We returned from our Western Caribbean sailing on the Crown last weekend. All I can say is ... WOW. I've been reading CC comments about this ship for several months now, and the reviews were somewhat mixed. So I wasn't sure what to expect.
The passengers covered a very wide demographic, from tiny kids to senior citizens ... a real balance, age-wise. Our group consisted of my husband, his sister, her husband, and myself. We booked two side-by-side staterooms on the Caribe Deck, which turned out to be a great choice. The balconies are HUGE, and the cabin steward can open the partition between them.
Joven, our cabin steward, was fantastic. Super friendly without being intrusive, and he kept our stateroom immaculate throughout the trip. I had heard Princess beds are miserable, but personally we did not have any problem with this. Even my sister-in-law did fine, and she has back issues. I believe she had them add the egg crate to her mattress, though.
My only cabin suggestion is that they use slightly longer shower curtains. Ours was barely long enough to stay inside the bottom lip of the shower stall, so it easily bumped out and allowed water to puddle on the floor. Had to keep an eye on it to be sure it stayed in place. Life would be easier for both cabin stewards and passengers if Princess would make this minor adjustment.
The ship overall was gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. A perfect balance of elegance and warmth. She is in great shape, with a few minor issues of normal wear and tear. But you would have to be looking for problems to notice these things, and they are continually correcting them on the fly. She'll be a hard act to follow if we ever cruise on another ship or cruise line.
Our shore excursions included: Rays & Reefs Snorkeling/Grand Cayman, which was cancelled due to high winds. So after tendering to shore, we booked a snorkeling excursion at one of the kiosks just beyond the tender dock. Apparently, they close the stingray sandbar during high winds, but snorkeling is still a go. It turned out to be a great choice for us.
Next stop was Roatan, where we had booked a third-party zipline tour through shoretrips.com. Fantastic. Super long and high runs, plus they clip you to a second "safety" line.
In Cozumel, we did the all-day Tulum ruins tour through Princess. Had a great time, but don't take this tour if shopping in Cozumel is important to you. You'll get back late ... we went directly from the transfer boat to the ship and were among the last to board. Also, the boat ride from Cozumel to the mainland is a real belly churner. DO NOT SIT ON THE TOP DECK. Lots of folks lost it up there, and it wasn't pretty on the first deck either. It's a rough ride. Take your dramamine.
Finally, Princess Cays is a nice little beach stop. It's pretty rocky, so I recommend beach shoes. Be prepared for a long line waiting to board the tenders back to the ship. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have called it a day a bit sooner to avoid the wait.
This is getting long, but I have to say the BEST part of this cruise was the staff. Neville, the Maitre D' was simply incredible. This guy is everywhere on the ship. Friendly, funny and the epitome of professionalism all wrapped up into one person. He made the cruise for us. Also wonderful were Luigi, the wait staff manager, and Chef Giuseppe. We got to know these three gentlemen during Chef's Table.
Chef's Table is the dinner of a lifetime. I'm not a particularly adventurous eater, but I was completely in awe of (and quite touched) by the incredible effort and show these folks put on. It truly is a wonder. We had a wonderful server named Corinna, and she and the three afore-mentioned gentlemen managed to make everyone at the table feel like the most important person on earth. We also met the pastry chef, who must be the best on the high seas.
Finally, much has been said about the coffee. We actually thought it was fine, but it really is a matter of personal taste. Most folks love Starbucks, I'm not a big fan. So there you go, to each his own!
My apologies that this was so long. It truly was the trip of a lifetime. Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer.