Crown Princess by Dick Stein Canada/New England October 13, 2007
This was our 21st Princess Cruise, our third Canada/New England Cruise. I have elite status with Princess and booked a AC Mini-Suite last February but got a last week best upgrade ever to Penthouse Suite R411. We drove 8 hours on Friday to Edison, NJ and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express off I287. The next morning we had breakfast at the motel and took SR440 and I278 to Red Hook for a 45 minute drive to the parking lot.
Embarkation: I showed them I was in a Suite, was at the desk in right away, when to the Platinum Lounge and on the ship right after 11 AM when they let us board first.
Cabins: The cabin R411 (cat. PH) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony, while large, is sheltered and has teak chairs and table. The bath room was nice and my wife enjoyed the tub and me the separate shower. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. I got a free mini bar set up and opted for 12 Becks Beers as I figure I might as well get what I drink. Took advantage for the free internet and laundry for suite members on several occasions. I also enjoyed the fruit and canapEs on daily. The 10% boutique discount was also used more than once. Used umbrella in Newport, got nice tote bag and the wife liked the free corsage on the formal night.
Public Areas: The public areas are nice and never feel crowded. The ship doesn't feel 113,000 grt. Enjoyed the small intimate bars. Met numerous passengers that I had talked with previously on the internet in a CC event at 10 A.M. on the first day at sea in Skywalkers. They had good shows on board and the comedians were great. The bars had a buy 5, pay for four Becks beer special on the Lido bars. I got this all cruise long and put them in the cabin fridge. Bottle opener was in the room. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including classes of all kinds. I went to the free wine tasting for elite members and enjoyed the library on board. You will not be bored on a Princess ship.
Dining: We used the preferred dining dining to get a table for 2 in the DiVinci dining room at 8 PM each night. We ate all our evening meals there. We had breakfast delivered to the room on a morning we did and early tour. We had breakfast and lunch in the lido on other days. We had pizza, hot dogs and burgers several times for a snack. The afternoon tea in the dining room had good tea, good company and scones. All the restaurants were nicely decorated and the food in all the Dining rooms was generally good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the Lido was also good.
Tours: We did tours in all the ports. We did the lighthouse tour on a boat in Bar Harbor and nearly froze because they ran out of seats inside. We did the Titanic tour in Halifax as my wife wanted to do it last time we were here. In St John we did the river cruise and it was the best tour on the cruise. In Boston and Newport we did the bus tours to the highlights. Disembarkation: This was smooth. They had the Wheel house bars set up for suite, and elite members and it was great. They had coffee, good juice and pastries and comfortable seats. We were off the ship and on the road by 9:30 AM. Parking cost me $128 for the week, tolls cost me $20, the motel $90 and gas less than $90. Cost of driving compared favorable to flying for me. It took us 9 hours to drive home and there were no problems.
Overall, I was satisfied with the cruise. I put a $200 deposit down on a future cruise. Got reacquainted during the cruise with James Deering, the Passenger Service Director. Met him first last year on the Oosterdam and he has since transferred to Princess. He handled several minor problems for me and made my cruise enjoyable. I saw him daily standing in front of the Pursers desk talking to passengers and handling problems. Unlike others in his capacity he does not hide in his office. I will look for him on future cruise, because he can make a difference.