May 2015 - Allure of the Seas to Europe - Western Mediterranean
I honestly can't say anything negative about our cruise. The ship is beautiful, the crew were outstanding, The entire process of boarding the ship was to our surprise very easy. We had per-registered. We started in Spain, we had arrived a day and a half early to experience Barcelona. We chose to take a double Decker bus tour, which was perfect. We were able to get off at several stops and re-board the bus at any point of its route. All for one minimal price. Plus, we were able to catch additional buses that toured other parts of the city. They are quite easy and accessible.
Palma De Mallorca, Spain was about the same a Barcelona. Marseilles, France was a bit of a neutral day. We choose to not go on a shore excursion and just walk the town, which was quint, busy, and loud. Your typical tourist stop.
However, the shore excursion to Tuscany was a slight disappointment. which may just be a culture difference. Being from USA, the wine tasting we've experienced have been quite different.The tour guide was historical, and quit informed, when we arrived at the winery we had per-conserved thoughts of what was going to happen. We and others on the tour thought we were going to see the barrels, the ceillers, the process of making wines and tasting different wines. What we found was we were being 'sold' on the extra virgin olive oils that are produced at the winery. We did have a nice simple snack that included 4 wines, and a desert wine, Outside at the family style tables. we felt it to be nice, comfortable and peaceful in the country side of Tuscany. Where we also learned about the white marble in the mountains through out this beautiful setting. All things considered we had a lovely day.
Marseilles, France was a bit of a neutral day. We choose to not go on a shore excursion and just walk the town, which was quint, busy, and loud. Your typical tourist stop.
Beware at Civictavecchia, Italy when you disembark at the dock, there have about a hundred salesman/and women trying to sell you a 'tour' in Rome. Our experience was unsettling, we did accept one tour guide, (what we thought was a tour guide). We haggled for a tour price, which was 200.00 euro down from 250.00 euro for the Private Tour which included tickets to the front of each place's line, and simple entry into the Vatican, etc... once we saw the 'van' an got in, INSTANTLY, I was uncountable, the van was a pigs sty newspapers everywhere, visible dirt on the seats, filthy arm rest, and in general un-exceptionable! As we left the port, the driver got a call to return to the port, He was instructed to pick up another couple and they were to join our "PRIVATE TOUR". Once back at the port a nice young couple were waiting for us. We started a conversation with them and they too were told it would be a Private tour, and their tour was to be 200.00 euro also. After a brief conversation with the 'seller' of the tour we all decided to walk to the train station, about 10 minutes from the port. The train was a fraction of the cost of a 'private tour' we enjoyed the views of the countryside...it arrived in the middle of Rome. Where we continued our day on foot and taxi when we needed one. For warring, their are many vendors, all over the city. Some licensed and a-lot that are not. Plenty of police and army post around the city, which gave us a sense of both secure and cautious. Beware of PICK-POCKET-ERS, we were warned that they would be all over the city. Rome was delightful.
Naples was a fun, free spirit city... I think it was one of my high lights. It is extremely delightful, (yes alot of tourist) but we walked the city, met a number of wonderful Italians. Ate at a family run for 3 generations pizzara off the main stream of the city. We enjoyed listening and experiencing the culture of Napals.
We Highly recommend the Chief's Table Dinner.
The Chef's Table was Formal and quit enjoyable. Sommeller, Adrian Samuels was excellent well informed and personable.The presentation was elegant.
The Windjammer Main restaurant was extremely crowded an loud with children in and out. Definitely a family environment. The crew were pleasant and abundant. Tables were cleared and cleaned admittedly. The food was good and plentiful.
Solarium Bistro Restaurant, we had breakfast there one morning. We found it to be crowded and had to search for a clean table. Casual environment.
Chops Grille was ok... however, to be fair we did have a group of 11. we felt the food to be 'ok' nothing really stood out... out of the 'norm' of a nice restaurant.
Sabor, was a disappointment. The Spanish flavors were diffident from our expatiation. The chips and Fresh Guacamole was the best over all.
We ordered room serves twice. Both times for breakfast the meal was your typical 'american' breakfast. With a twist, they only had scramble eggs, not the over easy please. The hash-browns we ordered were under cooked with the taste of cardboard. We had ordered orange juice and didn't get it. The bacon was fatty, The scrambled eggs were a bit runny for my taste. The coffee was too strong for our taste. The second day we ordered Decaf to tone the flavor down a bit. My husband bought Starbucks everyday...
I personally enjoyed the Vitality Cafe', I juice and make smoothies everyday at home... to my surprise the Vitality Cafe' quenched my thirsts with the healthy flare I love.
I personally felt the Vitality Spa was too pricey. Disclosure... we live in Las Vegas ware Spa's and Salon's are abundant. We have the extremely pricey to the neighborhood local Salon's. I did expect them to be pricey, however during the cruise they offered specials which were responsible. Two for one type of deal. If I had had a treatment the first couple of days, I would have felt a little taken advantage of later in the cruise to find a half price special. (just my opinion)
About the ship... be prepared... it is HUGE! I would recommend reservations EVERY NIGHT wherever you chose to dine. Which we had. Otherwise many lines of waiting to be seated. Another observation, be prepared again for 'Dress Codes"... each eatery has its own venue. We chose to dress each night, Tux, Suites, gowns, dresses...etc...
The ship has plenty to keep a person engaged in activities. From playing cards in the library, to miniature golf on deck 16. Even though we didn't have children on the cruise, it appeared the childrens needs were met. Plenty of pools an hot tubs for both children and adults.... Basketball, to chess.
Lastly, We can not say enough good praise for our Suite Attendant. Dessal Satwashil, He was absolutely one of the best surprises of our entire trip. Dessai from the first time we met to the final departure, Dessai was extremely attentive, resourceful, pleasant, helpful person of our entire cruise!! Exemplary !! We give him the highest marks over the entire cruise.