July 2015 - Nieuw Amsterdam to Europe - Mediterranean
The ship itself is wonderful. I've sailed on it twice. If you're already spending the money on a verandah stateroom, for a minuscule amount of money you can get a spa stateroom. Choose one on the 11th deck (observation deck) because there are only 5 staterooms on either side of the ship, in a quiet hallway nestled between the coffee shop/library/forward observation lounge and the private cabana club. So a stateroom there feels very private and exclusive but really is not more expensive than an ordinary verandah room. The food on board was very good, and it is definitely worth it to reserve at the specialty restaurants. At the Pinnacle Grill steakhouse you'll pay $30 for a delicious meal that would cost well over $100 at any other restaurant. The Tamarind is also very good. Service on board is always great, the crew very friendly and accommodating. The itinerary was the reason we chose this particular cruise. Each stop seems more beautiful than the last. However, the first stop, Marseille, is a real letdown; It is an ugly town with little to offer. One has to venture about an hour out of port to see anything remotely worthwhile. And since it was the first stop and on Saturday, it caused problems for the next 2 ports because Sunday in Monaco all the shops are closed and Monday in Florence all of the state museums are closed. That being said, there is still plenty to do in and around Monaco and Florence! But it annoyed me and I'm sure others would feel that Marseille was not just a waste but a real problem with this particular itinerary. Make sure to book at least 2 days in Barcelona before sailing, and the same in Venice. All in all, this was the best vacation we've ever taken. But be prepared, you'll want to revisit almost every port to spend much more time in each one!