We recently took part in a Cunard cruise to the middle east (part of the QM2 World Cruise) from Southampton to Dubai including Barcelona, Crete, Suez Canal, Egypt and Dubai. Overall we found the itinerary interesting. The Ports were generally fine though we did not have any ports in Egypt near Cairo. The cruise was supposed to have a stop at Piraeus, Greece (port for Athens) but poor weather necessitated a change of port to the island of Crete. We were disappointed to miss Athens but Crete was a wonderful port and since we were the only ship there it did not have the issues of too many tourists for too small an island like ports in the Caribbean or Alaska.
We traveled from Canada to London and used a Cunard transfer to Southampton. This went smoothly and efficiently as did embarkation. We were in Stateroom 6160 which is a premium Balcony stateroom. Unfortunately the balconies on decks 5 and 6, while called premium, are not. The balconies are fully enclosed steel which gives them a sense of being a porthole rather than a balcony. You have to lean very far out to see anything and shorter persons would not be able to do this at all as the rail is very high. When you sit in the deck chairs or are in your stateroom you cannot see the ocean. Even when our stateroom was faced to the sun, the sun rarely caught enough of the balcony seating area for us to sit and catch some rays.
This was our first cruise with Cunard and we were led to believe this would be luxury cruising. We did not find it that way at all. The ship has lovely fittings, artworks and history but is very "chopped" up into small spaces with limited views of the ocean. All of the entertainment, dining and shopping spaces are low in the ship and we found we rarely "got out" and into the fresh air. Most of the exterior seating is on the promenade deck so it feels a bit crowded with people walking, jogging, swimming and sunning all on one area.
6160 - Good location in ship but not worth the Premium Balcony money. Balconey is fully enclosed steel with no glass and no view of the ocean unless you are standing up right along the very high railing. If you are seated or in your stateroom all you will see is steel, not water. Stateroom bed very comfortable and fittings standard and suitable for our needs.
Barcelona is a wonderful city with much to see and experience. You MUST go see the Gaudi cathedral - la Sagrada Familia. It is truly astonishing. Shopping in the Barria Gottic and along Las Ramblas is awesome and a lot of fun. Check out the well made and inexpensive leather goods in particular. Stop and try Tapas in one of the many bars and restaurants before returning to your ship.
An excellent trip to a greek island. The main city is Heraklion and the main attraction is the stunning Minoan palace ruins. There is much to explore here. Save time to wander through Heraklion though - great shops and great food with interesting sights scattered around the city that are leftovers from the many occupations over centuries by different empires. Lots of history here and no crowds.