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14 Venice to Mediterranean Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

Although we'd previously visited some of these ports/countries in past independent travel, this was our first repositioning/ Transatlantc cruise. The refurbished rooms on the Island Princess were an improvement over what we remembered ... Read More
Although we'd previously visited some of these ports/countries in past independent travel, this was our first repositioning/ Transatlantc cruise. The refurbished rooms on the Island Princess were an improvement over what we remembered from our Panama Canal cruise on the same ship last year. The wall-mounted flat screen TV & slight improvements to the bathroom gave an updated look. Some changes to the ship weren't positive, such as the smaller fitness center & the elimination of both the Universe Lounge, and the bigger pastry counter usually found on Deck 6. We always enjoy the port lectures in the theater, but here, the gentleman who served as port lecturer had a more limited role. Being in port on many consecutive days, the majority of his lectures were just recorded & shown on stateroom TV. And because he disembarked in Barcelona, there was no lecture given at all for our last port, the Azores. At many of the ports, Princess charged a high fee to get into the town via shuttle or boat, such as $29.00 to get into Venice. Any available , cheaper options were neither explained by the port lecturer or described in the Patter. The one free shuttle bus that was offered, in Salerno, was little used because so many of the tours ran late. We really enjoyed our tour that day, visiting Mt. Vesuvius & Pompeii, but were dismayed by some of the inconsiderate passengers. At both locations, people did not rejoin the group at the appointed time. At Pompeii, someone disappeared so the rest of us were left mlliing around while the tour guide looked for the wayward person for over half an hour, with no communication to the rest of the group. For the premium cost of these excursions, it seems that the cruise should build in some compliance by the participants, or at least stress punctuality.The days at sea were enjoyable, although there was a lot of congestion related to the dining rooms. People lined up in the evening before the Bordeaux dining room even opened, but were still given beepers. And at 5:45, some of the "anytime" diners were taken up to the Provence dining room (fixed seating.) It seems this system needs serious revamping. Delays in dining made it difficult to get to the shows in many cases, too. On the positive side, the cruise director & staff seemed very hard-working and energetic . Many people depended on reading to get through the long days at sea, and the Library collection on Deck 8 really is in need of updating. Looking at the book titles was like a throwback to the 1990's. But all in all,we enjoyed the cruise and all of the ports. We were very lucky to have excellent weather, with daytime temperatures in the 60'S and 70's. In spite of this nice weather, many people were coughing and sneezing, and a letter on respiratory illness was issued to all by the Medical Center, which was a bit daunting. We did learn to look for the "non- coughing" area at events! For the most part, we had an enjoyable time and felt that the crew and staff were hard working and available to passeners.Disembarkation was handled smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We set sail from Venice on 14th October. We were at the rear of the ship in cabin C716, I agree with other contributors about the vibration particularly at night, more of a nuisance when it occurred, especially at night. Our steward was ... Read More
We set sail from Venice on 14th October. We were at the rear of the ship in cabin C716, I agree with other contributors about the vibration particularly at night, more of a nuisance when it occurred, especially at night. Our steward was Benedict he was superb and anxious to please. The food was 1st Class, we dined in the evening in the Bordeaux room a choice of about 12 different courses all very nicely served by professional and courteous waiters. The breakfast was taken in the Horizon room, it was so busy at times that we struggled to get a table, but we eventually always did. The breakfast menu was super, fruit, cereals porridge, pancakes, all varieties of eggs, sausages, bacon with tomatoes mushrooms waffles and much more although we could have breakfast in the Bordeaux room with waiters services, but this finished at 9am a little too early for us. Lunch was also serves in the Horizon, similar arrangements to breakfast also with a fantastic choice, It was all to tempting for me and I regret to say that I am now at home on a strict diet. Most of the staff were extremely helpful although I felt that the customer service staff at reception could have given a little more eye contact and a smile or two. I did not use the Princess theatre for the evening shows, but I was told by others that they were very good although I have to say that I did not enthuse over the entertainment in most of the bar lounges, I have received more enjoyment in my local social club. However I must say that it was always a pleasure to use the "Crooners Bar" where we were entertained by the pianist and singer Danny Oliver, he was fantastic and very pleasing to the ear. Although it was against the ships to bring on board spirits and beer, it was permitted to bring on two bottles of wines at each port of call. All in all a great trip on a fine ship albeit a little dated. ps. If you are not good on your feet get a cabin(sorry stateroom) as near to amidships and the lift as is possible Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We joined the ship at Venice cruise terminal nice and early and had a very slick embarkation. Because we had a ‘guaranteed’ cabin our luggage took a while to find us so we had a relaxing lunch .having previously cruised with Emerald ... Read More
