August 25, 2006
Our sail date was 8/25/06 but we arrived two days prior to see sites in Rome. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard-Airport and were pleased with the room and service. We arranged for a tour of the Vatican with EnjoyRome.com on 8/24/06 and thought it was amazing! We used Rome Cabs for our transfer to Port and were extremely pleased (driver even waited for us at airport while we tried to follow up on lost baggage.)
Embarkation was a piece of cake, we arrived at approx. 2:00pm and Galaxy personnel were friendly and efficient ... we were in our room by 2:30pm. We decided to explore ship and visit Oasis Buffet. Our bags were waiting for us when we returned to our room approx. 4:00pm
This cruise was the first for us so we did not have other ships to compare the Galaxy to. We thought she was in great shape for being a bit old. Yes some things looked a little worn (the linens in room, carpet in some areas, upholstery) but who cares about little things like these. I was more interested in the quality of the service, food and entertainment. Our room was a Concierge Class and was very spacious. I would recommend a veranda as you get to sit and enjoy the views when arriving to port and can also soak in the sun on sea days if you want.
We had a late seating for Dinner 9:15pm but it worked out fine. I cant imagine having the early seating I would have felt rushed since some of the excursions ended late in the day. The food in the dining room was incredible - one time I thought the pasta was a bit salty and our waiter Juan replaced it with a different plate. The food was extra especial on the three formal nights (lobster, escargot, filet minon, etc.)Activities/Entertainment - On sea days they had different things to do, Bingo, Bridge games, Casino competitions, trivia, shopping seminars, etc. Most of these activities catered to a certain age group (we are in our 30s) so my husband and I did not participate in these daily events. We would go to pool or fitness center. Every night they had entertainment in the Galaxy Theater that was properly scheduled around the different dinner times. Some of these shows were excellent, Jack Walker was fabulous and the pianist in the "Around the World" show was incredible. The Galaxy Dancers were OK but the singers were wonderful. The Galaxy had a quartet in the Martini Bar that was quite good.
Excursions - We had a fun time with most of the excursions we selected. Naples: We picked the Island of Capri and enjoyed it very much. (Be wary because the boat ride to the island proved to be very rocky for many passengers and they got sick on the way-we took some seasickness medicine and were ok) Once in Capri the views were spectacular and I highly recommend that you take the ski lift in Anacapri since it takes you to the highest point in the island. Wow! Santorini: The tour to the Village of Oia (pronounced "Ea") was great we took plenty of pictures of this magnificent island with its white houses and blue domes. We also bought some wine to bring back home. Mykonos: We selected Ancient Delos and this was the only excursion that I probably would not recommend. The island we went to for the tour was very lonely and only had the ruins - it was extremely hot and there was no shade anywhere-unless you want to be an archeologist do not go. Several people went to the beach or enjoyed the shops and cafes. Mykonos is a good port to do on your own. Messina, Sicily: We did Taormina and loved this little city. It was charming with its gorgeous views and nice streets covered with cobblestone. I only wished that we had had more time in this town. Cannes, France: We did the Grasse and St. Paul tour and found it very interesting. I bought a lot of perfume to bring back to my friends and family (p.s. it was not cheap!). St. Paul was a tiny town surrounded by high walls and was really quaint. After our tour we enjoyed walking in Cannes and even took off our shoes and strolled on the beach (FYI it is topless I some areas). Livorno/Florence: Although the Taste of Florence tour was ok (our guide was French and was very soft spoken and not very interesting.) We were hugely disappointed because we visited on a Sunday and a lot of things are closed and it was sooo crowded (with tourists.) We could not go in to churches and only the tourist trap shops were open! You hear about the great leather and gold opportunities but everything was overpriced (p.s. if you want beautiful gold at great prices visit Adonis in Mykonons). The ride to Florence was very long 1 ½ hrs. each way. We did not do any of the museums but noticed that there were very long lines. Conclusion: We selected good excursions and generally pleased but I will say that some of these excursions were strenuous and some older passengers were having trouble keeping up.
Disembarkation was uneventful and our driver from Rome Cabs was waiting for us close to our ship.
Overall, we had a great time for our first cruise experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. The Galaxy was nice and comfortable, the food was great and more importantly every crew member was friendly and accommodating.