Just returned from a two week cruise on the Crown Princess visiting Norway, the North cape and Longyearbyen. The land of the midnight sun, we had daylight for 8 continual days
We had state room L209 on deck 15. A good location for the pools and the front viewing area, the buffet restaurant etc. The downside is you need to use the lift as the stairs are exhausting also being at the front of the ship you feel the movement more, however the bed does face forward and so it’s not completely unpleasant
Lisa the entertainment director, she really came across as an approachable genuine fun loving person and we really enjoyed the daily wake up show, it even became a “must do” every day! Lisa appeared to be involved in every aspect/detail of the daily entertainment programme. I’ve no idea how she finds the time or the energy for one day never mind seven days a week!
The entertainment was fantastic with great shows and guest entertainers. I think princess have got it just right with the three nightly 45min shows in the theatre. We didn’t have to queue once for a seat and usually just turned up a few minutes before the start of a performance. Loved the back stage tours. We found it difficult at times trying to fit everything in
We had a few cold days and the entertainment could be altered to suit the weather conditions outside. Guests requests were listened to and acted upon wherever possible
Got seats in the explorers lounge on most occasions. Loved the piazza mini shows.
Good service and meals from the dining rooms and met some lovely people
Good ports of call the tendering service well executed (although I would have appreciated being told to have my passport on me before sitting in the theatre in the middle of a row of people and having to run back up to the room to get it, and it not asked for once on shore!)
Fantastic value for money overall
Debark was seamless
Now the cons.
My biggest daily gripe was the Horizon Court dining area, it’s a complete bun fight! We really struggled to get seated for most for the cruise. One morning for breakfast we (with a cup of tea in hand) walked around for 40mins trying to get seated and then gave up and sat by the pool, this was at Longyearbyen ( 500 miles from the north pole) and it was freezing cold. Another two mornings in the cold by the pool, and we really don’t mind sharing a table! We found people were (especially at the window tables) using the dining area as a viewing platform and just not moving on after they had eaten, a little unfair on the passengers who need to sit to eat. Also, not that it bothered me too much but I ended up sourcing cutlery and drinks myself on most occasions, mostly because as soon as a seat became free you had to jump in quick and the previous peoples dishes were still piled up on the table. One evening we had fresh drinks on the table and left to get our meals only to return to the table to find we had been cleared and others sitting in our seats, we then with meals in hand started the walk of shame around the dining rooms trying to find seats, finally got some seats, by then the food was cold and had to be thrown and replaced, ruined our evening completely. The staff seemed pleasant and seemed to be hard working though. We ordered breakfast in the room on several occasions because of this (this choice is quite restricted). The formal breakfast room stops service at 9.30am and especially if you are going out for the day just takes up a lot of time
I agree with a friend of mine that cruised with Princess previously on a similar trip to this one that the ship is not really ideal for this type of cruise. We’ve been on the Caribbean Princess (same layout)in the Caribbean and it was great, no problem. However this time because of the destination the pools etc. are all exposed to the elements and largely cannot be enjoyed as it’s just too cold. Maybe a ship with a covered pool area for the cold parts of the world would be an idea?
The only technical problem was our shower would suddenly go to scolding then freezing. We didn’t report as we didn’t want the shower room taken apart, we just pointed the shower head at the wall and moved very quickly
Embark was slow we queued for over an hour, thinking it was our fault for turning up at peak time, but chatted to others on the cruise and found they had similar difficulties at different times. The Mayflower terminal is an uninviting area with little facilities
We booked excursions in each port and found the Princess excursions very expensive. We used Cruise excursions for four of the ports and they cant be faulted and at a fraction of the cost of the Princes excursions! Overall we had a fantastic cruise and appreciated the hard work of the crew. We have already put the deposit down for our next cruise with Princess, that gives us on board spend and will be returned if don't choose to use