We joined the ship at Venice cruise terminal nice and early and had a very slick embarkation. Because we had a ‘guaranteed’ cabin our luggage took a while to find us so we had a relaxing lunch .having previously cruised with Emerald Princess we found the ship’s layout was unsettling. When they refurbished the ship they added more cabins at the rear of the ship this also meant the spa and the Horizon buffet were moved to the front which for regular cruisers was very disorienting. Our cabin was one of the new ones A721 right near the back the layout of the cabin was an improvement, gone was the stack of shelves in the corner with its bulky TV, there’s now a flat corner table hiding the mini-bar and the TV is a 19” flat screen wall mounted at the foot of the bed another noticeable point was the lighting they had at last fitted some decent bulbs. We did notice considerable vibration and noise when the captain ‘played’ with the engines Being frequent cruisers we didn’t notice the slightly used look of the ship. The entertainment team under Dan (an Eric Morecambe clone) from Blackpool with his team from Liverpool, NZealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Leeds were the best we’ve encountered, always friendly and willing to chat (unless busy). Dining we used anytime dining and even using the pager did not have to wait long, disappointing was the food as another reviewer said there were some weird concoctions. Whether it was the galley or the waiting staff but there seemed to be a lot of waiting for food and I’m sorry to say most of it was tepid or cold. On the nights we used the horizon buffet we found a good choice being a server it was hot even the plates. Also in the buffet the waiters were something else, at your elbow to take your orders for drinks (tea etc) and whisked dirty plates as soon as you finished. A nice touch was laying out the table with place mats and cutlery all ready to go. Even at the busiest times you could still find a seat (if you’re willing to share). Occasionally we used the grill above the pool when you fancied a thick hamburger or hotdog. That together with free ice cream and pizzas there was something for all. Entertainment was plentiful with the usual games during the day, with some very popular Trivia Quizzes (our favourite). In the evening there was a mix of music venues satisfying music lovers, some popular TV games –under a different names – which were hilarious. Finally there were some excellent shows in the Theatre, ranging from full musicals using top notch dancers and singers to top class comedians. We did not use the ship’s tours having been to the sights previously, we still went ashore and enjoyed the local towns and mingling with the locals. The disembarking went like silk. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Would do this cruise again in a heart beat. The ports for this itinerary is exactly what we were looking for and the reason for booking this cruise. Venice over night, Athens, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, Toulon, ... Read More
Would do this cruise again in a heart beat. The ports for this itinerary is exactly what we were looking for and the reason for booking this cruise. Venice over night, Athens, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples, Rome, Florence, Toulon, Barcelona. Due to circumstances beyond Princess's control our itinerary was altered to have decreased time in Athens and Istanbul, as well as a port order change, putting us in Istanbul on the first day of their religious holiday. As a result the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market were closed. There was an artisan Bazaar that we visited. Athens port held us back an extra 1.5hrs which ate into our time as well. It would have been nice to have more time at these ports, but we used our time wisely and now we will just have to come back to see more! I cannot comment on the ship excursions as we planned private tours. We prefer more intimate, one on one tours for less money. Princess did cancel their Amalfi Coast tour in Naples the day before arriving due to fires in the area. We however were able to still go ahead with our private tour as "road closed" only really pertains to buses in Italy! I prefer not to comment on ports themselves as everyone has their own tastes on activities etc. We loved every port we went to except Toulon (again, personal preference). The food was amazing as always on the Princess ships. We prefer to eat in the dining room and only eat in the buffet when necessary (grab some food quickly before shore excursion). Love Sabatini's, however prefer the Crown Grill to the Bayou Cafe. Had the All Inclusive Drink package and put it to good use. The pizza on princess ships is delicious! Did not watch any of the entertainment due to be tried from the port extensive itinerary. Was disappointed that the International Cafe was not added to the Island Princess as speculated. There were long line ups for anytime dining as most people ate late on this sailing for some reason. Service we experienced was superb. In hind sight would have done the itinerary in reverse to get the 2 sea days at the end of the cruise for rest. Embarkation was a breeze. Was able to get on the ship, drop off our stuff and easily get back off to enjoy Venice. I will say do your research about each port ahead of time, do not rely on any cruise ship to give you the only option of getting off at each port. Cruise ship shuttle buses are not always the only option, and at times can be the least favoured option. Research so you are not left complaining how you didn't know about a specific port (heard that complaint a lot). We prefer a more mature crowd (no kids) so Princess is perfect for us. Like said before, would book this cruise again in a heart beat... Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We spent a delightful three nights in Venice before our cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Olimpa. Good location near water taxis. Great breakfast and nice canal side location. The ship was older but recently redone and nice enough. We ... Read More
We spent a delightful three nights in Venice before our cruise. We stayed at the Hotel Olimpa. Good location near water taxis. Great breakfast and nice canal side location. The ship was older but recently redone and nice enough. We chose this over a river cruise as we were traveling with another couple who are platinum with princess. We are gold level Disney cruise,line and vacation club members. I have also done carnival with our daughters for spring breaks from college. That is a whole other deal. We enjoyed the cruise...food was good and we liked the opportunity to see a lot of ports in a short time. We did a private tour in Istanbul which was a great idea. It was a religious holiday so the Grand Bazaar was not open and the other sights did not open until 1. Our private, local guide was able to bypass the lines so we got to see a lot in a short amount of time. We also had a private driver in Rome with a guide through the Vatican. A bit pricy but worth it. In general, we felt the the excursions that were offered by princess to be just okay. We liked the Cinque Terre day, but felt it was a bit disorganized, Toulon wine and olive tasting with a small village tour was nice as was a beach day in Mykonos. The Pompeii tour was good but we felt we were oversold at Cellini gallery a cameo store approved by princess. After we negotiated on the cameos and paid we were given a VAT form that needed to be stamped at the airport or we will be charged another 198 euros. Well we left from Barcelona and there was no where to get the form stamped. I have been back and forth with the gallery and princess to no avail. So just make sure you are willing to buy at the price that includes the VAT. I would have made a different