My husband and I have always sailed Carnival, and this was one of the few Carnival cruises to port in Europe. Let me start by saying overall I had fun not enough to justify the cost of this vacation and not enough to recommend it to other people. I had many friends on the ship who disagreed with my assessment. Here's what I think happened...
Carnival doesn't usually sail in the Mediterranean so it probably won't be a problem for most people, but I feel like cruising is not the best way to experience Europe. We stopped in Sardinia, Florence/Pisa, Rome, and Naples (Italy), and Marseille (France), and we sailed from Barcelona, Spain. Most of our stops were not close to our actual destination and required a long bus ride (1-2 hrs) to reach the points of interest... Which left less time to explore and made for longer excursions. We only had one day at sea which was at the beginning of the cruise so all of our really long excursions were back to back. We were so tired by the time we reached our last stop that we actually skipped the expensive excursion we had already paid for. We just couldn't do another full day starting at 5:30 am (that's how early we had to get up to get ready, eat breakfast, and get to the meeting point in time for the excursion to start.) Plus, we were constantly rushing on and off the ship. On the excursions we were running to cram in as much of the sights as possible or to keep up with the tour group. I feel like we didn't have nearly enough time to really see anything Europe has to offer, which is A LOT.
On the ship we were rushing to make it to some meal before the restaurant closed, or to some show, or to some other activity before they closed. Which brings me to my next point - I can't understand why Carnival had so many things closed so much of the time. It seemed like every time I turned around something that I wanted to do was closed and there didn't seem to be a good reason. On our last day on the ship we found only one of the four whirlpools on the ship was open. We had to wander around for twenty minutes looking for it. We did a lot of that - wandering around the ship looking for something that was open. I purchased the bottomless bubbles (soda) package which means you are supposed to be able to get free unlimited soda any time of day or night. I paid a lot for it. But there are so many catches... for one- you can only get a soda at one of the official bars (does not include the coffee shop or theater), which means yiu have to wait in line, there are no soda fountains. Second, you can only get a soda in a glass, (no cans) and only one at a time. So you can't use your bottomless bubbles to stock your in-room fridge. Last and most frustrating of all, not all of the bars are open at all times and not even the same times from day to day. Which means you have to wander around the ship all day and night searching for a bar that is open, or you need to constantly have your nose in a schedule trying to figure out which bar is open at that time that you happen to be thirsty. Most bars close at 11 or 12 at night and don't open again until 6 or 8 the next morning. If you want a soda between those times you have to go to the casino bar. If you're a non-smoker like me this can be exceedingly frustrating because the casino is a smoking area. You'll have to wade through the clouds of smoke to get a soda. I'm not complaining about the smoking, I'm complaining about the fact that the only bar open is in a smoking area. That's not very inclusive for people who don't smoke, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason for it considering there has to be at least 15 bars on the ship.
Great! I had no problems with the cabin. It was beautiful, had a good amount of space for a cruise ship, and I like the new mini fridge. Storage was adequate as well. This room will work if you have s baby, but it is reeeeeeeally tight. For everyone else I imagine it would be fantastic.
We didn't really go on shore but i think Carnival can do better with the excursions that they offer here. Just walking around is also an option but leave plenty of time (like 2 hrs) to get back on the ship. The lines to take the shuttle back to the ship can get VEEEEEERRY long (like 45 minutes to 1.5 hrs long) -and no, you cannot walk back - they will turn you away at the gate. You have to take the shuttle.
We stayed one extra day after debarkation. Parking is nuts but the go this district is amazing and well worth your time. It's mostly shopping and eating so bring your money and watch out for pick-pockets!