Spent 2 days pre and 1 day post in Barcelona at the Hotel Colon. Great hotel location, in plaza with the cathedral. Short walk to La Rambla. Ate at La Locanda, around the corner from hotel. Great food.
Embarkation was very smooth. Very clean and modern terminal. Great VIP lounge.
Embarked about 10:30. As with all cruises, waited on Lido deck until cabins available at 1:30. If you don't like waiting on Lido deck with your carry on luggage, wait until later to embark.
The ship is great. I did not feel any crowding at all. I love the glitz of Carnival ships so I did miss that. I know there were a lot of kids on this cruise, which I am aways sensitive to, but I did not encounter any rude ones. I think the water park was a great addition and kept them busy. It looked like a lot of fun and if I was younger I would have liked it myself. I really liked the Red Frog Pub and think it is a great addition. The new Carnival brew is very good. For those people who complain about chair hogs, there were so many loungers on this ship there is no way you could NOT find a place to sit. They were on lido deck as normal, all along deck 11, aft area and all along deck 5. I loved the cushioned chairs and small couches on deck 11. Great area for those who are not sun lovers, but still like to be in the open areas. I did not visit the casino so can't commit on that, did walk through and it looked like a normal casino.
We had a balcony cabin which we always enjoy. Normal Carnival balcony cabin with lots of storage space. Cabin steward was good and very attentive.
We were a little disappointed with the MDR food. We did your time dining for the first time. We requested a table for two, but the tables for two are so close together you might as well be at a table for four. We did like the fact that we could go anytime we wanted. We always go early and never had a wait. Food was just so so, not up to Carnival standard as on other ships. We actually started going to the buffet where the food was much better.
Breakfast was normal eggs, ham, bacon and variety of fruits, cereals, pastry's etc. I never ate the omelet, but partner always has it and likes them very much.
Lunch was good variety of buffet food, grill, sandwiches, pizza etc. I ate one day in the pasta bar which was very good. Lunch is free in the pasta bar, but at night there is a charge which I think is a little ridiculous. Would like for the grill and sandwich bar to stay open in the evening. There are other areas with food that I did not visit, one can only eat so much. Only did room service once for coffee.
We were a little disappointed with the night time entertainment. The two variety shows were ok, but other than that, they were just so so. Since John Hearld is so famous, I guess I expected a little more. John has a morning show which is shown on the big screen on Lido which was entertaining. Since this is such a port intensive cruise, we were to tired to visit the bars, so can't commit on them
We booked this 12 day cruise for the ports. I booked all Carnival excursions except one. I was not disappointed, the buses were clean, and all of our guides were very knowledgeable. I booked a private guide in Rome. I booked DriverinRome, had Stephano as my driver and he was absolutely great. As I did this tour alone, he was able to take me to a lot places not normally seen on a regular tour. I highly recommend this company. Croatia was an absolute surprise port for me. It was so beautiful and so clean. I did the country home tour and it was great. We went to a home outside the city and had lunch along with some local entertainment. It was great. Did not walk the wall, did not have time. Old city was very crowded.
Debarkation was painless although it did start a little early at 5:00am for those who had early flights. I thought this was thoughtful on Carnivals part. We stayed an extra day in Barcelona so were not in a hurry to get off the ship. We debarked about 8:00am and did not have any trouble getting a taxi. They were lined up outside the terminal.
Taxi's are not all created equal as far as prices. Arriving trip from airport to hotel was 28E, trips to port and from port about 28E. Departing trip from same hotel was 38E, go figure.
Barcelona airport leaves at lot to be desired. For those on Delta flights, their check in counters are located in the far left corner of the terminal. We had a hard time finding it. Don't bother asking anyone, no one knows anything. Also for those wanting to get a tax refund for purchases, be sure and go to customs before going through security. I went through security and what I thought was customs but ended up being just a passport check. Once I went this far I could not go back out, very confusing. I do not know where customs is, just that it is somewhere before you go through security.
I am VIP with Carnival so obviously I am a fan. Can't wait for the Magic to go to Galvestion.
Would I do this itinerary again, in a heartbeat.