We decided to do a cruise of the med for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and to be honest we were both not really looking forward to it as didn't know what to expect as used to relaxing on holiday and this was a port heavy cruise.
We stayed in Barcelona for 2 night before embarkation, with arranged taxi from the airport and the hotel and on disembarkation which was really efficient. The Hotel was upgraded as we wanted to be in the centre of Barcelona.
On embarking we didn't get the wow factor we expected and the ships top deck looked tired and old. The outside cabin was on deck 5 and perfect as close to disembarking at ports, it met our needs, was clean and tidy and our steward was absolutely fantastic.
We chose late traditional dinning which was something we were nervous about but it proved a great experience, a table of six with a couple and 2 female friends. Although a lot older than us we got on really well, they had lots of cruise experiences between them. The waiter was good and once I started to ask for recommendations my meals were really good, I made a few bad choices for steak. We ate in the buffet in the evening of formal nights as these were sea days which we wanted to relax and had really good food again. We had breakfast in our cabin most mornings as it was easier before trips and always arrived a minute before the time slot ordered. When used the pizza restaurant during one sea day which was a nice experience and it was empty at 12 midday, we liked the pizza on deck as well. The burgers on deck were not to our liking.
Due to our dining time it was not easy to get to shows as they started at 10:15 to fit in with late dinning and we didn't always finish before then, if we wanted to go the show we told the waiter and he would make sure we were finished, but generally we didn't want to rush. We saw two different comedians and a magician all of which we enjoyed. I was expecting to see some shows but the one night we planned to go we couldn't get a seat. We did most of the quizzes which were mainly based around the discovery channel programs, but we enjoyed this and got to see similar faces each time. I also took part in the dance classes which were fun. We did the star gazing on top deck, but standing looking at the stars was not easy would have been better on sun loungers, also there was a lot of unnecessary information. There was less activities than expected but we put this down to the smaller size ship.
The jewellery shop is a waste of space and the staff not pleasant, we had a gift we had to collect and we laughed at as when collect it was $200 off gold items. We were given champagne and chocolates as a present from my mother but these arrived as vouchers which we had to exchange, she was told they would be waiting in our cabin so not as special as she had expected.
We planned trips at most ports with cruise excursions but planned to stay on board and relax when in Toulon and Kusadasi, where we felt we had the ship to ourselves. We booked trips as we thought this cruise would provide us with the opportunity to see a lot of places which we did and thoroughly enjoyed.
The drinks were an issue as used to all inclusive holidays although had a soda package for myself, my husband didn't as due to heavy port stops wouldn't have been good value. We had cocktails which were good and made use of the happy hours.
In summary we enjoyed our cruise but would have liked to have been with more people our own age 48 and 51 as most people were 70+ although young at heart. We came to like the ship due to its classic feel and size having gazed at others in port. Very efficient at ports and all staff were really friendly and helpful. Not decided on whether we would do another!
Size was as expected as well as location. Had problems keeping water in the shower as tended to flood the bathroom. The shampoo and shower gel dispensers are in a really strange place as under the shower as wash out your hand. Plenty of storage space, ice can be provided, we brought wine on board from Barcelona and wine glasses suddenly appeared in our cabin. On our anniversary we had balloons and a card. Anything we needed our steward would sort. It was quiet and comfortable.
This tour took in all the sights but 3 welsh women did not keep to times to meet so we did a lot of waiting for them. hence too little time to lunch. But saw loads of sights and helped having the headsets as the tour guide could go ahead and we could still hear. Would not do the Vatican again but spend more time in Rome. We saw the colosseum from outside, the trevi fountain, Pantheon and spent the afternoon in the Vatican.View All 349 City Tour Reviews
We overdid this day with two places, but enjoyed both places and know we would like to return to Florence and Pisa separately as didn't have time to go into any museums. We were pleasantly surprised at Pisa and enjoyed our stroll around miracle square, we felt rushed in Florence and would have liked more time here.View All 274 Florence & Pisa Tour Reviews
Had an excellent guide who was informative without boring us and saw lots in Pompeii before it got too busy as had just opened when we arrived. Easier to walk around than expected and would love to return to see more. we then had a drive along the Amalfi Coast we was what we expected and could have missed, we viewed Positano from above and then went to Sorrento but only had an hour here and wanted to try the food so didn't see any of Sorrento.View All 505 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
We looked at the map on the wall as you arrive from the port transport and realised we could walk the area, we walked through little Venice and saw the windmills and then sat and relaxed in a bar with wonderful food. Loved this place and wish we had more than a Sunday morning. We paid for the port transfer but then found we could have taken a little boat for half the price and it would have been more fun.
Didn't realise everything we needed to see was within a short walk, the grand bazaar was better than expected and we bought the most amazing Turkish delight not what we expected. Hagria Sophia was probably my favourite, the blue mosque and Topaki Palace were really interesting as well, a trip to just Topaki Palace would be better as not enough time there.View All 52 City Tour Reviews
Do not bother booking a trip, we found this one not up to the standard of other trips, we didn't have a headset and with 52 of us it was not easy to hear or see our guide, I would suggest viewing the Acroplis from outside as too busy and very difficult walking as slippery too many tours at the same time. We went to Plaka still not certain what was meant to be there as couldn't hear the guide. My advice is take the little train as people seemed to enjoy this more.View All 390 Acropolis Reviews