We chose this cruise because we have done several transatlantics and really enjoyed them. We flew to Rome 2 days early and stayed at the Hotel Diocleziano. We chose this hotel as it is located near Teremini Train Station as we took the train to the port. We had been to Rome several times so we just did our own thing. Really enjoyed outdoor cafes and restaurants.
The train to Civitavecchia is about an hour ride and costs about 6 euros. The trains are very frequent almost every hour. You can buy your ticket at a kiosk and then to the track. There is staff to advise the track but then there is no one to help you. Our train was on Track 29 and we had to walk all the way down to Track 24 and then cross over to another track. The signage was lacking and no conductor available at the track. I asked a passenger who told me this was the train to Civiavecchia. Never saw a conductor to collect our ticket. Don't buy first class ticket as there is no one to direct you to those cars. The trains are double deckers so if you have issues with luggage and stairs this isn't a good option. Also, at Civitavecchia the elevator was working so we needed to carry luggage down stairs and then up stairs. Took cab to the ship for 5 euros per person.
Embarkation - No issues and you when come on board you are handed sparking wine. Nice touch.
Ship is lovely. We had a balcony room on the 6th floor. Plenty of space, the bathroom seemed larger than others we have had. Room attendent was wonderful. Very helpful and accomdating.
Dining - I thought the buffet had good variety each day. I saw complaints about this with other reviewers but I didn't find that. We did lunch in the restauant on several days but the menu was quite limited and the food was sometimes cool. Evening dinners were very good. We did one speciality restaurant, the Lawn Grill, and it was excellent. Veal chop was outstanding. Overall, we thought the food was one of the best that we experienced on a cruise. On the 7th floor there is an area called the Hidaway which had a coffee and tea station. It was easy access for us as we were on the 6th floor.
Entertainment - The shows that I attended were excellent. They were mostly singers with live orchestra. There were enrichment programs that were informative and enjoyable.There were plenty of activities if you chose to participate. I just relaxed and read on our balcony.
Barcelona - we took 4 hour tour of the city thru the cruise line as we had never been to the city before. I wouldn't recomend this as there were too many people on the tour. If you want to go it alone, for 5 euros you can take the shuttle into town or you can take a taxi. The famous church sagrada familia is something to see. You can buy your tickets on line and take a taxi to the venue.
Cartegena - lovely small city - we took 4 hour tour but again I think the best sites to see is the Roman Theater and the shopping districts which you can do on your own.
Malaga - Took atour of the city with tapas which was a waste of time. The tapas were terrible and I think we could have done this on our own.
Tenerife- We took tour to the volcano and really enjoyed it. We went up 7500 feet and it was cloudy, cold and raining so on our way up we couldn't see much but then we to the crater which was magnificent.
Fellow passengers - The passengers are older and some are very fral.. They are very well traveled and interesting for the most part. Some we rude and entittled.
Loved the martini bar show. Lots of fun watching the bartenders pour 18 martinis at once.
Disembarkation- We walked off with our luggage. Easy, no crowds and took cab to airport.
All in all it was a great cruise. Only negative, 7 sea days were too much for me.