Royal Princess Cruise Review by SeaDaveRed
- Sail Date: June 2017
- Destination: Europe
- Cabin Type: Interior
The same reasons why I liked Princess previously - great crew treatment, fantastic ship, great food - all applied here. The only slight negative I can say with both Princess cruises is that the entertainment is good, but not as good as I have seen on other lines. Since the entertainment is not all that important to me it does not detract.
We flew to Athens 36 hours in advance on Emirates direct from Newark (great airline) so we could acclimate. We used the Princess transport from the airport to the Hilton and we were glad we did - it was seamless - there was a Princess rep waiting for us along with a driver that whisked us to the Hilton in less than 30 minutes.
The Hilton had an in-house Princess rep that gave us a lot of great info (and tried to sell us excursions). She was very nice and also very informative. The Hilton was excellent. We were taken to the port via bus - I recommend it.
Check in at the port in Piraeus was fairly quick and easy, but getting through security took about 20 minutes. Not bad really. Once on board we got settled in our room (more on our room below) and then sought out the buffet for lunch. We sailed on time.
Our first port of call was Katakolon. A rather sleepy port with a small village filled with various shops. We took a private tour to Olympia and it was a very nice time with a 1 hour guide. Back in port we shopped briefly before getting back on board.
The next port of call was my favorite - Kotor, Montenegro. The 2 hour sail in through the fjord was very scenic. The port offered an old walled village with many interesting shops and little cafes. We opted for the steep climb up the mountain to view the fort. It is a hard climb, but the view was well worth it. We had to be tendered at this port since the dock is small. The sail out was just as enjoyable; in the evening as the sun was setting and it was idyllic. Did you know this ship can play the Love Boat theme on its boat whistles?
Tuesday was a sea day. Nice change and time to rest. We lolled around the pools and adults only area. Nice and quiet. Lunch was each day was very good and there was an excellent variety each day. For 3500 passengers the lines and crowds were not bad at all. If you decide to eat in the Horizon at night you can expect a different theme each night - like Greek Night, Bavarian Night, etc.
Wednesday we stopped at Khios. We did not hold high hopes for this stop - there was not much there. We rented bikes at City Point and rode up and down the coast - about 20 miles total - and swam. Then we shopped a bit before being tendered back to the ship.
Thursday was Rhodes - an excellent stop. The dock is a very short walk to the walled old city where there were interesting buildings and shopping. We loved walking around and getting lost. After this excursion we walked about 2 miles to a quiet section of the pebbly beach and swam and just relaxed. The water is very clean but colder than I expected. There are sandy beaches on Rhodes. In fact, we discovered that there was one close to the bow of the ship after we were getting ready to leave.
Friday's port stop was Mykonos. The main dock is a ways from the village if you walk - a very narrow and busy road. For 2 Euro we took the water taxi into the village where we boarded a ferry to the nearby island of Delos to view more ruins. Well worth the trip - don't take a guided tour - they are so huge how can you hear anything. Upon returning to the village we walked along the very clean and white painted sidewalks until we stopped at a very nice cafe near the "Little Venice" area for refreshments. By this time we were pooped so we took the water taxi back to the ship for some pool side relaxation.
Saturday we landed back in Piraeus nice and early. We did the self walk off and it could not have been easier and faster. We took a cab ride (30 Euro) to our hotel (Royal Olympic).
We left the cruise feeling very satisfied and very pleased with how we were treated. Unlike most cruise lines I do not feel like Princess was always trying to sell me something or in my face for pictures. We did on-board wine tasting and enjoyed it. Any Time Dining each night in the Symphony was excellent. There was never much of a wait and the food was very good-to-excellent - as was the service.
The entertainment was varied - I give them credit for that. I just did not find all of it polished. The exception was the last night performance by all the musicians - this show was excellent. The ship's band was also very good. I did enjoy the string quartet too.
The ship is in excellent condition and was kept spotless during the entire cruise. I liked the lay out and ambiance of Princess ships - elegant without being gawdy. Our captain kept us well informed, but I never saw him once. That is OK.
The entire crew was very friendly and out to please us. They succeeded.
We toured Athens before and after this cruise and just loved the city. It is easy to navigate on foot. We used the Metro to return the airport. This system is very clean, safe, and cheap. Just make sure you get on the right train that is going all the way to the airport. We dead ended 3 stops away from the airport and had to use the surface train to finish the trip. Same ticket though. 9 Euros.
If you plan to visit the Acropolis do so early as it gets very crowed and very warm later on. Try to eat in the Monistaraki area - the food is really good.
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Please be advised, however, that this room is directly over the entertainment stage. You will hear rehearsal every day if you are in your room around 5pm. You will also hear every performance so if you go to bed early get another room.
Our neighbors must have been addicted to TV. Each night they turned on the TV around midnight and it stayed on until after 1am. Then again the TV could be heard each day at 6am. I could hear their loud TV even with ear plugs in. I complained to the front desk and they did try to resolves the issue, but these inconsiderate folks were not going to back down. We endured this the rest of the cruise rather than make trouble.
I am usually sensitive to boat motion. This room is way forward and way higher than I usually get for a room, but the seas were calm and I had no issues.