6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our first cruise, selected because we wanted to see Hawaii and Pearl Harbour. We had already been to LA and seen a bit but thought we could go to the Iowa and Queen Mary, which we did... Boarding was quite laborious and ... Read More
This was our first cruise, selected because we wanted to see Hawaii and Pearl Harbour. We had already been to LA and seen a bit but thought we could go to the Iowa and Queen Mary, which we did... Boarding was quite laborious and drawn out, but apparently the norm, and anyway I'd arranged for an expensive bottle of champagne to be delivered to our stateroom outside cabin...or so I thought? We accessed our cabin, which was nice enough and surprisingly spacious, but no sign of the champagne...and when we found the cabin steward, were advised that we should have a voucher (NO)...next visit to the main desk to be told we should have a voucher (NO)..it will be in your cabin...(NO)...after 3 days of being told this, we were informed that they had tried to deliver...Yes wrong cabin....eventually we got it, not the start we expected. The passenger list was aged, with the amount of motorised wheel chairs, buggies, and general support vehicle mind blowing, with ages of 80 upwards....the result of this was an endless stream of shufflers at almost every venue, and the inevitable queues that ensued. Except when it came to various functions on board, when the speed to be at the front of the queues was spectacular...anyway I digress...our luggage turned up long after we had set sail, after many requests, and the hanging space was fine when supplied with extra hangers.... The ship generally looked in good order, fairly clean and well appointed, but as we found out, did not have enough room in the various areas to accommodate the volume of people on board, with even the biggest area, the theatre having have two shows . This theme carried on in every area of the ship, even at the outside cinema, which insisted in showing a vast amount of Nfl American football games, fine for them but not for other passengers... We had anytime dining which worked well in the main, but we found that the dress code was not adhered too with shorts and tee shirts at the tables, even on formal nights, for which we had made an event...we got a glimpse of the captain who was mainly only available for elite passengers, the first class etc. The specialty dining, " extra cost " was generally good, apart from the Crown grill urgh...again with dress code issues, Sabatinis being the best overall. The other bugbear was the card procedures on pre paid "all inclusive ", which entailed handing over your card on every drinks request, even whilst eating a meal...the dress code here was very poor and some waiting staff as miserable as sin... The bars were hit and miss except one...Crooners...they were cheerful and prompt, keeping everyone entertained, but again not enough space, with one passenger deciding to sit in shorts and bare feet up on a chairs reading a book...quite revolting really. The food was generally good, but in the breakfast areas overcrowded with again more miserable staff with the minor exception, we were always polite but clearly not respected. Entertainment was hit and miss but too short, the manager was pleasant and whizzed around the too many small venues, we saw a couple of shows which were good but too short, and this was normal, activities are sparse.. Services are a little indifferent, with some good and others poor, with the main aspects driven by sales, sales, and more sales....no opportunity was missed in selling anything and everything to the point of annoyance. The ports and disembarking was chaotic, and manic, with one port served by lifeboats to the port, which was not pleasant, we had made external arrangements for Honolulu. The final disembarkation was the worst, and had many voices of dissent, which appeared to be normal for Princess cruises....we were happy to get back on shore, safe in the knowledge that this was our first and probably our last cruise..... Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, ... Read More
Getting on the ship - We flew into Seattle early Saturday and took Princess shuttle to port. Shuttle was easy to find, lots of Princess employees to take bags and give directions. Waited about 1 hour at port before we were able to board, so not too long. Ship Cabin - I was expecting a very small room but was happy as it was almost the size of hotel room (I had a balcony, maybe that helped.) There was enough storage to unpack everything. The shower was small but plenty big for one person to use. The bathroom was large enough for me to get ready in the bathroom while the wife showered and vice versa. Ship - The ship had a pool for families in back, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs for everyone's use mid-ship and (for a small fee) an adults only pool and hot tub up front. I had planned on using the hot tub, especially during the nights, but with children playing in the pool and tubs there wasn't a nice quiet time to use them other than before breakfast unless you paid for the adult only area. They had a bar and casino which we never used. Movies outside almost every night, recent releases like The Martian and Star Wars, so if you were willing to put up with the wind and cold it was good. Food - We mostly ate at the buffet due to our schedule. Large selection so you could always get something you wanted. Fruit was very good and fresh while the rest of the menu was ok, good but not great. We did pay extra, $29 each, to eat at the steakhouse for dinner, this was very good and well worth the extra as we had shipboard credits to use. Pizza was open for lunch until 9 or 10 at night and was good. They also had soft serve ice cream and a hamburger/hot dog grill but I didn't try those. I did pay for the all inclusive beverage package. On the days at sea it was good to have but for 4 of our 7 days we were in ports so it wound up being a loss of money for me as you need 6 or 7 drinks per day to break even. If I do this again I will stick to the soda package and pay for any alcohol I drink. Ship decks were plenty big so we could move side to side without being too crowded to view the glaciers or whales as we went back. Activities - Lots of entertainment, especially at night but being early we go to bed early and get up around 4 so I missed most of the music and bar scene. They did have a speaker give 4 sessions about the wildlife and native people of the area which was very informative and worth the hour per session. They had a photography class which was a refresher for me but could be useful depending on your knowledge of your camera. Staff - All the staff were great, courteous at all times despite my first time cruiser 'stupid' questions. The room was always kept clean and lots of staff at the buffet to take your dirty plates and get drinks for you. Excursions - We stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, pretty standard among all cruise it seems. At Juneau we took a helicopter to Mendenhall glacier and ran a dog sled. It was great and highly recommended with one caveat - $$$. At night we went whale watching and saw many whales in the inlet. Skagway was a railroad ride and visit to Liarsville. Salmon bake at Liarsville was a very good lunch with a little show and gold panning. Ketchikan was a wildlife viewing cruise, no bear sightings but eagles, deer and seals made it a good trip. Victoria was orca viewing in Juan de Fuca strait, couple of people thought it was rough but tour guides said we were lucky as it was calm. I guess if you aren't used to the water it could bother you. Summary - I enjoyed the ports and want to go to Denali sometime so I will probably cruise to Anchorage and visit these same ports to do that but I don't see myself cruising the caribbean or down to Mexico. Lots of people were in the bar watching tv or in the casino but I can do that at home so the non-port days weren't the best. I did have a good time and if I do cruise again it will be with Princess. As a first timer I don't have anything to compare to but everything was good and I would hate to switch to try to find something better and wind up being disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the ... Read More
This extended family of 8 cruise was my mother's wish to celebrate her 80th birthday. As first time cruisers, my husband and I were already wanting to do it again before we disembarked! We can't say enough about the Discovery/Animal Planet Whale Watching excursion with Gastineau Guiding. Amazing! The room steward, Edgar, was so pleasant and always around even though we are not high maintenance guests. The ship was clean and the crew polite. The dining menu was a little too fancy for our 10 year old. I would have rated this a 5 except for a couple things. There was one server in the Da Vinci Dining room that was trying to hurry us out. We had anytime dining and were not able to arrive until 9pm due to a unanticipated late 8:00 return from an excursion scheduled through Princess. We were also not pleased with the kids programming at Shock Waves. We registered my 10 year old upon booking. We received a schedule of events the 1st night. We signed her in 3 different times on different days for scheduled events. Upon signing her out, none of the 3 scheduled events actually occurred. The kids were just allowed "free play". We purchased a photo package on the ship that included a flash drive. Upon returning home, 6 of the 10 photo files were corrupted. BUT, we called Princess explained our situation, the photo department contacted us right away. We emailed them the required information and got a new flash drive in the mail 3 days later! Now that is customer service done right! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Embarkation at Seattle: Easy. Line always kept moving. Room was ready when we got there. Service: Exceptional. I’m not one who usually goes for being “pampered,” but I felt like a king (or a prince since this is Princess ... Read More
