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5 Barcelona to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

We decided to do a cruise of the med for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and to be honest we were both not really looking forward to it as didn't know what to expect as used to relaxing on holiday and this was a port heavy cruise. We ... Read More
We decided to do a cruise of the med for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and to be honest we were both not really looking forward to it as didn't know what to expect as used to relaxing on holiday and this was a port heavy cruise. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 night before embarkation, with arranged taxi from the airport and the hotel and on disembarkation which was really efficient. The Hotel was upgraded as we wanted to be in the centre of Barcelona. On embarking we didn't get the wow factor we expected and the ships top deck looked tired and old. The outside cabin was on deck 5 and perfect as close to disembarking at ports, it met our needs, was clean and tidy and our steward was absolutely fantastic. We chose late traditional dinning which was something we were nervous about but it proved a great experience, a table of six with a couple and 2 female friends. Although a lot older than us we got on really well, they had lots of cruise experiences between them. The waiter was good and once I started to ask for recommendations my meals were really good, I made a few bad choices for steak. We ate in the buffet in the evening of formal nights as these were sea days which we wanted to relax and had really good food again. We had breakfast in our cabin most mornings as it was easier before trips and always arrived a minute before the time slot ordered. When used the pizza restaurant during one sea day which was a nice experience and it was empty at 12 midday, we liked the pizza on deck as well. The burgers on deck were not to our liking. Due to our dining time it was not easy to get to shows as they started at 10:15 to fit in with late dinning and we didn't always finish before then, if we wanted to go the show we told the waiter and he would make sure we were finished, but generally we didn't want to rush. We saw two different comedians and a magician all of which we enjoyed. I was expecting to see some shows but the one night we planned to go we couldn't get a seat. We did most of the quizzes which were mainly based around the discovery channel programs, but we enjoyed this and got to see similar faces each time. I also took part in the dance classes which were fun. We did the star gazing on top deck, but standing looking at the stars was not easy would have been better on sun loungers, also there was a lot of unnecessary information. There was less activities than expected but we put this down to the smaller size ship. The jewellery shop is a waste of space and the staff not pleasant, we had a gift we had to collect and we laughed at as when collect it was $200 off gold items. We were given champagne and chocolates as a present from my mother but these arrived as vouchers which we had to exchange, she was told they would be waiting in our cabin so not as special as she had expected. We planned trips at most ports with cruise excursions but planned to stay on board and relax when in Toulon and Kusadasi, where we felt we had the ship to ourselves. We booked trips as we thought this cruise would provide us with the opportunity to see a lot of places which we did and thoroughly enjoyed. The drinks were an issue as used to all inclusive holidays although had a soda package for myself, my husband didn't as due to heavy port stops wouldn't have been good value. We had cocktails which were good and made use of the happy hours. In summary we enjoyed our cruise but would have liked to have been with more people our own age 48 and 51 as most people were 70+ although young at heart. We came to like the ship due to its classic feel and size having gazed at others in port. Very efficient at ports and all staff were really friendly and helpful. Not decided on whether we would do another! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We originally looked at taking a bus tour through Europe, but if you only have a short time and want to see a lot of places, a port intensive cruise is the way to do it! Get waited on hand and foot, go to bed in the same room every night, ... Read More
We originally looked at taking a bus tour through Europe, but if you only have a short time and want to see a lot of places, a port intensive cruise is the way to do it! Get waited on hand and foot, go to bed in the same room every night, no packing and unpacking, and wake each morning with somewhere new to explore! It really was the best choice. We had two sea days, and we needed those to sleep in and recharge, ready for the next adventure. Embarkation was easy, we were told between 1pm and 5pm, turned up at 4pm and were on board with no delay. We had Anytime Dining which worked well. We noted some people had to wait for a table if they asked for a table for two, but we were happy to share and were usually seated straight away. The only time we had to wait was on a formal night, then we were given a buzzer and were called back after only about 15 minutes. Service in the Bordeaux dining room was good, with a nice menu choice each night. The food was generally quite good. We also ate in the Horizon Buffet a couple of times. They had a good choice and were open until midnight. You could have a full meal or just a salad, or just fruit, or a selection of cheese and crackers/bread or just go for the desserts, it was very easy. There was also no rush, you could stay there as long as you wanted. One day we met a nice couple at breakfast and were still there for lunch! For some reason they have the best cup of tea in there too, maybe the water was just the right temperature, I don't know exactly why, but it was good! I saw the Bayou show in the Princess Theatre, but that's the only show I saw in the evening. The other nights there were singers or a comedian or a musician, and none of them sounded very appealing. I may have been missing out on a really good show, but it was my first cruise and I was expecting more production shows like the Bayou one, not just a singer. That could be my error. We went ashore on all port days, and every time it was