Grand Princess - Eastern Med: Grand Princess Cruise Review by vvacation

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Member Since 2009
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Grand Princess - Eastern Med

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Our Best Cruise so far, 4th with Princess.Two couples, mid-fifties, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversaries, and friend Paula's birthday. Grand Princess clean, staff great, can see signs of ship's age.Prefer Princess over other lines for demographics, service, value.Cabin steward, Tsvetomir was great, as was waitstaff Victoria and Benny in Da Vinci anytime dining. Wish Princess would standardize anytime dining reservation rules, seems to vary ship to ship.This review is more about the ports and experiences than the ship.

Best advice I can give: go on the roll call for your ship and cruise date, share tours with others. Not only will you get better tours but you'll meet some wonderful like-minded travelers.

Day 1-Shared ride from Rome to Civitavecchia with fellow roll call members, Stefano from Romecabs was prompt, courteous and graciously stopped at a store so we could stock up on wine.Ride was 70 euros per couple, 3 couples.Could have taken train, but we were More glad not to haul our luggage around after doing so for the previous week from Florence to Rome. After muster drill had one of two roll call parties,someone counted over 70 people. What a great group, made many new friends, hope to cruise again with some.Shared private tours or did our own at all of the ports. More personalized, smaller groups and great savings. Less

Published 11/12/09

Cabin review: BAC324 Balcony

Cabin Caribe 324-category BA, midship, starboard. Bathroom seemed slightly bigger than previous ships, cabin itself slightly smaller, but balcony bigger.

Read All Balcony (BA) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Tour was arranged by fellow CC member. Guide was George, again very enthusiastic about his city. 55 Euros per person, plus lunch.Took us to see the Sunday AM changing of the Greek National guard (150 men plus a marching band) Very impressive.Saw major sites of Athens, the new Archaeological museum was great, as was the Olympic Stadium, Parthenon and Acropolis.Lunch was another a feast, we celebrated Paula's birthday again, this time with a "Happy Birtday" cake.(Yes, that was the spelling!)

Port 7-Katakolon(Olympia) Greece-No need for transport, easy to walk from the dock to the small town of Katakolon, take a right, walk maybe 1/2 mile to the end of the town, where there's a train station. Get on the train, the conductor will come through and collect the money from you, I think it was less than 5 Euros per person round trip.45 min train ride each way, 3 trains a day, so plan carefully, we took the 8:30 AM train there and the 12:30 PM train back. Stay on train to the end of the line, which is Olympia. Get off train, cross over on walkway (there are signs)to go to the museum and ancient site, entrance was about 12 Euros per person.Ancient site is in more ruins than Pompeii or Ephesus, so you have to visualize.

Port 8- Corfu- Day started off with thunderstorms and high winds, ship had hard time docking.Cleared up around 11 AM so took shuttle into old Corfu town, walked around. Somewhat underwhelmed, back on ship by 2 PM.

Port 9-Dubrovnik, Croatia-What a beautiful city! Great weather. Very clean, stunning setting along the Adriatic Coast. Took Princess shuttle from port to town. Entrance fee to walk around the city walls, was definitely worth it for the views, took our time. Walked around shops, had lunch. Weather took a turn for the worse, so we took the shuttle back to the ship.

Port 10- Last stop Venice. Clear skies as we sailed into port, don't miss it.Docked at noon, but cruise included nite on ship before next AM departure. Princess delivers a vaporetto pass for $15 to your cabin good for the first day only. We were there for 2 days, so returned pass for credit on our account. Walked from dock to transport hub, bought 36 hour vaporetto pass, took vaporetto to Murano, watched brief glass blowing demo, bought some small pieces, walked around Venice, back on ship for dinner.

Departure day- Cool and rainy. Taxi from ship to Piazzale Roma, the main transport hub, left luggage for 4 Euro per bag. Met Diana from Venice with a Guide,(65 Euros per hour for up to 8 people) fellow CC'members and my nephew, who is studying in Torino, for a 2 hour walking tour of Venice in the rain. St. Mark's was slightly flooded, so the walkways were up.Walked and shopped, had a hot and filling lunch. Picked up our bags at Piazzale Roma. Took #5 bus to airport, cost included in vaporetto pass. I had asked bus driver to drop us off at our hotel,Courtyard by Marriott, right before airport stop, but he kept going so we caught the hotel shuttle back to the hotel. Marriott was clean, modern, with a free shuttle to the airport for our 6:20 AM flight home. We had a fabulous trip, experienced some of the greatest ancient and modern sites of the Western world, and made some great new friends on the ship. I can't wait to do it again. Australia-New Zealand in 2011!!!

Our first visit to Turkey. Kusadasi is the port for Ephesus.Shared tour with CC roll call members.Very clean port, happy to have tourists. Driver with guide Mr. Bekir from Celsus Travel.Went to house of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed she lived shortly before she died, very beautiful, peaceful mountain above Ephesus.Toured Ancient City of Ephesus, which rivals or even surpasses Pompeii, the population was 250,000 at it's height. The Terrace houses were amazing, best described as wealthy people's condos with intact frescoes and mosaics.Saw from a distance where St. Paul was imprisoned during which he wrote many of his letters of the Gospel.Lunch was again a feast, followed by a visit to a Turkish rug factory, where the weaving process was demonstrated, with a not too pushy sales pitch, complete with wine, coffee and liquors. You can bargain on prices in Turkey.One of our party did buy a small silk rug to hang on a wall.Total tour cost $65, including lunch in Sirince.
Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

Princess had shuttles to take us into town for nominal fee.Known for it's beaches and night life,it was cool, rainy and windy. Not conducive for any of those activities.Walked around the town,back to ship by 2 PM.
Read 838 Mykonos Reviews

Private Tour, 6 people with Marcello Maresco, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii.I would not recommend visiting Naples city unless you want to go to the Archaeological Museum.What a day, had seen Amalfi before, but on a big bus tour. Marcello, who is passionate about his homeland, took us to the quaint,small towns with gorgeous vistas. It was friend Paula's birthday,Marcello had arranged a feast. What a lunch! Small trattoria with a stunning vista of the Mediterranean Sea.Three appetizers, 3 pastas, vegetables, pizza,3 desserts, wine,limoncello, melon liquor, then for Paula's birthday a cake and Spumante.Afternoon was spent dozing after the wonderful meal as Marcello drove us to Pompeii,which is a must see. Marcello had arranged for a guide in Pompeii, so the whole day was seamless.

Next Day our only sea day, had meet and greet with fellow cruise critic roll call members.

Read 1171 Naples Reviews

Walked around Rhodes town on our own,no need for transportation. Didn't know what to expect, but very clean and beautiful.
Read 390 Rhodes Reviews

Only port where tender was necessary.What a view! Took gondola up to city of Thera. Donkey ride would be an adventure, but we had to meet our bus.Shared tour with 14 roll call members, toured island, with plenty of photo stops at the top of the Caldera. Walked around Oia, lunch at a Taverna beach side, again a feast. Had time to shop in Thera, bargained for gold jewelry.Seas on the tender back to ship were a little rough.Cost 45 euro per person, not including lunch.

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