Embarkation at Seattle: Easy. Line always kept moving. Room was ready when we got there. Service: Exceptional. I’m not one who usually goes for being “pampered,” but I felt like a king (or a prince since this is Princess Cruises?). Our steward was helpful and always seemed to be around…but never hovered. Wait staff was amiable and professional. Top notch all around. Food: Ranged from average to excellent. Two great meals in the Crown Grill (loved the filet mignon!) and had good food in the MDR (hello salmon! And I’m still having dreams about you, Fettuccine Alfredo!). Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe was standard buffet food, pretty much what I expected (how ‘bout some berries in the morning, please?). And what’s with the nickel and dime charge for gelato at the International Cafe? It’s good, but not worth paying extra. We did Anytime Dining because we didn't want to stick to a rigid schedule. Well, we learned it really should be called "Anytime Dining but reservations highly encouraged!" So, we decided what time we wanted eat dinner in the morning and made a quick call to the Dine line for reservations. Facilities: Loved all the open areas, walking around the Promenade Deck, Skywalkers Lounge, Terrace pool area. The piazza is beautiful. Most of the time, the ship never felt crowded (and that’s good because I’m not a “crowds” person). Some issues finding seating in Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe at peak times (mainly from people taking up tables who weren't actually eating). Onboard Activities: Alaska is so port-intensive, we were sometimes too tired. But we did go to several performances (“Magic to Do” musical and 70’s music show) and liked them. Tried our hand at trivia…fun time. Attended the culinary demo and galley tour…fascinating. Watched the finale of “Voice of the Ocean”—some talented passengers on board! Ports: Juneau--ate at Tracy's King Crab Shack, did Harv & Marv's whale watching, and went to Mendenhall Glacier. Skagway--did Frontier Excursion's Yukon Discovery Tour. Glacier Bay scenic cruising--AMAZING! Ketchikan--Island Wings Misty Fjords flightseeing tour. Victoria BC--took the shuttle bus and walked around downtown. Found something to love in each of the ports! Disembarkation at Seattle: bit of zoo, but I guess that’s usual? We did Express Walk Off and would do it again. As first-time cruisers, we weren't sure what to expect. We loved it! Will definitely cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we really, really enjoyed it. The Crown Princess is definitely showing some age, but they keep everything clean and tidy. Embarkation was smooth and we got there early enough to be near the front of the line, even though our cruise was almost 3 hours late to set sail due to over 500 late arrivals! It ended up being a gorgeous sail away, the sun was setting across Vancouver as we left the port, those pictures are some of my favorites. The food left something to be desired in my opinion, the buffet food was almost inedible, we tried it twice and just didn't bother to go again, it tasted like cheap cafeteria food that's been sitting under heat lamps for hours. We ended up paying to eat at the steakhouse and Italian restaurant more often because the food quality was FAR superior to the buffet and dining rooms. We splurged for the gourmet coffee stamp card, we used almost all the stamps and looked forward to a delicious, fancy hot coffee to enjoy on the deck everyday. We didn't catch any on board entertainment because the BEST show was happening outside!! The views were jaw-dropping and I just couldn't tear myself away to see a cheesy cruise ship show... Maybe next time i'll try one? Movies under the stars was just too cold to endure at night, even with the blankets and hot cocoa. The ports were fantastic, we were like kids on Christmas morning every time we got to a new port, we couldn't wait to explore. We did the train ride in Skagway (WOW!!) and Zip-lining in Ketchikan.. so fun! We also did the tram ride up the mountain in Juneau and did a little hike when we got to the top. We would 100% do this cruise again (and we plan on it!) Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
My parents treated me to my 1st ever cruise...a 7 day Mexican Riveria cruise from L.A. We had a mini-suite (Dolphin Deck - deck 9, and mid-ship) so it was a great location for a cabin. I was so not sure of what to expect, I expected to ... Read More
My parents treated me to my 1st ever cruise...a 7 day Mexican Riveria cruise from L.A. We had a mini-suite (Dolphin Deck - deck 9, and mid-ship) so it was a great location for a cabin. I was so not sure of what to expect, I expected to feel the motion of the ship way more than I did. Anyway, the ship was really nice, the cabin was great, big enough for 3 people, but would have been better for just 2, but anyway, the ship was nice, the food was amazing and the crew was friendly, attentive, helpful and always eager to please. Here are the negatives, at least for me: first, we went on Presidents Day weekend, AND it was also Valentines Day, so as a single, it was all families and couples - so BOO to that, nothing for a single girl to do. Second, the first 2.5 days we were at sea, that was brutal, there was nothing fun to do in the way of things I like, like there was no pool table, bowling alley, karoke bar, not even a big slide for the pool. What there was however, was a art auction (snooze), movies under the starts (played almost ALL kids movies), bingo, line dancing, knitting group meet up, etc, all stuff for old people (and I am 47), but c'mon. The casino was the only saving grace, but they allowed people to SMOKE in there ! Ew - really ? The shows were not really interesting enough to even go see, except the comedian, but he was only on for like 40 minutes. Overall, the boat was nice, the crew was great, our cabin was pretty big, but if you are a single person, this is probably not the cruise line for you. I will most likely not cruise again, or maybe go with friends and not for 7 days. ***Side Note*** for those of you who do not know, cruise ship employees work about 91 hours a WEEK! I have a friend who is a Cruise Ship Director and that is what she has told me, so if you go - please try to remember that and treat them nicely. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2016
My first cruise, just wanted a short, relaxing getaway to see if I would enjoy it. Used EZAir and Princess Transfer, which were very smooth despite my flight getting cancelled and replaced by another. I was on the ship within 90 minutes ... Read More
My first cruise, just wanted a short, relaxing getaway to see if I would enjoy it. Used EZAir and Princess Transfer, which were very smooth despite my flight getting cancelled and replaced by another. I was on the ship within 90 minutes of landing at LAX. There were plenty of helpful staff at the airport and the cruise terminal and almost no lines anywhere. In general the ship was very nice, clean, did not feel crowded (except for maybe the Piazza), and easy to navigate. There were plenty of friendly and helpful crew around. The other passengers were to my liking: friendly and not too rowdy. Entertainment was okay: a comedian whom I found hilarious and a nice dance show, but the comedy/juggling act one night (called Team Rootberry) was shockingly bad. Food was good and plentiful. I am a vegetarian and ate well for the most part, though I think my head waiter could have been more helpful with dinner choices (I've written a separate review with pictures here http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=49150111). Pizza was good, but I don't know why it's been called "the best pizza at sea" unless pizza on other cruise lines is just bad. Room service was good, though I wish they had more vegetarian choices, and the room service breakfast, while simple, was prompt and nice to be able to eat on the balcony. I didn't participate in many excursions as I just wanted to relax on the boat. The tour to La Bufadora in Ensenada was nice. I also didn't attend many enrichment activities onboard, except one health seminar that was more an advertisement for a detox program offered by the spa. I had a nice massage, but probably not worth the cost just to have it on a boat. Disembarkation was good, although less smooth than embarkation. Again, I was at the airport within 90 minutes of my disembarkation time. Princess requests that passengers not arrive at their assigned meeting place for disembarkation early, so I arrived two minutes early only to find that my group had already left. For some reason crew is scant during disembarkation and I couldn't find anyone to ask where I should go. Not a big deal but a little frustrating. Overall, a relaxing cruise with good service for a reasonable price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The ship overall was very nice, some what dated but clean and very large. I did not even feel like I was on a ship. I took a lot of medication just in case because I can get car sick but did not need it one time. The service was awesome, ... Read More
The ship overall was very nice, some what dated but clean and very large. I did not even feel like I was on a ship. I took a lot of medication just in case because I can get car sick but did not need it one time. The service was awesome, loved all the staff. We chose anytime dining because we were not sure what time we wanted to eat every day. We were happy with this choice and came and went as we wanted. We joke that we ate our way through Alaska. Room service was great and we used it the day of Glacier Bay because we did not want to leave our room or balcony and miss a moment. I went to my first art auction and loved it everyone should for sure go once. We were so tired from the shore excursions that we would come back to the ship eat and go to the balcony and fall asleep , than move to the bed. I was also not to excited about being on a ship with so many people and loading and unloading but the process they have down and it is quite efficient and it did not bother me at all. I would for sure go on another Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We had a inside cabin in the Emerald deck. Room was very clean and well kept during our entire cruise. Rodney did a wonderful job. By the way, this was our first cruise. We did not know what to expect, but our vacation planner helped ... Read More
We had a inside cabin in the Emerald deck. Room was very clean and well kept during our entire cruise. Rodney did a wonderful job. By the way, this was our first cruise. We did not know what to expect, but our vacation planner helped us with every aspect of our planning. She was a great help. White the exception of one waitress in Sabatini's, the wait staff everywhere on the ship was superb. If you dined in the evening Micheal Angelo's was the place to dine. They have a different kitchen than the other two restaurants and the same food is cooked much better. We found that out the first night of our cruise. Every dinner cooked just right and the staff was wonderful. The excursions were well worth the cost. We did the Alpine Zipline and Mendenhall glacier. It was one price for both. The Vines wine bar staff was terrific and wine selection was well priced. The drink package is well worth the extra cost if you are a wine drinker as we are. Lotus spa has many services at reasonable cost. It took us less than 20 minutes from getting out of our van at the port to our room on the ship. They have this procedure down to a science. Everyone was very helpful. Disembarkation went the same. From the time we walked off the ship until we got into the cab was less then 15 minutes. Glacier Bay by itself was worth the whole trip. What a place to see. Awsome experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Wow! As first time cruisers we did not know if we would enjoy cruising (we love the freedom to roam), but wanted to see Alaska by ship. I must say this was one of the few vacations where the experience exceeded our expectations. ... Read More