buying decision with the full disclosure. We liked the specialty restaurants and the bars...Crooners was are favorite. The servers were really nice. We stayed two extra nights in Barcelona at Hotel Jazz. Nice modern hotel with lovely rooftop pool and terrace Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We really enjoyed this cruise especially the sail out of Venice. I have sailed into and out of Venice with Princess before and it's a real delight - do it while you can, it may not always be an option with the potential sinking of ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise especially the sail out of Venice. I have sailed into and out of Venice with Princess before and it's a real delight - do it while you can, it may not always be an option with the potential sinking of Venice! The overnight in this port gave us the option of seeing the city at night too - it's a wonderful place, easy to get around with lovely buildings and canals at every turn. This was a busy itinerary, Istanbul, Mykonos, Athens, Naples, Rome, Florence, Toulon & Barcelona, but great if you have the stamina for busy, cosmopolitan destinations. The embarkation and disembarkation we extremely well manged, full points Princess. In Istanbul, Athens, Mykonos, Toulon and Barcelona we did our own things, partially because I had visited several of them previously but we did the Rome on you own, using the ships private train excursion because Rome is so far from Citavecchia. This was comfortable, relaxing and convenient, much better than taking a bus on the busy roads. We had a guide who took us into St Paul's Square and gave us great tips, a map etc. and then we were left to our own devises. We chose to simply orient ourselves, use the underground and see the places rather than waste time in the many long queues for the major attractions, planning to come back on another occasion when not so pressed for time. We did a similar thing in Florence, but this time it was on your own by bus but again our tour guide John did an excellent job in orienting us, giving hints and tips for Florenece - he was so amusing! We chose to visit Herculaneum using the ship's excursion - a sound decision and hugely more interesting than Pompeii. We had an archaeologist who worked on the site to show us around. A very good half day tour. Prior to this in the morning we simply walked off the ship and into Naples town a mere 5 minutes away. Toulon was perhaps the most disappointing visit. There isn't a great deal there and as others have said the place is closed on Sundays, although there is a market open and a small tourist train operating. However, the beaches are in easy reach by the tourist train, by bus or taxi only minutes away, although from the ship a water taxi is necessary to the main town area. After the cruise we spent a couple of days in Barcelona; TIP using a Hop-on Hop-off bus go straight to the tourist office in Plaza Cataluna, they are really helpful, and pre-book times for busy sites (any Gaudi venue) to organise your day effectively. MAJOR TIP FOR PIRAEUS/ATHENS - as others have said getting into Athens is cheap and easy via the Metro (15mins from Piraeus), about 1.5 euros per person each way, however, getting to the Metro, which is in the main train station depends on where your ship is berthed. We were berthed at the Themistokleous Pier Terminal B which is beyond Gate E12 of Piraeus Harbour and the furthest away. The main train station/Metro is between gates E5 & E7 on the opposite side of the road. Gate E6 is a Pedestrian bridge over the busy main road but this is closed for repairs! From Terminal B to the Metro is a good 50 mins walk at a goodly pace and remember it's the same coming back, one could perhaps take a taxi or public bus there. Don't bother with an all day ticket on the metro, once in the city, if you start at the Acropolis buying the 12 euro all venue ticket, you can easily work back towards the direction of Piraeus without using the metro again - we walked to the New Acropolis Museum, to Hadrian's Arch, through the Plaka and onto the Roman Agora before catching the Metro back from Monistiraki and all for less than 23 euros each! Istanbul too is easy to negotiate by tram, follow recommendations that you can find on-line from the port of Salipazari. Mykonos is very easy to visit on foot from the water shuttle stop. It's a while since we used Princess Cruises, a few things have changed but not sufficient to disappoint us. We were very pleased with the food, service, entertainment etc. Like I said - a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The negatives first Entertainment only 1 good act Wil Martin a crossover singer from New Zealand was excellent otherwise very average a celine dion tribute Tracey Shields was decent illusionist Matthew McGurk not bad there it ends ... Read More
The negatives first Entertainment only 1 good act Wil Martin a crossover singer from New Zealand was excellent otherwise very average a celine dion tribute Tracey Shields was decent illusionist Matthew McGurk not bad there it ends Dan Riley a guitar comedian was cringe worthy Al Katz about as funny as a packet of lard and a troupe of Greek dancers wasted half hour of my life. The Ship negatives the pool space was limited basically if you didn't get a sunbed by 6am on sea days you wouldn't get one no running track and the gym moved to a small room on floor 6 to accommodate more cabins a constant smell of wet varnish in which small jobs always seemed to be going on. The positives an excellent crew cabin Steward Allan Was very efficient dining staff good and dining room food was also top drawer the buffet choices were a bit limited but adequate got to say embarkation was the quickest ever experienced ,also a mention for Italian Tenor Corrado Amici who done 2 half hour slots on the Civitavecchia stop really should have had a primetime slot in the evening cruise director take note as a first time Princess customer overall a decent value Cruise with a great Itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 7th cruise and 2nd with Princess. We are married and Mid 50's. Very important: prior to cruising enroll in your ship's/cruise Roll Call on this site, its a great way to get and share ideas and make friends prior to ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise and 2nd with Princess. We are married and Mid 50's. Very important: prior to cruising enroll in your ship's/cruise Roll Call on this site, its a great way to get and share ideas and make friends prior to your cruise!!!! We did the Venice to Barcelona route departing Venice Friday at 1 PM and beginning with Istanbul....however we never made Istanbul because on Saturday night we rec'd a distress call from 118 Syrian refugees on a small boat and it took us out of our Route from 9PM until disembarking the refugees in Greece Sunday at 2:00 PM, so they took us to Santorini instead of Istanbul which