This was our 20th cruise, 6th time on Princess. We flew from Burbank to JFK the day before, hired a car service to pick us up and take us to the Brooklyn Marriott. We got a rate of $200 with AAA. We checked in around 4:30 pm and went to dinner at Henry;s End in Brooklyn Heights, then we went to the Brooklyn Promenade to see the July 4th fireworks. Brooklyn Heights is a very charming area to walk around, there are lots of shops and restaurants, we picked up some wine the next day for our cruise.
The hotel arranged transportation to the port July 5, we had the easiest embarkation ever, no wait at all. The area around the port is somewhat undesirable however and there is a lot of construction going on.
Our cabin was a KK C106 way up front. We had a considerable amount of vibration and noise, plus a hike to the buffet area. We asked our steward for extra towels, but he never came through, we had to get our own time after time.
The ship itself is beautiful but I prefer the aft pool area on Diamond and Caribbean Princess. Skywalkers is smaller on the Crown and the aft pool seating is very limited. The pools were very crowded, standing room only (all 4). We had anytime dining which worked out well for 2 people, we rarely had to wait. Getting a window seat is very frustrating--they say first come, first served but this never seemed to be the case. We were lied to more than once both in the dining room and Crown Grill.
The food was par for cruise food, although the breakfast buffet grew old fast. I enjoyed the lunch buffet--the salads were especially fresh. Coffee was awful as expected. Service was uneven. They did not enforce sanitizing your hands as they have on other cruises.
The Crown had the usual activities, nothing special here. The entertainment was the same old stuff. I did notice an effort was made to have numerous options in the evening with shows in the Princess theater and Explorers lounge as well as in the Piazza area. The Princess theater fills very quickly.
We enjoyed the ports and had pretty good weather. Horseshoe Bay is probably the best beach I have seen when you rate sand, water and scenery. In San Juan, we rented a car and drove to Luquillo Beach. We have been to SJ many times and didn't need to see the town. The beach was beautiful, but a ways out of town. In St Thomas, we went straight to Megans Bay--it was a gorgeous day there, just perfect. We loved Grand Turk although finding seating is a challenge. Get off early and run! We found the Conch shell graveyard around the bend--its worth the walk. Margaritaville gets incredibly crowded and service is SLOW!
Disembarkation went slower than expected, we didn't actually dock till around 7:30. We had to get off with the self disembarkers although we sent our luggage out the night before. We had trouble accessing it for about 30 minutes, as they were still unloading and we couldn't go to the area where the unloaders were working. We finally got our stuff--customs took 2 seconds, and we found our car service ride back to JFK. We made a 11:30 flight back to Burbank with no difficulty. We saw plenty of taxis at the port contrary to other reports. All in all a very relaxing cruise--it was hard to leave.