Wow! As first time cruisers we did not know if we would enjoy cruising (we love the freedom to roam), but wanted to see Alaska by ship. I must say this was one of the few vacations where the experience exceeded our expectations. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful and the ports fun & interesting. Everything about our cruise was fantastic. We got a mini-suite with a balcony because we knew the scenery would be gorgeous and it did not disappoint. We were lucky too - the weather was awesome our week - we loved spending time on our balcony. We were on the Dolphin deck - D223 - our stateroom was spacious with a huge closet and plenty of storage - lots of room to stretch out with a long sofa and chair in the living area. Our bed was very comfortable, slept like babies. Our room steward, Ador, could read our minds! He anticipated our needs and was so polite and kept our room spotless; we tipped him generously. The food was outstanding, with the exception of Sabbatini's (it was just ok). My husband and I felt like we were on a date every night - going out to fancy restaurants and then onto shows. The comedian, Carlos Oscar, was by far the best, but we enjoyed everything. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. For $20 per person, we let Princess handle our luggage - we didn't see it again from outside our cabin until we arrived in Knoxville. That made traveling so easy. I highly recommend this cruise! We can't wait to do another one now. One tip: if you buy a drink package, we noticed the wait staff was a little slow to bring drinks, but if you just tip $1 or $2, they will give you great service. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We stayed in an accessible balcony cabin, and we very surprised and pleased by the spacious, comfortable, and fully accessible accommodations - nicer than many very good hotels. Cruising is very relaxing and stress-free; the ship was ... Read More
We stayed in an accessible balcony cabin, and we very surprised and pleased by the spacious, comfortable, and fully accessible accommodations - nicer than many very good hotels. Cruising is very relaxing and stress-free; the ship was beautiful, and had good food and many wonderful amenities. That said, we had a few access issues. (1) When initially boarding the ship, the last section of ramp onto the ship was very steep and scary, and their were no ship staff to help. (At all other times, there were several staff.) (2) As recommended in a disabled cruising website, we asked our steward for an extension cord for my husband's power wheelchair and CPAP machine, since the electrical outlets are on the far side of the room. The steward was surprised and not prepared; he said if he couldn't find one he would bring us his own! (He did bring one.) (Note: When we asked about using a power strip, the steward said we weren't supposed to, but no one would stop us if we did.) (3) Despite providing all the information online months ahead of time, and then having to provide it again when we boarded the ship, there was no life-equipped bus waiting for my husband's shore excursion; the tour operator had to call and get another bus. For shore excursions, my husband went to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and in Skagway we took the train to the summit; he enjoyed both tours. One complaint: the cigarette smoke from the casino floods out to the shore excursion and customer service desks, where passengers are standing around, often for some time. This is noxious and disgusting, and Princess should either keep the doors closed, filter the air better, or relocate the casino. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
So this was our first and last cruise. I found if you like to wake up, eat, walk about a boat, eat again, walk some more and then eat while looking for stuff to do then a cruise is ideal. We were bored most of the trip, we don't eat ... Read More
So this was our first and last cruise. I found if you like to wake up, eat, walk about a boat, eat again, walk some more and then eat while looking for stuff to do then a cruise is ideal. We were bored most of the trip, we don't eat like grazing cows, we don't gamble and we like to explore. Also we don't drink like we are just out of high school so having to pay $3.75 per bottle of water was crazy to me. The days we were at port, two were great. Mostly all day excursions which were far cheaper booked off the boat. However two days "or a few hours I should say" were nearly pointless. There is too much to see and do with only four hours off the boat. Our room was nice, we had a balcony room, and our stateroom steward was awesome! He took very good care of us, he had what seemed like unlimited knowledge of the boat and ports we were visiting. Most of the crew on the crown princess was this way. My biggest issues with the cruise came when the trip was over. I enrolled "or thought I did" in a service called EZ Check. This service is supposed to transport you and your luggage from the ship to the airport. As with everything on a cruise ship it was an additional fee. Due to the amount of people trying to get off the ship I figured it would be a good idea, I was charged a fee and figured everything was set up. Morning came, instructions were followed for leaving my luggage outside my stateroom for crew pick up and transport. We received our ride from the ship to the airport and were waiting for our flight when I got a phone call. The call was from the transport company saying my luggage was in their possession at the airport and she was asking where I was currently. I advised I was waiting at the gate to bored my flight and I explained I had enrolled in EZ Check, I was assured this was an oversight and my luggage would make in onto my plane. I think it is important to note that I had plenty of time to go pick up my luggage, take it to the airline check in, "which was pre paid" and get back to the gate prior to take off. However being confident in the service which I paid for I did not. Well the flight was on time, we landed and went to claim our luggage. It was not there, and of course this was on a holiday weekend so three days pass before I'm contacted by princess cruises. I'm told I did not enroll in EZ Check and only enrolled in transport of myself from the ship to the airport. I'm also told it would be an additional charge of just over $90.00 dollars to get my luggage sent to me via FedEx. So here I am five days after my cruise which was nearly $5500 dollars for the two of us, plus the additional money spent on board and I still don't have my luggage. A cruise may be great for some but for us, we will never go on another. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My family really enjoy this trip form the very beginning. I'd love to thanks every one who met us in Airport and transported to the Hotel and then to the Ship- it was welcome, pleasant, well organised and easy ( my granddaughter 2.5 ... Read More
My family really enjoy this trip form the very beginning. I'd love to thanks every one who met us in Airport and transported to the Hotel and then to the Ship- it was welcome, pleasant, well organised and easy ( my granddaughter 2.5 years old travel with us ). Balcony Cabin with Spectacular view , excellent service our Stuart, Magnificent Food, Incredible Entertainments , selection of any possible activities for any age groups- we never get enough and never get bored - it was Seven Heaven ! All Princes Crew hard working Team made this trip for us unbelievable!!! Thanks for your Royal Service - We feel like Crown Princesses!!! We definitely looking forward yo plan ours next trip . Podlegaev Family, Vancouver . All the best !!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We have cruised several times, although I think this is the first review we have written. This was however the first time we have ever cruised in a suite. (We were given a last minute upgrade purchase option that made it all worth it). The ... Read More
We have cruised several times, although I think this is the first review we have written. This was however the first time we have ever cruised in a suite. (We were given a last minute upgrade purchase option that made it all worth it). The other important thing to know is that our entire family are vegetarians. Embarkation went smoothly. Smoother than we have had in the past, but we have never been in a suite before, so we were nicely moved along to a separate room, where we were the 2nd group to board the ship. (B2B-ers went first). They had the normal ship coffee and pastries. The room was nosier than we expected, being right next the metal detectors, you could hear a lot of what was going on there. The cabin was really amazing. Again, being the first time in a suite, we were surprised at the overall size of the cabin, although it is still smaller then you think it should be based on the photos and floor plan. The floor plan was the same as the one they show online, but the balcony (being an aft cabin) was really large. There was more than enough room for the two lounge chairs and the table and chairs they had out there. The bed was comfortable, slightly better than we have had on previous Princess cruises. The extra pillows were also nice. The bathroom was very nice, having a full sized whirlpool bathtub and separate shower. The sink area had ample storage for our short cruise, but the closet was small, fine for our 4 day or even a 7 day, but you would need to rely on the free laundry that comes as a perk of the suite to do much over 7 days with that closet. We visited the Lotus Spa on the first day and had a look at the thermal suite (something you can use for free as a suite passenger) but never found the time to go back and actually use it while at sea. The staff was knowledgeable, but as usual it’s a pretty hard sell. We did not see any shows while on board, as we had our 18 month old who preferred to go to bed after dinner, but we did enjoy the various groups they have around the ship. The shows were heavy on comedy, not toddler friendly. The events that we viewed Pool, board and trivia games all looked very well organized and people were having a lot of fun. We did not go to either Sabatini’s or the Crown Grill, primarily because they don’t have a lot of offerings to vegetarians and it seems silly to get the same food they would prepare in the dining room for a $25 surcharge (Although for longer voyages, Suites do get the first night at a specialty restaurant comp’d). The few times we ate at the Horizon Court Buffet, there was a reasonable selection of food, most of the people knew what was in the food when asked (is there meat in this?). The food was hot and fairly fresh. As usual, the desserts found at the Buffet were dry, too sweet or overall just not high quality. They were quick to find a high chair each time we needed. We had traditional early dining at Botticelli’s (Deck 6 –Aft) and were pleasantly surprised each evening. The head waiter visited us and made sure there was something on the menu each night for us. The 50th anniversary dinner was very poorly planned for vegetarians, so the head chef made us a pasta primavera that evening and our daughter had a very fancy grilled cheese sandwich. It was excellent. We had tea in our suite several times. (Another suite perk) Because a lot of the sandwiches contain meat, and the rest of the desserts they serve are very like those from the buffet, we focus our tea time on the scones, cream and jam. They delivered large quantities of the scones, jam and cream- so much so that where we actually kept the jam for the next day. In addition, they delivered fresh canapés to our room and for vegetarians this meant chocolate dipped strawberries- in our room, every day. Amazing. Because we were in a suite, we were able to have breakfast each morning in Sabatini’s. This was a great experience, although one of the days all of the timings were off. I am not sure if someone was missing or what was going on, but almost everything took forever and food was not as fresh as the other mornings. The food was for the most part excellent, and they will go and get