We are in our late 20s and this was our first cruise. We chose to do a cruise as a low stress way to fit in several destinations over a short period of time, and it was a great decision. We stopped in several beautiful ports (Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Naples, Rome), more than we would have been able to cover on our own over 12 days. After a busy day it was great to be able to come back to the ship to relax. I did feel a bit trapped on the two sea days and found some areas of the ship quite noisy. It was much easier to find a quite spot to relax near the front of the ship just outside the sanctuary.
Room: We had a balcony cabin on the caribe deck (deck 10). Balconies on this deck seemed to be the largest, and were half covered, half exposed. Because we booked a balcony and not a mini suite, we only had two rather uncomfortable chairs and a small side table. I had read some reviews saying the chairs More
were uncomfortable and was surprised that it was as noticeable as it was (I thought people may have been exaggerating). We asked for stools thinking that it might help and were provided smaller side tables to use as stools (real stools are apparently only for the minisuites). Anyways, fairly minor issue but did impact the amount of time we spent on the balcony. Because of this, I would probably look at another cruise line that offered more spacious rooms (i.e. with a couch or living space) and better balcony furniture before sailing with Princess again. The room otherwise was great. Flat screen tv, efficient bathroom, large closet with room to store everything. Our room steward Jerry was excellent and refreshed our room several times a day.
Buffet was good with new items daily. Most things were pretty good and only a few misses. I enjoyed the smoked salmon for breakfast and the different scrambled egg combinations each morning. Pizza was very good and we often had it as an afternoon snack. Dinner in the main dinning room was also quite good. I really enjoyed the clam linguini as well as the lobster tail on the second formal night. They had some really creative soups as well. Cheesecake and princess love boat dream desserts were delicious. Portions are small enough that you can order all 3 courses. Wine selection was good and reasonably priced, especially coming from Canada. We got a seven bottle wine card that cost around $140 (I don't remember the exact cost). On one of the sea days, there was a free cooking demonstration led by the chef and the head maitre D, followed by a tour of one of the kitchens. Highly recommend. We didn't pay to try the specialty restaurants, as we were very satisfied with the main dinning rooms. Coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, and juices at breakfast all free. The sushi at the vines wine bar was decent (complementary with wine order), about what I expected on a cruise ship.
The restaurants, buffet, etc were all very clean and nice spaces. The main atrium area was also very nice, as were the lounges on flours 5-7. I didn't really think they were dated. There were hardly ever any people in the lounges or bars after dinner, but maybe because it was a port intensive cruise and there weren't that many younger people. As mentioned, I found the areas around the pools very noisy with loud music and movies going all day. Pools were always very crowded on sea days. The best spot we found to read and relax was at the front of the ship, just outside the sanctuary (anyone can use the pool outside of the spa, which was generally much less busy, especially at the beginning of the cruise before people discovered it). The bars we enjoyed most were tradewinds and the aft bar (great place to watch the sunset). We also enjoyed walking around the promenade deck. It looked like a nice place to read during the day if you wanted to avoid the sun.
We didn't do any princess tours, because once we did a bit of research, we found better options with private tours or using public transit. Highly recommend rick steves book for do-it yourselfers. Note that Princess sometimes omitted info or provided false info to sell their transfers. In particular, they advised people that there were 50 stairs and no escalators if they decided to take the train to Rome instead of paying for a transfer, and we didn't encounter any stairs at all after a quick 10 min walk from the port terminal. Also, there was a public bus for I think $1.60 euro in Mykonos, but they were pushing people to buy bus tickets for a shuttle to town for $15 dollars to avoid a dangerous walk along the road. On a positive note, the crew was flexible in terms of what you could bring on board at each port.
Overall, it was a great experience and a great way to see a lot of different places in a short period of time. We came home feeling relaxed, which may not have been the case if we had tried to visit the same places in the same period of time on our own Less
Crown Princess Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean