My wife and I retired at age 49. We have been cruising ever since then and take usually 2 or 3 24+ day getaways a year. We have cruised all lines. In the past 10 years, we have done about 30 cruises. We generally book our own air, using miles when possible, and stay at Starwood Hotels, as we are Platinum in their rewards program.
I am legally blind and also travel with a service dog. She is not a seeing-eye dog, but she is still my driver. Guchi is a Chihuahua that has received extensive training to assist me. She normally sits in a front pack and from the way she points her head, I can tell where to go. She also alerts me to the presence of other people and animals in my general vicinity. On this trip, I was also accompanied by a second dog that was in training. This complicated our travels, as I had to carry each dog separately in carry bags, one on each hip.
We flew Air France/ Delta to Rome via Paris and stayed overnight at the Rome Sheraton. We took the train to Civitavecchia and a taxi to the port. Embarkation went surprisingly smoothly as this was only the fourth or fifth sailing of the ship. The embarkation office was prepared for our arrival with the dogs and we gave her all of the paperwork for their entry into the various counties. Unlike most ships, she promised to fax copies of the paperwork to each port and tell us, in advance, if there was going to be any problem with the dogs entering any port. This was above and beyond normal and much appreciated!!!