almost anything for you – but they don’t have some things on hand that I would have expected (like berries). The service was great, with one exception. We were inquiring about the “Private portrait sitting with onboard photographer” as we had our 18 month old we were interested in getting a family portrait. On the typical flyer, there is no mention of cost, but when looking at the list of services in the room, it noted a “nominal fee” would be charged. When we asked down in the photo gallery about what it was, and how much it cost, we were told that a portrait sitting was free. So we asked the front desk, and this caused massive confusion, with no less than 6 calls/messages and emails back to corporate to figure out what we were asking about (because somewhere along the line we were asking for something for free, and they were not sure how to do that) In the end they said they could not do it for free, (even though we are fairly sure it is free for everyone else) we just gave up. The room steward was great, cleaning up after us and my 18 month old and making sure we had DVDs in our room as requested through-out the cruise. Disembarkation is the one thing that Princess just can’t get right. We have been part of relatively smooth ones and disasters. It started with them sending us luggage tags that put is in “Pink 6”, which nicely had us off the ship fairly early in the morning. (Scheduled to meet at 8:45). There was a small note on the bottom of the instructions that basically said “We gave you luggage tags, but we expect you to deal with all of your own luggage” I confirmed with the services desk we were currently in the self-disembark group. This surprised us a little, as we have never asked for it, and last Princess Cruise we were on (4 months earlier) we were told we could NOT self-disembark because we had 3 pieces of luggage and only two adults. In the morning, around 8:30 we headed down to the Da Vinci Dining Room with our luggage. This was not exactly easy, having to use multiple sets of elevators (as we had our luggage) only to finally arrive on the 6th floor to be told, we could get off the ship already just go back up the stairs to the 7th floor and get off the ship. We finally got an elevator (about 10 seconds before deciding to make multiple trips up the stairs) made it back to the 7th floor to find complete chaos. There were no instructions or directions to how to get off the ship. We finally asked someone, and were taken down a back way to get off the ship (as we left, we heard him use the radio asking why no one was escorting people to the correct doors). Overall, we had a great cruise, and enjoyed the perks of a suite. We would definitely take them up on an offer to upgrade again, but not sure we could justify the full price cost, although we have decided that for our 25th anniversary we go to Hawaii 14-day in an aft suite. Pictures of the ship and our cabin can be found here: https://plus.google.com/photos/112661749207210693534/albums/6115849031021612785/6115849057770445170?pid=6115849057770445170&oid=112661749207210693534   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
It is our first cruise, and while we had a good time my husband and me, we must say that it was almost impossible to forget the two thousand + passengers onboard. Acitivities on the boat were full or crowded, dining was always an issue ... Read More
It is our first cruise, and while we had a good time my husband and me, we must say that it was almost impossible to forget the two thousand + passengers onboard. Acitivities on the boat were full or crowded, dining was always an issue between 6 & 8pm. We were told by an employee that it was difficult to manage so many people, and that we had to make reservations by 8am sharp. Hum...so much for the relaxing atmosphere. Overall, the service was very friendly when provided by kind, humble staff. Yet, the Eastern staff (Ukrainian, serbians...)was not as friendly, and definitively not humble. Food was very good, but stay away from any "so called" French food. The chefs are not up to the task, beside very good quiches and fresh fruit tarts. As for the meals, mistakes were corrected, apologies stated, yet two of our evenings were spoiled, and no reparation was done! The room was very small, yet we spent a lot of time in it, as we do not like crowded places. We strongly recommand the "Zipline in the Jungle" in Puerto Vallarta. Soooo much fun!!!!!! Although their picture packages are very expensive compare to other excursions along the trip. Overall, a good experience, but not as relaxing as expected.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't ... Read More
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't like to hear bad things about their beloved cruise lines. After the experience that I had, I feel compelled to come here and share my experience. About two weeks before we left, I came across an article titled "Month-Long Poop Cruise Finally Docks, Promptly Picks Up New Victims" (http://gawker.com/month-long-poop-cruise-finally-docks-promptly-picks-up-1659472459) This would be our ship, the Crown Princess. I kind of chuckled about that, knowing that I wouldn't normally go on such a cruise, but we had a decent sized group going and it was for Thanksgiving. We also had non-refundable airline tickets. We pressed on. I had, at first, considered writing a lengthy review, but then it would go unread. With that, I'm instead opting to share some general points about my experience: 1. The staff was miserable - They were burned out, overworked and bitter. The majority of them were rude and not helpful. After spending all of their rare free time over the past six weeks battling Norovirus, it's hard to blame them, but then I paid for a different experience. None of them were from the U.S. and many had trouble with English. I do not have a positive impression about any of the staff. 2. The food was terrible - I'm being completely honest when I say that the Walnut Creek, CA Kaiser Hospital serves food an order of magnitude better than anything on this ship. The Crown Grill was decent, but everything else was just crap. I get that a lot of people with limited dining experience enjoy the food, as will those trying to stuff as many cheap calories into their faces as possible, but it's not for me. 3. Drinks were bad - If you could get a drink, it wasn't good. Most of what we got was sugary and sweet. I ordered a Sidecar as a test and, sure enough, it was water. I asked the bartender about it and he named sweet and sour as one of the ingredients. I told him that sweet and sour has no place in a Sidecar and he argued with me. They clearly don't know how to tend bar. Wine lists were anemic, at best, and indicative of the class of patrons being served. 4. Elevators were awful - 5+ minute wait for elevators only to be met by a sardine can stuffed with people. Kids made it worse toward the end by calling every elevator on every floor and pushing every button in the elevator. This effectively shut down service. 5. No room service - It was impossible to reach room service at any point during our 7 day cruise. My children were in isolation and that was their primary source of sustenance. Not good. 6. Norovirus - My children contracted Norovirus and the ship's lack of response was disgusting. There was massive contamination and I couldn't get anyone to come help. This definitely had an affect on other passengers. Out of eight people in our group, five us us became infected despite bleach wiping absolutely everything several times per day and carrying hand sanitizer in our pockets. We probably went through a quart of hand sanitizer. No one is cleaner than our family. 7. No Sleep - Forget about sleep. Between the two fire alarms and the blabber mouth captain, there was little opportunity for uninterrupted sleep. Never again. Like I said, I know that a lot of you love to cruise and think that the experience is amazing. I disagree, and that's my opinion. Apart from the bitter crew, the food stood out as just being awful. I have never been served worse food and, having been in the military, that's saying a lot. In summary, you couldn't get me on another cruise for any amount of money.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation was 3 days in Vancouver before the cruise, 7 days on the ship, 5 days of Princess cruisetour on land, and then 3 days, mostly in Seward. The 3 days in Vancouver before embarkation was just about the right amount of time. We stayed at the Landis, a suite hotel, and there are many small restaurants within walking distance. We rented bikes to go around Stanley Park,and also went to the Aquarium, the Capilano suspension bridge and the Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. We went to Vancouver Island and Butchart Gardens on a previous trip, so skipped it this time. Cruise embarkation was as slow as other reviewers have reported, but we finally made it on. The weather was warm and sunny as we sailed from Vancouver, and after exploring the ship a little, we settled on our balcony with the wine we had brought on board and watched the city slip away. Our cabin was spic and span and, although small, there is adequate storage space for everything. Our steward came in at least twice a day to clean and replace any used towels. We were very satisfied with the food in general. We ate almost all breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court (buffet). On the first at-sea morning, we tried the Da Vinci dining room to order breakfast off the menu. That was a mistake, as the service was extremely slow, and the food was no better than in the Horizon Court. There is a large selection of food at all meals in the HC. The only problem is it can be difficult to find an open table, as people tend to sit at the window tables for a long time to just enjoy the passing scenery, but staff are helpful in getting you a table. We ate most dinners in the Michelangelo dining room, as we wanted any-time dining. The food was generally very good there, although sauces tend to be heavily salted. The service is slow there, and it was usually 9-9:30 by the time we were done, so not being night people, we did not go to any evening entertainment, except once for the 50's and 60's music night. We did not purchase any beverage cards as we are not soda drinkers and I couldn't see spending an additional $49/day for alcoholic beverages, so we just ordered them a la carte, and remained well below the $49/day . As first-time cruisers, we found the Princess Patter daily newsletter very helpful in notifying us of the day's events, port info, etc. The weather in Alaska in August was not as rainy as I had feared, but at sea it was quite cold, as were some of the days during the land portion (the second half of August is already Fall season in Alaska). Going out on the outside decks meant dressing in warm jacket, hat and gloves most of the time, but in the ports it was warmer. Many days were cloudy with occasional drizzle, but there were periods of sun, especially in Skagway, where it was warm and delightful. We did shore excursions at every port. In Ketchikan we did a Misty Fjords float plane sight seeing flight; well worth it; in Juneau the rain forest garden, Mendenhall glacier, Mt. Roberts Tram-- warm and sunny at the top so we hiked around a bit. We saw bald eagles, Dall sheep and a marmot. We had booked the Yukon train from Skagway, which it turned out was a