We are a married couple in our mid 50's still working fulltime. We traveled in a group of 8 adults. I booked this cruise in April of 2010 so I had alot of time to prepare. We flew into London two days precruise and stayed at the Park Plaza Victoria. We had arranged for a private pickup with Airport-Pickup-London and there he was waiting for us when we arrived with my name in big letters. We arrived on time thanks to Delta Airlines and quickly found all of our bags and were wisked off to our hotel. We were able to check into our rooms immediately and then talked with the hotel experts about what to see and do in the short time we had before we were to embarke on our cruise. We decided to book a tour with Gray Line and they picked us up at our hotel the following morning at 7:30 am sharp. We took an all day tour that included lunch. We went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, went to the place where the guards change into their uniforms and keep the horses and got to ask questions of the guard. We took the river cruise and our last stop was the London Eye, which is one of the things that I wanted to do. We also went to see the Crown Jewels at the London Tower and we also went to St. Pauls cathederal and also the Prince Albert Memorial. We also went to the Big Ben and Westminster Cathederal. The first day that we got there we just walked around. By the end of that tour we were ready to get on the ship.
We took a 3 minute cab ride and caught the Princess shuttle from the Victoria Bus station and arrived in Southampton in about 2 hrs. We immediately checked in and dropped our hand luggage and went to the buffet for a late lunch. We went to our boat drill and then as the boat was leaving the harbor we went to the promenade deck, got our deck chairs and viewed the scenery as we went to sea. We then went to dinner in the main dining room and had anytime dining. I found the food to be only average in both the MDR and also the buffets. The international cafe had fantastic food and great desserts. This was a very port intensive cruise with 9 ports in 12 days so we went to the shows only a few nights as we had early excursions most mornings. I found out of 4 shows, 3 were very good. Our cabin was of ample space and we were able to find space for all of our clothes and then stored the suit cases under the bed. We did use the safe in the room all the time. Our cabin steward was very good although we did not see him much as we were away most of the time. We only had 2 sea days the entire cruise which was needed to rest between this port intensive cruise. The movies in the rooms had a good selection and we had room service with coffee and pastries most mornings. I was able to do laundry 2 times while we were gone which I found most helpful. The desserts in the MDR room were very good and the service was also very good. The seas were rough most of the time but we had our Bonnine and did not get sick.
However the nourovirus was on the ship and 5 out of 8 us got sick at different times. I was spared I guess by washing my hands constantly. I was a little freaked out that I would get the virus but made it through. In the buffets the servers handed you your food with gloves on since they were trying to stop the outbreak of the virus. I did not mind this but other complained that the portions were small. You could not even get your own drinks or coffee. The coffee was not very good and we did not buy the coffee card so I could not wait to get back to Dunkin Donuts in the states. Overall the cruise was wonderful and the ship was in very good shape. I had always wanted to see castles and see the British Isles and was very glad that we went but I always like to come home in the end. Thanks Princess for a good cruise however the food in the MDR and buffets could be better.
Our first port was St. Peter's Port in the Channel Islands. This was a tendered port and we just walked around the city locally and took some pictures. It was a beautiful place and we enjoyed it.
Our second port was Cobh in Ireland. We did a private tour with E-Coach and enjoyed it very much. We went to Blarney Castle, saw some of the countryside and also went to the town of Kinsdale.