Before the cruise, we had the 2 day package in Venice that came with being in a Signature Suite. On my own, I’m not sure I would have chosen the Bonvecchiati Hotel, but its location was perfect and the room was fine. Transfers were handled by HAL and went off without a hitch.
Embarkation was very fast with priority Mariner status. We liked the ship a lot.
Our cabin was great but it had a lot of noise from people walking on the pool deck above, carts being pushed, chairs scraping, people dropping things, etc. It didn’t keep us awake at night but it was fairly constant. Our neighbors were smoking on their balcony despite the smoking ban. The cabin and the balcony were large, the bathroom was big with a bathtub and a separate shower and 2 sinks. I loved the nightlight in the bathroom. Our stewards were excellent and were able to quickly fix a blocked drain. You can stream movies on the TV but you can’t check your cabin account, order room service or order shore excursions (you have to use the app). AC worked well and there was good storage space. There was norovirus on the ship but not many people got it. The crew seemed to do a really good job of keeping it from spreading.
There was a lot of noise from the pool deck above, but it didn’t keep us awake at night. Cabin and balcony were large, bathroom was big with tub and separate shower and 2 sinks. Loved the nightlight in the bathroom. AC worked well and there was good storage space.
I did the Archeological Albania tour, which was excellent. We took a short drive downtown to see the ruins of the synagogue (keep your expectations low – the ruins are basically just the foundation and there are only a couple of photos of the mosaics that were removed). Then we walked along the seaside promenade. In all we spent about half an hour in town. Then we drove to Butrint and spent about 2 hours there walking around the site. It was really interesting and the guide was great. The paths are gravel with some uneven stones, and part of the walk is on a forest path with rocks and tree roots. There are also lots of stairs, but you can do just the level part of the tour and then wait for the group for the last 40 minutes or so, skipping the part that goes up the hill and then back down the hill. There is some shade and there are a few places to sit. There is also a small museum on top of the hill. After the site visit, we went to Bar Livia (within walking distance of Butrint), where we were given a choice of wine, beer, soda or water plus 4 appetizers. It was very nice. Then we drove back to the ship. The tender ride is very short, maybe 10 min.
I went to Castellet and Sanary. Towns are very pretty. If you have been to St Paul de Vence I would say that Castellet is similar but maybe not quite as pretty, but it has better views . We drove 30 min to Sanary, where we had a short walk through the market and then free time (1 hour total). There are free public toilets at the visitor center near the marina and the market. Then we drove 30 min to Castellet, which has great views and very steep streets. We had a guided walk to the top of the village for a great lookout and then free time (1 hour total). There are free public toilets in the village but you have to go down and then back up a bunch of stairs to get there. It was a 30 min drive back to the ship. Our guide was excellent.