We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first cruise so had nothing to compare it to and no idea what to expect from Princess. Overall, we were impressed and will definitely cruise again. Majority of the passengers were Brits and Americans but also lots of Australians and Canadians. Most we spoke to seemed to think Princess were one of the better cruise companies.
The food and service were excellent. Great buffet choice @ breakfast / lunch although it felt a bit like one of those all you can eat diners you get in Orlando. We had the Anytime Dining in the evening and the food was generally superb. We didn't feel the need to pay extra to visit the speciality restaurants. The one big disappointment was the entertainment. I was expecting much better but what we got was a bit like Butlins.
We didn't bother with any of the Princess excursions as the prices were ludicrously expensive. With a little bit of research it was easy to DIY and a huge amount cheaper.
Didn't get to Istanbul until 11 am so nowhere near enough time. Took the Princess shuttle bus into the city as it was a public holiday so not sure if the trams would be working. Istanbul was everything I imagined - the noise, smells and people everywhere. Trams are excellent & would recommend these to get around. Went to Sulemainye Mosque which was awesome and no queues. Also did the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia but big queues for both. Didn't have time to do Bosphorus Cruise but definitely be back! The city was spotlessly clean and the only port where there were free public toilets!
Paid to get the shuttle bus into town but could have got a water taxi right next to where we docked for 2 euros each way. Typical Greek Island - white washed houses & blue sea - lovely place to spend a few hours. Lots of touristy shops and most of the cafes have wifi. Many of the tours go to Paradise beach but we spent a couple of hours on the local town beach which was fine.
Took the X80 bus service from outside the Port terminal to the city centre for 4 euro return. Went straight to the Acropolis / Parthenon and did our own thing. Tickets cost 12 euros to see all of the ancient sites around the Acropolis. Disappointed with the rest of Athens which was dirty and riddled with graffiti. Not somewhere I'd go back to.
Lots of choices for this port and we decided to go to Sorrento which was a good call. Got a ferry from the port for 12 euro each. Lovely place to walk around with lots of quaint little shops and great eating places. Could have got a ferry to Capri if we had a bit more time.
Had planned to go to Florence but had such a long day before in Rome that we went to Pisa instead. Took the shuttle bus to the town centre in Livorno and the local bus to the train station. Return ticket to Pisa was 5 euro. The a pleasant 20 minute walk to the tower and cathedral which were both awesome. Spent a good few hours here. Lots of nice restaurants around the main tourist area.
Took the free shuttle bus to the water taxi and paid 14 euros return to St Marks square (Princess charged $29 for their own shuttle service). We got into St Marks by 9am as we had pre-booked a gondola ride. The square was empty but by the time we left at 2.30 it was heaving. First time in Venice but will definitely be back. The sail out in the evening was one of the highlights of the cruise.