My mother has been telling me for years that we would love a cruise holiday we eventually gave in and booked one just to keep her quiet. Our teenage children insisted that they wouldn't join us if the ship didn't have a climbing wall and an ice rink which is how we came to be boarding the Voyager of the Seas for her journey round the Adriatic.
We had high expectations and were not disappointed. The ship is terrific. It looks splendid from the first moment you get on board. Perhaps if you have cruised on a number of occasions you might get blase about the grandeur of the vessels but as first time cruisers we were impressed.
The Windjammer offers an enormous variety of foods- we especially liked the fresh fruits at breakfast, the burgers at lunchtime but in a week we weren't able to sample everything on offer. The evening meal in the main restaurant was a daily highlight. The choice was always interesting and the quality very good. try something different- the cold fruity soups were lovely.
Very good, a bit cramped for four and the sofa bed is a bit hard to sleep on but no real complaints. The kids loved the beds. The balcony is well worth paying a little extra for.
The room was spotlessly clean, well equipped and the steward was brilliant- they all were.
The next stop was Dubrovnik. Catch one of the regular service buses from just outside the port having changed some money first. The ride is cheap (and seems to be cheaper if you buy the tickets before you get on) but the buses are crowded and a bit uncomfortable. If you want to walk the walls (you really should) get there as early as you can or you will be exposed to the burning sun. Have a stop half way round to have an ice cream and sit by the heavenly fan. Don't be tempted to bail out half way round- the views at the highest point, furthest from the sea, are great. The town itself is lovely and lively. We bought a second ice cream as we were leaving the old town (it was a very hot day) - the shop near the steps where you probably came in is staffed by natural entertainers selling tasty ices for about £1. Buy one.
Venice is beautiful. Make the effort to get up early and watch it glide by as the ship comes in. If you have a balcony on the starboard side you can drift the city drift past you while still in your jim-jams. We had stayed in Venice for a night before joining the cruise so knew that the best way into town when we docked was to get the super efficient and very cheap people mover which gets you to the edge of town. From here it is about an enjoyable thirty minute walk to St Marks Square. You could take forever getting there because every view seems to be wonderful and the shops are a real pull but the square does get very busy so get there quickly and meander back. The lines to the basilica move quickly so don't be put off and there is lift to the top of the campanile though 8 euros is a bit pricey. Have a coffee in the square only if you are feeling very wealthy and beware, if there is music being played you may find yourself paying for that too. You don't have to pay the earth for a meal in Venice but we ate a big breakfast on board, had a very late lunch having spent five hours in town- thankfully we weren't eating till 8.30 due to the flexibility afforded by the my time dining.It would be worth going back into Venice in the evening, it is much less crowded and a delight to amble around.