I had been nudging my spouse to make a trip outside the western hemisphere and get some new passport stamps. This cruise was available at a good price two weeks prior to sailing so we jumped at the opportunity. So glad we did.
We spent two nights in Rome prior to sailing at the Hotel Quirinale. The staff was very accommodating from storing our luggage prior to check in, preparing a sack breakfast when we had an early tour scheduled, to providing directions and calling taxis. The included breakfast was quite nice. The room was small but lovely and fit all of our needs... clean and comfortable.
We took the 7-hour Rome in a day tour from the Tour Guy. If you have limited time, do this.
We saw the major sites, skipped the lines, and our guide, Maria, shared a wealth of information and was able to answer all of the questions presented to her.
Embarkation could not have been easier. There was not a line and we were on board in under 10 minutes, and our luggage beat us to our cabin. As noted in prior reviews, a small ship is the way to go to avoid lines. Disembarkation was just as easy and not crowded. Had we chosen to, we could have disembarked 30 minutes prior to our assigned time, but we had no plans and a long wait for our upcoming flight so...
The on-board entertainers are outstanding. Very talented and personable people, and they all work hard leading other programs, dance, guitar and origami classes or ping-pong, Wii, and mini golf. The Dancing with the Crew performance was not to be missed. I was not as impressed by the visiting performers; they were not as talented as those I've seen on the larger Princess ships. The venue does not lend itself for viewing a performance unless you happen to get a front row seat; the majority of the seating is at one level.
The food was delicious in the main dining room, buffet, and pub lunches. We especially enjoyed the sushi and Mongolian grill. We too encountered the wait for the Mexican brunch, but it was worth it! Every crew member was friendly and helpful. Gustavo waited on us at breakfast. He not only remembered without prompting how my husband prefers his oatmeal, but he also offered travel information for his native country.
Pompeii is not to be missed whether you book it through the cruise or an onshore vendor. Pictures and documentaries do not do it justice. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water. The information shared by the guides is fascinating. I loved Palermo! We shared a taxi and 3-hour tour with another couple. We went to the top of Pellegrino, the Cathedral, the royal house, four corners and even crashed a wedding. So much history to see. Compared to Rome and Naples, the city is clean. No graffiti, trash and homeless. Gibraltar and Cadiz were both great for walking. We took the tram to the top of the rock and walked our way down. I got in over 9 miles. Guard your gear from the monkeys! They like to take glasses, hats etc. FYI, if you visit the Siege Caves, there is no exit at the end. You must retrace your steps uphill. It's not that far but worth noting. The parks in Cadiz were beautiful. We walked to the fort and enjoyed the beach. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife we took the ship excursion to the Volcanic National Park. The views are incredible. You'll want to wear your seat belts! Our driver covered those winding roads competently, but very quickly.
If you like sea days as I do, you can't go wrong on the Pacific Princess. There were numerous activities scheduled for entertainment or wonderful locations for relaxing.
The cabin is good sized with abundant storage - much appreciated on a long cruise. The decor is refined and in good condition. The TV screen is small, but who cruises to watch TV in their cabin?!