This was my 8th Cruise. I totally agree with a previous review that our cruise was very impacted by the large group of 3000 and not in a good way. We had 5 port days and finding a place to have quick breakfast was a challenge. There were long line ups for the Windjammer that could be 15-20 minutes. So we left to find another place to have quick breakfast - Johnny Rockets worked but opened at 8 am (I think 7:30 am would have been better and also the dining room on the 3rd floor. When we returned from shore excursions and went for quick bite in the Windjammer, there were announcements to move to another part of the ship once we finished eating - it was said more politely but still meant the same thing. The food was very ordinary in the Windjammer - it seemed to be the same daily and not particularly tasty. The burgers were dry and tasteless. When it was time to disembark, we had done our exit survey and were given an unsatisfactory time, I gave up going to guest services as the line up was half way down the hall. To get off the packed elevators was often challenging as the people on the elevator seemed not to understand, excuse me, and would not move. Some quests had said that had they known there was going to be such a large group, they would not have chosen this cruise.
The entertainers were excellent. I saw everything except for the comedians. I only wish that one night would have been geared to the area of the world where we were cruising. When we were back in Barcelona, we saw a fantastic show with 3 guitars players and flamenco dancers - we were once on cruise ship that brought in local entertainers and it gave us the feel of the area. I am not sure why almost everything is geared to what we get in the US - shopping, entertainment, most of the food, decks on the ships (central park, coney island. We had an outside balcony and that was great. Our cabin steward was great and very helpful and accommodating. The staff work very hard and cruise line expects perfection from them.
We chose the late seating - dining room staff again were flawless - the food was not always though. We chose a table of 8 and there were only 5 of us that showed up. I felt bad when we went for specialty dining on 2 nights. I don't know what the solution is - perhaps the ship could arrange some "my time" diners to fill the empty spots. You need to make a reservation for specialty dining so somehow if the dining room were informed they could fill the empty spots. The first specialty dinner was a disaster - it was the Italian - Giovanni's Table. There were 4 courses listed, but we were not asked what soup we would like. That was okay because the portions are so huge that so much food was wasted. So we had the appetizers and then the pasta dishes came with our main courses. When I said something to the waiter, I was informed the reason was that we were eating family style. Now I know what family style is - you share the dishes, not get 2 courses at the same time. The next night we went to the Brazilian restaurant and the service and food was totally amazing and worth the extra money.
The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Since we were given a earlier time than we wanted and did not get it changed, we left when we wanted with no problem. Some of the staff whom we asked had suggested this and it worked.
Tips - when you embark, bring things in your carry on that you would like immediately. I wished I had my bathing suit as the whirlpools were empty and it would have been a good place to relax on our first day. On your first day, look at the list of all breakfast places and times - plan on where and when you will eat breakfast.
We arranged private excursions through cruise critic - Naples was outstanding - some Pompeii with guide arranged, Sorrento and Positano.
We started and ended in Barcelona which is great place to start and end cruise. The cruise terminal is in Barcelona. We stayed in the Port Vell area and we able to walk about 10 minutes and take a bus shuttle that costs 2 euros each.
Great trip - with 6 others - shared excursionView All undefined undefined Reviews
We started and ended in Barcelona. It is great city to tour.
There is a shuttle bus from the cruise ship to Palma de Mallorca which was easy and reasonable - I think 5 euros each. It is so small that it is easy to walk. It turned out to be some type of holiday and lots of stores were closed. I wished I had a list of the sights we wanted to see - missed some as it was so unclear whether they were open. One said it was closed on Mondays, the day we were there, so we thought we could not see it - turns out that it was open - perhaps because it was a holiday.
It was arranged privately, found 4 others through cruise critic, and it was mainly a taxi service. I wished I had more information with me - It was great to be driven where we wanted to go.View All undefined undefined Reviews
The ship docks in La Spezia.View All 99 Cinque Terre Reviews