was VERY, VERY Disappointing to many of us...Santorini was nice but NOT Istanbul! The ports were all nice, the weather was hot, seas calm, food very good, the entire staff/crew were all VERY nice and accommodating, the ship clean and well maintained, good entertainment and overall a typical great cruising experience on Princess. Our cabin was A333 (Aloha Deck/deck 12 starboard side). Very nice cabin, our steward Imran was great however 2 minor points to mention: Our cabin was along the inside "curve" of the ships cabins so we could see out well, but not able to see fwd to the bow or rear to the stern, also the floor of outside deck 14 directly above us did provide shade on our balcony but also restricted your view upward (not a big deal) however cabins at the front, mid ship and stern sections were on the outside of the curve and had a more complete view. By "curve" I refer to walking down the hall from front to back, after about 15 cabins the hall turns inward and then straight again until mid ship when it curves out again and repeats to the stern. Also, having the floor of deck 14, where its outside near the pool, directly above us, we did hear the occasional pounding of feet when someone ran along above us. Barely noticed that but wanted to mention it. Cabin A333 was about the 5-7th cabin down from bow to stern, on this inside curve. Thats really our only very minor complaint. We chose the anytime dining and that enabled us to sit at different tables and meet many people and staff members. We only had to wait once for a table, about an hour for a table on the first Saturday night when everyone showed up to eat around 8PM. In the MED it was light outside until about 10PM so everyone enjoys eating later. Aside from the first night, we had no trouble getting a table immediately. For the formal nights, some dressed up with Tuxes, suits etc, we chose not to and just wore khakis and either a long sleeve dress shirt or a collared golf type short sleeve and that was fine. No shorts in the dining rooms for dinner. We were scheduled to eat in the Bordeaux dining room on deck 5 which was fine. We were not impressed with either the Italian (extra fee of $25/person) or the Bayou Steak house menus so why pay extra for menus that we didn't care for. The Crown Steakhouse was NOT on the Island princess and that in the past was very enjoyable. Those who did pay extra and ate at either place said all was fine, however we are not into cajun etc. For 3 nights the ship offered a "Crab Shack" on the port side of the Buffet area, it was roped off for some privacy, cost $20/person and we found that well worth it as it was all you can eat, great choice if you enjoy seafood. "IF you meet others on Cruise Critics ROLL Call, be sure to ask the cruise director onboard or even contact Princess prior to the cruise and request a "meeting/meet and greet" set up for your Roll Call friends, Princess and other lines have always met this request!!!! They even mentioned it on the ships TV after our meeting but did not publish it in the newspaper due to the name "Cruise Critic'. On our ships Roll Call (which is apparently deleted at the start of our cruise) we noticed several of our future shipmates spent an incredible amount of time researching port excursions from private operators and sharing that info and allowing others to join them...GREAT Idea! Shore excursions: In our opinion and that of many of our ship mates the Princess excursions were FAR TOO COSTLY and had too many people.......we heard many complaints and people had wished they had heard about our private tours. The operators we used were EXCEPTIONAL, great guides, great vehicles and usually anywhere from 6 to 12 people max. These operators were also very sensitive to our departure time and many boast that they have never had a passenger miss their ship's departure. We did the Ship's Mykonos beach excursion, $47/person for a 15 minute bus ride to the beach that wasn't all that nice, it was the 2 name beach something p......giallo ???? Just a ripoff, others took a cab or local bus for no more than 10 Euro and made out fine. Also on the above beach, an umbrella and 2 sand chairs were $12-20 Euro for the day however the Princess tour lasted just 3 hours. I'd like to now share our tours with you as they were all VERY Good and we payed less than HALF price of the Princess tours for double the amount of tours: Venice: We arrived on Thursday July 9th and spent the day, after checking in, with relatives in the area. That left us Friday from 8-noon to see Venice. We booked a walking tour thru Dark Rome.com, the cost was about $43 Euro/person www.citywonders.com and was very good, it lasted 9-11AM, we got there from the ship to the Rialto bridge via water taxi and a 15 minute walk, then had plenty of time for a Gondola Ride $85 euro for 2 people for about 30 minutes, worth doing as you are in Venice. Mykonos: Nice place, no tours, beach then strolled thru town, had lunch bayside. NOTE: Most tour groups offer to buy ahead skip the line entrance fees, DO IT!!!!!!! These tours also all had small vans/mini buses with good air conditioning and good drivers. Athens: $70 Euro/person for 8 person group includes entrance fees. Spirostours@yahoo.com owner Spiro was a NYC Taxi driver, speaks english, GREAT TOUR and Guide. Our Guide Caliopi was sensational. Driver George (Yorgo) was from Crete, knew of a Cretan restaurant named 5 Phi's located a few blocks behind the Hilton near the US Embassy. We had a huge family style lunch of freshly prepared Greek/Cretan food at a cost of JUST $9 euro/person. Awesome tour, guide and fantastic lunch, a GREAT Value. Highly recommended. Saw the main sites of Athens. I'd give you the address of the restaurant BUT their business card is in Cyrillic. Web address: www.ta5f.gr Naples:$73 Euro/person APTours, Info@APTours.it or www.aptours.it. We chose the Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento Tour including the Amalfi Coast. Spectacular! Highly recommended. Arturo was our driver, great guy! Dario was our guide in Pompeii, awesome guide, we paid him that day to buy us pompeii tickets as guides have their own window, no lines, he took us first thing in the AM, even then it was hot, we walked around the ruins in "out of the way" crowd avoiding places where we saw some awesome sites, walking around on cobblestones and dusty streets, wear shoes/sneakers. positano was a charming seaside town and the ride down the Amalfi coast was spectacular, we stopped for photos several times, Sorrento was very nice as well. We ate at a restaurant/pizzeria called 'basilica" down a long alley near the center of town. Great pizza and other items, reasonable. After Sorrento, we opted for taking the Ferry back across the bay to our ship, cost of $13 Euro/person, 35 minute boat ride, very well worth it, sailed right past the Isle of Capri. Rome: Gianluca Colonnelli was our driver, great guy, brand new