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.