We just returned from the February 15th sailing on the Crown. My dh and I are both in our mid fifties and this was our 10th cruise, and 6th cruise on Princess. We flew to Fort Lauderdale a day in advance and stayed in the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Plantation. This was a very comfortable hotel with excellent service. The room was immaculate with a microwave, small fridge and small separate sitting area. We had room service for dinner and it was very tasty.
We took a car service to the pier around 12:30, arrived at the pier at 1PM and were in our cabin at 1:30. We were in mini suite 621 on dolphin deck. Our superb room steward Richard kept the cabin immaculate and was always happy to get us whatever we needed. I had a sore ankle that needed to be iced every evening. He made sure we had extra ice and towels so I would be comfortable. I don't know if the mattress was new on the bed but it was just fine and I slept great. We used the balcony every day and I spent sea days sitting there reading and taking naps. It was also lovely to have breakfast from room service out on the balcony.
I feel that food is very subjective but my dh and I enjoyed most of the food on the Crown. The first night we ate in the Horizon Court and enjoyed the seafood buffet. The lobster claws, shrimp, and Alaskan king crab were good but were served cold. We prefer hot shellfish but it certainly didn't stop us from enjoying the meal. We also ate in the Crown Grill on the two formal nights. We had lamb, porterhouse steak and sea bass. The meals were very good and the service was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the desserts in the Crown Grill. The remaining evenings we ate in the dining room. We had anytime dining and ate in both dining rooms. We ate a number of lamb dishes and seafood. All meals were good to very good. We also ate a number of breakfasts and some lunches in the dining room. The service was good but I felt rushed at times during lunch and breakfast. We always ate dinner after 8PM and shared a table so we only waited once to be seated. Our favorite place for snacks, desserts and lunch was the International Cafe. We loved their chicken salad, Greek salad and wonderful desserts. I really enjoyed the coffee bar located beside the International Cafe. I bought a coffee card and used it every day. I'm a really early riser and by the third day the young woman at the coffee bar was preparing my Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee as I walked up to the bar. It was delightful to sit in this area every morning to begin the day. I met lots of delightful people here who were also early risers.
The entertainment on the ship was varied with something for everyone. We enjoyed the Salute to Motortown, the comedians, the a cappella group who performed in the piazza, the piano player in the Adagio Lounge and the cooking show. We loved the Adagio Lounge on deck 16 beside Sabitini's'. This lounge is small and cozy with delightful piano music. It is a great place for a before or after dinner drink away from the crowds on this ship. The drinks are creative and so delicious. We also spent a lot of time and money in the casino. The bar service in the casino was efficient and pleasant.
The ship visited the Eastern Caribbean which was a change for us. We haven't cruised there in a few years. We booked a ship excursion to Orient Beach on St. Martin's. The beach is beautiful but with hundreds of people it is understandably crowded. We had lunch which was not great. On St. Thomas we got off the ship and did some shopping. We purchased a couple of items and just browsed around the shops. We were docked in Crown Bay so there weren't that many shops. In Grand Turk we got off the ship, got two chairs under a palm tree and just relaxed at a lovely beach right beside the ship. At Princess Cays we were on the first tender so we spent a few hours in the water and relaxing on a chair under a tree. We ate lunch early and went back to the ship before the crowds. I enjoyed these islands but I prefer the western Caribbean. In the past we have cruised on the Coral, Grand and Star.
After spending a week on Crown I think I prefer the ships with fewer passengers. Having 3200 people on a ship is at times overwhelming. The staff does a remarkable job keeping the ship immaculate, serving thousands of meals every day, entertaining people of different ages, moving people on and off the ship and keeping everyone safe. With all the expectations for the crew it is difficult with this many passengers. Even though Princess has made a real effort to create small intimate spaces on the ship I still felt crowded and overwhelmed by the sheer number of people at times. I spoke to a number of crew members and they shared the same opinions. My dh and I made a real effort to avoid the overcrowded areas so we could have the relaxing vacation we were looking for. Overall we both enjoyed this cruise; the food, the beaches, the entertainment and the other passengers made our vacation pleasant, relaxing and fun.