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Crown Princess: 10 Day Western Mediterranean CruiseUntil recently I was a cruise virgin. I had traveled to six continents and driven thousands upon thousands of miles around them. But never had I ever set foot upon a cruise ship. It was an experience I was not expecting to fall head over heels in love with.
In fact, I boarded the Crown Princess for a 10-day jaunt across the Western Mediterranean between Rome and Barcelona with serious trepidation. Despite having a balcony stateroom, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to stand being on a ship with thousands of strangers for more than a week. I was expecting it to be cheesy and loud. But it was neither. The Crown Princess is an elegant ship. And while there were indeed thousands on board it somehow still felt intimate with enough space to escape. My stateroom, for instance, was far fro the cramped existence I was imagining, and despite sharing with a friend for 10 nights, it felt roomy. The beds are super comfortable and I slept better on that ship than I do at home. Even the bathrooms were bigger than I was expecting.
As for the sheer number of unknown souls onboard? Well, there was almost a camaraderie about us that I found comforting and fun. It was like summer camp for adults — you would meet the same people on excursions or at your favorite bar or restaurant. The quality of the food and drinks was also impressive. And I had a ball with the onboard entertainment. While I didn’t audition for Voice of the Ocean (the Princess version of the popular NBC TV show), I was invited to participate in Runway At Sea. It my first modeling experience, lol, which involved walking a runway wearing resort wear from the Crown Princess’ boutique with women from around the world.
And then there were the excursions. Princess is known for their immersive shore excursions and some of the experiences, including the Bon Appetit exclusive tours, that combine cooking and local experiences. During our 10 day journey we had seven ports of call (and two sea days, which were equally fun!), making stops on the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Corfu, Corsica and the South of France. While you can just pop of the ship and explore on your own — which I chose to do in Corsica — the Princess excursions were awesome. I especially enjoyed the small group excursions over the larger tours.
But what I loved most about cruising I learned is the magic of waking up in a different city every morning without having to do a thing but fall asleep to get there. The first morning, waking up in Naples port, was like discovering Santa Claus again. A childishly wonderful experience that never failed to amaze me each day of our journey. Beyond that magic, it is such a convenient mode of transport. Being able to unpack one and know I am not moving for 10 nights is a luxury I rarely get to experience.