We were traveling as group of four (couple with one grandparent and one 8 yr old child. We all had a wonderful time, and felt Crown Princess was a fabulous ship and could not have been happier with our cruise.
Firstly, since the outbreak of norovirus three weeks ago, there was a high level of awareness and alert. We did not get sick, and did not know see or hear anyone else get sick. The outbreak is over I believe, since by the end of the week they were relaxing many of the measures. For example, the ship was very clean, with staff constantly cleaning everything. At beginning of cruise, passengers were not allowed to touch anything in food areas. All food was served, even in buffet area. No salt and pepper on tables. All beverages served in new cups. hand sanitizer before entering every food areas. This seemed to cause some slight lines, 5 minutes, in some food areas. None of the cleaning measures were obtrusive or negatively affected our experience, but they were noticeable. By end of week we had salt and pepper on our tables and were able to refill our own coffee if we wanted. No reports of illness.
Embarkation line took nearly 2 hours. Recommend either come early or late, not in middle of loading period as we did, this is the longest line.
Service was excellent, in every area. All staff excpetionally friendly, accomoadating, courteous and responsive. We had a pet emergency call from home and Princess not only got the message through to us, but allowed us to use the phone to discuss with vet multiple times as no charge.
Cabin steward knew our names and anticpated our needs. Arranged daughters stuffed animals on beds with treats and surprises. Waiters quickly brought new steak when I wasn't satisfied with doneness. There was never hesitation by any staff to respond to any specific need we expressed.
Food was very good. Sit down dinner food the best, with several unique choices and each day different. Lobster, Beef Wellington, and delicious vegetarian choices. We decided to try anytime dinning, and next time will stick with traditional seating. Miss having one waiter and consistency. Do not go to dinner at 7pm, as everyone tries to go right then because of 8:30 show. Long line. Go before 6:30 or after 7:30 and there will be no line and better service. Had better wait service the earlier we went to sit down dinners. Buffet food was good, but a little repetitive by end of cruise. 24 hour pizza with freshly made dough and pizza oven. Gained 2 lbs.
We carried on own wine in luggage to save money. No problems. We took wine bottles with us to dinner, and waiters opened bottles and did not even charge a corking fee! Could get ice through room service.
Child services were good, but not exceptional. Free morning and afternoon sessions with some organized activities. Areas bright and clean and definately safe with check-in/out proceedures. Our 8 yr old was a little bored and activities were typical. Wii. I would like to have seen more clever games. Was more like babysitting then full program. Had a theme night of 'Las Vegas' with gambing like games which I thought was a bit inappropriate for 8 - 12 age group. Toddler pool was nice, several toddlers were playing fish video games.
Movies under the stars in the evenings very enjoyable.
75 yr old grandmother traveled with us. She had wonderful time. Plenty to do and comfortable for her. Several wheel chair accomodations if needed. She liked just going to the beaches and hanging out. Did take her a few days to be able to find room on her own.
Ports of call were well timed. Princess Cayes, sea day, Curacao, Aruba, 2 sea days at end. Tendering worked smoothly without long lines. Enjoyed having 2 sea days at end and found them to be great relaxation at end.
Instead of paying for day tours through ship, we just hired taxis to do same tours for us. This worked fabulously. Both curacao and aruba had full line of independent taxis (clean mini-vans) right when you get off ship ready to take us. For the 4 of us, this ended up being half the price we would have paid for ship tours, and we were able to do exactly what we wanted, with no lines/waiting. Taxis would pair you up with another small group to get 6 - 8 people in a vehicle to bring down cost if desired. Drivers were friendly, very informative and spoke english well.
Aruba best port stop, with free beaches (Curacao had to pay $3 as beaches were private). I am nature lover and loved the Butterfly farm at Aruba. Beautiful tropical garden, excellent interesting information, and butterflies so many beautiful colors, would land on you.
Spa has separate $20 daily fee to use 'heat rooms' (sauna, steam room, aromatherapy). Also $10 half day or $20 full day fea for using 'Sanctuary'. In Sanctuary assigned personal bed like lounge chair with lots of quiet space and shade as desired. Really worth the money if you want luxury private time to enhance your cruise at reasonable value, especially if you do not have own balcony.
On sea days decks could be a bit crowded and difficult to find lounge chairs. People would leave items on deck chairs to reserve them. Go early.
Boat very stable. I don't like turbulence, and with 8 foot ocean swell I could feel boat sway a little, but had absolutely no reluctance or discomfort.
Best show was Thursday night 'International show'. Very well done.
So many activities on board. Dance classes. Excellent Navigation course by captain, don't miss. Excellent cooking class and tour by chef.
Disemarcation we 'walked off' with our own bags and were shocked with how quickly we got through customs and to the airport. Fastest ever. If you can walk off with own bags you will save lots of disembark time and not need to wait and stay with your assigned disembarkation group.