bus ride up, and then train back (the train actually is slower than the bus, so you wouldn't want to take it both ways anyway). It was very scenic but Caribou Crossing (not to be confused with the nearby town of Carcross) is a tourist trap and the barbecue lunch there is mediocre, although it was fun to see the sled dogs. Glacier bay and College Fjord were stunning, for the last 2 at-sea days. On one of the at-sea days we attended a presentation by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod race. Her story was fascinating. We also attended a naturalist presentation, which was informative, but not as riveting. After disembarkation in Whittier we got right on the train up to Denali. We were lucky to get views of Mt. McKinley from the train as we approached--everyone tells you that only 30% of visitors get to see it as it's usually in clouds. The room in the Denali Princess lodge was a let down after our nice cabin on the Crown--dark and musty smelling but at least the window opened to air it out. We went to the Music of Denali dinner theater which is a very silly retelling of the first climbers to summit the mountain. Food is served family-style at long tables, and is plentiful and adequate. It did seem ironic, however, after all of the sanitary precautions on the ship buffet (hand sanitizer at entrances, staff wiping up spills quickly, clearing dishes quickly, etc.), that you would have perfect strangers serving themselves seconds onto their used plates as was done at the dinner theater-- always a no-no at buffets. We did the park bus shuttle tour into Denali the next day, instead of the included Natural History tour and got a refund from Princess for it. We took the shuttle all the way to the Eielson visitor center, which is farther than either the Tundra tour or NH tours go. We were very lucky that the mountain was "out" again that day and got some great pictures of the sun glowing on its white peaks. We were also lucky in seeing lots of wildlife--about a dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. The next day we took the bus down to the McKinley Princess lodge, which was, surprisingly, a 3 hour trip. No more views of the mountain, though, as it was foggy and drizzly. That afternoon we did the Byers Lake nature walk and the weather cleared up a bit. I was surprised that we didn't encounter any mosquitoes, since I'd heard they are really bad in Alaska--maybe too cold already? The following day in Talkeetna we did the Mahay jet boat adventure which was a blast as you go through rapids before the turn around point. Saw a black bear and more bald eagles. Back to Anchorage the next day; Captain Cook hotel was very nice--meals a bit pricey but there are also many restaurants within walking distance. After our cruisetour ended we rented a car and drove down to Seward on the Kenai peninsula to extend our Alaska vacation a few more days. We took the Kenai Fjords Tours National Park boat tour-- it was fantastic, in part due to great weather, and the park is gorgeous. We saw glaciers and lots of wildlife-- whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, puffins, cormorants and more. In Seward we also hiked to Exit Glacier--an easy hike, and did the Ididaride sled dog ride. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. We did the behind-the-scenes tour which was well worth the money as we got to go in the pens of the more docile animals. The weather our last 3 days in Alaska was mild and sunny (upper 60's), so a great ending to our trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is ... Read More
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is that everything is paid for. 6. Not expecting a medium to hard sell to buy extras (Think time share presentation!!) 7. Weather was horrible with two days at sea that were very rough. 8. Two out of the three of us ended up getting sick 4-5 days into the cruise. On July 4th 2014 three people embarked upon their first cruise. The cruise included a land tour immediately following the water portion. Three celebrations would occur on this cruise: A 30 year anniversary; A 75th Birthday; 32 year retirement. We arrived in Vancouver and stayed overnight at the Quality Hotel in Richmond. I would highly recommend this hotel as an alternative to the higher priced downtown hotels. Saturday morning we took a taxi to the docks. The taxi cost $35 and delivered us right to the cruise entry area. I would highly recommend this mode of transportation. Porters then took all of our luggage which eventually showed up in our rooms. More on this later. We entered into a line that moved right along through customs and security. We had arrived at this area around 11:00. We then entered an area with chairs and this is where the cruise line took over. Someone made the decision to start boarding early and off we went. We were immediately stopped to take the embarkation photos. Let me stop right here and say that unbeknownst to us this was the first of what we found to be very intrusive picture taking. We also did not know that these pictures would be displayed for all to see and of course would be available to purchase for $20 per page. Each "page" consisted of either one 8x10 or a collage of three photos. Every time we turned around it seemed the cruise line wanted to take another photo. We started to say no very quickly. I'm talking about every port you stop at, every time you sit down to dine, as you walk through the picture gallery, etc... After stepping on board there were plenty of Princess employees to help us find our cabins. My wife and I had a balcony room and right across from us my mom had her room. (See description of cabin.) We found that Princess placed employees that spoke and understood english at strategic locations. However many, many, employees seemed to neither understand or speak english. We found this to be a problem when we would ask someone for directions or a general question about the cruise. As a matter of fact the only people who knew anything about our specific cruise was the people at the 800 number. You really, really need to know your own personal itinerary!!! The employees on the ship know only about their own area or specialty. Don't get me wrong every single employee we met tried to help us. Our head waiter for our dining room visited our table every evening. Our room steward was fantastic. Our server was also fantastic. Everyone had a job to do and did it well. As I said earlier every time we turned around it seemed that Princess was trying to sell us something or there was an extra fee. From the pictures to the bingo to the markers for the bingo cards to the so called auction to the drink programs to the specialty dining to the exorbitant fees for the Lotus Spa and the hard pressure sale of their products to the cost for the Sanctuary to the tour of the kitchen and then have to squeeze by the table where they are selling cookbooks and then at the end of the tour going into a room where they are selling leftover items from previous cruises. It all got to be to much and frankly turned us off on future cruises. Now let's talk about the tipping. Princess charges $11.50 per day per person for tips. Other then your tour director if you take a land tour there are no other tips you HAVE to give. Tips are also automatically added onto any bar tab. When you break it down this is really not to bad. However it does make you stop and think how much are the people who are personally serving you getting?!? As soon as possible after boarding I would highly recommend going to the main desk and opting out of this tipping charge. Then give your room steward a good tip right from the start as well as your server and assistant server. In other words tip those people who actually serve you. With regards to #4 above. Anytime you stick 3000+ people in an enclosed area there will be problems. If you try to go to a show or any event for that matter GET THERE EARLY!!!! I don't care how big the ship is, if you do not like a lot of people around you don't go on a cruise. Also it is impossible to sanitize a ship this big when you only have 4 hours to do so. By the time we disembarked I would unscientifically estimate that half the ship had some sort of cold or ailment. My mom ended up almost having to go to the hospital and did go to the ER after getting home. She was diagnosed with bronchitis. I am still getting over whatever I had. Cold like symptoms. If you can I would recommend taking antibiotics right when the cruise starts. Now the food and dining. Immediately after boarding the ship the buffet's were open for lunch. It was fantastic. As a matter of fact we found the buffet's to be better then the traditional dining. They seemed to have almost the exact same choices as we were given. We did a traditional seating for dinner at 6PM. First of all breakfast. You go to the buffets for breakfast. I kid you not. They have everything you could possibly think of for breakfast. Lunches are a different matter. When we were at port we wanted to dine at a local restaurant which we did. We even had dinner at Skagway. there was always a buffet open on the ship. The first dinner was a bit hectic for everyone passengers and servers. It settled down after that. The way the traditional dinners work is that you are given a menu. This menu will have 6 or 7 appetizer choices, a couple of soup choices, a couple of salad choices and 7 or 8 entree choices. Every night there are special choices in each category. You really can order whatever you want off of this menu. You want one of each appetizer...go for it. Let me make one thing clear. Except for lobster night there are no "high priced" choices. All of the prime steaks are at the Crown Grill. All of the specialty seafood is at the Crown Grill or Sabatini's. The food was good but I still think the buffet is the better value. SIGN UP FOR TRADITIONAL DINING but other then the formal nights and/or lobster night go to the buffet. And you can go to any of the dining rooms and view that nights choices and make your decision then. One more thing...If you do decide not to attend your traditional dining seating please let the dining room know. In addition to these there was also an ice cream bar, a poolside grill (great hamburgers), a pizza area, and the international cafe. All of these areas had free food. There was a charge for milkshakes. Specialty dining......We did two specialty dining options that I would like to mention. As part of a promotion we received a voucher to attend one specialty restaurant. We choose Crown Grill. Hands down probably one of the best porterhouse steaks I have ever had. If we ever go on another Princess cruise I would definitely pay an extra $25 and do this again. Another "specialty dining" we did was an in room champagne breakfast. You can pick the time you want this served. We choose the day and about the time we were going to get to the glaciers. It was fantastic. More food then we could ever have eaten. And high quality food. I would highly recommend this option. Drink programs. We did not purchase a program. Frankly I don't see how this is a good value. You have a fridge in your room. No you cannot bring alcohol onto the ship. But unless you are an alcoholic there is no way one person is going to drink $56 worth of booze in one day. You can bring pop and water onto the ship. So at the first port buy some! Or just get your pop fix at the port itself. The cost for a bottle