gaze up at the spectacular night sky while he regales them with fascinating facts and myths.
The Club on Deck 4 features a piano, bar, club chairs and small round tables. If you miss afternoon tea, a nice selection of self-serve teas is available throughout the day. At cocktail hour and after dinner, a musician plays piano and keyboards there.
Each night, a movie is available in cabins and the Lounge. The crew choose movies with themes related to the itinerary.
All shore excursions -- including guided walking tours, folkloric performances, curated museum tours, market forays and shopping trips -- are included in the cost of the cruise and are coordinated with the onboard lectures. In some cases, passengers must choose from several tours offered simultaneously. Transportation is aboard modern, air-conditioned motorcoaches or vans, and bottled water is provided. "Hand-picked" local guides lead the land tours; while quality can vary, all guides are licensed, well-informed and English-speaking. There's no straining to hear them, either: Individual wireless belt radio receivers with adjustable volume controls are provided to all passengers.
Corinthian II Public Rooms
The Deck 3 reception area is inviting with its grey marble tile floor, embroidered wall hangings, half a dozen clocks with local times and framed world map. A daily program and map with the ship's route are posted on a bulletin board. Passengers are welcomed back onboard the ship after excursions with cold drinks.
Prints of scenes from Shakespeare's plays and portraits of British monarchs line the soft grey walls of the hallways, carpeted in slate blue. In addition to a central staircase, there's a handy midship elevator decorated with a brown and grey tile floor and wood burl walls.
With tan upholstered armchairs and shelves lined with travel and other nonfiction books, novels, and DVD's, the Library on Deck 4 is a cozy hangout. Games like chess, Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, Boggle and backgammon are also available there, as are daily printouts of the New York Times crossword and an occasional International Herald Tribune. Though Internet cards are pricey ($45 for 100 minutes or $30 for 50 minutes), the two computers tend to be frequently occupied. (Passengers with wireless laptops also need to buy Internet cards.)
Outside the dining room on Deck 2 are displays of wines and gift items that include Corinthian hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts, vanity sets, clocks and a magnifying glass. You can purchase them at the reception desk.
The Infirmary, also on Deck 2, is staffed with a licensed medical professional and stocked with a defibrillator and basic medications.
Corinthian II Spa & Fitness
A small gym on Deck 4 is equipped with four machines: two treadmills, an elliptical and a stationary bicycle. A walking/jogging track is located on the same deck. A swimming platform is handy for warm-water dips, and a fleet of Zodiacs is at the ready for water explorations.
The Observation Deck (Deck 6) sports a whirlpool and two dozen wooden lounge chairs with comfortable blue and white striped cushions. Nearby, hair-styling and other services are available at the beauty salon ($25 and $40 for manicures and pedicures). You can also book in-cabin massages, including a 20-minute foot massage ($15) and a 30-minute back, shoulder and neck massage ($25).
Smoking is permitted only on outside decks.