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Ate is Enough
Europe - Western Mediterranean
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 More
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. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
What an amazing city. It is vibrant and has everything, history, modern, beautiful architecture and lots to see and do. This was definitely a place you need more than a few hours to discover. We again did the hop on hop off, but only did 1 1/2 of the 3 routes offered and only got of for a few short stops. The Olympics added a lot to the vitality of the city. The church there that has been under construction for decades is worth the visit alone. We definitely left Barcelona feeling like we only scratched the surface.
Again we had to tender in, but very quick in and out. Did another hop on hop off train. Beautiful, but too one dimensional for our liking. Obviously where the rich and famous go, but lacking a real culture. We had the misfortune of arriving on a day when many of the shop were closed. We felt out of place and it was our least favorite of our stops. It is probably amazing during the film festival, but not so much at other times.
A beautiful and historic city. Certainly more beautiful than Rome with a much more subdued pace. We opted to for a bus tour that showed us some of the city and surrounding area then dropped us in the historic part of town, where we were able to walk around on our own for a few hours. We opted to walk around the town and experience the shops, markets and activity on the streets rather than indulge in the history so it ended up being a nice leisurely day. Others in our party visited some of the museums to take in all the wonderful artwork and thoroughly enjoyed it.
What a pleasant surprise! We knew very little about this fascinating country/colony. Deep in history and national pride this little place was a big hit. We did the cable car tour where a very interesting tour and a spectacular view awaited us. The "monkeys" were cool though my wife got hassled by one who tried to pick her pocket. I thought it was hilarious, she did not! We toured the caves and the theatre inside "The Rock" and found it very interesting and quite spectacular. The town that is at the base was very cool as well, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants, marrying the British and Spanish influences. This was a very nice place to end our excursions.
What an amazing city. Loud, hectic, not so clean, but with incredible history to be seen and we all found it over whelming. You definitely would want to book a tour as it is very far from the port and very confusing to navigate. We booked a tour for the eight of us through Share an Excursion Italy (Shareanexcursionitaly.com) and they were great. Our guide got us in and out quickly and provided visual aids to help us understand how Rome was. We got close to all of the main sights so we spent most of our time seeing, not sitting or waiting. He also got us our tickets for the Coliseum and Vatican City so we didn't have to wait. We finished our day in Rome with a delicious gelato as our driver had promised. It was a fantastic day.
Tendered into port. Did Hop on Hop Off tour and found Alghero and the surrounding area breath-taking. The shore lines were beautiful. You can see why it is the vacation destination for the Romans. Lots of nice shops and restaurants close by. Tender line and wait very long to return to ship.