or can of pop on-board is not that bad either. I don't see how the cruise lines are making money off of this unless people are just clueless or filthy rich. NOTE...I did purchase the coffee card. This is the only beverage option that you can share if you like and if you don't use all of the punches you can take it on the next cruise or give it to someone else. Excursions.....The one Princess excursion we went on was very well organized and the tour guides were well spoken and informed. The decision to book tours ahead of time is a personal one. KEEP IN MIND that you have until 6PM I believe to cancel any tours for Monday morning (our cruise started on Saturday). After that any pre-booked tours have to be canceled at least 48 hours prior or you will forfeit your money. No negotiating. When we got sick, which we had no control over, we tried to appeal to many people to no avail. We ended up paying for an excursion we were to ill to go on. Based on the lines I saw many people wait to book their tours on-board. i will say this...We were offered the same tour that we had to cancel later that same day with an extra thrown in. We also heard of tours that were canceled due to lack of enough people signing up. So good luck with the excursions. On Board Activities...On board activities were plentiful. Of course the obligatory casino. We attended dance classes, bingo, cooking demonstration and kitchen tour, comedian, art auction, band performances, stopped to watch some movie under the stars, and went to the Sanctuary pool and hot tub (Free). The minerature golf course and basketball courts were in sad shape. The fitness center looked pretty nice. My wife and mom got some things done at the Lotus Spa on the very first day. They ran some specials. Princess Patter....The Princess Patter is a "newspaper" that shows up in your mailbox which is just outside of your cabin, later in the evening. This paper will list all the events upcoming for the next day. Weird things to take with you.....take a highlighter with you to highlight those things in the Princess Patter you are interested in...take some regular tape with you to tape those things you will need for the next day on the obligatory big picture in your room or the mirror...maybe take some packing tape with you to send stuff in priority mail boxes back home...get a pair of comfortable water proof shoes to take the place of maybe two pairs...extension cord...don't forget chargers...binoculars...camera(s)...For women-Take at least 1 dressy sweater and a pashmina/extra large scarf for your shoulders. Some of the areas of the ship are rather chilly. Do Not Take....A LOT OF CLOTHES....Believe it or not at the very first port there were nice jackets for sale at numerous shops for only $20...t-shirts $10...sweaters and hoodies $15...hats 3 for $10....These prices were consistent at every port we stopped in...Both men and womens items. And you need souveniers! Men...Take one pair of dress shoes...one or two pair of dress pants..and 3 or 4 shirts to match them. Any more then that would be overkill. I wore shorts on the ship and jeans on land. The weather was chilly on our cruise. Debarkation...I don't care what the Patter says...Get to your debarkation point at least 10 minutes early. This like everything else was well organized. That's about it. We did take a land tour in conjunction with the cruise through Princess. Two days at Princess Denali and two days at Princess McKinley. By the way Mt McKinley and Mt. Denali are the same mountain! We had a fantastic tour guide and except for being sick had a great time. I would highly recommend this add on. HOWEVER...The train ride was horrible. 10 1/2 hours on a slow moving train looking at the same scenery over and over. Even though it is included in the price I would skip the train and find alternate transportation to the lodge. After further consideration if it hadn't been for getting sick we would have had a very good time. There are many things that I wish I would have known beforehand and I have tried to convey these in this review.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This was our first 'proper' cruise, having only ever been on a much smaller ship on the Red Sea. We were not disappointed. The Crown Princess was massive and it took a while to get our bearings and find our way round. CABIN: ... Read More
This was our first 'proper' cruise, having only ever been on a much smaller ship on the Red Sea. We were not disappointed. The Crown Princess was massive and it took a while to get our bearings and find our way round. CABIN: Our inside cabin was small but perfectly adequate with lots of storage/hanging rails and it was kept immaculate by the room steward and the bed was turned down each night with chocolates on the pillow. Each cabin was equipped with a safe, TV, fridge and hairdryer. FOOD: There was so much choice. Dinner was easy as we had opted for the second sitting at 8.15 in the Bottecelli restaurant each night. This was waiter/ess service and we always had the same table and waiter & waitress who were totally professional and a credit to the company. Nothing was too much trouble for them. You could have 3, 4 or even 5 courses if you wanted from the menu which changed daily (there were some regular items on the menu every day). The food was delicious and we could not fault it at all. You could have dinner in the self service restaurants if you wanted or pay extra to eat in 2 speciality restaurants onboard although we didn't see the point in paying extra so didn't try them. Breakfast & Lunch could be taken in the restaurant or in the 2 self service restaurants and there was always plenty of choice, in fact it was always difficult to decide what to have. Burgers, Hot Dogs & Pizza were also available 24/7. Did I mention the Patisserie where you could indulge in the fancy cakes & pastries and have a coffee or hot chocolate (this was the only place where you had to pay for hot drinks). We did hear complaints about the food but we found nothing to complain about at all and I'm a 'fussy eater' ! ENTERTAINMENT: There was so much to do. A newsletter (Princess Patter) was delivered each night to the cabin and contained all the activities for the following day. If you didn't want to sunbathe, swim or read, there was an open air cinema (latest releases), Mini golf, A gym that would put many onshore to shame, Theatre, Casino, Library, and Spa. There always seemed to be some form of entertainment taking place, whether it was a piano player, band, singers or comedian. Then there was the regular quizzes or lectures in the theatre. There was no time to be bored. EXCURSIONS: I cannot comment on the organised excursions as we made our own arrangements whenever we docked but the ship provided plenty of information about the places to visit etc (delivered to the cabins). The company were very good at providing all sorts of information to its passengers throughout the cruise including reminders to put clocks back or forward. DISEMBARKATION: This was very well organised, after all you cannot have 3000 odd people trying to get off the ship at the same time. The waiting areas were supplied with tea & coffee facilities and it was a very smooth operation from our point of view. GENERAL: We did hear complaints, one man complained that he was being treated like cattle but all we were doing was waiting for the dining room to be ready for us to eat (the first sitting hadn't quite finished) and there were moans about the lifts not responding straight away so having to wait. But this was down to the volume of people trying to move around the ship. Some people will moan about anything. We didn't have any complaints at all - oh just one - my pillow was too soft !!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
The first thing to point out to anyone reading this is that this was our first cruise together so we do not have the advantage of some reviewers of being able to compare and contrast this cruise against other ships and or operators. ... Read More
The first thing to point out to anyone reading this is that this was our first cruise together so we do not have the advantage of some reviewers of being able to compare and contrast this cruise against other ships and or operators. However, from talking to other cruisers on our ship we tended to find that experience does not always bring happiness, and this seems to be reflected in some of the reviews I have read. We were repeatedly afflicted (particularly at the dinner table) with a certain species of cruiser who I would call the 'cruise moaner'. They have been on 10/20/30 cruises and nothing is as good on this ship as it is on P&O/Royal Carribean/Cunard etc etc. So if they are so experienced why have they chosen such a 'substandard' ship/line, and how did we end up sitting opposite them? OK I've got that off my chest, now for our impressions of this cruise. Some have criticised the time it took to embark. What they failed to point out was that this was due to HM Customs deciding to carry out a full ship inspection before anyone was allowed on board. Others have said it but it bears repeating - the staff were excellent. Nothing was too much trouble. Efficient friendly service - plates cleared away as soon as knife and fork put down, cabin towels changed twice a day, public areas always clean and tidy. Almost without exception we received a 'good morning' and 'how are you' from every crew member we met, even the technicians and backroom staff. I would contrast this against the often rude and surly attitude of some of our fellow passengers (almost all of whom were British). I did not experience any of the issues with the fabric of the ship or the food described by another reviewer. The ship was very clean and well maintained. Even the carpets in the lift were being replaced while we were cruising and they didn’t seem particularly worn. The sheets and towels were always pristine and crisp. I can see that for some passengers with limited mobility waiting for a lift would be a problem. At peak periods such as meal times and when going onshore there were waits although we didn’t see many signs of broken lifts and those that were seemed to be quickly fixed. The food was of an excellent standard and well presented. We tended to eat in either Da Vinci or Michelangelo dining rooms and never had to queue for more than 5 minutes. Of course if like a lot of passengers you were desperate to eat between 5.30 and 6pm you could expect to wait longer, but by 8pm it had calmed down and made for a more relaxed dining environment. Yes the service was a bit slow at times, but so what, half the fun was in meeting and talking with new people, and there were 3 shows a night so I don’t get the reviewer who talked about leaving the table early to catch the show (unless of course you wanted to be in bed with a mug of cocoa by 10 o’clock). We only used room service once. The choice seemed a bit limited and the hot water for the tea wasn’t hot enough. Always worked better to scoot along to the International Café and get a take out in the morning (free with the good value coffee card). Some of the entertainment was a bit underwhelming particularly the stage shows by the Princes Cruise Dancers. I don’t doubt the hard work and dedication but it was all a bit ‘passe’. There were some excellent game shows and Lisa and her team were tireless in injecting some fun into the evening routine. Some of the acts