Cabin review: T8102
Cat 3 handicap suite on aft (8102). Balcony was huge. Noisy with rough seas because the room creaks but foam earplugs fixed that. Best concierge service ever. Nice location to drink station and topsiders. No balcony privacy because of topsiders but when it closes in the evening, no one around. Great room if you can get it. I'll try to post some photos.
Port and Shore Excursions
I will start by saying Barcelona was awesome but be careful. My wives wallet was pick pocketed on day 1 pre cruise which was a damper on our trip. The pick picketers are extremely good and everywhere in Barcelona so carry only what you need and use a belt wallet or neck passport holder etc to be safe. We stayed at the hotel fira palace near the magical fountains. The rooms were large and able to accommodate two adults and two kids comfortably. The metro in Barcelona is relatively easy to figure out and definitely by the t 10 cards for the metro and avoid the hop on hop off bus and you will save a fortune. We went to familia sangrada which was amazing as well as las ramblas and the cathedral. The magic fountains are not to be missed and were beautiful and start at 930 pm. We went to the Spanish village which was very touristy but neat. Try to go in the morning (we did not) because the entertainers usually leave by the afternoon siesta. We did the treasure hunt in the village which the kids loved.
We did the Disney excursion to les calanches which was great but a long day. It involved mostly a bus tour into the mountains but the views of these mountains is breath taking! It is on the 1000 places to see before you die and should be in the top 10. It was beautiful. I would not recommend taking young kids on the trip ecause it is approximately 7 hours of bus riding. In fact with small kids, I would walk off the boat and catch a cab to one of the breath taking beaches. Be careful though, European dress code is prevalent.
I will include Villefranch here as well since it was our last port. We used revelation tours and had Michel as our guide. He was fantastic as well. Very well informed and took us to some of the most scenic views over the mountains. We started in Nice which I would skip in the future but it was on the way to a small village st Paul de vence which was spectacular and like a bigger eze. We then went to Monaco and Monte Carlo and briefly toured the casino and walked through the palace courtyard and gardens. We finished the day at Eze which was fantastic! We really enjoyed revelation tours and after Guido, Michel was our favorite and most informed guide. I would highly recommend him but book early because he is a small outfit and definitely request Michel.
We stayed with limo in Rome for Florence and felt like we knocked it out of the park with this one. We elected to go to Pisa then to Florence and hands down, our guide was the best we ever experienced on any cruise and any port. His name was Guido and he was simply splendid. He was a wealth of knowledge on the region and loved to talk about it on the trip over. He was fantastic with the kids. We learned our lesson from previous ports and at the start told him that we wanted to briefly see Pisa then move on to Florence where we wanted to see the highlights but also to do some leather and jewelry shopping. We wanted to do a wine tasting lunch as well. It was as if he had this planned ahead of time b/c in five minutes he had arranged lunch at a small wine broker in florence who does tastings and great four course lunch pairings for 20 euro a piece and we also shipped wine to the house. Lunch was fantastic as well. Prior to lunch, he set up a tour of the duomo, the David and other sites in old Florence like the bridges and porto vecchio. We had a private gold viewing adjacent to Porto vecchio with a gold institute CGI. After this we went to Santa crucia then to the leather school associated with the church called scuola del cuoio. A leather craftsman showed us a brief demonstration on gold embroidery to leather and how the leather is made. Again this was a private demonstration arranged by Guido and it was fantastic. If you are considering a trip to Florence, call limo in Rome and insist on Guido. UNBELIEVABLE experience.
Probably one of the most amazing ports we went to. Very scenic especially as you enter the port so remember to wake up early to be at top deck to view and take pictures coming in. My wife and in laws did the blue grotto which they loved but the seas were rough. I went scuba diving with cresta dive shop. They were good but the seas were rough and visibility was poor. The water was in the low 70s (cold) and our only dive sites were in the harbor at a ww2 wreck. After the dive, I caught a cab up to the top of the hill to walk around Valleta which was awesome. Saw the cocathedral which is beautiful and took pictures of the port.
We actually had seven port days so I will talk about tunis a on this one because this board only gives me room for six ports. This one was easy, don't get off the ship. Tunis is best compared to a border town in Mexico. We went to the bardo museum to see the mosaics which was interesting but In retrospect, would have enjoyed just sitting on the ship. After the bardo, our guide took us to the medina, which is a huge market for goods in tunisa. It was clear that our Disney guide was paid by one of the markets to bring people to his shop because he did his best to keep people confined to this shop for the very short stay in the medina. The vendors are very pushy which was difficult on the wife and kids. I am adventurous enough that I would have enjoyed walking the market but I could see my wives stressed concerned look in her eyes so we did not stray and were glad to say goodbye to tunisa.
We did a private excursion with limo in Rome to Pompeii, sorrento, and positano along the amalfi coast. We hired a private historian arranged by limo in Rome to take us through Pompeii. It was nice b/c we did not wait in lines for tickets and she showed us the hot spots quickly. Unfortunately, 8 minutes into our trip, a man in front of us collapsed of a heart attack and I ran CPR for 20 minutes before their ems arrived. No one had an AED available and his prognosis was not good when the transported him to the ambulance. Needless to say, it changed our overall mood for the day and I spent most of it concerned over the mans status. With that said, our guide was great and we got back with our Rome in limo guide Mario about 45 minutes late which stressed him a bit. Our guide was pleasant but rushed us a lot and I would have liked to spend more time with each stop. Ironically, the guide got us back an hour earlier than we had arranged b/c he wanted to avoid rush hour traffic. We loved sorrento and positano and if we could do it again, we would now skip Pompeii ( good to do once but now checked off the list) and spend all day on the amalfi. We would also be more insistent with our guide about where and how long we would stay.
We stayed with lime in Rome and had Roberto as our guide. He was great but again very rushed to get everything in and we finished an hour early so we would miss traffic. Here is my quick and free piece of advice for Rome, don't try to do it all. We set up a morning in Rome and after lunch a private guide of the Vatican. Both were amazing but we would have enjoyed it much more if we would have picked one or the other to do longer. We never had time to walk into the collesium or to walk around the forum but only saw them from the outside. The pantheon was great and the Trevino fountain is a must but very crowded. I enjoyed limo in Rome as a guide service but will be more active in telling them when and how long we will be at each stop in the future. The Vatican was fantastic and the Sistine chapel and the cathedral were amazing.