Wonderful Crown Cruise
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Just before our cruise, the Crown had had two weeks of norovirus problems. They returned two days early and cleaned the entire ship. We were the next group to go out and were praying that everybody would be healthy this time and that it would not be necessary to come back early. There was no problem at all! Just a wonderful cruise.
Loved the Captain--he seemed to really care about his passengers. Heard he was quite funny but never met him. Just was quite impressed by his announcements and the way he kept everyone informed and clear about what was going on and what we should be doing. The food was good.
My only complaint has to do with the International Cafe. Everyone on the cruise was wonderful except for three people. Strangely, they were all from the same area--one from the Cafe part and the other two around the corner where the specialty coffee is served. I asked the food person (after getting a sandwich from them) whether they had any mustard. I More
received a very short "No!" I made the mistake of saying, "You don't have any condiments?" which was greeted by another abrupt and not very friendly "NO". So, I left there and walked around to the drink area and asked for a glass of iced tea. I was told that they do but I would have to pay for it and I was told that in a not very pleasant way by the two men behind that counter. Are you kidding me? So, I ended up with a free but very dry sandwich and had to hurry up to the Horizon Court (10 floors up) trying to make it there before it closed so that I could add a little mustard and get a glass of iced tea.
That is really, really ridiculous. I don't understand why a cruise line that gives its customers free pizza, ice cream, pastries etc. would ever charge them for a glass of tea or a non-specialty cup of coffee if it is available!!!!! The crazy part is that the tea and coffee becomes free the minute that the Horizon Court closes for the evening. Which means that a person who likes to grab a late night snack (like me) must wear a watch and keep track of what time it is and whether or not the Horizon is open. What a pain.
I have 2 suggestions for the International Cafe area:
1) Have condiments available, and
2) Provide free iced tea and regular coffee at the International Cafe (whether or not the Horizon is still open)
We are big game players--love trivia and other games. There were plenty of things to choose from. In fact several times, I had to actually choose between several fun activities (example: trivia or scattergories, etc.)! Everyone involved with the entertainment was wonderful!!!
This was a super cruise and it followed a very bad one the week before on the Grand. We were actually considering never taking another Princess cruise -- going back to Royal Caribbean BUT this one was so nice that we may give them another try. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
To get to the port required being tendered -- which took approximately 30 minutes from the ship to the port! We stayed within the touristy port area this time. Nice local items available in shops. Somewhat touristy but still some interesting items as well.
For our local food -- this time we took the suggestion of the policeman at the door and went across the street to a place called "The Deck". Another amazing meal. Open air, fans, not fancy but the food was incredible -- I got a special they had: stewed chicken, cole slaw, beans & rice and fried plaintain. Excellent local flavors!!! I wish I had ordered two dinners because I would have eaten them both. It was that good!!! The other diners (big group) at the next table apparently were spending the week in Belize and this was their 2nd or 3rd trip to this restaurant due to the great food.
We went downtown to the market area by taxi for our lunch. This was a place that I probably could have spent a week eating at. There appear to be a lot of little mom and pop restaurants in this little market area. We chose basically the first Mexican food one that we saw but if you are into local foods, you might want to walk around and see what all is there and maybe even have several things at different restaurants.
We chose Hermanas Mendoza and it was probably the best food of all of the wonderful food we had on our two weeks on the Grand and the Crown or any of the ports. We got bottled diet pop, then they brought out a fresh salsa and bowl of freshly made chips. We ordered some guacamole and it was soooo good. We did need a little more heat so added some more onion and hot salsa to it. But really good flavor. Then I had the skirt steak with onions (it might have been pork chops)-- I'm actually not sure but it had lots of seasoning (almost appeared red), a pile of onions on top, beans, rice, fresh tortillas in a container and my husband got Chickeny Chilaqueles (con Pollo).
Looking at the photo of the menu, I think mine was Chuletas Encebolladas, which was the pork chop with onions. The cost for everything was about $12!!! Wow--the amounts on the menu were scary (like $40 and $50.....but apparently you can drop the zero or something because that was the cost for an order of guac and two meals and two drinks. By the way--watch the jalapenos. They brought out a plate with some peppers and onions to use. The peppers ended up being habaneros NOT jalapenos. Very hot--my husband said he thought he was going to have a blister on his lip! :)
We ended up eating at Guy Harvey restaurant. Good food. They apparently have a wonderful Sunday buffet of local food--sadly it was not Sunday. I got the fish pie, very good and my husband got the quesadillas. We enjoyed it but still wish we had found a place to get something a little more local and less touristy or fancy.
We took a taxi downtown and almost decided to turn around and go back--UNTIL we saw a few other tourists. It is not a pretty area at all. But we stopped at two restaurants and the food was very, very good!! The first place was open front with picnic tables inside and a big red Coca-Cola on the wall. There was no diet pop but hey, that was no big deal. The restaurant was called Comedor Tropical. We got Baleadas and they were unbelievable. I really wish we had restaurants back home where we could get some of the flavors that only seem to be available in the Caribbean area!!!