Being our first ever cruise we really didn't know what to expect, but from beginning to end it was very well organised with no disruptions.
We had been staying in Barcelona in an apartment before the cruise, we hailed a taxi outside at 11am and by 11.40am we had checked in, boarded and were enjoying a welcome drink on board. Not knowing exactly what to expect we were approached by a member of the crew and invited to sign up for the specialty restaurants dining packages for 5 dinners for $129 extra. We did, and thoroughly enjoyed every dinner at Tuscan Grill, Murano, Silk Harvest and lunch one day at Bistro on 5. Money well spent I think, we really enjoyed all of it, especially Murano.
After enjoying lunch in Oceanview Cafe on level 14, there was an announcement around 1pm to inform us that our staterooms were ready. We were on level 3 with an ocean view room, which suited us fine, as the first night out from Barcelona was a little rough, some passengers higher up were suffering from sea sickness. The saying that "the more you pay, the more you sway" was certainly true! I was surprised at the size and comfort of the bed, it was king size, and very comfy. The room itself was hotel quality, we have stayed in smaller hotel rooms. Special thanks to Irena who took care of our room for the entire 11 days, it was always spotless when we returned. The turn down service each night was great with little chocolates on our pillows.
Juliia and Alan looked after us in Silhouette dining room when we ate there if not at a specialty restaurant and the food was always plentiful and excellent, with offerings of extra if wanted. Some of our table took extra lobster one night, it was excellent.
The entertainers were great, we often sat in Ensemble Lounge after dinner to listen to Jess and Kenton, they were really great. Jayne Curry was on a couple of nights in Equinox Theatre, she is very talented and hilariously funny.
We did a few of the shore excursions, we did St Paul de Vence on the first day, Florence on the 2nd, Pompeii and Amalfi Coast, Mykonos, Ephesis in Turkey. The organisation at moving all the people was amazing. With 2800 passengers on board, we always disembarked the ship in no time, on to buses and away. The only thing we didn't like was the pressure of the shopkeepers in Kusadasi, we wanted to buy but the pressure was too much, I had to get out of there. It was the same with the organised tour of Ephesus, it was great, but part of the tour is a visit to a carpet factory back near port where it is more or less compulsory to visit. Our guide told us all we had to visit as it was a part of the tour and we were not to leave. Not knowing, we went along. To begin with it was all okay, very friendly and they put on a display on how silk was woven, then we were ushered upstairs to a large room with seats all around. We watched a woman making a rug, then they closed the doors and we were more or less trapped in there. They displayed many carpets, mats and rugs, always telling us "no pressure", but by the end that couldn't have been further from the truth. They offered us all drinks and a lovely sesame bread, I knew then that the pressure to buy would be escalated. There was approximately 25 or so of us in the room, by the end of the display they had 25 sales people surround us, it was a really uncomfortable experience. I grabbed my wife and we departed, much to the dismay of the carpet people.
All in all, it was a very satisfactory cruise, we will be planning another.
The cabin was above expectation, very comfortable.
St Paul de Vence is a medieval village that must be seen. We have been here before and had to revisit.View All 11 St. Paul de Vence Reviews
We had 3 hours free time to explore.View All 83 City Tour Reviews
Didn't leave thd ship.