This was our 5th cruise, the first with Royal Caribbean. We boarded in Barcelona and had a day to explore the city before boarding. Be sure to check out the Magic Fountain of Montjic. It is amazing. When we boarded we were surprised how much the Promenade resembled a mall. I missed the champagne welcome of the other line we usually cruise with. The ship is beautiful and because it is new, everything is in excellent condition except for the wind torn panels in the Solarium. We saw Grease, 1887 A Journey in Time, The Fine Line, Columbus the Musical and a second ice skating show - all very well done and entertaining.
The food in the MDR was quite good and our waiter was excellent. We did My Time Dining with reservations and never had to wait for a table. We did have problems finding seating for four in the clubs after dinner and in Sorrentos and the Café Promenade. There was a tour offered exploring the workings behind the dining rooms, however, I was disappointed to find out you had to go to a luncheon which cost $35.00 each to take the tour. We took a similar tour on another line at no extra cost. I wish they would enforce the dress code in the MDR. We saw people in shorts and t-shirts being served, even on the two formal nights leaving us feeling overdressed. They should also enforce the No Children under 16 policy in the Solarium because some parents either do not read or ignore the signs.
We have never purchased beverage packages because they cost more than we normally spend on drinks and on this trip we would only be on board in the evenings. It may have paid off on this cruise. After taxes and gratuities are added to the cost of a drink, my $11 drink ended up costing close to $15. At dinner a wine and a beer added up to over $20. The Casino smelled terrible as half of it was open to smoking and permeated the non-smoking side as well.
The ports of call were great and were the reason we booked this cruise. We had private tours for Florence/Pisa, Rome, Positano/Pompeii and this is the best way to go. The Cruise tours are overcrowded with no personal attention and almost as expensive. Plus a car can take you more places than a bus. Although we had fun on this cruise, I doubt if we will cruise another ship this size. We enjoy talking with and meeting new people but on this ship, once we did we never saw them again. Too many people.
I did not like the bed right next to the veranda doors which did not have a tight seal and you could hear the wind whistling at night. Also the location of the bed was in the way of the narrow full length mirror. Lots of storage space. The shower was roomy but the sink was not deep enough and whenever used, water splashed on the floor. The cabins are not very sound proof. We could hear muted conversations from the cabins on either side. The doors have to be slammed to close properly and can jolt you when your neighbor slams their door shut. The doors also open out to the hallway and anyone passing by can see right into the cabin so best be covered when the door opens. Loved the towel animals that Loretta made for us. She was a great room attendant.
Used the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Saw a lot of the city.
Got on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Great value.
Used the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Buses ran every hour so you have to plan your time. Not too many people spoke English. Menus outside of restaurants were only in French so we couldn't read them. Ate at the Hard Rock Café because we could read the menu. Good food. Waiter told us that restaurants stop serving food around 2:30 and then serve again later.
Had a private tour for four of us. David, our driver, was wonderful. He took us to a small restaurant for lunch where only locals ate. Had a wonderful tour of Florence and Pisa.
Had a private driver for the four of us. Our driver was informative and got us skip the line tickets. I would have liked to enter the Colosseum but there wasn't enough time. We used Viatour for all our tours. They were excellent