We are diamond cruisers with Royal Caribbean and have cruised with Cunard, Carnival (never again) and years ago on the SS United States. This is our first with Princess; leaving from Galveston going to Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. We had heard that Princess was a cut below RC but were very pleasantly surprised with the Crown Princess. What was most pleasing was that unlike RC, even with over 3,000 passengers (900 were children) we never encountered a crowded area, seldom found ourselves in a line of more than 10 minutes and never heard kids running up and down the halls. The ship has three main dining rooms two of which are for anytime dining and one exclusively for traditional seating. We prefer traditional. Our mini-suite was excellent with 2 flat screen TVs a tub with shower and large balcony and the price was less than RC charged for a regular balcony cabin on its ship with the same cruise itinerary sailing on the following day.
The food and service in the main dining room was actually very good and compared favorably with RC. Sure, some of the dishes were a bit bland but with a bit of salt and pepper were actually quite good. On Lobster night I asked for 4 of them and went away well satisfied. To tell the truth, we thought that the Dining room meals were just a good as those in the Crown Grill at $25 per person. Even the food in the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe buffets was not bad at all. What we really appreciated were the following: Very large gym (seldom any children), 5 Pools with an Adults-only pool and hot tubs and Adults only lounge areas (actually enforced), more than adequate outdoor lounge chairs on multiple decks (always some available), and children/teen activity areas in remote areas of the ship so that we never encountered groups of them in the halls or on the stairways. Even though it was spring break, we never saw any inebriated or rowdy college kids. Best of all, unlike RC, there were seldom any PA announcements regarding tours, sales, or bingo games -- they were all printed in the daily schedule provided to each cabin the night before. Finally, the cabins had great sound proofing.
All in all, we are now confirmed fans of Princess and although we would certainly consider another cruise line if its ships can match these amenities, we'd actually choose it over Royal Caribbean.
March 30, 2013