This was my first cruise on a smaller ship. It was our 40th anniversary and we wanted to visit Venice and ports in the Adriatic Sea. The itinerary was excellent. The weather did not co-operate though. Our best investment was the $3 rain ponchos that we bought as soon as the ship sailed. Kotor Montenegro was a lovely new port that we visited. We travelled up 29 switchbacks up and down the mountain to visit other places in Montenegro. Lovely scenery. However sailing out of Kotor we had a huge thunderstorm and a small tornado. That was interesting to watch. It didn't really affect our trip though. Then coming into Nice the weather kicked up a powerful wind and our ship hit the breakwater rocks and unfortunately suffered damage that could not be repaired. Our ship made it into the port however the water had to be turned off. We headed out on our excursion to Monaco and returned at 4:30 to find out that we had to pack our bags as the ship could not continue. Princess arranged for our hotel in Nice and we were bussed there. It was a 5 star hotel. The next morning we were organized into busses and driven to Barcelona and checked into another hotel. We spent 8 1/2 hours on the bus but it was a lovely day and the drive had spectacular scenery. Our bus had only 10 passengers so we were well spread out and comfortable. Our hotel in Barcelona was another 5 star hotel. The next morning we were taxied to the airport. The Princess staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. They took care of all the expenses other than our meals which we had to submit to head office for reimbursement. Two days after arriving home we received a 50% refund of our cruise and we are also receiving a credit towards another cruise to be booked by December 31, 2017. We have nothing but good things to say about the way they handled a difficult situation.
Now for critique of the ship itself. Because of the size of the ship it is more intimate. It is also easier to get around. We were on the 7th deck. The 5th deck had the entertainment and dining room. The 9th deck had the buffet, pool and spa. So we took the stairs a lot. Two flights up or down was just the right amount of exercise. It also seemed to free up the elevators as you hardly had to wait for any if you took them. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Our room was adequate. It stated that we were getting a Queen bed but it looked more like a King. The closet had plenty of hangers and there were plenty of drawers as well. The dining experience was a little less than I expected. The menu wasn't that great some of the nights. We were so close to Italy that I thought we would have had more Italian dishes. Don't get me wrong. The food was good but there was no WOW factor. I am sure that the specialty restaurants had the WOW factor. We had the first seating that was at 5:30 pm. Interestingly enough there were several times on this itinerary that dining was open seating. If we got into port later and stayed later we had the open seating. The breakfast buffet seemed to have the same thing every day. There was a lot of variety though. I thought the Danish weren't as flakey as usual so I thought they might have been heat and serve. All in all though, this was a very good cruise. The smaller ship does not have the extravaganza shows, there is no International café but there is enough to do on the ship if you choose to and when you go to Europe there is so much to do on shore that many consider the ship as a floating B&B. I would recommend this ship to a couple. There isn't much on the ship for young people though. Although the ship is used for World Cruises I think I would go stir crazy if I had more than 1 sea day at a time.
The tour was rather rushed. The tour guide was excellent but it would have been better if we had head sets to hear her.View All 77 Walking Tour Reviews
We arrived 2 days earlier than our cruise. The tour took us through the city on a canal and then out to open water on the north side and then into the grand canal. It was a fantastic way to see the city.View All 49 Boat tour Reviews
We took a walking tour through St Mark's and into the cathedral. We ended up at the Rialto bridge where the tour ended. We had to find our way back to our hotel on our own. We ended up getting lost at night. Turned out our hotel was just around the corner.View All 32 City Tour Reviews
We were boated in from the ship and began our walking tour. The Doge's palace included crossing the Bridge of Sighs and a prison tour.View All 43 Doge's Palace Reviews
Again this was part of our walking tours. St Mark's is very crowded and busy. The cafes are very expensive and charge a cover charge. Best to go down one of the streets to a café for something to eat or drink.View All 47 St. Mark's Square Reviews
We were boated in from the ship. We toured St. Mark's cathedral again and the Doge's Palace and Prison and then toured a Marano glass store. Then we boated back to our ship. The tour didn't take us too far into the city.View All 78 Venice Walking Tour Reviews
We didn't have much walking. The bus trip took us up and down the mountain and we saw a lovely seaside resort area called Budva.View All 102 Montenegro Highlights Reviews
The palace was closed so we got to see the amoury instead. We spent 5 minutes in there and then left to find a café.View All 9 Grand Master's Palace Reviews
We were brought to the gardens overlooking the city and then to the main street where all the shops were and the city hall.View All 21 La Valletta Walking Tour Reviews
Too short of a visit. We barely had time to shop.View All 46 Mdina Walking Tour Reviews
Beautiful cathedral. The floor is basically a graveyard with spectacular marble graves of knights and clergy.View All 18 St. John's Cathedral Reviews
We visited the Accademia Museum to see the statue of David. It is a long wait for 1 room. Then we had a pasta and turkey dinner. Delicious. We then went to the Uffizi Museum to see paintings. Spectacular. On the way we saw the Ponte Vecchio which was very crowded. Then we walked along the shore of the Arno river to the Uffizi Museum. After that we went to Santa Croce where we had free time.View All 18 Firenze Walking Tour Reviews
We travelled by boat to Santa Margherita where we got on a bus to travel to Manarola. We then had a small tour and got on a train to travel to Monterosso where we had a walking tour and wine tasting. We had time for lunch on our own. We then got on the train and travelled to another town to board back on the bus. The scenery was spectacular. Beautiful vineyards and olive groves.View All 1 Cinque Terre Reviews
We were bussed to Monaco where we disembarked near the Oceanography Museum. We walked through the Exotic Garden with beautiful scenery and walked to St Nicholas Cathedral for a tour and viewing of Princess Grace's tomb. We then made our way to the Royal Palace for a tour. After our tour we had free time but we had such a severe thunderstorm most of us stood outside under some protection. The rain subsided a bit and we made our way to a restaurant for some delicious food. After lunch we boarded our bus again and went to Monte Carlo to the Casino. The Casino is a lot smaller than I thought it would be but beautiful just the same. The sun came out brightly so we were able to have free time to wander around. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable of the area and very informative.View All 12 City Tour Reviews