This was our first cruise on Princess. We started cruising with Royal Carribean (RCL) and then switched to Celebrity. Neither offered a Med itinerary we wanted. This Princess cruise did so we decided to try them out. This was our 2nd Med cruise, the first being a 12 day trip from Barcelona, around France and Italy and back on RCL. That cruise was magnificent, and this cruise turned out to be magnificent.
We decided to come into Rome 2 days early, one day to unwind from the flight and the 2nd day to sightsee in Rome before heading to Civitaveccia and the ship. We booked the airfare thru Princess. The outbound flights were British Air (BA) from DC (Dulles) to Heathrow to Rome. The return flights were Air France (AF) from Venice to Paris to DC. Well, about 5PM (an hour before we were leaving for the airport) on the day of our outbound flight we get a call. BA tells us that our Dulles to Heathrow flight had been cancelled. My wife and I were not happy campers. British Airways would only offer us flights on another British Airways flight or a partner airline and could only get us a flight the next day from BWI to Chicago and then to Rome on American. Calls to Princess were very frustrating. We were not allowed to talk directly to the air travel department so we had to deal with questions to them thru a Princess ship rep. First Princess said a flight on another airline (United) had seats but BA would not book them. By the time we went back to Princess that flight was no longer available. We eventually had to settle for the American booking after several back and forths with Princess and BA. We never received a good explanation from BA about when they knew of the cancellation and why it occurred. Needless to say we lost one night lodging since we could not cancel. Also, because we did not make the lodging reservation thru Princess, our “Princess Platinum Protection Insurance” did not cover this. We lost our pre-booked tour of the Vatican Museum, and the tour company could not place us in a later tour that day since they were sold out. However our plane arrived on time at 9:30AM and we made it to a 2PM Tour of the Catacombs that was substituted at no extra cost. It wasn’t our first choice, but we enjoyed it.
The cost of hotel rooms in Rome is outrageous. We ended up booking a bed and breakfast room with Altos B&B thru The Beehive Cross Pollinate web site (www.cross-pollinate.com). This has a large number of small B&B establishments that offer rooms at reasonable prices. This is a great service and is well run by the owners of the Beehive Hotel and Café. I would highly recommend using this site to book reasonably priced rooms in Rome. The Altos B&B is run by a very nice Italian lady, Gabriella. She does not speak much English, and we know very little Italian. However, we managed very well. This B&B is on a side street only 3 blocks from Roma Termini Rail Station. We had a single room with attached bathroom. It was nothing fancy but it was very clean, comfortable and was a reasonable price. It was located on the 4th floor of a building. You did have to lug your luggage up one flight of stairs, take a small elevator to the 4th floor and then go up another set of stairs. The breakfast part was a ticket to a small cafe across the street that allowed you to have a cappuccino and a croissant which were very good.
Cabin A332, Inside cabin on the Aloha, 12th deck. Typical for inside cabin as far as size goes. Plenty of storage space under the beds for luggage. Plenty of desk and closet space for clothes. Bathroom was ok. Room was quiet.
Mykonos: We decided to do this one on our own. We took the ship’s bus into Mykonos Town (Hora) and walked and shopped and took lots of pictures. We got to see Petros, the pelican, not once but twice, and we had chicken souvlaka and baklava (yummy!) for lunch. It was fun just wandering and taking in the sites of the town. It was very windy out and hazy but no rain.
Corfu: We previously visited this island on our last Med cruise and took a ship’s tour of the main sites of the island. We decided to take the ship’s bus and walk Corfu town on our own. My wife had a great time shopping, and I had a great time taking pictures of the many streets and the two forts. We found a small bakery here and had some excellent baklava ?. We received a detailed map of Corfu Town on the bus with all the streets labeled in English. This would have been perfect, but all of the street signs were in Greek! It was easy to get lost, and we did ? . All in all it was a great day again with perfect weather.
Dubrovnik: We previously visited this city also on our last Med cruise on a ship’s tour. Unfortunately, all of our pictures were lost due to my camera getting stolen in Barcelona. So we took the ship’s bus into town to tour on our own. We exchanged some Euros for Kunas and took the Cable Car up to the top of the hill above the walled city. What a spectacular view on another picture perfect day. Well worth the 94 Kunas each. Next we went back down and walked the wall (there went 90 Kunas each and 15 Kunas for some water). Very tiring but spectacular, and a lot of Kodak moments were had. We finished up with some shopping to spend the last 48 Kunas on some sea salt (supposedly some of the best in the world) for cooking before it was back to the ship. My wife rested up, and I walked around the port before dinner.