This was our 5th cruise, but our first one in the Mediterranean. We had also cruised on the Allure & Oasis, so we were very famalier with the large ships.
We were a little concerned with some of the negative reviews, but our cruise did not disappoint.
We arrived at Rome Fiumicino Airport at approx. 9am. We always book a private transfer from airports to the ports as they are much cheaper, quicker and more professional than those tied to cruise lines. After a 50 minute transfer we were at the Civitacchia port. Embarkation was a breeze as we were on the ship by 11:30.
Dining - we had "my time dining" and dined in the MDR every night. We never had to wait any longer than 5 minutes before we were seated and for the most part, dined at the same table or area. We initially thought about trying some of the specialty restaurants, but we were more than happy with the food in the MDR. Also, the service in the MDR was the best we have experienced in all of our cruises. The wait staff were professional, fun and did whatever they could to make each dinner a unique experience.
For breakfast and lunches, we dined at various locations including the windjammer, park cafe, sorrentos & solarium bistro. All were good. Not sure why guests get bent out of shape & complain about the Windjammer for breakfast. The ship offers at least 5 other options for breakfast if you think the Windjammer is to busy.
Entertainment - we pre-booked most and enjoyed grease, the water shows, the skating show & the magician. All were entertaining and professional.
Although we are both over 50, we enjoyed the water slides and the Abyss. There were very few line ups for these activities as this cruise had a small amount of kids & teens on board. I am sure this will change when the ship goes to the Caribbean.
Ports - This is why we booked this cruise as we thought it had some interesting ports. We have learned from other cruises that booking long excursion can be exhausting and expensive. Our plan was to visit each port/city and not get on a bus for 5 hours.
Naples - We went on on a free (tip what you want) walking tour. This was outstanding as we were taken to the Spanish quarter and experienced a truly vibrant & unique city from a local perspective.
Barcelona - Again we hooked up with a free walking tour and were able to experience to city with a local guide.
Palma de Mallorca - Took the shuttle into town and did our own thing, including shopping & sightseeing. Nice relaxing resort type town.
Marseille - Again, took the shuttle into town (View-Port) then took a mini-train around the port and up to the Basilique. This is also a very unique & vibrant city.
La Spezia - Since we had already been to Florence & Pisa, we took the time to wander around this cool little port town. Nice waterfront, shopping & cafes to experience.
Getting off and on the ship was quick & efficient and it never felt crowded, even though there are 6000 other guests on the ship
The staff were all polite & professional. My wife & I both appreciate what it takes to provide this type of service in this industry and you add in all the guests different nationalities and we think they did a wonderfull job.
Debarkation - We carried our own bags of the ship in Civitacchia as we easily walked off, grabbed a local bus to a rental car agency and began our next adventure in Italy.
Nicely laid out with great use of limited space.