Just back from our third (& ever) Princess Cruise. 1st was Mexican Rivera (just my wife and I) on the Sun. Then the family (us & 3 boys then 7,14, 16) eastern Caribbean in a family suite were surprised to be upgraded to!. This trip was for our 20th wedding anniversary.. kind of. Really all we wanted was a break after many years of not taking one with each other. While I can/could expand on all of the points I'll mention, I thought at this point (exhausted) I'd just hit all the key points.
Here we go: The ship - CREAKS LIKE CRAZY!. First night was kind of choppy, but even on smooth knights our room (and many others we met) groaned like the Titanic. Carpets on Dolphin deck need replacing. Room (a mini suite) was wonderful though we now realize ours (D715) was a starboard side where every port we came into was Port. GET a port side room!. Ask for bathrobes as soon as you get on board. Fruit juice and water are premium stuff. Grab fruit juice to go at breakfast (if you like it later in the day). Bring a water bottle to refill daily. The gym area SUCKS for water. Warm low pressure dribbling water fountain is all they offer. Regarding the gym (which we attended daily): Only two sit down bikes and a handful of ellipticals. Also doesn't open until 7am! COME ON PRINCESS!!! Let's open the gym by 6am so we hardy morning folks can get moving and how about some source of cold water!?. Movie's under the stars were fantastic. Blankets and padded chairs made for a nice cozy closing to a full day (for us at least). Casino staff were rigid and a bit stand off(ish). International Cafe was a nice touch, but I had to go get a copy of the receipt for the card I purchased because ??? I purchased it ???. Pain in the butt - why even issue the card without stapling the receipt if necessary?. Did the Captains Table - DO THIS!!! Most wonderful part of our on board cruise.
DO a cabana ($199) at Princess Cay's. Didn't the first time - thrilled we did it this time. Did Con Tiki beach in Curacao and it was ok (bring money- food costs). The dive (per Princess) in Aruba was fantastic and easy to get to. Best excursion of this trip (for us anyway). Walking distance from the ship is a cuban restaurant/bar that has great Mojitos and decent food - actually it was fantastic!. Curacao is a bit industrial and feels a bit scary (around the ship area).
The Crown dining room was pretty good food. Sabatinis was just ok this time. The Horizon buffet was the same as always (not sure what it compares to, but having asked other multi cruise line folks it's above average). Did the couples massage (my first) - nice but like so many other things they try to sell you more stuff. Bottom line - great time though the Crown needs a major dry dock. And while I realize it will never happen, I'd LOVE a break from all the sales pitches. Drinks (even beer) are expensive ($7.95 cocktails/ wine, $4.95 domestic beer, $7.65 Fosters can). Crew was wonderful (as always) and activity choices were plentiful. In all I had a good time - BUT... after speaking with folks departing the MASSIVE Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) I'm actually tempted to try them out (the dark side?). Anyway, that's the "nut shell" summary of our trip on Crown. Chow!