As a first time cruiser, I researched cruise critic and trip advisor and found great tips.
1. I used Roma Shuttle service for transportation from downtown Rome to Civitavecchia and from the dock back to Rome. They were very reliable and reasonable. WWW.ROMASHUTTLE.COM
2. The Cruise was very clean with a lot of good activities. The food was excellent and the service was very good. Go to the dining room as much as possible, the food on the Lido deck was just satisfactory.
3. We only booked one shore excursion with Carnival and that was the Muruno, St. Georges Island, and a Gondonla Ride in Venice. This was worth the money since you can get overcharged for a Gondola Ride in Venice.
For the other ports we booked private tours based on Cruise Critic reviews. For the Naples Dock, we used Drive Amalfi [firstname.lastname@example.org]. They gave us a full day private tour to include pompeii and the amalfi coast. Pepe was our driver and we thoroughly enjoyed More
the personal service ( ask to stop at the Emerald Grotto).
For the Cannes Dock we used Dream Tours for a tour of the French Riviera. Again a top notch choice that exposed us to many different cities and another country Monaco. www.dream-tours.com . Again great service and very knowledgeable about the area.
For a tour of Rome we recommend Icon Tours. www.icontours.com The company is very professional and gives you an indepth and useful knowledge of Rome. Ask for Klauss.
Croatia- you can do on your own. The information desk on carnival will give you information for each port to explore on your own. However, we would suggest as much as possible to use tour companies to ensure you don't miss any major sites.
As a note, the pictures turn out very nice, carnival has great backgrounds and high quality photos but you must buy a 8x10 ( $21.99) before you can buy a smaller size.
The shows were high quality and well worth the time, especially the first show the tribute to New Orleans and the last one with the pianist.
Spa and Gym were nice and the movies by the poolside.
Everything was great. It was awesome cruise and well worth the money, there were no complaints. Less
Carnival Freedom Cruises to the Western Mediterranean