After sailing the Crown for our anniversary last year, I chose the Crown again for our second cruise with a similar itinerary (Western Caribbean) as it had changed somewhat and we had only visited two of the four ports the first time around.
Due to work schedules, we flew from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale the morning of embarkation. It was a non-stop flight and we utilized the Princess transfer. We were very fortunate in the timing of our flight and were able to board the transfer coach within 15 minutes of claiming our checked luggage. Due to the Grand and Crown both sailing that day, our Princess transfer was for both ships and the process was very smooth with visiting two different piers at Port Everglades.
We arrived at our pier at approximately 12:45 and were able to proceed directly to an agent to check in and obtain our cruise cards. We only had a wait of 5-10 minutes to get onboard (due to all of the Bon Voyage photos being taken).
We were able to proceed directly to our stateroom to deliver our carry on bags. The stateroom was clean and ready for us and our steward arrived within minutes of us and introduced himself. At that first meeting, he asked my husband about our preferences for the room (i.e., ice daily, extra pillows, etc.). He was very personable and was always available for anything we might want.
We chose Anytime Dining as it worked well for us the first sailing. I called ahead and made reservations for the first evening in the MDR. We were willing to share a table and were able to get a seating at exactly the time we requested. This ended up being the only meal we ate in the MDR as we chose the casual atmosphere of the buffet most evenings. Our meal in the MDR was very good and it was nice to meet fellow passengers. The buffet food was average buffet food and we felt the choices were not as plentiful as they were last year. We made reservations for the Crown Grill for the last night aboard and it was magnificent! Well worth every penny!!!
As far as activities on board (when not visiting a port), we mainly relaxed on our balcony, the decks for sunbathing and attempted MUTS (Movies Under The Stars). Unfortunately, we had rain several evenings and the movie options on the clear nights weren't movies we would care to watch. (Yes, we were VERY lazy on this trip!)
We elected to utilize the EZ check program again and found it to be worth the $20/person fee instead of lugging those checked bags along with us on disembarkation day. Because we bought very few souvenirs this year, customs was a breeze and the Princess transfer back to the airport was very smooth.