The ship was due to sail from Venice and we were advised that due to the weather, it was now leaving from Trieste but we needed to check in at Venice at usual from 11am.
Of course, the weather is not their fault.
We arrived early at 10:30 and proceeded to check in, it was fairly fast, we had done it online and the staff were fast to label our cases and clear us to the departure lounge, at this time we notices three empty buses outside the door and a couple more in the car park, all good, they told us it was 90 minutes to Trieste and we would be on our way at noon, maybe 12:30. At this time there was nowhere to get a drink and even though it was still not 11am, there were about 100-150 people in the lounge. We were given ticket number 12.
For the best part of an hour no-one seemed to leave and when I asked, I was told we were on bus number 12, first in line were priority passengers, then number 10, 11 and then us.
The buses were still there, empty, they were making everyone wait until the priority passengers were on the way, except... they hadn't arrived yet. When there were no announcements that you could hear and by the time we got on a bus for the 120km (at 57kph) journey at 13:50, no one was checking tickets and clearly we could have just got on the bus. Upon arrival at port, they take your boarding documents and say welcome aboard, your cabin is ready... erm, I've just given you the only thing with my cabin number on it...
Grumpy passengers were everywhere but hey, we're on vacation and, this was SO cheap!
From the moment you set foot on board, the staff are hassling you to take out the drink packages, we booked ours before departure but then they hassle you to upgrade it for another 10 euro per person per day.
The ship is either garish or stunning depending on your frame of mind, we loved it, it shouted VACATION! Loads of places to sit and lots of comfort.
The easy drinks package pays for itself at about 6 alcoholic drinks per day, or 11 coffees, we broke even on it but it is a tiny bit limited, of course, the staff are all top notch professionals and although, for example, a pina colada is not part of the deal, a virgin pina colada is, and so is white rum, they even give you a stirrer.
The cabin, is what it is, we went inside, 9th floor, fore and it was really well sound insulated, the climate control is just about ok but as soon as you take your card out of the slot, it all goes off apart from the bathroom. Charge your stuff in there if you need to (shhh) You need a long lead though, the socket in in the roof.
The 3rd bed is always a pain in these, you always bang your head on it.
Like everything on the ship, it was spotless and given that the day after we left, it was going into dry dock for a deep clean, everything was in great order.
Entertainment, it's a bit "MEH" lots of duos and shouty cruise staff better suited to a kids club.
Theres a 4d cinema, never saw it used. Short ten pin bowling, a pool table, a tennis court, ping pong.
Pools - the indoor pool was 77degrees and the outdoor pool was drained (it IS december) the hot tubs seat 6, but have a capacity of 4!
There was 4 of them in use and 2 on the upper open deck roped off.
The itinerary was superb, but that changes week to week
The food. Oh dear.
If you like bland, you'll love it as long as you don't also like variety.
4 pizzas every day seemingly from a selection of 6 in total.
Filleted fish every day, with bones in.
usually one roast meat, mostly pork, occasionally beef.
Vegan? don't bother.
Desserts - lots of little cakes, the same fruit all week fro breakfast lunch and dinner
Late night sandwiches were nice, but no variety
Best thing on the menu? 4-5pm burgers, bland and tasteless but with enough jalapenos, pretty good.
Restaurant service was "ok" Menu was better but again lacking in imagination. We tried it once and gave up on it. Possibly more of a statement on our relaxed dining style.
Only one "special restaurant" they really hate food don't they!
The shops on board were brilliant, always a sale on though, but always still overpriced but a good range and actually, some of the MSC branded stuff was excellent value
The casino has happy hours (NCL take note) with $3 blackjack and it's SO popular.
Karaoke set up was superb (no I didn't)
One other tiny but annoying thing, in the corridors around the cabins, it's easy to forget which way you are going, NCL have the fish carpets so you always know where front is, maybe a few arrows... just saying. I walked the entire length of the ship on day one, about 6 times before I realised where things were.
The staff seem to be mainly filipino and all of them speak a number of languages, they are all so lovely and helpful, Beth and Amanda in the Sports bar get a special mention, but in truth every single member of staff we met was a joy to talk to.
Would we book again? At this price yes, absolutely, about £55 a night, at "normal prices" no.
Disembarkation was easy enough, followed by a 2 hour bus trip back to Venice. They tell you that you MUST put your cases out and you CANNOT carry them off yourself. Load of rot, we watched a number of passenger doing just that and no-one even commented on it.
It's next trip is a 4 month world cruise, I rather suspect that I'd be looking for food ashore after 3 weeks of that.
Compact but everything is in there, good storage space, superb beds, excellent lighting but, the 3rd bed (we didn't use it) hangs on the wall just in the right place to crack your head on.
It was closed! We went from Trieste instead.
Easy to just walk around, stunning little town with lovely people.
Great little one horse town, feels like a greek Tombstone, lovely little cafes and shops.
Frankly, it's all a bit overrated but only because there were 3 ships in the volcano, everywhere was rammed.
Athens is SO disappointing and I'm sorry, but the Greeks should be ashamed of themselves, graffiti EVERYWHERE, litter everywhere.
The Acropolis park is really well laid out but to see so much spray paint is disheartening. I've always felt that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece, I now realise that they should stay where they are, safe from vandalism and corruption. Shameful.View All 390 Acropolis Reviews
The port area is grotty but 3km of level walking takes you to a vibrant and delightful old town. Love to go back soon.
Nothing prepares you for the beauty of the Fjord and the walled city. Just incredible. 300m from the pier - take a tour and miss the best bit!