We decided to join family members who had already chosen to take this cruise with Princess. This was our first experience with Princess and we were anxious to see how a slightly more "upscale" cruise line would would be.
We traveled from Canada to London and stayed a couple of days before and after our cruise which was wonderful. It lessened the rush and allowed us to enjoy another destination on our cruise. Booked a shuttle to the port (Southampton) through the cruise line which was great and good value. The boarding was very slow apparently because the terminal we left from was an older one with less stations.
The rooms were nice. It was apparent that the ship was older from the decor and lack of spaciousness. It felt "closed in" throughout most of the ship. It had all of the standard amenities of previous ships we had been on but the ship just felt tired. There didn't seem to be FUN in the air. My wife, after a couple of days said it felt like "discount week" and we later found out that there was a "kids sail free" promotion, which may have explained the large number of little ones and the lack of adult fun in the air.
All of the adult venues that we visited on the ship seemed to be poorly attended and very subdued, including the casino. The most frustrating thing on the entire ship were the elevators which you always seemed to be waiting for and when you finally got on one, it went in the wrong direction. The lack of a central elevator meant you often had a long walk to get to one as well. Everyone was talking about their frustration.
The entire ship staff was excellent and the food was amazing. I was concerned that after 14 days I would be tired of the meals, but every one had variety and great taste. We used a tour company called Share a Shore Excursion Italy for our tour of Rome which ended up being the highlight of our cruise!
Our first stop was Cadiz, which was a great first stop as it was the least interesting of all, but was exciting in that it was our first stop. Things were close to the port and very picturesque.