Overall we had a fantastic trip. I note the cons below just as tips, but by no means did they really negatively affect our trip. I would like to especially point out that I rarely felt as though there were 4000 people on board. Most of the time, it didn't feel crowded, though the size of the ship does make it feel like a floating Vegas casino.
- The steakhouse, and all the specialty dining that we tried. The food was definitely better than the main dining rooms, the service was excellent
- Every show we saw was terrific, we enjoyed all of them immensely
- Rarely did we encounter lines boarding/disembarking, or even most places on ship (more below)
- The friendly and outgoing staff were great
- Our room was far better than expected.
- I thought most pricing on board was fairly reasonable.
- Some excursions were only offered on the ship and so we didn't know about them until last minute.
- I like the iconcierge app but it didn't show all your reservations and didn't allow spa booking for example. So pluses and minuses there.
- The Freestyle Dailies were great for educating us about entertainment on board but not so much about educating us about the ports. Our last cruise was with Holland America and I just expected that level of information and maps and so forth, so that was kind of a letdown but it is freestyle cruising - we are supposed to be a bit more independent, right?
The not so great:
- I was kind of disappointed with the lack of a real pool. We didn't end up spending much time on the pool decks - hard to get a lounge chair but also the hot tubs weren't hot and the pools were tiny and it wasn't worth it for the crowds.
- The buffet was a predictable madhouse. Sometimes it was very hard to find a seat.
- The one item I thought was a bit overpriced - $13 for a sewing kit consisting of 2 needles, 2 small strings of thread, a small pair of scissors and a couple other sewing items. What would be about $3 in a CVS.
- No conditioner provided; I didn't pack it because I'm so used to it being provided and the only option in the onboard shop was 'White Rain'. I mean, this is pretty minor though.
Reviews led me to not expect much. Aside from the awkwardness of the curved sofa (my Mom sleeps on sofas for support, and this wasn't great for that), it was a great room. We only noticed noise when the boats were lowered for tenders (plus the toilet flushing was also loud), but the balcony was spacious, as was the room, and there was a ridiculous amount of storage space. Multiple cabinets we didn't even use (tip: the sofa back is also a cabinet!). The suite was super convenient to the elevators/stairs and some other conveniences. We found it very comfortable and didn't notice noise from any other flats as was previously pointed out. However, I definitely recommend a balcony on this ship as it has less outdoor space than any other cruise I've ever been on.
I love Barcelona, I've been 3 times in six months. I recommend the Sagrada Familia, the hop on hop off, the old town, eating tapas and drinking cerveza con limon (clara).
We used AP Tours to do a tour of the Amalfi coast and Herculaneum with guide. Our driver was good, though we only got 1 hour in each town and were I to do it again, I'd pick one town and spend 2 hours I think. Our guide in Herculaneum was amazing. Ludi if you use AP Tours. She was delightful.
I hemmed and hawed quite a while about setting up my own shared tours but they filled up in days or less. Completely worth it, saved money, had more control, a smaller group of wonderful new friends - I recommend it. Naples was a highlight port.View All 96 Private Tour Reviews
We took the cruise line tickets on the express train. This was affordable and convenient, but they didn't really offer much information and the station facilities at that station weren't great. It would have been fine had we planned ahead more, but we kind of winged it in Rome (we'd been twice) and now I wish we'd planned it out better and known what our travel plans from the station around Rome would be.View All 5 Cruise Line Shuttle Reviews
Mallorca is lovely. We tried to do the HOHO bus but the line was atrocious and the stay in port was short. We finally decided to take a cab and kind of explored on our own which worked for us. Cabs were affordable for a group of 3 and the sites we did see (the Castle and the Cathedral) were gorgeous. I can't wait to return. If you're a health food fanatic - like some of us are - we REALLY enjoyed Ziva to Go. It was a delight to find.