Sunday, November 8, 2015

Reflections on the First Leg of our Mediterranean Cruise

I am enjoying a relaxing morning at sea before we arrive in Dubrovnik.  It is a good time to reflect on the first 13 days on board.

new Shorex Dept.


As many of you know the ship went thru an extensive dry dock in May and numerous changes occurred and I wanted to live on the ship for a while to get a true feeling of how things flowed before commenting.  Now after 13 days I can respond.

Yes she does not look as pretty as she did before, especially the aft area.

The aft cabins: 

We have heard mixed comments about the vibration.  Our friends had an aft suite on Lido deck and I was there three times during the voyage (all times while at sea).  Did I notice vibration, yes.  Was it horrible, no.  It appeared to be about as bad as we have seen on the Crown.  At one time a glass on the table rattled continually but putting a napkin under it stopped it.  Other friends (on Aloha aft) we met did comment that they noticed extensive vibration too.  Another couple we met (also on Aloha) said it was horrible and would never book again.  So three cabins, three different responses… hmmm I guess all I can say is it really depends on how sensitive you are.  I am very sensitive to noise so I would probably stay away from them, but the next person may not have any issue at all.

Promenade Deck ends here - this is the first balcony cabin
The aft cabins I did see were lovely, shiny and new!  They have beautiful televisions, new carpets, beds, bathrooms and they even have the card in the slot on the wall to get the lights to work. 

this is looking forward from that first balcony

Public Venues:

It does seem odd to have Bingo in Princess Theater.  Sunday church service was also in Princess Theater.  Do I miss the Universe Lounge – You bet!  Events are planned very strategically in the spaces available.  Having Captain Circle party at Explorer works but it is different, does this mean it is bad, no, just different.


I do find that in the evening with one fewer public space it creates a more concentrated social space on board.  It is kind of like hosting a party at home in a small house where people are forced to intermingle, or a large house where people spread out and don’t mingle.  Personally I like the smaller space where I get the chance to meet others.
Zumba on the first leg was held up in Lido pool area instead of Universe.  Although now on the second leg for the crossing they held it in Explorers Lounge.


Horizon Court’s new layout is probably the best feature on board.  It flows smoothly.  Stations don’t seem to create bottlenecks like other ships do.  The chef and staff here are so very helpful.  Food is very hot, flavourful and a great variety.  I especially love the salad bar. 

I so am disappointed they still don’t have an International CafĂ© on board.  You can get small finger items at the coffee bar to snack on but it is only a small tray and you have to ask the crew if you want something.  So far I have not had anything there so I can’t comment.

Room Service:  We have had it a few times and it has been exactly what we ordered and very efficient and good.

new sanctuary

new sanctuary
wish they would of updated this area though, lots of wear and tear

Dining Room:  For us this is the biggest disappointment.  

With more passengers on board cause of the added cabins the dining rooms are busy.  Again it appears Princess has cut the number of servers and it is noticeable.  Of course we have attentive staff and they are really trying their best so I can’t find fault with them.  We did have an assistant waiter the other night who seemed so nervous – we later found out this is his first contract.

Waits for table are standard, but they do allow you to make reservations.  The Head Waiter at the door in Bordeaux seems scattered every time we see him.  He has regularly brushed us off and sent us to tables we clearly said we didn’t want (like the large table for 10 when we asked for no more than 6).  And of course our reserved table from our first leg was to be carried forward for the next leg but wasn’t. 

I did love our head waiter that we had for our table and his recommendations in Venice were spot on.  He currently has his Mom on board and we love catching up with him each time we run into him. 

But the dining room just is not working for us or Princess this cruise.  A lot has to do with how port intensive it is, we are tired.  Passengers are tired, most want to eat later (at least on first leg) cause they have been in port all day.  We will still dine in the dining room but not often.

entrance to gym

Gym:  Yes it is horrible, it is a square box on deck six aft that has no appeal – and trust me it takes a lot of appeal to get most there in the first place.

aft elevator area, behind of this wall is washrooms
love the big tv on the wall though
you can see where the wall was moved for the casino and the cabins added

here is the new wall in the casino - didn't see to impact
casino too much but then again I didn't spend much time there

Overall: we are really enjoying the Mediterranean.  We love each port, the history , the people, the food, the scenery and the list goes on.  We are so glad that we booked the trans-Atlantic as our second leg so we can rest!  We are tired!  Also it is not a cheap trip – we spend a lot more in port than on any other cruise itinerary.   

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