We chose this cruise as my parents cruise with them regularly. We saw it as a safe bet and I wanted everything to be perfect for our Wedding anniversary and my wife 50th birthday.
I want to be clear, we are not picky perfectionists. We have realistic expectations when it comes to hotels etc and don't go around with white gloves inspecting behind beds etc.
We upgraded to a cabin with a large window rather than just a porthole, which you would have hoped would have ensured a reasonable quality, or at least safety. We also asked for a non-smoking cabin. Royal Caribbean seem to be of the opinion that this is simply a cabin you agree not to smoke in, rather than one which has either never been a non-smoking cabin or has been re-furbished and subsequently never smoked in. The cabin we were given had clearly been smoked in. There was a musty stale smoke smell in the cabin and there were cigarette burns in the bathroom. Our state room attendant did a great job tidying up and making the bed etc but nothing will repair cigarette burns. The light above the sink had a cover missing exposing the live end of the light fitting and the general state of repair was very poor. One evening we returned to the ship and found a broken glass lighting tube discarded in the corridor where anyone in open shoes could have injured themselves.
The state of the ship in general was very poor and it was clear RC had little interest in making it any better. The food in the main dining room was at best mediocre and unless you liked sea food, had little choice. Of course this was if you could actually get a table. We had requested my time dining and found it impossible to get a table, even with a days notice before 8pm. To add insult to injury, we had paid for a drinks package which we discovered limited the cost of our drinks to $12 per drink. This wouldn't have been an issue if it were not for the fact that each time we tried to order a drink of that value, we got the stock answer that "we have run out of that one" and had to order drinks that involved a charge over the $12 that would have easily paid for the drink at cost value. This contrasted with the excellent food available in the Windjammer restaurant upstairs, which was outstandingly good. The service staff on board were excellent, however the attitude of the ships senior crew was terrible, they seem to think they are not responsible for providing any customer service. The impression I had was that the company is only interested in selling ridiculously expensive shore excursions, internet access, out of focus poorly framed photographs and cheap garbage merchandise at ridiculously inflated prices.
Cabin was in poor condition. Bathroom was covered in cigarette burns despite being sold as non smoking. Cover missing from the light exposing live terminals. Ventilation grill had rubbish stuffed into it and we suspect it was the cause of nasal problems as soon as we boarded. these cleared up within 24 hours of leaving the ship. Redundant items such as decorative toilet brush holder and tissue holder have been left in place and cheap plastic items sit alongside. Felt like we were roughing it on what was supposed to be a luxury holiday.
Barcelona is a beautiful cultured artistic centre and well worth a visit. We toured the city after we returned.
Nice port but little to do. We chose to take the train to Monaco to watch the Grand Prix under our own steam as the excursions on board were ridiculously expensive. Train was only 8 euros return.
Again, not a nice location. We stayed in Livorno as we had been to Florence and Pisa before and the excursion costs were exorbitant. Livorno was pretty dirty and uninteresting.
We took the train to rome and took an open top tour and visited the colosseum. Again, ship excursions were working out around five to six times the cost.
Transfer from Ship to town was $12 each for a 5 mile bus journey. This, despite the fact the ship can actually dock on the quayside.