Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean: Crown Princess Cruise Review by tigers
Overall Member Rating
Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
We arrived around 12:15 and finally got on the ship at around 2:15 or 2:30. Embarkation didn't begin on time. The rumor was that there were two stowaways on the ship so they had to thoroughly check all areas of the ship to make sure there weren't anymore. Anyway, other than the delay, embarkation was smooth. We got our bags around 6:00 that evening.
Smooth. We got off the ship around 10 AM and were at the airport by 11:15. The only hold up were the TSA officers who were complete jerks, but that's not unexpected I guess. The San Juan airport wasn't nearly as crowded as the airport in Fort Lauderdale from our last cruise. The only catch is that you can't check in to your flight if it's more than four hours to departure, so we had to wait around in the ticketing area for a couple hours before we could check in. Beware that there are very few seats in the ticketing area so you may have to sit on the floor. There were seats to be had More in the restaurant area, but they'll kick you out of there if you're not eating.
Very nice. We sailed the Caribbean Princess last year and I thought this ship while basically the same was a bit better laid. We had room C210 on both ships and the rooms were exactly the same between the two.
We had anytime dining and never had to wait for a seat in the dining room--even on formal nights. We just showed up anywhere between 5:30 and 8:30 and were seated immediately. The food was good, though the beef dishes weren't all that great. They seemed to have a hard time cooking the beef the way it was ordered. Usually it was over cooked, so if you like Medium, I'd suggest going for Medium Rare. The buffets were decent for breakfast and lunch. We never ate there for dinner. Other's have said the buffet lines are poorly designed and I agree. During peak times it can be annoying as the buffet is laid out with islands so there's no single line you go through. If you want meat, it's one line, veggies, another line, etc. etc. We didn't get a soda card this time and found we didn't miss it. The iced tea worked pretty well for our caffeine fix. Mixed drinks were good, and you'll never have a problem finding or getting one. "Vwant a dreenk?" Also I must commend the Chef's and waiters for making our table of 6 a special order of Creme Broulee for the last night. This wasn't an item on the menu and when the wait staff found out we all wanted some, they arranged for the Chefs to prepare special for us. That was great. We were only 6 people out of 3,000 on the ship but they made a special dessert just for us. You can't beat that kind of service.
Entertainment was good. We only went to the comedy shows since the broadway style shows aren't really our thing. Tony Daro was great. Lorenzo Clark was alright, but we had to endure a 10 minute video before his show where he pretty much bragged about all the people he knew and how great he was etc. etc. We almost walked out just based on this. The other comedians were pretty good and in the end we enjoyed all their shows. Note that since most of the shows were in Explorer's lounge, you need to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to get a seat. The one show we saw in the theater we had no problems getting a seat and it wasn't full.
We took three excursions. In Barbados, we took the photo tour which was fantastic. We went to some of the non touristy parts of the island and we got some great pictures. They take you over to the Atlantic side, which is very different from the Caribbean side. This was probably our favorite tour. In St. Lucia we took a Catamaran cruise to the Pitons. Frankly, it was pretty boring. They give you almost no information about the island or it's history and they only stop for about 30 minutes for you to swim where guys immediately accost you on kayaks trying to sell you shells and trinkets. St. Lucia as a whole though was a nice island and we'd like to go back, just not on that particular tour. In St. Thomas, we took a Catamaran cruise to Honeymoon Beach (or is it Bay?) to snorkel and swim. This was a great tour. The Captain and his helpers were very nice and informative and gave us lots of good information on the way over. The snorkeling was awesome and we saw lots of different fishes, corals, sea urchins, octopus, eels, etc. We went shopping in Antigua and St. Maarten. No excursions for us at these two places and we didn't buy anything more than a few token souvenir items. In retrospect we wish we'd had more sea days. There was only one sea day on the first full day of the cruise then five straight port stops. That made for a pretty busy week and we kind of like the laid back days at sea. I think for our next cruise, we'll avoid the ones that have that may port calls back to back.
In summary, we really enjoyed our Crown Princess cruise. The port stops made for a busy week, but fun was still had by all. We enjoyed the cruise so much that we put down a deposit on a future cruise but have yet to decide when and where. Likely the Mexican Riviera for a 10 or 11-day trip. Less