Mercedes minivan, informative. $137 Euro/person included tickets to the Vatican and Coloseum + Vatican Guide Barbara who was very knowledgeable. About an hour- 1:30 ride into Rome from the ship, we were there on a Saturday so roads were empty but Rome was hot and crowded with 9 cruise ships there. Tour Group was Italytours.eu or info@italytours.eu The Vatican tour took 4 hrs instead of 3 due to crowds and we were there early around 9:30 am, Coloseum was next and we spent 30 minutes there, then saw the Pantheon, had lunch sandwich and a drink at a little deli with tables in the rear, first shop as you exit the Pantheon on the left, Pantheon crowded but we went inside and then saw other sites by van then headed back. The heat and crowds plus travel time do make these tours somewhat tiring but they are all far superior to the ships tours. Livorno/Florence: $65 Euro/person for 8 people + $25 euro for a GREAT Lunch!!! Italy Shore Drivers : www.isdsharingtours.com or www.italyshoredrivers.com or info@italyshoredrivers.com. Michele Traversi or Gianmaria Mariti Phone: +39-348-60-05-482 or +39.328.18.88.057 Florence is a good hour drive in from the port of Livorno and we did NOT get to Florence. We chose the Pisa and Lucca tour. Our Driver/guide was Mauro and he was excellent. He had us at the Leaning Tower in Pisa at 8:30 am on a Sunday morning and there was nobody there, crowds started forming as we left about 9:15-9:30, including the huge groups from our ship. Mauro then pointed us in the right direction in Lucca's square following a car tour of parts of the city. lucca was a nice, leisurely stroll thru an old walled town and we enjoyed the slower pace. We found a deli a block away from St. Michaels church(facing the church front, make a left down that small side street and its the next to last shop on the right called something pizzeria I think) and ordered some Italian cold cuts, (bread, cheese, proschiuto and mortandella (a huge piece about 14 inches round) and ate on the steps nearby. We also bought small bottles of local Chianti here to bring home. Following our 1:30 minute stroll, Mauro took us to a friend's restaurant in the hills overlooking Lucca. It felt as if we were guests on a cooking show with one of the famous TV Chefs, the place resembled a private home, we ate freah local Italian food and had 3 bottles of local wine, dined out on a covered patio among the rolling hills with mountains in the background. There were 8 of us and cost with tip came to $50 Euro Per couple Including appetizers, main course, some had dessert and coffee. This included a complimentary glass of Prosecco wine. Truly a marvelous experience and a needed relaxing day/tour. We passed numerous large sunflower fields on our travels here and highly recommend the tour. We had friends who chose Pisa and Florence and they too had a good day/tour but did not enjoy the hillside restaurant as we did. Restaurant: Osteria da mi pa, Via della Chiesa 65, Gragnano, Lucca. bianchi.daniela@tin.it Phone: 0583-975010. If you can get there...do it!!! Toulon: We paid the $20 dollars each and took the short ride on the ships ferry into town. We docked near many French navy ships including their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. At the ferry dock there was a small train tour available and we did this for about $10 Euro/person. Not a real train but a small motorized vehicle designed to resemble a train and it towed 3 'train type' cars with about 6 people in each. Nice 45 minute tour of the town. After that we poked around the shop area and headed back to the ship for lunch. St. Tropez beach is a 2 hour drive 1 way. There is also a local beach on the opposite side of town but we did not go there. Barcelona: Barcelona day Tours info@Barcelonadaytours.com About $210 euro for 2 people. Marta was our guide and Manuel our driver, the 12 of us did the Barcelona and Montserrat tour. Marta was great, Barcelona is a very nice city, we prepaid for tickets to the Park Guell (very nice to see) toured the "Sagrada Familia" Church from the outside, this church has taken 130 years to build, was designed by "Gaudi" and should be done in 2026 finally. Impressive site. Montserrat was amazing, we drove up a steep winding mountain road far above Barcelona to see the Monastery and church up there and we had lunch there. Awesome/tremendous mountain views, amazing structures, cable cars etc....highly recommend going to Montserrat and of course Barcelona. The tour group loaded our luggage and then dropped us at our respective hotels. Again Highly recommend this tour group. Our travel agent recommended us to take this company from Barcelona, (our Hotel was the Colon across from the Cathedral (very nice old hotel with modern amenities as Wifi, Air Conditioning, rooftop pool spa and terrace where you can see the Cathedral and the sea, very clean, elevators etc. We had dinner at "Neyras" 2 blocks away which was excellent and reasonable.) Anyway: Suntransfers.com Email: info@suntransfers.com or www.suntransfers.com. $39 euro for a private car for the 2 of us, 20 minute ride to the airport at 8am on a Wednesday. We were told a taxi would be just $30 euro however we found taxi prices to be about $50 euro for 2. The driver was there 5 mins early and got us to the airport no problem. Thats it, hope this helps and hope you get to Istanbul. NOTE: We booked at the end of march, friends booked about a month later and received a great deal of about half of what we paid...FYI Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We were very much looking forward to this cruise as I had really enjoyed last princess cruise and this itinerary although had some destinations we had done before there were half we hadn't. Check in easy and relatively simple, ... Read More
We were very much looking forward to this cruise as I had really enjoyed last princess cruise and this itinerary although had some destinations we had done before there were half we hadn't. Check in easy and relatively simple, satisfied with our cabin which was mini suit on C deck forward. Had lovely steward who took care of our needs. Had lunch then encountered issue with package we had bought, after much discussion told we needed to go to pursers desk, there we encountered long line and very poor customer service, I won't go into detail but it certainly was not a good start to our cruise and coloured our opinion of princess as a result. As others have posted there was issue with diversion to pick up ship in distress which I found distressing to see such families in desperation to risk lives. We were disappointed not to get to Istanbul but we completely understood the need. Food, we found food to be poor in Bordeaux dining room, it was either lukewarm, bland or slow service or all three. We wanted table for two and got it, if you can class two inch gap separation! We always enjoy meals on cruises and like to dress for dinner, but on this cruise we ended up going to horizon court for meals for 8 of 12 nights, at least food there was hotter. Formal night dinner we found to be particularly poor. Entertainment.. We enjoyed group in wheelhouse bar they were versatile, but dance floor far too small and interupted by quiz for 40 mins every night. Theatre shows we found to be overall poor, they were far too short. 