well organised with no delays. I hadn't been on a cruise before and was imagining 2000 people lined up for ages all wanting to get off the ship at the same time, but thankfully it wasn't like this at all! It was all quite quick and well organised to get off and then on again at the end of the tour. It was also lovely to be welcomed back on a hot sticky day with a glass of cold water and a cold wet cloth, a nice touch. Disembarkation - we had heavy bags and didn't relish the thought of getting them up and over the bridges in Venice, so paid the $44 fee for the Princess transfer. It was great for our bags - they showed up at our hotel later on, but not so great for us. We had to sit and wait quite a while before our water taxi took us, I'm not sure why but I think someone was late and we were waiting for them. Our transfer was to the train station, but we were dropped off on the other side of the canal and we had to walk and go over a couple of bridges to get to the station. It would have been quicker and easier for us to send us luggage that way and then go and take the $1.50 people mover. That's a minor complaint though. Ports - Barcelona - we had three days there before the cruise, and I would encourage people to take four or five days. It is a beautiful city and there is so much to see, three days wasn't enough for us. Book ahead for attractions if you can or take advantage of the Skip the Line QR code signs where they have them. We used the HOHO bus while we were there, and also took an organised bus tour up to Montserrat, which was lovely. Toulon - we took the Princess excursion to Saint Tropez. The bus trip wasn't bad but our guide was a bit annoying. We had the choice once we got there of going off on our own or sticking with the guide for a bit of a tour, and we decided to go off on our own. There was a market and lots of shops, and the shore to look at. There were also thousands of other tourists and it was stinking hot. It was nice to see and I'm glad we went, but that's one box ticked - I don't need to go there again. Livorno - we took the Princess excursion to Florence with time on your own. This excursion was excellent, even though our bus broke down and we had to wait half an hour for another one! Our guide was excellent and knew her stuff. She guided us around the main attractions and told us lots of interesting information about each place, and then we had time on our own and met up with her later on to go back to the bus. Civitavecchia - we booked a private tour here, from Drivers Guide Services. Claudio picked us up at the port at the appointed time and we were in Rome in one hour (not much traffic because August is apparently when they take holidays over there). He took us straight to the Colosseum so we were there before the crowds got too bad, and spent the rest of the day giving us a wonderful tour of the city and history lesson combined. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend tours from DGS. Naples - we had another Princess excursion here - the Ultimate Bay of Naples - Pompeii, Positano, Sorrento. Again we had a very nice guide and driver in a small bus - maximum 16 on this excursion. Our guide was very informative and we had some time on our own in Positano (beautiful!), then more time on our own in Sorrento before we met up to go to a hotel for a nice five course lunch (included in the tour), then on to Pompeii. I was thinking it would have been better to go to Pompeii first before it got too hot, but later heard from other cruisers that Pompeii was much, much busier first thing in the morning, so I'm glad our tour went this way around. Pompeii was amazing, and also amazingly hot! Very hot and humid, you must take a hat and water with you on this tour, and the hand fans that the souvenir shops sell everywhere help too. Mykonos - wow, so beautiful here! We docked and Princess had buses outside waiting to drop us closer to town. There were probably other ways of doing it, but it wasn't too expensive and it was easy. From there we just walked around on our own and found our way over to the windmills and had a look around the town. It wasn't a long stop here, so we didn't bother about trying to go and visit anywhere else, we just stayed in the town. Istanbul - we had a private tour booked here too - through Ephesus Shuttle. Our guide met us and was very good, very informative. No payment until the end of the tour, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. Unfortunately we were there on a Friday so missed out on the Blue Mosque, but there's still plenty of other things to see. The tour operators can change their itinerary a little for you too, if you wish to see something different. For instance we went to Topkapi Palace and wanted to include the Harem section, which they did for us at a small extra cost to cover the tickets. The Grand Bazaar wasn't anywhere near as busy as I expected, and things were quite expensive. I didn't buy very much there at all. Kusadasi - we had another private tour booked here, again through Ephesus Shuttle. Ephesus is amazing, well worth going, and the drive out there is lovely too. Include the Terrace Houses if you go. Turkey is beautiful. Our guide was very informative again, and very nice. After the tour we stopped in Kusadasi and did a little bit of souvenir shopping. Expect the hard sell though. Athens - we did the Princess excursion Acropolis and Time on your Own in the Plaka. Whatever you do, don't miss out on going to the Acropolis if you haven't been before. It is not at all like I expected, there is so much more to see than just some ruins! Our guide was lovely and once again, very informative. Climbing to the top wasn't too hard because there are several stops on the way up where the guide explains what you are seeing. Once you get to the top, the view is well worth it. Make sure your shoes have good grip, it is a bit slippery in some places. After we left there, we had a bit of a bus tour around Athens which I was not expecting. We went past a number of interesting sites and buildings, and had a short stop at the site of the first modern olympics so we could take photos. Then it was on to the Plaka. There we had a look around at the shops (lots of souvenir shops) and had some lunch at the restaurant recommended by the guide (Hermion/Epmeion). The restaurant was quite nice, but the food was pretty average. Venice - we had an extra day in Venice so didn't do any organised tours here, we did our own thing which worked out fine. Princess had a $29 return water transfer to St Mark's Square, but we just took the people mover for $1.50 and walked from there, discovering things as we went. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I have been on four cruises prior to this one (three with Royal Caribbean and one with Princess). We chose this cruise on the Island Princess for the itinerary (Barcelona, Toulon, Florence, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, ... Read More
