First to my cruise critic friends from the Roll Call, sorry we missed the Meet & Greet. I always have good intentions but then the day gets away from me. Hope everyone had a wonderful cruise!!!
Pre Cruise Hotel
We flew down the day before and stayed at the Comfort Suites on Federal Highway. The hotel was clean and adequate for a pre or post cruise stay. The location isn’t as good on those on 17th but close enough you can walk to the restaurants and shops on 17th. There is a CVS right next door. We used the hotel transportation from the airport and didn’t have much of a wait considering the number of incoming guests. We used the shuttle service they contract to the port on Saturday. We were on the 10:30 shuttle and were at the port by 11:00.
When we went through the luggage scan, then agent said you have wine, so you need to go there and pointed to the Wine Check In. Well I decided to be honest and went to the table. We had 4 bottles and were charged the 15.00 for two of the bottles to our stateroom account…the first signature of the week. They put stickers on two of the bottles, so we could take them to the dining room and not have to pay the corkage fee. I will say, it would have been so easy to keep on walking and not report the wine.
We last cruised two years ago and noticed a change this year. They do check in before your wait in the cruise terminal. Seems to save time. They began escorting passengers onto the ship around noon.
We were in Riviera 710. We love the location of this cabin, close to the adult pool, elevator and yes….the buffet.
Our cabin steward, Ryan, was good.
We did, unfortunately, have the dreaded toilet issues. TWICE! The first time, we waited 45 minutes for someone to come and fix it. The second time, we were leaving and it was fixed when we returned.
The a/c was perfect for us, often times very cool. Be sure to keep those drapes closed to keep out that bright sunlight.
I thought there were a few more choices on the TV than our last cruise, not that we watch a lot of TV but nice to have choices.
The new shampoo, conditioner and shower gel was in the shower. I bring my own but did try them once and thought they were lousy, seemed almost runny, no thick lather to them.
We had a mini on our last cruise and the one thing I miss from the mini is the shower, that extra space is SO nice!!!
We purchased of the packages before the cruise. Internet speed was good. One word of warning to those of you with Hotmail / Outlook accounts, their security prevented me from getting in, not recognizing the server. I was able to have my son check my email and get the code for me to get in.
I bought the coffee card and found it well worth the money. I had 7 specialty coffees, lots of regular coffee’s, for my husband and myself and several brewed teas. Interesting they rarely checked the date on the card.
We ate lunch in the dining room after boarding, so nice to have that first relaxing lunch. We also had two other lunches in the dining room. I found the buffet had a very crowded feel this cruise.
We enjoyed desserts, pastries and two lunches at the International Café. Love their salads.
We had anytime dining and ate in DaVinci or Michelangelo, depending on the time. I made reservations most nights. The food was good to excellent. Out of the 5 nights we ate in the dining room, we had lousy service two nights. Both nights we had waiters who didn’t introduce themselves, didn’t recommend dishes and basically didn’t seem to care. The other three nights, the waiters were good, not great but good. I also really noticed the slamming on the doors at the waiters stations, maybe it was me but I’d never noticed this before. They need pads on the doors.
We chose to skip the formal wear this cruise and ate in Sabantini’s and Crown Grill on the formal nights. Sabantini’s - I didn’t think it was as good as two years ago on the Emerald and our service wasn’t nearly as good. That night also happened to be the roughest night at sea and the vibration was terrible. Crown Grill – this was our first time to dine there. We had an outstanding waiter, Hector and the food was AMAZING!!!
Besides the service, my only other criticism of the food would be the desserts. I am a big dessert person and I didn’t think the choices were nearly as good as two years ago. My favorite dessert is the crème brulee, it is amazing!!!
Cruise Director Lisa and her staff were outstanding. Best of any of our Princess cruises!!
We went to the comedian, Al Katz, he was very good! We also saw the Disco variety show and the violinists. Those shows were okay. The juggler in the piazza was fun and entertaining.
We have enjoyed the musical entertainment a lot more on other Princess Cruises. Of the three bands we thought one was good, one was bad and one just okay.
Princess Cays – we stayed on the ship.
St. Martin – I have big issues with mosquito bites, so I was a bit nervous about getting off the ship. Princess did hand out a warning about the mosquitos when we boarded. I put my sun block on and then sprayed what felt like a half of a can of repellent with DEET. No bites for myself or my husband.
There were 6 ships in port and St. Martin was crowded. We went to Little Divi Bay, beautiful, peaceful and a nice distance from the ship. The rented chairs, I think they were 10.00.
St. Thomas – We went to Secret Harbor Beach. BEAUTIFUL and not crowded. We reserved our chairs and an umbrella in advance from the dive shop. We went early but by mid morning their chairs were gone. We ate lunch there and the food was great. We did some quick shopping when we returned, it’s nice to dock at Havensight.
Grand Turk – The beach and the water there are beautiful. My husband ventured down the beach to Jacks. I stayed under a palm tree right by the port.
We did EZ check, after a horrible experience a few years ago, we never want to take our own luggage to the crowded Ft. Lauderdale airport again. Our flight was at noon and were given a disembarkation time of 9:30. There was a bit of a wait for a taxi. Interesting there were people walking along the taxi line promoting the shuttle, 11.00 per person. A taxi is about 12.00 or 13.00.
I’ve read a lot of comments about the condition of the ship. I agree ,The Crown, does look a bit worn in places but it’s still a beautiful ship and they are always working to keep her clean and neat.
The staff was friendly and so accommodating! Despite the toilet issues and lousy service a couple of nights, we still had a wonderful vacation. The good by far outweighs the bad for us with Princess. We did a future cruise deposit for the next one …. soon I hope!!
If anyone has questions, I will be happy to answer. Happy Cruising!!