We chose this cruise as a family vacation for a group of seven family members ages 17-73. It was the first trip to Europe for 5 of the seven cruisers. This was the 25th cruise for my husband and I. We booked 3 mini-suites on Deck 13. The cabins were excellent, however, the balconies were tiny. Great living quarters and large and spacious bathroom. The ship was beautiful and well-maintained. Our favorite dining rooms were the Manhattan Room, Taste, Moderna and Ocean Blue. There were activities onboard for people of all ages. We also enjoyed the Atrium Bar very much. Good entertainment daily in the Atrium with game shows that were fun.
This cruise was truly a port-intensive itinerary. There was only one sea day; which was fine by us because it allowed us to see the highlights of Italy, Greece and Malta in a short timeframe. In fact, the Captain arrived an hour early in every port that we visited. That enabled us to have more time in these fascinating ports.
The only negative that we experienced on this trip was the stop at Santorini. Santorini is a tender-only port. There were seven cruise ships in that harbor on the day that we arrived. There was a minimal number of Santorini tenders to service all of those ships. It took us three hours to get on a tender from the ship. I booked a private tour there that was supposed to start at 2:00. The tour guide was waiting for us at the top of the chair lift. When we finally arrived at the port, the line for the small chair lift was another two hours long. Needless to say, we missed our tour. NCL should warn guests that it could take literally hours to leave the ship. The harbor master in Santorini should never allow more than a few ships in that port because the port simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support thousands upon thousands of visitors at one time. We enjoyed all of the other ports: Mykonos, Katakolon, Malta, Sicily, Naples and Livorno.
We had Club Balcony suites on Deck 13 starboard. The rooms were excellent with excellent closet space, a dual vanity bathroom with a huge shower and glass door enclosure. The only knock on these rooms were the tiny balcony. We spend tie on our balcony and this must have been the smallest balcony on any ship that I’ve ever seen.
We chose a tour with Viator to see Florence and Pisa in one day. We’ve been to those cities before, but wanted our children and grandchildren to see them. We spent 3.5 hours in Florence and 1.5 hours in Pisa. Although the time period was brief, we showed them the highlights of both places in the allotted time frame. We were charged 7 Euros per person to get a shuttle to the city center where we picked up our tour. The bus driver drove us right back to the ship on the way back to save us the additional charge for a shuttle back to the boat.
We visited Malta once before and loved it. We took a private excursion through Viator for our group of 7. We had a very good tour guide who took us to historic sites in Malta including a church dedicated to the Knights of the Templar; a walking trip through the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Jean de Valletta Square, Floriana, a boat tour through the Malta Grottos and a walking tour through Mdina. I would recommend Malta to anyone who is interested in the Knights of the Templar and the history of this fascinating island.
Mykonos is a beautiful Greek island that is postcard picturesque and easy to navigate by yourself. We did Mykonos on our own because we’ve been there before and knew the landscape. I enjoy Mykonos and would gladly return to see it in the future.
We’ve visited the Amalfi Coast multiple times prior to this cruise and wanted our children and grandchildren to experience the Isle of Capri. We took a hydrofoil from the Port of Naples for the :45 minute to Capri. We then bought tickets for a boat tour around the island and boarded that boat in about ten minutes for a fascinating and beautiful tour around the island. We went through multiple beautiful grottos. Unfortunately, the Blue Grotto was closed due to sea conditions, but the guide more than made up for it by getting us into the other grottos around Capri. When we returned, we took a bus to Ana Capri. The small bus experience in Capri is a must do to get the whole experience. Ana Capri is a lovely spot at the very top of Capri. The views from Ana Capri are stunning and the lovely shops and restaurants there are wonderful. We spent 7-hours in Capri and returned to the ship on the hydrofoil service. Unforgettable experience.
We were pleased to see this port on the itinerary because we never visited it before. The port is very nice. The city is very clean and beautiful with restaurants and souvenir shops in walking distance from the port. We chose an excursion to Olympia through Viator. We spent a number of hours viewing the ruins of Mount Olympus and the first Olympic track and field venue. This was a great excursion of an area with a multitude of historic significance.
We’ve visited Taormina many times in the past and we have never missed Taormina on our many trips to Sicily. This trip was no exception. We booked a tour through Viator and spent two hours in beautiful Taormina to experience the beauty of this city on the mountain. Taormina is a major tourist attraction in Europe for a good reason. It’s absolutely stunning. We then went further up the mountain to Castelmola for a delightful experience in this small and lovely mountain town. On the way back to the ship, we had a bus tour of Messina and visited the lovely cathedral in the Piazza Duomo.
Rome is my favorite city in the world. We’ve visited it often and arrived two-days prior to the cruise to allow us to visit our favorite spots in Rome before we embarked on our cruise. We stayed at the Best Western El Presidente in central Rome a few blocks from the Colosseum. It was a very nice hotel with a fantastic breakfast buffet. We visited the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hills, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and The Vatican. If you’ve never been to Rome, then do yourself a favor and ensure that you spend at least a few days either pre-or post-cruise to experience a thrill of a lifetime.
The only disappointment on my cruise was Santorini. There were seven ships in the harbor on the day that we arrived and the Santorini tender service simply couldn’t handle the number of ships in a timely manner. As a result, it took us 3-hours to get off of the ship. Then, the line for the cable car to reach the top was another two-hours long. That gave us the option to climb the 600 steps up the donkey trail. We climbed up about half of it and the walk was far from enjoyable as donkeys were going up and down the steep hill and leaving messes behind them. We ended up missing our private tour because we couldn’t get to the top of the hill to meet our tour guide. NCL should warn passengers about the length of time that it may take to get ashore. If I knew that it was a 3-hour wait, I simply would have stayed on the ship. We took magnificent pictures of Santorini from the ship and if Santorini is on an itinerary for a future cruise, I will not leave the ship.