We flew from Phoenix to Barcelona via London. Too bad our flight was late and we missed our connection. We had to stay in London, dead tired and frustrated. We arrived in Barcelona at 12:30 Sunday, collected our luggage and got a taxi right away. My wife had written the name of the port on a piece of paper and handed it to the driver. The fare was about 31 Euro. Check in was very easy and quick, they snapped a horrifying photo of the two of us and we did a brief tour of the ship before being notified our room was ready. Royal treatment upon arrival! Handed a glass of champagne and roamed around a bit. The ship was clean and very well staffed. We didn't have much trouble finding our room and found it to be very cozy, attractive and clean! We both took showers and collapsed for a nap. An announcement was made regarding an embarkation bbq party so we got ready and headed up for that. One thing that threw us a bit was that there was a table full of drinks on deck as we entered the pool area and wait staff handed each of us a drink with an umbrella in it. I thought," oh boy, more free drinks"! But, I was then asked for my room number and to sign a slip for $9 each. Had I not taken a sip immediately, I would have handed them back! I also did not realize until I had a drink later on that there was a %15 gratuity added "for my convenience", yet it sure seemed like the staff expected you to leave a little more... Our experience on the ship was great, everything was kept very clean, plenty of staff available and plenty to keep us entertained.
The food overall was good but the buffet food was usually a little cool temperature wise. One night in the Grand Pacific, the wine service was terribly slow but aside from that the service was usually very prompt. I think our only real complaint for the week was that on Friday night, they had someone performing a show called "The power of music". I'll tell you, that show was very powerful! So powerful that we could not stand to be in our room during the show! There were two shows that night and we ended up staying up later than usual until the show was over before going to bed. All I can say is, if you want the quietest part of the ship DO NOT get a room in the front and especially not under the Stardust theatre! We were in room 4022.
Overall, we had a great time! We overall liked the ship better than the MSC Musica we sailed on last year. (Our first cruise) I think the Freestyle Eating was the biggest benefit we saw other than the much larger number of Americans on the ship. It was nice, but I wonder if maybe the people watching would have been better on a more European saturated cruise.... I got a final statement Saturday night late and there were no mistakes, so that was good! Disembarkation was a breeze, we just opted to carry our luggage off, got into a taxi and away we were to the airport.