I have been on the Crown previously about 6 years ago and it was wonderful so I was looking forward to being on the ship again. I flew in to Ft. Lauderdale the morning that we were leaving and so went to the ship directly from the airport. The lines to check in were very long, even the priority lines, which I was on. It took about 2-1/2 hours to finally get on board. It seems that everyone had to be checked for the visa for Brazil and the reciprocity fee receipt for Argentina.
When my husband and I boarded, we were shocked to see the wear and tear of the ship. The carpet was very shabby and the ship seemed to have lost its sparkle. I was told that it was scheduled to go to dry dock soon to be overhauled. It sure does need it.
I finally got to our stateroom and was very pleased with the location. It was at the rear of the ship with easy access to the Horizon Buffet and would require a lot of walking to most parts of the ship giving me great exercise. The room itself was roomy and the balcony was the usual size.
I had anytime dining and usually went to the Da Vinci restaurant and had no trouble being seated. My husband and I enjoy sharing and so we met many nice people. The staff in that dining room was excellent. The food was a little too continental for our taste and so we did go to the buffet many times. We found that we enjoyed the cooking at the Horizon. We had our breakfast and most often our lunch there. We also
enjoyed the International Cafe and the coffee bar tremendously. It was great for snacks in the afternoon and some good coffee.
There was activities planned in the piazza and on some of the higher decks for those who wanted to participate. I did not.
The staff and the service was excellent in all areas of the ship. We had an exceptional cabin steward who really catered to us named Alfred, which was wonderful. We did not think that the entertainment was anything special. There were a lot of shows with a main person for about 40 minutes. We had enjoyed the big production shows that they used to have with the singers and dancers. On this cruise, the singers and dancers performed in the piazza, in Explorers Lounge and sometimes in the Princess Theater. I am not sure if they did anything elsewhere. Most of the time my husband didn't want to bother going to the shows. They did have a very good pianist/singer/comedian in Crooners by the name of Tom Franek. He didn't start his show until between 9:00 and 10:00 pm.
We didn't go on any Princess excursions. When we disembarked, that went fairly well until we went to get our luggage and it wasn't with all of the other luggage with our tags. It took almost an hour for one of the Princess employees to finally find it stuck in a corner of the cavernous room which held all of the luggage coming off the ship.
We had a city tour but it was not a walking one. We had a tour guide arranged for us by Jaime Liebrecht of PatagoniaShorex. Our tour guide was Harismandy Juan Manuel. He was wonderful. His English was excellent and he was very knowledgeable about the history of Buenos Aires.
Manu Peclat took us to see the Christ Redeemer Statue early in the morning so that we would avoid the crowds from the tour buses. We all got wonderful pictures of the view and the statue.
Manu Peclat took us on tour for 2 days in Rio. We went to all the important sights that everyone wants to see. None of our group was going to the Samba Drome to see the parade so he took us to it in the afternoon so that we could see the floats waiting to do the parade that evening. It was fantastic. He also provided us with 2 wonderful restaurants for lunch. There was a lot of trash around because of Carnival, but he made everything seem grand. His English was perfect and he told us a great deal of the history of Rio and of Brazil. Everyone had a great time.
Thomas Poussard met us at the port. He had a small bus for our group. His English was very good. He told us some history of Valparaiso as we rode through the city.
Thomas Poussard took us to Vina del Mar. He told us the history of the city. We went to see many different areas and made many photo stops. He also arranged for us to have lunch in a lovely French restaurant. He made the tour very enjoyable.