Was a little nervous about cruising, also after reading some of the reviews, however we needn't have worried. As this was our first cruise we had nothing to compare it with but highly recommend this ship to anyone. Flew from ... Read More
Was a little nervous about cruising, also after reading some of the reviews, however we needn't have worried. As this was our first cruise we had nothing to compare it with but highly recommend this ship to anyone. Flew from Manchester to Palma to do the Western Mediterranean. Check in at Manchester was just like any other flight. At Palma you are directed to the transfer coaches and given an information leaflet (good to read on the coach). Takes around 20 minutes to the port. Once at the Port you are given an envelope with luggage tags with your cabin number on and boarding cards. Your suitcases are then ready for you to tag up. You don't see your cases again until they are brought to your cabin. At the port you queue to get a photo taken,and to leave your debit/credit card details. You are welcomed onboard and directed to your cabin. Cases arrived very quickly, before we went to explore the ship.
As everyone has mentioned, all staff are amazing, polite and attentive, cannot do enough for you. Drinks are free flowing, don't bother with the upgrade package, there is plenty to choose from just on the all inclusive. Food was amazing at every meal. Cannot fault it. We tended to have breakfast and evening dinner at the Orion Restaurant on Deck 4. Waiter service all meals. You are made to feel very special. Dinner you can choose to sit with other passengers if you wish. We did both, and it was a lot of fun. We also used the buffets on Deck 9 & 11. Was going to try the 3 restaurants that you can pay extra (it isn't expensive), however we found the food excellent without going to these restaurants.(there is a package, bookable by reception for around £49 per person to include all 3 if you like).
Entertainment is fantastic, the staff all work very hard and long hours. There is so much going on, you need to organise yourself a little timetable. Something for everyone.Our 'day at sea' was poor weather, but plenty of things to keep you amused all day/evening. The Theatre normally has an 8.30pm & 10.30pm show, we went every evening as they were so good. You need to take your seat around 15 minutes before as it does get busy. Entrances on Deck 8 & 9. Help yourself to drinks at the tables as you enter the Theatre. Waiters also come round once inside asking if you want more. Most things are on Deck 8, such as the lounges, reception, excursion booking, shops.
Photographers will take your photo each evening on Deck 8 by the Madusa Lounge (if you don't want this just say so), and also when you get off at each port. Available to buy from the studio on Deck 8 by reception. We viewed ours a few days into the cruise. TIP - DON'T BUY THEM AT THIS TIME. £14.95 each. They will try to sell you the package for around £200 as they do take a lot. We waited until our very last evening. Chose 4 we really liked and made them an offer (accepted, as any money to them is better none).
The swimming pools are small but adequate and sunbeds close together. We went onto the very top sundeck where there is more space, you get more sun, and can still hear the daytime entertainment and look over the rails to see what is going on.
When it is your last day, you are given information in your cabin, about leaving your suitcases outside your cabin before you go to bed, they are collected by crew while you are sleeping, you see them again all lined up at the Port ready for you to claim.
TIP - as you can have 10kg hand luggage, pack enough for at least one day - swimwear, day clothes, evening outfit, and miniature toiletries.... just incase. Pool Towels are provided in your cabin.
TIP - as any extras you may have are added to your cabin number, ask for a 'print out' from reception part way through your cruise, so you can keep an eye on it.
TIP - if you are prone to motion sickness seabands, the seasickness tablets & 'Gin Gins' hard boiled ginger sweets from Holland & Barrett help a lot.
I booked 3 excursions online prior to the cruise, and booked another couple whilst onboard. If you are confident or have been before, you can easily do things yourself. I just knew that i would be the one to get lost and miss the boat. They won't wait for you, however with the excursions you are sure to be back in good time.
PALERMO Scicily. Were due to go to Trapani, but due to the weather had to change Port. A lovely short excursion around some of the sights.
NAPLES. Were due to be in Sorrento, but again due to weather had to change Port. We had already pre booked to go to Versuvius and Pompeii, all trips went ahead as normal & as we were a little closer we actually got a small refund. Loved this trip, but please note the walk up the volcano is steep & hard going on the legs or if you are unfit like me. Pompeii is amazing would have loved to spend more time there.
ROME. We did Rome in a Day. A lot of walking as expected but fantastic to see the main sights, was very fast paced. Our local guide there did walk a little too fast for people to keep up & appreciate what she was saying. It was mentioned to her, so after lunch she went at a more manageable & enjoyable pace.
CORSICA. Probably my most favourite place. Very green and beautiful. We visited the tortoise sanctuary. I got bitten...not by a tortoise but by some insect on my legs. Perhaps a good idea to use mozzie spray dependent on time of year. Most of the signage is in French, but doesn't stop you enjoying it. Once back at the Port we had a little stroll around the town & market and had a drink at the harbour. Was very busy, but probably due to an enormous cruise liner coming in similar time to us.
PALERMOS. Sadly for some guests the Barcelona trips were unable to go ahead. I had already pre booked The Best of Costa Brava trip. To be honest this was a bit disappointing. It was quite a drive on the coach, but nothing really to look at along the way. Stopped in Lloret de Mar to visit a garden. The garden itself is lovely and overlooks the sea, however it has a steep climb up to it, even with a handrail. Some of our elderly passengers had to stay at the bottom. There are quite a number of steps to climb in the garden too. We then went on to Tossa del Mar, this was a nicer town, a few shops and bars/restaurants. You can visit a castle, but please be warned again it is quite a climb and uneven cobbles. I wish I had done the trip with the little train and medieval village instead.
Have a fantastic trip everyone, you will love it Read Less