Originally Posted by Bob&Bunny
We booked with Nancy with the cruise mates group. I read a travel blog and ran across it. We were interested and started emailing with Nancy and decided to go for it. Our first in the Med also. We have done many sailings with Princess, but our last one from Quebec to New York will be just that ~ our last one with Princess. Every tour was horribly crowded, so much so that you were told you had 15-20 minutes at the site and there were already five busses from Princess already there. We were terribly disappointed. We did one to Alaska and it was totally great. Our best sailings have been with Viking on two river cruises. But we have always done our travels with another couple, never with a large group. Wondering if it works differently, or does everyone go off on their merry way?
Sorry to hear that you've decided to leave Princess. Not sure that you would find a different experience with any other mainstream cruise line's excursions. I've been on about 25 Princess cruises (and about 35 in total), and don't remember the last time I booked an excursion through the cruise lines.
This is our first time participating in a group cruise, although we were on the same ship as a Cruisemates group cruise a few years ago (Carnival Freedom transatlantic). We had an aft wrap balcony on that cruise, and are very glad we got one on the Breeze also. We've been using Nancy as our TA for years, and she does a great job. Very much looking forward to meeting her on the Breeze.
Three of us (out of our party of 5) have done the Med a few times (the transatlantic and a cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona). We've been to all of our stops except Marseilles and Messina. On our other Med cruises, we were able to hook up with others through the roll call on Cruise Mates and/or the "other popular board" mentioned previously (there is more activity on the "other popular board" thread) and put together groups to share privately arranged excursions.
We are planning on doing most of the stops on our own (train to/from Rome with an apartment for the night, train to/from Florence, vaporetto pass in Venice, cab from the port to the medieval city of Dubrovnik). Undecided on Messina and Marseilles (although we are open to sharing an excursion). Suggest getting Rick Steve's book on Mediterranean Cruise Ports--has guidance on all our stops except Messina.
I've also done a Viking River Cruise (China), and absolutely loved it. We had been considering an Egypt/Nile river cruise this summer, but decided that this Carnival cruise worked better. Also want to do a Russian river cruise since my father and my youngest daughter come from Russia.
I'd suggest that you allow yourself plenty of time in Barcelona (pre or post cruise). It is a fabulous city. We are going to be there 3 days pre cruise and 2 days post. I definitely plan on bringing some cava and spanich reds on board. Does anyone know if Carnival is very strict about limiting the amount of wine you can bring on to 1 bottle per adult?