We have cruised several times our 4th with Carnival. We booked Air, Cruise and Hotels with Carnival and glad I did as I did not have to worry about anything. Upon departure we brought Euros with us. Getting money is no problem atms everywhere. Day 1: Our flights were smooth but very long we flew AA over. Arrived Rome for 2 day pre cruise at 8am, Carnival people right there to help you thru customs, and get you on the buses. We stayed at Jolly Vittorio Veneto Hotel, excellent rooms, buffet breakfast and service. You will not get your room till around 1pm. We had two walking tours booked online, Through Eternity Tours.com, a twilight tour where we met at Spanish Steps and walked about Rome and visited all the interesting sites and finished at Campo De Fiorio. Our guides were well spoken in English and very knowledgeable of the history of Rome. Prices were extremely reasonable for both the tours about 125E. After being up for 40 hrs we finally made it to bed at 11pm. Italian TV was funny, ER in Italian or NCIS, we laughed as they looked so funny talking. Everything is at least a day behind for news. So the baseball playoffs we never knew till a day later. YEAH CARDINALS!!!
Day 2: Up early for lovely buffet breakfast and taxi ride to Vatican. Met tour group at 10am and proceeded to St. Peters. Lines not long, this tour is exceptional as you see everything possible throughout the Vatican. Our tour lasted approx 6 hours. Lunch on own. We found a pizzeria about 3 blocks from the main square and it was delicious. Price was good also 3.50E Beer in soda vending machine about 1.30E , that was for two. Returned to hotel about 6pm and had a lovely dinner. Great food at this property worth the money ,don't tip on credit card they won't get the money. Food can be expensive any in Italy but everything is ordered a la carte.
Day 3: All aboard the ship. Arrived about 12:30pm by bus, and only took 15 mins to board. Luggage arrived about 4pm. We had a 1A cabin, main deck fwd port side. Very roomy, and no loud noises on our floor or rockiness. We did experience some 10-12' waves at certain points. I actually liked it better than an OV or inside. We had two porthole windows. This ship is large and a bit getting used to but you can get from one end to the other by either the main deck or deck 5 or lido deck. The décor of the ship is colorful and very different in each area. Plenty of places to relax, dance, eat and just have fun. The CD is John Heald and the funniest we have ever had. Activities aboard were fun and the shows entertaining. You must remember this is a very port intense cruise so being tired is the norm. Many evening activities were hard to do as sometimes we hit the bed early. Sea days we relaxed and caught up on sleep getting ready for the next run.
Day 4: Naples, we took the Taste of Sorrento tour from the ship and it includes Pompeii. We both enjoyed this tour as it met our needs to see the Amalfi Coast and enjoy the Napoli culture. Pompeii was interesting and educational. Altho, be careful walking as it can become unstable. People did stumble and fall. Wear good walking shoes for this entire cruise as you'll walk for miles everywhere. We ate in dining room 8pm and had a great group at our table. Ours service was very good and the food was good as most everything is very fresh as they don't have many frozen products in Europe. You will fill up fast and be that way for hours, no matter where you eat on or off the ship. Welcome aboard show that night. We watch on TV as we were still pooped. Great show!
Day 5: Sea day and first formal night. Everyone relaxed and slept in. We usually ate breakfast in our room as we like to wake up to coffee. Room service always on time, and good. Keep capers with you and enjoy as much as you can on the ship. Captains welcome party very nice and dinner was lobster. Everyone had two no qualms. First show was SWING. Good entertainment. Off to Karaoke for awhile then bed.
Day 6&7: Venice, sailing into Venice was exciting and the area and sights are beautiful. We did this city on our own very easily. Most of the tours about the area can be done on own. The area of Venice is dirty and lots of people. I found that shopping was very repetitive but prices varied. Glass is VERY expensive but beautiful. As for romantic well to each his own. Gondola rides to high for a 55 min ride120E, at night it's dark (pitch black) and no singing as you would see on TV. Remember on TV anything looks good. We did speak to folks who went to Murano and Burano and told us they were very clean islands and more quaint. This was our 11th anniversary so we ate at Harry's and it was fun. So much food I felt I was 8 months pregnant and looked it. The presentation is what makes it worth the $30 extra. I had the 8 course meal and barely made it through. DH had surf and turf. He gave me a massage for our anniversary and I bought him a watch he has had his eye on for a couple of cruises.
