Having sailed on the Crown in 2006 we were interested to see the ship seven years later. As with all Princess ships we have sailed on maintenance was a constant theme and there were few signs of neglect. However there were a few signs of tiredness (e.g. marks on wallpaper).
As Platignum customers we were quickly embarked, although security slowed things down a little.
The cabin was clean and well kept throughout our stay. We chose our cabin carefully too. Forward lifts are often less busy but we did try to walk upstairs - burning off calories.
Crossing the Bay of Biscay we were warned of rough seas which proved to be the case. We were okay but trying to dance in Club Fusion was hilarious. Rumour had it that about a third of the ship went to Medical for seasick treatments. (Needless to say that the return journey was like a millpond!)OVERCROWDING
We were surprised by the changes in layout and the impact on venues. First couple of days at sea, Horizon Court was impossibly crowded and like many others we ended up in Botticelli for breakfast They were a bit overwhelmed but things settled down a bit as the journey continued. I have never seen a restaurant breakfast room so busy. Similarly we were crammed into International Cafe at all times of day and evening. The piazza being a popular entertainment venue meant a quiet cup of capuccino was out of the question a lot of the time.
Quizzes were generally held in Club Fusion or Explorers but one day they tried it in Wheelhouse and it was standing room only (daft idea on a sea day). The quizzes were extremely popular and usually held two or three or even four times a day and the prizes were as rubbish as usual!
Interestingly both specialty restaurants were not well attended. The food and service in the freedom dining rooms were very good so we cancelled our Crown Grill reservation. We too were surprised by the lack of head cleansers near the restaurants as most people have had to use the handrails when descending the stairs to the dining room. I think the hand cleaners should still be available to those who wish to use them. As usual timing is critical to getting a good seat in the dining rooms. We ate as a couple twice but mostly were happy to share. On this cruise it was mainly Brits.
The specialty acts were doing three spots a night. Some were in Explorers but this created another seating crisis as people had to sit through a quiz/gameshow before the act came on in order to ensure a seat. There was plenty of variety in entertainment in the evenings.
As usual the Movies under the Stars were a bit of a waste of time because the weather (it was into October by then) was too cool. Occasionally they were shown in the Theatre and also, I think, on stateroom TV.
Princess have not updated their website to show the increased passenger numbers (now 3500 according to the Ship's Log). We were unaware of the change.
We had done most of the ports before but found enough to entertain us. If you like wine tasting trips we recommend the one with the Carriage Ride in Tuscany. We found a new to us, grape/wine and the nibbles were very tasty. The next day's wine tasting trip near Rome was not as good but we were made welcome and it was a pleasant drive. We loved Ajaccio but then we are Francophiles.
Good cruise, very good service, clean and efficient ship. The staff were very pleasant and hardworking.
It was an good offer from Captain's Circle which just coincided with our plans and we enjoyed it.