Returned my rental car to Sunshine Rental on Rte 84, just outside the west port road entrance- great prices on cars! $12 ride in with tip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and painless. Muster drill now assigned to a lounge/casino or other area, not outside. As Port Everglades raised their fees to accommodate Oasis (also in port), sailing time was moved up an hour to 4 pm. Note, it's always important to stay on ship's time when in port. Cabin was spacious. The ship had just come out of The Bahamas dry dock for 'freshening.' Opted for 50% surcharge to be alone. Leo, the steward was helpful. Travelled with a group of 220, so we had many of our own activities planned; but, used Princess for shore excursions. Luggage seemed to be delivered for everyone before dinner. It was unusually rocky crossing the gulf stream in both directions....
The Lido deck buffets were okay. I visit Vegas often, and it's always an issue when items are not labeled and the dish looks unusual requiring finding someone to offer an explanation. Staff attentive in helping you to a table and refreshing your drinks. Enjoyed pizza; but, mostly really enjoyed the choices at the International Cafe. Actually, preferred their mini desserts to the dining room desserts. Ordered room service breakfast twice and it arrived a bit ahead of requested time. They don't understand how to toast an English Muffin though for their breakfast sandwiches. Did not particularly care for the Crown Grille food or service. The prices had just been raised $5. Sabbatini's was more enjoyable, but, it's insane to serve all those separate side dishes in bowls to a party of four when there are also four entrees. Alas, Proseco is no longer available on the ship. As I did Chef's Table previously, chose not to cough up another $90 for the experience. I recently donated the souvenir cookbook I received. Have some great pix of the dishes served though!
Main dining room service was generally very good and the food choices fine, if uninspired. Sometimes service backed up to a most leisurely pace. Some table gets served last....I'm not a big red meat eater and enjoyed mostly fish (probably frozen) and chicken, turkey, pork. Had a coffee card and it was always nice to finish with a decaf cappucino.
MUTS- caught one and probably missed 35% of the dialog.
Shows- These are the exact same production shows I saw three years ago. There were even a few numbers that were identical to the Carnival ship I had been on for the two previous years. Comedian was good; enjoyed music ensembles around the ship. Never got to see the hula hoop gal who got very good reviews from other cruisers.
Casino- Diddled at the slots; if you find a machine that seems to have a better payout; then start playing maximum coins for some really nice jackpots. Had the 10,000 suitcase (penny machine); but made a deal at the end for 5,400. Lucky Lemmings has infectious music.
Hotel Desk- Always helpful!
Spa/Gym- Even though there's a sign that says lockers are for spa patrons only, you just leave your room card and get a locker key. Bring a small towel in from the gym to stand on....
Ports- As I had been travelling for over a week before getting on the Crown; I chose the first day to stay on board- eat leisurely, do laundry (bring your own detergent and softener sheets and a roll of quarters) and iron all my evening wear shirts. So, missed Princess Cay which is a tender stop. It's just a beach and last time there were flies like crazy around the buffet items.
Curacao- Group walking tour and off to see some caves by bus. As humid as it was on the island, the caves were worse. Do your own thing. Dine off the ship and catch the lovely lit village.
Aruba- a desert island, with little landscape that is natural, our tour bus was one of those party buses which run at night and I wasn't ready for blasting R&R at 8:30 am. Went only to Lighthouse and the chapel for a pee break amongst the cacti. The restaurant adjacent to the Lighthouse charged and fee had small bills. Then dropped at Nikki Beach Restaurant, south of town and near the airport. Calm water and pleasant, narrow beach with comfy lounge chairs and their own pool. However, the lunch sandwich that was included was meager though it did include a welcoming mimosa. Owner was genuine- but, this is no relation to Nikki Beach of South Beach, FL fame. The first K was placed backward and was missing from the "crab" salad sandwich. The smoked salmon sandwich looked to be the best bet.
I'm just not impressed with Princess- found Carnival more enjoyable, even with the hokey waiter singing and dancing during dinner.