This was our 3rd cruise - all with Princess. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship and is very similar to the Caribbean Princess which we sailed on before.
Embarkation was a piece of cake. Very quick and easy to board. Finding our cabins was easy since we already knew the layout. However, there didn't seem to be as many staff this time there to direct us, so it was good that we knew what we were doing.
We cruised with friends who were first time cruisers and they loved the entire trip, but they also didn't have anything else to compare it to.
Cruising is still a much more luxurious way to travel than an all inclusive, and still less expensive, and I would continue to cruise with Princess however my biggest complaint is the constant "up selling" the staff are now required to do.
On previous cruises, on the first day at the buffet lunch there were people selling the Coke stickers and the wine tasting, and then at dinner you were occasionally asked if you wanted an after dinner liquor. That was it. This time, the staff was in your face trying to up sell throughout the entire cruise. For example, when we said we had already purchased the tickets to the wine tasting, they tried to up sell us to the more expensive wine tasting.
The minute you sit down for dinner, they are trying to sell you mineral and bottled water. Then they are trying to sell you the Italian lemon liquor, and the cookbooks. It was ridiculous. I thought you hired top of the line wait staff so they can wait on you, I didn't know they were required to be salespeople as well. It was just ridiculous.
I understand completely the need to charge for alcohol and I'm almost glad there is a charge - people are less unruly without unlimited free booze, however to charge for mineral water and pop and cappuccino is just preposterous.
We love to cruise, and will give Princess one more chance, however if it gets any worse than this last experience we will look for another cruise line that isn't a ship full of sales staff instead of service staff.