We spent a night pre and post in Barcelona, giving us the chance to explore this beautiful city. We were cautious, but saw no pickpocking or robberies. In fact, as an experienced traveler, I felt quite safe, but I am careful when I travel to any large city.
From Barcelona, the boarding was easy and the port easily accessible, but don't try walking to the port. Boarding went fast and our large suitcase was in the room within 2 hrs of boarding. The ship was very clean and nicely maintained with newer, upgraded bedding. We missed not having a coffee pot in the cabin, and even though room service will bring coffee in the morning, we prefer to brew in cabin when we are ready.
Monte Carlo and the casino can be accessed easily by harbor taxi for 1 euro. Getting taxis to the french riviera cities out of Monaco is difficult. The bus was too confusing to try to take to Eze or Nice, France. The prices of the ship excursion were, as others have commented, quite too costly. As a frequent NCL cruiser, I commented to the staff about this. I bought the Fodor's "European Ports of Call" paperback, and used it to find directions to the main attractions. Be prepared for lots of walking uphill and on cobblestone paths.
In Livorno, we took the expensive excursion, but could have easily done without, and used the train. Florence is easy to find your way around. In Rome, we did the excursion again and was glad to have the bus and tourguide. The sites are spread out and the streets are not as easy to navigate.
In Naples, we docked close to town, but did not bother to visit the city itself, as we preferred to see the sights of the Amalfi coast. We found Antonio, a wonderful taxi driver, who took us on the tour, stopping 2+ hrs with us in Pompeii, driving us through Sorrento and the beautiful Amalfi coast. He even took the time to put us on the right hydrofoil, heading us to the island of Capri. (All this for 200 euros for 4 of us; only 50 each) Capri is beautiful and a must see! Take the cable car up to Capri Town and wear good walking shoes.
From Capri, we took a second hydrofoil for the 40 minute ride back to it's port, just 5 minutes from the ship. The day of rest before our last port was desperately needed for our exciting day in Palma, Mallorca. The beaches there were nice and walking distance to the Palma Aquarium, a short taxi ride from the port.
Overall, this was an exciting cruise and gave us a "sampling" of these European ports. Now, we know where we want to return and spend more time!