My husband and I chose this cruise to enjoy the intensive port itinerary. We purchased this cruise at a bargain discounter that included transfers from the airport to a fantastic hotel in Athens and another transfer from the hotel to the ship.
We both thought that the upper decks were fantastically designed so that there were many types of activities to enjoy. Kudos to the designers!!! On my 65th birthday I challenged myself to do the ropes course. What a blast! Another day we did the cycle ride above the decks. Again, it was a blast.
We were assigned to a table for 12 at the first seating. I never would have chosen such a large table and it was not to my liking. The dining room is extremely loud without soft surfaces to absorb the sounds. I truly disliked the lack of table cloths. I tried to keep my silverware on the bread plate, but when the servers removed that plate, they place my silverware on the bare table, The servers were excellent, but because of the number of tables and people ordering multiple main dishes, and the Maitre Ds singing, we were very late leaving the dining room. It seemed like the dining schedule and the entertainment schedule were in conflict. Twice I had a problem with gluten even though I ordered in advance. I made a complaint at guest relations. I must say that the problem was addressed and that they apologized and made a change in the kitchen. It turns out another passenger with Celiac had made a complaint the same day I did.
Our cabin was very quiet and comfortable. Everything was in great shape. We had plenty of space to store everything. Our steward kept the cabin in great shape. We only used the Persian Gardens about three times, but enjoyed it immensely. We found the location suited our needs.
We each walked more than 19,000 steps. The highlight of the city was the Co-Cathedral. We recommend using the audio guide which is included with your admission. If you are not with a group excursion, you will have access to much more of the Co-Cathedral.
We took a train to Pisa. They are very inexpensive. We paid less than 3 Euros each each way and it is only about 20 minutes by train. We followed the Rick Steves walking tour from the train station. There were so many photo opportunities along the walk. We stopped at a cafe and reasonably-priced drinks and snacks. We enjoyed everything as we explored. After the return train to Livorno, we joined literally hundreds of tired passengers trying to return to the ship. Long lines, line jumpers, and packed buses for the ship. We had paid 5 Euros each for the cruise shuttle to downtown Livorno. They definitely needed courtesy buses for the passengers since we were not allowed to walk inside the port.
We didn't take an excursion and the weather was not good. However, this site is requiring a comment.
We love this port and enjoyed walking through the city and visiting the Palace of the Grand Masters.
We took a Private tour with a van driver named Umberto. He drove us to the Amalfi Coast where we had several photo stops. We parked in the center of Portofino where we had time to explore and take photos. From there we drove back to Sorrento. Umberto recommended a very good and reasonably priced restaurant. After that we had time to explore on our own. We met back together and drove to Pompeii. If you do not have a guide, I recommend that you take the audio tour or hire a local guide inside Pompeii. I understand that they charge about a $100.00, so if you have a group of 6-8 people you could have a small group to share the price and get much more out of it. We found that we missed a lot of the significance of what we were seeing. I would pay for a guide in the future.
We arrived a day early and had a wonderful time exploring the Acropolis and the surrounding areal