We arrived in Rome 2 days before the cruise left and had an amazing time exploring the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Ahhhh... the food in Rome was to die for. We stayed at a small B&B, A View Or Rome, and loved it.
Embarkation was a piece of cake. We arrived at Civitavecchia at 11:15 and we were on board at 11:45! Our stateroom was very clean and had plenty of closet space. We were a bit disappointed in the food in the main dining room, Tides. On other cruise lines there was always a night of where the menu had special choices. Filet Mignon or Lobster tails. They were available but for a surcharge. We did eat in Chops and Giovanni's. The food and service was outstanding. We will probably purchase the 5 dinner package for specialty dining the next time we cruise on RCI. I will say, however, that the service in the main dining room was exceptional. Both the waiter and head waiters were very helpful and very entertaining. The food in Windjammer for breakfast was good. Although I found the bacon to be extremely salty and didn't have it again after the 2nd morning. The choices for lunches was very good.
We loved Messina. My husband's parents were from there. He remembered the astronomical clock from when he was a child. It brought back many fond memories for him.
Loved our stateroom. We had read reviews and people complained about the size of the staterooms. We found it plenty big for our needs. The bed was very comfortable. Balcony spacious enough for 2. I will say the shower was a bit tight. It was a challenge trying to pick up the soap after it had called out of my hands.
We really enjoyed doing Messina on our own