were better when they did a set in the smaller venues and Roger Wright was a particular hit although his show was sometimes quite difficult to get in to such was its popularity. I would agree with others that the shore excursions were expensive. We only went on two - to the Lipeca Stud Farm in Slovenia and to Seville. The first one was interesting and the tour guide on the coach was really informative about the area. As well as the farm there was a short stop on the way back to a medieval church with amazing wall paintings depicting the ‘dance of death’. We chose this tour because it wasn’t easy to do it yourself and we are unlikely to go back there, but at approximately £80 each it wasn’t cheap. Seville just involved a coach trip and then we went our own way. As Seville is a 90 minute drive from the port of Cadiz it would be difficult to get there under your own steam. We did Venice on our own and spent 1 Euro each on the monorail from the cruise port walking the rest of the way to St Marks Square before buying a ‘go anywhere’ Vaporetto ticket which we used to ride round the lagoon and went to Murano Island (where glassware is produced). Of course having saved money getting around my wife made up for it in the handbag shop the mask shop and the glass shop! One little moan which others have mentioned is the sometimes irritating attempt to sell things such as special coffees spa treatments and photos (especially photos taken with over enthusiastic members of the crew dressed in embarrassingly bad ‘local’ costume) as you disembark the ship. The photos are worst because short of pushing them in the dock, it is hard to get past them without being grabbed and pushed in front of a camera. On the plus side, when we chose to buy something, a watch, it was good value and we have since seen the same model locally for more than twice the price. In the general scheme of things these are minor irritations. You don’t have to buy anything (even the photos). We loved our cruise, we loved the places we got to visit, and we enjoyed the company of some interesting people. The ship and its crew were fantastic and we had a really relaxing time. It was an eventful trip we took a detour to help Syrian refugees and missed Corfu as a result (their need was greater than ours), we went to Cadiz twice the second time to drop off a sick passenger, and we watched as a very drunk passenger tried to throw himself into the dock at Gibralter and was rugby tackled by members of the crew. We will definitely cruise again and would recommend this ship, this itinerary, and this cruise line to others.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My first view of the Crown Princess was awesome and totally took my breath away! Embarkation went smoothly especially as I use a wheelchair and I was very impressed with the car parking arrangements and the care the attendants took to take ... Read More
My first view of the Crown Princess was awesome and totally took my breath away! Embarkation went smoothly especially as I use a wheelchair and I was very impressed with the car parking arrangements and the care the attendants took to take down the mileage and photograph the car all round to stop any disputes when getting back to it later. My balcony cabin was very spacious and well adapted for a disabled person. Food was excellent and far too much of it! If you were not careful you could go home having put on several pounds...and the room service was always quick and the food, if it was meant to be hot, it arrived hot.The speciality restaurants were wonderful but the cover price a bit steep at $25 per person. There was plenty to do on board on sea days and my friends and I especially loved the port lectures done in the main theatre. All praise given to the lecturer. Entertainment? It's always difficult to find entertainers that will suit everyone's taste but it was always of a great, professional standard and was always well attended so you had to get to the venue to get your seat well before start time. The ship was always clean and tidy and the staff always friendly and polite. I cannot review the shore excursions as we organised private tours that would cope with a wheelchair, but they always looked very interesting, taking in all the main sites and interests of the nearby area that could be fitted in with the time constraints, always bearing in mind the time you had to get back on board without security looking at his watch and tutting at you! The only negative point I want to add is that the ship did not accept debit cards and this is all I possess. I do not own a credit card and it was very fortunate that my friend did so all my expensives went on her credit card for me to pay for on return later. I was REALLY upset about this as I have seen nothing in the literature to warn me of this eventuality. Forgive me if I am wrong. However, it was a wonderful experience especially as it was my first cruise. I have been to places I would not have otherwise been able to visit and been waited on hand and foot...thanks to my wonderful stateroom steward who did a grand job every day. What more can I say ? Thank you Princess Cruises!   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
This was my very first time on a cruise and I booked the Western Med knowing something about the countries but my main aim was to see if I liked the idea of cruising. I did, loved it but this was my first and now acts as a benchmark for ... Read More
This was my very first time on a cruise and I booked the Western Med knowing something about the countries but my main aim was to see if I liked the idea of cruising. I did, loved it but this was my first and now acts as a benchmark for what I look for in the future. First of all the very positives. Princess Cruises for me are first class for cleanliness, food, staff attitude entertainment, drinks and for the whole experience. Yes they are trying to empty your wallet with sales etc but that is up to you. I took advantage of the jewellery and duty frees, but my partner helped me to keep within my limits ...ha ha.. There was plenty to do if you wished, plenty of relaxing if you didn t.I loved that, I like dressing up and "going out" it was the perfect holiday. Formal night, ... I think its really the men who have issues here with the Tuxedo etc, but hey they looked great!! and if you don t want then there were plenty who did n t bother. It seemed to confine itself to the restaurants,shows and bars and the Atrium ( a fab area for people watching and decent coffee).There were many who were just dressed "smartly" and went to the buffett . So I needn t of stressed over that. The ports of call ..well... I was a bit disappointed there, but its where I chose to go. Its a big ship so it has to go where it can. Barcelona, ... nice enough city, Monaco, did n t fancy the choppy sea on a lifeboat in the rain...Livorno. ok ...Civviatchio or Rome, Florence... and Naples ..Yuk!! If I hadn t of been to Italy these ports would of put me off going.. However, there are opportunities to go on tours, which we did a couple of times. Loved Corsica and Gibralter. But like I said it was the cruising experience that was paramount for me this time. Its great stopping at all these different places, just will be more choosy over my stops next time. Now the downside. I wanted to go from Southampton so I could be there without flying and not have to weigh in my suitcases. Although some people moaned at the queues.. Get a life, !!! It were n't that bad,there were a lot of people to embark onto the ship. I shall probably be shouted down for my next winge...but ... some times I felt I was in a care home. For some reason there were more people in wheelchairs, with walking sticks and zimmer frames, that people that were able to get about on their own two legs. Why this was I can only put down to the fact there seemed to be super disabled facilities onboard and it was going from Southampton.Their needs are not mine, and more than me and my partner remarked on this. Just leave it that their holiday has different requirements to mine and I did get a bit fed up of being pushed aside by the big wheeled chairs, being squashed in lifts, tripped up by walking sticks and walking snail pace everywhere and having to give way to some people who just expected it. Although it did n t really bother me that much, not having a window in our stateroom left us sometimes wondering what time of day it was. Also, it could of been an escape from the wheelchairs and zimmers, or just a place to chill if we had of had a balcony. But again, this was my first time. The final consideration for next time is the Bay of Biscay. The journey back was horrible, and it was almost 3 days of rocking and rolling and feeling queazy. So there you have it.. Next time I know what to look for, and yes I will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did not meet my expectations in some areas (based on pre-cruise marketing materials and information directly from Princess, and the on-board experience) and exceeded my expectations in other areas. Embarkation: Exciting process for my first cruise and walking onto the ship for the first time was wonderful. Princess greets you with a smile! When first arriving, read the signs carefully, especially the very small ones that are hung in difficult to find locations. If you do not, you will most likely end up lugging your luggage to your own stateroom or lugging it back down the stairs to find the drop off. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the staff, but be prepared for the staff member to not know the answer. Staff have been assigned specific duties and may not know all the duties, so may not be able to answer your question. (Please ask nicely - they are there to help you and make your journey special - I noticed so many passengers treat the staff negatively - their work is important and passengers are not superior to staff.) Embarkation was efficient and Princess knows how to move passengers quickly. Room: Choosing a mini-suite was a financial challenge, but I am very thankful that I did. In this area, the room exceeded expectations. The bed was comfortable, lots of counter space and storage areas, two televisions, spacious closet space, large bath, desk, couch, chair, table, perfect space for 7 nights. Maybe a smaller room would have been just as nice, so I hope I haven't spoiled myself for future cruises. If money is not an issue, choosing a mini-suite is the way to go. It is perfect for two people and it was nice to return to at the end of the day. Having a large bathtub/shower may have been worth the extra dollars. Not sure if the smaller rooms have a refrigerator in the room, but this was a nice amenity. On the other hand, I spoke with another passenger that cruises often and always books the cheapest room because she does not spend much time in the room and still receives all of the same activities/dining as mini-suite passengers. A shout out to our Cabin Steward - he was attentive, always had a greeting and smile, and promptly provided when asked. The balcony - a wonderful amenity and used often. The blue mat was prickly, so wear your shoes/slippers on the balcony, but thankful for the relaxing experiences / views from our balcony. Dining: This was the most disappointing aspect of my cruise on Crown Princess. The literature, the marketing materials, and reviews all led me to believe that the food and experience would