We decided on this trip close to the last minute, and found it to be a bargain. We drove into Ft Lauderdale that day, and boarded without fuss at about 3:00pm. Enjoyed a snack at the International Cafe with an iced coffee. All in all a pleasant departure.
We had two prior trips on the Crown, so we pretty well knew our way around the ship and what to expect. We opted for anytime dining. Things had changed, and one of the two anytime dining rooms now accommodated an additional traditional early seating. We did not have any trouble being seated. We only had to wait on Thanksgiving, for about 20 minutes. We enjoy sitting at a large table so we could meet people. We had great dinner conversations every meal, and met a wide range of interesting people.
The beds were rock hard, which pleased my husband, but me, not so much. Our wonderful steward Johnny got me an "egg crate" right away, and it helped a bit, but it was still hard! And the pillows were mushy. Oh well, I did manage to sleep anyway!
As we had done this itinerary already, we did not visit the Princess Cay. We did a bit of rocking and rolling the next two days, but not so hard that things pitched off the shelves. Our main objective was to relax as much as possible, and catch the trivia in the morning. We tended to have all our meals in the dining room. The lunches, especially the salads, were quite good, and your order is custom made. We really don't enjoy the hassle of the buffet, and did not visit it except while sunning at the back pool.
We did our own tours in St Maarten and to Marigot, St Martin, which we loved a lot. Same with St Thomas. Sorry, but beaches are not that much a draw for us, living in Florida. Got off the ship at Grand Turk, but not much there, and it was pretty hot midday.
The dinners were at times rather unusual in their offerings. The cold soups were wonderful, the hot soups tended to be salty. My husband enjoyed most of the meals, and I was always urged to select something else if the waiter saw I wasn't eating. We almost felt wasteful, because we were not allowed to have a bit of this or that. On Thanksgiving, we had to order both lobster tails (rather large ones, from Maine), and a Turkey dinner to have a taste of both, when a tail on a turkey plate, or a slice of turkey and dressing on a lobster plate would have been perfect. The desserts were wonderful, as usual. And although it fell to the waiters to plug a lot of events such as wine tastings, cooking demo, Irish coffee, they did not push at all. nice.
The best kept secret on the ship was the $2.99 drinks after 8. They are listed on the outside back cover of the drink menu, and the cocktail waiters did not call attention to it. For the record, house spirits, Dos Equis (sp?), Becks, MGD, and Miller lite, pina coladas, singapore slings, and long island ice teas were all $2.99 in every bar after 8pm. Even in Adagio, our fave bar, but then who wants those when you have their special cocktails exclusively?
We hit a couple of shows. Went to Broadway Ballroom (songs and dance), the comedian, and the magician. All were pretty good for shipboard entertainment. And of course, Burt was in Crooners. He was great, and worked hard at getting everyone involved. It was sometimes difficult to get out of the dining room in time for shows, but we were entertained by our company every night, and to be honest, enjoyed that more.
Disembarkation was slowed due to a malfunction in the jetway. Customs seemed particularly strict this time, but we had our info together, and passed quickly once we got there. We had to wait a long time in the casino (our assigned waiting area) and it was rather uncomfortable after a while.
All in all, a good trip, and a relaxing holiday getaway. It was made particularly pleasant, by being greeting by all the crew we encountered.