We chose the Ancient Empires & Mediterranean Rivieras cruise as it ticked several Bucket List destinations. It was a more expensive cruise fare than usual, even accounting for the length (2 cruises back-to-back), but that was only the start of the costs. Almost everything is an extra cost. We expect to pay a reasonable amount for a cruise but surely service should be included in the ticket price - to find $14.50 added per day per person for gratuities is ludicrous, and 15% for a bottle to be brought to your table and opened is even worse! Be aware that the cheapest bottle of wine is $35 + $7 if you want it opened, not surprisingly many people opted out of alcohol all together. In the speciality restaurants you aren't even offered this and the wines seem to start at $65 unless you specifically ask for the usual wine menu. Sadly we see that many cruise lines are charging service like this these days. Fortunately someone told us we could ask for the gratuities to be removed from our bill, so we did, and tipped as we thought appropriate.
Excursions were incredibly expensive compared to other excursion companies so we gave them a miss and prebooked elsewhere. Elsewhere, a friend needed acupuncture for a bad back and was charged $169 for a 40 minute session. Even Americans who had sailed with H&A several times before commented that nothing changed except the prices that just kept going up.
The highlight of the ship for us was Rudi's Sel de Mer restaurant - the food was excellent and the service impeccable, we returned 3 times - portion sizes are generous to say the least and you do get freebies at the start of the meal, so beware you don't eat too much to start with or you won't finish your main course. The Lido deck offered a good range of different/interesting lunchtime options and was much better than the so-so food in the main dining room. Room service breakfast surprisingly was not at an extra cost but after 8,30am not reliable in terms of either delivery time or content.
Our balcony cabin 6076 was small compared to others we have had in smaller ships on cheaper cruises, much to our surprise as Americans usually seem to expect larger rooms. It had what we needed but storage was tight. We were pleased to find a welcome (half) bottle of wine and a 2 litre bottle of water apparently waiting for us on boarding - we were not surprised based on previous experience of other lines. Sadly we found that both were charged for as part of the fridge supplies - at $5.50 for the water, we were not impressed.
Entertainment almost completely lacking, the huge theatre was seldom used except for "book an excursion" presentations on the places we were to visit - what a waste. As it was an archaeological cruise, I expected some archaeological talks to explain the history and background of the region but there was nothing at all. No "enrichment" activities, in fact if you are not into the gym, quizzes or games, there was very little to keep you occupied during sea days. The nightly soul and rock'n'roll music could have been enjoyable but the volume was so loud that you felt you were being screamed at. Be aware that cabins on floors 3,4 and 5 above the Billboard Onboard lounge can hear the noise until very late.
All in all not an experience we want to repeat and we won't be sailing with Holland & America again.
Small with not much storage space. Good view from balcony which was not obstructed on the deck.
Excellent guide, well timed and interesting site.
Fascinating site, very well preserved, much to look at and an excellent guide to tell you all about it.
Not really worth the time. No guarantee Mary lived there, circumstantial. Small building with little to look at.
Not a lot to see - one column left? Excuse to visit local pottery.
Short boat ride out to the island, then slippery walk up to the caldera. We gave up half way but some did get to the top.
Interesting site as it's still occupied. Guide very informative about present day Split.
Taormina more upmarket than most towns visited, plenty of time to wander round after tour. Informative guide.
Interesting visit to Etna and surrounding countryside, Taormina more upmarket than most towns visited, plenty of time to wander round after tour. Informative guide.
Visited the Archaeological Museum which was closed on our last visit in 2014 - we chose the one day when it doesn't open till noon! The coffee shop outside did a roaring trade that morning! Interesting museum, the mask of Agamemnon is stunning but there's plenty more to see as well.
We used the HopOnHopOff bus into Athens but it was as cheap to take a taxi back to the ship and much quicker in the traffic.