We flew into Venice a couple days earlier. We loved Venice. We walked and walked and got lost a bunch of times. Our hotel, Hotel Antiche Figure was excellent!
We paid a foot taxi to lug our bags to the port from our hotel (it would have been impossible for us to do because of all the bridges) while we walked alongside him. $15 per bag - well worth the $30! There is a vodofone right inside the terminal that can help you buy phone packages for Europe (we are Canadian). Embarkation was smooth, especially since we were platinum members and had preferred lines.
Our room was A439 and it was as expected. Nice size, nice balcony. Typical balcony room. Shower may have been a touch bigger than previous Princess ships. Our luggage arrived within a few hours - which was great. Our room attendant, Tommy, was excellent. We gave him an extra $50 USD at the end of the trip as our room was always in tip top shape.
We found the service to be good. Typical for Princess. Our dining room was Concerto and although Alfredo was just okay, Michael (the assistant waiter) was excellent. Other services were good too. Spa was excellent although extremely pricey!
Food was great - we both gained 8 pounds! The international cafe was one of our favourite spots. Coffee, a drink, light snacks, sweets - and always something going on in the Piazza - made it a great place to spend time! Our restaurant's food was also excellent, breakfast lunch and dinner - yum! One thing different that we enjoyed was Alfredo's. Italian fare and included! Great for those nights when we arrived back on the ship late and didn't make our dining time!
The itinerary was jam packed. We were seriously exhausted at the end of our vacation. I think we had 8 (or 9?) ports in 12 days. I really enjoyed them all. Only thing is its incredibly hot in the Mediterranean in July / August. Like disgustingly hot. If you don't like the heat - consider going in the Fall.
Venice is gorgeous (reviewed above). Note - you need a couple of days in venice. We did our own thing here.
Athens was great - one day was good. We did our own thing because I can speak Greek. We took the subway to Athens from the port. No worries. We saw the acropolis (packed!) and then roamed the streets. Had a nice lunch, did some shopping in the Plaka. Very good day.
Kusedasi - Ephasus & Virgin Mary shrine Excursion - worth it - I enjoyed this but it was so hot and the line ups were so long that if I had known this ahead of time, I would have made this a sea day.
Istanbul - Blue Mosque, Agia Sophia and Grand Bazaar Excursion - enjoyed this also. Seriously felt like I was in ancient civilization class though at this point! Grand Bazaar was neat to see. Didn't buy much. The two churches (well, one mosque, one church) were beautiful.
Mykonos - did our own thing here. Walked, shopped (so much shopping in Mykonos) and enjoyed the beaches and the food! Great day.
Naples - Amalfi Coast Excursion - The best money I've ever spent. A great day driving along the amalfi coast - Sorrento, Pasitano, lunch with an incredible view. Really the most beautiful place I've ever seen and I plan to return for a week sometime in the near future!
Citivachecia (Rome) - we did this on our own because we've been before. Exhausting! So hot and so busy (have I said this before???). Far cheaper than a cruise excursion, and if you're organized, you can do it. We saw the Spanish steps, the trevi fountain, the coliseum and Vatican. Buy your tickets in advance online!!!! We also had time for lunch in Tresteverde SP? It was an exhausting day but beautiful none the less.
Livorno - we took the Florence on your Own Excursion - just to get into Florence and back - kinda a waste of money, but it was nice to get the history lesson chat on route (about a 1.5 hour drive each way). Florence is great - with lots of shopping and walking and sights to see! Leather bags everywhere!!!
Toulon - South of France - we just took the water shuttle over (were disappointed we had to pay for this!) and walked around. Not much to see really. Just a giant market to walk around. Should have made this a sea day or went to see the more of Provence.
Super smooth! Two days in Barcelona were great. Our hotel was beautiful, great location, but the staff were rude. Hotel Jazz. Barcelona is a nice city with lots of activity and an incredible night life. NO one get up until after noon it seems, and continues to party until 6am! Great shopping, lots of walking, good food! We really enjoyed Barcelona!
The photo studio did not have any sort of special. Last year there were all sorts of specials on Crown Princess (eg. buy the portrait, get the digital image free, buy 3 portraits, get the 4th free...etc)
The lack of a central stair case beyond the 6th floor is stupid. WE noticed that they changed these stairs to service stairs for staff. I would have booked a different room had a known this ahead of time.
Entertainment was very good. Deputy Dan (the deputy cruise director) was hilarious!