Crown Princess Cruise Review by Wahnsinn: If this ship's a rockin...
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If this ship's a rockin...
This was our first time on Princess and we had a nice time. From reading previous reviews, there were complaints about smells and the food, both of which I'll get into. Overall though, we had a nice time.
Embarkation - we didn't end up making it down to Galveston until almost 3pm because of heavy traffic in Houston. Once we got there though, the lines went by quickly and painlessly (except for those that don't understand removing metal prior to walking through metal detectors). Once on the ship, the rooms were ready of course, so we went directly there first as we walked on our luggage. All the restaurants were open for dinner, not just the buffet, so that was a nice surprise.
Cabin - we had a balcony cabin (BD category), I'm pretty sure we will be getting a balcony every time from now on. Having the ability to step out into the fresh air and have a view anytime you want, definitely worth it. Plus depending what deck you're on, it's pretty private ;) Luckily the More only way you were seeing us on the balcony was if I was up against the rail or you were peeking around the wall from an adjacent balcony. Inside was a normal size from what I recall of other cabins. TV was nice enough, mini fridge worked out well, bed was comfy enough, bathroom...it's a regular cruise ship bathroom :) but it was functional. The closet was a decent size surprisingly, along with a cupboard with shelves to store more items.
Public Areas - pretty nice I would say. The only bad thing was in the piazza area (atrium, whatever you want to call it), that's where I caught a little of the "smell" that people have talked about. Nowhere else on the ship though and it was only occasionally that I'd pick it up.
Fitness center - again, pretty nice. Lots of treadmills, some ellipticals, a few bikes (aside from the spin bikes for the classes only), plenty of lifting machines and free weights. You can definitely get a good workout on this ship, but if you're wanting to use the treadmills, they are packed very early (half of them are closed until 9am so you don't wake up people below). There is a sauna and steam room in each locker room (you don't have to pay for the thermal suite, that's separate and very nice, but I can't see paying $100 for the use of it). There's also a separate pool and two hot tubs (adults only) in the middle of the fitness center (VERY NICE!!!) that are typically free of people, though if the seas are rocky, the pool will be empty (no water), but the hot tubs are still open.
Food - pizza is ridiculously good, had to put that in first :) Not 24hrs, but 11am-11pm, same for the ice cream (scoop or soft serve). All the food we had on the ship was very good, I am not sure what people complain about, maybe my palate is not up to Tony Bourdain's, who knows...but I liked it all. We ate in the Da Vinci dining room all but one night, great service and food. Had either pizza or buffet, or both, for lunch. Again, always a good selection and tasty. Always the buffet for breakfast, again, never a bad meal. Definitely, definitely, definitely, go to the International Cafe and have some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk, so good. Usually they just have cookies on hand, but are still relatively fresh. Occasionally you'll catch them fresh out of the oven (one of the girls will come around with a basket of them and a bunch of glasses of milk), do not miss it. Tried several new things on the ship: crawfish etouffee, escargot, pheasant, oxtail. Good to try new things :) Desserts were all pretty good, no chocolate lava cake, but they did have vanilla bean creme brulee every night, very good.
Entertainment - the ship shows were ok, nice dancers and singers. Guest entertainers, Duncan Tuck, amazing on the guitar, funny guy too, if you haven't heard/seen his rendition of California Dreamin, it's ridiculously awesome, check it out. AJ Jamal (comedian), very funny guy, had to keep it somewhat PG13, guess Princess doesn't do "adults only" shows. Also saw Steve Moris (tried to see him twice). First time he was in the Explorers lounge, too small for the amount of people that went to see him. Next day he was in the Princess Theater though and plenty of room there, good show, music and comedy. The International Crew show was great, see some regular people singing/dancing/etc, along with a hilarious version of "If I Were Not Upon the Sea".
Service - great on all accounts, from the room steward to the dining room to on deck waiters. Everyone was very nice and helpful. Our room steward was Carlito (Aloha forward, starboard side), very nice guy, quick to get anything we needed...he also likes to sing while he takes care of the rooms :)
Kids program - we had our boys with us (15 and 17), so they hung out with the other kids doing their activities and general "kid stuff" all over the ship. They enjoyed it, had some video games, lots of activities.
Value - seemed like they charged for more things than we've seen on previous cruises, or charged more for some things ($2 for a can of soda, yikes). Other things have changed though too, you can bring a bottle of wine for each paying adult for free (consume in your cabin), bring water or soda with you for free. We ended up just bringing a case of water with us and a few bottles of soda for the kids. Bringing liquor in a bottle is a still a no-no, but bringing a bottle of soda (even if it's opened) is ok...if you catch my drift :)
Overall - had a nice time...ship was nice, food was nice, people were nice. I would probably sail with them again, just a different itinerary, getting tired of Caribbean. Less
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Cabin review: BDA243 Balcony
Cabin - we had a balcony cabin (BD category), I'm pretty sure we will be getting a balcony every time from now on. Having the ability to step out into the fresh air and have a view anytime you want, definitely worth it. Plus depending what deck you're on, it's pretty private ;) Luckily the only way you were seeing us on the balcony was if I was up against the rail or you were peeking around the wall from an adjacent balcony. Inside was a normal size from what I recall of other cabins. TV was nice enough, mini fridge worked out well, bed was comfy enough, bathroom...it's a regular cruise ship bathroom :) but it was functional. The closet was a decent size surprisingly, along with a cupboard with shelves to store more items.