This was our fifth cruise & the first that we did with another couple who are good friends. We're all in our 60s but young at heart. My one minor regret is that we didn't arrive a day or two ahead of embarkation to get the jet lag out of the way. However, we arrived in Barcelona at 10:30AM & were on the ship around 1:00PM. Embarkation was a breeze with absolutely no problems. Each couple had a mini-suite because of the lenghth of this cruise & they were wonderful. The extra room made such a difference & the balconies were delightful. There was plenty of closet & shelf space as well as toiletries. No disappointments there. The ship itself is beautiful.And the staff was so friendly & helpful. If one even looked lost, there was someone who was happy to asist. As for the activities, there was always something to do. I seemed to take advantage of the spa more than I ever had before simply because I had a friend to go with. Each night we went through the Princess Patter & I was glad to have a highlighter with me so we didn't overlook anything the next day or evening. And the entertainment was very well done. I highly recommend 'Once Upon a Dream'. It was a musical extravaganza. Through CC we knew about the Ruby Ball & the New Years Eve Party so we had tge appropiate attire. As for the Dining, we selected Anytime Dining, because the excursions that we booked got us back to the ship between 5:00 & 7:00PM. This was a good decision.
Our dining experience was the best. Godwin, our Maitre'D was the only constant of our 12 days. We really looked forward to seeing him each evening. There was never a wait & he made us feel so welcome. Also, we saw him at The MaitreD's Wine Tasting which I can only rave about. It was worth the extra charge just to taste Opus1, not to mention the knowledge we took from it. As I told Godwin, he 'stole the show' with his great knowledge of wine & great personality. But, I digress. Dinners were very good & our wait staff actually anticipated our needs. We also had one dinner at The Crown Grill which is another must-do. We had many breakfasts at the International cafe, especially when we had a 7 or 8AM tour scheduled. It is a great place for coffee to go & there is a nice selection of pastries,cereals & breakfast sandwiches. As for the ports, I was fortunate to have discovered Cruise Critic a few months ago. After logging about 100 hours, I confidently booked all but 1 private excursion. Through CC I located some fabulous couples to share the cost & fun times with. I did book a Princess tour of Naples,Pompeii & Capri. It exceeded our expectations for the 'big bus' thing. We had a very knowledgable guide ( Francesca) who showed us a very good time. However, the private tours were more cost effective & personal. Also, the small vans could get closer to the attractions.
We actually needed & looked forward to the sea days because we were so busy in the ports. We were able to sleep later & got to enjoy the ship. There was much more walking & climbing than anticipated but how else does one get to The Acropolis or through the Vatican or The Blue Mosque or the beach on Mykonos. Oh, the places we saw! Disembarkation was very easy with no stress until we got to the airport. But that was only the usual crowds & customs thing that not many airports are equipped to handle. This cruise was everything we expected & then some.It was a real gem!