Thank you to previous review writers of this cruise ship. Our expectations were fairly low with all the negative reviews, but we still booked because we liked the ports . Surprise, we loved the ship. I should point out I’ve also travelled on bigger ships with the Celebrity and Norwegian lines.
Many complained about the meals. We found them delicious ( except for one night) Some complained about the portions being too small. This was great for me I have a tendency to eat everything on my plate and get overfull. What people might not know is you could order two or three main courses. Don’t like the one you ordered, the waiter got another. Want a second helping, no problem. The menus were varied. My only complaint was you had to pay for a lobster tail meal for 22 euro. The menu said lobster tails ( plural) in 5 languages ( plural ) but you only get one ... however it was delicious .
I never found any of the people on board pushy ( some reviews complained about pushy Italians)and the staff were mostly friendly and courteous... a few female waiters could smile a bit more.
The ship was nicely decorated and very clean. The theatre had a very glitzy Art Deco style. It took a few days to realize there was this nice dining area at the back buffet on deck 13. Also it leads to an quiet upper seating area on deck 14.
Our balcony cabin was quite roomy and I had way more storage than on Celebrity or Norwegian. There was also this huge mirror across from the bed that made it seem larger.
Ship improvements-There is always room for improvements and I wish there was some trash cans around the boat, when we had small trash to throw out. Also there are no clocks on board so I had to carry around my iPhone for the correct time.
Embarking and Disembarking was amazingly fast. I think this is because people get on and off at different ports, so there is less congestion.
The ports were the reason we took the cruise and we were not disappointed. Suprisingly one of our favourite ports was La Coruna a very picturesque town that we enjoyed strolling and taking photos.
We only booked two excursions which were disappointing. At Verdon, we booked the wine excursion to the Medoc wine area. We chose this over the Bordeau because we did not want to be on a bus for a long tim. But we ended up being mostly on the bus for the entire 4 hours, except for 10 minutes outside the gates of one chateau and less than an hour at another chateau. It was suppose to be a French chateau but it’s now owned by the Chinese and the wine was not to my liking. Also the tour guide was silent for the majority of the tour... horrible. In Southampton we did London on your own excursion . Our bus had no AC and the windows could not be opened . Just two vents in the roof that one woman kept closing, not caring the people in the second half of the bus were left in sweltering heat . I should have investigated the hop on hop off better. Don’t buy it on the cruise. Cheaper lines sell the passes all over London . We don’t have time for this expensive option which included a boat ride and extended routes. We paid way too much. I wish we had just one hour more in the Southampton port so London was not so rushed. But we did enjoy our time there .
Ports... La Coruna..as mentioned we loved it. We’re photographers and the old town wasn’t crowded in the early morning and very picturesque .
Bilbao-took the shuttle. Visited The Guggenheim and the old town. We lucked into to two great exhibits at the Guggenheim . Excellent port
Verona - see note above
Amsterdam- great port, very crowded, we visited the Rijksmuseum ( booked on our own before the cruise )and booked our own nighttime canal wine and cheese cruise.
Hamburg- not my favourite port
Southampton -see London comments above.
Ship entertainment -we liked the shows. I understand the limitations of having multilingual passengers. The shows on Norwegian were better but a pain to line up for tickets and limited seating. This was more relaxed and I loved the West Side Story show.
Dining- we had a late seating with two other couples and had a great time with them. Luckily we all spoke English. On a few occasions non English passengers were seated with us. I think they may have had free seating. They seemed uncomfortable and isolated . More time should be taken matching up table partners based on a common language. As mentioned we enjoyed our food in the dining room and the buffet. I miss the watermelon