What can I say? Helping me to celebrate my Mom's 76th birthday were 3 other girlfriends all in their 50's. This is my 8th cruise - third on Princess having sailed the Dawn in 1997 and the Grand a few years after that.
Embarkation: Can you believe we were at the port and on the ship in less than 30 minutes? A snap! Painless! Princess devotes staff to organizing embarkation splitting you on escalators by cabin number. Someone greets you at ship entry and even at elevators till you get to your room - bravo!
The Cabin - our minisuite on Dolphin deck was superb. Great layout, impeccably maintained inside and plenty of smart storage. Recommendation? Dolphin balcony's are exposed to the elements natural and man made (bird droppings, cigar droppings from above and rain) a better effort to maintain these would enhance the balcony experience which was so-so. Also - if you are 2 in the cabin - 4 chairs are way too much - get two removed!
The Public Areas - the true test of a ship is the ability to please a full load of passengers when the sea day has crummy weather. This was a death knell on the Norwegian Dream to Bermuda this summer but on the Crown...a good excuse to take part in all the activities and amenities the ship has to offer. You NEVER feel crowded or bored on this baby!
The Staff - LOVE YOU ALL! Big kudos to Rebecca 'Becks' the Asst CD. Indefatigable! The dance lessons were phenomenal. These gals taught in 30 minutes more than we learned in a lifetime of onshore lessons! Priceless! We loved watching clueless couples get to be cool dance partners in 7 days!
Entertainment - ok our faves were Epthany, DJ Don, the piano and guitar guy at Adagio and Crooners. The string quartet divine! And the calypso guy wonderful. Some misses...Cindy Chavez and friends, the Orchestra and only saw one production number bit that was enough. As for comedians...our friends said it varied. Wherever Becks was it was great!
Food - pretty good! When lots of ships are cutting back Princess still offers some interesting and tasty fare. Loved the International Cafe for morning latte - thank you Angel and Tonya! (coffee cards are a bargain)and for lunch (many items are included and though not a soda lover one of our group was and the soda card was a real bargain!) for salads, lovely sandwiches and a glass of wine! Never got to Vines but my friend loved it! As for the dining room....definitely have our prejudices. We had anytime dining. It may be the same menu all over but it is not the same experience. LOVED the SERVICE and AMBIANCE at Michelangelos. Detested everything about Da Vinci's! Am I picky? Nah! Everytime we went for reservations there was plenty of opening at DaVinci and Michelangelos was booked almost solid except for 8:15 seating (which we gladly took)! Our waitstaff - Pat and Alex were great! We also enjoyed Victor (neighbor waiter at MA DR and our coffee service guy!.
Excursions: Only took one in St Martin to the French Riviera Rendevous. 3.5 glorious hours of beach, sand, sun and a nice lunch...very reasonable since I was going alone and best? No hard sell anything!
Ship shopping - neutral
Art Auctions - fun and yes - I bought something and won something.
Photography - Monique did the best lifestyle portrait of me in cargos and barefoot on casual night that ever was taken in 53 years. So I say - get your pix taken - its no obligation and you eve know!
Did I experience it all? No - too much to see, do and enjoy! That's a compliment!
I could go on and on - it was a fave trip and cruise - I love the Love Boat!