be something special, even 5 star quality. That was certainly not the case. The food lacked in overall quality, taste and presentation. One night I ordered a Pear-Stilton Salad and what I received was, picture this, a white salad plate with small pieces of chopped canned pear and small scraps of Stilton strewn about the plate with a few pecans for color. It was at the most maybe 1 piece of canned pear and 1/2 ounce of Stilton. It was a joke - literally laugh out loud plating - that I took a photo and may post. If you like cheese though you will always have the opportunity to eat a square of Cheddar or Edam as it was served at every buffet meal. I saw asparagus once on the entire cruise and then I only received 3 small stalks (which were overcooked). Never saw a bit of crab, but did have lobster one night - just a small tail, but at least it was served. As for the steak don't expect it to be a good cut or cooked properly. The staff of the Horizon Court Buffet were always helpful, but the Horizon Court Buffet is not open 24 hours, so if you think you will have a buffet open to you around the clock this is not true. However, you can get cookies, pre-mixed meat or seafood salads (chicken, tuna or other) or paninis (don't bother) 24 hours in the "International Cafe." One night the Horizon Court Buffet was closed, so all passengers were directed to the Cafe Caribe. We were not to happy having to wait in a long buffet line. No explanation was provided - this may have helped - many passengers were "disgruntled." Our party chose the "Anytime Dining" option and we appreciated the opportunity to eat when we wanted. We enjoyed the "Bier-fest" themed night - the food for this special evening was delicious. Lotus Spa: If you are a spa person - lower your expectations. The spa is co-ed, lacks solitude / quiet, and is truly an "up-sell" experience. If you order a 50 minute facial, expect 20 minutes of discussion (skin type, product sales) and only 30 minutes of mediocre facial work. I cancelled my massage because the facial was so disappointing. I also did the Go Smile teeth whitening process and purchased the up sell. I would suggest skipping this experience and save the $400 for something that is more meaningful. If you can get the spa to give you a DIY (Do it Yourself) body scrub, the Orange Vanilla was spectacular. I took it back to my room and enjoyed a hot shower and the scrub. Get two if they will give it to you. If you are a sensitive, large woman/man, be prepared to hear spa staff openly talk about how "soft" most passengers are. It was certainly something I did not expect to hear, or appreciate, and was quite offended. TIP: The spa robe was nice, so I would suggest getting a robe from the Spa to use in your cabin (just remember to return the robe to the spa on your last day.) Excursions: We enjoyed all of the excursions. The literature was different from the experience, but that was ok - we were on an excursion, in a foreign county, experiencing something different and so went with the flow and enjoyed it all. Our tour guides were all fantastic. Our next trip to Cozumel we plan to not do any excursions, but simply enjoy walking around, shopping and eating local cuisine. The excursions were a bit overpriced for what you receive, but it was an easy way to see the countries and not have to research on our own. Activities: Bingo: four games, expensive, crowded and predictable. If you have the "free bingo card" coupon - expect to purchase the most expensive pack to get your one free card. Daubers for $1.50 make a great souvenir - as they have a picture of the Crown Princess on it. Casino: Fun entertainment - don't expect to win anything and you will enjoy the entertainment; electronic poker table was interesting; loved the Caribbean stud and open face blackjack. All of the dealers were professional and friendly. Games: Always something to do - trivia, tv game shows like games etc. Fun - cruise staff very bubbly and make the experience enjoyable. Don't forget to check out the small putt putt course. Movies Under the Stars: I was looking forward to this activity the most and found myself highly disappointed - I guess I set my expectations way to high on this. The pre-cruise email from princess stating the movies that would be shown during our cruise was incorrect - we never saw any of the movies promised, but they did show "Breakfast at Tiffany's." If you like soda, popcorn and candy while you watch a movie, bring your own soda and candy (you can purchase candy in the giftshop) or get some cookies from the international cafe. A small bag of popcorn will be provided if you ask. The screen is big and the lounge chairs comfortable. We had no problems hearing the movie either. Get there early if you want to sit next to your loved one. Try not to sit behind/near the hot tub or you will get sprays of water often. Unfortunately for us during one evening movie, the ship staff decided to do something with the sewage, so we were subjected to some pretty awful odors. Not sure what that was about and hope if doesn't happen to you. Entertainment: Spectacular! Don't miss the crew show - lots of fun! The Princess Theater was spacious. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a seat or 25 minutes early if you like a certain spot to sit. Suggestion: Move to the middle of a row so that others can fill in and not have empty seats. Don't leave a single seat between you and the party beside you - sit in the chair next to your fellow passenger - it is polite and leave more seating room for those that arrive one minute before show time. Enjoy this part of the cruise - we did and Princess does this right. Disembarkation: Easy process. We packed the night before and were ready to go in the morning. We chose the Easy Walk-Off process and it was easy. We left the ship and 7:30am and were in our car on and the road by 9:00. Again, Princess has highly structured/efficient people moving process that works. Follow the instructions and your experience will be smooth. TIP: Get a copy of your account statement the night before. The line can get long, so if you see a short line at customer service desk - jump in the line. I feel very blessed for this opportunity and I thankful for the vacation. I am now a cruiser and will cruise again. Will I choose Princess again - maybe. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
On our sailing there was about a 9 hour delay due to fog (not Princess's fault - the US Coast Guard would not allow the ship into port, a problem they stated they had never experienced before), then a long line at the port with 3,000 ... Read More
On our sailing there was about a 9 hour delay due to fog (not Princess's fault - the US Coast Guard would not allow the ship into port, a problem they stated they had never experienced before), then a long line at the port with 3,000 tired and grumpy fellow passengers. We didn't know we could have checked in when we dropped off our bags earlier in the day and skipped that whole line altogether, but the crew were so overwhelmed with the massive delay that they probably just overlooked it. No big deal - we'll know next time. We were allowed priority boarding once we got to the front of that gawdawful line because we booked a suite (St. Kitts - alllllll the way aft & overlooking the wake). Yes, the suite is expensive, but I promise the perks are worth the extra cost. Once we were aboard, there were no further problems. My expectations were exceeded at every turn and by every crew member with whom we had contact. Our room steward was an absolute delight, as were the dining staff, bartenders, dealers and other crew in the various venues where we spent time. The ship was beautiful, the suite spacious (including a jacuzzi tub!) and the food was delicious. The head waiter even brought me the next evening's menu every night so the chefs could prepare whatever I wanted gluten free, per my dietary restrictions. Our disembarkation was smooth too. We chose express carry-off, so we retained our luggage and carried it out ourselves. We walked out of the suite at 7:08 am, walked down to our lounge area and had time for 1 cup of coffee before they called us to the gangway. I already had the customs form filled out and we breezed through customs, waited 5 minutes for the parking lot shuttle and were loaded in my car pulling out of the parking lot by 7:45. Can't ask for smoother than that! We enjoyed ourselves so much that even my husband, who has never been interested in travel or doing much more than anchoring the sofa, had a great time and even put down a deposit for an Alaska sailing in summer 2014. He's even talking about taking other cruises after that. I have to thank Princess for giving my husband the travel bug. We're looking forward to sailing again & again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We got into Venice on August 26 at 10:30 am after an overnight flight from Canada. We took the bus to Piazzale Roma and then easily found Hotel Antiche Figure, where we spent two nights before boarding the ship. We used the vaporetto, ... Read More
We got into Venice on August 26 at 10:30 am after an overnight flight from Canada. We took the bus to Piazzale Roma and then easily found Hotel Antiche Figure, where we spent two nights before boarding the ship. We used the vaporetto, venice's public transit system extensively to tour the city, plus got lost many times on the streets. On the day of embarkation, we took the people mover to the port where we were met my a Princess shuttle which took us to the ship. This was a port intensive itinerary so we were off the ship for most of the day on most of the port days. We had 8:15 dining, which I don't think I would do again as by the time we were finished eating we were ready for bed!! We did have excellent service in the dining room though and it was great having the same waiters every night. We did join our friends for dinner at the Crown Grill one night and it was the best meal on the ship - worth the cover charge in our opinion. We had pizza from deck 15 one day and excellent hamburgers from the Trident Grill another day. We met our new cruise critic friends in the International Cafe many times, either to review the day's activities or get ready to share a private excursion. I recommend buying a coffee card as we didn't like the coffee in the dining rooms, so would bring coffee with us from the International Cafe. We spent enough time in the casino to lose our $20, had a martini at Crooners Bar, enjoyed the latin music in Explorers lounge, participated in a couple of zumba classes in Club Fusion (on sea days), watched a movie under the stars (not very good sound) and enjoyed the evening entertainment in the Piazza many times.We went to an art auction preview to enjoy the free wine, put a deposit on a future cruise to get the onboard credit but never made it to the theatre for any of the evening shows. There never seemed to be any chairs available at the pool, but we aren't big pool loungers anyway. I had bought an internet package prior to leaving home and believe that gave me the best deal. I would compose my emails and then sign onto the internet to send them. For our 12 day cruise 120 minutes was more than sufficient. there isn't a way to save this review so I'll come in another time to complete the port reviews. Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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