My wife, son (16)) and I have been on 4 previous cruises, all with Disney. With the magic overseas we decided to try the Crown Princess after alot of research on various cruises. We flew into LaGuardia and stayed the night before at the Crowne Plaza next to the airport. It was nice enough, and fairly inexpensive as New York hotels go. We took busses and subways to times square and Grand central station for the day. It was a nice Saturday afternoon so the place was hopping with tourists just like us and my people allergies were in full force so we just took a mini tour of New york City. On Sunday morning june 17 we left at 9:00am and hired a car service right from the hotel. It cost about $40 plus tip. The trip to the dock in Brooklyn took about 20 minutes (the trip back was an hour on a week day morning). We arrived very early because we had heard it could take an hour or more to get there. When we arrived they took our bags and let us wait in a large room inside the cruise center. They allowed us register at about 10:30. We then waited in another large room, were given a number, and got on the ship at 11:45. It seemed smooth and easy to get on, and our room was even ready once we got there. Our room was at the back of the ship and had a balcony. If you want privacy the balconies on the back are all completely covered, unlike many of the ones on the side. However when the ship is moving you hear the water churning. It reminded me of large waves crashing when we were moving at a good clip. I imagine some folks may not like the noise of the water, I enjoyed it. On the back you do feel a bit more movement then you might in the middle. Our cruise was very smooth so I had no problems here but a small vibration in bed can be felt under certain conditions. It was almost like a vibrating bed might feel......not all that bad I must say. The room itself was big enough for the three of us. The third bed came down from the ceiling and was a bit awkward but was put back up during the day. The closets a very large for a ship, and with the luggage under the bed you should have plenty of room. The bathroom in our room was small and the shower very small. Im a pretty big guy, 6' 3" 240 so the shower was tricky. I just soaped up the walls spun around a couple times and it was fine. I didn't spend to much time in the bathroom so the size didn't bother me as much as it has others. Some people had larger bathrooms with tubs. Our room host was great. He was friendly, helpful and very attentive!!!
The food on the ship was very good at almost all the venues that served food. I tried them all! The burgers, hot dogs, brats, and fries at the pool were very good and available all day and night. The pizza was a nice New York style and I liked the special pizza of the day most days. I didn't try the ice cream but those who did said it was good. The breakfast and lunch Buffets were for the most part very good. They are however a bit confusing and chaotic. The set up for the buffets do not make sense and people wander in both directions all over the place. That may not make sense now, but if you go to one you will understand. I don't see how they can fix it, it is the way they designed and it would take a major renovation to make it better. Looks like they didn't want you to feel like you were in a cafeteria buffet line so they mixed it up. I get the idea...its just not functional. A hint here make sure you go all the way back to cafe Caribe, some folks miss it and only go to the horizon cafe. Cafe Caribe has some nice and interesting theme buffets and selections. The International Cafe in the main lobby is a great place for lunch. Many think that everything here is extra. They do have some food , like candy apples and gelato that are extra, but the great sandwiches and side dishes are free and the guys working there were very helpful. Just ask them for help and they will cook up a nice warm panini for you. These were the best sandwiches on the ship! Be sure and try the dining rooms for lunch, They had some excellent selections (try the goulash) and sandwiches. We had traditional dining and our waiters were very good. The food in the dining room was excellent almost always. The food ranged from exotic to the always available steak and chicken. Some people may be a bit confused by the names of the entrees. They don't call a pork chop a pork chop......but it was darn good. Ask you waiter if you are unsure, I noticed many people skipped over excellent entrees because the name was not what they were used to. I was amazed at how good the food was when you take into account they are cooking for over 3000. I think some people forget this fact. If you are looking for personal cuisine catered to your taste, perhaps a small expensive ship my be better for your taste. Having said this our waiter did everything he could to get our food how we wanted it(the two or three entrees I had every night). I did do the anytime dining one night with friends we met on the ship, after I had already had dinner in our regular dining room. It was different I must say, not better or worse but different. Some love the ability to go when they want, some don't like the crap shoot as to what waiter you get. I would suggest that you check the menus on the walls outside the dining rooms each day to see what they will be serving that night. I did not try sabatinis or the steak house but heard they were very good. I just cant see paying extra when the food was already very good.
The ship itself was beautiful. Every public room, bar, hall, and area was very well decorated and thought out. Each stairway had nice artwork displayed. I hope people take the time to enjoy it. The casino looked nice but was to smokey for me. I must say they did have several non-smoking nights but I don't like to gamble. The main staircase is a great place to sit and enjoy the various music played throughout the day. There are plenty of Pool areas for everyone. They were are very clean and never seemed to crowded. The pools are all fresh water, not salt water like seems to be standard on many cruise lines. The adult pools on the front and back are very quiet and perhaps a nice place to go and just relax in the water. My only real problem with the ship was the M.U.T.S pool. Could someone please turn the volume down so i can at least hear what the person next to me is saying???? At least during the day. The Band at the middle pool was very good. The aft pool is quiet but was cold. The pool on the front was very quiet and had a current you could turn on so you could swim, very cool. The hot tubs at all the pools were ok....not very hot, but with kids and some who may have health issues I know you cant make them as hot as some like. The teens like that they have a hot tub to themselves. The staff was very friendly in all my encounters with them. Some folks forget many of these people are from a different cultures whose customs may be different from ours. Initiate eye contact, or a smile or just say hello. I think you will find they will be happy to do the same. My son seemed to enjoy the youth staff and I thought the youth security did a good job dealing with the 300 or more teens on our cruise. I was very happy to find a good teen room and program , because having a grumpy 16 year old for 9 days would not be fun. Having only done Disney cruises in the past I don't have alot to compare this ship to but I will make a few comparisons. I thought the entertainment was not as good on princess but.....entertainment is what disney does. I thought the clubs and bars were much better on the crown. we stayed out and played several nights and found most of the clubs hopping with people dancing and having fun. The night life on our other cruises was not as good. Princess seems to have adult entertainment down pretty well with casino the clubs featuring 70s and 80s nights. Make sure you get up to skywalkers lounge at the top of the ship. Its the best set up for a club but not as well used because of location.
Overall I was amazed at how nice our cruise with 3000 others went. The only time i felt like there were 3000 people was at the champagne fountain, were everyone tried to jam into one area for a glass of champagne. The ship is so large, and at first a bit confusing, that everyone seems to spread out.
Loved grand Turk great snorkeling and beaches. Loved the water and snorkeling in St. Thomas, Captain nautica is a blast. San Juan was hot and humid and looked like alot of american port cities, but the free shots at the port terminal made up for it. Bermuda was Beautiful I could have stayed there for several days. The disembarkation was very easy I thought. we were one of the last groups called off the ship, so it was sad to watch our tablemates, and all our new fiends walk off the ship one by one.
We have great memories of our time on Crown Princess and all the great people we met that will be with us forever!!!! Thank you Bill