Crown Princess Cruise Review by Flyer55: Cruise of extremes
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Cruise of extremes
We have done a majority of our cruises with Princess and this was our 4th AK cruise with them. It was our second time on the Crown Princess. We did a Caribbean cruise on her in 2011 and still consider it one of the best values we've had cruising. So, we booked the Crown again for 2014. It was a totally different experience and disappointing.
First, the good. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. The weather was good, and the captain/pilot got us up close to Hubbard Glacier and the glaciers in Glacier Bay. We saw more wildlife from the ship than on three other AK cruises combined. The photo opportunities were abundant and we took full advantage. There were no rough seas the entire voyage.
Other than the fact that we got lucky with the weather, the general shipboard experience was not good. The staff was perfunctorily polite and "welcome aboard" and "how are you today" are not substitutes for service. Our room steward was friendly, but did the minimum or less. More Written forms that we could leave for him or take to the customer service desk were left in the "mailbox" and I had to take them down myself. The ice was not replenished unless my wife put an empty ice bucket outside our room. He seemed to manage to show up when we had the privacy sign in the lock and not when we were out and left the sign indicating the room was empty and ready to be cleaned, which was most of the day.
Except for a few items the food was beyond poor. I could not finish anything I tried on the buffet and I am not a picky eater. It was evident that the food was not prepared meal to meal but prepared ahead of time and placed in cold storage to be reheated before each meal. Too often they didn't succeed in getting the food to a proper serving temperature. Where I live, the health department would shut them down for serving food that cold. These are only a few examples of what was wrong. Scrambled eggs were barely warm on the edge of the serving pan, and cold once you got beyond the first inch or so. On the German theme night the sausage was warm on the outside and cold in the middle. The hot German Potato Salad was so undercooked that the potatoes had a raw taste. The grits with cheese and bacon had no flavor indicating cheese or bacon. The fresh pineapple was only cored and sliced and the knives provided were barely could separate them from the peel.
The anytime dining wasn't much better. One of our party got a piece of off tasting fish and became ill. The scallops had so much sand in them I could only eat 3 of the 6. The tenderloin was anything but tender. The lobster was undercooked and the king prawns cooked to leather. I could only eat a couple of bites of my NY Strip steak as it was so tough I couldn't cut it with the provided steak knife.
The scoop ice cream appeared to be their soft serve dessert mix (lots of large ice crystals) that was placed in container and hardened. I know that a lot of people like the pizza but to me it can't compare to what we were served on the Celebrity Century. The pool side hamburgers were big but flavorless, and the available toppings were very basic.
The best food on the ship was the pastries in the International Cafe. The coffee there was good too.
Maybe the food would have been acceptable if my expectations hadn't been raised by my previous experience on the ship. But overall it was beyond disappointing.
Because of our excursions we could only get into anytime dining venues at later hours and that limited our opportunities to take in the ship's entertainment unless we wanted to be up very late, which we didn't. We did make it a priority to see the comedian who was in the theater and not a small venue. He was OK until a couple of families arrived late and had to find seating in the front row. They tried to be polite and discreet and not interrupt the performance, but he seized on the opportunity to heckle them. It might have been OK if they had been native speakers of English, but the comedian kept pushing the issue and made it personal to the point where the father of the family got up and started shouting at the performer. This response was to tell the man that, "If you don't like it write Princess a letter. They'll show it to me and your address will be on it so I'll know where you live and can come burn your house down." Totally unacceptable and really ruined the mood for the evening after a great day of scenic cruising.
By the end of the cruise I couldn't wait to get off the ship. The previous cruise on the Crown I wanted to stay forever. It is really a shame about the deterioration of food, entertainment, and service that has taken place since I last sailed on the Crown
It was a cruise of extremes. Extremely good weather, itinerary, and opportunities to see things we have always wanted to see. Extremely bad food and entertainment that left a very poor impression of Princess Cruise lines. I was surprise to have read so many negative reviews of the ship before my cruise because of my prior experience. Now I know why. Less
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Functional. Showed some wear. Showers very small. Felt more cramped than an interior on the old Celebrity Century.