Day 8: Dubrovnik, we went on the Country Konavle tour and it was such fun. The people we so inviting, and entertaining. The lunch was tomato salad, potatoes and homemade sausage. I noticed they use olive oil for everything and light seasoning. The liqueur is potent, could light a fire with it. LOL! People love to sing and enjoy the folks that come to visit them. Went on to Old town and did some shopping. Walked a bit of the wall and then back to the ship. The Adriatic Sea is so blue and some went swimming in Cavetat.
Day 9 was a sea day, took advantage fully, and lazed about. On our way to Sicily we had a rescue of a man in a small dingy who ran out of gas and had been drifting thru the night. Of 3 ships that passed him we were the only one who stopped to help. Now for those of you who don't know it is Seaman's policy to stop and aide your fellow sailor. The man was fine, so contact was made with Italian Coast Card and in 15 mins he was being towed to shore. Of course everyone was watching
Day 10: Sicily, we did Taromina on our own thru ship. Great place and lots of good shopping. I bought some lovely linen and ceramics, DH got a knock-off Rolex works great and this made him happy as it was his main goal over there. You are overlooking the Med and the weather through-out this entire trip has been beautiful.
Day 11 Last sea day and formal night. Last big show and it was great. Unbelievable singing by the staff and the show productions was exceptional. We also had some other good acts from comedians to singers to guest talent. I must say the John Heald can really keep you going.
Days 12,13,and 14: We never slowed down. First we took the Mosseraut Tour/Barcelona. The monastery is high up on the mountain of Barcelona. Very interesting area and you see the Black Madonna there. We also visited the La Sagrada Familiar church and the architecture is amazing. You can go up into the higher area of Barcelona and it is the major site you see from all angles. Cannes is a tender port and after everyone is gone you get off with no problems. We rented a car a Renault and had a blast getting lost in Cannes lots of one-way streets, driving like a maniac, remind me of California highways, nuts, crazy and just plain out-of-your-mind. Speeds up to 100mph with no fear. I had some so I stayed in the crazy lane. We went to Grasse around to St. Paul de Vence, and down to Monaco. Back to Cannes about 6pm and did a bit of shopping and back to ship. Tonight was our guest talent show and the bedtime story with John Heald. Be prepared to laugh till you hurt. Florence was our final day, took the ship shuttle into Florence and shopped. Today was our rainy day, a bit cold. Good food and being a Saturday we had plenty of outside markets which were fun. The Tuscany is beautiful. Lots of gardens and vineyards. The wine is great in Italy. Prices are good and you can bring it back on the ship to drink without checking it in. Many people were. I brought home two bottles.
Day 15: Disembarkation started at 5:45am. So ship was vacated by 9am. We stayed one post day at the Cicerone Hotel arrival is about 10am and you won't get a room here either til 1pm. Location good, food good, but we encountered a security problem. Upon check in you get this key with a massive knob along with a card with room# and Name. When you depart the property to sight see you must turn your key in. This seemed odd to us but we did it. We had also locked up our wallet and important papers in the code safe. IT WAS SECURE so we thought. Needless to say when you turn your key in it is a flag to the employee who has a major scam going to enter the room and open the safe and steal. They got money and a credit card from us. They know exactly what they are doing as they do not start using the Credit Card till you have checked out and gone. Therefore do not leave anything in the safes of this property. DEFINITELY DO NOT turn in you key. Take it off the ring and keep it with you till you check out. As a GM of hotel property for 15 years I will inform you there is a pass code to open any safe and passkeys. But if they are electronic it can be traced who entered but not with a metal key. The safes the same way so this ring of thieves is high up the ladder. They will not acknowledge this happened, but I have turned it into the Trip Insurance we bought thru Carnival and our Credit Card Company. I had also called my CC company and had them flag my dates of usage in Europe and they closed it down with 24hrs of fraud usage. As for the property it was nice and we ate in the restaurant and it was very good. But their security stinks.
Day16: We flew home on Delta, nice flight but very long. This trip was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. I am still excited to talk about it. We are booked on the Liberty for Oct 07 Carib. Freedom takes over European sailing next year, so book it and have a blast like we did.