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Kris

Age: 37

Occupation:therapist

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Oosterdam

Sailing Date: 2009-05-19

Itinerary: Mediterranean

We traveled from Venice to Barcelona through the Greek Islands. We went to some wonderful ports of call but had our trip marred by horrible Holland America customer service. Our cabin was flooded, and the front desk people would not address the problem. Numerous errors were made with billing, dinner reservations, and movie showings. Holland America management was patronizing and dismissive. We will never travel with them again. (Our best so far was Princess) However, I highly recommend the area- great things to see.

In the Vista Dining Room, the service was slow and the food not as described on the menu. In the self-service Lido restaurant, the food was quite good with great variety.

The stateroom would have been nice if the floor was not sopping wet when we arrived. Multiple calls received no response. We had to wear shoes in the cabin and walk on the luggage mats for three days until the floor dried on its own. Our steward was good and very friendly. Unfortunately, that did not make up for the disgusting exposure to who-knows-what on the floor.

There seemed to be a good variety of activities. We enjoyed the screening room to see a different movie daily until the shipboard announcements cut out the movie sound but did not pause the movie for 5-10 minutes at a time. Trivia was fun. Some of the evening acts were quite good, and there were many different ones throughout the cruise.

Venice, Italy is always wonderful. Get a water bus day pass to go anywhere including Murano (for glass), Burano (adorably scenic), and down the Grand Canal at night.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is a typical Mediterranean city with a nice Old Town and water views with some swimming accessibility.

Kefalonia, Greece was much like Corfu. Our excursion to Lake Melissani was disappointing as the lake is very tiny and there is a long wait to take the boat across it.
Santorini, Greece was my favorite port with wonderful white-washed towns perched on the top of a caldera. The shore excursion to Oia is well worth the trip. Be prepared to take a tender then cable car (not very scary) or donkey ride to Fira (entry town).
Catania, Sicily was crowded and difficult to navigate but had some interesting things.
Naples, Italy did not have much but Pompeii is a must-see and truly amazing. We took an excursion and went through Viator with good results.

Civitavecchia, Italy had not much of its own for tourists. Rome is a hefty drive usually blocked by traffic and protests. Consider the train which has a combo pass for Rome transit (purchased at the tourist info center at the port entrance). Rome is always a great place to sepnd some time with a combo of history and modern.

Livorno, Italy is the port for Florence which is a beautiful place full of great art. Livorno is also a good place to start a shore excursion for Cinque Terre whihc is unique and beautiful along the water.

Barcelona, Spain was a nice surprise with amazing architecture. Gaudi must be experienced. Just beware of greasy food and don't even brush your teeth with the tap water.

Overall, loved the ports but very disappointed and upset by horrible dealings with Holland America.

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