We are an English couple in our late 50s. This is our 34th cruise and our 7th on Princess. We booked the cruise for the itinerary and the small ship.
The cruise started on Sunday but we flew to Athens on Friday and stayed two days at the Hotel Astor – very central and with great views of the Acropolis from the top floor restaurant used for breakfast. No problems with the Greek industrial action, everyone very friendly, went around on the hop-on hop-off bus and had some great meals in the Plaka.
On Sunday afternoon took a taxi to the port and walked straight on at 3pm. There were more Princess staff than cruisers!
We had booked a balcony state room on the 7th level which was fine – it had a decent couch and was better than some we have had on larger ships. Our room steward was good, he found us a decent hair drier as the one in the bathroom got very hot and looked set to explode – he did everything that was required. Food – it was fixed seating on this ship, which we have not had for a while, but it was OK as our table companions were very pleasant. Food was good with some effort made by the chef to reflect the countries we were going though/past. Waiters very good though service could sometimes have been quicker. Excellent Maitre D (Carlos) who we saw dealing with some tricky situations – he was unflappable.
Entertainment – hmmm! We thought the cruise director and his team were lack lustre and unenthusiastic. We enjoy trivia and quizzes and were disappointed not to have much variety (eg only one name that tune) and the staff members doing them were not very enthusiastic. The sea day programmes were really uninspired. The dancing shows were OK and the smaller theatre a change. The comedian was fair (and we thought funny), he certainly worked at it – but I’m not sure how popular he was, and that was the same for the other acts, an OK singer and a magician - both not our cup of tea. The best entertainment was the music duo in the Pacific lounge, Jumari and Gabrielle who played 60s ands 70s stuff for dancing – unfortunately not many people seemed to venture up there. Our usual cruise complaint is that there is never enough going on between 5:00 and 7:00pm and the Pacific Princess was no different. The Casino was empty most of the time and the shops were poor (we tried to buy alcohol gel/wipes and they did not have any) – I thought art auctions had finally disappeared (they have on some other lines) – and they fill a space that might have been used as a sitting area. There was also a lot of wasted space around the reception area on the fourth level.
Tours –they are always expensive but the two we did, the Volos Monasteries and Sevastopol were good value –interesting sites, informative guides, but with quite long bus rides and both included a reasonable lunch. Odessa was very pleasant – we walked up and down the famous steps and over the ‘mother–in-law’ bridge, and did much the same in Varna and Constantia though the places themselves were not that interesting. Istanbul, as ever was great – we did our own thing on the hop on/hop off bus - and sailing through the Bosphorus in the late afternoon earlier in the cruise was a great bonus.
The captain was very personable and you saw him out and about - he also came on the PA to tell us about ships/islands we were passing. There were port lectures but no ‘enrichment’ programme – this was an itinerary that cried out for in depth talks on the Greek myths and the Crimea – not just basic histories.
Overall a good cruise – we really liked the small ship, the staff were very good, but it needs a more proactive entertainment programme.