My wife and I have been on four cruises prior to this one (three with Royal Caribbean and one with Princess). We chose this cruise on the Island Princess for the itinerary (Barcelona, Toulon, Florence, Rome, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens, and Venice). We wanted to get a feel for various parts of southern Europe. I have traveled extensively through Europe but my wife had never been. So, we took big/long excursions in each port except for Mykonos. The excursions were great. Everything was scripted and timed. We did not wait in any lines and we really did not experience any traffic delays. (Some folks said that was because we were traveling in August and all of the 'working' locals in each city were on their August 'holiday'). Anyway, each of the excursions were very good, especially with the use of the radio receivers so that you are not required to be right next to the guide. Since we knew we were taking long excursions, and that we would be tired in the evenings, we really did not care about the amenities and shows on the ships - though everything seemed to be nice. The food was excellent and plentiful, so we were happy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Let me start with the good bits: Most of the waiting/serving staff were excellent, friendly and very efficient. The general layout of the ship and choice of bars and restaurants was also very good. Transfers to and from the ship were good ... Read More
Let me start with the good bits: Most of the waiting/serving staff were excellent, friendly and very efficient. The general layout of the ship and choice of bars and restaurants was also very good. Transfers to and from the ship were good as was the organisation of embarkation. No for the bad: The customer services desk staff were shocking!, rude, lacking in information and often contradicted each other in what information they did give. They all need a long course in CUSTOMER SERVICE! The ship unfortunately had a problem with what we believe was one of the engine shafts, I say we believe because we were given almost no information about this. The knock affects of this failure was we missed one stop totally and had two others stops that we only a couple of hours at. Obviously this was a great disappointment, especially as this was the section of the trip we were looking forward to the most as we hadn't visited these places before. Whilst we know that a breakdown can happen and that's not necessarily anyone's fault, the way it was handled was very poor indeed. We were told early one morning of the PA by the Captain that overnight this failure had happened and that the ship is now only running on one engine and slowly. He said he would keep everyone up to date and that this would not affect our trip.. Rubbish. As mentioned above it definitely did affect our trip. Oh and this was the first and last time we ever heard from the Captain. No real information was ever given about the problem only what impacts it was now clearly going to have on our trip. (Enough on that subject now). Having travelled with other cruise lines we found this one to charge a lot more for things like wifi and excursions. In fact it seemed to charge for everything and anything it could which we hadn't had on any of the other ships. The overall cost of the trip was ever increasing, which we found very annoying as generally cruising you know what you outlay is before you leave and that doesn't generally change?? Entertainment as a whole was lacking and not that great. Once again on others ships there has been a lot more going on and certainly of better quality. We were trapped inside the passport control at Venice before re-boarding the ship for an hour, the place was packed solid was soaking wet people as it was raining heavily outside. Once again no information was given as to why we were being held there and not allowed to board the ship! It turned out that the gangway had fallen into the sea! WHAT? How does that happen and thank goodness no one was on it at the time. Ok to sum up know as it could probably go on and on with bad points. We would strongly advise not to use this ship and Princess cruises. There are other much better cruise operators out there who provide a considerably better service and value for money Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such ... Read More
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such friendly helpful staff. The food is always cold so do not except too much, the deserts in the Horizon is really good for choice and the staff up there are the best always asking if you would like coffee or tea , Water nothing was too much for them to do for you. The free ice cream on the Lido deck is free and really good. The biggest problem was the shaking of the cabin at the AFT deck lido deck 14 on island princess shaking these are new cabins even though they were clean and nobody could look down on you and were not noisy the shaking is like being on one of those fitness shaking machines all the time. The shows were very short and some of the acts were terrible. The Films on Deck at night were good with free popcorn and cookies. The Burger bar is very good very hot food and fresh. Room Service which is free try the steak sandwich in the afternoon what a treat. The cabin Staff were so good always cleaning and perfect. Always sun lounger’s room in the pool space for all as there are 2 main pools and a splash pool on top deck forward. Be careful with the photographs can be very persistent. One of the best things is Any dinning you can go for dinner between 5:30 and 10 o'clock and sit a a different table every night. When shopping on board we found that staff very unhelpful and always looking at their watches rather than helping you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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