25 min show ridiculous, what do singers and dancers do all week? 2 singer comedians, ok but not really my cup of tea, found one to be quite rude. Entertainment team, only just ok, Steve from England by far the best of them, felt he worked hard and made effort, same couldn't be said for whole team, little encouragement from them to get people up to dance they just kept saying for e.g its party night not a show, join in....more like being told off than encouraged. Fabulous piano player/singer in crooners bar, real pity he wasn't in a larger venue. We came across some lovely waiters and staff, others not quite so good. Ship was clean on whole. We felt there was issue with sun beds, guests often left towels on beds which then looked occupied but no one came back to them, we saw several guests wandering around looking for somewhere to sit, especially on sea days, yet there was lots of floor space and apparently mattresses but no beds, why? Maybe something princess might want to look into. Photographers we found to be very pushy. Ports of call....we loved Venice, Mykonos Athens. Found Naples too packed with lots of other ships in port and same in Rome, but we had done before so not real issue for us. Disembarkation was efficient and uncomplicAted, credit to princess on that point. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I booked this cruise very last minute and actually didn't do a lot of research prior as there wasn't time. I knew Princess was a nice cruise line, but hadn't sailed with them before, and found out the ship had just been ... Read More
I booked this cruise very last minute and actually didn't do a lot of research prior as there wasn't time. I knew Princess was a nice cruise line, but hadn't sailed with them before, and found out the ship had just been through a major drydock. I chose the cruise because of a very good price and a great itinerary that included Istanbul. By the time I booked, all balconies were sold out, and I was offered a great deal on an oceanview or interior. We figured we would be in port a great deal, and booked an oceanview obstructed view based on price consideration and that we would have more money for port tours. Princess upgraded me against my request, and put me in a brand new oceanview cabin that was right next to the casino. I was not happy (that was an understatement). Called my travel agent several times, called Princess, was told the ship was completely sold out and could not change my room. I was assured several times that there would be no smoke smell in my cabin from the casino and that the room was actually a nice upgrade and in a nice midship location. At that point I had to try to go with a positive attitude and knew I would be be complaining bitterly if there was any smoke smell or unreasonable noise in a cabin. After all, who wants their cabin next to the casino. Well, I have got to say that Princess was absolutely right, there was absolutely no smoke smell or noise at all in the cabin and it was a MUCH better cabin then the obstructed view cabin I booked. We were in cabin F504, and the brand new cabin was set up just like a balcony cabin, but with a floor to ceiling picture window instead of a balcony. The bed was on the wall like a balcony cabin and not in front of the window, and we had a chair in front of the window. The bathroom was small, but brand new, and we had plenty of space for the two of us for the cruise. We ended up loving the midship location as we were so close to everything. I heard a couple comment as they walked by the corridor of these new rooms that they would hate a room near the casino. I would have agreed, but honestly liked this so much better than I thought I would have. Great room if you can get it at a budget price and like to be close to everything or have walking issues. Our cabin steward there was great too, and I did not miss the balcony as I thought I would. The ship's food was good, we actually really liked the Horizon Court and liked the fact that it was open to midnight. The main dining room was decent as well, and we ate there most nights. Compared to other lines I have been on, I thought the buffet was better than most and the main dining room was about equal, perhaps a little less. Service was spotty in the main dining room and we didn't like the fact that a table for two was literally two inches away from another table for two. We enjoyed afternoon tea on several afternoons and thought that was a nice touch. Entertainment was not particularly overwhelming, but it suited this port intensive cruise in Europe and the fact it was just my husband and myself relaxing. We sampled most entertainment options, but couldn't help compare shows to other ships we have sailed on. The fitness options were a huge disappointment. Not being able to run around the promenade deck and the fitness center being moved into a small space inside was not optimal. The minimal amount of fitness classes weren't even included in the Patter and I wondered if they did that so they wouldn't have a large turnout as there was minimal space. I will say that visually, the back of the ship was quite ugly and I never went around there as I had no way to get to the aft. The ship never seemed overly crowded, but on the top deck it was sometimes difficult to get lounge chairs near the pool. We always found some somewhere though and actually spent most of our time on the Promenade deck chairs where it was shady, cool and very quiet. Ports were great, however we missed Istanbul due to picking up refugees and that was a big disappoint as Istanbul was a huge draw for the cruise for me. Santorini was substituted and I was happy about that. Loved the Greek islands and we had plenty of time on them. Rented a scooter on Mykonos and went to the beach. Did Athens on our own, took the X80 bus in and Metro back and found it easy to do, but will say that we are walkers. Did a small group tour for Pompeii and the Amalfi, would make sure that your van will drive into Positano and not just drive by it with a picture stop. Did a small group tour in Rome too, was nice, just not enough time in Rome. If the Vatican is not important to you, then see the other sites with the limited time. Kind of wish we had done this, although our tour of the Vatican was very thorough and informative. Did Florence on our own and had a great day. Rented a car in Toulon, had a great time, just really wish it wasn't such an early all aboard at 3:30. Made it difficult to do a lot. The only shore excursion we booked through the ship was the Florence on your Own transportation. That worked out well, just wish we had left as soon as the ship had docked. Could have had another half hour in Florence easily. We loved Barcelona and Venice as embarkation and debarkation ports and found clean, and inexpensive lodging in great locations for both cities. Overall, we loved the cruise, lots of pros, a few cons. I would consider Princess again for a European cruise with lots of ports, but probably not for the Caribbean or Alaska. The demographic was right in line for us, we are a couple in our mid to late fifties. There were plenty of people of all ages though, and many different nationalities. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our 20th Princess cruise (5 in last 2 years) and 80th overall. We went back to cruising with Princess two years ago and have found that excellent food, customer service and awareness of detail by the staff that made us a loyal ... Read More
