It was our 10th anniversary this year, but I am a teacher and we have a 2yo and a 5yo. We were trying to figure out something that was new and exciting, had some active days and some relaxing days, would fit with our schedule but not drop us into summer crowds, and was something we would eventually want to go back and explore more when our kids get older. This cruise fit all the bills, so we booked. We are somewhat control-freak nervous-travelers, but can definitely relax when the time is right, so we planned to land a day early, and leave a day later. We landed in Rome, booked an afternoon tour of the Vatican, checked into our hotel, and took the free shuttle down to the city center. Rome is great, and we are definitely going to come back, but that doesn't have much to do with the cruise, so I will move on.
Embarkation day we went to the airport to meet our transfer. I think we were the first ones there, there was a bit of a wait and not a lot of direction, but in the end, we got on an awesome double-decker bus, met some of our neighbors for the next ten days and enjoyed a gorgeous ride from the airport to the cruise port. It was amazing. The cruise port was great, they had a lot of seating, amenities, called people up by group, processed everything quickly, and got us on the ship by noon. My husband left his passport at the check-in desk and they ended up leaving us a notice in our stateroom that we had lost something and they recovered it, so we went to guest services to retrieve it. We didn't even know we had left it because the first day of the cruise was sea-day, so we hadn't needed it. Day 1 was exploration, we found the irish pub, Henry's, that became our home for the cruise, and where we met the best people, including Jay, the bartender. Boy is he knowledgeable about whiskeys! And really just the best with customer service!! The art gallery onboard (an actual art gallery, not a hallway or 'we took over this lounge for a few hours') was great, especially because we have a habit of buying art on every cruise we go on. The steakhouse food was great. None of the food servers were really anything to write home about, and some of them were pretty obnoxious, but with the freestyle dining, they can be easily avoided. The Italian restaurant onboard makes up for in taste what it lacks in ambiance (as it is just a section of the buffet cordoned off at night for the specialty dining). The Osso Bucco was to die for. The french restaurant was kind of a waste of time and effort, and I am glad we took two nights in the steakhouse instead. The shore excursion staff was GREAT!! Most of the excursions were amazing and well worth it. The only one I would warn against was the Athens Acropolis and Leisure tour. The Acropolis can be seen alone and read about in a travel book, and the leisure just consisted of 'eat at this restaurant we get a kickback from and shop at these stores we get a kickback from' with not the best tour guides. I wish there had been more time to get off the boat and explore in Crete (we only had a 5 hour port call and Chania doesn't have much, so it is a half hour or more to get to anything non-industrial), but it was also nice to relax on the ship one of the days to recover from all of the exploring. The ship was perfect and the experience still has me glowing and excited for our next trek to Greece or Italy!!
Our Cabin was great, our steward was attentive, and we were right off the stairs. The only downside on the 6th deck is that the dining rooms disrupt the flow, so you can't get to your stateroom from any stairs but the forward stairs. BUT, we chose the right location so that we literally just walked off the stairs, turned left, and headed straight to our stateroom. It was really nice!
We love ROME!!! It is so hard not to trip on history, and every tour guide is amazing!
Mykonos, or at least the part we explored, was small, quaint, cute, and amazing. We had some warnings from some people in Athens that they will try to gouge you at the restaurants, but everything was fairly reasonable. Beer and Ouzo is cheaper than water, so drink smart! But the ship provided a free shuttle to the town and it took maybe 5 minutes, and the walking around was just amazing and adorable!