The program director: you knew I was going to start with Paolo, right? I mean, c'mon. Seriously, though, from our chats with our fellow tourists, a good program director makes all the difference and they all rated Paolo "excellent." He speaks Italian (of course), French and English. We learned quickly that if he says "Want to hear a story?" you say yes (also if he says "How about some music?" you say no, but he plays it anyway). He did not hesitate to do impromptu "man-on-the-street" interviews with random locals and translate for us, thus expanding our experience of the small towns, businesses, and history. He was always willing to answer questions, make suggestions, feed us local snacks and liquors, find us tickets.
The itinerary: there were some stops that were a bit of a puzzlement (see things we didn't like) but overall, we saw some great places that we normally would not have traveled to - Nice, St. Paul de Vence, the Cinque Terre and Portofino, Elba Island. And it was busy - for traveling with a "bunch of old folks" (although we were not the youngest ones, and I would say the average age was an active 70-75), there was always something going on and a LOT of walking.
The logistics: You know, it's always good to have to figure out local transportation, take chances on hotels and restaurants, and all of that...but it sure was nice not to have to think about any of that for a change.
The places: needed more time in Nice, the Cinque Terre, and of course you always need more time in Florence. Portovenere was a real gem as well.
The ship: love the small ship concept. And it was really nice - cabins were great, lounge and dining area was comfortable.
The value?: Well, it was pricey - for us anyway. We spent as much for the two of us as we would traveling with the boys (so, four of us) for about the same amount of time - maybe more. But you definitely saw where the money was going, so I would have to say it was good value.