We recently completed a 12 day cruise to/from Barcelona.
We were disappointed in:
a. The number of children on board ... from various cruise reviews I expected a older group of passengers and a more peaceful atmosphere. The ship was so large that we seemed to be waiting in line for everything. Getting a table and eating in the Ocean Cafe (the buffet) required a good deal of patience
b. There were 3 ports which required tenders... which were so disorganized that it was torture to go ashore.
c. Several ports (Venice, Rome, Florence) were far from the cities and no shuttles were provided. You had to pay additional for the excursions or shuttles, both of which involved a good deal of lining up and waiting.
d. Although the advertised stop was Nice, we were tendered into Villefranche and had to arrange transportation to either Nice or Monaco. Same problem for Rome, Florence, etc.
e. The ship advertised the latest time to return to the ship which I think discouraged people from making their own transportation arrangements .. the threat that if you missed the sailing, you would have to catch up with the ship at your own expenses. So people took the ship's shore excursions... and these excursion regularly got back to the ship after the posted deadline!
f. We paid extra for Concierge class. Two of our group did not. We are of the opinion that the difference was not worth the extra cost.
g. We had 3 days at sea. Two of them were in a row at the end of the cruise. It would have been preferable to space them out to allow passengers some rest in between ports..not on the way home.
h. On the plus side, the cabins were roomy and comfortable. The food was good. We didn't try the specialty restaurants.
i. The drink packages were ridiculously high. A bottle of liquor for the room is double other cruise lines. On the other hand, individual drinks were reasonably priced.
j. Gratuities were charged on our account and added to individual drink orders, etc. However, it was clear that more was expected. Either leave the tipping to the discretion of the passengers or instruct staff that additional gratuities should not be accepted.
k. It was a good thing that the cruise was only 12 days because we felt constantly bombarded with methods to extract more money from the passenger.. casino, spa, specialty drinks, shopping "sales", shore excursion pitches, bingo, etc.etc.
l. Dinner seatings were 6:15 or 8:45 and neither were convenient.
m. The entertainment in the evening was mediocre. The enrichment lectures were good but poorly advertised.
n. Room service was great and a break from the "mob" scene
o. There was a bridge room..but no one to organize, advertise or supervise.
Villefranche, when the tender dropped us off was too far from either Nice or Monaco. The train service was horrendous and the ports were crowded. Several large cruise ships arrived at the same time.
The port was Laspezia.. at least an hour's drive from Florence or Pisa.
Passengers were warned to be back at the ship by a certain hour; however, the ships' excursion returned up to 2 - 4 hours late.
The actual stop was Cititavecchia, at least one hour from Rome which made a shore excursion absolutely necessary as no shuttle service was provided.
Lots of options at this stop.. see Naples, Capri or the Amalfi coast.