Crown Princess- 7 Day Western Caribbean
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I would like to say that my girlfriend and I were first-time cruisers on this cruise and we had high expectations of fun and relaxation, and very little knowledge of the whole idea of cruising and ports and excursions, etc. First and foremost we were NOT disappointed. The Crown Princess was a beautiful ship. Our interior room was about what we expected, not huge but cozy enough. We wanted to save money for food, drinks and shopping so we decided to just get the interior room. Our room steward, Richard, was top notch. My girl and I joked he was like John Tuturro's butler character in Mr. Deeds! We would be gone for minutes and he was in and out of the room. Bed made, dry bathroom towels folded, pool towels hung up, papers organized and mini fridge restocked. This guy even set my book and reading glasses carefully next to the bed and put our shoes in order. Incredible! He was the only ship employee we tipped and we did give him a very large one. I was told before cruising the stewards More
are really the only ones you should tip without offending anyone. We enjoyed the aft pool as our room was only a quick walk away. It was usually quieter than the other pools. Every pool has a full bar by it and friendly waiters come around asking if you would like any 'yummy-yummy' drinks.
The food at the buffets is as good if not better than most 'ruby tuesday' or 'applebys' dinners. Breakfast is fairly typical with eggs, cereal and breads but the assortment of fresh fruit was outstanding. Also each morning was a different smoked fish, salmon, tuna, whitefish, all very delicious. The Crown Grill was the highlight. We are both 'meat and potatoes' people so this was our big evening out. We each picked out our steak from the cart the waiter brought out for us and added loaded baked potatoes. I also added lobster tail, to my surprise I was brought 5, yes 5!, tails! WOW! We could not finish dessert so our waiter had it brought back to our room so we could eat it later. This meal was one of the best culinary experiences I have ever had, the food, atmosphere, the waiter, all of it together.
Just to include some info for new cruisers that we learned about once we got on board. Coke, soft drinks, whatever, you must pay for, Alcohol you must pay for. Dinner in the dining rooms is free unless you get alcohol or wine. The buffets are the same way. The pizza, ice cream, hot dogs hamburgers are all free. You can check your ship account balance at the front desk in the piazza level. Hopefully this will help others. I will say we booked our next cruise, only our second, for next year while still on board and just had it billed to our onboard account. If that is not a glowing recommendation I don't know what is. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Well, we had high hopes. We were docked at the pier and walked into the shopping area. The shopping was the same as the Caymans except for the atmosphere. It was more of a street carnival type atmosphere, which is not to say it wasn't enjoyable, just wasn't for us. We did stop and pick up a few tourist t-shirts for a couple bucks. The highlight was Pancho's Backyard. An eatery at the edge of the shopping area, within walking distance. The fish taco's are phenominal!! Get an order of guac with your taco's and a margarita and heaven awaits! If you couldn't tell we love food. I bought a bottle of 12 year old rum on the way back to the boat. Other than Pancho's Backyard, we really could have not went to Cozumel and been happy. A few things to point out. Upon walking back to our ship, Princess crew members handed out ice cold wash clothes to cool us down with before boarding, this was very welcome. Before disembarking, we were instructed not to leave the area on our own, without Princess crew members or in a group. We did learn one couple had finished shopping at the jewelers and did not listen as they ventured out into the city. They returned, but without all of the jewelery they had just bought and a harrowing tale of being held up at knife point. So, if they tell you where to go or not to go, its best to listen.
We did not pay for any excursions in Grand Cayman, so please consider that when looking at the rating. When the ship arrived, we tendered into Georgetown pier. The Princess crews were very friendly, offering to take pictures and give directions. Unless you go on an excursion there are no beaches within walking distance. There is a Hard Rock and a Margaritaville, the latter being a must visit!!! But for us the Caymans was about shopping. If you like jewlwery this is the place for you. Our Princess pro shopper, Sarah Michelle is a queen down there. Just her presence knocked off HUNDREDS of dollars on diamonds, etc. I did purchase my girlfriend a pair of earrings that I could not pass up on the price. Also, watches are everywhere. We also hit Cariloha, a shop selling bamboo clothing and housewares. These shirts are great! If you like soft cotton this stuff is 10x better. After our shopping trip we returned to the boat for drinks by the pool.
My girlfriend and I had heard and read lots of things about Roatan, Honduras that we worried about. At first we weren't even going to leave the boat, we heard crime was a real problem, the beach dirty and full of sandfleas. But I made the choice to venture out b/c we didn't know when we may get back there, might as well find out for ourselves. As it turned out, Honduras was our favorite port of the whole trip. Walking up the pier off the ship, you must go thru a little shopping store. The alcohol prices were ridiculous! My jaw hit the floor. Gallons of rum, vodka, tequila and whiskey from eight up to twelve dollars, for A GALLON! So on we went. We had decided to walk to the beach, a nice walk on a boardwalk thing thru palm trees. We spotted Fat Tuesday's on the way. We found us some beach chairs and laid down under some palm trees. Plenty of chairs and crystal blue water. Waiters walked around taking drink orders, caribbean music played in the background. We didnt get attacked by any sandfleas and no one complained of being mugged or kidnapped, so it was good times! We stopped at Fat Tuesdays on the way back to the ship for a light bite to eat and some pina coladas! All in the all, Honduras was the nicest place we enjoyed on our trip.