Here is my review of the Crown Princess 01/20/07-01/27/07.
Our group consisted of my parents (16+ cruises, I think), my brother and his wife (2nd cruise), my sister (5th cruise) and her four year old (3rd cruise) and myself and my DH (7th cruise). First Princess cruise for all of us, except my parents. We all arrived in San Juan the previous day at various times and we all stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.
Embarkation: We arrived at Pier #4 early, around 11:00 a.m. Had porters right there to take our luggage. We waited outside the Pier a short time, maybe about 15 minutes, before they opened the gates and let us in. The lines inside for check-in were relatively short at this time and we waited until about 11:40 until they started checking people in. The only slight glitch to the process was that after letting a dozen or so people through the security screener, myself and my DH were the last two through, they stopped boarding, and also stopped those of us that had More
already been screened. This lasted about 20-30 minutes. We were all on the ship by 12:30. The one thing I was disappointed with is that when we boarded, the photographers weren't out there yet. No embarkation photo (which is my favorite!), but that was probably our fault for arriving so early. I did see them out there later when we got off the ship for some shopping. I am not exactly sure what time the luggage arrived, but it wasn't much after 2:00. We found our cabins, ate lunch, explored a little bit and by the time we got back down to the cabin, all of the luggage was there.
The Ship/Cabins: The ship is beautiful. I loved the size of it! My DH and I had an aft cabin on the Baja deck, B754. My parents were next door in B752, my brother and his wife were a couple doors down in B748 (an end cabin), and my sister and her four year old had a cabin on the Lido deck, L247. I loved the aft cabins. The cabins were all a decent size, there was plenty of room for storage with the large closet (and yes, I over packed)! The bathroom was pretty small, but I found plenty of storage room in there for all of the stuff I brought with. The bedding was very nice. I ordered the egg crate which was on the bed when we arrived, very nice. I also had our room steward bring a top sheet for our bed (they don't have them on).
The balconies for these aft cabins were much larger than the other balconies for this category cabin, large enough for an aluminum table with 2 chairs and 2 lounge chairs. I believe these balconies are the same size as the balconies for the mini-suites and the balconies on the Caribe deck. My sister's cabin on the Lido deck was considerably smaller, only enough room for the aluminum table and 2 chairs. Cabin B754 was a little noisy as stated in some previous posts here. I believe the noise came from the air conditioning units. You could still carry on a conversation on the balcony, but it was noticeable and noisy in the cabin if you had the balcony door open. Cabin B752 had a vertical steel beam off to one side that took up a little bit of space. The noise was less noticeable on this balcony. Cabin B748 had a noticeably larger balcony then B754 and B752 and was quiet! If I were to book the Crown again, I'd definitely go with that cabin.
Renewal of Vows Ceremony: My parents did the renewal of vows ceremony for their 40th anniversary. Princess did a very nice job with this. It was held the first formal night (Monday/St. Thomas) and there were seven other couples renewing vows that night. Captain Binetti did each ceremony separately and privately. He was very personable.
Food: Horizon Court: We had lunch here every day. The food was very good and there was always a large selection of items to chose from.
Cafe Caribe: We had before dinner snacks and late night snacks from here. Again the food was good. The late night buffet was a little more limited, but the salsa and guacamole were very good and they had it every night. Pizza/Trident Grill: I loved the pizza, excellent! I did not try the Trident Grill for hamburgers/hot dogs, but others in our party did and liked them.
Dining Rooms: We had breakfast most mornings in the dining room. The food was good. They had a different special every morning. We had late seating for dinner in the Botticelli dining room. Everything I had was excellent and there seemed to be plenty to chose from on the menu. I didn't hear anybody in our party complain about their entree. I had the beef wellington one night and did not notice anything funny tasting about the beef.
We ate at Sabatini's one night. The service there was excellent as was the food, just too much of it! It took about 2 hours for dinner.
Room Service: The couple times we called, it took a long time to get through, but they delivered it very quickly. My sister used room service for breakfast every day and even ordered bacon and eggs (which isn't on the menu) and they brought it.
Service: We also found the service to be wonderful. I was always greeted pleasantly in the hallway by any member of the staff I passed. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful as was our cabin steward! I had to go the Pursuer's desk a couple of times and they were very nice and accommodating. The only negative with the service that I would mention was in the bars and by the pool. Service seemed to be very slow. They were fast to take your drink order, but seemed to take a very long time getting the drink. Michelle, our cruise director, seemed to be very friendly and energetic as well.
Ports: I did not partake in any of the shore excursions. I did get off the ship at each port however. My sister and I got off the ship in the afternoon and did a little shopping. Don't miss the Coach store, lots of great deals there! Did some shopping in St. Thomas. We docked at Crown Bay and took a cabin into the shopping area. I think the cab ride was $8.00 round trip and there were plenty around. A couple shops open at Crown Bay, nothing too exciting. Got off the ship in St. Kitts and looked around the shops right there at the Pier. They had some nice shops there. I did not like Grenada at all. The locals were very pushy and followed you around the stores/streets. They could skip this stop altogether. I loved Bonaire and Aruba! Both places were beautiful. Would go back in a heartbeat.
Temperature: The temperature of the rooms on the ship were fine. It was the first cruise I was on that I didn't need a sweater in the dining rooms! Our cabin temperature was good, no complaints there.
Safe: We only had one problem with our safe, it wouldn't open one night. Called passenger services and they came right up and fixed it. Nobody else in our party had a problem.
Elevators: Never had a problem getting an elevator. They were a little slower on embarkation day and formal nights right around the dinner hour, but that was about it.
Self Service Laundry: I used this two days and found it very convenient. I really didn't need to pack as much as I did!
Disembarkation: This went as smoothly as embarkation, the best I've even seen actually. We had a 12:10 flight back to Minnesota so we were in the first group called at about 8:20 a.m. We were off the ship, had our luggage and were through customs by 8:40, very smooth!
It was a very memorable and enjoyable trip. I loved the Crown Princess and would go again in a minute. Less