We enjoyed this cruise but really had to come home to rest. We visited Venice, Dubrovnik, Croatia; Izmir, Turkey; Athens, Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marsailles and Barcelona. My advice to anyone wanting to make this a worthwhile visit - book excursions. Most of the ports are not near the cities mentioned and going it on your own can be a waste of your short time in each port while you get your barrings. The excursions can be expensive but the ones we took were more than worth it. Getting priority into the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel with excellent guides. This was true for our drive from Naples down the Amalfi Coast and to Pompeii as well as Izmir Turkey where we went to see Ephesus. As for Carnival and this ship - OK. Pros: Our stateroom was well maintained and clean and our stewart was excellent. The ship has an understated decor which we liked after being on some that looked like a circus. The bartenders were great. Cons: The food was not the greatest. We have been on other cruise lines and enjoyed the food much better. Particularly the meat cuts/selections at dinner tended to be tough and not very tasteful. I resorted to vegetarina dishes as they were much tastier. Because we had early excursions breakfast was usually the buffet, same every day. The scrambled eggs seemed like they were made from powdered eggs so if the lines weren't too long I opted to get an omelet or eggs over - much better. Orange juice was way over the top with sweetening. Bacon was not usually crisp and dripping grease. Pastries and yougurt or ceral also availalbe and of course that was OK. Fruit at breakfast was scarce and of little variety. Another complaint we had was that we took the "anytime dining" as opposed to the set time seatings. Unlike other cruise lines that have anytime dining we were restricted to one restaurant on the ship and only one level of that. Of course you could opt for the steakhouse but at $35 each we didn't try it. Like all the other cruise ships the liquor was expensive. With qratuity added in they were like $9 each for a mixed drink, don't know on beer. You could buy an all you want to drink ticket for like $45.00 a day if you have a big appetite for liquor but if you are traveling with another you both have to buy the package even if one of you doesn't drink so you have to weigh that out but at $45.00/day x 2 x 12 day cruise it is $1080 for liquor. As a past cruise customer I got a ticket for complimentary drinks BUT they had stipulations that you had to order them in the dining room at breakfast or lunch. Well, we don't drink at breakfast and most lunches we were on excursions or at the pool so ate from the buffet so not much of a gift for us. Another con was the entertainment. Not much of it and not much variety. Also, they geared the start/stop times for the entertainers to go with their scheduled dinner times 6:00 & 8:15 so if you were on an excursion or ate on your time you just couldn't make many of the shows or just caught the end. After taking numerous cruises I know that most charge big for liquor that is where they make their profit and of course all push the pictures and the stuff they sell in the shops on board. I will say that we took excursions in many of our ports and they ones we took through Carnival were OUTSTANDING. Wonderful guides, great itinerary, good transportation and coordination from the ship to the bus for your excursion. Top notch!!!
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