We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the ... Read More
We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the crossing to Fort Lauderdale.
We arrived in Rome the morning of Dec 2nd and had a wonderful three day stay at the Palazzo Naiadi near the Roma Termini. The complete staff at this hotel was very courteous and helpful during our stay. While in Rome we saw the Colosseum and the Vatican on Monday and Tuesday with a considerable amount of walking the entire time.
We booked our transfers from the airport to Rome (VIP transfer) and Rome to port (Countryside Tour) with Rome Cabs. I would recommend them as your first choice as they were very, very, easy to work with. Our Driver, Rosselina, was our driver for both transfers. She was on time, very knowledgeable and was a great companion as well as driver. She showed us many sites on the way into Rome. On the way to the port the tour was to Lake Bracciano and the Bracciano Castle where we toured the castle and spent some time in the small town enjoying an espresso and had time to purchase some cheese, meats, and bread for the ship. After this stop we went to the small town of Ceri for a nice lunch in a local cafe. While eating, Rosselina arranged for us to purchase a bottle of local olive oil before the store closed and we were able to pay for it with our meal. During the rest of the drive, Rosselina shared much information on the area and the port.
We arrived at the port in the early afternoon and were the only passengers boarding so the process was as easy as any we had experienced. We were on the ship and in our cabin within 15 minutes. Our luggage arrived soon after.
We were in cabin 8069, an aft cabin just below the Panorama Buffet. We, rarely, had any excessive noise from the deck above. For the most part, we had a quiet cabin. The cabin was suitable in size and the bed was very comfortable. The bed was lower than we’re used to, and we could not fit our large hard side luggage under the bed as with previous cruises. Although we had issues with where to put our luggage, we had plenty of space to place our clothes and other items. For your reference, my suitcase is 12” thick. Our cabin steward, Ronaldo, was very busy with many cabins, at least 12, and he did his very best to take care of all the cabins. He was, also, very good at keeping our bucket filled with ice and the cabin in good order despite his hectic schedule. We did grow very fond of him during the cruise.
Our experience in the dining room was very good. Our Maître d was Luigi Pascale who was very entertaining and managed the dining room with precision. Our head waiters were Vincenzo Del Santo and Joao Serra Da Costa Santos who took very good care of us. One of our table mates needed a special menu and Vincenzo was there every night to provide him with his special menu for the next evening meal. The menu was more than sufficient, and we had many choices every evening, although there was some repetition of menu items. Overall, the food was very good with only a couple things I would not have ordered again.
The Panorama Buffet had good variety of choices for breakfast and lunch. The food was always fresh and there were ample places to sit. A few times we would be joined by random diners who were, for the most, very engaging and enjoyable. We very much appreciated eating in the outside deck area. The only downside is that when we brought our fresh coffee the service staff would tend to assume we didn’t need other things like juice and water. We, frequently, had to get those ourselves.
We ate in the Sterling Steakhouse once and found the steaks were only average. This is subjective though as we can get excellent cuts of steak where we live, and our expectations are high when it comes to steak. That said, the services were fine in the restaurant.
After a premium wine tasting I was offered attendance at a special “Super Tuscan” wine and food tasting lunch in Sabatini’s. This was put on by the chef Alessandro Carrer and presented by the maître d and head waiters. This was a 5-course tasting menu with wine pairing and was excellent. For me, this was one of the highlights of my cruise.
The entertainment, especially the ship’s production staff, was outstanding. The band was very good and played a variety of music genres. The singers were very entertaining and, again, very diverse in what they presented. The six dancers were all top notch and talented. I would have to say they were the best of any ship we have sailed. In addition to their amazing performances, the dancers also worked at the deck activities and other venues such as dance instruction and trivia, to name a few. The other entertainers who were booked during the cruise were good as well.
The bars on the ship were good but our favorite was the Casino Bar. This is where we, and some of our new friends, would meet for drinks before and after dinner and after some of the evening shows. The two main people here were David and Mickey, who took excellent care of us during the entire cruise and were always there for us. Their service was probably the best during the cruise. We looked forward to seeing them daily.
Naples - We took a ship excursion NAP-310, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Cheese Tasting. The tour was 9 hours and well worth the time. The first stop was to a place that produces Limoncello where we were able to taste and/or purchase the product. After, we stopped at a farm that produces handmade cheeses and we were shown how different cheeses were made. We were then treated to the cheese and wine tasting room where we tasted their fresh cheese and local wine. We, also, spent a couple hours in Sorrento, where many people wandered and shopped. After, we drove to Pompeii for the remaining time and explored the ruins. This was the highlight as Pompeii was number one on my bucket list.
Palermo - We took another ship excursion PMO-210, Capuchin Catacombs and Mysteries. This was wonderfully enlightening tour that gave some insight to modern mummification was administered. After we toured the catacombs, we were taken to the historically private Oratories of Santa Cita and San Domenico where we learned of those practices and saw the magnificent artworks in each oratory.
Gibraltar - We left the ship and walked to the cable car which took us to the top. Our tickets allowed access to many attractions on the walk back down such as St Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels, and Moorish Castle to name a few. After our walk down we stopped at Grand Casemates Square for a late lunch at the Lord Nelson Pub where we enjoyed a couple Guinness beers and a lunch we could not finish. All very reasonably priced.
Cadiz - We went on a private tour with fellow roll call members to Seville that was organized by a roll call member through Spain Day Tours. The main attraction was Alcazar of Seville which was, in my opinion, more enlightening than a previous tour to Alhambra in Granada a few years ago. Alcazar was also a setting for some of the filming of Game of Thrones. Fun to see that if you're a Game of Thrones fan.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - We walked to the main downtown area, shopped and returned to the ship.
The Ship - The ship is well maintained although she is still showing her age to some degree. Captain Spinardi, and his crew were remarkable and the service was very top notch, for the most part. Many thanks to the crew, in particular our waiters, bartenders/bar servers for their most attentive service. That made the cruise very enjoyable. The entertainment staff was, also, second to none. The six main dancers were exceptional in their talent and visibility during the crossing.
Our, primary, reason for this cruise was to test the ship to determine how we wanted to accomplish sailing around the world. The fastest would be on the Pacific Princess but there are other options within the Princess fleet but on different ships. What I found was that, while I loved the ship and crew, it may not be of sufficient size to keep us occupied and physically active enough for a 111 day world cruise. That said, we will probably circumnavigate in segments sailing on bigger Princess ships. It's nice to have those options with Princess because we, very much, love this brand. Read Less