Bit surprised about the late change of itinerary. Would have thought Carnival Corp would be in a position command the best berthing rights in any port. Substituting Messina for Cagliari was not popular with us. Western Med itineraries feature Messina more often than Cagliari! Not sure I heard correctly that the real reason was so that the Italian officers could visit their families!
First time in 30+ cruise we had our confirmed and invoiced dining time changed. Managed to get it switched back from first sitting to anytime. Excuse given was that time allocation was depended on when you booked but we booked back in November! I suspect that renegotiating the price, adding Fun Shop items, excursions etc, after booking reset the clock. Something to be aware of! MDR food was OK with fair choice. Not a lover of chocolate so found desserts sometimes a bit limited. Our request for packet butter rather than the given margarine in the MDR was met only once so we started bring in our own from the Lido or room service! Other food options similar to previous Carnival sailings - burgers, pizzas, pasta. Midnight food a bit weird, same limited menu on offer each night. Also bear in mind there are limited fast food choices only between 1530 and 1800 so tough luck if you're back late from an excursion or want an afternoon tea!
Did n't like the pools on Vista. Both are surrounded by bars, fast food options and even entertainment screen. Same on Horizon. And no pool in the Serenity. Was going to book Havana cabin to get a decent pool and hot tub area but decided as this was April in the Med maybe not the best of choices? As it turned out the weather was unusually hot and dry so a Havana would have been a good option! We booked a spa cabin instead and enjoyed the thermal area though I would say that the 4 person whirlpool was a bit of a disappointment when we should have had a decent thalassotherapy pool! Just a last point on water - is anyone else a bit peeved by those who sit, beers lined up, in a a hot tub for hour on end?
Liked high deck and thermal suite access. Small balcony open above. Signature shower curtain and slam-able balcony door. Do n't miss 2 cavernous under 3rd bed/sofa drawers or you'll be limited on storage. One coat hook - 3 in bathroom. Need to pester for advertized Elmis products and spares will be removed before end of cruise. Overall bright and attractive. There is something extra about a new ship!
Cruise line charging US$17 for return bus to town. You could follow the green line to get a free bus. Which I do n't think was running that often judging by the queues. But there were 4 ships in this day. We googled and found a service bus runs from just outside the port gates to Joliette from where it is a bit of a walk to the old town. Have to say all these transfer options were a bit of mess really - something better should be on offer!
Port transfer bus takes you to a new drop off point away from the former chaos near the town. they'd also laid on a 2 euro bus to the station. Used the TrenItalia ticket machine again. Another hour into Rome. Got to Piazza Navona and onto Pantheon by taxi and service bus. Quite easy to do!
We just had a walk. Saving ourselves for Rome and Florence! Western Med sailing nearly always feature Naples so we've been lucky to do Pompei, Herculaneum, Sorrento etc before
This turned out to be Messina Sicily Italy. Done Cagliari once before. Had scheduled a lazy walk round the town! Ended up in Taormina! Walked from ship to railway station. Big station so if you go in at the Maritima end you'll need to walk up to the ticket hall. Easy to use ticket machine, flips over into English and takes a card. Times given to Taormina-Giardini. Takes about 1 hour. And you'll need a taxi up to Taormina proper at 15 euros. Easy walk to ampitheatre and the rest is just atmospheric shops cafes restaurants etc
Stayed at Tryp Apolo only a short walk from Ramblas. Used taxis from airport to hotel and onto ship. Barcelona is a good embarkation port compact and easy to get around