Posted March 26th, 2012, 11:04 PM
Awesome review! I don't look much at reviews but this one caught my eye. I was on Carnival Magic with my girlfriend just one month after your cruise (ours was the tenth Magic voyage) but was 12 days and visited Venice and Dubrovnik in addition to the very same ports you visited. Your pictures bring back sooooo many good memories. And many here are right. A Mediterranean cruise is all about the ports, not so much the ship.
We had a mix of cruise excursions and some sightseeing on our own. We did Monaco on our own for the same reason as you - small place. In Rome we took a bus (from the ship also) that just took us to Piazza del Popolo and then picked us up in the afternoon. We did this in Rome because we had visited in a previous trip so we decided to just go to a few specific places we missed the other time around but we visited the Fontana di Trevi again. Be careful with those darn coins people throw in the fountain.
Don't do it unless you do intend to return some day. My girlfriend did the first time just because she saw other people doing it. Darn, it worked.
In Livorno we took the ship tour that takes you to Pisa and Florence. We visited Florence the prior time also, so I didn't feel like we missed much this time. The first time it was winter and when we went to Ponte Vecchio (the jewelers bridge) it was early evening and there was live music. The mood was very romantic and we have fond memories from that day. This time however, the place was crowded with tourists and the feeling was not the same.
The Stromboli sailing was right before sunset and the sky was hazy and gave the ever growing sihllouete of the mountain a very eerie and ghostly look coupled with the steam vents on top and the very calm seas. Once the ship came closer and sailed around the view became very clear once the sun was no longer behind the mountain. We weren't lucky enough to see a lava eruption.
We were on a family group of nine and also had stays in Barcelona before and after the cruise. My brother got an expensive lens stolen from his camera bag though.
We are not sure if it was in the metro or in Las Ramblas.