I wish we had spent more time in Barcelona - either arrived 2 days early instead of 1, or taken a later flight home to take a quick excursion between ship and flight. Barcelona is a great place and I plan to go back.
This was unforgettable and Dubrovnik is beautiful. We stayed on our own and took the Carnival shuttle back, which saved which might have been a negative experience. Our tour guide was charming and informative but was a physically fit young man who walked too fast and didn't notice that he left half of our group behind due to the extreme heat and frequent flights of steps. We did opt to stay in Dubrovnik and take the Carnival shuttle back to the ship, because the tour was very short. If I had to do it over, I would take the Carnival shuttle into Dubrovnik and walk the walls on my own at my own pace. But we did love Dubrovnik.
This, after Rome, was the highlight of our trip. We knew that between 2 days in Rome and 2 days in Venice we might appreciate the villages on this particular port, rather than the crowds in Florence. The best Carnival tour that we went on. We visited 2 small Tuscan villages and had a fabulous lunch and exploring time, and our tour guide was wonderful.
huge disappointment. Lengthy bus ride through unattractive neighborhood and ended up with just 45 minutes to walk through Cassis! Excursion guide was unfriendly and defensive. Would not recommend the Carnival tour. Biggest disappointment of our port excursions.
Day 1 in Rome - we took a private tour with 3 other families and it was a fabulous experience in spite of the heat and the crowds. Rome in Limo is a great tour company. This was a great day. day 2 in Rome - we took the "Rome on your own" through Carnival and another great day. Rome was probably the highlight of our entire trip. Watch out for the pickpockets though!
We did the "Taormina on your own" Carnival tour and again if I had to do it over, I would have gotten to Taormina some other way to allow more time and done something more interesting than walk the touristy shops for 4 hours in the extreme heat. There are good sights in the area and it would have been fun to have had more time. For instance, The Greek Theater might have been a good sight to see but we didn't have time for it.
Day 1 in Venice: took the Carnival shuttle and return. This did not go very smoothly and it was so hot and massively crowded, we had a hard time enjoying our 2.5 hours in Venice with a very expensive transport. Day 2 in Venice: took the Murano-Burano island tour with Carnival. Bought a scarf in one of the villages for 2 Euro more than the same scarf in Venice. Did not return to the ship with the Carnival transportation but stayed in Venice several more hours and returned on our own. Still hot and massively crowded but this was a better day than day #1. I did not love Venice - there, I said it. Rome was much more interesting.