Sailed on 6/6/10 from Civitivecchia/Rome. Went 1 night early and stayed at Hotel Napoleon in Rome. Excellent hotel for $169. Very quiet and convenient. Good sized rooms. Took train from FCO to hotel. This is difficult when you need to switch to metro with suitcases. Lots of stair climbing. Next day took cab to port. 130 Euros--negotiated down to 115. Expensive, but much easier than lugging suitcases and then having to get from train in port to ship.
Diamond member. Room 6592. Late seating 9:15 pm dinner. Table 544. Waiter Lucian Maftei.
Boarding was very simple. Diamond helps, but they had this down with no trouble. Porters took luggage and desk processed sea pass in under 10 minutes total time. Room perfectly acceptable. Quiet and forward on port side. RCL allows smoking on starboard side so be aware.
First port Genoa: Mistake to go on a Monday. Everything shut. Route should be reversed. Only thing open is the Cathedral, which is reasonably nice. All other museums closed. Shops closed until 2 PM on Monday. This was silly to be here. Even so, it was a nice walk around except for the rain. But this port would have been better if things open. Do not take bus shuttle. Walk out of port and catch the metro across the street. 2 Euro versus $20.
Toulon: Made the mistake of taking the ship's tour to Marseille. Advertised as 5.5 hours. Driver took 2 hours to get there and then cut the tour down to 1.25 hours total sightseeing. This is not RCL doing. Fault of tour company. He drove back in about 50 minutes. No reason to spend 2 hours getting there. They were incredibly rude. Saw church and town center and outside of ducal palace museum. Not worth bothering. Had they spent the 3.5 hours in Marseille we could have, it would have been fine. Ship docked thru 6pm, but they got us back at 12:45, which made no sense. We did, however, find a city bus and go into Sevre sur Mer. Ship doesn't actually stop in Toulon. They charge you $12 each way to shuttle there. Sevre is a nice little village and we found a good place for Bouilliabase one street back off the little harbor. Less view, better food. Pleasant, but disappointed about Marseille.
Barcelona: Do NOT waste your time at Sagrada Familia going in. Outside interesting, if ugly. Inside costs 12 Euro and has nothing. Construction site, very noisy. Be sure to get to cathedral before 12:45. It closes until 5:15pm. Go there before looking at Sagrada. Take metro everywhere. Buy and all day pass. City history museum excellent. Frederick Mares museum closed until 2011. Picasso museum ok. Long line and the paintings are 2nd rate. Nothing compared to those in any good museum. Very expensive. Overall Barcelona is an expensive, not very interesting city. Again, must take shuttle from bus $10 each way.
Palma: Quite nice. Shuttle bus again. $10 each way. This gets very old. Can walk off pier and go about 300 yards to a #1 bus and take it downtown. Cheaper. Very nice museum and cathedral. Both cost. Pleasant town. Excellent tapas place 20 Euro for 2 people 7 tapas. Near city hall but on side street near church. Don't eat in city hall square. More expensive.
Cagliari: Climb hill and see church. Not much else there. Bus out to Poetto. 2nd rate beach. Make sure to walk way up bus line to get a bus back, otherwise you won't get on. Way too crowded. Don't walk away from your belongings. Theft is high.
Ship: Excellent condition. Was just on 2 months ago and things improved. Dining room much better. 5th floor food is BETTER than 3rd floor. Learned a secret from waiter: Eat on the My Time Dining floor because they cook things to order there rather than pre-cook on other floors. Also, they just changed exec chefs. Noticeable. Food much better. Taste and variety. Waiter was Lucian Maftei who won the Waiter of Month. He is phenomenal. I had seen him last cruise and wished for him. Wish fulfilled.
Diamond lounge open from 5:45 to 9. Excellent idea. Wine or champagne (not great, but free). Nice way to meet other Diamonds.
Show was BeatleManiacs. They were pretty good. Some was faked, but the rest was played and the drummer is competent. Backstage tour was fun for my friend. I used to work on Broadway, and conduct orchestra, so stage is familiar, but was nice for those never been onstage or back. Production staff very informative and patient. Ice show as always. OK skating, but entertaining. Quest was great. I was a team captain and made all the videos.
Cruise director was not great. Very Italian, but the passengers were about 50% Italian. Cruise staff excellent.
Disembarkation very easy and orderly. Took ship transfer to Terminal 5, which is much easier than other transfer.
Overall, 95 out of 100. Last Navigator trip (terrible waiters, poor food) 67 of 100. Considerable improvement.