Has anyone been on the Grand Mediterranean 12-day cruise on Princess? This one starts in Venice, goes to Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Naples/Capri, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Marseille, and ends in Barcelona. This is our first cruise and we would welcome any thoughts and advice - especially on what to expect on a Princess cruise, shore excursions, and just general helpful hints. Thanks!
I did a similar itinerary aboard MV Grand Princess in 1999, and enjoyed it very much in spite of the poor layout of the vessel.
Most European ports have relatively few shore excursions from which to choose, but most of the shore excursions tend to be "all day" affairs with lunch included because there's so much to see. They are not cheap, either (typically in the vicinity of $120 per person), but you'll see a lot more on a shore excursion than you can possibly see on your own because the shore excursions have reserved times at museums and other attractions and thus bypass the two-hour or longer lines awaiting admission. Make sure that you are well rested at the start of the cruise and that you have a couple days to rest after you return home because the only restful days during the cruise will be the days at sea -- and you won't have very many of them.
I also recommend avoiding the Mediterranean in late June, July, August, and early September because the climate tends to be very hot -- way too hot for sightseeing, which is what you will be doing when the ship is in port. May is a good time to go anywhere except Venice, but the best time to go to the Medieterranean is late September, October, and November.
Have a great cruise!