The ship is VERY big, yet, with the exception of breakfast the first day, I never was aware of the large number of fellow passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. Our cabin was perfectly located on deck 11 with easy access to my favorite area (the spa). Our cabin steward was attentive and as requested kept a constant supply of clean fresh towels in our room. The foreward walkway at the end of the hall provided a fantastic panorama for those of us without balconies. Food was very good and offered a more highly seasoned and ethnic variety than I remember (a plus for us). Drinks overpriced but we took a wine package which gave us a nice offering of fairly priced wines to enjoy nightly with dinner. We did most of our tours privately though we had on board credit that we used for a few. Of the ship's tours, one was mediocre, other two very good. As has been stated previously, the pools on the Dream class of ships on Carnival are too few and too small and there exists a major problem with people saving deck chairs for the day to have them available when they wanted, leaving a shortage for others. Shops on board were same old same old, but heck I don't cruise to shop (though I did have to pay 5.50 for a $2 tube of toothpaste and resented it). This trip there were less than 10 children on board (that's why we chose to travel at this time!!) and a more international crowd than Carnival usually gets. Shows very okay, nothing great, but we chose the ship for the itinerary. We got GREAT VALUE for our money and would do this trip again in a heartbeat.
Debarkation was even easier than embarkation. We could have made an early flight out but not realizing it would be that easy we stayed an extra day in Barcelona.
Barcelona: We enjoyed a wonderful variety of sights, museums, artifacts, food and entertainment. Experienced tapas, Flamenco, Gaudi, Monsterrat, tour of the city, Picasso museum and people watching. Had no problems with pick pockets but maybe that's, because having grown up in NY, our antennas are always up.
Monaco: What an unexpectedly terrific port. We hired Sylvie DiCristo who did a private tour for 8 of us. She showed us the Grand Prix track, the Princess Grace Rose Garden and took us on a magnificent tour of Nice and Eze. Beautiful day.
Pisa/Florence: Finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of seeing Michaelangelo's David. He lived up to my expectations and Pisa exceeded them. We had a guide from Easitalytours and Marco showed us "his" city. What a joy.
Rome: A month wouldn't be long enough to spend in Rome. What a fantastic day with Antonello of Easitalytours. I don't think there was anything we missed except for not having enough time in the Vatican due to the large crowds that day. Antonello's knowledge of the city and its history and his love for his city was definitely a trip highlight. It was an exhausting day but one never to be forgotten. The Sistine, the Pieta, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and more and more and more.
Naples and Amalfi Coast: While everyone ran to Pompeii we had Herculaneum all to ourselves. Fantastic. Only surpassed by the views of the Amalfi Coast and our visit to Sorrento and Positano. Mauro arranged for us to dine at a family run restaurant with dramatic views and great food.
Dubrovnik: Quaint city with great views, but not one I'd rush back to. Perhaps nothing could compete with the previous ports.
Messina: Mt. Etna was terrific. Guide from Sicily Life stopped at a winery and honey factory for us to sample and enjoy. Then off to Taormina with its history and views.
This cruise was a balance between beauty, art, history, culture and food. We used the ship as a floating hotel. We were off it by 8 am and didn't return until dinner time, which is why we chose n inside cabin. We (wisely) saved out money for the excursions.