This cruise was the first European cruise that my family did as well as the first cruise on which we took my 7y old son. While the cruise fulfilled all stated promises, it did not live up to our expectations from previously doing 2 Caribean cruises with Royal Caribbean.
Pros: We elected the premium bev package as one of our perks. Very worth the tips price. You could get wine, beer, and liquor virtually everywhere on the boat, including specialty restaurants. The boat made it to all ports as scheduled. The cabin we had was small but fine for the three of us and actually in pretty good shape. The boat was also very quiet at night; I slept well. The entertainment on the ship was better than we had previously experienced. We went to the Howl at the Moon, the "Beatles" performance, and the Burn the Floor show. All were good, and we enjoyed them. My son also enjoyed the kid's room and went there three-four times over the cruise. A nice break for my husband and I. My son really loved the whole experience.
Con: The ship itself was beat. It really needs a renovation to update carpets, paint, etc. It was not terrible, but not as nice as other ships we have been on. Information was shared very sparingly across the boat, e.g., dinner menus were only posted at the main dining rooms after lunch on that day, they were not available via room tv systems or wall kiosks across the boat or the previous day, which would have been nice for planning when you wanted to go to specialty restaurants. The food in the main dining area was very low quality for what i was expecting. I would compare it to the quality I would expect to get at TGI Friday's or Outback Steakhouse (if you like this, then you'll be set! *sorry*). The buffet was really not good at all. The food in the specialty restaurants (We did the brazilian steakhouse and teppanyaki, which was my favorite) was very good. If I were to go back (which I would not), I would elect to use the specialty dining credit since that is the only food I'd want to have again on the boat. The real reason that I would not go on this cruise again is that everything was so disorganized. They had some water problems two nights in a row on the boat and shut off our cabin water, they moved one of my excursions around and told me only 1 day ahead, they returned my laundry a day late and wanted to charge me a really high price for this. We complained about many of these things, and the customer service folks did their best to help us out; but I did not really want to be dealing with this stuff on my vacation. Also, the pools on this boat are TINY.
If I were to relive this experience, I would more aggressively compare this cruise with other cruise line pricing to see what the true price point of this type of itinerary is. I thought that I was purchasing a mid level cruise for this price, and I think that I probably got a low to mid cruise experience. I would consider changing my plans around more for the cruise itself and probably spend more money overall to have a better experience.
Also, this itinerary was a great introduction to Italy, France, and Spain. However, when you go to these places, the sights that you want to see are not that close to port cities, so be prepared to take trains or taxis to your sights.
This cabin was a great location. High enough to be away from the noise, but kind of in the middle so that if you have to take the stairs anywhere, which you will because the elevators on this boar are terrible and often crowded, it won't be that far.
Civitavecchia is actually very far away from Rome sites. We went there before the cruise started. If you only have 1 port day to see it, be really picky about what you plan to do. You will probably be traveling for 2-3 h roundtrip.
We went to Pisa. Some people try to go to Florence from Livorno; that is really far. I would only do that if I had hired a driver or was on an excursion from the cruise. Florence is amazing. If this is the only time you will get there, skip Pisa and do Florence. Otherwise, schedule extra days to go there. Pisa was a very charming town. The site with the leaning tower was very full, but it was neat to see. We did not spend very much time getting there, so that was nice. We came back to the boat and relaxed with less people. Very nice day overall.
Cannes itself is a nice beach town that you could have a leisurely day in France to relax and eat. We decided to take a train to Monte Carlo, which was extremely confusing and stressful (not the train, the overall experience). Monte Carlo is probably not close enough to do unless you have more time. This is also a tender port, so more waiting, lines, etc.
Mallorca is really beautiful. We went on a cave tour and stopped at a pearl factory, which took us on a bus ride across the island. It was a great way to see everything and our tour guide was great at telling us all about the people and culture of MallorcaView All 77 City Tour Reviews
This was a great option for us. We had only a few things we wanted to see in Barcelona but had never been there before so we wanted to get an overall feel of the city. The buses came very often (we waited max 10 min), and it was super quiet on Sunday morning when we were there.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Naples is not a place I would ever want to visit again. The part of the city around the port is quiet dirty. We did not feel safe walking around at all. The cab drivers were also extremely pushy at the port. We went out to Pompeii which was one of the true highlights of our trip. If you can, arrange a van or do an excursion to Pompeii. The train we took was fine, but very dirty.