Our ship was the best we have been on and the ports of call the most interesting.
The ship although over 20 years old was fantastic. Very modern looking with lots of space for passengers to spread out. Two pools, one outdoor and the other indoor. I counted 6 hot tubs. They are fairly small, with not very hot water and often crowded. You had to pick your time at the hot tub unless you wanted to rub legs with the hairy guy next to you. Deck lounges were plentiful outside on several decks and around the pools. There were two decks you could walk or jog entirely around the ship. The fitness center was excellent, although we did not spend much time there. We tried a seminar at the fitness center on controlling your metabolism that turned out to be a pitch for their detox service. This was very disappointing. We did not try the rock climbing wall but it looked like a lot of fun. The public spaces are excellent in their furnishings. The Masquerade Theater is very comfortable with great seating and a beautifully rich stage curtain.
The food was very good and lots of variety. You could eat almost any time. The main dining room was OK but not great. The Windjammer buffet was excellent. They have a great environment and the food stations are spread out so you do not get large crowds in any one serving area. They had a carving station that was available at every meal service. For breakfast there is an omelet bar with omelets or eggs made to order. Coffee & tea is available 24 hours. The only disappointment here was the wait staff that seemed to be indifferent to passengers carrying plates. (They have no trays so you have to juggle numerous plates, silverware and cups, etc.) The staff would not step aside to let you pass. Most other ships I cruised on the wait staff always deferred to passengers. There was a soft serve, non-fat yogurt machine outside the buffet that we fell in love with. We spent too much time in front of it. The only food venue that we were disappointed in was their little cafe adjoining the indoor pool. It mostly served hot dogs, hamburgers, BLT's and pizza. The food there was not very appetizing.
The only other disappointment was the high prices for drinks, in-room snacks and water and internet service.
They even had a cigar bar in the evenings in the library. It was very cozy with mood lighting and lots of cognac. Our stateroom was very small as was the shower, but we had very little time in the cabin with the very long excursions. Linens & towels are a very good quality. The entertainment was a little better than all of our other cruises, but this was the most lively ship ever. Remember, probably 95 % of the passengers were over 50 years old but they partied until after mid-night almost every night, even with the long excursions. There just was a lot of energy on the ship. The casino & dance floors were full whenever they were open. There was always music somewhere, all of the time.
All of the staff was very friendly and very helpful. Anytime we had a problem, they fixed it. Embarkation & disembarkation were a breeze. It was very efficient as were boarding for excursions. Extremely well organized. The wait staff could have been a little better but not much to complain about there. The tour companies the ship used were very good. Modern buses with some very good guides and other guides were just OK. It was the luck of the draw as always.
Ports of call were very interesting, all presenting a tremendous history with lots to see an do. We toured every day except the two "at sea" days. The tours were at least 6 hours long and a few were 10 hours. We had 4 days straight of getting up at 5:30 AM and not getting to bed until after midnight.
We used a travel agent to book this trip and were very pleased in dealing with them. They delivered as promised on everything. We had a problem with prepaid gratuities that were part of our bonus when we arranging the trip. When we arrived shipboard, they had no record of the prepaid gratuities. I e-mailed the agent and he fixed the problem immediately.
I guess the bottom line is, it was an amazing trip. We loved seeing all of the history. The excursions put many historic events into context for me and filled in some gaps. Unfortunately our American standard & quality of life that we enjoy here led us to expect more, and for that reason we were a little disappointed to see such rich history, slightly tarnished by commercialism and lack of sensitivity to their environs.
Cabin was very well situated relative to the ship. It was on Deck 2 which made it close to the gangway for return to cabin without use of the elevators after a long excursion. The cabin is a little dated but adequate. The shower is very small which was not a problem for us but a little annoying sticking to the shower curtain. Our Cabin attendant, Martin, was excellent. He remembered our names after the first night.