BACKGROUND--My wife and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary we are both in our early 50's.
TRAVEL TO PORT--We booked our own one way airfare via Aer Lingus...LAX to Dublin, Ireland and then on to Rome, Italy. We landed Friday evening Oct. 26 and took a cab to our hotel...expensive but what are you going to do?
HOTEL--We booked the Hotel Victoria online. A very nice hotel off of the Via Veneto. 10 minute walk to the Trevi Fountain, 10 minutes to the Spanish Steps and about a 20 minute walk to the Colosseum.
STATEROOM--I initially booked a Inside Stateroom last October but we received an upgrade to 6A with a window...nice!
Activities--We toured Ancient Rome on Saturday. It is a good idea to ride one of the hop on hop off buses. This way you can ride around to the major sites and save a lot of walking. We were able to see the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Plaza Navona, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps all in one day.
On Sunday morning we walked down to the Trevi Fountain and took a lot of pictures with nary a person around then walked over to the Pantheon and walked right in @ 9:00 a.m. Back to the hotel to check out and take a cab to the Termini. We bought a one way ticket to the ship and then a 2 tickets to ride into Rome Monday morning returning in the afternoon.
We boarded the ship with no line...reached our room and grabbed some lunch. What a beautiful ship!
On Monday morning we returned to Rome and joined an english speaking tour of the Vatican Museums. We entered right at 10:00 a.m. when they opened and spent 3 1/2 hours in the museum then went straight over to St. Peter's Basilica. TIP...join a tour group to get into the Vatican Museums because the tour groups go in BEFORE anyone else that is waiting in line! It probably saved us 2-3 hours of having to stand in line. Our tour cost 80 euro for the tour and tour guide...well worth it!
DINING--After the first night we switched from late seating to early seating. Our table was upstairs in the Chic. We were at a table for 4 and it was wonderful to share with Rich & Beverly from New Jersey.
SERVICE--Was impeccable. Excellent attentive service. I used to be in the retail industry and watched how other people were being served and I can the attention to detail and service was exemplary.
ENTERTAINMENT--The shows were good. I am pretty hard to please. They had one comedian who was not very good at all. The ventriloquist was fantastic. All in all good but not great.
SHORE EXCURSIONS--We did our own thing in Rome. In Livorno we took Carnival's excursion to Tuscany. We had an excellent tour guide, born in Italy but spent 40 years in California. Needless to say her english was great and yet she knew her stuff. A great tour. We usually set out on our own but we did not want to take the chance being so far from the ship. MALAGA--we just walked off the ship and did some sightseeing...it was a holiday, All Saint's Day, and most of the stores were closed. MADEIRA--We walked off and rode the cable cars and then did some shopping.
Summary--My wife got to see Italy I got the cruise...priceless. I thoroughly enjoyed the Transatlantic crossing and will certainly book this type of cruise again...excellent bang for the buck!