As avid transatlantic cruisers, we knew what to expect. We flew to Venice and stayed 3 nights, then boarded the Crown around noon on Dec. 2,2012. I believe the ship was pretty full since this was the first crossing that would end in Galveston, TX. Needless to say, it was a Texas cruise all the way. Our room steward was the best we have ever had. Our unit was spotless and always placed back in order in a timely manner. We had breakfast brought every morning to our cabin. We also tip the delivery person. We ate in the Davinci diningroom and the food was excellent as usual. We also had wonderful service there as well. On Transatlantic cruises, you are privy to wonderful lectures and concerts as we were this time with John Maxtone Graham. He is a ship historian. We have been to his lectures each time we have a chance to go. Don't miss him if you get the chance. The ports of call were fine but it was bitter on some days and rainy, so we did not get off the ship. We love the at sea cruises because you have a chance to relax instead of up and out each day. When you get home you need another vacation to recovery from the busy cruise.
The ship had an outbreak of Norwalk virus. It was a small outbreak as compared to the transatlantic in the spring where I caught the virus. Don't let anyone tell you that this virus is a piece of cake. Body fluids take over for 48 hours. They give you motion sickness meds along with a form of anti diarrhea meds. You are down for the count. Each day the crew would come in and strip everything and disinfect your entire cabin. My biggest gripe is that they do not use hand sanitizer in the casino. At one time they offered those little packets to clean your hands, but now they have crew with buckets and gloves wiping down the machines. Where they do not get the soapy water is on the buttons used to download money into your machine or cruise account. I believe the casino is the biggest problem on the Crown for spreading the virus. The ship's stores also do not sell hand sanitizer. I bought a bottle while in Barcelona and carried it with me. Take a small hand sanitizer bottle for each passenger going on a Cruise to protect yourself.
We had people leave the ship early and someone was so ill that they were air lifted off the ship the day before the cruise ended in Galveston.
All in all, we had a grand time as usual and will definitely sail on the Crown again.
I have sailed on 23 cruises and I have to say that Captain Andy of the Crown is one of the finest Captains we have sailed with. We have been in 30 foot waves, black out fog, with no stablizers. I always felt safe knowing he was sailing the ship. Having sailed on 7 other lines, he is still our favorite.
TIPPING: All of the cruise lines now charge a daily fee for gratuities. This is so that folks who take care of you get tips. It was started because so many people did not give gratuities. If you contact the pursers desk and cancel your daily gratuities, at the end of the cruise, your waiter in the dining room will not be paid any gratuity. They will flag the accounts that choose not to have the daily amount taken and penalize the crew associated with those accounts. Also, if you do that but give your waiter say $100 tip, he has to turn it in to the head waiter for it to be split. So please, do not take the gratuities into your own hands because those you thought you were tipping will not get what you gave them. If they do not turn it in, they can be fired and put off the ship.