This was my second ever cruise and it was the first for Disney out of Barcelona in a couple years. My wife and I have traveled around Europe before. My parents also joined us on the trip.
On our way to meet up with the cruise, we were dodging the volcanic activity in Iceland. It made the journey there a little more stressful than it needed to be, but we made it to Barcelona with some time there on our own for a few days.
Embarking was simple and painless once you actually got to the boat. We had taken public transportation to a point where a bus (near the Columbus monument) would then take you to the ship. The bus was not right sized for those with luggage (who wasn't?). If taking this bus, be careful to leaving your items unattended. Police are around, but when we were about to board the bus, someone had one of their bags stolen.
Our first evening, it was my parent's wedding anniversary so we made reservations for Palo. Great experience! I had heard that brunch at Palo was nice as well, but fully booked before we got a chance to consider it. I had my concerns about the rotational dining, but it was terrific. The staff was outstanding! Nearing the end of the cruise, they basically were able to guess everything that we were going to order. That service went a long way.
The ports are where things weren't as well organized. Disney had a lecturer onboard, but the material was WAY TOO Science related. I was hoping to hear about the actual locations, things to see in port, tips about getting around, etc. Instead I got an overview on the rocks and geological formation of Malta.
Tunisia was a bit chaotic. On arrival, I was disappointed that I ended up with a customs agent that didn't stamp the passport. Pay attention if you want one so you can ask. We elected to take two shore excursion and Tunisia was one of those locations as we didn't have much time there and we knew it would be challenging on our own. There was a lot of confusion as there was a time difference compared to Europe. The tour ran long but was coordinated with the ship. One thing we were prepared for, but Disney did little to warn, was that male Tunisians sexually harass women (like my blond wife). Many people were put off by it and complained once they got back to the ship. Disney can't control behavior, but could set the stage a little. They did nothing to set the stage.
The handling in Civitavecchia was also awful. It was explained that the buses to the main area were controlled by the port, and weren't exactly scheduled. No problem when arriving, but when everyone was returning....CHAOS. We were docked at the furthest point and apparently every bus stopped shuttling people around 7 and Onboard time was 9. Families waited 45 minutes for a bus that was never going to come. Disney blew this as well. They should have at least been able to know or influence the last bus time. It was disturbing watching people in wheelchairs and senior citizens struggle on a long walk to the ship. We complained to Guest Services, but I didn't get the impression anything was done. We were late leaving as they were looking for some guests that failed to make it back in time. Poor job there as Disney has been in this location once before.
The last issue I had was in Ajaccio. The Cruise Director pushed the Disney Shore Excursions everywhere with meaningless threats of being left behind at every port, but failed to use the most meaningful sales advice in Corsica...the island has no public transportation on Sundays! So if you didn't have a Disney purchased excursion, you were stuck in Ajaccio. I guarantee that if the Cruise Director would have pointed that little fact earlier, I would have bought another excursion.
Those things aside, we had a great time on the trip. The service by the cabin attendant and staff in the restaurants was impeccable. They made it great despite the issues above and I would gladly repeat another Disney cruise in the future.