Having read some of the reviews (after we had booked!) we were concerned that we had made the wrong choice - delighted to report that we had a wonderful cruise and would have happily stayed on the ship and replay the holiday again! Original cruise choice was based on price of balcony compared with other cruise lines and Princess was the cheapest by a significant margin. Super quick embarkation - although we were late (major M25 problems) and would have missed the ship had 2 coaches laid on by Princess for passengers from "up north" not been delayed too. Be warned - they will not wait normally!
We enjoyed the ship and the staff were polite, helpful and pleasant. British captain, mainly British first officers and UK passengers - the general atmosphere and culture on the ship was relaxed and very pleasant. Weather was brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed the ports. We like the more traditional cruise ship layout - rather than the new mega ships and quickly found our way around the ship.... very similar to Ventura. Some areas were looking a little tired (ship built in 2007) but this did not spoil our enjoyment and the Atrium area is lovely, as you would expect on a ship of this size.
We certainly noticed the impact of the low £ rate against the dollar on board - and my perception was that the drinks were a little more expensive than the last RC cruise we went on 2 years ago - but frankly drinks are always a rip off on cruises, as are the cost of excursions, although generally we find the guides to be very knowledgeable. Tip - cruise line often runs a "flash sale" on trips with 10% discount - about 2-3 weeks before cruise. Allowed to bring on 2 bottles of wine and alcohol purchased on shore wasn't confiscated as it is by other cruise lines.
Clean and reasonable size. Small but adeqaute balcony - which could have done with a clean... Bed and pillows were very comfy - had a great nights sleep. Best ever at sea, Loads of space to hang clothes as "walk-in" type wardrobe area by bathroom. Bathroom was small and shower was also small - manageable for us but others may find them cramped. Shower was hot, but not very powerful, controls - easy to use. Reasonable, but not luxurious toiletries (soap, lotion, shower gel, shampoo/conditioner) - although we always gtake our own. Towels changed daily - no plea to consider environment and re-use - which you generally find on cruise ships and you may take issue with this if you are"green"! Very pleasant and polite and helpful cabin steward.
By the time we got off ship we had missed the market which closed at lunch time. Went to Napolen's House - expect queues - closes from 12.30 to 2pm and ensured we timed our visit for 2pm opening and got at front of queue. About 7 euros entrance discount for over 65's and FOC children The walked to beach - only 10 mins from port - narrow and packed as 3 cruise ships were in port at the same time - but pleaseant beach and views and lovely swim. Many people did the "road train" but it was very very busy.
Been several times before. Walked into town - a good 15 mins walk. Cabs offered good value trips £22 per person to main sites and pick up either from port or in centre of town. but negotiated with cab driver to to do a short tailored tour to Light House. Great pub lunch. Did plenty of duty free shopping as new duty free shop opened in port.
Took cruise shuttle to town $10-12 per person return. Very pretty port.Then took road train up to Cathedral - nice trip and Catherdral is lovely with fab views. More shopping followed... for local Provence fragrances ...followed by great crepes. Plenty of resturants in port area. Picasso muesem is easy walk next to shuttle drop off and we should have made the effort ..... but too shattered after 3 days of 7am starts in Italy!
Long distance to centre - cruise laid on coaches - cost $10 round trip person. Took Cab to La Sagrade Familia (24 Euros). We had pre-booked entrance tickets on line before cruise and therefore know exactly that we would get in and exactly what time we would get in! You MUST book in advance. Magnificent! Then took cab to Las Ramlas and walked down - love the in-door food marketmarket and Smoothies for 1 euro and cheap "take away" tapas. Got local cruise termial bus back from Christoper Columbus monument 3 euros each - slightly cheaper than cruise ship coaches...