This was my very first time on a cruise and I booked the Western Med knowing something about the countries but my main aim was to see if I liked the idea of cruising. I did, loved it but this was my first and now acts as a benchmark for what I look for in the future. First of all the very positives.
Princess Cruises for me are first class for cleanliness, food, staff attitude entertainment, drinks and for the whole experience. Yes they are trying to empty your wallet with sales etc but that is up to you. I took advantage of the jewellery and duty frees, but my partner helped me to keep within my limits ...ha ha..
There was plenty to do if you wished, plenty of relaxing if you didn t.I loved that, I like dressing up and "going out" it was the perfect holiday. Formal night, ... I think its really the men who have issues here with the Tuxedo etc, but hey they looked great!! and if you don t want then there were plenty who did n t bother. It seemed to confine itself to the restaurants,shows and bars and the Atrium ( a fab area for people watching and decent coffee).There were many who were just dressed "smartly" and went to the buffett . So I needn t of stressed over that.
The ports of call ..well... I was a bit disappointed there, but its where I chose to go. Its a big ship so it has to go where it can. Barcelona, ... nice enough city, Monaco, did n t fancy the choppy sea on a lifeboat in the rain...Livorno. ok ...Civviatchio or Rome, Florence... and Naples ..Yuk!! If I hadn t of been to Italy these ports would of put me off going.. However, there are opportunities to go on tours, which we did a couple of times. Loved Corsica and Gibralter. But like I said it was the cruising experience that was paramount for me this time. Its great stopping at all these different places, just will be more choosy over my stops next time.
Now the downside. I wanted to go from Southampton so I could be there without flying and not have to weigh in my suitcases. Although some people moaned at the queues.. Get a life, !!! It were n't that bad,there were a lot of people to embark onto the ship.
I shall probably be shouted down for my next winge...but ... some times I felt I was in a care home. For some reason there were more people in wheelchairs, with walking sticks and zimmer frames, that people that were able to get about on their own two legs. Why this was I can only put down to the fact there seemed to be super disabled facilities onboard and it was going from Southampton.Their needs are not mine, and more than me and my partner remarked on this. Just leave it that their holiday has different requirements to mine and I did get a bit fed up of being pushed aside by the big wheeled chairs, being squashed in lifts, tripped up by walking sticks and walking snail pace everywhere and having to give way to some people who just expected it.
Although it did n t really bother me that much, not having a window in our stateroom left us sometimes wondering what time of day it was. Also, it could of been an escape from the wheelchairs and zimmers, or just a place to chill if we had of had a balcony. But again, this was my first time.
The final consideration for next time is the Bay of Biscay. The journey back was horrible, and it was almost 3 days of rocking and rolling and feeling queazy.
So there you have it.. Next time I know what to look for, and yes I will do it again.
Very built up city, and ok if you like looking at buildings. We spent a couple of hours there.. It was interesting but very cosmopolitan
Loved this trip and made up for the cities...we stopped in the hills for wine and cheese tasting. Toured the villages and countryside to get a feel of this beautiful French Island. Would consider visiting Corsica again. it was beautiful and my idea of where to go on holiday. The port from the ship was pretty to stand and gaze at over the side of the boat....Fabulous...and the atmosphere of the people was the complete opposite ....so relaxed.and friendly
Again another city, easy enough to disembark and get into from the ship by a cheap bus. We went around the city and the port , ...Had a coffee then went back. My fault, I chose the cruise, if you like cities...but the port was a bit yuk to view from the ship...
A place I have always wanted to visit... Loved it. Just to wander around the town, take a coffee, marvel at our little English rock and the people were so friendly. Again, this made up for the cities, and again the port was pleasant from the boat and easy to disembark.
The ship had to park away from the port. So to go into Monte Carlo it was necessary to get on the lifeboat. (tender).... We did nt as it was choppy and rainy. It was just another city, but, from the ship pretty enough if you were brave enough to take the tender. Many did nt , especially the wheelchairs and zimmers.
The port itself is the most depressing dirty and intimidating port ever... dreadful. Also lots of warnings about embarking into the city. We decided on Pompeii as somewhere I have always wanted to go to.The journey through Naples was equally depressing despite the guides efforts to convince us otherwise. I loved Pompeii, and would of preferred not being on the tour, as the guide took us round far too slowly for my liking , she was very knowledgeable, but some of her details were not necessary. I just wanted to know about Pompeii itself, not the history of Italy and its dynasties and what the emperor said to the empress on their night out...We wandered off keeping her within radio distance, and I did enjoy the trip, and glad I booked with the ship as I don t think I would of got off to travel through Naples otherwise.
We have been to Rome, so decided on a lazy day sunbathing on the ship. The port is ...a port, ...again nothing scenic,,,,