This was our first cruise, chosen because of the Itinery and the fact that we sailed roundtrip from our local port Southampton. We come from the IOW. Check in smooth and quick, estimated time from arrival to getting on boat 30minutes. Cabin D210 (mini suite)was ready and spotlessly clean. However after reading advice on CC I cleaned all surfaces, handles, switches etc with anti bacterial wipes. Off to explore ship. Lunch in HC buffet a tremendous amount of choices, hot, cold, Asian in fact you name it, it was on offer!! Delicious deserts with always a hot choice.....our favourite the warm rice pudding...to die for. Suitcases arrived by 2pm so able to unpack. Plenty of storage space and ample hangers for clothes. Bathroom spotless obviously has been recently refurbished. Usual toiletries, 2 of each, shampoo, conditioner, bath/shower gel, body lotion and a bar of soap. Our steward Jerry welcomed us warmly and couldnt have done more for us throughout the cruise. Cabin cleaned twice daily with new towels both for the bathroom and pool use. We found the bed OK but maybe will ask for topper next time to avoid the lump in the middle!!! Balcony again had been repainted and was spotless. All lights worked though it did take me 2 days to find the switch for the mirror over the dressing table......by the telephone socket! One other point for British travellers there is a 240V lighting socket under the bed which the bedside lamp is plugged into. This is a European 2 round pin socket perfectly adequate for charging phones and cameras etc.
Entertainment superb. 4 major production numbers with amazing sets and costumes. The usual run of comedians, magicians, singers etc. All very enjoyable though I did fall asleep on the last night...the ventriloquist seemed to have lost the plot! During the day there were port lectures, demonstrations, quizzes etc etc plenty to do or not depending on your choice. Four pools one undercover which was a shame as the weather was superb. Not being a sunbather as such we werent bothered getting a sun bed but could always find one when needed. MUTS was an experience snuggled up with popcorn and blankets.
We mainly did our own thing with regards to trips only using Princess tours for Rome....The city drive, and Naples....Half day Pompeii trip. Both were superb and worth the expense. All other ports we made our own way around the cities only using the shuttle bus for Barcelona, all other ports were easily accessible by foot.
We had traditional dining 1st sitting which worked well for us. Waiters attentive and great table companions made the dining an occasion. Plenty of choice on menus. The left hand side of the menu stayed the same every night which ensured if there was nothing on the main menu there was a choice of what to eat. The chilled soups were something else. Our only comment on doing 1st sitting was that all the Captains Champagne and Cocktail evenings were scheduled for 7.15 8.00pm. We were not able to finish dinner by 7.15 and when we eventually got there they had finished serving! However plenty of free Champagne at the art auctions! For other meals we used the HC or IC. By the end of the cruise HC was wearing a little thin as inevitably repeating choices. However the pub lunch of fish and chips is a must on sea days. One other tip buy a coffee card. Well worth the money as endless hot chocolate, filter coffee (a big improvement on the syrup based.thanks CC)and tea not to mention the 15 speciality coffees Mmmmmmmm. Still got a punch or two for the next cruise Yeah!
Yes we did have Noro Virus but superbly handled, yes some toilets were blocked again dealt with to our satisfaction. All in all a fantastic way to unwind. One last tip... Pick the cabin youll be happy with not the one you hope to get by upgrade .......a cruise is what you make it, not what others have told you. Thank you Princess well be back.