I chose this cruise because I understood it was a 'top of the line' cruise.. also I'm not a huge cruiser so wanted one that had previous great reviews. The ship itself is very nice and the public areas are really superior. We loved the solarium area and the availability of the beds etc. The library and the little places on the ship to relax are really nice.
The dining was hit and miss, the one night I was looking forward to was the Duck and Lobster night and both were overcooked, however on a previous night the fish was excellent. The lineups for the dining was a little crazy - I'm so glad we didn't make reservations as we were able to get a table for two each time with no wait but friends we met with reservations had to wait in lineups. The 'private' restaurants obviously have better food but then you have to pay, which in some ways I think takes away from the point of cruising as it feels like a 'class system'. The buffet was decent although repetitive, but a good choice of items considering.
Our cabin was an interior as this was my third trip to Europe this year from north America and I was taking my Mother and she didn't seem too bothered. I did regret this choice though as my last cruise on Princess I had a balcony and I did miss it. But for the price we paid, it was actually good value - especially in talking to others who had paid literally double. I'm glad we didn't pay as well for the drink package as we took two bottles of wine on, we also had a bottle of Bacardi for the cabin with mixes and we also purchased some drinks on the ship - all for a lot less than purchasing the drink package. I don't think I would bother with the drink package unless you were able to get it as a perk - and only after I compared the prices with/without. In talking to some new friends on the ship - the cost of the cruise with their 'perks' cost as much as my airfare to the south of France in the spring!
Cabin was larger than my previous cruise on Princess and Royal Caribbean but didn't have a balcony - which I did miss. The bathroom is a nice size and has an excellent shower. The beds were fine for my mother and I as we are both fairly short but my husband would have struggled - they are rounded at the bottom and not very long. The cabins was also a little dated, some of the furniture should be replaced. The lighting and tv etc was good and lots of closet space.
Although we did not do a shore excursion - it was because both of us had previously visited Barcelona. I highly recommend anyone else to do a few days in Barcelona as it is an excellent port to visit and has amazing cultural aspects to it. Last time I was there I even attended a football game at the famous Barcelona grounds. The Gaudi architecture is beautiful as are all the little neighbourhoods - my favourite being the 'gothic' area. Also make sure to check out all the tapas and hot chocolate drinks at the chocolate museum.
Again we did our own excursion - we took a cab to near the top of old town for less than the price of the ship cruise shuttle for two. Enjoyed walking around old town and the Cathedral. So many options in Ibiza - you can take the shuttle from the pier to the beach for 5 euro - but our weather wasn't the best so didn't do that.
For Marseilles I had also been here previously including the local villages in Provence - so we just took the free shuttle and then walked to the mini tourist train. It offered two routes so we did both and was excellent - especially the one to the Cathedral at the top of the hill. Some great restaurants in the port area as well.
For Cannes we did the same as the previous port and took the mini tourist train and even asked them if they could drop us off at the pier for the tender at the end of the tour. So many easy walking places in Cannes - the streets on the west side of the main area are very affordable and fun to walk around and the shops on the east side are all the designer stores - although do compare prices as many items actually are cheaper back in North America. We also visited the Casino, it was really pleasant and they even walked around with complimentary refreshments. The restaurants in Cannes are excellent and really quite affordable.
This is a lovely port and very pretty - a good place to take the local train to either Nice (highly recommend Old Town) or Monaco. The train service is reliable, affordable and easy to use.