May 2015 - Norwegian Spirit to Europe - Mediterranean
We were two couples from the USA booking this cruise 6 months in advance with balcony rooms. Five countries on the Mediterranean in 12 days was truly a terrific experience with only two sea days and all the ports we were most interested in; Venice, Athens, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona. As is usual on a cruise, there was almost always food available with frequent outdoor grilling and of course the buffet. The two main table service dining rooms were very good with some of the wait staff extra pleasant. The food selection off the menu varied each day and was mostly very good with the occasional just ok. shore excursions were excellent as we booked two all day trips well in advance for Athens and Rome. These were guided, transported, relatively small group excursions with very knowledgeable, personable, articulate guides. Although these were long days, we were able to experience a huge amount of sites in these two cities. Clearly it was far better than attempting these ports on our own. For Istanbul, we hired a taxi driver right off the ship, and in Livorno, we hired a private car service in advance to take us to Florence. Both of these turned out excellent as well. The other ports we did on our own and had apartments in Venice preceding the cruise, and in Barcelona, on completing our cruise. I used Trip Advisor and Airbnb respectively for these apartments that turned out fabulous and less than half the price of a hotel. Our three week vacation from start to finish was truly an awesome experience.