Last cruise pre-pandemic was on the Regal (for us) in December 2019 and first Princess cruise since the pandemic was also on the Regal. Sailed from Rome to Athens (May 28 - June 4) and from Athens to Barcelona (June 4 - 11). First back to back cruise for us. Used Princess' suggested hotels and transfers at both Rome and Barcelona ports. Arrived at port in Rome, had to take a covid test since I couldn't get my results from my USA test. It was quick and painless. Other than the required wait to receive my results, there was no other wait. Went straight from testing to the terminal (which I had already filled out my required documents early) and on to the ship. Disembarking was a bit more chaotic. Got the wrong color luggage tags (red) instead of pink. Had problems finding the correct van to take my wife and I to the Barcelona hotel. An hour later, finally found the correct van and got to where we needed to go. We had problems locating the Princess representative at the Rome airport when we arrived (oddly, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity were easy to locate!)
But once on board...everything was wonderful! The main dining room was excellent. Wait staff was friendly and efficient. Hostess was very friendly and welcoming every evening. Cabin (Aloha deck) was clean and well maintained. Cabin steward was friendly and did his job well. Ate at the Crown Grill once and of course, the food and service were wonderful. I wish they would have appetizers that are a bit less "posh." Mozzarella sticks or onion rings and perhaps chicken tenders would go a long way (just sayin').
Bed in cabin was outstanding. Slept like a baby (ok, not waking up crying every 3 hours, but sleeping well!). Balcony a bit small for a mini suite, but big enough to enjoy for 2 people.
Room 514 on Aloha deck. Enjoyed the tub and shower. Didn't think we'd use both TVs in the room, but we did! Small balcony, but enough room in the cabin. Plenty of storage space. Bed wasn't too soft or hard (just right for the both of us!) Cabin steward, Sudi, was friendly and efficient. Home away from home for 2 weeks.
Who goes to Athens and not visit the Acropolis? Went on an excursion with an outside company (previously booked before the cruise). Great day (great weather!) and went to the Acropolis early when it wasn't so hot. Fun day!
Saw some discussion about what to do at this port (Knossos/museum or town?). Wife and I decided on a nearby beach (Kateros Beach). Arranged a taxi to pick us up at the port and take us to the beach and back again. Spent 3 and a half hours at the beach and had an enjoyable time. 2 sunchairs and umbrella with a lockbox was about 8 Euros. Good service at "A Paradise Beach Bar" when we arrived.
Probably one of the reasons we picked the cruise we did (it went to this port!). Visited Ephesus and took our pictures of the Library of Celsus and other sites. We got there early when it was not crowded and wasn't yet hot. Did not take a Princess excursion, but had a private one instead. WORTH THE VISIT!!
Princess excursion to Sorrento and Pompeii. It was a free day at Sorrento and a guided tour of Pompeii. Sorrento was most enjoyable (and the weather wasn't hot either!). Enjoyable day (even if a bit long).