Embarkation at Southampton was completed after 1 hour from arrival at 1pm at the Mayflower Terminal operated by ABP. For a ship of this size the terminal does get crowded and long snaking queues form for initial check in and security. The waiting departure lounge is large and coloured tickets issued to denote your boarding. For those less able he walking is reasonably long and goes up and down dependant on the tide, with only a small gang plank for reaching the ship. ABP need to upgrade the Mayflower terminal to reflect the bigger ships coming into Southampton. Those who arrived early 11am appeared to wait longer and their luggage arrived later, one to remember.
The Crown Princess is a very nice ship very clean and dÃ©cor in an Italian style. Those who have travelled on the P&O Azura and Ventura will recognise the layout as all come from the Fincantieri Shipyard to the same design. Interestingly we had almost the same seat in the same area for dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room as we had on the Azura (at the rear Deck 6) but noticed the Crown did not have the wobble and tail wag experienced in this dining room. One to watch for poor sailors. The Crown did suffer from propeller cavitation like Azura and could be seen by the air in the wake. This I understand is due to the flat stern and positioning of the two propellers. The use of Azimuthing Pods on other large ships we have cruised on such as Celebrity Eclipse and MS Amsterdam (Holland America). Our cabin was spacious and was midships on deck 10 Caribe cabin C601 with a large balcony with part exposure but also part private. It is useful to note that the balconies above this deck are smaller and those below protrude out further and are more exposed to the rest of the cabins balconies.
An excellent cruise to very interesting ports, highlight was the North Cape and Spitzbergen, for their geographical positions and scenery. Weather is a major factor in this region and low cloud, fog, mist and rain could be an influencing factor. Crossing the Arctic Circle was a key part for our party but we were disappointed that Princess Cruises prioritized other on-board activities, in fact the Daily Patter was often incorrect and contradicted the 12 noon Bridge update. For those who want to know, a GPS or viewing of the in cabin TV navigation channel will indicate exactly when it is crossed. The 8 days of daylight added to the pleasure and being in daylight at midnight is a spectacular sight not to be missed especially if you can see the Sun traversing above the horizon. Skywalkers Nightclub is the best indoor viewing position.