This was our 20th Princess cruise (5 in last 2 years) and 80th overall. We went back to cruising with Princess two years ago and have found that excellent food, customer service and awareness of detail by the staff that made us a loyal Princess cruiser 15 years ago. And after this cruise, the Regal Princess back in February 2015 and the Caribbean Princess twice last year, strongly feel that Princess is back in good form. This cruise was a last minute cruise, going to places we have traveled before, but liked the tour options. Princess did a great job with the tours and we enjoyed 5 tours plus the boat shuttles in both Venice (the day we arrived) and in Toulon. These shuttles were nice ways to get into the town centers to explore on your own. Service was top notch and as a blind traveler, found the staff responsive and overall, well trained in disability etiquette. So the cruise line is providing good training on the ADA. We rated every dinner meal a 9 or 10 with usually two seafood choices each night and a number of other meat and veg items. Deserts were all very nice, especially the Norman Love specialty chocolate items commemorating Princess's 50th year. We used the Horizon court or room service for all breakfasts. We thought the presentation of food in the Horizon court was superior and we liked the fact that tables seemed to always be available and servers were there to take drink orders (iced tea, water, coffee etc.) and kept dirty dishes removed. We used the Horizon court for three dinners to facilitate our tour schedule. Room service for the continental breakfast was more than adequate for those mornings when we had a tour. They now offer a nice egg breakfast sandwich like you can get at McDonalds along with fruit, cereal yogurt and bakery products. We liked the fact that you had the same server, and we had a winner and always got the food to us on tine and the order correct. My wife has enjoyed the cruise passenger choir again (was on the Regal Princess) and the group performed music from Sound of Music in the equivalent of the Piazza on both ships and the fellow passengers enjoyed a job well done. The four production show entertainments were also very first class. The other entertainers (comedians or musical acts) were quite good and fit in with the expectations of the appreciative audience. All of the shows we went to were well attended, even on the last night. But do not know how well attended were the late shows. As a rule, we went to the 8:15 p.m. shows, enjoyed our cocktails and then had any time dinner at 9 p.m. If we had an early tour the next day, we would dine at the Horizon court instead. So a lot of dining options. No need for us to use the specialty restaurants. Like others, we miss the international café on the Island Princess. We enjoyed using the coffee card to get specialty coffee's at half price on Deck 5 or in the Horizon court. Shore excursions staff was very helpful and we liked the fact that stickers for tours were provided the day of the tour at the specified location without having to walk the many steps down to the bottom of the Princess theater. I do wish the cruise line would take the shower gel and shampoo/conditioner dispensers out of the very small showers. This made a marginally comfortable shower totally unacceptable. There seemed to be many other activities and entertainment options on this port intensive cruise. There were talks on each port as well, with the speaker available along with a very professional shore excursion desk to answer questions and provide other information to help us in making any changes to the tours we had already booked. The prices we paid for our pre cruise tours was lower than those offered on the ship. And with Princess, unlike RCL and Celebrity (our other lines of choice), you do not have to pay for pre booked tours until you are on the ship and actually take the tour. And change policy was very good for the tour we switched. So a very nice cruise and great ports. And so happy that Princess, the line we cut our cruising teeth on is back in good form. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The title line says it all, which I borrowed from a fellow passenger. After one day's sailing, I could already list at least ten problems, some major and some minor, and the list got longer as the days passed. So here is my rather ... Read More
The title line says it all, which I borrowed from a fellow passenger. After one day's sailing, I could already list at least ten problems, some major and some minor, and the list got longer as the days passed. So here is my rather unorganized recollection: This voyage spent the first night at Venice and left port at 1 pm the following day. An emergency drill was given right before the ship lifted anchor. The result: virtually every passenger went up to the Lido Deck for lunch at the same time. Plates and cups quickly ran out, and people had to wait in long lines to be allowed into the buffet area. It gave the impression that they were totally unprepared, not a very promising start. Also on the first day of sailing, around 10 pm, the ship had a power failure. Recalling the two most recent nightmarish incidents with Carnival cruise ships were both due to power failures, we were truly scared. Fortunately, power was eventually restored. Not sure if it was related to the power problem, but the gym/fitness center on Deck 6 was closed the following day. Leaks, we were told. In at least some areas of the ship, the plumbing system also failed twice during the voyage (our cabin was affected too), forcing people to crowd a few public rest rooms that were still functioning. We were told that the ship was at the dry dock for renovation before this voyage, and one of the changes it made was to move the gym to Deck 6 to give the Lotus Spa more space to expand. I use the gym a lot, but I don't like the idea of having to go back to my cabin to take showers. Other problems we either experienced ourselves or heard from others: very long lines at the front desk, phones in cabins not working, no hot/cold water in cabin, cancelled performance shows due to "technical problems," sound systems not working for Zumba classes, ignorant Spa employees, cancelled shore excursions due to delayed arrival, the list goes on. One more gripe I have: this ship does not have an International Cafe. I've been on several other Princess cruise ships and they all have one. I missed the cronuts. On the plus side, the cabin and dining rooms crew provided superb service. They were always courteous, easy to talk to, and made an effort to remember our seating and ordering preferences. Lessons learned from this voyage: the specific cruise ship you are on can make a huge difference. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Well, being platinum members with Princess this is showing which way the company is headed! This ship should have NEVER left dry dock! When we boarded, our cabins were not ready as they usually are on other princess ships, then after ... Read More
