We chose this cruise because of the ports and we were not disappointed. We missed Dublin due to high winds, but based on what we had read about other transatlantics we fully expected to miss a port or two. We are just glad that we only missed the one. The seas were rough most of the trip which we had also expected. The Captain did a wonderful job of steering us around the worst of the weather and keeping us safe. When I looked out at the high seas, I was amazed that we weren't rocking and rolling more. He said that he "put the flippers out" which certainly helped.
Embarkation was excellent. We are Platinum which I am sure helped. We were in our cabin 15 minutes after we arrived at the port. Our luggage arrived soon after. Our room steward, Ricky, was right there on the spot and responded quickly to all requests during the entire cruise.
Falmouth: We took the ship's tour "Falmouth on your own", which was basically transportation to the Cornwall town of Falmouth. It was picturesque and we enjoyed our day there. The bus was very uncomfortable. Small seats and absolutely no leg room. However, I did note that there were several buses for this tour and the other buses were larger and had nice big seats. This was a tender port and the line to get back to the ship was very long as all the tours returned at the same time. The Princess people enlisted local ships to ferry passengers which helped make the line move well.
Dublin: We missed Dublin due to high winds. Disappointing, but better safe than sorry. The Captain was great about keeping us informed.
Greenock: My husband and I did a private tour on our own with Gordon Ross and it was wonderful! David was our driver and guide and he gave us a perfect day in Scotland. I can't say enough about how glad we were to tour with him. We do not like to do bus tours with large groups and loved the flexibility to go where we wanted to go at our own pace.
Reykjavik: This was my favorite stop. We did a private tour with Iceland Horizon that was organized by a member of our roll call. We were on a very nice and comfortable 14 person van with 11 people. The owner was our driver and guide for the day and he was great. We did the Golden Circle and I highly recommend it. The geologic features in Iceland are just incredible. Loved this stop!
Qaqortoq, Greenland: There wasn't much to do here other than just walk around this very unique town. It was a Sunday and there was one gift shop open. The crowd in there was overwhelming. Not much to say about Qaqortoq other than I can now say I have been to Greenland.
St. Johns, Newfoundland: Beautiful scenery along the coast. We hired a cab for two hours and he took us to Signal Hill, Quidi Vidi, the Battery, and around St. Johns. He was a very good tour guide and we liked being able to go where we wanted when we wanted. St. Johns is a pretty town. The entrance to St. Johns is very narrow and we were all in awe of the pilot's maneuvering to get us in and out of the harbor. People were lined up on both banks to watch us leave. The ships in the harbor had a "horn serenade" for us as we left. Pretty cool!
New York: We got up before dawn to see the sail in to New York harbor. Seeing the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty as we sailed in was awesome. Disembarkation was very quick and easy. We made a big mistake in taking the Princess "City Highlights and transfer to JFK" tour. The driver and guide were totally disorganized. We drove around and around with no discernible plan. We felt like we were being held captive. Once we got to the airport, we rode around and around there for one and a half hours letting passengers off at their airlines. We drove past our airline three times before they finally let us get off. Painful!
We did not eat in the dining room. The buffet food was OK, but nothing very interesting. Room service was very good. The hamburgers and pizza up on the pool deck were great. I think that the quality of the food has declined since our last cruise two years ago. Food is very subjective though, so others may have been very happy with the offerings. The buffet is rather chaotic. I don't understand their organization. It would be helpful to have the same types of food together. I would get a meat or vegetable and then go on down the line and find something I liked better. There would be less waste if you could see what your choices are before you select.
The sea days got long, but we knew they would by choosing this itinerary. It was worth it for the wonderful and unique ports. The weather was mostly wet and chilly, but then we are used to that living in the Northwest. The ship seemed crowded and I expect that was mostly due to the weather being what is was so that everyone stayed inside most of the time. All in all, we had a very enjoyable cruise and found it to be mostly what we were expecting.
Carnival Inspiration -W. Caribbean '02, Carnival Victory - E. Caribbean '03, Carnival Glory - W. Caribbean '04, Carnival Valor - E. Caribbean '05, Diamond Princess - Alaska '06, Crown Princess - Baltic '08, Sapphire Princess - Mexico '09, Coral Princess - Alaska '09, NCL Pride of America - Hawaii '09, Island Princess - Panama Canal '10, Oceania Regatta - Amazon '10, Caribbean Princess - British Isles/TA '12, Crown Princess - W. Caribbean '13, Grand Princess - Hawaii '13, Golden Princess - Alaska '14, Oceania Marina - Spain '16.