Drove ourselves to Port Everglades from the Midwest via Washington DC to visit the Vietnam Memorial there but as luck would have it, 6-8 inches of snow forecast for the day caused us to change plans and so missed out on that. It was one of two things I really wanted to see on this trip so not a great start.
Arrived way too early at the Port fearing parking in the garage adjacent to the terminal would be full but there were plenty of spaces open. So had a little wait to get on board but once the boat was ready we were in our room and into the buffet within minutes. Luggage arrived at the room by time we were back which makes me think tipping the guy that took the bags helped. Figured he was not going to get a cut of the 11.50 per person, 23.00 for the two of us, that Princess charges per day so you don’t have to be handing out tips all cruise long.
I’ll end with more on tipping but always liked the idea, but not the fact that it is not included with the cost of the cruise as it is tacked to your account each day and that not everyone deserves a tip, but I also look at it as everyone has a bad day now and then and being stuck on a boat with some 3000 guests cannot be the easiest way to make a living. They deserve it, just hope each gets their fair share.
This cruise stopped at Princess Cays on the first full day, and perfect weather helps. If it is, try to get topside on the tender as it’s kind of a long boat ride and didn't figure that one out right off. This stop is a good place to start, plenty of beach to hang out on and they feed you. Everything else comes with a price.
Day two is at sea. The workout room is okay. Free weight area is a little small, but there is a running track (16x around to a mile) on the boat so that helped. Would be nice if the screens could play straight music videos to work out to (used the upright and recumbent bikes as well) but always have my player with.
She did the line dancing classes with a first day complaint after accidentally walking in on the wrong class. A rather rude instructor advised her she was in a paid-for class. The one she was looking for was elsewhere. Well, excuuuuuuse-me! Why She takes that crap personally is beyond me but She does, but you would think the instructors could lighten up a bit. But then such ilk is why I have always worked out alone.
Day three was St Maarten and here was the second thing on this trip I wanted to see based on you-tube videos of planes landing at the airport. It’s not listed as a Princess Excursion. Took a cab to Maho Beach, better known as the airport beach, and did this as soon as we could (head straight out to the cab stands on the other side of the welcome center), not thinking ahead of the flight schedule there. We got lucky as we got there a half hour before the KLM 747 came in. I do not know if such things are worth it or not. The beach was jammed, and She thought it was a waste of time, but it made my trip.
A stop at St. Thomas and Grand Turk completed the cruise. The former was a nice walkabout place as we docked at the port and the later was mostly just for the close-in shops and a little swim. She was looking for a piece of Larimar jewelry and we haggled with some guy behind the counter but he let us walk on a 10.00 difference which was kind of funny.
A day at sea at the end, and then back in port but failed to try and get off the boat early. Kind of frustrating with the car sitting right there and not able to get off but then others had planes to catch and at least did not have to grind on that, plus they got ahead of schedule so we were off an hour early anyway. 111.00 for parking for the seven day cruise but I am going to say it’s worth it to us to not have to catch planes or stay in hotels in the Fort Lauderdale area near the port which all seemed a bit pricey.
The Crown Princess is a nice boat. Yes, there is some wear and tear but I like the feeling of being worn-in. The staff is mostly pleasant, and those that aren't I am going with the bad-day thing. Our room steward (Henri) was the best yet but that could be because I hardly ever saw him. Meals in the Michelangelo and the Horizon Buffet were all good (though not sure how sanitary it is to being waving used napkins in the air during the Parade of the Baked Alaska?). Caught two shows in the theater this time around, both entertaining, and near perfect weather made this a very good cruise.
The only complaint of course, being introverts, is some of the other passengers. We like any-time dining for sit down meals, and we want a two passenger table, so we try to get there when the doors open. My gripe is passengers who come across as being entitled to certain tables. Always nice to hear one couple tell another couple that they couldn't get “their table” (because we were sitting at it). Boohoo. Next time, take traditional dining and you will get the same table and sit with the same people, you knobs.
Also saw this same couple slip the bills to one of the servers at the last dinner of the cruise. Now I know this probably goes on all the time. A lot of things on board can be overlooked and this certainly is one, but when passengers tip beyond the 11.50 per day, where does this leave those of us who don’t? Our server, while taxed, was very nice to us, and yes, in a normal world we would have tipped extra, but cruise ships are not normal worlds. I am stumped on this one.