First of all, let me preface this review by stating I am not a cruise fan.After much input from my wife, I reluctantly agreed to a 12 day 11 port Mediterranean cruise with Princess. We boarded the Crown Princess in Civitavecchia Italy after spending two days in Rome. Check in was very smooth and organized as we arrived to our stateroom on board the Crown Princess. Our balcony stateroom was larger than I thought it would be and the amenities better than expected. The employees on board were consistenly pleasant, always willing to help and engage in conversation with the passengers. The cruise line employees represent over 30 countries and speaking with most of them was a joy. Prior to leaving for the cruise, I read many reviews most good, but some very bad.First the good: 1. Food. The buffets were typical buffets with a large selection of entrees, salads, sides etc. The quality of the food was average to good. As one fellow passenger noted, "average food dressed up". We typically visited the buffet for breakfast only and found it to be fine. The dining rooms, DaVinci and Michelangelo serve the same menu and each night a different theme was featured. The quality of the food and service in the dining rooms was very good. There are 2 other options for dining on board: Sabatini's (Italian) and the Crown Grill (steakhouse) which requires an additional charge of $25 per person. We dined at both and found the upcharge to be well worth it. The dinner we had in the Crown Grill was one of the 10 best meals I have ever had. In addition, several other areas offer sushi, pastry, etc for an upcharge. 2. Entertainment: We really didn't go to shows, but we did see one comedian that was ok, and went to the onboard karoke night, that was pretty typical, mostly bad singers with too much confidence fueled by too much alcohol.Movies under the stars was a nice thing, in which we enjoyed on more than one occasion 3. Activities: Again, didn't really participate much other than poolside, so I can't comment here.4. Fitness: Gym is well stocked with all the amenities you would expect and very well done. If you're into fitness, shows, comedy, I'm sure you can find something to pass the time on board if that's what you're looking for. 5. Shore Excursions: Again, great variety of stuff to see and do. In Italy, we toured the Amalfi coast, Positano, Sorrento, that was expensive ($379 per person) but included a beautiful lunch at a 5 star hotel that was worth the cost. We also toured Florence that allowed us to not wait in line to see Michelangleo's David. The line was an hour and a half. We opted for the Vatican tour as well which was well worth it. The Greek islands, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, etc are very small with not much to see, so I would advise not to spend good money here on a tour. You can do it on your own.6.Spa: I'm not a spa guy so I didn't go, but, there seemed to be a good variety of spa treatments if that's what you're into. The morning show with the cruise director Ron and the information provided by Rusty were very helpful regarding the ports visited. Make sure to check them out.Now the bad.1.Extra Charges: The cruise line charges for soda, bottled water and ice cream. On the way to the gangway to go on tours, the cruise line sets up a station in which they push bottled water sales telling you that you won't find water on shore. They charge you $3.00 for water, which you can find everywhere on shore wherever you are for about 1 Euro. We even found it in Athens for .50 Euro. The staff photographer was somewhat annoying snapping your picture at every opportunity, leaving the ship, dinner, etc and the overpriced photos are on display everywhere.Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the cruise and would consider it again. The benefit of seeing a good number of ports and only unpacking once was nice. It gave me a taste of places I would like to return and spend more time. The highlight of the cruise for me was Florence and sailing into Venice at dusk with Vivaldi blasting over the ships PA system. If you have an interest in cruising on the Crown Princess in the Mediterranean and Greek Isles, remember one thing, if you read reviews you will find people who find fault with almost anything. I have traveled all over the world and I think I know good from bad, so from this skeptic, go for it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised too.
Good size stateroom. I would suggest a midship balcony stateroom. Flat screen tv, king size bed. Lots of hangers and closet space, plus a safe.
This principality is a playground for the rich and famous and after visiting, you see that the residents are just that. Lots of high end stores with somewhat "snooty" shop keepers. On our visit, the Grand Prix was being set up so construction was everwhere. Pretty island, but the people were unfriendly and seemed annoyed by the tourists. Least favorite port of call.
Actually, Livorno. If your into the arts, fashion, sculpture, food, wine, great old buildings, Santa Croce church, the Duomo, this is the place for you. My highlight of the trip. Consider a tour, as the city is very crowded with long lines at the most popular attractions. With the tour, we didn't wait anywhere. Great shopping in Santa Croce square,especially leather goods. I found the Italians to be very friendly natural salesman who expect you to bargain. If they don't accept your "last" offer, walk away, most often they will reconsider.
Naples itself is a poor city and evident by the rundown housing and litter everywhere. I would suggest a tour of either nearby Pompei, or even better the Amalfi coast drive that includes Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento. This is one of the most spectacular coastal drives anywhere on the planet. Many options are available, so go ashore.
Mykonos, Corfu, Santorini, Pireaus(Athens) Katakalon (Olympia) The Greek isles we visited where pretty much what we expected. Corfu,Mykonos and the ancient cities of Ephesus and Olympia were wonderful.Make sure to sample the local cuisine and wine. I would book a tour of Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary, great tour. Mykonos was a wonderful little island with a great vibe and terrific food. Santorini is a volcanic island where the city sits 1000 ft. up from the harbor. There are 3 options to get to the top, cable car( the line was very long), donkey, or hoof it. The donkeys are very smelly, but sure footed. If you walk, its not too bad, but you have to watch out for the donkeys as the path to the top is shared by walkers and donkeys alike. I don't know which was worse the donkey smell or the Greeks asking every step of the way "dawnkey?' Corfu was very nice and Katakolon neat little town and Olympia to see the original site of the Olympic games was worth the trek.