I traveled with a large group of family and friends. This was my third cruise; one with Royal Caribbean and second with Princess.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day before the cruise and stayed at the Days Inn. The hotel was clean and basic. The beds were a little small, but good overall and very inexpensive. They were also very accommodating getting our group to the cruise port the next morning.
Embarkation was fairly smooth. We arrived at the cruise port around 10:30am and had to wait an hour or so because the ship was late arriving in port. They did mention there were 100,000 people or so at Port Everglades that morning, so things were a little delayed. Once we boarded the ship, we went to our cabin and our luggage arrived very quickly. We had an interior cabin on deck 11. It was fairly spacious and very clean. Our room steward (Felix) was great.
The ship is beautiful and spotless. The pools were nice and I found there were enough deck chairs for everyone. We did get up early to get good chairs most mornings, though.
Our first port was Princess Cays. Disembarkation was fairly easy. We waited roughly 20-30 minutes for a tender. The beach is nice but a little rocky. The barbeque lunch on the beach was nice, and there seemed to be ample space and lounge chairs for everyone. We did some snorkeling as well.
Our second port was Curacao. We walked right off the boat and into the main town centre. Our group took a 2.5-3 hour tour of the island for $10 per person. It was very informative and the guide was great. We stopped at the Curacao Liqueur Distillery Factory, a beach and a look-out point to take some photos.
Our third port was Aruba. Again, we walked off the boat and into the town centre. We took the city bus to Palm Beach and spent the day there. (The bus was roughly $3 roundtrip). Palm Beach is very beautiful; white sand, warm water and no rocks. My only complaint was that it was a little crowded and lined with large hotels and resorts.
The entertainment on the Crown Princess was good. We saw the comedians (Alfred Seymour) twice and they were hilarious. The best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. The comedy magician was also good and quite funny. Karaoke and the Newlywed game were fun as well.
We usually went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch. There was always a good selection of food and I thought it was very tasty. The staff were always friendly and we had great service.
Dinner was an early seating in the Dining Room. Our servers (Sher-Ann and Allan) were outstanding. They were friendly, hardworking and fun. We also saw them at the breakfast buffet every morning and they still gave us the same great service. Food in the dining room was good. Some meals were great and some were just OK. Overall, very good and I have no complaints.
The staff on the Crown Princess were outstanding. We always had great service at the buffets and in the dining room. They were all friendly, diligent and seemed to really enjoy their jobs. We did, however, encounter quite a few miserable passengers who were rude to the staff for ridiculous and petty things. It's a shame they have to tolerate these people.
Getting off the ship was a breeze. We had a late disembarkation time and basically walked right off.
This cruise could not have been better. It exceeded my expectations in many ways it was definitely the best vacation yet.