We booked a balcony cabin on the Pacifica from Civitavecchia to Savona, Italy; Katakalon,Athens, and Rhodes, Greece; Limmasol, Cyprus; and a morning drop off in Port Said with evening pick up in Alexandria, Egypt. Our cabin was mid ship and we found it spacious enough and comfortable -- we had a sofa, so I would imagine it would sleep a third person. The inside cabins seemed to be smaller. It was too cold most days to use the balcony -- we sailed March 3rd to March 14th -- but we did get some use of it. The stateroom amenities included a refrigerator and safe. The bathroom had a bar of soap and a dispenser for shower gel/shampoo. Our cabin steward was attentive and very pleasant. If you like a particular soap or shampoo or a washcloth, I would suggest bringing your own.
We went for the ports. In Savona, we took the ship excursion to Monaco. We really enjoyed it and left the casino with both of us having won a small amount of euros. The famous casino did not open until later in the afternoon, so we did not get in there. We saw many sights and visited the church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier were married and later buried. While we were in front of the palace, a limousine with Prince Albert in the back seat, passed us.
We hooked up with another couple on CruiseCritic and planned some excursions on our own -- which saved us quite a bit of money. In Katakolon, we rented a car and drove to Olympus, then spent a little bit of time wandering the port. In Athens, we shared a cab and went to the Acropolis and the new museum, then wandered around Plaka on our own. Due to rough seas, Rhodes was canceled and replaced with Marmaris, Turkey, but we were unable to pull into port because of rough seas there, as well. Later in the day, the ship was hit with a 110 mph wind and tipped at an angle that caused plates and glasses to fly. The captain was quick to correct it, but a lot of damage had been done. Crew who had cruised for over fifteen years said they had never seen anything like it. In Cyprus, we took the ship's shuttle bus (six euros round trip per person), an option that was offered in some other ports, as well. We wandered Cyprus on our own (with our new best friends) and visited a historical museum, shopped, and visited a bakery where we bought olive bread and baklava to eat at the beach.
In Israel, the other couple did another tour and we went to the Fort at Masada and had a good lunch at Hotel Hod -- where we also were able to float in the Dead Sea. This tour was half English and half French, so everything was in two languages. In Egypt, our friends cruised the Nile and I went on the pyramids, camel, and jeep tour on my own with a couple we had met on the previous day's excursion. This bus was half English and half German speakers. My husband got sick and made use of the ship's medical facility. He needed a doctor's note to get a refund for his excursion. His initial visit was 35 euros, but he had to go back three more times for shots and was also given medication. The total bill was slightly over 68 euros (including the 35 euro office visit).
Our next two days were at sea. Even with the two languages, the excursions were very good. Lunch at Hotel Hod in Israel and at Sakkara Country Club in Egypt were both very tasty. Ship food, however, was rather bland. There were only a couple of meals that I enjoyed. I wished I had my jars of spices so I could add some zing to the food. Pastas were al dente -- as they should be -- but most lacked sufficient sauce and were rather dry. I did not enjoy the buffet, although they do have a made to order omelet station in the morning. Ship coffee in the buffet is not potable. We ate breakfast in the restaurant where we could get cappuccino or espresso and we also ordered more from room service. A light breakfast in your room is included, but there is a service charge for other meals. Other than breakfast, cappuccino and espresso cost money. The only drinks available throughout the day are tea and water. (That buffet coffee might also be available, but after that first cup, I never looked for it again.)
There were not a lot of activities on the ship other than the traditional exercise program, bingo, trivia, etc. The shows were rather lame unless you enjoy jugglers, acrobats, and singers. One show was a crew show and another was ship talent. We went to the first 3 of the shows and skipped the rest.
There were no happy hours -- as others had led me to believe. The best bar special was a five euro tropical drink at happy hour or a specific drink for each bar each day -- also five euros plus 15% service charge (almost eight US dollars). I ordered a cosmopolitan and it ended up costing about eleven US dollars.
I did not notice a lot of children on the ship. I would imagine that most children would be in school early March.
We rented a car at the airport in Rome and were able to drop it off in Civitavecchia. We had thought we had rented a car from Civitavecchia back to Rome, but the rental car company was closed on Sunday -- despite their having sent us a reservation reminder a couple of days before. The train station is a short walk from port. It cost us about 12 euros each to get to Siena, but it was a hassle and we lost most of one of our days in Tuscany.
The disembarkation seemed quite organized. We were late arriving and I heard that embarkation included a lot of pushing and shoving.
We would have liked to see the famous casino at Monte Carlo, but it opened after we left. We did enjoy the rest of the day.
We rented a car and visited on our own. That was easy and we saved a lot of money.
We shared a cab and visited the acropolis, the new museum, and Plaka -- all within walking distance. We really enjoyed Athens.
We used the ship shuttle (6 euros round trip) and walked around on our own.
We actually went to the port of Ashdod and took the ship excursion to the fort of Masada and to the Dead Sea. It was well worth it. Good food, too.
We were dropped off in Port Said and visited Cairo. We were picked up later in the evening in Alexandria. Egypt was amazing. It is also the dirtiest place I have ever been and I was hustled by so many people -- including a police officer who expected a tip.