Our first impressions were positive but the food in the dining room was a big disappointment.
Embarkation went smoothly and the cabin was spacious and had a good sized balcony. The balcony was overlooked from above but gained better exposure to the sun.
The entertainment overall was good. The theatre had good acoustics, a great live band and a very talented cast for the shows. The guest artists were also generally good. Elswhere, the other entertainment was a mix of good and bad with the live music being interspersed with way too much karaoke and quiz shows. More live music and less “Butlins” would have been better.
The sea days in cool weather put a strain on the internal space, as with many cruises but otherwise, the loungers on deck were well spaced with a good selections of tables to eat at on deck 15 once it warmed up.
Getting around the ship was easy with very little wait for lifts, unlike our experience on some other ships.
On the down side, the food and dining were big disappointments. We ate in the “free” dining rooms and as long as we were prepared to share a table, we never had a wait. If you wanted to dine on your own, be prepared to wait for up to an hour. Reserving a table did not seem to be possible before 7.15 p.m. The evening meal was 3 courses with a limited choice. Chilled soup was served in a glass with a straw. The mains were quite small and did not always reflect the description. Sea bass was a square chunk of white fish. Cottage pie was a dish with the pie and nothing else - no vegetables. Potatoes were undercooked on several occasions. Deserts were also disappointing. Coffee was the same disgusting liquid served in Horizon. Apparently, the menus are determined at a corporate headquarters level and by appearances, done to a tight budget. Best compared to a buy one get one pub meal in most cases. The beef was generally good but was the exception. Up in the cafeterior style Horizon, the food was of a higher quality than the dining rooms and was generally very good with a choice between traditional English and something a little different. A good choice of accompaniments and deserts meant that it could have been good. The problem was that it was always difficult to find somewhere to sit. If you both chose your food and then looked for somewhere to sit, you could walk around until it had got cold. By choosing a table and then one waiting at it while the other got their food often meant that you were dining alone! Plastic plates and plastic mugs were the order of the day and no trays meant several trips back for food. You were served drinks at the table.
The coffee and tea must be mentioned as they were awful. Coffee was apparently made from a syrup and dispensed into the plastic mug from a beer style pump and stirred with a wooden stick. The tea suffered by being made with hot but not boiling water.
We were told only 3 days before the cruise that we were not allowed to use a kettle in the cabin so any chance of a decent hot drink went out of the window! This is contrary to the information from previous cruisers so the rules on this must have been changed.
The 24 hour cafe in the Atrium was great. The coffee card for $29 was worth buying as the coffee was good and gave access to brewed coffee as well as the speciality coffees. Hot and cold snacks and cakes were always good there BUT there was very limited seating so you must be prepared to take it elsewhere.
Alcoholic drinks were VERY expensive. Wine started at $29 a bottle, beer from $6.25 and cocktails up to $10. WARNING - always ask for a receipt. We were overcharged for drinks and it is very difficult to check afterwards when you just get a total on your account which includes the 15% gratuity. After 2 suspicious amounts, we ordered identical drinks and a receipt and it was $2 less! We felt that to NOT give receipts was very bad and with gratuities being dependent upon bar takings gave the staff an incentive to charge for the most expensive drinks on the menu. I made a written complaint about this and await a response.
Excursions were VERY expensive. We did a lot of research prior to the cruise and booked our with cruisingexcursions.com as there were generally half the price charged by Princess. One Princess coach trip to Rome was over $300! If you book your own excursions, you will also usually need to pay for the shuttle bus to get you to where the excursions start. These ranged from $4 to $14 return each. We had no problems with the private excursions other than some waiting around prior to the trip as we made sure that we left the ship in good time to ensure that we did not miss our tour.
We were pleased with this cabin. It was a good size and was the quietest and the least vibration that we have ever had before. You have a bath with a shower curtain rather than a shower so be aware of stepping in and out. 2 TVs with a good choice of channels and BBC and Sky news. The balcony was big enough to recline both chairs with footstools and still have room to walk to the table. These balconies stick out above the lifeboats so can be overlooked from above. This has the benefit of getting more sun that those that are more inboard. There was plenty of hanging space, a wardrobe with safe and other cupboards with a mini fridge.
The shuttle bus was worthwhile to get into town as there are steep slopes to the bridge. We had an interesting walk around town but were warned to watch out for pickpockets and distraction thefts. We didn't have a problem.
We enjoyed a walk around the town
The tour itself was good but Rome was absolutely packed with people so seeing things was actually difficult. Throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain would have needed a catapult! There was a lot a walking involved during the day and keeping an eye on the guide at all times was tiring.
The downside to the trip was the poor arrangements to join it. We left the ship in good time to make sure that we were not late for the coach but then had to stand in a car park for over an hour. The coach would only be called once everyone was there which was poor.View All 349 City Tour Reviews
We were diverted from Genoa to Santa Margarita which we visited by tender. The tender arrangements were poor and left us bobbing around for 40 minutes but the town was lovely and well worth walking around. It was clean and bright with plenty of places to stop for a drink or eat
We didn't get off. The shuttles were $14 and most people said it wasn't worth visiting.
It was around a mile into town so we took the shuttle and then walked around another mile to the cable car. We had bought tickets on line in advance to lessen the queue. Just google Gibraltar cable car. We arrived shortly after it opened at 9.30 and went straight up. Great views and pics of the apes. There is only 1 car up and one car down so expect queues when the tours arrive.
This is a duty free port and booze was very cheap and also a good deal at the cruise terminal if you didn't want to carry it back.