We had booked the Aurea "experience" so with priority embarkation was a breeze.
The ship and or cabin were immaculate. The passenger mix was mostly European with few North Americans, Australians and South Africans. The multilingual muster drill was much shorter then I had been lead to believe and was relatively painless.
The buffets had plenty of variety. Even after 7 days I didn't have a chance to sample everything they had to offer.
Dining room fare for the most part was Italian Continental cuisine. There wasn't a lot of choice, usually either/or on the main part of the menu but there were additional selections available in the "always available" section. All are meals were well prepared and well seasoned, some were exceptional (the duck was to die for).
This was a very busy itinerary with no sea days. Most of the ports though were very short stays. If I had to do this over again, I wouldn't book an excursion for Kotor, the old town is just off the pier and one could easily spend the entire stay there. For Athens, I booked with two different tour providers, they both cancelled the booking because they couldn't get the minimum number of English speaking participants. This resulted in a last minute scamble to book an excursion through the ship.
It was hard sometimes to get drink service, particularly at the beginning of the week, but then I'm used to the always lurking Carnival waiters. Unlike Carnival S&S cards, the MSC cards don't have a folio number on your card, which resulted in the waiter having to take your card everytime you ordered a drink, as opposed to the Carnival method of just noting down you folio number. This results in slower service, but on the plus side there were no "phantom charges" on our account.
Our room steward was excellent as were the dining room wait staff.
Clean well appointed cabin. First time with sliding balcony doors ... me likey.
The bed was plenty comfortable.
Beautiful, beautiful Venice. If you are going to stay in the city, pack as light as you can, and book a hotel as close to a vaparatto stop as you can.
Our tour was a French/English combined group. The OO tasting was great but would have loved a more detailed tour of the factory. Trani was alright we were shown a fort and toured the Cathedral.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We had a tour of the Olympia site, which was interesting. Afterwards, we were brought to a restaurant where we received a sample plate of various greek delicacies and some greek wine. All was very good. Afterwords we were entertained by greek music and dancing.View All undefined undefined Reviews
A tender port, got off the tender at Thira. Purchased passage to Oia by Water Taxi for 8 Euros. This included the water taxi, a bus ride up the hill into Oia proper then a bus ride back to Thira later. A great deal for the price, and you avoid going up in the cable car or by donkey (you still have to come back down though). Santorini is every bit as beautiful in person as it is in pictures.
First stop was the old olympic stadium for a quick photo op the off to the Acropolis. Be prepared for a lot of walking on rough surfaces and a long uphill climb (worth every minute though). The next stop was the Archeological Museum where the guide gave us the quick "highlight" tour next was a quick shopping stop then back to the ship, this left us wondering, "What happened to Plaka?"View All undefined undefined Reviews
A long bus ride to a beach resort then up into the mountains. The scenery was nice. Stopped at a restaurant for a sample plate and a glass of wine. Not my idea of a wine tasting. Overall a disappointment.View All undefined undefined Reviews
The excursion started with a quick walking tour through the old town of Kotor. A pity it didn't end there. The rest of the excursion was a drive along a glorified cart path to a farmhouse high up in the mountains. Once there we were given a sample plate of local cuisine and wine. Then back to Kotor along the goat path. 2 of the three stars are for the walking tour portion, otherwise a bust. In Kotor an excursion isn't necessary, walk off the ship and across the street and you are in old town.View All undefined undefined Reviews