We spent one night at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. It was within walking distance of many restaurants and shopping. We had a top floor room with a view of the port: got to see the Crown Princess and the Oasis arrive in port from our balcony. We used the hotel shuttle ($7pp) for both the trip from the airport and the trip to the port.
This was our first cruise as "platinum," so we waited inside the terminal building in (sort of) air conditioned comfort. Once boarding started, it was a breeze. We were on the ship and in the dining room by 12:30.
Considering how much wear and tear these ships get, the Crown Princess was beautiful.
We chose "anytime" dining and never had to wait for a table for two. It may be my imagination, but it seems that there were less large tables and more tables for two and four.
We had 9 straight sea days, so the Cruise Director's staff really worked hard to keep the natives from getting restless. I think there was something for everyone, and at times I had to pick and choose from the options.
TIME ZONE TERROR
Traveling from west to east, the ship moved into a new time zone almost every day. That means you lose an hour almost every day. It is like jumping to daylight time day after day after day. You need more naps than a 2-year-old.
THE UGLY NOROVIRUS
Barely into the cruise, the captain announced that norovirus was on board. The crew went into epidemic prevention mode: salt and pepper shakers disappeared, hand sanitizer was mandatory, menus were wiped, no more self-service on anything. It never went away. At the end of the cruise, the captain was still imploring anyone with symptoms to quarantine themselves and report the medical staff. Oddly, the pools and hot tubs remained open.
PRINCESS HAS GONE TO THE DOGS
Among the passengers was a lovely couple accompanied by 2 service dogs. The dogs got their own litter box on the Promenade Deck complete with scooper! The dogs were better behaved that many of the passengers!
I don't understand how Princess can claim to offer this service. It was totally unavailable many days, and almost working the rest. I left behind 200 minutes.
Gibraltar, Alicante, Barcelona, Marseilles, Livorno.
After a final breakfast in the dining room -- my favorite French toast -- we went to our appointed meeting place. Without delay, we were led off the ship and to our luggage. Easy. When we exited the terminal building, our Rome Cabs driver was waiting. Easy.