The Bellissima is a gorgeous ship. Food on the ship is good, but was only marginal in dining rooms. Pizza at the buffet was awesome. There was too much pushy upselling of drinks and dining packages. Most of the staff encountered was great and very friendly. The only exception we had to this was in the Photo Gallery. The shows were mostly below average. I would cruise again just because of the beauty and comfort of the ship itself.
There is no shortage of options of things to do in Barcelona. Transportation on the Metro is easy. If you want to see the La Sagrada Familia, buy tickets on their website in advance and do it on your own. Unrelated to cruise, but important to note that we stayed at Hotel Miramar post-cruise. It was the worst hotel experience we have had in 20 years. Avoid this hotel at all costs. Nasty, unclean, rude management, but with great views.
Marseille was quite seedy. We did not feel safe walking the streets there. We rented a car and drove to Cassis which was much nicer, then kayaked to Calanque d'En Vau, which was a nice DIY excursion. For anyone visiting Marseille, it is likely best to either stay on ship or get out of Marseille to another destination (Cassis, Aix, Les Baux) by any method.
Genoa was the prettiest port of all of the stops. Though we didn't spend any time in Genoa itself, we took train to Santa Margherita Ligure, then bus to Portofino. Both of those were very beautiful towns to visit.
In Naples we did an MSC excursion to Sorrento and Pompeii. The tour was given in both French and English, and the tour guide did not speak either very well. She was slow and was always 10 minutes late to the times she gave everyone to be at the bus. It was excruciating. Sorrento wasn't worth the long drive to get there, as we only had an hour to either eat or do quick shopping down one street. Pompeii was great, but the guide was so disorganized that it took us 45 minutes to get in after arrival. We ditched the guide once inside so that we could see more of Pompeii than would have been possible by following her.
Messina was our most enjoyable port. We did an MSC excursion here that was much better organized. This excursion went to Silvestri Craters on Mount Etna, and then stopped at Taormina. Although the guide was much better organized than in Naples, we still separated from her to go off on our own, which allowed ability to explore much more. The top of Etna is beautiful.
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