We found two weeks of the summer in the schedules of 4 busy people, that we could disconnect from the real world and get away to celebrate college graduation, birthdays, and 25 years of marriage. We blended a tour of the World War II sites of Normandy with a mediterranean cruise. After 3 days in Normandy, we flew to Barcelona for a few days prior to the cruise. Barcelona is fabulous and has to be one of the best cruise ports!
Embarkation was smooth and we were pleasantly surprise with the size and quality of our concierge class stateroom. Our sons were in an inside state room nearby. Probably not the best choice due to the lack of light and difficulty getting them up for port days, but the price was right. Hats off to the cruise director, the captain, the kitchen, and of course, the cabin stewards. We were so well taken care of!! The ship feels new and fresh; plenty of activities and the food was always fresh. We did not try the specialty restaurants. We understood that reservations were difficult to get due to a company event that booked 2/3 of the cruise.
Ports like Cannes,Barcelona were great. But Civitavechhia and Livorno are really quite far from major attractions. If you have been to Rome and Florence, opt for something closer.
Recommendations to the cruise line:
1) create some sort of activity for 18-25 year olds to meet. Singles night at the martini bar attracted mostly 40+. Teens seemed to connect quickly at events but nothing for college age.
2) communicate that cruise is significantly booked with 1 company--many of the events seemed exclusive for the company so the atmosphere on board was different than that of most cruises where you meet people from everywhere. Fine for us since we were with family, but not as much fun as it could have been for our sons.