We were surprised at how elegant the ship was. We generally cruise on big glitzy boats -- this one was so nice and understated and was like a country club.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We dined at both the steakhouse and the Italian restaurant. Both were excellent, phenomenal attention to detail and well worth the $20 cost per person. The main dining room was also great -- lots of small tables, so everyone seemed happy. The dining options were hit or miss, either great or mediocre. Lots of variety, and the staff was willing to make anything if you didnt like what was on the menu. The Panoramic Buffet was always open, great desserts, breakfast and lunch had lots of great options and it was always easy to get a table...
5 out of 5
Lots of options (bingo, culinary demonstrations, port talks). I loved that many of the events were also given over the TV (port talks, etc.).
3 out of 5
No babysitting services for any under 3 (it's 6 mos on many ships, 1 year on some). No true "kids zone" -- so the childrens programs took place in a card room (board games, art projects, etc.) But for children a bit older, lots of do -- bingo, swimming, pottery painting, etc.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Shore excurison staff was great, dancers were outgoing, formal dining room staff was good (not great -- took 4 or 5 nights before they knew our "regular" likes (drink choices, which kind of bread rolls our 1 year old could eat, etc.) But that is my only complaint.
5 out of 5
The ship's layout was really nice -- it never felt like you were going out of your way to get from one place to another (benefit of a small ship!). The public areas were great -- especially the bars (Pacific Lounge, casino bar, etc.).
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The room was larger than we thought -- and our bags fit neatly under the bed. We had stateroom 6021 -- and loved the location (except that we could hear the beat of the music in the Cabaret Lounge for the shows). We tended to go to bed early (we traveled with our 1 year old) and could hear it until 11 most nights. It wasn't loud enough to keep us or the baby up, though. We loved using our balcony, too. Bathroom was small (but nothing unexpected on a cruise ship).
In advance of our trip, we hired Ramses Tours (guide Mohamed) to pick us up at the port, and drive us to Cairo for an overnight stay. We stayed at Le Meridiens Pyramids which was AMAZING! DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO STAY IN CAIRO! Our room looked right out onto the pyramids. It looked fake it was so amazing. We toured the pyramids of giza, the sphinx, sakkara pyramid in memphis, ramses II statue in memphis, etc. We did the sound and light tour at the pyramids at night which I loved!
Beautiful day -- we took a public bus (easy to walk to once we knew where we were going) to Positano (lovely drive), walked around Positano (beautiful), took a ferry to Capri. We took a 2 hour private boat ride around the island, which was a trip highlight. Beautiful and relaxing, trips into the grottos, etc. Had a delicious lunch, too, in one of the restaurants on the water.
We didn't do the tour of the monastery (we aren't too interested in St John!), and there is almost nothing else to do on this island. We got off, shopped in a few souvenir shops right off the tender, and got back on the boat.
We had a taxi take us to Ephesus for $90 USD round trip. We didn't bargain for this price (it's probably cheaper to do so!). Ephesus was beautiful -- we wish we had done the audio (but couldn't because we were traveling with a baby, who requires more of our attention!).
We didn't do much in Alexandria -- spent a bit of time on the waterfront and stopped at the library -- much of this day was spent in Cairo -- at the Egyptian Museum, taking a falluca ride on the Nile. Another amazing day in Egypt!
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