Firstly the Ship is great! I'm glad i wasn't on one of the gaudy Carnival ships i have read so much about. Its still pretty bright but mainly in a nice way.The inside cabins are a bit small but adequate.
The staff on board were wonderful from our little ready Freddie cabin boy, To our fantastic waiters in The lower Blush Restaurant. So a special thank you to Marcel, Norbert and Hansard?? These three made each night fun and made sure we got what we wanted. Everyone remembers your name from Ken the Marvellous Matre de down to the waiters and barman. How they do it i do not know. We took off the 240 dollars pp that Carnival add straight away on your bill for tips and gratuities (bloody cheek!). As you also pay a tip on the drinks as well! We Tipped everyone who was good to us often with a nice envelope at the end, for those who were exceptionally good.
But the food was so good we ate there most nights, we didn't feel it necessary to pay 30 dollars extra to eat in the New york Steak house or 16 for the Italian.
The food in the buffet was mainly good (only one bad experience), though often not hot. OK for breakfast and lunch but not for dinner. The burger bar was exceptional, The Indian nice.The choice was fantastic i Particularly liked the New York Deli where you could get a tasty sandwich with a nice big side salad.
There can be long queues at the Mongolian wok etc.
People dress smart casual for dinner with only one elegant evening, where lounge suits jackets were appropriate. It was very pleasant.
There's a packed programme and all the ports were nice, Dubrovnik palma mallorca Venice and Salerno all really good we made our own way to pompeii from Salerno its easy, cross over to the bus station and take a bus then get the train back This cost us 4.20 euros/ dollars each return instead of the 150 dollars the ship charges. The trip to Florence was good but it was very packed there and there was lots of line standing , so we went off and did our own thing. Cancelled Rome the next day as we had spent 12 hours travelling and sight seeing the day before in Florence.
Would be nice if these 2 were not next to each other so you could rest up in between, it was 40 degrees over 100 Fahrenheit. So you need some stamina.
Venice there was a local strike and we had to stand in line for 45 minutes to get off the ship. However Venice is so beautiful you soon forget.
The Entertainment was not to my liking very much With the exception being Ron Pass in the New York Style piano bar who was exceptionally talented with great bar service from Sylvia!!!. WE are English and the entertainment is geared up towards an American audience more. I Liked the Theatre shows but being an American cruise, i was hoping for more Las Vegas type shows with feathers and plumes and lots of colour. The two shows are Divas (OK) and Latino (very good) the scenery is mainly computer generated and geared up to a young crowd up to about 30 yrs prob. These shows were repeated twice during 12 days. John the entertainment manager again not to our liking even though he is English and the comedy club not much good either. Still you are there to see Europe and lots of people did like him and the constant banter.
The at sea days were very crowded with the beds really far to close together. The serenity deck was a lovely haven, but you had to be up early to grab a bit of that. I didn't like the dirgy country music played live for hours on sea days, but the friends i made from Texas did. so.....
Other moans are that some of the theme restaurants close at 2.30pm and its advertised in the daily sheet as closing at 8.30pm A bit early for non Americans.
One LAST Moan, When you embarque at Barcelona there are NO DISABLED OR SPECIAL ASSISTANCE LINES. And the check in is Chaotic to say the least. Didn't save any time checking in on line. So made it a very uncomfortable start to the cruise for people like me who need a bit of help.
Over all it was a great cruise, with lovely staff and great places to visit. a BIT OF TWEAKING and it will be excellent.