First of all let me say that I love the "freestyle" on NCL. I can go eat when I want and not have to dress up to do it. For families with small children they have a special section for the kids with kid size chairs and furniture. Hot dogs, Hamburgers and french fries are an everyday item. For the grown ups there is more formal dining if you want.
The 7 day cruise out of Barcelona is fast paced and requires a lot of walking. Hiring a car took about 3/4 of that away and let us see more places in a small amount of time. The packages offered aboard ship are very expensive and I used the first one for Florence, my mistake. Florence has cobblestone streets and sidewalks, it is very hard to navigate if you have knee or hip problems. The tour itself took us to a leather factory first which was a nice stop. The tour was called "Florence on your own".
Rome was packed and we arrived on Sept. 1st the first day back to work for the locals. They have the whole month of August off and I understand if you can stand the heat it is the best time to go. Even so the temperature was in the high 80's but like I said lots of walking. With the company I got in Rome; Access Italy our driver Francesco got us as close to everything as humanly possible; he was helpful and informative and very very nice. They even provided a personal guide for the Vatican, (Serrena, she was great) that was very helpful. If I could say that one place in Italy where people did not help you out with the language was the Vatican, everywhere else we did not seem to have any problems. In Naples we decided to skip the city itself and set off for the cities of Pompei, Sorrento, Positan, and the famous Amalfie Drive (this involves 600 hairpin turns). Carmine, I love you! We could not have asked for a better or more passionate driver for our tour. Him and his cousin run the company and I will recommend him to all my family and friends.
The Cruise ship will exchange your currency for you however, each time there is a $10.00 fee. I suggest you visit your local bank at home for the pocket change you will need. I started out with 400 Euro's and had to get another 400.
The Spa is one of my favorite stops and I usually get a facial and pedicure. This time I got a haircut and I have to tell you a week later, I still love it. Spa time books up fast because most of the available times are when your tours are going on, evenings are hard to get the appointment, and I really could have used a foot cooling pedi.
The casino is one of our favorite places, this one had a fair assortment of slot machines, quick hit, frog prince, aztec a good mix of wheels and digital, not the best machines but good, the staff in the casino is great.
Our stewarts for the room were attentive and courteous. The room was confortable and clean. Room service is always a treat when we are away. Yes, you can get room service on this cruise, it was always delivered in time for us to make our tours. This way we didn't have to fight the early morning crowds in the buffet.
I really love NCL and your vacation can be as good or as bad as you make it. Do your homework and know what you are getting and what you are entitled to.