We selected this cruise as it was our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We always fancied trying a cruise but were apprehensive about it being a bad experience. Since we normally holiday with Thomsons (Tui) we felt we would be in good hands and this was a good decision. Overall I can understand how people choose to go on cruise holidays as the overall experience was fantastic. We stayed on in Mallorca for another 3 nights which was a lovely end to our holiday. I could nit-pick like the next one, but nothing is ever perfect and you adapt.
Flew out to Mallorca, travelled by coach to the ship and the embarkation process was so well organised it was over in a couple a minutes. Went onboard and headed for our cabin. Within 15 minutes we had our luggage delivered to our cabin. The accommodation was spacious and as I said previously we had a balcony. The bathroom/shower was a little bit underwhelming. The shower looked a bit grubby and small. However the facilities are done to maximise the living space in the cabin and the shower was powerful and always gave me hot water. We slept well in our bed as the mattress was soft and very comfortable. With the gentle rocking movement of the ship as she sailed through the night gave us an excellent sleep.
The bars were excellent, with the exception of the Indigo Lounge, which would be better named the Moon Bar as it lacked any atmosphere. The entertainment was very good. Some entertainers was better than others, but on the hole it was a very good standard.
The staff were exceptional. They were so friendly and tried to enhance our holiday experience and nothing was a problem to them. The staff were a credit to the ships company and the greatest asset of the ship. As always there is an exception to this and we managed to find one bar waitress called Mansot who needs to go back to finishing school as she was aggressive and abrupt when we dealt with her. But that was easily sorted as there were plenty of staff to attend to us.
Our first port was Palermo in Sicily. When we disembarked it was like running the gauntlet with the locals trying to sell their trips. A simple thing like get a taxi into the centre turned into a pressure sale to take a full tour for exuberant prices. We ended up walking into the centre, a walk of about 15 minutes. This set us up for what to expect at the remaining ports, but none were as bad as Palermo.
We booked an excursion which was described as Discover the Canals of Livorno. It cost 76 pounds for two and was sold by the ship. It was very disappointing. We were never more than 10 minute drive away from the ship. We were dropped of at a smelly fish market and told we had an hour to explore, but warned that pick pockets operate in this area. My head was on a swivel the whole time When we returned to the ship I was annoyed to learn that passengers had walked off the ship and bought the same excursion for 12 Euros. The excursions I felt were expensive and were all much of a likeness. There was nothing that was exciting like snorkeling, scuba diving or zip wire adventures.
The port of Villefranche was beautiful. We wanted to get the train into Monaco, but it was Bastille day which meant the trains were running on a limited service. However we decided to stay in Villefranche and it was an excellent day. So pretty and the quaint cobbled back streets were lovely. The ship was not alongside and we were taken ashore on the tenders. That was an experience.
The food onboard was as I would have expected. A very high standard and even the market place which is the buffet style restaurant was very good. I certainly always found that there was plenty to choose from and I was never hungry. And I never had a dicky stomach either.
The All Inclusive drinks package was very good and it was unlimited quantities of named branded spirits and beers. I was very happy with my lot.
On the first night we went to the live show which was called Rockology. The singers and dancers were very talented and sang well. However I never got the theme of the the show. It was random songs being sung. Good show but lacked production to give it some meaning. We never went back but there was entertainment in every bar and lounge which suited our needs.
Our last day was in Barcelona. We had a great day around the pool and the entertainment team provided a great pool party atmosphere.
Overall it was a great holiday and experience which we will do again, without a doubt.
We had a balcony cabin which I would recommend. Fantastic to wake up in a different port everyday and to have the freedom to sit out on the balcony and chill out.