August 2007 Destination:
Eastern Caribbean Embarkation:
New York (Manhattan)
We just returned from a wonderful 9 days aboard the Crown Princess: New York (Brooklyn) to San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk. Embarkation was a breeze. We had ridden the train to NYC and stayed at the Ramada Hotel New Yorker just one block from Penn Station. The New Yorker has seen better days but it is being renovated. The convenience made up for the age. Cruise morning we got a town car right outside the hotel door and for $55 plus tip were driven in comfort over the Brooklyn Bridge to the ship (a taxi ride would have been $50). Our driver was a very nice guy who agreed to meet us when we docked for the return to the train. His name was Manny and I highly recommend him. E-mail me for his number. Because our original cruise in June was overbooked we agreed to be bumped to this cruise and Princess was kind enough to upgrade us to a suite from a balcony. What a blast! Everyone has to try a suite at least once but it might spoil a person for anything less. We had "elite" More
boarding but didn't need it because when we got to the terminal (in an "industrial" area) just after noon there were no lines. We were in our room by 12:15, met our great steward, and went to the buffet. The ship was very similar in layout to the Golden we had cruised in 2005: well appointed, clean, lots of "out of the way" areas to relax or engage in an activity. And there were lots of activities, some favorites unfortunately booked simultaneously which made choosing tough at times. This cruise was fully booked and this, on a 3000+ passenger ship, was not an issue for us except in two places: the Horizon buffet was sometimes pretty zooie and the Princess theatre is too small if most people choose the same show. We never went to a pool but they looked crowded also. The service was top notch. Everyone we encountered went the extra mile to be helpful. One example: I asked a buffet attendant if there was any mayonnaise out for my french fries. There was none so I settled for catsup. Unbeknownst to me the attendant ran to the galley and sought me out at our table with mayo. Super! The food was very good in all places (we did Sabatini's but not Crown Grill). It was well prepared and interesting, certainly as good as most really good shore eateries. I did not consider it haute cuisine (but then again it isn't fair for me to compare because we were at Alex in Las Vegas two weeks prior, a true 5 star, 5 diamond). The casino was fun, staffed with some very pleasant Eastern European and Indian dealers. Most were very well trained and courteous. Remember, though, that the cruise casino rules significantly favor the house. Play for fun and expect to maybe break even if you are lucky! I scuba dove at St M, St T and GT. GT was the best but all the dives were very conservative...65 feet max. The dive operations that Princess works with were well equipped and professional. Disembarkation was soooo easy. They have a new easy off system if you were willing and able to pull your own bags. 7:30 we grouped and at 8:00 we were on the street. Overall a wonderful time, and I highly recommend Princess and the Crown. A few things do gripe me, such as paying extra for every stinking little drink (for my money they should give us drinks free and make us pay extra for the vegetables) but having cruised before I knew the system so no biggy. I have already booked my next Princess adventure. Less
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