Getting to Dover from Vancouver Canada was a snap with flight to Heathrow, tube to Victoria station and train to Dover. We did take a cab from Dover Priory (train station) to the Best Western Churchill. That was not a great choise of hotel on my part but fortunately only one night.
We left Dover England Sept 11, 2008 and proceeded to La Harve France. This was a stop we looked forward to but the excursion we chose was canceled so we ended up doing the town of Rouen and did have a great guide on the bus.
We had a great cabin 9204 forward on port side Lido Deck 9. There was a door to the outside right across the hall and it lead to the top of the command position so we had access to the port and starboard wings which made for some great photo opportunities while going in and out of harbor. Our cabin was small but we had a wheelchair accessible bathroom which was very nice for showering and used as our dressing room.
The dining room meals were above OK but not into the Great category.The Lido restaurants were above average compared to six previous cruises.
The weather was great so we didn't have to worry about our forward cabin being uncomfortable in rough seas. The decor of the ship is pretty VAGAS but you do get used to it and it didn't bother me at all. I loved the size of the ship but it did take some time to figure out the dining room access.
We were on board with our Carnival vacation club membership so our VIP embark and debark were a snap but I think it went very well for everyone.
The entire cruise with stops in France, Spain, Portugal, Spain and another at Cannes then on to Livarno and Rome were great stops if not a little overload in the history category (not their fault), but we thoroughly enjoyed our excursions in every port.
Even the tender in and out of Cannes went well because the port is equipped with everything they need to make it work. I am sure in a storm you would miss this port due to its exposure to the Med.
When we got off the ship in Civitavecchia we took the train to Rome which was an economical way to go. We stayed in Italy for another week with stops in Rome, Florence and Venice using the train as our transportation. It worked very well and we only speak English.
Great trip, Great Ship, We really had very little to complain about. Cruising is our absolute most enjoyable holiday. Ready to go again.
This was our fourth cruise, second with Carnival, and once again it met all our expectations.
This ship as per other Carnival ships is really over the top decorating wise.
The ship is very large -- approx 3200 passengers on this cruise. Ourselves, we prefer around the 200 mark.
The crew were terrific, from the deck hands to the senior officers. They were all extremely friendly and helpful.
We found the food in the dining room to be very good with lots of good choices. The lido buffet was also very good for breakfast and lunch. There was a good variety of dishes. The mongolian grill and tandoori kitchen were also great.
As for the entertainment, we found the production shows -- especially one called Vroom -- to be excellent. The other shows -- comedian, singer, etc. were good, but not great.
The lounges were very good with lots of choice, and the entertainment provided in the lounges was very good.
The ports of call were excellent and there was a good choice of tours. Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Wanermunde, Germany; Cophenhagen, Denmark and Amsterdam, Holland were our ports of call.
St. Petersburg,Russia really is the main reason to take this cruise. It is truly an amazing city. Also taking the train from Wanermunde into Berlin is a must.
Cophenhagen and Amsterdam are both places to do your own thing and just wander around the city.
The only negative we had about this ship, both of us being non-smokers, was the positioning of some of the smoking lounges. for example, the sports bar (smoking -- what a pity) opened up onto the shopping area of the ship, generally making that area not very pleasant. Also, to get to the internet cafe you had to walk though the cigar bar. Not smart placement, in my opinion.
I would highly recommend this ship and Carnival for a great cruise.