After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms designed for hobbits.
Unlike previous reviewers we enjoyed the entertainment: the excellent Standing Ovations opera quartet sang favourite tunes one night; another time an abridged version of Carmen in English, so you could follow the story. The Azamazing Evening chamber concert at Ephesus was very good but involved a lot of work behind the scenes for 40 minutes’ performance.
There’s a good range of dining options. Deck 9 has the pool grill and Windows Café (buffet), both nice places if you don’t fancy much (or even if you do) or want to get to a show, say. The outdoor Sunset Bar is essentially part of Windows Café with a sea view.
Portions are huge in the main dining room, Discoveries, though the menu doesn’t change much with just two daily specials. Tables are close together and it gets noisy. For several reasons, we had a disappointing meal there on our first night; after we mentioned this (tactfully) on the guest questionnaire two days later, we were impressed when the Assistant Maitre D’ came over to us to understand the issues and all of us were reassured.
Service in Prime C was more refined with excellent steaks. It felt more like being in a Silversea restaurant, and was worth the supplement of $30 a head for a special occasion, but we did miss the White Nights party the same evening.
Our fare came with $200 pp Onboard Credit which we put towards unlimited Wi-Fi (inevitably slow) and the Ultimate Drinks Package that includes Nespresso coffee and some of our favourite drinks. Most included wines were mediocre but we had some reasonable ones from New Zealand. We spent a lot of time with the friendly guys in Mosaics Café, but like all bars on Deck 5, it’s used as a thoroughfare.
The ship was in port for full days plus some evenings, but we would also have enjoyed sailing by the Greek islands in daylight. We only went ashore ourselves for a few hours each day on organised tours. Most of these were reasonably interesting but no apology or recompense was forthcoming when the cable car in Santorini was suddenly closed and we had to descend hundreds of steps to the port. Tendering was efficient in the calm conditions, and the captain was often at the gangway to greet guests.
The embarkation process at Piraeus was rather perfunctory. More irritatingly, on disembarkation day we were put on a coach transfer to Rome Airport that arrived 1½ hours before the bag-drop opened for our flight, even though we had queried the timing with Customer Services and other coaches left the ship later.
Most suites are underneath the Pool Deck so we opted for this smallish stateroom with a minute bathroom. There was only space for one suitcase in the wardrobe, so the other stayed by the bed. Everything was kept very clean by our two stewards. In calm Mediterranean waters we had room service breakfast on the balcony one morning, and being quite far forward was not an issue.
Interesting guided walking tour of the old town. Wouldn’t have liked to do it in very hot weather though.View All 31 Rhodes Old Town Reviews
Reasonable overview of the island with a trip to a monastery followed by mezze and ouzo which weren't to everyone’s tastes.View All 18 Ano Mera Monastery Reviews
Informative tasting at Sigalas Winery. But found the cable car closed on our return (according to rumour either it had broken down or the operator had gone to dinner). So had to descend hundreds of steps past the donkeys to return to sea level – exhausting even for a fit person. Do not visit this island unless you are guaranteed comfortable transport from/to your ship.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Took a coach tour to Mount Etna, reaching a lava field - complete with bars - at about 2000 metres altitude. It’s a half-hour drive from the port each way.
Took an organised boat excursion from Amalfi (30 minutes each way). Positano is a pretty small town that seems to cascade down the cliff to the sea. Lots of bars and upmarket craft and clothing stores.View All undefined undefined Reviews