Well, being platinum members with Princess this is showing which way the company is headed! This ship should have NEVER left dry dock! When we boarded, our cabins were not ready as they usually are on other princess ships, then after about an hour they said they were ready-NOT! Our cabin door did not lock, safe didn't work, phone didn't work, and most of all, there were No toiletries in our cabin. We were supposed to have an ADA accessible suite - WRONG, it was not accessible at all. We paid for an upgrade to a balcony accessible suite, and we could not even get out there, as there was a 4 inch frame on the sliding door to try and get over, along with only a 21 inch opening of sliding door. ADA STANDARD is 32 inches - but in the Mediterranean it must be Smaller.............lol. We usually have luggage in a short time with Princess, wasn't the case, we had staff looking for our luggage and found two pieces at 4:30pm, the rest we received at 8:30pm! Hello, we are platinum members and also in a suite! Well, we ordered room service as we had to cancel dinner reservations as could not shower and change. The first night was hell too, we lost power, and luckily were on same deck as our cabin. Our stateroom felt like there was a freight train running through it with the noise and vibration, and to top it all off, we were called to evacuate the cabin. I told my husband you go, I'll go down with this TUG BOAT! We finally got to bed about 4 am and the comedy of errors continued. I needed to transfer into a manual wheelchair to get off the ship as the gangway was too high, and had like almost stairs as you exited from Deck 7. While I was transferred, I was scared to have 2 young men take me down backwards, and voiced to them that this wasn't right, they were wonderful and told me not to worry, but there were 3 Philippine workers in green uniform standing by the gangway, and one was making fun of me for being scared, and also for being over weight! NOT TO SAY I WAS INTIMIDATED by this behavior..... I might also say that the issues that happened to us after so many started to become comical, as Princess couldn't screw up anymore! We thought, well, we were wrong. We went to the buffet for lunch one day, and I usually don't do sweets, but I asked my husband to get me something. He brought back a small like piece of apple pie, I started to eat it, and then noticed something in it, no not a hair, much thicker than a hair. So I called over a waiter, and asked him to get his supervisor, when the supervisor came, he asked me what is it? I said I don't know, I didn't make it! So I used my fork to get it, and it was a metal brissel from a pastry brush, hello, thank goodness I noticed this, or my insides could have been damaged. Well, Princess's answer to everything, chocolate covered strawberries to your cabin. We explained to them we don't EAT CHOCOLATE... We also realized that the staff did not gel as on other ships. They seemed to be working against each other rather than with each other. Most of the staff did not know anything also, it's like don't ask me I don't know! A few staff members were good, but not many. The bottom line still is this ship should not have sailed. With all the leaks and whatever deck 7 aft smelled terribly, like moldy musty crap. We complained, but sometimes that was talking to a wall. Oh yes people, not to say all of our time wasted from having to contact customer service and repeat, repeat, repeat everything over and over again........... Seems the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing.......... We also were very late getting to some of our ports, which complicated our private tours that we had paid for in advance. We didn't get shows we were supposed to get, and honestly a couple we should not even have had.......no international cafe that we so enjoy on other Princess ships... What is going on, The Royal Princess was a headache, look at all the complaints, tried to correct some with Regal, but could not quite master that, now with refurbs they are all screwed up........ What does this mean? Oh people, let me tell you, they tried to make amends, gave us our money back for the upgrade from Balcony to Suite, and a few dollars extra, for a trip that we had two pre nights in Venice and two post nights in Barcelona and transfers to the tune of a lot of money, and they don't care! Also, mid week during cruise, they offered us our original balcony cabin back, we said hello, we will have to spend a day packing everything up and then a day unpacking it and putting away. I know it sounds easy, but with medical equipment it is not easy. Be careful when choosing a ship! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I loved this cruise. The shore excursions were all amazing. Some better than others, but more of a matter of the hoards of people at some of the destinations ie: The Vatican. The Island Princess' Horizon Court is nicer that any ... Read More
I loved this cruise. The shore excursions were all amazing. Some better than others, but more of a matter of the hoards of people at some of the destinations ie: The Vatican. The Island Princess' Horizon Court is nicer that any I've seen. Newly renovated. The Sanctuary was also new and lovely. The cabanas and the staff were amazing. I ate at all of the restaurants and my favourite was Bayou Steakhouse. I also loved Bordeaux and Sabatinis. All of the staff were very attentive and polite. Service was impeccable. The main dining room as also a highlight. The menus were excellent and desserts fantastic. My stateroom was very nice. Room attendant was very detailed and thorough, everyday. Watching repeats of the Love Boat as also fun! I would recommend the Island Princess as one of the nicest cruise ships I've been on. I would easily return to this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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